Continuous coverage of legal, political, and other developments; get in touch to add an event or item
Background: Julian Assange’s situation in the embassy
Julian Assange’s status in the Ecuadorian embassy has been in jeopardy over the past months, particularly since Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno came to power, with Ecuador and the UK believed to be engaged in negotiations to bring his stay to an end. In a recent interview, Moreno said, “Let’s not forget the conditions of his asylum prevent him from speaking about politics or intervening in the politics of other countries. That’s why we cut his communication.”
Isolated without internet access since March, Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained by the UK in the Ecuadorian Embassy for more than six years. The UN has condemned his detention; leading intellectuals, academics, and artists around the world have called for an end to his isolation; and the UK refuses to guarantee safety from extradition should he step outside the embassy.
Due to the seriousness of the current situation, Courage will be live blogging daily updates on the situation at the Ecuadorian embassy and support actions planned worldwide. The website Justice4Assange has published a template to encourage NGOs to take a stand for Assange.
12 September 2019
Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson on the “terrifying precedent” his case sets
World famous fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood visited Julian Assange in Britain’s Belmarsh Prison yesterday. She gave impassioned comments afterwards condemning the persecution of the WikiLeaks founder and calling for his freedom.
Westwood reported that Assange had “lost weight” since she saw him last and that he was being held in conditions of virtual solitary confinement. “The state he’s in, it’s a wonder,” she said, adding: “I don’t know how I would cope.”
The fashion designer stated that Assange is “an innocent man” who has been “persecuted for nine years for telling the truth.”
Westwood declared: “He must not be extradited.” She warned that if dispatched to the US, “this man faces 175 years in jail, believe it or not. That’s totally out of proportion. It’s the kind of thing that a nation that has gone crazy would charge somebody with, for telling the truth.”
Imagine how he feels in there, Vivienne Westwood says. #Assange is in such a terrible place. This man is being tortured. The UN,has affirmed this shouldnt be happening. It’s the misrule of law. That’s whats going on. pic.twitter.com/fjZCDNVWwV
— Flick Ruby (@FlickRubicon) September 10, 2019
Julian #Assange must not be extradited to the US. He is an Australian publisher being persecuted for telling the truth, for providing information in the public interest that others also publishee. Can you have a fair trial against unfair charges, Vivienne asks? pic.twitter.com/UHm0yjHOXi
— Flick Ruby (@FlickRubicon) September 10, 2019
Yes, @wikileaks and #assange have exposed major truths about climate change, the UN copenhagen talks, the crimes of fossil fuel profiteers distortion of climate science. Movements need to be armed with the truth to stand up to the climate criminals #Dontextraditeassange pic.twitter.com/gSrddCdbtE
— Flick Ruby (@FlickRubicon) September 10, 2019
Jimmy Dore | Pamela Anderson Defends Julian Assange On The View
10 September 2019
The New York Times asked each 2020 US presidential candidate whether the charges against Julian Assange are constitutional and whether they would continue to prosecute him for publishing — most support a free press and several oppose use of the Espionage Act.
6 September 2019
Pamela Anderson has zero patience for John McCain’s daughter pic.twitter.com/Z4LA8eZ90J
— jordan (@JordanUhl) September 6, 2019
4 September 2019
— Barnaby Nerberka (@barnabynerberka) September 2, 2019
3 September 2019
Likely called to testify against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks
“It’s with great sadness and anger we announce that Jeremy Hammond is being brought to the Eastern District of Virginia in an effort to compel him to testify before a grand jury. Given the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, we don’t know the nature or scope of the grand jury’s investigation. However, our assumption is that this is the same grand jury that Chelsea Manning is currently being incarcerated for refusing to testify before.”
2 September 2019
For the past months I have continually seen UK people waving placards with the word “Democracy.” If Democracy does not champion free speech and a free press, then it is a reprehensible imitation. It is the duty of every genuine journalist to stand up and expose the immoral punishment of Julian Assange.
We are giving this year’s award to a man who has the courage to publish the truth and has sacrificed so much as a result.
We, as whistle-blowers, by virtue of our experience, have a very long list of villains but a very scant list of champions and you have been voted number one champion of truth.
Thank you Julian Assange for everything you have done to expose the facts, no greater service can be given to the public and we are sorry your sacrifice has yet to be recognised by the public whose interest you serve.
26 August 2019
New site and video: The Assange Files
The Assange Files is a new initiative of filmmaker Mike Rubbo and other Australian journalists and media workers:
WE are a group of journalists, media workers and private citizens who believe that the outstanding US indictment of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is not only a threat to his personal survival but to the future of journalism.
Since the Trump administration has declared its intention to extradite Julian for violating the US Espionage Act, journalists and media outlets around the world realize that this is an attack on free speech everywhere.
This website is devoted to informing the public about what is happening to Julian, the facts behind the personal and professional attacks on him, and what we can do to help him.
Included are answers to questions that many people have about Julian and Wikileaks based on reporting in the mainstream media; links to articles by prize-winning journalists, former intelligence analysts and others; and our open letter to the MEAA with over 200 signatures.
Wikileaks is the pioneer of a new era of journalism and Julian Assange is one of the great truth tellers of our time. The US attempt to prosecute him under the Espionage Act is part of a global war on journalism and we must do whatever possible to come to his aid.
The group has produced a short video, ‘Julian Assange: The Making of a Villain,” an excellent takedown of the opening of ABC 4 Corners’ programme on Assange, which trivialised the impact of Collateral Murder.
Full transcript of independent journalist Stefania Maurizi’s speech at Courage’s event in Bergen, Global Threats to Press Freedom
If the US authorities succeed in crushing Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks staff, the consequences for freedom of the press will be devastating: the Assange case will have a domino effect. I want to see Julian Assange and his team free and safe because I want to live in a society where journalists and their sources can expose the highest levels of power without having to flee to Russia or ending their lives in prison. That is what freedom of the press is.
See video of Stefania’s speech and the rest of the event here.
23 August 2019
VIDEO: We Are Millions event
Last night in Bergen, Norway, Courage held an event for Julian Assange — Global Threats to Press Freedom, a discussion on Assange’s persecution and what it means for the freedom of the press around the world.
Go directly to:
- Event begins: Introduction
- Stefania Maurizi discusses Julian’s situation, her FOIA requests to get info on the public record
- Short film by Jeremy Scahill, on Trump’s war on the press
- Norwegian discussion of Assange and threats to the free press
- Mads Andenaes, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
- Stefania Maurizi on the abnormalities in the Swedish investigation of Assange
22 August 2019
21 August 2019
“I hope you will reflect deeply on the ideas that were conveyed by the many experts you invited to speak at this conference. Journalists being hacked apart with saws in embassies, and publishers being forcibly dragged out of embassies to face 175 years in jail for publishing, cannot become the new normal.
One of the most celebrated speakers on media freedom at the conference was barrister Amal Clooney, who said, “the indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has alarmed journalists at newspapers around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Guardian because, as the editor of the Washington Post has put it, the indictment… ‘criminalises common practices in journalism that have long served the public interest’. …
With so many of the Five Eyes involved in this case, as part of your efforts to defend and extend the democratic freedom of the press and expression, I ask that you will use your good offices to call for this case to be immediately closed. The US Government must drop its extradition request, in order that the UK may let him return home.”
Breaking the silence on Assange: More than 40 peace activists from Germany have shared a #FreeAssange support video
20 August 2019
Shipton revealed that Assange had received a visit from his brother Gabriel several days earlier. “Julian is emaciated and not in tip-top order or health,” Shipton said. “He is suffering anxiety. He is still in fighting spirits, but his well-being is declining rapidly.”
Shipton said there was a danger that “we will lose Julian” if action is not taken to end his incarceration. His warning followed a statement by world-renowned investigative journalist John Pilger on Twitter earlier this month, who wrote: “Do not forget Julian Assange. Or you will lose him. I saw him in Belmarsh prison and his health has deteriorated…”
Assange’s father outlined the draconian conditions in Belmarsh Prison, where Assange has been held since he was dragged from Ecuador’s London embassy by British police on April 11.
19 August 2019
22.August | 7pm | MediaCity Bergen
The Courage Foundation, supported by Norwegian PEN and Fritt Ord, announces “Global Threats to Press Freedom”, a discussion at MediaCity Bergen on the arrest of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange and attacks on the freedom of the press around the world. The event follows a three-week installation of WeAreMillions, a photo campaign in support of Assange, which artists exhibited in Bergen.
The discussion, hosted by artist Gitte Sætre and moderated by Jan Landro, will feature:
- Stefania Maurizi, independent journalist who worked on WikiLeaks releases and on the Snowden files with Glenn Greenwald
- Eirin Eikefjord, BT journalist
- Mads Andenas, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
- Gisle Selnes, professor
- Rune Ottosen, Norwegian PEN
16 August 2019
New letter from Assange
Ariyana Love has posted photos of a letter she received from Julian Assange from HMP Belmarsh. It reads:
“Thanks Ms. Love. It is people like you, great and small, fighting to save my life that keeps me going. We can win this! Don’t let the bastards sacrifice freedom of speech, European democracy and my life on the altar of Brexit.”
— Ariyana Love (@mideastrising) August 15, 2019
Ecuador responds to UN Torture chief on Assange
After internal processing delays, here is the direct link to the official response by the Government of Ecuador of 26 July 2019 (in Spanish) to my official letter of 28 May 2019: https://t.co/pli50ReKez
Still waiting for UK response.
— Nils Melzer (@NilsMelzer) August 15, 2019
14 August 2019
13 August 2019
Our key recommendations are:
1. Urgent intervention in relation to the case of Mr Julian Assange.
2. The Australian government substantially strengthen Public Interest Disclosures Act and other legislation protecting whistleblowers, journalists and media organisations that publish material in the public interest; specifically, evidence of war crimes, corruption and human rights violations.
3. National security legislation must amended to decriminalise regular journalistic activity (35P of the ASIO Act, Division 4C of the Telecommunications Interception and Access Inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press Submission 7 3 Act; Criminal Code Act, Part 5.2: Espionage and related offences; Part 5.6: Secrecy of information, section 119.7: Foreign incursions and recruitment; s 80.2C : Advocating terrorism; Crimes Act: s15HK and s15HL: Controlled operations, unauthorised disclosure of information.
4. Applications for, and the circumstances of the execution of warrants must be contestable and independently monitored; Crimes Act s. 3ZZH
Delayed notification search warrants, unauthorised disclosure of information
5. Classification of documents and the FOI system overhauled
6. A federal bill of rights be enacted by parliament in order to protect freedom of speech in Australia.
7. Hearings and submissions made to this inquiry are public and accessible.
10 August 2019
WSWS: You have previously said that if the media had spoken out when the Obama administration was developing its case against Assange and WikiLeaks then the current situation may not have happened. Could you speak about this?
JR: It’s disappointing that there was not a stronger pushback on Obama’s decision to open a grand jury and continue it in relationship to WikiLeaks for so long. It is only now, in the hands of the Trump Administration, that many people understand just how dangerous that is.
The UN Rapporteur on Torture [Nils Melzer] said in his report on Julian Assange that not only has he been vilified by states but the media’s participation in his vilification has significantly undermined Assange’s position, and he [Melzer] is right. I wonder if there had been more support from the media, and human rights groups had pushed back harder, whether this indictment would have been politically feasible.
WSWS: The WSWS has called for establishment of a Global Defence Committee to free Assange and Chelsea Manning and we have been organising rallies, protests, meetings internationally on university campuses and workplaces. Can you comment on this, and is Julian aware of the growing support for his freedom internationally?
JR: He obviously has no access to the internet and he can’t see what is happening, and has very little access to the media, but yes, I and others always show him pictures of what is happening around the world and the support. It really does make a difference—Julian is heartened by it. The solidarity campaign is not just important in buoying his spirits inside prison but critical in ensuring that he is protected in the long-term for WikiLeaks’s work.
Even though WikiLeaks is protected by the First Amendment, it will take a very long time to return to the United States for that legal argument to be ever made. So the solidarity campaign is important in relationship to whatever happens to him in the meantime. It is crucial that there is a social movement, here in this country and around the world, to call the powers to account on what this indictment means, not just for him but for all the media.
8 August 2019
New website: WeAreMillions.org
Courage’s #WeAreMillions photo campaign for Julian Assange has its own new website at WeAreMillions.org — check out the new site and upload your photo today!
“We at SAKén (Spontaneous Art Collective) are delighted and relieved that the #WeAreMillions exhibition in Media City is being reinstalled. We thank you for the massive support and strong reactions that have come, both from journalists and others. We take it as a signal that freedom of the press really means a lot to many. Our hope is that this will take us one step further in a necessary debate on press freedom and Assange, as it is a theme that seems to awaken strong opinions and feelings among more and more people.
We have positive expectations for ENTRA, about a good continuation: we see the need for further debate around both press freedom and Julian Assange, and hope Media City can cover this with an event on August 22.”
Fidel Navráez writes, “CNN did not learn the lesson from the Manafort hoax”:
Having worked as a diplomat at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for six out of the seven years that Julian Assange lived there as a political refugee, unlike others, I am privy to what actually happened there. I am alarmed by CNN’s [15 July 2019] story, alleging Assange turned the Ecuadorian embassy in London into a command post for election meddling.
The story contains several substantive shortcomings and too many factual errors. I warned CNN about them when I was approached during their “investigation,” but none of my points were included in the article. It is clear that CNN was not looking for balance in their publication, choosing instead to make assertions without showing actual proof, and to use props such as irrelevant CCTV images, a sensationalist collage and a miniature image of unreadable documents to make it seem as though the story was based on evidence.
CNN’s story is based on the wrong premise that publishing information about an election—in this case the 2016 US presidential election—constitutes interference. Nobody refutes the authenticity of the material and nobody claims that the information was not in the public interest.
He then provides point by point rebuttals to 40 of CNN’s false, misleading or biased claims in a recent report on Julian Assange:
CNN’s attempts to shape the narrative on the subject of WikiLeaks and Assange are not new. On March 28th 2019, the TV program Conclusiones, on CNN Español, claimed — without evidence — that Julian Assange had published the famous INA Papers leak, exposing the corruption of President Lenin Moreno and his family.
The fact that WikiLeaks never published a single document or image of Lenin Moreno or his family did not matter to CNN. The intentions of the show were transparent from the pitched questions made by the reporters:
“How long will Julian Assange remain at the Ecuadorian embassy in London?”
“Aren’t you going to kick him out?”
“What has Julian Assange brought to Lenin Moreno’s government but headaches?”
This baseless accusation was used two weeks later by the Ecuadorian government as one of the reasons to justify Assange’s expulsion from the embassy in violation of international law.
This most recent smear job equally begs the question. Any informed reader is left to wonder why CNN is paving public opinion against Julian Assange as he prepares to defend himself from continued political persecution by the US.
I would like to put forth 40 rebuttals to CNN’s article.
7 August 2019
We Are Millions exhibit to be reinstated
The disputed exhibition “We Are Millions” was removed this weekend from the restaurant in Media City Bergen (MCB) .
The exhibition was in support of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, but it was taken down when there were “some reactions”.
Now, AFK and “We Are Millions” are invited back to the open common rooms on the first floor of the MCB.
Based on media reactions and direct inquiries, Compass and Entra have now reconsidered the case. The artist AFK is therefore invited back to show the current exhibition here at Media City Bergen, which he has confirmed that he will do, says Julie Aasheim, operations manager of Compass Group and manager of Entra Bergen, Sturla Hjelmervik.
6 August 2019
Artists, free speech orgs condemn censorship of Assange artwork
AFK was told by Entra, who owns the building, to remove the exhibition with a deadline of August 2, two weeks before the agreed time. AFK did not want to comply, but offered those who wanted to remove the exhibition space on the exhibition wall to explain why. It is worth noting that AFK has always sought dialogue with its critics. The purpose of the exhibition is precisely to create debate about the terms of press freedom today.
We agree with Norwegian PEN in this matter; the exhibition should be set up again in accordance with the agreement with the artist, those who wanted the exhibition removed should state their reasons, and those who have removed the exhibition must explain why. Removing a work of art without justification is censorship.
4 August 2019
The exhibit, which artists put up in Bergen, was taken down under pressure from unnamed tenants of Media City.
Rune Ottosen, of the Norwegian branch of free expression group PEN, condemned the action:
It is in its nature to create debate, and in the midst of many media companies must be an ideal city to do so, he says. It is reminiscent of censorship, when one in the middle of an agreed period asks for the art to be taken down, he says.
3 August 2019
In a historic win for WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange a federal judge in New York dismissed a lawsuit by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) over WikiLeaks’ publication of DNC documents in 2016. The case sets an important precedent for freedom of the press.
In the 81-page ruling, District Judge John Koeltl emphasized the “newsworthiness” of WikiLeaks’ publishing activities, describing them as “plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers.”
Judge Koeltl importantly emphasized, “Journalists are allowed to request documents that have been stolen and to publish those documents.” The Judge also observed that such journalistic collaboration with sources is “common journalistic practice.” That principle is important for investigative journalists who often receive information from whistleblowers.
The decision, by Judge John Koeltl of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, rejected the smears that Assange “colluded” with Russia. It upheld his status as a journalist and publisher and dismissed claims that WikiLeaks’ 2016 publication of leaked emails from the DNC was “illegal.”
Despite the significance of the ruling, and its clear newsworthiness, it has been subjected to an almost complete blackout by the entire media in the US and internationally.
31 July 2019
WikiLeaks’ publication of more than 10 million documents has shed much-needed light on every corner of corporate and governmental secrecy. Within these files are scores of revelations about the ways in which the world’s most influential governments and corporations have put profit and power above environmental protections, undermining climate agreements, protecting their interests, and covering up environmental abuses.
These disclosures, uncovering what the most powerful have wanted to keep secret, have given fuel to environmental activists working to force these countries and companies to stick to climate agreements, curb emissions, and slow the devastating effects of global warming.
In this new brief, we recount some of the most important environmental revelations and the environmental organisations who have used WikiLeaks’ releases in their work.
30 July 2019
The DNC’s lawsuit against WikiLeaks has been dismissed, with the judge noting that the publication of the DNC emails “is plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers.”
29 July 2019
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer visited Julian Assange at HMP Belmarsh on 9 May 2019, and has written letters to the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Ecuador and Sweden to express that he is “gravely concerned” about Assange’s treatment and to urge the latter three governments to ensure Assange is not extradited to the United States. Melzer, who also detailed his findings about Assange’s current health and conditions, was assisted in his assessment by medical forensic expert Prof. Duarte Vieira Nuno and psychiatrist Dr. Pau Perez-Sales.
Melzer found that the cumulative effects of Assange’s treatment by the governments’ collective persecution “clearly amount to psychological torture.”
Above all, most concerning is the threat of extradition to the United States, where both Assange’s human rights and the media’s freedom to conduct investigative journalism are at serious risk. Melzer writes, “I am gravely concerned that US authorities intend to make an ‘example’ of him, in order to punish him personally, but also to deter others who may be tempted to engage in similar activities as Wikileaks or Mr. Assange.”
26 July 2019
The Courage Foundation announced #WeAreMillions, a massive photo campaign to show global support for WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange as he fights extradition to the United States.
The campaign is launched online , but will now be launched internationally as a public exhibition.#WeAreMillions opened in Bergen today, and will be presented from there on all continents, in cities and at festivals all over the world.
On Friday morning, activists started to install the exhibition at Lille Lungegårdsvannet in Bergen city center. Later in the day, Bergen Media City and Nøsteboden are on tour.
I juni kunngjorde The Courage Foundation – #WeAreMillions – en massiv fotokampanje for å vise global støtte til WikiLeaks-redaktør Julian Assange, mens han kjemper mot utlevering til USA.
Kampanjen er lansert på nettet, men vil nå bli lansert internasjonalt som en offentlig utstilling. #WeAreMillions åpnet i Bergen i dag, og vil derfra bli presentert på alle kontinenter, i byer og på festivaler over hele verden.
Fredag formiddag startet aktivister å montere utstillingen ved Lille Lungegårdsvannet i Bergen sentrum. Senere på dagen står Bergen Media City og Nøsteboden for tur.
25 July 2019
Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have been the subject of numerous false, unfounded smears of connection to the Russian government, particularly in relation to WikiLeaks’ 2016 publication of DNC emails. In this brief we recount some of the most pervasive claims and correct the record.
Assange lawyer Jen Robinson spoke to Radio National about the case
Whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s lawyer Nancy Hollander this week unequivocally rebutted accusations that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange enticed or collaborated with Manning to obtain the thousands of secret documents that WikiLeaks published in 2010, revealing the war crimes and other abuses committed by the US and its allies around the world.
Interviewed for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Four Corners” program, Hollander emphasised that Manning, then a 21-year-old US military intelligence private, had initiated the contact with WikiLeaks after no corporate media outlet would even return her calls about the damning information she had obtained.
23 July 2019
Sputnik: The heavy-handed approach that is being taken against Julian Assange is often labelled as an attempt to dissuade future whistleblowing. What can be done to ensure that potential future whistle-blowers are protected?
Kristinn Hrafnsson: To protect whistle-blowers, we need to create a genuine law. The whistle-blowing laws that have been passed in many countries usually have the opposite effect. It’s not protecting the whistle-blower, they are outlining that you should go to certain platforms before you actually go to the media. You should talk to your boss, and then, you know, go up the steps. However, if you don’t stick completely to the process, then you’re open game. They will go after you. But in saying that, there is an understanding, and there’s an appreciation. People do appreciate what Edward Snowden did, apart from the American authorities of course. I mean, it was extremely important information that he brought us. We got involved in WikiLeaks with Edward Snowden because the media betrayed him. The Guardian journalist and the other American journalist working on the base of his material just left him in Hong Kong after they were, had been fed with the information. So he was just sitting there, a sitting duck waiting to be arrested or extradited. So we stepped in, and we’re actually helping him get into Latin America. His passport was revoked, and he was stranded in Moscow. And now, of course, being a condemned for seeking asylum in Russia, when actually the State Department in the US was responsible for him ending up there. So, to answer the question concisely, supporting of whistle-blowers in general, and at the same time, laws can be changed, and awareness of the importance of whistle-blowers can be raised on all platforms to ensure that this important work is carried out.
22 July 2019
ARTE’s 37-minute film about Julian Assange
19 July 2019
UN Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer: Julian Assange has no chance to get a fair trial in the US
Consortium News interviewed UN torture expert Nils Melzer, who has called for the end to the “collective persecution” of Assange after visiting him in prison and examining his case in depth. Melzer discusses the media’s role in perpetuating US/UK misinformation about Assange, his determination that Assange has been psychologically tortured, and his view that Assange has “no chance” at a fair trial if he is sent to the United States.
Workers, peasants and youth in Ecuador began a five-day strike Monday against the draconian policies of the Lenín Moreno administration, which is seeking to strengthen its ties to Washington and its military-intelligence apparatus.The strike constitutes the first major industrial action in the world demanding the freedom of Julian Assange. The demand is presented in the framework of growing opposition to the attacks against social and democratic rights associated with the Moreno administration’s totally servile policy toward US imperialism.
From 2013 to 2016, WikiLeaks made public portions of three major trade agreements — the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the Trade in Service Agreement (TiSA) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — which had been drafted and negotiated in secret, without proper democratic oversight. The publications contain multiple draft chapters and negotiating positions of participating countries. The revelations provided insight into concrete provisions of the agreements, which then fueled social justice and fair trade movements, civil rights organisations and trade unions in opposition to the agreements. The TPP and TTIP have since been stalled, while TiSA remains classified.
The trade documents, included in WikiLeaks’ searchable archive, are of continued use to unions, civil society organisations, researchers and policy analysts, as they make public the negotiations that the powerful would otherwise keep shielded from scrutiny.
16 July 2019
London’s Metropolitan Police threatened journalists with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act last Friday in an unprecedented attack on media freedom.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu announced that Counter Terrorism Command would investigate alleged breaches of the Official Secrets Act over publication of leaked diplomatic telegrams written by Sir Kim Darroch.
Speaking on Friday, Executive Director of the Society of Editors Ian Murray condemned the Met’s invocation of the Act against journalists, “Frankly it is the kind of approach we would expect from totalitarian regimes where the media are expected to be little more than a tame arm of the government.” The Met’s dictatorial edicts show the Assange precedent in action. The decision of the US government, with the backing of outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder under the Espionage Act for publishing leaked government documents has opened the floodgates.
Passed in 1917, the Espionage Act was heavily modelled on the original UK Official Secrets Act of 1889 that was updated just three years prior to the outbreak of World War I.
15 July 2019
Julian Assange was spied on 24 hours a day during the time that he spent at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he took refuge for seven years.
Documents, video and audio material that EL PAÍS has had access to show that a Spanish private defense and security firm named Undercover Global S. L., which was tasked with protecting the diplomatic building between 2012 and 2018, instructed its men to collect all possible information about the cyberactivist, particularly regarding his lawyers and collaborators.
Several video cameras, which were equipped with audio recording capability between December 2017 and March 2018, recorded dozens of meetings between the WikiLeaks founder and his attorneys and visitors. At these meetings, Assange’s legal defense strategy was discussed.
The security employees at the embassy had a daily job to do: to monitor Assange’s every move, record his conversations, and take note of his moods. The company’s drive to uncover their target’s most intimate secrets led the team to carry out a handwriting examination behind his back, which resulted in a six-page report. Company employees also took a feces sample from a baby’s diaper to check whether Assange and one of his most faithful collaborators were the child’s parents. This intelligence work had nothing to do with protection duties.
The security team for the Spanish company, which is based in Puerto Real (Cádiz), would write up a confidential report each day and send it to the company chief, David Morales, a former member of the military who trained with the special ops unit of the Marine Infantry, the marine corps of the Spanish Navy.
The interest in monitoring Assange’s meetings with his lawyers did not end when the Lenín Moreno administration canceled the contract with UC Global and hired Ecuadorian company Promsecurity to take its place. Video cameras continued to record all meetings, and at least on one occasion, either embassy personnel or the new security team photographed a folder brought in by the lawyer Aitor Martínez during a meeting break.
These photographs, as well as dozens of video and audio recordings, were recently used in an extortion attempt against Assange by several individuals based in Alicante, Spain. The courts are investigating the case, and two of the alleged extortionists were arrested.
Reporters for EL PAÍS found the spying on Assange’s legal defense meetings to be most significant. They were stunned by the fact that Assange felt he had to hold meetings in the women’s bathroom if he wanted to ensure privacy. And they took note of U.C. Global’s “feverish, obsessive vigilance” toward “the guest,” which became more intense after Lenin Moreno was elected president of Ecuador in May 2017.
That is not how CNN viewed the same cache of information compiled by the private security company and eventually used to allegedly extort Assange.
Although EL PAÍS makes no mention of meddling in the 2016 presidential election in its coverage, CNN approached the material like analysts at the CIA. They voraciously consumed logs hoping the documents would confirm Assange collaborated with Russian intelligence assets to release emails from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.
CNN was unable to find concrete proof, and the words “potentially” and “possibility” do heavy lifting for the media organization.
“New documents obtained exclusively by CNN reveal that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 US election, during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London,” the CNN report reads.
It adds, “The documents build on the possibility, raised by special counsel Robert Mueller in his report on Russian meddling, that couriers brought hacked files to Assange at the embassy.”
Yet, there is little to no evidence in the report to substantiate the conspiracy theory that CNN reporters want the public to believe.
12 July 2019
UN Torture Rapporteur Nils Melzer interviews on Assange
“Basically, I didn’t take [the request to examine Assange] seriously,” Melzer tells Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer on the latest installment of Scheer’s podcast, “Scheer Intelligence.” “It took a second attempt to kind of shake me a little bit and say, [I] need to look at this. Once I opened the book and started looking at the actual evidence and facts for all these nametags that are being circulated in the press, I was shocked to see that there was very little substance that actually supported these qualifications.”
United Nations: demasking the Torture of Julian Assange. Rico Brouwer and Nils Melzer
10 July 2019
“By granting asylum to Julian Assange in 2012, Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa made clear his country would no longer bow to US diktats. The decision this spring to allow Assange’s arrest shows how far Ecuador’s challenge to empire has faded.”
The impression created in many media reports over a number of years was that Assange had abused the hospitality of the Ecuadorian government in various ways. Was it your sense that these reports were fair and grounded in fact, or that there was an agenda behind them?
From the beginning, the Moreno government were trying to build up an argument and an evidence base in order to expel him later on. All these previous political conflicts that were cited in support of this decision — for instance, the idea that Assange had out-and-out supported Catalan independentists and in so doing engineered a diplomatic crisis with Spain — were seriously exaggerated. Since 2012, Assange continued to carry out his own political work [with Wikileaks], which never gave us a massive problem.
When we started seeing that there were efforts to relay conflicts that would take place within the embassy to the media — and to spin them in such an exaggerated way — I got the clear sense there was a political objective in all this, which was to justify the subsequent action against Assange.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture visited Assange in detention and gave an alarming report on his state of health. The 48-year-old reported massive anxiety disorders and had lost weight dramatically.
Amal Clooney speaks out about Julian Assange’s arrest
At the UK’s Defend Media Freedom conference, Special Envoy for Media Freedom Amal Clooney speaks about threats faced by journalists around the world, including Julian Assange.
Special Envoy for #MediaFreedom Ms Amal #Clooney speaks about the threats faced by journalists including the @wikileaks founder Mr. #Assange together with Foreign Secretary @Jeremy_Hunt and Foreign Minister @cafreeland.#FreeAssange #WeAreMillions pic.twitter.com/rk3mrm5iki
— Anonymous Scandinavia🌐#SafePassage⏳#NoExtradition (@AnonScan) July 10, 2019
8 July 2019
Whether we like it or not, Julian Assange is a dissident. He despises secrecy and cannot be tamed, bought or otherwise controlled. He has flooded the world with compromising disclosures, including evidence for war crimes, aggression and abuse, without ever resorting to violence or fake news. He has initiated a paradigm shift in public awareness and dried up safe havens of governmental impunity. And like everyone who endangers the perks of the powerful, he has been made to pay the price.
But how do you break a political dissident, a promoter of truth and transparency? Well, first you attack his reputation and credibility, and destroy his human dignity. You maintain a constant trickle of poisonous rumors, first half-truths and then increasingly bold lies. You keep him suspected of rape without trial, of hacking and spying, and of smearing feces on Embassy walls. You portray him as an ungrateful narcissist with a cat and a skateboard, whose only aim is self-glorifying exceptionalism.
By making him unlikeable in the eyes of the world, you ensure no one will feel any empathy, so once his voice is muzzled and his isolation complete, he can be burned at the stake with impunity. Most importantly, having degraded him to a clown for the entertainment of all, you will have diverted attention from his spotlight on your own crimes. Next, you make sure that any attempt of his to expose your lies comes at the cost of extradition to a hanging judge in a land bent to see his head on a stick, where torturers enjoy impunity. You then pressure his country of refuge into submission – military and economic leverage never fail – and you turn his protectors into enemies, and his daily existence into attritive hell.
The method is deliberate, concerted, and sustained, and employs isolation, hostility, and shame. Whether you call it “bullying,” “mobbing,” or “persecution” – in essence it is all the same.
Let us not be fooled, extraditing Assange was never about hacking, rape, espionage or narcissism. It is about drowning his radical challenge to government secrecy, which holds the power to change world affairs forever, inspired by the truths and principles proclaimed in the 1776 Declaration. That is why the powerful persecute Assange with ferocity, while proven war criminals are allowed to walk free.
A free Julian Assange activist is facing a misdemeanor charge for hanging signs on public utility poles in support of the WikiLeaks founder.
Andrew Smith, 28, of Elyria was cited on Saturday afternoon June 29 for hanging signs reading “Free Julian Assange,” “Free Speech Free Press” and others with similar messages.
As Smith was stapling a free Julian sign to a utility pole in front of a convenient store, a police officer driving by slowed down and shouted at Smith to stop what he was doing.
After several minutes sitting in the police vehicle, Smith was issued a citation for violating Oberlin City Ordinance 503.02 Advertising on Public Property.
Smith appeared in Oberlin Municipal Court in Ohio on 5 July, when a hearing was scheduled for 18 August 2019.
Stefania Maurizi, an Italian investigative journalist who writes for La Repubblica, has been fighting a four-year battle with the CPS to release correspondence between the UK, Sweden, Ecuador and the US on the investigation into WikiLeaks and its founder.
The current case began in 2015, when Maurizi filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for all the correspondence relating to Assange between the CPS and the US State Department and US Department of Justice, the CPS and the Swedish Prosecution Authority, and the CPS and the Ecuadorian Embassy.
The CPS and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) refused the request in August 2015. Maurizi appealed to the First-tier Tribunal (FTT), which dismissed her appeal in December 2017.
Lawyers for Maurizi argued in the Upper Tribunal yesterday (1 July 2019) that the FTT made significant errors in law in refusing to order the CPS to confirm the existence of the correspondence under the Freedom of Information Act.
Maurizi told Computer Weekly that the correspondence between the CPS and US prosecutors could shed light on any collaboration between the US and UK after the US began investigations into Assange following WikiLeaks’ publication of secret files, including the Afgan and Iraq war logs, in 2010.
“The US-UK correspondence is absolutely crucial. If my lawyers and I win the case, we might be able to finally establish whether the US had discussed charges and extradition with the UK authorities from the very beginning,” she said.
The case is expected to have significant implications for journalists and, if Maurizi is successful, will make it easier to establish what information prosecutors hold in extradition cases.
Today’s #WeAreMillions photo for Julian Assange
Newly elected Greek MP, cofounder of transnational movement DiEM25, and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis
3 July 2019
Julian Assange turns 48 today
Julian Assange’s father has celebrated his son’s 48th birthday in Melbourne, saying his son is determined to fight for his freedom.
John Shipton joined a crowd of supporters at Melbourne’s Federation Square on Wednesday to record a video message singing Happy Birthday to the Wikileaks founder.
Mr Shipton lamented that he’d prefer to celebrate with his son in person.
“It’s very distressing and one can’t think too much about it without becoming overwrought, so it’s best to attend to practical matters, to assure that Julian can come home and we can have a cup of coffee together at Fed Square,” Mr Shipton said.
“His health has stabilised and his spirit is extremely strong, and (he is) determined to fight for his freedom and for freedom of press to inform us of what our governments are doing,” Mr Shipton said.
Melbourne is one of 60 cities participating in the global celebrations held across seven continents in honour of Assange’s birthday.
Australian barrister Greg Barns, who is campaigning to bring Assange home, called on Australians to remember the importance of free speech.
“Those calling for greater support for freedom of the press need to be putting it also in the context of Julian Assange, who is an Australian and suffering as a result of an attack on the free press,” Mr Barns said.
#Candles4Assange Dusk US Embassy NZ;
Wellington kicked off action in >60 cities holding birthday vigils for Julian Assange
POURING with rain HARD!
— Candles4Assange (@Candles4Assange) July 3, 2019
Assange’s lack of freedom is our lack of freedom, his persecution is ours. His freedom must be our freedom. https://t.co/Y947mVC5a5
— Tim Canova (@Tim_Canova) July 2, 2019
|̶ ̶ ̶ ̶|appy Birthday Julian Assange. Thank you for your sacrifice and your service. In my view and that of the Green Party of the United States, you are indeed a hero and must be set free immediately. #FreeJulianAssange pic.twitter.com/Cpb7DzaDMA
— Manchik for Congress (@Joe_Manchik) July 3, 2019
‘A journalist should not pay such a price for exposing war crimes and torture’@SMaurizi on what the UN Rapporteur on torture @NilsMelzer called ‘progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’ against #JulianAssange #WikiLeaks pic.twitter.com/bODrbQy7fe
— sebastian pacher (@sebpacher) July 2, 2019
Today’s #WeAreMillions photo for Julian Assange:
“Imagine it: Years from now people will say: Oh, if only I had known what we were losing when they abused this decent and courageous man! I would have done something! But now, what can I do, since these days I don’t dare express what I know and think! Regret is too often the fruit of silence”
– Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist.
2 July 2019
Tomorrow is Julian Assange’s 48th birthday
- Here’s how you can take action to support him
- Here’s a list of vigils planned for Julian around the world — find an event near you
- Here’s where to upload your photo expressing solidarity with Assange — share it on social media with the hashtags #WeAreMillions and #FreeAssange
#Candles4Assange Global B’day Vigil 3 July 2019:
STOP the WAR on JOURNALISM!
Protect the Whistleblowers | Prosecute the War Criminals
🗺: https://t.co/kV6Xx7aRMU pic.twitter.com/dW4WWvgpjv
— Candles4Assange (@Candles4Assange) July 1, 2019
Stefania Maurizi, who works for Italian newspaper La Repubblica, said she wanted to “defend the right of the press to access the documents on the Assange case” in a message on Twitter ahead of the hearing.
The case relates to a Freedom of Information request made by Maurizi in September 2015 to the UK Crown Prosecution Service asking for all of its correspondence with the Swedish Prosecution Authority, which sought to extradite Assange over a rape allegation in 2012.
They said the question of whether a tribunal court should consider the facts as they were at the time of the original FOI decision or at the present time was an “important” issue and one that “has been troubling the Upper Tribunal for some time”.
They added in a briefing note that this would have wider implications beyond the Assange case because it would mean journalists can “rely on any factual changes” when the appeal to the FTT.
“This would make the FOIA regime much more user-friendly for journalists and other requesters,” they went on.
“As things presently stand, even though an appeal to the FTT is a full appeal with witness evidence, the FTT routinely consider a ‘historic’ public interest when deciding whether to release information.”
A judgment in the case is expected by the end of the week.
If Maurizi wins the appeal, the case will be heard again by the FTT. If she loses, she plans to continue the case to the Court of Appeal and, if needed, the Supreme Court and ultimately the European Court of Human Rights.
27 June 2019
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, who last month detailed and condemned the “collective persecution” that led to Julian Assange’s “psychological torture,” has written a piece explaining how he came to understand Assange’s situation after being “blinded by propaganda.”
Melzner goes through several of the top smears against Assange point by point and explains how he was initially misled by mainstream media accounts into believing misinformation about him.
Like most of the public, I had been subconsciously poisoned by the relentless smear campaign, which had been disseminated over the years. So it took a second knock on my door to get my reluctant attention. But once I looked into the facts of this case, what I found filled me with repulsion and disbelief.
Melzner shows how Assange has been painted as a rapist, a hacker, a Russian spy, a narcissist, and how a look at the actual events is was eye-opening.
In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News.
Very well, you may say, but what does slander have to do with torture? Well, this is a slippery slope. What may look like mere «mudslinging» in public debate, quickly becomes “mobbing” when used against the defenseless, and even “persecution” once the State is involved. Now just add purposefulness and severe suffering, and what you get is full-fledged psychological torture.
Read the full piece, which Melzner says was offered to but not accepted for publication by the Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Canberra Times, the Telegraph, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek, here.
Upcoming events include:
- a court hearing for Stefania Maurizi’s Freedom Of Information litigation
- a panel discussion on Assange
- a vigil for Julian’s birthday (July 3rd)
- a demonstration in Trafalgar Square
The Socialist Equality Party (Australia) has called a rally this Saturday, 12 p.m. at Sydney’s Martin Place Amphitheatre, in defence of Julian Assange.
The demonstration will demand that the Australian government take immediate action to prevent the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the United States, where he faces life imprisonment or the death penalty, and secure his complete freedom. It will call for the immediate release of the courageous whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who has been jailed by the Trump administration for over a month because of her principled refusal to give perjured testimony against Assange.
All workers, students, young people and defenders of civil liberties should join the Sydney rally and promote it as widely as possible.
26 June 2019
Jameel Jaffer, in The New Yorker:
The problem with [the US government’s] increasing reliance on the Espionage Act to sanction insiders who reveal secrets to the press is that the act collapses all of the distinctions that should matter in those cases. It draws no distinction between insiders who share information with foreign intelligence services and those who share it with the media, or between those who intend to harm the United States and those who intend to inform the public about the abuse of government power. The act doesn’t admit of the possibility of secrets that are illegitimate, or widely known, or no longer sensitive, instead treating all disclosures of “information relating to the national defense” as subject, at least in theory, to the harshest penalties. The act is blind to the possibility that the public’s interest in learning of government incompetence, corruption, or criminality might outweigh the government’s interest in protecting a given secret. It is blind to the difference between whistle-blowers and spies. The government’s now-routine use of the Espionage Act against journalists’ sources suggests that it, too, has lost sight of these distinctions.
