A LONDON court will rule on February 6 whether to drop an arrest warrant against Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, after his lawyers made a surprise request for the move in Westminster Magistrates Court.
Assange, who has spent the past five years holed up in the embassy, next door to Harrods in Londons posh Knightsbridge district, asked his lawyers to argue that the warrant, issued after he breached his bail conditions, be discontinued after Swedish authorities confirmed that their extradition warrant is no longer live.
Assange, 46, breached his bail conditions and requested asylum in the embassy in 2012 in order to avoid extradition to Sweden over an allegation of rape, which he has consistently denied.
Swedish prosecutors confirmed they had dropped the investigation against him last year but Assange could still be arrested if he leaves the building in Knightsbridge due to his skipping of the UK bail conditions.
In the Westminster Magistrates Court his lawyers argued now that the Swedish case had been dropped the warrant had lost its purpose and its function.
Asked if Assange could walk free, a spokesman for the Crown Proscution Service said: Hypothetically, yes. That would be our interpretation.
The magistrate also said she needed to examine medical evidence that Assange is suffering a terrible bad tooth, frozen shoulder and depression.
A scrum of photographers and broadcast vans assembled outside the embassy as a single supporter tied a red Free Assange banner on to the wrought iron fence and handed out leaflets condemning Sweden and the UKs legal pursuit of the Wikileaks founder.
Shoppers from the famous department store Harrods, which is next door, stopped to ask questions while cars and taxis slowed down to make sense of the throng.
There was no appearance of Assange who sometimes makes speeches from the embassy balcony.
MORE: Australia refuses to intervene in Ecuador embassy row
British police have said Assange would be arrested for breaching bail conditions should he leave the building.
He is seeking to have the warrant of arrest discontinued because the Swedes have confirmed that the extradition warrant is no longer live, a spokesman for Britains Crown Prosecution Service said.
He is seeking that therefore the warrant of arrest should be taken out as well.
Asked if a successful ruling could enable Assange to walk free, the spokesman replied: hypothetically yes, that would be our interpretation.
It comes as his doctors warned his health was at risk as a result of his six-year confinement.
Sondra S Crosby, Brock Chisholm and Sean Love, writing on The Guardians website, said that they spent 20 hours over three days assessing Assanges condition.
Without giving any particular details, they said that his confinement has had an impact on his physical and mental health.
As clinicians, it is our ethical duty to advocate for the health and human rights of all people as promised under international law, wrote the doctors. Experience tells us that the prolonged uncertainty of indefinite detention inflicts profound psychological and physical trauma above and beyond the expected stressors of incarceration.
These can include severe anxiety, pathological levels of stress, dissociation, depression, suicidal thoughts, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain, among others.
It is unconscionable that Mr Assange is in the position of having to decide between avoiding arrest and potentially suffering the health consequences, including death, if a life-threatening crisis such as a heart attack were to occur.
Further, our assessment reveals that he has had no access to sunlight, appropriate ventilation or outside space for over five and a half years.
The WikiLeaks founder has not stepped out of the Knightsbridge, west London, embassy since August 2012.
The rest is here:
Julian Assange: WikiLeaks founder will have to wait until …
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A woman in Texas impersonated Fox News host Sean Hannity and duped WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with a series of direct messages on Twitter, according to a report.
Technical writer Dell Gilliam secured the handle @SeanHannity__ after the Fox News hosts Twitter account @SeanHannity went down on Saturday morning, the Daily Beast reported.
Gilliam, who amassed more than 23,000 followers by pretending to be Hannity, sent a direct message to Assange that read, Id like to set up a time for us to talk. When may be good for you?
Assange responded, Back! Good to see. Most of today is good. Try other channels.
Sean Hannitys Twitter account briefly vanishes
When Gilliam kept up the conversation and asked if he was available for a call, Assange made a second mention of messaging on other channels.
He added, Have some news about Warner.
Two days later, Sen. Mark Warner the leading Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Politico that Congress received extraordinarily important new documents at the end of 2017 that opened a lot of new questions into the investigation into Trumps campaign.
WikiLeaks, which published hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign, also sent direct messages to Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter less than two months before the 2016 presidential elections.
The messages, which continued for at least 10 months and included requests for President Trumps tax returns, were later turned over to congressional investigators.
On Monday night, Hannity tried to push back on reports of Gilliams exchange with Assange on his restored Twitter account.
The epitome of #FakeNews. Literally a fake account, a fake persona, and this is what the destroy Trump media writes about? Hannity tweeted.
