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The Pronk Pops Show 1247, April 30, 2019, Story 1: Vive Venezuelan Revolution Regime Change — Send In Trump’s Private Army — Central Intelligence Agency — Takeover Oil Fields and Restore Democracy — Cubans and Russians Deported To Country of Origin — Videos — Story 2: Babbling Biden Bowel Movement — A Few Dozen Union Leaders Show Up — Not Very Impressive — Videos — Story 3: Biden Surges in Rigged Polls — Videos — Story 4: A Whole Lot of Unmasking Going On — Artifact of Attempted Deep State Coupe? — Videos

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Story 1: Vive Venezuelan Revolution Regime Change — Send In Trump’s Private Army — Central Intelligence Agency — Takeover Oil Fields and Restore Democracy — Cubans and Russians Deported To Country of Origin — Videos

 

Venezuela’s Guaidó calls for uprising against Maduro

Guaido initiates ‘final phase’ of uprising in Venezuela

Erik Prince Wants A Private Army Sent To Venezuela

Venezuela Collapse Explained

Venezuela Crisis Explained (Short Documentary 2017)

Pompeo warns Russia to get out of Venezuela

Venezuela’s President Maduro ‘had a plane on the tarmac’ yesterday and was ready to flee to Cuba before RUSSIA intervened to stop him leaving, US claims after tens of thousands of people hit the streets in support of his rival Juan Guaido sparking violent clashes with military

  • Juan Guaido called for uprising against Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday from the La Carlota airbase in Caracas
  • Mike Pompeo claims Maduro was ready to leave Venezuela as uprising began until the Kremlin intervened 
  • Guaido made the announcement surrounded by troops who then began setting up a defensive perimeter
  • Maduro’s forces fired tear gas before a heavy exchange of gunfire, with protesters caught in the middle
  • Video footage shows a Venezuelan National Guard armoured vehicle plough into a group of protesters
  • Trump administration backs Guaido and his uprising while Putin backs Maduro during talks with top officials

Clashes rock Venezuela as Guaido urges opposition uprising

24 minutes ago

Opposition leader Juan Guaidó took a bold step to revive his movement to seize power in Venezuela, taking to the streets Tuesday to call for a military uprising that drew quick support from the Trump administration but also fierce resistance from forces loyal to embattled socialist Nicolas Maduro.

Violent street battles erupted in parts of Caracas in what was the most serious challenge yet to Maduro’s rule — kicked off with a video shot at dawn of Guaidó, flanked by several heavily armed national guardsmen, urging a final push to topple Maduro.

In one dramatic incident during a chaotic day, several armored vehicles plowed into a group of anti-government demonstrators trying to storm the capital’s air base, hitting at least two protesters.

Still, the rebellion, dubbed “Operation Freedom,” seemed to have garnered only limited military support.

The dramatic events began early Tuesday when Guaidó, flanked by a few dozen national guardsmen and some armored crowd-control vehicles, released the three-minute video shot near the Carlota air base.

In a surprise, Leopoldo Lopez, Guaido’s political mentor and the nation’s most-prominent opposition activist, stood alongside him. Detained in 2014 for leading a previous round of anti-government unrest, Lopez said he had been released from house arrest by security forces adhering to an order from Guaidó.

“I want to tell the Venezuelan people: This is the moment to take to the streets and accompany these patriotic soldiers,” Lopez declared.

As the two opposition leaders coordinated actions from a highway overpass, troops loyal to Maduro fired tear gas from inside the adjacent air base.

A crowd that quickly swelled to a few thousand scurried for cover, reappearing later with Guaidó at a plaza a few blocks from the disturbances. A smaller group of masked youths stayed behind on the highway, lobbing rocks and Molotov cocktails toward the air base and setting a government bus on fire.

