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Assange

The Revelations of WikiLeaks: No. 4—The Haunting Case of a Belgian Child Killer and How WikiLeaks Helped Crack It

The case of notorious homicidal pedophile Marc Dutroux, now serving a life sentence in Belgium, is infamous for the deep depravity of the crimes that were committed and witnessed. Evidence emerged twice in the case, first in legal proceedings, secondly by the publication of many of the prosecution’s records by many have called a coverup perpetrated by the Belgian establishment. The episode is a definitive example of the exposure of deep judicial and political corruption leading to widespread public distrust in the legitimacy of their institutions of government. Dutroux leaving court during 2013 sentencing appeal.  (YouTube) This sentiment has been echoed most recently in the U.S., where the primary rigging in 2016 by the Democratic National Committee left many feeling that the rule of law has come to mean little in the face of an utterly corrupt establishment that has become unaccountable to the public. The Dutroux scandal set a precedent of mass public protest in response to such abuses, evident last year (2016) in South Korea’s response to the scandal surrounding President Park Geun-hye and her advisor Choi Soon-Sil.  It took the better part of a decade,/a> for the Belgian legal system to convict Marc Dutroux in 2004 for the mid-1990s kidnapping and rape of six girls, four of whom were murdered. The case was infamous for an inexplicably high number of mysterious deaths, suppression of evidence by the police, and numerous accounts from witnesses of extreme abuse perpetrated by a well-connected, violent pedophile ring. The case prompted roughly “The White March,” where  protesters adopted a color that in Belgium is a sign of hope. The Dutroux Affair left such deep scars on the consciousness of the Belgian population that roughly one third of Belgians who shared the surname Dutroux with the accused had their names legally changed. Despite the case having been legally concluded, many years later it is apparent that numerous significant elements of the important case remain unresolved. Arrested The case began with the arrest of Marc Dutroux in 1996. Two of the four dead girls found on his properties had been buried alive after being wrapped in plastic. Two more girls died of starvation in a home-made underground dungeon while Dutroux served a brief prison sentence. Part of the public outcry regarding the handling of Dutroux’s case stemmed from his previous convictions for similar rapes against young girls; despite the nature of these crimes, Dutroux had been released early, allowing him to re-offend. Media reports describe victims kept in cages. A large amount of DNA evidence recovered from these cells were never analyzed by authorities, even though it may have revealed the identities of additional perpetrators. The defense regularly cited DNA evidence indicating that other people visited Dutroux’s cell, alluding to hundreds of human hairs that were never accounted for. Adding to the botched nature of the case, police eventually admitted that they could have saved lives had they watched videos confiscated from Dutroux’s home showing him constructing the dungeon where some of the girls died. Dutroux’s lawyer commented in court on the failure to analyze DNA evidence found in the basement cell where two of Dutroux’s victims died: “Can people really make you believe there wasn’t a pedophile ring? We see clearly in the dossier material proof that other people than the accused here present frequented the cellar.”  Dutroux’s claims regarding help from the police appeared to have been corroborated by seven arrests in the case, including that of a police officer. Dutroux and his counsel consistently alleged that he had abducted and abused girls with police help as part of a child trafficking and abuse network connected to the elite of the Belgian establishment during his criminal proceedings. The claims were discussed by The Washington Post, which also noted that police had said Dutroux was part of a child-prostitution ring that may also have been responsible for several other disappearances still unsolved. Reporters wrote that Dutroux’s “gang” allegedly offered to buy young victims for $5,000 apiece. House where Dutroux held his victims, covered in a mural, 2015. (CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons) Accomplice Michel Nihoul Dutroux also claimed that Belgian businessman Michel Nihoul had been his accomplice and was his link with a larger criminal enterprise. Nihoul was charged in relation to the case with “kidnapping, rape, conspiracy, and drug offenses,” among a total of 13 people who were charged in connection with the Dutroux case. Nihoul was acquitted of charges connected to kidnappping, but was convicted of participating in a ring that trafficked drugs and people into Belgium. Nihoul had expressed confidence to The Guardian after charges were initially brought against him, saying that the case would never come to court because he had “information about important people in Belgium that could bring the government down.” During the interview Nihoul boasted, calling himself the monster of Belgium. His allusion to sexual blackmail material paralleled Marc Dutroux’s allegations during court proceedings that Nihoul was connected to a network of powerful child abusers. According to the BBC,  investigators believed that Dutroux and Nihoul were both part of a larger human trafficking network: “Investigators believe Dutroux and Nihoul were planning a long distance prostitution trafficking network involving cars and the import of girls from Slovakia…” Fox News reported on the reaction of the mother of one of Dutroux’s victims, who said: “This has confirmed what I thought: They worked together… the recognition of this is a relief.” Nihoul’s conviction for trafficking drugs and people begs the question as to who else may have been involved in the network. Nihoul’s statement that he could  “bring the government down” implied his criminal activities included ties with influential individuals, which echoed statements made by Marc Dutroux. Witnesses in the case identified Nihoul as a violent man who attended orgies where children were sexually abused, tortured and sometimes killed with members of the establishment present. The first judge in the case, Jean-MarcConnerotte, believed “Nihoul was the brains behind the operation,” The Guardian reported. The Telegraph reported that Dutroux’s lawyers had alluded to horrific claims of a “satanic cult” that included child sacrifice.  There were over 800 mentions of Nihoul in the WikiLeaks dossier, published in 2009. The notes record the presence of a photo of Nihoul with “various political figures,” as well as a statement by Dutroux that: “Nihoul proposed to reduce [traffick] girls from Eastern countries.” Descriptions of Dutroux in the dossier include his request of help from his brother in pushing a car laden with bodies into a canal. This instance was one of many observations in the dossier which strongly suggest that Dutroux and Nihoul were involved in more crimes than those for which they were charged, and that there may have been additional unknown accomplices in these acts. That these potential links were not investigated fueled public outrage at the failure of the Belgian judicial process.
Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to https://wikileaks.org/donate, or https://defend.wikileaks.org/donate/ 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)protonmail.com, 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

