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Thread: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is expected to appear in a UK court tomorrow!

  1. #11


    Expansion of Indefinite Detention under NDAA Compounds Extradition Fears of WikiLeaks’ Assange

    Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings was with WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange when the pretrial military hearing for accused Army whistleblower Private Bradley Manning was taking place in Fort Meade, Maryland, last month. Hastings says the military’s case against Manning, coupled with President Obama’s recent authorization of a measure expanding indefinite detention anywhere in the world in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), has added further urgency to Assange’s effort to avoid extradition from Britain. "Julian Assange’s fear is that he will be extradited to Sweden...and then there will be some kind of media campaign where the U.S. government or the Swedish government starts leaking things about 'Oh, Assange helped the Iranians' or 'Assange helped the Taliban with this information,'" Hastings notes. "And then they’ll say, 'Well, you know, we need to try him as a spy.' And though that case might be very, very difficult to prove, it’s the threat of it that, in my mind, is so damning." [includes rush transcript]

    AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to switch gears and ask you about the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, Michael Hastings. Rolling Stone is out with your piece today based on your interview with Assange. You were with him when the pretrial military hearing for accused Army whistleblower, Private Bradley Manning, was taking place in Fort Meade, Maryland. At that time, we spoke to Guardian reporter Ed Pilkington, when the pretrial opened, and he described the scene inside, noting Assange’s lawyers were there.

    ED PILKINGTON: On the left side was Julian Assange’s lawyer, who is attending the trial. But rather humiliatingly for them, and they’re very cross about it, they’re being relegated to the public benches and being withheld full access to the trial, which, they argue, is completely wrong, because Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, as we know, are all also being investigated by the Department of Justice in a criminal investigation, in which Bradley Manning is likely to be a main witness. So they say their case is intimately tied into the Bradley Manning hearing, and they should therefore be given full access.

    AMY GOODMAN: That was Ed Pilkington of The Guardian, while Bradley Manning was inside that Fort Meade pretrial that is now leading to a court-martial. You were sitting with Julian Assange in London—in Britain.


    AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about how he was monitoring this?

    MICHAEL HASTINGS: Yes. I mean, the time I spent with Julian, the Bradley Manning trial was his primary focus. And it’s very important, what’s actually happening in Manning trials, vis-à-vis Julian Assange. And the key is that the Department of Justice is investigating WikiLeaks and trying to flip Bradley Manning as a witness to basically say that Manning and Assange committed this sort of conspiracy for espionage, which is completely nuts, to be honest, you know, when you’re talking about an organization that is basically doing, sort of in a different and revolutionary way, in many sense, but they’re essentially doing kind of a journalism and what should definitely be protected free speech.

    AMY GOODMAN: The concern of Julian Assange right now, the possibility that he would be extradited to the United States, with the NDAA just passed, that President Obama said he would veto and then he passed, that said anyone can be picked up anywhere, anytime, in this country or outside, and held without charge indefinitely—


    AMY GOODMAN: Is Julian Assange fearful of this?

    MICHAEL HASTINGS: I believe, yes. Well, I know he is. I mean, this is—this is the nightmare scenario. Now, people in Sweden and in England will say, "Oh, no, that’s never going to happen." I wouldn’t be—if I was in Mr. Assange’s shoes, I would not take those—I would be a little skeptical of those words, as well, because we’ve seen some of the gross abuses that can happen. So, yes, Julian Assange’s fear is that he will be extradited to Sweden—and they’re going to make that decision on February 1st—and then there will be some kind of media campaign where the U.S. government or the Swedish government starts leaking things about "Oh, you know, Assange helped the Iranians" or "Assange, you know, helped the Taliban with this information" and sort of lay the groundwork. And then they’ll say, "Well, you know, we need to try him as a spy." And though that case might be very, very difficult to prove, it’s the threat of it that, in my mind, is so damning.

    AMY GOODMAN: Michael Hastings, I want to thank you for being with us, contributing editor at Rolling Stone. His new book is called The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  2. #12

    Default 8 days to UK Supreme Court Appeal Ruling

    2011-03-04 Jennifer Robinson: Brief to Canberra meeting of MP's re Julian Assange
    Submitted by Heather Marsh on Fri, 03/04/2011 - 22:05
    News Julian Assange Julian Assange hearing Law WikiLeaks Australia EU Sweden United Kingdom United States Wikileaks trials

    The following brief was submitted to the meeting outlined here by WL Central: On 2nd March 2011 at 9.15am a meeting was held, organised by Andrew Laming (Liberal Party MP Bowman Qld) at Parliament House Canberra to allow federal parliamentarians who wished to attend, some insights into the matters of Julian Assange facing extradition from the UK to Sweden, and facing (subject to that extradition process) a possible trial in Sweden and another possible extradition to the USA thereafter.

    Among others, MPs Andrew Laming, Malcolm Turnbull, Doug Cameron and Sarah Hanson-Young were in attendance, along with parliamentary staff members.

    Three speakers made themselves available for oral presentations and questions: Greg Barns, barrister from Tasmania; former Australian diplomat Tony Kevin and Peter Kemp solicitor from NSW, the latter two made written material available for the parliamentarians reprinted here with their permission.

    The following brief was submitted to the meeting by Jennifer Robinson of the firm Finers Stephens Innocent. She is part of the legal team representing Julian Assange in the extradition proceedings requested by Sweden.

    Jennifer Robinson's biography.

    1. I am writing to you to provide a briefing for the meeting of members of Federal Parliament on Wednesday 2 March 2011 regarding the case against Julian Assange. This briefing note sets out the timeline of events and the human rights concerns that we have raised in relation to Julian’s case in Sweden.

    2. Julian is facing extradition to Sweden pursuant to a European Arrest Warrant (EAW). He is currently electronically tagged and held under virtual house arrest, having spent nine days in solitary confinement in a London prison for a crime that he has not been charged with and in relation to allegations that he emphatically denies.

    3. It is mutually concerning that an Australian citizen like Julian has been treated in ways which would not accord with the standards of Australian law or indeed international law. As I set out in this note, if he is extradited to Sweden, he will be held incommunicado, in solitary confinement, and without bail for several months and then tried in secret on allegations which are weak and which would not constitute a crime in Australia or in the UK. In such event, it can be predicted that Australians will be outraged and that considerable damage will eventuate in respect of relations between Australia and Sweden.

    4. It is hoped that this briefing note will act as a resource for concerned Australian MPs to raise questions and to take action on Julian’s behalf.

    Timeline of Events and Overview of Concerns

    5. Julian had travelled to Sweden in August last year for the purposes of giving public lectures about his work on Afghanistan and in order to seek protection for WikiLeaks from the strong free speech and publication protections under Swedish law in advance of the Iraq War Logs, the publication of Iraq war military reports, and “Cablegate”, the publication of US diplomatic cables. The allegations against Julian were made to police on 20 August 2010.

    6. That same day, the initial Prosecutor, Maria Häljebo Kjellstrand, unlawfully told the press that Julian was wanted for rape (reported in the tabloid Expressen) before he himself had been informed. Julian first learned of the allegations when he read it in the papers. In providing this information to the press the Prosecutor contravened Swedish privacy and secrecy law, which protects the confidentiality of preliminary criminal investigations and is supposed to protect those being investigated from adverse and prejudicial media coverage. A complaint was made about the Prosecutor’s illegal act to the Judicial Ombudsman but no action is being taken. As a result of this illegal act, Julian discovered in the press that he was ‘wanted for double rape’. Within hours there were millions of website hits for “Assange” and “rape”, causing irreparable and incalculable damage to his reputation. The illegality of the Prosecutor’s actions was confirmed by our expert evidence in the extradition proceedings here in London, as was the fact that no remedy exists in Swedish law for the breach.

    7. The next day, Chief Prosecutor of Stockholm, Eva Finne, threw out the rape charge after reviewing the police file and the statements of the two women. The investigation continued on lesser allegations of harassment only. Julian volunteered himself for interview on 30 August 2010 in relation to this ongoing investigation. Julian sought an undertaking from the police that his testimony would not be provided to the press. This undertaking was violated: his police interview turned up in the tabloid Expressen the very next day. Again, Julian has no remedy against this breach of privacy and the continued disclosures by police have continued to fuel prejudicial media coverage.

