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Julian Assange Indictment “Criminalizes the News Gathering Process,” Says Pentagon Papers Lawyer

Julian Assange Indictment Criminalizes News Gathering

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A London judge has ordered WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to appear before a court in February 2020 to face a full extradition hearing. Prosecutors in the U.S. have indicted Assange on 18 counts, including 17 violations of the Espionage Act. This is the first-ever case of a journalist or publisher being indicted under the World War I-era law. Assange said that his life was “effectively at stake” if the U.K. honors a U.S. request for his extradition. Assange is currently serving a 50-week sentence in London’s Belmarsh Prison for skipping bail in 2012. We speak with James Goodale, former general counsel of The New York Times. In 1971, he urged the paper to publish the Pentagon Papers, which had been leaked by whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. #DemocracyNow #Wikileaks #Assange Democracy Now! is an independent global news hour that airs on nearly 1,400 TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch our livestream 8-9AM ET: 

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Forensic Architecture notes with grave concern today’s arrest of Julian Assange at the Embassy of Ecuador in London.

The pioneering work of Wikileaks shattered every established paradigm of public interest journalism, and ushered in a new era of investigative reporting. Forensic Architecture’s work, and the work of journalists, activists, and investigative agencies around the world, is done in the shadow of the tremendous sacrifices made by Julian and others in the pursuit of radical transparency.
We would not pretend that the life and legacy of Julian and his organisation are unproblematic, and we do not intend to be hagiographic. But Wikileaks have made enemies through their work, and some of those enemies have at their disposal the tools of law, and we should be in no doubt that those tools are being deployed to protect the mechanisms and apparatus that Julian’s work has repeatedly exposed.
We see this clearly in the continued detention of Chelsea Manning, the whistleblower who risked her freedom to shine a vital and uncompromising light on the ‘forever wars’ in Iraq and Afghanistan. We stand also in solidarity with Chelsea, and call for her immediate release.
Wikileaks is a publisher, and we defend unequivocally their right to publish true and newsworthy information. Publishing such information is never a crime, and any attempts to extradite or prosecute individuals or organisations on such a basis, threatens all journalists and publishers, and constitutes an attack on the fundamental right of any society to a free press.

Chelsea Manning on Wikileaks, trans politics & data privacy | ANTIDOTE 2018
SOH Talks & Ideas Published on Sep 18, 2018
After Chelsea Manning’s 2017 release from military prison, she became one of the world’s most prominent activists around areas of data privacy, surveillance, and trans politics. Meet one of the truly extraordinary changemakers at the height of her powers. Chelsea Manning appeared via satellite at ANTIDOTE Festival for a conversation with journalist Peter Greste. They were introduced by Sydney Opera House Head of Talks & Ideas, Edwina Throsby. __ SUBSCRIBE to Sydney Opera House Talks and Ideas: Get a new talk every week with the Ideas at the House podcast: Dive deeper with with some of the world's leading thinkers and culture creators on It's A Long Story: Like Sydney Opera House on Facebook: Follow Sydney Opera House on Twitter:
Category Education
LaDonna Coble
I stand in solidarity WITH you, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and the ex President of Ecuador! Truth died with hope and regard for human rights and life the day Julian Assange was dragged out of that embassy. #FreeJA

WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange says there is a "high chance" he would be killed in a US jail
Edited on Thu Dec-23-10 10:24 PM by Turborama
Source: AFP
WIKILEAKS chief Julian Assange says there is a "high chance" he would be killed in a US jail if he were to be extradited from Britain to the USA on espionage charges. The Australian is on bail in Britain fighting a bid by Sweden to extradite him over sex assault claims, but Washington is believed to be considering how to indict him over the leaking of thousands of US diplomatic cables. Mr Assange told The Guardian it would be "politically impossible" for Britain to send him across the Atlantic, adding that the government of Prime Minister David Cameron would want to show it had not been "co-opted" by Washington. "Legally the UK has the right to not extradite for political crimes. Espionage is the classic case of political crimes. It is at the discretion of the UK government as to whether to apply to that exception," he said. Mr Assange added that if the United States succeeded in getting him extradited from Britain or Sweden, then there was a "high chance" of him being killed "Jack Ruby-style" in an American prison.
The Guardian article: 
A historical refresher for anyone who might not know what Jack Ruby did...
Truthful News Media Encourage Open Debate debate topics

Pamela Anderson arrived at Belmarsh Prison to visit Julian Assange

Pamela Anderson speaks out after visiting Julian Assange in prison


Julian Assange has been ‘psychologically tortured’ and must not be extradited to US, says UN expert
Foreign secretary says WikiLeaks founder ‘chose to hide in Ecuadorian embassy and was always free to leave and face justice’
Lizzie DeardenHome Affairs Correspondent @lizziedearden
Friday 31 May 20

Julian Assange has been “psychologically tortured” and should not be extradited to the US, a United Nations official has said.
Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said the WikiLeaks founder would not receive a fair trial after visiting him in a British prison.
He said that although Assange was not being held in solitary confinement at HMP Belmarsh, limited legal visits and a lack of access to documents “make it impossible for him to adequately prepare his defence”.

“Mr Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture,” Mr Melzer said.
“I condemn, in the strongest terms, the deliberate, concerted and sustained nature of the abuse inflicted on Mr Assange and seriously deplore the consistent failure of all involved governments to take measures for the protection of his most fundamental human rights and dignity.”
He was accompanied during his prison visit on 9 May by two medical experts, who found that Assange’s health had been “seriously affected by the extremely hostile and arbitrary environment he has been exposed to for many years”.
They found that Assange showed symptoms of extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.

The strongly-worded statement came a day after Assange was unable to attend a court hearing because of ill health.
“Mr Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture,” Mr Melzer said.
He was accompanied during his prison visit on 9 May by two medical experts, who found that Assange’s health had been “seriously affected by the extremely hostile and arbitrary environment he has been exposed to for many years”.
“I condemn, in the strongest terms, the deliberate, concerted and sustained nature of the abuse inflicted on Mr Assange and seriously deplore the consistent failure of all involved governments to take measures for the protection of his most fundamental human rights and dignity.”
They found that Assange showed symptoms of extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.
The strongly-worded statement came a day after Assange was unable to attend a court hearing because of ill health.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that the Australian detainee was “not very well” and had been moved to the prison’s medical ward.
A judge scheduled another hearing on 12 June and said it may take place inside HMP Belmarsh, where Assange is serving a 50-week prison sentence for breaking bail conditions.

Julian Assange,WikiLeaks founder said he had a 'moderate to severe depression

Letters from Belmarsh: What Julian Assange says we should do to save his life
By Davey Heller | 18 October 2019,13219
Imprisoned journalist Julian Assange has found another voice from prison in order to urge people to keep fighting for freedom of press, writes Davey Heller.
IN DEFIANCE of all the forces trying to silence Julian Assange, he continues to speak to the world. He is doing so through the only avenue left to him — by sending replies to the letters of supporters that reach him in Belmarsh Prison. These letters are of historic importance, equivalent to the ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ of Martin Luther King Jr.
However, these letters are also of vital current significance. Taken together, they map out the path to building a successful campaign that can free Julian Assange and save his life. The following are proposals for the “free Assange” campaign from Julian’s letters from Belmarsh.
Join or start your own “free Assange” organising committee
‘Start a “free Assange” organising committee in Moscow!’ These were the simple instructions from Julian to a supporter in Moscow. Couldn’t be much clearer, could it? Julian wants people to start “free Assange” groups in their town or city to organise actions demanding he is freed.
There are already a number of such committees organising protests and meetings in Melbourne, Sydney, Stockholm, London, Dusseldorf, Brussels, Denver and Mexico City, but more must be formed.  In Julian’s letter to Gordan Dimmack from May 2019, Julian stated:
‘I am unbroken, albeit literally surrounded by murderers, but the days when I could read and speak and organise to defend myself, my ideals and my people are over until I am free! Everyone else must take my place.’
It has become crystal clear that there is no “official” cavalry coming — not human rights NGOs, not politicians and, by and large, not trade unions. We certainly can’t depend on justice from the UK and U.S. courts. This campaign will be won by ordinary people coming together and fighting. Julian, in a letter to a French supporter released on Twitter, literally wrote in Morse code, ‘S.O.S.’ It is the universal distress call and it is ordinary people who must respond.

