Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DOJ refuses to confirm Assange indictment revealed by Stratfor leak

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, February 28, 2012 10:51 EST
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Photo: AFP.
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AUSTIN, TEXAS — The U.S. Department of Justice is refusing to comment on whether it has prepared espionage charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, even after emails allegedly stolen from the Austin, Texas firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor) and published Tuesday revealed that the company claims to have a sealed indictment against him.
In an email published by WikiLeaks on Tuesday morning, Stratfor vice president Fred Burton writes that his firm has “a sealed indictment on Assange,” and asks subordinates to “Pls protect” the document, which was labeled “Not for Pub[lication].” In another email, Burton suggests that authorities could “lock him up” by having Assange detained as a material witness.
Burton’s email was sent in response to a discussion about reports that U.S. prosecutors have not been able to hang the case against Pvt. Bradley Manning on any direct contact with Assange.
Speaking to Raw Story Tuesday morning, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Dean Boyd said that they cannot comment “on whether anyone has been charged in a sealed indictment.”
Stratfor was hacked in January by unknown individuals claiming to be part of the “Anonymous” movement, who allegedly gave more than 5 million of Stratfor’s emails to WikiLeaks. The site began publishing the stolen documents on Monday, claiming they revealed a private spy agency used by corporations and top government officials. Hackers at the time revealed a list of the firm’s clients, which includes companies like Apple, Microsoft, Coca Cola, Dow, the U.S. Defense Department, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Marines and others.
While the U.S. Department of Justice has not confirmed the Assange indictment, it did convene a grand jury over a year ago to investigate charges related to the release of hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables allegedly given to WikiLeaks by Pvt. Manning.
It is not clear if Stratfor really has an indictment against Assange. The firm has refused to answer any questions raised by their stolen emails, and questions have arisen as to the validity of some of their intelligence. They have also suggested that some of the emails obtained by WikiLeaks could be fake.
Even Assange mocked their sometimes ineffectual analysis of world affairs, calling out the open source intelligence often used to beef up reports when that information wasn’t relevant or useful to Stratfor’s clients. The firm has been roundly ridiculed since their emails leaked, with some evenchiding WikiLeaks for taking them so seriously, saying the company is “a punchline more often than a source of valuable information or insight.”
Other Stratfor emails that discuss WikiLeaks hint that sexual assault allegations against Assange might not be entirely legitimate. One message shows Stratfor President George Friedman joking that Assange’s citizenship in Australia cannot be revoked because he’s “a total dickhead.” He was replying to analyst Chris Farnham, who openly questioned the veracity of the charges and alleged that a “close family friend in Sweden who knows the girl that is pressing charges” against the WikiLeaks founder allegedly said “there is absolutely nothing behind it” aside from a pair of eager prosecutors.
Analyst Marko Papic responds that Assange “hates America more than OBL (Osama bin Laden),” then jokes that “nobody in the U.S. is mad about the cables” before suggesting that Stratfor could potentially benefit from the popularity of Internet leaks. “[S]hould we change our Stratfor motto now?” analyst Reva Bhalla asks. “Predictive, insightful intelligence…in a post-Cablegate world.”
Assange has been under house arrest in the U.K. pending an appeal of an extradition request by Swedish authorities. His attorney insists that he had consensual sex with two women and that one later claimed he did not use a condom despite her wishes, which is grounds for sexual assault charges in Sweden. Assange said Monday that sexual manipulation is a tool used by private spies around the world, implying that he too became the target of such advances, but leveling no direct charges at his accusers.
The WikiLeaks founder has been appealing a lower court’s ruling granting the extradition request, and the British Supreme Court heard his case earlier this month. If his appeal is denied, Assange may still bring the extradition to the European Court of Human rights.
He claims that the extradition request is politically motivated, and fears that if he’s in Swedish custody and espionage charges against him emerge in America, he could face a lengthy prison sentence. Assange is also planning to host a new talk show on the Russia Today news channel, to debut sometime later this year.
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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  • DocChaos
    As I was cruising the net I ran across a post from somebody who said, "obey no laws except these," and he or she listed the ten commandments and a copy of the Bill of Rights. 
    As it happened I'd just seen a FOX news (I know, don't say it) video called "Illegal Everything" that started out with a story about little girls being put out of the lemon-aid stand business by armed police. 
    Between the two I was reminded of all the power we give away every day to legislators controlled by the rich and influential who create more and more restrictive laws that guarantee we cannot breath air in our own home without breaking some obscure law the "authorities" can use to prosecute us.  They have absolute control thanks to a system designed to utterly suppress the people by the people who control the power.  For instance, if you want to own a taxi in New York City you have to buy a million dollar medallion (license). That's why only corporations control the taxis. Or why a petty politician in a rural town can abuse authority and ruin your life by digging up a BS law you can't avoid breaking.
