Anonymous sources have told CNN that the United States Federal government plans to formally press charges against Julian Assange and ask for his arrest.
Because Julian Assange is not a US citizen, Trump appointed CIA director Mike Pompeo has said,
“Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms. He’s sitting in an Embassy in London. He’s not a US citizen”.
As reported by Sputnik,
“The Washington Post reports that prosecutors have been crafting a memo envisioning charges against WikiLeaks staff that could include conspiracy, theft of government property or violations of the Espionage Act. Officials told them that the memo is not yet complete and that approval would be needed at the highest levels of US justice to bring charges to bear”.
Because this information comes from unknown sources, reporting to CNN, one can not be sure of its veracity. However, based on a recent speech by CIA Director Pompeo lambasting Assange, it could very well be the case that the US is preparing the throw the ultimate book at the world’s most famous whistle-blowing journalist.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions appears to have confirmed the reports, calling Assange’s pending arrest ‘a priority’.
If the US formally seeks to arrest Assange, the world’s eyes will be watching Ecuador. Right now, Assange is legally on the sovereign territory of Ecuador as he has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012.
If it were up to the UK, Assange would be turned over to US authorities at the soonest possible moment. But Ecuador has pledged to keep Assange protected in the Embassy, so long as he does not ‘meddle in US politics‘.
Ecuadorian President-elect Lenín Moreno has said that in principle he has no problem with continuing to shelter Assange, but the lukewarm nature of his support compared to that of outgoing President Rafael Correa has worried many.
Many Trump supporters will also be distraught. Trump came to power on a wave of support from those who supported Wikileaks’ mission to expose high levels of government corruption. Assange exposed the swamp that Trump promised to drain.
Paul Joseph Watson, a vocal former Trump supporter has voiced the opinion of many,
Now it seems that the Trump administration which in part owes its existence to Assange, will seek to arrest the Wikileaks founder. This is yet another massive Trump U-turn since taking office.
Speaking personally, as a supporter of Wikileaks and Assange, I hope that Ecuador does not cave in to what will almost certainly be monumental pressure.
Edward Snowden must be feeling lucky that he made it to a country that would never cave into any kind of pressure: Russia.