Chelsea Manning on the far right, state surveillance and …

Though she is best known for her role in leaking state secrets, Chelsea Manning is more engaged in what she calls regular activism at the moment, which in todays America means fighting neo-Nazis.

Manning who is about to make her first trip to Australia in September on a speaking tour will come to our shores with warnings about the rise of white nationalism in the United States, the police state and what citizens should do to fight back.

Speaking to Guardian Australia ahead of the trip, Manning said she is organising against the second Unite the Right rally in Washington DC where neo-Nazis theyre barely hiding their affiliation folks are coming here for a white civil rights rally, which is the most ridiculous thing in the entire world in my opinion.

They stand as a legitimate threat and they have power.

It is a warning that has resonance in Australia, days after Sky News hosted an interview with the far-right extremist Blair Cottrell, which they later apologised for and took down.

The former US military analyst, who served seven years of a 35-year sentence in military prison after leaking a vast trove of 700,000 secret documents to WikiLeaks, has already upended the world once and it sounds like, through activism, she is determined to do it again.

In multiple interviews since her release, Manning has claimed that time pressures and difficulties with mainstream outlets forced her to send the documents direct to WikiLeaks but she has never said sorry or expressed regret.

There was literally no [other] way I couldve done it, she says. I make a lot of mistakes but that doesnt mean I regret those mistakes, because those are learning experiences as well.

Ive made a couple of errors since Ive been out of prison that Ive had to learn from because Im navigating life again.

Manning says her stint in prison had a lot of long-term effects on her but explains only elliptically because she says she does not fully understand them. Its been slow, its been very difficult for me to recognise the things going on.

Mannings sentence was cut short by a surprise commutation by Barack Obama and within a year she threw herself into an unsuccessful run in the Democratic primary for a Maryland Senate seat.

Manning insists that her Senate run is not on the list of errors but she talks extensively about cures for the worlds ills outside of electoral politics.

If people in the United States or Australia are afraid of the extensive powers of police and national security agencies, Manning says they can demand more we dont have to be afraid.

The only political decisions we make in our lives are not just voting or signing a petition or going out to a protest every single thing that we do, in essence, can be a political decision, she says.

People can choose whether or not to do business with repressive institutions, whether or not to call the police, whether or not we want to depend on these kinds of systems that really harm enormous amounts of people.

Asked about her comments on Twitter that change wont come through any ballot and expressing extreme scepticism about the prospect of change at the forthcoming US midterm elections, Manning clarifies she is not saying you shouldnt vote.

We actually have power in our every day lives … if we keep expecting that voting is going to change that were not going to see any change at all, she says. [Electoral politics] has to be in conjunction with an actual movement that has teeth.

When asked whether the US president, Donald Trump, is a unique threat, Manning describes him as not an aberration but the inevitable conclusion of a trend … of the political system in the United States.

The more concerning thing for me is the fact that a single person, a single office has the power to do these things, and this has been allowed to happen.

Because of that we have to reconsider how we structure our political system I often ask the question, Why do we even have a president?

Manning warns the trend to a police state is not only happening in the US. In the Australian context, Manning cites issues including whats happened to Indigenous folks who are also over-represented in prison statistics and the sphere of influence of Australia with migration and immigrants.

The former prime minister Tony Abbott has recommended that Europe adopt Australias harsh policies of turning back asylum seeker boats, an idea gaining traction with the far right. When Malcolm Turnbull described Australias policy of refusing to allow even legitimate refugees who arrive by boat to settle in Australia, Trump remarked you are worse than I am.

In a series of three lectures in September, Manning will explore the growth of the police state and activism at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Antidote festival, and talks in Melbourne and Brisbane hosted by ThinkInc.

Manning also includes Australia in her critique of media complicity in the growing power of police and the security apparatus.

Despite Trump railing against the fake news media, Manning says a cosy, symbiotic relationship exists between the media and institutions of power to maintain access and sources even if coverage can, at times, still be unfavourable.

Journalists accept the frame given to them by politicians even though [its] designed to mislead or obfuscate things, she claims.

I just had a very telling interview, actually, with an Australian journalist [who] weaved the words traitor, spy, criminal, smuggle [and] stole into every single question. Its also about the framing.

But despite that added scrutiny on her every move, Manning says her past conviction has not limited what she can do as an activist one bit.

Theres been this mainstream media portrayal of things – Ive really moved on, Im actually much more focused on whats happening in the US right now.

I cant go back and change and make any decisions differently, so I dont do that. I dont try to relitigate all the decisions in my life.

Manning is appearing on Sunday 2 September at Sydney Opera House (as part of Antidote), Friday 7 September at MCEC, Melbourne, and Tuesday 11 September at The Tivoli, Brisbane. Tickets available at thinkinc.org.au.

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Chelsea Manning on the far right, state surveillance and …

One Chart Explains Why You Should Own Bitcoin And Other …

A woman dressed in a t-shirt with cryptocurrency logos shows a visual representation of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images

The past month and a half have been a rough time to be a Bitcoin investor. After seeing its value rise from $5,850 in late June to almost $8,400 on July 24 it has been on a slippery slope with a few short dead cat bounces and has fallen back to just above $6,000.

[Editor & Authors note: Investing in cryptocoins or tokens is HIGHLY SPECULATIVE and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment. If one does invest in cryptocurrencies it should only be with a very small percentage of their investable assets.]

[Authors note: There is no official price for Bitcoin, so I use round numbers and reference Yahoo! Finance data.]

There are multiple reasons that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies (CCs) have been under pressure recently ranging from a Hong Kong Bitcoin exchange announcing that it had frozen a clients account due to them initiating an unusually large long position order (4,168,515 contracts) which was almost $420 million to the SEC delaying a decision on VanEcks request to list and trade SolidX Bitcoin Shares.

Bitcoin price chartCoinmarketcap.com

One reason to own Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

While digital currencies shouldnt be thought of as an asset investors will flock to in times of uncertainty, not being correlated to other asset classes could be worthwhile if the markets become under a lot of stress and almost all of them are sold off.

Fundstrats Alex Kern and Ken Xuan compare Bitcoin and other CCs to other asset classes such as the S&P 500, U.S. Dollar, International equities, U.S. Bonds, Commodities, Gold and Oil. What they found is that there is a very low correlation between Bitcoin and other CCs and pretty much all of these other asset classes.

In the upper right quarter of the chart below their analysis shows that the closest correlation between Bitcoin and other CCs (depicted as the FS CryptoFX Indexes Fundstrat developed and tracks) is in the high-teens with about half of all the comparisons in the single digits. This means that Bitcoins and the other CCs price movements are not tied to these other asset classes.

Correlations between Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to various assetsCoinmarketcap.com, Bloomberg, other sources and Fundstrat

NBER working paper supports Fundstrat analysis

The National Bureau of Economic Analysis published a working paper this month that supports Fundstrats findings. It compared Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum to stocks, currencies, commodities and macroeconomic factors. The 25 page report did a detailed economic analysis and found that cryptocurrency returns can be predicted by factors which are specific to cryptocurrency markets. Specifically, we determine that there is a strong time-series momentum effect and that proxies for investor attention strongly forecast cryptocurrency returns.

Their main conclusion was that only cryptocurrency market specific factors momentum and the proxies for investor attention consistently explain the variations of cryptocurrency returns. This suggests, in contrast to popular explanations, that markets do not view cryptocurrencies similarly to standard asset classes.

While both analyses do not indicate that Bitcoin and CCs are worthwhile investments, they do show that if an investor wants an asset that is not correlated with other asset classes that they are vehicles to explore.

The rest is here:

One Chart Explains Why You Should Own Bitcoin And Other …

Julian Assange wanted to testify before Senate Intelligence …

WASHINGTON The leaders of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence sent a letter to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last week requesting that he speak with committee staffers about his connections to the Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

WikiLeaks on Wednesday posted on Twitter an image of the letter, which was signed by the committee’s chairman, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, and the ranking Democrat, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner. Wikileaks wrote on Twitter that its legal team is “considering the offer but testimony must conform to a high ethical standard.”

Spokespeople for both Burr and Warner declined to comment.

Assange and WikiLeaks played a key role in the interference of the 2016 campaign by nefarious Russian actors. WikiLeaks disseminated hacked emails from top Clinton campaign adviser John Podesta, as well as hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee.

The letter comes as reports indicate that the Ecuador government plans to expel Assange from the embassy, in which he has been confined since 2012. The looming eviction of Assange from the embassy is reportedly imminent and could come in a matter of weeks.

If Assange is evicted from the embassy in London, he risks not only being arrested by UK authorities, but potentially being extradited to the United States.

