• Advertisement
To advertise, place classifieds free ads by category in a forum as a new topic, or in the classified display ads section, or start a classifieds free blog.

Assange arrested in London after seven years in Ecuador embassy, U.S. seeks extradition

If Assange Encouraged Leaks, So What?

Postby smix » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:04 am

If Assange Encouraged Leaks, So What?
Bloomberg News

URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/artic ... ill-speech
Category: Politics
Published: April 11, 2019

Description: The arrest of the WikiLeaks founder amplifies an important free-speech conversation.
The arrest of Julian Assange presages a free-speech debate that we’ve been avoiding for the seven years he was living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London: Can Assange be lawfully prosecuted for somehow facilitating illegal theft of classified information? Or is the organization he founded, WikiLeaks, protected by the First Amendment when it publishes documents supplied by others, like the New York Times when it published the Pentagon Papers? Current law is not especially clear on this question. The actual 1971 Pentagon Papers case, New York Times v. United States, wasn’t about punishing the Times after the fact. It was about the distinct (albeit related) question of whether the government could block the publication of classified material before it hit the newsstands — what First Amendment lawyers call “prior restraint.” The Supreme Court’s answer was no, the government can’t block a newspaper from publishing classified material that it has received without committing any legal wrong on its own. The right to publish, however, leaves open the possibility of prosecuting anyone who actively violates national security law by disclosing classified information — in other words, punishing the leaker. It’s on this logic that Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. Army analyst, was convicted and imprisoned in 2013 for leaking classified military files and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. (Her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama before he left office in 2017) And no one doubts that Edward Snowden — the former National Security Agency contractor who gave secret documents to WikiLeaks before escaping to Russia — could be convicted in U.S. court if he were captured, arrested and tried. The difficult question lies in between: What about a person or institution that in some way coordinates with the initial leaker? Under ordinary criminal law principles, an accomplice or someone who aids and abets a felony can be charged with a crime. Arguably — and of course depending on the facts — someone who coordinates with a leaker to receive and publish unlawfully leaked information could be subject to criminal penalties. That’s the crime the government says Assange committed. In a news release, the Department of Justice said Thursday that Assange helped Manning crack a password while she was taking information from government servers. If the government can prove that, it looks like a genuine crime of participating in the hacking. Mere encouragement is a closer call. The Justice Department says that “during an exchange, Manning told Assange that ‘after this upload, that’s all I really have got left.” To which Assange replied, ‘curious eyes never run dry in my experience.’” The government may say a jury should decide if this is aiding and abetting in the form of encouragement. That’s worrisome. Some forms of encouragement would count as aiding and abetting, but the government should be especially cautious about charging that when free speech rights are in question. Because of all the gray area around Assange’s involvement in the Manning case, we might wonder why the government isn’t charging Assange in connection with the investigation into Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential campaign. After all, we know that Assange was in touch with Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi, associates of Donald Trump and his campaign, revealing that he had documents that Russian intelligence had hacked from the Democratic National Committee. Our source is documents filed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence agents who engaged in the hacking in the first place. He charged them with a criminal conspiracy to steal the materials and “stage” the release of the documents “to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” It is plausible that Assange could still be charged with being a participant in this conspiracy. After all, he was the one in charge of the release of stolen DNC documents. To be sure, Mueller appears not to have obtained sufficient evidence to charge Stone or Corsi for being part of the conspiracy. Assange, however, is a different matter. WikiLeaks was in direct touch with the Russian intelligence hackers, according to the agents’ indictment. The crucial explanation may be that we don’t know what evidence Mueller’s investigation obtained on what coordination existed between Assange and the Russians. If there’s evidence that Assange actively participated alongside the Russians, advising them on their leaks or otherwise encouraging them, it would put Assange over the edge from being merely the publisher of the leaks to having been an accomplice in the crime of hacking. In that case, only the most absolutist First Amendment diehards would object to seeing him prosecuted. Imagine, however, that there isn’t evidence of Assange doing more with the Russian hackers than receiving their information. Under these circumstances, the key to Assange’s alleged criminal conduct would be the charge that he released the Russians’ information to try to affect the outcome of an election. But that could also be said of a newspaper that agrees to publish leaked information in the middle of a contested election season. Indeed, the First Amendment protects precisely the right of speakers to try to affect electoral outcomes. That’s one of the main goals of the freedom of speech. Political speech has always been considered the core of the freedom. The main upshot of Assange’s efforts with Russia may be political, not legal. When Assange went into the Ecuadorian Embassy, it was still possible for liberals to view him sympathetically, the way some liberals saw Snowden and Manning as whistle-blowers for the problems they revealed within the national security state. Mueller’s investigation assures that Assange won’t be getting much sympathy from liberals. Nevertheless, liberals and conservatives alike should keep a careful eye on the First Amendment implications of the Assange prosecution — and hope the evidence is clear enough to convict him without chilling the freedom of the press.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1781105
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

The Indictment of Julian Assange Is a Threat to Journalism

Postby smix » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:36 pm

The Indictment of Julian Assange Is a Threat to Journalism
The New Yorker

URL: https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-colu ... journalism
Category: Politics
Published: April 12, 2019

Description: Imagine that, in the summer of 2014, the Justice Department had indicted Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, charging that, in 2010, he engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst, to “facilitate Manning’s acquisition and transmission of classified information related to the national defense of the United States so that WikiLeaks could publicly disseminate the information on its website.” How do you think the editorial page of the New York Times would have reacted? (In July, 2010, the Times joined with the Guardian and Der Spiegel to publish tens of thousands of the documents that Manning provided to WikiLeaks.) What about the editorial page of the Washington Post, which published extensive stories about the leaked material? This material included video footage from 2007 of a U.S. Army Apache gunship carrying out an attack in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Iraqi civilians who were working for Reuters. We can’t know for sure, but it seems unlikely that the Times would have published an editorial that said, “The administration has begun well by charging Mr. Assange with an indisputable crime.” It also seems unlikely that the Post would have published an editorial that said, “Mr. Assange’s case could conclude as a victory for the rule of law, not the defeat for civil liberties of which his defenders mistakenly warn.” Both of these statements were contained in editorials that the Times and the Post, respectively, published on Thursday, after Assange was arrested, in London, and Donald Trump’s Justice Department unsealed a federal indictment that federal prosecutors filed in Northern Virginia, last year. Of course, a great deal has happened since 2014, much of it awful. During the 2016 Presidential election, Assange and WikiLeaks repeatedly published information that was damaging to the Democratic Party and to Hillary Clinton, timing the releases for maximum political damage. Assange denied that the Russian government was the source of this information, but, last summer, the special counsel, Robert Mueller, charged twelve Russian intelligence operatives with hacking D.N.C. servers and the e-mail account of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign manager. Mueller’s indictment said that the Russian spies “used the Guccifer 2.0 persona to release additional stolen documents through a website maintained by an organization (‘Organization 1’),” which was WikiLeaks. Whether he knew it or not, Assange was a key participant in an outrageous Russian effort to sow division inside this country and help Donald Trump. It is understandable that the events of 2016 have heavily colored perceptions of Assange’s arrest and possible extradition to the United States. (“Once in the United States, moreover, he could become a useful source on how Russia orchestrated its attacks on the Clinton campaign,” the Times editorial noted.) But it is important to recognize that the legal charges against him have nothing to do with Russia or the 2016 election. They relate exclusively to his dealings with Manning, in 2010. As numerous media watchdogs and civil-rights groups have already pointed out, they amount to a dangerous attack on the freedom of the press and on efforts by whistle-blowers to alert the public of the actions of powerful institutions, including the U.S. government. In explaining the charges against Assange, the indictment’s “manners and means of the conspiracy” section describes many actions that are clearly legitimate journalistic practices, such as using encrypted messages, cultivating sources, and encouraging those sources to provide more information. It cites a text exchange in which Manning told Assange, “after this upload, that’s all I really have got left,” and Assange replied, “Curious eyes never run dry in my experience.” If that’s part of a crime, the authorities might have to start building more jails to hold reporters. The indictment, and some of the commentary it engendered, also makes much of the fact that Assange offered to try to crack a computer password for Manning. The Department of Justice claims that this action amounted to Assange engaging in a “hacking” conspiracy. Even some independent commentators have suggested that it went beyond the bounds of legitimate journalism—and the protections of the First Amendment. But did it? On Thursday, my colleague Raffi Khatchadourian, who has written extensively about Assange, pointed out that, as of now, it looks like Assange didn’t do much, if anything, to crack the password once Manning sent the encrypted version. Khatchadourian also pointed out that federal prosecutors have known about this text exchange for many years, and yet the Obama Administration didn’t bring any charges. “As evidence of a conspiracy,” Khatchadourian writes, “the exchange is thin gruel.” Even if Assange had succeeded in decoding the encryption, it wouldn’t have given Manning access to any classified information she couldn’t have accessed through her own account. “Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log onto the computers using a username that did not belong to her,” the indictment says. “Such a measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to identify Manning as the source of disclosures of classified information.” So the goal was to protect Manning’s identity, and Assange offered to assist. But who could argue that trying to help a source conceal his or her identity isn’t something investigative journalists do on a routine basis? Robert Mahoney, the deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, described the indictment as “deeply troubling” because of the precedent it sets. “With this prosecution of Julian Assange, the U.S. government could set out broad legal arguments about journalists soliciting information or interacting with sources that could have chilling consequences for investigative reporting and the publication of information of public interest,” Mahoney warned. The editorial in the Times did ultimately acknowledge “that the prosecution of Mr. Assange could become an assault on the First Amendment and whistle-blowers.” The Post’s editorial didn’t even go that far. Instead, it ended by saying Assange “is long overdue for personal accountability.” Many people would agree with that statement. But it is important not to view absolutely everything through the prism of 2016.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1781105
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Arrested in London

