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Liveblog: Julian Assange in jeopardy

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Background: Julian Assange’s situation in the embassy

Julian Assange’s status in the Ecuadorian embassy has been in jeopardy over the past months, particularly since Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno came to power, with Ecuador and the UK believed to be engaged in negotiations to bring his stay to an end. In a recent interview, Moreno said, “Let’s not forget the conditions of his asylum prevent him from speaking about politics or intervening in the politics of other countries. That’s why we cut his communication.”

Isolated without internet access since March, Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained by the UK in the Ecuadorian Embassy for more than six years. The UN has condemned his detention; leading intellectuals, academics, and artists around the world have called for an end to his isolation; and the UK refuses to guarantee safety from extradition should he step outside the embassy.

Due to the seriousness of the current situation, Courage will be live blogging daily updates on the situation at the Ecuadorian embassy and support actions planned worldwide. The website Justice4Assange has published a template to encourage NGOs to take a stand for Assange.

21 March 2019

Julian Assange has been short-listed for the Galizia Prize for the second year in a row

Join the vigil on March 28 in front of Ecuadorian Embassy in London to mark 1 year since Julian Assange was gagged and isolated under US pressure on Ecuador.

Marjorie Cohn for Truthout: Daniel Ellsberg Calls Chelsea Manning “an American Hero”

Like Ellsberg’s disclosures, Manning’s revelations actually saved lives. “After WikiLeaks published [her] documentation of Iraqi torture centers established by the United States, the Iraqi government refused Obama’s request to extend immunity to U.S. soldiers who commit criminal and civil offenses there. As a result, Obama had to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq,” I wrote in 2013.

“Manning knowingly risked her freedom then for truth-telling and actually suffered seven-and-a-half years in prison. I regard her as an American hero, and I admire her for what she is doing, risking and enduring right now,” Ellsberg said. No one understands better than he does.

Talk with Marjorie Cohn: ‘A History of the Grand Jury Process and the Chelsea Manning Case’

19 March 2019

Courage has published a new briefing on press freedom: The ‘Assange Precedent’: The Threat to the Media Posed by the Trump Administration’s Prosecution of Julian
Assange:

All media organizations and journalists must recognize the threat to their freedom and ability to work posed by the Trump Administration’s prosecution of Assange. They should join human rights organizations, the United Nations and many others in opposing Assange’s extradition. They should do so out of their own self-interest given that their ability to safely publish is under serious threat.

Read the PDF version here.

Media Lens: ‘The Destruction of Freedom: Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange And The Corporate Media’

A ProQuest newspaper database search on 19 March revealed that there were but four newspaper articles about the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning in the whole of the national print press: TheTimes, the Daily Mail, The Herald and the Daily Record (the latter two newspapers are based in Scotland). The Guardian article mentioned above, based on an Associated Press release, was published online; but not in the print version. There was also an online Telegraph piece which was also just a press release (by Agence France-Presse). As far as we could tell, there was not a single editorial or column in a major national newspaper defending Chelsea Manning, nor pointing to the grave danger to press freedom that her new incarceration posed. That is a disgraceful indictment of our so-called ‘free press’.

18 March 2019

Chris Hedges for TruthDig: ‘Chelsea Manning and the New Inquisition’

The campaign to criminalize whistleblowing has, by default, left the exposure of government lies, fraud and crimes to those who have the skills or access, as Manning and Edward Snowden did, needed to hack into or otherwise obtain government electronic documents. This is why hackers, and those who publish their material such as Assange and WikiLeaks, are being relentlessly persecuted. The goal of the corporate state is to shroud in total secrecy the inner workings of power, especially those activities that violate the law. Movement toward this goal is very far advanced. The failure of news organizations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post to vigorously defend Manning and Assange will soon come back to haunt them. The corporate state hardly intends to stop with Manning and Assange. The target is the press itself.

Andre Damon for WSWS: ‘The guilty silence over the jailing of Chelsea Manning’

After running perfunctory news reports of Manning’s jailing, no major US newspapers have published any follow-up reporting on the imprisonment of the United States’ most famous whistleblower and political prisoner.

None of the dozens of professional moralists employed by the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal who make it their business to publicize “human rights” violations to promote US imperialist interests have written a single column protesting the imprisonment of Manning.

These newspapers regularly report on the alleged imprisonment and mistreatment of journalists, whistleblowers and dissidents at the hands of the United States’ geopolitical rivals Russia and China. But when it comes to the jailing of a courageous whistleblower in the United States, they are silent.

Kevin Gosztola for ShadowProof: ‘Before WikiLeaks, US Government Threatened Press Freedom with Grand Jury Investigations into Pentagon Papers’

The grand jury investigation against anyone who potentially helped Ellsberg likely suggests how broad the universe of people subpoenaed may be in the grand jury investigation against WikiLeaks. Prosecutors do not have to only call people known to have worked or associated with the publisher. They may call someone like [Harvard Professor Samuel] Popkin to testify, who has no knowledge at all of WikiLeaks, if prosecutors are convinced that person may have talked to someone who potentially knows something about WikiLeaks publications.

15 March 2019

Patrick Henningsen: ‘Here’s why you need support Wikileaks and Chelsea Manning who are defending two fundamental pillars of democracy: rights of free press & whistleblowers’

14 March 2019

Bill Goodwin & Niels Ladefoged for Computer Weekly: ‘The Metropolitan Police has confirmed it exchanged information on WikiLeaks staff in the UK with the US Department of Justice, which is conducting criminal investigations into the organisation’

The Met’s involvement in the US investigation, which appears to have begun after US prosecutors secretly seized the Google accounts of the three WikiLeaks staff, came to light after a precedent-setting ruling following an information appeal tribunal hearing in November 2018 (see ‘Tribunal sets legal precedent for journalists’ below).

The tribunal ordered the Metropolitan Police to confirm or deny whether it held correspondence on the three WikiLeaks staff, following a legal challenge brought by Stefania Maurizi, an investigative journalist with Italy’s La Repubblica, who has written extensively about the organisation.

“It is shocking to realise how a media organisation which has revealed very important information in the public interest and has revealed the true face of the wars in Afganistan and Iraq has been under investigation since 2010, and this investigation is completely shrouded in secrecy,” she told Computer Weekly.

SCOOP: The investigative Journalist @SMaurizi won an information appeal, leading the @metpoliceuk to confirm the existence of the correspondence. @SwaziJAF @khrafnsson @Computerweekly pic.twitter.com/lCmkfdBsGu

— Niels Ladefoged (@NielsLadefoged) March 14, 2019

Excerpt from the Metropolitan Police’s compelled response to Stefania Maurizi’s FOIA:

Barry Sheppard for the Green Left Weekly: ‘Chelsea Manning jailed again and not a squeak from the Democrats’

…the Democrats are joining the Trump administration in going after Wikileaks for a deeper reason: the whole US government operates behind a vast wall of secrecy and hates it when it is exposed for its crimes.

Solidarity with Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning at London book fair

At Michigan rally defending Assange and Manning, Andre Damon warned: “The White House wants to set a precedent for jailing whistleblowers and journalists who publish information critical of the military and state apparatus.”

Die Linke members of the Bundestag come out to oppose Friday’s jailing of Chelsea Manning:

13 March 2019

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has issued communication instructing Ecuador that it has an obligation not to expel Julian Assange, directly or indirectly, to the United States, in accordance with the IACHR Court’s decision 25/18. Ecuador is instructed that the principle of non-refoulement is imperative and applies in full.

Press statement by Julian Assange’s defence:

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers calls for the U.S. to release Chelsea Manning from prison

This is a grave threat to freedom of the press and is a new angle to attacks on the media in the United States: imprisoning a source to coerce testimony about journalists publishing activities.

We urge the United States to

  • Lift the secrecy surrounding the criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and unseal the charges brought against Julian Assange;
  • Release immediately Chelsea Manning from prison;
  • End the criminal investigation and ongoing persecution of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

Bloomberg: ‘Free-Speech Groups Support WikiLeaks Move to Dismiss DNC Lawsuit’

the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press and the American Civil Liberties Union asked a judge to allow them to file papers in support of a request by WikiLeaks to dismiss the case.

The groups said the Supreme Court has protected publications of “truthful information of public concern” in a series of cases over the last 50 years, including information that was published even after it was illegally acquired — as long as the publisher wasn’t involved in the unlawful collection of the material.

The Knight Foundation issued a statement about the filing:

As the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized, the First Amendment protects the publication of stories like these. A ruling against WikiLeaks that narrowed this protection could jeopardize the well-established legal framework that made these stories possible—and that is crucial to ensuring that the public has the information it needs to hold powerful actors to account.

Read the full filing here:

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12 March 2019

WikiLeaks’ editor Krisinn Hrafnsson:

Lucy Diavolo for Teen Vogue: ‘Chelsea Manning Has Been Imprisoned for Resisting a Grand Jury Investigation. Here’s Why She Should Be Freed’

That Manning is willing to face more jail time because she challenges the validity of the grand jury process is a vital act of resistance that pushes back on decades of government interference in activist communities.

The U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia is fooling itself if it thinks locking up Manning will compel her to testify. She has made clear that she has no interest in testifying in such a secretive setting. Her only offense is an unwillingness to cooperate with the same government that locked her up for exposing the kinds of horrors its military forces perpetrated in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Branko Marcetic for Jacobin: ‘The Real Threat to Press Freedom’:

Mainstream commentators have been fretting over Donald Trump’s hostile rhetoric towards the media. But Chelsea Manning’s recent jailing shows that there are much graver threats to press freedom happening right under their noses.

Jimmysllama for Mintpress News: ‘Whistleblower Chelsea Manning Stands Up for Press Freedom, Gets Jailed by US Gov’t’

President Donald Trump’s 2010 statement that the WikiLeaks’ staff should be executed and Hillary Clinton’s suggestion to drone Assange are reflective of a deeply disturbing trend to terrorize the press.

11 March 2019

Glenn Greenwald spoke to Democracy Now: Chelsea Manning’s Refusal to Testify Against WikiLeaks Will Help Save Press Freedom

Stuart Rees for New Matilda: “A Question Of Humanity: How To Free Julian Assange”

Smearing, demonizing and lying to the point where an alleged truth emerges has characterized official British, US and Australian attitudes to Assange. For these reasons, assumptions about him have to be redefined and the issues reframed. In an age of governments’ increasing secrecy and surveillance, he has had the courage to report truths about States’ violent and illegal acts. He has committed no offence. He threatens only those who deny the importance of free speech and freedom of the press.

10 March 2019

Free Assange solidarity vigil outside Ecuadorian Embassy in London

George Galloway in interview at the Free Assange protest outside the Ecuadorian Embassy: “It’s a kind of modern day torture that Julian Assange has been subjected to.”

George Galloway speaking at the Free Assange protest outside the Ecuadorian Embassy

Chris Marsden, national secretary of the UK Socialist Equality Party, addresses rally to defend Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning

Free Assange rally in Melbourne

9 March 2019

Courage nominates Julian Assange for the 2019 Galizia Prize: The award, for ‘Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information,’ “was established in 2018 in honour of the assassinated Maltese journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, and last year it was jointly awarded to the murdered Slovak journalist, Ján Kuciak and LuxLeaks whistleblower, Raphaël Halet.”

US Congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard wrote on Facebook and Twitter about the dangers to press freedom posed by the US government’s efforts to prosecut WikiLeaks:

If the government can change the designation of Wikileaks from being a news organization (Obama Administration’s designation of Wikileaks) to a ‘hostile intelligence service’ (Trump Administration’s designation), then any entity – online and offline – is in danger of being designated a hostile intelligence agency if they carry out investigative reporting that the US government or a particular administration considers to be hostile to itself. This will have a chilling effect on investigative reporting of powerful government agencies or officials, including the president, intelligence agencies, etc. This is a serious breach of our constitutional freedoms and every American – Democrat, Republican or Independent – must stand up against it.

Roger Waters posted a video (with transcript here) to Facebook to talk about demonstrations in support of Julian Assange and about Chelsea Manning’s arrest:

 

8 March 2019

Chelsea Manning sent to jail for refusing to testify in WikiLeaks grand jury investigation

Associated Press:

U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ordered Manning to jail for contempt of court on Friday after a brief hearing in which Manning confirmed she has no intention of testifying. She told the judge she “will accept whatever you bring upon me.”

Manning has said she objects to the secrecy of the grand jury process, and that she already revealed everything she knows at her court martial.

The judge said she will remain jailed until she testifies or until the grand jury concludes its work.

“In solidarity with many activists facing the odds, I will stand by my principles. I will exhaust every legal remedy available,” [Chelsea] said.

CNN:

“As everybody knows, Chelsea has tremendous courage. Our primary concern at this point is her health while she is confined and we will be paying close attention,” Manning’s attorney, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, told reporters outside a federal courthouse in Virginia.
Manning can be held for the term of the grand jury and not longer than 18 months, Meltzer-Cohen said. Asked if Manning was prepared to stay imprisoned for 18 months, Meltzer-Cohen said “we are not there yet.” Meltzer-Cohen added that it was “quite likely” they would appeal the order.
Kevin Gostzola for Shadowproof: ‘Defying grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning carries on tradition of resistance and goes to jail’
CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who served a prison sentence and supports Manning, said, “I have great admiration for what she did for the simple reason that she could have taken two other ways out. She could have testified or she could have gone before the grand jury and just answered each question with the words, ‘I don’t recall.’ But she didn’t do either one of those things. She cited her constitutional rights under the First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendments.”