Protest and ‘push on that which will move, not simply that which opposes’
Julian, in a letter released on Twitter on 15 August, gave some very specific advice on the strategy that should guide how protests are conducted.
Ariyana Love@mideastrising - Aug 15, 2019 Replying to @mideastrising
"It is people like you, great and small, fighting to save my life that keeps me going. We can win this!" #Free Assange NOW 

Letters toJulian

Remember what’s at stake
On 2 September, outside the Home Office of the UK in London, just before Roger Waters sang Wish You Were Here, famed Australian journalist John Pilger passed on the following message from Assange to the crowd:
“It’s not just me. It’s much wider. It’s all of us. It’s all journalists, and all publishers who do their job who are in danger.”
The campaign to free Julian Assange is far more than the campaign to free one man, it is a central fight in the defence of not just a free press but of all democratic rights. If his prosecution succeeds, then not only journalists but ordinary people who work against the U.S. war machine are vulnerable to state repression. Without a free press, the working class cannot advance any of its interests. 
The truth is all we have
Julian’s letter to Gordan Dimmack finished with the powerful sentence:
‘Truth, ultimately, is all we have.’ The truth, however, is a powerful weapon. There is no doubt if we can get the truth out of why Julian is being persecuted and what is at stake, ordinary people will respond and join the fight to free him en masse. If this was not true, it would not be necessary for the U.S. and its allies to endlessly smear Assange through the press and censor his plight by omission. So, you know what to do. Follow Julian’s advice: start or join a free Assange committee, organise and join protests, write to Julian, stay optimistic and fight, remember what’s at stake and wield the truth as our weapon.

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates court on April 11, 2019 in London, England. JACK TAYLOR/GETTY IMAGES

Julian Assange: Campaigner or attention-seeker?
23 May 2019

To his supporters, Julian Assange is a valiant campaigner for truth. To his critics, he is a publicity-seeker who has endangered lives by putting a mass of sensitive information into the public domain.
Assange is described by those who have worked with him as intense, driven and highly intelligent with an exceptional ability to crack computer codes.
He set up Wikileaks, which publishes confidential documents and images, in 2006, making headlines around the world in April 2010 when it released footage showing US soldiers shooting dead 18 civilians from a helicopter in Iraq.
But, later that year, he was detained in the UK - and later bailed - after Sweden issued an international arrest warrant over allegations of sexual assault.
Swedish authorities wanted to question him over claims that he had raped one woman and sexually molested and coerced another in August 2010, while on a visit to Stockholm to give a lecture.
He says both encounters were entirely consensual and a long legal battle ensued which saw him seek asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London to avoid extradition.
After spending almost seven years inside the embassy, Assange was arrested by British police on 11 April 2019. It came after Ecuadorean President Lenín Moreno tweeted his country had taken "a sovereign decision" to withdraw his asylum status. He was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail.
The Wikileaks founder had always argued that he could not leave the embassy because he feared being extradited from Sweden to the US and put on trial for releasing secret US documents. Officers removed him from the embassy's premises and took him into custody at a central London police station.
On 13 May 2019, Sweden reopened the investigation into the rape allegation made against Assange, which he denies.
Ten days later, the US filed 17 new charges against Assange for violating the Espionage Act, related to the publication of classified documents in 2010.
Wikileaks said the announcement was "madness" and "the end of national security journalism".


Assange has been generally reluctant to talk about his background, but media interest since the emergence of Wikileaks has thrown up some insight into his influences.
He was born in Townsville, in the Australian state of Queensland, in 1971 and led a rootless childhood while his parents ran a touring theatre. He became a father at 18, and custody battles soon followed.
The development of the internet gave him a chance to use his early promise at maths, though this, too, led to difficulties.
In 1995 Assange was accused, with a friend, of dozens of hacking activities. Though the group of hackers was skilled enough to track detectives tracking them, Assange was eventually caught and pleaded guilty.
He was fined several thousand Australian dollars - only escaping a prison term on the condition that he did not reoffend.
He then spent three years working with an academic, Suelette Dreyfus - who was researching the emerging, subversive side of the internet - writing a book with her, Underground, that became a bestseller in the computing fraternity.
Ms Dreyfus described Assange as a "very skilled researcher" who was "quite interested in the concept of ethics, concepts of justice, what governments should and shouldn't do".

This was followed by a course in physics and maths at Melbourne University, where he became a prominent member of a mathematics society, inventing an elaborate puzzle that contemporaries said he excelled at.

Wikileaks work

He began Wikileaks in 2006 with a group of like-minded people from across the web, creating a web-based "dead-letterbox" for would-be leakers.
"[To] keep our sources safe, we have had to spread assets, encrypt everything, and move telecommunications and people around the world to activate protective laws in different national jurisdictions," Assange told the BBC in 2011.
"We've become good at it, and never lost a case, or a source, but we can't expect everyone to go through the extraordinary efforts that we do."
He adopted a nomadic lifestyle, running Wikileaks from temporary, shifting locations.
He could go for long stretches without eating, and focus on work with very little sleep, according to Raffi Khatchadourian, a reporter for the New Yorker magazine who spent several weeks travelling with him.
"He creates this atmosphere around him where the people who are close to him want to care for him, to help keep him going. I would say that probably has something to do with his charisma."

Key dates in legal battle

May 2012: The UK's Supreme Court rules he should be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over the allegations
June 2012: Assange enters the Ecuadorean embassy in London
August 2012: Ecuador grants asylum to Assange, saying there are fears his human rights might be violated if he is extradited
August 2015: Swedish prosecutors drop their investigation into two allegations
December 2017: Assange is granted Ecuadorean citizenship
October 2018: The Ecuadorian embassy gives Assange a set of house rules to follow
April 2019: Ecuador withdraws Assange's asylum and he is arrested at the embassy
May 2019: Sweden reopens a sexual assault investigation and the US files 17 new charges against Assange

'Smear campaign'

Wikileaks and Assange came to prominence with the release of the footage of the US helicopter shooting civilians in Iraq.
He promoted and defended the video, as well as the massive release of classified US military documents on the Afghan and Iraq wars in July and October 2010.
The whistle-blowing website went on to release new tranches of documents, including five million confidential emails from US-based intelligence company Stratfor.
But it also found itself fighting for survival in 2010, when a number of US financial institutions began to block donations.
Coverage of Assange was then dominated by Sweden's efforts to question him over the 2010 sexual allegations. He said such efforts were politically motivated and part of a smear campaign.
Assange turned to then Ecuador's President Rafael Correa for help, the two men having expressed similar views on freedom in the past.
His stay at the Ecuadorean embassy was punctuated by occasional press statements and interviews. He made a submission to the UK's Leveson Inquiry into press standards, saying he had faced "widespread inaccurate and negative media coverage".
Concerns over his health also surfaced but in August 2014, Assange dismissed reports that he would be leaving the embassy to seek medical treatment.

'Significant victory'

Assange later complained to the UN that he was being unlawfully detained as he could not leave the embassy without being arrested.

In February 2016, the UN panel ruled in his favour, stating that he had been "arbitrarily detained" and should be allowed to walk free and compensated for his "deprivation of liberty".
Assange hailed it a "significant victory" and called the decision "binding", leading his lawyers to call for the Swedish extradition request to be dropped immediately.
The ruling was not legally binding on the UK, however, and the UK Foreign Office responded by saying it "changes nothing".
In 2016, Sweden's chief prosecutor Ingrid Isgren travelled to the Ecuadorean embassy in London to question Assange over the 2010 rape allegation. Prosecutors had already dropped their investigation into the sexual assault allegations after running out of time to question and bring charges against him.
Since Sweden dropped its investigation into Assange, the European Arrest Warrant for him no longer stands.
But the Metropolitan Police said Assange still faced the lesser charge of failing to surrender to a court in June 2012, an offence punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine.
And it was a warrant based on this charge which led to his arrest in 2019. Citing the warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates' Court on 29 June 2012, the Metropolitan police said Assange had been "taken into custody at a central London police station where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates' Court as soon as possible".

The police said it had been invited into the embassy by the Ecuadorean ambassador.

Ecuador's shifting position
Ecuador's position vis-à-vis Assange changed after President Correa, a strong advocate of Wikileaks, was succeeded in office by Lenín Moreno.
Mr Moreno and his government had grown increasingly frustrated with Assange and his refusal to follow the rules they had imposed for his continued stay in the embassy.
In his video statement, President Moreno said he had "inherited this situation" and that Assange had ignored Ecuador's requests to "respect and abide by these rules".
His decision, Mr Moreno said, followed "repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols" by Assange.
He said that in particular, Assange had "violated the norm of not intervening in the internal affairs of other states", most recently in January 2019 when Wikileaks had released documents from the Vatican.
In a video statement, President Moreno also said that he had requested that Great Britain guarantee that Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face torture or the death penalty.

