Julian Assange Speaks About Swedish Decision & His Detention

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Photo: Reuters

By James Rothwell Victoria Ward Helen Nianias for The Telegraph – Julian Assange has said he will remain inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London in order to avoid extradition to the United States, despite being told he no longer faces a sex investigation by the Swedish authorities. The WikiLeaks founder hailed the decision to discontinue the seven-year case against him as an “important victory”, but said the “proper war was just commencing”, after the Metropolitan Police said he would still be arrested if he stepped outside. Assange, who has been holed up in the embassy since June 2012 is wanted by the British authorities after breaching bail conditions five years ago. Addressing a crowd from the embassy’s balcony in central London, Assange accused the UK authorities of ignoring international laws on asylum, a position he described as “untenable”. He said: “We have today won an important victory, but the road is far from over. The proper war is just commencing.” “The claim that the UK has the right to arrest me for seeking asylum in a case where there have been no charges is simply untenable. “My legal staff have contacted the UK authorities and we hope to engage in a dialogue about what is the best way forward.”

Getting Julian Assange

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By John Pilger for Dissident Voices – Julian Assange has been vindicated because the Swedish case against him was corrupt. The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, obstructed justice and should be prosecuted. Her obsession with Assange not only embarrassed her colleagues and the judiciary but exposed the Swedish state’s collusion with the United States in its crimes of war and “rendition”. Had Assange not sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, he would have been on his way to the kind of American torture pit Chelsea Manning had to endure. This prospect was obscured by the grim farce played out in Sweden. “It’s a laughing stock,” said James Catlin, one of Assange’s Australian lawyers. “It is as if they make it up as they go along”. It may have seemed that way, but there was always serious purpose. In 2008, a secret Pentagon document prepared by the “Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch” foretold a detailed plan to discredit WikiLeaks and smear Assange personally. The “mission” was to destroy the “trust” that was WikiLeaks‘ “centre of gravity”. This would be achieved with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution”. Silencing and criminalising such an unpredictable source of truth-telling was the aim.

Ecuador Expects ‘Safe Passage’ For Julian Assange

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By Jim Wyss for Cuenca High Life. The government of Ecuador on Friday said WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange should be granted safe passage to the South American nation after Swedish authorities dropped their investigation of him. Assange has been holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy for five years avoiding extradition to Sweden where he was wanted for questioning on allegations of sexual assault. Prosecutors eventually interviewed him at the embassy in November. Sweden dropped the investigation on Friday. In a series of tweets, Ecuador Foreign Minister Guillaume Long questioned the delays. “Ecuador regrets that it took Swedish Prosecutor more than four years to carry out this interview. This was a wholly unnecessary delay,” Long wrote.

Sweden Drops Charges Against Julian Assange

Julian Assange speaking about the UN report from Ecuadorian Embassy

By Lizzie Dearden for the Independent. Sweden has dropped its investigation against Julian Assange but the WikiLeaks founder could still be arrested by British police. The country’s director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, said the preliminary rape and sexual assault probe has been discontinued. Sweden has dropped its investigation against Julian Assange but the WikiLeaks founder could still be arrested by British police. The country’s director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, said the preliminary rape and sexual assault probe has been discontinued. In a court document seen by Reuters, she said there were no further avenues to pursue to take the investigation forward. Mr Assange reacted to the news by tweeting a photo of himself smiling inside the Ecuadorian Embassy where he has been living for almost five years. https://t.co/dDvB1Vekhg — Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) May 19, 2017 The European arrest warrant issued for Mr Assange is being revoked, sparking speculation he would be leaving the London embassy. But the Metropolitan Police swiftly confirmed it would still arrest the Australian over skipping bail when he sought asylum. “Westminster Magistrates’ Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Julian Assange following him failing to surrender to the court on the 29 June 2012,” a statement said. “The Metropolitan Police Service is obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the Embassy.” A spokesperson for WikiLeaks claimed the British government “refuses to confirm or deny” whether it has received a US extradition request, adding: “Focus now moves to UK.”

