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Video: As Catalonia Plans Independence from Spain, Julian Assange Advises Organizers on Secure Messaging
Video: Assange feels threatened by both Republicans & Democrats following Clinton email leaks–Annie Machon
Video: ‘No longer Swedish matter’ – Assange’s lawyer on dropping investigation into WikiLeaks founder
Video: Human Rights Lawyer: Sweden Dropping Investigation of WikiLeaks’ Assange is “Long Overdue Decision”
Swedish prosecutors drop investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and will revoke arrest warrant
Video: As US Preps Arrest Warrant for Assange, Greenwald Says Prosecuting WikiLeaks Threatens Press...
Video: ‘Russia not behind Clinton leaks’ – Assange interview with John Pilger (Courtesy Darthmouth...
Video: Assange ‘sorry for Clinton as a personality’ (John Pilger exclusive, courtesy of Dartmouth...
Video: Julian Assange on Green Party’s Rising Popularity & November Election: “Anything is Possible”
Video: Julian Assange: Leaked DNC Emails Shows Democrats Waged “Propaganda” Campaign Against Sanders
Video: EXCLUSIVE: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on Releasing DNC Emails That Ousted Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Video: Assange: Why I Created WikiLeaks’ Searchable Database of 30,000 Emails from Clinton’s Private...
Video: Britain Challenges Julian Assange’s Asylum in Ecuadorian Embassy as Sweden Vows to Continue...
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (Reuters / Luke MacGregor)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange believes winning a seat in the Australian Senate would force the US and others pursuing him to back down, securing his safe passage out of the UK following his 8-month confinement at the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.
The September 14 elections in Australia could provide a platform for a man once described by Vice President Joe Biden as a “high-tech terrorist,” by raising the political stakes for those seeking his extradition, Assange explained in a recent interview with Australian website the Conversation.
By winning a seat in Australia’s upper house, “the US Department of Justice won’t want to spark an international diplomatic row,” Assange was quoted as saying.
“It will drop its grand jury espionage investigation. The Cameron government will follow suit,” he continued, adding that “the political costs of the current standoff will be higher still” if UK authorities insist on blocking his safe passage out of the country.
In January, Assange submitted his application to the Australian Electoral Commission, paving the way for his 2013 senatorial bid in the state of Victoria. Senate nominations are likely to close on August 22, and the six-year term of office would commence on July 1, 2014.
Australians living abroad can enroll to vote and run for Senate if they have left Australia within the past three years, and intend to return within six years of their date of departure. Assange said the last time he visited Australia was in June 2010.
Assange was dismissive of technical objections to his candidacy, and refuted claims that he was a traitor to his country, or that he had violated section 44 of the Australian constitution by being under the “acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power.”
He is also optimistic that regardless of the immediacy of his release, a rule stipulating that he take up his senate seat within two months would not necessarily cripple his chances: “In that case [of not being released on time], the Senate could vote to evict me. But that would trigger a big political row. Australians probably wouldn’t swallow it.”
The landslide second re-election of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on Sunday plays into his strategy, as it will intensify pressure on Swedish authorities whose case against him is “falling apart,” Assange said. “The Swedish government should drop the case. But that requires them to make their own thorough investigation of how and why their system failed.”
Following his victory on Sunday, Correa, who characterized the current standoff over Assange as a problem of “neocolonialism” and not asylum, said a diplomatic solution “must be found… as quickly as possible.”
Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since June, after claiming asylum in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sexual assault allegations. British authorities have vowed to detain him if he steps foot outside of the embassy in light of the European Arrest Warrant issued against him.
If handed over to Swedish authorities, Assange fears he will be re-extradited to the United States to be questioned over the WikiLeaks release of thousands of US diplomatic cables.
Assange’s political hopes are married to the new WikiLeaks Party, which he plans to register soon with a 10-member national council. He believes that the party would easily clear the hurdle of attracting the minimum of 500 dues-paying members required to be registered in Australia.
