Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Julian Assange case: Witnesses recall Collateral Murder attack: “Look at those dead bastards,” shooters said

September 21, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Julian Assange was offered a pardon, if he would name a source

Trump ‘associates’ offered Assange pardon in return for emails source, court hears
WikiLeaks founder was asked to reveal source of leak damaging to Hillary Clinton, hearing told, 
Guardian,  Peter Beaumont in London, Sat 19 Sep 2020   Two political figures claiming to represent Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a “win-win” deal to avoid extradition to the US and indictment, a London court has heard.

Under the proposed deal, outlined by Assange’s barrister Jennifer Robinson, the WikiLeaks founder would be offered a pardon if he disclosed who leaked Democratic party emails to his site, in order to help clear up allegations they had been supplied by Russian hackers to help Trump’s election in 2016.

According to a statement from Robinson read out to the court, the offer was made by the then Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Trump associate Charles Johnson at a meeting on 15 August 2017 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Assange was then sheltering. At the time he was under secret investigation by a US grand jury.

Robinson added: “The proposal put forward by Congressman Rohrabacher was that Mr Assange identify the source for the 2016 election publications in return for some kind of pardon, assurance or agreement which would both benefit President Trump politically and prevent US indictment and extradition.”

……….. The barrister added that Assange did not name the source of the emails.While Assange’s legal team first made the claim in February detailing a deal for a pardon in exchange for denying the source of the emails was Russia, Robinson’s statement – admitted as evidence by the court – provides substantial details of the meeting………

Robinson’s description of the offer suggests Trump was prepared to consider a pardon for Assange in exchange for information almost a year before a federal grand jury issued a sealed indictment against the WikiLeaks founder.

If it is confirmed that the approach did indeed have the approval of Trump, it would mark the latest in a number of interventions by the US president in relation to the investigation into Russian election interference.

In her statement, Robinson said Rohrabacher and Johnson “wanted us to believe they were acting on behalf of the president”.

“They stated that President Trump was aware of and had approved of them coming to meet with Mr Assange to discuss a proposal – and that they would have an audience with the president to discuss the matter on their return to Washington DC,” she said……

Appearing to confirm that the approach had been made, James Lewis QC, for the US government, said: “The position of the government is we don’t contest these things were said,” adding: We obviously do not accept the truth of what was said by others.” ……. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/sep/18/trump-offered-julian-assange-pardon-in-return-for-democrat-hacking-source-court-told

September 19, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Julian Assange exposed “a very serious pattern of actual war crimes”

Speaking on the significance of the WikiLeaks releases, Ellsberg said, “It was clear to me that these revelations, like the Pentagon papers, had the capability of informing the public that they had been seriously misled about the nature of the [Iraq and Afghan] war[s], the progress of the war, the likelihood that it would be ended successfully or at all, and that this was information of the highest importance to the American public.”

Characterising the wars that WikiLeaks exposed, Ellsberg explained, “The Iraq war was clearly recognisable, even to a layman, as a crime against the peace, as an aggressive war.”

September 19, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Following the UK court hearing on the extradition of Julian Assange

Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 8, Craig Murray  September 10, 2020  The great question after yesterday’s hearing was whether prosecution counsel James Lewis QC would continue to charge at defence witnesses like a deranged berserker (spoiler – he would), and more importantly, why?

QC’s representing governments usually seek to radiate calm control, and treat defence arguments as almost beneath their notice, certainly as no conceivable threat to the majestic thinking of the state. Lewis instead resembled a starving terrier kept away from a prime sausage by a steel fence whose manufacture and appearance was far beyond his comprehension.

Perhaps he has toothache.

PROFESSOR PAUL ROGERS

The first defence witness this morning was Professor Paul Rogers, Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. He has written 9 books on the War on Terror, and has been for 15 years responsible for MOD contracts on training of armed forces in law and ethics of conflict. Rogers appeared by videolink from Bradford.

Prof Rogers’ full witness statement is here.

Edward Fitzgerald QC asked Prof Rogers whether Julian Assange’s views are political (this goes to article 4 in the UK/US extradition treaty against political extradition). Prof Rogers replied that “Assange is very clearly a person of strong political opinions.”

