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.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

PORTUGUÊS - Tribunal autoriza extradição de Julian Assange

Tribunal autoriza extradição de Julian Assange

publicado 12:25 24 fevereiro '11
Tribunal autoriza extradição de Julian Assange
Julian Assange ouviu hoje o juiz britânico autorizar a sua extradição para a Suécia. A defesa do fundador do Wikileaks diz que vai apelar da decisão Facundo Arrizabalaga, Epa

O tribunal de Belmarsh em Londres deu luz verde ao pedido de extradição contra Julian Assange apresentado pela Suécia. A justiça sueca acusa o fundador do Wikileaks de crimes de natureza sexual. A defesa do jornalista australiano já disse que vai recorrer da decisão.

O tribunal britânico não considerou válidas as alegações apresentadas pelos advogados de Assange, que apontavam erros graves à instauração do processo por parte das autoridades suecas.

O juiz também considerou improcedentes os argumentos de que uma extradição para a Suécia equivaleria a violar os direitos humanos do acusado.

Assange enfureceu o Governo dos Estados Unidos ao publicar comunicações diplomáticas secretas no site da internet Wikileaks . A defesa argumentava que existia o perigo de poder ser extraditado da Suécia para os EUA onde poderia enfrentar a pena de morte por espionagem ou a prisão em Guantánamo.

Os advogados afirmam também que não há hipótese de o seu cliente ter um julgamento justo na Suécia e acusam o primeiro-ministro daquele país Fredrik Reinfeldt de criar um ambiente tóxico ao apresentar Assange como “o inimigo público número um”.

"Crimes de natureza sexual"Os delegados do ministério público suecos afirmam que querem interrogar Julian Assange sobre crimes de natureza sexual cometidos em agosto no país, contra duas voluntárias do Wikileaks.

Uma das mulheres alega que Assange a molestou sexualmente por ter ignorado o seu pedido de usar um preservativo quando tiveram relações sexuais. A outra, com quem Assange também tinha tido relações sexuais, afirma que, quando dormia, Assange teve novamente sexo com ela sem usar preservativo.

De acordo com a acusação, a segunda destas alegações encontra-se abrangida no grau de menor gravidade do crime de violação de acordo com a lei sueca, o que pode acarretar um máximo de quatro anos de prisão.

Assange e os seus apoiantes afirmam que tudo isto não passa de uma campanha destinada a denegri-lo, e a “punir” o fundador do Wikileaks por ter revelado segredos embaraçosos para os EUA e seus aliados.

Feb. 24 - Julian Assange statement outside court - video

Julian Assange statement outside court - video

Julian Assange and his lawyer challenge a Swedish prosecutor to come to Britain to testify over the sex crimes allegations that could lead to the WikiLeaks' founder's extradition to Sweden

.Feb. 24 - Julian Assange attacks 'rubber-stamp' warrant as he loses extradition battle

Julian Assange attacks 'rubber-stamp' warrant as he loses extradition battle

WikiLeaks founder can be sent to Sweden, Belmarsh magistrates court rules
Follow reactions to the ruling on our live blog
 
