Where tech and civil liberties intersect.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot refuses to recuse herself in show trial of Julian Assange

Judge Emma Arbuthnot has refused to recuse herself from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s US extradition hearings. This is what “class justice” looks like. Arbuthnot, Chief Magistrate and Senior District Judge for England and Wales, is flouting fundamental legal principles to ensure that she presides over a show trial against Assange, due to resume at Westminster Magistrates Court on February 25. If extradited, Assange faces charges under the Espionage Act, carrying a 175-year prison sentence. Further charges are pending, which could include the death penalty. Emma Arbuthnot The “Guide to Judicial Conduct” in England and Wales, published in 2018, states that, “Judicial independence is a cornerstone of our system of government in a democratic society and a safeguard of the freedom and rights of the citizen under the rule of law. The judiciary must be seen to be independent of the legislative and executive arms of government both as individuals and as a whole.” Arbuthnot should have automatically recused herself on this basis. Her husband, James Norwich Arbuthnot, is a Conservative member of the House of Lords. He is intimately connected with the British armed forces and security services, whose criminal operations were exposed by WikiLeaks. As a Tory MP, Lord Arbuthnot was between 2005 and 2014 the chair of the Defence Select Committee, the body overseeing the Ministry of Defence and Britain’s armed forces. His watch covered ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the wars for regime change in Libya and Syria. He is currently co-chair of the UK advisory board for defence manufacturer Thales and is an advisory board member of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI). Lord Arbuthnot is also a former director at security and intelligence consultancy firm SC Strategy, where he worked for two years alongside co-directors Lord Carlile and Sir John Scarlett. Carlile is a prominent defender of MI5 who supported the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (nicknamed the Snoopers’ Charter) enabling the British state to access internet connection records without a warrant. He argued that Edward Snowden’s exposures of illegal mass state surveillance “amounted to a criminal act.’’ He oversaw the implementation of anti-terror legislation and reviewed national security procedures in Northern Ireland. Scarlett is former head of MI6 and chair of the government’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). He oversaw the production of a report arguing for the right of the secret services to “collect bulk communications data” and was responsible for compiling the “dodgy dossier” on Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. The activities of Lord Arbuthnot and his colleagues were the subject of thousands of WikiLeaks disclosures. There are almost 2,000 references in the WikiLeaks’ database to Thales and nearly 450 to RUSI. Lord Arbuthnot himself can be found in over 50 entries. As Assange’s legal team and UN Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer have argued, this “strong conflict of interest” requires Lady Arbuthnot to stand down from Assange’s case. Her husband’s entire political life has been dedicated to crushing the sort of transparency and accountability advocated by WikiLeaks. The “Guide to Judicial Conduct” explicitly states, “Where a close member of a judge’s family is politically active, the judge needs to bear in mind the possibility that, in some proceedings, that political activity might raise concerns about the judge’s own impartiality and detachment from the political process and should act accordingly.” Furthermore, “personal animosity towards a party is also a compelling reason for disqualification.” Arbuthnot’s animosity toward Assange is on public record. No legal argument will convince Arbuthnot to recuse herself. Her connections via her family to the security services are the very reason she has been selected to oversee this case. The British ruling class requires an official to rubber stamp Assange’s transfer to the US, in what amounts to an extraordinary rendition. Two previous instances of judges recusing themselves from English court cases provide a