An anti-government protester walks near a bus that was set on fire by opponents of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro during clashes between rebel and loyalist soldiers in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Amid the mayhem, several armored utility vehicles careened over a berm and drove at full speed into the crowd. Two demonstrators, lying on the ground with their heads and legs bloodied, were rushed away on a motorcycle as the vehicles sped away dodging fireballs thrown by the demonstrators.

“It’s now or never,” said one of the young rebellious soldiers, his face covered in the blue bandanna worn by the few dozen insurgent soldiers.

Later Tuesday, Lopez and his family sought refuge in the Chilean ambassador’s residence in Caracas, where another political ally has been holed up for over a year. There were also reports that 25 troops who had been with Guaidó fled to Brazil’s diplomatic mission.

Amid the confusion, Maduro tried to project an image of strength, saying he had spoken to several regional military commanders who reaffirmed their loyalty.

“Nerves of steel!” he said in a message posted on Twitter.

Flanked by top military commanders, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López condemned Guaido’s move as a “terrorist” act and “coup attempt” that was bound to fail like past uprisings.

Fireworks launched by opponents of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro land near Bolivarian National Guard armored vehicles loyal to Maduro, during an attempted military uprising in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

“Those who try to take Miraflores with violence will be met with violence,” he said on national television, referring to the presidential palace where hundreds of government supporters, some of them brandishing firearms, had gathered in response to a call to defend Maduro.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said the “right-wing extremists” would not succeed in fracturing the armed forces, which have largely stood with the socialist leader throughout the months of turmoil.

“Since 2002, we’ve seen the same pattern,” Arreaza told The Associated Press. “They call for violence, a coup, and send people into the streets so that there are confrontations and deaths. And then from the blood they try to construct a narrative.”

Protesters erected barricades of debris at several downtown intersections about 10 blocks from the presidential palace, but police in riot gear moved in quickly to clear the roads. Most shops and businesses were closed and the streets of the capital unusually quiet, as people huddled at home to await the outcome of the day’s drama.

Guaidó said he called for the uprising to restore Venezuela’s constitutional order, broken when Maduro was sworn in earlier this year for a second term following elections boycotted by the opposition and considered illegitimate by dozens of countries.

Paramedics aid an anti-government protester who was injured during clashes with security forces loyal to President Nicolas Maduro, during an attempted military uprising in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Boris Vergara)

He said that in the coming hours he would release a list of top commanders supporting the uprising. There were unconfirmed reports that Gen. Manuel Christopher Figuera, who heads the feared intelligence agency responsible for keeping Lopez in state custody, was among members of the security forces who had decided to flip.

“The armed forces have taken the right decision,” said Guaidó. “With the support of the Venezuelan people and the backing of our constitution they are on the right side of history.”

Anti-government demonstrators gathered in several other cities, although there were no reports that Guaidó’s supporters had taken control of any military installations.

As events unfolded, governments from around the world expressed support for Guaidó while reiterating calls to avoid violent confrontation.

Bolton declined to discuss possible actions — military or otherwise — but reiterated that “all options” are on the table as President Donald J. Trump monitors developments “minute by minute.”

He said he was waiting for key power brokers including Padrino, Supreme Court chief justice Maikel Moreno and head of the presidential guard to make good on their commitments to achieve the peaceful transfer of power to Guiado.

“All agreed that Maduro had to go. They need to be able to act this afternoon, or this evening, to help bring other military forces to the side of the interim president,” Bolton said. “If this effort fails, (Venezuela) will sink into a dictatorship from which there are very few possible alternatives.”

Elsewhere, Spain’s socialist caretaker government urged restraint, while the governments of Cuba and Bolivia reiterated their support for Maduro.

___

Joshua Goodman in Cucuta, Colombia, contributed to this report.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6975871/Venezuelas-Juan-Guaido-calls-military-revolt-final-phase-overthrowing-President-Maduro.html

 

– Story 2: Babbling Biden Bowel Movement — A Few Hundred Union Leaders Show Up — Not Very Impressive — Videos

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Joe Biden holds first 2020 campaign rally

 

Story 3: Biden Surges in Rigged CNN Polls — 39% Biden, 15% Sanders and No Other Candidates in Double Digits —  Videos

 

Biden surges in primary polls

Former Vice President Joe Biden has surged in the polls since launching his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, opening up a double-digit lead over the rest of the field in two new national surveys.

