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Liveblog: Julian Assange in jeopardy

Julian Assange Arrested, Donate to the campaign now

Arrest info and how else to get involved here

See the full WikiLeaks Legal Defence fund website here

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 June 2019

Academics, human rights activists, lawyers: Free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning now

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”.

 

Assange’s father John Shipton visits Julian in Belmarsh prison: audio

 

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei: the UK must stop Assange’s extradition to the US

Chris Hedges: The Thought Police Are Coming

[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.

ABC raids a wake-up call to journalists who left Assange swinging

 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

U.S. delivers formal extradition request for Julian Assange to U.K.

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

UN Torture Expert Says Assange Is Victim of Psychological Torture

 

Freedom of the media and freedom of speech are fragile rights

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

(background: Possible prosecution of journalists sends shockwaves through Australian media)

 

‘You don’t stand a chance’: how the press freedom argument will go for Assange

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.

 

Aislado, Vigilado, Expulsado: Cómo Ecuador traicionó a Julian Assange

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”.

PDF version

7 June 2019

NOS: US Justice is working on new charges against Julian Assange

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.

Furthermore,

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.

See WikiLeaks’ full press release here.

Isolated, Surveilled, Expelled: How Ecuador Betrayed Julian Assange

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.

Timeline: Major events leading up to Julian Assange’s Expulsion & Arrest

Even before he took office, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno had already begun working on undermining Assange’s protections

6 June 2019

UN torture expert says Assange’s persecution ‘very similar to historic witch-hunts’ in exclusive interview

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.

(read the full story here)

5 June 2019

Media analysis of Julian Assange’s superseding indictment

  • 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

Transcript (machine-translated):

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.

 

Julian Assange won’t face further charges in US: report

[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

Swedish court rejects detention request for Julian Assange, prosecutor will not immediately request his extradition from UK

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.

More reporting from Sveriges Radio (Swedish)

 

31 May 2019

In a scathing condemnation of the “deliberate and concerted abuse inflicted for years” on Julian Assange, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzner called on the UK government not to extradite him to the United States, where Melzner fears Assange “would be exposed to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights.”
“The evidence is overwhelming and clear,” the expert said. “Mr. Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.”

Melzner, who visited Assange in Belmarsh prison following concerns for his health, sent official letters to the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Ecuador, urging each government “to refrain from further disseminating, instigating or tolerating statements or other activities prejudicial to Assange’s human rights and dignity and to take measures to provide him with appropriate redress and rehabilitation for past harm.”

See Melzner’s full statements from the UN release, his interview with Democracy Now, and statements to the Sydney Morning Herald.

 

 

With new charges against Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning argues she should be freed from jail

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.”

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Matt Taibbi: Julian Assange Must Never Be Extradited

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.

 

Courage fact-sheet:

UK/EU Politicians Speak Out Against Julian Assange’s Indictment & Extradition

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30 May 2019

Assange too ill to appear via videolink, next hearing to take place at Belmarsh

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:

Supporters rallied outside the courtroom

Chelsea Manning Moves to Limit Confinement to Maximum of 18 Months

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Free Press Groups Condemn Julian Assange’s Indictment

Courage has prepared a roundup of media freedom groups speaking out against Julian Assange’s indictment:

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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.”

28 May 2019

Write to your MP: Protect Julian Assange

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!

Glenn Greenwald, Washington Post: The indictment of Assange is a blueprint for making journalists into felons

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.

Former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger: US efforts to jail Assange for espionage are a grave threat to a free media

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.

 

Sydney Peace Prize laureates urge Australian government to protect Julian Assange

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.


 

Interview: veteran journalist Joe Lauria explains Assange indictments and US Espionage Act

27 May 2019

Courage has prepared fact sheets on recent commentary on Julian Assange’s indictment:

Top Newsrooms Condemn Julian Assange Indictment

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US Politicians and Presidential Candidates Oppose Julian Assange’s Indictment

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Jonathan Cook: Abuses show Assange case was never about law

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

Julian Assange writes a letter from Belmarsh prison

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

 

WikiLeaks responds to espionage act indictment against Assange: Unprecedented attack on free press

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.

 

UN expert in privacy seriously concerned about the behavior of Ecuador in the Assange and Moreno cases

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

Julian Assange charged under Espionage Act in unprecedented attack on First Amendment

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.

