By Aaron Kesel
Last year in November the U.S. accidentally revealed sealed charges it had against WikiLeaks founder and former editor Julian Assange. Now Assange and his lawyers are suing to find out what those “sealed charges” are pertaining to, The Guardian reported.
Lawyers for Julian Assange have filed an urgent application to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), based in Washington D.C., to demand the Trump Administration unseal the charges it has secretly filed against Assange.
The Australian activist’s lawyers are further asking the Commission to compel Ecuador to cease its espionage activities against Assange, to stop the isolation imposed on him and to protect Assange from U.S. extradition.
The request is a whopping 1,172-page application for “precautionary measures” directed at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.
Assange’s lead international coordinator lawyer, Baltasar Garzón, is requesting that the IACHR make an urgent intervention in favor of Assange and is calling for “international solidarity for this case in which the right to access and impart information freely is in jeopardy.”
“The revelation that the U.S. has initiated a prosecution against Assange has shocked the international community,” the legal submission states. The U.S. government “is required to provide information as to the criminal charges that are imputed to Assange in full,” it adds.
The application also alleges that U.S. prosecutors have begun approaching people in the U.S., Germany, and Iceland and pressed them to testify against Assange in return for immunity from prosecution.
Those approached, it is said, include people associated with WikiLeaks’ joint publications with other media about U.S. diplomacy, Guantánamo Bay and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It’s worth noting that this is corroborated by an article in Icelandic media interviewing the new Editor In Chief of WikiLeaks, Kristinn Hrafnsson, who told the publication that Iceland authorities offered him immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying against Julian Assange, according to a translated article. However, translating articles can always be faulty, but Hrafnsson’s quote appears to state that he isn’t the person who was interrogated and offered immunity.
“I can confirm from the first hand that this has been done. No one has contacted me this way. However, I myself am investigating this issue and I know that data has been downloaded to a private company with secrecy, ”says Kristinn in a conversation with Fréttablaðið.
Assange’s lawyers say the Trump administration has pressured Ecuador to hand over Assange. In December, The New York Times reported that Ecuador’s new president, Lenín Moreno, tried to negotiate handing over Assange to the US. in exchange for “debt relief.”
Trump’s administration told the Iceland publication it couldn’t comment on attempts to prosecute Julian Assange due to the government shutdown.
Ecuador is being pressured to end Assange’s asylum and citizenship so he can be arrested by British police and extradited to the U.S. to presumably face charges under the Espionage Act — the federal law often used to punish whistleblowers. This is due to the fact that under the Ecuadorian constitution extradition is forbidden.
After US pressure, moves accelerate to strip WikiLeaks' publisher @JulianAssange of Ecuadorian citizenship. His citizenship status is a barrier to rendering him to another state as article 79 of Ecuador's constitution forbids extradition of citizens. https://t.co/mZxzLTtAuo
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 18, 2018
Ecuador's immediately former president responds to New York Times report that his successor offered to sell WikiLeaks' publisher Julian Assange's to the U.S. government in exchange for debt relief. Subsequently Ecuador received $1.1 billion from US controlled banks. https://t.co/vhJnvDeE1n
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 5, 2018
The only deal is between Ecuador and the United States–to sell Assange for loans. The UK is repeating, as it always has, the standard EU policy of asking the US for life in prison instead of death. That's no deal. Ecuador fabricates the claim to lay the ground for expulsion.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 7, 2018
As such, the Trump administration is threatening to step over a never-crossed line – applying the secret documents provision of the Espionage Act to journalistic practices, according to the EFF, which in 2017 condemned the threats of prosecution against WikiLeaks and Assange with the Wikileaks Grand Jury indictments.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has taken salacious baseless lies by The Guardian that conform to the “Russia hacked the election” narrative about Assange meeting with Paul Manafort and began interrogating UK Ecuadorian Embassy staff, and pressuring Ecuador to hand over logs of all Assange’s personal, legal and other visitors to the embassy, according to Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry reported by @hispantv, Assange Legal tweeted.
Ecuador's Foreign Ministry confirms to @hispantv that it has authorised US interrogations of Ecuadorian diplomats and administrative staff who have served in its London embassy in relation to Julian Assange, its political refugee @defendassange @assangemrshttps://t.co/yVhjWR60nJ
— Hanna Jonasson (@AssangeLegal) January 24, 2019
In December, Democrats demanded Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressure Ecuador to hand over logs of all Assange’s personal, legal and other visitors to the embassy, as WikiLeaks noted.