6 March 2019

Whitney Webb for Mintpress News: ‘With Ecuador’s Cooperation Bought by IMF Loans, Washington Waxes Optimistic on Assange Extradition’

While reporting on the probe has largely focused on the nature of the still-sealed DOJ case, most reports have largely missed the fact that the marked increase in activity relating to the probe is directly related to the fact that Ecuador has, by all indications, agreed to rescind Assange’s asylum so that he may be extradited to the United States. As a consequence, the U.S. is moving forward with its case against Assange and WikiLeaks — which began nearly a decade ago in 2010 — now that it has received assurances that Assange’s extradition is a matter of when, not if.

Alexander Rubinstein for Mintpress News: ‘Assange May Be Elephant in Room as Chelsea Manning a Fights Federal Grand Jury Subpoena’

Janus Rose — a spokeswoman for a “support committee” called “Chelsea Resists,” set up to support Manning’s “fight against the grand jury subpoena” — spoke at length to MintPress News:

“… In all grand jury cases, there are legal risks that are opened up associated with answering questions, of being exposed to possible perjury if you say the wrong thing because prosecutors are given wide latitude to ask whatever they want over and over again. So, there is a legal risk and I think that it’s not acceptable for Chelsea to be exposed to this kind of risk, especially after all the things that she has done and all the time she has already served and has been commuted for.”

While Manning was unsuccessful in getting the motion to quash the subpoena approved and in unsealing the motion itself, she promised to return to court on Wednesday, stating: “We still have ground to litigate, so we’re going to be here tomorrow. The motion is still sealed, so at the end of the day, all the matters are sealed.”

5 March 2019

Chelsea Manning lost her challenge to quash the subpoena requiring her to testify to the Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia in its case against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

Manning had attended an hour-long closed-door hearing, as did several federal prosecutors in the Assange case—including Tracy McCormick, Evan Turgeon, Gordon Kromberg and Kellen Dwyer. Although Manning didn’t mention either Assange or WikiLeaks by name, she did tell reporters that there had been “an awful lot of government attorneys” in the courtroom. And Manning was critical of grand juries, telling reporters, “Grand juries are terrible tools. The idea that there is an independent grand jury is long gone. It’s run by a prosecutor.”

Manning delivered a statement after the hearing:

More:


Reactions:


Courage has prepared an EU Parliamentary briefing: ‘Why Opposing Julian Assange’s Extradition to the US Matters for European Democracy’

The Trump Administration has confirmed that the US government has charged WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange and that it seeks his extradition from the UK. In the US, he faces life in prison. The US actions are a serious threat to European freedom of expression and sovereignty.

  • The United Nations has repeatedly called for Assange to walk free.
  • Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other leading human rights organisations have released statements categorically opposing Assange’s extradition.
  • The city of Geneva recently passed a resolution calling for Assange to be granted asylum.

This year already, 36 MEPs and MPs have written to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UK Prime Minister Theresa May calling on them to find a solution to this matter.

MEPs should:

· Oppose Assange’s extradition to the US.

· Press the UK government to find the solution to this matter that already exists – to provide a diplomatic assurance against extradition to the US.

· Raise the vital issues at stake in this case in European parliamentary debates and processes

· Add their names to the MEPs letter to Guterres and May.

Full briefing here

4 March 2019

John Pilger’s speech at the rally in support of Julian Assange on 3 March in Sydney:

Why has the Australian government made no serious attempt to free Assange? Why did Julie Bishop bow to the wishes of two foreign powers?

Why is this democracy traduced by its servile relationships, and integrated with lawless foreign power?

The persecution of Julian Assange is the conquest of us all: of our independence, our self-respect, our intellect, our compassion, our politics, our culture.

So stop scrolling. Organise. Occupy. Insist. Persist. Make a noise. Take direct action. Be brave and stay brave. Defy the thought police.

War is not peace, freedom is not slavery, ignorance is not strength. If Julian can stand up to Big Brother, so can you: so can all of us.

See video and the full transcript here.

3 March 2019

Rally in support of Julian Assange on March 3 in Sydney: pictures and videos

 

2 March 2019

Natasha Lennard for The Intercept: “Chelsea Manning Fights Subpoena — Showing How Federal Grand Juries Are Unaccountable Tools of Repression”

Prosecutors and other authorities use grand juries to map out political affiliations while sowing paranoia and discord. It is hard to see the subpoenaing of Manning, who gave exhaustive testimony at her court-martial and took full personal responsibility for her leaks, as anything but punitive.

Manning’s challenge to the grand jury subpoena thus suggests that, as shown during her court martial, the whistleblower understands the monumental First Amendment issues at stake in the prosecution of those who would expose government wrongdoing.

Matthew Brennan for WSWS: “US Federal Court subpoenas whistleblower Chelsea Manning”

It is likely that one of the main reasons why Manning is currently being subpoenaed is to try to undermine her original 2010 court-martial testimony, in preparation to pursue Assange.

A key component of her 2010 testimony was that she refuted attempts by the Justice Department to imply that Assange had directed her to pursue the leaks. “No one associated with W.L.O. [WikiLeaks Organization] pressured me into sending any more information. I take full responsibility,” she stated at her court-martial.

Manning told the Times that the Justice Department has indicated in vague terms that they want to “talk about her past statements.” She believes the subpoena is likely an attempt to get her to back away from her 2010 court-martial defense, or to intimidate her in other ways if she does not collaborate with the Justice Department.

Support for Chelsea at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:


Jimmysllama, MintPress News: “Whats Behind Australia’s Decision to Suddenly Grant Julian Assange a Passport?” Jimmysllama provides a thorough recounting of “Australia’s abysmal record on supporting Australian journalist and publisher, Julian Assange.”

1 March 2019

More coverage: Chelsea Manning subpoenaed to testify on WikiLeaks

The Washington Post: “Chelsea Manning subpoenaed to testify before grand jury in Assange investigation”

“Chelsea Manning has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in the investigation of Julian Assange, officials said, one of several indicators that prosecutors remain interested in WikiLeaks’ publication of diplomatic cables and military war logs in 2010.

“Prosecutors in Virginia have been pursuing a case based on conduct that predates WikiLeaks’ publication of hacked emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, and it’s not clear investigators are interested in that activity.”

“I object strenuously to this subpoena, and to the grand jury process in general,” Manning said in a statement. “We’ve seen this power abused countless times to target political speech. I have nothing to contribute to this case and I resent being forced to endanger myself by participating in this predatory practice.”

“The subpoena was signed last month by Gordon Kromberg, a national security prosecutor on the Assange case. Kromberg last month persuaded a judge to leave sealed an indictment against Assange despite its inadvertent exposure in an unrelated court filing last year.”

Politico: “Chelsea Manning fights grand jury subpoena seen as linked to Assange”

Asked about the subpoena Friday, Assange lawyer Barry Pollack expressed frustration with prosecutors’ continued focus on Assange.

“It’s disappointing but not surprising that the government is continuing to pursue criminal charges against Julian Assange, apparently for his role in publishing truthful information about matters of great public interest,” Pollack said.

Chelsea Resists! support committee: “Chelsea Manning Challenges Grand Jury Subpoena, Support Committee Issues Statement in Solidarity”

“Grand juries are notoriously mired in secrecy, and have historically been used to silence and retaliate against political activists. Their indiscriminate nature means the government can attempt to artificially coerce a witness into perjury or contempt. Chelsea gave voluminous testimony during her court martial. She has stood by the truth of her prior statements, and there is no legitimate purpose to having her rehash them before a hostile grand jury.”

Glenn Greenwald:

A closer look at the subpoena reveals specifics about the nature of the grand jury’s inquiry:

See the subpoena here

 

David House testified on WikiLeaks in exchange for immunity

The Daily Beast reports that former WikiLeaks volunteer David House, who in 2011 declined to answer grand jury questions about WikiLeaks,  “was subpoenaed last May for an encore appearance before the Alexandria grand jury. This time he didn’t take the Fifth. “I decided to cooperate in exchange for immunity,” said House…”

 

Update: From 3 March 2019:

Assange news:

Oscar Grenfell for WSWS: Australian government refuses to defend Julian Assange

Under international and Australian law, the government has a clear responsibility to exercise its diplomatic powers and legal discretion to aid a detained Australian citizen abroad.

The government has the ability to make diplomatic representations to the British government to drop trumped-up bail charges against Assange that will result in his immediate arrest if he leaves the embassy building. If Britain refuses, the government has the power to initiate legal proceedings to compel the British government to allow for Assange’s safe passage out of the country.

DefendAssange Twitter thread, collated by GreekEmmy: “STRATEGY NOTE: Dealing with hypocritical organizations and politicians in lobbying to #FreeAssange and to defend WikiLeaks.”

28 February 2019

Chelsea Manning reveals in an interview with the New York Times that she has been subpoenaed to testify in a grand jury investigation in the Eastern District of Virginia, where Julian Assange has been indicted under seal. Manning is fighting the subpoena, which calls for her to testify on 5 March, and her legal representatives have filed a motion to quash it.

“I am not going to contribute to a process that I feel is dangerous and could potentially place me in a position where I am forced to backtrack on the truth,” she said.

 

Ecuadorian FM Jose Valencia:”We hope that the Assange case will be resolved as soon as possible, we’ve now had 7 years with Mr. Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy, ​​the Ecuadorian State has done its part in complying with international law.”

Aaron Mate & Jimmy Dore on the testimony of Cohen: the claim that Trump had prior knowledge of Wikileaks fails hilariously:

27 February 2019

WikiLeaks disputes Michael Cohen, says Julian Assange never talked to Roger Stone:

Further reactions to Cohen’s testimony:

 

Support for Assange in front of Ecuadorian Embassy

26 February 2019

Response from British MP Harriet Harman concerning UK position of Assange

Binoy Kampmark: Shifting the Centre of Gravity: Julian Assange Receives His Passport

Each granular detail of his fate garners international headlines in an ongoing battle of attrition. Will he step out? Will he seek medical treatment he urgently needs? What will the local constabulary do? Statements from the Metropolitan Police and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office suggest that he will be medically tended to but will also have to face the charge of violating his bail conditions when he entered the Ecuadorean embassy in 2012. Once that door opens, the narrow horizon to a US prison cell becomes a realistic prospect, even if it is bound to be a protracted matter.

25 February 2019

Solidarity Vigil in London announced for March 10

The Socialist Equality Party (UK) calls for maximum participation in the “Solidarity Vigil for Julian Assange” outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Sunday, March 10.

The Julian Assange Defence Committee has organised the vigil to complement the rally the same day in Melbourne, Australia, called by the Socialist Equality Party (Australia). A week earlier, Sunday, March 3, the SEP is holding a rally in Sydney to demand Assange’s freedom. Both rallies will be addressed by SEP National Secretary James Cogan.

23 February 2019

Today marks 3000 days Julian Assange has been arbitrarly detained

Catalonia’s exiled President Carles Puigdemont denounces Assange gagging

Australia confirms Wikileaks’ Assange has valid passport

 

 

22 February 2019

James Cogan at WSWS: Authorities confirm Assange’s Australian passport was renewed. The news however does not reduce the danger that the WikiLeaks founder faces as a result of the US-led vendetta against him.

The vendetta against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks is aimed at overturning the principles set out in the 1971 Supreme Court ruling on the publication of the Pentagon Papers, which upheld the right of journalists to publish information leaked by a government source. It is an attempt, initiated by the Democratic administration of Barack Obama and continued under the Republican administration of Donald Trump, to obliterate freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

This underscores the urgency of the campaign in Assange’s defence.

News that Assange’s Australian passport was renewed last October does not reduce by one iota the danger that he confronts. He still faces immediate detention by British authorities if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy, and the prospect of extradition to the US on the most draconian and anti-democratic pretexts.

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has called on Australians to rally in support of Julian Assange, saying the WikiLeaks chief is a “personal hero” of his.

21 February 2019

Julian Assange has had his Australian passport renewed

SMH reports, “The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed Mr Assange received his new Australian passport in September 2018. The passport has gone unreported until now.”

The new passport makes it possible for Mr Assange to return to Australia. He has been without a passport after his previous one expired several years ago.

Australian barrister and adviser to Mr Assange, Greg Barns, said credit was owed to Australia’s former foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop, who he said had gone to great lengths to ensure Mr Assange’s rights as an Australian citizen were upheld by being granted a passport.

#auspol as @theage and @smh confirmed tonight #Assange @wikileaks has his passport renewed. Australian authorities must assist their citizen.

— Greg Barns (@BarnsGreg) February 21, 2019

19 February 2019

Julian Assange has been nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize

Mairead Maguire, who won the Prize in 1976 for her work toward peace in Northern Ireland, nominated the WikiLeaks publisher:

“Julian Assange, fearing deportation to the U.S. to stand trial for treason, sought out asylum in the Ecuadorien Embassy in 2012. Selflessly, he continues his work from here increasing the risk of his prosecution by the American Government. In recent months the U.S. has increased pressure on the Ecuadorian Government to take away his last liberties. He is now prevented from having visitors, receiving telephone calls, or other electronic communications, hereby removing his basic human rights. This has put a great strain on Julian’s mental and physical health. It is our duty as citizens to protect Julian’s human rights and freedom of speech as he has fought for ours on a global stage.