A CNN poll released Tuesday found Biden jumping 11 points to 39 percent support, a 24-point lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is at 15 percent support. No other candidate in the race has double-digit backing from respondents.

And a Morning Consult survey released Tuesday found Biden with 36 percent support, followed by Sanders at 22 percent. That’s a 6-point bounce for Biden from the same survey released earlier this month, while Sanders has fallen by 2 points. No other candidate reaches double-digit support in the Morning Consult poll, either.

Biden’s polling strength also extends to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.

A Suffolk University survey released Tuesday found the former Delaware senator in the lead in New Hampshire with 20 percent support, followed by Sanders and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 12 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is in fourth place at 8 percent.

If Biden were to win New Hampshire it would be a massive blow to Sanders and Warren, who come from nearby states and are seen as having a home-field advantage in the Northeast.

Biden’s strength in the polls is driven by his broad support from African Americans. Biden has 43 percent support from black voters, according to Morning Consult. Sanders is at 20 percent here, followed by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at 10 percent.

The same holds true in the CNN poll, with Biden hitting 50 percent among nonwhite voters. Sanders is a distant second at 14 percent, and no other candidate is in double-digits.

With Biden emerging as the clear early front-runner, the Democrats lagging behind are increasingly taking shots at him and his decades-long voting record.

Sanders went after Biden with his most direct attacks yet on Monday night on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”

“I helped lead the fight against NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement], [Biden] voted for NAFTA. I helped lead the fight against China [on trade], he voted for it. I strongly opposed [the Trans-Pacific Partnership], he supported it. I voted against the war in Iraq, he voted for it,” Sanders said.

President Trump also unloaded on Biden with a series of Twitter attacks, suggesting the president and his political team view the former vice president as a formidable challenger.

The attacks from the White House further help Biden separate himself from the pack of Democrats behind him, setting up an early one-on-one with the president that sets Biden above the fray.

Biden has sought to draw early contrasts between himself and Trump, opening his launch speech by attacking the president’s response to the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

On Monday, Biden rallied union workers at a campaign event in Pennsylvania, a state Trump turned red in the last election for the first time since 1988.

“I’m sick of this President badmouthing unions,” Biden tweeted. “Labor built the middle class in this country … we need a president who honors them and their work.”

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/441313-poll-biden-surges-in-primary-polls

Biden holds 26-point lead among Dems in new national poll

Days after announcing his presidential candidacy, former Vice President Joe Biden holds a 26-point lead over other Democratic contenders, according to a new Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday.

Biden, who announced his White House bid early Thursday, leads among Democrats and voters leaning Democratic with 38 percent support of those surveyed, according to the poll.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) came in second in the poll with 12 percent support among those surveyed, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with 11 percent, the poll found.

“The Democratic primary race suddenly gets real with a fast start by former Vice President Joe Biden and a very clear indication from voters that he is the only candidate who can send President Trumppacking 18 months from now,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

The results of the Quinnipiac University Poll are similar to survey results released Tuesday that showed a surge of support for Biden following his campaign launch. The former vice president far outpaced every other candidate in several polls release Tuesday.

CNN-SSRS poll released Tuesday found that Biden leaped 11 points since last month, earning the support of 39 percent of the Democratic electorate. That poll found Biden holding a 24-point lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) and no other candidate earning double-digit support.

A Morning Consult survey released Tuesday found that Biden rose from 30 percent support earlier this month to 36 percent support. That poll found Sanders’s support at 22 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll surveyed 419 Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters from April 26 to 29 and has a margin of error of 5.6 percentage points.

