Julian Assange: he's not the messiah, he's just my boy - The Drum
Humanity’s historical record may be long but there is no doubt that Julian Assange and his small team have already changed the world. Throughout history courageous people who have taken risks to challenge power and the injustices of its abuse have suffered terrible personal consequences, for there is nothing more terrifying for the power elite than an educated, questioning and unified populace.
Tonight Australian time Julian Assange will ask the English High Court for leave to appeal two points of law to the Supreme Court. The judges who dismissed his appeal to the High Court will decide whether or not to certify these points, which must be of public importance and go beyond the specific facts of his case. If he fails he will be extradited to Sweden within 10 days and incarcerated.
Tonight a mother faces the prospect of her son being extradited to a country that has authorised Interpol to make a public Red Notice for her son – its highest alert – in the first and only case of its kind, a country that has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for rendering people to the CIA in breach of international law, and that doesn’t have bail; of her son being held in Gothenburg Prison (which has been criticised by the European Commission against Torture for the way it treats its foreign prisoners), being tried in secret, without a jury, before a judge and two retired politicians from parties that have already criticised him, and ultimately being extradited to the United States at the behest of a government which has shown a thirst for revenge and has a long history of disregarding the rule of law and engaging, by its own hand or by proxy, in human rights abuses.
I took the opportunity to catch up with Christine Assange last week. In a lengthy interview I heard about Assange the man, the father, the brother and the son, told by his mother - a fierce supporter but also perhaps also his most honest critic - and not by a Palantir powerpoint presentation.
People Locked in Tiny Cages, Crying in Pain: What I Saw and Heard When the LAPD Threw Me in Jail for Exercising My Right to Protest the Oligarchy | Occupy Wall Street | AlterNet
December 2, 2011 |
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Editor’s note: Yasha Levine, editor of the Exhiled.com, spent two nights in jail . Here’s his account of the crackdown on Occupy LA.
I finally got home Thursday afternoon after spending two nights in jail, and have had a hard time getting my bearings. On top of severe dehydration and sleep deprivation, I’ve got one hell of pounding migraine. So I’ll have to keep this brief for now. But I wanted to write down a few things that I witnessed and heard while locked up by LA’s finest…
First off, don’t believe the PR bullshit. There was nothing peaceful or professional about the LAPD’s attack on Occupy LA–not unless you think that people peacefully protesting against the power of the financial oligarchy deserve to be treated the way I saw Russian cops treating the protesters in Moscow and St. Petersburg who were demonstrating against the oligarchy under Putin and Yeltsin, before we at The eXiled all got tossed out in 2008. Back then, everyone in the West protested and criticized the way the Russian cops brutally snuffed out dissent, myself included. Now I’m in America, at a demonstration, watching exactly the same brutal crackdown…
While people are now beginning to learn that the police attack on Occupy LA was much more violent than previously reported, few actually realize that much—if not most—of the abuse happened while the protesters were in police custody, completely outside the range of the press and news media. And the disgraceful truth is that a lot of the abuse was police sadism, pure and simple:
* I heard from two different sources that at least one busload of protesters (around 40 people) was forced to spend seven excruciating hours locked in tiny cages on a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. prison bus, denied food, water and access to bathroom facilities. Both men and women were forced to urinate in their seats. Meanwhile, the cops in charge of the bus took an extended Starbucks coffee break.
* The bus that I was shoved into didn’t move for at least an hour. The whole time we listened to the screams and crying from a young woman whom the cops locked into a tiny cage at the front of the bus. She was in agony, begging and pleading for one of the policemen to loosen her plastic handcuffs. A police officer sat a couple of feet away the entire time that she screamed–but wouldn’t lift a finger.
* Everyone on my bus felt her pain–literally felt it. That’s because the zip-tie handcuffs they use—like the ones you see on Iraq prisoners in Abu Ghraib—cut off your circulation and wedge deep through your skin, where they can do some serious nerve damage, if that’s the point. And it did seem to be the point. A couple of guys around me were writhing in agony in their hard plastic seats, hands handcuffed behind their back.
* The 100 protesters in my detainee group were kept handcuffed with their hands behind their backs for 7 hours, denied food and water and forced to sit/sleep on a concrete floor. Some were so tired they passed out face down on the cold and dirty concrete, hands tied behind their back. As a result of the tight cuffs, I wound up losing sensation in my left palm/thumb and still haven’t recovered it now, a day and a half after they finally took them off.
* One seriously injured protester, who had been shot with a shotgun beanbag round and had an oozing bloody welt the size of a grapefruit just above his elbow, was denied medical attention for five hours. Another young guy, who complained that he thought his arm had been broken, was not given medical attention for at least as long. Instead, he spent the entire pre-booking procedure handcuffed to a wall, completely spaced out and staring blankly into space like he was in shock.