Read more

21 May 2019

On the spot report: Ecuador’s government colludes with Washington to seize Julian Assange’s possessions

A member of the Ecuadorean embassy staff speaking to an SO6 Diplomatic Protection Officer (in unmarked car) (via WSWS)

Supporters of Assange began gathering by 8 a.m. yesterday outside the embassy to witness and denounce the search and seizure.

Members of the Julian Assange Defence Committee and the Socialist Equality Party were among those who gathered, after reports the operation would begin at 9 a.m. El Pais wrote, “The search of Assange’s sealed-off room will take place on May 20 as part of a petition for judicial assistance issued by the US Department of Justice to the government of Ecuador.” It would be mounted “under the oversight of police chief Diego López and second sergeant Milton Jaque,” described as a “computer forensic expert.”

During the day, Metropolitan Police officers, including several SO6 Diplomatic Protection police, positioned themselves near the embassy and at one point approached the building’s front entrance. SO6 is an armed police unit. Police officers refused to answer questions from protesters, except to say that they were “keeping the peace.”

To add to the picture of official criminality, Assange’s lawyer Per Samuelsson told Reuters that no court proceedings should go ahead in Sweden because the UK is refusing to grant Assange’s lawyers access to their client in Belmarsh.

“Since he is in prison in England, it has so far not been possible even to speak to him by telephone,” Samuelsson said. He would tell the Swedish District Court it could not investigate the prosecutor’s request until he had conferred with his client and learned whether he wished to oppose a detention order.

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.”

 

Sweden sets June 3 hearing for Assange

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

Ecuador to hand over Assange’s entire legal defense to the United States

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.

Read more

 

Legal commentary:

BBC: Ecuador hands over Julian Assange’s belongings to US

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.

Australian Associated Press: Ecuador proceeds with search and seizure of Julian Assange’s belongings


“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.

 

Associated Press: Sweden requests detention order for Julian Assange

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.

Craig Murray responds: The Missing Step

“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

Former Ecuadorian diplomat on his country’s treatment of Julian Assange

 

Courage trustee John Pilger visited Assange in prison:

 

The Revelations of WikiLeaks: No. 3—The Most Extensive Classified Leak in History

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

U.S. and Ecuador sign new agreement after Assange expelled

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.

 

Judicial despotism against Julian Assange

(Spanish, machine-translated)

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.

Español:

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.

 

Brussels film screening: HACKING JUSTICE

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

Tickets here

More clips, more information, & how to watch online here

 

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 Manning faces new WikiLeaks grand jury subpoena, could be sent back to jail

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:

UPDATE:

Chelsea Manning sent back to jail, additional fine imposed

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”

 

13 May 2019

Ecuador will give Washington computers and Assange documents in London

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:

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

Furthermore:

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.

 

More background:

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

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.

Stefania Maurizi, whose FOIA requests have brought vital information about the international case against Julian Assange to light:

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?

British prosecutors admitted to deleting key correspondence with Swedish officials

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.

The UK’s hidden role in Assange’s detention

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.

 

Further reading:

About Julian

False Statements about Assange and WikiLeaks

Julian Assange’s Affidavits

 

10 May 2019

Chelsea Manning has been released from jail, but she has already received another subpoena to testify before a WikiLeaks Grand Jury

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

 

Dr Sean Love discusses his visits with Julian Assange

 

Pamela Anderson spoke to TMZ after visiting Assange

 

The Revelations of WikiLeaks: No. 2 —The Leak That ‘Exposed the True Afghan War’

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)

 

Stefania Maurizi on How Julian Assange Changed Journalism

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

Pamela Anderson and Kristinn Hrafnsson visit Julian Assange in prison

 

CNN Report:

“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.”

 

Daniel Ellsberg: ‘‘Trump is challenging the First Amendment on Assange’s case’’

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

 

Julian Assange: An Opportunity for the US and the UK to Change Direction on Press Freedom

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.

 

Chelsea Manning and her Attorneys File Motion Declaring She will Never Cooperate with Grand Jury

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.

Moira Meltzer-Cohen:

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

 

Politicians celebrate “World Press Freedom Day” as Julian Assange languishes 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.

 

AFP: Man accused of trying to sell info on Julian Assange questioned in Spain

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

 

United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention expresses concern about Assange proceedings

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.”

