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Thread: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

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    Avalon Member Satori's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

    Quote Posted by Tintin (here)
    Craig Murray, who knows a thing or a million about Julian's situation (which I have shared elsewhere on the forum in relevant threads) posted this in November 2016 on his blog. It's long and should probably be an isolated thread in this area so I'll only link the article for now, here: (his defence statement) https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archi...nce-statement/

    Julian is most definitely still in London and has been for really quite a while now. (I may well write to Craig and ask him to reaffirm that here, in writing, should there be any doubt at all. Or, I'll ring him, and share the audio, provided he's happy for me to do that.)

    Ref: my post here on this thread.

    Read it.

    Julian is not in Virginia. Total garbage.

    With respect, Tintin (short for 'Truth')

    Attachment 39538
    Indeed. He is in London. There is a report out today that JA's lawyers were denied access to him over the weekend. They had gone to the Ecuadorean embassy to meet with JA, the report says, to prepare him for a hearing to take place in Virginia on Tuesday, November 27th. So, it may be the case that there is a hearing. But, IF he is participating in any hearing, he is doing so remotely via phone, Skype or something of that nature.

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    Default Re: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

    Quote Posted by Satori (here)
    Quote Posted by Tintin (here)
    Craig Murray, who knows a thing or a million about Julian's situation (which I have shared elsewhere on the forum in relevant threads) posted this in November 2016 on his blog. It's long and should probably be an isolated thread in this area so I'll only link the article for now, here: (his defence statement) https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archi...nce-statement/

    Julian is most definitely still in London and has been for really quite a while now. (I may well write to Craig and ask him to reaffirm that here, in writing, should there be any doubt at all. Or, I'll ring him, and share the audio, provided he's happy for me to do that.)

    Ref: my post here on this thread.

    Read it.

    Julian is not in Virginia. Total garbage.

    With respect, Tintin (short for 'Truth')

    Attachment 39538
    Indeed. He is in London. There is a report out today that JA's lawyers were denied access to him over the weekend. They had gone to the Ecuadorean embassy to meet with JA, the report says, to prepare him for a hearing to take place in Virginia on Tuesday, November 27th. So, it may be the case that there is a hearing. But, IF he is participating in any hearing, he is doing so remotely via phone, Skype or something of that nature.
    Thank you.

    I've just sent Craig an email and hope that he may respond. I'm sure, if he does, that he may well confirm what you have shared here. Fingers crossed.
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    Default Re: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

    Quote Posted by Satori (here)
    Quote Posted by Tintin (here)
    Craig Murray, who knows a thing or a million about Julian's situation (which I have shared elsewhere on the forum in relevant threads) posted this in November 2016 on his blog. It's long and should probably be an isolated thread in this area so I'll only link the article for now, here: (his defence statement) https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archi...nce-statement/

    Julian is most definitely still in London and has been for really quite a while now. (I may well write to Craig and ask him to reaffirm that here, in writing, should there be any doubt at all. Or, I'll ring him, and share the audio, provided he's happy for me to do that.)

    Ref: my post here on this thread.

    Read it.

    Julian is not in Virginia. Total garbage.

    With respect, Tintin (short for 'Truth')

    Attachment 39538
    Indeed. He is in London. There is a report out today that JA's lawyers were denied access to him over the weekend. They had gone to the Ecuadorean embassy to meet with JA, the report says, to prepare him for a hearing to take place in Virginia on Tuesday, November 27th. So, it may be the case that there is a hearing. But, IF he is participating in any hearing, he is doing so remotely via phone, Skype or something of that nature.
    Yes, it’s a hearing in an attempt to restore his human rights after Ecuador’s new conditions.

    The following image was shared by unity4j via their Twitter account -



    Ecuador keeps denying access and lying about it.
    Never give up on your silly, silly dreams.

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    Default Re: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

    The article that is linked here:

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-...julian-assange

    has a link to the US Attorneys' motion to file under seal a criminal complaint against an entirely different person/defendant in an unrelated case.

    Having read the motion, I think i know what happened to cause the reference to Assange's pending criminal complaint.

    The lawyers got lazy. They took the motion to file under seal that they prepared and filed in the Assange case and used that motion as a template for the motion they filed in the other case. But, then they forgot to change any reference to the name "Assange" to the name of the defendant, one Kokayi, at issue in the case at hand.

    I see this in court filings when there is a lack of attention to detail.

    PS Another thing that may be worth noting is that, if I am correct, then there is no indictment against Assange. Rather there is a criminal complaint. I do not practice criminal law, but I recall from law school there are two ways to get a criminal case to court. One is by indictment through a grand jury and the return of a "true bill" and the other is by way of a criminal complaint prepared by the prosecutor. If the prosecutor goes the route of a criminal complaint, there is no grand jury involved and thus there is no indictment.

    Thus, as to Assange, if the US Attorney sought an order to seal the criminal complaint in Assange's case, there is no indictment against Assange--in Virginia at least. I can see the DOJ not going to a grand jury and seeking an indictment in Assange's case because of the "state secrets" at issue and the desire to keep the information under wraps.
    Last edited by Satori; 27th November 2018 at 23:02.

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    Default Re: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

    Each breath a gift...
    _____________

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    Default Re: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

    Charges in the US, trial by Media? | The Listening Post
    Al Jazeera English
    Published on Nov 24, 2018
    On The Listening Post this week: An apparent cut-paste error confirms a US indictment against Julian Assange. But have the media already found him guilty?

