CNN: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange got 'new computing & network hardware,' maybe hacked 2016 election data, in weird Ecuador embassy meetings

CNN reports that the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, personally received deliveries, potentially including hacked materials related to the 2016 U.S. elections, during a series of odd meetings at Ecuador's Embassy in London. Read the rest

Assange "too ill" for court hearing, says lawyer

Julian Assange, imprisoned at Belmarsh on a 50-week sentence for jumping bail, was said by his lawyer to be too ill to appear by video link at a court hearing Thursday. The WikiLeaks founder is fighting extradition to the United States over the site's publication of classified U.S. government information.

According to WikiLeaks, Assange has been moved to the medical ward in jail.

A spokesman for the whistleblowing website said it had "grave concerns" about Assange's health. "During the seven weeks in Belmarsh his health has continued to deteriorate and he has dramatically lost weight," the spokesman said.

"Defence lawyer for Assange, Per Samuelson, said that Julian Assange's health state last Friday was such 'that it was not possible to conduct a normal conversation with him'."

Has anyone ever conducted a normal conversation with him? Read the rest

What the U.S. charges against Julian Assange mean for press freedom

Nothing good.

U.S. charges Julian Assange under Espionage Act

The U.S. Department of Justice today indicted Wikileaks' Julian Assange under the Espionage Act, the first time a publisher has been charged for revealing classified information.

Kevin Poulsen and Betsy Woodruff:

The indictment announced Thursday in Washington, D.C. charges Assange with 16 counts of variously receiving or disclosing material leaked by then-Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, which WikiLeaks published as the Iraq and Afghanistan “War Logs” following Manning’s arrest. Assange is also charged with one count of conspiracy to receive the documents, and an 18th count carries over the previous charge against Assange accusing him of conspiring to violate computer hacking laws.

Assange, recently extracted from London's Ecuadorian embassy after his hosts there tired of his presence, is already serving a yearlong sentence in Britain for jumping bail in a sexual assault case. He already faces extradition to the U.S. on computer-crime charges—and possibly to Sweden, where prosecutors revived the assault case after his arrest.

Many U.S. media outlets were first to publish Wikileaks' material, working directly with Assange, and some won Pulitzer prizes for it. As University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck puts it:

"The issue isn't whether Assange is a "journalist"; this will be a major test case because the text of the _Espionage Act_ doesn't distinguish between what Assange allegedly did and what mainstream outlets sometimes do, even if the underlying facts/motives are radically different."

The actual whistleblower/leaker in the case, Chelsea Manning, served several years in jail for it. She is currently being held again, after rufusing to give further evidence to a grand jury in the Assange case. Read the rest

Sleuthing from public sources to figure out how the Hateful Eight leaker was caught

In 2014, Quentin Tarantino sued Gawker for publishing a link to a leaked pre-release screener of his movie "The Hateful Eight." The ensuing court-case revealed that the screeners Tarantino's company had released had some forensic "traitor tracing" features to enable them to track down the identities of people who leaked copies. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning is going back to court tomorrow: you can help her by writing to the DoJ

On May 9, the whistleblower Chelsea Manning was released from jail after serving 62 days for refusing to testify before a Grand Jury about Wikileaks; she was released because the jury was dissolved. Read the rest

Sweden reopens rape case, plans to request Assange extradition

Julian Assange originally fled to Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden and may be headed there after all. Eva-Marie Persson, the director of public prosecutions in Stockholm, has re-opened his rape case and signaled that a new extradition request is coming.

UK authorities will have to decide which extradition request to prioritise if Sweden, too, issues a request.

"I am well aware of the fact that an extradition process is ongoing in the UK and that he could be extradited to the US. In the event of a conflict between a European Arrest Warrant and a request for extradition from the US, UK authorities will decide on the order of priority," Persson said.

"The outcome of this process is impossible to predict. However, in my view the Swedish case can proceed concurrently with the proceedings in the UK."

Sweden previously dropped the case as Assange's asylum in the embassy dragged on for years. Assange, the co-founder of Wikileaks, was recently handed to UK police and sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for skipping bail; US authorities are charging him with computer-related crimes over his publication of embarassing state secrets. He claims the sex was consensual. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning's statement on the occasion of her release

Transcript:

Good evening.

Two months ago, the federal government summoned me before a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia.

As a general principle, I object to grand juries.

Prosecutors run grand juries behind closed doors and in secret, without a judge present.

Therefore, I declined to cooperate or answer any questions.

Based on my refusal to answer questions, District Court Judge Hilton ordered me held in contempt until the grand jury ended.

Yesterday, the grand jury expired, and I left the Alexandria Detention Center.

Throughout this ordeal, an incredible spring of solidarity and love boiled over. I received thousands of letters, including dozens to hundreds of them a day.

This means the world to me, and keeps me going.

Jail and prisons exist as a dark stain on our society, with more people confined in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world.

During my time, I spent 28 days in solitary confinement–a traumatic experience I already endured for a year in prison before.

Only a few months before reincarceration, I recieved gender confirmation surgery.

This left my body vulnerable to injury and infection, leading to possible complications that I am now seeking treatment for.

My absence severely hampers both my public and private life.

The law requires that civil contempt only be used to coerce witnesses to testify.

As I cannot be coerced, it instead exists as an additional punishment on top of the seven years I served.

