At Day 1 of the Julian Assange extradition hearing
On the night before the hearing began, one dedicated Assange supporter in London told me that she planned to arrive at Court by 6 a.m., ahead of the throngs that she expected based on the turnout at Assange's hearing last November. No doubt the freezing February temperatures kept large crowds at home this morning; instead of the masses anticipated, there were only a few orderly lines segregated into cameramen, sign-wielding protesters, and the courtroom audience -- a mix of media representatives, Assange faithfuls, and the curious. I was in the latter line, which was also peppered with a few Occupy London luminaries. During the next hour of collective shivering, I met journalists from all over Europe and the U.S., who now braved frigid weather to witness this historic proceeding. Arriving at around 8:30, one hour before the Court opened to the public, I witnessed the expectant crowd devolve into a chorus of complaints as the early-morning, late-winter wind chill robbed our fingers of almost all feeling.
But, mercifully, 9:30 at last arrived -- as did Assange, soon after. The white-haired WikiLeaks founder offered a spirited hello to the crowd and preceded us into the Court.
At the entry, Court staff had handed out a media briefing, which included the following details:
"Issue: Whether a European Arrest Warrant ('EAW') issued by a public prosecutor is a valid Part I EAW issued by a 'judicial authority' for the purpose and within the meaning of sections 2 and 66 of the Extradition Act 2003.
- Predicting a large number of visitors, the Supreme Court has arranged for an extra courtroom, where a feed of the proceedings will be shown;
- The hearing will live streamed online as well, by Sky News;
- Seats will be distributed according to arrival order.
This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories relating directly to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression.
"WikiLeaks is building a state-of-the-art secure submission system. Constructing the system is very complex. Due to the deteriorating state of internet security which directly impacts the ability of sources to communicate with journalists and human rights activists securely, WikiLeaks has decided to postpone the launch initially scheduled for Monday 28th 2011 in the interest of source protection. WikiLeaks' new public electronic drop box is substantially more advanced than its predecessor.
Specifically regarding the extradition of Julian Assange, two primary issues were raised:
1) despite facing extradition, Julian Assange has not been charged with a crime (the EAW was therefore incorrectly applied as it was not issued for the purpose of prosecution, but investigation)
2) the European Arrest Warrant for Julian was requested by a private prosecutor who is not an official representative.
Speakers in order of appearance:
A Canadian activist, she created Take the Square Canada and works with activists around the world to encourage and facilitate connection and communication for the revolution, both in Canada and around the world. She has been active in human rights and freedom of information for years.
Zak Yahya is a blogger at Lebanon Spring blog, where he writes about current affairs in Lebanon and Middle East. He writes in Wikileaks Central matters related to the Wikileaks cables, democracy and human rights issues. He focuses on the matters originating from the Levant - Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Palestine and Iran. You can contact him on the Lebanon Spring blog or on twitter @TheZako
Alexa O'Brien. In February of this year she founded usdayofrage.org, where alongside her friends, she pushed the edge of digital social media for scalable organization of civil disobedience and non-violent protest. usdayofrage.org was instrumental in the traditional and digital organization of the original September 17 action in 5 American cities, including Austin, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Oregon, and New York, and built trusted networks that spread #occupywallstreet virally across the United States.
Since January 2011, she has covered the WikiLeaks release of US State Department Cables, JTTF memoranda known as the ‘GTMO files’, and revolutions across Egypt, Bahrain, Iran, and Yemen. She has interviewed preeminent US foreign policy expert on the Cambodia cables, and published hours of interview with former GTMO guards, detainees, defense lawyers, and human rights activists, as well as WikiLeaks media partners, including Andy Worthington, GTMO historian and author, and Atanas Tchobanov, Balkanleaks' spokesman and co-editor of Bivol.bg.
Listen to the conversation here.
Authored by James Hill
Julian Assange's speech at Trafalgar Square at approximately 15:30 on 8th October 2011. A transcript of the speech appears below. Apologies but an introductory sentence or two are missing from the beginning of the speech as I didn't consider recording until after taking a photo when Mr. Assange appeared on stage.