    Assange: Charges in the US, trial by the media?
    "Last week, in court papers filed in the US, in a case completely unrelated to Julian Assange, there was a paragraph confirming that a secret indictment has been filed against the Wikileaks founder. A supposed clerical error confirmed something that Assange had always feared, but that the US Department of Justice never admitted: it wants him in jail. It's been more than six years since Assange was granted asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

    An investigation into sexual assault-related allegations made by two women in Sweden has long since been dropped. However, British police say Assange will be arrested the moment he steps out of the embassy for breach of bail.

    Less than a decade ago, Assange had media outlets eating out of his hand and governments with secrets to hide on high alert. Now, he's at the mercy of an Ecuadorian government that's running out of patience and he may be running out of time."

    Contributors

    Eric Alterman - media columnist, The Nation
    Glenn Greenwald - cofounder, The Intercept
    James Ball - Author, 'WikiLeaks: News in the Networked Era' / Contributor, The Guardian
    Stefania Maurizi – investigative reporter, La Repubblica
    Each breath a gift...
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    Default Re: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

    Thanks Onawah.

    Interesting.

    Glenn Greenwald was the former Guardian journalist, who, along with Laura Poitras - PBS (and Ewan McCaskill, now resigned from the Guardian newspaper) helped break the Snowden revelations.

    I didn't know he was a co-founder of the Intercept although I know he quit (or was encouraged to leave) the Guardian in 2013.

    “If a man does not keep pace with [fall into line with] his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” - Thoreau

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    Default Re: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

    A heads up about the Intercept. CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou stated that two of their reporters blatantly blew his identity to the government. To hear his statement, start at the 6:11 mark of the video in THIS post.

    Quote Posted by Tintin (here)
    Thanks Onawah.

    Interesting.

    Glenn Greenwald was the former Guardian journalist, who, along with Laura Poitras - PBS (and Ewan McCaskill, now resigned from the Guardian newspaper) helped break the Snowden revelations.

    I didn't know he was a co-founder of the Intercept although I know he quit (or was encouraged to leave) the Guardian in 2013.

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    Default Re: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

    I take issue with a statement made in the article in post #26 on this thread. From what I've seen, it is not a "secret indictment" against Assange. It is a "criminal complaint." There's a difference. And, the criminal complaint is not secret in the sense that no one knows about it. The fact of the filing of the criminal complaint is known. The complaint is apparently sealed, which does make its content inaccessible to the public, and in all fairness makes it in some sense "secret", but for only so long as it is under seal.

    Sealing any public records, including court records, is the exception, not the rule and requires a court order which may be rescinded or changed at anytime. But undoubtly the Wikileaks/Assange matter would give a judge plenty of wiggle room to place the case into an exception and enter an order sealing the criminal complaint.

    Ps: For a much more accurate report on Assange and his legal issues see Rachel's post on the Current Wikileaks News & Releases thread at post #41. That report refers to charges under seal, not a secret indictment. Articles using the term secret indictment are in error or are intentionally misleading.
    Last edited by Satori; 28th November 2018 at 14:37.

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    Default Re: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

    From Jonathan Cook [November 28th] - see Hervé's link here as a companion post.

    ”I worked for the Guardian for a number of years, and know well the layers of checks that any highly sensitive story has to go through before publication. In that lengthy process, a variety of commissioning editors, lawyers, backbench editors and the editor herself, Kath Viner, would normally insist on cuts to anything that could not be rigorously defended and corroborated.”.


    "It appears the Guardian has simply taken this story, provided by spooks, at face value. Even if it later turns out that Manafort did visit Assange, the Guardian clearly had no compelling evidence for its claims when it published them. That is profoundly irresponsible journalism – fake news – that should be of the gravest concern to readers."


    ------------------------------------------------

    Guardian ups its vilification of Julian Assange
    28 November 2018

    Jonathan Cook

    It is welcome that finally there has been a little pushback, including from leading journalists, to the Guardian’s long-running vilification of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks.

    Reporter Luke Harding’s latest article, claiming that Donald Trump’s disgraced former campaign manager Paul Manafort secretly visited Assange in Ecuador’s embassy in London on three occasions, is so full of holes that even hardened opponents of Assange in the corporate media are struggling to stand by it.

    Faced with the backlash, the Guardian quickly – and very quietly – rowed back its initial certainty that its story was based on verified facts. Instead, it amended the text, without acknowledging it had done so, to attribute the claims to unnamed, and uncheckable, “sources”.

    The propaganda function of the piece is patent. It is intended to provide evidence for long-standing allegations that Assange conspired with Trump, and Trump’s supposed backers in the Kremlin, to damage Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race.

    The Guardian’s latest story provides a supposedly stronger foundation for an existing narrative: that Assange and Wikileaks knowingly published emails hacked by Russia from the Democratic party’s servers. In truth, there is no public evidence that the emails were hacked, or that Russia was involved.

    Central actors have suggested instead that the emails were leaked from within the Democratic party. [Listen to the Scott Horton interview, here on this post - Tintin Q]

    Nonetheless, this unverified allegation has been aggressively exploited by the Democratic leadership because it shifts attention away both from its failure to mount an effective electoral challenge to Trump and from the damaging contents of the emails. These show that party bureaucrats sought to rig the primaries to make sure Clinton’s challenger for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders, lost.

    To underscore the intended effect of the Guardian’s new claims, Harding even throws in a casual and unsubstantiated reference to “Russians” joining Manafort in supposedly meeting Assange.

    Manafort has denied the Guardian’s claims, while Assange has threatened to sue the Guardian for libel.

    ‘Responsible for Trump’
    The emotional impact of the Guardian story is to suggest that Assange is responsible for four years or more of Trump rule. But more significantly, it bolsters the otherwise risible claim that Assange is not a publisher – and thereby entitled to the protections of a free press, as enjoyed by the Guardian or the New York Times – but the head of an organisation engaged in espionage for a foreign power.