Postby smix » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:17 pm

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Arrested in London
Voice of America

URL: https://www.voanews.com/a/britain-arres ... 71198.html
Category: Politics
Published: April 11, 2019

Description: British officials say the United States submited a formal extradition request for Julian Assange, who was arrested in London by British police after officers were invited into the embassy of Ecuador to detain the WikiLeaks founder. Britain’s Home Secretary, Sajid Javid tweeted shorty after the arrest, “Nearly seven years after entering the Ecuadorian embassy, I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK.” He added, “No one is above the law.” Assange, who took refuge in the embassy in 2012 while on bail in Britain over sexual assault allegations against him in Sweden, had become an increasingly unwelcome guest. Last month, Assange's internet access was cut off and he was forbidden from receiving visitors. London Metropolitan police said they had a duty to execute a warrant for his breach of bail conditions more than seven years ago, and they were “invited into the embassy by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.” A police statement said he was "further arrested on behalf of the United States authorities." The 47-year-old Assange, sporting a unkempt white beard, waving a finger and shouting, was seen being carried out of the embassy by seven plain-clothes police officers and hauled into a police van. Assange fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy while he was on bail as his lawyers mounted a legal action aimed at preventing him from being extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations. He claimed if deported to Sweden, the United States would seek his extradition to face charges relating to WikiLeaks’s publication of hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables and other classified documents. U.S. State and Justice Department officials have never officially confirmed Assange has been charged with any offenses. But in November a clerical error in the court filing of a document in a case unrelated to his suggested criminal charges may have have been prepared. Legal analysts said the error was likely caused by prosecutors copying and pasting from sealed documents. Rumors of Ecuador’s likely withdrawal of asylum circulated last week. WikiLeaks claimed a senior source in Ecuador's state department had warned the hacking organization Assange would be evicted from the embassy. Ecuador's minister of foreign affairs Jose Valencia denied the claim. Behind the scenes, British, U.S. and Ecuadorian diplomats have been in negotiations. Britain and Ecuador sought assurances from Washington that if Assange stands trial in the United States he won’t face the death penalty, says an official privy to the discussions. Following Assange's arrest, Britain’s Europe minister Alan Duncan said, “It is absolutely right that Assange will face justice” Duncan acknowledged there had been “extensive dialogue" about Assange’s fate leading up to the arrest. Ecuador President Lenín Moreno tweeted, “In a sovereign decision Ecuador withdrew the asylum status to Julian Assange after his repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols.” The Ecuadorian leader had been deeply offended, say his aides, by WikiLeaks posting leaked Vatican documents. Key people in WikiLeaks visited Assange before and after the posting of the Vatican documents, Moreno complained. Last October, Ecuador’s leader ordered Assange to refrain from making “political statements” that jeopardized Ecuador's relations with other countries. Assange then sued in the Ecuadorian courts for a breach of his human rights, but his legal action failed. In December, he was required pay for his food, medical care, and laundry. In a formal statement the Ecuadorian leader said, “I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.” WikiLeaks complained on Twitter, “Ecuador has illegally [sic] terminated Assange political asylum in violation of international law.” Assange arrest will likely trigger weeks and possibly months of court action, if the United States pursues his extradition. Two years ago Sweden rescinded its arrest warrant, but Swedish prosecutors have said that the case remained open.



US Charges WikiLeaks Founder Assange After London Arrest
Voice of America

URL: https://www.voanews.com/a/us-unveils-ch ... 71410.html
Category: Politics
Published: April 11, 2019

Description: The U.S. on Thursday unsealed charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a computer hacking conspiracy linked to the release of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. documents, just hours after British police dramatically arrested him at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he had been holed up for nearly seven years. The indictment of Assange stems from one of the largest breaches of classified information in U.S. history, the 2010 WikiLeaks release of a vast cache of U.S. military records from its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, assessments of suspected terrorists held by the U.S. at its prison in Guantanamo, Cuba, and 250,000 State Department cables. The U.S. accused Assange of conspiring with former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, then known as Bradley Manning before declaring herself a woman, to crack a password stored on U.S. Defense Department computers to hack into a government network of classified documents and communications known as the Secret Internet Protocol Network. Cracking the password, the government said, allowed Manning to log on to computers under a username that did not belong to her, initially making it more difficult for authorities to determine the source of the illegal disclosures. The government said that Assange and Manning engaged in real-time discussions as she transmitted classified records to Assange that WikiLeaks then disclosed. During one exchange, according to the indictment, Manning told Assange, "After this upload, that's all I really have got left." To which Assange replied, "Curious eyes never run dry in my experience." Following the exchange, the indictment alleged that Manning accessed the State Department cables that WikiLeaks later publicly released. U.S. President Donald Trump often cheered WikiLeaks during the last weeks of his 2016 campaign for the White House as it released hacked emails reflecting badly on his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton. But after the charges were filed against Assange, he told reporters at the White House he knew "nothing about" WikiLeaks and did not have any opinion about the case. Assange, 47, is charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and, if convicted, faces a five-year prison term. He had taken refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 in order to avoid being extradited to Sweden to face sexual assault charges. Sweden later dropped its investigation, but Assange remained at the embassy over fears Britain might extradite him to the United States in connection with WikiLeaks' publication of classified U.S. government documents. British officers said they arrested Assange at the embassy in connection with a June 2012 British warrant for "failing to surrender to court," but that the action was taken after a U.S. extradition request. The police said they were invited into the embassy by Ecuador's ambassador after the Ecuadorian government withdrew Assange's asylum. Ecuador's President Lenín Moreno issued a video statement Thursday explaining his country's decision, saying it had "reached its limit" on his behavior. "Today I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of his allied organization against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable," Moreno said. He listed a series of alleged transgressions by Assange during his time at the embassy, including installing electronic equipment that was not allowed, blocking security cameras, mistreating guards, and accessing embassy security files without permission. Moreno said most recently, WikiLeaks released Vatican documents, and that before and after the release key members of the organization visited Assange, pointing to his continued relationship with a group "interfering in internal affairs of other states." The Ecuadorian leader also said that in line with his government's respect for human rights, he requested Britain not extradite Assange to any country where he might be subject to torture or the death penalty, and that Britain had "confirmed it in writing, in accordance with its own rules." In a Twitter post, WikiLeaks said Ecuador "illegally terminated Assange's political asylum in violation of international law."



Assange: From Trump Cheers to US Criminal Charges
Voice of America

URL: https://www.voanews.com/a/assange-from- ... 71844.html
Category: Politics
Published: April 11, 2019

Description: WASHINGTON — Less than a month before Donald Trump was elected as the U.S. president in 2016, he said, "WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks," as the anti-secrecy group released another cache of emails hacked by Russian operatives from the computers of Democratic officials that were damaging to Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton. "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks," Trump said four days before the election. But on Thursday, the Justice Department that is part of Trump's administration accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of conspiring in 2010 with former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to disclose hundreds of thousands of confidential military records from the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and 250,000 secret State Department cables. Assange was arrested by British police in London Thursday, and unceremoniously hauled out of the Ecuadorian embassy where he had been living in asylum for nearly seven years. It was an arrest British authorities said was at the behest of the United States, which wants to put him on trial on the computer hacking charge, and possibly other allegations. The actions of the 47-year-old Assange, the one-time Australian hacker using his genius IQ to tap into the databases of high-profile organizations, have often been met with such conflicting assessments. Depending on what he has been disclosing over the last decade, he has been hailed as a champion of truth or vilified as a publicity seeker endangering lives of people by disclosing confidential information. Assange started WikiLeaks in 2006, but his first worldwide notoriety occurred four years later, with the release of the first documents Manning stole from U.S. government computers, with what U.S. prosecutors say was Assange's help to Manning to crack a password and gain access to the files. Some of the video footage WikiLeaks released captured the world's attention, showing U.S. soldiers killing 18 Iraqi civilians from a helicopter. In May 2012, the British Supreme Court ruled he should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault, accusations Assange has long denied and said were the result of consensual sexual relations with two women. A month later, he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy, with the Quito government granting him asylum there. Sweden eventually dropped the assault investigation, but Assange remained at the embassy, fearing that if he walked out Britain, would detain and then extradite him to the U.S., which is what the U.S. is now trying to do. Britain had charged him with failing to surrender to a court in 2012 and said if he left the embassy, he would be arrested. Ecuador also grew weary of Assange's behavior at the diplomatic mission and his role in the disclosures of more documents, especially insider files from the Vatican released earlier this year, and granted British authorities the right to enter its compound on Thursday after he had spent nearly seven years there. Plainclothes officers grabbed Assange as he shouted in protest, "UK must resist!" and hustled him into a waiting police van. In parliament, to a round of cheers, British Prime Minister Theresa May said of Assange's arrest, "No one is above the law." Assange's lawyers say he will fight extradition to the U.S. Assange's U.S.-based attorney, Barry Pollack, criticized the Justice Department charges, saying they were "an unprecedented effort by the United States seeking to extradite a foreign journalist to face criminal charges for publishing truthful information."