Fitzgerald then asked Prof Rogers to expound on the significance of the revelations from Chelsea Manning on Afghanistan. Prof Rogers responded that in 2001 there had been a very strong commitment in the United States to going to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Easy initial military victories led to a feeling the nation had “got back on track”. George W Bush’s first state of the union address had the atmosphere of a victory rally. But Wikileaks’ revelations in the leaked war logs reinforced the view of some analysts that this was not a true picture, that the war in Afghanistan had gone wrong from the start. It contradicted the government line that Afghanistan was a success. Similarly the Wikileaks evidence published in 2011 had confirmed very strongly that the Iraq War had gone badly wrong, when the US official narrative had been one of success.

Wikileaks had for example proven from the war logs that there were a minimum of 15,000 more civilian deaths than had been reckoned by Iraq Body Count. These Wikileaks exposures of the failures of these wars had contributed in large part to a much greater subsequent reluctance of western powers to go to war at an early stage.

Fitzgerald said that para 8 of Rogers’ report suggests that Assange was motivated by his political views and referenced his speech to the United Nations. Was his intention to influence political actions by the USA?

Rogers replied yes. Assange had stated that he was not against the USA and there were good people in the USA who held differing views. He plainly hoped to influence US policy. Rogers also referenced the statement by Mairead Maguire in nominating Julian for the Nobel Peace Prize:

Julian Assange and his colleagues in Wikileaks have shown on numerous occasions that they are one of the last outlets of true democracy and their work for our freedom and speech. Their work for true peace by making public our governments’ actions at home and abroad has enlightened us to their atrocities carried out in the name of so-called democracy around the world.

Rogers stated that Assange had a clear and coherent political philosophy. He had set it out in particular in the campaign of the Wikileaks Party for a Senate seat in Australia. It was based on human rights and a belief in transparency and accountability of organisations. It was essentially libertarian in nature. It embraced not just government transparency, but also transparency in corporations, trade unions and NGOs. It amounted to a very clear political philosophy. Assange adopted a clear political stance that did not align with conventional party politics but incorporated coherent beliefs that had attracted growing support in recent years.

Fitzgerald asked how this related to the Trump administration. Rogers said that Trump was a threat to Wikileaks because he comes from a position of quite extreme hostility to transparency and accountability in his administration. Fitzgerald suggested the incoming Trump administration had demonstrated this hostility to Assange and desire to prosecute. Rogers replied that yes, the hostility had been evidenced in a series of statements right across the senior members of the Trump administration. It was motivated by Trump’s characterisation of any adverse information as “fake news”.

Fitzgerald asked whether the motivation for the current prosecution was criminal or political? Rogers replied “the latter”. This was a part of the atypical behaviour of the Trump administration; it prosecutes on political motivation. They see openness as a particular threat to this administration. This also related to Trump’s obsessive dislike of his predecessor. His administration would prosecute Assange precisely because Obama did not prosecute Assange. Also the incoming Trump administration had been extremely annoyed by the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence, a decision they had no power to revoke. For that the prosecution of Assange could be vicarious revenge.

Several senior administration members had advocated extremely long jail sentences for Assange and some had even mooted the death penalty, although Rogers realised that was technically impossible through this process.

Fitzgerald asked whether Assange’s political opinions were of a type protected by the Refugee Convention. Rogers replied yes. Persecution for political opinion is a solid reason to ask for refugee status. Assange’s actions are motivated by his political stance. Finally Fitzgerald then asked whether Rogers saw political significance in the fact that Assange was not prosecuted under Obama. Rogers replied yes, he did. This case is plainly affected by fundamental political motivation emanating from Trump himself.

James Lewis QC then rose to cross-examine for the prosecution. His first question was “what is a political opinion?” Rogers replied that a political opinion takes a particular stance on the political process and does so openly. It relates to the governance of communities, from nations down to smaller units……….  https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/?fbclid=IwAR1SSVvRVbh8_y-5pargeR-U2E6JHQDcGUq_752VyejbktpjIbMY-g-MdnA

September 13, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, media | Leave a comment

A legal win for Adani, against climate activist Ben Pennings

Adani granted injunction to stop activist Ben Pennings using ‘confidential material’ABC 11 Sept 20,   Mining giant Adani has been granted an injunction ordering an activist to stop using “confidential material” it claims is frustrating the development of its mine and rail network in the Galilee Basin.

Key points:

  • The legal action is against Brisbane activist Ben Pennings
  • Mr Pennings is accused of demanding contractors to cease working with Adani
  • Justice Martin found the “Stop Adani” movement had caused at least three contractors to withdraw

Adani launched legal action in the Supreme Court in Brisbane against activist Ben Pennings, claiming he had continually demanded contractors who had agreements with the mining company to terminate or withdraw from negotiations.

Adani also argued Mr Pennings would encourage others to provide confidential information to an ongoing campaign —The Galilee Blockade — concerning plans and operations at the site.

Today’s order comes after Adani twice failed to secure a search order to seize evidence from Mr Penning’s home.

…… Under the injunction orders handed down this morning, Mr Pennings will be required to remove certain social media posts and be prevented from using confidential information obtained through campaigns run by him.

Activist accused of ‘intimidation and conspiracy’

Outside court, Mr Pennings said he would respect the court’s injunction but was “very concerned” about ongoing civil action in which Adani accused Mr Pennings of a “breach of confidence, inducing breach of contract, intimidation and conspiracy”.

“I have a family at home, kids, a kid with a disability,” Mr Pennings said.

“If Adani is successful with their civil action, I’ll have to sell my house, and that’s really difficult for my family, but Adani seem determined to hurt me.

“I don’t believe I should have to sell my suburban family home in Aspley to make an Indian multi-billionaire even richer.

“The ‘Stop Adani’ movement is massive. I’m just one passionate person. They really can’t sue all of us.”……….  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-11/adani-granted-court-injunction-ben-pennings-galilee-basin/12654486

September 12, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal | Leave a comment

Professor Paul Rogers – a witness explaining how Julian Assange is to be extradited for POLITICAL REASONS

Julian Assange clearly political, says extradition trial witness, https://www.theaustralian.com.au/world/julian-assange-clearly-political-says-extradition-trial-witness/news-story/735ef7d40551d52f4f7f12d9d6c318d7      JACQUELIN MAGNAY, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT@jacquelinmagnay, THE TIMES, SEPTEMBER 10, 2020

Julian Assange’s nomination for the Senate during the 2013 federal­ election campaign and the establishment of the WikiLeaks political party the year before­ “clearly shows’’ the WikiLeaks founder has a political view and a libertarian standpoint, a witness has told the Old Bailey.

Professor Paul Rogers, the emeritus professor of peace studies at Bradford University, was called as a witness by Assange’s team to persuade the judge that Assange is being targeted for ­political means, and thus an extraditio­n to the US should not be permitted under the Anglo-US extradition treaty.

In day three of the court hearing where Assange, 49, is objecting to extradition to the US, Professor Rogers said in written testimony that Assange’s expresse­d views, opinions and activities demonstrate very clearly “political opinions”. He cited how Assange had formed the political party to contest­ the Australian general election and “central of this is his view to put far greater attention to human rights’’.

He added: “The clash of those opinions with those of successive US administrations, but in particular­ the present administration which has moved to prosecute him for publications made almost a decade ago, suggest that he is regarded primarily as a polit­ical opponent who must exper­ience the full wrath of government, even with suggestions of punishment by death made by senior officials including the current­ President.’’

But US prosecutor James Lewis QC said: “Assistant US Attorney­ Gordon D. Kromberg explicitly refutes that this is a political prosecution but rather an evidence-based prosecution.’’

In documents to the court, the prosecution says the inves­t­ig­ation into Assange had been ongoing before the Trump admin­istration came into office.

“Assange’s arguments are contradicted by judicial findings, made in the US District Court of the District of Columbia, that the investigation into the unauthorised disclosure of classified information on the WikiLeaks website remained ongoing when the present administration came into office,” the prosecution says.

Mr Lewis added: “If this was a political prosecution, wouldn’t you expect him to be prosecuted for publishing the collateral murder video?’’https://www.theaustralian.com.au/world/julian-assange-clearly-political-says-extradition-trial-witness/news-story/735ef7d40551d52f4f7f12d9d6c318d7

He said Assange was being extradited to face charges relating to complicity in illegal acts to obtain or receive voluminous databases­ of classified inform­ation, his agreement and attempt­ to obtain classified information­ through computer hacking; and publishing certain classified documents that contained the unredacted names of innocent people who risked their safety and freedom to provide information to the United States and its allies, including local Afghan­s and Iraqis, journalists, religious leaders, human rights advocates, and political dissidents from repressive regimes.

Professor Rogers told the court the motivation of Assange and WikiLeaks was to achieve greater transparency and was political. The trial continues.

September 10, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, politics international | Leave a comment

INJUSTICE at work? The extradition trial of Julian Assange

September 8, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, politics international | Leave a comment

A student is suing the government over the financial risks of climate change

‘A wake-up call’: why this student is suing the government over the financial risks of climate change, The Conversation
July 27, 2020  Jacqueline Peel Professor of Environmental and Climate Law, University of Melbourne, Rebekkah Markey-Towler, Research assistant, University of MelbourneAs the world warms, the value of “safe” investments might be at risk from inadequate climate change policies. This prospect is raised by a world-first climate change case, filed in the federal court last week.

Katta O’Donnell – a 23-year-old law student from Melbourne – is suing the Australian government for failing to disclose climate change risks to investors in Australia’s sovereign bonds.

Sovereign bonds involve loans of money from investors to governments for a set period at a fixed interest rate. They’re usually thought to be the safest form of investment. For example, many Australians are invested in sovereign bonds through their superannuation funds.

But as climate change presents major risks to our economy as well as the environment, O’Donnell’s claim is a wake-up call to the government that it can no longer bury its head in the sand when it comes to this vulnerability.

O’Donnell’s arguments

O’Donnell argues Australia’s poor climate policies – ranked among the lowest in the industrialised world – put the economy at risk from climate change. She says climate-related risks should be properly disclosed in information documents to sovereign bond investors.

O’Donnell’s claim alleges that by failing to disclose this information, the federal government breaches its legal duty. It alleges the government has engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, and government officials breached their duty of care and diligence.

This is a standard similar to that owed by Australian company directors. Analysis from leading barristers indicates that directors who fail to consider climate risks could be found liable for breaching their duty of care and diligence.

O’Donnell argues government officials providing information to investors in sovereign bonds should meet the same benchmark.

Climate change as a financial risk….…   https://theconversation.com/a-wake-up-call-why-this-student-is-suing-the-government-over-the-financial-risks-of-climate-change-143359

July 28, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal | Leave a comment

Remote community loses their court fight to get uranium-free drinking water

Residents of remote NT community of Laramba lose legal battle over uranium in water, ABC News, By Katrina Beavan and Henry Zwartz  15 July 20, 

Residents of the remote central Australian community of Laramba have lost a case against the Northern Territory Government over high levels of uranium in their drinking water.

Key points:

  • The tribunal ruled drinking water uranium levels were not the housing department’s responsibility
  • The residents were seeking compensation over the contamination and also tap filters to bring their water in line with guidelines
  • The tribunal has called for further submissions relating to claims about housing conditions and repairs

Data compiled by the NT’s Power and Water Corporation had shown there were 0.046 milligrams of uranium per litre (mg/L) in the town’s water supply — close to three times the level recommended in national guidelines.

According to Australia’s national guideline, published by the National Health and Medical Council, uranium levels in drinking water should not exceed 0.017 milligrams per litre.

Residents of Laramba, north-west of Alice Springs, lodged a legal case against the landlord, which in this case is the NT’s Department of Housing.

The case was submitted to the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) in November last year, highlighting problems with not only residents’ drinking water but also housing repairs and conditions in the town.

Residents sought compensation over the uranium contamination and also asked for a filter system on at least one tap in their household kitchens to bring uranium levels in line within Australia’s drinking water guidelines.

But in the NTCAT’s ruling against the residents, the tribunal member Mark O’Reilly said the uranium in the water was not the responsibility of the landlord.

“In my view the landlord’s obligation for habitability is limited to the premises themselves,” the decision read…….

Appeal of NTCAT decision ‘likely’

Daniel Kelly, lawyer assisting for Australian Lawyers for Remote Aboriginal Rights said the result was disappointing and an appeal was likely.

“We’re in the process of speaking to our clients, but our view is — and the views that we’ve been able to garner from our clients are — that we should seek to have this decision reviewed,” Mr Kelly said.

“The decision leaves the question well who is responsible? Because these people have been exposed to uranium in the drinking water for over 10 years.”

“The Department of Housing is doing nothing about it, Power and Water is doing nothing about it and the Northern Territory Government is doing nothing about it.”

In a statement to the ABC, the NT Department of Housing said it would not be providing comment as proceedings were ongoing.

In relation to the rest of the Laramba case, involving housing conditions and repairs, the tribunal has called for further submissions.  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-14/nt-community-laramba-lose-legal-battle-over-uranium-in-water/12454206?fbclid=IwAR2Vb6AHk4MlypQI-_s8MMuWSLFCVQOViknD4nXc52RY4-i5NyA767hOHYk

July 16, 2020 Posted by | legal, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Court action in India against Adani – allegations of ‘coercion, fraud and undue influence’

Adani power plant and coal plans threatened by land owner court action, ABC News, By Stephen Long, 11 July 20

  “……….   Allegations of ‘coercion, fraud and undue influence’

The case filed with the court accuses Adani and its agents of using “coercion, fraud [and] undue influence” to illegally exclude thousands of people affected by the development from a required social impact assessment.

The claimants allege that a key meeting was full of labourers “from far away” who were paid to attend a crucial public hearing about the development and — in conjunction with local police — used brutal force to keep villagers opposed to Adani’s project out.

“Thousands of people gathered to go into the venue site but they were prevented both by the police, who were acting as agents of private company Adani Power Limited, as well as by their security guards,” the writ filed with the court alleges.

“The situation was so bad that the police lathi [baton] charged the affected families. When they tried to attend the public hearing were beaten mercilessly.”

Residents challenge land acquisition

The court case also challenges the forced takeover of land for the development by the State Government on behalf of Adani.

Under Indian law, a government can only acquire land for a private company if the project is for “public purpose”.

The claimants argue the project does not meet the definition of “public purpose” under the law.

Part of their argument is that the power plant will have few local benefits, since the electricity will all be exported and the coal used to generate the power will all be imported — largely from Australia.

“It is crystal clear from the various documents of Adani Power Limited that the power which shall be generated from this private project shall be exported to Bangladesh [while] the coal shall be imported from Australia … to Dharma Port and transported to the project covering a distance of around 700km causing immense pollution in transportation.

“Thus, there is not even a semblance of public interest.”….

The irony is that Jharkhand is a resource-rich state, accounting for more than 40 per cent of the mineral resources of India, and the Adani power project is situated amid some of the richest coal deposits in the nation.

Adani’s own Jitpur coal mine is just kilometres away from the project site; when the plant was first proposed five years ago, this was to be the source of the coal.

But those plans rapidly changed, apparently because under Indian law domestic coal cannot be used for thermal power projects that will export electricity to another country.

So, Adani now appears set to transport imported coal vast distances, at extraordinary expense, into a state that is home to the biggest coal reserves in India…….

‘Land is indispensable to a Santhal’

The patriarch of the Adani business empire, Gautam Adani, is one of the richest men in India, while many of the villagers affected by the Godda power project are from the other end of the wealth spectrum.

Some are from the lowest castes in the Hindu religion and others are from an Indigenous tribal group known as the Santhal.

Archaeologists estimate that the Santhal have been in eastern India for up to 65,000 years. Like Aboriginal Australians, they have an ancient and spiritual connection to the land that has long been recognised in legislation.

“Land is indispensable to a Santhal,” a local villager explained to the independent Indian filmmaker who shared her interviews with the ABC.

“It is an intrinsic part of culture. The Santhal tribe and their land are like two sides of one coin. If land exists, Santhal exists, but if the land is taken away it just means they will be totally wiped out.”

The Santhal have a practice of burying their dead in the fields they sow, which become sacred to them.

One of them says: “We belong here, this is our ancestral land. We are buried on our land. We have no problem dying on our land but we will not give it away.”

Santhal land rights have previously been protected under a long-standing law which prohibited industrial development on their farming lands, but the laws have recently been watered down…….

those fighting the project face a race against time; the High Court case, and a separate environmental challenge before India’s National Green Tribunal — scheduled for hearings in early August — will be of no consequence if construction reaches a point where the development becomes a fait accompli.

Curiously, geopolitics is working in favour of the project’s opponents.

Adani has contracts with a Chinese firm for equipment purchases and engineering work on the power plant.

With a border conflict taking India and China close to war, Adani is facing political pressure to terminate the deal, which could further delay or even jeopardise the project.   https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-10/adani-godda-power-plant-threatened-by-land-owner-court-action/12439624

July 11, 2020 Posted by | climate change - global warming, legal | Leave a comment

Julian Assange’s father in tireless fight to free his son, calls on Scott Morrison to help Australian citizen Julian

Assange’s father calls extradition process ‘disgrace’  https://telanganatoday.com/assanges-father-calls-extradition-process-disgrace?fbclid=IwAR1a7bQ0W_Xcgc9EIeGaAHVP7Zmm2cM6nNV65ZXtkhCwNUlarqIYTJVw6xo1 July 20, The 80-year-old is organizing public events in Australia despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and hopes to travel to London in August to support Assange during his extradition trial.  

Sydney: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s father, John Shipton, is fighting tirelessly for the release and return of his son, who is facing an extradition trial in London for publishing classified information, a process he described as abuse.

“We maintain that the extradition request is a fraud in the English court… It’s a fraud in the English legal system, it’s a case of abuse of process, it is a disgrace,” Shipton, who travelled from Melbourne to Sydney to campaign for his son’s release, told Efe news in an interview.
The 80-year-old is organizing public events in Australia despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and hopes to travel to London in August to support Assange during his extradition trial which, he says, is being carried out under “dire” circumstances.

In May 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, said, after visiting Assange in the Belmarsh prison along with two medical experts, that he showed “all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma”.

Assange has spent almost a decade in confinement, first under house arrest in a British town and then at the Ecuadorian embassy in London between 2012 until 2019, when Ecuador withdrew his political asylum status.

Shipton has urged the Australian government to mediate with the UK administration for the release of his son, who is wanted in the US on 18 charges of espionage and computer intrusion, for which he could be sentenced to prison for up to 175 years.

“I believe the government can, if it wishes to, assist us in bringing Julian home. I believe that (it) is very simple for the Prime Minister (Scott Morrison) to pick up the phone and ring (his UK counterpart) Boris Johnson and say Julian Assange is an Australian citizen in dire circumstances.

“This will resolve this immediately and that’s easily possible,” he told Efe news during the interview.

July 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, media, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

USA adds a new indictment to its charges against Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Assange faces new indictment in US, By ERIC TUCKER, 29 June 20,  WASHINGTON (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sought to recruit hackers at conferences in Europe and Asia who could provide his anti-secrecy website with classified information, and conspired with members of hacking organizations, according to a new Justice Department indictment announced Wednesday.

The superseding indictment does not contain additional charges beyond the 18 counts the Justice Department unsealed last year. But prosecutors say it underscores Assange’s efforts to procure and release classified information, allegations that form the basis of criminal charges he already faces.

Beyond recruiting hackers at conferences, the indictment accuses Assange of conspiring with members of hacking groups known as LulzSec and Anonymous. He also worked with a 17-year-old hacker who gave him information stolen from a bank and directed the teenager to steal additional material, including audio recordings of high-ranking government officials, prosecutors say.

Assange’s lawyer, Barry Pollack, said in a statement that “the government’s relentless pursuit of Julian Assange poses a grave threat to journalists everywhere and to the public’s right to know.”

“While today’s superseding indictment is yet another chapter in the U.S. Government’s effort to persuade the public that its pursuit of Julian Assange is based on something other than his publication of newsworthy truthful information,” he added, “the indictment continues to charge him with violating the Espionage Act based on WikiLeaks publications exposing war crimes committed by the U.S. Government.”

