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Entries in WikiLeaks (59)

Sunday
Aug042013

Bradley Manning's Mother Gives First Interview Since Wikileaks Arrest

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Susan Manning, the mother of U.S. soldier Bradley Manning, spoke out in her first interview since her son's arrest, published Sunday by the Daily Mail.

Manning was arrested in 2010 for allegedly supplying Wikileaks with hundreds of thousands of secret military documents.

In the Daily Mail article Susan Manning and her sister Sharon Staples revealed details about Manning's childhood and personal life, as well as their first reactions to seeing him in the press.

"For a second, I thought, what the hell is Bradley doing on the telly? Then I sat down and listened to what he was being accused of," Staples said.

Manning most recently appeared in court July 30, during which he was found guilty of more than 20 crimes but acquitted of the charge of aiding the enemy.

For Manning's mother, the acquittal provides a glimmer of hope. "Never give up hope, son. I know I may never see you again but I know you will be free one day. I pray it is soon. I love you, Bradley and I always will," Susan Manning said.

Manning could face up to 136 years in prison.

The sentencing hearings are set to continue until August 23.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct032012

WikiLeaks Founder Urges Americans to Vote for Site on Election Day

BERTIL ERICSON/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange posted a fundraising pitch on Wednesday that claims the group "has decided to intervene in the U.S. election campaign" and urges Americans not to vote in November.

"This election day, do not vote for the Republican or Democratic parties.  Instead, cast the only vote that matters.  Vote with your wallet -- vote for WikiLeaks," the message reads.

WikiLeaks goes on to claim responsibility for the American withdrawal from Iraq, the Arab Spring and hospital reform in the United States.

[ CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL POST ]

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug312012

WikiLeaks Founder Says Swedes May Drop Case

BERTIL ERICSON/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- In a South American television interview, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says that he thinks he could be living in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for up to a year, and that the Swedish government could drop its sexual assault investigation.

Assange, 41, has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy since June, when he fled there after British authorities approved his extradition to Sweden. The Swedish government wants to question Assange about allegations of assault made by two women. The Ecuadorean government officially granted Assange asylum earlier this month, but British authorities have said they will arrest him if he leaves the embassy.

Assange told Telesur, a channel seen in Ecuador and neighboring countries, that he thinks it will take six to 12 months for a resolution of his situation, and that he expects the standoff will be solved via diplomacy or through "an unusual world occurrence that we can't predict."

He said war with Iran, the outcome of the U.S. election or the "Swedish government dropping the case" could end the impasse. "I think this is the most likely scenario," said Assange. "Maybe after a thorough investigation of what happened [Swedish authorities] could drop the case."

In the interview, he also asserted that both he and his organization were the subject of political persecution. "Ecuador has been correct in showing its values in this case," said Assange.

Assange has said that he sought asylum because he feared the Swedish government could deliver him into U.S. custody. WikiLeaks has released thousands of State Department cables and other sensitive U.S. government information. The Ecuadorian government cited the threat of Assange's extradition to the U.S. in granting Assange's asylum request.

The Ecuadorean government has claimed that the U.K. has threatened to invoke a national law that would allow it to revoke the embassy's protected diplomatic status and take Assange from the embassy, an apartment in Knightsbridge, by force.

British foreign minister William Hague has denied that the U.K. has issued any threat to storm the embassy. This week, Hague said that "given Ecuador's position on what they call diplomatic asylum and our very clear legal position, such a solution is not in sight at the moment."

In August 2010, police in Sweden began investigating accusations of sexual assault against Assange made by two women. According to British police documents, one of the accusers claims Assange pulled her clothes off, pinned her arms and legs and refused to use a condom. She told a friend that the act was both violent and the worst sex she'd ever had. A British attorney representing Swedish prosecutors told the court earlier this year that Assange had raped the second woman while she was sleeping.

In May, the U.K. upheld the validity of the Swedish prosecutor's arrest warrant, making him subject to extradition to Sweden by the end of June. He had been living under house arrest at the mansion of a supporter in the English countryside. He sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy on June 19.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug242012

Ecuador's President Calls for Assange's Safe Pasage to His Country

BERTIL ERICSON/AFP/Getty Images(QUITO, Ecuador) -- How long might WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have to live at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London?  It could be days, months or even years.

Assange has been granted asylum by Ecuador which he sought to stop his extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault charges brought by two women.

Ecuador agrees with Assange that Sweden might turn around and hand him over to U.S. authorities who are anxious to try Assange for publishing thousands of formerly classified State and Defense Department documents on his website.

As long as Assange stays on the grounds of the Ecuadorian mission, he's safe. Otherwise, British police are free to arrest him and begin his extradition to Sweden.

However, the controversy could be put to rest immediately, according to Ecuador's President Rafael Correa, if Britain just allowed Assange to travel to South America without conditions.

