Julian Assange, through his work with WikiLeaks, engaged in that type of vibrant journalism that revitalized the impulse for real democracy. By publishing vital information in the public interest, he defended public’s right to know, empowering ordinary people to actively participate in history.
Now, it is our responsibility to respond to this crisis of democracy through solidarity. Can each of us step up to the challenge to solve the problems that our leaders have created? Efforts to free Assange urge us all to claim and exercise the power inherent within that can restore justice to end this prosecution of free speech.
The demands made by the UN Working Group and WikiLeaks’ supporters highlight the utter perfidy of the Australian government and political and media establishment, which refuses to defend an Australian citizen against US and British persecution.
“It is time that Mr. Assange, who has already paid a high price for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of opinion, expression and information, and to promote the right to truth in the public interest, recovers his freedom,” the experts concluded.
The ongoing attacks on Assange are clearly an attack on WikiLeaks – an independent media organisation that specialises in publishing information from whistleblowers that it deems to be in the public interest. So if we value the organisation’s work, we must ensure that political power struggles – both in Ecuador and the UK – do not result in the silencing of Assange and WikiLeaks.
20 December 2018
Trevor Timm, at CJR: By prosecuting WikiLeaks, Trump could stifle reporting on Russian interference.
First, it’s important to remember that newspapers publish classified information all the time, and that this has been especially true during the Trump administration. CJR has documented how leaks of classified information have changed and delayed controversial Trump administration proposals. Critically, many of the major stories detailing the Trump circle’s relationship with the Russian government have also hinged on information the government considers secret.
MEPs visit Assange in London
Two members of German parliament, Sevim Dagdelen and Heiki Hansel, visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to relay “greetings of solidarity from the Left party and his many supporters from Germany,” and to discuss the possibility of a “humanitarian solution” to his predicament.
Both MPs co-signed a letter earlier this month to UN Secretary General António Guterres, asking the UN to intervene so that Julian Assange can travel to a safe third country after news that Ecuador will no longer oppose UK extradition of Assange to US.
“The Trump government is trying to arrange an extraterritorial persecution of Julian Assange – we reject and resist this” – German MP https://t.co/G3guGJIKkt
“We will continue to take action in Parliament and to campaign in public” – German MP’s in support of Julian Assange, say that already 35-40 Members of European Parliament are standing with Assange, having recently signed a public statement in support https://t.co/G3guGJIKkt
SMH: Time for Julian Assange’s ‘torment’ to end: father
“The Guardian‘s happy to be used”
Meanwhile, former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald spoke to The Observer about The Guardian‘s recent fabrication, failure to respond to critics, and being used as a pawn by Ecuadorian intelligence:
“I think journalists ought to be aware that when you’re using intelligence [sources], there’s always a high risk you’re being deceived, lied to, propagandized or manipulated since that is what those agencies are designed to do,” explained Greenwald. “That’s clearly what happened here.”
19 December 2018
Former Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam warns, “An Australian citizen is about to be prosecuted for publishing, by Australia’s closest ally.”
Despite this remarkable publishing record, almost nobody in the mainstream press writes about the disclosures themselves. Instead, commentary is drawn almost exclusively to the character and conduct of founder and editor Julian Assange. In twelve years he’s gone from dissident publisher to object of mockery and derision across the political spectrum.
Ruairi Woods writes: ‘The Guardian fabricated, altered and stealthily retracted their Wikileaks-Manafort story to muted criticism from the ‘fake news’ obsessives.’
It was co-written by Luke Harding, a man who is currently cashing Amazon cheques for a book on the topic in question and harbours a long-standing personal feud with the subject of the story, clearly disqualifying the Guardian from running it under any definition of responsible journalism. A man named as a co-author in the print version but removed online, Fernando Villavicencio, was previously convicted in Ecuador of forging official documents to sell a story to the Guardian. He is an associate of the US Intelligence Community and played a vital part in the attempted coup of the socialist Rafael Correa, who gave Assange asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy as President. After initially printing his name, the Guardian quickly realised that his reputation would undermine the story and decided to scrub him from the record.
Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they’ll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they’ll be far more likely to consent to Assange’s silencing and imprisonment. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you’re suspicious of him you won’t believe anything he’s saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it’s as good as putting a bullet in his head.
17 December 2018
An online vigil for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange was broadcast live on Consortium News on Friday night. If you missed it, watch the replay here.
Among the featured guests were famed whistleblower Dan Ellsberg, former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, columnist Caitlin Johnstone, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and more:
14 December 2018
Alfred de Zayas, Former UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic & Equitable International Order, has commented on Julian Assange’s situation with respect to human rights, ultimately concluding: “It is high time that the Human Rights Council adopt a Charter on the Human Rights of Whistleblowers.”
Asylum was granted to Julian #Assange by Ecuador citing a threat to his life, personal safety and freedom. He is protected under international law and the core principle of 1951 Refugee Convention is non-refoulement #JulianAssange
Assange denounced the collusion of Ecuadorian authorities with the British and US governments, which are determined to prosecute him for WikiLeaks’ exposure of their war crimes, illegal diplomatic intrigues and mass surveillance.
He stated that Ecuador was conducting ongoing espionage against him and said it was likely turning over the material gathered to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which has played a central role in the US efforts to destroy WikiLeaks.
Assange condemned representatives of the Ecuadorian government for making “comments of a threatening nature” over his publishing activities. The WikiLeaks founder compared his treatment to the brutal murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi at the Middle-Eastern dictatorships’ Istanbul embassy in October, noting that the attempts to silence him were merely “more subtle.”
During the hearing, Assange [appearing via videolink] suggested there were facts of espionage inside the diplomatic mission’s premises. According to the whistleblower, the gathered intelligence data might have been shared with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Moreover, Assange suggested that Ecuador’s intelligence invested major funds in equipping the embassy building.
The whistleblower also noted that he had received comments of threatening nature from the Ecuadorian authorities due to his journalistic work. Assange argued that the living conditions in the Ecuadorian embassy threatened his health and might result in his hospitalization, which, in its turn, might represent an opportunity for the Quito to hand him over to London or Washington.
The Guardian has disgraced itself utterly, and trashed its “facts are sacred” mantra in this, its latest obsessive pursuit of WikiLeaks.
12 December 2018
In Quito, Ecuador, an appeals court heard arguments regarding Julian Assange’s protective action measure, challenging the series of strict regulations on Assange’s activity in the Embassy that Ecuador proposed earlier this year. The so-called “protocol” (Spanish original, English, unofficial) includes explicit threats to revoke Mr. Assange’s asylum if Mr. Assange, or any of his guests, breached or were perceived to have breached, any of the 28 “rules.”The “protocol” forbids Assange from doing journalism and expressing his opinions, under threat of losing his asylum.
On 25 and 29 October 2018, a Quito court heard arguments regarding the proposed protocol but declined to hear witnesses or see evidence. The judge declined to rule on Ecuador’s actions, saying the matter was for the Constitutional Court and on 30 October 2018 the case was appealed to the provincial court.
Today the provincial court heard arguments but delayed a ruling, saying a resolution would come within eight days.
La resolución del Tribunal de la Corte Provincial de Pichincha ante la apelación presentada por la defensa de Julian Assange se conocerá en un plazo de hasta ocho días. Carlos Poveda, abogado del australiano, se refiere a la diligencia. Vía @eltonycashpic.twitter.com/ThLjIZYKLg
The Guardian‘s fabrication has consequences in Congress
Six members of Congress have signed a letter to Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, demanding information about his recent discussions with Ecuadorian officials regarding Julian Assange’s status in the Embassy. In a tweet announcing the letter, Sen. Dianne Feinstein explicitly referenced “reports of Paul Manafort visiting Julian Assange”
Given the role of Wikileaks in election interference efforts and reports of Paul Manafort visiting Julian Assange, we’re calling on Secretary Pompeo to brief us on his recent meeting with Ecuadorian officials. The public deserves answers on foreign interference in our elections. pic.twitter.com/6hYW1XiWlW
Former Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald notes on Twitter that two weeks have passed since The Guardian published fabricated claims about Paul Manafort visiting Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:
Two weeks have passed since @guardian claimed Manafort visited Assange 3 times in the Embassy. No media outlet has confirmed; no evidence has emerged; ex-diplomat says story is “fake.”
Today is the 70th Anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
More than 30 Parliamentarians of the German Parliament and EU Parliament write to UN Secretary General António Guterres, asking the UN to intervene so that Julian Assange can travel to a safe third country after news that Ecuador will no longer oppose UK extradition of Assange to US.:
The constant and unwonted threat from Britain and the United States, the years of arbitrary detention, the ongoing separation from his family, friends and loved ones, the lack of proper medical care, the most recent isolation of Mr Assange since March of this year; these are indeed very serious and egregious violations of Human Rights, in the heart of Europe.
We therefore call for his immediate release, together with his safe passage to a safe country.
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth called on the Ecuador and UK to protect Assange against prosecution:
If Ecuador and the UK were serious about protecting Assange, they would provide guarantees not only against the death penalty but also against prosecution for anything that journalists typically do such as publishing leaked information. https://t.co/JShr6BV4pnpic.twitter.com/LrzmffUVhN
Pamela Anderson, recently in the news for her comments on the Paris protests, has written an open letter, “Free Speech and I,” for International Human Rights Day:
What Julian and WikiLeaks have had to endure is the biggest attack on free speech and constitutional rights in years and that’s just the beginning. Just wait: after WikiLeaks they will aim for other publishers like the NY Times, the Post….the list is endless.
Many international organizations have supported Julian and WikiLeaks and have called for their rights to be protected, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and more than 50 other freedom of expression organizations in the IFEX (International Freedom of Expression) network.
But this is not enough. Simply more must be done to free Julian and to protect free speech…and this will protect freedom for us all.
In April 2018, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against WikiLeaks simply for publishing its emails. This lawsuit is the biggest attack on freedom of speech and constitutional rights in decades.
The DNC does not allege WikiLeaks participated in hacking of any kind. It is suing WikiLeaks for providing accurate, newsworthy information to the public. … The Democratic National Committee has billionaire backers to be able to fight the lawsuit in court for years. WikiLeaks, in contrast, is an award winning small publisher entirely funded by its readers.
This is a David and Goliath struggle. But as history shows, you should never bet against WikiLeaks. In the twelve years since it was founded it has never lost a court case and never retracted a publication.
Help WikiLeaks stand up to the DNC and protect your fundamental rights.
“WikiLeaks’s conduct — publishing truthful information of public concern as a media organization — is protected by the First Amendment. … “Those who have spent their careers defending journalism’s role in free speech recognize that liability for a media organization in WikiLeaks’s position – publishing documents provided by whistle-blowers and others who possess them without authorization – would set an ominous precedent that could not be contained. … Moreover, imposing liability upon WikiLeaks here would exert a chilling effect on journalism and free speech, and deprive the public of an extraordinary amount of newsworthy information.”
Ecuadorian Ex-Diplomat: Report Claiming Assange Met Manafort Is False
Former consul in Ecuador’s London embassy Fidel Narváez speaks to Ben Norton for The Real News Network:
Is a trap being set for Julian Assange?
Consortium News editor Joe Lauria joins RT’s Rick Sanchez to discuss the US government’s hatred of Assange and what his ultimate fate will imply for journalists everywhere:
6 December 2018
The AP reports Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno says “that Britain has provided sufficient guarantees that [Julian Assange] won’t be extradited to face the death penalty abroad.”
The story makes no mention of the recent New York Timesreport about Paul Manafort’s 2017 visit to Ecuador in which he negotiated for US debt relief in exchange for Assange:
In at least two meetings with Mr. Manafort, Mr. Moreno and his aides discussed their desire to rid themselves of Mr. Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, in exchange for concessions like debt relief from the United States, according to three people familiar with the talks, the details of which have not been previously reported.
Headline should’ve been:
Moreno says Ecuador no longer opposes UK extradition of Assange
Moreno set to ignore Inter-American Court’s decision on Assange
Moreno changes the goalposts on Assange asylum
Moreno says US prosecution of its political asylee OK with him
An update at the fundraiser for WikiLeaks to sue The Guardian over the Manafort-Assange fabrication:
The Guardian has not yet retracted its story. It published the story on the front page of the print edition the next day. The print edition contained a significant discrepancy with the online version: a third author in addition to Harding and Collyns – Fernando Villavicencio, an Ecuadorian political activist who has been implicated in fabricated stories in the past.
One week on, pressure is mounting on The Guardian to come clean.
The Guardian reported that the alleged Manafort-Assange meeting “could shed new light” on the events leading up to the leaks and might indicate coordination among WikiLeaks, Trump’s campaign and Russian hackers. Trump has repeatedly denied any such collusion.
But one week after publication, the Guardian’s bombshell looks as though it could be a dud.
No other news organization has been able to corroborate the Guardian’s reporting to substantiate its central claim of a meeting.
The Washington Times reportsfrom today’s arguments in the hearing to unseal the Assange indictment: ‘Lawyers seeking access to sealed Julian Assange case argue DOJ lacks justification for secrecy’
Comedian Jimmy Dore rips The Guardian over fabricated front page story claiming “Secret Talks in Embassy” between Assange and Manafort
1/ Why do attacks on the US media – calling it “Fake News” – resonate so widely? Because of utterly fabricated and reckless articles like this one from @politico, by a former *CIA officer allowed to write under a “pen name”*. The whole thing is a fraud: https://t.co/kGRsiOXHHN
Please join our Solidarity Vigil in support of #WikiLeaks Julian #Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London Tuesday – Wednesday – Thursday 3-5pm #Wikibees#Unity4J#FreeAssange We hold posters and banners and distribute flyers to passers by alerting the public.
Craig Murray: “Assange Never Met Manafort. Luke Harding and the Guardian Publish Still More Blatant MI6 Lies”
Elizabeth Vos: “The Guardian’s Desperate Attempt To Connect Assange To Russiagate Backfires”
The Guardian’s latest attack on Julian Assange was not only a fallacious smear, it represented a desperate attempt on behalf of the British intelligence community to conflate the pending US charges against the journalist with Russiagate. The Guardian’s article seeks to deflect from the reality that the prosecution of Assange will focus on Chelsea Manning-Era releases and Vault 7, not the DNC or Podesta emails.
We assert this claim based on the timing of the publication, the Guardian’s history of subservience to British intelligence agencies, animosity between The Guardian and WikiLeaks, and the longstanding personal feud between Guardian journalist Luke Harding and Assange. This conclusion is also supported by Harding’s financial and career interest in propping up the Russiagate narrative.
Passports contradict Guardian claims
TheWashington Times reports: “Paul Manafort’s passports don’t show he entered London in all the years claimed by Guardian newspaper when it said he met secretly with WikiLeaks Julian Assange.”
28 November 2018
Reactions and responses to The Guardian‘s uncorrected fabrication alleging multiple visits by Paul Manafort to Julian Assange in the Embassy continue to come in.
The Canary: Growing calls for Guardian editor-in-chief to resign after the paper publishes massive ‘fake news’ story
The Guardian issues statement:
In a statement, a spokesperson for The Guardian said,
This story relied on a number of sources. We put these allegations to both Paul Manafort and Julian Assange’s representatives prior to publication. Neither responded to deny the visits taking place. We have since updated the story to reflect their denials.
Noticeably missing: A line stating that The Guardian is confident in the accuracy of its story… https://t.co/UXnX763xTm
More falsehoods from the Guardian. @WikiLeaks scooped the Guardian and made the denial public to 5.4 million — including the editor of the Guardian, @KathViner, who follows @WIkiLeaks — hours before the Guardian published its astonishing fraud.https://t.co/FFwpioILuf
TheGuardian has published claims from unnamed sources that Paul Manafort, former head of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, had “secret talks” with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on three occasions. These claims are completely false and the story has been fabricated. The Embassy’s visitor logs – maintained by Ecuador – show no such visits, since they did not occur.
This is not the first time that the Guardian, and in particular its writer Luke Harding, have fabricated a story about Assange. After widespread criticism from journalists across the political spectrum, the Guardian has begun to backpedal its story, adding “sources say” to the headline and editing hedging qualifications throughoutthe piece.
Paul Manafort has issued a statement saying, “This story is totally false and deliberately libelous. I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him.”
WikiLeaks is fundraising to file a lawsuit against The Guardian for libel. Contribute here.
24 November 2018
Ecuador’s government has refused Julian Assange’s lawyers Jennifer Robinson and Aitor Martínez accessto him this weekend to prepare for his US court hearing on Tuesday, concerning the motion to remove the secrecy order on the U.S. charges against him. Al Jazeera‘s in-depth analysis of Julian Assange’s case, media reporting on it and the recent discovery of a secret indictment against him with journalists Stefania Maurizi and Glenn Greenwald, media columnist Eric Alterman and author James Bell
In the wake of revelations about the secret US indictment against Julian Assange, the Huffington Post looks back at WikiLeaks’ biggest stories.
Award winning journalists Chris Hedges and Consortium News Editor-In-Chief Joe Lauria talk about the implications of extraditing Julian Assange to the US:
23 November 2018
Why You Should Care About the Julian Assange Case
In a comprehensive take on WikiLeaks’ publishing history and the implications of Julian Assange’s recently confirmed secret indictment in the US, Matt Taibbi writes for Rolling Stone: “Forget Jim Acosta. If you are worried about Trump’s assault on the press, news of a Wikileaks indictments is the real scare story.”
the more likely eventuality is a prosecution that uses the unpopularity of Assange to shut one of the last loopholes in our expanding secrecy bureaucracy. Americans seem not to grasp what might be at stake. Wikileaks briefly opened a window into the uglier side of our society, and if publication of such leaks is criminalized, it probably won’t open again.
There’s already a lot we don’t know about our government’s unsavory clandestine activities on fronts like surveillance and assassination, and such a case would guarantee we’d know even less going forward. Long-term questions are hard to focus on in the age of Trump. But we may look back years from now and realize what a crucial moment this was.
The Sun: Prosecuting Assange for WikiLeaks would set a bad precedent
The Boston Globe: Love him or hate him, Julian Assange shouldn’t be prosecuted by the United States
22 November 2018
Trevor Timm spoke toJames Goodale, “the famed First Amendment lawyer and former general counsel the New York Times, who led the paper’s legal team in the famed Pentagon Papers case — about the dire impact the Justice Department’s move may have on press freedom, regardless of whether people consider Assange himself a “journalist.”
Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno replacedthe country’s ambassador in London, Carlos Abad Ortiz, who “had been in charge of the diplomatic mission since 2015 and had been an influential figure regarding Assange’s future”:
the decision to oust Abad has fueled speculation that Ecuador is looking to push Assange out the door.Fidel Narvaez, the former consul at the embassy, told CNN that Abad’s removal should be seen as a bad omen for the WikiLeaks founder and his asylum.
One fact that has gone overlooked in news of Assange charges: since 2012, he has never avoided going to Sweden, & Ecuador never gave him asylum, to avoid facing a sex assault investigation. It was always due to fear *US* would try to prosecute him, fears now vindicated as valid.
Some journalists keenly cite FBI informer Marcy Wheeler’s wild & eager speculations on EDVA’s #Assange indictment. But indications so far in fact point to the indictment relating to @xychelsea‘s case & @WikiLeaks revelations of US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Cablegate, GITMO.
We have a post recapping responses to the news that US has charges in place against Julian Assange, including commentary from his lawyers, reactions from press freedom groups and human rights advocates, and a suit to unseal the indictment.
16 November 2018
US charges in place against Julian Assange
US prosecutors “inadvertently” revealed that Julian Assange has been charged under seal (i.e., confidentially) in the US – something which WikiLeaks and its supporters have long said but which has been denied by some US officials. The document making the admission was written by Assistant US Attorney Kellen S Dwyer. The Wall Street Journalreported that “over the past year, US prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange.” The Hill noted that charges against Julian could include violating the US Espionage Act, which criminalises releasing information regarding US national defence.
“An indictment centering on the publication of information of public interest — even if it was obtained from Russian government hackers — would create a precedent with profound implications for press freedoms.”
The Director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, wrote:
“Deeply troubling if the Trump administration, which has shown little regard for media freedom, would charge Assange for receiving from a government official and publishing classified information–exactly what journalists do all the time.”
“Another procedure short of sealing will not adequately protect the needs of law enforcement at this time because, due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged…. The complaint, supporting affidavit, and arrest warrant as well as this motion and proposed order, would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.”
Glenn Greenwald writes, ‘As the Obama DOJ Concluded, Prosecution of Julian Assange for Publishing Documents Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom’
What has changed since that Obama-era consensus? Only one thing: in 2016, WikiLeaks published documents that reflected poorly on Democrats and the Clinton campaign rather than the Bush-era wars, rendering Democrats perfectly willing, indeed eager, to prioritize their personal contempt for Assange over any precepts of basic press freedoms, civil liberties, or Constitutional principles. It’s really just as simple – and as ignoble – as that.
It is this utterly craven and authoritarian mentality that is about to put Democrats of all sorts in bed with the most extremist and dangerous of the Trump faction as they unite to create precedents under which the publication of information – long held sacrosanct by anyone caring about press freedoms – can now be legally punished.
What is happening to Assange should terrify the press. And yet his plight is met with indifference and sneering contempt. Once he is pushed out of the embassy, he will be put on trial in the United States for what he published. This will set a new and dangerous legal precedent that the Trump administration and future administrations will employ against other publishers, including those who are part of the mob trying to lynch Assange. The silence about the treatment of Assange is not only a betrayal of him but a betrayal of the freedom of the press itself. We will pay dearly for this complicity.
While the media focused on Julian Assange’s cat rather than his continuing arbitrary detention, evidence shows that Britain worked hard to force his extradition to Sweden where Assange feared he could then be turned over to the U.S.
4 November 2018
Solidarity vigil outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in support of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange
Vigilsin support of Julian Assange in Ljubljana, Sloveniaand Taipei, Taiwan
3 November 2018
Joe Lauria on the break-in attempt at Assange’s Residence in Ecuador Embassy on October 29, and increasing fears about the safety of the WikiLeak’s publisher.
An attempted break-in at Julian Assange’s residence inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Oct. 29, and the absence of a security detail, have increased fears about the safety of the WikiLeak’s publisher.
Lawyers for Assange have confirmed to activist and journalist Suzie Dawson that Assange was awoken in the early morning hours by the break-in attempt. They confirmed to Dawson that the attempt was to enter a front window of the embassy. A booby-trap Assange had set up woke him, the lawyers said.
In March of this year, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno made the conditions of Assange’s arbitrary detention much worse. For seven months, Assange has been without any means to directly communicate with the public—in other words, to defend himself from relentless attacks and ridicule in Western media. Moreno has not only cut off Assange’s internet and telephone access, but alsoseverely restricted visits. Moreno has openly stated that he silenced and isolated Assange because he objected to Assange’s political statements, but rather than blast Moreno for trampling Assange’s right to free expression and other basic rights, the international press and prominent “human rights” organizations have responded with silence, distortions and even smirks.
Most immediately, the ban obstructs a legal appeal by Assange against an Ecuadorian judge’s decision last week to uphold a draconian “protocol” that President Lenín Moreno’s government has sought to impose on him, in fundamental violation of the right to political asylum.
Assange has become a high profile Western dissident. He has been arbitrarily detained for 6 years without charge, deprived of fresh air, sunshine and an access to a proper medical care. What made him be considered dangerous by the most powerful government in the world?WikiLeaks has published material that exposed the crimes and corruptions of governments and institutions. Their disclosure of secret documents challenged those in power. But this is not the only reason that made him become an enemy of the state. He has been silenced and attacked because of a particular voice he carries that is critical for a future of our civilization.
The judge refused to rule on the constitutionality of the government’s actions against Mr. Assange and said it was a matter for the Constitutional Court. The judge declined to hear witnesses and declined to accept evidence documenting the embassy’s visitor ban. On 30 October 2018 the case was appealed to the provincial court.
Ecuador has since issued an official communiqué, declaring, ‘The legality of the protocol that regulates Mr. Assange’s asylum is ratified.’
Ecuador has assuredAssange that the UK wouldn’t extradite him to the United States. But today CNN reports that the UK Home Office can “neither confirm nor deny that an extradition request has been made or received until an arrest is made in relation to the request”, a departure from previous statements and including the new qualifier regarding an arrest for the purposes of extradition.
26 October 2018
Referring to the statement made by Ecuadorian official that UK has not received any requests to extradite Assange, Assange’s lawyer Carlos Poveda says that “that commitment must be in writing, as a compromise between the states [Ecuador and the United Kingdom], affirming that there will be no extradition to the United States or third countries… If there is such a commitment, then Mr. Assange will surrender to the UK justice”.
25 October 2018
Hearing in Ecuador
Julian Assange’s hearing in Quito, following his lawyer Baltasar Garzón’s filing last week, was suspended due to technical and translation problems. Iñigo Salvador, who represents the Ecuadorean government in court proceedings said that technical problems “could not be solved immediately” and that the judge “has considered it essential that Mr. Assange participate in the entire hearing.”
Ecuador rep vows no extradition
The United Kingdom told Ecuador in August that Assange would not be extradited if he left the country’s London embassy, Iñigo Salvador toldreporters. Assange supporters argue that the UK should issue a written guarantee for it to be valid.
What happens when Mr. Julian Assange steps outside the door? Mr. Carlos Poveda – his legal representative in Ecuador, gives the answer.
Call to action
In an op-od for WSWS Bill Van Auken calls for mobilization of militant and active solidarity with Julian Assange who is facing an escalating threat that he will be handed over to the British authorities and ultimately extradited to the United States to face trumped-up charges of espionage, punishable by life imprisonment and even the death penalty.
24 October 2018
‘Ecuador might turn Assange over to US’ says Ex-President Correa to RT
‘Julian Assange should be thanked – not smeared – for Wikileaks’ service to journalism.’ Mark Curtis, author and political analyst gives a comprehensive overview of Wikileaks’ revelations about British foreign policy in the Middle East.
20 October 2018
Julian Assange’s solicitor, Jennifer Robinson, and the former Consul at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Fidel Narváez,talk about origins of Wikileaks and the convoluted and prolonged legal case against its founder with ZTR Radio
Congressmembers Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Eliot Engel, of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, have written a letter calling on Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno to abandon its asylum of Julian Assange and turn him over to British police. Ros-Lehtinen and Engel call Assange a “threat to global security” and warn that “it will be very difficult for the United States to advance our bilateral relationship until Mr. Assange is handed over to the proper authorities.”
WikiLeaks’ Twitter account has posted an English translation of Ecuador’s ‘Special Protocol of Visits, Communications and Medical Attention to Mr. Julian Paul Assange,’ which details the restrictions Ecuador has imposed upon the partial restoration of Assange’s internet access. The new document outlines the limitations on visitors, electronic devices, and internet usage:
Ecuador partly restores Julian Assange’s internet access, but it still limits his freedom to express political opinion.
12 October 2018
UN Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression David Kaye, visiting Ecuador, welcomes moves to protect and promote freedom of expression
Wikileaks publishes confidential Amazon document detailing locations of data centers worldwide.
11 October 2018
Trump campaign claims WikiLeaks not liable for releasing hacked emails.
Assange’s legal team plans to file a lawsuit against Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia for making public confidential information about Assange’s asylum and citizenship process, according to lawyer Carlos Poveda.
10 October 2018
Vigils in support of Julian Assange continue each week in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Pacifica Radio Network National Board votes to stand with Assange and Wikileaks.
Swiss court clears ex-banker Rudolf Elmer, who allegedly gave secrets to WikiLeaks.
7 October 2018
Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia Amores reaffirms the country’s decision to grant asylum to Julian Assange.
Assange supporters celebrate Wikileaks 12 birthday in front of the Ecudorian Embassy in London
Unity4J holds its fifth online vigil for Julian Assange. Guests included the CIA anti-torture whistleblower John Kiriakou, ex-U.S. House of Representatives member Cynthia McKinney, progressive comedian Graham Elwood and ACLU Board member and Radio Host Garland Nixon.
5 October 2018
U.S. aligned parties fail in Ecuadorean National Assembly to review Assange’s citizenship
4 October 2018
Speaking to RT’s Going Underground, Courage Trustee John Pilger criticized the media landscape in the UK, and particularly its treatment of Julian Assange.
Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson told RT that Ecuador will not kick Julian out of the embassy: “Ecuador has made it clear in the past few months – after this wide-spread speculation that he would be forced to leave – that they will respect the asylum.” https://web.archive.org/web/20211214103148if_/https://www.rt.com/news/438936-assange-lawyer-robinson-interview/video/5ba3c6c0dda4c86b288b4579
13 September 2018
Vigils continue in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:
In a response to inquiries from supporters, Amnesty International expressed opposition to any potential extradition for Julian Assange to the United States, arguing that this would put his human rights at serious risk of abuse:
Australian lawyer Greg Barns, a member of Assange’s legal team and an adviser to WikiLeaks, told iTWire, “if there is not a resolution to his case — in other words, the UK guaranteeing that he will not be extradited to the US — the reality is Julian’s health will deteriorate to the point where his life is in serious danger.”
6 September 2018
Rallies continue outside of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:
In a US Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Senator Cotton attempts to pressure Twitter and Facebook CEOs into shutting down WikiLeaks’ and Julian Assange’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, after the CEOs said they do not violate their respective terms of service:
Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg: “It is essential that Julian Assange not be indicted, be convicted, or be extradited to the United States.”
Ellsberg also condemns Australia’s decision to ban Chelsea Manning from entering the country for her planned speaking tour:
‘Free Speech, Parler Sans Peur‘, a new documentary on freedom of expression, featuring Julian Assange, Jude Law, Sarah Harrison, Mick Jagger, Gavin MacFadyen, and many more, is now screening in cities across France. https://web.archive.org/web/20211214103148if_/https://player.vimeo.com/video/273278659
Analysing a recently published ABC article written by James Gordon Meek and Ali Dukakis, James Cogan writes that the investigation by special counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller into alleged “Russian interference” in the 2016 US presidential election is close to issuing an indictment against WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange.
30 August 2018
Ron Paul’s Liberty Report covers ‘The Torture of Assange: A Blight on the US Justice System’
29 August 2018
ABC News: As his isolation intensifies, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange faces possible threat of eviction, extradition | “US authorities debating charges against Wikileaks’ Assange.”
In a series of interviews with his lawyers, supporters and friends, the people closest to Assange painted a bleak picture of his present and a grim outlook on his future, telling ABC News that he may both long for and dread the day he is forced out of the embassy.
“He’s been effectively in solitary confinement,” said Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson. “Julian has always said he’s very happy to face British justice but not at the expense of having to face American injustice.”
In Kathmandu, Nepalese intellectuals, artists and activists submitted a letter to the British, US and Australian Embassies, for their governments to secure safety, security and freedom of Julian Assange.
25 August 2018
John Pilger talks to RT UK about Assange and why he needs the support of journalists and Democrats:
Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi stated that she was denied access to documents on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and other Wikileaks personnel (Sarah Harrison, Joseph Farrell and Kristinn Hrafnsson) by London’s Metropolitan Police, UK’s Crown Prosecution Service and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She announced that she has appealed the decision.
18 August 2018
Dave Lindorf, in an op-ed for Eurasia Review, writes about Mainstream Media Hypocrisy in the case of Wikileaks.
16 August 2018
Six years ago today Ecuador formally granted asylum to Wikileaks editor Julian Assange. Activists gather in front of the London Ecuadorian Embassy to demand this protection be held, against extradition, and guarantee his safe passage.
In an opinion piece for the WSWS, James Cogan explaines how the Mueller investigation is seeking to implicate WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in “Russian interference.”
13 August 2018
Former Consul of Ecuador in London Fidel Narváez, who was tasked with accompanying Assange from the day he first set foot in the embassy, says withdrawing Julian Assange’s asylum would be a clear violition of international law, and discusses the impact of Ecuador’s standing on the issue in an interview with The Prisma.
In an official statement issued by the Ecuadorian Communication Office, the President Lenin Moreno says: “If the British Government guarantees us that Julian Assange won’t be in danger once extradited to another country, then we will ask him to leave our Embassy in London and face justice in England.”
9 August 2018
Live show for Julian from Politics in the Pub in Sydney, Australia. With Christine Assange, Suzie Dawson, Cathy Vogan, Prof. Stuart Rees & Mike Head:
8 August 2018
US Senator Mark Warner, who has previously signed a letter imploring VP Mike Pence to urge Ecuador to revoke Julian Assange’s asylum, has now signed a letter asking Assange to testify in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Letter was delivered via US embassy in London. WikiLeaks’ legal team say they are “considering the offer but the conditions must conform to a high ethical standard.”
In an interview with Consortium News, John Pilger, a long time supporter of Julian Assange and Courage trustee, talks about Assange’s deteriorating health and the physical dangers he faces during this period of virtual isolation. Pilger also excoriates the western media for their silence and pro-government stand on the marginalizing and potential prosecution of Assange, even after they collaborated with WikiLeaks in major high-profile breaking stories.
6 August 2018
German MPs sign letter supporting Julian Assange’s freedom
Fifteen members of the German Bundestag and the European Parliament have signed a letter (in English and German, below) entitled, ‘Freedom for Julian Assange!’ The MPs call on the governments of England and Ecuador to end Julian’s “de facto imprisonment”:
The risk of extradition to an unpredictable administration in the U.S. is greater than ever. This is all the more serious as the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has condemned the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange was subjected to without British or other governments of EU Member States having drawn any political consequences from it.
Prime Minister Theresa May and President Lenín Moreno, we appeal to you: ensure the release and effective protection of Julian Assange!
The letter was initiated by MP Heike Haensel of the Left Party, a longtime supporter of Assange and Chelsea Manning, and has been subsequently been signed by several more MPs.
More than 6,500 supporters have signed a petition calling on the UK government to free and protect Julian Assange.
Julian Assange is in great jeopardy and it appears that you may be the only one who can help him. His asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy is threatened and he is living under intolerable conditions. Yet, if he leaves, he is exposed to arrest and imprisonment in the US. Senior US law enforcement officials have stated that they intend to do anything they can do to imprison him in the US. In recent days heavily armored police vehicles have surrounded the Embassy and the media is reporting that his arrest is imminent. You can prevent this and we urge you to free Assange.
TeleSUR reports that Julian Burnside, an Australian member of Assange’s legal team, called on his government to intercede in the embassy situation:
The main option for Assange is for the Australian government to step in and help him by doing a diplomatic deal with the British, which should not be difficult to do, which would enable him to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy and travel safely back to Australia.
30 July 2018
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister comments on Assange case
José Valencia Amores, Ecuador’s new Foreign Minister, has issued a statement via Twitter, saying that “it is in the interest of Ecuador and also of Mr. Assange that the asylum be terminated.”
Assange’s days in the Ecuadorian Embassy are numbered says former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa
In an interview for RT’s Spanish service, former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that, sooner or later, the publisher will have to leave the embassy. Correa noted that unless Assange secures safe passage guarantees, he is likely to be prosecuted for espionage and treason “which may carry the death penalty.”
Petition to secure Assange’s freedom submitted to Australian officials
A petition to secure freedom for Julian Assange has been submitted this morning to the Australian Prime Minister and all elected members of government. More than 3,300 have signed as of this writing — add your name here.
Ongoing vigils in front of the Ecudorian Embassy in London
Supporters have been gathering in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for Julian Assange throughout his time there. Catalans in London are organising a solidarity vigil on Tuesday July 31 at 7 pm in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy.
29 July 2018
Moreno on “ideal” solution for Assange
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, who visited Spain and Britain last week, said the “ideal” solution would involve Assange accepting a “penalty” for having breached British bail conditions and then be “extradited to a country where he does not face any danger.”
A letter to Pope Francis seeking help for Julian Assange
A number of Catholic priests, activists, health workers and clergy have signed a Plea to the Pope, initiated by longtime activist Ciaron O’Reilly of London Catholic Worker, to ensure safe passage for Assange out of England into a place of safety.
27 July 2018
Moreno says he did discuss Assange with UK government
In a press conference in Madrid, Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno says he did discuss Assange’s situation with UK government this week and says, “the only person I haven’t spoken to is Mr. Assange” and that the “only thing” he wants is a guarantee that Assange won’t be executed.
Ecuador’s case for Assange’s asylum, six years on, is stronger than ever
In an op-ed for Open Democracy, Guillaume Long, professor of international relations and former Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Affairs, writes that Ecuador’s initial fears of political persecution — the main reason for granting asylum to Assange — have been proven right.
“With the case dropped in Sweden, the affair has gone a full circle and the key issue is Washington’s wrath with Wikileaks.” writes Long. “Ecuador has a choice. It can (…) demonstrate its respect for the internationally recognised principle of non-refoulement and uphold the asylum as long as its causes persist. Or it can hand Assange over to the British authorities making future extradition to the United States likely.”
Hundreds urge New Zealand to grant Julian Assange asylum
WikiLeaks supporters in New Zealand are gathering signatures to press for their government to offer Julian Assange safe haven. Greg Rzesniowiecki explains why he started the campaign:
WikiLeaks is one of the democracy’s sensors, providing vital information as to the civilisation brain or ordering system – our governments.
Where our governments attack Wikileaks they attack the democracy. Where they attack the democracy they attack us.
25 July 2018
Scott Ludlam: how WikiLeaks became a political Rorschach test
Former Australian Senator Scott Ludlam has written a defence of WikiLeaks that recalls the importance of their 2010-11 releases for global politics:
The WikiLeaks organisation has operated as a kind of political Rorschach test since at least 2010,… This malignant scatter of ink-blots was easy enough for most people to read: the disclosures were clearly in the public interest, given the distance between the officially curated version of the United States’ saintly presence in the world and the ugly raw material
24 July 2018
New York Times deputy general counsel: Assange “in a classic publisher’s position”
An audience of US federal judges at the Ninth Circuit’s annual Judicial Conference heard from David McCraw, the deputy general counsel of the New York Times and Barry Pollack, from Julian Assange’s legal team, on the potential ramifications of a US prosecution.
Speaking on a panel on the Law of Leaks, McGraw held that any prosecution would have inevitable repercussions for traditional news outlets (“I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks”) and that organisations innovating in journalistic practice were playing a valuable public service.
Our colleagues who are not only challenging us financially but journalistically have raised an awareness that there are different ways to report.
Barry Pollack noted that recent US criminal indictments that appear to refer to WikiLeaks as ‘Organisation-1’ are squarely attacking perfectly ordinary journalistic practice.
If you read the indictment that just came out on Russians and you look at what Organization Number 1, which is clearly WikiLeaks, is alleged to have done in that indictment, it is doing exactly what The New York Times and The Washington Post do every day of the week… He [Assange] is communicating with a source, the source provides him with information, he publishes that information.
There are no questions about the truthfulness or accuracy or authenticity of that information. And then he encourages the source to give him more information. He says ‘don’t give it to my competitors, give it to me. This story will have more impact if I publish it.’
23 July 2018
Reuters: the situation at the embassy is “coming to a head”
A report from Reuters cites a source stating that the situation is deteriorating at the Ecuadorian embassy. “The situation is very serious. Things are coming to a head,” the source, who spoke on condition on anonymity, told Reuters. He said the latest information from inside the embassy was, “It’s not looking good”.
In summary, the decision of the Court makes clear that Ecuador cannot return Mr Assange to the British authorities if there is a risk he will be extradited to the United States, which was the basis on which he was granted asylum.
22 July 2018
What we’ve learned from WikiLeaks
Flick Ruby recounts many of the ways the public has benefited from WikiLeaks’ releases, from exposing war crimes to using released documents in court cases, in an extended Twitter thread.
What have we learned from @WikiLeaks ? Friends, this thread will go for a while. Consider and evaluate whether this material is in the public interest as events regarding #WikiLeaks and #Assange unfold. Also, feel free to unfollow if you can’t hack it. https://t.co/Q41F078GPO
Glenn Greenwald reports that Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno is in London with the covert motive of negotiating with British officials to withdraw asylum for Julian Assange “imminently”, turning him over to UK police who have vowed to arrest him immediately.
Moreno has previously said Assange’s asylum would continue but with “conditions”; since then, the foreign minister who decided to grant Assange citizenship has been elected President of the UN General Assembly, replaced by the less sympathetic Jose Valencia Amores. When stepping into the new position, Amores said Ecuador seeks an “exit that is not traumatic.”
Inter-American ruling a victory for Assange
Though it didn’t mention Julian Assange directly, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that states granting asylum must provide safe passage to asylees in embassies.
The ruling “interpreted the reach of the protection given under Article 22 (7) of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article XXVII of the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, which recognize the right to seek and receive asylum in a foreign territory.”
19 July 2018
Stefania Maurizi: Inside WikiLeaks: Working with the Publisher that Changed the World
Stefania Maurizi, a WikiLeaks media partner for nine years, recounts her experience of working on a series of critically important document releases with an organisation being put under exceptional state pressure:
WikiLeaks is rather unique from many standpoints. As a media organization publishing exclusively secret or otherwise restricted documents on “invisible powers,” such as intelligence agencies, which citizens do not normally perceive as directly relevant to their lives, there is little doubt that WikiLeaks has the full force of the State against it. It is probably the only Western media organization to have been under continuous investigation by the U.S. authorities – and probably others—since 2010, and it is definitely the only one whose editor is arbitrarily detained in the heart of Europe.
15 July 2018
Persecution of WikiLeaks threatens press freedoms
Chris Hedges has written “The War on Assange is a War on Press Freedom,” explaining:
The extradition of the publisher—the maniacal goal of the U.S. government—would set a legal precedent that would criminalize any journalistic oversight or investigation of the corporate state. It would turn leaks and whistleblowing into treason. It would shroud in total secrecy the actions of the ruling global elites. If Assange is extradited to the United States and sentenced, The New York Times, The Washington Post and every other media organization, no matter how tepid their coverage of the corporate state, would be subject to the same draconian censorship. Under the precedent set, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court would enthusiastically uphold the arrest and imprisonment of any publisher, editor or reporter in the name of national security.
Hedges joins a chorus of voices warning of the threat to journalists everywhere if the US has its way with WikiLeaks. Human Rights Watch’s executive director Ken Roth said over the weekend:
Earlier this year, the Committee to Protect Journalists wrote, “By suing WikiLeaks, DNC could endanger principles of press freedom”
The notion that journalistic activity such as cultivating sources and receiving illegally obtained documents could be construed as part of a criminal conspiracy is, according to Goodale, the “greatest threat to press freedom today.” “It will inhibit reporters’ ability to get whistleblower information, because as soon as you talk to them in any aggressive fashion you could be guilty of a crime,” Goodale said.
13 July 2018
Why I stand with Julian Assange
Former State Department diplomat Peter Van Buren pens a defence of Julian Assange for the American Conservative, emphasising the gains WikiLeaks has made for oversight of government and the likelihood that this case represents a major encroachment of government power.
Wikileaks’ version of journalism says here are the cables, the memos, and the emails. Others can write about them (and nearly every mainstream media outlet has used Wikileaks to do that, some even while calling Assange a traitor), or you as a citizen can read the stuff yourself and make up your own damned mind. That is the root of an informed public, a set of tools never before available until Assange and the internet created them.
If Assange becomes the first successful prosecution of a third party under the Espionage Act, whether as a journalist or not, the government will turn that precedent into a weapon to attack the media’s role in any national security case. On the other hand, if Assange leaves London for asylum in Ecuador, that will empower new journalists to provide evidence when a government serves its people poorly and has no interest in being held accountable.
Freedom is never static. It either advances under our pressure, or recedes under theirs. I support Julian Assange.
3 July 2018
Today marks Julian Assange’s 47th birthday. Supporters worldwide have been drawing attention to his plight.
Geoffrey Robertson QC: Julian Assange faces a US extradition request if he has to leave the embassy
Renowned human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, discusses Julian Assange’s case in a new interview:
Julian Assange has exposed a great deal of the secrets of the modern establishment. When he was in court, in fact when I was acting for him, he performed a service to journalists by getting a ruling that they could tweet from court, which they’d never been allowed to previously.
There’s no doubt [that he is wanted by the United States]. We never hear about that from Downing Street, we hear it from the White House.
I think this is working up to be a major free press issue. He’s been in the Ecuadorian embassy for six years, the charges brought against him in Sweden have been withdrawn. He only has America to fear.
If he leaves the embassy, he will be arrested, held for a short time for a breach of bail and in that time the US foreign secretary will order an extradition request that will keep him in prison for years fighting a US extradition request to prosecute him as a spy.
