What’s next for Julian Assange?
…by fact, speculation, disinformation, psyop lies, and investigative journalism. Let’s start with his hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court in London.
(Attorney Jen Robinson and Kristinn Hrafnsson outside Westminster Magistrates Court)
‘Former UK ambassador Craig Murray denounces arrest and conviction of Julian Assange’, wsws.org, April 12, 2019
“Judge Michael Snow found Assange guilty of bail charges that date back to 2012, ordering him to appear at Southwark Crown Court at an unknown date. He could face a sentence of 12 months.”
“During a brief hearing Judge Snow gave voice to the state vendetta against Assange, attacking the award-winning journalist as a “narcissist”, telling him to “get over the US” and “get on with your life” and describing as “laughable” his claim he had not received a fair hearing.”
…then quoting long-time Assange supporter Craig Murray who was who was outside the court:
“What we have seen today is extraordinary. It’s amazing that you can be dragged out of somewhere by armed police and within three hours brought up before a judge and found guilty of a crime involving a serious jail sentence. There was no jury and no chance to mount a proper defence or have a proper hearing.
It is clear the judge was extremely prejudiced. It was very short hearing today and he cannot possibly have formed during that time his judgment that Julian Assange is a ‘narcissistic personality’.
That plainly shows that he must have formed his judgement from what he had read in the media before he ever came into the court. That judgement could not possibly be formed in the few minutes in the court. There are serious reasons to question Judge Snow and about the quality of justice that has gone on here. It is a case of extreme prejudice. There is no way anyone could call what has happened a fair trial.”
‘Out of the embassy, straight into custody: Assange’s court hearing’, Alistair Smount, reuters.com, April 11, 2019
“As Assange sat and read [Gore Vidal’s History of The National Security State], Judge Michael Snow considered calling security to locate Assange’s lawyers, who were late for the start of the hearing.
A lawyer representing Assange said he pleaded not guilty to failing to surrender over the Swedish charges, arguing it had been reasonable for him to enter the embassy given concerns that the United States could try and have him extradited, and because the original hearings were biased against him.
But Assange declined to give evidence, and Snow found him guilty of breaching his bail.
Representing Assange, lawyer Liam Walker said his client had always said there was a U.S. extradition request “waiting in the wings” for him. “His reasons for seeking refuge were well founded,” he said.
The judge said Assange could at a later date consent to be extradited to the United States. The benefit of this, he said with a hint of irony, was that Assange would be able to “get there faster and get on with your life.”
The judge also gave the U.S. government a deadline of June 12 to outline its case [for extradition to the US] against Assange.”
‘WATCH: ‘British Gitmo’ jail where Julian Assange is being held’, RT.com, April 12
“Belmarsh is located on the eastern outskirts of London, about 5 miles (8 km) east of Greenwich on the southern bank of the Thames River. The prison opened in 1991, and has been used to imprison high-profile inmates such as Jordanian cleric Abu Qatada and Salafist preacher Anjem Choudary – but also former Labour MP Denis MacShane, convicted of fraud, and former Conservative politician Baron Jeffrey Archer, convicted of perjury.
Belmarsh was also used as the holding facility for around 17 individuals detained under anti-terrorism laws since 2001. Some of them were held in solitary for 22 hours a day, “entombed in concrete” without charges for months, their attorneys told BBC in 2004.
Both Assange’s lawyers and the UK authorities are yet to publicly confirm his whereabouts.”
The Latest on Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange’s Arrest, US Extradition, mintpressnews.com, April 11, 2019
“Following his arrest on Thursday, an independent U.N. human rights expert said that Assange’s arrest would not deter efforts to determine if the privacy rights of the WikiLeaks founder were violated, ostensibly by the Ecuadorian government who is accused of recording Assange and handing those recording to U.S. intelligence agencies.
UN Special Rapporteur Joe Cannataci had planned to travel to London on April 25 to meet with Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy, where Assange sought asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. Cannataci says he still plans to keep the meeting despite Assange’s arrest at the embassy on Thursday.
Cannataci said in a statement: “I will visit him and speak to him in a police station or elsewhere in the U.K. where Cannataci in a statement. He says the U.N. human rights office plans to ask the British government to give him access to Assange on April 25. And if Assange is extradited to the United States by then, Cannataci said “then I will direct my request for access to the government of the United States.”