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/441399-biden-holds-26-point-lead-among-dems-in-new-national-poll

Story 4: A Whole Lot of Unmasking Going On — Artifact of Attempted Deep State Coupe — Videos

 

NSA Reports 75% Increase in Unmasking U.S. Identities Under Foreign Surveillance Law in 2018

The National Security Agency, responsible for electronic eavesdropping, disclosed the identities of people or entities that are normally redacted in intelligence reports

 

A sign outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md. PHOTO: PATRICK SEMANSKY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The National Security Agency revealed to federal agencies the identities of almost 17,000 U.S. residents or corporations whose information was collected under a foreign surveillance law in 2018, registering about a 75% increase in unmaskings over the previous year, according to an annual transparency report released Tuesday.

The NSA, responsible for electronic eavesdropping, disclosed the identities of people or entities that are normally redacted in intelligence reports—in response to specific requests from other government agencies to reveal the identities, a process known as unmasking.

In 2018, NSA said it unmasked 16,721 U.S. identities caught up in intelligence intercepts produced by a foreign intelligence law, the report said. It unmasked 9,529 in 2017 and 9,217 in a 12-month period across 2015 and 2016.

The surge in the number of unmaskings last year was fueled in part by an effort to determine the identities of victims of cyberattacks from foreign intelligence agencies, according to Alex Joel, head of civil liberties and transparency at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which released Tuesday’s report.

Mr. Joel, in a call with reporters, said there were a number of varied factors—including world events and evolving threats—that could result in statistical fluctuations in a given year for a certain type of surveillance.

Unmasking is a term used when the identity of a U.S. citizen, lawful resident, or corporate entity is revealed in classified intelligence reports. Unmasking is designed to be only used for national-security reasons, such as helping officials assess intelligence by providing the identity of someone two foreign spies may be discussing on a call. But the process is governed by strict rules across the U.S. intelligence apparatus that make it illegal to use unmaskings for political purposes or to leak classified information.

The practice has become a politically charged topic in recent years, as President Trump and some Republican allies in Congress have repeatedly accused the Obama administration of improperly using surveillance information—including unmasking the redacted names of Mr. Trump’s transition team members—for political gain. Former intelligence officials have repeatedly denied those accusations, and no evidence has been provided publicly to support them.

The unmasked information was collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows U.S. intelligence agencies to collect certain categories of foreign intelligence information from international phone calls and emails of terrorism suspects and other perceived security threats. Information from that surveillance is often shared with relevant federal government agencies with the names of any U.S. persons redacted to protect their privacy, unless an agency requests that identities be unmasked.

Privacy advocates have long criticized the law for allowing broad surveillance that can implicate Americans and doesn’t require individualized warrants, while U.S. intelligence officials have defended it as among the most valuable national-security tools at their disposal.

A single intelligence report could contain a lengthy list of identities that a government agency would ask to have unmasked, including the victims of large-scale foreign intelligence operations. In that case, each individual person or entity would be counted separately, Mr. Joel said. As a result, the NSA shared only 1,379 reports last year containing identities that were revealed.

The report showed the number of foreigners targeted under the law continued to rise in 2018 to 164,770, about 35,000 higher than the previous year.

But information about Americans that was incidentally collected dropped to 14,374—down from nearly 17,000 in 2017 and less than half the total collected two years ago. Incidental collection can occur in a number of ways, including when a U.S. person communicates with a foreign target under surveillance.

Congress passed legislation in January 2018 that renewed the surveillance authority for six years with minimal changes, which Mr. Trump signed into law.

The transparency report released Tuesday also showed that the NSA had gathered in 2018 fewer metadata records of domestic phone calls and text messages—about 434 million compared with the 534 million collected in 2017. But the latest figure includes records collected both before and after the NSA had to purge its database last year, meaning NSA recollected a large amount of those records and counted them twice, Mr. Joel said.

