WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal by the Trump administration. This has been revealed by a purportedly accidental copy-paste error in an unrelated court document which used Assange’s name, interestingly not long after it was reported to the Wall Street Journal that federal prosecutors “have considered publicly indicting Mr. Assange to try to trigger his removal from the embassy because a detailed explanation of the evidence could give Ecuadorean authorities reason to turn Assange over.”
Insider sources have reportedly confirmed to the Washington Post that Assange has been charged. Because those charges are sealed, it’s impossible to know what they are or how they’re being justified. If you ask #Resistance Twitter, it’s because it’s #MuellerTime and Assange is about to be arrested under some mysterious charges involving WikiLeaks’ publication of non-government, non-classified emails in 2016. If you ask QAnon cultists, it’s because Donald Trump is planning to extradite Assange so as to rescue him and deal a fatal blow to the Deep State. If you ask people who actually know what they’re talking about, however, it’s most likely for WikiLeaks’ Afghanistan and Iraq war logs and/or last year’s CIA leak publications, and most likely using the Espionage Act. This would constitute a deadly blow to press freedoms, and arguably a greater leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia than the Patriot Act.
It also proves once again that Julian Assange was completely right.
I’ve had so, so many arguments with people this year about Assange’s publicly stated rationale for remaining in the Ecuadorian embassy, where he was granted political asylum by Ecuador’s previous government on the basis that the US was seeking his extradition. The refrain that he can “leave whenever he wants” is extremely common, with Assange’s detractors insisting that he’d never be arrested and extradited to the United States, and that he is instead hiding from (non-existent) Swedish rape charges. The narrative that Assange couldn’t possibly be hiding from the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning has been aggressively promulgated by mainstream outlets like the The Guardian, as in this article by James Ball from earlier this year titled “The only barrier to Julian Assange leaving Ecuador’s embassy is pride”,