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Wikileaks Julian Assange investigative journalist NWO arrest
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JOHN PILGER: Assange Arrest a Warning from History
April 12, 2019 • 18 Comments
https://consortiumnews.com/2019/04/12/assange-arrest-a-warning-from-hi story/

Real journalism is being criminalized by thugs in plain sight, says John Pilger. Dissent has become an indulgence. And the British elite has abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.

By John Pilger

The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in almost seven years.

That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for “democratic” societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.

But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi fascists in Trump’s Washington, in league with Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.


Moreno: A Latin American Judas.

Imagine Tony Blair dragged from his multi-million pound Georgian home in Connaught Square, London, in handcuffs, for onward dispatch to the dock in The Hague. By the standard of Nuremberg, Blair’s “paramount crime” is the deaths of a million Iraqis. Assange’s crime is journalism: holding the rapacious to account, exposing their lies and empowering people all over the world with truth.

The shocking arrest of Assange carries a warning for all who, as Oscar Wilde wrote, “sew the seeds of discontent [without which] there would be no advance towards civilization.” The warning is explicit towards journalists. What happened to the founder and editor of WikiLeaks can happen to you on a newspaper, you in a TV studio, you on radio, you running a podcast.

Assange’s principal media tormentor, The Guardian, a collaborator with the secret state, displayed its nervousness this week with an editorial that scaled new weasel heights. The Guardian has exploited the work of Assange and WikiLeaks in what its previous editor called “the greatest scoop of the last 30 years.” The paper creamed off WikiLeaks’ revelations and claimed the accolades and riches that came with them.

With not a penny going to Julian Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, turned on their source, abused him and disclosed the secret password Assange had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing leaked US embassy cables.

Revealing Homicidal Colonial Wars

When Assange was still trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy, Harding joined police outside and gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh.” The Guardian then published a series of falsehoods about Assange, not least a discredited claim that a group of Russians and Trump’s man, Paul Manafort, had visited Assange in the embassy. The meetings never happened; it was fake.

But the tone has now changed. “The Assange case is a morally tangled web,” the paper opined. “He (Assange) believes in publishing things that should not be published …. But he has always shone a light on things that should never have been hidden.”

These “things” are the truth about the homicidal way America conducts its colonial wars, the lies of the British Foreign Office in its denial of rights to vulnerable people, such as the Chagos Islanders, the exposé of Hillary Clinton as a backer and beneficiary of jihadism in the Middle East, the detailed description of American ambassadors of how the governments in Syria and Venezuela might be overthrown, and much more. It is all available on the WikiLeaks site.

The Guardian is understandably nervous. Secret policemen have already visited the newspaper and demanded and got the ritual destruction of a hard drive. On this, the paper has form. In 1983, a Foreign Office clerk, Sarah Tisdall, leaked British Government documents showing when American cruise nuclear weapons would arrive in Europe. The Guardian was showered with praise.

When a court order demanded to know the source, instead of the editor going to prison on a fundamental principle of protecting a source, Tisdall was betrayed, prosecuted and served six months.

If Assange is extradited to America for publishing what The Guardian calls truthful “things,” what is to stop the current editor, Katherine Viner, following him, or the previous editor, Alan Rusbridger, or the prolific propagandist Luke Harding?


Even the propagandist Harding could be at risk.

What is to stop the editors of The New York Times and The Washington Post, who also published morsels of the truth that originated with WikiLeaks, and the editor of El Pais in Spain, and Der Spiegel in Germany and The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. The list is long.

David McCraw, lead lawyer of The New York Times, wrote: “I think the prosecution [of Assange] would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers … from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and the law would have a very hard time distinguishing between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”

Even if journalists who published WikiLeaks’ leaks are not summoned by an American grand jury, the intimidation of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning will be enough. Real journalism is being criminalized by thugs in plain sight. Dissent has become an indulgence.

In Australia, the current America-besotted government is prosecuting two whistle-blowers who revealed that Canberra’s spooks bugged the cabinet meetings of the new government of East Timor for the express purpose of cheating the tiny, impoverished nation out of its proper share of the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Their trial will be held in secret. The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, is infamous for his part in setting up concentration camps for refugees on the Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus, where children self harm and suicide. In 2014, Morrison proposed mass detention camps for 30,000 people.

Journalism: a Major Threat

Real journalism is the enemy of these disgraces. A decade ago, the Ministry of Defense in London produced a secret document which described the “principal threats” to public order as threefold: terrorists, Russian spies and investigative journalists. The latter was designated the major threat.

The document was duly leaked to WikiLeaks, which published it. “We had no choice,” Assange told me. “It’s very simple. People have a right to know and a right to question and challenge power. That’s true democracy.”

What if Assange and Manning and others in their wake — if there are others — are silenced and “the right to know and question and challenge” is taken away?

In the 1970s, I met Leni Reifenstahl, close friend of Adolf Hitler, whose films helped cast the Nazi spell over Germany.

She told me that the message in her films, the propaganda, was dependent not on “orders from above” but on what she called the “submissive void” of the public.

“Did this submissive void include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked her.

“Of course,” she said, “especially the intelligentsia …. When people no longer ask serious questions, they are submissive and malleable. Anything can happen.”

And did. The rest, she might have added, is history.

_________________
www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org
www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
https://37.220.108.147/members/www.bilderberg.org/phpBB2/
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assange Arrested for Exposing U.S. War Crimes – Paul Jay
https://therealnews.com/stories/assange-arrested-for-exposing-u-s-war- crimes-paul-jay
What Was Julian Assange's Crime? He Embarrassed Everyone In Power, Humiliated Hillary Clinton
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/04/11/tucker_carlson_what _was_julian_assanges_crime_he_embarrassed_everyone_in_power_humiliated _hillary_clinton.html

JOHN PILGER: Assange Arrest a Warning from History
April 12, 2019 • 18 Comments
https://consortiumnews.com/2019/04/12/assange-arrest-a-warning-from-hi story/

Real journalism is being criminalized by thugs in plain sight, says John Pilger. Dissent has become an indulgence. And the British elite has abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.

By John Pilger

The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in almost seven years.

That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for “democratic” societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.

But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi fascists in Trump’s Washington, in league with Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.


Moreno: A Latin American Judas.

Imagine Tony Blair dragged from his multi-million pound Georgian home in Connaught Square, London, in handcuffs, for onward dispatch to the dock in The Hague. By the standard of Nuremberg, Blair’s “paramount crime” is the deaths of a million Iraqis. Assange’s crime is journalism: holding the rapacious to account, exposing their lies and empowering people all over the world with truth.

The shocking arrest of Assange carries a warning for all who, as Oscar Wilde wrote, “sew the seeds of discontent [without which] there would be no advance towards civilization.” The warning is explicit towards journalists. What happened to the founder and editor of WikiLeaks can happen to you on a newspaper, you in a TV studio, you on radio, you running a podcast.

Assange’s principal media tormentor, The Guardian, a collaborator with the secret state, displayed its nervousness this week with an editorial that scaled new weasel heights. The Guardian has exploited the work of Assange and WikiLeaks in what its previous editor called “the greatest scoop of the last 30 years.” The paper creamed off WikiLeaks’ revelations and claimed the accolades and riches that came with them.

With not a penny going to Julian Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, turned on their source, abused him and disclosed the secret password Assange had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing leaked US embassy cables.

Revealing Homicidal Colonial Wars

When Assange was still trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy, Harding joined police outside and gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh.” The Guardian then published a series of falsehoods about Assange, not least a discredited claim that a group of Russians and Trump’s man, Paul Manafort, had visited Assange in the embassy. The meetings never happened; it was fake.

But the tone has now changed. “The Assange case is a morally tangled web,” the paper opined. “He (Assange) believes in publishing things that should not be published …. But he has always shone a light on things that should never have been hidden.”

These “things” are the truth about the homicidal way America conducts its colonial wars, the lies of the British Foreign Office in its denial of rights to vulnerable people, such as the Chagos Islanders, the exposé of Hillary Clinton as a backer and beneficiary of jihadism in the Middle East, the detailed description of American ambassadors of how the governments in Syria and Venezuela might be overthrown, and much more. It is all available on the WikiLeaks site.

The Guardian is understandably nervous. Secret policemen have already visited the newspaper and demanded and got the ritual destruction of a hard drive. On this, the paper has form. In 1983, a Foreign Office clerk, Sarah Tisdall, leaked British Government documents showing when American cruise nuclear weapons would arrive in Europe. The Guardian was showered with praise.

When a court order demanded to know the source, instead of the editor going to prison on a fundamental principle of protecting a source, Tisdall was betrayed, prosecuted and served six months.

If Assange is extradited to America for publishing what The Guardian calls truthful “things,” what is to stop the current editor, Katherine Viner, following him, or the previous editor, Alan Rusbridger, or the prolific propagandist Luke Harding?


Even the propagandist Harding could be at risk.

What is to stop the editors of The New York Times and The Washington Post, who also published morsels of the truth that originated with WikiLeaks, and the editor of El Pais in Spain, and Der Spiegel in Germany and The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. The list is long.

David McCraw, lead lawyer of The New York Times, wrote: “I think the prosecution [of Assange] would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers … from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and the law would have a very hard time distinguishing between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.”

Even if journalists who published WikiLeaks’ leaks are not summoned by an American grand jury, the intimidation of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning will be enough. Real journalism is being criminalized by thugs in plain sight. Dissent has become an indulgence.

In Australia, the current America-besotted government is prosecuting two whistle-blowers who revealed that Canberra’s spooks bugged the cabinet meetings of the new government of East Timor for the express purpose of cheating the tiny, impoverished nation out of its proper share of the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Their trial will be held in secret. The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, is infamous for his part in setting up concentration camps for refugees on the Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus, where children self harm and suicide. In 2014, Morrison proposed mass detention camps for 30,000 people.

Journalism: a Major Threat

Real journalism is the enemy of these disgraces. A decade ago, the Ministry of Defense in London produced a secret document which described the “principal threats” to public order as threefold: terrorists, Russian spies and investigative journalists. The latter was designated the major threat.

The document was duly leaked to WikiLeaks, which published it. “We had no choice,” Assange told me. “It’s very simple. People have a right to know and a right to question and challenge power. That’s true democracy.”

What if Assange and Manning and others in their wake — if there are others — are silenced and “the right to know and question and challenge” is taken away?

In the 1970s, I met Leni Reifenstahl, close friend of Adolf Hitler, whose films helped cast the Nazi spell over Germany.

She told me that the message in her films, the propaganda, was dependent not on “orders from above” but on what she called the “submissive void” of the public.

“Did this submissive void include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked her.

“Of course,” she said, “especially the intelligentsia …. When people no longer ask serious questions, they are submissive and malleable. Anything can happen.”

And did. The rest, she might have added, is history.

_________________
www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org
www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
https://37.220.108.147/members/www.bilderberg.org/phpBB2/
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Whitehall_Bin_Men
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Joined: 13 Jan 2007
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Location: Westminster, LONDON, SW1A 2HB.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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Whitehall_Bin_Men
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Joined: 13 Jan 2007
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Location: Westminster, LONDON, SW1A 2HB.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After 7 Years of Deceptions About Assange, the US Readies for Its First Media Rendition
https://www.unz.com/article/after-7-years-of-deceptions-about-assange- the-us-readies-for-its-first-media-rendition/

For seven years, from the moment Julian Assange first sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, they have been telling us we were wrong, that we were paranoid conspiracy theorists. We were told there was no real threat of Assange’s extradition to the United States, that it was all in our fevered imaginations.

For seven years, we have had to listen to a chorus of journalists, politicians and “experts” telling us that Assange was nothing more than a fugitive from justice, and that the British and Swedish legal systems could be relied on to handle his case in full accordance with the law. Barely a “mainstream” voice was raised in his defence in all that time.

From the moment he sought asylum, Assange was cast as an outlaw. His work as the founder of Wikileaks – a digital platform that for the first time in history gave ordinary people a glimpse into the darkest recesses of the most secure vaults in the deepest of Deep States – was erased from the record.

edit: Henry Nicholls/Reuters/New York Times
Assange was reduced from one of the few towering figures of our time – a man who will have a central place in history books, if we as a species live long enough to write those books – to nothing more than a sex pest, and a scruffy bail-skipper.

The political and media class crafted a narrative of half-truths about the sex charges Assange was under investigation for in Sweden. They overlooked the fact that Assange had been allowed to leave Sweden by the original investigator, who dropped the charges, only for them to be revived by another investigator with a well-documented political agenda.

They failed to mention that Assange was always willing to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in London, as had occurred in dozens of other cases involving extradition proceedings to Sweden. It was almost as if Swedish officials did not want to test the evidence they claimed to have in their possession.

The media and political courtiers endlessly emphasised Assange’s bail violation in the UK, ignoring the fact that asylum seekers fleeing legal and political persecution don’t usually honour bail conditions imposed by the very state authorities from which they are seeking asylum.

The political and media establishment ignored the mounting evidence of a secret grand jury in Virginia formulating charges against Assange, and ridiculed Wikileaks’ concerns that the Swedish case might be cover for a more sinister attempt by the US to extradite Assange and lock him away in a high-security prison, as had happened to whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

They belittled the 2016 verdict of a panel of United Nations legal scholars that the UK was “arbitrarily detaining” Assange. The media were more interested in the welfare of his cat.

They ignored the fact that after Ecuador changed presidents – with the new one keen to win favour with Washington – Assange was placed under more and more severe forms of solitary confinement. He was denied access to visitors and basic means of communications, violating both his asylum status and his human rights, and threatening his mental and physical wellbeing.

Equally, they ignored the fact that Assange had been given diplomatic status by Ecuador, as well as Ecuadorean citizenship. Britain was obligated to allow him to leave the embassy, using his diplomatic immunity, to travel unhindered to Ecuador. No “mainstream” journalist or politician thought this significant either.

They turned a blind eye to the news that, after refusing to question Assange in the UK, Swedish prosecutors had decided to quietly drop the case against him in 2015. Sweden had kept the decision under wraps for more than two years.

It was a freedom of information request by an ally of Assange, not a media outlet, that unearthed documents showing that Swedish investigators had, in fact, wanted to drop the case against Assange back in 2013. The UK, however, insisted that they carry on with the charade so that Assange could remain locked up. A British official emailed the Swedes: “Don’t you dare get cold feet!!!”

Most of the other documents relating to these conversations were unavailable. They had been destroyed by the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service in violation of protocol. But no one in the political and media establishment cared, of course.

Similarly, they ignored the fact that Assange was forced to hole up for years in the embassy, under the most intense form of house arrest, even though he no longer had a case to answer in Sweden. They told us – apparently in all seriousness – that he had to be arrested for his bail infraction, something that would normally be dealt with by a fine.

And possibly most egregiously of all, most of the media refused to acknowledge that Assange was a journalist and publisher, even though by failing to do so they exposed themselves to the future use of the same draconian sanctions should they or their publications ever need to be silenced. They signed off on the right of the US authorities to seize any foreign journalist, anywhere in the world, and lock him or her out of sight. They opened the door to a new, special form of rendition for journalists.

This was never about Sweden or bail violations, or even about the discredited Russiagate narrative, as anyone who was paying the vaguest attention should have been able to work out. It was about the US Deep State doing everything in its power to crush Wikileaks and make an example of its founder.

It was about making sure there would never again be a leak like that of Collateral Murder, the military video released by Wikileaks in 2007 that showed US soldiers celebrating as they murdered Iraqi civilians. It was about making sure there would never again be a dump of US diplomatic cables, like those released in 2010 that revealed the secret machinations of the US empire to dominate the planet whatever the cost in human rights violations.

Now the pretence is over. The British police invaded the diplomatic territory of Ecuador – invited in by Ecuador after it tore up Assange’s asylum status – to smuggle him off to jail. Two vassal states cooperating to do the bidding of the US empire. The arrest was not to help two women in Sweden or to enforce a minor bail infraction.

No, the British authorities were acting on an extradition warrant from the US. And the charges the US authorities have concocted relate to Wikileaks’ earliest work exposing the US military’s war crimes in Iraq – the stuff that we all once agreed was in the public interest, that British and US media clamoured to publish themselves.

Still the media and political class is turning a blind eye. Where is the outrage at the lies we have been served up for these past seven years? Where is the contrition at having been gulled for so long? Where is the fury at the most basic press freedom – the right to publish – being trashed to silence Assange? Where is the willingness finally to speak up in Assange’s defence?

It’s not there. There will be no indignation at the BBC, or the Guardian, or CNN. Just curious, impassive – even gently mocking – reporting of Assange’s fate.

And that is because these journalists, politicians and experts never really believed anything they said. They knew all along that the US wanted to silence Assange and to crush Wikileaks. They knew that all along and they didn’t care. In fact, they happily conspired in paving the way for today’s kidnapping of Assange.

They did so because they are not there to represent the truth, or to stand up for ordinary people, or to protect a free press, or even to enforce the rule of law. They don’t care about any of that. They are there to protect their careers, and the system that rewards them with money and influence. They don’t want an upstart like Assange kicking over their applecart.

Now they will spin us a whole new set of deceptions and distractions about Assange to keep us anaesthetised, to keep us from being incensed as our rights are whittled away, and to prevent us from realising that Assange’s rights and our own are indivisible. We stand or fall together.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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Whitehall_Bin_Men
Trustworthy Freedom Fighter
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Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Posts: 2772
Location: Westminster, LONDON, SW1A 2HB.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UK Labour leads “rape” smears against Julian Assange demanding Swedish extradition
By Laura Tiernan 15 April 2019
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/04/15/ukas-a15.html

Britain’s Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) is spearheading a political witch-hunt, smearing WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange as a “rapist” who must be extradited to Sweden. This filthy campaign has been abetted over the weekend by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
More than 100 MPs have signed a cross-party letter to Conservative Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, demanding they “champion action that will ensure that Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden,” where politically-manufactured rape and sexual molestation allegations were made in 2010.
Blairite MPs Stella Creasy and Jess Phillips initiated the letter on Friday. Most signatories are fellow Blairites, but other signatories include Independent Group MPs Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger and Anna Soubry; Tory, Liberal-Democrat and Scottish National Party MPs; and several Labour peers.
“At present,” this right-wing cabal complains, “media attention has been on the decision made by the US authorities to seek extradition.” “We urge you to stand with the victims of sexual violence and seek to ensure the case against Mr Assange can now be properly investigated,” they demand.
This is the Blairites’ answer to global public outrage over Assange’s brutal seizure from the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Thursday.
UK police arrested Assange after Ecuador illegally terminated his political asylum, leaving him facing computer crime charges issued by US law enforcement agencies. The charges criminalise core journalistic activities around the protection of sources and are a legal trigger to effect Assange’s extradition to the US where he will face additional charges under the 1917 Espionage Act.
A coordinated state campaign is now underway to shift the political narrative, smearing Assange and diverting public attention from the grave threat to democratic rights posed by US extradition proceedings. This is the purpose served by the bogus Swedish “rape” allegations. Assange’s onward extradition to the US can be fast-tracked under Temporary Surrender treaty arrangements in place between Sweden and the US. On Thursday, Sweden’s deputy director of public prosecution, Eva-Marie Persson, told Reuters she is reviewing the case against Assange.
The Swedish playbook has been made clear. On Saturday, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry told BBC Radio 4 she was “disgusted” US extradition proceedings had been allowed to “eclipse” sexual assault allegations made by the two Swedish women against Assange.
“I think that what should happen is that he should be extradited to Sweden and then the Americans can make a further application to have him extradited from Sweden,” she suggested.
Gender politics is being deployed for nakedly pro-imperialist objectives. On Saturday, the Guardian’s front page headline insisted, “Give priority to Assange rape victim, Javid urged” with a prominent news article headlined, “Failure to extradite Assange to Sweden would endorse ‘rape culture’, say women’s groups.”
Editorials in Saturday’s Guardian and Sunday’s Observer called for Assange’s extradition to Sweden, with the Observer combining vindictiveness and slander in equal measure: “It’s not difficult to despise Julian Assange. For seven years, he has attempted to evade rape and sexual assault charges in Sweden by seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London… His excuse for refusing to face trial in Sweden—that he would then face extradition to the US—has always been hogwash.”

In fact, the warnings by Assange and his legal team over US extradition—long denounced as “conspiracy theories”—stand confirmed. Ecuador granted political asylum to Assange in 2012 because of his “well-founded” fears of persecution by the US, British and Australian governments, after revelations of a secret Grand Jury investigation into the WikiLeaks publisher. In relation to the “rape” allegations, Assange offered to travel to Sweden if authorities would guarantee against onward US extradition. He invited Swedish prosecutors to the Ecuadorian embassy so he could clear his name, but such offers were refused.
Swedish prosecutors dropped preliminary investigations into “rape” and “molestation” allegations as early as August 2010, concluding that “no crime at all” had been committed. The investigation was only revived for political reasons. “[I]t was the police who made up the charges” wrote one of the women in a text message. Assange’s accusers admitted they had consensual sex with him, boasting of it afterwards to friends. Anna Ardin, who arranged Assange’s “safe houses” in Sweden—one of which was her apartment—was employed by leading Social-Democratic Party politicians. It was Ardin who introduced Assange to her co-accuser, Sofia Wilen. Assange’s visit to Sweden took place amid mounting US intrigue following publication of the Iraq and Afghan war leaks.
Labour is playing the central role in isolating Assange. When Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May announced his arrest to cheers from Tory and Labour MPs on Thursday, Corbyn was silent. Later, when Sajid Javid made a formal statement on the arrest and charges, he exited the chamber, leaving Abbott to speak on his party’s behalf. “It is whistleblowing into illegal wars, mass murder, murder of civilians and corruption on a grand scale that has put Julian Assange in the crosshairs of the US administration,” she said.
Abbott’s speech was welcomed by WikiLeaks supporters, but a tweet later that day made clear the duplicitous character of her support: “Assange skipping bail in UK, or any rape charge that may be brought by Swedish authorities shouldn’t be ignored,” she wrote. Abbott’s speech in parliament had been carefully worded, making clear that any US extradition request was “now in the hands of the British law courts” and registering Labour’s “utmost confidence in the British legal system.” She made no undertaking that a future Labour government would block Assange’s extradition to the US.
Nonetheless, her statement met furious opposition, with Labour MP Diana Johnson telling parliament, “I am concerned that a man suspected of rape, which is what in this case actually happened, was able to do what he did for several years to escape justice.” (emphasis added)
Within hours, leading Blairites, including Phillips, Creasy and Stephen Kinnock, had begun their counter-attack, with the cross-party letter on Friday, and a full media pile-on with Kinnock and other war-mongers denouncing Assange.
Then came Corbyn’s ITV news interview on Saturday, in which he declared that Assange’s possible extradition to the US was “a matter for the courts in Britain,” before noting that a “case from Sweden which was dropped in 2017… is now possibly going to be reinstated. If it is reinstated, then obviously he must answer those questions and those demands about the accusations made against him by people in Sweden. There can be no hiding place from those kind of accusations.” (emphasis added)
On Sunday morning Julian Assange’s mother, Christine, responded by tweeting, “Weasel words from #Corbyn! NO to UK/US extradition but YES to recycled UK/SWEDEN extradition! He knows full well Swedish (no charge!) ‘case’ was a political fit-up! Sweden/UK Bilateral Treaty allows fast track rendition to US under Temporary Surrender!”
Corbyn knows perfectly well that the Swedish allegations and extradition proceedings were only ever a step toward US extradition. In July 2015, just months before he became party leader, he explained to the New Statesman that Assange had “taken himself into the embassy because he felt that, had he been taken back to Sweden, he would be taken forcibly to the US.” He knows that Assange has been targeted for courageously exposing war crimes and state conspiracies against the public, but refuses to challenge the Blairites on anything, instead echoing their threats against Assange.
Political conclusions must be drawn. Had Corbyn issued a call this week for mass demonstrations in defence of Assange, tens of thousands would have been mobilised and the Blairites and their supporters would have been exposed as an isolated cabal. It is not primarily the Blairites that Corbyn fears. His overriding concern is to prevent the independent intervention of the working class. It is to this social force that all defenders of Julian Assange and democratic rights must urgently turn.


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_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EXCLUSIVE: Julian Assange put through 'hell' at embassy, says former diplomat
Fidel Narvaez says Assange was "100% respectful" but claims he suffered from a government plot to force him out.
https://news.sky.com/story/julian-assange-put-through-hell-at-embassy- says-former-diplomat-11698113

By Lisa Holland, senior correspondent
Saturday 20 April 2019 09:43, UK

'Julian had a respectful relationship'

Julian Assange was always respectful but went through "hell" in the Ecuadorian embassy as officials tried to "break him down", according to a former senior diplomat.

Fidel Narvaez worked at the London embassy for six of the seven years the WikiLeaks figurehead lived there and says they became friends.

Assange was evicted a few weeks ago after a change of government in Ecuador.

Assange: What happens next after embassy arrest?
Assange: What happens next after embassy arrest?
The WikiLeaks founder is facing potential extradition from the UK
Its new president, Lenin Moreno, publicly criticised the whistleblower and gave the impression the government ended his stay after growing tired of his alleged bad behaviour.

Speaking to Sky News, Fidel Narvaez disputed claims that Assange had assaulted guards, didn't clean up after himself, didn't take care of his pet cat and even smeared human excrement on the walls of the embassy.


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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a police van
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Julian Assange faces an uncertain future and may be extradited to Sweden or the US
He said: "Julian had a respectful relationship with staff, diplomats and administrative staff. I don't recall a single incident when he disrespected someone until I left in July 2018.

"He was 100% respectful. Clean and tidy? What is clean and tidy? Did he put the dishes in the dishwasher? Probably not at weekends. Is that a crime?"

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Mr Narvaez says Assange was well behaved
Image:
Mr Narvaez says Assange was always well behaved
Mr Narvaez worked at the embassy in Knightsbridge in central London between 2010 and 2018 as consul and first secretary.

Assange went into the embassy in June 2012 and did not leave until he was carted away by British police a few weeks ago with the agreement of the authorities in Ecuador.

Mr Narvaez said: "The last year was hell for Julian in that embassy.

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Assange skateboards in Ecuadorean embassy
"I was there the first months of the last year and I witnessed when Julian was told that he would no longer be allowed to have internet or access to the phone and wouldn't be able to have visitors.

"The strategy was very clear - break him down. The government didn't know how to end the asylum and face the catastrophic historical shame for doing that."

Mr Narvaez shared some of the photographs he had taken inside the embassy when he worked there, including the small kitchen area that Assange shared.

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'UK resist!': Assange shouts during arrest
The embassy is comprised of a small set of rooms and Assange had his own bedroom and also access to a shared office and working space.

Mr Narvaez said Assange did not go to Sweden to face a rape inquiry because he feared being arrested and extradited to the United States by Britain or Sweden for exposing US government secrets via his WikiLeaks organisation.

He has denied the allegations made in Sweden.

Assange had access to a small shared kitchen
Image:
The small shared kitchen that Assange used
Mr Narvaez said: "I consider him my friend. He's provided a big service to all of us.

"It doesn't matter if we like him or not. It doesn't matter if he puts the dishes in the dishwasher or looks after the cat well. I stand by Julian. I believe him."

"Why you can trust Sky News" - we're not liars - really

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2019 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julian Assange Tortured with Psychotropic Drug?
By Kurt Nimmo
Global Research, May 08, 2019
https://www.globalresearch.ca/julian-assange-tortured-psychotropic-dru g/5676921

Retired USAF lieutenant colonel Karen Kwiatkowski writes in an article posted at Lew Rockwell’s website that Julian Assange is receiving the same treatment as suspected terrorists while in captivity at “Her Majesty’s Prison Service” at Belmarsh.

The FBI, Pentagon, and CIA are “interviewing” Assange. Kwiatkowski writes:

Interviewing is the wrong word. I’d like to say doctoring him, because it would be more accurate, except that word implies some care for a positive outcome. Chemical Gina has her hands in this one, and we are being told that Assange is being “treated” with 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, known as BZ.

BZ is a powerful drug that produces hallucinations.

“Soldiers on BZ could remember only fragments of the experience afterward. As the drug wore off, and the subjects had trouble discerning what was real, many experienced anxiety, aggression, even terror,” the New Yorker reported. “…The drug’s effect lasted for days. At its peak, volunteers were totally cut off in their own minds, jolting from one fragmented existence to the next. They saw visions: Lilliputian baseball players competing on a tabletop diamond; animals or people or objects that materialized and vanished.”

Assange is being chemically lobotomized prior to being extradited to the United States to stand trial on bogus computer hacking charges that—and the corporate media won’t tell you this—passed the statute of limitations three years ago (see 18 U.S. Code § 371. Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States).

Forget about the statute of limitations. The US government has long violated both domestic and international law. It is a rogue nation led by an ignorant clown who opened the back door and ushered in neocon psychopaths notorious for killing millions. In normal times, these criminals would be in the dock at The Hague standing trial for crimes against humanity. But we don’t live in normal times.

The message is clear: if you expose the massive criminal enterprise at the heart of the US government, you will be renditioned, chemically tortured (a favorite of Chemical Gina, now CIA director), chewed up and spit out until you’re a babbling mental case like David Shayler (who believes he is the Second Coming of Christ). Shayler, a former MI5 agent, made the mistake of exposing the UK’s support of terror operations in Libya. Shayler spent three weeks at Belmarsh after a conviction for breaching the Official Secrets Act. He emerged from prison broken and delusional.

I seriously doubt most Americans care about the chemical torture of Julian Assange. On social media, liberals and so-called progressives, along with their “conservative” counterparts, celebrate Assange’s arrest, confinement, and torture. Members of Congress have called for his execution, while one media talking head (teleprompter script reader) demanded the CIA send a hit team to London and assassinate Assange.

Americans are similar to the propagandized and brainwashed citizens of Nazi Germany. Most went along with Hitler right up until the end when their cities lay in smoldering ruins and their once proud country was carved up, half of it given over to the communists. They set up the Stasi to deal with East Germans who were not following the totalitarian program.

_________________
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www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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outsider
Trustworthy Freedom Fighter
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Joined: 30 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2019 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Another whistleblower bites the dust':
https://www.mintpressnews.com/daniel-hale-another-whistleblower-bites- the-dust-as-the-intercept-adds-a-third-notch-to-its-burn-belt/258386/
Inetrcept owned by a USG cooperator:
'Billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s double dealing':
https://www.voltairenet.org/article182455.html
End of the line for the 'Intercept', if people have any sense.
I believe they have now 'sabotaged' most of Snowden's unpublished leaks.
(I've put a new link in as Nexus didn't go to the article).

_________________
'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UN Rapporteur questions Assange judge’s role as more conflict of interest evidence emerges
Justice
https://www.thecanary.co/uk/analysis/2019/06/26/un-rapporteur-question s-assange-judges-role-as-more-conflict-of-interest-evidence-emerges/

A search of WikiLeaks suggests one of the judges overseeing Julian Assange‘s pre-extradition hearings may be compromised via family and business links to the UK intelligence and defence establishment. An earlier article in The Canary highlighted some of those links.

