Roger Waters performs in London at rally in support of Julian Assange

London, September 3 (RHC)-- Rock ’n’ Roll legend and former front-man of Pink Floyd Roger Waters performed Monday one of his hit songs ‘Wish You Were Here’ outside the United Kingdom’s Interior Ministry in London during a rally in solidarity with WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange.

The British activist is a long-standing supporter of Assange and WikiLeaks and staunch opponent of the United States imperialistic practices, publicly criticizing the unilateral sanctions against Venezuela, the lawfare strategy and jailing of Brazilian former president Lula da Silva, and challenging far-right leaders around the world. 

After playing the iconic song, during Monday’s support demonstration, Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s brother detailed that after visiting Assange, he could see that “Julian is emaciated and not in tip-top order or health... he is suffering anxiety.  He is still in fighting spirits, but his well-being is declining rapidly.”

Despite Julian Assange formally denying his consent to an extradition request before the Westminster Court of Magistrates in London, he now faces a full U.S. extradition hearing in February 2020. 

"I do not wish to surrender for extradition.  I'm a journalist winning many, many awards and protecting many people," said Assange who testified by video conference from the Belmarsh maximum-security prison, where he is imprisoned after having been condemned by another British court to 50 weeks of jail for violating his conditional freedom in 2012.

The U.S. Justice Department has mounted 18 charges in total against him, with accusations of conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to gain access to a government computer as part of a 2010 leak by WikiLeaks of hundreds of thousands of U.S. military reports about the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and American diplomatic communications.

As Assange continues imprisoned in Belmarsh his physiological and health condition, many denounce, has worsened.  Investigative journalist John Pilger said Julian Assange’s “psychological torture is unabated,” shortly after speaking to the Wikileaks founder last week. 

“I spoke to Julian Assange at the weekend.  His psychological torture is unabated.  He remains isolated in his small cell, mostly 23 hours a day, denied proper exercise.  He has lost more weight. Although 'approved', phone calls to his parents are still not possible,” Pilger tweeted.

Campaigners for Julian Assange’s freedom are not the only ones with serious concerns about the way Assange has been treated.  In May, U.N. rapporteur Nils Melzer visited Assange in prison and said that “physically there were ailments but that side of things are being addressed by the prison health service and there was nothing urgent or dangerous in that way.  What was worrying was the psychological side and his constant anxiety.”  
 

Edited by Ed Newman
  • Published in Culture

‘Rubbish!’: Correa blasts CNN for claim that Assange made embassy into ‘command post for meddling’

Former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa has lashed out at CNN over a report claiming whistleblower Julian Assange turned the country’s embassy in London into a “command post for election meddling,” branding the story “rubbish.”

In a Monday report, CNN alleged that the WikiLeaks founder had used the Ecuadorian embassy, where he lived under asylum for seven years, as a base from which to help Russia “undermine” the 2016 US presidential election. CNN claimed Assange received “in-person deliveries” of potentially “hacked materials” and held “suspicious meetings” with “Russians and world-class hackers.”

Ex-Ecuadorian president: CNN is preparing world for Assange’s extradition...

A day later, CNN published comments from an interview with Correa in which he said that since Assange was posting information about Hillary Clinton and not Donald Trump, his whistleblowing amounted to "manipulation." This is why Ecuador eventually cut off Assange's internet access in the embassy, Correa said — but he denied there was any cooperation between Assange, Russia and Ecuador to interfere in the US election.

CNN, however, framed the story to fit with its conspiracy narrative of Assange and Quito aiding in Moscow’s alleged interference, with its headline dramatically reading that Correa “confirms” the election meddling. In a tweet promoting the story, the network implied that Correa was aware of the alleged meddling and simply didn't care.

Correa told RT on Wednesday that CNN’s original story about the embassy operating as a “command center” was “rubbish” and that the network was trying to build an untrue narrative of cooperation between Assange and Russia to ensure the public supports his eventual fate.

What CNN and other media are saying is rubbish, but we're used to it. They are prepping for the show. The reason is, when they extradite Assange to the US and sentence him to life, they want the honest backing of the public. They are setting the stage.

Correa compared CNN's assertions about Assange to its claims about "weapons of mass destruction" in the lead up to the Iraq war in 2003 — media manipulation which was used to make Americans "applaud a war,” he said.

Now, to "justify the assassination of Assange or to extradite him" they are constructing a new narrative about a fake "command center" for election meddling, he said.

