“‘Not a crime to make known crime of a state’: Senior Swedish judge backs Assange”

April 4, 2013

RT on April 3, 2013 released the following:

“A top Swedish judge has defended the release of classified information by WikiLeaks, pointing out the case against Assange has turned into a legal “mess.”

“It should never be a crime to make known crime of a state,” Stefan Lindskog told the audience at a public lecture he gave at Adelaide University, according to Australian Associated Press.

The judge, who is one of the 16 justices working for the Supreme Court of Sweden, revealed an extraordinary amount of detail on Assange’s sexual assault case, despite not sitting on it.

The official also indicated that the courts may rule against sending the WikiLeaks founder to the US due to some conditions of the existing extradition treaty between the two countries.

“Extradition shall not be granted when alleged crimes [are] military or political in nature,” Lindskog stressed.

Moreover, according to the judge, it was debatable whether Assange would have committed a crime under Swedish law.

“What is classified under US law is probably not classified under Swedish law, and enemies to the US may not be enemies to Sweden,” AAP quoted the official as saying.

Lindskog added that extensive media coverage of the case has entailed the public distrust in the legal system.

“I think it is a mess,” he said.

Finally, the judge supported the American soldier Bradley Manning, who provided some of the classified information to WikiLeaks. Lindskog said he hoped Manning would go through a fair trial, saying that the release of classified information was for the benefit of mankind.

Prior to the speech, Assange condemned Lindskog’s decision to speak in Australia, calling it “absolutely outrageous.”

The 41-year-old whistleblower, an Australian citizen, has spent nine months in London’s Ecuadorian embassy, after claiming asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sexual assault allegations.

Assange fears that once in Sweden, he could be extradited to America where, according to his lawyers, he is most likely to face trial and possibly even the death penalty for the release of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables, some of them about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


US ‘Assange hunt’ chokes air for whistleblowers

March 27, 2012

RT on March 27, 2012 released the following:

“Washington’s relentless pursuit of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and alleged whistle-blower Bradley Manning, is no secret. But the fate of the two men has got US journalists worried, that they too could soon find themselves behind bars.

Julian Assange’s life resembles a game of chess. He is an Australian citizen in the custody of Britain fighting extradition to Sweden. But no one wants the king of WikiLeaks more than America. Washington has had secret plans for Assange since at least January 2011.

Ironically, the secret was uncovered earlier this month after five million confidential emails from the global intelligence company Stratfor were published by WikiLeaks.

“It’s done frequently when a defendant is outside the US. They’ll get an indictment, which is secret. They’ll seal the charging document of the indictment. They will ask for an arrest warrant and that will also be sealed. That way, the US stands behind a big large boulder, if you will, and then jumps out from that boulder and arrests someone,” says Douglas McNabb, federal criminal defense attorney and extradition expert.

Under house arrest for more than a year, Assange has not been charged with any crime in any country, though Sweden wants to question him over sex-related allegations. The US meanwhile, is determined to punish the forty-year old.

Apparently, it is payback for exposing confidential cables repeatedly shaming America by shining a spotlight on illegalities in overseas military operations and on some embarrassing tactics and opinions from the State Department.

Washington says publishing the documents has created a national security risk. The Justice Department has reportedly mounted an unprecedented investigation into WikiLeaks, aimed at prosecuting Assange under the espionage act.

“They’re going to continue going after Mr. Assange to make a point that we’re tough and we’re not going to let anybody threaten America, whether it’s Al-Qaeda or it’s an Australian national,” believes journalist James Moore.

And some say they’ll go to any lengths to make the point.

“The US government within the federal arena likes to charge others – that have either aided and abetted or assisted or were full blown co-conspirators – likes to go after those in order to flip them. To get them to co-operate with the US government against the major players, in this case Mr. Assange,” McNabb says.

The US is now apparently working on flipping none other than Private Bradley Manning. The US soldier is facing 22 federal charges for allegedly leaking 700,000 documents and videos to WikiLeaks. He’s one of six Americans, the Obama administration has charged with espionage.

“If one of those cases makes it to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court upholds the Espionage Act as an act which essentially criminalizes any whistleblower, anybody who exposes war crimes, anybody who challenges the official narrative of the lies of the state, then that’s it. Because that would mean that any leaker could automatically be sent to prison for life. And at that point any idea of freedom of information is over. We will only know what the state wants us to know,” Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author told RT.

“It’s supposed to be about protecting the national security of the United States. But that is not the way the journalism industry will view it. They will view it as being a message to them. ‘Be careful who you talk to. Be careful what you write because you can be next.’ I think a number of reporters will say ‘I am not risking it,’” Moore believes.