Now Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, has also raised this “conflict of interest” issue:



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It now seems that further evidence from WikiLeaks may add to these concerns. Although the judge – Lady Emma Arbuthnot – acts independently, there are family links, past and present, to people and organisations diametrically opposed to the publishing work of WikiLeaks. For example, some files show family business and intelligence connections with a secret meeting with Israeli intelligence (Mossad); a meeting about the UK’s nuclear deterrent; and UK defence spending for the Afghan conflict.

Direct family links
The Canary reported that Baron James Arbuthnot, the husband of the judge – Lady Emma Arbuthnot – is a member of the advisory board of the prestigious Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI).

He’s also chair of the advisory board of the UK division of multinational defence and security systems manufacturer, Thales.

Prior to his elevation to the House of Lords in October 2015, Arbuthnot was a Tory MP for 28 years. He was also chair of the Defence Select Committee between 2005 and 2014.

The company you keep
Lord Arbuthnot is listed as a senior consultant to SC Security. Until 2017, he was also a director. His co-directors were Lord Alex Carlile and former MI6 head Sir John Scarlett, both of whom remain active in the company.

In October 2013, Carlile argued that the publication of whistleblower Edward Snowden‘s revelations about mass surveillance “amounted to a criminal act”. Carlile also oversaw UK anti-terrorism laws and supported the introduction of the ‘Snoopers’ Charter’.

Scarlett was on a panel of experts that oversaw a report, arguing that the security and intelligence agencies should retain powers to “collect bulk communications data”, as warned of by Edward Snowden. And as chair of the government’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), he was responsible for the compilation of the ‘dodgy dossier’ on Saddam Hussein’s WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction). This dossier provided an excuse for the US and its allies to invade Iraq.

Now more evidence emerges
WikiLeaks’ work has included exposing war crimes committed during the Iraq War. It also provided assistance to Snowden when trying to escape US authorities.

But a detailed search of the WikiLeaks databases also reveals numerous files relating to Thales, RUSI, Scarlett, Carlile and to Lord Arbuthnot himself:

WikiLeaks revealed a total of 1,980 files about Thales, mostly from the Global Intelligence files (GIF) hacked from Stratfor.
On RUSI, it revealed 478 files, with one 2009 classified US cable revealing MoD plans to increase spending for the Afghan conflict.
It revealed around 30 files about John Scarlett, including a secret US cable on a 2006 meeting with a Mossad chief on Lebanon, Syria and Iran.
On Lord Carlile, it revealed 22 files, including a restricted US Congress report on terrorism.
A WikiLeaks search on James Arbuthnot reveals 62 files (mostly covering the Afghan conflict). One file that mentions him is a US secret cable on a meeting of “experts”, chaired by Arbuthnot, on the renewal of the UK strategic nuclear deterrent.

Conflict of interest
Lady Arbuthnot is presiding over the initial extradition proceedings of Assange. These included an application by Assange to cancel his arrest warrant in February 2018. That application was denied and she followed up with a detailed explanation of her decision.

The Canary contacted Lady Arbuthnot and Lord Arbuthnot for comment. At the time of publication, there was no response.

In April 2019, Liam Walker, a lawyer working with Assange’s legal team, raised the matter of Lady Arbuthnot’s apparent conflict of interest in a court hearing presided by Judge Michael Snow. Referring to an earlier hearing, presided over by Lady Arbuthnot, Walker told the judge his client had been:

subjected to a tribunal that was clearly conflicted in its ability to judge Mr Assange impartially.

In an extensive interview with US journalist Chris Hedges, Melzer referred to that conflict of interest and to a “file” lodged with the court that provided the details:



But despite Walker’s objection to the court, Lady Arbuthnot continued to rule on Assange matters.

As The Canary also emphasised, hundreds of citizens face similar class bias via the justice system every single day. Likewise, thanks to cut-backs, the prison conditions they experience, including lack of legal aid and poor access to lawyers and documents, are the norm.

Arguably, no legal case should be allowed to continue where the potential for bias by the overseeing judge or magistrate has been identified. And in this particular case, the evidence of a conflict of interest seems to be mounting.

_________________
www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org
www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
https://37.220.108.147/members/www.bilderberg.org/phpBB2/
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How Julian Assange and WikiLeaks Became Targets of the U.S. Government
By LIAM STACK, NICK CUMMING-BRUCE and MADELEINE KRUHLY APRIL 11, 2019
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/world/julian-assange-wikileak s.html

Julian Assange gave a speech from a balcony at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2012. Credit Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has long been targeted by the United States for his role in releasing secret government documents.

Now he is just one flight away from being in American custody after years of seclusion in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. A newly unsealed indictment showed that American prosecutors charged him with conspiring to hack a government computer.

Some quick background: Mr. Assange shot to international prominence in 2010 when WikiLeaks published secret material about American military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as confidential cables sent among diplomats. In 2012, he took refuge at the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced questions about sexual assault allegations.

More recently, Mr. Assange has been under attack for his organization's release during the 2016 presidential campaign of thousands of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, leading to revelations that embarrassed the party and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

American investigators have linked those disclosures to efforts by Donald Trump's campaign to damage Ms. Clinton, but Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian election meddling, did not file any charges against Mr. Assange.

Here's a fuller timeline of how Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks got to this point.

APRIL - NOVEMBER 2010
WikiLeaks Publishes Classified American Documents
WikiLeaks burst onto the scene in 2010 when it published secret material about American military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan over the course of several months. In April it released a graphic decrypted video from Iraq. In July, it published a six-year archive of classified military documents about the war in Afghanistan. The group released a second cache of secret reports, this time about the Iraq war, in October. The next month it published a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables that offered a look at back-room bargaining.

Since then, Wikileaks appears to have gradually shifted its focus to releasing material that benefits Russia, to the consternation of many of its former allies and defenders. Mr. Assange was a persistent problem for the Obama administration, releasing embarrassing documents from the United States and other countries. Meanwhile, President Trump during his campaign repeatedly expressed glee over WikiLeaks’ release of confidential emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, even after American officials said the emails had been given to WikiLeaks by hackers working for Russian intelligence.

SUMMER 2010
U.S. Investigates WikiLeaks
Army investigators suspected that the source of the leaks was Chelsea Manning, who was then serving as an enlisted soldier. Private Manning was court-martialed in June 2010, and in August 2013 she was sentenced to 35 years in prison for passing information to WikiLeaks. President Barack Obama commuted her sentence at the end of his second term, and she was released in May 2017.

Photo

The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after being released on bail by the High Court in London in December 2010. Credit Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER 2010
A Rape Investigation and Extradition Request From Sweden
Mr. Assange was investigated in August and September 2010 on charges of rape and molestation after separate complaints from two women. Sweden issued an extradition warrant for him in November that said Mr. Assange was wanted for questioning in connection with accusations of “rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.” He said he was afraid that Sweden would turn him over to the United States, where WikiLeaks has been under investigation, and he vowed to fight the extradition request.

NOVEMBER 2011 - JUNE 2012
Assange Goes to Court
A British court ruled in November 2011 that Mr. Assange could be extradited to Sweden. His lawyers challenged that decision, having argued at a February 2011 hearing that he would not receive a fair trial if extradited to Sweden. He lost his final appeal before Britain’s Supreme Court in June 2012.

Photo

Outside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Credit Will Oliver/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
AUGUST 2012
Ecuador Grants Assange Asylum
Ecuador rejected pressure from Britain and granted Mr. Assange political asylum in August 2012. He had already spent two months living in the country’s embassy in London. The decision left Mr. Assange confined to the embassy: Ecuador could protect him as long as he remained on Ecuadorean territory, but if he left the embassy he was subject to arrest by the British police.

JANUARY 2016
U.N. Panel Rules in His Favor
A United Nations rights panel said in January 2016 that Britain and Sweden had arbitrarily detained Mr. Assange, should restore his freedom of movement and should compensate him. The panel said that Swedish prosecutors had not pressed charges and had never shown Mr. Assange evidence against him or given him a chance to respond. The ruling was disregarded by both countries, and Mr. Assange remained in the embassy.

​NOVEMBER 2016
He Is Questioned at the Embassy
Swedish prosecutors, with Ecuador’s help, questioned Mr. Assange for four hours at the embassy in London. His Swedish lawyer, Per E. Samuelson, was not summoned to attend, and on Radio Sweden, he questioned the validity of the interview.

​APRIL 2017
A New Ecuadorean President
Lenín Moreno is elected president of Ecuador, succeeding Rafael Correa, a leftist who had been in power for a decade. During the campaign, several candidates had vowed to evict Mr. Assange from the embassy if they won. Mr. Moreno said he would let Mr. Assange stay, but has been significantly more critical than his predecessor, calling Mr. Assange a hacker and warning him not to meddle in politics.

MAY 2017
Sweden Drops Rape Investigation
Swedish prosecutors said they would stop the rape investigation into Mr. Assange. The chief prosecutor, Marianne Ny, made clear that this did not mean he was being pronounced innocent: “I can conclude, based on the evidence, that probable cause for this crime still exists,” she said. Ms. Ny said that proceeding with the case would require Mr. Assange to be served notice of the charges against him and for him to be present in a Swedish court, both of which were impossible.

In Britain, he still faces a warrant for failing to appear in court, and the Metropolitan Police in London have said that they would arrest him if he were to try to leave the embassy. The Justice Department in Washington has also said it is reconsidering whether to charge Mr. Assange for his role in the disclosure of highly classified information.

JANUARY 2018
Ecuador Grants Citizenship
In early 2018, Ecuador announced that it had made several moves to end the long diplomatic standoff, including granting Mr. Assange citizenship in December, a few months after he asked for it.

Days later, Ecuador asked Britain to give Mr. Assange diplomatic immunity so he could leave the embassy, but Britain declined. Still, the Ecuadorean government pushed on, saying it would seek a mediator to help broker a potential deal that would free him to leave the building.

FEBRUARY 2018
His Warrant Is Upheld in the U.K.
A British judge twice upheld the outstanding arrest warrant against Mr. Assange for jumping bail when he took refuge in the embassy in 2012. It was not clear that a ruling in his favor would have led to his going free, because the United States and Britain have never said whether there is a secret request to extradite him to face charges in an American court.

NOVEMBER 2018
Indictment Is Mistakenly Revealed
A court filing revealed that the Justice Department had prepared an indictment against Mr. Assange, although it was not clear whether charges had been filed against him. The existence of the indictment became known only after prosecutors inadvertently mentioned possible charges against him in an unrelated case. Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at George Washington University who closely tracks court cases, discovered the document and posted it on Twitter.

APRIL 2019
Assange Is Arrested as U.S. Charge Is Revealed
The United States charged Mr. Assange with one count of conspiracy to hack a computer related to his role in the 2010 release of secret American documents, according to a newly unsealed indictment.

Hours before the indictment was unsealed, Mr. Assange had been arrested by the British authorities at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he had lived since 2012.

The single charge stemmed from what prosecutors said was his agreement to break a password to a classified United States government computer. Significantly, it was not an espionage charge, a detail that press freedom advocates had watched closely.

MAY 2019
Sweden Reopens a Rape Case
Prosecutors in Sweden said they would reopen an investigation into a rape accusation against Mr. Assange, a move that threatened to complicate American efforts to extradite him on the computer-hacking charge.

The Swedish investigation began in 2010, but the authorities dropped their initial investigation in May 2017, having concluded that there was no way to proceed with the case as long as Mr. Assange was holed up in the embassy.

Prosecutors made clear at the time that they had not cleared him and they reserved the right to reopen their inquiry. Should Mr. Assange be extradited to Sweden, the Americans would need the approval of both the Swedish and British governments in order to take him into custody.

Mr. Assange could be returned to Sweden under a European arrest warrant, though Britain will ultimately decide which case takes precedence.

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TonyGosling
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Joined: 25 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assange is being “treated” with 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, known as BZ. What BZ does, from the New Yorker:
www.off-guardian.org/2019/05/10/chemical-torture-of-julian-assange/

A Reporter at Large
December 17, 2012 Issue
Operation Delirium
Decades after a risky Cold War experiment, a scientist lives with secrets.
By Raffi KhatchadourianDecember 9, 2012
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/12/17/operation-delirium

At an Army research facility, a soldier given a powerful mind-altering drug said, “I feel like my life is not worth a nickel here.”Photographs by Stills from “The Longest Weekend” / US Army Chemical Research & Development Laboratories / Courtesy James Ketchum
Colonel James S. Ketchum dreamed of war without killing. He joined the Army in 1956 and left it in 1976, and in that time he did not fight in Vietnam; he did not invade the Bay of Pigs; he did not guard Western Europe with tanks, or help build nuclear launch sites beneath the Arctic ice. Instead, he became the military’s leading expert in a secret Cold War experiment: to fight enemies with clouds of psychochemicals that temporarily incapacitate the mind—causing, in the words of one ranking officer, a “selective malfunctioning of the human machine.” For nearly a decade, Ketchum, a psychiatrist, went about his work in the belief that chemicals are more humane instruments of warfare than bullets and shrapnel—or, at least, he told himself such things. To achieve his dream, he worked tirelessly at a secluded Army research facility, testing chemical weapons on hundreds of healthy soldiers, and thinking all along that he was doing good.

Today, Ketchum is eighty-one years old, and the facility where he worked, Edgewood Arsenal, is a crumbling assemblage of buildings attached to a military proving ground on the Chesapeake Bay. The arsenal’s records are boxed and dusting over in the National Archives. Military doctors who helped conduct the experiments have long since moved on, or passed away, and the soldiers who served as their test subjects—in all, nearly five thousand of them—are scattered throughout the country, if they are still alive. Within the Army, and in the world of medical research, the secret clinical trials are a faint memory. But for some of the surviving test subjects, and for the doctors who tested them, what happened at Edgewood remains deeply unresolved. Were the human experiments there a Dachau-like horror, or were they sound and necessary science? As veterans of the tests have come forward, their unanswered questions have slowly gathered into a kind of historical undertow, and Ketchum, more than anyone else, has been caught in its pull. In 2006, he self-published a memoir, “Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost Forgotten,” which defended the research. Next year, a class-action lawsuit brought against the federal government by former test subjects will go to trial, and Ketchum is expected to be the star witness.

The lawsuit’s argument is in line with broader criticisms of Edgewood: that, whether out of military urgency or scientific dabbling, the Army recklessly endangered the lives of its soldiers—naïve men, mostly, who were deceived or pressured into submitting to the risky experiments. The drugs under review ranged from tear gas and LSD to highly lethal nerve agents, like VX, a substance developed at Edgewood and, later, sought by Saddam Hussein. Ketchum’s specialty was a family of molecules that block a key neurotransmitter, causing delirium. The drugs were known mainly by Army codes, with their true formulas classified. The soldiers were never told what they were given, or what the specific effects might be, and the Army made no effort to track how they did afterward. Edgewood’s most extreme critics raise the spectre of mass injury—a hidden American tragedy.

Ketchum, an unreconstructed advocate of chemical warfare, believes that people who fear gaseous weapons more than guns and mortars are irrational. He cites approvingly the Russian government’s decision, in 2002, to flood a theatre in Moscow with a potent incapacitating drug when Chechen guerrillas seized the building and took eight hundred theatregoers hostage. The gas debilitated the hostage takers, allowing special forces to sweep in and kill them. But many innocent people died, too. “It’s been looked at by some skeptics as a kind of tragedy,” Ketchum has said. “They say, ‘Look, a hundred and thirty people died.’ Well, I think that a hundred and thirty is better than eight hundred, and it’s also better, as a secondary consideration, not to have to blow up a beautiful theatre.”

Not long ago, while debating critics of Edgewood on a talk-radio show, Ketchum argued that the tests were a sensible response to the threats of the Cold War: “We were in a very tense confrontation with the Soviet Union, and there was information that was sometimes accurate, sometimes inaccurate, that they were procuring large amounts of LSD, possibly for use in a military situation.” The experiments, he has said, were no more problematic in their conduct than civilian drug testing at the time.

But Ketchum is an unpredictable apologist. His default temperament is that of an unbiased scientist, trying to solve a stubborn anomaly that just happens to be his life’s work. He accepts criticism of Edgewood thoughtfully and admits the possibility that he is seeing the experiments through a prism of benign forgetfulness. At the same time, as Edgewood’s sole public defender, he must relive history under an unforgiving spotlight. Ketchum often hears from aging test subjects looking for information about what the Army did to them. “I need to know everything that happened to me because it could give me some peace and fewer nightmares,” one veteran wrote to him. In such cases, Ketchum responds with a mixture of defensiveness and empathy. “Well, Mike,” he wrote to another veteran, “I guess some people find it satisfying to look back and condemn what doctors and others did half a century ago, especially if it lends itself to sensationalized movies, and entitles them to disability pensions.” Many of his Edgewood colleagues are far less sanguine about what they did; one told me, “I want to see something happen so this doesn’t happen again.” But Ketchum often wins over skeptics. After many e-mails, Mike told him, “I am certain you did the work for the same reason most of us volunteered. It needed to be done.”

Now retired in northern California, Ketchum has built friendships with psychedelic pioneers, who must also wrestle with the legacy of their work: the bad trips, the personalities misshapen by drugs. In 2007, Ketchum went to Burning Man with his friend Alexander Shulgin, known for promoting the drug Ecstasy. Before they met, Shulgin thought that Ketchum’s research methods were immoral. “To bring a human subject into a psychological storm of this type without preparing him for what might happen, and at the end of his experience to release him to his own devices without having counselled him of the strengths and weaknesses of what did happen, shows a complete disregard of the value of that person,” he had said. But Ketchum evidently convinced him that he was not beyond redemption; in a foreword to Ketchum’s memoir, Shulgin wrote, “It is a pleasure to be able to contribute to this story.”


“I was working on a noble cause,” James Ketchum said of his chemical–weapons tests.Still from untitled test video / Courtesy James Ketchum
Earlier this year, I visited Ketchum in Santa Rosa, where he lives with his fifth wife, Judy Ann Ketchum, in a modest, one-story house in a quiet suburban enclave. Ketchum answered the door in a beige tracksuit. He has the trim stature of an aging athlete, and is tall enough to fill a doorframe, but he is not imposing—his temperament is too readily open, his blue eyes too gently inquisitive. Judy, a retired nurse, is a photographer and artist. In the living room, one of her projects, a platinum-blond mannequin dressed in sequins, stands next to an upright piano, which Ketchum plays. Large closeups of flowers that she has photographed are in every room. The Ketchums are a political hybrid: right-leaning but bohemian, religious but not dogmatic, conservative but open to drug use.

We retreated to a small office to talk. In person, Ketchum projects the image of a man so lost in abstraction that he is easily taken in. As we sat down, he said, “I give money to people who never give it back.” He once gave twenty thousand dollars to a German teacher who said that he was starting a charity; the man took the money and vanished: “He used it to go visit a woman, got drunk with her for four days. I never got it back.” Another swindler took his money for good works in Argentina, which never materialized. “I don’t think about that stuff,” Ketchum told me.

Rows and rows of binders belonging to his archive towered beside us. The trove—including hundreds of pages of sensitive government documents—was an armamentarium of sorts, which Ketchum had been using to inoculate the arsenal’s achievements against obscurity or ill repute, or perhaps just to stir up a little trouble. Lawyers had been arguing over the papers; the C.I.A. had been pressuring him to turn them over. He glanced at the volumes. “They contain a lot of data, with names, doses, graphs of what we did,” he said. “That is definitely something the government would not want to spread around.” When Ketchum left the arsenal, the archive left with him. “It could have been shredded,” he told me. “It could have been locked away.”

The collection seemed to be a living thing, metamorphosing over time as he organized it and re-organized it. I picked up a binder and found a description of the records as he began to save them: “The accumulating volumes stood in rows at first, and then merited their own file cabinet, and eventually, years later, exceeded the capacity of two four-drawer, legal-width, fireproof safes, the unsorted backlog being packed in boxes in the attic, the garage, and a rented storage room.” At times, Ketchum regarded the trove as a vehicle for self-study, but in pessimistic moments he has thought of Jacob Marley—Dickens’s ghost, consigned to purgatory because he had hurt people and lacked the requisite regret to make amends—and wondered if his archive “would eventually become like Marley’s chains, dragging and clanking behind him in a hideous snakelike procession.”

When the lawsuit was filed, in federal court four years ago, a lawyer from the San Francisco firm Morrison & Foerster came calling. He asked Ketchum if he had saved many primary sources. Ketchum turned over the entire trove. “Be open with someone and he’ll reward you,” he told me. Later, during a fifteen-hour deposition, Ketchum answered questions freely, often over his attorney’s objections. He seemed ready to testify—ready for the authority and attention bestowed upon a star witness, ready to put to rest questions about the experiments.

Before I left, Ketchum promised to send me a full digital copy of his archive. A week or so later, a binder arrived at my office, decorated with a photograph of the two of us, which Judy had taken. Inside, Ketchum had constructed a meticulous index to the papers, and for months afterward the raw material came in waves. There were technical reports and scientific tables, lists of soldier volunteers and their test data. There were memos and letters. There were personal items, too: golf scorecards, family photographs, college essays, data on the sale of a house. “I made a list of all the jobs I had in my green notebook, which is the kind of thing I carried around,” Ketchum had told me. “I also made a list of all the drugs I’ve taken.” Tens of thousands of pages of scanned material began to fill up my hard drive. “This is me,” he seemed to be saying. “This is what I did. You be the judge.”

II
“This shall be the story of the fall of a human soul—a fall which is great,” Ketchum wrote when he was a freshman at Dartmouth, working on a play. “Daily, souls are broken. Great men—not great in accomplishment, but great potentially—are rendered forever impotent. This is the tragedy of lost aspiration, defeat, despair.” Ketchum envisioned his protagonist as a young man much like him: a bright student, full of potential, but lost in an institution that was against him, and suffering from a tragic flaw. “The fact is,” he wrote, “he is too ardent, too intense, too uncompromising in his ambitions.”

When Ketchum was eight, his ambition was “to become a scientist and help struggling humanity.” Born in Manhattan during the Depression, and brought up in Brooklyn and in Forest Hills, he was academically inclined, competitive, enthralled with tennis. His mother was a secretary, and his father, who went to college at the age of sixteen and was fluent in many languages, managed two hundred operators for the New York Telephone Company. “He was very religious,” Ketchum says. “Not in a harsh, demanding way but in a reverential sense.” Ketchum’s father was the right-hand man of Norman Vincent Peale, the pastor of Manhattan’s Marble Collegiate Church and the author of “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Peale believed that suffering was largely a thing of the mind, and that faith and “right thinking” could eliminate it. “Truth always produces right procedures and therefore right results,” he wrote.

At Dartmouth, Ketchum was easily distracted. He settled on a double major, psychology and philosophy, but he was not a natural philosopher. “It is a mistake to ask unanswerable questions,” he wrote in one assignment. He became obsessed with his high-school sweetheart, an aspiring actress in New York, and impulsively persuaded her to marry him and run off to Africa or Latin America. They made it only as far as Florida before they returned to Dartmouth—where they found that the marriage voided Ketchum’s scholarship, and had to move into a repurposed barracks near campus. The following year, Ketchum changed paths again: he transferred to Columbia University and, later, enrolled in Cornell University Medical College, to study psychiatry. In New York, he and his wife, living in a rented room with no heat, decided to split up. Ketchum began taking ten milligrams of Dexedrine, first intermittently, then three times a day—a habit that he maintained for decades—and he studied in bouts, memorizing swaths of information. Still, he says, “I couldn’t get awards. They wouldn’t give me cum laude, even.”


Perennially broke, Ketchum decided to join the Army. “It was too much to resist,” he wrote in his memoir. “No longer would breakfast consist of an old pickle jar half-filled with black coffee.” In 1958, having graduated from Cornell, he took a job at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. He often woke up at four-thirty in the morning to study cybernetics, and once filled half a room with a gravity-operated “computer” built from soda straws and Tinker Toys. “It produced nothing,” he later wrote, “yet it illuminated that which could not be seen—a logical process.” When the computer did not impress his mentor, he launched another project. During a Thanksgiving holiday, when Walter Reed’s laboratories were empty, he opened up a cat’s brain and embedded electrodes in it, to see if he could give the animal a new way to communicate. He left to play tennis, thinking that a veterinarian would care for the animal, and returned, a week later, to find the cat half-dead from an infection. He tried to nurse it to health in his bathtub, but it had sustained permanent brain damage.

Ketchum’s mind was whirring. He submitted articles to The New Yorker and other magazines, and sent an essay, titled “Sex in Outer Space,” to Playboy. He began to bring a manual typewriter into sessions with patients, typing up every word they said in a maelstrom of clicks and clacks. He showed his notes to a superior, David McKenzie Rioch, the chief of neuropsychiatry at the institute, who suggested that he be more discriminating. But Ketchum was fascinated less by the patients than by the process. Ultimately, he wanted to conduct research, and so in 1960, when Rioch pulled him aside and said, “There is a situation at a place called Edgewood Arsenal,” he listened intently.

Edgewood had been built in a fit of urgency during the First World War, when weaponized gas—chlorine and, later, mustard—was used to devastating effect in the trenches of Europe. Fritz Haber, the German scientist who pioneered the rise of chemical weapons, proclaimed, “In no future war will the military be able to ignore poison gas. It is a higher form of killing.” The U.S. Army took the threat seriously, and launched a program to study the chemicals, building laboratories and gas chambers in order to test human subjects. “We began to hear about the terrors of this place,” a private wrote in 1918. “Everyone we talked to on the way out here said we were coming to the place God forgot! They tell tales about men being gassed and burned.”

After the Second World War, intelligence reports emerged from Germany of chemical weapons far deadlier than mustard or chlorine. The new compounds, which had evolved out of research into insecticides, were called nerve gases, because they created a body-wide overflow of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, often triggering organ failure and near-sudden death. The Reich had invested primarily in three—tabun, soman, and sarin—and the victorious powers rushed to obtain them. The Soviet Union secretly dismantled an entire nerve-gas plant and relocated the technology behind the Iron Curtain. The American government, for its part, acquired the Nazi chemical formulas—and, in some cases, the scientists who developed them—and brought them to Edgewood.

The Army decided to pursue sarin. The chemical was about twenty-five times as deadly as cyanide, and readily made into an aerosol. It was virtually impossible to handle without casualties; in one year, seven technicians required immediate treatment following accidental exposure. As the vapor was released after tests, birds passing over the flue of the gas chambers fell dead, and had to be cleared off the roof. In experiments that the arsenal contracted at Johns Hopkins University, researchers gave sarin to healthy volunteers in cups of water over three days. Some of the subjects were severely poisoned; they twitched, vomited, and had trouble breathing.

Early nerve-gas experiments focussed on the extreme lethality of the chemicals, and on antidotes, but researchers at Edgewood also began to take note of the chemicals’ cognitive side effects. Subjects often felt giddy at first, then deeply anxious. Some had nightmares or lost sleep and became depressed. A secret 1948 study on the poisoned Edgewood technicians noted that “the outstanding feature of these cases appears to be the psychological reactions,” and its author wondered how “young men having no experience or knowledge” of the chemicals would react. A senior official at the arsenal had observed that men exposed to highly diluted tabun “were partially disabled for from one to three weeks with fatigue, lassitude, complete loss of initiative and interest, and apathy.”

I spoke to a former Edgewood test subject who was given the nerve agent VX, which, when applied to the skin, is a hundred times as deadly as sarin. An officer came to his bedside to draw a small circle on his arm, and then a doctor with a syringe squirted on a drop of liquid. The effect was rapid. The subject heard other people groaning—one man said, “Oh, *”—but he felt only a calm disassociation from his environment. There was a radio on in the room, but the words made little sense. When he was given food, he didn’t know what to do with his utensils. “I was not in control,” he told me. “It was incredible. This tiny drop had rendered me helpless.” As the test continued, he was seized by an agonizing wave of tension, as if each nerve ending were being crushed in a vise. “It was intense,” he told me. “My body was clenched. All of my nerves were tight, physically and mentally.”

In 1949, L. Wilson Greene, Edgewood’s scientific director, typed up a classified report, “Psychochemical Warfare: A New Concept of War,” that called for a search for compounds that would create the same debilitating mental side effects as nerve gas, but without the lethality. “Throughout recorded history, wars have been characterized by death, human misery, and the destruction of property; each major conflict being more catastrophic than the one preceding it,” Greene argued. “I am convinced that it is possible, by means of the techniques of psychochemical warfare, to conquer an enemy without the wholesale killing of his people or the mass destruction of his property.”

In its broad strokes, “Psychochemical Warfare” fit within the evolving ethos at Edgewood: better fighting through chemistry. The first commanding general of the Army’s Chemical Warfare Service had extolled the “effectiveness and humaneness” of gases: they killed quickly, and kept infrastructure intact. Psychochemical warfare certainly promised a form of conflict less deadly than clouds of sarin—even more humane, in that sense, perhaps. But Greene did not want to elevate consciousness; he wanted to debilitate, in ways that would inspire terror. As he put it, “The symptoms which are considered to be of value in strategic and tactical operations include the following: fits or seizures, dizziness, fear, panic, hysteria, hallucinations, migraine, delirium, extreme depression, notions of hopelessness, lack of initiative to do even simple things, suicidal mania.”

Greene drew up a list of chemicals to investigate, ranging from barbiturates to carbon monoxide, and he urged a deeper inquiry into the psychological effects of nerve gas. Enoch Callaway, a Navy psychiatrist who arrived at Edgewood in 1950, recalled, “I was told that I needed to measure ‘nervousness,’ because nerve gas was supposed to make you nervous.” So he designed a test: people given sarin were blasted with noise to measure how much they jumped. “We figured out that nerve gas actually reduced anxiety in doses that did not cause convulsions.” The work, he insisted, was conducted responsibly, with a sense of urgency now hard to understand: “We didn’t know that chemical warfare was going to disappear so thoroughly.”


“T–shirt compliments of the lady at the end of the bar.”
In the mid-nineteen-fifties, psychochemical warfare was formally added to Edgewood’s clinical research, and approval was granted to recruit soldiers from around the country for the experiments, in a systematic effort called the Medical Research Volunteer Program. The Army assured Congress that the chemicals were “perfectly safe” and offered “a new vista of controlling people without any deaths”—even though early efforts to make weapons from mescaline and LSD were dropped, because the drugs were too unsafe or too unpredictable. Congressional overseers, terrified of Soviet military superiority, were ready to lend support. The Red Army had an extensive chemical-warfare program, and evidence suggested that it had an interest in “psychic poisons,” used to trigger mental illness. “Some foreign enemy could already be subjecting us in the United States to such things,” one panicky legislator proclaimed during a hearing. “Are we the ones receiving it now? Are we the rabbits and guinea pigs?”

