WikiLeaks trials

2011-06-15 David House's Statement on Appearing Before the WikiLeaks Grand Jury

Image *News Advisory from the Bradley Manning Support Network

David House is a founding member of the Bradley Manning Support Network. He was subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury today in Alexandria, VA. House is among several Boston area residents who have been ordered to testify before the grand jury, which is investigating WikiLeaks.

House and his lawyer entered the courthouse this morning at approximately 10:00am ET, amidst a gathering of supporters who held signs with messages of support for House. The rally also called for government transparency and protection for whistleblowers — and for freedom for accused WikiLeaks source PFC Bradley Manning.

The prosecution initially attempted to prevent David House from taking notes. This was the reason for the recess and reconvening at 4:00pm ET. There was no legal basis for this order, and House was ultimately permitted to take notes.

House was questioned for approximately one hour, beginning at 4:00pm ET. He invoked his Fifth Amendment rights to remain silent. He read from the below statement at 5:00pm ET in the plaza outside of the United States District Court at 401 Courthouse Square in Alexandria, VA.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) is attempting to codify a task it started over 40 years ago: the political regulation of journalism. The same climate of intimidation that surrounded the Pentagon Papers trial persists to this day as the DoJ seeks to limit the freedoms of the Fourth Estate, using the pretense of alleged violations of the Espionage Act.

2011-06-14 Rallies Planned to Protest WikiLeaks Grand Jury Subpoenas

ImageDavid House of the Bradley Manning Support Network to Appear Wednesday Morning, June 15th in Alexandria, VA

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — David House, a founding member of the Bradley Manning Support Network, is among several Boston area residents who have been ordered to testify before a federal grand jury convened in Alexandria, VA to investigate WikiLeaks. House is scheduled to appear tomorrow, Wednesday morning, June 15th.

Advocates of government transparency are preparing to rally outside the courthouse tomorrow morning starting at 9:30am ET, coinciding with House’s appearance. Supporters in Boston—where House resides—will hold an afternoon rally at 6pm ET. (details below)

“This harassment only increases our resolve to defend our fundamental constitutional freedoms,” said Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network. "By conducting the people’s business in secret and persecuting transparency advocates, government decision-makers have abandoned core American values.”

In addition to supporting David House and opposing the grand jury investigation of WikiLeaks, the protests will draw attention to the ongoing pretrial confinement of PFC Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst who stands accused of blowing the whistle on illegal and unjust foreign policies.

“The Justice Department’s unprecedented crackdown, not only on accused whistle-blowers, but also their friends and supporters, stems from the same impulse to silence legitimate dissent that has become a hallmark of corrupt governments the world over,” said Kevin Zeese, an attorney with the Bradley Manning Support Network. "It is heartening to see that some witnesses are refusing to cooperate with this campaign to conceal the truth."

2011-06-11 The extradition appeal of Julian Assange: EU melting pots, ambiguities and human rights on trial.

The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) not for the purposes of prosecution argument.

Readers are likely aware that English speaking nation’s common law concepts/language do not necessarily have equivalents in Sweden, mens rea (guilty mind) being a major one lacking in Swedish sexual offences legislation for example (relating to lack of consent*). Julian Assange’s defence made substantial arguments at the extradition hearing that the EAW was not for the purposes of prosecution, that the use of the word “lagforing” in the warrant, meaning judicial process, was not sufficient to qualify as meaning a prosecution for the required purposes of an EAW.

As Judge Riddle wrote, in page 14 of his judgement (Full ruling here in Pdf.):

Under section 2(2) and (3) Extradition Act 2003 an arrest warrant must contain a statement that the Part 1 warrant is issued with a view to his arrest and extradition to the category 1 territory for the purpose of being prosecuted for the offence….