‘This is a major free press issue. The US govt wants to prosecute WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange as a spy. He’s already living as a prisoner and the US wants to lock him up for 45 years.’ Watch renowned human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson: #FreeAssangepic.twitter.com/rvnDQIl7Co
“Ecuador and the United Kingdom, and of course Mr Assange as a person who is currently staying, on asylum, at our embassy” will decide the next steps, Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told reporters.
“It does not enter, therefore, on an agenda with the United States.”
29 June 2018
White House confirms US and Ecuador are coordinating over Assange
Earlier this week, ten US Democratic Senators sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, as he was traveling to Ecuador. The letter urged “him to raise concerns with President Moreno about Ecuador’s support for Mr. Assange at a time when WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes around the world.”
The following day, the White House released a statement to reporters confirming Pence did bring up Assange’s situation: “The vice president raised the issue of Mr. Assange. It was a constructive conversation. They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward.”
Independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone comments on the letter and response:
Why would US Senators care that Assange is receiving political asylum if his belief that the US government is trying to extradite him was a paranoid fantasy? The only known existing charge that Assange could be arrested for if he leaves the embassy is a bogus bail violation he was charged with a full 12 days after he applied for political asylum; nobody actually believes ensuring that Assange is prosecuted for that nonsensical charge is an urgent matter, let alone one so urgent it necessitates the full attention of ten sitting US Senators and the Vice President of the United States. Continuing to pretend that we don’t all know that the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning is trying to extradite Assange is a farce, and the correct response to anyone denying it is to laugh in their face.
27 June 2018
Comey killed discussions over Assange’s immunity deal
The Hillreported this week that a lawyer for Julian Assange, Adam Waldman, and the US Department of Justice were in talks in March 2017 to reach an immunity deal for Assange.
Waldman wrote to a DOJ rep:
Subject to adequate and binding protections, including but not limited to an acceptable immunity and safe passage agreement, Mr. Assange welcomes the opportunity to discuss with the U.S. government risk mitigation approaches relating to CIA documents in WikiLeaks’ possession or control, such as the redaction of agency personnel in hostile jurisdictions and foreign espionage risks to WikiLeaks staff.
Derived directly from this discussion of risk mitigation, Mr. Assange is also prepared to discuss (within the source protection boundaries expected of a journalist and publisher operating at the highest level of integrity) (i) a description of CIA information in the possession or control of WikiLeaks; (ii) the risks of third parties who may have obtained access to such information (not withstanding the foregoing, for the avoidance of doubt this category specifically and others generally will not include any information that may effect WikiLeaks obligations to protect its sources) and (iii) information regarding the timing of further publications in so far as they relate to the risk mitigation approaches developed.
But just the next day, The Hill reported that former FBI Director James Comey intervened, through Senator Mark Warner, to kill those discussions.
Chilean Political Refugee Cristina Godoy Navarrete Speaks in Support of Julian Assange
“Today 20 June is World Refugee Day. My mum arrived in the UK as a political refugee in 1976 after being imprisoned and tortured by the US-government supported Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.”
Assange Is a Journalist, Should Not Be Persecuted for Publishing the Truth
The threat of prosecution against Julian Assange for his work as editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks will be a key to defining what Freedom of the Press means in the 21st Century. Should people be allowed to know the truth if their government is corrupt, violating the law or committing war crimes? Democracy cannot exist when people are misled by a concentrated corporate media that puts forth a narrative on behalf of the government and big business.
20 June 2018
Yesterday rallies were held in major cities around the world, calling for Julian Assange’s freedom.
Supporters rally in London for the 6th anniversary of Assange’s detention
Today marks six years since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, seeking asylum from US/UK persecution. Assange lawyer and Courage Trustee Renata Avila remarked on the anniversary:
I was there as part of the legal team 6 years ago when @JulianAssange decided to exercise his human right to asylum. I hoped the UK was a civilised nation and it will respect the sovereignty of #Ecuador. Six years after, his arbitrary detention proves even more: its brutality.
Assange’s case means much more than the severe mistreatment – torture, as somehave said – of a single man whose commitment to bringing the dark deeds of government crimes to light has forced him to sacrifice seeing the outside world – even his own children – for the better part of a decade. Though his mistreatment has no place in any civilized “democracy,” the outcome of Assange’s case – if his extradition to the United States does come to pass – will have a powerful impact for journalism as a whole. Indeed, if the U.S.-led campaign to extradite and silence Assange is successful, it will invariably become the blueprint used by powerful governments like the U.S. to silence independent journalists the world over, and bludgeon them into submission.
Where is the voice of conscience to condemn what is happening to Julian Assange, whose only “crime” is publishing documents exposing the criminal activities and corruption of governments and other Establishment elites? Decades ago, the U.S. and “civilized world” had nothing but high praise for the courageous Mindszenty. He became a candidate for sainthood.
And Assange? He has been confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for six years —from June 19, 2012—the victim of a scurrilous slander campaign and British threats to arrest him, should he ever step outside. The U.S. government has been putting extraordinary pressure on Ecuador to end his asylum and top U.S. officials have made it clear that, as soon as they get their hands on him, they will manufacture a reason to put him on trial and put him in prison. All for spreading unwelcome truth around.
Vault 7 charges brought
Meanwhile, Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act charges have been brought against Joshua Schulte, the alleged source of the Vault 7 leak of CIA hacking tools published by WikiLeaks.
18 June 2018
Tomorrow, 19 June 2018, marks six years since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Rallies in support of Assange’s freedom, and freedom to use the internet, are planned around the world. See here for a list of global actions, and get in touch with us here to add your event or send us photos from your local action.
Tomorrow the UN Human Rights Council will hear a discussion of “Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and the Future of Rights and Freedoms in the West,” with Judge Baltasar Garzon, head of Assange’s legal team; Stefania Maurizi, the Italian journalist who uncovered important documents about Assange’s persecution; and Micol Savia, from the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.
— #FreeAssange! (tweets by campaign) (@JulianAssange) June 18, 2018
John Pilger and others speak at Australian rally
Courage trustee and investigative journalist John Pilger spoke at the Sydney Town Hall rally for Julian Assange. An abridged transcription of his talk, ‘Bring Julian Assange Home,’ can be found here.
Lawyers speak out for Assange’s rights
Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about Julian’s case.
Julian Assange’s Lawyer on 6 Years of Arbitrary Detention https://web.archive.org/web/20211214103148if_/https://www.rt.com/shows/going-underground/430067-assange-lawyer-global-life/video/5b277b09fc7e93d11e8b462f
Lawyer and human rights activist Kellie Tranter highlights the Australian government’s selective willingness to protect human rights.
the Australian government says it is ‘fully committed’ [to upholding international human rights law] but simultaneously cherry picks the human rights it wants to uphold or agitate for, depending upon what is politically advantageous to itself or its allies. In Assange’s case this “commitment” has never been translated into any sort of action.
14 June 2018
An exit without “trauma”
Ecuador’s new foreign minister Jose Valencia Amores replaces Maria Fernando Espinosa, the new President of US General Assembly who granted Julian Assange with Ecuadorian citizenship. Amores saidon Wednesday, 13 June, that Ecuador seeks a solution to Assange’s situation “that gives us an exit that is not traumatic, an exit that can not provoke a dissonance with international law (and that) serves the interest of the Ecuadorian State.”
UN meeting on Assange
Julian Assange’s Twitter account, run by campaign members while he remains without internet access, announced that on 19 June, the sixth anniversary of Julian entering the embassy, the UN will hold a meeting on his persecution:
— #FreeAssange! (tweets by campaign) (@JulianAssange) June 14, 2018
New details on Ecuadorian surveillance
Spanish newspaper El Diario has uncovered new details about Operation Hotel, Ecuador’s long effort to spy on Julian Assange’s every move within the embassy, unveiled by the Guardian last month. Based on confidential government intelligence reports, El Diario explains:
The parties of the security company do not limit themselves to detailing the incidents that were registered during those dates outside the embassy, where there were concentrations and some manifestations not too numerous, they also detail and photograph what happens inside the government building, where a network of security cameras registered all Assange activity. These images came to screens located in an apartment located 100 meters from the embassy in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in London . The cameras allowed the Ecuadorian Government to document a meeting that took place on April 4, 2017. “The Guest – as they refer to Assange – receives the visits of Praxis Film”, begins the extraordinary report dedicated to that appointment.
However, El Diario notes ample incorrect information within the reports:
The intelligence reports to which eldiario.es has had access are filled with errors and incorrect statements. Some names of visitors Assange received are not correct, there are misspellings and on some documents, and the Ecuadoran embassy is referred to as the Colombian Embassy. There are also mistakes in identifying the people with whom the WikiLeaks founder has access, like when the report speaks of Renata Avila, who it refers to as one of his Spanish lawyers from the office of Baltasar Garzon. Avila is not Spanish and she is not a lawyer in Garzon’s office.
Filmmaker Ken Loach is the latest to add his voice of support for Assange, with this statement:
The persecution of Julian Assange must end. To force him to remain in the Ecuadorian Embassy for fear of extradition to the USA is clearly political.
He is right to be fearful. In the current febrile atmosphere people in the US have called for his execution.
He has defended the public’s right to know what is done in their name when others who now attack him have run for cover.
It is time that Julian Assange is free to leave without fear.
The Washington Postmark the upcoming six-year anniversary of Julian Assange taking refuge in the embassy.
Free Julian Assange NZ have announced a Wellington protest in support of Julian Assange on 19 June, with a march planned from the Australia High Commission to the US Embassy to the UK Embassy.
John Jiggens writes in Independent Australia that ‘the long siege of Julian Assange’ is “ongoing and unfair”, with extensive comments from Irish-Australian Catholic Worker activist Ciaron O’Reilly, who said:
lf you marched against the Iraq War and over a million people marched in London alone, then what you did by marching is you incited people like Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. So if you serious about being anti-war then you have to accompany the people you incited, whether they be military resisters or whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning or publishers like Julian Assange.
I know from my own experiences of imprisonment for anti-war activity that the most minute expressions of solidarity carry a lot of weight in terms of nourishing resisters and I have been in the embassy with Julian when he’s received support mail from people and I’ve seen how he has been sincerely nourished by that and I would encourage everyone to write to him.
There’s an old saying that truth is the first casualty of war. Well maybe, as Julian points out, peace can be founded on telling the truth.
13 June 2018
Courage Trustee and investigative journalist John Pilger was interviewed by Dennis Bernstein about the ‘Curious Case of the Left’s Silence on Julian Assange.’ Pilger said:
They have not won, not yet, and they have not destroyed the man. Only the silence of good people will allow them to win. Julian Assange has never been more isolated. He needs your support and your voice. Now more than ever is the time to demand justice and free speech for Julian. Thank you.”
WISE Up Action have published a new interview with James Cogan, ;The Fight to Free Julian Assange is a question of political principle.’
Artists Tony Garnett, Davide Dormino and Costantino Ciervo demand freedom for Julian Assange.
Former high-ranking UN official Alfred M. de Zayas issued a statement of support:
Assange, whom I visited at the Ecuador Embassy in London, deserves the Nobel Prize for Peace. He and fellow whistleblower Eduard Snowden have done more for democracy, rule of law and peace than the many hypocritical politicians and journalists who attack and defame them.
12 June 2018
Australians take notice after High Commission visit
Following the news that Australian officials visited the Ecuadorian Embassy, Australians are showing their support for Julian Assange. Australian public high school teachers signed a resolution in support of the campaign for Assange’s freedom.
At Mintpress News, Whitney Webb says that the outcome of Assange’s situation could set a precedent for all Australians, calling on the Aussie government to protect him:
if Australia reneges on its obligations to protect Assange and fight for his rights, the implications such actions would hold for every other citizen of the country are as vast as they are chilling. It would set the legal precedent for Australia to allow any of its citizens to be detained, imprisoned and/or silenced by another government without charges, greatly weakening the rights of any Australian national living or traveling abroad. Essentially, it would mean that many of the rights granted to an Australian by right of one’s citizenship would evaporate the second he or she set foot on foreign soil.
11 June 2018
Australia providing consular assistance
Over the weekend it was confirmed that Australia was providing consular assistance in Assange’s situation after two officials from the High Commission in London visited the Ecuadorian Embassy. 7 News Melbourne spoke with Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson:
This week Julian Assange was back in the headlines again after it was confirmed Australia is providing him with consular assistance following a visit from two officials from the High Commission in London. #WikiLeaks#7Newspic.twitter.com/AZXB5OCAVY
Inspired by John Pilger’s statement calling for support, WISEUP Action has launched a postcard campaign, providing postcards emphasizing Assange’s right to free speech and his right to healthcare available for download.
5 June 2018
Ecuador’s foreign minister elected President of UN General Assembly
Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador’s foreign minister who approved Julian Assange’s citizenship and gave him diplomatic status, has been elected President of the United Nations’ General Assembly.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Monday, Espinosa said there was no set date for Assange to regain internet access.
Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, said last week that Espinosa made the decision to grant Assange citizenship. “I told the foreign minister she should, with complete freedom, choose how to solve the problem. And she chose that system. It wasn’t the most suitable, but I respected it,” Moreno said.
4 June 2018
Investigative journalist and Courage Trustee John Pilger has released a statement about Julian’s situation and the need for widespread grassroots support, entitled “Justice and freedom for Julian Assange mean free speech for us all.”
CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou explained the importance of supporting Assange in a recent video message. “I feel like we’re heading into an international crisis if we turn our backs on Julian Assange,” he said.
The unprecedented charges against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks constitute the most significant threat to the First Amendment in the 21st century and a clear and present danger to investigative journalism worldwide. But they also pose significant dangers to the technical community. This panel will explain the legal and political issues we all need to understand in order to respond to this historic challenge.
The talk explains and illustrates the procedural and technical details of the surveillance in and around the Ecuadorian embassy in London during the time Julian Assange stayed in there from June 2012 until April 2019.
Spanish judge José de la Mata takes a statement this Friday by videoconference from London to the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, about the alleged espionage he and his environment were subjected to at the embassy of Ecuador in the British capital, where he was held to avoid being extradited.
Assange, who is being held in London while waiting for his extradition to the United States, will go to the Westminster Court to hear the questions that the magistrate will ask via videoconference at the National Court.
The interrogation takes place in the framework of the investigation of the Spanish company Undercover Global – responsible for the private security of the Ecuadorian embassy in London – for its participation in that alleged spying plot.
Case management hearing for imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
Assange’s defense team outlined the main arguments it will make and witnesses it will call at the full hearing in February. Lawyers announced they will argue that the US-UK Extradition Treaty should not allow Assange’s extradition because it includes an exemption for political offenses. The defense will also include evidence of prejudicial statements from US government officials against Assange, along with information resulting from Chelsea Manning’s US court martial, and medical evidence of Assange’s deteriorating health conditions. Finally, Assange’s defense will include evidence from the Spanish investigation into the surveillance of UC Global, a private security company which spied on Assange’s legal, medical, and personal visits in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and sent recorded material to the CIA.
The court has confirmed that the extradition hearing will start on February 24, but instead of lasting 4-5 days as previously announced it will take place over 3-4 weeks.
Due to the capacity of the courtroom and high public interest in the process, a number of people have been denied access to the hearing including a delegation of two medical observers.
Assange’s next extradition hearing is scheduled for 23 January 2020.
A positive from Julian Assange’s hearing today: judge accepted the main hearing will take 3-4 weeks rather than 5 days so more & more people will see this trial as a farce, a political trial to punish Assange & deter whistleblowers
Article 19 and IFEX: Illegal surveillance of Assange’s conversations with his lawyers must not be used in court
“Recordings of conversations between Julian Assange and his lawyers and other visitors, made during his stay in the Ecuadorian embassy, should not be used in his extradition case or any prosecution.”
The organizations also reiterated their call on the UK court to reject the extradition of the founder and publisher of Wikileaks to the US, where he faces charges that relate to the publication of Wikileaks material. If found guilty, Assange could face up to 175 years in prison.
13 December 2019
Coverage of Julian Assange’s latest court appearance
Mr Assange appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court via a video link on Friday for the hearing, which was about extending his custody at HMP Belmarsh.
Defence lawyer Gareth Peirce said Mr Assange’s legal team was struggling to prepare documents for the case because their client had no access to the evidence.
“Without Mr Assange’s knowledge, some of it is recently acquired evidence, some of it is subject to months of investigation not always in this country, of which he is unaware because of the blockage in visits,” she said.
“Despite our best efforts, Mr Assange has not been given what he must be given, and we are doing our utmost to cut through this.”
Ms Peirce said the governor of HMP Belmarsh had prioritised family visits over legal visits and asked the judge to step in.
But the district judge Vanessa Baraitser said she had no jurisdiction over the prison service.
“I have no desire to stand in the way of any lawyer having proper access to their client and it’s in the interest of justice that they do,” she said.
“What I can do and say is to state in open court that it would be helpful to this extradition process that Mr Assange’s lawyers have the access to their client.”
A judicial investigation by the Audiencia Nacional in Spain, the country’s national court, is acting on allegations that while Assange held asylum inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the Wikileaks founder was spied on, listened to and had his computer data scraped and that this information was sold to US intelligence agencies.
Speaking to the International Law Association in Sydney, Guy Goodwin-Gill, a professor of law at the University of New South Wales who has provided advice on asylum issues to the Assange legal team, said Assange’s fight against extradition would be a long contest and that allegations he was being spied on would likely form part of legal arguments he could not receive a fair trial in the US. …
In allegations first reported by El Pais, a Spanish defence and private security company, Undercover Global SL, provided security for the Ecuadorian embassy, where Assange lived for seven years until April this year. According to a complaint lodged with the court by Assange, Undercover Global handed over audio and video of meetings Assange held with his lawyers and supporters inside the embassy to the CIA, breaching privacy laws and legal privilege.
Goodwin-Gill, the acting director of UNSW’s Kaldor centre for international refugee law, told the International Law Association: “UC Global set up a surveillance operation inside the Ecuadorian embassy: microphone, video cameras and eventually live-streaming, and it seems that everything was monitored, including lawyer-client meetings, and including the personal technical equipment of individuals who might be visiting Julian Assange at the embassy.
“It appears documents videos and audio recordings have been supplied to the US authorities, probably the CIA,” he said.
Included in sworn witness testimony provided to the Spanish court, Goodwin-Gill said, was evidence that a seven-hour meeting held between Assange and his legal team on Sunday 19 June 2016 was recorded. Goodwin-Gill’s name has been mentioned in testimony, alleging that the contents of his iPad, which had to be left outside the room during that meeting, were downloaded and the information passed to the US authorities.
Goodwin-Gill said the UK Extradition Act – criticised often because it imposes unequal probable-cause standards for US and UK extraditions – had a number of barriers to extradition that may be pursued by Assange’s legal team.
10 December 2019
Doctors, journalists, lawyers in defense of Julian Assange
“Medical doctors have a professional duty to report suspected torture of which they become aware, wherever it may be occurring. That professional duty is absolute and must be carried out regardless of risk to reporting doctors. We wish to put on record, as medical doctors, our collective serious concerns and to draw the attention of the public and the world to this grave situation.”
Despite worldwide media coverage of their open letter, the doctors have received no response from the UK government. For this reason the letter was followed up with an urgent appeal to the Secretary of State for Justice.
“We reiterate our grave concern that Mr Assange could die of deliberate medical negligence in a British prison and demand an urgent response from the UK Government.
“In our open letter, we urged the UK Government to change course immediately and transfer Mr Assange from Belmarsh Prison to a university teaching hospital for appropriate expert medical assessment and care. So far, we have received no substantive reply from the UK Government, nor has receipt of our letter been acknowledged.
“In our opinion, the UK Government’s conduct in this matter is irresponsible, incompatible with medical ethics and unworthy of a democratic society bound by the rule of law.”
“The VDJ therefore joins the appeal of more than 60 doctors to the British Home Secretary, who are demanding Assange’s transfer from the maximum security prison to a medical facility. Further detention is disproportionate and threatens the human right to health of Assange.
We demand the recognition of Julian Assange as a political refugee.
In particular, we demand that the United Kingdom comply with its obligation under the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits inhumane treatment and punishment (Article 3) and thus prohibits extradition to a state where such treatment is imminent and in which it has no chance for a fair trial.”
“Britain should follow the proud example of Iceland. That small nation firmly defended its sovereignty against a U.S. attempt in 2011 to exercise undue jurisdiction, when it expelled a huge team of FBI detectives that had entered the country and had started to investigate WikiLeaks and Assange without permission of the Icelandic government. The treatment of Julian Assange is below the dignity of the great nation that gave the world the Magna Carta in 1215 and the Habeas Corpus. To defend its national sovereignty and obey its own laws, the present British government must set Assange free immediately.”
We, journalists and journalistic organizations around the globe, express our grave concern for Mr Assange’s wellbeing, for his continued detention and for the draconian espionage charges.
This case stands at the heart of the principle of free speech. If the US government can prosecute Mr Assange for publishing classified documents, it may clear the way for governments to prosecute journalists anywhere, an alarming precedent for freedom of the press worldwide. Also, the use of espionage charges against people publishing materials provided by whistleblowers is a first and should alarm every journalist and publisher.
In a democracy, journalists can reveal war crimes and cases of torture and abuse without having to go to jail. It is the very role of the press in a democracy. If governments can use espionage laws against journalists and publishers, they are deprived of their most important and traditional defense – of acting in the public interest – which does not apply under the Espionage Act. …
As journalists and journalists’ organizations that believe in human rights, freedom of information and of the public’s right to know, we demand the immediate release of Julian Assange.
We urge our governments, all national and international agencies and fellow journalists to call for an end to the legal campaign being waged against him for the crime of revealing war crimes.
We urge our fellow journalists to inform the public accurately about this abuse of fundamental rights.
120 journalists and others in journalism-related roles from 6 continents have signed a statement to express “grave concern for Mr Assange’s wellbeing, for his continued detention and for the draconian espionage charges” and to demand his immediate release.
This case stands at the heart of the principle of free speech. If the US government can prosecute Mr Assange for publishing classified documents, it may clear the way for governments to prosecute journalists anywhere, an alarming precedent for freedom of the press worldwide. Also, the use of espionage charges against people publishing materials provided by whistleblowers is a first and should alarm every journalist and publisher.
In a democracy, journalists can reveal war crimes and cases of torture and abuse without having to go to jail. It is the very role of the press in a democracy. If governments can use espionage laws against journalists and publishers, they are deprived of their most important and traditional defense – of acting in the public interest – which does not apply under the Espionage Act. … We hold the governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Ecuador and Sweden accountable for the human rights violations to which Mr Assange has been subjected. … As journalists and journalists’ organizations that believe in human rights, freedom of information and of the public’s right to know, we demand the immediate release of Julian Assange.
We urge our governments, all national and international agencies and fellow journalists to call for an end to the legal campaign being waged against him for the crime of revealing war crimes.
We urge our fellow journalists to inform the public accurately about this abuse of fundamental rights.
We urge all journalists to speak up in defense of Julian Assange at this critical time.
Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer spoke with Tariq Ali, a renowned British journalist and co-editor of the recent collection of essays, “In Defense of Julian Assange.”
“What we did in assembling ‘In Defense of Julian Assange,’” explains Ali, “was to take every single facet of the case and present it before a reading public. And one reason we had to do this is because the [liberal] press have given up on him, having used WikiLeaks, having got their scoops, having raised their own circulations.” … “Everyone likes a whistleblower as long as he’s blowing the whistle on their opponent, or in some other regime, or so forth,” Scheer tells Ali.
On Monday 2nd December Brian Eno, Ann Wright, Medea Benjamin launched a mass mail-in to the Home Secretary.
We are giving out physical copies of the Christmas card (please see below). The free Christmas Cards are for you to send them to the Home Secretary, personalising them with your own message.
We also want people to email the Home Office with a copy of this card.
We want to flood the Home Office with this Christmas card on 19th December, when Assange’s next court appearance is due. (You can also do this immediately if you so choose.)
This is the Christmas card graphic. So, download the image of the Christmas card (right-click and scroll to ‘Save Image as…’ to save onto your computer) and then attach or copy it into the body of an email to the Home Office!
Strong support for Assange at the Walkleys Awards for Excellence in Journalism
Walkleys Awards for Excellence in Journalism opens with a powerful speech by the Walkleys Chair, Kerry O’Brien who reminds journalists of the need for solidarity in protecting free speech and the great injustice that Julian Assange is in prison in the UK for his journalism with Wikileaks that won the Most Outstanding Contribution Award in 2011
“Julian Assange is mouldering in British prison, awaiting extradition in the United States where he may pay for their severe embarrassment with a life in prison. Again, this government could demonstrate its commitment to free press by using its significant influence with its supposed ally to gain his return to Australia.”
Key note speech by Kerry Obrien at #Walkley Awards. Strong fierce speech slams corruption and pushes for free speech and free media. And highlights Assange’s struggle. Democracy is at risk. Massive round of applause. Deservedly. #MEAA pic.twitter.com/uD2CniCbWv
“Julian Assange may be extradited to the United States to possibly face a lifetime in prison. Among the charges, Assange is accused of publishing material that ‘could harm the national security of the US.’ The scope of those words should alarm every journalist.”
#MEAA slams govt policy on secrecy and calls for release of, yep, Julian #Assange. Whike he rits in an Englush jail, all journalism us the poorer. Paul Murphy, well done. pic.twitter.com/Es0vHlQWps
John Pilger continues: “On 12 December there will be an election. There has been no mention whatsoever during the campaign of the journalidt in Belmarsh prison who is Britain’s political prisoner”. He adds the Guardian and the NYT are “co-conspirators” in Assange’s perdecution pic.twitter.com/hsESXD8mcZ
UN special rapporteur @NilsMelzer outlined 4 ways UK is violating int’l legal obligations on Assange: by failing to: (a) prevent (b) investigate torture (c) hold to account the perpetrators and by (d) sending Assange to jurisdiction (US) where he would also be subject to torture. https://t.co/CNPXUMxVTt
‘Anything to say’ scuplture at Brandenburger Gate in Berlin with speeches from Sahra Wagenknecht (die Linke), Nils Melzer, Kristinn Hrafnsson and others
“Our governments feel threaten by Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, because they are whistleblowers, journalists and human rights activists who have provided solid evidence for the abuse, corruption, and war crimes of the powerful, for which they are now being systematically defamed and persecuted.”
Gerade wurde die Skulptur “Anything to say” von Davide Dormino am Brandenburger Tor #Berlin enthüllt für die whistleblower Edward #Snowden Chelsea #Manning Julian #Assange mit John Shipton, Kristinn Hrafnsson, Sahra Wagenknecht ua. Heute, 18h gehts weiter “Medien unter Beschuss” pic.twitter.com/BKglrGfEQS
The public hearing in Bundestag included speeches by MP Amira Mohamed Ali, John Shipton, Renata Avila, Nils Melzer, Kristinn Hrafnsson, MP Sevim Dağdelen, with special appearance by Daniel Ellsberg via video link and a letter from Edward Snowden. The second panel was chaired by MP Heike Hänsel and included speeches from journalists John Goetz and Michael Sontheimer, Christian Mihr of RSF, and others.
DiEM25’s Coordinating Collective member @avilarenata speaking now at the German Bundestag about #Assange:
“Please, hear me well: This is the opening shot of a new War on Journalism, and if we do not force it to a halt before the next shot is heard, this war will not be fought long on foreign shores.”
Edward @Snowden’s urgent appeal to the German Bundestag.
“Please, hear me well: This is the opening shot of a new War on Journalism, and if we do not force it to a halt before the next shot is heard, this war will not be fought long on foreign shores.” pic.twitter.com/Ucm1GtbCgt
Kevin Rudd says Julian Assange would pay an “unacceptable” and “disproportionate” price if he is extradited to the United States, arguing the WikiLeaks founder should not take the fall for Washington’s failures to secure its own classified documents.
In a significant intervention into Mr Assange’s extradition fight, the former Australian prime minister said US prosecutors had not made any specific allegations that anyone was seriously harmed as a consequence of the release of highly classified documents relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in 2010.
“The first meeting of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group discussed a range of issues, and in particular Julian Assange’s deteriorating health, the injustice of his potential extradition to the US, and the way in which his treatment is a direct attack on journalists and the public’s right to know,” Mr Wilkie said.
“The Group is unanimously and strongly of the view that the US extradition request of Mr Assange be rescinded and that he be allowed to return to Australia.
“The Group agreed that Mr Christensen and I would write to the United States Ambassador to Australia and the British High Commissioner to Australia seeking to meet with them to discuss how Mr Assange can be brought back to Australia as quickly as possible.”
More than 60 doctors from around the world have written an open letter to UK Home Secretary saying they fear Julian Assange’s health is so bad that he could die inside a top-security British jail.
“From a medical point of view, on the evidence currently available, we have serious concerns about Mr Assange’s fitness to stand trial in February 2020. Most importantly, it is our opinion that Mr Assange requires urgent expert medical assessment of both his physical and psychological state of health. Any medical treatment indicated should be administered in a properly equipped and expertly staffed university teaching hospital (tertiary care). Were such urgent assessment and treatment not to take place, we have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr Assange could die in prison. The medical situation is thereby urgent. There is no time to lose.”
24 November 2019
Tariq Ali and John Pilger launch ’In Defense of Julian Assange’ book in London
During his imprisonment at the Embassy of Ecuador in London, all the actions of Julian Assange were filmed by the cameras of a Spanish company officially ensuring the security of the premises, but working behind the scenes for the CIA. Visitors to the founder of WikiLeaks were also monitored, including French lawyer Juan Branco, who intends to file a lawsuit
For the past eleven months, Assange has been locked up in the notorious Belmarsh High Security Jail outside London. UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, recently sounded a full alarm about the prison conditions and the state of health of Assange.
According to Shipton, the son is now 50 pounds lighter than he was, and moved to the hospital part of the prison complex.
“I’m an old man, so I can’t exactly jump over the prison walls to get him. But I will do everything I can do. I can’t sit still and just watch this happen,” Shipton tells VG.
At a meeting on the premises of the European Parliament in Brussels last Thursday, MEPs, prominent public figures, and significant defenders of democratic rights condemned the US-led pursuit of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and called for his freedom.
The event reflected growing support for Assange throughout Europe and internationally. A German-language petition calling for Assange’s extradition to the US to be blocked has been signed by over 343,000 people.
The forum was sponsored by the European United Left–Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) parliamentary grouping, which is comprised of social democratic parties and self-styled left-wing organisations throughout the continent and in Britain. Some of its constituent parties have condemned the persecution of Assange and called for the European powers to take action against it.
The speakers from GUE/NGL stressed the sweeping implications of the US attempt to prosecute Assange for publishing activities carried out in Europe. They warned that it would create a precedent for the US to apply its domestic law to European citizens and to seek the extradition of journalists and activists who fall foul of the American government.
“Sweden’s decision to drop an investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange has both illuminated the situation of the WikiLeaks founder and made it more pressing. He must be defended against extradition to the United States in a case that digs at the foundations of freedom and democracy in both Britain and the US, and could see him sentenced to a total of 175 years.”
“The political nature of the Swedish case became apparent from the beginning. As early as 2013, emails from the UK Crown Prosecution Service, released under Freedom of Information, demonstrated that the prosecutors wanted to drop the case. However, pressure was placed on them to keep it open – and they were told not to get “cold feet”. The London-based organisation Women Against Rape point out that the case was pursued with “unusual zeal” and concluded it was only pursued for the simple fact that he has uncovered war crimes.
Let’s make one thing clear, any sexual misconduct allegations should be treated seriously. But, as Women Against Rape and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture point out, this case was never about protecting the women involved; it was about ensuring the focus was kept off the war crimes that WikiLeaks exposed, and assassinating Assange’s character.”
“Why does the prosecution close the case? The same reason why, in August 2010, it was closed by the first prosecutor who heard the case: lack of solid evidence to instill it. The decision only reinforces the alarming reality he faces: a political persecution of a journalist by the most powerful countries in the world. It is an exemplary case of lawfare, when a just cause, prosecuting crimes that outrage us all, becomes a tool for the destruction of dissidents. When the process is punishment and justice is politicized not to protect the vulnerable, but to block the right to truth or the right to decide of the people.”
Today’s collapse of Sweden’s #Assange investigation was inevitable. Given its gross arbitrariness, there must now be a full investigation, and accountability & compensation for the harm inflicted on #JulianAssange https://t.co/4YGDjxNCww
Now it’s time to investigate the #Swedish Prosecution Authority: why did it leave the #rape investigation against Julian #Assange at the preliminary stage for almost a decade without using #MLA? My Foia provides a FACTUAL aswer: @cpsuk told them NOT to question #Assange in London
and now it’s time to investigate the @cpsuk : why did the @cpsuk told the #Swedish Prosecution Authority not to go to London to question Julian #Assange using #MLA? Why did they destroy key emails about a criminal case still ongoing?
Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief: “Let us now focus on the threat Mr Assange has been warning about for years: the belligerent prosecution of the United States and the threat it poses to the First Amendment.⁰”
I don’t suppose an apology is pending from those who, for years, referred to Julian as ‘rapist’ and denied that the whole affair was about shoving him in a supermax US black hole for the crime of having exposed crimes against humanity committed in our namehttps://t.co/MoaOWrRlPr
There is now no fig leaf of an excuse to continue to detain #JulianAssange. In any functioning democracy that subscribes to the rule of law, the Home Secretary would order his immediate release. https://t.co/esqPVQVMI5
Remember: there were NEVER rape charges against @wikileaks founder Julian #Assange in #Sweden. Now the investigation closes due to weak evidence. Nine years after. Prosecutor to blame. Arbitrary detention declared by the @UN.
After his name was smeared for 9 years, after long 9 years, Sweden finally drops the “preliminary investigation”. Now let’s all focus on what this was always about – let’s save Julian’s life and prevent the extradition to United States #Assangehttps://t.co/ITNo1j58eT
Sweden today drops Assange investigation into sexual allegations. Never was a scintilla of evidence for the most phoney and obvious state fit-up in history. I wait for the personal apologies from virtually the entire fucking mainstream media. Julian jailed for publishing truth.
Sweden has finally dropped its investigation of Julian Assange – confirming nearly a decade late there was never a plausible case against him. But it successfully eroded public support, paving the way for extradition moves by the US for political crimes https://t.co/oVhKurLuV5
This will forever be Sweden’s chief contribution to the effort to silence a publisher, who exposed war crimes, human rights abuses, and countless examples of corruption and misconduct by the United States. https://t.co/1r11IMt3IQ
Sweden should be held to account for their unlawful behaviour. This whole episode of fabricating evidence and misdirection in order to deprive #JulianAssange of the public support he deserves brings shame on the Swedish judicial system. The UK have knowingly aided injustice https://t.co/zqUGXspUCf
The UN has investigated the procedural history of the Swedish “preliminary investigation” against Assange. The conclusions are clear. The matter became rapidly politicised and there has been no prospect for a fair hearing for many years. An investigation into how the justice system failed to withstand the political and media pressure and lessons learned should be pursued.
“Sweden has dropped its preliminary investigation into Mr Assange for the third time, after reopening it without any new evidence or information. Let us now focus on the threat Mr Assange has been warning about for years: the belligerent prosecution of the United States and the threat it poses to the First Amendment.”
La Repubblica has had access to the video and audio recordings of the Spanish company, UC Global, which spied on the WikiLeaks founder, his team of journalists and all of us who visited Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy for the last seven years. Video footage and audio recordings reveal an appalling violation of privacy. All the information gathered by UC Global was sent to US intelligence
Gareth Peirce, representing Assange, told the court her client was unable to adequately prepare for his “very challenging case” as the computer he had been given was not suitable.
“I will put it on the record, you will understand that we are working extremely hard on this very challenging case; however, the most important of the impediments that we are facing is Mr Assange’s ability to access what he needs to work on his own case,” she said.
“After months of battle he was provided with a computer but it is not the sort of computer needed to work on the case.” District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said she had no jurisdiction over prison conditions.
Ms Peirce replied she wanted to “exert pressure as best we can” on Belmarsh to improve the computer facilities.
Speaking outside court, a member of Assange’s team said the computer was unlikely to have internet access for research.
District Judge Baraitser remanded Assange in custody ahead of a substantive case management hearing next month.
He will also appear again at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on December 13 to confirm his remand in prison again before he ultimately appears for full extradition proceedings in February.
Former New York Times general counsel James Goodale:
While few would disagree that whistleblowers like Assange are entitled to what is popularly known as a public interest defense, the First Amendment provides much more protection – and more to the point, it is what the law demands. A public interest defense involves a balancing of the publication by WikiLeaks against the damages of such publication. This balancing process is inherently vague and unpredictable. This approach therefore to the defense of Assange is misplaced and does not provide him the full protection of the First Amendment.
There should be no question whether Julian Assange is entitled to full First Amendment protection for publication of the Afghanistan war logs, Iraq war logs, and State Department cables for which he was indicted on 11 April 2019 and on 23 May 2019. Further, there is no doubt that the test of such protection should be some iteration of the “clear and present danger test” as used in the Pentagon Papers case.
11 November 2019
Sweden responds to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer’s letter of September 12, refusing to explain its handling of the #Assange case, provide the requested information & engage in a constructive dialogue with Melzer.
Speaking to journalists in Geneva, John Shipton said that he had visited his son in a British prison two days ago and needed to “face the bitter truth” that “Julian may die in jail over a nine-year persecution for revealing the truth of war crimes.”
6 November 2019
John Pilger: “Every obstacle has been put in the way of Assange getting a fair hearing. And I can only repeat, this is a publisher and a journalist convicted of nothing, charged with nothing in Britain, whose only crime is journalism”
With a concert from M.I.A. and Lowkey and speeches by John Shipton, Vivienne Westwood, Srećko Horvat and John Rees hundreds of people gathered in front of UK Home Office to protest Julian Assange incarceration and potential extradition to the US
“… from Belmarsh this afternoon Julian sends his greetings and appreciation for your strength and determination to free him from Belmarsh and allow him to return to the bosom of his family .” -John Shipton pic.twitter.com/9SLkxOWqIC
The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, has expressed alarm at the continued deterioration of Julian Assange’s health since his arrest and detention earlier this year, saying his life was now at risk. … “In my view, this case has never been about Mr. Assange’s guilt or innocence, but about making him pay the price for exposing serious governmental misconduct, including alleged war crimes and corruption. Unless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, Mr. Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life.”
In his urgent appeal to the UK Government, the Special Rapporteur strongly recommended that Mr. Assange’s extradition to the United States be barred, and that he be promptly released and allowed to recover his health and rebuild his personal and professional life.
31 October 2019
#WeAreMillions exhibition and “Manning is Free” theater play in Oslo
#WeAreMillions exhibition opens in Vega center in Oslo with a debate organized by Norwegian PEN and the performance of theater play “Manning is Free.”
The debate “Importance of Whistleblowers” was moderated by journalist Kai Sibbern and the speakers included Rune Ottosen and Ingeborg Senneset from the Norwegian PEN as well as Michael Tetzschner. The debate was opened with the performance by artist Gitte Sætre who worked with wearemillions.org campaign and has just returned from London where she took part in the recent protest in front of Belmarsh prison.
The participants asked how high is the price whistleblowers like Manning, Assange and Snowden must pay to show the true face of war and and how important their revelations to Norwegian foreign and defense policy?
“Manning is free” theater play, directed by Line Heie Hallem and performed by Petter Winther, documents the life of Chelsea Manning.
The exhibition can be seen in the Vega center until the end of November.
Why has the western mainstream media remained silent about this? Doesn’t the prosecution of Assange and WikiLeaks for publishing secret documents open the door for the US government to go after other media outlets?
For those who are willing to see, it is very clear that this prosecution of Assange will inevitably lead to the end of national security reporting. Anyone who is engaged in real journalism should be scared, and recognise the fact if the US government can go after Assange and WikiLeaks for publishing classified documents, then they can be next. You would think this would make them speak up for Assange, not necessarily to defend him as an individual, but at least out of their own self-interest of protecting themselves. But as we can see, there aren’t enough journalists coming forward to do that.
The hideous treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange continues and many observers are citing his case as being symptomatic of developing “police state” tendencies in both the United States and in Europe, where rule of law is being subordinated to political expediency. … Because he is a journalist ostensibly protected by the First Amendment guarantee of free speech, the handling of the “threat” posed by journalist Assange is inevitably somewhat different than a leak by a government official, referred to as a whistleblower. Assange has been vilified as an “enemy of the state,” likely even a Russian agent, and was initially pursued by the Swedish authorities after claims of a rape, later withdrawn, were made against him. To avoid arrest, he was given asylum by a friendly Ecuadorean government seven years ago in London. The British police had an active warrant to arrest him immediately as he had failed to make a bail hearing after he obtained asylum, which is indeed what took place when Quito revoked his protected status in April. … The British court was oblivious to Assange’s poor condition, with Judge Baraitser telling the clearly struggling prisoner that if he were incapable of following proceedings, then his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later. Objections to what was happening made by both Assange and his lawyers were dismissed by the Crown’s legal representatives, often after discussions with the American officials present, a process described in full by Murray, who, after describing the miscarriage of justice he had just witnessed observed that Julian Assange is being “slowly killed in public sight and arraigned on a charge of publishing the truth about government wrongdoing.” He concluded that “Unless Julian is released shortly he will be destroyed. If the state can do this, then who is next?” Indeed.
A report from Julian Assange’s case management hearing at the Westminster Magistrates Court in London
Those in attendance were disturbed. Craig Murray professed to being shaken. “Every decision was railroaded through over scarcely heard arguments and objections of Assange’s legal team, by a magistrate who barely pretended to be listening.” His condition had deteriorated: receding hair, premature ageing, lost weight. Some cognitive impairment seemed to have set in: incoherent trains of thought, a trouble to articulate and recall events.
By the end of the session, we were left with a few points of consideration. The first, as ever, remains that British justice is, at best, a ceremonial cloak that continues to operate in the shadows of power. Observe formalities, but do away with the substantive matters. The second is an unfolding international dimension that links private security firms, the US intelligence services, and Ecuador in what can only be described as a political effort to eliminate a one of the most recognisable figures of publishing in recent memory. He must be done away with, mentally and physically eroded as person and being. Spiritually, he must be snuffed out.
As Julian Assange’s situation worsens, the Australian Lawyers Alliance is calling for the government to step in and resist attempts by the US to extradite him.
The motion was passed at its national conference and comes despite recent calls from Mr Assange to stop British authorities from releasing information about him to Australia and its high commissioner in London. This has effectively cut Australian officials from being able to monitor his physical and mental health, which they worry is depleting.
Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) national president Andrew Christopoulos called for Australia to intercede: “Julian Assange is an Australian and should be afforded the rights of an Australian citizen irrespective of whether we like or agree with his actions.”
Barrister Greg Barns, an adviser to the Australian Assange campaign, told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald his UK lawyers on Friday requested consular assistance following a recent inquiry from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“Julian’s lawyers are asking for the Australian government’s assistance in dealing with their client’s inhumane conditions in Belmarsh prison which has led to, and is continuing to cause, serious damage to Julian’s health,” Mr Barns said. … The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) passed a motion at its national conference on Saturday calling for the Australian government to do “all it can” to bring Assange home and resist US attempts to extradite him.
ALA national president Andrew Christopoulos said it was an important issue about the rule of law and protecting an Australian in a vulnerable position overseas.
“This is about standing up for the rule of law, fairness and the freedom to expose wrongdoing,” he said. “The reported decline of Julian Assange’s physical and mental health heightens the need for urgent government intervention. The government has intervened in cases like this before and should do so in this circumstance.”
Fidel Narvaez, former consul of Ecuador to London, speaks to Stefania Maurizi for Jacobin:
In the case of Julian, we were not obliged to provide asylum, but we saw it as a human-rights issue, and the right thing to do.
What happened immediately after you granted him asylum?
The United States, of course, was not happy, and I think they were acting through the United Kingdom. The official American discourse was to deny that they were going after Julian. But the day before we announced the asylum, the United Kingdom delivered a letter threatening to enter the embassy to arrest Julian.…
The Spanish newspaper El Paìs recently revealed that UC Global, the security company hired by Ecuador to protect Julian Assange inside the embassy, was actually spying on him, as well as his staff and every journalist, lawyer, and activist who visited him. El Paìs reported that the company shared the information with the CIA. Had you ever suspected anything like that?
