Rendition Plane, Increased Police Presence Raise Fears for Assange

A mysterious flight of a U.S. rendition plane to London and increase of plainclothes British police outside the Ecuador embassy has heightened concern for the WikiLeaks founder, as Elizabeth Vos reports.

By Elizabeth Vos

In four days, it will be a full year since WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange was severed from contact with the outside world by the government of Ecuador. 

Concern for Assange was heightened as the anniversary approaches after a U.S. Department of Justice jet previously used for the rendition of an accused Russian hacker landed in London on Tuesday and remained there for days, only to return to the U.S. on Saturday. The flight reportedly departed from Manassas, Virginia. 

WikiLeaks stated via Twitter regarding the flight: “Note that the Edward Snowden DoJ grab team plane N977GA also departed from Manassas, Virginia.” 

WikiLeaks tweeted regarding the flight: “What is US Department of Justice jet ‘N996GA’ doing in London? The jet arrived on Tuesday from DC and was last noted rendering alleged Russian hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin to the US last year from the Czech Republic, causing a diplomatic incident with Russia.” 

Assange’s Twitter account, run by members of his legal team, also tweeted: “Note that the Edward Snowden DoJ grab team plane N977GA also departed from Manassas, Virginia.”

In response to the news, Christine Assange said on social media: “This is of urgent and real concern! Under cover of the 24/7 media frenzy on the NZ Mosque shootings. Is the US planning to snatch my son Julian from the London Ecuador Embassy they have been trying to force him from, for a CIA rendition flight?” 

While the jet remained in London, WikiLeaks quoted Assange’s lawyers describing an increase of plainclothes British police officers on the ground surrounding Ecuador’s London embassy: 

“A build up of plain clothes ear-piece wearing operatives around the Ecuador embassy in London in the last two days has been sighted by Julian Assange’s lawyers. There are normally 2-4 plainclothes British operatives present. The reason for the increase is not publicly known.” 

The jet arrived in London on March 19 — the same day that Twitter imposed a restriction on the account of Christine Assange which would last for more than 24 hours, followed shortly afterward by the placement of an identical restriction on the Twitter account of Telesur English, which has a record of accurate reporting about Latin America. The restriction, and the subsequent lifting of the measure, was never explained by the social media website.

A subsequent report by Consortium News noted:

“Ms. Assange told Consortium News by phone that she has had no contact with Twitter and still does not know why her account was restricted or precisely why it was restored. She was unable to post new Tweets or read anyone else’s while the restriction was in place. On Thursday, Telesur English, the Venezuelan state broadcaster’s English service, was hit with the same restrictions by Twitter as had affected Ms. Assange, who tweeted a complaint about it: ‘Telesur English account has been supportive of my son, arbitrarily gagged & tortured journalist Julian Assange. They have been one of the few media to factually update the public on his plight & the political context behind his persecution.’” 

That these unexplained restrictions coincided with the arrival of a DOJ jet in London added to a growing sense of urgency surrounding WikiLeaks and its arbitrarily confined founder.  

Ecuador Elections

At the time of the plane’s arrival, Ecuador was set to hold mid-term elections that could see what Bloomberg called the “beginning of a comeback” for former President Raphael Correa. Under Correa, Ecuador extended vigorous support towards Assange. In contrast, under President Lenin Moreno’s leadership, Assange’s asylum has been transformed into a state of torturous and near-solitary confinement.

In the United States, all eyes this week were fixed on the final chapter of the Mueller investigation coming to a close, and the establishment fall-out from the lack of indictments in Mueller’s highly anticipated report.

Meanwhile, the UK’s looming Brexit crisis raised the possibility that opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn could become prime minister. Corbyn’s stance towards WikiLeaks and Assange has been substantially friendlier than that of Prime Minister Theresa May. 

Since 2010, the global establishment has made no secret of its animosity towards Assange and WikiLeaks. The Trump administration has likewise made its desire to capture and prosecute Assange well known. WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning is again in solitary confinement due to her refusal to cooperate with a Grand Jury regarding Assange.

Though the jet in question departed from the UK on Saturday, Met police have been photographed outside the Ecuadorian embassy in addition to the plainclothes police described earlier this week by Assange’s lawyers.

Elizabeth Vos is a freelance journalist and contributor to Consortium News. 

30 comments for “Rendition Plane, Increased Police Presence Raise Fears for Assange

  1. March 27, 2019 at 16:51

    Until I read this latest article on Julian Assange, it never occurred to me that he would be snuck out or should I say ‘kidnapped’ in the middle of the night. How can his supporters be there 24/7?! Could he be gone already? Doesn’t his lawyer have to be informed?