". . . and that is something I want to talk about. What can we do with our values, what can we do at all in relation to this war? Because the reality is Margaret Thatcher had it right; there is no society any more. What there is is a transnational security elite that is busy carving up the world using your tax money.
To combat that elite we must not petition; we must take it over.
We must form our own networks of strength and mutual value which can challenge those strengths and self-interested values of the warmongers in this country and in others that have formed hand in hand an alliance to take money from the United States, from every NATO country, from Australia and launder it through Afghanistan, launder it through Iraq, lander it through Somalia , launder it through Yemen, launder it through Pakistan and wash that money in peoples blood.
I don't need to tell you the depravity of war, you are all too familiar with its images, with the refugees of war, with information that we have revealed showing the everyday squalor and barbarity of war.
Information such as the individual deaths of over 130,000 people in Iraq. Individual deaths that were kept secret by the US military who denied that they ever counted the deaths of civilians.
Instead I want to tell you what I think is the way that wars come to be and that wars can be undone.
Wikileaks releases 55 thousand cables from the U.S. embassies in Iran, Afghanistan, Israel, Russia, and Venezuela, among others. Through their official channels they asked for citizen participation in analyzing them. They also asked that they post their finds by sending them to @wikileaks on Twitter under the hashtag #wlfind. You can take a look at the cables yourself by visiting this link: http://wikileaks.org/tag/TU_0.html or http://www.cablegatesearch.net/search.php.
As a consequence of this release, Wikileak's Californian DNS hoster, Dynadot, "has received a PATRIOT act production order for information on Julian Assange", according to their website. It also mentioned that it had been complied and that "the production order seeks all available information on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, for the US grand jury in Alexandria, Washington."
Current news of any violations, legal progress, setbacks or other news in human rights as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Syria: Assad continues to ignore the UN security council, the Arab League, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and almost everyone else, killing at least 90 civilians this week, for a total of almost 2000 since the protests began in March.
United States: A US federal appeals court ruled on August 8 that former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld had no immunity against being sued personally by US citizens Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel who allege torture at the hands of US troops. Last week, a US district judge in Washington ruled separately that a former American military contractor who also claims he was tortured in Iraq could sue Mr Rumsfeld. A lawyer for Mr Rumsfeld said the decision "puts American soldiers at risk". Further appeals by the US justice department to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals or to the US Supreme Court are possible.
On July 12, Human Rights Watch produced an extensive report entitled Getting Away with Torture: The Bush Administration and Mistreatment of Detainees.
Carol Rosenberg covers the rehearsals for Guantanamo trials.
18 year old Jake Davis was charged with five offenses under the Computer Misuse Act, the Serious Crime Act and the Criminal Law Act. He was released on bail.
Davis' lawyer admitted that his client was linked to Anonymous, but said that there was no evidence he took part in hacks.
After the court hearing, @AnonymousIRC tweeted: "http://bit.ly/obmiaW | Stay strong, @atopiary. We will continue this, as your last tweet is truth. We, the people, silent no more. #AntiSec", identifying Davis as Topiary. Shortly after his arrest, @atopiary associate @AnonymouSabu had already confirmed Topiary's arrest by tweeting: "RIP Topiary Fuck the police And as for the "doxers" you proved how clueless you ALL were when you posted he was from Sweden over 9000 times."
According to the Guardian, Davis had been arrested at a residential address in Mid Yell, a tiny settlement on Yell, a part of the Shetland Islands, on Wednesday afternoon.
There are two different types of broadband on the Shetland Islands, a BT operated connection available to the residents, which appears to be inadequate, and a system called Pathfinder North that provides some key infrastructure with fast broadband access. In Mid Yell, the junior high school has such a connection. Its website does not mention any public access to these facilities.
On Wednesday the 27th of July the Metropolitan Police issued a press release stating that an 18 year old man had been arrested at a residential address on the Shetland Islands. The reason for his arrest is described as follows:
"He is believed to be linked to a continuing international investigation into the criminal activity of the so-called "hacktivist" groups Anonymous and LulzSec, and allegedly uses the online nickname "Topiary" which is presented as the spokesperson for the groups."