The Only Reason Julian Assange Is Not ‘Apprehended Yet’ Is He’s Out Of Reach

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By Jon Queally for Truth Dig – In his remarks Wednesday, Comey argued that WikiLeaks—“an important focus of [the FBI’s] attention”—does not practice journalism like other “responsible” outlets, but instead acts as a “known outlet of foreign propaganda” that has harmed U.S. interests. Last month, Common Dreams reported on rumblings within President Donald Trump’s Justice Department that criminal charges were being prepared. Despite the fact that major news outlets from around the world have consistently relied on the information provided by WikiLeaks over the years, Comey on Wednesday repeatedly described WikiLeaks as “intelligence porn” that serves no journalistic purpose. “A huge portion of WikiLeaks has nothing to do with legitimate news-gathering and is simply about releasing classified information to damage the United States,” Comey said. “American journalists do not do that.” Journalist Glenn Greenwald was among those immediately pushing back against such arguments…

Prosecution Of Assange Is Persecution Of Free Speech

From sbs.com.au

By Nozomi Hayase for Counter Punch – US authorities are reported to have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This overreach of US government toward a publisher, whose principle is aligned with the U.S. Constitution, is another sign of a crumbling façade of democracy. The Justice Department in the Obama administration could not prosecute WikiLeaks for publishing documents pertaining to the US government, because they struggled to determine whether the First Amendment protection applied in this case. Now, the torch of Obama’s war on whistleblowers seems to have been passed on to Trump, who had shown disdain toward free speech and even called the U.S. media as “enemies of the people”. Earlier this month, CIA Director Mike Pompeo vowed to end WikiLeaks, accusing the whistleblowing site as being a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia”. He also once called Edward Snowden a traitor and claimed that he should be executed. This declaration of war against WikiLeaks may bring a reminiscence of George W. Bush’s speech in the aftermath of 9-11, where he said, ‘either you are with us or against us’,…

The Unprecedented Danger Of Prosecuting Julian Assange

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By Kate Knibbs for The Ringer – The U.S. is planning to seek criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to a CNN report citing anonymous U.S. officials on Thursday. If this occurs, it will represent a radical change in how the government treats dissident speech, one that will endanger the media and empower the Trump administration to silence critics. Trump’s not the first president to loathe the press. Richard Nixon had a good run as media-despiser-in-chief, although he often came up on the losing end of challenges to the Fourth Estate, most notably in 1971, when the Supreme Court ruled on the legality of publishing the Pentagon Papers. The court allowed The New York Times and The Washington Post to publish classified documents about the Vietnam War, which had been leaked by a government whistle-blower, without the threat of prosecution. The Obama administration was notoriously aggressive in investigating leakers, and more successful than Nixon at punishing them. It pursued government whistle-blowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, and obtained a ruling to require journalists to testify about confidential sources during criminal cases.

As Reports Of Assange Arrest Warrant Emerge, Who Will Defend WikiLeaks?

Julian Assange leaving the Royal Court of Justice on July 13th, 2011. (Photo: acidpolly/flickr/cc)

By Jon Queally for Common Dreams – Though U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday said that arresting Assange was a “priority,” nobody in the government has yet gone public with the filing of official charges or the issuance of an arrest warrant. A lawyer representing Assange said neither he nor his client has been notified of any charges. “We’ve had no communication with the Department of Justice and they have not indicated to me that they have brought any charges against Mr. Assange,” attorney Barry Pollack told CNN. “They’ve been unwilling to have any discussion at all, despite our repeated requests, that they let us know what Mr. Assange’s status is in any pending investigations. There’s no reason why WikiLeaks should be treated differently from any other publisher.” Assange has long believed the U.S. maintains a sealed indictment against him, the key reason he has remained under asylum protection at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Last week, CIA Director Mike Pompeo stirred condemnation from free speech and journalistic watchdogs by threatening Assange and describing WikiLeaks as a “hostile non-state intelligence agency.”

Julian Assange Strikes Back At CIA Director And Talks Trump, Russia, And Hillary Clinton

Elise Swain for The Intercept

By Jeremy Scahill for The Intercept – WIKILEAKS FOUNDER JULIAN ASSANGE is hitting back at Trump’s CIA director Mike Pompeo following a speech last week in which Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a “hostile nonstate intelligence agency” operating outside of the protections of the First Amendment. “We can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us. To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for,” Pompeo declared, adding an ominous assertion: “It ends now.” Speaking from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been living since June 2012, Assange said Pompeo appeared to be issuing a threat. “So how does he propose to conduct this ending? He didn’t say. But the CIA is only in the business of collecting information, kidnapping people, and assassinating people. So, it’s quite a menacing statement that he does need to clarify,” said Assange.