The Guardian publish a completely fictitious story about Manafort meeting Assange and now mass surveillance loving Senate Democrats are relying on it to demand Pompeo pressure Ecuador to hand over the log of all Assange's personal, legal and other visitors https://t.co/l9StLC1jzF
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 13, 2018
Assange’s situation is getting worse with each passing day between his health and the isolation without charge, which according to Human Rights Watch General Counsel Dinah PoKempner his conditions to stay at the embassy are looking more and more like solitary confinement. Assange has been barred from visitors and prevented Internet access for almost a year, while he has never been allowed to exit the embassy for some sunshine.
— Defend Assange Campaign (@DefendAssange) September 30, 2018
Although, Lenín Moreno made comments on a radio interview stating that “Britain had provided sufficient guarantees that the WikiLeaks founder won’t be extradited to face the death penalty abroad in the U.S.,” Associated Press reported.
Moreno further added that a deal had been reached between London and Quito to allow Assange to leave. “The way has been cleared for Assange to take the decision to leave in near-liberty,” Moreno said, failing to expand on what exactly “near-liberty” means in context. One can only speculate what that means for Assange … and it’s not good news.
Assange has denied the agreement through his lawyer, Barry Pollack, who told The Telegraph that the “deal was not acceptable.”
The facts are contrary to what Moreno stated; the real truth is that Ecuador is trying to sell out Assange in a “deal” with the U.S. for debt relief loans, as WikiLeaks tweeted.
In October of last year, lawyers for Julian Assange — specifically Baltasar Garzón, previously filed a suit against Ecuador, accusing the government of violating Assange’s “fundamental rights and freedoms.”
WikiLeaks claims Assange’s access to the outside world has been “summarily cut off” and stated that Ecuador has threatened to remove all protection given to his person that he was granted when he was accepted political asylum if he doesn’t abide by Orwellian guidelines.
Lawyers for Assange have said they will also challenge the legality of the Ecuador government’s “special protocols,” which make his political asylum contingent upon “censoring” his own freedom of opinion, speech, and association, as well as violating Assange’s property and his visitors without any just warrant.
WikiLeaks recently highlighted that its founder and former editor Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained 8+ years without charge by the UK Govt (6+ years within the Ecuador Embassy in London where he was granted asylum from U.S. threats) and 2 years house arrest, despite two UN rulings stating he should be allowed to walk free.
For the past 6 years in the embassy, the UK government has refused Assange’s request for access to basic health needs: fresh air, exercise, sunshine for vitamin D and access to proper medical and dental care according to Christine Assange and Julian Assange’s lawyer, Greg Barns.
As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated; and his examining doctors warn these detention conditions are life-threatening.
“The slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes in the embassy in London,” Christine expressed.
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Assange’s doctor, Sean Love, has previously stated in an opinion piece that depriving him of medical care is “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” Adding, “It is time for Australia to intervene.”
Other doctors who examined Assange, Sondra Crosby, an associate professor at Boston University’s school of medicine and public health, and Brock Chisholm, a clinical psychologist in London, have stated much the same.
All three called on safe passage for Assange to a hospital in an article for the Guardian, they wrote:
While the results of the evaluation are protected by doctor-patient confidentiality, it is our professional opinion that his continued confinement is dangerous physically and mentally to him and a clear infringement of his human right to healthcare.
The above health concerns are coupled with surveillance technology that was a requirement for Assange to remain in the embassy, including signal jammers and all of the additional technology that is emitting various electromagnetic waves that are undoubtedly hurting his health.
What are the effects of refugee publisher @JulianAssange being exposed to eighteen signal jammers (3 clusters, six antennas per cluster) in a confined space 24/7 for seven months? This paper offers a glimpse https://t.co/f8uubSNCyY
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 2, 2018
Allegations against Assange in Sweden have long been dropped, and he is facing only a minor infraction in the UK for failing to turn up to a court hearing, a police bail warrant. The warrant issued in question arose 12 days after Julian entered the Ecuador Embassy seeking asylum from U.S. threats against his life and liberty. So that warrant should never have been issued in the first place, as Asylum/international law overrides domestic (UK) law.
Instead, the bail warrant should have been dropped after Sweden dropped its preliminary investigation and Julian wasn’t charged, as the warrant was attached to the European Arrest Warrant on that case.
WikiLeaks as a whole has recently faced increased pressure from authorities. In 2017, the U.S. Senate considered a bill that would classify WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service” bundled as part of the 2018 Intelligence Authorization Act. Presumably, that classification would authorize the use of force against WikiLeaks and presumably its supporters.