The release was quickly picked up by the international press, and various news outlets questioned whether the arrested person was indeed Topiary. Some even linked to a webpage containing a photograph and personal details of another person, who had been identified as Topiary by a rival hacker group. [WLCentral is not going to link to this page as it might contain defamatory information.]
The arrest was confirmed by Twitter user AnonymouSabu, an associate of Topiary, a short time later.
At the time of publication, the arrested person has not been charged, and is apparently still kept in custody at a London police station. This unusually long period of detention without charge prompted us to look deeper into the details surrounding his arrest.
From what has been publicly known, the only circumstantial evidence that the arrested person is indeed Topiary is that the last Tweet on the Lulzsec account appeared around the time of the arrest.
The Wall Street Journal - a News Corporation outlet - is again engaging in aggressive damage control for the Murdoch empire by attacking Wikileaks. WL Central addresses the mendacity.
It appears that the Wall Street Journal - which publishes from News Corp's Celanese Building headquarters in New York city - is suing for the title of "Murdoch's Bulldog." Thinly veiled and deceptive attempts to control the message on the escalating News of the World scandal have been issuing from the once-respected news outlet. And the tactic seems to be diversionary. The second article in two days to defend News Corp by attacking Wikileaks was published today, penned by Bret Stephens.
Trevor Timm has already written here at WL Central about yesterday's clumsy WSJ editorial, which alleged hypocrisy at the Guardian, in that it criticized News of the World while publishing material from Wikileaks. Today's article belaboured the same spurious argument even further, as the air of desperation at News Corp intensified in advance of the Murdoch hearing today. Keen to deny his motives preemptively, Stephens notes:
It's probably inevitable that this column will be read in some quarters as shilling for Rupert Murdoch. Not at all: I have nothing but contempt for the hack journalism practiced by some of the Murdoch titles.
Former Murdoch chief Rebekah Brooks was arrested and detained last night by British police on charges of conspiring to illegally intercept communications as well as corruption, in the form of bribing police.
Brooks was apprehended by detectives working on Operation Weeting – the UK Metropolitan Police’s phone hacking investigation, and Operation Elveden – the investigation into illicit payments to police officers, a July 18 Guardian article reported.
Until recently, Brooks had been defended by both Rupert and James Murdoch from the very outset of the now-widespread hacking scandal that began within the Murdoch-owned newspaper News of the World.
One of the most contentious cases in the scandal so far is that of teenager Milly Dowler, who was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered. Milly Dowler’s family’s phone messages were illegally intercepted by News of the World staff.
Mark Lewis, the lawyer for Milly Dowler’s family has questioned the timing of the arrest, as Brooks is due to be questioned by a parliamentary committee next Tuesday.
“Undoubtedly, she will have the option of saying on Tuesday ‘I’m sorry I can’t answer that because I’m under police investigation ‘,” he said. “The timing stinks...it gives the impression that those questions can’t be asked [at this time]...it looks deliberate.”
Liberal Democrat MP Adrian Sanders has also expressed grave concerns over the timing of the arrest, according to a July 18 article in The Age.
The House of Commons select committee maintained that it would not canvass material that affected any criminal investigation and Brooks now appears to be protected by that. Brooks has been offering to help the police since January, yet two days before she is due to stand before a parliamentary committee she was arrested.
A new article by the Guardian's James Ball fleshes out David Leigh's allegation that Wikileaks is to blame for the arrest of Bradley Manning.
Last week's release of the unredacted Lamo-Manning chat logs contained more information on the means by which Bradley Manning is alleged to have leaked information to Wikileaks. For a year now, Julian Assange has insisted that he can neither confirm nor deny whether Bradley Manning is the source for the leaks, since - as a matter of policy - the identity of the source is not known to Wikileaks. Wikileaks protects its sources by keeping them anonymous through cryptography and a secure submission system. Even if pressured to reveal their sources by court order - so goes the reasoning - Wikileaks will be unable to do so.