“Julian Assange meets all criteria for the Nobel Peace Prize.   Through his release of hidden information to the public we are no longer naïve to the atrocities of war, we are no longer oblivious to the connections between big Business, the acquisition of resources, and the spoils of war.”

WikiLeaks has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in six consecutive years, from 2010 through 2015.

18 February 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard defends WikiLeaks: It ‘spurred some necessary change’

Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a 2020 presidential hopeful, defended WikiLeaks Saturday night, saying the information released by the organization brought “necessary change.”

The Hawaii congresswoman was fielding questions at a meet-and-greet in Concord, New Hampshire, over the weekend when she was asked about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

“Obviously, the information that has been put out has exposed a lot of things that have been happening that the American people were not aware of and have spurred some necessary change there,” she told the crowd.

15 February 2019

Courage has prepared and published a new parliamentary briefing: ‘Why Opposing Julian Assange’s Extradition to the U.S. Matters for the U.K.

Parliamentarians should oppose Assange’s extradition to the US. The case raises a number of fundamental issues for the UK:

  • The UK has clear obligations under international law to protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. Assange’s asylum status requires that he not be transferred to the persecuting state (i.e., the country that he was given asylum in relation to, the US).
  • The United Nations has repeatedly called for Assange to walk free.
  • Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other leading human rights organisations have released statements categorically opposing Assange’s extradition.

Read the full briefing here.

 

Reuters reports: ‘U.S. investigators probing years of WikiLeaks activities: source‘, confirming what has long been known to those following the US response to WikiLeaks releases since 2010, when a Grand Jury was empaneled to investigate prosecuting the organization for publishing.

American investigators are gathering information and pursuing witnesses involved in both recent WikiLeaks disclosures and the website’s large-scale postings of U.S. military and diplomatic messages over several years from 2010.

13 February 2019

Justice for Julian Assange: A Test for Western Democracy?

Former British politician and political commentator George Galloway hosted an hour-long discussion about Julian Assange’s persecution on his debate show AL Mayadeen TV. The conversation, featuring activists, journalists, and academics, as well as street interviews in London, covered an array of important questions about Assange’s treatment and what it portends for western democracy:

  • Why is the UK refusing to comply with the UN’s Working Group findings stating that Julian Assange should be released?
  • Will the disregard of these UN Working Group findings affect the legitimacy of various democratic institutions in the UK?
  • Is Assange’s struggle for freedom a sign of growing authoritarianism in the West?
  • What is behind the Ecuadorian government’s change of stance on Assange, given that he was permitted refuge 5 years ago?

Contributors included:

  • Vaughan Smith Former army officer and award-winning freelance video journalist. Founder of the Frontline Club, London
  • Patrick Christys Radio Presenter and Journalist
  • Julian Morrow Researcher and Theorist
  • Alexander Nekrassov Former Kremlin and government adviser
  • Ciaron O’Reilly Assange supporter and activist
  • Sarah Kassim Educator and community leader
  • Tony Gratrex Activist and founder of Reading Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Was on board the Gaza Flotilla, 2010
  • Cheryl Sanchez Supporter and activist

11 February 2019

Acclaimed musician Roger Waters releases a statement in support of Julian Assange and calls on Australians to demonstrate their support:

We, the citizens of the world, have an absolute duty to protect Julian Assange from their unwarranted and illegal attacks.

I unreservedly support and applaud the demonstrations called by the Socialist Equality Party in Australia to demand that the Australian government takes immediate action to secure the freedom of their citizen, Julian Assange, from his near seven-year house imprisonment in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. At least until recently the Ecuadorian presidency was solid in its promise of asylum, but the new president of Ecuador is showing himself to be more susceptible to insidious US pressure. Julian’s situation is dire.

BRING HIM HOME NOW!!!

RESIST!!!!!!!!!

DEMONSTRATE on MARCH 3rd in SYDNEY and MARCH 10th in MELBOURNE

AROUND THE WORLD, RAISE YOUR VOICE EVERYWHERE

DEMAND A SAFE HAVEN FOR JULIAN ASSANGE IN HIS HOME AUSTRALIA.

9 February 2019

The city council of Geneva has called on the Swiss government to provide asylum to Julian Assange. Sputnik News reports, “The Swiss government has already responded to the request, saying that the founder of WikiLeaks “is not a human rights defender, and therefore Switzerland cannot defend him in that capacity.”

7 February 2019

The ongoing solidarity vigil for Julian Assange continues at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London

5 February 2019

Adam Garrie for the Eurasiafuture: ‘Julian Assange is Dying in Darkness While The Washington Post Pats Itself on The Back’

Assange is a prisoner of conscious whose only option is to trade his present prison cell for an even less humane one and almost certainly execution shortly thereafter. It must never be forgotten that Hillary Clinton once remarked that Assange’s execution should be conducted with a military grade drone. Imagine if a Saudi politician said this about a dissident journalist? The Washington Post might actually feign shock in such an instance, but this was not the case when a major US politician said so about Julian Assange.

Julian Assange is beyond a shadow of a doubt, not just the greatest journalistic figure of this age, but of all time. No one has shown an ability to better harness cutting edge technology to tell world changing truths that would have been far more easily suppressed in a previous epoch. But because Assange’s publications could not be suppressed, instead the powers that be decided to suppress, repress and oppress the man.

3 February 2019

Aaron Maté writes for The Nation about Roger Stone’s indictment:

media outlets across the board have suggested or claimed that the Stone charges show that he passed on privileged information about Wikileaks to the Trump campaign in 2016. But all Mueller has shown is that Stone asked for secret information about WikiLeaks from two people who appear to have had none to provide; and that the Trump campaign asked him about secret information that he accordingly is unlikely to have had.

James Cogan writes for WSWS, ‘Stone indictment presents no evidence of links between WikiLeaks and Trump campaign’

The indictment indicates that [radio host Randy] Credico engaged in little more than speculation in his exchanges with Stone, while Stone engaged in total speculation in his contact with Trump campaign officials. He actually knew nothing about WikiLeaks’ publication schedule.

2 February 2019

Tony Kevin, a former Australian ambassador, defends Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, calling on Australia to support its own citizen in conversation with Joe Lauria for Unity4J:

Brian Becker, director of Answer Coalition, talking to Joe Lauria at Unity4J online vigil, sums up reasons why Julian Assange is so important:

1 February 2019

The Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry said it had been asked by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (part of the Organization of American States), to provide information related to the WikiLeaks founder’s asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in light of the recently filed motion asking the commission for protection.

Australian diplomats visit Assange, told of ‘deteriorating health’

[Assange lawyer] Barns said they welcomed the visit by High Commission consular officials, who were briefed on Assange’s medical issues and difficulties.

“They have seen firsthand the untenable situation Julian is in,” he said.

“His health is deteriorating yet he cannot get medical care for fear of arrest. We will be asking Senator Payne to seek undertakings from [the] UK that [Assange] can leave the embassy for healthcare without being arrested.”

Barns said Assange was suffering chronic pain in one arm and needs dental work, neither of which can be treated inside the embassy. Assange’s health continues to decline, he said.

31 January 2019

Consortium News: ‘Judge Denies Request to Unseal Assange Criminal Complaint Saying There is No Proof it Exists’

Judge Leonie Brinkema of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia decided on Wednesday to turn down the request by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to make public details of the complaint, the existence of which was made known inadvertently last year.

“The Government opposes the Committee’s application on the ground that it has neither confirmed nor denied whether charges have been filed against Assange and cannot be required to disclose that information before an arrest is made,” Brinkema wrote in her 10-page ruling.

Assange’s named appeared in a totally unrelated criminal complaint, apparently from a copy and paste mistake. The government called it an “unintentional error.”

See the full ruling here (PDF)

WikiLeaks says founder Julian Assange ‘cannot hope to receive fair trial’ after a judge refuses to unseal potential charges against him in the US

In a statement, WikiLeaks stated: “When it comes to facing accountability for its actions, the government now says its lips are sealed. It is obvious what is going on here.

“The administration is playing a double game that seeks to build political cover for Assange’s arrest without giving the public, the press and Mr Assange the facts necessary to resist it.

“That the judge has played along with this absurdity is further proof that Mr Assange cannot hope to receive a fair trial in the United States.”

27 January 2019

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell Foundation on legal challenge launched by Julian Assange

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Moves to Reveal Assange Indictment Based on Allegations in Roger Stone Indictment

26 January 2019

Australian activists delivered “Free Julian Assange Petition Notice 29, to Prime Minister, Foreign Minister & all 226 politicians of the Australian Government”

WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson comments on the Stone indictment:

US comedian Jimmy Dore and The Nation‘s Aaron Maté discussed the Guardian Manafort fabrication, among other Russiagate “fails”, in Dore’s program Aggressive Progressive on The Young Turks:

25 January 2019

WikiLeaks on Roger Stone’s indictment: New evidence there was no ‘back channel’

Glenn Greenwald on Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and the debacles of
the Corporate Media

24 January 2019

Julian Assange launches legal challenge against the US

Lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder, who has been living at the embassy since 2012 when he was granted diplomatic immunity, have filed an urgent application to the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

23 January 2019

WikiLeaks press release: ‘Assange Moves to Force Trump Administration to Reveal Charges and to Compel Ecuador to Prevent Extradition to U.S.’

Lawyers for Julian Assange have filed an urgent application to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), based in Washington D.C., to direct the Trump Administration to unseal the charges it has secretly filed against Mr. Assange. They are also asking the Commission to compel Ecuador to cease its espionage activities against Mr. Assange, to stop the isolation imposed on him and to protect him from U.S. extradition. The urgent request is in the form of a comprehensive 1,172-page application for “precautionary measures” directed to the international body which monitors compliance of the U.S. and Ecuador with their binding legal obligations. The calls to extradite Mr. Assange to the United States, as the result of his work as a publisher and editor, is the reason Mr. Assange obtained political asylum at Ecuador’s embassy in London in August 2012.

Read the full release here

21 January 2019

Megan Georgina for DiEM25: ‘Our Whistleblowing Laws Must Change’

You can sign the petition initiated by DiEM25 to prevent the extradition of Julian Assange to the US here

David Andersson for Pressenza: ‘By Working to Free Julian Assange We are Fighting for Justice’

Ecuador confirms facilitating the interrogation of its London diplomatic
staff by U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors (Thursday, Friday and
Monday) which it describes as “free and voluntary” despite insisting
they submit to it. (More)

Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept: ‘The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story

4. Paul Manafort Visited Julian Assange Three Times in the Ecuadorian Embassy and Nobody Noticed (Guardian/Luke Harding)

On November 27, 2018, the Guardian published a major “bombshell” that Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had somehow managed to sneak inside one of the world’s most surveilled buildings, the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and visit Julian Assange on three different occasions. Cable and online commentators exploded.

Seven weeks later, no other media outlet has confirmed this; no video or photographic evidence has emerged; the Guardian refuses to answer any questions; its leading editors have virtually gone into hiding; other media outlets have expressed serious doubts about its veracity; and an Ecuadorian official who worked at the embassy has called the story a complete fake

19 January 2019

Assange lawyers file case over US DoJ interrogation of Ecuadorian
diplomats [Spanish]

Vigil in support of Assange in London

18 January 2019

The Guardian‘s reckless misreporting continues to have real-world
ramifications: ‘US investigators questioned Ecuadorian diplomatic staff
stationed at the embassy in London during WikiLeaks founder Julian
Assange’s years-long stay.’

Assange’s legal team responded:

16 January 2019

Heike Hensel, die Linke MP spoke against the extradition of Julian
Assange and expressed concern for his safety in the German Bundestag:

Historian Mark Curtis discussed The Guardian’s Assange fabrication on RT’s Underground:

14 January 2019

Mark Curtis for Consortium News: ‘The Twitter Smearing of Corbyn and Assange’

Tyler Durden for Zero Hedge: After Raising $50K, WikiLeaks To Sue The
Guardian Over “Entirely Fabricated” Manafort Visitation Claim

13 January 2019

12 January 2019

Gordon Dimmack report: “Outside the Ecuadorian Embassy – London Visit”

The government of Ecuador rejected information circulating on social networks about the deterioration of the health conditions of computer scientist Julian Assange.

11 January 2019

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia suggested that WikiLeaks
founder Julian Assange, should surrender to the UK authorities.

We see two options for Mr Assange: to remain for an indefinite period [at the embassy] or to surrender, and this option, we believe, is the most positive for him

Oscar Grenleff for WSWS: Corporate media smears WikiLeaks and Julian Assange

The coverage has the character of a coordinated political campaign, with the most sinister motives. Its aim is to legitimise the stepped-up persecution of Assange by the US and British governments, which are pursuing the journalist and publisher because of WikiLeaks’ exposures of their war crimes, diplomatic intrigues and illegal spying on the American and world population.

Endgame for Assange: The theatre director Angela Richter visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Ecuador’s embassy in London. For the last time, she fears

9 January 2019

WikiLeaks issues official denial of Trump election contacts, saying that
the organization never provided election information to Donald Trump
campaign adviser Roger Stone or to Jerome Corsi, a conservative author
and conspiracy advocate.

