On Thursday, the US Department of Justice announced 17 additional charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange who is currently serving a 50 week sentence in London for bail jumping after he was removed from the Ecuadoran embassy. After his arrest last month, Assange was charged with attempting to hack the Pentagon computer system. These new …
Tag: Julian Assange
May 24 2019
Apr 21 2019
Is journalism at risk or is it personal? Plus, the Polish priest whose mini media empire packs a political punch. Assange: Within Washington’s grasp? When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was forced out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London last week, the debates that appeared on the airwaves, online and in print went to the core …
Nov 27 2018
What is it with these Trump characters? They don’t seem to be able to stop lying even after they’ve been cornered and confronted with the facts. It has to be pathological because it certainly isn’t for self preservation. As ek hornbeck wrote earlier, yesterday it was reported that Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort lied …
Nov 14 2017
Yesterday in The Atlantic, Julia Ioffe discussed the private messages that were exchange between Donald Trump Jr. and the head of Wikileaks, Julian Assange that started during the campaign last Summer and continued until this past July. The messages, which The Atlantic obtained, were turned over to Congress as part its investigation into Russian interference …
Oct 04 2016
I suspect much of the right wing word and the #NeverHillary haters stayed up a dn stayed tune to the internet last last night to hear Wkikleaks founder Julian Assange’s big October Surprise. It was announced yesterday the Assange would reveal to the world information that would destroy Hillary Clinton and her bid for the …
May 31 2015
The migration of refugees from conflict torn Libya has become a huge humanitarian crisis for European nations, especially Italy. But the solution to stemming the tide of thousands fleeing the region by vessels used by human traffickers isn’t the way.
EU ministers have agreed to launch a sea and air mission that could in its later phases destroy vessels used by human traffickers, which have carried an estimated 1,800 migrants to their deaths in the Mediterranean this year.
An intelligence-gathering operation will herald the mission’s first phase, with the UK expected to offer drones and surveillance equipment as a partial riposte to calls for it to take in more refugees.
In later phases, hostile vessels suspected of harbouring migrants could be boarded, searched, seized or disposed of in Libyan territory or international waters – as long as a chapter 7 UN resolution to authorise the use of force to do so is obtained first. [..]
The mission’s rules of engagement have still to be thrashed out and one diplomat described the deployment of such forces as “the next step in terms of operational details”. The level of collateral damage considered acceptable would also be discussed after the mission was up and running, he said.
The operation will have its headquarters in Rome and be run by an Italian rear admiral, Enrico Credendino, with an initial year-long mandate.
Concerns about the militarisation of the migrants issue will probably be raised at the UN, though, with Libya already describing the mission as very worrying, citing concerns over its potential to mistakenly target fishermen’s boats.
Refugee rights groups fear that bombing the escape routes of people fleeing for their lives from Syria, Eritrea and west Africa – where most migrants begin their journeys – will simply lead to more deaths, away from the public spotlight.
During his interview with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman in London’s Ecuadoran Embassy, Wikileaks’ founder Julina Assange revealed that Wikileaks has released documents that detail the EU plans for the military intervention against “refugee boats” in Libya and the Mediterranean
Today, WikiLeaks is releasing two classified EU documents, outlining the planned military intervention against boats travelling from Libya to Italy. The more significant of the two documents was written by the combined military defence chiefs of the EU member states. The plan was formally approved by representatives from all 28 countries on 18 May 2015.
Importantly, one of the documents acknowledges that “the political End State [of the military intervention] is not clearly defined” and recommends that the European Commission issue further guidance.
The documents lay out a military operation against cross-Mediterranean refugee transport networks and infrastructure. It details plans to conduct military operations to destroy boats used for transporting migrants and refugees in Libyan territory, thereby preventing them from reaching Europe. The EU member states’ military chiefs advice is that there is a need to:
“[draw] on the full range of surveillance, intelligence and information capabilities available to MS [member states] and Partners, and supported by Brussels (inter alia EEAS [European External Action Service] Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity – SIAC)“.
The plan also acknowledges the possibility of EU military use of force against groups such as ISIL “within the Libyan sovereign area”:
“the threat to the force should be acknowledged, especially during activities such as boarding and when operating on land or in proximity to an unsecured coastline, or during interaction with non-seaworthy vessels. The potential presence of hostile forces, extremists or terrorists such as Da’esh [ISIL] should also be taken into consideration“.