Otherwise, Correa told the BBC, the standoff "could go on for months and years if Mr. Assange can't leave the embassy of Ecuador in London."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Aug192012

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Calls on President Obama to End 'Witch Hunt'

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared Sunday for the first time since he took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, calling for the release of Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking documents to the whistlebowling website, and urging President Obama to "do the right thing" and end the "witch-hunt" against WikiLeaks.

For the past two years, Assange, 41, has fought extradition efforts to send him to Sweden, where he faces questioning over alleged sexual assaults against two women. The Australian has said he fears Swedish authorities will hand him over to U.S. officials.

Ecuador granted Assange political asylum Thursday, but he has been threatened with arrest if he leaves the country's 10-room London embassy, where he has been holed up for the past two months.

Appearing on a balcony, Assange read a prepared statement to more than 200 supporters, reporters and dozens of British police.

"I ask President Obama to do the right thing. The United States must renounce its witch hunt against WikiLeaks," Assange said. "The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation. The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff or our supporters."

Assange called Bradley Manning, a U.S. soldier who is accused of passing classified material to WikiLeaks, "one of the world's foremost political prisoners."

"If Bradley Manning really did as he is accused, he is a hero, an example to us all," Assange said. "Bradley Manning must be released."

On Wednesday, Manning had entered his 815th day of detention without a trial. The legal maximum is 120 days, Assange said.

During his brief remarks, Assange also thanked Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa for "the courage he has shown in considering and granting me political asylum."

In an address last week, Correa discussed the decision to grant Assange political asylum.

"We've never said that Julian Assange shouldn't answer to the Swedish justice system nor contribute to the investigation into these supposed crimes," he said.

"What we have always asked for is a guarantee that there won't be a second extradition to a third country, as that would put at risk Mr. Assange's life and freedom," he said.

Correa also responded to what he called a "threat" sent in a letter from the British government, which said officials could lift the embassy's diplomatic status, allowing officers to enter the embassy and arrest Assange.

The UK's Foreign Office later told the BBC the letter had been sent to clarify "all aspects of British law that Ecuador should be aware of."

Correa stood his ground and fired back in his weekly address.

"Who do they think they're dealing with?" he said. "They don't realize Latin America is free and sovereign. We won't tolerate interference, colonialism of any kind."

For the time being, Assange remains safe in the confines of the embassy, which is considered Ecuadorean soil, however in order to reach the country, he will have to make it to an airport and board a flight to South America, all while evading arrest by British police.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug162012

Ecuador Grants WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Political Asylum

BERTIL ERICSON/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Ecuador will grant political asylum for Julian Assange, founder of the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, the South American country's foreign ministry announced today.

Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy on June 19, after a U.K. court declined to block his extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in connection with alleged sexual assaults. The Ecuadorian foreign ministry said the country had decided to grant asylum because Sweden could not guarantee Assange would not be extradited from there to the United States.

Assange has said he fears that Sweden will hand him over to the U.S. WikiLeaks has released hundreds of thousands of confidential U.S. documents on the web, including a slew of State Department cables going back years.

After Ecuador's announcement, a spokesperson for the British Foreign Office said the office was "disappointed" by the decision but said it will not stop Assange from being extradited.

"Under our law, with Mr. Assange having exhausted all options of appeal, the British authorities are under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden. We shall carry out that obligation. The Ecuadorian Government's decision this afternoon does not change that," the spokesperson said. "We remain committed to a negotiated solution that allows us to carry out our obligations under the Extradition Act."

To get to Ecuador, Assange still have to get from the embassy, which is considered Ecuadorean soil, to an airport to board a flight to South America without being arrested by British police.

Britain's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said today that if Assange steps foot outside the embassy he will be arrested.

"Harboring of alleged criminals or frustrating the due legal process is not a permitted function of diplomats under the Vienna convention," he said.

The British government has also reportedly reminded the Ecuadorean government that under law it can revoke the diplomatic immunity of an embassy, which would enable officials to enter the building and apprehend Assange.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul062012

WikiLeaks Releases Syrian Emails

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad doesn’t only have to worry about rebel groups overturning his government and the international community condemning his leadership in the face of a 16-month uprising -- now he also has to worry about WikiLeaks.

The online leak group announced in a statement Thursday that it’s releasing a collection of more than 2.4 million emails between Syrian government officials, politicians and companies.

WikiLeaks said the release of emails from 2006 to March of this year would “shine a light on the inner workings of the Syrian government and economy.”  WikiLeaks said the release would embarrass not only al-Assad, but also his ruling Baath Party and his political adversaries.

Dubbed “The Syria Files,” WikiLeaks said the “range of information extends from the intimate correspondence of the most senior Baath Party figures to records of financial transfers sent from Syrian ministries to other nations.”

The first batch of emails, published by the Italian news magazine L’Espresso, appear to show that Finmeccanica, a large Italian defense contractor, supplied communications equipment to the Syrian regime, even after al-Assad had begun a violent crackdown on peaceful protests.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the emails appear to indicate a subsidiary of Finmeccanica was selling radio communications equipment worth more than $40 million to police in Syria in May 2011, the same month the European Union declared an embargo on the Syrian government that banned the export of weapons and any equipment that could be used against the Syrian people.

