Posts Tagged ‘secret indictment against Assange’
Friday June 29th, 16:00
Thank you for coming – My name is Susan Benn from the Julian Assange Defense Fund.
I have spoken to Julian today and he is in good spirits. He is grateful for the support shown to him by the people of Ecuador and so many others from around the world.
Yesterday Mr. Assange was served with a letter from the Metropolitan police service requesting that he surrender himself to the Belgravia police station at 11.30 this morning.
Mr Assange has been advised that he should decline to comply with the police request. This should not be considered any sign of disrespect. Under both international and domestic UK law asylum assessments take priority over extradition claims.
The issues faced by Mr. Assange are serious. His life and liberty and the life and liberty of his organization and those associated with it are at stake.
The United States Government has instigated a grand jury investigation against Julian Assange and other “founders or managers” of Wikileaks. Australian diplomats have described this investigation as being of “unprecedented scale and nature”. There is irrefutable evidence in the public record of subpoenas being issued and witnesses being compelled to testify against Mr. Assange. WikiLeaks, the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights and other groups have been fighting these subpeonas and other issues arising from the investigation in multiple US courts. US officials have said in open court that the FBI file about the investigation has now reached 42,135 pages. The US department of justice admitted yesterday that its investigation into WikiLeaks proceeds. It is only a matter of time before US authorities begin extradition proceedings against Julian and other leading members of Wikileaks on various charges including conspiracy to commit espionage. There are credible reports that a sealed indictment has already been made against Mr. Assange. Under US law a sealed indictment can only be made public once Mr. Assange is in custody. For a US official to otherwise acklowledge the existence of a sealed indictment is a criminal offense. The Independent newspaper’s diplomatic correspondent reported that informal talks between the US and Sweden have been conducted.
It should be made clear what would happen if Julian was extradited to the USA. The United Nations special rapporteur for torture, Juan Mendez has formally found that the United States has subjected Julian Assange’s alleged source in this matter, the young soldier Bradley Manning, to conditions amounting to torture. The UN found that the United States subjected Bradley Manning to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”. Mr. Manning has been charged by the US government with the capital offense of “aiding the enemy” in relation to his alleged interaction with Mr. Assange. Bradley Manning has been detained without trial for two years and was placed into solitary confinement for 9 months in his cell for 23 hours a day, stripped naked and woken every 5 minutes. His lawyer and support team say these harsh measures were to coerse him into implicating Julian Assange. Read the rest of this entry »
1 Jun 2012, 12:21 pm - Source: Kristina Kukolja, SBS
The mother of Julian Assange has called on the federal government to ‘come out and list exactly what they’ve done’ to provide consular assistance to her son.
The mother of Julian Assange has called on the federal government to ‘come out and list exactly what they’ve done’ to provide consular assistance to the Australian WikiLeaks founder in his fight to avoid extradition to Sweden.
“[It’s] low level stuff, cups of tea stuff. Whatever it is, its minor, so minor that Julian’s lawyers and Julian say it’s virtually useless, nothing to do with his human rights, his legal rights,” Mrs Assange said.
“There may be some little office works stuff, we’ll bring you sandwiches and grant the occasional interview,” she said.
Mr Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning over sexual assault allegations.
AUSTRALIA ‘AIDING US’
But Christine Assange says she fears Australia is working with the United States, in preparation for an effort to extradite her son and put him on trial over the publication of US diplomatic cables.
She told SBS Radio the federal government is misleading the Australian people about the help it’s offering her son.
“This is a PR exercise by Foreign Affairs. We know that that information goes straight back to the US, they’ve done a lot of talking with the US over this case,” Mrs Assange said.
The federal government has repeatedly said that the WikiLeaks founder is being afforded the same consular support as any other Australian citizen would receive.
“It’s true that they can’t actually tell Sweden that they should run a court case in the same way that Australia would run a court case, but what they can do is protest vigorously about the fact that the Swedish court case is continually breaching its own police and prosecutorial protocols,” Mrs Assange said.
SECRET US WARRANT
Meanwhile the US denies secretly preparing legal action against Julian Assange.