The documents mark a departure from previous EU military strategy in its overt targeting of civilian infrastructure in Libya. Numerous EU countries, including Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom participated in NATO-led air strikes on Libya in 2011.
Transcript can be read here
May 28 2015
It was 5 years ago that Chelsea Manning was arrested for leaking classified information to Wikileaks. A few weeks later, Wkikleaks released thousands of classified documents, the largest breach of security in military history. In an exclusive interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman discussed a number of topics from the NSA surveillance programs and the so-called free trade agreements being negotiated by the Obama administration to his life inside the Ecuadoran embassy in London.
Transcript can be read here
Transcript can be read here
Transcript can be read here
Transcript can be read here
Mar 13 2015
It’s been nearly 5 years since two women in Sweden lodged charges of rape against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The Swedish prosecutors have been seeking his extradition from England to question him regarding the allegations but Mr. Assange fearing that this was a ploy to have him extradited to the United States where he would be arrested and prosecuted for leaking secret documents that exposed US covering up war crimes. Lawyers for Mr. Assange said that the Swedish prosecutors could question him in England and they believe that would end the matter. However the prosecutors, claiming it would be inadequate to question him in England, went to British court seeking extradition. Mr. Assange then sought asylum at the Ecuadoran embassy. Now, after over four years and time running out on the statute of limitations on charging him, the Swedish prosecutor has agreed to question Mr. Assange in England. Frustrated and tired, Mr. Assange’s response was “They could have done this long ago. What took them so long?” The answer is probably the salivating US justice and state departments who would love nothing more that to get him to a country that would extradite him to the US over the espionage charges.
Julian Assange to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in London
By David Crouch, The Guardian
Lawyers for Wikileaks founder welcome prosecutor’s decision to interview Assange at Ecuadorian embassy in bid to break deadlock
Marianne Ny, who heads the investigation into accusations of rape, coercion and sexual molestation against Assange, made a formal request to interrogate him in the Ecuadorian embassy – the first sign of movement in a case that has been frozen since August 2012.
The prosecutor will also ask the UK government and Ecuador for permission to carry out the interviews at the embassy in London, where Assange has been staying for more than two-and-a-half years to avoid extradition to Sweden, from where he fears being handed over to the US to face espionage charges.
Ny said she had changed her mind because the statute of limitations on several of the crimes of which Assange is suspected runs out in August 2015. [..]
The British Foreign Office said in November it would welcome a request by the Swedish prosecutor to question Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy. Ecuador’s government has also repeatedly stated that it approves of such a step. Assange has been wanted in Sweden since the accusations were made against him in August 2010.
His lawyers, who are currently appealing against his arrest warrant in Sweden’s highest court, have complained bitterly about the prosecutor’s refusal to travel to London to speak to him – an essential step under Swedish jurisprudence to establish whether Assange can be formally charged. [..]
The prosecutor’s apparent U-turn on Friday came just days after a supreme court judge in Stockholm wrote to the prosecutor general, directing him to give his opinion concerning Assange’s appeal, “especially regarding the investigatory procedure and the principle of proportionality”.
Further pressure on the prosecutor came in November when the appeal court, while rejecting Assange’s arguments, nonetheless directed sharp criticism at Ny for failing in her obligation to move the case forward.
It remains to be seen whether the charges of rape, that were brought by two women who were in a consensual relationship with Mr. Assange at the time, will result in an arrest warrant. There are a lot of questions about the women’s backgrounds and alleged connections with the CIA that would love to get their hands on Mr. Assange.
May 20 2013
Regardless of the left’s opinion of Fox News, the Obama administration has gone way over the constitutional line and this is adds to the serious threat to freedom of the press. The idea that the government. on its unconstrained wild hunt for whistle blowers, can issue secret subpoenas for telephone records just got worse this morning. The case is being made against Fox News reporter James Rosen for his reporting on the possibility that North Korea would respond to additional UN sanctions with more nuclear tests back in 2009. The Department of Justice is prosecuting State Department adviser and arms expert Stephen Jin-Woo Kim for “leaking” the information to James Rosen of Fox News. To makes the case against Rosen this is what the DOJ did:
They used security badge access records to track the reporter’s comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporter’s personal e-mails. [..]