I never trusted the security in the embassy. They were brought on in 2012, two months after Julian’s arrival. We needed security because the embassy didn’t even have cameras installed, but I think the company was very unprofessional. In order to secure their own employment they were misrepresenting Julian’s behavior inside the embassy.
Do you have any examples of this?
Let me describe one small episode. At the very beginning, during the night somebody was throwing something from the streets onto Julian’s windows. Assange immediately went to see the security guard and asked him to look through the security cameras. The guard didn’t speak English, he didn’t know what Julian wanted, he didn’t let Julian look at the cameras, and there was a little argument. What does the company do? It complains about him. On the video, I saw that the British police outside were having fun, throwing coins at Julian’s window at two o’clock in the morning.
So I complained about the company, saying that Julian was not the problem, and asking to see the video — which they never produced, claiming it was lost. I have to say, we did underestimate the extent of this company’s espionage.
The British justice system is blocking a Spanish judge’s request to question Julian Assange in London as a witness in a case exploring allegations that the Spanish security firm Undercover Global S.L. spied on the WikiLeaks founder while he was living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The British position, unprecedented in these types of requests for judicial collaboration, is being viewed by Spanish judicial bodies as a show of resistance against the consequences that the case could have on the process to extradite the Australian cyberactivist to the United States.
On September 25, Judge José de la Mata sent British authorities an European Investigation Order (EIO) requesting permission to question Assange by videoconference as a witness in the case opened by Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional, against the owner of UC Global S. L., David Morales, for alleged offenses involving violations of privacy and client-attorney privileges, as well as misappropriation, bribery, money laundering and criminal possession of weapons. Morales was arrested in September and released on bail.
Documents and video footage revealed by EL PAÍS show that UC Global S. L. spied on Assange’s meetings with his lawyers, where his legal defense strategy was discussed. Morales allegedly offered recordings of these and other conversations to US intelligence services.
Eleven federal MPs have joined forces to agitate for the Morrison government to intervene in the United States’ attempts to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from Britain to stand trial on espionage charges.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie said the cross-party group, which includes two Nationals MPs, two Labor MPs and members of The Greens and the cross bench, would provide a forum to “discuss matters” relating to Mr Assange returning to Australia. … Labor MPs Julian Hill and Steve Georganas have signed onto the group despite strong hesitance within the ALP’s leadership to advocate on his behalf.
“Whatever people may think of him, Julian Assange is an Australian and deserves consular assistance and support from the Australian government,” Mr Hill said.
“At the very least extradition to any country where there is any possibility of him facing the death penalty must be strenuously opposed, whether the USA or anywhere else.”
As president, Bernie Sanders would end the practice of using the controversial Espionage Act to prosecute government whistleblowers, the Vermont senator told The Intercept in an interview on Saturday ahead of a major rally in New York. … Asked if it is appropriate to prosecute whistleblowers using the Espionage Act, Sanders said, “Of course not.”
22 October 2019
Media reporting from Julian Assange’s case management hearing yesterday
Britain should block the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States on grounds that the prosecution is politically motivated and the charges against him amount to political offenses — two factors that by treaty would bar his handover, Assange’s legal team said Monday in a London court.
If this were a normal legal case, WikiLeaks’ lawyers would almost certainly be able to get the extradition request by the United States for their client Julian Assange thrown out on the grounds that his privileged conversations with his lawyers at Ecuador’s London embassy were secretly videotaped, and that the very nation that wants him extradited to stand trial in Virginia has obtained access to those videos. In a normal extradition case it would be hard to imagine Britain sending a suspect to a country whose government has already eavesdropped on that suspect’s defense preparations.
Assange’s legal team, in a note distributed outside the court, said there was evidence before Spanish courts of “a sustained series of actions by a Spanish security company in conjunction with US intelligence services to obtain information by unlawful acts, theft and clandestine surveillance within the Ecuadorian embassy whilst Julian Assange was present there”.
Summers also said Assange had not been given a computer to help organise his defence, was refused permission to speak to his US lawyers on the phone, and only last week for the first time was able to receive documents directly from his British lawyers.
One of Assange’s Australian advisers, barrister Greg Barns, who was briefed on the case overnight, said Assange’s health had deteriorated.
I was in the public gallery yesterday for the persecution hearing of the journalist #JulianAssange it was heartbreaking to see the suffering that is being inflicted one of the greatest journalists of our times. We as a country should bow our heads in shame.
It’s apparent that the legal process in the Assange case is being politicised and has been captured by the state – a deeply worrying development.@DCKennard and me have been investigating and Declassified UK will publish as soon as we can two major revelations. https://t.co/sK5tP9HTO4
You can’t defend the #rightoknow with any credibility unless you defend the guy who broke more major stories than just about anyone in the last decades. Quite obviously, he’s now being punished for leaking the truth, not for anything else. https://t.co/XGHuUiicvv
All those who believe power should be challenged by whistleblowers and journalists should speak out against the US attempt to extradite #JulianAssange, and against his continued incarceration. https://t.co/yfjhfzaSQN
This entire process raises questions about constitutional standards. Assange’s defense requested three more months to prepare the trial, which was not granted by the judge. (…) The court also refused a review of whether US extradition requests are generally admissible. And this despite the fact that a bilateral extradition treaty between London and Washington precludes extradition for political reasons. The obvious collusion over a request for a prolongation of the process between British Government legal representatives and the US Embassy on the sidelines of today’s trial suggests that the timetable should be adapted to the US election campaign and instrumentalized.
Instead of bowing to US interests, the British government and the EU must reject this extra-territorial political persecution. Today it is Julian Assange, tomorrow it can be any other journalist who has published truthful information in the public interest that runs counter to the narrative of the US government.
Julian Assange suffers from severe health problems, and every day he stays in prison only worsens his already precarious state. I appeal to the British Government to immediately release Julian Assange from prison!
I call on the Federal Government to condemn this US attack on journalists, press freedom and democracy, and to offer Julian Assange political asylum either in Germany or as part of a European initiative.
We will organize a hearing on this subject in the German Bundestag on 27th November.
The British govt’s treatment of Julian Assange is a grotesque abuse of state power.
The circumstances of his incarceration are tantamount to torture.
The Extradition Treaty clearly doesn’t apply in his case because his ‘offence’ was political, i.e. he exposed US war crimes. 2/5
I therefore call on all those who say they support, democracy, freedom of expression and pontificate about the importance of a free press, (particularly journalists, because Julian Assange is one of your own), to rise up and demand his release. 5/5#FreeJulianAssange
Time to raise our voices. We must prevent the extradition of an Australian citizen charged by a foreign power because of acts of journalism in the public interest. @MarisePayne: Please assist @withMEAA member Julian Assange. https://t.co/H3q4gP19SM
Judge Vanessa Baraitser declined request made by Assange lawyers to delay the proceedings by three months so they could have enough time to gather evidence.
Assange’s lawyer Mark Summers QC said that there is a criminal case ongoing in Spain where alleged agents for the US government are accused of spying on Assange’s computers and telephones as he talked to his legal team within the Ecuadorian Embassy. “The American state has been actively engaged in intruding on privileged discussions between Mr Assange and his lawyers in the embassy, also unlawful copying of their telephones and computers (and) hooded men breaking into offices,”, said Mr Summers.
The lawyers have also argued that the case is politically motived, driven by Trump administration to “signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information.” The full extradition hearing is due to be heard from February 24 2020. The next case management hearing will be held on December 19.
Assange reportedly struggled to say his own name today and when asked by the judge if he had understood events in court he replied: “Not really. I can’t think properly.”
“I don’t understand how this is equitable. This superpower had 10 years to prepare for this case and I can’t access my writings. It’s very difficult where I am to do anything but these people have unlimited resources.
Protesters and supporters gather inside and outside the courtroom
Former Mayor of London Ken Livingston, journalist John Pilger, German MP Heinke Hänsel, representatives of NUJ (National Union of Journalists) and many more gather inside and outside the courtroom to show support and demand freedom for Assange
Es sind skandalöse Bedingungen denen #JulianAssange ausgesetzt ist. Kein Computer, Dokumente hat er erst letzte Woche erhalten, Kontakt zu US-Anwälten bisher nicht möglich. Ein Antrag auf mehr Zeit wurde abgelehnt! Bei Anhörung anwesend: John Pilger, Ken Livingstone, @khrafnsson October 21, 2019
Amnesty International & MEAA reiterate: Assange must not be extradited
Amnesty International: “Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of these obligations.”
Today, Julian Assange is expected to appear for his full extradition hearing. Were Assange to be extradited to the USA where he would face a real risk of serious human rights violations, UK would be in breach of its obligations under intn’l HR law. https://t.co/R8oKyOL8QJ
He’s being psychologically tortured at the behest of the American government and nobody cares because he’s managed to make enemies of the entire bipartisan political/media class https://t.co/u1mB9IOM75
The judge overseeing Assange’s extradition just refused to grant a routine trial extension, despite new evidence. “It’s a political attempt to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information”, his lawyer said. “It’s legally unprecedented.” https://t.co/v04Vkj3f0s
A spontaneous crowd of international artists such as AFK, Gitte Satre and Oona Hassim joined forces in support of Julian Assange as the UK court considers his extradition to the USA where he faces 175 years in jail. Through analog hacking of murals, performances, photography, drawings and video they stand in solidarity with whistleblowers, journalists and activists being brutally repressed. They are telling these stories in hope to inspire a broad discussion about press freedom and the fragile boundaries of our democracies.
AFK, famous street-artist from Norway, unveiled an imposing mural in front of the Westminster Magistrate’s Court, where Assange’s extradition hearing was on October 21st. The artwork depicts Assange as a victim of torture, as stated by UN special rapporteur Nils Melzer, with press freedom in the crosshairs of the US Espionage Act.
After speaking at Courage’s panel discussion on Julian Assange and press freedoms at Columbia University, Knight First Amendment Institute lawyer Carrie DeCell spoke to ABC’s Radio National about the event, the Espionage Act charges against Assange, and the dangers his case pose to the freedom of the press.
Australian politicians join calls to stop extradition of Julian Assange
Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has joined calls for the Australian government to try to halt Julian Assange’s potential extradition from Britain to the United States on espionage charges, reported the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday
Mr Joyce joined former foreign minister Bob Carr in voicing concerns over US attempts to have the 48-year-old Australian stand trial in America, where he faces a sentence of 175 years if found guilty.
“If someone was in another country at a time an alleged event occurred then the sovereignty of the land they were in has primacy over the accusation of another nation,” Mr Joyce said.
“It would be totally unreasonable, for instance, if China was to say the actions of an Australian citizen whilst in Australia made them liable to extradition to China to answer their charges of their laws in China. Many in Hong Kong have the same view.”
Joining concerns about Assange expressed by the former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce and former foreign minister Bob Carr, the Victorian Labor MP Julian Hill told the Guardian Australia: “I do hold serious concerns about [Assange’s] situation.”
Mr Hill has declared Australia must vigorously contest any move to extradite the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the United Kingdom to the United States on espionage charges.
“He’s an Australian and at the very least we must be vigorously consistent in opposing extradition to countries where he might face the death penalty.”
12 October 2019
British musician M.I.A. visits Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison
World famous rapper M.I.A. visited Julian Assange in Britain’s Belmarsh Prison on Saturday. “The basic bottom line is that he’s in there because he exposed some war crimes” she said to reporters after the visit.
Today, Friday, German MP Andrej Hunko (DIE LINKE) observed a hearing in the extradition proceedings against the journalist Julian Assange as part of an individual European policy mission in London. The short “technical hearing” dealt with numerous extradition cases. Assange himself participated through a video call. A further hearing with Assange’s physical presence was scheduled for 21 October. The trial concerns a possible extradition to the USA, where the journalist is threatened with life imprisonment or even the death penalty for publishing material on war crimes, among other things. Andrej Hunko explained:
“The hearing lasted only a few minutes and I could only get a very limited idea of the state of Assange. But he seemed physically and psychologically weakened. Recently UN expert Nils Melzer had declared that Assange shows all symptoms of psychological torture.
In front of the court buildig I, together with other international supporters, spoke out against the extradition of Julian Assange. His political persecution is a worrying attack on press freedom and should be condemned by all democrats.
I also had the opportunity to speak to a lawyer from Assange’s defence team. Despite the odds, she was optimistic that she would win the trial and avert extradition.”
10 October 2019
Two upcoming Assange hearings
Tomorrow, Friday 11th October, Julian Assange will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court via video-link for there to be a brief mention of his case at approximately 10am. The reason for this hearing is the requirement that an individual be produced before a court regularly whilst awaiting a full consideration of his case.
A fuller court appearance, a “case management hearing”, will take place on Monday 21st October. This will be the first opportunity for a number of important issues in the case to be raised. Undoubtedly of concern and frustration for those following what has been happening both to Julian Assange himself and to the extradition case, there has been a lengthy period of relative silence in which essential defence preparation has been on going. At the 21st October hearing, many aspects of the future of his extradition challenge will be made clear. The context will be the timetable of future proceedings and a review of the progression of defence arguments and evidence.
At the case management hearing on 21 October, it is expected that Julian Assange will appear again by video-link.
“Today, in Federal Court in the Eastern District of Virginia, Jeremy Hammond was found in contempt for refusing to answer questions posed to him by a grand jury. This grand jury is the same grand jury currently holding Chelsea Manning in contempt for bravely refusing to answer their questions.
“We do not know what questions the grand jury is investigating. Moreover, it is unclear whether or not the federal prison sentence he was serving for which he was due to be released from just two short months from now, will be suspended as the result of being found in civil contempt.
“By removing him from FCI Memphis before his time in RDAP was completed, the government has added a minimum of six months onto Jeremy’s sentence. Judge Trenga has the option of jailing him indefinitely for contempt. The decision to compel Jeremy to testify despite his outspoken, long-standing anarchist beliefs and support for myriad brave grand jury resistors, only to place him under contempt when he adheres to those same core beliefs should be seen as little more than cruel and punitive.
“Jeremy has held strong to his beliefs over the past seven years. In fact, being subjected to the horrors of the legal system over and over again has been one of the defining factors that has strengthened Jeremy’s beliefs. There is nothing a grand jury could do or say that could compel Jeremy to testify. Jeremy made it clear from the beginning of his case that he had no intention of cooperating with the government, and that hasn’t, and will never change. Any attempts to try to force him to testify through prolonged incarceration serves to do nothing but further punish Jeremy for his political beliefs. This highlights one of the many problems with grand juries, and one of the many reasons why they should not exist, and why it is the correct and moral stance to resist them.”
Join us as Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, the Courage Foundation, the Knight First Amendment Institute, and the Open Society Justice Initiative bring together distinguished panelists, including human rights and national security experts, United Nations Rapporteurs, and freedom of expression lawyers, to discuss all sides of the debate around WikiLeaks’ publishing, Assange’s prosecution, and the future of blowing the whistle.
Agnes Callamard – Director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression; UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions
Sandra Coliver – Senior Managing Legal Officer for Freedom of Information, Expression, Assembly & Association at the Open Society Justice Initiative
Carrie DeCell – Staff Attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute
Nils Melzer – UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; Human Rights Chair at the Geneva Academy; Professor of International Law at the University of Glasgow
The panel discussion will be live-streamed on Twitter by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression @ColumbiaGFOE
David Morales, the owner of the Spanish security company that was in charge of protecting the Ecuadorian embassy in London while Julian Assange was living there, has been arrested and released on bail, judicial sources have told EL PAÍS. The director of UC Global S. L. is being investigated by Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional, after allegedly ordering the private conversations of the WikiLeaks founder to be spied on, as well as supposedly passing the information collected to the United States’ intelligence services.
Morales’ arrest took place on September 17 in the southern Spanish city of Jerez de la Frontera, which is where the security firm is based. The information had not come to light until now given that the investigation is under seal.
Police officers searched the company’s offices and also seized hard disks and documents, all of which are now being analyzed by the judge in charge of the case, José de la Mata. According to judicial sources, two firearms with their serial numbers erased were found in Morales’ home, as well as €20,000 in cash. Morales was taken to Madrid were he was questioned at the High Court before being released on bail. His passport was taken from him and his bank accounts frozen. He currently has to check in at the High Court every two weeks.
“The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on 11 October. Why I support the nomination of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.”
The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on 11 October. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have been nominated for the prize again this year, as they have since 2010. As the first staffer of the campaign that won the Peace Prize in 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), I support this nomination for a number of reasons.
The vast majority of governments on this planet want nuclear disarmament negotiations to occur and produce results. ICAN has been mobilising this willingness to push for a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons. From the outset, the campaign deployed accurate information to mobilise public opinion and reeducate a new generation. In facing the truth about nuclear dangers, answers became available and courageous action was taken. Facing the truth about climate change similarly involves the public having accurate information and courageously acting on it.
WikiLeaks and Assange have made a great deal of information available about nuclear weapons and the nuclear industry. A search on the WikiLeaks site for the word ‘nuclear’ brings up 284, 493 results. These documents traverse the nuclear fuel cycle – from uranium mining to nuclear waste – with many thousands exposing nuclear energy industry giants, and nuclear weapon threat assessments, numbers, doctrines and negotiations.
The CIA had access to the server where the company stored the profiles of hundreds of people who visited the WikiLeaks founder during his stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London
David Morales, the director and owner of Undercover Global S. L., the Spanish defense and security company in charge of protecting the Ecuadorian embassy in London during Julian Assange’s long stay there, called on his team to catalogue “the Russian and American citizens” who visited the cyberactivist as a maximum priority, according to testimonies and documents to which EL PAÍS has had access. The company allegedly spied on the WikiLeaks founder for the US intelligence services, and in the wake of revelations published by this newspaper is being investigated by the Spanish High Court, the Audiencia Nacional.
Morales gave written instructions to his employees in London for them to give advance warning of the priority targets from both countries. All of the information collected about these and other visitors was sent to an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server in Jerez de la Frontera, the headquarters of UC Global S. L., in southern Spain. This kind of “big brother” was the place were all of the information collected was stored in an orderly fashion, including files from cellphones, profiles by nationality (Russians, Americans, Germans, etc.), professions, and documents from attorneys, diplomats, journalists, doctors, and so on. … The monitoring of the dozens of people who visited Assange during the seven years he was in the embassy was comprehensive. But in the case of the priority targets – Americans, Russians, attorneys and journalists – it was intensified as much as possible. Employees of UC Global S. L. took apart and photographed the cellphones of American journalists who visited the founder of WikiLeaks, according to testimony and graphic documents to which EL PAÍS has had access. Their visits were monitored, the video and audio were recorded, and reports about the conversations were drawn up and were sent to the server in Jerez de la Frontera, to which the CIA allegedly had access.
All of the people who visited the cyberactivist during his stay at the diplomatic building were obliged to hand over their bags, computers, electronic devices and cellphones at a security checkpoint. What the assortment of attorneys, journalists, politicians, doctors and friends of Assange who visited the embassy were unaware of is that some of them had been designated by Morales as “priority targets.”
And that involved a report for each of them with the date of the meeting, a copy of their passport, the content of the conversation and a video of the meeting. And on some occasions, opening up the casing of their cellphone in order to locate and photograph its International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, a unique code that identifies a device and is one of the most valuable pieces of information for anyone looking to hack a phone. When a cellphone connects to a network, this identity number is automatically transmitted.
Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North, has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons, condemning the treatment and imprisonment of Julian Assange and calling for his release. As of this writing, 3 more MPs — Independent Kelvin Hopkins, and Ann Clwyd and Ronnie Campbell of Labour — have co-signed the motion.
That this House condemns the on-going mistreatment and imprisonment of investigative journalist Julian Assange by the UK; agrees with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that his treatment appears to contravene the principles of necessity and proportionality envisaged under human rights standards; opposes any attempt to extradite Mr Assange to the United States, either directly from the UK or by onward extradition from Sweden; believes that his case has broader consequences for media freedoms, freedom of speech and civil liberties in the UK; and calls on the Government to ensure that Mr Assange is released, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement are respected and that he is afforded the right of compensation for his mistreatment by the UK.
2 October 2019
John Shipton speaks up about the treatment of his son Julian Assange by the British authorities and visits several European states to bring public attention to the persecution of Assange over his role as a publisher and author.
On Wednesday Mr. Shipton met with Ms. Sevim Dagdelen, die Linke MP in the German parliament. Speaking at the press conference he said he does not just fight for his son, but for law and freedom in general and pleaded with German citizens and the government to recognize that it is in their own interest to stand up for compliance with international conventions and liberal rights: freedom of the press, freedom of expression and protection against unfounded extradition. Ms. Dagdelen called on the German government to help secure better prison conditions and fair treatment for Assange. “The defense of freedom of Julian Assange is the defense of freedom itself”, she said.
Press conference full video:
Mr. Shipton has given several statements, speeches and interviews, bringing attention to the appalling conditions Julian Assange faces in Belmarsh prison:
“He is completely isolated and is not even given the opportunity to have full contact with those who will represent him in court. While Julian is rotting away in prison, the United States continues to bomb and murder people. Julian is subject to state-organized sadism and the United States wants to see him dead.” (Proletaren)
“Julian has lost 15 kilos in weight, is held in Belmarsh Maximum Security prison hospital 22 hours per day in solitary confinement. He can receive two, two-hour social visits per month.” (MintPressNews)
“The only people who are breaking the law are the UK Government and the Crown Prosecution Service” (inews)
John Shipton’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
Hearing in Quito – Assange’s alleged belongings allowed to be taken by the US despite chain of custody being broken
Julian Assange’s Ecuadorian lawyer Carlos Poveda has withdrawn from the hearing on recognition, exhibition and extraction of the information contained in the digital devices seized at the Embassy of Ecuador in London. He argued that the chain of custody has been broken and the right to defense has been violated.
Ecuadorian authorities have allowed US to take material Ecuador claims belonged to Assange, despite a decision by an Ecuadorian judge that the material should NOT be handed to the US and despite chain of custody having been broken.
AHORA: La Defensa de Julian Assange se retira de la audiencia de extracción de dispositivos digitales de Julian Assange que se instaló en Criminalistica de Quito. Argumentó que se ha roto la cadena de custodia y vulnerado el derecho a la defensa. @CNNEEOctober 2, 2019
The hearing was attended by the officials of the Ecuadorian Prosecutors Office, delegates of the United States and Assange’s lawyer. Carlos Poveda, a lawyer for Assange, told CNN that he does not know what exactly is going to be extracted on those devices and said he is worried about the turn the investigation may take after this diligence. September 2019
There have been no noticeable changes to Julian Assange’s prison conditions or treatment since his bail sentence ended on 22 September and his imprisonment on remand for the United States’ extradition request began the following day. He remains in effective solitary confinement within healthcare, spending 21-23 hours in his cell every day and with “controlled moves” every time guards move him from his cell to an appointment or outside to exercise, meaning the corridors are cleared and the prison goes on lockdown during his movement.
Eileen Chubb presents Julian Assange’s award to Julian’s father, John Shipton (click for source)
On Saturday, 28 September, supporters gathered outside Belmarsh as Eileen Chubb presented Assange with the 2019 Gavin MacFadyen Award, jointly given by Compassion in Care and the Whistler and accepted by Julian’s father John Shipton on Julian’s behalf. When Julian was moved from his cell through prison corridors to the exercise yard that day, he was able to see the protesters from afar, saying he saw hundreds of supporters outside. In his limited interactions with others, he was told that guards and other prisoners had heard heard the protest as well. But when Julian’s exercise time ended, prison guards took him back to his cell by a different route, one they’ve never used in the past for such moves, so that he couldn’t see the supporters as he walked.
On Sunday, 29 September, a man in the cell next door to Julian in Belmarsh’s health ward was apparently driven to desperation. The prisoner set fire to or in his own cell, sending smoke into the corridors and into the nearby cells. A day later, the inmate is back in the same cell.
Assange’s next administrative hearing is scheduled for 11 October 2019 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Undercover Global S. L., the Spanish defense and private security company that was charged with protecting the Ecuadorian embassy in London during the long stay there of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, spied on the cyberactivist for the US intelligence service. That’s according to statements and documents to which EL PAÍS have had access. David Morales, the owner of the company, supposedly handed over audio and video to the CIA of the meetings Assange held with his lawyers and collaborators. Morales is being investigated for this activity by Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional. … The secret probe is the consequence of a criminal complaint filed by Assange himself, in which he accuses Morales and the company of the alleged offenses involving violations of his privacy and the secrecy of his client-attorney privileges, as well as misappropriation, bribery and money laundering. The director of UC Global S. L. has not responded to calls from this newspaper in order to confirm his version of events. … Morales called on his employees several times to keep his relationship with the US intelligence services a secret. … After the installation of new video cameras at the beginning of December 2017, Morales requested that his technicians install an external streaming access point in the same area so that all of the recordings could be accessed instantly by the United States. … Morales ordered his workers to install microphones in the embassy’s fire extinguishers and also in the women’s bathroom, where Assange’s lawyers, including the Spaniard Aitor Martínez and his closest collaborators, would meet for fear of being spied on. The cyberactivist’s meetings with his lawyers, Melynda Taylor, Jennifer Robinson and Baltasar Garzón, were also monitored.
The UC Global S. L. team was also ordered by its boss to install stickers that prevented the windows of the rooms that the WikiLeaks founder used from vibrating, allegedly to make it easier for the CIA to record conversations with their laser microphones. They also took a used diaper that from a baby that was on occasions taken to visit the activist in order to determine if the child was his by a close collaborator.
The former military man also planted microphones in a number of decorative elements inside the embassy, which were photographed for their reproduction in Spain. He also wanted to install them in the room used by “the guest,” as Assange was referred to in his reports, but some of his workers, concerned over the illegality of these jobs, warned him that they could be discovered.
28 September 2019
Eileen Chubb delivers Julian Assange’s 2019 Gavin MacFadyen Award
It’s difficult to imagine, even for nine minutes, the choices made over the last nine years—the snap decisions, bookshop visits, bus trips, gardens dug, gifts wrapped—but almost all of them he can’t relate to except as a distant memory. This radically changes normal conversation with Julian. Nothing is normal; every step of the legal and political process over the last nine years has been anomalous, and the context and pretext too have been manipulated by any number of strategies, some of which have been leaked, to infect and affect the perception of him, his work and his supporters. This radically changes normal conversation about him, even with some of my most thoughtful friends.
I hug farewell a much thinner man than the one I formerly knew, and a different person disappears into the hallway when the visit is over, although both of our left fists are raised, as usual.
Julian Assange’s father, John Shipton, gave an interview to Strategic Culture Foundation over the weekend. After arriving from his home country of Australia, Shipton is visiting several European states, including Russia, to bring public attention to the persecution of Julian Assange by British authorities over his role as a publisher and author.
Can you describe the current prison conditions for Julian and his state of health?
Julian has lost 15 kilos in weight, is held in Belmarsh Maximum Security prison hospital 22 hours per day in solitary confinement. Nils Melzer, United Nation’s special rapporteur on torture, visited in company with two people expert in recognizing the effects of torture. Nils’ report stated Julian showed the effects of torture physically and mentally. Since Nils’ visit in May 2019, Julian continues to lose weight, now totaling 15 kilos. Nils and company describe Julian’s deeply distressing condition in firm language. UN report linked.…
The latest development this month on September 13 saw a British judge rule that Julian’s detention in London’s max security Belmarsh prison is to be extended indefinitely despite him being due to be released on September 22 after serving his time for a bail infringement back in 2012. What, in your view, is objectionable about the latest ruling by the British judge?
The judge, Vanessa Baraitser, made her own application for Julian’s bail which, with bottomless ignominy, she promptly refused. Baraitser in summing her judgement used the phrase, “likely to abscond”. Julian has partaken of legal conventions of asylum, and to which the United Kingdom is a signatory, reviewed and supported by 32 states in the American Organization of States, and he has ceaselessly offered Swedish prosecutors opportunity to interview him on allegations or travel to Sweden if guarantees of no onward extradition to the United States. Stephania Maurizi’s Freedom of Information requests of United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecuting Service and Swedish Crown Prosecuting Authority had revealed irregular anti-procedural state cooperation keeping Julian in Ecuador’s London embassy. Mini Adolf Eichmanns all of them are.
Swedish prosecuting authority has had four prosecutors, two interviews, one in Sweden 2010 and 2017 in Ecuador’s London embassy, during nine years under regulations stating that cases must be progressed. To land a man on the moon took eight years!
This is prosecutorial and judicial insouciant malice towards Julian.
What are your concerns about what could happen if your son is extradited to the US where he is facing charges of violating the Espionage Act?
News: After public pressure, Assange receives hundreds of letters
Last week, we reported that Julian Assange had not received letters for a month. Following public outcry, HMP Belmarsh has delivered Assange’s backlog of mail—hundreds of letters from supporters.
Hearing mishap cuts Assange’s medical visit short
On 20 September 2019, a week after the ‘technical hearing’ in which Julian Assange was preemptively told that he would not receive bail (a full week before his sentence was due to end), Assange’s name appeared on Westminster Magistrates’ court schedule. Assange was not due to appear in court that day, but an apparent miscommunication within Westminster Magistrates’ put his name on the schedule. This led HMP Belmarsh to move Assange to prepare him to appear in court via videolink, without explaining to him why they were doing so. No hearing was held, and when the court realised the mix-up, Assange was taken to a scheduled medical appointment. But because of the lengthy delay—as part of his isolating conditions, all hallways need to be cleared and locked down for Assange to move within the prison—Assange was late, losing a full hour of the doctor’s visit.
On 22 September 2019, Julian Assange’s sentence for a bail violation conviction ended, but he was not released from HMP Belmarsh. Beginning today, 23 September, the United Kingdom is detaining Julian solely on behalf of the United States, which requests his extradition and has charged him with 18 counts carrying 175 years in prison for publishing information in the public interest.
Before Assange’s lawyers even had the opportunity to file a bail application, and without giving notice that she would do so, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser preemptively announced that when his sentence ended, she would deny bail and continue to detain him.
You previously said in relation to Assange’s residence in the Ecuadorian embassy in London that the UK was putting the most pressure on Ecuador. In what ways?
“I can tell you in general… how tense the situation was. Certainly the British governments… were very aggressive towards Ecuador, and wanted Ecuador to expel Julian Assange. They said it in a very forthright [way]. In diplomacy you have different levels of directness, and I think they used the maximum level – very aggressive.” … “Going back to what the British authorities were saying: they were saying this is about the Swedish case. And here we are in 2019 with an extradition request made by the US, that’s been accepted by British authorities… And all along, British authorities were telling Ecuador – and representatives of the Ecuadorian government, myself and others – that they would have nothing to do with a US extradition.
I think what that shows is that the successive British governments… were not telling us, the Ecuadorian government, the truth.” … “at one point the Moreno government decided to put Assange under a regime of total isolation. I think what they were hoping was that Assange would walk out of the embassy by his own will and they wouldn’t have to expel him – a form of torture, as denounced by the special rapporteur on torture… Basically [I think] they wanted Assange to crack, give in and walk out – they failed, they underestimated his resilience.”
Pamela Anderson speaks to Good Morning Britain about Julian Assange’s imprisonment
WikiLeaks’ Kristinn Hrafnsson on Assange’s persecution
The WikiLeaks editor-in-chief spoke to Pushback’s Aaron Mate about Julian Assange’s prison conditions, his potential extradition, the media’s role in his persecution, and the outrageous treatment of Chelsea Manning.
UN torture expert Nils Melzer and journalist John Pilger, who have both visited Julian Assange in prison at HMP Belmarsh, spoke to the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom about Assange’s health and prison treatment.
Two weeks after their visit, and 49 days into Assange’s detention, Assange was relocated to the hospital wing of Belmarsh. And a court hearing, on his extradition to the U.S., had to be postponed. It was deemed Assange was not medically fit to participate in the proceedings, even via video link.
What Assange is going through in prison is “psychological torture”, Melzer says emphatically. He came to this conclusion after his visit and published an official UN statement repeating this. … Despite being denied access to the library. Assange has been given one book to read, Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom. But in Pilger’s visits, Assange comments on “the bleak irony of reading a book about someone who spends 27 years in prison.”
Continuing to list what Assange is denied, Pilger adds: “He is not allowed to fraternise with other prisoners.”
“He is denied the tools with which to prepare his defence – certain documents and a computer. He is not able to call his American lawyer.”
Pilger is quick to point out the reason for Assange’s imprisonment: “Remember, he has committed the merest offence – skipping bail. He skipped bail so that he would not face extradition to the United States where a kangaroo court and a lifetime in prison awaits him.”
In a surprise “technical hearing” at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 13 September 2019, Julian Assange was told that he will continue to be detained at HMP Belmarsh to the United States’ extradition request even after his bail sentence ends on 22 September 2019. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who will preside over Julian’s extradition hearing, told Assange, who appeared by video-link,
“You have been produced today because your sentence of imprisonment is about to come to an end. When that happens your remand status changes from a serving prisoner to a person facing extradition.”
The judge’s comments did not appear to be part of any formal ruling, as no bail application had yet been made.
Read more, including the judge claiming Assange “absconded” when he sought asylum, more details on Assange’s prison conditions, and Labour MP Chris Williamson’s reaction to the news of Julian’s continued imprisonment.
Once Assange’s bail sentence ends and he continues to be detained,
“all the excuses for Assange’s imprisonment which so-called leftists and liberals in the UK have hidden behind will evaporate. There are no charges and no active investigation in Sweden, where the “evidence” disintegrated at the first whiff of critical scrutiny. He is no longer imprisoned for “jumping bail”. The sole reason for his incarceration will be the publishing of the Afghan and Iraq war logs leaked by Chelsea Manning, with their evidence of wrongdoing and multiple war crimes.”
“Why are leaks about the British ambassador to Washington a matter of press freedom and leaks from Julian Assange a matter for the courts?” … As British prime minister Boris Johnson said about the threats to prosecute the Mail on Sunday: “A prosecution on this basis would amount to an infringement on press freedom and have a chilling effect on public debate.”
A powerful case for the freedom to publish. Can someone please explain why Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Isabel Oakeshott’s diplomatic cables story in the Mail on Sunday fall into different categories? Journalists across the world are coming under increasing harassment and threat of jail. I don’t believe we can be selective about who we support and who we condemn.”
12 September 2019
Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson on the “terrifying precedent” his case sets
World famous fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood visited Julian Assange in Britain’s Belmarsh Prison yesterday. She gave impassioned comments afterwards condemning the persecution of the WikiLeaks founder and calling for his freedom. … Westwood reported that Assange had “lost weight” since she saw him last and that he was being held in conditions of virtual solitary confinement. “The state he’s in, it’s a wonder,” she said, adding: “I don’t know how I would cope.” … The fashion designer stated that Assange is “an innocent man” who has been “persecuted for nine years for telling the truth.” … Westwood declared: “He must not be extradited.” She warned that if dispatched to the US, “this man faces 175 years in jail, believe it or not. That’s totally out of proportion. It’s the kind of thing that a nation that has gone crazy would charge somebody with, for telling the truth.”
Imagine how he feels in there, Vivienne Westwood says. #Assange is in such a terrible place. This man is being tortured. The UN,has affirmed this shouldnt be happening. It’s the misrule of law. That’s whats going on. pic.twitter.com/fjZCDNVWwV
Julian #Assange must not be extradited to the US. He is an Australian publisher being persecuted for telling the truth, for providing information in the public interest that others also publishee. Can you have a fair trial against unfair charges, Vivienne asks? pic.twitter.com/UHm0yjHOXi
The New York Times asked each 2020 US presidential candidate whether the charges against Julian Assange are constitutional and whether they would continue to prosecute him for publishing — most support a free press and several oppose use of the Espionage Act.
Likely called to testify against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks
“It’s with great sadness and anger we announce that Jeremy Hammond is being brought to the Eastern District of Virginia in an effort to compel him to testify before a grand jury. Given the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, we don’t know the nature or scope of the grand jury’s investigation. However, our assumption is that this is the same grand jury that Chelsea Manning is currently being incarcerated for refusing to testify before.”
For the past months I have continually seen UK people waving placards with the word “Democracy.” If Democracy does not champion free speech and a free press, then it is a reprehensible imitation. It is the duty of every genuine journalist to stand up and expose the immoral punishment of Julian Assange.
We are giving this year’s award to a man who has the courage to publish the truth and has sacrificed so much as a result.
We, as whistle-blowers, by virtue of our experience, have a very long list of villains but a very scant list of champions and you have been voted number one champion of truth.
Thank you Julian Assange for everything you have done to expose the facts, no greater service can be given to the public and we are sorry your sacrifice has yet to be recognised by the public whose interest you serve.
The Assange Files is a new initiative of filmmaker Mike Rubbo and other Australian journalists and media workers:
WE are a group of journalists, media workers and private citizens who believe that the outstanding US indictment of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is not only a threat to his personal survival but to the future of journalism.
Since the Trump administration has declared its intention to extradite Julian for violating the US Espionage Act, journalists and media outlets around the world realize that this is an attack on free speech everywhere. … This website is devoted to informing the public about what is happening to Julian, the facts behind the personal and professional attacks on him, and what we can do to help him.
Wikileaks is the pioneer of a new era of journalism and Julian Assange is one of the great truth tellers of our time. The US attempt to prosecute him under the Espionage Act is part of a global war on journalism and we must do whatever possible to come to his aid.
The group has produced a short video, ‘Julian Assange: The Making of a Villain,” an excellent takedown of the opening of ABC 4 Corners’ programme on Assange, which trivialised the impact of Collateral Murder.
Full transcript of independent journalist Stefania Maurizi’s speech at Courage’s event in Bergen, Global Threats to Press Freedom
If the US authorities succeed in crushing Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks staff, the consequences for freedom of the press will be devastating: the Assange case will have a domino effect. I want to see Julian Assange and his team free and safe because I want to live in a society where journalists and their sources can expose the highest levels of power without having to flee to Russia or ending their lives in prison. That is what freedom of the press is.
See video of Stefania’s speech and the rest of the event here.
23 August 2019
VIDEO: We Are Millions event
Last night in Bergen, Norway, Courage held an event for Julian Assange — Global Threats to Press Freedom, a discussion on Assange’s persecution and what it means for the freedom of the press around the world.
“I hope you will reflect deeply on the ideas that were conveyed by the many experts you invited to speak at this conference. Journalists being hacked apart with saws in embassies, and publishers being forcibly dragged out of embassies to face 175 years in jail for publishing, cannot become the new normal.
One of the most celebrated speakers on media freedom at the conference was barrister Amal Clooney, who said, “the indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has alarmed journalists at newspapers around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian because, as the editor of the Washington Post has put it, the indictment… ‘criminalises common practices in journalism that have long served the public interest’. …
With so many of the Five Eyes involved in this case, as part of your efforts to defend and extend the democratic freedom of the press and expression, I ask that you will use your good offices to call for this case to be immediately closed. The US Government must drop its extradition request, in order that the UK may let him return home.”
Breaking the silence on Assange: More than 40 peace activists from Germany have shared a #FreeAssange support video
Shipton revealed that Assange had received a visit from his brother Gabriel several days earlier. “Julian is emaciated and not in tip-top order or health,” Shipton said. “He is suffering anxiety. He is still in fighting spirits, but his well-being is declining rapidly.”
Shipton said there was a danger that “we will lose Julian” if action is not taken to end his incarceration. His warning followed a statement by world-renowned investigative journalist John Pilger on Twitter earlier this month, who wrote: “Do not forget Julian Assange. Or you will lose him. I saw him in Belmarsh prison and his health has deteriorated…”
Assange’s father outlined the draconian conditions in Belmarsh Prison, where Assange has been held since he was dragged from Ecuador’s London embassy by British police on April 11.
The Courage Foundation, supported by Norwegian PEN and Fritt Ord, announces “Global Threats to Press Freedom”, a discussion at MediaCity Bergen on the arrest of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange and attacks on the freedom of the press around the world. The event follows a three-week installation of WeAreMillions, a photo campaign in support of Assange, which artists exhibited in Bergen.
The discussion, hosted by artist Gitte Sætre and moderated by Jan Landro, will feature:
Stefania Maurizi, independent journalist who worked on WikiLeaks releases and on the Snowden files with Glenn Greenwald
Eirin Eikefjord, BT journalist
Mads Andenas, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
Ariyana Love has posted photos of a letter she received from Julian Assange from HMP Belmarsh. It reads:
“Thanks Ms. Love. It is people like you, great and small, fighting to save my life that keeps me going. We can win this! Don’t let the bastards sacrifice freedom of speech, European democracy and my life on the altar of Brexit.”
After internal processing delays, here is the direct link to the official response by the Government of Ecuador of 26 July 2019 (in Spanish) to my official letter of 28 May 2019: https://t.co/pli50ReKez
The prosecution of Assange, if it were ever successful, would threaten the ability of journalists to receive information and publish information that the government deemed classified all around the world. Assange’s plight is tied to the future of press freedom. But what is at stake is a much larger issue that concerns all of us. Why ought the public engage in his fight against extradition? To answer this question, we have to examine why WikiLeaks matters.
1. Urgent intervention in relation to the case of Mr Julian Assange.
2. The Australian government substantially strengthen Public Interest Disclosures Act and other legislation protecting whistleblowers, journalists and media organisations that publish material in the public interest; specifically, evidence of war crimes, corruption and human rights violations.
3. National security legislation must amended to decriminalise regular journalistic activity (35P of the ASIO Act, Division 4C of the Telecommunications Interception and Access Inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press Submission 7 3 Act; Criminal Code Act, Part 5.2: Espionage and related offences; Part 5.6: Secrecy of information, section 119.7: Foreign incursions and recruitment; s 80.2C : Advocating terrorism; Crimes Act: s15HK and s15HL: Controlled operations, unauthorised disclosure of information.
4. Applications for, and the circumstances of the execution of warrants must be contestable and independently monitored; Crimes Act s. 3ZZH
Delayed notification search warrants, unauthorised disclosure of information
5. Classification of documents and the FOI system overhauled
6. A federal bill of rights be enacted by parliament in order to protect freedom of speech in Australia.
7. Hearings and submissions made to this inquiry are public and accessible.
WSWS: You have previously said that if the media had spoken out when the Obama administration was developing its case against Assange and WikiLeaks then the current situation may not have happened. Could you speak about this?
JR: It’s disappointing that there was not a stronger pushback on Obama’s decision to open a grand jury and continue it in relationship to WikiLeaks for so long. It is only now, in the hands of the Trump Administration, that many people understand just how dangerous that is.
The UN Rapporteur on Torture [Nils Melzer] said in his report on Julian Assange that not only has he been vilified by states but the media’s participation in his vilification has significantly undermined Assange’s position, and he [Melzer] is right. I wonder if there had been more support from the media, and human rights groups had pushed back harder, whether this indictment would have been politically feasible.
WSWS: The WSWS has called for establishment of a Global Defence Committee to free Assange and Chelsea Manning and we have been organising rallies, protests, meetings internationally on university campuses and workplaces. Can you comment on this, and is Julian aware of the growing support for his freedom internationally?
JR: He obviously has no access to the internet and he can’t see what is happening, and has very little access to the media, but yes, I and others always show him pictures of what is happening around the world and the support. It really does make a difference—Julian is heartened by it. The solidarity campaign is not just important in buoying his spirits inside prison but critical in ensuring that he is protected in the long-term for WikiLeaks’s work.
Even though WikiLeaks is protected by the First Amendment, it will take a very long time to return to the United States for that legal argument to be ever made. So the solidarity campaign is important in relationship to whatever happens to him in the meantime. It is crucial that there is a social movement, here in this country and around the world, to call the powers to account on what this indictment means, not just for him but for all the media.
“We at SAKén (Spontaneous Art Collective) are delighted and relieved that the #WeAreMillions exhibition in Media City is being reinstalled. We thank you for the massive support and strong reactions that have come, both from journalists and others. We take it as a signal that freedom of the press really means a lot to many. Our hope is that this will take us one step further in a necessary debate on press freedom and Assange, as it is a theme that seems to awaken strong opinions and feelings among more and more people.
We have positive expectations for ENTRA, about a good continuation: we see the need for further debate around both press freedom and Julian Assange, and hope Media City can cover this with an event on August 22.”