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Julian Assange wanted to testify before Senate Intelligence …

Bitcoin Dips Below $7,000, Hitting Lowest In 2 Weeks

Bitcoin prices declined to less than$7,000, hitting a two-week low. Shutterstock

Bitcoin prices fell below the $7,000 level today,reaching their lowest since mid-July.

The digital currency’s pricedeclined to as little as$6,933.09, according to theCoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).

At this point, it wasdown roughly 6.5% for the day, additional BPI figures show.

[Ed note: Investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.]

Bitcoin’s Recent Recovery

Since reaching a 2018 low of$5785.43 in June, Bitcoin prices have bounced back, rising to as much as $8,479.33 July 25.

Right around that time, several analystsclaimed that the digital currency’s price had hit a local low, signaling a reversal in their trend.

“Bitcoin has indeed bottomed out,” stated Marouane Garcon, managing director ofcrypto-to-crypto derivatives platformAmulet.

Charles Thorngren,CEO ofNoble Alternative Investments, agreed with this statement, adding that an “attractive uptrend” was “in the works.”

However, not everyone had shared that point of view, with some market observers contending that it was too early to call a bottom.

“I’m concerned that the bounce off the lows wasnt sharp enough, so not willing to stand behind a call that its a bottom yet,” statedVinny Lingham, co-founder & CEO ofCivic.com.

Bitcoin’s recent pullback could easily worsen this uncertainty, motivating some traders to sit back and wait while the markets get their bearings.

Disclosure: I own some Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ether.

Originally posted here:

Bitcoin Dips Below $7,000, Hitting Lowest In 2 Weeks

Julian Assange Is About To Lose Asylum, Arrest Imminent

Julian Assange Is About To Lose Asylum And Be Arrested according to the intercept and Glenn Greenwald.

Ecuadorian president Moreno says that Assange violated the conditions of his asylum by being political but many say the real reason is that he wants to gain favor with the US, Spain, and the UK.

Assange was once a darling of the left but for many reasons that has flipped with the left attacking him and the right praising him. What does his loss of asylum mean for journalistic freedom and is Assange more than just a publisher?

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Julian Assange Is About To Lose Asylum, Arrest Imminent

Assange’s refuge in Ecuadorian embassy ‘in jeopardy …

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CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/barbara-starr-profile”>Barbara Starru003c/a> reports.”},{“title”:”Federal probe launched to find leaker of CIA’s hacking secrets”,”duration”:”03:39″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/tv/2017/03/08/investigation-launched-into-leak-of-cia-hacking-tools-wikileaks-starr-lead.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”tv/2017/03/08/investigation-launched-into-leak-of-cia-hacking-tools-wikileaks-starr-lead.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170308122002-04-cia-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/tv/2017/03/08/investigation-launched-into-leak-of-cia-hacking-tools-wikileaks-starr-lead.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”The FBI & CIA have launched an investigation to determine who leaked classified secrets about its spying programs to Wikileaks. CNN’s Barbara Starr reports.”,”descriptionText”:”The FBI & CIA have launched an investigation to determine who leaked classified secrets about its spying programs to Wikileaks. CNN’s Barbara Starr reports.”},{“title”:”Spicer: Difference in types of leaked info”,”duration”:”01:36″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2017/03/08/white-house-press-briefing-wikileaks-sean-spicer-sot.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2017/03/08/white-house-press-briefing-wikileaks-sean-spicer-sot.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170308142145-spicer-0308-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2017/03/08/white-house-press-briefing-wikileaks-sean-spicer-sot.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”Trump praised WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign when it released emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, but White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer today said there’s a “big difference” between those emails and leaking classified information.”,”descriptionText”:”Trump praised WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign when it released emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, but White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer today said there’s a “big difference” between those emails and leaking classified information.”},{“title”:”Analyst: WikiLeaks devastating for CIA”,”duration”:”01:23″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/us/2017/03/08/analyst-wikileaks-devastating-for-cia-mudd-bts-newday.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”us/2017/03/08/analyst-wikileaks-devastating-for-cia-mudd-bts-newday.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170308081705-phil-mudd-on-new-day-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/us/2017/03/08/analyst-wikileaks-devastating-for-cia-mudd-bts-newday.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:” Former CIA counterterrorism official Phil Mudd says the leaking of official intelligence documents is devastating and calls for the agency to launch a manhunt to determine how the information was released.”,”descriptionText”:” Former CIA counterterrorism official Phil Mudd says the leaking of official intelligence documents is devastating and calls for the agency to launch a manhunt to determine how the information was released.”},{“title”:”WikiLeaks: CIA hacks phones, TVs worldwide”,”duration”:”02:30″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2017/03/07/wikileaks-cia-hacking-phones-tvs-worldwide-todd-pkg-tsr.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2017/03/07/wikileaks-cia-hacking-phones-tvs-worldwide-todd-pkg-tsr.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170214113353-cnnee-cibercafe-samuel-burke-el-telefono-de-donadl-trump-espionaje-android-00004219-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2017/03/07/wikileaks-cia-hacking-phones-tvs-worldwide-todd-pkg-tsr.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”WikiLeaks claims that it has acquired documents on how the CIA uses cyberweapons to spy on people around the world, including the ability to hack into smart phones and smart TVs. 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CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/brian-todd-profile”>Brian Toddu003c/a> reports. “},{“title”:”Wikileaks: CIA spying via TVs, phones”,”duration”:”04:14″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/tv/2017/03/07/wikileaks-claims-to-reveal-how-cia-hacks-tvs-phones-mudd-lead.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”tv/2017/03/07/wikileaks-claims-to-reveal-how-cia-hacks-tvs-phones-mudd-lead.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170307165012-wikileaks-claims-to-reveal-how-cia-hacks-tvs-phones-mudd-lead-00004122-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/tv/2017/03/07/wikileaks-claims-to-reveal-how-cia-hacks-tvs-phones-mudd-lead.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”Wikileaks says they have obtained documents showing how the CIA can hack smart phones and smart televisions even when they are powered off. “,”descriptionText”:”Wikileaks says they have obtained documents showing how the CIA can hack smart phones and smart 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jeopardy'”,”duration”:”02:47″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/world/2018/05/24/assange-refuge-ecuadorian-embassy-pkg.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”world/2018/05/24/assange-refuge-ecuadorian-embassy-pkg.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180329192653-julian-assange-incomunicado-dentro-embajada-ecuador-lkl-claudia-rebaza-00001030-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/world/2018/05/24/assange-refuge-ecuadorian-embassy-pkg.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”Julian Assange’s nearly six-year refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London is in danger, opening the WikiLeaks founder to arrest by British authorities and potential extradition to the US, multiple sources with knowledge tell CNN.”,”descriptionText”:”Julian Assange’s nearly six-year refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London is in danger, opening the WikiLeaks founder to arrest by British authorities and potential extradition to the US, multiple sources with knowledge tell CNN.”},{“title”:”Atlantic: Trump Jr. messaged with WikiLeaks”,”duration”:”01:45″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2017/11/14/wikileaks-trump-jr-camerota-ioffe-newday.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2017/11/14/wikileaks-trump-jr-camerota-ioffe-newday.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171114072509-01-donald-trump-jr-file-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2017/11/14/wikileaks-trump-jr-camerota-ioffe-newday.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”Donald Trump Jr. has released exchanges he had with the WikiLeaks Twitter account via direct message during the 2016 presidential campaign, The Atlantic reports. “,”descriptionText”:”Donald Trump Jr. has released exchanges he had with the WikiLeaks Twitter account via direct message during the 2016 presidential campaign, The Atlantic reports. “},{“title”:”Trump was for leaks before he was President”,”duration”:”01:00″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2017/11/14/trump-administration-on-wikileaks-llr-orig.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2017/11/14/trump-administration-on-wikileaks-llr-orig.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171113222432-1113-trump-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2017/11/14/trump-administration-on-wikileaks-llr-orig.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”President Donald Trump was enthusiastic about WikiLeaks’ hacks during the 2016 campaign. After taking office, his administration has been less complimentary about leaks.”,”descriptionText”:”President Donald Trump was enthusiastic about WikiLeaks’ hacks during the 2016 campaign. After taking office, his administration has been less complimentary about leaks.”},{“title”:”Kushner attorney: Senate panel playing ‘games'”,”duration”:”02:07″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2017/11/19/attorney-defends-jared-kushner-over-failure-turn-over-documents-perez-intv-nr.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2017/11/19/attorney-defends-jared-kushner-over-failure-turn-over-documents-perez-intv-nr.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171119145858-kushner-attorney-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2017/11/19/attorney-defends-jared-kushner-over-failure-turn-over-documents-perez-intv-nr.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”Jared Kushner’s attorney says the Senate Judiciary Committee is playing “gotcha games” by accusing Kushner of not disclosing key documents — including information about WikiLeaks.”,”descriptionText”:”Jared Kushner’s attorney says the Senate Judiciary Committee is playing “gotcha games” by accusing Kushner of not disclosing key documents — including information about WikiLeaks.”},{“title”:”WikiLeaks founder lashes out at the CIA”,”duration”:”02:36″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2017/04/28/wikileaks-assange.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2017/04/28/wikileaks-assange.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/160916110125-julian-assange-generic-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2017/04/28/wikileaks-assange.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”President Trump once said he loves WikiLeaks. Now his administration is going after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/brian-todd-profile”>Brian Toddu003c/a> reports.”,”descriptionText”:”President Trump once said he loves WikiLeaks. Now his administration is going after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/brian-todd-profile”>Brian Toddu003c/a> reports.”},{“title”:”Kushner testified he didn’t recall WikiLeaks contact”,”duration”:”01:49″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2017/11/18/jared-kushner-july-testimony-did-not-recall-wikileaks-contact-perez-ac.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2017/11/18/jared-kushner-july-testimony-did-not-recall-wikileaks-contact-perez-ac.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171117172125-jared-kushner-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2017/11/18/jared-kushner-july-testimony-did-not-recall-wikileaks-contact-perez-ac.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”White House senior adviser and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner told congressional Russia investigators that he did not communicate with WikiLeaks and did not recall anyone on the Trump campaign who had, a source with knowledge of his testimony told CNN.”,”descriptionText”:”White House senior adviser and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner told congressional Russia investigators that he did not communicate with WikiLeaks and did not recall anyone on the Trump campaign who had, a source with knowledge of his testimony told CNN.”},{“title”:”Spicer: CIA technology needs updating”,”duration”:”00:54″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2017/03/09/white-house-press-briefing-spicer-cia-systems-assange-wolf.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2017/03/09/white-house-press-briefing-spicer-cia-systems-assange-wolf.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170309133441-white-house-press-briefing-spicer-cia-systems-assange-wolf-00000724-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2017/03/09/white-house-press-briefing-spicer-cia-systems-assange-wolf.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”During the White House briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters President Trump believes systems at the CIA need to be updated and that the US position on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has not changed. “,”descriptionText”:”During the White House briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters President Trump believes systems at the CIA need to be updated and that the US position on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has not changed. “},{“title”:”Fallout from WikiLeaks’ CIA disclosures”,”duration”:”02:40″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2017/03/08/wikileaks-cia-tactics-starr-tsr-dnt.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2017/03/08/wikileaks-cia-tactics-starr-tsr-dnt.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170308122002-04-cia-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2017/03/08/wikileaks-cia-tactics-starr-tsr-dnt.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”Details on probe of WikiLeaks’ publication of CIA spy tactics, including details alleging the agency can hack smart phones and smart TVs. CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/barbara-starr-profile”>Barbara Starru003c/a> reports.”,”descriptionText”:”Details on probe of WikiLeaks’ publication of CIA spy tactics, including details alleging the agency can hack smart phones and smart TVs. CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/barbara-starr-profile”>Barbara Starru003c/a> reports.”},{“title”:”Federal probe launched to find leaker of CIA’s hacking secrets”,”duration”:”03:39″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/tv/2017/03/08/investigation-launched-into-leak-of-cia-hacking-tools-wikileaks-starr-lead.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”tv/2017/03/08/investigation-launched-into-leak-of-cia-hacking-tools-wikileaks-starr-lead.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170308122002-04-cia-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/tv/2017/03/08/investigation-launched-into-leak-of-cia-hacking-tools-wikileaks-starr-lead.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”The FBI & CIA have launched an investigation to determine who leaked classified secrets about its spying programs to Wikileaks. CNN’s Barbara Starr reports.”,”descriptionText”:”The FBI & CIA have launched an investigation to determine who leaked classified secrets about its spying programs to Wikileaks. CNN’s Barbara Starr reports.”},{“title”:”Spicer: Difference in types of leaked info”,”duration”:”01:36″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2017/03/08/white-house-press-briefing-wikileaks-sean-spicer-sot.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2017/03/08/white-house-press-briefing-wikileaks-sean-spicer-sot.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170308142145-spicer-0308-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2017/03/08/white-house-press-briefing-wikileaks-sean-spicer-sot.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”Trump praised WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign when it released emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, but White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer today said there’s a “big difference” between those emails and leaking classified information.”,”descriptionText”:”Trump praised WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign when it released emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, but White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer today said there’s a “big difference” between those emails and leaking classified information.”},{“title”:”Analyst: WikiLeaks devastating for CIA”,”duration”:”01:23″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/us/2017/03/08/analyst-wikileaks-devastating-for-cia-mudd-bts-newday.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”us/2017/03/08/analyst-wikileaks-devastating-for-cia-mudd-bts-newday.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170308081705-phil-mudd-on-new-day-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/us/2017/03/08/analyst-wikileaks-devastating-for-cia-mudd-bts-newday.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:” Former CIA counterterrorism official Phil Mudd says the leaking of official intelligence documents is devastating and calls for the agency to launch a manhunt to determine how the information was released.”,”descriptionText”:” Former CIA counterterrorism official Phil Mudd says the leaking of official intelligence documents is devastating and calls for the agency to launch a manhunt to determine how the information was released.”},{“title”:”WikiLeaks: CIA hacks phones, TVs worldwide”,”duration”:”02:30″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2017/03/07/wikileaks-cia-hacking-phones-tvs-worldwide-todd-pkg-tsr.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2017/03/07/wikileaks-cia-hacking-phones-tvs-worldwide-todd-pkg-tsr.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/170214113353-cnnee-cibercafe-samuel-burke-el-telefono-de-donadl-trump-espionaje-android-00004219-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2017/03/07/wikileaks-cia-hacking-phones-tvs-worldwide-todd-pkg-tsr.cnn/video/playlists/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/”,”description”:”WikiLeaks claims that it has acquired documents on how the CIA uses cyberweapons to spy on people around the world, including the ability to hack into smart phones and smart TVs. 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Assange’s refuge in Ecuadorian embassy ‘in jeopardy …

