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Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 8:46 am
by seemslikeadream
Ecuador to remove Julian Assange's extra security from London embassy

President Lenin Moreno makes order after revelations of multimillion dollar spy and security operation set up for WikiLeaks founder

Guardian staff and agencies
Last modified on Fri 18 May 2018 08.05 EDT
President Lenin Moreno makes order after revelations of multimillion dollar spy and security operation set up for WikiLeaks founder

The president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, has ordered the withdrawal of additional security assigned to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has remained for almost six years.

The move was announced a day after an investigation by the Guardian and Focus Ecuador revealed the country had bankrolled a multimillion-dollar spy operation to protect and support Assange, employing an international security company and undercover agents to monitor his visitors, embassy staff and even the British police.

Over more than five years, Ecuador put at least $5m (£3.7m) into a secret intelligence budget that protected him while he had visits from Nigel Farage, members of European nationalist groups and individuals linked to the Kremlin.

Rafael Correa, the then Ecuadorian president who approved of the operation, later defended the security measures as “routine and modest”.

However, his successor, Moreno, appears to differ in his view. His government said in a statement: “The president of the republic, Lenin Moreno, has ordered that any additional security at the Ecuadorian embassy in London be withdrawn immediately.

“From now on, it will maintain normal security similar to that of other Ecuadorian embassies.”

Moreno has previously described Assange’s situation as “a stone in his shoe”.

Ecuador suspended Assange’s communication systems in March after his pointed political comments on Twitter. Assange had tweeted messages challenging Britain’s accusation that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of a Russian former double agent and his daughter in Salisbury.

Reuters contributed to this report ... on-embassy

A visual guide to Ecuador's Julian Assange spy operation
The Ecuadorian government has spent millions of dollars on surveillance of the WikiLeaks founder at its London embassy
Luke Harding, Dan Collyns, Niko Kommenda, Josh Holder and Cath Levett
Wed 16 May 2018 07.57 EDT Last modified on Wed 16 May 2018 10.03 EDT

The Ecuadorian government has carried out a multimillion-dollar surveillance operation designed to protect and support Julian Assange during his six years of political asylum in the country’s embassy in London, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

The surveillance operation
In 2012, Ecuador’s intelligence agency hired an international security company to establish the programme for a monthly cost of $55,000 (£40,000), which was paid from a “special expenses” budget.

The documents describe how the company’s secret agents slept 100 metres (330ft) away from the embassy in a modest basement flat costing £2,800 a month, in one of the most expensive parts of London.

From a control room inside the Ecuadorian embassy, the security team oversaw Assange’s contacts.

His guests went through a security check upon arrival, handing over their passports and mobile phones. The operatives recorded each guest’s passport number and nationality, as well as the purpose of their visit, building up a comprehensive log of everyone Assange met during his stay. According to the documents, the security company sent the confidential list of Assange’s visitors to Ecuador’s government.

The logs are likely to be of interest to Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating allegations that Russia helped Donald Trump win the 2016 US presidential election. The FBI has interviewed at least one person involved in “Operation Guest”, which later became known as “Operation Hotel”, it is understood.

Some of Assange’s “social” visits were from famous names including Pamela Anderson and Vivienne Westwood, as well as the WikiLeaks staff member Sarah Harrison.

There were also “extraordinary reports” that included daily logs of Assange’s activities within the embassy, noting his general mood.

Activities outside the embassy were also monitored and recorded. One report included photographs of anti-Assange protesters with signs that read “We want you out of our embassy”. It was even noted when a packet of sweets was thrown on to the balcony – seemingly a present for Assange.


Surveillance reports included photographs of protesters, sweets thrown on to Assange's balcony and an American superfan who spent two days outside the embassy
Inside the embassy
This level of scrutiny came after the security company installed CCTV cameras in the embassy’s lobby and a conference room, and on the balcony.

Initially, Assange slept in a narrow room next to the balcony, but he later came to take up more than one-third of the embassy’s ground-floor space and sleep in a larger back room.

Assange’s realm was home to WikiLeaks and its computers, and not covered by CCTV. It was off limits to diplomats, with access controlled by door codes.

This surveillance did not come cheap
According to documents seen by the Guardian, the Ecuadorian intelligence agency spent at least $5m on the surveillance operation.

The agency’s expense reports alarmed the Ecuadorian financial controller, who asked how more than $400,000 could have been spent in the first five months of the operation without a single receipt.

In March, the intelligence agency was shut down by Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, who described Assange’s continuing presence as an “inherited problem”.

That same month, embassy staff cut off his internet access.

Ecuadorian government sources say Quito is considering a plan for where Assange might go next, making his future more uncertain than ever. ... -operation

Ben Gartside
BuzzFeed Contributor

The UK inquiry looking into Russia and the Cambridge Analytica scandal had agreed a provisional date for a public interview session with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, before abandoning the plan after a call from the Foreign Office, BuzzFeed News has learned.

Foreign Office officials called the Digital Culture, Media and Sport committee after learning of the plan to interview Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in a high-profile public forum, according to a well-placed source.

The closely watched DCMS inquiry, chaired by Conservative MP Damian Collins, was originally set up to look at fake news back in January 2017. But the MPs on the committee have been going down different paths, holding headline-grabbing public sessions with everyone from fake news academics to Brexit whistleblowers to representatives from the US tech giants.

Daniel Leal-olivas / AFP / Getty Images
Just this week, the DCMS inquiry has interviewed a Canadian data firm with links to Cambridge Analytica and doubled down on threats to issue a summons to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. On Thursday, the inquiry announced it would again be interviewing former Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix, while also saying Vote Leave campaign's Dominic Cummings would be referred to the House, which could see the Brexit strategist found in contempt of parliament.

When it came to interviewing Assange – an exercise sure to again grab global headlines for the inquiry – the DCMS committee had intended to take evidence about Cambridge Analytica's attempts to contact him. A committee spokesperson, though, maintains the committee's decision not to interview him via video link wasn't influenced by the Foreign Office phone calls.

“As is normal with select committees, we’re in regular contact with many government departments, including the FCO. We wouldn’t go into detail about private phone calls conducted as part of business,” the spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

“Our interaction with FCO had no bearing on the Committee’s decision not to invite Assange to give evidence.”

But the existence of a long email chain seen by BuzzFeed News reveals DCMS officials were in contact with Assange’s lawyer over several weeks, after the WikiLeaks founder initially was invited by the committee to respond with written evidence to some of the claims from Alexander Nix.

Responding to the invitation, Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson wrote to the DCMS committee on March 7 asking whether he'd be able to give the evidence via video link.

"[Assange] would of course prefer to attend to give evidence in person. However, in light of these unjust circumstances, we propose that he provide his evidence by video-link to enable the Committee to properly test his evidence. We believe this will be more fruitful for the Committee.

"In addition, given the evidence Mr Assange will contradict was given live, it is also only fair and proper for Mr Assange to be able to respond in the same way and to answer any further questions the Committee might have."

A senior DCMS official emailed back a week later, saying members of the committee had met to discuss Assange's proposal in private, and wanted to know more information about what he'd address.

"The Committee had a private meeting this morning and discussed the issue. They would like more details on the specific issues that Mr. Assange would be willing to talk about," the official wrote.

On 19 March, Robinson said Assange would be able to go into more depth about "Cambridge Analytica's alleged dealings with WikiLeaks". She also suggested dates for the hearing.

"We understand that the Committee meets on Tuesdays," Robinson wrote. "Mr. Assange can make himself available to the Committee on 27 March, 3 April and 10 April. Should the Committee wish to propose a different date, please let me know."

The same DCMS official replied on the same day, lining up a date for the hearing: "Depending on what the Committee decides tomorrow, an alternative date could be Wednesday 28 March. Would Mr Assange be free on that date?"

Robinson replied: "Mr Assange can participate on Wednesday 28 March".

A day later, Assange tweeted, along with a video showing a comical explosion in a house: “I have accepted a request by the select committee of the UK parliament @CommonsCMS to give evidence, via video link, about Cambridge Analytica, and other matters, later this month.”

According to a source, the tweet caused UK foreign officials to call the DCMS committee to check whether Assange was right. It had the effect of "slapping the committee on the wrist” said the source.

Despite the backroom plans, the DCMS inquiry went on Twitter that afternoon to distance itself in public: "Mr Assange has offered to appear before the DCMS Committee, but no formal invitation has been issued for him to attend."

Two days later, the DCMS committee decided not to go ahead with the plan to take Assange’s evidence in a public forum.

Assange’s lawyer Robinson told BuzzFeed News the situation raised questions about foreign officials trying to intervene in the conduct of a committee.

“It is disturbing if the government has intervened in what should be an independent Parliamentary process,” Robinson said.

“It is particularly concerning if the Foreign office intervened behind the scenes to prevent Julian Assange from speaking to the Committee, and giving evidence directly that could have been interrogated and informed the Committee.”

Justin Tallis / AFP / Getty Images
When BuzzFeed News called Sir Alan Duncan to ask whether he placed any of the calls to the DCMS committee, or the inquiry’s clerks, the senior foreign minister labelled the suggestion "complete rubbish".

“I wasn't even aware they were trying to make him appear before them. This is complete rubbish in every respect," Duncan told BuzzFeed News over the phone.

“If they are asking for him to appear, that's a matter for the committee, not for me.”

The foreign office admitted to calling the committee in the wake of Assange’s tweet, but denied it was an attempt to coerce them into not taking the evidence.

“Any suggestion that the FCO encouraged the DCMS Committee not to take evidence from Mr Assange is completely false,” a foreign office spokesperson said.

“As the government department responsible for the UK’s relationship with the Ecuadorian Embassy, the FCO contacted the DCMS Select Committee to ask if Mr Assange, as he was alleging, had been invited to present evidence to the committee.” ... ssion=true

Assange 'split' Ecuador and Spain over Catalan independence

Stephanie Kirchgaessner
Last modified on Wed 16 May 2018 17.47 EDT

WikiLeaks founder met separatists and tweeted on the issue, which sources say triggered a backlash from Madrid

Julian Assange’s intervention on Catalan independence created a rift between the WikiLeaks founder and the Ecuadorian government, which has hosted Assange for nearly six years in its London embassy, the Guardian has learned.

Sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said Assange’s support for the separatists, including a meeting in November, led to a backlash from Spain, which in turn caused deep concern within Ecuador’s government.

While Assange’s role in the US presidential election has been an intense focus of US prosecutors, his involvement in Spanish politics appears to have caused Ecuador the most pain.

The Ecuadorians cut Assange’s internet connection and ended his access to visitors on 28 March, saying he had breached an agreement at the end of last year not to issue messages that might interfere with other states.

Quito has been looking to find a solution to what it increasingly sees as an untenable situation: hosting one of the world’s most wanted men.

Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London
Julian Assange appears in front of the media on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London in May 2017. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images
In November 2017, Assange hosted two supporters of the Catalan independence movement, whose push for secession from Spain had plunged the country into its worst political crisis since returning to democracy. Assange has said he supported the right to “self-determination” and argued against “repression” from Madrid.