8 January 2019

S.T. Patrick for the American Free Press: Media Ramps Up Attacks on Assange

A mainstream reporter with The Guardian has conjured up a link between Julian Assange and Trump associate Paul Manafort with zero evidence as part of his ongoing attempt to destroy both Assange and whistleblower Edward Snowden. 

WikiLeaks advises media about false reporting on Julian Assange

7 January 2019

Mairead Maguire, Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner, nominates Julian Assange for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize

6 January 2019

Assange’s Australian lawyer Greg Barns writes for The Mercury: ‘Turning
our backs on a man hunted for freedom of speech’

4 January 2019

DiEM25 has launched a petition calling on governments of Ecuador and the UK to prevent the extradition of Julian Assange to the US. Sign the
petition here.

3 January 2019

An extended interview with John Pilger:

2 January 2019

Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept: Five Weeks After The Guardian’s Viral Blockbuster Assange-Manafort Scoop, No Evidence Has Emerged — Just Stonewalling

Ecuador to audit Julian Assange’s asylum and nationality

The news of Ecuador’s audit was broken by former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, himself charged by the new President Lenin Moreno:


As WikiLeaks notes: “Ecuador has initiated a formal “Special Examination” of Julian Assange’s asylum and nationality (nationals cannot be extradited) as it seeks a $10billion+ IMF bailout for which the US government demanded handing over Assange and dropping environmental claims against Chevron”

1 January 2019

President Trump’s Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Says Do Not Prosecute Julian Assange:

Once it gets to a media publication, they can publish it. They can publish it for the purpose of informing people. You can’t put Assange in a different position than that. He was a guy that communicated. We may not like what he communicates, but he was a media facility, he was putting that information out. Every newspaper, station grabbed it and published it.

31 December 2018

Nozomi Hayase writes for New Age: ‘Test of western democracy’

Julian Assange, through his work with WikiLeaks, engaged in that type of vibrant journalism that revitalized the impulse for real democracy. By publishing vital information in the public interest, he defended public’s right to know, empowering ordinary people to actively participate in history.

Now, it is our responsibility to respond to this crisis of democracy through solidarity. Can each of us step up to the challenge to solve the problems that our leaders have created? Efforts to free Assange urge us all to claim and exercise the power inherent within that can restore justice to end this prosecution of free speech.

Consortium News: ‘Giuliani Says Assange Should Not Be Prosecuted’

26 December 2018

24 December 2018

Serge Halimi in Le Monde Diplomatique: The Guardian’s fake scoop

22 December 2018

James Cogan for WSWS: Demands surge for Britain to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

The demands made by the UN Working Group and WikiLeaks’ supporters highlight the utter perfidy of the Australian government and political and media establishment, which refuses to defend an Australian citizen against US and British persecution.

John Pilger talks about Assange’s fight and the recent developments in
the case:

21 December 2018

UN to UK: let Assange leave safely

UN experts urge UK to honour rights obligations and let Mr. Julian Assange leave Ecuador embassy in London freely

“It is time that Mr. Assange, who has already paid a high price for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of opinion, expression and information, and to promote the right to truth in the public interest, recovers his freedom,” the experts concluded.

More coverage from Reuters

Journalist Joe Emersberger speaks to The Canary: The international power struggle that’s leaving Julian Assange in a “very dangerous situation”

The ongoing attacks on Assange are clearly an attack on WikiLeaks – an independent media organisation that specialises in publishing information from whistleblowers that it deems to be in the public interest. So if we value the organisation’s work, we must ensure that political power struggles – both in Ecuador and the UK – do not result in the silencing of Assange and WikiLeaks.

20 December 2018

Trevor Timm, at CJR: By prosecuting WikiLeaks, Trump could stifle reporting on Russian interference.

First, it’s important to remember that newspapers publish classified information all the time, and that this has been especially true during the Trump administration. CJR has documented how leaks of classified information have changed and delayed controversial Trump administration proposals. Critically, many of the major stories detailing the Trump circle’s relationship with the Russian government have also hinged on information the government considers secret.

MEPs visit Assange in London

Two members of German parliament, Sevim Dagdelen and Heiki Hansel, visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to relay “greetings of solidarity from the Left party and his many supporters from Germany,” and to discuss the possibility of a “humanitarian solution” to his predicament.

Both MPs co-signed a letter earlier this month to UN Secretary General António Guterres, asking the UN to intervene so that Julian Assange can travel to a safe third country after news that Ecuador will no longer oppose UK extradition of Assange to US.

The MPs were joined by John Shipton, Assange’s father:

SMH: Time for Julian Assange’s ‘torment’ to end: father

The Guardian‘s happy to be used”

Meanwhile, former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald spoke to The Observer about The Guardian‘s recent fabrication, failure to respond to critics, and being used as a pawn by Ecuadorian intelligence:

“I think journalists ought to be aware that when you’re using intelligence [sources], there’s always a high risk you’re being deceived, lied to, propagandized or manipulated since that is what those agencies are designed to do,” explained Greenwald. “That’s clearly what happened here.”

19 December 2018

Former Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam warns, “An Australian citizen is about to be prosecuted for publishing, by Australia’s closest ally.”

Since 2006 [WikiLeaks have] been providing unfiltered windows into the violence of power, from Inside Somalia to the Iraq War Logs to the Saudi Cables and beyond.

Despite this remarkable publishing record, almost nobody in the mainstream press writes about the disclosures themselves. Instead, commentary is drawn almost exclusively to the character and conduct of founder and editor Julian Assange. In twelve years he’s gone from dissident publisher to object of mockery and derision across the political spectrum.

Ruairi Woods writes: ‘The Guardian fabricated, altered and stealthily retracted their Wikileaks-Manafort story to muted criticism from the ‘fake news’ obsessives.’

It was co-written by Luke Harding, a man who is currently cashing Amazon cheques for a book on the topic in question and harbours a long-standing personal feud with the subject of the story, clearly disqualifying the Guardian from running it under any definition of responsible journalism. A man named as a co-author in the print version but removed online, Fernando Villavicencio, was previously convicted in Ecuador of forging official documents to sell a story to the Guardian. He is an associate of the US Intelligence Community and played a vital part in the attempted coup of the socialist Rafael Correa, who gave Assange asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy as President. After initially printing his name, the Guardian quickly realised that his reputation would undermine the story and decided to scrub him from the record.

18 December 2018

UK FOIA victory

Independent journalist Stefania Maurizi has won a Freedom of Information Act appeal at the First-Tier Tribunal over the Met Police, upholding the press’s right to access information about WikiLeaks.

The persecution of Julian Assange

Columnist Caitlin Johnstone writes, ‘Twenty-One Thoughts On The Persecution Of Julian Assange’:

Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they’ll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they’ll be far more likely to consent to Assange’s silencing and imprisonment. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you’re suspicious of him you won’t believe anything he’s saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it’s as good as putting a bullet in his head.

17 December 2018

An online vigil for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange was broadcast live on Consortium News on Friday night. If you missed it, watch the replay here.

Among the featured guests were famed whistleblower Dan Ellsberg, former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, columnist Caitlin Johnstone, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and more:

14 December 2018

Alfred de Zayas, Former UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic & Equitable International Order, has commented on Julian Assange’s situation with respect to human rights, ultimately concluding: “It is high time that the Human Rights Council adopt a Charter on the Human Rights of Whistleblowers.”

Oscar Grenfell for WSWS on Assange’s hearing in Quito on Wednesday: ‘Julian Assange denounces his illegal detention in Ecuadorian embassy’

Assange denounced the collusion of Ecuadorian authorities with the British and US governments, which are determined to prosecute him for WikiLeaks’ exposure of their war crimes, illegal diplomatic intrigues and mass surveillance.

He stated that Ecuador was conducting ongoing espionage against him and said it was likely turning over the material gathered to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which has played a central role in the US efforts to destroy WikiLeaks.

Assange condemned representatives of the Ecuadorian government for making “comments of a threatening nature” over his publishing activities. The WikiLeaks founder compared his treatment to the brutal murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi at the Middle-Eastern dictatorships’ Istanbul embassy in October, noting that the attempts to silence him were merely “more subtle.”

13 December 2018

Further reporting from Sputnik on yesterday’s hearing over Julian Assange’s protection action:

Assange Suggests Facing Espionage in Ecuadorian Embassy in London

During the hearing, Assange [appearing via videolink] suggested there were facts of espionage inside the diplomatic mission’s premises. According to the whistleblower, the gathered intelligence data might have been shared with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Moreover, Assange suggested that Ecuador’s intelligence invested major funds in equipping the embassy building.

The whistleblower also noted that he had received comments of threatening nature from the Ecuadorian authorities due to his journalistic work. Assange argued that the living conditions in the Ecuadorian embassy threatened his health and might result in his hospitalization, which, in its turn, might represent an opportunity for the Quito to hand him over to London or Washington.

Ecuador Can’t Guarantee UK Won’t Extradite Assange, Prosecutor General Says:

Quito cannot guarantee that London would not extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to a third country, Ecuadorian Prosecutor General Inigo Salvador said.

“Ecuador has received written guarantees from the UK authorities on [Assange’s] safety but the [Ecuadorian] government cannot do more than that,” Salvador said as quoted by the Republica news outlet.

WikiLeaks continues to fundraise for a lawsuit against The Guardian for libel

Guy Rundle in Crikey: ‘The Guardian’s WikiLeaks ‘expose’ only revealed its own incompetence’

The Guardian has disgraced itself utterly, and trashed its “facts are sacred” mantra in this, its latest obsessive pursuit of WikiLeaks.

12 December 2018

In Quito, Ecuador, an appeals court heard arguments regarding Julian Assange’s protective action measure, challenging the series of strict regulations on Assange’s activity in the Embassy that Ecuador proposed earlier this year. The so-called “protocol” (Spanish original, English, unofficial) includes explicit threats to revoke Assange’s asylum if he, or any of his guests, breached or were perceived to have breached, any of the 28 “rules.”The “protocol” forbids Assange from doing journalism and expressing his opinions, under threat of losing his asylum.

On 25 and 29 October 2018, a Quito court heard arguments regarding the proposed protocol but declined to hear witnesses or see evidence. The judge declined to rule on Ecuador’s actions, saying the matter was for the Constitutional Court and on 30 October 2018 the case was appealed to the provincial court.

Today the provincial court heard arguments but delayed a ruling, saying a resolution would come within eight days.

The Guardians fabrication has consequences in Congress

Six members of Congress have signed a letter to Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, demanding information about his recent discussions with Ecuadorian officials regarding Julian Assange’s status in the Embassy. In a tweet announcing the letter, Sen. Dianne Feinstein explicitly referenced “reports of Paul Manafort visiting Julian Assange”

11 December 2018

Former Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald notes on Twitter that two weeks have passed since The Guardian published fabricated claims about Paul Manafort visiting Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:

10 December 2018

Today is the 70th Anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

More than 30 Parliamentarians of the German Parliament and EU Parliament write to UN Secretary General António Guterres, asking the UN to intervene so that Julian Assange can travel to a safe third country after news that Ecuador will no longer oppose UK extradition of Assange to US.:

The constant and unwonted threat from Britain and the United States, the years of arbitrary detention, the ongoing separation from his family, friends and loved ones, the lack of proper medical care, the most recent isolation of Mr Assange since March of this year; these are indeed very serious and egregious violations of Human Rights, in the heart of Europe.

We therefore call for his immediate release, together with his safe passage to a safe country.

See the full letter here:

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Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth called on the Ecuador and UK to protect Assange against prosecution:

Pamela Anderson, recently in the news for her comments on the Paris protests, has written an open letter, “Free Speech and I,” for International Human Rights Day:

What Julian and WikiLeaks have had to endure is the biggest attack on free speech and constitutional rights in years and that’s just the beginning. Just wait: after WikiLeaks they will aim for other publishers like the NY Times, the Post….the list is endless.

Many international organizations have supported Julian and WikiLeaks and have called for their rights to be protected, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and more than 50 other freedom of expression organizations in the IFEX (International Freedom of Expression) network.

But this is not enough. Simply more must be done to free Julian and to protect free speech…and this will protect freedom for us all.

7 December 2018

WikiLeaks launches a new fundraiser to fight the Democratic National Committee’s lawsuit against the organisation for publishing its emails in 2016.

In April 2018, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against WikiLeaks simply for publishing its emails. This lawsuit is the biggest attack on freedom of speech and constitutional rights in decades.

The DNC does not allege WikiLeaks participated in hacking of any kind. It is suing WikiLeaks for providing accurate, newsworthy information to the public.

The Democratic National Committee has billionaire backers to be able to fight the lawsuit in court for years. WikiLeaks, in contrast, is an award winning small publisher entirely funded by its readers.

This is a David and Goliath struggle. But as history shows, you should never bet against WikiLeaks. In the twelve years since it was founded it has never lost a court case and never retracted a publication.

Help WikiLeaks stand up to the DNC and protect your fundamental rights.

WikiLeaks filed its first US court filing on Friday, calling for the lawsuit’s dismissal:

“WikiLeaks’s conduct — publishing truthful information of public concern as a media organization — is protected by the First Amendment.

“Those who have spent their careers defending journalism’s role in free speech recognize that liability for a media organization in WikiLeaks’s position – publishing documents provided by whistle-blowers and others who possess them without authorization – would set an ominous precedent that could not be contained.