What is required by section 2 of the Act is an arrest warrant which contains a statement that the warrant is issued for the purpose of being prosecuted. The question has been considered in a number of earlier cases, including Trenk, Vey, Mighall, Patel and Azstaslos. The defence argue that the EAW nowhere states unequivocally and without ambiguity that Mr Assange is sought for prosecution. The EAW was translated from Swedish into English by a translator appointed by the Swedish National Police Board. It begins “This warrant has been issued by a competent authority. I request that the person mentioned below be arrested and surrendered for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or detention order”.

2011-06-10 A Conversation with @WLLegal on Grand Juries, Thomas Drake, the ACLU & #PDF11

Image The past twenty four hours saw some big stories related to WikiLeaks break.

-The Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks widened as news subpoenas were issued to individuals like David House, co-founder of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

-The US government's case against Thomas Drake totally imploded. He accepted a misdemeanor plea deal and will likely serve no jail time primarily because the government did not want to make its case against Drake with information on classified technology.

-Andy Greenberg of Forbes.com reported on an ACLU lawsuit against the government for not complying with FOIA requests for specific US State Embassy cables

I had Trevor Timm, the person behind the @WLLegal Twitter account, record a podcast to talk about these recent WikiLeaks-related stories.

To listen, click play on the embedded player below (Or, go here to listen and download.)

2011-06-04 Peter Kemp's conversation with WACA: Australian perspectives on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

Wikileaks Australian Citizens Alliance has kindly allowed us to share this series of videos, a conversation between myself, Sam and Kaz.

There was some difficulty with the software not behaving itself and the audio on my side was a bit patchy. We'll be working on future conversations where hopefully the use of Skype and glitches will be improved.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

WACA's Youtube user site here, with more videos well worth having a look.

http://www.youtube.com/user/akaWACA

As an Australian citizen I must say it is most pleasing that others like Sam and Kaz at WACA in Australia are so motivated to become involved online and elsewhere to carry a torch for human rights and Wikileaks. There are so many people around the world on the same page with us here at WLC.

WACA's site here.

Well done Sam and Kaz!

2011-05-11 What to Expect in the WikiLeaks Grand Jury Investigation

ImageA federal grand jury is meeting at 11 am EST in Alexandria, Virginia. The grand jury is being employed to “build” a case against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who just won a gold medal for peace and justice from the Sydney Peace Foundation.

“The WikiLeaks case is part of a much broader campaign by the Obama administration to crack down on leakers,” writes Carrie Johnson of NPR. Johnson is one of a few reporters in the US press who has published a report today on this stirring development in the United States. She finds “national security experts” cannot “remember a time when the Justice Department has pursued so many criminal cases based on leaks of government secrets.”

The number of people subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury is unclear (and not in any of the few news articles published on the grand jury so far). What is known is that at least one individual from Cambridge was issued a subpoena seeking to compel him to testify before a Grand Jury. Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com reported the individual served had a public link to the WikiLeaks case and it was “highly likely” the subpoena was connected to the WikiLeaks Grand Jury investigation.

There are two other federal Grand Juries that are ongoing in the country. In San Jose, California, a Grand Jury has been empanelled to investigate the “hacktivist” group, Anonymous. Another Grand Jury in Chicago has been empanelled to target antiwar, labor and international solidarity activists for their political action.

2011-05-01 This Week in WikiLeaks Podcast - @WLLegal Talks #Guantanamo Files & Grand Jury Investigation of WikiLeaks

Update: Edited podcast is posted.

The long-awaited release of the Guantanamo Files. More than 10,000 cables in the Cablegate release now posted—2000 of them from Canada and just out before the country's election. The Grand Jury beginning to issue subpoenas in its investigation of WikiLeaks. The media getting an out-of-the-ordinary tour of Ft. Leavenworth with the consent of the Department of Defense.

There was much to talk about this week.

ImageWith so much to discuss, Trevor Timm, the person behind the Twitter account @WLLegal, joined the program to talk about the latest news on WikiLeaks. Timm helped to make possible a great Personal Democracy Forum event called, “WikiLeaks & the Law" just over a month ago. [Go here for video of the full panel.] He also appeared on the show just over a month ago.