He was visited by Oriol Soler, a Catalan businessman and publisher, and Arnau Grinyó, an expert in online communications campaigns. Their meeting, which was reported by the Spanish press, took place a little over a month after the unilateral Catalan independence referendum, and 13 days after the Spanish government responded to the unilateral declaration of independence by sacking the administration of the then Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, and assuming direct control of the region.

Assange has been a vocal critic of Madrid’s handling of the Catalan crisis and described the independence movement as “the redefinition of the relationship between people and state”, and “the most disciplined Gandhian project since Gandhi”.

Julian Assange ⌛ (@JulianAssange)
What is occurring in Catalonia is the redefinition of the relationship between people and state. The most disciplined Gandhian project since Gandhi. Its results will spread everywhere.

October 14, 2017
Though Assange’s supporters deny he explicitly supported Catalan independence, his tweets and videos on the issue annoyed the Spanish government.

A Spanish diplomat told the Guardian that Spain “conveyed a message” to Ecuadorian authorities that Assange was using social media to support the secessionist movement and sending out messages “that are at odds with reality”.

“Spain and Ecuador are obviously countries that maintain a constant and fluid dialogue in which matters of interest to both parties, including this issue, are raised and discussed,” the diplomat said.

“Spain has, on a number of occasions, informed the Ecuadorian authorities of its concerns over the activities that Julian Assange has engaged in while in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.”

The source said Spain’s foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis, had also addressed the issue when it arose in November, saying attempts had been made “to intervene, manipulate and affect what should be the natural democratic course of events in Catalonia”.

In December, Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, reminded Assange that he should refrain from trying to intervene in Ecuadorian politics.

What would happen if Julian Assange left the Ecuadorian embassy?

US intelligence agencies and Spanish authorities have separately claimed that Russia has had a hand in their domestic affairs. US agencies have accused WikiLeaks of working with Russian intelligence to try to disrupt the US election by releasing hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, and Spanish officials have suggested that much of the messaging on social media about the Catalan crisis originated in Russia.

Soler and Grinyó declined to comment on their meeting with Assange. However, in a tweet written four days after visiting the embassy, Soler said the Catalan independence movement sympathised with Assange, as its leaders and activists had “suffered jail, exile, spying, censorship, injustice, fake news and financial blockades”. The visit, he added, had been transparent and legal.

In 2016, Assange met two members of the anti-austerity party Podemos, according to visitor logs obtained by the Guardian in conjunction with the magazine Focus Ecuador.

They were Pablo Bustinduy, the foreign affairs spokesman, and Miguel Ongil, a deputy in the Madrid regional assembly and a party funding, transparency and anti-corruption expert. Podemos opposed a unilateral referendum on secession, but said it would in principle have supported an independence referendum agreed between the Spanish and Catalan governments.

A spokesman for Podemos told the Guardian: “Pablo Bustinduy visited Assange in the embassy while on a trip to London to take part in the pro-remain Brexit campaign. He was accompanied by Miguel Ongil, a specialist in the fields of transparency and political participation.

“It was an informal visit, during which they discussed the issues of protecting whistleblowers, freedom of expression and information in Europe, and democracy on the internet. They also inquired after his legal situation.”

A spokesperson for Ecuador’s foreign ministry said: “[We reiterate that] Ecuador maintains excellent and fraternal relations with Spain and the vast majority of countries.”

This article was written in collaboration with Fernando Villavicencio and Cristina Solórzano from Focus Ecuador ... eparatists

Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 8:35 pm
by seemslikeadream
Assange's refuge in Ecuadorian embassy 'in jeopardy'

Washington (CNN)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.

While Assange has in the past claimed his position in the embassy was under threat, sources say his current situation is "unusually bad" and that he could leave the embassy "any day now," either because he will be forced out or made to feel so restricted that he might choose to leave on his own. His position there is "in jeopardy," one source familiar with the matter said.

Assange's exit from the embassy could open a new phase for US investigators eager to find out what he knows.

A GOP congressman's lonely quest defending Julian Assange
CNN reported in April 2017 that the US has prepared charges to seek the arrest of Assange, who US intelligence agencies believe Russia used as an intermediary to distribute hacked emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
Assange and his lawyers say he has been detained without charge for 2,720 days -- 53 of those "gagged" and isolated from visitors and outside communications -- and that there is "not a shred of evidence that Assange has done anything but publish material just as the establishment media do every day," according to a tweet by his lawyers on May 19.
"The concern from day one until the present is that if Julian Assange walks out of the Embassy, he will be extradited to face what the executive director of the ACLU described as an 'unprecedented and unconstitutional' prosecution under the US Espionage Act," his lawyer Melinda Taylor told CNN.
Ecuador's newly elected president, Lenín Moreno, is under increasing pressure from the US to expel Assange, sources say. Moreno described Assange as an "inherited problem" and "more than a nuisance" in a television interview in January.
Hot Pockets, mismatched chairs and a critical mission: Inside year one of the Mueller investigation
Sources familiar also believe Spain exerted pressure on Ecuador after Assange tweeted support for the separatist movements in Catalonia, a northeast region of Spain seeking independence.

Recently, the Ecuadorian government cut off Assange's access to the internet, making it virtually impossible for him to manage WikiLeaks. He has also had his access to visitors severely restricted. Assange is now only allowed to see his lawyers, who say their mobile phones are jammed while they are inside the embassy. He is dealing with multiple lawsuits.

While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador declined to comment on Assange's case, it referred CNN to past statements made on the decision to cut his internet access. In statements, the ministry denied mistreatment and suggested Assange had not been abiding by his agreement with Ecuador by publicly discussing the internal affairs of other nations, presumably Spain and the US. The ministry "acts in the strictest adherence to the Constitution, laws and international law," according to the March 2018 press release.
British authorities have said that they would issue a warrant for Assange's arrest if he were to leave the embassy. He faces charges in the UK for breach of bail for failing to surrender for extradition to Sweden, a charge a British judge upheld in February despite the fact that Sweden stopped investigating an allegation of rape against Assange in 2017. Swedish prosecutors maintain the right to resume the investigation if Assange leaves the embassy, however.
In the US, Assange's fate is even more uncertain. Assange's lawyers claim that US officials have maintained a secret grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks for nearly eight years.

2016 Presidential Campaign Hacking Fast Facts
"For the last eight years, the UK has refused to either confirm or deny that they have received an extradition request from the US. At the same time, they have refused to provide assurances that Julian will not be extradited to the US if such a request were to be received, and maintained an ever-present vigil of the Embassy, notwithstanding a UN directive to take steps to ensure Julian's immediate liberty," Taylor told CNN. "Their silence speaks volumes, particularly in light of recent statements from US officials that Julian's arrest and extradition are a priority."

Taylor was referring to comments in April 2017 by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said that arresting Assange is a "priority." "We've already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail," Sessions said at a news conference in El Paso, Texas.

Representatives from the US government, including the White House, the Department of Justice, the State Department and the intelligence community either did not respond to request for comment or declined to discuss Assange's cases with CNN.

"Mr. Assange's presence in the Ecuadorian Embassy is a matter between the UK and Ecuador," one State Department official told CNN. "As a matter of policy, the Department of State neither confirms nor denies the U.S. government's intention to request extraditions."

Roger Stone says he hasn't been contacted by special counsel
CIA declined to provide additional comment about Assange and referred CNN to former Director Mike Pompeo's past statements on WikiLeaks, describing the group as a "hostile non-state intelligence service" rather than a media outlet. Pompeo, though he formerly tweeted his appreciation of WikiLeaks and the role it played in publishing Democratic National Committee emails during the election, told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in 2017 that the US can no longer give Assange a platform to speak freely and openly using information he's provided by leakers. "To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now," Pompeo said.
US authorities are also deeply interested in further investigating WikiLeaks' publication of a trove of source codes and documents revealing details about CIA hacking tools in March 2017. The FBI's prime suspect for the leak, revealed in recently unsealed court documents, is a CIA employee who developed some of those tools. The Department of Justice says that individual also managed an encrypted server that contained evidence of child pornography. Both the intelligence community and the Department of Justice continue to investigate the theft, one source familiar with the matter told CNN, though the two investigations are separate. Both would be interested in speaking with Assange about the disclosure if he were to leave the embassy.

Assange has had difficulties with his hosts in the past. The most memorable incident came in 2013 when several embassy employees were punished, one of whom was demoted, in part because of Assange's actions while there, according to two sources familiar with the matter, including one source at the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the time, Assange was eager to get involved to help NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden find asylum in Ecuador, establishing WikiLeaks as the preeminent organization for whistleblower protection. He convinced a high-ranking embassy employee to help him. When top officials found out, several employees suffered the consequences, including at least one demotion. Assange has since said he encouraged Snowden to stay in Russia.
The Guardian reported last week that the embassy for years had spent millions on protecting Assange using expensive surveillance tools from cameras to spy software -- while Assange turned around and hacked into the embassy's communication systems. Ecuador has cut off Assange's internet access multiple times, the most recent instance in late March. ... olitics=Tw

Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 5:42 pm
by seemslikeadream
Ecuador to Julian Assange: You Can Stay in Our Embassy But for the Love of God, Stop Tweeting

AJ Dellinger
Yesterday 10:45pm

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks and a noted internet edgelord, will be allowed to continue to live in the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he has for the past six years—provided he stops shitposting about politics on Twitter.

Per the Guardian, Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno said this week that Assange’s ongoing asylum status is not under threat as long as Assange complies with conditions laid out by the Ecuadorian government, including a restriction on talking about the political happenings taking place in other countries. The government is ready to “take a decision” if Assanage fails to follow the rules.

“Let’s not forget the conditions of his asylum prevent him from speaking about politics or intervening in the politics of other countries,” Moreno told Deutsche Welle in an interview Wednesday.

Ecuador already took steps to cut off Assange’s line of communication with the outside world once this year, flipping the switch on his internet connection after claiming that the controversial figure was interfering with Ecuador’s relationship with other countries by tweeting about political events. Assange also had his internet privileges revoked in the lead up to the 2016 US presidential election and irked the Ecuadorian government earlier this year by openly advocating for Catalan independence in Spain.

Ecuador’s current president has not been particularly thrilled with Assange’s ongoing presence in the country’s London embassy. Earlier this year, Moreno called Assange “more than a nuisance” and said he was an “inherited problem” from the previous administration.

Ecuador’s new administration has been working to get Assange out of the embassy. Earlier this year, the government granted him citizenship in hopes that he would receive diplomatic immunity and could exit the building without getting arrested by British authorities for the two sexual assault-related charges he faced in Sweden (which have since been dropped due to a technicality). That plan, which Moreno credited to his foreign minister María Fernanda Espinosa, failed and Assange is still firmly planted within the walls of the embassy.