    The intention is to deeply discredit Assange, and by extension the Wikileaks organisation, in the eyes of right-thinking liberals. That, in turn, will make it much easier to silence Assange and the vital cause he represents: the use of new media to hold to account the old, corporate media and political elites through the imposition of far greater transparency.

    The Guardian story will prepare public opinion for the moment when Ecuador’s rightwing government under President Lenin Moreno forces Assange out of the embassy, having already withdrawn most of his rights to use digital media.
    It will soften opposition when the UK moves to arrest Assange on self-serving bail violation charges and extradites him to the US. And it will pave the way for the US legal system to lock Assange up for a very long time.

    For the best part of a decade, any claims by Assange’s supporters that avoiding this fate was the reason Assange originally sought asylum in the embassy was ridiculed by corporate journalists, not least at the Guardian.

    Even when a United Nations panel of experts in international law ruled in 2016 that Assange was being arbitrarily – and unlawfully – detained by the UK, Guardian writers led efforts to discredit the UN report.

    Now Assange and his supporters have been proved right once again. An administrative error this month revealed that the US justice department had secretly filed criminal charges against Assange.

    Heavy surveillance
    The problem for the Guardian, which should have been obvious to its editors from the outset, is that any visits by Manafort would be easily verifiable without relying on unnamed “sources”.

    Glenn Greenwald is far from alone in noting that London is possibly the most surveilled city in the world, with CCTV cameras everywhere. The environs of the Ecuadorian embassy are monitored especially heavily, with continuous filming by the UK and Ecuadorian authorities and most likely by the US and other actors with an interest in Assange’s fate.

    The idea that Manafort or “Russians” could have wandered into the embassy to meet Assange even once without their trail, entry and meeting being intimately scrutinised and recorded is simply preposterous.

    According to Greenwald:

    “If Paul Manafort … visited Assange at the Embassy, there would be ample amounts of video and other photographic proof demonstrating that this happened. The Guardian provides none of that.”

    Former British ambassador Craig Murray also points out the extensive security checks insisted on by the embassy to which any visitor to Assange must submit. Any visits by Manafort would have been logged.

    In fact, the Guardian obtained the embassy’s logs in May, and has never made any mention of either Manafort or “Russians” being identified in them. It did not refer to the logs in its latest story.

    Murray:

    "The problem with this latest fabrication is that [Ecuador’s President] Moreno had already released the visitor logs to the Mueller inquiry. Neither Manafort nor these “Russians” are in the visitor logs … What possible motive would the Ecuadorean government have for facilitating secret unrecorded visits by Paul Manafort? Furthermore it is impossible that the intelligence agency – who were in charge of the security – would not know the identity of these alleged “Russians”."


    No fact-checking
    It is worth noting it should be vitally important for a serious publication like the Guardian to ensure its claims are unassailably true – both because Assange’s personal fate rests on their veracity, and because, even more importantly, a fundamental right, the freedom of the press, is at stake.

    Given this, one would have expected the Guardian’s editors to have insisted on the most stringent checks imaginable before going to press with Harding’s story. At a very minimum, they should have sought out a response from Assange and Manafort before publication. Neither precaution was taken.

    I worked for the Guardian for a number of years, and know well the layers of checks that any highly sensitive story has to go through before publication. In that lengthy process, a variety of commissioning editors, lawyers, backbench editors and the editor herself, Kath Viner, would normally insist on cuts to anything that could not be rigorously defended and corroborated.

    And yet this piece seems to have been casually waved through, given a green light even though its profound shortcomings were evident to a range of well-placed analysts and journalists from the outset.

    That at the very least hints that the Guardian thought they had “insurance” on this story. And the only people who could have promised that kind of insurance are the security and intelligence services – presumably of Britain, the United States and / or Ecuador.

    It appears the Guardian has simply taken this story, provided by spooks, at face value. Even if it later turns out that Manafort did visit Assange, the Guardian clearly had no compelling evidence for its claims when it published them. That is profoundly irresponsible journalism – fake news – that should be of the gravest concern to readers.

    A pattern, not an aberration
    Despite all this, even analysts critical of the Guardian’s behaviour have shown a glaring failure to understand that its latest coverage represents not an aberration by the paper but decisively fits with a pattern.

    Glenn Greenwald, who once had an influential column in the Guardian until an apparent, though unacknowledged, falling out with his employer over the Edward Snowden revelations, wrote a series of baffling observations about the Guardian’s latest story.

    Click image for larger version

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    Deeper malaise
    What this misses is that the Guardian’s attacks on Assange are not exceptional or motivated solely by personal animosity. They are entirely predictable and systematic. Rather than being the reason for the Guardian violating basic journalistic standards and ethics, the paper’s hatred of Assange is a symptom of a deeper malaise in the Guardian and the wider corporate media.

    Even aside from its decade-long campaign against Assange, the Guardian is far from “solid and reliable”, as Greenwald claims. It has been at the forefront of the relentless, and unhinged, attacks on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for prioritising the rights of Palestinians over Israel’s right to continue its belligerent occupation.

    Over the past three years, the Guardian has injected credibility into the Israel lobby’s desperate efforts to tar Corbyn as an anti-semite.

    Similarly, the Guardian worked tirelessly to promote Clinton and undermine Sanders in the 2016 Democratic nomination process – another reason the paper has been so assiduous in promoting the idea that Assange, aided by Russia, was determined to promote Trump over Clinton for the presidency.

