On April 11th, former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton commented on Julian Assange’s arrest saying that he must “answer for what he has done.”
Clinton said the issue was not one of press freedom, but “about assisting the hacking of a military computer to steal information from the United States government.”
“Look, I’ll wait and see what happens with the charges and how it proceeds, but he skipped bail in the UK,” Clinton said. “The bottom line is he has to answer for what he has done, at least as it’s been charged.”
One of Clinton’s former members of staff, Claude Taylor also hailed Assange’s arrest.
It’s a great day! Not quite great enough for Julian to be clutching Roger Stone’s pic. It’s Gore Vidal. https://t.co/0DGFhC1xFO
— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) April 11, 2019
Hillary has been one of the more vocal US politicians against Julian Assange, and its mostly due to the leaks of 2016.
The WikiLeaks website first leaked the contents of internal emails of the Democratic National Committee servers in early 2016.
WikiLeaks then published thousands of hacked emails in October from Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, which were released just hours after the release of an Access Hollywood tape in which Trump had bragged about groping and kissing women without their consent.
In one of the emails Hillary Clinton asked if whether killing Julian Assange via a drone strike would be a viable strategy.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 3, 2016
Back in 2016, US President Donald Trump praised WikiLeaks, saying “WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.”
After Assange’s arrest on April 11th, Trump stated that he knew nothing of WikiLeaks saying that “I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It’s not my thing.”
“Question Mr. President, do you still love WikiLeaks?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It’s not my thing. And I know there is something having to do with Julian Assange. I’ve been seeing what’s happened with Assange. And that will be a determination, I would imagine, mostly by the Attorney General, who’s doing an excellent job.
So he’ll be making a determination. I know nothing really about him. It’s not my — it’s not my deal in life.”
US Vice President Mike Pence also defended Trump in an interview with CNN saying Trump’s prior comments were “in no way an endorsement of an organization that we now understand was involved in disseminating classified information by the United States of America.”
“The justice department is now seeking extradition and we’re going to bring Julian Assange to justice,” Pence said, while adding Assange’s work with Manning was “one of the greatest compromises of classified information in American history.”
US Senator Joe Manchin also defended Assange’s arrest, saying that he’s US “property.”
"It will be really good to get him back on United States soil," says @Sen_JoeManchin on Julian Assange's arrest.
— New Day (@NewDay) April 11, 2019
The US Justice Department charged Assange with conspiring with Chelsea Manning, a convicted intelligence leaker and far-left political commentator, to break into a classified U.S. government computer. The indictment accuses Assange of assisting Manning, a former U.S. intelligence analyst, in cracking a password that helped Manning infiltrate Pentagon computers.
The extradition will be handled by the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.
On April 11th, Assange was found guilty of failing to surrender to the court and faces up to 12 months in a British prison, if he doesn’t get extradited to the US.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is pictured in the back of a van leaving a London police station in handcuffs with his thumb up after being arrested. Read more: https://t.co/fU8j4RuEt0 📷 @PBANicholls pic.twitter.com/xkQqAbZvNU
— Reuters Pictures (@reuterspictures) April 11, 2019
Separately, the Former President of Ecuador Rafael Correa, who initially granted Assange asylum in the embassy condemned the arrest. He called current president Lenin Moreno “the greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history.”
The greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history, Lenin Moreno, allowed the British police to enter our embassy in London to arrest Assange.
Moreno is a corrupt man, but what he has done is a crime that humanity will never forget. https://t.co/XhT51MA6c6
— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) April 11, 2019
EDIT: After accusing the current Ecuadorian president of taking bribes, Correa’s facebook page was blocked.
Bloquearon mi página facebook, 1,5 millones de seguidores
Un paso más de la brutal persecución, y otra muestra de desesperación por caso INA papers, del cual el corrupto Moreno no podrá escapar.
Solo por esta vía anunciaré nueva página. No crean en “fakes” https://t.co/9kxjqUJfpm
— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) April 12, 2019
“They Blocked my Facebook page, 1.5 million followers One step further from the brutal persecution, and another show of desperation for INA papers, of which the corrupt Moreno will not be able to escape. Just this way I will announce new page. Do Not believe in “fakes””
Since the arrest, various human rights organizations and journalists have spoke against it. Since it presents the justice department’s accusatory tone toward journalistic activities that include protecting the anonymity of sources and sharing government information and records in the public interest.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 13, 2019
Civil liberties groups condemn the Trump admin’s indictment of Julian Assange.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 12, 2019
“Trump seeks to prosecute a *non US* publisher *in Europe* under *US laws* – amazing imperial arrogance. If UK govt and journalists allow him to succeed, maybe Moscow or Riyadh will prosecute UK journalists for revealing secrets about them. That’s the precedent we face,” Mark Curtis tweeted.
— Digital Rights Watch (@DRWaus) April 12, 2019
Russia also commented on the Arrest, saying that it goes counter to the idea of freedom of the media.
The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow expected that Assange’s legitimate rights would be respected.
“In fact, it [Wikileaks] is an independent source of information that is being persecuted,” Peskov said. “Certainly, from our standpoint, it runs totally counter to the idea of freedom of the media and the media’s immunity,” he emphasized. “This is why we expect that all of Assange’s legitimate rights will be respected,” the Kremlin spokesman added.
Additionally, allegations about Moscow’s connections with Assange are “related to conspiracy,” Peskov added.
Alexei Chepa, deputy chairman of the State Duma International Affairs Committee, also advocated for protecting Assange’s rights.
“We need to use all international opportunities to protect the person who tried to expose the truth and bring information to the public that some entities carefully concealed,” RIA quoted Chepa as saying.
In the Russian talk show Vremya Pokazhet, host Artyom Shenin said that Assange’s arrest was a “personal and political tragedy, an injustice that touched everyone.”
Sheinin told his audience that the footage of Assange’s arrest was available only thanks to a Russian TV crew.
“Everyone was silent apart from RT!” he said. “And they have the cheek to lecture us about press freedom!”
In an interview with RIA, Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief, said that the arrest of Assange was proof that “hypocrisy had prevailed.”
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