PHOTO: Julian Assange will stay in prison as he fights extradition to the US. (Reuters: Henry Nicholls)

Julian Assange Must Stay in Jail as Flight Risk, U.K. Judge Rules
Sept. 16, 2019
LONDON — Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, must remain in prison until an extradition hearing next year, a judge in London ruled on Friday, citing a “history of absconding,” according to British news agencies.
Mr. Assange had been scheduled to be released next week, after serving a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in 2012 and taking refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy rather than accepting extradition to Sweden to face a rape accusation.
But he is wanted in the United States, where he faces charges of conspiracy to hack government computers, and of obtaining and publishing secret documents in 2010.
Mr. Assange has also been under attack for WikiLeaks’ release during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign of thousands of Democratic Party emails stolen by Russian hackers, in what investigators say was an effort to damage the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.
But Mr. Assange, who denied that the emails were stolen, has not been charged in connection with their release.
At the hearing Friday, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser told Mr. Assange that as a person facing extradition, he would have to remain in prison, the BBC reported. “In my view I have substantial ground for believing if I release you, you will abscond again,” she said.
When asked if he understood what was going on, Mr. Assange, who appeared via video link from Belmarsh Prison in Southeast London, wearing a loosefitting T-shirt, said, “Not really.”
“I’m sure the lawyers will explain it,” he said, according to the British television network ITV.
Lawyers for Mr. Assange and other supporters have described him as in deteriorating physical and mental health. He was said to be too unwell to attend one previous hearing even by video link.
Mr. Assange’s legal team did not immediately respond to questions. According to ITV, his lawyers declined to make an application for bail on Friday.

Julian Assange Tells Court He is “Unable to Think” Due to Treatment in Prison
Assange could barely say his name and had trouble recalling his birthday when he was asked by the court.

CORRUPTION  |  NEWS - OCT 22, 2019 AT 9:44 AM.

(TMU) — Embattled Wikileaks founder Julian Assange appeared in a London court this week to fight his impending extradition to the United States, as groups of supporters gathered outside to protest his incarceration.
“I can’t research anything [in prison], I can’t access any of my writing, it’s very difficult where I am to do anything,” he said.

“This is not equitable what’s happening here,” he added.

His attorney, Mark Summers, QC, called the charges against Assange a “concerted and avowed drive to escalate its existing war on whistleblowers, to encompass investigative journalists. Our case is that it is a political attack to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing [classified] information.”

Summers also noted that evidence has come forward that Spanish security firm Undercover Global was spying on Assange for the United States.

“The American state has been actively engaged in intruding on privileged discussions between Assange and his lawyers,” Summers said, pointing to evidence that Assange has had all of his communications monitored over the past several years. He even mentioned, “hooded men breaking into lawyers’ offices.”

There have also been concerns that his health is deteriorating while in custody. During the hearing this week, Assange appeared thin, pale, and in generally bad condition. He reportedly even had trouble recalling his birthday when he was asked by the court.
Barrister Greg Barns, who acts as one of Assange’s Australian advisers, told ABC Radio that it is currently impossible for Assange to put together a legal defense for himself under these conditions.

“I think it’s been a very difficult time for him. There’s no doubt that his health has been adversely impacted by seven years living effectively without natural sunlight and cooped up in the embassy and now at Belmarsh Prison. Prisons are no place for people who are unwell and generally a person’s health deteriorates in the prison environment, particularly Belmarsh Prison, which is a harsh prison,” Barns said.
“It does make it difficult in terms of preparation of his case. He’s got to be able to instruct his lawyers, this is a complicated case, and he’s going to be able to do that in circumstances where his health improves,” he added.

Earlier this year, Assange was indicted on 17 new charges under the Espionage Act in the United States, which together carry a potential prison sentence of 175 years. However, over a decade of his life has already been taken away as a result of the U.S. government’s crusade against him.
In this week’s hearing, his request for more time to prepare for his case was ultimately denied by the judge. He is scheduled to appear in court again in February of 2020.

By John Vibes | Creative Commons |

Barnaby Jones former deputy Australian Prime Minister
So far, Barnaby Joyce's intervention has failed to win over the Government's senior leaders. (AAP: Mick Tsikas)

Julian Assange latest: Pamela Anderson arrives for visit with jailed Wikileaks founder
JULIAN Assange has been visited in jail by his friend and model Pamela Anderson.By REBECCA PERRING
PUBLISHED: 11:31, Tue, May 7, 2019 

Ms Anderson was pictured arriving at Belmarsh prison where the Wikileaks founder is serving a 50 weeks sentence for breaching his bail conditions. Julian Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London while he was wanted over allegations of sexual offences, remaining there for seven years in an attempt to avoid arrest. Former Baywatch actress Anderson, who has denied dating the Australian but has admitted to being “very close to him”, arrived at the jail in south-east London with WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson.
The US actress met Assange on several occasions when he lived at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Her visit comes after she tweeted her support for Wikileaks founder, quoting from a famous poem in an apparent attempt to compare him to Holocaust survivors.
Ms Anderson took to social media, posting a picture of Assange along with the words: “First they came for Assange, and I did not speak out - because I was not a journalist.”
Assange was dragged out of the embassy last month and has been sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for a bail violation.
He is fighting extradition to the United States where he is wanted for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks.
Mr Hrafnsson said Assange is in "general" solitary confinement because he mostly spends 23 hours a day in his cell, adding that the situation was "unacceptable".  

Speaking after a court hearing last week, he said: "We are worried about Julian Assange. We are hearing that the situation in Belmarsh Prison is appalling because of austerity and cutbacks.
"For the last weeks since he was arrested, he has spent 23 out of 24 hours a day in his cell most of the time.
"That is what we call in general terms solitary confinement. That's unacceptable. That applies to most of the prisoners in that appalling facility. It is unacceptable that a publisher is spending time in that prison."

United Nations rights experts have voiced concern about the "disproportionate" sentence given to the WikiLeaks founder as well as his detention in a high-security prison.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said in a statement on Friday it was "deeply concerned" about the "disproportionate" sentence imposed on Assange.
"The Working Group is of the view that violating bail is a minor violation that, in the United Kingdom, carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison.
"It is worth recalling that the detention and the subsequent bail of Mr Assange in the UK were connected to preliminary investigations initiated in 2010 by a prosecutor in Sweden.
"It is equally worth noting that that prosecutor did not press any charges against Mr Assange and that in 2017, after interviewing him in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, she discontinued investigations and brought an end to the case.
"The Working Group is further concerned that Mr Assange has been detained since 11 April 2019 in Belmarsh prison, a high-security prison, as if he were convicted for a serious criminal offence.
"This treatment appears to contravene the principles of necessity and proportionality envisaged by the human rights standards."
The Working Group has previously stated that Assange was arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorean embassy and should have had his liberty restored.
Julian Assange latest: Pamela Anderson tweeted her support for the Wikileaks founder

ABOUT: Tor Ekeland is a Brooklyn lawyer, and represents people accused of computer crimes in federal and state courts nationally. He can be found on Twitter at @TorEkelandPLLC.

The core problem with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is that it doesn't clearly define one of the central things it prohibits: unauthorized access to a computer.
Assange's factually threadbare indictment doesn't give much indication of how strong a conspiracy case the government has.