Safeguarding the public’s right to know requires protecting not just journalists and publishers but sources as well. In recent years, some press-freedom advocates have urged the courts to afford government insiders charged under the Espionage Act an opportunity to argue that the public’s interest in learning the information they disclosed outweighed the government’s interest in protecting it. In an era in which the President has trouble differentiating journalists from “enemies of the people,” it may be up to the courts, and the people themselves, to insist on differentiating whistle-blowers from spies.
Ted Galen Carpenter, for the CATO Institute:
Successfully prosecuting Assange and WikiLeaks for espionage would be a devastating threat to a free and independent press in the United States.
We must not allow the government to decide who is or is not a “legitimate” journalist. Yet that is exactly Washington’s ploy in the Assange case. If federal prosecutors prevail with that argument and eventually convict him of espionage, the implicit protections that the Pentagon Papers ruling has afforded the press will be severely diluted. Only legacy publications friendly to the national security bureaucracy could then count on government restraint—and as Trump’s outburst against the New York Timesfor its Russia cyberwar article demonstrates, even that expectation could become quite fragile. Obstreperous online outlets and their writers would routinely find themselves under threat of criminal prosecution if they dared publish a negative story based on classified information. At a minimum, there would be a pronounced chilling effect on (already insufficient) foreign policy dissent in the media.
WISE Up Action recounts UN special procedures’ statements on Assange over the last 7 years:
This journey through time shows how UN repeatedly called for Julian Assange to be freed. However the US Government seems not to want a fair fight on this matter. As qualified opinions explained so many times, US are aware that in case they play a honest battle, they will loose, since, as highlighted by attorney Bill Simpich they know very well that “revealing war crimes is not a crime”.
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture; Human Rights Chair, Geneva Academy; Professor of International Law, University of Glasgow
Professor of International Law; Chair, Rapporteur, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention 2009-2013; Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, 1999-2006
Section Chief, Special Procedures Branch, OHCHR
Permanent Representative of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers to UNOG
Investigative journalist; Editor-in-Chief, WikiLeaks
Barrister, Doughty St Chambers
25 June 2019
Courage announces We Are Millions, a massive photo campaign to demonstrate global support for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange as he fights extradition to the United States, where he would face unprecedented prosecution.
We Are Millions features supporters holding signs to express simply and clearly why they are standing up for Julian Assange, whom the US seeks to punish for publishing hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and military documents in 2010. Those releases exposed war crimes, uncounted civilian casualties and rampant corruption and abuse. The Trump Administration has brought 17 counts of Espionage against Assange, the first ever such charges for a journalist, threatening a lifetime in prison.
Filmmakers Ken Loach and Oliver Stone, economist Yanis Varoufakis, theatre director Angela Richter, philosopher Slavoj Žižek, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges are among hundreds who have already taken a stand for Assange.
Ken Loach explained why he was joining the campaign:
“Politicians and the courts, who knowingly put Julian Assange in mortal danger by sending him to the USA, will be excoriated for not defending the freedom of the press. The unprincipled hacks, from the far right to the fake lefts, who join in his abuse, are revealed as dishonourable cowards, a disgrace to their profession.”
Julian Assange has been granted the 2019 Danny Schechter Global Vision Award for Journalism & Activism by not-for-profit educational foundation The Global Center. As a press release announcing the award explains, The DANNY is “awarded annually to an individual who best emulates Schechter’s practice of combining excellent journalism with social advocacy and activism.”
The DANNY Award announcement warns, ”The Assange case represents a threat not only to freedom of expression but also to the heart of American democracy itself.”
24 June 2019
On the evening of Thursday, June 20th, the Ecuadorian court accepted the writ of habeas corpus granting the release of renowned Swedish free software and privacy advocate Ola Bini, detained since April 11th, 2019 in Quito.
After hearing the news, Ola Bini responded: “I would like to thank the people of Ecuador. I want to thank everyone in the world. I want to thank my team, –everyone, for believing in me. Today, we have proven my innocence for the first time and we will continue to prove my innocence. I want to thank the judges for showing what we’ve been saying the whole time; that this process has been illegal and that I was illegally detained. And, — I want to say my heartfelt thanks, for all the support and love from my parents, and my family, and everyone out there. Thank you, everyone!”. You can watch the full video of the statement here.
Felicity Ruby and Scott Ludlam on the courage of Julian Assange
In June 2019, the Australian Federal Police came through the doors of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst’s home, and then the ABC’s offices in Sydney, sending a chill across Australia’s media establishment. Suddenly, the reality of a state crackdown on national-security journalism has come home; the raids were linked directly with stories about Australian Signals Directorate spying powers and allegations of war crimes committed by Australian personnel in Afghanistan. The parallels are too strong to ignore: this is precisely the kind of publishing that has cost Assange a decade of his life and may cost him a great deal more.
Throughout the last nine years, while arbitrarily detained, maligned and defamed, Assange has sounded warning after warning after warning on the threats to freedom of the press through public appearances by video, by submissions to Australian parliamentary inquiries, and through publishing information in the public interest, even when doing so severely disadvantaged his legal situation. Still, somehow, believing that courage is contagious, Assange awaits his fate in Belmarsh prison, his well-being in the hands of others. ‘I am defenceless and am counting on you and others of good character to save my life’, he wrote in a letter to journalist Gordon Dimmack in May 2019. ‘Truth ultimately is all we have.’
“EL PAÍS has accessed recordings that police made of the group who tried to sell the WikiLeaks founder sensitive personal material from his stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London”
Thanks to assistance from the police, there is recorded evidence of a meeting at Madrid’s Reina Victoria Hotel in which a Spanish reporter named José Martín Santos and two computer experts attempted to sell WikiLeaks sensitive material in connection with an alleged case of spying against Julian Assange while he was living at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
In the recorded conversation, to which EL PAÍS has had access, the alleged extortionists said that there were microphones at the embassy, and that all recorded material involving the WikiLeaks founder was being handed over to the ambassador for review. Martín and one of his associates in Alicante offered WikiLeaks the opportunity to spy on their spies, for a price. Two of the three alleged extortionists have since been arrested and are now being investigated by the courts.
20 June 2019
Tariq Ali and Margaret Kunstler have edited a new compilation of essays in defense of Julian Assange, including the Courage Foundation on the ‘Assange Precedent’. Proceeds from the book will go to Courage to support Assange’s defense.
It is critical now to build support for Assange and prevent his delivery into the hands of the Trump administration. That is the urgent purpose of this book. A wide range of distinguished contributors, many of them in original pieces, here set out the story of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, the importance of their work, and the dangers for us all in the persecution they face. In Defense of Julian Assange is a vivid, vital intervention into one of the most important political issues of our day.
Contributors: Pamela Anderson, Julian Assange, Renata Avila, Katrin Axelsson, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Sally Burch, Noam Chomsky, Patrick Cockburn, Naomi Colvin, The Courage Foundation, Mark Curtis, Daniel Ellsberg, Teresa Forcades i Vila, Charles Glass, Kevin Gosztola, Serge Halimi, Nozomi Hayase, Chris Hedges, Srećko Horvat, Caitlin Johnstone, Margaret Kimberley, Geoffroy de Lagasnerie, Lisa Longstaff, Alan MacLeod, Chelsea Manning, Stefania Maurizi, Craig Murray, Fidel Narváez, John C. O’Day, John Pilger, Jesselyn Radack, Michael Ratner, Angela Richter, Geoffrey Robertson, Jen Robinson, Matt Taibbi, Natalia Viana, Ai Weiwei, Vivienne Westwood and Slavoj Žižek.
“The thing the CFAA and Espionage Act have in common is criminalizing regular processes of journalism,” Quinn Norton told CPJ.
“Part of my tremendous worry about this indictment is that federal prosecutors are going to parse conversation between sources and journalists closely, looking for narrow violations of the law,” said Ryan Tate, the technology editor at The Intercept.
In the Assange indictment, Norton sees the government doubling down, she told CPJ this month. “CFAA charges represent a way to harass journalists away from covering a lot of potential stories,” she said. The charge against Assange, she said, is “sending a message” to technology reporters. “It’s like installing censors in our heads.”
Media Lens expands on UN torture expert Nils Melzner’s example of the mainstream media’s character assassination against Assange — in this instance, using his long beard at the time of his arrest to paint him as a ‘weirdo’, despite the fact that Ecuador had revoked his shaving kit 3 months previously:
As we noted in a media alert last week, the groundwork for the persecution of Assange has been laid by a demonising state-corporate propaganda campaign. Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, who is also Professor of International Law at the University of Glasgow, has turned the accepted ‘mainstream’ view of Assange completely on its head:
‘First of all, we have to realize that we have all been deliberately misled about Mr Assange. The predominant image of the shady “hacker”, “sex offender” and selfish “narcissist” has been carefully constructed, disseminated and recycled in order to divert attention from the extremely powerful truths he exposed, including serious crimes and corruption on the part of multiple governments and corporations.
‘By making Mr Assange “unlikeable” and ridiculous in public opinion, an environment was created in which no one would feel empathy with him, very similar to the historic witch-hunts, or to modern situations of mobbing at the workplace or in school.’ (Our emphasis)
As discussed, Nils Melzer argues that Assange has become ‘”unlikeable” and ridiculous in public opinion’, not because of who he is, but because of a state-sponsored propaganda campaign – the journalists listed above are either complicit or dupes. This media charade was exposed with great clarity by Melzer’s revelation on Twitter:
‘How public humiliation works: On 11 April, Julian Assange was mocked for his beard throughout the world. During my visit, he explained to us that his shaving kit had been deliberately taken away three months earlier.’
It had simply never occurred to the great herd of journalists – which understood that Assange was someone to be smeared, mocked and abused – that his appearance might have something to do with Ecuador’s brutal treatment cutting off his communications, his visitors and even his medical care. Fidel Narvaez, former consul at the Ecuadorian embassy from the first day Assange arrived, on 19 June 2012, until 15 July 2018, said the Ecuadorian regime under president Lenin Moreno had tried to make life ‘unbearable’ for Assange.
Interview: Geoffrey Robertson QC discusses the US indictment and extradition claim against his client, Julian Assange.
19 June 2019
A cross-group of MEPs are calling on the European Commission to intervene and stop the extradition of Julian Assange from the UK to the US.
The letter, signed by 37 MEPs – including 32 from the Left – deplores the US request to prosecute the founder of Wikileaks, and it underlines the importance of the right to information as a fundamental pillar of our democracy.
MEPs shared the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer’s grave concerns that the extradition would put Assange at risk of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
It also urges Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans to uphold Assange’s human rights under international and EU laws, with particular reference to the new legislation that provides whistleblowers protection inside the EU.
You can read the letter here.
The assault on Julian Assange is nothing less than an attack on the truth and a threat to global security. A world in which the US government secretly pursues hostile actions, unchecked by any independent oversight, is a danger to all mankind. Julian Assange has served the interests of the people of the world by truthfully revealing activities that undermine peace and security. The Peace Action Committee of the Green Party of the United States calls upon the US Justice Department to drop all charges against Julian Assange, and we call upon the UK government to release Assange from prison.
18 June 2019
DOJ tells Chelsea Manning it is investigating others in addition to Assange
In a motion opposing Chelsea Manning’s request to reconsider the punitive sanctions imposed on her for refusing to testify to a WikiLeaks grand jury, the US Department of Justice justified continuing to imprison Manning on the basis that her testifmony is needed for prosecutions beyond that of Assange:
As the government’s ex parte submissions reflect, Manning’s testimony remains relevant and essential to an ongoing investigation into charges or targets that are not included in the superseding indictment.
“[Assange] didn’t have an opportunity to defend himself. And that’s the first major issue here. He doesn’t even have a computer. He doesn’t have access to documents. He’s kept, a lot of the time, isolated”
“You worry daily the rest of your life will be spent in a country that doesn’t want to treat you as a human & wants to lock you up in a small box”
Lauri Love, who successfully fought extradition to the US, talks about Julian Assange’s full extradition hearing being postponed. pic.twitter.com/qFR3xyIARh
— RT UK (@RTUKnews) June 17, 2019
The publication of classified documents is not a crime in the United States, but if Assange is extradited and convicted it will become one. Assange is not an American citizen. WikiLeaks, which he founded and publishes, is not a U.S.-based publication. The message the U.S. government is sending is clear: No matter who or where you are, if you expose the inner workings of empire you will be hunted down, kidnapped and brought to the United States to be tried as a spy. The extradition and trial of Assange will mean the end of public investigations by the press into the crimes of the ruling elites. It will cement into place a frightening corporate tyranny. Publications such as The New York Times and The Guardian, which devoted pages to the WikiLeaks revelations and later amplified and legitimized Washington’s carefully orchestrated character assassination of Assange, are no less panicked. This is the gravest assault on press freedom in my lifetime.
Commenting in 2018 when Assange’s lawyers requested that the warrant for his arrest be dropped, [Judge Emma] Arbuthnot said, “I accept that Mr. Assange had expressed fears of being returned to the United States from a very early stage in the Swedish extradition proceedings but, absent any evidence from Mr. Assange on oath, I do not find that Mr. Assange’s fears were reasonable,”
This statement by the judge captures the Alice-in-Wonderland quality of the judicial persecution of Assange. She dismisses as unreasonable Assange’s fears that if he voluntarily left the Ecuadorian Embassy he would be arrested by British police and extradited to the United States because he did not appear in court to express them. And yet, she is now presiding over his extradition trial.
This circular logic is not the only disturbing aspect of Judge Arbuthnot’s overseeing of the Assange case. She is married to James Arbuthnot, who sits in the House of Lords, is a British Conservative Party politician, was the minister of state at the Ministry of Defense and for nine years was the chairman of the Defense Select Committee in the House of Commons, a committee that oversees the operation of the Ministry of Defense and the armed forces. Arbuthnot, who was reprimanded while a member of Parliament for diverting public funds to maintain his two homes, is a director at SC Strategy, established by John Scarlett, the former head of the British foreign intelligence service MI6. The politician also is on the advisory board of Thales UK, a huge arms manufacturer whose corrupt business practices, which included massive bribes to heads of state in exchange for arms contracts, were exposed when some of its internal documents were published by WikiLeaks.
Hedges recently spoke to UN torture expert Nils Melzner about his assessment of Assange’s persecution
17 June 2019
U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, ordered that “if Chelsea Manning does not purge herself of contempt within 30 days of this Order, she shall incur a conditional fine of $500 per day until such time as she purges herself of contempt.”
The fines will double next month to $1,000 per day under the judge’s order.
Manning’s lawyers filed a motion late last month asking the court to reconsider the sanctions, calling them definitionally punitive rather than coercive. The government disagreed in a filing of its own Friday but proposed that Manning provide evidence of her financial records to see whether a hearing should be held for the court to asses her ability to pay. A ruling from the judge has not yet been docketed.
Britain’s Interior Minister Sajid Javid has admittedly signed the decision which means that the only thing that stands in the way of being released to the United States is some nervous British judges who will certainly feel a strong lobbying campaign from the United States.
Pressure has played a role throughout this remarkable and semi-improvised court case and they will do so in the future as well.
But it also means that protests can make a difference.
The International Federation of Journalists has passed a motion calling on the UK and Australian governments “to resist the application to extradite Assange to the United States” (PDF)
The recent indictments filed by the US Government against Julian Assange pose a threat to journalists and journalism around the world.
The indictments clearly seek to prosecute Assange for the receipt and the publication of vital information in the public interest, clearly at odds with previous decisions of the US Supreme Court to protect First Amendment rights.
The congress supports the call of our affiliates for the governments of the United Kingdom and Australia to resist the application to extradite Assange to the United States.
The Federal Foreign Minister must assert his influence and campaign for Assange’s release. In no case should the Whistleblower be delivered to the USA. … Finally, it is also important to implement United Nations international standards for the protection of whistleblowers
The arrests are a serious attack on democratic rights aimed at intimidating supporters of WikiLeaks and preventing broader layers of the population from joining the campaign to demand Assange’s freedom. The police action should be opposed by all defenders of democratic rights. The charges against Grech must be immediately withdrawn.
14 June 2019
At Julian Assange’s extradition hearing today at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, which Assange attended via videolink from HMP Belmarsh, the full substantive proceedings were scheduled for five days in February 2020. Assange will also have a hearing in October this year.
As law commentator Joshua Rosenberg reports,
Assange’s lawyers say he is ‘resident in health care; at Belmarsh prison. He has no access to a computer and court documents have to be sent to him by post.
Assange speaks to deny that he is charged with computer hacking. CPS lawyer refers to count 18 on the indictment: conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. He is told he will be back in court in October.
Assange hearing ends. His lawyers say he will be appealing against his sentence for the bail offence.
Article 19 released a statement today opposing Assange’s extradition:
Executive Director of ARTICLE 19, Thomas Hughes said:
“If extradited to the US, Julian Assange would be prosecuted and potentially imprisoned for exposing human rights violations committed by the US Government and military.
It would be the first time that the Espionage Act has been used in the United States to prosecute a journalist for publishing information that was truthful and in the public interest.
The UK should not be complicit in this assault on press freedom, which would set a dangerous precedent for investigative journalists and whistleblowers in the UK, US and beyond.”
PEN International and English PEN released a statement yesterday, upon UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid certifying the US extradition order:
Update – 13 June 2019
In light of the UK home secretary’s worrying decision to sign a US extradition order for Julian Assange, PEN International and English PEN said:
‘PEN International and English PEN are disappointed by Sajid Javid’s decision to sign a request for Julian Assange to be extradited to the United States, particularly as he could face the risk of serious human rights violations. It took Javid only two months to rule on this request, in sharp contrast to other extradition cases where the Home Office took several years examining the case, before signing the order. Once again, we urge the judicial authorities in the UK not to extradite Assange to the US, as the charges are far-reaching and set a dangerous precedent that could affect the legitimate work of journalists and publishers everywhere.’
MEAA and other journalist unions put forth a motion opposing Assange’s indictment and extradition:
A motion from @withMEAA and other journalists unions regarding the extradition and prosecution of Julian Assange has been passed at #IFJTunis. Thanks to our @IFJGlobal colleagues for their support. pic.twitter.com/EbDb1HLFGG
— Karen Percy (@PercyKaren) June 14, 2019
Regardless of what happens next, the indictment should be perceived as an ominous threat to newsgathering and journalism, Jaffer said. “The U.S.’s indictment of Assange should be understood as an assault on press freedom, because the theory of the indictment is that routine practices of investigative journalism are criminal,” he said. “Cultivating sources, communicating with sources confidentially, protecting sources’ identities, and publishing government secrets—this is what good national security journalists do every day.”
“Trump’s DOJ is acting more aggressively, but it is building off of a blueprint set out by the Obama Administration, including dusting off old cases that were left to die on the vine and bringing new ones using and expanding legal precedents set during the Obama Administration,” says Jesselyn Radack, a national security and human rights attorney who specializes in representing whistleblowers. She now represents Daniel Everette Hale, a 31-year old former Air Force intelligence analyst, who was charged in May for violating the Espionage Act.
“The Trump Administration wants quell information that it does not want the public to know, especially information that exposes government fraud, waste, abuse of power and illegality, i.e. classic whistleblowing disclosures that have exposed this countries darkest atrocities: war crimes, torture, and secret domestic surveillance.”
The U.S. government’s aggressive prosecution of leaks and efforts to control information are already having a chilling effect on journalists and government whistle-blowers. Many journalistic sources, including those of TIME, have shifted to encrypted means of communication or don’t engage at all as a result of the Assange indictment.
12 June 2019
More than 50 US, UK, Australian & Canadian academics, human rights activists and lawyers have signed an open letter calling on the US and UK governments to immediately release Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning from prison.
The letter, organised by Newcastle University Professor Iain Munro and published in the Independent, reads in full:
Assange and Manning must be released
Over the past decade, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have revealed human rights abuses and a string of instances of corporate, government and intelligence agency corruption. As scholars and citizens concerned with the protection of whistleblowers and a free press, with the ability to hold government to account for such abuses we call for the immediate release of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning from prison.
We reiterate the concerns of the United Nations special rapporteurs regarding the ongoing mistreatment of Mr Assange and Ms Manning by the US and UK authorities, and affirm the statement of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that “the right of Mr Assange to personal liberty should be restored”.
Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei: the UK must stop Assange’s extradition to the US
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I visited Julian Assange with his father today at 2pm. He is in the prison hospital and his health is deteriorating. He is grateful for the support given to him. The UK and Europe must defend human rights and stop his extradition to the US where he faces 18 charges and up to 175 years in jail.
A post shared by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on
[Julian Assange’s] arrest eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The illegalities carried by the Ecuadorian, British and U.S. governments in the seizure of Julian two months ago from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London are ominous. They presage a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes, especially war crimes, carried out by the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presage a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse of power, no matter what their nationality, will be hunted down around the globe and seized, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given lifetime prison terms. They presage an Orwellian dystopia where journalism is outlawed and replaced with propaganda, trivia, entertainment and indoctrination to make us hate those demonized by the state as our enemies.
We must build popular movements to force the British government to halt the extradition and judicial lynching of Julian. We must build popular movements to force the Australian government to intervene on behalf of Julian. We must build popular movements to reclaim democracy and the rule of law. If Julian is extradited and tried, it will create a legal precedent that will terminate the ability of the press, which Donald Trump has attacked as “the enemy of the people,” to hold power accountable. The crimes of war and finance, the persecution of dissidents, minorities and immigrants, the pillaging of the ecosystem and the ruthless impoverishment of working men and women to swell the profits of corporations and consolidate the global oligarchs’ total grip on power will no longer be part of public debate. First Julian. Then us.
Those who deny Assange’s journalism are denying him a major part of his defence. The First Amendment free speech provisions of the US Constitution provide protections for publishers and journalists who would otherwise be subject to prosecution under the US Espionage Act (1917).
By arguing that Assange is not a journalist – though he is a fully paid-up member of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance – journalists are giving ammunition to the US administration to prosecute Assange for espionage, a crime that carries a possible life sentence. And if the prosecutors can prove that Assange acted deliberately to damage US national security and aid a foreign power, the death sentence.
Journalists should also understand that they could be next. All those journalists who believe this is far-fetched don’t have to look any further than the federal police raid on the ABC’s Sydney headquarters to understand it is not.
Journalist Andrew Fowler discusses Julian Assange: character assassination, Clinton publications, psychological warfare, Belmarsh and Nils Melzer’s report on Assange’s condition:
10 June 2019
The Justice Department has delivered to officials in the United Kingdom a formal extradition request for Julian Assange, making further U.S. charges against the WikiLeaks founder unlikely.
A U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter said the request was sent Thursday. The United States’ treaty with Britain required that the request be sent within 60 days of Assange’s April 11 arrest at the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.
The same treaty bars the United States from prosecuting Assange for any alleged crimes beyond those outlined in the extradition request, unless those acts occur after his extradition. In an 18-count indictment filed last month, prosecutors charged Assange with violating the Espionage Act and conspiring to hack into a government computer.
A grand jury investigation of Assange has remained active in recent weeks. Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, whose interactions with Assange form the basis of the charges against him, remains in jail for refusing to testify before the grand jury.
9 June 2019
On successive days this week the Australian Federal Police has raided the homes and workplaces of journalists, as part of a hunt for the sources of stories about a proposal to increase surveillance powers of citizens and the alleged conduct of Australian military in Afghanistan.
The raids come at time when freedom of the media is a much discussed topic courtesy of the United States recently filing charges against Australian publisher and journalist Julian Assange under that country’s espionage laws
The game has changed for Assange. And the stakes got higher for everyone: his prosecution could form a precedent, for generations, for the limits on what the public can know about how the secret services and the military work.
[Pentagon Papers lawyer James] Goodale can see a future Assange v United States going all the way to the US Supreme Court.
“I think the world should pay attention to it. It will be a defining case. [A conviction would] make it constitutional to have the equivalent of an Official Secrets Act in the US. It was always thought the First Amendment would stop [that].”
Australia already has its equivalent of Britain’s Official Secrets Act, the 1914 Crimes Act, cited this week after AFP raids on the home of a News Corp journalist and the ABC’s Ultimo offices over leaked classified material. There is, however, no Australian equivalent of the US Constitution’s First Amendment protecting free speech.
Spanish translation of Courage’s new brief:
La expulsión de Julian Assange de la embajada de Ecuador en Londres el 11 de abril de 2019 marcó la culminación del esfuerzo de años del presidente de Ecuador Lenin Moreno para incumplir el compromiso de Ecuador de proteger al editor de Wikileaks de la persecución de Estados Unidos. Cuando Moreno asumió la presidencia el 24 de mayo de 2017 ya había empezado a minar las protecciones de Assange. Rafael Correa, quien le había otorgado asilo a Julian Assange, denominó las acciones de Moreno como “una de las más grandes traiciones de la historia de América Latina”.
7 June 2019
The United States Department of Justice is preparing a new superseding indictment against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange before the extradition request deadline on June 14.
Dutch public broadcaster NOS reported that convicted fraudster and FBI informant Sigurdur Thordarson was flown to the United States last week where he was “comprehensively interrogated.”
NOS reported that on May 6th this year, FBI Special Agent Megan Brown, who leads the FBI investigation against Assange, travelled to Iceland together with prosecutor Kellen Dwyer from the Eastern District of Virginia, to re-interrogate FBI informant Thordarson with the help of Icelandic police.
Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, responded in a WikiLeaks press release:
“The Trump administration is so desperate to build its case against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange that it is using a diagnosed sociopath, a convicted conman and sex criminal, who was exposed by the highest levels of the Icelandic government as an FBI informant and who was involved in an entrapment operation in 2011 against Julian Assange.”
More from the release:
Thordarson told NOS that the interrogations focussed on his own communications with fellow FBI-informant Hector Monsegur (aka ‘SABU’). These contacts involve an operation by the FBI that was exposed as an “entrapment” operation “against Julian Assange” by the Interior Minister of Iceland, Ögmundur Jonasson, as reported by the Daily Mail in 2013.
While the case would collapse in the U.S. due to the prosecution’s reliance on testimony by Thordarson and Monsegur, who are not credible witnesses, the United States can conceal their witnesses’ identities during UK extradition proceedings in order to boost their chances of winning. This will make it impossible for Assange to challenge the credibility of the witnesses during UK extradition proceedings, which will commence on 14 June.
Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor of WikiLeaks, yesterday sent a letter demanding an explanation from Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Justice Minister Þórdís Kolbrún Gylfadóttir, Chief of the National Police Haraldur Johannessen, and General Prosecutor Sigríður J. Friðjónsdóttir regarding the Icelandic government’s participation in what is widely recognised to be a US-led political persecution against foreign members of the press, including Icelandic citizens, for their role in exposing war crimes and other illegal activities during consecutive US administrations.
The first substantive US extradition hearing, previously planned for 12 June has now been moved to 14 June. The hearing will be in Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court.
The expulsion of Julian Assange from Ecuador’s embassy in London on 11 April 2019 marked the culmination of President Lenín Moreno’s years-long effort to renege on Ecuador’s commitment to protect the WikiLeaks publisher from the United States’ persecution. By the time he took office on 24 May 2017, Moreno had already begun working on undermining Assange’s protections, a process that Moreno’s predecessor Rafael Correa, who granted Assange asylum in 2012, called “one of the greatest betrayals in Latin American history.”
Because Ecuador’s left-leaning citizenry is wary of overt signs of Western influence after decades of Latin American intervention, the more US-friendly President Moreno could not immediately expel Assange upon taking office without affronting those who elected him, though he was quick to call Assange an “inherited problem” and a “stone in the shoe.” Instead, Moreno gradually ratcheted up restrictions, surveillance, and threats on Julian Assange over the course of his presidential term to build a pretext for ultimately revoking asylum and inviting British police into Ecuador’s embassy.
Even before he took office, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno had already begun working on undermining Assange’s protections
6 June 2019
Speaking to The Canary, Melzer explained whom he holds chiefly responsible for this “psychological torture”, and where this treatment sits within international law:
The evidence made available to me strongly suggests that the primary responsibility for the sustained and concerted abuse inflicted on Mr Assange falls on the governments of the United Kingdom, Sweden, the United States and, more recently, also Ecuador. Accordingly, these governments would be responsible jointly for the foreseeable cumulative effect of their conduct, but also each of them separately for their respective contributions, whether through direct perpetration, instigation, consent, or acquiescence. Further, each of them has consistently failed to protect Mr Assange from serious abuse, insult and intimidation by media and other private actors within their jurisdiction.
On why Assange is being so aggressively persecuted:
The only realistic explanation for this sustained systemic failure of the judiciary is that the United States, and probably also the other involved states, are trying to make an example of Mr Assange before the eyes of the world, not as much as a punishment for whatever real or perceived harm he is alleged to have caused, but as a measure of deterrence for others who might be tempted to imitate Wikileaks and Mr Assange in the future. In these circumstances, Mr Assange has absolutely no chance to get a fair judicial proceeding in any of these jurisdictions.
On the media’s role in Assange’s persecution:
When the media find it more appropriate to spread humiliating jokes about Mr Assange’s cat, his skateboard and his faeces, than to challenge governments consistently refusing to hold their officials accountable for wars of aggression, corruption and serious international crimes, they demonstrate a deplorable lack of responsibility, decency and respect not only towards Mr Assange, but also towards their own readers, hearers and viewers, whom they are supposed to inform and empower. It is a bit like being served poisoned junk food at a restaurant – a betrayal of trust with potentially serious consequences.
On his image in the media:
First of all, we have to realize that we have all been deliberately misled about Mr Assange. The predominant image of the shady ‘hacker’, ‘sex offender’ and selfish ‘narcissist’ has been carefully constructed, disseminated and recycled in order to divert attention from the extremely powerful truths he exposed, including serious crimes and corruption on the part of multiple governments and corporations.
By making Mr Assange ‘unlikeable’ and ridiculous in public opinion, an environment was created in which no one would feel empathy with him, very similar to the historic witch-hunts, or to modern situations of mobbing at the workplace or in school.[emphasis added] Once totally isolated, it would be easy to violate Mr Assange’s most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage. If the involved states get away with persecuting Mr Assange without ever prosecuting the crimes exposed by him, they will have established a dangerous precedent of impunity threatening freedom of press and opinion worldwide, and they will also have seriously undermined the accountability of government officials for crime and corruption under the rule of law. So there is much at stake here for every single one of us, and everyone should use the democratic means at their disposal to inform themselves, make their voice heard and hold their government accountable.
5 June 2019
- Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, & Bruce Shapiro on the dangerous precedent set by Espionage Act charges for journalism
- Kevin Gosztola on the DOJ resuscitating the theory that failed at Chelsea Manning’s trial, contriving a conspiracy between Manning & Assange
- Miriam Schneir on the history of the Espionage Act, created under Woodrow Wilson in 1917
- Gabe Rottman and Reporters Committee for a Free Press breaking down the specific charge
4 June 2019
Assange has done nothing but what journalists do all over the world every day, that is to say, grow sources and unearth uncomfortable facts and documents that the authorities are trying to hide from the people.
What is it then for information that WikiLeaks has spread?
The Iraqi and Afghan war diaries revealing irregularities and possible war crimes. And it is good that the American people, in whose name and with whose money these wars have been brought, actually find out what has happened.
Then we have the over 250,000 embassy telegrams. Thus, it is telegrams from US embassies to the US State Department. shows how politicians and authorities in both the United States and other countries ran with dual messages and tried to bring the people behind the light.
Then we have the e-mail from the American Democratic Party, which shows how the entire primary election process was rigged to Hillary Clinton’s advantage.
Another example is the so-called Vault 7, which revealed tools and methods related to US global mass surveillance.
We also have the handbook on how to handle prisoners who are detained at the Guantanamo base.
And to end with a Swedish connection, WikiLeaks has once published the Swedish Government’s draft law on data storage, and this at a time when the politicians claimed that no plans for such a law existed.
So it’s quite a mix, and it is very, very much of public interest.
All of this is public service. All this is something that the American people and all others deserve to know. All of this is basically the same thing as all serious and digging journalists are dealing with. And this is where the problem lies.
Appeals to Assange for espionage etc. at the same time, you open the door to do the same with other journalists and other publications. Which makes it impossible for the media to do their job: to critically examine power and to reveal maladministration. The British judiciary, it will now try the US extradition request, it is based on 17 points that can give Assange up to 175 years in prison in the United States … What is important in this case is above all the US extradition request.
Already, this request is, in itself, with its pending charges a blow to the freedom of the press. And should Assange be extradited to the United States and sentenced, then it is a killing blow to all kinds of media that do something more than obediently merely spreading the message of power. And the question of espionage? It is basically very strange.
Because if it at all holds – then one must first of all ask who Assange has spied. The answer to that question – if so, it should be, the American people. In whose name, at whose expense, power has violated rules, played falsely, emptied the principles of democracy and engaged in generally shady activities. Which leads us to the question of whether it is reasonable at all to prosecute anyone for spying on behalf of the people. A more reasonable approach is that WikiLeak’s business is about journalism and that the authorities are allowed to swallow the treachery and keep their paws away from the free word.
[Assange], already in prison in Britain and facing espionage charges in the US, was widely believed to be charged over the massive “Vault 7″ leak that then-press secretary Sean Spicer insisted undermined “our security, our country and our well-being.”
But the US Department of Justice has decided not to pursue charges over the catastrophic leak, according to Politico, citing a U.S. official and two other people familiar with the case.
“There is a comfort level within the national security establishment of where the charges ended up,” a US national security official told Politico.
The decision was made in part by tight deadlines to bring additional charges — along with fears a court battle could expose even more CIA secrets. The CIA has never confirmed the authenticity of the almost 9,000-page leak.
3 June 2019
Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Per E Samuelson, meanwhile argued that a detention order was “meaningless” as Assange is currently imprisoned in Britain and should not be considered a flight risk. He said it was not proportionate to ask for someone’s detention merely to conduct a questioning session.
Assange remains a suspect, but the court agreed with the defence that it would not be proportionate to formally detain him, because the prosecutor would be able to continue the investigation regardless.
Per Samuelson, Assange’s lawyer, tells SVT this is a “huge victory” for Mr. Assange but that he cannot inform Mr. Assange because Samuelson cannot call his client in Belmarsh prison. Samuelson has informed Mr. Assange’s UK solicitor.
— Hanna Jonasson (@AssangeLegal) June 3, 2019
31 May 2019
“The evidence is overwhelming and clear,” the expert said. “Mr. Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.”
Melzner, who visited Assange in Belmarsh prison following concerns for his health, sent official letters to the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Ecuador, urging each government “to refrain from further disseminating, instigating or tolerating statements or other activities prejudicial to Assange’s human rights and dignity and to take measures to provide him with appropriate redress and rehabilitation for past harm.”
In a letter to [Judge] Trenga, Manning elaborated on her objections to the grand jury process, calling it a “rubber stamp” for prosecutors that gives their cases “unearned legitimacy.”
“I refuse to participate in a process that has clearly transformed into something that violates the spirit if not the letter of the law,” she wrote. “I object to this grand jury in particular as an effort to frighten journalists and publishers, who serve a crucial public good.”
The 18-count indictment is an authoritarian’s dream, the work of attorneys who probably thought the Sedition Act was good law and the Red Scare era Palmer raids a good start. The “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” is there again, as the 18th count. But counts 1-17 are all subsection 793 charges, and all are worst-case-scenario interpretations of the Espionage Act as pertains to both the receipt and publication of secrets.
The Assange case is more than the narrow prosecution of one controversial person. This is a crossroads moment for the whole world, for speech, reporting, and transparent governance.
It is happening in an era when the hegemonic U.S. government has been rapidly expanding a kind of oversight-free zone within its federal bureaucracy, with whole ranges of activities – from drone killings to intelligence budgets to surveillance – often placed outside the scope of either congress or the courts.
One of the few outlets left that offered any hope of penetrating this widening veil of secrecy was the press, working in conjunction with the whistleblower. If that relationship is criminalized, self-censorship will become the norm, and abuses will surely multiply as a result.
30 May 2019
A procedural hearing in Julian Assange’s extradition case was held this morning in London:
[Assange’s] solicitor Gareth Peirce told a judge at Westminster magistrates court in London on Thursday that Assange was too ill to appear by video link from prison. The date for the next hearing was confirmed as 12 June.
The senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot said the next hearing may take place in Belmarsh prison in south London, where Assange is being held, if convenient for all parties.
John Pilger spoke about the US indictment against Assange:
“Only in the US can you face 175 years, the charges against Julian Assange are RIDICULOUS! They’re about what I’ve done & probably what you’ve done…protect a source!” 🔥
— Going Underground on RT (@Underground_RT) May 30, 2019
— Socialist Equality Party (Britain) (@SEP_Britain) May 30, 2019
Supporters rallied outside the courtroom
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) May 30, 2019
Courage has prepared a roundup of media freedom groups speaking out against Julian Assange’s indictment:
29 May 2019
WikiLeaks posted a statement expressing grave concerns about Julian Assange’s health. As referenced in the statement, the Swedish court that will hear arguments over whether to request Assange be detained in abstentia has refused to postpone the 3 June hearing, despite Assange’s Swedish lawyer Per E. Samuelsson’s statement that “Assange’s health situation on Friday was such that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him.”
WikiLeaks has grave concerns about the state of health of our publisher, Julian Assange, who has been moved to the health ward of Belmarsh prison. – See full statement: pic.twitter.com/HnZVks4kWj
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 29, 2019
28 May 2019
Courage has launched a letter-writing campaign for UK citizens to email their MPs:
If you’re in the UK, writing to your MP is an important way you can help Julian Assange in his fight against extradition to the United States.
An email written in your own words will be noticed. Your opinion matters. Regardless of what your MP thinks about this issue, they should pass on your concerns to the Home Office if you request it. For everyone who takes the time to write a letter, the UK government knows there are dozens more who think similarly – so even a couple of hundred letters can make a huge difference.
See our sample letter, endorsing a path forward for the UK Home Secretary that respects British sovereignty and protects Julian Assange from extradition to the United States, as well as how to find your MP.
Write your letter today and share your responses with us!
the U.S. government has now issued a legal document that formally declares that collaborating with government sources to receive and publish classified documents is no longer regarded by the Justice Department as journalism protected by the First Amendment but rather as the felony of espionage, one that can send reporters and their editors to prison for decades. It thus represents, by far, the greatest threat to press freedom in the Trump era, if not the past several decades.
If Assange can be declared guilty of espionage for working with sources to obtain and publish information deemed “classified” by the U.S. government, then there’s nothing to stop the criminalization of every other media outlet that routinely does the same — including The Washington Post, as well as the large media outlets that partnered with WikiLeaks and published much of the same material in 2010, along with newer digital media outlets like the Intercept, where I work.
The vast bulk of activities cited by the indictment as criminal are exactly what major U.S. media outlets do on a daily basis.
The new indictment against Assange falls into three parts – each of them attempting to criminalise things journalists regularly do as they receive and publish true information given to them by sources or whistleblowers. Assange is accused of trying to persuade a source to disclose yet more secret information. Most reporters would do the same. Then he is charged with behaviour that, on the face of it, looks like a reporter seeking to help a source protect her identity. If that’s indeed what Assange was doing, good for him. Finally, he is accused of repeatedly publishing material that “could harm the national security of the US”.
Whenever you read about journalists harming national security, massive alarm bells should start ringing.
Professor Noam Chomsky, Dr. Vandana Shiva, artist George Gittoes, Julian Burnside QC, investigative journalist and filmmaker John Pilger, and Senator Sekai Holland, have joined former Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Mary Kostakidis and Founder Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Professor Stuart Rees AM in the call:
Break the official Australian silence. Stop Julian Assange’s extradition to almost certain long-term imprisonment. Secure his rightful freedom. The Australian Government must intervene now. We call on the civilized world to uphold the true values of peace with justice and to stand up for Julian Assange.
27 May 2019
Courage has prepared fact sheets on recent commentary on Julian Assange’s indictment:
It is astonishing how often one still hears well-informed, otherwise reasonable people say about Julian Assange: “But he ran away from Swedish rape charges by hiding in Ecuador’s embassy in London.”
That short sentence includes at least three factual errors.
26 May 2019
I have been isolated from all ability to prepare to defend myself: no laptop, no internet, ever, no computer, no library, so far, but even if I get access it will be just for half an hour, with everyone else, once a week. Just two visits a month and it takes weeks to get someone on the call list and a Catch-22 in getting their details to be security screened. Then all calls except lawyers, are recorded and calls are max 10 minutes and in a limited 30-min window each day in which all prisoners compete for the phone. And credit? Just a few pounds a week and no one can call in.
The other side? A superpower that has been preparing for 9 years with hundreds of people and untold millions spent on the case. I am defenseless and am counting on you and others of good character to save my life.