    Laws don't have to make sense or be just. They only have to exist and they do exist to give more power to those who abuse them in order to abuse us. Politicians and public officials are not required to be just or possess one lick of common sense. I don't think it's necessary for me to elaborate on that. 
    Then I thought the poster might be right.  What do we need legislators for? How much of what the do is actually conducive to rights as laid down in our Constitution and Bill of Rights?  And how often is it they and their bureaucrats violate both the Constitution in spirit, word, and deed?
    I concluded the guy had a point. 
  • EuroSkeptic
    These emails clearly elucidate the merger of corporate America with US policy and classified intelligence information. It is the 1% being given access to some of the most sensitive domestic and international intelligence which, in a democratic and law abiding society, would be the sole providence of the policy makers and intelligence, justice, and defense departments, and under the protections and firewalls which are in place to prevent disclosure. This is corruption at its worst, corruption of the rights of the people and their rightful expectation of equality and justice. Furthermore, it is blatant financial and economic corruption of a massive magnitude. If there exists even a semblance of justice and integrity in Washington the jails will be filled with the perpetrators of this travesty. 
  • Biffler
    "It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong."  - Voltaire
  • This latest info drop gives us another insight into the minds of the corporate exploiters. That is the greatest value of Wikileaks, revealing that these corporations and their government lackeys are working against us systematically.
  • FlatBaroque
    This is the eye of the fascist hurricane.  This is what you would look at if you wanted to see what a fascist state looks like.  This is where government and private interests merge.  This is the distillation of all the corruption and general evil in our world emanates.  This is the putrid cesspool of corrupt government employees who cash in.  
    NB: The reason companies like this exist is because Coca Cola, as an example, cannot be seen doing the things that Stratfor does because that would be too obvious a crime.  So these are the companies that function as the criminal arms of the multi-national corpse.  That the US government is in bed with the company is a clear indication that this country is run by purely corrupt individuals.  We are a fascist nation.
  • HeavyHebrew
    Anyone find it odd that a private intelligence outfit had a sealed indictment of the Department of Justice?
  • FlatBaroque
    Perhaps if you thought of the DOJ and Stratfor as different operating units of the same corporation, it would be more clear.
  • Obi-jonKenobi, compulsive blogger
    My thoughts exactly!
  • Wow, so I guess we do actually still have a DOJ.  I figured it had been dis-banded since there has been zero prosecution of any bankster and/or wall st crook that crashed our economy and then needed tax payer bailouts to continue to receive their ill-gotten gains.
    (Edited by author 1 hour ago)
  • Democratic* war criminals. Fucking neocolonialism.
  • 7up98682
    Anybody know how all this material is sent to Wikileaks? I also find it hard to believe that a PFC would be able to download all that info without some superior not knowing about it. Is Manning being used as a scrapegoat to cover some General's ass?
    So many questions, no answers, and I doubt we will ever learn the real truth.
  • HeavyHebrew
    Never underestimate the institutional incompetency that is the national bureaucracy.
     I was published recently that the unit that Manning was in had 6 computers and they were set up so that one couldn't back track and find out who the particular user was at any given time.  This is a set intended for highly sensitive information.
  • ignatzfattis
    I'd be nervous about that extradition -they want to snatch him in transit and bring him here to face this indictment.
    (Edited by author 1 hour ago)
  • HeavyHebrew
    In accordance with Dutch law Assange was buried at sea....
  • Rasta_mon
    Obama's CORPORATE bought-and-paid-for DOJ only goes after whistleblowers despite MASSIVE CORPORATE CRIME
    and Obama has the GAUL to stand in front of you and tell you that he's doing something about it?!?!
    this LIAR IN CHIEF needs to be dragged out of the whitehouse by the balls.
  • HeavyHebrew
    Hey, the alternatives are a Mormon cyborg and a crazy jumped up wannabe Hitler with a bible.
    Vote the Lesser of Two Evils, the modern American two party system.
    Banking tool, banking robot or JesusHitler™. Take a bite of that poop sandwich.
     The difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats are willing to throw the little guy a crumb. Often that crumb can make the difference for survival.
  • Rasta_mon
     maybe Dems should INSIST that Obama step down after one term......let's go with that.
    KUCINICH 2012
  • AussieHistorian
    Their corporate clients must shitting themselves :)
     Why use morons who document embarrassing information, can't protect it, when there are less problematic firms to use?
  • shadowmatt
    A bunch of war criminals investigating any crime just seems wrong.

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