At midday on Friday 5 February, 2016 Julian Assange, John Jones QC, Melinda Taylor, Jennifer Robinson and Baltasar Garzon will be speaking at a press conference at the Frontline Club on the decision made by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the Assange case.

VV





Saturday, February 6, 2016

WIKILEAKS -- AREVA and URAMIN scandal


The most powerful nuclear company in the world, AREVA, abandoned its Central African Republic exploitation without having launched any of the promised investments after an enormous political and financial scandal, amidst a social and environmental crisis, with skyrocketing radioactivity levels (up to 30 times the natural radioactivity in the zone) and literally transporting its former employees back to their homes like cattle. The following documents show the constant disdain of the company towards Central African Republic institutions and its population, and the neocolonial conditions of exploitation of its mines in Africa.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Julian Assange Is Being Arbitrarily Held And Should Be Freed, U.N. Group Says

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on a screen as he addresses the media from the London embassy of Ecuador Friday Feb. 5, 2016, where he has been holed up for some 3½ years to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning about alleged sexual offenses. A U.N. human rights panel says Assange has been "arbitrarily detained" by Britain and Sweden since December 2010. The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said his detention should end and he should be entitled to compensation.
© AP Photo/Frank Augstein WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on a screen as he addresses the media from the London embassy of Ecuador Friday Feb. 5, 2016, where he has been holed up for some 3½ years to avoid extradition…
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange called on Britain and Sweden on Friday to let him freely leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London after a U.N. panel ruled he had been arbitrarily detained and should be awarded compensation.

Assange, a computer hacker who enraged the United States by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables, has been holed up in the embassy since June 2012 to avoid a rape investigation in Sweden.

Both Britain and Sweden denied that Assange was being deprived of freedom, noting he had entered the embassy voluntarily. Britain said it could contest the decision and that Assange would be arrested if he left the embassy.

Assange, an Australian, appealed to the U.N. panel, whose decision is not binding, saying he was a political refugee whose rights had been infringed by being unable to take up asylum in Ecuador.

It ruled in his favour, although the decision was not unanimous. Three of the five members on the panel supported a decision in Assange's favour, with one dissenter and one recusing herself.

Speaking via video link from his cramped quarters at the embassy in the Knightsbridge area of London, Assange called on Britain and Sweden to implement the U.N. panel's decision.

"We have today a really significant victory that has brought a smile to my face," Assange said. "It is now the task of the states of Sweden and the United Kingdom ... to implement the (U.N.) verdict."

Assange, 44, denies allegations of a 2010 rape in Sweden, saying the accusation is a ploy that would eventually take him to the United States where a criminal investigation into the activities of WikiLeaks is still open.

"The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considers that the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange has been subjected constitute a form of arbitrary detention," the group's head, Seong-Phil Hong, said in a statement.

"(It) maintains that the arbitrary detention of Mr Assange should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected, and that he should be entitled to an enforceable right to compensation."

Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, said Assange must be allowed to go free. "What more do they want to be accused of before they start to rectify their error?" he told South American broadcaster Telesur, in reference to Britain and Sweden. Patino said Ecuador was analysing its next steps.

NO CHANGE
The decision in his favour marks the latest twist in a tumultuous journey for Assange since he incensed Washington with leaks that laid bare often highly critical U.S. appraisals of world leaders from Vladimir Putin to the Saudi royal family.

In 2010, the group released over 90,000 secret documents on the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan, followed by almost 400,000 U.S. military reports detailing operations in Iraq. Those disclosures were followed by release of millions of diplomatic cables dating back to 1973.

The U.N. Working Group does not have the authority to order the release of a detainee - and Friday's ruling in unlikely to change the legal issues facing Assange - but it has considered many high-profile cases and its backing carries a moral weight that puts pressure on governments.

High-profile cases submitted to the U.N. panel include that of jailed former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed and of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, an Iranian-American jailed in Iran until a prisoner swap last month.

But governments have frequently brushed aside its findings such as a ruling on Myanmar's house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 2008, a call in 2006 for the Iraqi government not to hang former dictator Saddam Hussein, and frequent pleas for the closure of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

"Julian Assange is a fugitive from justice. He is hiding from justice in the Ecuadorian embassy," British foreign minister Philip Hammond said. "This is frankly a ridiculous finding by the working group and we reject it."