 

Interview with WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson: ’Everything Was Done To Make Julian Assange’s Life Miserable’

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.

Read the full interview, which also deals with the Trump/Russia Mueller investigation, Chelsea Manning’s re-imprisonment, and Assange as a publisher

 

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.

Felicity Ruby: Julian Assange won’t surrender to the US for doing journalism

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:

 

Janis Sharp, mother of Gary McKinnon, who also faced and defeated a US extradition request from the UK:

Sydney rally for Julian Assange

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

Julian Assange was sentenced today to 50 weeks in jail for seeking asylum

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.

Read more

 


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.

See here for London supporters’ demonstration info

 

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

AFP: Ecuadorian diplomats could face up to a decade in prison following criminal complaint alleging illegal spying operation violating attorney-client privilege and medical confidentiality of the political asylee inside the embassy of Ecuador in London.

El abogado de Julian Assange en Ecuador, Carlos Poveda, denunció este lunes a personal de la embajada ecuatoriana en Londres por la supuesta filtración de información privada del fundador de WikiLeaks.

La defensa acudió a la fiscalía para presentar la denuncia que involucra al embajador Jaime Marchán y cuatro trabajadores de la empresa Promsecurity, encargada de la vigilancia en la legación.

El documento también cita a cinco españoles que “en apariencia no tenían ninguna relación” con la embajada, explicó Poveda a la AFP. Sin embargo, constan en la denuncia como las personas que exigieron un millonario pago a WikiLeaks a cambio de no difundir la información sobre Assange.

 

The Catalonian Parliament’s Board has today agreed to a statement in support of Julian Assange

 

Socialist Equality Party (UK) public meeting in London

Public meeting details
Sunday, May 12 
(doors open 1:30 p.m. Start time 2pm)

YMCA Indian Student Hostel

Mahatma Gandhi Hall

41 Fitzroy Square

London, W1T 6AQ

(Speakers to be announced)

The Socialist Equality Party is demanding the withdrawal of all charges against Julian Assange, a guarantee against extradition to the US and safe passage to his home country, Australia, and that the Trump administration frees Chelsea Manning immediately and unconditionally.

 

29 April 2019

John Shipton speaks out on his son Julian Assange’s arrest

60 Minutes Australia interview:

Assange’s father: WikiLeaks founder was traded to the US by Ecuador in return for a loan from the International Monetary Fund

‘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.

 

NYT: Julian Assange and the Woeful State of Whistle-Blowers

“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.

 

BERLIN: Protest the extradition of Julian Assange to the US

Thursday, May 2, 2019, noon
Brandenburger Tor

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”.

Canberra: Rally for Julian Assange on World Press Freedom Day

 

UK’s Julian Assange Defence Committee holds public meeting

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.

 

Kevin Gosztola: ‘What Is Wrong With Former Obama Administration’s Official Case For Prosecuting Julian Assange’

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

Interview with UN Privacy Rapporteur after visit with Julian Assange

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.”

Also see WISE Up’s photos and videos from a rally at Parliament Square on 14 April 2019 in support of Assange

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.

 

German TV show on Assange

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.

Read or download a PDF of the full issue here

 

Upcoming Events for Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Press Freedom

UK

London:
Saturday, 27 April, 2pm
Belmarsh Prison

Dublin artist Joe Black joined by bluesman Dr. Time

 

US

New York City:
Thursday, 2 May
4:30pm
British Consulate
885 Second Avenue (at 47th Street)

Popular Resistance has published a list of British Embassies throughout the US

 

World Press Freedom Day Of Action 2019

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

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

Pamela Anderson on Assange: Tomorrow is already gone if we don’t act now

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: The Revelations of WikiLeaks

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

 

Print your own banners, posters, flyers, stickers and badges/buttons to support Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning with free, print-ready designs from Somerset Bean.

23 April 2019

London: Public meeting for Julian Assange
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.



