Saturday, December 24, 2011

New spying claim against Julian Assange

I believe this story is of historic importance insofar as the media is not an impassive observer of the Assange/Wikileaks/Manning case. The story is blocked by Murdoch paywalls but I am making it available on my blog.

(BTW you can easily avoid the Murdoch Australian paywall by googling the headline and then clicking on the result).
New spying claim against Julian Assange

by: Catherine Philp
From: The Times
December 24, 2011 8:24PM


JULIAN Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, could face espionage charges in the United States.

The development comes after prosecutors revealed evidence of his apparent role in the theft of secret military documents.

Lawyers in the Bradley Manning case have produced logs of online chats that claim to show Mr Assange coaching the young private on how to break passwords to gain access to military computer networks anonymously.

The logs are the first evidence that the US Government has revealed alleging that Mr Assange played an active role in helping Private Manning to remove and transmit classified files from a top-secret facility in Iraq, laying him open to criminal charges in the US.

The US Justice Department opened a joint investigation with the Pentagon last year into possible criminal proceedings against Mr Assange and a federal grand jury is hearing evidence in closed court to determine what, if any charges, could be brought.
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Mr Assange, 40, has denied direct contact with Private Manning and refused to comment on whether he was the source of the leak. Legal experts have argued that the Government would struggle to prosecute Mr Assange for espionage if he was only a passive recipient of information.

Lawyers for Mr Assange said they believed that the evidence produced in the military court on Thursday would form the basis of the Government's case. Jennifer Robinson, a lawyer for Mr Assange, said that the evidence "gives us a very clear indication that the US Government intends to prosecute Julian Assange and potentially others associated with WikiLeaks".

Experts said the most obvious charge stemming from the logs was conspiracy to commit espionage.Private Manning, 24, has been charged with the same offence, along with 21 others, including conspiracy to aid the enemy, which carries the death penalty, although prosecutors say they are seeking only a life sentence.

Military prosecutors presented evidence last week that Private Manning had uploaded more than 700,000 stolen documents to WikiLeaks but saved the revelations of Mr Assange's involvement until closing arguments.

The 60-minute presentation included snippets of 15 pages of online chats between "Nobody", one of Manning's online aliases, and "Nathaniel Frank", which prosecutors say they can prove was an alias for Mr Assange.

One chat log from March 8, 2010, purports to show Private Manning and Mr Assange in live conversation as Private Manning uploaded documents about Guantanamo Bay detainees:Nobody: Anyway I'm throwing everything I got on JTF-GTMO at you now ... should take a while to get up though.Nathaniel Frank: OK, great.Nobody: Uploaded about 36 pct.Nathaniel Frank: ETA?Nobody: 11-12 hours, guessing since it's been going 6 already.In another chat, Manning asked for help in cracking the password on his classified computer so that he could log in anonymously. He asked "Frank" if he had experience cracking such "hash" codes. "Frank" replied yes, they had "rainbow tables" for doing that.

Even Private Manning's lawyers appear to have been stunned by the scale of the evidence against him. Their case this week focused on his confused state of mind and weak security at his workplace. David Coombs, his lawyer, urged prosecutors to drop the most serious charge of aiding the enemy.

One of Mr Assange's supporters, Daniel Ellsberg, warned that this plea might be a tactic to strike a deal for Private Manning to testify against Mr Assange.

"What the defence lawyer suggested is to get a plea bargain that would incriminate Assange," he said. Vaughan Smith, the journalist who until last week was putting the WikiLeaks founder up at his Suffolk home, said that the prosecutors must first prove that Assange was the collaborator behind the transcripts.

"There has never been, in any of my dealings with Julian, any suggestion he had any form of contact with this man," he said.

Mr Assange is on bail pending an appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he faces sex crime allegations.

The Times

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Did You Know?

This is the text from my recent "Did You Know?" video. You can see the video here. Please check out all the other videos in the series. Thanks to all involved!
My name is Gary Lord. I live on the Gold Coast with my wife and three kids, and I am just one of many WikiLeaks volunteers around the world. I contribute to the WikiLeaks Central and WikiLeaks Forum websites, and I also support WikiLeaks on Twitter and on my blog.

So... WHY do I support WikiLeaks and Julian Assange?