Edgewood began reviewing hundreds of chemicals, many provided by pharmaceutical companies. One officer remarked, “The characteristics we are looking for in these agents are in general exactly opposite to what the pharmaceutical firms want in drugs, that is the undesirable side effects.” Starting in 1959, the arsenal aggressively pursued phencyclidine—or PCP—which Parke, Davis & Company had marketed as an anesthetic but abandoned because patients were having hallucinations and delusions. Edgewood doctors tested it as an aerosol and surreptitiously gave it to soldiers to see if they could then “maintain physical security over simulated classified material.” One subject—who had been exposed to sarin gas a week earlier—was handed a glass of whiskey laced with twenty milligrams of PCP. “Manic reaction and much hostility,” a doctor observed. The subject passed out, and began breathing in a pattern associated with neurological trauma or cardiac stress.

Rioch told Ketchum that another volunteer had ended up in the hospital for six weeks. “He had a paranoid reaction that didn’t go away after the drug wore off,” Ketchum recalled. The trials with PCP were eventually dropped, but stories of other problem cases circulated. A military advisory council decided that the arsenal was ill equipped for the newer line of research. “It seems important to undertake immediately a program to develop sound, fundamental techniques of assessing abnormal behavior,” its members noted. “The services of people trained in this field, such as psychologists, psychiatrists and neuro-physiologists should be obtained.” Edgewood, in other words, needed young doctors just like Jim Ketchum.

III
In October, 1960, Ketchum drove out to the secluded arsenal, to meet with Colonel Douglas Lindsey, its chief medical officer. Lindsey, a veteran of the Korean War and a storied Army surgeon, was an athletic, small-framed man, with dash-mark lips. He was known for his affectations, including a pink convertible—which he drove with the top down, rain or shine—and a silver-tipped swagger stick made of a human fibula. A master parachutist, he sometimes jumped out a second-floor window after lunch.

“Captain Ketchum, I presume,” Lindsey said. “You must be the psychiatrist we’ve all been waiting for.” Right away, Ketchum noticed that the arsenal was a different kind of military outfit. “He led me across the parking lot to some wooden barracks, where World War II Chemical Corps soldiers had once resided,” Ketchum wrote in his memoir. “It wasn’t very impressive-looking—several cantonment style claptrap wooden buildings joined together by one long narrow hallway.”

As they approached, another doctor walked over, and Lindsey made an introduction. “You’ve come on a good day,” the doctor said. “We’re running another test with a drug called EA 2277.” No one explained what the chemical was, and Ketchum did not ask, sensing that it was a secret. They entered a hospital-like ward, and headed toward one of the bunks, stopping near a delirious soldier who was maniacally struggling to stuff a pillow into a pillowcase. “He’s a bit out of it right now,” the doctor said. “So I don’t think I can introduce you. He wouldn’t understand who you are.”

Ketchum was introduced to Van Murray Sim, an internist, who had set up the Medical Research Volunteer Program. Sim was an intense, towering figure, a former football player, who at one point weighed nearly three hundred pounds. Born in central Washington State, in a remote town called Cashmere, he maintained the sensibility of a pioneer. He made a point of trying drugs before they were tested on soldiers; the Army had even granted him its highest civilian award, in part “for volunteering to be the first to expose himself to several new chemical agents at the risk of grave personal injury.” At such moments, Edgewood doctors would crowd around Sim, tending to his gargantuan supine body. “I am trying to defeat the compound,” he once declared. Sim conceived the arsenal’s work as a kind of mini-Manhattan Project, arguing that a nerve-gas attack was even less forgiving than atomic fallout. “If we inhale minute doses of nerve gas for a few seconds, we shall be dead in a few minutes unless adequate treatment is afforded on the spot,” he had warned. “There is no time.”

Without seeing much more, Ketchum knew that he would return. These people, he sensed, were like him: Army nonconformists who were curious about the new science of the brain and relatively untethered by military formality. “There was no doubt in my mind that working in this strange atmosphere was just the sort of thing that would satisfy my appetite for novelty,” Ketchum wrote. By February, 1961, he had remarried; his first child had just been born, and he moved to Edgewood with his family, confident that an opportunity to conduct new, ambitious research was at hand.

Edgewood was a citadel of secrets. A sign on a door in the Medical Research Laboratories read, “What you see here, hear here—when you leave here, leave it here!” Ketchum was given an office in an annex for physicians. “I remember coming in at night and feeling a spooky ‘Twilight Zone’ sensation, when walking alone through its deserted halls,” he wrote. It was possible to socialize with other scientists and have no idea what they did. Not all the work had to do with weapons: Edgewood technicians were the first to design protective vests from Kevlar, and mustard experiments provided the basis for early cancer chemotherapies. The physiologist John Clements made a discovery about how surfactants behaved in the lungs which later saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of children.

The psychochemical-warfare program was a small part of the over-all research, and in many respects it was the strangest. Once, Ketchum walked into his office and found a barrel the size of an oil drum standing in a corner. No one explained why it was in his office, or who had put it there. After a couple of days, he waited until evening and opened it. Inside, he found dozens of small glass vials, each containing a precisely measured amount of pure LSD; he figured there was enough to make several hundred million people go bonkers—and later calculated the street value of the barrel to be roughly a billion dollars. At the end of the week, the barrel vanished just as mysteriously as it had appeared. No one spoke about it. He never learned what it was for.


“When is it time to want more?”
After receiving a security clearance, Ketchum was told that EA 2277 was 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, or BZ—a pharmaceutical, intended as an ulcer therapy, that was rejected after tests found it unsuitable. Infinitesimal amounts could send people into total mental disorder. BZ is an anticholinergic, similar to atropine or scopolamine, which are used in medicine today. At high doses, such drugs trigger delirium—a dreamlike insanity usually forgotten after it subsides. Sim, one of the first doctors to try BZ, later proclaimed that it “zonked” him for three days. “I kept falling down,” he said. “The people at the lab assigned someone to follow me around with a mattress.”

One night, Ketchum was observing soldiers on BZ when Sim wandered into the ward. “What are you doing here?” Sim asked. From the waist down, he was wearing only underwear.

Ketchum tried to size up his superior; in addition to his self-experiments, Sim habitually took Demerol. “I sometimes come in late at night to check on the guys,” Ketchum told him. “They get pretty interesting around midnight. What are you doing?”

Sim had a watch faceplate taped to his wrist. “I’m trying to see if LSD has any effect through the skin,” he said. “I’ve got it in some ethylene glycol under this watch glass. So far, it hasn’t had any particular effect.”

For years, Sim had been overseeing secret intelligence experiments at Edgewood. At one point, he did research for the C.I.A. on a BZ-type drug, called the Boomer, that causes delirium for as long as two weeks. The agency wanted to know if it could be administered through the skin. Could a Soviet agent brush some on silverware at a diplomatic party and cause an American official to go crazy? Could an operative dose an adversary with a handshake? Sim initiated trials at the arsenal and at Holmesburg Prison, in Pennsylvania, with which Edgewood had contracted to conduct experiments on inmates.

Testing psychochemicals for intelligence purposes, Sim appeared to believe, required a uniquely loose protocol: the goal was to control the mind, and the subject’s expectations of the drug’s effect mattered. He often gave LSD to people without warning. Not long after arriving at Edgewood, Ketchum took to playing tennis with a commanding officer at the arsenal, who, after a match one day, described how Sim had spiked his morning coffee with LSD. “He was pissed off as hell,” Ketchum told me. LSD had been mixed into cocktails at a party, and into an Army unit’s water supply. Some men handled it fine; some went berserk. A test subject in 1957 exhibited “euphoria followed by severe depression, anxiety, and panic—feeling he was going to die,” according to his chart. Another test involved intelligence specialists who were blindfolded and placed in an isolation chamber. “Only one subject was in a condition to undergo extended interrogation,” a report concluded. “A second subject fled from interrogation in panic.”

Ketchum later wrote of Sim’s “hare-brained experiments” and his “lack of scientific (and ethical) judgment.” The Army had apparently reached the same conclusion. In 1959, responsibility for the volunteers was taken from Sim—who was eventually given the new title of chief scientist—and transferred to Lindsey, a more capable leader, though not immune to bouts of recklessness himself. To demonstrate the effects of VX, he was known to dip his finger in a beaker containing the lethal agent, then rub it on the back of a shaved rabbit; as the animal convulsed and died, he would casually walk across the room and bathe his finger in a Martini to wash off the VX. “I thought they were crazy,” a doctor who served under him told me. “I was going to New York, and Colonel Lindsey tells me, ‘How about taking a vial of nerve gas to New York to make a demonstration.’ And I am looking at the guy and thinking, If I have an accident on the Thruway, I could kill thousands of people—thousands of people. I said, ‘No. It’s that simple.’ ”

Nonetheless, Lindsey was more circumspect than Sim. He had tried LSD and thought it impractical. In 1960, he told an audience of military doctors, “It may be possible to so dose a man that he would describe an enemy soldier as green-and-purple-striped, cuboid, and nine feet tall, but this is not incapacitation so long as he can still recognize this apparition as an enemy, and can shoot him or impale him on a bayonet.” When Army brass requested demonstrations of LSD’s effects on the volunteers, Lindsey refused, risking insubordination.

The differences between Lindsey and Sim reflected deeper tensions that the Cold War imposed upon the doctors at Edgewood: men who sought to remain ethical as they advanced the frontier of military research. Sim appeared to believe that personally sampling every chemical agent made him free to circumvent conventional standards; “I have to live with myself,” he once said. Lindsey had an officer’s protectiveness for the enlisted men. Many of the Army doctors—draftees, like the volunteers—who worked under both men strove to reconcile their military obligations with their medical commitments. “As doctors, we are used to treating people who are sick, not making them sick,” one told me. “I did not like the idea of what I was doing with individual human beings. But I understood what I was doing in the context of the defense of this country.”

For Ketchum, questions about the morality of chemical-weapons research rested in the details of its execution. He hoped to bring to Edgewood the rigors of civilian science, even if the questions asked were strictly military. The Army wanted to know to what degree an “incapacitating agent” could incapacitate, and how its effects could be reversed. Ketchum accepted the goal, and decided to make the trials as systematic, and as precise, as possible. He became an architect of mental debilitation. He enjoyed the work.

Ketchum enlisted Lindsey’s support to bring order to the psychochemical experiments, and insists that he discontinued Sim’s practice of giving drugs to men without their knowing. Medical records on test subjects had been kept haphazardly; some of the doctors even departed with them, making it impossible to know exactly what had been done to previous volunteers. Ketchum campaigned to have data centralized, and hired nurses.

He also took over the study of BZ. The drug fascinated him. Exposed soldiers exhibited bizarre symptoms: rapid mumbling, or picking obsessively at bedclothes and other objects, real or imaginary. “Subjects sometimes display something approaching wit, not in the form of word-play, but as a kind of sarcasm or unexpected frankness,” he wrote in a report for Sim. The drug’s effect lasted for days. At its peak, volunteers were totally cut off in their own minds, jolting from one fragmented existence to the next. They saw visions: Lilliputian baseball players competing on a tabletop diamond; animals or people or objects that materialized and vanished. “I had a great urge to smoke and, when I thought about it, a lit cigarette appeared in my hand,” a volunteer given a drug similar to BZ recalled shortly after the experiment. “I could actually smoke the cigarette.”


“I like my late–night humor unfunny.”
Soldiers on BZ could remember only fragments of the experience afterward. As the drug wore off, and the subjects had trouble discerning what was real, many experienced anxiety, aggression, even terror. Ketchum built padded cells to prevent injuries, but at times the subjects couldn’t be contained. One escaped, running from imagined murderers. Another, on a drug similar to BZ, saw “bugs, worms, one snake, a monkey and numerous rats,” and thought his skin was covered in blood. “Subject broke a wooden chair and smashed a hole in the wall after tearing down a 4-by-7-ft panel of padding,” his chart noted. Ketchum and three assistants piled on top of the soldier to subdue him. “He was clearly terrified and convinced we were intending to kill him,” his chart said.

One night, Ketchum rushed into a padded room to reassure a young African-American volunteer wrestling with the ebbing effects of BZ. The soldier, agitated, found the air-conditioner gravely threatening. After calming him down, Ketchum sat beside him. Attempting to see if he could hold a conversation, Ketchum asked, “Why do they have taxes, income taxes, things like that?”

The soldier thought for a minute. “You see, that would be difficult for me to answer, because I don’t like rice,” he said.

“Yeah,” Ketchum said.

The soldier peered forward, and suddenly seemed to be addressing an imaginary person. “If you want the pack, I’ll cut the pipe,” he said, using his hands to emphasize what he would do. “Then we’d put it in a vise, cut it to the inch you want. That’s three different ways.”

“Right,” Ketchum said, and thought up another question. “If you had three wishes—you could wish for anything you wanted—what would your three wishes be?” he asked.

The man took a second to consider this. “No. 1,” he said. “I wish that the world would stop acting like kids, and act like grown people.” Then he went silent.

“No. 2?” Ketchum asked.

“No. 2, where I would like to be?” the man said. “Cause I feel like my life is not worth a nickel here anyway, I think I would rather go back to Massachusetts, back to my home unit.”

“Are you in danger here?” Ketchum asked.

“I feel that I am, sir,” the soldier said.

“What’s the danger here?” Ketchum said.

“The danger to me is—a man don’t have to cheat me, or stick me, he can just frighten me,” the soldier said. Gesturing to a spot of bare floor in the padded room, he said, “It could make a person fall down those steps if they do it at the right time—and I just don’t feel that I am safe, here, in the house.”

IV
By the time Lindsey’s term as chief medical officer ended, in the early sixties, he had grown disenchanted with the Medical Research Volunteer Program. “These soldiers are not really informed at all,” he told Malcolm Bowers, an Edgewood medical officer who later became a professor at Yale. Little was known about the long-term effects of the experiments, and yet the volunteers, after a stay at the arsenal, were blindly pushed back into the Army at large, with no follow-up care. In a self-published memoir, “Men and Poisons,” Bowers recalls Lindsey wondering if the lack of follow-up stemmed from the Army’s fear that such a program would disclose concern about lasting health effects. Sim later offered a more mundane reason: insufficient funding.

For many doctors at Edgewood, the memory of the Second World War, and the horrific experiments carried out by Nazi scientists, remained potent. After the war, the Nuremberg Code established an ethical framework for medical experiments, and its principles were incorporated into Army doctrine. The code begins with a clear premise: “The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.” That consent must flow from an “enlightened decision,” shaped by a true understanding of the test’s medical risks. Moreover, human experiments must be preceded by animal studies, and conducted in pursuit of a greater social good—with risks never exceeding “the humanitarian importance of the problem.” If a subject is unable to endure the experiment, or if a researcher believes there is a probability of injury, the test must end.

For decades, Ketchum has contested the idea that soldiers were tricked into participating in the tests. In “Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost Forgotten,” he addresses the question head on. “Unwitting guinea pigs?” he writes. “Naïve young men taken in by Army propaganda? Mentally marginal soldiers who could not make good decisions? Ignorant individuals who didn’t know what they were getting into because of tight secrecy? In my view, none of the above!” In another passage, Ketchum describes giving the sedative Seconal to a sergeant. “He proudly informed me beforehand that this was his sixth visit and he would no doubt be back again next year,” he wrote. “I had to tell him that this was unlikely—it would be unfair to all the other soldiers who wanted to be part of the program.”

In fact, the Medical Research Volunteer Program initially had difficulty attracting volunteers, so monthly quotas were established to insure a steady supply of research subjects. Recruiters fanned out to Army facilities across the country; some commanders even ordered men to attend the sessions. Ketchum insists that there was never any ambiguity about the drug experiments during the recruitment process, but people who attended the sessions came away with an uncertain sense of what they were being asked to do. A number of them told me that recruiters advertised the program in vague terms, as human behavioral studies, or equipment testing, or medical research. Inducements were offered, too. Soldiers could spend time near several large East Coast cities, and would be given three-day weekend passes to explore them. There would be extra pay, and few responsibilities, aside from showing up at a test. Many men spent much of their stay playing Ping-Pong and watching movies. When it came time for volunteers to leave—at first, they were asked to serve for a month, later two months—a letter of commendation would enter their file. In the sixties, the arsenal offered an even more powerful incentive: time away from Vietnam.


“If they fit, we can return them”
Once the volunteers arrived at Edgewood, they were given medical and psychological examinations, and were divided into four groups. The least healthy would be used to test equipment. The top twenty-five per cent—the Astronaut Class, as Ketchum once called them—would typically be prepared for the most dangerous chemicals. Doctors informed the volunteers in generalities and asked them to sign a consent form—usually long before any specific test was announced. The forms were designed to offer few details; as one version was drafted, the words “mental disturbance or unconsciousness” were replaced with “discomfiture.” Sometimes a little more information would be provided just before the test began, but not always. Van Sim later confessed that researchers testing nerve gas would tell volunteers that the drug might give them a “runny nose” or a “slight tightness of the chest.” In 1961, a volunteer from Kansas, named John Ross, was given soman, a highly persistent nerve agent. Only when the needle was in his arm did he overhear the doctors saying that he had been given something lethal. “I started having convulsions,” he told me. “I started vomiting. One of the guys standing over me said, ‘We gave you a little too much.’ They told me to walk it off. I started to panic. I thought I was going to die.” Ross became rigid and was rushed to Walter Reed. For years afterward, he suffered from insomnia and depression.

Test subjects had a right to decline an experiment—assuming that they knew they were part of one—but they almost never did. “There was no question that they would participate,” Bowers recalled. Withdrawing from a test required backing down from a commitment to one’s superior, which was anathema in the Army. “In the military, if you don’t do something you will be ostracized,” a soldier given LSD in 1958 told me. “I believe they did give us the option to leave, at first, but you didn’t really have a choice once you were in.”

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

December 17, 2012















The ambiguities of the recruitment process, the classified nature of the research, and the highly selective way that doctors followed Army policy has left behind irreconcilable memories. Gerald Elbin, one of Ketchum’s first BZ test subjects, told me that he did not know exactly what he was signing up for when he volunteered, but he enjoyed his time at Edgewood. “It was O.K. to say no,” he said. “There wasn’t any hammer coming down on you.”

The same day Elbin was given BZ, Ketchum gave the drug to Teddie Osborne, who had been stationed at the Yuma Test Center, in Arizona, where he was using a crude detector and a caged rabbit to look for chemical leaks. Osborne thought that his work would not change much at Edgewood. “It wasn’t really explained,” he told me. At the arsenal, he was assigned to help manage the recruits; he liked the work and volunteered again. The second time, he was told that he was going to be a subject. He felt tricked. “I could not have said no,” he told me. “You are dealing with professionals. We were very gullible.” One Wednesday, Osborne was injected with BZ, and ushered into a padded room. He had no idea what the drug was or what it would do. “I don’t remember anything until Saturday,” he told me. “That was so disturbing. Later, it still haunted me.”

Before Ketchum wrote his memoir, he had tried to sort out his experiences in a series of half-finished manuscripts, variously titled “Aerosol One” or “LSD Forever” or “The Black Drum” or, simply, “Jim.” Most of them are romans à clef, though that term suggests too great a departure from reality, as many people in them are named, and all of the events are genuine. In these early attempts at telling his story, the volunteers—the men he drugged—barely figure. Instead, Ketchum’s focus is himself, under different pseudonyms: Peter (Micro) Hansen (“competent and charismatic and soon aggressively takes over, with impressive results”), James McFarley (“a moderate thirst for opponents, human and inanimate”), Dr. McSorley (“nothing if not a man of action—impulse, if the truth be known”).

Ketchum’s manuscripts—often written in a faux-hardboiled style—document his ambitions and grandiosity, his insecurities and ambivalence. “Why was a kook like him picked for a politically delicate, high profile, security headache?” he wrote of himself. “Here he was cranking literally hundreds of unblemished, freshly washed and combed, bright-eyed young men through a drug machine. Making them nuts for a few hours or a few days, and then, like calves who had been branded, watching them for a short time to be sure they were okay, and sending them back to their pastures. It was such a risk, if you looked at it objectively.”

By Ketchum’s second year, the arsenal’s drug machine was spinning at high velocity. “I was working on a noble cause,” he later explained. “The purpose of this research was to find something that would be an alternative to bombs and bullets.” But, clearly, he also saw in the experiments a vehicle for attaining greatness. In an outline for “Jim,” he spoke of his ambition “to create a tapestry of accomplishment, including the development of a small empire of research, the intellectual defeat of naysayers and rivals in the establishment, a reputation as a creative genius, a thriving and happy family, a chemically enhanced sense of well-being, a throng of admirers.” He began to build his archive, and he worked with audiovisual specialists to turn his research into raw cinematic material.

In May, 1962, while testing BZ’s effect on soldier performance, Ketchum oversaw the construction of an entire Hollywood-style set in the form of a makeshift communications outpost. The plan was to confine four soldiers to the outpost for three days. Except for one man, who would be given a placebo, the soldiers would be administered varying doses of BZ. Then, as if in a scene from the TV show “Lost,” they would be radioed a stream of commands and messages, based on a fictional scenario.

Technicians built a small room out of plywood. Cots and a table were brought in, and a handheld radio and switchboard were positioned against the green walls. To help achieve realism, Ketchum added a large switch with a sign that warned “Danger—Do Not Touch.” Cameras were installed behind wall panels. “It was a nervy operation, no matter how you looked at it,” Ketchum wrote. “Even with an inch of padding on the walls and a two-inch foam rubber carpet to minimize the chance of injury. ”

Outside the door, Ketchum and several technicians crowded around monitors. After the BZ took effect, they triggered an alarm indicating a chemical attack. The men rushed to put on gas masks, but the soldier who had been given a delirium-producing dose—Ronald Zadrozny, a young Army intelligence officer—was too confused to protect himself. Zadrozny was a small, bespectacled, mild-mannered soldier, “all of which were factors in his selection for the delirium-producing dose,” Ketchum later recalled. “If he panicked at some point, the others could no doubt subdue him. Assuming, of course, that the lower dosages would not render them too incompetent to react appropriately.”

Zadrozny’s drug-induced madness lasted for thirty-six hours. He saluted imaginary officers, at one point believing that a drape partitioning the toilet was a group of men. He became panicky, and stayed up nights, pacing and mumbling, trying to escape, either by the door or through a medicine cabinet. At one point, as Zadrozny began to improve, he sat in front of the switchboard, pencil in one hand, receiver in the other, ready for a communiqué.

“You can’t hear anything unless you have the telephone up to your ear,” another soldier explained.

“It wasn’t working with electrodes,” Zadrozny mumbled.


“Get a load of Baryshnikov!”
Two hundred phony tactical messages, warnings of chemical attacks, and intelligence were fed to the men in the room. At one point, Ketchum and the others ran out of script. “In an urgent brainstorming session, we put our heads together and came up with an agonizingly improvised scenario,” he recalled in his memoir. “We told the military communicators to start sending new intelligence to the group inside the room—in a simple code. The messages informed the men that enemy forces were planning to move a train loaded with chemical weapons along a certain route.” Eventually, Ketchum and the technicians resorted to gibberish, using poker terms, referring to “the dealer” and a “full house,” as the BZ-addled soldiers struggled to interpret their code.

By this time, the Army was running a “crash program” to turn BZ into an operational weapon. The test with Zadrozny may have demonstrated that BZ could render a unit ineffective, but in battle the chemical would need to be sprayed, and aerosols are difficult to control, even in test conditions. Ketchum estimated that the “incapacitating dose” was forty times lower than the lethal dose. Yet some soldiers in wind-tunnel tests were getting more than intended. What would happen if a volunteer sensitive to the chemical received too much of it? Psychochemical warfare was based on the idea that the drugs had no meaningful effect on the body. But, as Ketchum’s tests progressed, the results began to suggest that BZ might be more dangerous than had been imagined.

In 1962, Walter Payne, a decorated reservist from Helena, Arkansas, was instructed to inhale a cloud of BZ in a wind tunnel. Three hours later, he was totally unresponsive. Henry Ralston, now an emeritus professor of anatomy at the University of California at San Francisco, examined Payne and noted that he “exhibited signs of decerebrated rigidity with hyperextension of the back, neck and limbs, accompanied by irregular twitching movement of limbs.” When I asked Ralston to interpret those symptoms, he told me, “Major head trauma, huge damage to the brain.” (Ketchum made an assessment, too, noting that Payne’s delirium was “moderately severe.”) Payne was treated with an antidote, and was examined twenty-six days later. After an EEG test that was “essentially a normal record for his age,” he was released from the arsenal and given no further follow-up.

The incident was alarming enough to delay the BZ program. Senior Army officials grew concerned that the lethal dose of the chemical might be lower than previously thought. “We had no way to control how they breathed,” Ketchum told me. He designed an apparatus to help: soldiers were attached to an oscilloscope; as they breathed, they watched a wave form, and used it to inhale a regular amount. Even so, in 1963 another volunteer, Jason Butler, Jr., went into critical condition after breathing in BZ in a wind tunnel; his temperature spiked to 103.6°, and his head started shaking spastically. He was sponged with ice and alcohol, and given antidotes. After six days, doctors released him, noting that he “appeared quite normal.”

Even as it became reasonable to suspect that BZ could cause serious injury on the battlefield, the military was pushing to put it into use. In November, 1964, an Army major travelled to Edgewood on an urgent mission from Lieutenant General William Dick, the chief of Army research. Soviet trawlers had been spotted off the coast of Alaska, and Dick wanted to know if a projected cloud of BZ could disable the crew. Senior officers at the arsenal told the major that such a thing was out of the question—the chemical had not even been field-tested. Eventually, the major came to see Ketchum, who was leading a newly created group called the Psychopharmacology Branch. “The plan didn’t make a whole lot of sense, and it offended me on a rational level,” he wrote in his memoir. “On the other hand, the challenge ruthlessly tickled my imagination.”

He typed up a plan for a large-scale experiment at the Dugway Proving Ground, in Utah. Up the chain of command, an officer with a wry sense of humor christened it Project dork, but Ketchum, having got approval for the experiment, threw himself into it in a Dexedrine-fuelled whirlwind of activity. He spent weeks at Dugway, arranging technical details: a flatbed truck with an airtight observation booth and a platform for the volunteers to stand on; two inflatable hospital wards; a generator to create the cloud of BZ. Ketchum flew out the oscilloscopes and an audiovisual truck to document the test. “So what did I feel, as we sat in the sling seats that lined the sides of a giant fuselage, gazing at the mammoth TV truck tied down in the center bay?” he wrote. “Maybe just the way I felt in the fourth grade, sitting in a bus headed for the Wonder Bread Factory, where we would get to see fabulous machines, loading endless streams of fresh-baked bread onto conveyor belts. Then and now, I was excited and bedazzled!”

Project dork began before dawn under a dark desert sky. Ketchum arrived with the volunteers, and helped them suit up. Covered head to toe in protective clothing and gas masks, the men looked like deep-space explorers. When the generator began to produce the cloud of BZ, spotlights tracked the chemical apparition drifting across the sky. The men stood in the haze for fifteen minutes, and then were flown by helicopter to the makeshift hospital.

Project dork was a logistically complex experiment, and Ketchum considers it his most important military achievement; as he puts it, “A Hollywood producer might have had trouble throwing together all the features I wanted in less than a fortnight.” Using footage of the experiment, he directed a film called “Cloud of Confusion,” a unique artifact of Cold War propaganda, conveying in almost Kubrick-like surrealism the sublime strangeness of the experiment. It begins with shots of the large white cloud of BZ, with a narrator intoning, like a Hollywood Moses, “And on this desert / this cloud was unleashed / so men could measure / the dimensions / of its stupefying power.” Bartók’s “The Miraculous Mandarin” served as the score to a long opening montage, the music’s spiralling scales and clanging intervals playing over footage of soldiers twisting their faces in confusion and frustration, unable to resolve phantom problems. Later segments show the men ordered to act as sentries, amid trees that had been planted for the movie; they were hopelessly confused. Some of the volunteers saw hallucinatory bugs. “I don’t know that I could describe the sickness,” one of them told me. “You felt sort of punchy and spaced out.” He felt odd after the test, but in a few days’ time the effect vanished.

The film portrayed Project dork in epic terms, but it also demonstrated the fundamental impracticality of psychochemical warfare. The test had to be run before dawn, or differences in temperature between the air and the ground would cause the cloud to drift away. The supply of BZ virtually ran out—even to intoxicate just eight men who were running in place, to insure that they breathed in enough, on a vehicle that was moving with the cloud. Certainly, launching billows of BZ across Arctic waters to attack moving Soviet trawlers would be futile—even if the crew was unprepared for them.


“No doubt you already know if I’m a good cop or a bad cop.”
The Soviets were not ignorant of BZ, after all. Vil Mirzayanov, a chemist who conducted secret weapons research for the Soviet Union, told me that Moscow never had more than a halfhearted interest in LSD, and that its interest in BZ was strictly to keep up with Ketchum’s program. “We knew the West had developed this weapon, and we were trying to copy it,” he said. Soviet scientists, who called the formula Substance 78, conducted their own clinical trials with it and manufactured tons of the drug at a plant in Volsk. “But, for the military, it was absolutely useless,” he told me. “Soldiers began to act like in a dream. They were not thinking; they don’t need weapons—very nice, very good. The main problem was, How do you use it? For military people it was fantasy.”

Ketchum took a different lesson from Project dork. The experiment’s limitations prompted him to strive for greater realism. He wanted to push the testing to its logical conclusion: a grand experiment with soldiers engaged in simulated combat while clouds of psychochemicals drifted on the battlefield. “I felt that if we are trying to sell this stuff to the military we better convince them that it could work,” he told me. He told his superiors that, if such a test could not be run, then the program had no point to it.

Unsurprisingly, his proposal was rejected, and Ketchum began to think about leaving. His second marriage was in turmoil, and his work had clearly reached a ceiling; in May, 1965, he decided to apply for a two-year “sabbatical,” arguing that a postdoctoral fellowship in neuropsychology at Stanford would allow him to help refine the Army’s development of the new chemicals. “Any competent neuroscientist should have recognized the arguments I presented as sophomoric fantasy,” he wrote in his memoir. “But I had somehow developed a reputation for being gifted within the military’s higher psychiatric echelons.”

Having been accepted at Stanford, Ketchum struggled with his reëntry into academia, accomplishing little. But he had ended up in the Bay Area during the Summer of Love, and after the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics opened, in 1967, he began volunteering there. Many people walking in were strung-out hippies, mistrustful of authority. While caring for them, Ketchum hid the fact that he was an officer in the U.S. Army.

