Ecuador ‘tried for a year to get rid of “big nuisance” Julian Assange’

Ecuador tried for a year to get rid of Julian Assange and got the US to take the death penalty off the table as part of a deal, according to fresh reports.  

The WikiLeaks founder cost the South American country millions during his seven-year stay at their London embassy. 

Now ABC News  has reported that diplomats began to broker a deal to move Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy more than a year ago. 

A senior U.S. official told the network: ‘They were over him, he was a big nuisance. They were saying “This is too much. How do we get him out?”‘ 

They say Ecuadorians wrote to the U.K in March last year for assurances he would not be extradited to a country where he could face the death penalty.  

Six months later the country’s ambassador to Germany, Manuel Mejia Dalmau, is said to have met with the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell.  

Dalmau is reported to have directly asked the US to take the death penalty off the table and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein agreed, a senior U.S. official says.

Ecuador tried for a year to get rid of Julian Assange and got the US to take the death penalty off the table as part of a deal, reports say

Ecuador tried for a year to get rid of Julian Assange and got the US to take the death penalty off the table as part of a deal, reports say

Ecuador tried for a year to get rid of Julian Assange and got the US to take the death penalty off the table as part of a deal, reports say 

The President of Ecuador Lenín Moreno, pictured, claims he violated the terms of his asylum in his country's embassy by using it as a 'centre for spying'

The President of Ecuador Lenín Moreno, pictured, claims he violated the terms of his asylum in his country's embassy by using it as a 'centre for spying'

The country’s ambassador to Germany, Manuel Mejia Dalmau, pictured, is reported to have directly asked the US to take the death penalty off the table

The country’s ambassador to Germany, Manuel Mejia Dalmau, pictured, is reported to have directly asked the US to take the death penalty off the table

The President of Ecuador Lenín Moreno, left, claims Assange violated the terms of his asylum in his country’s embassy by using it as a ‘centre for spying’. The country’s ambassador to Germany, Manuel Mejia Dalmau, right, is reported to have directly asked the US to take the death penalty off the table

British police arrested Assange at Washington’s request after Ecuador revoked his seven-year asylum on Thursday. 

He took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in June 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where authorities wanted to question him as part of a preliminary sexual assault investigation.

He was dragged out of the embassy in London and is being held in prison while he faces extradition to the United States. His seven-year stay at the embassy in London is said to have cost the South American country up to $10 million. 

The State Department would not comment on the reported verbal agreement between the U.S. and Ecuador, ABC reports. The U.S. Justice Department would also not confirm any deals but did say the charge against Assange does not represent a crime punishable by the death penalty.     

His arrest came after the Ecuadorian government ended his asylum status, saying it was tired of his ‘discourteous’ behaviour and poor personal hygiene, which reportedly included smearing faeces on the walls of the country’s London embassy.

Security footage that has come to light over the weekend has show Assange skateboarding through the embassy.

Unable to exercise outside, Assange reportedly caused mayhem with his skateboard, left dirty dishes out and blasted loud music.   

The President of Ecuador also claims he violated the terms of his asylum in his country’s embassy by using it as a ‘centre for spying’.

Lenín Moreno told the Guardian that the decision to end Assange’s asylum suddenly last week was based on the WikiLeaks founder allegedly ‘breaking international law’.

The country’s Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo said: ‘During his stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy, during the government of the former president Rafael Correa, they tolerated things like Mr Assange putting faeces on the walls of the embassy and other types of behaviour of this kind that is far removed from the minimum respect a guest should have in a country which has generously welcomed him.’ 

