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Whistleblowers

US Supreme Court May Take Aim At Whistleblower Protection Law

The False Claims Act in the United States allows individuals with evidence of fraud against government agencies to bring lawsuits as qui tam whistleblowers. They can bring a case even if the US Justice Department has no interest in fighting the alleged corruption. But on June 21, Courthouse News Reported that the US Supreme Court will determine whether the government has the authority to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act when the government has declined to intervene in the case. In other words, the Supreme Court could help corporations shut down independent whistleblower lawsuits that the Justice Department does not want to pursue.

A Whistleblower’s Agony

A C.I.A. whistleblower languishes awaiting trial in a federal prison under inhumane conditions and almost nobody is paying attention. Joshua Schulte is a former C.I.A. hacker, one of those computer geniuses whose job it is to work his way into the computer systems of our country’s enemies in support of some of the most highly-classified operations the C.I.A. carries out. The government believes that Schulte was a malcontent who released to WikiLeaks in 2017 the equivalent of 2 billion pages of top secret C.I.A. data with code names like Brutal Kangaroo, AngerQuake and McNugget. These programs, collectively known as Vault 7, were custom-made techniques used to compromise Wifi networks, hack into Skype, defeat anti-virus software and even hack into smart TVs and the guidance systems in cars. 

Harvard: Students, Activists Protest Garland’s Commencement Speech

On Sunday, May 29, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland gave the commencement speech at the Harvard University graduation ceremony for the class of 2020-21. Harvard students teamed up with Boston Area Assange Defense and other local activists to protest Garland’s speech over the continued prosecution of Julian Assange. Mike Miccioli, class of ’22, explained why he and other Harvard students decided to use the commencement speech to draw attention to Assange’s plight: “The prosecution of Julian Assange violates the First Amendment right to a free press. If Assange’s work with Manning is criminalized, this would open the door for any investigative journalist to be prosecuted for their standard work.

Penetrating The Blue Wall

Like many Americans, especially those on the political left, I have a distrust of the police.  I’ve had several negative experiences that have left me jaded, including one in which I am the plaintiff in a federal lawsuit. My brain defaults to thinking the worst of the men and women in blue.  That’s often unfair, and it’s something that I’m trying to overcome. One thing I realized very recently was that, as in any other vocation, there are some police officers who are born whistleblowers.  Like any others, they revealed the truth when they were witness to waste, fraud, abuse, illegality, or threats to the public health or public safety.  That’s something to be celebrated. It’s hard to be (or to have been) a whistleblower in the intelligence community. 

There’s Still Hope For Julian Assange In His Battle To Avoid US Trial

Home secretary Priti Patel will decide before the end of May whether to recommend Julian Assange‘s extradition to the US. The WikiLeaks founder is accused of 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act and one of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Patel’s recommendation will have implications for journalists everywhere, not just in the UK or US. But her recommendation is not necessarily the end of the matter. Because Assange’s lawyers can still apply to appeal earlier court rulings. On 14 March, defense lawyers released a statement following a Supreme Court decision. The statement explained that they have an opportunity to put arguments against extradition to Patel.

Pressure Mounts On Patel Over Assange Decision

At some point during the next nine days, British Home Secretary Priti Patel will decide whether or not to extradite imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to the United States to face espionage charges for publishing accurate information revealing U.S. war crimes. Pressure is building from both sides on the home secretary.  Press freedom and human rights organizations, a Nobel laureate, the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, journalists and Assange supporters have appealed to Patel to let Assange go. While it would be deemed improper for outside influence to be brought on judges, it would not be fanciful to imagine that behind the scenes Patel is getting the message from the U.S. Department of Justice and possibly from U.S. and U.K. intelligence services about what is expected of her.

Assange Extradition Order Sent To Priti Patel

An order to extradite WikiLeaks‘ publisher Julian Assange was sent to British Home Secretary Priti Patel on Wednesday morning by Westminster Magistrate’s Court. The order came after the U.K. Supreme Court last month declined to hear Assange’s appeal of a High Court decision to allow the extradition to the United States to proceed. Patel now has four weeks to decide whether to send Assange to the U.S. to face espionage and computer intrusion charges for publishing prima facie evidence of U.S. war crimes that could land him behind bars for up to 175 years — an effective life sentence. Assange’s legal team can appeal to Patel during the next four weeks. After her decision is made Assange can then make a renewed appeal to the High Court if she opts to send him to the U.S.

An Open Letter To The Home Secretary

WikiLeaks‘ publisher Julian Assange’s extradition order will be sent to British Home Secretary Priti Patel on Wednesday morning by Westminster Magistrate’s Court after the U.K. Supreme Court declined to hear Assange’s appeal of a High Court decision to allow the extradition to the United States to proceed. Assange initially won his extradition case in the magistrate’s court based on the high likelihood that his mental health would lead to his suicide in harsh prison conditions in the United States. After the case was lost, the U.S. made diplomatic “assurances” to Britain that it would not put Assange in so-called Special Administrative Measures (SAMS), the most severe condition of isolation in the U.S. prison system.