Periodically, a colleague at Edgewood wrote to update him on life at the arsenal. Among the new doctors, he said, insubordination was “a big problem.” Some of Ketchum’s calculations documenting BZ were not adding up; aerosol tests that he had initiated with LSD—even though the Army was no longer pursuing LSD as a weapon—had resulted in overdoses, and some subjects had become extremely agitated, violent, or hypersexual. For one of the doctors involved, the experience was “very traumatic.” Ketchum thought that the overdoses were unfortunate, but that the tests were still worthwhile. “I’m glad it got pushed as far as it did,” he wrote back.

In the fall of 1967, his marriage fell apart, and he moved into a Holiday Inn. By the end of the year, he wondered if he would return to chemical warfare. He considered staying at Stanford, or returning to Walter Reed, but worried that he might not be skilled or focussed enough. “They had Nobel Prize winners over there,” he told me. “I was going to be in charge of them?” Still, he was hopeful. “I think my relative slump is only temporary,” he told a friend. “I can feel a rebirth coming on.” Edgewood had asked Ketchum to return as the head of the Clinical Research Department, overseeing all human experiments, and in 1968 he said yes.

V
By the late sixties, the high point of the Cold War had sloped into a murkier geopolitical condition; half a million Americans were in Vietnam, and though the Army had freely used defoliants and tear gas there, it decided not to use BZ. Popular sentiment was turning against the idea of deploying psychochemicals in war. “There are moral imponderables, such as whether insanity, temporary or permanent, is a more ‘humane’ military threat than the usual afflictions of war,” E. James Lieberman, a psychiatric resident at Harvard, wrote in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In 1965, Sidney Cohen, a well-regarded LSD researcher, argued that “such degradation of a person’s mind is worse than his physical death and can hardly be considered humane warfare.”

When Ketchum returned to Edgewood, he was optimistic about achieving something meaningful, but he was frustrated by the growing insubordination among the doctors. “Many of them tried to stay out of the picture as much as possible, so that they wouldn’t be assigned things to do,” he told me. Concerns that Lindsey’s generation had kept to themselves were now rushing to the surface. The new doctors tended to be older than their earlier counterparts, more invested in their nonmilitary work, more politically circumspect. They sought to slow down the research, and began to question Ketchum’s methodology.

A physician named Mark Needle told me that he thought Ketchum’s human experiments were run like the Keystone Kops. “There was nobody qualified,” he said. “And the fact that they were allowed to do it without people who knew what they were doing was very, very scary. There was no humanity in it. There was no morality in it. If anything happened to the volunteers, we could say, ‘You were offered an out,’ but then we were also telling them, ‘Listen, this is the Army, and we are at war.’ Our view was that this was a terrible thing to do to these kids, because who the hell knew what could happen?”

When Ketchum sought to orchestrate a field test with a new version of BZ, four doctors wrote in dissent. He overruled them. Another version, called EA 3834, appeared to cause microscopic hematuria—tiny amounts of blood in urine—and other renal problems. One soldier was sent to Walter Reed. “This is a dangerous drug,” a psychiatrist named George Leib insisted. Leib, who worked on the arsenal’s annual budget, had come to think that tests of a baroque nature and questionable design were being funded merely to sustain the program. His office was across from the toxic-aid station, and he was sure that records were being manipulated to disguise problem cases. “Everyone I spoke to had misgivings,” he told me. “I had a volunteer who just sailed through a forty-eight-hour test without problems, and then soon afterward, while on leave, he was driving and crashed into the back of a truck and killed himself. I felt responsible. I felt like I had not done everything I could. But I certainly had done everything that I was allowed to do.”


“We’re spending Christmas with our grandparents in the Land of Forced Smiles.”
The testing of EA 3834 was suspended. There were more

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Trustworthy Freedom Fighter
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WAR ON WIKILEAKS
They’re Murdering My Son: Father of Julian Assange Tells of Pain and Anguish
John Shipton, the father of imprisoned whistleblower Julian Assange, says that if his son is extradited to the US, “They will murder Julian one way or the other.”
https://www.mintpressnews.com/theyre-murdering-my-son-father-of-julian -assange-tells-of-pain-and-anguish/262063/
by Finian Cunningham
September 25th, 2019
By Finian Cunningham
Julian Assange’s father, John Shipton, gave an interview to Strategic Culture Foundation over the weekend. After arriving from his home country of Australia, Shipton is visiting several European states, including Russia, to bring public attention to the persecution of Julian Assange by British authorities over his role as a publisher and author.

First though an introduction to the Assange case. Few media figures can be attributed to transforming international politics and the global media landscape. Arguably, Julian Assange, author, publisher, and founder of the Wikileaks whistleblower website (2006), is in the top tier of world-changing individuals over the past decade.

The Australian-born Assange has previously been awarded accolades and respect for his truth-telling journalism which exposed massive crimes, corruption and nefarious intrigues by the US government and its Western allies.

One of the most shocking exposĂ©s by Wikileaks was the video ‘Collateral Murder’ (2010) which showed mass, indiscriminate deadly shootings by US troops in Iraq. Similar war crimes by American troops in Afghanistan were also revealed by Wikileaks. The so-called US and NATO “war on terror” was exposed as a fraud and gargantuan crime.

Assange worked with American whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, the latter revealing the illegal systematic global surveillance by US spy agencies against ordinary citizens and political leaders around the world in flagrant violation of human rights and Washington’s much-vaunted claims of upholding civil liberties and international law.

The powers-that-be have gone after these truth-tellers with a vengeance for daring to expose their hypocrisy and vile record. Snowden is in exile in Russia unable to return to the US out of fear of imprisonment for “treason”. Manning is currently being detained indefinitely in the US because she refuses to testify against Assange. Julian Assange’s ground-breaking journalism exposing government crimes did so in a way that so many established Western news media outlets failed to do out of cowardly deference to the powers-that-be. Such so-called “independent” media are now facilitating the persecution of Assange by smearing his reputation and ignoring his plight in prison. He has been smeared, among other slanders, as a “Kremlin agent” and a “cyber terrorist”.

Watch | Breaking The Media Blackout on the Imprisonment of Julian Assange



After almost seven years (2012-2019) confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he sought political asylum to avoid arbitrary arrest by British authorities over trumped-up sex assault claims (since dropped), Assange was illegally arrested in April this year by UK police storming the Ecuadorian embassy. He has since been detained in maximum security Belmarsh prison where he is held under conditions of solitary confinement. He is being detained indefinitely while the US prepares a request to British authorities to extradite him. If he is extradited to the US, Assange will face charges under the Espionage Act which could result in 175 years in jail.

Belmarsh prison in London is a Special Category A jail (the most severe of four grades of detention centers in the British penal system). It has been used previously to detain mass murderers and the most dangerous convicted terrorists. Julian Assange’s ongoing incarceration there under lockdown is preposterous. It is an outrage, and yet Western media show little or no concern to report on this gross violation of due process and human rights law.

Earlier this month, on September 13, Assange was ordered by a British judge to be detained further even though he was due to be released this week on September 22, after having served out his sentence over a minor bail infringement that occurred back in 2012 when he fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London. That bail infringement is null and void since the original sex-assault claim in Sweden has been dropped due to lack of evidence against Assange.

Evidently, his detention is being used by the British government (no doubt at the behest of Washington) in order to destroy his health and very being. At age 48, his physical and mental condition are deteriorating by the day under the extreme conditions which amount to torture, as the UN special rapporteur Nils Melzer noted after visiting the prisoner back in May this year. The UN report called for Assange’s immediate release.

The following is an interview conducted with Assange’s father, John Shipton. He is currently on a tour of European countries to highlight the gross miscarriage of justice against his son. Shipton is visiting Britain, Ireland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden to campaign for Julian’s immediate release. He is also traveling to Russia.

In contrast to Western media indifference, John Shipton says he has encountered great public support for Julian, demanding his freedom. Among his supporters are prominent public figures, award-winning journalist John Pilger, renowned thinker and writer Noam Chomsky, Pink Floyd singer-songwriter Roger Waters and the courageous actress Pamela Anderson.

Julian Assange
John Shipton, center, speaks to the media alongside German MPs Heike Hansel and Sevim Dagdelen outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Dec. 20, 2018. Kirsty Wigglesworth | AP


The Interview
Strategic Culture (SC) | Can you describe the current prison conditions for Julian and his state of health?

John Shipton (JS) | Julian has lost 15 kilos in weight, is held in Belmarsh Maximum Security prison hospital 22 hours per day in solitary confinement. Nils Melzer, United Nation’s special rapporteur on torture, visited in company with two people expert in recognizing the effects of torture. Nils’ report stated Julian showed the effects of torture physically and mentally. Since Nils’ visit in May 2019, Julian continues to lose weight, now totaling 15 kilos. Nils and company describe Julian’s deeply distressing condition in firm language. UN report linked.

SC | It is reported that you are being restricted from contact with your son in prison despite you having traveled from Sydney, Australia, to visit him. Is that correct?

JS | Julian can receive two, two-hour social visits per month. My visit was double-booked with another thus cancelled. A week later, in company with Ai Wei Wei, we visited Julian. Sitting in the prisoners’ meeting room for 46 minutes, upon complaining we were told Julian could not be found. Couple of minutes later Julian was brought in.

SC | Is Julian being restricted from contact with his lawyers in order to prepare his defense against the pending extradition case from Britain to the US?

JS | Yes, severely. Sentenced to maximum security as a Grade B prisoner in solitary confinement, without access to computer or library. I gather the prison library has no books on criminal law.

SC | The latest development this month on September 13 saw a British judge rule that Julian’s detention in London’s max security Belmarsh prison is to be extended indefinitely despite him being due to be released on September 22 after serving his time for a bail infringement back in 2012. What, in your view, is objectionable about the latest ruling by the British judge?

JS | The judge, Vanessa Baraitser, made her own application for Julian’s bail which, with bottomless ignominy, she promptly refused. Baraitser in summing her judgement used the phrase, “likely to abscond”. Julian has partaken of legal conventions of asylum, and to which the United Kingdom is a signatory, reviewed and supported by 32 states in the American Organization of States, and he has ceaselessly offered Swedish prosecutors opportunity to interview him on allegations or travel to Sweden if guarantees of no onward extradition to the United States. Stephania Maurizi’s Freedom of Information requests of United Kingdom’s Crown Prosecuting Service and Swedish Crown Prosecuting Authority had revealed irregular anti-procedural state cooperation keeping Julian in Ecuador’s London embassy. Mini Adolf Eichmanns all of them are.

Swedish prosecuting authority has had four prosecutors, two interviews, one in Sweden 2010 and 2017 in Ecuador’s London embassy, during nine years under regulations stating that cases must be progressed. To land a man on the moon took eight years!

This is prosecutorial and judicial insouciant malice towards Julian.

SC | What are your concerns about what could happen if your son is extradited to the US where he is facing charges of violating the Espionage Act?

JS | They will murder Julian one way or the other.

SC | What do you say to politicians and media figures, like Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late US senator John McCain, who denounce Julian as a “cyber terrorist”?

JS | US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, moron and crook or if you prefer, crook and moron, if memory serves, first uttered this phrase purportedly bringing Julian under the Patriot Act as a terrorist, thereby able to be extra-judicially murdered. Floundering morons repeat meaningless phrases echoing other bubble-head nonsense. Everyone of those morons are horrified by and terrified by truth and facts which everyone all can see and read on Wikileaks.

SC | Are you proud of your son’s work as a publisher and whistleblower? What do see as his main achievement from his publishing work?

JS | The achievements are many. In diplomatic cables we can read of how the geopolitical world is composed and disposed of people therein. We can understand what Uncle Sam wants and how the US state gets what its wants. Many millions of people, communities and states benefit from Wikileaks, some greatly. Example, Chagos Islanders at the International Court of Justice. Iraq War and Afghan files exposing war crimes. Vault 7 exposing CIA cyber illegalities and crimes. The ‘Collateral Murder’ video’s revelation of US war crimes in Iraq. The list of revelations and beneficiaries is long and deep. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are a necessity.

War crimes revealed, sordid practices, blackmail and bribery. Seven countries destroyed, millions dead, rivers of blood and millions displaced. Yet only Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, both innocent of giving hurt and crime, rot in jail.

SC | Is Julian’s treatment by British and US authorities a grave warning to all citizens about the danger to their right to freedom of expression and independent media?

JS | Yes, a grim warning. Shut up or be crushed. What free press? English-speaking mass media is homogenous in its deceptions, prevarication and banal lies. Popular internet search engines deflect inquiry to corporate cronies. Facebook corporation is greed incarnate. All these entities can be simply regulated. Nations states have powers, however, do nothing but salivate over access to data we generate
 our data.

For Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are icons of oppressive state violence towards revelation of astonishing corruption and staggering criminality.

Many gifted, brave writers, commentators and film-makers continue a furious fight in alternate media and blogs. We give our gratitude and salute such men and women, for they all know, intimately, there is no monster colder than the US state and its allies.

SC | Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the government in Canberra have refused to make appeals for Julian’s release despite him being an Australian citizen. How do you view the Australian government’s lack of response to the case? Why are they apparently derelict? For example, Premier Morrison is visiting US President Donald Trump this week but he is reportedly scheduled to not raise the Assange case or to request his release. Why is Morrison acting with such indifference, and deference to the US?

JS | The Australian government is complicit. More than complicit as silence indicates agreed involvement. Notable exception are ex Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, with concordance of ex-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, raising Julian with Jeremy Hunt, the former United Kingdom Foreign Minister and Mike Pompeo, the current United States Secretary of State.

SC | Are you hopeful that Julian will be released in the near future? How important have public supporters like journalist John Pilger, Pink Floyd singer-songwriter Roger Waters and actress Pamela Anderson, as well as ordinary members of the public, been to Julian’s spirits?

JS | To Julian’s spirits, friends and supporters are alpha to omega of life.

For those interested in contacting John Shipton for further media interviews or details about Julian Assange’s case, contact press@wikileaks.org.

Feature photo | Mike Trukhachev | Shutterstock

Source | Strategic Culture

Stories published in our Daily Digests section are chosen based on the interest of our readers. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News. The views expressed in these articles are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

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How the Trump Admin Used a Secret Livestream to Spy on Julian Assange
Working directly with Ecuador’s corrupt government, the U.S. government abandoned all sense of legality and moral decency by spying on Assange twenty-four hours a day via an illegal livestream surveillance operation set up by a private security firm and approved by Ecuador’s president.
https://www.mintpressnews.com/us-complicit-julian-assange-surveillance -operation-ecuadorian-embassy/262131/
by Jimmysllama

mysllama
Earlier this year MintPress News published an article about how Australian journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning had “brought the U.S. government to its knees,” by revealing the U.S. torture program, war crimes, and “Cablegate”. At the time it appeared that the Trump administration was “more than ever willing to exact full revenge upon those who exposed the truth,” and now we know just how far they’ve been willing to go to make that happen.

Working directly with Ecuador’s corrupt government, the U.S. government abandoned all sense of legality and moral decency by spying on Assange twenty-four hours a day via an illegal livestream surveillance operation set up by a private security firm and approved by Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno. The revelation was made by Spanish news outlet El Pais, and it’s as stunning as the corporate media’s complicity.

Ecuador granted Assange asylum under former President Rafael Correa but after the 2017 election — and despite Moreno’s running as a left-wing PAIS Alliance candidate — the country’s political landscape shifted dramatically to the right. When Moreno wasn’t busy renegotiating Chinese loans, he was making backroom deals with the U.S., and Julian Assange was the bargaining chip. Moreno’s cooperation with the Trump administration was bought and paid for by massive IMF loans and in April 2019 Moreno illegally revoked Assange’s political asylum and allowed British authorities to enter the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange had sought protection for over seven years, and seize him.






After Assange’s arrest, Moreno refused to return Assange’s belongings from the embassy, instead turning over his documents, equipment, cellphones, personal effects, and more to the United States. The Canary’s John McEvoy recently published an interview with the former foreign minister of Ecuador, Guillaume Long, who described Moreno as “a Shakespearean traitor” who he says “betrayed Correa, he betrayed his party, he betrayed his electorate
he betrayed Ecuadorians, and he betrayed democracy, and he certainly betrayed Assange.”



Surveillance at the embassy
According to El Pais, Judge Jose de la Mota of Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional, is currently investigating UC Global S.L., a security company headquartered in Spain, and the activities of its founder, David Morales, for what has been exposed as a mind-blowing, complex, and invasive surveillance operation set up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London by UC Global in order to monitor Assange’s every move. They’re also being investigated for misappropriation, bribery, and money laundering.

According to sources and court documents examined by El Pais, meetings that Assange took with his attorneys, family, friends, and colleagues were all monitored. Fire extinguishers, “decorative elements” in the embassy, and even the women’s bathroom were all bugged. The scandal seems to have reached peak insanity when the Ecuadorian government took it upon itself to steal a used diaper from a baby who was seen occasionally at the embassy and have it tested for DNA, which begs the question of what exactly the government planned on doing if the test showed Assange to be the father. Blackmail? Threaten the wellbeing of the child? What exactly?

Assange Surveillance Feature photo
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino holds a photo an electric socket at the London embassy where a hidden mic was found. Dolores Ochoa | AP
In Edward Snowden’s words:

Not a joke: the CIA allegedly ran an operation to livestream surveillance of women in the toilet, hoping to overhear them planning the legal defense for an asylum seeker. This is skulls-on-hats level villainy; simply indefensible for people claiming to be ‘the good guys.’”

UC Global, the company that initially set up the security apparatus at the embassy, was hired and paid directly by the Senain, Ecuador’s now-defunct intelligence service established by former President Correa in 2009, because he feared that the U.S. had co-opted Ecuador’s existing intelligence services. However, Fidel Narvaez, the former ambassador to the U.K. assigned to the embassy in London, admitted that after the Senain was created the agency became “an animal without god or law,” and that neither he nor the-Foreign Minister Long had any control over its activities and security operations within the embassy. But the Senain wasn’t the only thing out of control.

UC Global’s Morales admitted that he was working for the United States at the same time the Senain was paying him and that he sent “documents, videos and audios” of meetings Assange held at the embassy directly to the CIA. He was quoted as saying, “We are playing in another league. This is the First Division.” El Pais reported that Morales first met “the Americans” at a 2015 security fair held in Las Vegas — which may have been the 2015 ICS West International Security Conference held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center owned by Sheldon Adelson, a Zionist billionaire who, interestingly enough, is on Morales’ roster of clients.



Sheldon Adelson
Adelson is a self-made American businessman who made most of his money in the casino business and was last estimated to be worth around $34 billion. In 2006, he co-founded the newspaper Israeli and then later established Israel Hayom, a free daily newspaper created to support all things Netanyahu. He also purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal,

where three of its own investigative journalists uncovered “the secret sale of the newspaper” to Adelson. NPR later reported that “a flood of reporters and editors left the paper after it was bought by the Adelson family, citing curtailed editorial freedom, murky business dealings and unethical managers.”

Adelson is also a pro-Israel Zionist fanatic who donated $5 million to the “Friends of the Israel Defense Forces” in 2014, rejects the idea of a two-state solution and continued aid to the Palestinians, and believes in establishing Jewish sovereignty throughout the “biblical land” of Israel — which means more illegal land grabs, annexation, settlements, and violence for Palestinians.

Adelson was close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but leaked transcripts from a corruption investigation into Netanyahu revealed he told police that he had cut ties with Netanyahu and “vowed he would never meet with him again.” Of course this could just be a means to distance himself from the corruption allegations being lodged against Netanyahu.

Adelson is also considered one of the “most generous and influential Jewish philanthropists” in the world and, according to a WikiLeaks cable, once donated $54 million to Israel in a three-month period. He’s a member of the Republican Party and, in case anyone was wondering who the biggest influencer of the Trump campaign was in 2016, that would be Adelson, along with his wife, Miriam. They donated $5 million to Trump’s inauguration fund, making it Trump’s largest inaugural contribution as well as the largest individual donation ever made to a presidential inaugural committee.

When it came to Trump’s campaign, the Adelsons were his second largest donor after Robert Mercer and, according to the New York Times, Adelson and his wife were the “biggest spenders on federal elections in all of American politics.” The Times went on to report:

Mr. Adelson in particular enjoys a direct line to the president. In private in-person meetings and phone conversations, which occur between the two men about once a month, he has used his access to push the president to move the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and, more recently, cut aid to the Palestinians, according to people familiar with their discussions, who spoke anonymously to discuss private matters. Mr. Trump has done both, triggering a backlash from some American allies.”

Like John Bolton, who was recently fired, Adelson pushed Trump to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, proposed dropping a nuclear bomb on Tehran, and once said that he wanted his son to grow up to be a sniper for Israel’s IDF. He’s also been accused of allowing the CIA to use his casinos as a front for spying; and, according to reports, Adelson encouraged Trump to focus on the “embarrassing disclosures about the Clinton campaign and Hillary Clinton’s dealings with major banks found in [a] recent WikiLeaks documents dump,” reinforcing speculation that Trump’s “I love WikiLeaks” rant on the campaign trail was merely a tactic to get elected.



Trump administration complicit in illegal spying
It’s clear that Adelson, a client of Morales’ UC Global, has a close relationship with Trump, leaving little to the imagination about what Trump knew in terms of the surveillance operation at the Ecuadorian Embassy. And, regardless of how Trump-thumpers or Q zombies want to twist what he said or did on the 2016 campaign trail, Trump has always been anti-leaks, anti-WikiLeaks, and anti-Assange. In 2010, he called for the execution of WikiLeaks’ staff and in 2017, his long-time close friend Ivonne Baki, an Ecuadorian ambassador now stationed in Qatar, brokered meetings between Paul Manafort and President Moreno, who expressed his desire to expel Assange from the embassy in return for U.S. concessions.



After Assange’s arrest earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed a superseding indictment against Assange that included 17 charges under the Espionage Act. This will be the first time in American history that an administration has charged a journalist under that draconian law for committing acts of journalism. Although Trump has the Constitutional power to pardon Assange of all charges and end his extradition case in the U.K., it appears he’s washed his hands of any responsibility to consider such an option by claiming he now “knows nothing about WikiLeaks,” despite the dozens of times he invoked the name on his campaign trail.

But the truly vile and nefarious element of this case, which has exposed the Trump administration’s true colors, is the fact that in December 2017 UC Global installed new video cameras in the embassy along with “an external streaming access point in the same area so that all of the recordings could be accessed instantly by the United States.” Instantly accessed by the United States. Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, was head of the CIA at the time.

The administration’s direct involvement in an illegal, livestream surveillance operation of a publisher, journalist, and political prisoner who at the time had never been charged with a single crime is beyond shocking and reveals just how corrupt that administration is and how critical the situation has become for press and media workers around the world.

Meanwhile, Trump has spent his presidency tweeting about a “witch hunt” the Democrats have been carrying out against him since before the 2016 election and initiating conspiracy theories like “Spygate.” Just this year Trump tweeted (his emphasis):

[R]eally bad people SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN!”

“They got caught spying on my campaign”

“SPYING did occur on the Trump 2016 campaign”

“It is now finally time to turn the tables and bring justice to some very sick and dangerous people who have committed very serious crimes, perhaps even Spying or Treason.”

“My campaign was seriously spied upon by intel agencies and the Democrats.”

“THEY SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN (We will never forget)!”

“Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President? Big Consequences!”

And while the Trump administration was secretly watching a political prisoner via a livestream in one of the grossest voyeuristic intelligence games America has seen, it egregiously breached his privacy and violated attorney-client privilege — and not just with the livestream but with audio, documents and files handed over to them by UC Global and President Moreno’s government.

There’s a reason Ecuador shut down Assange’s communication on March 27, 2018, after he tweeted out “the forgotten message” about the Senain, and a reason he was arrested 24 hours after WikiLeaks held a press conference about the spying operation at the embassy: the U.S. government in no way wanted Ecuador’s spy operation — which was likely initially shared with former CIA Director John Brennan and then taken over by his successor and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who once called WikiLeaks “a non-state hostile intelligence service” — exposed.



A suspicious timeline of events
When Assange was granted asylum in 2012, the Ecuadorian government hired UC Global, a private military company founded by David Morales, a former member of the Spanish Defense Marine Infantry who was once described as “the perfect mercenary.” As previously reported, most of UC Global’s employees come from the NATO military sector and the company operates around the world, including in Spain, France, U.K., Qatar, and the United States.

Three years after UC Global was hired, WikiLeaks published the emails of Italian malware vendor Hacking Team, which rocked the Ecuadorian government. The technology company specializes in spyware, such as monitoring online activities, decryption of files and emails, and remote activation of microphones and cameras on targeted computers. The emails not only revealed that the Senain had purchased a three-year spyware package from Hacking Team, but that the intelligence agency had been spying on citizens, activists and detractors.

Opposition forces decried former President Correa’s government while Ecuadorian political activist Fernando Villavicencio, an opposition mouthpiece for the U.S., published an article entitled, “Assange Spied on by the Intelligence of Ecuador,” detailing the Senain’s spying operation at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, which was dubbed “Operation Hotel.” Villavicencio’s article was likely a joint intelligence effort to deflect from U.S. involvement in the operations, deride Correa’s government, dismantle his support base, and turn public opinion against Assange by describing him as a “bad houseguest” and releasing alleged derogatory intelligence reports from the Senain.

Rafael Correa, Christine Assange
Correa, right, holds the hands of Julian Assange’s mother, Christine, during a meeting in Quito, Ecuador. Martin Jaramillo | AP
Fast forward to March 13, 2018, when welivesecurity.com published an article reporting that the Hacking Team’s Remote Control System had been detected in the systems of 14 countries. Less than a week later, President Moreno rescinded Ecuador’s contract with UC Global, hired PromSecurity Cía. Ltd. to surveil the embassy in London, and announced that he was shutting down the Senain and that a new intelligence agency would be established.

Exactly two weeks later, on March 27, 2018, when Assange was still in control of his Twitter account, he tweeted what has since been described as “the forgotten message:”

Senain bought spy packages from Hacking Team for 3 years.”

He included a link to an article published earlier that day that reported, “While developers suspect that the Hacking Team (HT) spy program is still working, the National Secretariat of Intelligence of Ecuador (Senain) has not confirmed whether or not it terminated its relationship with this Italian company.” Approximately four hours after Assange’s tweet, President Moreno cut all of Assange’s communications, including visitors to the embassy and phone and internet access. A few days later WikiLeaks tweeted,

Although Ecuador claims it isolated Assange over his Tweeting about the detention of [Basque rebel leader Carles] #Puigdemont in Germany, the political context is his breaking the “Watergate” of Ecuador, #HackingTeam, which led to the implosion of the national spy service this month.”

Two weeks later, The Guardian went on a one-week propaganda spree about “Operation Hotel” (read Tom Coburg’s “Julian Assange’s lawyers were placed under surveillance. But that’s not the whole story” via thecanary.co), the same operation that Fernando Villavicencio reported on back in 2015 after WikiLeaks published the Hacking Team emails.

This time, however, Villavicencio and The Guardian’s Luke Harding reported that the Senain had spent an extraordinary amount of money protecting Assange rather than surveilling him and that Correa’s government had been “rife with corruption, working hand-in-glove with Assange” to build some sort of elaborate war room to meddle in the 2016 U.S. elections — which apparently no surveillance camera picked up:

Moreno has gone to extreme lengths to convince the public that he’s rooting out government corruption. With the shutdown of the Senain, the revocation of UC Global’s contract at the embassy
the Guardian articles, and the creation of a new intelligence agency, he would have everyone believing that he saved the country from the evil trappings of Rafael Correa’s former government if he could.”

But now we know that the U.S. government, including the Trump administration, was directly involved in the operation at the embassy and it seems obvious that at every turn where they may have been exposed, Ecuador took steps to protect itself as well as the United States. And sure, maybe Trump didn’t know — but his secretary of state was likely heading up the operation stateside while he was the director of the CIA and his second biggest campaign donor is a client of the guy who was running the actual operation within the embassy so any deniability would be, at best, implausible.



The UN investigates Ecuador’s human rights violations
On March 29, 2019, the UN special rapporteur on privacy, Professor Joe Cannataci, received a complaint filed by Assange’s legal team from the Special Procedures Branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, which stated that Assange’s right to privacy during his stay in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London had been violated. Cannataci immediately requested that a meeting be set with Assange that day and he contacted the Ecuadorian Embassy three times with no response. Two days later, he emailed the Ecuadorian ambassador in London, Jaime Marchán, again to no avail.

Then, in a conspicuous attempt to distract the public and distance themselves from the PR *-storm they knew was coming with the inevitable disclosure of Moreno’s spying operation, on Tuesday, April 2, Ecuador’s minister of foreign relations, Jose Valencia, filed a complaint with the OHCHR Office in Geneva claiming that President Moreno’s privacy was also violated. He cited the “INA Papers” — a leaked batch of documents that included Moreno’s personal emails, text messages, and family photos, and exposed his involvement in corruption and money laundering via an offshore company — giving the impression that Assange was behind the leaks.

The meeting between Assange and the UN Rapporteur never took place in the Ecuadorian Embassy (although they subsequently met at Belmarsh prison) and only five days after Assange’s legal team lodged the privacy complaint with the UNCHR, they caught wind of President Moreno’s plan to revoke his asylum and hand him over to British officials.



Extortion
The entire spying operation at the embassy, sans U.S. involvement, was first disclosed by WikiLeaks during an April 10, 2019 press conference, at which WikiLeaks informed the public about the large-scale operation, as well as about a group of individuals who attempted to extort the publishing outlet with material obtained from the operation. According to WikiLeaks Editor in Chief Kristinn Hraffnson:

We learned about some individuals in Spain who were peddling around that they had a massive trove of documents relating to Julian Assange from inside the embassy and that it entailed audio, video, photographs, and documents.”

Hraffnson eventually met with the extortionists, who showed him hundreds of thousands of documents, videos, and confidential medical records and legal documents, all pertaining to Assange. They had “pretty much everything on the life of Julian Assange inside the embassy,” he stated. The extortion ring demanded 3 million euros from WikiLeaks for the material, threatening to go to the press if WikiLeaks didn’t pay.

Assange Surveillance
A still from surveillance footage shows Assange meeting with a confidant at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Screenshot | El Pais
According to Anonymous Scandinavia (@AnonScan) at the time:

We have reason to believe that the attempt of extorsion [sic] in the amount of three million euros, has connections to government officials cooperating with for example C 9 [Senain] and Prom Security.”

In complaints later filed by Assange, a group of Spaniards, Ecuadorian Ambassador Jaime Marchán, and four employees of Promsecurity were all named as taking part in the extortion ring and/or “alleged crimes that would have been committed inside the embassy, especially data leaks, listening and also the dissemination of both audio and video data and thousands of documents.”

President Moreno retaliated against WikiLeaks’ public disclosure of the colossal surveillance operation running at the embassy by illegally revoking Assange’s asylum and allowing U.K. officials to enter the diplomatic embassy in London to arrest him. With El Pais’ latest article, the U.S. may take further steps to distance itself and distract the public by planting articles via corporate media outlets such as The Guardian, more restrictions placed on Assange at Belmarsh, and a general black-PR campaign carried out by British and U.S. intelligence agencies — especially now that the Trump administration has been directly implicated.