The NSAs Hidden Spy Hubs in Eight U.S. Cities

The secrets are hidden behind fortified walls in cities across the United States, inside towering, windowless skyscrapers and fortress-like concrete structures that were built to withstand earthquakes and even nuclear attack. Thousands of people pass by the buildings each day and rarely give them a second glance, because their function is not publicly known. They are an integral part of one of the worlds largest telecommunications networks and they are also linked to a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program.

Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. In each of these cities, The Intercept has identified an AT&T facility containing networking equipment that transports large quantities of internet traffic across the United States and the world. A body of evidence including classified NSA documents, public records, and interviews with several former AT&T employees indicates that the buildings are central to an NSA spying initiative that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory.

The NSA considers AT&T to be one of its most trusted partners and has lauded the companys extreme willingness to help. It is a collaboration that dates back decades. Little known, however, is that its scope is not restricted to AT&Ts customers. According to the NSAs documents, it values AT&T not only because it has access to information that transits the nation, but also because it maintains unique relationships with other phone and internet providers. The NSA exploits these relationships for surveillance purposes, commandeering AT&Ts massive infrastructure and using it as a platform to covertly tap into communications processed by other companies.

Much has previously been reported about the NSAs surveillance programs. But few details have been disclosed about the physical infrastructure that enables the spying. Last year, The Intercept highlighted a likely NSA facility in New York Citys Lower Manhattan. Now, we are revealing for the first time a series of other buildings across the U.S. that appear to serve a similar function, as critical parts of one of the worlds most powerful electronic eavesdropping systems, hidden in plain sight.

Its eye-opening and ominous the extent to which this is happening right here on American soil, said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. It puts a face on surveillance that we could never think of before in terms of actual buildings and actual facilities in our own cities, in our own backyards.

There are hundreds of AT&T-owned properties scattered across the U.S. The eight identified by The Intercept serve a specific function, processing AT&T customers data and also carrying large quantities of data from other internet providers. They are known as backbone and peering facilities.

While network operators would usually prefer to send data through their own networks, often a more direct and cost-efficient path is provided by other providers infrastructure. If one network in a specific area of the country is overloaded with data traffic, another operator with capacity to spare can sell or exchange bandwidth, reducing the strain on the congested region. This exchange of traffic is called peering and is an essential feature of the internet.