Last week, I handwrote a statement outlining the fact I will never agree to testify before this or any other grand jury. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning released from jail

Chelsea Manning was released from jail today after 62 days' refusing to testify to a grand jury in the Wikileaks case. Manning did not wish to provide secret testimony; the grand jury ultimately disbanded.

But Manning could soon return to jail, as her lawyers indicated that she would again refuse to testify in response to a separate subpoena received while she was detained. Manning, who served about seven years in prison for the massive leak, objected to the questioning in a grand jury appearance in March that was apparently part of a continued effort by federal prosecutors investigating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. She was subsequently held in contempt...

Read the rest

Assange sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for skipping bail

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was sentenced Wednesday to 50 weeks in jail for skipping bail. Assange took refuge in London's Ecuadorean embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over two alleged sexual assaults, but was finally handed to the police earlier this month.

Sentencing him, Judge Deborah Taylor told Assange it was difficult to envisage a more serious example of the offence.

"By hiding in the embassy you deliberately put yourself out of reach, while remaining in the UK," she said.

She said this had "undoubtedly" affected the progress of the Swedish proceedings.

His continued residence at the embassy and bringing him to justice had cost taxpayers £16m, she added.

Assange apologized thus:

I apologise unreservedly to those who consider that I have disrespected them by the way I have pursued my case.

This is not what I wanted or intended.

I found myself struggling with terrifying circumstances for which neither I nor those from whom I sought advice could work out any remedy.

I did what I thought at the time was the best and perhaps the only thing that could be done - which I hoped might lead to a legal resolution being reached between Ecuador and Sweden that would protect me from the worst of my fears.

I regret the course that this took; the difficulties were instead compounded and impacted upon very many others.

Whilst the difficulties I now face may have become even greater, nevertheless it is right for me to say this now.

Read the rest

What it was like ghostwriting for Julian Assange

In this very long 2014 essay for London Review of Books , Andrew O'Hagan wrote his experiences as a ghostwriter for Julian Assange.

I am sure this is what happens in many of his scrapes: he runs on a high-octane belief in his own rectitude and wisdom, only to find later that other people had their own views – of what is sound journalism or agreeable sex – and the idea that he might be complicit in his own mess baffles him. Fact is, he was not in control of himself and most of what his former colleagues said about him just might be true. He is thin-skinned, conspiratorial, untruthful, narcissistic, and he thinks he owns the material he conduits. It may turn out that Julian is not Daniel Ellsberg or John Wilkes, but Charles Foster Kane, abusive and monstrous in his pursuit of the truth that interests him, and a man who, it turns out, was motivated all the while not by high principles but by a deep sentimental wound. Perhaps we won’t know until the final frames of the movie.

Via Linkmachinego

Image: By Andreas Gaufer - 26c3 Wikileaks, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9478203 Read the rest

Julian Assange dragged from Ecuador's embassy in London and arrested

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested today in London and removed from Ecuador's embassy there. He was taken from the embassy—video shows a cuffed Assange dragged by several men through its doors—after his asylum was withdrawn and officers invited in.

Assange stayed in the embassy for six years to avoid a sexual assault case in Sweden that was eventually closed, but still faced arrest for skipping court dates. The U.K. Foreign Office admitted, however, that his arrest today was made at the behest of U.S. authorities over "computer crimes" charges that await him there.

Ecuador's president Lenin Moreno said it withdrew Mr Assange's asylum after his repeated violations of international conventions.

But Wikileaks tweeted that Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Mr Assange's political asylum "in violation of international law".

Home Secretary Sajid Javid tweeted: "I can confirm Julian Assange is now in police custody and rightly facing justice in the UK.

The U.S. charges are unclear but likely relate to Wikileaks' publication of documents and videos showing U.S. war crimes, misconduct and a plethora of other embarrassing and classified information. Wikileaks maintained that Assange's detention and asylum ultimately concerned these plans to extradite him to America.

UPDATE: It's confirmed that the arrest is "at the behest" of the U.S. government.

Read the rest

Waiting For Assange: A Tragicomedy Tweet Thread

An oddly epic tweet thread by a reporter who stakes out Julian Assange of Wikileaks for promised news, and nothing happens.

Manafort tried to broker deal to get Julian Assange to U.S.

President Lenín Moreno of Ecuador *really* wants Julian Assange out of that London embassy.

Convicted felon and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort suggested he could broker a deal for the handover of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States during a meeting in May 2017 with the president-elect of Ecuador. Read the rest

Wikileaks threatens to sue "fake news producers"

Wikileaks, furious about a report in The Guardian claiming that founder Julian Assange met with Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, said that it plans to sue it for libel. Moreover, it expects to create a "business model" from such lawsuits.

NEW RULES: WikiLeaks is going make suing fake news producers like the Guardian a central part of its business model. Since libels are the most predictable response to the power and accuracy of a WikiLeaks' publication, our analysis is that this is a stable, scalable income stream

Hey, at least someone gets to see him in court. Read the rest

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

Roger Stone and Randy Credico talked about WikiLeaks plans, their leaked texts show

"Big news Wednesday... Hillary's campaign will die this week," Randy Credico texted Trump ally Roger Stone, just 6 days before the WikiLeaks email dump.

These text messages obtained by NBC News show that Donald Trump's longtime political “dirty trickster” consigliere Roger Stone was boasting of dirt to come from Wikileaks. Stone has previously denied any foreknowledge of the late-2016 Wikileaks dumps, as he attempts to squirm away from the Special Counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller. This latest news won't help him accomplish that. Read the rest

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