Whaddayaknow? It was all about politics after all

It always seemed peculiar how Sweden went after Julian Assange with such gusto, when the charges against him were so thin. It now turns out that it was never Sweden that really wanted him.

Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012. At the time, Sweden was investigating a series of allegations against him of a sexual nature and had a European arrest warrant for him. Sweden dropped the investigation in May 2017. But Maurizi has obtained emails which show the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) pressured Sweden to keep Assange’s case going.
In August 2012, the CPS emailed Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny about an article that suggested Sweden may drop the case. A CPS official wrote [pdf]:

Don’t you dare get cold feet!!

Then, in October 2013, Ny wrote to the CPS saying that she was “obliged to consider to lift the detention order (court order) and to withdraw the European arrest warrant”. She explained:
There is a demand in Swedish law for coercive measures to be proportionate. The time passing, the costs and how severe the crime is to be taken into account together with the intrusion or detriment to the suspect.
In response, the CPS asked [pdf] for some time to “consider all the angles”. And in December of that year, a CPS official wrote to Ny saying “I do not consider costs are a relevant factor in this matter”. The Metropolitan Police surrounded the Ecuadorian Embassy between 2012 and 2015 at a cost of at least £12.6m.
...Maurizi’s probing has also revealed that the CPS destroyed key emails relating to the case. She also discovered that the UK explicitly advised Swedish representatives not to travel to the UK to interview Assange at the embassy. Assange and his lawyers had offered such an option, which is fairly commonplace.

Assange will challenge his arrest warrant tomorrow in court, but given the bias here, I wouldn't hold my breath.

The other factor in this story is the narrative that Wikileaks works directly for the Kremlin. No, not a useful tool of Russia, but directly for the Kremlin.

First, let’s start with Wikileaks. What began as a broke whistleblowing outlet is now most certainly a laundromat for Russian intelligence—as I wrote in my deep dive into Edward Snowden
...So when I say that Fox News may have received a tip straight from the Kremlin, I mean Wikileaks—which is inextricably linked to Russian intelligence

Americans, and its news media, never bothers to mention how Wikileaks releases data on countries not named the U.S.A.
One of those countries is named Russia.

Right now they still don’t get it, and the delusion that Assange is a Trump supporter is even more pervasive than the equally absurd claim that he is a tool of Russia, who WikiLeaks has also published documents against. Long before the Spy Files dropped last year covering Russian surveillance practices, independent journalist Suzie Dawson documented the thousands upon thousands of other critical Russia documents that WikiLeaks has published over the years and its other obvious signs of lack of sympathy for Moscow. The only thing linking WikiLeaks to Russia is the authoritative say-so of the notorious liars in the US intelligence community and their plot hole-riddled narrative which Assange unequivocally denies.
There is in fact no reason to believe that Assange is a Trump or Putin asset, and there are many reasons not to, but the partisan dynamics of America’s neurotic political feuds will continue to keep people blinkered for as long as the cognitive dissonance is more uncomfortable than keeping their heads up their asses.
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Comments

Meteor Man's picture

This entire charade has been characterized by disgraceful subterfuges and malicious misconduct by all three governments.

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27 users have voted.

Cali Kush: a bowl a day keeps the doctor away.

it's gotten bad

The nation’s top intelligence watchdog put the brakes on a report last year that uncovered whistleblower reprisal issues within America’s spy agencies, The Daily Beast has learned. The move concealed a finding that the agencies—including the CIA and the NSA—were failing to protect intelligence workers who report waste, fraud, abuse, or criminality up the chain of command.

The investigators looked into 190 cases of alleged reprisal in six agencies, and uncovered a shocking pattern. In only one case out of the 190 did the agencies find in favor of the whistleblower—and that case took 742 days to complete. Other cases remained open longer. One complaint from 2010 was still waiting for a ruling. But the framework was remarkably consistent: Over and over and over again, intelligence inspectors ruled that the agency was in the right, and the whistleblowers were almost always wrong.

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24 users have voted.
Hillbilly Dem's picture

@gjohnsit

After over 75 years of an unbroken Democratic legislative majority here in my beloved West "by God" Virginia, the Republicans took over a couple of election cycles ago. Once in control, they wasted no time. If ALEC wanted it, they got it.

