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Tag Archives: Julian Assange

Ecuador Will Imminently Withdraw Asylum for Julian Assange and Hand Him Over to the U.K. What Comes Next? by Glenn Greenwald

If Ecuador turn Julian Assange over to the UK, the question becomes what the UK will do with him, specifically, will they turn him over to the US? From Glenn Greenwald at theintercept.com:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addresses the media 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.During a press conference on February 5 Julian Assange, speaking via video-link, called for Britain and Sweden to "implement" a UN panel finding saying that he should be able to walk free from Ecuador's embassy, where he has lived in self-imposed confinement since 2012. / AFP / NIKLAS HALLE'N (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images

ECUADOR’S PRESIDENT Lenin Moreno traveled to London on Friday for the ostensible purpose of speaking at the 2018 Global Disabilities Summit (Moreno has been using a wheelchair since being shot in a 1998 robbery attempt). The concealed, actual purpose of the president’s trip is to meet with British officials to finalize an agreement under which Ecuador will withdraw its asylum protection of Julian Assange, in place since 2012, eject him from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and then hand over the WikiLeaks founder to British authorities.

Moreno’s itinerary also notably includes a trip to Madrid, where he will meet with Spanish officials still seething over Assange’s denunciation of human rights abuses perpetrated by Spain’s central government against protesters marching for Catalonian independence. Almost three months ago, Ecuador blocked Assange from accessing the internet, and Assange has not been able to communicate with the outside world ever since. The primary factor in Ecuador’s decision to silence him was Spanish anger over Assange’s tweets about Catalonia.

Presidential decree signed on July 17 by Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, outlining his trip to London and Madrid.

A source close to the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry and the president’s office, unauthorized to speak publicly, has confirmed to The Intercept that Moreno is close to finalizing, if he has not already finalized, an agreement to hand over Assange to the U.K. within the next several weeks. The withdrawal of asylum and physical ejection of Assange could come as early as this week. On Friday, RT reported that Ecuador was preparing to enter into such an agreement.

The consequences of such an agreement depend in part on the concessions Ecuador extracts in exchange for withdrawing Assange’s asylum. But as former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa told The Intercept in an interview in May, Moreno’s government has returned Ecuador to a highly “subservient” and “submissive” posture toward western governments.

It is thus highly unlikely that Moreno — who has shown himself willing to submit to threats and coercion from the U.K., Spain and the U.S. — will obtain a guarantee that the U.K. not extradite Assange to the U.S., where top Trump officials have vowed to prosecute Assange and destroy WikiLeaks.

The central oddity of Assange’s case — that he has been effectively imprisoned for eight years despite never having been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime — is virtually certain to be prolonged once Ecuador hands him over to the U.K. Even under the best-case scenario, it appears highly likely that Assange will continue to be imprisoned by British authorities.

To continue reading: Ecuador Will Imminently Withdraw Asylum for Julian Assange and Hand Him Over to the U.K. What Comes Next?

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Be Prepared To Shake The Earth If Julian Assange Is Arrested, by Caitlin Johnstone

Julian Assange’s arrest would indeed be momentous and quite ominous. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

Today British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt repeated the tired old canard that WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange “is free to walk out of the doors of the Ecuadorean embassy any time he wishes,” despite the fact that the US government has been increasingly open about its desire to arrest Assange, and that the UK government has for six years refused to say whether it has received a US extradition request from the government which tortured Chelsea Manning. He’s as free to leave as a man with a gun pointed at his head after being told “Don’t move or I’ll shoot.”

“Serious charges have been laid against him and we want him to face justice for those charges but we are a country of due process,” Hunt said of Assange. “At any time he wants to he is free to walk out onto the street of Knightsbride and the British police will have a warm welcome for him.”

Hunt didn’t specify what those “serious charges” are, which is weird, because as far as the public record goes, there are none. Assange was never charged in the notorious Swedish sexual assault investigation, and that investigation was dropped months ago. The closest thing to a charge on the record is a warrant for an alleged bail violation which was absurdly filed a full 12 days after he applied for asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy, and any charge arising therefrom would not be “serious” by any stretch of the imagination.

So we have a UK official publicly stating that there is an agenda to arrest Assange on mysterious “serious charges” right before a visit to the UK by Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, who recently met with US Vice President Mike Pence and reportedly discussed Assange. This follows almost four months of Assange being completely silenced and cut off from the world by the Ecuadorian government for tweeting political commentary. And, according to the editor-in-chief of RT Margarita Simonyan, there are in fact plans to turn Assange over to British authorities “in the coming weeks or even days.”