This is not the time for dialogue
In light of recent developments, this is no longer the time for debate or dialogue. It’s time that the people in power who have been complicit in Assange’s ongoing torture — and what can only be described as a breach of human rights and privacy violations of epic proportions — be held to account. This includes President Moreno, Ambassador Marchán, President Trump, and Secretary of State Pompeo among many, many others. This also includes the corporate media, who have been spewing U.S. and Ecuador intelligence garbage about Assange for years.

This isn’t just about a journalist who is still sitting in a high-security prison despite his custodial sentence ending last week — although that alone should be enough of an outrage for anyone sitting on the side of justice and a free press. The U.S.-Ecuadorian spying operation in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London is about the precedents that will be set for spying on journalists and media workers if citizens do not rise up and demand accountability.

It’s become an almost macabre comedy of sorts how many journalists and publishers who work with the U.S. and British intelligence agencies and/or side with the Trump administration think they’re immune because the U.S. intelligence community never spies on its allies (insert senior officials of the European Union, Great Britain, Germany, Brazil, France, Spain, Mexico, and on and on). Or perhaps, like so many Americans, they justify it because “they aren’t doing anything wrong,” until they realize they’ve been booted out through Trump’s revolving door over some minuscule infraction like questioning the government.

It’s dangerously naive or ignorant to believe that the president of the United States — who thinks that presidential term limits don’t apply to him; has a former CIA director as his secretary of state; pushed 38-and-counting high-ranking people out of his administration; casually talks about nuking other countries; encourages hatred and violence not only against ethnic groups but against some of our own U.S. congresswomen; calls the press an enemy of the state; wants the staff of WikiLeaks executed; threatened the life of the unnamed “CIA Trump whistleblower;” refuses to pardon Edward Snowden; is holding Chelsea Manning hostage in a federal prison; imprisoned whistleblower Reality Winner for five years and is currently prosecuting Daniel Hale and Joshua Schulte for revealing illegal drone assassinations and CIA hacking weapons respectively; is the first president in U.S. history to prosecute a journalist for journalism; and deliberately and with cold calculation spied on Julian Assange twenty-four hours a day for years via an illegal live-stream — is worthy of any media worker’s trust.

Feature photo | A still from surveillance footage shows Julian Assange resting inside of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Screenshot | El Pais

Jimmysllama is an independent researcher and writer who provides balanced, critical analysis with a focus on the Boston bombings, Magnitsky Act, and WikiLeaks. She is currently trying to stay warm in the Midwest. You can read more of her work at jimmysllama.com and find her on Twitter at @jimmysllama.

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EMBASSY JULIAN ASSANGE SENAIN SURVEILLANCE UC GLOBAL WIKILEAKS



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assange Lawyer Decries 'Legally Unprecedented' Assault on Journalism as Judge Denies Request to Delay US Extradition Hearing
"This is part of an avowed war on whistleblowers to include investigative journalists and publishers."
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/21/assange-lawyer-decries-le gally-unprecedented-assault-journalism-judge-denies-request

byJake Johnson, staff writer 15 Comments

Demonstrators protest outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London on October 21, 2019, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been attending a case management hearing as he fights extradition to the United States. (Photo: Isabel Infantes/AFP via Getty Images)

Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday warned of potentially devastating consequences for journalism around the world after a British judge denied Assange's request to delay his U.S. extradition hearing in February.

Assange struggled to say his own name and date of birth during the hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London.

"I can't think properly," Assange told Judge Vanessa Baraitser.

The WikiLeaks publisher has been behind bars since he was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy by U.K. police. Supporters say Assange's waning physical and mental condition is a consequence of his prolonged isolation, which the United Nations condemned as torture.

"It's a political attempt to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information. It's legally unprecedented."
—Mark Summers, lawyer for Julian Assange
Assange's legal team requested a three-month delay to submit new evidence in the U.S. extradition case, including reports that a Spanish security firm spied on Assange on behalf of U.S. intelligence agencies. The allegation is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Spanish National Court.

If Assange is sent back to the U.S., he could face up to 175 years in prison on more than a dozen charges related to WikiLeaks' publication of classified documents that exposed American war crimes and other state secrets.

"I don't understand how this is equitable," Assange said Monday. "This superpower had 10 years to prepare for this case and I can't access my writings. It's very difficult where I am to do anything but these people have unlimited resources."

"They are saying journalists and whistleblowers are enemies of the people," Assange said of the Trump administration. "They have unfair advantages dealing with documents. They [know] the interior of my life with my psychologist. They steal my children's DNA. This is not equitable what is happening here."


Mark Summers, one of Assange's lawyers, called the U.S. extradition effort "a political attempt to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information."

"It's legally unprecedented," said Summers. "This is part of an avowed war on whistleblowers to include investigative journalists and publishers."

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assange Lawyer Decries 'Legally Unprecedented' Assault on Journalism as Judge Denies Request to Delay US Extradition Hearing
"This is part of an avowed war on whistleblowers to include investigative journalists and publishers."
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/21/assange-lawyer-decries-le gally-unprecedented-assault-journalism-judge-denies-request#

by Jake Johnson, staff writer

Demonstrators protest outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London on October 21, 2019, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been attending a case management hearing as he fights extradition to the United States. (Photo: Isabel Infantes/AFP via Getty Images)

Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday warned of potentially devastating consequences for journalism around the world after a British judge denied Assange's request to delay his U.S. extradition hearing in February.

Assange struggled to say his own name and date of birth during the hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London.

"I can't think properly," Assange told Judge Vanessa Baraitser.

The WikiLeaks publisher has been behind bars since he was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy by U.K. police. Supporters say Assange's waning physical and mental condition is a consequence of his prolonged isolation, which the United Nations condemned as torture.

"It's a political attempt to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information. It's legally unprecedented."
—Mark Summers, lawyer for Julian Assange
Assange's legal team requested a three-month delay to submit new evidence in the U.S. extradition case, including reports that a Spanish security firm spied on Assange on behalf of U.S. intelligence agencies. The allegation is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Spanish National Court.

If Assange is sent back to the U.S., he could face up to 175 years in prison on more than a dozen charges related to WikiLeaks' publication of classified documents that exposed American war crimes and other state secrets.

"I don't understand how this is equitable," Assange said Monday. "This superpower had 10 years to prepare for this case and I can't access my writings. It's very difficult where I am to do anything but these people have unlimited resources."

"They are saying journalists and whistleblowers are enemies of the people," Assange said of the Trump administration. "They have unfair advantages dealing with documents. They [know] the interior of my life with my psychologist. They steal my children's DNA. This is not equitable what is happening here."


Mark Summers, one of Assange's lawyers, called the U.S. extradition effort "a political attempt to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information."

"It's legally unprecedented," said Summers. "This is part of an avowed war on whistleblowers to include investigative journalists and publishers."

_________________
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www.rethink911.org
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www.mp911truth.org
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www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julian Assange’s judge and her husband’s links to the British military establishment exposed by WikiLeaks
By Mark Curtis and Matt Kennard• 14 November 2019
https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2019-11-14-julian-assanges-jud ge-and-her-husbands-links-to-the-british-military-establishment-expose d-by-wikileaks/

Members of the media gather outside Westminster Magistrates Court, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was due to face a trial after he was arrested in London, 11 April 2019. (Photo: Andy Rain/EPA-EFE) Less

The husband of Lady Emma Arbuthnot, the Westminster chief magistrate overseeing WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange’s extradition to the US, has financial links to the British military establishment, including institutions and individuals exposed by WikiLeaks.

It can also be revealed that Lady Arbuthnot has received gifts and hospitality in relation to her husband, including from a military and cybersecurity company exposed by WikiLeaks. These activities indicate that the chief magistrate’s activities cannot be considered as entirely separate from her husband’s.

Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom, a former defence minister, is a paid chair of the advisory board of military corporation Thales Group, and was until earlier this year an adviser to arms company Babcock International. Both companies have major contracts with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD).

The revelations highlight concerns about conflicts of interest. Lady Arbuthnot began presiding over Assange’s legal case in 2017 and ruled this June that a full hearing would begin next February to consider the request for extradition from the UK made by the Trump administration.

British judges are required to declare any potential conflicts of interests to the courts, but it is our understanding that Lady Arbuthnot has not done so.

Lady Arbuthnot has recently appointed a district judge to rule on Assange’s extradition case, but remains the supervising legal figure in the process. According to the UK courts service, the chief magistrate is “responsible for… supporting and guiding district judge colleagues”.

Assange is currently being held in Belmarsh maximum security prison in London in conditions described by UN special rapporteur on torture, Nils Meltzer, as “psychological torture”. If transferred to the US, Assange faces life in prison on espionage charges.

Lord James Arbuthnot of Edrom is the husband of the chief magistrate presiding over Julian Assange’s US extradition case. A long-standing Conservative Party politician, he has significant links to the British military and intelligence establishment. (Photo: UK Parliament)
Lady Arbuthnot financially benefited from organisations exposed by WikiLeaks

At a time when Lady Arbuthnot was in her former position as a district judge in Westminster, she personally benefited from funding together with her husband from two sources which were exposed by WikiLeaks in its document releases.

The British parliament’s register of interests shows that in October 2014, Lady Arbuthnot was provided with tickets worth Ł1,250 to the Chelsea Flower Show in London along with her husband. The tickets were provided by Bechtel Management Company Ltd, part of the major US military corporation, Bechtel, whose contracts with the UK’s Ministry of Defence include a project worth up to Ł215m to transform its Defence Equipment & Support Organisation, the body that buys and supports all the equipment used by the British armed forces.

Another of Bechtel’s business lines is “industrial cybersecurity”, a term which is often a euphemism for cyber warfare and surveillance technology.

WikiLeaks’ releases on Bechtel have shown the company’s close connections to US foreign policy. Cables published in 2011, for example, show that the US ambassador to Egypt, Margaret Scobey, pressured the Ministry of Electricity and Power to award a tender for technical consultancy and design of Egypt’s first nuclear plant to Bechtel.

In another personal benefit declared to parliament, Lady Arbuthnot, again together with her husband, had flights and expenses worth Ł2,426 paid for a visit to Istanbul in November 2014. This was “to promote and further bilateral relations between Britain and Turkey at a high level”, according to Lord Arbuthnot’s declaration to the register of interests.

These expenses were paid by the British-Turkish Tatlidil, a forum established in 2011 during the visit to London of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and announced with then prime minister David Cameron. Tatlidil describes its objectives as “facilitating and strengthen [sic] relations between the Republic of Turkey and the United Kingdom at the level of government, diplomacy, business, academia and media”.

Its main role is to hold an annual two-day conference which is attended by the president of Turkey, and Turkish and British ministers. Lord Arbuthnot also attended the Tatlidil in Wokingham, a town just outside London, in May 2018.

As subjects of unwanted leaks, both Bechtel and Tatlidil have reason to oppose the work of Assange and WikiLeaks. Although the payments were entered into the parliamentary register of interests, the parties in the court case were not informed about them. Although Assange’s trial has attracted significant criticism around the world, Lady Arbuthnot did not consider it necessary to mention these payments to the parties, public and media.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in a prison van, as he leaves Southwark Crown Court in London, 1 May 2019. (Photo: Neil Hall/EPA-EFE)
The Turkey connection

In a key legal judgment in February 2018, Lady Arbuthnot rejected the argument of Assange’s lawyers that the then warrant for his arrest should be quashed and instead delivered a remarkable ruling.

She rejected the findings of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention—a body composed of international legal experts—that Assange was being “arbitrarily detained”, characterised Assange’s stay in the embassy as “voluntary” and concluded Assange’s health and mental state was of minor importance.

Lady Arbuthnot became involved in the Assange legal case around September 2017 and presided over the hearing on 7 February 2018, before delivering her judgment a week later. During some of this period — 29 January to 1 February — her husband was again in Turkey visiting Erdoğan and other senior Turkish government officials. 


Some of these officials had been specifically exposed by WikiLeaks and had reason to oppose Assange’s release. There is no suggestion that Lord Arbuthnot was asked to, or did, exert any pressure on Lady Arbuthnot, nor that she succumbed to any such pressure, but there is an appearance of bias which could have been avoided had this connection been revealed and had Lord Arbuthnot avoided meeting those individuals at that time.

Arbuthnot was part of a four-member delegation, the others being Baroness Neville-Jones, a former chair of the British joint intelligence committee, which co-ordinates GCHQ, MI5 and MI6; Lord Polak, the president of Conservative Friends of Israel; and Lord Trimble.

Among those who Arbuthnot and the other Lords met on the trip were foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and energy minister Berat Albayrak, Erdoğan’s son-in-law. In 2016, WikiLeaks had published 57,934 of Albayrak’s personal emails, of which more than 300 mentioned Çavuşoğlu, in its “Berat’s Box” release.

Thus at the same time Lady Arbuthnot was presiding over Assange’s legal case, her husband was holding talks with senior officials in Turkey exposed by WikiLeaks, some of whom have an interest in punishing Assange and the WikiLeaks organisation.

The ramifications of Assange’s exposure of Berat Albayrak and the ruling AKP Party, which had occurred just over a year before, were ongoing at the time of the Lords’ meetings in Turkey. WikiLeaks’ publications led to a crackdown on the media in Turkey reporting it, including the imprisonment of journalists and an all-out ban on access to WikiLeaks in the country.

The visit of Lord Arbuthnot and other British lords to Turkey was paid for by the Bosphorus Centre for Global Affairs which describes itself as an NGO monitoring the accuracy of news on Turkey. However, WikiLeaks’ “Berat’s Box” files revealed that the centre was financed by Berat Albayrak and acted as a government front to suppress reporting critical of the government. The centre has also been exposed as running a number of pro-government troll accounts.

It is not known what was discussed on Lord Arbuthnot’s trip to Turkey, or if the issue of Assange was raised. However, the contacts that the husband of Assange’s judge had with powerful political figures who had recently been exposed by WikiLeaks raises concerns about conflicts of interest and whether these should have been declared by Lady Arbuthnot if they have not been.

Turkey’s then prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) cheers to supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) with his wife Emine (2rd-R), his daughter Esra Albayrak (2nd-L) and his son-in-law Berat Albayrak (L) in Ankara, Turkey, 30 March 2014. In early 2018, Lord Arbuthnot went on an official trip to Turkey and met with Berat Albayrak, then energy minister. Albayrak was extensively exposed in WikiLeaks publications. (Photo: Depo Photos/EPA)
Lord Arbuthnot’s military and intelligence connections

Lord Arbuthnot is a member of the House of Lords and was the defence procurement minister in the Conservative government from 1995-97. He later served as chief whip during William Hague’s leadership of the party. Arbuthnot was a strong supporter of David Cameron’s war in Libya in 2011 and it was Cameron who proposed the then James Arbuthnot MP for a peerage in 2015.

Lord Arbuthnot also has connections to former officials in the UK intelligence services which WikiLeaks has exposed in its publications and which have conducted intelligence operations in the UK against WikiLeaks.

Until December 2017, Lord Arbuthnot was one of three directors of a private security firm, SC Strategy, along with the former director of MI6, Sir John Scarlett, and Lord Carlile. Until June 2019, Arbuthnot remained a “senior consultant” to SC Strategy. Scarlett is mentioned in WikiLeaks releases and has largely remained out of public debates around privacy and surveillance.

Little is known of SC Strategy, which does not have a website, but Companies House lists an address in Watford. Carlile states on his register of interests that SC Strategy was formed by him and Scarlett in 2012 “to provide strategic advice on UK public policy, regulation, and business practice”. It lists one client as the Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Investment Authority.

It has been reported that SC Strategy “appears to maintain a degree of clout in Whitehall” and that in 2013 and 2104 the company had a private meeting with the cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood.

Lord Arbuthnot’s former partner at SC Strategy, Lord Carlile, was the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation in 2001-11 and is a prominent public defender of the intelligence services.

Lord Arbuthnot was also until February 2019 an “adviser” to the military corporation, Babcock International, on whose board sits the former head of GCHQ, Sir David Omand.

Until November 2018, Arbuthnot was a member of the advisory board of Information Risk Management, a cybersecurity consultancy based in Cheltenham, the home of GCHQ, one of whose “experts” is Andrew France, a former deputy director for cyber defence operations at GCHQ.

Before becoming a peer, Lord Arbuthnot was a member of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee from 2001-06. He is also currently an officer of the all party parliamentary group on cybersecurity which is administered by the Information Security Group (ISG) at Royal Holloway, University of London. The ISG manages a project worth Ł775,000 that is part-funded by GCHQ.

Lord Arbuthnot himself appears in documents published by WikiLeaks, including two confidential US diplomatic cables. A December 2009 US confidential cable notes Arbuthnot telling an official in the US embassy in London that he supported President Obama’s speech on US strategy towards Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Sir John Scarlett, former head of MI6, attends the St. Gallen Symposium in Switzerland, 5 May 2017. Scarlett is a director of SC Strategy, which until June this year counted Lord Arbuthnot as a “senior consultant”—and before that a co-director. (Photo: Gian Ehrenzeller/EPA)
Member of the British military establishment

Lord Arbuthnot’s past and present positions make him firmly a part of the British military industrial community. One of his profiles states that “he has a long history of involvement at the top of UK defence and political life”. WikiLeaks has styled itself as an adversary of the military community, with many of its releases focusing on the milieu in which people like Lord Arbuthnot operate.

Arbuthnot is a former chair of the parliamentary defence committee – a position he held for nine years between 2005 and 2014 – during which time WikiLeaks gained worldwide attention through its publishing of files on the Iraq and Afghan wars, in which the UK military was involved. He is also a former member of the national security strategy joint committee and the armed forces bill committee.

Arbuthnot’s parliamentary profile states: “From time to time the member receives hospitality from the UK defence forum, the all-party parliamentary group for the armed forces and the all-party parliamentary group on defence and security issues”.

Lord Arbuthnot is also the chair of the advisory board of arms corporation Thales Group which has been exposed by WikiLeaks in various releases.

Thales also has major contracts with the MOD including a Ł700m drone project and a Ł600m deal to maintain the royal navy’s warships. One of Thales’ lucrative business lines is “cybersecurity” and its website disparagingly refers to WikiLeaks and Assange personally as being able to “steal” information.

Thales produces “watchkeeper” drones used by the British military in Afghanistan which have been exposed in WikiLeaks releases. Arbuthnot is a strong supporter of drones: he was the chair of the defence committee when it produced a report highly supportive of British operations in 2014 which recommended “bringing watchkeeper to full operating capability”.

Lord Arbuthnot’s parliamentary profile also listed Babcock International as being a “personal client” in his role as consultant with SC Strategy until February 2019. Babcock has more than Ł22bn worth of contracts with the MOD and is its largest supplier of support services, supporting more than 70% of all MOD flying training hours.

Like Thales, Babcock has a business line in “cyber intelligence and security”. Arbuthnot was the procurement minister in 1996 when the government announced the sale of the controversial privatised Rosyth naval dockyard to Babcock.

Lord Arbuthnot is also chair of the Information Assurance Advisory Council, a body whose sponsors have included US arms corporations Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, and which also works on cybersecurity, among other digital information issues. Raytheon is extensively exposed in WikiLeaks releases.

A Thales Watchkeeper WK450 drone on display at the Paris Air Show. Lord Arbuthnot is a strong supporter of drones and chair of the advisory board of Thales which has been exposed by WikiLeaks in various releases. (Photo: Wiki Commons)
Conflict of interest

Lord Arbuthnot’s links to the British military establishment constitute professional and political connections between a member of the chief magistrate’s family and a number of organisations and individuals who are deeply opposed to the work of Assange and WikiLeaks and who have themselves been exposed by the organisation.

UK legal guidance states that “any conflict of interest in a litigious situation must be declared.” Judicial guidance to magistrates from the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice is clear:

“Members of the public must be confident that magistrates are impartial and independent. If you know that your impartiality or independence is compromised in a particular case you must withdraw at once… Nor should you hear any case which you already know something about or which touches upon an activity in which you are involved”.

Our understanding is that Lady Arbuthnot has failed to disclose any potential conflicts of interest in her role as judge or chief magistrate.

Lady Arbuthnot is known to have stepped aside from adjudicating two other cases due to potential conflicts of interest, but only after investigations by the media. In August 2018, as the judge at the heart of tech giant Uber’s legal battle to operate in London, she recused herself to avoid any perceived conflict of interest with her husband.

Lady Arbuthnot reinstated Uber’s London licence after it had been judged not a “fit and proper” private car hire operator. She eventually withdrew from hearing further appeals by the company after an Observer investigation raised questions about links between her husband’s work and the company.

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, is a major investor in Uber. QIA was also a client of SC Strategy, where Lord Arbuthnot was a director and then consultant. Lady and Lord Arbuthnot claimed that neither knew QIA invested in Uber, despite it being one of the company’s largest shareholders.

In 2017, Lady Arbuthnot also stepped aside from adjudicating a case concerning the broadcast of “offensive” material on the Holocaust when the defendant’s legal team raised the issue of “reasonable apprehension of bias” on the part of the judge. This was related to her husband’s involvement with Conservative Friends of Israel, a body of which Arbuthnot is a former chair and which had in the past paid for at least one visit to Israel.

Neither Lady nor Lord Arbuthnot returned requests for comment. DM

Daily Maverick will launch Declassified—a new UK-focused investigations and analysis organisation run by the authors of this article — at the end of this month.

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http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Live On the Fly – Julian Assange: Countdown to Freedom
by Randy Credico • January 6, 2020 • 3 Comments
https://covertactionmagazine.com/index.php/2020/01/06/live-on-the-fly- julian-assange-countdown-to-freedom/

Welcome to this special series of “Live On The Fly” with Randy Credico, Julian Assange: Countdown to Freedom.
Interviews on the approaching extradition trial of Julian Assange in London
[In the wake of the recent U.S. illegal drone strike and assassination of Qasem Soleimani, it has become all the more timely to expose the illegal activities of the U.S. government. Julian Assange did just that, and he is now facing extradition to the U.S. and a lifetime sentence behind the bars of a U.S. maximum security penitentiary. As his health declines, not only does he deserve our support at this critical moment, the right to publish and inform the public is at stake.

Supporters of Julian Assange, and fans of Randy Credico, will be happy to know that the popular and controversial radio program Live on the Fly is back as an exclusive, all-new podcast series here at CovertAction Magazine. This series is called Julian Assange: Countdown to Freedom and is your first stop for late-breaking updates on the approaching extradition trial of Julian Assange in London.

In this first podcast, hear compelling clips from William Kunstler and John Pilger on extra-judicial and arbitrary detention as well as interviews with Nathan Fuller, director of the Courage Foundation which supports whistle blowers and runs Julian’s public defense campaign, Coleen Rowley, retired FBI Special Agent and whistle blower, expert on criminal procedure constitutional law, and Anthony Papa, artist/activist and the author of 15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom, and This Side of Freedom: Life after Clemency. — Editors]

Interviews

Nathan Fuller
Nathan Fuller is director of the Courage Foundation which runs Julian Assange’s public defense campaign at defend.wikileaks.org. Courage supports whistle blowers and other journalistic sources who risk life or liberty to make significant contributions to the historical record. Before Courage, Nathan covered Chelsea Manning’s military court martial for the Chelsea Manning Support Network.


Coleen Rowley
Coleen Rowley is a retired FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel who taught criminal procedure and constitutional law to FBI agents and police officers.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, she became a whistleblower in connection with her testimony to the 9-11 Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry and to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding a main failure of the FBI that helped enable the attacks.

For this she was named one of TIME Magazine’s three “Persons of the Year” in 2002. In 2003 she tried to alert the FBI Director that the 9-11 attacks were being used as a false pretext for the disastrous war on Iraq—but this notification fell on deaf ears. Rowley retired in 2004 and began speaking and writing on these same issues.


Anthony Papa
Anthony Papa is an artist/activist and the author of 15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom, and This Side of Freedom: Life after Clemency. He is the first person in the history of New York State to receive both clemency and a pardon.


Randy Credico
Randy Credico is a political satirist, civil rights activist and former director of The William Mosea Kunstler Fund For Racial Justice. Randy has an uncanny knack for circumventing mainstream media disinformation and official stonewalling to bring you live-audio debriefings and analysis from lawyers, journalists, whistle blowers, organizers and activists who are fighting to protect Assange from a lifetime sentence behind the bars of a U.S. maximum security penitentiary.

Randy visited Julian at the Ecuadoran embassy in London and is actively coordinating public support for him in the U.S. and abroad. Because Randy is adept at evading news blackouts and cutting through official stonewalling, Live on the Fly delivers gripping live-audio debriefings and analyses from the defense attorneys, witnesses, journalists, activists and many more.


Prior and returning guests include renowned investigative journalist and documentarian John Pilger; investigative journalists Stefania Maurizi and Max Blumenthal; animal rights activist and environmentalist Pamela Anderson; whistle blowers Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, Coleen Rowley and ex NYPD Detective Frank Serpico; whistle blower, human rights activist and former United Kingdom Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray and many more.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WikiLeaks Editor: US Is Saying First Amendment Doesn't Apply To Foreigners In Assange Case
Profile picture for user Tyler Durden
https://www.zerohedge.com/political/wikileaks-editor-us-saying-first-a mendment-doesnt-apply-foreigners-assange-case

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson gave a brief statement to the press after the latest court hearing for Julian Assange’s extradition case in London today, saying the Trump administration is arguing that the First Amendment of the US Constitution doesn’t provide press freedom protection to foreign nationals like Assange.

“We have now learned from submissions and affidavits presented by the United States to this court that they do not consider foreign nationals to have a First Amendment protection,” Hrafnsson said.




Rapper MIA attends court in support of Julian Assange
“Now let that sink in for a second,” Hrafnsson continued.

“At the same time that the US government is chasing journalists all over the world, they claim they have extra-territorial reach, they have decided that all foreign journalists which include many of you here, have no protection under the First Amendment of the United States. So that goes to show the gravity of this case. This is not about Julian Assange, it’s about press freedom.”



Hrafnsson’s very newsworthy claim has as of this writing received no mainstream news media coverage at all. The video above is from independent reporter Gordon Dimmack.

This prosecutorial strategy would be very much in alignment with remarks made in 2017 by then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

“Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms. He’s sitting in an embassy in London. He’s not a U.S. citizen,” Pompeo told the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

That, like nearly every sound which emits from Pompeo’s amorphous face, was a lie. The First Amendment is not a set of special free speech privileges that the US government magnanimously bestows upon a few select individuals, it’s a limitation placed upon the US government’s ability to restrict rights that all persons everywhere are assumed to have.

This is like a sex offender who’s barred from living within 500 yards of a school claiming that the school he moved in next to is exempt because it’s full of immigrants who therefore aren’t protected by his restriction. It’s a restriction placed on the government, not a right that is given to certain people.

Attorney and Future of Freedom Foundation president Jacob Hornberger explained after Pompeo’s remarks, “As Jefferson points out, everyone, not just American citizens, is endowed with these natural, God-given rights, including life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. That includes people who are citizens of other countries. Citizenship has nothing to do rights that are vested in everyone by nature and God. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, that includes Julian Assange.”


Caitlin Johnstone ⏳
@caitoz
The Empire’s War On Oppositional Journalism Continues To Escalate

"Journalist Glenn Greenwald has been charged by the Bolsonaro government in Brazil with the same prosecutorial angle used by the US to target WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange." #FreeAssangehttps://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/the-empires-war-on-oppo sitional-journalism-continues-to-escalate-5dc6bf3b1331 …


The Empire’s War On Oppositional Journalism Continues To Escalate
Journalist Glenn Greenwald has been charged by the Bolsonaro government in Brazil with the same prosecutorial angle used by the US to…

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Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who is himself now being legally persecuted by the same empire as Assange under an indictment which Hrafnsson in the aforementioned statement called “almost a carbon copy of the indictment against Julian Assange”, also denounced Pompeo’s 2017 remarks.

“The notion that WikiLeaks has no free press rights because Assange is a foreigner is both wrong and dangerous,” Greenwald wrote at the time.

“When I worked at the Guardian, my editors were all non-Americans. Would it therefore have been constitutionally permissible for the U.S. Government to shut down that paper and imprison its editors on the ground that they enjoy no constitutional protections? Obviously not.”

Greenwald, who is a former litigation attorney, referenced a Salon article he’d written in 2010 skillfully outlining why Senator Susan Collins’ attempts to spin constitutional rights as inapplicable to foreigners would be outlandish, insane, illegal and unconstitutional to put into practice.

“To see how false this notion is that the Constitution only applies to U.S. citizens, one need do nothing more than read the Bill of Rights,” Greenwald argued in 2010. “It says nothing about ‘citizens.’ To the contrary, many of the provisions are simply restrictions on what the Government is permitted to do (‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion . . . or abridging the freedom of speech’; ‘No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner’). And where rights are expressly vested, they are pointedly not vested in ‘citizens,’ but rather in ‘persons’ or ‘the accused’ (‘No person shall . . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law’; ‘In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed . . . . and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense’).”

“The U.S. Supreme Court, in 2008, issued a highly publicized opinion, in Boumediene v. Bush, which, by itself, makes clear how false is the claim that the Constitution applies only to Americans,” Greenwald wrote. “The Boumediene Court held that it was unconstitutional for the Military Commissions Act to deny habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo detainees, none of whom was an American citizen (indeed, the detainees were all foreign nationals outside of the U.S.). If the Constitution applied only to U.S. citizens, that decision would obviously be impossible.”

“The principle that the Constitution applies not only to Americans, but also to foreigners, was hardly invented by the Court in 2008,” Greenwald added.

“To the contrary, the Supreme Court — all the way back in 1886 — explicitly held this to be the case, when, in Yick Wo v. Hopkins, it overturned the criminal conviction of a Chinese citizen living in California on the ground that the law in question violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection. In so doing, the Court explicitly rejected what Susan Collins and many others claim about the Constitution.”

These “and many others” Greenwald referred to would now include both Mike Pompeo and the Department of Justice prosecutors who are attempting to extradite and imprison Assange for publishing information exposing US war crimes.

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Juan Passarelli
@jlpassarelli
Kristinn Hrafnsson editor in chief of WikiLeaks: “We learned today from the prosecution that the US does not consider foreign nationals to be protected under the 1st Amendment” #DontExtraditeAssange #FreeJulianAssange

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So let’s be clear here: the Trump administration isn’t just working to establish a legal precedent which will demolish press freedoms around the world, it’s also working to change how the US Constitution operates on a very fundamental level.

Does now seem like a good time to fight against this to you? Because it sure as hell seems like that time to me.

Hrafnsson also said in this same statement that Assange’s extradition trial is going to be split into two separate dates, the first on February 24 for one week and then reconvening again for three weeks starting May 18. If you care about freedom of virtually any sort, I highly recommend paying very, very close attention.

