Snowden warns 'Assange could be next' after John McAfee hangs himself
Edward Snowden warns ‘Julian Assange could be next’ after John McAfee hangs himself to avoid extradition to the US
- Snowden said European nations shouldn’t extradite to US for non-violent crimes
- Espionage whistleblower, who lives in Russia, gave warning after McAfee died
- McAfee found hanged at Spanish jail after court ordered his extradition to US
- Like Assange, who remains holed up in Britain’s toughest jail, McAfee faced decades behind bars in the States
CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned that ‘Julian Assange could be next’ after John McAfee was found hanged in a Spanish prison cell on Wednesday.
Snowden, who lives in Russian exile, tweeted: ‘Europe should not extradite those accused of non-violent crimes to a court system so unfair – and prison system so cruel – that native-born defendants would rather die than become subject to it. Julian Assange could be next.
‘Until the system is reformed, a moratorium should remain.’
Antivirus pioneer McAfee died at a prison outside Barcelona just hours after a Spanish court approved his extradition to the US for tax evasion and fraud.
The 75-year-old had pleaded with judges not to send him back to America, saying he would die in prison because ‘the United States wants to use me as an example.’
McAfee believed the US government was out to get him – much like Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Assange who also face decades behind bars in the States.
Assange, 49, remains caged in Britain’s toughest jail, HMP Belmarsh, despite winning his extradition battle in January. He has not been bailed ahead of an appeal hearing because he is considered a flight risk.
Julian Assange, 49, remains caged in Britain’s toughest jail, HMP Belmarsh, despite winning his extradition battle in January. He has not been bailed ahead of an appeal hearing because he is considered a flight risk (pictured: Assange, left; and McAfee at a jailhouse in 2019, right)
CIA intelligence leaker Edward Snowden warned that ‘Julian Assange could be next’ after John McAfee was found hanged in a Spanish prison cell on Wednesday’
Assange is still wanted in the US on an 18-count indictment, facing allegations of plotting to hack computers and conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information.
The prosecution followed WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents in 2010 and 2011 relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, as well as diplomatic cables.
McAfee, who was a famous libertarian known for his anti-government stance on guns, drugs and liberty, believed that the US government was conspiring against him.
His tweets, often cryptic and ominous, suggested that he was the target of wealthy elites, including high-ranking officials in the CIA.
The tech entrepreneur was collared at Barcelona airport at the request of the US Justice Department on October 3, about to board a flight to Istanbul with a British passport.
During a court hearing last month, McAfee said that he would spend the rest of his life in jail if convicted in America. ‘I am hoping that the Spanish court will see the injustice of this,’ he said, adding ‘the United States wants to use me as an example.’
His lawyer Javier Villalba said said McAfee’s death had come as a surprise to his wife and other relatives, adding he would seek to get ‘to the bottom’ of his client’s death.
‘I had constant telephone contacts with him,’ Villalba said. ‘At no point had he shown any special worry or clue that could let us think this could have happened.’
‘This has been like pouring cold water on the family and on his defence team,’ the lawyer said. ‘Nobody expected it, he had not said goodbye.’
The sense of foreboding in McAfee’s tweets and in particular, his obsession with the paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein has cast doubts on his apparent suicide.
Epstein was found hanged in his prison cell in Manhattan in August 2019 but many believe he was assassinated to stop him from implicating wealthy elites in a child sex trafficking ring.
Although Villalba said that he had no evidence of any foul play, he blamed McAfee’s death on ‘the cruelty of the system’ for keeping a 75-year-old behind bars for economic and not violent crimes after judges refused to release him on bail.
‘We had managed to nullify seven of the 10 counts he was accused of and even so he was still that dangerous person who could be fleeing Spain if he was released?’ the lawyer said. ‘He was a world eminence, where could he hide?’
Spain’s National Court on Monday ruled that McAfee should be extradited to the U.S. to face charges for evading more than $4 million in the fiscal years 2016 to 2018. The judge dropped seven of the 10 counts in the initial indictment.
Villalba said that McAfee had learned about the ruling shortly after on Monday and that his death on Wednesday didn’t come in the heat of the moment. He also said that the legal team had been preparing with him an appeal to avoid being extradited.
A penitentiary source told AP that McAfee was sharing a cell in the Brians 2 jail, but that at the moment of his death he had been alone.
LAST PHOTO: John McAfee appears via videoconference during his extradition hearing at Audiencia Nacional court, in Madrid, Spain earlier this month. He has died behind bars at 75
ON THE RUN: McAfee – who had sold his company to Intel for $7.7 billion in 2010 – had lived in a self-imposed exile for years, globe-trotting and living on his ‘Freedom Boat’ in the Caribbean after being accused of murdering his neighbor in Belize in 2012 (pictured with his wife Janice, a former prostitute)
Soon after his arrest last year, McAfee’s Twitter account posted a dark hint suggesting that if he died in an alleged suicide, a conspiracy would be to blame
In one of his final tweets, presumably dictated to his wife from behind bars, McAfee said ‘I have nothing. Yet, I regret nothing.’
McAfee – who had sold his company to Intel for $7.7 billion in 2010 – had lived in a self-imposed exile for years, globe-trotting and living on his ‘Freedom Boat’ in the Caribbean after being accused of murdering his neighbor in Belize in 2012.
He always denied the murder but had been ordered to pay $25 million by a court in Florida in 2015 which found him ‘liable’ for expat Gregory Viant Faull’s death.
US authorities claimed he had earned millions over the last decade, failed to pay taxes and accused him of fraud by touting cryptocurrencies to his millions of Twitter followers in order to inflate prices and rake in profits.
He finally fled the US in January 2019, leaving his heavily-fortified Tennessee compound with his former prostitute wife Janice after claiming a Grand Jury was convened to indict him on tax-related charges.
In June 2019, while claiming he was trapped in Cuba, McAfee tweeted: ‘I’ve collected files on corruption in governments. For the first time, I’m naming names and specifics. I’ll begin with a corrupt CIA agent and two Bahamian officials.
‘Coming today. If I’m arrested or disappear, 31+ terrabytes of incriminating data will be released to the press.’
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