    The Guardian’s coverage of Latin America, especially of populist leftwing governments that have rebelled against traditional and oppressive US hegemony in the region, has long grated with analysts and experts. Its especial venom has been reserved for leftwing figures like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, democratically elected but official enemies of the US, rather than the region’s rightwing authoritarians beloved of Washington.

    The Guardian has been vocal in the so-called “fake news” hysteria, decrying the influence of social media, the only place where leftwing dissidents have managed to find a small foothold to promote their politics and counter the corporate media narrative.

    The Guardian has painted social media chiefly as a platform overrun by Russian trolls, arguing that this should justify ever-tighter restrictions that have so far curbed critical voices of the dissident left more than the right.

    Heroes of the neoliberal order
    Equally, the Guardian has made clear who its true heroes are. Certainly not Corbyn or Assange, who threaten to disrupt the entrenched neoliberal order that is hurtling us towards climate breakdown and economic collapse.

    Its pages, however, are readily available to the latest effort to prop up the status quo from Tony Blair, the man who led Britain, on false pretences, into the largest crime against humanity in living memory – the attack on Iraq.

    That “humanitarian intervention” cost the lives of many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and created a vacuum that destabilised much of the Middle East, sucked in Islamic jihadists like al-Qaeda and ISIS, and contributed to the migrant crisis in Europe that has fuelled the resurgence of the far-right. None of that is discussed in the Guardian or considered grounds for disqualifying Blair as an arbiter of what is good for Britain and the world’s future.

    The Guardian also has an especial soft spot for blogger Elliot Higgins, who, aided by the Guardian, has shot to unlikely prominence as a self-styled “weapons expert”. Like Luke Harding, Higgins invariably seems ready to echo whatever the British and American security services need verifying “independently”.

    Higgins and his well-staffed website Bellingcat have taken on for themselves the role of arbiters of truth on many foreign affairs issues, taking a prominent role in advocating for narratives that promote US and NATO hegemony while demonising Russia, especially in highly contested arenas such as Syria.

    That clear partisanship should be no surprise, given that Higgins now enjoys an “academic” position at, and funding from, the Atlantic Council, a high-level, Washington-based think-tank founded to drum up support for NATO and justify its imperialist agenda.

    Improbably, the Guardian has adopted Higgins as the poster-boy for a supposed citizen journalism it has sought to undermine as “fake news” whenever it occurs on social media without the endorsement of state-backed organisations.

    The truth is that the Guardian has not erred in this latest story attacking Assange, or in its much longer-running campaign to vilify him. With this story, it has done what it regularly does when supposedly vital western foreign policy interests are at stake – it simply regurgitates an elite-serving, western narrative.

    Its job is to shore up a consensus on the left for attacks on leading threats to the existing, neoliberal order: whether they are a platform like Wikileaks promoting whistle-blowing against a corrupt western elite; or a politician like Jeremy Corbyn seeking to break apart the status quo on the rapacious financial industries or Israel-Palestine; or a radical leader like Hugo Chavez who threatened to overturn a damaging and exploitative US dominance of “America’s backyard”; or social media dissidents who have started to chip away at the elite-friendly narratives of corporate media, including the Guardian.

    The Guardian did not make a mistake in vilifying Assange without a shred of evidence. It did what it is designed to do.
    Last edited by Tintin; 4th December 2018 at 01:21.
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    Default Re: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

    From the article Tintin posted (post #30) -

    Quote But more significantly, it bolsters the otherwise risible claim that Assange is not a publisher – and thereby entitled to the protections of a free press, as enjoyed by the Guardian or the New York Times – but the head of an organisation engaged in espionage for a foreign power.
    Geez, they’re really reaching.

    I wonder if they really do intend to indict Assange or if that’s just to add more pressure and mess with his head more, since it’s not worth the risk of finding out for sure? Wouldn’t they have to prove WikiLeaks is a foreign intelligence operation, and wouldn’t that mean that WikiLeaks would be forced to reveal their source under oath, which would destroy their whole case and their Russia narrative? And if it was Seth Rich, that’d open another whole can of worms, since he was murdered?

    I wonder what I’m missing here, since if that was so, Assange could leave the embassy and he clearly definitely doesn’t want to.
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    Default Re: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

    Quote Posted by Rachel (here)
    From the article Tintin posted (post #30) -

    Quote But more significantly, it bolsters the otherwise risible claim that Assange is not a publisher – and thereby entitled to the protections of a free press, as enjoyed by the Guardian or the New York Times – but the head of an organisation engaged in espionage for a foreign power.
    Geez, they’re really reaching.

    I wonder if they really do intend to indict Assange or if that’s just to add more pressure and mess with his head more, since it’s not worth the risk of finding out for sure? Wouldn’t they have to prove WikiLeaks is a foreign intelligence operation, and wouldn’t that mean that WikiLeaks would be forced to reveal their source under oath, which would destroy their whole case and their Russia narrative? And if it was Seth Rich, that’d open another whole can of worms, since he was murdered?

    I wonder what I’m missing here, since if that was so, Assange could leave the embassy and he clearly definitely doesn’t want to.
    Another thing that has me wondering. Back when they were working on getting Chelsea Manning out, Assange offered himself as a trade and then when Obama pardoned Manning Assange offered to still be extradited as long as he got a fair trial. What’s changed? Can they lock him up without a trial or something along those lines now? Has Assange been told he’d never make it to trial, perhaps that they’d kill him once they got their hands on him (after they tortured him get the security file PW and anyone else who may have it etc.)?

    It’s just not quite adding up for me and I’m starting to think I’ve missed or forgotten something crucial.

