Assange Accused Of Hacking In Wikileaks Extradition Hearing

Feelings against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange have polarised in recent days as his extradition hearing starts in London.

Admire him or loathe him, there seems to be no middle ground.

Assange gave himself up to police after the Ecuador embassy in London withdrew from acting as his sanctuary from arrest for breaching bail.

After seven years of hiding, he emerged to the world and was immediately arrested and found guilty of breaking his bail conditions even though the alleged sexual assault case he faced in Sweden was dropped.

Now, 47-year-old Assange is serving 50 weeks in prison and faces extradition to the USA for leaking thousands of classified documents online through his Wikileaks web site.

Video link to hearing

He faced the extradition proceedings on a video link and made clear he did not consent to travel to the US.

Assange fears he will face a prison sentence that could amount to life for exposing secret State Department and Pentagon communications from the Iraq and Afghan wars.

The court in London has heard that he actively encouraged whistle-blower Chelsea Manning to steal documents from government servers by trying to hack passwords designed to keep them safe.

Representing the US government, Ben Brandon told Westminster magistrates: “The charge relates to one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.

“Evidence obtained in the course of the investigation shows Ms Manning and Mr Assange unlawfully conspired to effectuate this disclosure.

Chatroom log describes real-time hack

“The investigation obtained details of a chatroom communication between Ms Manning and Mr Assange, recovered from Ms Manning’s computer, which demonstrates that Mr Assange agreed to assist Chelsea Manning in cracking a password stored in a manner designed to protect it on a US department computer.

“The same computer was used by Ms Manning to illegally download records to pass to Wikileaks the chatlog showed Manning and Assange engaging in real-time discussions regarding Chelsea Manning’s transmission of the classified records to Mr Assange.

“The communication also reflected the two collaborating on the public release of the information and Mr Assange actively trying to crack the password, encouraging Ms Manning to provide more information.

“The communication reflected Chelsea Manning actively taking steps to try to conceal herself as the source of the leak.”