Critics say the Obama administration’s unprecedented “war on whistleblowers” may ultimately deliver a death sentence to freedom of the press in the US. If people and or publishers are criminally convicted and jailed for exposing the truth, more journalists may prefer to abandon First Amendment privileges and reserve the right to remain silent.

Julian Assange’s show ‘The World Tomorrow’ is to premiere on RT later this month.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Revealed: US plans to charge WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

February 28, 2012

The Sydney Morning Herald on February 29, 2012 released the following:

“Revealed: US plans to charge Assange

Philip Dorling

UNITED STATES prosecutors have drawn up secret charges against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, according to a confidential email obtained from the private US intelligence company Stratfor.

In an internal email to Stratfor analysts on January 26 last year, the vice-president of intelligence, Fred Burton, responded to a media report concerning US investigations targeting WikiLeaks with the comment: ”We have a sealed indictment on Assange.”

He underlined the sensitivity of the information – apparently obtained from a US government source – with warnings to ”Pls [please] protect” and ”Not for pub[lication]”.

Mr Burton is well known as an expert on security and counterterrorism with close ties to the US intelligence and law enforcement agencies. He is the former deputy chief of the counter-terrorism division of the US State Department’s diplomatic security service.

Stratfor, whose headquarters are in Austin, Texas, provides intelligence and analysis to corporate and government subscribers.

On Monday, WikiLeaks began releasing more than 5 million Stratfor emails which it said showed ”how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients”.

The Herald has secured access to the emails through an investigative partnership with WikiLeaks.

The news that US prosecutors drew up a secret indictment against Mr Assange more than 12 months ago comes as the Australian awaits a British Supreme Court decision on his appeal against extradition to Sweden to be questioned in relation to sexual assault allegations.

Mr Assange, who has not been charged with any offence in Sweden, fears extradition to Stockholm will open the way for his extradition to the US on possible espionage or conspiracy charges in retaliation for WikiLeaks’s publication of thousands of leaked US classified military and diplomatic reports.

Last week the US Army Private Bradley Manning was committed to face court martial for 22 alleged offences, including ”aiding the enemy” by leaking classified government documents to WikiLeaks.

In December the Herald revealed Australian diplomatic cables, declassified under freedom of information, confirmed WikiLeaks was the target of a US Justice Department investigation ”unprecedented both in its scale and nature” and suggested that media reports that a secret grand jury had been convened in Alexandria, Virginia, were ”likely true”.

The Australian embassy in Washington reported in December 2010 that the Justice Department was pursuing an ”active and vigorous inquiry into whether Julian Assange can be charged under US law, most likely the 1917 Espionage Act”.

In recent answers to written parliamentary questions from the Greens senator Scott Ludlam, the former foreign affairs minister Kevin Rudd indicated Australia had sought confirmation that a secret grand jury inquiry directed against Mr Assange was under way.

Mr Rudd said ”no formal advice” had been received from US authorities but acknowledged the existence of a ”temporary surrender” mechanism that could allow Mr Assange to be extradited from Sweden to the US. He added that Swedish officials had said Mr Assange’s case would be afforded ”due process”.

The US government has repeatedly declined to confirm or deny any reported details of the WikiLeaks inquiry, beyond the fact that an investigation is being pursued.

The Stratfor emails show that the WikiLeaks publication of hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables triggered intense discussion within the ”global intelligence” company.

In the emails, an Australian Stratfor ”senior watch officer”, Chris Farnham, advocated revoking Mr Assange’s Australian citizenship, adding: ”I don’t care about the other leaks but the ones he has made that potentially damage Australian interests upset me. If I thought I could switch this dickhead off without getting done I don’t think I’d have too much of a problem.”

But Mr Farnham also referred to a conversation with a close family friend who he said knew one of the Swedish women who had made allegations of sexual assault against Mr Assange, and added: ”There is absolutely nothing behind it other than prosecutors that are looking to make a name for themselves.”

While some Stratfor analysts decried what they saw as Mr Assange’s ”clear anti-Americanism”, others welcomed the leaks and debated WikiLeaks’s longer-term impact on secret diplomacy and intelligence.

Stratfor’s director of analysis, Reva Bhalla, observed: ”WikiLeaks itself may struggle to survive but the idea that’s put out there, that anyone with the bandwidth and servers to support such a system can act as a prime outlet of leaks. [People] are obsessed with this kind of stuff. The idea behind it won’t die.”