    P.S. I get that he won’t get a fair trial, and hang axes over the heads of enough people and they may even get Assange to say what they want, but they’d have to get him to not present any defence for it to work, which his colleagues, friends, and supporters will never buy, and in that case the password for the security file would be released.
    Last edited by Innocent Warrior; 4th December 2018 at 05:21. Reason: Added text, clarified.
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    Default Re: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

    From https://infowars.com/watch/?video=5c...f242100523ea32

    * If that won't load or play, just click here for the MP4:
    Assange Insider: Julian Is Isolated In Deep State Supermax Prison

    Julian Assange is still living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, but he is also under extreme surveillance regarding who he communicates with. Cassandra Fairbanks joins Alex to discuss the future for Assange, WikiLeaks, and freedom of the press.

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    Default Re: Is This a Real Turning Point For Julian Assange?

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    Article link: https://www.mintpressnews.com/whats-...ssport/255809/

    What's Behind Australia’s Decision to Suddenly Grant Julian Assange a Passport?

    The real question here is why the Australian government is playing nice by issuing Assange a passport since it has refused to acknowledge evidence of a sealed indictment or provide him with any sort of substantial assistance to get him home in the last eight-plus years.

    CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (March 2nd, 2019) — On February 21, 2019, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued Julian Assange a new passport despite the fact that DFAT officials had reservations about doing so. According to the article, last year officials stated that Assange’s “entitlement to a passport” might be affected by “an arrest warrant in connection with a ‘serious foreign offence’ within the meaning of Section 13 of the Australian Passports Act 2005.”

    Section 13 of the Australian Passports Act states that an application may be rejected if the applicant is subject to an arrest warrant for a serious foreign offense, is restricted from traveling because of a serious foreign offense, or if the issuance of a passport would compromise proceedings connected with a serious foreign offense.

    However, it would be extraordinary if the Australian government’s reservations last year had anything to do with a U.S. indictment or charges against Assange, some of which may include charges under the Espionage Act, since it not only went ahead and issued the passport but as recently as last week maintained that there is no evidence of any U.S. charges against Assange.

    In fact, parliamentary documents dating back to 2010 reveal not only that the government rarely takes seriously evidence in Assange’s case, but also that it has embraced an entirely passive role in helping to secure his freedom, despite the fact that it has used government pressure and diplomatic power to help free other Australian citizens detained in foreign states.

    Transcripts from Parliament also reveal a long-standing pattern when it comes to how the Australian government typically responds to anything Assange-related: “There is no evidence of charges or a sealed indictment against him;” and “We are not able to interfere in the legal processes of any foreign government,” are two sentences from the Australian government we should probably get used to.

    This stance has been adhered to despite the fact that there is evidence of charges (evidence is different from proof); Assange has been arbitrarily detained since 2010 and imprisoned in London since 2012; political figures have publicly called for his assassination; the U.K. threatened to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy where Assange sought asylum; the UN has ruled twice that he’s being arbitrarily detained; and he’s been established both legally and professionally as a journalist.

    With that said, the real question here is why the Australian government is playing nice by issuing Assange a passport yet it has refused to acknowledge evidence of a sealed indictment against him or provide him with any sort of substantial assistance to get him home in the last eight-plus years.

    “Whole-of-government” WikiLeaks Task Force
    Australia’s abysmal record on supporting Australian journalist and publisher, Julian Assange, became clear in late 2010, when WikiLeaks published Cablegate — a collection of U.S. diplomatic cables that in its entirety spans over 35 years and includes over 270 U.S. embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions around the world. At the time, the Australian government established a “whole-of-government” WikiLeaks task force similar in nature to the 2010 U.S. WikiLeaks Task Force (WTF) that was created to “make an inventory of the leaked cables” and to report on their impact.

    The Australian task force was established by then Attorney-General Robert McClelland at the behest of the Department of the Prime Minister Cabinet, who then became the chair of the group. Other agencies involved included the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Defence, Office of National Assessments, and the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Their job was to closely monitor future Cablegate publications while the AFP was tasked with determining if Assange had broken any laws.

    In the meantime, the Australian government contemplated canceling Assange’s passport while then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard publicly decried the publication as a “grossly irresponsible thing to do and an illegal thing to do,” despite the fact that the AFP had not concluded its investigation nor had she been briefed on any alleged illegalities. On December 17, 2010, the AFP concluded that it could not “identify any criminal offence where Australia would have jurisdiction.”

    Undeterred by the AFP’s findings and uninterested in protecting an Australian citizen, two months later former Senator and current Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom George Brandis asked former AFP Commissioner Tony Negus if the AFP had looked into Assange’s “personal involvement” in the “solicitation of the cables or the posting of the cables.”

    Brandis’ question, whether purposely or not, served as a U.S.-government talking point that Assange was directly involved with the procurement of documents that Chelsea Manning allegedly leaked to WikiLeaks — propaganda that seems to have originated publicly with the now-deceased hacker and FBI snitch Adrian Lamo and Wired journalist Kevin Poulsen, and that may be one of the charges used against Assange.

    This stance has been adhered to despite the fact that there is evidence of charges (evidence is different from proof); Assange has been arbitrarily detained since 2010 and imprisoned in London since 2012; political figures have publicly called for his assassination; the U.K. threatened to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy where Assange sought asylum; the UN has ruled twice that he’s being arbitrarily detained; and he’s been established both legally and professionally as a journalist.

    With that said, the real question here is why the Australian government is playing nice by issuing Assange a passport yet it has refused to acknowledge evidence of a sealed indictment against him or provide him with any sort of substantial assistance to get him home in the last eight-plus years.

