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Sweden DROPS Charges on Assange !

Started by EvadingGrid, Apr 15, 2017, 12:52:19 PM

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EvadingGrid

Assange Responds To CIA Director That "Produced al-Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Iran & Pinochet"
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-14/assange-responds-cia-director-produced-al-qaeda-isis-iraq-iran-pinochet

After being blasted by new CIA Director Mike Pompeo yesterday as a "hostile non-state intelligence service," Julian Assange has decided to respond by trolling the CIA, the "state non-intelligence agency," over its own roles in producing "al-Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Iran and Pinochet."

Quote
    "Called a "non-state intelligence service" today by the "state non-intelligence agency" which produced al-Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Iran & Pinochet."
    — Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) April 14, 2017


Assange's Twitter trolling was prompted by Pompeo's attack on WikiLeaks yesterday which appeared to be in response to an op-ed Assange wrote in the Washington Post on Tuesday which referenced President Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1961 farewell speech, in which he warned of the dangers of the influence of the military industrial complex. Assange said the speech is similar to WikiLeaks' own mission statement.


Quote

    On his last night in office, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered a powerful farewell speech to the nation — words so important that he'd spent a year and a half preparing them. "Ike" famously warned the nation to "guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

    Much of Eisenhower's speech could form part of the mission statement of WikiLeaks today. We publish truths regarding overreaches and abuses conducted in secret by the powerful.   

    Our most recent disclosures describe the CIA's multibillion-dollar cyberwarfare program, in which the agency created dangerous cyberweapons, targeted private companies' consumer products and then lost control of its cyber-arsenal. Our source(s) said they hoped to initiate a principled public debate about the "security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons."

    The truths we publish are inconvenient for those who seek to avoid one of the magnificent hallmarks of American life — public debate. Governments assert that WikiLeaks' reporting harms security. Some claim that publishing facts about military and national security malfeasance is a greater problem than the malfeasance itself. Yet, as Eisenhower emphasized, "Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."



For those who missed it, below is our note on Pompeo's comments from yesterday.

READ MORE
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-14/assange-responds-cia-director-produced-al-qaeda-isis-iraq-iran-pinochet





EvadingGrid

Sweden DROPS Charges on Assange !
But the Fat Lady ain't sung . . . yet

EvadingGrid

RT LIVE

Swedish prosecutor drops case against Julian Assange

19 May, 2017

https://www.rt.com/news/388904-assange-rape-investigation-drop/




Sweden has dropped its rape investigation against Julian Assange and will revoke its arrest warrant, the Swedish Prosecution Authority has announced on its website.


LIVE FEED ON RT


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.

    BREAKING: Sweden has dropped its case against Julian Assange and will revoke its arrest warrant

    Background: https://t.co/UHj8QtwrTh
    — WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 19, 2017


"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.

   pic.twitter.com/dDvB1Vekhg
    — Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) May 19, 2017

Assange's defense lawyer, Per Samuelson, has called the prosecution's decision a "total victory."

"The preliminary investigation has been dropped and the detention order has been withdrawn, and from Sweden's point of view this is now over," he told Reuters.

Assange announced by text message that he is "happy" about the decision, Samuelson said, according to Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

Samuelson denied AP's request to see Assange's text message, but said that his first reaction was "Oh my God," which he believes were followed with the words "I won everything."

However, 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.

The 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.

    UK states it will arrest Assange regardless & refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received an extradition request from the US.
    — WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 19, 2017

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."

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.

EvadingGrid

Event finished  RT

[html]
<iframe width="630" height="354" src="https://www.rt.com/on-air/388905-assange-ecuadorian-embassy-wikileaks/embed/"; frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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EvadingGrid

BBC

Julian Assange: Sweden drops rape investigation
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39973864

Sweden's director of public prosecutions has decided to drop the rape investigation into Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

EvadingGrid

The Guardian

Swedish prosecutors drop Julian Assange rape investigation
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/may/19/swedish-prosecutors-drop-julian-assange-investigation

Sweden's director of public prosecution says she has decided to discontinue the investigation into WikiLeaks founder

UK police say Julian Assange arrest warrant still stands - live updates



Swedish prosecutors are to drop their preliminary investigation into an allegation of rape against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, bringing an end to a seven-year legal standoff.
Live Julian Assange rape inquiry dropped but UK arrest still possible - live
As Sweden drops investigation, Met police say WikiLeaks founder still faces arrest for breaching bail conditions on entering Ecuadorian embassy
Read more

The decision was taken after prosecutors concluded that "at this point, all possibilities to conduct the investigation are exhausted", Sweden's director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, said on Friday.

"In order to proceed with the case, Julian Assange would have to be formally notified of the criminal suspicions against him. We cannot expect to receive assistance from Ecuador regarding this. Therefore the investigation is discontinued.

"If he, at a later date, makes himself available, I will be able to decide to resume the investigation immediately."

EvadingGrid

CAUTION

The UK Police have a second charge - Breaking Bail Condtions

This charge has not been dropped, and Assange is still at risk of getting arrested - at which point Trump could risk having him extradited for Trial and Imprisonment in the Land of the Free.


SCOTLAND YARD

While Mr Assange was wanted on a European arrest warrant for an extremely serious offence, the MPS response reflected the serious nature of that crime. 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. The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence. The priority for the MPS must continue to be arresting those who are currently wanted in the capital in connection with serious violent or sexual offences for the protection of Londoners.