Swedish prosecutors said the U.N. decision had no formal impact on the rape investigation under Swedish law. A U.S. Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks is ongoing. (Additional reporting by Johan Ahlander and Simon Johnson in Stockholm, Tom Miles in Geneva, Alexandra Ulmer in Caracas; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge, Editing by Alison Williams)

WikiLeaks' Assange calls on Sweden, Britain to allowhim freedom after UN panel report







1:19 PM ET
Published February 5, 20167:00 AM ET


Journalists work outside the Ecuadorian Embassy where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up since 2012. A U.N. panel says he deserves compensation for being arbitrarily detained.

Journalists work outside the Ecuadorian Embassy where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up since 2012. A U.N. panel says he deserves compensation for being arbitrarily detained.
Carl Court/Getty Images

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been "arbitrarily detained" by Sweden and the U.K., a U.N. panel has ruled, adding that Assange should be freed and compensated for his treatment.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention calls the situation, in which Assange has lived inside Ecuador's embassy in London for more than five years, a breach of international agreements on both human rights and civil liberties.

"A British government spokesperson disputed the ruling and said it changes nothing," NPR's Leila Fadel reports from London. "The U.K. will formally contest the decision. And Britain will still arrest Assange if he walks out of the embassy because it has a legal obligation to extradite him to Sweden."

In the wake of the opinion, WikiLeaks held a news conference. 

Calling in to the news conference from the Ecuadorean Embassy, Assange called the group's finding a "vindication," adding that in the U.N.'s view, the opinion is legally binding on an international level.

"There is no ability to appeal the decision of the United Nations," he said, adding that his status is now "settled law." Assange also said Britain and Sweden cannot dismiss the group's finding simply because it hadn't gone their way.

"It is the end of the road for the legal arguments that have been presented" by the U.K. and Sweden, he said.

On Thursday, Assange announced that he would submit to arrest Friday if the U.N. group's decision went against him. As the Two-Way reported, the BBC said on the same day that it had learned the panel had found in Assange's favor.

The case dates back to December 2010, when British authorities arrested Assange on a warrant issued by Sweden over sexual-assault accusations. He was then put in isolation for 10 days, the U.N. said, before being placed under house arrest for more than a year. In August of 2012, he was granted asylum at Ecuador's embassy in London, where he has remained to avoid being arrested.

Since then, three of four sex-crimes allegations against Assange have expired, due to statutes of limitation. The fourth allegation, of rape, remains.

We've reported that "if Assange is arrested, he could be extradited to the U.S., where he may face trial over WikiLeaks' publication of classified military and diplomatic documents, one of the largest leaks of such information in history. WikiLeaks published materials related to U.S. military activity in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as millions of classified cables from U.S. embassies."

Announcing its opinion, the U.N. group writes:

"The Republic of Ecuador granted asylum because of Mr. Assange's fear that if he was extradited to Sweden, he would be further extradited to the United States where he would face serious criminal charges for the peaceful exercise of his freedoms."

The opinion cites two flaws that it says make Assange's detention arbitrary: His time in isolation in a British prison, and the Swedish prosecutor's "lack of diligence" in handling the sexual misconduct allegations.

Assange and his legal team have complained that because Swedish authorities don't consider his current status one of detention, he cannot file an appeal, making his situation "indefinite."

The U.N. working group lists its members as:

  • Seong-Phil Hong (Republic of Korea) — chairman-rapporteur
  • Leigh Toomey (Australia) — who recused herself because Assange is an Australian national
  • José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez (Mexico)
  • Roland Adjovi Sètondji (Benin)
  • Vladimir Tochilovsky (Ukraine) — who dissented in the case, saying the group had worked beyond its mandate and that Assange had "fled bail in June 2012" and has since evaded arrest in "self-confinement."
Read the U.N. panel's 18-page opinion below:

UN-Humanrights-Working-Group-Assange-2015


DOCUMENT
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TEXT
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John Pilger Explains Washington’s Incarceration of Julian Assange in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London





 John Pilger Explains Washington’s Incarceration of Julian Assange in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London


Freeing Julian Assange: the last chapter

5 February 2016

JA.jpg


One of the epic miscarriages of justice of our time is unravelling. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention - the international tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations - has ruled that Julian Assange has been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden.

After five years of fighting to clear his name - having been smeared relentlessly yet charged with no crime - Assange is closer to justice and vindication, and perhaps freedom, than at any time since he was arrested and held in London under a European Extradition Warrant, itself now discredited by Parliament.

The UN Working Group bases its judgements on the European Convention on Human Rights and three other treaties that are binding on all its signatories. Both Britain and Sweden participated in the 16-month long UN investigation and submitted evidence and defended their position before the tribunal. It would fly contemptuously in the face of international law if they did not comply with the judgement and allow Assange to leave the refuge granted him by the Ecuadorean government in its London embassy.

In previous, celebrated cases ruled upon by the Working Group - Aung Sang Suu Kyi in Burma, imprisoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia, detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian in Iran - both Britain and Sweden have given support to the tribunal. The difference now is that Assange's persecution and confinement endures in the heart of London.

The Assange case has never been primarily about allegations of sexual misconduct in Sweden. The Stockholm Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, dismissed the case, saying, "I don't believe there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape" and one of the women involved accused the police of fabricating evidence and "railroading" her, protesting she "did not want to accuse JA of anything". A second prosecutor mysteriously re-opened the case after political intervention, then stalled it.

The Assange case is rooted across the Atlantic in Pentagon-dominated Washington, obsessed with pursuing and prosecuting whistleblowers, 
especially Assange for having exposed, in WikiLeaks, US capital crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale killing of civilians and a contempt for sovereignty and international law.  None of this truth-telling is illegal under the US Constitution. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama, a professor of constitutional law, lauded whistleblowers as "part of a healthy democracy [and they] must be protected from reprisal".
 
Obama, the betrayer,  has since prosecuted more whistleblowers than all the US presidents combined. The courageous Chelsea Manning is serving 35 years in prison, having been tortured during her long pre-trial detention.


 
The prospect of a similar fate has hung over Assange like a Damocles sword. According to documents released by Edward Snowden, Assange is on a "Manhunt target list". Vice-President Joe Biden has called him a "cyber terrorist". In Alexandra, Virginia, a secret grand jury has attempted to concoct a crime for which Assange can be prosecuted in a court. Even though he is not an American, he is currently being fitted up with an espionage law dredged up from a century ago when it was used to silence conscientious objectors during the First World War; the Espionage Act has provisions of both life imprisonment and the death penalty. 
 
Assange's ability to defend himself in this Kafkaesque world has been handicapped by the US declaring his case a state secret. A federal court has blocked the release of all information about what is known as the "national security" investigation of WikiLeaks.
 
The supporting act in this charade has been played by the second Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny. Until recently, Ny had refused to comply with a routine European procedure that required her to travel to London to question Assange and so advance the case that James Catlin, one of Assange's barristers, called "a laughing stock ... it's as if they make it up as they go along". Indeed, even before Assange had left Sweden for London in 2010, Marianne Ny made no attempt to question him. In the years since, she has never properly explained, even to her own judicial authorities, why she has not completed the case she so enthusiastically re-ignited - just as the she has never explained why she has refused to give Assange a guarantee that he will not be extradited on to the US under a secret arrangement agreed between Stockholm and Washington. In 2010, the Independent in London revealed that the two governments had discussed Assange's onward extradition.
 
Then there is tiny, brave Ecuador. One of the reasons Ecuador granted Julian Assange political asylum was that his own government, in Australia, had offered him none of the help to which he had a legal right and so abandoned him. Australia's collusion with the United States against its own citizen is evident in leaked documents; no more faithful vassals has America than the obeisant politicians of the Antipodes.
 
Four years ago, in Sydney, I spent several hours with the Liberal Member of the Federal Parliament, Malcolm Turnbull. We discussed the threats to Assange and their wider implications for freedom of speech and justice, and why Australia was obliged to stand by him. Turnbull is now the Prime Minister of Australia and, as I write, is attending an international conference on Syria hosted the Cameron government - about 15 minutes' cab ride from the room that Julian Assange has occupied for three and a half years in the small Ecuadorean embassy just along from Harrods. The Syria connection is relevant if unreported; it was WikiLeaks that revealed that the United States had long planned to overthrow the Assad government in Syria. Today, as he meets and greets, Prime Minister Turnbull has an opportunity to contribute a modicum of purpose and truth to the conference by speaking up for his unjustly imprisoned compatriot, for whom he showed such concern when we met. All he need do is quote the judgement of the UN Working Party on Arbitrary Detention. Will he reclaim this shred of Australia's reputation in the decent world?

What is certain is that the decent world owes much to Julian Assange. He told us how indecent power behaves in secret, how it lies and manipulates and engages in great acts of violence, sustaining wars that kill and maim and turn millions into the refugees now in the news. Telling us this truth alone earns Assange his freedom, whereas justice is his right.

UN Rules Julian Assange is “Arbitrarily Detained” —Paul Craig Roberts





UN Rules Julian Assange is “Arbitrarily Detained”
Paul Craig Roberts

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has ruled that Wikileaks’ Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained by the “democratic” governments of Sweden and the UK and is entitled to his freedom and compensation for detention by the two “democratic” governments.