Also on rt.com Dunce's cap for Russiagate coverage should go to CNN (by George Galloway)...

Correa also denied claims made by other media that he had a direct telephone line with Assange in the embassy. In reality, he said, he only spoke to Assange once — when the WikiLeaks founder interviewed him for his show on RT.

Correa said that CNN's claims about illicit activities in the London embassy were not confirmed by actual evidence, but based on the report by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into so-called Russian interference and disproven "collusion" with the Trump campaign.

The former Ecuadorian leader also dismissed claims made by CNN that it was pressure from US authorities that forced Quito to cut off Assange’s internet and phone access.

If such a threat [from the US] had come to me, I assure you that I would not have taken any action — because we do not accept this kind of pressure.

In Correa’s opinion, Assange was "justified" in publishing damaging material about Clinton because it was "true" — but he also said that publishing about one candidate and not the other was a kind of “manipulation.”

When Assange was arrested by British police and dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in April, Correa slammed his successor Lenin Moreno as the “greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history” for having “allowed” it to happen, adding that Assange's arrest was "a crime that humanity will never forget.”

Also on rt.com How Assange & RT meddled in 2016, according to CNN’s ‘possibilities,’ innuendo & lies...

CNN even attempted to implicate RT in the whole conspiracy by including in the story a long-debunked theory that this network was in cahoots and “coordinating behind the scenes” with WikiLeaks simply because it reported on a new document dump which was posted on the website  before the whistleblowing site tweeted out a link to the information.

  • Published in World

Assange lawyer reveals Pentagon behind pursuit of WikiLeaks publisher

A lawyer for WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange has confirmed that the Pentagon – not the White House or any other government agency whose secrets he leaked – was driving the nearly decade-long campaign to destroy the publisher.

After asking officials at the Obama administration if they “really wanted” the publisher for whistleblowers and warning that “there are dangerous precedents here,” Assange lawyer Geoffrey Robertson said they responded:

We don’t want him, but the Pentagon does, and the Pentagon may eventually get its way.

Robertson’s “high connections” got him an audience with Obama administration insiders after he learned of the secret grand jury they had convened against Assange in 2010, he told Phillip Adams on ABC’s Radio National on Thursday. When Robertson warned them of the First Amendment implications of charging a publisher under national security laws, however, they already knew what kind of precedent it would set.

While the Obama administration charged more leakers under the Espionage Act than all previous presidents combined, it never attempted to wield the law against a publisher.

And the Pentagon has finally gotten its way. British Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed a request for a US extradition order earlier this month, and Assange will face a full extradition hearing in February.

Also on rt.com Ecuador confident that US won’t execute Assange, but what about spending 175yrs in prison, instead?...

He is charged with 17 violations of the Espionage Act, including obtaining and disclosing national defense information, plus an earlier count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, concerning a massive trove of classified documents given to WikiLeaks by military intelligence analyst Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning. The Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, as they were titled for publication, exposed US atrocities including the torture of detainees and murder of civilians and constituted the largest leak of military secrets in US history.

If he is found guilty – and it is highly unlikely that the Eastern District of Virginia court where he will be tried and where no “national security” defendant has ever won a case, will acquit him – he faces 170 years in prison.

The grand jury investigation of Assange at its peak involved the Justice Department, the Defense Department, the FBI, the State Department, and the Diplomatic Security Service, according to WikiLeaks. But it was the Pentagon, as early as 2008, which began the quest to bring down the publisher, launching its war on WikiLeaks through its Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch.

According to award-winning anti-war journalist John Pilger, their plot involved a media war using reputational smears and “threats of exposure [and] criminal prosecution” aimed at shredding the “feeling of trust” at the core of WikiLeaks’ operations. 

Also on rt.com ‘Assange extradition should be warning to liberals who believe in American democracy’ – Zizek...

The Pentagon’s mission is all but accomplished. Assange has been so thoroughly smeared most of his supporters doubt he will ever get a fair trial. Not only has he been demonized as a rapist, traitor, fascist, and every other name in the book, but even those journalists who have profited off his work – at the Guardian, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other mainstream media that published WikiLeaks disclosures years ago – have gleefully turned on him.

  • Published in World

Social Networks and the New World of Lies

Last Tuesday, Kristinn Hrafnsson —Wikileaks’ editor in chief— stated before a group of foreign press correspondents that the case of Julian Assange, incarcerated in UK and claimed by the U.S., is part of a conspiracy against press freedom.