EvadingGrid

The Intercept_

Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but he Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy

Glen GreenWald
https://theintercept.com/2017/05/19/sweden-withdraws-arrest-warrant-for-julian-assange-but-he-still-faces-serious-legal-jeopardy/

Swedish prosecutors announced this morning that they were terminating their seven-year-old sex crimes investigation into Julian Assange and withdrawing their August 20, 2010, arrest warrant for him. The chief prosecutor, Marianne Ny, said at a news conference this morning (pictured below) that investigators had reached no conclusion about his guilt or innocence, but instead were withdrawing the warrant because "all prospects of pursuing the investigation under present circumstances are exhausted" and it is therefore "no longer proportionate to maintain the arrest of Julian Assange in his absence."

Almost five years ago – in June, 2012 – the UK Supreme Court rejected Assange's last legal challenge to Sweden's extradition request. Days later, Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and two weeks later formally received asylum from the government of Ecuador. He has been in that small embassy ever since, under threat of immediate arrest from British police if he were to leave. For years, British police expended enormous sums to maintain a 24-hour presence outside the embassy, and though they reduced their presence in 2015, continued to make clear that he would be immediately arrested if he tried to leave.

In February of last year, a U.N human rights panel formally concluded that the British government was violating Assange's rights by "arbitrarily detaining" him, and it called for his release. But the U.K. Government immediately rejected the U.N. finding and vowed to ignore it.

Ecuador's rationale for granting asylum to Assange has often been overlooked. Ecuadorian officials, along with Assange's supporters, have always insisted that they wanted the investigation in Sweden to proceed, and vowed that Assange would board the next plane to Stockholm if Sweden gave assurances that it would not extradite him to the U.S. to face charges relating to WikiLeaks' publication of documents. It was Sweden's refusal to issue such guarantees – and Ecuador's fears that Assange would end up being persecuted by the U.S. – that has been the basis for its asylum protections.

After years of refusing Assange's offers to interview him in the embassy, Swedish prosecutors finally agreed to do so last November. But the Swedes' last hope for advancing the case seemed to evaporate last month, when the candidate of the ruling party in Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, won a narrow victory over his right-wing opponent, who had vowed to terminate Assange's asylum.

With the new president signaling that Assange's asylum would continue indefinitely, there was virtually nothing else for prosecutors to do. Upon hearing the news, Assange, on his Twitter account this morning, posted a smiling photograph of himself.

    pic.twitter.com/dDvB1Vekhg

    — Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) May 19, 2017



But that celebration obscures several ironies. The most glaring of which is that the legal jeopardy Assange now faces is likely greater than ever.

Almost immediately after the decision by Swedish prosecutors, British police announced that they would nonetheless arrest Assange if he tried to leave the embassy. Police said Assange was still wanted for the crime of "failing to surrender" – meaning that instead of turning himself in upon issuance of his 2012 arrest warrant, he obtained refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy. The British police also, however, noted that this alleged crime is "a much less serious offence" than the one that served as the basis for the original warrant, and that the police would therefore only "provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence."

That could perhaps imply that with a seriously reduced police presence, Assange could manage to leave the embassy without detection and apprehension. All relevant evidence, however, negates that assumption.

Just weeks ago, Donald Trump's CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, delivered an angry, threatening speech about WikiLeaks in which he argued: "we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us." The CIA Director vowed to make good on this threat: "To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now."

Days later, Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions strongly suggested that the Trump DOJ would seek to prosecute Assange and WikiLeaks on espionage charges in connection with the group's publication of classified documents. Trump officials then began leaking to news outlets such as CNN that "US authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange."



For years, the Obama DOJ had extensively considered the possibility of prosecuting WikiLeaks and Assange, even convening a Grand Jury that subpoenaed multiple witnesses. Though the Obama DOJ refused to say they had terminated that investigation – which is what caused Ecuador to continue to fear persecution – Obama officials strongly signaled that there was no way to prosecute WikiLeaks without also prosecuting news organizations that published the same documents, or at least creating a precedent that would endanger First Amendment press freedoms. As the Washington Post reported in 2013:

The Justice Department has all but concluded it will not bring charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing classified documents because government lawyers said they could not do so without also prosecuting U.S. news organizations and journalists, according to U.S. officials.

That same article noted that "officials stressed that a formal decision has not been made, and a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks remains impaneled." But it seemed that, under Obama, prosecution was highly unlikely. Indeed, last month, in response to my denunciation of Pompeo's threat as endangering press freedoms, former Obama DOJ spokesman Matthew Miller tweeted this:

    @ggreenwald it's also hollow. DOJ knows it can't win a case against someone just for publishing secrets.

    — Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) April 13, 2017


But the Trump administration – at least if one believes its multiple statements and threats – appears unconstrained by those concerns. They appear determined to prosecute WikiLeaks, which has published numerous secret CIA hacking documents this year.

Press freedom groups, along with the ACLU and some journalists, such as the Washington Post's Margaret Sullivan, have warned of the grave dangers such a prosecution would pose to media outlets around the world. But that seems an unlikely impediment to an administration that has made clear that they regard the press as an enemy.

    Prosecuting Wikileaks would set a dangerous precedent that the Trump administration would surely use to target other news organizations. https://t.co/mlih1bcyR1

    — ACLU National (@ACLU) April 21, 2017


Indeed, Sessions himself refused to rule out the possibility that the prosecution of Assange could lead to the criminal prosecution of other news organizations that publish classified documents. Trump's leading candidate to replace James Comey as FBI Director, Joe Lieberman, has long called for the prosecution not only of WikiLeaks but also possibly media outlets such as the New York Times that publish the same classified information. And anonymous sources recently claimed to the New York Times that when Trump met with Comey early on in his administration, the new U.S. President expressly inquired about the possibility of prosecuting news outlets.



