Monday 10th of December 2018

FREE ASSANGE...

assangeassange

This weekend I joined a number of people for an online vigil in support of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange. Some have asked why I did it: after all, Assange is at best an imperfect figure. But supporting Assange transcends just him, because the battle over his prosecution is about something greater: the future of free speech and a free press. Even if you think Assange doesn’t matter, those things do.

By PETER VAN BUREN • July 13, 2018

 

Assange is challenging to even his staunchest supporters. In 2010, he was a hero to opponents of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while others called him an enemy of the state for working with whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Now most of Assange’s former supporters see him as a traitor and a Putin tool for releasing emails from the Democratic National Committee. Even with the sexual assault inquiry against him having been dismissed, Assange is a #MeToo villain. He a traitor who hides from justice inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, or a spy, or some web-made Frankenstein with elements of all the above. And while I’ve never met Assange, I’ve spoken to multiple people who know him well, and the words “generous,” “warm,” and “personable” are rarely included in their descriptions. 

But none of that matters. What matters is that Assange has ended up standing at a crossroads in the history of our freedoms: specifically, at what point does the right of the people to know outweigh the right of the government to keep information from view? The question isn’t new, but it has become acute in the digital age, when physical documents no longer need to be copied one-by-one, can be acquired by hackers on the other side of the world, and are far removed from the traditions, obstacles, safeguards, and often-dangerous self-restraint of traditional journalism.

A complex history precedes Assange. In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, a secret U.S. government-written history of the Vietnam War, to the New York Times. No one had ever published such classified documents before, and reporters at the Times feared they would go to jail under the Espionage Act. A federal court ordered the Times to cease publication after an initial flurry of excerpts were printed, the first time in U.S. history a federal judge had censored a newspaper. In the end, the Supreme Court handed down a victory for the First Amendment in New York Times Company v. United States, and the Times won the Pulitzer Prize.

But looking at the Times case through the lens of Wikileaks, law professor Steve Vladeck points out that 

… although the First Amendment separately protects the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, the Supreme Court has long refused to give any separate substantive content to the Press Clause above and apart from the Speech Clause…. The Supreme Court has never suggested that the First Amendment might protect a right to disclose national security information. Yes, the Pentagon Papers case rejected a government effort to enjoin publication, but several of the Justices in their separate opinions specifically suggested that the government could prosecute the New York Times and the Washington Post after publication, under the Espionage Act.

The Supreme Court left the door open for the prosecution of journalists who publish classified documents by focusing narrowly on prohibiting the government from exercising prior restraint. Politics and public opinion, not law, has kept the feds exercising discretion in not prosecuting the press, a delicate dance around an 800-pound gorilla loose in the halls of democracy. The government, meanwhile, has aggressively used the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who leak to those same journalists.

The closest a journalist ever came to being thrown in jail was in 2014, when the Obama administration subpoenaed New York Times reporter James Risen. They then accused former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling of passing classified information to Risen, information that it said had appeared in his book State of War. After a lower court ordered Risen to testify and disclose his source under threat of jail, the Supreme Court turned down his appeal, siding with the government in a confrontation between a national security prosecution and an infringement of press freedom. The Supreme Court refused to consider whether there existed a gentlemen’s agreement under the First Amendment for “reporter’s privilege,” an undocumented protection beneath the handful of words in the Free Press Clause.

In the end, the government, fearful of setting the wrong precedent, punted on Risen. Waving the flag over a messy situation, then-attorney general Eric Holder announced that “no reporter who is doing his job is going to go to jail.” Risen wasn’t called to testify and wasn’t punished for publishing classified material, even as the alleged leaker, Jeffrey Sterling, disappeared into prison only to emerge three and a half years later in January. To avoid creating a precedent that might have granted some form of reporter’s privilege under the Constitution, the government stepped away from the fight. 

Those same issues now hover over Julian Assange. Should the government decide to prosecute him, there are complex legal questions to be answered about who is a journalist and what is publishing in the digital world. There is no debate over whether James Risen is a journalist and whether a book is publishing. Glenn Greenwald has written about and published online classified documents given to him by Edward Snowden, and has never been challenged by the government as a journalist or publisher. Both men enjoy popular support and work for established media. The elements of fact checking, confirming, curating, redacting, and providing context around classified information were all present in the New York Times case with the Pentagon Papers; they are also present with American citizens Risen and Greenwald. Definitions and precedents may be forming.