The US has dropped 3 places from 45th place in 2019:
US press freedom, enshrined in the First Amendment to the 1787 constitution, has been under increasing attack over the past few years, and the first year of President Donald J. Trump’s presidency has fostered further decline in journalists’ right to report. He has declared the press an “enemy of the American people” in a series of verbal attacks toward journalists, attempted to block White House access to multiple media outlets, and routinely uses the term “fake news” in retaliation for critical reporting. He has even called for revoking certain media outlets’ broadcasting licenses. The violent anti-press rhetoric from the highest level of the US government has been coupled with an increase in the number of press freedom violations at the local level as journalists run the risk of arrest for covering protests or simply attempting to ask public officials questions. Reporters have even been subject to physical assault while on the job. It appears the Trump effect has only amplified the disappointing press freedom climate that predated his presidency. Whistleblowers face prosecution under the Espionage Act if they leak information of public interest to the press, while there is still no federal “shield law” guaranteeing reporters’ right to protect their sources. Journalists and their devices continue to be searched at the US border, while some foreign journalists are still denied entry into the US after covering sensitive topics like Colombia’s FARC or Kurdistan.
The US Press Freedom Tracker catalogues Assange’s arrest as a press freedom violation

‘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.

See the full post recounting WikiLeaks’ major revelations and their impact on the public record

 

Mediastan: A Wikileaks Road Movie

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.

Subscribe to Journeyman here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM2YmsRUeIbRkqjgNm0eTGQ?sub_confirmation=1

For more information, visit https://www.journeyman.tv/film/5949

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Sixteen Documentaries – Ref. 5949

Petition Calling For Intervention Into Assange Extradition Passes 100,000 Signatures

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.

Kevin Gosztola: In Rejecting Chelsea Manning’s Appeal, Court Essentially Ignores All Arguments for Release from Jail

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.

 

Chelsea’s response:

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.

 

International solidarity with Julian Assange: Hundreds of groups and individuals from across the globe sign petition for Assange

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.

español:

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.

 

Edward Snowden on Julian Assange, the Mueller Report, and Press Freedom

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)

 

Free expression group PEN International: United Kingdom: Julian Assange should not be extradited to the United States
The British authorities must not extradite WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange to the United States, where he is at risk of serious human rights violations, including detention conditions that could amount to torture or other ill-treatment, PEN International and Swedish PEN said today. The organisations are further concerned by the broader implications his prosecution would have on global press freedom.

‘The broad nature of the US indictment against Assange is a real threat to journalists and press freedom worldwide because it potentially criminalises legitimate journalistic practices. The treatment meted out to his accused co-conspirator Chelsea Manning shows that these concerns are real, and Assange would be at risk of serious human rights violations, were he to be extradited to the US,’ said Salil Tripathi, chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.
Lindsey German, national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition: It’s badly wrong when whistleblowers rot in jail but war criminals walk free

Most germane to Assange’s case are those who could and should face charges for war crimes, but who are feted on the BBC and remain favoured members of the British elite.Because we should remember that Assange faces extradition charges to the US for exposing a series of appalling cases which the authorities had denied, minimised or covered up. Without the exposure of Wikileaks, especially to do with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there would be much less information and knowledge about atrocities carried out in those conflicts, and much more impunity on the part of politicians and generals in their conduct of future wars.

There is something badly wrong about a society which imprisons those – like Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange – who tell the truth about wars, while doing nothing about those like Tony Blair and George Bush who took us into an illegal war costing the lives of over 1 million people and who have never expressed a minute’s regret for it.

 

University of Melbourne IYSSE calls for release of Assange and Manning

 

21 April 2019

The Real News Network: Ecuadorian President’s Motives for Surrendering Assange: Vengeance & IMF Loan?

Assange and WikiLeaks: A view from Kenya


WikiLeaks has been a key source of revelations about the transgressions of the Kenyan political elite.

Patrick Gathara writes of the impact created by WikiLeaks’ 2007 release of  “the Kroll report – an investigation commissioned in 2003 by the newly elected Mwai Kibaki administration in an attempt to uncover where the former dictator, Daniel arap Moi, and his family and cronies had stashed away the hundreds of millions of dollars they had stolen from Kenyans in the previous quarter of a century.”
The report was buried:

And buried it might have stayed were it not for WikiLeaks, which somehow got a hold of it and, in conjunction with the Guardian, published its details. For once, Kenyans were afforded an unvarnished and detailed glimpse of the amount of national wealth that was being stolen by the very people tasked with protecting it.

Three years later, the Kenyan public would again benefit from a cache of documents published by WikiLeaks. The leaked US diplomatic cables it released revealed what Kenyan politicians were saying to American envoys behind closed doors and how different it was from the public statements they were making.

