January additions to Julian Assange’s extreme plight

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I’ll go backwards in time first, so some of this you may already know.

‘Ecuador unveils “special examination” of Julian Assange’s asylum’, Mike Head,
5 January 2019, wsws.org

“Facing mounting demands from Washington, Moreno’s government has unveiled a “special examination” of Assange’s asylum and citizenship—a process clearly designed to repudiate both. The issue of citizenship is significant because Ecuadorian law forbids extradition of citizens.

On January 3, former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, whose government granted Assange asylum, tweeted an image of a letter he received from Ecuador’s State Comptroller General on December 19, notifying him of an investigation by the Direction National de Auditoria.

Specifically, the “general objective” of the audit is to “determine whether the procedures for granting asylum and naturalization to Julian Assange were carried out in accordance with national and international law.” It will cover the period between January 1, 2012 and September 20, 2018.

Correa, now living in Belgium, was asked to supply information for the inquiry, but no timeline was mentioned, nor any date for the end result. There is no doubt, however, that the timing is directly connected to the escalating economic, financial and political pressure on Ecuador, above all emanating from the US military-intelligence apparatus and political establishment.”

‘Corporate media smears WikiLeaks and Julian Assange’, Oscar Grenfell, 11 January 2019, wsws.org

“Virtually identical articles were featured this week in some of the most prominent publications around the world, including the London Times, the Washington Post and the Australian. All of them centered on personal smears against Assange and attempts to downplay the immense threat to democratic rights posed by the US-led vendetta against him.

The pretext for the venomous outpouring was the publication of a confidential email sent by WikiLeaks to media organisations, rebutting 140 falsehoods about Assange that have appeared in the press. The document demanded that the recipients of the email refrain from presenting the defamatory statements as facts.

A version of the email was first published online on January 7 by Emma Best, a self-styled “transparency activist.” Best’s “activism” has included numerous denunciations of WikiLeaks that echo the talking points of the US government and its intelligence agencies. She came to media prominence by “leaking” private online discussions between WikiLeaks supporters last year.”, and so on.  And yes, Marcy Wheeler had featured ‘emma best’s ‘exposé.
https://bit.ly/2HgExBO

‘WikiLeaks’ Assange should surrender to UK rather than stay at embassy indefinitely – Ecuador FM’, 11 Jan, 2019

“The UK will never let Julian Assange just leave the country, so he should surrender, Ecuador’s foreign minister said. The only other option is life self-imprisonment at the Ecuadoran embassy.

“Mr. Assange has basically two options: to stay indefinitely because the British authorities have told us … that they will never authorize a safe passage for him to leave the embassy to a third country, and the other alternative is to surrender,” Foreign Minister José Valencia FM Mundo.

While securing safety assurances from the British side would be ideal, “you cannot continue insisting on something that will not happen,” Valencia stressed, noting that Ecuador believes that it will be “most positive” for Assange to leave the diplomatic compound and face the British law – and by extension a possible extradition to the US.”, etc.

‘Julian Assange’s Living Conditions Deteriorate – More Akin to Stasi-Era Dissident Than an Award-Winning Publisher With Asylum’ cassandra fairbanks, gatewaypundit.com, Jan. 10, 2019 via WL on Twitter  a couple excerpts of her heart-rending report:

“After receiving permission to visit (not something I was sure of by any means), I was given an authorization letter that I had to provide, along with my passport, at the door of the embassy before being allowed in. Once inside, my bag was searched and I was scanned with a metal detector, TSA style. Given the amount of enemies that Assange has made, this seemed appropriate.

As this was taking place, Assange walked by — all smiles — which was immediately reassuring as I had been tremendously worried about his wellbeing given the tough restrictions placed on him by Ecuador’s new regime.

The reassurance didn’t last long.

After being guided into the conference room, the same place we initially met at the beginning of my last visit, I immediately noticed a marked increase in the amount of cameras in the hallways and around the large meeting table. After saying hello, we tried to go to another room with less surveillance so we could speak more openly. Within minutes, a member of the staff at the embassy came knocking on the door and demanded that we go back. As we walked through the hall, I noticed that there was no angle that wasn’t being recorded by a forest of menacingly Orwellian black cameras.”