    8. An appeal was brought against Ms Finne’s decision to drop the rape charges by a lawyer acting for the complainants, Mr Claes Borgstrom. Mr Borgstrom is a Social Democrat politician who was, at that time, campaigning for election in the election to be held the following month (September 2010) and whose political platform and reputation is closely associated with sexual offence law reform. The Prosecutor, Ms Ny, granted the appeal on 1 September 2010 and the rape investigation was reinstituted. Julian was not informed of this appeal or provided the opportunity to make any submissions.

    9. The Prosecution continued to provide information about the preliminary investigation to the press. Expressen applied for access to the police file on 1 September and this was granted: redacted versions of Julian’s statement and emails between the police and prosecutor were provided to the press shortly thereafter. We were only alerted to this on 21 January 2010, some four months later, when this same material was disclosed by the Prosecutor to Mr Hurtig and passed to us. It is noteworthy that Mr Hurtig had applied for disclosure of the police file in September and November 2010. Both requests for disclosure were denied by the Prosecutor, Ms Ny, despite the fact that some of this material had already been provided to the press.

    10. Julian remained in Sweden for approximately 5 weeks to answer the allegations against him. Through his lawyer Mr Hurtig, proactive attempts were made to arrange interview and to seek permission to leave the country. For example, Julian offered himself for interview on 15 September but this was rejected by the prosecutor because the relevant police officer was sick.

    11. An interview was finally proposed on 22 September (more than three weeks after Ms Ny had begun the investigation) for 28 September. Mr Hurtig was unable to contact Julian to communicate this request. It is important to note here that Julian was, at that time, difficult to contact. He was maintaining a low profile because of threats to his security and increasing pressure from the US in advance of the two largest disclosures of US classified documents in history: the Pentagon had just announced a team of 120 people dedicated to “taking action” against WikiLeaks. Before Mr Hurtig was able to contact Julian he had already left Sweden for Berlin for WikiLeaks meetings associated, having been told on 15 September that Ms Ny had no objection to him leaving the country. He did not flee the country to avoid interrogation, as has been suggested by the Prosecution, but instead had left for a pre-arranged business meeting with Der Spiegel - one of his media partners in Cablegate, on the understanding that there was no impediment to him leaving the country.

    12. Julian telephoned Mr Hurtig from Berlin on 29 September to inform him that his luggage had gone missing on his Stockholm-Berlin flight and that it was now presumed to have been stolen since the airline had not been able to locate and return it. He called to instruct Mr Hurtig to take legal action. It was then he was informed of Ms Ny’s intention to interrogate him. Julian offered to return to Sweden on 9-10 October for interrogation. This date was rejected as being ‘too far away’.

    13. During October and November, Julian was in London working on the Iraq War Log release and preparing for Cablegate with media partners, including The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, El Pais and The New York Times. He also travelled to Switzerland to present at a United Nations Human Rights Council meeting. During this period, we offered that Julian be interviewed via telephone or video-link from London on the condition that the Prosecutor provide him further information about the allegations and potential charges. We offered his voluntary cooperation, through his Swedish lawyer Mr Hurtig, and suggested the use of the Mutual Legal Assistance scheme between Sweden and the United Kingdom. These offers were rejected.

    14. In the meantime, I wrote to the UK police on 2 November 2010 and informed them that we acted for Julian and that he could be contacted through us for the purposes of any legal proceedings. This is significant: throughout this period Julian had continually indicated his willingness to cooperate with the authorities by offering alternative means of interview to the Swedish and by reporting his presence in the UK to the local police. The widely reported suggestion he was in hiding from justice is simply false.

    15. After our voluntary offers of cooperation were rejected, the arrest warrant in Sweden was granted on 18 November 2010. Ms Ny, the Prosecutor, sought an arrest order to have Julian held incommunicado pending potential trial. These pre-trial detention conditions in Sweden have been heavily criticised by the European Council and by the United Nations, in particular, for the treatment of foreigners:

    16. Just before the hearing on 18 November Mr Hurtig was, for the first time, provided a description of the allegations against Julian and provided copies of parts of the police file. At that time he was also shown more than 100 text messages between the two complainants and their friends, which contained important evidence about the allegations and the women’s motives. For example, the second complainant had been texting her friends in between sexual encounters with Julian over the course of the evening in question and states that she was “half-asleep” at the relevant time at which the arrest warrant asserts she was “asleep”: a very important factual error in the warrant which undermines the entire case. Further, the women speak of getting “revenge”, making money from the allegations and ruining Julian’s reputation by going to the press. However, the prosecutor refused to allow Mr Hurtig to take copies or to even take notes from this important evidence.

    17. Mr Hurtig has made numerous requests for further disclosure under Swedish Criminal Procedure Code (Chapter 23.18), but these have been denied. In correspondence with the Australian Embassy in Stockholm, Ms Ny justifies her position in refusing to disclose this important material on the grounds that Julian has not yet been charged. This highlights the injustice of the EAW system: Julian has been held in solitary confinement and is now under effective house arrest without the Swedish Prosecutor having to show a reasonable case against him - or, indeed, any of the evidence against him to the British court.

    18. Despite Mr Hurtig’s requests, Ms Ny had consistently refused to inform Julian regarding the specific charges to be brought against him before he was interviewed: interview by ambush is the preferred Swedish method. We had requested a specific description of the charges and the evidence in English as a condition precedent to Julian returning to Sweden to be interviewed. This, again, was refused. The first time document Julian received from the Prosecutor in English was the translation of the EAW provided by the English police at Kentish Town Police station in London when Julian voluntarily met with police to answer the warrant on 7 December 2010. This was the first time he had been informed in writing of the specific allegations and potential charges against him in English. I was with Julian at the police station and witnessed his shock and surprise at reading the allegations as described in the warrant.

    19. It is noteworthy that the both the EAW and the Interpol red notice were issued for Julian by Sweden just before WikiLeaks began to publish Cablegate with their media partners and were executed just days after publication began. Had Julian returned to Sweden in October or November, we know (confirmed by the findings of the judge in London on 24 February 2011) that he would have been held incommunicado in prison pending trial and we may not have seen the release of Cablegate. Furthermore, his Swedish counsel, Mr Hurtig noted at the time that it was highly irregular for an international arrest warrant to be sought in relation to allegations of this kind.

    20. The Swedish prosecutor has failed to disclose any materials to Julian in English (the language he understands), which is her obligation under the European Convention of Human Rights. We have since been provided certain excerpts of the police file in Swedish and translation costs now exceed £20,000 (AUD$32,000) as a result of the Prosecutor’s failure to meet her human rights obligations in this regard. Furthermore, she has failed to disclose relevant exculpatory evidence that tends to demonstrate Julian’s innocence.

    21. The Prosecutor has apparently failed to consider and disclose exculpatory evidence in her investigation, as is her duty as prosecutor.

    (1) First, it is clear that the text messages (approximately 100 of them) between the two complainants and their friends cast doubt on the allegations and contradict the specific factual allegations in the EAW that form the basis of his arrest - though we are unable to properly assess these because the Prosecutor refuses to disclose them to Julian.

    (2) Second, it has subsequently come to light that the first complainant, Ms A, has been deleting important evidence (i.e. tweets which demonstrated that she had been enjoying Julian’s company after the alleged assault). It is not clear whether this evidence has been considered because, despite the fact it was provided to the Prosecution by Mr Rudling, it does not form part of the police file disclosed to us.

    (3) Third, the Prosecutor has not contacted several potential witnesses who spent time with Mr Assange and the first complainant, Ms A, who know them both and can attest to their friendly relations in the days after the alleged assault.

    22. The parts of the police file disclosed to the defence on 18 November 2010 (translated at significant cost to Julian) demonstrate that police have acted improperly and in breach of proper procedures in investigating sexual offence allegations.

    (1) First, it is clear that the women met together before making the allegations and had discussed the evidence at length, thereby contaminating their evidence.

    (2) Second, it has since come to light that the policewoman who had interviewed both women and initially reported the alleged rape to the Prosecutor was a friend of the first complainant, Ms A, and had also run for election for the Social Democrats (the same party for which Ms A and her lawyer, Mr Borgstrom, have stood for election) .

    (3) Third, both women were interviewed only briefly over the telephone and their interrogation is in summary form only. Indeed, the second complainant’s interview summary is not even signed or approved by her (she was upset at hearing Julian had was wanted for rape and her friend’s later interview to the police states that she felt “railroaded” into making the complaint). This breaches police procedure: interviews with witnesses in sexual offence cases must be recorded in full (video or tape recorded) because the initial interview is important evidence at trial. It is notable that all of the Prosecution witnesses interviews are recorded in summary format so it is impossible to know what the police asked and what their precise answers were in response. Only the interviews with Mr Assange and his friendly witnesses were recorded in full. These irregularities in police procedure will cause evidential problems in any trial, particularly if the reliability of the complainants’ testimony is in question.

