Update (1:15 pm ET): The editor of the Global Times, widely seen as a mouthpiece for Beijing, has weighed in on Assange's arrest, comparing him to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, the "Chinese Nelson Mandela."
The West deified Liu, while persecuting Assange, even though their actions - exposing government malfeasance - were similar. Why? Because Assange picked the wrong target.
Both Assange and Liu Xiaobo defied. Liu was awarded Nobel Peace Prize by the West, Assange was jointly hunted by Western countries. If Assange targeted China, Russia or Iran, he wouldn't have ended up this way. He chose the wrong target.— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) April 11, 2019
While we're on the subject, one twitter wit pointed out another manner in which the treatment of Assange has differed from others who have dared to challenge the federal government.
I don't know why Julian Assange didn't just die in a single-vehicle automobile crash in Hancock Park at 4am, or get himself shot in the back in D.C. at 4am - that seems to be how these things are usually handled.— Rudy Havenstein, Pecora Commissioner (@RudyHavenstein) April 11, 2019
BREAKING: ASSANGE TRANSFERRED TO SAUDI ARABIA FOR QUESTIONING— Rudy Havenstein, Pecora Commissioner (@RudyHavenstein) April 11, 2019
BREAKING: ASSANGE'S SHOELACE'S DESCRIBED BY DOJ AS 'PRACTICALLY NEW, VERY STRONG; CAPABLE OF SUPPORTING UP TO 200 POUNDS.'— Rudy Havenstein, Pecora Commissioner (@RudyHavenstein) April 11, 2019
* * *
Update (12:50 pm ET): Clearly feeling the pressure from his many supporters who sympathize with Assange, President Trump told reporters in the White House press pool that "I know nothing about Wikileaks. It's not my thing."
Of course, then-candidate Trump praised Wikileaks repeatedly during the campaign after it released several tranches of emails purportedly stolen from the DNC and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta (his son also purportedly exchanged Twitter messages with the group).
Whatever happens next will be up to the attorney general.
Meanwhile, Assange supporters took to twitter to remind the president of his support for the organization during the campaign. Sean Hannity, a Fox News host with whom Trump has a close relationship, once even offered to have Assange host his show.
Just a few examples of Trump tweets that mention Wikileaks: pic.twitter.com/lNdTnhb0hZ— Lawrence Hurley (@lawrencehurley) April 11, 2019
Hard to overstate the Trump campaign's enthusiasm for Julian Assange. I was backstage at Debate #2 and they literally had an Assange fanboy poster on the wall https://t.co/JWl6d7PpSi pic.twitter.com/NXO652FZKw— Joshua Green (@JoshuaGreen) April 11, 2019
And here's a video of Trump saying 'Wikileaks' 141 times on the campaign trail.
Uh... https://t.co/ER8txZe5Y5— Justin Hendrix (@justinhendrix) April 11, 2019
Meanwhile, Assange's lawyer spoke outside Westminster Thursday afternoon to crowd of Assange supporters, who warned that the Assange extradition warrant sets "a dangerous" precedent for journalists.
“Since 2010 we’ve warned that Julian Assange would face prosecution and extradition to the United States for his publishing activities with Wikileaks. Unfortunately today we’ve been proven right...we’ve today received a warrant and a provisional extradition request from the United States alleging that he has conspired with Chelsea Manning in relation to the materials published by Wikileaks in 2010. This sets a dangerous precedent for all media organisations and journalists in Europe and elsewhere around the world. This precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States."
Watch a clip from her remarks:
"This sets a dangerous precedent... any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the US for having published truthful information about the US"— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) April 11, 2019
Julian Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson confirms Wikileaks co-founder will fight extraditionhttps://t.co/4ioyi5LlrF pic.twitter.com/y1pHKyjF1D
* * *
Update (11:55 am ET): Swedish prosecutors have reopened their preliminary investigation into allegations of rape made by two women against Assange that were the initial reason why he sought asylum in the embassy.
After a lawyer for one of the women requested that Swedish prosecutors revisit the case, which we reported earlier, the prosecutors' office has affirmed that it will be reopened. They didn't give a deadline for the probe.
* * *
Update (11 am ET): Protesters have gathered outside the Magistrates Court in London where Assange was found guilty.
Speaking outside the court, WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnssonsaid said "anyone who wants the press to be free should consider the implications of this case. If they will extradite a journalist to the US then no journalist will be safe. This must stop. This must end."
* * *
Update (10 am ET): Assange has been found guilty of failing to surrender. He will be sent to Southwark Crown Court for sentencing. Judge Snow declared that the assertion that Assange didn't receive a fair trial was "laughable."