Assange is an easier target. With him the government is able to mold the legal precedents with such certainty that, where they backed away from other cases in their long-running war of attrition against free speech and the press, this one they may seize.

Assange isn’t an American. He is unpopular, drawn now into America’s 21st-century Red Scare. He has written nothing alongside the millions of documents on Wikileaks, has done no curating or culling, and has redacted little. Publishing for him consists of uploading what has been supplied to him. The government could argue that Assange is not entitled to First Amendment protections simply by claiming that a mouse click isn’t publishing and Assange isn’t a journalist. The simplest interpretation of the Espionage Act, that Assange willfully transmittedinformation relating to national defense without authorization, would apply. He would be guilty, same as the other canaries in the deep mine shaft of Washington before him, no messy balancing questions to be addressed. And with that, a unique form of online journalism would be squashed.

And that really, really matters. Wikileaks does indeed sidestep the restraints of traditional journalism. In 2004, the New York Times held the story of George W. Bush’s illegal warrantless eavesdropping program until after his reelection. In 2006, the Los Angeles Times suppressed a story on the government’s wiretapping of Americans when asked to do so by the NSA. Glenn Greenwald said it plainly: too many journalists work in self-censoring mode, or “obsequious journalism,” as he called it. Meanwhile, Assange has made mistakes while broadly showing courage, not restraint, under similar circumstances. And the public is better informed because of it.

Wikileaks’ version of journalism says here are the cables, the memos, and the emails. Others can write about them (and nearly every mainstream media outlet has used Wikileaks to do that, some even while calling Assange a traitor), or you as a citizen can read the stuff yourself and make up your own damned mind. That is the root of an informed public, a set of tools never before available until Assange and the internet created them.

If Assange becomes the first successful prosecution of a third party under the Espionage Act, whether as a journalist or not, the government will turn that precedent into a weapon to attack the media’s role in any national security case. On the other hand, if Assange leaves London for asylum in Ecuador, that will empower new journalists to provide evidence when a government serves its people poorly and has no interest in being held accountable.

Freedom is never static. It either advances under our pressure, or recedes under theirs. I support Julian Assange.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper’s War: A Novel of WWII Japan. Follow him on Twitter @WeMeantWell.

 

Read more:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/why-i-stand-with-julian-...

right of passage...


The ruling was deemed a huge victory for the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled on Friday the right to seek asylum in embassies and other diplomatic compounds. The ruling includes a mandatory safe process, and the obligation of states to provide safe passage to those granted asylum.  Without naming Julian Assange, the ruling was deemed a huge victory for the WikiLeaks founder who has been held up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012.

The court released a public statement, which said that it had “interpreted the reach of the protection given under Article 22 (7) of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article XXVII of the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, which recognize the right to seek and receive asylum in a foreign territory.”

“In particular, the Court declared upon the relative issue of whether this human right protects both territorial asylum and diplomatic asylum. Similarly, the Court determined the human rights obligations of the Member States of the Organization of American States regarding the host country and, in this case, for third States, in virtue of the risk that persons seeking international protection could suffer, which was the reason for the principle of non-refoulement.

The team of judges who ruled on the case included Eduardo Ferrer Mac-Gregor Poisot; Eduardo Vio Grossi; Humberto Antonio Sierra Porto; Elizabeth Odio Benito; and Judge L. Patricio Pazmiño Freire.

 

Read more:

https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Inter-American-Court-Ruling-Benef...

we need to protect assange...

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may soon be evicted from the London embassy that has sheltered him for the last six years.

Ecuador, which has played host to the political provocateur since 2012, and Britain are in high-level discussions over Assange’s fate, the Sunday Times of London reported.

New Ecuadorean president Lenin Moreno – who has called Assange a “stone in the shoe” – dismisses him as a problem he inherited from his predecessor.

The South American nation’s former president granted Assange political asylum shortly after the Australian was accused of sexual assault and rape in Sweden.

Assange claimed the charges were part of a U.S. plot to discredit him for WikiLeaks disclosures that embarrassed the Obama administration.

Bur Ecuador’s new government, which has cut off his Internet access and banned most visitors, isn’t buying the story.