When asked what the WikiLeaks Party would entail, he stressed that “maximum inclusiveness” would be key.
“The party will combine a small, centralized leadership with maximum grass roots involvement and support,” he said. “By relying on decentralized Wikipedia-style, user-generated structures, it will do without apparatchiks. The party will be incorruptible and ideologically united.”
Julian Assange to Run for Office
Posted on Feb 13, 2013
|Abode of Chaos (CC BY 2.0)|
From his de facto prison in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, the WikiLeaks founder intends to seek a seat in the Australian Senate as a member of the newly formed WikiLeaks Party, reports the Australian daily The Age.
The federal election in Australia will take place Sept. 14. Australian citizens living overseas are allowed to run for office if they left their home country within the last three years and intend to return within six years of their departure date.
Assange said that if he was elected to the Senate and was unable to come back to Australia, a WikiLeaks Party nominee would fill the vacancy.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
The party, not yet registered with the Australian Electoral Commission, has an initial 10-member national council comprised of close associates of Mr Assange and pro-WikiLeaks activists. Its constitution highlights the promotion of openness and transparency in government and business.
Opinion polls last year by UMR Research, the company the Labor Party uses for its internal polling, suggest that Mr Assange could be a competitive Senate candidate in Victoria.
New and Improved Comments
"I encourage anyone in the White House who has access to those rules and procedures, work them on over to us. We'll keep you secret and reveal [the drone killing rules] to the public.â€
Julian Assange (AFP Photo / Leon Neal)
Julian Assange addressed US officials on a popular TV channel, urging them to disclose to WikiLeaks the secret instructions on how decisions on eliminating American citizens using drones are being taken. Source confidentiality guaranteed.
In the first appearance in a long time by Julian Assange on a major American TV channel, the founder of WikiLeaks lashed out at the re-elected President Barack Obama and his administration, which gave the go-ahead to elimination of the American citizens abroad using military Unmanned Automatic Vehicles (UAVs).
An unclassified document from the US Justice Department, revealed by NBC News this week, exposed that US authorities consider the elimination of senior Al-Qaeda members lawful and ethical, even if they are American citizens and plotting no crime. The Obama administration promised to provide American lawmakers with access to classified documents giving the legal basis for such drone strikes.
The first known assassination of Americans by a US UAV occurred in September 2011, when a US drone strike in Yemen killed radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, editor of an Al-Qaeda magazine. Both were US citizens who had never been charged with a crime.
“I cannot see a greater collapse when the [American] executive can kill its own citizens arbitrarily, at will, in secret, without any of the decision-making becoming public,” Assange said during his appearance in the HBO talk show ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’.
“That's why we need organizations like WikiLeaks. I encourage anyone in the White House who has access to those rules and procedures, work them on over to us. We'll keep you secret and reveal [the drone killing rules] to the public,” Assange promised.
Julian Assange remains at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been since June 2012. He was granted asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden on sex crimes allegations. He has consistently maintained his innocence.
Assange’s lawyers believe that if Assange is extradited to Sweden, he would be automatically extradited further to the US, where he has been declared an enemy of state after publishing hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic and military memos on the WikiLeaks website.
So far Britain has refused Julian Assange safe passage to Ecuador.
HBO, which gave Julian Assange the platform to speak out, has approximately 41 million subscribers in the US alone.
Julian Assange (Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett)
Jemima Khan, once a strong ally of Julian Assange, has lashed out at the whistleblower, comparing him to the father of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard after he criticized a film about WikiLeaks that she produced.
On Wednesday, Khan, who is an associate editor of the New Statesman, wrote a several-page article about her relations with Assange, accusing him of becoming a cult and warning the whistleblower he might end up “tolerating only disciples and unwavering devotion, more like an Australian L Ron Hubbard.”
The negative changes in Assange’s persona are probably a result of his growing fame – “the moment it strikes, it arrests development,” Khan suggested.
