The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has won a major victory in demanding and obtaining access to documents that prosecutors have been hiding and that assess the effect of the leaks on US security in the Bradley Manning case. A US military judge, Denise Lind, has ruled that Nobel Peace Prize nominee Manning, who is accused of leaking war crimes to Wikileaks, must have access to “damage assessment” reports from Government agencies.
The ruling was as a direct result of a petition (in effect, a writ) lodged by CCR (it’s President Emeritus is Michael Ratner, lawyer representing Julian Assange) for extraordinary relief against the Army Court of Criminal Appeal and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
The full list of petitioners:
Amy Goodman of ‘Democracy Now!’,
‘The Nation’ and its national security correspondent Jeremy Cahill,
Wikileaks and its publisher, Julian Assange,
Kevin Gosztola, co-author of ‘Truth and Consequences: The U.S. vs. Bradley Manning’ and a civil liberties blogger covering the Manning court martial,
Chase Madar, author of ‘The Passion of Bradley Manning’.
In addition, it should be noted that the Manning defence team are seeking dismissal of all charges given that their client was tortured (and this was recognised and documented by the United Nations Special Raporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez).
(Manning’s legal team has demanded the case be dismissed under Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which states that “no person, while being held for trial, may be subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement upon the charges pending against him, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon him be any more rigorous than the circumstances required to insure his presence.” Under this Article, a judge can decide that a member of the armed forces has been illegally punished before trial and grant the prisoner credit on the amount of time they have served in custody, or dismiss all charges.)
The fightback has begun!
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Those ever-so-naughty hactivists, Anonymous, have set up an online school on how to protect your Internet and computer security. Seminars are listed below…
Seminar 1. How to set up ‘black hat’ security on your computer system.
Seminar 2. Some useful tools and links you can use.
Finally, the school discusses problems and issues in setting up an Anonymous ‘operation’. More here.
Meanwhile, with their usual theatrical flair, Anonymous has called on thousands to converge on the British parliament in Guy Fawkes masks on November 5th. So far, 3000 have signed up to this event. To find out more, go to Operation Vendetta.
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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Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, is being bombed now. Rebels claim to hold sectors of the city, which explains why the government dispatched more Syrian troops there this week, supported by helicopter gunships and fighter planes. After a day of fighting the rebels remain in control of their neighborhoods.19,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011.
I am Mazen ******, a Syrian anarchist. I want to inform you about the difficult humanitarian situation in my country, Syria, due to the brutal oppression of the regime against the revolting masses. A group of young Syrian anarchists and anti–authoritarians from Aleppo, contacted me asking for urgent help. Their community is in urgent need for everything: medical drugs, tents, children’s milk, etc; almost everything. We hope that you can help them to alleviate the sufferings of Syrians in these difficult days.
About the actual situation in Syria, it is deteriorating rapidly. After the killing of the some high rank generals of the regime (defense minister and his deputy, which is at the same time the brother–in–law of the president himself) by unknown forces, even though the Syrian Free Army claimed responsibility, the armed opposition groups attacked the two main cities, which were reluctant to join the revolution before: Damascus and Aleppo. A fierce battle started. After some early gains of the opposition forces the Assad army gathered its remaining forces and started a counter attack using available conventional forces, including jet fighters, besides the canons and tanks Assad has been using for the past few months. Many civilians had to flee in very harsh conditions; hundreds were massacred.
A series of paramilitary-style raids conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against activists in Portland, Oregon, and in Olympia and Seattle in Washington occurred on July 25. The FBI seized computers, black clothing, and any “anarchist” literature they could find. Multiple people were reportedly issued subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury at the Federal Courthouse in Seattle on August 2. Three homes were raided in Portland, by approximately 60-80 police including FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force. Individuals at the homes say police used flash grenades during the raid. Grand jury subpoenas have been served to individuals in all three cities: 2 in Olympia, 1 in Seattle, and 2 in Portland. The grand jury is scheduled to convene on August 2nd at the federal courthouse in Seattle.
For more, click here.
See report from Portland Occupier.
Also, report on similar raids in Cleveland earlier this year.
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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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