It is not an isolated case —pointed out the Icelander journalist before adding that the recent attacks on media in California, U.S., the searches carried out by the Federal Police at the headquarters of ABC network in Sydney, Australia, and the incarceration of Swedish journalist Olin Bin, in Ecuador, are also part of a global strategy to stamp out investigative journalism.

Even more disturbing, nonetheless, is the fact that more important than press “freedom” or investigative journalism, the truth itself seems really in danger of vanishing. While the truth is incarcerated in the role of Julian Assange, lies are unleashed and multiplied like never before in the media and social networks.

At the same time Hrafnsson offered his statement in London, an international survey carried out that day and released in Canada showed that 86% of people have taken for granted at least one fake news they have read in social networks.

According to the 82% of people consulted in the Ipsos survey for the Canadian analysis group Center for International Governance Innovation, the platforms of social networks were regarded as the main responsible for the dissemination of fake news. The 77% of users had pointed at Facebook as the main source of fake news while 62% chose Twitter.

The problem is truly alarming if we take into account that there is an increasingly high number of people using social networks as information source. In the words of communication connoisseurs, beyond the technological progresses, the rising number of users in social networks has to do with the discredit of traditional media in recent years. However, is there any credibility in social networks after the results of this survey went public?

To make things worse, it was released a fake video in Instagram with the one and only Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. In the video, manipulated by artificial intelligence, Zuckerberg stands there saying, while describing his own personality: “Imagine this for a second: a man, with a total control of data stolen from millions and millions of people, all their secrets, their lives, their futures.”

The fake video shows Zuckerberg bragging about his dominance. The video was created by Israel’s emerging company Canny AI, and artists Bill Posters and Daniel Howe, allegedly for an artistic project called Spectrum, which was screened at the British International Documentary Festival Sheffield Doc/Fest.

It is shocking that Instagram —which belongs to Facebook— will not blocked the video. Therefore, it will be added to a series of other manipulated videos, known as “deepfake” due to the use of artificial intelligence with extremely realistic results.

The most popular of this sort of “masterpieces” falsifying reality, which Facebook denies to block by the way, is the ridiculously false video released one month ago where the Speaker of the House of Representative of the U.S., Nancy Pelosi, was talking as if she were drunk.

The video involving Pelosi was released to the world in a tweet posted by the U.S. President Donald Trump. And now that we are referring to lies and Trump, the president of the nation of “press freedom,” the first champion against fake news, recently called for a mass boycott from Americans against AT&T, one of the greatest telecom giants of the country, to force them to make “huge changes” within CNN network, owned by that company. According to Trump, CNN is so unfair with such bad, fake news! When the world watches CNN, it gets a false picture of USA.”

And it was not a fake tweet, as it was Pelosi’s video. This tweet came out of the brain of the U.S. President who has turned the foreign policy of his nation into an anthology of lies and vulgar threats against those countries resilient to the Empire dominance. The same Trump who attacked the media for what he called “a fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran,” stated immediately thereafter in another tweet that such reports had a positive impact since “Iran does not know what to do now, which is a good thing after all.”

In this new world, those who dare to denounce a crime, as in Assange’s case, are condemned by those who committed such crime. The goal will be always to achieve nobody knows what to think, not to mention when the information is true or false; and that is the only truth.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz/CubaSí Translation Staff

Swedish court rejects request to detain Assange in absence over rape allegation

A Swedish court has struck down a prosecutor’s request to detain Julian Assange in absentia over outstanding rape allegations. The case was reopened after the WikiLeaks founder was hauled from London’s Ecuadorian embassy.

The court decided pre-trial detention for Assange would not be “proportionate,” said Swedish Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson at a press conference Monday, but added the investigation could still proceed without it.

The ruling was handed down Monday by a judge in a court in Uppsala, north of Stockholm.

Swedish prosecutors reopened the rape case earlier this month, soon after Assange was jailed for skipping a 2012 bail hearing. Assange requested Monday’s hearing be postponed, citing ill health, but the request was denied.

Also on rt.com Sweden’s probe made it impossible for Assange to ‘defend himself’ – UN rapporteur to RT...

Detaining Assange in absence would have allowed Sweden to issue an arrest warrant on him, but for now the European warrant already issued will have to suffice for the investigators, the Swedish judge said.

Assange was arrested in mid-April after spending over six years under political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Also on rt.com 18 ways Julian Assange changed the world (by Lee Camp)...