The original redacted chat logs contained no information which contradicted this, but they did contain various passages which appeared to make the story less likely. In particular, Manning is said in the logs to have claimed to have "developed a relationship" with Assange. The unredacted logs, however, give a more complete picture, and appear to confirm that Assange was speaking truthfully. If they are genuine - which is not assured - the chatlogs relate how Assange, in what appear to have been anonymous communications, insisted on knowing as little as possible about Manning.
(02:56:46 PM) bradass87: he knows very little about me
(02:56:54 PM) bradass87: he takes source protection uber-seriously
(02:57:01 PM) bradass87: “lie to me” he says
(02:57:06 PM) firstname.lastname@example.org: Really. Interesting.
I have to confess that I paid less attention to WikiLeaks over the last couple of months than before. The usual excuses: I had lots of other interesting things to do. Maybe the novelty had worn out. I had definitely also been lulled asleep by the fact that the Netherlands still seems running smoothly and by the assurance that Sweden would not be allowed to extradite without permission from the UK. So it was a rough awakening when I read on the brilliant website SwedenVersusAssange how an extradition would be realized:
That fast and that easy!
Authored by Goran Rudling
In the Detention Memorandum (Häktningspromemorian) there is an attachment, “Bilaga – Skäligen misstänkt”, that lists all the sex crimes that Julian Assange is suspected of. It is a long list. It is one rape, one sexual coercion and five sexual molestations. Sofia Wilén is the the alleged victim of rape. According to the police investigation Anna Ardin is supposed to be the victim of six sex crimes.
On July 10 and 11, WL Central's Alexa O'Brien moderated a conversation between Göran Rudling, former witness for the defense at the February extradition hearing for Julian Assange, and Peter Kemp, WL Central legal commentator and Australian solicitor.
Göran Rudling is a Swedish citizen and author of, "Sex, lies, no videotape and more lies. False accusations in the Assange case" in which he deconstructs the case against Julian Assange. Mr. Kemp has translated and made commentary on Mr. Rudling's article from its original Swedish.
Mr. Rudling has also recently written "Weird accusation or proof of lies? More about the Assange case", which covers some of the contents of our 2 hour discussion.
Total running time is about 2 hours. There is image degradation the first 30 seconds of Part 2 and 3. Sound quality is of lesser quality comparatively on Parts 2, 3, and 4 only.
2010-11-18 Letter from Swedish Counsel Björn Hurtig to English co-Counsel for Julian Assange
2010-11-18 The Persecution of Julian Assange, Continued
2010-11-18 The Persecution of Julian Assange: Reactions
2010-11-18 Press release by counsel for Julian Assange
2010-11-18 Statement by Julian Assange's counsel Mark Stephens
2010-11-18 WikiLeaks staff editorial: Why our editor-in-chief is busy and needs to be defended
2010-11-19 Julian Assange to appeal Swedish arrest ruling
2010-11-20 The Persecution of Julian Assange: Reactions, Part 2
2010-11-20 Updates in Swedish case
2010-11-21 RSN Petition in Support of Julian Assange
2010-11-22 Further updates in Swedish case
2010-11-24 Updates in Sweden Appeal Case
2010-11-30 Updates in Sweden case
2010-11-30 Updates in Sweden case: Supreme Court appeal, Interpol notice
2010-12-01 Steven Aftergood: Assange prosecution would be "extremely dangerous"
2010-12-02 Sweden case: The lawyers speak up
2010-12-02 Sweden case: The lawyers speak up II
2010-12-02 Sweden case update: Supreme Court will not consider appeal
2010-12-02 WikiLeaks and the US Espionage Act: legal opinions
2010-12-05 Sweden case update
2010-12-06 Sweden case update II
2010-12-07 Julian Assange arrested on Swedish warrant
2010-12-09 Journalists in defence of WikiLeaks, part 10
2010-12-09 Sweden case updates
2010-12-10 WikiLeaks and the Espionage Act, part 2