Thursday morning, Julian Assange lost his safe place in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after seven years. Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, revoked his asylum, citing breaches of international law. The following video from The Independent shows British police dragging Assange out of the embassy.
Assange initially took refuge in an Ecuadorian embassy seven years ago to avoid being extradited to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.
Julian Assange has been arrested and removed from the Ecuadorian embassy pic.twitter.com/xGCGMjgVJy
— The Independent (@Independent) April 11, 2019
Tom DiGennaro | United States
Early Friday morning, federal authorities placed Roger Stone, a longtime aide to President Trump, under arrest. The FBI took him into custody under obstruction of justice charges regarding the Russian hacking of several key Democrats’ emails during the 2016 election season. This is the first criminal case Mueller’s special investigation has brought in months. Without a doubt, the investigation is at this point just grasping at straws.
Roger Stone has been a personal confidant of Trump. At one point, he was a formal advisor during the presidential campaign. Despite this, he has not officially been a part of the administration since 2015.
The Mueller investigation did not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks or Russian officials. Rather, his indictment alleges making false statements to Congress about his involvement with wiki-leaks.
One must certainly question how it is a crime to (allegedly) seek out information on when WikiLeaks plans on publicizing material. One must also certainly question how it is not a crime to be “extremely careless” with classified emails as Secretary of State and deleting classified government emails related to Benghazi.
Grasping at Straws over Roger Stone
Failed attempts to indict President Trump have included going after Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, and countless others. Even before Robert Mueller began his crusade, former FBI Director James Comey, who cleared Hillary Clinton of any criminal wrongdoing, was grasping at the same straws. This attack on Stone simply for knowing about a WikiLeaks release of information (which the American public should have been aware of, anyway) is not even in the ballpark of colluding with Russian hackers or officials. However, Democrats, the FBI, and mainstream media would have you believe otherwise.
Will Mueller try to use Roger Stone as a government witness against President Trump? Will these charges stick? And will President Trump ever be indicted on related charges? Impeached? Are these charges anything but an absurd attempt to stir up more conflict for the sake of conflict?
As of right now, it appears the answer to each of these is a fervent no.
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By James Sweet III | United States
If Julian Assange decided to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London tomorrow, he could leave knowing that he may not be extradited to the United States. According to Ecuador’s President, Lenin Moreno, the British government has guaranteed that the founder of Wikileaks would not be extradited to any nation that may serve him the death penalty.
Moreno stated in a radio interview Thursday that he has received written assurances from the British government that they will not extradite Assange to a foreign country that could put the man to death. In the United States, Assange is facing several charges for leaking classified information regarding diplomatic cables and war crimes in the Middle East. The possible sentence for these crimes could carry the death penalty.
Assange has been hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012, being granted asylum under former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. His access to the internet was cut by the Ecuadorian government, although it was recently restored, and he hasn’t seen sunlight in years. While the current President has stated he will not force Assange out, Moreno revealed that the asylee’s team is discussing what to do next.
Assange could still be extradited to the United States, however, if American prosecutors promised not to pursue the death penalty. Wikileaks revealed in mid-November that the government of the United States was pursuing charges against Assange, but they are currently sealed and the charges federal prosecutors may pursue are unknown.
Regardless, this is an important step for Julian Assange. The activist’s chances of leaving the embassy without fear of a shortened life have increased. If he did indeed leave the embassy and was kept in the United Kingdom, it would be a victory for government transparency advocates around the world, although not being arrested is preferable.
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By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, may be in trouble. Since 2012, he has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy. The government of Ecuador has granted him asylum, but recent possible charges from the United States could end his safety.