WikiLeaks trials

2011-12-20 Summary: PFC Bradley Manning Pre-Trial Hearing Day 4

Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing began at 9:00 AM on Friday, December 16 and it is expected to continue until December 23. It must be noted that this is not a trial but a hearing to decide whether or not there are reasonable grounds to charge PFC Manning and continue with a court-martial hearing. That being said, there will be no “guilty” or “not guilty” verdict at the end of these hearings. Journalists who were allowed to sit in on the hearings were warned of “regular blackouts” while the court went in to private session.

There are a total of 34 counts against PFC Manning, the most serious of which is UCMJ Article 104, “Aiding the Enemy.”

Defense: Mr David Coombs, Major Matthew Kemkes, Captain Paul Bouchard
Prosecution: Captain Ashden Fein, Captain Joe Morrow, Captain Angel Overgaard
Investigative Officer: Lieutenant Colonel Paul Almanza

Image (Bradley Manning being escorted from a military vehicle at Ft. Meade, MD. Photo: AP/Patrick Semansky)

Day 4:

At the end of yesterday’s hearing, LTC Almanza permitted the Government’s request to remove journalists and members of the public from viewing portions of today’s hearing. Coombs’ objected to this, but no further action was taken.

Today’s hearing did not resume at the scheduled 9AM, due to meetings with LTC Almanza and the prosecution and defense.

Prosecution Witness Testimony: Special Agent David Shaver

Shaver had testified yesterday about searching PFC Manning’s computers and was cross-examined by the defense today.

2011-12-19 Summary of PFC Bradley Manning’s Pre-Trial Hearing, Dec 16-18

Bradley Manning's pre-trial hearing began at 9:00 AM on Friday, December 16 and it is expected to continue until December 23. It must be noted that this is not a trial but a hearing to decide whether or not there are reasonable grounds to charge PFC Manning and continue with a court-martial hearing. That being said, there will be no "guilty" or "not guilty" verdict at the end of these hearings. Journalists who were allowed to sit in on the hearings were warned of "regular blackouts" while the court went in to private session.

There are a total of 34 counts against PFC Manning, the most serious of which is UCMJ Article 104, "Aiding the Enemy."

Defense: Mr David Coombs, Major Matthew Kemkes, Captain Paul Bouchard
Prosecution: Captain Ashden Fein, Captain Joe Morrow, Captain Angel Overgaard
Investigative Officer: Lieutenant Colonel Paul Amanza

Day One:

Early into the first day of hearings, PFC Manning's defense lawyer David Coombs
filed a motion requesting that LTC Paul Almanza, the presiding investigative officer, recuse himself. Mr Coombs listed four reasons for this request:

  1. He has served as a prosecutor under the Department of Justice since 2002, which is currently involved in an ongoing investigation into WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
  2. The government had all its 20 requested witnesses granted, while only 12 of the defense's 48 requested witnesses were granted, 10 of them also being on the government's list.

2011-11-17 An open letter to the President of the United States, Barack Obama & the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard on the occasion of Barack Obama's address to the Australian Parliament on 17th November, 2011.

Signed by Stop the War Coalition, Sydney, Sydney
Solidarity for Bradley Manning, Wikileaks Coalition, Peace Bus.

While you meet in Australia’s Parliament House, Australians concerned about human rights, peace, justice and equality protest against your policies. We believe that the policies you jointly agree on undermine the security of our future and the opportunity for our children to live in a world free of war and violence; a world where economic equality, freedom of speech, expression and knowledge are sacrosanct.

We are prevented from having that world because of the support you give to the military industrial complex, of which Australia is a loyal subsidiary. Those interests would have us believe that they wage war to bring peace and something they call “democracy”.

But, after 10 years of war in Afghanistan, and nearly eight years in Iraq, there is scant evidence of any democracy, only destruction and death. Israeli military action against the Palestinians will not bring peace. Israel can continue its apartheid-like policies against the Palestinians because it knows it has Washington’s support.

Many dared to dream that you, Barack Obama, would begin to reverse the terrible crimes of your predecessor. Instead your foreign policy is underscored by the same violence and coercion.

The stated aim of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to rid the world of terrorism and to bring democracy to the region, was deceptive. Both wars are illegal because they were conducted under false pretences. In his book “Axis of Deceit”, former Australian Intelligence Officer, Andrew Wilkie, now an Independent member of parliament, has said, that the over-riding reason for the invasion of Iraq was “the US’s determination to safeguard and enhance its global ideological, economic and military hegemony.” (64) We believe that the same applies to Afghanistan.