For one thing, its harder for U.S. law enforcement to search. That may matter to the Wikileaks contributor-turned-U.S. Senate candidate.
Chelsea Manning, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate for Maryland, Wikileaks contributor, and felon, registered a campaign web address that connects to a computer in Iceland. One potential explanation: putting data on a server overseas can help you hide it fromauthorities.
When Mannings campaign committee registered with the Federal Election Commission on Jan. 16, it listed the official website as xyChelsea.is. A quick domain-name lookup shows that it connects to a computer (IP 184.108.40.206 in Iceland. Theres nothing illegal in that. But it might matter if Manning tries to evade a warrant for data stored on thatcomputer.
Manning did not reply to multiple requests for comment, so its difficult to say why her campaign elected to go with a server in Iceland. But one possible explanation rests the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, or ECPA, which describes how law enforcement agencies may obtain data for investigatory purposes. Last year, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that data incomputers that arent on U.S. soil are not subject towarrants.
The ruling emerged from a 2013 drug-trafficking case in which the government had a warrant for emails held by Microsoft. The company argued that because the relevant servers were physically in Ireland, the data they held was beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. The circuit court agreed, but it was a split 4-4 decision. In October, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that they would hear the case; theyll begin hearing arguments next month.
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For now, data thats stored in computers in countries, like Iceland, that are not party to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, is beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. law enforcement, even via warrant and even when the data was created in the UnitedStates.
How abnormal is this? We did a quick lookup of a handful of different U.S. senate campaign websites and found them registered to computers that are located in the United States. But there can be more to offshoring campaign data than a simple DNS lookup shows. In 2016, attorney and open-source developer Ben Balter took a look at the campaign websites for a number of presidential candidates. While all of them were registered to computers that were nominally attached to the United States, several were using hosting or the web services of companies that sometimes store client and user data in overseas computers. These include companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, and CloudFlare, which may make origin detection difficult in general, hesays.
The Supreme Courts eventual ruling on the Microsoft case may affect how such companies not to mention Chelsea Manning comply with law enforcement requests andwarrants.
Chelsea Manning stepped out of prison last spring into a world that she recognized only from her dystopian nightmares.
In New York City, she noticed an overwhelming number of heavily armed police. It reminded her of what she describes as the suppression of protests around President Trumps inauguration a few months earlier, and riots after the 2016 Freddie Gray incident, in which Gray was fatally injured in police custody in Baltimore. By summer, her attention and the worlds shifted to Charlottesville, where a white-supremacist rally to protest the removal of a Confederate statue turned deadly.
This is not the home I expected to come home to, said Manning, 30, the transgender former Army private who spent seven years in federal custody for passing classified government documents to WikiLeaks. This is another prison. … I need to figure out how were going to survive it.
Her answer, for now, is to run for U.S. Senate against Benjamin L. Cardin (Md.), the 74-year-old two-term lawmaker and senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Cardin is the overwhelming favorite in the June 26 primary. Manning is determined to wage an insurgent campaign, eschewing corporate or PAC money and pushing for radical change in criminal justice, education and health care.
The establishment needs to be challenged, and it needs to be challenged in their footholds and in the places where they feel safe, she said during an interview in the sun-filled living room of her Rockville, Md., apartment.
A framed copy of President Barack Obamas order commuting her 35-year sentence hangs above the mantel, flanked by photos of anarchist Emma Goldman and playwright Oscar Wilde, both of whom faced imprisonment.
Hers is a battle in the mold of progressives such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Donna F. Edwards (D), who lost primaries in Maryland in 2016 to establishment Democrats: presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and now-Sen. Chris Van Hollen. Both Sanders and Edwards, who is now running for Prince Georges County executive, gained a left-wing following during their campaigns. Manning hopes to do the same.
This isnt about criminal justice reform, she said, its about criminal justice restructuring. We need to start closing prisons. We need to start releasing prisoners.
The Affordable Care Act, pilloried by conservatives as government overreach, didnt go far enough, in Mannings opinion.
She supports free, no questions asked health care for all but said making that happen is a matter of debate for legislative purposes.
Asked how to pay for it, she said: Look at the defense budget. Were spending almost $600 billion a year on weapons of war.
Chelsea E. Manning, who served time in prison for leaking classified documents, is challenging Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) in the June Democratic primary. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)
For all her renegade tactics, Manning also is employing a well-worn approach to early campaigning: seeking advice from community groups in listening sessions.