To continue reading: Be Prepared To Shake The Earth If Julian Assange Is Arrested

Inside WikiLeaks: Working with the Publisher that Changed the World, by Stefania Maurizi

If you’ve wondered what it’s like inside WikiLeaks, working with  Julian Assange, the following article is for you. From Stefania Maurizi at consortiumnews.com:

Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi has worked with WikiLeaks for nine years on the Podesta emails and other revelations. Here’s an insider’s view of the publisher, which has incensed rulers around the world, desperate to hide their corruption.

Silenced and cut off from the outside world, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the last six years with no access to sunlight, fresh air, or proper medical treatment. Furthermore, last March President Lenin Moreno’s Ecuadorian government cut his access to the internet, phone calls and even visitors and journalists. For a man who has already been confined to the embassy for so long, these restrictions are particularly harsh.

I began working as one of WikiLeaks’ media partners in 2009, before Assange and WikiLeaks published such bombshells as the “Collateral Murder” video. Over the last nine years, I have partnered with WikiLeaks on behalf of my newspaper, the Italian daily La Repubblica to work on the Podesta emails and many of its other secret files, except for those that WikiLeaks released without media partners: the DNC emails, the Saudi Cables, Turkey’s ruling party emails, the Hacking Team documents, the Collateral Murder video and the Brennan emails.

Like its work or not, WikiLeaks is an independent media organization that doesn’t have to rely on traditional media to publish its scoops. Indeed it was founded to bypass the legal qualms traditional media may have about publishing classified information.

With its 5.5 million followers on Twitter, WikiLeaks has a huge social media presence that gives its work immediate impact. But WikiLeaks has published most of its revelations in collaboration with a number of media partners.

For instance, I was a partner in the publication of the emails of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager, which were published by WikiLeaks shortly after the infamous Access Hollywood video revealed candidate Donald Trump making rude remarks about women.

Many media outlets continue to report that the Podesta emails were released only minutes after the Access Hollywood video aired, hinting at some sort of coordination between WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign. In a indictment issued last Friday, Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, charged 12 officers of the Russian military intelligence service, GRU, for having allegedly hacked both the DNC and Podesta emails and allegedly passed them on to WikiLeaks for publication.

To continue reading: Inside WikiLeaks: Working with the Publisher that Changed the World

He Said That? 7/20/18

From Julian Assange:

Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love. In a modern economy it is impossible to seal oneself off from injustice.

If we have brains or courage, then we are blessed and called on not to frit these qualities away, standing agape at the ideas of others, winning pissing contests, improving the efficiencies of the neocorporate state, or immersing ourselves in obscuranta, but rather to prove the vigor of our talents against the strongest opponents of love we can find.

If we can only live once, then let it be a daring adventure that draws on all our powers. Let it be with similar types whos hearts and heads we may be proud of. Let our grandchildren delight to find the start of our stories in their ears but the endings all around in their wandering eyes.
The whole universe or the structure that perceives it is a worthy opponent, but try as I may I can not escape the sound of suffering.

Perhaps as an old man I will take great comfort in pottering around in a lab and gently talking to students in the summer evening and will accept suffering with insouciance. But not now; men in their prime, if they have convictions are tasked to act on them.

Ecuador Reportedly Preparing To Hand Assange To UK In “Coming Weeks Or Days”, by Tyler Durden

If Ecuador does turn Julian Assange over to the British, it will be tragic beyond measure, and the world will lose perhaps its most prominent voice for truth and accountability. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Ecuador is preparing to hand over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the UK in “coming weeks or even days,” RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan reported, as political support and sympathy for Assange’s predicament have more or less evaporated since the arrival of an administration that largely views Assange as an inherited problem, and would like more than anything to finally be rid of him. “My sources tell [Julian] Assange will be handed over to Britain in the coming weeks or even days,” Simonyan wrote in a recent tweet which was reposted by WikiLeaks. “Like never before, I wish my sources were wrong,” she continued.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced in the UK media that high level talks were happening between UK and Ecuadorian officials to try and remove Assange from the embassy.

Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan is said to be spearheading the diplomatic effort.Sources close to Assange said he himself was not aware of the talks but believed that America was putting “significant pressure” on Ecuador, including threatening to block an IMF loan, if he continues to stay at the embassy. The Times report comes just weeks before a visit to the UK by the newly-elected Ecuadorian president, Lenin Moreno, who has labeled Assange a “hacker”, “an inherited problem” and a “stone in the shoe.”

Hostilities to Assange’s presence in the embassy have been climbing for weeks. In late March of this year, the Ecuadorian government suspended Assange’s communication privileges with the outside world and cutting off his Internet access. That crackdown followed Assange’s decision to speak out about the Spanish government’s treatment of the Catalan independence movement.

Assange has been holed up in the embassy since 2012. Though Sweden long ago dropped its request that Assange be extradicted, he is still struggling with legal issues in the UK: Earlier this year, a UK court declined to reverse his arrest warrant for violating his bail terms when he initially took refuge at the embassy. Wikileaks has released thousands of diplomatic cables belonging to the US, and US officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have said Assange’s arrest is a “priority.”