To listen to the recorded "This Week in WikiLeaks" podcast, click on the widget below:

2011-04-26 WikiLeaks notes: David House: WikiLeaks grand jury subpoenas are being issued for violations of the Espionage Act

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David House tweets Wikileaks grand jury subpoenas are being issued

Bradley Manning friend and supporter David House tweeted Subpoenas are being issued in the WikiLeaks grand jury. Violations of Espionage Act. No further comment at this time. two hours after tweeting "Are you now, or have you ever been, a WikiLeaks supporter?"

Julian Assange's defense attorney Mark Stephens retweeted the subpoenas comment, but followed up with @lockean how do you know? and was answered by House @MarksLarks FBI is making house calls

And now from Wikileaks: Fresh subpoenas are being issued in the WikiLeaks Alexandra, VA secret grand jury in relation to the espionage act.

Write to Bradley Manning

Jonathan Getzschman has obtained the following information for anyone wanting to write to Bradley Manning. A large and ongoing volume of mail would remind his new home that we are still watching.

Bradley Manning 89289
830 Sabalu Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

Letters will be rejected if they contain any of the following:

  • Solicitations for gambling/lottery, business or pen pal correspondence.
  • Blackmail, threats or indecent subject matter
  • Plans or plots for escape
  • Codes

2011-04-26 Open Letter to Kevin Rudd: On Julian Assange and Guantanamo Bay revelations.

Kevin Rudd
Minister Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
AUSTRALIA

Dear Minister
1) Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

Firstly I would like to say that the international community who support Julian Assange would undoubtedly thank you for your support of him on the issue of his legal rights in the UK and scotching the threats made by your colleagues the prime minister Ms Gillard and attorney general Mr McClelland to cancel his passport late last year. Your support of human rights in relation to Julian Assange is to be commended, including the intercession of our diplomats on his behalf asking certain questions of Swedish authorities (1) which it is assumed emanated from your good offices.

More could be done for example to point out to the European Union that their European Arrest Warrant System is disgracefully flawed and subject to serial abuses by member states (especially Poland) now that showing a prima facie case has been removed entirely from extradition procedures in the European Union’s EAW system. Australia as you would likely be aware, did not extradite without the applicant nation showing a prima facie case up until 1985 when the “no evidence” and “dual criminality” provisions became available to applicant nations under amended legislation.(2) Where subjected to abuse, prima facie requirements should be reinstated.

As you are also no doubt aware the US Department of Justice is leaving no pebble unturned in their vengeful attempts to find - or more likely - manufacture some evidence against Julian Assange for a charge of conspiracy to commit espionage.

This is happening despite First Amendment protections which the DOJ’s epigones are attempting to undermine as they engage in polemical arguments using gymnastic semantics in the US media, in an exercise to assert he is not a journalist as a means to preclude those rights, contrary to the US constitution.

2011-04-22 WikiLeaks Notes: Oral hearing for WikiLeaks Twitter appeal cancelled

Oral hearing for Wikileaks Twitter appeal cancelled

Today's hearing of oral arguments has been cancelled in the appeal of last month's order over whether the US government has the right to access the online information of three Twitter users in aid of its WikiLeaks investigation, and also whether they can be informed of what other internet companies have turned over their information without notifying them. The three, Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir, US citizen Jacob Appelbaum and Rop Gonggrijp of the Netherlands, were all notified by Twitter of the order against their data. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have been assisting the three users with their challenge.

EFF earlier wrote "cooperating counsel John Keker of Keker and Van Nest will urge the court Friday to require the government to protect the First Amendment freedoms of speech and association of the Twitter users and the Fourth Amendment rights of the users in their locations. ACLU attorney Aden Fine will ask the court to unseal all documents related to other requests for private data".

US District Court Judge Liam O'Grady canceled the hearing and will instead issue a ruling after reading both sides' written briefs.