Jeffrey Bleich, US ambassador to Australia said Washington was not preparing a warrant his arrest.
”There is no such thing as a secret warrant. Period. They don’t exist,” Mr Bleich said.
Read more and watch the video: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1655327/Consular-help-for-Assange-useless-says-mother
Rachael Brown reported this story on Thursday, May 31, 2012
TONY EASTLEY: Human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson has been associated with Julian Assange since his legal proceedings were launched in December 2010.
She says Australia could be exploring possible diplomatic protections but is choosing not to.
She says the Australian Government is keeping quiet regarding any discussions it’s had with the US about Mr Assange’s eventual fate.
Jennifer Robinson is speaking here to our Europe correspondent Rachael Brown.
JENNIFER ROBINSON: Many are speculating about the information that’s being shared between the US and Australian authorities. Unfortunately though from a freedom of information request that has been put to the government by numerous journalists and by Senator Ludlam of the Greens Party, all of those responses have come back rejected so that we have no clue as to exactly what’s being said. So it’s very difficult to know what information is being shared.
The Australian Government is denying that it has any knowledge of any charges or indictments that have been brought against Julian but the indications suggest otherwise – what we know about the ongoing grand jury process in the US, what we know about those associated with WikiLeaks and having had relationship with WikiLeaks being interrogated, detained and forced to testify, it’s quite clear that there is an ongoing process in the US.
Many are concerned that there is an existing indictment. And if the Australian Government does not know about it as it claims, we have to wonder what does the US/Australian alliance mean if we can’t find out what’s going to happen to one of our citizens?
RACHAEL BROWN: And I understand you personally have received a letter from the Attorney-General Nicola Roxon saying that she doesn’t know anything about extradition to the US.
JENNIFER ROBINSON: What has been clear from the information that’s been released under freedom of information laws in Australia about the communications between Australia and the US is that Australia has particularly asked the US to warn them about any potential indictment and charge because they are most concerned about the PR and the PR aspect and to manage the media aspects of this case.
I don’t think any Australian will consider that to be a satisfactory response. The Australian Government ought to be asking more proactively and seeking assurances of the US government about what they intend to do with Julian – whether they intend to prosecute or not and under what conditions he will be held should that take place.
It is well within Australia’s right as a sovereign state to exercise diplomatic protection over its citizens. And what we’ve learnt so far is that the Australian Government is not being as proactive as I think we’d all hope they would be.
As we’ve seen from the US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks the US government regularly asks other states and seeks assurances from other states not to prosecute their citizens and to seek assurances about their treatment.
Similarly, other states have done so. We’ve seen cases involving British citizens who have been extradited to the US where assurances have been sought by the British state that that citizen would be put on bail. The Australian Government, has said in the letter from the Attorney-General has said that they will not seek assurances with respect to bail.
These are possibilities that the Australian Government could be exploring and they are choosing not to and we have to ask the question, why?
TONY EASTLEY: Human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson speaking to Europe correspondent Rachael Brown.
After dodging and delaying FOI requests about its consideration of the case of Julian Assange for months, the government has blocked the release of any material that would reveal its internal legal deliberations over Assange’s extradition to the United States.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam made an FOI application to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Attorney-General’s Department and their respective ministerial offices in December seeking documents relating to “the potential extradition or temporary surrender” of Assange to the US.
The response of the government has been a litany of excuses and self-justifications.
After several months, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is still seeking to avoid responding. In March, DFAT said it would take them a remarkable four months to process the request and demanded that Ludlam justify why a request for documents about Assange’s extradition was a matter in the public interest. At the end of March, DFAT demanded another 30 days on top of the four months, on the basis that they’d only just realised they would have to consult with foreign governments over the request.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet quickly fobbed off the request entirely by claiming that the request “would unreasonably divert the resources of the department”, an excuse permitted under s.24 of the FOI Act.
So far only Attorney-General’s has responded, after trying to unsuccessfully convince the Information Commissioner to re-extend the deadline for responding, and actually breaching the response deadline. The result (PDF), when it finally arrived in late March, featured extensive use of the famous black highlighter and bordered on nonsensical. Read the rest of this entry »
Written by Joe Wolverton, Friday, 13 April 2012
“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” — Washington Irving
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Interview originally aired on ABC RadioNational Late Night Live, 29 March 2012 at 10:05PM.