* An Occupy LA demonstrator in his 50s who was in my cell block in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center told us all about when a police officer forced him to take a shit with his hands handcuffed behind his back, which made pulling down his pants and sitting down on the toilet extremely difficult and awkward. And he had to do this in sight of female police officers, all of which made him feel extremely ashamed, to say the least.
* There were two vegetarians and one vegan in my cell. When I left jail around 1:30 pm, they still had not been given food, despite the fact that they were constantly being promised that it would come.
* There were 292 people arrested at Occupy LA. About 75 of them have been released or have gotten out on bail, according the National Lawyers Guild. Most are still inside, slapped with $5,000 to $10,000 bail. According to a bail bondsman I know, this is unprecedented. Misdemeanors are almost always released on their own recognizance, which means that they don’t pay any bail at all. Or at most it’s a $100.
* That means the harsh, long detentions are meant to be are a purely punitive measure against Occupy LA protesters–an order that had to come from the very top.
US targets WikiLeaks like no other organisation - World News - World - General - The Canberra Times
WIKILEAKS is the target of an ”unprecedented” US government criminal investigation, Australian diplomatic cables obtained by the Herald reveal.
The cables also show the Australian government wants to be forewarned about moves to extradite Julian Assange to the United States, but that Australian diplomats raised no concerns about him being pursued by prosecutors on charges of espionage and conspiracy.
The cables, released under freedom of information to the Herald this week, show Australian diplomats have been talking to the US Justice Department for more than a year about US criminal investigations of WikiLeaks and Mr Assange.
While the Justice Department has been reluctant to disclose details of the WikiLeaks probe, the Australian embassy in Washington reported in December 2010 that the investigation was ”unprecedented both in its scale and nature” and that media reports that a secret grand jury had been convened in Alexandria, Virginia, were ”likely true”.
Last week the Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, told Parliament the government was ”not aware of any current extradition request [for Mr Assange] by US authorities” and has ”no formal advice” on a US grand jury investigation directed at WikiLeaks.
On Monday, Mr Assange will learn whether he will be allowed a further legal appeal against his extradition from Britain to Sweden to be questioned about sexual molestation allegations.
Mr Rudd avoided a direct answer to a question about whether Mr Assange could be subject to a ”temporary surrender” mechanism that could allow him to be extradited from Sweden to the US. US Army Private Bradley Manning has been charged with ”aiding the enemy” by leaking hundreds of thousands of classified government documents, published by WikiLeaks since February 2010.
Newly released Department of Foreign Affairs documents show that on December 7 last year, the Australian embassy in Washington confirmed the US Justice Department was conducting an ”active and vigorous inquiry into whether Julian Assange can be charged under US law, most likely the 1917 Espionage Act”.
Australian diplomats called on the Assistant Attorney-General for National Security, David Kris, to request ”advance warning of any public announcement of the results of US investigations or proposed actions”. Mr Kris replied he would take that ”reasonable” request ”up the line”.
In a subsequent detailed assessment, the embassy observed that ”a central theme has been the question of whether WikiLeaks is a media organisation … The general view of expert commentators is that a prosecution could not be successful unless it showed in court that WikiLeaks was not a media organisation since the history of these cases has never seen a media outlet convicted for publication of leaked documents.”
Noting reports that the Justice Department was investigating alleged technical assistance provided to Private Manning, the embassy said: ”Evidence of such a conspiracy could assist prosecutors rebut claims that WikiLeaks was acting merely as a media organisation.”
Mass interception of entire populations is not only a reality, it is a secret new industry spanning 25 countries
It sounds like something out of Hollywood, but as of today, mass interception systems, built by Western intelligence contractors, including for ’political opponents’ are a reality. Today WikiLeaks began releasing a database of hundreds of documents from as many as 160 intelligence contractors in the mass surveillance industry. Working with Bugged Planet and Privacy International, as well as media organizations form six countries – ARD in Germany, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism in the UK, The Hindu in India, L’Espresso in Italy, OWNI in France and the Washington Post in the U.S. Wikileaks is shining a light on this secret industry that has boomed since September 11, 2001 and is worth billions of dollars per year. WikiLeaks has released 287 documents today, but the Spy Files project is ongoing and further information will be released this week and into next year.
International surveillance companies are based in the more technologically sophisticated countries, and they sell their technology on to every country of the world. This industry is, in practice, unregulated. Intelligence agencies, military forces and police authorities are able to silently, and on mass, and secretly intercept calls and take over computers without the help or knowledge of the telecommunication providers. Users’ physical location can be tracked if they are carrying a mobile phone, even if it is only on stand by.