  • Published in World

WikiLeak's Julian Assange "Too Ill" For US Extradition Hearing From Jail

London: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is too ill to appear via a video link from a British prison in a hearing on an extradition request from the United States, his lawyer said on Thursday.

The United States has requested the extradition of Assange, who was dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London on April 11. He faces a total of 18 US criminal counts with decades in prison if convicted.

"He's in fact far from well," Assange's lawyer, Gareth Peirce, said.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot said: "He's not very well."

WikiLeaks said it had grave concerns about Assange's health and that he had been moved to a health ward at Britain's Belmarsh prison. His health has deteriorated in prison and he has lost a lot of weight, WikiLeaks said.

The next hearing on the extradition request was set for June 12.

  • Published in World

Swedish Prosecutor Requests Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange

Stockholm, May 20 ( Prensa Latina) Swedish Public Prosecutor's Office filed an arrest warrant this Monday against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for alleged sexual offences he denies.

'I have asked the court in Uppsala (north of Stockholm) to arrest Assange in absentia, suspected of rape to a lesser degree for probable cause. If the court decides to arrest him, I will send an European arrest warrant for him to be sent to Sweden', prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson said in a statement.

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said Assange's case has been 'mishandled at all times', denouncing that Ecuador will hand over to the United States on Monday the belongings left by the Australian journalist at the South American country's embassy in London after his arrest last month.

There has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen its investigation, but there has always been political pressure around this case,' Hrafnsson said.

Assange was arrested on April 11 by British police at the Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom after the government of Ecuador ended his seven-year asylum.

The cyberactivist is in a 50-week jail sentence in the United Kingdom for violating the terms of a bail bond in 2012, and also faces an extradition order to the United States, which wants to try him for spreading confidential information about U.S. national security.

In the case of a conflict between a European arrest warrant and an extradition order from the United States, British authorities will have to decide the order of priority, said the Swedish prosecutor.

Sweden reopened the case on May 13, since the accusation, which involves Assange in a minor degree of rape (for having unprotected sexual relations with a young woman while sleeping), is still in force until 2020.

The Public Prosecutor's Office filed legal actions against the computer programmer in May 2017, given the impossibility of advancing the investigations.

  • Published in World

Assange rape case politicized, ‘mishandled throughout’ says WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief

Following the Swedish prosecutor’s decision to reopen the rape investigation against Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson has claimed that the “case has been mishandled throughout.”

“There has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case,” Hrafnsson said in a statement Monday morning, following the announcement by Swedish authorities that the investigation against Julian Assange had been officially reopened.

Also on rt.com Swedish prosecutor reopens case probing Assange rape allegations...

Hrafnsson added that several key details surrounding the investigation were suspicious after a Swedish prosecutor initially found that “no crime at all” had occurred, after which the case was reopened at the behest of the British authorities.

The Icelandic WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief told RT that any decision taken by UK authorities in terms of prioritizing the US or Swedish extradition request will be based on politics and not on achieving justice.

Hrafnsson added that several key details surrounding the investigation were suspicious after a Swedish prosecutor initially found that “no crime at all” had occurred, after which the case was reopened at the behest of the British authorities.

The Icelandic WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief told RT that any decision taken by UK authorities in terms of prioritizing the US or Swedish extradition request will be based on politics and not on achieving justice.

"It will be a political decision first and foremost. Justice is long gone from anything when it comes to Julian Assange, he has no justice at all".

"Justice is long gone from anything when it comes to Julian Assange, he has no justice at all" editor talks to RT after Sweden seeks extradition warrant after Julian Assange's UK prison sentence. MORE:

A Swedish prosecutor also refused to question Assange during his forced exile in the Ecuadorian embassy before eventually being impelled by the courts. Swedish authorities then sought to drop the arrest warrant as early as 2013, Hrafnsson claimed, adding that it was the British government that insisted that the case continue.

Also on rt.com Rape allegations: TIMELINE and details of Sweden's case against Julian Assange...

The investigation was then closed in 2017 only for it to be reopened shortly after Assange’s arrest in 2019.

Hrafnsson also alleges that he has received reports of Swedish and British authorities destroying documents related to the case, though he did not provide any evidence. He also slammed media reports that Assange had eluded questioning throughout his time in London, insisting that “Assange was always willing to answer any questions from the Swedish authorities and repeatedly offered to do so, over six years.”

  • Published in World
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