WikiLeaks trials

2011-01-09 DOJ subpoena applicable to anyone who viewed WikiLeaks tweets?

Previous Update

The issued subpoena ordered Twitter to provide information regarding any account either registered to or in any way associated with the following individuals or user names:

  • rop_g
  • ioerror
  • birgittaj
  • Julian Assange
  • Bradley Manning
  • Rop Gonggrijp
  • Birgitta Jonsdottir
  • WikiLeaks

The information to be supplied, however, pertains to both the sources and destinations of these accounts. This is to include

records of user activity for any connections made to or from the Account, including the date, time, length, and method of connections, data transfer volume, user name, and source and destination Internet Protocol address(es).

[N]on-content information associated with the contents of any communication or file stored by or for the account(s), such as the source and destination email addresses and IP addresses. (Source; original pdf subpoena)

Note that the requirement of turning over user names and "destination IP addresses" would range over any electronic device (like a phone or computer) receiving communications from the above named individuals. (To see the information revealed by your IP address, click here. )

As other sources have pointed out, the order implicates more than just the above named users and user accounts. The language seems to implicate every Twitter follower of each of the named accounts, which explains Wikileaks' announcement that "all 637,000 @wikileaks followers are a target".

In examining the language of the subpoena, this seems like a real possibility. "Communication" would seem to encompass the receipt of any tweet on Twitter, given that data transmission is involved. Hence the language is inclusive of any individual following the primary targets who receives Wikileaks tweets on their Twitter timeline, for instance. The same is true of any Twitter user receiving tweets from ioerror, rop_g, and so on.

Yet if we grant that all followers will be implicated by virtue of having received tweet data from the 7 primary targets, it seems the present language is also inclusive of anyone who has clicked on a link directing them to a tweet from any of the above accounts. If you did view one of these tweets at some point on or after November 1, 2009 (the cut-off date in stipulated in the subpoena) but were not signed in to Twitter, then even if you are not a registered user, it seems you too qualify as a "connection made to or from" the accounts. There is no stipulation that 'connections' must be from users who are following Wikileaks et al., or even that they must be from users who are signed in. If Twitter logs visitors, and it certainly does, then visitor data will be in these logs irrespective of whether they have a Twitter account.

How significant is this and what information about you will be visible if you fall under the range of affected parties? To get an idea, note that Twitter stores (or "may" store) the following data, according to the following excerpt from its privacy policy.

  • Location Information, including "exact coordinates"
  • Log Data created by your use of the Services. Log Data may include information such as your IP address, browser type, the referring domain, pages visited, and search terms. Other actions, such as interactions with advertisements, may also be included in Log Data.
  • Links: Twitter may keep track of how you interact with links in Tweets across our Services including third party clients.

While the data logged by Twitter are managed by Twitter, and while keeping your information private is a significant priority for any such large company hoping to stay in business, presumably, the same cannot be said of U.S. government entities. Even if there is no concern over how your data will be used by those entities, the likelihood that your information will remain private decreases significantly with every additional party possessing access to it.

Yet concern over the manner in which your information can be used may be legitimate. In tracking paths to and from Twitter, logs exist that document internet browsing tendencies, sites visited, timestamps, host name, search terms used and more. All this information can be easily accessed from any user not browsing through an anonymity tool like Tor and you don't need to be logged in to a site in order to disclose your data.

Although anyone can get this information from you when you visit their site, the concern here is over the manner in which the data will be used. Insofar as your information exists in the database that brought us the Terror Watch List, and insofar as you have been suspected of being the ally of a "high tech terrorist", trivial data have the potential of becoming legally relevant. And if the language of the court order is inclusive of all individuals ever having accessed a tweet from any of the targeted accounts (since 2009), then the number of people affected by the subpoena is much larger than the previous estimate of 600,000 Wikileaks followers.

