By Neenah PAYNE
Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, is an Australian publisher for top stories including those leaked to him by Chelsea Manning about the US murder of civilians in Iraq. The prosecution of Assange and other whistleblowers is a case of “Shoot the Messenger” rather than resolving the serious issues they raise.
Assange is awaiting an extradition hearing by the United Sates where he faces 17 charges under the Espionage Act and one of conspiracy to commit computer instruction for leaking classified documents. If extradited, Assange will be tried in a Virginia court where he will probably be found guilty and would face 175 years in prison.
All charges relate to 700,000 classified documents handed to WikiLeaks by former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning (then Bradley Manning) in 2010. The US says the leak endangered the lives of American agents and their sources working in the field, although no evidence of any harm has been presented.
Key Witness In Julian Assange Case ADMITS TO LYING provides a quick overview of the case against Assange whose “crime” was being a world-class journalist and reporting the egregious war crimes of the United States that were revealed to him. However, the case has fallen apart because the primary witness (a convicted criminal) recently admitted that his testimony against Assange was entirely false.
DOJ Trying To Cover Up War Crimes
Activist and former Democratic presidential candidate, Marianne Williamson, discusses the latest updates in the Julian Assange case.
24 MPs Call On Biden To Let Assange Go
“Twenty-four members of Parliament have called on President Joe Biden to drop the U.S. pursuit of imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. A letter from the MPs was sent to Biden on Friday as the president attends the G-7 summit in Cornwall.
It takes aim at Biden’s predecessor for indicting Assange and calls on the president ‘to drop this prosecution.’ ‘We hope that your administration will become a staunch ally of all those working to roll back the shadow of criminalisation against journalists,’ the letter says, citing the U.S. First Amendment.
The letter points out that as vice president in 2011 Biden opposed Assange’s prosecution. ‘You, like us, must have been disappointed when your predecessor launched a prosecution carrying a 175-year sentence against a globally renowned publisher,’ the MPs wrote. They told Biden Assange’s case ‘weakens the right to publish.’”
FBI Fabrication Against Assange Falls Apart
“What had happened was this. The hearings on the Assange extradition in January 2020 did not seem to be going well for the US government. The arguments that political extradition is specifically banned by the UK/US extradition treaty, and that the publisher was not responsible for Chelsea Manning’s whistleblowing on war crimes, appeared to be strong. The US Justice Department had decided that it therefore needed a new tack and to discover some “crimes” by Assange that seemed less noble than the Manning revelations.
To achieve this, the FBI turned to an informant in Iceland, Sigi Thordarson, who was willing to testify that Assange had been involved with him in, inter alia, hacking private banking information and tracking Icelandic police vehicles. This was of course much easier to portray as crime, as opposed to journalism, so the second superseding indictment was produced based on Thordarson’s story, which was elaborated with Thordarson by an FBI team.
The difficulty was that Thordarson was hardly a reliable witness. He had already been convicted in Iceland for stealing approximately $50,000 from WikiLeaks and with impersonating Julian Assange online, not to mention the inconvenient fact he is a registered sex offender for online activities with underage boys. The FBI team was in fact expelled from Iceland by the Icelandic government, who viewed what the FBI was doing with Thordarson as wholly illegitimate.
Notwithstanding all of that, in June 2020 we had the extraordinary position of the US government, 18 months since the start of extradition proceedings and six months after opening arguments had been heard by the court, being permitted completely to change the charges and alleged crimes which were the grounds for extradition, in the second superseding indictment….
While Baraitser’s eventual decision barred extradition on the grounds of Assange’s health and US inhumane prison conditions, the second superseding indictment and Thordarson’s accusations were accepted as a valid basis for extradition.
Thordarson has now told Icelandic magazine Stundin that his allegations against Assange contained in the indictment are untrue, and that Assange had not solicited the hacking of bank or police details. This is hardly a shock, though Thordarson’s motives for coming clean now are obscure; he is plainly a deeply troubled and often malicious individual.
