Tag Archives | WikiLeaks

Jennifer Van Bergen: Why Julian Assange is My Hero

At RedRoom, author Jennifer Van Bergen offers a powerful defense of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as a hero and global speaker of truth to power:

But what Assange has done is not to blow the whistle on wrong-doing. He isn’t a vulnerable insider speaking out on the wrongs of his masters (like Bradley Manning, the man who is accused of leaking tens of thousands of pages of classified material to Wikileaks). What Assange has done — is doing — is to act as a witness, to be the seeing eyes from a safe distance. Assange understands the need to protect his independence from both the sources who supply material to Wikileaks and from the power abusers whose abuses the material reveals. He is the one whose eyes form a barrier between the abuser and his victim and consequently break the abuser’s hold and undo his power.

Assange’s critics fail to understand what Assange is doing.

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Julian Assange Still an Irrelevant Narcissistic Cult Leader

Disturbed at the lack of international media attention over his supposed plight, Julian Assange took the opportunity of President Obama’s speech in support of free expression at the United Nations to extol the virtues of dodging sex assault prosecution and embracing chaos over the rule of law to his gaggle of neckbearded internet fanboys.

In a video webcast from his foxhole in the Ecuadoran Embassy, Assange once again conflated the Swedish prosecution of allegations of sexual assault and rape against him with a program of persecution against the Wikileaks organization. And, unsurprisingly, his lapdogs in the web-o-sphere, and the Ecuadorean pols for whom Assange has become a superstar useful idiot love him for it. Never mind that it’s all complete nonsense, as The New Statesman’s Legal Correspondent David Allen Green has detailed:

Whenever the Julian Assange extradition comes up in the news, many of his supporters make various confident assertions about legal aspects of the case.

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What The Airforce Investigation Documents Really Say About WikiLeaks

Picture: Herder3

Wikileaks has released documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (so not technically “leaks”) detailing the investigation of an Airman working in Information Technology in the UK which in his typical grandstanding fashion Julian Assange has chosen to read as a vindication of his long held goal of becoming an International Enemy of the State:

The allegation of “Communicating with the Enemy” indicates the extremely serious threat Julian Assange and WikiLeaks face from the United States. The investigation was into the subjects support and interactions with WikiLeaks and its supporters ie her communications (or attempted communications) with Mr Assange and WikiLeaks. Therefore the term “Communicating with the Enemy” would appear to show that the US government term Mr Assange and WikiLeaks the “enemy”. By deeming them the “enemy” they can be treated under the laws of war which could include killing, capturing, detaining without trial etc.

There is one other possible interpretation of this term and that is that is that Mr Assange and WikiLeaks are not themselves the “enemy” but are a conduit to the “enemy”.

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United States Designates WikiLeaks As ‘Enemy Of The State’

For Americans in the military, contacting WikiLeaks, or people sympathetic to WikiLeaks, now may be a crime punishable by death, the Sydney Morning Herald reports:

The US military has designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as enemies of the United States – the same legal category as the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban insurgency.

Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents, released under US freedom-of-information laws, reveal that military personnel who contact WikiLeaks or WikiLeaks supporters may be at risk of being charged with “communicating with the enemy”, a military crime that carries a maximum sentence of death.

The documents, some originally classified “Secret/NoForn” – not releasable to non-US nationals – record a probe by the air force’s Office of Special Investigations into a cyber systems analyst based in Britain who allegedly expressed support for WikiLeaks and attended pro-Assange demonstrations in London.

Mr Assange’s US attorney, Michael Ratner, said…”It appears that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are the ‘enemy’.

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Wire Service Dutifully Writes Down Ecuadorean Government’s Claims About the Assange Affair

Picture: VitaliVVitaliV (CC)

From Reuters:

The Ecuadorean government shares Assange’s fears that he ultimately could be extradited to the United States, which is angry that his WikiLeaks website has leaked hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic and military cables.

The leftist Correa, who has high popularity levels and is expected to run for re-election in February 2013, had developed some rapport with Assange during an online interview the WikiLeaks founder did with him this year [for the Russian Government's English Language answer to propaganda outlet Radio Free Europe, Russia Today].

Correa’s stance has been largely cheered by Ecuadoreans, and there have been scattered protests at the British Embassy.

“The whole world should back Ecuador for giving Assange asylum and because this country is the first one to promote freedom of expression,” said Mary Valenzuela, a 39-year-old restaurant owner.

Emphasis on credulousness added.

