Re: Info - Wiki Founder
Date 2010-12-01 21:17:05
I would think that's the second to last place he would want to go.
GCHQ/london police/MI5 could easily find him, and I don't see why Cameron
and friends wouldn't be 100% agreeable to extradition.
But you're right, this is also the last report I saw. This could actually
mean the US has decided NOT to go after him.
From: Bayless Parsley
Date: Wed, 01 Dec 2010 14:14:30 -0600
To: Analyst List
ReplyTo: Analyst List
Subject: Re: Info - Wiki Founder
no, last he was heard from was in Britain.... and he sounded SUPER
this was before shit hit the fan like it has now hit following the pub of
the diplo cables
WikiLeaks Founder on the Run, Trailed by Notoriety
By JOHN F. BURNS and RAVI SOMAIYA
LONDON - Julian Assange moves like a hunted man. In a noisy Ethiopian
restaurant in London's rundown Paddington district, he pitches his voice
barely above a whisper to foil the Western intelligence agencies he fears.
He demands that his dwindling number of loyalists use expensive encrypted
cellphones and swaps his own the way other men change shirts. He checks
into hotels under false names, dyes his hair, sleeps on sofas and floors,
and uses cash instead of credit cards, often borrowed from friends.
"By being determined to be on this path, and not to compromise, I've wound
up in an extraordinary situation," Mr. Assange said over lunch last
Sunday, when he arrived sporting a woolen beanie and a wispy stubble and
trailing a youthful entourage that included a filmmaker assigned to
document any unpleasant surprises.
In his remarkable journey to notoriety, Mr. Assange, founder of the
WikiLeaks whistle-blowers' Web site, sees the next few weeks as his most
hazardous. Now he is making his most brazen disclosure yet: 391,832 secret
documents on the Iraqi war. He held a news conference in London on
Saturday, saying that the release "constituted the most comprehensive and
detailed account of any war ever to have entered the public record."
Twelve weeks ago, he posted on his organization's Web site some 77,000
classified Pentagon documents on the Afghan conflict.
Much has changed since 2006, when Mr. Assange, a 39-year-old Australian,
used years of computer hacking and what friends call a near genius I.Q. to
establish WikiLeaks, redefining whistle-blowing by gathering secrets in
bulk, storing them beyond the reach of governments and others determined
to retrieve them, then releasing them instantly, and globally.
Now it is not just governments that denounce him: some of his own comrades
are abandoning him for what they see as erratic and imperious behavior,
and a nearly delusional grandeur unmatched by an awareness that the
digital secrets he reveals can have a price in flesh and blood.
Several WikiLeaks colleagues say he alone decided to release the Afghan
documents without removing the names of Afghan intelligence sources for
NATO troops. "We were very, very upset with that, and with the way he
spoke about it afterwards," said Birgitta Jonsdottir, a core WikiLeaks
volunteer and a member of Iceland's Parliament. "If he could just focus on
the important things he does, it would be better."
He is also being investigated in connection with accusations of rape and
molestation involving two Swedish women. Mr. Assange has denied the
allegations, saying the relations were consensual. But prosecutors in
Sweden have yet to formally approve charges or dismiss the case eight
weeks after the complaints against Mr. Assange were filed, damaging his
quest for a secure base for himself and WikiLeaks. Though he characterizes
the claims as "a smear campaign," the scandal has compounded the pressures
of his cloaked life.
"When it comes to the point where you occasionally look forward to being
in prison on the basis that you might be able to spend a day reading a
book, the realization dawns that perhaps the situation has become a little
more stressful than you would like," he said over the London lunch.
Mr. Assange has come a long way from an unsettled childhood in Australia
as a self-acknowledged social misfit who narrowly avoided prison after
being convicted on 25 charges of computer hacking in 1995. History is
punctuated by spies, defectors and others who revealed the most
inflammatory secrets of their age. Mr. Assange has become that figure for
the Internet era, with as yet unreckoned consequences for himself and for
the keepers of the world's secrets.
