WikiLeaks’ Assange defies Ecuadorian warnings, will publish any evidence of corruption

Responding to comments from newly elected Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno warning Julian Assange not to ‘interfere’ in South American politics, WikiLeaks’ founder said Ecuador can be “confident” that any evidence of corruption will still be published.

Speaking at a ceremony at the Cochasqui archeological site in the Northern Andes on Thursday, President Moreno “respectfully” called on Assange “not to interfere in Ecuadorian politics, nor in the politics of its allies.”

@JulianAssange Ecuadorians can be confident that if WikiLeaks receives evidence of corruption in Ecuador it will be published.

@JulianAssange In any instance where there is a genuine legal barrier to me being the publisher I will recuse myself and my replacement will publish.

“His status does not allow him to talk about the politics of any country, let alone ours,” he said, according to CapitalNews.

In response, Assange, who is still under virtual house arrest inside Ecuador’s London embassy, sent out a series of tweets that seemed to imply he would fulfill his duty as a journalist to work in the “public interest,” regardless of the embassy’s hospitality.

He added that if there are any legal barriers to him publishing, he will find alternatives to assure that the material reaches the public.

Despite the warning, Moreno, who took office on Wednesday, also said his country “will ensure” Britain “allows the transfer of Mr. Assange to Ecuador or to the country in which he wishes to reside.”

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012 in order to avoid being extradited to Sweden to face sex offence allegations.

 
© Stefan Wermuth

 

Although Swedish prosecutors dropped the case last week, British police say Assange could still be arrested for breaching bail conditions, which has forced him to remain in the embassy.

If arrested, Assange fears he will be extradited to the US for leaking classified material.

Appearing on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy last Friday, Assange said there is still much to do before he can walk free.

“We have today won an important victory, but the road is far from over. The proper war is just commencing.

“The claim that the UK has the right to arrest me for seeking asylum in a case where there have been no charges is simply untenable,” Assange remarked.

“My legal staff have contacted the UK authorities and we hope to engage in a dialogue about what is the best way forward,” he noted.

Assange has also pledged that WikiLeaks will carry on publishing material in the US, and even “accelerate” this process.

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Swedish prosecutor drops case against Julian Assange

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange says he will not "forgive or forget," despite a Swedish prosecutor dropping the case into rape accusations against him. His attorney hailed the move as a "victory," but said there is still a threat the US will apply to extradite him from the UK.

The decision was made by Sweden’s director of public prosecution, who confirmed that she decided to discontinue the investigation against the WikiLeaks co-founder.

"Director of Public Prosecution, Ms Marianne Ny, has today decided to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Ny said the prosecution is not making "any statement of guilty or not" in regards to Assange. 

Assange’s defense lawyer, Per Samuelson, told AP that the fact that the prosecution won't admit Assange is innocent is simply a matter of them "trying to save their faces."

"The truth is, once they heard Julian Assange during the interview in November last year, they were convinced...he gave a very good explanation to what happened between him and the woman, and that explanation fitted as a glove to all the circumstances in the case. So they could no longer see towards a conviction. If they had indicted him, he would have been acquitted."

Samuelson has called the prosecution’s decision a “total victory.”

He told Ruptly that he believes the situation "will go over very quickly, I think it's just a matter of time, negotiations between the two countries, United Kingdom and Ecuador, then they will led him go from the embassy to Ecuador."

However, he also told Ruptly that "the threat from the USA is for real. There is a risk that the United States will apply to the United Kingdom, to get him extradited..."

The attorney said he called Assange earlier on Friday.

"I asked him, 'does it feel better today?' and he said 'yes Per, it feels much better today,'" Samuelson said. 

READ MORE: Assange case dropped by Swedish prosecutor Live updates

Assange later stated on Twitter that he "does not forgive or forget," noting that his name had been slandered.

Meanwhile, Ny said the investigation could be reopened if Assange returns to Sweden before the statute of limitations lapses in 2020.