Fidel Navráez writes, “CNN did not learn the lesson from the Manafort hoax”:
Having worked as a diplomat at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for six out of the seven years that Julian Assange lived there as a political refugee, unlike others, I am privy to what actually happened there. I am alarmed by CNN’s [15 July 2019] story, alleging Assange turned the Ecuadorian embassy in London into a command post for election meddling.
The story contains several substantive shortcomings and too many factual errors. I warned CNN about them when I was approached during their “investigation,” but none of my points were included in the article. It is clear that CNN was not looking for balance in their publication, choosing instead to make assertions without showing actual proof, and to use props such as irrelevant CCTV images, a sensationalist collage and a miniature image of unreadable documents to make it seem as though the story was based on evidence.
CNN’s story is based on the wrong premise that publishing information about an election—in this case the 2016 US presidential election—constitutes interference. Nobody refutes the authenticity of the material and nobody claims that the information was not in the public interest.
He then provides point by point rebuttals to 40 of CNN’s false, misleading or biased claims in a recent report on Julian Assange:
CNN’s attempts to shape the narrative on the subject of WikiLeaks and Assange are not new. On March 28th 2019, the TV program Conclusiones, on CNN Español, claimed — without evidence — that Julian Assange had published the famous INA Papers leak, exposing the corruption of President Lenin Moreno and his family.
The fact that WikiLeaks never published a single document or image of Lenin Moreno or his family did not matter to CNN. The intentions of the show were transparent from the pitched questions made by the reporters:
“How long will Julian Assange remain at the Ecuadorian embassy in London?”
“Aren’t you going to kick him out?”
“What has Julian Assange brought to Lenin Moreno’s government but headaches?”
This baseless accusation was used two weeks later by the Ecuadorian government as one of the reasons to justify Assange’s expulsion from the embassy in violation of international law. This most recent smear job equally begs the question. Any informed reader is left to wonder why CNN is paving public opinion against Julian Assange as he prepares to defend himself from continued political persecution by the US.
I would like to put forth 40 rebuttals to CNN’s article.
The disputed exhibition “We Are Millions” was removed this weekend from the restaurant in Media City Bergen (MCB) .
The exhibition was in support of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, but it was taken down when there were “some reactions”.
Now, AFK and “We Are Millions” are invited back to the open common rooms on the first floor of the MCB.
Based on media reactions and direct inquiries, Compass and Entra have now reconsidered the case. The artist AFK is therefore invited back to show the current exhibition here at Media City Bergen, which he has confirmed that he will do, says Julie Aasheim, operations manager of Compass Group and manager of Entra Bergen, Sturla Hjelmervik.
6 August 2019
Artists, free speech orgs condemn censorship of Assange artwork
AFK was told by Entra, who owns the building, to remove the exhibition with a deadline of August 2, two weeks before the agreed time. AFK did not want to comply, but offered those who wanted to remove the exhibition space on the exhibition wall to explain why. It is worth noting that AFK has always sought dialogue with its critics. The purpose of the exhibition is precisely to create debate about the terms of press freedom today.
We agree with Norwegian PEN in this matter; the exhibition should be set up again in accordance with the agreement with the artist, those who wanted the exhibition removed should state their reasons, and those who have removed the exhibition must explain why. Removing a work of art without justification is censorship.
The exhibit, which artists put up in Bergen, was taken down under pressure from unnamed tenants of Media City.
Rune Ottosen, of the Norwegian branch of free expression group PEN, condemned the action:
It is in its nature to create debate, and in the midst of many media companies must be an ideal city to do so, he says. It is reminiscent of censorship, when one in the middle of an agreed period asks for the art to be taken down, he says.
In a historic win for WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange a federal judge in New York dismissed a lawsuit by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) over WikiLeaks’ publication of DNC documents in 2016. The case sets an important precedent for freedom of the press.
In the 81-page ruling, District Judge John Koeltl emphasized the “newsworthiness” of WikiLeaks’ publishing activities, describing them as “plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers.”
Judge Koeltl importantly emphasized, “Journalists are allowed to request documents that have been stolen and to publish those documents.” The Judge also observed that such journalistic collaboration with sources is “common journalistic practice.” That principle is important for investigative journalists who often receive information from whistleblowers.
The decision, by Judge John Koeltl of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, rejected the smears that Assange “colluded” with Russia. It upheld his status as a journalist and publisher and dismissed claims that WikiLeaks’ 2016 publication of leaked emails from the DNC was “illegal.”
Despite the significance of the ruling, and its clear newsworthiness, it has been subjected to an almost complete blackout by the entire media in the US and internationally.
31 July 2019
WikiLeaks Releases and Environmental Causes WikiLeaks’ publication of more than 10 million documents has shed much-needed light on every corner of corporate and governmental secrecy. Within these files are scores of revelations about the ways in which the world’s most influential governments and corporations have put profit and power above environmental protections, undermining climate agreements, protecting their interests, and covering up environmental abuses.
These disclosures, uncovering what the most powerful have wanted to keep secret, have given fuel to environmental activists working to force these countries and companies to stick to climate agreements, curb emissions, and slow the devastating effects of global warming.
In this new brief, we recount some of the most important environmental revelations and the environmental organisations who have used WikiLeaks’ releases in their work.
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer visited Julian Assange at HMP Belmarsh on 9 May 2019, and has written letters to the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Ecuador and Sweden to express that he is “gravely concerned” about Assange’s treatment and to urge the latter three governments to ensure Assange is not extradited to the United States. Melzer, who also detailed his findings about Assange’s current health and conditions, was assisted in his assessment by medical forensic expert Prof. Duarte Vieira Nuno and psychiatrist Dr. Pau Perez-Sales.
Melzer found that the cumulative effects of Assange’s treatment by the governments’ collective persecution “clearly amount to psychological torture.”
Above all, most concerning is the threat of extradition to the United States, where both Assange’s human rights and the media’s freedom to conduct investigative journalism are at serious risk. Melzer writes, “I am gravely concerned that US authorities intend to make an ‘example’ of him, in order to punish him personally, but also to deter others who may be tempted to engage in similar activities as Wikileaks or Mr. Assange.”
The Courage Foundation announced #WeAreMillions, a massive photo campaign to show global support for WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange as he fights extradition to the United States.
The campaign is launched online , but will now be launched internationally as a public exhibition.#WeAreMillions opened in Bergen today, and will be presented from there on all continents, in cities and at festivals all over the world.
On Friday morning, activists started to install the exhibition at Lille Lungegårdsvannet in Bergen city center. Later in the day, Bergen Media City and Nøsteboden are on tour.
I juni kunngjorde The Courage Foundation – #WeAreMillions – en massiv fotokampanje for å vise global støtte til WikiLeaks-redaktør Julian Assange, mens han kjemper mot utlevering til USA.
Kampanjen er lansert på nettet, men vil nå bli lansert internasjonalt som en offentlig utstilling. #WeAreMillions åpnet i Bergen i dag, og vil derfra bli presentert på alle kontinenter, i byer og på festivaler over hele verden.
Fredag formiddag startet aktivister å montere utstillingen ved Lille Lungegårdsvannet i Bergen sentrum. Senere på dagen står Bergen Media City og Nøsteboden for tur.
Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have been the subject of numerous false, unfounded smears of connection to the Russian government, particularly in relation to WikiLeaks’ 2016 publication of DNC emails. In this brief we recount some of the most pervasive claims and correct the record. /
Whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s lawyer Nancy Hollander this week unequivocally rebutted accusations that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange enticed or collaborated with Manning to obtain the thousands of secret documents that WikiLeaks published in 2010, revealing the war crimes and other abuses committed by the US and its allies around the world.
Interviewed for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Four Corners” program, Hollander emphasised that Manning, then a 21-year-old US military intelligence private, had initiated the contact with WikiLeaks after no corporate media outlet would even return her calls about the damning information she had obtained.
Sputnik: The heavy-handed approach that is being taken against Julian Assange is often labelled as an attempt to dissuade future whistleblowing. What can be done to ensure that potential future whistle-blowers are protected?
Kristinn Hrafnsson: To protect whistle-blowers, we need to create a genuine law. The whistle-blowing laws that have been passed in many countries usually have the opposite effect. It’s not protecting the whistle-blower, they are outlining that you should go to certain platforms before you actually go to the media. You should talk to your boss, and then, you know, go up the steps. However, if you don’t stick completely to the process, then you’re open game. They will go after you. But in saying that, there is an understanding, and there’s an appreciation. People do appreciate what Edward Snowden did, apart from the American authorities of course. I mean, it was extremely important information that he brought us. We got involved in WikiLeaks with Edward Snowden because the media betrayed him. The Guardian journalist and the other American journalist working on the base of his material just left him in Hong Kong after they were, had been fed with the information. So he was just sitting there, a sitting duck waiting to be arrested or extradited. So we stepped in, and we’re actually helping him get into Latin America. His passport was revoked, and he was stranded in Moscow. And now, of course, being a condemned for seeking asylum in Russia, when actually the State Department in the US was responsible for him ending up there. So, to answer the question concisely, supporting of whistle-blowers in general, and at the same time, laws can be changed, and awareness of the importance of whistle-blowers can be raised on all platforms to ensure that this important work is carried out.
UN Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer: Julian Assange has no chance to get a fair trial in the US
Consortium News interviewed UN torture expert Nils Melzer, who has called for the end to the “collective persecution” of Assange after visiting him in prison and examining his case in depth. Melzer discusses the media’s role in perpetuating US/UK misinformation about Assange, his determination that Assange has been psychologically tortured, and his view that Assange has “no chance” at a fair trial if he is sent to the United States. https://web.archive.org/web/20210827142942if_/https://www.youtube.com/embed/pvdl8VRmTK4 National strike against Ecuadorian government demands Assange’s freedom
Workers, peasants and youth in Ecuador began a five-day strike Monday against the draconian policies of the Lenín Moreno administration, which is seeking to strengthen its ties to Washington and its military-intelligence apparatus. The strike constitutes the first major industrial action in the world demanding the freedom of Julian Assange. The demand is presented in the framework of growing opposition to the attacks against social and democratic rights associated with the Moreno administration’s totally servile policy toward US imperialism.
From 2013 to 2016, WikiLeaks made public portions of three major trade agreements — the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the Trade in Service Agreement (TiSA) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — which had been drafted and negotiated in secret, without proper democratic oversight. The publications contain multiple draft chapters and negotiating positions of participating countries. The revelations provided insight into concrete provisions of the agreements, which then fueled social justice and fair trade movements, civil rights organisations and trade unions in opposition to the agreements. The TPP and TTIP have since been stalled, while TiSA remains classified.
The trade documents, included in WikiLeaks’ searchable archive, are of continued use to unions, civil society organisations, researchers and policy analysts, as they make public the negotiations that the powerful would otherwise keep shielded from scrutiny.
London’s Metropolitan Police threatened journalists with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act last Friday in an unprecedented attack on media freedom.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu announced that Counter Terrorism Command would investigate alleged breaches of the Official Secrets Act over publication of leaked diplomatic telegrams written by Sir Kim Darroch. … Speaking on Friday, Executive Director of the Society of Editors Ian Murray condemned the Met’s invocation of the Act against journalists, “Frankly it is the kind of approach we would expect from totalitarian regimes where the media are expected to be little more than a tame arm of the government.” The Met’s dictatorial edicts show the Assange precedent in action. The decision of the US government, with the backing of outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder under the Espionage Act for publishing leaked government documents has opened the floodgates.
Passed in 1917, the Espionage Act was heavily modelled on the original UK Official Secrets Act of 1889 that was updated just three years prior to the outbreak of World War I.
Julian Assange was spied on 24 hours a day during the time that he spent at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he took refuge for seven years.
Documents, video and audio material that EL PAÍS has had access to show that a Spanish private defense and security firm named Undercover Global S. L., which was tasked with protecting the diplomatic building between 2012 and 2018, instructed its men to collect all possible information about the cyberactivist, particularly regarding his lawyers and collaborators.
Several video cameras, which were equipped with audio recording capability between December 2017 and March 2018, recorded dozens of meetings between the WikiLeaks founder and his attorneys and visitors. At these meetings, Assange’s legal defense strategy was discussed. … The security employees at the embassy had a daily job to do: to monitor Assange’s every move, record his conversations, and take note of his moods. The company’s drive to uncover their target’s most intimate secrets led the team to carry out a handwriting examination behind his back, which resulted in a six-page report. Company employees also took a feces sample from a baby’s diaper to check whether Assange and one of his most faithful collaborators were the child’s parents. This intelligence work had nothing to do with protection duties.
The security team for the Spanish company, which is based in Puerto Real (Cádiz), would write up a confidential report each day and send it to the company chief, David Morales, a former member of the military who trained with the special ops unit of the Marine Infantry, the marine corps of the Spanish Navy. … The interest in monitoring Assange’s meetings with his lawyers did not end when the Lenín Moreno administration canceled the contract with UC Global and hired Ecuadorian company Promsecurity to take its place. Video cameras continued to record all meetings, and at least on one occasion, either embassy personnel or the new security team photographed a folder brought in by the lawyer Aitor Martínez during a meeting break.
These photographs, as well as dozens of video and audio recordings, were recently used in an extortion attempt against Assange by several individuals based in Alicante, Spain. The courts are investigating the case, and two of the alleged extortionists were arrested.
Reporters for EL PAÍS found the spying on Assange’s legal defense meetings to be most significant. They were stunned by the fact that Assange felt he had to hold meetings in the women’s bathroom if he wanted to ensure privacy. And they took note of U.C. Global’s “feverish, obsessive vigilance” toward “the guest,” which became more intense after Lenin Moreno was elected president of Ecuador in May 2017.
That is not how CNN viewed the same cache of information compiled by the private security company and eventually used to allegedly extort Assange.
Although EL PAÍS makes no mention of meddling in the 2016 presidential election in its coverage, CNN approached the material like analysts at the CIA. They voraciously consumed logs hoping the documents would confirm Assange collaborated with Russian intelligence assets to release emails from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. … CNN was unable to find concrete proof, and the words “potentially” and “possibility” do heavy lifting for the media organization.
“New documents obtained exclusively by CNN reveal that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 US election, during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London,” the CNN report reads.
It adds, “The documents build on the possibility, raised by special counsel Robert Mueller in his report on Russian meddling, that couriers brought hacked files to Assange at the embassy.”
Yet, there is little to no evidence in the report to substantiate the conspiracy theory that CNN reporters want the public to believe.
12 July 2019
UN Torture Rapporteur Nils Melzer interviews on Assange
“Basically, I didn’t take [the request to examine Assange] seriously,” Melzer tells Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer on the latest installment of Scheer’s podcast, “Scheer Intelligence.” “It took a second attempt to kind of shake me a little bit and say, [I] need to look at this. Once I opened the book and started looking at the actual evidence and facts for all these nametags that are being circulated in the press, I was shocked to see that there was very little substance that actually supported these qualifications.”
United Nations: demasking the Torture of Julian Assange. Rico Brouwer and Nils Melzer
“By granting asylum to Julian Assange in 2012, Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa made clear his country would no longer bow to US diktats. The decision this spring to allow Assange’s arrest shows how far Ecuador’s challenge to empire has faded.”
The impression created in many media reports over a number of years was that Assange had abused the hospitality of the Ecuadorian government in various ways. Was it your sense that these reports were fair and grounded in fact, or that there was an agenda behind them?
From the beginning, the Moreno government were trying to build up an argument and an evidence base in order to expel him later on. All these previous political conflicts that were cited in support of this decision — for instance, the idea that Assange had out-and-out supported Catalan independentists and in so doing engineered a diplomatic crisis with Spain — were seriously exaggerated. Since 2012, Assange continued to carry out his own political work [with Wikileaks], which never gave us a massive problem.
When we started seeing that there were efforts to relay conflicts that would take place within the embassy to the media — and to spin them in such an exaggerated way — I got the clear sense there was a political objective in all this, which was to justify the subsequent action against Assange.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture visited Assange in detention and gave an alarming report on his state of health. The 48-year-old reported massive anxiety disorders and had lost weight dramatically.
Amal Clooney speaks out about Julian Assange’s arrest
At the UK’s Defend Media Freedom conference, Special Envoy for Media Freedom Amal Clooney speaks about threats faced by journalists around the world, including Julian Assange.
Whether we like it or not, Julian Assange is a dissident. He despises secrecy and cannot be tamed, bought or otherwise controlled. He has flooded the world with compromising disclosures, including evidence for war crimes, aggression and abuse, without ever resorting to violence or fake news. He has initiated a paradigm shift in public awareness and dried up safe havens of governmental impunity. And like everyone who endangers the perks of the powerful, he has been made to pay the price. … But how do you break a political dissident, a promoter of truth and transparency? Well, first you attack his reputation and credibility, and destroy his human dignity. You maintain a constant trickle of poisonous rumors, first half-truths and then increasingly bold lies. You keep him suspected of rape without trial, of hacking and spying, and of smearing feces on Embassy walls. You portray him as an ungrateful narcissist with a cat and a skateboard, whose only aim is self-glorifying exceptionalism.
By making him unlikeable in the eyes of the world, you ensure no one will feel any empathy, so once his voice is muzzled and his isolation complete, he can be burned at the stake with impunity. Most importantly, having degraded him to a clown for the entertainment of all, you will have diverted attention from his spotlight on your own crimes. Next, you make sure that any attempt of his to expose your lies comes at the cost of extradition to a hanging judge in a land bent to see his head on a stick, where torturers enjoy impunity. You then pressure his country of refuge into submission – military and economic leverage never fail – and you turn his protectors into enemies, and his daily existence into attritive hell.
The method is deliberate, concerted, and sustained, and employs isolation, hostility, and shame. Whether you call it “bullying,” “mobbing,” or “persecution” – in essence it is all the same. … Let us not be fooled, extraditing Assange was never about hacking, rape, espionage or narcissism. It is about drowning his radical challenge to government secrecy, which holds the power to change world affairs forever, inspired by the truths and principles proclaimed in the 1776 Declaration. That is why the powerful persecute Assange with ferocity, while proven war criminals are allowed to walk free.
A free Julian Assange activist is facing a misdemeanor charge for hanging signs on public utility poles in support of the WikiLeaks founder.
Andrew Smith, 28, of Elyria was cited on Saturday afternoon June 29 for hanging signs reading “Free Julian Assange,” “Free Speech Free Press” and others with similar messages.
As Smith was stapling a free Julian sign to a utility pole in front of a convenient store, a police officer driving by slowed down and shouted at Smith to stop what he was doing. … After several minutes sitting in the police vehicle, Smith was issued a citation for violating Oberlin City Ordinance 503.02 Advertising on Public Property.
Smith appeared in Oberlin Municipal Court in Ohio on 5 July, when a hearing was scheduled for 18 August 2019.
Stefania Maurizi, an Italian investigative journalist who writes for La Repubblica, has been fighting a four-year battle with the CPS to release correspondence between the UK, Sweden, Ecuador and the US on the investigation into WikiLeaks and its founder. … The current case began in 2015, when Maurizi filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for all the correspondence relating to Assange between the CPS and the US State Department and US Department of Justice, the CPS and the Swedish Prosecution Authority, and the CPS and the Ecuadorian Embassy.
The CPS and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) refused the request in August 2015. Maurizi appealed to the First-tier Tribunal (FTT), which dismissed her appeal in December 2017.
Lawyers for Maurizi argued in the Upper Tribunal yesterday (1 July 2019) that the FTT made significant errors in law in refusing to order the CPS to confirm the existence of the correspondence under the Freedom of Information Act.
Maurizi told Computer Weekly that the correspondence between the CPS and US prosecutors could shed light on any collaboration between the US and UK after the US began investigations into Assange following WikiLeaks’ publication of secret files, including the Afgan and Iraq war logs, in 2010.
“The US-UK correspondence is absolutely crucial. If my lawyers and I win the case, we might be able to finally establish whether the US had discussed charges and extradition with the UK authorities from the very beginning,” she said.
The case is expected to have significant implications for journalists and, if Maurizi is successful, will make it easier to establish what information prosecutors hold in extradition cases.
Julian Assange’s father has celebrated his son’s 48th birthday in Melbourne, saying his son is determined to fight for his freedom.
John Shipton joined a crowd of supporters at Melbourne’s Federation Square on Wednesday to record a video message singing Happy Birthday to the Wikileaks founder.
Mr Shipton lamented that he’d prefer to celebrate with his son in person.
“It’s very distressing and one can’t think too much about it without becoming overwrought, so it’s best to attend to practical matters, to assure that Julian can come home and we can have a cup of coffee together at Fed Square,” Mr Shipton said. … “His health has stabilised and his spirit is extremely strong, and (he is) determined to fight for his freedom and for freedom of press to inform us of what our governments are doing,” Mr Shipton said.
Melbourne is one of 60 cities participating in the global celebrations held across seven continents in honour of Assange’s birthday.
Australian barrister Greg Barns, who is campaigning to bring Assange home, called on Australians to remember the importance of free speech.
“Those calling for greater support for freedom of the press need to be putting it also in the context of Julian Assange, who is an Australian and suffering as a result of an attack on the free press,” Mr Barns said.
#Candles4Assange Dusk US Embassy NZ; Wellington kicked off action in >60 cities holding birthday vigils for Julian Assange POURING with rain HARD!
|̶ ̶ ̶ ̶|appy Birthday Julian Assange. Thank you for your sacrifice and your service. In my view and that of the Green Party of the United States, you are indeed a hero and must be set free immediately. #FreeJulianAssangepic.twitter.com/Cpb7DzaDMA
“Imagine it: Years from now people will say: Oh, if only I had known what we were losing when they abused this decent and courageous man! I would have done something! But now, what can I do, since these days I don’t dare express what I know and think! Regret is too often the fruit of silence”
Stefania Maurizi, who works for Italian newspaper La Repubblica, said she wanted to “defend the right of the press to access the documents on the Assange case” in a message on Twitter ahead of the hearing.
The case relates to a Freedom of Information request made by Maurizi in September 2015 to the UK Crown Prosecution Service asking for all of its correspondence with the Swedish Prosecution Authority, which sought to extradite Assange over a rape allegation in 2012. … They said the question of whether a tribunal court should consider the facts as they were at the time of the original FOI decision or at the present time was an “important” issue and one that “has been troubling the Upper Tribunal for some time”. They added in a briefing note that this would have wider implications beyond the Assange case because it would mean journalists can “rely on any factual changes” when the appeal to the FTT.
“This would make the FOIA regime much more user-friendly for journalists and other requesters,” they went on. “As things presently stand, even though an appeal to the FTT is a full appeal with witness evidence, the FTT routinely consider a ‘historic’ public interest when deciding whether to release information.” … A judgment in the case is expected by the end of the week.
If Maurizi wins the appeal, the case will be heard again by the FTT. If she loses, she plans to continue the case to the Court of Appeal and, if needed, the Supreme Court and ultimately the European Court of Human Rights.
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, who last month detailed and condemned the “collective persecution” that led to Julian Assange’s “psychological torture,” has written a piece explaining how he came to understand Assange’s situation after being “blinded by propaganda.”
Melzner goes through several of the top smears against Assange point by point and explains how he was initially misled by mainstream media accounts into believing misinformation about him.
Like most of the public, I had been subconsciously poisoned by the relentless smear campaign, which had been disseminated over the years. So it took a second knock on my door to get my reluctant attention. But once I looked into the facts of this case, what I found filled me with repulsion and disbelief.
Melzner shows how Assange has been painted as a rapist, a hacker, a Russian spy, a narcissist, and how a look at the actual events is was eye-opening.
In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News.
Very well, you may say, but what does slander have to do with torture? Well, this is a slippery slope. What may look like mere «mudslinging» in public debate, quickly becomes “mobbing” when used against the defenseless, and even “persecution” once the State is involved. Now just add purposefulness and severe suffering, and what you get is full-fledged psychological torture.
Read the full piece, which Melzner says was offered to but not accepted for publication by the Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Canberra Times, the Telegraph, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek, here.
The Socialist Equality Party (Australia) has called a rally this Saturday, 12 p.m. at Sydney’s Martin Place Amphitheatre, in defence of Julian Assange.
The demonstration will demand that the Australian government take immediate action to prevent the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the United States, where he faces life imprisonment or the death penalty, and secure his complete freedom. It will call for the immediate release of the courageous whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who has been jailed by the Trump administration for over a month because of her principled refusal to give perjured testimony against Assange.
All workers, students, young people and defenders of civil liberties should join the Sydney rally and promote it as widely as possible.
The problem with [the US government’s] increasing reliance on the Espionage Act to sanction insiders who reveal secrets to the press is that the act collapses all of the distinctions that should matter in those cases. It draws no distinction between insiders who share information with foreign intelligence services and those who share it with the media, or between those who intend to harm the United States and those who intend to inform the public about the abuse of government power. The act doesn’t admit of the possibility of secrets that are illegitimate, or widely known, or no longer sensitive, instead treating all disclosures of “information relating to the national defense” as subject, at least in theory, to the harshest penalties. The act is blind to the possibility that the public’s interest in learning of government incompetence, corruption, or criminality might outweigh the government’s interest in protecting a given secret. It is blind to the difference between whistle-blowers and spies. The government’s now-routine use of the Espionage Act against journalists’ sources suggests that it, too, has lost sight of these distinctions. … Safeguarding the public’s right to know requires protecting not just journalists and publishers but sources as well. In recent years, some press-freedom advocates have urged the courts to afford government insiders charged under the Espionage Act an opportunity to argue that the public’s interest in learning the information they disclosed outweighed the government’s interest in protecting it. In an era in which the President has trouble differentiating journalists from “enemies of the people,” it may be up to the courts, and the people themselves, to insist on differentiating whistle-blowers from spies.
Successfully prosecuting Assange and WikiLeaks for espionage would be a devastating threat to a free and independent press in the United States.
We must not allow the government to decide who is or is not a “legitimate” journalist. Yet that is exactly Washington’s ploy in the Assange case. If federal prosecutors prevail with that argument and eventually convict him of espionage, the implicit protections that the Pentagon Papers ruling has afforded the press will be severely diluted. Only legacy publications friendly to the national security bureaucracy could then count on government restraint—and as Trump’s outburst against the New York Timesfor its Russia cyberwar article demonstrates, even that expectation could become quite fragile. Obstreperous online outlets and their writers would routinely find themselves under threat of criminal prosecution if they dared publish a negative story based on classified information. At a minimum, there would be a pronounced chilling effect on (already insufficient) foreign policy dissent in the media.
WISE Up Action recounts UN special procedures’ statements on Assange over the last 7 years:
This journey through time shows how UN repeatedly called for Julian Assange to be freed. However the US Government seems not to want a fair fight on this matter. As qualified opinions explained so many times, US are aware that in case they play a honest battle, they will loose, since, as highlighted by attorney Bill Simpich they know very well that “revealing war crimes is not a crime”.
Courage announces We Are Millions, a massive photo campaign to demonstrate global support for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange as he fights extradition to the United States, where he would face unprecedented prosecution.
We Are Millions features supporters holding signs to express simply and clearly why they are standing up for Julian Assange, whom the US seeks to punish for publishing hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and military documents in 2010. Those releases exposed war crimes, uncounted civilian casualties and rampant corruption and abuse. The Trump Administration has brought 17 counts of Espionage against Assange, the first ever such charges for a journalist, threatening a lifetime in prison.
Filmmakers Ken Loach and Oliver Stone, economist Yanis Varoufakis, theatre director Angela Richter, philosopher Slavoj Žižek, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges are among hundreds who have already taken a stand for Assange.
Ken Loach explained why he was joining the campaign:
“Politicians and the courts, who knowingly put Julian Assange in mortal danger by sending him to the USA, will be excoriated for not defending the freedom of the press. The unprincipled hacks, from the far right to the fake lefts, who join in his abuse, are revealed as dishonourable cowards, a disgrace to their profession.”
Julian Assange has been granted the 2019 Danny Schechter Global Vision Award for Journalism & Activism by not-for-profit educational foundation The Global Center. As a press release announcing the award explains, The DANNY is “awarded annually to an individual who best emulates Schechter’s practice of combining excellent journalism with social advocacy and activism.”
The DANNY Award announcement warns, ”The Assange case represents a threat not only to freedom of expression but also to the heart of American democracy itself.”
On the evening of Thursday, June 20th, the Ecuadorian court accepted the writ of habeas corpus granting the release of renowned Swedish free software and privacy advocate Ola Bini, detained since April 11th, 2019 in Quito.
After hearing the news, Ola Bini responded: “I would like to thank the people of Ecuador. I want to thank everyone in the world. I want to thank my team, –everyone, for believing in me. Today, we have proven my innocence for the first time and we will continue to prove my innocence. I want to thank the judges for showing what we’ve been saying the whole time; that this process has been illegal and that I was illegally detained. And, — I want to say my heartfelt thanks, for all the support and love from my parents, and my family, and everyone out there. Thank you, everyone!”. You can watch the full video of the statement here.
Felicity Ruby and Scott Ludlam on the courage of Julian Assange
In June 2019, the Australian Federal Police came through the doors of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst’s home, and then the ABC’s offices in Sydney, sending a chill across Australia’s media establishment. Suddenly, the reality of a state crackdown on national-security journalism has come home; the raids were linked directly with stories about Australian Signals Directorate spying powers and allegations of war crimes committed by Australian personnel in Afghanistan. The parallels are too strong to ignore: this is precisely the kind of publishing that has cost Assange a decade of his life and may cost him a great deal more.
Throughout the last nine years, while arbitrarily detained, maligned and defamed, Assange has sounded warning after warning after warning on the threats to freedom of the press through public appearances by video, by submissions to Australian parliamentary inquiries, and through publishing information in the public interest, even when doing so severely disadvantaged his legal situation. Still, somehow, believing that courage is contagious, Assange awaits his fate in Belmarsh prison, his well-being in the hands of others. ‘I am defenceless and am counting on you and others of good character to save my life’, he wrote in a letter to journalist Gordon Dimmack in May 2019. ‘Truth ultimately is all we have.’
“EL PAÍS has accessed recordings that police made of the group who tried to sell the WikiLeaks founder sensitive personal material from his stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London”
Thanks to assistance from the police, there is recorded evidence of a meeting at Madrid’s Reina Victoria Hotel in which a Spanish reporter named José Martín Santos and two computer experts attempted to sell WikiLeaks sensitive material in connection with an alleged case of spying against Julian Assange while he was living at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
In the recorded conversation, to which EL PAÍS has had access, the alleged extortionists said that there were microphones at the embassy, and that all recorded material involving the WikiLeaks founder was being handed over to the ambassador for review. Martín and one of his associates in Alicante offered WikiLeaks the opportunity to spy on their spies, for a price. Two of the three alleged extortionists have since been arrested and are now being investigated by the courts.
Tariq Ali and Margaret Kunstler have edited a new compilation of essays in defense of Julian Assange, including the Courage Foundation on the ‘Assange Precedent’. Proceeds from the book will go to Courage to support Assange’s defense.
It is critical now to build support for Assange and prevent his delivery into the hands of the Trump administration. That is the urgent purpose of this book. A wide range of distinguished contributors, many of them in original pieces, here set out the story of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, the importance of their work, and the dangers for us all in the persecution they face. In Defense of Julian Assange is a vivid, vital intervention into one of the most important political issues of our day.
Contributors: Pamela Anderson, Julian Assange, Renata Avila, Katrin Axelsson, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Sally Burch, Noam Chomsky, Patrick Cockburn, Naomi Colvin, The Courage Foundation, Mark Curtis, Daniel Ellsberg, Teresa Forcades i Vila, Charles Glass, Kevin Gosztola, Serge Halimi, Nozomi Hayase, Chris Hedges, Srećko Horvat, Caitlin Johnstone, Margaret Kimberley, Geoffroy de Lagasnerie, Lisa Longstaff, Alan MacLeod, Chelsea Manning, Stefania Maurizi, Craig Murray, Fidel Narváez, John C. O’Day, John Pilger, Jesselyn Radack, Michael Ratner, Angela Richter, Geoffrey Robertson, Jen Robinson, Matt Taibbi, Natalia Viana, Ai Weiwei, Vivienne Westwood and Slavoj Žižek.
“The thing the CFAA and Espionage Act have in common is criminalizing regular processes of journalism,” Quinn Norton told CPJ. … “Part of my tremendous worry about this indictment is that federal prosecutors are going to parse conversation between sources and journalists closely, looking for narrow violations of the law,” said Ryan Tate, the technology editor at The Intercept. … In the Assange indictment, Norton sees the government doubling down, she told CPJ this month. “CFAA charges represent a way to harass journalists away from covering a lot of potential stories,” she said. The charge against Assange, she said, is “sending a message” to technology reporters. “It’s like installing censors in our heads.”
Media Lens expands on UN torture expert Nils Melzner’s example of the mainstream media’s character assassination against Assange — in this instance, using his long beard at the time of his arrest to paint him as a ‘weirdo’, despite the fact that Ecuador had revoked his shaving kit 3 months previously:
As we noted in a media alert last week, the groundwork for the persecution of Assange has been laid by a demonising state-corporate propaganda campaign. Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, who is also Professor of International Law at the University of Glasgow, has turned the accepted ‘mainstream’ view of Assange completely on its head:
‘First of all, we have to realize that we have all been deliberately misled about Mr Assange. The predominant image of the shady “hacker”, “sex offender” and selfish “narcissist” has been carefully constructed, disseminated and recycled in order to divert attention from the extremely powerful truths he exposed, including serious crimes and corruption on the part of multiple governments and corporations.
‘By making Mr Assange “unlikeable” and ridiculous in public opinion, an environment was created in which no one would feel empathy with him, very similar to the historic witch-hunts, or to modern situations of mobbing at the workplace or in school.’ (Our emphasis)
… As discussed, Nils Melzer argues that Assange has become ‘”unlikeable” and ridiculous in public opinion’, not because of who he is, but because of a state-sponsored propaganda campaign – the journalists listed above are either complicit or dupes. This media charade was exposed with great clarity by Melzer’s revelation on Twitter:
‘How public humiliation works: On 11 April, Julian Assange was mocked for his beard throughout the world. During my visit, he explained to us that his shaving kit had been deliberately taken away three months earlier.’
It had simply never occurred to the great herd of journalists – which understood that Assange was someone to be smeared, mocked and abused – that his appearance might have something to do with Ecuador’s brutal treatment cutting off his communications, his visitors and even his medical care. Fidel Narvaez, former consul at the Ecuadorian embassy from the first day Assange arrived, on 19 June 2012, until 15 July 2018, said the Ecuadorian regime under president Lenin Moreno had tried to make life ‘unbearable’ for Assange.
A cross-group of MEPs are calling on the European Commission to intervene and stop the extradition of Julian Assange from the UK to the US.
The letter, signed by 37 MEPs – including 32 from the Left – deplores the US request to prosecute the founder of Wikileaks, and it underlines the importance of the right to information as a fundamental pillar of our democracy.
MEPs shared the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer’s grave concerns that the extradition would put Assange at risk of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
It also urges Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans to uphold Assange’s human rights under international and EU laws, with particular reference to the new legislation that provides whistleblowers protection inside the EU.
The assault on Julian Assange is nothing less than an attack on the truth and a threat to global security. A world in which the US government secretly pursues hostile actions, unchecked by any independent oversight, is a danger to all mankind. Julian Assange has served the interests of the people of the world by truthfully revealing activities that undermine peace and security. The Peace Action Committee of the Green Party of the United States calls upon the US Justice Department to drop all charges against Julian Assange, and we call upon the UK government to release Assange from prison.
DOJ tells Chelsea Manning it is investigating others in addition to Assange
In a motion opposing Chelsea Manning’s request to reconsider the punitive sanctions imposed on her for refusing to testify to a WikiLeaks grand jury, the US Department of Justice justified continuing to imprison Manning on the basis that her testifmony is needed for prosecutions beyond that of Assange:
As the government’s ex parte submissions reflect, Manning’s testimony remains relevant and essential to an ongoing investigation into charges or targets that are not included in the superseding indictment.
“[Assange] didn’t have an opportunity to defend himself. And that’s the first major issue here. He doesn’t even have a computer. He doesn’t have access to documents. He’s kept, a lot of the time, isolated”
The publication of classified documents is not a crime in the United States, but if Assange is extradited and convicted it will become one. Assange is not an American citizen. WikiLeaks, which he founded and publishes, is not a U.S.-based publication. The message the U.S. government is sending is clear: No matter who or where you are, if you expose the inner workings of empire you will be hunted down, kidnapped and brought to the United States to be tried as a spy. The extradition and trial of Assange will mean the end of public investigations by the press into the crimes of the ruling elites. It will cement into place a frightening corporate tyranny. Publications such as The New York Times and The Guardian, which devoted pages to the WikiLeaks revelations and later amplified and legitimized Washington’s carefully orchestrated character assassination of Assange, are no less panicked. This is the gravest assault on press freedom in my lifetime. … Commenting in 2018 when Assange’s lawyers requested that the warrant for his arrest be dropped, [Judge Emma] Arbuthnot said, “I accept that Mr. Assange had expressed fears of being returned to the United States from a very early stage in the Swedish extradition proceedings but, absent any evidence from Mr. Assange on oath, I do not find that Mr. Assange’s fears were reasonable,”
This statement by the judge captures the Alice-in-Wonderland quality of the judicial persecution of Assange. She dismisses as unreasonable Assange’s fears that if he voluntarily left the Ecuadorian Embassy he would be arrested by British police and extradited to the United States because he did not appear in court to express them. And yet, she is now presiding over his extradition trial.
This circular logic is not the only disturbing aspect of Judge Arbuthnot’s overseeing of the Assange case. She is married to James Arbuthnot, who sits in the House of Lords, is a British Conservative Party politician, was the minister of state at the Ministry of Defense and for nine years was the chairman of the Defense Select Committee in the House of Commons, a committee that oversees the operation of the Ministry of Defense and the armed forces. Arbuthnot, who was reprimanded while a member of Parliament for diverting public funds to maintain his two homes, is a director at SC Strategy, established by John Scarlett, the former head of the British foreign intelligence service MI6. The politician also is on the advisory board of Thales UK, a huge arms manufacturer whose corrupt business practices, which included massive bribes to heads of state in exchange for arms contracts, were exposed when some of its internal documents were published by WikiLeaks.
Hedges recently spoke to UN torture expert Nils Melzner about his assessment of Assange’s persecution https://web.archive.org/web/20210827142942if_/https://www.rt.com/shows/on-contact/461420-julian-assange-prison-torture/video/5cfcb89ddda4c876728b463d
U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, ordered that “if Chelsea Manning does not purge herself of contempt within 30 days of this Order, she shall incur a conditional fine of $500 per day until such time as she purges herself of contempt.”
The fines will double next month to $1,000 per day under the judge’s order.
Manning’s lawyers filed a motion late last month asking the court to reconsider the sanctions, calling them definitionally punitive rather than coercive. The government disagreed in a filing of its own Friday but proposed that Manning provide evidence of her financial records to see whether a hearing should be held for the court to asses her ability to pay. A ruling from the judge has not yet been docketed.
Britain’s Interior Minister Sajid Javid has admittedly signed the decision which means that the only thing that stands in the way of being released to the United States is some nervous British judges who will certainly feel a strong lobbying campaign from the United States.
Pressure has played a role throughout this remarkable and semi-improvised court case and they will do so in the future as well. But it also means that protests can make a difference.
The International Federation of Journalists has passed a motion calling on the UK and Australian governments “to resist the application to extradite Assange to the United States” (PDF)
The recent indictments filed by the US Government against Julian Assange pose a threat to journalists and journalism around the world.
The indictments clearly seek to prosecute Assange for the receipt and the publication of vital information in the public interest, clearly at odds with previous decisions of the US Supreme Court to protect First Amendment rights.
The congress supports the call of our affiliates for the governments of the United Kingdom and Australia to resist the application to extradite Assange to the United States.
The Federal Foreign Minister must assert his influence and campaign for Assange’s release. In no case should the Whistleblower be delivered to the USA. … Finally, it is also important to implement United Nations international standards for the protection of whistleblowers
The arrests are a serious attack on democratic rights aimed at intimidating supporters of WikiLeaks and preventing broader layers of the population from joining the campaign to demand Assange’s freedom. The police action should be opposed by all defenders of democratic rights. The charges against Grech must be immediately withdrawn.
At Julian Assange’s extradition hearing today at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, which Assange attended via videolink from HMP Belmarsh, the full substantive proceedings were scheduled for five days in February 2020. Assange will also have a hearing in October this year.
Assange’s lawyers say he is ‘resident in health care; at Belmarsh prison. He has no access to a computer and court documents have to be sent to him by post.
Assange speaks to deny that he is charged with computer hacking. CPS lawyer refers to count 18 on the indictment: conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. He is told he will be back in court in October.
Assange hearing ends. His lawyers say he will be appealing against his sentence for the bail offence.
Article 19 released a statement today opposing Assange’s extradition:
Executive Director of ARTICLE 19, Thomas Hughes said:
“If extradited to the US, Julian Assange would be prosecuted and potentially imprisoned for exposing human rights violations committed by the US Government and military.
It would be the first time that the Espionage Act has been used in the United States to prosecute a journalist for publishing information that was truthful and in the public interest.
The UK should not be complicit in this assault on press freedom, which would set a dangerous precedent for investigative journalists and whistleblowers in the UK, US and beyond.”
PEN International and English PEN released a statement yesterday, upon UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid certifying the US extradition order:
Update – 13 June 2019
In light of the UK home secretary’s worrying decision to sign a US extradition order for Julian Assange, PEN International and English PEN said:
‘PEN International and English PEN are disappointed by Sajid Javid’s decision to sign a request for Julian Assange to be extradited to the United States, particularly as he could face the risk of serious human rights violations. It took Javid only two months to rule on this request, in sharp contrast to other extradition cases where the Home Office took several years examining the case, before signing the order. Once again, we urge the judicial authorities in the UK not to extradite Assange to the US, as the charges are far-reaching and set a dangerous precedent that could affect the legitimate work of journalists and publishers everywhere.’
MEAA and other journalist unions put forth a motion opposing Assange’s indictment and extradition:
John Pilger talks about the persecution of the WikiLeaks publisher and the rapid crackdown on investigative journalism in a wide-ranging interview with Dennis J. Bernstein and Randy Credico.
There’s a list of individual journalists who reported this and worked with Assange. They echoed his work; they were collaborators in the literal sense. I’m looking at a list right now: On The New York Times there is Mark Mazzetti, Jane Perlez, Eric Schmitt, Andrew W. Lehren, C. J. Chivers, Carlotta Gall, Jacob Harris, Alan McLean. On TheGuardian there is Nick Davies, David Leigh, Declan Walsh, Simon Tisdall … and so it goes on. All these journalists are in the crosshairs. I don’t believe that many will find themselves in the dire straits in which Julian Assange finds himself because they don’t present a danger to the system that has reacted against Assange and Chelsea Manning; but they have, prima facie, committed the same “crime,” that is, publishing documents that the U.S. government did not want made public. In other words, they are as “guilty” as Assange of journalism.
That applies to hundreds of journalists if not thousands all over the world. The WikiLeaks disclosures were, if not co-published, were picked up by newspapers and journals and investigative programs on television all over the world. That makes all the journalists involved, all the producers, all the presenters, all of them complicit. And, of course, the hounding of Assange and the intimidation of others make a mockery of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which says that you have every right to publish; you have every right to “publish and be damned.” It’s one of the demonstrably noble principles of the U.S. Constitution that has been thrown away completely. And what’s ironic is that the journalists who looked down on Assange, even maintained he was not a journalist, are now running for cover because not only is he a journalist of the highest order he is a far more conscientious journalist than most of them. He — and they in his shadow — were doing a basic job of journalism. That’s why I call it a global war on journalism and the precedent of Julian Assange is unlike anything we have seen.
Regardless of what happens next, the indictment should be perceived as an ominous threat to newsgathering and journalism, Jaffer said. “The U.S.’s indictment of Assange should be understood as an assault on press freedom, because the theory of the indictment is that routine practices of investigative journalism are criminal,” he said. “Cultivating sources, communicating with sources confidentially, protecting sources’ identities, and publishing government secrets—this is what good national security journalists do every day.” … “Trump’s DOJ is acting more aggressively, but it is building off of a blueprint set out by the Obama Administration, including dusting off old cases that were left to die on the vine and bringing new ones using and expanding legal precedents set during the Obama Administration,” says Jesselyn Radack, a national security and human rights attorney who specializes in representing whistleblowers. She now represents Daniel Everette Hale, a 31-year old former Air Force intelligence analyst, who was charged in May for violating the Espionage Act.