  2. Lointa Lee Dalton
    March 26, 2019 at 16:21

    The day after the nothing burger was served straight up by Mueller and ‘Mueller Time’ occurred (everyone who said it was a nothing burger had a beer), the plane left London? Or was it a half day? I’m out in Montana. Chelsea is still in solitary, Julian still in house arrest…Trump is smiling and we who trusted him to do the right thing with Julian are angry. Hum. It is like intermission time during a confusing plotted movie.

  3. Pamella Corvelli
    March 26, 2019 at 13:36

    This is a travesty for the Assange family and all of Jullian Assange’s supporters. First the usa has to invent charges against him. Second, the government of the usa has proven itself to be nothing but a puppet of israel, and run by a bunch of greedy buffoons. We have an american Mussolini in our white house.

    • Clearandhere
      March 30, 2019 at 00:58

      While the Israeli lobby plays a part in the Mid East politics of the US government. policy is not controlled by that lobby rather it is in alignment with us positioning in the Mideast more as a beachhead in the region and conveniently some of the politicians take money From them as well just as they take money from their corporate buddies who in fact actually dictate policy with thousands of lobbyists. The point of view stated here smells of underpinnings of anti Semitic.

  4. March 25, 2019 at 19:26

    Only huge numbers of people surrounding the Ecuadorian Embassy has any hope of getting Julian out. Crowds would inhibit the US getting their hands on him, and would show the UK government that their collaboration is unacceptable. As for the Australian government, they haven’t lifted a finger on Julian’s behalf and my (Australian) MP doesn’t even send a standard acknowledgement of my emails to him about Julian.

  5. March 25, 2019 at 13:42

    The American people need to use the devices they are addicted to and educate themselves! They also need to think for themselves and not fall into step with the neoliberals that are behind this madness.
    As we know, the truth is at our fingertips.

  6. John
    March 25, 2019 at 13:08

    It is so clear that Russia did not hack.

  7. Vera Gottlieb
    March 25, 2019 at 12:05

    The greatest nation on Earth??? Yeah…tell me all about it. And still so many people in awe of it…

    • Ravioliollie Kaye
      March 25, 2019 at 15:53

      Brainwashing and exceptionalism go hand in hand.

  8. Ravioliollie Kaye
    March 25, 2019 at 11:09

    Under the cover of the Muller investigation, my gutless country once again is shooting a messenger who attempts to tell the world of our unquenchable desire to rule it. I’ve lost ALL faith in this effed up country and if this story is correct with it’s intent, I really don’t know what to do anymore. Agent Orange’s mob will be drooling over this illegal act. But thaqt’s all right, it’s 11 a.m. and the Price is Right is on….(bread and circuses prevail).

    • Ken
      March 26, 2019 at 13:45

      “I really don´t know what to do anymore”. Robyn above, has an excellent suggestion of what should and must be done.

  9. michael
    March 25, 2019 at 10:39

    Could the evidence provided herein be true? Speculation is prompted by such, but until now, all the obvious should be considered as to what future machinations could lay ahead.
    Simply that Assange is threatened by arrest if he were to leave that embassy, to walk out the door, and, once arrested, given the past “renditions”, it’s more than speculation that he would “disappear”.

    I hope there is a trove of outright incriminating material to be released if he is taken by force from the embassy. Now there’s something to speculate upon.

  10. geeyp
    March 24, 2019 at 22:39

    A piece of cogent, focused journalism from Ms. Vos. Good to read one of her pieces printed here at Consortium News. Any news reader who has not kept up on what is happening would do themselves a huge favor in taking a minute to read this.

  11. Robyn Forgy
    March 24, 2019 at 21:19

    I’m an American and I can’t believe what blood-thirsty monsters are running this country. Why don’t they show what war is like on the news? They torture Manning and Assange for showing the reality of what they’re really doing?? It’s insane! Right, don’t print this!

  12. anon4d2
    March 24, 2019 at 21:12

    We must hope that special ops or mercenary forces are preparing to militarily extract Mr. Assange to safety, or to militarily destroy any criminal US force that attempts to capture him.

    Rescuing Mr. Assange would be the most honorable operation ever done by US veterans. Those who were duped into aggressive US wars could redeem themselves.

    Mr. Assange has revealed the utter corruption of the USG, and deserves the highest honors. The US oligarchy should be rounded up and imprisoned at Guantanamo.

  13. BraveNewWorld
    March 24, 2019 at 19:56

    The good news is Robert Muller just cleared any one on Trumps team of colluding with Russia. But we Know that Stone did coordinate with Wiki Leaks and was working for the Trump campaign. So by simple logic Muller has cleared Wiki Leaks of working with the Russians. Other wise Stone would be indicted for colluding with the Russians.

