Court document refers to U.S. charge against Julian Assange; source says prosecution planned

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been charged with crime in the U.S., according to one court document, while anonymous sources tell the Wall Street Journal the Department of Justice is planning to prosecute him.

The supposed charge was revealed by a reference to it in an unrelated case against someone named Seitu Sulayman Kokayi: “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer.

It's not clear what the charge is and a spokesman for the Eastern District of Virginia U.S. attorney’s office told Huffington Post it was "not the intended name for this filing," leaving open the question of whether he has in fact been charged.

However, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that U.S. authorities are "optimistic" about pressing charges.

“I have no idea if he has actually been charged or for what, but the notion that the federal criminal charges could be brought based on the publication of truthful information is an incredibly dangerous precedent to set,” said Barry J. Pollack, one of Assange’s attorneys, in reaction to the news.

Assange remains holed up at the Ecuadorean embassy in London after skipping bail on his extradition to Sweden, where he was accused of rape. Though the Swedish prosecution was eventually dropped, Assange still faces arrest on the bail issue if he leaves the embassy, and fears this will be used to engineer his extradition to the United States. Read the rest

Assange to sue Ecuador

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London for years to avoid being arrested by British cops for skipping bail. Read the rest

Ecuador expected to hand Assange to UK (Update: Ecuador denies)

Ecuador is to rescind Julian Assange's political asylum, reports Reuters, effectively dooming him to arrest by British authorities for jumping bail.

Assange has been living in Ecuador’s London embassy since June 2012 when he successfully sought asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning about allegations of sex crimes which he has always denied.

Those allegations have since been dropped but Assange would be arrested by British police should he leave the embassy for breaching bail conditions. He believes that would pave the way for extradition to the United States for the publication of a huge cache of U.S. diplomatic and military secrets on the WikiLeaks website.

Update: An official statement from Ecuador's government denies it. [via Kevin Poulsen] Read the rest

Democratic Party lawsuit says Russia, Trump campaign, WikiLeaks conspired to hack 2016 presidential campaign

The Democratic National Committee today filed a lawsuit against the Russian government, Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and WikiLeaks, alleging the Trump campaign 'gleefully welcomed Russia's help.' Court papers describe a far-reaching conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 presidential campaign, and throw the election for Donald Trump through a complex and well-funded global disinformation campaign. Read the rest

How a cooked Assange quote ended up media gospel

Wikileaks, the clearing house for state secrets, seems more about founder Julian Assange's grudges these days: especially the one for Hillary Clinton. Much fuss was made over a quote—that he had "enough evidence" to guarantee an indictment of her—that was widely attributed to him. It turns out, though, that the quote doesn't check out: most point to a mangled interview on the UK's ITV where it isn't even said. Jesse Singal set out to track down a source that no-one bothered to verify. It's a surprisingly tantalizing and teasing journey, but the tl;dr seems to be that the quote was originally fabricated by the blog Zero Hedge. Read the rest

Julian Assange had promised to turn himself if the UN ruled his detention lawful

When a UN panel from the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention upheld Julian Assange's claim that he was being unlawfully detained in London's Ecuadorean embassy, they also stopped Assange from turning himself in to the London police. Read the rest

UN panel determines Assange "arbitrarily detained"

A UN panel has concluded that Julian Assange is being "arbitrarily detained," reports the BBC

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, knowing that he will be arrested if he leaves. Originally detained in connection to rape and sexual assault claims out of Sweden, Assange says the claims are false and crafted to disrupt his whistleblowing work.

Downing Street said the panel's ruling would not be legally binding in the UK while a European Arrest Warrant remained in place.

"We have been consistently clear that Mr Assange has never been arbitrarily detained by the UK but is, in fact, voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy," he added.

"The UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden." The Swedish foreign ministry said in a statement that it noted the UN panel's decision "differs from that of the Swedish authorities".

