Perhaps because we began as a nation of convicts and gaolers, Australians understand that freedom is a flexible concept. We are all for it, indeed we expect it, but we are happy for the government to look after it while we get on with our lives, online and off.
Obviously, we wouldn’t cop the government surrendering our freedom. Or would we? How do we feel about giving up our liberty to the Swedish?
Currently Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, is detained against his will in England, because a prosecutor in Sweden wants to talk to him. He hasn’t been charged with any offence in Sweden, let alone the U.K. He has offered to talk to the Swedish prosecutor, in England, but despite the Swedes having a prosecutorial team based in London for a year, they have chosen to spend millions of Krona on extradition proceedings, rather than accept his offer to sit down voluntarily in London.
And now the British High Court, bya majority of 5 to 2 has decided that Julian Assange should be forced to go to Sweden to talk with the Swedish prosecutor. Despite Australia’s Foreign Minister and Australian media, including the ABC, routinely reporting that Mr. Assange is to face “charges” in Sweden, there are only untested statements awaiting him. No court proceedings have been commenced. No criminal charges have been filed.
In all this, the Australian government has maintained a chilling silence in defence of an Australian citizen’s right to freedom. Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s recent statement that “no Australian has received more consular support than Julian Assange” is designed to cover the fact that no Australian citizen has received less political support than Julian Assange.
Where is Bob Carr’s condemnation of a European justice system that allows for the forced transport of foreign nationals on the request of prosecutors, rather than judges? Where is the defence of our standards of justice and criminality, which would never countenance the situation in which Mr. Assange now finds himself?
Australia can’t change Swedish or European law, but it can stand up for the freedom of its citizens, wherever they find themselves embroiled in a justice system that doesn’t meet our standards. After all, two of the seven judges on the British High Court found it reasonable to decide that a Swedish prosecutor is not a “judicial officer” entitled to seek extradition, as defined in the E.U. extradition treaty, adopted by the British Parliament at the time of its passage. Why is it so hard for Bob Carr and Julia Gillard to support that significant minority opinion, and Australian legal standards, on behalf of an Australian citizen?
Regretfully, the public statements of Julia Gillard regarding Julian Assange make it difficult to accept that the government supports his freedom. The Prime Minister’s statement in late 2010 that Mr. Assange had engaged in “illegal” conduct in releasing copies of emails from U.S. and Australian diplomatic sources has been demonstrated to be false, simply by the lack of any prosecutorial action in the intervening period. Indeed, Shadow Attorney General, Senator George Brandis, Q.C., stated at the time that Mr. Assange hadn’t broken any Australian or American laws. Yet rather than an apology for this slander by the Prime Minister, Mr. Assange has received lukewarm “consular support” in his battle for freedom from the clutches of the Swedes.
The Gillard Government is well aware that the U.S. Government is lurking over the horizon, having charged Private Bradley Manning with offences for transferring U.S. diplomatic cables from military computers to the Wikileaks website that Mr. Assange operates. The Gillard Government is also aware of suggestions of a sealed indictment already awaiting Mr. Assange in the U.S., where he could face serious charges under the Espionage Act, if the U.S. successfully extradites him from Sweden.
Given the Government’s failure to support Australian freedom against the belligerent action of the Swedes, what hope is there that this administration will stand up for an Australian citizen against the interests of the U.S.?
Enough. Australia needs to condemn the Swedish attempt to extradite Mr. Assange, when he has offered repeatedly to make himself available to the Swedish prosecutor who has been visiting London weekly for the last year. Australia needs to condemn the E.U. law that makes extradition by prosecutors allowable, before any charges have been laid.
But most of all, Australia needs to decide if freedom means anything anymore, because the current government has clearly formed the view that the liberty of Australians overseas is not worth arguing about. For Australians who have grown used to expressing their opinions online, this abdication of defending our freedom should be deeply concerning. The governments of other nations, with considerably more clout than Sweden, such as China and the U.S., will be delighted with the Gillard government’s treatment of freedom as something Australians can live without.
For current information about the worldwide movement to support see Julian Assange
Australia Needs To Condemn The Swedish Attempt To Extradite Assange
from Crikey .....
Julian Assange - better off smuggling weapons in Baghdad?
Crikey Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane writes:
CONSULAR ASSISTANCE, IRAQ, JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS
Evidence has emerged that disputes Foreign Minister Bob Carr's claim Julian Assange has received as much or more consular support in a comparable period than other Australians, and that anything further would amount to interference in another country's judicial process.
On the day following the UK Supreme Court decision ruling in favour of Assange's extradition under a European Arrest Warrant, Carr held a press conference at Parliament House in which he said "as far as I can tell there's been no Australian who's received more consular support in a comparable period than Mr Assange". Both Carr and the Prime Minister, asked later that day about Assange during question time, have emphasised their inability to interfere in the judicial processes of other countries.
Until now, such comments have been analysed in the context of the treatment of other well-known cases of Australians held overseas. In October, the Prime Minister personally called a 14-year-old boy charged with marijuana possession in Bali. Convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby received "substantial" financial support for her legal costs and the offer of two QCs pro bono from the Howard government and was supported by the current government in her recent bid for clemency.
But what appears to be the previously unreported case of Australian Bradley John Thompson has been unearthed from the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables by Maitland lawyer and human rights activist Kellie Tranter. Thompson was arrested in Baghdad on May 16, 2006 by a joint US-Iraqi police operation which "found evidence that Mr Thompson had been smuggling weapons into the International Zone in hidden compartments of vehicles and selling those weapons illegally to customers possibly including Jaish al-Mahdi militia members and insurgents operating in Fallujah".
The cable, from the US Embassy in Baghdad to the State and Justice Departments, the FBI, the White House and American diplomats here, states:
"A search of Mr Thompson's villa (located inside the International Zone) at the time of his detention found twenty AK-47 automatic rifles, three Russian belt-fed tank-type heavy machine guns, a sizeable quantity of ammunition, Iraqi, Australian, and US military uniforms, computer software used to create false military identification badges, and $128,000 USD cash."
Australian consul Alan Elliott had already visited Thompson and relayed his claim that he had been authorised by the coalition military forces in Iraq to sell weapons, a claim the Americans denied.
At the time, the Howard government was coming under increasing pressure over its abandonment of David Hicks in Guantanamo Bay. Howard would eventually negotiate a deal with US vice-president Dick Cheney early in 2007 for a speedy trial and dispatch to Australia of Hicks.
On May 24, Australian ambassador Howard Brown and Elliott met with senior figures in the coalition military force and US political-military counsellor David C. Litt (third in charge at the US Embassy) to discuss Thompson's case, and then followed it up subsequently via email to the Americans. According to the cable, Brown and Elliott sought - and obtained - significant changes to Thompson's treatment:
"Ambassador Brown requested that Mr Thompson not be blindfolded and shackled when being moved to and from visiting rooms. (NOTE: this is standard procedure for new inmates at Camp Cropper, which houses highly violent insurgent actors as well as other special populations meriting private cells, like female and Coalition nationals.) The DCG-DO agreed.
"According to Ambassador Brown, Mr Thompson has retained a US attorney, LtCol (Ret.) Neal A. Puckett, USMC, to represent him. The DCG-DO confirmed that LtCol Puckett would be allowed to meet with Mr Thompson either at Camp Cropper or (if preferred) at an Iraqi courthouse inside the International Zone. Requests for continued Consular telephone and in-person access to Mr Thompson were also granted.
"In response to follow-up e-mails from the Australian Consul on May 26, Post arranged for Mr Thompson to telephone Mr Elliot's cell phone and Mr Thompson's sister in Australia, assured Mr Elliott that he would be permitted to visit Mr Thompson prior to any future appearance in Iraqi court, and provided contact information for Mr Thompson's American legal counsel to make visiting arrangements."
In February, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provided details of its contacts with Assange's legal team, which totalled 18 email, fax, phone or face-to-face contacts during 2011, plus contacts with his lawyers at his trial hearings. The Department also says it obtained verbal assurances from Swedish authorities that Assange would be afforded due process, and told Greens senator Scott Ludlam recently during Senate Estimates that "the US is aware of our expectations in respect of due process".
The issue of Assange's detention once he arrives in Sweden, and the conditions of that detention, such as being denied contact with anyone but his lawyers, appear not to have been raised.
The issue of non-intervention in other countries' legal processes is a straw man repeatedly used by the government; no one has suggested the government should, or has the power to, directly intervene in Swedish sexual assault investigations or US espionage indictments. But the Thompson case clearly demonstrates the government can move quickly - within a matter of days - to request the treatment of an Australian national be ameliorated and his legal rights strengthened.
Julian Assange will be imprisoned after he is handed over to Swedish authorities when he is extradited and will have a court hearing four days after extradition from the United Kingdom to decide if he will stay in custody, the Swedish government announced Friday.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom decided not to reopen Assange’s appeal and upheld the decision that the WikiLeaks founder should be extradited to face sex crime proceedings in Sweden.
The UK Supreme Court has ordered that Assange won’t be handed over to the Swedes until June 28. After that date Assange will be brought to Sweden within 10 days, according to European Arrest Warrant rules, Sweden’s Office of Public Prosecutions said.
Within four days of his arrival in Sweden, a court hearing will decide whether or not Assange should be remanded in custody for questioning by prosecution. Any decision by court can be appealed, according to the Swedish prosecutors.
Assange will be brought to Sweden by the country’s Department of Corrections, which will also take him into custody. Since Assange is considered to be a flight risk, he will be kept in prison while waiting for the remand hearing.