    23. As to the strength of the evidence that founds the basis for the warrant, a number of observations can be made. First, evidence at the extradition hearing in London brought to light that not one, but two well-regarded prosecutors in Stockholm do not believe there to be sufficient evidence to found a prosecution. Eva Finne dropped the rape investigation in August but was overruled on appeal. Ms Ny’s own deputy, Prosecutor Erika Lejnefors, had told Mr Hurtig in November that the case would likely be dropped because it was so weak. Nevertheless, an international arrest warrant was sought for Julian’s arrest. Second, expert evidence from the most respected criminal lawyer in England, Professor Andrew Ashworth of Oxford University, concludes that the facts as alleged in the EAW and the police statements of the two women would not constitute rape or any other crime in England.

    24. Further, Julian has suffered immense adverse prejudicial media coverage in Sweden, fuelled both by the disclosure of police material to the press by the Prosecution and by the highly prejudicial media statements of the lawyer of the two complainants and funded by the Swedish government, Mr Borgstrom. Mr Borgstrom has called Julian a “coward” for not returning to Sweden and has alleged that his refusal to return is indicative of his guilt.

    25. The Prime Minister of Sweden intervened in the case by making highly prejudicial and pejorative remarks in the Swedish press following the extradition proceedings in London on 7 and 8 February 2011. The Prime Minister told the press that Julian has been indicted and is being prosecuted for rape. This is not correct - Julian has not yet been charged, the preliminary investigation has not yet been concluded and no decision has been made to prosecute. The Prime Minister’s comments are inappropriate given his political position (he had, just weeks earlier, refused to comment on Julian’s case on the grounds it was a matter for the courts and not for politicians) and given that a key question being determined by the British court is whether the warrant is for questioning or for prosecution. The Prime Minister made pejorative remarks regarding Julian’s legal defence, including the incorrect suggestion that Julian’s defence is to deem women’s rights “of little value”. This was subsequently reported as Julian and his defence team “trying to limit the right for women to take a claimed sexual abuse to court”. This clearly and unfairly mischaracterises Julian’s defence case and has led to him being portrayed as an enemy of Sweden and of women’s rights in the Swedish press.

    26. Other politicians have followed the Prime Minister in attacking Julian and his defence. For example, the Chancellor of Justice, Anna Skarhed, has described the defence as “shocking”. The Chancellor of Justice then states that the defence has accused the Swedish legal system of being “corrupt”: but anyone who has read our submissions or followed court proceedings will know this is simply not true. Our skeleton arguments and all of the case evidence filed with the court is available on our website:

    27. Given the nature of the press coverage in Sweden, we have grave concerns as to whether Julian will receive a fair trial: he will be tried in secret, behind closed doors, by a judge and three lay judges (jurors) who are appointed by political parties. The Swedish press does not seem at all concerned with the need for suspects to be presumed innocent and it is difficult to see how jurors could remain unaffected by this media coverage.

    28. In summary, our concerns regarding the case in Sweden to date include:

    • the unlawful and prejudicial disclosures by police and the prosecution regarding ongoing criminal investigations;

    • the failure to disclose details of the allegations and the evidence in English;

    • the breaches of police procedures in the investigation of the allegations;

    • the apparent failure of the Prosecutor to consider exculpatory evidence;

    • the disproportionate behaviour of the Prosecutor in refusing voluntary offers for cooperation and refusing to make use of alternative methods for interviewing Julian - insisting instead on an international warrant which unduly restricts his liberty;

    • the pre-trial detention conditions sought by the Prosecutor;

    • the prospect of a secret trial; and

    • the adverse and prejudicial media coverage, fuelled by the state-funded lawyer for the complainants and the country’s most senior politicians, including the Prime Minister.

    Decision to grant extradition - 24 February 2011

    29. On 24 February 2011, District Judge Riddle ordered that Julian be extradited to Sweden. It must be noted that this is simply the initial ruling on the validity of a EAW and did not deal with the substance of the allegations against Julian, which he has always firmly denied. The judgment concerns whether it is technically valid for a EAW to be used in this manner. The strength or weakness of the allegations, and even their detail, cannot be heard in a EAW case. This is one of the central complaints made by law reformers about the EAW process - a civil liberties disaster and the subject of investigation and campaigns by human rights groups such as Fair Trials International.[1]

    30. It must be remembered that under the EAW system, the British courts are bound to regard the prosecutors of no less than 26 countries, including Poland and Romania – as perfect. The Extradition Act 2003 allows European countries to deem prosecutors and even policemen "as judicial authorities" (a contradiction in terms, because they are neither independent nor impartial) and to demand return of their suspects from the UK so long as they tick the right box on the EAW form. In Julian's case, for example, they ticked "rape" and the court cannot dispute that the allegation is of rape, even though the leading authority on sexual offences, the Oxford Professor Andrew Ashworth, disputes this characterisation. There can be no questioning on the merits of the charges – in 2003 parliament abolished the traditional right of a suspect to require foreign governments to show a prima facie case before dragging them off to unfair trials. It also took away the historic right of individuals facing extradition to show that the case against them was unfounded.

    31. Judge Riddle - a hostile judge - made a number of important factual findings. Judge Riddle ordered Julian’s extradition to Sweden despite the fact that he agreed that:

    • upon return to Sweden Julian will be held incommunicado pending trial because Sweden has no system of bail; and

    • Julian will be subjected to a secret trial, which is anathema to Australian and British traditions of open justice and an outrage given the widespread dissemination of the allegations against him by the Swedish authorities.

    32. The decision to extradite Julian is not final, nor (as has been misreported) does it "determine his fate". Julian is permitted an appeal as of right by the 2003 Extradition Act. Thereafter, points of law may, with permission, be appealed to the Supreme Court.

    33. The appeal to the High Court was filed today in London. The dates for this appeal are not yet available but we anticipate it will be heard sometime between April and June.

    34. It is our position that the EAW system should not simply be used as a rubber stamp, but instead ought to be used to improve the quality of justice throughout Europe. Extradition ought to be refused when the trial in prospect is likely to be unfair judged according to fundamental fair trial principles because only then can things improve and human rights blind spots be eradicated. If the British courts declare that open justice is the only possible justice by refusing to extradite Julian to Sweden, this would very likely have the result that Sweden would change its unacceptable policy.[2]

    Action points for Australian MPs

    35. Julian remains willing to cooperate with the Swedish investigations, provided that certain guarantees are provided in respect of the human rights concerns raised above. We would encourage Australian MPs who are concerned at Julian’s treatment to raise the following concerns.

    36. First, to ask our government to seek guarantees from both the Swedish and British governments that Julian will not be extradited to the United States to face prosecution in relation to WikiLeaks publications. Any such prosecution would violate the right to free speech and the protections of the First Amendment. His concern about being extradited to the US is justified in light of:

    • US Attorney-General Eric Holder’s ongoing criminal investigation;

    • recent subpoenas of Twitter accounts of WikiLeaks, their associates and supporters, which proves an ongoing federal criminal investigation in Virginia and demonstrates intent to prosecute; and

    • the recent statement by US Ambassador to the UK to the BBC that the US is waiting to see how things work out in the British courts.

    37. Second, demands must be made of the Swedish authorities to ensure that, if Julian returns to Sweden, that his human rights will be protected. These include:

    • The evidence in the case be disclosed to him in English, as is Sweden’s obligation under the European Convention on Human Rights. Full disclosure of the police file, including the exculpatory evidence such as the text messages, must be provided.

    This request - made in November when an international arrest warrant was being threatened and extended by us to Mr Hurtig as condition precedent to Julian returning/being interviewed - has still not been complied with. Translation costs have exceeded £20,000 because of Sweden’s failure to meet their human rights obligations in this regard. It has also delayed our work and made our legal defence more difficult.

    • A guarantee be provided that he will not be held incommunicado or in custody pending any trial.