2011-11-07 WikiLeaks' Assange must be protected

Authored by William Shaub

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Julian Assange has become more than an agent of transparency; he’s our resourceful David in a 21st century fight against thousands of steroid-enhanced Goliaths.

Australia’s The Age is reporting what many of us familiar with the WikiLeaks saga have foreseen:

Kevin Rudd and his foreign affairs department have been accused of all but ignoring pleas from Julian Assange’s legal team to protect the WikiLeaks founder from a possible death penalty in the US.

The foreign affairs department may have also been caught out in an embarrassing lie, after telling The Age they had replied to a letter from Assange’s British lawyer, Gareth Peirce, when they had not.

Tony Kevin, an Australian diplomat of three decades who served as ambassador to Poland and Cambodia, was critical of Mr Rudd’s handling of the Assange case, saying Australia appeared unprepared to grapple with its highly political nature.

Indeed, Australia is not the only country “unprepared to grapple” with the highly political nature of Julian Assange’s court case, but perhaps the most important. The US is not hesitating to use its ability of limiting the social sovereignty of other countries for the purposes of ‘security,’ and governments are clearly not interested in falling out of US favor. Thus, Australia is buckling to US political pressure and acquiring real complicity in Assange’s possible extradition to the US.

The result is the persecution of perhaps the most innovative web activist in history.

2011-11-04 Overlooked evidence in the Assange trial

Authored by Bella Magnani

Since the 100-page Swedish police protocol file leaked onto the internet in February 2011, it has been widely known that the SKL (Sweden's national forensic laboratory) failed to find any chromosomal DNA -- either male or female -- on the torn, used condom that Complainant AA gave to police 12 days after the event as evidence of her allegations. For anyone who doubts this fact, it's on page 77 of the police protocol (FUP), attached below [pdf].

Now, at that point -- 25 October, 2010 -- one would hope that a competent and impartial investigations team would turn toward investigating how this forensic finding came about. Sweden takes very seriously the issue of making false claims or presenting false evidence in sex crime cases, which is punishable with a 2-year prison sentence. In this particular case, however, the lead investigation officer, Mats Gehlin, simply asked the SKL to run the test again (page 81 of the FUP). In fairness, the first result does mention a tiny speck that might be "something," which a second test later found to be a very small sample of mitochondrial DNA.

This is significant for two reasons: first, mitochondrial DNA is not uniquely identifying in the same way as chromosomal DNA; and, more importantly, a sample which contains mitochondrial DNA but no chromosomal DNA can only come from hair and nails. And, of course, a used condom should be awash with chromosomal DNA from both participants -- but this one has none.

2011-11-01 Join the Wikicitizens' protest against wars for the 1% on Nov 17

ImageSydney Stop the War Coalition is organizing a bus trip to Canberra on Thursday November 17 when US President Barack Obama will address the Australian Parliament.

The visit – his first to Australia as President – marks the 60th anniversary of the Australian-US war alliance. Bipartisan Australian governmental support for this war alliance has meant that Australia has been the US' “deputy sheriff” in the Asia-Pacific region, and beyond.

This has entrenched a bipartisan sycophancy which has included sending Australian troops to join wars for oil - Iraq - and other natural resources and political leverage –Afghanistan.

Australian governments are therefore not only complicit in the deaths of Australian soldiers, but of countless civilians. This bipartisanship has also led to complicity in the rendition of Australian citizens.Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other president, with Australia
compliance.

In the case of Bradley Manning, the US Army is preparing a pretrial hearing which will disclose the details of the government case against him. This case has been unfairly prejudiced by Obama’s public statement that “he broke the law”. As this case accelerates, Obama’s visit provides an opportune time to call for Bradley Manning to be released.

Julian Assange will face judgement on November 2. Should the outcome not be
favourable, he is in danger of eventual extradition to the United States, due to a legal device known as Temporary Surrender. In the event of a good outcome, Assange's visa is about to expire and, due to the US government’s financial block, Wikileaks is in jeopardy. In deference to the United States, the Australian government has given scant protection to one of its citizens.

2011-07-31 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks

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This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

05:20 PM Full Canadian WikiLeaks Task Force file now available for download.

Joe B writes in his analysis of the document:

"…The Canadian Task Force was in direct contact with the US WTF, however it appears that all the contact info for the US WTF is completely redacted. This would indicate that the Canadian Government would more knowledge about the Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks, Wikileaks volunteers, and Julian Assange in particular. The first mention of the WTF in the files is back in November 27, 2010."

04:35 PM In a newly released cable it is reported that the Bulgarian subsidiary of Lukoil is a sponsor of the Socialist Party.

