UK Panel To Rule On FOIA Requests In Assange Case

Abayomi Azikiwe

By Staff of Courage Found – Seven years since the issue of an European Arrest Warrant against Julian Assange, and five since Ecuador granted him political asylum, a freedom of information case in the UK is shedding light on what was happening behind the scenes during that period. Assange has spent more than five years isolated in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, in what a UN Advisory Group ruled was arbitrary detention that contravened international law. Ecuador recognised the political persecution of Assange and granted him the status of political refugee, judging his life to be at grave risk. Despite the UN group’s determination, British police maintain their threat to arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy. Following years of debate over where Assange should be interviewed, Swedish prosecutors finally questioned the detained publisher in the Ecuadorian Embassy at the end of 2016, after which Sweden ultimately dropped its investigation. Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, who has worked on WikiLeaks releases as a media partner since 2009, has made a series of FOI requests in the different countries involved in the Assange case. In 2015 she managed to get 44 pages released on from Sweden’s prosecutorial authority.

Assange “Has Absolute Proof” Russia Did Not Meddle In US Elections

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. Rohrabacher, who’s been consistent in rejecting the Russia collusion theory on Capitol Hill lashed out at the country’s critics as he prepared to meet with President Donald Trump, Tuesday, April 4, 2017 (AP/Paul Holston)

By Alex Christoforou for Mint Press News – “He’s the one guy that I think the American people and the people in the world need to hear, and he’s the one guy that now our intelligence agencies as well at the powers that be in Washington don’t want anybody to hear….” Last week The Duran reported that if there is one man on the planet that can settle the entire “Russia election meddling”, narrative spun by Hillary Clinton and John Podesta, that man is Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Assange is offering to prove without a shadow of a doubt that Russia did not meddle in the US elections, but for this information, Assange is asking for a pardon from POTUS Trump. The problem is that Trump is not being given this message by his White House team, and the Generals that control his Administration, specifically Chief of Staff General John Kelly. California Congressman, Dana Rohrabacher says he has seen the evidence that will disprove “Russia-Trump” collusion accusations once and for all, but he’s having a hard time getting his message through to the president. In an interview OAN, Rohrabacher was confident that the president will “get behind this” as soon he hears the message.

Assange: Real Threat To US Is Not Russia But Israel

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By Staff of AWD – From his refuge in the Ecuador Embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed a press conference of his supporters in Berlin on Tuesday, amid speculation that he planned to reveal potentially threats to America. But early into his speech, Assange said that while more revelations were to come, he would not be making any major announcements, asserting that there would be no point in dropping making such revelations at a time when most Americans would be sleeping. “Russian actions on its own doorstep in Eastern Europe do not in fact threaten the United States or any actual vital interest. Nor does Moscow threaten the U.S. through its intervention on behalf of the Syrian government in the Middle East. That Russia is described incessantly as a threat in those areas is largely a contrivance arranged by the media, the Democratic and Republican National Committees and by the White House. Candidate Donald Trump appeared to recognize that fact before he began listening to Michael Flynn, who has a rather different view. Hopefully the old Trump will prevail,there is, however, another country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America’s legislative and executive branches.

Britain Wants A 'Way Out' Of The Julian Assange Standoff, Says Ecuador

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By Julian Assange for The Guardian – Maria Fernanda Espinosa, foreign minister, says UK and Ecuador working on an ‘opening’ Britain is interested in finding a solution to the standoff that has led to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy for five years, the foreign minister of the South American country has said. In May, Sweden dropped an investigation into rape allegations that led Assange, 45, to seek asylum in the embassy in 2012, but British police said he would still be arrested if he left the building. “The United Kingdom wants a way out, but evidently that is in the hands of the UK justice system, they have their procedures, their ways,” the minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, told reporters on Thursday. “This opening has been there, and we are working on it.“ A British court issued an arrest warrant for Assange when he failed to surrender to the court on 29 June, 2012, and the Metropolitan Police Service is compelled to execute that warrant, the London police said in May. Assange, who denies the rape allegations, fears being handed over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest information leaks in US history.

Getting Julian Assange: The Untold Story

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London, Britain, May 19, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

By Staff of Tele Sur – 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 criminalizing such an unpredictable source of truth-telling was the aim.

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

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

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.