US: CIA reportedly plotted to kidnap and assassinate Julian Assange

CIA officials under the Trump administration plotted to kidnap and assassinate journalist and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange when he was hiding at Ecuador’s embassy in London, a new report has revealed. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said the plans, if true, would mean no journalist or source would be safe and represented a grave threat to media freedom.

Mexican activists hold banners that read "Revolutionary of journalism and hero of the truth" and "Freedom for Julian Assange". Credits: PEDRO PARDO / AFP

A report published by Yahoo News citing over 30 former US officials revealed that the CIA allegedly planned to assassinate Julian Assange as they feared he was planning to escape to Russia from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he took refuge for seven years.

According to the officials quoted, the CIA plans included a “potential gunfight with Kremlin operatives in the streets of London, crashing a car into Assange’s getaway vehicle or shooting the tyres of his plane to prevent it from taking off”, the investigators said.

“It was going to be like a prison break movie”, a former senior administration official said to investigators.

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks and an IFJ press card holder, is currently jailed in Belmarsh prison in the UK while he fights his extradition to the United States to face charges over the hacking and publication of thousands of classified cables, notably documents on the US crimes committed during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, a decade ago. If convicted, he would face 175 years in prison.

The IFJ has repeatedly called for charges against Assange to be dropped, the extradition procedure to be stopped and for his immediate release.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “If these accusations are true, it would cast a long shadow over all independent journalism and they would once again prove that extraditing Assange to the United States would put his life at serious risk. We are calling for a full investigation and for the British authorities to release him immediately”.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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