To use an Americanism, I think it's a game-changer. And it comes at a critical juncture in our history.

Our governments are becoming increasingly unaccountable. Big Business lobbies bothsides of the corridors in Canberra. And our media have been failing in their duty to inform us about critically important issues.

I believe WikiLeaks can change this.

The technology now exists for people around the globe - people like you and me - to communicate, to share information, and to see the truth for ourselves.

The question now is how that technology will be used. Will we use it to open up our governments, to ensure that our decision-making processes are more transparent, and to build a better world for our children?

Or will we watch in silence as our governments turn that same technology against us, citing our own security as justification?

For example, let's look at Iraq. We were told that Iraq had - or was on the verge of acquiring - deadly weapons of Mass Destruction. Millions of Iraqis are now dead, wounded or displaced.

It was obvious to anybody paying attention that the intelligence used to justify that invasion was being manipulated. But our governments and the media ridiculed such claims as "Conspiracy Theories". Those who spoke up were silenced.

Now the real conspiracy has been exposed. But who has been held accountable for this disaster?

Nobody.

Why are we still in Afghanistan?

80% of Australians don't want to be there, but our two major parties both refuse to even consider withdrawing troops. Why is that? Julia Gillard can't even give us a coherent answer.

But we all know the truth - we are there because the USA is there. And now we are getting more US troops in Darwin. We are becoming the 51st State.

How do we Australians feel about that? How do we feel about our government's failure to support Palestinians at the UN?

Do we even get a say in these decisions?

No.

What about Global Warming?

Another area where government and the media have conspired to hide critically important facts, at the behest of Big Business. The facts were always there, for anybody with the time to look.

But who has the time to trawl through scientific documents and centuries of climate records?

That's not your job, is it? That's what our government and our media are supposed to do. Right?

What about the Global Financial Crisis? How on Earth did that happen?

Once again, Big Business greed has run out of control, government accountability has been side-passed, and the media has remained largely silent.

Who is accountable? Nobody.

And yet... who pays for all these failures? You and me. The taxpayers.

It doesn't have to be this way.

WikiLeaks can change things, if we can only support them.

I believe that we need to ASSIGN AN ECONOMIC VALUE TO THE TRUTH.

The markets won't do that, because they like to manipulate the truth for profits.

Our governments won't do that, because they are beholden to Big Business.

And the media won't do that because - as we have seen - they have also been co-opted.

So it's up to us, ordinary people like you and me.

By supporting WikiLeaks, we can show OUR support for the TRUTH. And in turn, WikiLeaks can continue to reveal truths that our governments and their Big Business backers might prefer to hide.

Please do whatever you can to support Julian Assange and WikiLeaks at this critical time.

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Suggested Text For Australian Politicians

We have very little time left. Please contact your local Federal MP and Australian Senators to demand they speak up NOW for Julian Assange.

To submit a message to your Federal MP, please click here (includes a link to find your electorate if needed).

To contact a Senator, click here.

Click here to contact Federal MPs on Twitter. Click here to contact Senators on Twitter.

Please feel free to use the following text:
Dear [insert name here]

I am writing to request that you urgently speak up on behalf of an Australian citizen abroad whose life is in imminent danger.

This man has been held under arrest for over a year but still has not been charged. The bizarre accusations made against him - even if true - are not considered criminal offences in any other country. And yet he faces solitary confinement, a farcically politicized court process, and likely rendition to an illegal prison gulag such as Guantanamo Bay.

The man's name is Julian Paul Assange, the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.

It is criminally negligent of the Australian government to have ignored Mr Assange's plight for so long. Worse yet, the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, publicly accused Mr Assange of illegal activity!

Even when an AFP investigation found him innocent, Ms Gillard failed to properly retract her prejudicial statement and render Mr Assange the full support of Australian diplomats.

What are we ordinary Australians to make of this? If YOU, our elected leaders, want us to respect the rule of law, then surely you should set an example by standing up for the law yourselves.

We live in interesting times, and the world is watching. A critical UK Supreme Court decision is due in early 2012. Australia must insist that Mr Assange is treated fairly abroad, and our government must assure him that it is safe for him to come home once his European legal issues are resolved.

Please speak up now for truth and justice. Please support Julian Assange.

For more information on this case, please visit www.swedenversusassange.com.