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posted by martyb on Sunday September 23 2018, @01:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend dept.

Revealed: Russia's secret plan to help Julian Assange escape from UK

Russian diplomats held secret talks in London last year with people close to Julian Assange to assess whether they could help him flee the UK, the Guardian has learned.

A tentative plan was devised that would have seen the WikiLeaks founder smuggled out of Ecuador's London embassy in a diplomatic vehicle and transported to another country.

One ultimate destination, multiple sources have said, was Russia, where Assange would not be at risk of extradition to the US. The plan was abandoned after it was deemed too risky.

The operation to extract Assange was provisionally scheduled for Christmas Eve in 2017, one source claimed, and was linked to an unsuccessful attempt by Ecuador to give Assange formal diplomatic status.

Related: Ecuador Grants Citizenship to Julian Assange
Ecuador Reportedly Almost Ready to Hand Julian Assange Over to UK Authorities
Associated Press Publishes Supposedly Leaked WikiLeaks Documents


Original Submission

Related Stories

Politics: Ecuador Grants Citizenship to Julian Assange 52 comments

Ecuador has granted citizenship to Julian Assange as its government attempts to find creative ways of getting Assange out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London:

Ecuador says it has granted citizenship to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, as officials try to find a way for him to leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London without risking legal action.

Assange, who is Australian, first sought refuge at the embassy more than five years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced an investigation over rape allegations. He was granted asylum, and has been holed up in the embassy ever since.

The original case against him has been dropped, but Assange remains inside the embassy. "He is still subject to arrest in Britain for jumping bail," The Associated Press notes. "He also fears a possible U.S. extradition request based on his leaking of classified State Department documents."

"Earlier this week, Ecuador said the situation was unsustainable and requested diplomatic status for Assange in hopes of springing him," NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from London. "A British government spokesman responded: 'Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice.'"

Also at The Guardian.


Original Submission

Ecuador Reportedly Almost Ready to Hand Julian Assange Over to UK Authorities 114 comments

Ecuador Will Imminently Withdraw Asylum for Julian Assange and Hand Him Over to the UK. What Comes Next?

Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno traveled to London on Friday for the ostensible purpose of speaking at the 2018 Global Disabilities Summit (Moreno has been using a wheelchair since being shot in a 1998 robbery attempt). The concealed, actual purpose of the President's trip is to meet with British officials to finalize an agreement under which Ecuador will withdraw its asylum protection of Julian Assange, in place since 2012, eject him from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and then hand over the WikiLeaks founder to British authorities.

Associated Press Publishes Supposedly Leaked WikiLeaks Documents 22 comments

WikiLeaks founder sought Russian visa in 2010, per AP report

The Associated Press has published a cache of 10 documents that it says are part of a leaked "larger trove of WikiLeaks emails, chat logs, financial records, secretly recorded footage, and other documents." AP reporter Raphael Satter declined to elaborate as to how much more material the AP had or why that material was not being released now.

Among those documents is a purported November 30, 2010 effort by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to seek a Russian visa via its London consulate. That's just a week before Assange surrendered to British authorities who sought him for questioning on behalf of Swedish prosecutors who wanted him on allegations of sexual misconduct. By June 2012, Assange had entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has remained since. Assange has denied any wrongdoing in the Swedish case.

[...] This cache adds intrigue to WikiLeaks' and Assange's ongoing saga. Numerous media outlets reported early last month that Assange's days in the embassy are numbered and that the Ecuadorian authorities could boot him soon. "The files provide both an intimate look at the radical transparency organization and an early hint of Assange's budding relationship with Moscow," Satter wrote.

[...] For its part, WikiLeaks responded shortly after the Associated Press story went live on Monday morning by suggesting that, at a minimum, the visa application document was false, tweeting at numerous media outlets:

Mr. Assange did not apply for such a visa at any time or author the document. The source is document fabricator & paid FBI informant Sigurdur Thordarson who was sentenced to prison for fabricating docs impersonating Assange, multiple frauds & pedophilllia. https://t.co/xzMfhctFx4

Related: Ecuador Reportedly Almost Ready to Hand Julian Assange Over to UK Authorities


Original Submission

Julian Assange Sues Ecuador for "Violating His Fundamental Rights" 34 comments

Julian Assange Says He's Suing Ecuador for 'Violating His Fundamental Rights'

Julian Assange announced on Friday that he was suing the Ecuadorean government for "violating his fundamental rights," claiming that his longtime hosts at the country's embassy in London are limiting his contact with the outside world and censoring his speech.