Assange was arrested last year after being evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had sought refuge to avoid being sent to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault, and is at the center of an extradition tussle over whether he should be sent to the United States.

The Justice Department has already charged him with conspiring with former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history by working together to crack a password to a government computer.

Prosecutors say the WikiLeaks founder damaged national security by publishing hundreds of thousands of classified documents, including diplomatic cables and military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that harmed the U.S. and its allies and aided its adversaries.

Assange maintains he was acting as a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection. His lawyers have argued the U.S. charges of espionage and computer misuse were politically motivated and an abuse of power.

Assange generated substantial attention during the 2016 presidential election, and in investigations that followed, after WikiLeaks published stolen Democratic emails that U.S. authorities say were hacked by Russian military intelligence officials. An investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller revealed how Trump campaign associates eagerly anticipated the email disclosures. One Trump ally, Roger Stone, was found guilty last year of lying about his efforts to gain inside information about the emails. Assange, however, was never charged in Mueller’s Russia investigation.

The allegations in the new indictment center on conferences, in locations including the Netherlands and Malaysia in 2009, at which prosecutors say he and a WikiLeaks associate sought to recruit hackers who could locate classified information, including material on a “Most Wanted Leaks” list posted on WikiLeaks’ website.

According to the new indictment, he told would-be recruits that unless they were a member of the U.S. military, they faced no legal liability for stealing classified information and giving it to WikiLeaks “because ‘TOP SECRET’ meant nothing as a matter of law.”

At one conference in Malaysia, called the “Hack in the Box Security Conference,” Assange told the audience, “I was a famous teenage hacker in Australia, and I’ve been reading generals’ emails since I was 17.”

June 29, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Assange faces new indictment in US

June 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, politics international | Leave a comment

Julian Assange’s fiancé calls on the Australian government to secure his freedom

June 23, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, legal, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Desmond Menz – Constitutional problems in Nuclear Waste Bill – could lead to High Court case?

why ultimately was South Australia the only state to contain the final three sites?

A tiny community poll seems to have informed the final decision, and contradicts the Minister’s stated position of “broad community support”. Just 0.037% of the voting public in SA have had a say.

why did South Australia become the only state to be chosen for the nuclear waste site, knowing that a Citizens Jury in 2016 had rejected a major nuclear waste storage industry in South Australia following the outcomes of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission? The Citizens Jury was substantially more representative of the views of the people of SA, in comparison with the very small poll of the eligible residents of the District Council of Kimba..

former Minister Canavan’s snap decision? The decision on site selection was announced on Saturday morning 1 February 2020, and by the afternoon Senator Canavan had resigned

Desmond Menz  SUBMISSION TO ECONOMICS LEGISLATION COMMITTEE OF THE
AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT ON THE National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020  Submission 13   

In September 2019 ….I raised critical concerns about the validity of the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 (NRWM Act) in relation to the Australian Constitution, and also the lawfulness of the process about site selection. I also raised concerns about breaches of South Australian law. It seems that my concerns were either ignored or dismissed. I again raise these critical matters for the attention of the Economics Legislation Committee. If they are not responded to, then it would not be too much a stretch of the imagination to have them resolved in a higher court of law, quite possibly the High Court of Australia. In my view, the Economics Legislation Committee should not make any decision on the Amendment Bill until all issues I have countenanced have been resolved.

Main Concerns
1.It is contended that inconsistency between the federal National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 (NRWM Act) and the South Australian Nuclear Waste Storage (Prohibition) Act 2000 (NWSP Act) (and other similar state/territory laws), has been manufactured by the Australian Parliament. This is a serious issue, and one that not even the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills has acknowledged. It is incomprehensible why this matter was not addressed way back in 2010 during the establishment of the NRWM Act.

It is also contended that there are Constitutional matters that need to be resolved to affirm the safety of the federal law, including the Amendment Bill, because at the moment there are sufficient concerns relating to inconsistency between federal and state laws to inhibit the lawful and constitutional passage of the Amendment Bill.   [here he gives an example from a previous High Court case]……… Continue reading

June 11, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, legal, politics | Leave a comment