In the lead-up to the impending UK Supreme Court decision on the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the Australian Labor government has taken several steps that underscore its close involvement in the global operation against him by the Obama administration. Far from protecting any of the basic legal rights of Assange—an Australian citizen—the Gillard government is doing everything it can to help Washington railroad him to jail and silence WikiLeaks.
According to WikiLeaks, Britain’s highest court is expected to hand down its decision next week. Assange has appealed against rulings by lower courts to extradite him to Sweden to be questioned by a prosecutor on concocted and baseless sexual assault charges. Despite not being charged with a single offence, he has now spent nearly 500 days under house arrest.
The UK court is Assange’s last legal avenue of appeal in Britain. If he loses the case he can be removed to Sweden within days, where he could be held in solitary confinement for months. From there, he is set to be extradited to the United States, where he was indicted by a secret Grand Jury in December 2010. Under the reactionary Espionage Act of 1917, Assange could face lengthy imprisonment or the death penalty.
Even if Assange succeeds in his UK appeal, the US authorities are likely to unseal the Grand Jury indictment and seek his extradition direct to the US—assisted by the Australian government. Continue reading →
As the media campaign against Assange is on the increase (DN-1, DN-2, SvD, Aftonbladet), the Swedish government anxiously hopes for a judgment at the Supreme Court in London which, they believe, it would help to distract domestic opinion from the on-going scandal “Arms-agreements with Saudi Arabia“. Professors blogg was first in Sweden to draw attention to the sensitive issue of the then phantom funding of the cover company (Swedish Security Technology and Innovation, SSTI) used for the intelligence and weaponry-trade operation with the Saudis. It has been now disclosed it was one of the Defence Intelligence apparatus which put up the financing to FOA. When the scandal was in the eve to break, FOA accused Assange and WikiLeaks of blackmailing Sweden in order to create nationalistic momentum for the “defence of Sweden” against its “enemies”. Assange was referred then as Number One public enemy of Sweden. Now that the investigations on the arms scandal pursues regardless the resignation of Minister Sten Tolgfors, the government of Sweden expect anew to play the chauvinistic “Assange card” with the help of the MSM. For its own political purposes the Swedish authorities press upon the extradition of Assange more than ever. It has become indeed the Swedish government case against Assange. This analysis demonstrates that the ultimate decision of the extradition of Assange to the U.S. will be political. Therefore, we call for the international monitoring of the steps taken by the government around this issue, and also the behaviours by the Swedish MSM.
The perils posed by these revelations on a prospective indictment, makes urgent to re-consider political issues of the situation Julian Assange would face now in Sweden, in case been extradited there. In spite of Sweden’s official silence, and the denial by the mainstream media articles, the extradition of political prisoners in Sweden is ultimately decided at a political level. Ergo, the risks for an extradition of the Wikileaks founder to USA – in case it will be requested – cannot be assessed solely attending to juridical arguments.
As I have recently expressed in another RT interview aired March 29, the preparations for these trials in the U.S. are seeking a connection between WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning in terms of making Julian Assange accountable. Previously, According to an interview with Julian Assange and lawyers Jennifer Robinson and Geoffrey Robertson , it become clear that the USA shall most certain seek the extradition of the Wikileaks founder. The reason – as mentioned in the interview – being that a US Grand Jury investigation has been on-going in Washington since last year – preparing aggravating charges on espionage. Apparently, efforts aims to Such charges, most likely in connection with the Wikileaks Pentagon-disclosures, would entail for Julian Assange “up to ten-years in a maximum security prison”, according to the legal experts. Meanwhile, a recurrent misconception – or deliberately misinformation – published in the international media, is to consider the deportation of Julian Assange from Sweden to the USA as, statistically speaking, “highly unlikely”.
But facts reveal the contrary: Regarding the open extradition requests from the USA since 2000, Sweden has granted such extradition in the TOTAL OF CASES in which the prisoner was in Swedish territory. This is based in statistics according to Sweden’s Justice Ministry(see below “The myth on that Assange’s extradition from Sweden to US is not likely”).