Ecuador Presidential Hopeful Promises To Evict Julian Assange From Embassy

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By Jonathan Watts for The Guardian – Julian Assange will be given a month’s notice to leave the Ecuadorian embassy if the country’s main opposition candidate wins the presidency in next week’s election. In an interview with the Guardian, Guillermo Lasso, of the rightwing Creo-Suma alliance, said it was time for the WikiLeaks founder to move on because his asylum was expensive and no longer justified. “The Ecuadorian people have been paying a cost that we should not have to bear,” he said during an interview in Quito. “We will cordially ask Señor Assange to leave within 30 days of assuming a mandate.” That possibility is still some way off. In the most recent poll, Lasso is seven points behind the ruling party candidate Lenín Moreno, but the former banker has been gaining ground ahead of the first round of voting on 19 February and is widely tipped to force a runoff.

Assange Agrees To Extradition If US Releases Manning

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressing the media and holding a printed report of the judgement of the UN's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on his case from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London on February 5, 2016 (AFP Photo/BEN STANSALL )

By Staff for Agency France Press. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will agree to be extradited to the United States if President Barack Obama grants clemency to the former US soldier Chelsea Manning, jailed for leaking documents, the company said on Thursday. “If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ (US Department of Justice) case,” WikiLeaks wrote on Twitter. Assange has been living in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations.

Assange: Russian Government Not The Source Of WikiLeaks Emails

From sbs.com.au

By Staff of Fox News – Damning emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman did not come from Russian hackers and the claim is being made to “delegitimize” Donald Trump, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in an exclusive interview. Hannity sat down with Assange in London’s Ecuadorian embassy, where the Australian native has been holed up for five years battling extradition to Sweden on unrelated charges. Part I of the interview is set to air Tuesday night at 10 p.m. on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.” In excerpts released prior to airing, Assange is adamant that the hacked emails his organization released of Clinton official John Podesta did not come from Russia, as the Obama administration has claimed.

Former Icelandic Minister: US Sent '...FBI Agents To Frame Julian Assange'

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By Anneta Konstantinides for Daily Mail – A former Icelandic minister has claimed that the FBI attempted to frame Julian Assange during a mission to Iceland. Ögmundur Jonasson, who currently serves as a member of the Icelandic Parliament, said US authorities told him in June 2011 that hackers were trying to destroy software systems in the country. The authorities said there was an ‘imminent attack’ on Iceland’s government databases and that the FBI would send agents to investigate. Jonasson said he was immediately skeptical of the FBI’s intentions. ‘I was suspicious,’ he told Katoikos. ‘Well aware that a helping hand might easily become a manipulating hand!’

Julian Assange Releases Full Testimony To Swedish Prosecutors

Julian Assange with Ecuador's Foreign Minister Guillaume Long, centre, and Spanish lawyer and former judge Baltasar Garzon at the Ecuadorean embassy (AFP/Getty)

By Peter Walker for The Independent – Julian Assange says he is “entirely innocent” of rape in his testimony to Swedish prosecutors, which he has published online. In a 19-page statement he gave in a landmark interview to Swedish investigators, the WikiLeaks editor-in-chief also said he had been subjected to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”. The 45-year-old computer programmer has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for four years to avoid arrest. “I want people to know the truth about how abusive this process has been,” said the Australian journalist.

‘He Will Fight To The Last Breath’: Julian Assange’s Mother Speaks Out

From sbs.com.au

By Kerrie Armstrong for SBS – Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s mother Christine has told SBS News she feels “angry” but she’s still fighting six years after her son was arrested in relation to sexual assault allegations. Assange handed himself in to police in London on December 2010 and was released on bail. However, in June 2012 he broke his bail and sought asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London over fears he would be extradited to the US to face possible espionage charges. Since then police have kept the embassy surrounded, preventing him from leaving to Ecuador.