    Death threats and calls for assassination
    After publishing five major publications during 2010, including a U.S. Intelligence report on WikiLeaks, Collateral Murder, the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, and Cablegate, Assange had made some powerful enemies, but even political figures calling his assassination didn’t rouse the Australian government’s interest. After being questioned about comments — made by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and the former senior advisor to the Canadian prime minister, Tom Flanagan — that Assange should be “hunted down” and assassinated, then-Minister of Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd essentially responded that any threats that had occurred should be referred to the United States and Canada.

    In the Senate, former Senator Scott Ludlam who fought tirelessly for Assange over the years, tried to address the threats Assange was facing on several occasions, including the possibility of being “transferred without any due process,” also known as “temporary surrender.” During a May 2012 Senate hearing, Ludlam asked the AFP if it would get involved in any situation in which an Australian citizen was being threatened with assassination or extrajudicial killing overseas, to which AFP Commissioner Negus admitted that AFP would need a referral from the Minister of Foreign Affairs — a referral that never came despite “repeated threats of assassination by senior American military officials and civilian political figures.”

    And when then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard was confronted with a question about “senior figures in the United States” calling for Assange’s assassination, Gillard effectively ignored the question and responded with the government’s usual rhetoric, “The Australian government cannot interfere in the judicial processes of other countries,” as if death threats fell under this category.

    Stratfor and the sealed indictment
    On February 27, 2012, WikiLeaks started publishing over five million leaked emails from Stratfor, a private global intelligence firm located in Texas, called The Global Intelligence Files. One email in particular, written by Stratfor’s Chief Security Officer Fred Burton, stood out: “Not for Pub — We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect.”

    Although Burton’s statement looks like a slam dunk on whether or not evidence exists that the U.S. has charged Assange, the Australian government doesn’t see it that way, nor has it ever.

    Two days after WikiLeaks started publishing The Global Intelligence Files, Ludlam asked then-Senator Chris Evans, “How long has the prime minister known of the existence of this sealed indictment?” to which Evans responded, “The Australian government is not aware of any charges by the U.S. government against Mr. Assange.” Ludlam later retorted:

    "So, even though some ex-State Department guy in Texas running a little intelligence organisation apparently knows…the Australian government apparently does not.”


    Three months later, Ludlam addressed the Stratfor email with former Senator Bob Carr, who had recently become Minister for Foreign Affairs:

    Ludlam: “What can you tell us about the existence or otherwise of a sealed indictment issued by the United States Department of Justice, which would presumably come with an extradition order back to the United States?”

    Carr: “We have seen no evidence that such a sealed indictment exists.”

    Ludlam: “Have you sought such evidence?”

    Carr: “We have not sought evidence.”


    Documents released under a FOIA request show that in mid-2012, then-Minister for Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd acknowledged that a secret grand jury had been impanelled in the Eastern District of Virginia, stating: “I understand that grand juries can issue indictments under seal, and that theoretically one could already have been issued for Mr. Assange.”

    And yet a year later the Sydney Morning Herald reported that, when asked about the Australian government’s interest in whether or not there was still an ongoing U.S. grand jury investigation into Julian Assange and WikiLeaks’ activities, Carr responded that “no further inquiries would be made because it doesn’t affect Australian interest.” In an even more dismal display of non-support of an Australian citizen, he added that he wasn’t going to allocate any resources to it.

    Julian Assange is a journalist
    The day after the Stratfor release, Ludlam also moved for the Senate to recognize Assange as a journalist. But, despite his best efforts, to this day the Australian government refuses to do so regardless of Assange’s history: Assange was awarded The Economist New Media Award in 2008, the Amnesty International U.K. Media Award in 2009, and the Sam Adams Award, Le Monde Readers’ Choice Award for Person of the Year, and TIME Person of the Year in 2010.

    He was also granted the Sydney Peace Foundation Gold Medal, the Australian Walkley Award, the Martha Gellhorn prize for journalism, the Italian International Piero Passetti Journalism Prize of the National Union of Italian Journalists, and the Spanish Jose Couso Press Freedom of Expression Award in 2011. Recently, he was nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.

    But most importantly, on November 2, 2011, the Queen’s Bench Division of the British High Court recognized Assange as a journalist, as did a London tribunal during a FOIA case filed by journalist Stefania Maurizi. The tribunal also recognized WikiLeaks as a media organization.

    The storming of the embassy
    A few months after the Stratfor release, Assange lost his Supreme Court extradition appeal and immediately sought asylum from Ecuador. He entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on June 19, 2012, and, just one day before Ecuador was to publicly announce its decision to grant Assange asylum, things came to a boil. The U.K. threatened to storm the embassy.

    Ecuador denounced the threats as “political suicide;” the MSM called the U.K.’s reckless move “unprecedented;” and WikiLeaks stated that it condemned “in the strongest possible terms the U.K.’s resort to intimidation.” But, despite the backlash, the U.K. defended its actions by resurrecting a 1987 British law about “revocation of diplomatic status of a building,” and reinforced its security detail around the embassy.

    Former Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino stated that any move to assault the embassy would be a “flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention,” and the Australian attorney general at the time, Nicola Roxon, commented that the DFAT’s consular services were limited but that she had an “absolute interest in the case.” Parliament was another story.

    Ludlam addressed the Senate during the height of the crisis:

    "My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr. Minister, in response to several carloads of metropolitan police entering the building that houses the Ecuadorian Embassy in the middle of the night London time, cordoning off the street and threatening to break the door down and threatening to rezone the embassy, have you or the High Commissioner in London made representations to the United Kingdom to not violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations by entering the premises of the Ecuadorian embassy without the consent of the head of mission?”


    Carr responded:

    "Australia, of course, is not a party to this decision. It is a matter between Mr. Assange and the governments of Ecuador and the United Kingdom…[the] Australian government cannot intervene in the U.K. legal process.”