* * *

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Witnesses testify that CIA spied on Assange and his lawyers
By Mike Head 22 January 2020
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/01/22/ucgl-j22.html

Further detailed evidence has been produced in a Spanish court that the CIA systematically and illegally recorded conversations between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his lawyers, and all other visitors, while he was trapped inside Ecuador’s London embassy before he was dragged out and arrested last April to face extradition to the US.

The Spanish newspaper El País yesterday reported that three people who worked for the Spanish security company UC Global S.L. have testified as protected witnesses in Spain’s High Court, the Audencia Nacional, that the company’s head David Morales handed over the surveillance material to the CIA.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange [Credit: AP Photo/Matt Dunham]
The testimony is another devastating exposure of the decade-long political conspiracy conducted against Assange by the American, British and Australian governments, and their collaborators in Sweden and Ecuador. US imperialism and its allies want to silence him for life for publishing hundreds of thousands of documents laying bare the war crimes and other criminal activities of the US and its allies around the world. They are equally desperate to prevent further damning leaks by courageous whistle blowers and journalists as they prepare new wars, assassinations and coups.

The witness statements also confirm the extraordinary extent to which these governments have trampled over Assange’s legal and democratic rights, including the fundamental and precious protection of lawyer-client confidentiality. This evidence alone requires the US extradition case to be thrown out of court on the grounds of illegality.

According to the evidence provided by the witnesses—videos, audio tapes and dozens of emails—the surveillance operation was extensive. In particular, Assange’s meetings with his legal team were videoed and recorded in order to gain material to try to incriminate him and to identify the evidence and legal arguments they would marshal against any prosecution under the US Espionage Act.

Under Morales’ express orders, the security company photographed the passports of all of Assange’s visitors, took apart their cell phones, downloaded content from their iPads, took notes and put together reports on each meeting. The Ecuadorian diplomats who worked in the London embassy were also spied on.

Morales, a former Spanish military officer, is being prosecuted in Spain, after being charged in October with privacy violation, bribery and money laundering. His company was officially employed by the Ecuadorian government to provide security at the embassy but that became a cover for a bugging operation against Assange.

According to El País, two of the witnesses confirmed that, in December 2017, Morales ordered workers to change the surveillance cameras in the embassy and replace them with others that could capture audio. From that moment on, they monitored conversations between Assange and his lawyers, even in the female toilet that Assange and his legal team used in attempt to avoid illegal bugging.

During these meetings with his lawyers, Assange prepared his legal defence. The Australian citizen faces trumped-up charges under the US Espionage Act that carry penalties of a total of 175 years in prison. While awaiting the extradition hearing, due to commence in the last week of February, he also has been sedated and denied adequate medical treatment, placing his life in danger.

El País reported that the three witness statements all described the phrases that Morales used with his most-trusted workers, referring to UC Global’s collaboration with the US secret service. These included: “We are playing in the first division,” “I have gone to the dark side,” “Those in control are the American friends,” “The American client,” “The American friends are asking me to confirm,” “The North American will get us a lot of contracts around the world,” and “US intelligence.”

The recordings from the cameras installed in the embassy were extracted from the hard drive every 15 days—along with recordings from microphones placed in fire extinguishers—and delivered personally to Morales at the headquarters of UC Global, located in Jerez de la Frontera in the south of Spain.

Morales travelled to the US once or twice a month, allegedly to hand over the material to “the Americans.” Morales also had installed remote-operated computer servers that collected the illegally obtained information, which could be accessed from the United States.

The witnesses testified that the material on Assange was handed over to the CIA by a member of the security service of Sheldon Adelson, the owner of the casino and resort company Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Adelson is a friend of US President Donald Trump and a large donor to the Republican Party.

Last year, the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, obtained files evidencing UC Global’s spying operation, including on doctors, journalists, politicians and celebrities who visited Assange. UC Global compiled profiles on Assange’s London-based lawyer Jennifer Robinson and the head of his legal team in Spain, Baltasar Garzon. The video and audio footage showed a half-naked Julian Assange during a medical check-up and two of his lawyers, Gareth Peirce and Aitor Martinez, entering the women’s bathroom for a private conversation with their client.

The extradition and prosecution of Assange is an historic assault on basic democratic principles enshrined over hundreds of years in constitutional and common law, including in the US and Britain.

Assange’s legal team has already submitted evidence showing the blatantly political nature of the persecution of Assange, including material relating to Chelsea Manning, the former soldier being imprisoned indefinitely to attempt to force her to testify against Assange. They have also submitted public statements by US politicians denouncing Assange and WikiLeaks that jeopardise any prospect of a fair trial, and evidence relating to abuse of due process, vindictive prison conditions and denial of medical treatment.

In any criminal proceeding, evidence that the prosecution had illegally recorded conversations between the defendant and his lawyers would result in a mistrial, the dropping of charges, the release of the defendant and the disbarring and possible prosecution of all those involved.

In 1973, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg—like Assange—was prosecuted under the Espionage Act for leaking documents to the New York Times and the Washington Post. The Pentagon Papers revealed how the US government had for years lied to the public in order to expand the Vietnam War, which led to the deaths of three million Vietnamese people and 55,000 US soldiers. Their publication triggered an explosion of public anger and fuelled anti-war protests.

During Ellsberg’s trial, President Richard Nixon’s “plumbers” broke into the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist and wiretapped his phone. In that case, Judge William Matthew Byrne ruled that the surveillance had “incurably infected the prosecution” and dismissed the charges, setting Ellsberg free.

But even more is at stake in Assange’s case, because WikiLeaks has helped expose the much greater crimes being committed by the US and its partners, including Britain and Australia. Moreover, the trampling over legal and democratic rights has advanced far further since the 1970s as the US ruling class has increasingly resorted to military aggression to try to overcome the erosion and decay of the global economic hegemony it asserted after World War II.

Moral appeals to politicians will not halt this travesty, let alone the underlying drive by US imperialism. The fight to defend democratic rights and stop the global lurch toward dictatorship and war requires a mass movement. The new year has begun with the resumption of momentous struggles by the working class around the world against government austerity measures, social inequality, environmental catastrophe and war. This is the force that must be mobilised, against capitalism, in order to free Assange and Manning.



The author also recommends:

The prosecution of Julian Assange, the destruction of legality and the rise of the national security state

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Julian Assange's lawyers demand more time to meet the Wikileaks founder in Belmarsh prison as decision on whether he will be sent to US to face hacking charges is put off until June
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7920625/Julian-Assanges-lawye r-complains-lack-access-Wikileaks-founder-HMP-Belmarsh.html

By Mark Duell for MailOnline
08:00 EST 23 Jan 2020 , updated 19:49 EST 23 Jan 2020

Assange is wanted in US for allegedly conspiring to expose military secrets
He is at maximum-security HMP Prison in Thamesmead, South East London
Appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court today wearing a black suit
Assange defiantly saluted his supporters by raising his fist above his head
Julian Assange's lawyer today complained about lack of access to the Wikileaks founder at the maximum-security Belmarsh Prison.


The 48-year-old is wanted in the US for allegedly conspiring with army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to expose military secrets between January and May 2010.

Assange appeared via videolink at Westminster Magistrates' Court today wearing a black suit, defiantly saluting his supporters by raising his fist above his head.

It also emerged that the hearing to decide whether Assange can be extradited from Britain to the US will be split into two, with the second half not finishing until June.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates' Court on January 13 +8
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates' Court on January 13
A demonstrator supporting Julian Assange wears a mask and chains outside the court today +8
A demonstrator supporting Julian Assange wears a mask and chains outside the court today
The Australian is being held at the maximum-security jail in Thamesmead, South East London and was transported from his cell early this morning.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Assange, said instructing solicitors had continued to work 'night and day' over Christmas.

But he added: 'We've had great difficulties in getting into Belmarsh to take instructions from Mr Assange and to discuss the evidence with him.'

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Mr Fitzgerald continued: 'We simply cannot get in as we require to see Mr Assange and to take his instruction.'

'The prosecution have now served us evidence on Saturday and due to the timetable, we understand there is more to come.

'We understand there is psychological evidence to be served during the trial. All of that material raises points we need time to deal with.

Supporters of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange erect banners at the court in London today +8
Supporters of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange erect banners at the court in London today
A supporter of the Wikileaks founder hands out flyers to commuters outside the court today +8
A supporter of the Wikileaks founder hands out flyers to commuters outside the court today
'We need to deal with points raised in the US Attorney General's statement. The reality is we are not ready to call the main body of our evidence.

'Obviously we regret that, but in the end the priority is fairness to the defendant.

'As the High Court says it is the duty of the defence counsel to seek an adjournment rather than to say at a later stage we did not have enough time.

'A witness is being called in relation to publication that is not yet available. There are problems with Spanish witnesses about their anonymity.'

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said: 'He will remain in custody in the cells until you have indicated to this court that you have concluded such matters as you were able to manage.'

Assange's full extradition hearing will be heard at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court on February 24 and will last up to four weeks.

Supporters of Assange gather outside Westminster Magistrates' Court for the hearing today +8
Supporters of Assange gather outside Westminster Magistrates' Court for the hearing today
Assange is being held at Belmarsh Prison in Thamesmead, South East London (file picture) +8
Assange is being held at Belmarsh Prison in Thamesmead, South East London (file picture)
But the hearing will sit for one week in February and three weeks from May 18 because the case is not completely ready.


Assange was jailed for 50 weeks last May for breaching his bail conditions after going into hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex offence allegations, which he has always denied.

In November Swedish authorities dropped the rape allegations made in 2010.

Assange has been in custody since he was dramatically removed from Ecuador's embassy building last April.


He will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on February 19 via video link ahead of the full extradition hearing.

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Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

‘All journalists at risk’ if Assange handed to US jailers
https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/all-journalists-risk-if-assa nge-handed-us-jailers

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates Court on January 13
ALL journalists will be at risk if Julian Assange is extradited to the US and jailed for publishing classified information, a packed debate at London’s Frontline Club heard today.

Mr Assange faces up to 175 years behind bars if convicted of charges relating to the publication of documents, video and diplomatic cables exposing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Intervening from the floor, National Union of Journalists president Tim Dawson said that we needed to urgently wake up to the “monstrous” case against Mr Assange.

“If successful this will place every journalist under fear of it being used against them,” he said, citing advice from the Law Commission to the Theresa May government which recommended legal changes to allow those in receipt of classified information to be prosecuted as well as those who leaked it.

“When I published information relating to Britain’s complicity in torture I knew I risked going to jail,” former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray said. “But I’m shocked at the implication that the journalists who take and publish that information could go to jail.”

The Legal, Systemic and Reputational Implications of the Assange Case debate saw UN special rapporteur on torture Professor Nils Melzer describe the conclusions of two independent medical experts who examined Mr Assange that he was a victim of psychological torture. “I was sure the British government would investigate,” he said. “After all this is not some rogue state.”

Yet all he received was an insulting tweet from then foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt accusing him of interfering in the British judicial system.

It took the government five months to formally reply to his report.

Pointing out that Mr Assange’s lawyers complained of being denied access to their client, he concluded: “This case is in the hands of the public, because the judiciary has proved unable or unwilling to assure due process.”

Human rights lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith said that governments in Britain and the US increasingly tried to conflate “national security with political embarrassment,” while former New York Times general counsel James Goodale warned that the arrest of Glenn Greenwald in Brazil indicated other governments were already using the precedent of Assange’s prosecution to clamp down on critical journalism.

The debate, which took place under Chatham House Rules, also heard from journalist Peter Oborne on his dismay at the willingness of so many journalists to ignore or collude in the prosecution of Mr Assange.

Mr Oborne warned that the “rule of law, parliamentary democracy and free speech” were under attack across the West.

Former Foreign Office official Claire Smith spoke about the need for accountability on the part of organisations such as WikiLeaks.

It had been due to hear from former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove, but he cancelled at late notice.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Starmer and Assange!
The case against Keir Starmer
https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4555-the-case-against-keir-starmer

Keir Starmer has made his pitch for the Labour leadership on a promise to retain the party's left-wing policies, whilst also being pragmatic and electable. Yet, as Oliver Eagleton writes, a look at his chequered career to date puts his left credentials in severe doubt.
5d6f658f240000ba027362ff-
Sir Keir Starmer’s campaign for the Labour leadership has somewhat glossed over his recent parliamentary record. That’s hardly surprising given that his tenure as shadow Brexit secretary is not his strongest selling point. The MP for Holborn and St Pancras devised a Remain policy that courted People’s Voters at the expense of red wall seats. While Corbyn tried to map out a viable Brexit plan after the 2016 referendum, inveighing against EU state-aid rules and competition directives, Sir Keir broke with the leadership, refused to formulate a Leave programme (aside from his deliberately unworkable ‘six tests’), and steered the party towards a second referendum. As many have argued, this was the perhaps the single biggest reason for the disastrous general election result that followed.
Sensing that this legacy might harm his leadership prospects, Sir Keir has tried to shift the focus onto his pre-frontbench career. In a stirring campaign video released in early January, he set out his achievements: he defended striking dockers and environmental activists; gave free legal advice to poll tax protesters; represented Helen Steele and David Morris in the Mclibel trial; and helped convict the murderers of Stephen Lawrence. As Director of Public Prosecutions, he grappled with MPs over the expenses scandal, prosecuted the energy secretary for perverting the course of justice, and brought cases against Murdoch-hired phone hackers. ‘I’ve spent my life fighting for justice’, he says, ‘standing up for the powerless and against the powerful’.

Sir Keir’s record is impressive, even if this summary leaves out certain qualifying details (for example, Starmer may have been assigned some of his most noteworthy cases, rather than choosing to take them on; he was found by a select committee to have restricted the scope of the phone hacking investigation; and his estimated net worth of Ł1–5 million makes it somewhat less remarkable that he occasionally works pro bono). Still, there’s no doubt that the Labour leadership frontrunner – once voted ‘Britain’s fairest man’ – has done some admirable things, and that his statesmanlike persona is better at rebuffing media smears than Corbyn’s admixture of defensiveness and piety. Yet, a closer look at Sir Kier’s past casts some doubt on his self-presentation as a champion of the oppressed.

Starmer’s campaign video touts his respect for human rights and civil liberties, foregrounding his opposition to the Iraq war and the NSA presence at Menwith Hill. It cites his Guardian op-ed, published in 2003, which dismantles Blair’s use of resolution 1441 as a pretext for invading and suggests that the government’s official justification lacks ‘credibility’. Yet when the SNP proposed an investigation into Blair’s apparent lying in the run up to the war – bolstered by findings from the Chilcot report – Sir Keir voted against it. He also voted for Trident in 2016, and worked tirelessly to secure Labour’s support for the Investigatory Power Bill, which expanded state surveillance and authorised the bulk collection of digital communications. As DPP, Sir Keir tempered his love of liberty by fast-tracking the extradition of Julian Assange (a process now making its way through the courts). He flouted legal precedents by advising Swedish lawyers not to question Assange in Britain: a decision that prolonged the latter’s legal purgatory, denied closure to his accusers in Sweden, and sealed his fate before a US show trial. Leaked emails from August 2012 show that, when the Swedish legal team expressed hesitancy about keeping Assange’s case open, Sir Keir’s office replied: ‘Don’t you dare get cold feet’.

Sound judgement on resolution 1441, then; but a demonstrable conviction that people who expose war crimes should face prosecution, while people who perpetrate them should not. These aren’t the only groups that Sir Keir has been particularly keen to quash over the course of his career. As head of the Crown Prosecution Service, he altered legal guidelines so that those improperly claiming benefits could be charged under the Fraud Act, which carries a maximum sentence of ten years (Emily Thornberry argued it should be increased to fourteen). Sir Keir also removed the financial threshold for such cases, allowing the government to waste endless resources arresting and incarcerating people who had claimed minimal amounts of money. ‘It is vital that we take a tough stance on this type of fraud’, he said, ‘and I am determined to see a clampdown on those who flout the system’. Never mind that fraud was estimated to account for only 0.7% of the welfare budget; that the dizzyingly complex bureaucracy instated by the Tories increased the likelihood of accidentally over-claiming; and that no ‘tough stance’ was taken on the Ł12 billion lost annually to corporate tax avoidance. This hostility to scroungers evidently stayed in place until 2015, when Sir Keir decided to abstain on the Tory Welfare Bill: a series of drastic cuts to social spending that disproportionately affected women, children and the disabled.

Despite his beneficence towards poll tax protesters, the barrister has generally erred on the side of ‘law and order’, reserving a particular antipathy for left-wing activists. He drew up rules that gave police officers more power to arrest demonstrators, in an attempt to crack down on ‘significant disruption’ after the 2010 student protests. Officers were encouraged to arrest those ‘equipped with clothes or masks to prevent identification, items that could be considered body protection, or an item that can be used as a weapon’. Appended to these instructions was a warning: ‘criminals bent on disruption and disorder…will not get an easy ride’. As commentators noted at the time, the vagueness of these guidelines equipped police with the authority to jail anyone wearing a scarf (since it could be used to ‘prevent identification’) or carrying a placard (which has on various occasions been classified as ‘weapon’), while the ban on body protection criminalised attempts to defend oneself from police violence. Sir Keir’s stern treatment of protesters tallied with his response to the London riots, when he stressed the necessity of rapid sentencing, and made a personal appearance in court to praise the judges who were handing down harsh penalties. His predecessor as DPP meanwhile reflected that the punishments marked a ‘collective loss of proportion’, and an abnegation of ‘humanity or justice’.

As well as taking ‘tough stances’ in the courtroom, Sir Keir’s CPS advised undercover police officers on how to infiltrate left-wing campaign groups via a ‘domestic extremism’ specialist. When it was alleged that, as part of this operation, numerous undercover agents had broken the law, given false evidence in court, and formed sexual relationships with activists in order to spy on them, the CPS launched an investigation into covert policing that was widely considered to be a whitewash. It admitted no systemic failings on the part of the CPS, offered no apology to the victims, and declined to re-open cases in which undercover policework may have led to wrongful convictions. There was no redress for the countless miscarriages of justice caused by this ‘anti-extremism’ crusade – which focused primarily on environmentalists and animal rights advocates – nor did he bring charges against officers who had manipulated women into sex. This is a far cry from the feminist credentials talked up in his campaign video; though it would be unreasonable to expect more from a man who, in 2010, dismissed the concerns of Women Against Rape, a group that met with him to discuss the treatment of women who are pressured into withdrawing sexual assault allegations and then subsequently prosecuted for lying (as in the recent Cyprus trial). To his credit, Sir Keir pledged to personally review future indictments of this kind; but the campaigners’ requests – that he overturn the sentences of women jailed for retracting rape claims and place a moratorium on such convictions – were summarily thrown out.

Reluctance to re-open cases is one thing. But the decorated QC’s aversion to prosecuting law enforcers – and preference for legitimising their brutality – was most evident when he refused to indict the policemen who killed Jean Charles de Menendez, a Brazilian immigrant mistaken for terror suspect and gunned down in Stockwell tube station. Sir Keir issued the same verdict in the case of Ian Tomlinson, who was killed by police in an unprovoked attack during the G20 protests. Both charges were dropped due to ‘insufficient evidence’ – a judgement that may have been correct given the biases of the British judicial system (Tomlinson’s killer was eventually tried and acquitted, despite the DPP’s initial ruling), but one that jars with the undaunted ‘fight for justice’ to which Sir Keir is supposedly dedicated. Indeed, a comprehensive view of his record reveals more contradictions than his leadership pitch will acknowledge – broadly progressive and deeply establishment, concerned with social justice and suspicious of social movements, bane of corrupt politicians and of peaceful protesters. Competent? Perhaps. But ‘for the powerless and against the powerful’? No, Sir.

Oliver Eagleton is an editorial intern at New Left Review.

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

US 'plotted to kill Julian Assange and make it look like an accident': Spies discussed kidnapping or poisoning WikiLeaks founder in Ecuadorean embassy, extradition trial hears
By Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter For Mailonline
09:54 25 Feb 2020, updated 10:48 25 Feb 2020
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8041597/amp/US-plotted-kill-J ulian-Assange-make-look-like-accident.html

Julian Assange, 48, wanted by the US Department of Justice over 18 charges
17 charges are alleged breaches of US Espionage Act and 1 of computer hacking
Assange's QC says he is a suicide risk in an 'inhuman and degrading' US jail
Edward Fitzgerald also claims there was a US plot to snatch or murder his client
US spies hatched a plot to kidnap or even poison Julian Assange using shady Spanish private detectives after he leaked 250,000 top secret documents online, his extradition hearing was told yesterday.

The WikiLeaks founder's human rights barrister Edward Fitzgerald, who has previously represented Moors Murderer Myra Hindley and hate preacher Abu Hamza, said an attack inside London's Ecuadorean embassy would have looked like an 'accident'.

The QC said private security from a Spanish company, acting on behalf of the US authorities, were involved in 'intrusive and sophisticated' surveillance of his client, but were outed by a mysterious Iberian whistleblower known only as 'witness two'.

The covert monitoring allegedly began after UC Global's David Morales returned from a Las Vegas security trade fair in around July 2016 with a contract purportedly for a yacht belonging to Sheldon Adelson, a financial backer of Donald Trump.

'But in fact, Mr Morales had indeed made a side agreement to provide information gathered about Mr Assange to the dark side - in other words, US intelligence agencies,' said Mr Fitzgerald.

Visitors, including lawyers for the 48-year-old, who is facing extradition to America, are said to have been targeted by live-stream audio and video devices placed inside the embassy and laser microphones from outside.

Referring to witness two's evidence, Mr Fitzgerald said: 'There were conversations about whether there should be more extreme measures contemplated, such as kidnapping or poisoning Julian Assange in the embassy.'



Julian Assange, who needed two pairs of glasses in the dock at Woolwich, was the focus of a plot by US spies to kidnap or murder him, his legal team has claimed

Spanish private eyes were said to be involved in planning to attack Assange inside Ecuador's London embassy, which was also under surveillance using laser microphones inside and out
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's father John Shipton talks to the media as he arrives at Woolwich Crown Court today where his son is in the dock again
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Reading from a witness statement, Mr Fitzgerald continued: 'David (Morales) said the Americans were desperate and had even suggested more extreme measures could be applied against the guest to put an end to the situation.'

'It's simply untrue' that Julian Assange put US sources' lives in danger, says his father

Julian Assange's father has said it is 'simply untrue' that his son's Wikileaks revelations put sources' lives in danger - as his US extradition battle yesterday was told he would be at a 'high risk' of suicide if he was sent to an American prison.

Opening the case against the 48-year-old on Monday, James Lewis QC said some sources 'disappeared' after he put them at risk of 'serious harm, torture or even death'.

He told District Judge Vanessa Baraitser that information published by WikiLeaks was 'useful to an enemy' of the US - with material found at al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan when he was killed in a 2011 raid.

Responding after the hearing, Assange's father John Shipton said that 'do damage was done.'

He said: 'The essential element of the prosecution case was that the sources were endangered, that their sources were endangered, this is simply not true.

'In Chelsea Manning's trial the Pentagon spokesman under oath at the trial said that nobody was hurt. Robert Gates testimony before congress, Robert Gates is ex-secretary of defence, he said that yes it's embarrassing, yes it's awkward, but that no damage was done.'

He said there was a suggestion the embassy door could be left open to make a kidnapping look like it could have been 'an accident', adding 'even the possibility of poisoning had been discussed'.

The extraordinary claims were made on the first day of Assange's extraordinary British legal face-off with Donald Trump's Government, which continues at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court today.

Assange, who is being held in Belmarsh Prison after being dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy last year, appeared in the dock at the London court next door yesterday.

He is battling to avoid extradition to Virginia where he faces 18 charges and a jail term of up to 175 years for leaking state secrets in 250,000 classified documents published by WikiLeaks online in 2010.

But Assange's QC Edward Fitzgerald said extradition to an American prison extradition would be the 'height of inhumanity', exposing him to inhumane conditions in an American prison, leading to a high risk of suicide.

James Lewis QC, representing the US Government, said Assange had conspired with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack Department of Defense computers and share its secrets.

Mr Lewis said documents that could only have been taken from WikiLeaks were found in Osama Bin Laden's Pakistani compound after US Navy SEALs raided it and shot him dead in 2011. This, argued Mr Lewis, is clear evidence that the information from the leaks was 'useful to the enemies of the United States of America'.

The British QC added: 'The US is aware of sources, whose redacted names and other identifying information was contained in classified documents published by WikiLeaks, who subsequently disappeared'.

Mr Fitzgerald outlined the 48-year-old's defence claiming he is an innocent man whose extradition is 'politically-motivated' by the Trump administration who want his 'head on a pike' to scare off potential leakers and whistleblowers.

Opening his extradition case for the US Government, British QC James Lewis (pictured centre), said Julian Assange (seen watching behind) is guilty of 'ordinary criminality' by stealing from and hacking into US government computers - and must face trial in the US
Julian Assange (pictured in a prison van in April last year) has started his legal battle to avoid extradition to the United States where he faces 17 espionage charges and one computer hacking charges that could see him given a 175 year jail term
British fashion designer and activist Vivienne Westwood arrives to join the hundreds of supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange outside Woolwich Crown Court yesterday
What is Julian Assange charged with in the US?

The US Department of Justice has charged Wikileaks founder Julian Assange with 18 crimes - 17 under the Espionage Act and one under computer hacking legislation.

Officials say Assange, as founder of WikiLeaks, endangered US informants in Iran, Syria, China, Iraq and Afghanistan by publishing unredacted documents that identified them.

The 18 charges against Assange, filed in Virginia last year, are:

Count 1: Conspiracy to receive national defense information

Counts 2-4: Obtaining National Defense Information

Counts 5-8: Obtaining National Defense Information

Counts 9-11: Disclosure of National Defense Information

Counts 12-14: Disclosure of National Defense Information

Counts 15-17: Disclosure of National Defense Information

Count 18: Conspiracy to Commit Computer Intrusion (Hacking)

He said: 'Prosecution is not motivated by genuine concern for criminal justice but by politics. This extradition should be barred because the prosecution is being pursued for political motives and not in good faith'.

He added the extradition attempt was directed at Assange 'because of the political opinions he holds', and said he would be denied a fair trial in the United States.

Up to 500 supporters including fashion designer Vivienne Westwood were camped outside and District Judge Vanessa Baraitser was forced to send a message out to the crowd asking them to reduce the volume of their 'Free Julian Assange' chanting because it was disrupting proceedings.

Assange later stood up in the dock and said: 'I am very appreciative of the public support and understand they must be disgusted..'

But the judge stopped him from speaking, instead asking his lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald QC, to address her.

He said: 'What Mr Assange is saying is he can't hear and can't concentrate because of the noise outside.'

Julian Assange would be 'at risk of suicide' in an 'inhuman and degrading' US jail, says his QC

Julian Assange would be a suicide risk of extradited to the US, his legal team has said.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, representing Assange (together right), outlined the 48-year-old's defence and called Trump's pursuit of his client 'political'.

Mr Fitzgerald said: 'Prosecution is not motivated by genuine concern for criminal justice but by politics.

'This extradition should be barred because the prosecution is being pursued for political motives and not in good faith.'

Mr Fitzgerald continued that Assange would be at risk of inhuman and degrading conditions in an American prison, and would be at risk of suicide.

He added the extradition attempt was directed at Assange 'because of the political opinions he holds', and said he would be denied a fair trial in the United States.

Mr Fitzgerald continued: 'It would involve a fundamental denial of his right to a fair trial. It would expose him to inhuman and degrading treatment.'

He added that Assange had not assisted whistleblower Chelsea Manning in accessing the documents, as has been claimed.

Mr Fitzgerald also said the delay in making the extradition request showed the political nature of the case.

He continued: 'President Trump came into power with a new approach for freedom of the press... amounting effectively to declaring war on investigative journalists.

'It's against that background Julian Assange has been made an example of.

'It's against that background the Trump administration decided to make an example of Julian Assange, he was the obvious sign of everything Trump condemned.'

Assange's legal team argue his case could lead to criminalising activities crucial to investigative journalists - but Mr Lewis said being a journalist 'does not excuse criminality' and 'it is inconceivable any responsible publication would knowingly publish information that puts people's lives at risk'.

He added: 'The defence wish to paint Mr Assange as a defender of liberty but that is not for this court to decide'.

Mr Lewis said the majority of the charges relate to 'straightforward criminal' activity, which he described as a 'conspiracy to steal from and hack into' the department of defence computer system along with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

'These are ordinary criminal charges and any person, journalist or source who hacks or attempts to gain unauthorised access to a secure system or aids and abets others to do so is guilty of computer misuse,' Mr Lewis said.

'Reporting or journalism is not an excuse for criminal activities or a licence to break ordinary criminal laws.

'This is true in the UK as it is in the USA, and indeed in any civilised country in the world.'

He added the defence claim that Assange might receive a jail term of 170 years was hyperbole.

But Mr Lewis said that under the UK Official Secrets Act any person who 'obtained or communicated' information which is useful to an enemy of the state commits an offence.

'[The allegation says] that Chelsea Manning was a US citizen and serving solider who obtained and communicated to Mr Assange information which may have been of use to an enemy,' he said.

In leaking documents that he knew would be of use to enemies of the US, Assange caused 'serious damage to national security', the court heard.

The fact that he solicited the classified material by itself is enough to prove Assange committed 'aiding and abetting' under US law, said Mr Lewis.

Edward Fitzerald QC, for Assange, told the court that journalistic work is protected as 'freedom of expression' under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act.

But Mr Lewis said that the 1989 Official Secrets Act removed the 'public interest' defence when it came to revealing security matters.

The court heard that Assange soliciting the classified intelligence from Manning would also be an offence under the act if it took place in the UK.

'It is in relation to a a person who is or has been a Crown servant or government contractor is guilty if without lawful authority makes a damaging disclosure of any information relating to defence,' said Mr Lewis.

'If a journalist or newspaper published secret information which is likely to cause harm within the category, it commits an offence.'

A clean-shaven Assange entered the dock at Woolwich Crown Court's court number 2, which is sitting as Belmarsh magistrates' court in front of District Judge Vanessa Baraitser.

Wearing a grey suit, and grey sweater over a white shirt, he spoke to confirm his name and date of birth.

Assange's supporters have held a 24/7 vigil outside the top security jail since last September - and up to 500 were outside court for the case, with their chanting clearly heard in the courtroom.

The 48-year-old is wanted in America on 18 charges over the publication of US cables a decade ago and if found guilty could face a 175-year prison sentence.

The Australian is accused of working with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak classified documents breaking the country's espionage and hacking laws.

Mr Lewis said that the charges against Assange did not arising out of him 'embarrassing the US government' or 'free speech'.

'Julian Assange is no journalist. This is made plain by the totality of his behaviour set out in the indictment.