It has continued in the current legislative session. There is a bill in the House to allow "forced pooling" of oil & gas interests. If passed, the bill will permit a majority of mineral interest owners to dictate to the minority. This has never been the law in WV, but the extraction industry wants it.

Lissa Lucas stood at the podium in the public comment portion of a hearing on the bill. She was allotted 90 seconds to comment. She questioned how the Repubs on the committee could vote against mineral owners' rights while be funded by the extraction industry at the same time.

With that she began reading the names and amounts of said contributions. The Chairman said it amounted to personal attacks. Her mic was silenced and she was hauled out after a mere few of her permitted 90 seconds to speak.

Nice, huh? https://theintercept.com/2018/02/12/lissa-lucas-west-virginia-democratic...

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22 users have voted.

"Just call me Hillbilly Dem(exit)."
-H/T to Wavey Davey

ppnortney's picture

And these latest revelations are stoking suspicions that the government is keeping him detained for political reasons.

Parasites have no political ideology. The global criminal enterprise that rules the world is trying to silence anyone who won't go along with its insatiable appetite for greed and corruption.

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13 users have voted.

Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men. - John Adams

@ppnortney

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1 user has voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

OLinda's picture

I have always thought the UK was doing the U.S's bidding. -- Keeping the warrant in place and not saying whether there is or is not a U.S. extradition request.

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12 users have voted.

- - - -
If you don't like the Mafia, why don't you join it and change it from the inside?

wendy davis's picture

to foia the 'lost emails.' pffft on GG's 'whatever you think of assange...' but srsly, i'd be pretty cautious on the daily beast. they did a 3000 word screed against assange, but then...the intercept did two purdy horrific hits on him as well. i did a 3-part series on them, but the first part is...almost incomprehensible even to me, lol. all the DM stuff with trump, jr. got me kinda lost. he just tweeted that trump, jr.'s wife is in the hospital after receiving some white powder in an envelope, and he reminded he'd been gifted some a few weeks ago, iirc. police took it away to test, or something. 'nope; it's safe!' guess we'll see tomorrow what da judge decides, eh?

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Song of the lark's picture

If you are a thorn in the foot of the deep state either Russian or American you are pursued. Arguably. You are worse off with the Russian Gangster state. If they don't like you they just kill you. At least in America there is the pretense of even actual due process. They only kill you outright if you are a terrrrist, or Black.

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4 users have voted.

@Song of the lark

They only kill you outright if you are a terrrrist, or Black.

Anyone can be a terrrrist. All it takes is for them to label you as one, and then you are.
No evidence required.

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8 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

“Handing down her judgment before a packed courtroom at Westminster magistrates court, senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot said she was not persuaded by the argument from Assange’s legal team that it was not in the public interest to pursue him for skipping bail.

She said: “I find arrest is a proportionate response even though Mr Assange has restricted his own freedom for a number of years.

“Defendants on bail up and down the country, and requested persons facing extradition, come to court to face the consequences of their own choices. He should have the courage to do the same. It is certainly not against the public interest to proceed.”

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5 users have voted.
EdMass's picture

There was a reason we rebelled against England.

Judge tells Julian Assange to have 'courage' to face court as he loses latest appeal

https://news.sky.com/story/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-loses-bid-to...

There y'a go.

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5 users have voted.

“Breaking News: The United States political system has been arrested for fraud, treason, and premeditated murder of democracy.” -- Big Al

Stop The War!

TheOtherMaven's picture

@EdMass

or two down and two to go, or what? I seem to recall Assange launched a bunch of appeals, and if he won even one of them he was out of the woods (maybe).

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3 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

Hawkfish's picture

My birth country’s “special relationship” with my adopted country can best be described as “being their bitch”.

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3 users have voted.

It's like two plus two equals fish! -- The Big Short

Earlier tonight, I made a passing reference to Reality Winner in something I wound up not posting anyway and wondered what was going on there with someone charged with, effectively, leaking propaganda talking points. This is part of what I didn't finish/post, thinking while reading the following that this likely was being used to expand definitions so as to go after Julian Assange.