Closing ceremony at Ecuador Embassy in London UK – April 2019 This was held when the Catholic Worker's, who were holding a 24/7 vigil at the Ecuadorian embassy in London just a ccouple days after Julian Assange was arrested. This was also one of my candidates for opening song, but i forgot about it until now. Love the lyrics though! Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to https://wikileaks.org/donate, or https://defend.wikileaks.org/donate/ 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)protonmail.com, 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

Life Redacted: A Poem For Julian Assange

The olive branch plucked from the dove of peace And thrown into the fires below Where smoke still cloaks the ashy terrain In an age where traitors keep the flame. The forces of deception that were exposed Could not feel shame before the curtain torn And thus their will by force imposed On the lamb of innocence so forlorn. They chained the messenger and cut his tongue They clipped the wings of the golden goose They lured the victim into a trap Whose only end is the hangman’s noose. How many will pass his window never knowing Of the pain that with time is growing And yet no compassion comes from the craven minds Who still presume that the world’s eyes are blind. But the eyes of the world are watching still The victims of the order “shoot to kill” The whistle having been blown cannot be reversed And yet for telling the truth a purer life is cursed. Haunted by captivity Are all of us who cannot be free Until the embassy doors open to a faraway road Where the hunched and beaten let down their heavy load. A sacrifice made to keep us wise Occam’s razor slicing through a web of lies Where subterfuge is spewed without hesitation While idiots delight at justice’s frustration. Julian Assange is the brother we never met And yet our tears of rage still burn. How then could the world forget The lessons for which he gave his freedom so that we might learn?
This was written 4/7 of this year. I look back on that time, and feel like those of us who've followed Wikileaks for a long time were collectively holding our breath. Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to https://wikileaks.org/donate, or https://defend.wikileaks.org/donate/ 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)protonmail.com, 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