His legal team in the matter, led by the former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, revealed the suit at a news conference in Quito, where the lawsuit was filed. The action aims to prevent strict new rules governing Mr. Assange's visitors and online activity from taking effect.

The policies were laid out in a nine-page memo that was published by a news site this month. (They include directives to clean his bathroom and look after his cat.)

Clean up your room and brush your teeth before you go to bed.

Also at Reuters, CNN, and USA Today.

Previously: Julian Assange has His Internet Access Cut Off by Ecuador
Ecuador Spent $5 Million Protecting and Spying on Julian Assange
Ecuador Reportedly Almost Ready to Hand Julian Assange Over to UK Authorities
Associated Press Publishes Supposedly Leaked WikiLeaks Documents
The Guardian: Russian Diplomats Planned to Sneak Julian Assange Out of the UK


Original Submission

Inadvertent Court Filing Suggests that the U.S. DoJ is Preparing to Indict Julian Assange 94 comments

Inadvertent Court Filing Suggests that the U.S. DoJ is Preparing to Indict Julian Assange

Prosecutors Have Prepared Indictment of Julian Assange, a Filing Reveals

The Justice Department has prepared an indictment against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, marking a drastic escalation of the government's yearslong battle with him and his anti-secrecy group. It was not clear if prosecutors have filed charges against Mr. Assange. The indictment came to light late Thursday through an unrelated court filing in which prosecutors inadvertently mentioned charges against him. "The court filing was made in error," said Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the United States attorney's office for the Eastern District of Virginia. "That was not the intended name for this filing."

[...] Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at George Washington University who closely tracks court cases, uncovered the filing and posted it on Twitter.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to say on Thursday what led to the inadvertent disclosure. It was made in a recently unsealed filing in an apparently unrelated sex-crimes case charging a man named Seitu Sulayman Kokayi with coercing and enticing an underage person to engage in unlawful sexual activity. Mr. Kokayi was charged in early August, and on Aug. 22, prosecutors filed a three-page document laying out boilerplate arguments for why his case at that time needed to remain sealed.

While the filing started out referencing Mr. Kokayi, federal prosecutors abruptly switched on its second page to discussing the fact that someone named "Assange" had been secretly indicted, and went on to make clear that this person was the subject of significant publicity, lived abroad and would need to be extradited — suggesting that prosecutors had inadvertently pasted text from a similar court filing into the wrong document and then filed it.

"Another procedure short of sealing will not adequately protect the needs of law enforcement at this time because, 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," prosecutors wrote. They added, "The complaint, supporting affidavit, and arrest warrant, as well as this motion and the proposed order, would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter."

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @01:53AM (14 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @01:53AM (#738726)

    He has been illegally detained for eight years without charge [theguardian.com]. The solution is simple but the politics are hard: the impasse over Julian Assange could be resolved immediately if the UK Government gave an assurance that he would not be extradited to the US if he leaves the embassy [irishexaminer.com]. It has always been a question of extradition.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @02:02AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @02:02AM (#738729)

      Trump will pardon him if he can be assured safe passage to the US. That's the problem, let's not pretend it isn't.

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by Arik on Sunday September 23 2018, @02:19AM

        by Arik (4543) on Sunday September 23 2018, @02:19AM (#738735) Journal
        That's not a problem, that's wishful thinking.
        --
        If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @12:08PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @12:08PM (#738815)

        He sure will, pardon him right into prison.

      • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Sunday September 23 2018, @10:44PM

        by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Sunday September 23 2018, @10:44PM (#738983)

        Trump will pardon him if he can be assured safe passage to the US. That's the problem, let's not pretend it isn't.