According to the Guardian, Ecuador has invested a considerable amount of resources into protecting Assange. Over the last five years, the country’s government has spent more than $5 million protecting him. The initiative included paying an international security company and undercover agents to monitor Assange’s visitors, as well as keep tabs on staffers within the embassy and British law enforcement.

Moreno seems to realize that all that money may be more than Assange is worth at this point. He’s always been a controversial figure, but he was once lauded as a person seeking truth through radical transparency. In recent years, Assange has aligned himself with fringe groups and figures including UK Independence Party leader and noted xenophobe Nigel Farage, members the Donald Trump campaign, representatives of European nationalist groups, and individuals linked to the Kremlin.

Ecuador’s president insists that his country isn’t giving in to any pressure from the United States or other countries that may have interest in silencing Assange. Instead, he told Deutsche Welle that Assange has simply “surpassed the limits of freedom of expression.” ... 1826472693

Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:44 am
by Jerky
Countdown to...

Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:31 am
by seemslikeadream
trump's data firm

A Director at Cambridge Analytica funneled secret cryptocurrency payments to Wikileaks.

Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

But visitor logs from the Ecuador embassy obtained by the Guardian and Focus Ecuador appear to show that Brittany Kaiser, a senior executive at Cambridge Analytica until earlier this year, visited Assange on 17 February 2017. Information passed to the DCMS committee in the UK and the Senate judiciary committee in the US states that the meeting was “a retrospective to discuss the US election”.

Kaiser is also alleged to have said that she had funnelled money to WikiLeaks in the form of cryptocurrency. She called the organisation her “favourite charity”. The reports passed to investigators say that money was given to her by third parties in the form of “gifts and payments”.

Cambridge Analytica director 'met Assange to discuss US election'
Brittany Kaiser also claims to have channelled payments and donations to WikiLeaks

Carole Cadwalladr and Stephanie Kirchgaessner
Wed 6 Jun 2018 09.33 EDT Last modified on Wed 6 Jun 2018 10.14 EDT

A Cambridge Analytica director apparently visited Julian Assange in February last year and told friends it was to discuss what happened during the US election, the Guardian has learned.

Alexander Nix, former Cambridge Analytica chief, grilled by MPs – live

Brittany Kaiser, a director at the firm until earlier this year, also claimed to have channelled cryptocurrency payments and donations to WikiLeaks. This information has been passed to congressional and parliamentary inquiries in the UK and US.

Cambridge Analytica and WikiLeaks are already subjects of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, but the revelations open up fresh questions about the precise nature of the organisations’ relationship.

There was no known connection until October last year, when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had “reached out” to Assange in July 2016 and offered to help him index and distribute the 33,000 emails that had been stolen from Hillary Clinton.

Assange issued a statement saying that he had turned down the Cambridge Analytica offer. Alexander Nix, the company’s chief executive, told Westminster MPs the same in February, during an appearance at the Commons digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) select committee. Nix said he found a contact for WikiLeaks’ speaking agency on the internet and sent Assange an email.

Julian Assange said he had turned down Cambridge Analytica’s offer of help with the Hillary Clinton email leak. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA
But visitor logs from the Ecuador embassy obtained by the Guardian and Focus Ecuador appear to show that Brittany Kaiser, a senior executive at Cambridge Analytica until earlier this year, visited Assange on 17 February 2017. Information passed to the DCMS committee in the UK and the Senate judiciary committee in the US states that the meeting was “a retrospective to discuss the US election”.

Kaiser is also alleged to have said that she had funnelled money to WikiLeaks in the form of cryptocurrency. She called the organisation her “favourite charity”. The reports passed to investigators say that money was given to her by third parties in the form of “gifts and payments”.

Nix is due to appear before the DCMS committee for the second time at 3pm on Wednesday, where he is expected to be pressed on Cambridge Analytica’s relationship with WikiLeaks.

At his first appearance, Nix told the committee: “We have no relationship with WikiLeaks. We have never spoken to anyone at WikiLeaks. We have never done any business with WikiLeaks. We have no relationship with them, period.”

He told MPs that Cambridge Analytica had found out about the Clinton emails leak on the news and had “reached out to a speaking agency that represents [Assange] – that was the only way we could find to get hold of him”.

Cambridge Analytica used data from Facebook and Politico to help Trump

But when Kaiser appeared before MPs in April, she acknowledged that some employees at the company had contacts with lawyers who had also represented Assange.

Damian Collins, the DCMS committee chair, asked Kaiser: “If Alexander Nix wanted to reach out to Julian Assange, couldn’t he do it through you?” Kaiser replied: “That’s what I was wondering when I found that out from the press – he could have asked me to put him in touch with the legal team. But he didn’t.”

Kaiser told MPs that her principal connection to WikiLeaks was via John Jones QC. Jones represented Assange in his extradition case against the Swedish government and became a close, personal friend, visiting him weekly until he was killed by a train in April 2016. The inquest ruled that no-one else was involved in the death of Jones, who had been depressed.

Jones’s legal assistant, Robert Murtfeld, who worked closely with him on the WikiLeaks case subsequently went to work for Cambridge Analytica as director of commercial sales in New York. Information passed to the US and UK committees reveals that Murtfield had arranged Kaiser’s visit to Assange last year. ... ssion=true

Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:55 pm
by JackRiddler
Brittany Kaiser also claims to have channelled payments and donations to WikiLeaks


Brittany Kaiser, a director at the firm until earlier this year, also claimed to have channelled cryptocurrency payments and donations to WikiLeaks. This information has been passed to congressional and parliamentary inquiries in the UK and US.


Kaiser is also alleged to have said that she had funnelled money to WikiLeaks in the form of cryptocurrency. She called the organisation her “favourite charity”. The reports passed to investigators say that money was given to her by third parties in the form of “gifts and payments”.

Stated three times in the article, each time getting vaguer, none adding info.

Did Kaiser say this (as two of the repetitions state) or is she "alleged to have said" this? And if she is alleged to have said it, who or what alleged it? When or to whom, approximately, did she allegedly say this thing that she is alleged to have said? Was the alleging done in the Greater London area? Is it in documents given to the committee? Is it from a source at the committee? Is it a maybe a source who didn't hear her say but at least quacks third-hand about documents allegedly seen that allege she said, or committee proceedings allegedly witnessed? Is this thing she is alleged to have said also alleged to be true? Can we get this in a more passive voice, just to allege even more allegations in there? Maybe do bold, red and 200 pt, will that work? Here, wait: TREASON!!! Will I first receive the epiphany that Saddam the Al-Qaeda co-conspirator has hidden WMD in the form of a mushroom cloud?

But it was said three times, so repetition makes fact, I guess. Mountains of evidence, as the Eternal RussiaRussiaRussia heads are alleged to have said.


Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:40 pm
by BenDhyan
Hopefully they can work something out...

Australian officials spotted in mysterious Assange visit

By Nick Miller 8 June 2018

London: Australian government officials have paid a mysterious visit to Julian Assange in his Ecuadorian embassy refuge in London, in a sign there may be a breakthrough in the stalemate that has lasted almost six years.

Two officials from Australia's High Commission were spotted leaving the embassy in Knightsbridge in west London on Thursday.

It is the first time Australian consular officials have visited Assange at the embassy.

They were accompanied by Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson.

Robinson confirmed the meeting to Fairfax but said she could not say what the meeting was about "given the delicate diplomatic situation".

"Julian Assange is in a very serious situation" she said. "He remains in the embassy because of the risk of extradition to the US. That risk is undeniable after numerous statements by Trump administration officials including the director of the CIA and the US attorney-general."


A spokeswoman from the High Commission said she would have to refer any questions about the meeting to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra confirmed it is providing consular assistance to Assange through the Australian High Commission in London.

Citing privacy obligations, however, DFAT refused to offer further comment.

Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:07 pm
by JackRiddler
Maybe, or maybe they're mediating between him and the UK-US, negotiating his next prison cell.

Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:03 am
by seemslikeadream

June 20, 2018/1 Comment/in 2016 Presidential Election, Cybersecurity, emptywheel, Leak Investigations, WikiLeaks /by empty wheel

Monday, the government rolled out a superseding indictment for former NSA and CIA hacker Joshua Schulte, accusing him (obliquely) of leaking the CIA’s hacking tools that became the Vault 7 release from Wikileaks. The filings in his docket (as would the search warrants his series of defense attorneys would have seen) make it clear that the investigation into him, launched just days after the first CIA release, was always about the CIA leak. But when the government took his computer last spring, they found thousands of child porn pictures dating back to 2009. It took the government over three months and a sexual assault indictment in VA to convince a judge to revoke his bail last December, and then another six months to solidify the leaking charges they had been investigating him from the start.

But the case appears to have taken a key turn on November 16, 2017, when he did something — it’s not clear what — on the Tor network. While there are several things that might explain why he chose to put his release at risk by accessing Tor that day, it’s notable that it occurred two days after Julian Assange tweeted publicly to Donald Trump Jr that he’d still be happy to be Australian Ambassador to the US, implicitly threatening to release more CIA hacking tools.

Schulte was, from days after the initial Vault 7 release, apparently the prime suspect to be the leaker. As such, the government was always interested in what Schulte was doing on Tor. In response to a warrant to Google served in March 2017, the government found him searching, on May 8, 2016, for how to set up a Tor bridge (Schulte has been justifiably mocked for truly abysmal OpSec, and Googling how to set up a bridge is one example). That was right in the middle of the time he was deleting logs from his CIA computer to hide what he was doing on it.

When he was granted bail, he was prohibited from accessing computers. But because the government had arrested him on child porn charges and remained coy (in spite of serial hold-ups with his attorneys regarding clearance to see the small number of classified files the government found on his computer) about the Vault 7 interest, the discussions of how skilled he was with a computer remained fairly oblique. But in their finally successful motion to revoke Schulte’s bail, the government revealed that Schulte had not only accessed his email (via his roommate, Schulte’s lawyer would later claim), but had accessed Tor five times in the previous month, on November 16, 17, 26, and 30, and on December 5, 2017, which appears to be when the government nudged Virginia to get NYPD to arrest him on a sexual assault charge tied to raping a passed out acquaintance at his home in VA in 2015.

Perhaps the most obvious explanation for why Schulte accessed Tor starting on November 16, 2017, is that he was trying to learn about the assault charges filed in VA the day before.

But there is a more interesting explanation.

As you recall, back in November 2017, some outlets began to publish a bunch of previously undisclosed DMs between Don Jr and Wikileaks. Most attention focused on Wikileaks providing Don Jr access to an anti-Trump site during the election. But I was most interested in Julian Assange’s December 16, 2016 “offer” to be Australian Ambassador to the US — basically a request for payback for his help getting Trump elected.
Hi Don. Hope you’re doing well! In relation to Mr. Assange: Obama/Clinton placed pressure on Sweden, UK and Australia (his home country) to illicitly go after Mr. Assange. It would be real easy and helpful for your dad to suggest that Australia appoint Assange ambassador to DC “That’s a really smart tough guy and the most famous australian you have! ” or something similar. They won’t do it, but it will send the right signals to Australia, UK + Sweden to start following the law and stop bending it to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons. 12/16/16 12:38PM

In the wake of the releases, on November 14, 2017, Assange tweeted out a follow-up.