Trump: ‘I Know Nothing About WikiLeaks’; US Seeks Assange Extradition
Voice of America

URL: https://www.voanews.com/a/trump-i-know- ... 72811.html
Category: Politics
Published: April 12, 2019

Description: LONDON — U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday he has no knowledge of the website WikiLeaks, after the whistleblowing site’s founder, Julian Assange, was arrested in Britain. The 47-year-old Australian national had been living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, but was ejected Thursday and taken into custody by British police. Ecuador said Assange had broken asylum conventions by continuing to interfere in other countries’ affairs through the publishing of confidential information. Trump was questioned by reporters on the arrest Thursday. “I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It’s not my thing,” Trump said. “I know there is something to do with Julian Assange, and I’ve been seeing what’s happened to Assange. And that would be a determination, I would imagine, mostly by the attorney general, who’s doing an excellent job. So, he’ll be making a determination.” On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump repeatedly referred to WikiLeaks after it published hacked emails from the Democrat National Committee. He once declared, “WikiLeaks! I love WikiLeaks,” at a rally in Pennsylvania. In 2010, WikiLeaks published a cache of more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables and battlefield accounts from Iraq and Afghanistan, obtained by former U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning, then known as Bradley Manning. They detailed civilian casualties, along with details of suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Manning was prosecuted under the Espionage Act and jailed in 2010. She was released in 2017, but was jailed again in March 2019 for refusing to testify before a grand jury about WikiLeaks.
Asylum in embassy
Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy after facing rape charges in Sweden, which have since been dropped. He predicted then that he would face extradition to the United States. “As WikiLeaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of all our societies,” Assange told a crowd of supporters from the balcony of the embassy. The United States accuses Assange of conspiring with Manning to access classified information on Department of Defense computers and has requested his extradition from Britain.
Freedom of the Press
Freedom of the press is protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, so the precise charges against Assange will be key, said legal analyst Caroline Mala Corbin of the University of Miami School of Law. “If you break the law while you gather information, that is not protected by the free speech clause. If, however, you publish information — even if someone else has illegally obtained it — the free speech clause does come into play,” she told VOA. Assange supporter and prominent human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said Assange must be afforded the rights of other journalists. “It smacks of double standards, and it has the whiff of a vendetta against WikiLeaks and against Julian Assange,” he said. British judges will now decide whether to fulfill the U.S. extradition request. Geoffrey Robertson, an attorney who has represented Assange in the past, said Assange could face up to 40 years in prison if he is extradited to the United States. “I have faith in the British justice system, and I think he will argue that this is a breach of his right of freedom of speech,” Robertson said. Assange will first face sentencing for failing to surrender to authorities on sexual assault charges in 2012. Meanwhile, one of the Swedish women who accused Assange of rape has requested the case be reopened, further complicating the legal case against him.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1781105
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Assange fears being beaten up in US prison, called Trump crowd 'clowns': Visitor

Postby smix » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:20 am

Assange fears being beaten up in US prison, called Trump crowd 'clowns': Visitor
ABC News

URL: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/assange ... d=62332466
Category: Politics
Published: April 12, 2019

Description: Assange faces extradition to the U.S. on a charge of computer hacking conspiracy
After nearly seven years holed up inside the cramped Ecuadorian Embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is dreading the prospect of violent attacks on him in an American prison, one of his regular visitors told ABC News' The Investigation podcast on Thursday. In an interview for ABC News’ “The Investigation” podcast conducted one day after Assange's long-anticipated arrest by London police and court appearance on a 2012 bail jumping warrant and U.S. extradition request, one of his most frequent visitors described Assange’s fears of being sent to a US prison and subjected to violence inside. "He did say he was worried that, if he was in a normal American prison, being beaten up,” war documentary filmmaker and former Taliban hostage Sean Langan, who has spent more than 50 hours with Assange in the past year, told ABC News. Langan’s last visit to Assange at the embassy was on March 22, he said. “And then I said, 'Well, the chances are you're most likely’ -- slightly gallows humor, it didn't make him feel better – ‘you're most likely going to be put into one of those federal Supermax prisons where you won't see a soul," said Langan, an ABC News contributor. Perhaps most surprising to many who saw his leaks of embarrassing Democratic party emails during the 2016 campaign -- which Special Counsel Robert Mueller has alleged were hacked by Russian spies in an effort to hurt rival Hillary Clinton's chances -- Assange was often sharply critical of Trump in casual conversation with a handful of visitors. Langan says Assange described longtime Trump friend and political adviser Roger Stone and Donald Trump Jr. as intellectually incapable of a conspiracy, much less one that included WikiLeaks or him, and he rejoiced when Special Counsel Robert Mueller recently closed his investigation without indicting him for conspiring with Russian military intelligence to tilt the U.S. election. "'Those bunch of clowns' -- that was the exact quote -- 'those bunch of clowns couldn't conspire and organize this kind of thing'," Langan recalled Assange telling him. "He certainly did not hold [President Trump] in high regard. He was quite dismissive." Langan and Vaughan Smith, an Assange confidant and owner of London's Frontline Club, began making "social visits" -- as the Ecuadorian Embassy called them -- with Assange in early November. The pair was among the first people summoned by the controversial publisher of sensitive secrets after Ecuador lifted a ban on his visitors and most of his communications, a loosening of restrictions on Assange that lasted six months in 2018. Inside, they didn't find an apartment littered with cat dropping or feces on the wall -- as alleged by his Ecuadorian hosts who over time turned against their notorious asylee -- but instead the "claustrophobic" quarters of a man in poor health toughing out intense surveillance of the tiny rooms he has occupied since entering the embassy in August, 2012. That year, fearing he would extradited to the United States, Assange skipped out on his bail during a rape inquiry in Sweden. The rape inquiry was dropped two years ago but reopened today in the wake of Assange’s removal from the embassy in London, Swedish prosecutors said. Assange has denied the rape allegation. Assange shared his recollections with Langan in five-hour rolling conversations at a table between two speakers meant to deter electronic surveillance by Ecuador or other countries. One speaker blared symphony music and the other David Bowie's "Space Oddity," Langan told ABC News. Asked about a controversial November, 2018 report in the Guardian newspaper that Assange had met with Trump 2016 campaign manager Paul Manafort -- since convicted on financial crimes related to lobbying in Virginia and in Washington -- he was adamant it never happened. "He said, 'That's [bull]. Never met him.' So he strongly denied that," Langan said. The Guardian report has not been matched by any other major news organization or corroborated since it was published. Langan said that Assange seemed to acknowledge that he had communicated with Guccifer2.0, an online persona Mueller has said in a U.S. indictment was really an amalgam of Russian spies who stole the Democratic party emails and coordinated with WikiLeaks to leak them, but said that he believes Assange was unaware of Guccifer 2.0’s true identity. Langan said that Assange complained to him that other news outlets were communicating with Guccifer2.0 too but the U.S. government was unfairly picking on him. "I took it to be a non-denial denial," Langan said. With his arrest and the prospect of a trial in the U.S. for computer intrusion relating to WikiLeaks document dumps of military and intelligence secrets almost a decade ago, Langan said Assange now realizes "that he could face the rest of his life in isolation." The idea of further confinement weighs on Assange, he said. "You can see the toll it is taking on him,” Langan added. "It's an unpleasant thing to see in any man." He is no doubt glad to be out of the embassy, however, Langan added. "It's like a gilded cage. But a cage is a cage is a cage," said Langan. Smith always brought lunch from the club and Assange would fetch plates to serve the food on, then step back into his tidy galley to wash each plate after they dined. Langan said Assange expressed frustration with what he described as false news reports that claimed Assange wore smelly socks and did not care for the cat his kids gave to him as a gift. "That really hurt him," Langan recounted.