Then, in late December of 2017, the Head Legal Office in Madrid of former judge and WikiLeaks’ chief counsel, Baltasar Garzón, was raided by masked men dressed in all black and the security cameras were taped. Despite the break-in, nothing was taken and the operation was referred to as being “professionally done” by police.
The U.S. has been on a relentless crusade against WikiLeaks since May 2010 and considers Julian Assange’s arrest a priority, while several politicians have threatened Assange’s life. It has been 8 years now since Assange was arrested and detained under one form or another, with 2 years of virtual house arrest, 6 years confined inside the Ecuadorian embassy and now he can add unjustified solitary confinement to the long laundry list.
The international non-profit whistleblowing organization has leaked at least 10 million classified documents to date from various governments including the United States. In 2016, the group published a number of documents and emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta that suggested the DNC deliberately tried to discredit presidential candidate Bernie Sanders over then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
As both the current and former administrations continue forward with an ongoing nine-year investigation into WikiLeaks since their 2010 leak of almost 100,000 State and Defense Department secret documents dubbed Cablegate pertaining to U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither administration has been able to charge a single member of WikiLeaks with a criminal indictment.
In that case, only the alleged source of the leak was punished: former U.S. intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who spent spent seven years in prison before former U.S. President Barack Obama commuted 28 years of her 35-year sentence on his way out of office, calling it “very disproportionate relative to what other leakers have received” and that “it makes sense to commute and not pardon her sentence.”
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ publisher, is currently holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been illegally detained in arbitrary detention, according to a UN panel. Assange has been held against his will, isolated from his children, and family since June 2012.
Many fear where Julian Assange would be sent; most likely Guantanamo Bay if the U.S. were to get a hold of him. Stand up and be a part of history!
In December 2018, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, together with the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, called on all states to implement the Working Group conclusions of 2016 to set Assange free, adding:
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.
If you sense the calling and feel your conscience won’t let you live with the death of a journalist, please come join the Unity4J Discord where you can network and organize with other like-minded individuals for on-the-streets actions and legal actions (petitions and protests) in support of Julian Assange.
Join Unity4J’s historic vigils, at the new time 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. EST every Friday, stand in solidarity with Julian Assange and help make and shape history.
⏳ #Unity4J EVENT ⌛️
FRIDAY, EVERY WEEK!
Please Note TIME Change.
Friday, January 25, 2019 Unity4J ONLINE VIGIL #14 – 4 pm in NY https://t.co/9eLCVB7mOj
— #Unity4J (@Unity4J) January 24, 2019
⏳ #Unity4J ACTION ⌛️
Contact your Australian MP: Ask them to:
*Defend Julian Assange
*Bring Julian Home
*Arrange Safe Passage #NoExtradition
— #Unity4J (@Unity4J) January 25, 2019
It’s important to note as all this unfolds that WikiLeaks recently announced that one of Assange’s longtime associates, Kristinn Hrafnsson, took over for him as WikiLeaks editor in chief.
For up-to-date accurate information on Julian Assange’s plight, see @Wikileaks, @AssangeMrs, and @Unity4J and — @AssangeLegal the editor of Justice 4 Assange. The website Unity4J will be up to date with information, live streams, and places where protests will be held in support of Julian Assange.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 3, 2019
You can donate to the numerous defenses for WikiLeaks by visiting the tweet above or purchasing merchandise which goes towards Assange and other WikiLeaks volunteers’ defenses and future releases. Freedom of the press is under attack; first it’s WikiLeaks, but overall this could set a monstrous precedent for journalists all over the world — ironically in a country that has a First Amendment designed to protect freedom of the press, as the ACLU has previously said.
.@ACLU: Prosecuting Assange for @wikileaks publishing operations unprecedented and unconstitutional. …. sets dangerous precedent for U.S. journalists, who routinely violate foreign secrecy laws to deliver information vital to the public's interest. https://t.co/DJY1CfbpEx
— Jamil Dakwar (@jdakwar) November 16, 2018
If this is allowed to happen, government corruption and criminality will no doubt rise due to journalists being afraid to report crimes in the media. So far, an open letter to U.S. President Donald Trump on behalf of Assange published by Defend WikiLeaks calling to close the Grand Jury investigation and drop any charges planned against any member of WikiLeaks has received 4,248 signatures of everyone from journalists, and academics, to activists in Assange’s defense.
Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.