Assange has lived in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, in order to avoid extradition to Sweden over the allegation, which he denies.

Another of Assange's lawyers, Juan Braco, told AP that he wants French President Emmanuel Macron to intervene to support the WikiLeaks founder and help him leave the Ecuadorian embassy.

“We need a political intervention to make this situation end. He is the only political prisoner in Western Europe," he said.

The Friday decision comes after Assange’s Swedish lawyer filed a motion which demanded that the arrest warrant be lifted, after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in April that arresting the WikiLeaks co-founder would be a “priority.”

US authorities have been investigating Assange and WikiLeaks since at least 2010, when the site posted thousands of cables stolen by former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

The publication of classified US military and diplomatic documents represents one of the biggest information leaks in American history.

Just days ago, Ecuador voiced concern over the “serious lack of progress” by Sweden in dealing with Assange, citing a “serious failure” by the prosecution to complete the inquiry into the alleged sexual assault.

One of Assange’s lawyers said earlier on Friday that closing the investigation or lifting the European arrest warrant would not necessarily mean he could easily leave for Ecuador, which has granted him asylum.

“The first thing one likely needs to do is seek guarantees from the British authorities that he won’t be seized in some other way,” Melinda Taylor told TT news agency.

Meanwhile, London’s Metropolitan Police have announced that Assange will still be arrested if he leaves the embassy.

“Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence,” it wrote in a statement.

Assange is wanted by Britain for skipping bail when he fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012.

Samuelson told AP that Assange is not surprised that the UK is still pursuing him, noting that “it’s been in the pipeline for quite a while.”

He noted, however, that he believes this question is a “minor one which will be solved in the near future.”

READ MORE: Assange timeline: Life under siege in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy

A UN panel stated in February 2016 that Assange had been arbitrarily detained, and that the UK and Sweden should take immediate steps to ensure his freedom of movement. 

Assange declared the ruling a "victory that cannot be denied," while both Britain and Sweden disagreed that he was being denied freedom, as he had entered the Ecuadorian embassy voluntarily.

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‘Work for WikiLeaks’: Assange offers Comey job as Snowden condemns White House

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has accused the US administration of “political interference” for firing FBI Director James Comey while Julian Assange has invited the latter to work for WikiLeaks.

Comey was fired on Tuesday, days after he testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee about the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

READ MORE: Trump fires FBI Director James Comey

“Set aside politics: every American should condemn such political interference in the Bureau’s work,” Snowden tweeted.

@Snowden Set aside politics: every American should condemn such political interference in the Bureau's work. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/us

Many view the sudden firing as being tied to Comey’s role in the Russia investigation, although Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Comey was fired over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server during her time as secretary of state.

@JasonEBurack @Snowden He was fired because he was protecting from prosecution & he & Loretta Lynch involved in conspiracy to destroy evidence

@sack_attack_ @JasonEBurack @Snowden See, I would agree with this if Comey didn't come out with a letter about the email scandal about a week before the election

“This FBI Director has sought for years to jail me on account of my political activities,” Snowden tweeted. “If I can oppose his firing, so can you.”

Meanwhile, Assange tweeted that: “WikiLeaks would be happy to consider hiring James Comey to help lead its DC office should he like to properly investigate the US government.”

@JulianAssange WikiLeaks would be happy to consider hiring James Comey to help lead its DC office should he like to properly investigate the US government.

Assange said an FBI source had claimed the Bureau would now “start leaking like Niagara.”

“But please, FBI friends, full docs or you know the press will spin it,” he added.

“Comey's firing will be an extraordinary boon for transparency as his loyalists leak and the admin counter-leaks,” Assange tweeted. “Will he run for 2020?”

@JulianAssange Comey's firing will be an extraordinary boon for transparency as his loyalists leak and the admin counter-leaks. Will he run for 2020?

Assange also drew his followers’ attention back to 1993, when President Bill Clinton fired FBI chief William S Sessions, after he refused to resign on recommendation of the attorney general. Sessions, who was accused of ethical violations, was the only other FBI head to be fired.