US gave verbal pledge of no death penalty for Assange: Sources
ABC News

URL: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-gave ... d=62414643
Category: Politics
Published: April 15, 2019

Description: The WikiLeaks founder was arrested in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
After nearly seven years essentially trapped inside Ecuador's embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had become an expensive bother to his hosts – they wanted him out. "They were over him, he was a big nuisance," one senior U.S. official told ABC News. "They were saying ‘This is too much. How do we get him out?’" But revoking his diplomatic asylum at a time when he was wanted by the United States for his alleged role in hacking and publicizing some of the nation’s most sensitive government secrets would come only after covert, back-channel negotiations, ABC News has learned. The process of moving Assange out of the Ecuadorian Embassy started a year ago, on March 7, 2018, when the Ecuadorians made their first request to the U.K.: a letter asking for written assurances that the U.K. would not extradite Assange to a country where he could face the death penalty, according to the Ecuadorian Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo. Ecuador's direct outreach to the U.S. came six months later, through the country’s ambassador to Germany, Manuel Mejia Dalmau, according to U.S. and Ecuadorian officials. Dalmau sought a private "emergency meeting" in Berlin with the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, viewed as one of President Donald Trump’s closest envoys in Europe, the officials said. At the time, Dalmau said Ecuador was spending between $30,000 and $35,000 per month to house Assange because of his need for extra security and his demands for extra space within the embassy, according to a senior U.S. official, who was not authorized to discuss the issue on the record. The Latin American country said it has spent $10 million on Assange, including medical expenses, legal counsel, food and laundry since 2012 when Assange first sought asylum from Sweden where he was the subject of a rape investigation – an inquiry he has claimed was politically motivated. Prosecutors in Sweden on Thursday announced they intended to re-open the investigation. Assange’s presence was also creating a squeeze on the Ecuador’s London facilities, forcing officials there to rent additional offices for an expanding diplomatic staff because Assange took up so much space. The challenge the Ecuadorans faced in turning him over to British officials, though, was the prospect of Assange facing the death penalty, which Ecuador strongly opposes. Dalmau was blunt in his request, according to U.S. and Ecuadorian officials. During one meeting, Dalmau asked whether the U.S. would commit to not putting Assange to death, according to a senior US. official. Grenell then contacted the U.S Justice Department to see if he could provide assurances that the U.S. government would not seek the death penalty. According to the senior U.S. official, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein consented. That enabled Grenell to make the pledge. The agreement between the U.S. and Ecuador was a verbal one, according to a source in the Ecuadoran government. The State Department declined to comment on this story. U.S. Justice Department officials would not confirm that the U.S. agreed to take any sentence off the table. But they pointedly noted that the charge the U.S unsealed against Assange does not represent a capital offense and carries a maximum of five years in prison. The Justice Department has 60 days from the time of the request for extradition to add any charges and would not comment on future charges. There are only 41 U.S. federal offenses punishable by the death penalty. Nearly all of them have to do with murder or death resulting from some other crime or action. Two notable exceptions are treason and espionage. It is unclear if the U.S. ever contemplated an espionage charge, or if one would have been applicable for the conduct described in the indictment filed under seal in March 2018 in the Eastern District of Virginia. The indictment alleges that Assange in 2010 “agreed to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on United States Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network, a United States government network used for classified documents and communications.” These government materials included diplomatic cables and disturbing videos of U.S. military forces in Iraq.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1781105
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Sweden tried to drop Assange extradition in 2013, CPS emails show

Postby smix » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:04 am

Sweden tried to drop Assange extradition in 2013, CPS emails show
The Guardian

URL: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/ ... are_btn_tw
Category: Politics
Published: February 11, 2018

Description: UK prosecutors tried to dissuade Swedish counterparts from doing so, exchange shows
Swedish prosecutors attempted to drop extradition proceedings against Julian Assange as early as 2013, according to a confidential exchange of emails with the Crown Prosecution Service seen by the Guardian. The sequence of messages also appears to challenge statements by the CPS that the case was not live at the time emails were deleted by prosecutors, according to supporters of the WikiLeaks founder. Assange was first questioned over allegations of sexual assault and rape in Sweden, which he denies, in 2010. He travelled to the UK later that year and Swedish authorities began extradition proceedings against him. He subsequently skipped bail and was granted asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 in order to avoid extradition. It was not until last year that the Stockholm publicly announced they had dropped their European arrest warrant application for him. Assange still faces arrest for breaching his former bail conditions in the UK if he leaves the embassy in Knightsbridge. He fears there is a secret US indictment against him relating to WikiLeaks’ disclosure of leaked classified US documents. The 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 CPS dissuaded them from doing so. Some of the material has surfaced from an information tribunal challenge brought late last year by the Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi. The CPS lawyer handling the case, who has since retired, commented on an article which suggested that Sweden could drop the case in August 2012. He wrote: “Don’t you dare get cold feet!!!”. As the case dragged on, the Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, wrote to the CPS on 18 October 2013 explaining that she had few options left. “There is a demand in Swedish law for coercive measures to be proportionate,” she informed London. “The time passing, the costs and how severe the crime is to be taken into account together with the intrusion or detriment to the suspect. Against this background, we have found us to be obliged to lift the detention order ... and to withdraw the European arrest warrant. If so this should be done in a couple of weeks. This would affect not only us but you too in a significant way.” Not all the emails are preserved in the exchange, but three days later Ny emailed the CPS again to say: “I am sorry this came as a [bad] surprise... I hope I didn’t ruin your weekend.” The CPS lawyer wrote back to Ny in December 2013, insisting: “I do not consider costs are a relevant factor in this matter.” This was at a time when the Metropolitan police had revealed that its security operation to prevent Assange escaping from the embassy had already cost £3.8m. “I do wonder occasionally if the police just make public comments because they think it will somehow progress a case,” he wrote. “All we can do is wait and see [and perhaps be eternally grateful that neither of us have to share a room in the embassy with him over Christmas!].” At the beginning of the legal battle over Assange in 2011, the CPS advised Swedish prosecutors not to interview him in Britain, but they eventually did. The CPS lawyer also told Ny that year: “It is simply amazing how much work this case is generating. It sometimes seems like an industry. Please do not think this case is being dealt with as just another extradition.” Assange’s supporters allege that the CPS has been inconsistent in declaring whether or not the case was live. In dismissing a personal data request by him in April 2013, the CPS wrote that they could not release anything “because of the live matters still pending”. But when explaining the deletion of emails about the case in 2014, after the CPS official who had been corresponding with Ny retired, it was defended on the grounds that: “The case was, therefore, not live when the email account was deleted.” Little had changed over that period, Assange’s supporters maintain. A CPS spokesperson said: “As there are legal proceedings still under way it would be inappropriate to comment.” Westminster magistrates court is due to deliver judgment on Tuesday in response to arguments from Assange’s lawyers that continuing to enforce the arrest warrant is disproportionate after so many years. The UK supreme court ruled last week in relation to a case about the Chagos Islands that diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks are admissible as evidence in the dispute over creating a marine protection zone in the British territory.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1781105
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Why the Assange Arrest Should Scare Reporters

Postby smix » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:00 pm

Why the Assange Arrest Should Scare Reporters
Rolling Stone

URL: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/p ... bi-821107/
Category: Politics
Published: April 11, 2019

Description: The WikiLeaks founder will be tried in a real court for one thing, but for something else in the court of public opinion
Julian Assange was arrested in England on Thursday. Though nothing has been announced, there are reports he may be extradited to the United States to face charges related to Obama-era actions. Here’s the Washington Post on the subject of prosecuting Assange: “A conviction would also cause collateral damage to American media freedoms. It is difficult to distinguish Assange or WikiLeaks from The Washington Post.” That passage is from a 2011 editorial, “Why the U.S. Shouldn’t Try Julian Assange.” The Post editorial of years back is still relevant because Assange is being tried for an “offense” almost a decade old. What’s changed since is the public perception of him, and in a supreme irony it will be the government of Donald “I love WikiLeaks” Trump benefiting from a trick of time, to rally public support for a prosecution that officials hesitated to push in the Obama years. Much of the American media audience views the arrested WikiLeaks founder through the lens of the 2016 election, after which he was denounced as a Russian cutout who threw an election for Trump. But the current indictment is the extension of a years-long effort, pre-dating Trump, to construct a legal argument against someone who releases embarrassing secrets. Barack Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, said as far back as 2010 the WikiLeaks founder was the focus of an “active, ongoing criminal investigation.” Assange at the time had won, or was en route to winning, a pile of journalism prizes for releasing embarrassing classified information about many governments, including the infamous “Collateral Murder” video delivered by Chelsea Manning. The video showed a helicopter attack in Iraq which among other things resulted in the deaths of two Reuters reporters. Last year, we reported a rumored American criminal case against Assange was not expected to have anything to do with 2016, Russians, or DNC emails. This turned out to be the case, as the exact charge is for conspiracy, with Chelsea Manning, to hack into a “classified U.S. government computer.” The indictment unveiled today falls just short of a full frontal attack on press freedoms only because it indicts on something like a technicality: specifically, an accusation that Assange tried (and, seemingly, failed) to help Manning crack a government password. For this reason, the language of the indictment underwhelmed some legal experts who had expressed concerns about the speech ramifications of this case before. “There’s a gray area here,” says University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck. “But the government at least tries to put this at the far end of the gray area.” Not everyone agreed. Assange lawyer Barry Pollock said the allegations “boil down to encouraging a source to provide him information and taking efforts to protect the identify of that source.” “The weakness of the US charge against Assange is shocking,” tweeted Edward Snowden. “The allegation he tried (and failed?) to help crack a password during their world-famous reporting has been public for nearly a decade: it is the count Obama’s DOJ refused to charge, saying it endangered journalism.” Part of the case clearly describes conduct that exists outside the normal parameters of press-source interaction, specifically the password issue. However, the evidence about this part of the conspiracy seems thin, limited mainly to Assange saying he’d had “no luck so far,” apparently in relation to attempts to crack the password. The meatier parts of the indictment speak more to normal journalistic practices. In its press release, the Justice Department noted Assange was “actively encouraging Manning” to provide more classified information. In the indictment itself, the government noted Assange told Manning, who said she had no more secrets to divulge, “curious eyes never run dry.” Also in the indictment: “It is part of the conspiracy that Assange and Manning took measures to conceal Manning as the source of the disclosure.” Reporters have extremely complicated relationships with sources, especially whistleblower types like Manning, who are often under extreme stress and emotionally vulnerable. At different times, you might counsel the same person both for and against disclosure. It’s proper to work through all the reasons for action in any direction, including weighing the public’s interest, the effect on the source’s conscience and mental health, and personal and professional consequences. For this reason, placing criminal penalties on a prosecutor’s interpretation of such interactions will likely put a scare into anyone involved with national security reporting going forward. As Ben Wizner of the ACLU put it: “Any prosecution by the United States of Mr. Assange for WikiLeaks’ publishing operations would be unprecedented and unconstitutional, and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations.” Unfortunately, Assange’s case, and the very serious issues it raises, will be impacted in profound ways by things that took place long after the alleged offenses, specifically the Russiagate story. It’s why some reporters are less than concerned about the Assange case today. About that other thing, i.e. Assange’s role in the 2016 election: Not only did this case have nothing to do with Russiagate, but in one of the odder unreported details of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, he never interviewed or attempted to interview Assange. In fact, it appears none of the 2800 subpoenas, 500 witness interviews, and 500 search warrants in the Mueller probe targeted Assange or WikiLeaks. According to WikiLeaks, no one from Mueller’s office ever attempted to get a statement from Assange, any WikiLeaks employee, or any of Assange’s lawyers (the Office of Special Counsel declined comment for this story). A Senate committee did reach out to Assange last year about the possibility of testifying, but never followed up. As Pollock told me in February, “[Assange] has not been contacted by the OSC or the House.” There was a Senate inquiry, he said, but “it was only an exploratory conversation and has not resulted in any agreement for Mr. Assange to be interviewed.” Throughout the winter I asked officials and former prosecutors why officials wouldn’t be interested in at least getting a statement from a person ostensibly at the center of an all-consuming international controversy. There were many explanations offered, the least curious being that Assange’s earlier charges, assuming they existed, could pose legal and procedural obstacles. Now that Assange’s extant case has finally been made public, the concern on that score “dissipates,” as one legal expert put it today. It will therefore be interesting to see if Assange is finally asked about Russiagate by someone in American officialdom. If he isn’t, that will be yet another curious detail in a case that gets stranger by the minute. As for Assange’s case, coverage by a national press corps that embraced him at the time of these offenses — and widely re-reported his leaks — will likely focus on the narrow hacking issue, as if this is not really about curtailing legitimate journalism. In reality, it would be hard to find a more extreme example of how deep the bipartisan consensus runs on expanding the policing of leaks. Donald Trump, infamously and ridiculously, is a pronounced Twitter fan of WikiLeaks, even comparing it favorably to the “dishonest media.” His Justice Department’s prosecution of Assange seems as counter-intuitive as the constitutional lawyer Barack Obama’s expansion of drone assassination programs. Both things happened, though, and we should stop being surprised by them — even when Donald Trump takes the last step of journey begun by Barack Obama.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1781105
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Julian Assange: Political Prisoner