George Galloway full speech on Julian Assange's detention 14.4.2019 This is epic! I was listening to this the day it was given, right before I left for church. It got me all excited for church that day, that's for sure! Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to https://wikileaks.org/donate, or https://defend.wikileaks.org/donate/ 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)protonmail.com, 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

EP.741: Wikileaks Editor-Julian Assange in De-Facto SOLITARY CONFINEMENT! This was published on 5/4, so just a couple weeks after the arrest. Still relevant, though. Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to https://wikileaks.org/donate, or https://defend.wikileaks.org/donate/ 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)protonmail.com, 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 Espionage Act and a Growing Threat to Press Freedom

The Justice Department’s recent indictment of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has alarmed press-freedom advocates, with even some of Assange’s fiercest critics warning that the government has crossed a perilous new frontier by using the Espionage Act to target a publisher. Another recent Espionage Act indictment has generated less controversy, presumably because its target is not a publisher but a government insider. Daniel Everette Hale, a former Air Force intelligence analyst, is alleged to have supplied classified documents to “an online news outlet”—apparently the Intercept, known for its aggressive reporting about war. Hale provided intelligence support for U.S. drone strikes while he was deployed in Afghanistan, during the Obama Administration. Some of the documents he allegedly disclosed concerned strikes in Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. The Intercept published the documents in the fall of 2015, at a time when U.S. drone strikes were especially controversial and Administration officials were contending that the strikes were lawful, necessary, and surgically precise. Hale believed that the strikes were counterproductive and immoral, and that Americans had a right to know how the military was deciding whom to kill. The Espionage Act is more than a century old, and its use as a tool for the suppression of speech crucial to the democratic process is not at all new. During the First World War, some two thousand people were prosecuted under the act for their opposition to the draft and the war, many of them for political speech that we would recognize today as fully protected by the First Amendment. In the nineteen-seventies, the government charged Daniel Ellsberg under the act for supplying the Pentagon Papers, a classified study of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, to the Washington Post and the New York Times. The government was forced to abandon the prosecution after it came to light that the F.B.I. had unlawfully tapped Ellsberg’s phone and that agents of the White House had broken into the office of his psychiatrist. Throughout the twentieth century, though, only one person was convicted under the Espionage Act for supplying information to the press. Samuel Loring Morison, a Navy intelligence analyst, was charged in 1984 with providing classified photographs to Jane’s Defence Weekly. The photos showed a next-generation Soviet aircraft carrier being assembled at a construction yard. Morison was convicted, but President Bill Clinton pardoned him, in 2001. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who wrote powerfully of the corrosive effect of official secrecy, was among many who advocated for Morison’s pardon. He argued that Morison had been convicted for “an activity which has become a routine aspect of government life: leaking information to the press in order to bring pressure to bear on a policy question.” Moynihan’s observation provided a complement to an argument that Max Frankel, the Times’ Washington bureau chief, had made in the Pentagon Papers case. If the press did not publish government secrets, Frankel wrote, “there could be no adequate diplomatic, military and political reporting of the kind our people take for granted, either abroad or in Washington, and there could be no mature system of communication between the Government and the people.” The George W. Bush Administration pursued several government insiders for leaking classified information, but it was the Obama Administration that normalized the use of the Espionage Act against journalists’ sources. Among its targets were Jeffrey Sterling, a