“The Trump Administration wants quell information that it does not want the public to know, especially information that exposes government fraud, waste, abuse of power and illegality, i.e. classic whistleblowing disclosures that have exposed this countries darkest atrocities: war crimes, torture, and secret domestic surveillance.”
The U.S. government’s aggressive prosecution of leaks and efforts to control information are already having a chilling effect on journalists and government whistle-blowers. Many journalistic sources, including those of TIME, have shifted to encrypted means of communication or don’t engage at all as a result of the Assange indictment.
More than 50 US, UK, Australian & Canadian academics, human rights activists and lawyers have signed an open letter calling on the US and UK governments to immediately release Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning from prison.
The letter, organised by Newcastle University Professor Iain Munro and published in the Independent, reads in full:
Assange and Manning must be released
Over the past decade, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have revealed human rights abuses and a string of instances of corporate, government and intelligence agency corruption. As scholars and citizens concerned with the protection of whistleblowers and a free press, with the ability to hold government to account for such abuses we call for the immediate release of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning from prison.
We reiterate the concerns of the United Nations special rapporteurs regarding the ongoing mistreatment of Mr Assange and Ms Manning by the US and UK authorities, and affirm the statement of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that “the right of Mr Assange to personal liberty should be restored”.
Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei: the UK must stop Assange’s extradition to the US https://web.archive.org/web/20210827142942if_/https://www.instagram.com/p/BykvFIDiOn2/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=12&rd=https%3A%2F%2Fdefend.wikileaks.org&rp=%2Farchive-2019-liveblog-of-julian-assange-in-jeopardy%2F#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A10881%7D View this post on Instagram
[Julian Assange’s] arrest eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The illegalities carried by the Ecuadorian, British and U.S. governments in the seizure of Julian two months ago from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London are ominous. They presage a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes, especially war crimes, carried out by the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presage a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse of power, no matter what their nationality, will be hunted down around the globe and seized, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given lifetime prison terms. They presage an Orwellian dystopia where journalism is outlawed and replaced with propaganda, trivia, entertainment and indoctrination to make us hate those demonized by the state as our enemies. … We must build popular movements to force the British government to halt the extradition and judicial lynching of Julian. We must build popular movements to force the Australian government to intervene on behalf of Julian. We must build popular movements to reclaim democracy and the rule of law. If Julian is extradited and tried, it will create a legal precedent that will terminate the ability of the press, which Donald Trump has attacked as “the enemy of the people,” to hold power accountable. The crimes of war and finance, the persecution of dissidents, minorities and immigrants, the pillaging of the ecosystem and the ruthless impoverishment of working men and women to swell the profits of corporations and consolidate the global oligarchs’ total grip on power will no longer be part of public debate. First Julian. Then us.
Those who deny Assange’s journalism are denying him a major part of his defence. The First Amendment free speech provisions of the US Constitution provide protections for publishers and journalists who would otherwise be subject to prosecution under the US Espionage Act (1917).
By arguing that Assange is not a journalist – though he is a fully paid-up member of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance – journalists are giving ammunition to the US administration to prosecute Assange for espionage, a crime that carries a possible life sentence. And if the prosecutors can prove that Assange acted deliberately to damage US national security and aid a foreign power, the death sentence.
The Justice Department has delivered to officials in the United Kingdom a formal extradition request for Julian Assange, making further U.S. charges against the WikiLeaks founder unlikely.
A U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter said the request was sent Thursday. The United States’ treaty with Britain required that the request be sent within 60 days of Assange’s April 11 arrest at the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.
The same treaty bars the United States from prosecuting Assange for any alleged crimes beyond those outlined in the extradition request, unless those acts occur after his extradition. In an 18-count indictment filed last month, prosecutors charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act and conspiring to hack into a government computer. … A grand jury investigation of Assange has remained active in recent weeks. Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, whose interactions with Assange form the basis of the charges against him, remains in jail for refusing to testify before the grand jury.
On successive days this week the Australian Federal Police has raided the homes and workplaces of journalists, as part of a hunt for the sources of stories about a proposal to increase surveillance powers of citizens and the alleged conduct of Australian military in Afghanistan.
The raids come at time when freedom of the media is a much discussed topic courtesy of the United States recently filing charges against Australian publisher and journalist Julian Assange under that country’s espionage laws
The game has changed for Assange. And the stakes got higher for everyone: his prosecution could form a precedent, for generations, for the limits on what the public can know about how the secret services and the military work. … [Pentagon Papers lawyer James] Goodale can see a future Assange v United States going all the way to the US Supreme Court.
“I think the world should pay attention to it. It will be a defining case. [A conviction would] make it constitutional to have the equivalent of an Official Secrets Act in the US. It was always thought the First Amendment would stop [that].”
Australia already has its equivalent of Britain’s Official Secrets Act, the 1914 Crimes Act, cited this week after AFP raids on the home of a News Corp journalist and the ABC’s Ultimo offices over leaked classified material. There is, however, no Australian equivalent of the US Constitution’s First Amendment protecting free speech.
La expulsión de Julian Assange de la embajada de Ecuador en Londres el 11 de abril de 2019 marcó la culminación del esfuerzo de años del presidente de Ecuador Lenin Moreno para incumplir el compromiso de Ecuador de proteger al editor de Wikileaks de la persecución de Estados Unidos. Cuando Moreno asumió la presidencia el 24 de mayo de 2017 ya había empezado a minar las protecciones de Assange. Rafael Correa, quien le había otorgado asilo a Julian Assange, denominó las acciones de Moreno como “una de las más grandes traiciones de la historia de América Latina”.
The United States Department of Justice is preparing a new superseding indictment against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange before the extradition request deadline on June 14.
Dutch public broadcaster NOS reported that convicted fraudster and FBI informant Sigurdur Thordarson was flown to the United States last week where he was “comprehensively interrogated.”
NOS reported that on May 6th this year, FBI Special Agent Megan Brown, who leads the FBI investigation against Assange, travelled to Iceland together with prosecutor Kellen Dwyer from the Eastern District of Virginia, to re-interrogate FBI informant Thordarson with the help of Icelandic police.
“The Trump administration is so desperate to build its case against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange that it is using a diagnosed sociopath, a convicted conman and sex criminal, who was exposed by the highest levels of the Icelandic government as an FBI informant and who was involved in an entrapment operation in 2011 against Julian Assange.”
More from the release:
Thordarson told NOS that the interrogations focussed on his own communications with fellow FBI-informant Hector Monsegur (aka ‘SABU’). These contacts involve an operation by the FBI that was exposed as an “entrapment” operation “against Julian Assange” by the Interior Minister of Iceland, Ögmundur Jonasson, as reported by the Daily Mail in 2013.
While the case would collapse in the U.S. due to the prosecution’s reliance on testimony by Thordarson and Monsegur, who are not credible witnesses, the United States can conceal their witnesses’ identities during UK extradition proceedings in order to boost their chances of winning. This will make it impossible for Assange to challenge the credibility of the witnesses during UK extradition proceedings, which will commence on 14 June.
Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor of WikiLeaks, yesterday sent a letter demanding an explanation from Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Justice Minister Þórdís Kolbrún Gylfadóttir, Chief of the National Police Haraldur Johannessen, and General Prosecutor Sigríður J. Friðjónsdóttir regarding the Icelandic government’s participation in what is widely recognised to be a US-led political persecution against foreign members of the press, including Icelandic citizens, for their role in exposing war crimes and other illegal activities during consecutive US administrations.
The first substantive US extradition hearing, previously planned for 12 June has now been moved to 14 June. The hearing will be in Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court.
The expulsion of Julian Assange from Ecuador’s embassy in London on 11 April 2019 marked the culmination of President Lenín Moreno’s years-long effort to renege on Ecuador’s commitment to protect the WikiLeaks publisher from the United States’ persecution. By the time he took office on 24 May 2017, Moreno had already begun working on undermining Assange’s protections, a process that Moreno’s predecessor Rafael Correa, who granted Assange asylum in 2012, called “one of the greatest betrayals in Latin American history.”
Because Ecuador’s left-leaning citizenry is wary of overt signs of Western influence after decades of Latin American intervention, the more US-friendly President Moreno could not immediately expel Assange upon taking office without affronting those who elected him, though he was quick to call Assange an “inherited problem” and a “stone in the shoe.” Instead, Moreno gradually ratcheted up restrictions, surveillance, and threats on Julian Assange over the course of his presidential term to build a pretext for ultimately revoking asylum and inviting British police into Ecuador’s embassy.
Speaking to The Canary, Melzer explained whom he holds chiefly responsible for this “psychological torture”, and where this treatment sits within international law:
The evidence made available to me strongly suggests that the primary responsibility for the sustained and concerted abuse inflicted on Mr Assange falls on the governments of the United Kingdom, Sweden, the United States and, more recently, also Ecuador. Accordingly, these governments would be responsible jointly for the foreseeable cumulative effect of their conduct, but also each of them separately for their respective contributions, whether through direct perpetration, instigation, consent, or acquiescence. Further, each of them has consistently failed to protect Mr Assange from serious abuse, insult and intimidation by media and other private actors within their jurisdiction.
On why Assange is being so aggressively persecuted:
The only realistic explanation for this sustained systemic failure of the judiciary is that the United States, and probably also the other involved states, are trying to make an example of Mr Assange before the eyes of the world, not as much as a punishment for whatever real or perceived harm he is alleged to have caused, but as a measure of deterrence for others who might be tempted to imitate Wikileaks and Mr Assange in the future. In these circumstances, Mr Assange has absolutely no chance to get a fair judicial proceeding in any of these jurisdictions.
On the media’s role in Assange’s persecution:
When the media find it more appropriate to spread humiliating jokes about Mr Assange’s cat, his skateboard and his faeces, than to challenge governments consistently refusing to hold their officials accountable for wars of aggression, corruption and serious international crimes, they demonstrate a deplorable lack of responsibility, decency and respect not only towards Mr Assange, but also towards their own readers, hearers and viewers, whom they are supposed to inform and empower. It is a bit like being served poisoned junk food at a restaurant – a betrayal of trust with potentially serious consequences.
On his image in the media:
First of all, we have to realize that we have all been deliberately misled about Mr Assange. The predominant image of the shady ‘hacker’, ‘sex offender’ and selfish ‘narcissist’ has been carefully constructed, disseminated and recycled in order to divert attention from the extremely powerful truths he exposed, including serious crimes and corruption on the part of multiple governments and corporations.
By making Mr Assange ‘unlikeable’ and ridiculous in public opinion, an environment was created in which no one would feel empathy with him, very similar to the historic witch-hunts, or to modern situations of mobbing at the workplace or in school.[emphasis added] Once totally isolated, it would be easy to violate Mr Assange’s most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage. If the involved states get away with persecuting Mr Assange without ever prosecuting the crimes exposed by him, they will have established a dangerous precedent of impunity threatening freedom of press and opinion worldwide, and they will also have seriously undermined the accountability of government officials for crime and corruption under the rule of law. So there is much at stake here for every single one of us, and everyone should use the democratic means at their disposal to inform themselves, make their voice heard and hold their government accountable.
Assange has done nothing but what journalists do all over the world every day, that is to say, grow sources and unearth uncomfortable facts and documents that the authorities are trying to hide from the people.
What is it then for information that WikiLeaks has spread?
The Iraqi and Afghan war diaries revealing irregularities and possible war crimes. And it is good that the American people, in whose name and with whose money these wars have been brought, actually find out what has happened.
Then we have the over 250,000 embassy telegrams. Thus, it is telegrams from US embassies to the US State Department. shows how politicians and authorities in both the United States and other countries ran with dual messages and tried to bring the people behind the light.
Then we have the e-mail from the American Democratic Party, which shows how the entire primary election process was rigged to Hillary Clinton’s advantage.
Another example is the so-called Vault 7, which revealed tools and methods related to US global mass surveillance.
We also have the handbook on how to handle prisoners who are detained at the Guantanamo base.
And to end with a Swedish connection, WikiLeaks has once published the Swedish Government’s draft law on data storage, and this at a time when the politicians claimed that no plans for such a law existed.
So it’s quite a mix, and it is very, very much of public interest.
All of this is public service. All this is something that the American people and all others deserve to know. All of this is basically the same thing as all serious and digging journalists are dealing with. And this is where the problem lies.
Appeals to Assange for espionage etc. at the same time, you open the door to do the same with other journalists and other publications. Which makes it impossible for the media to do their job: to critically examine power and to reveal maladministration. The British judiciary, it will now try the US extradition request, it is based on 17 points that can give Assange up to 175 years in prison in the United States … What is important in this case is above all the US extradition request.
Already, this request is, in itself, with its pending charges a blow to the freedom of the press. And should Assange be extradited to the United States and sentenced, then it is a killing blow to all kinds of media that do something more than obediently merely spreading the message of power. And the question of espionage? It is basically very strange.
Because if it at all holds – then one must first of all ask who Assange has spied. The answer to that question – if so, it should be, the American people. In whose name, at whose expense, power has violated rules, played falsely, emptied the principles of democracy and engaged in generally shady activities. Which leads us to the question of whether it is reasonable at all to prosecute anyone for spying on behalf of the people. A more reasonable approach is that WikiLeak’s business is about journalism and that the authorities are allowed to swallow the treachery and keep their paws away from the free word.
[Assange], already in prison in Britain and facing espionage charges in the US, was widely believed to be charged over the massive “Vault 7″ leak that then-press secretary Sean Spicer insisted undermined “our security, our country and our well-being.”
But the US Department of Justice has decided not to pursue charges over the catastrophic leak, according to Politico, citing a U.S. official and two other people familiar with the case.
“There is a comfort level within the national security establishment of where the charges ended up,” a US national security official told Politico.
The decision was made in part by tight deadlines to bring additional charges — along with fears a court battle could expose even more CIA secrets. The CIA has never confirmed the authenticity of the almost 9,000-page leak.
Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Per E Samuelson, meanwhile argued that a detention order was “meaningless” as Assange is currently imprisoned in Britain and should not be considered a flight risk. He said it was not proportionate to ask for someone’s detention merely to conduct a questioning session.
Assange remains a suspect, but the court agreed with the defence that it would not be proportionate to formally detain him, because the prosecutor would be able to continue the investigation regardless.
Per Samuelson, Assange’s lawyer, tells SVT this is a “huge victory” for Mr. Assange but that he cannot inform Mr. Assange because Samuelson cannot call his client in Belmarsh prison. Samuelson has informed Mr. Assange’s UK solicitor.
UN Torture Expert: “collective persecution” of Julian Assange must end now In a scathing condemnation of the “deliberate and concerted abuse inflicted for years” on Julian Assange, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzner called on the UK government not to extradite him to the United States, where Melzner fears Assange “would be exposed to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights.” “The evidence is overwhelming and clear,” the expert said. “Mr. Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.”
Melzner, who visited Assange in Belmarsh prison following concerns for his health, sent official letters to the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Ecuador, urging each government “to refrain from further disseminating, instigating or tolerating statements or other activities prejudicial to Assange’s human rights and dignity and to take measures to provide him with appropriate redress and rehabilitation for past harm.”
In a letter to [Judge] Trenga, Manning elaborated on her objections to the grand jury process, calling it a “rubber stamp” for prosecutors that gives their cases “unearned legitimacy.”
“I refuse to participate in a process that has clearly transformed into something that violates the spirit if not the letter of the law,” she wrote. “I object to this grand jury in particular as an effort to frighten journalists and publishers, who serve a crucial public good.”
The 18-count indictment is an authoritarian’s dream, the work of attorneys who probably thought the Sedition Act was good law and the Red Scare era Palmer raids a good start. The “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” is there again, as the 18th count. But counts 1-17 are all subsection 793 charges, and all are worst-case-scenario interpretations of the Espionage Act as pertains to both the receipt and publication of secrets. … The Assange case is more than the narrow prosecution of one controversial person. This is a crossroads moment for the whole world, for speech, reporting, and transparent governance.
It is happening in an era when the hegemonic U.S. government has been rapidly expanding a kind of oversight-free zone within its federal bureaucracy, with whole ranges of activities – from drone killings to intelligence budgets to surveillance – often placed outside the scope of either congress or the courts.
One of the few outlets left that offered any hope of penetrating this widening veil of secrecy was the press, working in conjunction with the whistleblower. If that relationship is criminalized, self-censorship will become the norm, and abuses will surely multiply as a result.
A procedural hearing in Julian Assange’s extradition case was held this morning in London:
[Assange’s] solicitor Gareth Peirce told a judge at Westminster magistrates court in London on Thursday that Assange was too ill to appear by video link from prison. The date for the next hearing was confirmed as 12 June.
The senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot said the next hearing may take place in Belmarsh prison in south London, where Assange is being held, if convenient for all parties.
John Pilger spoke about the US indictment against Assange:
“Only in the US can you face 175 years, the charges against Julian Assange are RIDICULOUS! They’re about what I’ve done & probably what you’ve done…protect a source!”
WikiLeaks posted a statement expressing grave concerns about Julian Assange’s health. As referenced in the statement, the Swedish court that will hear arguments over whether to request Assange be detained in abstentia has refused to postpone the 3 June hearing, despite Assange’s Swedish lawyer Per E. Samuelsson’s statement that “Assange’s health situation on Friday was such that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him.”
WikiLeaks has grave concerns about the state of health of our publisher, Julian Assange, who has been moved to the health ward of Belmarsh prison. – See full statement: pic.twitter.com/HnZVks4kWj
Kevin Gosztola breaks down the way the DOJ is resuscitating its theory of journalist-source conspiracy, that failed in court against Chelsea Manning, in its new indictment of Julian Assange:
Prosecutors pushed a contrived theory during [Chelsea Manning’s] trial, which suggested Manning worked for Assange, as if she was an insider or spy that WikiLeaks turned against the U.S. government and recruited to steal documents for the media organization.
This theory is fundamental to the allegations in the superseding indictment against Assange, yet one massive dilemma for prosecutors exists — Chelsea Manning’s statement during her court-martial.
On February 28, 2013, Manning outlined in great detail her role in disclosing over a half million documents to WikiLeaks. She meticulously described each set of information, why she was drawn to releasing the documents to the public, and how she downloaded, prepared, and electronically transferred the documents to WikiLeaks.
Manning’s statement conflicts with the government’s theory so they are abusing the grand jury process. They are punishing her so she bends to their will and testifies in front of the grand jury, where they hope they will be able to discredit her statement. …
Trump officials have carried the war on whistleblowers to its logical extension: finding a test case that may force journalists to think twice about publishing classified information in an age when technology for accepting leaks has proliferated.
Evidence showing Assange recruited Manning to act as an insider for WikiLeaks does not exist. Yet, that is exactly why the government will not withdraw the subpoena against her.
The government knows it is unlikely to succeed in prosecuting Assange unless they undercut the truth Manning asserted in a military court. They must abuse the grand jury process and use confinement and steep financial penalties to force her testimony. She has to be tripped up or baited into making statements useful against Assange or else all they have is a preposterous conspiracy theory that not even the anti-leaks Obama administration was willing to pursue.
Courage has launched a letter-writing campaign for UK citizens to email their MPs:
If you’re in the UK, writing to your MP is an important way you can help Julian Assange in his fight against extradition to the United States.
An email written in your own words will be noticed. Your opinion matters. Regardless of what your MP thinks about this issue, they should pass on your concerns to the Home Office if you request it. For everyone who takes the time to write a letter, the UK government knows there are dozens more who think similarly – so even a couple of hundred letters can make a huge difference.
See our sample letter, endorsing a path forward for the UK Home Secretary that respects British sovereignty and protects Julian Assange from extradition to the United States, as well as how to find your MP.
Write your letter today and share your responses with us!
the U.S. government has now issued a legal document that formally declares that collaborating with government sources to receive and publish classified documents is no longer regarded by the Justice Department as journalism protected by the First Amendment but rather as the felony of espionage, one that can send reporters and their editors to prison for decades. It thus represents, by far, the greatest threat to press freedom in the Trump era, if not the past several decades.
If Assange can be declared guilty of espionage for working with sources to obtain and publish information deemed “classified” by the U.S. government, then there’s nothing to stop the criminalization of every other media outlet that routinely does the same — including The Washington Post, as well as the large media outlets that partnered with WikiLeaks and published much of the same material in 2010, along with newer digital media outlets like the Intercept, where I work.
The vast bulk of activities cited by the indictment as criminal are exactly what major U.S. media outlets do on a daily basis.
The new indictment against Assange falls into three parts – each of them attempting to criminalise things journalists regularly do as they receive and publish true information given to them by sources or whistleblowers. Assange is accused of trying to persuade a source to disclose yet more secret information. Most reporters would do the same. Then he is charged with behaviour that, on the face of it, looks like a reporter seeking to help a source protect her identity. If that’s indeed what Assange was doing, good for him. Finally, he is accused of repeatedly publishing material that “could harm the national security of the US”.
Whenever you read about journalists harming national security, massive alarm bells should start ringing.
Professor Noam Chomsky, Dr. Vandana Shiva, artist George Gittoes, Julian Burnside QC, investigative journalist and filmmaker John Pilger, and Senator Sekai Holland, have joined former Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Mary Kostakidis and Founder Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Professor Stuart Rees AM in the call:
Break the official Australian silence. Stop Julian Assange’s extradition to almost certain long-term imprisonment. Secure his rightful freedom. The Australian Government must intervene now. We call on the civilized world to uphold the true values of peace with justice and to stand up for Julian Assange.
I have been isolated from all ability to prepare to defend myself: no laptop, no internet, ever, no computer, no library, so far, but even if I get access it will be just for half an hour, with everyone else, once a week. Just two visits a month and it takes weeks to get someone on the call list and a Catch-22 in getting their details to be security screened. Then all calls except lawyers, are recorded and calls are max 10 minutes and in a limited 30-min window each day in which all prisoners compete for the phone. And credit? Just a few pounds a week and no one can call in.
The other side? A superpower that has been preparing for 9 years with hundreds of people and untold millions spent on the case. I am defenseless and am counting on you and others of good character to save my life.
I am unbroken, albeit literally surrounded by murderers, but the days when I could read and speak and organize to defend myself, my ideals, and my people are over until I am free! Everyone else must take my place.
The US government, or rather, those regrettable elements in it that hate truth liberty and justice, want to cheat their way into my extradition and death, rather than letting the public hear the truth, for which I have won the highest awards in journalism and have been nominated 7 times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Truth, ultimately, is all we have.
24 May 2019
Updated post: Politicians, editorial boards, press freedom groups decry the superseding indictment against Julian Assange, plus commentary from Assange’s legal team and video interviews with Jeremy Scahill and Daniel Ellsberg
The indictment carries serious implications for WikiLeaks publishing partners, numbering over one hundred across the globe, including The New York Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian, who collaborated on the publications and may now face co-defendant charges.
The final decision on Assange’s extradition rests with the UK Home Secretary, who is now under enormous pressure to protect the rights of the free press in the U.K. and elsewhere. Press rights advocates have unanimously argued that Assange’s prosecution under the Espionage Act is incompatible with basic democratic principles.
This is the gravest attack on press freedom of the century.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on privacy, Joseph Cannataci, is very concerned about reports that the Government of Ecuador plans to deliver to the United States the personal belongings of Julian Assange.
The independent expert said he had received information that, at the request of the United States Department of Justice, the Ecuadorian government had decided to register on May 20 the rooms of the embassy in London used by the founder of WikiLeaks and to confiscate his documents, telephones, electronic devices, memories, etc., to deliver them to the Government of the United States.
Concerned about the reports, Cannataci wrote to the Government of Ecuador recalling the guarantees that should exist before any registration, and also offered to provide the assistance of impartial experts to supervise the registration, and separate the information that could be relevant to an eventual process. criminal in the United States of information that should be kept private and returned to Assange. The Special Rapporteur said that he was disappointed by the lack of timely response from the Government of Ecuador.
“On two occasions I have formally asked the Government of Ecuador to return the personal effects of Mr. Assange to his lawyers, but it seems that he intends to deliver them to the US authorities, although I do not have any problem with the registration and seizure procedures are carried out correctly under the rule of law, it is about very special circumstances in at least two aspects: there is something more at stake than the right to privacy, other human rights, and especially freedom of expression, also run danger if part of Mr. Assange’s material falls into the wrong hands Mr. Assange referred to a series of confidential sources and whistleblowers whose identity and privacy should also be protected, “said the Special Rapporteur.
“I am also disappointed by Ecuador’s lack of timely response to my proposal to visit Quito and to further evaluate the complaint I received from President Lenin Moreno about a violation of his right to privacy, related to the alleged hacking that led to the online publication of a large number of his communications and private photographs of himself and his family. ” Cannataci said the visit would have been “an excellent opportunity to better understand the particularities of the case.”
The Special Rapporteur said he hoped to receive a response soon to his concerns and proposals for cooperation.
Today federal prosecutors unsealed a new, 18-count superseding indictment charging Julian Assange with violating the Espionage Act, the first use of the 1917 law against a publisher.
Julian Assange’s attorney Barry Pollack said,
Today the government charged Julian Assange under the Espionage Act for encouraging sources to provide him truthful information and for publishing that information. The fig leaf that this is merely about alleged computer hacking has been removed. These unprecedented charges demonstrate the gravity of the threat the criminal prosecution of Julian Assange poses to all journalists in their endeavor to inform the public about actions that have taken by the U.S. government.
A member of the Ecuadorean embassy staff speaking to an SO6 Diplomatic Protection Officer (in unmarked car) (via WSWS)
Supporters of Assange began gathering by 8 a.m. yesterday outside the embassy to witness and denounce the search and seizure.
Members of the Julian Assange Defence Committee and the Socialist Equality Party were among those who gathered, after reports the operation would begin at 9 a.m. El Pais wrote, “The search of Assange’s sealed-off room will take place on May 20 as part of a petition for judicial assistance issued by the US Department of Justice to the government of Ecuador.” It would be mounted “under the oversight of police chief Diego López and second sergeant Milton Jaque,” described as a “computer forensic expert.”
During the day, Metropolitan Police officers, including several SO6 Diplomatic Protection police, positioned themselves near the embassy and at one point approached the building’s front entrance. SO6 is an armed police unit. Police officers refused to answer questions from protesters, except to say that they were “keeping the peace.” … To add to the picture of official criminality, Assange’s lawyer Per Samuelsson told Reuters that no court proceedings should go ahead in Sweden because the UK is refusing to grant Assange’s lawyers access to their client in Belmarsh.
“Since he is in prison in England, it has so far not been possible even to speak to him by telephone,” Samuelsson said. He would tell the Swedish District Court it could not investigate the prosecutor’s request until he had conferred with his client and learned whether he wished to oppose a detention order.
It’s not known what devices authorities removed from the embassy or what information they contained. But authorities said they were acting on a request by the U.S. prosecutors, leading Assange’s defenders to claim that Ecuador has undermined the most basic principles of asylum while denying the secret-spiller’s right to prepare his defense.
“It’s disgraceful,” WikiLeaks’ editor in chief, Kristinn Hrafnsson, said in an interview with The Associated Press. “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, who has visited the Australian activist in jail, said Assange saw his eviction coming for weeks as relations with President Lenin Moreno’s government deteriorated, so he took great care to scrub computers and hard drives of any compromising material, including future planned leaks or internal communications with WikiLeaks collaborators.
Still, Hrafnsson said he fully expects Moreno or the Americans to claim revelations that don’t exist. He called Monday’s proceedings a “horse show” because no legal authority can guarantee Assange’s devices haven’t been tampered with, or the chain of custody unbroken, in the six weeks since his arrest.
“If anything surfaces, I can assure you it would’ve been planted,” he 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.”
A Swedish court is set to hear on June 3 a prosecutor’s request that WikliLeaks founder Julian Assange be detained in absentia on suspicion of rape, the first step in his possible extradition to Sweden.
The Uppsala district court issued the decision on Tuesday after deputy chief prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson and Assange’s Swedish defence attorney, Per E Samuelsson, had proposed conflicting dates.
Persson had requested that the hearing take place on Wednesday, according to documents filed with the court.
Samuelson, however, said he needed time to consult with Assange who is serving a 50-week sentence in Britain for skipping bail.
Former US Representative Ron Paul: Fair Trial? US Steals Assange’s Legal Papers
Three weeks before the U.S. deadline to file its final extradition request for Assange, Ecuadorian officials are travelling to London to allow U.S. prosecutors to help themselves to Assange’s belongings.
Neither Julian Assange nor U.N. officials have been permitted to be present when Ecuadorian officials arrive to Ecuador’s embassy in London on Monday morning.
The chain of custody has already been broken. Assange’s lawyers will not be present at the illegal seizure of his property, which has been “requested by the authorities of the United States of America”.
The material includes two of his manuscripts, as well as his legal papers, medical records and electronic equipment. The seizure of his belongings violates laws that protect medical and legal confidentiality and press protections.
Mr Assange’s lawyer said the move was “completely unprecedented in the history of asylum”.
“Ecuador is committing a flagrant violation of the most basic norms of the institution of asylum by handing over all the asylee’s personal belongings indiscriminately to the country that he was being protected from,” added lawyer Aitor Martinez.
“On Monday, Ecuador will perform a puppet show at the embassy of Ecuador in London for their masters in Washington, just in time to expand their extradition case before the UK deadline on 14 June. The Trump administration is inducing its allies to behave like it’s the Wild West,” said Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor in chief of WikiLeaks, on Sunday.
Baltasar Garzon, international legal co-ordinator for the defence of Assange and WikiLeaks, has urged international bodies to intervene in what he called “an unprecedented attack on the rights of the defence, freedom of expression and access to information”.
“It is extremely worrying that Ecuador has proceeded with the search and seizure of property, documents, information and other material belonging to the defence of Julian Assange, which Ecuador arbitrarily confiscated, so that these can be handed over to the agent of political persecution against him, the United States,” Mr Garzon said.
“In Sweden, prosecutors have applied to the Swedish courts to issue a warrant for Julian’s arrest. There is a tremendous back story to that simple statement.”
Regarding The Guardian’s headline on the story (“Sweden files request for arrest over rape allegation”)
The main headline is completely untrue. Sweden has not filed a request for arrest. Sweden is going through its judicial processes – which it skipped the first time – in order to decide whether or not to file a request for arrest. This gives Assange the opportunity to start the process of fighting the allegations, which he strenuously denies, in the Swedish courts. However at present his Swedish lawyer cannot access him in Belmarsh high security jail, which is typical of the abuses of process to which he is subject.
Courage trustee John Pilger visited Assange in prison:
I visited Julian #Assange in prison. He has been ill, but his courage is astonishing. He is locked up for up to 23 hours. Let no one doubt he is a political prisoner, fraudulent events in Sweden included. His crime is truthful journalism. Shame on those who feign otherwise.
The “Iraq War Logs” disgorged an unprecedented profusion of documents, military reports and videos, reports Patrick Lawrence.
This is part 3 in Consortium News’ series of articles, “The Revelations of WikiLeaks,” that will look back on the major works of the publication that have altered the world since its founding in 2006. See Part 1 and Part 2.
Three months [after the Afghan War Diaries], on Oct. 22, 2010, WikiLeaks released an even more explosive trove: 391,831 documents and videos it named “Iraq War Logs.” This superseded “Afghan War Diaries” as by far the most extensive leak of classified material in U.S. history. It shone a stark light on the U.S.–led coalition’s conduct in Iraq after its 2003 invasion, when the nation had erupted into a violent sectarian war. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, said the Logs “constituted the most comprehensive and detailed account of any war ever to have entered the public record.”
Now that Ecuador has expelled Julian Assange from its embassy in London, the Trump administration is opening a “new chapter of cooperation” with the South American government.
USAID Administrator Mark Green said of Ecuador: “It’s our neighborhood”
The agreement reflects a new level of coordination since the Ecuadorian government kicked the WikiLeaks founder out of its embassy to the delight of U.S. officials long frustrated with Ecuador for granting asylum to Assange.
David Lewis, vice president of Manchester Trade Ltd., which has been working with Ecuadorian exporters:
cited Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Ecuador, Moreno’s visit to the United States and increased discussions between the two governments’ top officials on trade and investment. Assange, Lewis said, was just the final step.
“That was the coup de grâce,” Lewis said. “The move on Assange was the final dot the ‘I,’ cross the ‘Ts.’ But even before the culmination of the Assange debacle, they had already made the moves.”
Pence, who brought up Assange in meetings with the Ecuadorian government, cited the improved relations during a visit to Quito last year where he thanked Moreno for his leadership.
Top human rights lawyer Renata Avila in El Diario: The Julian Assange case exemplifies all forms of abuse of the law and of administrative proceedings against a person
A PhD student could write ten detailed theses of the judicial calvary that has been the case Julian Assange. After a decade of working on the case directly and indirectly, I can say with confidence that it exemplifies all forms of abuse of the law and administrative processes against a person.
From bail conditions much more aggressive and restrictive, even without charges, than those imposed on a dangerous terrorist, to malicious process delays. From files erased from the judicial computer systems of two countries such as the United Kingdom and Sweden, which are characterized by their sophisticated electronic government, to computers “stolen” from their lawyers and Spanish private security companies monitoring our meetings.
Un estudiante de doctorado podría escribir diez tesis detalladas del calvario judicial que ha sido el caso Julian Assange. Luego de una década de llevar su caso de forma directa e indirecta, puedo decir con confianza que este ejemplifica todas las formas de abuso de la ley y de los procesos administrativos en contra de una persona.
Desde unas condiciones de libertad bajo fianza mucho más agresivas y restrictivas, aún sin cargos, que las impuestas a un peligroso terrorista, hasta dilaciones de proceso maliciosas. Desde archivos borrados de los sistemas informáticos judiciales de dos países como Reino Unido y Suecia, que se caracterizan por su sofisticado gobierno electrónico, hasta computadoras “robadas” a sus abogados y compañías españolas de seguridad privada vigilando nuestras reuniones.
The documentary film HACKING JUSTICE, about the legal battle to defend Julian Assange from the wrath of the United States, is screening Monday, 27 May, followed by a Q&A with director Clara Lopez Rubio
Chelsea, released from prison last week when the grand jury lapsed, was served with a new subpoena even before her release. She returns to court today for a 2pm hearing, in which she intends to continue to refuse to testify about her 2010 disclosures to WikiLeaks, and may be sent back to prison if the judge holds her in contempt of court.
Chelsea spoke to the press before her hearing:
CHELSEA MANNING SPEAKS: Former U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning is holding a news conference prior to a federal grand jury appearance. Manning is facing a fresh grand jury subpoena to testify about her contacts with WikiLeaks. https://t.co/dkyd6P8mL4
After a week of freedom, former Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning was ordered back to jail on Thursday for once again refusing to testify before a federal grand jury. …
US District Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Manning jailed following a two-hour hearing, half of which was sealed. During the second, public portion of the hearing, Trenga announced that he had once again found Manning in civil contempt, and decided that notwithstanding her pledge not to cooperate, he thought there was still a chance that more jail time could convince her otherwise.
“It’s unfortunate we’re at this point,” the judge said. Before remanding her into the custody of the US Marshals, Trenga told Manning that there was nothing “dishonorable” about fulfilling one’s duties as a US citizen, and he hoped she’d consider that.
The judge has the power to keep Manning in jail until she testifies or until the term of the grand jury expires again. Trenga also imposed a fine — after 30 days in jail, a daily fine of $500 will kick in, and that amount will go up to $1,000 per day after 60 days. The grand jury could be in service for up to 18 months. During the hearing, Assistant US Attorney Thomas Traxler told the judge that they didn’t think a fine would compel Manning to testify, since she could just go on social media and launch a fundraising campaign.
The US government is especially eager to force Manning to testify as soon as possible, as it has just weeks left to add charges to Julian Assange’s final extradition request:
The Justice Department has 60 days after seeking a “provisional arrest” of Assange through UK authorities in mid-April to submit a final extradition package. Once that happens, prosecutors can’t add any more charges against him. It’s unclear if prosecutors want Manning to testify before the grand jury specifically about matters that could lead to more charges against Assange, or as part of a broader investigation with other subjects.
Chelsea’s lawyer spoke after the ruling: “The United States has always been more concerned with the disclosure of those documents than their damning substance”
Ecuador has said it will hand over all Julian Assange’s belongings to the US—documents, mobile phones, computers and files, memory sticks and all other devices, including communications with lawyers and legal documents
Baltasar Garzón, Assange’s lawyer, describes the delivery to the US of the defendant’s belongings of “absolute violation of Ecuador’s asylum institution.” “It is incomprehensible that the country of protection now takes advantage of the privileged position of having received it to remit its belongings to the country that is pursuing it, which will have been intervened without a judicial order, without protection of the rights of the asylee, without respect for the chain of custody. “said Garzón. “What is aggravated by the illicit recording mechanism that was deployed in the embassy and that has been denounced The systematic violation of Assange’s rights is overcoming the limits of the imaginable,” he said.
Assange’s defence attorney in Ecuador, Carlos Poveda, asks the court to prevent the government of Ecuador from handing over Assange’s sequestered personal belongings, including confidential legal communications that are necessary for his defence, to the United States:
Carlos Poveda, abogado de Julián Assange, entregó en Fiscalía un documento con la oposición a la diligencia que a realizarse el 20 de mayo próximo en la Embajada de Ecuador en Londres dentro de la cooperación internacional solicitada por USA en el caso Assange. @eluniversocompic.twitter.com/SC4S0HSYZm
Sweden reopens investigation into Julian Assange, seeks to extradite
Swedish Deputy Chief Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson announced she was reopening a preliminary investigation into Julian Assange based on 2010 rape allegations and Sweden will issue a European arrest warrant. The investigation was dropped in 2017, 6 months after the Swedish prosecutor questioned Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy.
Kristinn Hrafnsson, Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks said:
Since Julian Assange was arrested on 11 April 2019, there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case.
Recall that it was initially dropped in 2010 when a Prosecutor concluded that, “no crime at all” had occurred. It was reopened as WikiLeaks prepared to publish the Iraq War Logs.
This case has been mishandled throughout. After the Swedish prosecutor refused to question Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy for years, it was only when forced by Swedish courts that she traveled to London to finally question Assange. Then Sweden wanted to drop its arrest warrant for Assange as early as 2013. It was the British government that insisted that the case against him continue.
Since the investigation was closed in 2017, we have received reports of the destruction of records and correspondence on behalf of UK and Swedish authorities, surely an impediment to a thorough investigation.
Assange was always willing to answer any questions from the Swedish authorities and repeatedly offered to do so, over six years. The widespread media assertion that Assange “evaded” Swedish questioning is false.
This investigation has been dropped before and its reopening will give Julian a chance to clear his name.
At Justice4Assange, see a Note to Editors, presenting several key facts that media outlets frequently misreport, including:
Assange has always been willing to answer questions
Assange sought asylum in fear of onward extradition to the United States, not to avoid Swedish questioning
Assange was never charged with anything related to the Swedish allegations
the initial Swedish preliminary investigation in 2010 was dropped after the chief prosecutor of Stockholm concluded that “the evidence did not disclose any evidence of rape” and that “no crime at all” had been committed
Since his arrest on 11 April 2019, there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen the investigation. Theoretically any closed investigation can be reopened until the statute of limitations expires—August 2020 in this case. Such calls serve to displace the critical issue of Assange’s impending US extradition over WikiLeaks publications (whether from UK or Sweden). They also obfuscate critical facts, such as the fact that the UK and Swedish authorities had actively prevented Assange from responding to the allegations, which is contrary to basic principles of due process.
It is critical to note that the re-opened Swedish allegations in September 2010 occurred after WikiLeaks published the Iraq “Collateral Murder” video in April 2010 and the Afghanistan war logs in July 2010. In fact, US grand jury proceedings already began against Assange in June 2010 and by July, the US was publicly describing WikiLeaks as a “very real and potential threat”. The Intercept’s Charles Glass has reported that “Sources in Swedish intelligence told me at the time that they believed the U.S. had encouraged Sweden to pursue the case.” Other reports from just days before the Swedish allegations were initiated show that the U.S. State Department was encouraging allied states to initiate prosecutions against Assange. To ignore all this, as much media reporting does, is to ignore vital further context.
newly-released emails show that the Swedish authorities were eager to give up the case four years before they formally abandoned proceedings in 2017 and that the [British Crown Prosecution Service] dissuaded them from doing so.
The emails provided by [Swedish authorities] SPA leave no doubt that the [British] CPS advised the Swedish prosecutors against the only investigative strategy that could have led to a quick closure of the preliminary investigation: questioning Assange in London shortly after his arrest rather than trying for years to extradite him to Sweden at all costs, a solution Julian Assange fought tooth and nail, convinced that extradition to Sweden would have paved the way to extradition to the US. It was this decision to not question Assange in London that contributed to the long judicial paralysis ultimately resulting in the determination by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that Sweden and the US are detaining Assange arbitrarily. How was the decision to not question Assange in London actually made? To what extent was it influenced by the CPS?
Email exchanges between the CPS and its Swedish counterparts over the high-profile case were deleted after the lawyer at the UK end retired in 2014.
The destruction of potentially sensitive and revealing information comes ahead of a tribunal hearing in London next week.
Adding to the intrigue, it emerged the CPS lawyer involved had, unaccountably, advised the Swedes in 2010 or 2011 not to visit London to interview Assange. An interview at that time could have prevented the long-running embassy standoff.
It now emerges that the last four years of Julian Assange’s effective imprisonment in the Ecuadorean embassy in London have been entirely unnecessary. In fact, they depended on a legal charade.
Behind the scenes, Sweden wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case.
Today marked the expiration of the term of the grand jury, and so, after 62 days of confinement, Chelsea was released from the Alexandria Detention Center earlier today.
Unfortunately, even prior to her release, Chelsea was served with another subpoena. This means she is expected to appear before a different grand jury, on Thursday, May 16, 2019, just one week from her release today.
It is therefore conceivable that she will once again be held in contempt of court, and be returned to the custody of the Alexandria Detention Center, possibly as soon as next Thursday, May 16.
Chelsea will continue to refuse to answer questions, and will use every available legal defense to prove to District Judge Trenga that she has just cause for her refusal to give testimony.
9 May 2019
UN Rapporteur on Torture speaks after meeting Julian Assange at Belmarsh Prison
The Afghan Diaries set off a firestorm when it revealed the suppression of civilian casualty figures, the existence of an elite U.S.-led death squad, and the covert role of Pakistan in the conflict, as Elizabeth Vos reports.
This is the second article in a series that is looking back on the major works of the publication that has altered the world since its founding in 2006. The series is an effort to counter mainstream media coverage, which is ignoring WikiLeaks’ work, and is instead focusing on Julian Assange’s personality. It is WikiLeaks’ uncovering of governments’ crimes and corruption that set the U.S. after Assange and which ultimately led to his arrest on April 11
The Italian journalist and longtime media partner of WikiLeaks speaks with Dennis J. Bernstein and Randy Credico about the implications of Assange’s struggle against U.S. extradition. … Dennis Bernstein: Again, Julian had his first hearing today [May 2, 2019] regarding extradition to the United States. He looked okay but he is definitely in danger. Stefania, what responsibility do we have as journalists to stand up? According to Daniel Ellsberg, if they go after Julian and Chelsea the way they want to in the United States, it is the end of journalism.
Stefania Maurizi: Absolutely. This case is about whether the press is allowed to publish documents like the video “Collateral Murder,” which records war crimes and whether the press is allowed to publish documents about the NSA spying on world leaders, whether the press is allowed to publish documents on Guantanamo Bay. We saw what happened after 9/11: habeas corpus came to an end with Guantanamo, the Fourth Amendment [of the U.S. Constitution] was trampled by the NSA. Now they want to destroy the First Amendment and they will do it using Julian Assange. They will not go after The New York Times or The Washington Post.
Editor of Rai Al-Youm: Julian Assange Changed History, He Has Committed No Crime!
“He does not deserve to be in a super max prison. He has never committed a violent act, he’s an innocent person,” Anderson said in a statement outside the jail afterwards.
She said the WikiLeaks founder has been “cut off from everybody,” including his children, and does not have access to any information. … “It is for me shocking to see my friend, an intellectual, a publisher, a journalist. A man who has transformed the world of journalism with his work sitting in a high-security prison,” Hrafnsson said. “Someone said that you could judge the civilization of a society by visiting its prisons and frankly I have to say from my heart that this visit did not reflect well on this society here.”