I am unbroken, albeit literally surrounded by murderers, but the days when I could read and speak and organize to defend myself, my ideals, and my people are over until I am free! Everyone else must take my place.
The US government, or rather, those regrettable elements in it that hate truth liberty and justice, want to cheat their way into my extradition and death, rather than letting the public hear the truth, for which I have won the highest awards in journalism and have been nominated 7 times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Truth, ultimately, is all we have.
24 May 2019
Updated post: Politicians, editorial boards, press freedom groups decry the superseding indictment against Julian Assange, plus commentary from Assange’s legal team and video interviews with Jeremy Scahill and Daniel Ellsberg
The indictment carries serious implications for WikiLeaks publishing partners, numbering over one hundred across the globe, including The New York Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian, who collaborated on the publications and may now face co-defendant charges.
The final decision on Assange’s extradition rests with the UK Home Secretary, who is now under enormous pressure to protect the rights of the free press in the U.K. and elsewhere. Press rights advocates have unanimously argued that Assange’s prosecution under the Espionage Act is incompatible with basic democratic principles.
This is the gravest attack on press freedom of the century.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on privacy, Joseph Cannataci, is very concerned about reports that the Government of Ecuador plans to deliver to the United States the personal belongings of Julian Assange.
The independent expert said he had received information that, at the request of the United States Department of Justice, the Ecuadorian government had decided to register on May 20 the rooms of the embassy in London used by the founder of WikiLeaks and to confiscate his documents, telephones, electronic devices, memories, etc., to deliver them to the Government of the United States.
Concerned about the reports, Cannataci wrote to the Government of Ecuador recalling the guarantees that should exist before any registration, and also offered to provide the assistance of impartial experts to supervise the registration, and separate the information that could be relevant to an eventual process. criminal in the United States of information that should be kept private and returned to Assange. The Special Rapporteur said that he was disappointed by the lack of timely response from the Government of Ecuador.
“On two occasions I have formally asked the Government of Ecuador to return the personal effects of Mr. Assange to his lawyers, but it seems that he intends to deliver them to the US authorities, although I do not have any problem with the registration and seizure procedures are carried out correctly under the rule of law, it is about very special circumstances in at least two aspects: there is something more at stake than the right to privacy, other human rights, and especially freedom of expression, also run danger if part of Mr. Assange’s material falls into the wrong hands Mr. Assange referred to a series of confidential sources and whistleblowers whose identity and privacy should also be protected, “said the Special Rapporteur.
“I am also disappointed by Ecuador’s lack of timely response to my proposal to visit Quito and to further evaluate the complaint I received from President Lenin Moreno about a violation of his right to privacy, related to the alleged hacking that led to the online publication of a large number of his communications and private photographs of himself and his family. ” Cannataci said the visit would have been “an excellent opportunity to better understand the particularities of the case.”
The Special Rapporteur said he hoped to receive a response soon to his concerns and proposals for cooperation.
23 May 2019
Today federal prosecutors unsealed a new, 18-count superseding indictment charging Julian Assange with violating the Espionage Act, the first use of the 1917 law against a publisher.
Julian Assange’s attorney Barry Pollack said,
Today the government charged Julian Assange under the Espionage Act for encouraging sources to provide him truthful information and for publishing that information. The fig leaf that this is merely about alleged computer hacking has been removed. These unprecedented charges demonstrate the gravity of the threat the criminal prosecution of Julian Assange poses to all journalists in their endeavor to inform the public about actions that have taken by the U.S. government.
21 May 2019
Supporters of Assange began gathering by 8 a.m. yesterday outside the embassy to witness and denounce the search and seizure.
Members of the Julian Assange Defence Committee and the Socialist Equality Party were among those who gathered, after reports the operation would begin at 9 a.m. El Pais wrote, “The search of Assange’s sealed-off room will take place on May 20 as part of a petition for judicial assistance issued by the US Department of Justice to the government of Ecuador.” It would be mounted “under the oversight of police chief Diego López and second sergeant Milton Jaque,” described as a “computer forensic expert.”
During the day, Metropolitan Police officers, including several SO6 Diplomatic Protection police, positioned themselves near the embassy and at one point approached the building’s front entrance. SO6 is an armed police unit. Police officers refused to answer questions from protesters, except to say that they were “keeping the peace.”
To add to the picture of official criminality, Assange’s lawyer Per Samuelsson told Reuters that no court proceedings should go ahead in Sweden because the UK is refusing to grant Assange’s lawyers access to their client in Belmarsh.
“Since he is in prison in England, it has so far not been possible even to speak to him by telephone,” Samuelsson said. He would tell the Swedish District Court it could not investigate the prosecutor’s request until he had conferred with his client and learned whether he wished to oppose a detention order.
More reporting: AP: Battle breaks out for WikiLeaks founder Assange’s computers
It’s not known what devices authorities removed from the embassy or what information they contained. But authorities said they were acting on a request by the U.S. prosecutors, leading Assange’s defenders to claim that Ecuador has undermined the most basic principles of asylum while denying the secret-spiller’s right to prepare his defense.
“It’s disgraceful,” WikiLeaks’ editor in chief, Kristinn Hrafnsson, said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Ecuador granted him asylum because of the threat of extradition to the U.S. and now the same country, under new leadership, is actively collaborating with a criminal investigation against him.”
Hrafnsson, who has visited the Australian activist in jail, said Assange saw his eviction coming for weeks as relations with President Lenin Moreno’s government deteriorated, so he took great care to scrub computers and hard drives of any compromising material, including future planned leaks or internal communications with WikiLeaks collaborators.
Still, Hrafnsson said he fully expects Moreno or the Americans to claim revelations that don’t exist. He called Monday’s proceedings a “horse show” because no legal authority can guarantee Assange’s devices haven’t been tampered with, or the chain of custody unbroken, in the six weeks since his arrest.
“If anything surfaces, I can assure you it would’ve been planted,” he said. “Julian isn’t a novice when it comes to security and securing his information. We expected this to happen and protections have been in place for a very long time.”
A Swedish court is set to hear on June 3 a prosecutor’s request that WikliLeaks founder Julian Assange be detained in absentia on suspicion of rape, the first step in his possible extradition to Sweden.
The Uppsala district court issued the decision on Tuesday after deputy chief prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson and Assange’s Swedish defence attorney, Per E Samuelsson, had proposed conflicting dates.
Persson had requested that the hearing take place on Wednesday, according to documents filed with the court.
Samuelson, however, said he needed time to consult with Assange who is serving a 50-week sentence in Britain for skipping bail.
Former US Representative Ron Paul: Fair Trial? US Steals Assange’s Legal Papers
20 May 2019
Three weeks before the U.S. deadline to file its final extradition request for Assange, Ecuadorian officials are travelling to London to allow U.S. prosecutors to help themselves to Assange’s belongings.
Neither Julian Assange nor U.N. officials have been permitted to be present when Ecuadorian officials arrive to Ecuador’s embassy in London on Monday morning.
The chain of custody has already been broken. Assange’s lawyers will not be present at the illegal seizure of his property, which has been “requested by the authorities of the United States of America”.
The material includes two of his manuscripts, as well as his legal papers, medical records and electronic equipment. The seizure of his belongings violates laws that protect medical and legal confidentiality and press protections.
Mr Assange’s lawyer said the move was “completely unprecedented in the history of asylum”.
“Ecuador is committing a flagrant violation of the most basic norms of the institution of asylum by handing over all the asylee’s personal belongings indiscriminately to the country that he was being protected from,” added lawyer Aitor Martinez.
“On Monday, Ecuador will perform a puppet show at the embassy of Ecuador in London for their masters in Washington, just in time to expand their extradition case before the UK deadline on 14 June. The Trump administration is inducing its allies to behave like it’s the Wild West,” said Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor in chief of WikiLeaks, on Sunday.
Baltasar Garzon, international legal co-ordinator for the defence of Assange and WikiLeaks, has urged international bodies to intervene in what he called “an unprecedented attack on the rights of the defence, freedom of expression and access to information”.
“It is extremely worrying that Ecuador has proceeded with the search and seizure of property, documents, information and other material belonging to the defence of Julian Assange, which Ecuador arbitrarily confiscated, so that these can be handed over to the agent of political persecution against him, the United States,” Mr Garzon said.
Swedish authorities on Monday issued a request for a detention order against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is now jailed in Britain, a Swedish prosecutor said.
Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson says if the Swedish court decided to detain Assange “on probable cause suspected for rape … I will issue a European Arrest Warrant.”
The development sets up a possible future tug-of-war between Sweden and the United States over any extradition of Assange from Britain.
“In Sweden, prosecutors have applied to the Swedish courts to issue a warrant for Julian’s arrest. There is a tremendous back story to that simple statement.”
Regarding The Guardian’s headline on the story (“Sweden files request for arrest over rape allegation”)
The main headline is completely untrue. Sweden has not filed a request for arrest. Sweden is going through its judicial processes – which it skipped the first time – in order to decide whether or not to file a request for arrest. This gives Assange the opportunity to start the process of fighting the allegations, which he strenuously denies, in the Swedish courts. However at present his Swedish lawyer cannot access him in Belmarsh high security jail, which is typical of the abuses of process to which he is subject.
18 May 2019
Courage trustee John Pilger visited Assange in prison:
I visited Julian #Assange in prison. He has been ill, but his courage is astonishing. He is locked up for up to 23 hours. Let no one doubt he is a political prisoner, fraudulent events in Sweden included. His crime is truthful journalism. Shame on those who feign otherwise.
— John Pilger (@johnpilger) May 18, 2019
The “Iraq War Logs” disgorged an unprecedented profusion of documents, military reports and videos, reports Patrick Lawrence.
This is part 3 in Consortium News’ series of articles, “The Revelations of WikiLeaks,” that will look back on the major works of the publication that have altered the world since its founding in 2006. See Part 1 and Part 2.
Three months [after the Afghan War Diaries], on Oct. 22, 2010, WikiLeaks released an even more explosive trove: 391,831 documents and videos it named “Iraq War Logs.” This superseded “Afghan War Diaries” as by far the most extensive leak of classified material in U.S. history. It shone a stark light on the U.S.–led coalition’s conduct in Iraq after its 2003 invasion, when the nation had erupted into a violent sectarian war. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, said the Logs “constituted the most comprehensive and detailed account of any war ever to have entered the public record.”
16 May 2019
Now that Ecuador has expelled Julian Assange from its embassy in London, the Trump administration is opening a “new chapter of cooperation” with the South American government.
USAID Administrator Mark Green said of Ecuador: “It’s our neighborhood”
The agreement reflects a new level of coordination since the Ecuadorian government kicked the WikiLeaks founder out of its embassy to the delight of U.S. officials long frustrated with Ecuador for granting asylum to Assange.
David Lewis, vice president of Manchester Trade Ltd., which has been working with Ecuadorian exporters:
cited Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Ecuador, Moreno’s visit to the United States and increased discussions between the two governments’ top officials on trade and investment. Assange, Lewis said, was just the final step.
“That was the coup de grâce,” Lewis said. “The move on Assange was the final dot the ‘I,’ cross the ‘Ts.’ But even before the culmination of the Assange debacle, they had already made the moves.”
Pence, who brought up Assange in meetings with the Ecuadorian government, cited the improved relations during a visit to Quito last year where he thanked Moreno for his leadership.
Top human rights lawyer Renata Avila in El Diario: The Julian Assange case exemplifies all forms of abuse of the law and of administrative proceedings against a person
A PhD student could write ten detailed theses of the judicial calvary that has been the case Julian Assange. After a decade of working on the case directly and indirectly, I can say with confidence that it exemplifies all forms of abuse of the law and administrative processes against a person.
From bail conditions much more aggressive and restrictive, even without charges, than those imposed on a dangerous terrorist, to malicious process delays. From files erased from the judicial computer systems of two countries such as the United Kingdom and Sweden, which are characterized by their sophisticated electronic government, to computers “stolen” from their lawyers and Spanish private security companies monitoring our meetings.
Un estudiante de doctorado podría escribir diez tesis detalladas del calvario judicial que ha sido el caso Julian Assange. Luego de una década de llevar su caso de forma directa e indirecta, puedo decir con confianza que este ejemplifica todas las formas de abuso de la ley y de los procesos administrativos en contra de una persona.
Desde unas condiciones de libertad bajo fianza mucho más agresivas y restrictivas, aún sin cargos, que las impuestas a un peligroso terrorista, hasta dilaciones de proceso maliciosas. Desde archivos borrados de los sistemas informáticos judiciales de dos países como Reino Unido y Suecia, que se caracterizan por su sofisticado gobierno electrónico, hasta computadoras “robadas” a sus abogados y compañías españolas de seguridad privada vigilando nuestras reuniones.
The documentary film HACKING JUSTICE, about the legal battle to defend Julian Assange from the wrath of the United States, is screening Monday, 27 May, followed by a Q&A with director Clara Lopez Rubio
Protest Ecuador’s unlawful handover of Julian Assange’s devices and documents
Protest against the handing over of Julian Assange’s computers and files to USA by Ecuador.
Meet outside the Embassy Monday 20th of May 8:45am and be a witness!
Chelsea, released from prison last week when the grand jury lapsed, was served with a new subpoena even before her release. She returns to court today for a 2pm hearing, in which she intends to continue to refuse to testify about her 2010 disclosures to WikiLeaks, and may be sent back to prison if the judge holds her in contempt of court.
Chelsea spoke to the press before her hearing:
CHELSEA MANNING SPEAKS: Former U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning is holding a news conference prior to a federal grand jury appearance. Manning is facing a fresh grand jury subpoena to testify about her contacts with WikiLeaks.
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 16, 2019
After a week of freedom, former Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning was ordered back to jail on Thursday for once again refusing to testify before a federal grand jury.
US District Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Manning jailed following a two-hour hearing, half of which was sealed. During the second, public portion of the hearing, Trenga announced that he had once again found Manning in civil contempt, and decided that notwithstanding her pledge not to cooperate, he thought there was still a chance that more jail time could convince her otherwise.
“It’s unfortunate we’re at this point,” the judge said. Before remanding her into the custody of the US Marshals, Trenga told Manning that there was nothing “dishonorable” about fulfilling one’s duties as a US citizen, and he hoped she’d consider that.
The judge has the power to keep Manning in jail until she testifies or until the term of the grand jury expires again. Trenga also imposed a fine — after 30 days in jail, a daily fine of $500 will kick in, and that amount will go up to $1,000 per day after 60 days. The grand jury could be in service for up to 18 months. During the hearing, Assistant US Attorney Thomas Traxler told the judge that they didn’t think a fine would compel Manning to testify, since she could just go on social media and launch a fundraising campaign.
The US government is especially eager to force Manning to testify as soon as possible, as it has just weeks left to add charges to Julian Assange’s final extradition request:
The Justice Department has 60 days after seeking a “provisional arrest” of Assange through UK authorities in mid-April to submit a final extradition package. Once that happens, prosecutors can’t add any more charges against him. It’s unclear if prosecutors want Manning to testify before the grand jury specifically about matters that could lead to more charges against Assange, or as part of a broader investigation with other subjects.
Chelsea’s lawyer spoke after the ruling: “The United States has always been more concerned with the disclosure of those documents than their damning substance”
— Ella Fassler (@EllaFassler) May 16, 2019
13 May 2019
Ecuador has said it will hand over all Julian Assange’s belongings to the US—documents, mobile phones, computers and files, memory sticks and all other devices, including communications with lawyers and legal documents
Baltasar Garzón, Assange’s lawyer, describes the delivery to the US of the defendant’s belongings of “absolute violation of Ecuador’s asylum institution.” “It is incomprehensible that the country of protection now takes advantage of the privileged position of having received it to remit its belongings to the country that is pursuing it, which will have been intervened without a judicial order, without protection of the rights of the asylee, without respect for the chain of custody. “said Garzón. “What is aggravated by the illicit recording mechanism that was deployed in the embassy and that has been denounced The systematic violation of Assange’s rights is overcoming the limits of the imaginable,” he said.
Assange’s defence attorney in Ecuador, Carlos Poveda, asks the court to prevent the government of Ecuador from handing over Assange’s sequestered personal belongings, including confidential legal communications that are necessary for his defence, to the United States:
Carlos Poveda, abogado de Julián Assange, entregó en Fiscalía un documento con la oposición a la diligencia que a realizarse el 20 de mayo próximo en la Embajada de Ecuador en Londres dentro de la cooperación internacional solicitada por USA en el caso Assange. @eluniversocom pic.twitter.com/SC4S0HSYZm
— Santiago Molina (@santiagomolinao) May 13, 2019
Sweden reopens investigation into Julian Assange, seeks to extradite
Swedish Deputy Chief Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson announced she was reopening a preliminary investigation into Julian Assange based on 2010 rape allegations and Sweden will issue a European arrest warrant. The investigation was dropped in 2017, 6 months after the Swedish prosecutor questioned Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy.
Kristinn Hrafnsson, Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks said:
Since Julian Assange was arrested on 11 April 2019, there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case.
Recall that it was initially dropped in 2010 when a Prosecutor concluded that, “no crime at all” had occurred. It was reopened as WikiLeaks prepared to publish the Iraq War Logs.
This case has been mishandled throughout. After the Swedish prosecutor refused to question Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy for years, it was
only when forced by Swedish courts that she traveled to London to finally question Assange. Then Sweden wanted to drop its arrest warrant
for Assange as early as 2013. It was the British government that insisted that the case against him continue.
Since the investigation was closed in 2017, we have received reports of the destruction of records and correspondence on behalf of UK and Swedish authorities, surely an impediment to a thorough investigation.
Assange was always willing to answer any questions from the Swedish authorities and repeatedly offered to do so, over six years. The widespread media assertion that Assange “evaded” Swedish questioning is false.
This investigation has been dropped before and its reopening will give Julian a chance to clear his name.
At Justice4Assange, see a Note to Editors, presenting several key facts that media outlets frequently misreport, including:
- Assange has always been willing to answer questions
- Assange sought asylum in fear of onward extradition to the United States, not to avoid Swedish questioning
- FOIA-released emails show that Sweden actually wanted to drop its arrest warrant for Assange in 2013, but British authorities insisted the investigation continue
- Assange was never charged with anything related to the Swedish allegations
- the initial Swedish preliminary investigation in 2010 was dropped after the chief prosecutor of Stockholm concluded that “the evidence did not disclose any evidence of rape” and that “no crime at all” had been committed
Since his arrest on 11 April 2019, there has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen the investigation. Theoretically any closed investigation can be reopened until the statute of limitations expires—August 2020 in this case. Such calls serve to displace the critical issue of Assange’s impending US extradition over WikiLeaks publications (whether from UK or Sweden). They also obfuscate critical facts, such as the fact that the UK and Swedish authorities had actively prevented Assange from responding to the allegations, which is contrary to basic principles of due process.
It is critical to note that the re-opened Swedish allegations in September 2010 occurred after WikiLeaks published the Iraq “Collateral Murder” video in April 2010 and the Afghanistan war logs in July 2010. In fact, US grand jury proceedings already began against Assange in June 2010 and by July, the US was publicly describing WikiLeaks as a “very real and potential threat”. The Intercept’s Charles Glass has reported that “Sources in Swedish intelligence told me at the time that they believed the U.S. had encouraged Sweden to pursue the case.” Other reports from just days before the Swedish allegations were initiated show that the U.S. State Department was encouraging allied states to initiate prosecutions against Assange. To ignore all this, as much media reporting does, is to ignore vital further context.
newly-released emails show that the Swedish authorities were eager to give up the case four years before they formally abandoned proceedings in 2017 and that the [British Crown Prosecution Service] dissuaded them from doing so.
The emails provided by [Swedish authorities] SPA leave no doubt that the [British] CPS advised the Swedish prosecutors against the only investigative strategy that could have led to a quick closure of the preliminary investigation: questioning Assange in London shortly after his arrest rather than trying for years to extradite him to Sweden at all costs, a solution Julian Assange fought tooth and nail, convinced that extradition to Sweden would have paved the way to extradition to the US. It was this decision to not question Assange in London that contributed to the long judicial paralysis ultimately resulting in the determination by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that Sweden and the US are detaining Assange arbitrarily. How was the decision to not question Assange in London actually made? To what extent was it influenced by the CPS?
Email exchanges between the CPS and its Swedish counterparts over the high-profile case were deleted after the lawyer at the UK end retired in 2014.
The destruction of potentially sensitive and revealing information comes ahead of a tribunal hearing in London next week.
Adding to the intrigue, it emerged the CPS lawyer involved had, unaccountably, advised the Swedes in 2010 or 2011 not to visit London to interview Assange. An interview at that time could have prevented the long-running embassy standoff.
It now emerges that the last four years of Julian Assange’s effective imprisonment in the Ecuadorean embassy in London have been entirely unnecessary. In fact, they depended on a legal charade.
Behind the scenes, Sweden wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case.
10 May 2019
Chelsea’s legal team:
Today marked the expiration of the term of the grand jury, and so, after 62 days of confinement, Chelsea was released from the Alexandria Detention Center earlier today.
Unfortunately, even prior to her release, Chelsea was served with another subpoena. This means she is expected to appear before a different grand jury, on Thursday, May 16, 2019, just one week from her release today.
It is therefore conceivable that she will once again be held in contempt of court, and be returned to the custody of the Alexandria Detention Center, possibly as soon as next Thursday, May 16.
Chelsea will continue to refuse to answer questions, and will use every available legal defense to prove to District Judge Trenga that she has just cause for her refusal to give testimony.
9 May 2019
UN Rapporteur on Torture speaks after meeting Julian Assange at Belmarsh Prison
The Afghan Diaries set off a firestorm when it revealed the suppression of civilian casualty figures, the existence of an elite U.S.-led death squad, and the covert role of Pakistan in the conflict, as Elizabeth Vos reports.
This is the second article in a series that is looking back on the major works of the publication that has altered the world since its founding in 2006. The series is an effort to counter mainstream media coverage, which is ignoring WikiLeaks’ work, and is instead focusing on Julian Assange’s personality. It is WikiLeaks’ uncovering of governments’ crimes and corruption that set the U.S. after Assange and which ultimately led to his arrest on April 11
(Revisit part 1 on Collateral Murder: The Video that Put Assange in US Crosshairs)
The Italian journalist and longtime media partner of WikiLeaks speaks with Dennis J. Bernstein and Randy Credico about the implications of Assange’s struggle against U.S. extradition.
Dennis Bernstein: Again, Julian had his first hearing today [May 2, 2019] regarding extradition to the United States. He looked okay but he is definitely in danger. Stefania, what responsibility do we have as journalists to stand up? According to Daniel Ellsberg, if they go after Julian and Chelsea the way they want to in the United States, it is the end of journalism.
Stefania Maurizi: Absolutely. This case is about whether the press is allowed to publish documents like the video “Collateral Murder,” which records war crimes and whether the press is allowed to publish documents about the NSA spying on world leaders, whether the press is allowed to publish documents on Guantanamo Bay. We saw what happened after 9/11: habeas corpus came to an end with Guantanamo, the Fourth Amendment [of the U.S. Constitution] was trampled by the NSA. Now they want to destroy the First Amendment and they will do it using Julian Assange. They will not go after The New York Times or The Washington Post.
Editor of Rai Al-Youm: Julian Assange Changed History, He Has Committed No Crime!
7 May 2019
“He does not deserve to be in a super max prison. He has never committed a violent act, he’s an innocent person,” Anderson said in a statement outside the jail afterwards.
She said the WikiLeaks founder has been “cut off from everybody,” including his children, and does not have access to any information.
“It is for me shocking to see my friend, an intellectual, a publisher, a journalist. A man who has transformed the world of journalism with his work sitting in a high-security prison,” Hrafnsson said.
“Someone said that you could judge the civilization of a society by visiting its prisons and frankly I have to say from my heart that this visit did not reflect well on this society here.”
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) May 7, 2019
Yorgos Boskos: How do you look at the indictment against Assange?
Daniel Ellsberg: The indictment against him would have a chilling effect on free speech, which would be forbidden by the First Amendment and would be inimical to democracy in the United States. Donald Trump has crossed a boundary in challenging the First Amendment, that no other president in our history has done.
We do expect further charges to be brought against Assange if the British extradite him to the United States. The first charge against Assange is obviously intended to make it easier for the British to extradite him, without being accused of violating international norms by doing so. I have no doubt that further charges will be brought against him if he is extradited. Assange faces up to five years in prison. However, I am certain that the intelligence community and the Trump administration will not be content to put Julian Assange away for just five years. In my case, they firstly brought three charges against me with a possible sentence of 35 years, but by the end of the same year I was indicted on twelve charges with a possible sentence of 115 years. I would expect Julian will be facing the same.
So, this is intended to intimidate the freedom of the press by the very indictment. However, whatever happens from here, I am afraid that will have a negative impact on press freedom, which is bad for our democracy, foreign policy, and constitutional freedoms.
Žižek on Assange
— DiEM25 (@DiEM_25) May 7, 2019
May 3 was World Press Freedom Day. The annual observance usually focuses on the World Press Freedom Index published each year by Reporters without Borders. Break out the champagne! The United States ranked 48th of 179 countries this year, falling three places from 2018.
A day earlier, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared in court in London (the United Kingdom ranked 33rd on the Index this year) to contest his proposed extradition to the United States. He faces spurious US “hacking” charges framed to avoid taking official notice of the indisputable fact that his actual “crimes” consist entirely of engaging in journalism.
Today, attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen filed a Motion for Chelsea Manning to be released on the basis that, as she will never be convinced to cooperate with the grand jury, further confinement serves no lawful purpose and must be terminated.
The key issue before Judge Hilton is whether continued incarceration could persuade Chelsea to testify. Many judges have complained of the “perversity” of this law: that a witness may win their freedom by persisting in their contempt of court. However, should he agree that Chelsea will never agree to testify, he will be compelled by the law to order her release.
Letters of support were submitted to the Court by Ms. Manning’s friends, family, and colleagues, including from representatives of civil liberties organizations including the ACLU, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Fight for the Future. These letters reiterate that Chelsea is a person of great moral courage, who will not be swayed into betraying her principles, even in the face of great hardship.
Included in the filing is a lengthy declaration by Chelsea explaining her position:
After two months of confinement, and using every legal mechanism available so far, I can —without any hesitation— state that nothing will convince me to testify before this or any other grand jury for that matter. This experience so far only proves my long held belief that grand juries are simply outdated tools used by the federal government to harass and disrupt political opponents and activists in fishing expeditions…
“The way I am being treated proves what a corrupt and abusive tool this truly is. With each passing day my disappointment and frustration grow, but so too do my commitments to doing the right thing and continuing to refuse to submit…
“I believe this grand jury seeks to undermine the integrity of public discourse with the aim of punishing those who expose any serious, ongoing, and systemic abuses of power by this government, as well as the rest of the international community…”
“Over the past decade, I grappled with bouts of depression. I can think of nothing that could exacerbate those struggles more than pretending to live as someone I am not once again, and turning my back on everything I care about and fight for…
“I wish to return home. I want to return to my work — writing, speaking, consulting, and teaching. The idea I hold the keys to my own cell is an absurd one, as I face the prospect of suffering either way due to this unnecessary and punitive subpoena: I can either go to jail or betray my principles. The latter exists as a much worse prison than the government can construct.
4 May 2019
Jennifer Robinson on The Real News: Assange Extradition Will Have Chilling Effect on Investigative Journalism, Free Speech
GREG WILPERT And now regarding the arguments on the US aside, what will the decision for an extradition be based on? Do they need to prove that Assange actually participated in the hacking effort that he’s being accused of and that he’s denying, or are there other issues that need to be proven on their part?
JENNIFER ROBINSON Questions of proving the factual allegations in the warrant and in the indictment, are for a criminal trial in the United States, but of course we hope that it never gets that far. We will be resisting extradition here and defending him against being sent to the United States precisely because this case raises such fundamental questions about free speech. The indictment if you look at it, and the factual allegations that are made, it really boils down to a journalist and a publisher communicating with a source, asking that source to provide information, and having conversations with the source about how to protect their identity. This is the kind of activity that journalists and indeed good journalists should be having all the time. That’s why we heard Julian say in the hearing yesterday, which was just a procedural hearing, that he would not consent to extradition because he would not be extradited for having done journalism. That would be a key part of the arguments that we make. We’re also obviously concerned about the treatment that he would receive once he’s returned to the United States. We need only look to the way that Chelsea Manning is being treated, treatment that the UN said amounted to unusual and degrading treatment. And we’re concerned about the politicization of this case. WikiLeaks has been a key subject of discussion in the United States and US politicians and officials [have been] calling for him to be killed by drone strikes. These are very serious issues, and these are all issues that we’ll be raising in our case here in the UK.
Going Underground: Wikileaks Editor-Julian Assange in De-Facto SOLITARY CONFINEMENT!
Wikileaks Ambassador Joseph Farrell and former Ecuadorean Embassy Consul Rafael Narvaez on the sentencing of Julian Assange to 50 weeks in prison, the possible extradition of Assange to the United States, his condition and treatment in prison
In his address in Addis Ababa, [British foreign secretary, the Rt. Hon. Jeremy] Hunt, according to a press release, “set out his vision to improve media freedom.” We might be forgiven for suggesting that the foreign secretary, in presiding over the vindictive persecution of the globe’s most prominent investigative journalist, had already “set out his vision,” not with prepared remarks but with the rude violence of the Metropolitan Police Service.
A man accused of trying to sell information about Julian Assange reportedly obtained via a surveillance system in the Ecuadoran embassy in London has been questioned in Madrid, a judicial source said on Friday (May 3).
The journalist is one of several Spaniards claiming they have videos and personal documents of Assange from when he was in Ecuador’s embassy in London.
The source, who refused to be named, said the man was detained, questioned by a Madrid judge and released pending further investigation on Wednesday.
3 May 2019
Today is World Press Freedom Day: events have taken place around the world for Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning
In 2015, he UN panel found Assange to have been held in “arbitrary detention” by the UK. The judge who sentenced Assange on Wednesday to 50 weeks in prison explicitly ignored that ruling. The UN panel responds, condemning the sentence:
“The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is deeply concerned about this course of action including the disproportionate sentence imposed on Mr. Assange. The Working Group is of the view that violating bail is a minor violation that, in the United Kingdom, carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison, even though the bond related to the bail has been lost in favour of the British Government, and that Mr. Assange was still detained after violating the bail which, in any case should not stand after the Opinion was issued. The Working Group regrets that the Government has not complied with its Opinion and has now furthered the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Mr. Assange.
It is worth recalling that the detention and the subsequent bail of Mr. Assange in the UK were connected to preliminary investigations initiated in 2010 by a prosecutor in Sweden. It is equally worth noting that that prosecutor did not press any charges against Mr. Assange and that in 2017, after interviewing him in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, she discontinued investigations and brought an end to the case.
The Working Group is further concerned that Mr. Assange has been detained since 11 April 2019 in Belmarsh prison, a high-security prison, as if he were convicted for a serious criminal offence. This treatment appears to contravene the principles of necessity and proportionality envisaged by the human rights standards.
The WGAD reiterates its recommendation to the Government of the United Kingdom, as expressed in its Opinion 54/2015, and its 21 December 2018 statement, that the right of Mr Assange to personal liberty should be restored.”
DER SPIEGEL: How did the diplomatic asylum end which Assange was granted by the Ecuadorian government in August 2012?
Hrafnsson: The ambassador asked him into the meeting room of the embassy and presented a letter, which he read out loud, saying the diplomatic asylum had been revoked and that he had to leave the embassy immediately. When Julian left the meeting room and wanted to go back to his room, the lobby of the embassy was full of British Policemen who grabbed him.
DER SPIEGEL: That doesn’t really fit with diplomatic rules.
Hrafnsson: Well, it was a long prepared, politically motivated move. Already last year, the embassy started a war of attrition, psychological warfare: cutting off the Internet, installing cell phone jammers, restricting visitors, turning off the heating. Everything was done to make Julian Assange’s life miserable.
DER SPIEGEL: What will happen to Julian Assange in the future?
Hrafnsson: He almost got the maximum sentence of one year in jail for skipping bail, but the real battle is the extradition case. It can take two or three years. The U.S. government has been given two months, until June 12, to produce additional information supporting the extradition request.
DER SPIEGEL: The request is based on an indictment on a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion that holds a maximum sentence of five years. Will that be the only charge?
Hrafnsson: It is obviously only the first step, and it would be extremely naive to try to maintain that other charges will not be added when he is on American soil. Letters were issued to individuals connected with WikiLeaks where they were offered immunity if they provided information pertaining to the investigation into what obviously was being described as the violation of the Espionage Act of 1917.
Kevin Gosztola: ‘A Massive Chill on Investigative Journalism’: First Hearing in Julian Assange’s Extradition Case
“WikiLeaks has made some very powerful enemies in the course of reporting the truth, and now those enemies want to exact their revenge and persecute him,” [Lauri] Love suggested.
The United States government made it fairly clear the case is not limited to some alleged computer crime. Ben Brandon, the prosecutor representing the U.S., told the court, “The charge relates to one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.”
None of that would be relevant if the Trump administration was not shoehorning espionage allegations into a charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion in order to survive a challenge from Assange’s attorneys in the UK courts.
Interview (Spanish): Joseph Farrell, Ambassador of Wikileaks: ‘The objective at this moment is that the United States does not extradite him’
-The United States claims to be a country that defends freedom of expression, the freedom to inform, but in this case it is pursuing those same freedoms that it claims to protect.
– It is, as you say, is pursuing such freedoms. The United States has never before persecuted a journalist in this way. If they succeed, it will not be the last time. Well, a chill will go through all the thinking journalism in the whole world. It will set a terrible precedent throughout the world. No journalist in any country will be safe.
On World Press Freedom Day, Julian Assange sits in “Britain’s Guantanamo Bay” not knowing whether he will face extradition to the US.
Lauri Love, who successfully fought extradition to the US, on Assange:
“It’s worth fighting (Assange’s extradition case), it’s going to be an uphill struggle”, says Lauri Love, who successfully fought his extradition to the U.S. pic.twitter.com/cbGzDCFPTK
— RT UK (@RTUKnews) May 3, 2019
Janis Sharp, mother of Gary McKinnon, who also faced and defeated a US extradition request from the UK:
“97% of all cases in the US are taken by plea bargains, so you never get to defend yourself” says Janis Sharp, Gary McKinnon’s mother, after Julian Assange is sentenced to just under a year in prison. pic.twitter.com/nV6rqvSp7W
— RT UK (@RTUKnews) May 2, 2019
Sydney rally for Julian Assange
— Elena Kross (@YoungElena) May 3, 2019
2 May 2019
Today commenced UK extradition proceedings against Julian Assange, whom the United States is attempting to prosecute for publishing documents of its war crimes and diplomatic secrets in 2010. Read our write-up here.
As the AP reports, “Assange, appearing by video link from a London prison, said he wouldn’t ‘surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many awards and protected many people.’”
The AP reports that the judge in Assange’s case has already indicated that the extradition proceedings will be a long ordeal:
Judge Michael Snow said it would likely be “many months” before a full hearing was held on the substance of the U.S. extradition case. The judge set a procedural hearing for May 30, with a substantive hearing to follow on June 12.
Supporters in Berlin demonstrated for Assange in a rally organized by Diem25 and Demokratie in Europa
1 May 2019
Assange’s defence argued:
- Assange had legitimate, serious fears of extradition to the United States
- Assange had subsequent fears that if sent to the US, he would be tortured and otherwise mistreated and persecuted for publishing
- The UN has determined that Assange had been arbitrarily deprived of liberty when forced between remaining in the embassy and being exposed to the situation from which he had been granted asylum
- Assange has been cooperative with Swedish authorities throughout their investigation, which has been discontinued
- There existed no legal remedy available to him in the UK to protect against being refouled by Sweden to the USA
- Assange’s conditions in the embassy have constituted confinement tantamount to imprisonment, causing detriment to his physical and psychological health
The judge rejected all of the defence’s arguments and sentenced Assange to nearly the maximum possible sentence allowed, double the six-month sentence given to so-called “speedboat killer” Jack Shepard.
— kayesem ⌛️ (@kayesem) May 1, 2019
Stefania Maurizi: I’ve Known Julian Assange for 10 Years. His Confinement and Arrest are a Scandal
Independent journalist Stefania Maurizi recounts her experience working with and reporting on Julian Assange
We journalists witness great suffering on a regular basis whenever we cover natural disasters, or wars, or even meet sources in distressing predicaments. Over the last nine years, it has been sad for me to watch Julian Assange’s health seriously declining, as he spent year after year in a tiny building without even one hour a day outdoors, the hour assured in my country to even some of the most heinous mafia killers. It has also been sad to watch him struggling with confinement. I remember how I once mentioned a nice Italian village in the Mediterranean Sea. He closed his eyes and told me he was trying to remember what it was like to be in the limitless spaces at sea.
DW: Julian Assange faces extradition hearing as Berlin stays quiet
The German Left party stands by Assange, and its message is loud and clear. “Our goal is to prevent Assange’s extradition to the United States,” said German Left party politician Sevim Dagdelen, speaking in London on April 15 outside the prison where Assange was being held.
Referring to reports of a “secret indictment” and the possibility of prosecutors seeking the death penalty, Frank Überall, head of the German Journalists’ Union (DJV), told DW: “This definitely must be considered” when it comes to extradition. Überall underlined that the threat of capital punishment in the Assange case is cause for serious concern and called for the protection of whistle-blowers, which is “existential for freedom of the press.”
At a press conference just after Assange’s dramatic arrest, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman was tight-lipped. When asked how Germany views the WikiLeaks founder’s case, Steffen Seibert said, “This is a matter which doesn’t concern Germany and is in the hands of British justice.”
While the opposition Left party has been determined and vocal about their support for Assange, other politicians declined to comment on the topic.
30 April 2019
Bail sentencing Wednesday; Extradition hearing Thursday
Julian Assange will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court at 10:30AM tomorrow (Wednesday, 1 May 2019) for ‘violating his bail conditions’ whilst seeking & obtaining political asylum, in Court 1 before HHJ Taylor.
On Thursday at 10AM there will be a hearing in Westminster Magistrate Court on the US extradition request.
Carlos Poveda, lawyer for Julian Assange, explains the support of the complaint against the Ecuadorian Ambassador in London and other officials for alleged espionage to the founder of WikiLeaks
Carlos Poveda, abogado de Julian Assange, explica los sustentos de la denuncia en contra del Embajador de Ecuador en Londres y otros funcionarios por supuesto espionaje al fundador de WikiLeaks.
— El Comercio (@elcomerciocom) April 29, 2019
AFP: Ecuadorian diplomats could face up to a decade in prison following criminal complaint alleging illegal spying operation violating attorney-client privilege and medical confidentiality of the political asylee inside the embassy of Ecuador in London.
El abogado de Julian Assange en Ecuador, Carlos Poveda, denunció este lunes a personal de la embajada ecuatoriana en Londres por la supuesta filtración de información privada del fundador de WikiLeaks.
La defensa acudió a la fiscalía para presentar la denuncia que involucra al embajador Jaime Marchán y cuatro trabajadores de la empresa Promsecurity, encargada de la vigilancia en la legación.
El documento también cita a cinco españoles que “en apariencia no tenían ninguna relación” con la embajada, explicó Poveda a la AFP. Sin embargo, constan en la denuncia como las personas que exigieron un millonario pago a WikiLeaks a cambio de no difundir la información sobre Assange.
The Catalonian Parliament’s Board has today agreed to a statement in support of Julian Assange
— Parlament de Catalunya (@parlamentcat) April 30, 2019
Socialist Equality Party (UK) public meeting in London
Public meeting details
Sunday, May 12 (doors open 1:30 p.m. Start time 2pm)
YMCA Indian Student Hostel
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
London, W1T 6AQ
(Speakers to be announced)
The Socialist Equality Party is demanding the withdrawal of all charges against Julian Assange, a guarantee against extradition to the US and safe passage to his home country, Australia, and that the Trump administration frees Chelsea Manning immediately and unconditionally.
29 April 2019
John Shipton speaks out on his son Julian Assange’s arrest
‘Ecuador doesn’t have its own currency,’ Mr Shipton told 60 Minutes.
‘It uses the US dollar. You can’t get an IMF loan unless the United States approves it – upon agreement to remove Julian from the embassy.’
Assange’s lawyer Greg Barnes described his client’s recent arrest as revenge by the US government, while Mr Shipton claimed the US is determined to ruin his son’s life.
‘My fear was that he’d been dragooned to the US and been thrown into a jail cell, never to get out again,’ Mr Shipton said.
When asked if he still had those fears, he replied: ‘Yes, I do.’