If information is the lifeblood of democracy, then people like Julian Assange and sites like WikiLeaks are vital blood banks. As press revenues shrink and expensive investigative departments are done away with, it becomes ever harder for citizens to get the information they need to hold their governments to account. Outfits like WikiLeaks can go some way into filling that void and providing some basic information. In that sense, what they are doing is journalism.

20 April 2019

Julian Assange’s mother, Christine Assange:

18 April 2019

Western media do Moreno’s bidding by uncritically repeating smears and ignoring corruption scandals

The media’s role in persecuting Julian Assange

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.

Grayzone: Sell Out: How Corruption, Voter Fraud and a Neoliberal Turn Led Ecuador’s Lenin to Give Up Assange

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

 

More updates

Courthouse News: Redactions Hint at Unseen Depths in Assange Probe

“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.

13 civil liberties organisations warn against extradition of Julian Assange to the US

Mr. Julian Assange’s arrest and potential extradition to the U.S. threaten media freedom

The undersigned members of the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) expressconcern over Mr. Julian Assange’s arrest anddetention on Thursday April 11 by police officers in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Assange was arrested after Ecuador revoked his political asylum status without prior formal notification or meaningful hearing, raising serious human rights concerns including the risk of extradition to the United States where he could be subject to solitary confinement that amounts to torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.

This also sets a negative precedent internationally regarding the protection of people seeking asylum based on credible fear of persecution.

We are also concerned about the United States’ indictment against Mr. Assange, which raises serious world-wide implications for freedom of the press. The US Justice Department’s charges are an attack on basic journalistic activities such as investigating, soliciting information, cultivating sources, protecting reporters’ identity, and publishing information of public interest.

Whistleblowers who provide information and those who publish information of public interest require protection in the name of transparency, journalistic freedoms, and above all, the rule of law.

Signed,
Agora International Human Rights Group (Russia)
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA)
Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS, Argentina)
Dejusticia (Colombia)
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)
Human Rights Law Network (HRLN, India)
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU)
Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)
Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
Legal Resources Centre (LRC, South Africa)
Liberty (United Kingdom)

INCLO is a network of independent, national human rights organizations from the global South and North working to promote fundamental rights and freedoms.

Downlaod the letter here (PDF)

Ai Wei Wei on Assange’s arrest:

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

Wednesday 24/4/19 from 12 noon
Parliament Square (Meet outside Supreme Court)

 

 

 

17 April 2019

US DOJ likely to bring more charges against Assange: media reports

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.

Read reports from CNN and NYT and commentary and analysis from EFF, Kevin Gosztola, and Pentagon Papers lawyer James Goodale

 

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

Roger Waters

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

Assange’s Australian legal adviser tells The Canary ‘We are now all on notice’

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.

Latin America

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

Julian Assange awarded 2019 Galizia Prize for Journalists, Whistleblowers & Defenders of the Right to Information

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.

Declaración de la Asociación Americana de Juristas sobre el arresto de Julián 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

European Parliament to hold debate over the possible extradition of Julian Assange

Video here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/plenary/video?date=16-04-2019

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.

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Attorneys weigh in

Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to Sky News:

On Sky News, an inconvenient fact from Julian Assange’s lawyer collapses the official narrative

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?

Lawyer alleges Ecuador spread lies about WikiLeaks founder

“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

European politicians protest outside Assange’s London jail

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.

 

Doctors concerned for Julian Assange’s health

Julian Assange: How could seven years in Ecuadorian embassy have affected his 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?

Doctor Who Evaluated Julian Assange Told UN His Confinement Was Torture

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.

Audio: Yanis Varoufakis on the imperative to defend Julian Assange

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.”

National Union of Journalists UK

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

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.

Ron Paul:

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.

‘Set Julian Assange free’: N Ram, Arundhati Roy, Romila Thapar and others decry attack on press

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

Major civil liberties, media freedom, and human rights groups speak out against the arrest of Julian Assange

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

Alleged WikiLeaks Collaborator Ola Bini Arrested in Ecuador

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

Emergency: Julian Assange has been arrested

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.

Indictment

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.”

Bail hearing

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”

Extradition

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.”