The termination of the Swedish investigation is, in one sense, good news for Assange. But it is unlikely to change his inability to leave the embassy any time soon. If anything, given the apparent determination of the Trump administration to put him in a U.S. prison cell for the "crime" of publishing documents, his freedom appears farther away than it has since 2010, when the Swedish case began.

EvadingGrid

Ecuador asks UK PM Theresa May to give Assange safe passage
19 May, 2017
https://www.rt.com/uk/388921-julian-assange-wikileaks-extradite/

Ecuador's government has asked Britain to give WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange safe passage to the South American country to allow him asylum there.





EvadingGrid



We Are Change

Julian Assange FREE Of Charges, But What's Next?

Published on May 19, 2017

In this breaking news video, Luke Rudkowski of WeAreChange interviews Ben Griffin of veterans for peace about the latest information regarding Julian Assange the founder of Wikileaks. The interview was done outside 10 downing street, where the British government announced earlier today that they will still arrest Assange. To break that down and what will happen to Assange watch and share this video.



EvadingGrid

'The proper war is just commencing': Jubilant Julian Assange punches the air on balcony of Ecuadorian embassy after Sweden drops rape probe against him and threatens to fight Britain over arrest warning
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4521770/Sweden-drops-prosecution-against-Julian-Assange.html










Al Bundy

Ecuador should ask US President Trump for Assange. Theresa is puppet PM like Tony Blair.

EvadingGrid

Assange - STATEMENT

14/15 NOVEMBER 2016 QUESTIONING AT THE ECUADORIAN EMBASSY

LEGALLY PRIVILEGED


Saturday 20 May 2017
Julian Assange
Wikileaks

https://justice4assange.com/IMG/html/assange-statement-2016.html


EvadingGrid

Getting Julian Assange: The Untold Story
John Pilger
May 21, 2017
https://newmatilda.com/2017/05/21/getting-julian-assange-the-untold-story/

The hunt for the Wikileaks founder has been a brutal and corrupt assault on freedom of speech from the beginning, writes John Pilger.

Julian Assange has been vindicated because the Swedish case against him was corrupt. The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, obstructed justice and should be prosecuted. Her obsession with Assange not only embarrassed her colleagues and the judiciary but exposed the Swedish state's collusion with the United States in its crimes of war and "rendition".

Had Assange not sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, he would have been on his way to the kind of American torture pit Chelsea Manning had to endure.

This prospect was obscured by the grim farce played out in Sweden. "It's a laughing stock," said James Catlin, one of Assange's Australian lawyers. "It is as if they make it up as they go along."

It may have seemed that way, but there was always serious purpose. In 2008, a secret Pentagon document prepared by the "Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch" foretold a detailed plan to discredit WikiLeaks and smear Assange personally.

The "mission" was to destroy the "trust" that was WikiLeaks' "centre of gravity". This would be achieved with threats of "exposure [and]criminal prosecution". Silencing and criminalising such an unpredictable source of truth-telling was the aim.

Perhaps this was understandable. WikiLeaks has exposed the way America dominates much of human affairs, including its epic crimes, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale, often homicidal killing of civilians and the contempt for sovereignty and international law.

These disclosures are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama, a professor of constitutional law, lauded whistleblowers as "part of a healthy democracy [and they]must be protected from reprisal".

In 2012, the Obama campaign boasted on its website that Obama had prosecuted more whistleblowers in his first term than all other US presidents combined. Before Chelsea Manning had even received a trial, Obama had publicly pronounced her guilty.

Few serious observers doubt that should the US get their hands on Assange, a similar fate awaits him. According to documents released by Edward Snowden, he is on a "Manhunt target list". Threats of his kidnapping and assassination became almost political and media currency in the US following then Vice-President Joe Biden's preposterous slur that the WikiLeaks founder was a "cyber-terrorist".



Hillary Clinton, the destroyer of Libya and, as WikiLeaks revealed last year, the secret supporter and personal beneficiary of forces underwriting ISIS, proposed her own expedient solution: "Can't we just drone this guy."

According to Australian diplomatic cables, Washington's bid to get Assange is "unprecedented in scale and nature". In Alexandria, Virginia, a secret grand jury has sought for almost seven years to contrive a crime for which Assange can be prosecuted. This is not easy.

The First Amendment protects publishers, journalists and whistleblowers, whether it is the editor of the New York Times or the editor of WikiLeaks. The very notion of free speech is described as America's " founding virtue" or, as Thomas Jefferson called it, "our currency".

Faced with this hurdle, the US Justice Department has contrived charges of "espionage", "conspiracy to commit espionage", "conversion" (theft of government property), "computer fraud and abuse" (computer hacking) and general "conspiracy". The favoured Espionage Act, which was meant to deter pacifists and conscientious objectors during World War One, has provisions for life imprisonment and the death penalty.

Assange's ability to defend himself in such a Kafkaesque world has been severely limited by the US declaring his case a state secret. In 2015, a federal court in Washington blocked the release of all information about the "national security" investigation against WikiLeaks, because it was "active and ongoing" and would harm the "pending prosecution" of Assange. The judge, Barbara J. Rothstein, said it was necessary to show "appropriate deference to the executive in matters of national security". This is a kangaroo court.