'No responsible actor, journalist or otherwise would purposefully publish the names of individuals he knew where confidential sources, exposing them to the gravest of danger.'

As a result of exposing the names of sources and insurgents in Iraq, Assange exposed those people to risk of 'torture and murder', the court heard.

Classified documents published by WikiLeaks were found in Osama Bin Laden's safe house during the US raid that executed the al-Qaida leader in 2011.

A 2010 New York Times article titled 'Taliban study WikiLeaks to hunt informants' outlined how the organisation was explicitly using WikiLeaks to find sources.

The court heard that some of the informants whose identity Assange exposed have since disappeared.

In past interviews, Assange had called the risk he exposed the sources to 'regrettable' but said it was not his job to protect other people's sources.

A sallow skinned and bearded Julian Assange was carried down the steps of London's Ecuadorian embassy last year after seven years inside, and was carrying a copy of 'Gore Vidal: History of The National Security State'
Mr Lewis said that Assange lawyers would no doubt treat this hearing as a trial and paint him in a 'glowing coat of liberty'.

'This is an extradition hearing, it is a preliminary hearing.

US agents 'disappeared' after WikiLeaks published 250,000 documents

Sources revealed by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange 'disappeared' after he put them at risk of torture and murder, the court has heard.

Opening his extradition hearing on Monday, James Lewis QC, said the 48-year-old is guilty of 'ordinary criminality' by stealing from and hacking into US government computers.

He told District Judge Vanessa Baraitser that Assange, 48, is not charged with publishing 'embarrassing' information the US would rather was not disclosed.

The lawyer said the dissemination of specific classified unredacted documents put dissidents in Afghanistan and Iraq at 'risk of serious harm, torture or even death'.

He told Woolwich Crown Court, which is sitting as a magistrates' court, that the US identified hundreds of 'at-risk and potentially at-risk people' around the world and made efforts to warn them.

Mr Lewis said: 'The US is aware of sources, whose redacted names and other identifying information was contained in classified documents published by WikiLeaks, who subsequently disappeared, although the US can't prove at this point that their disappearance was the result of being outed by WikiLeaks.'

'The guilt or innocence will be determined in a US court,' said Mr X

'The sole questions are whether the statutory requirements of the Extradition Act of 2003 are satisfied.'

Assange was charged following an FBI investigation on a 'conspiracy to commit computer hacking as well as unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified information, endangering human sources'.

The court heard that Assange had a 'thermonuclear option' he intended to use if it looked as though he was in danger of being arrested or WikiLeaks shut down.

In 2010, he released more than 250,000 unredacted State Department diplomatic cables.

The indictment said these 'included names of persons throughout the world who provided information to the US government in circumstances in which they could reasonably expect that their identities would be kept confidential.

'These sources included journalists, religious leaders, human rights advocates and political dissidents who were living in repressive regimes and reported to the United States the abuses of their own government and the political conditions within their own countries at great risk to their own safety.'

Mr Lewis argued that Assange would have been aware that Manning was a member of the US armed forces, and therefore forbidden by army regulation from disclosing the information.

Not only did Assange 'explicitly solicit restricted and confidential material' but he actively encourage Manning to hack a State Department server.

Edward Fitzgerald, QC, representing Assange, has said he would rely on Manning's case to argue for Assange to stay in the UK.

Manning is a former US soldier who was court-martialed after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly 750,000 military and diplomatic documents.

She was imprisoned from 2010 until 2017 when her sentence was commuted, but Manning is currently in jail for her continued refusal to testify before a grand jury against Assange.

Assange's extradition hearing will sit for one week this month and three weeks from 18 May because the case is not completely ready.

The decision, which is expected months later, is likely to be appealed against by the losing side, whatever the outcome.

Assange has been held on remand in Belmarsh prison since last September after serving a 50-week jail sentence for breaching his bail conditions while he was in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

In 2012, Assange went into Ecuador's London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden where he was accused of sex crimes, which he denied and which were later dropped, saying he feared he would ultimately be sent on to the United States.

After seven years, he finally left and then jailed for 50 weeks for skipping bail. He has remained in prison ever since, after the United States launched its extradition request.

If the judge decides Assange should be extradited, the decision needs to be rubber-stamped by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

He would also have the right to appeal to London's High Court and then possibly to the Supreme Court, Britain's top court.

Share or comment on this article: US 'plotted to kill Julian Assange and make it look like an accident'

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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Whitehall_Bin_Men
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Joined: 13 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Imperialism on Trial - Free Julian Assange

Link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxNgQI6kzgs

Streamed live on 25 Feb 2020
Join George Galloway, Neil Clark, Mike Barson, Joti Brar, Joe Lauria, Peter Lavelle, Alexander Mercouris, Eva Bartlett and Craig Murray as they share their expertise on imperialism in general, and on the Julian Assange case in particular

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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TonyGosling
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Joined: 25 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

February 26, 2020
>
> The British Kangaroo Court Proceedings Against Julian Assange
>
https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/02/the-british-kangaroo-court-proce edings-against-julian-assange-.html

> (many links in original article)
>
> Britain is currently holding an obscene show trial against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The hearing is designed to end with the extradition of Assange to the United States or with his death. In the U.S. he would be accused of a conspiracy to reveal secrets and put into jail for the rest of his life.
>
> Over the years Wikileaks has revealed material on many important issues. As Patrick Cockburn remarked: With WikiLeaks, Julian Assange did what all journalists should aspire to do. Wikileaks provided the material its sources revealed to partner media who profited from it, but then went on to betray Assange. As Kit Klarenberg wrote a few days ago: ‘They Should Be In Jail’: How The Guardian and New York Times ‘Set Up’ Julian Assange.
>
> Those who are not familiar with the false case against Julian Assange should read this interview with Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, who provides detailed insight. In Melzer's learned view Assange, as the main editor of Wikileaks, has not committed any crime.
>
> Melzer has also written at his medium page about the case:
>
> Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange
> State Responsibility for the Torture of Julian Assange
> The false 'rape' case in Sweden which was used to incarcerate Assange is also detailed in Marcello Ferrada de Noli's book: Sweden’s Geopolitical Case Against Assange 2010-2019. It can be downloaded for free.
>
> That the current extradition case against Assange is crooked and that a bad outcome is likely assured can be deducted from the persons behind the current proceedings. Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis at Declassified UK have done some digging:
>
> REVEALED: Chief magistrate in Assange case received financial benefits from secretive partner organisations of UK Foreign Office
> UK minister who approved Trump’s request to extradite Assange spoke at secretive US conferences with people calling for him to be “neutralized”
> Craig Murray and Kevin Gosztola are in the court room to document the proceedings. Gosztola tweets live (day 1, day 2, day 3) from the Woolwich courthouse in London and provides daily write ups at Shadowproof.com:
>
> Assange’s Defense Details CIA-Backed Espionage Operation, Trump’s Politicization Of Justice Department
> Assange Extradition Hearing: Chelsea Manning’s Grand Jury Resistance A Major Hurdle For Prosecutors
> Ambassador Craig Murray publishes daily summaries at his site:
>
> Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 1
> Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 2
> George Galloway held a speech yesterday about the abstruse processes around the hearing. The video of it is here.
>
> One hopes that the British court will not extradite but free Assange. Unfortunately that seems currently unlikely. But the case will be fought hard and over many month and sometimes good things do happen.
>

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The British Kangaroo Court Proceedings Against Julian Assange

Britain is currently holding an obscene show trial against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The hearing is designed to end with the extradition of Assange to the United States or with his death. In the U.S. he would be accused of a conspiracy to reveal secrets and put into jail for the rest of his life.

Over the years Wikileaks has revealedmaterial on many important issues. As Patrick Cockburn remarked: With WikiLeaks, Julian Assange did what all journalists should aspire to do.Wikileaks provided the material its sources revealed to partner media who profited from it, but then went on to betray Assange. As Kit Klarenberg wrote a few days ago: ‘They Should Be In Jail’: How The Guardian and New York Times ‘Set Up’ Julian Assange.

Those who are not familiar with the false case against Julian Assange should read this interview with Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, who provides detailed insight. In Melzer's learned view Assange, as the main editor of Wikileaks, has not committed any crime.

Melzer has also written at his medium page about the case:

The false 'rape' case in Sweden which was used to incarcerate Assange is also detailed in Marcello Ferrada de Noli's book: Sweden’s Geopolitical Case Against Assange 2010-2019. It can bedownloaded for free.

That the current extradition case against Assange is crooked and that a bad outcome is likely assured can be deducted from the persons behind the current proceedings. Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis at Declassified UKhave done some digging:

Craig Murray and Kevin Gosztola are in the court room to document the proceedings. Gosztola tweets live (day 1, day 2, day 3) from the Woolwich courthouse in London and provides daily write ups at Shadowproof.com:

Ambassador Craig Murray publishes daily summaries at his site:

George Galloway held a speech yesterday about the abstruse processes around the hearing. The video of it is here.

One hopes that the British court will not extradite but free Assange. Unfortunately that seems currently unlikely. But the case will be fought hard and over many month and sometimes good things do happen.

Posted by b at 18:37 UTC | Comments (104)






TonyGosling wrote:
February 26, 2020
>
> The British Kangaroo Court Proceedings Against Julian Assange
>
https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/02/the-british-kangaroo-court-proce edings-against-julian-assange-.html

> (many links in original article)
>
> Britain is currently holding an obscene show trial against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The hearing is designed to end with the extradition of Assange to the United States or with his death. In the U.S. he would be accused of a conspiracy to reveal secrets and put into jail for the rest of his life.
>
> Over the years Wikileaks has revealed material on many important issues. As Patrick Cockburn remarked: With WikiLeaks, Julian Assange did what all journalists should aspire to do. Wikileaks provided the material its sources revealed to partner media who profited from it, but then went on to betray Assange. As Kit Klarenberg wrote a few days ago: ‘They Should Be In Jail’: How The Guardian and New York Times ‘Set Up’ Julian Assange.
>
> Those who are not familiar with the false case against Julian Assange should read this interview with Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, who provides detailed insight. In Melzer's learned view Assange, as the main editor of Wikileaks, has not committed any crime.
>
> Melzer has also written at his medium page about the case:
>
> Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange
> State Responsibility for the Torture of Julian Assange
> The false 'rape' case in Sweden which was used to incarcerate Assange is also detailed in Marcello Ferrada de Noli's book: Sweden’s Geopolitical Case Against Assange 2010-2019. It can be downloaded for free.
>
> That the current extradition case against Assange is crooked and that a bad outcome is likely assured can be deducted from the persons behind the current proceedings. Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis at Declassified UK have done some digging:
>
> REVEALED: Chief magistrate in Assange case received financial benefits from secretive partner organisations of UK Foreign Office
> UK minister who approved Trump’s request to extradite Assange spoke at secretive US conferences with people calling for him to be “neutralized”
> Craig Murray and Kevin Gosztola are in the court room to document the proceedings. Gosztola tweets live (day 1, day 2, day 3) from the Woolwich courthouse in London and provides daily write ups at Shadowproof.com:
>
> Assange’s Defense Details CIA-Backed Espionage Operation, Trump’s Politicization Of Justice Department
> Assange Extradition Hearing: Chelsea Manning’s Grand Jury Resistance A Major Hurdle For Prosecutors
> Ambassador Craig Murray publishes daily summaries at his site:
>
> Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 1
> Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 2
> George Galloway held a speech yesterday about the abstruse processes around the hearing. The video of it is here.
>
> One hopes that the British court will not extradite but free Assange. Unfortunately that seems currently unlikely. But the case will be fought hard and over many month and sometimes good things do happen.
>

_________________
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www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

REVEALED: Chief magistrate in Assange case received financial benefits from secretive partner organisations of UK Foreign Office
https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-02-21-revealed-chief-magi strate-in-assange-case-received-financial-benefits-from-secretive-part ner-organisations-of-uk-foreign-office/

By Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis• 21 February 2020

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange leaves Southwark Crown Court in a security van after being sentenced on May 1, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images) Less
The senior judge overseeing the extradition proceedings of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange received financial benefits from two partner organisations of the British Foreign Office before her appointment, it can be revealed.

It can further be revealed that Lady Emma Arbuthnot was appointed Chief Magistrate in Westminster on the advice of a Conservative government minister with whom she had attended a secretive meeting organised by one of these Foreign Office partner organisations two years before.

Liz Truss, then Justice Secretary, “advised” the Queen to appoint Lady Arbuthnot in October 2016. Two years before, Truss — who is now Trade Secretary — and Lady Arbuthnot both attended an off-the-record two-day meeting in Bilbao, Spain.

The expenses were covered by an organisation called Tertulias, chaired by Lady Arbuthnot’s husband — Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom, a former Conservative defence minister with extensive links to the British military and intelligence community exposed by WikiLeaks.

Tertulias, an annual forum held for political and corporate leaders in the UK and Spain, is regarded by the UK Foreign Office as one of its “partnerships”. The 2014 event in Bilbao was attended by David Lidington, the Minister for Europe, while the Foreign Office has in the past funded Lord Arbuthnot’s attendance at the forum.

The Foreign Office has long taken a strong anti-Assange position, rejecting UN findings in his favour, refusing to recognise the political asylum given to him by Ecuador, and even labelling Assange a “miserable little worm”.

Lady Arbuthnot also benefited financially from another trip with her husband in 2014, this time to Istanbul for the British-Turkish Tatlidil, a forum established by the UK and Turkish governments for “high level” individuals involved in politics and business.

Both Tertulias and Tatlidil are secretive gatherings about which little is known and are not obviously connected — but Declassified has discovered that the UK address of the two organisations has been the same.

Lady Arbuthnot personally presided over Assange’s case as judge from late 2017 until mid-2019, delivering two controversial rulings. Although she is no longer personally hearing the Assange extradition proceedings, she remains responsible for supporting and guiding the junior judges in her jurisdiction. Lady Arbuthnot has refused to declare any conflicts of interest in the case.

The new revelations follow previous investigations by Declassified showing that Lady Arbuthnot received gifts and hospitality in relation to her husband from a military and cybersecurity company exposed by WikiLeaks. Declassified also revealed that the Arbuthnots’ son is linked to an anti-data leak company created by the UK intelligence establishment and staffed by officials recruited from US intelligence agencies behind that country’s prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder.
Lady and Lord Arbuthnot attend the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2017. Lady Arbuthnot was appointed Chief Magistrate in Westminster by the Queen eight months before, in September 2016, on the advice of Liz Truss, who had attended the 2014 Tertulias event with Lady Arbuthnot. (Photo: Instagram)

The Arbuthnots and Liz Truss

Tertulias’ annual meetings between the UK and Spain have been held since 1989 but the organisation has no public presence and provides no record of events. Declassified found that its current president is Jose de Areilza, a Spanish law professor who is also a board member of the Spanish Ministry of Defence.

Lord Arbuthnot records that he became the unpaid chair of Tertulias in 2012, at which time he was also chair of parliament’s Defence Committee. Arbuthnot was then also a member of the Joint Committee on National Security Strategy and chair of Conservative Friends of Israel.

In October 2014, Liz Truss, who was then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), attended the Tertulias meeting in Bilbao, alongside the Arbuthnots, Lidington and at least four other British MPs.

Lord and Lady Arbuthnot spent two days at the event and received expenses worth Ł1,488.20 from Tertulias. Although having attended the annual event regularly since 2000, this was the first time Lord Arbuthnot recorded in his parliamentary register of interests the attendance of his wife.
At the time Lady Arbuthnot was deputy senior district judge. The reason for her attending a meeting described by Lord Arbuthnot as “bringing MPs, business people, academics and artists together to discuss topical issues” is not clear.

Liz Truss was in Bilbao for three days and accrued expenses of Ł1,235.48 paid by Tertulias. Her flight cost Ł825.48, suggesting she was flown first class. By contrast, Nick Boles MP charged Ł178.98 for his flight. The funders of Tertulias and Tatlidil are not known.

The trip to Bilbao was one of only three Truss has accepted from third parties since becoming an MP in 2010. She also joined a group of Conservative MPs on a trip to Berlin in 2011 and attended in 2019 the annual forum of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a highly secretive meeting organised by the most influential neoconservative think tank in Washington populated by senior US military and intelligence officials.

Declassified recently revealed how the AEI, which has a strongly anti-Assange position, has been courting British ministers for years.
Liz Truss, then minister for DEFRA, speaks in the Guggenheim museum at the secretive Tertulias meeting in Bilbao, Spain, 18 October 2014. Standing to her right is Tertulias’ chairman, Lord Arbuthnot. Foreign Office partner organisation Tertulias also paid for Lady Arbuthnot — Julian Assange’s senior judge — to attend this event.

Declassified is now publishing a photo of Truss giving a speech at the 2014 Tertulias forum in the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. Lord Arbuthnot can be seen standing next to her, likely having just introduced his fellow Conservative MP. It is not known if Lady Arbuthnot was present.

Truss’s visit to Tertulias is secret enough for even the department she oversaw as minister at the time — DEFRA — to have no information on it. Responding to Declassified’s Freedom of Information request for communications between the minister and Tertulias or an itinerary for the Bilbao meeting, DEFRA responded: “Following a search of our paper and electronic records, we have established that the information…you have requested is not held by DEFRA.” It is unclear if Truss used a private email to organise the visit.

In Istanbul

The month following the Tertulias forum, in November 2014, Lady Arbuthnot went on another trip with her husband, this time to Istanbul for the British-Turkish Tatlidil, which paid the Arbuthnots Ł2,426 for flights and expenses.

Lord Arbuthnot described the purpose of the visit as “to promote and further bilateral relations between Britain and Turkey at a high level”. Tatlidil, which means “sweet talk” in Turkish, was established in 2011 by then prime minister David Cameron and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It describes its objectives as “facilitating and strengthen [sic] relations between the Republic of Turkey and the United Kingdom at the level of government, diplomacy, business, academia and media”.

The UK delegation to the 2014 meeting in Istanbul was led by Prince Andrew, who also hosted the Tatlidil in Edinburgh the previous year. Then foreign minister Tobias Ellwood spoke at the forum while former foreign secretary Jack Straw, who is a co-chair of Tatlidil, presided over one of the discussions. Erdoğan spoke at the meeting and reportedly called for the removal of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

The sparse information available on the meeting, which largely comes from social media, suggests that Lady Arbuthnot may not have attended the discussions since there was a separate “spouses/partners programme” involving local visits.
Prince Andrew talks to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other officials at the Foreign Office-linked off-the-record British-Turkish Tatlidil forum, 29 November 2014. Lord and Lady Arbuthnot were both paid by Tatlidil to attend that year’s event.

Same addresses

Declassified has discovered that the addresses given by Lord Arbuthnot and other parliamentarians for Tertulias and Tatlidil have been the same — despite no obvious connection between the two organisations other than the UK Foreign Office. All the addresses are residential with no clear reason why they would be official addresses of high-level Foreign Office-linked fora.

In 2012, Arbuthnot recorded in his parliamentary register of interests that the address of both organisations was a Grade II listed house in the village of Cowlinge, Suffolk, which has a population of just over 600 people. From 2013-16, the address changed to a house in Higham, a small village with 140 people, also in Suffolk.

The land registry states that the Higham address is part of the Dalham Estate in Newmarket, and is owned by Arat Investments, a vehicle incorporated in Guernsey with a PO Box address. There is little information publicly available about Arat, given Guernsey’s secrecy laws. It has been reported that the estate is owned by Sheikh Mohammed al-Makhtoum, the ruler of Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates.

In 2017, the address for Tertulias changed again to a house — which is divided into three flats — in Battersea, south London. In more recent entries to the register of interests, the address is given by MPs as simply “private”.

Declassified has discovered that both Tertulias and Tatlidil had been managed by the same person living at the addresses given by parliamentarians. She told Declassified that Tertulias is “independent” but “works closely” with the Foreign Office. When asked about the organisation’s funders or any personnel involved, including its current parliamentary chair, information was refused.
One of the three residential properties which have been recorded by MPs in the parliamentary register of interests as the location of the Tertulias organisation, which funded Lady Arbuthnot’s trip to Bilbao. In the latest entries, the organisation’s address is listed only as “private”. (Photo: Matt Kennard)

Tertulias and the Foreign Office

Tatlidil was openly set up by the UK government, but Tertulias is also closely linked to the Foreign Office, which describes Tertulias as one of its “partnerships” and in 2013 referred to the forum as “our Tertulias”. Britain’s former ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, described the annual event as “our #1 bilateral forum” between the UK and Spain.

Last October, Europe minister Christopher Pincher attended the forum in Edinburgh and stated that “the annual Tertulias dialogue illustrates the breadth and depth of the relationship between the United Kingdom and Spain”. His predecessor Sir Alan Duncan attended the previous forum in Malaga.

Duncan, who has now left office, personally insulted Julian Assange in parliament in 2018 before adding: “It is of great regret that Julian Assange remains in the Ecuador embassy,” where he had been given political asylum by the Ecuadorian government.

Lord Arbuthnot recorded that the costs of his attending his first forum in 2000 were partly met by a “grant” from the Foreign Office. Labour minister Peter Mandelson said in 1998 that he attended the Tertulias forum “following official advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”

At the 2014 Tertulias attended by Truss and the Arbuthnots, a Spanish banker was awarded a CBE by the Queen on recommendation of the British government.

Lady Arbuthnot’s rulings

Lady Arbuthnot’s husband is a key figure in the British military and intelligence establishment — a highly controversial issue given that Lady Arbuthnot has made rulings in the Assange case and continues to oversee it as chief magistrate.

Lord Arbuthnot was from 2016-17 a director of SC Strategy, a consultancy created by Sir John Scarlett, the former head of MI6 who had been behind the “dodgy dossier” used by Tony Blair to push for war with Iraq.

Arbuthnot is currently the chair of the advisory board of arms corporation Thales UK and board member of Montrose Associates, a “strategic intelligence” consultancy, whose president is former Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd.

Lady Arbuthnot has refused to formally recuse herself from the Assange case. A judiciary spokesman has said, “There has been no bias demonstrated by the chief magistrate. The chief magistrate, however, is aware of the judicial conduct guidance that advises on avoiding the perception of bias and is not hearing the case”.

It is unclear what “perception of bias” Lady Arbuthnot accepts and on what basis she stepped aside from personally hearing the case.

The chief magistrate’s role includes “supporting and guiding district judge colleagues”, including Vanessa Baraitser, who ruled on the case in 2019. Lady Arbuthnot is also likely to have approved of Baraitser’s appointment to hear the Assange case.

Her previous rulings on Assange cannot be revisited by the defence when she fails to declare a conflict of interest.
Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, at the European headquarters of the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, 1 March 2019. Melzer has said: ‘Mr Assange’s continued exposure to severe mental and emotional suffering which, in light of the circumstances, clearly amounts to psychological torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’ Lady Arbuthnot dismissed the findings of the UN in her 2019 ruling. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Salvatore di Nolfi)

Lady Arbuthnot’s first ruling on Assange was made in February 2018 while he was a political asylee in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Assange’s lawyers had applied to have his British arrest warrant withdrawn.

Assange had never been charged with a crime, and in May 2017 the Swedish proceedings had been discontinued along with the European Arrest Warrant. The warrant related to Assange skipping bail to claim asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy, where the Ecuadorian government agreed that he was at risk of political persecution in the United States.

Arbuthnot refused the request. Her ruling was irregular, dismissing Assange’s fears of US extradition and the findings of the UN. “I accept that Mr Assange had expressed fears of being returned to the United States from a very early stage in the Swedish extradition proceedings but… I do not find that Mr Assange’s fears were reasonable,” she said.

“I give little weight to the views of the Working Group,” she added, referring to the United Nations body which termed Assange’s condition one of “arbitrary detention”. “I do not find that Mr Assange’s stay in the Embassy is inappropriate, unjust, unpredictable, unreasonable, unnecessary or disproportionate.”

When he was grabbed from the Ecuadorian embassy by British police in April 2019, district judge Michael Snow pilloried Assange’s claims that Lady Arbuthnot was conflicted: “His assertion that he has not had a fair hearing is laughable. And his behaviour is that of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests,” Snow told the court.

Lady Arbuthnot made her most recent ruling on Assange in June 2019. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser — who is still overseen by Lady Arbuthnot — will rule on the extradition proceedings which begin on 25 February.

Liz Truss, Lady Arbuthnot, Lord Arbuthnot, and the Foreign Office, did not respond to requests for comment. DM

Matt Kennard is head of investigations and Mark Curtis editor, of Declassified UK, a media organisation investigating UK foreign, military and intelligence policies. They tweet at @DCKennard and @markcurtis30. Follow Declassified on twitter at @DeclassifiedUK

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DECLASSIFIED UK
UK minister who approved Trump’s request to extradite Assange spoke at secretive US conferences with people calling for him to be “neutralized”
https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-02-22-uk-minister-who-app roved-trumps-request-to-extradite-assange-spoke-at-secretive-us-confer ences-with-people-calling-for-him-to-be-neutralized/

By Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis• 22 February 2020

Britain's then Chancellor of Exchequer Sajid Javid (L) welcomes then US National Security Advisor John Bolton (R) ahead of the meeting at 11 Downing Street, in London, Britain, 13 August 2019. (Photo: EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER) Less
The British minister who approved the controversial US request for the UK to extradite publisher Julian Assange attended six secretive meetings organised by a US institute which has published calls for Assange to be assassinated or taken down, it can be revealed.

Sajid Javid, who was Britain’s Home Secretary from April 2018 to July 2019, attended “starlight chats” and “after-dinner cocktails” in a series of off-the-record conferences involving high-level US military and intelligence figures at a 5-star island resort off the coast of Georgia, USA. Many of those attending have been exposed in WikiLeaks publications and have demanded the organisation be shut down.

Javid signed the Trump administration’s extradition request for Assange in June 2019. He was Britain’s Chancellor until his resignation 9 days ago. One of the criteria under which a British Home Secretary can block extradition to the US is if “the person could face the death penalty”.

The month before being appointed Home Secretary in April 2018, Javid visited Georgia for the “world forum” of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)—an influential neoconservative US organisation with close ties to the US intelligence community. The AEI has run a campaign against WikiLeaks and Assange since 2010.

It can now be revealed that Javid spoke at the 2018 meeting, as did Jonah Goldberg, a fellow at the AEI who has called for Assange to be “garroted”. In a column published on the AEI website, Goldberg wrote: “WikiLeaks is easily among the most significant and well-publicised breaches of American national security since the Rosenbergs gave the Soviets the bomb. So again, I ask: Why wasn’t Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago? It’s a serious question.”
Jonah Goldberg, the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the AEI, speaks in April 2016. He has called for Julian Assange to be “garroted”.

Bill Kristol, a close associate of the AEI who also spoke in Georgia with Javid, has written a column titled “Whack WikiLeaks” in which he asked: “Why can’t we use our various assets to harass, snatch or neutralize Julian Assange and his collaborators, wherever they are? Why can’t we disrupt and destroy WikiLeaks in both cyberspace and physical space, to the extent possible?” Kristol’s article was promoted on social media by another AEI fellow who spoke in Georgia with Javid.

Both Goldberg and Kristol spoke at all four of the AEI’s world fora that Javid attended from 2014 to 2018.

On the panel with Javid in 2018 was Elliott Abrams, a key neo-conservative architect of the Iraq war of 2003 best-known for his conviction during the Iran-Contra scandal in the Reagan administration. Abrams has lamented WikiLeaks’ document releases. Also on Javid’s panel was Fred Kagan, a senior AEI staffer who served as an advisor to the US military in Afghanistan.

Javid’s signing of the US extradition request was a controversial decision opposed at the time by the Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott. “Julian Assange is not being pursued to protect US national security, he is being pursued because he has exposed wrongdoing by US administrations and their military forces,” Abbott told the British parliament in April 2019 after Assange had been grabbed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The Trump administration’s extradition request is unprecedented in that the UK has never extradited a journalist and publisher to a third country for prosecution.

The deliberations within the UK Home Office about Assange’s extradition and incarceration in Belmarsh maximum-security prison, where he is currently held, are opaque. Declassified sent a Freedom of Information request to the Home Office asking for any telephone call or email mentioning Assange sent to or from Sajid Javid while he was running the department. The Home Office replied: “We have carried out a thorough search and we have established that the Home Office does not hold the information that you have requested.”

It is unclear if Javid only discussed the Assange extradition request in person while Home Secretary or if he used a private email or phone to do so.
The Cloister hotel at the Sea Island resort where Sajid Javid attended six secretive conferences with an array of high-level military and intelligence figures who have been exposed by WikiLeaks.

Secret intelligence-linked meetings

The attendees, agenda and even the dates of the AEI world forum are a tightly-guarded secret. But Declassified is now publishing the attendance lists and agendas—marked “confidential”—of the last four conferences Javid attended: in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018 (see end of article). Declassified could not obtain information on Javid’s first two AEI meetings in 2011 and 2013.

Since attending his first “world forum” at the AEI in 2011, within a year of becoming an MP, Javid subsequently visited six out of eight AEI annual conferences up to 2018. From June 2012 until today, Javid’s parliamentary register of interests records that he has made no overseas trips paid by a third-party except those funded by the AEI. In total, Javid has received Ł31,285.19 ($40,800) in gifts from the AEI.

Javid is the most frequent British guest of the US organisation, and in most years has been one of only a few British invitees. The only other British regular is Michael Gove, another senior figure in Boris Johnson’s cabinet.
Adm. Michael S. Rogers, then director of NSA, speaks during Fort Meade’s 100th Anniversary Gala Saturday, June 17, 2017 at Club Meade. (Photo: Steve Ruark/Flickr)

The AEI has access to the highest levels of the US intelligence community. Guests at the events Javid attended included two former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and two sitting directors of the National Security Agency (NSA). In 2018, President Trump’s then-national security adviser H.R. McMaster spoke alongside Javid. Any discussions between the British minister and the intelligence chiefs have remained secret.

The CIA made clear that it is “working to take down” WikiLeaks after the latter published the largest-ever leak of classified CIA material in 2017. It was recently revealed that the CIA was provided with audio and video of Julian Assange’s private meetings, including privileged conversations with lawyers, in the Ecuadorian embassy by a Spanish security company. The NSA has also been extensively exposed by WikiLeaks.

The AEI’s 2016 event saw Javid speaking on a panel titled, “The Challenge Abroad and Implications for the United States”, alongside US senator Lindsay Graham who called for Assange to be indicted in 2010 solely for receiving leaks.

Another panel, “Wargaming the Next Attack on the United States”, featured former CIA director Michael Hayden alongside Marc Thiessen and Gary Schmitt, two AEI’s staffers who have written extensively on shutting down Assange and WikiLeaks. Also speaking in 2016 was senator Mitch McConnell, who has called Assange a “high-tech terrorist”, and congressman Mike Rogers, who called for WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning to be executed.