“Unable to speak privately, even with a noise machine attempting to muffle the microphones from picking up conversations, we resorted to passing notes. Assange is not only barred from sharing his views online under the new regulations — thanks to the constant surveillance, he can’t even do so among his friends in the embassy where he is arbitrarily detained.”

Now the most recent and ungodly WikiTweets have been consolidated by RT, although I’m not overly fond of their report, but then…I was struggling to know how to present them, as the tweets were threaded.

‘DOJ to question Ecuadorian Embassy staff following Guardian Manafort story – WikiLeaks’  18 Jan, 2019, RT

“The US Department of Justice is to question six staff from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London following the Guardian’s [Luke Harding, Dan Collyns, Fernando Villavicencio] controversial [< ? Lying bullshit!] article alleging Paul Manafort visited Julian Assange, according to WikiLeaks.

The DOJ issued formal requests on January 7 to “interrogate six former diplomats & staff at Ecuador’s London embassy following Guardian’s fabricated story of Assange-Manafort meetings,” the whistleblowing organization tweeted Thursday.

The interviews scheduled by Ecuador’s Attorney General’s office are to take place on Friday in Quito, Ecuador.

The report comes after six Democrats, including Senators Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, wrote to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on December 12, demanding Ecuador provide information about the allegations made in the Guardian’s report.”

“An intentionally planted front page false story in the Guardian has now led to statements in Congress, the activation of the U.S. Secretary of State, the DoJ, Ecuador’s DoJ, and Ecuador’s astonishing agreement to formally let a foreign power interrogate its diplomatic staff,” WikiLeaks tweeted Thursday.

WikiLeaks said in a statement that it’s “highly unusual” to allow foreign governments to conduct “interrogations of former diplomatic officials over their diplomatic work, or to provide foreign investigators information about those who have been afforded political asylum in relation to them.” Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy since seeking asylum there in 2012 and was granted Ecuadorian citizenship in late 2017.” 

From this morning:

I’ll include this Ben Norton exposé on ‘Fernando Villavicencio, reTweet by Defend Assange in hopes it’s not as iffy as it seems at first blush.

Last, this is the Home Page of Defend WikiLeaks, with 9 tabs in the lemon yellow bar at the top.

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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This is a very useful summary.

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wendy davis's picture

@Roy Blakeley

a labor of love and...dread.

just in:

and while the above i true, also true is that pence had met with moreno just ahead of that, and had signed a memo of military understanding with moreno.

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9 users have voted.

This man's "crime" was publishing documents written by other people and stolen by other people. He did the same thing the SCOTUS ruled on when the New York Times, back in the day, when the NYT (and the court) was more than only a consistent tool of the establishment, published the Pentagon Papers.

Ellsberg, who had stolen the papers, was charged with a crime; the NYT never was. Ellsberg's case was dismissed because of prosecutorial misconduct. In speaking about Snowden, Ellsberg said the dismissal would never occur today; and we all know what happened to Manning. Weird, though: Manning a US citizen and the only criminal in the case, at least according to statute, got pardoned, while the USA is still causing persecution of Assange.

An international disgrace, in which several nations are "colluding" with the US.

Btw, in an attempt to thwart freedom of the press, the Obama administration attempted to get a federal shield law passed--making journalists less susceptible to being jailed for contempt for refusing to name their sources.

What's wrong with a federal shield law? Inside the sugar coating of a shield law was the awful tasting medicine: the US government defining "journalist." https://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/a-media-law-that-stifles-the-pres... And you can be sure that the definition would have been used in future attempts to wriggle out of situations when the US or state governments violated freedom of the press. The Obama admin, as it often did, use Difi to introduce the bill.

As far as naming sources, remember, it was the Obama administration that once got caught tapping at least one reporter's phone in an attempt to find out who the reporter's source was. Was that the only time government tapped a reporter's phone for that purpose? I doubt it. Was it the last time? I doubt it. (And fuck the puppet court that issued the warrant that made the tap legal, too). So, the Obama administration didn't really need the contempt power the bill would have limited anyway.

