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

Cambridge Analytica: Director 'met Assange to discuss U.S. election', channelled $ to WikiLeaks

A former executive from the data-mining dark operator Cambridge Analytica 'visited Julian Assange in February last year and told friends it was to discuss what happened during the US election,' the Guardian reported today.

Brittany Kaiser worked as a director there until not long ago, and is reported “to have channelled cryptocurrency payments and donations to WikiLeaks.”

Excerpt:

Assange issued a statement saying that he had turned down the Cambridge Analytica offer. Alexander Nix, the company’s chief executive, told Westminster MPs the same in February, during an appearance at the Commons digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) select committee. Nix said he found a contact for WikiLeaks’ speaking agency on the internet and sent Assange an email.

But visitor logs from the Ecuador embassy obtained by the Guardian and Focus Ecuador appear to show that Brittany Kaiser, a senior executive at Cambridge Analytica until earlier this year, visited Assange on 17 February 2017. Information passed to the DCMS committee in the UK and the Senate judiciary committee in the US states that the meeting was “a retrospective to discuss the US election”.

Kaiser is also alleged to have said that she had funnelled money to WikiLeaks in the form of cryptocurrency. She called the organisation her “favourite charity”. The reports passed to investigators say that money was given to her by third parties in the form of “gifts and payments”.

After the afore-quoted story was published, there was all-new news in London today.

Alexander Nix appeared as scheduled before the DCMS committee for the second time at 3pm on Wednesday (today), where he was questioned by lawmakers on Cambridge Analytica’s relationship with WikiLeaks and the disinformation campaign by Russia to elect Donald Trump. Read the rest

Joshua Schulte named as suspect in 'Vault 7' leak of CIA tools to Wikileaks, but charged instead over child porn

Federal investigators believe a man who once worked for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is responsible for last year's massive leak of Top Secret CIA hacking tools, court documents reveal. 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

Roger Stone had contact with Wikileaks' Julian Assange in 2016: WaPo

Longtime Trump consigliere Roger Stone likes to give slippery answers when grilled by lawmakers or reporters about the specifics of his contacts with Wikileaks and Julian Assange, who are more or less one and the same. The Washington Post finds that their contact dates back to at least 2016. Read the rest

At London's Ecuador embassy, home of Julian Assange, police respond to “suspected suspicious package”

Police in London surrounded the embassy of Ecuador, where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange resides in exile, to reportedly address a 'suspected suspicious package.' More details as the story develops. Read the rest

Julian Assange mistakenly offers dirt on Dem senator to Sean Hannity parody account

When Sean Hannity's Twitter account went offline for a few hours over the weekend (Hannity fans say the deep state did it), a woman named Dell Gilliam set up a parody account called @SeanHannity__ (note the underscores). Julian Assange, the head of Wikileaks, thought the account belonged to Hannity and sent a direct message to the account offering some "new about Warner" (meaning Democratic senator Mark Warner, who is part of the Trump-Russia investigation. Read the rest

Julian Assange is now an Ecuadoran citizen, but the UK government still won't let him out of the embassy

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been living in the Ecuadoran embassy to the United Kingdom in London for more than 5 years, believing that if he were taken into custody by the UK police, he would face extradition to the USA where he would be tried for publishing details of war crimes committed by the US military. Read the rest

Wikileaks’ “Secret Correspondence“ with Don Trump Jr. published

The Atlantic has released a bombshell story. Leaked files show Donald Trump Jr., the bumbling son of the United States questionably elected President, apparently cooperating with Wikileaks, an organization declared a "hostile intelligence service" by CIA Director Michael Pompeo.

These conversations took place through Twitter DM and would have been accepted by Jr. Trump, and could have been blocked at any time. The timing of various tweets, matched with other events, certainly carries the appearance of a bi-directional relationship.

Via The Atlantic:

On October 3, 2016, WikiLeaks wrote again. “Hiya, it’d be great if you guys could comment on/push this story,” WikiLeaks suggested, attaching a quote from then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton about wanting to “just drone” WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.

“Already did that earlier today,” Trump Jr. responded an hour-and-a-half later. “It’s amazing what she can get away with.”

Two minutes later, Trump Jr. wrote again, asking, “What’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?” The day before, Roger Stone, an informal advisor to Donald Trump, had tweeted, “Wednesday@HillaryClinton is done. #WikiLeaks.”

WikiLeaks didn’t respond to that message, but on October 12, 2016, the account again messaged Trump Jr. “Hey Donald, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications,” WikiLeaks wrote. (At a rally on October 10, Donald Trump had proclaimed, “I love WikiLeaks!”)

“Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us,” WikiLeaks went on, pointing Trump Jr. to the link wlsearch.tk, which it said would help Trump’s followers dig through the trove of stolen documents and find stories.