THE FIRST AMENDMENT and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act collided last month when the UK arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on, among other things, a US extradition request for computer crime. He has since been sentenced to 50 weeks in a British prison. For roughly seven years before his arrest, he’d been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, but on April 11, the Ecuadorian government withdrew his asylum. Now the UK courts will evaluate the US’s request to send Assange to Virginia to stand trial in federal court for a single felony charge of conspiracy to commit unauthorized access to a government computer, a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).
After Assange’s arrest, many reached out to ask me about the CFAA. For years, I've represented hackers in federal criminal cases nationally involving the CFAA, including Lauri Love, whom the US unsuccessfully tried to extradite from the UK. The US indicted Love in three separate federal courts in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia, for hacking of a number of government sites including NASA, the FBI, the United States Sentencing Commission, and the Bureau of Prisons. This was part of #OpLastResort, in protest of the CFAA prosecution and death of computer science pioneer Aaron Swartz, whose suicide in 2013 was widely viewed as resulting from a draconian CFAA prosecution. Whether intended or not, the CFAA makes it easy for a prosecutor to bring felony computer crime charges even when there’s little or no harm.
The CFAA is the federal government's primary anti-hacking statute. Created in 1984, it prohibits unauthorized access to a computer, system, or network and unauthorized deletion, alteration, or blocking of access to, data or information. It is both a civil and criminal statute, meaning that people and businesses can use it to sue each other for private wrongs, and the government can use it to put you in jail for public wrongs. Its dual nature gives rise to a problematic feature: most of the law interpreting it comes from civil cases where the stakes aren't as high as in a criminal case. Thus, the quality of reasoning in civil cases, despite frequent lip service from courts to the contrary, isn't as robust as in a hard-fought criminal case. Because at the end of the day, if you lose a civil case you just lose money. If you lose a criminal case, you lose your liberty. But the CFAA doesn’t clearly tell you all the ways it can be used to take away your liberty.
The core problem with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is that it doesn't clearly define one of the central things it prohibits: unauthorized access to a computer. The courts across the country aren't any help on this front, issuing conflicting decisions both with other jurisdictions and often within their own. Under the CFAA, what is a felony in one jurisdiction is legal in another. This lack of definitional clarity allows prosecutors to charge felonies even when the harms are minimal, questionable, or just political views that DOJ doesn't like. This is a serious problem, given that much political speech and protest these days is done with computers. And DOJ has previously used the CFAA in a politically charged prosecution.
In 2011, DOJ charged the politically outspoken Aaron Swartz under the CFAA for going into an open server closet at MIT, a mecca of modern American hacking, and downloading academic articles—many of which were publicly funded—for public distribution. Even though the extent of any harm was questionable—this was a mere copying of articles—DOJ charged him with felony unauthorized access to a computer, unauthorized damage to a protected computer, felony aiding and abetting of both, and wire fraud. He faced a maximum sentence of decades and large fines. The punishment sought was strikingly disproportionate to the alleged harm.
On January 11, 2013, Aaron Swartz killed himself before there was any trial. Swartz's death was a loss to our society, given the innovations he contributed to it, like codeveloping RSS and cofounding Reddit. Many, myself included, view his prosecution as a political one directed against Swartz’s belief that information should be free.
Likewise, the Assange prosecution looks more like an attack on core political speech protected by the First Amendment than a proper exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Assange is facing a single count indictment for conspiracy to violate the CFAA. The indictment stems from an incident in 2010 when Assange allegedly told then-Army private Chelsea Manning, who was leaking classified materials to Assange to be published on WikiLeaks, that he would help her crack a password to gain access to military computers. Prosecuting Assange for a computer crime sidesteps the elephant in the room: this is the prosecution of a publisher of information of interest and importance to the public about our government. The First Amendment protects the act of publishing that information. Therefore, the act being prosecuted is inextricably linked to the act of obtaining this information because the charged crime is conspiracy to access the system with the information of public import. Prison time for Assange might deter others from publishing information that exposes the inner workings of government.

Assange and WikiLeaks are publishers just like The New York Times. And if it was legal for The New York Times to publish the classified Pentagon Papers detailing the US' lies when it came to Vietnam, it's legal for WikiLeaks to do the same.

The indictment dances around this issue by trying to limit everything to a technical computer crime conspiracy. The indictment accuses Assange of a single count of conspiring to hack a password to gain unauthorized access to a government computer. As such, it rests squarely in the anti hacking purpose of the CFAA—preventing someone from hacking into a system. But note, under the CFAA it's not against the law to crack a password. You have to crack a password, and then use it to gain unauthorized access to a system. Gaining, attempting to gain, or conspiring to gain, access is the critical element. And Assange's factually threadbare indictment doesn't give much indication of how strong a conspiracy case the government has.
The indictment and its context make it obvious that DOJ is struggling with this issue and may bring more charges, including espionage charges, that will turn Assange's case into a First Amendment battle royale. The narrowness of the indictment and the fact that its theory of liability is based on conspiring to hack a password—and not the theft and publication of information—is evidence that DOJ is dancing around the issue. We know that a grand jury is reviewing the possibility of another indictment against Assange, because Chelsea Manning is in jail for refusing to testify against Assange in front of it. And we know, because of the extradition treaty with the UK, that the US has 65 days to submit its final charges from the time it submitted its extradition request. This means that DOJ has until the middle of June to bring final charges.
If DOJ brings espionage charges, it's going to bring out the First Amendment heavy-hitters. The Espionage Act has a long history of being used to silence political dissent going back to President John Adams’ administration, which used the Alien and Sedition Acts to prosecute critics of its foreign policy. In the 20th century, the Alien and Sedition Acts turned into the Espionage Act, which is used to prosecute whistleblowers more than spies. It's no coincidence that the first Supreme Court First Amendment cases involve Espionage Act prosecutions for political speech.
DOJ can try and dodge the First Amendment implications of its actions by sticking with the current indictment. If so, Assange has some obvious defenses. For instance, the government has to prove that there was a conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to a government computer. Again, it's not against the law to hack a password, but it is to hack a password and then use it to gain access. This requires the government to prove that when Assange agreed to the conspiracy, he had the same mental state necessary to be found guilty of committing that criminal object of the conspiracy. For this reason, conspiracy is often called a crime of two intents. The government not only has to prove that Assange agreed to conspire, and that an act in furtherance of the conspiracy was committed by one of the conspirators, but also that Assange had the same intent necessary to convict him of actually gaining unauthorized access to a government computer. To be convicted of conspiring to rob a bank, you have to have really intended to rob the bank. But it's possible that Assange was just playing along with Manning, or yessing her, or never agreed to participate at all. That’s for a jury for decide.

Dangerous Detention: Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison

Dangerous Detention: Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison -
OCTOBER 3, 2019

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

Much ink has been spilt in textbooks describing situations where autocratic states can behave badly. They abuse rights; they ignore international law and they ride roughshod over conventions. Liberal democracies may boast that they follow matters to the letter of the law, and make sure that citizens are given their fair and just cause in putting forth their cases. The practice suggests all too glaringly that the opposite is true.

The English legal tradition, with its historically brutal punishments, adoration of the fetish known as the rule of law, and a particular tendency towards a miscarriage of justice, has found a rich target in Julian Assange. Behind the stiffness of procedure and the propriety of convention, cruelties are being justified with grinding regularity.

On September 22, Assange would have been released from HMP Belmarsh, a maximum security centre whose reputation betrays much in the way the authorities wish to handle the publisher. The 50-week jail term imposed for skipping bail was a mild matter relative to others serving life sentences in the prison, but a statement had to be made both to those wishing to emulate Assange and Britain’s cousins across the Atlantic. But that term of imprisonment was never meant to be genuinely observed in the scheme of things; its termination merely being a point in a broader scheme of ongoing detention. It was a mere hiccup in a conversation which involves US power. The Washington security establishment is salivating for its quarry, and Britain is playing minder.

This means keeping him in indefinite detention, or at least till US authorities make their case, however unconvincing. At the Westminster Magistrates court hearing on September 13, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser was short and sharp. “You have been produced today because your sentence of imprisonment is about to come to an end. When that happens your remand status changes from serving prisoner to a person facing extradition.”

The District Judge explained how she had given Assange’s lawyer “an opportunity to make an application for bail on your behalf and she has declined to do so, perhaps not surprising in light of your history of absconding in these proceedings.” In that explanation, a cosmos of meaning can be discerned. Any application for bail would have been futile in any case, given that the judge had made up her mind. “In my view I have substantial ground for believing if I release you, you will abscond again.”

The judge was also being more than a touch disingenuous. The hearing could not, in any genuine way, be described as a bail hearing, despite being represented as such. It was, in fact, a technical hearing, meaning that the magistrate had effectively refused bail even before a formal request by the defence. Such tendencies towards premature adjudication do not do the legal profession proud.

The curious reference to “these proceedings” suggested a continuum of prosecution against Assange conflating both Swedish and US attempts to extradite him. His punishment for skipping bail was not connected to the current US case, at least directly, but avoiding the extradition to Sweden in an attempt to question him over allegations of sexual assault.

To the judicial officer, it was all the same picture of reason, the same cheek shown in avoiding the inevitable. Never mind that Assange exercised his rights to asylum, that the reason he fled to the Ecuadorean embassy in 2012 was based on a genuine, and now proven fear, that he could be extradited to the United States to face charges with a cumulative prison time of 175 years. Best bang him up in the cells as a warmer for the US effort, which is set to gather steam for a February extradition hearing.

While Britain continues its immolating ritual in how it leaves the European Union, there are murmurings of protest keeping the matter of Assange’s fate alive. On Saturday, a modest protest took place outside Belmarsh, sporting the staple banners: “Don’t shoot the messenger”; “Free, free Julian Assange”; “Hands off Assange”.