District Judge Michael Snow finds Julian Assange guilty of failing to surrender— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
He sends Julian Assange to the Crown Court for sentencing as the offence was so serious— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
Julian Assange will next appear on the 2nd of May by video link at this court on the extradition matter. He will next appear on the bail offence at Southwark Crown Court on a date to be announced. Hearing over.— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
* * *
Update (9:50 am ET): Assange's bail hearing has begun with some not exactly objective words from District Judge Michael Snow. Snow said the Wikileaks' founder's behavior is "narcissist and laughable" and he "can’t get passed his own self interest."
Here's a rundown of the hearing courtesy of a reporter from the BBC:
Julian Assange in court. He is asked to take a seat— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
He is in a black shirt and a black jacket. He waves to the public gallery and gives a thumbs up— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
District Judge Michael Snow tells the public gallery they should not have their phones out, unless they are members of the press tweeting.— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
The hearing cannot start as Julian Assange’s legal team are not in court yet— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
Asked his name Assange says “My name is Julian Paul Assange”— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
The court is told Julian Assange was arrested this morning in two warrants— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
The court is hearing the history of the Swedish sexual offences case through the UK courts, and how after his appeal failed Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorean embassy in June 2012 in breach of his bail— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
Assange was arrested this morning on a warrant arising from that breach of bail— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
The second warrant relates to an extradition request from the US issued in Dec 2017 (issued by the District Judge presiding over today’s case)— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
Officers tried to introduce themselves but he barged past them. He resisted and shouted “this is unlawful”. He had to be restrained and officers struggled to handcuff him. He shouted again “This is unlawful, I am not leaving” as he was led to the police van— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
Julian Assange is told that one charge he faces is that he failed to surrender on 29th June 2012. He pleads “not guilty”— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
He is told that the US warrant says that between Jan 2010 and July 2010 he conspired with Chelsea Manning to “effectuate” unauthorised disclosure.— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
The court is now discussing whether Julian Assange has to give evidence to explain why he failed to surrender to bail— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
Julian Assange will not give evidence— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
Julian Assange’s lawyer says that District Judge Emma Arbuthnot who heard this case at previous hearings should have recused herself because of “bias”— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
District Judge Michael Snow tells the defence it is “unacceptable in front of a packed press gallery to traduce the reputation of the senior District Judge”. He says it is “grossly unfair”— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) April 11, 2019
* * *
Update (9:35 am ET): With Assange in custody, Sweden appears to be reviving its prosecution of Assange on rape charges (stemming from him allegedly having unprotected sex against his consenting partners' wishes).
Elisabeth Massi Fritz, a lawyer who represents one of Assange’s accusers in Sweden, has submitted a request to Sweden prosecutor’s office for the investigation to resume, according to local media reports.
A few other things to note that have emerged in the past few minutes:
Assange is now sitting in the dock at Westminster magistrates awaiting his hearing. He's reportedly reading the Gore Vidal book.
Julian Assange sitting in the dock, waiting for proceedings to get underway in court, reading Gore Vidal book.. first time I've seen any accused reading any form of book in the dock, other than their legal documents— Mark White (@skymarkwhite) April 11, 2019
His lawyer, Jennifer Robinson and Wikileaks' editor will make a statement after the hearing. She has said that he will not give evidence in UK bail case (it's expected that, since he's facing charges of skipping bail, he will be held as a flight risk).
Announce: WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson and UK lawyer for Assange Jennifer Robinson will be making a statement outside Westminster Magistrate's Court after Assange's hearing has concluded.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 11, 2019
Reporters and legal experts on Twitter have pointed out a few interesting observations.
First, Assange isn't being charged with publishing classified information, or with hacking into US government computer systems. Rather, he's solely facing charges on encouraging Chelsea Manning to steal the documents.
And the fact that he's only facing violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act could leave room for Assange to successfully fight extradition, like UK hacker Lauri Love.
The fact that Assange is only being charged with CFAA violations will make it an interesting question whether the UK will distinguish this from Lauri Love, who successfully fought extradition to the US on hacking charges: https://t.co/FFTN6yeJN2— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) April 11, 2019
The fact that the charges are so limited in scope could eliminate some of the feared 'chilling effect' on press freedoms.