  • guardian.co.uk,
  • Article history
  • Julian Assange outside Belmarsh magistrates court after a judge ruled he can be extradited to Sweden
    Julian Assange speaks to the media outside Belmarsh magistrates court after a judge ruled he can be extradited to Sweden. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA
    The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is to be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault. Assange will appeal, his legal team has confirmed. If they lose he will be sent to Sweden in 10 days.
    Speaking outside Belmarsh magistrates court in south-east London after the judgment, Assange attacked the European arrest warrant system.
    He dismissed the decision to extradite him as a "rubber-stamping process". He said: "It comes as no surprise but is nevertheless wrong. It comes as the result of a European arrest warrant system amok."
    There had been no consideration of the allegations against him, Assange said. His extradition would thrust him into a legal system he did not understand using a language he did not speak.
    Assange said the US government by its own admission had been waiting to see the British court verdict before determining what action it could take against him.
    "What does the US have to do with a Swedish extradition process?" he asked. "Why is it that I am subject, a non-profit free speech activist, to a $360,000 (£223,000) bail? Why is it that I am kept under electronic house arrest when I have not even been charged in any country, when I have never been a fugitive?" Assange had earlier heard the chief magistrate, Howard Riddle, dismiss each of the defence's arguments.
    Assange's legal team had contended that the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny did not have the authority to issue a European arrest warrant. The magistrate ruled that she did possess this authority and the warrant was valid.
    Julian Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens reacts to the extradition ruling Link to this video
    Ny's credibility had been questioned by the defence team but Riddle said those doubts amounted to "very little". A retired judge who had criticised her, Brita Sundberg-Weitman, had no firsthand knowledge or evidence to back up her opinion, he said.
    The defence had argued that the allegations against Assange were not offences in English law and therefore not grounds for extradition. But Riddle said the alleged offences against Miss A of sexual assault and molestation met the criteria for extradition, and an allegation made by Miss B if proven "would amount to rape" in this country.
    In his summary Riddle accused Assange's Swedish lawyer, Björn Hurtig, of making a deliberate attempt to mislead the court. Assange had clearly attempted to avoid the Swedish justice system before he left the country, Riddle said. "It would be a reasonable assumption from the facts that Mr Assange was deliberately avoiding interrogation before he left Sweden."
    The judge was severely critical of Hurtig, who had said in his statement that it was "astonishing" Ny had made no effort to interview his client before he left Sweden. "In fact this is untrue," said Riddle. Hurtig had realised his mistake the night before he gave evidence and corrected his evidence in chief, said the judge. But it had been done in a manner that was "very low key". "Mr Hurtig must have realised the significance of ... his proof when he submitted it," Riddle said. "I do not accept that this was a genuine mistake. It cannot have slipped his mind. The statement was a deliberate attempt to mislead the court."
    Riddle acknowledged there had been "considerable adverse publicity against Mr Assange in Sweden", including statements by the prime minister. But if there had been any irregularities in the Swedish system the best place to examine them was in a Swedish trial.
    Outside the court Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, said the ruling had not come as a surprise and reaffirmed the Assange team's concerns that adhering to the European arrest warrant (EAW) amounted to "tick box justice".
    "We are still hopeful that the matter can be resolved in this country," he said. "We remain optimistic of our chances on appeal."
    The possibility of a secret trial – which Assange's lawyers argue he could face if extradited – was "anathema to this country and to most civilised countries in the world", Stephens said. During Assange's extradition hearing Clare Montgomery QC, for the Swedish authorities, said trial evidence would be heard in private but the arguments would be made in public. This did not amount to a secret trial.
    Stephens suggested Riddle had been "hamstrung" by the EAW. "We're pretty sure the secrecy and the way [the case] has been conducted so far have registered with this judge. He's just hamstrung," he told reporters.
    Assange had already paid large amounts to defend himself, with the cost of translating material alone amounting to more than £30,000, Stephens said. "That's a cost the prosecution should be bearing. The prosecution should be translating everything into a language he understands."
    Assange has been fighting extradition since he was arrested and bailed in December. He has consistently denied the allegations, made by two women in August last year.
    At a two-day hearing this month his legal team argued that Assange would not receive a fair trial in Sweden. They said the EAW issued by Sweden was invalid because the Australian had not been charged with any offence and the alleged assaults were not grounds for extradition.
    Assange fears that being taken to Sweden will make it easier for Washington to extradite him to the US on possible charges relating to WikiLeaks's release of the US embassy cables.
    Sweden would have to ask permission from the UK for any onward extradition. No charges have been laid by the US, though it is investigating the website's activities.
    The most serious of the four allegations relates to an accusation that Assange, during a visit to Stockholm in August, had sex with a woman, Miss B, while she was sleeping, without a condom and without her consent. Three counts of sexual assault are alleged by another woman, Miss A. If found guilty of the rape charge he could face up to four years in prison.
    Assange will be held in custody because there is no system of bail in Sweden until a possible trial or release.
    The Australian ambassador to Sweden, Paul Stephens, wrote to the country's justice minister last week to insist that if extradited, any possible case against Assange must "proceed in accordance with due process and the provisions prescribed under Swedish law, as well as applicable European and international laws, including relevant human rights norms".
    European arrest warrants were introduced in 2003 with the aim of making the process swifter and easier between European member states. But campaigners have raised concerns about their application, arguing they are sometimes used before a case is ready to prosecute and have been extended far beyond their original purpose of fighting terrorism. Last year 700 people were extradited from the UK under the system.