Because of AT&Ts position as one of the U.S.s leading telecommunications companies, it has a large network that is frequently used by other providers to transport their customers data. Companies that peer with AT&T include the American telecommunications giants Sprint, Cogent Communications, and Level 3, as well as foreign companies such as Swedens Telia, Indias Tata Communications, Italys Telecom Italia, and Germanys Deutsche Telekom.

AT&T currently boasts 19,500 points of presence in 149 countries where internet traffic is exchanged. But only eight of the companys facilities in the U.S. offer direct access to its common backbone key data routes that carry vast amounts of emails, internet chats, social media updates, and internet browsing sessions. These eight locations are among the most important in AT&Ts global network. They are also highly valued by the NSA, documents indicate.

The data exchange between AT&T and other networks initially takes place outside AT&Ts control, sources said, at third-party data centers that are owned and operated by companies such as Californias Equinix. But the data is then routed in whole or in part through the eight AT&T buildings, where the NSA taps into it. By monitoring what it calls the peering circuits at the eight sites, the spy agency can collect not only AT&Ts data, they get all the data thats interchanged between AT&Ts network and other companies, according to Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician who worked with the company for 22 years. It is an efficient point to conduct internet surveillance, Klein said, because the peering links, by the nature of the connections, are liable to carry everybodys traffic at one point or another during the day, or the week, or the year.

Christopher Augustine, a spokesperson for the NSA, said in a statement that the agency could neither confirm nor deny its role in alleged classified intelligence activities. Augustine declined to answer questions about the AT&T facilities, but said that the NSA conducts its foreign signals intelligence mission under the legal authorities established by Congress and is bound by both policy and law to protect U.S. persons privacy and civil liberties.

Jim Greer, an AT&T spokesperson, said that AT&T was required by law to provide information to government and law enforcement entities by complying with court orders, subpoenas, lawful discovery requests, and other legal requirements. He added that the company provides voluntary assistance to law enforcement when a persons life is in danger and in other immediate, emergency situations. In all cases, we ensure that requests for assistance are valid and that we act in compliance with the law.

Dave Schaeffer, CEO of Cogent Communications, told The Intercept that he had no knowledge of the surveillance at the eight AT&T buildings, but said he believed the core premise that the NSA or some other agency would like to look at traffic at an AT&T facility. He said he suspected that the surveillance is likely carried out on a limited basis, due to technical and cost constraints. If the NSA were trying to ubiquitously monitor data passing across AT&Ts networks, Schaeffer added, he would be extremely concerned.

Sprint, Telia, Tata Communications, Telecom Italia, and Deutsche Telekom did not respond to requests for comment. CenturyLink, which owns Level 3, said it would not discuss matters of national security.

The maps The Intercept used to identify the internet surveillance hubs.

Maps: NSA/AT&T

The eight locations are featured on a top-secret NSA map, which depicts U.S. facilities that the agency relies upon for one of its largest surveillance programs, code-named FAIRVIEW. AT&T is the only company involved in FAIRVIEW, which was first established in 1985, according to NSA documents, and involves tapping into international telecommunications cables, routers, and switches.

In 2003, the NSA launched new internet mass surveillance methods, which were pioneered under the FAIRVIEW program. The methods were used by the agency to collect within a few months some 400 billion records about peoples internet communications and activity, the New York Times previously reported. FAIRVIEW was also forwarding more than 1 million emails every day to a keyword selection system at the NSAs Fort Meade headquarters.

Central to the internet spying are eight peering link router complex sites, which are pinpointed on the top-secret NSA map. The locations of the sites mirror maps of AT&Ts networks, obtained by The Intercept from public records, which show backbone node with peering facilities in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

One of the AT&T maps contains unique codes individually identifying the addresses of the facilities in each of the cities.

Among the pinpointed buildings, there is a nuclear blast-resistant, windowless facility in New York Citys Hells Kitchen neighborhood; in Washington, D.C., a fortress-like, concrete structure less than half a mile south of the U.S. Capitol; in Chicago, an earthquake-resistant skyscraper in the West Loop Gate area; in Atlanta, a 429-foot art deco structure in the heart of the citys downtown district; and in Dallas, a cube-like building with narrow windows and large vents on its exterior, located in the Old East district.

Elsewhere, on the west coast of the U.S., there are three more facilities: in downtown Los Angeles, a striking concrete tower near the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Staples Center, two blocks from the most important internet exchange in the region; in Seattle, a 15-story building with blacked-out windows and reinforced concrete foundations, near the citys waterfront; and in San Franciscos South of Market neighborhood, a building where it was previously claimed that the NSA was monitoring internet traffic from a secure room on the sixth floor.

The peering sites otherwise known in AT&T parlance as Service Node Routing Complexes, or SNRCs were developed following the internet boom in the mid- to late 1990s. By March 2009, the NSAs documents say it was tapping into peering circuits at the eight SNRCs.

The facilities purpose was to bolster AT&Ts network, improving its reliability and enabling future growth. They were developed under the leadership of an Iranian-American innovator and engineer named Hossein Eslambolchi, who was formerly AT&Ts chief technology officer and president of AT&T Labs, a division of the company that focuses on research and development.

Eslambolchi told The Intercept that the project to set up the facilities began after AT&T asked him to help create the largest internet protocol network in the world. He obliged and began implementing his network design by placing large Cisco routers inside former AT&T phone switching facilities across the U.S. When planning the project, he said he divided AT&Ts network into different regions, and in every quadrant I will have what I will call an SNRC.

During his employment with AT&T, Eslambolchi said he had to take a polygraph test, and he obtained a government security clearance. I was involved in very, very top, heavy-duty projects for a few of these three-letter agencies, he said, in an apparent reference to U.S. intelligence agencies. They all loved me.

He would not confirm or deny the exact locations of the eight peering sites identified by The Intercept or discuss the classified work he carried out while with the company. You put a gun to my head, he said, Im not going to tell you.

Other former AT&T employees, however, were more forthcoming.

A former senior member of AT&Ts technical staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, confirmed with 100 percent certainty the locations of six of the eight peering facilities identified by The Intercept. The source, citing direct knowledge of the facilities and their function, verified the addresses of the buildings in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

A second former AT&T employee confirmed the locations of the remaining two sites, in Chicago and San Francisco. I worked with all of them, said Philip Long, who was employed by AT&T for more than two decades as a technician servicing its networks. Longs work with AT&T was carried out mostly in California, but he said his job required him to be in contact with the companys other facilities across the U.S. In about 2005, Long recalled, he received orders to move every internet backbone circuit I had in northern California through the San Francisco AT&T building identified by The Intercept as one of the eight NSA spy hubs. Long said that, at the time, he felt suspicious of the changes, because they were unusual and unnecessary. We thought we were routing our circuits so that they could grab all the data, he said. We thought it was the government listening. He retired from his job with AT&T in 2014.

A third former AT&T employee reviewed The Intercepts research and said he believed it accurately identified all eight of the facilities. The site data certainly seems correct, said Thomas Saunders, who worked as a data networking consultant for AT&T in New York City between 1995 and 2004. Those nodes arent going to move.

Photo: Henrik Moltke

The NSA calls this predicament home field advantage a kind of geographic good fortune. A targets phone call, email, or chat will take the cheapest path, not the physically most direct path, one agency document explains. Your targets communications could easily be flowing into and through the U.S.

Once the internet traffic arrives on U.S. soil, it is processed by American companies. And that is why, for the NSA, AT&T is so indispensable. The company claims it has one of the worlds most powerful networks, the largest of its kind in the U.S. AT&T routinely handles masses of emails, phone calls, and internet chats. As of March 2018, some 197 petabytes of data the equivalent of more than 49 trillion pages of text, or 60 billion average-sized mp3 files traveled across its networks every business day.

The NSA documents, which come from the trove provided to The Intercept by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, describe AT&T as having been aggressively involved in aiding the agencys surveillance programs. One example of this appears to have taken place at the eight facilities under a classified initiative called SAGUARO.

As part of SAGUARO, AT&T developed a strategy to help the NSA electronically eavesdrop on internet data from the peering circuits at the eight sites, which were said to connect to the common backbone, major data routes carrying internet traffic.

The company worked with the NSA to rank communications flowing through its networks on the basis of intelligence value, prioritizing data depending on which country it was derived from, according to a top-secret agency document.

Graphic: NSA

NSA diagrams reveal that after it collects data from AT&Ts access links and peering partners, it is sent to a centralized processing facility code-named PINECONE, located somewhere in New Jersey. Inside the PINECONE facility, there is a secure space in which there is both NSA-controlled and AT&T-controlled equipment. Internet traffic passes through an AT&T distribution box to two NSA systems. From there, the data is then transferred about 200 miles southwest to its final destination: NSA headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland.