Labour MP Chris Williamson was on hand to address those gathered. “Here we have a situation where someone who we should be celebrating is facing solitary confinement, which is tantamount to torture taking place on British soil. This cannot be allowed to stand.”

Williamson’s rationale is based on a traditional suspicion of the overreach of US power, and not a view shared by the mainstream plodders in British politics. “We have a moral duty to fight for Julian Assange, whose only crime is to expose war crimes by the US and the abuse of state powers.”

Williamson has also made the observation that his country has become rather slapdash with its application of legal principle, despite taking some historical pride in defending human rights. “Britain is increasingly behaving like a tin-pot dictatorship in its dealing with him.” While Assange suffers, British politicians, notably those in Camp Brexit, see only one dictatorship: the EU. Their idea of the Sceptred Isle remains pure.

There are accounts about Assange’s failing health that jab and trigger the occasional splash of publicity. Assange’s father, John Shipton, has described how, during a visit in August, his son looked “a bit shaky, and is suffering from anxiety. He has lost a lot of weight. It is very distressing, and the intensity of his treatment has increased over the past year.”

The UN Special Rapporteur, Nils Melzer, has also issued stirring assessments of Assange’s detention, with its compounding cruelties. “In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political prosecution, I have never seen a group of democratic states gang up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law. The collective punishment of Julian Assange must end here and now.” Sadly, and depressingly for publishers, the process continues, wearingly and destructively.Join the debate on Facebook
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Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017.CreditCreditFrank Augstein/Associated Press

They’re Murdering My Son: Father of Julian Assange Tells of Pain and Anguish
John Shipton, the father of imprisoned whistleblower Julian Assange, says that if his son is extradited to the US,

“They will murder Julian one way or the other.”

September 25th, 2019 by Finian Cunningham

Julian Assange’s father, John Shipton, gave an interview to Strategic Culture Foundation over the weekend. After arriving from his home country of Australia, Shipton is visiting several European states, including Russia, to bring public attention to the persecution of Julian Assange by British authorities over his role as a publisher and author.
First though an introduction to the Assange case. Few media figures can be attributed to transforming international politics and the global media landscape. Arguably, Julian Assange, author, publisher, and founder of the Wikileaks whistleblower website (2006), is in the top tier of world-changing individuals over the past decade.

The Australian-born Assange has previously been awarded accolades and respect for his truth-telling journalism which exposed massive crimes, corruption and nefarious intrigues by the US government and its Western allies.
One of the most shocking exposés by Wikileaks was the video ‘Collateral Murder’ (2010) which showed mass, indiscriminate deadly shootings by US troops in Iraq. Similar war crimes by American troops in Afghanistan were also revealed by Wikileaks. The so-called US and NATO “war on terror” was exposed as a fraud and gargantuan crime.
Assange worked with American whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, the latter revealing the illegal systematic global surveillance by US spy agencies against ordinary citizens and political leaders around the world in flagrant violation of human rights and Washington’s much-vaunted claims of upholding civil liberties and international law.
The powers-that-be have gone after these truth-tellers with a vengeance for daring to expose their hypocrisy and vile record. Snowden is in exile in Russia unable to return to the US out of fear of imprisonment for “treason”. Manning is currently being detained indefinitely in the US because she refuses to testify against Assange. Julian Assange’s ground-breaking journalism exposing government crimes did so in a way that so many established Western news media outlets failed to do out of cowardly deference to the powers-that-be. Such so-called “independent” media are now facilitating the persecution of Assange by smearing his reputation and ignoring his plight in prison. He has been smeared, among other slanders, as a “Kremlin agent” and a “cyber terrorist”.
After almost seven years (2012-2019) confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he sought political asylum to avoid arbitrary arrest by British authorities over trumped-up sex assault claims (since dropped), Assange was illegally arrested in April this year by UK police storming the Ecuadorian embassy. He has since been detained in maximum security Belmarsh prison where he is held under conditions of solitary confinement. He is being detained indefinitely while the US prepares a request to British authorities to extradite him. If he is extradited to the US, Assange will face charges under the Espionage Act which could result in 175 years in jail.
Belmarsh prison in London is a Special Category A jail (the most severe of four grades of detention centers in the British penal system). It has been used previously to detain mass murderers and the most dangerous convicted terrorists. Julian Assange’s ongoing incarceration there under lockdown is preposterous. It is an outrage, and yet Western media show little or no concern to report on this gross violation of due process and human rights law.
Earlier this month, on September 13, Assange was ordered by a British judge to be detained further even though he was due to be released this week on September 22, after having served out his sentence over a minor bail infringement that occurred back in 2012 when he fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London. That bail infringement is null and void since the original sex-assault claim in Sweden has been dropped due to lack of evidence against Assange.

Evidently, his detention is being used by the British government (no doubt at the behest of Washington) in order to destroy his health and very being. At age 48, his physical and mental condition are deteriorating by the day under the extreme conditions which amount to torture, as the UN special rapporteur Nils Melzer noted after visiting the prisoner back in May this year. The UN report called for Assange’s immediate release.
The following is an interview conducted with Assange’s father, John Shipton. He is currently on a tour of European countries to highlight the gross miscarriage of justice against his son. Shipton is visiting Britain, Ireland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden to campaign for Julian’s immediate release. He is also traveling to Russia.
In contrast to Western media indifference, John Shipton says he has encountered great public support for Julian, demanding his freedom. Among his supporters are prominent public figures, award-winning journalist John Pilger, renowned thinker and writer Noam Chomsky, Pink Floyd singer-songwriter Roger Waters and the courageous actress Pamela Anderson.
The Interview
Strategic Culture (SC)
Can you describe the current prison conditions for Julian and his state of health?
John Shipton (JS): Julian has lost 15 kilos in weight, is held in Belmarsh Maximum Security Prison Hospital 22 hours per day in solitary confinement. Nils Melzer, United Nation’s special rapporteur on torture, visited in company with two people expert in recognising the effects of torture. Nil’s report stated Julian showed the effects of toture physically and mentally. Since Nil’s visit in May 2019, Julian continues to loseweight, now totalling 15 kilos. Nils and company describe Julian’s deeply distressing condition in firm language, UN report linked.

SC: It is reported that you are being restricted from contact with your son in prison despite you having travelled from Sydney, Australia, to visit him, Is that correct?

JS: Julian can receive two, too-hour social visits per month. My visit was double-booked with another thus cancelled. A week later, in company with Ai Wei Wei, we visited Julian. Sitting in the prisoners’ meeting room for 46 minutes, upon complaining we were told Julian could not be found. Couple of minutes later, Julian was brought in.
SC: Is Julian being restricted from contact with his lawyers in order to prepare his defense against the pending extradition case from Britain to the US?
JS: Yes, severely. Sentences to maximum security as a Grade B prisoner in solitary confinement, without access to computer or library. I gather the prison library has no books on criminal law.
SC: The latest development this month on September 13 saw a British judge rule that Julian’s detention in London’s max security Belmarsh Prison is to be expended indefinitely despite him being due to be released on September 22, after serving his time for a bail infringement back in 2012. What, in your view, is objectionable about the latest ruling by the British Judge?#
JS: The judge, Vanessa Baraitser. Made her own application for Julian’s bail which, with bottomless ignominy, she promptly refused. Baraitser in summing up her judgement used the phrase. “likely yo abscond”. Julian has partaken of legal conventions of asylum, and to which the United Kingdom is a signatory, reviewed and supported by 32 states in the American Organisation of States, and he has ceaselessly offered Sweedish preosecutiors ipportunity to interview him or travel to Sweden if guarantees of no onward extradition to the United States. Stephania Maurizi’s Freedom of Information requests of United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecuting Service and Sweedish Crown Prosecuting Authority had revealed irregular anti-procedural state cooperation keeping Julian in Ecuador’s London Embassy. Mini Adolf Eichmanns all of them are.
Sweedish prosecuting authority jas had four prosecutors, two interviews, one in Sweden 2010 and 2017 in Ecuador’s London embassy, during nine years under regulations stating that cases must be progressed. To land a man on the moon took eight years!

