James Ball writes : The bankers’ blockade of WikiLeaks must end

” …

Payment companies representing more than 97% of the global market have shut off the funding taps between WikiLeaks and those who would donate to it. Unlike many of the country’s leading corporations, WikiLeaks has neither been charged with, nor convicted of, any crime at either state, federal, or international level

… “


Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Research in Europe, said:

“Amnesty International calls on the UK to refuse to extradite or send in any other manner Julian Assange to the USA where there is a very real risk that he could face human rights violations, including detention conditions that would violate the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment and an unfair trial followed by possible execution, due to his work with Wikileaks. . . .”


Spanish security company spied on Julian Assange in London for the United States

Simon Hunter translates

which reads

Undercover Global S. L., the Spanish defense and private security companythat was charged with protecting the Ecuadorian embassy in London during the long stay there of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, spied on the cyberactivist for the US intelligence service. That’s according to statements and documents to which EL PAÍS have had access. David Morales, the owner of the company, supposedly handed over audio and video to the CIA of the meetings Assange held with his lawyers and collaborators. Morales is being investigated for this activity by Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional.

The judicial investigation into the director of UC Global S. L. and the activities of his company were ordered by a judge named José de la Mata, and they began weeks after EL PAÍS published videos, audios and reports that show how the company spied on the meetings that the cyberactivist held in the embassy.

The secret probe is the consequence of a criminal complaint filed by Assange himself, in which he accuses Morales and the company of the alleged offenses involving violations of his privacy and the secrecy of his client-attorney privileges, as well as misappropriation, bribery and money laundering. The director of UC Global S. L. has not responded to calls from this newspaper in order to confirm his version of events.

Morales, a former member of the military who is on leave of absence, stated both verbally and in writing to a number of his employees that, despite having been hired by the government of then-Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, he also worked “for the Americans,” to whom he allegedly sent documents, videos and audios of the meetings that the Australian activist held in the embassy. “We are playing in another league. This is the first division,” he told his closest colleagues after attending a security fair in the US city of Las Vegas in 2015 where he supposedly made his first American contacts.

The meeting took place on December 21, 2017 in the meeting room of the diplomatic building and was recorded both on video and audio by cameras installed by Morales’ employees. A small number of people, among whom were the Australian’s lawyers, were aware of the plan. Hours after the meeting, the US ambassador informed the Ecuadorian authorities about the plan, and the next day, December 22, the US put out an international arrest warrant for Assange.

“It is absurd to spy on who has hired you if you are not going to hand that material over to another country,” said a source close to UC Global S. L. This newspaper has had access to the video and the audio of the aforementioned meeting.

Cameras and external access for the US

After the installation of new video cameras at the beginning of December 2017, Morales requested that his technicians install an external streaming access point in the same area so that all of the recordings could be accessed instantly by the United States. To do this, he requested three channels for access: “one for Ecuador, another for us and another for X,” according to mails sent at the time to his colleagues. When one of the technicians asked to contact “the Americans” to explain the way that they should access some of the spying systems installed in the embassy, Morales would always be evasive with his answers.

Morales ordered his workers to install microphones in the embassy’s fire extinguishers and also in the women’s bathroom, where Assange’s lawyers, including the Spaniard Aitor Martínez and his closest collaborators, would meet for fear of being spied on. The cyberactivist’s meetings with his lawyers, Melynda Taylor, Jennifer Robinson and Baltasar Garzón, were also monitored.

The UC Global S. L. team was also ordered by its boss to install stickers that prevented the windows of the rooms that the WikiLeaks founder used from vibrating, allegedly to make it easier for the CIA to record conversations with their laser microphones. They also took a used diaper that from a baby that was on occasions taken to visit the activist in order to determine if the child was his by a close collaborator.

The former military man also planted microphones in a number of decorative elements inside the embassy, which were photographed for their reproduction in Spain. He also wanted to install them in the room used by “the guest,” as Assange was referred to in his reports, but some of his workers, concerned over the illegality of these jobs, warned him that they could be discovered. “The WikiLeaks founder was obsessed with being spied on,” a former employee of the company said.

The spying on Assange increased after Lenin Moreno came to power in Ecuador. At that time, Morales regularly flew to New York and Washington, this newspaper has managed to confirm. Among the UC Global S. L. client list is Sheldon Adelson and his gaming company Las Vegas Sands. For years the Spanish company has been providing security for the business magnate’s yacht when it is in Mediterranean waters. This job is usually carried out personally by Morales himself.

Adelson has a close friendship with US President Donald Trump and is one of the main donors to the Republican Party. Among his security personnel is a former CIA chief. In 2018 an investigation by The New York Times revealed that Julian Assange became a target for CIA spying under the mandate of former director Mike Pompeo. Official sources admitted to the US newspaper that WikiLeaks was being investigated in search of alleged links between its founder and Russian intelligence.

UN special rapporteur Nils Melzer, torture expert names Australia among countries that “ganged up” on Julian Assange

Adrianna Zappavigna writes :

Nils Melzer said “In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law,” said UN special rapporteur Nils Melzer.

He also noted Australia’s failure to assist. “Australia is a glaring absence in this case. They’re just not around, as if Assange was not an Australian citizen,” Mr Melzer told The Sydney Morning Herald. “That is not the correct way of dealing with that.”


ABC: UN Rapporteur Accuses Australia of Failing to Protect Assange’s Rights

On 1st June 2019, Philip Williams interviews Nils Melzer on ABC Radio AM regarding Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s denials of the Rapporteur’s charges.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued a statement denying an accusation by a U-N rapporteur on Torture that our government has failed to support Julian Assange, and is complicit in his psychological torture. 