As I noted at the time, the offer included an implicit threat: by referencing “Vault 8,” the name Wikileaks had given to its sole release, on November 9, 2017 of an actual CIA exploit (as opposed to the documentation that Wikileaks had previously released), Assange was threatening to dump more hacking tools, as Shadow Brokers had done before it. Not long after, Ecuador gave Assange its first warning to stop meddling in other countries politics, explicitly pointing to his involvement in the Catalan referendum but also pointing to his tampering with other countries. That warning became an initial ban on visitors and Internet access in March of this year followed by a more formal one on May 10, 2018 that remains in place.

There’s a reason I think those Tor accesses may actually be tied to Assange’s implicit threat. In January of this year, when his then lawyer Jacob Kaplan made a bid to renew bail, he offered an excuse for those Tor accesses. He claimed Schulte was using Tor to research the diaries on his experience in the criminal justice system.

In this case, the reason why TOR was accessed was because Mr. Schulte is writing articles, conducting research and writing articles about the criminal justice system and what he has been through, and he does not want the government looking over his shoulder and seeing what exactly he is searching.

Someone posted those diaries to a Facebook account titled “John Galt’s Defense Fund” on April 20, 2018 (in addition to being an accused rapist and child porn fan, Schulte’s public postings show him to be an anti-Obama racist and an Ayn Rand worshiping libertarian).

Yesterday, Wikileaks linked those diaries, which strikes me as an attempt to corroborate the alibi Schulte has offered for his access to Tor last November.


The government seems to have let Schulte remain free for much of 2017, perhaps in search of evidence to implicate him in the Vault 7 release. Whether it was a response to a second indictment or to Assange’s implicit threats to Don Jr, Schulte’s use of Tor last year (and, surely, the testimony of the roommate he was using as a go-between) may have been one of the keys to getting the proof the government had been searching for since March 2017.

Whatever it is, both Wikileaks and Schulte would like you to believe he did nothing more nefarious than research due process websites when he put his bail at risk by accessing Tor last year. I find that a dubious claim.

2009: IRC discussions of child porn

2011 and 2012: Google searches for child porn

April 2015: Rapes a woman (possibly partner) who is passed out and takes pictures of it

March to June 2016: Schulte deleting logs of access to CIA computer

May 8, 2016: Schulte Googles how to set up a Tor bridge

November 2016: Leaves CIA, moves to NY, works for Bloomberg

December 16, 2016: Assange DM to Don Jr about becoming Ambassador

Hi Don. Hope you’re doing well! In relation to Mr. Assange: Obama/Clinton placed pressure on Sweden, UK and Australia (his home country) to illicitly go after Mr. Assange. It would be real easy and helpful for your dad to suggest that Australia appoint Assange ambassador to DC “That’s a really smart tough guy and the most famous australian you have! ” or something similar. They won’t do it, but it will send the right signals to Australia, UK + Sweden to start following the law and stop bending it to ingratiate themselves with the Clintons. 12/16/16 12:38PM

February 4, 2017: Wikileaks starts prepping Vault 7

March 7, 2017: Wikileaks starts releasing Vault 7

March 13, 2017: Google search warrant

March 20, 2017: Search (including of cell phone, from which passwords to his desktop obtained)

June 2017: Interview

August 17, 2017: Dana Rohrabacher tries to broker deal for Assange with Trump

August 23, 2017: Arrest affidavit

August 24, 2017: Arraignment

THE COURT: Well, it sounds like, based on the interview, that he knew what the government was looking at.

MR. LAROCHE: That wasn’t the basis of the interview, your Honor.

MR. KOSS: I think it was either two or three [interviews]. I think it was three occasions. I was there on all three, including one of which where we handed over the telephone and unblocked the password to the phone, which they did not have, and gave that to them. And as I said, I have been in constant contact with the three assistant U.S. attorneys working on this matter literally on a weekly basis for the last 4, 5, 6 months. And any time Mr. Schulte even thought about traveling, I provided them an itinerary. I cleared it with them first and made sure it was okay. On any occasion that they said they might want him close so that he could speak to them, I cancelled the travel and rescheduled it so that we would be available if they needed him at any given time.

October 2, 2017: Bail hearing

MR. LAROCHE: Well, I believe there still is a danger because it’s not just computers, your Honor, but electronic devices are all over society and easy to procure and this type of defendant having the type of knowledge he has does in terms of accessing things — so he has expertise and not only just generally computers but using things such as wiping tools that would allow him to access certain website and leave no trace of it. Those can be done from not just a computer but from other electronic devices.

But the child pornography itself is located on the defendant’s desktop computer. They can be accessed irrespective of those servers. So if all the government had was this desktop computer, we could recover the child pornography. So I think this idea that numerous people had access to the serves and potentially could have put it there, is simply a red herring. This was on the defendant’s desktop computer. And the location where it was found, this sub-folder within several layers of encryption, there were other personal information of the defendant in that area. There was his bank accounts. I think there was even a resume for the defendant where he was storing this information. And the passwords that were used to get into that location, those passwords were the same passwords the defendant used to access his bank account, to access various other accounts that are related to him. So this idea that he shared them with other people, the government just strongly disagrees.

October 11, 2017: Schulte lawyer Spiro withdraws

October 24, 2017: At Trump’s request Bill Binney meets with Mike Pompeo to offer alternate theory of the DNC hack

November 8, 2017: Status hearing

SMITH: I believe the government has told us that there’s more data in this case than in any other like case that they have prosecuted.

MR. STANSBURY: Let me just clarify that part first. We proposed this just in an abundance of caution given the defendant’s former employer and the fact that — and I meant to flag this before. I apologize now for not. There’s a small body of documents that were found in the defendant’s residence that were taken from his former employer that might implicate some classified issues. We have been in the process of having those reviewed and I think we’re going to be in a position to produce those in the next probably few days. But we wanted to just make sure that we were acting out of an abundance of caution in case any SEPA [sic] issues come about in the case. I don’t expect them too at this point but we wanted to do that out of an abundance of caution.

November 9, 2017: Wikileaks publishes Vault 8 exploit

November 14, 2017: Assange posts Vault 8 Ambassador follow-up


November 14, 2017: Arrest warrant in VA

November 15, 2017: Charged in Loudon County for sexual assault

November 16, 2017: Use of Tor

November 17, 2017: Use of Tor

November 26, 2017: Use of Tor

November 29, 2017: Abundance of caution, attorney should obtain clearance

November 30, 2017: Use of Tor

December 5, 2017: Use of Tor, Smith withdraws

December 7, 2017: NYPD arrests on VA warrant for sexual assault

December 12, 2017: Move for detention, including description of email and Tor access

Separately, since the defendant was released on bail, the Government has obtained evidence that he has been using the Internet. First, the Government has obtained data from the service provider for the defendant’s email account (the “Schulte Email Account”), which shows that the account has regularly been logged into and out of since the defendant was released on bail, most recently on the evening of December 6, 2017. Notably, the IP address used to access the Schulte Email Account is almost always the same IP address associated with the broadband internet account for the defendant’s apartment (the “Broadband Account”)—i.e., the account used by Schulte in the apartment to access the Internet via a Wi-Fi network. Moreover, data from the Broadband Account shows that on November 16, 2017, the Broadband Account was used to access the “TOR” network, that is, a network that allows for anonymous communications on the Internet via a worldwide network of linked computer servers, and multiple layers of data encryption. The Broadband Account shows that additional TOR connections were made again on November 17, 26, 30, and December 5.


First, there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has violated a release condition—namely, the condition that he shall not use the Internet without express authorization from Pretrial Services to do so. As explained above, data obtained from the Schulte Email Account and the Broadband Account strongly suggests that the defendant has been using the Internet since shortly after his release on bail. Especially troubling is the defendant’s apparent use on five occasions of the TOR network. TOR networks enable anonymous communications over the Internet and could be used to download or view child pornography without detection. Indeed, the defendant has a history of using TOR networks. The defendant’s Google searches obtained in this investigation show that on May 8, 2016, the defendant conducted multiple searches related to the use of TOR to anonymously transfer encrypted data on the Internet. In particular, the defendant had searched for “setup for relay,” “test bridge relay,” and “tor relay vs bridge.” Each of these searches returned information regarding the use of interconnected computers on TOR to convey information, or the use of a computer to serve as the gateway (or bridge) into the TOR network.

December 14, 2017: US custody in NY

MR. KAPLAN: Well, your Honor, we’ve obtained the discovery given to prior counsel, and I’ve started to go through that. In addition, there was one other issue which I believe was raised at our prior conference, which was a security clearance for counsel to go through some of the national security evidence that might be present in the case.

While most of the national security stuff does not involve the charges, the actual charges against Mr. Schulte, the basis for the search warrants in this case involve national security.

So I’m starting the process with their office to hopefully get clearance to go through some of the information on that with an eye towards possibly a Franks motion going forward. So I would ask for more time just to get that rolling.

January 8, 2018: Bail appeal hearing

MR. KAPLAN: Judge, on the last court date, when we left, the idea was that we had consented to detention with the understanding that Mr. Schulte would be sent down to Virginia to face charges based on a Virginia warrant. None of that happened. Virginia never came to get him. Virginia just didn’t do anything in this case. But before I address the bail issues, I think it’s important that this Court hear the full story of how we actually get here. At one of the previous court appearances, I believe it was the November 8th date, this Court asked why the defense attorney in this case would need security clearance. And the answer that was given by one of the prosecutors, I believe, was that there was some top secret government information that was found in Mr. Schulte’s apartment, and that out of an abundance of caution it would be prudent that the defense attorney get clearance. But I don’t think that’s entirely accurate.

While the current indictment charges Mr. Schulte with child pornography, this case comes out of a much broader perspective. In March of 2017, there was the WikiLeaks leak, where 8,000 CIA documents were leaked on the Internet. The FBI believed that Mr. Schulte was involved in that leak. As part of their investigation, they obtained numerous search warrants for Mr. Schulte’s phone, for his computers, and other items, in order to establish the connection between Mr. Schulte and the WikiLeaks leak.

As we will discuss later in motion practice, we believe that many of the facts relied on to get the search warrants were just flat inaccurate and not true, and part of our belief is because later on, in the third or fourth search warrant applications, they said some of the facts that we mentioned earlier were not accurate. So we will address this in a Franks motion going forward, but what I think is important for the Court is, in April or May of 2017, the government had full access to his computers and his phone, and they found the child pornography in this case, but what they didn’t find was any connection to the WikiLeaks investigation. Since that point, from May going forward, although they later argued he was a danger to the community, they let him out; they let him travel. There was no concern at all. That changed when they arrested him in August on the child pornography case.