    Again, this was one of our concerns in October and November when Ms Ny requested that he return to Sweden - a concern that was validated on 18 November when Ms Ny sought an order for arrest that would have seen Julian held incommunicado pending trial. These pre-trial conditions have been criticised by international human rights bodies. Aside from human rights concerns, as noted above, Julian was at that time preparing for the release of the Iraq War Logs (23 October 2010) and Cablegate (28 November 2010). Had he returned to Sweden and been held incommunicado in pre-trial detention, these important and internationally significant WikiLeaks releases would have been jeopardised.

    • A guarantee be provided that his trial be heard in public: the press and public should be permitted entry to the Court. Other measures, similar to those deployed in Australian courts, can be taken to protect the women in giving their testimony.

    • A guarantee be provided that he will not be extradited to the United States, but instead will be allowed to travel back to Australia.

    In considering the risk of extradition to the US from Sweden, it must be recalled that Sweden has a history of complying with US requests to hand over persons of interest notwithstanding potential human rights concerns - international bodies have recently found Sweden liable for handing asylum seekers over to the CIA for torture (see Mohammed Alzery v. Sweden (Communication No. 1416/2005, UN Human Rights Committee) and Agiza v. Sweden (Communication No. 233/2003, UN Committee Against Torture, Decision of 24 May 2005 (CAT/C/34/D/233/2003)).

    Further, WikiLeaks cables released last December demonstrate that intelligence sharing and cooperation between Sweden and the US is far deeper than anyone had realised, calling into question Sweden’s perceived neutrality, and the extent of this cooperation had been hidden from the Swedish Parliament and the Swedish people.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  3. #13


    The Assange Extradition Hearing: Day 2
    Submitted by GMason on Fri, 02/03/2012 - 06:13
    News Analysis Legal Analysis Clare Montgomery EAW Extradition Julian Assange hearing UK Supreme Court WikiLeaks Wikileaks trials Sweden United Kingdom

    During the second and final day of the U.K. Supreme Court's hearings on Julian Assange's extradition, Matrix Chambers attorney Clare Montgomery offered her rebuttal to arguments made yesterday by Assange's counsel. (Dinah Rose is representing Assange in his fight against extradition to Sweden for questioning on sex crime allegations.)

    The week's proceedings have highlighted disparities of law among EU countries and the legal challenges involved in reconciling these conflicts. Assange's case may test the extent to which EU nations can maintain their legal autonomy under the rubric of a unified European system. It may also raise the question: to what degree will EU states have to harmonize their conflicting legal regimes in order to avoid this sort of continued legal wrangling in the future?

    Montgomery presented Sweden's case against Assange for about four hours, during which time she appeared to reject EU-wide legal standardization -- essentially arguing that respecting state sovereignty requires preserving the status quo. If it agreed with Montgomery's position, the Court would have to accept significant differences among EU nations in implementing EU-wide legal standards. By contrast, Assange's legal team largely took the position that, while allowing for some variation and inconsistency, the Court should mandate certain universal principles in the extradition process, because of the seriousness of the potential risk that extradition may pose to individual rights.

    Under EU law, only a competent "judicial authority" may legitimately issue a European Arrest Warrant (EAW). As presented by Montgomery, Sweden's case boiled down to two core arguments: (1) a Swedish public prosecutor qualifies as such a "judicial authority"; and (2) a state requesting extradition (the "issuing authority") should have sole discretion to decide who qualifies as a "judicial authority." Montgomery rejected Rose's argument that extradition requires court involvement. Stating that parties seeking arrest are partial by their very nature, she dismissed Rose's position that a person requesting extradition must be impartial and independent.

    The heart of Montgomery's argument was that, because an EU state has discretion to determine who can issue EAWs, and this determination varies from state to state, "judicial authorities" in the issuing and responding states don't have to have the same qualifications. Montgomery stated that English custom that requires a court to issue arrest warrants is outside the norm; and she advocated for an expansive definition of the term "judicial authority" that could include anyone "who exercises authority under domestic law in connection with" the ministry of justice -- from public prosecutors to police officers.

    However, Montgomery's argument begs the question: if the U.K. is obligated to recognize Swedish custom -- which, unlike the U.K., allows interested prosecutors to issue extradition requests -- then isn't Sweden likewise obligated to recognize the U.K.'s right to refuse to extradite, based on the U.K.'s own application of the law? Logically, Montgomery's argument should make extradition discretionary on both sides. But Montgomery argued the opposite: she stated that, since the 2003 Extradition Act was intended to streamline the process, complying with an EAW is basically automatic and mandated upon request.

    In response, the Court asked Montgomery: because of the nature of the individual rights potentially harmed by extradition, shouldn't issuance of an EAW demand a bit more than is needed to arrest someone domestically? One of the Lords opined that "anyone would think" that issuing an EAW should require the involvement of some kind of judge. But Montgomery responded that issuing a domestic arrest warrant -- which is a prerequisite for issuing an EAW -- involves enough court process to validate an extradition request.

    Rose spent the final hour of the hearing mostly reasserting her arguments made yesterday -- that, because Sweden's public prosecutor Marianne Ny is not a qualified "judicial authority," Ny's EAW demanding Assange's extradition is invalid. Her position echoed that of former Assange counsel Geoffrey Robertson, who wrote earlier this week:
    "The notion that a prosecutor is a ‘judicial authority’ is a contradiction in terms. ... Judges must, as their defining quality, be independent of government. Police and prosecutors employed and promoted by the state obviously cannot be perceived as impartial if they are permitted to decide issues on the liberty of individuals. They are expected to be zealous in working up evidence against a suspect, so they are the last people who can be trusted to weigh up impartially the evidence they themselves have drummed up. That is a matter for a court."

    As Robertson also notes, Montgomery's insistence on an expansive definition of the term "judicial authority" is necessary to serve "the international purpose of ... allowing a system that does not have harmonious practices and procedures." Robertson continues:
    "It will be inconvenient if Assange’s appeal succeeds, because 12 European countries will have to change their extradition procedures if they want to get their hands on suspects from the U.K. But the argument from inconvenience is the classic way for civil liberties to be lost."

    The 2003 Extradition Act that lies at the heart of this hearing was a post-9/11 statute intended to facilitate the process of extraditing "persons of interest." One question raised by the week's proceedings is how well this post-disaster measure of expediency will hold up against future challenges based on encouraging legal consistency and protecting human rights.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  4. #14


    The Assange Extradition Hearing: Day 1
    Submitted by GMason on Wed, 02/01/2012 - 22:33
    News Analysis Legal Analysis EAW Extradition Julian Assange hearing UK Supreme Court Sweden United Kingdom United States Wikileaks trials Wikileaks

    At Day 1 of the Julian Assange extradition hearing

    On the night before the hearing began, one dedicated Assange supporter in London told me that she planned to arrive at Court by 6 a.m., ahead of the throngs that she expected based on the turnout at Assange's hearing last November. No doubt the freezing February temperatures kept large crowds at home this morning; instead of the masses anticipated, there were only a few orderly lines segregated into cameramen, sign-wielding protesters, and the courtroom audience -- a mix of media representatives, Assange faithfuls, and the curious. I was in the latter line, which was also peppered with a few Occupy London luminaries. During the next hour of collective shivering, I met journalists from all over Europe and the U.S., who now braved frigid weather to witness this historic proceeding. Arriving at around 8:30, one hour before the Court opened to the public, I witnessed the expectant crowd devolve into a chorus of complaints as the early-morning, late-winter wind chill robbed our fingers of almost all feeling.

    But, mercifully, 9:30 at last arrived -- as did Assange, soon after. The white-haired WikiLeaks founder offered a spirited hello to the crowd and preceded us into the Court.

    At the entry, Court staff had handed out a media briefing, which included the following details:
    "Issue: Whether a European Arrest Warrant ('EAW') issued by a public prosecutor is a valid Part I EAW issued by a 'judicial authority' for the purpose and within the meaning of sections 2 and 66 of the Extradition Act 2003.

    "Facts: The Appellant, a journalist well known through his operation of Wikileaks, visited Sweden to give a lecture in August 2010. He had sexual relations with two women. Both women went to the police who treated their visits as the filing of complaints. The Appellant was interviewed by police and subsequently left Sweden in ignorance of the fact that a domestic arrest warrant had been issued for him. Proceedings were brought in the Swedish courts in the Appellant's absence, although he was represented, in which a domestic warrant for the Appellant's detention for interrogation was granted and upheld on appeal. Subsequently, an EAW for the Appellant was issued by the Swedish Prosecution Authority that set out allegations of four offences of unlawful coercion and sexual misconduct including rape. The EAW was certified by the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency under the Extradition Act 2003. The Appellant surrendered himself for arrest in the UK and, following an extradition hearing, his extradition to Sweden was ordered. The order was upheld on appeal to the Divisional Court."