She also accused WikiLeaks of the obfuscation and misinformation it was created to fight against, “while its supporters are expected to follow, unquestioningly, in blinkered, cultish devotion.”
Khan’s damning article comes after Assange openly criticized the documentary about WikiLeaks for which she was an executive producer. ‘WikiLeaks, We Steal Secrets’, was made by established documentary film-maker Alex Gibney and premiered at the Sundance festival.
Assange objected the title, calling it “an unethical and biased title in the context of pending criminal trials. It is the prosecution’s claim and it is false.”
In her article Khan explained that the title borrowed from comments of a former CIA official, which were used “to highlight the irony of the situation of Bradley Manning.”
Previously Khan was an active supporter of Assange. In 2010 she was one among those six willing to post bail for Assange. The money was lost when the whistleblower escaped to the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June 2012.
“I don’t regret putting up bail money for Assange, but I did it so that he would be released while awaiting trial, not so that he could avoid answering to the allegations,” Khan noted.
Neither Assange nor WikiLeaks have yet commented on Khan`s accusations.
Last month, on December 13th, 2012, I visited Julian Assange, Australian founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, in the Ecuadorian embassy, in Knightsbridge, London.
It’s been seven months now since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy and was given political asylum. He entered the embassy after the British Courts shamefully refused his appeal against extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning about sexual molestation (no criminal charges have been made against him). Julian Assange has said he is willing to answer questions in the U.K. relating to accusations against him, or alternatively, to go to Sweden, provided that the Swedish government guarantee he will not be extradited to the U.S. where plans are being made to try him for conspiracy to commit espionage. The Swedish Government refuses to give such assurances.
Mr. Assange is right to be concerned about the dangers of extradition to U.S. The American media has reported that the U.S. Justice Department and the Pentagon have been conducting a criminal investigation into “whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange violated criminal laws in the group’s release of government documents, and should face charges under the espionage act.”
Mr. Assange’s only crime is that he embarrassed the U.S. and other powerful governments with WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of U.S. state department cables and video footage of the 2007 incident with an apache helicopter in which the U.S. military appear to have deliberately killed civilians, including two Reuters employees. These revelations demonstrate crimes against humanity by the United States.
For this truth-telling, he has inherited the wrath of the U.S. government, and has been targeted in a most vindictive way – as has American soldier, Pt. Bradley Manning, currently undergoing a military Court hearing for allegedly leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. Pt. Bradley Manning has been subjected, according to formal U.N. investigation, to “cruel and inhuman treatment” while being held in solitary confinement in a U.S. prison. In effect, the American government has admitted to the torture of Pt. Bradley Manning, one of their own soldiers.
However, even if the Swedish authorities decide not to charge Julian Assange, the U.S. will probably demand that the British government extradite Assange from Britain to the U.S., to face a Grand Jury indictment. (The U.S. Grand Jury has been sitting for 16 months and it is believed to have reached a verdict to indict Julian Assange and has a sealed indictment ready to unseal at the most beneficial time to the US. The U.S. Grand Jury system is a flawed, unjust legal process, consisting of four prosecutors with defense evidence is allowed. There is no judge and a jury pool is drawn from Alexandria, Virginia, which has the highest percentage of military contractor families in the U.S.)
When I met Julian Assange, I was struck by his bright, intelligent and compassionate mind, and glad to see that in spite of all the persecution and abuse of his human rights, he is in good spirits and good health. For seven months now, he has been confined indoors with no possibility of even five minutes outside in the fresh air, which is a basic right for all political prisoners. If he tried to go outside, he would be immediately arrested by the many British police outside the embassy, and extradited to Sweden or the U.S. (The cost to maintain this police force outside the Embassy is some £11,000 per day).
Unlike most political prisoners, he has no idea how long his virtual imprisonment in the embassy will last--6 more months or 6 years. The diplomatic standoff continues. This is indeed cruel, inhumane and mental torture. His only crime was to tell the truth and bring transparency to the illegal acts of the U.S. Government and its allies around the world.