BTW, the Constitutional law professor was actually a part-time lecturer on civil rights. That's not even the entire Fourteenth Amendment, much less the entire Constitution, which an actual Constitutional Law course covers. CLPMA (Constitutional Law Professor, My Ass)

Overview https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Times_Co._v._United_States

US District Court for the Southern District of New York opinion: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=10500002511562387470&q=Unit...

US Court of Appeals opinion https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=848258598261391302&q=United...

Scotus opinion https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=10183527771703896207&q=Unit...

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wendy davis's picture

@HenryAWallace

historical reminders, amigo. CLPMA, indeed! i just looked it up, and in his eight years of office he'd 'spearheaded eight Espionage Act prosecutions, more than all US administrations combined'.

"the US government defining "journalist"...well, there's the rub, isn't it? president transparency strikes again. he'd also classified more documents than any other presididn't before him by some large factor or other.

but this also from long island press will make you laugh:

"Most striking was President-elect Trump’s first press conference since being elected. After congratulating some news outlets for showing restraint, he went on to slam those that reported on an unsubstantiated intelligence report about the Russians possessing compromising information about Trump’s allegedly scandalous behavior in St. Petersburg and Moscow in 2013. He specifically blasted Buzz Feed and CNN."

and buzzfeed (NotProp, remember) is at it again...‘What evidence? BuzzFeed fuels ‘Russiagate’ with bombshell report on Trump and Cohen', 18 Jan, 2019, via RT
‘What evidence? BuzzFeed fuels ‘Russiagate’ with bombshell report on Trump and Cohen, 18 Jan, 2019, via RT

"we don't need no stinking verified sources; we saw documents!!!"

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snoopydawg's picture

I've been seeing people at DK report on the guardian article about Manafort meeting with Assange and siting it as fact. So here's me being surprised reading this:

A few weeks ago, we were all agog here over a report in The Guardian claiming that Manafort met with Assange in London. The longer that story went unconfirmed by another independent source, the more doubt was cast on the report. Ultimately, the story proved not to be true.

But this hasn't stopped a prominent front pager from still stating it as fact. Now that this has been exposed there let's see if anyone calls him out next time he uses it.

Buzzfeed is reporting that Trump told Cohen to lie to congress and now the Russia Gaters are breathlessly saying that this is the smoking gun that will get Trump impeached! LoL! How MANY TIMES have we heard that?

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

what a great mix tape.

marcy wheeler's already weighed in (i stopped by a site that i quit, then was banned from commenting and found it):

i'll take them to pluto's thread if no one has yet.

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snoopydawg's picture

@wendy davis

The same thing goes with democrats thinking that Trump is under Vlad's thumb and patiently awaiting Mueller to release his report for two years. And watching as he turns the courts to the right so much that this country is going to be in worse trouble for a few decades. Or his tax cuts, deregulations, etc. I think that the fact that they aren't really talking impeachment shows that they don't think that he is. IIRC, Nadler who is on the committee that could impeach him doesn't have power to subpoena people. Oops...

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

as i'd have to assume that it's well known that she's Ground Zero of the mueller whazzit: 'pretend investigation?'.

but your brilliant mix tape; i used to signify the msm talking heads to C. Shultz' Peanuts listening to Adults (woh, woh, woh.., or this incomprehensible gibberish (and i have the record): ; D

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wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

(via the accursed dagblog.com)

BUT WAIT, Mueller's office just made a for the record statement that Buzz Feed has it wrong:

But he still refuses to deny it!!!
Not accurate’s not the same thing a s Not True!
Further response:

peracles please:

1) they want to make clear they don't/didn't leak, 2) Mueller is close to using this info and can't have it tainted w inaccuracies

As Marcy notes, much of this was long known, but 1) came through NYT's chummy "access" connections rather than journalism, 2) they always give it a mushy spin rather than Ben's no nonsense summary: Trump told Cihen to lie to Congress. Still, dictating Don Jr's lying letter on the plane is not knew, nor is meeting in Trump Tower w Russians about "adoptions" (cough, blowjob). It's just people are starting to care, and certainly a Dem investigation will go somewhere, whereas Nunes' wouldn't.

eta: and the dumbfuck continues with his Crooked Hillary line - will be so pleased when he goes to jail

belief is just a swallow away...♫

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snoopydawg's picture

@wendy davis

just like they were with that guardian article about Manafort visiting Assange. Yep. This is how it's being reported on ToP. "Who wouldn't put it past Russia to have leaked that information to BuzzFeed?"