Update: Open letter to Twitter and DOJ from Anonymous (anonymous.ru)

2011-01-09 U.S. DOJ access to information on Twitter followers

The official Wikileaks Twitter account has just tweeted the following official statement:

WARNING all 637,000 @wikileaks followers are a target of US gov subpoena against Twitter, under section 2. B http://is.gd/koZIA(Source)

Tweeters expressed outrage at the prospect of relinquishing their right to deny the U.S. government access to their IP addresses, banking details, connection records, email addresses or other private information. Talk of a class action law suit is already under way and a #ClassActionWL thread has been initiated. In most cases, anonymous Tweets are not considered official sources, but it seems an exception must be made in the present case, given that users are the very parties involved.

Users unfollowing the Wikileaks Twitter account at this time will not be exempt from the order, which seems to apply to users having received Wikileaks tweets in the past:

Too late to unfollow; trick used is to demand the lists, dates and IPs of all who received our twitter messages. (Source)

Update: Iceland blasts US demands for lawmaker's details in Wikileaks probe.

As reported today by the German news organization Deutsche Welle, the Icelandic government is taking the DOJ's request for personal information of one of their Parliament members seriously.

Icelandic politicians have blasted US demands for Twitter to hand over a member of parliament's account details. Birgitta Jonsdottir faces investigation as one of several people connected to the website WikiLeaks.

Icelandic Foreign Minister Oessur Skarphedinsson said it was not acceptable that US authorities had demanded the information.

Complete coverage from DW

Update: 2011-01-09: Another consequence of the DOJ subpoena

2011-01-08 U.S. DOJ Twitter Subpoena Updates

Shortly after news of the subpoena issued to Twitter by the The U.S. Department of Justice emerged, an electronic copy of the subpoena surfaced and was, of course, circulated via Twitter. (A copy of the subpoena can be found here in pdf format.)

Birgitta Jónsdóttir, one of 63 members of Iceland's national parliament, said this afternoon that Twitter notified her of the order's existence and told her she has 10 days to oppose the request for information about her account since November 1, 2009. (Source)

Ms. Jónsdóttir remarked on Twitter: "USA government wants to know about all my tweets and more since november 1st 2009. Do they realize I am a member of parliament in Iceland?"

A Wikileaks tweet indicated that numerous others had also been named in the subpoena and a further update verified this fact:

"...the Subpoena ... seeks the same information for numerous other individuals currently or formerly associated with WikiLeaks, including Jacob Appelbaum, Rop Gongrijp, and Julian Assange. It also seeks the same information for Bradley Manning and for WikiLeaks' Twitter account." (Source)

The Subpoena was signed by a federal Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia, Theresa Buchanan, and served on Twitter by the DOJ division for that district. It states that there is "reasonable ground to believe that the records or other information sought are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation." It was issued on December 14 and ordered sealed -- i.e., kept secret from the targets of the Order. (Source)

It has been assumed, naturally, that Twitter is unlikely to be the only social networking or technology site to have been targetted. However, if Facebook or Google have also received subpoenas, they have, unlike Twitter, remained silent on the matter.

On January 5, the same judge ordered the subpoena unsealed at Twitter's request in order to inform the users of the Subpoena and give them 10 days to object; had Twitter not so requested, it could have turned over this information without the knowledge of its users. A copy of the unsealing order is here.(Source)

A further update has also been provided which states the following:

Four other points: first, the three named producers of the "Collateral Murder" video -- depicting and commenting on the U.S. Apache helicopter attack on journalists and civilians in Baghdad -- were Assange, Jónsdóttir, and Gongrijp. Since Gongrijp has had no connection to WikiLeaks for several months and Jónsdóttir's association has diminished substantially over time, it seems clear that they were selected due to their involvement in the release of that film. Second, the unsealing order does not name either Assange or Manning, which means either that Twitter did not request permission to notify them of the Subpoena or that they did request it but the court denied it. Finally, WikiLeaks and Assange intend to contest this Subpoena. (Source)

Update 2
The letter from Twitter to Rop Gonggrijp regarding the subpoena has been published. Mr. Gonggrijp notes that Twitter "does the right thing in wanting to inform their users when one of these comes in" and provides a copy of Twitter's order to unseal the subpoena. He adds:

I did get a second PDF with a January 5 order to unseal the subpoena so that twitter could tell me, which is quite possibly the result of some communication between twitter and the DOJ. Heaven knows how many places have received similar subpoenas and just quietly submitted all they had on me.(Source)

Previous Update: Peter Kemp's analysis

2011-01-06 Bianca Jagger: The Julian Assange 'Trial by Newspaper' - A Response to Nick Davies

In the latest chapter of an exchange that started with a Guardian piece by Nick Davies, was responded to by Bianca Jagger, rebutted by Nick Davies, and defended by our own x7o, Bianca Jagger has again responded in the Huffington Post.

In it Jagger provides many clear and well supported arguments, including a reminder of the constantly and willfully misunderstood difference between private citizens and public organizations in a democracy:

As all good investigative journalists know -- from George Orwell to Paul Foot and John Pilger -- there is a profound difference between exposing the deeds of powerful governments, corporations and the rich and throwing mud at those who released the information. One is investigative journalism; the other is muck-raking aimed at opponents of the powerful.

2011-01-07 Twitter Details & Messages of Birgitta Jónsdóttir Subpoenaed

The US Department of Justice has issued a subpoena on Twitter for material related to Birgitta Jónsdóttir, including her personal details and, it can be assumed, all her private direct messages.

Ms Jónsdóttir twittered thus:
department of justice are requesting twitter to provide the info - i got 10 days to stop it via legal process before twitter hands it over.

usa government wants to know about all my tweets and more since november 1st 2009. do they realize i am a member of parliament in iceland?

While this is not in any way confirmed, it appears that while the subpoena is from the DOJ it may actually emanate from the Grand Jury so far held in secret (but often mentioned or alluded to in the mainstream media) to examine whether or not Wikileaks people in general and Julian Assange in particular can be charged with an offence.

Subpoenae are a normal part of a criminal justice system and ordinarily there are restrictions against abuse, for both prosecution and defence.

The normal common law test for subponae is the "legitimate forensic purpose" test. Arguable for and against (with respective case law in mind in whatever jurisdiction one happens to be in), the test is for the purpose of eliminating or significantly reducing "fishing expeditions: to reduce waste of a court's time and to eliminate the speculative and wide subpoena that would require truckloads of documents to satisfy it.

2010-12-30 Selections from Twitter archive concerning Swedish investigation

The following is a compendium of tweets dated up until the end of December, all of which are relevant to the Swedish investigation into Julian Assange. They have been drawn from the WL Central Twitter Archive, which is an archive of the tweets from the official Wikileaks Twitter Account. The full archive is available here.

This selection of tweets was compiled to accompany this article.


2010-12-30 Clearing the Air of Nick Davies' Misinformation

Today, Huffington Post published an article by Nick Davies, from the Guardian, in response to Bianca Jagger's Huffpost article. Jagger had been critical of Davies' role in the publication in The Guardian of the details from the police investigation report on the allegations against Julian Assange.

In his article today, Davies states that the publication of the details from the police report served the purpose of balancing out baseless speculation about the Swedish investigation. He claims it was necessary in particular to counterbalance a campaign of misinformation on the part of Wikileaks, and Julian Assange. This is very misleading. The substance of the claim is laid out below.

From Nick Davies: The Julian Assange Investigation -- Let's Clear the Air of Misinformation:

2010-12-27 Notes on the persecution of Julian Assange

There is no doubt that Wikileaks is under continuous attack: threats from the Pentagon; calls by the old Republican right and the recently empowered Tea Party for a direct attack on what they have called a “terrorist threat”; the renowned boycotts by Paypal, Moneybookers, Amazon and now even Apple; the Australian government’s reticence to defend its citizen (Julian Assange); the rejection of Mr. Assange’s residence in Sweden for unexplained causes, and the list grows.