    Inexplicably, the wifi in the entire court building died right after my third live-tweet, about 2 minutes into the proceedings. Also, this being England, no power outlets were in sight; and since, for the past 5 years, none of my laptops has held a charge for more than an hour or so, I was stuck taking hand-written notes throughout the hearing. Thus handicapped by the snail's pace of writing with benumbed fingers, lack of internet access, and minimal familiarity with EU law, during the next five hours I nevertheless took the following notes:

    Assange, the Appellant in the 2-day proceedings, was represented by attorney Dinah Rose, who displayed stamina as she held the floor during a four-hour virtual monologue, interrupted only by questions from the seven Lords of the Court.

    At the outset, Rose characterized the case as a "simple issue of law." Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden following the issuance of an EAW by Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny. The Extradition Act 2003 requires any arrest warrant to be issued by a judicial authority. Since, Rose asserted, Ny is not a "judicial authority," then there exists no legal basis for Assange's extradition. Though the term appears to be ill-defined, Rose averred that a "judicial authority" must exercise independent power granted by law; and, as a party to the proceedings, a Swedish prosecutor cannot be independent and is thus not competent to issue an EAW. The next five hours consisted mainly of exploration and variations of this theme.

    Assange's team noted that the 2003 legislation (enacted soon after the 2001 U.S. terrorist attacks) restricted the ability of EU nations to refuse to extradite persons of interest to requesting nations. This new system, Rose argued, depends on mutual trust and confidence -- confidence that is undermined if arrest warrants can be issued by a prosecutor, rather than the authority of a court. Moreover, she stated, the new streamlining, simplification, and acceleration of the extradition process must be balanced with protection of individual rights. Those subject to extradition under an EAW can suffer severe deprivations including detention, loss of employment, and separation from family members. Given the severity of the possible restrictions on individual freedom, Rose stated, substantial safeguards must be in place to make the pan-European system of arrest warrants acceptable, and only a court should hold authority to issue an EAW.

    Also problematic, according to Rose, is the inconsistent application of the law in different EU nations. She stated that Sweden and other countries that allow issuance of an EAW by a public prosecutor or other person other than a competent judicial authority are in breach of the system. Assange's counsel argued further that, although nothing in the EAW framework decision prevents a state like Sweden from issuing a non-judicial EAW, other states are not obligated to honor that EAW; and legally, therefore, extradition is effectively discretionary. Nevertheless, in order to be valid, an EAW must have specific features. In addition to being a "competent judicial authority," an official who issues an EAW must be independent from both the executive and the parties. According to Rose, since Swedish prosecutors do not meet the independence requirement, by definition they cannot qualify as competent judicial authorities. Throughout the proceeding, Rose exposed the balancing act involved in reconciling the different legal systems within the EU and the 2003 Act's requirement of consistency regarding the necessity of an independent, competent judicial authority to issue EAWs.

    Over the course of the day, Rose ran through statutes, case law, and legislative history supporting her argument regarding the inability of a public prosecutor to fulfill the independence requirement. Assange's counsel pointed out that the initial draft of the EAW's framework decision did allow for prosecutors to issue EAWs, but this provision was omitted from the final, enacted version; Rose argued that this indicated that the EU member states deliberately rejected the idea of a public prosecutor acting as a judicial authority competent to issue EAWs. She averred that the "insistence on a true judicialization" of the EAW process demonstrated a concern for the seriousness of the individual rights that are impaired by the issuance of an EAW.

    The Assange extradition hearing is scheduled to conclude tomorrow; according to the media briefing, opposing counsel Clare Montgomery will argue for the first 2.5 hours, followed by the Assange team's one-hour reply.

    But no one expects a quick decision once the hearing wraps. The Court has signaled that it will likely reserve judgment for several weeks. In the event of an adverse decision, Assange may appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg -- which may or may not decide to take his case. And whether or not Ny's EAW is upheld by a court, the U.S. may still seek Assange's extradition and prosecute the journalist in the US.

    Asked last month whether the U.S. government will follow this course, U.S. Attorney General responded only: "We will see."
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  5. #15

    Default Meanwhile, back in the U SS of A.....