The one area where Russia's influence is likely to grow if the BSP takes power is in the economy. Most Bulgarian companies with Russian business ties are aligned with the BSP, especially in the energy sector. The Bulgarian subsidiary of LukOil -- which pays some 20 percent of all the taxes collected in Bulgaria -- is reportedly a BSP sponsor. Similarly, Risk Engineering, the leading Bulgarian firm in the nuclear power sector, is closely tied in with Russian business interests. Beyond this, there are a whole series of "Red businesses" whose owners became wealthy by stripping the assets of state-owned industries during the previous Socialist government, and who still owe a debt of gratitude to the BSP. the cable reads.

2011-07-20 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks

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This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.
New cable(s) were released today.

08:40 PM Haiti Liberté journalist Dan Coughlin weighs in on the impact of WikiLeaks revelations in the country.

The release of secret U.S. Embassy cables has provoked a maelstrom in Haitian politics, threatening the approval of a prime minister-designate, damaging the career of a leading right-wing politician, and throwing Haiti’s tiny and ultra-rich elite into a paroxysm of public mea culpas., he writes.
Bernard Gousse, President Martelly’s choice for prime minister, responsible for persecuting Aristide supporters during his time as a Justice Minister is now facing decresed parliamentary support and Haitian businessman Fritz Mevs addressed a letter for apology to Senator LaTortue for statements of his contained in the diplomatic cables.

Haiti's real enemy and the true source of insecurity [was] a small nexus of drug-dealers and political insiders that control a network of dirty cops and gangs that not only were responsible for committing the kidnappings and murders, but were also frustrating the efforts of well-meaning government officials and the international community to confront them., he told U.S. Ambassador Foley in 2005.

The letter sees him praise individuals he had described as narco-traffickers and kidnappers in 2005, Dan Coughlin points out.

2011-07-13 Eyewitness account from the Royal Crown Courts

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:
http://www.swedenversusassange.com/US-Extradition.html

That fast and that easy!

2011-07-16 How Wired Magazine Tried (And Failed) To Help The US Government Frame Julian Assange

We've learned a few important things from the full transcripts of Bradley Manning's online chats with Adrian Lamo. Glenn Greenwald has already focussed on how Wired magazine's decision to with-hold the full transcripts has damaged the reputations of Manning, Assange and WikiLeaks. But it's worth examining in more detail exactly how Wired's subterfuge has affected Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in particular.

Firstly, and most importantly, it's now clear that Julian Assange did NOT know if Bradley Manning was the source who leaked the US cables to WikiLeaks. Manning tells Lamo that Assange “knows little about me” and “he takes source-protections uber-seriously.” Furthermore, he says, Assange "won’t work with you if you reveal too much about yourself.” Assange even instructs Manning to lie about his identity!

This blows apart the US government's protracted efforts to suggest that Assange actively enticed Manning to hand over the cables, and thereby charge the Australian with criminal activity. In fact, it was only through his own protracted sleuth work that Manning even knew who HE was talking to: "it took me four months to confirm that the person i was communicating [with] was in fact assange".

Why would Wired with-hold this critically important information, unless they were actively co-operating with US agents trying to fabricate charges against Assange? Given that Lamo had notified authorities of Manning's alleged actions while still continuing to chat with him, it's logical to assume the Feds would have wanted to censor any published details. Wired appears to have willingly complied.

2011-07-13 Weird accusation or proof of lies? More about the Assange case

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.

2011-07-12 Tweet Stream - @m_cetera LIVE from Hearing July 12 and 13

For previous coverage of Julian Assange extradition trials by Mirjam Eikelboom see here. Follow @m_cetera on Twitter for coverage on July 12 and 13.

Chirpstory of @m_cetera's coverage below.

2011-07-12 Tweet Stream - Julian #Assange's hearing on July 12 & 13 #wjul

2011-07-12 Göran Rudling & Peter Kemp in Conversation about #Assange Swedish Extradition Case VIDEO #wljul

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.


2011-07-11 Look Who's Whacking WikiLeaks

Next time you see a negative media report on Julian Assange or Wikileaks, have a think about who is writing it, and why. Behind every character-assassinating "newsy" hit-piece you will discover a writer or a publisher (usually both) with an agenda. And you don't have to look too far to find it.

I was reminded of this after I complained about a particularly nasty article on a Hollywood news site. The author couldn't seem to distinguish Wikileaks' legal activities from illegal hacking by groups like Anonymous and LulzSec. Worse yet, he insisted that Assange and all these hackers were terrorists on a par with Al Qaeda and deserved to be punished accordingly. A little investigation revealed that the writer was heavily involved in the Blu Ray DVD industry - to him, and to Hollywood in general, pirate hackers represent a serious threat to profitability. What's Wikileaks got to do with that? Well, who cares? Just get your hands off our Intellectual Property!