Now even though many voices have hinted, or even openly declared, that the rape charges against him are just another part of this campaign, because of its sensitive nature it is wiser not to hurry in our conclusions. What is clear though is that the constant irregularities at the heart of the case can make it questionable, which is why many of those voices are worried about the real motivation behind the accusations. Last August, in the middle of the political storm unleashed by the leak in July related to the war in Afghanistan, Mr. Assange was casually dating the liberal politologist and Swedish activist, Anna Ardin. According to her version of the story, he would have forced her sexually on the night of the 14th of that month, pressing charges around a week later.

2010-12-24 Huffington Post: Bianca Jagger - Trial by Newspaper

Bianca Jagger has written a long and detailed article in the Huffington Post condemning Nick Davies' recent article for the Guardian.

I object to the Guardian's decision to publish selective passages from the Swedish police report, whilst omitting exculpatory evidence contained in the document. ...

Assange has been criticized for not being willing to return to Sweden to prove his innocence. It is hardly surprising he has reservations, given Sweden's human rights record. ...

In the Today Show on December 21st, Assange revealed that Sweden has requested that if he returns and is arrested, he is to be held incommunicado, and his Swedish lawyer is to be given a gag order. ...

I suspect that what is on trial here is not Julian Assange's alleged sexual misconduct, but freedom of speech ....

2010-12-24 WikiLeaks in today's media: Extradition coverage

Guardian

The Guardian reports on Julian Assange's views on a prospective extradition request from the USA while he is in the UK in an ongoing Swedish extradition process.

Julian Assange said today that it would be "politically impossible" for Britain to extradite him to the United States, and that the final word on his fate if he were charged with espionage would rest with David Cameron.

In an interview with the Guardian in Ellingham Hall, the Norfolk country mansion where he is living under virtual house arrest, the founder of WikiLeaks said it would be difficult for the prime minister to hand him over to the Americans if there was strong support for him from the British people.

"It's all a matter of politics. We can presume there will be an attempt to influence UK political opinion, and to influence the perception of our standing as a moral actor," he said.

Read more

2010-12-16 Sweden case updates: Bail appeal hearing [Update 5]

Following the Crown Prosecution Service's decision to appeal the bail granted on Tuesday by the Westminster Magistrates' Court, another hearing will take place today at 11:30 GMT at the High Court.

Peter Alexander of NBC News noted on Twitter that "Assange lawyer says defense has collected $315K bail. He's free if appeal's denied." The court had requested on Tuesday that the full bail amount be presented in cash.

Journalists present at the court, including a team from The Guardian, report that Julian Assange and his legal team have already arrived at the court for the hearing, which is expected to take two hours. It is unclear at this point whether live updates via Twitter will be allowed from the courtroom, as was the case at Tuesday's hearing.

In the meantime, please don't miss Peter Kemp's continued legal analysis of the bail and extradition arguments: Extradition Part 2--Bail, and Bail Arguments and the Appeal.

Update 1: Justice Ouseley has ruled that no Twitter updates will be allowed from the courtroom today, reports The Guardian's Luke Harding.

Update 2: The Guardian's Luke Harding quoted Justice Ouseley as saying, "The history of the way it [the case] has been dealt with by the Swedish prosecutors would give Mr Assange some basis that he might be acquitted following a trial." According to Mr Harding, "the case is looking good" for Julian Assange.

Update 3: The prosecution's appeal has been denied, reports Channel 4. Julian Assange has been granted bail, on slightly modified conditions compared to those specified at Tuesday's hearing, namely additional sureties, reports Guy Rundle for Crikey.

The next extradition hearing will take place on January 11.

According to testimony at Tuesday's hearing, Julian Assange will stay at the estate of Captain Vaughan Smith, founder of the Frontline Club. You can read Mr Smith's exclusive piece in yesterday's Independent, explaining his support for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, concluding: "If to fight for this country we will have to fight for its fundamental principles of justice then I declare my position in the ranks."

Update 4: Guy Rundle reports that hearing costs have been awarded against the Crown Prosecution Service.

Update 5: After the formalities were completed, Julian Assange was released today at 6pm London time. He gave a short speech on the steps of the High Court, thanking supporters, his lawyers, members of the press "who were not all taken in," and the British justice system. He called on people to support those facing conditions harder than he did in prison, and promised to continue his work and reveal the evidence behind the allegations.