In the two weeks since her campaign got a surprise jump-start when a conservative blog tweeted her federal filing form, she said, 1,000 individual donors have contributed. (Fundraising reports are due Wednesday.)
The team consists of Manning, a communications director, an operations director and a finance director. Each has an equal say in decision-making, she said.
Her campaign slogan: #WeGotThis.
That slogan was her mantra in prison, Manning said, a way to keep up her morale.
Any rational person would say we didnt have a chance, but we kept fighting and we kept going even though we couldnt see the light at the end of the tunnel, she said.
While Mannings trans identity links her to a wave of LGBT candidates running in 2018, she said her experiences behind bars, deployments to Iraq in 2009 and 2010, and the months she spent homeless and adrift in Chicago in 2006 give her credibility in the race.
Im trans and I bring some experience to the table, but this isnt about that, she said.
Living with an aunt in Maryland before enlisting in the Army, she worked at a Starbucks and the Abercrombie & Fitch store at Westfield Montgomery Mall, and took classes at the University of Maryland University College and Montgomery College, she said.
During Army breaks she returned to Maryland, maintaining residency there until she entered prison in 2010.
She expresses no regrets about leaking a trove of confidential documents and said criticism that she is an American traitor rings hollow today.
In a society where people can call Hillary Clinton, James B. Comey anybody that you disagree with politically becomes a traitor, then we cant have a debate, she said.
Given the circumstances that I was in and everything that I knew at the time, I did what I felt was the right decision to make. I cant go back and change that, she said.
She says her intelligence know-how would be an asset in the Senate, especially when privacy issues are debated.
Pointing to congressional reauthorization last week of the warrantless surveillance program, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, she said: We need someone to push back against this machine so that we can dismantle it, so that we can stop living in fear.
Maryland senate candidate and formerly imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning came under intense criticism for attending the A Night for Freedom party at the nightclub FREQ NYC hosted by right wing leader Mike Cernovich who infamously propagated the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
Manning claims she was acting as a double agent, trying infiltrate the alt-right world to gain insight into their plans for rallies, get togethers, and general political strategy. Her, at times convoluted, explanation for why she was featured in multiple photos and social gatherings with the whos who of the alt-right, was told exclusively to The Daily Beast.
According to Manning, her connection with right wing social media leaders began in autumn of last year when she first got in touch with Gateway Pundit writer Cassandra Fairbanks over Twitter DMs during the No Hate in the Bay demonstration in Berkeley.
The demonstration took place in late September and, according to Manning, she was compelled to get more involved in direct anti-fascist action in the wake of white supremacist-led violence in Charlottesville that left a peaceful counter-protester dead.
Charlottesville was a wakeup call for me, said Manning, who at the time was just starting to rebuild her life after her release from prison. I saw how these people will actually kill us, and we need to do something about it. I felt like I hadnt done enough. I just cant sit and watch everything get worse.
Mannings solution was to use her fame and celebrity to integrate with an admirer who had connections with several alt-right social media personalities. Enter Fairbanks.
Shes most known for her very public shift from being a diehard Bernie Sanders supporter to a dedicated and vocal Trump influencer who was once on Kremlin payroll as a writer at Russian state propaganda outlet Sputnik. She now has close ties to many D.C.-area alt-right media influencers. Manning disclosed to The Daily Beast that she was aware of Fairbanks history before deciding to develop her as a potential source of information. According to Manning, who received military intelligence training in her time in the Army, a friendship with Fairbanks was never her intent.
Manning had given an impromptu speech at the demonstration in the Bay Area and found herself on the opposite side of countering protests from Fairbanks, who had previously sent Manning personal letters through the support group who was assisting her when she was in federal prison.
We ended up sitting down and having coffee said Manning, who said they met at a Starbucks in Silver Spring, Maryland a few weeks after the Bay Area demonstration. Reached through Twitter, Fairbanks confirmed the meeting.
After we started talking I realized that she kept on telling me things about the alt-right and what was going on… I made it clear that I disagree with many of her positions politically, but she just continued to talk to me and even tell me things in confidence that quite frankly surprised me at first.
For Manning, it was the first glimpse at whether or not she might be able to get access to sensitive information within the alt-rights media wing.
A week or two after coffee with Fairbanks, Manning said the Trump supporter invited her to go to Escape the Room with friends.
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She didnt tell me who her friends were, [and] I didnt really ask. I weighed [being seen in public with Fairbanks] for a few hours, actually, before responding, said Manning.