“Mr. Comey knows where many bodies are buried,” Assange tweeted. “Working for WikiLeaks is fulfilling. James – don't become another lobbyist for Glock or Donkin.”

READ MORE: ‘Constitutional crisis’: Trump’s firing of FBI director ignites Twitter frenzy

Snowden also retweeted a couple of tweets drawing comparisons with the Watergate scandal, as well as claims that Trump and the attorney general Jeff Sessions fired Comey because of the investigation.

@LizaGoitein Any way you slice it, POTUS/AG just fired FBI director for investigating them. I'm no Comey fan, but this bodes very ill for rule of law. 

During the Watergate investigation, President Richard Nixon sought to fire the special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and the attorney general and deputy resigned after they refused to take action. 

  • Published in World

Assange brands Clinton ‘butcher of Libya’ & requests Sweden scrap detention order

Julian Assange has fired back at Hillary Clinton, branding her the “butcher of Libya” in a scathing response to the former presidential candidate's labeling of WikiLeaks as “Russian WikiLeaks”.

The editor of the whistle-blowing website shared his agitated response in a tweet Wednesday, a day after Clinton claimed that her loss to Donald Trump in last year’s presidential election was caused by the actions of FBI Director James Comey and WikiLeaks.

Clinton claimed to take “absolute personal responsibility” for her loss, adding that she “was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter, on October 28, and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me, but got scared off.”

Assange hit back at the claim, describing it as a lie and calling Clinton the “butcher of Libya.”

Two lies in one screenshot: the butcher of Libya--Hillary Clinton--blames "Russian WikiLeaks" while sitting in front of sign

 

READ MORE: Clinton blames FBI’s Comey & ‘Russian WikiLeaks’ for scaring off supporters

On Wednesday a lawyer for Assange said a request had been filed with a Swedish court to rescind a detention order against him, claiming it should be granted on the grounds that it was now evident the US wants to arrest the WikiLeaks editor.

Assange has been in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, fearing a handover to the US to face prosecution for WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables.

Per Samuelson said rescinding the order would not hamper the Swedish prosecutor's investigation into allegations of rape filed against Assange. The lawyer claimed they could continue with the investigation with Assange in Ecuador.

“If they want to charge him and go to trial, that can happen just as well with him at liberty in Ecuador since that's the only place he can be," Samuelson said, reported Reuters.

A previous request was rejected by Sweden’s Supreme Court on the grounds that Assange was unlikely to be handed over to the US by Sweden, claims Samuelson.

"Given that the US is obviously hunting him now, he has to make use of his political asylum and it is Sweden's duty to make sure that Sweden is no longer a reason for that fact he has to stay in the embassy," Samuelson said.

Last month sources in the Department of Justice told the CNN and the Washington Post that charges were being prepared against Assange.

READ MORE: US to file charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange – report

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters that his arrest was a “priority,” describing documents revealed by WikiLeaks as “quite serious.”

“We've already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.”

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, whose organization has become the subject of WikiLeaks #Vault7 series of leaks, said he would be pursuing Assange.

The #Vault7 leak, which WikiLeaks claims originated from the CIA center in Langley, Virginia, has revealed sordid details of alleged CIA hacking techniques, including the ability to spy via Smart TVs and hide traces of their hacks.

READ MORE: #Vault7: WikiLeaks reveals CIA ‘Scribbles’ tool can track whistleblowers & foreign spies

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Assange ‘cordially invites’ Ecuador’s Lasso to leave country within 30 days

Julian Assange has “cordially” invited the losing presidential candidate to “leave Ecuador within 30 days” using similar language as Guillermo Lasso, who promised to expel the WikiLeaks founder from the Ecuadorean embassy in London should he win.

In the run-up to Ecuador’s presidential elections, conservative candidate Lasso promised that he “will cordially ask Senor Assange to leave” within 30 days of assuming office, should he be elected. The pro-business candidate said the country’s London embassy “isn’t a hotel” and that Ecuador is in no position to finance the Australian’s stay there.