Nils Melzer recently visited Mr Assange in a British jail with a doctor and psychiatrist to assess his condition, and said he feared the Wikileaks founder could die in prison.

Julian Assange is facing possible extradition to the United States, where he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Mr Melzer says he wouldn’t get a fair trial in the U-S, and added the Australian Government was failing to protect a citizen.

Listen to interview podcast on Radio AM
and subsequent coverage in the Workers Socialist Web Site with quotes and commentary from the interview

Who Leaked the DNC Emails?

On the 3rd January 2019 Yaacov Apelbaum posted an in depth analysis of access to the DNC mail server

So who Pwned the DNC’s and Podesta’s emails? The Russians? Romanians? Or was it just your run of the mill developer/sysAdmin/staffer with an axe to grind? To find out more, check out the post by William Binney and Larry Johnson. Here is a little illustration that helps focus some of their data transfer rate arguments and expand on other cyber security points:

If you are still confused about the who, what, when, where, and how, you are not alone. The reason for this heavy fog is that it’s impossible to separate the spin from facts without access to the forensic data–which for some reason doesn’t’ seem to make itself available. As far as the pro and con arguments for a local vs. remote access are concerned, yes, theoretically an external attacker could have used a cocktail of zero day + remote privilege elevation + password recovery against the cloud based NGP VAN voter system, but so could a local user/administrator at a fraction of the time and effort. 

What about the identity of the perp? According to the WaPo (using Crowdstrike, the DOJ, and their other usual hush-hush government leaker in the know), the attack was perpetrated by a Russian unit lead by Lieutenant Captain Nikolay Kozachek who allegedly crafted a malware called X-Agent and used it to get into the network and install keystroke loggers on several PCs.

End conclusion

In lieu of answering these pesky questions, we are left with the only remaining explanation that uses the following formula for predicting cyber attack origins:
“Path of Least Resistance”+
“Principle of Least Effort” +
“Opportunity” +
= “Insider”,
AKA one of them green guys on the right side of Image 1.

Read whole analysis and and commentary in Yaacov Apelbaum’s Blog

Kennedy family’s support for press freedom spans generations

On the 21st September 2018 Alfred Friendly Press Partners reports

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said President Trump’s attacks on the media are in stark contrast to the “deep respect” President John F. Kennedy, her uncle, and Robert F. Kennedy, her father, held for the journalism profession and its role in safeguarding democracy.

Both worked as international correspondents for newspapers, and both maintained strong friendships with reporters and editors while they held political office, Kennedy Townsend said during the Alfred Friendly Foundation’s annual gala on Sept. 7.

“There is always some tensions between the press and the politicians — and I speak from experience,” the former lieutenant governor of Maryland said. “But it doesn’t have to be so virulent. How my family interacted with the press — there were plenty of ups and downs, but it was a profoundly different experience than the one we’re having today.”

Kennedy Townsend said a prime example was a telegram that JFK sent to Alfred Friendly in 1968 congratulating The Washington Post correspondent for winning the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the the Middle East War.

“It is perhaps the highest tribute that can be paid to a member of your profession,” Kennedy wrote from his Indiana hotel. One month later, Robert Kennedy was assassinated.

Kennedy Townsend read the telegram to the audience at the National Press Club and said “it was a mark of deep respect, for the reporters and the press, born of my father’s deep appreciation of constitutional protections and affinity for reporters. He got it. He knew it was important.”

Robert Kennedy’s understanding also had roots in his own experience covering Israel’s fight for independence in 1948 when he was 22, she said. RFK was assassinated by a Palestinian/Jordanian immigrant on the anniversary of the start of the Arab-Israeli war that Friendly covered. “The Six Day War was very important to him in his life — I remember conversations we had. I think it was because of his support for Israel that he died.”

John F. Kennedy also wrote about international relations as a reporter for Hearst newspapers in the summer of 1945. He toured bomb-damaged Berlin, watched Joseph Stalin and Harry Truman interact at the Potsdam Conference and attended the opening of the United Nations.

“They knew the value of foreign correspondents,” Kennedy Townsend said. She was personally impressed by the comments at the gala by reporters from India and Sudan who spoke of their experience in the Alfred Friendly fellowship program and their career aspirations.   

“They touched my heart,” Kennedy Townsend said of Samarth Bansal, Ankur Paliwal and Zeinab Salih. “You could see these are people who want to help their country and want to write about what’s true and expose injustices in our world and do it with great courage.”

But Kennedy Townsend added, “This is a trying time to welcome (Alfred Friendly) Fellows to the United States. We Americans have prided ourselves for so long about our free press and its importance in our constitution and our history. Yet, as you know, the press is under attack. The president has called the press the enemy of the people.”

Trump’s rhetoric has an impact in other countries, she said, and called Turkish President Erdogan’s railing against “fake news” a “chilling” example of how other leaders are using cues from Trump to legitimize attacks on the media.

“It’s our duty is to object and say this is wrong and must not stand,” Kennedy Townsend said.

She pointed out a few good trends, such as the increased circulation of national newspapers holding Trump to task and a recent joint editorial by a large number of newspapers stressing the importance of a free press.

“You members of the press, with each story, with each revelation, you are freedom’s fighters; you are on the front lines in creating a culture that says: truth matters; facts make a difference; lies will eventually be outed. This is true in the United States and its true around the world.”

Read original article Alfred Friendly Press Partners