However, the Prosecutor’s Office says Assange won’t be kept in isolation and will be able to watch TV, read newspapers and associate with other inmates.
Since December 2010, Julian Assange has been under house arrest in Britain while appealing decisions by UK courts to extradite him to Sweden. He fears Sweden will hand him over to the United States, where he may face a secret indictment on charges of espionage because of WikiLeaks publishing confidential State Department cables.
Swedish authorities have arrested Assange in his absence on suspicion of unlawful coercion, two counts of probable sexual molestation, rape and other lesser crimes against two women. Assange says the encounters were consensual.
Director of Public Prosecutions Marianne Ny will be in charge of Assange’s questioning when he arrives in Sweden. No further information will be given by her office so as not to disturb the investigation or hurt people affected by it, officials said.
Sweden Will Imprison Assange When Extradited
Australia quietly changed its extradition law three months ago. An amendment passed in February makes it possible for someone to be extradited for minor offenses. This amendment weakens the security of all Australians, and facilitates Assange’s extradition from his home country, despite popular support for him there. There was no media reportage on the passage of this amendment.
Declassified Australian diplomatic cables reveal that Australian diplomats have raised no concerns over the possible extradition of Julian Assange to the United States. The Australian government asks only that it be forewarned, so as to coordinate a media response.1
The Australian government also passed the ‘WikiLeaks Amendment‘ in July 2011, broadening the powers of Australia’s ASIO intelligence agency to spy on Australian citizens and anyone associated with WikiLeaks.
At the behest of the US government, Prime Minister Julia Gillard instigated a federal investigation into whether criminal charges could be brought against Assange. Before it had been concluded that Assange has broken no laws, Gillard had already publicly called Assange’s actions “illegal” and stated that his passport may be cancelled.2
The Australian government has repeatedly delayed, censored and blocked Freedom of Information (FOI) requests for material that would reveal its internal legal deliberations over Assange’s extradition to the US and has refused to answer parliamentary questions about the extent of its co-operation.
It has given only cursory assistance regarding a highly irregular and politicized Swedish extradition request for Julian Assange under the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system.
Please see SwedenVersusAssange’s Australia page for more comprehensive information on Australian complicity.
US Government Attack on Wikileaks | Support Julian Assange
In my view, the concerted efforts of the Awstraylen government to obtain the release of Melinda Taylor stands in stark contrast to its deathly silence in the case of Julian Assange.
Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, has flooded the international airwaves with his diplomacy-speak in support of Ms Taylor; sent Awstraylen diplomats to personally offer support & has actively lobbied the governments of numerous foreign governments to support our efforts to obtain her release.
Whilst no-one objects to our government’s efforts to secure the protection of Ms Taylor, what Awstraylens don’t support is our government’s failure to offer the same level of support to ALL Awstraylens, regardless of whether they may have offended our very powerful ‘special friends’ or not.
That the Prime Minister of this country has time to personally telephone an Awstraylen teenager arrested & charged with drug offences in Bali, to offer government support; is willing to expend considerable diplomatic resources in its efforts to obtain the repatriation of the convicted drug smuggler, Schapelle Corby, & is determined to enlist the active support of foreign governments to intervene in the case of Ms Taylor, whilst being unwilling to lift a finger to promote & defend the human rights of Julian Assange, says everything about the shallow, cynical & hypocritical nature of our elected politicians & their refusal to observe their most fundamental responsibility, which is to defend & protect the rights of Awstraylen citizens: no-matter who they are or where they are.
Gillard, Carr & the rest of the stinking carcass of an excuse for a government should be thrown out of office today for their betrayal of our citizens.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has sought political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
He walked into the embassy in Knightsbridge, London on Tuesday afternoon and asked for asylum under the United Nations human rights declaration.
A statement issued on behalf of the embassy said: "This afternoon Mr Julian Assange arrived at the Ecuadorian embassy seeking political asylum from the Ecuadorian government.
"As a signatory to the United Nations Universal Declaration for Human Rights, with an obligation to review all applications for asylum, we have immediately passed his application on to the relevant department in Quito.
"While the department assesses Mr Assange's application, Mr Assange will remain at the embassy, under the protection of the Ecuadorian government.
"The decision to consider Mr Assange's application for protective asylum should in no way be interpreted as the government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden."
Julian Assange decided to seek political asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London because he felt abandoned by the Australian government, WikiLeaks insiders say.
Assange's closest confidants say they were surprised by his move but have no doubt that it was was triggered by a letter from Attorney-General Nicola Roxon that Assange's lawyers describe as an "Australian declaration of abandonment".
In the letter, to one of Mr Assange's legal representatives, Australian human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson, Ms Roxon made it clear that Australia would not seek to involve itself in any international exchanges about his future.
Ms Roxon wrote: ''Australia would not expect to be a party to any extradition discussions that may take place between the United States and the United Kingdom or the United States and Sweden, as extradition is a matter of bilateral law enforcement cooperation.''
She also took the opportunity to advise Ms Robinson that "should Mr Assange be convicted of any offence in the United States and a sentence of imprisonment imposed, he may apply for an international prisoner transfer to Australia''.
Mr Assange's lawyers characterised Ms Roxon's reply as a ''declaration of abandonment''.Some of Mr Assange's closest associates first learnt of his decision to seek political asylum when journalists rang them seeking comment overnight after the WikiLeaks publisher formally sought the protection of the Ecuadorean government in London.
"I didn't know about it, it came as a complete shock," one of Mr Assange's small WikiLeaks team told Fairfax Media.
Earlier, Mr Assange said in a short statement: ''I can confirm that today I arrived at the Ecuadorean Embassy and sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum. This application has been passed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital Quito.
''I am grateful to the Ecuadorean ambassador and the government of Ecuador for considering my application.''
Mr Assange failed last week to persuade the British Supreme Court to reopen his appeal against extradition to Sweden to be questioned about sexual assault allegations.
Mr Assange, who has not been charged with any offence in Sweden, has expressed grave fear that extradition to Stockholm will facilitate his ultimate extradition to the US on espionage and conspiracy charges relating to the alleged leaking of hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents.
The Ecuadorean embassy said that while Mr Assange's application for asylum was assessed he would remain "under the protection'' of the Ecuadorean government.
"The decision to consider Mr Assange's application for protective asylum should in no way be interpreted as the Government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden," the embassy said in a written statement.
The Ecuadorean Foreign Ministry also issued a statement that said Mr Assange's application for asylum referred to a "regrettable factual statement of abandonment" by the Australian government that made "it impossible to return to my home country and put me in a state of helplessness to be requested for questioning by the Kingdom of Sweden ... and investigation for political crimes in the United States of America, a country where the death penalty for such offences is still in force".
Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Prime Minister Julia Gillard have repeated that the Australian government "has no evidence" of any US intention to charge and extradite Mr Assange, though Ms Gillard added the qualifying words "at this stage" in answer to a parliamentary question from Australian Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt.
Ms Gillard and acting prime minister Wayne Swan said today that Ms Assange's asylum application was "a matter for him" and repeated that he would continue to receive what they described as "full consular support".
Fairfax Media has now confirmed that the Australian Federal Police actively considered recommending cancellation of Mr Assange's passport when the government was considering its response to WikiLeaks's release of classified US diplomatic cables in November 2010.
Released by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet under freedom of information legislation, the partially redacted minutes of the Australian government's WikiLeaks taskforce recorded on 30 November 2010 that "the AFP is currently assessing options for any legal action it may be able to take on this matter". Further details have been redacted on national security grounds.
The AFP subsequently concluded that Mr Assange and WikiLeaks had broken no Australian laws by publishing classified US government documents.
A copy of the WikiLeaks taskforce minutes released by the Attorney-General's Department includes an additional sentence, apparently accidentally not redacted, that indicates the AFP was considering "the possibility of cancelling Mr Assange's passport, though it would be rare in these circumstances''.
National security sources have told Fairfax Media that an AFP recommendation for cancellation of Mr Assange's passport on national security grounds was overtaken by the WikiLeaks publisher's arrest in London in connection with Sweden's extradition request and the seizure of his passport by British police.
Then foreign minister Kevin Rudd said that he never received a request to cancel Mr Assange's passport and former attorney-general Robert McClelland said such action could have been "counterproductive" to efforts to track Mr Assange's movements and in any case proved to be "irrelevant."
Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino told a news conference yesterday that Mr Assange had argued that "the authorities in his country will not defend his minimum guarantees in front of any government or ignore the obligation to protect a politically persecuted citizen".
In late 2010, Ecuador offered Mr Assange residency but quickly rescinded the offer after controversy erupted and the US government reportedly made diplomatic representations against such action.
Earlier this month, WikiLeaks released an interview between Mr Assange and Ecuador's left-wing President, Rafael Correa, for Mr Assange's television program The World Tomorrow.
President Correa applauded the transparency brought about by WikiLeaks' release of US diplomatic cables as being beneficial for Ecuador, saying "we have nothing to hide. If anything, the WikiLeaks [releases] have made us stronger".
Last December, Fairfax Media obtained the release under freedom of information of Australian Embassy cables that in December 2010 reported from Washington to Canberra that WikiLeaks was the target of an "unprecedented" US criminal probe and that media reports that a secret grand jury had been convened in Alexandria, Virginia, were ''likely true''.
The released cables show that the Australian embassy in Washington confirmed from US officials that the US Justice Department was conducting an ''active and vigorous inquiry into whether Julian Assange can be charged under US law, most likely the 1917 Espionage Act''.
Australian diplomats asked for advance warning if any US extradition moves ''so that ministers could respond appropriately'' to media and public inquiries.