Ecuadorean Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo says Assange 'put faeces on embassy walls'

Ecuadorean Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo says Assange 'put faeces on embassy walls'

Ecuadorean Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo says Assange ‘put faeces on embassy walls’

Just hours after Assange’s arrest, U.S. prosecutors announced charges against him for conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, pictured, to gain access to a government computer

Just hours after Assange’s arrest, U.S. prosecutors announced charges against him for conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, pictured, to gain access to a government computer

Just hours after Assange’s arrest, U.S. prosecutors announced charges against him for conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, pictured, to gain access to a government computer 

It comes amid reports Assange and former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning had reason to believe that leaking U.S. military reports ‘would cause injury’ to the country, federal prosecutors alleged in a newly unsealed court filing on Monday.

In the affidavit submitted to federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, prosecutors said U.S. military reports from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq included information about the ‘identity and significance of local supporters of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan.’

When U.S. forces raided the compound in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was hiding out, for example, they found a letter that showed the Al Qaeda leader was interested in copies of Pentagon documents published on WikiLeaks, the prosecutors said. 

According to prosecutors, leaked reports on the Afghan war included information on militants’ improvised explosive device designs and attacks, including details of U.S. and coalition countermeasures against such home-made explosive devices and their limitations.

The prosecution’s affidavit is dated Dec. 21, 2017, but was made public on Monday. 

It follows the unsealing last week of a U.S. indictment charging Assange with conspiring with Manning to gain access to a government computer as part of one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history.

Lawyers for Assange could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday. 

They have previously said Assange may be at risk for torture and his life would be in danger if he were to be extradited to the United States to face charges.

Assange’s father John Shipton has urged the Australian government to intervene and bring him back to his home country. 

Assange is charged with conspiring to gain access to a government computer in one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history

Assange is charged with conspiring to gain access to a government computer in one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history

Assange is charged with conspiring to gain access to a government computer in one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history

Assange was thrown out of his Ecuador embassy bolthole in London where he had been given refuge since 2012

Assange was thrown out of his Ecuador embassy bolthole in London where he had been given refuge since 2012

Assange was thrown out of his Ecuador embassy bolthole in London where he had been given refuge since 2012

The U.S. indictment, originally issued in secret by an Alexandria, Virginia-based grand jury in March 2018, said Assange in March 2010 engaged in a conspiracy to help Manning crack a password for a classified U.S. government network.

In the unsealed affidavit, prosecutors said Manning also had access to other U.S. government databases, including one relating to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and a State Department database containing military cables.

Julian Assange arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Thursday

Julian Assange arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Thursday

Julian Assange arrives at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Thursday

The United States wants Assange for one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history.   

Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, was jailed on March 8 after being held in contempt by a judge in Virginia for refusing to testify before a grand jury in what is widely believed to be related to the Assange investigation. 

She was convicted by court-martial in 2013 of espionage and other offences for furnishing more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts to WikiLeaks while an intelligence analyst in Iraq. 

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Former President Barack Obama commuted the final 28 years of Manning’s 35-year sentence.

Assange hauled before Westminster Magistrate’s on Thursday where he was found guilty of failing to surrender to the court. 

He could face up to 12 months in a UK prison when he is sentenced at Southwark Crown Court, but is wanted in the US for the hacking charges and in Sweden for sexual assault offences.

But he is set to challenge any extradition attempts in the Supreme Court with an army of top-shot barristers.   

Julian Assange was captured skateboarding through the Ecuadorian embassy wearing in shorts in security footage

Julian Assange was captured skateboarding through the Ecuadorian embassy wearing in shorts in security footage

Julian Assange was captured skateboarding through the Ecuadorian embassy wearing in shorts in security footage

He ignored repeated warnings not to leave half-eaten meals and unwashed dishes in the kitchen

He ignored repeated warnings not to leave half-eaten meals and unwashed dishes in the kitchen

He ignored repeated warnings not to leave half-eaten meals and unwashed dishes in the kitchen

Julian Assange’s fight for freedom: A timeline of the WikiLeaks founder’s decade in the limelight

2006

Assange creates Wikileaks with a group of like-minded activists and IT experts to provide a secure way for whistleblowers to leak information. He quickly becomes its figurehead and a lightning rod for criticism.