    AMY GOODMAN: The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has published an internal email from the private intelligence firm Stratfor that suggests the Justice Department has obtained a sealed indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In an email dated January 26, 2011, the vice president of Stratfor, Fred Burton, wrote, quote, "We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect," unquote.
    On Monday, WikiLeaks began publishing more than five million emails from Stratfor’s servers that were obtained by the hacker group Anonymous. The Justice Department has not confirmed the existence of the secret indictment, but it had been previously reported that a secret grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, met in 2010 and ’11 to consider criminal charges against Assange. Legal experts say the Justice Department could charge Assange under the Espionage Act for disseminating classified U.S. State Department cables and other information.
    On Tuesday, Assange released a statement condemning U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for conducting the secret grand jury. Assange said, quote, "This neo-McCarthyist witch hunt against WikiLeaks may be Mr Holder’s defining legacy. Any student of American history knows that secret justice is no justice at all. Justice must be seen to be done... Secret Grand Juries with secret indictments are apparently Eric Holder’s preferred method of dealing with publishers who hold his administration to account. Eric Holder has betrayed the legacy of Madison and Jefferson. He should drop the case or resign," said Assange.
    The news of the possible indictment against Assange comes less than a week after U.S. Army whistleblower Bradley Manning was arraigned for leaking classified military and State Department documents to WikiLeaks. The 24-year-old Manning was formally charged with 22 counts, including aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet, and theft of public property.
    Joining us now is Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He was at Bradley Manning’s arraignment and is a legal adviser to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. He’s the co-author of the book Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in 21st-Century America [with Margaret Ratner Kunstler].
    Michael Ratner, welcome to Democracy Now! Talk about the significance of this email that was on Stratfor’s servers that WikiLeaks has just released.
    MICHAEL RATNER: Well, it has a lot of important implications. First of all, we have a secret grand jury that, as we understand, was sitting in Alexandria, Virginia—secret. Then you have what the emails refer to as a sealed indictment. Again, it’s secret. And then somehow you have a private intelligence company, Stratfor, a "shadow CIA," as people have called it, having information about this sealed indictment—secret again—that Julian Assange doesn’t have, that WikiLeaks doesn’t have, that his lawyers don’t have. So, what you see here is secrecy, secrecy, secrecy, all for the purpose of keeping secret crimes that the United States has committed in Afghanistan and Iraq. So it appears that they will go to every length to try and keep secret material that the American people and the people of the world ought to know. So one major significance is that they’re continuing to use secrecy.
    The second one, if it’s true—and of course it looks like this guy, Fred Burton, was very high up at one point in the State Department diplomatic corps, was involved in counterterrorism, and, it’s very likely, has knowledge that may well be true about this sealed indictment. Already, the Obama administration has gone after six people under the Espionage Act, six different cases under the Espionage Act. That’s more cases under the Espionage Act than happened in—since the Espionage Act was actually begun in 1917. So you’re seeing really an effort by the Obama administration, despite claims to the contrary that they would have a more open government, that it wants a closed government and that it’s willing to go after journalists.
    And of course, a third implication is here is a clear case of going after WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, journalists who have revealed, you know, millions, at this point—certainly hundreds of thousands—of documents implicating the United States in serious crimes.
    AMY GOODMAN: I’m looking at another email from Fred Burton, the vice president of Stratfor, who says, "Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He’ll be eating cat food forever."
    MICHAEL RATNER: I have to say, when you read through the WikiLeaks press release, which has a number of the Stratfor documents that refer to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, they’re really sickening, because what they really say is we have to treat Julian Assange as a high-tech terrorist, we have to treat Julian Assange as somebody who we have to take down like al-Qaeda.
    And if you look at what they say they should do to Julian Assange, it’s actually what’s happened. One of the things the emails say is, "We have to cut off all their funding supplies. We have to just give them no money at all." And that’s why, of course, you see MasterCard and Visa having cut off any donations to WikiLeaks. "We have to go after his associates."
    AMY GOODMAN: Meaning they stopped anyone from giving them money online through their credit cards.
    MICHAEL RATNER: I can’t use my credit card—
    AMY GOODMAN: And PayPal.
    MICHAEL RATNER: —and I can’t use PayPal to give money to WikiLeaks. So what is said in the Stratfor documents that we have to do to Julian Assange has actually—and WikiLeaks—has actually happened. So you really have to ask yourself what’s going on here. We have this private intelligence company hand in glove—it’s like a revolving door—with U.S. intelligence.
    AMY GOODMAN: Now, Michael Ratner, explain again just what Stratfor is, why they have all this information.
    MICHAEL RATNER: Well, Stratfor is what you would call a private intelligence company. So, as you had on your show the other day, if you’re somebody from—if you’re somebody from Coca-Cola or some big corporation, and there’s some opposition to what you’re doing, whether it’s in Bhopal or with Coca-Cola, you hire Stratfor to try and get information on your opponents. And sure, some of the information is just, you know, regular, you know, what you can get off the internet. But some of it, if you read these documents, apparently is information they get from various people within the intelligence agencies. They then transmit that information to the company, so that they can combat opposition to their policies. And it’s not just private companies who hire Stratfor. Apparently, the U.S. Marines have hired Stratfor. The Department of Homeland Security has hired Stratfor. So what you see is the privatization of essentially the CIA operating in the United States.
    AMY GOODMAN: Now, Julian Assange is not a U.S. citizen. How is he possibly indicted for treason?
    MICHAEL RATNER: You know, I think—it’s not treason. It’s the Espionage Act. And in fact, one thing you just said, treason is under the Constitution. It’s adhering to your enemy, particularly during time of war. And in fact, the Espionage Act can be looked at as a way to get around the strict requirements of treason that are in the U.S. Constitution.
    In fact, I think there’s a serious question whether someone like Julian Assange, who is not a U.S. citizen, can be indicted under the Espionage Act. What duty does Julian Assange owe the United States vis-à-vis the Espionage Act? If I, tomorrow, surface documents that had to do with the Soviet Union, or Russia, rather, and what it’s doing in Chechnya, that were classified, could Russia actually get my extradition from the United States because I put out classified documents belonging to Russia? I don’t think so. But that would be—if they actually have an indictment and if they go after Julian Assange in the way that so far they’ve indicated they want to, that will certainly be an important issue. What duty did Julian Assange owe to the United States?
    AMY GOODMAN: Is Stratfor breaking the law? How is Stratfor selling intelligence legal, when WikiLeaks giving it away for free is not?
    MICHAEL RATNER: Well, certainly, if Stratfor is giving away classified material, if it’s actually getting information from people within the government that is classified, if it’s actually paying anybody within the government, then yes, Stratfor, by selling it, would be considered to be violating the law—and particularly if you look and compare Stratfor to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks is journalism. WikiLeaks is putting it out there. Stratfor is selling it privately. They’re not journalists. So they don’t have a journalist’s defense here.
    I mean, the important thing to understand about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange is this is, I think, perhaps the first time, if this indictment is true, that the United States has actually indicted a journalist for going—for revealing material given to him—apparently, allegedly given to him—by someone who had access to classified material. But it’s the first time that I know of where actual documents have been the subject of such a criminal indictment.
    AMY GOODMAN: You were at the arraignment of Bradley Manning?
    MICHAEL RATNER: Yes, I was there. I went down for that, last week.
    AMY GOODMAN: Tell us exactly what happened.
    MICHAEL RATNER: I had to go to Fort Meade. It’s hard to get in. They inspect your car. They open the trunks. You have to have insurance. You wait for hours. And then you walk into a courtroom that looks like a hospital room. It’s Celotex ceiling, cheap carpet, bright lights, eight-foot-high ceiling. And you sit in this really bureaucratic, antiseptic courtroom. There’s about eight spectators, maybe 10, maybe 10 press people. Bradley Manning walks in in his dress uniform, short haircut, glasses, sits down next to his attorney. And then there’s about a one-hour proceeding in which he is asked to plead guilty or not guilty, or a third choice, which is the one he took, to defer prosecution.
    And Amy, what I couldn’t get over is how bureaucratic it all is. Here you have the man who allegedly downloaded documents showing the number—you know, thousands of people, civilians, killed in Iraq, the "Collateral Murder" video, Reuters journalists being killed, children being shot, and they’re having this bureaucratic proceeding. And when I sat there, my feeling was only the people who should be in that room—first, the people who should be defendants are obviously the people who started this Iraq war and are continuing it, and the Afghan war. But the people who should be observing it are the dead Reuters journalists, their ghosts, the ghosts of the children and the people killed in Iraq, and the people killed in Afghanistan. That’s what this should be about. Instead, what this government is doing is taking a whistleblower like Bradley Manning and going after him because they don’t want whistleblowing, but they don’t want their crimes revealed. And people have to understand that. You can argue all you want about technical violations of the law, but in the end, what this is about is the United States wanting to suppress the truth.
    AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about Julian Assange’s fears? I saw him last July in London. I interviewed him on Independence Day weekend. And this concern about—well, we haven’t even talked about the possible extradition to Sweden. But if he is extradited, why he fears that he could be sent, more likely than extradited, to the United States than if he is in Britain, and what that would mean if he was brought into this country? Is it possible the sealed indictment would never be unsealed?
    MICHAEL RATNER: I mean, one of the reasons that the Center for Constitutional Rights and myself have been going to the Bradley Manning hearings is because what happened to Bradley Manning, and what is still happening to Bradley Manning, may very well and likely happen to Julian Assange.
    AMY GOODMAN: Now, is it true that Bradley Manning actually faces the death penalty?
    MICHAEL RATNER: Well, he has a—
    AMY GOODMAN: Though the prosecutors say they could give him life, that a judge could decide that they would give him death.
    MICHAEL RATNER: That’s correct. The aiding to the enemy charge, which is the first charge against him, against Bradley Manning, does carry a death penalty. What the prosecutor has said is they will not ask for the death penalty. I don’t know if that makes it impossible for the judge to give a death penalty. I think the judge could still give a death penalty in that case.
    But what could happen to Julian—look at Bradley Manning’s case, and ask yourself what can happen to Julian Assange. He spent nine months in solitaire, some of it stripped to the bone, forced to go outside and stand in formation stripped to the bone, temperature problems, in solitaire, no ability to really exercise, no materials—really what amounts to, and many people have said and I think, as well, amounts to torture for the nine months. Finally, there was a huge public outcry. Even the State Department official who was forced to resign, P.J. Crowley, said this isn’t right. And he was—and Manning—
    AMY GOODMAN: And that lost P.J. Crowley his job.
    AMY GOODMAN: He said that at MIT, the former State Department spokesperson. And soon he was out of his—
    AMY GOODMAN: —State Department spokepersonship position.
    MICHAEL RATNER: So that’s what to look at. Look at that example when you think of what could happen to Julian Assange. He comes here, he gets off some airplane, and they take him probably to Alexandria, Virginia, because where you go for the first—where you first land is usually where the indictment is. They take him to Alexandria.
    AMY GOODMAN: That’s where the secret grand jury is going to be.
    MICHAEL RATNER: That’s where the secret grand jury is. They put him into some hellhole in solitary. They put special administrative measures on him, which are called SAMs, that probably will allow no communication with anyone. Let’s say one of his lawyers wants to go in and talk to him. They can talk to them, but they probably can’t say anything outside, anything to the press or anything. So he gets treated like Bradley Manning. He gets SAMs put on him. And then—and then that continues. And he won’t get—very unlikely they would give him bail. So if you look at Bradley Manning, you can look at what happens to Julian Assange. And, of course, there is at this point—I don’t think there’s a death penalty charge—we don’t know until we see the indictment—against Julian Assange. There is a death penalty in a different part of the Espionage Act, but it’s not the one they seem to be investigating Julian Assange for.
    AMY GOODMAN: Could a sealed indictment never be unsealed?
    MICHAEL RATNER: No. A sealed indictment, if they—if and when they want to extradite him, they’re going to have to unseal that indictment. But at that point, he’s going to be in custody somewhere. I mean, he’s now in custody, arguably. He can’t leave England. He has a bracelet on. He has to check into the police station. So he is in custody still. But he’s not in a prison. If and when they decide—if and when they go for extradition, whether it’s from the U.K., United Kingdom, or from Sweden, if that’s where he is—
    AMY GOODMAN: And is it easier to extradite him from Sweden?
    MICHAEL RATNER: You know, we don’t know the answer to that. My guess is that a bigger country like England, which has incredibly good attorneys on extradition and has actually recently held up a hacker’s case, the guy who went into the Pentagon computer, a young man—eight years they’ve been trying to extradite him to the U.S. and haven’t gotten him—that Julian Assange will have the most support and the best legal team in the United Kingdom, and that Sweden, my guess, because it’s a smaller country that the U.S. can bat around, will be easier for the United States to get Julian Assange
    AMY GOODMAN: Michael Ratner, I want to thank you very much for being with us. Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, legal adviser to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, author of the book with [Margaret Ratner Kunstler] Hell No.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  6. #16


    The American people need to make a statement that the US Government does not represent them in the case of Mr Assange. That the American people demand Constitutional protection for Mr Assange for doing the transparency the US Government was avoiding in its recent international offenses.