Moreover, imposing liability upon WikiLeaks here would exert a chilling effect on journalism and free speech, and deprive the public of an extraordinary amount of newsworthy information.”

See the full filing here:

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Ecuadorian Ex-Diplomat: Report Claiming Assange Met Manafort Is False

Former consul in Ecuador’s London embassy Fidel Narváez speaks to Ben Norton for The Real News Network:

Is a trap being set for Julian Assange?

Consortium News editor Joe Lauria joins RT’s Rick Sanchez to discuss the US government’s hatred of Assange and what his ultimate fate will imply for journalists everywhere:

6 December 2018

The AP reports Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno says “that Britain has provided sufficient guarantees that [Julian Assange] won’t be extradited to face the death penalty abroad.”

The story makes no mention of the recent New York Times report about Paul Manafort’s 2017 visit to Ecuador in which he negotiated for US debt relief in exchange for Assange:

In at least two meetings with Mr. Manafort, Mr. Moreno and his aides discussed their desire to rid themselves of Mr. Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, in exchange for concessions like debt relief from the United States, according to three people familiar with the talks, the details of which have not been previously reported.

5 December 2018

An update at the fundraiser for WikiLeaks to sue The Guardian over the Manafort-Assange fabrication:

The Guardian has not yet retracted its story. It published the story on the front page of the print edition the next day. The print edition contained a significant discrepancy with the online version: a third author in addition to Harding and Collyns – Fernando Villavicencio, an Ecuadorian political activist who has been implicated in fabricated stories in the past.

One week on, pressure is mounting on The Guardian to come clean.

4 December 2018

The Washington Post looks at The Guardian‘s fabricated Manafort story one week after publication:

The Guardian reported that the alleged Manafort-Assange meeting “could shed new light” on the events leading up to the leaks and might indicate coordination among WikiLeaks, Trump’s campaign and Russian hackers. Trump has repeatedly denied any such collusion.

But one week after publication, the Guardian’s bombshell looks as though it could be a dud.

No other news organization has been able to corroborate the Guardian’s reporting to substantiate its central claim of a meeting.

The Washington Times reports from today’s arguments in the hearing to unseal the Assange indictment: ‘Lawyers seeking access to sealed Julian Assange case argue DOJ lacks justification for secrecy’

Comedian Jimmy Dore rips The Guardian over fabricated front page story claiming “Secret Talks in Embassy” between Assange and Manafort

3 December 2018

The Canary reports that former Consul to Ecuador Fidel Narváez “insisted that the claim that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is entirely false.” The Daily Dot reports as well.

The Guardian concealed third author of Manafort-Assange fabrication: Fernando Villavicencio, the CIA-connected advisor thought to potentially be The Guardian‘s source for the story, is actually listed on the article’s print edition byline.

FAIR: Misreporting Manafort: A Case Study in Journalistic Malpractice

2 December 2018

Petition launched by Fight for the Future: “Tell the US government: Using the Espionage Act to target Julian Assange endangers freedom of the press”

1 December 2018

Glenn Greenwald rips Politico “Theory” that Guardian’s Assange-Manafort story was planted by Russia

Caitlin Johnstone in Consortium News: The Guardian/Politico Psyop Against WikiLeaks

Solidarity vigil planned:

30 November 2018

Former State Department diplomat Peter Van Buren for The American Conservative:”You Don’t Have to Love Assange to Fear His Prosecution”

Philosopher Srećko Horvat on Julian Assange & Europe’s Progressive Movement – DiEM25

The Canary: “Growing calls for Guardian editor-in-chief to resign after the paper publishes massive ‘fake news’ story”

James Cogan for WSWS: “Guardian newspaper spearheads new accusations against Assange and WikiLeaks”

Cross Talk hosted by Peter Lavelle with Joe Lauria, Patrick Henningsen, and Gareth Porter on the fate of Julian Assange:

29 November 2018

Rainer Shea: “The DOJ is prosecuting Assange for practicing journalism not for ‘working with Russia'”

Serge Halimi’s editorial for the December issue of Le Monde Diplomatique: “Prisoner for free speech”

Yanis Varoufakis on Assange and the Political Economy and Future of Europe

Craig Murray: “Assange Never Met Manafort. Luke Harding and the Guardian Publish Still More Blatant MI6 Lies”

Elizabeth Vos: “The Guardian’s Desperate Attempt To Connect Assange To Russiagate Backfires”

The Guardian’s latest attack on Julian Assange was not only a fallacious smear, it represented a desperate attempt on behalf of the British intelligence community to conflate the pending US charges against the journalist with Russiagate. The Guardian’s article seeks to deflect from the reality that the prosecution of Assange will focus on Chelsea Manning-Era releases and Vault 7, not the DNC or Podesta emails.

We assert this claim based on the timing of the publication, the Guardian’s history of subservience to British intelligence agencies, animosity between The Guardian and WikiLeaks, and the longstanding personal feud between Guardian journalist Luke Harding and Assange. This conclusion is also supported  by Harding’s financial and career interest in propping up the Russiagate narrative.

Passports contradict Guardian claims

The Washington Times reports: “Paul Manafort’s passports don’t show he entered London in all the years claimed by Guardian newspaper when it said he met secretly with WikiLeaks Julian Assange.”

28 November 2018

Reactions and responses to The Guardian‘s uncorrected fabrication alleging multiple visits by Paul Manafort to Julian Assange in the Embassy continue to come in.

Gareth Porter for TruthDig: “How the U.K. and Ecuador Conspire to Deliver Julian Assange to U.S. Authorities”

Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept: “It Is Possible Paul Manafort Visited Julian Assange. If True,
There Should Be Ample Video and Other Evidence Showing This.”

Jonathan Cook: “Guardian ups its vilification of Julian Assange”

The Canary: Growing calls for Guardian editor-in-chief to resign after the paper publishes massive ‘fake news’ story

The Guardian issues statement:

In a statement, a spokesperson for The Guardian said,

This story relied on a number of sources. We put these allegations to both Paul Manafort and Julian Assange’s representatives prior to publication. Neither responded to deny the visits taking place. We have since updated the story to reflect their denials.

Reactions:

Meanwhile, the Reporters Committee for a Free Press is suing to uncover the Assange indictment: Judge Delays Decision Whether to Unseal Assange Criminal Complaint.

27 November 2018

The Guardian has published claims from unnamed sources that Paul Manafort, former head of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, had “secret talks” with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on three occasions. These claims are completely false and the story has been fabricated. The Embassy’s visitor logs – maintained by Ecuador – show no such visits, since they did not occur.

This is not the first time that the Guardian, and in particular its writer Luke Harding, have fabricated a story about Assange. After widespread criticism from journalists across the political spectrum, the Guardian has begun to backpedal its story, adding “sources say” to the headline and editing hedging qualifications throughout the piece.

Paul Manafort has issued a statement saying, “This story is totally false and deliberately libelous. I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him.”

WikiLeaks is fundraising to file a lawsuit against The Guardian for libel. Contribute here.

24 November 2018

Ecuador’s government has refused Julian Assange’s lawyers Jennifer Robinson and Aitor Martínez access to him this weekend to prepare for his US court hearing on Tuesday, concerning the motion to remove the secrecy order on the U.S. charges against him.

Al Jazeera‘s in-depth analysis of Julian Assange’s case, media reporting on it and the recent discovery of a secret indictment against him with journalists Stefania Maurizi and Glenn Greenwald, media columnist Eric Alterman and author James Bell

In the wake of revelations about the secret US indictment against Julian Assange, the Huffington Post looks back at WikiLeaks’ biggest stories.

Award winning journalists Chris Hedges and Consortium News Editor-In-Chief Joe Lauria talk about the implications of extraditing Julian Assange to the US:

23 November 2018

Why You Should Care About the Julian Assange Case

In a comprehensive take on WikiLeaks’ publishing history and the implications of Julian Assange’s recently confirmed secret indictment in the US, Matt Taibbi writes for Rolling Stone: “Forget Jim Acosta. If you are worried about Trump’s assault on the press, news of a Wikileaks indictments is the real scare story.”

 the more likely eventuality is a prosecution that uses the unpopularity of Assange to shut one of the last loopholes in our expanding secrecy bureaucracy. Americans seem not to grasp what might be at stake. Wikileaks briefly opened a window into the uglier side of our society, and if publication of such leaks is criminalized, it probably won’t open again.

There’s already a lot we don’t know about our government’s unsavory clandestine activities on fronts like surveillance and assassination, and such a case would guarantee we’d know even less going forward. Long-term questions are hard to focus on in the age of Trump. But we may look back years from now and realize what a crucial moment this was.

The Sun: Prosecuting Assange for WikiLeaks would set a bad precedent

The Boston Globe: Love him or hate him, Julian Assange shouldn’t be prosecuted by the United States

22 November 2018

Trevor Timm spoke to James Goodale, “the famed First Amendment lawyer and former general counsel the New York Times, who led the paper’s legal team in the famed Pentagon Papers case — about the dire impact the Justice Department’s move may have on press freedom, regardless of whether people consider Assange himself a “journalist.”

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters urges Ecuador to protect WikiLeaks publisher against U.S. charges.

“Prosecution of Julian Assange, America’s Betrayal of Its Own Ideals” writes Nozomi Hayase for Common Dreams.

Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno replaced the country’s ambassador in London, Carlos Abad Ortiz, who “had been in charge of the diplomatic mission since 2015 and had been an influential figure regarding Assange’s future”:

the decision to oust Abad has fueled speculation that Ecuador is looking to push Assange out the door.

Fidel Narvaez, the former consul at the embassy, told CNN that Abad’s removal should be seen as a bad omen for the WikiLeaks founder and his asylum.

21 November 2018

Srećko Horvat argues for Al Jazeera that the prosecution of Julian Assange in the US would have grave consequences for press freedom all over the world.

20 November 2018

Stefania Maurizi, an investigative journalist for La Repubblica, argued at a London tribunal today that it is in the public interest for the police force to reveal whether it has exchanged information about the current and former WikiLeaks employees with the US. Read the comprehensive background of the case at Computer Weekly.

“Julian Assange deserves a Medal of Freedom, not a secret indictment,” writes James Bovard for USA Today.

Case against WikiLeaks founder Assange is a crisis for the First Amendment, writes Heather Wokusch for the Business Standard.

Trump denies knowing ‘much about’ WikiLeaks’ and Julian Assange. “I don’t know much about him, I really don’t,” says Trump.

“The Indictment of Julian Assange Is a Threat to Press Freedom,” writes Bruce Shapiro for the Nation.

More commentary on the indictment:

Ron Paul says Julian Assange is “Perhaps The Greatest Journalist of Our Time”

19 November 2018

Jennifer Robinson, human rights lawyer representing Julian Assange, comments on the news of charges in an interview for MSNBC.

“Government’s contempt for a free press on display with Assange,” writes Bernard Keane for Crikey.

“If the U.S. government can prosecute the WikiLeaks editor for publishing classified material, then every media outlet is at risk,” writes Bradley P. Moss for the Atlantic.

18 November 2018

Pamela Anderson writes an open letter to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, responding to his comments made about her plea for Julian Assange.

In an opinion piece for the Canary, Tom Coburg examines the evidence that the Australian government knew of US charges against Assange since 2010.

17 November 2018

US has charged Julian Assange: reactions and coverage

We have a post recapping responses to the news that US has charges in place against Julian Assange, including commentary from his lawyers, reactions from press freedom groups and human rights advocates, and a suit to unseal the indictment.

16 November 2018

US charges in place against Julian Assange

US prosecutors “inadvertently” revealed that Julian Assange has been charged under seal (i.e., confidentially) in the US – something which WikiLeaks and its supporters have long said but which has been denied by some US officials. The document making the admission was written by Assistant US Attorney Kellen S Dwyer. The Wall Street Journal reported that “over the past year, US prosecutors have discussed several types of charges they could potentially bring against Mr. Assange.” The Hill noted that charges against Julian could include violating the US Espionage Act, which criminalises releasing information regarding US national defence.

In response, the New York Times wrote:

“An indictment centering on the publication of information of public interest — even if it was obtained from Russian government hackers — would create a precedent with profound implications for press freedoms.”

The Director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, wrote:

“Deeply troubling if the Trump administration, which has shown little regard for media freedom, would charge Assange for receiving from a government official and publishing classified information–exactly what journalists do all the time.”

In more detail, the document stated:

“Another procedure short of sealing will not adequately protect the needs of law enforcement at this time because, due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged…. The complaint, supporting affidavit, and arrest warrant as well as this motion and proposed order, would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.”

Glenn Greenwald writes, ‘As the Obama DOJ Concluded, Prosecution of Julian Assange for Publishing Documents Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom’

What has changed since that Obama-era consensus? Only one thing: in 2016, WikiLeaks published documents that reflected poorly on Democrats and the Clinton campaign rather than the Bush-era wars, rendering Democrats perfectly willing, indeed eager, to prioritize their personal contempt for Assange over any precepts of basic press freedoms, civil liberties, or Constitutional principles. It’s really just as simple – and as ignoble – as that.

It is this utterly craven and authoritarian mentality that is about to put Democrats of all sorts in bed with the most extremist and dangerous of the Trump faction as they unite to create precedents under which the publication of information – long held sacrosanct by anyone caring about press freedoms – can now be legally punished.