Thordarson was always the most unreliable of witnesses, and I find it impossible to believe that the FBI cooperation with him was ever any more than deliberate fabrication of evidence by the FBI. Edward Snowden has tweeted that Thordarson recanting will end the case against Julian Assange. Most certainly it should end it, but I fear it will not. Many things should have ended the case against Assange. The First Amendment, the ban on political extradition in the US/UK Extradition Treaty, the CIA spying on the preparations of Assange’s defense counsel, all of these should have stopped the case dead in its tracks.
It is now five months since extradition was refused, no US government appeal against that decision has yet been accepted by the High Court, and yet Julian remains confined to the UK’s highest security prison….”
US Case Against Assange Is A Farce
“The Icelandic newspaper Stundin reports that a key witness in the US prosecution of Julian Assange has admitted in an interview with the outlet that he fabricated critical accusations in the indictment against the WikiLeaks founder….
This major witness would be Iceland’s Sigurdur “Sigi” Thordarson, a paid FBI informant who after his short-lived association with WikiLeaks has been found guilty of sexually abusing nine boys as well as embezzlement, fraud, and theft in his home country. A court-appointed psychologist has found him to be a sociopath. ‘The court found that Sigurður is by all definitions a sociopath, suffering from a severe anti-social personality disorder. However, the court found that he did know the difference between right and wrong and could not be considered insane and could therefore stand trial,’ Iceland Magazine reported in 2015 during Thordarson’s child abuse case….
These revelations are entirely damning. ‘This is the end of the case against Julian Assange,’ tweeted NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, adding, ‘If Biden continues to seek the extradition of a publisher under an indictment poisoned top-to-bottom with false testimony admitted by its own star witness, the damage to the United States’ reputation on press freedom would last for a generation. It’s unavoidable.’
‘Now it’s time to have an international inquiry on how Sweden, UK, US, Ecuador and Australia have handled the Julian Assange case. My FOIA provides evidence nothing is normal in this case,’ tweeted investigative journalist Stefania Maurizi.is is a farce. The fact that this man remains behind bars is an outrage.”
Film: The War on Journalism: The Case of Julian Assange
What’s at stake in the Assange case is Freedom of the Press which the US Founding Fathers protected with the First Amendment because they understood that it is the cornerstone of democracy. The First Amendment rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press keep other branches of government honest. What’s at stake is the American public’s right to know the truth rather than to be fed government propaganda as in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and now Communist China.
John Pilger, award-winning journalist and filmmaker, says WikiLeaks is the most extraordinary development in journalism in his lifetime because people can trust the accuracy of the information from WikiLeaks which has never had to retract a story. The US government is treating these super heroes like criminals because they tell truths the US doesn’t want people to know. Assange’s WikiLeaks published information from documents submitted by Chelsea Manning showing the US was targeting and killing civilians in the Middle East.
The people who committed those murders have not been held accountable. Instead, Assange and Manning have been made to pay high prices simply for telling the truth.
WikiLeaks’ Goals and Global Impact
Assange said WikiLeaks fights for:
- Publishers to have the right to publish
- Sources to be protected
- Media accuracy – WikiLeaks has a perfect record in 10 years
Assange pointed out “Without secure communications technology, journalists are not able to effectively hold the state to account.” Assange said their sources are not subject to attacks because WikiLeaks is a specialist in source protection uses a more secure cryptography that is not based on smart phones.
WikiLeaks came to international attention in 2010 when it published three of the biggest leaks of classified information in history: the Iraq War Logs, the Afghanistan War Logs, and Cablegate. Some believe that the huge wave of protest – including the Arab Spring – which swept the Middle East and North Africa was fueled in part by WikiLeaks revelations.