A video of the statement is available via the New York Times.

2010-12-15 Human Rights Watch letter to Barack Obama

Image

Human Rights Watch has published a letter to President Barack Obama, urging the US administration not to prosecute WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in conjunction with the publication of the Cablegate documents:

WikiLeaks Publishers Should Not Face Prosecution
Letter to President Barack Obama
December 15, 2010

Dear President Obama:

We write to express our concern at the prospect that the US government would employ espionage laws against WikiLeaks or its founder for the release of US State Department cables. Regardless of how one views the intentions, wisdom or strict legality of the WikiLeaks release, we believe that resorting to prosecution will degrade freedom of expression for all media, researchers and reporters, and set a terrible precedent that will be eagerly grasped by other governments, particularly those with a record of trying to muzzle legitimate political reporting.

Both international law and the US Constitution prohibit criminal punishment of those who report matters of public interest except in fairly narrow circumstances. One such situation would be the release of official secrets with the effect and intent of harming the security of a nation, in the sense of genuine threats to use force against the government or territorial integrity of a country. Diplomatic embarrassment, though potentially detrimental to the interests of the government, is not itself a threat to national security. Indeed, the secretary of defense, Robert Gates, rejected "overwrought" descriptions of the release's impact and described the effect on foreign policy as "fairly modest,"[1] a characterization that finds support in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks that "I have not had any concerns expressed about whether any nation will not continue to work with, and discuss matters of importance to us both, going forward."[2]

Even if some cognizable security threat were to be presented by a cable (only half of which are classified, and of those, most classified at low levels of sensitivity), it would be both unwise and of questionable legality to use the 1917 Espionage Act against WikiLeaks or other media who receive or republish information leaked by government employees. A distinguishing characteristic of the United States has always been its high standard of protection for speech. This leadership would be lost if the administration were to reverse the usual practice of pursuing only those who leak information and not those who receive it.

For the same reason, we urge you to reject legislative proposals that would broaden the scope of criminal sanction beyond that permitted by the Constitution and international human rights law to which the US is party. Instead, we urge you to pursue the declassification of information that is of public interest and not essential to national security, rather than to expand the scope of information subject to classification.

Once classified information is released to the public, particularly through means of mass circulation such as the Internet, a very strong presumption should attach that further restriction is unwarranted. Indeed, efforts to remove WikiLeaks and other websites from global accessibility have largely backfired by promoting mirror sites and further circulation. We note with concern government agency directives, such as that issued by the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget, warning employees from accessing the classified materials that have already been published to the world on numerous websites,[3] and reports that the Library of Congress has consequently blocked access to the WikiLeaks site.[4] By asking people to ignore what has become widely known, such directives look ridiculous, invite widespread disobedience, and place federal employees at risk of arbitrary discipline and prosecution. Over-interpreting the 1917 Espionage Act to authorize prosecution of non-government agents who simply receive and publish leaked classified information could have similar chilling results. By that token, not only could the news media who republish the disclosed information be prosecuted, but so could all who download and read the material.[5]

The United States government and the Department of State in particular, has been an outspoken champion of Internet freedom globally, and condemned national "firewalls" and censorship of Internet sites. To maintain its credibility, we urge you to affirm that your administration will not seek to bar services to Internet publishers, or take down websites, merely because they have published material that the government believes should not be publicly available. We also believe it is important for the administration to affirm that it will not seek to pressure or influence any private enterprise to block or undermine any such website in the absence of a legal judgment. Human Rights Watch is very concerned by private companies' denial of services to WikiLeaks in the absence of any showing that any of its publications can legitimately be restricted consistent with the international right to freedom of expression.

This is a signature moment for freedom of expression, a value that the United States has defended vigorously throughout its history, at home and abroad. Human Rights Watch urges your administration to act positively to secure the rights of the media in a democratic society, and the record of the United States as a champion of speech.

