WikiLeaks Founder Assange Begins Major Legal Fight Against Extradition to U.S.

Julian Assange Trial

Julian Assange’s attorneys on Tuesday began a major legal challenge in the United Kingdom to stop the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the United States on espionage charges. 

Assange, who has been in a maximum security prison in London for the past five years, was unable to attend the first day of a two-day High Court hearing due to his health, his attorney, Edward Fitzgerald, said, according to The Associated Press. 

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Bipartisan House Lawmakers Demand Biden Drop Julian Assange Case

Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., and James McGovern, D-Mass., are leading a House of Representatives letter demanding President Joe Biden to stop prosecuting Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is fighting extradition to the U.S.

The two congressmen asked fellow House lawmakers to join their bipartisan attempt to “strongly encourage the Biden administration to withdraw the U.S. extradition request currently pending against Australian publisher Julian Assange and halt all prosecutorial proceedings against him as soon as possible,” according to a “Dear Colleague” letter, Fox News Digital reported Monday.

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U.S. Wins Appeal in Case to Extradite Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange

The U.S. won an appeal in its case to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from the United Kingdom.

The U.K.’s High Court ruled Friday that Assange could be returned to the U.S. where he will face multiple charges related to espionage and hacking, reversing a lower court’s decision blocking his extradition.

Assange’s fiancee Stella Morris said she plans to appeal the decision as soon as possible, calling the decision a “grave miscarriage of justice,” CNBC reported.

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During Obama-Era CIA, Unit Specializing in Hacking Failed to Protect Itself from Secrets Being Leaked

A specialized CIA unit that developed sophisticated hacking tools and cyber weapons didn’t do enough to protect its own operations and wasn’t prepared to adequately respond when the secrets were stolen, according to an internal report prepared after the worst data loss in the intelligence agency’s history.

“These shortcomings were emblematic of a culture that evolved over years that too often prioritized creativity and collaboration at the expense of security,” according to the report, which raises questions about cybersecurity practices inside U.S. intelligence agencies.

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FBI Informant Stefan Halpert Bragged About Connections to Russian Spies to Papadopoulos Spies in Secret Recordings

by Chuck Ross   It wasn’t long into his conversation with George Papadopoulos at a prestigious social club in London weeks before the 2016 election that FBI confidential informant Stefan Halper mentioned his links to several retired Russian spies. “I have a lot of friends in Russia,” Halper told Papadopoulos during their conversation, which occurred over drinks, and which the FBI recorded. “My point is that,” Halper said, “the Russians can be very helpful to us at this time and we’ve got some great information coming out.” Halper, a former Cambridge professor, rattled off the names of the Russians, Vyacheslav Trubnikov, Leonid Shebarshin, and Yuri Traughtoff, according to a transcript of the secretly recorded conversation released on Thursday. Halper was not bluffing about his friendship with at least one of the ex-Russian spies. He has collaborated with Trubnikov, the former head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the SVR. Halper hosted Trubnikov at two intelligence seminars at Cambridge in 2012 and 2015, and interviewed the former Kremlin insider for a 2015 study on China-Russia relations he did for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA). Halper’s goal in bringing up his Kremlin links was to get Papadopoulos to reveal whether he or the Trump campaign were working…

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Commentary: A Deep Dive into the Monstrous Lie Behind CrowdStrike and the ‘Russian Hack’

Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 presidential election was predicated largely on the claim Russian intelligence had hacked the Democratic National Committee’s servers ahead of the November election. Russia’s guilt is such an article of faith among our political class that a Republican-controlled Congress imposed sanctions on Russia and President Trump signed on, substantially worsening relations with an important and potentially dangerous nation. 

Since those sanctions were imposed, Mueller’s team confirmed the Russian espionage they were meant to punish. Since its publication last year, the Washington establishment has treated the Mueller report almost as a sacred document.

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Commentary: Wikileaks or the Washington Post?

by Julie Kelly   The imbroglio du jour of the political class is the question of whether Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder arrested last week in London, is a hero or a villain. Is he a journalist entitled to special treatment or a criminal deserving punishment? And if pursuing then publishing classified materials is a federal offense, what kind of consequences should American journalists face for reporting classified information? Especially when the illicit information is intended not to warn the public of a legitimate threat posed by their government but for partisan political purposes—specifically, to advance the bogus Trump-Russia collusion hoax? Assange has been charged in a federal district court in Virginia with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for allegedly working with former U.S. Army security analyst Chelsea Manning to access and post a massive trove of stolen classified documents. “The primary purpose of the conspiracy was to facilitate Manning’s acquisition and transmission of classified information,” the indictment read. “Assange was knowingly receiving such classified records from Manning for the purpose of publicly disclosing them on the WikiLeaks website.” Some of Assange’s detractors insist his alleged attempt to steal classified information, and not the act of posting the illicit documents,…

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US Charges WikiLeaks Founder Assange After London Arrest

The U.S. on Thursday charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a computer hacking conspiracy linked to the release of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. documents, just hours after British police dramatically arrested him at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he had been holed up for nearly seven years. The indictment of Assange stems from one of the largest breaches of classified information in U.S. history, the 2010 WikiLeaks release of a vast cache of U.S. military records from its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, assessments of suspected terrorists held by the U.S. at its prison in Guantanamo, Cuba, and 250,000 State Department cables. The U.S. accused Assange of conspiring with former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, then known as Bradley Manning before declaring herself a woman, to crack a password stored on U.S. Defense Department computers to hack into a government network of classified documents and communications known as the Secret Internet Protocol Network. Cracking the password, the government said, allowed Manning to log on to computers under a username that did not belong to her, initially making it more difficult for authorities to determine the source of the illegal disclosures. The government said that Assange and…

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Former Army Intelligence Analyst Chelsea Manning Ordered to Jail

Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning has been sent to jail for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating Wikileaks. U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ordered Manning to jail for contempt of court on Friday after a brief hearing in which Manning confirmed she has no intention of testifying. She told the judge she “will accept whatever you bring upon me.” Manning has said she objects to the secrecy of the grand jury process, and that she already revealed everything she knows at her court-martial. The judge said she will remain jailed until she testifies or until the grand jury concludes its work. Manning’s lawyers had asked that she be sent to home confinement instead of the jail, because of medical complications she faces. The judge said U.S. marshals can handle her medical care. Prosecutor Tracy McCormick said the jail and the marshals have assured the government that her medical needs can be met. Manning anticipated being jailed. In a statement before Friday’s hearing, she said she invoked her First, Fourth and Sixth amendment protections when she appeared before the grand jury in Alexandria on Wednesday. She said she already answered every substantive question during her 2013 court-martial and…

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Wikileaks Source Manning Fights Subpoena

Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. military officer jailed for a massive leak of U.S. secrets to WikiLeaks, has been ordered to appear before a grand jury, her attorney said Friday. Moira Meltzer-Cohen said she had not been told what the grand jury was investigating, but U.S. media have speculated that it might involve the criminal case against WikiLeaks being developed by federal prosecutors in Virginia. Meltzer-Cohen said Manning had filed a motion to challenge the subpoena, which was immediately put under seal in the case. “I object strenuously to this subpoena, and to the grand jury process in general,” Manning, 31, said in a statement. Grand juries, used only in the U.S. and Liberia, are groups of citizens operating separately from courts who investigate whether to bring criminal charges. They can compel witnesses and suspects to testify. “We’ve seen this power abused countless times to target political speech,” added Manning.”I have nothing to contribute to this case and I resent being forced to endanger myself by participating in this predatory practice.” Manning, a former army intelligence analyst, was jailed for 35 years in 2013 for giving WikiLeaks more than 700,000 classified documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.…

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Michael Cohen Pours Cold Water on Collusion in Congressional Testimony, But Makes Bombshell Wikileaks Claim

by Chuck Ross   Michael Cohen will make several bombshell allegations about President Trump during his testimony on Capitol Hill Wednesday, including that he overheard political operative Roger Stone tell Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign that he had spoken to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about the release of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee. While Cohen will offer scathing testimony against his former boss, he also claims he has no “direct evidence” that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government. Cohen will also testify that, contrary to recent BuzzFeed News report, Trump did not directly instruct him to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen, who will begin a three-year prison sentence on May 6, will also provide numerous anecdotes from his decade of working for Trump which he says shows the former real estate mogul to be “a racist…a conman…a cheat.” Cohen’s 20-page opening statement was released Tuesday night ahead of his testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Cohen testified earlier on Tuesday in a closed hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Cohen’s claims about Roger Stone are perhaps the biggest bombshell contained in the opening…

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House GOP Campaign Committee Was Hacked During 2018 Election

by Luke Rosiak   The National Republican Congressional Committee was hacked during the 2018 election after hiring CrowdStrike, the cyber-firm that the Democratic National Committee employed that allowed DNC emails to be stolen even after the 2016 hack was detected. The emails of four top NRCC officials were stolen in a major hack that was detected in April — eight months ago, Politico reported Tuesday. The NRCC did not tell Republican leaders or the public that it had been hacked, though it did notify the FBI. The NRCC would not say what information was compromised. “We don’t want to get into details about what was taken because it’s an ongoing investigation,” a senior party official told Politico. “Let’s say they had access to four active accounts. I think you can draw from that.” Politico reported that a different vendor, not CrowdStrike, finally detected the hack: The hack was first detected by an MSSP, a managed security services provider that monitors the NRCC’s network. The MSSP informed NRCC officials and they, in turn, alerted Crowdstrike, a well-known cybersecurity firm that had already been retained by the NRCC. The NRCC paid Crowdstrike at least $120,000 in 2017, according to campaign finance records. CrowdStrike was responding to…

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Criminal Complaint Filed Against Robert Mueller for Allegedly Asking for ‘False Testimony’

by Chuck Ross   Conservative author Jerome Corsi filed a criminal and ethics complaint against special counsel Robert Mueller on Monday, accusing prosecutors of trying to force him into giving “false testimony” against President Donald Trump and GOP operative Roger Stone. “Dr. Corsi has been threatened with immediate indictment by Mueller’s prosecutorial staff unless he testifies falsely against Roger Stone and/or President Donald Trump and his presidential campaign, among other false testimony,” Corsi’s lawyers, Larry Klayman and David Gray, asserted in a complaint submitted to Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and others in the Justice Department. Corsi, a former InfoWars correspondent, revealed in late November that Mueller’s team offered him a plea deal that would have required him to admit to making false statements regarding his communications with Stone. Corsi says he rejected the plea offer because he did not believe he had willfully lied to prosecutors. At the center of the plea offer are three emails Corsi and Stone exchanged in late July and early August 2016. “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging,” Corsi wrote in an Aug. 2, 2016 email to Stone, referring to…

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NPR Falsely Accuses Don Jr of Lying in Senate Testimony

by Chuck Ross   NPR published a report Friday asserting that Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony to the Senate about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow were inconsistent with Michael Cohen’s claims about the same project in his plea deal Thursday. A transcript from Trump Jr.’s Sept. 7, 2017 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee shows that he claimed the Trump Organization ceased pursuing a deal to build Trump Tower in Moscow by the end of 2014, NPR reported. The news organization quoted Trump Jr. as saying that the project “faded away” by “the end of ’14.” “But not in 2015 or 2016?” Trump Jr. was asked. “Certainly not ’16,” the president’s son replied. “There was never a definitive end to it. It just died of deal fatigue.” NPR asserted that the testimony would pose a problem for Trump Jr. since attorney Cohen said in his plea agreement with the special counsel’s office that he continued negotiating the building through June 2016. He also said he briefed President Donald Trump and his children that year before the deal fell through. NPR issued a lengthy editor’s note to the article five hours after publication but did not retract the piece. As…

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Trump Responds to Mueller About Two Key Collusion Allegations

by Chuck Ross   President Donald Trump reportedly told special counsel Robert Mueller in writing earlier in November that he did not know about his son’s infamous June 2016 meeting with Russians before it occurred and that he was not informed by his longtime confidant, Roger Stone, that WikiLeaks planned to release information damaging to the Clinton campaign, according to CNN. Trump submitted the answers Nov. 20, after months of tense negotiations with Mueller’s team over the scope of the questions. Trump’s lawyers fought to exclude questions about possible obstruction of justice over the firing of James Comey as FBI director. They also opposed a sit-down interview with prosecutors, vying instead for responses provided in writing. The two sources familiar with the matter did not give CNN any direct quotes. The Trump Tower meeting and WikiLeaks email dumps have been a central focus of Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. Donald Trump Jr. met with a group of Russians on June 9, 2016, after an associate contacted him offering information on Hillary Clinton. “If it is what you say I love it,” Trump Jr. responded to the associate, a music publicist who worked for Emin Agalarov, the son of Russian…

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US Government Reportedly Preparing Charges Against Julian Assange

by Chuck Ross   The Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, The Wall Street Journal is reporting. Prosecutors believe they will be able to try Assange in an American courtroom, sources told TheWSJ. The 47-year-old Australian national is living under asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. The Trump DOJ has considered charging Assange with crimes related to Wikileaks’ disclosures of classified cables stolen by ex-Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning. Assange could also face charges related to the release of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Wikileaks published the pilfered documents before the 2016 presidential election. Special counsel Robert Mueller charged 12 Russian intelligence agents with hacking the documents and releasing them through Wikileaks. Assange has refused to disclose his source for the stolen emails, but has denied receiving them from Russians. Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy since 2012, but relations between the two sides have reportedly soured following the election of Lenin Moreno as president of the South American nation. Moreno has referred to Assange as a “hacker” and an “inherited problem.” It is unclear from TheWSJ report whether charges will be prepared for any American nationals.…

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