London Police invited to the embassy by Ecuador’s ambassador literally carried Assange out and took him into custody Thursday. Assange was arrested for violating a June 2012 British warrant, but the US indictment stems one of the largest breaches of classified information in US history. In 2010, WikiLeaks released a vast cache of US military records from its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the documented civilian casualties.
It also contained the assessments of suspected terrorists held by the United States at its prison Guantanamo Cuba, and 250,000 secret State Department cables. The US accused Assange of conspiring with former US Army Intelligence Analyst Chelsea Manning to access US Defense Department computers.
Speaking Thursday in London, Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson insists that Assange was a working journalist, and the United States is persecuting him for doing his jobs. This sets a dangerous precedent for all media, organizations and journalists in Europe and also around the world. This precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having public truthful information about the United States.
But US prosecutors focused on Assange’s conspiring to illegally accessed top-secret information, not its publication, actions not covered by US laws protecting press freedoms. London police confirmed Assange was arrested in relation to an extradition warrant on behalf of the United States. Assange’s lawyer says they will fight that extradition. Jeff Guster, VOA News, Washington.