Postby smix » Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:29 pm

Julian Assange: Political Prisoner
Ron Paul Institute

URL: http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/fe ... -prisoner/
Category: Politics
Published: April 15, 2019

Description: 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. Julian Assange is every bit as much a political prisoner as was Cardinal Mindszenty in Hungary or Nelson Mandela in South Africa. They, and so many more, were imprisoned because they told the truth about their governments. Repressive governments do not want their citizens to know that they are up to so they insist on controlling the media. We are taught, at the same time, that we have a free press whose job it is to uncover the corruption in our system so that we can demand our political leaders make some changes or face unemployment. That, we are told, is what makes us different from the totalitarian. The arrest of Assange is a canary in a coal mine to warn us that something is very wrong with our system. What’s wrong? The US mainstream media always seems to do the bidding of the US government. That is why they rushed to confirm Washington’s claim that the Assange indictment was not in any way about journalism. It was only about hacking government computers! As the New York Times said in an editorial, sounding like a mouthpiece of the US government, Julian Assange committed “an indisputable crime.” But was it? As actual journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote last week, what Julian Assange did in 2010, for which he is facing extradition to the US, is no different from what New York Times and other journalists do every day! He attempted to help Chelsea Manning shield his identity as he blew the whistle on US government crimes to a publisher. The information in question included a video showing US military personnel participating in and cheering the murder of Iraqi civilians. Why is it criminal for us to know this? The difference is that what Assange and Manning did embarrassed the US government, which was lying to us that it was “liberating” Iraq and Afghanistan when it was actually doing the opposite. Mainstream journalists publish “leaks” that help bolster the neocon or other vested narratives of the different factions of the US government. That’s why the US media wants to see Assange in prison, or worse: he upset their apple cart. The lesson is clear: when you bolster the government's narrative you are a “brave journalist.” When you expose corruption in government you are a criminal. Do we really want to live in a country where it is illegal to learn that our government is engaged in criminal acts? I thought we had an obligation as an engaged citizenry to hold our government accountable! As long as Julian Assange is in prison, we are all in prison. When the government has the power to tell us what we we allowed to see, hear, and know, we no longer live in a free society. Julian Assange will be extradited to the US and he will have dozens of charges piled on. They want him to disappear so that the next Assange will think twice before informing us of our government’s crimes. Are we going to let them steal our freedom?
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1781105
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

The U.S. Government’s Indictment of Julian Assange Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom

Postby smix » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:10 pm

The U.S. Government’s Indictment of Julian Assange Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom
The Intercept

URL: https://theintercept.com/2019/04/11/the ... -freedoms/
Category: Politics
Published: April 12, 2019