I’ll leave the analysis of the charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for those who know that statute better.— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) April 11, 2019
For me, the key is that this isn’t about the Espionage Act, or the publication of classified national security information—it’s not a direct threat to the press. https://t.co/pNhJTpkEKw
* * *
Update (9:25 am ET): Journalist Glenn Greenwald has raised some important points about the precedent that the US government is setting by prosecuting Assange for leaking classified information (something that US media organizations engage in on a regular basis):
The @ACLU warns the attempt to prosecute Julian Assange in connection with publishing "would be unprecedented and unconstitutional, and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations" & "set an especially dangerous precedent" https://t.co/31WfYg7zrC— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 11, 2019
The @ACLU's point is vital: if the US can force the arrest and then extradite foreigners like Assange on foreign soil for publishing docs, what prevents China or Iran or, you know, Russia for doing the same to US journalists who publish secrets about them? https://t.co/31WfYg7zrC— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 11, 2019
Also, if one believes Mike Pompeo's warnings that Wikileaks is "an arm of Russian intelligence" then the prosecution of Assange would be another example of Trump acting contrary to Putin's interests.
For anyone who has been moronically repeating & believing Mike Pompeo's claim that WikiLeaks is "an arm of Russian intelligence," the attempt by the Trump Admin to prosecute Assange is yet another data point in a long list of Trump acting *directly contrary* to Putin's interests.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 11, 2019
The belief that Assange is a Russian agent has always been painfully stupid (and, I should note, completely without evidence). But if you're someone who decided to believe that, then you'd have to see this as another case of Trump taking actions directly harmful to the Kremlin.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 11, 2019
Also, Greenwald points out that one of the behaviors that allegedly led to Assange's prosecution was his decision to encourage Manning to retrieve more documents, something that journalists do with sources "all the time." That's why hi prosecution amounts to the "criminalization of journalism".
The DOJ says part of what Assange did to justify his prosecution - beyond allegedly helping Manning get the documents - is he encouraged Manning to get more docs for him to publish. Journalists do this with sources constantly: it's the criminalization of journalism pic.twitter.com/GXNjWlkFZw— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 11, 2019
And security state cheerleaders in the mainstream media are already gloating over Assange's arrest.
The security state agents for NBC/MSNBC cheering the Trump administration for arresting Assange because they're authoritarians who only pretend to care about press freedom when it advances their partisan interests.This is what happens when news outlets merge with the US Govt pic.twitter.com/wFBAiwb3GQ— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 11, 2019
But they'd be crying 'facism' if the circumstances were slightly different.
US media stars are almost always in support of US empire, and that’s why they will never forgive Assange or Wikileaks for exposing US war crimes.— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) April 11, 2019
If the publisher of leaks that ONLY exposed America’s adversaries was arrested, these same ppl would be crying fascism and tyranny https://t.co/OsHX0km8II
Meanwhile, Assange appears to be trying to keep his spirits up, giving supporters a thumbs up from a police van.
* * *
Update (9 am ET): The official US indictment of Assange has been published by federal prosecutors in Virginia. According to the indictment, Assange is being charged for his "role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States" where he allegedly conspired with Chelsea Manning to "break a password" to gain access to a government computer containing classified information.
Julian P. Assange, 47, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested today in the United Kingdom pursuant to the U.S./UK Extradition Treaty, in connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer.
According to court documents unsealed today, the charge relates to Assange’s alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.
Though if convicted, Assange faces only five-and-a-half years in jail.
Read the press release below:
The indictment alleges that in March 2010, Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications. Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks. Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a deceptive measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures.
During the conspiracy, Manning and Assange engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning’s transmission of classified records to Assange. The discussions also reflect Assange actively encouraging Manning to provide more information. During an exchange, Manning told Assange that "after this upload, that’s all I really have got left." To which Assange replied, "curious eyes never run dry in my experience."
Assange is charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the charges were unsealed. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kellen S. Dwyer, Thomas W. Traxler and Gordon D. Kromberg, and Trial Attorneys Matthew R. Walczewski and Nicholas O. Hunter of the Justice Department’s National Security Division are prosecuting the case.
The extradition will be handled by the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.
Read the indictment below:
* * *
Update (8:40 am ET): A scuffle reportedly broke out outside the embassy shortly after Assange's arrest when a Chilean reporter demanded to speak with the Ecuadorian ambassador, but was rebuffed by the embassy's security staff.
The reporter, from Chile's el Ciudadano, accused the ambassador of lying to him when he said there had been no change in Assange's status last week. He also accused President Moreno of "betraying an incipient socialist revolution," per the Guardian.
A scuffle broke out outside the Ecuadorian embassy between embassy security and a reporter from Chile’s el Ciudadano who tried to challenge the ambassador as he was taken into a car.
Patricio Mary, the reporter, said he had wanted to ask ambassador Jaime Martin about promises he had made to respect Assange’s asylum.
"Ecuadorian police pushed me and tried to fight with me," he said. "We started shouting traitor and liar because when I interviewed him two days ago he told me there was no change with the position of Julian Assange and that the government of Lenin Moreno will respect international law."