  7. #17


    Christine Assange, mother of WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, has spent many long months reaching out to supporters and urging them to contact their local political representatives. Recognising that many politicians do not even know the true story behind WikiLeaks and her son's legal battles, she asks supporters to give them the facts as well as requesting their assistance.
    Christine today used her Twitter account and the #fact4mp hashtag to post more than 50 important talking points for supporters to disseminate:
    1. Wikileaks and Assange have not been charged with any crime in any country in the world. See
    2. WikiLeaks and Assange have been recognized for quality investigative journalism with many prestigious awards. See
    3. WikiLeaks has a perfect record regarding information reliability. No government has denied the authenticity of any documents.
    4. WikiLeaks redacts its documents, so to date not one person has been physically harmed by its publications.
    5. WikiLeaks exposes government and corporate corruption, fraud, shady deals, war crimes, torture, and kidnapping. It is in the public interest to know these things.
    6. WikiLeaks partnered with The Guardian, New York Times, Der Spiegal, Le Monde, and El Pais to publish Cablegate. Why target only WikiLeaks?
    7. WikiLeaks acts in accordance with traditional journalism. It publishes information given by various sources.
    8. WikiLeaks acts like traditional media but protects its sources with a secure anonymous Drop Box.
    9. WikiLeaks is a legal, legitimate, online news publisher, recognized as such by other journalist organizations worldwide.
    10. WikiLeaks is a non-profit independent publisher funded by donations from ordinary citizens from around the world.
    11. WikiLeaks goal is altruistic: "Justice Through Transparency." WikiLeaks is a catalyst for democracy movements around the world.
    12. WikiLeaks launched in 2006 to provide safety for whistleblowers in Third World regimes and dictatorships, and to inform the world of their plight.
    13. For the first four years, WikiLeaks published government and corporate wrong-doings from many countries.
    14. In 2010 WikiLeaks received files for the U.S. Collateral Murder video, Afghan War Diaries, Iraq War logs, and U.S. Embassy cables.
    15. The U.S. war videos and documents revealed war crimes, rorting, and lying by the U.S. government, regarding civilian casualties and war progress.
    16. U.S. cables revealed government and corporate exploitation, bullying, and manipulation of other governments (as well as good actions by U.S. officials).
    17. The cables revealed and confirmed to people WHO in their own governments and corporations was involved in shady wrong-doings.
    18. WikiLeaks exposed the attempted ALP "Clean Feed" internet censorship plan for Australia.
    19. The Australian government promoted "Clean Feed" as a way to filter child porn. The police opposed this as the images were peer-to-peer (not websites).
    20. WikiLeaks published the "Clean Feed" blacklist, which included politically contentious sites, anti-abortion sites, and euthanasia sites as well as WikiLeaks.
    21. "Clean Feed" was abandoned as a direct result of WikiLeaks’ exposure of its fundamentally undemocratic political nature.
    22. WikiLeaks exposed ALP Senator Mark Arbib as a protected source for the U.S. government for 4 years. Arbib was involved in an ALP coup that overthrew an elected Australian Prime Minister.
    23. In 2007 WikiLeaks released a cable showing the Australian government was risking the Great Barrier Reef, and secretly wavering penalties for U.S. tankers breaching laws in Torres Strait.
    24. In line with WikiLeaks’ harm minimization procedures, WikiLeaks asked the U.S. State Department to help with cable redactions. They refused.
    25. Note the timing:
    5/4/10 Collateral Murder video released
    24/6/10 Gillard coup
    25/7/10 Afghan Diaries released
    20/8/10 Sex allegations surface
    22/10/10 Iraq War logs released
    28/11/10 Cablegate released
    26. After the Afghan War Diary release, Julian visited Sweden to obtain residency and base WikiLeaks there (because they have good whistleblower laws).
    27. The U.S. was aware of more WikiLeaks releases to come and wrote threatening letters. Julian warned of entrapment plans.
    28. Woman AA invited Julian to speak in Sweden at a seminar about Aphganistan in mid August 2010
    29. Woman AA offered Julian her flat to stay in as she was going to be away but returned early.
    30. Woman SW stated she went to seminar to meet Julian & invited him to stay at her place.
    31. Both women have stated to police and media that sex was consensual and non-violent.
    32. Exculpatory evidence (txts 2 friends) show women had no complaints re sex till finding out about each other.
    33. Evidence (100+ txts btwn AA and SW) speak of revenge, making money, and ruining Julian's reputation by going to press.
    34. AA takes SW to visit a police station, not close by, but where her friend officer Irmeli Krans works.
    35. Officer Krans stayed back hours after shift ended to interview SW.
    36. Swedish police breach all their own procedures interviewing women AA & SW.
    37. Police interviews with women AA & SW were not recorded (against procedure).
    38. SW was so upset that police were going to allege rape, she does not sign her interview statement.
    39. SW has stated she felt "railroaded" into making the complaint.
    40. In Sweden, consensual, non-violent sex can be legally defined as "rape".
    41. On the same day, 1st prosecutor Maria Haljebo Kjellstrand unlawfully told the press Julian was wanted for rape.
    42. Julian was not interviewed or informed. He found out in the tabloid newspaper "Expressen" that he was wanted for double rape.
    43. Within hours there were millions of website hits for "Assange" + "rape" causing irreparable harm to Julian's reputation.
    44. Next day, after reviewing the file, Stockholm's Chief Prosecutor Eva Finne threw out the rape allegation.
    45. "I consider there are no grounds 4 suspecting he has committed rape," said Eva Finne, the Chief Prosecutor.
    46. The investigation into the lesser allegations of harassment only continued.
    47. Julian offered himself for interview on 30/8/10. Police promised not to unlawfully leak interview to the media again.
    48. Julian's police interview unlawfully turned up in the tabloid Expressen again the next day.
    49. Julian and his witnesses' interviews are videotaped while the women and their witnesses are not.
    50. The witness list becomes unbalanced against Julian as police do not follow up interviews with his witnesses.
    51. Police continue to leak file to tabloid media redacting sections favourable to Julian or unfavourable to women.
    52. The interpreter in police interrogation Gun Von Krusenstjerna was not authorized by relevant authority.
    A UK Supreme Court decision on extradition to Sweden is expected any day between now and March 14th. Christine Assange notes that if Julian gets extradited there will be protests outside DFAT offices in Australian cities and local MPs regional offices on the next day (or Monday if it's a Friday announcement).
    Australian supporters have already organised protests for Townsville ( and Sydney ( this week.
    Christine Assange will be appearing on March 17th from 2pm to 5pm at the Bleeding Heart Gallery, 166 Ann Street, Brisbane, as part of The War On WikiLeaks public discussion. All welcome:
    More Links:
    Former Australian diplomat Tony Kevin’s brief to Australian MPs on political agenda, U.S and Sweden, entrapment:
    Lawyer Jen Robinson brief to Australian MPs on facts, timeline, players, concerns re Sweden fit up re WikiLeaks:
    Lawyer Peter Kemp brief to Australian MPs 2/3/11 re breaches of legal and human rights, political agendas, extradition:
    OzWikiWatch, a site to help Australians contact their MPs and Senators and build a register of political support of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks:
    Follow Christine Assange @AssangeC on Twitter for more.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  8. #18