The NSA purged its database after learning it was receiving information it wasn’t authorized to obtain, including data about phone numbers not connected to any surveillance target. Metadata include the numbers and time stamps of a call or text message but not the contents of the conversation.

The law that governs that phone metadata program is due to expire in December. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the NSA had recommended to the White House that it let the program lapse due to logistical and legal burdens and that the White House hadn’t yet made a policy decision on the matter.

In a possible reflection of the phone system’s waning importance—compared to other surveillance programs that saw a rise in phone use—analysts at the NSA obtained orders to gather records about only an estimated 11 targets last year, down from 40 in 2017, the report said.

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1238, April 11, 2019, Breaking News — Story 1: Wikileaks Co-Founder Julian Assange Arrested In Great Britain — Videos — Story 2: Obama vs. Trump Using Drones To Kill Terrorists and Many Innocent Civilians — Videos — Story 3: Fake Sanctuary Cities Oppose Sending Illegal Aliens To Their Cities — Videos

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The Real Reason Julian Assange Was Arrested

Collateral Murder?

WikiLeaks video: ‘Collateral murder’ in Iraq

Published on Apr 7, 2010
WikiLeaks, a website that publishes anonymously sourced documents, has released a video showing what apparently is a US military helicopter firing at unarmed civilians in Iraq. WikiLeaks said the footage, filmed from a helicopter cockpit, shows a missile strike and shooting on a square in a Baghdad neighbourhood in July 2007. The website said 12 civilians were killed in the attack, including two journalists, Namir Nour El Deen and Saeed Chmagh, who worked for the Reuters news agency. This is the full, unedited version of the footage.

WikiLeaks’ Collateral Murder: U.S. Soldier Ethan McCord

Controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London

What U.S. charges against Julian Assange mean for journalists

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Arrested In London, Facing Possible US Extradition

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London

‘The Five’ reacts to Julian Assange’s charges

Former MI5 Agent on Assange’s arrest

Bill Binney (former NSA) on the Arrest of Julian Assange

Former intel chief reacts to Assange arrest

LIVE: Wikileaks Editor in chief holds press briefing on Assange’s “new criminal case”

‘The arrest of Julian Assange is spiteful self-interested politics’

Julian Assange: Wikileaks co-founder arrested in London- BBC News

Wikileaks Co-founder Julian Assange Arrested

How Julian Assange Became a Household Name

Why has Julian Assange been holed up? BBC News

Who Is Julian Assange? (2010)

Secret World of US Election: Julian Assange talks to John Pilger (FULL INTERVIEW)

What 33,000 pages of leaked emails teach us about Hillary Clinton

CIA Hacking Tools Released in Wikileaks Vault 7 – Threat Wire

WikiLeaks Vault 7 explained

CIA declines to comment on WikiLeaks document dump

WikiLeaks releases documents on CIA hacking

CIA Director Calls WikiLeaks Hostile Intelligence Service

SEVEN officers, found guilty of skipping UK bail and charged by American government with hacking 750,000 classified documents

  • Wikileaks founder dragged out of Ecuadorian Embassy in handcuffs by a large group of police officers today 
  • Arrest was for skipping bail in 2012 and also for a US extradition request over computer hacking charges 
  • Ecuador said decision came after he behaved badly and interfered with its affairs during his seven-year stay
  • Appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court where he was found guilty of breaching bail conditions in 2012
  • He faces a further court hearing in May relating to his possible extradition to the US on the hacking charges 
  • He has not left embassy since 2012, when he was offered refuge from allegations of sexual assault in Sweden
  • Assange has always feared extradition to the US, where he’s wanted for a leak of highly-classified documents 
  • Corbyn told Government not to extradite Assange for ‘exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan’

Julian Assange is facing up to 12 months in a British prison after he was found guilty of skipping bail to avoid being extradited to Sweden in 2012 to face allegations of rape and sexual assault.

The Wikileaks founder finally appeared in court today after he was sensationally expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been claiming political refuge for the past seven years.