He said the Ecuadorians had breached their own sovereignty by inviting British police into their embassy. It was symbolic of the way the Ecuadorian government had treated journalists in their own country, where president Lenin Moreno had shut down opposing newspapers and betrayed an incipient socialist revolution, he said.
It's also looking increasingly probable that UK police had been monitoring the embassy for days, and deliberately stormed the building when Assange's supporters, who had been camped outside, weren't around./
* * *
Update (8:30 am ET): Reporters have uncovered some more information about the circumstances surrounding Assange's arrest. But first, former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who initially welcomed Assange when the Wikileaks founder sought asylum in 2012, derided his successor, Lenin Moreno, as "corrupt" and accused him of committing a crime that "humanity will never forgive."
The greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history, Lenin Moreno, allowed the British police to enter our embassy in London to arrest Assange.— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) April 11, 2019
Moreno is a corrupt man, but what he has done is a crime that humanity will never forget. https://t.co/XhT51MA6c6
The Guardian has confirmed that the US has confirmed what Assange's lawyer said about the US extradition request...the wheels that will ultimately bring Assange to the US to face espionage charges have already been put in motion.
US did not waste any time putting in extradition request for Assange. Terrible precedent if journalist/publisher ends up in US jail for Iraq war logs and state department cables.— Ewen MacAskill (@ewenmacaskill) April 11, 2019
US grand jury behind Assange charges met in secret in 2010 after Guardian, Der Spiegel, NYT published cables. Why are they not being prosecuted? Only difference would be if Assange accused of encouraging Chelsea Manning to leak them?— Ewen MacAskill (@ewenmacaskill) April 11, 2019
And we finally have an answer about the book/magazne that Assange was seen clutching as he was dragged out of the embassy: Gore Vidal's "history of the national security state".
Everyone is asking what Julian is holding. It’s Gore Vidal's History of the National Security State. pic.twitter.com/EKrveYKhgm— Cassandra Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) April 11, 2019
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May thanked the Metropolitan Police for their "professionalism" and for showing that "nobody is above the law".
"In the United Kingdom, no-one is above the law" - UK PM Theresa May on arrest of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange at Ecuadorian embassy in Londonhttps://t.co/zZWNjp4ps8 #Assange pic.twitter.com/ObXhpseJJj— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) April 11, 2019
* * *
Update (7:20 am ET): Assange's lawyer has just confirmed that he was arrested not solely on charges stemming from skipping bail in the UK, but "on behalf of the United States authorities", in connection with an extradition request from the US.
The US warrant was delivered in December 2017, showing that the US prosecutors were behind his arrest.
* * *
Press reports suggested that Assange was arrested at around 10 am London Time (5 am New York) in what appeared to be a "planned operation." Though his first battle will be with the British legal system over charges of skipping bail when he sought asylum in 2012, analysts expect that he will eventually face extradition to the US, after a sealed indictment against him were accidentally revealed last year. Wikileaks accused Ecuador of illegally terminating Assange's asylum, adding that the Ecuadorian ambassador invited police inside the embassy to take Assange into custody.
URGENT: Ecuador has illigally terminated Assange political asylum in violation of international law. He was arrested by the British police inside the Ecuadorian embassy minutes ago.https://t.co/6Ukjh2rMKD— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 11, 2019
In a tweet published moments ago, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said that Assange's "discourteous and aggressive" behavior, as well as "hostile" acts committed by Wikileaks, pushed Ecuador to revoke his asylum. Moreno cited Wikileaks' publication of sensitive Vatican documents earlier this year as the straw that finally broke the camel's back. Members of the organization purportedly visited Assange in the embassy after the leak, apparently substantiating suspicions that Assange was still in charge of the organization.
Furthermore, Moreno declared his asylum "unsustainable and no longer viable" because Assange had repeatedly violated "clear cut provisions of the conventions of on diplomatic asylum."
In a sovereign decision Ecuador withdrew the asylum status to Julian Assange after his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols. #EcuadorSoberano pic.twitter.com/pZsDsYNI0B— Lenín Moreno (@Lenin) April 11, 2019
Following reports last week that the termination of Assange's asylum was imminent, a UN envoy on torture warned Ecuador that revoking Assange's protection would be a violation, since he could face "torture" and mistreatment should he be extradited to the US. Assange's relationship with his host had become increasingly strained over the past year. Last year, Ecuador briefly revoked some of Assange's "privileges", including access to the Internet, over his 'poor hygiene habits', the #INAPapers about offshore money laundering, implicating the Ecuadorian president in a corruption scandal.
