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Thread: Julian Assange launches legal challenge against Trump administration

  1. #1

    Julian Assange launches legal challenge against Trump administration

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/20...on-extradition

    Seeking to reveal any potential charges he may face.

    Julian Assange, the fugitive WikiLeaks founder whose diplomatic sanctuary in the Ecuadorian embassy appears increasingly precarious, is launching a legal challenge against the Trump administration.

    Lawyers for the Australian activist have filed an urgent application to the Washington-based Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) aimed at forcing the hand of US prosecutors, requiring them to “unseal” any secret charges against him.

    The legal move is an attempt to prevent Assange’s extradition to the US at a time that a new Ecuadorian government has been making his stay in the central London apartment increasingly inhospitable.

    He has been staying in the Knightsbridge flat, which houses the embassy, since 2012 when he fled extradition proceedings at the UK’s supreme court. Swedish prosecutors have since dropped their request to extradite him to Stockholm over a rape investigation.

    If he were to walk out on to the street, Assange is likely to face contempt of court charges for fleeing British justice. His chief fear, however, is that once arrested, the US authorities would begin fresh extradition proceedings against him alleging security offences.

    It is believed American prosecutors have been investigating Assange since at least 2011, when a grand jury hearing was opened into the whistleblowing website’s publication of hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables, in conjunction with a number of international newspapers including the Guardian.

    The IACHR monitors human rights in the Americas and hears appeals on individual cases. The Trump administration, however, has boycotted its recent hearings.

    The 1,172-page submission by Assange’s lawyers calls on the US to unseal any secret charges against him and urges Ecuador to cease its “espionage activities” against him.

    Baltasar Garzón, the prominent Spanish judge who has pursued dictators, terrorists and drug barons, is the international coordinator of Assange’s legal team. He has said the case involves “the right to access and impart information freely” that has been put in “jeopardy”.

    The Trump administration is refusing to reveal details of charges against Assange despite the fact that sources in the US Department of Justice have confirmed to the media that they exist under seal.

    “The revelation that the US has initiated a prosecution against Mr Assange has shocked the international community”, the legal submission to the IACHR states. The US government “is required to provide information as to the criminal charges that are imputed to Mr Assange in full”.

    The application alleges that US prosecutors have begun approaching people in the US, Germany and Iceland and pressed them to testify against Assange in return for immunity from prosecution.

    Those approached, it is said, include people associated with WikiLeaks’ joint publications with other media about US diplomacy, Guantánamo Bay and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Assange’s lawyers say the Trump administration has pressurised Ecuador to hand over Assange, making increasingly overt threats. In December, the New York Times reported that Ecuador’s new president, Lenin Moreno tried to negotiate handing over Mr Assange to the US. in exchange for “debt relief”.

    The application also highlights what it says are “espionage operations” against Assange in the London embassy.



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  3. #2
    https://www.thisisinsider.com/wikile...details-2019-1

    WikiLeaks wants people to stop saying Julian Assange bleaches his hair, eats with his hands, or has bad hygiene


    WikiLeaks sent an unsolicited email to reporters Sunday asking them to stop reporting a list of 140 "false and defamatory" statements about founder Julian Assange, ranging from Assange bleaching his hair to stories about him walking into meeting rooms at the Ecuadorian embassy in his underwear.

    Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012, living there as a political refugee. He hasn't left out of fear of legal extradition because of several leaks WikiLeaks has facilitated, and because of rape allegations he faced in Sweden (which have since been dropped). The US Department of Justice reportedly filed charges against Assange under seal, and some view WikiLeaks as a tool of Russian intelligence, given Russia's interference in the United States 2016 presidential election and Wikileak's role in releasing private emails from Hillary Clinton aide John Podesta.

    But in the past few months, Assange's place in the Ecuadorian embassy has been reportedly tense. According to The Guardian, employees are upset that Assange ruins the floors by skateboarding through the hallways, plays soccer on the grounds, and hasn't consistently cleaned up after his cat (Assange set his cat free in November).

    In its email, WikiLeaks listed 140 claims it says are false and defamatory about Assange. The list broadly denies negative behavior on Assange's part and called a report about Assange meeting with Paul Manafort the "nadir" of false coverage about him.

    Most of the list is preoccupied with deflecting accusations that have often been lobbied against Assange. It denies he is an agent of any intelligence service, that he is "Russian owned," and that he is in Ecuador's embassy as anything other than a political refugee. It also denies that he communicated with Roger Stone in advance of the 2016 presidential election or that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has asked to interview him.

    But the list also includes bizarre denials about his personal habits, and supposed events that are seldom discussed outside of the fringes of the conversation about him. It denies, for example, that there's a "Russian plan" to "smuggle" Assange from the embassy in London, that he "drinks to excess," and that his "mother is, or ever was, a 'hippie.'" The denials are also obsessed with Assange's personal hygiene.

    Here's a sampling from the full list, which was published by national security reporter Emma Best:

    "It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange bleaches his hair."

    "It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange has ever walked into embassy meeting rooms in his underwear."

    It is false and defamatory to suggest that Ecuador suggested that Julian Assange did not look after his cat or asked him to improve his care of it."

    "It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange has ever neglected an animal."

    "It is false and defamatory to suggest that Ecuador asked Julian Assange to improve his hygiene."

    "It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange has ever tortured a cat or dog."

    "It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange does not use cutlery or does not wash his hands."

    "It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange lives, or has ever lived, in a basement, cupboard or under the stairs."

    "It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange's profession is "computer programmer."

    "It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange or WikiLeaks promoted or invented the 'Pizzagate' conspiracy theory."

    "It is false and defamatory to suggest that Julian Assange filed a lawsuit or any other measure against Ecuador over his pet cat, laundry or cleaning [in fact, his cat is not at the embassy since before the protection case was even filed]."

    The list also includes self-promotional items that no one appears to be denying, like "It is false and defamatory to deny that Julian Assange is an award-winning editor, journalist, publisher, author and producer who has won the highest journalism award in his country, the Walkley, among many others."
    More at link.

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