Yours sincerely,

Kenneth Roth

Executive Director

Human Rights Watch

2010-12-14 Legal Opinions on WikiLeaks

Lawfare: Problems with the Espionage Act

The law also has two additional problems that receive relatively little attention but which are important in contemplating its use. The first is that it contains no limiting principle in its apparent criminalization of secondary transmissions of proscribed material. ...

By its terms, it criminalizes not merely the disclosure of national defense information by organizations such as Wikileaks, but also the reporting on that information by countless news organizations. It also criminalizes all casual discussions of such disclosures by persons not authorized to receive them to other persons not authorized to receive them–in other words, all tweets sending around those countless news stories, all blogging on them, and all dinner party conversations about their contents. Taken at its word, the Espionage Act makes felons of us all. As long as this deficiency remains, it will be a poor instrument against an outlet like Wikileaks, precisely because there will be no way in principle to distinguish between the prosecution of Assange and the prosecution of just about anyone else–from the New York Times to the guy on the street who reads the newspaper and talks about it. That will make Espionage Act prosecutions seem like far more of a menace to legitimate speech than would a prosecution under a better-drawn law. There are ways to fix this problem–an intent element and a clear limitation to material not already made public would be a start–but as long as it goes unfixed, I oppose any prosecutions under it for secondary transmissions.

The second problem is that the statute, by its clear terms, does not cover the overwhelming bulk of the material that Wikileaks disclosed. The Espionage Act is not a general bar against leaking or publishing classified information. It covers only material “relating to the national defense.”

Read more

Lawfare: Seven Thoughts on Wikileaks

But as all the hand-wringing over the 1917 Espionage Act shows, it is not obvious what law he has violated. It is also important to remember, to paraphrase Justice Stewart in the Pentagon Papers, that the responsibility for these disclosures lies firmly with the institution empowered to keep them secret: the Executive branch.

Read more

The Hill: Judiciary panel to take up Espionage Act, legal options against WikiLeaks

The Judiciary Committee will be looking at the World War I-era Espionage Act and the "legal and constitutional issues raised by WikiLeaks," as directed by Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.).

It will be the first congressional hearing on WikiLeaks since the Nov. 28 publication of thousands of classified diplomatic cables, some of which have proven embarrassing to the U.S. government because of their frank tone. The witness list was not yet available.

Incoming Judiciary Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) also vowed to conduct hearings when he takes the gavel in the new Congress.

But the Justice Department is proceeding with caution: Most experts agree the case crosses into new legal territory where there is little certainty.

Read more

2010-12-14 Julian Assange in Court

Julian Assange Bail Appeal Trial

Julian Assange appeared in court this morning to appeal the court's decision last week to deny him a release on bail. Live updates were provided by The Guardian. and live tweeting in the court on the #wikitrial hashtag. It was apparently the first time a UK judge had allowed live tweeting during a trial (according to tweets).

An earlier article in The Guardian stated:

Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens visited him in Wandsworth prison yesterday afternoon and said his client was being held under harsher conditions than last week. He claimed Assange was being confined to his cell for all but half an hour a day, and denied association with others prisoners, access to the library or TV.

"He's subject to the most ridiculous censorship," Stephens said. "Time magazine sent him a copy of the magazine with him on the cover and they censored it not just by ripping off the cover but by destroying the whole magazine."

Stephens also claimed a number of letters to Assange from media organisations have not reached him. He said Assange was under 24-hour video surveillance and had complained that a tooth which broke off while he was eating had later been stolen from his cell.

According to Stephens, Assange's UK legal team had still not seen the prosecution evidence against him. "His Swedish lawyers have some of the material but not all and it's in Swedish so we can't take proper instructions."

Besides the lack of evidence provided by the Swedish prosecution, a key point is the fact that the crime Assange is accused of is not a crime in the UK. For extradition to go forward, the crime must be of a serious nature in both countries. This time, Assange's lawyers also offered a permanent address in England and suggested electronic monitoring, a curfew and travel restrictions as alternatives to incarceration. Over £200,000 was offered in surety for bail and ten international public figures also offered surety.