Description: The indictment of Julian Assange unsealed today by the Trump Justice Department poses grave threats to press freedoms, not only in the U.S. but around the world. The charging document and accompanying extradition request from the U.S. government, used by the U.K. police to arrest Assange once Ecuador officially withdrew its asylum protection, seeks to criminalize numerous activities at the core of investigative journalism. So much of what has been reported today about this indictment has been false. Two facts in particular have been utterly distorted by the DOJ and then misreported by numerous media organizations. The first crucial fact about the indictment is that its key allegation — that Assange did not merely receive classified documents from Chelsea Manning but tried to help her crack a password in order to cover her tracks — is not new. It was long known by the Obama DOJ and was explicitly part of Manning’s trial, yet the Obama DOJ — not exactly renowned for being stalwart guardians of press freedoms — concluded that it could not and should not prosecute Assange because indicting him would pose serious threats to press freedom. In sum, today’s indictment contains no new evidence or facts about Assange’s actions; all of it has been known for years. The other key fact being widely misreported is that the indictment accuses Assange of trying to help Manning obtain access to document databases to which she had no valid access: i.e., hacking rather than journalism. But the indictment alleges no such thing. Rather, it simply accuses Assange of trying to help Manning log into the Defense Department’s computers using a different username so that she could maintain her anonymity while downloading documents in the public interest and then furnish them to WikiLeaks to publish. In other words, the indictment seeks to criminalize what journalists are not only permitted but ethically required to do: take steps to help their sources maintain their anonymity. As longtime Assange lawyer Barry Pollack put it: “The factual allegations … boil down to encouraging a source to provide him information and taking efforts to protect the identity of that source. Journalists around the world should be deeply troubled by these unprecedented criminal charges.” That’s why the indictment poses such a grave threat to press freedom. It characterizes as a felony many actions that journalists are not just permitted but required to take in order to conduct sensitive reporting in the digital age. But because the DOJ issued a press release with a headline that claimed that Assange was accused of “hacking” crimes, media outlets mindlessly repeated this claim even though the indictment contains no such allegation. It merely accuses Assange of trying to help Manning avoid detection. That’s not “hacking.” That’s called a core obligation of journalism.
--
The history of this case is vital for understanding what actually happened today. The U.S. government has been determined to indict Julian Assange and WikiLeaks since at least 2010, when the group published hundreds of thousands of war logs and diplomatic cables revealing numerous war crimes and other acts of corruption by the U.S., the U.K., and other governments around the world. To achieve that goal, the Obama DOJ empaneled a grand jury in 2011 and conducted a sweeping investigation into WikiLeaks, Assange, and Manning. But in 2013, the Obama DOJ concluded that it could not prosecute Assange in connection with the publication of those documents because there was no way to distinguish what WikiLeaks did from what the New York Times, The Guardian, and numerous media outlets around the world routinely do: namely, work with sources to publish classified documents. The Obama DOJ tried for years to find evidence to justify a claim that Assange did more than act as a journalist — that he, for instance, illegally worked with Manning to steal the documents — but found nothing to justify that accusation and thus, never indicted Assange (as noted, the Obama DOJ since at least 2011 was well-aware of the core allegation of today’s indictment — that Assange tried to help Manning circumvent a password wall so she could use a different username — because that was all part of Manning’s charges). So Obama ended eight years in office without indicting Assange or WikiLeaks. Everything regarding Assange’s possible indictment changed only at the start of the Trump administration. Beginning in early 2017, the most reactionary Trump officials were determined to do what the Obama DOJ refused to do: indict Assange in connection with publication of the Manning documents. As the New York Times reported late last year, “Soon after he took over as C.I.A. director, [current Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo privately told lawmakers about a new target for American spies: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.” The Times added that “Mr. Pompeo and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions unleashed an aggressive campaign against Mr. Assange, reversing an Obama-era view of WikiLeaks as a journalistic entity.” In April, 2017, Pompeo, while still CIA chief, delivered a deranged speech proclaiming that “we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” He punctuated his speech with this threat: “To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.” From the start, the Trump DOJ has made no secret of its desire to criminalize journalism generally. Early in the Trump administration, Sessions explicitly discussed the possibility of prosecuting journalists for publishing classified information. Trump and his key aides were open about how eager they were to build on, and escalate, the Obama administration’s progress in enabling journalism in the U.S. to be criminalized. Today’s arrest of Assange is clearly the culmination of a two-year effort by the U.S. government to coerce Ecuador — under its new and submissive president, Lenín Moreno — to withdraw the asylum protection it extended to Assange in 2012. Rescinding Assange’s asylum would enable the U.K. to arrest Assange on minor bail-jumping charges pending in London and, far more significantly, to rely on an extradition request from the U.S. government to send him to a country to which he has no connection (the U.S.) to stand trial relating to leaked documents. Indeed, the Trump administration’s motive here is clear. With Ecuador withdrawing its asylum protection and subserviently allowing the U.K. to enter its own embassy to arrest Assange, Assange faced no charges other than a minor bail-jumping charge in the U.K. (Sweden closed its sexual assault investigation not because they concluded Assange was innocent, but because they spent years unsuccessfully trying to extradite him). By indicting Assange and demanding his extradition, it ensures that Assange — once he serves his time in a London jail for bail-jumping — will be kept in a British prison for the full year or longer that it takes for the U.S. extradition request, which Assange will certainly contest, to wind its way through the British courts.
--
The indictment tries to cast itself as charging Assange not with journalistic activities but with criminal hacking. But it is a thinly disguised pretext for prosecuting Assange for publishing the U.S. government’s secret documents while pretending to make it about something else. Whatever else is true about the indictment, substantial parts of the document explicitly characterize as criminal exactly the actions that journalists routinely engage in with their sources and thus, constitutes a dangerous attempt to criminalize investigative journalism. The indictment, for instance, places great emphasis on Assange’s alleged encouragement that Manning — after she already turned over hundreds of thousands of classified documents — try to get more documents for WikiLeaks to publish. The indictment claims that “discussions also reflect Assange actively encouraging Manning to provide more information. During an exchange, Manning told Assange that ‘after this upload, that’s all I really have got left.’ To which Assange replied, ‘curious eyes never run dry in my experience.’” But encouraging sources to obtain more information is something journalists do routinely. Indeed, it would be a breach of one’s journalistic duties not to ask vital sources with access to classified information if they could provide even more information so as to allow more complete reporting. If a source comes to a journalist with information, it is entirely common and expected that the journalist would reply: Can you also get me X, Y, and Z to complete the story or to make it better? As Edward Snowden said this morning, “Bob Woodward stated publicly he would have advised me to remain in place and act as a mole.” Investigative journalism in many, if not most, cases, entails a constant back and forth between journalist and source in which the journalist tries to induce the source to provide more classified information, even if doing so is illegal. To include such “encouragement” as part of a criminal indictment — as the Trump DOJ did today — is to criminalize the crux of investigative journalism itself, even if the indictment includes other activities you believe fall outside the scope of journalism. As Northwestern journalism professor Dan Kennedy explained in The Guardian in 2010 when denouncing as a press freedom threat the Obama DOJ’s attempts to indict Assange based on the theory that he did more than passively receive and publish documents — i.e., that he actively “colluded” with Manning:
The problem is that there is no meaningful distinction to be made. How did the Guardian, equally, not “collude” with WikiLeaks in obtaining the cables? How did the New York Times not “collude” with the Guardian when the Guardian gave the Times a copy following Assange’s decision to cut the Times out of the latest document dump? For that matter, I don’t see how any news organisation can be said not to have colluded with a source when it receives leaked documents. Didn’t the Times collude with Daniel Ellsberg when it received the Pentagon Papers from him? Yes, there are differences. Ellsberg had finished making copies long before he began working with the Times, whereas Assange may have goaded Manning. But does that really matter?

Most of the reports about the Assange indictment today have falsely suggested that the Trump DOJ discovered some sort of new evidence that proved Assange tried to help Manning hack through a password in order to use a different username to download documents. Aside from the fact that those attempts failed, none of this is new: As the last five paragraphs of this 2011 Politico story demonstrate, that Assange talked to Manning about ways to use a different username so as to avoid detection was part of Manning’s trial and was long known to the Obama DOJ when they decided not to prosecute. There are only two new events that explain today’s indictment of Assange: 1) The Trump administration from the start included authoritarian extremists such as Sessions and Pompeo who do not care in the slightest about press freedom and were determined to criminalize journalism against the U.S., and 2) With Ecuador about to withdraw its asylum protection, the U.S. government needed an excuse to prevent Assange from walking free.
--
A technical analysis of the indictment’s claims similarly proves the charge against Assange to be a serious threat to First Amendment press liberties, primarily because it seeks to criminalize what is actually a journalist’s core duty: helping one’s source avoid detection. The indictment deceitfully seeks to cast Assange’s efforts to help Manning maintain her anonymity as some sort of sinister hacking attack. The Defense Department computer that Manning used to download the documents which she then furnished to WikiLeaks was likely running the Windows operating system. It had multiple user accounts on it, including an account to which Manning had legitimate access. Each account is protected by a password, and Windows computers store a file that contains a list of usernames and password “hashes,” or scrambled versions of the passwords. Only accounts designated as “administrator,” a designation Manning’s account lacked, have permission to access this file. The indictment suggests that Manning, in order to access this password file, powered off her computer and then powered it back on, this time booting to a CD running the Linux operating system. From within Linux, she allegedly accessed this file full of password hashes. The indictment alleges that Assange agreed to try to crack one of these password hashes, which, if successful, would recover the original password. With the original password, Manning would be able to log directly into that other user’s account, which — as the indictment puts it — “would have made it more difficult for investigators to identify Manning as the source of disclosures of classified information.” Assange appears to have been unsuccessful in cracking the password. The indictment alleges that “Assange indicated that he had been trying to crack the password by stating that he had ‘no luck so far.’” Thus, even if one accepts all of the indictment’s claims as true, Assange was not trying to hack into new document files to which Manning had no access, but rather trying to help Manning avoid detection as a source. For that reason, the precedent that this case would set would be a devastating blow to investigative journalists and press freedom everywhere. Journalists have an ethical obligation to take steps to protect their sources from retaliation, which sometimes includes granting them anonymity and employing technical measures to help ensure that their identity is not discovered. When journalists take source protection seriously, they strip metadata and redact information from documents before publishing them if that information could have been used to identify their source; they host cloud-based systems such as SecureDrop, now employed by dozens of major newsrooms around the world, that make it easier and safer for whistleblowers, who may be under surveillance, to send messages and classified documents to journalists without their employers knowing; and they use secure communication tools like Signal and set them to automatically delete messages. But today’s indictment of Assange seeks to criminalize exactly these types of source-protection efforts, as it states that “it was part of the conspiracy that Assange and Manning used a special folder on a cloud drop box of WikiLeaks to transmit classified records containing information related to the national defense of the United States.” The indictment, in numerous other passages, plainly conflates standard newsroom best practices with a criminal conspiracy. It states, for instance, that “it was part of the conspiracy that Assange and Manning used the ‘Jabber’ online chat service to collaborate on the acquisition and dissemination of the classified records, and to enter into the agreement to crack the password […].” There is no question that using Jabber, or any other encrypted messaging system, to communicate with sources and acquire documents with the intent to publish them, is a completely lawful and standard part of modern investigative journalism. Newsrooms across the world now use similar technologies to communicate securely with their sources and to help their sources avoid detection by the government. The indictment similarly alleges that “it was part of the conspiracy that Assange and Manning took measures to conceal Manning as the source of the disclosure of classified records to WikiLeaks, including by removing usernames from the disclosed information and deleting chat logs between Assange and Manning.” Removing metadata that could help identify an anonymous source, such as usernames, is a critical step in protecting sources. Indeed, in 2017, The Intercept published a top-secret National Security Agency document claiming that Russian military intelligence played a role in hacking U.S. election infrastructure during the 2016 election. The person accused and convicted of having provided the document, whistleblower Reality Winner, had already been arrested by the time the story was published. The Intercept was widely criticized when computer security experts discovered that the document included nearly invisible yellow “printer dots” that track exactly when and where it was printed, which most modern printers add to every document that gets printed. While there’s no evidence that these printer dots contributed to Winner becoming a suspect (the FBI’s affidavit says she was one of only six people who had printed this document, and the only one of those who had email contact with The Intercept), they could have aided an investigation, and The Intercept, as its editor-in-chief acknowledged, should have taken greater care to remove this metadata before publishing the document. That is because it is not only common but ethically required for a journalist to do everything possible to protect a source from detection. Virtually the entirety of the accusations against Assange in today’s indictment consist of him doing exactly that. For that reason, the indictment, at its core, clearly seeks to criminalize what investigative journalism necessarily entails in order for to be effective. That is why civil liberties organizations, press freedom groups and political figures from around the world — including Jeremy Corbyn, U.S. Congress members Ro Khanna and Tulsi Gabbard, former Sen. Mike Gravel, Brazilian and Indian leftist political parties, and the American Civil Liberties Union — have vehemently denounced today’s arrest of Assange. Assange is a deeply polarizing figure. That’s almost certainly why the Trump DOJ believes that it could get away with indicting him based on a theory that would clearly endanger core journalistic functions: because it hopes that the intense animosity for Assange personally will blind people to the dangers this indictment poses. But far more important than one’s personal feelings about Assange is the huge step this indictment represents in the Trump administration’s explicitly stated goal to criminalize journalism that involves reporting on classified information. Opposition to that menacing goal does not require admiration or affection for Assange. It simply requires a belief in the critical importance of a free press in a democracy.