Spanish media cover surveillance and attempted extortion of Assange
El Pais: The leader of the group that attempted to extort WikiLeaks to pay 3m EUR has a prior conviction for fraud
José Martín Santos, Pepe , a journalist sentenced to three years in prison for fraud, and three computer scientists from Alicante are the people who have in their possession images, videos and personal documents of the alleged espionage to Julian Assange , the refugee cyber-activist for seven years in the Embassy of Ecuador in London delivered last April 16 to the British police. Police are investigating whether a supposed Spanish communication agency is behind the extortion of the 47-year-old Australian activist, who is asked to pay three million to not broadcast his images.
El Diario: Ecuador recorded the private conversations of Assange in the embassy, including meetings with doctors and lawyers
The Government of Ecuador recorded the movements of Julian Assange in his embassy in London through the cameras installed by UC Global, the company that supposedly was in charge of protecting him. But the company that replaced this in the work of control of the founder of Wikileaks went further. The Ecuadorian company Promsecurity also recorded the audio of its private conversations, including those it had with its lawyers. In addition, those who watched the uncomfortable guest in the diplomatic delegation photographed the passports of those who visited him and the confidential documents he handled.
“As the media’s indispensable helpmates, don’t they deserve constitutional protection too?”
WikiLeaks enabled spectacular disclosures of official secrets — from war crimes, torture and atrocities on civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan to corruption in Kenya and Tunisia, the latter a catalyst of the Arab Spring. [Assange’s] jailing is the latest event in the ferocious reprisal against a decade of digital whistle-blowing — which has never, to my knowledge, yielded information that was inaccurate or unimportant — and that has now produced little but misery, banishment or imprisonment for the people who tried to force officialdom to come clean.
So we’re in a chilly time for whistle-blowers. While the digital age is endlessly permissive in propagating falsity and racism, authorities are uncompromisingly harsh when the information is accurate, important and inconvenient. Now that Mr. Assange is in British hands — awaiting extradition either to Sweden or to Washington, where he has been indicted on a charge of coaching one of his sources, Chelsea Manning, on how to get access to government secrets without detection — it’s a good time to consider what he has done and been accused of, and what that says about the embattled state of journalism.
Thursday, May 2, 2019, noon
The “We are all Julian Assange!” protest will begin at 12:00 with speeches by German theater director Angela Richter, Whistleblower Network chairman Annegret Falter, biologist and founder of EcoLeaks Esteban Servat, and [German MEP candidate Srecko Horvat]. The speeches will be followed by a reading of a short statement by Edward Snowden brought by Angela Richter from Moscow to this special DiEM25-led public demonstration.
For Edward Snowden, our demonstration is not just about “a man who stands in jeopardy, but the future of the free press”.
Fidel Narváez, former consul at the Ecuadorian embassy, explained that he had been in daily contact with Assange and “the fact that you were there non-stop for so many years made him feel he was not alone. I feel what has happened with Ecuador is really a crime,” he said.
Marsden declared, “Things are changing. We can proceed with a great deal of confidence. Millions are concerned about freedom of speech, censorship, democratic rights. Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning represent the opposition to these attacks and will be defended for that reason.
“There is a groundswell in Britain and internationally. You can see the number of people coming forward because of the gravity of the situation. The victimisation of Assange is the first great crime of the 21st century. If they are allowed to get away with it then everyone will suffer.
If the United States Justice Department succeeds in prosecuting WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, it will have establishment figures from the Democratic Party to thank. Their rhetorical support will make the extreme nature of the case brought by President Donald Trump’s administration more acceptable.
Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, and Tommy Vietor, former national security spokesperson and special assistant to the president, worked in President Barack Obama’s administration. They are prime examples of the kind of people the Trump Justice Department needs to tamp down opposition to their prosecution.
Not only did they display a glaring misunderstanding, but they also revealed their prejudice against WikiLeaks. They both worked for the Obama administration when the media organization published their most high-profile disclosures from Chelsea Manning in 2010.
26 April 2019
Independent journalist Stefania Maurizi spoke to UN Special Rapporteur on Privacy, Professor Joe Cannataci, following his visit with Julian Assange at the Belmarsh prison in London.
Will you be acting in the upcoming weeks on the images, videos of Assange’s meetings and activities in the embassy which have been circulating?
«I will certainly act. We shall be sending an official request to the government of Spain to facilitate my access to the inquiring judge in Spain. As we understand it, the images have been the subject of an investigation by the Spanish police, according to the Spanish penal code, headed by an inquiring magistrate. If and when my access is granted, that evidence might consist of thousands of surveillance footage, which will take some time to watch. I started the action within hours of my knowledge, I knew the press conference called [by WikiLeaks] the 10th of April, and by the evening of that day I had already formulated a number of questions for Mr Assange’s legal team which were sent.». .It has been really disturbing because whenever we journalists met Julian Assange in the embassy, our meetings were exposed to such pervasive surveillance…
«As you can see, this is not just a matter of privacy, but it is also a matter of confidentiality. There is a distinction between privacy and confidentiality, there is a matter of attorney-client confidentiality, a matter of journalistic freedom and protection of sources. There is a number of human rights that come together, there are many dimensions to the case, including freedom of expression, including whistleblowing, protection of journalistic sources».Will you ask Ecuador questions about their role in the creation and dissemination of these files?
«I can comment on that only once I have the results on that from the Spanish investigation, we have to see who did this: whether it was an official action or rogue action».
The Socialist Equality Party and its candidates are issuing a clear demand in the federal election: The Australian government must immediately act to secure the release of Julian Assange from Britain and provide for his safe passage to Australia with a guarantee against extradition to the United States.
Assange’s brutal arrest by the British police on April 11 and the attempts to extradite him to the US are an attack on the working class.
The WikiLeaks founder and publisher has committed no crime. He is being pursued by the most powerful governments in the world for his role in the exposure of illegal wars, mass surveillance operations and sordid diplomatic intrigues affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
The Trump administration’s request for Assange’s extradition is nothing less than an extraordinary rendition operation.
Dozens gathered in London’s Parliament Square yesterday to demand the release of Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder is incarcerated in Belmarsh prison in southeast London in conditions tantamount to solitary confinement, after police seized him from the Ecuadorian Embassy on April 11. He is due to reappear in court on May 2 for an extradition hearing.…
Protesters assembled outside the Supreme Court, which has played a critical role in the British judiciary’s trampling on Assange democratic rights over the last decade.They chanted slogans including, “UK, USA, Free Julian Assange!”, “There is only one condition. No extradition!” and “Free Press-Free Assange.”SEP placards read “Free Chelsea Manning—Free Julian Assange,” “British government must grant Assange free passage to Australia,” “No Internet Censorship” and “Defend Free Speech.”
teleSUR UK correspondent @pablo_telesur joined Londoners yesterday who came out to support Julian Assange, demanding that he not be extradited to the US.
Assange is currently held at Belmarsh prison, normally reserved for those charged with terror offences. pic.twitter.com/HqxKgGvdZE
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) April 25, 2019
25 April 2019
UN Privacy Rapporteur visits Julian Assange in prison
Joe Cannataci, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy, visited Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison to investigate “a wide range of possible infringements” of Assange’s privacy in the Ecuadorian Embassy. Cannataci said he is investigating potential violations of Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Cannataci said yesterday,
I am glad to confirm, as indicated on my statement issued on 5 April, that I will visit Mr. Julian Assange tomorrow (25 April), at HM Prison Belmarsh, in London. I had made arrangements to visit Mr. Assange at the Embassy of Ecuador on the same date, but, after his arrest on 11 April, I sought and obtained the approval of the United Kingdom Government to interview him in custody. The objective of my visit is to assess allegations of possible violations against Mr. Assange’s right to privacy. Any concern that I may have as a result of my assessment will be brought to the attention of the relevant Government(s) in order to seek clarification and make recommendations for remedial action. I may also express my concern publicly if the matters warrant immediate attention.
Cannataci also visited Doughty Street Chambers to speak with Doughty’s Jen Robinson, counsel for Assange, to discuss the investigation further.
Ms Robinson has filed a formal request to the UN Special Rapporteur to investigate Mr Assange’s case and the international legal team continues to liaise with relevant UN Special Mechanisms. A request has also been made for a visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture.
The German television program Hacking Justice will broadcast a feature on Julian Assange’s situation hr-fernsehen at midnight, ‘Julian Assange between politics and justice’
Julian Assange zwischen Politik und Justiz | hr-fernsehen | Nacht von Donnerstag auf Freitag
ColdType magazine dedicates full issue to Julian Assange
The Trials of Julian Assange: Welcome to our 40-page special issue, dedicated to exposing the continuing state and media harassment of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who was arrested last month when police stormed his sanctuary at Ecuador’s London embassy, where he had been a political refugee for almost seven years. Our special issue features articles by David Edwards & David Cromwell, Jonathan Cook, Chris Hedges, Caitlin Johnstone, John Pilger, Andre Damon, John W. Whitehead, and satirist CJ Hopkins. These writers detail the squalid circumstances of Assange’s detention and his persecution at the hands of the British and International meida, which seem oblivious to the threat to their own freedom posed by extradition demands from a US government that wants to jail Assange over the leaking of secret files to Wikileaks by Chelsea Manning in 2010.
Upcoming Events for Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Press Freedom
Saturday, 27 April, 2pm
Dublin artist Joe Black joined by bluesman Dr. Time
*2pm*Saturday*April27th @Belmarsh #Prison*”& theWallsCameTumblingDown!” *ConcertToDefend #Wikileaks+#FreeAssange! *DublinArtist JoeBlack joined byBluesman Dr.Time=who isTravellingThruSpace+Time fromAotearoa(“Land of theWrongWhiteCrowd”)*LastSeen@HighCourt!https://t.co/j7W0mi74cJ
— Ciaron O’Reilly (@CiaronOReilly) April 24, 2019
New York City:
Thursday, 2 May
885 Second Avenue (at 47th Street)
Locations & times of protests & events planned for Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning for World Press Freedom Day (May 3rd)
PEN America’s actions across the United States for World Press Freedom Day
- Atlanta, GA — Thursday, May 2, 2019
- Austin, TX — Wednesday, May 8, 2019
- Berkeley, CA — Saturday, May 11, 2019
- Birmingham, AL — Sunday, April 28, 2019
- Chicago, IL — Saturday, May 4, 2019
- Cincinnati, OH — Thursday, May 2, 2019
- Dallas, TX — Thursday, May 2, 2019
- Denver, CO — Friday, May 3, 2019
- Detroit, MI — Thursday, May 9 2019
- Minneapolis, MN — Saturday, May 11, 2019
You can print your own banners, posters, flyers, stickers and badges/buttons to support imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange and imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning, with free, print-ready designs from Somerset Bean
Planning a rally or demonstration for Julian Assange/WikiLeaks? Get in touch here and we can help publicise your event
24 April 2019
Speaking to DiEM25, Anderson discusses visiting Assange in the embassy, his arrest and what he’s up against, and what’s next:
[Assange] was gagged for a year when the Ecuadorian government cut off his internet and restricted visitors. He could not defend himself publicly while they assassinated his character. He has a tremendous character, integrity and a unique kind of wisdom that makes him unsubjugated in a corrupt world. He would never stop doing what he does. He believes that people have a right to know the truth.
I see hysterical tweeters – who have to mention cheap accusations – it’s like a brain-washing sweep has been done across America. And now with his head on a stick.
Trump first said he loves WikiLeaks: now he says he knows nothing about it.
But they want him in a super-max prison in the US in order to silence him forever. The UK has the historical responsibility to protect Julian Assange.
DIEM25: Why do you think the US is seeking his extradition on these charges – and what does it say about the US government?
PA: The US government has a lot of skeletons in their closet. And this is proof that there must be more. It’s is not democracy at work. There is a sinister tone.
Consortium News today begins a series of articles, “The Revelations of WikiLeaks,” that will look back on the major works of the publication that have altered the world since its founding in 2006. This series is an effort to counter mainstream media coverage, which is ignoring WikiLeaks’ work, and instead is focusing on Julian Assange’s personality. It is the uncovering by WikiLeaks of governments’ crimes and corruption that set the U.S. after Assange and which ultimately led to his arrest on April 11. The “Collateral Murder” video was just the first of many major WikiLeaks revelations that made the journalist one of the world’s most wanted men, simply for the act of publishing.
London demonstration for Julian Assange
Supporters rallied in Parliament Square against Julian Assange’s arrest and threatened extradition
— kayesem ⌛️ (@kayesem) April 24, 2019
— kayesem ⌛️ (@kayesem) April 24, 2019
— kayesem ⌛️ (@kayesem) April 24, 2019
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) April 24, 2019
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) April 24, 2019
23 April 2019
26 April 2019: 6 – 7:45pm
Unite House, 128 Theobalds Road, Holborn, London, WC1X 8TN
But so, isn’t that interesting? The DOJ’s defense of not charging Trump in this case is they say he tried to commit a crime but he was too hapless and he failed to actually do this. And we’re not going to charge him with conspiracy for doing it. And at the same time, they’re charging Julian Assange under precisely the opposite theory. They go, ‘Look, Julian may not have actually cracked a password, we don’t have any evidence that he did, we’re not going to try to prove that he did, we’re going to simply say the agreement to try was enough.’
So this is a real question of a two-tiered system of justice. Why do we have this double standard here, where if you’re the president and try to commit a crime, you can skate, but if you’re a journalist, if you’re a publisher, particularly who’s vulnerable because you’ve gone too far out on a limb and now you’ve lost public support and popularity, everybody’s against you… but no one, no one can argue that the work you’ve done in the past hasn’t been of real public interest – it may not have been — to the party’s benefit, it’s very controversial, no doubt about that. But the newspapers are all running these stories, saying these are important stories, these are about real centers of power in the world.
Why is it that journalists are being held to a higher standard of behavior than the President of the United States?
[Pentagon Papers lawyer James] Goodale stated that [Assange’s indictment] “seems to have been written with a particular purpose in mind—to extradite Assange from England. Once he is here, he will be hit, no doubt, with multiple charges.”
Goodale and other lawyers have noted that individuals cannot be extradited from the UK to the US for “political offenses” under the existing extradition treaty between the two countries.
Espionage has historically been recognised as a political offense.
It is likely that the initial US indictment has been narrowly limited to the computer hacking charges in order to avoid defence arguments that Assange faces prosecution in the US for “political offenses” and to ensure his speedy extradition.
The affidavit against Assange accompanying the indictment, however, incorporates language taken directly from the US Espionage Act. It states that “Manning and Assange had reason to believe that public disclosures of the Afghanistan War reports and Iraq War reports would cause injury to the United States.”
Whatever the charges Assange faces, they will be aimed at criminalising the journalistic exposures published by WikiLeaks, and setting a precedent for preventing media organisations from reporting on government crimes and illegality.
US press freedom, enshrined in the First Amendment to the 1787 constitution, has been under increasing attack over the past few years, and the first year of President Donald J. Trump’s presidency has fostered further decline in journalists’ right to report. He has declared the press an “enemy of the American people” in a series of verbal attacks toward journalists, attempted to block White House access to multiple media outlets, and routinely uses the term “fake news” in retaliation for critical reporting. He has even called for revoking certain media outlets’ broadcasting licenses. The violent anti-press rhetoric from the highest level of the US government has been coupled with an increase in the number of press freedom violations at the local level as journalists run the risk of arrest for covering protests or simply attempting to ask public officials questions. Reporters have even been subject to physical assault while on the job. It appears the Trump effect has only amplified the disappointing press freedom climate that predated his presidency. Whistleblowers face prosecution under the Espionage Act if they leak information of public interest to the press, while there is still no federal “shield law” guaranteeing reporters’ right to protect their sources. Journalists and their devices continue to be searched at the US border, while some foreign journalists are still denied entry into the US after covering sensitive topics like Colombia’s FARC or Kurdistan.
‘Emmy Award winning Filmmaker John Pilger joins us for more on Julian Assange and the US Russiagate frenzy’
Lee Camp: on Assange’s arrest and what WikiLeaks has exposed
Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange has finally been imprisoned, an objective long sought by powerful parties he helped to expose over the past dozen years.Assange’s “crime” was revealing deep, embarrassing, sometimes deadly, malfeasance by numerous actors, including the U.S. government, the media, the Democratic Party-Clinton machine, and Israel.
Wikileaks revealed the U.S. government’s cover-up of torture, cruelty, the killing of civilians, spying on its own citizens and others. It exposed Democratic Party cheating and manipulation, the fraudulence of “Russiagate.” It unmasked Israeli plans to keep Gaza on the brink of collapse, to use violence against Palestinian nonviolence, to make war upon civilians.
Due to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the arrests of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, Sixteen Films and Journeyman Pictures are providing a time-limited free access to the Wikileaks road movie Mediastan. Mediastan is a documentary film directed by Johannes Wahlström and co-produced by Julian Assange, detailing the publication of the very documents for which both Assange and Manning have been incarcerated.
To support courageous truth-tellers please consider making a contribution to The Courage Foundation https://www.couragefound.org/donate.
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Sixteen Documentaries – Ref. 5949
An Australian-led petition demanding the federal government intervene in the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States over the publication of hundreds of thousands of documents exposing US involvement in numerous atrocities has passed 100,000 signatures. And it’s growing larger every day.
The petition on change.org was started by Brisbane resident Philip Adams nine months ago, and had reached more than 30,000 signatures before Assange was arrested earlier this month, after his political asylum within the Ecuadorian embassy in London was cancelled.
Since then it’s almost quadrupled in size, and is gathering momentum.
You can view the petition here.
Manning alleged the government engaged in “intrusive surveillance” against her “including surveillance vans parked outside her apartment, federal agents following her, and strangers attempting to goad her into an absurdly contrived conversation about selling dual-use technologies to foreign actors.”
As Manning’s attorneys argued, Judge Claude Hilton did not “seem to even consider the possibility that the government might have an obligation to disclose whether or not surveillance occurred, despite Fourth Circuit law supporting that proposition.” He essentially ignored the motion on electronic surveillance.
The appeals court’s order flagrantly dismissed these concerns that involve the due process rights of a citizen, and in doing so, it further demonstrated how oppressive and feudal the grand jury system is in the United States, which is one of two countries in the world that still relies on grand juries for developing indictments.
22 April 2019
“Upon consideration of the memorandum briefs filed on appeal and the record of proceedings in the district court, the court finds no error in the district court’s rulings and affirms its finding of civil contempt,” the order reads. “The court also denies appellant’s motion for release on bail.”
Legal experts have pointed to Manning’s current case as a sign that further charges could be filed against Assange, ahead of his extradition proceedings from the United Kingdom to the U.S.
Buzzfeed: Julian Assange Was Arrested. So Why Is Chelsea Manning Still In Jail?
Chelsea Manning on Monday lost her appeal to get out jail after she refused to testify before a grand jury about WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
The fact that Manning is still in jail is one of the clearest signs that federal prosecutors are still investigating Assange and WikiLeaks and mulling additional charges. Assange was arrested by United Kingdom authorities on April 11 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, in part because he faces an indictment in the United States that charges him with conspiring with Manning to hack into US Defense Department computer systems in 2010.
The US has until mid-June to submit formal extradition paperwork to the UK. Until that happens, the Justice Department can file more criminal charges against Assange. Once they submit the extradition package, however, they can only proceed with the charges they have on record.
The 4th Circuit rejected all of her arguments. Manning can now ask a full sitting of the 4th Circuit to reconsider the three-judge panel’s decision, or she could petition the US Supreme Court to take her case.
While disappointing, we can still raise issues as the government continues to abuse the grand jury process. I don’t have anything to contribute to this, or any other grand jury. While I miss home, they can continue to hold me in jail, with all the harmful consequences that brings. I will not give up. Thank you all so very much for your love and solidarity through letters and contributions.
Chelsea’s lawyer responded as well:
We are of course disappointed that the Circuit declined to follow clearly established law, or consider the ample evidence of grand jury abuse.
It is improper for a prosecutor to use the grand jury to prepare for trial. As pointed out in Ms. Manning’s motions and appeals, since her testimony is not necessary to the grand jury’s investigation, the likely purpose for her subpoena is to help the prosecutor preview and undermine her potential testimony as a defense witness for a pending trial.
We believed that the Appeals court would consider this, as it is strong evidence of an abuse of grand jury power that should excuse her testimony.
Organizations and personalities from around the world signed a petition for solidarity with activist Julian Assange, who is being detained in Britain and could be extradited to the United States.
“We repudiate the cipaya and treacherous attitude of the nefarious president of Ecuador Lenin Moreno, this is just an absurd maneuver to kneel before the British Crown and US President Donald Trump.The struggle against the empire, justice and world equality We demand the immediate freedom and respect for human rights, and that he not be extradited to the United States, “they claimed.
Organizaciones y personalidades de todo el mundo firmaron una solicitada de solidaridad con el activista Julian Assange, quien se encuentra detenido en Gran Bretaña y podría ser extraditado a los Estados Unidos.
“Repudiamos la actitud cipaya y traicionera del nefasto presidente de Ecuador Lenin Moreno. Esta no es más que una absurda maniobra de arrodillarse ante la Corona Británica y al presidente de EEUU Donald Trump. La lucha contra el imperio, la justicia y la igualdad mundial nos hermana. Exigimos la inmediata libertad y el respeto de los derechos humanos. Y que no sea extraditado a los EEUU.”, reclamaron.
VICE’s CYBER podcast: “we sat down with Edward Snowden to talk about his life in Russia, WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and press freedom in the United States and beyond.”
Listen here (discussing Assange from 13:15)
The British authorities must not extradite WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange to the United States, where he is at risk of serious human rights violations, including detention conditions that could amount to torture or other ill-treatment, PEN International and Swedish PEN said today. The organisations are further concerned by the broader implications his prosecution would have on global press freedom.
‘The broad nature of the US indictment against Assange is a real threat to journalists and press freedom worldwide because it potentially criminalises legitimate journalistic practices. The treatment meted out to his accused co-conspirator Chelsea Manning shows that these concerns are real, and Assange would be at risk of serious human rights violations, were he to be extradited to the US,’ said Salil Tripathi, chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.
Most germane to Assange’s case are those who could and should face charges for war crimes, but who are feted on the BBC and remain favoured members of the British elite.Because we should remember that Assange faces extradition charges to the US for exposing a series of appalling cases which the authorities had denied, minimised or covered up. Without the exposure of Wikileaks, especially to do with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there would be much less information and knowledge about atrocities carried out in those conflicts, and much more impunity on the part of politicians and generals in their conduct of future wars.
There is something badly wrong about a society which imprisons those – like Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange – who tell the truth about wars, while doing nothing about those like Tony Blair and George Bush who took us into an illegal war costing the lives of over 1 million people and who have never expressed a minute’s regret for it.
21 April 2019
The Real News Network: Ecuadorian President’s Motives for Surrendering Assange: Vengeance & IMF Loan?
WikiLeaks has been a key source of revelations about the transgressions of the Kenyan political elite.
And buried it might have stayed were it not for WikiLeaks, which somehow got a hold of it and, in conjunction with the Guardian, published its details. For once, Kenyans were afforded an unvarnished and detailed glimpse of the amount of national wealth that was being stolen by the very people tasked with protecting it.
Three years later, the Kenyan public would again benefit from a cache of documents published by WikiLeaks. The leaked US diplomatic cables it released revealed what Kenyan politicians were saying to American envoys behind closed doors and how different it was from the public statements they were making.
If information is the lifeblood of democracy, then people like Julian Assange and sites like WikiLeaks are vital blood banks. As press revenues shrink and expensive investigative departments are done away with, it becomes ever harder for citizens to get the information they need to hold their governments to account. Outfits like WikiLeaks can go some way into filling that void and providing some basic information. In that sense, what they are doing is journalism.
20 April 2019
Julian Assange’s mother, Christine Assange:
2 weeks since Julians arrest/detention in Belmarsh prison .
Hes still not allowed visitors, including his lawyers!
This amounts to MORE solitary confinement & stress!
His examining doctors have already stated he needs immediate hospital treatment!
Fix this @Theresa_May!
— Mrs. Christine Assange (@AssangeMrs) April 20, 2019
18 April 2019
Western media do Moreno’s bidding by uncritically repeating smears and ignoring corruption scandals
The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, the three major US newspapers, have all enthusiastically endorsed Assange’s arrest and extradition to the United States, for charges related to his publication of documents implicating the US government in war crimes and the mass murder of innocent people.
These newspapers’ enthusiastic approval for the effective rendition of a journalist, with the threat of torture, indefinite imprisonment and possible execution, sums up their attitude to the freedoms of speech and the press embodied in the First Amendment: they oppose it.
The Canary: ‘In less than three minutes, the BBC broadcasts seven apparent fabrications about Julian Assange’
The BBC has broadcast seven apparent fabrications about Julian Assange in less than three minutes. In an interview, BBC North America editor Jon Sopel failed to meaningfully challenge Ecuadorian president Lenín Moreno on any of his accusations against the former WikiLeaks editor. That’s despite Moreno having a track record as a bullshit artist to the point where he U-turned on the central thrust of his entire governmental programme.
Desperate to ingratiate his government with Washington and distract the public from his mounting scandals, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has sacrificed Julian Assange – and his country’s independence
Political instability has swept across Ecuador since revelations of widespread corruption in Moreno’s inner circle emerged. The scandal coincided with Moreno’s turn towards neoliberal economic reforms, from implementing a massive IMF loan package to the gradual and total embrace and support for the US foreign policy in the region. In his bid to satisfy Washington and deflect from his own problems, Moreno was all too eager to sacrifice Assange.
During the recent meeting of the Executive Board of the IMF, the financial body approved a loan package of $4.2 billion to the government of Lenin Moreno for what it called a “ more dynamic, sustainable, and inclusive economy for the benefit of all Ecuadorians.” The agreement coincided with layoffs of over 10,000 public sector workers, in addition to the ongoing policy of slashing in public and social spending, a decrease in the level of minimum wage and the removal of secure work protections that marked the sharp neoliberal turn of the Ecuadorian government under Moreno.
The IMF deal coincided with the intensifying attempts by the Ecuadorian government to proceed with the expulsion of Julian Assange from its London embassy. His arrest therefore stands as a sign that Moreno is willing to give up any part of his country’s sovereignty – political, diplomatic, or economic – to comply with the demands of international finance.
Mintpress News: Ecuador Smears Assange to Cover Ecuador’s $4.2 B IMF Loan
With Moreno’s reinvigoration, and validation, of the lie, it is set to become official record regarding the arrest of Julian Assange. Yet, there is no evidence.
Ecuador made a series of other accusations against Assange too. Apparently, another impetus for the revocation of his asylum was that he scuffed up the walls of the embassy while skateboarding indoors. To bolster this claim, they released surveillance footage of Assange playing around on a skateboard. Yet they, for whatever reason, didn’t find it necessary to release any evidence of Assange smearing his excrement on the walls
The poop smear serves an effective propaganda purpose: it deflects from the real scandal. That’s because it’s not just the Ecuadorians giving their supposed side of the story: the crude tale was eaten up by reams of “reporters.” It was put forth as the reason for his expulsion in stories with headlines like “Here’s why Ecuador kicked Assange out of the embassy” and “Why did Ecuador give up Assange after seven years?”
But the truth is far more squalid. Ecuador, once among the Latin American “pink tide” nations, since Moreno came into power has been making fast strides towards neoliberalizing its economy. That means cozying up to the U.S.
Dan Cohen on RT: After Assange arrest, IMF gives $4.2B to Ecuador
“The government is currently investigating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, [REDACTED],” says the first paragraph of a motion to seal, dated Dec. 21, 2017.
Referring to this document, prosecutors wrote today that this blackened passage “contains nonpublic information about an ongoing investigation.”
“Premature disclosure of the information could jeopardize the investigation,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Traxler wrote in a 3-page memo on Wednesday.
Prosecutors also hinted that Assange’s associates may also be targets.
“Although the government has confirmed that Mr. Assange or WikiLeaks is under investigation, the government has never provided the specific details of that ongoing investigation, nor stated whether Mr. Assange has been charged or which of his affiliates may also be under investigation,” the memo states.
Chris Hedges in conversation with Vijay Prishad: First Julian Assange, Then Us
Assange lawyer Carlos Poveda: “Sacaron a un ecuatoriano para extraditarlo a un país con pena de muerte”
Esa fue nuestra lucha, no solamente a nivel nacional, sino también internacional, utilizando todos los mecanismos para defender a un ecuatoriano, y esto es bueno aclararlo, Julián Assange sigue siendo ciudadano ecuatoriano. Lamentablemente, hubo un deslíz legal en el que el Canciller Valencia se equivoca y transgrede porque nunca nos notificaron el análisis de la naturalización, como tampoco nos notificaron del fin del asilo afectando las reglas del debido proceso. Por lo tanto, lo que podemos decir para resumir la situación legal es que sacaron a un ecuatoriano para extraditarlo a un país con pena de muerte. ¿Qué significa esto? Podría ser un delito porque estaríamos en presencia de un Estado con conducta inapropiada en contra de una persona protegida.
Mr. Julian Assange’s arrest and potential extradition to the U.S. threaten media freedom
The undersigned members of the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) expressconcern over Mr. Julian Assange’s arrest anddetention on Thursday April 11 by police officers in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Assange was arrested after Ecuador revoked his political asylum status without prior formal notification or meaningful hearing, raising serious human rights concerns including the risk of extradition to the United States where he could be subject to solitary confinement that amounts to torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.
This also sets a negative precedent internationally regarding the protection of people seeking asylum based on credible fear of persecution.
We are also concerned about the United States’ indictment against Mr. Assange, which raises serious world-wide implications for freedom of the press. The US Justice Department’s charges are an attack on basic journalistic activities such as investigating, soliciting information, cultivating sources, protecting reporters’ identity, and publishing information of public interest.
Whistleblowers who provide information and those who publish information of public interest require protection in the name of transparency, journalistic freedoms, and above all, the rule of law.
Agora International Human Rights Group (Russia)
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA)
Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS, Argentina)
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)
Human Rights Law Network (HRLN, India)
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU)
Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)
Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
Legal Resources Centre (LRC, South Africa)
Liberty (United Kingdom)
INCLO is a network of independent, national human rights organizations from the global South and North working to promote fundamental rights and freedoms.
Ai Wei Wei on Assange’s arrest:
AI Wei Wei (@aiww) on Assange’s arrest: “He has the right to stay, as a dissident person, to protect freedom of speech. I think it’s a very sad day for Europe, for the West, to arrest someone like Assange.”pic.twitter.com/9kX9jqBYEy
— Defend Assange Campaign (@DefendAssange) April 18, 2019
Suelette Dreyfus: EU hails Assange as free-speech pioneer while Australia does nothing
The European Parliament passed a law this week to protect whistleblowers across 28 countries, with support from 591 MEPs to just 29 against, while some abstained and some were absent. This new EU “directive” may have been inspired in part by WikiLeaks’ reporting, but it will not help its founder, Julian Assange, who is already sitting in a British high-security prison, Belmarsh, under harsh conditions.
Vigil for Assange in London
17 April 2019
While many mainstream journalists were quick to dismiss the initial indictment against Julian Assange as “narrow” or “not about journalism,” press freedom groups around the world have warned that its language is designed to criminalise basic journalistic practices. Furthermore, those who have followed WikiLeaks and the long-running war on journalism and journalistic sources have pointed out not only how dangerous the indictment already is, but also the strong likelihood that more (and even more disturbing) charges are coming.
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer
Melzer, who was due to visit Julian Assange to assess his condition at the Ecuadorian Embassy, discusses the risk of Assange not receiving a fair trial, the possibility of Assange facing the death penalty and what his potential long-term imprisonment means for freedom worldwide
The Pink Floyd co-founder calls on the UK to rise up to oppose Assange’s extradition, labels the UK a satellite state of US empire for arresting Assange and attacks the government of Lenin Moreno for revoking his asylum
Recalling WikiLeaks’ news value
Mondoweiss: On many occasions, our website has relied on ‘Wikileaks’ revelations to report depth of U.S.-Israel relationship
The greatest value I can add to the discussion about Assange is to convey to readers how much his organization Wikileaks has contributed to our understanding of the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel. I will not itemize every revelation we’ve published that we got off Wikileaks. We’d be here all day.
But I do want to convey the range and depth of these revelations. In every case these were important reports about how government and public officials worked behind closed doors to make sure that Israel and its interests stayed atop US actions. And we would never have had that understanding without Assange. Full stop. You can say anything about his personality or his support for Trump, that’s not the issue. … The importance of these leaks is that they documented in riveting detail an important (and negative) force in U.S. policymaking, the depth and extent of Israel’s influence at the highest levels. Return to Neera Tanden and the Iran Deal. The Democratic Party’s own disavowals of that deal alongside Netanyahu played an important role in its destruction.
We wouldn’t know all this without Julian Assange. I hope that other reporters and editors stand up for that work in the days to come.
Australians call for Assange’s protection
So far in the Assange case, Australia has been able to get away with taking a back seat. But now that the UK government has made it clear it is happy to be the lapdog to Washington, Australia needs to step up – to look after one of its own.
And there needs to be international pressure put on Morrison and Shorten to take the sort of stand that UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has taken about Assange; that is, to oppose the extradition of a person who is criminalised for merely exercising their right to freedom of speech. … To the US security and defence establishment, what Assange did was criminal. And therein lies the danger. We are now all on notice that the US will trash fundamental democratic values if it suits it to do so.
But the response from political leaders in Canberra needs to be clear and unambiguous. Washington must be told that attacks on Australian citizens who exercise their democratic rights will not be tolerated.
New Matilida: “Powerful interests are lining up to condemn Wikileaks’ Julian Assange to an ongoing life of incarceration. Stuart Rees wonders aloud whether Australian leaders will discover a backbone.”
Reaction to Assange’s arrest shows the orthodoxy of powerful people who think they’ve been ordained to protect establishment interests. Over the centuries, such interests have involved lying, deceit, corruption, wars and other forms of violence.
In the Assange case, ‘establishment’ includes US, UK and Australian military and intelligence operatives, politicians and journalists who say that Assange does not belong in their community. … The fate of Julian Assange and the re-arrest of Chelsea Manning show US swagger and violence being deployed to maintain establishment interests.
This is not a legal controversy. It is a massive political issue. The US culture of revenge has to be exposed and challenged. Grass roots outrage needs to be mobilized. But if Australian politicians are to join community protests, it looks as though large doses dozes of gumption will be required.
Crikey: ‘Assange is in the dock, but it’s investigative journalism on trial’
Guy Rundle recounts Assange’s first court appearance in London:
The lawyers and WikiLeaks folk arrived, Kristinn Hrafnsson and Jennifer Robinson in the back of the court. On the other end of the lawyers table, a man stood up, and in a British accent…
“Your honour … I represent the United States government …”
There it was. Nine years this had been coming, and here we were. That morning Julian Assange, founder and leader of WikiLeaks, had been arrested in the embassy, after the Ecuadorian government had withdrawn protection and invited the UK police in.
Outside the court, journos joked about the usual Assange scuttlebutt — his cat, his socks, etc — and essentially validated every critique of mainstream media that WikiLeaks has ever made: that the profession is full of natural sycophants, who spruik cynicism and call it even-handedness, who speak power to truth, who wilfully mistake the adrenaline rush of the micro-scoop and the petty scandal for genuine contestation.
It’s only with this most recent charge — abetting the “stealing of secrets” — that some have started to take notice. Because if you can be pinged for allegedly helping someone crack encrypted copied files, then what about if you coaxed them to blow the whistle with a few phone calls? What if you printed out their documents? Or had them translated, or legalled, or… etc? Does that make you a co-conspirator? The Assange case is the criminalisation of investigative journalism.
Alicia Castro, Former ambassador in Venezuela and the United Kingdom: My Friend Julian Assange
Lenin Moreno has agreed with Donald Trump the rendition [of Assange] to the United States, and Assange will have to face an extradition trial, accused of “conspiracy” for alleged cooperation with the former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to decipher the password of a US Defence Ministry computer belonging to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet). Trump and May defend and implement the espionage on the private life of the citizens and the opacity of the States.
Today, that all of us are victims of the gross manipulation of information, subject to media operations designed to demonize and wage causes against political and social leaders, in the middle of a war of “fake news” that distorts reality, it is shocking and paradoxical that a journalist is imprisoned for acting as a soldier of the truth.
Assange is not American [citizen] and the Wikileaks platform is a foreign news organization. The idea that the government of the United States can reach and extradite a member of any media in the world is terrifying. Never in the history of the United States has an editor been persecuted for presenting truthful information to the public. It creates the precedent that any journalist can be extradited, tried and imprisoned for publishing accurate information about the United States. The freedom of the press does not consist only in the right to publish, but also in the right to read, in the right to be informed, in the right to be informed that we have, as readers.
This universal right has its best defender in Julian Assange, a hero of a new type, for whose freedom we will tirelessly claim, together with the men and women of the world who believe that the truth will set us free.
Audio (Spanish): Alicia Castro: “The only thing that Assange has done was publish information”
DW: Ecuador: Assange supporters clash with police
Hundreds of protesters hit the streets in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito on Tuesday to object to the treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Assange spent seven years under the protection of the Ecuadorian government, but this ended last week when British police were invited into the London embassy, his long-time home, to arrest the whistleblower.
What you need to know:
The protesters support the movement of former president Rafael Correa, who first granted Assange asylum.
They called current President Lenin Moreno a “traitor” for withdrawing Assange’s asylum.
The march near government house was met with a heavy police response, injuring at least two photojournalists.
The demonstrations also targeted the apparent corruption of Moreno and his government, the wholesale dismissal of public servants and a loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
16 April 2019
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Nestlé whistleblower Yasmine Motarjemi and Football Leaks’ Rui Pinto have been jointly awarded for the second annual GUE/NGL prize for ‘Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information.’ Earlier this year, Courage nominated Julian Assange for the award, based on his contributions to journalism and whistleblower protections, his dire circumstances and need for public support, and what his case means for journalists and whistleblowers around the world.
Named in honour of the murdered Maltese investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, the three have been honoured for their work in exposing the truth, and for their courage in risking their careers and personal freedom. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire accepted the award on behalf of Julian Assange.
“Por tanto, la AAJ llama a la libertad de Julián Assange; reclama al Reino Unido el respeto de todos los derechos de Assange y a denegar la solicitud de su extradición a los Estados Unidos y llama a las organizaciones de juristas a pronunciarse en el mismo sentido.”
Current Affairs Editor-in-Chief Nathan J. Robinson in The Guardian: Many Democrats and liberals are cheering Assange’s arrest. That’s foolish
This prosecution is about silencing dissent rather than enforcing the law.
Some have argued that Assange isn’t under attack for “journalism”, but for “activism”. Frida Ghitis of CNN wrote that Assange “is not a journalist and therefore not entitled to the protections that the law – and democracy – demand for legitimate journalists”. This is a dangerous position. Generally, the law doesn’t actually distinguish between “journalists” and “non-journalists”, giving everyone the same protections. This is for good reason: if such a distinction becomes legally relevant, it means the government is empowered to decide who the True Journalists are.
Those of us who work for independent media outlets – I edit a small-circulation political magazine – will always operate under the threat of being deemed “illegitimate” and having our rights taken away. Even if you think Assange is “not a journalist”, the precedent his case sets has ramifications for journalists everywhere. And I do mean everywhere: remember, Assange is Australian, so don’t be surprised when the US tries to seize any journalist around the world who can be alleged to have violated one of its laws.
Charles Glass in The Intercept: Julian Assange Languishes in Prison as His Journalistic Collaborators Brandish Their Prizes
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.
James Risen in The Intercept: Julian Assange Suffered Severe Psychological and Physical Harm in Ecuadorian Embassy, Doctors Say
An American doctor who conducted several medical and mental health evaluations of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside Ecuador’s Embassy in London over the last two years says that she believes she was spied on and that the confidentiality of her doctor-patient relationship with Assange was violated. … when she returned to the embassy after getting food, she was questioned by embassy security staff and asked for a copy of her medical license, even though she had earlier provided her passport and explained the purpose of her visit.
“The hostile, nonconfidential, and intimidating environment was palpable,” she wrote in her affidavit.
In an April 8 letter sent to both U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Dunja Mijatovic, the commissioner for human rights for the Council of Europe, Crosby added that during her February visit to the embassy, the conditions of Assange’s confinement had significantly worsened since her first visit in 2017. Her letter noted the severe psychological toll Assange suffered in his prolonged and indefinite confinement. … In addition to Crosby, Dr. Brock Chisholm, a British clinical psychologist who was previously retained as an expert witness in a case involving allegations of torture at CIA black sites, evaluated Assange over the past two years. Dr. Sean Love, now at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, initially met with Assange and arranged for an introduction to Crosby and Chisholm, but did not conduct any of the evaluations. Love said that Assange and WikiLeaks gave the doctors permission to make Crosby’s affidavit and letter public.