Yorgos Boskos: How do you look at the indictment against Assange?
Daniel Ellsberg: The indictment against him would have a chilling effect on free speech, which would be forbidden by the First Amendment and would be inimical to democracy in the United States. Donald Trump has crossed a boundary in challenging the First Amendment, that no other president in our history has done.
We do expect further charges to be brought against Assange if the British extradite him to the United States. The first charge against Assange is obviously intended to make it easier for the British to extradite him, without being accused of violating international norms by doing so. I have no doubt that further charges will be brought against him if he is extradited. Assange faces up to five years in prison. However, I am certain that the intelligence community and the Trump administration will not be content to put Julian Assange away for just five years. In my case, they firstly brought three charges against me with a possible sentence of 35 years, but by the end of the same year I was indicted on twelve charges with a possible sentence of 115 years. I would expect Julian will be facing the same.
So, this is intended to intimidate the freedom of the press by the very indictment. However, whatever happens from here, I am afraid that will have a negative impact on press freedom, which is bad for our democracy, foreign policy, and constitutional freedoms.
Žižek on Assange
Here’s Slavoj Žižek, philosopher and @DiEM_25 Advisory Panel member, on Julian #Assange and why you should care. Must watch!
May 3 was World Press Freedom Day. The annual observance usually focuses on the World Press Freedom Index published each year by Reporters without Borders. Break out the champagne! The United States ranked 48th of 179 countries this year, falling three places from 2018.
A day earlier, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared in court in London (the United Kingdom ranked 33rd on the Index this year) to contest his proposed extradition to the United States. He faces spurious US “hacking” charges framed to avoid taking official notice of the indisputable fact that his actual “crimes” consist entirely of engaging in journalism.
Today, attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen filed a Motion for Chelsea Manning to be released on the basis that, as she will never be convinced to cooperate with the grand jury, further confinement serves no lawful purpose and must be terminated.
The key issue before Judge Hilton is whether continued incarceration could persuade Chelsea to testify. Many judges have complained of the “perversity” of this law: that a witness may win their freedom by persisting in their contempt of court. However, should he agree that Chelsea will never agree to testify, he will be compelled by the law to order her release. … Letters of support were submitted to the Court by Ms. Manning’s friends, family, and colleagues, including from representatives of civil liberties organizations including the ACLU, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Fight for the Future. These letters reiterate that Chelsea is a person of great moral courage, who will not be swayed into betraying her principles, even in the face of great hardship.
Included in the filing is a lengthy declaration by Chelsea explaining her position:
After two months of confinement, and using every legal mechanism available so far, I can —without any hesitation— state that nothing will convince me to testify before this or any other grand jury for that matter. This experience so far only proves my long held belief that grand juries are simply outdated tools used by the federal government to harass and disrupt political opponents and activists in fishing expeditions…
“The way I am being treated proves what a corrupt and abusive tool this truly is. With each passing day my disappointment and frustration grow, but so too do my commitments to doing the right thing and continuing to refuse to submit…
“I believe this grand jury seeks to undermine the integrity of public discourse with the aim of punishing those who expose any serious, ongoing, and systemic abuses of power by this government, as well as the rest of the international community…”
“Over the past decade, I grappled with bouts of depression. I can think of nothing that could exacerbate those struggles more than pretending to live as someone I am not once again, and turning my back on everything I care about and fight for…
“I wish to return home. I want to return to my work — writing, speaking, consulting, and teaching. The idea I hold the keys to my own cell is an absurd one, as I face the prospect of suffering either way due to this unnecessary and punitive subpoena: I can either go to jail or betray my principles. The latter exists as a much worse prison than the government can construct.
GREG WILPERT And now regarding the arguments on the US aside, what will the decision for an extradition be based on? Do they need to prove that Assange actually participated in the hacking effort that he’s being accused of and that he’s denying, or are there other issues that need to be proven on their part?
JENNIFER ROBINSON Questions of proving the factual allegations in the warrant and in the indictment, are for a criminal trial in the United States, but of course we hope that it never gets that far. We will be resisting extradition here and defending him against being sent to the United States precisely because this case raises such fundamental questions about free speech. The indictment if you look at it, and the factual allegations that are made, it really boils down to a journalist and a publisher communicating with a source, asking that source to provide information, and having conversations with the source about how to protect their identity. This is the kind of activity that journalists and indeed good journalists should be having all the time. That’s why we heard Julian say in the hearing yesterday, which was just a procedural hearing, that he would not consent to extradition because he would not be extradited for having done journalism. That would be a key part of the arguments that we make. We’re also obviously concerned about the treatment that he would receive once he’s returned to the United States. We need only look to the way that Chelsea Manning is being treated, treatment that the UN said amounted to unusual and degrading treatment. And we’re concerned about the politicization of this case. WikiLeaks has been a key subject of discussion in the United States and US politicians and officials [have been] calling for him to be killed by drone strikes. These are very serious issues, and these are all issues that we’ll be raising in our case here in the UK.
Wikileaks Ambassador Joseph Farrell and former Ecuadorean Embassy Consul Rafael Narvaez on the sentencing of Julian Assange to 50 weeks in prison, the possible extradition of Assange to the United States, his condition and treatment in prison
In his address in Addis Ababa, [British foreign secretary, the Rt. Hon. Jeremy] Hunt, according to a press release, “set out his vision to improve media freedom.” We might be forgiven for suggesting that the foreign secretary, in presiding over the vindictive persecution of the globe’s most prominent investigative journalist, had already “set out his vision,” not with prepared remarks but with the rude violence of the Metropolitan Police Service.
A man accused of trying to sell information about Julian Assange reportedly obtained via a surveillance system in the Ecuadoran embassy in London has been questioned in Madrid, a judicial source said on Friday (May 3).
The journalist is one of several Spaniards claiming they have videos and personal documents of Assange from when he was in Ecuador’s embassy in London.
The source, who refused to be named, said the man was detained, questioned by a Madrid judge and released pending further investigation on Wednesday.
“The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is deeply concerned about this course of action including the disproportionate sentence imposed on Mr. Assange. The Working Group is of the view that violating bail is a minor violation that, in the United Kingdom, carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison, even though the bond related to the bail has been lost in favour of the British Government, and that Mr. Assange was still detained after violating the bail which, in any case should not stand after the Opinion was issued. The Working Group regrets that the Government has not complied with its Opinion and has now furthered the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Mr. Assange.
It is worth recalling that the detention and the subsequent bail of Mr. Assange in the UK were connected to preliminary investigations initiated in 2010 by a prosecutor in Sweden. It is equally worth noting that that prosecutor did not press any charges against Mr. Assange and that in 2017, after interviewing him in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, she discontinued investigations and brought an end to the case.
The Working Group is further concerned that Mr. Assange has been detained since 11 April 2019 in Belmarsh prison, a high-security prison, as if he were convicted for a serious criminal offence. This treatment appears to contravene the principles of necessity and proportionality envisaged by the human rights standards.
The WGAD reiterates its recommendation to the Government of the United Kingdom, as expressed in its Opinion 54/2015, and its 21 December 2018 statement, that the right of Mr Assange to personal liberty should be restored.”
DER SPIEGEL: How did the diplomatic asylum end which Assange was granted by the Ecuadorian government in August 2012?
Hrafnsson: The ambassador asked him into the meeting room of the embassy and presented a letter, which he read out loud, saying the diplomatic asylum had been revoked and that he had to leave the embassy immediately. When Julian left the meeting room and wanted to go back to his room, the lobby of the embassy was full of British Policemen who grabbed him.
DER SPIEGEL: That doesn’t really fit with diplomatic rules.
Hrafnsson: Well, it was a long prepared, politically motivated move. Already last year, the embassy started a war of attrition, psychological warfare: cutting off the Internet, installing cell phone jammers, restricting visitors, turning off the heating. Everything was done to make Julian Assange’s life miserable. … DER SPIEGEL: What will happen to Julian Assange in the future?
Hrafnsson: He almost got the maximum sentence of one year in jail for skipping bail, but the real battle is the extradition case. It can take two or three years. The U.S. government has been given two months, until June 12, to produce additional information supporting the extradition request.
DER SPIEGEL: The request is based on an indictment on a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion that holds a maximum sentence of five years. Will that be the only charge?
Hrafnsson: It is obviously only the first step, and it would be extremely naive to try to maintain that other charges will not be added when he is on American soil. Letters were issued to individuals connected with WikiLeaks where they were offered immunity if they provided information pertaining to the investigation into what obviously was being described as the violation of the Espionage Act of 1917.
Kevin Gosztola: ‘A Massive Chill on Investigative Journalism’: First Hearing in Julian Assange’s Extradition Case
“WikiLeaks has made some very powerful enemies in the course of reporting the truth, and now those enemies want to exact their revenge and persecute him,” [Lauri] Love suggested.
The United States government made it fairly clear the case is not limited to some alleged computer crime. Ben Brandon, the prosecutor representing the U.S., told the court, “The charge relates to one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.”
None of that would be relevant if the Trump administration was not shoehorning espionage allegations into a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion in order to survive a challenge from Assange’s attorneys in the UK courts.
Interview (Spanish): Joseph Farrell, Ambassador of Wikileaks: ‘The objective at this moment is that the United States does not extradite him’
-The United States claims to be a country that defends freedom of expression, the freedom to inform, but in this case it is pursuing those same freedoms that it claims to protect.
– It is, as you say, is pursuing such freedoms. The United States has never before persecuted a journalist in this way. If they succeed, it will not be the last time. Well, a chill will go through all the thinking journalism in the whole world. It will set a terrible precedent throughout the world. No journalist in any country will be safe.
Janis Sharp, mother of Gary McKinnon, who also faced and defeated a US extradition request from the UK:
“97% of all cases in the US are taken by plea bargains, so you never get to defend yourself” says Janis Sharp, Gary McKinnon’s mother, after Julian Assange is sentenced to just under a year in prison. pic.twitter.com/nV6rqvSp7W
Today commenced UK extradition proceedings against Julian Assange, whom the United States is attempting to prosecute for publishing documents of its war crimes and diplomatic secrets in 2010. Read our write-up here.
As the AP reports, “Assange, appearing by video link from a London prison, said he wouldn’t ‘surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected many people.’”
The AP reports that the judge in Assange’s case has already indicated that the extradition proceedings will be a long ordeal:
Judge Michael Snow said it would likely be “many months” before a full hearing was held on the substance of the U.S. extradition case. The judge set a procedural hearing for May 30, with a substantive hearing to follow on June 12.
Assange had legitimate, serious fears of extradition to the United States
Assange had subsequent fears that if sent to the US, he would be tortured and otherwise mistreated and persecuted for publishing
The UN has determined that Assange had been arbitrarily deprived of liberty when forced between remaining in the embassy and being exposed to the situation from which he had been granted asylum
Assange has been cooperative with Swedish authorities throughout their investigation, which has been discontinued
There existed no legal remedy available to him in the UK to protect against being refouled by Sweden to the USA
Assange’s conditions in the embassy have constituted confinement tantamount to imprisonment, causing detriment to his physical and psychological health
The judge rejected all of the defence’s arguments and sentenced Assange to nearly the maximum possible sentence allowed, double the six-month sentence given to so-called “speedboat killer” Jack Shepard.
Stefania Maurizi: I’ve Known Julian Assange for 10 Years. His Confinement and Arrest are a Scandal
Independent journalist Stefania Maurizi recounts her experience working with and reporting on Julian Assange
We journalists witness great suffering on a regular basis whenever we cover natural disasters, or wars, or even meet sources in distressing predicaments. Over the last nine years, it has been sad for me to watch Julian Assange’s health seriously declining, as he spent year after year in a tiny building without even one hour a day outdoors, the hour assured in my country to even some of the most heinous mafia killers. It has also been sad to watch him struggling with confinement. I remember how I once mentioned a nice Italian village in the Mediterranean Sea. He closed his eyes and told me he was trying to remember what it was like to be in the limitless spaces at sea.
DW: Julian Assange faces extradition hearing as Berlin stays quiet
The German Left party stands by Assange, and its message is loud and clear. “Our goal is to prevent Assange’s extradition to the United States,” said German Left party politician Sevim Dagdelen, speaking in London on April 15 outside the prison where Assange was being held. … Referring to reports of a “secret indictment” and the possibility of prosecutors seeking the death penalty, Frank Überall, head of the German Journalists’ Union (DJV), told DW: “This definitely must be considered” when it comes to extradition. Überall underlined that the threat of capital punishment in the Assange case is cause for serious concern and called for the protection of whistle-blowers, which is “existential for freedom of the press.” …
At a press conference just after Assange’s dramatic arrest, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman was tight-lipped. When asked how Germany views the WikiLeaks founder’s case, Steffen Seibert said, “This is a matter which doesn’t concern Germany and is in the hands of British justice.”
While the opposition Left party has been determined and vocal about their support for Assange, other politicians declined to comment on the topic.
Julian Assange will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court at 10:30AM tomorrow (Wednesday, 1 May 2019) for ‘violating his bail conditions’ whilst seeking & obtaining political asylum, in Court 1 before HHJ Taylor.
On Thursday at 10AM there will be a hearing in Westminster Magistrate Court on the US extradition request.
AFP: Ecuadorian diplomats could face up to a decade in prison following criminal complaint alleging illegal spying operation violating attorney-client privilege and medical confidentiality of the political asylee inside the embassy of Ecuador in London.
El abogado de Julian Assange en Ecuador, Carlos Poveda, denunció este lunes a personal de la embajada ecuatoriana en Londres por la supuesta filtración de información privada del fundador de WikiLeaks.
La defensa acudió a la fiscalía para presentar la denuncia que involucra al embajador Jaime Marchán y cuatro trabajadores de la empresa Promsecurity, encargada de la vigilancia en la legación.
El documento también cita a cinco españoles que “en apariencia no tenían ninguna relación” con la embajada, explicó Poveda a la AFP. Sin embargo, constan en la denuncia como las personas que exigieron un millonario pago a WikiLeaks a cambio de no difundir la información sobre Assange.
The Catalonian Parliament’s Board has today agreed to a statement in support of Julian Assange
Socialist Equality Party (UK) public meeting in London
Public meeting details Sunday, May 12 (doors open 1:30 p.m. Start time 2pm) YMCA Indian Student Hostel Mahatma Gandhi Hall 41 Fitzroy Square London, W1T 6AQ (Speakers to be announced)
The Socialist Equality Party is demanding the withdrawal of all charges against Julian Assange, a guarantee against extradition to the US and safe passage to his home country, Australia, and that the Trump administration frees Chelsea Manning immediately and unconditionally.
29 April 2019
John Shipton speaks out on his son Julian Assange’s arrest
‘Ecuador doesn’t have its own currency,’ Mr Shipton told 60 Minutes.
‘It uses the US dollar. You can’t get an IMF loan unless the United States approves it – upon agreement to remove Julian from the embassy.’
Assange’s lawyer Greg Barnes described his client’s recent arrest as revenge by the US government, while Mr Shipton claimed the US is determined to ruin his son’s life. ‘My fear was that he’d been dragooned to the US and been thrown into a jail cell, never to get out again,’ Mr Shipton said.
When asked if he still had those fears, he replied: ‘Yes, I do.’
Spanish media cover surveillance and attempted extortion of Assange
El Pais: The leader of the group that attempted to extort WikiLeaks to pay 3m EUR has a prior conviction for fraud
José Martín Santos, Pepe , a journalist sentenced to three years in prison for fraud, and three computer scientists from Alicante are the people who have in their possession images, videos and personal documents of the alleged espionage to Julian Assange , the refugee cyber-activist for seven years in the Embassy of Ecuador in London delivered last April 16 to the British police. Police are investigating whether a supposed Spanish communication agency is behind the extortion of the 47-year-old Australian activist, who is asked to pay three million to not broadcast his images.
El Diario: Ecuador recorded the private conversations of Assange in the embassy, including meetings with doctors and lawyers
The Government of Ecuador recorded the movements of Julian Assange in his embassy in London through the cameras installed by UC Global, the company that supposedly was in charge of protecting him. But the company that replaced this in the work of control of the founder of Wikileaks went further. The Ecuadorian company Promsecurity also recorded the audio of its private conversations, including those it had with its lawyers. In addition, those who watched the uncomfortable guest in the diplomatic delegation photographed the passports of those who visited him and the confidential documents he handled.
“As the media’s indispensable helpmates, don’t they deserve constitutional protection too?”
WikiLeaks enabled spectacular disclosures of official secrets — from war crimes, torture and atrocities on civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan to corruption in Kenya and Tunisia, the latter a catalyst of the Arab Spring. [Assange’s] jailing is the latest event in the ferocious reprisal against a decade of digital whistle-blowing — which has never, to my knowledge, yielded information that was inaccurate or unimportant — and that has now produced little but misery, banishment or imprisonment for the people who tried to force officialdom to come clean.
So we’re in a chilly time for whistle-blowers. While the digital age is endlessly permissive in propagating falsity and racism, authorities are uncompromisingly harsh when the information is accurate, important and inconvenient. Now that Mr. Assange is in British hands — awaiting extradition either to Sweden or to Washington, where he has been indicted on a charge of coaching one of his sources, Chelsea Manning, on how to get access to government secrets without detection — it’s a good time to consider what he has done and been accused of, and what that says about the embattled state of journalism.
The “We are all Julian Assange!” protest will begin at 12:00 with speeches by German theater director Angela Richter, Whistleblower Network chairman Annegret Falter, biologist and founder of EcoLeaks Esteban Servat, and [German MEP candidate Srecko Horvat]. The speeches will be followed by a reading of a short statement by Edward Snowden brought by Angela Richter from Moscow to this special DiEM25-led public demonstration.
For Edward Snowden, our demonstration is not just about “a man who stands in jeopardy, but the future of the free press”.
Fidel Narváez, former consul at the Ecuadorian embassy, explained that he had been in daily contact with Assange and “the fact that you were there non-stop for so many years made him feel he was not alone. I feel what has happened with Ecuador is really a crime,” he said. … Marsden declared, “Things are changing. We can proceed with a great deal of confidence. Millions are concerned about freedom of speech, censorship, democratic rights. Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning represent the opposition to these attacks and will be defended for that reason.
“There is a groundswell in Britain and internationally. You can see the number of people coming forward because of the gravity of the situation. The victimisation of Assange is the first great crime of the 21st century. If they are allowed to get away with it then everyone will suffer.
If the United States Justice Department succeeds in prosecuting WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, it will have establishment figures from the Democratic Party to thank. Their rhetorical support will make the extreme nature of the case brought by President Donald Trump’s administration more acceptable.
Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, and Tommy Vietor, former national security spokesperson and special assistant to the president, worked in President Barack Obama’s administration. They are prime examples of the kind of people the Trump Justice Department needs to tamp down opposition to their prosecution. … Not only did they display a glaring misunderstanding, but they also revealed their prejudice against WikiLeaks. They both worked for the Obama administration when the media organization published their most high-profile disclosures from Chelsea Manning in 2010.
Independent journalist Stefania Maurizi spoke to UN Special Rapporteur on Privacy, Professor Joe Cannataci, following his visit with Julian Assange at the Belmarsh prison in London.Will you be acting in the upcoming weeks on the images, videos of Assange’s meetings and activities in the embassy which have been circulating? «I will certainly act. We shall be sending an official request to the government of Spain to facilitate my access to the inquiring judge in Spain. As we understand it, the images have been the subject of an investigation by the Spanish police, according to the Spanish penal code, headed by an inquiring magistrate. If and when my access is granted, that evidence might consist of thousands of surveillance footage, which will take some time to watch. I started the action within hours of my knowledge, I knew the press conference called [by WikiLeaks] the 10th of April, and by the evening of that day I had already formulated a number of questions for Mr Assange’s legal team which were sent.». .It has been really disturbing because whenever we journalists met Julian Assange in the embassy, our meetings were exposed to such pervasive surveillance… «As you can see, this is not just a matter of privacy, but it is also a matter of confidentiality. There is a distinction between privacy and confidentiality, there is a matter of attorney-client confidentiality, a matter of journalistic freedom and protection of sources. There is a number of human rights that come together, there are many dimensions to the case, including freedom of expression, including whistleblowing, protection of journalistic sources».Will you ask Ecuador questions about their role in the creation and dissemination of these files? «I can comment on that only once I have the results on that from the Spanish investigation, we have to see who did this: whether it was an official action or rogue action».
The Socialist Equality Party and its candidates are issuing a clear demand in the federal election: The Australian government must immediately act to secure the release of Julian Assange from Britain and provide for his safe passage to Australia with a guarantee against extradition to the United States.
Assange’s brutal arrest by the British police on April 11 and the attempts to extradite him to the US are an attack on the working class.
The WikiLeaks founder and publisher has committed no crime. He is being pursued by the most powerful governments in the world for his role in the exposure of illegal wars, mass surveillance operations and sordid diplomatic intrigues affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
The Trump administration’s request for Assange’s extradition is nothing less than an extraordinary rendition operation.Protest in London’s Parliament Square demands release of Julian Assange Dozens gathered in London’s Parliament Square yesterday to demand the release of Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder is incarcerated in Belmarsh prison in southeast London in conditions tantamount to solitary confinement, after police seized him from the Ecuadorian Embassy on April 11. He is due to reappear in court on May 2 for an extradition hearing.… Protesters assembled outside the Supreme Court, which has played a critical role in the British judiciary’s trampling on Assange democratic rights over the last decade.
They chanted slogans including, “UK, USA, Free Julian Assange!”, “There is only one condition. No extradition!” and “Free Press-Free Assange.” SEP placards read “Free Chelsea Manning—Free Julian Assange,” “British government must grant Assange free passage to Australia,” “No Internet Censorship” and “Defend Free Speech.”
teleSUR UK correspondent @pablo_telesur joined Londoners yesterday who came out to support Julian Assange, demanding that he not be extradited to the US.
Assange is currently held at Belmarsh prison, normally reserved for those charged with terror offences. pic.twitter.com/HqxKgGvdZE
UN Privacy Rapporteur visits Julian Assange in prison
Joe Cannataci, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy, visited Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison to investigate “a wide range of possible infringements” of Assange’s privacy in the Ecuadorian Embassy. Cannataci said he is investigating potential violations of Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Cannataci said yesterday,
I am glad to confirm, as indicated on my statement issued on 5 April, that I will visit Mr. Julian Assange tomorrow (25 April), at HM Prison Belmarsh, in London. I had made arrangements to visit Mr. Assange at the Embassy of Ecuador on the same date, but, after his arrest on 11 April, I sought and obtained the approval of the United Kingdom Government to interview him in custody. The objective of my visit is to assess allegations of possible violations against Mr. Assange’s right to privacy. Any concern that I may have as a result of my assessment will be brought to the attention of the relevant Government(s) in order to seek clarification and make recommendations for remedial action. I may also express my concern publicly if the matters warrant immediate attention.
Ms Robinson has filed a formal request to the UN Special Rapporteur to investigate Mr Assange’s case and the international legal team continues to liaise with relevant UN Special Mechanisms. A request has also been made for a visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture.
The Trials of Julian Assange: Welcome to our 40-page special issue, dedicated to exposing the continuing state and media harassment of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who was arrested last month when police stormed his sanctuary at Ecuador’s London embassy, where he had been a political refugee for almost seven years. Our special issue features articles by David Edwards & David Cromwell, Jonathan Cook, Chris Hedges, Caitlin Johnstone, John Pilger, Andre Damon, John W. Whitehead, and satirist CJ Hopkins. These writers detail the squalid circumstances of Assange’s detention and his persecution at the hands of the British and International meida, which seem oblivious to the threat to their own freedom posed by extradition demands from a US government that wants to jail Assange over the leaking of secret files to Wikileaks by Chelsea Manning in 2010.
You can print your own banners, posters, flyers, stickers and badges/buttons to support imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange and imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning, with free, print-ready designs from Somerset Bean
Planning a rally or demonstration for Julian Assange/WikiLeaks? Get in touch here and we can help publicise your event
Speaking to DiEM25, Anderson discusses visiting Assange in the embassy, his arrest and what he’s up against, and what’s next:
[Assange] was gagged for a year when the Ecuadorian government cut off his internet and restricted visitors. He could not defend himself publicly while they assassinated his character. He has a tremendous character, integrity and a unique kind of wisdom that makes him unsubjugated in a corrupt world. He would never stop doing what he does. He believes that people have a right to know the truth.
I see hysterical tweeters – who have to mention cheap accusations – it’s like a brain-washing sweep has been done across America. And now with his head on a stick.
Trump first said he loves WikiLeaks: now he says he knows nothing about it.
But they want him in a super-max prison in the US in order to silence him forever. The UK has the historical responsibility to protect Julian Assange. …
DIEM25: Why do you think the US is seeking his extradition on these charges – and what does it say about the US government?
The US government has a lot of skeletons in their closet. And this is proof that there must be more. It’s is not democracy at work. There is a sinister tone.
Consortium News today begins a series of articles, “The Revelations of WikiLeaks,” that will look back on the major works of the publication that have altered the world since its founding in 2006. This series is an effort to counter mainstream media coverage, which is ignoring WikiLeaks’ work, and instead is focusing on Julian Assange’s personality. It is the uncovering by WikiLeaks of governments’ crimes and corruption that set the U.S. after Assange and which ultimately led to his arrest on April 11. The “Collateral Murder” video was just the first of many major WikiLeaks revelations that made the journalist one of the world’s most wanted men, simply for the act of publishing.
London demonstration for Julian Assange
Supporters rallied in Parliament Square against Julian Assange’s arrest and threatened extradition
But so, isn’t that interesting? The DOJ’s defense of not charging Trump in this case is they say he tried to commit a crime but he was too hapless and he failed to actually do this. And we’re not going to charge him with conspiracy for doing it. And at the same time, they’re charging Julian Assange under precisely the opposite theory. They go, ‘Look, Julian may not have actually cracked a password, we don’t have any evidence that he did, we’re not going to try to prove that he did, we’re going to simply say the agreement to try was enough.’
So this is a real question of a two-tiered system of justice. Why do we have this double standard here, where if you’re the president and try to commit a crime, you can skate, but if you’re a journalist, if you’re a publisher, particularly who’s vulnerable because you’ve gone too far out on a limb and now you’ve lost public support and popularity, everybody’s against you… but no one, no one can argue that the work you’ve done in the past hasn’t been of real public interest – it may not have been — to the party’s benefit, it’s very controversial, no doubt about that. But the newspapers are all running these stories, saying these are important stories, these are about real centers of power in the world.
Why is it that journalists are being held to a higher standard of behavior than the President of the United States?
[Pentagon Papers lawyer James] Goodale stated that [Assange’s indictment] “seems to have been written with a particular purpose in mind—to extradite Assange from England. Once he is here, he will be hit, no doubt, with multiple charges.”
Goodale and other lawyers have noted that individuals cannot be extradited from the UK to the US for “political offenses” under the existing extradition treaty between the two countries.
Espionage has historically been recognised as a political offense. … It is likely that the initial US indictment has been narrowly limited to the computer hacking charges in order to avoid defence arguments that Assange faces prosecution in the US for “political offenses” and to ensure his speedy extradition.
The affidavit against Assange accompanying the indictment, however, incorporates language taken directly from the US Espionage Act. It states that “Manning and Assange had reason to believe that public disclosures of the Afghanistan War reports and Iraq War reports would cause injury to the United States.” … Whatever the charges Assange faces, they will be aimed at criminalising the journalistic exposures published by WikiLeaks, and setting a precedent for preventing media organisations from reporting on government crimes and illegality.Reporters without Borders: US drops to 48th in 2019 World Press Freedom Index The US has dropped 3 places from 45th place in 2019: US press freedom, enshrined in the First Amendment to the 1787 constitution, has been under increasing attack over the past few years, and the first year of President Donald J. Trump’s presidency has fostered further decline in journalists’ right to report. He has declared the press an “enemy of the American people” in a series of verbal attacks toward journalists, attempted to block White House access to multiple media outlets, and routinely uses the term “fake news” in retaliation for critical reporting. He has even called for revoking certain media outlets’ broadcasting licenses. The violent anti-press rhetoric from the highest level of the US government has been coupled with an increase in the number of press freedom violations at the local level as journalists run the risk of arrest for covering protests or simply attempting to ask public officials questions. Reporters have even been subject to physical assault while on the job. It appears the Trump effect has only amplified the disappointing press freedom climate that predated his presidency. Whistleblowers face prosecution under the Espionage Act if they leak information of public interest to the press, while there is still no federal “shield law” guaranteeing reporters’ right to protect their sources. Journalists and their devices continue to be searched at the US border, while some foreign journalists are still denied entry into the US after covering sensitive topics like Colombia’s FARC or Kurdistan. The US Press Freedom Tracker catalogues Assange’s arrest as a press freedom violation John Pilger discusses Julian Assange on KPFA’s Flashpoint ‘Emmy Award winning Filmmaker John Pilger joins us for more on Julian Assange and the US Russiagate frenzy’ Audio Player00:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.
Lee Camp: on Assange’s arrest and what WikiLeaks has exposed
Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange has finally been imprisoned, an objective long sought by powerful parties he helped to expose over the past dozen years.Assange’s “crime” was revealing deep, embarrassing, sometimes deadly, malfeasance by numerous actors, including the U.S. government, the media, the Democratic Party-Clinton machine, and Israel.
Wikileaks revealed the U.S. government’s cover-up of torture, cruelty, the killing of civilians, spying on its own citizens and others. It exposed Democratic Party cheating and manipulation, the fraudulence of “Russiagate.” It unmasked Israeli plans to keep Gaza on the brink of collapse, to use violence against Palestinian nonviolence, to make war upon civilians.
Due to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the arrests of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, Sixteen Films and Journeyman Pictures are providing a time-limited free access to the Wikileaks road movie Mediastan. Mediastan is a documentary film directed by Johannes Wahlström and co-produced by Julian Assange, detailing the publication of the very documents for which both Assange and Manning have been incarcerated.
An Australian-led petition demanding the federal government intervene in the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States over the publication of hundreds of thousands of documents exposing US involvement in numerous atrocities has passed 100,000 signatures. And it’s growing larger every day.
The petition on change.org was started by Brisbane resident Philip Adams nine months ago, and had reached more than 30,000 signatures before Assange was arrested earlier this month, after his political asylum within the Ecuadorian embassy in London was cancelled.
Since then it’s almost quadrupled in size, and is gathering momentum.
Manning alleged the government engaged in “intrusive surveillance” against her “including surveillance vans parked outside her apartment, federal agents following her, and strangers attempting to goad her into an absurdly contrived conversation about selling dual-use technologies to foreign actors.”
As Manning’s attorneys argued, Judge Claude Hilton did not “seem to even consider the possibility that the government might have an obligation to disclose whether or not surveillance occurred, despite Fourth Circuit law supporting that proposition.” He essentially ignored the motion on electronic surveillance. … The appeals court’s order flagrantly dismissed these concerns that involve the due process rights of a citizen, and in doing so, it further demonstrated how oppressive and feudal the grand jury system is in the United States, which is one of two countries in the world that still relies on grand juries for developing indictments.
22 April 2019
Appeals court rejects Chelsea Manning appeal of contempt order “Upon consideration of the memorandum briefs filed on appeal and the record of proceedings in the district court, the court finds no error in the district court’s rulings and affirms its finding of civil contempt,” the order reads. “The court also denies appellant’s motion for release on bail.” … Legal experts have pointed to Manning’s current case as a sign that further charges could be filed against Assange, ahead of his extradition proceedings from the United Kingdom to the U.S. Read the full contempt order here (PDF)
Buzzfeed: Julian Assange Was Arrested. So Why Is Chelsea Manning Still In Jail?
Chelsea Manning on Monday lost her appeal to get out jail after she refused to testify before a grand jury about WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
The fact that Manning is still in jail is one of the clearest signs that federal prosecutors are still investigating Assange and WikiLeaks and mulling additional charges. Assange was arrested by United Kingdom authorities on April 11 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, in part because he faces an indictment in the United States that charges him with conspiring with Manning to hack into US Defense Department computer systems in 2010. … The US has until mid-June to submit formal extradition paperwork to the UK. Until that happens, the Justice Department can file more criminal charges against Assange. Once they submit the extradition package, however, they can only proceed with the charges they have on record. … The 4th Circuit rejected all of her arguments. Manning can now ask a full sitting of the 4th Circuit to reconsider the three-judge panel’s decision, or she could petition the US Supreme Court to take her case.
While disappointing, we can still raise issues as the government continues to abuse the grand jury process. I don’t have anything to contribute to this, or any other grand jury. While I miss home, they can continue to hold me in jail, with all the harmful consequences that brings. I will not give up. Thank you all so very much for your love and solidarity through letters and contributions.
Chelsea’s lawyer responded as well:
We are of course disappointed that the Circuit declined to follow clearly established law, or consider the ample evidence of grand jury abuse.
It is improper for a prosecutor to use the grand jury to prepare for trial. As pointed out in Ms. Manning’s motions and appeals, since her testimony is not necessary to the grand jury’s investigation, the likely purpose for her subpoena is to help the prosecutor preview and undermine her potential testimony as a defense witness for a pending trial.
We believed that the Appeals court would consider this, as it is strong evidence of an abuse of grand jury power that should excuse her testimony.
Organizations and personalities from around the world signed a petition for solidarity with activist Julian Assange, who is being detained in Britain and could be extradited to the United States.
“We repudiate the cipaya and treacherous attitude of the nefarious president of Ecuador Lenin Moreno, this is just an absurd maneuver to kneel before the British Crown and US President Donald Trump.The struggle against the empire, justice and world equality We demand the immediate freedom and respect for human rights, and that he not be extradited to the United States, “they claimed.
Organizaciones y personalidades de todo el mundo firmaron una solicitada de solidaridad con el activista Julian Assange, quien se encuentra detenido en Gran Bretaña y podría ser extraditado a los Estados Unidos.
“Repudiamos la actitud cipaya y traicionera del nefasto presidente de Ecuador Lenin Moreno. Esta no es más que una absurda maniobra de arrodillarse ante la Corona Británica y al presidente de EEUU Donald Trump. La lucha contra el imperio, la justicia y la igualdad mundial nos hermana. Exigimos la inmediata libertad y el respeto de los derechos humanos. Y que no sea extraditado a los EEUU.”, reclamaron.
Free expression group PEN International: United Kingdom: Julian Assange should not be extradited to the United States The British authorities must not extradite WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange to the United States, where he is at risk of serious human rights violations, including detention conditions that could amount to torture or other ill-treatment, PEN International and Swedish PEN said today. The organisations are further concerned by the broader implications his prosecution would have on global press freedom. … ‘The broad nature of the US indictment against Assange is a real threat to journalists and press freedom worldwide because it potentially criminalises legitimate journalistic practices. The treatment meted out to his accused co-conspirator Chelsea Manning shows that these concerns are real, and Assange would be at risk of serious human rights violations, were he to be extradited to the US,’ said Salil Tripathi, chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee. Lindsey German, national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition: It’s badly wrong when whistleblowers rot in jail but war criminals walk free
Most germane to Assange’s case are those who could and should face charges for war crimes, but who are feted on the BBC and remain favoured members of the British elite.Because we should remember that Assange faces extradition charges to the US for exposing a series of appalling cases which the authorities had denied, minimised or covered up. Without the exposure of Wikileaks, especially to do with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there would be much less information and knowledge about atrocities carried out in those conflicts, and much more impunity on the part of politicians and generals in their conduct of future wars.
There is something badly wrong about a society which imprisons those – like Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange – who tell the truth about wars, while doing nothing about those like Tony Blair and George Bush who took us into an illegal war costing the lives of over 1 million people and who have never expressed a minute’s regret for it.
WikiLeaks has been a key source of revelations about the transgressions of the Kenyan political elite. Patrick Gathara writes of the impact created by WikiLeaks’ 2007 release of “the Kroll report – an investigation commissioned in 2003 by the newly elected Mwai Kibaki administration in an attempt to uncover where the former dictator, Daniel arap Moi, and his family and cronies had stashed away the hundreds of millions of dollars they had stolen from Kenyans in the previous quarter of a century.” The report was buried:
And buried it might have stayed were it not for WikiLeaks, which somehow got a hold of it and, in conjunction with the Guardian, published its details. For once, Kenyans were afforded an unvarnished and detailed glimpse of the amount of national wealth that was being stolen by the very people tasked with protecting it.
Three years later, the Kenyan public would again benefit from a cache of documents published by WikiLeaks. The leaked US diplomatic cables it released revealed what Kenyan politicians were saying to American envoys behind closed doors and how different it was from the public statements they were making.
If information is the lifeblood of democracy, then people like Julian Assange and sites like WikiLeaks are vital blood banks. As press revenues shrink and expensive investigative departments are done away with, it becomes ever harder for citizens to get the information they need to hold their governments to account. Outfits like WikiLeaks can go some way into filling that void and providing some basic information. In that sense, what they are doing is journalism.
20 April 2019
Julian Assange’s mother, Christine Assange:
2 weeks since Julians arrest/detention in Belmarsh prison .
Hes still not allowed visitors, including his lawyers!
This amounts to MORE solitary confinement & stress!
His examining doctors have already stated he needs immediate hospital treatment!
The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, the three major US newspapers, have all enthusiastically endorsed Assange’s arrest and extradition to the United States, for charges related to his publication of documents implicating the US government in war crimes and the mass murder of innocent people.
These newspapers’ enthusiastic approval for the effective rendition of a journalist, with the threat of torture, indefinite imprisonment and possible execution, sums up their attitude to the freedoms of speech and the press embodied in the First Amendment: they oppose it.
The Canary: ‘In less than three minutes, the BBC broadcasts seven apparent fabrications about Julian Assange’
The BBC has broadcast seven apparent fabrications about Julian Assange in less than three minutes. In an interview, BBC North America editor Jon Sopel failed to meaningfully challenge Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno on any of his accusations against the former WikiLeaks editor. That’s despite Moreno having a track record as a bullshit artist to the point where he U-turned on the central thrust of his entire governmental programme.
Desperate to ingratiate his government with Washington and distract the public from his mounting scandals, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has sacrificed Julian Assange – and his country’s independence
Political instability has swept across Ecuador since revelations of widespread corruption in Moreno’s inner circle emerged. The scandal coincided with Moreno’s turn towards neoliberal economic reforms, from implementing a massive IMF loan package to the gradual and total embrace and support for the US foreign policy in the region. In his bid to satisfy Washington and deflect from his own problems, Moreno was all too eager to sacrifice Assange. …
During the recent meeting of the Executive Board of the IMF, the financial body approved a loan package of $4.2 billion to the government of Lenin Moreno for what it called a “ more dynamic, sustainable, and inclusive economy for the benefit of all Ecuadorians.” The agreement coincided with layoffs of over 10,000 public sector workers, in addition to the ongoing policy of slashing in public and social spending, a decrease in the level of minimum wage and the removal of secure work protections that marked the sharp neoliberal turn of the Ecuadorian government under Moreno.
The IMF deal coincided with the intensifying attempts by the Ecuadorian government to proceed with the expulsion of Julian Assange from its London embassy. His arrest therefore stands as a sign that Moreno is willing to give up any part of his country’s sovereignty – political, diplomatic, or economic – to comply with the demands of international finance.
With Moreno’s reinvigoration, and validation, of the lie, it is set to become official record regarding the arrest of Julian Assange. Yet, there is no evidence. Ecuador made a series of other accusations against Assange too. Apparently, another impetus for the revocation of his asylum was that he scuffed up the walls of the embassy while skateboarding indoors. To bolster this claim, they released surveillance footage of Assange playing around on a skateboard. Yet they, for whatever reason, didn’t find it necessary to release any evidence of Assange smearing his excrement on the walls … The poop smear serves an effective propaganda purpose: it deflects from the real scandal. That’s because it’s not just the Ecuadorians giving their supposed side of the story: the crude tale was eaten up by reams of “reporters.” It was put forth as the reason for his expulsion in stories with headlines like “Here’s why Ecuador kicked Assange out of the embassy” and “Why did Ecuador give up Assange after seven years?”
But the truth is far more squalid. Ecuador, once among the Latin American “pink tide” nations, since Moreno came into power has been making fast strides towards neoliberalizing its economy. That means cozying up to the U.S.
Dan Cohen on RT: After Assange arrest, IMF gives $4.2B to Ecuador
“The government is currently investigating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, [REDACTED],” says the first paragraph of a motion to seal, dated Dec. 21, 2017.
Referring to this document, prosecutors wrote today that this blackened passage “contains nonpublic information about an ongoing investigation.”
“Premature disclosure of the information could jeopardize the investigation,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Traxler wrote in a 3-page memo on Wednesday.
Prosecutors also hinted that Assange’s associates may also be targets.
“Although the government has confirmed that Mr. Assange or WikiLeaks is under investigation, the government has never provided the specific details of that ongoing investigation, nor stated whether Mr. Assange has been charged or which of his affiliates may also be under investigation,” the memo states.
Esa fue nuestra lucha, no solamente a nivel nacional, sino también internacional, utilizando todos los mecanismos para defender a un ecuatoriano, y esto es bueno aclararlo, Julián Assange sigue siendo ciudadano ecuatoriano. Lamentablemente, hubo un deslíz legal en el que el Canciller Valencia se equivoca y transgrede porque nunca nos notificaron el análisis de la naturalización, como tampoco nos notificaron del fin del asilo afectando las reglas del debido proceso. Por lo tanto, lo que podemos decir para resumir la situación legal es que sacaron a un ecuatoriano para extraditarlo a un país con pena de muerte. ¿Qué significa esto? Podría ser un delito porque estaríamos en presencia de un Estado con conducta inapropiada en contra de una persona protegida.
Mr. Julian Assange’s arrest and potential extradition to the U.S. threaten media freedom
The undersigned members of the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) expressconcern over Mr. Julian Assange’s arrest anddetention on Thursday April 11 by police officers in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Assange was arrested after Ecuador revoked his political asylum status without prior formal notification or meaningful hearing, raising serious human rights concerns including the risk of extradition to the United States where he could be subject to solitary confinement that amounts to torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.
This also sets a negative precedent internationally regarding the protection of people seeking asylum based on credible fear of persecution.
We are also concerned about the United States’ indictment against Mr. Assange, which raises serious world-wide implications for freedom of the press. The US Justice Department’s charges are an attack on basic journalistic activities such as investigating, soliciting information, cultivating sources, protecting reporters’ identity, and publishing information of public interest.
Whistleblowers who provide information and those who publish information of public interest require protection in the name of transparency, journalistic freedoms, and above all, the rule of law.
Signed, Agora International Human Rights Group (Russia) American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS, Argentina) Dejusticia (Colombia) Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) Human Rights Law Network (HRLN, India) Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) Legal Resources Centre (LRC, South Africa) Liberty (United Kingdom)
INCLO is a network of independent, national human rights organizations from the global South and North working to promote fundamental rights and freedoms.
AI Wei Wei (@aiww) on Assange’s arrest: “He has the right to stay, as a dissident person, to protect freedom of speech. I think it’s a very sad day for Europe, for the West, to arrest someone like Assange.”pic.twitter.com/9kX9jqBYEy
Suelette Dreyfus: EU hails Assange as free-speech pioneer while Australia does nothing
The European Parliament passed a law this week to protect whistleblowers across 28 countries, with support from 591 MEPs to just 29 against, while some abstained and some were absent. This new EU “directive” may have been inspired in part by WikiLeaks’ reporting, but it will not help its founder, Julian Assange, who is already sitting in a British high-security prison, Belmarsh, under harsh conditions.
While many mainstream journalists were quick to dismiss the initial indictment against Julian Assange as “narrow” or “not about journalism,” press freedom groups around the world have warned that its language is designed to criminalise basic journalistic practices. Furthermore, those who have followed WikiLeaks and the long-running war on journalism and journalistic sources have pointed out not only how dangerous the indictment already is, but also the strong likelihood that more (and even more disturbing) charges are coming.
