assange arrest
© Global Look Press / Alberto Pezzali
Britisk politi arresterede WikiLeaks redaktør Julian Assange i London i April 2019

Kommentar: Meningerne om den tvungne fjernelse af Assange fra Ecuadors London ambassade, efter at Moreno solgte ham i bytte for IMF lån viser sig at være en lakmus test for politikere af enhver farve.

Bolivias præsident Evo Morales har fordømt arrestationen og tilbageholdelsen af Julian Assange, som han sagde blev "forfulgt" for at afsløre USA's "menneskerettighedsovertrædelser, mord på civile og diplomatisk spionage."

"Vi fordømmer kraftigt tilbageholdelsen af Julian Assange og brudet på ytringsfriheden," tweetede Morales torsdag.
Vores solidaritet er med denne bror, som forfølges af den amerikanske regering for at bringe for
frem i dagens lys dens brud på menneskerettigheder, mord på civile og diplomatiske spionage.

The WikiLeaks founder was hauled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London by British police on Thursday morning, after nearly seven years of de-facto house arrest. Assange was found guilty of failing to appear at a 2012 bail hearing, and is also facing extradition to the United States on a charge of conspiracy to commit a cybercrime.

Julian Assange Rafael Correa

Julian Assange and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.
Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa - whose government granted Assange asylum in 2012 - branded his more pro-US successor Lenin Moreno the "greatest traitor in Ecuadorian history" for rescinding the asylum claim and allowing British officers to enter his country's embassy.

"This is unheard of. These actions cannot leave one not outraged," he told RT Spanish. Correa believes that Moreno's decision was motivated by meetings with top-level US officials, including US President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Vice President Mike Pence, and by "vengeance," after WikiLeaks allegedly published documents implicating Moreno in a corruption investigation. WikiLeaks denies being behind the publication.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro became another leftist Latin American leader to condemn Assange's arrest, calling it an "atrocious decision."

The statement issued by Venezuela's Foreign Ministry on behalf of Maduro calls Assange a victim of political persecution by the US whose "crime" was to "have revealed to the world the darkest and most criminal face of the 'regime change wars' that the American empire carries out, and in particular, the mass murder of civilians, and the blatant violations of human rights in Iraq."

Commenting on the Australian's arrest, Argentina's former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner tweeted that while fake news dominates headlines, "those who reveal the truth are persecuted and imprisoned."

Comment: Among the US politicians, presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, along with Mike Gravel, stands out for her support of Assange:

2020 candidate Tulsi Gabbard has spoken out against the US government's plans to extradite and punish WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, calling it a "blow to transparency and a blow to a free press."

Speaking to MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Thursday, Gabbard defended the prior administration's decision not to attempt to extradite Assange. Despite his administration's record use of the Espionage act against whistleblowers, Barack Obama opted not to pursue charges against Assange, claiming it would create a dangerous precedent for journalists.

"This is a threat to journalists," she told Matthews, "but it's also something that threatens every American, because the message that we are getting, that the American people are getting is: Be quiet, toe the line, otherwise there will be consequences."

Former Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), who is vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, openly called for Assange to be pardoned.

Comment: Human rights "champion" Bernie Sanders meekly toed the mainstream line, while trying to shore up his leftist cred.

sanders campaign sign
© Reuters/Adrees Latif/File
A day after Julian Assange was arrested, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders took the time to post a video... about himself. Fans quickly flooded the comments, demanding that Sanders take a stand for Assange.

While the video Sanders tweeted on Thursday made the case for his long-established progressive record on civil rights issues, a large number of commenters responded that they were more interested in seeing what Bernie is willing to do today to protect people's rights, calling out his silence on Assange's arrest and its implications for freedom of the press.

Many among the supporters and critics tweeting at Sanders to demand a comment are suggesting that a candidate running for president of the US owes it to his constituents to tell them where he stands on a hot-button issue with direct implications for the First Amendment.