At the Maryland compound, the communications collected from AT&Ts networks are integrated into powerful systems called MAINWAY and MARINA, which the NSA uses to analyze metadata such as the to and from parts of emails, and the times and dates they were sent. The communications obtained from AT&T are also made accessible through a tool named XKEYSCORE, which NSA employees use to search through the full contents of emails, instant messenger chats, web-browsing histories, webcam photos, information about downloads from online services, and Skype sessions.

Top left / right: Mike Osborne. Bottom left: Henrik Moltke. Bottom right: Frank Heath.

The NSAs primary mission is to gather foreign intelligence. The agency has broad legal powers to monitor emails, phone calls, and other forms of correspondence as they are being transported across the U.S., and it can compel companies such as AT&T to install surveillance equipment within their networks.

Under a Ronald Reagan-era presidential directive Executive Order 12333 the NSA has what it calls transit authority, which it says enables it to eavesdrop on communications which originate and terminate in foreign countries, but traverse U.S. territory. That could include, for example, an email sent by a person in France to a person in Mexico, which on its way to its destination was routed through a server in California. According to the NSAs documents, it was using AT&Ts networks as of March 2013 to gather some 60 million foreign-to-foreign emails every day, 1.8 billion per month.

Without an individualized court order, it is illegal for the NSA to spy on communications that are wholly domestic, such as emails sent back and forth between two Americans living in Texas. However, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the agency began eavesdropping on Americans international calls and emails that were passing between the U.S. and other countries. That practice was exposed by the New York Times in 2005 and triggered what became known as the warrantless wiretapping scandal.

Critics argued that the surveillance of Americans international communications was illegal, because the NSA had carried it out without obtaining warrants from a judge and had instead acted on the orders of President George W. Bush. In 2008, Congress weighed into the dispute and controversially authorized elements of the warrantless wiretapping program by enacting Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act, or FISA. The new law allowed the NSA to continue sweeping up Americans international communications without a warrant, so long as it did so incidentally while it was targeting foreigners overseas for instance, if it was monitoring people in Pakistan, and they were talking with Americans in the U.S. by phone, email, or through an internet chat service.

Within AT&Ts networks, there is filtering equipment designed to separate foreign and domestic internet data before it is passed to the NSA, the agencys documents show. Filtering technology is often used by internet providers for security reasons, enabling them to keep tabs on problems with their networks, block out spam, or monitor hacking attacks. But the same tools can be used for government surveillance.

You can essentially trick the routers into redirecting a small subset of traffic you really care about, which you can monitor in more detail, said Jennifer Rexford, a computer scientist who worked for AT&T Labs between 1996 and 2005.

According to the NSAs documents, it programs its surveillance systems to focus on particular IP addresses a set of numbers that identify a computer associated with foreign countries. A classified 2012 memo describes the agencys efforts to use IP addresses to home in on internet data passing between the U.S. and particular regions of interest, including Iran, Afghanistan, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. But this process is not an exact science, as people can use privacy or anonymity tools to change or spoof their IP addresses. A person in Israel could use privacy software to masquerade as if they were accessing the internet in the U.S. Likewise, an internet user in the U.S. could make it appear as if they were online in Israel. It is unclear how effective the NSAs systems are at detecting such anomalies.

In October 2011, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approves the surveillance operations carried out under Section 702 of FISA, found that there were technological limitations with the agencys internet eavesdropping equipment. It was generally incapable of distinguishing between some kinds of data, the court stated. As a consequence, Judge John D. Bates ruled, the NSA had been intercepting the communications of non-target United States persons and persons in the United States, violating Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. The ruling, which was declassified in August 2013, concluded that the agency had acquired some 13 million internet transactions during one six-month period, and had unlawfully gathered tens of thousands of wholly domestic communications each year.

The root of the issue was that the NSAs technology was not only targeting communications sent to and from specific surveillance targets. Instead, the agency was sweeping up peoples emails if they had merely mentioned particular information about surveillance targets.

A top-secret NSA memo about the courts ruling, which has not been disclosed before, explained that the agency was collecting peoples messages en masse if a single one were found to contain a selector like an email address or phone number that featured on a target list.

One example of this is when a user of a webmail service accesses her inbox; if the inbox contains one email message that contains an NSA tasked selector, NSA will acquire a copy of the entire inbox, not just the individual email message that contains the tasked selector, the memo stated.

The courts ruling left the agency with two options: shut down the spying based on mentions of targets completely, or ensure that protections were put in place to stop the unlawfully collected communications from being reviewed. The NSA chose the latter option, and created a cautionary banner that warned its analysts not to read particular messages unless they could confirm that they had been lawfully obtained.

But the cautionary banner did not solve the problem. The NSAs analysts continued to access the same data repositories to search, unlawfully, for information on Americans. In April 2017, the agency publicly acknowledged these violations, which it described as inadvertent compliance incidents. It said that it would no longer use surveillance programs authorized under Section 702 of FISA to harvest messages that mentioned its targets, citing technological constraints, United States person privacy interests, and certain difficulties in implementation.

The messages that the NSA had unlawfully collected were swept up using a method of surveillance known as upstream, which the agency still deploys for other surveillance programs authorized under both Section 702 of FISA and Executive Order 12333. The upstream method involves tapping into communications as they are passing across internet networks precisely the kind of electronic eavesdropping that appears to have taken place at the eight locations identified by The Intercept.

Photo: Frank Heath

Photo: Frank Heath

The Atlanta facility is likely of strategic importance for the NSA. The site is the closest major AT&T internet routing center to Miami, according to the NSA and AT&T maps. From undersea cables that come aground at Miami, huge flows of data pass between the U.S. and South America. It is probable that much of that data is routed through the Atlanta facility as it is being sent to and from the U.S. In recent years, the NSA has extensively targeted several Latin American countries such as Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela for surveillance.

Photo: Henrik Moltke

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the facility handles much of the citys phone and internet traffic and is equipped with banks of routers, servers, and switching systems. This building touches every single resident of the city, Jim Wilson, an AT&T area manager, told the newspaper in 2016.

Photo: Henrik Moltke

10 South Canal Street originally contained a million-gallon oil tank, turbine generators, and a water well, so that it could continue to function for more than two weeks without electricity or water from the city, according to Illinois broadcaster WBEZ. The building is anchored in bedrock, which helps support the weight of the equipment inside, and gives it extra resistance to bomb blasts or earthquakes, WBEZ reported.

NSA and AT&T maps point to the Chicago facility as being one of the peering hubs, which process internet traffic as part of the NSA surveillance program code-named FAIRVIEW. Philip Long, who was employed by AT&T for more than two decades as a technician servicing its networks, confirmed that the Chicago site was one of eight primary AT&T Service Node Routing Complexes, or SNRCs, in the U.S. NSA documents explicitly describe tapping into flows of data at all eight of these sites.

Photo: Mike Osborne

The 4211 Bryan Street facility is located next to other AT&T-owned buildings, including a towering telephone routing complex that was first built in 1904. A piece about the telephone hub in the Dallas Observer described it as an imposing, creepy building that is known in some circles as The Great Wall of Beige.

Photo: Mike Osborne

NSA and AT&T maps point to the 4211 Bryan Street facility as being one of the peering hubs, which process internet traffic as part of the NSA surveillance program code-named FAIRVIEW. A former AT&T employee confirmed that the site was one of eight primary AT&T Service Node Routing Complexes, or SNRCs, in the U.S. NSA documents explicitly describe tapping into flows of data at all eight of these sites.

Photo: Henrik Moltke

Located between Chinatown and the Staples Center, the fortress-like structure is one of the largest telephone central offices in the U.S. The theoretical number of telephone lines that can be served from this office are 1.3 million and this office also serves as a foreign exchange carrier to neighboring area codes, according to the Central Office, a website that profiles U.S. telecommunications hubs.

Untitled, or Bell Communications Around the Globe. Mural by Anthony Heinsbergen (1961) on the West side of 420 South Grand Ave, La.

Photo: Henrik Moltke

Due to the close proximity of the Madison Complex and One Wilshire, and their shared role as telecommunications hubs, it is likely that the buildings process some of the same data as it is being routed across U.S. networks.

NSA and AT&T maps point to the Madison Complex facility as being one of the peering hubs, which process internet traffic as part of the NSA surveillance program code-named FAIRVIEW. A former AT&T employee confirmed that the site was one of eight primary AT&T Service Node Routing Complexes, or SNRCs, in the U.S. NSA documents explicitly describe tapping into flows of data at all eight of these sites.