The second basis that the government had in its letter for detaining Mr. Schulte was the usage of computers. In the government’s letter, they note how, if you search the IP address for Mr. Schulte’s apartment, they found numerous log-ons to his Gmail account, in clear violation of this court’s order. But what the government’s letter doesn’t mention is that Mr. Schulte had a roommate, his cousin, Shane Presnall, and this roommate, who the government and pretrial services knew about, was allowed to have a computer.

And more than that, based on numerous conversations, at least two conversations between pretrial services, John Moscato, Josh Schulte and Shane Presnall, it was Shane’s understanding that pretrial services allowed him to check Mr. Schulte’s e-mail and to do searches for him on the Internet, with the idea that Josh Schulte himself would not have access to the computer.

And the government gave 14 pages of log-on information to establish this point. And, Judge, we have gone through all 14 pages, and every single access and log-in corresponds to a time that Shane Presnall is in the apartment. His computer has facial recognition, it has an alphanumeric code, and there is no point when Josh Schulte is left himself with the computer without Shane being there, and that was their understanding.

LAROCHE: And part of that investigation is analyzing whether and to what extent TOR was used in transmitting classified information. So the fact that the defendant is now, while on pretrial release, using TOR from his apartment, when he was explicitly told not to use the Internet, is extremely troubling and suggests that he did willfully violate his bail conditions.

KAPLAN: In this case, the reason why TOR was accessed was because Mr. Schulte is writing articles, conducting research and writing articles about the criminal justice system and what he has been through, and he does not want the government looking over his shoulder and seeing what exactly he is searching.

LAROCHE: Because there is a classified document that is located on the defendant’s computer, it is extremely difficult, and we have determined not possible, to remove that document forensically and still provide an accurate copy of the desktop computer to the defendant.

So in those circumstances, defense counsel is going to require a top secret clearance in order to view these materials. It’s my understanding that that process is ongoing, and we have asked them to expedite it. As soon as the defendant’s application is in, we believe he will get an interim classification to review this material within approximately two to three weeks. Unfortunately, that hasn’t occurred yet. So the defendant still does not have access to that particular aspect of discovery. So we are working through that as quickly as we can.

January 17, 2018: Bail appeal denied

March 15, 2018: Sabrina Shroff appointed

March 28, 2018: Initial ban of Internet access and visitors for Assange

April 20, 2018: Schulte’s diaries (ostensibly the purpose of using Tor) posted


May 10, 2018: Ecuador bans visitors for Assange

May 16, 18, 2018: Documents placed in vault

May 16, 2018: Schulte Facebook site starts legal defense fund

June 18, 2018: Schulte superseding indictment

June 19, 2018: Wikileaks posts links to diary ... ok-to-tor/


US lobbyist for Russian oligarch visited Julian Assange nine times last year
It is unclear whether Adam Waldman’s 2017 visits had connection to Oleg Deripaska

Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Luke Harding
Wed 20 Jun 2018 06.08 EDT Last modified on Wed 20 Jun 2018 08.32 EDT

Adam Waldman, left, and Oleg Deripaska at the Oktoberfest in Munich in 2015.

A longtime US lobbyist for the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska visited Julian Assange nine times at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last year, according to visitor logs seen by the Guardian.

Adam Waldman, who has worked as a Washington lobbyist for the metals tycoon since 2009, had more meetings with Assange in 2017 than almost anyone else, the records show.

It is not clear why Waldman went to the WikiLeaks founder or whether the meetings had any connection to the Russian billionaire, who is now subject to US sanctions. But the disclosure is likely to raise further questions about the extent and nature of Assange’s alleged ties to Russia.

US intelligence agencies concluded with “high confidence” last year, in an unclassified intelligence assessment, that the Kremlin shared hacked emails with WikiLeaks that undermined Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as part of its effort to sway the 2016 election in favour of Donald Trump.

Waldman is a lawyer and consultant in Washington and Deripaska’s primary lobbyist. He also represents other clients including Hollywood stars. Last year Deripaska paid Waldman about $562,000. According to filings to the Department of Justice (DoJ) by Waldman’s firm, the Endeavor Group, his work for Deripaska focused on advising the oligarch’s company UC Rusal on legal issues.

When Deripaska first hired him, in 2009, Waldman’s firm was on a $40,000-per-month retainer. The Russian magnate was having problems obtaining a visa because of alleged connections to organised crime, which Deripaska denies. Waldman lobbied the US government to get Deripaska a visa.

Waldman also served as a counsel for Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. A 2010 DoJ filing showed that the Endeavor Group was hired by Lavrov to help ease the “persistent state of limbo” that Deripaska faced as a result of his being refused entry into the US. In a letter to Waldman, Lavrov hailed Deripaska as one of Russia’s “prominent business leaders”.

Waldman declined to answer questions from the Guardian about his meetings with Assange or whether they were connected to the Russian billionaire.

Waldman has not registered himself as a lobbyist for the WikiLeaks founder.

A report last year by Fox News, which obtained leaked text messages between Waldman and the US senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, suggested Waldman tried to broker a deal between Assange and the DoJ and that the negotiations were fruitless. It is not clear whether Waldman was brokering the deal on Assange’s behalf or someone else’s.

One text sent by Waldman in April 2017 said: “I convinced him [Assange] to make serious and important concessions and am discussing those [with] DoJ.”

The logs, obtained by the Guardian and Focus Ecuador, reveal details of Assange’s life inside the Ecuadorian embassy, where he has been staying since June 2012. Waldman allegedly visited Assange twice on 12 and 13 January 2017, days before Trump’s inauguration as president, and again immediately after the ceremony, on 27 January.

The Guardian has separately corroborated that Waldman was in London in late March, when he saw Assange twice more. He visited the embassy three times in April and made two more visits at the end of November 2017.

Trump escalates attacks on FBI as he fights back against Russia inquiry
Read more
Deripaska is a key person in the investigation by the special counsel Robert Mueller into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

According to the Associated Press, Trump’s future campaign manager Paul Manafort began work for Deripaska in 2005 and pitched a plan that would “greatly benefit [Vladimir] Putin’s government.” In 2006 Manafort signed a $10m annual contract with Deripaska, a close ally of Russia’s president.

In summer 2016, when he was Trump’s campaign chief, Manafort offered Deripaska a confidential briefing, emails turned over to Congress and Mueller show. The briefing never happened, Manafort says. Deripaska was filmed soon afterwards on his luxury yacht discussing the forthcoming US election with Russia’s deputy prime minister, Sergei Prikhodko.

Deripaska was subjected to more US sanctions in April. They were imposed on close associates of Putin’s in retaliation for alleged Kremlin meddling in the US vote. Meanwhile, Manafort faces multiple charges of money laundering arising from his work in Ukraine, and accusations of tampering with potential witnesses. He denies all charges. His bail was revoked last week and he is now awaiting trial in prison.

Waldman’s relationship with Deripaska goes beyond consultancy. According to filings, in 2008 he travelled to Moscow, Amsterdam and Siberia with the oligarch for the purpose of “friendship”. In 2015 Waldman and his German second wife, Barbara Sturm, posed for photos with Deripaska at Munich’s Oktoberfest. Sturm, a dermatologist and beauty expert, has a major business presence in Russia.

In April Waldman placed an article by Deripaska with the conservative Daily Caller news website, sources say. The oligarch called allegations of collusion “invented” and said he and the Russian government were victims of a “deep state” Washington plot.

Waldman has cultivated connections with senior Democratic politicians and spent summers with many of them in Martha’s Vineyard.

According to filings, Deripaska has paid Waldman via a series of offshore firms, with cash routed via shell companies in the British Virgin Islands, Belize and Jersey. At least one of Deripaska’s companies, Sea Chaika Corporation, appears in the Panama Papers. In 2010 it transferred at least $85,000 to Waldman’s accounts. Sea Chaika is connected to anonymous firms registered in Cyprus.

Deripaska and UC Rusal did not comment. Assange has denied the hacked Democratic party emails released by WikiLeaks in 2016 came from Moscow.

Last month Lenín Moreno, the president of Ecuador, said Assange could continue to live in the embassy as long as he complied with the conditions of his stay and avoided voicing political opinions on Twitter. In March, Moreno restricted Assange’s visitors, cut his internet access and shelved a $5m (£3.7m) secret spy operation to protect him, called “Operation Hotel”. ... are_btn_tw

Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:56 am
by RocketMan
Assange's asylum to be imminently revoked... \<]

He will probably be handed over to the British to be held until court proceedings. ... omes-next/

ECUADOR’S PRESIDENT LENÍN Moreno traveled to London on Friday for the ostensible purpose of speaking at the 2018 Global Disability Summit (Moreno has been using a wheelchair since being shot in a 1998 robbery attempt). The concealed actual purpose of the president’s trip is to meet with British officials to finalize an agreement under which Ecuador will withdraw its asylum protection of Julian Assange, in place since 2012; eject him from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London; and then hand over the WikiLeaks founder to British authorities
A source close to the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry and the president’s office, unauthorized to speak publicly, has confirmed to The Intercept that Moreno is close to finalizing, if he has not already finalized, an agreement to hand over Assange to the U.K. within the next several weeks. The withdrawal of asylum and physical ejection of Assange could come as early as this week. On Friday, RT reported that Ecuador was preparing to enter into such an agreement.

The consequences of such an agreement depend in part on the concessions Ecuador extracts in exchange for withdrawing Assange’s asylum. But as former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa told The Intercept in an interview in May, Moreno’s government has returned Ecuador to a highly “subservient” and “submissive” posture toward Western governments.
The central oddity of Assange’s case — that he has been effectively imprisoned for eight years despite never having been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime — is virtually certain to be prolonged once Ecuador hands him over to the U.K. Even under the best-case scenario, it appears highly likely that Assange will continue to be imprisoned by British authorities.

The only known criminal proceeding Assange currently faces is a pending 2012 arrest warrant for “failure to surrender” — basically a minor bail violation that arose when he obtained asylum from Ecuador rather than complying with bail conditions by returning to court for a hearing on his attempt to resist extradition to Sweden.

That offense carries a prison term of three months and a fine, though it is possible that the time Assange has already spent in prison in the U.K. could be counted against that sentence. In 2010, Assange was imprisoned in Wandsworth Prison, kept in isolation for 10 days until he was released on bail; he was then under house arrest for 550 days at the home of a supporter.

Assange’s lawyer, Jen Robinson, told The Intercept that he would argue that all of that prison time already served should count toward (and thus completely fulfill) any prison term imposed on the “failure to surrender” charge, though British prosecutors would almost certainly contest that claim. Assange would also argue that he had a reasonable, valid basis for seeking asylum rather than submitting to U.K. authorities: namely, well-grounded fear that he would be extradited to the U.S. for prosecution for the act of publishing documents.

Beyond that minor charge, British prosecutors could argue that Assange’s evading of legal process in the U.K. was so protracted, intentional, and malicious that it rose beyond mere “failure to surrender” to “contempt of court,” which carries a prison term of up to two years. Just on those charges alone, then, Assange faces a high risk of detention for another year or even longer in a British prison.

Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:52 am
by seemslikeadream
Alexander Bisley
James Ball, WikiLeaks’ former spokesman, writes that “WikiLeaks has never had a problem with Russia.” As in, they never objected to the Putin regime’s operations?

Andrew O’Hagan
James has strong sources for that; I do concur with that view. The idea that the gay-hating, misogynistic, criminal-industrial complex of Putin represents freedom — against the flawed model of the United States — is naive to the point of madness. And yet WikiLeaks has never had a problem with Putin, as James says.


Andrew O’Hagan
Wanting to throw stones through glass windows is an exciting notion. Particularly if behind those windows are corrupt officials, lying systems, deeply flawed institutions that have caused destruction. But when you look at the programs of so many of those cyber-libertarians, they’re actually just nihilistic; they don’t believe in any sort of society beyond the slightly autistic, involuted society of the web.

And that’s what I really wanted to investigate when I set out to write this book. I find them right-wing. Their freedom is a slightly crazed form of freedom where anything is allowed, anything should be free. Nothing should be ordered. Those instincts led you to a place of an involuted chaos, of anarchy, where the monster ends up being in charge. They think it’s freedom; I don’t. I just think it’s preparation for totalitarianism. George Orwell kept his eye on this all his career.

Alexander Bisley
Speaking of great writers, Leo Tolstoy is one of your favorite (and most influential) writers. What do you think of his line

“Everybody wants a revolution, but nobody wants to change their bad behavior”?

He got to know Julian Assange.

A conversation with British journalist Andrew O’Hagan, former ghostwriter for Assange.
By Alexander Bisley Jun 6, 2017, 12:40pm EDT

Andrew O’Hagan was an ardent supporter of WikiLeaks, or at least the romanticized idea of it, when he began ghostwriting Julian Assange’s autobiography in January 2011. O’Hagan, one of Britain’s finest contemporary essayists, is passionate about speaking truth to power. He believed the world needed a transparency organization exposing power’s lies and abuses, such as those committed by the American and British militaries during the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

After years of in-depth conversations with Assange, O’Hagan came to believe that Assange had sabotaged the transparency agenda. The biography project collapsed before Assange moved into the Ecuadorian Embassy during August 2012, but O’Hagan tried to help Assange until late 2013.

In March 2014, O’Hagan published a 92-page essay in the London Review of Books, arguing that Assange “expended all his ire on the journalists who had tried to work with him and who had basic sympathy for his political position. … He would go into these interminable Herzog-like monologues.”

O’Hagan’s account of Assange is superb, and frequently hilarious. “Julian scorns all attempts at social graces,” O’Hagan writes. “He marches through doors and leave women in his wake. He talks over everybody. And all his life he has depended on being the impish one, the eccentric one, the boy with a bag full of Einstein who enjoyed climbing trees. But as a forty-year old, that’s less charming.” There are so many quotable lines. “His pride could engulf the room in flames.”

O’Hagan’s new book, The Secret Life, collects the Assange piece and two of O’Hagan’s more recent, detailed essays on modern times: “The Invention of Ronald Pinn” (about crime on the internet) and “The Satoshi Affair” (about Craig Wright, the Australian who claims he invented Bitcoin).

“In a world where everybody can be anybody, where being real is no big deal, I wanted to work back to the human problems, and that is what drives these stories,” O’Hagan writes in the book’s foreword. “The internet offers a secret life to everybody, but how it happens, and who controls it, stirred me to write these stories.”

The Secret Life is timely now, as WikiLeaks and Assange — essentially one and the same thing — are prominent in the headlines. This week, Assange tweeted support of an alleged NSA whistleblower who leaked documents to the Intercept. And Assange himself could be charged by the US government for publishing leaked documents.

And then there are the sexual assault charges that Assange has been facing since 2010: Sweden recently announced that it is dropping its investigation. “I can conclude, based on the evidence, that probable cause for this crime still exists,” Marianne Ny, the lead prosecutor in Sweden, told reporters. But because Assange has refused to cooperate with the investigation for seven years — and continues to hide in the Ecuadorian Embassy — they can’t continue investigating.

O’Hagan and I talked about the Swedish allegations, Assange’s similarities with Donald Trump, and whether Ghosting was O’Hagan’s own Apocalypse Now. Our conversation, which has been edited and condensed, also covers Russia, Afghanistan, and the problem with cyber-libertarianism.

Alexander Bisley
Your Ghosting insider reporting is riveting and beautifully penned; I could quote half the thing. Julian once told you, “Every good story needs a Judas.” I would have been tempted to reply, “Does that make you Jesus then?” He seems to have a messiah complex.

Andrew O’Hagan
Look at so many of Julian’s offhand remarks; you don’t have to be Dr. Freud to see a power and victim complex. One minute he’s Jesus; the next minute he’s saying, “I want you to be my chief of staff,” positioning himself as the president. Every other day, he’s something of that sort. Were he an executive in a company, he would’ve been fired for a combination of mania and ineffective leadership very early.

As would Trump, by this point. They share this too. They’re both embarrassingly mono-mined leaders with such a gigantic chasm where their empathy should be. The idea that each of these men are not only leaders but see themselves as being sui generis, one-off leaders of mankind, is absolutely flabbergasting self-delusion. They can’t speak to people. The idea of weakness obsesses them. Again and again, they fail to lead.

Alexander Bisley
What’s with [Assange’s] post-election shilling for Trumpism, and his taking the side of the neo-fascist Front National in the French election?

Andrew O’Hagan
I think it’s one of the weaknesses of the libertarian tradition: that they will go to bed with anyone, metaphorically.

Julian has always claimed the relationship of WikiLeaks to its sources as being an invisible one, including to me. Look at his recent comments on the character of the sources. “It’s not Russia, I can say categorically!” he says. How can he say that if he doesn’t know? In other words, he is freely aware of the sources in both cases. And freely employing his skills as a selector and editor of materials; he’s shaping the material and shaping its public perception.

I feel absolutely bamboozled that anyone would be as naive to imagine that promoting Donald Trump, seemingly in league with Russian forces, would be a freedom-fighting act. … This is the kind of person Julian decides to campaign for. And it is baffling and ruinous to the cause, his cause.

Alexander Bisley
James Ball, WikiLeaks’ former spokesman, writes that “WikiLeaks has never had a problem with Russia.” As in, they never objected to the Putin regime’s operations?

Andrew O’Hagan
James has strong sources for that; I do concur with that view. The idea that the gay-hating, misogynistic, criminal-industrial complex of Putin represents freedom — against the flawed model of the United States — is naive to the point of madness. And yet WikiLeaks has never had a problem with Putin, as James says.

Alexander Bisley
“He is thin-skinned, conspiratorial, untruthful, narcissistic, and he thinks he owns the material he conduits,” you describe Assange, “abusive and monstrous in his pursuit of the truth that interests him … he is probably a little mad, sad, and bad.” Any further thoughts since you wrote those words?

Andrew O’Hagan
Well, what has struck me very powerfully has been that many of those feelings that I left him with several years ago have, if anything, proved correct in the long term. I wrote those lines before his association with Donald Trump. I wrote them before the persistence of his staying in the Ecuadorian Embassy, rather than doing what I always suggested, which was to step out and answer all questions relating to the Swedish matter and clearing his name that way. Sadly, I now feel his name will never be cleared.

The suspension of that investigation — which he claimed to be a victory — is not a victory for him. Nor for the women who raised the questions. … He’s exhausted an investigation by not appearing before it. That’s an unfortunate circumstance for someone who’s interested in being a champion of truth.

I happen to have read the affidavits by the two women, the accusers in that case. I happen to think they were very weak. All the more reason, I felt, for him to go to Sweden and subject himself to as far-reaching a questioning and a process as possible.

He had an opportunity to clear his name in a situation where the case against him was tremendously weak, in my opinion. And he failed! And not only failed but he committed what I think is an ethically disastrous act by conflating the request to answer those questions with the pursuit of him for espionage charges in the United States.

The conflation of two separate issues has been a disaster for him. It’s been a sleight of hand morally that has robbed him of his previously high standing in my head. To stand in the balcony as he did, with his fist raised, as a freedom fighter, having “beat the system” and speaking of how he will not forgive is evidence of a man continuing to conflate these two separate issues.

He was not on the balcony in a victory in a freedom fight. He simply eluded questions that were being put to him on behalf of two women who claimed they had been raped. The whole universe of WikiLeaks fanatics or people who are already on his side no matter what; support leaches away from him at that point. And anyone with any degree of public relations sense would have told him that.

Alexander Bisley
In early 2016, you predicted Donald Trump had a strong shot at winning the presidency.

Andrew O’Hagan
Here we are now — what a basic level of stupidity and desperation. Richard Nixon is Aristotle compared to Donald Trump. It’s abominable. How could we live in a world that goes from Obama to Trump being elected president back to back?

We’re already in the footholds of an impeachment. Trump cannot survive his levels of carelessness. I learned from the years pavement-pounding writing The Secret Life’s stories that one of the things that binds these figures is their carelessness.

It’s what somebody like Assange and somebody like Trump have in common: You get into a room, and they just run at the mouth. They’re so confident and self-involved they don’t understand that there are degrees of difference, of opinion, of experience. They’re mono-minded, and they don’t listen. Ultimately they’re careless. Trump doesn’t have the character to be president; carelessness will bring him down. Assange is similar, up to the present minute: His confidence, and his old fear of appearing weak, is fatal.

Alexander Bisley
How might The Secret Life surprise readers?

Andrew O’Hagan
The biggest surprise for me with these stories was the discovery that you can still find things as a writer that can’t be found in the crowdsourced world of online nonfiction. That old gladiatorial contact between a single writer and his or her subject can still be thrilling. It was thrilling to me, anyhow. And I think it might allow readers to see how writing itself can unearth truths.

Alexander Bisley
You wrote a scary essay on child jihadis. And The Illuminations, the novel about British Capt. Luke Campbell in Afghanistan. Both draw from your on-the-ground experience of that war as a reporter. What do you think will happen in Afghanistan during the next five years?

Andrew O’Hagan
It will fall into the hands of extremists. When I was there, I visited a girls’ school where the kids were trying to greet modernity through education. The Taliban came along and poisoned their drinking water. We failed those girls. We fail them every day. It was a lousy war because were pleasing ourselves in the way we prosecuted it; we understood nothing; we made things worse.

Alexander Bisley
The Secret Life reveals that Assange wanted his biography to read like Ayn Rand. You persuasively argue that cyber-libertarianism, favoring no restrictions on the internet trade of weapons and hard drugs, is dangerous.

Andrew O’Hagan
Wanting to throw stones through glass windows is an exciting notion. Particularly if behind those windows are corrupt officials, lying systems, deeply flawed institutions that have caused destruction. But when you look at the programs of so many of those cyber-libertarians, they’re actually just nihilistic; they don’t believe in any sort of society beyond the slightly autistic, involuted society of the web.