2011-04-13 EFF Petition: Who Has Your Back?

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Petition from EFF

On Monday, April 11, 2011, EFF launched a petition to the largest Internet companies asking them to stand with their users and be transparent in their practices. Here's a chart showing how they think each of the companies is doing right now — a gold star indicates that the company is doing a stellar job, a half-star indicates they are taking steps in the right direction. This page will be updated as companies change their practices in response to public demand.

Details on what they are asking for:

1. Promise to inform users when their data is sought by the government
Internet companies should promise to tell users when their data is being sought by the government and give users a chance to defend themselves, unless prohibited by law — like Twitter promises to do and did in the Wikileaks investigation.

3. Be transparent about when you hand over data to the government
Companies should publish reports on how often they provide user data to governments worldwide, like Google does. These reports should include all demands that can be disclosed under the law. Companies should also make public the policies they have about sharing data with the government such as guides for law enforcement, like Twitter does.

3. Fight for users' privacy rights in the courts and in Congress
Companies should resist overbroad demands, like Yahoo did recently, and should disclose no more information than required by law. Internet companies should support efforts to modernize electronic privacy laws to defend users in the digital age, like the Digital Due Process Coalition members do.

Click here to sign the EFF petition

For WL Central coverage of the Wikileaks Twitter case, click here.

2011-04-06 Hearing date set for Assange extradition appeal

The BBC first announced this morning that the High Court of England and Wales* has listed court dates of 12-13 July to hear Julian Assange's appeal against extradition from the UK to Sweden.

BBC reporter Dominic Hurst tweeted shortly after his first announcement that "Assange's appeal is against Judge Riddle's ruling that extradition to Sweden wouldn't breach his human rights," a summary repeated in this report from the Guardian.

Mark Stephens @markslarks, Assange's UK solicitor, then replied to a first question on Twitter from a WLC reporter: "dates correct. Detail wrong." When questioned further by another WLC reporter hoping for a lawyerly update, he tweeted: "will come when I return to the UK."

There is obviously some time for precising our understanding of what the appeal may entail. Parliamentary review of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is also expected in June [citation needed and welcomed].

* NB: Scotland's legal system has always been independent from that of England and Wales.

2011-04-05 Netherlands foreign minister expresses willingness to extradite Rop Gonggrijp to US (Updated)

ImageUpdate: Rop Gonggrijp writes on his blog: "It may be good if we all take a deep breath and get grounded a bit here. There are no new events other than the justice minister in The Netherlands providing rather obvious answers to questions from MPs. I really don’t think the minister giving perfectly predictable answers should be news. There is, as of yet, no indictment. Let alone an extradition request. I helped publish a video documenting war crimes. My lawyers and me have absolutely no idea what crime they could even charge me with. If they indeed want something from me, the prosecutors are likely facing the same problem.

"So there may very well never be an extradition request, just a very long period of nothing much happening. Which doesn’t mean this isn’t something to worry about or keep a close eye on. But it’s probably not worthy of getting in a nationwide or even global frenzy over just yet."


Uri Rosenthal, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands, responded to questioning from Green MP Arjan El Fassed by saying that he does not rule out extradition of Rop Gonggrijp (pictured left) to the US.

2011-04-02 WikiLeaks Notes: Parliamentarians question treatment of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks

UK MP quizzes Crown Prosecution Service over Assange extradition case

Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert has raised the relevance of the Human Rights Act to the role played by the UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Sweden's attempt to extradite Julian Assange.

In reply to Mr Huppert's questions during a joint committee hearing on human rights, Keir Starmer, director of Public Prosecutions, admitted that the CPS "are bound by the Human Rights Act, and we are bound by our duties to the court." However, he added that human-rights issues would be for the courts to determine rather than for the CPS.

Impenetrable though those legal distinctions may appear in the abstract, parliamentary attention to possible politicization of law is significant where it appears that the boundaries between law and politics are not clear and stable.

