Julian Assange

FREEDOM: Julian Assange Cuts Plea Deal With DOJ

Wikileaks founder and political prisoner Julian Assange has struck a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice to plead guilty to conspiring to obtain and disclose national defense information. In exchange, he will be sent back to Australia after spending five years in British prison.

He will be a free man.

According to NBC News:

Assange was charged by criminal information — which typically signifies a plea deal — with conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information, the court documents say. A letter from Justice Department official Matthew McKenzie to U.S. District Judge Ramona Manglona of the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands said that Assange would appear in court at 9 a.m. local time on Wednesday (or, 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday) to plead guilty and said that DOJ expects Assange will return to Australia, his country of citizenship, after the proceedings.

U.S. charges against Assange stem from one of the largest publications of classified information in American history, which took place during the first term of Barack Obama’s presidency. Starting in late 2009, according to the government, Assange conspired with Chelsea Manning, a military intelligence analyst, to disclose tens of thousands of activity reports about the war in Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of reports about the war in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of State Department cables and assessment briefs of Guantanamo Bay detainees using his WikiLeaks website.

Court documents revealing Assange’s plea deal were filed Monday evening in the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean. Assange was expected to make an appearance in that court and to be sentenced to 62 months, with credit for time served in British prison, meaning he would be free to return to Australia, where he was born.

Assange has been held in the high-security Belmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London for five years and previously spent seven years in self-exile at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London — where he reportedly fathered two children — until his asylum was withdrawn and he was forcibly carried out of the embassy and arrested in April 2019. A superseding indictment was returned against Assange more than five years ago, in May 2019, and a second superseding indictment was returned in June 2020.

This has been a long battle for Assange and his supporters. He has tenaciously fought extradition with fears that if he were ever to be jailed in America, the Deep State would torture and possibly kill him.

Support for Assange has grown over the years with more information about military and intelligence operations conducted by the United States and other western nations coming to light. He is a journalist but has not been able to enjoy the rights and privileges as such after embarrassing powerful government entities.

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