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WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange's Years-Long Standoff with U.S. Government Ends in Dramatic Fashion

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After more than a decade of trying to avoid American retribution for leaking top secret documents, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is on the road to freedom.

In a highly orchestrated and highly unusual procedure, Assange was being flown Tuesday from the British prison where he has been for the past five years to the Mariana Islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, where he will appear before a U.S. District Court judge.

When he gets there, he will plead guilty to a conspiracy charge, be sentenced to the five years he has served in Britain, and be free, according to NBC.

Wikileaks posted a video on X of Assange boarding a plane in London on Monday evening, and included a caption that read in part: “This is for everyone who worked for his freedom: thank you.”

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The Espionage Act charge against Assange said that he conspired beginning in 2009 with an Army private then known as Bradley Manning to disseminate national security documents with various classified labels. (Bradley Manning is now known as transgender activist Chelsea Manning.)

A letter from the Justice Department indicates that the Mariana Islands were chosen ”in light of the defendant’s opposition to traveling to the continental United States to enter his guilty plea and the proximity of this federal U.S. District Court to the defendant’s country of citizenship, Australia, to which we expect he will return at the conclusion of the proceedings.”

The Assange is going free, some activists were unhappy with the proceedings.

“The United States has now, for the first time in the more than 100-year history of the Espionage Act, obtained an Espionage Act conviction for basic journalistic acts,” said David Greene, director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation Civil Liberties, according to The New York Times.

Do you agree with Julian Assange being set free?

“These charges should never have been brought,” he said.

As of Tuesday morning, the plane believed to be carrying Assange had landed in Bangkok, Thailand, to refuel, according to NBC.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that “the case has dragged on for too long, there is nothing to be gained by his continued incarceration and we want him brought home to Australia.”

Assange, with Manning’s help, published documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, diplomatic cables, and assessments of detainees at Guantánamo Bay. In 2016, WikiLeaks struck again, this time with emails from the Democratic National Committee.

The Biden White House distanced itself from the Assange deal.

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“This was an independent decision made by the Department of Justice and there was no White House involvement in the plea deal decision,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement Monday evening, according to NBC.

Assange spent years on the run from sex charges in Sweden that have since been dropped. Seven of those years were spent in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, before he was booted from the embassy and arrested by British authorities.

He had been held in a high-security prison for the past five years, according to NBC.

Former Vice President Mike Pence castigated the deal.

“Julian Assange endangered the lives of our troops in a time of war and should have been prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Pence wrote in a post on X.

“The Biden administration’s plea deal with Assange is a miscarriage of justice and dishonors the service and sacrifice of the men and women of our Armed Forces and their families.”


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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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