"I've been waiting 40 years for someone to disclose information on a scale
that might really make a difference," said Daniel Ellsberg, who exposed a
1,000-page secret study of the Vietnam War in 1971 that became known as
the Pentagon Papers.
Mr. Ellsberg said he saw kindred spirits in Mr. Assange and Pfc. Bradley
Manning, the 22-year-old former Army intelligence operative under
detention in Quantico, Va., suspected of leaking the Iraq and Afghan
"They were willing to go to prison for life, or be executed, to put out
this information," Mr. Ellsberg said.
Underlying Mr. Assange's anxieties is deep uncertainty about what the
United States and its allies may do next. Pentagon and Justice department
officials have said they are weighing his actions under the 1917 Espionage
Act. They have demanded that Mr. Assange "return" all government documents
in his possession, undertake not to publish any new ones and not "solicit"
further American materials.
Mr. Assange has responded by going on the run, but has found no refuge.
Amid the Afghan documents controversy, he flew to Sweden, seeking a
residence permit and protection under that country's broad press freedoms.
His initial welcome was euphoric.
"They called me the James Bond of journalism," he recalled wryly. "It got
me a lot of fans, and some of them ended up causing me a bit of trouble."
Within days, his liaisons with two Swedish women led to an arrest warrant
on charges of rape and molestation. Karin Rosander, a spokesperson for the
prosecutor, said last week that the police were continuing to investigate.
In late September, he left Stockholm for Berlin. A bag he checked on the
almost empty flight disappeared, with three encrypted laptops. It has not
resurfaced; Mr. Assange suspects it was intercepted. From Germany, he
traveled to London, wary at being detained on arrival. Under British law,
his Australian passport entitles him to remain for six months. Iceland,
another country with generous press freedoms and a strong WikiLeaks
following, has also lost its appeal, with Mr. Assange concluding that its
government, like Britain's, is too easily influenced by Washington. In his
native Australia, ministers have signaled their willingness to cooperate
with the United States if it opens a prosecution. Mr. Assange said a
senior Australian official told him, "You play outside the rules, and you
will be dealt with outside the rules."
He faces attack from within, too.
After the Sweden scandal, strains within WikiLeaks reached a breaking
point, with some of Mr. Assange's closest collaborators publicly
defecting. The New York Times spoke with dozens of people who have worked
with and supported him in Iceland, Sweden, Germany, Britain and the United
States. What emerged was a picture of the founder of WikiLeaks as its
prime innovator and charismatic force but as someone whose growing
celebrity has been matched by an increasingly dictatorial, eccentric and
Effectively, as Mr. Assange pursues his fugitive's life, his leadership is
enforced over the Internet. Even remotely, his style is imperious. In an
online exchange with one volunteer, a transcript of which was obtained by
The Times, he warned that WikiLeaks would disintegrate without him. "We've
been in a Unity or Death situation for a few months now," he said.
When Herbert Snorrason, a 25-year-old political activist in Iceland,
questioned Mr. Assange's judgment over a number of issues in an online
exchange last month, Mr. Assange was uncompromising. "I don't like your
tone," he said, according to a transcript. "If it continues, you're out."
Mr. Assange cast himself as indispensable. "I am the heart and soul of
this organization, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder,
organizer, financier, and all the rest," he said. "If you have a problem
with me," he told Mr. Snorrason, using an expletive, he should quit.
In an interview about the exchange, Mr. Snorrason's conclusion was stark.
"He is not in his right mind," he said. In London, Mr. Assange was
dismissive of all those who have criticized him. "These are not
consequential people," he said.
"About a dozen" disillusioned volunteers have left recently, said Smari
McCarthy, an Icelandic volunteer who has distanced himself in the recent
turmoil. In late summer, Mr. Assange suspended Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a
German who had been the WikiLeaks spokesman under the pseudonym Daniel
Schmitt, accusing him of unspecified "bad behavior." Many more activists,
Mr. McCarthy said, are likely to follow.