Melzer, who was due to visit Julian Assange to assess his condition at the Ecuadorian Embassy, discusses the risk of Assange not receiving a fair trial, the possibility of Assange facing the death penalty and what his potential long-term imprisonment means for freedom worldwide
The Pink Floyd co-founder calls on the UK to rise up to oppose Assange’s extradition, labels the UK a satellite state of US empire for arresting Assange and attacks the government of Lenin Moreno for revoking his asylum
Recalling WikiLeaks’ news value
Mondoweiss: On many occasions, our website has relied on ‘Wikileaks’ revelations to report depth of U.S.-Israel relationship
The greatest value I can add to the discussion about Assange is to convey to readers how much his organization Wikileaks has contributed to our understanding of the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel. I will not itemize every revelation we’ve published that we got off Wikileaks. We’d be here all day.
But I do want to convey the range and depth of these revelations. In every case these were important reports about how government and public officials worked behind closed doors to make sure that Israel and its interests stayed atop US actions. And we would never have had that understanding without Assange. Full stop. You can say anything about his personality or his support for Trump, that’s not the issue. … The importance of these leaks is that they documented in riveting detail an important (and negative) force in U.S. policymaking, the depth and extent of Israel’s influence at the highest levels. Return to Neera Tanden and the Iran Deal. The Democratic Party’s own disavowals of that deal alongside Netanyahu played an important role in its destruction.
We wouldn’t know all this without Julian Assange. I hope that other reporters and editors stand up for that work in the days to come.
So far in the Assange case, Australia has been able to get away with taking a back seat. But now that the UK government has made it clear it is happy to be the lapdog to Washington, Australia needs to step up – to look after one of its own.
And there needs to be international pressure put on Morrison and Shorten to take the sort of stand that UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has taken about Assange; that is, to oppose the extradition of a person who is criminalised for merely exercising their right to freedom of speech. … To the US security and defence establishment, what Assange did was criminal. And therein lies the danger. We are now all on notice that the US will trash fundamental democratic values if it suits it to do so.
But the response from political leaders in Canberra needs to be clear and unambiguous. Washington must be told that attacks on Australian citizens who exercise their democratic rights will not be tolerated.
New Matilida: “Powerful interests are lining up to condemn Wikileaks’ Julian Assange to an ongoing life of incarceration. Stuart Rees wonders aloud whether Australian leaders will discover a backbone.”
Reaction to Assange’s arrest shows the orthodoxy of powerful people who think they’ve been ordained to protect establishment interests. Over the centuries, such interests have involved lying, deceit, corruption, wars and other forms of violence.
In the Assange case, ‘establishment’ includes US, UK and Australian military and intelligence operatives, politicians and journalists who say that Assange does not belong in their community. … The fate of Julian Assange and the re-arrest of Chelsea Manning show US swagger and violence being deployed to maintain establishment interests.
This is not a legal controversy. It is a massive political issue. The US culture of revenge has to be exposed and challenged. Grass roots outrage needs to be mobilized. But if Australian politicians are to join community protests, it looks as though large doses dozes of gumption will be required.
Crikey: ‘Assange is in the dock, but it’s investigative journalism on trial’
Guy Rundle recounts Assange’s first court appearance in London:
The lawyers and WikiLeaks folk arrived, Kristinn Hrafnsson and Jennifer Robinson in the back of the court. On the other end of the lawyers table, a man stood up, and in a British accent…
“Your honour … I represent the United States government …”
There it was. Nine years this had been coming, and here we were. That morning Julian Assange, founder and leader of WikiLeaks, had been arrested in the embassy, after the Ecuadorian government had withdrawn protection and invited the UK police in. … Outside the court, journos joked about the usual Assange scuttlebutt — his cat, his socks, etc — and essentially validated every critique of mainstream media that WikiLeaks has ever made: that the profession is full of natural sycophants, who spruik cynicism and call it even-handedness, who speak power to truth, who wilfully mistake the adrenaline rush of the micro-scoop and the petty scandal for genuine contestation.
It’s only with this most recent charge — abetting the “stealing of secrets” — that some have started to take notice. Because if you can be pinged for allegedly helping someone crack encrypted copied files, then what about if you coaxed them to blow the whistle with a few phone calls? What if you printed out their documents? Or had them translated, or legalled, or… etc? Does that make you a co-conspirator? The Assange case is the criminalisation of investigative journalism.
Lenin Moreno has agreed with Donald Trump the rendition [of Assange] to the United States, and Assange will have to face an extradition trial, accused of “conspiracy” for alleged cooperation with the former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to decipher the password of a US Defence Ministry computer belonging to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet). Trump and May defend and implement the espionage on the private life of the citizens and the opacity of the States.
Today, that all of us are victims of the gross manipulation of information, subject to media operations designed to demonize and wage causes against political and social leaders, in the middle of a war of “fake news” that distorts reality, it is shocking and paradoxical that a journalist is imprisoned for acting as a soldier of the truth.
Assange is not American [citizen] and the Wikileaks platform is a foreign news organization. The idea that the government of the United States can reach and extradite a member of any media in the world is terrifying. Never in the history of the United States has an editor been persecuted for presenting truthful information to the public. It creates the precedent that any journalist can be extradited, tried and imprisoned for publishing accurate information about the United States. The freedom of the press does not consist only in the right to publish, but also in the right to read, in the right to be informed, in the right to be informed that we have, as readers.
This universal right has its best defender in Julian Assange, a hero of a new type, for whose freedom we will tirelessly claim, together with the men and women of the world who believe that the truth will set us free.
Audio (Spanish): Alicia Castro: “The only thing that Assange has done was publish information”
Hundreds of protesters hit the streets in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito on Tuesday to object to the treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Assange spent seven years under the protection of the Ecuadorian government, but this ended last week when British police were invited into the London embassy, his long-time home, to arrest the whistleblower.
What you need to know:
The protesters support the movement of former president Rafael Correa, who first granted Assange asylum.
They called current President Lenin Moreno a “traitor” for withdrawing Assange’s asylum.
The march near government house was met with a heavy police response, injuring at least two photojournalists.
The demonstrations also targeted the apparent corruption of Moreno and his government, the wholesale dismissal of public servants and a loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Nestlé whistleblower Yasmine Motarjemi and Football Leaks’ Rui Pinto have been jointly awarded for the second annual GUE/NGL prize for ‘Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information.’ Earlier this year, Courage nominated Julian Assange for the award, based on his contributions to journalism and whistleblower protections, his dire circumstances and need for public support, and what his case means for journalists and whistleblowers around the world.
Named in honour of the murdered Maltese investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, the three have been honoured for their work in exposing the truth, and for their courage in risking their careers and personal freedom. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire accepted the award on behalf of Julian Assange.
“Por tanto, la AAJ llama a la libertad de Julián Assange; reclama al Reino Unido el respeto de todos los derechos de Assange y a denegar la solicitud de su extradición a los Estados Unidos y llama a las organizaciones de juristas a pronunciarse en el mismo sentido.”
This prosecution is about silencing dissent rather than enforcing the law. … Some have argued that Assange isn’t under attack for “journalism”, but for “activism”. Frida Ghitis of CNN wrote that Assange “is not a journalist and therefore not entitled to the protections that the law – and democracy – demand for legitimate journalists”. This is a dangerous position. Generally, the law doesn’t actually distinguish between “journalists” and “non-journalists”, giving everyone the same protections. This is for good reason: if such a distinction becomes legally relevant, it means the government is empowered to decide who the True Journalists are.
Those of us who work for independent media outlets – I edit a small-circulation political magazine – will always operate under the threat of being deemed “illegitimate” and having our rights taken away. Even if you think Assange is “not a journalist”, the precedent his case sets has ramifications for journalists everywhere. And I do mean everywhere: remember, Assange is Australian, so don’t be surprised when the US tries to seize any journalist around the world who can be alleged to have violated one of its laws.
On May 24, 2017, Lenín Boltaire Moreno Garcés became president of Ecuador, and Assange’s life changed. An ally of Trump in need of IMF loans, Moreno replaced the ambassador with a functionary hostile to Assange’s presence in the embassy. Although the previous regime had granted Assange citizenship, based on five-plus years on what is legally Ecuadorian soil, the new government cut his internet and telephone access, and restricted his number of visitors. Embassy staff changed. The new functionaries became less cordial to visitors like myself and were visibly hostile to Assange. Then, last Thursday, Moreno cast aside the principle of political asylum and told the British police to come and get him. The U.S. presented the indictment that Assange had said all along was waiting for him. And so Assange waits to know whether he will ever be free again, while journalists who published his leaked documents continue working without fear of prosecution and, in some cases, brandish their journalism prizes while denouncing the man who made them possible.
An American doctor who conducted several medical and mental health evaluations of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside Ecuador’s Embassy in London over the last two years says that she believes she was spied on and that the confidentiality of her doctor-patient relationship with Assange was violated. … when she returned to the embassy after getting food, she was questioned by embassy security staff and asked for a copy of her medical license, even though she had earlier provided her passport and explained the purpose of her visit.
“The hostile, nonconfidential, and intimidating environment was palpable,” she wrote in her affidavit.
In an April 8 letter sent to both U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Dunja Mijatovic, the commissioner for human rights for the Council of Europe, Crosby added that during her February visit to the embassy, the conditions of Assange’s confinement had significantly worsened since her first visit in 2017. Her letter noted the severe psychological toll Assange suffered in his prolonged and indefinite confinement. … In addition to Crosby, Dr. Brock Chisholm, a British clinical psychologist who was previously retained as an expert witness in a case involving allegations of torture at CIA black sites, evaluated Assange over the past two years. Dr. Sean Love, now at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, initially met with Assange and arranged for an introduction to Crosby and Chisholm, but did not conduct any of the evaluations. Love said that Assange and WikiLeaks gave the doctors permission to make Crosby’s affidavit and letter public.
Love criticized the British government for denying Assange medical care while he was in the embassy.
“Whatever you think of his politics, he is a human being,” Love said, “and under international law, he deserved to be treated fairly and not in cruel or inhumane ways.”
New Yorker writer Raffi Katchadourian on the Affidavit in Support of Assange Arrest
Assange affidavit gets into measures Manning took to protect her identity, including requests to obscure certain details in publication. One can speculate that this is the tack that Obama DOJ feared to take, for the way it would chill normal journalistic behavior. pic.twitter.com/vxgoS8UXXy
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia unsealed the affidavit in support of the arrest of Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks. Assange was indicted on March 6 for for conspiring to commit computer intrusions by assisting Chelsea Manning with breaking a U.S. government password. He is charged for violations of 18 U.S.C. §§371, 1030(a)(1), 1030(a)(2) and 1030(c)(2)(B)(ii). The affidavit is available below. /
Attorneys weigh in
Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to Sky News:
“I think the first thing to say is Ecuador has been making some pretty outrageous allegations over the past few days to justify what was an unlawful and extraordinary act in allowing British police to come inside an embassy,” Robinson said.
In February the U.N. found that his detention was unlawful and that the governments of the U.K. and Sweden must set him free and award him compensation. Although the U.N. issued a note to editors that its decision is ultimately “legally binding”, many reporters simply repeated the U.K. talking point, blasted out through the BBC, claiming it is not.
After huffing and puffing and threatening to blow the U.N. human rights system down, the U.K. has done everything in its power to bury the U.N.’s finding. The U.K. resorted to gunboat diplomacy, threatening Ecuador with severe trade and cooperation repercussions unless they coughed up Assange. The U.K. has also refused him safe access to a hospital for tests and treatment, perhaps in the hope that his health will eventually deteriorate to such a degree that the “Assange problem” will go away on its own.
Former counsel for Justin Liverman, Marina Medvin, “thinks more allegations could be in the pipeline. “Don’t for one minute assume that the current indictment is the last of his charges. More are sure to come.””
Two far-left German MPs, Heike Hansel and Sevim Dagdelen of Die Linke, and a Spanish Green member of the European Parliament, Ana Miranda, had been due to meet their “friend” Assange in London’s Ecuadoran embassy later on Monday.
Instead, following his expulsion and arrest last week, they protested outside the top-security Belmarsh prison in southeast London where he is being held, carrying placards demanding his release.
“We are faced with a humanitarian imperative now that Assange is in UK custody and a US extradition request is out for him, after high ranking officials of the US – including President Donald Trump – have threatened the publisher with death,” said Miranda.
Instead, following his expulsion and arrest last week, they protested outside the top-security Belmarsh prison in southeast London where he is being held, carrying placards demanding his release. … Dagdelen urged Britain and the EU to block any extradition request.
“We call on the British government not to extradite Julian Assange to the USA.
“The European Union must take action to protect a politically-persecuted publisher and journalist,” said the German politician, calling on Spain and her home country to grant Assange asylum.
Brock Chisholm, a London-based consultant clinical psychologist and founder of Trauma Treatment International, examined Assange multiple times over the past year and a half.
Along with Sondra Crosby, a doctor and associate professor at the Boston University’s school of medicine and public health, he said in a 2018 article in the Guardian that his patient’s health was in a dangerous condition and called for him to be given safe passage to a hospital.
Now Assange is out, how might seven years of confinement have affected his psychological and mental health?
A member of a team of physicians that has evaluated Julian Assange’s medical and psychological condition over the past two years told three international human rights groups that the Wikileaks founder has sustained “negative psychological and physical effects” from his seven-year detention in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Motherboard has learned.
The doctor believes that the “cumulative severity of the pain and suffering inflicted on Mr. Assange—both physical and psychological—is in violation of the 1984 Convention Against Torture.”
Civil society continues to condemn Assange arrest
John Pilger: if Julian Assange is headed to an American prison, a host of other editors and journalists could be as well
“this is an assault on journalism, but more than that, it’s an assault on citizenship, because it can happen to anybody, right across the world. It is saying international law doesn’t apply”
Reason: Julian Assange Is a Better Journalist Than Many of His Media Critics
The political class and certain media circles have been celebrating over the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. To watch their respective reactions is to recognize that, too often, the two groups see themselves as one and the same. Their interests and opinions coincide, and they don’t like having their authority challenged by loose-cannon journalists who reveal inconvenient secrets and expose the powers-that-be to unwelcome scrutiny.
Patrick Cockburn: “Calling Assange a ‘narcissist’ misses the point – without WikiLeaks we would live in darker, less informed times”
Assange is likely to pay a higher price than Ellsberg for his exposure of government secrets. The Pentagon Papers were published when the media was becoming freer across the world while now it is on the retreat as authoritarian governments replace democratic ones and democratic governments become more authoritarian.
The fate of Assange will be a good guide as to how far we are going down this road and the degree to which freedom of expression is threatened in Britain at a time of deepening political crisis.
WSWS: “Stop the extraordinary rendition of Julian Assange!”
After British police dragged Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer tweeted, “Now that Julian Assange has been arrested, I hope he will soon be held to account for his meddling in our elections on behalf of Putin and the Russian government.” The Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel tweeted that Assange “time after time compromised the national security of the United States and our allies by publicly releasing classified government documents and confidential materials related to our 2016 presidential election.”
These statements show that the extradition proceedings are being conducted under false pretenses. The single public charge is a cover. The government is planning to interrogate Assange, compel him to provide testimony and further prosecute him for exposing US war crimes. In the words of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin: “He is our property and we can get the facts and the truth from him.”
Following UK police forcibly removing the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and arresting him, Seamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, said:
“The NUJ is shocked and concerned by the actions of the authorities today in relation to Julian Assange. His lawyer has confirmed he has been arrested not just for breach of bail conditions but also in relation to a US extradition request. The UK should not be acting on behalf of the Trump administration in this case. The NUJ recognises the inherent link between and importance of leaked confidential documents and journalism reporting in the public interest. It should be remembered that in April 2010 WikiLeaks released Collateral Murder, a video showing a 2007 US Apache helicopter attack upon individuals in Baghdad, more than 23 people were killed including two Reuters journalists. The manner in which Assange is treated will be of great significance to the practice of journalism.”
“The decision of the Ecuadorean government to hand over Assange to the UK police is a clear violation of his Ecuadorean citizenship and asylum rights. Ecuador has failed in its duty to protect its citizen. … “The bid to extradite Assange to the US over his revelations of US war crimes, cover-ups and corruption is an attack on the right to publish the truth. WikiLeaks and Assange are online publishers. The proposed US charges against Assange are an assault on publishing freedom and freedom of expression.
“Assange published evidence of American war crimes. He’s a hero, not a criminal.
“The British government should refuse to do the bidding of the Trump administration. It should give public assurances that Assange will not be handed over the US authorities. His extradition to the US is not in the public interest”
Ron Paul: Julian Assange is a political prisoner for revealing the truth
Last week’s arrest of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange by the British government on a US extradition order is an attack on all of us. It is an attack on the US Constitution. It is an attack on the free press. It is an attack on free speech. It is an attack on our right to know what our government is doing with our money in our name.
The timing was hardly “coincidental.” Not long after a trip by Vice President Pence to “convince” Ecuador to hand over Julian Assange, a $4.2 billion IMF loan appears on the scene. Then Ecuador follows through and delivers the Wikileaks publisher to face the wrath of the US political establishment. Do what Washington says, get a bribe. Don’t do what Washington says, get a bomb. On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
The Assange prosecution requires us to build a global movement to not only free Julian Assange, but to protect the world from the crimes and corruption of the United States and other governments. The reality is that Freedom of Press for the 21st Century is on trial.
There are many opportunities for a movement to impact the outcome of this process and to free Julian Assange. The extradition process includes political decisions by both the UK and US governments. Courts are impacted by public opinion. If courts are convinced this case is about political issues, extradition could be rejected.
“It’s a very serious assault on the First Amendment. A clear attempt to rescind the freedom of the press, essentially. Up till now we’ve had a dozen or so indictments of sources, of which my prosecution is the very first prosecution of an American for disclosing information to the American public. And that was ended a couple of years later by governmental misconduct. There were two others before President Obama, and nine or so under President Obama, of sources, none of these having been tested in the Supreme Court yet as to their relation to the First Amendment. Hasn’t gone to them.
This is the first indictment of a journalist and editor or publisher, Julian Assange. And if it’s successful it will not be the last. This is clearly is a part of President Trump’s war on the press, what he calls the enemy of the state. And if he succeeds in putting Julian Assange in prison, where I think he’ll be for life, if he goes there at all, probably the first charge against him is only a few years. But that’s probably just the first of many.
In my own case, my first indictment was for three counts, felony counts. That was later expanded to 12 felony counts by the end of the year, for a possible 115-year sentence. So I think this is a warning shot across the bow of every editor and publisher in the country.”
I deplore by the Ecuadorian authorities’ decision to revoke Assange’s asylum protection, as it contravenes the requests made by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and the United Nations to respect Assange’s right to maintain his asylum status.
I expect the British judicial system to remain impartial, and that it must not bow to external pressure from the US government.
Similarly, other crimes that Assange has allegedly committed must be tried separately and fairly – just like for any other person.
The integrity and freedom of Julian Assange must be upheld.
Ecuadorean police have arrested Swedish programmer and digital privacy activist Ola Bini for allegedly attempting to destabilize the government by “collaborating” with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Assange was controversially stripped of his asylum status by Ecuador’s current administration under President Lenin Moreno and immediately arrested by British authorities Thursday in the South American country’s UK embassy located in London.
Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo said in an interview with a local media Thursday that the arrest was made for “investigative purposes,” though she did not name Bini, whose arrest took place at Quito Airport, Ecuador, while on his way to Japan.
“For several years now, one of the key members of this WikiLeaks organization and a person close to Mr. Julian Assange has lived in Ecuador, and we have sufficient evidence that he has been collaborating with the destabilization attempts against the government,” Romo said at a Thursday evening press conference.
Julian Assange has been arrested, in violation of international law, as Ecuador has illegally terminated his political asylum. The Ecuadorian Ambassador invited British police into the Embassy this morning and Assange was immediately arrested.
Just confirmed: #Assange has been arrested not just for breach of bail conditions but also in relation to a US extradition request. @wikileaks@khrafnsson
NYT: “The United States has charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with one count of conspiracy to hack a computer related to his role in the 2010 release of reams of secret American documents, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday just hours after British authorities arrested him in London.”
The BBC’s Daniel Sandford: “District Judge Michael Snow finds Julian Assange guilty of failing to surrender” to bail. “He sends Julian Assange to the Crown Court for sentencing as the offence was so serious”
BBC’s Daniel Sandford: “Julian Assange will next appear on the 2nd of May by video link at this court on the extradition matter. He will next appear on the bail offence at Southwark Crown Court on a date to be announced. Hearing over.”
WikiLeaks held a press conference this morning to reveal that it has uncovered a massive spying operation on Julian Assange and his associates in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, barrister Jennifer Robinson, and Former Consul of Ecuador Fidel Navarez convened in London to detail a surveillance trove including thousands of photos, videos and audio recordings of Julian Assange, creating a “Truman Show existence” designed to support the effort to oust the asylee. The material includes recordings of privileged legal, medical, and personal communications in a startling invasion of Assange’s privacy.
Furthermore, the material has been offered up for sale to WikiLeaks representatives for the price of 3 million Euros, with the threat of publishing it otherwise. WikiLeaks requested the assistance of Spanish police, who conducted a sting operation against a number of unnamed individuals thought to have been involved. Spanish authorities are now investigating the matter as a case of extortion.
See the full press conference here for a full recounting of the spying operation, the ways in which it invades Assange’s privacy and threatens his ability to carry out his legal defense, Ecuador’s neglecting of its responsibilities to protect him, and the next steps going forward:
“OFFICIAL STATEMENT | The continent Repudiates the Intention of handing over Julian Assange”
Quito, April 6, 2019
“The voices of the Continent repudiate, once again, the Intention of the Ecuadorian government to end the Asylum granted to Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks. Yesterday, in Mexico, the participants of the XXIII International Seminar “The Parties and a New Society”, expressed their strongest condemnation at the attempt to surrender the Founder of WikiLeaks to the Police authorities of the United Kingdom.
At the meeting, attended by 150 Delegates of 38 countries of the 5 continents, a declaration was issued rejecting the surrendering attitude of the Ecuadorian government. “The participants of the XXIII International Seminar “The Parties and a New Society”, organized by the Workers Party in Mexico, manifest their strongest condemnation of such a possible decision. The only crime committed by Julian Assange has been to expose the dubious endeavours of the United States’ foreign policies, and more recently, the corruption of President Moreno”, says the statement.
The document also mentions that “the vindictive fury of the corrupt occupier of the Carondelet Palace, who has deprived Assange of the most minimal decent living conditions in London, has no limits and seems willing to force him to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy. Thereby, throwing him into the hands of the United States, whom without any legal proof or charges will certainly condemn for life (in prison) or even to death, someone who had the courage to prise secrets of the Empire”, said the statement. In this context and in accordance with its Democratic principles, the due diligence of the Citizen’s Revolution and the Social Commitment Movement, reject the attempt by the surrendering attitude of the government of Lenin Moreno to put Assange at risk, and even his life, to ingratiate itself with the hegemonic power. They also recall that Assange cannot be handed over to the justice of a third country.”
If such a European court decides that WikiLeaks generally has worked in the public interest and not as a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” as Mike Pompeo dubbed it when he was director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, that could create an opportunity for another U.S. fugitive, Edward Snowden, to leave Russia and find refuge somewhere in the European Union. The U.S. needs to legislate better whistleblower protections before it demands that people like Assange and Snowden face its courts.
The Guardian finally acknowledges the dangers of the persecution of Assange
If he leaves the embassy, and is arrested, he should answer for that, perhaps in ways that might result in deportation to his own country, Australia. Nothing about this is easy, least of all Mr Assange himself. But when the call comes from Washington, it requires a firm and principled no. It would neither be safe nor right for the UK to extradite Mr Assange to Mr Trump’s America.
[In other respects the Guardian’s editorial contains errors, notably on the reason for Assange’s asylum in the first place, some of which can be checked against here: https://t.co/Qb90wQ54Qz]
It took @guardian 7 years to accept Assange faces the threat of extradition to the US – and oppose it. Will the paper wait another 7 years to retract the damaging and totally fabricated Manafort story? Good reporting is about the now – not good hindsight.https://t.co/wcapM18Y19
Some supporters think that the threat against Assange has been won. Don’t be fooled. @WikiLeaks sources said “hours to *days*”. Following public outrage, UN interventions & legal filings, we’ve moved to days (or weeks). Ecuador, which lacks credibility, only states “not imminent”
#CarlosPoveda: el relator especial de la ONU ya tenía conocimiento d la información de Assange pero no le permitieron ingresar hace una semana, ahora por eso va a visitarlo el 25 de abril, no por la petición del gobierno, esperamos que se le autorice #LaPalabraSonorama
WikiLeaks warns that Julian Assange faces imminent eviction from Ecuador’s London embassy
BREAKING: A high level source within the Ecuadorian state has told @WikiLeaks that Julian Assange will be expelled within “hours to days” using the #INAPapers offshore scandal as a pretext–and that it already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest.https://t.co/adnJph79wq
UN expert on torture @NilsMelzer expresses alarm at reports #WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be expelled imminently from #EcuadorianEmbassy in London, saying he intends to personally investigate case.
Reuters: ‘U.N. torture expert urges Ecuador not to expel Assange from embassy’
Nils Melzer, U.N. special rapporteur on torture, voiced concern that Assange’s health was in “serious decline” and that, if he were expelled, he was likely to be arrested by British authorities and extradited to the United States.
“Such a response could expose him to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” he said.
“I therefore urge the Government of Ecuador to abstain from …ceasing or suspending his political asylum until such time as the full protection of his human rights can be guaranteed.”
Ecuador denies that Julian Assange is about to be expelled from its London embassy
A senior Ecuadorian official, unwilling to put their name to what should be an easy claim to make transparently, if true, tells AP that no decision has been made to expel Assange. https://t.co/yZXl8n9N7A
The Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joe Cannataci, plans to meet Julian Assange on 25 April after receiving assurances from the Government of Ecuador that it will facilitate his visit to the country’s embassy in London.
“In response to requests for information, the Special Rapporteur has published a timeline of recent events” here
UN releases damning timeline showing that it started investigation into Ecuador for violating Assange’s rights, asked Ecuador to see him, wasn’t able to.
Julian #Assange is in extreme danger: if the UK authorities arrest him, you can imagine how it will end up. The UK authorities are very likely to have a sealed arrest warrant / request from the US from the very beginning
“Stop this misrule of law. It’s conducted by the English Govt. in collaboration with America. Julian’s been imprisoned on a phoney claim of jumping bail. The issue is freedom of speech.” -Vivienne #FreeJulianAssangepic.twitter.com/QAc6HOfmqI
As rumors swirl about Julian Assange’s potential expulsion from the Ecuador Embassy in London, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister tweets “diplomatic asylum is a sovereign matter of a State, which has the right to give it or take it way unilaterally when considered justified.’ @wikileakshttps://t.co/N3cP4gR1uE
May I remind journalist to think about the absurdity of unilaterally applying “asylum terms”, years after asylum was granted. Will they reflect on the valitity of silencing a persecuted publisher. Consider the pretext Moreno uses: @wikileaks re-tweeting a corruption story on him
Moira Meltzer-Cohen, an attorney for Manning, suggested during a hearing on March 5 [PDF], if the government intended to question her about her statement, “She’s sort of faced with the choice of reiterating her previous answers, which the government appears not to accept, or being untruthful, which she refuses to do.”
“Since her prior testimony made clear that she acted alone and since we have been advised that she is herself not a target in this investigation, it would appear that the government may harbor an interest in undermining her previous testimony, since it doesn’t inculpate anyone else who might be a target,” Meltzer-Cohen added.
The INA Papers are a set of documents published in February 2019, allegedly uncover the operations of INA Investment Corp, an offshore tax haven created by the brother of Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno. The trove of emails, phone communications and expense receipts are said to link the president and his family to a series of corrupt and criminal dealings, including money laundering and offshore accounts. The leak has sparked a congressional investigation into President Moreno for corruption.
President Moreno, desperate to divert public attention away from the scandal, is using the claims as a pretext to oust Julian Assange, whom he erroneously blames for the publication, from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. On 2 April, the President stated that Assange has “violated the ‘conditions’ of his asylum” and that he will “take a decision” “in the short term.”
James Goodale, who represented the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case, writes for Harpers: “Why Julian Assange deserves First Amendment protection”
As a veteran of major free-press legal battles, I waited, throughout the days that followed, for journalists to come to Assange’s defense. A few reliable advocates, such as the ACLU and the Knight First Amendment Institute, did sound the alarm, but the editorial boards of the Timesand the Washington Postremained silent.
The Columbia Journalism Review allowed that Assange’s prosecution “could be a slippery slope that would threaten traditional journalists and publishers,” but it was quick to note that WikiLeaks was a “shadowy organization” and “not officially a journalistic one.” (Of course, there is no body, not even the CJR, that determines what is “officially” a journalistic outfit.)
Overall, the same mainstream journalists who have treated Donald Trump’s disparaging tweets about them as unprecedented threats to their freedom handled Assange’s indictment as a political story, another piece of the ongoing Trump–Russia saga.
In fact, the Trump Administration’s prosecution of Assange represents a greater threat to the free press than all of the president’s nasty tweets combined. If the prosecution succeeds, investigative reporting based on classified information will be given a near death blow.
1 April 2019
Chelsea Manning’s legal team asked for her release from jail at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, pending her appeal because the District Court failed to consider evidence that would excuse her from having to give testimony before the grand jury.
Ms. Manning appealed the ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Friday March, 29th, and now asks for bail pending determination of the appeal. Release must be granted as long as the appeal is neither frivolous nor a delay tactic.
…outlets from the Times to CNN to Time magazine wrote single stories noting her re-incarceration.
But where are the editorials? Where is the outrage, or even recognition, that someone whose goal was to reveal actions—illegal and unconscionable—being carried out in the US people’s name, and whose revelations led in fact to debate and interrogation of those actions, is once again taking the fall for reporters happy to report those revelations and claim awards for doing so? I can’t find any editorials in US corporate media in support of Manning, or of journalists’ right to inform the public, or of the public’s right to know.
As with Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, decades from now, mainstream media will likely speak matter-of-factly about Manning’s contributions as whistleblower. But what matters is what they’re not doing now. Democracy dies in darkness, indeed.
30 March 2019
Chelsea Manning and the Grand Jury with Jimmy Dore
Nozomi Hayase: ‘Why Psychologists with Social Responsibility Need to Support Freedom of Julian Assange’
29 March 2019
Vigil in support of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Chelsea Manning’s attorneys asked the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate (void) District Court Judge Hilton’s finding of civil contempt
1) Because it would appear that Judge Hilton denied Chelsea’s motion asking the government to disclose the existence of any unlawful surveillance without actually considering the evidence. … 2) Because the Judge failed to demand even minimal assurances that the subpoena was properly motivated, despite ample evidence of abuse. … 3) Because significant portions of the contempt hearing were held in a closed courtroom in violation of Chelsea’s 5th and 6th Amendment rights to a public trial, and the Government has not given any good reasons for keeping the proceedings secret. …
Prior to [Judge Hilton’s] order, Manning told Hilton that she will “accept whatever you bring upon me.” That has meant re-entering prison without knowing when she might be released, along with weeks on end under dehumanizing conditions. For her remarkable bravery, for her willingness to defy a U.S. government that seems to grow more hostile to whistleblowers with each successive administration, Manning is our Truthdigger of the Month.
US Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks
On this date in 2018 Moreno imposed on Assange what Human Rights Watch’s legal counsel Dinah Pokempner described as looking “more and more like solitary confinement.” Moreno cut off Assange’s online access and restricted visitors to the Ecuador embassy in London where Assange has had legal political asylum since 2012.
Moreno cited Assange’s critical social media remarks about Ecuador’s allies, the U.S. and Spain. Assange’s near-total isolation, with the exception of visits from legal counsel during week days, has been augmented by the Ecuadorian government’s imposition of a complex “protocol,” which, although eased slightly in recent months in respect of visits allowed, has not improved Assange’s overall status over the last 12 months. In some respects, it seems to have worsened.
Actions in London and Washington DC to express support for Assange and Chelsea Manning on the anniversary of Assange’s isolation:
Spotted in DC: a moving billboard advocating to free Chelsea Manning – who is jailed for contempt in Virginia – and Julian Assange whose indictment was accidentally revealed by prosecutors in another case in Va. pic.twitter.com/iYrZZWkest
Free expression group Article 19 demands an end to the prosecution of Julian Assange and the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, warning of a chilling effect and threats to press freedom
ARTICLE 19 is concerned about continuous attempts to prosecute Julian Assange, founder and publisher of Wikileaks, for his work through the organisation, and about the recent detention of Chelsea Manning for her refusal to testify against Wikileaks. We believe these are efforts to criminalize whistleblowing and the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression, and will potentially create a chilling effect for the media and whistle-blowers at a global level. The US government must respect the right to freedom of expression in both cases, and ensure that anyone can publish information about serious human rights violations without fear of reprisal and prosecution.
The fate of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, political prisoners victimized by US and world imperialism for exposing imperialist crimes and conspiracies, must be a focus of attention of the entire working class and all those who defend democratic rights.
While liberals were driven to states of hysteria regarding Russiagate, they show little interest in the plight of Assange and Manning. Manning is a transgender woman, and despite a great deal of discussion about the rights of transgender people, she has been left to her own devices with hardly any protest on her behalf.
Manning and Assange reveal the hypocrisy and hollowness of liberal America. Their disputes with Donald Trump are more about style than substance. Trump’s tweets against the media will engender outrage but the continued persecution of Julian Assange raises few eyebrows.
Manning’s current conditions of confinement would be perilous to anyone. But to subject a torture survivor to further inhumane treatment is unconscionable. It’s hard to view this as anything other than a vindictive vendetta — a brazen attack on a brave truth teller.
Interview with Kristinn Hrafnsson, the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks https://web.archive.org/web/20210827142942if_/https://www.youtube.com/embed/aMqPVDiNpGc
The Trump Administration has confirmed that the US government has charged WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange and that it seeks his extradition from the UK. In the US, he faces life in prison. The US actions are a serious threat to European freedom of expression, media and sovereignty.
The United Nations has repeatedly called for Assange to walk free.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Article 19 and other leading human rights organisations have released statements categorically opposing Assange’s extradition.
The city of Geneva recently passed a resolution calling for Assange to be granted asylum.
Parliamentary Members of the Council of Europe should:
Oppose Assange’s extradition to the US.
Ensure that the Council of Europe raises this case in its procedures and champions the issue in its work on media freedom
Press the UK government to find the solution to this issue which is available (see below)
The extradition of Julian Assange raises a number of fundamental issues for European democracy.
According to her support group, Manning is being held in “administrative segregation” by the prison authorities. This is a term they have “designed to sound less cruel than ‘solitary confinement’”, Chelsea Resists said, but it declares: “This treatment qualifies as Solitary Confinement”
Individuals with the support group, Chelsea Resists, visited Manning at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center, where she has been detained since March 8 after she refused to answer questions before a federal grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.
The group learned she is in “administrative segregation,” which the jail claims is standard for “high-profile” individuals like Manning.
The “administrative segregation” policy for the detention center—as outlined in an inmate handbook from July 2017—is to house an individual for up to 22 hours per day. A break is given on an established schedule that typically lasts for two hours. A person can “make personal phone calls” and “attend” to “hygiene needs.”
According to Chelsea Resists, Manning has been granted a break every day from 1 am to 3 am. She vomited during their 45-minute visit because the stimulation of being outside of her 22-hour lockdown made her nauseous.
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.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.
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 https://t.co/p6QL3r9BJDpic.twitter.com/pr91LZl4rl
Chelsea Manning held in solitary confinement again
The Guardian: Manning held in isolation for 22 hours a day after being jailed for refusing to testify to grand jury investigating WikiLeaks
Supporters of Chelsea Manning have demanded her release from effective solitary confinement, in which she has been held for more than two weeks since being jailed for contempt of court.
“We condemn the solitary confinement that Chelsea Manning has been subjected to during her incarceration at William G Truesdale adult detention center,” a committee of supporters said in a statement on Saturday.
Manning has been held in administrative segregation, or “adseg”, with up to 22 hours each day spent in isolation, for the duration of her detention.
Veterans For Peace stands strongly in solidarity with Chelsea Manning. Chelsea has been a remarkable example of principled dissent. She showed great courage in releasing documents and now again standing firm against the questionable practices of a grand jury. Veterans For Peace calls on Chelsea to be released immediately.
We condemn the US government’s prosecution of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange and the Justice Department’s attempt to force the alleged source to testify against the journalist for publishing government’s wrongdoing. These draconian actions of the state pose a great threat to our democracy, free press, and our fundamental human rights.
Our efforts to free Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange must become a movement. Our solidarity to defend the whistleblower and WikiLeaks is our non-violent civil disobedience against those in power who seek to control us behind a façade of democracy. This is our civil rights movement. This is the free speech movement of our time. We must use our right to free speech to speak out, associate with one another to mobilize and end this secret grand jury and this prosecution of free press.
Moira Meltzer-Cohen, an attorney for Manning, suggested during a hearing on March 5 [PDF], if the government intended to question her about her statement, “She’s sort of faced with the choice of reiterating her previous answers, which the government appears not to accept, or being untruthful, which she refuses to do.”
“Since her prior testimony made clear that she acted alone and since we have been advised that she is herself not a target in this investigation, it would appear that the government may harbor an interest in undermining her previous testimony, since it doesn’t inculpate anyone else who might be a target,” Meltzer-Cohen added.
Extensive interviewwith WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson on importance of Wikileaks, Assange, Chelsea Manning and much more: ‘Information Is Never Neutral’
“What people are missing about this story is the core principle here,” Kristinn says. “That journalists are supposed to publish materials on politicians, and especially candidates prior to election. That’s the role of journalists; that’s why it’s called the fourth estate. It’s totally amazing that even journalists are telling me, ‘You shouldn’t have published [the emails] before the election.’ Are we not supposed to inform the electorate about the candidates? Isn’t that your job? If you have internal information about a candidate or a party, it’s your duty. It would be a journalistic crime to withhold it. Then I heard ‘You should have waited until you had something on Trump so that you could be balanced.’ But it doesn’t work that way. The DNC emails had information that was newsworthy, and definitely it should have been published prior to the election, and that’s the end of it. It doesn’t really matter where it came from. It’s not the concern of the journalist to disregard information because it comes from some source that might have an agenda. You always have to evaluate the information that is in front of you. Is it in the public interest to publish it? It’s a no-brainer: either it is, or it isn’t.”
With regards to the Michael Cohen testimony, Kristinn points out that Wikileaks is mentioned only once, “When [Cohen] said that he was present when Roger Stone called Trump and said that he had just talked to Julian Assange. So that’s the proof that Trump knew that Stone had talked to Julian Assange and therefore there’s a direct connection? But it’s a claim. You’re going to take at face value something Roger Stone is saying, at the same time that you’re charging him with lying to investigators?”
The document also elaborates further on the First Amendment basis for Manning’s refusal to answer questions before the grand jury. Manning’s lawyers write, “First, there is a likelihood that this grand jury to be used expressly to disrupt the integrity of the journalistic process by exposing journalists to a kind of accessorial liability for leaks attributable to independently-acting journalistic sources. This administration has been quite publicly hostile to the press, and there is reason to believe that this grand jury may function to interfere profoundly with the operation of a free press.”
In other words, the Trump administration intends to make examples of both Manning and Assange and threaten any future journalists who report the truth about the crimes of American imperialism and its criminal military and intelligence operations around the world.
Join the vigil on March 28 in front of Ecuadorian Embassy in London to mark 1 year since Julian Assange was gagged and isolated under US pressure on Ecuador.
Join in Solidarity with #WikiLeaks publisher Julian #Assange marking 1 year since he was gagged and isolated under US pressure on Ecuador. 28th of March 2019 @ 3-5pm outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, nearest tube Knightsbridge, Piccadilly Line. pic.twitter.com/bxuGwI1MPe
Like Ellsberg’s disclosures, Manning’s revelations actually saved lives. “After WikiLeaks published [her] documentation of Iraqi torture centers established by the United States, the Iraqi government refused Obama’s request to extend immunity to U.S. soldiers who commit criminal and civil offenses there. As a result, Obama had to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq,” I wrote in 2013.
“Manning knowingly risked her freedom then for truth-telling and actually suffered seven-and-a-half years in prison. I regard her as an American hero, and I admire her for what she is doing, risking and enduring right now,” Ellsberg said. No one understands better than he does.
Courage has published a new briefing on press freedom: The ‘Assange Precedent’: The Threat to the Media Posed by the Trump Administration’s Prosecution of Julian Assange:
All media organizations and journalists must recognize the threat to their freedom and ability to work posed by the Trump Administration’s prosecution of Assange. They should join human rights organizations, the United Nations and many others in opposing Assange’s extradition. They should do so out of their own self-interest given that their ability to safely publish is under serious threat.
Media Lens: ‘The Destruction of Freedom: Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange And The Corporate Media’
A ProQuest newspaper database search on 19 March revealed that there were but four newspaper articles about the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning in the whole of the national print press: TheTimes, the Daily Mail, The Herald and the Daily Record (the latter two newspapers are based in Scotland). The Guardian article mentioned above, based on an Associated Press release, was published online; but not in the print version. There was also an online Telegraphpiece which was also just a press release (by Agence France-Presse). As far as we could tell, there was not a single editorial or column in a major national newspaper defending Chelsea Manning, nor pointing to the grave danger to press freedom that her new incarceration posed. That is a disgraceful indictment of our so-called ‘free press’.
The campaign to criminalize whistleblowing has, by default, left the exposure of government lies, fraud and crimes to those who have the skills or access, as Manning and Edward Snowden did, needed to hack into or otherwise obtain government electronic documents. This is why hackers, and those who publish their material such as Assange and WikiLeaks, are being relentlessly persecuted. The goal of the corporate state is to shroud in total secrecy the inner workings of power, especially those activities that violate the law. Movement toward this goal is very far advanced. The failure of news organizations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post to vigorously defend Manning and Assange will soon come back to haunt them. The corporate state hardly intends to stop with Manning and Assange. The target is the press itself.
After running perfunctory news reports of Manning’s jailing, no major US newspapers have published any follow-up reporting on the imprisonment of the United States’ most famous whistleblower and political prisoner.
None of the dozens of professional moralists employed by the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal who make it their business to publicize “human rights” violations to promote US imperialist interests have written a single column protesting the imprisonment of Manning.
These newspapers regularly report on the alleged imprisonment and mistreatment of journalists, whistleblowers and dissidents at the hands of the United States’ geopolitical rivals Russia and China. But when it comes to the jailing of a courageous whistleblower in the United States, they are silent.
There’s been no protest from any significant Democratic politician, including the “progressive” wing. Sanders, AOC, Tlaib and Omar have not spoken in Manning’s defense. Calls & emails by WSWS to offices of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez were not returned. https://t.co/MgjhWr5KpK
The grand jury investigation against anyone who potentially helped Ellsberg likely suggests how broad the universe of people subpoenaed may be in the grand jury investigation against WikiLeaks. Prosecutors do not have to only call people known to have worked or associated with the publisher. They may call someone like [Harvard Professor Samuel] Popkin to testify, who has no knowledge at all of WikiLeaks, if prosecutors are convinced that person may have talked to someone who potentially knows something about WikiLeaks publications.
15 March 2019
Patrick Henningsen: ‘Here’s why you need support Wikileaks and Chelsea Manning who are defending two fundamental pillars of democracy: rights of free press & whistleblowers’
The tribunal ordered the Metropolitan Police to confirm or deny whether it held correspondence on the three WikiLeaks staff, following a legal challenge brought by Stefania Maurizi, an investigative journalist with Italy’s La Repubblica, who has written extensively about the organisation.
“It is shocking to realise how a media organisation which has revealed very important information in the public interest and has revealed the true face of the wars in Afganistan and Iraq has been under investigation since 2010, and this investigation is completely shrouded in secrecy,” she told Computer Weekly.
…the Democrats are joining the Trump administration in going after Wikileaks for a deeper reason: the whole US government operates behind a vast wall of secrecy and hates it when it is exposed for its crimes.
Solidarity with Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning at London book fair
At Michigan rally defending Assange and Manning, Andre Damon warned: “The White House wants to set a precedent for jailing whistleblowers and journalists who publish information critical of the military and state apparatus.”
Die Linke members of the Bundestag come out to oppose Friday’s jailing of Chelsea Manning:
German left members of the Bundestag come out to oppose Friday’s jailing of former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. Manning was formally jailed to coerce her to testify in secret US proceedings against WikiLeaks over its 2010-2011 publications. pic.twitter.com/YQ4Jh14nJu
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has issued communication instructing Ecuador that it has an obligation not to expel Julian Assange, directly or indirectly, to the United States, in accordance with the IACHR Court’s decision 25/18. Ecuador is instructed that the principle of non-refoulement is imperative and applies in full.