Responding to this (ahem) potentially complicating factor:
‘Julian Assange accuser asks for sex assault case to be reopened in Sweden, The Wikileaks founder is being held on behalf of the US authorities, as well as for breaching his bail conditions, Scotland Yard says’ sky.com, mint press news reports:
‘Initially, Sweden’s Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren said, “we have not been able to decide on the available information” whether a stalled investigation into alleged sexual offenses against Julian Assange could be reopened if he returns to Sweden before the statute of limitations lapses in August 2020, but hours later following Assange’s appearance in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Swedish prosecutors reopened their preliminary investigation into allegations of rape against Assange after a lawyer for one of the alleged victims requested that Swedish prosecutors revisit the case. The prosecutors’ office has affirmed that the case against Assange will be reopened but did not give a deadline for the probe.”
“Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa accused the nation’s current leader of retaliating against Julian Assange for WikiLeaks’ publication of documents that could implicate President Lenin Moreno in corruption. Correa — who led the South American nation when Assange was granted asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy — said Thursday that the decision to revoke asylum is “cowardly.”
WD here: Correa is mistaken: See Background on the INA Papers and Attempts to Expel Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy at defendwikileaks.org about two thirds of the way down the page, including:
“WikiLeaks did not publish the INA Papers. WikiLeaks only reported on the INA Papers investigation by Ecuador’s National Assembly in a March 25th tweet which stated, “Corruption investigation opened against Ecuador’s president Moreno, after purported leaked contents of his iPhone (Whatsapp, Telegram) & Gmail were published. New York Times reported that Moreno tried to sell Assange to US for debt relief. http://inapapers.org/.”
“In a stream of remarks on Twitter, Correa criticized Moreno for allowing British authorities to arrest Assange, and linked that to WikiLeaks’ disclosure about an offshore bank account allegedly linked to Moreno’s family and friends. Correa said the decision “will never been forgotten by all of humanity.”
Meanwhile, RT.com is reporting that Rafael Correa’s Facebook account has been deleted. He’s now living in Belgium to escape political persecution by the Moreno administration.
And from Kevin Gosztola: ‘Justice Department Charges Julian Assange With Computer Crime But Alleges Conspiracy To Abet Espionage’, shadowproof.com, April 11, 2019, some excellent analysis. If you’d like to follow along:
[From the US Dept. of ‘Justice’, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia, Thursday, April 11, 2019, ‘WikiLeaks Founder Charged in Computer Hacking Conspiracy’]
“The Justice Department’s grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks charged Assange with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.” It falls under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and a general part of the criminal code that can be used against individuals who conspire to defraud the United States.
While on the surface it appears the Justice Department attempted to circumvent many of the First Amendment issues, which discouraged President Barack Obama’s administration from moving forward with an indictment of Assange, the language in the indictment—dated March 6, 2018—is very similar to what prosecutors typically include in indictments against individuals charged with violating the Espionage Act.
The indictment criminalizes Assange as an “aider” and “abettor” of “espionage” for publishing unauthorized disclosures of classified information on the WikiLeaks website.
When referring to an alleged “password-cracking agreement” between Assange and Manning, the indictment contends, “Assange knew that Manning was providing WikiLeaks with classified records containing national defense information of the United States. Assange was knowingly receiving such classified records from Manning for the purpose of disclosing them on the WikiLeaks website.”
“Part of the alleged computer crime contains language alleging Assange violated the CFAA. Yet, the Justice Department mostly shoehorns language from the Espionage Act into the alleged computer violation:
(a) to knowingly access a computer, without authorization and exceeding authorized access, to obtain information that has been determined by the United States government pursuant to an executive order and statute to require protection against unauthorized disclosure for reasons of national defense and foreign relations, namely, documents relating to the national defense classified up to the “secret” level, with reason to believe that such information so obtained could be used to the injury of the United States and the advantage of any foreign nation, and to willfully communicate, deliver, transmit, and cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, to any person not entitled to receive it, and willfully retain the same and fail to deliver it to the officer or employee entitled to receive it.”
“Additionally, there is the timeline of events that appears in the indictment. On March 8, 2010, prosecutors allege Assange “agreed” to assist in cracking a password so she could anonymously access Defense Department computer connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network that held the documents.
Manning had a security clearance because she was an all-source military intelligence analyst in Baghdad. She did not need Assange to help her obtain access. What the prosecutors are claiming is her interest in shielding her identity, and the fact that Assange allegedly was willing to help her protect her identity, opened him up to a charge of conspiracy.
The indictment highlights chats that allegedly occurred between Assange and Manning over the Jabber online chat service. What the indictment does not state is that the account Manning corresponded with was “Nathaniel Frank.” The U.S. government believes Assange used this account, but they will have to prove it in order to mount a successful prosecution.”