Just when you think some sanity was returning to the place, they come up with all kinds of ideas for how the reporters got it wrong. I would think though that the reporters would have known the names of their unnamed sources don't you?

I have to stop shaking my damned head and hollering Jazus because I'm scarring the dawgs.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

check me out on this, okay? marcy wheeler's commentariat claimed that now DT is threatening
cohen's family. not that i'd be surprised at boss tweet's loose-cannonism, , but bingling, i'd found this page, with this tweet as the Truth, oh, and i discoered that cohen's father-in-law is
Fima Shusterman (?).

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snoopydawg's picture

@wendy davis

Trump has been threatening the father in law all week by saying look into him. I can say that I hope the FBI looks into ... without threatening them.

I wondered as I walked today what makes people so willing to believe everything said about Trump and others to not believe it like most of us here don't? Is it because they were so vested in Hillary's presidency and oversaw her flaws such as war crimes and we see her for who she is? It's the same way with Obama. We see how he was part of the status quo and they think he was the best president since FDR. Thoughts?

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

so long; i'd accidentally nodded off to sleep.

but given the timing (jan.18), i'd thought that it was post new-buzzfeed 'suborning perjury' that he'd been tweeting 'watch father in-law!'. i just don't see it as a threat, but then all i could find on was similar to this tangential (imo) scrutiny (fishing expedition?):

"The father-in-law of President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has reportedly loaned $20 million to the wife of a Chicago cab mogul who was identified in the warrant the FBI used to raid Cohen's office, hotel room and home.

The Chicago Sun Times reported Cohen's father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, has given the money in loans over the past eight months to Yasya Shtayner, whose family owns Chicago Medallion Management Corp.

Cohen owns 22 of the 368 taxicabs managed by the company, according to the Sun Times. According to the Sun Times, Shusterman gave eight loans to Shtayner.

Shtayner and her husband, who serves as the company's corporate secretary, were reportedly named in a warrant obtained by the FBI for the Cohen raid.", etc.

now i can't say what 'most of here' believe, but i do think there are a number of us who refuse to automatically indict DT for things he hadn't done, believe crap unsourced reporting like 'some pentagon aids say DT keeps wanting to get the US out of nato, what are we waiting for? (as in putsch him)' rubbish. but them i don't hold with whatever Pluto had said akin to 'this is the only news site that (is so discerning) or whatever he'd said, for any number of reasons. i' add o that a commenter on big al's 'trump killed this child in yemen (iirc)' asking: are there any other anti-war sites like ours?'

but yes to #TheMcResistance has blinders about hillary and obomba, and most fail to see that obomba/clinton the male, clinton the female...pretty much led to DT rule, and he's just ramped up the excesses demonstrating the ever-more naked face of a failing western Empire, which was explained by some author as 'greater desire to control, with accompanying less hegemonic influence to do so', or something along those lines.

but i'd say that obomba was the beginning of the end, myownself. but sure, a lot of it's down to 'clinton should have won', save for..trump asking the russians to hack the dnc files, give then to wikileaks to publish, etc. and: presto!' for folks like the librul commentariats at dagblog and emptywheel...that's an article of faith.

but as i read some of the comments re: this candidate for 2020 prez here, i kinda get a similar feeling: hope dies lat, and folks need to believe...what they believe about candidate or new congresscritter x, y, or zed.

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magiamma's picture

@snoopydawg
about msm talking points. hilarious.

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snoopydawg's picture

@magiamma

Talking points indeed!

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
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wendy davis's picture

thanks to you all for caring. closing song is 'from a distance', even if we might think: 'yes, 'from a very a far distance'.

From a distance we are instruments
Marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope
Playing songs of peace
They are the songs of every man

g' nite; sweet dreams.

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