Case 54/19-Ecuador Ref: Julian Paul Assange
The Interamerican Commission on Human Rights has today instructed Ecuador that it has an obligation not to expel Assange, directly or indirectly, to the United States, in accordance with the IACHR Court’s decision 25/18 pic.twitter.com/mhCzzWqxLX
***Corrected*** Press statement by Julian Assange’s defence on today’s Inter-American Commission’s communication to Ecuador regarding case 54-19. Comunicado de prensa desde el equipo de defensa de Julian Assange sobre el comunicado del CIDH a Ecuador. (English and Spanish) pic.twitter.com/b89By8Lzxr
This is a grave threat to freedom of the press and is a new angle to attacks on the media in the United States: imprisoning a source to coerce testimony about journalists publishing activities.
We urge the United States to
Lift the secrecy surrounding the criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and unseal the charges brought against Julian Assange;
Release immediately Chelsea Manning from prison;
End the criminal investigation and ongoing persecution of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.
Bloomberg: ‘Free-Speech Groups Support WikiLeaks Move to Dismiss DNC Lawsuit’
the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press and the American Civil Liberties Union asked a judge to allow them to file papers in support of a request by WikiLeaks to dismiss the case. …
The groups said the Supreme Court has protected publications of “truthful information of public concern” in a series of cases over the last 50 years, including information that was published even after it was illegally acquired — as long as the publisher wasn’t involved in the unlawful collection of the material.
The Knight Foundation issued a statement about the filing:
As the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized, the First Amendment protects the publication of stories like these. A ruling against WikiLeaks that narrowed this protection could jeopardize the well-established legal framework that made these stories possible—and that is crucial to ensuring that the public has the information it needs to hold powerful actors to account.
Every day Chelsea Manning @xychelsea spends in jail for refusing to testify against Assange/@wikileaks adds shame to those journalists who remain silent about this disgrace. This applies especially to those who benefited most from her brave acts in the past. @guardian@nytimes
Lucy Diavolo for Teen Vogue: ‘Chelsea Manning Has Been Imprisoned for Resisting a Grand Jury Investigation. Here’s Why She Should Be Freed’
That Manning is willing to face more jail time because she challenges the validity of the grand jury process is a vital act of resistance that pushes back on decades of government interference in activist communities.
The U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia is fooling itself if it thinks locking up Manning will compel her to testify. She has made clear that she has no interest in testifying in such a secretive setting. Her only offense is an unwillingness to cooperate with the same government that locked her up for exposing the kinds of horrors its military forces perpetrated in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mainstream commentators have been fretting over Donald Trump’s hostile rhetoric towards the media. But Chelsea Manning’s recent jailing shows that there are much graver threats to press freedom happening right under their noses.
President Donald Trump’s 2010 statement that the WikiLeaks’ staff should be executed and Hillary Clinton’s suggestion to drone Assange are reflective of a deeply disturbing trend to terrorize the press.
Smearing, demonizing and lying to the point where an alleged truth emerges has characterized official British, US and Australian attitudes to Assange. For these reasons, assumptions about him have to be redefined and the issues reframed. In an age of governments’ increasing secrecy and surveillance, he has had the courage to report truths about States’ violent and illegal acts. He has committed no offence. He threatens only those who deny the importance of free speech and freedom of the press.
10 March 2019
Free Assange solidarity vigil outside Ecuadorian Embassy in London
SEP UK national secretary Chris Marsden has just addressed the vigil outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. His speech was warmly applauded as he called for freedom for Julian #Assange and Chelsea Manning. pic.twitter.com/iDGk9SBSdY
US Congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard wrote on Facebook and Twitter about the dangers to press freedom posed by the US government’s efforts to prosecut WikiLeaks:
If the government can change the designation of Wikileaks from being a news organization (Obama Administration’s designation of Wikileaks) to a ‘hostile intelligence service’ (Trump Administration’s designation), then any entity – online and offline – is in danger of being designated a hostile intelligence agency if they carry out investigative reporting that the US government or a particular administration considers to be hostile to itself. This will have a chilling effect on investigative reporting of powerful government agencies or officials, including the president, intelligence agencies, etc. This is a serious breach of our constitutional freedoms and every American – Democrat, Republican or Independent – must stand up against it.
Roger Waters posted a video (with transcript here) to Facebook to talk about demonstrations in support of Julian Assange and about Chelsea Manning’s arrest:
U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ordered Manning to jail for contempt of court on Friday after a brief hearing in which Manning confirmed she has no intention of testifying. She told the judge she “will accept whatever you bring upon me.”
Manning has said she objects to the secrecy of the grand jury process, and that she already revealed everything she knows at her court martial.
The judge said she will remain jailed until she testifies or until the grand jury concludes its work. … “In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles. I will exhaust every legal remedy available,” [Chelsea] said.
CNN: “As everybody knows, Chelsea has tremendous courage. Our primary concern at this point is her health while she is confined and we will be paying close attention,” Manning’s attorney, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, told reporters outside a federal courthouse in Virginia.Manning can be held for the term of the grand jury and not longer than 18 months, Meltzer-Cohen said. Asked if Manning was prepared to stay imprisoned for 18 months, Meltzer-Cohen said “we are not there yet.” Meltzer-Cohen added that it was “quite likely” they would appeal the order. Kevin Gostzola for Shadowproof: ‘Defying grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning carries on tradition of resistance and goes to jail’ CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who served a prison sentence and supports Manning, said, “I have great admiration for what she did for the simple reason that she could have taken two other ways out. She could have testified or she could have gone before the grand jury and just answered each question with the words, ‘I don’t recall.’ But she didn’t do either one of those things. She cited her constitutional rights under the First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendments.” Supporters are raising money in Chelsea’s defense
While reporting on the probe has largely focused on the nature of the still-sealed DOJ case, most reports have largely missed the fact that the marked increase in activity relating to the probe is directly related to the fact that Ecuador has, by all indications, agreed to rescind Assange’s asylum so that he may be extradited to the United States. As a consequence, the U.S. is moving forward with its case against Assange and WikiLeaks — which began nearly a decade ago in 2010 — now that it has received assurances that Assange’s extradition is a matter of when, not if.
Janus Rose — a spokeswoman for a “support committee” called “Chelsea Resists,” set up to support Manning’s “fight against the grand jury subpoena” — spoke at length to MintPress News:
“… In all grand jury cases, there are legal risks that are opened up associated with answering questions, of being exposed to possible perjury if you say the wrong thing because prosecutors are given wide latitude to ask whatever they want over and over again. So, there is a legal risk and I think that it’s not acceptable for Chelsea to be exposed to this kind of risk, especially after all the things that she has done and all the time she has already served and has been commuted for.”
While Manning was unsuccessful in getting the motion to quash the subpoena approved and in unsealing the motion itself, she promised to return to court on Wednesday, stating: “We still have ground to litigate, so we’re going to be here tomorrow. The motion is still sealed, so at the end of the day, all the matters are sealed.”
5 March 2019
Chelsea Manning lost her challenge to quash the subpoena requiring her to testify to the Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia in its case against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.
Manning had attended an hour-long closed-door hearing, as did several federal prosecutors in the Assange case—including Tracy McCormick, Evan Turgeon, Gordon Kromberg and Kellen Dwyer. Although Manning didn’t mention either Assange or WikiLeaks by name, she did tell reporters that there had been “an awful lot of government attorneys” in the courtroom. And Manning was critical of grand juries, telling reporters, “Grand juries are terrible tools. The idea that there is an independent grand jury is long gone. It’s run by a prosecutor.”
Manning delivered a statement after the hearing:
Prior to entering the courthouse to motion to quash, Manning talked to reporters about why she is resisting the grand jury subpoena pic.twitter.com/1Vj7ikZKB5
Courage has prepared an EU Parliamentary briefing: ‘Why Opposing Julian Assange’s Extradition to the US Matters for European Democracy’
The Trump Administration has confirmed that the US government has charged WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange and that it seeks his extradition from the UK. In the US, he faces life in prison. The US actions are a serious threat to European freedom of expression and sovereignty.
The United Nations has repeatedly called for Assange to walk free.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other leading human rights organisations have released statements categorically opposing Assange’s extradition.
The city of Geneva recently passed a resolution calling for Assange to be granted asylum.
This year already, 36 MEPs and MPs have written to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UK Prime Minister Theresa May calling on them to find a solution to this matter.
· Oppose Assange’s extradition to the US.· Press the UK government to find the solution to this matter that already exists – to provide a diplomatic assurance against extradition to the US.· Raise the vital issues at stake in this case in European parliamentary debates and processes· Add their names to the MEPs letter to Guterres and May.
#FreeAssangeRally@jcogan_sep Those of us here today and listening online represent the beginning of a mass campaign. We are sending a clear message to Julian today-and he will hear it-you’re not alone, you’ve not been abandoned, you’ve not been forgotten, and you will be freed. pic.twitter.com/XOeWCSobSt
Prosecutors and other authorities use grand juries to map out political affiliations while sowing paranoia and discord. It is hard to see the subpoenaing of Manning, who gave exhaustive testimony at her court-martial and took full personal responsibility for her leaks, as anything but punitive. … Manning’s challenge to the grand jury subpoena thus suggests that, as shown during her court martial, the whistleblower understands the monumental First Amendment issues at stake in the prosecution of those who would expose government wrongdoing.
It is likely that one of the main reasons why Manning is currently being subpoenaed is to try to undermine her original 2010 court-martial testimony, in preparation to pursue Assange.
A key component of her 2010 testimony was that she refuted attempts by the Justice Department to imply that Assange had directed her to pursue the leaks. “No one associated with W.L.O. [WikiLeaks Organization] pressured me into sending any more information. I take full responsibility,” she stated at her court-martial.
Manning told the Times that the Justice Department has indicated in vague terms that they want to “talk about her past statements.” She believes the subpoena is likely an attempt to get her to back away from her 2010 court-martial defense, or to intimidate her in other ways if she does not collaborate with the Justice Department.
Support for Chelsea at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:
Exactly. It’s stunning that people have spent two years parading around as gravely worried about Trump’s threats to a free press because of mean tweets, while an actual, grave threat – his DOJ’s prosecution of WL for *publishing docs* – is being largely ignored if not cheered. https://t.co/wdjHxSzDkr
Jimmysllama, MintPress News: “Whats Behind Australia’s Decision to Suddenly Grant Julian Assange a Passport?” Jimmysllama provides a thorough recounting of “Australia’s abysmal record on supporting Australian journalist and publisher, Julian Assange.”
1 March 2019
More coverage: Chelsea Manning subpoenaed to testify on WikiLeaks
“Chelsea Manning has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in the investigation of Julian Assange, officials said, one of several indicators that prosecutors remain interested in WikiLeaks’ publication of diplomatic cables and military war logs in 2010.
“Prosecutors in Virginia have been pursuing a case based on conduct that predates WikiLeaks’ publication of hacked emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, and it’s not clear investigators are interested in that activity.” …
“I object strenuously to this subpoena, and to the grand jury process in general,” Manning said in a statement. “We’ve seen this power abused countless times to target political speech. I have nothing to contribute to this case and I resent being forced to endanger myself by participating in this predatory practice.”
“The subpoena was signed last month by Gordon Kromberg, a national security prosecutor on the Assange case. Kromberg last month persuaded a judge to leave sealed an indictment against Assange despite its inadvertent exposure in an unrelated court filing last year.”
Politico: “Chelsea Manning fights grand jury subpoena seen as linked to Assange”
Asked about the subpoena Friday, Assange lawyer Barry Pollack expressed frustration with prosecutors’ continued focus on Assange.
“It’s disappointing but not surprising that the government is continuing to pursue criminal charges against Julian Assange, apparently for his role in publishing truthful information about matters of great public interest,” Pollack said.
“Grand juries are notoriously mired in secrecy, and have historically been used to silence and retaliate against political activists. Their indiscriminate nature means the government can attempt to artificially coerce a witness into perjury or contempt. Chelsea gave voluminous testimony during her court martial. She has stood by the truth of her prior statements, and there is no legitimate purpose to having her rehash them before a hostile grand jury.”
The subpoena sent to Chelsea Manning shows that the Trump DOJ – as they’ve repeatedly vowed – is extremely serious about prosecuting WikiLeaks & Assange for publication of documents, which would pose a grave threat to press freedoms https://t.co/nz51akw7l1
A closer look at the subpoena reveals specifics about the nature of the grand jury’s inquiry:
It is NOT speculation what DoJ wants @xychelsea to testify about. If you look top right-hand corner of subpoena you’ll see “10GJ3793”. That’s the 2010 WikiLeaks “espionage act” [§793] grand jury targeting “the founders, owners or managers of WikiLeaks” https://t.co/ygTTJr3I0ypic.twitter.com/n7k69aClSk
David House testified on WikiLeaks in exchange for immunity
The Daily Beast reports that former WikiLeaks volunteer David House, who in 2011 declined to answer grand jury questions about WikiLeaks, “was subpoenaed last May for an encore appearance before the Alexandria grand jury. This time he didn’t take the Fifth. “I decided to cooperate in exchange for immunity,” said House…”
Update: From 3 March 2019:
In light of news of Chelsea Manning’s subpoena to the @wikileaks grand jury and David House’s immunity deal, here’s my thread from November on the EDVA Assange indictment and the likelihood it is to do with Wikileaks’ 2010 publications rather than Mueller.https://t.co/mYbqto8gOe
Oscar Grenfell for WSWS: Australian government refuses to defend Julian Assange
Under international and Australian law, the government has a clear responsibility to exercise its diplomatic powers and legal discretion to aid a detained Australian citizen abroad.
The government has the ability to make diplomatic representations to the British government to drop trumped-up bail charges against Assange that will result in his immediate arrest if he leaves the embassy building. If Britain refuses, the government has the power to initiate legal proceedings to compel the British government to allow for Assange’s safe passage out of the country.
DefendAssange Twitter thread, collated by GreekEmmy: “STRATEGY NOTE: Dealing with hypocritical organizations and politicians in lobbying to #FreeAssange and to defend WikiLeaks.”
Chelsea Manning reveals in an interview with the New York Times that she has been subpoenaed to testify in a grand jury investigation in the Eastern District of Virginia, where Julian Assange has been indicted under seal. Manning is fighting the subpoena, which calls for her to testify on 5 March, and her legal representatives have filed a motion to quash it.
“I am not going to contribute to a process that I feel is dangerous and could potentially place me in a position where I am forced to backtrack on the truth,” she said.
Ecuadorian FM Jose Valencia:”We hope that the Assange case will be resolved as soon as possible, we’ve now had 7 years with Mr. Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy, the Ecuadorian State has done its part in complying with international law.”
Sobre Assange | “Esperamos que el caso Assange se resuelva lo más pronto posible, ya vamos a cumplir 7 años con el señor Assange en la embajada ecuatoriana. El Estado ecuatoriano ha hecho su parte cumpliendo el derecho internacional”, @ValenciaJoseEc en @radiosucesosec
Aaron Mate & Jimmy Dore on the testimony of Cohen: the claim that Trump had prior knowledge of Wikileaks fails hilariously:
27 February 2019
WikiLeaks disputes Michael Cohen, says Julian Assange never talked to Roger Stone:
STATEMENT on Michael Cohen testimony to Congress: WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange has never had a telephone call with Roger Stone. WikiLeaks publicly teased its pending publications on Hillary Clinton and published > 30k of her emails on 16 March 2016. https://t.co/XcH75u3kbu
Cohen said the purported conversation between Trump and Stone took place on July 18 or 19. Here’s WikiLeaks promoting the upcoming release of Hillary-related emails on its *public Twitter account* on July 7! Idea that Stone ever had special foreknowledge is totally unsupported pic.twitter.com/FBZ1W7eA3O
WikiLeaks denies that any phone call between Assange and Roger Stone ever took place. Which should not be surprising, considering Mueller just indicted Stone and made no mention of it, despite having comprehensive access to Stone’s phone records https://t.co/10JN5f6Zxr
If Trump “knew in advance” about the pending publication of hacked DNC emails, so did everyone who followed the WikiLeaks Twitter account. It was public information! That’s what’s so maddening about this ridiculous narrative pic.twitter.com/mCYQxNUOZK
Anybody who believes Julian Assange was able to phone Roger Stone from inside Ecuadorean Embassy with neither GCHQ, NSA, CIA, MI5 or FBI intercepting the call, is severely deluded – combined budget those agencies US $41 billion. Michael Cohen’s testimony is obviously nonsense.
2. unless SOLID evidence surfaces, how can you believe #RogerStone claiming he had a phone call w/#Assange? The #EcuadorianEmbassy in London is under MASSIVE surveillance: it would have been impossible to have such phone convo without UK-US intelligence intercepting it
Binoy Kampmark: Shifting the Centre of Gravity: Julian Assange Receives His Passport
Each granular detail of his fate garners international headlines in an ongoing battle of attrition. Will he step out? Will he seek medical treatment he urgently needs? What will the local constabulary do? Statements from the Metropolitan Police and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office suggest that he will be medically tended to but will also have to face the charge of violating his bail conditions when he entered the Ecuadorean embassy in 2012. Once that door opens, the narrow horizon to a US prison cell becomes a realistic prospect, even if it is bound to be a protracted matter.
The Socialist Equality Party (UK) calls for maximum participation in the “Solidarity Vigil for Julian Assange” outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Sunday, March 10.
The Julian Assange Defence Committee has organised the vigil to complement the rally the same day in Melbourne, Australia, called by the Socialist Equality Party (Australia). A week earlier, Sunday, March 3, the SEP is holding a rally in Sydney to demand Assange’s freedom. Both rallies will be addressed by SEP National Secretary James Cogan.
23 February 2019
Today marks 3000 days Julian Assange has been arbitrarly detained
Catalonia’s exiled President Carles Puigdemont denounces Assange gagging
Keeping Julian Assange in custody for 3000 days is an affront to freedom of speech in the entire world. Catalans will never forget your courage and commitment to defend our right to self-determination @DefendAssange@wikileaks https://t.co/Dz5JvERBeZ
James Cogan at WSWS: Authorities confirm Assange’s Australian passport was renewed. The news however does not reduce the danger that the WikiLeaks founder faces as a result of the US-led vendetta against him.
The vendetta against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks is aimed at overturning the principles set out in the 1971 Supreme Court ruling on the publication of the Pentagon Papers, which upheld the right of journalists to publish information leaked by a government source. It is an attempt, initiated by the Democratic administration of Barack Obama and continued under the Republican administration of Donald Trump, to obliterate freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
This underscores the urgency of the campaign in Assange’s defence.
News that Assange’s Australian passport was renewed last October does not reduce by one iota the danger that he confronts. He still faces immediate detention by British authorities if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy, and the prospect of extradition to the US on the most draconian and anti-democratic pretexts.
SMH reports, “The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed Mr Assange received his new Australian passport in September 2018. The passport has gone unreported until now.”
The new passport makes it possible for Mr Assange to return to Australia. He has been without a passport after his previous one expired several years ago.
Australian barrister and adviser to Mr Assange, Greg Barns, said credit was owed to Australia’s former foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop, who he said had gone to great lengths to ensure Mr Assange’s rights as an Australian citizen were upheld by being granted a passport.
Mairead Maguire, who won the Prize in 1976 for her work toward peace in Northern Ireland, nominated the WikiLeaks publisher:
“Julian Assange, fearing deportation to the U.S. to stand trial for treason, sought out asylum in the Ecuadorien Embassy in 2012. Selflessly, he continues his work from here increasing the risk of his prosecution by the American Government. In recent months the U.S. has increased pressure on the Ecuadorian Government to take away his last liberties. He is now prevented from having visitors, receiving telephone calls, or other electronic communications, hereby removing his basic human rights. This has put a great strain on Julian’s mental and physical health. It is our duty as citizens to protect Julian’s human rights and freedom of speech as he has fought for ours on a global stage. … “Julian Assange meets all criteria for the Nobel Peace Prize. Through his release of hidden information to the public we are no longer naïve to the atrocities of war, we are no longer oblivious to the connections between big Business, the acquisition of resources, and the spoils of war.”
WikiLeaks has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in six consecutive years, from 2010 through 2015.
New Matilda: ‘Dr Lissa Johnson, clinical psychologist, exposes the ‘science’ behind the hunt for Julian Assange, and the tactics those in power use to keep you in the dark’
Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a 2020 presidential hopeful, defended WikiLeaks Saturday night, saying the information released by the organization brought “necessary change.”
The Hawaii congresswoman was fielding questions at a meet-and-greet in Concord, New Hampshire, over the weekend when she was asked about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“Obviously, the information that has been put out has exposed a lot of things that have been happening that the American people were not aware of and have spurred some necessary change there,” she told the crowd.
Parliamentarians should oppose Assange’s extradition to the US. The case raises a number of fundamental issues for the UK:
The UK has clear obligations under international law to protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. Assange’s asylum status requires that he not be transferred to the persecuting state (i.e., the country that he was given asylum in relation to, the US).
The United Nations has repeatedly called for Assange to walk free.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other leading human rights organisations have released statements categorically opposing Assange’s extradition.
American investigators are gathering information and pursuing witnesses involved in both recent WikiLeaks disclosures and the website’s large-scale postings of U.S. military and diplomatic messages over several years from 2010.
13 February 2019
Justice for Julian Assange: A Test for Western Democracy?
Former British politician and political commentator George Galloway hosted an hour-long discussion about Julian Assange’s persecution on his debate show AL Mayadeen TV. The conversation, featuring activists, journalists, and academics, as well as street interviews in London, covered an array of important questions about Assange’s treatment and what it portends for western democracy:
Why is the UK refusing to comply with the UN’s Working Group findings stating that Julian Assange should be released?
Will the disregard of these UN Working Group findings affect the legitimacy of various democratic institutions in the UK?
Is Assange’s struggle for freedom a sign of growing authoritarianism in the West?
What is behind the Ecuadorian government’s change of stance on Assange, given that he was permitted refuge 5 years ago?
Vaughan Smith Former army officer and award-winning freelance video journalist. Founder of the Frontline Club, London
Patrick Christys Radio Presenter and Journalist
Julian Morrow Researcher and Theorist
Alexander Nekrassov Former Kremlin and government adviser
Ciaron O’Reilly Assange supporter and activist
Sarah Kassim Educator and community leader
Tony Gratrex Activist and founder of Reading Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Was on board the Gaza Flotilla, 2010
Cheryl Sanchez Supporter and activist
11 February 2019
Acclaimed musician Roger Waters releases a statement in support of Julian Assange and calls on Australians to demonstrate their support:
We, the citizens of the world, have an absolute duty to protect Julian Assange from their unwarranted and illegal attacks.
I unreservedly support and applaud the demonstrations called by the Socialist Equality Party in Australia to demand that the Australian government takes immediate action to secure the freedom of their citizen, Julian Assange, from his near seven-year house imprisonment in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. At least until recently the Ecuadorian presidency was solid in its promise of asylum, but the new president of Ecuador is showing himself to be more susceptible to insidious US pressure. Julian’s situation is dire.
BRING HIM HOME NOW!!!
DEMONSTRATE on MARCH 3rd in SYDNEY and MARCH 10th in MELBOURNE
AROUND THE WORLD, RAISE YOUR VOICE EVERYWHERE
DEMAND A SAFE HAVEN FOR JULIAN ASSANGE IN HIS HOME AUSTRALIA.
Assange is a prisoner of conscious whose only option is to trade his present prison cell for an even less humane one and almost certainly execution shortly thereafter. It must never be forgotten that Hillary Clinton once remarked that Assange’s execution should be conducted with a military grade drone. Imagine if a Saudi politician said this about a dissident journalist? The Washington Post might actually feign shock in such an instance, but this was not the case when a major US politician said so about Julian Assange.
Julian Assange is beyond a shadow of a doubt, not just the greatest journalistic figure of this age, but of all time. No one has shown an ability to better harness cutting edge technology to tell world changing truths that would have been far more easily suppressed in a previous epoch. But because Assange’s publications could not be suppressed, instead the powers that be decided to suppress, repress and oppress the man.
media outlets across the board have suggested or claimed that the Stone charges show that he passed on privileged information about Wikileaks to the Trump campaign in 2016. But all Mueller has shown is that Stone asked for secret information about WikiLeaks from two people who appear to have had none to provide; and that the Trump campaign asked him about secret information that he accordingly is unlikely to have had.
The indictment indicates that [radio host Randy] Credico engaged in little more than speculation in his exchanges with Stone, while Stone engaged in total speculation in his contact with Trump campaign officials. He actually knew nothing about WikiLeaks’ publication schedule.
2 February 2019
Tony Kevin, a former Australian ambassador, defends Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, calling on Australia to support its own citizen in conversation with Joe Lauria for Unity4J:
Brian Becker, director of Answer Coalition, talking to Joe Lauria at Unity4J online vigil, sums up reasons why Julian Assange is so important:
1 February 2019
The Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry said it had been asked by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (part of the Organization of American States), to provide information related to the WikiLeaks founder’s asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in light of the recently filed motion asking the commission for protection.
[Assange lawyer] Barns said they welcomed the visit by High Commission consular officials, who were briefed on Assange’s medical issues and difficulties.
“They have seen firsthand the untenable situation Julian is in,” he said.
“His health is deteriorating yet he cannot get medical care for fear of arrest. We will be asking Senator Payne to seek undertakings from [the] UK that [Assange] can leave the embassy for healthcare without being arrested.”
Barns said Assange was suffering chronic pain in one arm and needs dental work, neither of which can be treated inside the embassy. Assange’s health continues to decline, he said.
31 January 2019
Consortium News: ‘Judge Denies Request to Unseal Assange Criminal Complaint Saying There is No Proof it Exists’
Judge Leonie Brinkema of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia decided on Wednesday to turn down the request by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to make public details of the complaint, the existence of which was made known inadvertently last year.
“The Government opposes the Committee’s application on the ground that it has neither confirmed nor denied whether charges have been filed against Assange and cannot be required to disclose that information before an arrest is made,” Brinkema wrote in her 10-page ruling.
Assange’s named appeared in a totally unrelated criminal complaint, apparently from a copy and paste mistake. The government called it an “unintentional error.”
Australian activists delivered “Free Julian Assange Petition Notice 29, to Prime Minister, Foreign Minister & all 226 politicians of the Australian Government”
Jan. 25 2019 we delivered Free Julian Assange Petition Notice 29, to Prime Minister, Foreign Minister & all 226 politicians of the Australian Government. 8 years of arbitrary Detention is enough torture, for publishing facts. Sign Petition link https://t.co/hQzmRtqRgT#auspolpic.twitter.com/c0GiqAo9R7
US comedian Jimmy Dore and The Nation‘s Aaron Maté discussed the Guardian Manafort fabrication, among other Russiagate “fails”, in Dore’s program Aggressive Progressive on The Young Turks: https://web.archive.org/web/20210827142942if_/https://www.youtube.com/embed/0BypY9ELgVk
Glenn Greenwald on Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and the debacles of the Corporate Media
24 January 2019
Julian Assange launches legal challenge against the US
Lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder, who has been living at the embassy since 2012 when he was granted diplomatic immunity, have filed an urgent application to the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
23 January 2019
WikiLeaks press release: ‘Assange Moves to Force Trump Administration to Reveal Charges and to Compel Ecuador to Prevent Extradition to U.S.’
Lawyers for Julian Assange have filed an urgent application to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), based in Washington D.C., to direct the Trump Administration to unseal the charges it has secretly filed against Mr. Assange. They are also asking the Commission to compel Ecuador to cease its espionage activities against Mr. Assange, to stop the isolation imposed on him and to protect him from U.S. extradition. The urgent request is in the form of a comprehensive 1,172-page application for “precautionary measures” directed to the international body which monitors compliance of the U.S. and Ecuador with their binding legal obligations. The calls to extradite Mr. Assange to the United States, as the result of his work as a publisher and editor, is the reason Mr. Assange obtained political asylum at Ecuador’s embassy in London in August 2012.
Assange’s case must be a wake-up call. With an IMF bailout upcoming, the ratification of Assange’s citizenship and asylum is coming in to review, and forcible expulsion and extradition is likely to come in to force.
DiEM25 believes that censorship has no place in international journalism and that all dissenting opinions should be tolerated and supported in democratic society, be they in support of government policy, or not. We call on all nations to honour UN commitments to abide by human rights as a matter of utmost urgency.
Ecuador confirms facilitating the interrogation of its London diplomatic staff by U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors (Thursday, Friday and Monday) which it describes as “free and voluntary” despite insisting they submit to it. (More)
4. Paul Manafort Visited Julian Assange Three Times in the Ecuadorian Embassy and Nobody Noticed (Guardian/Luke Harding)
On November 27, 2018, the Guardian published a major “bombshell” that Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had somehow managed to sneak inside one of the world’s most surveilled buildings, the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and visit Julian Assange on three different occasions. Cable and online commentators exploded.
Seven weeks later, no other media outlet has confirmed this; no video or photographic evidence has emerged; the Guardian refuses to answer any questions; its leading editors have virtually gone into hiding; other media outlets have expressed serious doubts about its veracity; and an Ecuadorian official who worked at the embassy has called the story a complete fake
19 January 2019
Assange lawyers file case over US DoJ interrogation of Ecuadorian diplomats [Spanish]
The Guardian‘s reckless misreporting continues to have real-world ramifications: ‘US investigators questioned Ecuadorian diplomatic staff stationed at the embassy in London during WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s years-long stay.’ (More, from Reuters)
A representative for the Guardian declined to comment beyond the outlet’s previous statement […] We didn’t get a denial, of course, can never substitute for an affirmation of anything. […] Time is a friend to none of these stories. The longer they remain on their evidentiary islands, the more marginalized they become.
16 January 2019
Heike Hensel, die Linke MP spoke against the extradition of Julian Assange and expressed concern for his safety in the German Bundestag:
The coverage has the character of a coordinated political campaign, with the most sinister motives. Its aim is to legitimise the stepped-up persecution of Assange by the US and British governments, which are pursuing the journalist and publisher because of WikiLeaks’ exposures of their war crimes, diplomatic intrigues and illegal spying on the American and world population.
Endgame for Assange: The theatre director Angela Richter visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Ecuador’s embassy in London. For the last time, she fears
9 January 2019
WikiLeaks issues official denial of Trump election contacts, saying that the organization never provided election information to Donald Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone or to Jerome Corsi, a conservative author and conspiracy advocate.
A mainstream reporter with The Guardian has conjured up a link between Julian Assange and Trump associate Paul Manafort with zero evidence as part of his ongoing attempt to destroy both Assange and whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The news of Ecuador’s audit was broken by former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, himself charged by the new President Lenin Moreno:
La última de Contraloría: “Examen especial” al otorgamiento de asilo a Julian Assange. Eso es tan “procedente” como hacer un examen especial al nombramiento de un ministro. Ya que gobierne nomás Celi, el contralor impostor. Por su odio y persecución, somos el hazmerreír del mundo pic.twitter.com/ipOMaqFIB5
As WikiLeaks notes: “Ecuador has initiated a formal “Special Examination” of Julian Assange’s asylum and nationality (nationals cannot be extradited) as it seeks a $10billion+ IMF bailout for which the US government demanded handing over Assange and dropping environmental claims against Chevron”
Once it gets to a media publication, they can publish it. They can publish it for the purpose of informing people. You can’t put Assange in a different position than that. He was a guy that communicated. We may not like what he communicates, but he was a media facility, he was putting that information out. Every newspaper, station grabbed it and published it.
Throughout 2018, new Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno ratcheted up restrictions on Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, isolating the WikiLeaks journalist and steadily building a pretext to ultimately revoke his asylum and allow UK police in to arrest him.
Now, Julian Assange is detained in HMP Belmarsh, a high-security prison in southeast London, where he faces an extradition request from the United States, which has charged him on 18 counts threatening 175 years in jail. The charges include 17 counts of Espionage, the first ever such charges for a journalist, Geand 1 count of conspiracy to commit computer crime for allegedly attempting to protect a source’s anonymity. Press freedom groups, US presidential candidates, UK/EU politicians, and top newsrooms have condemned the US prosecution of Assange, warning of the grave threat it poses to journalistic freedoms around the world.
Courage is liveblogging daily updates, recapping legal, political and other developments in Assange’s case. See Courage’s fact sheets on various aspects of Assange’s case and WikiLeaks’ here, resources including legal documents and UN rulings & opinions here, a timeline of WikiLeaks’ releases and major events here, an archive of the 2018 version of this liveblog here, and ways to donate to Assange’s defense here.
Julian Assange won his case against extradition to the United States on 4 January 2021. After watching the two-day appeal hearing in October, I believe he is likely to win again, defeating the US appeal to the High Court, with a ruling due before Christmas.
Given the already weak US case is suffering from several scandals, fuelling an ever-growing campaign, the Biden administration’s Department of Justice may not risk the embarrassment of yet another defeat in the Supreme Court in a case initiated by the Trump administration. Alternatively, the misuse of legal process to inflict punishment on Assange through endless delay could continue.
The case is weak because:
Thirty former US officials have come forward to reveal aggressive spying on Assange and his associates by the CIA, including the outlining of options for Julian’s abduction or assassination.
The United States is offering ‘assurances’ that are not assurances
The United States has dangled the idea of a sentence being served in Australia, a laughable concession
The ÖJC has been committed to freedom of the press, human rights and quality in journalism since it was founded in 1977. Since 2017 the ÖJC has awarded the Dr. Karl Renner Solidarity Prize for persecuted journalists who have been unjustly imprisoned for their journalistic activities
“With the platform WikiLeaks, which he founded, Julian Assange has always been concerned with helping whistleblowers to bring the truth about crimes committed by governments and companies to the public. He did the only right thing and used all the possibilities of the modern media world available to him. He was charged by the US for his work under the Espionage Act – the anti-espionage law – of 1917. It must not be that powerful states like the USA, Great Britain and Sweden conspire against a single person and destroy him in front of the eyes of the world public – and that without condemnation. With the award of the Dr. Karl Renner Solidarity Prize to Julian Assange, we combine the demand for his immediate release so that his fiancée and two small sons can embrace him again”, said ÖJC President Prof. Oswald Klotz, explaining the unanimous decision of the jury.
Assange’s partner, Stella Moris was is in Glasgow as part of her campaign to free Julian and to highlight how WikiLeaks has also revealed evidence of how corporations and states have undermined the goals of prior climate summits.
“The WikiLeaks archive is quite an extraordinary tool for activists, for academics, for people working in this area, to be able to understand the relationship between the states and the fossil fuel companies, how those interests are intertwined, the fact that there is no bright line between many of these states and the fossil fuel industry, and that, in fact, there’s a revolving door and that the goals of the summit are frustrated by this reality”, says Moris.
“These revelations are part of the publications that Julian is indicted over. He faces 175 years for publishing the truth, for making this information, that is indisputably in the public interest, available to the public. And the U.S. government, under Trump, took the unprecedented step to criminalize journalism, to criminalize receiving information from a journalistic source and publishing that to the public”.
Julian Assange and his fiancee Stella Moris are bringing legal action against Justice Secretary Dominic Raab and the Governor of Belmarsh Prison, accusing them of preventing the couple from marrying behind bars.
They fear the obstacles put in the way of their wedding by UK authorities are linked to a US-backed political war against the Wikileaks publisher and campaigner.
In September it was revealed the CIA had drawn up plans to kidnap or kill Assange during his seven years exiled in the Embassy of Ecuador in London. The agency also spied on his family and friends and led a campaign of misinformation against him.
Stella, 38, a lawyer, said: “Those catch-or-kill plans were not implemented but other hostile measures were and this is the sting in the tail.”
“It’s part of an enormous conspiracy against Julian which makes itself felt in all that we try to do.
“A wedding would be a moment of happiness, a bit of normality in insane circumstances. Julian needs things to hold on to because daily life is a struggle for him in Belmarsh and there is so much uncertainty about his future.
“There is no reason for political interference in what is a basic human right. The CIA revelations show the lengths some agencies are willing to go to in their persecution of Julian.”
In the Assange extradition appeal, the British and American establishments are fighting journalists’ unions from across the world – and their mission is simple: to make effective scrutiny of the powerful impossible.
So the question at the heart of the hearing is this: is it reasonable to assume that the agency that has repeatedly acted illegally to ensnare Julian Assange, and which has even developed plans to kidnap or kill him, can be assumed to be acting in good faith when they give assurances that he will be humanely treated in the US prison system?
And how much more doubt should there be about this when, as Lewis admitted in a mistimed and flustered summing-up, any assurances given now cannot be specific and can be withdrawn at a future date?
But every political case of this kind is decided fifty percent in court and fifty percent in the court of public opinion. In the High Court, there is no jury of Assange’s peers who will be the arbiters of his fate. In the court of public opinion, however, it is ordinary citizens who have the deciding vote.
That is why, as the High Court judges sequester themselves in their chambers to decide their verdict in coming weeks, it must be the voices of ordinary people that are raised loud enough to shape the outcome of the civil rights trial of the century.
Moderate Rebels: Stella Moris on dangers of US extradition case
Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton speak with Stella Moris, the fiancée of imprisoned WikiLeaks journalist Julian Assange, about the appeal hearings in the US extradition case and how it threatens freedom of the press around the world.
The damage done to him in his decade of incarceration and uncertainty, including more than two years in Belmarsh (whose brutal regime is celebrated in the latest Bond film) is beyond doubt.
But so, too, is his courage beyond doubt, and a quality of resistance and resilience that is heroism. It is this that may see him through the present Kafkaesque nightmare—if he is spared an American hellhole.
The High Court judges are likely to announce their decision on the U.S. appeal in the new year. What they decide will determine whether or not the British judiciary has trashed the last vestiges of its vaunted reputation; in the land of Magna Carta this disgraceful case ought to have been hurled out of court long ago.
The missing imperative is not the impact on a collusive “free press.” It is justice for a man persecuted and willfully denied it.
Julian Assange is a truth-teller who has committed no crime but revealed government crimes and lies on a vast scale and so performed one of the great public services of my lifetime. Do we need to be reminded that justice for one is justice for all?
The German PEN center appoints the investigative journalist Julian Assange as an honorary member. Assange has been in solitary confinement in London’s maximum security prison Belmarsh since April 2019, after applying for asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 and living there as a political refugee for almost seven years.
The appointment as an honorary member of the German PEN Center is linked to the concern for the health of Julian Assange, whose prison conditions are described by Amnesty International as torture. The arbitrariness of the judiciary and the deprivation of liberty of Assange are a monstrous violation of human rights – and this happens in the midst of a Western European democracy and not in a despotic regime.
“We call on the authorities in England not to extradite our honorary member Julian Assange to the United States of America, where he faces up to 175 years in prison, but to release him immediately and unconditionally from prison. His continued detention is purely political and is therefore neither acceptable nor justified. It contradicts the right to freedom of expression and therefore the charter of the international PEN. We assure him, like our other honorary members, of our unlimited solidarity,” says Ralf Nestmeyer, Vice President of the German PEN.
The US Government is appealing the decision by a UK Court to deny their request for extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange – disputing the severity of Julian Assange’s mental state and offering the court assurances that he would not be subject to “Special Administrative Measures”. Can the court accept their claims to provide a safe environment for Assange given the reports that the CIA was plotting to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange in 2019?
Rebecca Vincent of the Reports Without Borders answers and gives an account of the US appeal hearing.
A decision on Julian Assange’s extradition case is expected in the next few weeks. The final week of October saw the US authorities in court, where they were appealing an earlier decision by a UK judge not to allow the extradition of the Wikileaks founder. Reporters Without Borders and PEN Norway, who attended the hearing as trial observers, have provided useful summaries of the proceedings. Shortly before the hearing, rights groups made a joint plea to the US Attorney General to drop the case against Assange, who, if extradited to the US, faces 175 years in prison.
Spain’s National High Court is investigating 5 separate criminal complaints with respect to spying on Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
The first complaint is on behalf of Assange himself. Another, according to article, is a complaint filed by German journalists, WL staff and Assange’s lawyers. A third complaint is fromjournalist Stefania Maurizi and the fourth is from former Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa, while the fifth complaint relates to an employee of Promsecurity (who took over the security contract of the Ecuadorean embassy in May 2018) and the €3m extortion attempt of WikiLeaks.
All of these relate to Spanish security firm UC Global and its subsidiary Undercover UC Global. As was previously reported, David Morales Guillén (owner and director) and Michel Wallemacq (director of operations) are the accused.
30 October 2021
‘If Julian Assange Dies, He Would Have Been Tortured To Death!’- Nils Melzer
On Going Underground UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer speaks about the trial of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. He discusses his assessment that Julian Assange has been psychologically tortured by UK authorities, why it has become harder for the UK courts to refuse the US extradition request, the parallels between the video of the murder of George Floyd and Julian Assange’s revelations and what Julian Assange’s persecution means for the average citizen’s rights.
On the second day of Julian Assange’s extradition appeal hearing, the defense laid out its arguments to uphold the District Judge’s ruling which barred Assange’s ruling on medical grounds.
Before the proceedings began, Assange’s fiancée Stella Moris clarified some misreporting about Julian’s condition. “Reports that Assange didn’t attend court in person due to medication are incorrect,” she wrote. “He asked to appear in person. The request was rejected. The medication interfering with his ability to follow has nothing to do with the fact he wasn’t permitted to attend court.”
Edward Fitzgerald, Barrister for the defense, addressed grounds 1, 3, and 4 of the U.S. appeal, all dealing with evidence surrounding Assange’s mental health and whether his psychiatric condition and prospective treatment are so oppressive so as to render an extradition unjust. In the afternoon, Mark Summers QC addressed grounds 2 and 5, comprising the U.S.’s claims of assurances that Assange wouldn’t be placed in the most severe and isolating conditions in a U.S. prison.
Tariq Ali speaks to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now on the Assange case US appeal hearing:
“Effectively, what is taking place is a punitive attempt by the British government — I have to say this — to try and punish Julian on behalf of the United States. No British court could convict Julian or allow him to be extradited under existing laws. And therefore, there is still a hope that if the High Court decides in a few months’ time not to support the U.S. appeal for extradition, the Supreme Court here will take no more appeals. There is also a hope that the Biden government will accept this ruling, if it takes place. If the High Court, listening to the case, even as we speak, decides that Julian should be extradited, we will immediately appeal to the Supreme Court, which means it will be delayed. But the fact that Julian is being kept in a top-security prison, Belmarsh, which is hell, where his health is deteriorating, is an absolute scandal. If he is to be kept in prison at all, it should be in a low-grade prison, as they put lots of corporate criminals in when they’re charged with huge financial crimes. Why Julian should be in this prison is just vindictiveness. There is no other way to describe it. And this government and its home secretary should be ashamed of themselves, because that is where the orders come from.”
Julian Assange’s extradition appeal hearing, which will turn in part on determinations about his health and risk of suicide, commenced with the news that Julian was too ill to even follow the proceedings by remote videolink from Belmarsh prison. Julian did enter the viewing box about midway through the morning’s session, but he appeared thin and unwell, and he could be seen leaving the room about an hour later.
As the appealing party, the U.S. government argued first, led by James Lewis QC. Lewis broke up up its objections to each aspect of the judge’s finding — whether Assange’s mental health condition puts him at high risk of suicide, his personal capacity to resist that impulse, how prospective treatment affects that risk level. He began with the so-called “assurances” that Assange wouldn’t be placed in ADX Florence, the U.S.’s highest-security prison designed specifically to isolate its inmates, and that he wouldn’t be imposed Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), which are applied, often in national security cases, to even further restrict an inmate’s communication with the outside world. The U.S. worked to restrict all of the defense’s objections regarding prison conditions to ADX Florence and SAMs, attempting to narrow its burden of proof by arguing that if ADX Florence and SAMs were removed from the equation, Judge Baraitser would have ruled to extradite Assange.
The prosecution then moved to Assange’s mental health and the testimony of Professor Kopelman, the psychiatrist who examined and interviewed Assange and determined he would be at high risk of suicide if his extradition were ordered. The U.S. contends that the defense conflates criteria for breaching Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which says, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” and those for breaching Section 91 of the UK Extradition Act, which prevent extradition if “the physical or mental condition of the person is such that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him.”