    • nwwoods
      March 25, 2019 at 07:43

      No, Stone did not “coordinate with Wikileaks”. Try to catch up.

      • March 25, 2019 at 19:21

        Correct, nwwoods, Stone had nothing to do with Wikileaks.

    • Litchfield
      March 25, 2019 at 12:09

      The attempt to entangle Assange in the Mueller mess was the biggest and most stupid fiasco of the whole enterprise.

  14. Trudy
    March 24, 2019 at 19:23

    Hello, Julian came to see me decades ago knowing what he was going to do. God and I are with him. Trudy Kennedy

  15. LJ
    March 24, 2019 at 18:20

    Psych ops, May and the Tories have enough on their plate right now with the botched Brexit negotiations and an impending palace coup. They can’t give Labor and Corbyn the additional leverage that any controversy would bring at this time. Julian Assange will probably be left to stew in the Embassy for the time being.

  16. Jeff Harrison
    March 24, 2019 at 17:55

    This is how conspiracy theories get proven. When the conspiracy is exposed.

  17. Mike Perry
    March 24, 2019 at 17:41

    The Ukraine has it’s first round of their federal election this Sunday (March 31st). Their final election will be on April 21st. The most recent Gallup Poll shows that 91% of the Ukrainian population has an “unfavorable” rating for the 3 leading candidates of the presidency. This is the lowest confidence level ever recorded in a presidential Gallup Poll.

    The fact that for the last 4 years the Ukraine economy has been steered and directed by the IMF, Western Private Equity, etc., this definitely has a dominant bearing on today’s new fact, that the Ukrainian people now officially have the lowest distinction of being the poorest people in all of Europe.

    (.. btw: the Ukraine, it once was the “bread basket” of Europe..) And, what is the population of the European Union? What is the E.U.’s overall GDP? Where is the economic misery blockades (sanctions) on the Ukraine? .. It is simply impossible to shame or embarrass these college educated, brief case carrying, genocidal plunderers..

    .. But now things are so bad, that one Ukrainian politician has recently stated, “that the Ukraine, it is now joining the European Union, by way of Africa.”

    With these facts in mind, I would hope that the Venezuelan Press (.. and the press of approximately 65 other countries..), that they will be covering the ‘Sorrow And The Pity’ that is the current Ukraine federal elections over the next month. .. After all, didn’t the imposter in Venezuela, didn’t he say that “he wanted an IMF loan?”

    Julian, Chelsea, Edward, and so many of you, thank you so very much. ..ty..

    • LJ
      March 24, 2019 at 18:36

      I remember that not only did Western Interests immediately acquire 49% of Ukraine’s Gas Pipeline Infrastructure, , Monsanto , Cargil and (I believe) DuPont bought hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of acres of Ukrainian farmland and many of the profitable agribusiness corporations as well . Ukraine’s puppet government also moved to approve GMOs that are banned in the rest of Europe. Ukrainians were poor before. Now they are poorer and saddled with debt that they can never repay. This is the business of Regime Change. But before laying all of the onus on the USA, German Banks financed much of the takeover . Now it should be noticed that Germany through the EU is in control of Ukraine financially through debt financed mostly by their banks right up to where people stand in Russian Boots. They did so without firing a shot or getting any bad press at all and there was no talk of appeasement either. . Hitler should have been so lucky as Angela Merkel.

      • Lian
        March 27, 2019 at 09:20

        Don’t forget how all of Ukraine’s gold was shipped to the US as thanks to their puppet masters.

        Absolutely treasonous.

  18. Chris Fogarty
    March 24, 2019 at 16:12

    All patriotic Americans revere Assange and his support for international law and the U.S. Constitution.

    The attack upon Assange is promoted and executed by traitors operating from within our own government.

  19. March 24, 2019 at 16:08

    A deeply concerning story.

    I sincerely hope the circumstances do not add up to what they seem, but it is hard to account for them otherwise.

    That would mean the American establishment’s mania has reached a new intensity that it dares kidnap a world-famous figure.

    Of course, look at the threats and terror being openly carried out in Venezuela.

    All civilized people have something to fear here.

  20. mike k
    March 24, 2019 at 15:19

    “Rendition” for purposes of torture is simply a Mafia common practice. That most of the US population is OK with this, is what is really scary about our Totalitarian State of Amerika. Their complicity by silence is what is cementing this fascist nightmare in place.

    • Robyn Forgy
      March 24, 2019 at 21:34

      Please don’t blame the American people. We’re stuck with greedy war mongers running our country and I don’t see any way out of it. We’re practically living in a police ststate

      • nietzsche1510
        March 26, 2019 at 03:53

        if you don’t care of politics, the commun good, then the politics take care of you.

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