And that’s what I really wanted to investigate when I set out to write this book. I find them right-wing. Their freedom is a slightly crazed form of freedom where anything is allowed, anything should be free. Nothing should be ordered. Those instincts led you to a place of an involuted chaos, of anarchy, where the monster ends up being in charge. They think it’s freedom; I don’t. I just think it’s preparation for totalitarianism. George Orwell kept his eye on this all his career.

Alexander Bisley
Speaking of great writers, Leo Tolstoy is one of your favorite (and most influential) writers. What do you think of his line “Everybody wants a revolution, but nobody wants to change their bad behavior”?

Andrew O’Hagan
I like that. Someday someone will write a great novel about the distance revolutionaries maintain between their ambitions for society and their ambitions for themselves. Many of those I’ve known love “humanity,” but they don’t really like people.

Alexander Bisley
You also write columns for [the] New York Times Magazine, where you’ve praised technology’s improvements to lives. Are you optimistic about AI and the future?

Andrew O’Hagan
I think life is just better because of technology. I’m not nostalgic for some imagined period of innocent bliss. It’s just nicer being able to order your carrots online and nicer being able to get information so quickly. AI is likely to be the biggest subject to have taken flight during our lifetime. It will change human experience and daily life immeasurably. And I can’t wait.

Alexander Bisley
You recently wrote a lovely tribute to Bob Silvers, the New York Review of Books’ late editor. What do you think about the future of editors and journalism?

Andrew O’Hagan
People will always want people to say something upbraiding and excellent. It’s like human conversation: We all like our computers, we all like bars, and we don’t always want to sit there alone, talking to ourselves. It’s lovely to think that someone might turn up and say an unexpected thing, things that will make your day, and for me the need for that will always be like the need for water. Let’s just say we irrigate the soul by means of each other, or we die before our time.

Alexander Bisley
Have you communicated with Assange since your initial essay came out in the London Review of Books during March 2014?

Andrew O’Hagan
I’m a great adherent of freedom of the press, like he is. In late 2013, I sent him the news that I would be exercising my freedom as a writer, speaking about our long relationship. This was three years after my ghostwriting interactions with him began. I made it known to him that this would be the end, goodbye from me, because there was never a possibility of Julian being able to accept others’ version of history rather than his, sustained in his own mind.

Alexander Bisley
“It was like trying to write a book with Mr. Kurtz,” you write about Assange in Ghosting — a reference to Marlon Brando’s difficult, perplexing character in Apocalypse Now. Was this your Apocalypse Now project?

Andrew O’Hagan
It was a bit like that. And the smell of napalm — I can tell you from hard-won experience — is slightly better than the smell of Julian in the morning. ... ecret-life

Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:28 pm
by seemslikeadream
AP Exclusive: Files show Assange sought Russian visa

LONDON (AP) — Julian Assange had just pulled off one of the biggest scoops in journalistic history, splaying the innards of American diplomacy across the web. But technology firms were cutting ties to his WikiLeaks website, cable news pundits were calling for his head and a Swedish sex crime case was threatening to put him behind bars.

Caught in a vise, the silver-haired Australian wrote to the Russian Consulate in London.

“I, Julian Assange, hereby grant full authority to my friend, Israel Shamir, to both drop off and collect my passport, in order to get a visa,” said the letter , which was obtained exclusively by The Associated Press.

The Nov. 30, 2010, missive is part of a much larger trove of WikiLeaks emails, chat logs, financial records, secretly recorded footage and other documents leaked to the AP. The files provide both an intimate look at the radical transparency organization and an early hint of Assange’s budding relationship with Moscow.

The ex-hacker’s links to the Kremlin would become increasingly salient before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, when the FBI says Russia’s military intelligence agency directly supplied WikiLeaks with stolen emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman and other Democratic figures.

In a statement posted to Twitter, WikiLeaks said Assange never applied for the visa or authored the letter, naming a former associate of his as the alleged source of the document. WikiLeaks did not return a follow-up email seeking clarification on whether Shamir applied on his behalf, or whether a lawyer or someone else at WikiLeaks might have drafted the letter. The Russian Embassy in London said it doesn’t discuss the personal details of visa applicants.

WikiLeaks has repeatedly been hit by unauthorized disclosures , but the tens of thousands of files obtained by the AP may be the biggest leak yet.

The AP has confirmed the authenticity of many of the documents by running them by five former WikiLeaks associates or by verifying non-public details such as bank accounts, telephone numbers or airline tickets .

One of the former associates, an ex-employee, identified two of the names that frequently appeared in the documents’ metadata, “Jessica Longley” and “Jim Evans Mowing,” as pseudonyms assigned to two WikiLeaks laptops.

All five former associates spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, in some cases because they didn’t want their past association with WikiLeaks to become public, and in others because they feared legal retaliation or harassment from the group’s supporters.

Among other things, the documents lay out Assange’s campaign to avoid being arrested and extradited to Sweden over allegations that he sexually molested one woman and raped another during a trip to the Scandinavian country in August 2010.

Assange has always denied wrongdoing in the case, which he cast as a prelude to extradition to the U.S. The Swedish prosecution jeopardized what at the time was WikiLeaks’ biggest-ever disclosure: the publication of around 250,000 U.S. State Department cables. Swedish authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on Nov. 18, just 10 days before the cables exploded across the web, with bombshell revelations about drone strikes in Yemen, American spying at the U.N. and corruption across the Arab world.

Italy’s then-foreign minister, Franco Frattini, described the release as the “Sept. 11 of world diplomacy.” Enraged American politicians demanded that Assange be treated like a terrorist.

Metadata suggests that it was on Nov. 29, the day after the release of the first batch of U.S. State Department files, that the letter to the Russian Consulate was drafted on the Jessica Longley computer.

The AP couldn’t confirm whether or when the message was actually delivered, but the choice of Israel Shamir as a go-between was significant. Assange’s involvement with Shamir, a fringe intellectual who once said it was the duty of every Christian and Muslim to deny the Holocaust, would draw indignation when it became public.

Shamir told the AP he was plagued by memory problems and couldn’t remember delivering Assange’s letter or say whether he eventually got the visa on Assange’s behalf.

“I can’t possibly exclude that it happened,” Shamir said in a telephone interview. “I have a very vague memory of those things.”

Shamir’s memory appeared sharper during a January 20, 2011, interview with Russian News Service radio — a Moscow-based station now known as Life Zvuk, or Life Sound. Shamir said he’d personally brokered a Russian visa for Assange, but that it had come too late to rescue him from the sex crimes investigation.

Russia “would be one of those places where he and his organization would be comfortable operating,” Shamir explained. Asked if Assange had friends in the Kremlin, Shamir smiled and said: “Let’s hope that’s the case.”

Shamir often makes eyebrow-raising claims (in the same interview he said that the U.S. offered Assange $100 million not to publish the cables), but it was true that any visa for Assange would have been moot.

On Nov. 30, 2010 — the date on the letter — Interpol issued a Red Notice seeking Assange’s arrest, making any relocation to Russia virtually impossible. With legal bills mounting , Assange turned himself in on Dec. 7 and his staff’s focus turned to getting him out of jail. One WikiLeaks spreadsheet listed names of potential supporters arrayed by wealth and influence; a second one titled “Get Out of Jail Free” tracked proposed bail donations and pledges for surety.

As they gathered money, Assange’s allies also plotted what to do once the WikiLeaks founder was released.

One document showed Guatemalan human rights lawyer Renata Avila floating the idea of jumping bail.

“I will advise him to seek asylum abroad: we already contacted the Ministry of Justice in Brazil, there is a possibility to run out of the country in a Brazilian ship,” Avila told fellow WikiLeaks supporters in a memo . The document said Assange should “plan to escape and pay the bail money back to his supporters.”

Avila didn’t return repeated messages seeking comment. It’s not clear whether her idea went anywhere; former Brazilian Justice Minister Eduardo Cardozo, who was serving on then-President-elect Dilma Rousseff’s transition team at the time, told the AP that he’d never heard of an Assange asylum request.

Assange would eventually skip bail after exhausting his British legal campaign to block the Swedish extradition effort, darting into the Ecuadorean Embassy on June 19, 2012. The move frustrated the sex crimes prosecution, which was dropped last year, but it sparked a standoff that continues to this day, with Assange refusing to leave the embassy unless he is shielded from extradition to the U.S.

Assange’s escape left many of his guarantors in the lurch. When a group of them went to court in late 2012 to reduce their bill, the escape plan went unmentioned.

A lawyer for four of Assange’s supporters, Henry Blaxland, told the judge that Assange’s Ecuadorean asylum stunt caught everyone off guard.

“Nobody could reasonably have foreseen that’s what he would do,” Blaxland said.


Varya Kudryavtseva in Moscow, and Mauricio Savarese in Sao Paulo, Brazil, contributed to this report.

Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:16 pm
by seemslikeadream
Leaked materials from Assange’s lawyers say FBI has secret recordings taken from the Wikileaks founder’s hard drive

September 24, 2018
Earlier this month, the Associated Press publicly revealed a letter drafted as part of an effort to get Julian Assange a Russian visa. WikiLeaks implied that the letter, taken from a larger cache of WikiLeaks documents, was not authentic and accused the Associated Press of using materials provided by former FBI informant Sigurdur Thordarson. Media reports and an affidavit signed by Assange assert that the hard drives that Sigurdur Thordarson passed to the FBI contained secret recordings (as does the AP’s cache), while a pair of documents from the WikiLeaks’ legal team show that the hard drives – and therefore the secret recordings – were Assange’s.


In late June, 2014, Danish lawyers working with the organization were preparing to send complaints to the Danish authorities claiming that the FBI violated the law by buying hard drives stolen from Julian Assange. The Danish legal team drafted a pair of letters to be signed by Bjørn Dilou Jacobsen (though the metadata identifies Eddie Khawaja as the author), one for the Danish Police and one for the Danish Independent Police Complaints Authority. Emails sent among the WikiLeaks legal team say the goal of the complaints was to open investigations into Thordarson and “more importantly” into the FBI.

These letters, drafted in Danish by Assange’s lawyers, both state that the hard drives were stolen from Julian Assange. In contrast, Assange’s affidavit describes the drives as having been stolen from unnamed individuals associated with WikiLeaks and as containing chat logs, financial documents and “video footage taken in secret.” Though the complaints do not appear to have been previously revealed WikiLeaks’ public statements confirm, the complaints were filed.

In denying the Associated Press story, WikiLeaks referred to a December 2013 affidavit from Assange, one which is supplemented by several other affidavits as appendices. One tweet accuses the Associated Press of having “unconscionably decided to leave out” the source for the leaked materials. WikiLeaks asserted, without presenting evidence, that the source had Sigurdur Thordarson. A subsequent tweet cited and highlighted a portion of Assange’s affidavit, stating that the material provided to the FBI “included information relating to publishing partnerships, chat communications and private information such as copies of passports, video footage taken in secret, and bills.”