But after thinking about it, she decided that deepening trust with Fairbanks and her friends outweighed the potential risk of appearing to associate with Fairbanks or other alt-right media figures.
I viewed this as an opportunity to use the celebrity and fame Ive gotten since getting out of prison to gather information and to ultimately find ways in which we who are against the alt-right can undermine the alt-right, she said.
Manning said that when she first arrived at Escape the Room, she immediately recognized several of the others in her group, which, according to the recently uncovered photo, included pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, and Gateway Pundit White House Correspondent Lucian Wintrich. At that point, Manning said she decided to double down on her decision to hunt for information on the alt-rights dealings. During the outing itself she said politics werent discussed at all within the group and that the general tone was muted and awkward. Manning noted that keeping a cool exterior was a difficult and uncomfortable prospect for her knowing who they were and the various things they were willing to say and do in public. An hour after meeting these people, this photo was being taken, she said, noting thatits customary to have a photo taken as a group after the Escape the Room activity is completed.
That wasnt the last time she hung out casually with the group.
About a month later, Manning disclosed that she also spent a December evening drinking and playing Cards Against Humanity at the Wintrichs apartment with Fairbanks and several other people she didnt recognize. (It should be noted that Manning disclosed this to The Daily Beast before Wintrich tweeted photos of Manning from that night Wednesday afternoon.)
Throughout the evening, the group discussed some inside baseball on what was happening at the time with Steve Bannon and the White House, defending Mike Flynn as accepted a plea deal in the Mueller Russia probe, and generally mocking right wing troll Milo Yiannopoulos, who they knew personally, including revealing very personal details that arent publicly available. The thing in all this that Ive learned is that they dont actually believe the things that they say. I just feel theyre opportunists and that they exploit their Twitter followers fears, said Manning.
The idea that Manning might have established relationships with alt-right media figures to gain insight into their plans isnt as far fetched as it seems at first blush. According to a Charlottesville organizer who was connected to The Daily Beast from Mannings team who spoke on the condition of anonymity, one of the foundational goals of anti-fascist organizing is to gather intelligence into the activity of fascists and the alt-right.
Infiltrating leadership gets you access to all sorts of information, from plans to whos coming, what their intentions are and a lot of of that is really critical to keeping people safe,the organizer said.
The weekend of January 20, on the night of the Mike Cernovich alt-right cocktail party in New York City, Manning said it was time to out herself as a spy and to confront those in attendance on their own ground. She made it clear that she did not have a ticket to the event and that she did not pay for a ticket, but that Fairbanks helped her get into the event and get a wristband.. When reached for verification, Fairbanks confirmed that Manning didnt pay for her own ticket but did state that an extra ticket was given to her by Cernovich to give to Manning and once inside, she was able to procure a VIP wristband for Manning.
Mannings goal was use her celebrity to access the party to confront the alt- right VIPs on hand by making her presence felt in opposition, even if she wasnt necessarily planning on making a scene inside before joining the anti-fascist protest assembling outside.
The far right party was headlined by a speech by VICE co-founder Gavin McInnes, who also founded the hostile far right wing mens group the Proud Boys, in which he mocked transgender women like Manning and men who are attracted to them. Previous reporting in Mic stated that Manning couldnt have witnessed McInnes transphobic rant because she was in another room, and Fairbanks confirmed Mics report to The Daily Beast. However, its an account which Manning disputes, saying that though she couldnt see who was speaking, the event was held in one large room and she had no issues hearing the speech.
There was a panel as I walked in and one of the people on the panel was actually making a transphobic rant. You know, this was the environment I was walking into, said Manning. I made it clear that Im here because Im not going to back down, Im not going to hide, Im not afraid, I will fight you I view my presence in this event as a form of protest in and of itself because they would never allow somebody like me into a place like that.
When pushed on the fact that she was, in fact, freely let in to the event, Manning explained, I want to be clear that they let me in because they knew who I was and therefore they gave me that privilege to be there. Would they let any other trans person into that event? The answer is no.
Mannings claim that she attended the party to confront her ideological opposites flies in the face of a photo that have been released this week showing Manning with a relaxed demeanor and smiling, with drink in hand as she conversed with McInnes. According to Manning, however, the picture doesnt show how discomforting the situation was, claiming McInnes called her a cunt, and asked her what she was doing at the party. Manning said that despite the fact she was caught off guard, she forced a smile and quipped back, Im here with my friends [the protesters] outside.