This is prosecutorial and judicial insouciant malice towards Julian!
SC: What are your concerns about what could happen if your son is extradited to the US where he is facing charges of violating the Espionage Act?
JS: They will murder Julian one way or the other.
SC: What do you say to politicians and media figures, like Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late US senator John McCain, who denounce Julian as a “cyber terrorist”?
JS: US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, moron and crook or if you prefer, crook and moron, if memory serves, fist uttered this phrase purportedly bringing Julian under the Patriot Act as a terrorist, thereby able to be extra-judicially murdered, Floundering morons repeat meaningless phrases echoing other bubble-head nonsense. Everyone of those morons are horrified by and terrified by truth and facts which everyone all can see and read on Wikileaks.
SC: Are you proud of your son’s work as a publisher and whistleblower? What do you see as his main achievement from his publishing work?
JS: The achievements are many. In diplomatic cables we can read of how the geopolitical world is composed and disposed of people therein. We can understand what Uncle Sam wants and how the US state gets what it wants. Many millions of people, communities and states benefit from Wikileaks, some greatly. Example, Chagos Islands at the International Court of Justice. Iraq War and Afgan files exposing war crimes. Vault 7 exposing CIA cyber illegalities and crimes. The ‘Collateral Murder’ video’s revelation of US war crimes in Iraq. The list of revelations and beneficiaries is long and deep. Julian Assange and Wikileaks are a necessity.
War crimes revealed, sordid practices, blackmail and bribery, Seven countries destroyed, millions dead, rivers of blood and millions displaced. Yet only Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, both innocent 0f giving hurt and crime, rot in jail
SC: Is Julian’s treatment by British and US authorities a grave warning to all citizens about the danger to their right to freedom of expression and independent media?
JS: Yes, a grim warning. Shut up or be crushed. What free press? English-speaking mass media is homogenous in its deceptions, prevarication and banal lies. Popular internet search engines deflect inquiry into corporate cronies. Facebook corporation is greed incarnate. All these entities can be simply regulated. Nation states have powers, however, do nothing but salivate over access to data we generate ... our data.
For Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are icons of oppressive state vilense towards revelation of astonishing corruption and staggering criminality.
Many gifted, brave writers, commentators and film-makers continue a furious fight in alternative media and blogs, We give our gratitude and salute to such men and women, for they all know, intimately, there is no monster colder than the US state and its allies.
SC: Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison and the government in Canberra have refused to make appeals for Julian’s release despite him being an Australian citizen. How do you view the Australian government’s lack of response to the case? Why are they apparently derelict? For example, Premier Morrison is visiting US President Donald Trump this week, but he is reportedly schedules to not raise the Assange case or to request his release. Why is Morrison acting with such indifference, and deference to the US?
JS: The Australian Government is complicit. More than complicit as silence indicated agreed involvement. Notable exception are ex-Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. With concordance of ex-prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, raising Julian with Jeremy Hunt, the former United Kingdom Foreign Minister and Mike Pompeo, the cent United States Secretary of State.
SC: Are you hopeful that Julian will be released in the near future? How important have public supporters like journalist John Pilger, Pink Floyd singer-song-writer Roger Waters and actress Pamela Anderson, as well as ordinary members of the public, been to Julian’s spirits?
JS: To Julian’ spirits, friends and supporters are alpha to omega of life.

For those interested in contacting John Shipton for further media interviews or details about Julian Assange’s case,

contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Linda Givetash
Linda Givetash is a reporter based in London. She previously worked for The Canadian Press in Vancouver and Nation Media in Uganda. 

After pleading guilty to "hacking", Assange escaped prison on the condition he did not reoffend


Police arrest of Julian Assange was kidnap, former diplomat says
Friday, April 26, 2019
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was “kidnapped” from the Ecuadorian embassy where he lived for almost seven years after being dragged out when his diplomatic asylum was removed, a former senior diplomat has said.
Fidel Narvaez, who worked at the London embassy as a consul for most of the time Assange lived there, launched a scathing attack on the decision by Ecuador President Lenin Moreno to allow police to enter the building and make an arrest earlier this month.
“What the President has done is unforgivable – it has brought shame to my country,” he said in an interview with the Press Association.
“It was a smear campaign, a smokescreen to cover up the fact that Ecuador was handing over a political refugee to be persecuted”
“It was basically a kidnapping. Julian did not walk out of the embassy of his own accord – he was dragged out by force, which is outrageous.”
Mr Narvaez said that following Mr Moreno’s election last year, staff at the embassy changed, and Assange basically became “persecuted”, denied access to the internet or phones and only allowed to see his lawyers.
“They tried to break him down, imposing unbearable conditions and isolating him for months. He was living under a hostile environment, denied visitors and constantly being accused of breaches of a new protocol. He wasn’t even allowed to have a radio.
“Surveillance cameras were installed, recording every meeting he had with his lawyers and doctors, which is a huge breach of his right to privacy, and violates the United Nations human rights charter.”
Mr Narvaez strongly refuted claims by Mr Moreno that Assange was disrespectful to embassy staff, did not clean up after himself or take care of his pet cat.
“It was a smear campaign, a smokescreen to cover up the fact that Ecuador was handing over a political refugee to be persecuted. That is a crime.”
Mr Narvaez said he believed the UK Government was never interested in resolving the impasse.
He added that he hopes Assange will be able to fight extradition to the United States where he faces being questioned over the activities of WikiLeaks.
A United Nations human rights expert visited Assange in Belmarsh prison in London on Thursday to assess allegations of possible violations of his right to privacy, and later met Ecuador’s ambassador in London.
Joe Cannataci, a UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, had been due to meet the WikiLeaks founder inside the Ecuadorian embassy.
Mr Cannataci said that after Assange’s arrest on April 11, he sought and obtained the approval of the Government to interview him in custody.
“The objective of my visit is to assess allegations of possible violations against Mr Assange’s right to privacy.
“Any concern that I may have as a result of my assessment will be brought to the attention of the relevant government(s) in order to seek clarification and make recommendations for remedial action.”
- Press Association

Wikileaks Truck at The New York Times. Image courtesy Wikileaks Mobile Information Collection Unit 

Julian Assange: Wikileaks founder visited in jail by UN sparking ‘special treatment’ claim
JULIAN Assange has been visited by United Nations human rights inspectors to ensure he is not being ill-treated in Belmarsh Prison, sparking speculation the Wikileaks founder is receiving special privileges.By SIMON OSBORNE
PUBLISHED: 11:31, Sun, May 19, 2019  

The 47-year-old Wikileaks founder is serving a 50-week sentence in the London prison for jumping bail and hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy. The visits by UN officials have sparked accusations he might be receiving special privileges as they are understood to have taken place in the absence of prison staff. A source told the Sun: “I can’t recall another prisoner being afforded the same privileges. The officials refused to follow normal security procedures to have an officer with them.”  
Assange was visited by Nils Melzer, a UN inspector who usually reports on prison torture in corrupt states, on May 10, according to reports.
It followed an earlier visit by privacy campaigner and human rights expert Joseph Cannataci who met Assange in Belmarsh on April 25.
The sources said prison staff wanted a guard in the room during the meetings but the UN inspectors made the officer wait outside where he could not hear anything.
Mr Melzer, who has also worked alongside prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, said he was there to assess the risks of torture and poor treatment Assamge might face in prison. 
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The UK has a close working relationship with UN bodies and facilitated a visit request made prior to his arrest.”
At the time of his sentencing, UN human rights experts said Assange had received a “disproportionate sentence” for breaching his bail conditions.
Assange faces extradition to the US where where he is wanted over his alleged role in the release of classified military and diplomatic material in 2010 but is also wanted for questioning in Sweden after prosecutors reopened a rape investigation against against the Australian.
The UN has called fr his right to a fair trial to be respected during any extradition process.

Assange  spent nearly seven years holed-up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London after being granted asylum by the South America country.
But he was arrested by Metropolitan Police officers on April 11 when the Ecuadorian government abruptly withdrew its diplomatic protection.
Officials allowed police to enter the building behind Harrods in Knightsbridge after becoming increasingly frustrated at his behaviour. 

Edward Snowden: "If I end up in Guantánamo I can live with that" | Guardian Interviews

The Annihilation of Julian Assange
OCT 29, 2019
Craig Murray

“In Defense of Julian Assange,” edited by Tariq Ali and Margaret Kunstler, is now available for OR Books.

I was deeply shaken while witnessing yesterday’s events in Westminster Magistrates Court. Every decision was railroaded through over the scarcely heard arguments and objections of Assange’s legal team, by a magistrate who barely pretended to be listening.
Before I get on to the blatant lack of fair process, the first thing I must note was Julian’s condition. I was badly shocked by just how much weight my friend has lost, by the speed his hair has receded and by the appearance of premature and vastly accelerated aging. He has a pronounced limp I have never seen before. Since his arrest he has lost over 15 kg in weight.
But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both. I will come to the important content of his statement at the end of proceedings in due course, but his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought.

Until yesterday I had always been quietly skeptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture – even of Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – and skeptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that yesterday changed my mind entirely and Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness.