2010

March: U.S. authorities allege Assange engaged in a conspiracy to hack a classified U.S. government computer with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. 

July: Wikileaks starts releasing tens of thousands of top secrets documents, including a video of U.S. helicopter pilots gunning down 12 civilians in Baghdad in 2007.  What followed was the release of more than 90,000 classified US military files from the Afghan war and 400,000 from Iraq that included the names of informants. 

August: Two Swedish women claim that they each had consensual sex with Assange in separate instances when he was on a 10-day trip to Stockholm. They allege the sex became non-consensual when Assange refused to wear a condom.

First woman claims Assange was staying at her apartment in Stockholm when he ripped off her clothes. She told police that when she realized Assange was trying to have unprotected sex with her, she demanded he use a condom. She claims he ripped the condom before having sex.

Second Swedish woman claims she had sex with Assange at her apartment in Stockholm and she made him wear a condom. She alleges that she later woke up to find Assange having unprotected sex with her.

He was questioned by police in Stockholm and denied the allegations. Assange was granted permission by Swedish authorities to fly back to the U.K.  

November: A Swedish court ruled that the investigation should be reopened and Assange should be detained for questioning on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. An international arrest warrant is issued by Swedish police through Interpol.

Wikileaks releases its cache of more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables.  

December: Assange presents himself to London police and appears at an extradition hearing where he is remanded in custody. Assange is granted conditional bail at the High Court in London after his supporters pay £240,000 in cash and sureties.

2011

February: A British judge rules Assange should be extradited to Sweden but Wikileaks found vows to fight the decision.

April:  A cache of classified U.S. military documents is released by Wikileaks, including intelligence assessments on nearly all of the 779 people who are detained at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

November: Assange loses High Court appeal against the decision to extradite him.

2012

June: Assange enters the Ecuadorian embassy in London requesting political asylum. 

August: Assange is granted political asylum by Ecuador.

2013

June: Assange tells a group of journalists he will not leave the embassy even if sex charges against him are dropped out of fear he will be extradited to the U.S.

2015

August: Swedish prosecutors drop investigation into some of the sex allegations against Assange due to time restrictions. The investigation into suspected rape remains active.

2016

July: Wikileaks begins leaking emails U.S. Democratic Party officials favoring Hillary Clinton.

November: Assange is questioned over the sex allegation at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the presence of Sweden’s assistant prosecutor Ingrid Isgren and police inspector Cecilia Redell. The interview spans two days. 

2017

January: Barack Obama agrees to free whistleblower Chelsea Manning from prison. Her pending release prompts speculation Assange will end his self-imposed exile after Wikileaks tweeted he would agree to U.S. extradition.

April: Lenin Moreno becomes the new president of Ecuador who was known to want to improve diplomatic relations between his country and the U.S. 

May: An investigation into a sex allegation against Assange is suddenly dropped by Swedish prosecutors. 

2018

January: Ecuador confirms it has granted citizenship to Assange following his request. 

February: Assange is visited by Pamela Anderson and Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel.

March: The Ecuadorian Embassy suspends Assange’s internet access because he wasn’t complying with a promise he made the previous year to ‘not send messages which entailed interference in relation to other states’.

August: U.S. Senate committee asks to interview Assange as part of their investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

September: Assange steps down as editor of WikiLeaks.

October: Assange reveals he will launch legal action against the government of Ecuador, accusing it of violating his ‘fundamental rights and freedoms’.

November: U.S. Justice Department inadvertently names Assange in a court document that says he has been charged in secret. 

2019

January: Assange’s lawyers say they are taking action to make President Trump’s administration reveal charges ‘secretly filed’ against him.

April 6: WikiLeaks tweets that a high level Ecuadorian source has told them Assange will be expelled from the embassy within ‘hours or days’. But a senior Ecuadorian official says no decision has been made to remove him from the London building.

April 11: Assange has his diplomatic asylum revoked by Ecuador.

 

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