Australian MP and shadow minister reflects on WikiLeaks, Spycatcher, and freedom of the press

Malcolm Turnbull (L-Wentworth), former leader of the Opposition in the Australian House of Representatives and the current shadow minister for Communications and Broadband, spoke to Sydney University Law School on 31 March about his experiences representing former MI5 officer Peter Wright, author of Spycatcher, and about the concerns and responsibilities the Australian government faces relative to Assange's own situation and to WikiLeaks publications generally.

2011-03-26 WikiLeaks Notes

ImageDebate: This House believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place

On 9 April, the Frontline Club and the New Statesman will host a public debate in which Julian Assange will speak for the proposition "This House believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place."

The debate will be chaired by Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman; other panelists have yet to be announced. The event will be held at Kensington Town Hall at 5 pm GMT; it is already fully booked but should be both livetweeted and filmed.

Rob Stary, Australian lawyer for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks: interview

Last week the WikiLeaks Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA) posted the video of an interview they did with Rob Stary, Julian Assange's lawyer in Australia, before the WikiLeaks Free Speech Forum in Melbourne on 4 February.

Some of the interview focuses on legal and political issues particular to Australia. More generally, however, Stary challenges the claims of a number of governments that their legal manoeuvres against Assange and/or WikiLeaks are unaffected by politics. His analysis of the international interplay between law and politics is a fine summary of the state of play so far.

2011-03-17 WikiLeaks Forum at Sydney Town Hall 16 March 2011

Wednesday's forum on the tribulations surrounding WikiLeaks was timely and a much-needed shot in the arm for political discourse in Australia.

Framed through the lens of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks' David and Goliath struggle against the machine, the dominant theme of the night was the questioning of Australia's political identity and sovereignty in its unbalanced relationship with the United States, and how this imbalance has manifested itself in the lack of political and legal support provided to its citizens. Hence, some parallels between Julian Assange and previous Gitmo detainees David Hicks (present in the audience) and Mamdouh Habib were repeatedly made. On some levels, this may be seen as incongruous - Hicks and Habib were terror suspects, whereas Assange, despite hostile rhetoric, has not been accused of terrorism by a prosecuting authority - but the import of drawing these parallels is the same.

Open to the public, the seats inside Sydney's stately Town Hall filled up quickly, no doubt due to the caliber of the panelists rather than the rain pouring outside. The night's proceedings were emceed by Mark Kostakidis, veteran of Australian public broadcaster SBS. The speakers were the award-winning journalist John Pilger, member for Australian Federal Parliament and famous Iraq war whistleblower Andrew Wilkie, and tireless human-rights campaigner Julian Burnside QC.

Indeed, there were no "hawks" on the panel to provide opposition to the overall theme of libertarianism - not that the audience present minded, for this forum was a chance to escape the endless diatribes of said hawks, who are already in the privileged position of being able to pollute the airwaves, print and the web, stifling such fora under hackneyed pretexts of "national security" (to name but one).

2011-03-11 Denial of 'Twitter 3' Request to Throw Out Twitter Order Renews Government War on Internet Freedom, Whistleblowing

ImageFederal Magistrate Judge Theresa C. Buchanan ruled the “Twitter 3,” who have become ensnared in a WikiLeaks investigation, cannot keep the US government from looking at their Twitter information and the information they would like to be public cannot be disclosed. With support from the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Jacob Appelbaum, Birgitta Jonsdottir, and Rop Gonggrijp, the three, will appeal the decision.

The “Twitter 3” sought to convince the court the Twitter Order violated First and Fourth Amendment rights. The Court found there was no First Amendment violation because the three had “already made their Twitter posts and associations publicly available.” The Court memo on the decision explains:

The Twitter Order does not seek to control or direct the content of petitioners’ speech or association. Rather, it is a routine compelled disclosure of non-content information which petitioners voluntarily provided to Twitter pursuant to Twitter’s Privacy Policy. Additionally, the Court’s §2703(d) analysis assured that the Twitter Order is reasonable in scope, and the government has a legitimate interest in the disclosures sought.