Stratfor says it will not comment on the emails obtained by WikiLeaks. The US embassy has also declined to comment.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Solitary Confinement Is Too Harsh for ‘Lord of War’ Vicktor Bout

February 11, 2012

Courthouse News Service on February 10, 2012 released the following:

“By ADAM KLASFELD

MANHATTAN (CN) – International arms smuggler Viktor Bout should not face solitary confinement, a federal judge insisted at a combative hearing on Friday afternoon.

A Russian national, Bout was the subject of the nonfiction book “Merchant of Death,” and allegedly inspired the Hollywood movie “The Lord of War.” For years, he was suspected of arming dictators, despots and warring factions in the Congo, Angola, Sierra Leone and other conflict zones around the world.

Though sanctioned by the United Nations, Bout remained a free man for more than a decade until the U.S. government snared him in “Operation Relentless,” a sting operation with undercover informants posing as guerrillas from the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).

A federal jury convicted him in November, and U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin refused to set aside the verdict at a hearing on Thursday.

At that hearing, Scheindlin reportedly criticized the conditions of Bout’s imprisonment as “harsh.” She convened the Friday afternoon hearing to leave no doubt that those conditions must change.

A Jan. 20, 2011, administration order called for Bout’s incarceration in a maximum-security cell of the Metropolitan Correctional Center for 23 hours per day. Adam Johnson, the prison’s supervising attorney, said that Bout usually declines the hour per day in which he is allowed to use the recreational center.

Bout’s attorney Albert Dayan says the center is an indoor cell much like his own, in which he cannot interact with the other inmates. Bout’s only source of outside air comes from the occasional “crack” to the recreation room’s window, Dayan said.

While the prison accommodates Bout’s vegetarian diet, Bout says he is only fed oatmeal, peanut butter and beans in a pot.

He can only place a phone call or meet with his family once a month, Johnson said.

Scheindlin told Johnson that he should call Bout’s prison conditions by their name.

“Long-term solitary confinement is the way to put it,” Scheindlin said, adding that “studies have been conducted” on its effects.

A 2009 New Yorker article titled “Hellhole,” explored the movement to define isolation as torture. Psychologists for Social Responsibility have called supermax prisons “cruel, unusual and inhumane” in an open letter opposing the confinement of alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, before he was transferred from Quantico.

Suzanne Hastings, a warden at MCC, claimed that solitary was necessary to keep Bout from harming the guards, other inmates and himself.

Scheindlin brushed aside that argument, arguing that nothing in the record indicated that Bout was violent or linked to any terrorist organization.

“This is a businessman,” Scheindlin said, indicating Bout. “You might not like the business he’s in.”

That business, the judge pointed out later, was “the arms business.”

“This country sells a lot of arms,” Scheindlin added.

Though convicted of arming terrorists, the FARC militants that Bout agreed to arm were all undercover government informants.

“I’m familiar with this case, and I can distinguish it from other so-called terrorism cases,” Scheindlin said.

Kenneth Kaplan, Bout’s other attorney, cited cases in which inmates in the MCC’s terrorism unit were ordered into more humane detention.

One, Kathy Boudine, was convicted of felony murder and armed robbery in an operation with the Weather Underground.

Another, Mafia soldier Vincent Basciano, was placed in the section of the prison normally reserved for convicted terrorists until the 2nd Circuit intervened, Kaplan said.

“He was a dangerous guy,” Scheindlin said. “Didn’t he threaten a judge? I haven’t been threatened [by Bout].”

Scheindlin requested that prosecutors and defense attorneys file arguments about her ability to change the conditions of Bout’s confinement and judicial precedents for such actions.”

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Court rejects petition from WikiLeaks, Julian Assange

January 12, 2012

Politico on January 11, 2012 released the following:

“By JOSH GERSTEIN

The U.S. military’s highest appeals court has rejected a petition by WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange to give their lawyers guaranteed access to the Army’s legal proceedings against the Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking thousands of military reports and diplomatic cables, Pfc. Bradley Manning.

WikiLeaks and Assange argued they deserved a permanent seat at the recent investigative hearing in Manning’s case because of an ongoing criminal investigation targeting Assange and his global transparency website. They also made the unusual request to have a lawyer with security clearance sit on classified sessions the public is excluded from.

However, in an order Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces denied the petition without comment. The only further review would be at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The WikiLeaks/Assange plea was previously rejected by the officer overseeing Manning’s hearing and by an intermediate appeals court, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals. Military prosecutors said there was no basis for according special status just because Assange might be charged in the future. In addition, they noted that in practice the lawyers for Assange and his outfit had been able to gain access to general public seating in the courtroom at Fort Meade, Md.