former C.I.A. officer, who was sentenced to three and a half years for supplying the Times with classified information about U.S. efforts to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program; Donald Sachtleben, a former F.B.I. agent who was sentenced to three and a half years for providing the Associated Press with information about a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen; and Chelsea Manning, a former military-intelligence analyst who was sentenced to thirty-five years for providing Assange’s WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of pages of classified government documents. President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence, in 2017—but only after she had served about seven years in prison. All told, the Obama Administration prosecuted eight people under the Espionage Act for leaking sensitive information to the media, more than all previous Administrations combined. The Trump Administration is building on this foundation. Early in 2017, President Trump complained to his F.B.I. director, James Comey, that sensitive information relating to his calls with foreign leaders had found its way into the media. Comey agreed to speak with the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, about pursuing leakers more aggressively, and said that he himself “was eager to find leakers and would like to nail one to the door as a message.” Later that year, Sessions told Congress that the Justice Department was engaged in twenty-seven investigations into classified leaks—a dramatic escalation over previous years. In the two and a half years since Trump complained to Comey, the Justice Department has indicted three people under the Espionage Act for providing information of public concern to the press. One of them, Reality Leigh Winner, was indicted for allegedly disclosing information concerning Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 elections. Another, Terry Albury, the only African-American F.B.I. field agent in Minnesota, was charged with revealing information about the F.B.I.’s surveillance and infiltration of the Somali-American community. Hale was the third. On one level, the logic of these indictments is easy to understand. The government needs to be able to protect its secrets, and it couldn’t if every employee and contractor felt empowered to decide which secrets should be disclosed. The problem with its increasing reliance on the Espionage Act to sanction insiders who reveal secrets to the press is that the act collapses all of the distinctions<?a> that should matter in those cases. It draws no distinction between insiders who share information with foreign intelligence services and those who share it with the media, or between those who intend to harm the United States and those who intend to inform the public about the abuse of government power. The act doesn’t admit of the possibility of secrets that are illegitimate, or widely known, or no longer sensitive, instead treating all disclosures of “information relating to the national defense” as subject, at least in theory, to the harshest penalties. The act is blind to the possibility that the public’s interest in learning of government incompetence, corruption, or criminality might outweigh the government’s interest in protecting a given secret. It is blind to the difference between whistle-blowers and spies. The government’s now-routine use of the Espionage Act against journalists’ sources suggests that it, too, has lost sight of these distinctions. It is surely true that unauthorized disclosures to the press have sometimes caused harm. It is also true, however, as Frankel intimated in the Pentagon Papers case, and Moynihan in the Morison case, that without whistle-blowers the concept of accountable government would be a charade. Consider just the past twenty years. The abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, the torture of prisoners in C.I.A. black sites, the warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ phone calls, the scandalous dysfunction of the government’s watch lists, even the extent of foreign interference in the 2016 election—we would know far less, or nothing at all, about these topics if we had been dependent on the government’s official disclosures, which were often partial, selective, or simply false.
Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to https://wikileaks.org/donate, or https://defend.wikileaks.org/donate/ 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)protonmail.com, 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