Love criticized the British government for denying Assange medical care while he was in the embassy.
“Whatever you think of his politics, he is a human being,” Love said, “and under international law, he deserved to be treated fairly and not in cruel or inhumane ways.”
New Yorker writer Raffi Katchadourian on the Affidavit in Support of Assange Arrest
Assange affidavit gets into measures Manning took to protect her identity, including requests to obscure certain details in publication. One can speculate that this is the tack that Obama DOJ feared to take, for the way it would chill normal journalistic behavior. pic.twitter.com/vxgoS8UXXy
— Raffi Khatchadourian (@raffiwriter) April 15, 2019
European Parliament to hold debate over the possible extradition of Julian Assange
Petition against Assange’s extradition tops 76,000 signatures — add your name here
Journalist Greg Palast speaks to RT on the arrest of Julian Assange and possible extradition to the US
Quarta-feira ao meio-dia, protesto por Julian Assange em frente ao Consulado Britânico em São Paulo
15 April 2019
Document: Affidavit in Support of Assange Arrest
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia unsealed the affidavit in support of the arrest of Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks. Assange was indicted on March 6 for for conspiring to commit computer intrusions by assisting Chelsea Manning with breaking a U.S. government password. He is charged for violations of 18 U.S.C. §§371, 1030(a)(1), 1030(a)(2) and 1030(c)(2)(B)(ii). The affidavit is available below.
Attorneys weigh in
Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to Sky News:
Speaking to Sophy Ridge, Robinson pointed out an inconvenient fact:
All these people saying he was hiding from Swedish justice. If that were the case, why didn’t he walk out the embassy two years ago when this case was dropped?
“I think the first thing to say is Ecuador has been making some pretty outrageous allegations over the past few days to justify what was an unlawful and extraordinary act in allowing British police to come inside an embassy,” Robinson said.
Attorneys representing Assange co-write an op-ed in Newsweek: “Is Julian Assange Finally on the Path to Freedom?”
In February the U.N. found that his detention was unlawful and that the governments of the U.K. and Sweden must set him free and award him compensation. Although the U.N. issued a note to editors that its decision is ultimately “legally binding”, many reporters simply repeated the U.K. talking point, blasted out through the BBC, claiming it is not.
After huffing and puffing and threatening to blow the U.N. human rights system down, the U.K. has done everything in its power to bury the U.N.’s finding. The U.K. resorted to gunboat diplomacy, threatening Ecuador with severe trade and cooperation repercussions unless they coughed up Assange. The U.K. has also refused him safe access to a hospital for tests and treatment, perhaps in the hope that his health will eventually deteriorate to such a degree that the “Assange problem” will go away on its own.
Top CFAA lawyers weigh in on a prospective trial for Julian Assange: ‘Julian Assange Can Expect The Full 5 Years In An American Jail—Here’s Why’
Former counsel for Justin Liverman, Marina Medvin, “thinks more allegations could be in the pipeline. “Don’t for one minute assume that the current indictment is the last of his charges. More are sure to come.””
European MPs speak out for Assange
Two far-left German MPs, Heike Hansel and Sevim Dagdelen of Die Linke, and a Spanish Green member of the European Parliament, Ana Miranda, had been due to meet their “friend” Assange in London’s Ecuadoran embassy later on Monday.
Instead, following his expulsion and arrest last week, they protested outside the top-security Belmarsh prison in southeast London where he is being held, carrying placards demanding his release.
“We are faced with a humanitarian imperative now that Assange is in UK custody and a US extradition request is out for him, after high ranking officials of the US – including President Donald Trump – have threatened the publisher with death,” said Miranda.
Instead, following his expulsion and arrest last week, they protested outside the top-security Belmarsh prison in southeast London where he is being held, carrying placards demanding his release.
Dagdelen urged Britain and the EU to block any extradition request.
“We call on the British government not to extradite Julian Assange to the USA.
“The European Union must take action to protect a politically-persecuted publisher and journalist,” said the German politician, calling on Spain and her home country to grant Assange asylum.
— Niels Ladefoged (@NielsLadefoged) April 15, 2019
Doctors concerned for Julian Assange’s health
Brock Chisholm, a London-based consultant clinical psychologist and founder of Trauma Treatment International, examined Assange multiple times over the past year and a half.
Along with Sondra Crosby, a doctor and associate professor at the Boston University’s school of medicine and public health, he said in a 2018 article in the Guardian that his patient’s health was in a dangerous condition and called for him to be given safe passage to a hospital.
Now Assange is out, how might seven years of confinement have affected his psychological and mental health?
A member of a team of physicians that has evaluated Julian Assange’s medical and psychological condition over the past two years told three international human rights groups that the Wikileaks founder has sustained “negative psychological and physical effects” from his seven-year detention in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Motherboard has learned.
The doctor believes that the “cumulative severity of the pain and suffering inflicted on Mr. Assange—both physical and psychological—is in violation of the 1984 Convention Against Torture.”
Civil society continues to condemn Assange arrest
John Pilger: if Julian Assange is headed to an American prison, a host of other editors and journalists could be as well
“this is an assault on journalism, but more than that, it’s an assault on citizenship, because it can happen to anybody, right across the world. It is saying international law doesn’t apply”
Reason: Julian Assange Is a Better Journalist Than Many of His Media Critics
The political class and certain media circles have been celebrating over the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. To watch their respective reactions is to recognize that, too often, the two groups see themselves as one and the same. Their interests and opinions coincide, and they don’t like having their authority challenged by loose-cannon journalists who reveal inconvenient secrets and expose the powers-that-be to unwelcome scrutiny.
Patrick Cockburn: “Calling Assange a ‘narcissist’ misses the point – without WikiLeaks we would live in darker, less informed times”
Assange is likely to pay a higher price than Ellsberg for his exposure of government secrets. The Pentagon Papers were published when the media was becoming freer across the world while now it is on the retreat as authoritarian governments replace democratic ones and democratic governments become more authoritarian.
The fate of Assange will be a good guide as to how far we are going down this road and the degree to which freedom of expression is threatened in Britain at a time of deepening political crisis.
WSWS: “Stop the extraordinary rendition of Julian Assange!”
After British police dragged Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer tweeted, “Now that Julian Assange has been arrested, I hope he will soon be held to account for his meddling in our elections on behalf of Putin and the Russian government.” The Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel tweeted that Assange “time after time compromised the national security of the United States and our allies by publicly releasing classified government documents and confidential materials related to our 2016 presidential election.”
These statements show that the extradition proceedings are being conducted under false pretenses. The single public charge is a cover. The government is planning to interrogate Assange, compel him to provide testimony and further prosecute him for exposing US war crimes. In the words of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin: “He is our property and we can get the facts and the truth from him.”
Following UK police forcibly removing the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and arresting him, Seamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, said:
“The NUJ is shocked and concerned by the actions of the authorities today in relation to Julian Assange. His lawyer has confirmed he has been arrested not just for breach of bail conditions but also in relation to a US extradition request. The UK should not be acting on behalf of the Trump administration in this case. The NUJ recognises the inherent link between and importance of leaked confidential documents and journalism reporting in the public interest. It should be remembered that in April 2010 WikiLeaks released Collateral Murder, a video showing a 2007 US Apache helicopter attack upon individuals in Baghdad, more than 23 people were killed including two Reuters journalists. The manner in which Assange is treated will be of great significance to the practice of journalism.”
International Federation of Journalists
— MEAA (@withMEAA) April 15, 2019
Amnesty Int (Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Research in Europe): Julian Assange must not be extradited to the USA
Peter Tatchell Foundation: Assange’s arrest: threat to freedom of publishers
“The decision of the Ecuadorean government to hand over Assange to the UK police is a clear violation of his Ecuadorean citizenship and asylum rights. Ecuador has failed in its duty to protect its citizen.
“The bid to extradite Assange to the US over his revelations of US war crimes, cover-ups and corruption is an attack on the right to publish the truth. WikiLeaks and Assange are online publishers. The proposed US charges against Assange are an assault on publishing freedom and freedom of expression.
“Assange published evidence of American war crimes. He’s a hero, not a criminal.
“The British government should refuse to do the bidding of the Trump administration. It should give public assurances that Assange will not be handed over the US authorities. His extradition to the US is not in the public interest”
Ron Paul: Julian Assange is a political prisoner for revealing the truth
Last week’s arrest of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange by the British government on a US extradition order is an attack on all of us. It is an attack on the US Constitution. It is an attack on the free press. It is an attack on free speech. It is an attack on our right to know what our government is doing with our money in our name.
The timing was hardly “coincidental.” Not long after a trip by Vice President Pence to “convince” Ecuador to hand over Julian Assange, a $4.2 billion IMF loan appears on the scene. Then Ecuador follows through and delivers the Wikileaks publisher to face the wrath of the US political establishment. Do what Washington says, get a bribe. Don’t do what Washington says, get a bomb. On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers: The Prosecution Of Julian Assange Is A Threat To Journalists Everywhere
The Assange prosecution requires us to build a global movement to not only free Julian Assange, but to protect the world from the crimes and corruption of the United States and other governments. The reality is that Freedom of Press for the 21st Century is on trial.
There are many opportunities for a movement to impact the outcome of this process and to free Julian Assange. The extradition process includes political decisions by both the UK and US governments. Courts are impacted by public opinion. If courts are convinced this case is about political issues, extradition could be rejected.
Lawyer Indira Jaising, former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi and journalist P Sainath also signed a statement criticising Assange’s arrest.
14 April 2019
Daniel Ellsberg On Assange Arrest: The Beginning of the End For Press Freedom
“It’s a very serious assault on the First Amendment. A clear attempt to rescind the freedom of the press, essentially. Up till now we’ve had a dozen or so indictments of sources, of which my prosecution is the very first prosecution of an American for disclosing information to the American public. And that was ended a couple of years later by governmental misconduct. There were two others before President Obama, and nine or so under President Obama, of sources, none of these having been tested in the Supreme Court yet as to their relation to the First Amendment. Hasn’t gone to them.
This is the first indictment of a journalist and editor or publisher, Julian Assange. And if it’s successful it will not be the last. This is clearly is a part of President Trump’s war on the press, what he calls the enemy of the state. And if he succeeds in putting Julian Assange in prison, where I think he’ll be for life, if he goes there at all, probably the first charge against him is only a few years. But that’s probably just the first of many.
In my own case, my first indictment was for three counts, felony counts. That was later expanded to 12 felony counts by the end of the year, for a possible 115-year sentence. So I think this is a warning shot across the bow of every editor and publisher in the country.”
GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer: Statement on Julian Assange’s arrest by UK authorities
I deplore by the Ecuadorian authorities’ decision to revoke Assange’s asylum protection, as it contravenes the requests made by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and the United Nations to respect Assange’s right to maintain his asylum status.
I expect the British judicial system to remain impartial, and that it must not bow to external pressure from the US government.
Similarly, other crimes that Assange has allegedly committed must be tried separately and fairly – just like for any other person.
The integrity and freedom of Julian Assange must be upheld.
13 April 2019
Scores of press freedom organisations, news outlets, United Nations representatives, politicians and public figures speaking out against Assange’s arrest and warning of its implications
12 April 2019
Ecuadorean police have arrested Swedish programmer and digital privacy activist Ola Bini for allegedly attempting to destabilize the government by “collaborating” with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Assange was controversially stripped of his asylum status by Ecuador’s current administration under President Lenin Moreno and immediately arrested by British authorities Thursday in the South American country’s UK embassy located in London.
Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo said in an interview with a local media Thursday that the arrest was made for “investigative purposes,” though she did not name Bini, whose arrest took place at Quito Airport, Ecuador, while on his way to Japan.
“For several years now, one of the key members of this WikiLeaks organization and a person close to Mr. Julian Assange has lived in Ecuador, and we have sufficient evidence that he has been collaborating with the destabilization attempts against the government,” Romo said at a Thursday evening press conference.
11 April 2019
Julian Assange has been arrested, in violation of international law, as Ecuador has illegally terminated his political asylum. The Ecuadorian Ambassador invited British police into the Embassy this morning and Assange was immediately arrested.
— Jen Robinson (@suigenerisjen) April 11, 2019
NYT: “The United States has charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with one count of conspiracy to hack a computer related to his role in the 2010 release of reams of secret American documents, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday just hours after British authorities arrested him in London.”
The BBC’s Daniel Sandford: “District Judge Michael Snow finds Julian Assange guilty of failing to surrender” to bail. “He sends Julian Assange to the Crown Court for sentencing as the offence was so serious”
BBC’s Daniel Sandford: “Julian Assange will next appear on the 2nd of May by video link at this court on the extradition matter. He will next appear on the bail offence at Southwark Crown Court on a date to be announced. Hearing over.”
10 April 2019
Uncovered: Spying operation on Assange
WikiLeaks held a press conference this morning to reveal that it has uncovered a massive spying operation on Julian Assange and his associates in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, barrister Jennifer Robinson, and Former Consul of Ecuador Fidel Navarez convened in London to detail a surveillance trove including thousands of photos, videos and audio recordings of Julian Assange, creating a “Truman Show existence” designed to support the effort to oust the asylee. The material includes recordings of privileged legal, medical, and personal communications in a startling invasion of Assange’s privacy.
Furthermore, the material has been offered up for sale to WikiLeaks representatives for the price of 3 million Euros, with the threat of publishing it otherwise. WikiLeaks requested the assistance of Spanish police, who conducted a sting operation against a number of unnamed individuals thought to have been involved. Spanish authorities are now investigating the matter as a case of extortion.
The UN Rapporteur on Privacy will visit Assange in the Embassy on 25 April.
See the full press conference here for a full recounting of the spying operation, the ways in which it invades Assange’s privacy and threatens his ability to carry out his legal defense, Ecuador’s neglecting of its responsibilities to protect him, and the next steps going forward:
“Robinson said it was a severe breach of lawyer-client privilege and undermined his legal team’s ability to properly defend their client”: our @suigenerisjen at @DoughtyStreet press conference this morning on spying on #Assange in #Ecuador embassy: https://t.co/OAJXrmdtJn @smh pic.twitter.com/pe80w20w7w
— Doughty Street Int’l (@DoughtyStIntl) April 10, 2019
9 April 2019
150 Delegates of 38 countries from 5 continents issue declaration at Latin American left-wing summit opposing prospective revocation of Assange’s asylum by Ecuador
COMUNICACION OFICIAL | Las voces en el continente repudian, una vez más, el intento del gobierno del #Ecuador de terminar con el asilo otorgado a Julian Assange. @MashiRafael @GabrielaEsPais @vanessafreirev @ecuainm @ActualidadRT @teleSURtv pic.twitter.com/djzo8nkKJB
— Compromiso Social RC5 (@CompromisoRC5) April 6, 2019
Leonid Bershidsky for Bloomberg: ‘Assange Should Not Be Extradited to the U.S.’
If such a European court decides that WikiLeaks generally has worked in the public interest and not as a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” as Mike Pompeo dubbed it when he was director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, that could create an opportunity for another U.S. fugitive, Edward Snowden, to leave Russia and find refuge somewhere in the European Union. The U.S. needs to legislate better whistleblower protections before it demands that people like Assange and Snowden face its courts.
The Guardian finally acknowledges the dangers of the persecution of Assange
The Guardian has published an editorial: “The Guardian view on Julian Assange: it would be wrong to extradite him”
If he leaves the embassy, and is arrested, he should answer for that, perhaps in ways that might result in deportation to his own country, Australia. Nothing about this is easy, least of all Mr Assange himself. But when the call comes from Washington, it requires a firm and principled no. It would neither be safe nor right for the UK to extradite Mr Assange to Mr Trump’s America.
[In other respects the Guardian’s editorial contains errors, notably on the reason for Assange’s asylum in the first place, some of which can be checked against here: https://t.co/Qb90wQ54Qz]
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 9, 2019
It took @guardian 7 years to accept Assange faces the threat of extradition to the US – and oppose it. Will the paper wait another 7 years to retract the damaging and totally fabricated Manafort story? Good reporting is about the now – not good hindsight.https://t.co/wcapM18Y19
— Kristinn Hrafnsson (@khrafnsson) April 9, 2019
8 April 2019
Some supporters think that the threat against Assange has been won. Don’t be fooled. @WikiLeaks sources said “hours to *days*”. Following public outrage, UN interventions & legal filings, we’ve moved to days (or weeks). Ecuador, which lacks credibility, only states “not imminent”
— Defend Assange Campaign (@DefendAssange) April 7, 2019
Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to Sunrise:
“This information came from a credible source high in the Ecuadorian Government”
Julian Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson on rumours the Wikileaks founder will be expelled from Ecuador’s Embassy and extradited to the United States. pic.twitter.com/qSn0PgzazK
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) April 6, 2019
Assange’s lawyer in Ecuador Carlos Poveda:
#CarlosPoveda: el relator especial de la ONU ya tenía conocimiento d la información de Assange pero no le permitieron ingresar hace una semana, ahora por eso va a visitarlo el 25 de abril, no por la petición del gobierno, esperamos que se le autorice #LaPalabraSonorama
— Radio Sonorama (@radiosonorama) April 8, 2019
5 April 2019
BREAKING: A high level source within the Ecuadorian state has told @WikiLeaks that Julian Assange will be expelled within “hours to days” using the #INAPapers offshore scandal as a pretext–and that it already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest.https://t.co/adnJph79wq
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 4, 2019
British police stationed armed officers outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Friday
UN expert on torture Nils Melzer expresses alarm at reports WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be expelled imminently from Ecuadorian Embassy in London, saying he intends to personally investigate case.
UN expert on torture @NilsMelzer expresses alarm at reports #WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be expelled imminently from #EcuadorianEmbassy in London, saying he intends to personally investigate case.
— UN Special Procedures (@UN_SPExperts) April 5, 2019
Reuters: ‘U.N. torture expert urges Ecuador not to expel Assange from embassy’
Nils Melzer, U.N. special rapporteur on torture, voiced concern that Assange’s health was in “serious decline” and that, if he were expelled, he was likely to be arrested by British authorities and extradited to the United States.
“Such a response could expose him to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” he said.
“I therefore urge the Government of Ecuador to abstain from …ceasing or suspending his political asylum until such time as the full protection of his human rights can be guaranteed.”
Ecuador denies that Julian Assange is about to be expelled from its London embassy
A senior Ecuadorian official, unwilling to put their name to what should be an easy claim to make transparently, if true, tells AP that no decision has been made to expel Assange. https://t.co/yZXl8n9N7A
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 5, 2019
The Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joe Cannataci, plans to meet Julian Assange on 25 April after receiving assurances from the Government of Ecuador that it will facilitate his visit to the country’s embassy in London.
“In response to requests for information, the Special Rapporteur has published a timeline of recent events” here
UN releases damning timeline showing that it started investigation into Ecuador for violating Assange’s rights, asked Ecuador to see him, wasn’t able to.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 6, 2019
Julian #Assange is in extreme danger: if the UK authorities arrest him, you can imagine how it will end up. The UK authorities are very likely to have a sealed arrest warrant / request from the US from the very beginning
— stefania maurizi (@SMaurizi) April 5, 2019
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) April 5, 2019
“Stop this misrule of law. It’s conducted by the English Govt. in collaboration with America. Julian’s been imprisoned on a phoney claim of jumping bail. The issue is freedom of speech.” -Vivienne #FreeJulianAssange pic.twitter.com/QAc6HOfmqI
— Vivienne Westwood (@FollowWestwood) April 5, 2019
As rumors swirl about Julian Assange’s potential expulsion from the Ecuador Embassy in London, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister tweets “diplomatic asylum is a sovereign matter of a State, which has the right to give it or take it way unilaterally when considered justified.’ @wikileaks https://t.co/N3cP4gR1uE
— Eva Golinger (@evagolinger) April 5, 2019
May I remind journalist to think about the absurdity of unilaterally applying “asylum terms”, years after asylum was granted. Will they reflect on the valitity of silencing a persecuted publisher. Consider the pretext Moreno uses: @wikileaks re-tweeting a corruption story on him
— Kristinn Hrafnsson (@khrafnsson) April 5, 2019
Situation outside the Embassy:
— kayesem ⌛️ (@kayesem) April 5, 2019
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) April 5, 2019
— WikiLeaks Art ⌛ (@WLArtForce) April 5, 2019
JUST NOW: Heavily armed UK diplomatic police question driver of “free speech” truck outside of Ecuadorian embassy in London pic.twitter.com/tJan24DlbW
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 5, 2019
4 April 2019
Chelsea Manning is out of solitary confinement, but she remains in prison after refusing to testify to a grand jury. due to her concerns that the exercise is a “perjury trap.”
** UPDATE: After 28 days in so-called “administrative segregation” (solitary confinement), Chelsea has finally been moved into general population at Truesdale Detention Center
— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) April 4, 2019
Manning’s lawyer has expressed concerns that the exercise is a “perjury trap”:
Moira Meltzer-Cohen, an attorney for Manning, suggested during a hearing on March 5 [PDF], if the government intended to question her about her statement, “She’s sort of faced with the choice of reiterating her previous answers, which the government appears not to accept, or being untruthful, which she refuses to do.”
“Since her prior testimony made clear that she acted alone and since we have been advised that she is herself not a target in this investigation, it would appear that the government may harbor an interest in undermining her previous testimony, since it doesn’t inculpate anyone else who might be a target,” Meltzer-Cohen added.
3 April 2019
The INA Papers are a set of documents published in February 2019, allegedly uncover the operations of INA Investment Corp, an offshore tax haven created by the brother of Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno. The trove of emails, phone communications and expense receipts are said to link the president and his family to a series of corrupt and criminal dealings, including money laundering and offshore accounts. The leak has sparked a congressional investigation into President Moreno for corruption.
President Moreno, desperate to divert public attention away from the scandal, is using the claims as a pretext to oust Julian Assange, whom he erroneously blames for the publication, from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. On 2 April, the President stated that Assange has “violated the ‘conditions’ of his asylum” and that he will “take a decision” “in the short term.”
James Goodale, who represented the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case, writes for Harpers: “Why Julian Assange deserves First Amendment protection”
As a veteran of major free-press legal battles, I waited, throughout the days that followed, for journalists to come to Assange’s defense. A few reliable advocates, such as the ACLU and the Knight First Amendment Institute, did sound the alarm, but the editorial boards of the Timesand the Washington Postremained silent.
The Columbia Journalism Review allowed that Assange’s prosecution “could be a slippery slope that would threaten traditional journalists and publishers,” but it was quick to note that WikiLeaks was a “shadowy organization” and “not officially a journalistic one.” (Of course, there is no body, not even the CJR, that determines what is “officially” a journalistic outfit.)
Overall, the same mainstream journalists who have treated Donald Trump’s disparaging tweets about them as unprecedented threats to their freedom handled Assange’s indictment as a political story, another piece of the ongoing Trump–Russia saga.
In fact, the Trump Administration’s prosecution of Assange represents a greater threat to the free press than all of the president’s nasty tweets combined. If the prosecution succeeds, investigative reporting based on classified information will be given a near death blow.
1 April 2019
Chelsea Manning’s legal team asked for her release from jail at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, pending her appeal because the District Court failed to consider evidence that would excuse her from having to give testimony before the grand jury.
Ms. Manning appealed the ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Friday March, 29th, and now asks for bail pending determination of the appeal. Release must be granted as long as the appeal is neither frivolous nor a delay tactic.
Janine Jackson for FAIR: ‘Chelsea Manning Again Takes Fall for Defending Public’s Right to Know’
…outlets from the Times to CNN to Time magazine wrote single stories noting her re-incarceration.
But where are the editorials? Where is the outrage, or even recognition, that someone whose goal was to reveal actions—illegal and unconscionable—being carried out in the US people’s name, and whose revelations led in fact to debate and interrogation of those actions, is once again taking the fall for reporters happy to report those revelations and claim awards for doing so? I can’t find any editorials in US corporate media in support of Manning, or of journalists’ right to inform the public, or of the public’s right to know.
As with Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, decades from now, mainstream media will likely speak matter-of-factly about Manning’s contributions as whistleblower. But what matters is what they’re not doing now. Democracy dies in darkness, indeed.
30 March 2019
Chelsea Manning and the Grand Jury with Jimmy Dore
Nozomi Hayase: ‘Why Psychologists with Social Responsibility Need to Support Freedom of Julian Assange’
29 March 2019
Vigil in support of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Their fate intertwined, persecuted for exercising #FreeSpeech The Whistleblower #ChelseaManning The Publisher Julian #Assange. How much have we learned by their opening the archives? #collateralmurder #Chagos #BenAli #MVMontegorsk #ElMasri #Iraq #Afghanistan #SpyingOnUN endless! pic.twitter.com/dBxupGiR3f
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) March 29, 2019
Vigil for Chelsea Manning at Alexandria jail
— Ann Wright (@AnnWright46) March 29, 2019
Chelsea Manning’s attorneys asked the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate (void) District Court Judge Hilton’s finding of civil contempt
1) Because it would appear that Judge Hilton denied Chelsea’s motion asking the government to disclose the existence of any unlawful surveillance without actually considering the evidence. …
2) Because the Judge failed to demand even minimal assurances that the subpoena was properly motivated, despite ample evidence of abuse. …
3) Because significant portions of the contempt hearing were held in a closed courtroom in violation of Chelsea’s 5th and 6th Amendment rights to a public trial, and the Government has not given any good reasons for keeping the proceedings secret. …
Jacob Sugarman for TruthDig: ‘Chelsea Manning Has Sacrificed Everything Twice’
Prior to [Judge Hilton’s] order, Manning told Hilton that she will “accept whatever you bring upon me.” That has meant re-entering prison without knowing when she might be released, along with weeks on end under dehumanizing conditions. For her remarkable bravery, for her willingness to defy a U.S. government that seems to grow more hostile to whistleblowers with each successive administration, Manning is our Truthdigger of the Month.
US Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks
— Defend Assange Campaign (@DefendAssange) March 29, 2019
28 March 2019
Today marks one year of the illegal gagging of Julian Assange
Elizabeth Vos for Consortium News: A Year of Silencing Julian Assange
On this date in 2018 Moreno imposed on Assange what Human Rights Watch’s legal counsel Dinah Pokempner described as looking “more and more like solitary confinement.” Moreno cut off Assange’s online access and restricted visitors to the Ecuador embassy in London where Assange has had legal political asylum since 2012.
Moreno cited Assange’s critical social media remarks about Ecuador’s allies, the U.S. and Spain. Assange’s near-total isolation, with the exception of visits from legal counsel during week days, has been augmented by the Ecuadorian government’s imposition of a complex “protocol,” which, although eased slightly in recent months in respect of visits allowed, has not improved Assange’s overall status over the last 12 months. In some respects, it seems to have worsened.
Actions in London and Washington DC to express support for Assange and Chelsea Manning on the anniversary of Assange’s isolation:
The whistleblower and the publisher—#FreeManning and #FreeAssange. Chelsea in solitary and Julian gagged, for exposing war crimes, means #FreeSpeech and #FreePress are illusions in the US and UK. (pic: London today) pic.twitter.com/UQBBRCdyh5
— Bean🔥 (@SomersetBean) March 28, 2019
Good morning Congress, when you finish funding big banks, big oil & big weapons makers would you mind giving #FreeSpeech some thought?#FreePress #FreeAssange #FreeManning #chelsearesists pic.twitter.com/FcDnq3YzYV
— PamelaDrew (@PamelaDrew) March 28, 2019
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) March 28, 2019
Spotted in DC: a moving billboard advocating to free Chelsea Manning – who is jailed for contempt in Virginia – and Julian Assange whose indictment was accidentally revealed by prosecutors in another case in Va. pic.twitter.com/iYrZZWkest
— Mike Balsamo (@MikeBalsamo1) March 28, 2019
— WikiLeaks Art ⌛ (@WLArtForce) March 29, 2019
On the streets of London now!
*except war crimes
———————#FreeManning #FreeAssange billboard designed by @somersetbeanhttps://t.co/yH7TEvlGS5 https://t.co/gXcj1OdanS pic.twitter.com/Tv7rADV2BS
— WikiLeaks Art ⌛ (@WLArtForce) March 28, 2019
Free expression group Article 19 demands an end to the prosecution of Julian Assange and the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, warning of a
chilling effect and threats to press freedom
ARTICLE 19 is concerned about continuous attempts to prosecute Julian Assange, founder and publisher of Wikileaks, for his work through the organisation, and about the recent detention of Chelsea Manning for her refusal to testify against Wikileaks. We believe these are efforts to criminalize whistleblowing and the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression, and will potentially create a chilling effect for the media and whistle-blowers at a global level. The US government must respect the right to freedom of expression in both cases, and ensure that anyone can publish information about serious human rights violations without fear of reprisal and prosecution.
Andre Damon for WSWS: Free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning!
The fate of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, political prisoners victimized by US and world imperialism for exposing imperialist crimes and conspiracies, must be a focus of attention of the entire working class and all those who defend democratic rights.
27 March 2019
Margaret Kimberley for Black Agenda Report: “The plights of Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange reveal the hypocrisy and hollowness of liberal America”
While liberals were driven to states of hysteria regarding Russiagate, they show little interest in the plight of Assange and Manning. Manning is a transgender woman, and despite a great deal of discussion about the rights of transgender people, she has been left to her own devices with hardly any protest on her behalf.
Manning and Assange reveal the hypocrisy and hollowness of liberal America. Their disputes with Donald Trump are more about style than substance. Trump’s tweets against the media will engender outrage but the continued persecution of Julian Assange raises few eyebrows.
Chip Gibbons for Jacobin: Let Chelsea Go
Manning’s current conditions of confinement would be perilous to anyone. But to subject a torture survivor to further inhumane treatment is unconscionable. It’s hard to view this as anything other than a vindictive vendetta — a brazen attack on a brave truth teller.
Interview with Kristinn Hrafnsson, the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks
26 March 2019
Courage has published a new briefing for the Council of Europe: Why opposing Julian Assange’s extradition to the US matters for European democracy
The Trump Administration has confirmed that the US government has charged WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange and that it seeks his extradition from the UK. In the US, he faces life in prison. The US actions are a serious threat to European freedom of expression, media and sovereignty.
- The United Nations has repeatedly called for Assange to walk free.
- Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other leading human rights organisations have released statements categorically opposing Assange’s extradition.
- The city of Geneva recently passed a resolution calling for Assange to be granted asylum.
Parliamentary Members of the Council of Europe should:
- Oppose Assange’s extradition to the US.
- Ensure that the Council of Europe raises this case in its procedures and champions the issue in its work on media freedom
- Press the UK government to find the solution to this issue which is available (see below)
The extradition of Julian Assange raises a number of fundamental issues for European democracy.
25 March 2019
Bryan Wall for The Canary: “Chelsea Manning has been put back in solitary confinement by the US government”
According to her support group, Manning is being held in “administrative segregation” by the prison authorities. This is a term they have “designed to sound less cruel than ‘solitary confinement’”, Chelsea Resists said, but it declares: “This treatment qualifies as Solitary Confinement”
Kevin Gosztola for Shadowproof: “Chelsea Manning Once Again In Solitary And Denied Due Process To Challenge Mistreatment”
Individuals with the support group, Chelsea Resists, visited Manning at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center, where she has been detained since March 8 after she refused to answer questions before a federal grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.
The group learned she is in “administrative segregation,” which the jail claims is standard for “high-profile” individuals like Manning.
The “administrative segregation” policy for the detention center—as outlined in an inmate handbook from July 2017—is to house an individual for up to 22 hours per day. A break is given on an established schedule that typically lasts for two hours. A person can “make personal phone calls” and “attend” to “hygiene needs.”
According to Chelsea Resists, Manning has been granted a break every day from 1 am to 3 am. She vomited during their 45-minute visit because the stimulation of being outside of her 22-hour lockdown made her nauseous.
24 March 2019
Elizabeth Vos for Consortium News: ‘Rendition Plane, Increased Police Presence Raise Fears for Assange’
A mysterious flight of a U.S. rendition plane to London and increase of plainclothes British police outside the Ecuador embassy has heightened concern for the WikiLeaks founder.In four days, it will be a full year since WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange was severed from contact with the outside world by the government of Ecuador.
Concern for Assange was heightened as the anniversary approaches after a U.S. Department of Justice jet previously used for the rendition of an accused Russian hacker landed in London on Tuesday and remained there for days, only to return to the U.S. on Saturday. The flight reportedly departed from Manassas, Virginia.
What is US Department of Justice jet “N996GA” doing in London? The jet arrived on Tuesday from DC and was last noted rendering alleged Russian hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin to the US last year from the Czech republic, causing a diplomatic incident with Russia https://t.co/p6QL3r9BJD pic.twitter.com/pr91LZl4rl
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 21, 2019
Chelsea Manning held in solitary confinement again
The Guardian: Manning held in isolation for 22 hours a day after being jailed for refusing to testify to grand jury investigating WikiLeaks
Supporters of Chelsea Manning have demanded her release from effective solitary confinement, in which she has been held for more than two weeks since being jailed for contempt of court.
“We condemn the solitary confinement that Chelsea Manning has been subjected to during her incarceration at William G Truesdale adult detention center,” a committee of supporters said in a statement on Saturday.
Manning has been held in administrative segregation, or “adseg”, with up to 22 hours each day spent in isolation, for the duration of her detention.
Veterans For Peace stands strongly in solidarity with Chelsea Manning. Chelsea has been a remarkable example of principled dissent. She showed great courage in releasing documents and now again standing firm against the questionable practices of a grand jury. Veterans For Peace calls on Chelsea to be released immediately.
23 March 2019
Nozomi Hayase for Dissident Voice: Defense for Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange – Free Speech Movement of Our Time
We condemn the US government’s prosecution of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange and the Justice Department’s attempt to force the alleged source to testify against the journalist for publishing government’s wrongdoing. These draconian actions of the state pose a great threat to our democracy, free press, and our fundamental human rights.
Our efforts to free Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange must become a movement. Our solidarity to defend the whistleblower and WikiLeaks is our non-violent civil disobedience against those in power who seek to control us behind a façade of democracy. This is our civil rights movement. This is the free speech movement of our time. We must use our right to free speech to speak out, associate with one another to mobilize and end this secret grand jury and this prosecution of free press.
Free Chelsea Manning. Free Julian Assange.
22 March 2019
Kevin Gosztola for ShadowProof: ‘Chelsea Manning believes subpoena from WikiLeaks Grand Jury may be ‘perjury trap,’ according to unsealed documents’
Moira Meltzer-Cohen, an attorney for Manning, suggested during a hearing on March 5 [PDF], if the government intended to question her about her statement, “She’s sort of faced with the choice of reiterating her previous answers, which the government appears not to accept, or being untruthful, which she refuses to do.”
“Since her prior testimony made clear that she acted alone and since we have been advised that she is herself not a target in this investigation, it would appear that the government may harbor an interest in undermining her previous testimony, since it doesn’t inculpate anyone else who might be a target,” Meltzer-Cohen added.
Extensive interview with WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson on importance of Wikileaks, Assange, Chelsea Manning and much more: ‘Information Is Never Neutral’
“What people are missing about this story is the core principle here,” Kristinn says. “That journalists are supposed to publish materials on politicians, and especially candidates prior to election. That’s the role of journalists; that’s why it’s called the fourth estate. It’s totally amazing that even journalists are telling me, ‘You shouldn’t have published [the emails] before the election.’ Are we not supposed to inform the electorate about the candidates? Isn’t that your job? If you have internal information about a candidate or a party, it’s your duty. It would be a journalistic crime to withhold it. Then I heard ‘You should have waited until you had something on Trump so that you could be balanced.’ But it doesn’t work that way. The DNC emails had information that was newsworthy, and definitely it should have been published prior to the election, and that’s the end of it. It doesn’t really matter where it came from. It’s not the concern of the journalist to disregard information because it comes from some source that might have an agenda. You always have to evaluate the information that is in front of you. Is it in the public interest to publish it? It’s a no-brainer: either it is, or it isn’t.”
With regards to the Michael Cohen testimony, Kristinn points out that Wikileaks is mentioned only once, “When [Cohen] said that he was present when Roger Stone called Trump and said that he had just talked to Julian Assange. So that’s the proof that Trump knew that Stone had talked to Julian Assange and therefore there’s a direct connection? But it’s a claim. You’re going to take at face value something Roger Stone is saying, at the same time that you’re charging him with lying to investigators?”
Kevin Reed for WSWS: Unsealed documents shed light on state conspiracy against Chelsea Manning
The document also elaborates further on the First Amendment basis for Manning’s refusal to answer questions before the grand jury. Manning’s lawyers write, “First, there is a likelihood that this grand jury to be used expressly to disrupt the integrity of the journalistic process by exposing journalists to a kind of accessorial liability for leaks attributable to independently-acting journalistic sources. This administration has been quite publicly hostile to the press, and there is reason to believe that this grand jury may function to interfere profoundly with the operation of a free press.”
In other words, the Trump administration intends to make examples of both Manning and Assange and threaten any future journalists who report the truth about the crimes of American imperialism and its criminal military and intelligence operations around the world.
21 March 2019
Julian Assange has been short-listed for the Galizia Prize for the second year in a row
The six nominees for 2019 GUE/NGL ‘Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information’ award: #right2info
-Luis Gonzalo Segura
Winner announced: 16th April in Strasbourg pic.twitter.com/BbqNIfmvnV
— The Left in the European Parliament (@GUENGL) March 21, 2019
Join the vigil on March 28 in front of Ecuadorian Embassy in London to mark 1 year since Julian Assange was gagged and isolated under US pressure on Ecuador.
Join in Solidarity with #WikiLeaks publisher Julian #Assange marking 1 year since he was gagged and isolated under US pressure on Ecuador. 28th of March 2019 @ 3-5pm outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, nearest tube Knightsbridge, Piccadilly Line. pic.twitter.com/bxuGwI1MPe
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) March 20, 2019
Marjorie Cohn for Truthout: Daniel Ellsberg Calls Chelsea Manning “an American Hero”
Like Ellsberg’s disclosures, Manning’s revelations actually saved lives. “After WikiLeaks published [her] documentation of Iraqi torture centers established by the United States, the Iraqi government refused Obama’s request to extend immunity to U.S. soldiers who commit criminal and civil offenses there. As a result, Obama had to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq,” I wrote in 2013.
“Manning knowingly risked her freedom then for truth-telling and actually suffered seven-and-a-half years in prison. I regard her as an American hero, and I admire her for what she is doing, risking and enduring right now,” Ellsberg said. No one understands better than he does.
Talk with Marjorie Cohn: ‘A History of the Grand Jury Process and the Chelsea Manning Case’
19 March 2019
Courage has published a new briefing on press freedom: The ‘Assange Precedent’: The Threat to the Media Posed by the Trump Administration’s Prosecution of Julian
All media organizations and journalists must recognize the threat to their freedom and ability to work posed by the Trump Administration’s prosecution of Assange. They should join human rights organizations, the United Nations and many others in opposing Assange’s extradition. They should do so out of their own self-interest given that their ability to safely publish is under serious threat.
Media Lens: ‘The Destruction of Freedom: Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange And The Corporate Media’
A ProQuest newspaper database search on 19 March revealed that there were but four newspaper articles about the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning in the whole of the national print press: TheTimes, the Daily Mail, The Herald and the Daily Record (the latter two newspapers are based in Scotland). The Guardian article mentioned above, based on an Associated Press release, was published online; but not in the print version. There was also an online Telegraph piece which was also just a press release (by Agence France-Presse). As far as we could tell, there was not a single editorial or column in a major national newspaper defending Chelsea Manning, nor pointing to the grave danger to press freedom that her new incarceration posed. That is a disgraceful indictment of our so-called ‘free press’.
18 March 2019
Chris Hedges for TruthDig: ‘Chelsea Manning and the New Inquisition’
The campaign to criminalize whistleblowing has, by default, left the exposure of government lies, fraud and crimes to those who have the skills or access, as Manning and Edward Snowden did, needed to hack into or otherwise obtain government electronic documents. This is why hackers, and those who publish their material such as Assange and WikiLeaks, are being relentlessly persecuted. The goal of the corporate state is to shroud in total secrecy the inner workings of power, especially those activities that violate the law. Movement toward this goal is very far advanced. The failure of news organizations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post to vigorously defend Manning and Assange will soon come back to haunt them. The corporate state hardly intends to stop with Manning and Assange. The target is the press itself.