stark contrast to the WikiLeaks founder’s case. The first involves Arbuthnot herself. In August 2018, she was obliged to stand down from a case against Uber after the Observer revealed that her husband had a business interest in the ride hailing company via SC Strategy and its client, the Qatar Investment Authority. A judicial spokesman said “as soon as this link was pointed out to her, she assigned the case to a fellow judge. It is essential that judges not only are, but are seen to be, absolutely impartial.” No such concerns are evident in the case of Assange. Not one article in the mainstream media has reported on the glaring contradiction between Arbuthnot’s actions in 2018 versus today. The second instance is of a judge failing to recuse himself in 1998 during the attempt to extradite former Chilean dictator, torturer and executioner Augusto Pinochet to face criminal charges in Spain. Lord Hoffmann was savaged for failing to make clear his connections with the human rights group Amnesty International, which was a party to the case. He was chair of the charity’s fundraising department in a voluntary capacity. Hoffmann had been one of three Law Lords out of five to vote to overturn a High Court decision affirming Pinochet’s claimed immunity from prosecution due to his being a head of state at the time of his crimes. In an unprecedented move, the House of Lords’ verdict against Pinochet (involving Hoffmann) was scrapped by five law lords and only re-confirmed a year later—with significant qualifications invalidating most of the charges against Pinochet. The Law Lords, led by Lord Browne-Wilkinson, developed arguments which would absolutely require Arbuthnot to recuse herself from the Assange case. Previously, whether a judge was automatically disqualified from a case depended on having a financial interest in its outcome. Lord Browne-Wilkinson’s decision extended the principle of automatic disqualification to apply to the much looser categories of non-financial “interests” or support for “causes.” The overturn verdict accepted Pinochet’s claim that he had been denied the right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states, “Any judge in respect of whom there is a legitimate reason to fear a lack of impartiality must withdraw.” Denunciations of Hoffmann were brutal. The Guardian reported January 16, 1999 that five law lords had “criticised Lord Hoffmann for flouting the basic principle that ‘justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done.’ The devastating criticism cast doubt over Lord Hoffmann’s future as a law lord.” The Guardian continued, “The judges accuse Lord Hoffmann of ignoring a basic judicial tenet learned by every student in the first year of law school. So well-known is the rule, said Lord Hope, that no civil court in the United Kingdom has had a judgment set aside for a breach of it this century… ‘Judges are well aware they should not sit in a case where they have even the slightest personal interest in it, either as defendant or as prosecutor,’ Lord Hope said. “Lord Hutton said public confidence in the integrity of the administration of justice would be shaken if Lord Hoffmann’s deciding vote that General Pinochet could be prosecuted was allowed to stand.” In January 2000, the Blair Labour government’s Home Secretary Jack Straw intervened to protect the mass murderer, overruling the House of Lords and insisting that extradition proceedings should be halted on the grounds of Pinochet’s supposed ill-health. Pinochet arrived back in Chile on March 3, landing at Santiago Airport where he rose from his wheelchair to the cheers of his fascistic supporters. Clearly, “judicial impartiality” means one thing when it comes to defending a vicious dictator and long-time ally of US and British imperialism. It means another when it amounts to persecuting a world-renowned journalist who has exposed the crimes of the ruling class. Assange’s scalp must be taken at all costs to further imperialism’s colonial-style wars of conquest and the global assault on the social and democratic rights of the working class. To silence him forever, not only the judiciary but the entire state apparatus and its defenders in the media are shedding all democratic and liberal pretensions.
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Kim Darroch: Johnson joins defence of press over cables