Edward Snowden reminded journalists of the UN's finding in a tweet following Assange's arrest.
Important background for journalists covering the arrest of Julian #Assange by Ecuador: the United Nations formally ruled his detention to be arbitrary, a violation of human rights. They have repeatedly issued statements calling for him to walk free--including very recently. pic.twitter.com/fr12rYdWUF— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) April 11, 2019
The expulsion comes just a day after Wikileaks held a press conference accusing Ecuador of carrying out an "extensive spying operation" on Assange and handing intel over to the British and American authorities.
During the press conference, Fidel Narvaez, the former Consul of Ecuador to London, warned that "the Ecuadorian embassy is not protecting Assange any more...It is doing everything possible to end the asylum."
RT published video of a bearded, disheveled-looking Assange shouting at police as he was dragged out of the embassy and loaded into a van.
According to Wikileaks, Assange is saying "the UK must resist this attempt by the Trump administration..." though his words are hard to make out. Footage of Assange's arrest shows him holding a peculiar magazine that some suggested might have been an attempt to send his supporters a message.
What’s this book or magazine that Assange is holding? pic.twitter.com/lHDfw4PiNI— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) April 11, 2019
Whatever Assange's intentions might have been, others pointed out that the Wikileaks founder and former hacker was looking seriously vitamin D deficient...his time inside the embassy, where he was largely cut off from sunlight, have clearly taken a toll on him, as this photo from 2012, taken shortly after he arrived, clearly shows.
Journalist Cassandra Fairbanks, who had been in London to protest revocation of the asylum, tweeted what appears to be a first-hand account of the arrest.
They just dragged him out of the embassy. Cucked piece of shit @lenin just let the UK GOVERNMENT GO INSIDE THE EMBASSY TO ARREST A MAN WITH ASYLUM.— Cassandra Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) April 11, 2019
FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU
She also pointed out that Moreno will visit Washington DC in five days.
ECUADORIAN PRESIDENT @LENIN WILL BE IN DC IN FIVE DAYS. I AWAIT YOUR VISIT YOU FUCKING MONSTER— Cassandra Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) April 11, 2019
As mainstream journalists scoffed at claims that UK 'secret police' had planned the operation to arrest Assange, Fairbanks reupped a video she filmed days ago where she identified a man she believed to be an undercover officer keeping tabs on the #ProtectAssange demonstration that was happening outside the embassy...he was also one of the men filmed arresting Assange.
This is one of the guys who was arresting Julian. So many people tried to tell me I was crazy and that they weren’t cops. https://t.co/xBpTgap6Zw— Cassandra Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) April 11, 2019
Scotland Yard has confirmed that Assange is in custody.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid thanked Ecuador for its cooperation, suggesting that pressure from the British government was also a factor in Ecuador's decision to revoke asylum.
Nearly 7yrs after entering the Ecuadorean Embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK. I would like to thank Ecuador for its cooperation & @metpoliceuk for its professionalism. No one is above the law— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) April 11, 2019
While Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt thanked Ecuador and said Assange was "no hero" and that "no one is above the law."
Julian Assange is no hero and no one is above the law. He has hidden from the truth for years. Thank you Ecuador and President @Lenin Moreno for your cooperation with @foreignoffice to ensure Assange faces justice— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) April 11, 2019
Foreign office minister Alan Duncan has issued a statement, calling the arrest "absolutely right" and adding that the UK courts will "deicde what happens next."
"It is absolutely right that Assange will face justice in the proper way in the UK. It is for the courts to decide what happens next. We are very grateful to the government of Ecuador under President Moreno for the action they have taken."
"Today’s events follow extensive dialogue between our two countries. I look forward to a strong bilateral relationship between the UK and Ecuador in the years ahead."
A spokeswoman for Russia's foreign ministry denounced the arrest as 'the hand of democracy squeezing the throat of freedom'.
With Assange facing a complicated, Continent-spanning legal fight, Wikileaks is soliciting donations for its 'defense fund' on Twitter.
URGENT: Julian Assange has been arrested by UK police.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 11, 2019
They also accused the CIA of orchestrating his arrest.
This man is a son, a father, a brother. He has won dozens of journalism awards. He's been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year since 2010. Powerful actors, including CIA, are engaged in a sophisticated effort to dehumanise, delegitimize and imprison him. #ProtectJulian pic.twitter.com/dVBf1EcMa5— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 11, 2019
Assange's arrest marks the end of an era, and the ignominious close of a nearly decade-long struggle. Much has yet to be determined, including this.
Who will look after #Assange’s cat? 😳— Testiculi ad Brexitam! (@testiculi) April 11, 2019
Amid the chaos...a new hashtag has been born #FreeAssange.