Reactions and updates here

Donate now to the campaign against extradition

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:

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

 

 

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.

Reactions:

8 April 2019

Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to Sunrise:

Assange’s lawyer in Ecuador Carlos Poveda:

5 April 2019

WikiLeaks warns that Julian Assange faces imminent eviction from Ecuador’s London embassy

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.

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

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

Reactions:

Situation outside the Embassy:

 

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.”

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

Ecuador twists embarrassing INA Papers into pretext to oust Assange

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.”

Read more

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.

Vigil for Chelsea Manning at Alexandria jail

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. …

Read the full appeal statement here

 

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

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:

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.[2]  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.

Click here to read the PDF version

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.

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 with Chelsea Manning

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.

21st online vigil for Julian Assange

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.”

On Roger Stone:

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.

Documents: Court Unseals Documents Regarding Chelsea Manning Subpoena

21 March 2019

Julian Assange has been short-listed for the Galizia Prize for the second year in a row

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.

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
Assange:

All media organizations and journalists must recognize the threat to their freedom and ability to work posed by the Trump Administration’s prosecution of Assange. They should join human rights organizations, the United Nations and many others in opposing Assange’s extradition. They should do so out of their own self-interest given that their ability to safely publish is under serious threat.

Read the PDF version here.

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.

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’

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:

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

At Michigan rally defending Assange and Manning, Andre Damon warned: “The White House wants to set a precedent for jailing whistleblowers and journalists who publish information critical of the military and state apparatus.”

Die Linke members of the Bundestag come out to oppose Friday’s jailing of Chelsea Manning:

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.

Press statement by Julian Assange’s defence:

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:

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12 March 2019

WikiLeaks’ editor Krisinn Hrafnsson:

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

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.”

George Galloway speaking at the Free Assange protest outside the Ecuadorian Embassy

Chris Marsden, national secretary of the UK Socialist Equality Party, addresses rally to defend Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

Free Assange rally in Melbourne

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.”

US Congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard wrote on Facebook and Twitter about the dangers to press freedom posed by the US government’s efforts to prosecut WikiLeaks:

If the government can change the designation of Wikileaks from being a news organization (Obama Administration’s designation of Wikileaks) to a ‘hostile intelligence service’ (Trump Administration’s designation), then any entity – online and offline – is in danger of being designated a hostile intelligence agency if they carry out investigative reporting that the US government or a particular administration considers to be hostile to itself. This will have a chilling effect on investigative reporting of powerful government agencies or officials, including the president, intelligence agencies, etc. This is a serious breach of our constitutional freedoms and every American – Democrat, Republican or Independent – must stand up against it.

Roger Waters posted a video (with transcript here) to Facebook to talk about demonstrations in support of Julian Assange and about Chelsea Manning’s arrest:

 

8 March 2019

Chelsea Manning sent to jail for refusing to testify in WikiLeaks grand jury investigation

Associated Press:

U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ordered Manning to jail for contempt of court on Friday after a brief hearing in which Manning confirmed she has no intention of testifying. She told the judge she “will accept whatever you bring upon me.”

Manning has said she objects to the secrecy of the grand jury process, and that she already revealed everything she knows at her court martial.

The judge said she will remain jailed until she testifies or until the grand jury concludes its work.

“In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles. I will exhaust every legal remedy available,” [Chelsea] said.

CNN:

“As everybody knows, Chelsea has tremendous courage. Our primary concern at this point is her health while she is confined and we will be paying close attention,” Manning’s attorney, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, told reporters outside a federal courthouse in Virginia.
Manning can be held for the term of the grand jury and not longer than 18 months, Meltzer-Cohen said. Asked if Manning was prepared to stay imprisoned for 18 months, Meltzer-Cohen said “we are not there yet.” Meltzer-Cohen added that it was “quite likely” they would appeal the order.
Kevin Gostzola for Shadowproof: ‘Defying grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning carries on tradition of resistance and goes to jail’
CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who served a prison sentence and supports Manning, said, “I have great admiration for what she did for the simple reason that she could have taken two other ways out. She could have testified or she could have gone before the grand jury and just answered each question with the words, ‘I don’t recall.’ But she didn’t do either one of those things. She cited her constitutional rights under the First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendments.”