The first article contains what appears to be an important analysis of the sought-for widening of precedent for attacks on and silencing of whistle-blowers. So even if Reality Winner is simply incompetent as a described NSA contractor (as seemed indicated in previous articles not included here, in one of which apparently referring to the leaked document as an 'article') and independently leaked something pertaining to the official story already being propagandized, she may be used to create such further precedents against the public interest and in order to increasingly persecute those revealing important public information which TPTB wish kept secret.

This needs to be read in full at source, if possible.

Please note in this first article quoted that one argument against having to prove any potential to harm national security or the consideration of any public right to public information regarding the abuses of any public office or agency seems to preclude actual evidence of what was leaked being presented in court and perhaps potentially helps to maintain secrecy as to what was revealed to those of the public not seeing it initially, with prompt censorship likely to be inflicted in the interest of keeping the public in the dark in the future, as this also expands.

(Emphasis in all following, mine)
https://shadowproof.com/2018/01/04/the-espionage-act-and-nsa-whistleblow...

The Espionage Act And NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner’s Uphill Struggle To Defend Herself
04 Jan 2018 Kevin Gosztola Kevin Gosztola

... Winner is accused of violating the 793(e) provision of the Espionage Act, which is as follows:

…Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it…

The defense contends that under the government’s “expansive” reading of this provision it would “encompass any disclosure of any closely held document ‘related to the national defense,’ whatever that may mean.” Such an interpretation would make the statute “unconstitutionally overbroad, vague, and in violation of the First Amendment.”

In response, the government maintains it does not have to prove “other elements of the crime exist,” such as whether Winner intended to injure the United States.

Prosecutors insist all they must show is that Winner had “unauthorized possession” of a document, that the document “related to national defense,” and that she “willfully communicated, delivered, or transmitted the document to a person not entitled to receive it.” They do not have to show the “disclosure of the classified intelligence reporting could threaten,” or did threaten, “national security.”
Burden Of Proof In Espionage Act Prosecutions

Stephen Kim, a former State Department employee, was sentenced to 13 months in prison for disclosing information to a Fox News reporter on what the U.S. knew about North Korea’s nuclear program. Kim pled guilty to violating the Espionage Act.

The case is remarkable because the burden of proof for proving a violation of the Espionage Act was lowered by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who ruled the government did not have to prove the information disclosed could damage U.S. national security or provide advantage to a foreign power. ...

... Barring Whistleblower Arguments

The government’s interpretation of the Espionage Act is but one aspect of its effort to ensure individuals accused of unauthorized disclosures are not allowed to present whistleblower motives in court. ...

... CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who is African American, was convicted of violating the Espionage Act and sentenced to 42 months in prison. He stood up to the CIA and pursued a racial discrimination lawsuit against the agency in 2002. It was dismissed after the government invoked the “state secrets privilege” when it was before the Supreme Court in 2005. He later informed the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had knowledge of waste, fraud, abuse, and illegality related to “Operation Merlin”–a botched operation which involved passing flawed nuclear blueprints to the Iranians

In 2011, before trial, the government moved to bar any arguments that “leaks are good or necessary or that he was a whistleblower, thereby justifying his conduct or negating his criminal intent.”

The government engaged in a similar effort against NSA employee Thomas Drake, who blew the whistle on fraud, waste, abuse, and illegality at the NSA, including what the government should have known prior to the 9/11 attacks.

The government charged Drake with improperly retaining classified information in violation of the Espionage Act. Although the case against him eventually collapsed, prosecutors moved the court to bar the introduction of “evidence, examination of witnesses, or argument by counsel regarding the defendant’s perceived need or justification to expose waste and abuse at the National Security Agency or regarding the merits or substance of any claims of waste and abuse at NSA.”

“The defendant’s motive for his conduct is irrelevant,” the government insisted.

If the court ultimately declines to suppress statements Winner made, the government will anticipate a potential whistleblower defense by Winner. It will swiftly move to foreclose any ability for Winner to talk about motives before a jury because the government believes it should be able to guard secrets by simply proving a person made an unauthorized disclosure. And so far, courts favor the government’s arguments against allowing whether information was properly or in the public interest to be argued in open court, which makes mounting a defense extremely difficult.

'...which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation ...'

