Assange allegations dropped, but he's not going anywhere

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, 2011. Toby Melville/Reuters

Two allegations of sexual assault leveled against Julian Assange by Swedish police were dropped Thursday due to that nation's statute of limitations.

But he still faces a more serious rape allegation and remains subject to if ever he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

“Julian Assange, on his own accord, has evaded prosecution by seeking refuge in the embassy of Ecuador,” Swedish chief prosecutor Marianne Ny said in a statement. “As the statute of limitation has [expired] … I am compelled to discontinue the investigation.”

Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, has not been charged in connection to the allegations and denies them, maintaining that they amount to politically motivated retaliation for his work exposing embarrassing government misdeeds. His lawyers say that should he travel to Sweden, he will be extradited to the U.S., which recently sentenced whistleblower (and Assange source) Chelsea Manning to 35 years' imprisonment.

“I am an innocent man. I haven’t even been charged," Assange told The Guardian. "From the beginning I offered simple solutions. Come to the [Ecuadorian] embassy to take my statement or promise not to send me to the United States. This Swedish official refused both.”

Since Assange entered Ecuador's embassy in 2012 and was granted asylum, the UK government has spent more than £12m maintaining a round-the-clock police presence at its doors to prevent him leaving.

The situation is a bureaucratic farce: Swedish prosecutors say they are willing to interview Assange in London, but Ecuador will not permit them to do so within their embassy. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning threatened with 'indefinite solitary confinement' for expired toothpaste and asking for a lawyer

The infractions she's charged with are so minor, it's hard to believe.

How you can contribute to whistleblower Chelsea Manning's legal defense fund

Chelsea Manning's extraordinary act of whistleblowing continues to enrich journalism, the public, and the historic record to this day. Chelsea is currently appealing her unjust conviction and 35-year jail sentence under the Espionage Act, but her legal team is deeply in debt. Freedom of the Press Foundation is helping to raise money for her appeal by offering a way for people to donate to her legal defense here.

Report: US pursuing active criminal case against Wikileaks' Assange

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is the target of “a multi-subject investigation" by the FBI, US court documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request reveal. Read the rest

A profile of Julian Assange, by his ghostwriter

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, 2011. Toby Melville/Reuters

"Ghosting," by Andrew O’Hagan, is a most interesting personal profile of the Wikileaks founder by a writer in the most interesting position of having ghostwritten Assange's autobiography. Assange later disavowed the project, telling publisher Canongate "All memoir is prostitution," and sought to have his contract canceled and the book killed. It was published.

From O'Hagan's account of their first meeting, in which they discussed the sort of book Assange originally wished to write--part memoir, part manifesto:

Read the rest

Update on WikiLeaks grand jury: no indictment yet, but grand jury continues

Julian Assange. Image: Reuters.

A story in the Washington Post today quotes unnamed "senior law enforcement sources" as saying that US prosecutors haven't yet filed a sealed indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but the nearly three-year grand jury investigation continues.

The report follows weeks of rumors that an indictment was imminent, after the unsealing of an indictment for Edward Snowden. One source quoted in the story says, “Nothing has occurred so far. If Assange came to the U.S. today, he would not be arrested. But I can’t predict what’s going to happen. He might be in six months.” Read the rest

Bradley Manning expected to speak in court Wednesday, "my problem" email surfaces in trial

Paul David Adkins, drawn by Clark Stoeckley.

U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning departs Fort Meade courtroom July 30, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Today at the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the former intelligence analyst who provided Wikileaks with hundreds of thousands of classified government documents, Former Master Sergeant Paul David Adkins testified. He explained to the court his "deficient response" to several incidents involving Manning which now, in retrospect, are understood to have deserved more attention.

Manning's attorney David Coombs says the defendant will "take the stand" tomorrow, Wednesday August 14. Whether he will do so as a witness or an unsworn statement is not clear.

A few months before the leaks to Julian Assange, Manning sent Adkins an email titled “My Problem,” with an attached photo of Manning dressed in a wig and makeup, presenting as female. Snip from that email written by Bradley Manning to his superior officer, which was presented in court today: Read the rest

After Bradley Manning's mixed verdict, trial moves to sentencing phase

On Tuesday, Col. Denise Lind, the military judge in Bradley Manning's court-martial, found the former Army intelligence officer guilty of 20 of 22 charges brought by the government against him.

The 25-year-old Oklahoma native was accused of leaking classified information while stationed in Iraq to Julian Assange, who published it at and provided news organizations with access. Manning was found not guilty of "aiding the enemy," the most serious charge which carried a possible life sentence, but was found guilty of 6 Espionage Act charges and other offenses that could add up to 136 years of prison time.

Today, at 930am Eastern time, Judge Lind reconvened court at Fort Meade to begin the sentencing phase of the trial.

Read the rest

World awaits verdict in Bradley Manning's trial

Xeni Jardin reports from Ft. Meade, Md., on the trial of the accused Wikileaks whistleblower

Bradley Manning trial judge increased press security "because of repeat violations of the rules of court”

Col. Denise Lind, the Judge in the Bradley Manning military trial. Pic by Clark Stoeckley (twitter: @wikileakstruck).

