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Julian Assange reaches plea deal with U.S. Government

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, has entered a plea deal with the U.S. government, agreeing to plead guilty to conspiring to obtain and disclose national defense information. He faces a 62-month sentence, already served in the UK, and is expected to return to Australia following court proceedings this week.



Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has entered into a plea deal with the U.S. government, concluding a protracted international saga over his handling of national security secrets.

According to newly filed court papers, Assange will plead guilty this week to a single count of conspiring to obtain and disclose information related to national defence in a U.S. federal court in Saipan, a U.S. commonwealth in the Pacific.

Under the terms of the agreement, Assange will face a sentence of 62 months, a duration he has already served at Belmarsh Prison in the United Kingdom while contesting his extradition to the United States.

He is expected to be released and to return to his home country of Australia following the court proceedings.

A video of him boarding a plane after being released from prison on Monday was shared by Wikileaks.

Australian leaders have been lobbying the Biden administration to drop the criminal case against Assange for years. In April, President Biden acknowledged at a news conference that American authorities had been “considering” such a move.

Assange’s legal troubles began in 2019 when a federal grand jury in Virginia indicted him on espionage and computer misuse charges, describing it as one of the largest compromises of classified information in American history.

The indictment accused Assange of conspiring with then-military Private Chelsea Manning to obtain and publish secret reports about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and sensitive U.S. diplomatic cables.

Prosecutors alleged that Assange published these materials on WikiLeaks without properly redacting sensitive information, thereby endangering informants and others.

“No responsible actor, journalist or otherwise, would purposefully publish the names of individuals he or she knew to be confidential human sources in a war zone, exposing them to the gravest of dangers,” said former Assistant Attorney General John Demers at the time of the indictment.

Chelsea Manning was arrested in 2010 and served seven years in prison before President Barack Obama commuted her sentence.

Assange’s case has drawn support from human rights and journalism groups, including Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists, who fear that the Espionage Act case against Assange could set a precedent for charging journalists with national security crimes.

Assange’s interactions with the justice system have been complex and drawn out.

After Swedish officials accused him of sexual assault, Assange spent seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, an arrangement that frustrated both him and his hosts.

The Swedish authorities eventually dropped the accusations, but Assange was then taken into custody in the U.K. for allegedly violating bail conditions.

Subsequently, the American government sought his extradition, a process that dragged on through the courts for years. The plea deal effectively ends further legal proceedings over the extradition that had been set for early July.

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SHAME on Australia for doing pretty much NOTHING. Instead, they joined AUKUS. As for the UK, beyond words to describe their role in this and other geopolitical upheavals today.

Another reflection on how governments abuse their powers to cover themselves up.

It is time for him to go home. He has suffered much because of his revelations.