Feb. 24 - Julian Assange's laywer reacts to extradition ruling - video

Julian Assange's laywer reacts to extradition ruling - video

Mark Stephens speaks outside Belmarsh magistrates court in south-east London after a judge ruled that the WikiLeaks founder should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault
Source: guardian.co.uk

Feb. 24 - Julian Assange extradition decision: full judgment

Julian Assange extradition decision: full judgment - click this link to go to the original document

Read the judgment ordering the Wikileaks founder to be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault

Feb. 24 - Julian Assange extradition hearing decision – live updates

Julian Assange extradition hearing decision – live updates

The WikiLeaks founder returns to court to learn if he will be extradited to Sweden in relation to allegations of rape and sexual assault
Julian Assange arrives at Belmarsh
Julian Assange arrives with his lawyer Jennifer Robinson at Belmarsh magistrates court Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/REUTERS
Esther Addley offers the following:

#Assange vows to fight on but that was pretty audacious call to Swedish people, u might think he's resigned to trialless than a minute ago via txt

Follow @estheraddley on Twitter
And that - unless there are any further developments - rounds off the liveblog.

Belmarsh was a rubber stamping process. It comes as no surprise but is nevertheless wrong. It comes as the result of a European arrest warrant system amok.
There was no consideration of the allegations made against me. No consideration of the complaints against me in Sweden.
We have always known we would appeal. We have always known in all likelihood we would have to appeal. Ninety five percent of all European arrest warrants are successful [...]
[...] What does the United States have to do with a Swedish Extradition process?
It has been falsely stated that I said the CIA or Pentagon was involved in the initial allegation. I have never said that. I have never said who was behind those allegations, simply that they were untrue.
Why is it that I am subject - a non-profit free speech activist - that I am subject to a £200,000 bail, that I am subject to house arrest when I have never been charged in any country.
The scrutiny of the European arrest warrant system needs to begin now, it cannot be the case that filling two pages with someone's name and a suspicion - not a charge - can lead to their extradition to one of 26 European nations.
Three people a day are being extradited from the UK under a rubber stamp process.
The passage between the ellipsis - my notetaking let me down at that point - concerns a comment on the Andrew Marr show from the US ambassador to the UK that "we'll have to see how it plays out in the British courts" (transcript here).


Mr Hurtig said in his statement that it was astonishing that Ms Ny made no effort to interview his client. In fact this is untrue. He says he realised the mistake the night before giving evidence. He did correct the statement in his evidence in chief (transcript p.83 and p.97). However, this was very low key and not done in a way that I, at least, immediately grasped as significant. It was only in cross-examination that the extent of the mistake became clear. Mr Hurtig must have realised the significance of paragraph 13 of his proof when he submitted it. I do not accept that this was a genuine mistake. It cannot have slipped his mind
If there have been any irregularities in swedish system best place to examine them in a swedish trial' #assangeless than a minute ago via txt

Follow @estheraddley on Twitter
The ruling should be coming soon ... on the absence of press or public at a Swedish rape trial, the judge says it is "certainly alien" to the UK but it does not offend the European convention on human rights.












Esther Addley tweets:
















Judge has dismissed all defence arguments so far #assangeless than a minute ago via txt

Follow @estheraddley on Twitter
He also adds that the defence's attack on Ny's credibility "amounts to very little" and that Brita Sundberg-Weitman, the retired judge who criticised her, had no first hand knowledge, no evidence as to source of her opinion.
















• Assange's Swedish lawyer, Björn Hurtig, made a deliberate attempt to mislead this court, the judge says. He terms him an unreliable witness on attempts by the Swedish prosecutor to contact his client. 
• Of Assange, he says: "It would be a reasonable assumption from the facts that Mr Assange was deliberately avoiding interrogation before he left Sweden."


















If #Assange loses there will be a question over his bail. Possible (likely?) Crown will argue he shd be remanded againless than a minute ago via txt

Follow @estheraddley on Twitter
Assange has arrived at Belmarsh and the hearing will begin soon.





