Mr. Assange denied that any important volunteers had quit, apart from Mr.
Domscheit-Berg. But further defections could paralyze an organization that
Mr. Assange says has 40 core volunteers and about 800 mostly unpaid
followers to maintain a diffuse web of computer servers and to secure the
system against attack - to guard against the kind of infiltration that
WikiLeaks itself has used to generate its revelations.
Mr. Assange's detractors also accuse him of pursuing a vendetta against
the United States. In London, Mr. Assange said America was an increasingly
militarized society and a threat to democracy. Moreover, he said, "we have
been attacked by the United States, so we are forced into a position where
we must defend ourselves."
Even among those challenging Mr. Assange's leadership style, there is
recognition that the intricate computer and financial architecture
WikiLeaks uses to shield it against its enemies has depended on its
founder. "He's very unique and extremely capable," said Ms. Jonsdottir,
the Icelandic lawmaker.
A Rash of Scoops
Before posting the documents on Afghanistan and Iraq, WikiLeaks enjoyed a
string of coups.
Supporters were thrilled when the organization posted documents on the
Guantanamo Bay detention operation, the contents of Sarah Palin's personal
Yahoo email account, reports of extrajudicial killings in Kenya and East
Timor, the membership rolls of the neo-Nazi British National Party and a
combat video showing American Apache helicopters in Baghdad in 2007
gunning down at least 12 people, including two Reuters journalists.
But now, WikiLeaks has been met with new doubts. Amnesty International and
Reporters Without Borders have joined the Pentagon in criticizing the
organization for risking people's lives by publishing war logs identifying
Afghans working for the Americans or acting as informers.
A Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan using the pseudonym Zabiullah Mujahid
said in a telephone interview that the Taliban had formed a nine-member
"commission" after the Afghan documents were posted "to find about people
who are spying." He said the Taliban had a "wanted" list of 1,800 Afghans
and was comparing that with names WikiLeaks provided.
"After the process is completed, our Taliban court will decide about such
people," he said.
Mr. Assange defended posting unredacted documents, saying he balanced his
decision "with the knowledge of the tremendous good and prevention of harm
that is caused" by putting the information into the public domain. "There
are no easy choices on the table for this organization," he said.
But if Mr. Assange is sustained by his sense of mission, faith is fading
among his fellow conspirators. His mood was caught vividly in an exchange
on Sept. 20 with another senior WikiLeaks figure. In an encrypted online
chat, a transcript of which was passed to The Times, Mr. Assange was
dismissive of his colleagues. He described them as "a confederacy of
fools," and asked his interlocutor, "Am I dealing with a complete retard?"
In London, Mr. Assange was angered when asked about the rifts. He
responded testily to questions about WikiLeaks's opaque finances, Private
Manning's fate and WikiLeaks's apparent lack of accountability to anybody
but himself, calling the questions "cretinous," "facile" and reminiscent
Mr. Assange has been equivocal about Private Manning, talking in late
summer as though the soldier was unavoidable collateral damage, much like
the Afghans named as informers in the secret Pentagon documents.
But in London, he took a more sympathetic view, describing Private Manning
as a "political prisoner" facing a jail term of up to 52 years, without
confirming that he was the source of the disclosed war logs. "We have a
duty to assist Mr. Manning and other people who are facing legal and other
consequences," he said.
Mr. Assange's own fate seems as imperiled as Private Manning's. Last
Monday, the Swedish Migration Board said Mr. Assange's bid for a residence
permit had been rejected. His British visa will expire early next year.
When he left the London restaurant at twilight, heading into the shadows,
he declined to say where he was going. The man who has put some of the
world's most powerful institutions on his watch list was, once more, on
Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington, and Dexter Filkins
from Kabul, Afghanistan.