12 November 2018

Independent journalist Chris Hedges writes for TruthDig, ‘Crucifying Julian Assange‘:

What is happening to Assange should terrify the press. And yet his plight is met with indifference and  sneering contempt. Once he is pushed out of the embassy, he will be put on trial in the United States for what he published. This will set a new and dangerous legal precedent that the Trump administration and future administrations will employ against other publishers, including those who are part of the mob trying to lynch Assange. The silence about the treatment of Assange is not only a betrayal of him but a betrayal of the freedom of the press itself. We will pay dearly for this complicity.

7 November 2018

Ecuador’s Jose Valencia: ‘If Julian Assange does not abide by protocol, there will be consequences’

6 November 2018

Independent journalist Stefania Maurizi writes, The West is Failing Julian Assange, for Consortium News:

While the media focused on Julian Assange’s cat rather than his continuing arbitrary detention, evidence shows that Britain worked hard to force his extradition to Sweden where Assange feared he could then be turned over to the U.S.

4 November 2018

Solidarity vigil outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in support of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange

Christine Assange, Julian Assange’s mother, speaks about the increasingly dire circumstances which face her son

Vigils in support of Julian Assange in Ljubljana, Slovenia and Taipei, Taiwan

3 November 2018

Break-in attempt

Joe Lauria on the break-in attempt at Assange’s Residence in Ecuador Embassy on October 29, and increasing fears about the safety of the WikiLeak’s publisher.

An attempted break-in at Julian Assange’s residence inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Oct. 29, and the absence of a security detail, have increased fears about the safety of the WikiLeak’s publisher.

Lawyers for Assange have confirmed to activist and journalist Suzie Dawson that Assange was awoken in the early morning hours by the break-in attempt. They confirmed to Dawson that the attempt was to enter a front window of the embassy. A booby-trap Assange had set up woke him, the lawyers said.

Joe Emersberger writes for FAIR: the Assange case shows that support for free speech depends on who’s talking

In March of this year, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno made the conditions of Assange’s arbitrary detention much worse. For seven months, Assange has been without any means to directly communicate with the public—in other words, to defend himself from relentless attacks and ridicule in Western media. Moreno has not only cut off Assange’s internet and telephone access, but alsoseverely restricted visits. Moreno has openly stated that he silenced and isolated Assange because he objected to Assange’s political statements, but rather than blast Moreno for trampling Assange’s right to free expression and other basic rights, the international press and prominent “human rights” organizations have responded with silence, distortions and even smirks.

2 November 2018

Ecuador cuts off all access to Julian Assange, including barring legal visits

Most immediately, the ban obstructs a legal appeal by Assange against an Ecuadorian judge’s decision last week to uphold a draconian “protocol” that President Lenín Moreno’s government has sought to impose on him, in fundamental violation of the right to political asylum.

Julian Assange, Political Prisoner of Our Time:

Assange has become a high profile Western dissident. He has been arbitrarily detained for 6 years without charge, deprived of fresh air, sunshine and an access to a proper medical care. What made him be considered dangerous by the most powerful government in the world? WikiLeaks has published material that exposed the crimes and corruptions of governments and institutions. Their disclosure of secret documents challenged those in power. But this is not the only reason that made him become an enemy of the state. He has been silenced and attacked because of a particular voice he carries that is critical for a future of our civilization.

31 October 2018

The forced, arbitrary incommunication imposed on Mr. Assange for seven months was the subject of a protective action measure before a court in Quito on 25 and 29 October 2018.

The judge refused to rule on the constitutionality of the government’s actions against Mr. Assange and said it was a matter for the Constitutional Court. The judge declined to hear witnesses and declined to accept evidence documenting the embassy’s visitor ban. On 30 October 2018 the case was appealed to the provincial court.

Ecuador has since issued an official communiqué, declaring, ‘The legality of the protocol that regulates Mr. Assange’s asylum is ratified.’

Read more about the hearing, including background information and amicus filings to the court.

Ecuador has assured Assange that the UK wouldn’t extradite him to the United States. But today CNN reports that the UK Home Office can “neither confirm nor deny that an extradition request has been made or received until an arrest is made in relation to the request”, a departure from previous statements and including the new qualifier regarding an arrest for the purposes of extradition.

26 October 2018

Referring to the statement made by Ecuadorian official that UK has not received any requests to extradite Assange, Assange’s lawyer Carlos Poveda says that “that commitment must be in writing, as a compromise between the states [Ecuador and the United Kingdom], affirming that there will be no extradition to the United States or third countries… If there is such a commitment, then Mr. Assange will surrender to the UK justice”.

25 October 2018

Hearing in Ecuador

Julian Assange’s hearing in Quito, following his lawyer Baltasar Garzón’s filing last week, was suspended due to technical and translation problems. Iñigo Salvador, who represents the Ecuadorean government in court proceedings said that technical problems “could not be solved immediately” and that the judge “has considered it essential that Mr. Assange participate in the entire hearing.”

Ecuador rep vows no extradition

The United Kingdom told Ecuador in August that Assange would not be extradited if he left the country’s London embassy, Iñigo Salvador told reporters. Assange supporters argue that the UK should issue a written guarantee for it to be valid.

What happens when Mr. Julian Assange steps outside the door? Mr. Carlos Poveda – his legal representative in Ecuador, gives the answer.

Call to action

In an op-od for WSWS Bill Van Auken calls for mobilization of militant and active solidarity with Julian Assange who is facing an escalating threat that he will be handed over to the British authorities and ultimately extradited to the United States to face trumped-up charges of espionage, punishable by life imprisonment and even the death penalty.

24 October 2018

‘Ecuador might turn Assange over to US’ says Ex-President Correa to RT

More coverage:

TeleSUR: Correa: Ecuador May Hand Over Assange to Washington Soon

Daily Mail: Ecuador’s former president says he thinks the country will hand Julian Assange over to America

Popular Resistance: Ecuador Likely to Turn Assange Over to US – Ex-President Correa to RT

21 October 2018

Julian Assange should be thanked – not smeared – for Wikileaks’ service to journalism.’ Mark Curtis, author and political analyst gives a comprehensive overview of Wikileaks’ revelations about British foreign policy in the Middle East.

20 October 2018

Julian Assange’s solicitor, Jennifer Robinson, and the former Consul at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Fidel Narváez, talk about origins of Wikileaks and the convoluted and prolonged legal case against its founder with ZTR Radio

17 October 2018

Congressmembers Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Eliot Engel, of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, have written a letter calling on Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno to abandon its asylum of Julian Assange and turn him over to British police. Ros-Lehtinen and Engel call Assange a “threat to global security” and warn that “it will be very difficult for the United States to advance our bilateral relationship until Mr. Assange is handed over to the proper authorities.”

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16 October 2018

WikiLeaks’ Twitter account has posted an English translation of Ecuador’s ‘Special Protocol of Visits, Communications and Medical Attention to Mr. Julian Paul Assange,’ which details the restrictions Ecuador has imposed upon the partial restoration of Assange’s internet access. The new document outlines the limitations on visitors, electronic devices, and internet usage:

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14 October 2018

Ecuador partly restores Julian Assange’s internet access, but it still limits his freedom to express political opinion.

12 October 2018

UN Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression David Kaye, visiting Ecuador, welcomes moves to protect and promote freedom of expression

Wikileaks publishes confidential Amazon document detailing locations of data centers worldwide.

11 October 2018

Trump campaign claims WikiLeaks not liable for releasing hacked emails.

Assange’s legal team plans to file a lawsuit against Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia for making public confidential information about Assange’s asylum and citizenship process, according to lawyer Carlos Poveda.

10 October 2018

Vigils in support of Julian Assange continue each week in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Pacifica Radio Network National Board votes to stand with Assange and Wikileaks.

Swiss court clears ex-banker Rudolf Elmer, who allegedly gave secrets to WikiLeaks.

7 October 2018

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia Amores reaffirms the country’s decision to grant asylum to Julian Assange.

Assange supporters celebrate Wikileaks 12 birthday in front of the Ecudorian Embassy in London

6 October 2018

Unity4J holds its fifth online vigil for Julian Assange. Guests included the CIA anti-torture whistleblower John Kiriakou, ex-U.S. House of Representatives member Cynthia McKinney, progressive comedian Graham Elwood and ACLU Board member and Radio Host Garland Nixon.

5 October 2018

U.S. aligned parties fail in Ecuadorean National Assembly to review Assange’s citizenship

4 October 2018

Speaking to RT’s Going Underground, Courage Trustee John Pilger criticized the media landscape in the UK, and particularly its treatment of Julian Assange.

Wikileaks celebrates 12th Anniversary

20 September 2018

Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson told RT that Ecuador will not kick Julian out of the embassy: “Ecuador has made it clear in the past few months – after this wide-spread speculation that he would be forced to leave – that they will respect the asylum.”

13 September 2018

Vigils continue in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:

9 September 2018

In a response to inquiries from supporters, Amnesty International expressed opposition to any potential extradition for Julian Assange to the United States, arguing that this would put his human rights at serious risk of abuse:

7 September 2018

Australian lawyer Greg Barns, a member of Assange’s legal team and an adviser to WikiLeaks, told iTWire, “if there is not a resolution to his case — in other words, the UK guaranteeing that he will not be extradited to the US — the reality is Julian’s health will deteriorate to the point where his life is in serious danger.”

6 September 2018

Rallies continue outside of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:

Hands Off Assange Rally in San Francisco at the UK Consulate:

5 September 2018

In a US Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Senator Cotton attempts to pressure Twitter and Facebook CEOs into shutting down WikiLeaks’ and Julian Assange’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, after the CEOs said they do not violate their respective terms of service:

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg: “It is essential that Julian Assange not be indicted, be convicted, or be extradited to the United States.”

Ellsberg also condemns Australia’s decision to ban Chelsea Manning from entering the country for her planned speaking tour:

Free Speech, Parler Sans Peur‘, a new documentary on freedom of expression, featuring Julian Assange, Jude Law, Sarah Harrison, Mick Jagger, Gavin MacFadyen, and many more, is now screening in cities across France.

4 September 2018

Street actions for Julian Assange:

Victoria, BC, Canada:

Outside the Embassy in London:

Outside the Parliament House in Canberra, Australia:

1 September 2018

Analysing a recently published ABC article written by James Gordon Meek and Ali Dukakis, James Cogan writes that the investigation by special counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller into alleged “Russian interference” in the 2016 US presidential election is close to issuing an indictment against WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange.

30 August 2018

Ron Paul’s Liberty Report covers ‘The Torture of Assange: A Blight on the US Justice System’

29 August 2018

ABC News: As his isolation intensifies, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange faces possible threat of eviction, extradition | “US authorities debating charges against Wikileaks’ Assange.”

In a series of interviews with his lawyers, supporters and friends, the people closest to Assange painted a bleak picture of his present and a grim outlook on his future, telling ABC News that he may both long for and dread the day he is forced out of the embassy.

“He’s been effectively in solitary confinement,” said Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson. “Julian has always said he’s very happy to face British justice but not at the expense of having to face American injustice.”

27 August 2018

In an op-ed for CounterPunch, Lawrence Davidson writes about Julian Assange and the fate of journalism.

In an op-ed for RT, former M15 intelligence officer Annie Machon writes about First Amendment rights and the case of Julian Assange.

26 August 2018

Protests and vigils in support of Julian Assange held in 18 cities across the globe.

Los Angeles

New York City

Phoenix

Auckland

Wellington

Adelaide

Melbourne

Canberra

Ljubljana

Rio de Janiero

Toronto

In Kathmandu, Nepalese intellectuals, artists and activists submitted a letter to the British, US and Australian Embassies, for their governments to secure safety, security and freedom of Julian Assange.

25 August 2018

John Pilger talks to RT UK about Assange and why he needs the support of journalists and Democrats:

24 August 2018

Ecuador withdraws from ALBA, the regional alliance created by Hugo Chavez to resist US influence, which backed Ecuador’s 2012 decision to grant Assange asylum.

Activists from the pacifist Catholic Worker movement petition the Pope to intervene & accompany Assange out of the UK to safety during the Pope’s visit, hand delivering the petition.

22 August 2018

Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi stated that she was denied access to documents on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and other Wikileaks personnel (Sarah Harrison, Joseph Farrell and Kristinn Hrafnsson) by London’s Metropolitan Police, UK’s Crown Prosecution Service and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She announced that she has appealed the decision.

18 August 2018

Dave Lindorf, in an op-ed for Eurasia Review, writes about Mainstream Media Hypocrisy in the case of Wikileaks.

16 August 2018

Six years ago today Ecuador formally granted asylum to Wikileaks editor Julian Assange. Activists gather in front of the London Ecuadorian Embassy to demand this protection be held, against extradition, and guarantee his safe passage.

15 August 2018

In an opinion piece for the WSWS, James Cogan explaines how the Mueller investigation is seeking to implicate WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in “Russian interference.”

13 August 2018

Former Consul of Ecuador in London Fidel Narváez, who was tasked with accompanying Assange from the day he first set foot in the embassy, says withdrawing Julian Assange’s asylum would be a clear violition of international law, and discusses the impact of Ecuador’s standing on the issue in an interview with The Prisma.

In an official statement issued by the Ecuadorian Communication Office, the President Lenin Moreno says: “If the British Government guarantees us that Julian Assange won’t be in danger once extradited to another country, then we will ask him to leave our Embassy in London and face justice in England.”