I believe the U.K., Swedish and U.S. governments are all complicit in the mental torture of Julian Assange, and I appeal to the Australian government, human rights defenders, brave media, and people who love truth and freedom around the world to stand up for Julian Assange and his human rights, and the assurance that he get the chance to answer all accusations against him in the U.K. or Sweden without being extradited to U.S., where he could meet the same “cruel and inhuman treatment” as Pt. Bradley Manning has suffered.
The least we can do is raise our voices to protect Julian Assange--and Bradley Manning--who have made such brave attempts, at the cost of their own freedom, to expose war crimes and defend freedom and democracy.
Mairead Corrigan Maguire won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book, The Vision of Peace (edited by John Dear, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from www.wipfandstock.com. She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See: www.peacepeople.com
By not allowing passage to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from London to Latin America, where he was granted asylum, Britain infringes same international documents it vigorously lobbied for, Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino tells RT.
Patino says London's pressure, which forces Assange to live in the Ecuadorian embassy in Britain, is a serious infringement of his rights. The WikiLeaks frontman applied for and was eventually granted asylum by Ecuador in August 2012 to avoid UK extradition to Sweden, where police want to question him over sex crime allegations. Assange believes extradition would result in his being turned over to the US and prosecuted for disclosing thousands of classified US documents.
RT:Minister, I’d like to ask you about the situation with Julian Assange. President Correa said that the solution depends entirely on Europe. What is the Ecuadorian Embassy’s stand on the British authorities’ unwavering refusal to let the founder of WikiLeaks leave the country?
Ricardo Patino: It does concern us, and we bring up this issue every day, emphasizing that denying Assange the freedom to leave the UK is a serious infringement on his rights. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – and I’d like to stress the word “universal” – an individual is entitled not only to request asylum, but also to be granted it.
At the time the declaration was penned, the British diplomats insisted that it didn't read “everyone has the right to seek and to be granted asylum”; the Latin American countries suggested this wording: “seek and be granted asylum”. They insisted that it read “to seek and to enjoy asylum”. Meanwhile, Julian Assange is effectively being denied an opportunity to enjoy asylum.
There are plenty of legal reasons and international regulations that validate Ecuador’s decision to grant asylum to Julian Assange, including the international treaties that our country signed, along with the UK, more than a hundred years ago. We sincerely regret the British government’s failure to make the right decision, but we are not authorized to demand something from them. The UK is independent in its decisions.
Nevertheless, we believe this case concerns the human rights of a specific individual. And it goes back a long time, because Mr. Assange has faced persecution before, and this was also one of the reasons behind Ecuador’s decision. Julian Assange’s life was at risk at the time because of his activities as he exercised his freedom of expression. And we believe that Britain’s refusal to let Mr. Assange leave the country is an encroachment on his rights.
To be sure, we cannot force the UK to let him go, so we have decided to wait for a reasonable period of time. If we fail to find a diplomatic solution within that timeframe – and we keep looking for one; I had requested a meeting with Mr. William Hague for several months before we finally met last September during a UN summit; later, we sent them a communication requesting another meeting, but haven’t received a response as yet – then we will be left with no alternative but to seek legal remedies, which will definitely prove time-consuming, and altogether won’t be the best possible option. A diplomatic solution would be the best option.
The only thing I am empowered to do is courteously request the British government to consider the legal reasons for letting Mr. Assange leave the United Kingdom (which we have laid out for them in detail), and to end this day-to-day practice of disregarding Mr. Assange’s rights, whereby he is being deprived of the opportunity to take up asylum, although a sovereign nation has granted him one a month ago.
'Chavez was strong and firm last time a saw him'
The Ecuadorian foreign minister also shared the latest information on the health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is slowly recuperating after a surgery in Cuba. It was the fourth cancer-related operation Chavez has undergone. He was not able to attend his presidential inauguration in Venezuela on January 11, prompting the opposition to call for an early election. The government denied the demands, saying it was based on an incorrect reading of the country's constitution.