READ MORE: Assange’s asylum status at stake in Ecuadorian presidential runoff

In a cheeky response on Sunday – after preliminary results in the second round of Ecuador’s presidential election showed that Lasso is poised to lose – the WikiLeaks founder responded using the same language.

@JulianAssange I cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days (with or without his tax haven millions) https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/848445940692377600 

“I cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days (with or without his tax haven millions),” Assange tweeted, referring to the revelations made shortly before the vote.

Last week Ecuadorean media exposed conservative candidate's financial dealings, accusing Lasso of facilitating capital flights from Ecuador and rallying the country’s business sector against the leftist Rafael Correa.

@RT_com URGENT: Ecuador’s Lenin claims victory in presidential election, rival demands recount https://on.rt.com/87nj

According to reports, Lasso had engaged the US Embassy in 2007 by briefing the American ambassador on the fight against the incumbent president Rafael Correa. Washington supported the country’s opposition and big business in their effort to oust the left-wing government, according to Assange’s organization.

WikiLeaks @wikileaks Panama off shore banking scandal in today's Ecuador presidential electionhttp://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/international/325442-media-cant-ignore-financial-scandal-in-ecuadors-presidential 

Meanwhile Lasso is unwilling to concede to the leftist Lenin Moreno, who is leading him by two points with over 95 percent of the votes counted. Lasso claimed his own victory based on early exit poll results, and vowed to “defend the will of the people” and push for a recount of the official results. He also urged his supporters to get out on the streets and protest.

“Let us act peacefully but firmly. You have to go to the streets to say: DO NOT STEAL MY VOTE because we want a CHANGE in Ecuador,” he tweeted.

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DocsBarcelona to screen ‘Hacking Justice’

Barcelona (CNA).- International Documentary Film Festival DocsBarcelona will feature 90 films in its 20th edition. From the 18th to the 28th of May, nearly a hundred productions from a wide range of countries will be screened at the multidisciplinary institution and museum, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), and the Aribau Club cinema. 

Although the full program will be unveiled on the 19th of April, the organizers have already confirmed the premier of the Catalan-German production, ‘Hacking Justice’. The film tells the story of Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, who fought to prove the innocence of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. Catalan director Clara López Rubio and journalist Juan Pancorbo, currently living in Barlin, had exclusive access to Ecuador’s embassy in London, where Assange has been living since 2012. 

Indeed, ‘Hacking Justice’, produced by Mediapro and Inselfilm Berlin, began at DocsBarcelona in 2013, by participating in Interactive Pitch, a financing and promotion platform for documentary projects.

Thanks to their exclusive access to Ecuador’s embassy in London, director Clara López Rubio and journalist Juan Pancorbo were able to explain the efforts of Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, who tried to make Sweden withdraw its international order of arrest against WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange. The documentary includes unpublished footage showing Assange’s fatigue and suffering from the 30 m2 room in the Ecuadorean embassy where he has been living since 2012.

  • Published in Culture

WikiLeaks Holds Presser Following Groundbreaking Release of 'Vault 7' Archive

WikiLeaks is holding a press conference following the release of the first part of 'Vault 7,' the largest archive of CIA-related classified documents yet.

Follow the live feed to find out more. Notice that there seem to be interruptions with the stream. Sputnik updates the video in this article whenever possible. Here are the first, second and third parts of the press conference.

Commenting on the release of 'Vault 7,' Assange said that the scope of the CIA's covert program is unprecedented.

"This is a historic act of devastating incompetence, to have created such an arsenal and then stored it all in one place," Assange said, adding that the cyberweapons program is dangerous as it is difficult to control cyber weapons and keep them safe from hackers.

"It is impossible to keep effective control of cyber weapons… If you build them, eventually you will lose them," Assange said.