Julian Assange Languishes in Prison as His Journalistic Collaborators Brandish Their Prizes
The Intercept

URL: https://theintercept.com/2019/04/14/jul ... ir-prizes/
Category: Politics
Published: April 14, 2019

Description: While Julian Assange languishes in south London’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison, a British court is weighing his fate. The 48-year-old Australian founder of WikiLeaks is serving time for the minor crime of jumping bail by taking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. His fear at the time was that the Swedes, with a track record of assisting rendition of suspects sought by the U.S., would send him straight across the Atlantic. Now that he has lost his diplomatic refuge, 70 British members of Parliament have petitioned to dispatch Assange to Sweden if prosecutors there reopen the case they closed in 2017. The greater threat to his liberty is the U.S. Department of Justice’s extradition demand for him to stand trial in the U.S. for conspiring with Chelsea Manning to hack a government computer. The U.S. insists that Assange will not face the death penalty. If he did, Britain, in common with other European states, would not be able to send him there. The maximum sentence for the hacking offense is five years, but there is no guarantee that once he arrives in the U.S., he will not face additional charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 that former President Barack Obama used against nine individuals for allegedly leaking secret information to the public. The sentence for that offense could be death or life in prison. If Assange ends up in the U.S. federal judicial system, he may never been seen again. His most likely destination is the “Alcatraz of the Rockies,” otherwise known as the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility, or ADMAX, in Florence, Colorado. Among its 400 inmates are Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Boston Marathon terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, FBI agent-turned-Russian spy Robert Hanssen, and Oklahoma City co-bomber Terry Nichols. The prison’s regime is as ruthless as its prisoners: 23-hour daily confinement in a concrete box cell with one window 4 inches wide, six bed checks a day with a seventh on weekends, one hour of exercise in an outdoor cage, showers spraying water in one-minute spurts and “shakedowns” at the discretion of prison staff. If Trump’s Justice Department ups the ante to charge Assange under the Espionage Act, a journalist-publisher who has not committed homicide may spend the rest of his life at ADMAX among killers, traitors, and drug pushers. I have visited Assange often over the past eight years, first at the Norfolk farmhouse of Vaughan Smith, a former British Army officer and news cameraperson, where Assange lived under house arrest for a year and a half. The next place I saw him was in the dreary recesses of an embassy that is a little more than a 630 square-foot converted apartment with no outside space. It was not ideal, but better than ADMAX. Lawyers, supporters, and friends dropped in to keep him company. John Pilger, a few other friends, and I took him more than one Christmas dinner. As each month passed, his skin grew paler from lack of sunlight and his health deteriorated. Dr. Sean Love, who is part of a medical team with Dr. Sondra Crosby of the Boston Medical Center and British psychologist Dr. Brock Chisholm that has conducted regular evaluations of Assange since 2017, said, “He had no ability to access medical care.” Love complained that the physicians were under constant electronic surveillance, a violation of the doctor-patient relationship, and the British government would not allow Assange safe passage to a hospital for urgent dental surgery. While the British tabloid press scorned Assange’s hygiene, it ignored what Love called “the deleterious effects of seven years of confinement, whose risks include neuropsychological impairment, weakened bones, compromised immune function, increased risk of cardio-vascular disease and cancer.” Reacting to the stories about Assange not washing, Love insisted, “This is a complete smear. This is meant to degrade his humanity.” He believes that the “cumulative effect of pain and suffering inflicted on him is most definitely in violation of the 1984 Convention on Torture, specifically Articles 1 and 16.” At my last meeting this year with Assange, the energy I recall at our first encounter in January 2011 was undiminished. He made coffee, glancing up at surveillance cameras in the tiny kitchen and every other room in the embassy that recorded his every movement. We talked for about an hour, when an embassy official ordered me to leave. In between, we discussed his health, his strategy to stay out of prison, his family, and the Democratic National Committee’s accusation that he colluded with President Donald Trump and Russia to hack its emails and publish them. The DNC was alleging that Assange revealed its “trade secrets,” a reference to the methods the DNC used to deprive Bernie Sanders of the presidential nomination. The DNC is using the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, meant to control organized crime, to pursue a journalist-publisher. If successful, it will set a precedent that should worry media everywhere. Trump’s personal lawyers insist that no crime was committed and therefore, no criminal conspiracy took place. That won’t stop the DOJ under Trump’s attorney general from pursuing criminal charges against Assange, not only for working with Manning to gain access to government secrets, but also to examine how Assange obtained confidential Defense and State Department documents, as well as the CIA’s hacking program that WikiLeaks published in 2017 under the name Vault 7. London’s Guardian newspaper, which had once cooperated with Assange, had accused him of meeting Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort in the embassy. Assange said, “I have never met or spoken to Paul Manafort.” The embassy’s logbook, signed by all visitors, had no record of Manafort. Assange said that the restrictions and surveillance had become punitive, as there was now nowhere in the flat that was out of range of cameras and microphones. “It’s ‘The Truman Show,’” he joked. We knew the Ecuadorians were watching, but he believed that they supplied the recordings to the U.S. Someone monitoring the cameras must have seen me taking notes, because an embassy official came into the room and ordered me to leave. “No journalists,” Assange explained. That was our last conversation. It was Friday evening. When I left, the embassy closed, the staff left, and Assange was wholly alone until Monday morning.
--
The road to Belmarsh began in 2006, when WikiLeaks exposed a Somali rebel leader’s attempt to assassinate government officials. Next came details of the shocking procedures at America’s detention facility at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. That prompted the U.S. to shut down the WikiLeaks site, which bounced back. Assange then exposed activities of the Church of Scientology and, in 2010, the illegal misbehavior of the U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq — through documents in which the parties indicted themselves. WikiLeaks’ collaborators were a consortium of the world’s leading newspapers: the New York Times, The Guardian, El Pais of Spain, and Paris’s Le Monde. If Assange violated the law, they were in it with him. While redacting thousands of WikiLeaks documents to avoid identifying sensitive intelligence sources, the newspapers presented the Afghan and Iraq wars in ways that deviated from the official line. One of the best-remembered disclosures was a military video of an American helicopter crew taking delight in shooting dead two Reuters journalists and 10 other civilians on the streets of Iraq. When U.S. investigators discovered that the source of the leaks was an intelligence analyst named Bradley Manning, they arrested him in May 2010. Bradley, a transgender soldier who became Chelsea, received a 35-year sentence for espionage in August 2013. Obama commuted Manning’s sentence in January 2017, leaving the Assange case open. Among Assange’s subsequent disclosures were the emails of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, no friend of Washington. Assange was becoming a rock star of free speech. Like a rock star, he attracted groupies. So far, so normal. Then he went to Sweden, where two women denounced him to police for sexual misconduct. Swedish police dropped the case and allowed him to leave the country, but Swedish prosecutors revisited the case and demanded that Assange return to Sweden for an interview. Sources in Swedish intelligence told me at the time that they believed the U.S. had encouraged Sweden to pursue the case. Assange offered to be interviewed in London, where he felt safer from U.S. extradition than in Sweden. The Swedes, while never officially charging Assange with a crime, demanded extradition. British police arrested him pending a court hearing. Assange was placed first in jail, then under house arrest at Vaughan Smith’s farm. When the court at last determined to send him to Sweden, he requested and received asylum in Ecuador’s Embassy. Conditions were not ideal, but the Ecuadorian president and ambassador gave him full support. Visitors, including myself, came and went. In the meantime, Sweden dropped its investigation into the women’s claims. This left Assange facing only a charge of evading bail in Britain, for which he would receive only a small fine. However, if he left the embassy to report to the court, he feared the U.S. would unseal its indictment against him and demand his extradition. 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.