The defence argued the Swedish prosecutor had no authority to ask for Assange's extradition under the warrant, and furthermore that extradition could not be for questioning. The barrister representing the Swedish prosecutor said the intention was to prosecute him and that the allegations made against Assange by two Swedish women would be offences under English law too.
Esther Addley is back at the court and tweeting. Here is her curtain-raising report from this morning:






















The most serious of the four allegations relates to an accusation that Assange, during a visit to Stockholm in August, had sex with a woman, Miss B, while she was sleeping and without a condom, against her consent. Three counts of sexual assault are also alleged against another woman, Miss A. If found guilty of the rape charge he could face up to four years in prison.
Since there is no system of bail in Sweden, he would be detained in custody if extradited until a possible trial or release.
Assange denies the allegations. The hearing begins at 10.30am.
This report is compiled by Simon Jeffery at the Guardian based on the Twitter feed of Esther Addley at Belmarsh magistrates' court





















Feb. 24 - Julian Assange to learn extradition decision

Julian Assange to learn extradition decision

WikiLeaks founder will hear court's response to arguments relating to European arrest warrant issued by Sweden
  • guardian.co.uk,
  • Article history
  •  
  • Julian Assange
     
    Julian Assange outside an extradition hearing at Belmarsh magistrates court with one of his legal team. Photograph: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA/Rex Features 
     
    The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is preparing to find out whether Sweden has been successful in its attempt to extradite him in relation to allegations of rape and sexual assault.
    Assange has consistently denied the accusations, made by two women in August last year, and has been fighting extradition since he was arrested and bailed in December. The decision will be handed down on Thursday.
    At a two-day hearing earlier this month, his legal team argued that the European arrest warrant (EAW) issued by Sweden was invalid since the Australian has not been charged with any offence, that the alleged assaults would not be legitimate extraditable offences, and that he would not receive a fair trial in Sweden.
    Howard Riddle, the chief magistrate, will deliver his ruling on those arguments at a hearing in London.
    The Swedish prosecutor, represented in court by the British Crown Prosecution Service, has maintained throughout that despite the lack of charge, Assange is being sought for prosecution rather than merely for questioning, which it argues means the warrant is valid.
    The most serious of the four allegations relates to an accusation that Assange, during a visit to Stockholm in August, had sex with a woman, Miss B, while she was sleeping and without a condom, against her consent. Three counts of sexual assault are also alleged against another woman, Miss A. If found guilty of the rape charge he could face up to four years in prison.
    Since there is no system of bail in Sweden, he would be detained in custody if extradited until a possible trial or release.
    Riddle has already remarked on "the possibility, perhaps the inevitability" of an appeal against his decision, whichever way he leans, which would delay a final decision on the Australian's fate for some months.
    A senior extradition barrister said this week Riddle was "very likely" to rule against Assange. The Australian ambassador to Sweden, Paul Stephens, wrote to the country's justice minister last week to insist that, if extradited, any possible case against Assange "would proceed in accordance with due process and the provisions prescribed under Swedish law, as well as applicable European and international laws, including relevant human rights norms".
    Assange also fears that if sent to Sweden it would make more likely an onward extradition to the United States on possible charges relating to WikiLeaks's release of leaked US embassy cables.
    In such an event, Sweden would be required to ask permission from the UK for the onward extradition. No such charges have been laid, though the website's activities are under investigation in the US.
    EAWs were introduced in 2003 with the aim of making extradition swifter and easier between European member states. But campaigners have raised concerns about the application of the controversial warrants, arguing that they are sometimes applied before a case is ready to prosecute, and that while they were originally intended to counter terrorism, their use has greatly increased: 700 people were extradited from the UK under the system last year.