To continue reading: Ecuador Reportedly Preparing To Hand Assange To UK In “Coming Weeks Or Days

The War on Assange Is a War on Press Freedom, by Chris Hedges

Is Ecuador about ready to give up Julian Assange to the British and Americans? From Chris Hedges at truthdig.com:

The failure on the part of establishment media to defend Julian Assange, who has been trapped in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, has been denied communication with the outside world since March and appears to be facing imminent expulsion and arrest, is astonishing. The extradition of the publisher—the maniacal goal of the U.S. government—would set a legal precedent that would criminalize any journalistic oversight or investigation of the corporate state. It would turn leaks and whistleblowing into treason. It would shroud in total secrecy the actions of the ruling global elites. If Assange is extradited to the United States and sentenced, The New York Times, The Washington Post and every other media organization, no matter how tepid their coverage of the corporate state, would be subject to the same draconian censorship. Under the precedent set, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court would enthusiastically uphold the arrest and imprisonment of any publisher, editor or reporter in the name of national security.

There are growing signs that the Ecuadorean government of Lenín Moreno is preparing to evict Assange and turn him over to British police. Moreno and his foreign minister, José Valencia, have confirmed they are in negotiations with the British government to “resolve” the fate of Assange. Moreno, who will visit Britain in a few weeks, calls Assange an “inherited problem” and “a stone in the shoe” and has referred to him as a “hacker.” It appears that under a Moreno government Assange is no longer welcome in Ecuador. His only hope now is safe passage to his native Australia or another country willing to give him asylum.

“Ecuador has been looking for a solution to this problem,” Valencia commented on television. “The refuge is not forever, you cannot expect it to last for years without us reviewing this situation, including because this violates the rights of the refugee.”

Moreno’s predecessor as president, Rafael Correa, who granted Assange asylum in the embassy and made him an Ecuadorean citizen last year, warned that Assange’s “days were numbered.” He charged that Moreno—who cut off Assange’s communications the day after Moreno welcomed a delegation from the U.S. Southern Command—would “throw him out of the embassy at the first pressure from the United States.”

To continue reading: The War on Assange Is a War on Press Freedom

Did Sen. Warner and Comey ‘Collude’ on Russia-gate? by Ray McGovern

This story deserves far more attention than it’s getting. From Ray McGovern at consortiumnews.com:

The U.S. was in talks for a deal with Julian Assange but then FBI Director James Comey ordered an end to negotiations after Assange offered to prove Russia was not involved in the DNC leak, as Ray McGovern explains.

An explosive report by investigative journalist John Solomon on the opinion page of Monday’s edition of The Hill sheds a bright light on how Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and then-FBI Director James Comey collaborated to prevent WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange from discussing “technical evidence ruling out certain parties [read Russia]” in the controversial leak of Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 election.

A deal that was being discussed last year between Assange and U.S. government officials would have given Assange “limited immunity” to allow him to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been exiled for six years. In exchange, Assange would agree to limit through redactions “some classified CIA information he might release in the future,” according to Solomon, who cited “interviews and a trove of internal DOJ documents turned over to Senate investigators.” Solomon even provided a copy of the draft immunity deal with Assange.

But Comey’s intervention to stop the negotiations with Assange ultimately ruined the deal, Solomon says, quoting “multiple sources.” With the prospective agreement thrown into serious doubt, Assange “unleashed a series of leaks that U.S. officials say damaged their cyber warfare capabilities for a long time to come.” These were the Vault 7 releases, which led then CIA Director Mike Pompeo to call WikiLeaks “a hostile intelligence service.”

Solomon’s report provides reasons why Official Washington has now put so much pressure on Ecuador to keep Assange incommunicado in its embassy in London.

Assange: Came close to a deal with the U.S. (Photo credit: New Media Days / Peter Erichsen)

The report does not say what led Comey to intervene to ruin the talks with Assange. But it came after Assange had offered to  “provide technical evidence and discussion regarding who did not engage in the DNC releases,” Solomon quotes WikiLeaks’ intermediary with the government as saying.  It would be a safe assumption that Assange was offering to prove that Russia was not WikiLeaks’ source of the DNC emails.

If that was the reason Comey and Warner ruined the talks, as is likely, it would reveal a cynical decision to put U.S. intelligence agents and highly sophisticated cybertools at risk, rather than allow Assange to at least attempt to prove that Russia was not behind the DNC leak.

The greater risk to Warner and Comey apparently would have been if Assange provided evidence that Russia played no role in the 2016 leaks of DNC documents.

To continue reading: Did Sen. Warner and Comey ‘Collude’ on Russia-gate?

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