Audio is available at the ABC website.
Norman Swan: And now an interview that we were going to do Monday, but we are now going to do tonight, which many of you were waiting keenly on, with Julian Assange. Who’s nearing… What is it, Julian, 500 days in house arrest?
Julian Assange: I’ve lost count, Norman. I think it’s 500 in 24 days.
Norman Swan: Where are you? Where are you under house arrest?
Julian Assange: I’m outside the city of London in the country. It’s a bit isolating, but it’s necessary for security reasons.
Norman Swan: But it’s not a little shed. You’re in a quite comfortable house.
Julian Assange: It’s a small country holiday house. But it’s comfortable enough. And I am in a fortune position to have some good friends in this country to be cared for.
Norman Swan: Getting a bit of noise on your phone there, Julian. Is there a bit of wind coming through or something like that?
Julian Assange: There is. I stepped outside Norman because it was breaking up again. Let me move into another room, maybe the reception will be better.
Norman Swan: Okay.
Julian Assange: Go ahead, Norman.
Norman Swan: Well, we’re certainly getting an audio tour of your incarceration, Julian. So what’s the situation; you’re waiting on the Supreme Court handing down the appeal on the extradition.
Julian Assange: Yes. So we had a very big Supreme Court case here, which in itself is quite interesting. So the Supreme Court said the matter was of great public importance. There’s concerns whether in the European Union one state can extradite a person from another state without any charges being made, without any evidence being given, and when the person issuing the extradition request is not even a judge, but is a policeman or a prosecutor. So that really goes from the mental notion of statehood. Because really a key ingredient to statehood is that you have the monopoly on the deployment of coercive force. And so if other, policemen say, in other countries in the EU, are able to take the reigns of coercive force in England or in other EU countries, how does that redefine the state in the EU? Really it does, in fact, create an EU as a nation-state as opposed to an EU as a mechanism which permits states within the EU to cooperate. Another being part of an ideological project in the EU amounted to the Cold War to try an produce a United States of America. And that’s a particular aspect in relation to extraditions within the EU came in after 9-11, in response to 9-11, saying that this mechanism was necessary for terrorist extraditions from one state to another, to do things very quickly, without evidence, without even charge.
Norman Swan: And if you win, putting aside the impact on you, if you win then it creates a crisis in terms of internal extradition processes within the European Union.
Julian Assange: It’s hard to say. I mean, ideally that would be the case. And it would solidify more common law notions about—to be fair, which are included in the EU constitution—that there should not be punishment before trial, that decisions that are made that effect someone’s liberty must be reviewable by the courts. And so, if I win it could be within the context of simply that Swedish policemen are not able to do this. But it will set some kind of important precedent.
Norman Swan: And is there a double-jeopardy, can they reissue the extradition order from a more appropriate source and get around the finding of a Supreme Court?
Julian Assange: Yeah, so they can.
Norman Swan: So they might not end with this.
Julian Assange: The Swedes could reform their system to be compliant with the British Law. The British Law demands that a judicial authority issue an extradition warrant. So they could bring their system into compliance with that and reissue, but that’s not really the big concern. What is likely if I do win then the United States will issue its request for extradition, and they can simply do that by telephone call. And then they have 40 days to put in the actual extradition papers themselves.
Norman Swan: Why haven’t they done that yet? I mean what grounds would they have for doing that? Is that via the Bradley Manning case?
Julian Assange: That’s via this Bradley Manning case. There has been a Grand Jury meeting every month, several days a month, in Washington D.C. for the past 14 or so months, since September 2010. Grand Jury goes for a period of 18 months. Information has come out from several sources that this Grand Jury has a indictment against me already, but they’re keeping it sealed until the appropriate moment comes to release it. And the U.S. Ambassador to the UK, Susman, said early last year that they were waiting for the Swedish case before considering their moves. So, that’s all fair report that we hear back from our people in Canberra, that everyone’s sort-of happy with the Swedish solution and as well to ship me off to Sweden and then Sweden has to deal with the matter. Read the rest of this entry »
Jaraparilla – Monday, March 26, 2012
A WikiLeaks supporter sent me this response from the office of the Australian Attorney General, Nicola Roxon.