Andre Damon for WSWS: ‘The guilty silence over the jailing of Chelsea Manning’
After running perfunctory news reports of Manning’s jailing, no major US newspapers have published any follow-up reporting on the imprisonment of the United States’ most famous whistleblower and political prisoner.
None of the dozens of professional moralists employed by the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal who make it their business to publicize “human rights” violations to promote US imperialist interests have written a single column protesting the imprisonment of Manning.
These newspapers regularly report on the alleged imprisonment and mistreatment of journalists, whistleblowers and dissidents at the hands of the United States’ geopolitical rivals Russia and China. But when it comes to the jailing of a courageous whistleblower in the United States, they are silent.
There’s been no protest from any significant Democratic politician, including the “progressive” wing. Sanders, AOC, Tlaib and Omar have not spoken in Manning’s defense. Calls & emails by WSWS to offices of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez were not returned. https://t.co/MgjhWr5KpK
— Kristina Betinis (@KristinaBetinis) March 18, 2019
Kevin Gosztola for ShadowProof: ‘Before WikiLeaks, US Government Threatened Press Freedom with Grand Jury Investigations into Pentagon Papers’
The grand jury investigation against anyone who potentially helped Ellsberg likely suggests how broad the universe of people subpoenaed may be in the grand jury investigation against WikiLeaks. Prosecutors do not have to only call people known to have worked or associated with the publisher. They may call someone like [Harvard Professor Samuel] Popkin to testify, who has no knowledge at all of WikiLeaks, if prosecutors are convinced that person may have talked to someone who potentially knows something about WikiLeaks publications.
15 March 2019
Patrick Henningsen: ‘Here’s why you need support Wikileaks and Chelsea Manning who are defending two fundamental pillars of democracy: rights of free press & whistleblowers’
Here’s why you need support @wikileaks + @xychelsea who are defending two fundamental pillars of democracy: rights of #FreePress & #Whistleblowers. Journalists, publications must step up now. Watch:#Unity4J @GarethPorter @unjoe @DanielLMcAdams @Jonathan_K_Cook @georgegalloway pic.twitter.com/XWBYdKhnbK
— Patrick Henningsen (@21WIRE) March 14, 2019
14 March 2019
Bill Goodwin & Niels Ladefoged for Computer Weekly: ‘The Metropolitan Police has confirmed it exchanged information on WikiLeaks staff in the UK with the US Department of Justice, which is conducting criminal investigations into the organisation’
The Met’s involvement in the US investigation, which appears to have begun after US prosecutors secretly seized the Google accounts of the three WikiLeaks staff, came to light after a precedent-setting ruling following an information appeal tribunal hearing in November 2018 (see ‘Tribunal sets legal precedent for journalists’ below).
The tribunal ordered the Metropolitan Police to confirm or deny whether it held correspondence on the three WikiLeaks staff, following a legal challenge brought by Stefania Maurizi, an investigative journalist with Italy’s La Repubblica, who has written extensively about the organisation.
“It is shocking to realise how a media organisation which has revealed very important information in the public interest and has revealed the true face of the wars in Afganistan and Iraq has been under investigation since 2010, and this investigation is completely shrouded in secrecy,” she told Computer Weekly.
SCOOP: The investigative Journalist @SMaurizi won an information appeal, leading the @metpoliceuk to confirm the existence of the correspondence. @SwaziJAF @khrafnsson @Computerweekly pic.twitter.com/lCmkfdBsGu
— Niels Ladefoged (@NielsLadefoged) March 14, 2019
Excerpt from the Metropolitan Police’s compelled response to Stefania Maurizi’s FOIA:
here is the excerpt from @metpoliceuk‘s answer to my #FOIA (after the London Tribunal ordered to comply) shielding any eventual role of the UK #intelligenceagencies in the investigation against @wikileaks pic.twitter.com/BDzZaqeWMg
— stefania maurizi (@SMaurizi) March 14, 2019
Barry Sheppard for the Green Left Weekly: ‘Chelsea Manning jailed again and not a squeak from the Democrats’
…the Democrats are joining the Trump administration in going after Wikileaks for a deeper reason: the whole US government operates behind a vast wall of secrecy and hates it when it is exposed for its crimes.
Solidarity with Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning at London book fair
Anne and Nathalie attending the #Londonbookfair stopped to show their solidarity with #ChelseaManning and #JulianAssange — “Chelsea has the strength of her convictions. More people should know about this. It’s supposed to be the land of the free and the brave.” pic.twitter.com/LtHlG0SEi1
— Mehring Books (@Mehring_Books) March 14, 2019
— Mehring Books (@Mehring_Books) March 14, 2019
Ayse from Dixi Books says “Free Julian Assange!” pic.twitter.com/jZoGYkszlL
— Mehring Books (@Mehring_Books) March 14, 2019
At Michigan rally defending Assange and Manning, Andre Damon warned: “The White House wants to set a precedent for jailing whistleblowers and journalists who publish information critical of the military and state apparatus.”
At Michigan rally defending #Assange and #Manning, Andre Damon warned: “The White House wants to set a precedent for jailing #whistleblowers and journalists who publish information critical of the military and state apparatus.”https://t.co/JOs5V70v4Z#Unity4J #WikiLeaks #Auspol pic.twitter.com/2PZQbDqK2k
— SEP (Australia) (@SEP_Australia) March 14, 2019
Die Linke members of the Bundestag come out to oppose Friday’s jailing of Chelsea Manning:
German left members of the Bundestag come out to oppose Friday’s jailing of former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. Manning was formally jailed to coerce her to testify in secret US proceedings against WikiLeaks over its 2010-2011 publications. pic.twitter.com/YQ4Jh14nJu
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 14, 2019
13 March 2019
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has issued communication instructing Ecuador that it has an obligation not to expel Julian Assange, directly or indirectly, to the United States, in accordance with the IACHR Court’s decision 25/18. Ecuador is instructed that the principle of non-refoulement is imperative and applies in full.
Case 54/19-Ecuador Ref: Julian Paul Assange
The Interamerican Commission on Human Rights has today instructed Ecuador that it has an obligation not to expel Assange, directly or indirectly, to the United States, in accordance with the IACHR Court’s decision 25/18 pic.twitter.com/mhCzzWqxLX
— Hanna Jonasson (@AssangeLegal) March 13, 2019
This is today’s communication from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to the parties to proceeding 54-19 (Ecuador) in its entirety.
Ecuador is instructed that the principle of non-refoulement is imperative and applies in full. pic.twitter.com/GDJIthIpPl
— Hanna Jonasson (@AssangeLegal) March 13, 2019
Press statement by Julian Assange’s defence:
***Corrected*** Press statement by Julian Assange’s defence on today’s Inter-American Commission’s communication to Ecuador regarding case 54-19. Comunicado de prensa desde el equipo de defensa de Julian Assange sobre el comunicado del CIDH a Ecuador. (English and Spanish) pic.twitter.com/b89By8Lzxr
— Hanna Jonasson (@AssangeLegal) March 13, 2019
The International Association of Democratic Lawyers calls for the U.S. to release Chelsea Manning from prison
This is a grave threat to freedom of the press and is a new angle to attacks on the media in the United States: imprisoning a source to coerce testimony about journalists publishing activities.
We urge the United States to
- Lift the secrecy surrounding the criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and unseal the charges brought against Julian Assange;
- Release immediately Chelsea Manning from prison;
- End the criminal investigation and ongoing persecution of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.
Bloomberg: ‘Free-Speech Groups Support WikiLeaks Move to Dismiss DNC Lawsuit’
the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press and the American Civil Liberties Union asked a judge to allow them to file papers in support of a request by WikiLeaks to dismiss the case.
The groups said the Supreme Court has protected publications of “truthful information of public concern” in a series of cases over the last 50 years, including information that was published even after it was illegally acquired — as long as the publisher wasn’t involved in the unlawful collection of the material.
The Knight Foundation issued a statement about the filing:
As the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized, the First Amendment protects the publication of stories like these. A ruling against WikiLeaks that narrowed this protection could jeopardize the well-established legal framework that made these stories possible—and that is crucial to ensuring that the public has the information it needs to hold powerful actors to account.
Read the full filing here:
12 March 2019
WikiLeaks’ editor Krisinn Hrafnsson:
Every day Chelsea Manning @xychelsea spends in jail for refusing to testify against Assange/@wikileaks adds shame to those journalists who remain silent about this disgrace. This applies especially to those who benefited most from her brave acts in the past. @guardian @nytimes
— Kristinn Hrafnsson (@khrafnsson) March 12, 2019
Lucy Diavolo for Teen Vogue: ‘Chelsea Manning Has Been Imprisoned for Resisting a Grand Jury Investigation. Here’s Why She Should Be Freed’
That Manning is willing to face more jail time because she challenges the validity of the grand jury process is a vital act of resistance that pushes back on decades of government interference in activist communities.
The U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia is fooling itself if it thinks locking up Manning will compel her to testify. She has made clear that she has no interest in testifying in such a secretive setting. Her only offense is an unwillingness to cooperate with the same government that locked her up for exposing the kinds of horrors its military forces perpetrated in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Branko Marcetic for Jacobin: ‘The Real Threat to Press Freedom’:
Mainstream commentators have been fretting over Donald Trump’s hostile rhetoric towards the media. But Chelsea Manning’s recent jailing shows that there are much graver threats to press freedom happening right under their noses.
Jimmysllama for Mintpress News: ‘Whistleblower Chelsea Manning Stands Up for Press Freedom, Gets Jailed by US Gov’t’
President Donald Trump’s 2010 statement that the WikiLeaks’ staff should be executed and Hillary Clinton’s suggestion to drone Assange are reflective of a deeply disturbing trend to terrorize the press.
11 March 2019
Glenn Greenwald spoke to Democracy Now: Chelsea Manning’s Refusal to Testify Against WikiLeaks Will Help Save Press Freedom
Stuart Rees for New Matilda: “A Question Of Humanity: How To Free Julian Assange”
Smearing, demonizing and lying to the point where an alleged truth emerges has characterized official British, US and Australian attitudes to Assange. For these reasons, assumptions about him have to be redefined and the issues reframed. In an age of governments’ increasing secrecy and surveillance, he has had the courage to report truths about States’ violent and illegal acts. He has committed no offence. He threatens only those who deny the importance of free speech and freedom of the press.
10 March 2019
Free Assange solidarity vigil outside Ecuadorian Embassy in London
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) March 10, 2019
People gathers in front of the Ecuador Embassy, London. Protesting the continued abitrary detention of Julian #Assange of @wikileaks as well as Fridays detention of @whistleblower @xychelsea Chelsea Manning for refusing giving testimony in connect to grand jury investigation pic.twitter.com/VrjU9pp0CC
— Niels Ladefoged (@NielsLadefoged) March 10, 2019
SEP UK national secretary Chris Marsden has just addressed the vigil outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. His speech was warmly applauded as he called for freedom for Julian #Assange and Chelsea Manning. pic.twitter.com/iDGk9SBSdY
— Socialist Equality Party (Britain) (@SEP_Britain) March 10, 2019
George Galloway in interview at the Free Assange protest outside the Ecuadorian Embassy: “It’s a kind of modern day torture that Julian Assange has been subjected to.”
“It’s a kind of modern day torture that #JulianAssange has been subjected to” @georgegalloway in interview at free #Assange protest in front of the #Ecuador Embassy, London. pic.twitter.com/bXnSq3KLt9
— Niels Ladefoged (@NielsLadefoged) March 10, 2019
George Galloway speaking at the Free Assange protest outside the Ecuadorian Embassy
— Niels Ladefoged (@NielsLadefoged) March 10, 2019
Chris Marsden, national secretary of the UK Socialist Equality Party, addresses rally to defend Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning
Free Assange rally in Melbourne
#FreeAssangeRally Melbourne, 10 March 2019
— Tatiana Schild (@tatianaschild) March 10, 2019
9 March 2019
Courage nominates Julian Assange for the 2019 Galizia Prize: The award, for ‘Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information,’ “was established in 2018 in honour of the assassinated Maltese journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, and last year it was jointly awarded to the murdered Slovak journalist, Ján Kuciak and LuxLeaks whistleblower, Raphaël Halet.”
If the government can change the designation of Wikileaks from being a news organization (Obama Administration’s designation of Wikileaks) to a ‘hostile intelligence service’ (Trump Administration’s designation), then any entity – online and offline – is in danger of being designated a hostile intelligence agency if they carry out investigative reporting that the US government or a particular administration considers to be hostile to itself. This will have a chilling effect on investigative reporting of powerful government agencies or officials, including the president, intelligence agencies, etc. This is a serious breach of our constitutional freedoms and every American – Democrat, Republican or Independent – must stand up against it.
Roger Waters posted a video (with transcript here) to Facebook to talk about demonstrations in support of Julian Assange and about Chelsea Manning’s arrest:
8 March 2019
Chelsea Manning sent to jail for refusing to testify in WikiLeaks grand jury investigation
U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ordered Manning to jail for contempt of court on Friday after a brief hearing in which Manning confirmed she has no intention of testifying. She told the judge she “will accept whatever you bring upon me.”
Manning has said she objects to the secrecy of the grand jury process, and that she already revealed everything she knows at her court martial.
The judge said she will remain jailed until she testifies or until the grand jury concludes its work.
“In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles. I will exhaust every legal remedy available,” [Chelsea] said.
“As everybody knows, Chelsea has tremendous courage. Our primary concern at this point is her health while she is confined and we will be paying close attention,” Manning’s attorney, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, told reporters outside a federal courthouse in Virginia.Manning can be held for the term of the grand jury and not longer than 18 months, Meltzer-Cohen said. Asked if Manning was prepared to stay imprisoned for 18 months, Meltzer-Cohen said “we are not there yet.” Meltzer-Cohen added that it was “quite likely” they would appeal the order.
CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who served a prison sentence and supports Manning, said, “I have great admiration for what she did for the simple reason that she could have taken two other ways out. She could have testified or she could have gone before the grand jury and just answered each question with the words, ‘I don’t recall.’ But she didn’t do either one of those things. She cited her constitutional rights under the First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendments.”
6 March 2019
Whitney Webb for Mintpress News: ‘With Ecuador’s Cooperation Bought by IMF Loans, Washington Waxes Optimistic on Assange Extradition’
While reporting on the probe has largely focused on the nature of the still-sealed DOJ case, most reports have largely missed the fact that the marked increase in activity relating to the probe is directly related to the fact that Ecuador has, by all indications, agreed to rescind Assange’s asylum so that he may be extradited to the United States. As a consequence, the U.S. is moving forward with its case against Assange and WikiLeaks — which began nearly a decade ago in 2010 — now that it has received assurances that Assange’s extradition is a matter of when, not if.
Alexander Rubinstein for Mintpress News: ‘Assange May Be Elephant in Room as Chelsea Manning a Fights Federal Grand Jury Subpoena’
Janus Rose — a spokeswoman for a “support committee” called “Chelsea Resists,” set up to support Manning’s “fight against the grand jury subpoena” — spoke at length to MintPress News:
“… In all grand jury cases, there are legal risks that are opened up associated with answering questions, of being exposed to possible perjury if you say the wrong thing because prosecutors are given wide latitude to ask whatever they want over and over again. So, there is a legal risk and I think that it’s not acceptable for Chelsea to be exposed to this kind of risk, especially after all the things that she has done and all the time she has already served and has been commuted for.”
While Manning was unsuccessful in getting the motion to quash the subpoena approved and in unsealing the motion itself, she promised to return to court on Wednesday, stating: “We still have ground to litigate, so we’re going to be here tomorrow. The motion is still sealed, so at the end of the day, all the matters are sealed.”
5 March 2019
Manning had attended an hour-long closed-door hearing, as did several federal prosecutors in the Assange case—including Tracy McCormick, Evan Turgeon, Gordon Kromberg and Kellen Dwyer. Although Manning didn’t mention either Assange or WikiLeaks by name, she did tell reporters that there had been “an awful lot of government attorneys” in the courtroom. And Manning was critical of grand juries, telling reporters, “Grand juries are terrible tools. The idea that there is an independent grand jury is long gone. It’s run by a prosecutor.”
Manning delivered a statement after the hearing:
Prior to entering the courthouse to motion to quash, Manning talked to reporters about why she is resisting the grand jury subpoena pic.twitter.com/1Vj7ikZKB5
— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) March 5, 2019
Further evidence the US is pursuing #Assange over pre-2016 @wikileaks publications – Collateral Murder, Cablegate, Afghan & Iraq Warlogs – which should be of grave concern to all foreign media which also published, incl @guardian @Telegraph @Channel4News https://t.co/w1YaJEs6bE https://t.co/E4m3nDsLT5
— Jen Robinson (@suigenerisjen) March 5, 2019
Courage has prepared an EU Parliamentary briefing: ‘Why Opposing Julian Assange’s Extradition to the US Matters for European Democracy’
The Trump Administration has confirmed that the US government has charged WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange and that it seeks his extradition from the UK. In the US, he faces life in prison. The US actions are a serious threat to European freedom of expression and sovereignty.
- The United Nations has repeatedly called for Assange to walk free.
- Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other leading human rights organisations have released statements categorically opposing Assange’s extradition.
- The city of Geneva recently passed a resolution calling for Assange to be granted asylum.
This year already, 36 MEPs and MPs have written to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UK Prime Minister Theresa May calling on them to find a solution to this matter.
4 March 2019
John Pilger’s speech at the rally in support of Julian Assange on 3 March in Sydney:
Why has the Australian government made no serious attempt to free Assange? Why did Julie Bishop bow to the wishes of two foreign powers?
Why is this democracy traduced by its servile relationships, and integrated with lawless foreign power?
The persecution of Julian Assange is the conquest of us all: of our independence, our self-respect, our intellect, our compassion, our politics, our culture.
So stop scrolling. Organise. Occupy. Insist. Persist. Make a noise. Take direct action. Be brave and stay brave. Defy the thought police.
War is not peace, freedom is not slavery, ignorance is not strength. If Julian can stand up to Big Brother, so can you: so can all of us.
3 March 2019
Rally in support of Julian Assange on March 3 in Sydney: pictures and videos
Filmmaker @johnpilger speaking earlier today in support of #wikileaks founder and editor #JulianAssange, at a rally organised by @SEP_Australia #FreeAssangeRally #freeassange #wsws pic.twitter.com/YZlOwp6nFQ
— Eugene Ulman (@eugeneulman) March 3, 2019
#FreeAssangeRally @jcogan_sep Those of us here today and listening online represent the beginning of a mass campaign. We are sending a clear message to Julian today-and he will hear it-you’re not alone, you’ve not been abandoned, you’ve not been forgotten, and you will be freed. pic.twitter.com/XOeWCSobSt
— SEP (Australia) (@SEP_Australia) March 3, 2019
Full John Pilger coming soon but from today’s #FreeAssangeRally is this… @wikileaks @AssangeMrs @WSWS_Updates RT for Melbourne rally, next Sunday March 10, state library 1pm… #BringJulianHome pic.twitter.com/4QGpzN42Zt
— SEP (Australia) (@SEP_Australia) March 3, 2019
John Pilger speaking at today’s #FreeAssangeRally. “@wikileaks has also published more than 800,000 files from Russia, including from inside the Kremlin, telling us more about the machinations of power in Russia than all the specious hysterics in Washington known as #Russiagate.” pic.twitter.com/EekTzfZtrH
— Lissa Johnson (@LissaKJohnson) March 3, 2019
Back home from Sydney #FreeAssangeRally
— Tatiana Schild (@tatianaschild) March 3, 2019
— tim anderson (@timand2037) March 3, 2019
— SEP (Australia) (@SEP_Australia) March 3, 2019
2 March 2019
Natasha Lennard for The Intercept: “Chelsea Manning Fights Subpoena — Showing How Federal Grand Juries Are Unaccountable Tools of Repression”
Prosecutors and other authorities use grand juries to map out political affiliations while sowing paranoia and discord. It is hard to see the subpoenaing of Manning, who gave exhaustive testimony at her court-martial and took full personal responsibility for her leaks, as anything but punitive.
Manning’s challenge to the grand jury subpoena thus suggests that, as shown during her court martial, the whistleblower understands the monumental First Amendment issues at stake in the prosecution of those who would expose government wrongdoing.
Matthew Brennan for WSWS: “US Federal Court subpoenas whistleblower Chelsea Manning”
It is likely that one of the main reasons why Manning is currently being subpoenaed is to try to undermine her original 2010 court-martial testimony, in preparation to pursue Assange.
A key component of her 2010 testimony was that she refuted attempts by the Justice Department to imply that Assange had directed her to pursue the leaks. “No one associated with W.L.O. [WikiLeaks Organization] pressured me into sending any more information. I take full responsibility,” she stated at her court-martial.
Manning told the Times that the Justice Department has indicated in vague terms that they want to “talk about her past statements.” She believes the subpoena is likely an attempt to get her to back away from her 2010 court-martial defense, or to intimidate her in other ways if she does not collaborate with the Justice Department.
Support for Chelsea at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:
#StandUp for @wikileaks Founder #JulianAssange & #WhistleBlower #ChelseaManning – Embassy of Ecuador on 01/03/19 at 1am – @Unity4J @AssangeMrs @SomersetBean @DefendAssange @_sarjb @BellaMagnani ✊ #Truth pic.twitter.com/XFN3q907aa
— Sabine von Törne (@BeeBeeHoneyBee) March 2, 2019
Exactly. It’s stunning that people have spent two years parading around as gravely worried about Trump’s threats to a free press because of mean tweets, while an actual, grave threat – his DOJ’s prosecution of WL for *publishing docs* – is being largely ignored if not cheered. https://t.co/wdjHxSzDkr
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 2, 2019
Jimmysllama, MintPress News: “Whats Behind Australia’s Decision to Suddenly Grant Julian Assange a Passport?” Jimmysllama provides a thorough recounting of “Australia’s abysmal record on supporting Australian journalist and publisher, Julian Assange.”
1 March 2019
More coverage: Chelsea Manning subpoenaed to testify on WikiLeaks
The Washington Post: “Chelsea Manning subpoenaed to testify before grand jury in Assange investigation”
“Chelsea Manning has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in the investigation of Julian Assange, officials said, one of several indicators that prosecutors remain interested in WikiLeaks’ publication of diplomatic cables and military war logs in 2010.
“Prosecutors in Virginia have been pursuing a case based on conduct that predates WikiLeaks’ publication of hacked emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, and it’s not clear investigators are interested in that activity.”
“I object strenuously to this subpoena, and to the grand jury process in general,” Manning said in a statement. “We’ve seen this power abused countless times to target political speech. I have nothing to contribute to this case and I resent being forced to endanger myself by participating in this predatory practice.”
“The subpoena was signed last month by Gordon Kromberg, a national security prosecutor on the Assange case. Kromberg last month persuaded a judge to leave sealed an indictment against Assange despite its inadvertent exposure in an unrelated court filing last year.”
Politico: “Chelsea Manning fights grand jury subpoena seen as linked to Assange”
Asked about the subpoena Friday, Assange lawyer Barry Pollack expressed frustration with prosecutors’ continued focus on Assange.
“It’s disappointing but not surprising that the government is continuing to pursue criminal charges against Julian Assange, apparently for his role in publishing truthful information about matters of great public interest,” Pollack said.
Chelsea Resists! support committee: “Chelsea Manning Challenges Grand Jury Subpoena, Support Committee Issues Statement in Solidarity”
“Grand juries are notoriously mired in secrecy, and have historically been used to silence and retaliate against political activists. Their indiscriminate nature means the government can attempt to artificially coerce a witness into perjury or contempt. Chelsea gave voluminous testimony during her court martial. She has stood by the truth of her prior statements, and there is no legitimate purpose to having her rehash them before a hostile grand jury.”
The subpoena sent to Chelsea Manning shows that the Trump DOJ – as they’ve repeatedly vowed – is extremely serious about prosecuting WikiLeaks & Assange for publication of documents, which would pose a grave threat to press freedoms https://t.co/nz51akw7l1
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 1, 2019
A closer look at the subpoena reveals specifics about the nature of the grand jury’s inquiry:
It is NOT speculation what DoJ wants @xychelsea to testify about. If you look top right-hand corner of subpoena you’ll see “10GJ3793”. That’s the 2010 WikiLeaks “espionage act” [§793] grand jury targeting “the founders, owners or managers of WikiLeaks” https://t.co/ygTTJr3I0y pic.twitter.com/n7k69aClSk
— Defend Assange Campaign (@DefendAssange) March 1, 2019
David House testified on WikiLeaks in exchange for immunity
The Daily Beast reports that former WikiLeaks volunteer David House, who in 2011 declined to answer grand jury questions about WikiLeaks, “was subpoenaed last May for an encore appearance before the Alexandria grand jury. This time he didn’t take the Fifth. “I decided to cooperate in exchange for immunity,” said House…”
Update: From 3 March 2019:
In light of news of Chelsea Manning’s subpoena to the @wikileaks grand jury and David House’s immunity deal, here’s my thread from November on the EDVA Assange indictment and the likelihood it is to do with Wikileaks’ 2010 publications rather than Mueller.https://t.co/mYbqto8gOe
— Hanna Jonasson (@AssangeLegal) March 3, 2019
Oscar Grenfell for WSWS: Australian government refuses to defend Julian Assange
Under international and Australian law, the government has a clear responsibility to exercise its diplomatic powers and legal discretion to aid a detained Australian citizen abroad.
The government has the ability to make diplomatic representations to the British government to drop trumped-up bail charges against Assange that will result in his immediate arrest if he leaves the embassy building. If Britain refuses, the government has the power to initiate legal proceedings to compel the British government to allow for Assange’s safe passage out of the country.
DefendAssange Twitter thread, collated by GreekEmmy: “STRATEGY NOTE: Dealing with hypocritical organizations and politicians in lobbying to #FreeAssange and to defend WikiLeaks.”
28 February 2019
Chelsea Manning reveals in an interview with the New York Times that she has been subpoenaed to testify in a grand jury investigation in the Eastern District of Virginia, where Julian Assange has been indicted under seal. Manning is fighting the subpoena, which calls for her to testify on 5 March, and her legal representatives have filed a motion to quash it.
“I am not going to contribute to a process that I feel is dangerous and could potentially place me in a position where I am forced to backtrack on the truth,” she said.
Ecuadorian FM Jose Valencia:”We hope that the Assange case will be resolved as soon as possible, we’ve now had 7 years with Mr. Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy, the Ecuadorian State has done its part in complying with international law.”
📻 Sobre Assange | “Esperamos que el caso Assange se resuelva lo más pronto posible, ya vamos a cumplir 7 años con el señor Assange en la embajada ecuatoriana. El Estado ecuatoriano ha hecho su parte cumpliendo el derecho internacional”, @ValenciaJoseEc en @radiosucesosec
— Cancillería Ecuador (@CancilleriaEc) February 28, 2019
Aaron Mate & Jimmy Dore on the testimony of Cohen: the claim that Trump had prior knowledge of Wikileaks fails hilariously:
27 February 2019
WikiLeaks disputes Michael Cohen, says Julian Assange never talked to Roger Stone:
STATEMENT on Michael Cohen testimony to Congress: WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange has never had a telephone call with Roger Stone. WikiLeaks publicly teased its pending publications on Hillary Clinton and published > 30k of her emails on 16 March 2016. https://t.co/XcH75u3kbu
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) February 27, 2019
Further reactions to Cohen’s testimony:
Cohen said the purported conversation between Trump and Stone took place on July 18 or 19. Here’s WikiLeaks promoting the upcoming release of Hillary-related emails on its *public Twitter account* on July 7! Idea that Stone ever had special foreknowledge is totally unsupported pic.twitter.com/FBZ1W7eA3O
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) February 27, 2019
WikiLeaks denies that any phone call between Assange and Roger Stone ever took place. Which should not be surprising, considering Mueller just indicted Stone and made no mention of it, despite having comprehensive access to Stone’s phone records https://t.co/10JN5f6Zxr
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) February 27, 2019
If Trump “knew in advance” about the pending publication of hacked DNC emails, so did everyone who followed the WikiLeaks Twitter account. It was public information! That’s what’s so maddening about this ridiculous narrative pic.twitter.com/mCYQxNUOZK
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) February 27, 2019
Anybody who believes Julian Assange was able to phone Roger Stone from inside Ecuadorean Embassy with neither GCHQ, NSA, CIA, MI5 or FBI intercepting the call, is severely deluded – combined budget those agencies US $41 billion. Michael Cohen’s testimony is obviously nonsense.
— Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) February 27, 2019
2. unless SOLID evidence surfaces, how can you believe #RogerStone claiming he had a phone call w/#Assange? The #EcuadorianEmbassy in London is under MASSIVE surveillance: it would have been impossible to have such phone convo without UK-US intelligence intercepting it
— stefania maurizi (@SMaurizi) February 27, 2019
Support for Assange in front of Ecuadorian Embassy
Outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Julian Assange’s place of asylum for over 6 years now. Over 8 years unlawfully detained in the UK.
More: https://t.co/gXcj1OdanS #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/kh7MX2ZCmo
— WikiLeaks Art ⌛ (@WLArtForce) February 27, 2019
26 February 2019
Response from British MP Harriet Harman concerning UK position of Assange
Response from my MP @HarrietHarman arrived yesterday. (Sharing without comment.)
— Sabine von Törne (@BeeBeeHoneyBee) February 26, 2019
Binoy Kampmark: Shifting the Centre of Gravity: Julian Assange Receives His Passport
Each granular detail of his fate garners international headlines in an ongoing battle of attrition. Will he step out? Will he seek medical treatment he urgently needs? What will the local constabulary do? Statements from the Metropolitan Police and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office suggest that he will be medically tended to but will also have to face the charge of violating his bail conditions when he entered the Ecuadorean embassy in 2012. Once that door opens, the narrow horizon to a US prison cell becomes a realistic prospect, even if it is bound to be a protracted matter.
25 February 2019
The Socialist Equality Party (UK) calls for maximum participation in the “Solidarity Vigil for Julian Assange” outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Sunday, March 10.
The Julian Assange Defence Committee has organised the vigil to complement the rally the same day in Melbourne, Australia, called by the Socialist Equality Party (Australia). A week earlier, Sunday, March 3, the SEP is holding a rally in Sydney to demand Assange’s freedom. Both rallies will be addressed by SEP National Secretary James Cogan.
23 February 2019
Today marks 3000 days Julian Assange has been arbitrarly detained
Catalonia’s exiled President Carles Puigdemont denounces Assange gagging
Keeping Julian Assange in custody for 3000 days is an affront to freedom of speech in the entire world. Catalans will never forget your courage and commitment to defend our right to self-determination @DefendAssange @wikileaks
— Carles Puigdemont (@KRLS) February 23, 2019
Australia confirms Wikileaks’ Assange has valid passport
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) February 23, 2019
22 February 2019
James Cogan at WSWS: Authorities confirm Assange’s Australian passport was renewed. The news however does not reduce the danger that the WikiLeaks founder faces as a result of the US-led vendetta against him.
The vendetta against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks is aimed at overturning the principles set out in the 1971 Supreme Court ruling on the publication of the Pentagon Papers, which upheld the right of journalists to publish information leaked by a government source. It is an attempt, initiated by the Democratic administration of Barack Obama and continued under the Republican administration of Donald Trump, to obliterate freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
This underscores the urgency of the campaign in Assange’s defence.
News that Assange’s Australian passport was renewed last October does not reduce by one iota the danger that he confronts. He still faces immediate detention by British authorities if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy, and the prospect of extradition to the US on the most draconian and anti-democratic pretexts.
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has called on Australians to rally in support of Julian Assange, saying the WikiLeaks chief is a “personal hero” of his.
21 February 2019
SMH reports, “The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed Mr Assange received his new Australian passport in September 2018. The passport has gone unreported until now.”
The new passport makes it possible for Mr Assange to return to Australia. He has been without a passport after his previous one expired several years ago.
Australian barrister and adviser to Mr Assange, Greg Barns, said credit was owed to Australia’s former foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop, who he said had gone to great lengths to ensure Mr Assange’s rights as an Australian citizen were upheld by being granted a passport.
— Greg Barns (@BarnsGreg) February 21, 2019
19 February 2019
Mairead Maguire, who won the Prize in 1976 for her work toward peace in Northern Ireland, nominated the WikiLeaks publisher:
“Julian Assange, fearing deportation to the U.S. to stand trial for treason, sought out asylum in the Ecuadorien Embassy in 2012. Selflessly, he continues his work from here increasing the risk of his prosecution by the American Government. In recent months the U.S. has increased pressure on the Ecuadorian Government to take away his last liberties. He is now prevented from having visitors, receiving telephone calls, or other electronic communications, hereby removing his basic human rights. This has put a great strain on Julian’s mental and physical health. It is our duty as citizens to protect Julian’s human rights and freedom of speech as he has fought for ours on a global stage.
“Julian Assange meets all criteria for the Nobel Peace Prize. Through his release of hidden information to the public we are no longer naïve to the atrocities of war, we are no longer oblivious to the connections between big Business, the acquisition of resources, and the spoils of war.”
WikiLeaks has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in six consecutive years, from 2010 through 2015.
18 February 2019
Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a 2020 presidential hopeful, defended WikiLeaks Saturday night, saying the information released by the organization brought “necessary change.”
The Hawaii congresswoman was fielding questions at a meet-and-greet in Concord, New Hampshire, over the weekend when she was asked about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“Obviously, the information that has been put out has exposed a lot of things that have been happening that the American people were not aware of and have spurred some necessary change there,” she told the crowd.
15 February 2019
Courage has prepared and published a new parliamentary briefing: ‘Why Opposing Julian Assange’s Extradition to the U.S. Matters for the U.K.‘
Parliamentarians should oppose Assange’s extradition to the US. The case raises a number of fundamental issues for the UK:
- The UK has clear obligations under international law to protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. Assange’s asylum status requires that he not be transferred to the persecuting state (i.e., the country that he was given asylum in relation to, the US).
- The United Nations has repeatedly called for Assange to walk free.
- Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other leading human rights organisations have released statements categorically opposing Assange’s extradition.
Reuters reports: ‘U.S. investigators probing years of WikiLeaks activities: source‘, confirming what has long been known to those following the US response to WikiLeaks releases since 2010, when a Grand Jury was empaneled to investigate prosecuting the organization for publishing.
American investigators are gathering information and pursuing witnesses involved in both recent WikiLeaks disclosures and the website’s large-scale postings of U.S. military and diplomatic messages over several years from 2010.
13 February 2019
Justice for Julian Assange: A Test for Western Democracy?
Former British politician and political commentator George Galloway hosted an hour-long discussion about Julian Assange’s persecution on his debate show AL Mayadeen TV. The conversation, featuring activists, journalists, and academics, as well as street interviews in London, covered an array of important questions about Assange’s treatment and what it portends for western democracy:
- Why is the UK refusing to comply with the UN’s Working Group findings stating that Julian Assange should be released?
- Will the disregard of these UN Working Group findings affect the legitimacy of various democratic institutions in the UK?
- Is Assange’s struggle for freedom a sign of growing authoritarianism in the West?
- What is behind the Ecuadorian government’s change of stance on Assange, given that he was permitted refuge 5 years ago?
- Vaughan Smith Former army officer and award-winning freelance video journalist. Founder of the Frontline Club, London
- Patrick Christys Radio Presenter and Journalist
- Julian Morrow Researcher and Theorist
- Alexander Nekrassov Former Kremlin and government adviser
- Ciaron O’Reilly Assange supporter and activist
- Sarah Kassim Educator and community leader
- Tony Gratrex Activist and founder of Reading Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Was on board the Gaza Flotilla, 2010
- Cheryl Sanchez Supporter and activist
11 February 2019
Acclaimed musician Roger Waters releases a statement in support of Julian Assange and calls on Australians to demonstrate their support:
We, the citizens of the world, have an absolute duty to protect Julian Assange from their unwarranted and illegal attacks.
I unreservedly support and applaud the demonstrations called by the Socialist Equality Party in Australia to demand that the Australian government takes immediate action to secure the freedom of their citizen, Julian Assange, from his near seven-year house imprisonment in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. At least until recently the Ecuadorian presidency was solid in its promise of asylum, but the new president of Ecuador is showing himself to be more susceptible to insidious US pressure. Julian’s situation is dire.
BRING HIM HOME NOW!!!
DEMONSTRATE on MARCH 3rd in SYDNEY and MARCH 10th in MELBOURNE
AROUND THE WORLD, RAISE YOUR VOICE EVERYWHERE
DEMAND A SAFE HAVEN FOR JULIAN ASSANGE IN HIS HOME AUSTRALIA.
9 February 2019
The city council of Geneva has called on the Swiss government to provide asylum to Julian Assange. Sputnik News reports, “The Swiss government has already responded to the request, saying that the founder of WikiLeaks “is not a human rights defender, and therefore Switzerland cannot defend him in that capacity.”
7 February 2019
— Wendy Hijazi (@wendysone1) February 6, 2019
5 February 2019
Adam Garrie for the Eurasiafuture: ‘Julian Assange is Dying in Darkness While The Washington Post Pats Itself on The Back’
Assange is a prisoner of conscious whose only option is to trade his present prison cell for an even less humane one and almost certainly execution shortly thereafter. It must never be forgotten that Hillary Clinton once remarked that Assange’s execution should be conducted with a military grade drone. Imagine if a Saudi politician said this about a dissident journalist? The Washington Post might actually feign shock in such an instance, but this was not the case when a major US politician said so about Julian Assange.
Julian Assange is beyond a shadow of a doubt, not just the greatest journalistic figure of this age, but of all time. No one has shown an ability to better harness cutting edge technology to tell world changing truths that would have been far more easily suppressed in a previous epoch. But because Assange’s publications could not be suppressed, instead the powers that be decided to suppress, repress and oppress the man.
3 February 2019
Aaron Maté writes for The Nation about Roger Stone’s indictment:
media outlets across the board have suggested or claimed that the Stone charges show that he passed on privileged information about Wikileaks to the Trump campaign in 2016. But all Mueller has shown is that Stone asked for secret information about WikiLeaks from two people who appear to have had none to provide; and that the Trump campaign asked him about secret information that he accordingly is unlikely to have had.
James Cogan writes for WSWS, ‘Stone indictment presents no evidence of links between WikiLeaks and Trump campaign’
The indictment indicates that [radio host Randy] Credico engaged in little more than speculation in his exchanges with Stone, while Stone engaged in total speculation in his contact with Trump campaign officials. He actually knew nothing about WikiLeaks’ publication schedule.
2 February 2019
Tony Kevin, a former Australian ambassador, defends Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, calling on Australia to support its own citizen in conversation with Joe Lauria for Unity4J:
Brian Becker, director of Answer Coalition, talking to Joe Lauria at Unity4J online vigil, sums up reasons why Julian Assange is so important:
1 February 2019
The Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry said it had been asked by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (part of the Organization of American States), to provide information related to the WikiLeaks founder’s asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in light of the recently filed motion asking the commission for protection.
[Assange lawyer] Barns said they welcomed the visit by High Commission consular officials, who were briefed on Assange’s medical issues and difficulties.
“They have seen firsthand the untenable situation Julian is in,” he said.
“His health is deteriorating yet he cannot get medical care for fear of arrest. We will be asking Senator Payne to seek undertakings from [the] UK that [Assange] can leave the embassy for healthcare without being arrested.”
Barns said Assange was suffering chronic pain in one arm and needs dental work, neither of which can be treated inside the embassy. Assange’s health continues to decline, he said.
31 January 2019
Consortium News: ‘Judge Denies Request to Unseal Assange Criminal Complaint Saying There is No Proof it Exists’
Judge Leonie Brinkema of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia decided on Wednesday to turn down the request by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to make public details of the complaint, the existence of which was made known inadvertently last year.
“The Government opposes the Committee’s application on the ground that it has neither confirmed nor denied whether charges have been filed against Assange and cannot be required to disclose that information before an arrest is made,” Brinkema wrote in her 10-page ruling.
Assange’s named appeared in a totally unrelated criminal complaint, apparently from a copy and paste mistake. The government called it an “unintentional error.”
WikiLeaks says founder Julian Assange ‘cannot hope to receive fair trial’ after a judge refuses to unseal potential charges against him in the US
In a statement, WikiLeaks stated: “When it comes to facing accountability for its actions, the government now says its lips are sealed. It is obvious what is going on here.
“The administration is playing a double game that seeks to build political cover for Assange’s arrest without giving the public, the press and Mr Assange the facts necessary to resist it.
“That the judge has played along with this absurdity is further proof that Mr Assange cannot hope to receive a fair trial in the United States.”