    First, the U.K.’s decision to storm a foreign country’s embassy makes everyone who’s party to the Vienna Convention party to the U.K.’s decision to violate that convention. The U.K.’s threats were not just a danger to Assange but, had they actually followed through with their threat, it would have been a serious violation of international law. Any state that is part of the Vienna Convention should have been concerned, including Australia. The fact that the Minister of Foreign Affairs wasn’t put off at all by these events speaks volumes about the political nature of Assange’s case.

    The UN Working Group’s decision
    The Australian government has stated on numerous occasions that it has reached out to foreign governments about Assange’s case but Parliament hearings and media reports tend to reflect that this generally means reiterating his right to due process, nothing more. Additionally, it’s questionable how much time the government spends doing that.

    For instance, during a February 11, 2016 Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee hearing, then-DFAT’s First Assistant Secretary, Consular and Crisis Management Division, Jon Philp, admitted that the government had not been in contact with Swedish authorities since December 2011. That’s a more-than-five-year period during which Sweden dragged out its investigation by refusing to interview Assange in London, while Australia appears to have done literally nothing diplomatically in terms of the Swedish investigation.

    Furthermore, when confronted with a 2015 report from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that stated Assange was (and still is) being arbitrarily detained, then-Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Varghese both declared that the decision was not legally binding and then admitted that the Australian government had made no “representations at all of any kind,” to Swedish or U.K. officials in terms of the ruling.

    On May 31, 2017, Ludlam brought up the UN Working Group’s decision in front of the Senate committee, this time with regards to its subsequent 2016 finding that Assange was being arbitrarily detained and again Jon Philp — as well as former Senator George Brandis, who had become the attorney general by that time — maintained that the decision was not legally binding.

    Ludlam responded: “That is remarkable. It is basically an entirely selective interpretation and selective respect and regard for important UN working groups.”

    And although Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has been given credit for Assange’s new passport, on February 6, 2016, the day after the Working Group’s decision was released, Bishop released a statement confirming that she had read the report and was “seeking legal advice on its implications for Mr. Assange, as an Australian citizen.” However, a response to a FOIA request revealed that four days later both Jon Philp and the then-director of the Australian Passports Office advised the foreign minister on the UN decision:

    "We recommend we not seek to ‘resolve’ Mr. Assange’s case following the WGAD opinion, as we are unable to intervene in the due process of another country’s court proceedings or legal matters, and we have full confidence in the UK and Swedish judicial system.”


    The FOIA documents also revealed that Bishop stated: “The U.K. and Sweden have rejected the WGAD opinion and, like Australia, do not recognise the opinion of the UN working groups as legally binding.” It would be another two and half years before Assange would be granted a new passport.

    In 2016, Assange argued that the UN Working Group’s decisions were indeed legally binding, stating that they are “an opinio juris, which is higher in the hierarchy of international norms,” and that they are “part of the founding basis of the United Nations which the U.K. and Sweden are part of.” After former U.K. Foreign Minister Philip Hammond called the decision “ridiculous,” Assange shot back that the “lawfulness of my detention or otherwise is now a matter of settled law, adding:

    "They cannot now seek to object to the findings of a process which they themselves were involved in for 16 months. A jurisdiction which they submitted to, recognized, and, in part, founded together with their early involvement in the United Nations.”

    "You can’t decide that you are going to recognize a forum, take place in proceedings, respond to the other party, and then at the end when you don’t like the outcome because you have been breaking the law and you don’t even bother to appeal, come out with press statements and say, ‘Well, we disagree,’ or engage in purely superfluous ad hominem attacks like saying that a finding is ‘ridiculous.’”


    But object is exactly what everyone did. On June 19, 2017, Bishop reiterated that the decision wasn’t legally binding and pointed out that it was directed at the U.K. and Sweden, not Australia. She went on to say that Assange had avoided “lawful arrest” by remaining in the embassy and that the government cannot “intervene in the legal processes of another country.” But that’s exactly what Julie Bishop did with a another case.

    Peter Greste
    Peter Greste is an Australian journalist who was arrested by Egyptian authorities in 2013 and then charged and sentenced to seven years in prison on terrorism-related charges (in this case, reporting). At the time of Greste’s arrest, Julie Bishop indulged the public with the government’s usual rhetoric, “It is not possible for another nation to interfere in the criminal proceedings of another country.” However, she added, “we will continue to press our position that he should be given conditional release while we consider what more we can do to seek his release overall,” despite the fact of an ongoing court case. There’s more.

    In a 2015 sit-down aired by ABC News between Bishop and Greste after his early release, Bishop told him that the Australian government made “representations to the Egyptian authorities” that their retrial of Greste “should not have gone ahead.” Bishop also stated:

    "I spoke to [Egyptian] Foreign Minister [Sameh] Shoukry on July 16 and set out quite plainly Australia’s position, that we wanted you to be able to clear your name, that we would not accept the verdict as being evidence of your guilt, and that it would have ramifications for the relationship and for Egypt’s reputation more generally.”


    “[R]amifications for the relationship and for Egypt’s reputation more generally.” It appears that Australia absolutely interfered in the legal process of a foreign state by pressuring or, rather, threatening Egypt with ramifications. Not only that, Bishop went on to say that the Australian government put forth a “concerted campaign of advocacy” involving “high-level diplomatic contacts with the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and countries in the Middle East.”

    In a 2014 hearing, former Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne stated:

    "It is well worth nothing that this is also about the safety of journalists and a free and fair press. Mr. Greste has worked for Reuters, for CNN, for the BBC; he is a well-known, respected journalist accused of very serious crimes. I do not want to see a situation — as occurred previously with Colin Russell — where there is not the level of political engagement that is necessary.