        Where's the -1 Idiot Mod?

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Whoever on Sunday September 23 2018, @04:07AM (2 children)

      by Whoever (4524) on Sunday September 23 2018, @04:07AM (#738762) Journal

      Wishful thinking.

      Imagine that Assange leaves the embassy. There is the issue of his skipping bail. Why should the UK ignore that?

      Then, if Assange is in British custody, or even in Britain, what if the USA requests extradition? What law gives the British Government the right to ignore its treaty obligations? Ignoring treaty obligations is something the USA does, the UK, not so much.

      Perhaps it would be payback for the IRA terrorists that the USA would not extradite during the Troubles.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by jdavidb on Sunday September 23 2018, @12:24PM (1 child)

        by jdavidb (5690) on Sunday September 23 2018, @12:24PM (#738820) Homepage Journal

        Imagine that Assange leaves the embassy. There is the issue of his skipping bail. Why should the UK ignore that?

        Because obviously the charges against him are an attempt to railroad him and get him into the US to stand trial for the non-crime of exposing the evil US government's secrets?

        Is that not reason enough for you?

        --
        ⓋⒶ☮✝🕊 Secession is the right of all sentient beings
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by Whoever on Sunday September 23 2018, @03:42PM

          by Whoever (4524) on Sunday September 23 2018, @03:42PM (#738867) Journal

          What charges? You mean the charge of skipping on his bail?

          There is no charge against him in the USA today. The UK government can't give an assurance based on speculation.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @09:08AM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @09:08AM (#738795)

      He has been illegally detained for eight years without charge

      He ran from the charges in Sweden and has hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy like a punk. All the while shouting "I'm innocent!" but acting like he's guilty. He even skipped bail in the UK. All of these actions were his own decisions.

      I'm aware the the charges in Sweden were eventually dropped, but he ran from them. The two women refusing to press charges or cooperate could be because someone convinced them to leave Assange alone. There is no proof of that, but many things surrounding Assange's actions and claims are speculation or conspiratorial based, so it's as "true" as anything else involving Assange.

      I realize he doesn't want to face charges in the US, but he did break US laws whether he (or anybody else) wants to admit it or not. He wants to claim he's a hero but he hides like a coward and he's afraid to take responsibility for his actions. He is self centered and self serving, and wants to promote the Assange brand more than anything else.

      He's not being held against his will, he's simply afraid of the consequences of his actions so he's hiding like a scared mouse.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by khallow on Sunday September 23 2018, @09:58AM (3 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 23 2018, @09:58AM (#738800) Journal

        but he did break US laws

        What laws did he break?

        • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @10:34AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @10:34AM (#738806)

          None, but once in the US he will be either charged with as many offenses as necessary to achieve a death penalty and allowed to plea bargain (thus admitting his guilt), to show leniency, or he will go to gitmo and that will be the end of it.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @04:38PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @04:38PM (#738886)

          What laws did he break?

          Charges for receiving and releasing classified US documents, DNC emails, etc. Those may be "after the fact" accessory charges, but they are violations of US laws nonetheless. I'd bet good money on a sealed indictment just waiting for Assange to end up in a extradition-friendly situation. Any statute of limitations were probably reset when the DNC emails were released (the US government views this as an ongoing criminal enterprise/conspiracy).

          Whether he could be convicted is another matter, but the US is ready when Assange becomes nabbable. Plus, if the US can't convict him I'm sure there are other US allies who may want a shot at him for releasing their classified documents.

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday September 24 2018, @01:27PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 24 2018, @01:27PM (#739157) Journal

            Charges for receiving and releasing classified US documents, DNC emails, etc.

            The earlier poster played this straw man game where they insinuated that breaking the law was an indication of poor character without considering whether the laws in question, assuming they actually exist, are in good faith. I'm still not convinced that actions of Assange and Wikileaks are criminal, particularly since the US hasn't publicly stated such (particularly, hasn't submitted said extradition request publicly by now).

            Whether he could be convicted is another matter

            If he's never brought to trial, then it doesn't matter.

      • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Sunday September 23 2018, @02:24PM (1 child)

        by hemocyanin (186) on Sunday September 23 2018, @02:24PM (#738844) Journal

        You've probably broken Saudi Arabian laws. EXTRADITE!!!

        (moron)

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @04:45PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @04:45PM (#738887)

          You've probably broken Saudi Arabian laws. EXTRADITE!!!

          (moron)

          I've always wanted to visit that part of the world. I'll post my vacation pics on Instagram. Just look for #NotAsDumbAsILook.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @02:18AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @02:18AM (#738734)

    Cool story, bro. Ties in with the Russia narrative. The forged Russian visa application "supports" this.

    He aired the DNC's dirty laundry. She Lost, and he must be destroyed.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @02:58AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @02:58AM (#738747)

      Assange was tight with Russia before it was cool. He had a show on RT and everything.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @12:35AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @12:35AM (#739018)

        He must have been inspired by WJC. New documents on Yeltsin-Clinton conversations further expose US “meddling” in Russian politics [wsws.org]

        The earliest documents date from 1996, the year of the presidential elections in Russia. Boris Yeltsin, who had presided over the “shock therapy” with which capitalism was fully restored in Russia, was by now widely hated and stood almost no chance of winning the election. The most likely winner was Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the ultra-nationalist Stalinist Communist Party (KPRF).

        That the US heavily intervened in these elections to bolster Yeltsin, with whom Clinton had developed a close political relationship, has long been known. As a matter of fact, the US media, including Time magazine, bragged about this operation, which involved sending several highly paid former US officials to Russia to help Yeltsin with his campaign [wsws.org].¹

        The newly released minutes provide more detailed insight into this thoroughly anti-democratic operation.

        ¹ "Far from concealing this intervention, the American ruling elite boasted of its success after Yeltsin’s victory. Time magazine made it the cover story of its July 15, 1996 edition."

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Sunday September 23 2018, @02:29AM (5 children)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Sunday September 23 2018, @02:29AM (#738737) Journal

    Wikileaks shows a large disconnect between western governments and the western public.

    It's hugely embarrassing that the Leaders of the Free World and Defenders of Freedom, especially Freedom of Speech, are so badly corrupted and stupid that they don't care how hypocritical it makes them look to go after Assange in this unethical manner.

    It's not just Assange and Wikileaks. Snowden and Manning were both subjected to appalling treatment. Then there's Gitmo. And if all that isn't bad enough, our leaders keep dallying with torture. That's some deep bull to call it "enhanced interrogation".

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Sunday September 23 2018, @03:16AM (3 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 23 2018, @03:16AM (#738752) Homepage Journal

      Well, on the plus side for western governments: A sufficiently brainwashed population will never notice the grossest of hypocrisy.

      --
      "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @03:49AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @03:49AM (#738754)

        A sufficiently brainwashed population will never notice the grossest of hypocrisy.

        And the rest don't give a shit...

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @10:48AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @10:48AM (#738808)

          Until their replacement is complete.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @01:20AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @01:20AM (#739027)

        Hmm...

        "It's not just Assange and Wikileaks. Snowden and Manning were both subjected to appalling treatment. Then there's Gitmo."

        "Snowden and Manning"

        "Manning"

        No mention of Manning

        Chelsea Manning!

        *runs away*

    • (Score: 2) by jelizondo on Sunday September 23 2018, @04:05AM

      by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 23 2018, @04:05AM (#738760) Journal

      Wikileaks shows a large disconnect between western governments and the western public.

      You misspelled "values" or maybe you meant to type "principles"

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by shortscreen on Sunday September 23 2018, @08:54AM (2 children)

    by shortscreen (2252) on Sunday September 23 2018, @08:54AM (#738794) Journal

    OK so maybe their diplomatic vehicle plan had some shortcomings. But I'm sure Putin has enough resources at his disposal to make this happen.