Boris Johnson has come out in defence of the right of the press to publish leaked diplomatic dispatches sent by the former British ambassador to the US Sir Kim Darroch, saying it would amount to “an infringement on press freedom and have a chilling effect on public debate”. Johnson criticised the police over a warning to journalists that they could face prosecution if they publish any further leaked cables. Speaking at a Tory leadership hustings at Wyboston in Bedfordshire, he said that while it was right the perpetrator of the leak was “hunted down and prosecuted” it was wrong for police to target the media.

“It cannot conceivably be right that newspapers or any other media organisation publishing such material face prosecution,” he added. “In my view there is no threat to national security implied in the release of this material. It is embarrassing, but it is not a threat to national security. It is the duty of media organisations to bring new and interesting facts into the public domain. That is what they are there for.” His comments came after Hunt, the foreign secretary, who is battling with Johnson to be the next Conservative prime minister, said he would “defend to the hilt” the right of the press to publish the leaks. Hunt wrote on Twitter: “These leaks damaged UK/US relations and cost a loyal ambassador his job, so the person responsible must be held fully to account. But I defend to the hilt the right of the press to publish those leaks if they receive them and judge them to be in the public interest: that is their job.” The Metropolitan police has launched a criminal investigation into the leak of the messages, which were sent to the Mail on Sunday. The UK’s largest police force threatened the media with prosecution for publishing the dispatches. George Osborne and other editors accused Scotland Yard of encroaching on press freedom. The inquiry by the Met counter-terrorism command, which is responsible for investigating breaches of the Official Secrets Act, was announced in a statement attributed to the assistant commissioner Neil Basu. His words were echoed by the executive director of the Society of Editors, Ian Murray, who said: “I cannot think of a worse example of a heavy-handed approach by the police to attempt to curtail the role of the media as a defence against the powerful and those in authority.” He said it was the kind of approach that would be expected from a totalitarian regime. Earlier, former defence secretary Michael Fallon suggested journalists should be subject to the Official Secrets Act. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday, Fallon welcomed the Met investigation, describing the leak as a “clear breach of the Official Secrets Act” and “damaging to diplomatic efforts”. He added: “As soon as we find who did it, we should have them investigated and prosecuted.” Fallon said the advice to newspapers about not publishing the material was “quite logical”. He added: “If they are receiving stolen material then they should give it back to the rightful owner and should be aware of the huge damage done and potential greater damage by further breaches of the Official Secrets Act.” Fallon was then asked by the presenter, John Humphrys, whether journalists should comply with the act. He responded: “I don’t think anyone can entirely absolve themselves of the need to avoid damage to this country. “We have press freedom … but we also have laws. We have the Official Secrets Act and it is important that law is upheld.” When news of the Met police inquiry broke, Osborne, the former chancellor and now editor of the Evening Standard, appeared to suggest the statement, which called for any leaked documents to be returned to the government, was written by a junior officer and showed a lack of understanding of press freedom. The statement said: “The publication of leaked communications, knowing the damage they have caused or are likely to cause, may also be a criminal matter. “I would advise all owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them, and to turn them over to the police or give them back to their rightful owner, Her Majesty’s government.” Osborne described the statement as ill-advised, saying: “If I were the Metropolitan police commissioner, and I wanted to maintain my credibility and the credibility of my force, I would quickly distance myself from this very stupid and ill-advised statement from a junior officer who doesn’t appear to understand much about press freedom.” Tim Shipman, the Sunday Times political editor, criticised the “sinister, absurd, anti-democratic statement this evening threatening journalists with arrest for printing government leaks”, and asked the Met on Twitter: “Do you have any comprehension of a free society? This isn’t Russia.” The Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb said the remarks suggested a “slippery slope to a police state”. Speaking at the Tory hustings, Johnson said: “In my view there is no threat to national security implied the release of this material. It is embarrassing, but it is not a threat to national security. “It is the duty of media organisations to bring new and interesting facts into the public domain. That is what they are there for. A prosecution on this basis would amount to an infringement on press freedom and have a chilling effect on public debate. That is my view.” Darroch announced he was resigning on Wednesday, saying his position had become impossible following the leak of dispatches in which he described Donald Trump’s White House as inept and dysfunctional. The comments drew a furious response from the US president, who said the White House would no longer deal with Darroch. In the House of Commons on Thursday, the Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan said an internal Whitehall inquiry had found no evidence the leak was the result of computer hacking. Instead, he told MPs the focus was on finding “someone within the system who has released illicitly these communications”. The chair of the foreign affairs select committee, Tom Tugendhat, questioned whether journalists who published such material were committing an offence. “I doubt it is a crime to publish. The ability to have a free press is essential,” he said.

This isn't exactly related to Wikileaks, but if the UK's new prime minister believes in press freedom, there's a slim chance he'll defend Wikileaks as well. Although that chance is extremely slim! Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to, or I need a notification of this donation, so I can track the totals raised by this event. You can do so by emailing antipentrap(at), or sending a direct message to @antipentrap on Twitter. You can also fill out the donation notification form I created, it's right here. #vigil #Wikileaks #Assange

Questions over Julian Assange's claims Ellen Ratner talks about why we should believe Julian Assange about the 2016 election leaks. Hint: we should! Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to, or I need a notification of this donation, so I can track the totals raised by this event. You can do so by emailing antipentrap(at), or sending a direct message to @antipentrap on Twitter. You can also fill out the donation notification form I created, it's right here. #vigil #Wikileaks #Assange