In the April 2011 interview Assange Speaks, the interviewer points out that the upheaval in Tunisia is being labeled “The WikiLeaks Revolution” and asks about Egypt (and the Arab Spring). Assange provides a very detailed reply and concludes,
“There is no doubt that Tunisia was THE example for Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and all the protests that have happened there. It’s extremely gratifying to see this happening. The political elite of that whole region is handing out concessions hand over foot in terms of changing positions in the cabinet, greater representation for different groups, watering down various security laws, and so on….in order to prevent a total overthrow. So, in these regions, either there will be a total overthrow of the political elite or very important concessions will be extracted. ”
Assange’s Family Tours US To Demand His Freedom
“Julian Assange’s father, John Shipton, begins a month-long, 17-city U.S. tour in Miami as his son languishes in Belmarsh Prison in London awaiting a US appeal against the denial of his extradition. Organized by Assange Defense, John and Gabriel Shipton, Julian Assange’s father and brother will begin the #HomeRun4Julian tour in Miami on June 6 via a live-streamed event. The Shiptons are scheduled to make stops on both coasts and the Midwest before concluding the tour in the nation’s capital.
Assange’s family members will meet with activists, press, and policymakers to raise awareness of the importance of protecting whistleblowers and journalists, and to advocate for the release of Julian Assange, whom the United Nations has declared ‘arbitrarily detained’ since 2010.
‘My brother Julian Assange has effectively been a prisoner for over a decade because he published evidence of war crimes,’ Gabriel Shipton said in a Thursday statement. ‘The U.S. government wants to make an example out of him to deter journalists and whistleblowers,’ he added. And John Shipton, the WikiLeaks founder’s father said, ‘Gabriel and I are excited to talk to the American public on why protecting journalism and freeing Julian is so important to a free press.’”
Assange’s Fiancée Stella Morris and Their Two Sons
Stella Morris, a South African lawyer and legal researcher, joined WikiLeaks in 2011 after the release of the documents about Iraq. Stella said she felt fortunate to meet the person who had changed the world with WikiLeaks. Since her family spent time in Sweden, she is a Swedish national and is fluent in Swedish. She helped in litigating Assange’s case in Sweden which was rescinded in 2019. Stella is also fluent in Spanish which was critical when Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012.
By 2015, Assange and Stella were in love and by 2017, they were engaged. They planned to get married, but he was arrested before that happened. Assange (50) and Stella (38) have two sons: Gabriel (4 years) and Max (2 years).
They kept their love affair secret to avoid having Stella and their sons targeted. However, last year, Stella went public to plead for the Assange to be released under government plans to free thousands of prisoners to quell the spread of the virus behind bars.
Stella explained that Assange is doubly vulnerable in the Belmarsh prison. Assange suffers from a chronic lung condition exacerbated by his years inside the embassy and mental health issues due to extreme isolation. She is worried that he cannot survive further forced isolation. She has not been allowed to visit him because of the virus. He has been in the prison over a year now.
Dental issues that needed to be addressed while Assange was in the embassy have gone unresolved. Assange is not well. Assange is in a dark room 23.5 hours a day. Because of the COVID restrictions, his fiancée and sons can no longer visit him. It is understood that Assange’s right to a family life with Stella and their two British-born sons will play a part in WikiLeaks’ legal bid to keep him in the UK.
Stella lives in London with her extended family. She is being supported by Assange’s mother, Christine Assange, and his father, John Shipton, who are both delighted by their new grandchildren. Stella said that she is anxious that Assange is also unable to see his legal team or prepare for his extradition hearing.
Stella said, “For a long time, I have feared I will lose Julian to suicide if there is no way in which he can stop his extradition to the US. I now fear I may lose him for different reasons, and sooner, to the virus. He doesn’t have a voice at present but I do. That’s why I am using it.”
The June 21, 2020 video Julian Assange’s hidden family revealed: top secrets inside the Embassy | 60 Minutes Australia says that until COVID hit, Stella would take her sons to see their father in prison. For the last 10 weeks, their only contact has been over the phone when Assange has managed to call.
Daddy Leaks: WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange fathers two kids inside Ecuadorian embassy with lawyer who fell in love with him is an April 12, 2020 article that includes a video with Stella Morris.