But the WikiLeaks Spy Files are more than just about ’good Western countries’ exporting to ’bad developing world countries’. Western companies are also selling a vast range of mass surveillance equipment to Western intelligence agencies. In traditional spy stories, intelligence agencies like MI5 bug the phone of one or two people of interest. In the last ten years systems for indiscriminate, mass surveillance have become the norm. Intelligence companies such as VASTech secretly sell equipment to permanently record the phone calls of entire nations. Others record the location of every mobile phone in a city, down to 50 meters. Systems to infect every Facebook user, or smart-phone owner of an entire population group are on the intelligence market.
Selling Surveillance to Dictators
When citizens overthrew the dictatorships in Egypt and Libya this year, they uncovered listening rooms where devices from Gamma corporation of the UK, Amesys of France, VASTech of South Africa and ZTE Corp of China monitored their every move online and on the phone.
Surveillance companies like SS8 in the U.S., Hacking Team in Italy and Vupen in France manufacture viruses (Trojans) that hijack individual computers and phones (including iPhones, Blackberries and Androids), take over the device, record its every use, movement, and even the sights and sounds of the room it is in. Other companies like Phoenexia in the Czech Republic collaborate with the military to create speech analysis tools. They identify individuals by gender, age and stress levels and track them based on ‘voiceprints’. Blue Coat in the U.S. and Ipoque in Germany sell tools to governments in countries like China and Iran to prevent dissidents from organizing online.
Trovicor, previously a subsidiary of Nokia Siemens Networks, supplied the Bahraini government with interception technologies that tracked human rights activist Abdul Ghani Al Khanjar. He was shown details of personal mobile phone conversations from before he was interrogated and beaten in the winter of 2010-2011.
How Mass Surveillance Contractors Share Your Data with the State
In January 2011, the National Security Agency broke ground on a $1.5 billion facility in the Utah desert that is designed to store terabytes of domestic and foreign intelligence data forever and process it for years to come.
Telecommunication companies are forthcoming when it comes to disclosing client information to the authorities - no matter the country. Headlines during August’s unrest in the UK exposed how Research in Motion (RIM), makers of the Blackberry, offered to help the government identify their clients. RIM has been in similar negotiations to share BlackBerry Messenger data with the governments of India, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Weaponizing Data Kills Innocent People
There are commercial firms that now sell special software that analyze this data and turn it into powerful tools that can be used by military and intelligence agencies.
For example, in military bases across the U.S., Air Force pilots use a video link and joystick to fly Predator drones to conduct surveillance over the Middle East and Central Asia. This data is available to Central Intelligence Agency officials who use it to fire Hellfire missiles on targets.
The CIA officials have bought software that allows them to match phone signals and voice prints instantly and pinpoint the specific identity and location of individuals. Intelligence Integration Systems, Inc., based in Massachusetts - sells a “location-based analytics” software called Geospatial Toolkit for this purpose. Another Massachusetts company named Netezza, which bought a copy of the software, allegedly reverse engineered the code and sold a hacked version to the Central Intelligence Agency for use in remotely piloted drone aircraft.
IISI, which says that the software could be wrong by a distance of up to 40 feet, sued Netezza to prevent the use of this software. Company founder Rich Zimmerman stated in court that his “reaction was one of stun, amazement that they (CIA) want to kill people with my software that doesn’t work.”
Across the world, mass surveillance contractors are helping intelligence agencies spy on individuals and ‘communities of interest’ on an industrial scale.
The Wikileaks Spy Files reveal the details of which companies are making billions selling sophisticated tracking tools to government buyers, flouting export rules, and turning a blind eye to dictatorial regimes that abuse human rights.
How to use the Spy Files
To search inside those files, click one of the link on the left pane of this page, to get the list of documents by type, company date or tag.
a. In practically all cases it is sufficient to take the patient into fresh air where the symptoms will soon disappear. Clothing should be changed. If symptoms persist the eyes, mouth and skin may be washed with water (and with soap in the case of the skin). Oil based lotions should not be used. Skin decontaminants containing bleach should not be used, but should be reserved for more dangerous contamination (e.g., vesicants or nerve agents); bleach reacts with CS to form a combination which is more irritant to the skin than CS alone. Chest discomfort can usually be relieved by reassurance.
CS hydrolyses more rapidly in alkaline solutions and an acceptable skin decontamination solution is 6.7% sodium bicarbonate, 3.3% sodium carbonate and 0.1% benzalkonium chloride.
a. Eyes. Ordinarily the eye effects are self limiting and require no treatment. If large particles or droplets of agent have entered the eye, treatment as for corrosive materials may be required. Prompt irrigation with copious amounts of water is the best treatment for solid CS in the eye. After complete decontamination corticosteroid eye preparations may be used. Patients who have been heavily exposed must be observed for possible development of corneal opacity and iritis.