Huffington Post reporter Matt Sledge read my Boing Boing post earlier today about reports from the Bradley Manning trial of dramatically-increased security measures for press. Those measures including armed military police standing behind journalists at their laptops, snooping on their screens.

He reports that the new, oppressive security measures were ordered directly by the judge because reporters were violating court rules (which no one can find a copy of), and carrying "prohibited electronics." For this, the government needs armed military police standing right behind reporters as they type, in the media room.

Read the rest

In final phase of Bradley Manning trial, a defense of Wikileaks

Charlie Savage at the New York Times covers proceedings in the court-martial of PFC Bradley Manning at Ft. Meade, on the day the defense rested its case. The final witness for the defense was Harvard law professor Yochai Benkler, who authored this widely-cited paper on WikiLeaks. Benkler testified that the organization served a legitimate journalistic role when Manning leaked it some 700,000 or more secret government files. Read the rest

US vs. Bradley Manning: defense rests, Manning won't testify, Wikileaks gets respect

At dawn today, Army personnel at Ft. Meade inspected the vehicles of reporters who arrived to cover the Wikileaks trial. One of the vehicles was @wikileakstruck. Photo: Xeni Jardin.

Yochai Benkler testifying on July 10 in the Bradley Manning court martial. Sketch by Clark Stoeckley (@wikileakstruck).

I traveled to Ft. Meade, Maryland today to observe the trial of Army PFC. Bradley Manning. The 25-year-old Oklahoma native has admitted to providing Wikileaks with more than 700,000 leaked documents, which included battle reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, State Department diplomatic cables, and military videos from combat zones.

Manning downloaded the material from a military network in late 2009 and early 2010 while serving in Iraq as an intelligence analyst. WikiLeaks published much of the material, and shared it with news organizations including Der Spiegel, The Guardian, and the New York Times, which in turn published reports of their own based on the leaked material.

Manning has not, did not, and today told the court he will not testify in the military court martial. In March, however, he gave an extensive statement to Colonel Denise Lind's court about his motivations. Freedom of the Press Foundation, of which I am a board member, published an audio recording of that speech .

Manning has pled guilty to ten charges, which carry a maximum penalty of up to twenty years in prison. The government has continued to pursue all of its initial charges against him, including charges under the Espionage Act and "aiding the enemy." Civil liberties advocates argue that a guilty verdict could have dangerous consequences on press freedom and First Amendment issues in America. Read the rest

Bradley Manning military trial updates: live-blogs, who to follow on Twitter, and analysis

Army private Bradley Manning pleaded guilty on Thursday to 10 of the 19 total charges made by the US that he leaked unprecedented amounts of classified material to Wikileaks, the anti-secrecy organization run by Julian Assange.

Manning entered a not guilty plea to the government's more serious charge of "aiding the enemy," which carries a possible maximum sentence of life in prison. In a statement before the military court today, Manning said he leaked the classified information to "spark a domestic debate."

Liveblog coverage of his trial: Mother Jones, Reuters.

Ed Pilkington at the Guardian reports Manning first contacted the Washington Post about providing them with some of the classified material while he was on leave in January 2010; the the woman who answered the phone said the "paper would only be interested [in the documents] subjected to vetting by senior editors."

Read the rest

Army releases some documents on Bradley Manning case

In response to Freedom of Information Act requests, the military today released 84 court documents related to the case of Bradley Manning. As is routine, many of the documents are redacted.

The Army private is charged with being the source of classified documents published by WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization headed by Julian Assange.

The documents released today include court orders, and various rulings read aloud in court. The DoD says more documents will be released, pending review and redaction.

Read the rest

John Cusack and Jonathan Turley in conversation: the future of leaks, and of Wikileaks

At the Huffington Post, actor and activist John Cusack has a conversation with George Washington Law School professor and constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, and Kevin McCabe, a pal of Cusack. The three discuss "WikiLeaks' impact on transparency, the government's response, and the comparison to the Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg." Read the rest

NYT: In Manning case, "Jailers Become the Accused"

The New York Times finally gets around to covering the Bradley Manning hearings at Fort Meade, MD. The accused private faces a life sentence if convicted on charges he supplied WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of confidential military and diplomatic documents. But for now, his attorney "has grilled one Quantico official after another, demanding to know why his client was kept in isolation and stripped of his clothing at night as part of suicide-prevention measures." Read the rest

Bradley Manning's pre-trial hearing: live-blogging, live-tweeting, and live-sketching

Bradley Manning (by Clark Stoeckley)

Kevin Gosztola is liveblogging the pre-trial hearing of suspected Wikileaks source Bradley Manning at Ft. Meade.

Also in the courtoom, the Guardian's Ed Pilkington, and Arun Rath of Frontline/PRI's The World, both of whom live-tweeted the proceedings today.

Artist Clark Stoeckley (@WikileaksTruck on Twitter) is also present, and is live-sketching. I like his coverage the best.

Read the rest

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