Highlights by WikiLeaks

The affidavit’s description of the “video footage taken in secret” comes immediately after a highlighted passage in which Assange quotes a report that the FBI asked Thordarson “to wear a recording device.” Assange’s affidavit omits portions of the report that which explain that Thordarson refused to wear a recording device.
But he declined to wear a recording device… Thordarson felt that wearing a wire in an attempt to secretly implicate Assange in LulzSec’s illegal hacking activities was a step too far.

If the secret video recordings provided to the FBI were not made by Thordarson, they must have been on the hard drives that WikiLeaks’ lawyers say were stolen from Assange. Whether or not Assange was responsible for making the secret recordings, he was not only aware of them, but kept copies of them. WikiLeaks’ tweets did not address the security problems posed by the FBI possessing that cache, or deny the existence of the Associated Press’ cache’. Instead, they appear to have been an attempt to poison the well through a combination of accusation, insinuation and non-denial denials. While WikiLeaks accused the Associated Press’ of “unconscionably” not declaring the source to be Thordarson (see below), WikiLeaks left out the fact that Thordarson’s source was Assange.


Regardless of the identity of the source(s) behind the Associated Press’ story, the materials provided to the FBI were maintained by and taken from Julian Assange. If WikiLeaks’ simplistic accusation is correct, then Assange is the ultimate source for both the FBI and the Associated Press’ series of stories.

Copies of the complaints are embedded below.

It is not the intention of this article to confirm, deny, or comment on the identity of a source or chain of custody for the cache referred to in the Associated Press’ story. References to WikiLeaks’ accusation are an explanation are an arguendo exploration of the logical conclusion of WikiLeaks’ accusation.

Update: An error in the way the files were opened and converted into PDF resulted in a formatting error. The original version of the exported files have been replaced with ones with more accurate formatting. ... ersations/

Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:32 pm
by seemslikeadream
Julian Assange's Internet, Phone Access ‘Partly’ Restored at Ecuadorian Embassy

Jack Taylor/Reuters
The Ecuadorian government will “partly restore” Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange’s internet access and other communication abilities after it cut him off in March. ITV reports the government denied Assange access to internet, phones, or visitors (other than his legal team) because he violated a written commitment not to give “opinions on the politics of friendly nations like Spain or the United States.” Assange’s isolation will come to an end after two U.N. officials met with Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno on Friday, Wikileaks said in a statement. “It is positive that through UN intervention Ecuador has partly ended the isolation of Mr Assange although it is of grave concern that his freedom to express his opinions is still limited,” the website’s editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson wrote. Assange has lived in the embassy for over six years where he has been given political asylum. He reportedly believes that if he leaves the embassy, he will be arrested and extradited to the U.S. for questioning for his WikiLeaks activities. ... an-embassy

Report: Ecuador tells Assange to curb speech, look after cat
AP Cybersecurity Writer

October 15, 2018 01:53 PM
Updated 2 hours 38 minutes ago
Ecuador has formally ordered Julian Assange to steer clear of topics that could harm its diplomatic interests if he wants to be reconnected to the internet, according to a memo published in a local media outlet Monday.

The nine-page memo published by Ecuadorean website Codigo Vidrio said Assange is prohibited from "interfering in the internal affairs of other states" or from activities "that could prejudice Ecuador's good relations with other states."

There was no indication Assange signed onto the memo, which governs the WikiLeaks founder's access to the Wi-Fi network of the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, where he lived since seeking asylum there in 2012.

The Associated Press could not immediately authenticate the document. But Codigo Vidrio has a track record of publishing inside material from the London embassy, and the restrictions detailed in the memo echo the conditions Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno recently described in an interview with AP .

Messages left with Ecuador's Foreign Ministry and WikiLeaks representatives were not immediately returned.

Tension has been long building between Assange and his hosts, particularly after the Australian ex-hacker began cheering on Catalonian secessionists in Spain last year. In March, Ecuador announced it was restricting Assange's access to the internet.

On Sunday, WikiLeaks said Assange would be reconnected to the internet, but it's not clear whether the move was contingent on him agreeing to Ecuador's conditions.

The memo mostly governs security and communication issues, but offers hints of other Assange issues at the embassy.

For example, the document ordered Assange to keep the bathroom clean and warned that his pet cat would be confiscated and taken to an animal if he did not look after it.

Assange took refuge at Ecuadorean Embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced sex crimes allegations. ... rylink=cpy

Did Russia Try to Rescue Julian Assange?

A new report ties the WikiLeaks founder to the Kremlin, and may give Robert Mueller a new avenue to explore.

Isobel ThompsonSeptember 24, 2018 12:07 pm

Assange photographed on the balcony of the Embassy Of Ecuador in London on May 19, 2017.
By Jay Shaw Baker/NurPhoto/Getty Images.
The bizarre web that links Julian Assange and WikiLeaks with Roger Stone and Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation gained another strand on Friday, when The Guardian reported that Russian diplomats held covert talks in London to devise a plan to spring Assange from his hidey-hole in the Ecuadorian embassy. Provisionally scheduled for Christmas Eve 2017, the operation involved ensconcing the WikiLeaks founder in a diplomatic vehicle and likely whisking him off to Russia. According to four sources, the plan was backed by the Kremlin, though it was ultimately deemed too risky and abandoned at the last minute.

Though details are hazy, the paper reports that Fidel Narváez, who recently served as Ecuador’s London consul and has a close relationship with Assange, was the point of contact with Moscow. Narváez has denied being involved in any such discussions, while Russia’s embassy in London (whose response to the Salisbury Novichok poisoning included posting a picture of Pierce Brosnan with the caption: “Does Russia’s dialing code 007 make James Bond a “Russian spy?”) tweeted Friday that the story was simply “another example of disinformation and fake news from the British media.”

Assange arrived at the embassy disguised as a motorcycle courier in June 2012 and sought political asylum days after he had lost a battle against extradition to Sweden, where two women had accused him of rape. Both cases were eventually dropped, but Assange is still liable for breaching the conditions of his bail. He has since remained penned-up in the embassy, appearing in public only to deliver speeches from a Romeo and Juliet-style balcony affixed to his quarters. In private, though, he has received a roster of guests, from Brexiteer Nigel Farage (who, asked by BuzzFeed about the reason for the visit, said he couldn’t remember what he had been doing in the building) to, during the summer of 2016, several Russians, including some senior figures from the Kremlin-owned network RT, with whom he signed a deal for “The Julian Assange Show” back in 2011.

Assange continued his work for WikiLeaks until his Internet access was severed in March. Which means he was still at the helm of the site when it published hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and senior Democratic officials months before the 2016 election. The move was received enthusiastically by Donald Trump (“I love WikiLeaks,” he crowed during an October 2016 rally), but just how the site got hold of the cache of e-mails has become a key question in Mueller’s investigation into whether or not Russia colluded with the Trump campaign. Over the course of the probe, WikiLeaks has popped up in connection with Robert Mercer-backed firm Cambridge Analytica—though the firm’s C.E.O. denied contact with the Web site, one of its directors, Brittany Kaiser, visited Assange in February last year, reportedly telling friends it was to discuss the U.S. election.

WikiLeaks has also been mentioned in connection with political trickster Roger Stone, who may have known about the leaked D.N.C. e-mails before they were published (an allegation he has denied), and who maintained a dialogue both with the site and with Russian hacker Guccifer 2.0. Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg said he was asked about Stone’s ties to WikiLeaks when he appeared before a grand jury this past spring. “The fact that Roger hasn’t been called in and the special counsel continues to ask questions about Roger’s possible activities during the election shows that at the very least he’s a subject,” he replied. When Mueller indicted a dozen Russian operatives in July, he flagged “a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump,” who swapped messages with “Guccifer 2.0.” Stone has admitted that he is “probably” that person.

“WikiLeaks,” and “Russia” being mentioned in the same breath is one thing. But if Russian officials were indeed involved in a plan to spring Assange and spirit him away to the motherland—a plan that as of yet has no obvious motivation—Mueller may have hit on a fresh avenue to explore that links them concretely. ... an-assange

Re: Assange Amazing Adventures of Captain Neo in Blonde Land

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:22 am
by seemslikeadream
Putin’s Favorite Congressman Denies Russia Hacked the DNC, Because That’s What Julian Assange Told Him
“I know they didn’t,” claims endangered California Republican Dana Rohrabacher.

Dan FriedmanOctober 16, 2018 5:46 PM

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher on June 26, 2018.Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) said in recent interview that he does not believe Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee or other Democrats during the 2016 presidential election, based on a denial offered by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The congressman’s belief is contrary to the public conclusion of United States law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

“I know they didn’t hack the DNC,” Rohrabacher told political commentator Mark McKinnon in an interview for Showtime’s political show The Circus. “I went to the guy who received the DNC emails, Julian Assange, and talked to him personally, and he assured me it wasn’t and that they had proof,” the congressman said.

Asked if he trusted Assange over US intelligence, Rohrabacher said he did: “If you take a look at what evidence has been coming of this investigation, people have a lot of questions about our top law enforcement and intelligence services.”

Rohrabacher’s comment refers to an August 2017 trip he took to visit Assange at Ecuador’s London embassy, where the self-described radical transparency advocate has been confined since 2012 after rape charges were lodged against him in Sweden. Following the trip, Rohrabacher floated a proposed deal where President Donald Trump would pardon Assange of any potential US crimes in exchange for Assange providing evidence he claims to possess showing the Russians did not hack the DNC or other Democratic targets.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 12 members of Russia’s military intelligence agency, known as the GRU, for participating in the hack of the DNC and other Democratic targets and then sharing the stolen material with WikiLeaks for public release. US intelligence agencies and the Senate Intelligence Committee have also concluded that Russian agents executed the hacks on Putin’s orders as part of an effort to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

This is not new ground for Rohrabacher. The 30-year congressional veteran’s reported contacts with Russian operatives and frequently expressed affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin have won him the sobriquet “Putin’s favorite congressman” and helped land him in a tight reelection fight against Democrat Harley Rouda in a normally Republican-leaning district in California’s Orange County. In 2012, the FBI reportedly warned Rohrabacher that Russian intelligence agents were trying to recruit him as an asset. During the 2016 campaign, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was recorded privately speculating that “Putin pays” the congressman along with then-candidate Trump. Rohrabacher has met with various figures involved in the Trump-Russia scandal, including Natalia Veselniskaya, the Russian attorney whom the Trump campaign believed would deliver dirt on Clinton at the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. He was interviewed last year by the House Intelligence Committee about matters believed to include his contacts with Russian operatives.

Rohrabacher says his interactions with Russians result from his chairmanship of a House subcommittee with responsibility for relations with the country. Regarding allegations against him, he tells Showtime: “My constituents are smart enough to know bullshit when they hear it.”

But the congressman’s comments could be damaging in the final weeks of his campaign. The Los Angeles Times reported last week that a key GOP super-PAC had pulled its advertising from Rohrabacher’s race. The lawmaker’s campaign disputes the claim, but the back and forth highlights how endangered Rohrabacher is in a race that polls show is effectively tied. ... sian-hack/