I had been even more sceptical of those who claimed, as a senior member of his legal team did to me on Sunday night, that they were worried that Julian might not live to the end of the extradition process. I now find myself not only believing it, but haunted by the thought. Everybody in that court yesterday saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes. To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable. Yet the agents of the state, particularly the callous magistrate Vanessa Baraitser, were not just prepared but eager to be a part of this bloodsport. She actually told him that if he were incapable of following proceedings, then his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later. The question of why a man who, by the very charges against him, was acknowledged to be highly intelligent and competent, had been reduced by the state to somebody incapable of following court proceedings, gave her not a millisecond of concern.

The charge against Julian is very specific; conspiring with Chelsea Manning to publish the Iraq War logs, the Afghanistan war logs and the State Department cables. The charges are nothing to do with Sweden, nothing to do with sex, and nothing to do with the 2016 US election; a simple clarification the mainstream media appears incapable of understanding.

The purpose of yesterday’s hearing was case management; to determine the timetable for the extradition proceedings. The key points at issue were that Julian’s defense was requesting more time to prepare their evidence; and arguing that political offenses were specifically excluded from the extradition treaty. There should, they argued, therefore be a preliminary hearing to determine whether the extradition treaty applied at all.

The reasons given by Assange’s defense team for more time to prepare were both compelling and startling. They had very limited access to their client in jail and had not been permitted to hand him any documents about the case until one week ago. He had also only just been given limited computer access, and all his relevant records and materials had been seized from the Ecuadorean Embassy by the US Government; he had no access to his own materials for the purpose of preparing his defence.

Furthermore, the defense argued, they were in touch with the Spanish courts about a very important and relevant legal case in Madrid which would provide vital evidence. It showed that the CIA had been directly ordering spying on Julian in the Embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide security there. Crucially this included spying on privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers discussing his defense against these extradition proceedings, which had been in train in the USA since 2010. In any normal process, that fact would in itself be sufficient to have the extradition proceedings dismissed. Incidentally I learnt on Sunday that the Spanish material produced in court, which had been commissioned by the CIA, specifically includes high resolution video coverage of Julian and I discussing various matters.

The evidence to the Spanish court also included a CIA plot to kidnap Assange, which went to the US authorities’ attitude to lawfulness in his case and the treatment he might expect in the United States. Julian’s team explained that the Spanish legal process was happening now and the evidence from it would be extremely important, but it might not be finished and thus the evidence not fully validated and available in time for the current proposed timetable for the Assange extradition hearings.

For the prosecution, James Lewis QC stated that the government strongly opposed any delay being given for the defense to prepare, and strongly opposed any separate consideration of the question of whether the charge was a political offense excluded by the extradition treaty. Baraitser took her cue from Lewis and stated categorically that the date for the extradition hearing, 25 February, could not be changed. She was open to changes in dates for submission of evidence and responses before this, and called a ten minute recess for the prosecution and defense to agree these steps.

What happened next was very instructive. There were five representatives of the US government present (initially three, and two more arrived in the course of the hearing), seated at desks behind the lawyers in court. The prosecution lawyers immediately went into huddle with the US representatives, then went outside the courtroom with them, to decide how to respond on the dates.

After the recess the defense team stated they could not, in their professional opinion, adequately prepare if the hearing date were kept to February, but within Baraitser’s instruction to do so they nevertheless outlined a proposed timetable on delivery of evidence. In responding to this, Lewis’ junior counsel scurried to the back of the court to consult the Americans again while Lewis actually told the judge he was “taking instructions from those behind”. It is important to note that as he said this, it was not the UK Attorney-General’s office who were being consulted but the US Embassy. Lewis received his American instructions and agreed that the defense might have two months to prepare their evidence (they had said they needed an absolute minimum of three) but the February hearing date may not be moved. Baraitser gave a ruling agreeing everything Lewis had said.

At this stage it was unclear why we were sitting through this farce. The US government was dictating its instructions to Lewis, who was relaying those instructions to Baraitser, who was ruling them as her legal decision. The charade might as well have been cut and the US government simply sat on the bench to control the whole process. Nobody could sit there and believe they were in any part of a genuine legal process or that Baraitser was giving a moment’s consideration to the arguments of the defense. Her facial expressions on the few occasions she looked at the defense ranged from contempt through boredom to sarcasm. When she looked at Lewis she was attentive, open and warm.

The extradition is plainly being rushed through in accordance with a Washington dictated timetable. Apart from a desire to pre-empt the Spanish court providing evidence on CIA activity in sabotaging the defense, what makes the February date so important to the USA? I would welcome any thoughts.

Baraitser dismissed the defense’s request for a separate prior hearing to consider whether the extradition treaty applied at all, without bothering to give any reason why (possibly she had not properly memorized what Lewis had been instructing her to agree with). Yet this is Article 4 of the UK/US Extradition Treaty 2007 in full:


On the face of it, what Assange is accused of is the very definition of a political offense – if this is not, then what is? It is not covered by any of the exceptions from that listed. There is every reason to consider whether this charge is excluded by the extradition treaty, and to do so before the long and very costly process of considering all the evidence should the treaty apply. But Baraitser simply dismissed the argument out of hand.

Just in case anybody was left in any doubt as to what was happening here, Lewis then stood up and suggested that the defense should not be allowed to waste the court’s time with a lot of arguments. All arguments for the substantive hearing should be given in writing in advance and a “guillotine should be applied” (his exact words) to arguments and witnesses in court, perhaps of five hours for the defense. The defense had suggested they would need more than the scheduled five days to present their case. Lewis countered that the entire hearing should be over in two days. Baraitser said this was not procedurally the correct moment to agree this but she will consider it once she had received the evidence bundles.

(SPOILER: Baraitser is going to do as Lewis instructs and cut the substantive hearing short).

Baraitser then capped it all by saying the February hearing will be held, not at the comparatively open and accessible Westminster Magistrates Court where we were, but at Belmarsh Magistrates Court, the grim high security facility used for preliminary legal processing of terrorists, attached to the maximum security prison where Assange is being held. There are only six seats for the public in even the largest court at Belmarsh, and the object is plainly to evade public scrutiny and make sure that Baraitser is not exposed in public again to a genuine account of her proceedings, like this one you are reading. I will probably be unable to get in to the substantive hearing at Belmarsh.

Plainly the authorities were disconcerted by the hundreds of good people who had turned up to support Julian. They hope that far fewer will get to the much less accessible Belmarsh. I am fairly certain (and recall I had a long career as a diplomat) that the two extra American government officials who arrived halfway through proceedings were armed security personnel, brought in because of alarm at the number of protestors around a hearing in which were present senior US officials. The move to Belmarsh may be an American initiative.

Assange’s defense team objected strenuously to the move to Belmarsh, in particular on the grounds that there are no conference rooms available there to consult their client and they have very inadequate access to him in the jail. Baraitser dismissed their objection offhand and with a very definite smirk.

Finally, Baraitser turned to Julian and ordered him to stand, and asked him if he had understood the proceedings. He replied in the negative, said that he could not think, and gave every appearance of disorientation. Then he seemed to find an inner strength, drew himself up a little, and said:

I do not understand how this process is equitable. This superpower had 10 years to prepare for this case and I can’t even access my writings. It is very difficult, where I am, to do anything. These people have unlimited resources.

The effort then seemed to become too much, his voice dropped and he became increasingly confused and incoherent. He spoke of whistleblowers and publishers being labeled enemies of the people, then spoke about his children’s DNA being stolen and of being spied on in his meetings with his psychologist. I am not suggesting at all that Julian was wrong about these points, but he could not properly frame nor articulate them. He was plainly not himself, very ill and it was just horribly painful to watch. Baraitser showed neither sympathy nor the least concern. She tartly observed that if he could not understand what had happened, his lawyers could explain it to him, and she swept out of court.

The whole experience was profoundly upsetting. It was very plain that there was no genuine process of legal consideration happening here. What we had was a naked demonstration of the power of the state, and a naked dictation of proceedings by the Americans. Julian was in a box behind bulletproof glass, and I and the thirty odd other members of the public who had squeezed in were in a different box behind more bulletproof glass. I do not know if he could see me or his other friends in the court, or if he was capable of recognizing anybody. He gave no indication that he did.

In Belmarsh he is kept in complete isolation for 23 hours a day. He is permitted 45 minutes exercise. If he has to be moved, they clear the corridors before he walks down them and they lock all cell doors to ensure he has no contact with any other prisoner outside the short and strictly supervised exercise period. There is no possible justification for this inhuman regime, used on major terrorists, being imposed on a publisher who is a remand prisoner.