    I call on the prime minister to intervene in the case of Peter Greste as soon as he possibly can, because the charges that Peter Greste now faces are serious…I believe he was doing his job as a journalist and we should support him in what he was doing. As an Australian citizen, we should stand up for him.”


    Note that there is no mention of Julian Assange. And this from Senator Mitch Fifield:

    "The Australian government is deeply concerned about the ongoing detention of Mr. Peter Greste by Egyptian authorities. Mr. Greste was detained, along with his colleagues, during the normal course of his work as a journalist.

    Journalists have a legitimate role to play in any democracy…The Minister for Foreign Affairs has raised Mr. Greste’s case directly with Egypt’s foreign minister and the Egyptian ambassador to Australia, and will continue to do so.”


    Again, former Senator Milne:

    "I believe they [consular staff] are doing everything they possibly can to serve the best interests of Peter Greste and everything they can to argue for his release. But this is not about the consular staff; this is about where the politics takes it.

    The Prime Minister needs to reassure Peter Greste’s family that, at the highest levels of this government, as well as through the Parliament, everybody stands behind Peter Greste and that we are all doing all we can to get Peter Greste home as quickly as possible.”


    Former Senator Jane Prentice even noted that the Australian government had created a “multi-pronged strategy” to assist Greste, which included “making direct and high-level representation to a number of other governments.”

    And after Greste was convicted by an Egyptian court and sentenced, then-attorney general for Australia, George Brandis, stated: “The government will be lodging a formal request imminently with President el-Sisi, seeking his intervention in the matter.”

    If that isn’t interference in a legal process, I don’t know what is. And this case is a perfect example of why the Australian government refuses to recognize Assange as a journalist.

    The passport
    Despite any reservations the Australian government may have had about issuing Assange a new passport, those concerns appear to have absolutely nothing to do with any charges filed by the United States or issued by a U.S. grand jury. In a more recent hearing on October 25, 2018, DFAT Chief Legal Officer James Larsen confirmed that Assange had been issued a passport. At the same time, DFAT First Assistant Secretary, Consular and Crisis Management Division, Andrew Todd argued that Assange should hand himself over to U.K. authorities, despite being reminded that the potential exists for Assange to be extradited.

    The same message permeated throughout a Senate hearing just last week where Larsen, Todd, and former Minister of Defence, Senator Marise Ann Payne, who is currently serving as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, argued that Assange is not being arbitrarily detained; he can leave the embassy whenever he wants (and that he should leave); they are not aware of any U.S. charges against him; and that they are in no position to interfere in his legal matters. So, despite being fully aware that Assange will likely be extradited to the U.S. to face the Trump administration’s persecution of journalists and America’s long-reaching arm of the law, his home country is essentially pushing for that very outcome.

    Furthermore, during the October 25th hearing, Todd admitted that he wasn’t aware of “any discussion about a pathway” to bring Assange home; and just last week, Larsen couldn’t answer whether or not the government had sought assurances that an extradition notice doesn’t exist. It’s not surprising that the Australian government doesn’t want to show its hand but, despite its best efforts, WikiLeaks has been happy to do it for them.

    In a December 1, 2010 Stratfor email released by WikiLeaks, Stratfor employee Lena Bell wrote:

    "Basic fact is that any move to arrest the guy (assuming they get an indictment for him) would require that a friendly government do it and then extradite him. Nick Miller told me the Australians have already offered to do this, as Assange is an Australian citizen, and Australia is the Canada of the southern hemisphere when it comes to its relations with the U.S.”


    If this information is true, it shows that after the AFP had already found that Assange had broken no laws, the Australian government was willing to conjure up charges in order to hand him over to the United States.

    Just yesterday The New York Times reported that Chelsea Manning has received a subpoena to testify before a grand jury. Although they reported that it’s unknown what prosecutors want to ask her, the subpoena was issued in the Eastern District of Virginia — the same district where a secret grand jury allegedly issued a sealed indictment for Assange, as well as where a cut-and-paste error last year inadvertently revealed Assange’s name in filed court documents, setting off alarm bells that indeed the U.S. had secretly charged the Australian journalist and publisher.

    According to the Times article, “there are multiple reasons to believe that the subpoena is related to the investigation of Mr. Assange,” and there have been indications prosecutors want to talk to her about pertinent past statements that Manning has made. Additionally, according to Julian Assange’s 2013 affidavit, the case number on Manning’s subpoena, “10GJ3793,” matches the grand jury’s case number in the Eastern District of Virginia. More documents on the case can be found through web.archive.org.

    It seems likely that the Trump administration is reexamining options to charge Assange for allegedly taking an active role in helping Manning procure documents that she then leaked to WikiLeaks.

    So, with Australia’s long-standing history of denying any evidence that suggests the U.S. has charged their own citizen; taking a backseat to historical attacks against a journalist; encouraging their own citizen to risk extradition to the United States; failing to do all that it can to help Assange get home; and engaging in standardized rhetoric while taking a passive stance in Assange’s case, in order to remain in the employ of the United States — one has to wonder why Australia reissued Assange a passport and whether it’s really safe for him to go home at all.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    jimmysllama is an independent researcher and writer who provides balanced, critical analysis with a focus on the Boston bombings, Magnitsky Act, and WikiLeaks. She is currently trying to stay warm in the Midwest. You can read more of her work at jimmysllama.com and find her on Twitter at @jimmysllama.
    Last edited by Tintin; 5th March 2019 at 13:57.
    “If a man does not keep pace with [fall into line with] his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” - Thoreau

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