Why the hell would any sane person imagine that anything printed regarding the frantically publicized Russiagate/hacking narrative could possibly harm the US any more than it already has and anyway will, if continued as an excuse for WW3?

Dear gawd, trial by idiots...

https://shadowproof.com/2018/02/01/appeals-court-agrees-reality-winner-h...

Appeals Court Agrees Reality Winner ‘Hates’ America—So She Will Remain In Pretrial Detention
01 Feb 2018 Kevin Gosztola Kevin Gosztola

... Appeals court judges seized upon multiple statements made before the alleged disclosure, taking them out of context to support their decision.

Winner wrote, “I want to burn the [W]hite [H]ouse down. Find somewhere in Kurdistan to live… or Nepal. Ha, ha, maybe.”

“I have to take a polygraph where they’re going to ask if I’ve ever plotted against the government. #gonna fail…Look, I only say I hate America like three times a day. I’m no radical. It’s mostly just about Americans’ obsession with air conditioning,” Winner remarked to her sister.

“When her sister asked her whether she actually “hate[d] America,” Winner replied, “I mean, yeah, I do. It’s literally the worst thing to happen to the planet. We invented capitalism, the downfall of the environment,” the appeals court noted.

The appeals court also put emphasis on the fact that she suggested she was on the side of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, “who had previously leaked or disclosed classified government documents.”

Like federal magistrate judge Brian Epps, the appeals court found that these comments and messages outweighed all positive characteristics — service in the Air Force, work for the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders, “strong family ties,” and lack of a prior criminal record.

The comments about “hating” America came when she joked with her sister about possibly failing a polygraph because she had to answer whether she plotted against the U.S. government. Also, given the “ha ha,” it seems extremely likely she was joking about burning the White House down, and it was an expression of political frustration with no intent to commit violence.

Unfortunately for Winner, the appeals court chose to view her words in the worst light possible.

“Ms. Winner characterized these statements as mere hyperbole and suggested that they reflect the weird sense of humor she shares with her sister. But that is not the only possible reading of her words,” the appeals court contended. “The statements, if viewed in a different light, suggest that Ms. Winner may have a reason to flee, as she does not have any confidence in the government which has accused her of serious criminal conduct.”

The appeals court added, “The district court therefore did not commit clear error in its interpretation of the evidence concerning Ms. Winner’s statements.” ...

... Ultimately, the appeals court judges did not believe it is likely she would appear at trial because she is accused of violating the Espionage Act by leaking classified information, and they view her speech as anti-American.

(They should read the US Constitution/Bill of Rights, which I believe hasn't yet been rewritten. Oh, right, McCarthyism rules and in a lawless governmental structure, 'law' is a shape-shifting weapon with which to bludgeon the public all public office exists to serve.)

(Video interview; haven't watched it.)

https://shadowproof.com/2018/01/09/interview-kevin-gosztola-trump-admini...

Interview With Kevin Gosztola: How The Trump Administration Plans To Prosecute Reality Winner
09 Jan 2018 Shadowproof Shadowproof

President Donald Trump’s administration is set to put Reality Winner, a former NSA contractor, on trial in March for allegedly disclosing an intelligence report on Russian hacking during the 2016 presidential election.

“It’s the first major leak prosecution under President Donald Trump. And so we get to see what kind of a prosecution he plans to bring against leakers and how far his administration is willing to go in order to make sure that people like Reality Winner, who appear to have whistleblower motives, serve jail time simply for providing a document to a media outlet,” Shadowproof journalist Kevin Gosztola declares.

Gosztola produced in-depth coverage of Chelsea Manning’s court martial, traveling to Fort Meade periodically for nearly two years for pretrial hearings and then a crucial trial. He plans to continue his work on whistleblowers and leak prosecutions and travel to Augusta, Georgia, where the government will try Winner.

In this interview, Shadowproof co-founder speaks to Gosztola about why he believes this is an important trial to go cover. He describes how the Trump administration plans to aggressively prosecute Winner. ...

https://theintercept.com/2018/01/30/reality-winner-update-bail-nsa/

The Reality Winner Prosecution Relies on Secrecy and Fearmongering
Trevor Timm

January 30 2018, 1:55 p.m

The decision in October of an Augusta, Georgia, judge to deny former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner’s bail request was “baseless and unprecedented,” according to her defense team, which is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse it and grant her release before her trial.

