Months of speculation came to a close Thursday when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British authorities after being expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, ahead of his planned extradition to the United States.
The UK Home Office said in a statement that the Australian hacktivist is accused of “computer related offences.”
Footage of the moment Assange was hauled out of the embassy after spending nearly seven years there was posted to Twitter by the Ruptly video news agency.
In the footage, Assange can be heard yelling, “The UK must resist!” He held a book that Jon Levine of the Wrap identified as Gore Vidal’s History of the National Security State.
Here it is:
Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno posted a video on Twitter explaining that the decision to expel Assange from his country’s embassy was made because Assange allegedly “violated repeatedly clearcut provisions of the conventions on diplomatic asylum of Havana and Caracas ... he particularly violated the norm of not intervening in the internal affairs of other states.”
Ecuador decidió soberanamente retirar el asilo diplomático a Julian Assange por violar reiteradamente convenciones internacionales y protocolo de convivencia. #EcuadorSoberano pic.twitter.com/V02pvvtPY0— Lenín Moreno (@Lenin) April 11, 2019
In a statement released following Assange’s arrest, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced that Assange is being extradited to face prosecution for “a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified US government computer.” More from the statement:
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.
The charges against Assange do not relate to WikiLeaks’ publication of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election cycle — hacks that US investigators have traced back to Russian agents.