RT:Just recently, before this visit of yours, Mr. Patino, you had the opportunity to have a talk with the foreign minister of Venezuela. What is the current condition of Hugo Chavez, could you perhaps give us any details?
Ricardo Patino: I have had a chance to talk to the incumbent foreign minister of Venezuela, and the previous one, Mr. Nicolas Maduro, who later became vice-president, and currently serves as the acting head of state. They told me Mr. Hugo Chavez was feeling better, recuperating after surgery, and I have no doubt on that account.
Those were the first few days following his operation, when Mr. Chavez happened to contract an infection, which Nicolas Maduro informed the entire world about. I don’t doubt those gentlemen’s information, because I had seen President Chavez a few hours prior to his surgery. I was in the hospital together with President Correa, and we had a very long conversation with President Chavez.
It was Monday night, and in the morning he was up for surgery, so there were only a few hours left. Therefore, we wanted to be polite and tried not to be intrusive. But I couldn’t even begin to describe to you the strength I felt in Hugo Chavez when we spoke, the firmness of his handshake. So when they tell you he is in a dire condition, you’d do well to take that with a grain of salt. When I saw Hugo Chavez before the surgery, he was tough, his handshake was firm, and he was in a very good condition.
I didn’t see him after the surgery, but I’ve had contact with his closest relatives and friends, and I was told that he’s conscious. Nicolas Maduro told me that he is recuperating, more than that he’s already taking presidential decisions such as the appointment Elias Jaua [as Venezuela’s new foreign minister] – that was the president’s direct order.
Elias told me this himself last Monday during our meeting. And in a private conversation he told me that he saw the president, and that he’s getting better. My only comment on this is that I’m very glad to hear it, and all Ecuadorians and Latin Americans are very happy that Hugo Chavez, who is the spirit of the Latin American revolution himself, is recovering and will soon come to Venezuela so that the entire population, all the 8,300,000 Venezuelans may celebrate his presence and his presidency.
Julian Assange (Reuters / Luke MacGregor)
Julian Assange has lashed out at a Hollywood film about WikiLeaks, calling it “a massive propaganda attack” against the whistle blowing website, also accusibg it of fanning “flames of war” against Iran.
DreamWorks Studious announced Wednesday that "The Fifth Estate," starring British actor Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange, will be released in the United States in November 2013. The film’s director though says it will not try to pass final judgment on Assange.
The famous whistleblower, who managed to obtain a copy of the script, denounced the film as “a lie.” He spoke to students of Britain’s top Oxford University on Wednesday via a video-link from his refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
"It is a lie upon lie. The movie is a massive propaganda attack on WikiLeaks and the character of my staff," he told the Oxford Union debating club.
However the video of Assange's speech has not yet been posted on the Oxford Union Society’s YouTube channel, where the organization usually publishes such videos.
"'The Fifth Estate' traces the heady, early days of WikiLeaks, culminating in the release of a series of controversial and history changing information leaks," DreamWorks said describing its project.
Among those “leaks” featured in the film are implications that Iran is working on a nuclear bomb. Assange rejected such notion and claimed the film “fans the flames to start a war with Iran.”
"How does this have anything to do with us?" the Australian questioned.
"It may be decades before we understand the full impact of WikiLeaks and how it's revolutionized the spread of information,” the film’s director, Bill Condon said. “So this film won't claim any long view authority on its subject, or attempt any final judgment," said Condon in a statement.
Assange has been confined inside the Ecuadorian Embassy since the 19th of June, after Ecuador granted him political asylum. Should he leave the building the whistleblower faces immediate arrest and extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on charges of sex crimes.
Despite all the difficulties the WikiLeaks faced in 2012, Julian Assange vowed to publish some 1,000,000 new documents in the coming year. In his Christmas speech he called for people to continue fighting for democracy “from Tahrir to London.”