The appeal was granted with the following conditions:

  • Surety of £240,000, according to BBC News
  • Curfew from 10am-2pm and 10pm-2am
  • Assange must report to the police station at 6pm every day
  • Assange's counsel pointed out that it was a huge bail amount to be paid in cash, and Assange did not have the option of using Mastercard or Visa. The prosecution immediately appealed the decision, so Assange was taken back to jail to await the appeal trial which must be held within 48 hours. More information can be found here.

    2010-12-12 Sweden case updates: Key new evidence

    In an interview with The Daily Mail, Julian Assange's Swedish lawyer, Björn Hurtig, said that he had seen police documents that prove Mr Assange is innocent, and that the accusers had a "hidden agenda" when they went to the police:

    "From what I have read, it is clear that the women are lying and that they had an agenda when they went to the police, which had nothing to do with a crime having taken place. It was, I believe, more about jealousy and disappointment on their part. I can prove that at least one of them had very big expectations for something to happen with Julian."

    He has asked for the Swedish prosecutor's permission to disclose the evidence: "If I am able to reveal what I know, everyone will realise this is all a charade," he said. "If I could tell the British courts, I suspect it would make extradition a moot point. But at the moment I'm bound by the rules of the Swedish legal system, which say that the information can only be used as evidence in this country. For me to do otherwise would lead to me being disbarred."

    Mr Hurtig added that he was ready to fly to London and present the evidence at the court hearing this Tuesday, if he was given permission. "That said, I’m convinced that as soon as the case is heard in Sweden it will be thrown out," he added.

    You can read the full interview here.

    Also, please do not miss Australian lawyer Peter Kemp's new post on the Swedish law and its implications in this case: Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse, But...., and part one of his analysis of the extradition case: Extradition Part 1.

    2010-12-10 WikiLeaks and the Espionage Act, part 2 [Update 1]

    (Part one of this series is available here. Please also see WikiLeaks v. United States: The Pentagon Papers redux?)

    Today, Jennifer Robinson, one of the lawyers for Julian Assange, told The Guardian that the US government may be about to press charges against Julian Assange under the Espionage Act. She said that the legal team had heard from "several different US lawyers rumours that an indictment was on its way or had happened already, but we don't know". Ms Robinson told ABC News that "Our position of course is that we don't believe it (the Espionage Act) applies to Mr. Assange and that in any event he's entitled to First Amendment protection as publisher of Wikileaks and any prosecution under the Espionage Act would in my view be unconstitutional and puts at risk all media organizations in the U.S."

    Rumours about the possibility of Julian Assange having been indicted by a grand jury, whose proceedings are secret, have been circulating for a while. The Christian Science Monitor had a few days ago quoted Stephen Vladeck, an expert in national security law at American University, who said that an empaneled grand jury could have already been considering the case. "We wouldn’t know what they’re doing until the whole thing is concluded," he said. The Monitor also quoted CNN legal expert Jeffrey Toobin, who said "I would not be at all surprised if there was a sealed arrest warrant currently in existence."

    2010-12-09 Journalists in defence of WikiLeaks, part 10

    John Pilger: Statement in support of Sydney rally

    "The defence of Julian Assange and Wikileaks is one of the most important issues of my lifetime. There are now two superpowers in the world — the military power of Washington and the power of public opinion and justice, which Wikileaks represents.

    If the Australian prime minister doesn’t understand this, we Australians need to remind her that she may head a mercenary government but we are not a mercenary people.

    Those of us in London who are working to free Julian, knowing that the Swedish prosecution is a political stunt that would never produce a fair trial, will be at his side, and we call on the support of every decent Australian."
    Read more

    Robert Scheer, TruthDig: From Jefferson to Assange

    "All you need to know about Julian Assange’s value as a crusading journalist is that The New York Times and most of the world’s other leading newspapers have led daily with important news stories based on his WikiLeaks releases. All you need to know about the collapse of traditional support for the constitutional protection of a free press is that Dianne Feinstein, the centrist Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, has called for Assange “to be vigorously prosecuted for espionage.”[...]