You might expect a more level-headed approach from former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans, a last-minute replacement on a recent Wikileaks public forum. Evans said he was against attempts to “persecute or prosecute” Assange, but nevertheless labelled him an “anarchically-minded autocrat”. He calmly argued that leaks of secret government information “won’t contribute to better government” but would “inhibit internal communication within government” and lead to worse government decision-making.

Evans then wrote an article expounding his views in more detail. He neatly categorised leaks into three categories. While conceding that some leaks genuinely serve the public interest (never mind how or by whom that is defined), he warned that "some leaks are indefensible".

Archive - Previous WL Central hearing coverage

2011-07-11 Assange to appeal extradition to Sweden

WikiLeaks front-man Julian Assange will front the high court in London on July 12 for his appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations of sexual misconduct. Assange has been under house arrest in England for over six months, following a ruling in February at a London district court that the extradition of Assange to Sweden was valid and would not breach any of his human rights.

Assange’s lawyers argued that he would face an unfair trial in Sweden; there arguments can be found here: http://t.co/NTwxH2D http://t.co/oVYrSpM

Assange voluntarily turned himself in to the police in the UK after Sweden filed a European Arrest Warrant for him.

A widely held view amongst WikiLeaks’ supporters is that the extradition to Sweden is a preface to an eventual trial in the US; and that extradition for the charges against Assange would not be pursued if it was any ordinary citizen.

Assange and his colleagues at the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks have subjected the US government to extreme duress and embarrassment due to its publication of many thousands of US diplomatic cables including: the July 12 Baghdad Collateral Murder Video and other Iraq war documents; material on extrajudicial killings in Kenya, and the Guantanamo Bay files, to name a few.

Julian Assange is an Australian citizen and deserves all the support our government can offer him. Instead he was thrown to the wolves. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard failed to support Assange and called the leaks “an illegal act” according to an article in The Australian in 2009.

Gillard came under widespread condemnation for failing to give support to Assange. Hundreds of prominent lawyers, journalists, editors, and academics signed a letter to the Gillard government calling for her to support Assange but the government has maintained its hardline stance from the outset.

2011-07-02 RECORDED STREAM of Assange, Žižek & Goodman Conversation July 2, 11am EDT

This Saturday, July 2, Democracy Now's Amy Goodman will moderate a conversation with Julian Assange and Slovenian philosopher, Slavoj Žižek. The event is sponsored by the Frontline Club, and broadcast from The Troxy theater in London.

The focus of the event will be the "ethics and philosophy behind WikiLeaks’ work, the talk will provide a rare opportunity to hear two of the world’s most prominent thinkers discuss some of the most pressing issues of our time," according to the Democracy Now web site.

The conversation coincides with the "publication of the paperback edition of Žižek’s Living in the End Times, in which he argues that new ways of using and sharing information, in particular WikiLeaks, are one of a number of harbingers of the end of global capitalism as we know it."

Starts below at 21 minutes.

2011-07-01 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks

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This is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

10:25 PM Cable on U.S.-Panama Express Rendition Program dissected.

07:45 PM Wikileaks just made an important announcement on twitter:

Stay tuned for important news regarding the attack on WikiLeaks by VISA, MasterCard and others

Update: This was after legal action against the financial institutions had been announced by Kristinn Hrafnsson in Brazil.

06:20 PM The Wikileaks you missed: Foreign Policy sums up four months of secret diplomatic cable releases on Thailand, Haiti, India, Pakistan, Peru and Japan.

05:30 PM Apparently, while in Brazil, Kristinn Hrafnsson claimed Wikileaks has something to reveal about Visa and Mastercard.

A write-up on his talk at the 6th International Congress of Investigative Journalism with the participation of the founder of A Pública, Natália Viana, can be found here.

2011-06-16 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases, #WikiLeaks & More

ImageThis is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, and sometimes the national security establishment of the United States because each issue/topic helps one further understand WikiLeaks and vice versa.

All the times are EST. You can contact me at kgosztola@hotmail.com with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for some insightful discussion of stories related to WikiLeaks, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

11:15 PM Micah Zenko for major US think tank, Council on Foreign Relations, declares, "There is needless and excessive classification of government material in the U.S. national security policymaking process." But, goes on to write, "Nothing should ever be revealed in public that compromises the sources and methods used in intelligence collection and analysis. Moreover, the unauthorized disclosure of properly classified information—such as Wikileaks’ release of State Department diplomatic cables—undermines the trust and discretion that is essential for conducting normal diplomatic relations."

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