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

Chelsea Manning lost her challenge to quash the subpoena requiring her to testify to the Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia in its case against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

Manning had attended an hour-long closed-door hearing, as did several federal prosecutors in the Assange case—including Tracy McCormick, Evan Turgeon, Gordon Kromberg and Kellen Dwyer. Although Manning didn’t mention either Assange or WikiLeaks by name, she did tell reporters that there had been “an awful lot of government attorneys” in the courtroom. And Manning was critical of grand juries, telling reporters, “Grand juries are terrible tools. The idea that there is an independent grand jury is long gone. It’s run by a prosecutor.”

Manning delivered a statement after the hearing:

More:


Reactions:


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.

MEPs should:

· Oppose Assange’s extradition to the US.

· Press the UK government to find the solution to this matter that already exists – to provide a diplomatic assurance against extradition to the US.

· Raise the vital issues at stake in this case in European parliamentary debates and processes

· Add their names to the MEPs letter to Guterres and May.

Full briefing here

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.

See video and the full transcript here.

3 March 2019

Rally in support of Julian Assange on March 3 in Sydney: pictures and videos

 

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:


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.”

Glenn Greenwald:

A closer look at the subpoena reveals specifics about the nature of the grand jury’s inquiry:

See the subpoena here

 

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:

Assange news:

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.”

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:

Further reactions to Cohen’s testimony:

 

Support for Assange in front of Ecuadorian Embassy

26 February 2019

Response from British MP Harriet Harman concerning UK position of Assange

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

Solidarity Vigil in London announced for March 10

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

Australia confirms Wikileaks’ Assange has valid passport

 

 

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

Julian Assange has had his Australian passport renewed

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.

#auspol as @theage and @smh confirmed tonight #Assange @wikileaks has his passport renewed. Australian authorities must assist their citizen.

— Greg Barns (@BarnsGreg) February 21, 2019

19 February 2019

Julian Assange has been nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize

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

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard defends WikiLeaks: It ‘spurred some necessary change’

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.

Read the full briefing here.

 

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?

Contributors included:

  • 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!!!

RESIST!!!!!!!!!

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

The ongoing solidarity vigil for Julian Assange continues at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London

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.

Australian diplomats visit Assange, told of ‘deteriorating health’

[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.”

See the full ruling here (PDF)

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

26 January 2019

Australian activists delivered “Free Julian Assange Petition Notice 29, to Prime Minister, Foreign Minister & all 226 politicians of the Australian Government”

WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson comments on the Stone indictment:

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.

Read the full release here

21 January 2019

Megan Georgina for DiEM25: ‘Our Whistleblowing Laws Must Change’

You can sign the petition initiated by DiEM25 to prevent the extradition of Julian Assange to the US here

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
diplomats [Spanish]

Vigil in support of Assange in London

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:

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:

Historian Mark Curtis discussed The Guardian’s Assange fabrication on RT’s Underground:

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

12 January 2019

Gordon Dimmack report: “Outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London Visit”

The government of Ecuador rejected information circulating on social networks about the deterioration of the health conditions of computer scientist Julian Assange.

11 January 2019

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia suggested that WikiLeaks
founder Julian Assange, should surrender to the UK authorities.

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

DiEM25 has launched a petition calling on governments of Ecuador and the UK to prevent the extradition of Julian Assange to the US. Sign the
petition here.

3 January 2019

An extended interview with John Pilger:

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

Ecuador to audit Julian Assange’s asylum and nationality

The news of Ecuador’s audit was broken by former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, himself charged by the new President Lenin Moreno:


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

President Trump’s Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Says Do Not Prosecute Julian Assange:

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

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
the case:

21 December 2018

UN to UK: let Assange leave safely

UN experts urge UK to honour rights obligations and let Mr. Julian Assange leave Ecuador embassy in London freely

“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 MPs were joined by John Shipton, Assange’s father:

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.”

Since 2006 [WikiLeaks have] been providing unfiltered windows into the violence of power, from Inside Somalia to the Iraq War Logs to the Saudi Cables and beyond.

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.”

Oscar Grenfell for WSWS on Assange’s hearing in Quito on Wednesday: ‘Julian Assange denounces his illegal detention in Ecuadorian embassy’

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

Further reporting from Sputnik on yesterday’s hearing over Julian Assange’s protection action:

Assange Suggests Facing Espionage in Ecuadorian Embassy in London

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.