Photo: Henrik Moltke

A New York Times article published in 1975 noted that 811 10th Avenue was the first of several windowless equipment buildings to be constructed in the city, and added that its design initially caused considerable controversy.

Aerial shot of 811 10th street, NYC, ca. 1965.

Photo: courtesy of Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University

Photo: Henrik Moltke

NSA and AT&T documents indicate that 10th Avenue building serves as the NSAs internet equivalent of 33 Thomas Street. While the NSAs surveillance at 33 Thomas Street mainly targets phone calls that pass through the buildings international switching points, at the 10th Avenue site the agency appears to primarily collect emails, online chats, and data from internet browsing sessions.

Photo: Henrik Moltke

NSA and AT&T maps obtained by The Intercept indicate that 611 Folsom Street is one of the eight peering hubs in the U.S. that process internet traffic as part of the NSA surveillance program code-named FAIRVIEW. Philip Long, who was employed by AT&T for more than two decades as a technician servicing its networks, confirmed that the San Francisco site is one of eight primary AT&T Service Node Routing Complexes, or SNRCs, in the U.S. NSA documents explicitly describe tapping into flows of data at all eight of these sites.

Photo: Henrik Moltke

We were getting orders to move backbones and it just grabbed me, said Long. We thought it was government stuff and that they were being intrusive. We thought we were routing our circuits so that they could grab all the data.

It is not the first time the building has been implicated in revelations about electronic eavesdropping. In 2006, an AT&T technician named Mark Klein alleged in a sworn court declaration that the NSA was tapping into internet traffic from a secure room on the sixth floor of the facility.

Klein, who worked at 611 Folsom Street between October 2003 and May 2004, stated that employees from the agency had visited the building and recruited one of AT&Ts management level technicians to carry out a special job. The job involved installing a splitter cabinet that copied internet data as it was flowing into the building, before diverting it into the secure room.

The room at AT&Ts Folsom St. facility that allegedly contained NSA surveillance equipment.

Photo: Mark Klein

He said equipment in the secure room included a semantic traffic analyzer a tool that can be used to search large quantities of data for particular words or phrases contained in emails or online chats. Notably, Klein discovered that the NSA appeared to be specifically targeting internet peering links, which is corroborated by the NSA and AT&T documents obtained by The Intercept.

According to documents provided by Klein, AT&Ts network at Folsom Street peered with other companies like Sprint, Cable & Wireless, and Qwest. It was also linked, he said, to an internet exchange named MAE West, a major data hub in San Jose, California, where other companies connect their networks together.

Sprint did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Cable & Wireless said the company only discloses data when legally required to do so as a result of a valid warrant or other legal process. In 2011, CenturyLink acquired Qwest as part of a $12.2 billion merger deal. A CenturyLink spokesperson said he could not discuss matters of national security.

Photo: Jovelle Tamayo for The Intercept

Read more from the original source:
The NSAs Hidden Spy Hubs in Eight U.S. Cities

Julian Assanges lawyer: Australian government has a duty …

By Mike Head 2 August 2018

As the danger mounts that WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange will soon be forced to leave Londons Ecuadorian embassy, where he was granted political asylum in 2012, a member of his legal team has called for the Australian government to guarantee his right, as an Australian citizen, to return to the country.

The lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, said Assange wants to exercise his right to return to Australia, provided he is protected from extradition to the United States, where the Trump administration, the FBI and the CIA are intent on jailing the WikiLeaks editor for many years, or executing him, on concocted espionage-related charges.

Speaking to news.com, Robinson said Assange was grateful for the support of the Australian public. I would say he is homesick for Australia, he would love to go back, but we have been disappointed by previous governments failure to take action and it is time the Australian government listens to that and takes action.

Robinson emphasised: Julian is still an Australian citizen and they have an obligationand I think a dutyto exercise rights of protection over an Australian citizen.

Prominent Australian civil liberties lawyer Julian Burnside, who visited Assange in June, also published a statement last week urging the Australian government to intervene to bring him safely back to Australia. The WikiLeaks founder had provided an historic public service by revealing the secrets of the worlds unaccountable forces.

These calls, evidently made on Assanges behalf, underscore the importance of the demand issued by the globally-broadcast rally conducted by the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) of Australia, with the support of well-known investigative journalist John Pilger, in Sydneys Town Hall Square on June 17. That rally demanded that the Australian government secure Assanges right to return to Australia, if he so wishes, with guarantees that he not be handed over to the US.

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, whose government has taken a lurch to the right to seek a rapprochement with Washington and the European imperialist powers, has been engaged in intensive discussions with the British authorities, who will arrest Assange as soon as he steps outside the embassy so that he can be thrown in jail and ultimately extradited to the US.

Assange has never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime. It is more than a year since Swedish prosecutors finally dropped a trumped-up warrant for his arrest to be questioned about dubious sexual assault allegations. Nevertheless, Theresa Mays British Tory government remains determined to jail him, supposedly for skipping bail when Ecuador granted him asylum six years ago.

Mays government is obviously acting in close concert with the US state apparatus. Britain has refused repeatedly to give Assange any guarantee against extradition. Trumps administration, like Obamas, wants to silence Assange and WikiLeaks forever because of their ongoing and courageous work in exposing to the worlds people the mass surveillance, war plans and regime-change plots conducted by Washington and its allies, including Britain and Australia.

In testimony to the US Senate Judiciary Committee in May 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey effectively confirmed that Assange was entirely justified in seeking political asylum in 2012. He hasnt been apprehended [by US authorities] because he is inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Comey testified. Senior Trump administration officials, from former CIA Director Mike Pompeo down, have made it clear that Assanges detention is a high priority.

Robinson said Canberra had good relationships with both Britain and US, so it should not be difficult for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbulls government to intervene. However, she said the past record raised concerns about the governments willingness to stand up for Australians when the US government was involved.

The truth is that successive Australian governments, starting with Julia Gillards Labor government in 2010, have not only refused to defend Assange. They have actively colluded with the US frame-up, which Gillard publicly declared her government would assist in any way it could.

In March 2011, when in opposition, Turnbull delivered a speech at the Sydney University Law School in which he denounced Gillard for falsely accusing Assange of breaking the law. When an Australian citizen is threatened in this way, an Australian prime minister should respond, Turnbull said.

Since taking office, however, like all their predecessors, Turnbull and his ministers have given the green light for Assange to be delivered into the hands of the same spy and military forces whose murderous and anti-democratic activities WikiLeaks has exposed.

Most recently, at a media conference in London on July 20, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop declared that Assanges plight was a matter for British law enforcement authorities.

Bishop stood alongside her British counterpart, Jeremy Hunt, who boasted that Assange faced serious charges and would receive a warm welcome from the British police once he left the embassy.

Robinson told news.com that Hunts statement was curious because Assange faces no charges whatsoever. Even if Assange were convicted of breaching bail, that is only punishable by a maximum of three months in prison, and is not considered a serious charge by law.

Robinson asked: So is Mr Hunt talking about an extradition request from the US where he would face serious charges? Has he misspoken and disclosed that?

Robinson said Assanges legal team had sought assurances from Britain there was no US extradition request and had been met with a standard, blanket will not confirm or deny.

Robinson warned that Assanges health is deteriorating. Its an untenable situation, she said. Im very concerned about the permanent damage to his health. He is without adequate access to the outdoors and exercise and it has had a serious impact on his health. The UK government refuses to allow him get medical help and leave (which is) a humanitarian issue.

Apart from a vague call by former Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, published on July 25, for an end to the persecution of WikiLeaks, and a brief tweet by ex-Greens leader Christine Milne, there has been total silence in Australias political establishment about the grave danger facing Assange.

The SEP is the only political party campaigning for Assanges defence in Australia, which is part of the broader fight necessary for the defence of all fundamental democratic rights.

At the June 17 Sydney rally, SEP national secretary James Cogan explained: The Australian government had and still has undeniable diplomatic power and legal discretion, under international and national law, to intervene to defend an Australian citizen who is being unjustly treated by another state.

Cogan stressed: At this rally, we are not asking the Turnbull government to act. We are telling it. We hold the Labor Party and the Coalition parties fully responsible for the harm and outrages committed against Julian Assange. We will hold them responsible for what happens next. They will be held to account by the working class in Australia.

From the outset, the World Socialist Web Site and SEP have explained that a movement to defend Assange and WikiLeaks cannot be built by appeals to the political, trade union and media establishment that has abandoned him. It will be built by a fight to politically educate and independently mobilise the working class.

As part of this campaign, we urge our readers to take part in protests if Assange is forced from Ecuadors embassy into British police custody and then faces a protracted struggle against any attempt to extradite him to the United States.

