Archive | Assange

The Assange case – now what?

The Swedish special prosecutor has decided to close the investigation into sexual misconduct against Wikileaks editor in chief Julian Assange.

First of all, the case in itself was remarkably thin. Second, Assange has never been charged with any crime. The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was issued to question him. Such an interview was conducted last November. So, reasonably, the EAW have lost its function.

So, now… what?

British authorities still want to get their hands on Assange – formally for having jumped bail, which is a crime that is punishable with up to one year in prison.

But the core of the matter is: Will he be extradited to the U.S. to stand trial for some of the things Wikileaks has published? We know that there is a grand jury looking into the matter. But there are also strong voices referring to the first amendment in the constitution. It wouldn’t be reasonable to charge Wikileaks but not e.g. New York Times for publishing the same information.

The British authorities have, so far, refused to confirm or deny whether it has already received a U.S. extradition warrant for Julian Assange.

So, yet, it is not possible for Assange to walk out of the Ecuadorian embassy a free man.



Ecuador on Swedens unfair treatment of Assange

Ecuador has written to the Swedish government complaining of a “serious lack of progress” in the investigation involving a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Radio Sweden: Ecuador concerned by Sweden’s “lack of progress” in Assange case »

Radio Sweden: Assange lawyer calls for Sweden to drop charges after US statement »

BBC: Julian Assange: Ecuador ‘concerned’ over lack of progress »


No reasonable ground to uphold arrest warrant for Assange

It is now the last day in April, five months since Assange was questioned about the rape allegations in Britain. However there is no word from Sweden either of the case against him being dropped or of the rape charges against him being pressed.

Meanwhile the European arrest warrant been not been cancelled, and the extradition request to Britain has not been dropped, even though their purported purpose – to have Assange questioned about the rape allegations – has been fulfilled in Britain.

Meanwhile the British authorities have taken no steps to review their grant of the Swedish extradition request notwithstanding that the purported purpose of that request – to return Assange to Sweden so that he could be questioned about the rape allegations there – has been fulfilled in Britain.

The Duran: The Swedish and British case against Julian Assange grossly abuses his human rights and basic principles of justice »


Wikileaks is about freedom of the press

But if the US Department of Justice prosecutes Assange, as it reportedly may soon, he could become something else: the first journalist in modern history to be criminally charged by American courts for publishing classified information. WikiLeaks may not look like a traditional journalism outlet, but it shares the same ends—publishing true information from its sources. And that means legal action against Assange could threaten the freedom of the press as a whole.

Wired: The US Charging Julian Assange Could Put Press Freedom on Trial »


Wikileaks – Truth is not a crime

The U.S. administration is raising its voice when it comes to Wikileaks and its editor in charge, Julian Assange.

According to CNN Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a news conference Thursday that Assange’s arrest is a “priority.” (Link»)

We’ve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail. (…)

“Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms. He’s sitting in an Embassy in London. He’s not a US citizen,” Pompeo said.

But there is opposition…

Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, argued that US prosecution of Assange sets a dangerous precedent.

“Never in the history of this country has a publisher been prosecuted for presenting truthful information to the public,” Wizner told CNN. “Any prosecution of WikiLeaks for publishing government secrets would set a dangerous precedent that the Trump administration would surely use to target other news organizations.”

So, what is it that Wikileaks have done to stir the wrath of Washington?

Wikileaks has published »war diaries« from U.S. wars in Irak and Afghanistan: Exposing what has been done in the name of the American people, paid for by American taxpayers – to the American public.

This is how it should be in a democratic society. Without transparency, it will become impossible to hold those in power accountable. And it will make democratic elections pointless, as voters cannot make informed choices without the relevant information.

Wikileaks also has published U.S. Embassy cables, exposing the U.S. administration having double standards and lying to other countries (many of them allies) as well as to the American public.

Once again, exposing this is a democratic undertaking. In a democratic society, it is a significant problem if the government holds one set of policies in public and a different one behind the scenes. Power should be carried out in public, not in secret.

Wikileaks and Julian Assange have provided a remarkable service to society, to the American people, and to the world.