The slow-motion crucifixion of Julian Assange

FOR THE PAST five years I’ve been reporting on what Catholic Worker and Assange supporter Ciaron O’Reilly refers to as the ‘slow-motion crucifixion of Julian Assange’. My first interview in 2014 was with Assange’s father, John Shipton, on the second anniversary of his flight to the Ecuadorian Embassy. Julian’s birthday was approaching and Shipton was organising a care package for his son. The package included a cat, to give Julian companionship in the isolation of his closely-guarded diplomatic sanctuary. Mr Shipton spoke with understandable bitterness about the Obama Administration’s mistreatment of his son. He told me: They have the record for hounding and imprisoning more whistle-blowers than all other administrations combined ... They are determined to put the lives of anybody who reveals their misdeeds in limbo. They are cruel people, actually. They do things like sentencing people to three life terms in prison. They attempt to remove all hope. They are cruel. Prophetic words, as it has turned out: recently the U.S. has revealed they will seek to imprison Julian Assange for 175 years. Assange’s latest limbo is Belmarsh Prison, described as Britain’s toughest prison. Home to many of Britain’s most notorious criminals and terrorists, it is known locally as England’s Guantanamo Bay and “Hellmarsh Prison”. Assange is kept in his cell 23 hours per day with half an hour in the recreation yard and half an hour to compete with other prisoners to make phone calls, making his attempts to prepare a defence extremely difficult. Recently, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Professor Nils Melzer, visited Mr Assange with a psychiatrist. He described Assange’s treatment over the past eight years by the U.S. and its allies – Britain, Australia, Sweden – as amounting to torture and in violation of UN Conventions. The UN had previously released a report describing Assange’s asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy as “arbitrary detention” but the UK Government ignored this. Professor Melzer said he worried that Assange’s health had deteriorated to the point he was no longer able to stand trial and participate in court hearings. “Secondly, I must say I’m appalled at the consistent, sustained, concerted abuse this man has been exposed to at the hands of the democratic states over a period of almost a decade,” said Professor Melzer, who accused these states of judicial harassment of Assange. The UN Special Rapporteur said he was gravely alarmed at the risks Mr Assange would be exposed to if extradited to the United States. Those risks included a “politicised show-trial” in violation of fundamental human rights. Professor Melzer, at any rate, had more to say: If there are criminal offences that he is alleged to have committed, by all means he needs to respond to that in a court of law. But then he needs to be given adequate means to prepare his defence. He cannot be under the constant threat of being extradited to the United States where he is not going to receive a fair trial. Assange’s extradition hearing was held in June in Westminster Magistrates' Court. In addition to the five years Assange was facing for hacking charges, the U.S. filed seventeen new charges under the Espionage Act for soliciting and publishing classified information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Under these seventeen new charges, Assange faces an additional 170 years in prison. Assange repeatedly argued that the reason he took flight to the Ecuadorian Embassy was because the U.S. was preparing such charges. He has been vindicated: the U.S. has hidden the charges for eight years. Although numerous publications in the U.S. and the rest of the world also published these documents, U.S. journalists are protected from such prosecution. This is because, under U.S. law, their work is deemed in the public interest. Therefore, the U.S. State has argued that Assange, who won Australia’s most prestigious journalism prize, the Walkley Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism, is not a journalist. As well as finally revealing what the charges against Assange actually were, the hearing also set a date for the extradition trial, which will be no earlier than February 2020. Among the eighty people packed into the small courtroom were Assange supporters John Pilger and Ciaron O’Reilly. O'Reilly was reminded of the fate of another liberator two thousand years before. Julian Assange was too sick to attend and appeared via a video link from the prison hospital. He looked very weak, said O’Reilly. He has been unable to prepare for any court appearance, let alone have access to the books he needs, or a computer, or a law library, in jail. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the Australian Government was providing consular assistance to Julian Assange, but he wouldn’t be given any “special treatment”. O’Reilly dismissed this as bureaucratic newspeak. He said: The Australian Government hasn’t played any proactive role in advocating for his human rights: access to due process and free speech as a journalist. There are huge issues involved in charging any journalist under the Espionage Act as even the Washington Post and the New York Times and Bob Carr are beginning to realise. This could be the end of journalism in relation to the military. Australia needs to lift its game and defend the human rights of its citizen Julian Assange. Professor Melzer described the judicial harassment that Assange has been subjected to as torture. After eight years, the legal torture of Julian Assange continues. The next episode in this “slow-motion crucifixion” is Assange’s extradition trial, due in eight months. In the meantime, Julian Assange rots away in Britain’s equivalent of Guantanamo Bay, Belmarsh Prison, contemplating the 170 years in prison he faces for seventeen crimes of journalism. Just after Assange's arrest, his father John Shipton told me, somewhat elegiacally: “Journalists are an absolute necessity, WikiLeaks is a necessity, Julian is a necessity. I would just like to see the Australian government act positively to ensure that Julian is not forcefully dragooned to an American oubliette; to bring him home to his family, to his friends.”
Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to, or I need a notification of this donation, so I can track the totals raised by this event. You can do so by emailing antipentrap(at), or sending a direct message to @antipentrap on Twitter. You can also fill out the donation notification form I created, it's right here. #vigil #Wikileaks #Assange