9 August 2018

Live show for Julian from Politics in the Pub in Sydney, Australia. With Christine Assange, Suzie Dawson, Cathy Vogan, Prof. Stuart Rees & Mike Head:

8 August 2018

US Senator Mark Warner, who has previously signed a letter imploring VP Mike Pence to urge Ecuador to revoke Julian Assange’s asylum, has now signed a letter asking Assange to testify in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Letter was delivered via US embassy in London. WikiLeaks’ legal team say they are “considering the offer but the conditions must conform to a high ethical standard.”

7 August 2018

In an interview with Consortium News, John Pilger, a long time supporter of Julian Assange and Courage trustee, talks about Assange’s deteriorating health and the physical dangers he faces during this period of virtual isolation. Pilger also excoriates the western media for their silence and pro-government stand on the marginalizing and potential prosecution of Assange, even after they collaborated with WikiLeaks in major high-profile breaking stories.

6 August 2018

German MPs sign letter supporting Julian Assange’s freedom

Fifteen members of the German Bundestag and the European Parliament have signed a letter (in English and German, below) entitled, ‘Freedom for Julian Assange!’ The MPs call on the governments of England and Ecuador to end Julian’s “de facto imprisonment”:

The risk of extradition to an unpredictable administration in the U.S. is greater than ever. This is all the more serious as the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has condemned the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange was subjected to without British or other governments of EU Member States having drawn any political consequences from it.

Prime Minister Theresa May and President Lenín Moreno, we appeal to you: ensure the release and effective protection of Julian Assange!

The letter was initiated by MP Heike Haensel of the Left Party, a longtime supporter of Assange and Chelsea Manning, and has been subsequently been signed by several more MPs.

English:

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Solitary confinement

5 August 2018

6500+ have signed petition for Assange

More than 6,500 supporters have signed a petition calling on the UK government to free and protect Julian Assange.

Julian Assange is in great jeopardy and it appears that you may be the only one who can help him. His asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy is threatened and he is living under intolerable conditions. Yet, if he leaves, he is exposed to arrest and imprisonment in the US. Senior US law enforcement officials have stated that they intend to do anything they can do to imprison him in the US. In recent days heavily armored police vehicles have surrounded the Embassy and the media is reporting that his arrest is imminent. You can prevent this and we urge you to free Assange.

Add your name here!

3 August 2018

BBC Newsnight covers Assange’s embassy dilemma

Courage Director Naomi Colvin spoke to Newsnight about the potential for extradition:

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to the BBC as well about Julian’s asylum:

1 August 2018

Assange’s attorney calls on Australia to step in

TeleSUR reports that Julian Burnside, an Australian member of Assange’s legal team, called on his government to intercede in the embassy situation:

The main option for Assange is for the Australian government to step in and help him by doing a diplomatic deal with the British, which should not be difficult to do, which would enable him to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy and travel safely back to Australia.

30 July 2018

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister comments on Assange case

José Valencia Amores, Ecuador’s new Foreign Minister, has issued a statement via Twitter, saying that “it is in the interest of Ecuador and also of Mr. Assange that the asylum be terminated.”

Assange’s days in the Ecuadorian Embassy are numbered says former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa

In an interview for RT’s Spanish service, former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that, sooner or later, the publisher will have to leave the embassy. Correa noted that unless Assange secures safe passage guarantees, he is likely to be prosecuted for espionage and treason “which may carry the death penalty.”

Petition to secure Assange’s freedom submitted to Australian officials

A petition to secure freedom for Julian Assange has been submitted this morning to the Australian Prime Minister and all elected members of government. More than 3,300 have signed as of this writing — add your name here.

Ongoing vigils in front of the Ecudorian Embassy in London

Supporters have been gathering in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for Julian Assange throughout his time there. Catalans in London are organising a solidarity vigil on Tuesday July 31 at 7 pm in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy.

29 July 2018

Moreno on “ideal” solution for Assange

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, who visited Spain and Britain last week, said the “ideal” solution would involve Assange accepting a “penalty” for having breached British bail conditions and then be “extradited to a country where he does not face any danger.”

15 cities join in support of Julian Assange

In the event Julian Assange’s asylum is revoked, emergency rallies will be organized at 6pm the following day and then again the following Sunday. Here is the latest map. Join the emergency protest network here.

A letter to Pope Francis seeking help for Julian Assange

A number of Catholic priests, activists, health workers and clergy have signed a Plea to the Pope, initiated by longtime activist Ciaron O’Reilly of London Catholic Worker, to ensure safe passage for Assange out of England into a place of safety.

27 July 2018

Moreno says he did discuss Assange with UK government

In a press conference in Madrid, Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno says he did discuss Assange’s situation with UK government this week and says, “the only person I haven’t spoken to is Mr. Assange” and that the “only thing” he wants is a guarantee that Assange won’t be executed.

Originally in Spanish, the exchange was translated here:

Ecuador’s case for Assange’s asylum, six years on, is stronger than ever

In an op-ed for Open Democracy, Guillaume Long, professor of international relations and former Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Affairs, writes that Ecuador’s initial fears of political persecution — the main reason for granting asylum to Assange — have been proven right.

“With the case dropped in Sweden, the affair has gone a full circle and the key issue is Washington’s wrath with Wikileaks.” writes Long. “Ecuador has a choice. It can (…) demonstrate its respect for the internationally recognised principle of non-refoulement and uphold the asylum as long as its causes persist. Or it can hand Assange over to the British authorities making future extradition to the United States likely.”

26 July 2018

Fidel Navárez outlines Ecuador’s responsibilities

Fidel Navárez, former counsel at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, has written an analysis of Ecuador’s responsibilities towards Julian Assange as an asylee and a citizen, which have been underlined by the recent ruling of the Inter American court.

Hundreds urge New Zealand to grant Julian Assange asylum

WikiLeaks supporters in New Zealand are gathering signatures to press for their government to offer Julian Assange safe haven. Greg Rzesniowiecki explains why he started the campaign:

WikiLeaks is one of the democracy’s sensors, providing vital information as to the civilisation brain or ordering system – our governments.

Where our governments attack Wikileaks they attack the democracy. Where they attack the democracy they attack us.

25 July 2018

Scott Ludlam: how WikiLeaks became a political Rorschach test

Former Australian Senator Scott Ludlam has written a defence of WikiLeaks that recalls the importance of their 2010-11 releases for global politics:

The WikiLeaks organisation has operated as a kind of political Rorschach test since at least 2010,… This malignant scatter of ink-blots was easy enough for most people to read: the disclosures were clearly in the public interest, given the distance between the officially curated version of the United States’ saintly presence in the world and the ugly raw material

24 July 2018

New York Times deputy general counsel: Assange “in a classic publisher’s position”

An audience of US federal judges at the Ninth Circuit’s annual Judicial Conference heard from David McCraw, the deputy general counsel of the New York Times and Barry Pollack, from Julian Assange’s legal team, on the potential ramifications of a US prosecution.

Speaking on a panel on the Law of Leaks, McGraw held that any prosecution would have inevitable repercussions for traditional news outlets (“I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks”) and that organisations innovating in journalistic practice were playing a valuable public service.

Our colleagues who are not only challenging us financially but journalistically have raised an awareness that there are different ways to report.

Barry Pollack noted that recent US criminal indictments that appear to refer to WikiLeaks as ‘Organisation-1’ are squarely attacking perfectly ordinary journalistic practice.

If you read the indictment that just came out on Russians and you look at what Organization Number 1, which is clearly WikiLeaks, is alleged to have done in that indictment, it is doing exactly what The New York Times and The Washington Post do every day of the week… He [Assange] is communicating with a source, the source provides him with information, he publishes that information.

There are no questions about the truthfulness or accuracy or authenticity of that information. And then he encourages the source to give him more information. He says ‘don’t give it to my competitors, give it to me. This story will have more impact if I publish it.’

23 July 2018

Reuters: the situation at the embassy is “coming to a head”

A report from Reuters cites a source stating that the situation is deteriorating at the Ecuadorian embassy.
“The situation is very serious. Things are coming to a head,” the source, who spoke on condition on anonymity, told Reuters. He said the latest information from inside the embassy was, “It’s not looking good”.

Inter-American Court ruling explained

A post by Jennifer Robinson at Doughty Street Chambers explains the Inter-American Court ruling of earlier this month, which was brought by the previous government of Ecuador.

In summary, the decision of the Court makes clear that Ecuador cannot return Mr Assange to the British authorities if there is a risk he will be extradited to the United States, which was the basis on which he was granted asylum.

22 July 2018

What we’ve learned from WikiLeaks

Flick Ruby recounts many of the ways the public has benefited from WikiLeaks’ releases, from exposing war crimes to using released documents in court cases, in an extended Twitter thread.

21 July 2018

Ecuador to “imminently” withdraw Assange’s aslum

Glenn Greenwald reports that Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno is in London with the covert motive of negotiating with British officials to withdraw asylum for Julian Assange “imminently”, turning him over to UK police who have vowed to arrest him immediately.

Moreno has previously said Assange’s asylum would continue but with “conditions”; since then, the foreign minister who decided to grant Assange citizenship has been elected President of the UN General Assembly, replaced by the less sympathetic Jose Valencia Amores. When stepping into the new position, Amores said Ecuador seeks an “exit that is not traumatic.”

Inter-American ruling a victory for Assange

Though it didn’t mention Julian Assange directly, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that states granting asylum must provide safe passage to asylees in embassies.

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

19 July 2018

Stefania Maurizi: Inside WikiLeaks: Working with the Publisher that Changed the World

Stefania Maurizi, a WikiLeaks media partner for nine years, recounts her experience of working on a series of critically important document releases with an organisation being put under exceptional state pressure:

WikiLeaks is rather unique from many standpoints. As a media organization publishing exclusively secret or otherwise restricted documents on “invisible powers,” such as intelligence agencies, which citizens do not normally perceive as directly relevant to their lives, there is little doubt that WikiLeaks has the full force of the State against it. It is probably the only Western media organization to have been under continuous investigation by the U.S. authorities – and probably others—since 2010, and it is definitely the only one whose editor is arbitrarily detained in the heart of Europe.

15 July 2018

Persecution of WikiLeaks threatens press freedoms

Chris Hedges has written “The War on Assange is a War on Press Freedom,” explaining:

The extradition of the publisher—the maniacal goal of the U.S. government—would set a legal precedent that would criminalize any journalistic oversight or investigation of the corporate state. It would turn leaks and whistleblowing into treason. It would shroud in total secrecy the actions of the ruling global elites. If Assange is extradited to the United States and sentenced, The New York Times, The Washington Post and every other media organization, no matter how tepid their coverage of the corporate state, would be subject to the same draconian censorship. Under the precedent set, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court would enthusiastically uphold the arrest and imprisonment of any publisher, editor or reporter in the name of national security.

Hedges joins a chorus of voices warning of the threat to journalists everywhere if the US has its way with WikiLeaks. Human Rights Watch’s executive director Ken Roth said over the weekend:

Earlier this year, the Committee to Protect Journalists wrote, “By suing WikiLeaks, DNC could endanger principles of press freedom”

The notion that journalistic activity such as cultivating sources and receiving illegally obtained documents could be construed as part of a criminal conspiracy is, according to Goodale, the “greatest threat to press freedom today.” “It will inhibit reporters’ ability to get whistleblower information, because as soon as you talk to them in any aggressive fashion you could be guilty of a crime,” Goodale said.

13 July 2018

Why I stand with Julian Assange

Former State Department diplomat Peter Van Buren pens a defence of Julian Assange for the American Conservative, emphasising the gains WikiLeaks has made for oversight of government and the likelihood that this case represents a major encroachment of government power.

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

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

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

3 July 2018

Today marks Julian Assange’s 47th birthday. Supporters worldwide have been drawing attention to his plight.

1 July 2018

Geoffrey Robertson QC: Julian Assange faces a US extradition request if he has to leave the embassy

Renowned human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, discusses Julian Assange’s case in a new interview:

Julian Assange has exposed a great deal of the secrets of the modern establishment. When he was in court, in fact when I was acting for him, he performed a service to journalists by getting a ruling that they could tweet from court, which they’d never been allowed to previously.

There’s no doubt [that he is wanted by the United States]. We never hear about that from Downing Street, we hear it from the White House.

I think this is working up to be a major free press issue. He’s been in the Ecuadorian embassy for six years, the charges brought against him in Sweden have been withdrawn. He only has America to fear.

If he leaves the embassy, he will be arrested, held for a short time for a breach of bail and in that time the US foreign secretary will order an extradition request that will keep him in prison for years fighting a US extradition request to prosecute him as a spy.

30 June 2018

Ecuador refutes claims of US influence

Ecuador’s new foreign minister Jose Valencia Amores said it’s not up to the US to determine the fate of Julian Assange, who was granted Ecuadorian citizenship earlier this year.

According to the Associated Press:

“Ecuador and the United Kingdom, and of course Mr Assange as a person who is currently staying, on asylum, at our embassy” will decide the next steps, Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told reporters.

“It does not enter, therefore, on an agenda with the United States.”

29 June 2018

White House confirms US and Ecuador are coordinating over Assange

Earlier this week, ten US Democratic Senators sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, as he was traveling to Ecuador. The letter urged “him to raise concerns with President Moreno about Ecuador’s support for Mr. Assange at a time when WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes around the world.”