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Julian Assanges lawyer: Australian government has a duty …

Why Americans Need to Defend Julian Assanges Freedom

Over 50 years ago, in his letter from the Birmingham Jail, addressing a struggle of the civil right era, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. His message is now more prevalent than ever in the current political climate surrounding WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

WikiLeaks stepped onto a global stage with release of a huge trove of classified documents revealing government secrecy. After the publication of war logs that exposed the atrocities committed by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the reaction of the Pentagon quickly escalated into a war against the First Amendment. WikiLeaks was subjected to unlawful financial blockades and there has been an ongoing secret grand jury against the organization and its associates since 2010.

These efforts to destroy WikiLeaks brought a long dreadful persecution of Assange. He has been detained for 8 years, first in prison, then under house arrest and now as a refugee living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In 2012 he was granted political asylum against the threat of extradition to the U.S., relating to his publishing activities with WikiLeaks. The UK government, in violation of UN rulings that indicated the situation of Assange as arbitrary detention, kept him in confinement, depriving him of medical care and sunlight.

This plight of Assange has been largely ignored by American mainstream press and there has been an appalling silence on this issue even among political activists.

In late March, this already untenable situation got worse. Pressured by the U.S., Ecuadors new President Lenin Moreno put Assange in isolation by cutting off his access to the Internet, denying him phone calls and visitors, including Human Rights Watch. The latest news about him indicates that the Ecuadorian government is close to finalizing an agreement with British officials to evict Assange from the embassy. How did this all happen? Here we have a Western journalist, who has not been charged with any crime, being punished for providing information that shed light on crimes and corruption of governments. This plight of Assange has been largely ignored by American mainstream press and there has been an appalling silence on this issue even among political activists.

Villain, hero or useful idiot?

WikiLeaks has been consistently vilified by U.S. officials across two major political parties. After the publication of U.S. diplomatic cables, Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, designated the whistleblowing site as a terrorist organization, calling for aggressive prosecution. Similar reactions were made by Democrats. Former Vice President Joe Biden compared Assange to a high-tech terrorist, while senator and chairman of the Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein urged him to be prosecuted for espionage.

As officials jumped to condemn this new media organization, the public responded differently. WikiLeaks, with the release of the collateral murder video in 2010, that provided an everyday scenery of the War on Terror in the Middle East instantly became a hero among liberals. This was contrasted with Republicans who tended to view the release of U.S. Diplomatic Cables as harmful, with conservative leaders calling Assange a traitor.

This attitude toward WikiLeaks flipped during the election season in 2016. WikiLeaks publication of damaging information from the Hillary Clinton campaign during the final weeks leading up to the election was met with Democrats hostile criticism. In their minds, WikiLeaks has changed. It no longer represented a champion of free speech that they once saw. To them, WikiLeaks appeared to have been taken over, being weaponized for the agenda of their political opponent.

As mainstream media hype of Russiagate came full on, demonization of WikiLeaks increased, depicting the transparency group as Putins puppet for meddling with the U.S. election.

As mainstream media hype of Russiagate came full on, demonization of WikiLeaks increased, depicting the transparency group as Putins puppet for meddling with the U.S. election. Contrary to progressives suspicion and animosity toward the organization, support for WikiLeaks grew among conservatives during the most recent presidential race. Right wing commentators on Fox News and politicians like Sarah Palin cheered WikiLeaks. Trump repeatedly praised the organization during his campaign. Ever since it attained public notoriety, WikiLeaks has become many things for different people. Assange has been called a villain, a hero or a useful idiot. But what is WikiLeaks, who is Assange and what is his agenda?

Crushing bastards

Julian Paul Assange is a computer programmer and journalist with an independent mind and deep knowledge of the workings of hidden forces of control. Raffi Khatchadourian, a staff writer at The New Yorker, who profiled Assange in his article in 2010, described how this Australian native, who recently obtained citizenship in Ecuador came to understand the defining human struggle not as left versus right, or faith versus reason, but as individual versus institution.

Described how this Australian native, who recently obtained citizenship in Ecuador came to understand the defining human struggle not as left versus right, or faith versus reason, but as individual versus institution.

In his 2006 seminal writing Conspiracy as Governance, Assange identified authoritarian regimes as patronage networks of political elites. He analyzed how this network maintains its power through the use of secrecy, restriction, and the control of national and global communication and information. Assange conceived WikiLeaks upon this understanding of the structure of power. With its innovative technical infrastructure and the method of transparency, the organization revolutionized the function of the press.

As a transnational journalistic entity that is entirely funded by public donations, WikiLeaks places no allegiance to any nations, corporations or political ideology. Its sole loyalty lies in the principle of democracy, using a leak as a tool for information warfare to perform a function of watchdog, restricting the power of institutions and protecting the rights of individuals. This fidelity to checks and balances is demonstrated in Assanges ability to speak truth, no matter who is in power.

In Obamas second term of presidency, while many who voted for him were still mesmerized under the spell of hope and change, Assange was able to penetrate the deception and see lies and hypocrisies of this president who received a Nobel Peace Prize, while simultaneously engaging in multiple wars. In the statement after one year in the embassy where he called for global support for the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who was charged with espionage, Assange fiercely denounced Obamas war on whistleblowers.

In Obamas second term of presidency, while many who voted for him were still mesmerized under the spell of hope and change, Assange was able to penetrate the deception and see lies and hypocrisies of this president who received a Nobel Peace Prize, while simultaneously engaging in multiple wars.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, WikiLeaks released documents concerning one of the major candidates that would inherit the throne of this global imperial power. With the publication of documents that revealed internal workings of the Clinton campaign, WikiLeaks brought vital information that could help American people carefully scrutinize their political system and crush bastards that try to attack and undermine democracy.

If the organization had documents concerning Trump, WikiLeaks indicated that they would have published it. In responding to accusations of WikiLeaks favoring the Trump campaign with the DNC leaks, Assange made it clear that the role of the organization is to publish whatever is given to them, and they will not censor their publications for any political reasons.

The recent article written by an Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, who worked with WikiLeaks for nine years, backs this claim. In sharing her insider view of the organization, she described how the decision of the timing of Podesta leaks was made and how Assange and his team were preparing to release material on Trump, which didnt materialize, as it was already published before.

Defense of American ideals

This revolutionary journalism that Assange created through WikiLeaks resonates with the ideals that founded the United States. In fact, Assange pointed out how WikiLeaks derives its inspiration from the American revolutionary ideas and that it aligns its mission with these ideals.

Similar to the faith in the wisdom of ordinary people to govern themselves, expressed in the preamble of the Constitution with its first words We the People, Assange believed in the significance of ordinary people and their ability to engage in history. Thomas Jefferson recognized how, Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press. Just as founders of this country did not trust their own government and created a safeguard for individual liberty, Assange believed in the importance of an informed public in the functioning of democracy.

Just as founders of this country did not trust their own government and created a safeguard for individual liberty, Assange believed in the importance of an informed public in the functioning of democracy.

From its inception in 2006, WikiLeaks has been working to defend these American values. When the laws that protect whistleblowers were gutted, it is through Assange and WikiLeaks staffs adamant commitment to the principle of free press that made it possible for former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to exercise her uncompromising free speech. Also, it is because of WikiLeaks journalist Sarah Harrison, with her courage in demonstrating extraordinary source protection that Snowden is now able to enjoy his rights that were denied by his own country.

WikiLeaks, as the worlds first global Fourth Estate, extended the freedom of speech, not only for Americans, but for people all around the world. As of late 2016, it published 10 million documents with a pristine record of authentication. The organization, by making full archives available in a searchable format, brought back information that belongs to the public, directly into their own hands. From the election in Kenya to the Icelandic revolution, WikiLeaks publications empowered people in many countries, creating greater social change and sparks for global uprisings. Information made available has been used to bring justice in courts and address numerous human rights abuses.

Until the moment he was cut out from the outside world, this editor in chief of the worlds most prosecuted publisher defended ordinary peoples right to self-determination. From a tiny sanctum in the Ecuadorian Embassy of London, Assange followed Catalans struggle for independence and continuously spoke out against Spanish Central governments abuse of their democratic rights.

Self-righteous betrayal of democracy

So, did WikiLeaks change? Has this organization that once cracked our heart open with uncensored images of modern war lost its ideals? WikiLeaks illuminated our minds with a large cache of documents detailing dirty secrets of powerful figures, including over 650,000 critical documents concerning Putins Russia. Are they now really compromised?