A judge branded Assange’s defence ‘laughable’ and his behaviour that of a ‘narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests’ after he pleaded not guilty to breaching his bail conditions, claiming he did so because he could never expect a fair trial in the UK.

Ecuador’s decision to revoke his political asylum this morning saw a diplomatic falling of dominoes, with seven British police officers entering the embassy at 10am before restraining him as he tried to flee to his private room.

They then dragged the fugitive away kicking and screaming into a van as he shouted ‘this is unlawful’ and ‘the UK must resist’.

In a dramatic turn of events, he was then also charged by US government prosecutors with conspiring with American whistleblower Chelsea Manning to break the password of a classified government computer in 2010.

Assange participated in the hacking in ‘real-time’ and encouraged the act, which led to one of the largest leaks of classified information in US history, according to a statement.

The US department of justice confirmed he has been charged with computer crimes, which if he is found guilty of could result in a five-year jail term. Addressing Assange at today’s court hearing, District Judge Michael Snow told him to ‘get over to the US’ and ‘get on with your life’.

While he awaits sentencing for jumping bail, Assange, 47, also faces a court hearing on May 2 relating to his possible extradition to the US to contest the hacking charges.

His lawyer Jennifer Robinson said he will fight extradition, adding that he thanked supporters and said ‘I told you so’ when she visited him in his police cell.

Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno dramatically withdraw Assange’s asylum status this morning, blaming his ‘discourteous and aggressive behaviour’ in continuing to work with Wikileaks while housed at the embassy.

In a scathing statement, President Moreno accused Assange of violating the terms of his asylum by ‘interfering in internal affairs of other states’ as well as ‘blocking security cameras’ and ‘mistreating guards’. Its interior minister even alleged he had smeared faeces on the embassy’s walls.

The arrest came just 24 hours after Wikileaks had accused Ecuador of an ‘extensive spying operation’, adding that it assumed intelligence had been handed over to the Trump administration.

Mr Trump, who had declared ‘I love WikiLeaks’ during his 2016 campaign when the website released damaging emails concerning Hillary Clinton, said following Assange’s arrest that ‘I know nothing really about him’.

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates' Court today

Assange on the way to court

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today

The Wikileaks founder was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in handcuffs by a large group of men as stunned supporters and protesters watched on in central London

The Wikileaks founder was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in handcuffs by a large group of men as stunned supporters and protesters watched on in central London

V

The court heard how Assange resisted arrest and tried to barge past officers in an attempt to return to his private room within the embassy when they introduced themselves at about 10am, telling them: 'This is unlawful'+32

The court heard how Assange resisted arrest and tried to barge past officers in an attempt to return to his private room within the embassy when they introduced themselves at about 10am, telling them: ‘This is unlawful’

The US Department of Justice said Julian Assange had been arrested over an alleged conspiracy with Chelsea Manning “to break a password to a classified US government computer”

Indictment form for Julian Assange

The US Department of Justice, releasing this indictment form, said Julian Assange had been arrested over an alleged conspiracy with Chelsea Manning ‘to break a password to a classified US government computer’

A judge described Assange's defence that he could never expect a fair trial in the UK as 'laughable', calling his behaviour that of a 'narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests' as the court heard he tried to fight off arresting officers

A judge described Assange’s defence that he could never expect a fair trial in the UK as ‘laughable’, calling his behaviour that of a ‘narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests’ as the court heard he tried to fight off arresting officers

Assange gestures to photographers as he is driven away from Westminster Magistrates' Court after he hearing today

A large crowd of Press and supporters were gathered outside the court to wait for him to come out

Assange gestures to photographers as he is driven away from Westminster Magistrates’ Court after he hearing today

Assange pictured as he was led out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in handcuffs following his sensational arrest by British police today

Assange pictured as he was led out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in handcuffs following his sensational arrest by British police today

Assange (pictured bottom left) as he is arrested by police after being ejected from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London

His lawyer Jennifer Robinson and Kristinn Hrafnsson, Editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, address the media outside of Westminster Magistrates Court today

His lawyer Jennifer Robinson and Kristinn Hrafnsson, Editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, address the media outside of Westminster Magistrates Court today

The decision to expel Assange followed months of gradually souring relations between the Ecuadorian government and its unwelcome guest.