In the event Ecuador grants Mr Assange asylum, any movement outside the Ecuadorean Embassy would be subject to negotiation and agreement between the governments of the United Kingdom and Ecuador.
Should his application be rejected, he would be most likely be arrested once he left the embassy and his extradition to Sweden would proceed.
Assange Felt 'Abandoned' By Australian Government After Letter From Roxon
When asked whether the federal government supported his asylum application, Ms Gillard said: "Mr Assange's decision and choices are a matter for Mr Assange."
"Our consular officials have been in contact with him, also with Ecuador in London about this, but his decisions in relation to this matter are for him to make," she told reporters in Los Cabos, Mexico where she has been attending a G20 leaders summit.
Ms Gillard said Mr Assange had been in receipt of consular assistance every step of the way.
"Indeed, the foreign minister has remarked that he has received more consular assistance than any other Australian in a comparable position," she said.
Ecuador 'Committed To Justice', Says Assange
Assange will be free from British authorities so long as he remains at the Ecuadorian embassy, but it's unclear how he could hope to get from the embassy, based in Knightsbridge, to Ecuador itself. Should asylum not be granted, Assange would be arrested for breaking his bail conditions, says The Washington Post. Extradition questions aside, the choice of Ecuador as refuge has raised some eyebrows. Max Fisher, writing in The Atlantic notes: "Whatever the rationale, would this really be the safest destination for a self-styled journalist and revolutionary? The Ecuadorian government at times imposes severe - and worsening - restrictions on journalists as well as critics of President Rafael Correa." Meanwhile, Claes Borgstrom, the lawyer representing the two Swedish women with claims against Assange, told Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter that Assange's latest move was a delaying tactic. "It's tragic for the two clients that I represent," he said. "I can't imagine that this will lead anywhere."
Read more: http://www.theweek.co.uk/law/assange-extradition/47523/can-julian-assanges-ecuador-embassy-gambit-succeed#ixzz1yKGahOhN
Of all people who knows how the world cooks — especially the areas of subterranean manipulations — Assange would know best... and he knows he is a pickle.... His asylum demand to Equador is the only way out at the moment.
No matter how the US, the UK, Australia or Sweden say that he's not wanted in the US, he would not be the first cookie to be lied to... He is lucky he has supporters, unlike say a David Kelly who was isolated from support and given "lousy" law defense... Assange would know that someone is lying big with an ulterior motive especially if he knows the accusation from Sweden is bogus, which he would at least know one way or the other... or possibly know he's been set up... The fact that the supreme court is willing to extradite him to Sweden WITHOUT ANY PROOFS is telling of the web being weaved around him... In all the WikiLeaks information he'd be sieving through, there would be similar cases, different people, different times, different places with only one result: vanishment...
The money owed for his bail is peanuts if people care about him... He's more important than money. One has to also remember that all his moneys and money commercial supply have been shut down by the US... Thus he knows that there is some force out there to get him...
May we wish the best of luck there. And may the Ecuador government see fit to accept him despite pissing the US government off...
Julian Assange's decision to seek political asylum in Ecuador shows how desperate he must feel.
We may infer from it that he sees little chance that the European court of human rights would even ask the UK to delay sending him to Sweden, let alone declare that he would face a breach of his human rights in a state bound by the human rights convention.
That should come as little surprise. The Strasbourg court has regularly made it clear that it will issue what are called interim measures under rule 39 only if "the applicant faces a real risk of serious, irreversible harm".
I will repeat here:
No matter how the US, the UK, Australia or Sweden say that he's not wanted in the US, he would not be the first cookie to be lied to... He is lucky he has supporters, unlike say a David Kelly who was isolated from support and given "lousy" law defense... Assange would know that someone is lying big with an ulterior motive especially if he knows the accusation from Sweden is bogus, which he would at least know one way or the other... or possibly know he's been set up... The fact that the supreme court is willing to extradite him to Sweden WITHOUT ANY PROOFS is telling of the web being weaved around him... In all the WikiLeaks information he'd be sieving through, there would be similar cases, different people, different times, different places with only one result: vanishment...The money owed for his bail is peanuts if people care about him... He's more important than money. One has to also remember that all his moneys and money commercial supply have been shut down by the US... Thus he knows that there is some force out there to get him...May we wish the best of luck there. And may the Ecuador government see fit to accept him despite pissing the US government off...
Julian Assange, the controversial Australian founder of Wikileaks, walked into Ecuador‘s London embassy on Tuesday to request political asylum. He may have picked just the right kind of government to accept him.
The South American country in April 2011 became the only one to officially expel a U.S. ambassador over the scandal generated by the thousands of leaked diplomatic cables. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa—a populist firebrand whose thin-skinned response to the stolen cables’ detailing police corruption in Ecuador prompted U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges’ dismissal—has faced global criticism over his track record on free speech and could see in Assange just the character to help him restore some of his tarnished credentials.
Read more: http://world.time.com/2012/06/19/why-is-ecuador-julian-assanges-choice-for-asylum/#ixzz1yL7fn8Kr
Not a word on the real threat facing Assange from the US... I expected more real insight from TIME but then why?... TIME is a Yankee outfit and sees the world only one way: the Yankee way...
Meanwhile, Julian Burnside , QC, stuck the boot in the Australian government tonight in an interview on Channel Ten... There is no link to this interview though... We'll see...
"I think it's the only alternative left to him to get any kind of justice because he is a political prisoner," Queensland-based Ms Assange said. "There's no due process anywhere. What's happening here is you've got a journalist who has spilled the beans and a big superpower doesn't like it.
"I'm terrified for him but I have to put these feelings aside so I can work to try to get justice for him."
Ms Assange - who visited her son last week - rejected the Labor Government's claim her son had received more consular assistance than any other person over a comparable period.
Ecuador's deputy foreign minister tells AM [ABC Radio National] that Julian Assange's fate is due to be decided within 24 hours
meanwhile on the bloggosher and twittosphere:
Julian Burnside now being interviewed on Channel 10 news: Q. "Our own PM has implied Assange is guilty...?" Burnside: "She was wrong."
No transcript available....
Ms Roxon wrote: ''Australia would not expect to be a party to any extradition discussions that may take place between the United States and the United Kingdom or the United States and Sweden, as extradition is a matter of bilateral law enforcement co-operation.''
Greens back Assange asylum plea, but US has already won
ECUADOR, JULIA GILLARD, JULIAN ASSANGE, SCOTT LUDLAM, WIKILEAKS
Julian Assange's request for asylum in Ecuador has been strengthened by a letter from Greens Senator Scott Ludlam supporting his case that he has been effectively abandoned by the Australian government.
The Ecuadorian embassy in London has been swamped with letters of support, some from high-profile supporters, for Assange's request for asylum since news broke that he had sought refuge there early yesterday morning. However, Ludlam's statement as an Australian parliamentarian is significantly more important given the basis on which Assange has sought asylum.
Ludlam's letter describes his extended process of asking parliamentary questions and making FOI requests made to determine the government's attitude towards Assange, including why the Prime Minister made her discredited claim that WikiLeaks had behaved illegally. On that basis, Ludlam concludes "with regret": "I strongly believe Mr Assange is in need of a government willing to stand up for civil and political rights."
Assange remains inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London awaiting the determination of his application, said to be within the next 24 hours. He is there with a small group of supporters, including Australian human rights lawyer Jen Robinson and British journalism veteran Gavin MacFadyen.
The Australian government's strategy in response to the request appears to be to use its consular support to Assange as evidence of its bona fides. Nicola Roxon this morning was insisting the government had provided adequate support and that anything else was a demand for intervention by the government in the legal process of the UK and Sweden.
This is the straw man already used by Bob Carr in his deflection of questions about the issue. The problem is that at no stage has the government indicated its willingness to defend Assange from an open campaign of intimidation by the United States purely on the basis of his journalism. That campaign has so far consisted of:
A financial blockade of WikiLeaks instigated by the Obama administration
Further elements of the campaign have recently come to light. French cyber activist Jeremie Zimmermann was detained by FBI agents while travelling from the United States back to France after he filmed an episode of Assange's television show and interrogated about Assange. Icelandic activist Smari McCarthy, who also appeared on the program, was stopped while entering the US and later approached in Washington DC to become an informer against Assange. Crikey is investigating further incidents where people with links to WikiLeaks have been stopped while travelling.
The Gillard government's response has been to insist the US is not doing anything in relation to Assange, a narrow legal point that defies the public reality of a multi-pronged campaign, one that the government insists it can't see and therefore can do nothing about. "Wilful blindness" is the phrase that comes to mind. However, that strategy briefly lapsed in 2010 when Julia Gillard made the error of declaring WikiLeaks' activity illegal. That claim, which Gillard has pointedly never retracted and that was clearly contradicted by advice from the AFP, may also prove crucial to demonstrating Assange's case that the government will not protect him.
Late this morning, the Senate approved a motion calling on the government to provide the same level of support to Assange it had provided to other Australians and for the retraction of the government's claims of illegality.
Regardless of the outcome of Assange's application, the blunt truth about the Obama administration's campaign against WikiLeaks and Assange is that it has been enormously successful. The financial blockade has strangled the organisation.
Assange's strategy in relation to extradition to Sweden - and now his attempted flight to Ecuador - has been dictated by the very real concern that the US wants to get him, and that his own government won't lift a finger to prevent it. Assange has thus entangled himself in litigation in an attempt to avoid placing himself in a position where Sweden could surrender him to the United States. The work of WikiLeaks has thus been superseded by the soap opera-like story of Assange, of which Ecuador is only the latest exotic backdrop.