The emails also appear to show that as recently as February of this year engineers from the Finmeccanica subsidiary, Selex Elsag, traveled to Syria to provide training on the use of the communications equipment, including how it could be installed in helicopters.  Syria has used helicopter gunships to attack rebel strongholds.

A spokesman for the Rome-based Finmeccanica told The Daily Telegraph the company was trying to verify the authenticity of the emails.  WikiLeaks says more emails will be released via several publications in the coming weeks.

WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange, is still holed up at the embassy of Ecuador in London where he is seeking asylum to avoid British efforts to extradite him to Sweden, where he faces allegations of sexual assault.

Assange believes his extradition to Sweden will result in him being transported to the United States, where he faces possible prosecution for his group’s 2010 release of hundreds of thousands of classified American military and diplomatic documents.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun192012

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Seeks Asylum at Ecuador Embassy

BERTIL ERICSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seeking political asylum in Ecuador after taking refuge in its embassy in London Tuesday.

The Ecuadorian embassy in Washington, D.C., confirmed to ABC News that the 40-year-old Australian national, who faces extradition to Sweden over allegations that he sexually assaulted two women, was on the grounds of the embassy in London and had requested asylum. The Ecuadorian government said in a statement that it is "evaluating the request of Mr. Julian Assange and whatever decision that we adopt about him will take into account the respect for the norms and principles of international law."

According to the Ecuadorian government's statement, Assange said he was seeking asylum because his home country "had declared that they will neither defend nor guarantee the least [of my rights] in front of any government."

"These statements make it impossible for me to return to my home and place me in a state of indefensibility," the statement quotes Assange as saying.

Assange accused Sweden of investigating him because of "political crimes" in the United States, "a place with the death penalty for said offenses."

Though it remains unclear how Assange reached the Ecuadorian embassy, news first broke of his seeking asylum on the WikiLeaks Twitter account, which tweeted, "Julian Assange has requested political asylum and is under the protection of the Ecuadorian embassy in London."

Ecuador's deputy foreign minister had indicated publicly in 2010 that Assange could come live in the South American country. "We are open to giving him residence in Ecuador, without any kind of trouble and without any kind of conditions," said Kintto Lucas. Lucas is no longer the deputy foreign minister.

Assange has been under house arrest in a mansion in the British countryside since December 2010. He has hosted a television talk show on the international cable channel Russia Today, or RT, from the house since March. Last week, the highest court in Britain rejected his appeal to block his extradition to Sweden.

In August 2010, police in Sweden began investigating accusations of sexual assault against Assange made by two women. According to British police documents, one of the accusers claims Assange pulled her clothes off, pinioned her arms and legs and refused to use a condom. She told a friend that the act was both violent and the worst sex she'd ever had. A British attorney representing Swedish prosecutors told the court earlier this year that Assange had raped the second woman while she was sleeping.

Assange has denied any wrongdoing.

Last month, in a 5-2 vote, the British Supreme Court upheld the validity of an arrest warrant made by a Swedish prosecutor to question Assange over the assault accusations.

In its ruling, the court dismissed Assange's argument that the Swedish Prosecution Authority, which issued the warrant in November 2010, did not have the legal authority to do so.

But the court also granted a request from Assange's attorney for 14 days to make an application to reopen the case. The court rejected the bid to reconsider his case on June 14, clearing the way for him to be extradited to Sweden before the end of June.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun142012

WikiLeaks' Assange Dealt Blow; Moves Closer to Extradition

BERTIL ERICSON/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Another loss for Julian Assange in the British courts on Thursday put the WikiLeaks founder one step closer to being extradited to Sweden.

Assange's bid to re-open his extradition case has been shot down by Britain's Supreme Court, meaning he could now be flown to Sweden by the end of the month. This latest move effectively exhausts his options in Britain; his final recourse -- taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

The Wikileaks founder is wanted for questioning in Stockholm where two women have accused him of sexual misconduct. Assange has denied any wrongdoing.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May302012

WikiLeaks Founder Can Be Extradited to Sweden, UK High Court Rules

BERTIL ERICSON/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who bedeviled the U.S. government by publishing a massive trove of formerly classified Pentagon and State Department documents, can be extradited from England to Sweden to face sexual assault charges, the United Kingdom's Supreme Court ruled five-to-two Wednesday.

In reading the decision, Lord Phillips, the president of the court, said: "The majority has concluded that the Swedish public prosecutor was a judicial authority within the meaning of both the framework decision and the extradition act.  It follows that the request for Mr. Assange's extradition has been lawfully made and his appeal against extradition is accordingly dismissed."

Assange was appealing last November’s decision by District Judge Howard Riddle that the 40-year-old could not escape prosecution in Sweden based on allegations of two women involving "non-consensual, coerced" sex.

According to Assange, the sex was consensual and he was being prosecuted for political reasons.

His final recourse is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights, which might only temporarily hold off his extradition.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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