Julian Assange Suffered Severe Psychological and Physical Harm in Ecuadorian Embassy, Doctors Say
The Intercept

URL: https://theintercept.com/2019/04/15/jul ... ical-care/
Category: Politics
Published: April 15, 2019

Description: 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. Dr. Sondra Crosby, an associate professor of medicine and public health at Boston University and an expert on the physical and psychological impact of torture, has evaluated detainees held by the United States, including at its prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. She quietly began meeting with and evaluating Assange in 2017 inside the embassy where he had sought refuge. During her last session with Assange on February 23, Crosby says that her confidential medical notes were removed when she briefly left the embassy to get food to bring back to Assange who, she wrote, “had not eaten.” The notes were taken from where she had been evaluating Assange and only later discovered in another space used by the embassy’s surveillance staff. “Mr. Assange’s right to doctor-patient confidentiality was violated, and his confidential information had been breached,” Crosby wrote in a March 1 affidavit she gave to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In her affidavit, she states that her medical notes were “presumably” read by embassy personnel. She also says that her medical visit with Assange in February was monitored by two cameras, and that she had to speak with Assange “over the noise of a radio playing” to mask their conversations because of what he said were listening devices in the room. In addition, 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. “Mr. Assange’s situation [inside the embassy] differs from a typical prisoner in a conventional prison,” she wrote in her letter. “In fact, his position is worse than a conventional prison in many respects. His confinement is indefinite and uncertain, which increases chronic stress and its myriad of chronic physical and serious psychological risks, including suicide.” During seven years of confinement, Assange had suffered “a number of serious deleterious effects of sunlight deprivation,” she wrote, including “neuropsychological impairment, weakened bones, decreased immune function, and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer.” He also displayed physical and psychological symptoms as a result of “prolonged social isolation and sensory deprivation.” “I believe the psychological, physical, and social [aftereffects] will be long-lasting and severe,” Crosby wrote. Assange was expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy and arrested by British authorities on April 11, three days after her letter was sent to the U.N. and the Council of Europe. He is now in prison in Britain on charges of jumping bail, but also faces an indictment in the United States on a hacking charge in connection with the 2010 publication of classified U.S. documents obtained from former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. Assange has been charged in the U.S. with trying to help Manning crack a government password; he also faces the possibility of a renewed investigation by Sweden into sexual assault charges. His lawyers have vowed to fight his extradition. Assange sought refuge in Ecuador’s Embassy in 2012, when Sweden was seeking his extradition in the sexual assault case, and remained in the embassy until his arrest last Thursday. British officials repeatedly vowed to arrest him for jumping bail if he ever set foot outside the embassy. In 2012, when Ecuador agreed to give Assange refuge, the country had a leftist president, Rafael Correa, who was sympathetic to the WikiLeaks founder. But Ecuador’s current president, Lenín Moreno, has been far less tolerant of Assange and grew impatient with his presence in the embassy. Both before and since his arrest and expulsion from the embassy, Assange has been criticized and mocked for his erratic behavior. But Crosby’s observations and statements make it clear that he has suffered severe psychological harm. Crosby wrote in her letter to the U.N. and the Council of Europe that Assange suffered from “multiple medical conditions” that had become “more complex and urgent” over the two years she had evaluated him. “He has no ability to access necessary medical care, and he does not have access to the outdoors and sunlight. Even minimum standards for prisoners dictate at least one hour of sunlight daily and access to natural light.” While the British government and Assange’s many critics say that it was his choice to stay in the embassy, Crosby argues that Assange was denied the fundamental right to health care that should have been afforded to him as a refugee. In her April 8 letter, Crosby wrote that the “highest priority” for Assange’s medical care was his “critical need for an oral surgery procedure,” adding that “the severe daily pain” from his dental condition is “inhumane.” She had consulted with a dentist who had examined Assange, she wrote, and learned that the dental surgery could not be performed in the embassy. In her letter, Crosby says that the British government had repeatedly rejected requests to give Assange safe passage to a hospital for treatment. 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.”
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1781105
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

This photo got Julian Assange kicked out of Ecuadorian embassy

Postby smix » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:24 am

This photo got Julian Assange kicked out of Ecuadorian embassy
New York Post

URL: https://nypost.com/2019/04/14/this-phot ... n-embassy/
Category: Politics
Published: April 14, 2019

Description: A photo of Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno lounging in bed with a giant platter of lobster in front of him may have spurred Julian Assange’s eviction from the country’s London embassy. The snapshot — highly embarrassing to the left-wing Moreno, whose country is reeling under financial strain — was among 200 private e-mails, texts and documents posted to the anonymous Web site INApapers.org early last month.

moreno-lobster.jpg

Moreno blamed Assange’s WikiLeaks for the publication of the damning trove, which also included other photos of the president and his wife on lavish European vacations. In a radio interview, Moreno griped that “photos of my bedroom, what I eat and how my wife and daughters and friends dance” were leaked. “Assange cannot lie or, much less, hack into private accounts or private phones,” Moreno raged. WikiLeaks has denied that it was behind the leak, but the online postings seem to be the straw that broke Moreno’s back. On Thursday, the president ended Assange’s seven-year-long asylum in the embassy, opening the door for British police officers to arrest and hold the 47-year-old political lightning rod so he can face extradition to the United States on other hacking charges. Ecuadorian officials said Assange’s embassy expulsion occurred because he committed a slew of transgressions, including messing with security cameras there, mistreating and even coming to blows with guards, accessing security files without permission, installing electronic distortion equipment and generally acting like a disgusting slob. Assange smeared feces on embassy walls, said Ecuadorian Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo. Foreign Minister José Valencia added that Assange had “hygienic” problems, including one that was “very unpleasant” and “attributed to a digestive problem.” In addition, Ecuadorian officials claimed Assange didn’t flush the toilet, left his dirty underwear lying around, didn’t do his dishes and didn’t properly take care of his cat. Moreno also has said Assange violated an agreement with Ecuador that barred him from commenting on the political situations in other countries. Political sources have said Moreno had been under increasing pressure from the Trump administration to boot Assange. The US wants Assange to face charges he conspired with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack into a classified government computer to obtain a trove of documents that were released by WikiLeaks. Moreno, who took the helm of Ecuador in 2017, tried applying pressure to Assange in the fall by curbing his access to the Internet and some visitors. Assange responded with a lawsuit. Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, on Sunday accused the South American country of spreading “outrageous” claims as an excuse to give its house guest the boot. “Ecuador has made these allegations to justify the unlawful and extraordinary act of letting police come inside an embassy,” Robinson told Sky News. Assange’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 2, and he’s expected to appear by video link. In the meantime, he will seek prison medical care for severe shoulder pain and dental issues, WikiLeaks has said.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1781105
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

From embassy to prison: Assange settles in for legal battle

Postby smix » Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:38 am

From embassy to prison: Assange settles in for legal battle
AP

URL: https://www.apnews.com/98f7ec1528bf4e9d9edd78271c31c16b
Category: Politics
Published: April 12, 2019

Description: LONDON (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has exchanged a small room at the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London for a cell at Belmarsh Prison, a grim institution in the southeast part of the city where he nevertheless has certain advantages he didn’t have when he was holed up, hiding from the law. WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said Friday that the ailing Assange should finally be able to receive medical care and will be able to meet with his lawyers more easily than he could in the embassy, where a feud with Ecuadorian authorities had led to a ban on most guests. The 47-year-old Assange has extreme shoulder pain and tooth pain, Hrafnsson said. For nearly seven years, Assange lived in the embassy without taking a step outside for fear of being arrested and sent to the U.S. to be prosecuted. On Thursday, British authorities dragged the Australian native from the embassy, and U.S. authorities announced charges against him of conspiring to break into a Pentagon computer, setting up what is expected to be an epic legal and political battle over whether to extradite him to the U.S. His arrest became possible after Ecuador revoked his political asylum, complaining that he was an obnoxious houseguest who didn’t clean up after his cat and that WikiLeaks was plotting to blackmail the Latin American country’s president. At the prison, where he is being held while the extradition process plays out, “there are medical facilities there, access to dental care I would assume, and a garden to go out into,” Hrafnsson said. “But comparing one prison to another and giving a star rating is not really what’s on my mind,” he said. “What’s on my mind is there’s an innocent man in prison for doing his job as a journalist, and that’s an outrage.” He said Assange is in relatively good mental condition considering the stress of recent days. The political debate over whether to extradite Assange is already taking shape, with Britain’s opposition Labour Party urging the government not to hand him over to the Americans. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted that the U.S. is prosecuting Assange because he exposed “evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Diane Abbott, Labour’s spokeswoman for domestic affairs, told Parliament: “It is this whistle-blowing into illegal wars, mass murder, murder of civilians and corruption on a grand scale that has put Julian Assange in the cross hairs of the U.S. administration.” The politicization of the case reflects the clashing views of Assange as either a heroic whistleblower standing up to the mighty United States or a willing stooge who helped the Russians boost Donald Trump’s presidential campaign by publishing hacked emails that embarrassed his rival, Hillary Clinton. Assange’s bid to fend off extradition could take years and involve several layers of appeal. He could also face a second extradition request if Sweden decides to pursue a rape case against him that was suspended in 2017, when he was in the embassy, beyond the reach of the law. If found guilty of the U.S. charges, Assange could get five years in prison. His next court appearance is set for May 2 via a prison video link. Extradition lawyer Ben Keith said the court will not assess the evidence against Assange to determine his guilt or innocence but will scrutinize whether the offense he is accused of in the U.S. would be a crime in Britain. “The most likely outcome is that he will be extracted to the United States,” he said. If Assange loses in extradition court, he could appeal several times and ultimately try to have his case heard at the European Court of Human Rights — unless Britain has left the European Union by that time.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1781105
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

PreviousNext

  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to Press, News Media, Journalism


Mobile Device
  • 1
  • FREE CLASSIFIED ADS
    Free Classified Ads
    There are 3 ways to advertise - your choice: you can place free ads in a forum topic, in the classified display ads section, or you may start your own free blog. Please select the appropriate category and forum for the ad content before you post. Do not spam.
    Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. Deal at your own risk and peril.
  • Advertisement