Comment: For most of the remaining US hacks: Assange is 'Our property now'

US lawmakers from both parties cheered the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, while President Donald Trump claimed he 'knows nothing' about the outlet, despite often saying 'I love WikiLeaks' during the 2016 campaign.

Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Thursday morning by UK police, acting on a US warrant for his arrest on charges of "conspiracy to commit computer intrusion."

Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) was on CNN's New Day show when the news broke, and he rejoiced that Assange is now "our property and we can get the facts and truth from him."

Though current US charges against Assange are related to the 2010 publication of secret US documents, Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans in Congress were quick to drag up the "Russiagate" conspiracy theory to argue that the WikiLeaks publisher is really an agent of the Kremlin.

"I hope he will soon be held to account for his meddling in our elections on behalf of Putin and the Russian government," tweeted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York).

Whatever Assange's intentions were when he started WikiLeaks, "what he's really become is a direct participant in Russian efforts to undermine the West and a dedicated accomplice in efforts to undermine American security," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and one of the leading champions of 'Russiagate.'

Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) agreed with Warner, as usual, saying Assange and WikiLeaks have "effectively acted as an arm of the Russian intelligence services for years."

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) called Assange "a wicked tool of Vladimir Putin and the Russian intelligence services" who "deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison."

House Foreign Relations Committee chair Eliot Engel (D-New York) also brought up Russiagate, saying Assange "time after time compromised the national security of the United States and our allies by publicly releasing classified government documents and confidential materials related to our 2016 presidential election."

Engel's committee also went after RT America reporter Dan Cohen, saying the First Amendment protected even "Russian propaganda outlets like the one you work for," but not "criminals who weaponize stolen information."

In 2016, WikiLeaks published Democratic National Committee documents showing that party officials were colluding to swing the primary election for Hillary Clinton - which was later confirmed in a memoir by DNC chair Donna Brazile. WikiLeaks also published emails from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta's private account, in the month leading up to the election.

Assange got no sympathy from the Trump administration, however, even though candidate Trump repeatedly told campaign rallies "I love WikiLeaks!" during the run-up to the 2016 election. Asked about Assange's arrest on Thursday, Trump told reporters:
I know nothing about Wikileaks. It's not my thing... I don't really have an opinion.
In September 2017, Trump's CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who also cheered WikiLeaks releases in 2016, called WikiLeaks an "enemy" of the US and described it as "akin to a hostile foreign intelligence service."

Comment: And finally, the unspeakable Killary couldn't resist gloating at the fate of the man who truth-telling contributed to her downfall.

© Reuters / Stephen Yang
Hillary Clinton didn't hold back her glee at the arrest of Julian Assange, mocking both the publisher who she blames for her failed presidential run and the man she lost to in a single "we came, we saw, he died" - level one-liner.

"I do think it's a little ironic that he may be the only foreigner that this administration would welcome to the United States," Clinton quipped onstage at a speaking event in New York, chuckling at her own wit and basking in the audience's mirth.

The former First Lady and failed presidential candidate was asked about the Wikileaks founder's arrest during the talk - which also included her husband - by moderator (and former Clinton staffer) Paul Begala, who set the stage by quipping that it "couldn't happen to a nicer guy" after reminding Clinton that she "had some familiarity with the work of Mr. Assange" to audience guffaws.

While Clinton had promised her audience before the talk not to mention President Donald Trump by name - a trick she stole from former president Barack Obama - she had no problem making excuses for his government's actions.

"It is clear from the indictment that came out that it's not about punishing journalism, it's about assisting the hacking of the military computer to steal information from the US government," she admonished. "The bottom line is that he has to answer for what he has done, at least as it's been charged."

WikiLeaks published thousands of incriminating and embarrassing private email messages stolen from former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee in the run-up to the 2016 election, exposing extensive corruption and malfeasance on the part of the Clinton campaign. Many - including Clinton herself - believe the leak cost her the election.