That's just how the Obama administration wants it. And, quite likely, the Gillard government too.
By now, anyone following the extraordinary twists in the WikiLeaks story will have heard the Government, from the Prime Minister down, insisting that they have provided full consular assistance for Julian Assange, and don't know anything about US plans to prosecute him.
These statements tend to be delivered in a tone of wounded innocence, as though the Government can't believe that people don't appreciate the strenuous efforts they're making to support this Australian citizen.
It is a peculiar form of consular assistance that is being delivered here. It extends to the Prime Minister pre-emptively judging the work of WikiLeaks as "illegal", a remarkably prejudicial statement given Ms Gillard's legal background. Helpfully, the Attorney-General then instructed the Federal Police to investigate whether Mr Assange's passport could be torn up.
The Government has steadfastly refused to face up to the existence of a Grand Jury that was empanelled in Alexandria, Virginia late in 2010. Even evidence that this entity had sealed an indictment, potentially on charges of espionage hasn't been enough to pique the Australian Government's interest.
"Not for Pub – We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect," reads the email from vice president of intelligence for Stratfor, a shadowy private intelligence organisation with links to senior intelligence and defence officials in the US.
It's not proof, of course, but you'd have thought the Australian Government would take an interest if they thought our closest ally was about to prosecute an Australian citizen for offences that carry the death penalty or decades in a supermax prison. Not so much, as this edgy - and frankly, slightly creepy - exchange I had with Foreign Minister Bob Carr demonstrates.
Senator Bob Carr: We have seen no evidence that such a sealed indictment exists.
Senator Ludlam: Have you sought such evidence?
Senator Bob Carr: We have not sought evidence, but we have seen no evidence that it exists.
This is when the 'consular assistance' line goes from being disingenuous to having an edge of hostility about it.
It's not well understood in Australia just how toxic the media and political culture has become in the United States, a country still traumatised by the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001. Accusing an individual of terrorism in the United States carries a severe and visceral resonance.
But from the vice-president of the US down, that is exactly what has been occurring. These are not simply fringe voices from the far right – although there are plenty of those – but elements of the mainstream press are rich with death threats and propositions for the extrajudicial killing of Julian and the whistleblowers who gave the WikiLeaks organisation such potency.
These are extremely serious charges that are potentially about to be levelled by the US government against an Australian citizen. Given the enormously prejudicial comments that saturate the media environment in the United States, he is not guaranteed of anything like a fair trial.
Given the dismal experience of alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning, the WikiLeaks legal team believes Mr Assange will be exposed to similar conditions if he is deported or extradited to the United States.
Julian Assange isn't after consular assistance. He is after a Government that will look after his human rights. In the absence of any indications the Australian Government is interested in doing so, perhaps it's not surprising he's looking elsewhere.
Senator Scott Ludlam is an Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia. View his full profile here.
No Surprise Assange Looking Elsewhere For Support
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has told the ABC he still does not know how long it will be before Ecuador decides whether to grant him asylum.
Mr Assange was speaking to Radio National's Fran Kelly this morning from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been holed up since Tuesday.
It is the first time he has spoken out since his dramatic bid to seek refuge in the South American country and avoid extradition to Sweden.
He accused the US ambassador to Australia and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of using "slimy rhetoric" in his case, and dismissed repeated Australian Government claims that he has been receiving ongoing consular assistance.
"I haven't met with anyone from the Australian High Commission since December 2010," he said, adding that his contact since then had been limited to text messages asking "Does Mr Assange have any concerns".
He says he was forced to make the move because Swedish authorities indicated he would spend more time behind bars there without a conviction.
"We had heard that the Ecuadorians were sympathetic in relation to my struggles and the struggles of the organisation with the United States, and the ability to exercise that option was at an effective end," he said.
Police remain stationed outside the embassy and Scotland Yard says it will arrest Mr Assange for breaching his bail conditions as soon as he leaves.
Friends say Mr Assange is working with his lawyers on what has been a complicated legal process.
I have a few ideas about how to sort the situation so that Assange can leave the Ecuadorian embassy and move to Ecuador... But I won't mention them here... who knows...
''I don't know how long it will take for him to be extradited now. Victims want to put these things behind them in order to be able to get on with their lives. The tragedy is that he doesn't take his responsibility. He should have come to Sweden.''Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/assanges-asylum-bid-blasted-by-lawyer-of-sex-accusers-20120621-20r1m.html#ixzz1yTFeOdpf
It has been clear all along that Assange is prepared to face his accusers "on a neutral ground" with Swedisn judges or else... At present this avenue is not "acceptable" to those who want him out of "circulation" and the Swedish system wants to place him in prison for a length of time EVEN BEFORE THE COURT CASE is heard... It should have been clear to the UK high court that this neutral option would be the best for all concerned and judged accordingly.... Assange's life in on the line for some sexual conduct he's been accused of — that is not (and was not) a crime in many developed countries... Even if the women concerns are genuine in their grievances, their "participation" in Weakileaks should make them aware of there are times when one's demands is far more petty than the life of someone else... They should demand to be heard on "neutral grounds"... No problemo there...
But there is a great chance that Assange may have been "set up"...
If the Ecuadorean government does find that Assange is in political danger and grant him asylum, what will that say about the thoroughness or enthusiasm of our government's efforts to protect an Australian citizen? How will that reflect on Australia internationally, and on the Gillard Government intra-nationally? Has the Government really thought this through?
Without ever having apologised for its unwarranted pre-emptive criticism of Assange's activities as criminal, the Gillard Government has given Assange no real aid but still maintains the line: "What more can we do for him? He has had more consular assistance than any other citizen in a comparable period. We can't run his case for him."
One by one elected representatives stand before the media scrum and regurgitate the PR line, oblivious to what Blind Freddy can see government officials - up to and including Foreign Minister Carr - doing for other Australians in trouble from time to time. Experts have long suggested that the Government will go through the motions but behind the scenes do nothing, playing on the ignorance of the average Australian, and that is exactly what has happened.
Assange's mother, Christine, has confirmed that "the Assange family gives permission for the Gillard Government to provide a specific list all of the consular assistance provided to their son publicly."
Christine Assange says she contacted Foreign Minister Carr's office about three weeks ago to discuss her son's case. She gave the Minister's personal assistant a comprehensive overview of her son's case, including a discussion of sealed indictments, and directed her to a specific series of website links to specific details and facts about her son's case:
After hearing Foreign Minister Carr say on Lateline this week that "I don't know what a sealed indictment is", Christine Assange said:
I re-offer to sit with Foreign Minister Carr to give him a proper briefing about Julian's case because the poor man doesn't even know what a sealed indictment is. Alternatively, I welcome Minister Carr to visit my place of residence for that briefing. A cup of tea will be provided. At the same time I am quite prepared to also brief him about the temporary surrender agreement between Sweden and the US.
The questions to which the Ecuadorian consular officials are directing their attention are precisely the questions to which the Australian Government should have been, and still should be, directing its attention. But perhaps it's better that the questions are being considered by Ecuador rather than Australia: should we not be grateful that the issues will be examined by a country not afflicted by pre-judgement, prejudice or embarrassed self-interest, and by officers of a government whose investigation will not be circumscribed by the overriding requirements of unrelated diplomatic, political, military and economic considerations?
Assange: An Australian Political Refugee?
Ecuador has recalled its ambassador to Britain to discuss what to do about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Mr Assange is about to spend his fourth night at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London as his asylum bid is considered.
He has asked for political asylum as he seeks to avoid extradition to Sweden on sex-abuse allegations and fears Stockholm will turn him over to the United States.
President Rafael Correa says his country will make the final decision on Mr Assange's asylum bid.
"We are calling our ambassador back for consultations because this is a very serious matter," Mr Correa said.
"We are going to proceed cautiously, responsibly and seriously in this case, without bowing to absolutely any pressure."
Ecuadorian envoy Ana Alban met with British authorities on Wednesday.
Mr Correa says they had had a "very courteous communication with the English government on their point of view".
"We will take it into account, but Ecuador will make the final decision," he said.
Time for Equador to protect Assange from the wolves of Yankeedom... Once Assange in Ecuador, the Swedish women can pursue their claims without the real threat of Assange being deported to America...
It was back in 2006 that Julian Assange and associates founded the Wikileaks website. Their goal was and is a noble and necessary one. Wikileaks aims at forcing the world's governments to act with greater transparency, and therefore possibly rule more justly. It was Assange's opinion that if governments were less able to lie and keep secrets, they would be less prone to break their own and international laws, or at least more likely to adhere to a general rule of decency allegedly shared by their citizenry. This is a truly heroic undertaking. What did Wikileaks do to accomplish this task? It created a web-based non-governmental window on government activity through which it makes public those official lies and secrets. This information is supplied to it by whistle blowers the world over.
Soon Wikileaks was telling the world about "extrajudicial killings in Kenya...toxic waste dumping on the coast of Cote d'Ivoire...material involving large banks...among other documents." None of this got Assange into great trouble. The simple fact is that the ability of states such as Kenya and the Ivory Coast to reach out and crush an organization like Wikileaks is limited. However, in 2010 the website started publishing massive amounts of U.S. diplomatic and military documents, including damaging information on procedures at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and a video documenting attacks on civilians in Iraq.
It is at this point that Assange, as the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, became a criminal in the eyes of the U.S. government. The hero now became the hunted. Republican Representative Peter King of New York, an Islamophobe who unfortunately chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, labeled Wikileaks a "terrorist organization" and said that Assange ought to be "prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917." On the Democratic side of the aisle, Diane Feinstein of California, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, claimed that Assange had harmed the national interest and "put innocent lives at risk" and therefore should be prosecuted for espionage. Actually, a good argument can be made that the stupid and corrupt policies of American politicians have done much greater harm to objectively defined national interest, particularly in the Middle East. In addition there is no evidence that any of Wikileaks' actions have resulted in any loss of "innocent lives." However, none of this can save Assange.
Part II - Who is the Real Criminal?
One of the serious questions raised by the case of Wikileaks and Julian Assange is just who is a criminal? If an organized crime syndicate commits illegal acts and some outside party reveals its activity, the syndicate might mark the witness for punishment. However, which one is the real criminal? Lots of governments act like organized crime syndicates. If you ask King or Feinstein what they think about the behavior of, say, Russia in Chechnya or China in Tibet, they are likely to describe that behavior as criminal. And, if Assange had just exposed the sins of Russia or China, he would be praised within the halls of Congress.
But what happens when the U.S. government behaves like an organized gang of criminals? After all, a very good case can be made that the leaders of the United States are systematically violating their own constitution with policies like indefinite detention. And the government's behavior in Viet Nam, as well as in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq (for instance, in the application of draconian sanctions which did take the lives of up to a million innocents) and the actual occupation of that country, all violated more moral precepts than one cares to count. Then there is the practice of torturing suspected, but not actually convicted, terrorists, and the current use of drone attacks which kill more civilians than targeted enemies. Along comes Wikileaks and Assange to bear witness against some of these acts. Washington marks him for punishment. But just who is the real criminal?
It is to the enduring shame of most of the U.S. media that they did not, and still can't, manage a straight answer to that question. The establishment press has always kept its distance from Assange, asserting that he was not a "real" journalist. This no doubt reflects the attitudes of its basically conservative owners and editors. For instance, the New York Times executive editor, Bill Keller, once called Assange a "smelly, dirty, bombastic...believer in unproven conspiracy theories...." He did this even while his own paper selectively dipped into the 391,832 Pentagon documents Wikileaks had divulged. Even then the information was used in the most innocuous fashion. I think it is fair to say that investigative journalism at a local (city or state) level still goes on in the U.S., but at the national level it has become an increasingly rare phenomenon.
Part III - Popular Disbelief
Though a noble and necessary effort, Assange's Wikileaks experiment always faced very high odds, particularly in the U.S. This is because its revelations play themselves out within the context of an establishment culture that has long ago turned the great majority of people into subservient true believers. True believers in what? In the essential goodness of their nation as it operates in the world beyond its borders. Therefore, transparency might be acceptable for one's local political environment where the mayor turns out to be corrupt, but foreign policy is something else again. For Americans in the post 9/11 age, foreign policy boils down to promoting democracy and development on the one hand, and protecting the citizenry from terrorists on the other. Within that frame of reference, it is nearly impossible for Americans to conceive of their national government as purposefully acting like a criminal organization. They just refuse to believe it.
Particularly in the so-called war against terrorism, most Americans see nothing noble or necessary about exposing the government's clandestine operations. Thus, when Julian Assange points out the criminal behavior of those supposedly defending the nation, most citizens are going to feel indignant and rally around the flag. The messenger is soon the one who is seen as criminal and dangerous because he is undermining national security.
There are no greater adherents to this point of view than the political and military leaders who claim to be defenders of the nation. For them the old Barry Goldwater saying, "extremism in defense of liberty is no vice" excuses all excesses. Wikileaks both challenged and embarrassed them by making their innumerable excesses public. Thus, be they Democrats or Republicans, the so-called champions of homeland security are determined to silence him.
U.S. authorities have latched onto an exaggerated sex scandal in Sweden in which Assange is sought for questioning (though as yet not charged with any crime). They have pressured the Swedes to extradite Assange from his present UK residence when it would be much easier and efficient (as Assange has offered) for Stockholm to send court representatives to England to perform the questioning. So why do it the hard way? Because, once in Sweden, the head of Wikileaks could be given over to the Americans (something the British will not do). Assange will not cooperate in this game. As Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, "as a foreign national accused of harming U.S. national security, he has every reason to want to avoid ending up in the travesty known as the American judicial system." When he recently lost his UK court battle against extradition, he sought asylum in the embassy of Ecuador, a country whose leaders are sympathetic to Assange's plight. True to form, American media comment on Assange's appeal for asylum has been disparaging.
Part IV - Conclusion
Julian Assange is now a hero on the run. And, he is probably going to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Even if he makes it to Ecuador he will need bodyguards to protect him from kidnaping or worse. As one Pentagon spokesman put it, "If doing the right thing is not good enough for [Assange] then we will figure out what other alternatives we have to compel [him] to do the right thing." And what do America's leaders regard as the "right thing" in this case? Obviously, keeping silent about Washington's doing the wrong thing.
That is the nature of our world. Submerged in a culture defined by the educational and informational dictates of our leaders and their interests, many of us can not recognize when we are being lied to or misled. And, if someone tries to tell us what is happening, they sound so odd, so out of place, that we are made anxious and annoyed. So much so that, in the end, we don't raise a finger when the messenger is hounded into silence.
Lawrence Davidson is professor of history at West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic work is focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He also teaches courses in the history of science and modern European intellectual history. http://www.tothepointanalyses.com/
The Hero Becomes The Hunted
A spokeswoman for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he has defied a British police order to turn himself in for extradition to Sweden and will remain holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London.
Mr Assange, who has applied for asylum in Ecuador, was served notice on Thursday to surrender himself to a central London police station, but decided not to comply.
"Julian will remain in the embassy under the protection of the Ecuadorian government," Susan Benn of the Julian Assange Defence Fund told reporters outside the embassy in central London.
"Yesterday, Mr Assange was served with a letter from the Metropolitan Police Service requesting that he surrender himself to Belgravia police station at 11:30 this morning.
"Mr Assange has been advised that he should decline to comply with the police request.
"This should not be considered any sign of disrespect.
"Under both international and domestic UK law, asylum assessments take priority over extradition claims.
In a case against Valitor, formerly VISA Iceland, Reykjavík District Court just ruled the company had violated contract laws by blocking credit card donations to Wikileaks. After WikiLeaks’ publications revealing U.S. war crimes and statecraft in 2010, U.S. financial institutions, including VISA, MasterCard, Bank of America, erected a banking blockade against WikiLeaks wholly outside of any judicial or administrative process. The blockade stripped away over 95% of donations from supporters of WikiLeaks, costing the organization in excess of USD 20M.
The court ruled that the donation gateway should be reopened within 14 days otherwise Valitor will be penalized with a fine of 800 000 ISK daily. WikiLeaks is persuing several actions against the blockade and a European Commission preliminary investigation into the blockade was started last July. A Commission decision on whether to pursue the financial services companies involved in the blockade is expected before the end of August.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, said “This is a significant victory against Washington’s attempt to silence WikiLeaks. We will not be silenced. Economic censorship is censorship. It is wrong. When it’s done outside of the rule of law its doubly wrong. One by one those involved in the attempted censorship of WikiLeaks will find themselves on the wrong side of history.”
For more information on the WikiLeaks banking blockade see http://wikileaks.org/Banking-Blockade
A late-night visit by the security contractor who maintained the electronic bracelet around Julian Assange's ankle was one reason why he decided to seek political asylum in the Ecuador embassy in London.
For the first time, Mr Assange has revealed full details of the sequence of events that led to him moving into the embassy last month.
Mr Assange told Four Corners he only took the decision because after a number of "dramatic events" he feared his bail was about to be cut short.
For more than 500 days the WikiLeaks founder had been fighting extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sex crimes, including rape.
Speaking from the embassy by phone, Mr Assange said he became suspicious when the Swedish government publicly announced it would detain him "without charge in prison under severe conditions".
What happened next made him believe he may soon be taken into custody.
"On the same evening, the UK government security contractors that maintained the electronic manacle around my leg turned up unannounced at 10.30pm and insisted on fitting another manacle to my leg, saying that this was part of routine maintenance, which did not sound to be credible," he said.
Mr Assange said the following day the security contractor "filed a section nine bail breach against me" in that "my bail would be revoked and they did so under the basis that we refused to let them in at 10.30pm unannounced".
Later that day Mr Assange said he feared his last avenue of appeal was about to be terminated by the British crown prosecution service.
"Acting, we believe, on behalf of the Swedish government, (they) requested that the 14 days that I had to apply to the European court of human rights be reduced to zero."
from wikileaks …..
The Spanish judge, lawyer, and international jurist, Baltasar Garzón, will lead the legal team representing Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. The jurist met with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom recently.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the new legal strategy which will defend both WikiLeaks and Julian Assange from the existing abuse of process; expose the arbitrary, extrajudicial actions by the international financial system which target Julian Assange and WikiLeaks specifically; and show how the secret US processes against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have compromised and contaminated other legal processes, including the extradition process against Mr Assange. Despite been imprisoned, fiscally blockaded, and placed under house arrest for over 650 days, Mr. Assange has not been charged with an offense in any country.
Baltasar Garzón revolutionized the international justice system two decades ago by issuing an international arrest warrant for the former Head of State of Chile, Augusto Pinochet. His actions spearheaded the fight against impunity in Latin America and in the rest of the world.
The judge has expressed serious concerns regarding the lack of safeguards and transparency whith which actions are being taken against Julian Assange, and the harassment he is being subjected to which has irreparable effects on his physical and mental wellbeing.
The threats against his person are further aggravated by the complicit behaviour of the Swedish and U.K. governments, who are wrongfully abrogating his rights.