Assange revealed during the presser that WikiLeaks has decided to give details of CIA hacking tools to tech companies to allow them to patch software flaws. On March 7, WikiLeaks published documents containing descriptions of CIA hacking tools along with snippets of codes. It refrained from publishing full programs.

"We have decided to work with [the technology manufacturers] to give them some exclusive access to the additional technical details we have so that fixes can be developed and pushed out," Assange said, promising to "publish additional details about what has been occurring" as soon as "this material is effectively disarmed."

Russian hacker bear

The first question was on the legality of the CIA conducting hackings. "The CIA has a history of penetrating not only political parties overseas <…> it has a habit of interfering inside the US as well," Assange said. "It's how intelligence institutions behave."

When asked how many parts there could be in this investigation, Assange said that since the CIA archive is big they are going to need a lot of help with it from journalists and tech experts.

Then another user asked Assange whether he has ever been paid by the Russian government: "No," Assange replied, pointing out that it is symptomatic that mainstream media outlets like the BBC prefer speculating about his alleged ties with Russia even though they have been presented "a huge scoop" on the CIA.

  • Published in World

WikiLeaks publishes 'entire hacking capacity of the CIA'

WikiLeaks has published what it claims is the largest ever batch of confidential documents on the CIA, revealing the breadth of the agency’s ability to hack smartphones and popular social media messaging apps such as WhatsApp.

A total of 8,761 documents have been published as part of ‘Year Zero’, the first part in a series of leaks on the agency that the whistleblower organization has dubbed ‘Vault 7.’

In a statement WikiLeaks said ‘Year Zero’ revealed details of the CIA’s “global covert hacking program,” including “weaponized exploits” used against company products including “Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.”

RELEASE: Vault 7 Part 1 "Year Zero": Inside the CIA's global hacking force

According to the cache of documents released, the CIA's Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) has developed multiple tools and systems to hack popular smart phones and remotely order them to send both location data as well as audio and text communications.

The phones’ cameras and microphones can also be remotely activated at will.

Such tools and techniques allow the CIA to hack social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman before encryption can be applied, WikiLeaks claims in the statement on their website.

The time period covered in the latest leak is 2013 to 2016, according to the CIA timestamps on the documents themselves.

CIA negligence sees it losing control of all cyber weapons arsenal sparking serious proliferation concerns

The source of the information told WikiLeaks in a statement that they wish to initiate a public debate about the “security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.”

Policy questions that should be debated in public include “whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency,” WikiLeaks claims the source said.

READ MORE: Revelations of CIA spying on NATO-ally France 'a nuclear bombshell’

Commenting on the leak, WikiLeaks co-editor Julian Assange said the cache showed the “extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons.”

“The significance of ‘Year Zero’ goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective," he said.

The FAQ section of the release yields some key details which highlight the true extent of the leak: firstly, the information was “obtained recently and covers through 2016”.

Secondly, WikiLeaks has asserted that it has not mined the entire leak and has only verified it, asking that journalists and activists do the leg work.

READ MORE: WikiLeaks releases 'CIA espionage orders' for 2012 French presidential election

In WikiLeaks’ analysis of ‘Year Zero’ it detailed ‘Weeping Angel’, a surveillance technique which infiltrates smart TV’s, transforming them into microphones.

An attack against Samsung TV’s used ‘Weeping Angel’ in cooperation with MI5, placing them into a ‘Fake-Off’ mode, recording conversations even when the device appears to be off.

In the released batch “Things you might do” with ‘Weeping Angel’ is detailed in a document. “Investigate any listening ports & their respective services” is listed, along with “extract browser credentials or history.”

BREAKING: CIA turns Smart TVs, iPhones, gaming consoles and many other consumer gadgets into open microphones.

@KimDotcom BREAKING: CIA turned every Microsoft Windows PC in the world into spyware. Can activate backdoors on demand, including via Windows update.

The release came after a planned press conference suffered a cyberattack, according to the whistleblowing organization. WikiLeaks has since rescheduled its press conference.

 
  • Published in World
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