Court documents in the Kim case reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist – and raise the question of how often journalists have been investigated as closely as Rosen was in 2010. The case also raises new concerns among critics of government secrecy about the possible stifling effect of these investigations on a critical element of press freedom: the exchange of information between reporters and their sources.
First, Kim did not obtain these documents illegally, he had access to them, He did not steal or sell the documents, or pass them to an enemy agent of the US. He gave, what is for all intents and purposes, innocuous information to a news reporter. For that Kim is being prosecuted under the Espionage Act. Now the DOJ is seeking to prosecute Rosen for revealing the information.
Glenn Greenwald reiterated that it is not against US law to to publish classified information and is far worse than the secret subpoena of the phone records of the Associated Press:
The focus of the Post’s report yesterday is that the DOJ’s surveillance of Rosen, the reporter, extended far beyond even what they did to AP reporters. The FBI tracked Rosen’s movements in and out of the State Department, traced the timing of his calls, and – most amazingly – obtained a search warrant to read two days worth of his emails, as well as all of his emails with Kim. In this case, said the Post, “investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material.” It added that “court documents in the Kim case reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist”.
But what makes this revelation particularly disturbing is that the DOJ, in order to get this search warrant, insisted that not only Kim, but also Rosen – the journalist – committed serious crimes. The DOJ specifically argued that by encouraging his source to disclose classified information – something investigative journalists do every day – Rosen himself broke the law.
In an affidavit (pdf) from the FBI by Agent Reginald B. Reyes in the application for the search warrant, Reyes alleged that because Rosen and Kim used aliases to protect their communications and sought ways to maintain confidentiality, all completely legal for journalists to do, Rosen was acting “much like an intelligence officer would run an [sic] clandestine intelligence source, the Reporter instructed Mr. Kim on a covert communications plan… to facilitate communication with Mr. Kim and perhaps other sources of information.”
In her comparison of this case with the Associated Press, and cases against James Risen of The New York Times and Bradley Manning, Marcy Wheeler notes that Agent Reyes used the strategy of painting Rosen as criminal to circumvent the “Privacy Protection Act protections for media work product” in order to obtain the warrant for Rosen’s e-mails and other records:
In other words, during a period from May 2010 through January 2011, Eric Holder’s DOJ was developing this theory under which journalists were criminals, though it’s just now that we’re all noticing this May 2010 affidavit that lays the groundwork for that theory.
Maybe that development was predictable, given that during precisely that time period, the lawyer who fucked up the Ted Stevens prosecution, William Welch, was in charge of prosecuting leaks (though it’s not clear he had a role in Kim’s prosecution before he left in 2011).
But it’s worth noting the strategy – and the purpose it serves – because it is almost certainly still in effect. FBI Special Agent Reginald Reyes accused Rosen of being a criminal so he could get around the Privacy Protection Act protections for media work product (See pages 4 and following), which specifically exempts “fruits of a crime” or “property … used  as a means of committing a criminal offense.” Then he further used it to argue against giving notice to Fox or Rosen.
Because of the Reporter’s own potential criminal liability in this matter, we believe that requesting the voluntary production of the materials from Reporter would be futile and would pose a substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation and of the evidence we seek to obtain by the warrant. (29)
While the AP’s phone records weren’t taken via a warrant, it would be unsurprising if the government is still using this formula – journalists = criminals and therefore cannot have notice – to collect evidence. Indeed, that may be one reason why we haven’t seen the subpoena to the AP.
It is very clear that this is an unprecedented threat to freedom of the press and the Obama administration has escalated this war since Obama took office in 2009.
In an interview last week with Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, senior fellow at The Nation Institute Chis Hedges, called the monitoring of the AP phone records “one more assault in a long series of assault against freedom of information and freedom of the press.”
“Talk to any investigative journalist who must investigate the government, and they will tell you that there is a deep freeze. People are terrified of speaking, because they’re terrified of going to jail.”
Here is Mr. Hedges piece from Truthdig documenting The Death of Truth
Other related articles from Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian: