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If you ever wondered why you should support Bradley Manning, or why Wikileaks exists, or why Darker Net publishes what it does, or why there are so many wars in this world of ours – this documentary provides some of the answers. It’s all here: George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Bradley Manning, Noam Chomsky, Marshall McLuhan, Wikileaks…
In brief, the documentary connects the messages of Huxley´s Brave New World with the politics of modern US-warfare. It stresses the role of information overload through technical devices and the similarity between real war (“Collateral Murder”) and video games like “Call of Duty”. To blur the offline with the online reality is a precondition for rationalising a war on terror in Western democracies. The documentary includes interviews or quotes or references to the people quoted above and many more. This is a must see (and should be added to every school curricular). Note: thanks to Birgitta Jonsdottir for recommending this video.
Do not despair… while the above documentary paints a bleak picture, below is another that provides hope.
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Darker Net can confirm that officers specialising in infiltration and undercover operations and who liaise with armed units, may already be amongst those policing the Ecuador Embassy in London. A press photographer captured notes (see photo) held by a uniformed police officer on duty outside the embassy, revealing that SS10, otherwise known as Specialist Crime Directorate 10 and formerly SO10, are being deployed. The notes ominously refer to possible “risk of life”. The role of SS10 is Intelligence-gathering. SS10 were involved in the events that led to the murder of Brazilian national, Jean de Menezes, in south London and who had been wrongly identified as a terrorist. SS10 are also the branch that employed Mark Kennedy (aka Stone) who infiltrated several protest groups and who is now working for Densus, a private surveillance company in the USA. Below, we present some more background on these two infamous SS10-led operations.
First… The notes carried by the police officer outside the embassy said that Julian Assange should be taken even if he emerges in a vehicle, under diplomatic immunity or in a diplomatic bag, which may involve “risk to life”. They add that there had been speculation that Mr. Assange could be smuggled out of the building in a parcel or given a post in the United Nations by Ecuador in an attempt to evade arrest. The operational guidance, marked “restricted”, also warned of the “possibility of distraction”, suggesting that Scotland Yard feared Mr Assange’s supporters could try to create a commotion outside the embassy, providing cover under which he could flee. Further details of the notes, which were obscured by the officer holding them, appeared to relate to the “everyday business” of the embassy and the possible need for “additional support” from SS10. Scotland Yard later said it did not know what this referred to. It’s interesting to note, too, S020, the Met’s counter-terrorism protective security command, is written near the bottom right-hand corner of the document.
1. The killing of Jean Charles de Menezes
In 2005, police from SO10, now SS10, were involved in the surveillance operation of Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian national, that led directly to his murder at Stockwell Underground station by officers of SO19, the Armed response Unit. It was a case of mistaken identity. Two officers from SO19 fired a total of eleven shots, according to the number of empty shell casings found on the floor of the train afterwards. Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder at close range, and died at the scene. An eyewitness later said that the eleven shots were fired over a thirty second period, at three second intervals. It is believed that at least one member of the elite Special Reconnaissance Regiment was present at the shooting. Note: in the resulting inquiry into the murder, Gareth Peirce, who is the lawyer acting for Julian Assange, was one of two lawyers representing the Menezes family. For more, see here.
2. Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy worked for SO10 (now SS10) and was involved in several undercover ops, the most celebrated of which involved environmental activists who were opposed to coal-fired power stations. The activists had stopped a train conveying coal to the Drax power station in 2008. Kennedy had infiltrated the group and assisted them with reconnaissance and also drove them to a rendezvous. For more on what happened, see here. See here too for what happened eventually to the activists and how Kennedy and his operations were discredited. Note: Kennedy/Stone is now working for Densus in the USA, which is a surveillance company that spies on Occupy protesters and other protests groups.
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Researchers – Barrett Brown, Asher Wolf, Justin Ferguson as well as investigators from Darker Net – have been contemporaneously looking into the links between TrapWire, Abraxas, Ntrepid, Cubic Corporation and (more recently) Tartan from different directions, but have come to more or less the same conclusion: that not all these links are about financial ownership, though there is a perceivable web that connects these companies via personal contacts at senior level and an implied sharing of knowledge and expertise. Below is a summary of what is known to date about the linkages that Darker Net has found, as well as two scenarios on how knowledge-sharing between these organisations might work in practice (or otherwise).
2. TrapWire (which runs global surveillance systems using CCTV linked to its database, TrapWire Net) was previously owned by Abraxas Applications (which in turn was owned by Abraxas Corporation but sold off when Cubic Corporation merged with Abraxas)
3. Ntrepid (which runs ‘sock puppet’ fake Twitter accounts to spread disinformation) was assigned to the shareholders of Abraxas Corporation as part of the merger between Cubic Corporation and Abraxas
4. Some of the expertise relating to Anonymizer (a so-called anonymous email system) was migrated to Ntrepid as part of the deal in 2010 when Cubic Corporation took over Abraxas Corporation, though many of the staff working on Anonymizer stayed on with Abraxas
5. Tartan (which specialises in targeting protesters, including Occupy and anarchists) is a subsidiary of Ntrepid
6. Stratfor entered a partner agreement in 2009 with Abraxas Applications (which at the time owned Trapwire) to contribute to TrapWire
7. Cubic Corporation and TrapWire share their senior board directors and officers with Abraxas Dauntless (also owned by Cubic Corporation). The person who appears to link all these companies together is ex-CIA executive, Richard Hollis Helms: here is a Tartan-style mapping of his network.
1. Some of the staff who were involved with Anonymizer prior to the merger between Cubic Corporation and Abraxas Corporation moved to Ntrepid: are they working there on the same Anonymizer, too, or were their skills applied to develop the Tartan programme?
2. A 2010 Tax Return by Cubic Corporation showed that they wholly owned Ntrepid. However it is not clear if that is still the case today, or whether ownership is more obtuse – i.e. via Cubic Corporation shareholders.
3. The functions of Abraxas Dauntless are unclear.
C. Scenario One
Given the personnel links between the companies listed above it is not inconceivable that there is a sharing of knowledge and expertise. Moreover, there may well be informal data sharing between the companies. There have been no denials from any of these companies that this is not true. On this basis, we present the following scenarios:
A group of four political protesters in Oakland, California, are preparing for a demonstration. One of them – call him Bill – reports to the FBI via private surveillance company, Densus. Bill is keen to implicate the rest of the group in an action that could get them arrested: he provides equipment and other materials and keeps his contacts in the FBI in the loop. Individuals in the group have been using Facebook and Twitter and other social networking channels to communicate with each other about the demonstration but are unaware of Bill’s plans. Their postings and messages are captured and fed into a database run by Tartan, which then passes on what has been analysed to TrapWire. Each individual is identified by Tartan as a ‘node’ who forms part of this particular group, which in turn, via individuals within that group, are connected to other groups in Oakland and to groups elsewhere. Two of the individuals with the Oakland group still use a nyms email from Anonymiser and their messages are also captured, then passed on to the Trapwire Net database. CCTV cameras are monitoring their movements and, again, this footage is fed into the TrapWire database, which uses facial recognition technology to confirm who they are. Their transportation movement on the Oakland transit system is also recorded via their Cubic owned smart cards. All this information is then compiled and analysed further before being passed on to the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative, the National Clandestine Service, local Fusion Centre and the FBI (which then updates their mole, Bill, in the Oakland group). On the way to the demonstration, the four individuals (including the FBI agent provocateur) are stopped and in the boot of the vehicle they are travelling in is found incriminating evidence: the four are arrested and charged with conspiracy (though the FBI agent is later released and he disappears into a new identity).
D. Scenario Two
In the same city, another four protesters are getting ready to join the demonstration. One of them is new to the group, but has been ‘vetted’ by the others and they are satisfied he can be trusted. Each member has either refrained from referring to their political interests on Twitter or Facebook or has a dummy account for this purpose. When using computers they use Tor and a VPN to disguise who they are. They do not use phones to communicate their political interests either. On the day of the demonstration they travel to it by taxi, which they have booked via a phone booth. They pay for the taxi ride by cash. On arrival at the demonstration they don masks. They take part in the demonstration but avoid arrest. They return home the same way they came. They were further helped in their avoidance of arrest by the downing of CCTV cameras, hacked by the local Anonymous group.
Note: the above two scenarios could apply to any city in the world where TrapWire and/or Cubic and/or Tartan, or their respective equivalents, and Government surveillance agencies with similar technologies, are in place – New York, London, Sydney, Moscow, etc…
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Breaking….Trapwire Net now operational again after being down 48 hours. British Min. of Justice and Home Office and DWP sites have been under DDoS attack.
Late, last Wednesday evening, the Metropolitan police surrounded the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. This followed the publication by the Ecuadorian Government of the aide memoir from William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, on how the diplomatic status of its London embassy could be revoked. Observers assumed that the arrival of the police must be the presage to a raid. For those watching the unfolding events, in the end it all turned out to be an anti-climax. Though the outcome could have turned out very differently had it had not been for the interventions of certain cyber warriors – in the UK, Australia and elsewhere – whose quick-wittedness may have ensured that a major international incident was averted. Below is the inside story of ‘the raid that almost was’.
Note: all times quoted are GMT.
22.34 A group of Wikileaks supporters gather outside the embassy
22.44 Jennifer Robinson, Julian Assange’s Australian lawyer, is tweeted
23.01 Jennifer Robinson tweets the URL of the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act
23.02 Tweet sent out by Occupy that police now surround embassy
23.15 Tweet sent with URL of Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act to supporters and Wikileaks orgs.
23.18 Tweet sent for someone to contact Gareth Peirce, Assange’s UK lawyer
23.24 Livestream video from supporter outside embassy shows police, accompanied by man in suit with briefcase, entering building via front entrance
23.25 Tweet sent to Julian Burnside, Assange’s Australian lawyer, advising that police look like entering premises
23.38 Police attempt to enter premises via the fire escape at the side of the building
23.39 Tweet sent to Jennifer Robinson advising her of latest developments
23.58 Jennifer Robinson tweets URL of CPS document covering diplomatic immunity and diplomatic premises
00.00 Police seen entering building via fire escape at side of building
00.15 Police outside and inside building
00.24 Burnside, Robinson and others updated
00.30 Police abandon attempt to enter embassy and regroup outside of premises
01.18 Jennifer Robinson tweets that to her knowledge the status of the embassy has not been withdrawn
01.33 AntiLeaks claim DDoS on livestream (no longer active)
01.45 Wikileaks announces via Facebook the release of new batch of Global Intelligence Files
01.52 Jennifer Robinson tweets Ecuador has called emergency summit of OAS
00.54 Police return to vans
00.57 Australian Wikileaks Citizens Alliance tweets that Christine Assange’s Twitter account blocked
01.02 Police leave area in vans, leaving only a handful of police outside embassy
01.25 Livestream back in action
When 20 or so police, backed by others in vans nearby, attempt to enter a building from two directions, they are clearly not there to protect that building or perform street theatre. It began as a raid, but then aborted. No doubt behind the scenes officials from the embassy and lawyers acting for Assange were making it clear to the police and Government officials that the premises were inviolate. But had the police succeeded in penetrating the embassy, the ramifications would have been huge, affecting the status of every embassy of every country around the world. As for the part played by the citizen journalists that evening, while this was no Tahir Square, the tactics were not that dissimilar and in shining a cyber spotlight on what the police were attempting to do they made certain the rest of the world were directly involved at every move.
Postscript… Later that day, an embarrassed British Government released a statement denying it had attempted to raid the embassy or that it ever intends to. Also, it became obvious that Hague’s memo to the Ecuadorian Government had not been supported by his own civil servants or, apparently, sanctioned by the Prime Minister. The following day the Organisation of American States carried a motion supporting Ecuador in its stance against the British Government. On Sunday, prior to a statement by Julian Assange from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, Snr. Baltasar Garzon, the former Spanish judge who is leading Assange’s legal team, stated that he will be taking steps to prosecute the British Government (no further details were added).
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We provide in full a classified DFAT (Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade) document, referred to recently by the Fairfax Press, that provides incontrovertible evidence that the Gillard Government has been lying about its knowledge of US intentions to prosecute Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Below, we refer to significant pages of this, now declassified but heavily redacted document, which is worth reading in full.
“US officials have announced publicly that an investigation into Wikileaks has been underway.” (2 May, 2012)
“On 29 November 20I0 the US Attorney-General, Holder, said that there was an active ongoing criminal investigation with regard to this matter [the Wikileaks affair].”
Dated 1 February, 2012, ‘Restricted’. “The US investigation into possible criminal conduct by Mr Assange has been ongoing for more than a year. There has been much public speculation on charges that could be brought and the legal obstacles to a successful prosecution…This cable provides an update on the status of the US legal investigation into possible criminal charges against Mr Julian Assange. It includes a summary of possible charges, based on comments by legal experts and media reports as well as on subpoenas reportedly served in connection with the grand jury overseeing the investigation.”
Discussion on the charges that could be levied against Assange by the USA. The cables identify “a wide range of criminal charges the US could bring against Assange, including espionage, conspiracy, unlawful access to classified information and computer fraud.” They indicate “Australian diplomats expect that any charges against Assange would be carefully drawn in an effort to avoid conflict with the First Amendment free speech provisions of the US constitution.” (1 February, 2012).
The document also shows that Australia’s ambassador to the US, Kim Beazley, asked the USA for advance warning of any move to extradite Mr Assange, that Australia has no objection to a potential extradition to the US, and that the Gillard Government has confirmed its Washington embassy is preparing for the possibility of Mr Assange’s extradition.
Note: here is another DFAT Document 11/33016 to download that includes interesting comments about Bradley Manning.
Re. recent events…
Those people who think that the decision by the Ecuadorean Govt to grant asylum to Assange means that it’s now virtually over are seriously deluding themselves. As previously stated, there is only one way that Assange can leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London without being arrested. The Ecuadorean Government will need to appoint him as Hon Consul for a country other than the UK or a country with an extradition agreement with the US, or as their UN ambassador (none of which requires British Govt approval) and to issue him with a diplomatic passport. Though none of that would need to happen if the British Home Secretary, Theresa May, gives a guarantee there would be no onward-extradition from Sweden (she has the power to do that but has to date refused). Indeed, Assange has recently re-stated his willingness to return to Sweden if this was to happen. See also video above with latest comments by Daniel Ellsberg.
Meanwhile, an interesting (or controversial, depending on your point of view) analysis by Naomi Wolf on the processes in connection with the allegations made against Assange in Sweden has been published. And in the USA, members of US Congress have indicated they are considering prosecuting the New York Times for exposing Obama’s infamous ‘Kill List’. This is discussed in an article published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which concludes “If the mainstream media leaves Wikileaks to hang, their own necks are at risk too”.
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Cubic Corporation denies via a press release (and a comment posted on the Darker Net site) that it owns TrapWire, but there is another layer to this that exposes how this denial does not completely add up – details below. Also, Cubic, which runs your transportation smart card – and it has just put in a new bid for the Melbourne Myki card contract – has its darker side and we provide four examples. First, about that denial…
A. Cubic Corporation and TrapWire: a case of musical chairs?
When Cubic Corporation acquired Abraxas Corporation, there were some interesting changes made – see Merger document here. The document refers to Ntrepid, which was assigned to the shareholders of Abraxas Corporation as part of the merger. And then there is Abraxas Dauntless, which was acquired by Cubic, also as part of the merger (in that it is a subsidiary of Abraxas Corporation). Basically the document outlines how Cubic Corporation was keen to distance itself from some of these companies. However, if one looks at the senior staff at Abraxas Dauntless, Ntrepid and Trapwire (now run by Abraxas Applications) an interesting picture emerges.
Annual reports filed only six months back showed that the directors for these three companies are as follows:
Abraxas Dauntless’: Michael Martinka (President), Margaret A. Lee (Secretary), Richard H. Helms (Chief Executive Officer) and Wesley Husted (Chief Financial Officer).
Ntrepid: Richard H. Helms (Director), Wesley R Husted (CFO), Margaret A. Lee (Secretary), Michael Martinka (President).
Trapwire Inc: Jack Reis (President), R. Daniel Botsch (Vice President), Margaret A. Lee (Secretary), Wesley R. Husted (Chief Financial Officer) and Richard H. Helms (Chief Executive Officer).
The lesson: ownership can also be about knowledge-sharing and collaboration and that is what is obvious here, whatever sleight of hand took place at the time of acquisition.
Note 1: All stories about Cubic Corporation and/or TrapWire have been removed from Australian newspapers. Is this an example of jumping before you’re pushed, lazy journalism (corporate connections are not only about acquisitions) or Government putting the frighteners on the newspaper proprietors who like their counterparts in the USA of late, can be a timid lot when it comes to criticising Government.
Note 2: It is rumoured that activists are intending to turn the tables on Cubic Corporation and register for millions of Anonymizer nyms (emails) to block the nyms system up – the equivalent of a DDoS.
B. The darker side of Cubic.
Here are four examples of military systems developed by Cubic Corporation, with some going back as far as 2004. (There are more examples – too many to list here).
1. Recently DARPA (part of the Pentagon) awarded Cubic Corporation $6 million to develop a “laser-emitting targeting computer” for American military snipers. It’s called ‘One Shot XG’ (see photo above) “that will allow the sniper to make kill shots “under crosswind conditions, at the maximum effective range of current and future weapons.”
2. In 2004, Cubic Corporation were granted a $6.5 million subcontract from General Dynamics Amphibious Systems to develop and produce a Driver Simulator and a Turret Simulator for the Marine Corps new Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV).
3. Cubic Corporation were also awarded another $6 million contract from Raytheon/Lockheed Martin Javelin Joint Venture to produce tactical trainers for RLM’s shoulder launched, “fire-and-forget” anti-tank missile.
4. Cubic are also building the Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (STARS), an air/ground data link system for the US military.
5. Two days ago Cubic Corporation put out a press release denying any link with TrapWire, which we now know is questionable (if we go by their directors listings). Well here’s another Cubic Corp press release (from May 2010):
ORLANDO, Florida – May 17, 2010 – Cubic’s Simulation Systems Division, a defense systems unit of Cubic Corporation (NYSE: CUB), has been awarded a contract valued at approximately $4.8 million to supply 27 of its COMBATREDI systems to the Florida Army National Guard, along with four 180-degree Warrior Skills Trainers (WST), a vehicle trainer that works with COMBATREDI. The award represents Cubic’s first sale of the new COMBATREDI system, which immerses users in a highly realistic 360-degree “virtual reality” environment. COMBATREDI is a new approach for Cubic, its first completely tetherless, user-worn virtual training system. It features a high-definition helmet-mounted OLED video display that delivers game-quality graphics with a 60-by-45-degree field of view, and an integrated 3D stereo headset for sound effects. Trainees are able to move through a 360-degree virtual environment, including entering buildings, as if it were real. The user carries a realistic wireless “surrogate” rifle that performs like a real one, requiring things like magazine changes and selecting the correct firing mode to operate correctly. Cubic introduced the new system to potential military users late last year. “Cubic is pleased that it hasn’t taken long for the groundbreaking characteristics of COMBATREDI to be recognized by the user community,” said Tony Padgett, Immersive Product Line Manager for Cubic Simulation Systems in Orlando. “COMBATREDI fully immerses trainees into the virtual environment. This is a whole new way to train the dismounted soldier.” Padgett said COMBATREDI allows individual soldiers to be trained almost anywhere, incorporating virtually limitless scenarios without the need for dedicated facilities. The WST system also being delivered to the Florida Army National Guard projects realistic high-fidelity scenes on large screens using the Virtual Battle Space 2 (VBS2) engine. This system is in use in multiple U.S. Army locations.
So, next time you use a transport system with your Cubic-managed smart card, whether in London, San Francisco, Sydney or Hong Kong, you may be inadvertently contributing to a war effort that uses Cubic Corporation developed military systems. Have a nice day.
Note: for more on One Shot XG, see http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/08/darpa-one-shot-xg-sniper-system-should.html
Stratfor, the private Intelligence-gathering company whose emails were hacked by Anonymous then published by Wikileaks, didn’t just comment on TrapWire via its emails: in August 2009 it joined with the TrapWire project via a partnership deal with Abraxas Applications. And here is the document to prove it. The deal explicitly states that Stratfor will supply intelligence directly into TrapWire on an ongoing basis. To see detailed analyses of Stratfor’s business relationship with TrapWire (and the consequent conflict of interest) click here and here.
So there you have it. Another piece in the jigsaw. This story gets bigger and bigger…
In Australia, Greens Senator, Scott Ludlam, tried to ask a question in the Senate about whether TrapWire was deployed in Australia. He was not allowed to (the Senate voted not to answer questions on this matter). Senator Ludlam’s office later issued a statement explaining that the Senator will be pursuing the matter via other channels of inquiry.
Also, a representative of Cubic Corporation has posted a comment on the Darker Net article, saying “SAN DIEGO, Calif. – August 13, 2012 – Cubic Corporation (NYSE: CUB) acquired Abraxas Corporation on December 20, 2010. Abraxas Corporation then and now has no affiliation with Abraxas Applications now known as TrapWire, Inc.”
Some background explanation is needed…
Today, TrapWire software is owned by TrapWire Inc., a Reston, VA company. But it wasn’t always. Abraxas Corporation created TrapWire under its subsidiary firm, Abraxas Applications Inc.. Abraxas Corporation trademarked the TrapWire software in a filing with the U.S. PTO in 2006. Abraxas Corporation is now owned by Cubic Corporation, which bought the firm in November 2010 for $124 million in cash. According to one report, Cubic acquired Abraxas Corporation after TrapWire was reorganised as a separate entity and that one of the terms of this acquisition was to “cause the corporate name of Abraxas Applications, Inc. to be changed to a name that does not include ‘Abraxas’ or any variation thereof.” Also, according to a March 2007 article in the Washington Business Journal “Abraxas Corp., a risk-mitigation technology company, has spun out a software business to focus on selling a new product. The spinoff – called Abraxas Applications – will sell TrapWire, which predicts attacks on critical infrastructure by analyzing security reports and video surveillance”. And the article continues: “Abraxas Corp. previously won contracts to test TrapWire…”
Further insight is provided by Public Intelligence (renowned for its accuracy): “A proprietary white paper produced by TrapWire, formerly called Abraxas Applications, describes the product as “a unique, predictive software system designed to detect patterns of pre-attack surveillance.” In an interview from 2005 with the Northern Virginia Technology Council, the CEO of Abraxas Corporation, Richard “Hollis” Helms, says the goal of TrapWire is to “collect information about people and vehicles that is more accurate than facial recognition, draw patterns, and do threat assessments of areas that may be under observation from terrorists… The new company [Abraxas Applications] also can tap into Abraxas’ [Corporation] work with defense and intelligence agencies and the connections of Abraxas founder and CEO Richard Hollis Helms, who owns both companies.”
So can Cubic Corporation legitimately claim not to own Abraxas Applications (which runs TrapWire)? Yes, if we go by purchase dates. Though it’s also common practice for a company when acquiring another to relinquish one part that might cause embarrassment so that on paper there is no longer any connection even though some of the personnel between those companies are swapped around. Also, we should not lose sight of the range of services Cubic Corporation does admit to – these are mostly defence systems and military training – as well as transport smart systems and even interests in credit card management. A bizarre mix that in itself should be of concern. Then there’s Ntrepid, a shadowy organisation that “provides national security and law enforcement customers with software, hardware, and managed services for cyber operations, analytics, linguistics, tagging and [online] tracking”. Ntrepid’s corporate registry lists Abraxas’ previous CEO and founder, Richard Helms, as a director and officer, along with Wesley Husted, the former CFO. Moreover, some of the top people at Anonymizer, who later moved to Abraxas, initially left Cubic to start another intelligence firm but are now listed as organisational leaders for Ntrepid. All very circular…
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Anonymizer, the company that brings you free anonymous email facilities, called nyms, as well as similar secure services used by activists all over the world, is owned by Ntrepid but some of it’s staff expertise moved to Abraxas Corporation (when purchased by Cubic Corporation). Abraxas used to own TrapWire, the global surveillance system. This could be lifted straight out of a political conspiracy movie – but it isn’t. Furthermore, Cubic Corporation runs transport smart cards around the world, including USA, Australia and London (Oyster card).
The above info has actually been available for some time, but it is only thanks to the information about Trapwire and Abraxas, hacked from Stratfor files by Anonymous and published by Wikileaks, that the full picture is starting to emerge.
Re. Anonymizer, this was acquired by Abraxas Corporation in 2008. Two years later, Cubic acquired Abraxas for $124 million in cash. Cubic internal communications explain that the RFI for Cubic’s ‘persona software’ was actually written for Anonymizer. Quote from Richard “Hollis” Helms (former CIA and then founder of Abraxas): “I am also pleased to announce that Lance Cottrell, the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Anonymizer, will become our Chief Scientist and continue to pursue his advocacy of privacy for people around the world. Bill Unrue, Anonymizer’s CEO, will assume the position of President of Anonymizer which will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Abraxas Corporation. Bill will continue to pursue Anonymizer’s goals to provide proprietary technologies and complementary capabilities that offer unique, multi-layered identity protection that enhances the traditional network perimeter defenses of consumers, corporations and government agencies.”
2. Transportation smart cards
In 2010 Cubic Corporation signed a $370 million contract with the NSW Government to provide Sydney’s electronic ticketing system for public transport. It was also awarded a $65 million contract to provide services to NSW’s CityRail. It also runs the Brisbane “go card” system. It operates in Australia as Cubic Transportation with offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. In 2008 it also opened a defence subsidiary based in Queensland, Cubic Defence Australia, run by Mark Horn.
Cubic designed, developed and installed the Oyster Card system for London’s Underground and buses.
In 1972, Cubic acquired the first Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) system for Chicago’s Illinois Central Gulf Railroad. By the late 1970s, Cubic had installed AFC systems for the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway Corporation and the Eastern Suburbs Railway in Sydney. Soon came the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system in San Francisco, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and the Pennsylvania Port Authority Transit Company AFC system.
Cubic Corporations offices:
WASHINGTON, D.C. Crystal Gateway One, Suite 1102 1235 Jefferson Davis Hwy. Arlington, VA 22202 703-415-1600 703-415-1608 Fax
ORLANDO, FL 12000 Research Parkway Suite 408 Orlando, FL 32826 407-273-5500 407-275-0200 Fax
SHALIMAR, FL 60 Second St., Suite 105 Shalimar, FL 32579 850-609-1600 850-609-0100 Fax
LONDON Derwent House Kendal Avenue Park Royal London W3 OXA UK
Cubic Corporation Board of Directors:
Walter J. Zable: Chairman; Walter C. Zable: Vice- Chairman; Robert D. Weaver: Director; Robert S. Sullivan: Director; Richard Atkinson: Director; Raymond E. Peet: Director; Robert T. Monagan: Director; Raymond L. DeKozan: Director; Gerald R. Dinkel: Vice-Presiden;t Mark A. Harrison: Vice-President; Daniel A. Jacobsen: Vice-President; Kenneth Kopf: Vice-President; Bernard A. Kulchin: Vice-President; John A. Minteer: Vice-President; John D. Thomas: Vice-President; Richard A. Johnson: Corporate Executive; William L. Hoese: Secretary; William W. Boyle: Chief Financial Officer.
Cubic Corporation IP addresses (via Anonymous):
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Next time you phone a company and get answered by someone in a call centre and they wish you a great day, they may well be someone earning less than 40 pence an hour. And be a prisoner – literally.
The British Ministry of Justice has announced that is is intending to award a contract to One3one for the setting up of call centres within prisons. The company already runs cheap labour schemes in 131 locations throughout Britain. Most of these schemes involve putting together furniture, or packaging, etc and prisoners are expected to work long hours and get around £3 a day. The company argues it’s all about rehabilitation, but not only are they making profits out of exploiting labour in this way, they are undermining the labour market as a whole.
One3one provides prisoner labour to companies requiring cheap labour. One of the biggest clients for prison labour is Amaryllis, whose CEO is David King, MBE. Details of King’s company holdings and subsidiaries, as well as other directors and company accounts, can be found here.
While in terms of profits and assets, One3one is not a big player, many of it’s clients on other One3one contracts are. These include DHL, Timpson, Summit Media, Boss Design, Dextra Lighting, LMB & Co, Williams Lea, CALPAC, LMB Textiles, Becoming Green, Polymer Recycling, and York Timber.
Here you can download a copy of One3one’s prospectus.
For more see:
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TrapWire is a secret global surveillance system, founded in 2004 and run by ex-CIA chiefs, with clients all over the world. It’s significance is that it is being used for all sorts of surveillance, including everyday protests. The existence of TrapWire was only made known a few days ago, thanks to documents published by Wikileaks (and hacking of Stratfor docs by Anonymous). It is now believed that the recent cyber attacks on the Wikileaks sites were in retaliation for the exposure of Trapwire, which is both a product and a company (previously a subsidiary of Abraxas Corporation). Here, Darker Net provides a) an introduction to the TrapWire technology, b) details of how that technology works and c) the people who run TrapWire AND Abraxas. Oh, and then there’s the mysterious green and blue badgers (!!!) – see below…
For hackers, here is the TrapWire operating console.
According to Richard Hollis Helms, ex-CIA and founder of Abraxas in 2001, TrapWire was designed to share threat information and establish patterns of data that could be used to predict attacks. “It can collect information about people and vehicles that is more accurate than facial recognition, draw patterns, and do threat assessments of areas that may be under observation from terrorists,” he said. “The application can do things like ‘type’ individuals so if people say ‘medium build,’ you know exactly what that means from that observer.”
A leaked email from Fred Burton, Stratfor’s vice president for intelligence, states that the TrapWire network is now covering most North American and British high-value targets (HVT.) “I knew these hacks when they were GS-12′s at the CIA. God Bless America. Now they have EVERY major HVT in CONUS, the UK, Canada, Vegas, Los Angeles, NYC as clients,” he wrote.
“….tell me that more than 50 percent of the National Clandestine Service (NCS) — the heart, brains and soul of the CIA – has been outsourced to private firms such as Abraxas , Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. “These firms recruit spies, create non-official cover identities and control the movements of CIA case officers. They also provide case officers and watch officers at crisis centers and regional desk officers who control clandestine operations worldwide. As the Los Angeles Times first reported, more than half the workforce in two key CIA stations in the fight against terrorism – Baghdad and Islamabad, Pakistan – is made up of industrial contractors, or ‘green badgers,’ in CIA parlance. “Intelligence insiders say that entire branches of the NCS have been outsourced to private industry. These branches are still managed by U.S. government employees (‘blue badgers’) who are accountable to the agency’s chain of command. But beneath them, insiders say, is a supervisory structure that’s controlled entirely by contractors; in some cases, green badgers are managing green badgers from other corporations.” R.J. Hillhouse, July 8, 2007, Washington Post.
TrapWire is also linked to the National Suspicious Activity Reporting (NSI) Initiative, a program designed to help aggregate reports of suspicious activity around the USA. One email from TrapWire states “TrapWire SAR reports are fed directly/automatically into the National SAR Initiative” as well as “the FBI’s eGuardian system if/when there’s confirmed nexus to terrorism or major crimes (which is happening frequently).” The email goes on “our networks in LA, Vegas and DC all support See Something Say Something (S4 as I call it).” Further, Over the past few years, several cities around the U.S. have implemented websites allowing the public to report suspicious activity, including Washington D.C., Houston and even the U.S. Army. These activities are part of a larger program called iWatch, which also feeds into TrapWire according to a leaked email.
B. The TrapWire technology
The prevention of terrorist attacks on critical infrastructure requires the ability to detect various discreet but identifiable indicators of pre-attack preparations. Only by uncovering such attack preparations can we take actions designed to deter or intercept a terrorist strike before it begins. While international terrorist organizations are using increasingly sophisticated methods, their modus operandi does contain a critical vulnerability: meticulous pre-attack preparations require the terrorists to approach a target facility on multiple occasions to identify physical and procedural vulnerabilities, probe for weaknesses and conduct practice missions. For example, the terrorists planning the Khobar Towers attack in Saudi Arabia reportedly surveilled the facility on 40 occasions. Terrorists will typically surveil multiple facilities prior to selecting an appropriately vulnerable target. Therefore, as the number of facilities on the Trap Wire network increases, so does the probability of detecting pre-attack preparations. Trap Wire is specifically designed to exploit this vulnerability by combining deep counterterrorism experience, proven counter-surveillance techniques, unique sensor systems, and data mining capabilities to detect attack preparations and allow security personnel to deter or intercept terrorist operations.
TrapWire dramatically increases the ability to detect pre-attack preparations and to take appropriate action to detect, deter and intercept terrorist attacks. A visual monitor of the entire system-a map with dynamic status indicators for each entity connected to the Trap Wire network- facilitates the ability of decision makers to absorb vast quantities of information quickly and efficiently. The dynamic status indicators show the threat level at each facility and highlight those that have moved to a higher threat level over the preceding 24 hours. Security officials can thus focus on the highest priorities first, taking a proactive and collaborative approach to defense against attacks. The information collected by Trap Wire can also be shared with law enforcement agencies to assist in their counterterrorism efforts.
The basic premise behind the TrapWire system is as follows: Through the systematic reporting of suspicious events and the correlation of those events with other event reports for that facility and for related facilities across the network, terrorist surveillance operations can be identified, appropriate countermeasures can be employed to deter attacks, and steps can be taken to apprehend the perpetrators. The TrapWire system provides the following capabilities:
• A mechanism for a facility’s personnel to record suspicious activity data in a structured format;
• A mechanism to identify and link related events following human review;
• The ability for a facility’s Chief Security Officer (CSO) to identify threat trends at his/her facility (increasing or decreasing) and to drill down into the specific event reports that generated those threats;
• Alerts to the CSO of events that do not affect the threat score but may nevertheless be of interest;
• The ability to notify a facility of a changing threat level within its industry or geographical location;
• A mechanism to correlate external events such as watch list events for suspected terrorists or stolen vehicles with other observed event data already within the system;
• The ability to correlate events occurring at different facilities by related individuals, and to notify all affected facilities of the increased threat to their facility based on this related activity;
• A mechanism to reduce the system-calculated threat level at a facility, based upon the time since the last threatening event; and
• Notifications, alerts, and possible action recommendations based on a particular site’s security plan, implemented via a set of rules that act upon event information.
For more see http://www.trapwire.com/trapwire.html
C. Current Abraxas and Trapwire management
Dan Botsch is one of the founders of the project. He was with the CIA for more than a decade, working on Russian and Eastern European affairs.
Michael Maness is Trapwire’s business development director. He was with the CIA for two decades, working on counterterrorism and security operations in the Middle-East, the Balkans and Europe.
Michael K. Chang, is TrapWire’s director of operations. He was with the CIA for around 12 years, also on counterterrorism and a close friend of Helms.
2. Abraxas Corporation
Rodney G. Smith, President
Smith leads the sales and business development activities of Abraxas. Drawing on a distinguished career leading highly specialized organizations to remarkable success, Smith has for more than four years brought that same success and mission focus to Abraxas where he drives revenue and earnings opportunities across each of the Abraxas products and services. A former local and federal prosecutor and criminal justice policy advisor during the Reagan Administration, Smith capped a remarkable career in the National Security community where he last led two operational divisions. Smith holds a Bachelor’s degree cum laude from Dartmouth College and a Juris Doctor from Boston University. He is a combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
Katherine M. Green, Senior Vice President
Green brings more than 27 years of operational and leadership experience in the National Security community to Abraxas Corporation. Her experience ranges from niche operational efforts to service as the Executive Director for one of the National Security community’s largest issue-based Centers. With extensive experience in operations and resource management, Green brings in-depth understanding of how to effectively leverage and mesh the two disciplines. Green holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.
Basil “Bill” Trikas, Vice President Technical Services
Trikas has 34 years intelligence community experience and knowledge of technical systems, operational tradecraft, deployment methodologies, and integrated learning solutions. He brings to Abraxas extensive experience leading technical, operational, and analytical organizations in support of the global intelligence community. Trikas served in critical roles shaping the strategic intelligence workforce directing recruiting and diversity outreach, learning and employee development, leadership development, language training, and historical studies. Trikas holds a degree in Electronic Engineering Technology. He is also a graduate of the Intelligence Community Senior Leadership Program, the Intelligence Community Senior Intelligence Fellows Program, and the Harvard Senior Managers in Government program.
Matthew Broderick, Vice President Defense and Homeland Security
Broderick brings extensive operational and leadership experience to Abraxas leveraging three years as the DHS Director of Operations, a career in the US Marine Corps at every level of troop command, earning the rank of Brigadier General, and significant private sector experience responsible for 1100 employees generating in excess of $100M net sales and marketing revenue. Mr. Broderick is a graduate of Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, the Armed Forces Staff College, the Naval War College and Worcester State College.
John Etgen, Vice President Maryland Operations
Etgen has over 25 years of national security service in the industry, government, and the military. He is an accomplished leader in business execution and astutely skilled in strategic planning, opportunity identification, capture management, and program execution. Prior to joining Abraxas Corporation, Etgen was a Department Manager at Applied Signal Technology and Director for Business Development for the Titan Corporation. Prior to entering private industry, Mr. Etgen served in a number of technical and management positions at the National Security Agency. Etgen began his career in 1982 enlisting in the United States Air Force as a Morse Systems technician and proudly serving until 1989. He has a Bachelors of Science degree from University Maryland and is a certified Program Manager.
Barry McManus, Vice President Training and Education
McManus served 26 years in the intelligence community as a leading expert in deception detection, behavioral assessment, interviewing, and interrogations. He served for more than 10 years as a CIA Chief Polygraph examiner and interrogator, working against terrorists, hostile intelligence services, and other high threat targets. He has conducted extensive research on the uses of the polygraph and developed sophisticated interview and interrogation techniques. McManus has developed and implemented training programs within the FBI, DHS, and the commercial financial arena in behavioral assessment, interviewing and elicitation in diverse cultures for law enforcement and intelligence organizations to include computer web-based training. McManus earned a BA in Sociology at Loyola University, Baltimore, MD; an MA in Organizational and Security Management at Webster University, St. Louis, MO; and will complete his Doctorate of Arts in Higher Education from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA in spring 2011. McManus was also recognized as an Oxford scholar and attended the prestigious Christ Church College at Oxford University.
John F. Weiland, Director Abraxas Engineering
John Weiland is a leading designer of Applications Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), joining Abraxas from Intrinsix Federal Systems and previously Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Weiland is a recognized leader on ASIC design tools and methodologies and has spent his career designing cutting edge chips and assemblies. A Westinghouse Lamme Scholarship recipient, Weiland pursued advanced studies in project management and artificial intelligence at the MIT Center for Advanced Engineering Studies before directing his skills to design of trusted solutions for the National Security community. Weiland holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a BA in Mathematics from Swarthmore College, a MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland.
Posted from the darker net via Android.
“I conclude that the 11 months under conditions of solitary confinement (regardless of the name given to his regime by the prison authorities) constitutes at a minimum cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of article 16 of the convention against torture,” Juan Mendez, UN special rapporteur on torture.
Below, Darker Net reveals the names of those accused of the torture of Bradley Manning. In the meantime, the legal team representing Manning, charged with leaking war crimes, are requesting that all charges raised against him are dismissed given that for several months he was subjected to torture. The submission concludes, as a result of “flagrant violation” of Manning’s “constitutional rights,” the judge should dismiss all charges with prejudice or, at minimum, grant “meaningful relief in the form of at least 10-for-1 sentencing credit for the 258 days PFC Manning inappropriately spent in the equivalent of solitary confinement.”
Here is the full 110 page motion for dismissal of charges.
More details from The Dissenter – click here.
Accused 1. James Averhart
The officer in charge of Manning’s incarceration at Quantico and who ordered he be tortured was Quantico’s Brig Commander, James Averhart. He gave orders to put Manning into solitary confinement while detained on charges awaiting trial. Manning spent 23 hours a day in a cell and wore a smock so abrasive he acquired fabric burns from it. Manning’s bedding articles, smock and related evidence are being submitted to the court for review of pre-trial punishment conditions levied against the whistleblower. Bradley Manning: “On 18 January 2011, over the recommendation of Capt. Hocter and the defense psychiatrist, Capt. Brian Moore, Averhart placed me under suicide risk. The suicide risk means that I sit in my cell for 24 hours a day. I am stripped of all clothing with the exception of my underwear. My prescription eyeglasses are taken away from me. I am forced to sit in essential blindness with the exception of the times that I am reading or given limited television privileges. During those times, my glasses are returned to me. Additionally, there is a guard sitting outside my cell watching me at all times.” The stripping and interrogation that Manning endured was videotaped by the Quantico facility.
Accused 2. Daniel J Choike
On March 2, 2011, Manning, then confined under Maximum custody and Prevention of Injury Watch (POI) at Quantico, where he had been since July 29, 2010, was told that his Article 138 request to be placed under Medium custody and removed from harsh and punitive pre trial confinement was denied by Daniel J. Choike, Quantico base commander.
Accused 3. Col. Robert G Oltman
When challenged by a Brig psychiatrist that there was no mental health justification for the torture, Colonel Robert Oltman responded, “We will do whatever we want to do”.
Litany of torture
PFC Manning was placed in a cell directly in front of the guard post to facilitate his constant monitoring.
PFC Manning was awoken at 0500 hours and required to remain awake in his cell from 0500 to 2200 hours.
PFC Manning was not permitted to lie down on his rack during the duty day. Nor was PFC Manning permitted to lean his back against the cell wall; he had to sit upright on his rack without any back support.
Whenever PFC Manning was moved outside his cell, the entire facility was locked down.
Whenever PFC Manning was moved outside his cell, he was shackled with metal hand and leg restraints and accompanied by at least two guards.
From 29 July 2010 to 10 December 2010, PFC Manning was permitted only 20 minutes of “sunshine call.” Aside from a 3-5 minute shower, this would be the only time PFC Manning would regularly spend outside his cell. During this sunshine call, he would be brought to a small concrete yard, about half to a third of the size of a basketball court. PFC Manning would be permitted to walk around the yard in hand and leg shackles, while being accompanied by a Brig guard at his immediate side (the guard would have his hand on PFC Manning’s back). Two to three other guards would also be present observing PFC Manning. PFC Manning would usually walk in figure-eights or some other pattern. He was not permitted to sit down or stay stationary.
Initially, Brig guards provided PFC Manning with athletic shoes without laces which would fall off when he attempted to walk.
PFC Manning elected to wear boots instead because at least the boots would stay on when he walked.
From 10 December 2010 onward, PFC Manning was permitted a one hour recreation call. At this point, the Brig authorized the removal of his hand and leg shackles and PFC Manning was no longer required to be accompanied by a Brig guard at his immediate side. Although PFC Manning was technically “permitted” to use exercise equipment at the gym, most of this equipment was unplugged or broken down. In addition, depending on the guards, they would not permit him to use certain types of equipment (e.g. the chin up bar). So as to avoid any problems with the guards, PFC Manning would usually walk around the room as he had during his sunshine calls. Three or four guards would be monitoring PFC Manning during his recreation call.
PFC Manning was only authorized non-contact visits. The non-contact visits were permitted on Saturdays and Sundays between 1200 and 1500 hours by approved visitors. During these visits, he would have to wear his hand and leg restraints.
PFC Manning was required to meet his visitors in a small 4 by 6 foot room that was separated with a glass partition. His visits were monitored by the guards and they were audio recorded by the Brig. The recording equipment was added by Army CID after PFC Manning’s transfer to the Quantico Brig.
PFC Manning was only permitted non-contact visits with his attorneys. During these visits, he was shackled at the hands and feet.
PFC Manning was not permitted any work duty.
PFC Manning was subject to constant monitoring; the Brig guards were required to check on him every five minutes by asking him some variation of, “are you okay?” PFC Manning was required to respond in some affirmative manner. Guards were required to make notations every five minutes in a logbook.
At night, if the guards could not see him clearly, because he had a blanket over his head or he was curled up towards the wall, they would wake PFC Manning in order to ensure that he was okay.
At night, only some of the lights would be turned off. Additionally, there was a florescent light in the hall outside PFC Manning’s cell that would stay on at night. PFC Manning was required to receive each of his meals alone in his cell. He was only permitted to eat with a spoon.
There were usually no detainees on either side of PFC Manning. If PFC Manning attempted to speak to those detainees that were several cells away from him, the guards would order him to stop speaking.
PFC Manning originally was provided with a standard mattress and no pillow. PFC Manning tried to fold the mattress to make a pillow so that he could be more comfortable when sleeping. Brig officials did not like this, so on 15 December 2010 they provided him with a suicide mattress with a built-in pillow. This built-in pillow was only a couple of inches high and was not really any better than sleeping on a flat mattress.
PFC Manning was not permitted regular sheets or blankets. Instead he was provided with a tear-proof security blanket. This blanket was extremely coarse and irritated PFC Manning’s skin. At first, PFC Manning would get rashes and carpet burns on his skin from the blanket. Eventually, his skin became accustomed to the coarseness of the blanket and he got fewer rashes. The blanket did not keep PFC Manning warm because it did not retain heat and, due to its stiffness, did not contour to his body.
PFC Manning was not allowed to have any personal items in his cell.
PFC Manning was only allowed to have one book or one magazine at any given time to read. If he was not actively reading, the book or magazine would be taken away from him. Also, the book or magazine would be taken away from him at the end of the day before he went to sleep.
For the last month of his confinement at Quantico, PFC Manning was given a pen and five pieces of paper along with his book. However, if he was not actively reading his book and taking notes, these items would be taken away from him.
PFC Manning was prevented from exercising in his cell. If he attempted to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he would be forced to stop. When PFC Manning went to sleep, he was required to strip down to his underwear and surrender his clothing to the guards.
PFC Manning was only permitted hygiene items as needed. PFC Manning would have to request toilet paper every time he wanted to go to the bathroom; at times, he had to wait for guards to provide him with toilet paper.
There was no soap in his cell. PFC Manning requested soap to wash his hands after using the bathroom; guards would sometimes get the soap, and sometimes not.
PFC Manning was not permitted to wear shoes in his cell.
PFC Manning was initially only permitted correspondence time for one hour a day; after 27 October 2010, this was changed to two hours per day.
From 18 January 2011 until 20 January 2011, PFC Manning was forced to strip down to his underwear during the day.
From 18 January 2011 until 20 January 2011, PFC Manning was forced to sleep naked at night.
From 18 January 2011 until 20 January 2011, PFC Manning’s eyeglasses were taken away from him.
From 18 January 2011 until 20 January 2011, PFC Manning was not permitted out of his cell and was on 24-hour suicide watch.
From 2 March 2011 until 6 March 2011, PFC Manning was forced to surrender all his clothing at night and sleep naked.
From 2 March 2011 until 6 March 2011, PFC Manning was forced to surrender his eyeglasses during the day and at night.
After 6 March 2011, his eyeglasses were returned to him during the day, but continued to be removed from him at night.
On 3 March 2011 until 6 March 2011, PFC Manning forced to stand naked at parade rest where he was in view of multiple guards.
From 7 March 2011 onward, PFC Manning was required to wear a heavy and restrictive suicide smock which irritated his skin and, on one occasion, almost choked him.
More details from the blog of the law offices of David Coombs, Manning’s defense lawyer.
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Ah, National Service… that 1950s scheme where the working class youth of Britain were forced into army style barracks to carry out services to help society; token pay, free food, bunk beds, short back and sides, lots of physical activities. Lovely. Make a man of you. Give you a sense of purpose. Avoid all that nasty rioting. Or other forms of rebellion. Well, it’s back. In a new guise, of course. This time it’s called the National Citizens Service. Nice ring to it. Of course, it’s David Cameron’s latest ‘Big Society’ initiative. And guess which company is going to help run it? You guessed it! Serco!
According to the Guardian Serco has joined Catch22, a charity that was paid £2.3m last year for its work on the NCS, and three other charities to take over the running of the scheme in the north-east and north-west of England, Yorkshire and Humberside, the West and east Midlands, the east, south-west and south-east from 2013.
So what else is Serco up to? Well, for starters, how about beating up asylum seekers and refugees? Or taking over the running of your healthcare? But they don’t appear to be doing a good job of either. See below…
A. The asylum seekers story
A training manual that was leaked to the Australian website, Crikey!, shows how Serco trains its staff to kick, punch and immobilise refugees held in detention centres in Australia. The training manual trains Serco guards to: use “pain” to defend, subdue and control refugees through punches, palm heel strikes, side angle kicks, front thrust kicks and knee strikes; stun, distract, unbalance, cause pain and use a “striking technique” to cause “motor dysfunction” to control “resistive behaviour”; target specific “pressure points” in the manner of riot squad police to squeeze nerves as “a valuable subject control option”; attack detainees’ jugulars to cause them to fall over; employ a “downward kick” to the “lower shin” to cause “high level of pain and mental stunning” lasting up to seven seconds; and use batons to cause “medium to high intensity pain” and “forearm muscle cramping”, with the manual advising strikes to be delivered by a “hammer fist”.
There are presently three inquiries into deaths in immigration detention centres run by Serco in Australia. Last year, inmates at the Serco run Villawood detention centre in New South Wales set fire to the place (see image above) after their complaints of ill treatment and demands to be released went unheeded.
It should also be noted that Serco recently won contracts worth £175m to provide accommodation and transport for refugees in the north-west of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Serco’s management of youth custody centres in Britain have also been criticised for excessive force and an inquest jury said “unlawful use of force” by staff in the Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in County Durham contributed to 14-year-old Adam Rickwood’s decision to take his own life in August 2004.
B. The new NHS
Meanwhile, while the opening ceremony of the London Olympics lauded the NHS, most people thought this a joke as it is being dismantled and privatised – and guess which company is getting most of the contracts? Yes, that’s right, Serco. Below are examples of what happens when health services are run by companies such as Serco.
Serco was reported as failing to meet legal requirements to provide enough staff, train them properly or monitor their performance in the pilot out-of-hours GP services it runs for the NHS in Cornwall. Whistleblowers alleged that the service was repeatedly short-staffed and so compromised patient safety. Note: the coalition government requires all 52 newly-formed Primary Care Trust clusters in England to identify at least three of their community services to put out to competitive tender. Over the four-day Jubilee weekend, the GP Service in Cornwall, run by Serco, was so understaffed that large delays built up in dealing with patients. In one case, a professional carer calling in for a repeat prescription on behalf of a terminally ill patient waited just six hours for a clinician to call them back. By the time the doctor on duty returned the call, the patient had died. In a separate incident, a call classified as needing an emergency home visit, which must be made in less than one hour to meet standards, was recorded in the logs as receiving a visit nine minutes after the deadline.
Staff and patients of the Cornwall out-of-hours GP service run by Serco alleged that only one GP was on duty from midnight to 8am for the whole county on the night of 29 May. Whistleblowers alleged it was not the first time this had happened.
Whistleblowers also revealed that a switch to a new automated system to deal with patients’ calls, in which call-handlers following a computer-generated script that replaced medically trained nurses, led to queues of 40 plus. For Newlyn-based Jessica Tooze, mother of one-year-old Ruby, the experience of this Pathways call system was alarming. She rang the out-of-hours service when her baby, who had been unwell over several weeks with a chest infection, seemed in pain. “The baby was screaming, and I wanted someone to listen to her chest and see if she needed antibiotics, but the telephone operator didn’t seem to want to listen to what I was saying.” The operator, according to Tooze, told her she was not medically trained and had to first work through a prescribed series of questions and scripts before she could decide whether the call merited a doctor. “The questions were ridiculous — is she choking? No, she was screaming near me. Had she inhaled poisonous gases? No she’d had a chest infection — I was getting quite panicky, I realised I had to get past this gatekeeper,” Ms. Tooze was eventually given a doctor’s appointment at a clinic at the West Cornwall hospital for later that evening and has no complaint about the treatment she received there but remains unhappy with initial assessments being made by people without medical training.
See also Guardian article on Serco.
C. The lovely world of Serco
Basically, Serco not only runs health services and detention centres, but also manage education services, transport, surveillance schemes, prisons, security, vetting, Workfare schemes, and much more. So, it’s not unfeasible for, say, a refugee in a detention centre, to be physically injured by a Serco managed guard, then when released, travel on a Serco managed bus to get a job run by Serco and later, when the injuries he sustained cause secondary problems he gets treated by a Serco managed doctor, whose practice happens to include CCTV facilities installed and monitored by Serco. The operator controlling the cameras decides the former refugee looks suspicious and before long he finds himself in a Serco run prison. A year later, on his release, the former refugee finds the only way he can survive is to join the NCS, where he’s paid a pittance.
Serco is everywhere and increasingly is affecting the lives of most people not just in the UK, but in Australia, the USA…To see more on Serco and its numerous operations worldwide, click here.
Posted from the darker net via Android.
We now know that the official request by US Senator Diane Feinstein to prosecute Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, for espionage was made as far back as December 2010. To see the original document, click here (Gillard and Co. would have been informed of this at the time). Here is a quote from it: “We believe that Mr. Assange’s conduct is espionage and that his actions fall under the elements of this section of law. Therefore, we urge that he be prosecuted under the Espionage Act”.
Meanwhile, the chess pieces are falling into place: the Swedish Government continues to insist that Assange can only answer questions about the sex allegations in Sweden, from where he will be onward-extradited to the USA; the British Government can insist, but won’t, that as a condition of Assange’s extradition to Sweden there be no onward extradition; the Australian Government insists it is doing all it can to assist Assange, who has received death threats, but in reality is doing bugger all. (See video interview with Jennifer Robinson, above, who raises these issues much more eloquently.) Ultimately, everything points to America, which intends to make an example of Assange (and Bradley Manning) so that no one dare leak or publish leaked information again.
The US Government, however, is delusional if they believe they can stop dissent or prevent those who reveal truth from continuing to do so. If Assange is extradited to America, charged and then convicted, no matter how draconian the punishments, the human tendency to fight against authoritarian systems will prevail. But rather than adopt a largely defensive posture we – Wikileaks supporters, or otherwise; Assange supporters, or not; liberationists in general – must go on the attack via every means at our disposal, including expanding the Wikileaks operations and creating many similar initiatives.
There are also a number of legal moves that can be made, beyond the purely defensive (as outlined here and here) and should civil writs be served (in more than one country) then Christine Assange, the mother of Julian, may prove to be pivotal. The expanded Wikileaks legal team, under the direction of Sr. Garzon, could not be better placed if prosecution went ahead, so perhaps it’s time we got to know the people in this team a bit better.
Here, then, is a brief introduction to the members of what could be called the Wikileaks ‘A Team’. Each is renowned for his/her stand against injustice and their fight for human rights. Collectively, their integrity is unquestionable.
Note: to see a recent article by Michael Ratner (see profile below) on the US war against Wikileaks, click here.
Julian Burnside (Australia)
Julian Burnside represented the Maritime Union of Australia in the 1998 waterfront dispute and won the case. He represented Victoria’s chief civil liberties organisation against the Australian Government over the Tampa affair. He was a staunch critic of the Howard Government’s policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers. He has organised free accommodation and legal representation for refugees in Australia. He won a major case re. the ‘Stolen Generation’ involving Aboriginal children forcibly taken from their parents by Government. In 2004 he was awarded the Human Rights Law Award and in 2007 he received the Australian Peace Prize from the Peace Organisation of Australia. His involvement with the Assange case is largely in relation to Australian Government matters.
Baltasar Garzon (International)
On 17 October 2008, Sr. Baltasar Garzón formally declared the acts of repression committed by the Franco regime to be crimes against humanity, and accounted them in more than one hundred thousand killings during and after the Spanish Civil War. Garzón came to international attention on 10 October 1998 when he issued an international warrant for the arrest of former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet for the alleged deaths and torture of Spanish citizens. The Chilean Truth Commission (1990–91) report was the basis for the warrant, marking an unprecedented use of universal jurisdiction to attempt to try a former dictator for an international crime. Eventually it was turned down by British Home Secretary, Jack Straw, who rejected (on spurious health grounds) Garzón’s request to have Pinochet extradited to Spain. Garzón also filed charges of genocide against Argentine military officers on the disappearance of Spanish citizens during Argentina’s 1976–1983 dictatorship. Eventually, Adolfo Scilingo and Miguel Angel Cavallo were prosecuted in separate cases (Scilingo was convicted and sentenced to over 1000 years incarceration for his crimes). Garzón issued indictments for five Guantanamo detainees, including Spaniard Abderrahman Ahmad and United Kingdom resident Jamil El Banna. Ahmad was extradited to Spain on 14 February 2004. El Banna was repatriated to the United Kingdom, and in 2007, Garzón then dropped the charges against him. Garzon was recently appointed to the Assange/Wikileaks legal team.
Thomas Olsson (Sweden)
Thomas Olsson has been engaged in a battle to quash eight murder convictions of Thomas Quick, who is a mental patient who was addicted to confessing crimes he had not committed. Quick has since been cleared of half of the murders (the remaining sentences are currently under appeal). Quick’s defence counsel during the murder trials was Claes Borgström, who is now disgraced because of his handling of the case. (Note: Borgstrom, who represents the two complainants, Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen, against Julian Assange, has recently been reported to the Swedish Bar for misconduct.)
Gareth Peirce (Britain)
‘My job is to get you out and I’m going to get you out’: Gareth Pierce on first meeting with Gerry Conlon, one of the Guildford Four in Long Lartin prison (she did get him out – and the others). Ms. Pierce was instrumental in ensuring the quashing of convictions of the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six. She was a legal representative in the infamous Persons Unknown trial, when six people, anarchists, were accused of conspiracy to bomb (she and her legal colleagues convinced the jury that the charges were a farce and the defendants who pleaded innocence were consequently freed). Peirce has also led high-profile cases involving members of the Muslim community who have been wrongly accused of terrorism and sent to Guantanamo Bay. Ms. Peirce often comes across as a timid, quiet and very private individual, though in truth she is indefatigable, tenacious and never, ever gives in. Even with the less high-profile cases… a well-known, 64 year-old anarchist, Albert Meltzer, was arrested (on a charge later thrown out by the court) and held overnight in a police cell… Gareth was concerned about Meltzer’s safety (he was overweight and had health problems) and rang the duty sergeant and told him in no uncertain terms that if anything untoward happened to Mr. Meltzer and he did not survive the night, she would hold him personally responsible… (As it was, Albert was released the next day after the police station had received hundreds of calls from concerned individuals from around the world, including Noam Chomsky, Gunther Grass, Sean MacBride and so on).
On Peirce: “Once she has taken up a case, which she comes to believe in, what is impressive about her is her certainty that an injustice has occurred. It’s never on the one hand, on the other. And she expresses that certainty in such convincing terms.” Ludovic Kennedy.
Michael Ratner (USA)
Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York and a past president of the National Lawyers Guild. He represented Guantanamo Bay detainees in the United States Supreme Court, which decided that his clients had the right to test the legality of their detention. In 2006, he filed a complaint in Germany against US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other US officials for the abuse and torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Ratner sued the George W. Bush administration to try to stop the Gulf War, the Clinton administration to try to stop the strategic bombing during the Kosovo War, and won a case on behalf of victims of the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, for war crimes.
Jennifer Robinson (Australia and Britain)
From 2009, Jennifer Robinson worked for the UK legal firm, Finers Stephens Innocent and was appointed legal adviser to Julian Assange in October 2010. In 2011, she became the Legal Director for the Bertha Foundation in London, with the task of creating and developing a global human rights and public interest law program. Although officially she is no longer part of the Assange defence team she acts on his behalf from time to time, particularly in relation to Australian Government matters
Per E Samuelson (Sweden)
Mr. Samuelson represented Carl Lundström in the trial against the Pirate Bay 2. He also specialises in defending rape cases.
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On July 6, 2010, Private Bradley Manning, a 22 year old intelligence analyst with the United States Army in Baghdad, was charged with disclosing a video. Subsequently, the whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, called Mr. Manning a ‘hero’. The Apache crew and those behind the cover up depicted in the video have still to be charged. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded and later died from their injuries. The publishing house, WikiLeaks, released both the original 38 minutes video and a 10 minute redacted version, which is the one most people have seen as the full version is far too gruesome.
Above is the full 37 minute, unredacted version, showing the murder of journalists and children. Remember this. It’s what war is all about. Brutal. An absence of all humanity, of any conscience.
See also details of new US legislation that will make it more difficult for war crimes and similar disclosures to be leaked.
Also, most people have heard of the War logs, of Cablegate, of the Spyfiles and of Syria Files, but Wikileaks has revealed much, much more. See below…
Some of the lesser known stories Wikileaks have broken…
A. War, killings, torture and detention
Changes in Guantanamo Bay SOP manual (2003-2004) – Guantanamo Bay’s main operations manuals.
Of Orwell, Wikipedia and Guantanamo Bay – In where we track down and expose Guantanamo Bay’s propaganda team.
Fallujah jail challenges US – Classified U.S. report into appalling prison conditions in Fallujah. U.S lost Fallujah’s info war – Classified U.S. intelligence report on the battle of Fallujah.
Iraq US Military Equipment in Iraq (2007) – Entire unit by unit equipment list of the U.S army in Iraq.
Dili investigator called to Canberra as evidence of execution mounts – the Feb 2008 killing of East Timor rebel leader Reinado
Como entrenar a escuadrones de la muerte y aplastar revoluciones de El Salvador.
Iraq – The U.S. Special Forces manual on how to prop up unpopular government with paramilitaries.
B. Government, trade and corporate transparency:
Change you can download: a billion in secret Congressional reports – Publication of more than 6500 Congressional Research Reports, worth more than a billion dollars of US tax-funded research, long sought after by NGOs, academics and researchers.
ACTA trade agreement negotiation lacks transparency – The secret ACTA trade agreement draft, followed by dozens of other publications, presenting the initial leak for the whole ACTA debate happening today.
Toll Collect Vertraege, 2002 – Publication of around 10.000 pages of a secret contract between the German federal government and the Toll Collect consortium, a private operator group for heavy vehicle tolling system.
Leaked documents suggest European CAP reform just a whitewash – European farm reform exposed.
Stasi still in charge of Stasi files – Suppressed 2007 investigation into infiltration of former Stasi into the Stasi files commission.
IGES Schlussbericht Private Krankenversicherung, 25 Jan 2010 – Hidden report on the economics of the German private health insurance system and its rentability.
C. Suppression of free speech and a free press:
The Independent: Toxic Shame: Thousands injured in African city, 17 Sep 2009 – Publication of an article originally published in UK newspaper The Independent, but censored from the Independent’s website. WikiLeaks has saved dozens of articles, radio and tv recordings from disappearing after having been censored from BBC, Guardian, and other major news organisations archives.
Secret gag on UK Times preventing publication of Minton report into toxic waste dumping, 16 Sep 2009 – Publication of variations of a so-called super-injunction, one of many gag-orders published by WikiLeaks to expose successful attempts to suppress the free press via repressive legal attacks.
Media suppression order over Turks and Caicos Islands Commission of Inquiry corruption report, 20 Jul 2009 – Exposure of a press gagging order from the Turks and Caicos Islands, related to WikiLeaks exposure of the Commission of Inquiry corruption report.
Bermuda’s Premier Brown and the BCC bankdraft – Brown went to the Privy council London to censor the press in Bermuda.
How German intelligence infiltrated Focus magazine – Illegal spying on German journalists.
D. Diplomacy, spying and (counter-) intelligence:
U.S. Intelligence planned to destroy WikiLeaks, 18 Mar 2008 – Classified (SECRET/NOFORN) 32 page U.S. counterintelligence investigation into WikiLeaks. Has been in the worldwide news.
CIA report into shoring up Afghan war support in Western Europe, 11 Mar 2010 – This classified CIA analysis from March, outlines possible PR-strategies to shore up public support in Germany and France for a continued war in Afghanistan. Received international news coverage in print, radio and TV.
U.S. Embassy profiles on Icelandic PM, Foreign Minister, Ambassador – Publication of personal profiles for briefing documents for U.S. officials visiting Iceland. While lowly classified are interesting for subtle tone and internal facts.
Cross-border clashes from Iraq O.K. – Classified documents reveal destabalizing U.S. military rules
Tehran Warns US Forces against Chasing Suspects into Iran – Iran warns the United States over classified document on WikiLeaks.
Inside Somalia and the Union of Islamic Courts – Vital strategy documents in the Somali war and a play for Chinese support.
E. Ecology, climate, nature and sciences:
Draft Copenhagen climate change agreement, 8 Dec 2009 – Confidential draft “circle of commitment” (rich-country) Copenhagen climate change agreement
Draft Copenhagen Accord Dec 18, 2009 – Three page draft Copehagen “accord”, from around Friday 7pm, Dec 18, 2009; includes pen-markings Climatic Research Unit emails, data, models, 1996-2009 – Over 60MB of emails, documents, code and models from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, written between 1996 and 2009 that lead to a worldwide debate.
The Monju nuclear reactor leak - Three suppressed videos from Japan’s fast breeder reactor Monju revealing the true extent of the 1995 sodium coolant disaster.
F. Corruption, finance, taxes, trading:
The looting of Kenya under President Moi – $3,000,000,000 presidential corruption exposed; swung the Dec 2007 Kenyan election, long document, be patient.
Gusmao’s $15m rice deal alarms UN – Rice deal corruption in East Timor.
How election violence was financed – the embargoed Kenyan Human Rights Commission report into the Jan 2008 killings of over 1,300 Kenyans.
Financial collapse: Confidential exposure analysis of 205 companies each owing above EUR45M to Icelandic bank Kaupthing, 26 Sep 2008. Publication of a confidential report that has lead to hundreds of newspaper articles worldwide.
Barclays Bank gags Guardian over leaked memos detailing offshore tax scam, 16 Mar 2009. Publication of censored documents revealing a number of elaborate international tax avoidance schemes by the SCM (Structured Capital Markets) division of Barclays Bank.
Julius Baer: Grand Larceny via Grand Cayman – How the largest private Swiss bank avoids paying tax to the Swiss government.
Der Fall Moonstone Trust – Cayman Islands Swiss bank trust exposed.
Over 40 billion euro in 28167 claims made against the Kaupthing Bank, 23 Jan 2010 – List of Kaupthing claimants after Icelandic banking crash.
Northern Rock vs. WikiLeaks – Northern Rock Bank UK failed legal injunctions over the ¡Ì24,000,000,000 collapse.
Whistleblower exposes insider trading program at JP Morgan – Legal insider trading in three easy steps, brought to you by JP Morgan and the SEC.
G. Censorship technology and internet filtering:
Eutelsat suppresses independent Chinese-language TV station NTDTV to satisfy Beijing. French sat provider Eutelsat covertly removed an anti-communist TV channel to satisfy Beijing Internet Censorship in Thailand – The secret internet censorship lists of Thailand’s military junta.
H. Cults and other religious organizations:
Church of Scientology’s ’Operating Thetan’ documents leaked online – Scientology’s secret, and highly litigated bibles.
Censored Legion de Cristo and Regnum Cristi document collection – Censored internal documents from the Catholic sect Legion de Cristo (Legion of Christ).
US Department of Labor investigation into Landmark Education, 2006 – 2006 investigative report by the U.S. Department of Labor on Landmark Education.
I. Abuse, violence, violation:
Report on Shriners raises question of wrongdoing – corruption exposed at 22 U.S. and Canadian children’s hospitals.
Claims of molestation resurface for US judo official.
Texas Catholic hospitals did not follow Catholic ethics, report claims – Catholic hospitals violated catholic ethics.
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French police are investigating a surveillance equipment company, Qosmos, which has been accused by the League of Human Rights and the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) of complicity in torture by supplying Syria with intelligence technology used to spy on and track its citizens. Documents published last year on Wikileaks are to be used in the investigation. The company continued to supply equipment up to January 2012 but stopped when the European Union banned the export of telecoms monitoring equipment for use by the Syrian regime. However, the equipment will have been used by the Syrian regime prior to and since that point in time.
Investors of Qosmos include Alven Capital, DFJ Esprit, Fonds Stratégique d’Investissement (FSI), and the GfK Group. Qosmos is based in Paris and has offices in the UK, the US and Singapore.
A Darker Net ‘Supersearch’ on Wikileaks Spyfiles identified two Qosmos products of interest:
In addition, to download a Qosmos document on how a Government or security agency can identify and monitor targets with virtual (fake) identities and their use of proxy emails etc, click here.
Clearly Qosmos’ anti-DDOS products failed to protect the Syrian Government from a hacking attack from Anonymous and that resulted in the ‘Syria Files’, published by Wikileaks.
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Two days ago we floated several ideas on how the Wikileaks legal team, now with the addition of Sr.Baltasar Garzon, the renowned jurist, might go on the offensive, particularly against the Swedish Prosecution Service. In addition – almost as a throwaway – we suggested Sr. Garzon may want to look at unfinished business (see link below)… In 2009, Sr. Garzon proceeded to indict six US administration officials for war-related crimes but was forced to abandon the proceedings when far-right groups in Spain took out a prosecution against him for bringing up the matter of Franco’s ‘disappeared’ in a separate case (and there is evidence that the USA played a hand in encouraging the prosecution of Garzon). Also, while the USA is one of only three states that did not ratify the Rome Treaty (which explains how it has managed so far to avoid war crimes’ trials at the International Criminal Court) this pre-emptive action apparently does not protect previous office holders – e.g. former president, George W Bush – and if there is a loophole here then Sr. Garzon is most eminently qualified to know of it.
There is another, possibly audacious, idea that might be considered in this regard – namely, that Wikileaks could play the US at its own game and convene, via the offices of Sr. Garzon, a ‘grand jury’ of distinguished jurists from around the world to indict US officials, past and present, for their failure to prosecute those Americans accused of war-related crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere or of carrying out or instigating acts of torture. In doing this, these jurists would send out a powerful signal to the world – namely, that no country, including the USA, can escape justice.
In contrast to the ‘star chamber’ version in the USA, a Wikileaks-sponsored ‘grand jury’ would be completely open in its dealings and reports. As such, it would act as a counter to the farcical and secretive ‘show trial’ proceedings currently underway in America against Bradley Manning, as well as the proceedings examining possible charges of espionage against Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks. Also, a prosecution of war-related crimes committed by the USA would inevitably reference the very material Bradley Manning is accused of passing on to Wikileaks (see video above) and thus would impact dramatically upon Manning’s trial (for he can hardly be convicted if US officials, in turn, are convicted).
But in the highly unlikely event that President Obama acts like a true recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and admits America’s mistakes, changes it’s practices, releases Bradley Manning (with due compensation awarded for the suffering he experienced, as reported by the United Nations special rapporteur on torture) and disbands its Wikileaks Grand Jury in Virginia, then a very different story might unfold.
On Garzon’s pursuit of the Bush Administration re. torture allegations- click here.
To see what constitutes a war crime, click here.
To see an excellent summary of the war crimes committed by the US and of the various attempts to prosecute, click here.
To see an interview with Francis Boyle, Professor of Law at the University of llinois School of Law and who was a part of the prosecution team that tried former US President George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisors in absentia, click here.
To see Wikileaks revelations re. pressure put on governments not to proceed with prosecutions for war crimes against the USA – click here.
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Note: the above video covers the attempt by the Spanish Government to criminalise Baltasar Garzon for prosecuting the authorities in the cover-up of the ‘Disappeared’ under Franco – see links below on the full story.
There has been a flurry of behind-the-scenes moves from within the Ecuadorean Embassy over the last three weeks. The aims are twofold… 1. To find a way to end the current impasse re. the extradition proceedings instigated against Julian Assange in relation to the sex allegations… 2. To resolve the wider issues of the financial blockade against Wikileaks as well as the US indictment, via the Grand Jury, of Julian Assange and his associates. The legal team of Gareth Peirce (UK), Jennifer Robinson (Australia), Michael Ratner (USA) and Per Samuelson (Sweden) can now boast, too, the renowned Spanish jurist, Baltasar Garzon, whose specialism is international law and extradition warrants. The celebrated human rights lawyer, Julian Burnside QC (Australia), also offered his services and recently wrote to the Australian Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, reiterating the threats made to Mr. Assange in relation to Wikileaks, and re-stating the obligations the Australian Government have to intervene and provide assistance to Mr. Assange far beyond that offered to date. At the same time the Ecuadorean Government has been playing a key role in setting up negotiations between Assange, his legal team and the UK and Swedish governments.
Re. the latter, the Government of Ecuador has invited the Swedish authorities to interview Mr. Assange inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London and that offer is being seriously considered. Under international law, should Mr. Assange return to Sweden, once all legal proceedings have been completed he would be given a 45-day leave period, during which he would be free to go where ever he wishes. However – and this is crucial – this ‘specialty’ can be waived by the UK prior to his extradition to Sweden, so allowing Mr. Assange to be onward-extradited to the USA. The British Home Secretary, Theresa May, is the person who can waive that specialty (under section 58 of the Extradition Act 2003) and it is imperative that she gives an assurance of no onward extradition in order for matters to move forward. (Note: the Australian Govt was aware of this aspect from the beginning – click here to see.)
And where does the celebrated and often controversial Sr. Garzon come in on all this? Well, his modus operandi, based on his previous cases (see below), is to go on the attack, or at least to threaten legal action in order to obtain specified objectives. A number of options are open, none of which are mutually exclusive. For example, he could threaten or commence legal action against named individuals in the Swedish Government and Prosecution Service in relation to irregularities in the case against Mr. Assange. These irregularities are numerous and have been listed previously in Darker Net. They include leaking of evidence to the Press, contamination of evidence, predudicial statements made by lawyers and politicians, the withholding of vital evidence to the defence team, etc, etc. He could also argue that the case against Mr. Assange should be dismissed on several grounds, primarily that due process was not adhered to (and, not least, because it is reported that one of the complainants, Sofia Wilen, refused to sign her police statement and preferred the case not to proceed, while the other complainant reportedly did not even lodge a written statement). In other words, politics appears to have intervened very early on in this drama and Sr. Garzon could decide that it should therefore be politics that end it. As to the wider issue of the US war against Wikileaks (and the freedom of the Internet and of the press) Sr. Garzon has the option of prosecuting individuals within the Obama Administration and of leading US politicians on a number of counts – these include the intervention of the US Government in organising the illegal banking blockade against Wikileaks, conspiracy to harass an award-winning publisher and journalist (Mr. Assange), incitement of murder of Mr. Assange, and so on. Alternatively, just the threat of such actions may result in closure of some sort.
Otherwise, there is, of course, the ultimate sanction: the prosecution of the United States Government for war crimes (the disclosure of which is thanks, of course, to Wikileaks).
And, so, the various negotiations that are currently taking place are at a very critical point and the developments over next few days will prove interesting…
In the meantime, below, we provide more info and links on Sr. Garzon…
Garzon attempted to prosecute former Chilean dictator Pinochet for torture, committed under his rule from 1973 to 1990. Based on Garzon’s indictment, Pinochet was arrested in 1998 while travelling in London. After 16 months of hearings, the British courts decided that Pinochet could be extradited to Spain. However, the British Home Secretary, Jack Straw, overruled the court, and allowed him to return to Chile (though it was clear that it was Margaret Thatcher, who regarded Pinochet as a friend because of Chile’s support for Britain during the Falklands War, who was really pulling the strings here). Garzon is also known for taking on global human-rights cases under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction and for probing the abuse of U.S. prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. But when he began investigating abuses under the Franco regime in Spain, Garzon, himself, became the target of the right in Spain and was prosecuted.
Background to Garzon:
Re. his attempt to prosecute Government in Spain over ‘disappeared’ during Franco era:
Re. the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo:
Re. His prosecution of six US Government officials:
A leaked cable on a meeting between the US ambassador and Garzon:
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Note: Part 2 will appear soon.
As with the USA and elsewhere, the UK Govt Home Office has said that they have the technology to look inside HTTPS. It’s likely they will do this via SSL snooping boxes. However, it’s not fool-proof and your browser will pop up lots of warnings to let you know that Big Brother is watching. Similarly, in Australia new legislation is proposed to retain all phone and internet data for snooping purposes (see link below for more details).
Wherever you are, whether you are an investigative journalist, a citizen journalist, or simply someone who doesn’t like the idea that government or a private security company/investigator can snoop on you, there are a range of technologies available that can help keep these snoopers at bay. And you don’t have to be a computer whiz to install them. See below for details…
1. The ultimate solution (wherever you are):
Basically you can’t go wrong if you install Tor Bundle (see video above for a dummy’s guide to TOR).
4. A nice package
Try Sandboxie… covers most if not all in Section 3 (above)
5. You can also protect your tweets from snooping
Click here to find out how.
8. Apps for androids (available via Play Store):
For secure Internet Relay Chat, use Gibberbot.
For encryption of files and emails, use PGP Manager or Box Cryptor.
For secure browsing, use Orbweb.
9. General Internet security resources:
Go to Epic for a comprehensive listing of Internet security resources and tools, by category.
Take a look at Security in a box resources/advice.
This Tools for activists is pretty good too.
See how to blog anonymously.
10. Finally, you can join the ‘parallel internet’: by going to Freenet to share files, chat on forums, browse and publish, anonymously and without fear of blocking or censorship!
Articles and documents:
A. On how to avoid Government snooping:
To see why you have a right to anonymity, click here.
To see how to remove your online identity, click here.
To see how you can prevent your ISP from tracking your every move, click here.
B. On UK phone and email monitoring:
Overshadowed by the SOPA and PIPA bills that went before US Congress, shortly before they were shelved, H.R. 1981 aims to keep track of Internet users’ activities in the UK for one year in case it proves useful for law enforcement – click here to see more.
To see the MoD cyber strategy this is based on click here.
Also you can download here the Intelligence Commissioner’s 2011 Annual Report.
How the UK Police grabs location data from your mobile phones.
Here is a link to the Communications and Data bill.
C. On Australian phone, email and Internet monitoring:
The telephone and internet data of every Australian will be retained for up to two years and intelligence agencies would be given increased access to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, under a suite of new proposals from Australia’s intelligence community. Revealed in a discussion paper released by the Attorney-General’s Department, the more than 40 proposals form a massive ambit claim from the intelligence agencies. To find out more click here and here and here.
Also, new legislation significantly expands the surveillance powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) to monitor anyone overseas, including Australian citizens, considered a threat to “national economic well-being,” “security” or “foreign relations”. for more click here.
To see the proposed legislation click here.
Also, download recent Australian Govt doc, ‘Equiping Australia against emerging and evolving threats.
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Wikileaks Press Release… Tue Jul 24 19:36:07 UTC 2012
Statement approved by Julian Assange and Baltasar Garzón
The Spanish judge, lawyer, and international jurist, Baltasar Garzón, will lead the legal team representing Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. The jurist met with Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom recently. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the new legal strategy which will defend both WikiLeaks and Julian Assange from the existing abuse of process; expose the arbitrary, extrajudicial actions by the international financial system which target Julian Assange and WikiLeaks specifically; and show how the secret US processes against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have compromised and contaminated other legal processes, including the extradition process against Mr Assange. Despite having been imprisoned, fiscally blockaded, and placed under house arrest for over 650 days, Mr. Assange has not been charged with an offence in any country.
Baltasar Garzón revolutionized the international justice system two decades ago by issuing an international arrest warrant for the former Head of State of Chile, Augusto Pinochet. His actions spearheaded the fight against impunity in Latin America and in the rest of the world. The judge has expressed serious concerns regarding the lack of safeguards and transparency with which actions are being taken against Julian Assange, and the harassment he is being subjected to which has irreparable effects on his physical and mental wellbeing. The threats against his person are further aggravated by the complicit behaviour of the Swedish and U.K. governments, who are wrongfully abrogating his rights.
END OF WIKILEAKS PRESS RELEASE
Notes on Garzón (via external sources):
On 17 October 2008, Garzón formally declared the acts of repression committed by the Franco regime to be crimes against humanity, and accounted them in more than one hundred thousand killings during and after the Spanish Civil War.
Garzón came to international attention on 10 October 1998 when he issued an international warrant for the arrest of former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet for the alleged deaths and torture of Spanish citizens. The Chilean Truth Commission (1990–91) report was the basis for the warrant, marking an unprecedented use of universal jurisdiction to attempt to try a former dictator for an international crime. Eventually it was turned down by British Home Secretary Jack Straw, who rejected (on health grounds) Garzón’s request to have Pinochet extradited to Spain.
Garzón also filed charges of genocide against Argentine military officers on the disappearance of Spanish citizens during Argentina’s 1976–1983 dictatorship. Eventually Adolfo Scilingo and Miguel Angel Cavallo were prosecuted in separate cases. Scilingo was convicted and sentenced to over 1000 years incarceration for his crimes.
Garzón issued indictments for five Guantanamo detainees, including Spaniard Abderrahman Ahmad and United Kingdom resident Jamil El Banna. Ahmad was extradited to Spain on 14 February 2004. El Banna was repatriated to the United Kingdom, and in 2007, Garzón dropped the charges against him on humanitarian grounds.
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(Note: the above documentary on Wikileaks is recommended by Birgitta Jonsdottir, the Iceland MP and who is a Wikileaks activist. It covers the evolution of Wikileaks from its origins through to more recent times.)
On May 31, Darker Net published the reference number of the Wikileaks Grand Jury. Yesterday, ABC Television (Australia) aired a programme on Julian Assange, with the following explanation from Michael Ratner, Assange’s US lawyer, on what that number means… “There’s a Grand Jury currently sitting in Alexandria, Virginia and the Grand Jury’s number – and it’s interesting the Grand Jury’s number is 10 standing for the year it began, GJ which is Grand Jury and then 3793. Three is the Conspiracy Statute in the United States. 793 is the Espionage Statute. So what they’re investigating is 3793: conspiracy to commit espionage.”
So there you have it, spelt out in language anyone can understand. The Australian public definitely get it and realise, too, that the Government also gets it but are doing the bare minimum to help Assange, partly out of a misplaced loyalty to a foreign power and partly out of sheer revenge given that Wikileaks revealed that the USA had played a part in the Gillard coup.
(The ABC programme and a full transcript is here.)
Meanwhile the American Civil Liberties Union have published redacted and unredacted versions of 11 cables previously published by Wikileaks. Their value is that they show Government thinking as to what should be redacted and what shouldn’t. To see, click here.
Here, also, is an interview by the blogger, Jaraparilla, with Christine Assange.
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The security consultant to G4S, the company behind the Olympics debacle, is none other than Lord John Reid, who was the Minister of Defence and later Home Secretary under the Blair Government. So far, the Press have given him little publicity, though the cosy relationship between G4S and Government can easily be traced back to his time in Government office.
Reid was given the consultancy role with G4S in 2008 and it was only a few weeks later that the company – surprise, surprise – won a multi-million pound, four-year contract with the Government to supply 200 MoD and military sites across Britain. It should be noted that G4S, which is made up of Group 4 and Securicor, was also awarded extensive contracts, via Securicor, with the Home Office during Mr Reid’s time there. It has to be said, however, that it is not expected that Reid, like his fellow peer and G4S director Paul Condon (see earlier Darker Net article on Condon), will face direct criticism over the Olympics security debacle. Instead the fall-guy is Nick Buckles, who with his upper-working-class Essex background and – more importantly – unnobled, is eminently placed to take the wrap. If Buckles is forced to leave G4S he is likely to lose a package of up to £21m, comprising £830,000 salary, shares worth £5.7m, an £8.7m pension pot and up to £5.7m more shares (though no doubt he’ll have some substantial sum tucked away somewhere in compensation).
It is equally unlikely that the Government will penalise G4S too much as the company runs far too many contracts and the Government now relies heavily on G4S to run so many privatised services. Basically there is hardly a day that goes by where G4S does not touch your life some way or other.
Here is a glimpse of the kind of services they run…
G4S is the biggest security company in the world. Over 50% of its revenue comes from guarding the property of other private companies, around 30% comes from public contracts, such as prisons, immigration detention centres, policing and welfare-to-work programmes, with around 20% from transporting money. Then there is the Security systems sector, which includes access control, CCTV, intruder alarms, fire detection, etc. In general, surveillance is becoming a much bigger part of their work. There is also mining – in Africa and Latin America; aviation – over 100 airports and more than 80 airlines in more than 40 countries worldwide; port security; sporting events, including Wimbledon, the Dubai Grand Prix and the London Olympics; detention centres and deportation flights and so on. In the UK, Securicor Justice Services provides escort and removal services for the Immigration & Nationality Directorate. SJS also supplies the Home Office with electronic surveillance services in England and Wales. In the USA, via its Wackenhut subsidiary, G4S provides armed guards for for airports, nuclear power plants, US embassies, and prisons, as well as facilities maintenance, hazardous material management, security and law enforcement, emergency preparation and response, and border protection for the Office of Homeland Security. Wackenhut also holds contracts with the US Department of Energy, Department of Defense, State Department, Treasury Department, and provides Customs Protection Officers and operations and maintenance contracts for NASA and the Air Force. Another US subsidiary, Cognisa Security, provides security consulting services, transportation services, biometric technology installations, security guard training and staffing. These are only the main operations. Their operations in Developing countries is massive…
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Darker Net presents evidence for a hypothetical legal action: ‘The People of Australia vs. Ms. Julia Gillard, et. al.’ – see transcript. We also provide a video of a speech given by Senator Scott Ludlam (Greens) to the Australian Senate in which he states that the Australian Government are complicit – either by pretence of ignorance, or by suppression of the truth – in the arrangements relating to a sealed indictment against Mr. Julian Assange and a Wikileaks Grand Jury preparing the way for his onward extradition to the USA on charges of espionage. Note: Ludlam said ‘complicit’ – an escalation from ‘ignorant’ or ‘abandonment’.
Re. the Federal Court of Australia pre-trial hearing, herein are the submissions by the Prosecution on behalf of the People of Australia.
The main charges:
That Ms. Julia Gillard conspired with Mr. Robert Carr, Ms. Nicola Roxon and persons unknown…
1. To take the Office of Prime Minister of Australia with the active assistance of a foreign power (the United States of America).
2. Conspired further with a foreign power (the United States of America) to seek the imprisonment, with a view to possible execution, of an Australian citizen – namely, Mr. Julian Assange, a journalist by profession – who possessed and then published information that provided evidence related to Charge No. 1.
The pre-trial documents listed are reproduced below:
Document ref. JG1. Reference number and other details of the Wikileaks Grand Jury.
Document ref. JG2. Notes by Mr. David House, taken directly from the Wikileaks Grand Jury, at which he was witness.
Document ref. JG3. Protocol for the Grand Jury.
Document ref. JG4. Warning letter from Ms. Gareth Peirce, Mr. Assange’s UK lawyer, to the Australian Government, pointing out that Mr. Assange’s life was in danger.
Document ref. JG5. Response on behalf of Minister Roxon to Gareth Peirce.
Document ref. JG6. Briefing from Jennifer Robinson, Mr. Assange’s Australian lawyer, to the Australian Government.
Document ref. JG7. Response from Nicola Roxon to the Robinson briefing.
Document ref. JG8a. Australian Senator Bill O’Chee on ‘car accident’ for Mr. Assange.
Document ref. JG8b. Strator email on waterboarding of Mr. Assange.
Document ref. JG8c. Death threat to Mr. Assange from US Senator, Diane Feinstein.
Document ref. JG8d. Compilation of death threats by US politicians and others against Mr. Assange.
Cables (from US Embassy, Canberra): Cable reference id: #08CANBERRA609; #09SHANGHAI321; #09CANBERRA665; #09CANBERRA709; #09CANBERRA1123.
Date for the Pre-Hearing is yet to be set. Legal counsel for Ms. Gillard, Mr. Carr and Ms. Roxon will be advised of this in due course, as also Queen’s Counsel acting on behalf of the Plaintiffs. Additional charges may be preferred, without prejudice.
Lord Paul Condon, formerly the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police from 1993 to 2000, heads the company that is responsible for the security debacle for the London Olympics. G4S (formerly Group 4 Securicor) is a multinational company that specialises in security services (often contracted to government) as well as ‘workfare’ style services. It has offices and runs services in every continent in the world, with operations in more than 125 countries and 657,000 employees. Its sectors include: Government, Private energy and utilities, Oil and gas, Transport and logistics, Ports and airports, Leisure and tourism, Financial institutions, Mining, Major corporates and industrials, and Retail. It also runs six prisons, four children’s homes and two immigration centres, and tags 14,000 offenders. It is responsible for security at 500 police stations and 30 custody suites. It makes millions, yet exploits its workers and fails on its contracts.
Re. the Olympics contract, G4S failed massively to provide sufficient vetted and trained security personnel in time for the Olympics, forcing the Government at the last moment to cancel all leave for the British army and deploy troops in uniform (something it was trying to avoid) at Olympic sites. Consequently, G4S will lose between £30m-£50m on the contract, which is worth about £280m. The company has also agreed to pay for the deployment of the 3,500 extra military personnel. As its most senior director, Condon is ultimately responsible for all of G4S activities.
Here is what else is known about Condon… Formerly, Chief Constable of Kent and Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, as well as advisor to the British Security Industry Association and the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit. He is a cross-bench member of the House of Lords; advisor to international sports governing bodies; member of the Advisory Board of Vidient Systems Inc (a surveillance company); and Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Kent. See also Darker Net Supersearch on him. See tweets and blogs about him.
Darker Net also ran a Darker Net ‘Supersearch’ on G4S to find out more. Here are just three examples of G4S’s lesser known and more seedier operations: one in Africa, another in Israel and the third involving prisons and deportation operations in the UK…
1. Re. G4S Africa-based operations, War on Want had previously found that G4S paid its workers so little in Malawi that “their daily meals consisted of only bread, they lived in homes without electricity or running water and cannot afford to meet their children’s school or medical fees”. It also found that white G4S managers in South Africa were accused of forcing black employees to use separate toilets “while white guards are given keys to the company toilet. And black G4S guards at Johannesburg airport complain that white supervisors call them ‘kaffirs’ and ‘monkeys’. Here, also, is a Wikileaks-published cable on G4S prison operations in southern Africa.
2. G4S is also heavily involved in Israel, where through its Israeli subsidiary, G4S Israel (Hashmira), the company has provided equipment for Israeli-run checkpoints and terminals in the West Bank and Gaza including luggage scanning machines and full body scanners. The company provided security system for prisons for Palestinian political prisoners in Israel and in the West Bank, including the Ktziot, Megido and Damon Prisons in Israel and the Ofer prison in the West Bank. The company also provided security systems for the Kishon (“Al-Jalameh”) and Jerusalem (“Russian Compound”) detention and interrogation facilities. Human rights organizations have collected evidence showing that Palestinian prisoners are regularly subjected to torture in these facilities. The company also provided equipment to the West Bank Israeli Police headquarters, located in the highly contested E-1area next to the Ma’ale Edomim settlement, and the security services division of the company provides security services to various businesses in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
3. G4S runs six private prisons in the UK, at which 400 prisoners are forced to work 40 hours a week for as little as £2 a day. The company also runs three UK immigration detention centres, where detainees have made repeated claims of abuse and assault. Last year the company lost a multi-million contract with the UK Border Agency to deport refused migrants after 773 complaints of abuse were made against it and following the death of Jimmy Mubenga, who died on 12 October 2010 after three G4S security guards used force to ‘restrain’ him on board a British Airways flight during his forcible deportation to Angola.
Nice one, Paul! (Surely, another case where a title needs to be stripped?)
So who else runs this monolith – and what are their backgrounds? To see, look below…
Crucial to the US war against Wikileaks is the support of a compliant Australian Government. The United States Government decided that Julia Gillard was the right person to lead Australia (at least in terms of their interests) and so, like a game of chess, pieces had to be moved into place.
The following timeline is adapted from the Jararparilla website (see link at end of this posting) and includes additional links via Darker Net searches to cables and other files that show a synergy between moves by the US to outlaw Wikileaks and political manoeuvres in Canberra.
So, no wonder Julia Gillard and her ministers are not providing assistance to Assange in his fight against onward extradition to the USA. It is a political not a legal decision and has nothing to do with ignorance of the facts surrounding the case, or apathy, but because the very survival of the Gillard Government depends on Assange’s removal from circulation (if not worse) and the destruction of Wikileaks.
Timeline of events surrounding Gillard coup
24 November 2007 – Rudd wins election after a campaign in which he called climate change “the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time”. He promptly signs the Kyoto Protocol, leaving the USA isolated. Australia withdraws remaining “combat troops” from Iraq.
29 November 2007 – Rudd directly chooses his frontbench, breaking with more than a century of Labor tradition whereby the frontbench was elected by the Labor caucus, with the leader then given the right to allocate portfolios.
13 June 2008 – US Canberrra Embassy cable titled “Deputy PM Julia Gillard Star In Rudd Government” notes: “At this point, Gillard would have to be considered the front-runner to succeed Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister, which would make her Australia’s first female Prime Minister. Several contacts caution, however, that Rudd is ambivalent about Gillard, who is not from Labor’s Right Wing like he is, and he will avoid creating a potential rival. By the time Labor is thinking beyond Rudd, Gillard may well face more serious competition…. Many key ALP insiders have told pol offs that Gillard, who joined the ALP as a member of the Victorian branch’s Socialist Left faction, is at heart a pragmatist. New South Wales Right powerbroker Mark Arbib (protect) described her as one of the most pragmatic politicians in the ALP. Michael Cooney (protect), from the ALP Right and a former senior adviser to ALP leaders Mark Latham and Kim Beazley, said she has been very impressive as a minister: knowledgeable on the issues, listens to advice from subordinates and civil servants and is not afraid to delegate responsibility. When we reminded Paul Howes (protect), head of the right-wing Australian Workers Union, that ALP Qof the right-wing Australian Workers Union, that ALP politicians from the Left, no matter how capable, do not become party leader, he said immediately: “but she votes with the Right.” … Although long appearing ambivalent about the Australia-US Alliance, Gillard’s actions since she became the Labor Party number two indicate an understanding of its importance… Although warm and engaging in her dealings with American diplomats, it’s unclear whether this change in attitude reflects a mellowing of her views or an understanding of what she needs to do to become leader of the ALP. It is likely a combination of the two. Labor Party officials have told us that one lesson Gillard took from the 2004 elections was that Australians will not elect a PM who is perceived to be anti-American.”
The same company that supplies helicopters to NATO (video above shows NATO-led US forces in action in Afghanistan) also provides military communications equipment to the Syrian Government – and this is only half of it…
In this report – a compilation of information from the recently uploaded Wikileaks ‘Syria Files’, as well as cables/files/documents via Darker Net’s ‘Supersearch’ facility – we enter the shady world of defence contractors who make millions out of war and avoid sanctions and embargoes by sheer deception. It is also the world of former Government chiefs migrating into the commercial sector, using their previous contacts to establish lucrative deals.
The first release of emails from the Wikileaks Syria Files show that Finmeccanica, an Italian Defence multinational with extensive interests in the UK, supplied communications equipment as well as expertise about helicopters to the Syrian regime after it had commenced attacks on peaceful protests in March 2011. Selex Elsag, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica with offices in Italy and the UK, sold radio communications equipment to the Syrian police in May 2011 – this was the month that the EU imposed an embargo on the regime prohibiting the export of weapons and equipment that could be used for internal repression. The Tetra radio equipment, including 500 hand-held VS3000 intercept-free radios, was destined for use by police and military who were stationed in a suburb of Damascus, Muadamia and totalled $50 million. The leaked emails also show that in February 2012, well after the EU economic sanctions were imposed on Syria, engineers from Selex Elsag travelled to Syria to provide training on communications technology, including how it could be installed in helicopters.
Finmeccanica are also a major supplier of helicopters to NATO and is the fourth largest Defence manufacturer in Europe and in the top ten in the world. The Italian-based company generates revenue of around $5.9bn through its military operations, which include aircraft, radar systems, combat vehicles, ammunition, command/control systems, space systems, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. In July 2011, Finmeccanica began a deal to supply Tetra to Iran and it’s police services, but was later forced to back down after pressure from the USA – to see secret cable on this, click here.
It’s interesting to note that Finmeccanica’s UK operations are headed by Sir Kevin Tebbit, the former director of GCHQ, the UK’s signal intelligence agency, and a former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, where he managed the all-powerful D-Notice Committee. Tebbit was called to give evidence at the Chilcott Inquiry into the Iraq War and the Hutton Inquiry into the mysterious death of Dr. David Kelly, the Weapons Inspector. Tebbit was also implicated in the cover up of a slush fund scandal involving BAE Defence contracts and Saudi Arabia.
Another Finmeccanica UK chief (non-Executive Director) and also a former GCHQ director is Sir David Omand, who like Tebbit was a witness at the Chilcott Inquiry. Omand was among those who decided that David Kelly should be pursued for talking to the media about the Government’s dossier on Iraq’s alleged WMD. Omand is also the co-author of the recent Demos report “Intelligence” on cyber snooping (advocating spying on Twitter and Facebook accounts) – click here to learn more.
As for Selex Elsag, it employs more than 10,000 people in 15 factories and offices in the UK. To quote from Selex Elsag’s website: “In Defence, SELEX Elsag has benchmark capabilities in battlefield and secure communications, systems integration, cryptography, radio frequency engineering and special projects. In the civil sector, the business is successful in the Security & Resilience and professional communications markets. SELEX Elsag offers cyber security solutions and consultancy, with technologies and processes proven in major programmes both in the UK and overseas. It was recently selected to provide cyber security protection to NATO and its member countries.”
Breaking news… the head of the US Senate’s intelligence oversight committee has renewed calls for Julian Assange to be prosecuted for espionage.
Some of the best comments on the Julian Assange/Wikileaks affair have come not from journalists or bloggers but from Christine Assange. Indeed, she puts to shame the politicians and the meally-mouthed journalists and assorted commentators around the world who only seem interested in protecting their bit of turf or scoring points. In absolute contrast to the disingenuousness and duplicity of Julia Gillard (Prime Minister of Australia), the weasel words of her ‘I know nothing’ about a Wikileaks Grand Jury side-kick, Bob Carr (Foreign Affairs Minister) and small-minded journalists – and they know who they are – of much of the world’s mainstream press, Christine Assange has shown everyone that she is a fighter who in her persistence and dignity and sheer love for her son has focused on the facts of what is really happening with the bigger picture, as well as the politics and anomalies of the more immediate legalities. Moreover, she has clearly been a Wikileaks champion from the very beginning.
Below, are some of her comments, as well as links to recent articles about Wikileaks and – at the end – a slightly mischievous scenario on the future of Australia…
Though, first, it needs to be re-emphasised that, as we said in an earlier posting none of this affair was ever about Sweden but a global war by the USA against truth, against free speech and against anyone in the world who exposes what America is really about… A regime that hides the truth while pretending it is the land of the free; a country that honours free speech, but where its politicians are the first to want those who speak out to be murdered or tortured; a land where many of its citizens are destined to a life of poverty and no health care while being told it’s a privilege to be American. Wikileaks exposes these lies and that is why the USA and it’s parasites in business and politics are so keen to see Assange dead and Bradley Manning condemned to prison for life. Some might say that America is sick, addicted to violence and immature notions of patriotism, its society poisoned by successive wars – though there are millions in the USA who seek another way, where truth is once more paramount and people like Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bradley Manning would be lauded as a hero.
Comments of Christine Assange (sourced and compiled from transcripts in Green Left Weekly, Urban Times, and from an interview with Mary Kostakidis, SBS Television):
On beginnings of Wikileaks:
Initially, Julian and I were talking about the world, as we would, and what would change. What would it take to change the world? And Julian said to me I think there are only two things that will change the world, the way that it’s going, the way the power imbalance is and the suffering of people. Either a huge accident of some kind, a meteorite or another catastrophe, or technology. And the technology was the dropbox for WikiLeaks. Initially, it was supposed to help the Third World. That was why it was set up, to help the Third World, to expose the dictatorships. But he had no idea he’d get a drop from America. That came as a complete surprise.
At a time when Julian Assange (as this goes to press) is still enjoying protective asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, it’s no coincidence that Australia and the UK are acting in tandem to bring in new legislation to cyber-snoop on their respective populations. This will involve all media – phones, mobile phones, SMS, Skype calls, email, online chat, etc. In doing this, both countries will fall into line with what the USA is enacting via its cyber-snooping legislation. All relevant documents are given below via links or for download.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday a Darker Net journalist attended a meeting on cyber security and the new legislation being introduced in the UK at the Frontline Club (see video above or click here if it does not work in your browser). Two of the speakers defended the new legislation – they were clearly not admitting the reality of the opposition. The speaker who was most pro-cyber snooping was Prof. Anthony Glees (on far left). He argued that the public had no right to privacy. While he was speaking the Darker Net journalist decided to conduct an experiment and use his tablet PC and specialist search tools to see what could be found about Glees in the deeper web and within five minutes had found everything you needed to know about him. Here were the links via Duckduckgo. Here is his Powerbase file. His email address is Anthony.Glees@brunel.ac.uk
So, if and when the new legislation becomes law, to avoid invasion of privacy, netizens will need to be even more creative in utilising the tools and systems that put them out of reach. Essentially, it’s about liberating the Internet, our knowledge systems, and the removal of all that divide us and in its stead see a parallel Internet developed that will be beyond the surveillance of governments.
Whatever legislation is introduced, it will be countered – but not through political means. The future invites a thousand wikileaks organisations and the governments of this world will need to realise that the information barriers they erect will be destroyed, for people want truth. Note: some anti-surveillance resources can be found in the right-hand column on this website, under the heading ‘Internet Security’.
Interestingly, the ‘Mail on Sunday’, of all papers, published an excellent expose by David Davies MP (he’s the man with grey hair near the right in the video) of a Black Ops centre, involving British troops and CIA in Iraq, but which, the paper agrees, would not be revealed once the new Justice and Security Bill is made law. Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Mercer, the chief British Army lawyer in Iraq during the 2003 invasion, commented: ‘These are alleged war crimes, but what Britain did may never be disclosed. Indeed, the Bill may be specifically designed to prevent such allegations ever coming to light’. In conversation with the Darker Net journalist Davies mentioned that Australian troops had also been involved in this particular operation.
Here are links to articles on the draft cyber-snooping measures, as well as downloads of the UK legislation and briefing:
Australia cyber snooping: ‘Who watches the watchers?’, an excellent article by Australian senator, Scott Ludlam; Crikey article on passing personal data to third party companies; and what the legal system is planning.
Documents to download: Justice & Security Bill and Communications Capabilities Development Programme Briefing.
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More than a year ago the Gillard Government in Australia was fully briefed by Jennifer Robinson, who represents Julian Assange, on the legal issues relating to his case, including the threat of extradition to the USA, as well as the politicisation of the case in Sweden and the many flaws in the case against him. The briefing document – a transcript of which is here for download – was presented to parliamentarians in March 2011 and has remained on record since. A follow-up letter (which Darker Net has previously published) from Gareth Peirce, Mr. Assange’s lawyer, explicitly warned the Australian Government that it was legally required to intervene on Mr. Assange’s behalf given his life was in danger. Indeed, four American presidential candidates have called for his death, two by assassination (see also video above), which would no doubt be carried out using typical plausible denial methods, or an ‘accident’ would be arranged. Last week, however, the Australian Government made it clear that they were abandoning Mr. Assange to the extradition processes of both Sweden AND the USA. In abrogating their statutory responsibility to Mr. Assange they gave him no choice but to seek political asylum elsewhere.
The Australian Government now needs to be aware that if Mr. Assange is subsequently murdered by US forces or by a third party acting on their behalf, then Gillard, Carr and Roxon – who would be morally complicit in such an act – could be subject to legal prosecution. This is not hyperbole and the Australian Attorney-General is urgently advised to organise the immediate repatriation of Assange, together with a guarantee there would be no follow-on rendition to the USA, otherwise legal proceedings could be instigated.
See also, below, letter from Ellsberg, Chomsky, Wolf and others on Assange and asylum.
Extracts from Peirce/Robinson briefing document, providing known facts relating to the case:
…Chief Prosecutor of Stockholm, Eva Finne, threw out the rape charge after reviewing the police file and the statements of the two women. The investigation continued on lesser allegations of harassment only… An appeal was brought against Ms Finne’s decision to drop the rape charges by a lawyer acting for the complainants, Mr Claes Borgstrom… The Prosecutor, Ms Ny, granted the appeal on 1 September 2010 and the rape investigation was reinstituted.
… Julian remained in Sweden for approximately 5 weeks to answer the allegations against him… He was maintaining a low profile because of threats to his security and increasing pressure from the US in advance of the two largest disclosures of US classified documents in history: the Pentagon had just announced a team of 120 people dedicated to “taking action” against WikiLeaks. Before Mr Hurtig [Assange's lawyer in Sweden] was able to contact Julian, he had already left Sweden for Berlin having been told on 15 September that Ms Ny had no objection to him leaving the country… Just before the hearing on 18 November Mr Hurtig was, for the first time, provided a description of the allegations against Julian and provided copies of parts of the police file. At that time he was also shown more than 100 text messages between the two complainants and their friends, which contained important evidence about the allegations and the women’s motives. For example, the second complainant had been texting her friends in between sexual encounters with Julian over the course of the evening in question and states that she was “half-asleep” at the relevant time at which the arrest warrant asserts she was “asleep”: a very important factual error in the warrant which undermines the entire case. Further, the women speak of getting “revenge”, making money from the allegations and ruining Julian’s reputation by going to the press.
… It is noteworthy that both the EAW and the Interpol red notice were issued for Julian by Sweden just before WikiLeaks began to publish Cablegate with their media partners and were executed just days after publication began.
… [The two women complainants in the case against Assange] were interviewed only briefly over the telephone and their interrogation is in summary form only. Indeed, the second complainant’s interview summary is not even signed or approved by her (she was upset at hearing Julian had was wanted for rape and her friend’s later interview to the police states that she felt “railroaded” into making the complaint).
End of extracts from briefing document.
See video of how contemptible the Australian Senate can be when Senator Scott Ludlum asks Senator Evans, representing Julia Gillard, about the Wikileaks Grand Jury.
Meanwhile Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Naomi Wolf, Michael Moore and many others have sent a letter to the President of Ecuador urging he grant political asylum to Assange.
Recent press comments
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On Wednesday evening a Darker Net contributor attended a meeting on extradition at the House of Commons, London. Present was Gareth Peirce, Julian Assange’s lawyer. After that meeting a Wikileaks insider confirmed that Assange decided to seek political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy as a direct result of a letter his legal team received from Nicola Roxon, the Australian Attorney-General. The Letter from Roxon was in response to a letter written by Gareth Pierce and Jennifer Robinson (Assange’s Australian lawyer) formally requesting that the Australian Government provide Mr. Assange full protection given that he feared his life was in danger and that extradition to the USA could take place either in Sweden or in the UK. In her response Roxon wrote: ‘Australia would not expect to be a party to any extradition discussions that may take place between the United States and the United Kingdom or the United States and Sweden, as extradition is a matter of bilateral law enforcement co-operation.”
Mr Assange’s lawyers have characterised Ms Roxon’s reply as nothing less than a ”declaration of abandonment”. In addition, the Swedish Prosecution service had indicated they were about to implement the extradition warrant. Assange: ‘They tried to cancel the 14 days that I had here to apply to appeal the matter at the European Court of Human Rights’. Consequently, Assange felt he had no other choice but to remove himself from harms way and seek asylum. Meanwhile, the Australian Senate has passed a motion demanding PM Gillard fully support Assange.
Baroness Helena Kennedy, the distinguished human rights lawyer who was part of Assange’s earlier legal team, has stated that she believes Assange may be able to bargain an assurance that if he went to Sweden he would not then be extradited to the US. Currently negotiations are in progress.
Meanwhile, Michael Ratner, Assange’s US lawyer, confirmed (see video above) that Assange’s main fear was not facing questioning in Sweden but extradition to the USA, where he would likely face indefinite imprisonment in a high security penitentiary. Extradition, as his lawyer explains, is easier to effect from Sweden than it is in the UK. In Sweden it can be immediate. In the UK it can takes years. He added: “But let me just say, the other situation was so terrible, in my view, the extradition to Sweden, which was really—it’s not about the charges in Sweden. There’s no charges. It’s not about the allegations in Sweden or the interrogation. I think if the United States tomorrow said, “We will not be prosecuting WikiLeaks or Julian Assange, there will be no indictment of him, the grand jury is over,” etc., etc., I don’t think Julian Assange—I haven’t spoken to him about this—I don’t think he would have any issue about going to Sweden for interrogation on these charges. It’s really—what this is about is the United States wanting to get their hands on him, put him into an underground cell with no communications, giving him life imprisonment. And, of course, people have already called for his death in the United States. And he was faced with really a terrible situation, considering—considering that he is the person who, as a publisher and journalist, has exposed massive U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and the WikiLeaks cables.”
Several of Mr.Assange’s backers, who provided bail money, have since said that they don’t care if they forfeit that money. On Twitter, Tariq Ali said ‘Fuck the money. Julian has my full support.’ Philip Knightley (Australian investigative journalist) offered similar sentiments. Other backers include Felix Denis (the Australian publisher of the infamous Oz magazine of the 1970s), Ken Loach (film director), Vaughan Smith (journalist) and Jemima Khan (commentator).
We also learn that Claes Borgstrom, the lawyer who represents the two women in Sweden who raised the allegations of sexual misconduct, was forced to appear yesterday before the Swedish Bar to face a disciplinary hearing for making prejudicial and inflammatory statements about Assange. It should be added, too, that the legal team representing Mr. Assange are adamant that the two women – Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen – were themselves railroaded by the Swedish Prosecution service. When Ardin and Wilen went to the police to query what had happened, it was the police who decided to take matters further. However, the Prosecution service disagreed and it was only much later that they decided to reverse that decision. It must be asked, what happened to cause that – US intervention?
For an excellent summary of Assange since he sought asylum, see article by Australian Wikileaks Citizens alliance.
Note on extradition… The current extradition arrangements between the UK and the USA (and similarly between Australia and the US and even worse between the USA and Sweden) is very much one-sided with nearly all requests coming from the USA and relating to people who are British citizens, who have not committed a crime under British law but who are considered enemies of the United States by the authorities there. Persons previously extradited under these arrangements to the USA receive no parole, are placed in solitary and end up disappearing forever in a penitentiary black hole. The UK Extradition Act was made law in 2003 by Tony Blair and is an abandonment of Habeus Corpus. These arrangements have caused disquiet within the UK Parliament and there is currently an Early Day Motion (ref. 128) scheduled, to look at how the extradition legislation can be amended. If the legislation is changed it may make it harder for people like Assange to be extradited from the UK to the USA.
Finally, Daniel Ellsberg on Assange’s asylum:
“Political asylum was made for cases like this. Freedom for Julian in Ecuador would serve the cause of freedom of speech and of the press worldwide. It would be good for us all; and it would be cause to honor, respect and thank Ecuador.”
For live updates, go to Wikileaks Central.
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Darker Net has learnt that as part of their defence strategy the legal team representing Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bradley Manning may consider issuing a subpoena to Nobel Peace Prize recipient Barack Obama to appear at the trial of Manning, scheduled for September. The intention, in relation to Article 37 (Unlawfully influencing action of court) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, would be to demonstrate that statements made by President Barack Obama, who is also the Commander-in-Chief, have prejudiced Manning’s defence and this is a sound reason to have the case against Manning dismissed. The specific statement by Obama referred to is, ‘We’re a nation of laws. We don’t let individuals make their own decisions about how the laws operate. He [PFC Manning] broke the law.”. Mr. Obama would also be questioned about his policy of transparency of government as well how none of the information published by Wikileaks and allegedly provided by Manning has not harmed either US interests or personnel.
Manning’s legal team may also, in relation to Article 13 (Punishment before Trial) of the Code, argue that their client has already been punished by the number of days he has been held and by the torture* he experienced (verified by the UN Rapporteur on Torture) and that this, too, invalidates his prosecution.
Thirdly, in relation to Article 46 (Opportunity to Obtain Witnesses and Other Evidence) of the Code, Manning’s defence may argue that the Government has hidden vital documents from them – in particular, the alleged damage assessments – and this is another reason why charges should be dismissed.
Here are the charges levied against Manning.
See pre-trial hearing notes for more details.
And to those who question why the USA should be criticised for hiding war crimes when many other countries – often dictatorships – are not similarly investigated, or why many regard Manning as a hero, the answer is simple… any democracy that claims high standards can only be a beacon if it opens itself up to scrutiny and welcomes whistleblowers, like Manning, when such crimes are committed.
In contrast, the game plan of the US Government is completely clear: at a convenient point after Julian Assange has been extradited to Sweden the Prosecution service in America will offer Manning a deal, providing he implicates Assange, who will then be extradited to the USA and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.
And that is why to see each stage of what is happening in this drama involving Assange and Manning as being separate developments is missing the whole point: ultimately, the US strategy is about ensuring no one dare reveal secrets again, that Wikileaks is destroyed and that a McCarthy-style era is ushered in to round up its activists.
* Manning also had support, little publicised, from the hacker group, Anonymous, which threatened in March 2011 to disrupt activities at Quantico, where Manning was being tortured, by cyber-attacking communications there unless he was given access to clothing, bed clothes, reading material, and a ball. Shortly after, these demands were met.
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Left: DC Bob Lambert, Metropolitan Police Special Branch (1984); right, Dr Robert Lambert (2012), Lecturer in Terrorism Studies, St Andrews and Exeter Universities.
Article by Stuart Christie
There is much focus currently on the provocateur activities of undercover police spies posing as political activists. These include despicable characters such as Dr Bob Lambert (above, ′Steve′ in the ubiquitous and Faustian Peter Taylor ′access′ documentary ′Modern Spies′), Mark Kennedy, Jim Boyling, Pete Black and at least five others — including a ′John Barker′ (very imaginative! John Barker being one of the accused in the ′Angry Brigade′ trial!) — who have been unmasked recently as deceitful beguilers, ruthless discordians, intriguers and sponsors of terrorism. Their cases raise serious questions for genuine social activists hungry for justice: how do you spot them, and how do you defend yourself against people devoid of any moral compass who are prepared to exploit political idealism as a cover for criminal intent? The answer is you can′t spot them, not unless you happen to be fey or particularly intuitive — which carries the risk of paranoia — or have the resources to set up a full-blown ′developed vetting′ procedure, which would be completely counter-productive for the moral and ethical well-being of any genuinely open group.
Here is a video message from George Friedman, the founder of Stratfor, to Stratfor shareholders. In the message, Friedman explains how devastated he was by the February 2012 hacking of the Stratfor website by Anonymous hactivists. Stratfor gained notoriety after its files were hacked by Anonymous, then leaked to Wikileaks. The files shed light on global developments, but also on Stratfor’s views on Wikileaks and Julian Assange in particular. Anonymous went on to publish a resignation letter from Friedman, though Stratfor claimed it was a fake.
Here are/were some of the main players in Stratfor and emails leaked by/about them (just click on link):
Fred Burton, Vice-President, Stratfor.
Shea Morenz, Managing Partner, Stratfor.
Bart Mongoven, Vice-President, Statfor.
Don Kuykendall, Chairman of the Board, Stratfor
Scott Stewart, Senior Analyst, Stratfor.
Lauren Goodrich, Director of Analysis, Senior Eurasia Analyst, Stratfor. T: 512.744.4311 F: 512.744.4334 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.stratfor.com
Chris Farnham, Watch Officer/Beijing Correspondent, Stratfor China. Mobile: (86) 1581 1579142 Email: email@example.com http://www.stratfor.com
Jennifer Richmond, China Director, Stratfor US. Mobile: (512) 422-9335 China Mobile: (86) 15801890731 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.stratfor.com
Marko Papic, Geopol Analyst – Eurasia Stratfor. P: + 1-512-744-4094 email@example.com
Scott Stewart, P: 814 967 4046; Cell: 814 573 8297; firstname.lastname@example.org
Stratfor address: 221 West 6th Street, Suite 400, Austin, TX 78701. T + 1 512 744 4300 F + 1 512 744 4334. Web: http://www.stratfor.com
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In the week that Bradley Manning faces another hearing we provide a link to another leaked Stratfor document authored by Scott Stewart, a Stratfor analyst, arguing that the files allegedly leaked by Manning are not detrimental to US security interests. Quote: ‘The documents also did not contain reports that were the result of intelligence collection operations, and therefore did not reveal sensitive intelligence sources and methods’.
Darker Net also reprises an interview by Democracy Now with David House, who set up the Bradley Manning support network. The interview took place in July 2011 at the London-based Frontline Club. House speaks extensively about what has happened to Manning since his arrest, as well as about the Wikileaks Grand Jury, which governments such as the Australian Government, refuse to admit ever took place. The video is riveting right up until the end.
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Darker Net posted details of what is known so far about how the United States has organised a secret Grand Jury in Alexandria, Virginia, to indict Julian Assange/Wikileaks and that as a result a sealed indictment, most probably on charges relating to espionage, exists.
Below we list what is additionally known.
Quote: ‘Tracy D. McCormick or Tracy Doherty-McCormick (Source: Original Twitter Secret Order sent to Twitter Dec 14, 2010, NOTICE of Entry of Appearance and Request for Notice of Electronic Filing (“NEF”) by Jacob Appelbaum & RESPONSE by USA as to Jacob Appelbaum, Rop Gonggrijp, Birgitta Jonsdottir, Twitter, Inc. re 58 MOTION for Hearing for Objection re 57 Order dated 5/4/11MOTION for Hearing for Objection re 57 Order dated 5/4/11 & Letter Informing David House he was supoena’d to WikiLeaks Grand Jury).’ Source: alexaobrien.com
Note: David House, a researcher at MIT, set up the Bradley Manning support group.
Relevant Stratfor email leaks:
Here are selected emails from Stratfor as well as biographical links and personal details of Stratfor operatives/executives.
Infamous email by Sean Noonan on the sealed indictment .
Bill O’Chee suggesting Assange ‘car accident’.
Chris Farnham and others from Stratfor re several emails on revoking Assange’s Australian citizenship, disparaging the rape charges, etc.
Fred Burton from Stratfor on waterboarding Assange to get code for insurance file (allegedly includes names of intelligence operatives worldwide).
It should be added that the Australian Government only yesterday denied that an indictment against Assange exists. Meanwhile here is the reply to the letter by Ms. Gareth Peirce, lawyer to Julian Assange, to Kevin Rudd re. her warning to the Australian Government that Assange’s life is in danger. Note, the author of the reply gets Ms. Peirce’s gender wrong.
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1. The US indictment
Here are the known facts about the sealed indictment against Julian Assange by the US Grand Jury. Meanwhile the Australian authorities have issued a statement denying knowledge of any such indictment. To use a common journalistic term: bollocks!
2. The redacted (heavily edited) article by John Pilger
“Given the extent of the public discussion, frequently on the basis of entirely false assumptions … it is very hard to preserve for [Assange] any presumption of innocence. He has now hanging over him not one but two Damocles swords of potential extradition to two different jurisdictions in turn for two different alleged crimes, neither of which are crimes in his own country. [And] his personal safety has become at risk in circumstances that are highly politically charged.”
The quote is from Gareth Peirce, the lawyer acting on behalf of Julian Assange, and is taken from an article by the journalist, John Pilger, for the Swedish newspaper, Dagens Nyheter. The newspaper only published a small part of this article.
Here, also, is a summary by Wikileaks Central of the extradition decision by the UK Supreme Court.
Here is a message by Anonymous Australia:
As previously reported on Darker Net, Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of leaking files to Wikileaks, was recently awarded the Global Exchange Humanitarian award. Manning, already a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and recipient of the 2012 Human Rights Award, is currently in custody and was not able to accept the award in person. The award was accepted on his behalf by Daniel Ellsberg. Here are the details of the award.
Here is the video of Ellsberg accepting the award.
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The server was owned by May First/People Link, with Riseup as a client, which in turn was running lists on behalf of the European Counter Network. The FBI kept the server for four days. Inevitably it is believed that the FBI copied everything on the server, including mailing lists. During that period MF/PL decided to install a surveillance camera with motion detection – hence the video shown below.
Full report from May First/People Link.
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Article from The Guardian on the good and the bad things happening in Greece.
Now for the ‘ugly’… See this video, below , by Dutch investigative team, reissued by Darkernet in the aftermath of the 2012 Greek elections. This is one of the better documentaries that covers the secret links between Greece and the ethnic cleansing that took place in Bosnia. (Note, the beginning has a pause and a click – ignore.)
See also current situation in Srebrenica as trial of Mladic begins.
Also, a very informative article by BBC Economics Editor, Paul Mason, on Syriza.
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This video was taken by the Danish Defence League when they and the English Defence League were forced to exit quickly, with police help, when attacked by 4000 antifascists in Aarhus, Denmark, on March 31.
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The link to the infamous Blue Book is on Guido Fawkes’ blog.
Background to this story, see article in The Independent
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The 2012 Human Rights Award has gone to Bradley Manning. Award will be presented, presumably in absentia, on May 10, San Francisco.
“Because WikiLeaks releases attributed to Bradley Manning helped promote democracy in the Arab world and an end to the Iraq occupation, he is the people’s choice honoree for an international human rights award”
Tell us lies about Afghanistan and Iraq
And of all the wars to which we turn our back.
Tell us lies about heroes and villains anew
To feed all our television thoughts that you woo.
Tell us lies about revenge and others’ fraud,
And all the lives lost of innocents abroad.
Tell us lies about bullies and those you’ve bullied
And of all those whose dignity you have sullied.
In the blindness of the cell and nakedness of war
Lies a man they say told the secrets we so abhor.
Bradley Manning is his name – a soldier of our time,
An American hero – this is his only crime.
So wake up America: it’s you who are to blame.
Your freedom to discover, when you admit your shame.
Free Bradley Manning – he’s more courage in his plight
Than all the Masters of War kept well out of sight.
* Inspired by Adrian Mitchell’s poem ‘Tell Us Lies’ (about Vietnam).
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