Baltasar Garzón Real (Spanish pronunciation: [baltaˈsar ɣarˈθon]; born 26 October 1955) is a former Spanish jurist who served on Spain's central criminal court, the Audiencia Nacional. He was the examining magistrate of the Juzgado Central de Instrucción No. 5, which investigates the most important criminal cases in Spain, including terrorism,organised crime, and money laundering.
In 1993–94 he was elected a deputy and briefly held a ministerial role in the Felipe González's socialist government. Following his return to the Audiencia Nacional, he led a series of investigations that helped convict a government minister as the head of the Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación (GAL), a state terrorist group.
Garzón came to international attention on 10 October 1998 when he issued an international warrant for the arrest of former Chilean President, General Augusto Pinochet, for the alleged deaths and torture of Spanish citizens.
Garzón was accused of various irregularities by Manos Limpias and finally indicted on three different counts relating to a fraud trial, investigating Francoist crimes and taking bribes. He was suspended from judicial activity on 14 May 2010, pending trial. He was given permission to work as a consultant at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for 7 months from May 2010. On 9 February 2012 The Supreme Court of Spain convicted him of illegallywiretapping conversations between suspects on remand for massive fraud and their lawyers who were believed to be moving their money beyond the reach of the court. The trial judge described this act as appropriate to a dictatorship and sentenced him to eleven years disqualification from judicial activity.
A few days later, on 12 February, the fraud action was abandoned on a technicality and he was acquitted of exceeding his authority in investigating the crimes of the Francoist era on 27th February 2012
Garzón has stated that he will appeal to the Constitutional Court of Spain against his expulsion from the judiciary. He apparently had infuriated the Spanish far-right Falange and Manos Limpias.
The Ecuadorean government is seeking to avert the "evil" of the extradition of Julian Assange to the US, according to a senior legal adviser to the country's embassy in London, the Guardian reports. Ecuadoran diplomats said they had been seeking assurances from the UK that Assange would not be extradited to the US after the completion of legal proceedings in Sweden, but had received no answer.
The senior legal adviser said that under extradition law, the concept of "specialty" ensures an individual can only be extradited to one country. Once legal proceedings in that country have been completed, the individual is given a 45-day leave, during which they are free to go where they want. Assange should, therefore, be free to travel to any other state once legal proceedings against him are completed in Sweden. However, specialty can be waived by the country granting the initial extradition request – in this case the UK – thereby allowing an individual to be extradited to a third country.
The senior legal adviser said the home secretary, Theresa May, would need to waive specialty under section 58 of the Extradition Act 2003, before Assange could be extradited from Sweden to the US. Despite repeated requests from Ecuador, the Foreign Office has not said whether or not May intends to exercise her powers to allow for any potential future extradition to the US.
Assange's US lawyer, Michael Ratner, said he was certain Assange had already either been secretly indicted by a grand jury in Washington or would face extradition with a view to prosecution. He believed the death penalty remained a possibility. "I have no doubt there is a serious investigation, which has gone on, and is continuing, into Julian Assange and WikiLeaks," he said.
Ecuadorean government officials invited the Swedish authorities to London to interview Julian Assange, The Independent reports. An advisor to Ecuador said, "we have asked the Swedish authorities why they want him in Stockholm and not in the UK; and whether they have had any contact with the USA about possible extradition." Assange's Swedish lawyer told the Independent that the questions posed by the Ecuadorean authorities must be answered by the Swedish prosecutor. Per Samuelson said: "I have on behalf of my client asked the prosecutor to go to London to do the interview but have so far not received an answer. I hope she does come this time."
After six weeks in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, the possibility that Julian Assange will be extradited to the US remains high.
The UK could resolve this impasse tomorrow if it wished. According to the senior legal advisor cited in the Guardian's report, an individual served up under a European Arrest Warrant can only be extradited to the country making the request. When that country is done with him, the individual has a 45 day grace period to travel elsewhere. He cannot be extradited to a third country during this time.  This is the concept of “specialty.”
But specialty can be waived by the country granting the initial extradition request. In Assange's case, if the UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, waives specialty, he can be extradited to the US from Sweden when the latter is done with him. If May were to publicly state that she would not waive specialty and would not consent to a US extradition of Assange, the US would not be able to extradite Assange from Sweden after proceedings there were complete.
Yet, UK and Swedish officials remain intransigent, with both refusing to give assurances that Assange will not be extradited to the US. This only provides further evidence that the threat to Assange is a very real one. With the US unlikely to reveal its intentions until the last minute —and with some in the US, like Senator Dianne Feinstein, publicly calling for Assange's prosecution —it is in the hands of Sweden and the UK to clear up intentions about Assange. That both refuse to make public statements against US extradition is troubling.
To date, there hasn't been much public pressure on the UK government to declare its intentions with regard to Assange. Let's change that. Sign our petition pressing the UK to publicly declare that it will not waive specialty in the case of Julian Assange.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/uk-dont-allow-us-extradition-assangeThank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,
There are clear signs that the US is on track to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder, which, as his US lawyer, I advise him to heed, despite the denials of the Obama administration
Michael Ratner, Guardian, Thursday 2 August 2012 08.50 EDT
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/02/julian-assange-right-fear-prosecutionAs the drama unfolds over Julian Assange's bid for political asylum in Ecuador, a troubling irony has emerged: the besieged founder of WikiLeaks is seeking refuge in this small Andean nation because he fears persecution from the United States, a nation whose laws famously grant asylum to people in precisely Assange's situation. Indeed, the US has demonstrated its commitment to be a safe haven for those being persecuted for their political beliefs by recognising that journalists punished for expressing political opinions in places like China meet the criteria for asylum under the US's own laws.
The journalistic function and legacy of WikiLeaks cannot be disputed. The site has published 251,287 leaked US diplomatic cables and military documents that revealed the inner workings – warts and all – of US foreign policy. These publications illuminated state-sponsored human rights abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan, exposed a secret war in Yemen, and revealed the Obama administration's interference with independent efforts to prosecute Bush officials for torture and other war crimes.
So why is Assange so concerned? Are his fears of persecution due to his political beliefs and expression reasonable?
There are several unambiguous signs that the US is on track to prosecute Assange for his work as a journalist. A grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, empanelled to investigate violations of the Espionage Act – a statute that by its very nature targets speech – has subpoenaed Twitter feeds regarding Assange and WikiLeaks. An FBI agent, testifying at whistleblower Bradley Manning's trial, said that "founders, owners and managers" of WikiLeaks are being investigated. And then there is Assange's 42,135-page FBI file – a compilation of curious heft if the government is "not interested" in investigating its subject.
In this context, Assange's fears of extradition to and persecution in the US, and therefore his plea for asylum, are eminently reasonable.
What's more, Assange is rightly concerned about how he will be treated if he is extradited to the US. One need only consider how the US treated Bradley Manning, the army private who allegedly leaked the cables to WikiLeaks to see why. Manning spent close to a year in pre-trial solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, and then eight months under conditions designed to pressure him into providing evidence to incriminate Assange. During this time, Manning was stripped of his clothing and made to stand nude for inspection. Thousands of people, including scores of legal scholars and the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, have condemned Manning's treatment as inhumane, and state that it may constitute torture. There is no reason for Assange to expect he will be treated any better.
Most disturbingly, the US government is more concerned with investigating a journalist and publisher than the high-level government officials whose alleged war crimes and misdeeds Assange and his cohorts brought to light. Why? To send a message to others who might dare to expose government misconduct, who believe that transparency, exposing abuses, and dissembling hypocrisy strengthen democracy – and who act on those beliefs. In short, the US is intent on persecuting a crusading journalist and publisher for his political expression.
These are the circumstances under which Ecuador is considering whether it will grant Assange the asylum he is entitled to under law. If it does, and should the UK or the US retaliate against Ecuador, that would be a violation of the law. Granting asylum is a peaceful and humanitarian act and cannot be regarded with hostility.
A top Spanish lawyer acting for the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says Britain would have to allow Assange safe passage to Ecuador, should the South American country offer him asylum. Assange, who faces extradition to Sweden to face rape allegations, has been in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for six weeks now.
A majority of Australians believe the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would not receive a fair trial should he ever be extradited to the United States.
The nationwide poll, conducted by UMR Research, also finds more than half do not believe he should be prosecuted for releasing thousands of leaked diplomatic cables.
He is seeking asylum in Ecuador but if unsuccessful could find himself sent to Sweden. Officially, the US government says it has no plans to then extradite him to the US - but a grand jury has been convened to probe the release by WikiLeaks of about 250,000 allegedly stolen diplomatic cables, raising suspicions to the contrary.
UMR Research, the company Labor uses for its internal research, sampled the views of 1000 people at the end of July, when Mr Assange was ensconced inside the embassy.
It finds 58 per cent believe he will not receive a fair trial in the US while 22 per cent believe he will be afforded proper justice. Another 20 per cent are unsure.
The poll also finds 52 per cent believe Mr Assange should not be prosecuted for releasing the leaked cables, while only 26 per cent believe he should be prosecuted. Another 21 per cent are unsure.
The managing director of UMR, John Utting, said if Mr Assange was extradited, his popularity would most likely increase "due to an underdog effect, more prominent in Australia than other countries".
"The lack of confidence in the ability of the US judicial system to deliver a fair result has resonated with the Australian public and its sense of fair play," he said.
Most Australians Back Assange - Poll Finds
Ecuador has reportedly agreed to grant asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Britain's Guardian newspaper says Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa has agreed to the request on humanitarian grounds.
Mr Assange has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since June 19 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sexual assault allegations.