Ecuador Can’t Guarantee UK Won’t Extradite Assange, Prosecutor General Says:

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.

The Guardians 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”

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:

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:

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Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth called on the Ecuador and UK to protect Assange against prosecution:

Pamela Anderson, recently in the news for her comments on the Paris protests, has written an open letter, “Free Speech and I,” for International Human Rights Day:

What Julian and WikiLeaks have had to endure is the biggest attack on free speech and constitutional rights in years and that’s just the beginning. Just wait: after WikiLeaks they will aim for other publishers like the NY Times, the Post….the list is endless.

Many international organizations have supported Julian and WikiLeaks and have called for their rights to be protected, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and more than 50 other freedom of expression organizations in the IFEX (International Freedom of Expression) network.

But this is not enough. Simply more must be done to free Julian and to protect free speech…and this will protect freedom for us all.

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:

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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.

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.

The Washington Times reports from today’s arguments in the hearing to unseal the Assange indictment: ‘Lawyers seeking access to sealed Julian Assange case argue DOJ lacks justification for secrecy’

Comedian Jimmy Dore rips The Guardian over fabricated front page story claiming “Secret Talks in Embassy” between Assange and Manafort

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

Caitlin Johnstone in Consortium News: The Guardian/Politico Psyop Against WikiLeaks

Solidarity vigil planned:

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”

Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept: “It Is Possible Paul Manafort Visited Julian Assange. If True,
There Should Be Ample Video and Other Evidence Showing This.”

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.

Reactions:

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:

Ron Paul says Julian Assange is “Perhaps The Greatest Journalist of Our Time”

19 November 2018

Jennifer Robinson, human rights lawyer representing Julian Assange, comments on the news of charges in an interview for MSNBC.

“Government’s contempt for a free press on display with Assange,” writes Bernard Keane for Crikey.

“If the U.S. government can prosecute the WikiLeaks editor for publishing classified material, then every media outlet is at risk,” writes Bradley P. Moss for the Atlantic.

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

US has charged Julian Assange: reactions and coverage

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

Christine Assange, Julian Assange’s mother, speaks about the increasingly dire circumstances which face her son

Vigils in support of Julian Assange in Ljubljana, Slovenia and Taipei, Taiwan

3 November 2018

Break-in attempt

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.’

Read more about the hearing, including background information and amicus filings to the court.

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

More coverage:

TeleSUR: Correa: Ecuador May Hand Over Assange to Washington Soon

Daily Mail: Ecuador’s former president says he thinks the country will hand Julian Assange over to America

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.”

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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:

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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.

Swiss court clears ex-banker Rudolf Elmer, who allegedly gave secrets to WikiLeaks.

7 October 2018

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia Amores reaffirms the country’s decision to grant asylum to Julian Assange.

Assange supporters celebrate Wikileaks 12 birthday in front of the Ecudorian Embassy in London

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.

Wikileaks celebrates 12th Anniversary

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:

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:

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:

Hands Off Assange Rally in San Francisco at the UK Consulate:

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:

Outside the Embassy in London:

Outside the Parliament House in Canberra, Australia:

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.

Los Angeles

New York City

Phoenix

Auckland

Wellington

Adelaide

Melbourne

Canberra

Ljubljana

Rio de Janiero

Toronto

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:

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.

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.

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.”

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.

English:

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Solitary confinement

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.

Add your name here!

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:

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.

Originally in Spanish, the exchange was translated here:

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

19 June 2018

Sixth anniversary rallies and media

Supporters rally in London for the 6th anniversary of Assange’s detention

Today marks six years since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, seeking asylum from US/UK persecution. Assange lawyer and Courage Trustee Renata Avila remarked on the anniversary:


Rallies for Assange are being held around the world

At the Embassy in London (livestream), Diem25 co-founder Srecko Horvat spoke about WikiLeaks’ importance:


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.

John Pilger and others speak at Australian rally

Courage trustee and investigative journalist John Pilger spoke at the Sydney Town Hall rally for Julian Assange. An abridged transcription of his talk, ‘Bring Julian Assange Home,’ can be found here.

Lawyers speak out for Assange’s rights

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about Julian’s case.

Julian Assange’s Lawyer on 6 Years of Arbitrary Detention

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:

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.

More support

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:


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.

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