I have been both cataloguing and protesting for years the increasingly authoritarian powers of the UK state, but that the most gross abuse could be so open and undisguised is still a shock. The campaign of demonization and dehumanization against Julian, based on government and media lie after government and media lie, has led to a situation where he can be slowly killed in public sight, and arraigned on a charge of publishing the truth about government wrongdoing, while receiving no assistance from “liberal” society.

Unless Julian is released shortly he will be destroyed. If the state can do this, then who is next?

Hero or Villain: The Prosecution of Julian Assange | Four Corners
ABC News In-depth
Julian Assange is one of the most influential figures to emerge this century. The Australian born founder of WikiLeaks has harnessed the technology of the digital age to unleash an information war against governments and corporations. WikiLeaks has collaborated with anonymous sources to release highly classified and often deeply embarrassing information to the world. The organisation exploded onto the world stage in 2010 when it began publishing a series of spectacular leaks laying bare the conduct of the United States. At the centre of it all was Julian Assange. The leaks sparked ferocious debate over the right to know and the right to keep secrets. Now Julian Assange is in the fight of his life. In April this year he was dragged, protesting, from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, nearly seven years after seeking diplomatic protection. He is facing extradition to the United States on espionage charges stemming from the spectacular 2010 leaks by Private Chelsea Manning. Everyone has an opinion about Julian Assange, but now you will hear from those who have been on the inside. Four Corners investigates the prosecution of Julian Assange in key interviews with those at the heart of WikiLeaks and those who have sought to bring him to US justice. These insider accounts give powerful insights into how these momentous events have unfolded. For Part Two, The United States vs Julian Assange, click here: For more from ABC News, click here: Subscribe to us on YouTube: You can also like us on Facebook: Or follow us on Instagram: Or even on Twitter:

A statement from the CIJ on the arrest of Julian Assange
The Centre For Investigative Journalism (CIJ)
The CIJ notes with grave concern Julian Assange’s arrest at the Embassy of Ecuador in London today. The organisation that he leads, Wikileaks, was pioneering in its publication of classified media – which is why, in its early years, the CIJ loaned it some of our interns. Wikileaks material from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere has become a unique, invaluable resource for investigative journalists and scholars around the world. Its innovations – from cross-border, collaborative reporting to systems for secure, anonymous leaks – have been borrowed by almost every major news outlet in the world.
Whatever your view of its philosophy of radical transparency, Wikileaks is a publisher. Any charges now brought in connection with that material, or any attempt to extradite Mr Assange to the United States for prosecution under the deeply flawed cudgel of the Espionage Act 1917, is an attack on all of us.
Mr Assange deserves the solidarity of the community of investigative journalists. The world is now watching.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at the Westminster Magistrates Court after he was arrested in London, England, April 11, 2019. 

(Hannah McKay/Reuters)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared in a London court on Monday for a hearing on whether he should be extradited to the United States to face spying charges _ Euro News 

Assange, Greenwald, and Journalism
May 28, 2019 1:18 PM
KEVIN D. WILLIAMSON is the roving correspondent for National Review.

Regarding the Julian Assange case, Glenn Greenwald makes an important point, that as a First Amendment question, it does not matter whether Assange is a journalist.
Press freedoms belong to everyone, not to a select, privileged group of citizens called “journalists.” Empowering prosecutors to decide who does or doesn’t deserve press protections would restrict “freedom of the press” to a small, cloistered priesthood of privileged citizens designated by the government as “journalists.” The First Amendment was written to avoid precisely that danger.
That is well said, and the reminder is both urgent and necessary at this particular moment in our history. Greenwald continues:
Most critically, the U.S. government has now issued a legal document that formally declares that collaborating with government sources to receive and publish classified documents is no longer regarded by the Justice Department as journalism protected by the First Amendment but rather as the felony of espionage . . . .
And there is the problem. If the First Amendment does not create a set of privileges for a caste known as “journalists,” then journalists can be prosecuted for violating the law — including the laws governing the dissemination of classified information — in the same way any ordinary citizen would be.
The dissemination of classified documents is illegal in many circumstances. It is, under what seems to me the plain meaning of the law, precisely the felony of espionage in at least some cases. To decline to prosecute those crimes in the interest of enabling journalism is to create exactly the kind of professional caste privilege that Greenwald rightly warns against. We cannot simultaneously hold that the problem is “empowering prosecutors to decide who does or doesn’t deserve press protections” and then try to solve that problem by empowering prosecutors to decide who does or doesn’t deserve press protections.

I am not a lawyer and do not pretend to speak authoritatively about the Assange case, but the language of the federal criminal code appears — to my great surprise — clear enough about this matter.
And that is the fundamental issue: The government has overly broad and sweeping power when it comes to classifying information, and it uses that power too eagerly and too thoughtlessly — and too arrogantly, and too corruptly — for that power to be fully compatible with a free and open society. The solution to bad laws is to repeal or reform the law, not to construct a supplementary social theory to support its selective application.
In keeping with Greenwald’s concerns, writing a journalism carveout into the statute would be a disastrous undertaking, because it would amount to licensing journalists, which would radically reconfigure the First Amendment and our understanding of free speech in an unacceptable way. That is one significant problem with “campaign finance” laws that subject political speech to legislative discipline and then pretend to make an exemption for news media.
The more reasonable approach — which is naturally the more difficult one — would be to acknowledge that the government has a legitimate interest in keeping certain secrets but to narrow its discretion and scope in making those decisions. One important reform would be to eliminate the executive’s effective monopoly on declassification decisions, moving some of that authority into the House of Representatives or the Senate.
And then, if the New York Times receives a classified document through a criminal act or comes into possession of a document the publication of which would be a criminal act, it can make an editorial decision about whether the importance of the story justifies an act of civil disobedience and, if it comes to it, dare the government to prosecute it. Many Americans have sat in jail cells for honorable causes.
If we accept the proposition that the government has a legitimate interest in keeping secrets and in using the law to further that end — and there are some radical libertarians who reject that — and we also accept that the First Amendment applies in the same way to all citizens, then it follows that there will be prosecutions for violating that law, and that acting as a journalist does not provide immunity from such prosecution.

NOW WATCH: 'Reuters Journalists Freed from Myanmar Prison after 500 Days'

John Pilger- Julian Assange Could Barely Speak in Court!
We speak to legendary journalist and filmmaker John Pilger on Julian Assange’s latest extradition hearing this Monday, which he attended. He discusses how Julian appeared at the trial, the bias of the judge against Julian Assange, the lack of mainstream media coverage of Julian’s persecution, his health and conditions in Belmarsh prison, CIA spying on Julian Assange and more!  

The United States vs Julian Assange | Four Corners 
ABC News In-depth
In the 2016 race to the White House, presidential candidate Donald Trump took a shine to the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks, led by its Australian founder Julian Assange. Trump revelled in the damage inflicted upon his opponent, Hillary Clinton, by a series of sensational leaks published by the site. Now, as President, Donald Trump has performed a spectacular flip, presiding over an administration determined to imprison the publisher of the leaks. In Part Two of its investigation into Julian Assange, Four Corners looks at Assange’s activities conducted during the nearly seven years he spent sheltering in the Ecuadorian Embassy. For Part One, Hero or Villain: The Prosecution of Julian Assange, click here: Read more about this story here: Watch more Four Corners investigations here: You can also like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: And sign up to our newsletter:

The Economist explains
Why the pope has taken control of the Knights of Malta
The Vatican clashes with an ancient chivalric order

The Economist explains   Feb 7th 2017   by J.H.
ON FEBRUARY 2nd, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Angelo Becciu as his special delegate to the Order of the Knights of Malta, an exclusive, centuries-old Roman Catholic fellowship. He told him to collaborate with the Order’s acting head for the “reconciliation between all its members” and to work for it “spiritual and moral renewal”. The letter in which he gave these instructions completed a virtual takeover of the Order that began on January 24th when the pope forced the resignation of the order's grand master, a 67 year-old Briton, Matthew Festing. What is going on?
Popes have occasionally sent representatives in to crack the whip over monastic orders suspected of veering from the doctrinal straight-and-narrow. But the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which defended pilgrims to the Holy Land during the Crusades, is an order of chivalry. And a singular one. Like countries, the Order has sovereignty (its knights having previously ruled Malta). Yet it no longer has territory beyond its headquarters on the fashionable Via Condotti in Rome. From there it dispatches ambassadors and issues stamps, coins and even its own licence plates. The only similar, sovereign entity with little or no territory is the Holy See. So Francis’s putsch is akin to the annexation of one state by another.

Australian pollies from across the political spectrum have united in an attempt to bring home Julian Assange as the whistleblower prepares to face a London court.