Javid spoke at the 2015 event with Paul Wolfowitz—an AEI scholar who has been extensively exposed in WikiLeaks releases—about the threat posed by the Islamic State terrorist group. Karl Rove, a former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, also spoke at the 2015 event. It was reported in 2010 that Rove was advising Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on how Sweden could help the Obama administration prosecute WikiLeaks.
Then CIA director General Michael Hayden testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, Wednesday 15 November 2006. (Photo: EPA/MATTHEW CAVANAUGH)

Another panel at the 2015 forum was titled, “Fighting a Cyberwar: Is Defense the Only Option?” and featured the former director of the NSA, Keith Alexander, the then director of the NSA, Michael S. Rogers, as well as former CIA director Michael Hayden.

“Much talk about the insecurity of the cybersphere has focused on well-publicised breaches,” the panel briefing outlined, “but the reality of the cyberthreat is much broader and more devastating than most assume.” The question posed was: “Is our only choice to bar the doors, or has the time come to take it to the enemy? And what will that mean?”

David Petraeus, another former CIA director, spoke at the AEI’s 2014 event alongside former US vice president Dick Cheney, a member of the AEI’s board, and John Bolton, often seen as the most belligerent pro-war figure in Washington, who was a senior fellow at the AEI before becoming Trump’s national security advisor. While at the AEI, Bolton wrote ambiguously: “As for WikiLeaks itself, and anyone cooperating with its malicious enterprise, now is the time to test our cyber-warfare capabilities. Fire away.”
US Army General Keith Alexander, then director of the NSA, testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on ‘Continued Oversight of US Government Surveillance Authorities’, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 11 December 2013. (Photo: EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS)

Assange and the AEI

The AEI has been running a campaign against WikiLeaks—and Assange specifically— throughout the US media since 2010. The organisation’s website lists 20 articles or events tagged with “Julian Assange” and 43 articles tagged with “WikiLeaks”, all of which are negative.

AEI resident fellow Marc A. Thiessen has written numerous articles demonising Assange and the work of WikiLeaks. One article titled, “WikiLeaks must be stopped”, which is published on the AEI website, concludes, “If left unmolested, Assange will become even bolder and inspire others to imitate his example.” Another article in May 2019, also on the AEI website, is titled, “Assange is a spy, not a journalist. He deserves prison.” Thiessen attended all the same annual AEI fora as Javid from 2014-18.

In 2012, the AEI sponsored an event in Washington DC called “Assange’s asylum in Correa’s Ecuador: Last refuge for scoundrels?” hosted by the AEI’s visiting fellow Roger F. Noriega, another figure critical of Assange. The question to be answered was listed as, “Can Ecuador’s president successfully whitewash his image by advancing Assange’s anti-American crusade?”

Sajid Javid and the American Enterprise Institute did not respond to requests for comment. DM

Matt Kennard is head of investigations and Mark Curtis editor, of Declassified UK, a media organisation investigating UK foreign, military and intelligence policies. They tweet at @DCKennard and @markcurtis30. Follow Declassified on twitter at @DeclassifiedUK
DECLASSIFIED UK
UK minister who approved Trump’s request to extradite Assange spoke at secretive US conferences with people calling for him to be “neutralized”

By Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis• 22 February 2020

Britain's then Chancellor of Exchequer Sajid Javid (L) welcomes then US National Security Advisor John Bolton (R) ahead of the meeting at 11 Downing Street, in London, Britain, 13 August 2019. (Photo: EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER) Less
The British minister who approved the controversial US request for the UK to extradite publisher Julian Assange attended six secretive meetings organised by a US institute which has published calls for Assange to be assassinated or taken down, it can be revealed.

Sajid Javid, who was Britain’s Home Secretary from April 2018 to July 2019, attended “starlight chats” and “after-dinner cocktails” in a series of off-the-record conferences involving high-level US military and intelligence figures at a 5-star island resort off the coast of Georgia, USA. Many of those attending have been exposed in WikiLeaks publications and have demanded the organisation be shut down.

Javid signed the Trump administration’s extradition request for Assange in June 2019. He was Britain’s Chancellor until his resignation 9 days ago. One of the criteria under which a British Home Secretary can block extradition to the US is if “the person could face the death penalty”.

The month before being appointed Home Secretary in April 2018, Javid visited Georgia for the “world forum” of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)—an influential neoconservative US organisation with close ties to the US intelligence community. The AEI has run a campaign against WikiLeaks and Assange since 2010.

It can now be revealed that Javid spoke at the 2018 meeting, as did Jonah Goldberg, a fellow at the AEI who has called for Assange to be “garroted”. In a column published on the AEI website, Goldberg wrote: “WikiLeaks is easily among the most significant and well-publicised breaches of American national security since the Rosenbergs gave the Soviets the bomb. So again, I ask: Why wasn’t Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago? It’s a serious question.”
Jonah Goldberg, the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the AEI, speaks in April 2016. He has called for Julian Assange to be “garroted”.

Bill Kristol, a close associate of the AEI who also spoke in Georgia with Javid, has written a column titled “Whack WikiLeaks” in which he asked: “Why can’t we use our various assets to harass, snatch or neutralize Julian Assange and his collaborators, wherever they are? Why can’t we disrupt and destroy WikiLeaks in both cyberspace and physical space, to the extent possible?” Kristol’s article was promoted on social media by another AEI fellow who spoke in Georgia with Javid.

Both Goldberg and Kristol spoke at all four of the AEI’s world fora that Javid attended from 2014 to 2018.

On the panel with Javid in 2018 was Elliott Abrams, a key neo-conservative architect of the Iraq war of 2003 best-known for his conviction during the Iran-Contra scandal in the Reagan administration. Abrams has lamented WikiLeaks’ document releases. Also on Javid’s panel was Fred Kagan, a senior AEI staffer who served as an advisor to the US military in Afghanistan.

Javid’s signing of the US extradition request was a controversial decision opposed at the time by the Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott. “Julian Assange is not being pursued to protect US national security, he is being pursued because he has exposed wrongdoing by US administrations and their military forces,” Abbott told the British parliament in April 2019 after Assange had been grabbed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The Trump administration’s extradition request is unprecedented in that the UK has never extradited a journalist and publisher to a third country for prosecution.

The deliberations within the UK Home Office about Assange’s extradition and incarceration in Belmarsh maximum-security prison, where he is currently held, are opaque. Declassified sent a Freedom of Information request to the Home Office asking for any telephone call or email mentioning Assange sent to or from Sajid Javid while he was running the department. The Home Office replied: “We have carried out a thorough search and we have established that the Home Office does not hold the information that you have requested.”

It is unclear if Javid only discussed the Assange extradition request in person while Home Secretary or if he used a private email or phone to do so.
The Cloister hotel at the Sea Island resort where Sajid Javid attended six secretive conferences with an array of high-level military and intelligence figures who have been exposed by WikiLeaks.

Secret intelligence-linked meetings

The attendees, agenda and even the dates of the AEI world forum are a tightly-guarded secret. But Declassified is now publishing the attendance lists and agendas—marked “confidential”—of the last four conferences Javid attended: in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018 (see end of article). Declassified could not obtain information on Javid’s first two AEI meetings in 2011 and 2013.

Since attending his first “world forum” at the AEI in 2011, within a year of becoming an MP, Javid subsequently visited six out of eight AEI annual conferences up to 2018. From June 2012 until today, Javid’s parliamentary register of interests records that he has made no overseas trips paid by a third-party except those funded by the AEI. In total, Javid has received Ł31,285.19 ($40,800) in gifts from the AEI.

Javid is the most frequent British guest of the US organisation, and in most years has been one of only a few British invitees. The only other British regular is Michael Gove, another senior figure in Boris Johnson’s cabinet.
Adm. Michael S. Rogers, then director of NSA, speaks during Fort Meade’s 100th Anniversary Gala Saturday, June 17, 2017 at Club Meade. (Photo: Steve Ruark/Flickr)

The AEI has access to the highest levels of the US intelligence community. Guests at the events Javid attended included two former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and two sitting directors of the National Security Agency (NSA). In 2018, President Trump’s then-national security adviser H.R. McMaster spoke alongside Javid. Any discussions between the British minister and the intelligence chiefs have remained secret.

The CIA made clear that it is “working to take down” WikiLeaks after the latter published the largest-ever leak of classified CIA material in 2017. It was recently revealed that the CIA was provided with audio and video of Julian Assange’s private meetings, including privileged conversations with lawyers, in the Ecuadorian embassy by a Spanish security company. The NSA has also been extensively exposed by WikiLeaks.

The AEI’s 2016 event saw Javid speaking on a panel titled, “The Challenge Abroad and Implications for the United States”, alongside US senator Lindsay Graham who called for Assange to be indicted in 2010 solely for receiving leaks.

Another panel, “Wargaming the Next Attack on the United States”, featured former CIA director Michael Hayden alongside Marc Thiessen and Gary Schmitt, two AEI’s staffers who have written extensively on shutting down Assange and WikiLeaks. Also speaking in 2016 was senator Mitch McConnell, who has called Assange a “high-tech terrorist”, and congressman Mike Rogers, who called for WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning to be executed.

Javid spoke at the 2015 event with Paul Wolfowitz—an AEI scholar who has been extensively exposed in WikiLeaks releases—about the threat posed by the Islamic State terrorist group. Karl Rove, a former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, also spoke at the 2015 event. It was reported in 2010 that Rove was advising Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on how Sweden could help the Obama administration prosecute WikiLeaks.
Then CIA director General Michael Hayden testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, Wednesday 15 November 2006. (Photo: EPA/MATTHEW CAVANAUGH)

Another panel at the 2015 forum was titled, “Fighting a Cyberwar: Is Defense the Only Option?” and featured the former director of the NSA, Keith Alexander, the then director of the NSA, Michael S. Rogers, as well as former CIA director Michael Hayden.

“Much talk about the insecurity of the cybersphere has focused on well-publicised breaches,” the panel briefing outlined, “but the reality of the cyberthreat is much broader and more devastating than most assume.” The question posed was: “Is our only choice to bar the doors, or has the time come to take it to the enemy? And what will that mean?”

David Petraeus, another former CIA director, spoke at the AEI’s 2014 event alongside former US vice president Dick Cheney, a member of the AEI’s board, and John Bolton, often seen as the most belligerent pro-war figure in Washington, who was a senior fellow at the AEI before becoming Trump’s national security advisor. While at the AEI, Bolton wrote ambiguously: “As for WikiLeaks itself, and anyone cooperating with its malicious enterprise, now is the time to test our cyber-warfare capabilities. Fire away.”
US Army General Keith Alexander, then director of the NSA, testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on ‘Continued Oversight of US Government Surveillance Authorities’, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 11 December 2013. (Photo: EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS)

Assange and the AEI

The AEI has been running a campaign against WikiLeaks—and Assange specifically— throughout the US media since 2010. The organisation’s website lists 20 articles or events tagged with “Julian Assange” and 43 articles tagged with “WikiLeaks”, all of which are negative.

AEI resident fellow Marc A. Thiessen has written numerous articles demonising Assange and the work of WikiLeaks. One article titled, “WikiLeaks must be stopped”, which is published on the AEI website, concludes, “If left unmolested, Assange will become even bolder and inspire others to imitate his example.” Another article in May 2019, also on the AEI website, is titled, “Assange is a spy, not a journalist. He deserves prison.” Thiessen attended all the same annual AEI fora as Javid from 2014-18.

In 2012, the AEI sponsored an event in Washington DC called “Assange’s asylum in Correa’s Ecuador: Last refuge for scoundrels?” hosted by the AEI’s visiting fellow Roger F. Noriega, another figure critical of Assange. The question to be answered was listed as, “Can Ecuador’s president successfully whitewash his image by advancing Assange’s anti-American crusade?”

Sajid Javid and the American Enterprise Institute did not respond to requests for comment. DM

Matt Kennard is head of investigations and Mark Curtis editor, of Declassified UK, a media organisation investigating UK foreign, military and intelligence policies. They tweet at @DCKennard and @markcurtis30. Follow Declassified on twitter at @DeclassifiedUK

_________________
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www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
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www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Declassified UK
Britain’s secret state and the need for whistle-blowing
https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-03-05-britains-secret-sta te-and-the-need-for-whistle-blowing/

By Katharine Gun• 5 March 2020

Then British prime minister Tony Blair shakes hands with then US president George W. Bush after addressing the media in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C. on 17 May 2007. (Photo: EPA/MATTHEW CAVANAUGH) Less
In November 2003, I was charged with a breach of the Official Secrets Act in the UK. My ‘crime’ had been to reveal an email from the US National Security Agency (NSA) to Britain's intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) where I was working at the time.

The email, which arrived on 31 January 2003, specified a US operation to target the home and office communications of six foreign diplomats on the UN Security Council. The purpose was to use the information gathered to strong-arm those states into voting for a resolution supporting an invasion of Iraq.

I leaked this email via a contact, which then made its way to The Observer newspaper.

I believe that this operation, using intelligence for the specific purpose of garnering votes to authorise a highly contested and deeply unpopular war against Iraq, was not only illegal but also immoral.

Eight months later, I was charged and faced the prospect of a two-year custodial sentence. I pleaded not guilty and my defence team requested all the legal advice from the then Attorney General Lord Goldsmith to then Prime Minister Tony Blair. Within a day of the defence team submitting this request, the charges against me were dropped.

In court, the prosecution stated that “there is no longer sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction”, adding that “it would not be appropriate to go into the reasons for this decision”.

Sixteen years later, the then prosecutor, Sir Ken McDonald, claimed that it was for “national security” reasons that the case against me was dropped.
Actor Keira Knightley (L) poses with GCHQ whistleblower Katharine Gun who she portrays in Official Secrets during the BFI London Film Festival in London, 10 October 2019. (Photo: EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL)

Who defines national security?

In its own small way, my case illustrates the conflict and tensions around the issue of “national security”. I would argue that the Iraq war was not only against our national security but has been catastrophic for global security as a whole.

In fact, Lord Goldsmiths’ own legal advice at the time (prior to him changing it) was that an invasion would be illegal. The surveillance operation revealed by the NSA email was illegal under the Geneva Convention. It was in pursuit of an illegal war which has damaged our national security. Information about this issue is classified, however, and the reason for this is to do with “national security”.

National security is often the term used by government or intelligence officials to justify what they do, but who defines what it is? What is the scope of it and what are the checks and balances?

It is accepted without question as a legitimate concept, but the collective consequences of the previous two decades of invasions, bombings, rendition and torture, drone attacks, kill lists, massive surveillance, human rights violations, bulk data collection/storage/analysis and exploitation… paints a very dark picture. Do these policies provide “national security”? Are they in the “national interest”?

Looking back over the last two decades, my father’s lament that we are in the “Age of Insanity” rings remarkably true. Many of the numerous, multi-faceted, horrendous consequences of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were predicted by peace activists, international relations experts, academics and journalists. One was also raised by our intelligence services, which was the increased risk of terrorism within the UK as a result.

The argument that we invaded those countries essentially for reasons of national security rings hollow, when looked at with 20/20 vision. As does the same argument over the catastrophic bombing of Libya in 2011, which caused the collapse of another relatively stable and functioning country, the support of anti-Syrian government terrorists since 2013, and the unwavering support for Saudi Arabia against Yemen.

The current bellicose focus on Iran in an already chaotic and conflict-torn region tests the limits of sanity.
Iraqi security and civilians gather at the site of a suicide car bombing in the eastern Baghdad district of al-Shaab on Saturday, 21 January 2006. The blast at a popular market left three people dead and injured five. (Photo: EPA/MOHAMMED JALIL)

Official secrets

On the back of all this chaos and violence, two decades of enhanced anti-terror legislation and intrusive and illiberal surveillance and investigative powers legislation have been crafted and passed. There is also a growing public and private network of intelligence agencies working behind the scenes, all of whom must sign the Official Secrets Act or are understood to be bound by it.

Being in receipt of secret information can convey a sense of power and uniqueness on a person or group of people. When someone is legally bound by an oath of silence to keep secrets, the violation of which leads to imprisonment, the sense of uniqueness and power is edged with fear.

Britain’s Official Secrets Act 1911 was rushed through parliament in July 1911 in a hysterical pre-war environment without so much as a cough of protest. It was drafted without including a specific public interest defence, ie the ability for those accused to argue that the public interest in disclosing the information would outweigh the reasons for not disclosing it.

The wording left only a tiny opening for such a defence, by referring to information gathered as “communicated for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the State unless the contrary is proved”.

But this was shut down in a reform of the secrecy act in 1989. Front bench opposition Labour MPs at the time, including Tony Blair, challenged this, arguing for the inclusion of a public interest defence. Disappointingly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, those same politicians did nothing to redress the balance while in government.

In her book Secrecy and Power in the British State, Ann Rogers writes that “national security policy is in the hands of those who have infinite belief in their loyalty and endless suspicion about everyone else; there is a clear us/them binary, with the loyalty of those ‘inside’ the policy making apparatus as virtually beyond question”.

She explains that this policy making centre may also include “interest groups or newspaper editors” but that the decision making process is a closed one due to there being no structural way for people outside this “centre” to have any influence. A clear example of this is the millions who marched against the Iraq war. “Governments only need utter the words ‘national security’ and the door to democratic participation is firmly shut,” Rogers argues.
A sign in the village of Ashton Clinton, Buckinghamshire, UK. (Photo: Flickr)

Holding government to account

This remarkable situation in the 21st Century leaves us with a persistent, pressing problem. Who do we turn to, what do we do, if we believe that members of the government or intelligence services or the government itself are acting illegally, are corrupt or are behaving in a way contrary to genuine national security?

Without a defence, any public interest-related revelations by intelligence and security personnel are considered criminal breaches.

Parliamentary groups like the Intelligence Select Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee and inquiries such as the 2016 Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war reveal only so much, months and years after the events took place. In some cases they are not given access to important information that would enable them to better complete their inquiry, or ministers refuse to answer questions or even to attend.

Over the last two decades, no official or government minister has been held to account for illegal invasions, illegal surveillance, illegal rendition and torture, illegal drone strikes.

It is obvious that for a country to thrive democratically, its public and parliamentarians need to be well-informed and have transparent access to information. In countries where information is heavily classified and restricted, such as the UK, the onus is on investigative journalists, dogged reporters and their sources. But when journalism and whistle-blowers are also under attack, one is forced to ask, what does the government wish to hide?

Until and unless there is a dramatic improvement in the accountability and transparency of the actions of the UK intelligence services and other government bodies, the need for public interest whistle-blowing will only increase. And in a genuine democracy, whistle-blowing, which can be argued to be in the public or national interest, should be properly and legally protected. DM

Katharine Gun is a former linguist and analyst at Britain’s GCHQ intelligence agency and an Iraq war whistle-blower. Her act of whistle-blowing is portrayed in the recent film Official Secrets

_________________
www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org
www.rethink911.org
www.patriotsquestion911.com
www.actorsandartistsfor911truth.org
www.mediafor911truth.org
www.pilotsfor911truth.org
www.mp911truth.org
www.ae911truth.org
www.rl911truth.org
www.stj911.org
www.v911t.org
www.thisweek.org.uk
www.abolishwar.org.uk
www.elementary.org.uk
www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/2149
http://utangente.free.fr/2003/media2003.pdf
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The son of Julian Assange’s judge is linked to an anti-data leak company created by the UK intelligence establishment
January 23, 2020
http://markcurtis.info/2020/01/23/the-son-of-julian-assanges-judge-is- linked-to-an-anti-data-leak-company-created-by-the-uk-intelligence-est ablishment/

by Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis - Daily Maverick, 15 November 2019

The son of Julian Assange’s senior judge is linked to an anti-data leak company created by the UK intelligence establishment and staffed by officials recruited from the US intelligence agencies behind that country’s prosecution of the Wikileaks founder.

The son of Lady Emma Arbuthnot, the Westminster chief magistrate overseeing the extradition proceedings of Julian Assange, is the vice-president and cyber-security adviser of a firm heavily invested in a company founded by GCHQ and MI5 which seeks to stop data leaks, it can be revealed.

Alexander Arbuthnot’s employer, the private equity firm Vitruvian Partners, has a multimillion-pound investment in Darktrace, a cyber-security company which is also staffed by officials recruited directly from the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

These intelligence agencies are behind the US government’s prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secret documents. Darktrace has also had access to two former UK prime ministers and former US President Barack Obama.

The revelations raise further concerns about potential conflicts of interests and appearance of bias concerning Lady Arbuthnot and the ties of her family members to the UK and US military and intelligence establishments. Lady Arbuthnot’s husband is Lord James Arbuthnot, a former UK defence minister who has extensive links to the UK military community.

As far as is known, Lady Arbuthnot has failed to disclose any potential conflicts of interest in her role overseeing Assange’s case. However, UK legal guidance states that “any conflict of interest in a litigious situation must be declared.”

Her son, Alexander Arbuthnot, a graduate of Britain’s elite school Eton, joined Vitruvian Partners as vice-president in December 2018 and is likely to be managing the firm’s Darktrace account. Vitruvian, which has a portfolio of over Ł4-billion, made its first investment in Darktrace in April 2018, leading a consortium of firms committing Ł50-million.

“Alexander Arbuthnot advises Vitruvian on cyber-security” was the headline in Intelligence Online when he joined, while the article noted that the company had “recently stepped up its investment in cyber-security”. Darktrace appears to be one of two cyber-security companies in Vitruvian’s portfolio.

Relations were further cemented in 2018 when Alexander Arbuthnot’s colleague Sophie Bower-Straziota, then managing director at Vitruvian, was appointed to the board of Darktrace.

Darktrace and UK intelligence

Darktrace, which Alexander Arbuthnot describes as an “AI [artificial intelligence] based cyber-security” company, was established by members of the UK intelligence community in June 2013.

GCHQ, the UK’s major surveillance agency, approached investor Mike Lynch—regarded as Britain’s most established technology entrepreneur – who then brokered a meeting between GCHQ officers and Cambridge mathematicians who co-founded the company.

Company material openly mentions “the UK intelligence officials who founded Darktrace”. It states that its team includes “senior members of the UK’s and US’s intelligence agencies including the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the Security Service (MI5) and the NSA.”

Another co-founder was Stephen Huxter, a senior figure in MI5’s “cyber defence team” who became Darktrace’s managing director. Soon after the company launched in September 2013, Darktrace announced that former MI5 director-general Sir Jonathan Evans had been appointed to its advisory board. Huxter welcomed Evans’ “unparalleled stature in the field of cyber operations”.

Huxter then hired 30-year GCHQ veteran Andrew France as chief executive of Darktrace. France, like Huxter, had been involved in dealing with “cyber threats”, rising to the position of deputy director of cyber defence operations at GCHQ, where he was charged with “protecting government data” from cyber threats.

France is also linked to Alexander Arbuthnot’s father, Lord Arbuthnot, who was until November 2018 a member of the advisory board of Information Risk Management (IRM), a cyber-security consultancy based in Cheltenham, the home of GCHQ. France is listed as one of IRM’s “experts”.

Darktrace later appointed Dave Palmer, who had worked at MI5 and GCHQ, as its director of technology, while John Richardson OBE, director of security, had a long career in “UK government security and intelligence” working on “cyber defence”.

Darktrace staff has also included ex-MI6 officials, former senior managers at the UK Ministry of Defence, and veterans of the UK military, including the special forces.

“We are a mixture of spooks and geeks,” says Nicole Eagan, the chief executive of Darktrace, which now has a thousand employees and 40 offices worldwide. Poppy Gustafsson, another co-founder, has said that her work left her feeling like she was “living in a story by the novelist John le Carré”.

The ‘insider threat’

Vitruvian’s investee Darktrace appears to have been established in response to data leaks from Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning to Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks and from NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

Darktrace was, in fact, incorporated just four days after the first of the Snowden revelations was published by The Guardian in June 2013. These showed GCHQ to be operating programmes of mass surveillance.

As Channel 4 News put it when Darktrace launched: “In the wake of the massive data leaks from Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, Darktrace is targeting corporate and government customers by promising to track down troublesome employees or intruders that are already within the firewall.”

Another article on Darktrace, this time from Wired in 2018, noted, “After Edward Snowden’s data dump from the NSA and Chelsea Manning’s transfer of military intelligence to WikiLeaks, governments and companies woke up to the dangers of sabotage from within.”

Manning is currently in jail in the US after refusing to testify in the new grand jury for the ongoing WikiLeaks case. Assange’s conversations with Manning form the basis of the US prosecution and attempts to extradite him from the UK.

Presiding over the UK legal case is Alexander Arbuthnot’s mother, Lady Arbuthnot, who as a judge has herself previously made rulings on Assange and now oversees the junior judge, Vanessa Baraitser.

MI5 and GCHQ have been especially concerned about leaks of secret government material since WikiLeaks published thousands of CIA files in its “Vault 7” exposures in March 2017. The files – the largest leak in CIA history – showed how UK agencies held workshops with the CIA to find ways to “hack” into household devices.

“Darktrace addresses the challenge of insider threat”, the company’s promotional literature states. It adds, the “insider threat must be curbed to prevent unwitting vulnerabilities or data leaks”.

Darktrace’s flagship product, called the “enterprise immune system”, is described as a “self-learning cyber [artificial intelligence] technology that detects novel attacks and insider threats at an early stage”.

The company pinpoints the particular problem of whistle-blowers by stating that “Darktrace begins with the premise that a network has already been infiltrated — and that some of the risk might come from a company’s own employees.”

It adds, “Malicious employees have the advantage of familiarity with the networks and information they manipulate, and their credentials allow them to exfiltrate the most sensitive such information without raising red flags. Moreover, even well-intentioned employees present major security risks”. Darktrace’s technology is specifically designed to deal with this problem.

The degree of interaction between the intelligence agencies and their ex-employees at Darktrace is not known. However, Darktrace clearly has connections to the highest levels of the UK and US governments.

In January 2015, Nicole Eagan accompanied British prime minister David Cameron on an official visit to Washington DC “to discuss cyber-security policy with US President Barack Obama”. It is unclear how the company was able to obtain an audience with the US president barely a year after it launched.

Eagan noted at the time that “hostile agents develop increasingly stealthy and sophisticated attacks on valued data” and lamented “the damage that these threats can cause to hard earned reputations”. She also noted that “traditional methods of security are no longer enough.”

Eagan went on to accompany Cameron on another visit, this time to Asia in July 2015. Cameron said Darktrace was “flying the flag” for the UK. She also accompanied Cameron’s successor, Theresa May on a trip to Japan in August 2017. Two of Darktrace’s founders were awarded OBEs earlier this year.

Arbuthnot, Symantec and WikiLeaks

Alexander Arbuthnot is linked to another company concerned with countering leaks, and WikiLeaks in particular. During 2010-16 he worked at Symantec, a US company producing cyber-security and anti-data leak products which has contracts with the US government. Arbuthnot eventually became head of global sales at the company.

In 2010, after Julian Assange and WikiLeaks hit the headlines with their revelations on US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, Symantec released a report titled, “Avoiding a repeat of WikiLeaks: What can be done to prevent malicious insiders?”

The report notes, “Symantec has identified a distinct pattern of malicious insider activity that is easily blocked.” It adds, “In most cases the perpetrators are in a heightened state of emotional distress and very sloppy about their trade craft.” The report makes clear that it regards Chelsea Manning as such a “malicious insider”.

Alexander Arbuthnot began working for Symantec four months after WikiLeaks started leaking the US State Department cables it had been given by Chelsea Manning.

Arbuthnot appears to have worked exclusively on issues of cyber-security and data protection since he joined Symantec, where he managed 22 people across the company’s Americas, Europe and Asia sales team. It is likely that in this role, Arbuthnot championed sales of products intended to “avoid a repeat of Wikileaks”, in the words of the Symantec report.

Symantec has also published a document called “Going ‘all in’ on defending against insider threats” which states, “Government agencies have always been exceedingly concerned about security – but that concern ramped up significantly in the wake of the Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning scandals. Regardless of the threat level, a systematic plan to combat insider threats is a must.”

After Symantec, Arbuthnot went on to co-found Rightly, another company focused on data security, in April 2017. Rightly states that it aims to solve the problem of the public “losing faith in companies to handle their personal data, due to the behaviour of a few key organisations”, without naming those organisations. It adds: “We work closely with… web security firms to ensure that we exceed expectations for data security.”

Arbuthnot himself states, “We aim to change the world of personal information.”

Darktrace, CIA and NSA

Darktrace has particularly focused on breaking into the US market and has recruited former CIA and NSA intelligence officers.

In November 2013, Mike Lynch, the investor initially approached with the idea of Darktrace, extolled the virtues of the company on a conference platform in London with Alec Ross, the then secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s technology adviser, and Martin Howard, GCHQ’s director of cyber policy. Ross has been personally critical of Julian Assange.

The conference was organised by the Cheltenham cyber-security consultancy IRM, on whose advisory board Lady Arbuthnot’s husband, Lord Arbuthnot, sat until November 2018.

The company quickly tapped the US intelligence community for new personnel. In July 2014, Darktrace announced the recruitment of “two senior officials from the US intelligence community”, specifically the NSA.

One was Jim Penrose, who spent 17 years at the agency as an expert in data security, and served as chief of the Operational Discovery Center, helping to develop new signals intelligence capabilities – the mass surveillance programmes revealed by Edward Snowden.

The other recruit was Jasper Graham, another NSA veteran who – as technical director – worked with US Cyber Command to develop strategic planning for responding to cyber-attacks.

Little over a year after Darktrace launched, the company opened its first US office in Washington DC.

The following year, Darktrace was part of a “select group” chosen by the US government for a trade mission to Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei. In the same month, Darktrace announced another coup: the recruitment of the CIA’s former chief intelligence officer, Alan Wade, to its board of advisors.

Wade spent 35 years in the CIA – also serving as director of security – before retiring in 2005 and was a recipient of several medals for his service. He now sits on the board of Assyst, a cyber-security company based in Herndon, Virginia, a 20-minute drive from CIA headquarters.

Another recruit to Darktrace was Justin Fier, its director for cyber intelligence and analytics, who came to the company after “working for US intelligence agencies on counterterrorism”. From 2002-2008 Fier worked for arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin, also in Herndon, Virginia.

Earlier this year, Darktrace recruited Marcus Fowler, a former Marine and 15-year veteran of the CIA, to be its new “director of strategic threat”. At the CIA, Fowler worked on “developing global cyber operations and technical strategies” and “conducted nearly weekly briefings for senior US officials”, he says.

It is unclear what relationship, if any, the NSA and CIA still has with its ex-employees at Darktrace.

The CIA has made clear that it is “working to take down” the WikiLeaks organisation. It was recently revealed that the CIA was given audio and video of Julian Assange’s private meetings in the Ecuadorian embassy by a Spanish security company. These included privileged discussions with Assange’s lawyers who are now representing him in the extradition case overseen by Alexander Arbuthnot’s mother, Lady Arbuthnot.

Alexander Arbuthnot and Lady Arbuthnot did not respond to requests for comment.

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