For Assange, his trial has been trial by media. On August 20, 2010, when the Swedish police opened a "rape investigation", they coordinated it, unlawfully, with the Stockholm tabloids. The front pages said Assange had been accused of the "rape of two women". The word "rape" can have a very different legal meaning in Sweden than in Britain; a pernicious false reality became the news that went round the world.

Less than 24 hours later, the Stockholm Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, took over the investigation. She wasted no time in cancelling the arrest warrant, saying, "I don't believe there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape." Four days later, she dismissed the rape investigation altogether, saying, "There is no suspicion of any crime whatsoever."

Enter Claes Borgstrom, a highly contentious figure in the Social Democratic Party then standing as a candidate in Sweden's imminent general election. Within days of the chief prosecutor's dismissal of the case, Borgstrom, a lawyer, announced to the media that he was representing the two women and had sought a different prosecutor in Gothenberg. This was Marianne Ny, whom Borgstrom knew well, personally and politically.

On 30 August, Assange attended a police station in Stockholm voluntarily and answered the questions put to him. He understood that was the end of the matter. Two days later, Ny announced she was re-opening the case.

At a press conference, Borgstrom was asked by a Swedish reporter why the case was proceeding when it had already been dismissed. The reporter cited one of the women as saying she had not been raped. He replied, "Ah, but she is not a lawyer."

On the day that Marianne Ny reactivated the case, the head of Sweden's military intelligence service – which has the acronym MUST – publicly denounced WikiLeaks in an article entitled "WikiLeaks [is]a threat to our soldiers [under US command in Afghanistan]".

Both the Swedish prime minister and foreign minister attacked Assange, who had been charged with no crime. Assange was warned that the Swedish intelligence service, SAPO, had been told by its US counterparts that US-Sweden intelligence-sharing arrangements would be "cut off" if Sweden sheltered him.

For five weeks, Assange waited in Sweden for the renewed "rape investigation" to take its course. The Guardian was then on the brink of publishing the Iraq "War Logs", based on WikiLeaks' disclosures, which Assange was to oversee in London.

Finally, he was allowed to leave. As soon as he did, Marianne Ny issued a European Arrest Warrant and an Interpol "red alert" normally used for terrorists and dangerous criminals.



Assange attended a police station in London, was duly arrested and spent 10 days in Wandsworth Prison, in solitary confinement. Released on £340,000 bail, he was electronically tagged, required to report to police daily and placed under virtual house arrest while his case began its long journey to the Supreme Court.

He still had not been charged with any offence. His lawyers repeated his offer to be questioned in London, by video or personally, pointing out that Marianne Ny had given him permission to leave Sweden. They suggested a special facility at Scotland Yard commonly used by the Swedish and other European authorities for that purpose. She refused.

For almost seven years, while Sweden has questioned 44 people in the UK in connection with police investigations, Ny refused to question Assange and so advance her case.

Writing in the Swedish press, a former Swedish prosecutor, Rolf Hillegren, accused Ny of losing all impartiality. He described her personal investment in the case as "abnormal" and demanded she be replaced.

Assange asked the Swedish authorities for a guarantee that he would not be "rendered" to the US if he was extradited to Sweden. This was refused. In December 2010, The Independent revealed that the two governments had discussed his onward extradition to the US.

Contrary to its reputation as a bastion of liberal enlightenment, Sweden has drawn so close to Washington that it has allowed secret CIA "renditions" – including the illegal deportation of refugees. The rendition and subsequent torture of two Egyptian political refugees in 2001 was condemned by the UN Committee against Torture, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; the complicity and duplicity of the Swedish state are documented in successful civil litigation and in WikiLeaks cables.

"Documents released by WikiLeaks since Assange moved to England," wrote Al Burke, editor of the online Nordic News Network, an authority on the multiple twists and dangers that faced Assange, "clearly indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters relating to civil rights. There is every reason for concern that if Assange were to be taken into custody by Swedish authorities, he could be turned over to the United States without due consideration of his legal rights."

The war on Assange now intensified. Marianne Ny refused to allow his Swedish lawyers, and the Swedish courts, access to hundreds of SMS messages that the police had extracted from the phone of one of the two women involved in the "rape" allegations.

Ny said she was not legally required to reveal this critical evidence until a formal charge was laid and she had questioned him. Then, why wouldn't she question him? Catch-22.

When she announced last week that she was dropping the Assange case, she made no mention of the evidence that would destroy it. One of the SMS messages makes clear that one of the women did not want any charges brought against Assange, "but the police were keen on getting a hold on him". She was "shocked" when they arrested him because she only "wanted him to take [an HIV]test". She "did not want to accuse JA of anything" and "it was the police who made up the charges". In a witness statement, she is quoted as saying that she had been "railroaded by police and others around her".

Neither woman claimed she had been raped. Indeed, both denied they were raped and one of them has since tweeted, "I have not been raped." The women were manipulated by police – whatever their lawyers might say now. Certainly, they, too, are the victims of this sinister saga.

Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape wrote: "The allegations against [Assange] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction... The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will. [Assange] has made it clear he is available for questioning by the Swedish authorities, in Britain or via Skype. Why are they refusing this essential step in their investigation? What are they afraid of?"

Assange's choice was stark: extradition to a country that had refused to say whether or not it would send him on to the US, or to seek what seemed his last opportunity for refuge and safety.

Supported by most of Latin America, the government of tiny Ecuador granted him refugee status on the basis of documented evidence that he faced the prospect of cruel and unusual punishment in the US; that this threat violated his basic human rights; and that his own government in Australia had abandoned him and colluded with Washington.