Read the rest

Assange allegations dropped, but he's not going anywhere

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

Wikileaks' Assange asks Swedish police to investigate FBI, US intel activity

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks publisher and Australian Senate candidate currently sheltered in Ecuador's London Embassy, "has lodged a formal complaint asking Swedish police to open a criminal investigation into alleged illegal United States intelligence activity in Europe directed against WikiLeaks and himself." [the Age] Read the rest

Ecuador: our London embassy was bugged

Representatives of the government of Ecuador in London claim to have discovered a hidden microphone inside its London embassy where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is living. The bug is being analyzed by forensics experts, and Ecuador intends to diclose more information on who controlled or planted it as they are available. It "was found inside the office of the Ecuadorean ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ana Alban, at the time of a visit to the embassy by Patino to meet with Assange on June 16."

[Reuters] Read the rest

UK spooks' candid opinions of the Assange affair revealed

Julian Assange has presented a set of data protection act liberated messages from GCHQ, the UK spy headquarters, concerning his own case. According to Assange, the messages reveal that UK spies believed that the Swedish rape inquiry against him was a "fit up" aimed at punishing him for his involvement in Wikileaks (many believe that the Swedish government would have aided in Assange's extradition to the USA, where there is a sealed Grand Jury indictment against him). He also revealed cables relating to the spies' candid opinion about his sheltering in the Ecuadorian embassy:

A message from September 2012, read out by Assange, apparently says: "They are trying to arrest him on suspicion of XYZ … It is definitely a fit-up… Their timings are too convenient right after Cablegate..."

...A second instant message conversation from August last year between two unknown people saw them call Assange a fool for thinking Sweden would drop its attempt to extradite him.

The conversation, as read out by Assange, goes: "He reckons he will stay in the Ecuadorian embassy for six to 12 months when the charges against him will be dropped, but that is not really how it works now is it? He's a fool… Yeah … A highly optimistic fool."

GCHQ acknowledges that the messages are real, but, "The disclosed material includes personal comments between some members of staff and do not reflect GCHQ's policies or views in any way."

Julian Assange reveals GCHQ messages discussing Swedish extradition [Giles Tremlett and Ben Quinn/Guardian] 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

UK/Ecuador Assange asylum standoff continues

Photo: the scene outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London at this hour, via @wiseupforBM.

The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, has accepted Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's bid for asylum. Whether the UK will allow the Wikileaks founder to exit the South American country's embassy in London to enter exile is another matter entirely. The scene around the embassy over the last 24 hours has grown increasingly intense: police vans circling, cops entering the building where the embassy is located, protesters upset that the UK would seemingly violate decades of diplomatic precedent to grab a man who has not yet been charged with a crime. Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden over accusations of sexual assault against two Swedish women.

Backpack broadcaster James Albury has been webcasting here. Read the rest

Ecuador's president denies granting asylum to Wikileaks' Assange

The Guardian reports that the Ecuadorean government will grant asylum to embattled Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The New York Times notes that the president of Ecuador denies this. Read the rest

Julian Assange loses extradition fight in UK court, lawyers have 14 days to appeal

The highest UK court has ruled that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face accusations of rape and sexual assault. The decision is the result of a legal battle spanning a year and a half. In a Wikileaks statement released before the ruling, Assange maintains that the sexual misconduct case is part of a "coordinated effort" engineered by "US, UK, Swedish and Australian governments" to bring him closer to extradition to the US, "to face espionage charges for journalistic activities."

His attorneys have two weeks to appeal today's decision, over the point of whether the UK court is correctly interpreting international treaties.

From the Guardian: Read the rest

Ellsberg on Manning

"[President Obama] is involved in a war against leakers, against whistle-blowers." Read the rest

Bradley Manning Pre-Trial Hearing under way in Maryland

Kevin Gosztola at FireDogLake is live-blogging/live-tweeting the Bradley Manning Pre-Trial Hearing at Fort Meade today. The military's statement announcing the hearing is here (PDF). Read the rest

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