‘He exposed atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan’: Corbyn urges the UK not to extradite Assange to America – as luvvies and Russia slam his arrest

Jeremy Corbyn has called on the Government not to extradite Julian Assange, saying he had exposed evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Almost 12 hours after Assange was arrested, the Labour leader tweeted: ‘The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government.’

He accompanied his social media post with a video tweeted by shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, which she said showed leaked Pentagon footage of a 2007 air strike in Iraq which implicated American armed forces in the killing of civilians and two journalists.

Corbyn (pictured today) broke this silence this evening to urge the UK government not to extradite Assange

Addressing the House of Commons on Thursday, Ms Abbott said Assange was in the ‘cross-hairs of the US administration’ over his whistle-blowing activities.

She claimed this was the reason why the WikiLeaks founder would be subject to an extradition warrant from the US.

She said: ‘On this side of the House we want to make the point that the reason we are debating Julian Assange this afternoon, even though the only charge he may face in this country is in relation to his bail hearings, is entirely due to the whistle-blowing activities of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.’

Ms Abbott went on: ‘It is this whistle-blowing into illegal wars, mass murder, murder of civilians and corruption on a grand scale, that has put Julian Assange in the cross-hairs of the US administration.

‘It is for this reason that they have once more issued an extradition warrant against Mr Assange.’

In response, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘Why is it whenever someone has a track record of undermining the UK and our allies and the values we stand for, you can almost guarantee that the leadership of the party opposite will support those who intend to do us harm?

‘You can always guarantee that from the party opposite.’

Pamela Anderson arrives to meet Assange at the embassy in 2017

Pamela Anderson arrives to meet Assange at the embassy in 2017

Corbyn and Abbott were joined by the likes of Pamela Anderson, Edward Snowden, Vivienne Westwood and Peter Tatchell in voicing their concern.

 US whistleblower Snowden warned the arrest was a ‘dark moment for press freedom,’ while fashion designer Westwood protested outside Westminster Magistrates Court.

Snowden, a former CIA agent tweeted: ‘Images of Ecuador’s ambassador inviting the UK’s secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of-like it or not-award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books.’

Snowden is currently living in exile Russia having fled the US after leaking a huge cache of declassified documents back in 2013.

Assange’s close friend Pamela Anderson also blasted the arrest on Twitter, calling the UK ‘America’s b****’ and claiming it was a ‘diversion from Brexit’.

She said:  ‘How could you Equador ? (Because he exposed you). How could you UK? Of course – you are America’s b**** and you need a diversion from your idiotic Brexit b*******. ‘

She also called out the USA and described President Donald Trump as ‘toxic’.

She added:  ‘This toxic coward of a President He needs to rally his base? – You are selfish and cruel. You have taken the entire world backwards.

‘You are devils and liars and thieves. And you will ROTT And WE WILL RISE ✊.’

Ms Anderson then re-tweeted videos of Assange’s arrest before posting a photo of him with the caption ‘veritas valebit’, which is Latin for ‘truth will prevail’.

And the Russian Foreign Ministry claimed the move was ‘the hand of democracy squeezing the throat of freedom’.

President Moreno, who entered the office in 2017, was personally targeted by Wikileaks in February, when a set of documents were leaked that allegedly linked the president and family members to financial corruption and money laundering.

Wikileaks has previously called Moreno’s pursuit of Assange a ‘diversion tactic’ aimed at pointing attention away from the scandal and scoring political points with the US, with whom he is believed to want to improve relations.