Going after Assange is going to war against transparency, the truth, the people – and democracy itself.


CNN: US to charge Assange?

US authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, US officials familiar with the matter tell CNN.

The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning.

Prosecutors have struggled with whether the First Amendment precluded the prosecution of Assange, but now believe they have found a way to move forward.

CNN » Sources: US prepares charges to seek arrest of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange »


Wikileaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service”?

In a speech Thursday at a Washington DC think tank, CIA Director Michael Pompeo called the whistleblower site WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” and said news organizations that reveal the government’s crimes are “enemies” of the United States. (…)

Referring to WikiLeaks’ founder, Pompeo declared that “Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms.” (…)

In his remarks, Pompeo said, “We have to recognize that 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. It ends now.”

WSWS: CIA Director calls WikiLeaks an “enemy,” says Assange has “no First Amendment freedoms” »

Update, also read:

Techcrunch: Hypocritical CIA Director Goes On Rant About Wikileaks, Free Speech »

The Intercept: Trump’s CIA Director Pompeo, Targeting WikiLeaks, Explicitly Threatens Speech and Press Freedoms »


The Assange case – coming to a close, or not?

In the Assange case, Swedish prosecutors seem to be running out of excuses for dragging their feet.

The hearing at the Ecuadorian embassy in London is completed, after many years of delays. The transcript has been translated into Swedish. At least almost. On its web page, the Prosecutors’ Office writes (my translation)…

The prosecutors still awaits the translation of minor sections of the report. These are expected to be completed shortly.

Now, the Prosecutors’ Office will analyze the report and subsequently decide what other investigative meassures could be taken to move the investigation forward.

I suspect that the phrase »other investigative measures« will be of importance.

This case has dragged out for years, partly because of Assange – but mainly because of Swedish prosecutors unwillingness to move the case forward.

You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to suspect that there are interested parties who are quite happy having Julian Assange tucked away and guarded in a small embassy behind Harrods in London. This will hamper the work of Wikileaks and take a mental toll on Assange himself. Even a U.N. panel has objected to this form of treatment.

Once again, all attention will be directed at the Swedish Prosecutors’ Office. Will it finally decide to move the case forward or maybe close it? The latter would make most sense – if you look at the facts in this case, already well known to the world.

Or will they invent some new »investigative measures« as an excuse to keep Assange in limbo? I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.

This is no longer about justice. It’s about Sweden handling this case in a biased and unjust way – because of who Julian Assange is. And this goes all the way back to the Prosecutors Special Unit for »Advancement« of Sex Crimes re-opening this case after it had been closed by the regular branch of the Prosecutors’ Office.

I guess we’ll know what’s going to happen within the next few weeks. Or maybe not.



Assange investigation held up by translation issues

A hold-up translating a key document is delaying a decision by Swedish prosecutors over whether to continue their investigation of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange on allegations of sexual assault.

The Swedish prosecutors said they would make a decision when they receive a full translation of the interview conducted with Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in November.

The prosecutors received the report from Ecuadorian authorities on January 5, and said that it is “almost completed.”

RT » Lost in translation: Swedish prosecutors explain bizarre delay in Assange investigation »


Assange on Fox: Governments hate transparency

“We’re in the business of publishing information about power,” Assange said. “Why are we in the business of publishing information about power? Because people can do things with power, they can do very bad things with power. If they’re incompetent, they can do dangerous things. If they’re evil, they can do wicked things.”

In Part III of the interview, which aired Thursday on the Fox News Channel, Assange also said that governments “hate transparency. They loathe it. Because they have to work harder.” (…)

Governments are “full of incompetent people,” Assange told Hannity. “And the more secretive the area is, the more incompetent it becomes because there’s no proper oversight.” (…)

“If you don’t know what’s happening in the world with powerful individuals, corporations and governments … immoral actors within the state or within those big corporations prosper,” Assange said at the conclusion of the interview.

Fox: ‘Hannity’ Exclusive: Wikileaks’ Assange: Governments ‘Hate Transparency. They Loathe It’ »