Conflicts In Priti Patel’s Power Over Assange

Priti Patel sat on the Henry Jackson Society’s (HJS) advisory council from around 2013-16, although the exact dates are unclear as neither the HJS nor Patel responded to Declassified’s requests for clarification. She has also received funds from the HJS, and was paid £2,500 by the group to visit Washington in March 2013 to attend a “security” program in the U.S. Congress. Patel, who became an MP in 2010 and was appointed home secretary in 2019, also hosted an HJS event in parliament soon after she returned from Washington. After the U.K. Supreme Court said this month it was refusing to hear Assange’s appeal of a High Court decision against him, the WikiLeaks founder’s fate now lies in Patel’s hands.

The Marriage Of Julian Assange

London - I am standing at the gates of HM Prison Belmarsh, a high security penitentiary  in southeast London, with Craig Murray, British Ambassador to Uzbekistan until he was fired for exposing CIA black sites and torture centers in that country. Inside the prison, Julian Assange and Stella Moris are being married.  Craig and I were on the list of the six guests invited to the wedding, but prison authorities, in an example of the institutional sadism that characterizes all prisons, denied us entry. Craig, who was to have been one of two witnesses, was informed that he could not enter because he would “endanger the security of the prison.” Craig came down from Edinburgh by train. I flew over from New York. We would at least be at the entrance of the prison with 150 Assange supporters.

US Lied About ‘Dangerous Pathogen’ Research In Ukrainian Biolabs

Leaked documents give new information about the Pentagon program in biolaboratories in Ukraine. According to internal documents, Pentagon contractors were given full access to all Ukrainian biolaboratories which handled dangerous pathogens, while independent experts were denied even a visit. The new revelations challenge the U.S. government statement that the Pentagon just funded biolaboratories in Ukraine but had nothing to do with them. Last week U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland confirmed that “Ukraine has biological research facilities” and the U.S. is worried that “those research materials” may fall into Russian hands. What “research materials” were studied in these biolaboratories and why are U.S. officials so worried that they may fall into Russian hands?

Extradition Looms For Assange After Court Refuses To Hear His Appeal

The British judicial system has erected still another barrier to Julian Assange’s freedom. On March 14, the U.K. Supreme Court refused to hear Assange’s appeal of the U.K. High Court’s ruling ordering his extradition to the United States. If extradited to the U.S. for trial, Assange will face 17 charges under the Espionage Act and up to 175 years in prison for revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes. With no explanation of its reasoning, the Supreme Court denied Assange “permission to appeal” the High Court’s decision, saying that Assange’s appeal did not “raise an arguable point of law.” The court remanded the case back to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, which is the same court that denied the U.S. extradition request on January 4, 2021. In all likelihood, the magistrates’ court will refer the case to the British Home Office where Home Secretary Priti Patel will review it.

UK Supreme Court Slams Door On Assange Appeal

Without any explanation, the British Supreme Court denied WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange “permission to appeal” a decision by the British High Court. The Supreme Court maintained the appeal did not “raise an arguable point of law” and sent the case back to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the district court which initially blocked the United States government’s extradition request on January 4, 2021. By refusing to grant Assange a hearing, the U.S. government effectively won their appeal. Prosecutors convinced the British courts to disregard concerns that he may be subject to treatment in a U.S. jail or prison that would be oppressive to his mental health. "Whether Julian is extradited or not, which is the same as saying whether he lives or dies, is decided through a process of legal avoidance—avoiding to hear arguments that challenge the U.K. courts' deference to unenforceable and caveated claims regarding his treatment made by the United States, the country that plotted to murder him," declared Stella Moris, his partner.

People’s Movements Across The World Demand Freedom For Julian Assange

On the streets of Brasilia and Accra, Johannesburg and New York City, people’s movements and organizations demanded on February 25 that publisher and political prisoner Julian Assange be released immediately. The call for mobilizations was issued by the International Peoples’ Assembly (IPA) which launched a permanent campaign this month to call for Assange’s immediate release and the rejection of his extradition request.

Assange Affirms The Existence Of Another Kind Of Human Nature

We know what Julian did. We know the great public service he provided. We know that he and WikiLeaks, aided by courageous figures such as Chelsea Manning, gave us the most important journalist coup of our generation, ripping back the veil erected by the ruling political, military, and financial elites to expose their mendacity, their corruption, and their crimes. We know that populations around the world, from Haiti to Tunisia, were empowered by this information to hold these elites accountable. But today I want us to reflect on Julian himself. For Julian, endowed with precocious skills, could easily have been someone else. He could have sold his talents to Silicon Valley, to Wall Street or to intelligence and surveillance agencies, who would have paid handsomely.
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