On the Fourth Amendment argument, the Court finds no “privacy interest” in protecting “IP addresses” and argued, “The Court is aware of no authority finding that an IP address shows location with precision, let alone provides insight into a home’s interior or a user’s movements.”

2011-03-06 Darkness at Noon: Bradley Manning

Authored by Tony Kevin, former Australian Diplomat.

Chillingly, inexorably, the lifepaths of Julian Assange and Bradley Manning are converging.

Not yet in the sense that Manning’s US military torturers hope for, with a desired confession by him whether true or falsely coerced of prior collaboration with Assange to pass US classified intelligence material to Wikileaks. Either would satisfy them, because even a false and forced confession, that could be later disavowed by Manning in court, could be enough in the US judicial system to trigger a valid US secret grand jury arrest warrant for Assange’s extradition to the US. Such a warrant could be served either on the UK or Swedish governments, depending on where Assange was at the time.

More broadly, their stories are appropriately coming together now as stories of two young national heroes, one American and one Australian, who are putting their lives on the line now for the sake of defending the principle of individual moral accountability for the actions of their national states that profess to share similar political values. This principle has been variously expressed by many political leaders and thinkers, of which a few examples here will suffice. I am sure an Obama quotation could be readily found to add to this short list:

US founding father Benjamin Franklin, in 1792 - … a nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.

Martin Luther King at the height of his US civil rights struggle - Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

"Conspiracy as Governance", Julian Assange, 3 December 2006, from me@iq.org

2011-03-04 Jennifer Robinson: Brief to Canberra meeting of MPs re Julian Assange

The following brief was submitted to the meeting outlined here by WL Central:

On 2nd March 2011 at 9.15am a meeting was held, organised by Andrew Laming (Liberal Party MP Bowman Qld) at Parliament House Canberra to allow federal parliamentarians who wished to attend, some insights into the matters of Julian Assange facing extradition from the UK to Sweden, and facing (subject to that extradition process) a possible trial in Sweden and another possible extradition to the USA thereafter.

Among others, MPs Andrew Laming, Malcolm Turnbull, Doug Cameron and Sarah Hanson-Young were in attendance, along with parliamentary staff members.

Three speakers made themselves available for oral presentations and questions: Greg Barns, barrister from Tasmania; former Australian diplomat Tony Kevin and Peter Kemp solicitor from NSW, the latter two made written material available for the parliamentarians reprinted here with their permission.

The following brief was submitted to the meeting by Jennifer Robinson of the firm Finers Stephens Innocent. She is part of the legal team representing Julian Assange in the extradition proceedings requested by Sweden.

2011-03-03 Meeting on 2nd March in Parliament House Canberra with MPs re Julian Assange.

On 2nd March 2011 at 9.15am a meeting was held, organised by Andrew Laming (Liberal Party MP Bowman Qld) at Parliament House Canberra to allow federal parliamentarians who wished to attend, some insights into the matters of Julian Assange facing extradition from the UK to Sweden, and facing (subject to that extradition process) a possible trial in Sweden and another possible extradition to the USA thereafter.

Among others, MPs Andrew Laming, Malcolm Turnbull, Doug Cameron and Sarah Hanson-Young were in attendance, along with parliamentary staff members.

Three speakers made themselves available for oral presentations and questions: Greg Barns, barrister from Tasmania; former Australian diplomat Tony Kevin and Peter Kemp, solicitor from NSW. The latter two made written material available for the parliamentarians, reprinted below with their permission. Written material was also provided by Jennifer Robinson, UK counsel for the Julian Assange. That material is reprinted with permission here.

After short addresses by each of the three speakers, the meeting was opened for questions and summaries of each speaker in the proceedings appears below, after biographies.

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