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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London

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Update: Assange denied bail, remanded to British custody

Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange was arrested Tuesday morning by London Metropolitan police on a warrant out of Sweden.

The Guardian reports on a statement from Metropolitan police that “Assange, 39, was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant by appointment at a London police station at 9.30 a.m.

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He is accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, all alleged to have been committed in August 2010.”

One of the charges, which appears to be new, is that he had sex with a woman while she was sleeping.

Assange was denied bail and remanded into British custody until at least Dec. 14, according to reports from the scene.

Assange’s attorney says they plan to fight extradition to Sweden. A full extradition hearing is expected sometime in the next 21 days. If he is successfully taken to Sweden, the Guardian noted, he could also be legally vulnerable to extradition requests from other countries as well.

Assange has reportedly recorded a video statement, set to be published online later Tuesday.

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A protest group, calling itself “Justice for Assange,” has already said it plans to gather outside the London police station on Tuesday afternoon to stage a “silent” protest. It is distributing a digital copy of a Julian Assange placard, asking participants to wear them over their faces.

Asked by reporters for his reaction to the arrest, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, “that sounds like good news to me.”

More on this story as it develops… An earlier report follows…

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The man behind the WikiLeaks website is expected to be arrested Tuesday on an Interpol warrant stemming from allegations of sexual assault in Sweden.

According to the Guardian and the Telegraph, Julian Assange arranged to meet with British authorities after paperwork clearing his arrest was filed with Scotland Yard. He is expected to face a court hearing.

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His lawyer has promised to fight extradition, claiming Assange could end up in US custody. The WikiLeaks chief has denied all wrongdoing.

Word of the arrangement came hours after Swiss bank PostFinance announced that it had frozen an account with €31,000 set aside for Assange’s legal defense.

James D. Catlin, a lawyer in Melbourne, Australia, wrote recently that Sweden’s justice system is destined to become “the laughingstock of the world” for investigating “rape” charges after two women complained that Assange had had sex with them without using a condom.

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His principle accuser, Anna Ardin, was recently revealed to have ties with a Cuban anti-Castro group that receives money from the US Central Intelligence Agency. Assange himself had suggested that the allegation could be part of a smear campaign by the US Defense Department.

Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny has maintained that the investigation was not in any way politically motivated.

Assange has threatened to release a cache of devastating information if he is harmed.

US Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that his Justice Department was investigating whether it could prosecute Assange and WikiLeaks for publishing volumes of secret information stolen by one or more government employees.

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A lone soldier, Pvt. Bradley Manning, stands accused of delivering leaks from Iraq, Afghanistan and the US State Department to the site. Authorities have not yet determined whether he worked alone or had help.

With additional reporting by Daniel Tencer


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Israel heads for third election in a year as deadline to form government expires

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Israel is heading for an unprecedented third election within a year after a deadline to create a coalition government ran out at midnight local time on Wednesday and parliament was dissolved.

The prospect of a new election prolongs a political stalemate that has paralysed the government and undermined many citizens' faith in the democratic process.

Initial elections in April were inconclusive and a September re-run of the vote left Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief challenger Benny Gantz short of securing the required parliamentary majority to form a government.

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‘Flashback much?’: Senator mocked for saying IG report made him feel like he had ‘dropped acid’

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“About 25 percent of the way through it I thought I dropped acid. It’s surreal.”

A prominent Republican Senator is getting his own special due process on social media after using his precious time to question U.S. Dept. of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz by saying reading the 434 page report on the FBI's Russia investigation was like dropping acid.

U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) admitted to Horowitz on Wednesday that he had not finished reading the lengthy document but was about 70 percent done. He also appeared to be trying to make the infractions about FISA warrants committed by FBI agents to be seen as unprecedented and historically offensive, in an attempt to serve President Donald Trump by damaging the reputation of the FBI.

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Republicans are leaning towards a short impeachment trial in the Senate with no witnesses: report

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According to an exclusive report from Bloomberg, Senate Republicans are saying there's a growing "early consensus" that a short impeachment trial that could see the GOP-led chamber "vote on a likely acquittal of President Donald Trump without hearing from any witnesses" is the way to go.

"Senator Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, said a growing number of the Senate’s 53 GOP members want to simply let House Democrats make their case to impeach the president and then hear a rebuttal from Trump’s team before moving immediately to a vote on the articles of impeachment," Bloomberg's Laura Litvan and Steven T. Dennis report.

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