The US Is Applying its Jurisdiction To Other Countries This is a short clip of Julian Assange speaking, released by Wikileaks. The video was uploaded 6/7/2019, but it doesn't say when the original speech and/or interview was given. Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to, or I need a notification of this donation, so I can track the totals raised by this event. You can do so by emailing antipentrap(at), or sending a direct message to @antipentrap on Twitter. You can also fill out the donation notification form I created, it's right here. #vigil #Wikileaks #Assange

CHELSEA’S GRAND JURY CASES: STATEMENTS & LEGAL DOCUMENTS This is a list of updates on Chelsea Manning's cases, with statements and legal documents. Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to, or I need a notification of this donation, so I can track the totals raised by this event. You can do so by emailing antipentrap(at), or sending a direct message to @antipentrap on Twitter. You can also fill out the donation notification form I created, it's right here. #vigil #Wikileaks #Manning

Censoring The Streets

We are learning that in certain regions of NE Ohio, activists are not welcome to exercise their first amendment right to free speech—especially in Oberlin, Ohio. Throughout the afternoon on Saturday June 29, my friend Andrew and I were posting signs reading “Free Julian Assange,” “Chelsea Manning is a POW” and “No Extradition” among others with similar messages. Andrew and I have a pretty good system when we poster. I carry the signs and hand them over as he staples them to the utility poles with a staple gun. This is, of course, a legal form of free speech expression. However, the Oberlin Police Department does not agree. On the afternoon of June 29, as Andrew and I reach a utility pole in front of a convenient store, a police cruiser approaches and the vehicle begins to slow down as the officer yells to us that we cannot post the signs “there.” Andrew, with staple gun in hand about to make the final staple on that sign– turns around, looks the officer the eye, and staples the last staple. Immediately sirens are going off, and soon enough three additional police cars arrive. Experience With the Officers The officer pulls into the convenient store parking lot and addresses us. Andrew calmly informs her that stapling signs to utility poles is, in fact, legal. She, the officer, is persistent and soon becomes very angry with Andrew as he informs her of our rights. Clearly agitated, the officer orders Andrew to empty his pockets and to place his hands on the hood of the vehicle. He complies. Now, I would be dishonest if I did not disclose to you that it was very apparent the officer was hoping to find something illegal in his possession. And when she didn’t, she ordered him to get into the back of the police car. As Andrew enters the back of the police car, he is ordered to hand me his phone and I hold onto it feeling very dumfounded at what just took place. The officer than tells me I am free to go, and I decline. And, I’m still very unsure of what the real issue is at this time, but I can hear the officer tell Andrew that it was not the content of the sign that was an issue but the actual posting of it on the utility pole. At this point, I can hear conversation between the officer and Andrew. As the officer attempts to school Andrew on the laws in Oberlin, he explains to her why we were posting signs to begin with. As he explains to her the issues of censorship and Julian Assange she replies to him, “I don’t get what you mean?” Meanwhile, the male officer sitting in one of the other surrounding police cars, gets out and begins conversing with me. I explain to him that we are fighting to prevent the US extradition of Julian Assange. He, too, was unsure of what I was really referencing. Once I mentioned “WikiLeaks” I could see the male officer was more clear on what our message was. Yet, he acknowledged he was not completely aware of the details of the case. I can only hope that after I encouraged him to google independent media sources for information on the case that he actually will follow through. Interestingly, this officer said to me that he has to enforce laws that he may not agree with. I could easily sense he somewhat agreed we had a right to free speech. The male officer I was speaking with then pulls out a camera and holds it up in the direction of our sign on the utility pole. At that moment Andrew and I make eye contact, and smile. The officer then snaps a photograph. The Aftermath As Andrew then exits the police vehicle and the female officer who charged him reads him his citation, we then encouraged her to please take our sign into evidence. She vaguely said it may or may not be put into evidence and at that point I offer her my stack of signs and she ignores the offer. As she then continues to read Andrew information concerning his citation, he listens and then asks her if he can submit the signs as evidence. She was vague in her response. Soon enough we were free to go and Andrew and I walked to his car laughing. Of course, being quite shocked, we laughed and talked about the events that just took place. On our walk back to our car, police cars were visible at every block and Andrew says to me that they are watching us now to make sure we don’t hang anymore signs. I laughed and entertained the possibility of their listening to us speak at that moment. We both laughed and then realized—it’s not long before they will try. *On a side note, it was the officer who had to retrace our path and take down all of our signs.

Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to, or I need a notification of this donation, so I can track the totals raised by this event. You can do so by emailing antipentrap(at), or sending a direct message to @antipentrap on Twitter. You can also fill out the donation notification form I created, it's right here. #vigil #Wikileaks #Assange

There Is Much More to the Plight of Assange Than One Man

Many people see this catastrophe as the arrest of one man, a journalist who exposed the truth, but there is so much more involved. This is a case of human rights for anyone who dares seek asylum. It destroys the idea that a person will be safe by getting refuge. It shows how a change in government can be the end of an asylee’s protection. In Ecuador’s case, it exposes how one corrupt government can go against it’s own Constitution to obtain loans from another country. Assange’s case is about torture. It is about isolation and the right to obtain healthcare. It is about being illegally detained without sunlight and fresh air. It’s about following international law written to protect the individual from cruel and unusual physical and psychological punishment. If they can get away with it with one person, they can do it to us all for any reason. The question raised is when do we put our foot down when an empire oversteps it’s boundaries? When does extradition constitute an international crime? By imprisoning Assange, it reveals how the US, UK and Ecuador conspired together to hide their own corruption and punish the journalist and publisher for exposing them. It is an act of imperialism and force when the US empire decides to bully other nations into submission. It also shows how one person can change the world for the better if he is willing to sacrifice himself. By bribing Ecuador with a 4.5 billion dollar IMF loan, the US government was able to obtain Assange. This isn’t a supposition, this is fact. Literally within days of the arrest of Assange, President Lenin Moreno came to the US to sign papers for the loan. This is both governments rubbing salt in the wound to their Constitutions. It is one of the biggest examples of imperialism today. Then their is the enormous blow to free speech and press freedom. The injury to these rights may never heal. This will result in the death of both as we know it. It is literally a war being fought for our right to know and government transparency. By prosecuting Assange, the government is winning. We are allowing our elites to rule us like masters and lords. We cannot fight if we don’t know what we are fighting against. Do the elites own us? Freedom itself is at stake here. Every time we witness a crime against humanity and we do not fight back, we give up another piece of our rights and independence. We are as guilty as those perpetrating the injustice being done. We aid them in their ability to get away with it. The persecution of this man is a crime to humanity, to our rights, to our ability to speak out and to our freedom. Are we going to allow these offenses against us to continue? Literally speaking, WE ARE ALL ASSANGE! <?blockquote> This was written 4/25/2019, so some things may be outdated. Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to, or I need a notification of this donation, so I can track the totals raised by this event. You can do so by emailing antipentrap(at), or sending a direct message to @antipentrap on Twitter. You can also fill out the donation notification form I created, it's right here. #vigil #Wikileaks #Assange

