Julian Assange arrested inside of Ecuadorian embassy in London

For seven years, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London rather than be extradited to Sweden to face rape allegations.

Those charges were eventually dropped.  But Assange was still being sought on a U.S. warrant for publishing secrets.  And he jumped bail in the U.K. to avoid extradition.

Today, the Ecuadorian ambassador withdrew Assange's political asylum, and the embassy handed him over to Scotland Yard.

BBC:

Mr Assange, an Australian national, set up Wikileaks in 2006 with the aim of obtaining and publishing confidential documents and images.  The organisation hit the headlines four years later when it released footage of US soldiers killing civilians from a helicopter in Iraq.

Former US intelligence analyst Chelsea [Bradley] Manning was arrested in 2010 for disclosing more than 700,000 confidential documents, videos and diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy website.

[He] said [he] only did so to spark debates about foreign policy, but US officials said the leak put lives at risk.

Mr Assange, 47, had been in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, after seeking asylum there to avoid extradition to Sweden on a rape allegation — which he denied and was later dropped.

But he still faces a lesser charge of skipping bail in 2012 and he says this could lead to an extradition to the US for publishing US secrets on the Wikileaks website.

Scotland Yard said it was invited into the embassy by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government's withdrawal of asylum.

After his arrest for failing to surrender to the court, police said he had been further arrested on behalf of US authorities under an extradition warrant.

Mr Assange would remain in custody at a central London police station, before appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court "as soon as is possible", the statement added.

Assange claimed he was fighting extradition to the U.S. because he feared he would be murdered in prison by the CIA.  That may be the paranoid delusion of a cold, calculating cyber-criminal.  Or it could be a legitimate fear.  He would likely be granted special status in prison that would lessen the chances of anyone getting to him.

The U.S. government claims that Assange's actions in publishing hundreds of thousands of secret documents put American lives at risk.  I don't think there's any doubt about that.  Perhaps he didn't put specific lives at risk, although it's believed that in several instances, the documents he posted online revealed the names of locals who were cooperating with the U.S. government.  That would have been a death sentence in Iran or Afghanistan.

There are many who want to make Assange some kind of hero.  He is scum, the lowest of the low.  Hackers, by definition, take it upon themselves to invade the privacy of individuals, organizations, and governments.  Certainly, WikiLeaks did not have the expertise or knowledge to determine which documents it was publishing put lives in danger.  Nor was there any context to the documents.  They just dumped the contents of a flash drive on to the internet with no thought to the consequences.  That's unconscionable.

Assange will fight extradition — and may win.  The U.S. would have to assure Great Britain that the death sentence is off the table before the Brits would extradite.  That will be a hard decision for U.S. authorities to make, especially since there are many in the U.S. intelligence community who believe that Assange should be executed.

For seven years, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London rather than be extradited to Sweden to face rape allegations.

Those charges were eventually dropped.  But Assange was still being sought on a U.S. warrant for publishing secrets.  And he jumped bail in the U.K. to avoid extradition.

Today, the Ecuadorian ambassador withdrew Assange's political asylum, and the embassy handed him over to Scotland Yard.

BBC:

Mr Assange, an Australian national, set up Wikileaks in 2006 with the aim of obtaining and publishing confidential documents and images.  The organisation hit the headlines four years later when it released footage of US soldiers killing civilians from a helicopter in Iraq.

Former US intelligence analyst Chelsea [Bradley] Manning was arrested in 2010 for disclosing more than 700,000 confidential documents, videos and diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy website.

[He] said [he] only did so to spark debates about foreign policy, but US officials said the leak put lives at risk.

Mr Assange, 47, had been in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, after seeking asylum there to avoid extradition to Sweden on a rape allegation — which he denied and was later dropped.

But he still faces a lesser charge of skipping bail in 2012 and he says this could lead to an extradition to the US for publishing US secrets on the Wikileaks website.

Scotland Yard said it was invited into the embassy by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government's withdrawal of asylum.

After his arrest for failing to surrender to the court, police said he had been further arrested on behalf of US authorities under an extradition warrant.

Mr Assange would remain in custody at a central London police station, before appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court "as soon as is possible", the statement added.

Assange claimed he was fighting extradition to the U.S. because he feared he would be murdered in prison by the CIA.  That may be the paranoid delusion of a cold, calculating cyber-criminal.  Or it could be a legitimate fear.  He would likely be granted special status in prison that would lessen the chances of anyone getting to him.

The U.S. government claims that Assange's actions in publishing hundreds of thousands of secret documents put American lives at risk.  I don't think there's any doubt about that.  Perhaps he didn't put specific lives at risk, although it's believed that in several instances, the documents he posted online revealed the names of locals who were cooperating with the U.S. government.  That would have been a death sentence in Iran or Afghanistan.

There are many who want to make Assange some kind of hero.  He is scum, the lowest of the low.  Hackers, by definition, take it upon themselves to invade the privacy of individuals, organizations, and governments.  Certainly, WikiLeaks did not have the expertise or knowledge to determine which documents it was publishing put lives in danger.  Nor was there any context to the documents.  They just dumped the contents of a flash drive on to the internet with no thought to the consequences.  That's unconscionable.

Assange will fight extradition — and may win.  The U.S. would have to assure Great Britain that the death sentence is off the table before the Brits would extradite.  That will be a hard decision for U.S. authorities to make, especially since there are many in the U.S. intelligence community who believe that Assange should be executed.