Feb. 23 - Julian Assange is very likely to be extradited, says Matrix barrister

Julian Assange is very likely to be extradited, says Matrix barrister

Julian Knowles, an expert in extradition law, dismisses the arguments made by the WikiLeaks founder's lawyers
  • Joshua Rozenberg
  • Julian Assange 
     
     
    Julian Assange outside an extradition hearing at Belmarsh magistrates court. Photograph: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA/Rex Features 
     It is "very likely" that a senior district judge will order the extradition of Julian Assange to Sweden to face sexual assault charges, a barrister at Matrix Chambers predicted this week.
    Julian Knowles, who has written books on extradition law, was being interviewed on Law in Action, the weekly programme I present for BBC Radio 4.
    He dismissed two preliminary arguments raised by Assange's defence team: that the Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny had no power to issue a European arrest warrant and that the WikiLeaks founder was wanted merely for questioning rather than to face trial.
    "There is no doubt that a Swedish prosecutor does have the power to issue warrants," said Knowles. "And the Swedish prosecutor has made it clear that Mr Assange is wanted for trial if he goes back. Unless he can demonstrate his innocence before trial, he will be tried."
    Another argument put forward by Assange was that the allegations of rape and sexual assault against him did not amount to offences for which he could be extradited. Again, though, Knowles was unimpressed. If what's alleged against Assange had taken place in the UK, the barrister explained, it would "obviously" constitute sexual assault.
    As for the claim that there might be a breach of Assange's right to a fair trial because some of the evidence against him would be heard behind closed doors, Knowles said that the threshold of unfairness was a very high one: "You have to show there would be no meaningful trial at all."
    And the barrister was scathing about defence arguments that Assange might be re-extradited from Sweden to the US, where he might be held at Guantánamo Bay or face the death penalty. "That is, frankly, a hopeless argument," Knowles said.
    This was confirmed by Amy Jeffress, the US justice department's attache to the American embassy in London.
    "The president, of course, has decided to close Guantánamo Bay," she told Law in Action, "and so no one is going to Guantánamo Bay and that claim is baseless."
    Jeffress added that the US always gave assurances in any case for which it had requested extradition that prosecutors would not seek the death penalty.
    But Thursday's ruling by Judge Riddle will not be the end of the story. The losing side has a right of appeal to the high court and will certainly exercise it. So the case might not be resolved before the summer.
    Jeffress stressed that no charges had been brought against Assange over in the US, although she confirmed that there was an investigation into the WikiLeaks case and accepted that any application to a grand jury for a federal arrest warrant would be heard in private. But what would happen if the US requested Assange's extradition while he was still at risk of being sent to Sweden?
    It would then be up to the home secretary to decide between the two competing applications. Knowles thought that the home secretary, Theresa May, would give preference to an application from the US.
    While I was at the US embassy, I asked Jeffress about the case of Gary McKinnon, who is accused of hacking into US military computers from his bedroom in London. The offences were said to have begun 10 years ago, when he was still using a slow, dial-up modem.
    Jeffress said that the US was still seeking McKinnon's extradition, despite medical evidence that he has Asperger's syndrome. His extradition has been held up while May considers doctors' reports.
    But how can this be when the Extradition Act 2003 deliberately removed the discretion that ministers used to have in extradition cases? It turns out that the law has changed without anybody noticing it – and all thanks to the Human Rights Act.
    The home secretary apparently accepts that a person whose extradition has been ordered by the courts can still claim that being sent abroad for trial would breach his or her human rights, particularly if circumstances have changed since the case was before the courts. That opens the door for a whole new round of applications for judicial review.
    It's something of a lifeline for a government that does not want to see a sympathetic figure like McKinnon extradited. Whether ministers will look so kindly on a similar application by Assange remains to be seen.
    Joshua Rozenberg is a freelance legal writer, commentator and broadcaster

Feb. 20 - WikiLeaks books roundup – reviews


WikiLeaks books roundup – reviews

Inside WikiLeaks by Daniel Domscheit-Berg; WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy by David Leigh and Luke Harding
  • John Naughton
  • Julian Assange WikiLeaks 
    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange: ‘his significance transcends his personality’
     