On 12/1/10 1:29 PM, Sean Noonan wrote:
Is he even still in sweden?
From: Lena Bell
Date: Wed, 01 Dec 2010 13:10:26
To: Analyst List
Reply-To: Analyst List
Subject: Re: Info - Wiki Founder
Not sure that's happening re Oz; federal police have opened up an
investigation to see whether or not any Australian criminal laws were
broken. - where did Nick get the insight about an agreed extradition -
there is nothing about this on OS and of course it would mean Assange
would have to come home first. Something he is very unlikely to do.
GovGen hasn't ruled out canceling his passport incidentally.
His mother has recently been interviewed by the ABC and she is scared
that he will be "hunted down and jailed"... will make it difficult to
pursue the scenario painted below. Australians are likely to back him.
You wouldn't believe how much press/public sentiment david hicks created
in Guantanamo Bay. It really forced the Howard govt to change tactics...
esp when polling results overall were so poor.**
Bayless Parsley wrote:
The main thing I was trying to ask about earlier was in regards to the
logistics of actually detaining the guy.
I got the sense that Fred was saying US agents could physically do it
in another country. Perhaps I just misunderstood what he was trying to
say, because I find that really hard to believe (as rendition is not
an option in this case, which is why I brought up the fact that some
Republican congressmen are trying to call Assange a "terrorist" now).
Basic fact is that any move to arrest the guy (assuming they get an
indictment for him) would require that a friendly government do it and
then extradite him. Nick Miller told me the Australians have already
offered to do this, as Assange is an Australian citizen, and Australia
is the Canada of the southern hemisphere when it comes to its
relations with the US.
Also, Karen had a very good point about the sex charges. Weren't those
dropped months ago after the initial allegations? What do ya know,
after the US explictly warned him time and again to stop publishing
the cables, it pops back up all of a sudden...
On 12/1/10 12:36 PM, Reva Bhalla wrote:
can you charge them with anything if they paid for the information?
On Dec 1, 2010, at 12:35 PM, Sean Noonan wrote:
You mean by helping Manning get the information off the networks?
Training, computer codes, flash drives, etc??
That's a good point.
On 12/1/10 12:31 PM, George Friedman wrote:
He might have facilitated or suborned the access. For example,
provided the means for distirbuting it.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
*From: *Sean Noonan
*Date: *Wed, 1 Dec 2010 12:19:09 -0600 (CST)
*To: *Analyst List
*ReplyTo: *Analyst List
*Subject: *Re: Info - Wiki Founder
I think it's very difficult to indict him on anything though.
MAYBE espionage, but even those laws are still too old. I think
your FBI contact is right (sadly). the US can really only get the
person who did the leak, not who published it--George also pointed
this out over the weekend.
What would the sealed indictment be for?
(this is also why they will get him on some other charges in
On 12/1/10 12:15 PM, Fred Burton wrote:
Sealed indictment. Hand the warrant over to the USMS to execute.
Happens everyday. The USMS works w/their counterparts and lock the dude
Bayless Parsley wrote:
How would it work if the US wanted to catch such a high profile target
like this? Despite what one Republican senator may have said the other
day (can't remember who, or if it was even a senator), he's not a
"terrorist," and so rendition..... wouldn't really be an option.
But legally, you'd have to have the host government's cooperation. Is
there any way aside from that scenario that could lead to his arrest
on charges of breaking US laws?
On 12/1/10 12:12 PM, Fred Burton wrote:
>From a very good contact @ the FBI --
How come you guys haven't picked this left-wing lunatic WikiLeaks founder up on
some sort of trumped up charge?
1st Amendment overprotects journalists.
Office: +1 512-279-9479
Mobile: +1 512-758-5967
Strategic Forecasting, Inc.
Office: +1 512-279-9479
Mobile: +1 512-758-5967
Strategic Forecasting, Inc.