    Default Further evidence of secret US indictment of Julian Assange

    Further evidence of secret US indictment of Julian Assange

    By Mike Head
    1 March 2012

    Internal emails obtained from the US private intelligence firm Stratfor indicate that the Obama administration has had a secret indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for more than 12 months. The emails, published by WikiLeaks this week, also point to the close involvement of the Australian Labor government and intelligence agencies in the operation against Assange, an Australian citizen.The emails were sent by Fred Burton, Stratfor’s vice-president for counterterrorism and corporate security. Burton is a former deputy chief of the US Department of State’s counterterrorism division for the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). The DSS is playing a leading investigative role in the ongoing operation to extradite Assange to the US, where he would be tried under the Espionage Act of 1917 and could face the death penalty.In January 2011, Burton revealed in Stratfor correspondence that a secret grand jury had issued an indictment: “Not for Pub—We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect.” According to Burton: “Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He’ll be eating cat food forever.”A few weeks earlier, following Assange’s release from a London jail, where he had been remanded as a result of a Swedish prosecutor’s arrest warrant, Burton told SkyNews: “extradition [to the US is] more and more likely.”Burton’s emails indicate that the US government is employing the same “counter-terrorism” methods against WikiLeaks as against Al Qaeda. “Take down the money. Go after his infrastructure. The tools we are using to nail and de-construct Wiki are the same tools used to dismantle and track aQ [Al Qaeda],” he wrote.Later Burton pointed to a relentless dirty tricks and destabilisation operation. “Ferreting out [Assange’s] confederates is also key. Find out what other disgruntled rogues inside the tent or outside [sic]. Pile on. Move him from country to country to face various charges for the next 25 years. But, seize everything he and his family own, to include every person linked to Wiki.”The Stratfor emails undoubtedly reflect sentiments inside the Obama administration to exact revenge on Assange and destroy WikiLeaks for having exposed US war crimes all over the globe. These exposures began in April 2010, when WikiLeaks released a video of a massacre of civilians in Baghdad by a US attack helicopter. Since then the site has released thousands of documents detailing US killings of civilians and complicity in torture in Afghanistan and Iraq, and numerous other conspiracies carried out by Washington and its allies.Burton’s emails help confirm earlier reports, dating back to December 2010, that a secret grand jury had been empanelled in Virginia, near Washington, to prepare a sealed indictment under the Espionage Act.In the past, this reactionary law has mostly been used to prosecute government officials who make classified information available to foreign agents. Now it is being employed to censor publication of politically damaging information. In earlier periods, the act was invoked to imprison American socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs, execute Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for allegedly passing nuclear information to the Soviet Union, and prosecute Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers, which exposed the US war crimes in Vietnam.Responding to the Stratfor disclosures, Assange said: “For over a year now, the US Attorney General Eric Holder has been conducting a ‘secret’ grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks. This neo-McCarthyist witch-hunt against WikiLeaks may be Mr. Holder’s defining legacy. Any student of American history knows that secret justice is no justice at all.”The Stratfor correspondence makes clear the connection between Assange’s indictment and the imprisonment of alleged WikiLeaks source Private Bradley Manning. In an email to Stephen Feldhaus, Stratfor legal counsel, Burton remarked: “I look forward to Manning and Assange facing a bajillion-thousand counts [of espionage].”Manning has been held in US military brigs for more than one-and-a-half years, and subjected to months of solitary confinement, forced nakedness, sleep deprivation and other cruelties amounting to torture. This brutal treatment is aimed at forcing him into a plea bargain to help the US government’s case against Assange. Currently under house arrest in Britain, Assange is awaiting a decision in his UK Supreme Court appeal against extradition to Sweden on baseless sex charges, which could quickly lead to his extradition to the US.Assange’s arrest, in December 2010, came just after WikiLeaks began publishing 251,287 leaked US embassy cables, the largest collection of confidential documents ever released into the public domain. WikiLeaks was subsequently subject to a block on financial donations by Visa, MasterCard and PayPal, forcing it to suspend its activities.It is clear that Australian authorities, acting on the instructions of the Gillard government, are heavily involved in the conspiracy against Assange. In July 2010, Burton wrote to George Friedman, Stratfor CEO and founder: “We probably asked the ASIS [Australian Secret Intelligence Service] to monitor Wiki coms and email, after the soldier from Potomac [Manning] was nabbed. So, it’s reasonable to assume we probably already know who has done it. The delay could be figuring out how to declassify and use the Aussie intel on Wiki.”Because of the widespread support for Assange in Australia and internationally, the Australian government has repeatedly denied any knowledge of his indictment. Yesterday, in parliament, the government’s Senate leader, Chris Evans, again stated: “I can tell you that the Australian government is not aware of any charges by the US government against Mr. Assange.”These denials fly in the face of the record. The Labor government publicly backed the persecution of Assange from the outset. In December 2010, Prime Minister Julia Gillard improperly declared the WikiLeaks publication of the US cables “illegal.” Without any legal basis, the then-attorney general, Robert McClelland, claimed that obtaining classified information was also an offence under Australian law. The government authorised an investigation, involving ASIS, the Australian Federal Police and other security agencies, to assist the US witch hunt.The Labor government’s complicity in the drive to railroad the WikiLeaks founder to jail is entirely in line with its unequivocal alignment behind the Obama administration’s aggressive measures to confront China and other deemed threats to Washington’s geo-strategic and economic interests. Canberra’s involvement in the Assange operation is of a piece with Gillard’s agreement to station US troops and host more US military planes, ships and submarines.Assange and WikiLeaks are being pursued because their cable leaks have helped lay bare the criminal objectives and operations of US imperialism and its allies, including Australia, which stand in direct opposition to the interests and sentiments of the broad mass of the world’s population

    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  9. #19


    Magda, Any reaction to this 'Down-Under'? It is not surprising, but that the proof is now there is a bit amazing. If you think what has happened and will happen to Manning is rough, it will be child's play compared to what the USG would do with Assange!!!! Gitmo or worse would be his fate! Torture and worse. Life in prison, minimum - death, maybe. And, apparently, the Australian Govt. sits on its hands and lets all of this happen to one of their citizens - perhaps even participates in this travesty of Justice!
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  10. #20

    Default Assange-link lawyer on 'inhibited' fly list

    Assange-link lawyer on 'inhibited' fly list

    Henrietta Cook

    April 19, 2012 - 2:30PM
    • Read later

    'Watch list'... One-time WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson.
    An Australian human rights lawyer and WikiLeaks supporter has reportedly been placed on a watch list and requires permission from the Department of Foreign Affairs to fly home.
    Jennifer Robinson claims she was stopped at Heathrow airport this morning, only days after meeting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
    Ms Robinson said she was told she was on an inhibited travel list and unable to enter Australia without permission from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
    Advertisement: Story continues below
    "Just delayed from checking in at LHR because I'm apparently 'inhibited' - requiring approval from Australia House @dfat to travel," she tweeted.
    An airport security guard told the London-based human rights lawyer she "must have done something controversial" and said he would have to phone the embassy, she said.
    She then tweeted, "@dfat Please explain: What is the 'inhibited' travel list? And why am I now apparently on it?"
    The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was not aware of any Australian government restrictions on Ms Robinson's travel.
    "As an Australian with a valid passport, she would be free to return to Australia at any stage," a spokesman said.
    "The UK border authorities or airline of travel may be able to provide further insight on claims that she was impeded from boarding her flight."
    WikiLeaks expressed concern about the incident, which comes only a day after Mr Assange's talk show The World Tomorrowpremiered on TV network Russia Today with an interview with Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the militant group Hezbollah.
    "Jennifer Robinson (@suigenerisjen) met with Assange on Monday. Assange show broadcast Tuesday. Australian watchlist incident Wednesday," WikiLeaks tweeted.
    Robinson's twitter name @suigenerisjen began trending in Melbourne and Sydney shortly after the incident. It is believed she was eventually able to board the plane, which is flying to Sydney via Hong Kong.
    Greens Senator Scott Ludlam fired off an angry tweet to the Department of Foreign Affairs, requesting information about why the human rights lawyer was allegedly placed on a watch list.
    "@DFAT care to explain why @suigenerisjen is on your watch list? what kind of threat do human rights lawyers pose exactly? #auspol," he tweeted.
    Ms Robinson is the director of legal advocacy at the Bertha Foundation in London.
    She advises WikiLeaks and Mr Assange and acted for Mr Assange in extradition proceedings in Britain.
    She recently recently appeared on behalf of WikiLeaks at the Bradley Manning court proceedings in the United States.
    The Rhodes scholar is due to speak at a Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House event in early May and was travelling to Australia to speak on a panel titled Lawyers on the Frontline at tomorrow's Commonwealth Lawyer's Association's Regional Law Conference.
    Attorney-General Nicola Roxon will speak about terrorism and human rights at the same event.
    The UK Border Agency has been contacted by The Age but is currently closed.

    Read more:
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

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