Wikileaks said Julian Assange scrubbed all his computers before getting arrested, and claimed the US could plant false evidence on them

  • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange scrubbed his computers before he was arrested after spending seven years in London’s Ecuadorian embassy, the organization said.
  • Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson told The Associated Press that because Assange cleared the computers, any information found on them will be put there by the US or Ecuadorian authorities.
  • “If anything surfaces, I can assure you it would’ve been planted,” he said.
  • Ecuadorian authorities took an inventory of what Assange left at the embassy and said they were doing so at the request of the US, which is seeking to extradite him on hacking charges.
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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange cleared his computers before he was arrested at London’s Ecuadorian embassy, the organization said as it pre-emptively said that the US may plant false evidence on him.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, told The Associated Press in an interview that Assange scrubbed his computers and hard drives of all data, including information about Wikileaks’ future plans, as he predicted that he would be evicted and arrested after spending seven years in the embassy.

Ecuadorian officials catalogued what Assange left at the embassy in an operation on Monday, and said that they were acting at the request of US prosecutors, the AP reported.

Assange is currently serving 50 weeks in British prison for breaching bail conditions, and the US is trying to extradite him on claims of computer hacking.

Hrafnsson said that Assange would be able to successfully remove any information that he wanted from the computers, and that damning information found would be information planted by the US or Ecuador.

“If anything surfaces, I can assure you it would’ve been planted,” Hrafnsson said. “Julian isn’t a novice when it comes to security and securing his information. We expected this to happen and protections have been in place for a very long time.”

Read more: Sweden has reopened its rape investigation into Julian Assange, as the US tries to extradite him over hacking

Wikileaks had repeatedly claimed that Assange was about to be expelled from the embassy in the days before Ecuador revoked his asylum and he was arrested by UK police in April, though Ecuador had denied the claims.

Hrafnsson said that the operation on Monday was a “horse show” as the items could have been tampered with. He told the AP that the operation was “disgraceful,” and accused Ecuador of violating asylum rules.

A police van outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police on April 11, 2019.

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A police van outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by British police on April 11, 2019.
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Peter Nicholls/Reuters

“Ecuador granted him asylum because of the threat of extradition to the U.S. and now the same country, under new leadership, is actively collaborating with a criminal investigation against him.”

Hrafnsson said that Assange predicted that his arrest was imminent as Ecuador’s current president, Lenin Moreno, had exhibited less support for Assange than his predecessor, Rafael Correa, who had granted Assange asylum.

He accused Moreno of following the US in light of its financial assistance to Ecuador.

“The Americans are the ones pulling the strings, and Moreno their puppet dancing to the tune of money.”

Sweden has also re-opened its investigation into rape claims against Assange first made in 2010, which means British authorities may have to decide whether to prioritise the US or Swedish claims first.