Citing coronavirus risk, Julian Assange's lawyers to apply for bail

Wikileaks said Monday that lawyers representing founder Julian Assange will apply for his release on bail because of the high risk in prison of contracting coronavirus and the deadly disease it causes, COVID-19. Read the rest

U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning in hospital recovering from suicide attempt

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning attempted suicide while in jail today, say her lawyers. She is recovering in a hospital

From Axios:

Manning is still scheduled to appear on Friday for a previously calendared hearing, her lawyers said. "Judge Anthony Trenga will rule on a motion to terminate the civil contempt sanctions stemming from her May 2019 refusal to give testimony before a grand jury investigating the publication of her 2010 disclosures," [the statement] added. "In spite of those sanctions — which have so far included over a year of so-called 'coercive' incarceration and nearly half a million dollars in threatened fines — she remains unwavering in her refusal to participate in a secret grand jury process that she sees as highly susceptible to abuse. ... Ms. Manning has previously indicated that she will not betray her principles, even at risk of grave harm to herself."

After serving seven years in prison for providing documents to Wikileaks, Manning was released in 2017 by then President Obama. In May she was jailed again for refusing to comply with a grand jury subpoena. Read the rest

Trump offered Assange pardon in exchange for covering up Russian DNC hack, says lawyer

Julian Assange's lawyer told a London court that Trump offered to pardon the WikiLeaks founder if he agreed to say Russia was not involved in the Democratic National Committee email hack, reports The Daily Beast.

Edward Fitzgerald, Assange’s lawyer, said Wednesday that a message had been passed on to Assange by former Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

Fitzgerald said a statement produced by Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, showed “Mr Rohrabacher going to see Mr Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr Assange... said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks.”

Image by Espen Moe - originally posted to Flickr as IMG_4739, CC BY 2.0, Link Read the rest

Jailed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's health is improving, and he's out of solitary - spokesman

Julian Assange, the jailed founder of Wikileaks, is no longer being held in solitary confinement and his health is improving, said his spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson to reporters on Tuesday. Read the rest

Trump advisor Roger Stone convicted for obstruction of justice

Roger Stone was found guilty of lying to a Congressional House committee about his involvement with Wikileaks and for witness tampering. The jury deliberated for eight hours before convicting him of all seven counts. The 67-year-old felon could serve up to 50 years in prison.

NPR:

In the indictment, Stone was accused of lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his efforts to discover what WikiLeaks planned to do with thousands of hacked Democratic emails it had in its possession. The House committee was conducting its own investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. WikiLeaks ultimately did release the emails during the campaign, which became a major talking point of the election that Donald Trump went on to win.

Washington Post:

In arguments and testimony over the past two weeks, prosecutors revealed a series of phone calls at critical times in 2016 between Stone, Trump and some of the highest-ranking officials on the Trump campaign — Stephen K. Bannon, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.

Gates and Bannon took the witness stand, describing how the campaign viewed Stone as a sort-of conduit to WikiLeaks who claimed — even before the Russian hacking was known — to have insider information. Gates testified to overhearing a phone call in which Trump seemed to discuss WikiLeaks with Stone, calling into question the president’s assertion to Mueller’s office that he did not recall discussing the organization with his longtime friend.

New York Times:

Mr. Stone, 67, joins a notable list of former Trump aides convicted of lying to federal authorities.

Read the rest

At Roger Stone trial, Rick Gates says Trump knew of WikiLeaks plans

Trump likely lied to Mueller about 2016 WikiLeaks email plans, if this is true.

What killed Adrian Lamo?

Adrian Lamo is most famous for turning U.S. Army intelligence analyst and whistleblower Chelsea Manning in to the authorities, but was already well-known among hackers and journalists because of his penetration of The New York Times' source database, subsequent conviction for the hack, and his sparkling personality. He died mysteriously last year in what many assumed was suicide or murder, but NPR's Dina Temple-Raston investigated his last months and found a tragic figure in failing health, evicted by his carers and in chronic pain. He likely died overdosing prescription drugs, kratom and nootropics after suffering a twisted leg.

His doctor was in the process of weaning him off some of the medications, including reducing the three different benzodiazepines he was taking. That is of particular interest because about a month before Lamo died, the FDA came out with a medical alert — a warning against mixing benzos with kratom. The combination had been linked to dozens of deaths.

"A few assessable cases with fatal outcomes raise concern that kratom is being used in combination with other drugs that affect the brain, including ... benzodiazepines," the alert read. Rohrig said Lamo had a handful of what he called designer benzos in his system, some of which weren't available by prescription in the U.S.

"The most common way of getting these particular ones is basically off the Internet," Rohrig told us. "You can order them and have them shipped to whatever address you want." Debbie Scroggin assumed that lots of the pills and supplements coming into the house were in those packages addressed to Adrian Alfonso.

Read the rest

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

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