There are no breaking news at the moment

Documents and devices Julian Assange left in the London embassy of Ecuador will be handed over to U.S.

Media reports said:

Ecuador’s attorney general has informed Julian Assange’s lawyer that the WikiLeaks co-founder’s files, computer, mobile phones and other electronic devices will be seized during a search of the London embassy and sent to the U.S.

The searches are set to be conducted by police on May 20.

The Ecuadorian government has reportedly green lighted a US request to provide it with access to the documents and electronic devices left behind by the jailed WikiLeaks editor after he was hauled out of the embassy by the British police on April 11.

Personal files, Assange’s computer, mobile phones, memory sticks, CDs and any other electronic devices uncovered during the searches will then be seized and sent to the U.S. as a part of Ecuador’s response to the U.S. Department of Justice’s judicial request. The U.S. is currently building a case to extradite Assange on hacking charges.

The files contain troves of sensitive information, include communication with lawyers and other legal documents, which, the lawyers argue, deprive him of the right to a proper defense. Having this data will potentially allow the U.S. to “build and create new charges” to extradite Assange in violation of Ecuador’s own asylum policies.

News of the looming handover came as a bolt out of the blue for Assange’s defense team, Poveda told, adding that it’s impossible to be sure that his things in the embassy haven’t been tampered with already.

“Since Mr Assange left the embassy, we cannot know for sure what has been happening inside these rooms,” he said. Lawyers have requested CCTV records for the period since Assange’s arrest, Poveda said.

The US has until June 12 to build a case for extradition.

Last week, Assange, who has been serving a 50-week sentence in a maximum-security Guantanamo Bay-style prison for skipping bail, faced an extradition judge for the first time.

The WikiLeaks co-founder said he would not surrender himself to extradition for simply “doing journalism” that has earned his site many international awards.

WikiLeaks editor denied entry to Ecuadorian embassy to retrieve Assange’s belongings

Earlier reports said:

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson has failed to retrieve Assange’s belongings from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He was denied entry in a development, which he called “outrageous.”

Hrafnsson sought to collect Assange’s belongings, which were left behind in the embassy after he was arrested.

However, Hrafnsson, the Icelandic investigative journalist failed to even enter the premises of the diplomatic mission, as, according to him, the Ecuadorian diplomats simply refused to open the door and let him in.

 “I sent them an email and told them I would be there at 3 o’clock with a full mandate from Julian Assange, his family and friends and that I am the editor-in-chief of the WikiLeaks. They did not open the door. It is disgraceful,” Hrafnsson told a crowd of around 50 Assange supporters that had gathered in front of the embassy following the publisher’s extradition hearing.

Respect law

A crowd which staged an improvised rally in front of the mission chanted: “respect the law”, “free Assange” and “open the door.” Some of the demonstrators were also holding placards that read: “Free Assange” and “Free Speech.”

Hrafnsson told the gathering that the actions of the embassy staff amount to nothing less than a “theft”.

He said that he called the police in an attempt to secure their help in retrieving property belonging to the WikiLeak’s co-founder. “But they declined to do so as they said it was not theft because those were not MY belongings,” he said.

Eventually, Hrafnsson managed to grab the attention of a police patrol walking down the street near the embassy and convinced them to enter the embassy to sort it out.

However, police did not have any luck either and returned empty-handed while telling Hrafnsson that he should have arranged a formal meeting with the Ecuadorian diplomats.

“The police are going to take the matter further and I hope they will establish a channel so that we can retrieve the belongings that are illegally held here,” he said.

Embassy staff were not that scrupulous back in April when they allowed British police to detain Assange. He was dragged out of the diplomatic mission as he shouted: “UK… must resist!”

Assange spent about seven years in the embassy.

Hypocrisy of British and Canadian High Commissions in New Zealand

On May 12, 2019, a press release from Socialist Equality Group said:

Free Assange NZ denounces hypocrisy at World Press Freedom Day event.

On May 3, to mark World Press Freedom Day, the British High Commission in New Zealand co-hosted an event with the Canadian High Commission and the NZ Institute of International Affairs at the parliament in Wellington. UK High Commissioner Laura Clarke moderated a panel discussion involving Newshub reporter Tova O’Brien, Politik blogger Richard Harman and opposition National Party MP Nicola Young.

The Wellington panel made a travesty of the ostensible topic of press freedom. This was starkly revealed towards the end.

Alex Hills, from the group Free Assange New Zealand, stood up to denounce the hypocrisy of the panel, which had not once mentioned the arrest and imprisonment of Assange by British police — the most significant and brazen attack on journalism in recent history.