#Candles4Assange This is the team that organized the birthday events. They're now organizing global vigils in front of US embassies. I wanted to have an eternal flame with me while I was doing this here vigil. Maybe I'll get one for the next one. Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to, or I need a notification of this donation, so I can track the totals raised by this event. You can do so by emailing antipentrap(at), or sending a direct message to @antipentrap on Twitter. You can also fill out the donation notification form I created, it's right here. #vigil #Wikileaks #Assange

For WikiLeaks, 2010 was an exceptionally eventful year. In April the transparency organization released “Collateral Murder,” the video of U.S. Army helicopters as they shot more than a dozen Iraqis in Baghdad. That proved a worldwide shock and put the 4-year-old publisher on the global media map. “Afghan War Diaries,” a cache of 75,000 documents, followed in July. Three months later, on Oct. 22, 2010, WikiLeaks released an even more explosive trove: 391,831 documents and videos it named “Iraq War Logs.” This superseded “Afghan War Diaries” as by far the most extensive leak of classified material in U.S. history. It shone a stark light on the U.S.–led coalition’s conduct in Iraq after its 2003 invasion, when the nation had erupted into a violent sectarian war. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, said the Logs “constituted the most comprehensive and detailed account of any war ever to have entered the public record.” The source for the “Iraq War Logs” was once again Chelsea Manning, who by then was in a military prison awaiting trial on charges connected to “Collateral Murder” that wound up including 22 counts of theft, assisting the publication of classified intelligence and aiding the enemy. The Documents With the publication of  the “Iraq War Logs,” WikiLeaks disgorged an unprecedented profusion of documents, military reports and videos. The Logs cover the six-year period from Jan. 1, 2004, (a matter of months after the 2003 invasion) to Dec. 31, 2009.  WikiLeaks  partnered with The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Al Jazeera and Le Monde to disseminate the Iraq Logs. Taken together, the Logs portray Iraq under allied occupation as the scene of lawless mayhem and violence. Codes of conduct were routinely ignored, shootings were often indiscriminate and torture of detainees was regularly treated as acceptable practice. Innocent civilians were under constant threat of U.S.-led coalition gunfire and arrest, interrogation, and mistreatment by allied military units and the Iraqi army and police. Among the Logs’ most significant revelations: Torture of Detainees The Iraqi military and police systematically tortured prisoners — including women, children and other civilians — with the tacit approval (and at times the complicity) of U.S. forces. On numerous occasions U.S. troops were directly responsible for the torture of detainees. Here is a typical report of prisoner abuse by a Special Operations unit. The incident occurred on Feb. 2, 2006; the report conveys the routine fashion in which the coalition treated such events. The detainees name, the Special Operations unit’s name, and the location of the incident are deleted: ALLEGED DETAINEE ABUSE BY TF ___ IN ___ 2006-02-02 17:50:00 AT 2350C, IN ___, WHILE CONDUCTING OUT-PROCESSING, DETAINEE # ___ REPORTED THAT HE WAS ABUSED DURING HIS CAPTURE. DETAINEE IS MISSING HIS RIGHT EYE, AND HAS SCAR___ ON HIS RIGHT FOREARM. DETAINEE STATES THAT HIS INJURIES ARE A RESULT OF THE ABUSE THAT HE RECEIVED UPON CAPTURE. DIMS INDICATE THAT THE DETAINEE WAS CAPTURED ON ___ IN ___, AND THE CAPTURING UNIT WAS TASK FORCE ___. THE DETAINEES CAPTURE TAG NUMBER IS . IN PROCESSING PERSONNEL STATE THAT THE DETAINEE CAPTURE PHOTO DEPICTS A BANDAGE OVER HIS RIGHT EYE, AND INJURY TO HIS RIGHT FOREARM. THE DETAINEE HAS COMPLETED THE DETAINEE ABUSE COMPLAINT FORM, AND WE ARE SEEKING A SWORN STATEMENT FROM THE DETAINEE. PER ORDER OF Task force ___, THE DETAINEE ___ TRANSFERRED AS SCHEDULED, AND CONTINUE CID INVESTIGATION UPON ARRIVAL AT ___ GHRAIB. There are many thousands of similar reports detailing the violent misconduct of coalition and Iraqi forces. Among WikiLeak’s key revelations, scarcely mentioned in U.S. media reports, were the American army’s secret orders effectively requiring U.S. military units to ignore thousands of cases