    Plan 1: smuggle in a jetpack, Julian flies away

    plan 1b: smuggle in materials to make a hot air balloon (a family escaped from East Germany this way)

    plan 2: use weather control technology to spawn a heavy blizzard, Julian hides inside a large snowball which rolls right past the cops

    plan 3: send a guy to drop a bottle of perfume on the street in front of the embassy and exclaim "oh shit, the novichok!" to scare the cops away

    plan 4: declare that Julian has already escaped and made it to Moscow, wait for cops to give up and go home

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @09:10PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @09:10PM (#738952)

      plan 5: smuggle him out one piece at a time.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @12:39AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @12:39AM (#739019)

      W007! Weather war! Could also be

      plan 6: have the Russian Anunnaki beam Assange up

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @10:09AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @10:09AM (#738803)

    how is this a secret if it's all over the internet. Very little is a secret any more. The military can't fart in someone's general direction without it being pre-announced by someone in the media.

  • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @12:50PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @12:50PM (#738826)

    This means it was Trumps plan to help him escape. So perhaps he is in the witness protection program waiting for the right time to reveal the whole Seth Rich thing. The scandle where the dnc rigged the primaries against Bernie Sanders, probably had plans to rig the general election against Trump, and then had that guy killed for leaking it to wikileaks and named a bikerack after him.

    Meanwhile the fbi is too busy classifying how much they are spending on conference room tables to investigate this.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @03:23PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 23 2018, @03:23PM (#738865)

    It is an island nation, where everybody is less than 80 miles from the sea. One would think that some crazy aussie, yank or frenchman would sail over, have the guy delivered in the trunk of a car to one of hundred fishing villages, and just sail his ass out of the country. It would make a great adventure, and certainly sell a lot of books.

    Of course this would require him to shut up long enough for his absence to go unnoticed.

    • (Score: 2) by Unixnut on Monday September 24 2018, @06:34AM (1 child)

      by Unixnut (5779) on Monday September 24 2018, @06:34AM (#739084)

      Assange is safe as long as he is not on UK soil, within the embassy flat is Ecuadorian soil, so he is safe, but that is why he can't set foot outside, and hasn't, for years now.

      The problem is getting the guy out of the embassy and delivered out of London to wherever. He has round the clock surveillance, and any parcel large enough to hide a human in is checked on leaving the premises. Contrary to popular belief, diplomatic bags can be searched by the hosting country if there is grounds to believe a crime is taking place right there and then. Plus Ecuador is weak enough as a country that the UK can violate diplomatic protocol with them (indeed the UK makes a habit of violating diplomatic and international law almost as much as the USA does).

      The embassy is also not like most Americans think an embassy looks like (US Embassies tend to look like imperial forts. Huge grounds, Helipads, standalone building(s), large walls (sometimes with barbed wire) and armed guards all around, and in the case of the UK, a moat apparently).

      The Ecuadorian embassy is just a normal flat in a building in a (admittedly posh and exclusive) residential area. It isn't even a ground floor flat, so you can't consider trying to get him out from underground. It isn't a top floor flat either, and has no grounds, so you don't have a roof or other space to land a helicopter on to whisk him away. It is smack bang in the middle, meaning the only way in or out is via the front door (or jumping out the window to the waiting cops, assuming you don't impale yourself on the spiked railings below).

      Even assuming you somehow manage to get Assange out of that flat into London without the cops arresting him, you are still stuck in central London, one of the most congested places in the world. The fastest way out of there is to walk, but Assange would be noticed and pursued, so I guess a car would be the best option, but that could well take a few hours to get out of London, all the while risking exposure and pursuit by the cops. I guess you can mitigate this by doing your operation in the early hours of the morning, but I can attest to being stuck in clogged traffic in central London at 2am, so that is no guarantee of empty roads and a fast blast down to the coast to a waiting boat.

      Honestly, Assange could not have picked a worse place to hole himself up in. I don't know why he went to the Ecuadorians in the first place. They are not strong enough as a nation to extricate him from the UK, or the US, and their embassy does not have the facilities to transport him out of the country without setting foot on UK soil. Any embassy which at least had grounds or a roof to land a helicopter on would have sufficed, or done what Snowden did and go to the Russians, who are powerful enough to keep the US/UK at bay.

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