The Australian activist, who enraged Washington in 2010 when his WikiLeaks website published thousands of secret United States diplomatic cables, says he fears he could be sent to the US, where he believes his life would be at risk.
And he faces the prospect of arrest as soon as he steps out of the embassy in London for breaching bail conditions.
On Tuesday, Ecuador foreign minister Ricardo Patino, who has led his country's analysis of the case, said the Andean country was also looking at how the 41-year-old Australian might travel to Ecuador if he is granted asylum.
"Beyond the international treaties, the right to asylum etc, and the autonomy or sovereignty the national government has to take a decision of this nature, we have to look at what will happen next," he said before an event in the highland city of Ambato.
"It's not only about whether to grant the asylum, because for Mr Assange to leave England he should have a safe pass from the British (government).
"Will that be possible? That's an issue we have to take into account."
Ecuador's president Rafael Correa has denied British press reports that his country has decided to grant asylum to Australian Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Britain's Guardian newspaper is reporting that Ecuadorian officials have confirmed that Mr Assange's request for sanctuary has been granted on humanitarian grounds.
But on Twitter this morning Mr Correa said the report was not correct.
"Rumor de asilo a Assange es falso. Todavía no hay ninguna decisión al respecto. Espero informe de Cancillería
It is difficult for me, as an advocate against rape and other forms of violence against women, to fathom the laziness and wilful ignorance that characterise so much of the media coverage of the sexual assault allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
To report that we are simply witnessing Swedish justice at work, one must be committed to doing no research - to not even picking up a phone. In fact, we are witnessing a bizarre aberration in Sweden's treatment of sex crime - a case that exposes the grim reality of indifference, or worse, that victims there and elsewhere face.
If I were raped in Uppsala, where Assange is alleged to have committed his crime, I could not expect prosecutors to lobby governments to arrest my assailant. On the contrary, "ordinary" Swedish rapists and abusers should assume that police might not respond when called. When I tried the rape crisis hotline at the government-run Crisis Centre for Women in Stockholm, no one even picked up - and there was no answering machine.
Rape crisis advocates in Sweden say one-third of Swedish women have been sexually assaulted by the time they leave their teens. Indeed, according to a study in 2003, and later studies through to 2009, Sweden has the highest sexual assault rate in Europe and among the lowest conviction rates.
When I reached the Stockholm branch of Terrafem, a support organisation for rape survivors, a volunteer told me that in her many years of experience Sweden's police, prosecutors and magistrates had never mobilised in pursuit of any alleged perpetrator in ways remotely similar to their pursuit of Assange. The far more common scenario - in fact, the only reliable scenario - was that even cases accompanied by a significant amount of evidence were seldom prosecuted.
This, she explained, was because most rapes in Uppsala, Stockholm and other cities occurred when young women meet young men online and go to an apartment, where, as in the allegations in the Assange case, what begins as consensual sex turns non-consensual. But she said this was exactly the scenario that Swedish police typically refused to prosecute. Just as everywhere else, Sweden's male-dominated police, she explained, did not tend to see these victims as "innocent" and thus did not bother building a case for arrest.
She is right. According to a report by Amnesty International, as of 2008 the number of reported rapes in Sweden had quadrupled in 20 years, but only 20 per cent of cases were ever prosecuted. And, while the prosecution rate constituted a minimal improvement on previous years, when less than 15 per cent of cases ended up in court, the conviction rate for reported rapes "is markedly lower today than it was in 1965". As a result, "in practice, many perpetrators enjoy impunity".
Until 2006, women in Uppsala faced a remarkable hurdle in seeking justice: the city's chief of police, Goran Lindberg, was himself a serial rapist, convicted in July 2010 of more than a dozen charges, including serious sexual offences. One victim testified that she was told her rapist was the police chief, and that she would be framed if she told anyone about his assaults. Lindberg also served as the Police Academy's spokesman against sexual violence. The Uppsala police force that is now investigating Assange either failed to or refused to investigate effectively the sadistic rapist with whom they worked every day.
In other words, the purported magical Swedish kingdom of female sexual equality, empowerment and robust institutional support for rape victims - a land, conjured by Swedish prosecutors, that holds much of the global media in thrall - simply does not exist.
In the Assange case, the Swedish police supported the accusers in legally unprecedented ways - for example, by allowing them to tell their stories together and by allowing testimony from a boyfriend. But other alleged victims of gender-based abuse, sometimes in life-threatening circumstances, typically receive very different treatment. In particular, according to WAVE, a pan-European consortium of service providers for rape and sexual abuse survivors, when migrants, who comprise 13.8 per cent of Sweden's population, report rape and abuse, they face high systemic hurdles in even telling their stories to police - including longstanding linguistic barriers in communicating with them at all.
Likewise, Swedish intake centres for victims of male violence are woefully underfunded, leaving many women who face threats to their safety and that of their children waiting for unavailable places in shelters. When I emailed the rape crisis support institute in Uppsala, I received an automatic reply saying that the facility was temporarily closed.
So, for most raped Swedish women, the shelters are full, the hotlines inactive and the police selectively look the other way - that is, unless they are busy chasing down a globally famous suspect.
We have been here before. Last year, when my left-wing colleagues were virtually unanimous in believing the New York Police Department's narrative of a certain victim and a guilty-before-due-process rapist, I made the same call - to the local rape crisis centre. There, Harriet Lesser, who works every day with victims whose alleged attacker is not the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, confirmed that the official support shown for the victim - in advance of any investigation - was indeed unprecedented.
Let me be clear: I am not saying that Assange, much less Dominique Strauss-Kahn, committed no crime against women. Rather, Assange's case, as was true with Strauss-Kahn's, is being handled so differently from how the authorities handle all other rape cases that a corrupted standard of justice clearly is being applied. These aberrations add insult to the injury of women, undefended and without justice, who have been raped in the "normal" course of events - by violent nobodies.
Naomi Wolf is a political activist and social critic whose most recent book is Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries.
Kingdom Of Sexual Violence
Julian Assange has hired lawyers to investigate suing the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, for defamation over a claim that WikiLeaks acted ''illegally'' in leaking about 250,000 US diplomatic cables.
In an interview from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, Mr Assange said Ms Gillard's comment, made in late 2010, was used by Mastercard Australia, which joined an online financial blockade of the organisation.
The White House and the Gillard government have condemned the release since November 2010 of more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables.
''I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the WikiLeaks website. It's a grossly irresponsible thing to do, and an illegal thing to do,'' Ms Gillard said several days after WikiLeaks began releasing the cables.
The Australian activist group GetUp! recently interviewed Mr Assange in his makeshift home inside the embassy, where he is staying as part of a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations.
He said he would be vulnerable to arrest in Sweden by the US Justice Department, which is examining the possibility of charging people associated with WikiLeaks with espionage.
Mr Assange said the group's work was stymied by Ms Gillard's comments.
''Mastercard Australia, in justifying why it has made a blockade preventing any Australian Mastercard holder from donating to Wikileaks, used that statement by Julia Gillard as justification,'' Mr Assange said.
''So the effects of the statement are ongoing and they directly affect the financial viability of WikiLeaks,'' Mr Assange said. ''We are considering suing for defamation. So I have hired lawyers in Sydney and they are investigating the different ways in which we can sue Gillard over that statement.''
Mr Assange said the comments were particularly damaging because they ''licensed'' other forms of attack on him and Wikileaks.
During the interview, Mr Assange also revealed the effects of the past two years on his family, saying his young children have had to move homes and change their names.
GetUp!'s national director, Sam McLean, said the interview was the first step in a campaign calling on the Australian government to seek a commitment from the US that it will not try to extradite Mr Assange over his publishing work with WikiLeaks.
''For too long the Prime Minister and the foreign ministers have put the interests of the US government ahead of Australian citizens. That is not good enough,'' Mr McLean said.
''Our government must demand a binding agreement from the US that they will not seek the extradition of this Australian citizen for his work as a journalist and publisher.''
''GetUp! members expect the government to stand up for all Australians, even when it is not politically convenient.''
Assange To Target Gillard In Possible Defamation Case
I remain fascinated by the suggestion that Julian Assange could be extradited to the US, if he returned to Sweden.
After all, whilst the US is entitled to expect anyone on its territory to obey its laws or, if they are US citizens, to even obey some laws whilst outside its territory, I’m not aware that its laws extend to non-US citizens outside of its territory.
At the same time, throughout history, any state that could not act in the best interests of its own citizens could not be thought of as a ‘sovereign’ state.
So I reckon that Julian would be pretty safe in Sweden as, even though the US is our ‘special friend’, I’m not aware that we have ceded our sovereign status just yet.
from Crikey ….
Financial giants use McClelland statements to blockade WikiLeaks
EUROPEAN COMMISSION, JULIAN ASSANGE, MASTERCARD, VISA, WIKILEAKS
Giant US financial intermediary Visa is partly relying on the Gillard government's claims that WikiLeaks acted "illegally" to justify its ongoing financial blockade of the whistleblower and media outlet, new material obtained by WikiLeaks has revealed.
WikiLeaks's campaign against the illegal blockade, which has strangled the organisation of more than 90% of its funds, has suffered a setback this week after the European Commission declined to investigate the blockade (specifically, of the company DataCell, which WikiLeaks had been using) despite the European Parliament resolving last week that the Commission should seek to prevent the "arbitrary refusal of payments by credit card companies".
WikiLeaks has obtained some of the material used by the US financial giants Visa and Mastercard to justify the blockade to the Commission (the material, in large PDFs, is here and here). Citing its own secret legal advice, Visa Europe told the Commission:
"... the legal position of WikiLeaks' activities remains uncertain ... for this reason, the suspension of the processing of payments for the benefit of WikiLeaks over the Visa network continues, although if it was finally determined that WikiLeaks is not carrying out any illegal activities then the question of suspension would not arise."