The following day, the White House released a statement to reporters confirming Pence did bring up Assange’s situation: “The vice president raised the issue of Mr. Assange. It was a constructive conversation. They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward.”

Independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone comments on the letter and response:

Why would US Senators care that Assange is receiving political asylum if his belief that the US government is trying to extradite him was a paranoid fantasy? The only known existing charge that Assange could be arrested for if he leaves the embassy is a bogus bail violation he was charged with a full 12 days after he applied for political asylum; nobody actually believes ensuring that Assange is prosecuted for that nonsensical charge is an urgent matter, let alone one so urgent it necessitates the full attention of ten sitting US Senators and the Vice President of the United States. Continuing to pretend that we don’t all know that the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning is trying to extradite Assange is a farce, and the correct response to anyone denying it is to laugh in their face.

27 June 2018

Comey killed discussions over Assange’s immunity deal

The Hill reported this week that a lawyer for Julian Assange, Adam Waldman, and the US Department of Justice were in talks in March 2017 to reach an immunity deal for Assange.

Waldman wrote to a DOJ rep:

Subject to adequate and binding protections, including but not limited to an acceptable immunity and safe passage agreement, Mr. Assange welcomes the opportunity to discuss with the U.S. government risk mitigation approaches relating to CIA documents in WikiLeaks’ possession or control, such as the redaction of agency personnel in hostile jurisdictions and foreign espionage risks to WikiLeaks staff.

Derived directly from this discussion of risk mitigation, Mr. Assange is also prepared to discuss (within the source protection boundaries expected of a journalist and publisher operating at the highest level of integrity) (i) a description of CIA information in the possession or control of WikiLeaks; (ii) the risks of third parties who may have obtained access to such information (not withstanding the foregoing, for the avoidance of doubt this category specifically and others generally will not include any information that may effect WikiLeaks obligations to protect its sources) and (iii) information regarding the timing of further publications in so far as they relate to the risk mitigation approaches developed.

But just the next day, The Hill reported that former FBI Director James Comey intervened, through Senator Mark Warner, to kill those discussions.

Chilean Political Refugee Cristina Godoy Navarrete Speaks in Support of Julian Assange

“Today 20 June is World Refugee Day. My mum arrived in the UK as a political refugee in 1976 after being imprisoned and tortured by the US-government supported Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.”

Assange Is a Journalist, Should Not Be Persecuted for Publishing the Truth

Kevin Zeese writes:

The threat of prosecution against Julian Assange for his work as editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks will be a key to defining what Freedom of the Press means in the 21st Century. Should people be allowed to know the truth if their government is corrupt, violating the law or committing war crimes? Democracy cannot exist when people are misled by a concentrated corporate media that puts forth a narrative on behalf of the government and big business.

20 June 2018

Yesterday rallies were held in major cities around the world, calling for Julian Assange’s freedom.

Human Rights Watch was barred from visiting Assange in the Embassy, and its general counsel Dinah PoKempner has argued, ‘UK Should Reject Extraditing Julian Assange to US.’

The publication of leaks—particularly leaks that show potential government wrongdoing or human rights abuse—is a critical function of a free press in a democratic society. The vague and sweeping provisions of the Espionage Act remain ready to be used against other publishers and journalists, whether they be Wikileaks or the New York Times.

19 June 2018

Sixth anniversary rallies and media

Supporters rally in London for the 6th anniversary of Assange’s detention

Today marks six years since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, seeking asylum from US/UK persecution. Assange lawyer and Courage Trustee Renata Avila remarked on the anniversary:


Rallies for Assange are being held around the world

At the Embassy in London (livestream), Diem25 co-founder Srecko Horvat spoke about WikiLeaks’ importance:


At Mintpress News, Whitney Webb writes, ‘The Implications of Assange’s Persecution for Journalism and Democracy:

Assange’s case means much more than the severe mistreatment – torture, as some have said – of a single man whose commitment to bringing the dark deeds of government crimes to light has forced him to sacrifice seeing the outside world – even his own children – for the better part of a decade. Though his mistreatment has no place in any civilized “democracy,” the outcome of Assange’s case – if his extradition to the United States does come to pass – will have a powerful impact for journalism as a whole. Indeed, if the U.S.-led campaign to extradite and silence Assange is successful, it will invariably become the blueprint used by powerful governments like the U.S. to silence independent journalists the world over, and bludgeon them into submission.

At Consortium News, former CIA officer Ray McGovern writes, ‘Julian Assange and the Mindszenty Case:

Where is the voice of conscience to condemn what is happening to Julian Assange, whose only “crime” is publishing documents exposing the criminal activities and corruption of governments and other Establishment elites? Decades ago, the U.S. and “civilized world” had nothing but high praise for the courageous Mindszenty. He became a candidate for sainthood.

And Assange?  He has been confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for six years —from June 19, 2012—the victim of a scurrilous slander campaign and British threats to arrest him, should he ever step outside. The U.S. government has been putting extraordinary pressure on Ecuador to end his asylum and top U.S. officials have made it clear that, as soon as they get their hands on him, they will manufacture a reason to put him on trial and put him in prison. All for spreading unwelcome truth around.

Vault 7 charges brought

Meanwhile, Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act charges have been brought against Joshua Schulte, the alleged source of the Vault 7 leak of CIA hacking tools published by WikiLeaks.

18 June 2018

Tomorrow, 19 June 2018, marks six years since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Rallies in support of Assange’s freedom, and freedom to use the internet, are planned around the world. See here for a list of global actions, and get in touch with us here to add your event or send us photos from your local action.

Tomorrow the UN Human Rights Council will hear a discussion of “Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and the Future of Rights and Freedoms in the West,” with Judge Baltasar Garzon, head of Assange’s legal team; Stefania Maurizi, the Italian journalist who uncovered important documents about Assange’s persecution; and Micol Savia, from the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.

John Pilger and others speak at Australian rally

Courage trustee and investigative journalist John Pilger spoke at the Sydney Town Hall rally for Julian Assange. An abridged transcription of his talk, ‘Bring Julian Assange Home,’ can be found here.

Lawyers speak out for Assange’s rights

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about Julian’s case.

Julian Assange’s Lawyer on 6 Years of Arbitrary Detention

Lawyer and human rights activist Kellie Tranter highlights the Australian government’s selective willingness to protect human rights.

the Australian government says it is ‘fully committed’ [to upholding international human rights law] but simultaneously cherry picks the human rights it wants to uphold or agitate for, depending upon what is politically advantageous to itself or its allies. In Assange’s case this “commitment” has never been translated into any sort of action.

14 June 2018

An exit without “trauma”

Ecuador’s new foreign minister Jose Valencia Amores replaces Maria Fernando Espinosa, the new President of US General Assembly who granted Julian Assange with Ecuadorian citizenship. Amores said on Wednesday, 13 June, that Ecuador seeks a solution to Assange’s situation “that gives us an exit that is not traumatic, an exit that can not provoke a dissonance with international law (and that) serves the interest of the Ecuadorian State.”

UN meeting on Assange

Julian Assange’s Twitter account, run by campaign members while he remains without internet access, announced that on 19 June, the sixth anniversary of Julian entering the embassy, the UN will hold a meeting on his persecution:

New details on Ecuadorian surveillance

Spanish newspaper El Diario has uncovered new details about Operation Hotel, Ecuador’s long effort to spy on Julian Assange’s every move within the embassy, unveiled by the Guardian last month. Based on confidential government intelligence reports, El Diario explains:

The parties of the security company do not limit themselves to detailing the incidents that were registered during those dates outside the embassy, ​​where there were concentrations and some manifestations not too numerous, they also detail and photograph what happens inside the government building, where a network of security cameras  registered all Assange activity. These  images came  to screens located in an apartment located 100 meters from the embassy in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in London . The cameras allowed the Ecuadorian Government to document a meeting that took place on April 4, 2017. “The Guest – as they refer to Assange – receives the visits of Praxis Film”, begins the extraordinary report dedicated to that appointment.

However, El Diario notes ample incorrect information within the reports:

The intelligence reports to which eldiario.es has had access are filled with errors and incorrect statements. Some names of visitors Assange received are not correct, there are misspellings and on some documents, and the Ecuadoran embassy is referred to as the Colombian Embassy. There are also mistakes in identifying the people with whom the WikiLeaks founder has access, like when the report speaks of Renata Avila, who it refers to as one of his Spanish lawyers from the office of Baltasar Garzon. Avila is not Spanish and she is not a lawyer in Garzon’s office.

More support

Filmmaker Ken Loach is the latest to add his voice of support for Assange, with this statement:

The persecution of Julian Assange must end. To force him to remain in the Ecuadorian Embassy for fear of extradition to the USA is clearly political.

He is right to be fearful. In the current febrile atmosphere people in the US have called for his execution.

He has defended the public’s right to know what is done in their name when others who now attack him have run for cover.

It is time that Julian Assange is free to leave without fear.

The Washington Post mark the upcoming six-year anniversary of Julian Assange taking refuge in the embassy.

Free Julian Assange NZ have announced a Wellington protest in support of Julian Assange on 19 June, with a march planned from the Australia High Commission to the US Embassy to the UK Embassy.

John Jiggens writes in Independent Australia that ‘the long siege of Julian Assange’ is “ongoing and unfair”, with extensive comments from  Irish-Australian Catholic Worker activist Ciaron O’Reilly, who said:

lf you marched against the Iraq War and over a million people marched in London alone, then what you did by marching is you incited people like Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. So if you serious about being anti-war then you have to accompany the people you incited, whether they be military resisters or whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning or publishers like Julian Assange.

I know from my own experiences of imprisonment for anti-war activity that the most minute expressions of solidarity carry a lot of weight in terms of nourishing resisters and I have been in the embassy with Julian when he’s received support mail from people and I’ve seen how he has been sincerely nourished by that and I would encourage everyone to write to him.

There’s an old saying that truth is the first casualty of war. Well maybe, as Julian points out, peace can be founded on telling the truth.

13 June 2018

Courage Trustee and investigative journalist John Pilger was interviewed by Dennis Bernstein about the ‘Curious Case of the Left’s Silence on Julian Assange.’ Pilger said:

They have not won, not yet, and they have not destroyed the man. Only the silence of good people will allow them to win. Julian Assange has never been more isolated. He needs your support and your voice. Now more than ever is the time to demand justice and free speech for Julian. Thank you.”

WISE Up Action have published a new interview with James Cogan, ;The Fight to Free Julian Assange is a question of political principle.’

Artists Tony Garnett, Davide Dormino and Costantino Ciervo demand freedom for Julian Assange.

Former high-ranking UN official Alfred M. de Zayas issued a statement of support:

Assange, whom I visited at the Ecuador Embassy in London, deserves the Nobel Prize for Peace. He and fellow whistleblower Eduard Snowden have done more for democracy, rule of law and peace than the many hypocritical politicians and journalists who attack and defame them.

12 June 2018

Australians take notice after High Commission visit

Following the news that Australian officials visited the Ecuadorian Embassy, Australians are showing their support for Julian Assange. Australian public high school teachers signed a resolution in support of the campaign for Assange’s freedom.

At Mintpress News, Whitney Webb says that the outcome of Assange’s situation could set a precedent for all Australians, calling on the Aussie government to protect him:

if Australia reneges on its obligations to protect Assange and fight for his rights, the implications such actions would hold for every other citizen of the country are as vast as they are chilling. It would set the legal precedent for Australia to allow any of its citizens to be detained, imprisoned and/or silenced by another government without charges, greatly weakening the rights of any Australian national living or traveling abroad. Essentially, it would mean that many of the rights granted to an Australian by right of one’s citizenship would evaporate the second he or she set foot on foreign soil.

11 June 2018

Australia providing consular assistance

Over the weekend it was confirmed that Australia was providing consular assistance in Assange’s situation after two officials from the High Commission in London visited the Ecuadorian Embassy. 7 News Melbourne spoke with Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson:


Postcards for Assange

Inspired by John Pilger’s statement calling for support, WISEUP Action has launched a postcard campaign, providing postcards emphasizing Assange’s right to free speech and his right to healthcare available for download.

5 June 2018

Ecuador’s foreign minister elected President of UN General Assembly

Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador’s foreign minister who approved Julian Assange’s citizenship and gave him diplomatic status, has been elected President of the United Nations’ General Assembly.

In an interview with the Associated Press on Monday, Espinosa said there was no set date for Assange to regain internet access.

Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, said last week that Espinosa made the decision to grant Assange citizenship. “I told the foreign minister she should, with complete freedom, choose how to solve the problem. And she chose that system. It wasn’t the most suitable, but I respected it,” Moreno said.

4 June 2018

Investigative journalist and Courage Trustee John Pilger has released a statement about Julian’s situation and the need for widespread grassroots support, entitled “Justice and freedom for Julian Assange mean free speech for us all.”

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou explained the importance of supporting Assange in a recent video message. “I feel like we’re heading into an international crisis if we turn our backs on Julian Assange,” he said.

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters displayed a huge message of support at a  performance over the weekend:

Assange supporter Emmy Butlin, whose group WISEUP Action organizes vigils outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, recently gave an interview to World Socialist Website.

Vigils planned in support of Julian Assange

17 June – Sydney, Australia, Town Hall’s Square, 1pm

19 June – London, Ecuadorian Embassy, 6-8pm