Julian Assange visited by Pamela Anderson and Kristinn Hrafnsson – Belmarsh prison This was from a couple months ago. I'm pretty sure Hrafnsson has been there to visit again.

Julian Assange visited by Pamela Anderson and Kristinn Hrafnsson – Belmarsh prison London from Pamela Anderson on Vimeo.

Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to https://wikileaks.org/donate, or https://defend.wikileaks.org/donate/ 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)protonmail.com, 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

Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange

Nils Melzer, the UN expert on torture, explains how the prejudices and smears he confronted when investigating the case of political prisoner Julian Assange. The longtime legal adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross (known as the ‘Guardian of international law’) offered this OpEd to a wide array of establishment outlets. None responded positively. A version of this article was first published in Medium on 26 June 2019, it is republished here with permission of the author. UPDATE 21 JULY 2019 – The paragraph entitled ‘The Swedish case’ was amended for clarity, further to the author’s amendments. I know, you may think I am deluded. How could life in an Embassy with a cat and a skateboard ever amount to torture? That’s exactly what I thought, too, when Assange first appealed to my office for protection. Like most of the public, I had been subconsciously poisoned by the relentless smear campaign, which had been disseminated over the years. So it took a second knock on my door to get my reluctant attention. But once I looked into the facts of this case, what I found filled me with repulsion and disbelief. Surely, I thought, Assange must be a rapist! But what I found is that he has never been charged with a sexual offence. True, soon after the United States had encouraged allies to find reasons to prosecute Assange, Swedish prosecution informed the tabloid press that he was suspected of having raped two women. Strangely, however, the women themselves never claimed to have been raped, nor did they intend to report a criminal offence. Go figure. Moreover, the forensic examination of a condom submitted as evidence, supposedly worn and torn during intercourse with Assange, revealed no DNA whatsoever — neither his, nor hers, nor anybody else’s. Go figure again. One woman even texted that she only wanted Assange to take an HIV test, but that the police were “keen on getting their hands on him”. Go figure, once more. Ever since, both Sweden and Britain have done everything to prevent Assange from confronting these allegations without simultaneously having to expose himself to US extradition and, thus, to a show-trial followed by life in jail. His last refuge had been the Ecuadorian Embassy. US hacking claims are “isolated, speculative, and inconsequential” Alright, I thought, but surely Assange must be a hacker! But what I found is that all his disclosures had been freely leaked to him, and that no one accuses him of having hacked a single computer. In fact, the only arguable hacking-charge against him relates to his alleged unsuccessful attempt to help breaking a password which, had it been successful, might have helped his source to cover her tracks. In short: a rather isolated, speculative, and inconsequential chain of events; a bit like trying to prosecute a driver who unsuccessfully attempted to exceed the speed-limit, but failed because their car was too weak. Exposing “war crimes, corruption, and abuse” Well then, I thought, at least we know for sure that Assange is a Russian spy, has interfered with US elections, and negligently caused people’s deaths! But all I found is that he consistently published true information of inherent public interest without any breach of trust, duty or allegiance. Yes, he exposed war crimes, corruption, and abuse, but let’s not confuse national security with governmental impunity. Yes, the facts he disclosed empowered US voters to take more informed decisions, but isn’t that simply democracy? Yes, there are ethical discussions to be had regarding the legitimacy of unredacted disclosures. But if actual harm had really been caused, how come neither Assange nor Wikileaks ever faced related criminal charges or civil lawsuits for just compensation? Smearing Assange But surely, I found myself pleading, Assange must be a selfish narcissist, skateboarding through the Ecuadorian Embassy and smearing feces on the walls? Well, all I heard from Embassy staff is that the inevitable inconveniences of his accommodation at their offices were handled with mutual respect and consideration. This changed only after the election of President Moreno, when they were suddenly instructed to find smears against Assange and, when they didn’t, they were soon replaced. The President even took it upon himself to bless the world with his gossip, and to personally strip Assange of his asylum and citizenship without any due process of law. Dehumanising the target In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanised through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News. “Full-fledged psychological torture” Very well, you may say, but what does slander have to do with torture? Well, this is a slippery slope. What may look like mere «mudslinging» in public debate, quickly becomes “mobbing” when used against the defenseless, and even “persecution” once the State is involved. Now just add purposefulness and severe suffering, and what you get is full-fledged psychological torture. Yes, living in an Embassy with a cat and a skateboard may seem like a sweet deal when you believe the rest of the lies. But when no one remembers the reason for the hate you endure, when no one even wants to hear the truth, when neither the courts nor the media hold the powerful to account, then your refuge really is but a rubber boat in a shark-pool, and neither your cat nor your skateboard will save your life. “A precedent likely to seal the fate of Western democracy” Even so, you may say, why spend so much breath on Assange, when countless others are tortured worldwide? Because this is not only about protecting Assange, but about preventing a precedent likely to seal the fate of Western democracy. For once telling the truth has become a crime, while the powerful enjoy impunity, it will be too late to correct the course. We will have surrendered our voice to censorship and our fate to unrestrained tyranny. This Op-Ed has been offered for publication to the Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Canberra Times, the Telegraph, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek. None responded positively.
Thus it came from https://theinterregnum.net/ Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to https://wikileaks.org/donate, or https://defend.wikileaks.org/donate/ 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)protonmail.com, 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

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.
Please donate to Wikileaks, or the official defense fund. You can do so by going to https://wikileaks.org/donate, or https://defend.wikileaks.org/donate/ 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)protonmail.com, 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

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 https://wikileaks.org/donate, or https://defend.wikileaks.org/donate/ 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)protonmail.com, 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