WikiLeaks has not changed. It has not abandoned American ideals that have fueled the engine for this organization. WikiLeaks accepts information that is of public interest. It verifies and publishes authentic documents that fit the criteria of having diplomatic, political, ethical, or historical significance, which has not been published before, and which is being suppressed. It does this, no matter who is in office and which nation-state rises to global dominance, and even if doing so makes it a target of massive political retaliation.

Similarly, WikiLeaks, by revealing the corruption of the American political system, tried to awaken moral courage for voters to take back their democracy that has long been stolen.

WikiLeaks influence on U.S. politics in 2016 with the publication of documents that belong to Clinton campaign manager can be likened to efforts of consumer advocate Ralph Nader in the electoral arena. Nader, through his third party presidential run aimed to awaken in American people a fire in the belly that could challenge the corporate two-party duopoly. Similarly, WikiLeaks, by revealing the corruption of the American political system, tried to awaken moral courage for voters to take back their democracy that has long been stolen.

The publication of Podesta files exposed WikiLeaks to the same bigotry and bullying that Nader had faced back then, where the Democratic Party with their ardent middle class devotees blamed him for George W. Bushs presidency and called him a spoiler. Now, the Democratic establishment, with MSNBC cable news stations and commentators, recycles the old tactics of defamation. They branded Assange as a Trump supporter and Russias intelligence asset. By even filing the lawsuit against the organization, they directed their vengeance to this whistleblowing site about the loss of Clintons campaign.

Yet, just as Naders third party presidential efforts could not spoil the election that was already so rotted, WikiLeaks could not ruin the political campaign that was so corrupted to the core. It is not WikiLeaks, but Americans who have been compromised. It is we who have fallen for a manufactured national politics that is designed to divide and conquer us every four years with new packaged candidates of the same product.

It is we who have fallen for a manufactured national politics that is designed to divide and conquer us every four years with new packaged candidates of the same product.

We have lost the revolutionary spirit that founded this nation, its vigilance toward government and have settled for the lesser of two evils. By engaging in our self-righteous crusade for defending our allegiance to leaders, parties and to the flag we plead to, we have betrayed our own interests and ideals.

Claiming our sacred heart

With the publication of Vault 7, a series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, fury against WikiLeaks now intensifies. The Trump cabinet continues the war on the First Amendment that began under the Obama administration. In recent months, Trumps Justice Department Jeff Sessions stated that Assanges arrest is a priority. Mike Pompeo, former CIA Director and the current U.S. Secretary of State, referred to the whistleblowing site as a non-state hostile intelligence service and indicated WikiLeaks as a force that subverts the U.S. Constitution.

From a traitor and a Kremlin puppet to a spoiler of American democracy, words are thrown around to create distortion. Bombarded by loud media sound bites, in this illusion of democracy, many can no longer hear a voice of conscience that knows what is right and they now remain silent. As Ecuador now prepares to hand over Assange to British authorities for a financial reward, by breaking its own Constitution of the Republic, our democracys last line of defense is about to be severed. Cruel treatment of Assange is no longer a character assassination and imprisonment of one innocent man. What is at stake is the death of the sacred heart of democracy that remembers our inherent obligation to one another. In his earlier blog, Assange wrote about the moral courage required in our age:

Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love.

He reminded us that what drives our will to crush bastards is a gentle love that inspires us to nurture the vulnerable. In a world where there is WikiLeaks, the veil of secrecy can no longer be maintained. The released information revealed the abuse of the powerful on the most vulnerable amongst usthose that are voiceless, ailing and impoverished. Calamity happening in Knightsbridge under the heightened security at the heart of London represents the injustice of the world that this fearless journalist and his courageous sources brought to us all to bear witness. It is now laid out for those who are willing and ready to see the truth.

Prosecution of Julian Assange is a persecution of American ideals. Criminalizing the act of publishing through the Espionage Act destroys the First Amendment as the guardian of democracy. This not only sets a dangerous precedent for press freedom, but it could allow the beginning of a new totalitarianism. We must break our silence and refuse to participate in the destruction of values that founded this country. It is time for us all to put aside ideological differences and unite in solidarity with people around the world who are engaging in non-violent resistance against this assault on WikiLeaks and our right to free speech.

Only through sincere efforts to keep our eyes open to the truth before us, can we have a chance to end the tyranny of the past that casts its shadow ever more into the present. If our silence has led to this great tragedy that we face now, the victory of democracy can be brought through each of us claiming the center of our heart to stand up for this fellow man who sacrificed his liberty so that all can be free.

Read more here:
Why Americans Need to Defend Julian Assanges Freedom

Julian Assange: WikiLeaks founder wants Australian government …

JULIAN Assange the Australian WikiLeaks founder in exile at a London embassy wants the Turnbull Government to urgently intervene in his case as he faces the imminent prospect of expulsion from his refuge.

Assange could be kicked out of the Ecuadorean Embassy in the coming weeks after that countrys new president indicated he wanted the 47-year-old to leave, and only intended to ensure he wouldnt face the death penalty if extradited to the United States. The WikiLeaks boss has been at the embassy since 2012.

The development comes as new British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt claimed Assange was facing serious charges from local police. But there is confusion about what they are, as he is only facing a minor charge for breaching bail.

Jennifer Robinson, Assanges lawyer in London, told news.com.au she was obviously very concerned about the speculation he could be forced from the embassy.

We are monitoring that really closely. From our point of view he requires ongoing protection (because) the risk of prosecution is as high as it has ever been.

The Times quoted a source familiar with the case who expected Assange would lose his asylum status imminently. This means he will be expelled from the embassy. When this will happen is impossible to say.

It was Ms Robinsons view, and Assanges, that Australia could help break the stalemate.

Julian is still an Australian citizen and they have an obligation and I think a duty to exercise rights of protection over an Australian citizen, she said. They could usefully engage in this to help solve the impasse.

Ms Robinson said Canberra had good relationships with both the UK and US, so it shouldnt be a difficult matter.

For me as a fellow Australian citizen, it is disappointing the government has not done more but that doesnt preclude them from doing it now and I very much hope that they will.

She said it raised concerns about the Federal Governments willingness to stand up for Australians when the US Government was involved.

Assange was grateful for the support of the Australian public.

I would say he is homesick for Australia, he would love to go back, but we have been disappointed by previous governments failure to take action and it is time the Australian Government listens to that and takes action.

Ms Robinson was mystified as to what charges Mr Hunt was referring to.

Jeremy Hunts statement is curious in the sense that Mr Assange doesnt face any charges whatsoever A magistrate will have to decide whether to bring bail proceedings against him when he leaves the embassy.

A Swedish investigation into allegations of rape against Assange has been dropped but he remains concerned he will be arrested and then handed over to the US if the country applies for him to be extradited.

Assange sought refuge and was granted asylum in the embassy in 2012, fearing he would be sent to the US for publishing hacked military emails. He has not left the building, near the luxury department store Harrods in the exclusive London district of Knightsbridge, since then, and his health is said to be rapidly getting worse.

Even if he was convicted of the minor bail charge, it was only punishable by a fine or maximum three months in prison, so is not considered a serious charge by law.

So is Mr Hunt talking about an extradition request from the US where he would face serious charges? asked Ms Robinson. Has he misspoken and disclosed that?

She told news.com.au that would be a serious matter. Assanges legal team had sought assurances from the UK there was no extradition request and had been met with a standard, blanket will not confirm or deny.

So if Mr Hunt is talking about serious charges there are none on the public record, so of course, we are concerned about what that might be from the US.

Ms Robinson said the UK Government had refused for eight years to give Ecuador an assurance Assange wouldnt be extradited to the US. That assurance alone could bring an end to the long-running drama, which is taking an increasing toll on him.

Its an untenable situation. Im very concerned about the permanent damage to his health. He is without adequate access to the outdoors and exercise and it has had a serious impact on his health. The UK Government refuses to allow him get medical help and leave (which is) a humanitarian issue.

She told news.com.au the case came down to the US seeking to prosecute a publisher from publishing activities.

Recent indictments in the US issued by Special Counsel Robert Mueller implied Assange and WikiLeaks were a conduit for Russian intelligence in distributing hacked Democratic Party emails in 2016, CNN reported.

Assange has always insisted the emails were not received from the Russians or any state party.

When he was campaigning for the presidency, Donald Trump praised WikiLeaks for publishing information from Hillary Clintons private email server but his Attorney-General Jeff Sessions has said arresting Assange was a priority.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the Government was offering Assange consular support. The Australian Government has provided consular support and will continue to do so as is required, she said.

We understand there are still matters where Mr Assange is subject to British legal proceedings so therefore that would be a matter of British law enforcement authorities and agencies.

andrew.koubaridis@news.com.au

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Julian Assange: WikiLeaks founder wants Australian government …