The Labor government of the then prime minister, Julia Gillard, had even threatened to take away his Australian passport – until it was pointed out to her that this would be unlawful.

The renowned human rights lawyer, Gareth Peirce, who represents Assange in London, wrote to the then Australian foreign minister, Kevin Rudd: "Given the extent of the public discussion, frequently on the basis of entirely false assumptions... it is very hard to attempt to preserve for him any presumption of innocence. Mr. Assange has now hanging over him not one but two Damocles swords, of potential extradition to two different jurisdictions in turn for two different alleged crimes, neither of which are crimes in his own country, and that his personal safety has become at risk in circumstances that are highly politically charged."

It was not until she contacted the Australian High Commission in London that Peirce received a response, which answered none of the pressing points she raised. In a meeting I attended with her, the Australian Consul-General, Ken Pascoe, made the astonishing claim that he knew "only what I read in the newspapers" about the details of the case.

In 2011, in Sydney, I spent several hours with a conservative Member of Australia's Federal Parliament, Malcolm Turnbull. We discussed the threats to Assange and their wider implications for freedom of speech and justice, and why Australia was obliged to stand by him. Turnbull then had a reputation as a free speech advocate. He is now the Prime Minister of Australia.



I gave him Gareth Peirce's letter about the threat to Assange's rights and life. He said the situation was clearly appalling and promised to take it up with the Gillard government. Only his silence followed.

For almost seven years, this epic miscarriage of justice has been drowned in a vituperative campaign against the WikiLeaks founder. There are few precedents. Deeply personal, petty, vicious and inhuman attacks have been aimed at a man not charged with any crime yet subjected to treatment not even meted out to a defendant facing extradition on a charge of murdering his wife. That the US threat to Assange was a threat to all journalists, and to the principle of free speech, was lost in the sordid and the ambitious. I would call it anti-journalism.

Books were published, movie deals struck and media careers launched or kick-started on the back of WikiLeaks and an assumption that attacking Assange was fair game and he was too poor to sue. People have made money, often big money, while WikiLeaks has struggled to survive.

The previous editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, called the WikiLeaks disclosures, which his newspaper published, "one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years". Yet no attempt was made to protect the Guardian's provider and source. Instead, the "scoop" became part of a marketing plan to raise the newspaper's cover price.

With not a penny going to Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book's authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously described Assange as a "damaged personality" and "callous". They also revealed the secret password he had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing the US embassy cables. With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, standing among the police outside, gloated on his blog that "Scotland Yard may get the last laugh".

Journalism students might well study this period to understand the most ubiquitous source of "fake news" – as from within a media self-ordained with a false respectability and as an extension of the authority and power it courts and protects.

The presumption of innocence was not a consideration in Kirsty Wark's memorable live-on-air interrogation in 2010. "Why don't you just apologise to the women?" she demanded of Assange, followed by: "Do we have your word of honour that you won't abscond?"

On the BBC's Today programme, John Humphrys bellowed: "Are you a sexual predator?" Assange replied that the suggestion was ridiculous, to which Humphrys demanded to know how many women he had slept with.

"Would even Fox News have descended to that level?" wondered the American historian William Blum. "I wish Assange had been raised in the streets of Brooklyn, as I was. He then would have known precisely how to reply to such a question: 'You mean including your mother?'"

Last week, on BBC World News, on the day Sweden announced it was dropping the case, I was interviewed by Greta Guru-Murthy, who seemed to have little knowledge of the Assange case. She persisted in referring to the "charges" against him. She accused him of putting Trump in the White House; and she drew my attention to the "fact" that "leaders around the world" had condemned him. Among these "leaders" she included Trump's CIA director. I asked her, "Are you a journalist?"



The injustice meted out to Assange is one of the reasons Parliament reformed the Extradition Act in 2014. "His case has been won lock, stock and barrel," Gareth Peirce told me, "these changes in the law mean that the UK now recognises as correct everything that was argued in his case. Yet he does not benefit." In other words, he would have won his case in the British courts and would not have been forced to take refuge.

Ecuador's decision to protect Assange in 2012 was immensely brave. Even though the granting of asylum is a humanitarian act, and the power to do so is enjoyed by all states under international law, both Sweden and the United Kingdom refused to recognise the legitimacy of Ecuador's decision.

Ecuador's embassy in London was placed under police siege and its government abused. When William Hague's Foreign Office threatened to violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, warning that it would remove the diplomatic inviolability of the embassy and send the police in to get Assange, outrage across the world forced the government to back down.

During one night, police appeared at the windows of the embassy in an obvious attempt to intimidate Assange and his protectors.

Since then, Assange has been confined to a small room without sunlight. He has been ill from time to time and refused safe passage to the diagnostic facilities of hospital. Yet, his resilience and dark humour remain quite remarkable in the circumstances. When asked how he put up with the confinement, he replied, "Sure beats a supermax."

It is not over, but it is unravelling. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – the tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations – last year ruled that Assange had been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden. This is international law at its apex.

Both Britain and Sweden participated in the 16-month long UN investigation and submitted evidence and defended their position before the tribunal. In previous cases ruled upon by the Working Group – Aung Sang Suu Kyi in Burma, imprisoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia, detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian in Iran – both Britain and Sweden gave full support to the tribunal. The difference now is that Assange's persecution endures in the heart of London.

The Metropolitan Police say they still intend to arrest Assange for bail infringement should he leave the embassy. What then? A few months in prison while the US delivers its extradition request to the British courts?