It is exactly this risk of extradition/rendition to the USA from the part of Swedish officials that made Julian Assange reluctant to come to Sweden (after the Swedish extradition request and the smear campaign that ensued in Sweden). I also refer the reader to the post This is Why, in which the reasons for this apparently Swedish revenge are summarized. This analysis was previously treated in the Professors blogg’s article “Sweden will grant extradition of Julian Assange to US if not stopped by international political pressure NOW”
Julian Assange has been a remarkable source for mainstream media. So why has he been so ill-treated in return? There are many accusations levelled at him and his organisation, and whatever their bases, none of them justifies the reactions. And this hurts journalism as a whole.
Over the past several months leading figures of the news industry have lined up at journalism conferences and in the MSM (“mainstream media”) to hammer Julian Assange’s reputation. Astonishingly, the people bashing the founder of Wikileaks are the same people who relentlessly pursued and used him as a source. Protecting the source is what reporters in general and investigative reporters in particular are supposed to do, but a glaring exception is being made for Assange.
It’s been happening at least since October, when David Leigh ↑ and Heather Brooke ↑ , both of The Guardian and authors of recent books about Wikileaks, took the stage at the Global Investigative Journalism Congress in Kiev to denounce Assange’s alleged treachery and lechery. They did the same again in Paris at UNESCO in February. On both occasions no representatives of Assange’s organization were asked to speak; so much for open debate. The details deserve to be outed.
Leigh has repeatedly complained that Assange makes deals, then breaks them. As Leigh and Ian Harding recount in Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, Assange first annulled his exclusive deal to publish Wikileaks’ archives with The New York Times, Der Spiegel and The Guardian (he brought in two other dailies) after the Times ran a front-page piece that portrayed him as a megalomaniac. True or not, try to think of another source whom The Times exposed like this, facing the dangers Assange faces. A source needn’t be crazy to wonder whose side such partners are on and start looking for a Plan B. (Which he found, as we’ll see later.)
Leigh has also blamed Assange for the release of hundreds of thousands of raw documents that can put individuals who work with the US government in danger. What happened, according to Leigh in Kiev, is this: Assange gave him a cryptographic key allowing temporary online access to a server where the documents were stored. Leigh assumed that the key had expired when he and Harding wrote their book, and they published it down to the last letter. The server was immediately cracked and the documents spilled out. Leigh claims that Assange had not warned him that the key still worked. Publishing it was still a grave mistake in more ways than one. By blaming Assange, Leigh cannot help but raise the risks for him. According to Wikileaks, the Stratfor emails hacked by Anonymous indicate that a sealed indictment has already been issued on Assange, and that the US might “declassify the death of a source” that could be tagged to Wikileaks. Continue reading →
Internal emails disclosed by Anonymous and WikiLeaks suggest that Stratfor, a private intelligence firm working with the U.S. Justice Department.
But The FBI turned a computer hacker to build its case against a group of people it alleges are responsible for a string of audacious attacks that captured the personal details of more than one million people.
Hector Monsegur, known as Sabu, leader of the Anonymous affiliated hacking group LulzSec, was arrested by FBI agents in his New York apartment on Monday, June 7, 2011, at 10:15PM. On August 15, Monsegur pleaded guily to several counts of hacking and identity theft.
Seeing that Xavier ‘Sabu’ Monsegur had apparently been working for the FBI for the last couple of months, it isn’t too far-fetched to think that the leaks of the Stratfor e-mails given to Wikileaks by Anonymous was nothing more than a tactic to entrap Wikileaks and build a case against Assange. Was the arrest last week of the five LulzSec members just part of an intermediate stop gap in the pursuit of a far more prominent fugitive, namely Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks?
Additional self-incriminating Tweets from Sabu’s Twitter account also implicate him as one of the Stratfor hackers. But if Sabu was in fact working for the FBI, how could the Stratfor hack be anything more than a clearcut case of entrapment perpetrated by the FBI?