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Weekend Review: Assange Arrested in London

Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being taken into custody by British police

Posted: April 14, 2019 at 11:53 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

WikiLeaks founder and journalist Julian Assange was arrested after living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years in order to avoid extradition to the U.S.

WikiLeaks claimed in a tweet that British police were welcomed into the Ecuadorian Embassy — where Assange had political asylum — and he was immediately arrested. The organization claimed this was an illegal termination of Assange’s asylum.

The Justice Department announced on Thursday that Assange will be charged with conspiracy to commit computer hacking related to a password which was being sought by former Army intelligence officer, Chelsea Manning. Prosecutors allege Assange helped Manning crack the password which allowed a trove of classified files to be shared through WikiLeaks.

The Swedish government issued an international arrest warrant for Assange in November of 2010 when he was accused of sexual assault and rape by two women. He denied the allegations and fled, then the investigation was eventually dropped.

Assange’s attorney and other supporters argue that a dangerous precedent is being set against journalists by his arrest.

The U.S. is reportedly making plans to seek Assange’s extradition. His attorney claimed that “since 2010 we’ve warned that Julian Assange would face extradition to the U.S. for his publishing activities with WikiLeaks” and “today we’ve been proven right.”

She added that Assange’s message to listeners was simple: “I told you so.”

Netanyhu re-elected, future of a Palestinian state in jeopardy

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected for a record fifth term and is expected to continue sowing dangerous divisions between Israel and Palestine.

Netanyahu’s declaration prior to the election that he would annex settlements on the West Bank left many concerned for the possibility of a two-state solution for peace — something the prime minister previously promised to work against.

The territories in question were captured in 1967 and have been occupied by Israel ever since. Many argue this occupation is banned by the Geneva Convention, which disallows settlements on a land that was occupied during war.

An Israeli human rights organization opposed to the occupation reported that “Palestinian West Bank residents have been living under rigid military rule that primarily serves the interests of the state of Israel and Israeli settlers” for 50 years.

Recent comments by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have suggested that Trump is planning to change longstanding U.S. policy in Netanyahu’s favor.

Palestinian politician and leader Hanan Ashrawi accused Netanyahu and Trump of scheming against Palestine. “This cynical alliance against Palestinian rights and the standing of the rules-based international order remains unchallenged by the rest of the international community, thereby reinforcing the rightist and populist agendas,” she said.

New Brexit deadline negotiated

After a six-hour summit in Brussels, an extension for a Brexit deadline was offered to British Prime Minister Theresa May.

May now has until October 31 to persuade lawmakers to support a deal. If the extension had not been granted, Brexit would have moved forward as scheduled on Friday.

The announcement came Thursday morning after the summit, which May was barred from attending.

Though May previously claimed she would not accept an extension that went beyond June 30 due to European elections, but she had little choice but to accept this option.

Trump tweeted 9/11 video to attack U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar

U.S. Rep Ilhan Omar 
Photo credit: Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times
U.S. Rep Ilhan Omar
Photo credit: Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times

President Trump tweeted a video with images from the 9/11 terrorist attacks to besmudge Rep. Ilhan Omar on Friday.

The video, captioned “WE WILL NEVER FORGET”, uses a reference Omar recently made about the attacks and footage of the collapsing Twin Towers in New York.

Omar’s remark was regarding the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Muslims being treated poorly due to a negative perception following the event. Omar said, “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”

The words “some people did something” were singled out and highlighted in the video and have brought forth more excessive criticism for the Muslim congresswoman.

Trump’s tweet came a day after The New York Post used an image of the fiery Twin Towers in similar criticism against Omar.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denounced the video as an “outright, dangerous targeting of a member of Congress” and called on other members to speak out against it.

Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have both announced support for Omar. Warren accused the president through tweet of “inciting violence against a sitting Congresswoman” while Sanders tweeted, “Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She won’t back down to Trump’s racism and hate, and neither will we.”

Ohio “heartbeat bill” bans abortion at detection of fetal heartbeat

On Thursday, Ohio became the most recent U.S. state to institute a “heartbeat bill” to criminalize abortion after detection of a fetal heartbeat. In essence, this bill outlaws abortion after approximately six weeks when many women are unaware of pregnancy.

Though the Ohio law does include an exception for the life of the mother, it does not except cases of pregnancy caused by rape or incest.

Several other states — such as Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Georgia — are currently in various stages of consideration for similar bills.

Some observers believe that the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh created a charge to get state laws seen by the Supreme Court. Just this year, 41 states have filed over 250 bills to restrict abortions.

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