27 January 2019
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell Foundation on legal challenge launched by Julian Assange
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Moves to Reveal Assange Indictment Based on Allegations in Roger Stone Indictment
— _Cryptome_ (@_cryptome_) January 27, 2019
26 January 2019
Australian activists delivered “Free Julian Assange Petition Notice 29, to Prime Minister, Foreign Minister & all 226 politicians of the Australian Government”
Jan. 25 2019 we delivered Free Julian Assange Petition Notice 29, to Prime Minister, Foreign Minister & all 226 politicians of the Australian Government. 8 years of arbitrary Detention is enough torture, for publishing facts. Sign Petition link https://t.co/hQzmRtqRgT#auspol pic.twitter.com/c0GiqAo9R7
— Phillip Adams (@PhillipAdams64) January 26, 2019
WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson comments on the Stone indictment:
I have declined interviews today on the arrest and indictment of Roger Stone. The story today is that this is not, and never was, a @wikileaks story. I don´t see the need to add anything.
— Kristinn Hrafnsson (@khrafnsson) January 25, 2019
US comedian Jimmy Dore and The Nation‘s Aaron Maté discussed the Guardian Manafort fabrication, among other Russiagate “fails”, in Dore’s program Aggressive Progressive on The Young Turks:
25 January 2019
WikiLeaks on Roger Stone’s indictment: New evidence there was no ‘back channel’
Glenn Greenwald on Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and the debacles of
the Corporate Media
24 January 2019
Julian Assange launches legal challenge against the US
Lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder, who has been living at the embassy since 2012 when he was granted diplomatic immunity, have filed an urgent application to the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
23 January 2019
WikiLeaks press release: ‘Assange Moves to Force Trump Administration to Reveal Charges and to Compel Ecuador to Prevent Extradition to U.S.’
Lawyers for Julian Assange have filed an urgent application to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), based in Washington D.C., to direct the Trump Administration to unseal the charges it has secretly filed against Mr. Assange. They are also asking the Commission to compel Ecuador to cease its espionage activities against Mr. Assange, to stop the isolation imposed on him and to protect him from U.S. extradition. The urgent request is in the form of a comprehensive 1,172-page application for “precautionary measures” directed to the international body which monitors compliance of the U.S. and Ecuador with their binding legal obligations. The calls to extradite Mr. Assange to the United States, as the result of his work as a publisher and editor, is the reason Mr. Assange obtained political asylum at Ecuador’s embassy in London in August 2012.
21 January 2019
Megan Georgina for DiEM25: ‘Our Whistleblowing Laws Must Change’
David Andersson for Pressenza: ‘By Working to Free Julian Assange We are Fighting for Justice’
Ecuador confirms facilitating the interrogation of its London diplomatic
staff by U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors (Thursday, Friday and
Monday) which it describes as “free and voluntary” despite insisting
they submit to it. (More)
Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept: ‘The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story
4. Paul Manafort Visited Julian Assange Three Times in the Ecuadorian Embassy and Nobody Noticed (Guardian/Luke Harding)
On November 27, 2018, the Guardian published a major “bombshell” that Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had somehow managed to sneak inside one of the world’s most surveilled buildings, the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and visit Julian Assange on three different occasions. Cable and online commentators exploded.
Seven weeks later, no other media outlet has confirmed this; no video or photographic evidence has emerged; the Guardian refuses to answer any questions; its leading editors have virtually gone into hiding; other media outlets have expressed serious doubts about its veracity; and an Ecuadorian official who worked at the embassy has called the story a complete fake
19 January 2019
Assange lawyers file case over US DoJ interrogation of Ecuadorian
#Ecuador‘s ex-London Consul Fidel Narvaez: “Could we imagine an upside-down scenario? American diplomats parading in a police station to answer questionnaires sent by an Ecuadorian prosecutor? Difficult, right?” https://t.co/eHntg5jjvQ @UNHumanRights #Assange #WikiLeaks #Auspol pic.twitter.com/lX1fGJiKf0
— Bella Magnani ⏳ (@BellaMagnani) January 19, 2019
Vigil in support of Assange in London
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) January 19, 2019
18 January 2019
The Guardian‘s reckless misreporting continues to have real-world
ramifications: ‘US investigators questioned Ecuadorian diplomatic staff
stationed at the embassy in London during WikiLeaks founder Julian
Assange’s years-long stay.’
Assange’s legal team responded:
— Defend Assange Campaign (@DefendAssange) January 18, 2019
16 January 2019
Heike Hensel, die Linke MP spoke against the extradition of Julian
Assange and expressed concern for his safety in the German Bundestag:
J. #Assange, sitzt seit 6 Jahren in der ecuadorianischen #Botschaft in London fest. Verlässt er die Botschaft, droht ihm die Ausweisung an die #USA & möglicherweise die #Todesstrafe, obwohl er nichts weiter getan hat als #Kriegsverbrechen der USA zu enthüllen. pic.twitter.com/ZNIP8vEvXq
— Heike Hänsel (@HeikeHaensel) January 16, 2019
Historian Mark Curtis discussed The Guardian’s Assange fabrication on RT’s Underground:
“Shouldn’t the media be on the side of people that actually REVEAL SECRETS, rather than be on the side of states that COVER THEM UP?!” 📣😡
Historian @markcurtis30 on the fabricated stories about Julian Assange…
— Going Underground on RT (@Underground_RT) January 16, 2019
14 January 2019
Mark Curtis for Consortium News: ‘The Twitter Smearing of Corbyn and Assange’
Tyler Durden for Zero Hedge: After Raising $50K, WikiLeaks To Sue The
Guardian Over “Entirely Fabricated” Manafort Visitation Claim
13 January 2019
— Assange Defence (@AssangeDefence) January 13, 2019
12 January 2019
Gordon Dimmack report: “Outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London Visit”
11 January 2019
We see two options for Mr Assange: to remain for an indefinite period [at the embassy] or to surrender, and this option, we believe, is the most positive for him
Oscar Grenleff for WSWS: Corporate media smears WikiLeaks and Julian Assange
The coverage has the character of a coordinated political campaign, with the most sinister motives. Its aim is to legitimise the stepped-up persecution of Assange by the US and British governments, which are pursuing the journalist and publisher because of WikiLeaks’ exposures of their war crimes, diplomatic intrigues and illegal spying on the American and world population.
Endgame for Assange: The theatre director Angela Richter visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Ecuador’s embassy in London. For the last time, she fears
9 January 2019
WikiLeaks issues official denial of Trump election contacts, saying that
the organization never provided election information to Donald Trump
campaign adviser Roger Stone or to Jerome Corsi, a conservative author
and conspiracy advocate.
8 January 2019
S.T. Patrick for the American Free Press: Media Ramps Up Attacks on Assange
A mainstream reporter with The Guardian has conjured up a link between Julian Assange and Trump associate Paul Manafort with zero evidence as part of his ongoing attempt to destroy both Assange and whistleblower Edward Snowden.
WikiLeaks advises media about false reporting on Julian Assange
7 January 2019
Mairead Maguire, Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner, nominates Julian Assange for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize
6 January 2019
Assange’s Australian lawyer Greg Barns writes for The Mercury: ‘Turning
our backs on a man hunted for freedom of speech’
4 January 2019
3 January 2019
2 January 2019
Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept: Five Weeks After The Guardian’s Viral Blockbuster Assange-Manafort Scoop, No Evidence Has Emerged — Just Stonewalling
The news of Ecuador’s audit was broken by former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, himself charged by the new President Lenin Moreno:
La última de Contraloría:
“Examen especial” al otorgamiento de asilo a Julian Assange.
Eso es tan “procedente” como hacer un examen especial al nombramiento de un ministro.
Ya que gobierne nomás Celi, el contralor impostor.
Por su odio y persecución, somos el hazmerreír del mundo pic.twitter.com/ipOMaqFIB5
— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) January 2, 2019
As WikiLeaks notes: “Ecuador has initiated a formal “Special Examination” of Julian Assange’s asylum and nationality (nationals cannot be extradited) as it seeks a $10billion+ IMF bailout for which the US government demanded handing over Assange and dropping environmental claims against Chevron”
1 January 2019
Once it gets to a media publication, they can publish it. They can publish it for the purpose of informing people. You can’t put Assange in a different position than that. He was a guy that communicated. We may not like what he communicates, but he was a media facility, he was putting that information out. Every newspaper, station grabbed it and published it.
31 December 2018
Nozomi Hayase writes for New Age: ‘Test of western democracy’
Julian Assange, through his work with WikiLeaks, engaged in that type of vibrant journalism that revitalized the impulse for real democracy. By publishing vital information in the public interest, he defended public’s right to know, empowering ordinary people to actively participate in history.
Now, it is our responsibility to respond to this crisis of democracy through solidarity. Can each of us step up to the challenge to solve the problems that our leaders have created? Efforts to free Assange urge us all to claim and exercise the power inherent within that can restore justice to end this prosecution of free speech.
Consortium News: ‘Giuliani Says Assange Should Not Be Prosecuted’
26 December 2018
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 26, 2018
24 December 2018
Serge Halimi in Le Monde Diplomatique: The Guardian’s fake scoop
22 December 2018
James Cogan for WSWS: Demands surge for Britain to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
The demands made by the UN Working Group and WikiLeaks’ supporters highlight the utter perfidy of the Australian government and political and media establishment, which refuses to defend an Australian citizen against US and British persecution.
John Pilger talks about Assange’s fight and the recent developments in
21 December 2018
UN to UK: let Assange leave safely
“It is time that Mr. Assange, who has already paid a high price for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of opinion, expression and information, and to promote the right to truth in the public interest, recovers his freedom,” the experts concluded.
More coverage from Reuters
Journalist Joe Emersberger speaks to The Canary: The international power struggle that’s leaving Julian Assange in a “very dangerous situation”
The ongoing attacks on Assange are clearly an attack on WikiLeaks – an independent media organisation that specialises in publishing information from whistleblowers that it deems to be in the public interest. So if we value the organisation’s work, we must ensure that political power struggles – both in Ecuador and the UK – do not result in the silencing of Assange and WikiLeaks.
20 December 2018
Trevor Timm, at CJR: By prosecuting WikiLeaks, Trump could stifle reporting on Russian interference.
First, it’s important to remember that newspapers publish classified information all the time, and that this has been especially true during the Trump administration. CJR has documented how leaks of classified information have changed and delayed controversial Trump administration proposals. Critically, many of the major stories detailing the Trump circle’s relationship with the Russian government have also hinged on information the government considers secret.
MEPs visit Assange in London
Two members of German parliament, Sevim Dagdelen and Heiki Hansel, visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to relay “greetings of solidarity from the Left party and his many supporters from Germany,” and to discuss the possibility of a “humanitarian solution” to his predicament.
Both MPs co-signed a letter earlier this month to UN Secretary General António Guterres, asking the UN to intervene so that Julian Assange can travel to a safe third country after news that Ecuador will no longer oppose UK extradition of Assange to US.
“The Trump government is trying to arrange an extraterritorial persecution of Julian Assange – we reject and resist this” – German MP https://t.co/G3guGJIKkt
— Suzie Dawson (@Suzi3D) December 20, 2018
“We will continue to take action in Parliament and to campaign in public” – German MP’s in support of Julian Assange, say that already 35-40 Members of European Parliament are standing with Assange, having recently signed a public statement in support https://t.co/G3guGJIKkt
— Suzie Dawson (@Suzi3D) December 20, 2018
“There is no other Western editor or publisher arbitrarily detained in the world… it’s a shame… international law must be respected”
“Doing war crimes is a crime – not publishing or reporting it”
German MP outside the London Ecuadorean Embassy: https://t.co/G3guGJIKkt
— Suzie Dawson (@Suzi3D) December 20, 2018
The MPs were joined by John Shipton, Assange’s father:
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) December 20, 2018
SMH: Time for Julian Assange’s ‘torment’ to end: father
“The Guardian‘s happy to be used”
Meanwhile, former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald spoke to The Observer about The Guardian‘s recent fabrication, failure to respond to critics, and being used as a pawn by Ecuadorian intelligence:
“I think journalists ought to be aware that when you’re using intelligence [sources], there’s always a high risk you’re being deceived, lied to, propagandized or manipulated since that is what those agencies are designed to do,” explained Greenwald. “That’s clearly what happened here.”
19 December 2018
Former Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam warns, “An Australian citizen is about to be prosecuted for publishing, by Australia’s closest ally.”
Despite this remarkable publishing record, almost nobody in the mainstream press writes about the disclosures themselves. Instead, commentary is drawn almost exclusively to the character and conduct of founder and editor Julian Assange. In twelve years he’s gone from dissident publisher to object of mockery and derision across the political spectrum.
Ruairi Woods writes: ‘The Guardian fabricated, altered and stealthily retracted their Wikileaks-Manafort story to muted criticism from the ‘fake news’ obsessives.’
It was co-written by Luke Harding, a man who is currently cashing Amazon cheques for a book on the topic in question and harbours a long-standing personal feud with the subject of the story, clearly disqualifying the Guardian from running it under any definition of responsible journalism. A man named as a co-author in the print version but removed online, Fernando Villavicencio, was previously convicted in Ecuador of forging official documents to sell a story to the Guardian. He is an associate of the US Intelligence Community and played a vital part in the attempted coup of the socialist Rafael Correa, who gave Assange asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy as President. After initially printing his name, the Guardian quickly realised that his reputation would undermine the story and decided to scrub him from the record.
18 December 2018
UK FOIA victory
Independent journalist Stefania Maurizi has won a Freedom of Information Act appeal at the First-Tier Tribunal over the Met Police, upholding the press’s right to access information about WikiLeaks.
The persecution of Julian Assange
Columnist Caitlin Johnstone writes, ‘Twenty-One Thoughts On The Persecution Of Julian Assange’:
Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they’ll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they’ll be far more likely to consent to Assange’s silencing and imprisonment. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you’re suspicious of him you won’t believe anything he’s saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it’s as good as putting a bullet in his head.
17 December 2018
An online vigil for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange was broadcast live on Consortium News on Friday night. If you missed it, watch the replay here.
Among the featured guests were famed whistleblower Dan Ellsberg, former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, columnist Caitlin Johnstone, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and more:
14 December 2018
Alfred de Zayas, Former UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic & Equitable International Order, has commented on Julian Assange’s situation with respect to human rights, ultimately concluding: “It is high time that the Human Rights Council adopt a Charter on the Human Rights of Whistleblowers.”
Asylum was granted to Julian #Assange by Ecuador citing a threat to his life, personal safety and freedom. He is protected under international law and the core principle of 1951 Refugee Convention is non-refoulement #JulianAssange
— Alfred de Zayas (@Alfreddezayas) December 13, 2018
The threat of extradition of Assange is a corruption of valued and undermines the rule of law #JulianAssange
— Alfred de Zayas (@Alfreddezayas) December 13, 2018
Extradition to the United States would violate numerous provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights #JulianAssange
— Alfred de Zayas (@Alfreddezayas) December 13, 2018
Whistleblowers are eminent human rights defenders. They deserve our gratitude as well as effective protection and international solidarity #JulianAssange
— Alfred de Zayas (@Alfreddezayas) December 13, 2018
It is high time that the Human Rights Council adopt a Charter on the Human Rights of Whistleblowers #JulianAssange
— Alfred de Zayas (@Alfreddezayas) December 13, 2018
Assange denounced the collusion of Ecuadorian authorities with the British and US governments, which are determined to prosecute him for WikiLeaks’ exposure of their war crimes, illegal diplomatic intrigues and mass surveillance.
He stated that Ecuador was conducting ongoing espionage against him and said it was likely turning over the material gathered to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which has played a central role in the US efforts to destroy WikiLeaks.
Assange condemned representatives of the Ecuadorian government for making “comments of a threatening nature” over his publishing activities. The WikiLeaks founder compared his treatment to the brutal murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi at the Middle-Eastern dictatorships’ Istanbul embassy in October, noting that the attempts to silence him were merely “more subtle.”
13 December 2018
During the hearing, Assange [appearing via videolink] suggested there were facts of espionage inside the diplomatic mission’s premises. According to the whistleblower, the gathered intelligence data might have been shared with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Moreover, Assange suggested that Ecuador’s intelligence invested major funds in equipping the embassy building.
The whistleblower also noted that he had received comments of threatening nature from the Ecuadorian authorities due to his journalistic work. Assange argued that the living conditions in the Ecuadorian embassy threatened his health and might result in his hospitalization, which, in its turn, might represent an opportunity for the Quito to hand him over to London or Washington.
Quito cannot guarantee that London would not extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to a third country, Ecuadorian Prosecutor General Inigo Salvador said.
“Ecuador has received written guarantees from the UK authorities on [Assange’s] safety but the [Ecuadorian] government cannot do more than that,” Salvador said as quoted by the Republica news outlet.
WikiLeaks continues to fundraise for a lawsuit against The Guardian for libel
Guy Rundle in Crikey: ‘The Guardian’s WikiLeaks ‘expose’ only revealed its own incompetence’
The Guardian has disgraced itself utterly, and trashed its “facts are sacred” mantra in this, its latest obsessive pursuit of WikiLeaks.
12 December 2018
In Quito, Ecuador, an appeals court heard arguments regarding Julian Assange’s protective action measure, challenging the series of strict regulations on Assange’s activity in the Embassy that Ecuador proposed earlier this year. The so-called “protocol” (Spanish original, English, unofficial) includes explicit threats to revoke Assange’s asylum if he, or any of his guests, breached or were perceived to have breached, any of the 28 “rules.”The “protocol” forbids Assange from doing journalism and expressing his opinions, under threat of losing his asylum.
On 25 and 29 October 2018, a Quito court heard arguments regarding the proposed protocol but declined to hear witnesses or see evidence. The judge declined to rule on Ecuador’s actions, saying the matter was for the Constitutional Court and on 30 October 2018 the case was appealed to the provincial court.
Today the provincial court heard arguments but delayed a ruling, saying a resolution would come within eight days.
La resolución del Tribunal de la Corte Provincial de Pichincha ante la apelación presentada por la defensa de Julian Assange se conocerá en un plazo de hasta ocho días. Carlos Poveda, abogado del australiano, se refiere a la diligencia. Vía @eltonycash pic.twitter.com/ThLjIZYKLg
— El Comercio (@elcomerciocom) December 12, 2018
The Guardian‘s fabrication has consequences in Congress
Six members of Congress have signed a letter to Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, demanding information about his recent discussions with Ecuadorian officials regarding Julian Assange’s status in the Embassy. In a tweet announcing the letter, Sen. Dianne Feinstein explicitly referenced “reports of Paul Manafort visiting Julian Assange”
Given the role of Wikileaks in election interference efforts and reports of Paul Manafort visiting Julian Assange, we’re calling on Secretary Pompeo to brief us on his recent meeting with Ecuadorian officials. The public deserves answers on foreign interference in our elections. pic.twitter.com/6hYW1XiWlW
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) December 12, 2018
11 December 2018
Former Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald notes on Twitter that two weeks have passed since The Guardian published fabricated claims about Paul Manafort visiting Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:
Two weeks have passed since @guardian claimed Manafort visited Assange 3 times in the Embassy. No media outlet has confirmed; no evidence has emerged; ex-diplomat says story is “fake.”
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 11, 2018
10 December 2018
Today is the 70th Anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
More than 30 Parliamentarians of the German Parliament and EU Parliament write to UN Secretary General António Guterres, asking the UN to intervene so that Julian Assange can travel to a safe third country after news that Ecuador will no longer oppose UK extradition of Assange to US.:
The constant and unwonted threat from Britain and the United States, the years of arbitrary detention, the ongoing separation from his family, friends and loved ones, the lack of proper medical care, the most recent isolation of Mr Assange since March of this year; these are indeed very serious and egregious violations of Human Rights, in the heart of Europe.
We therefore call for his immediate release, together with his safe passage to a safe country.
See the full letter here:
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth called on the Ecuador and UK to protect Assange against prosecution:
If Ecuador and the UK were serious about protecting Assange, they would provide guarantees not only against the death penalty but also against prosecution for anything that journalists typically do such as publishing leaked information. https://t.co/JShr6BV4pn pic.twitter.com/LrzmffUVhN
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) December 9, 2018
What Julian and WikiLeaks have had to endure is the biggest attack on free speech and constitutional rights in years and that’s just the beginning. Just wait: after WikiLeaks they will aim for other publishers like the NY Times, the Post….the list is endless.
Many international organizations have supported Julian and WikiLeaks and have called for their rights to be protected, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and more than 50 other freedom of expression organizations in the IFEX (International Freedom of Expression) network.
But this is not enough. Simply more must be done to free Julian and to protect free speech…and this will protect freedom for us all.
7 December 2018
WikiLeaks launches a new fundraiser to fight the Democratic National Committee’s lawsuit against the organisation for publishing its emails in 2016.
In April 2018, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against WikiLeaks simply for publishing its emails. This lawsuit is the biggest attack on freedom of speech and constitutional rights in decades.
The DNC does not allege WikiLeaks participated in hacking of any kind. It is suing WikiLeaks for providing accurate, newsworthy information to the public.
The Democratic National Committee has billionaire backers to be able to fight the lawsuit in court for years. WikiLeaks, in contrast, is an award winning small publisher entirely funded by its readers.
This is a David and Goliath struggle. But as history shows, you should never bet against WikiLeaks. In the twelve years since it was founded it has never lost a court case and never retracted a publication.
Help WikiLeaks stand up to the DNC and protect your fundamental rights.
WikiLeaks filed its first US court filing on Friday, calling for the lawsuit’s dismissal:
“WikiLeaks’s conduct — publishing truthful information of public concern as a media organization — is protected by the First Amendment.
“Those who have spent their careers defending journalism’s role in free speech recognize that liability for a media organization in WikiLeaks’s position – publishing documents provided by whistle-blowers and others who possess them without authorization – would set an ominous precedent that could not be contained.
Moreover, imposing liability upon WikiLeaks here would exert a chilling effect on journalism and free speech, and deprive the public of an extraordinary amount of newsworthy information.”
See the full filing here:
Ecuadorian Ex-Diplomat: Report Claiming Assange Met Manafort Is False
Former consul in Ecuador’s London embassy Fidel Narváez speaks to Ben Norton for The Real News Network:
Is a trap being set for Julian Assange?
Consortium News editor Joe Lauria joins RT’s Rick Sanchez to discuss the US government’s hatred of Assange and what his ultimate fate will imply for journalists everywhere:
6 December 2018
The AP reports Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno says “that Britain has provided sufficient guarantees that [Julian Assange] won’t be extradited to face the death penalty abroad.”
The story makes no mention of the recent New York Times report about Paul Manafort’s 2017 visit to Ecuador in which he negotiated for US debt relief in exchange for Assange:
In at least two meetings with Mr. Manafort, Mr. Moreno and his aides discussed their desire to rid themselves of Mr. Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, in exchange for concessions like debt relief from the United States, according to three people familiar with the talks, the details of which have not been previously reported.
Headline should’ve been:
Moreno says Ecuador no longer opposes UK extradition of Assange
Moreno set to ignore Inter-American Court’s decision on Assange
Moreno changes the goalposts on Assange asylum
Moreno says US prosecution of its political asylee OK with him
— Hanna Jonasson (@AssangeLegal) December 6, 2018
5 December 2018
An update at the fundraiser for WikiLeaks to sue The Guardian over the Manafort-Assange fabrication:
The Guardian has not yet retracted its story. It published the story on the front page of the print edition the next day. The print edition contained a significant discrepancy with the online version: a third author in addition to Harding and Collyns – Fernando Villavicencio, an Ecuadorian political activist who has been implicated in fabricated stories in the past.
One week on, pressure is mounting on The Guardian to come clean.
4 December 2018
The Washington Post looks at The Guardian‘s fabricated Manafort story one week after publication:
The Guardian reported that the alleged Manafort-Assange meeting “could shed new light” on the events leading up to the leaks and might indicate coordination among WikiLeaks, Trump’s campaign and Russian hackers. Trump has repeatedly denied any such collusion.
But one week after publication, the Guardian’s bombshell looks as though it could be a dud.
No other news organization has been able to corroborate the Guardian’s reporting to substantiate its central claim of a meeting.
Comedian Jimmy Dore rips The Guardian over fabricated front page story claiming “Secret Talks in Embassy” between Assange and Manafort
3 December 2018
The Canary reports that former Consul to Ecuador Fidel Narváez “insisted that the claim that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is entirely false.” The Daily Dot reports as well.
The Guardian concealed third author of Manafort-Assange fabrication: Fernando Villavicencio, the CIA-connected advisor thought to potentially be The Guardian‘s source for the story, is actually listed on the article’s print edition byline.
FAIR: Misreporting Manafort: A Case Study in Journalistic Malpractice
2 December 2018
Petition launched by Fight for the Future: “Tell the US government: Using the Espionage Act to target Julian Assange endangers freedom of the press”
1 December 2018
Glenn Greenwald rips Politico “Theory” that Guardian’s Assange-Manafort story was planted by Russia
1/ Why do attacks on the US media – calling it “Fake News” – resonate so widely? Because of utterly fabricated and reckless articles like this one from @politico, by a former *CIA officer allowed to write under a “pen name”*. The whole thing is a fraud: https://t.co/kGRsiOXHHN
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 28, 2018
Caitlin Johnstone in Consortium News: The Guardian/Politico Psyop Against WikiLeaks
Solidarity vigil planned:
Please join our Solidarity Vigil in support of #WikiLeaks Julian #Assange outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London Tuesday – Wednesday – Thursday 3-5pm #Wikibees #Unity4J #FreeAssange We hold posters and banners and distribute flyers to passers by alerting the public.
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) December 1, 2018
30 November 2018
Former State Department diplomat Peter Van Buren for The American Conservative:”You Don’t Have to Love Assange to Fear His Prosecution”
Philosopher Srećko Horvat on Julian Assange & Europe’s Progressive Movement – DiEM25
The Canary: “Growing calls for Guardian editor-in-chief to resign after the paper publishes massive ‘fake news’ story”
James Cogan for WSWS: “Guardian newspaper spearheads new accusations against Assange and WikiLeaks”
Cross Talk hosted by Peter Lavelle with Joe Lauria, Patrick Henningsen, and Gareth Porter on the fate of Julian Assange:
29 November 2018
Rainer Shea: “The DOJ is prosecuting Assange for practicing journalism not for ‘working with Russia'”
Serge Halimi’s editorial for the December issue of Le Monde Diplomatique: “Prisoner for free speech”
Yanis Varoufakis on Assange and the Political Economy and Future of Europe
Craig Murray: “Assange Never Met Manafort. Luke Harding and the Guardian Publish Still More Blatant MI6 Lies”
Elizabeth Vos: “The Guardian’s Desperate Attempt To Connect Assange To Russiagate Backfires”
The Guardian’s latest attack on Julian Assange was not only a fallacious smear, it represented a desperate attempt on behalf of the British intelligence community to conflate the pending US charges against the journalist with Russiagate. The Guardian’s article seeks to deflect from the reality that the prosecution of Assange will focus on Chelsea Manning-Era releases and Vault 7, not the DNC or Podesta emails.
We assert this claim based on the timing of the publication, the Guardian’s history of subservience to British intelligence agencies, animosity between The Guardian and WikiLeaks, and the longstanding personal feud between Guardian journalist Luke Harding and Assange. This conclusion is also supported by Harding’s financial and career interest in propping up the Russiagate narrative.
Passports contradict Guardian claims
The Washington Times reports: “Paul Manafort’s passports don’t show he entered London in all the years claimed by Guardian newspaper when it said he met secretly with WikiLeaks Julian Assange.”
28 November 2018
Reactions and responses to The Guardian‘s uncorrected fabrication alleging multiple visits by Paul Manafort to Julian Assange in the Embassy continue to come in.
Gareth Porter for TruthDig: “How the U.K. and Ecuador Conspire to Deliver Julian Assange to U.S. Authorities”
Jonathan Cook: “Guardian ups its vilification of Julian Assange”
The Canary: Growing calls for Guardian editor-in-chief to resign after the paper publishes massive ‘fake news’ story
The Guardian issues statement:
In a statement, a spokesperson for The Guardian said,
This story relied on a number of sources. We put these allegations to both Paul Manafort and Julian Assange’s representatives prior to publication. Neither responded to deny the visits taking place. We have since updated the story to reflect their denials.
Noticeably missing: A line stating that The Guardian is confident in the accuracy of its story… https://t.co/UXnX763xTm
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) November 28, 2018
More falsehoods from the Guardian. @WikiLeaks scooped the Guardian and made the denial public to 5.4 million — including the editor of the Guardian, @KathViner, who follows @WIkiLeaks — hours before the Guardian published its astonishing fraud.https://t.co/FFwpioILuf
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 28, 2018
Meanwhile, the Reporters Committee for a Free Press is suing to uncover the Assange indictment: Judge Delays Decision Whether to Unseal Assange Criminal Complaint.
27 November 2018
The Guardian has published claims from unnamed sources that Paul Manafort, former head of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, had “secret talks” with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on three occasions. These claims are completely false and the story has been fabricated. The Embassy’s visitor logs – maintained by Ecuador – show no such visits, since they did not occur.
This is not the first time that the Guardian, and in particular its writer Luke Harding, have fabricated a story about Assange. After widespread criticism from journalists across the political spectrum, the Guardian has begun to backpedal its story, adding “sources say” to the headline and editing hedging qualifications throughout the piece.
Paul Manafort has issued a statement saying, “This story is totally false and deliberately libelous. I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him.”
WikiLeaks is fundraising to file a lawsuit against The Guardian for libel. Contribute here.
24 November 2018
Ecuador’s government has refused Julian Assange’s lawyers Jennifer Robinson and Aitor Martínez access to him this weekend to prepare for his US court hearing on Tuesday, concerning the motion to remove the secrecy order on the U.S. charges against him.
Al Jazeera‘s in-depth analysis of Julian Assange’s case, media reporting on it and the recent discovery of a secret indictment against him with journalists Stefania Maurizi and Glenn Greenwald, media columnist Eric Alterman and author James Bell
In the wake of revelations about the secret US indictment against Julian Assange, the Huffington Post looks back at WikiLeaks’ biggest stories.
Award winning journalists Chris Hedges and Consortium News Editor-In-Chief Joe Lauria talk about the implications of extraditing Julian Assange to the US:
23 November 2018
Why You Should Care About the Julian Assange Case
In a comprehensive take on WikiLeaks’ publishing history and the implications of Julian Assange’s recently confirmed secret indictment in the US, Matt Taibbi writes for Rolling Stone: “Forget Jim Acosta. If you are worried about Trump’s assault on the press, news of a Wikileaks indictments is the real scare story.”
the more likely eventuality is a prosecution that uses the unpopularity of Assange to shut one of the last loopholes in our expanding secrecy bureaucracy. Americans seem not to grasp what might be at stake. Wikileaks briefly opened a window into the uglier side of our society, and if publication of such leaks is criminalized, it probably won’t open again.
There’s already a lot we don’t know about our government’s unsavory clandestine activities on fronts like surveillance and assassination, and such a case would guarantee we’d know even less going forward. Long-term questions are hard to focus on in the age of Trump. But we may look back years from now and realize what a crucial moment this was.
The Sun: Prosecuting Assange for WikiLeaks would set a bad precedent
The Boston Globe: Love him or hate him, Julian Assange shouldn’t be prosecuted by the United States
22 November 2018
Trevor Timm spoke to James Goodale , “the famed First Amendment lawyer and former general counsel the New York Times, who led the paper’s legal team in the famed Pentagon Papers case — about the dire impact the Justice Department’s move may have on press freedom, regardless of whether people consider Assange himself a “journalist.”
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters urges Ecuador to protect WikiLeaks publisher against U.S. charges.
“Prosecution of Julian Assange, America’s Betrayal of Its Own Ideals” writes Nozomi Hayase for Common Dreams.
Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno replaced the country’s ambassador in London, Carlos Abad Ortiz, who “had been in charge of the diplomatic mission since 2015 and had been an influential figure regarding Assange’s future”:
the decision to oust Abad has fueled speculation that Ecuador is looking to push Assange out the door.Fidel Narvaez, the former consul at the embassy, told CNN that Abad’s removal should be seen as a bad omen for the WikiLeaks founder and his asylum.
21 November 2018
Srećko Horvat argues for Al Jazeera that the prosecution of Julian Assange in the US would have grave consequences for press freedom all over the world.
20 November 2018
Stefania Maurizi, an investigative journalist for La Repubblica, argued at a London tribunal today that it is in the public interest for the police force to reveal whether it has exchanged information about the current and former WikiLeaks employees with the US. Read the comprehensive background of the case at Computer Weekly.
“Julian Assange deserves a Medal of Freedom, not a secret indictment,” writes James Bovard for USA Today.
Case against WikiLeaks founder Assange is a crisis for the First Amendment, writes Heather Wokusch for the Business Standard.
Trump denies knowing ‘much about’ WikiLeaks’ and Julian Assange. “I don’t know much about him, I really don’t,” says Trump.
“The Indictment of Julian Assange Is a Threat to Press Freedom,” writes Bruce Shapiro for the Nation.
More commentary on the indictment:
One fact that has gone overlooked in news of Assange charges: since 2012, he has never avoided going to Sweden, & Ecuador never gave him asylum, to avoid facing a sex assault investigation. It was always due to fear *US* would try to prosecute him, fears now vindicated as valid.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 20, 2018
Some journalists keenly cite FBI informer Marcy Wheeler’s wild & eager speculations on EDVA’s #Assange indictment. But indications so far in fact point to the indictment relating to @xychelsea‘s case & @WikiLeaks revelations of US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Cablegate, GITMO.
— Hanna Jonasson (@AssangeLegal) November 20, 2018
Ron Paul says Julian Assange is “Perhaps The Greatest Journalist of Our Time”
Assange: Perhaps The Greatest Journalist of Our Time pic.twitter.com/wojRhqzPJ1
— Ron Paul (@RonPaul) November 20, 2018
19 November 2018
Jennifer Robinson, human rights lawyer representing Julian Assange, comments on the news of charges in an interview for MSNBC.
18 November 2018
Pamela Anderson writes an open letter to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, responding to his comments made about her plea for Julian Assange.
In an opinion piece for the Canary, Tom Coburg examines the evidence that the Australian government knew of US charges against Assange since 2010.
17 November 2018
We have a post recapping responses to the news that US has charges in place against Julian Assange, including commentary from his lawyers, reactions from press freedom groups and human rights advocates, and a suit to unseal the indictment.
16 November 2018
US charges in place against Julian Assange
US prosecutors “inadvertently” revealed that Julian Assange has been charged under seal (i.e., confidentially) in the US – something which WikiLeaks and its supporters have long said but which has been denied by some US officials. The document making the admission was written by Assistant US Attorney Kellen S Dwyer. The Wall Street Journal reported that “over the past year, US prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange.” The Hill noted that charges against Julian could include violating the US Espionage Act, which criminalises releasing information regarding US national defence.
In response, the New York Times wrote:
“An indictment centering on the publication of information of public interest — even if it was obtained from Russian government hackers — would create a precedent with profound implications for press freedoms.”
The Director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, wrote:
“Deeply troubling if the Trump administration, which has shown little regard for media freedom, would charge Assange for receiving from a government official and publishing classified information–exactly what journalists do all the time.”
In more detail, the document stated:
“Another procedure short of sealing will not adequately protect the needs of law enforcement at this time because, due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged…. The complaint, supporting affidavit, and arrest warrant as well as this motion and proposed order, would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.”
Glenn Greenwald writes, ‘As the Obama DOJ Concluded, Prosecution of Julian Assange for Publishing Documents Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom’
What has changed since that Obama-era consensus? Only one thing: in 2016, WikiLeaks published documents that reflected poorly on Democrats and the Clinton campaign rather than the Bush-era wars, rendering Democrats perfectly willing, indeed eager, to prioritize their personal contempt for Assange over any precepts of basic press freedoms, civil liberties, or Constitutional principles. It’s really just as simple – and as ignoble – as that.
It is this utterly craven and authoritarian mentality that is about to put Democrats of all sorts in bed with the most extremist and dangerous of the Trump faction as they unite to create precedents under which the publication of information – long held sacrosanct by anyone caring about press freedoms – can now be legally punished.
12 November 2018
Independent journalist Chris Hedges writes for TruthDig, ‘Crucifying Julian Assange‘:
What is happening to Assange should terrify the press. And yet his plight is met with indifference and sneering contempt. Once he is pushed out of the embassy, he will be put on trial in the United States for what he published. This will set a new and dangerous legal precedent that the Trump administration and future administrations will employ against other publishers, including those who are part of the mob trying to lynch Assange. The silence about the treatment of Assange is not only a betrayal of him but a betrayal of the freedom of the press itself. We will pay dearly for this complicity.
7 November 2018
Ecuador’s Jose Valencia: ‘If Julian Assange does not abide by protocol, there will be consequences’
6 November 2018
Independent journalist Stefania Maurizi writes, The West is Failing Julian Assange, for Consortium News:
While the media focused on Julian Assange’s cat rather than his continuing arbitrary detention, evidence shows that Britain worked hard to force his extradition to Sweden where Assange feared he could then be turned over to the U.S.
4 November 2018
Solidarity vigil outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in support of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange
— WISE Up Action (@WISEUpAction) November 4, 2018
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) November 4, 2018
Christine Assange, Julian Assange’s mother, speaks about the increasingly dire circumstances which face her son
3 November 2018
Joe Lauria on the break-in attempt at Assange’s Residence in Ecuador Embassy on October 29, and increasing fears about the safety of the WikiLeak’s publisher.
An attempted break-in at Julian Assange’s residence inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Oct. 29, and the absence of a security detail, have increased fears about the safety of the WikiLeak’s publisher.
Lawyers for Assange have confirmed to activist and journalist Suzie Dawson that Assange was awoken in the early morning hours by the break-in attempt. They confirmed to Dawson that the attempt was to enter a front window of the embassy. A booby-trap Assange had set up woke him, the lawyers said.
Joe Emersberger writes for FAIR: the Assange case shows that support for free speech depends on who’s talking
In March of this year, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno made the conditions of Assange’s arbitrary detention much worse. For seven months, Assange has been without any means to directly communicate with the public—in other words, to defend himself from relentless attacks and ridicule in Western media. Moreno has not only cut off Assange’s internet and telephone access, but alsoseverely restricted visits. Moreno has openly stated that he silenced and isolated Assange because he objected to Assange’s political statements, but rather than blast Moreno for trampling Assange’s right to free expression and other basic rights, the international press and prominent “human rights” organizations have responded with silence, distortions and even smirks.
2 November 2018
Ecuador cuts off all access to Julian Assange, including barring legal visits
Most immediately, the ban obstructs a legal appeal by Assange against an Ecuadorian judge’s decision last week to uphold a draconian “protocol” that President Lenín Moreno’s government has sought to impose on him, in fundamental violation of the right to political asylum.
Julian Assange, Political Prisoner of Our Time:
Assange has become a high profile Western dissident. He has been arbitrarily detained for 6 years without charge, deprived of fresh air, sunshine and an access to a proper medical care. What made him be considered dangerous by the most powerful government in the world? WikiLeaks has published material that exposed the crimes and corruptions of governments and institutions. Their disclosure of secret documents challenged those in power. But this is not the only reason that made him become an enemy of the state. He has been silenced and attacked because of a particular voice he carries that is critical for a future of our civilization.
31 October 2018
The forced, arbitrary incommunication imposed on Mr. Assange for seven months was the subject of a protective action measure before a court in Quito on 25 and 29 October 2018.
The judge refused to rule on the constitutionality of the government’s actions against Mr. Assange and said it was a matter for the Constitutional Court. The judge declined to hear witnesses and declined to accept evidence documenting the embassy’s visitor ban. On 30 October 2018 the case was appealed to the provincial court.
Ecuador has since issued an official communiqué, declaring, ‘The legality of the protocol that regulates Mr. Assange’s asylum is ratified.’
Ecuador has assured Assange that the UK wouldn’t extradite him to the United States. But today CNN reports that the UK Home Office can “neither confirm nor deny that an extradition request has been made or received until an arrest is made in relation to the request”, a departure from previous statements and including the new qualifier regarding an arrest for the purposes of extradition.
26 October 2018
Referring to the statement made by Ecuadorian official that UK has not received any requests to extradite Assange, Assange’s lawyer Carlos Poveda says that “that commitment must be in writing, as a compromise between the states [Ecuador and the United Kingdom], affirming that there will be no extradition to the United States or third countries… If there is such a commitment, then Mr. Assange will surrender to the UK justice”.