Read the rest

Vault 8: Wikileaks publishes sourcecode from last spring's CIA Vault 7 cyberweapons leak

In March, Wikileaks published the Vault 7 leaks, a cache of CIA cyberweapons created under the doctrine of "NOBUS" ("No One But Us"), in which security agencies suppress the publication of bugs in widely used software, choosing instead to develop attack-tools that exploit these bugs, on the assumption that no one else will ever discover those bugs and use them to attack the people they're charged with defending. Read the rest

Fox retracts hoax story about Seth Rich murder

While the world was agog at the news that President Trump had leaked sensitive, classified information to a Russian diplomat, the rightosphere was going bonkers over an old, dumb conspiracy theory that Seth Rich, a young DNC staffer who was murdered in DC, had been assassinated in retaliation for leaking DNC emails to Wikileaks. Read the rest

Sweden drops Assange rape investigation

Sweden's top prosecutor announced Friday that it is dropping its rape investigation of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, because it was "impossible to serve him notice."

Assange has been hiding in Ecuador's embassy in London for five years to avoid extradition to Sweden, but he's still wanted by British cops for skipping court and they already warned him they'll arrest him if he leaves the building.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said Mr Assange still faced the lesser charge of failing to surrender to a court, an offence punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine. But the UK has not commented on whether it has received an extradition request from the US, where Mr Assange could face trial over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents.

Assange said he'd submit to extradition to the U.S. if Chelsea Manning, a key Wikileaks source, was released—an offer he later made contingent upon cutting his own deal with U.S. authorities. Manning was released this week. Read the rest

The CIA created a "Snowden Stopper" to catch future whistleblowers

The latest Wikileaks release of leaked CIA cyberweapons includes "Scribbles" -- referred to by the CIA as the "Snowden Stopper" -- a watermarking tool that embeds web-beacon style tracking beacons into secret documents that quietly notify a central server every time the document is opened. Read the rest

Wikileaks offers tech giants access to sourcecode for CIA Vault 7 exploits

Wikileaks' seismic Vault 7 release didn't follow the usual Wikileaks procedure: perhaps in response to earlier criticism, the organization redacted many of the files prior to their release, cutting names of CIA operatives and the sourcecode for the cyber-weapons the CIA had developed, which exploit widely used mobile devices, embedded systems, and operating systems. Read the rest

Wikileaks posts CIA document tranche

Wikileaks posted a tranche of documents Wednesday under the name Vault7, detailing CIA activities, capabilities and ambitions.

The #Vault7 hashtag is furious with activity as activists, journalists and perhaps the CIA itself combs through the release for hot topics. Some standout claims and exposures:

Gaping security holes in all major operating systems [Wikileaks] The CIA is interested in hacking your car [Mashable] CIA can basically hack "almost anything" (it can bypass Signal, Telegram, Whatsapp and Confide encryption by hacking the handset) The CIA Hacking Tools now thought to be publicly proliferated and in wide use [Wikileaks] CIA Org Chart

Independent authentication of the documents is underway, reports USA Today.

Wikileaks said the documents are from the CIA Center for Cyber Intelligence and represent a new series of leaks code-named "Vault 7." The website says the CIA "lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal," more than several hundred million lines of code, providing "the entire hacking capacity of the CIA." Wikileaks says the archive appears to have been circulated among former government hackers and contractors, one of whom provided WikiLeaks with portions of it. The covert hacking program taps into Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which can be turned into covert microphones, the website says.

The stuff about smart TVs infested with CIA malware is the most striking: specifically Orwellian, albeit covertly. You can put a tape over your webcam, but the microphones? Read the rest

Contribute to the Chelsea Manning Welcome Home Fund

Chelsea Manning's lawyer Chase Strangio has set up an official Chelsea Manning Welcome Home Fund. Please join those of us who have contributed to help with her living and healthcare expenses. As a reminder of what she's endured: Read the rest

Chelsea Manning to go free!

President Obama commuted whistleblower Chelsea Manning's remaining prison sentence. She will go free on May 17 of this year as opposed to 2045, the duration of her full sentence. From the New York Times:

The commutation also relieved the Department of Defense of the difficult responsibility of her incarceration as she pushes for treatment for her gender dysphoria — including sex reassignment surgery — that the military has no experience providing.

In recent days, the White House had signaled that Mr. Obama was seriously considering granting Ms. Manning’s commutation application, in contrast to a pardon application submitted on behalf of the other large-scale leaker of the era, Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who disclosed archives of top secret surveillance files and is living as a fugitive in Russia.

Asked about the two clemency applications on Friday, the White House spokesman, Joshua Earnest, discussed the “pretty stark difference” between Ms. Manning’s case for mercy with Mr. Snowden’s. While their offenses were similar, he said, there were “some important differences.”

“Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing,” he said. “Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”

Read the rest

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