If the British Government allows this to happen it will, in the eyes of the world, be shamed comprehensively and historically as an accessory to the crime of a war waged by rampant power against justice and freedom, and all of us.




John Pilger

John Pilger is a regular contributor to New Matilda, and an award-winning Australian journalist and documentary film-maker. Some of his more famous works include Secret Country, Utopia and Cambodia: Year Zero.

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RT - Russia Today


Assange 'hypothetically' free if he wins arrest warrant appeal – British Prosecution Service
http://www.rt.com/uk/417042-julian-assange-embassy-arrest-warrant/





'WikiLeaks' Julian Assange could be free to walk out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London if his application to quash the arrest warrant for breach of bail conditions is successful, according to the British Prosecution Service.

Asked if Assange, 46, would be free to leave the embassy following a successful appeal, a spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said, "Hypothetically, yes."

The founder of the whistleblowing website has been in the embassy since seeking asylum there in 2012 after he skipped bail to avoid extradition to Sweden over an allegation of rape. Assange denies the charge which he claims is part of a plot to see him extradited to the US.

Prosecutors in Sweden have dropped the charges, but British police maintain Assange will be arrested over breaching his bail if he leaves the embassy in Knightsbridge, central London.'



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The Daily Mail


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange loses bid to get UK arrest warrant against him thrown out
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5358181/Arrest-warrant-WikiLeaks-founder-Julian-Assange-valid.html





'Julian Assange's legal battle to walk free from the Ecuadorian embassy was today blocked after a court refused to throw out an outstanding UK arrest warrant.

The Wikileaks founder, 46, has been in the bolthole in Knightsbridge, central London since 2012 after a rape allegation was made in Sweden, which he denied.

Legal proceedings in Sweden were dropped last May, and a European arrest warrant was withdrawn.

 

But he still faced arrest in the UK for jumping bail in 2012, when he sought asylum in the Embassy and failed to surrender to court.

The activist fears if arrested he could be extradited to America where he is wanted for leaking highly secretive documents.

Lawyers for Assange argued last month the fail to appear warrant had lost its purpose, and applied for it to be withdrawn.

Mark Summers QC, for Assange, had said that as a result of the dropped investigation the UK warrant had 'lost its purpose and its function'.

Mr Summers said: 'This was at all stages an investigatory European Arrest Warrant in respect of which there never were any underlying charges, where Mr Assange lest Sweden lawfully in 2010 having been interviewed with the permission of the prosecutors.'



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What CAN Assange still do in Ecuador embassy after new bans?

















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RT - Russia Today


Ecuador's 'purely political decision on Assange' is likely result of 'US pressure'
http://www.rt.com/news/434459-julian-assange-ecuador-us/





Ecuador's 'purely political decision on Assange' is likely result of 'US pressure' and his possible eviction could set a dangerous precedent, Patrick Henningsen, executive editor of 21st Century Wire.com told RT.

Ecuador has confirmed that whistleblower Julian Assange will eventually have to leave the country's embassy in London.

The Ecuadorian leader Lenin Moreno, who is reportedly in discussions with British officials over a deal to hand the Australian over to police, said at an event in Madrid on Friday that Assange's departure "should come about through dialogue". Spam_A Spam_B RT: What do you think this announcement tells us about Ecuador's intentions?

Patrick Henningsen: Unfortunately, this is potentially going to set a dangerous precedent in the sense that when a country grants somebody asylum in the way that Assange was granted asylum years ago under a different president, that a new president will come in and somehow change that. There is no new evidence to incriminate Assange that would change the scope of his case. You can only translate this as being a purely political decision. And if you look back and drill down to the politics, most likely this is the US pressure being put to bear on the current government of Ecuador. That is clearly what is happening. It is US politics projecting and exerting itself internationally - in this case on Ecuador – getting them to reverse a policy that should be an international norm. In other words, once the country grants somebody asylum on some kind of basis and some judgment is made, I do believe Julian Assange has been issued an Ecuadorian passport, so he does have rights as a citizen in that country. And all of a sudden, that has just evaporated now because of a political whim or pressure put to bear.'



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Charges under Seal: US Prosecutors Get Busy With Julian Assange






Those with a stake in the hustling racket of empire have little time for the contrariness that comes with exposing classified information.  Those who do are submitted to a strict liability regime of assessment and punishment: you had the information (lawfully obtained or otherwise) but you released it for public deliberation.  Ignorance remains a desensitising shield, keeping the citizenry in permanent darkness.

Critics indifferent to the plight of Julian Assange have seen his concerns for prosecution at the hands of US authorities as the disturbed meditations of a sexualised fantasist.  He should have surrendered to the British authorities and, in turn, to the Swedish authorities.  It was either insignificant or irrelevant that a Grand Jury had been convened to sniff around the activities of WikiLeaks to identify what, exactly, could be used against the organisation and its founder.

Cruelty and truth are often matters of excruciating banality, and now it is clearer than ever that the United States will, given the invaluable chance, net the Australian publisher and WikiLeaks founder to make an example of him.  This man, who dirtied the linen of state and exposed the ceremonial of diplomatic hypocrisy, was always an object of interest, notably in the United States.  "He was," confirmed Andrea Kendall-Taylor, former deputy national intelligence officer for Russia under the director of national intelligence, "a loathed figure inside the government."