    Photograph: Antonio Zazueta Olmos/Antonio Olmos 
     
    Of the making of books about WikiLeaks, there is apparently no end. Even as these two dropped on to the doormat, two more turned up on my Kindle. And that's just at the "popular" end of the market. Already one can hear the grinding of academic presses as scholars and essayists set to work, assessing the Meaning Of It All. Never before in the history of mankind (as Churchill might say) has so much trouble been caused by so few people.
    1.  Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website
    2.  by Daniel Domscheit-Berg
    3. Buy it from the Guardian bookshop
    The most extraordinary revelation in Daniel Domscheit-Berg's book is how tiny the WikiLeaks operation has been from the beginning. For most of its brief life, it seems to have had a core of only four full-time people with a variable number of part-time supporters, groupies and hangers-on. All in all it's a sobering case study in how mastery of software skills and cryptography can create something capable of infuriating – if not exactly humbling – a superpower.
    Domscheit-Berg is a computer scientist who worked in IT security prior to devoting himself to WikiLeaks at the end of 2007. He left in September 2010, exhausted and embittered by the stress of working with the site's founder, Julian Assange. His is an intensely personal account of what it was like to be at the epicentre of an internet phenomenon. He portrays himself as a relatively straightforward and idealistic hacker who was mesmerised by a flawed genius, and captivated by that genius's vision of creating a world in which no government or corporation could hide things from the rest of us.
    Most of the mainstream media has had a go at profiling Julian Assange, but Domscheit-Berg's portrayal of the WikiLeaks founder is the most insightful to date. Many journalists have commented on his brilliant, wilful, erratic, paranoid personae, but none has lived with him on a day-to-day basis, as Domscheit-Berg did. "Julian often behaved," he writes at one point, "as though he had been raised by wolves rather than by other human beings. Whenever I cooked, the food would not, for instance, end up being shared equally between us. What mattered was who was quicker off the mark. If there were four slices of Spam, he would eat three and leave one for me if I was too slow."
    This indifference to the needs of others, together with a maniacal self-centredness and an amazing ability to concentrate on technical problems, is par for the course for computer geniuses. (Think of the portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, in the film The Social Network, or of the early Bill Gates.) It's what enables them to create things, to conjure up unimaginable constructs by sheer force of intellect and will. But it's also what makes them incapable of managing things on a day-to-day basis – and that, in a nutshell, is the burden of Domscheit-Berg's complaint. As he tells it, the task of running and financing a complex operation was difficult enough without having a capricious, secretive and often uncontactable boss who can – and often does – countermand the carefully laid arrangements of subordinates.
    David Leigh and Luke Harding have produced an All the President's Men for our times. It tells the story of how the Guardian got involved in some of the biggest revelations in recent journalistic history, and chronicles how the Afghan and Iraq war logs and US diplomatic cables came to be published. It's a rattling page-turner that has Guardian dogs learning lots of new tricks (though they never quite mastered the art of using disposable mobile phones). It also highlights the fact that the paper was probably the best available collaborator for WikiLeaks because it's one of the few journalistic organisations that has taken data journalism seriously and has formidable in-house technical expertise.
    One of the lessons of the evolution of WikiLeaks is that the facts rarely speak for themselves. Initially the vision was that all that was needed was to publish information that someone wished to keep secret – that the act of publication was sufficient in itself. What that implied was that WikiLeaks merely needed to construct a secure conduit that would enable whistleblowers to upload stuff without betraying their identities.
    Experience showed, however, that often mere revelation was not enough: the world yawned and turned away. Often the leaked material was complex and unintelligible to the lay browser. It needed expert interpretation – and corroboration. So gradually it dawned on Assange and his colleagues that the best way of making an impact on the world might be to collaborate with journalistic organisations, which could provide the interpretation and the checking needed to ensure that people believed what was being leaked. This is the value that the Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel and the other media partners added to the vast troves of documents that Assange brought to them.
    But if it turned out that WikiLeaks needed conventional journalism, it has also become clear that conventional journalism needs what WikiLeaks created, namely a secure technology for enabling people to upload confidential material that they believe should be in the public domain. So it's important that serious media organisations now build that kind of technology themselves, just in case WikiLeaks is overcome by the fragility of its finances, its managerial problems or the legal vulnerability of its founder. In a world increasingly dominated by secretive, unaccountable corporations and in which authoritarian regimes continue to flourish, we will need robust technologies for ensuring that some secrets cannot be kept.
    The media's obsession with Assange is understandable, for he is indeed an amazingly complex and fascinating individual. It's impossible to read either of these books without being alternately moved and revolted by his behaviour – at least as recounted by those who have had to deal with him. But his significance transcends his personality. Assange unleashed a genie that can't be rebottled. As a result of his work, governments everywhere are faced with a tough choice: to live with a WikiLeakable world or to shut down the net. Not bad for an Australian hacker of no fixed abode.