Assange believes he will be extradited to the United States if he leaves the London embassy – a fear that may have been heightened by indictments filed Friday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

WikiLeaks published documents that the Russians allegedly hacked from the Democratic National Committee – including emails that revealed the party’s internal scheme to rein in the insurgent primary campaign of Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton.

 

Read more:

https://nypost.com/2018/07/14/assange-could-soon-be-evicted-from-london-...

 

At no point has wikileaks divulged the source of its information. But wikileaks has revealed:

Starting on Friday 22 July 2016 at 10:30am EDT, WikiLeaks released over 2 publications 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments from the top of the US Democratic National Committee -- part one of our new Hillary Leaks series. The leaks come from the accounts of seven key figures in the DNC: Communications Director Luis Miranda (10520 emails), National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan (3799 emails), Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer (3095 emails), Finanace Director of Data & Strategic Initiatives Daniel Parrish (1742 emails), Finance Director Allen Zachary (1611 emails), Senior Advisor Andrew Wright (938 emails) and Northern California Finance Director Robert (Erik) Stowe (751 emails). The emails cover the period from January last year until 25 May this year.

There is a strong case that these emails were leaked by a mole in the DNC or leaked links to these. The "indictment of 12 Russians" by Mueller (The III) is only a smokescreen to hide this strong possibility. Wikileaks will stay tight-lipped on its sources.

assange to be "sold" to the UK by ecuador...

Ecuador is ready to hand over the WikiLeaks founder to the UK in “coming weeks or even days,” RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said citing her own sources, as prospects of his eviction from the embassy are back in the media.

“My sources tell [Julian] Assange will be handed over to Britain in the coming weeks or even days,” Simonyan wrote in a recent tweet which was reposted by WikiLeaks. “Like never before, I wish my sources were wrong,” she continued.

Мои источники говорят, что Ассанжа в ближайшие недели или даже дни сдадут Британии. Как никогда мне хочется, чтобы мои источники ошибались.

— Маргарита Симоньян (@M_Simonyan) July 19, 2018

sold for unofficial favours...

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno is either about to strike or has already struck an agreement with British authorities on withdrawing the asylum protection of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Glenn Greenwald reports. 

Moreno is visiting the UK as part of his European trip between July 22 and 28. His visit is not said to be an official one, so he is not expected to meet with any high-ranking UK officials and would instead participate in the Global Disability Summit on July 24, which is co-hosted by the UK government.

However, the Ecuadorian leader is also expected to use his trip to the British Isles to "finalize an agreement under which Ecuador will withdraw its asylum protection of Julian Assange," according to the Intercept's co-editor, Glenn Greenwald, who is best known for a series of reports detailing the US surveillance programs based on the documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Greenwald also supported and defended Wikileaks, as well as the whistleblowers who provided materials for the website, for many years.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/433918-ecuador-president-uk-assange/

we need assange more than ever...

Julian Assange and WikiLeaks perform a valuable public service and should be praised rather than vilified, former CIA and FBI agents told RT America, adding that prosecuting Assange would be a disgrace for freedom of the press.

Julian performs a function that no longer exists in the mainstream press, and he should be rewarded rather than vilified,” former CIA analyst Ray McGovern said, appearing on RT America’s Debate Week news special.

He’s been promoting the truth. He even got a left-handed compliment from the US intelligence people by saying that the reason WikiLeaks is believed is because they don’t adulterate any of the information they have, McGovern added.

The reference was to emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta, released by WikiLeaks during the 2016 US presidential campaign. Special counsel Robert Mueller has accused the Russian military intelligence service GRU of obtaining the emails by hacking and of using WikiLeaks as a “cutout” to make them public.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/434387-assange-prosecution-panel-rt/

will ecuador be the bastard child of the USA…?

QUITO (Sputnik) – Ecuador’s decision to change its ambassador in the United Kingdom might be a part of a strategy aimed at annulling the asylum of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, the whistleblower’s lawyer, Carlos Poveda told Sputnik.

"There has been a series of systematic actions. This dismissal may fit in the politics aimed at rescinding Julian Assange’s asylum," Poveda said.

Media reports said Thursday that Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno had signed a decree dismissing Ambassador Carlos Abad, known for his role in talks with London on settling Assange’s situation.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201811231070054535-ecuador-assange-emba...

 

Australia should help free Assange and stop the UK from interferring with an Australian citizen. FREE ASSANGE.

 

 

Read from top and everwhere on this site in defence of Assange.