“To the Justice Department, part of the conspiracy involves publishing information that could “damage” the United States. They believe when Assange received the information he should have destroyed the documents or tried to “return” them to the U.S. government. It is but another alarming aspect of this indictment.”
He has a lot more, including the prosecution’s claims at Manning’s Article 32 in Dec. 2011, and quotes from Alexa O’Brien who’d covered the hearing as Kevin had.
Apparently this single charge carries a sentence up to five years in prison; if he were to be convicted under the Espionage Act, the penalty can include…death, the fact of which his attorneys are only too aware, see video at the top. The single charge is obviously a psyop to schmooze credulous idiots into believing that it’s fine to extradite him to Amerika; he’ll only have to serve five years, and then…get back to his life! It additionally provides cover to Moreno and British law to not extradite Julian to a nation where he could receive the Death Penalty.
According to politico.com:
”In the U.S., Eastern Virginia District Court Judge Claude Hilton, an appointee of Republican President Ronald Reagan and a former judge on the intelligence court that approves foreign surveillance warrants, will hear Assange’s case. That’s the same location as the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and the place where Hilton recently held Manning in contempt of court.”
Back to Craig Murray speaking to wsws reporters:
“Then there is the truly appalling behaviour of Ecuador’s dreadful President Moreno. He has not only curried favour with the United States and UK but sold Julian out.
One good thing, if you wish, that has come out of this is that now we are talking about extradition. We can now see what all of this is really about. It is about freedom of the press, about Julian being charged with publishing the revelations made by Chelsea Manning. From day one this has been about the United States wishing to lock Julian up for the Chelsea Manning leak exposing serious American war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
I guess I don’t think that’s it, as this is only the first charge, or shall we call it ‘the initial gambit’?; even Julian reckons the bastards really want to get him for publishing the two CIA vaults, most especially.
And just in this morning, ‘Julian Assange’s life is in danger’, wsws.org, 13 April 2019, and whoa, Eric London does not mince his words; a few outtakes:
“The official pretext being used to extradite Assange is a transparent lie. In a previously-sealed indictment made public Thursday, the US Department of Justice charged Assange only with violating a federal law against conspiring to break passwords to government computers.
The fact that the crime carries only a 5-year sentence and does not fall under the Espionage Act provides all involved parties with a cover for handing Assange over to the Americans. In particular, the US-UK extradition treaty excludes transfer for “political offenses,” including espionage. Citing the Justice Department document, the British government will claim in the courts that Assange’s extradition will not be prevented by this exclusion.
The Ecuadoran government, moreover, claims it could revoke Assange’s asylum because the indictment shows he will not face the threat of the death penalty.
In fact, once Assange is in the hands of the United States, he will quickly confront a series of additional charges, including espionage. The efforts to downplay the threat to the freedom of the press and understate the charge against Assange are aimed at sowing complacency in the population and distracting from the core free speech issues at stake.”
“Based on the language of the indictment, both Assange and Manning could face criminal persecution under this law. By announcing that Assange is being prosecuted based explicitly on Manning’s activity, the government is demonstrating her future is at risk as well. In fact, the first two words of the indictment are “Chelsea Manning.”
OMG; I’ve been studiously avoiding reactions from the political class, but one paragraph after his exposing the facts that so many are eager to seize Assange and lock him up for life—if not impose worse punishments:
“Like a dungeonmaster who has been handed his latest victim, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin declared: “He is our property and we can get the facts and the truth from him.” On the basis of this statement, Assange is being transferred to the US for the purpose of interrogation—which would fall under the category of extraordinary rendition, not extradition.”
Prior to that he’d brought these examples from the D political class proving again that Russia-gate will live in their mangy souls forever:
“Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer tweeted, “I hope he will soon be held to account for his meddling in our elections on behalf of Putin and the Russian government.” Democratic Senator Mark Warner called Assange “a direct participant in Russian efforts to weaken the West and undermine American security. I hope British courts will quickly transfer him to U.S. custody so he can finally get the justice he deserves.”
Read the rest at your peril; thought crimes might result.
What, then, is to be done? From comment under London’s piece:
“In the age of mouthpiece journalism echo chambering the approved gov. news; Julian Assange and wikileaks is without any exaggeration the bright light in the valley of darkness. This is.. the going out of the last light! If we fall prey to indifference and powerlessness; and do not stand up for this hero; then i do not know if a day where the working class becoming the ruling class can be any more than just words.”
Begging the question, yes, there will be protests globally, more letters to sign, etc., and all supporters will do what they must do, and are able to do…but how often has the working ever caused the Ruling Class to heed us?
(cross-posted from Café Babylon)