Winner, who was charged in June with violating the Espionage Act for allegedly releasing national security information, has been behind bars for more than six months now. With her trial set to start as soon as this spring — and potential added delays looming in the complex proceedings — Winner may end up serving more time in pretrial confinement than she would be sentenced to if she is found guilty.

Denying Winner bail is out of step with virtually every prosecution under the Espionage Act on record. The lone exception comes in a bizarre case involving, as Winner’s lawyers put it, “a defendant who allegedly hoarded 50 terabytes of classified information over a 20-year period and had ongoing issues with mental health and alcohol abuse.” The cases are wholly incomparable. ...

... Winner, on the other hand, is incarcerated indefinitely for, as officials have said, allegedly mailing an NSA document about Russian election hacking to The Intercept. (The Intercept had no knowledge of the source’s identity.) It’s an injustice that is not only out of step with precedent, but also creating an undue burden on her defense team. That’s why they’re taking these steps to appeal the bail decision again.

The defense, however, is still coming up against secrecy as an obstacle. In an example of the way the government’s push for secrecy burdens Winner’s defense team with restrictions and undue burdens, the government’s response to Winner’s bail appeal was already public for a week before the motion for appeal was released, after it languished in a government process to cleanse it of purportedly restricted information.

In a bizarre demonstration of the government’s overreach on secrecy, the cleansed document contained five redactions; two of them were seemingly in reference to public statements made by the president of the United States. “In May, after hearing persistent public denials by the President [redacted], Ms. Winner’s frustrations purportedly boiled over,” read one of the redacted sentences. Another said: “The allegation is that she disclosed one document regarding [redacted] as a specific reaction to persistent, public denials by the President about [redacted].” ...

... The law is crystal clear on this question. As the defense brief to the Court of Appeals makes clear, “dangerousness” should only be the basis for withholding bail in specific and narrowly prescribed circumstances constituting:

(A) a crime of violence, (B) an offense with a maximum punishment of life imprisonment or death, (C) a serious narcotics offense, (D) a felony for certain recidivists, or (E) certain felonies involving minors.

This is backed up by case law in every single court of appeals circuit that has looked at the issue. Since none of those attributes apply to Winner, “flight risk is,” the defense notes, “the only valid basis for detention as every court of appeals to consider the question has concluded.”

The government is making a case that taking an interest in Muslim-majority countries is tantamount to being on the cusp of treason.

The charge of dangerousness is especially strange because prosecutors are making the claim despite the fact that it is legally irrelevant. Here are some basic facts of the case: Winner is accused of the nonviolent “crime” of passing a single document to a single news outlet that contains information on matters that are routinely on the front pages of the nation’s biggest newspapers. The government has presented absolutely no evidence that she has more documents in her possession.

None of those facts has stopped the government from making insinuations that Winner is some kind of monster — and doing so on dubious and borderline Islamophobic grounds. Her complaints and hyperbole about Trump are held up as some sort of expression of genuinely hating America, as were her complaints about the overuse of air-conditioning in the U.S.

Most offensively, prosecutors have offered Winner’s interest in world affairs and background with the languages of Farsi and Urdu — the languages of Iran and Afghanistan, in one case, and Pakistan, in the other — as evidence of her foreign and maybe even terrorist sympathies. But she learned these languages from the government itself when she attended the Defense Language Institute while in the Air Force. Part of her job was to translate for the military.

The only danger here is to our democracy: The government is making a case that taking an interest in Muslim-majority countries is tantamount to being on the cusp of treason. None of these points should even be at issue here, yet they undergirded both the magistrate and district court judges’ rulings against Winner. ...

All that for distributing official talking points about RUSSIA!!!, as an example to whistle-blowers everywhere, because TPTB want to be able to manipulate the American people freely, using propaganda and depend upon maintaining a public ignorance of their crimes, schemes and abuses which they can no longer count upon.

That and to further warp law while working to stifle all dissent while propagandizing and pathologizing society as suits their purposes.

Assange needs to stay in the Embassy, and probably away from windows...

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1 user has voted.

Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.