Manning’s weeklong preliminary hearing, known as an Article 32 session, wrapped up last month, so it could be that the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces considered the issue moot. However, the court didn’t say the petition was denied as moot. In any event, the same issues could arise again if, as expected, Manning’s case is sent to a full, formal court martial.

“We are disappointed by the ruling, but like much of the Manning proceedings themselves, this decision is inscrutable,” said Baher Azmy of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brough the petition for Assange and WikiLeaks. “The court offers no analysis whatsoever for its ruling, so as much as we strongly disagree with the judgment, we literally cannot understand — or respond to — the reason(s) apparently underlying it.””

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Alleged Wiki-leaker day 4: searching Manning’s computers

December 19, 2011

CNN on December 19, 2011 released the following:

“By Larry Shaughnessy covering the hearing in Ft. Meade, MD

11:36a update

A cybercrimes investigator continued his testimony of his examination computers that PFC Bradley Manning had access to in Iraq.

Spec. Agent David Shaver, with the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CID) said he examined Manning’s secondary computer where he worked as an intelligence analyst. Shaver found more 100,000 full State Department cables on the secondary computer as well as software that would allow a user to copy data to a writable CD.

But during question by Manning’s attorney, Shaver admitted that could not say that it was Manning who accessed the cable. He also found no evidence that this information was sent to anyone. Shaver was not asked if he compared any of the cables on Manning’s secondary computer with the diplomatic cables released on WikiLeaks.

After Shaver’s testimony, Manning’s roommate from Iraq took the stand. Spec Eric Baker, who was with the military police in Manning’s company, testified that he and Manning were not close and rarely spoke. But Baker said Manning told him he “he probably planned on getting out of the military.”

Baker also said Manning was a frequent user of his personal laptop in their quarters. “He used the computer quite often, between chow times. When I’d wake up in the middle of the night, he’d be on the computer,” Baker said.

Shortly after another cybercrimes began testimony, court recessed for a conference among the lawyers and the presiding officer and then took lunch.

10:55a update

Testimony resumed Monday in the Article 32 hearing of PFC Bradley Manning as the defense cross examined an Army computer expert about files found on a computer linked to Manning. (highlights from the weekend coverage here)

Spec. Agent David Shaver, with the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CID) said that a search of military computers Manning used in Iraq revealed he had downloaded the same secret documents and videos that were released online by the website WikiLeaks.

Shaver was asked if he compared any of the 10,000 diplomatic cables found on a secure computer to the 250,000 diplomatic files on WikiLeaks. He said those he compared did not match, but he did not say how many of the files he compared.

He also said the 10,000 were in a computer file that was corrupted, and it would have been difficult if not impossible to open those files without sophisticated computer tools.

Shortly after that testimony, the court went into closed session so Shaver could testify about classified matters.

The news media and general public are forbidden from witnessing classified testimony.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Rudd urged to protect Assange

December 19, 2011

The Sydney Morning Herald on December 19, 2011 released the following:

Dan Oakes

“THE former prime minister Malcolm Fraser and dozens of public figures have called on the Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, to ensure the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is protected from ”rendition” to the US.

They warn that if Assange is extradited from Britain to Sweden, where he may face rape and sexual assault charges, he could then be handed over to the US, where prosecutors are considering criminal charges against him following the release of confidential cables.

”The chances of Mr Assange receiving a fair trial in the United States appear remote. A number of prominent political figures have called for him to be assassinated, and the Vice-President has called him a ‘high-tech terrorist’,” their open letter reads.

”Given the atmosphere of hostility in relation to Mr Assange, we hold serious concerns about his safety once in US custody. We note that Mr Assange is an Australian citizen, whose journalistic activities were undertaken entirely outside of US territory.”

Assange has been on bail in Britain for almost a year as he fights extradition to Sweden, where two women have alleged he committed sexual offences against them. He has denied the claims, and last week won the right to appeal against the extradition.

The signatories to the letter – who also include the – American academic Noam Chomsky, Julian Burnside, QC, and the Greens leader Bob Brown – warn that Sweden could hand Assange over to the US without the ”appropriate legal processes that accompany normal extradition cases”.

Private Bradley Manning, who leaked the thousands of secret cables, faced the first day of a preliminary hearing on Friday to determine whether he should be court-martialled over the leaks.

Private Manning’s lawyer told the court that the government wanted the 24-year-old soldier to agree to plead guilty in return for a reduced sentence so he could be used as a witness against Assange and WikiLeaks. Lawyers for Assange were in the courtroom during the first day of the pre-trial hearing, and have asked for access to the court for the duration of the proceedings.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

WikiLeaks Julian Assange U.S. Extradition Involving Sweden- Guess What I Found

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.