Assange is now threatened with extradition to the US for the “crime” of publishing leaked documents exposing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Washington’s corrupt and thuggish diplomacy throughout the world.

Hills said: “We’ve focused on lies in social media but not those in [the mainstream media]. I want to point out the brazen hypocrisy of World Press Freedom Day being hosted by the UK government at this dark time. Julian Assange is being persecuted by war criminals, and the corrupt that he exposed are still sitting in positions of power in the government on both sides of the aisle as well as within much of the media.

“Imagine the precedent Trump is setting, that any country could extradite any foreign journalist or publisher and make them subject to draconian laws, possibly the death penalty, just because they published truths about that government’s war crimes. Imagine if that state is Saudi Arabia.”

Hills called on “the world’s media to stand by their award-winning colleague and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. End the smears and lies about an anti-war hero! You want to know how to get people trusting the media more? Tell the truth. Stop delivering a one-sided, government-sanctioned narrative. That is what is going on here.”

Hills’ indictment prompted an extremely hostile response from the panel. Clarke, speaking on behalf of the UK government, declared that Assange had to be “held to account and to justice and it’s not, I would say, a media freedom issue.”

According to this Orwellian interpretation of “media freedom,” journalists and publishers must be punished for reporting the truth about the crimes of governments.

Harman, a well-known political blogger in Wellington, gave a thoroughly disgraceful response to Hills, stating: “I think Luke Harding [of the UK Guardian] has done quite a lot on this question of whether [Assange] is a journalist or not, and has concluded that he is not.”

Harding has written scurrilous pieces against WikiLeaks and Assange. In an attempt to smear Assange as a supporter of US President Trump, Harding co-authored a report that Assange had met with Paul Manafort, Trump’s one-time campaign manager. The article was quickly exposed as a pack of lies, but was not retracted by the Guardian.

The newspaper, along with the corporate media as a whole, viciously attacked WikiLeaks for publishing leaked emails showing that the Democratic National Committee sought to rig the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries in favor of Hillary Clinton. The leaks also revealed Clinton’s close ties to Wall Street banks and her support for imperialist war.

Hills stated that Harding’s “story on Manafort was a disgrace.”

At this point, Clarke intervened, saying: “I’m sorry, we’re not going to have any more, quite frankly, that’s fine.”

Hills protested, “What about free speech?” as Clarke moved to shut down the discussion. O’Brien and Young refused to comment on Assange’s plight.

A video of Hills’ speech has been widely shared and viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter. It was re-tweeted by WikiLeaks editor Hrafnsson with the comment: “Meanwhile in New Zealand. British High Commissioner says #Assange case is not about media freedom. Also, former journalist cites Luke Harding as an authority that Julian is NOT a journalist. Surreal! Government panel defending attack on press freedom on #WorldPressFreedomDay”

The UK High Commission has not released its own footage from the event, despite initially promising to release a highlights video.

Speaking to the World Socialist Web Site, Hills said the panel discussion had included hypocritical expressions of concern about the plight of journalists in Saudi Arabia and Myanmar.

“Really it was a discussion about: ‘How do we get people to trust mainstream media? We’re having an awful lot of trouble because people don’t trust media and there’s so much lies in social media, how do we censor those lies?’ It was crazy,” Hills said.

There was no mention of how the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was based on lies about weapons of mass destruction peddled by the entire corporate media and the US and British political establishment.

The panelists echoed statements by the New Zealand and Australian governments, which seized on the March 15 Christchurch terrorist attacks as a pretext to demand greater censorship of discussion on the Internet. Under a new law in Australia, social media executives can face prison sentences if they fail to remove any content deemed “abhorrent” and “violent” by the government. NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will discuss other possible measures at a meeting with French President Emanuel Macron on May 15.

Such laws will inevitably be used against socialist and progressive websites, bloggers, and workers using social media to organize and share information, such as the “yellow vest” protesters in France and striking workers in New Zealand.

Ardern’s Labour Party-led government, which includes the Green Party and NZ First, has refused to say anything in defense of Assange and Manning because they support the criminal actions of the UK and US governments. Labour has strengthened New Zealand’s alliance with US imperialism. It has kept troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and is supporting the build-up to war against China and North Korea.

Youth and students

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality is going to hold a meeting at Victoria University of Wellington on Wednesday, May 15 at 5:15 p.m., in Student Union Building room SU220 as part of the international campaign to free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning.

The organization urged students and workers to attend this vitally important meeting in defense of democratic rights and free speech.


SUPPORT HONEST JOURNALISM

Join Our News Letter


 

Comments are closed.