Feb. 23 - US embassy cables: British government's 'end-use concerns' over Swazi arms order

US embassy cables: British government's 'end-use concerns' over Swazi arms order

  • guardian.co.uk,
  • Article history
  • [ID:211524 Cable dated:2009-06-11T15:27:00] S E C R E T MBABANE 000141
    DEPT FOR DS/IP/AF, DS/IP/ITA; AF/S (MJWILLS,EPELLETREU, MHARRIS); AF/RSA; LONDON, PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCH
    SECRET
    E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/09/2019 TAGS: KDEM, PGOV, PINR, PREL, WZ, PINS, MASS, ETTC, XF">XF SUBJECT: SWAZILAND ARMS PURCHASE ATTEMPTED
    Classified By: AMB. MAURICE PARKER FOR REASONS 1.4 (b) AND (d)
    1. (S) SUMMARY: In December 2008, the GKOS sought to purchase approximately 60 million USD worth of military equipment, including helicopters, vehicles, weapons, and ammunition from a British weapons manufacturer. The British government denied the request over end-use concerns. In documents requesting permission to purchase the equipment, Swaziland's Ministry of Defense stated that the equipment was for use by the Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force (USDF) on United Nations peacekeeping deployment in Africa. It is unclear whether this was the intended purpose, or whether GKOS was attempting to build up domestic capability to deal with unrest, or was possibly acting as an intermediary for a third party. END SUMMARY
    2. (S) In December 2008, the GKOS sought to purchase approximately 60 million USD worth of military equipment from British weapons manufacturer Unionlet Limited (please protect). The British government denied the request over end-use concerns. A senior level contact with the British High Commission in Pretoria (please protect) recently provided Ambassador Parker with documentation on the attempted purchase.
    3. (S) The purchase application, signed by XXXXXXXXXXXX, included requests for 3 Bell Model UH-1H helicopters, FN Herstal 7.6251mm Minimi light machine guns, blank and tracer ammunition, armored personnel carriers, command and control vehicles including one fitted with a 12.7x99mm M2 Browning heavy machine gun and others fitted with the FN Herstal light machine guns, military ambulances, armored repair and recovery vehicles, weapon sights, military image intensifier equipment, optical target surveillance equipment, 620 Heckler & Koch G36E assault rifles, 240 Heckler & Koch G36K assault rifles, 65 Heckler & Koch G36E rifles, 75 Heckler & Koch UMP submachine guns 9x19mm, and 35 Heckler & Koch USP semi-automatic pistols. SwazilandQs Ministry of Defense stated in the purchase documents that the equipment was for use by the Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force on United Nations peacekeeping deployment in Africa.
    4. (S) COMMENT: Post is disappointed that XXXXXXXXXXXX did not disclose anything about this request to Ambassador Parker or DATT Langdorf in one of several very candid and private discussions since this order was placed. If XXXXXXXXXXXX were coerced into making the order, he might have been embarrassed to discuss it, though from his experience, one would think he would assume we would find out about it and that he might have wanted to do damage control.
    5. (S) The array of weapons requested would not be needed for the first phases of peacekeeping, although it is possible someone tried to convince the Swazi government they were required. The GKOS may have been attempting to build up domestic capability to deal with unrest, or was possibly acting as an intermediary for a third party such as Zimbabwe or a Middle Eastern country that had cash, diamonds or goods to trade. XXXXXXXXXXXX, traveled to Iran and later to Libya, and several GKOS Ministers made trips to Kuwait, Dubai, and other Arab nations. We also understand that an Iranian ambassador, resident in either Pretoria or Maputo, recently presented his letters of credence to King Mswati to establish formal diplomatic relations with Swaziland.
    6. (S) We are not aware of subsequent purchase requests. XXXXXXXXXXXX
    7. (S) Please protect information on the identity of the British weapons manufacturer. The British contact providing documentation for this purchase informed Ambassador Parker that if the information becomes public, the manufacturer could sue the British Government for violating confidentiality. END COMMENT.
    PARKER