Whether it was the Central Intelligence Agency, the US Department of Justice, or the specific army of investigators assembled by special counsel Robert Mueller III to weasel out material on the Trump-Russia connection, Assange remains a substantial figure who needs to be captured, sealed and disappeared.  Forget any such references to journalism and being a truth teller with obsessive tendencies; for these officials, Assange had become a calculating machine in the information market, a broker in state details and activities, trading and according value to subject matters of his choice. Spam_A Spam_B A gnawing fascination for US authorities persists on whether Assange has a direct, cosy line to the Kremlin.  Fashioned as such, it can be used as a weapon against President Donald J. Trump, and a cover for Democratic villainy and incompetence.  In terms of scale and endeavour, WikiLeaks has been kitted out in the outfit of a guerrilla information organisation. This exceedingly flattering description may well have given Assange a flush of pride, but it assumes a measure of disproportionate influence.  It also ignores the vital issue of how public discussion, which may well translate into voting patterns, can alter policy.  (This, it should be added, remains the big hypothetical: does such information induce an altered approach, or simply reaffirm prejudice and predisposition?  The flat-earth theorist is hardly going to be moved by anything that would conflict or challenge.)

Both the New York Times and Washington Post revealed last Friday that prosecutors had inadvertently let a rather sizeable cat out of the security bag. (That feline escapee was noted by Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.) As with so much with  matters of secrecy, errors made lead to information gained.  In the filing of a case unrelated to Assange, Assistant US Attorney General Kellen S. Dwyer informed the relevant judge to keep the matter at stake sealed, claiming that "due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged."

Dwyer, whose remit also includes investigating WikiLeaks, had bungled.  "The court filing," claimed a meek Joshua Stueve of the US attorney's office in the Eastern District of Virginia, "was made in error.  This was not the intended name for this filing."

What is not known is the nature of the charges and what events they might cover.  Do they date back to the days of Cablegate or feature updates with the Vault 7 revelations showing the range of cyber tools deployed by the CIA to penetrate mobile devices and computers?  Or do they feature the trove of hacked Democratic emails which constitute a feature of the Mueller investigation?  Charges might well centre on using 18 USC §641, which makes it unlawful for a person to receive any record or thing of value of the United States with intent to convert it to his use or gain, knowing that it was stolen.  But even there, the issue of press protections would apply.

Prosecutors have previously flirted with conspiracy, theft of government authority and purported violations of the Espionage Act, but the Obama administration, for all its enthusiasm in nabbing Assange kept coming up against that irritating bulwark of liberty, some would say impediment, known as the First Amendment.  Prosecute Assange, and you would be effectively prosecuting the battlers of the Fourth Estate, however withered they might be.

The free speech amendment, however, does not trouble current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who, as CIA director, claimed that, "We have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us."

A niggling concern here lies in Justice Department regulations, as amended by Eric Holder in 2015, which cover the obtaining of information and records from, making arrests of, and bringing charges against members of the press.  As Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, Matthew Kahn and Benjamin Wittes point out in Lawfare, one exception stands out with sore attention: "The protections of the policy do not extent to any individual or entity where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the individual entity is ... [a] foreign power or an agent of a foreign power", so defined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  The mania in packaging, ribbon and all, of Assange with those in the Kremlin becomes clear. To make  him a foreign threat takes him outside the scope of press protection, at least when it comes to those desperately drafted regulations.

Since US voters cannot be trusted by the country's corporate owners and the parties of business to act with any degree of maturity and intelligence, it has been assumed by the political classes that they must have been swayed and manipulated by a foreign power.  Or fake news.  Or news.  That assessment obviates any issue as to whether the Clinton machinery within the Democratic Party did its fair share of manipulation and swaying – but then again, quibbles can't be had, nor hairs split on this point.  Keeping it local, and attacking the Great Bear fused with Satan that is Russia, frosted with new Cold War credentials, remains the low-grade, convenient alibi to justify why the backed horse did not make it to the finishing line.  To Assange would be small though consoling compensation.


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WeAreChange

What Is Trump Doing to Julian Assange

In this video, Luke gives you the latest breaking news on the Assange indictment that has now leaked to the public. On the campaign trail Trump "loved the WikiLeaks" so why does it appear he has indicted Assange?













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Breitbart


Julian Assange Lawyers Refused Entry to Ecuadorian Embassy
http://www.breitbart.com/politics/2018/11/24/julian-assange-lawyers-refused-entry-to-ecuadorian-embassy/





Members of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's legal team were blocked from entering the Ecuadorian embassy in London this weekend, WikiLeaks' official Twitter account said Saturday.

Ecuadorian officials turned away attorneys Jen Robinson and Aitor Martinez scheduled to meet with Assange, who is preparing for a court hearing at a "national security court complex at Alexandria, Virginia," according to the whistleblowing non-profit organization. The aim of the hearing is to "remove the secrecy order" concerning the U.S. charges Assange faces, the group tweeted.



The fact that charges had been prepared was disclosed in an errant court filing in an unrelated case that was recently unsealed and that contained Assange's name.

The filing said charges and an arrest warrant "would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested."

Assange will not willingly travel to the United States to face charges filed under seal against him, one of his lawyers has stated, foreshadowing a possible fight over extradition for a central figure in the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia-Trump investigation.'



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The Guardian Faceplants As Manafort's Passport Stamps Don't Match 'Fabricated' Assange Story






'Further evidence that The Guardian "entirely fabricated" a report that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort visited Julian Assange in 2013, 2015 and the spring of 2016; his passports...