    2010-12-09 Sweden case updates

    Jennifer Robinson, one of Julian Assange's lawyers, was interviewed yesterday on Democracy Now!. Regarding the charges, she clarified that "the first thing to note is that no formal charges have yet been brought" and that the warrant is "in relation to the allegations, not formal charges, and is for the purposes of having him give his interview and answers to the questions of the prosecutor."

    She reiterated that Julian Assange had cooperated with the investigation throughout, and that there was absolutely no need for an arrest warrant to be issued for an interview. He had remained in Sweden for more than a month and a half to answer the allegations and police questions, and he left the country with the prosecutor's permission. She added: "Since leaving the country, he has been in touch with her. And indeed, the judge noted yesterday that I had written to the police to notify them here in Britain that we were aware that an arrest warrant may be communicated and that we were willing to cooperate. The judge noted that this was a very positive sign. Julian has, at all stages, cooperated. We have volunteered cooperation to the prosecutor."

    Julian Assange and his legal team have not been presented yet with any of the evidence of the allegations against him, she noted, despite the fact that this contravenes the European Convention. "The first document we have received in English, which is her obligation under that convention, with respect to Mr. Assange, was Monday, when we received the arrest warrant, and there was a very short notation of the offenses and the basic facts underlying those offenses. So, as to any earlier correspondence between the complainants and Julian and their motivation for going to the police, we only know what we’ve been able to read in the press, which is a highly unsatisfactory position to be in."

    2010-12-07 Julian Assange arrested on Swedish warrant [Update 9]

    The London Metropolitan Police has confirmed that Julian Assange was arrested this morning on behalf of the Swedish authorities, reports The Guardian: "Julian Assange, 39, was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant by appointment at a London police station at 9.30am."

    The statement notes that he is due to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court today.

    "As of last night Assange had still not been told of the full allegations against him, his lawyer Jennifer Robinson explained in a Guardian video to be released soon," notes The Guardian.

    WL Central would like to ask all of our readers to support Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. You can donate to WikiLeaks to help with legal costs, speak up in support, contact your elected representatives and ask them to uphold Julian Assange's rights, join a protest.

    If Julian Assange can be silenced, so can every one of us. Stand up, speak up: for him, for yourself, for all of us. Before it's too late.

    Update 1: Jennifer Robinson's video statement is now available on the Guardian site.

    Update 2: Kristinn Hrafnsson told the Associated Press that Julian Assange's arrest is an attack on media freedom and that it won't prevent the organization from spilling secrets on the web.

    The ITV's Keir Simmons said on Twitter that Julian Assange will appear in court at 2pm London time according to a court source.

    2010-12-06 Sweden case update

    The Guardian reported that, after the new European Arrest Warrant had been received by SOCA, Julian Assange's lawyers were in talks with the police to arrange a meeting:

    "Jennifer Robinson, a solicitor with Finers Stephens Innocent which represents the Australian freedom of information campaigner, told the Guardian: 'We have a received an arrest warrant [related to claims in Sweden]. We are negotiating a meeting with police.'

    Another lawyer representing Assange, Mark Stephens, added: 'He has not been charged with anything. We are in the process of making arrangements to meet the police by consent in order to facilitate the taking of that question and answer that is needed ... It's about time we got to the end of the day and we got some truth, justice and rule of law.'"

    While there have been reports that Julian Assange would appear before a UK court tomorrow in order to negotiate bail, The Australian quotes Mark Stephens saying: "I haven't arranged any court hearing for tomorrow. I'm still in the midst of my discussions about how this is going to work. Nothing has been agreed definitively. There is discussion of meeting up with police but we haven't got to that point yet. Schedules have to be worked out. Their team has to be ready and we have to be ready. They have ten days to act on this warrant so there is time."

    Stephens went on to reiterate that "Their request is to interview Julian Assange - he's not been charged with anything - and we are in the process of making arrangements to meet with the police by consent in order to facilitate the taking of that question and answer."

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