of “green-green” torture, violence and murder — incidents involving Iraqi detainees held at Iraqi army bases, police stations and prisons. The list of common green-green practices makes repellent reading. Accounts of such incidents, sometimes accompanied by video shot as they occurred, detail beatings of blindfolded prisoners; stabbings; electrocutions; whippings with wires; and sodomy with hoses, water bottles and other objects. The first U.S. orders covering these incidents were issued in June 2004, two months after the torture practices of U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib broke into the news. The orders were called Frago 242, meaning “fragmentary orders.” Providing there was no U.S. involvement in an incident, American forces were told not to investigate it “unless directed by higher headquarters,” or HHQ. Frago 039, a subsequent order issued in April 2005, required U.S. troops to report green-green incidents; U.S. troops would report more than 1,300 cases of green-green torture to their commanding officers. But, once again, they were ordered to take no further action. Frago 242 and 039 were clear breaches of U.S. responsibility in Iraq. Here is an example of the reports U.S. forces routinely filed after Frago 242 and Frago 039 were issued. It recounts the apparent murder of a detainee while in Iraqi custody. The incident occurred on Aug. 9, 2009, in Ramadi. Iraqi officials termed the detainee’s death a suicide, while the U.S. report found the detainee’s injuries “consistent with abuse.” The U.S. military closed the case the following October; there is no indication any action was taken: Date: 2009-08-27 09:00:00 Type: Suspicious Incident Category: Other Tracking no.: 20090827090038SLB413998 Title: (SUSPICIOUS INCIDENT) OTHER RPT RAMADI IRAQI CTU : 1 UE KIA Summary: WHO: RAMADI PGC TT WHAT: Reports possible detainee abuse WHEN: 270900C AUG 09 WHERE: Iraqi CTU in Ramadi IVO (38S LB 413 998) HOW: At 270900C AUG 09, the PGC TT reports possible detainee abuse IVO (38S LB 413 998). On 26 Aug 09, a PGC TT (which included a USN Corpsman) conducted a post mortem visual examination of JASIM MOHAMMED AHMED AL-SHIHAWI, an individual arrested in conjunction with a VBIED interdicted NE of Camp Taqaddum (SIGACT Entry DTG: 241130CAug09). The detainee was transferred from the IHP in Saqlawiah to the Iraqi CTU in Ramadi for questioning and while in custody, reportedly committed suicide. The PGC TT personnel conducting the post mortem examination found bruises and burns on the detainee`s body as well as visible injuries to the head, arm, torso, legs, and neck. The PGC TT report the injuries are consistent with abuse. The CTU/IP have reportedly begun an investigation into the detainees death. An update will be posted when more information becomes available. The SIR is attached. CLOSED 20091019 On Oct. 24, 2010, two days after WikiLeaks published the “Iraq War Logs,” Al Jazeera released “U.S. Turns a Blind Eye to Torture.” The video details the Frago 242 and 039 stipulations as revealed in the Logs. While some incidents were eventually investigated — apparently including the one in Ramadi — there is no record of Iraqi personnel receiving a sentence for misconduct. The Al Jazeera report traces knowledge of the orders to “the highest levels of the U.S. government” — including, the video makes plain, Donald Rumsfeld, then defense secretary. Civilian Deaths For the first two years following the 2003 invasion, U.S. military authorities denied keeping records of civilian deaths in Iraq. Only in 2005, when the Defense Department began reporting statistics to Congress, did it emerge that the military had in fact compiled such records. But the DoD’s reports were too imprecise to constitute a reliable record: Deaths and injuries were combined, as were civilian and Iraqi army casualties. And the official numbers were consistently lower than other contemporaneous figures, according to Iraq Body Count, an investigative nongovernmental group based in London. In the five-year period the Logs cover, U.S. military logs put the number of Iraqi casualties at 109,032, some 60,000 of whom were civilians. The “Iraq War Logs” did much to clarify the casualty question. In a detailed report, Iraq Body Count said the Logs made it possible, for the first time, to combine disparately sourced data to build a significantly more complete picture.
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