The Washington Times reports that Manafort's three passports reveal just two visits to England in 2010 and 2012, which support his categorical denial of the "totally false and deliberately libelous" report in The Guardian, which said that Manafort visited Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy - ostensibly to coordinate on the WikiLeaks release of Hillary Clinton's emails. Spam_A Spam_B The Times does note that Manafort could have conceivably entered the UK from another European country and not received a stamp - however a representative for Manafort insisted to the Times that Manafort has only made those two visits to England since 2008, and that a libel suit against the Guardian is under discussion.

While two of Manafort's passports were entered as evidence at his tax evasion trial - something that The Guardian's Luke Harding and Dan Collyns could have easily looked up - the Times has obtained a copy of his third passport which confirms the two visits.

QuoteHis attorney explained the passports this way: One was lost, one was used to submit to foreign embassies for visas, and one was used as a backup. Manafort later found the third passport. -Washington Times


WikiLeaks immediately fired back at The Guardian - betting the paper "a million dollars and its editor's head that Manafort never met Assange."




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Truth and Free Speech Are Being Taken Away from Us
https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/12/10/truth-and-free-speech-are-being-taken-away-from-us/





'Free speech and the ability to speak truth are being shut down. It is happening with the complicity of the print and TV media, the liberal/progressive/left, the US Department of Justice (sic), the law schools and bar associations, Congress, and the federal judiciary.

The attack on Julian Assange is the arrow aimed at the heart of the ability to publish the truth. If a journalist can be indicted for espionage for publishing leaked documents that a corrupt government has classified in order to conceal its crimes, the First Amendment is dead.

Moreover, as the claim is that government was harmed by Wikileaks publishing the truth, Assange's secret indictment sets the precedent that truth is harmful to government. This precedent will be extended to include the publication of any information or opinion, classified or not, that the government regards as harmful. The media then officially becomes what it mainly already is in effect—a Ministry of Propaganda for the government and those who control it.

As a person who has held high security clearances, I can say with confidence that no more than one percent of classified information falls in the realm of national security. Most classification is simply to prevent the people and Congress from knowing what is going on. Classification allows the various components of government to put the spin where they want it. "National security" has always been an excuse accepted by patriots for the government to conceal its wrong doings and hidden agendas.

Give thought to the alleged harm done by Wikileaks publishing the information leaked by Bradley Manning and the Clinton emails that were downloaded onto a thumb drive and not hacked as security experts have proved. Give thought to the documents proving the warrantless and thereby illegal spying by the NSA that Edward Snowden revealed. How was government hurt by the information? Government should have been hurt, but it was not. The presstitutes did not take up the issue. No one in government was punished for the war crimes, lies, and illegal and unconstitutional acts that the publication of the leaked documents revealed. None of Washington's vassal governments renounced its vassalage on the basis of the information that revealed they were spied on and deceived. Washington's vassal governments already knew that Washington lies and deceives them. The Chancellor of Germany simply accepted that Washington listens to her private telephone calls. Vassals simply accept indignities as a consequence of their vassalage. The only people punished were those who revealed the truth—Maning, Snowden, and Assange.

Washington imprisoned Manning and seeks to imprison Assange for damage that Washington did not suffer.'

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WikiLeaks' Assange should surrender to UK rather than stay at embassy indefinitely – Ecuador Foreign Minister
https://www.rt.com/news/448548-assange-ecuador-leave-embassy/





'The UK will never let Julian Assange just leave the country, so he should surrender, Ecuador's foreign minister said. The only other option is life self-imprisonment at the Ecuadoran embassy.

"Mr. Assange has basically two options: to stay indefinitely because the British authorities have told us ... that they will never authorize a safe passage for him to leave the embassy to a third country, and the other alternative is to surrender," Foreign Minister José Valencia FM Mundo.

Quote
    Ecuadorian ministry of foreign affairs releases new statement on Assange: "The situation currently has two options for Mr. Assange, to stay indefinitely, or to surrender [to arrest and extradition the US] and we believe the latter (surrender) is the most positive for him" https://t.co/MxacaIepiQ

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 10, 2019



While securing safety assurances from the British side would be ideal, "you cannot continue insisting on something that will not happen," Valencia stressed, noting that Ecuador believes that it will be "most positive" for Assange to leave the diplomatic compound and face the British law – and by extension a possible extradition to the US.

Assange has been stranded at the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012 when the diplomatic mission shielded him from a UK court trial for skipping bail. The move was meant to protect him from possible extradition to the US, where, Assange believes, he would face an unfair trial and a long detention for publishing American secrets. The concern was fueled last year after court papers in the US in an unrelated case mentioned a secret indictment against Assange.

The WikiLeaks editor was granted political asylum and Ecuadoran citizenship by the Latin American country's previous president Rafael Correa. But under the new leadership of President Lenín Moreno Ecuador sought rapprochement with the US, which apparently affected the conditions for Assange. He was eventually denied means of communication and visiting rights, effectively turning his embassy stay into solitary confinement.'

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RT - Russia Today


'Free Assange first': Twitter schools UK Foreign Secretary over 'media freedom' message
http://www.rt.com/uk/452571-jeremy-hunt-media-conference-assange/





UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's tweet about a media freedom event was met with swift mocking on social media, as many reminded him of WIkiLeaks founder Julian Assange's situation and the Saudi killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

"Free media is the lifeblood of democracy," Hunt tweeted as he announced the "first ever ministerial-level media freedom conference" in London in July, adding the hashtags #DefendMediaFreedom and #JournalismIsNotACrime.




WikiLeaks pointed out that the UK is the "only state in the EU to be arbitrarily detaining a publisher – in violation of two UN rulings."'



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