Like other Form Letter responses from Australian Labor Party MPs and Senators, it includes some fine language about general principles while pointing out that the Gillard government has managed to do the bare minimum in response to the USA’s witch-hunt of Julian Assange.
Roxon’s department insists “the Government’s role is to seek to ensure due process is followed” and that they have “obtained assurances from the Swedish Government that Mr Assange’s case will proceed in accordance with due process.” One can only assume that they have not bothered to examine all the facts surrounding this case in Sweden, because “due process” has already been ignored many times over.
The letter also notes that the Australian Government “is not currently aware of any changes against or indictment for Mr Assange being planned by the US Government.” Oh really?
Have they not read about the US Grand Jury investigations? Have they not seen the Stratfor emails? Of course they have! And they have also had consular officials sitting in the courtroom at Bradley Manning’s court-martial, so they have heard defence concerns that Manning was being pressured to make a case against Assange. How much more will the US government be allowed to do before Australia can admit there are “changes against or indictment for Mr Assange being planned by the US Government”? Read the rest of this entry »
Written by Alex Newman – Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Founder Julian Assange (left) of the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks plans to run for a seat in the Australian Senate while under house arrest in the United Kingdom, according to an announcement made by his organization over the weekend. The next election is expected sometime late in 2013 at the earliest.
Numerous legal experts quoted in international media reports said Assange’s current troubles with various governments would not prevent him from running for office in his native Australia. And WikiLeaks seems to agree.
“We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian Senate while detained,” the organization said in a twitter message posted on Saturday that immediately made headlines around the world. “Julian has decided to run.”
WikiLeaks noted in a follow-up posting on the social-networking service that it would announce which Australian state Assange would run in “at the appropriate time.” A separate message said the group would also be running a candidate against the nation’s far-left Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who has been criticized by Assange and his supporters for failing to defend WikiLeaks and its founder — an Australian national. Read the rest of this entry »
Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression on repression against Julian Assange.
The Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression expresses our solidarity for Julian Assange. Amy Goodman reported in the Guardian that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has a sealed indictment in the U.S., according to leaked emails from Stratfor, an intelligence company. The emails were hacked by Anonymous and then published by WikiLeaks. The Guardian and other sources had already reported that a secret federal grand jury in Virginia was investigating Assange for allegedly violating the Espionage Act by publishing classified U.S. State Department documents.
This news brings to mind parallels with our situation. Our committee is organizing in solidarity with the 23 peace and international solidarity activists who have been subpoenaed to testify at a secret federal grand jury in Chicago that alleges material support for terrorism. This investigation is because of their activism.
We believe that the grand jury in the case of the Peace 23 was convened in August 2009, but we are unaware of whether or not it is still meeting. The prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago have told their lawyers repeatedly that they are expecting multiple indictments, but we don’t know when this will occur or if, like in Assange’s case, they have the indictments and are waiting until later to release them. Either way, the Peace 23 wake up every day not knowing if the FBI will be back their doors again – this time to take them into custody.
The grand juries that investigated Assange and that are or were investigating the Peace 23 are similar in many ways. Both meet in secret and are fundamentally undemocratic. Suspects and witnesses are subpoenaed to testify to the grand jury but no one is allowed representation by a lawyer. Both have a wide scope for their “investigation” and neither is limited by a judge or even by much of a time table. Not surprisingly, 99.9% of all federal defendants called before a federal grand jury are indicted, since the grand jury system has been designed to help prosecutors.
Another similarity is the political nature of these cases. Assange is being investigated for publicizing the truth about U.S. foreign policy and the Peace 23 are being targeted for opposing U.S. foreign policy. Materials published by WikiLeaks have been invaluable to the anti-war movement. The true horrors of U.S. occupation in both Afghanistan and Iraq have been documented. Exposing war crimes is not a crime! And neither is solidarity or anti-war activism! End grand jury repression now!
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.