The UK’s Independent does a slightly better job pulling apart the Cameron government’s attempts to backpedal for its inept chief diplomat:

At least one of the lawyers at the Foreign Office (FCO) expressed concern over the warning that Britain could use the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 to “storm” the embassy building and remove Assange, who faces sex crime allegations in Sweden.

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No, Actually Ecuador Doesn’t Support Press Freedom

Picture: Espen Moe (CC)

Now that Ecuador has granted Julian Assange political asylum, maybe that means he won’t be extradited to Sweden. So, unfortunately, we may never know the truth of whether he transgressed the bounds of consent by failing to use or intentionally removing condoms during otherwise consensual sex. Some Wikileaks boosters have already started treating Ecuador like an international paragon of justice and liberty as a result.

Of course, the various journalists who have been silenced by the Correa administration’s various actions to quash internal dissent might take issue with the theory that Ecuador is a safe haven for the free press.

As SF Gate reported in February 2012, just 6 months before giving Assange political asylum:

Columnist Emilio Palacio had the temerity to question actions by President Rafael Correa. In democracies, this is recognized as a duty of the press: to examine the moves of those in power.

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Officials Claim Ecuador Will Grant Julian Assange Asylum

The Ecuadorian president has denied the rumors, saying that his government’s decision will not be cemented until the end of the week, but this seems like a positive development. The Guardian reports:

Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, has agreed to grant Julian Assange asylum, officials within Ecuador’s government have said. The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up at Ecuador’s London embassy since 19 June, when he officially requested political asylum.

“Ecuador will grant asylum to Julian Assange,” said an official in the Ecuadorean capital, Quito, who is familiar with the government discussions.

On Monday, Correa told state-run ECTV that he would decide this week whether to grant asylum to Assange. Correa said a large amount of material about international law had to be examined to make a responsible, informed decision.

It remains unclear if Assange will be allowed to leave Britain and fly to Ecuador, or amounts to little more than a symbolic gesture.

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WikiLeaks Wins Case Against VISA In Iceland

The Icelandic courts have ruled that the major global credit card companies cannot block donations to WikiLeaks. Any hope that the United States and other developed nations will see the light? Russia Today reports:

The Reykjavík District Court has ruled that Valitor, formerly known as VISA Iceland, violated contract laws by blocking credit card donations to Wikileaks, according to a press release posted on the whistleblowers’ Twitter account. The court also ordered that the donation gateway should be reopened within 14 days otherwise Valitor will be forced to pay a fine of $6,200 daily.

In June, Datacell, the Iceland-based company that processed donations for WikiLeaks, filed a case against Valitor, the company behind VISA and MasterCard, for “unlawfully suspending financial services”.

The blockade stripped away over 95% of donations from supporters of WikiLeaks, costing the organization in excess of $20 million. Datacell’s director Olafur Sigurvinsson told reporters he was amazed at the double stadards: “I can support Al-Qaeda, the Ku Klux Klan, buy weapons and drugs and all kinds of porn with my Visa card.

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Ecuador To Decide Whether To Grant Political Asylum To Julian Assange

Julian Assange has spent the past two days hidden inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, with British authorities poised to arrest him the moment he steps out. Ecuador’s president may grant him refuge in South America, out of concern that Assange may be extradited to the United States and put to death. How will it all end?? Via the BBC:

Ecuador is examining the asylum case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the country’s president has said. Mr Assange is at the country’s London embassy, where he is seeking diplomatic asylum to prevent him being sent to Sweden to answer accusations of rape and assault, which he denies. Ecuador’s government has said it will make a decision on Mr Assange shortly.

Mr Assange, 40, spent a second night at the embassy on Wednesday. Mr Assange fears if he is sent to Sweden it could lead to him being sent to the United States to face charges over Wikileaks, for which he could face the death penalty.

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Julian Assange: The Price of Being A Western Dissident

Julian Assange is doing humanity a favour by exposing through the US Embassy Cables that “Oil motivates U.S. policy more than fighting terrorists,” and that the killing and torturing of tens of thousands of civilians by the US and NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan through the Iraq War Logs and Afghanistan War Logs were evidence of war crimes.

However, to Assange’s dismay, as a western dissident, he does not enjoy the soft-power of being a Chinese dissident; the “free” world politicians not only fail to acknowledge the nobility of his work in exposing human rights violations and war crimes committed by NATO and the US, President Obama described his act as a “deplorable documents dump”; former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich believed that he should be “ treated as an enemy combatant”; Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell called him a “high-tech terrorist”; while Sarah Palin wanted him to be “hunted down like al-Qaeda”; Other politicians including some mainstream media “pundits openly calling for his death”.… Read the rest

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