Fairbanks said that she did not witness McInnes calling Manning any slurs.
In the end, Manning estimates that she was inside for about forty five minutes before emerging to join the protesters outside, who by that point had surrounded the entire building. She said she met up with a protest marshall and relayed several bits of useful of information, including the number of people inside, the general mood, what people inside were talking about, and whether they were planning any after parties.
A protester who wishes remain anonymous for fear of alt-right retaliation confirmed to The Daily Beast that Manning had indicated her intent to join the protest afterwards before she had entered the party with Fairbanks.
Because she doesnt have Twitter access on her phone, she was unaware of the controversy that started when Buzzfeed reporters Charlie Warzel and Joe Bernstein tweeted about her presence at the party and then openly speculated about whether or not she cosigned on the alt-right event. And by the time Manning got back to her hotel room to tweet a selfie and a message about crashing the party, she said, the alt-right was already painting her attendance as a sign that she was sympathetic to their views and attended in the interests of bridging the left/right political divide.
The question after all is said and done is what, if anything, did Manning learn from her time in close proximity to these far right and alt-right media figures? According to her she was able to obtain some valuable information about the way they structure themselves and the structure of the alt-right itself. She also claims to have passed off valuable information to the people who could use it to counter the alt right, but refused to disclose who these people were or which, if any, organizations they might be affiliated with in the interests of safety. She was able to confirm to the Daily Beast that she obtained information on the way that the alt right social media figureheads are connected with the Richard Spencer wing of the alt right, as well as the Trump administration, supporting the links between all three groups as reported in in Michael Wolffs new book, Fire and Fury.
In the end though, its impossible to really know what was going through Mannings head as she decided to escalate her relationships with figureheads of the alt-right in order to supposedly gather intelligence on their plans. Mannings decision-making process appears nonsensical to all but the most ardently engaged in the anti-fascist movement and the whole thing has an air of impulsiveness. Though shes promised never to associate with the alt-right again, her lack of awareness of the symbol shes become to many on the left, especially within a trans community facing constant attacks from the alt-right, have left many of her supporters confused and feeling betrayed.
People have every right to be confused and hurt by this, Manning said. Regardless of good intentions, I leveraged my privilege to gain access to spaces others couldnt dream of entering safely. I never meant to hurt my supporters. No amount of information on the alt-right is worth losing the trust of my supporters.
Read more from the original source:
Chelsea Manning on Her Alt-Right Partying: I Was a Spy, Not a …
No known charges have been filed against Mr. Assange in the United States, but the Justice Department has contemplated prosecuting him, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that arresting Mr. Assange was a priority.
On Friday, Mr. Assanges lawyer, Mark Summers, told the Westminster Magistrates Court that Swedens withdrawal of the European arrest warrant meant that the British arrest warrant for violating bail no longer applied.
Here are key points in his case since WikiLeaks burst onto the digital scene in 2010.
Its lost its purpose and its function, he said.
He argued that the purpose of the British warrant was to let the extradition case now moot continue, not to charge Mr. Assange with violating bail.
And even if the court disagrees, Mr. Summers said, it should find that it was not in the public interest to charge Mr. Assange with bail violations.
Mr. Assange had reasonable grounds for having sought refuge in the embassy, his lawyer argued, citing the case of Chelsea Manning, the former Army soldier who was imprisoned for leaking documents to WikiLeaks, until her sentence was commuted last year; calls by Mike Huckabee for Mr. Assange to be executed; and findings by United Nations experts that his stay in the embassy amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment.
He has spent 5 years in conditions which, on any view, are akin to imprisonment, without access to adequate medical care or sunlight, in circumstances where his physical and psychological health have deteriorated and are in serious peril, Mr. Summers wrote in a note to the court.
Aaron Watkins, representing the Crown Prosecution Service, asked the court to deny Mr. Assanges request. He said that the warrant should stand and that Mr. Assange could be arrested and prosecuted for the crime of skipping bail.
He said it could not be in the public interest for Mr. Assange having evaded arrest for so long that Swedish prosecutors dropped their case not to be arrested or punished for his failure to surrender and for his contempt for the court process.
Mr. Assanges hypothetical fear of extradition to the United States was not a reasonable explanation for his contempt of court, Mr. Watkins added.
The courts chief magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, who noted doctors statements that Mr. Assange suffered from depression, tooth pain and a stiff shoulder, adjourned the hearing until Feb. 6.
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Julian Assange Asks U.K. Court to Drop His Arrest Warrant …