At the beginning of Assange’s arbitary detention, I said that the detention was in violation of the rights of asylum and is akin to the Soviet Government’s refusal to allow Cardinal Mindszenty free passage from the US Embassy in Hungary when he was granted political asylum by the US government. I pointed out that in our time Washington now behaves like the Soviet dictatorship half a century ago.

The illegal actions of the Swedish and UK governments were on the orders of Washington, the corrupt government of which is determined to get Assange for publishing leaked documents revealing the criminality and mendacity of the US government.

Washington and its UK vassal claim to be defenders of the rule of law, but, of course, both governments are lawless. We will see if the rulihg has any effect on the behavior of “the two great champions of liberty.” My prediction is that the gang of criminals in Washington will not allow its vassal governments to abide by the UN decision. I hope that I am wrong.

UN panel rules Julian Assange arbitrarily detained, entitled to liberty & compensation
Published time: 5 Feb, 2016 08:16Edited time: 5 Feb, 2016 13:06


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. © John Stillwell

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. © John Stillwell / Reuters

A UN panel has ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been ‘arbitrarily detained’ in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, calling upon the UK and Sweden to end Assange’s deprivation of liberty.

"The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) … considered that Mr. Julian Assange was arbitrarily detained by the Governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,” the statement said.

The group concluded that the WikiLeaks founder “is entitled to his freedom of movement and to compensation.”

“The Working Group considered that Mr. Assange has been subjected to different forms of deprivation of liberty: initial detention in Wandsworth Prison [in London] which was followed by house arrest and his confinement at the Ecuadorian embassy.”


View image on Twitter

 
United Nations Human Rights
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the United Kingdom since his arrest in London on 7 December 2010, as a result of the legal action against him by both Governments, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said today.http://ow.ly/XYxNG
In a public statement, the expert panel called on the Swedish and British authorities to end Mr. Assange’s deprivation of liberty, respect his physical integrity and freedom of moveme...
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The panel said that it ruled that Assange’s detention “was arbitrary” as he was “held in isolation during the first stage of detention.” Also that “the lack of diligence" by the Swedish Prosecutor in its investigations resulted in the “lengthy detention of Mr. Assange.”

The UN panel also called upon UK and Swedish authorities “to assess the situation” of the WikiLeaks founder and “ensure his safety and physical integrity” and to “facilitate the exercise of his right to freedom of movement in an expedient manner.”

 detention case: Clarifications on whether the opinion to be issued tomorrow is legally binding
“The Working Group also considered that the detention should be brought to an end,” the experts concluded.

UK authorities, however, rejected the UN panel’s ruling on Assange, saying that they are legally obligated to extradite him to Sweden.

"This changes nothing. We completely reject any claim that Julian Assange is a victim of arbitrary detention. The UK has already made clear to the UN that we will formally contest the working group's opinion," a government spokesman said.

According to the spokesman, Assange "is, in fact, voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorian embassy.”


The Swedish government said that any decision regarding the preliminary investigation, for example regarding detention in absentia, is taken by independent judicial authorities.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said the organization was “extremely pleased” by the UN panel decision and urged Britain and Sweden to “heed this very clear message.”

In the absence of guarantees, the possibility that the founder of WikiLeaks could be sent against his will to face criminal charges in the United States in connection with the leaks posted on the website is not only not negligible but in fact poses a major threat both to himself and, more broadly, to freedom of information,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

Heavy media presence at the Ecuadorian Embassy here in London. No police... Yet!

The WikiLeaks founder filed a complaint against Sweden and Britain to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention back in September 2014.

In Sweden, Assange is wanted for questioning regarding allegations of sexual assault against two women in 2010, which he has always denied. The WikiLeaks founder says that he fears that if he goes to Sweden he will have to face a tribunal in the US for publishing classified documents. Stockholm, however, has refused to guarantee that this would not happen.

View image on Twitter

In August, Swedish prosecutors said they would drop the investigation into two allegations of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion as the statute of limitations had run out. One outstanding allegation of rape remains, about which Assange is still to be questioned.

On Thursday, an official from OHCHR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner) Christophe Peschoux said if the UN panel concludes that a person's rights have been violated then "the decision is indirectly, but still legally binding on the relevant authorities and states."


The opinions of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention are legally-binding to the extent that they are based on international human rights law, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The binding nature of its opinions derives from the collaboration by states in the procedure, the adversarial nature of is findings and also by the authority given to the WGAD by the UN Human Rights Council.