Skin. Early erythema and stinging sensation (up to 1 hour), especially in warm moist skin areas, are usually transient and require no treatment. Inflammation and blistering similar to sunburn may occur after heavy or prolonged exposure, especially in fair skin. Acute contact dermatitis should be managed initially in the same way as any other acute dermatitis. Corticosteroid cream or calamine lotion may be applied to treat existing dermatitis or to limit delayed erythema. Oozing may be treated with wet dressings of 1 in 40 aluminium acetate solution for 30 minutes three times daily. A topical steroid should follow the wet dressing immediately. Secondary infection is treated with appropriate antibiotics. Significant pruritus can be treated with calamine lotion or corticosteroid preparations. If blisters develop these should be treated as any other second degree burn. c. Respiratory Tract. In the rare event of pulmonary effects from massive exposure, evacuation is required. Management is the same as that for lung damaging agents (Chapter 4). Course and Prognosis.
Most personnel affected by riot control agents require no medical attention and casualties are rare.
Human Rights Petition: Australian Parliament: Protect Julian Assange from being extradited. | Change.org
If Julian Assange created Wikileaks to change the world, then we as supporters can change this injustice.
As an American supporter, I believe that if Julian Assange has taught us anything is honesty and transparency to organizations, both corporate and political. This case completely shows the abuse of human rights and the law system and has to be changed.
All supporters from all over the world, including Australian supporters, we must take immediate action towards this from happening.
Professors blogg: Sweden will grant extradition of Assange to the US. If not stopped by international political pressure
USA will certainly seek the extradition of Julian Assange. A US Grand Jury investigation, preparing aggravating charges on espionage against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, has been on-going in Washington since last year . Such charges, most likely in connection with the Wikileaks Pentagon-disclosures, would entail for Julian Assange “up to ten-years in a maximum security prison”, according to legal experts. In the meanwhile, a recurrent misconception - or deliberately misinformation - published in the international media, is to consider the deportation of Julian Assange from Sweden to the USA as, statistically speaking, “highly unlikely”. But facts reveal the contrary: Regarding the open extradition requests from the USA, Sweden has granted such extradition in the TOTAL OF CASES in which the prisoner was in Swedish territory.
Resisting the regime must have required quite a bit of courage… Yes, but I had always been against Ben Ali. I became even more opposed to his regime after the Wikileaks revelations. These cables were about the president’s family, its corruption, its amassed wealth. Besides, freedom of speech is fundamental in life, one cannot live without it, pretty much like water actually.
Demo @ The Royal Courts Of Justice in support of Julian Assange #wikileaks #Assange
News about the judgement of the appeal have finally surfaced, and we’re pleased to tell you that the High Court will deliver the judgement on the 2nd November (Wednesday). The hearing will start at 9:45, so if you feel that you can make it by then, by all means do.
The nearest underground station to the Royal Courts Of Justice is Temple. For directions on how to get there, we recommend using TFL. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/
So come on down and support Julian with your voice, banners, posters and anything else you can conjure up. However, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t have a poster or a banner; just you being there is enough. We really need all the support we can get on this one.
And as always, please do not RSVP as ‘attending’ if you are supporting in spirit. While the thought is very much appreciated, we need to know the approximate number of people who are actually going to attend.
Fair Trial for Julian Assange? - Sweden vs. Assange
Criticism of Swedish justice system
Of all the signatories to the European Convention of Human Rights, Sweden has the highest per capita rate of cases brought to the European Court of Human Rights relating to article 6.1 (right to a fair trial). It also has the highest rate of adverse rulings when it comes to the fair trial.
In the February Hearing, Julian Assange’s lawyers argued that the UK should not extradite him because he would not face a fair trial in Sweden. If extradited, Assange will be:
Held in prison in solitary confinement when he is returned, despite not having been charged (likely to spend up to a year in custody). There is no time limit to detention in Sweden.
There is no bail system, so he would remain in detention indefinitely.
If there is a charge and a trial, it will be held in secret.
He will not be judged by an ’independent and impartial tribunal’, a fundamental requirement under the European Convention of Human Rights (article 6.1). Three out of the four judges are lay judges, who have been appointed by political parties and have no formal legal training (see Lay Judges).
The Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, has not given Julian Assange or his lawyers information on the allegations against him in writing, which violates the Swedish Code of Procedure (RB 23:18) and the European Convention of Human Rights (article 5), and the EU Fundamental Charter on Human Rights.
There has been political interference with the Prime Minister’s statements to the Swedish Parliament during the trial (see Political Interference, and constant press attention has been given to the complainants’ lawyer (see Media climate in Sweden).
The bilateral agreement between the United States and Sweden allows Julian Assange to be extradited to the US as soon as he arrives in Sweden (see section on US extradition). Under US custody, Julian Assange risks kidnapping, torture, and execution.