25 October 2018
Hearing in Ecuador
Julian Assange’s hearing in Quito, following his lawyer Baltasar Garzón’s filing last week, was suspended due to technical and translation problems. Iñigo Salvador, who represents the Ecuadorean government in court proceedings said that technical problems “could not be solved immediately” and that the judge “has considered it essential that Mr. Assange participate in the entire hearing.”
Ecuador rep vows no extradition
The United Kingdom told Ecuador in August that Assange would not be extradited if he left the country’s London embassy, Iñigo Salvador told reporters. Assange supporters argue that the UK should issue a written guarantee for it to be valid.
What happens when Mr. Julian Assange steps outside the door? Mr. Carlos Poveda – his legal representative in Ecuador, gives the answer.
Call to action
In an op-od for WSWS Bill Van Auken calls for mobilization of militant and active solidarity with Julian Assange who is facing an escalating threat that he will be handed over to the British authorities and ultimately extradited to the United States to face trumped-up charges of espionage, punishable by life imprisonment and even the death penalty.
24 October 2018
‘Ecuador might turn Assange over to US’ says Ex-President Correa to RT
Popular Resistance: Ecuador Likely to Turn Assange Over to US – Ex-President Correa to RT
21 October 2018
‘Julian Assange should be thanked – not smeared – for Wikileaks’ service to journalism.’ Mark Curtis, author and political analyst gives a comprehensive overview of Wikileaks’ revelations about British foreign policy in the Middle East.
20 October 2018
Julian Assange’s solicitor, Jennifer Robinson, and the former Consul at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Fidel Narváez, talk about origins of Wikileaks and the convoluted and prolonged legal case against its founder with ZTR Radio
17 October 2018
Congressmembers Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Eliot Engel, of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, have written a letter calling on Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno to abandon its asylum of Julian Assange and turn him over to British police. Ros-Lehtinen and Engel call Assange a “threat to global security” and warn that “it will be very difficult for the United States to advance our bilateral relationship until Mr. Assange is handed over to the proper authorities.”
16 October 2018
WikiLeaks’ Twitter account has posted an English translation of Ecuador’s ‘Special Protocol of Visits, Communications and Medical Attention to Mr. Julian Paul Assange,’ which details the restrictions Ecuador has imposed upon the partial restoration of Assange’s internet access. The new document outlines the limitations on visitors, electronic devices, and internet usage:
14 October 2018
Ecuador partly restores Julian Assange’s internet access, but it still limits his freedom to express political opinion.
12 October 2018
UN Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression David Kaye, visiting Ecuador, welcomes moves to protect and promote freedom of expression
Wikileaks publishes confidential Amazon document detailing locations of data centers worldwide.
11 October 2018
Trump campaign claims WikiLeaks not liable for releasing hacked emails.
Assange’s legal team plans to file a lawsuit against Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia for making public confidential information about Assange’s asylum and citizenship process, according to lawyer Carlos Poveda.
10 October 2018
Vigils in support of Julian Assange continue each week in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Pacifica Radio Network National Board votes to stand with Assange and Wikileaks.
7 October 2018
Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia Amores reaffirms the country’s decision to grant asylum to Julian Assange.
Assange supporters celebrate Wikileaks 12 birthday in front of the Ecudorian Embassy in London
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) October 8, 2018
— noticias venezuela (@notiven) October 8, 2018
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) October 7, 2018
6 October 2018
Unity4J holds its fifth online vigil for Julian Assange. Guests included the CIA anti-torture whistleblower John Kiriakou, ex-U.S. House of Representatives member Cynthia McKinney, progressive comedian Graham Elwood and ACLU Board member and Radio Host Garland Nixon.
5 October 2018
U.S. aligned parties fail in Ecuadorean National Assembly to review Assange’s citizenship
4 October 2018
Speaking to RT’s Going Underground, Courage Trustee John Pilger criticized the media landscape in the UK, and particularly its treatment of Julian Assange.
20 September 2018
Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson told RT that Ecuador will not kick Julian out of the embassy: “Ecuador has made it clear in the past few months – after this wide-spread speculation that he would be forced to leave – that they will respect the asylum.”
13 September 2018
Vigils continue in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:
— Clara Campos (@claracampostor1) September 13, 2018
9 September 2018
In a response to inquiries from supporters, Amnesty International expressed opposition to any potential extradition for Julian Assange to the United States, arguing that this would put his human rights at serious risk of abuse:
Amnesty International releases statement denouncing attempts to extradite @JulianAssange to the United States [joining @UNHumanRights, @HRW and the Inter American Court of Human Rights] pic.twitter.com/FWks1LNdhk
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) September 8, 2018
7 September 2018
Australian lawyer Greg Barns, a member of Assange’s legal team and an adviser to WikiLeaks, told iTWire, “if there is not a resolution to his case — in other words, the UK guaranteeing that he will not be extradited to the US — the reality is Julian’s health will deteriorate to the point where his life is in serious danger.”
6 September 2018
Rallies continue outside of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:
— Emmy B (@greekemmy) September 6, 2018
Hands Off Assange Rally in San Francisco at the UK Consulate:
Hands Off Assange Rally today in San Francisco at the UK Consulate. pic.twitter.com/48HYUBZsLi
— LET (@Took415) September 5, 2018
5 September 2018
In a US Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Senator Cotton attempts to pressure Twitter and Facebook CEOs into shutting down WikiLeaks’ and Julian Assange’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, after the CEOs said they do not violate their respective terms of service:
Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg: “It is essential that Julian Assange not be indicted, be convicted, or be extradited to the United States.”
Ellsberg also condemns Australia’s decision to ban Chelsea Manning from entering the country for her planned speaking tour:
‘Free Speech, Parler Sans Peur‘, a new documentary on freedom of expression, featuring Julian Assange, Jude Law, Sarah Harrison, Mick Jagger, Gavin MacFadyen, and many more, is now screening in cities across France.
4 September 2018
Street actions for Julian Assange:
Victoria, BC, Canada:
Canada rocking #Unity4JDay
This is awesome!!! Well done!!! pic.twitter.com/5avEzeHL9r
— Suzie Dawson (@Suzi3D) September 2, 2018
Outside the Embassy in London:
Spotted at the Ecuadorian in London a few hours ago… @EmbassyCat @Unity4J #Unity4JDay @AssangeMrs @Suzi3D #FreeAssange @JulianAssange @wikileaks #JulianAssange What do u do when you see the truth? – Do you close your eyes & walk away or do u take action? pic.twitter.com/J29L1hPu70
— Sabine von Toerne (@MidwifeSabine) September 3, 2018
Outside the Parliament House in Canberra, Australia:
#FreeAssange outside the Parliament House in the Australian capital of Canberra. Visually stunning. 1200 candles in this case, but you can do it with as few as 100. https://t.co/0VmWWBkWo4 pic.twitter.com/OL0ygUSTUp
— #FreeAssange! (tweets by campaign)⌛ (@JulianAssange) August 29, 2018
1 September 2018
Analysing a recently published ABC article written by James Gordon Meek and Ali Dukakis, James Cogan writes that the investigation by special counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller into alleged “Russian interference” in the 2016 US presidential election is close to issuing an indictment against WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange.
30 August 2018
Ron Paul’s Liberty Report covers ‘The Torture of Assange: A Blight on the US Justice System’
29 August 2018
ABC News: As his isolation intensifies, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange faces possible threat of eviction, extradition | “US authorities debating charges against Wikileaks’ Assange.”
In a series of interviews with his lawyers, supporters and friends, the people closest to Assange painted a bleak picture of his present and a grim outlook on his future, telling ABC News that he may both long for and dread the day he is forced out of the embassy.
“He’s been effectively in solitary confinement,” said Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson. “Julian has always said he’s very happy to face British justice but not at the expense of having to face American injustice.”
27 August 2018
In an op-ed for CounterPunch, Lawrence Davidson writes about Julian Assange and the fate of journalism.
In an op-ed for RT, former M15 intelligence officer Annie Machon writes about First Amendment rights and the case of Julian Assange.
26 August 2018
Protests and vigils in support of Julian Assange held in 18 cities across the globe.
In Kathmandu, Nepalese intellectuals, artists and activists submitted a letter to the British, US and Australian Embassies, for their governments to secure safety, security and freedom of Julian Assange.
25 August 2018
John Pilger talks to RT UK about Assange and why he needs the support of journalists and Democrats:
“If anyone needs the support of those who believe in basic freedoms, it’s him”@johnpilger talks to @Underground_RT about Mr. #Assange how and why he needs the support of journalists and Democrats. pic.twitter.com/z3U4GYy9wT
— Anonymous Scandinavia🌐#SafePassage⏳#NoExpulsion (@AnonScan) August 26, 2018
24 August 2018
Ecuador withdraws from ALBA, the regional alliance created by Hugo Chavez to resist US influence, which backed Ecuador’s 2012 decision to grant Assange asylum.
Activists from the pacifist Catholic Worker movement petition the Pope to intervene & accompany Assange out of the UK to safety during the Pope’s visit, hand delivering the petition.
#freejulian #freeassange #DUBLIN, Julian Assange’s former bodyguard, Ciaron O’Reilly, from the pacifist Catholic Worker movement, approaches Pope Francis, handing @PONTIFEX a plea to INTERVENE & ACCOMPANY Julian out of #England to safety. Sign the plea at https://t.co/0nVXB4VUG1 pic.twitter.com/f0GSma3OtN
— Ciaron O’Reilly (@CiaronOReilly) August 23, 2018
22 August 2018
Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi stated that she was denied access to documents on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and other Wikileaks personnel (Sarah Harrison, Joseph Farrell and Kristinn Hrafnsson) by London’s Metropolitan Police, UK’s Crown Prosecution Service and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She announced that she has appealed the decision.
18 August 2018
Dave Lindorf, in an op-ed for Eurasia Review, writes about Mainstream Media Hypocrisy in the case of Wikileaks.
16 August 2018
Six years ago today Ecuador formally granted asylum to Wikileaks editor Julian Assange. Activists gather in front of the London Ecuadorian Embassy to demand this protection be held, against extradition, and guarantee his safe passage.
Free Assange! pic.twitter.com/aUZMlNAEkR
— WISE Up Action (@WISEUpAction) August 16, 2018
15 August 2018
In an opinion piece for the WSWS, James Cogan explaines how the Mueller investigation is seeking to implicate WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in “Russian interference.”
13 August 2018
Former Consul of Ecuador in London Fidel Narváez, who was tasked with accompanying Assange from the day he first set foot in the embassy, says withdrawing Julian Assange’s asylum would be a clear violition of international law, and discusses the impact of Ecuador’s standing on the issue in an interview with The Prisma.
In an official statement issued by the Ecuadorian Communication Office, the President Lenin Moreno says: “If the British Government guarantees us that Julian Assange won’t be in danger once extradited to another country, then we will ask him to leave our Embassy in London and face justice in England.”
9 August 2018
Live show for Julian from Politics in the Pub in Sydney, Australia. With Christine Assange, Suzie Dawson, Cathy Vogan, Prof. Stuart Rees & Mike Head:
8 August 2018
US Senator Mark Warner, who has previously signed a letter imploring VP Mike Pence to urge Ecuador to revoke Julian Assange’s asylum, has now signed a letter asking Assange to testify in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Letter was delivered via US embassy in London. WikiLeaks’ legal team say they are “considering the offer but the conditions must conform to a high ethical standard.”
Of note: https://t.co/pAFas2fgKn
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 8, 2018
7 August 2018
In an interview with Consortium News, John Pilger, a long time supporter of Julian Assange and Courage trustee, talks about Assange’s deteriorating health and the physical dangers he faces during this period of virtual isolation. Pilger also excoriates the western media for their silence and pro-government stand on the marginalizing and potential prosecution of Assange, even after they collaborated with WikiLeaks in major high-profile breaking stories.
6 August 2018
German MPs sign letter supporting Julian Assange’s freedom
Fifteen members of the German Bundestag and the European Parliament have signed a letter (in English and German, below) entitled, ‘Freedom for Julian Assange!’ The MPs call on the governments of England and Ecuador to end Julian’s “de facto imprisonment”:
The risk of extradition to an unpredictable administration in the U.S. is greater than ever. This is all the more serious as the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has condemned the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange was subjected to without British or other governments of EU Member States having drawn any political consequences from it.
Prime Minister Theresa May and President Lenín Moreno, we appeal to you: ensure the release and effective protection of Julian Assange!
The letter was initiated by MP Heike Haensel of the Left Party, a longtime supporter of Assange and Chelsea Manning, and has been subsequently been signed by several more MPs.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been “effectively in solitary confinement for at least the last four months,” his attorney Jennifer Robinson tells ABC.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 6, 2018
5 August 2018
6500+ have signed petition for Assange
More than 6,500 supporters have signed a petition calling on the UK government to free and protect Julian Assange.
Julian Assange is in great jeopardy and it appears that you may be the only one who can help him. His asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy is threatened and he is living under intolerable conditions. Yet, if he leaves, he is exposed to arrest and imprisonment in the US. Senior US law enforcement officials have stated that they intend to do anything they can do to imprison him in the US. In recent days heavily armored police vehicles have surrounded the Embassy and the media is reporting that his arrest is imminent. You can prevent this and we urge you to free Assange.
3 August 2018
BBC Newsnight covers Assange’s embassy dilemma
Courage Director Naomi Colvin spoke to Newsnight about the potential for extradition:
Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to the BBC as well about Julian’s asylum:
“It’s obviously a very serious situation” – Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012.@suigenerisjen | #newsnight pic.twitter.com/EiihmGFGlx
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) August 2, 2018
1 August 2018
Assange’s attorney calls on Australia to step in
TeleSUR reports that Julian Burnside, an Australian member of Assange’s legal team, called on his government to intercede in the embassy situation:
The main option for Assange is for the Australian government to step in and help him by doing a diplomatic deal with the British, which should not be difficult to do, which would enable him to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy and travel safely back to Australia.
30 July 2018
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister comments on Assange case
José Valencia Amores, Ecuador’s new Foreign Minister, has issued a statement via Twitter, saying that “it is in the interest of Ecuador and also of Mr. Assange that the asylum be terminated.”
Assange’s days in the Ecuadorian Embassy are numbered says former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa
In an interview for RT’s Spanish service, former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that, sooner or later, the publisher will have to leave the embassy. Correa noted that unless Assange secures safe passage guarantees, he is likely to be prosecuted for espionage and treason “which may carry the death penalty.”
Petition to secure Assange’s freedom submitted to Australian officials
A petition to secure freedom for Julian Assange has been submitted this morning to the Australian Prime Minister and all elected members of government. More than 3,300 have signed as of this writing — add your name here.
Ongoing vigils in front of the Ecudorian Embassy in London
Supporters have been gathering in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for Julian Assange throughout his time there. Catalans in London are organising a solidarity vigil on Tuesday July 31 at 7 pm in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy.
29 July 2018
Moreno on “ideal” solution for Assange
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, who visited Spain and Britain last week, said the “ideal” solution would involve Assange accepting a “penalty” for having breached British bail conditions and then be “extradited to a country where he does not face any danger.”
15 cities join in support of Julian Assange
In the event Julian Assange’s asylum is revoked, emergency rallies will be organized at 6pm the following day and then again the following Sunday. Here is the latest map. Join the emergency protest network here.
A letter to Pope Francis seeking help for Julian Assange
A number of Catholic priests, activists, health workers and clergy have signed a Plea to the Pope, initiated by longtime activist Ciaron O’Reilly of London Catholic Worker, to ensure safe passage for Assange out of England into a place of safety.
27 July 2018
Moreno says he did discuss Assange with UK government
In a press conference in Madrid, Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno says he did discuss Assange’s situation with UK government this week and says, “the only person I haven’t spoken to is Mr. Assange” and that the “only thing” he wants is a guarantee that Assange won’t be executed.
Ecuador’s case for Assange’s asylum, six years on, is stronger than ever
In an op-ed for Open Democracy, Guillaume Long, professor of international relations and former Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Affairs, writes that Ecuador’s initial fears of political persecution — the main reason for granting asylum to Assange — have been proven right.
“With the case dropped in Sweden, the affair has gone a full circle and the key issue is Washington’s wrath with Wikileaks.” writes Long. “Ecuador has a choice. It can (…) demonstrate its respect for the internationally recognised principle of non-refoulement and uphold the asylum as long as its causes persist. Or it can hand Assange over to the British authorities making future extradition to the United States likely.”
26 July 2018
Fidel Navárez outlines Ecuador’s responsibilities
Fidel Navárez, former counsel at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, has written an analysis of Ecuador’s responsibilities towards Julian Assange as an asylee and a citizen, which have been underlined by the recent ruling of the Inter American court.
Hundreds urge New Zealand to grant Julian Assange asylum
WikiLeaks supporters in New Zealand are gathering signatures to press for their government to offer Julian Assange safe haven. Greg Rzesniowiecki explains why he started the campaign:
WikiLeaks is one of the democracy’s sensors, providing vital information as to the civilisation brain or ordering system – our governments.
Where our governments attack Wikileaks they attack the democracy. Where they attack the democracy they attack us.
25 July 2018
Scott Ludlam: how WikiLeaks became a political Rorschach test
Former Australian Senator Scott Ludlam has written a defence of WikiLeaks that recalls the importance of their 2010-11 releases for global politics:
The WikiLeaks organisation has operated as a kind of political Rorschach test since at least 2010,… This malignant scatter of ink-blots was easy enough for most people to read: the disclosures were clearly in the public interest, given the distance between the officially curated version of the United States’ saintly presence in the world and the ugly raw material
24 July 2018
New York Times deputy general counsel: Assange “in a classic publisher’s position”
An audience of US federal judges at the Ninth Circuit’s annual Judicial Conference heard from David McCraw, the deputy general counsel of the New York Times and Barry Pollack, from Julian Assange’s legal team, on the potential ramifications of a US prosecution.
Speaking on a panel on the Law of Leaks, McGraw held that any prosecution would have inevitable repercussions for traditional news outlets (“I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks”) and that organisations innovating in journalistic practice were playing a valuable public service.
Our colleagues who are not only challenging us financially but journalistically have raised an awareness that there are different ways to report.
Barry Pollack noted that recent US criminal indictments that appear to refer to WikiLeaks as ‘Organisation-1’ are squarely attacking perfectly ordinary journalistic practice.
If you read the indictment that just came out on Russians and you look at what Organization Number 1, which is clearly WikiLeaks, is alleged to have done in that indictment, it is doing exactly what The New York Times and The Washington Post do every day of the week… He [Assange] is communicating with a source, the source provides him with information, he publishes that information.
There are no questions about the truthfulness or accuracy or authenticity of that information. And then he encourages the source to give him more information. He says ‘don’t give it to my competitors, give it to me. This story will have more impact if I publish it.’
23 July 2018
Reuters: the situation at the embassy is “coming to a head”
A report from Reuters cites a source stating that the situation is deteriorating at the Ecuadorian embassy.
“The situation is very serious. Things are coming to a head,” the source, who spoke on condition on anonymity, told Reuters. He said the latest information from inside the embassy was, “It’s not looking good”.
Inter-American Court ruling explained
A post by Jennifer Robinson at Doughty Street Chambers explains the Inter-American Court ruling of earlier this month, which was brought by the previous government of Ecuador.
In summary, the decision of the Court makes clear that Ecuador cannot return Mr Assange to the British authorities if there is a risk he will be extradited to the United States, which was the basis on which he was granted asylum.
22 July 2018
What we’ve learned from WikiLeaks
Flick Ruby recounts many of the ways the public has benefited from WikiLeaks’ releases, from exposing war crimes to using released documents in court cases, in an extended Twitter thread.
What have we learned from @WikiLeaks ? Friends, this thread will go for a while. Consider and evaluate whether this material is in the public interest as events regarding #WikiLeaks and #Assange unfold. Also, feel free to unfollow if you can’t hack it. https://t.co/Q41F078GPO
— Flick Ruby (@FlickRubicon) July 22, 2018
21 July 2018
Ecuador to “imminently” withdraw Assange’s aslum
Glenn Greenwald reports that Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno is in London with the covert motive of negotiating with British officials to withdraw asylum for Julian Assange “imminently”, turning him over to UK police who have vowed to arrest him immediately.
Moreno has previously said Assange’s asylum would continue but with “conditions”; since then, the foreign minister who decided to grant Assange citizenship has been elected President of the UN General Assembly, replaced by the less sympathetic Jose Valencia Amores. When stepping into the new position, Amores said Ecuador seeks an “exit that is not traumatic.”
Inter-American ruling a victory for Assange
Though it didn’t mention Julian Assange directly, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that states granting asylum must provide safe passage to asylees in embassies.
The ruling “interpreted the reach of the protection given under Article 22 (7) of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article XXVII of the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, which recognize the right to seek and receive asylum in a foreign territory.”
19 July 2018
Stefania Maurizi: Inside WikiLeaks: Working with the Publisher that Changed the World
Stefania Maurizi, a WikiLeaks media partner for nine years, recounts her experience of working on a series of critically important document releases with an organisation being put under exceptional state pressure:
WikiLeaks is rather unique from many standpoints. As a media organization publishing exclusively secret or otherwise restricted documents on “invisible powers,” such as intelligence agencies, which citizens do not normally perceive as directly relevant to their lives, there is little doubt that WikiLeaks has the full force of the State against it. It is probably the only Western media organization to have been under continuous investigation by the U.S. authorities – and probably others—since 2010, and it is definitely the only one whose editor is arbitrarily detained in the heart of Europe.
15 July 2018
Persecution of WikiLeaks threatens press freedoms
Chris Hedges has written “The War on Assange is a War on Press Freedom,” explaining:
The extradition of the publisher—the maniacal goal of the U.S. government—would set a legal precedent that would criminalize any journalistic oversight or investigation of the corporate state. It would turn leaks and whistleblowing into treason. It would shroud in total secrecy the actions of the ruling global elites. If Assange is extradited to the United States and sentenced, The New York Times, The Washington Post and every other media organization, no matter how tepid their coverage of the corporate state, would be subject to the same draconian censorship. Under the precedent set, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court would enthusiastically uphold the arrest and imprisonment of any publisher, editor or reporter in the name of national security.
Hedges joins a chorus of voices warning of the threat to journalists everywhere if the US has its way with WikiLeaks. Human Rights Watch’s executive director Ken Roth said over the weekend:
If Ecuador expels Assange from its London embassy, it’s essential the UK not become party to any US effort to prosecute him for merely publishing classified information the same way journalists regularly do. @TheIntercept https://t.co/85da4IVUvU pic.twitter.com/xi0xG62xjC
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) July 21, 2018
Earlier this year, the Committee to Protect Journalists wrote, “By suing WikiLeaks, DNC could endanger principles of press freedom”
The notion that journalistic activity such as cultivating sources and receiving illegally obtained documents could be construed as part of a criminal conspiracy is, according to Goodale, the “greatest threat to press freedom today.” “It will inhibit reporters’ ability to get whistleblower information, because as soon as you talk to them in any aggressive fashion you could be guilty of a crime,” Goodale said.
13 July 2018
Why I stand with Julian Assange
Former State Department diplomat Peter Van Buren pens a defence of Julian Assange for the American Conservative, emphasising the gains WikiLeaks has made for oversight of government and the likelihood that this case represents a major encroachment of government power.
Wikileaks’ version of journalism says here are the cables, the memos, and the emails. Others can write about them (and nearly every mainstream media outlet has used Wikileaks to do that, some even while calling Assange a traitor), or you as a citizen can read the stuff yourself and make up your own damned mind. That is the root of an informed public, a set of tools never before available until Assange and the internet created them.
If Assange becomes the first successful prosecution of a third party under the Espionage Act, whether as a journalist or not, the government will turn that precedent into a weapon to attack the media’s role in any national security case. On the other hand, if Assange leaves London for asylum in Ecuador, that will empower new journalists to provide evidence when a government serves its people poorly and has no interest in being held accountable.
Freedom is never static. It either advances under our pressure, or recedes under theirs. I support Julian Assange.
3 July 2018
Today marks Julian Assange’s 47th birthday. Supporters worldwide have been drawing attention to his plight.
— WikiLeaks Art ⌛ (@WLArtForce) July 3, 2018
— #FreeAssange! (tweets by campaign)⌛ (@JulianAssange) July 3, 2018
In #Brisbane #Queensland where #Assange was born (Townesville) 47 years ago today-Janet Connolly, Senator Bartlett & Fr. Pan Jordan deliver Open Letter to #Australian Government to DFAT offices demanding #FreeJulianAssange Walking from.execution site of aboriginal resisters POSq pic.twitter.com/2DI1HRDkzw
— Ciaron O’Reilly (@CiaronOReilly) July 3, 2018
1 July 2018
Geoffrey Robertson QC: Julian Assange faces a US extradition request if he has to leave the embassy
Renowned human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, discusses Julian Assange’s case in a new interview:
Julian Assange has exposed a great deal of the secrets of the modern establishment. When he was in court, in fact when I was acting for him, he performed a service to journalists by getting a ruling that they could tweet from court, which they’d never been allowed to previously.
There’s no doubt [that he is wanted by the United States]. We never hear about that from Downing Street, we hear it from the White House.
I think this is working up to be a major free press issue. He’s been in the Ecuadorian embassy for six years, the charges brought against him in Sweden have been withdrawn. He only has America to fear.
If he leaves the embassy, he will be arrested, held for a short time for a breach of bail and in that time the US foreign secretary will order an extradition request that will keep him in prison for years fighting a US extradition request to prosecute him as a spy.
‘This is a major free press issue. The US govt wants to prosecute WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange as a spy. He’s already living as a prisoner and the US wants to lock him up for 45 years.’ Watch renowned human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson: #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/rvnDQIl7Co
— Bean🔥 (@SomersetBean) July 1, 2018
30 June 2018
Ecuador refutes claims of US influence
Ecuador’s new foreign minister Jose Valencia Amores said it’s not up to the US to determine the fate of Julian Assange, who was granted Ecuadorian citizenship earlier this year.
According to the Associated Press:
“Ecuador and the United Kingdom, and of course Mr Assange as a person who is currently staying, on asylum, at our embassy” will decide the next steps, Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told reporters.
“It does not enter, therefore, on an agenda with the United States.”
29 June 2018
White House confirms US and Ecuador are coordinating over Assange
Earlier this week, ten US Democratic Senators sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, as he was traveling to Ecuador. The letter urged “him to raise concerns with President Moreno about Ecuador’s support for Mr. Assange at a time when WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes around the world.”
The following day, the White House released a statement to reporters confirming Pence did bring up Assange’s situation: “The vice president raised the issue of Mr. Assange. It was a constructive conversation. They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward.”
Independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone comments on the letter and response:
Why would US Senators care that Assange is receiving political asylum if his belief that the US government is trying to extradite him was a paranoid fantasy? The only known existing charge that Assange could be arrested for if he leaves the embassy is a bogus bail violation he was charged with a full 12 days after he applied for political asylum; nobody actually believes ensuring that Assange is prosecuted for that nonsensical charge is an urgent matter, let alone one so urgent it necessitates the full attention of ten sitting US Senators and the Vice President of the United States. Continuing to pretend that we don’t all know that the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning is trying to extradite Assange is a farce, and the correct response to anyone denying it is to laugh in their face.
27 June 2018
Comey killed discussions over Assange’s immunity deal
The Hill reported this week that a lawyer for Julian Assange, Adam Waldman, and the US Department of Justice were in talks in March 2017 to reach an immunity deal for Assange.
Waldman wrote to a DOJ rep:
Subject to adequate and binding protections, including but not limited to an acceptable immunity and safe passage agreement, Mr. Assange welcomes the opportunity to discuss with the U.S. government risk mitigation approaches relating to CIA documents in WikiLeaks’ possession or control, such as the redaction of agency personnel in hostile jurisdictions and foreign espionage risks to WikiLeaks staff.
Derived directly from this discussion of risk mitigation, Mr. Assange is also prepared to discuss (within the source protection boundaries expected of a journalist and publisher operating at the highest level of integrity) (i) a description of CIA information in the possession or control of WikiLeaks; (ii) the risks of third parties who may have obtained access to such information (not withstanding the foregoing, for the avoidance of doubt this category specifically and others generally will not include any information that may effect WikiLeaks obligations to protect its sources) and (iii) information regarding the timing of further publications in so far as they relate to the risk mitigation approaches developed.
But just the next day, The Hill reported that former FBI Director James Comey intervened, through Senator Mark Warner, to kill those discussions.
Chilean Political Refugee Cristina Godoy Navarrete Speaks in Support of Julian Assange
“Today 20 June is World Refugee Day. My mum arrived in the UK as a political refugee in 1976 after being imprisoned and tortured by the US-government supported Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.”
Assange Is a Journalist, Should Not Be Persecuted for Publishing the Truth
Kevin Zeese writes:
The threat of prosecution against Julian Assange for his work as editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks will be a key to defining what Freedom of the Press means in the 21st Century. Should people be allowed to know the truth if their government is corrupt, violating the law or committing war crimes? Democracy cannot exist when people are misled by a concentrated corporate media that puts forth a narrative on behalf of the government and big business.
20 June 2018
Yesterday rallies were held in major cities around the world, calling for Julian Assange’s freedom.
Human Rights Watch was barred from visiting Assange in the Embassy, and its general counsel Dinah PoKempner has argued, ‘UK Should Reject Extraditing Julian Assange to US.’
The publication of leaks—particularly leaks that show potential government wrongdoing or human rights abuse—is a critical function of a free press in a democratic society. The vague and sweeping provisions of the Espionage Act remain ready to be used against other publishers and journalists, whether they be Wikileaks or the New York Times.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 20, 2018
19 June 2018
Sixth anniversary rallies and media
Today marks six years since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, seeking asylum from US/UK persecution. Assange lawyer and Courage Trustee Renata Avila remarked on the anniversary:
I was there as part of the legal team 6 years ago when @JulianAssange decided to exercise his human right to asylum. I hoped the UK was a civilised nation and it will respect the sovereignty of #Ecuador. Six years after, his arbitrary detention proves even more: its brutality.
— Renata Avila (@avilarenata) June 19, 2018
Rallies for Assange are being held around the world
At the Embassy in London (livestream), Diem25 co-founder Srecko Horvat spoke about WikiLeaks’ importance:
— DiEM25 (@DiEM_25) June 19, 2018
At Mintpress News, Whitney Webb writes, ‘The Implications of Assange’s Persecution for Journalism and Democracy‘:
Assange’s case means much more than the severe mistreatment – torture, as some have said – of a single man whose commitment to bringing the dark deeds of government crimes to light has forced him to sacrifice seeing the outside world – even his own children – for the better part of a decade. Though his mistreatment has no place in any civilized “democracy,” the outcome of Assange’s case – if his extradition to the United States does come to pass – will have a powerful impact for journalism as a whole. Indeed, if the U.S.-led campaign to extradite and silence Assange is successful, it will invariably become the blueprint used by powerful governments like the U.S. to silence independent journalists the world over, and bludgeon them into submission.
At Consortium News, former CIA officer Ray McGovern writes, ‘Julian Assange and the Mindszenty Case‘:
Where is the voice of conscience to condemn what is happening to Julian Assange, whose only “crime” is publishing documents exposing the criminal activities and corruption of governments and other Establishment elites? Decades ago, the U.S. and “civilized world” had nothing but high praise for the courageous Mindszenty. He became a candidate for sainthood.
And Assange? He has been confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for six years —from June 19, 2012—the victim of a scurrilous slander campaign and British threats to arrest him, should he ever step outside. The U.S. government has been putting extraordinary pressure on Ecuador to end his asylum and top U.S. officials have made it clear that, as soon as they get their hands on him, they will manufacture a reason to put him on trial and put him in prison. All for spreading unwelcome truth around.
Vault 7 charges brought
Meanwhile, Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act charges have been brought against Joshua Schulte, the alleged source of the Vault 7 leak of CIA hacking tools published by WikiLeaks.
18 June 2018
Tomorrow, 19 June 2018, marks six years since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Rallies in support of Assange’s freedom, and freedom to use the internet, are planned around the world. See here for a list of global actions, and get in touch with us here to add your event or send us photos from your local action.
Tomorrow the UN Human Rights Council will hear a discussion of “Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and the Future of Rights and Freedoms in the West,” with Judge Baltasar Garzon, head of Assange’s legal team; Stefania Maurizi, the Italian journalist who uncovered important documents about Assange’s persecution; and Micol Savia, from the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.
UN meeting, Geneva, Tuesday 19 June, 10:30am: “@JulianAssange, @WikiLeaks & the Future of Rights & Freedoms in the West” #HRC38 @UNHumanRights
Background: https://t.co/0VmWWBkWo4 pic.twitter.com/vTlfTJgIYn
— #FreeAssange! (tweets by campaign)⌛ (@JulianAssange) June 18, 2018
John Pilger and others speak at Australian rally
Lawyers speak out for Assange’s rights
Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about Julian’s case.
Julian Assange’s Lawyer on 6 Years of Arbitrary Detention
Lawyer and human rights activist Kellie Tranter highlights the Australian government’s selective willingness to protect human rights.
the Australian government says it is ‘fully committed’ [to upholding international human rights law] but simultaneously cherry picks the human rights it wants to uphold or agitate for, depending upon what is politically advantageous to itself or its allies. In Assange’s case this “commitment” has never been translated into any sort of action.
14 June 2018
An exit without “trauma”
Ecuador’s new foreign minister Jose Valencia Amores replaces Maria Fernando Espinosa, the new President of US General Assembly who granted Julian Assange with Ecuadorian citizenship. Amores said on Wednesday, 13 June, that Ecuador seeks a solution to Assange’s situation “that gives us an exit that is not traumatic, an exit that can not provoke a dissonance with international law (and that) serves the interest of the Ecuadorian State.”
UN meeting on Assange
Julian Assange’s Twitter account, run by campaign members while he remains without internet access, announced that on 19 June, the sixth anniversary of Julian entering the embassy, the UN will hold a meeting on his persecution:
UN meeting on the persecution of @WikiLeaks‘ publisher @JulianAssange; Geneva, Palice of Nations, UN Human Rights Council; 38th Session
Tuesday 19 June, 10.30 am–11:30am, Room V;
With @WikiLeaks General Counsel Judge Baltasar Garzon pic.twitter.com/cL3vUGuI1r
— #FreeAssange! (tweets by campaign)⌛ (@JulianAssange) June 14, 2018
New details on Ecuadorian surveillance
Spanish newspaper El Diario has uncovered new details about Operation Hotel, Ecuador’s long effort to spy on Julian Assange’s every move within the embassy, unveiled by the Guardian last month. Based on confidential government intelligence reports, El Diario explains:
The parties of the security company do not limit themselves to detailing the incidents that were registered during those dates outside the embassy, where there were concentrations and some manifestations not too numerous, they also detail and photograph what happens inside the government building, where a network of security cameras registered all Assange activity. These images came to screens located in an apartment located 100 meters from the embassy in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in London . The cameras allowed the Ecuadorian Government to document a meeting that took place on April 4, 2017. “The Guest – as they refer to Assange – receives the visits of Praxis Film”, begins the extraordinary report dedicated to that appointment.
However, El Diario notes ample incorrect information within the reports:
The intelligence reports to which eldiario.es has had access are filled with errors and incorrect statements. Some names of visitors Assange received are not correct, there are misspellings and on some documents, and the Ecuadoran embassy is referred to as the Colombian Embassy. There are also mistakes in identifying the people with whom the WikiLeaks founder has access, like when the report speaks of Renata Avila, who it refers to as one of his Spanish lawyers from the office of Baltasar Garzon. Avila is not Spanish and she is not a lawyer in Garzon’s office.
Filmmaker Ken Loach is the latest to add his voice of support for Assange, with this statement:
The persecution of Julian Assange must end. To force him to remain in the Ecuadorian Embassy for fear of extradition to the USA is clearly political.
He is right to be fearful. In the current febrile atmosphere people in the US have called for his execution.
He has defended the public’s right to know what is done in their name when others who now attack him have run for cover.
It is time that Julian Assange is free to leave without fear.
The Washington Post mark the upcoming six-year anniversary of Julian Assange taking refuge in the embassy.
Free Julian Assange NZ have announced a Wellington protest in support of Julian Assange on 19 June, with a march planned from the Australia High Commission to the US Embassy to the UK Embassy.
John Jiggens writes in Independent Australia that ‘the long siege of Julian Assange’ is “ongoing and unfair”, with extensive comments from Irish-Australian Catholic Worker activist Ciaron O’Reilly, who said:
lf you marched against the Iraq War and over a million people marched in London alone, then what you did by marching is you incited people like Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. So if you serious about being anti-war then you have to accompany the people you incited, whether they be military resisters or whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning or publishers like Julian Assange.
I know from my own experiences of imprisonment for anti-war activity that the most minute expressions of solidarity carry a lot of weight in terms of nourishing resisters and I have been in the embassy with Julian when he’s received support mail from people and I’ve seen how he has been sincerely nourished by that and I would encourage everyone to write to him.
There’s an old saying that truth is the first casualty of war. Well maybe, as Julian points out, peace can be founded on telling the truth.
13 June 2018
Courage Trustee and investigative journalist John Pilger was interviewed by Dennis Bernstein about the ‘Curious Case of the Left’s Silence on Julian Assange.’ Pilger said:
They have not won, not yet, and they have not destroyed the man. Only the silence of good people will allow them to win. Julian Assange has never been more isolated. He needs your support and your voice. Now more than ever is the time to demand justice and free speech for Julian. Thank you.”
WISE Up Action have published a new interview with James Cogan, ;The Fight to Free Julian Assange is a question of political principle.’
Artists Tony Garnett, Davide Dormino and Costantino Ciervo demand freedom for Julian Assange.
Former high-ranking UN official Alfred M. de Zayas issued a statement of support:
Assange, whom I visited at the Ecuador Embassy in London, deserves the Nobel Prize for Peace. He and fellow whistleblower Eduard Snowden have done more for democracy, rule of law and peace than the many hypocritical politicians and journalists who attack and defame them.
12 June 2018
Australians take notice after High Commission visit
Following the news that Australian officials visited the Ecuadorian Embassy, Australians are showing their support for Julian Assange. Australian public high school teachers signed a resolution in support of the campaign for Assange’s freedom.
At Mintpress News, Whitney Webb says that the outcome of Assange’s situation could set a precedent for all Australians, calling on the Aussie government to protect him:
if Australia reneges on its obligations to protect Assange and fight for his rights, the implications such actions would hold for every other citizen of the country are as vast as they are chilling. It would set the legal precedent for Australia to allow any of its citizens to be detained, imprisoned and/or silenced by another government without charges, greatly weakening the rights of any Australian national living or traveling abroad. Essentially, it would mean that many of the rights granted to an Australian by right of one’s citizenship would evaporate the second he or she set foot on foreign soil.
11 June 2018
Australia providing consular assistance
Over the weekend it was confirmed that Australia was providing consular assistance in Assange’s situation after two officials from the High Commission in London visited the Ecuadorian Embassy. 7 News Melbourne spoke with Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson:
This week Julian Assange was back in the headlines again after it was confirmed Australia is providing him with consular assistance following a visit from two officials from the High Commission in London. #WikiLeaks #7News pic.twitter.com/AZXB5OCAVY
— 7 News Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) June 9, 2018
Postcards for Assange
Inspired by John Pilger’s statement calling for support, WISEUP Action has launched a postcard campaign, providing postcards emphasizing Assange’s right to free speech and his right to healthcare available for download.
5 June 2018
Ecuador’s foreign minister elected President of UN General Assembly
Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador’s foreign minister who approved Julian Assange’s citizenship and gave him diplomatic status, has been elected President of the United Nations’ General Assembly.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Monday, Espinosa said there was no set date for Assange to regain internet access.
Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, said last week that Espinosa made the decision to grant Assange citizenship. “I told the foreign minister she should, with complete freedom, choose how to solve the problem. And she chose that system. It wasn’t the most suitable, but I respected it,” Moreno said.
4 June 2018
Investigative journalist and Courage Trustee John Pilger has released a statement about Julian’s situation and the need for widespread grassroots support, entitled “Justice and freedom for Julian Assange mean free speech for us all.”
CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou explained the importance of supporting Assange in a recent video message. “I feel like we’re heading into an international crisis if we turn our backs on Julian Assange,” he said.
— #FreeAssange! (tweets by campaign)⌛ (@JulianAssange) June 3, 2018
Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters displayed a huge message of support at a performance over the weekend:
Assange supporter Emmy Butlin, whose group WISEUP Action organizes vigils outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, recently gave an interview to World Socialist Website.
Vigils planned in support of Julian Assange
17 June – Sydney, Australia, Town Hall’s Square, 1pm
19 June – London, Ecuadorian Embassy, 6-8pm