As part of its justification for claiming that the legal status of WikiLeaks was unresolved, Visa Europe cited the statement of then-attorney-general Robert McClelland in December 2010 about the release of the diplomatic cables that "you would have to assume that there is a reasonable case that the act of sourcing the information did involve illegal events".
McClelland's statement was a shift from the position of the Prime Minister, who a week earlier had called WikiLeaks's publication of the cables "illegal". She was then embarrassed when the Australian Federal Police declared that WikiLeaks had broken no laws. Like McClelland, the Prime Minister then shifted to saying that the documents had been obtained, rather than published, illegally.
Crikey understands that, like Visa Europe, Mastercard Australia has privately indicated that it too is relying on the statements of the Prime Minister and the then-attorney-general to justify its financial blockade, although it has dismissed online claims that it was "directed" by the government.
But no prosecution has been mounted anywhere against WikiLeaks' publication or sourcing the cables. A grand jury in the United States has been investigating the circumstances of the leak of the cables and other secret information, but no indictment has yet been revealed of anyone beyond the accused leaker, Bradley Manning, currently facing a Kafkaesque military trial at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, despite efforts to manufacture a relationship between Manning and Julian Assange.
Media outlets routinely publish secret material that has been leaked without examination of their legal status; indeed, key US newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post rely heavily on anonymous leaks of secret information from US government sources.
Visa Europe's position, however, can be maintained indefinitely. Saying the blockade will be lifted when it is "finally determined" that WikiLeaks is not acting illegally relies on proving a negative. The absence of prosecutions for any aspect of WikiLeaks's activities so far has plainly been insufficient, and no government is going to permanently grant legal indemnity to any organisation into the future.
Mastercard and Visa have also failed to apply the test of whether an organisation has been "finally determined" to have not acted illegally in other circumstances. Rupert Murdoch's News International has already admitted in court to the crimes of phone hacking and computer hacking and its current and former staff are facing charges of bribery, with claims that complicity in those crimes goes into senior management levels; News Corporation itself is also under investigation in the US for bribery of foreign officials.
By this logic, both News International and News Corporation itself should have been blockaded by Visa and Mastercard long ago, and remain blockaded until the resolution of all pending investigations and court actions arising from their activities.
The government has been repeatedly invited to withdraw its description of WikiLeaks's activities as illegal and has so far declined to do so. "This is a matter for Visa Europe and the EU," a spokesperson for current Attorney-General Nicola Roxon told Crikey.
Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of being behind the largest leak of state secrets in US history, is expected this week to speak publicly for the first time since his arrest in May 2010.
The alleged source of the massive WikiLeaks dump of hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables and war logs is expected to be called as a witness at the latest pre-trial hearing opening in Fort Meade army base in Maryland on Tuesday afternoon. His direct address to the court will be a poignant event that will be followed closely by both his supporters, who see him as a heroic whistleblower, and his detractors, who regard him as a traitor.
Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning support network said it would be a very telling moment. "Until now we've only heard from Bradley through his family and lawyers, so it's going to be a real insight into his personality to hear him speak for himself for the first time."
The hearing, slated to last until Sunday, also marks a crucial stage in the legal proceedings in the run-up to a full court martial scheduled for 4 February.
Manning's lawyer, David Coombs, is seeking to have any eventual sentence imposed on the soldier radically reduced or even entirely negated on the grounds that he was subjected to pre-trial punishment while he was confined at Quantico marine base in Virginia.
Manning's harsh treatment during the nine months he was held in the brig at Quantico, from 29 July 2010 to 20 April 2011, have become something of a cause célèbre, with several influential people and organisations castigating the military authorities for subjecting him to a form of torture.
The treatment led to a wave of international indignation, from figures as diverse as the UN rapporteur on torture, Amnesty International, leading law scholars and PJ Crowley, then spokesman at the US state department, who resigned in protest.
Manning's lawyers are expected to make the case to the military judge presiding of the pre-trial proceedings, Colonel Denise Lind, that commanders at the brig in Quantico ignored expert medical advice in subjecting the soldier to prolonged solitary confinement. Coombs has requested to call eight witnesses in total, though it is not clear how many of those have been cleared by Lind.
According to the Manning support network, the first witnesses are likely to be the Quantico commanders in charge of the brig during the nine months in which Manning was held there. Legal documents released by Coombs earlier this year alleged that one of the commanders told his staff that "we will do whatever we want to do" with the captive soldier. There may also be an attempt to show that the orders relating to Manning came from higher up the military hierarchy, from a three-star general, suggesting they may have had a political motivation.
Next up are likely to be at least two military psychiatrists who will be asked to testify that they recommended on numerous occasions that Manning be taken off the so-called "prevention of injury" order, or PoI, that kept him in effective solitary confinement.
Official records have shown that the psychiatrists made at least 16 official reports to military commanders that Manning was not a threat to himself or others and therefore should not have been subjected to extraordinary treatment. He was held in his cell for 23 hours a day, withheld possessions, checked every five minutes and stripped naked at night in humiliating fashion.
Manning himself is likely to be the last of the defence witnesses called, after which the army prosecutors will have the floor.
Bradley Manning to Speak for First Time Since Arrest in Pre-Trial Testimony
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Two men who carried out cyber attacks for the Anonymous hacking group have been jailed.
Christopher Weatherhead, 22, of Northampton, and Ashley Rhodes, 28, of Camberwell, London, were jailed for 18 months and seven months respectively.
The two men carried out distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks which paralyse computer systems by flooding them with online requests.
The ones they attacked included payment site PayPal, costing it £3.5m.
Co-defendant Peter Gibson, of Hartlepool, was given a six-month sentence, suspended for two years.
Another defendant, Jake Birchall, 18, from Chester, will be sentenced on 1 February.
The sentences were handed down at Southwark Crown Court and are thought to be the first convictions for DDoS in the UK.
Weatherhead and Rhodes were found guilty of conspiring to impair the operation of computers between 1 August 2010 and 22 January 2011.
Gibson was deemed to have played a lesser role in the conspiracy and admitted his part, as did Birchall.
The websites targeted by the cyber attacks were chosen by Anonymous, as part of what it called Operation Payback, because the hackers did not agree with their views.
WIKILEAKS PRESS RELEASE Wed Apr 24 17:24:44 BST
Milestone Supreme Court Decision for WikiLeaks Case in Iceland
Today's decision marked the most important victory to date against the unlawful and arbitrary economic blockade erected by US companies against WikiLeaks. Iceland's Supreme Court upheld the decision that Valitor (formerly VISA Iceland and current Visa subcontractor) had unlawfully terminated its contract with WikiLeaks donations processor DataCell. This strong judgement is an important milestone for WikiLeaks' legal battle to end the economic blockade that has besieged the organisation since early December 2010. Despite the effects of the blockade having crippled WikiLeaks resources, the organisation is fighting the blockade on many fronts. It is a battle that concerns free speech and the future of the free press; it concerns fundamental civil rights; and it is a struggle for the rights of individuals to vote with their wallet and donate to the cause they believe in.
If the gateway to WikiLeaks donations is not re-opened within 15 days Visa's Valitor will be fined 800,000 ISK ($6,830) per day.
WikiLeaks publisher, Julian Assange, said:
"This is a victory for free speech. This is a victory against the rise of economic censorship to crack down against journalists and publishers"
"We thank the Icelandic people for showing that they will not be bullied by powerful Washington backed financial services companies like Visa. And we send out a warning to the other companies involved in this blockade: you're next."
"We hope that the that the European Commission also acknowledges that the economic blockade against WikiLeaks is an unlawful and arbitrary censorship mechanism that threatens freedom of the press across Europe. If it fails to do so, the Commission must be regarded as failing to live up to the founding European principles of economic and political freedom."
Today's verdict strengthens other fronts in this battle. There is an active legal action in Denmark against a Danish sub-contractor for VISA, equivalent to Valitor. The decision will also buttress the pre-litigation work already under way in various jurisdictions against the international card companies and financial services companies - VISA and MasterCard, Western Union, PayPal and Bank of America, and other payment facilitators that teamed with these giants to form a concerted, and equally unlawful economic blockade against the organisation.
In November the European Parliament passed a resolution which included a clause drafted specifically in relation to the economic blockade against Wikileaks. The resolution called on the European Commission to draft regulations that will prevent online payment facilitators from arbitrarily denying services to companies or organisations, such as WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks has also launched a formal complaint to the European Commission on the basis that VISA and MasterCard, which together take up 95% of the European market, have unlawfully abused their dominant market position. The European Commission is still evaluating whether it will open a formal investigation but documents already submitted by the companies reveal that the credit card companies were in talks with powerful figures in the US Congress and Senate (Senator Lieberman and Congressman Peter T. King).
Although it is still not possible to donate directly to WikiLeaks via credit card, freedom of press campaigners including Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Elsberg, the actor John Cusack, and the Founder of the California-based Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) John Perry Barlow, have set up the Freedom of the Press Foundation to collect money for WikiLeaks. It allows donors to make anonymous, tax-deductable donations.
This and similar mechanisms for Europeans are available on http://shop.wikileaks.org/donate
*For press enquiries and interviews please contact Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks Spokesperson on +3548217121*
Freedom of the Press Foundation:
Julian Assange asylum (one year, June 19, 2013) http://justice4assange.com/extraditing-assange.html
Bradley Manning (trial June 2)
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