The revival of US-Ecuadoran diplomacy, led by Moreno, saw the International Monetary Fund in Washington approve a $4.2billion payment to the Ecuadorian government in March, a month to the day that Assange was arrested and charged.

The Ecuadorian ambassador to the UK, Jaime Marchan, said that in the time Assange remained in the embassy he had been disrespectful, ‘continually a problem’ and interfered in elections, politics and the internal affairs of other countries.

Mr Marchan said: ‘He was continually a problem to us, he was very disrespectful to the authorities, he has said that we were spying on him, he has said we were lying, we were agents of the United States.’

A Downing Street spokesman insisted the UK had not lobbied the Ecuadorians to revoke Assange’s asylum status.

She said: ‘In terms of contact, there has been a sense of dialogue with the Ecuadorian government from the onset.

‘The decision to revoke asylum was one for them entirely and you’ll have seen from their statements that they have set that out.

‘Beyond that, this is now a matter for the police and the court system.’

When asked if the British Government had lobbied the Ecuadorians, she said: ‘No, and as I’ve said the decision to revoke his asylum status is one taken entirely by them and they have confirmed that in their statements today.’

Assange, who has overseen the publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through Wikileaks, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court a few hours after his was brought into custody by police.

James Hines, for the US government, told the court: ‘Officers attended the embassy around 9.15am where they met the ambassador.

‘The ambassador said he was proposing to serve documents ending Assange’s asylum.’

The court heard that the officers met Assange at 10pm. Mr Hines said: ‘The officers tried to introduce themselves to him but he barged past them attempting to return to his private room.

‘He was arrested at 10.15am. He resisted that arrest and had to be restrained. Officers were struggling to handcuff him. They received assistance from other officers outside.’ He told the court that Assange kept saying: ‘This is unlawful.’

Mr Hines said: ‘He was in fact lifted into the police van and taken to West Central police station. There he was more formally arrested.’

News of his arrest was praised by Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who said ‘no one was above the law’, while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added Assange was ‘no hero’ and claimed he had ‘hidden from the truth for years’.

In a statement, the Home Office said: ‘We can confirm that Julian Assange was arrested in relation to a provisional extradition request from the United States of America.

‘He is accused in the United States of America computer related offences.’

Scotland Yard said Assange was held for failing to appear in court in June 2012 and ‘further arrested on behalf of the United States authorities, at 10.53am after his arrival at a central London police station’.

US authorities claim Assange helped former US military analyst Chelsea Manning crack a password to gain entry to secure a computer network and download material to share with WikiLeaks.

The Wikileaks editor tonight claimed Assange was thrown ‘overboard’ by Ecuador to face decades in jail or even the death penalty in the US.

Kristinn Hrafnsson said the extradition request from the US for the Australian, on charges of conspiring to break into a classified government computer, was ‘only a part of the story’.

She said believed ‘that there will be more later, that will be added on, more charges’.

The Icelandic editor of the whistle-blowing site said: ‘It probably adds to the likelihood that he will be extradited from the UK if it’s on relatively smaller charges.

‘The legal codes proceeding in the Grand Jury investigation include various legal codes and the Espionage Act of 1917 which carries the death penalty and at least elements of decades in prison.’

Assange has always feared extradition to the US where his lawyers have claimed he could face the death penalty for the leaking of highly-classified documents.

However, the UK government has insisted it would not extradite Assange if there was a risk of him being executed. The Ecuadorian government said it had asked Britain for this guarantee.

The Wikileaks founder (pictured over a seven-year period) finally appeared in court today after he was sensationally expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been claiming political refuge

The Wikileaks founder (pictured over a seven-year period) finally appeared in court today after he was sensationally expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been claiming political refuge

A protestor is handled by police officers standing outside Westminster Magistrates Court after the arrest of Julian Assange

A police van sits outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police and taken into custody following the Ecuadorian government's withdrawal of asylum

A police van sits outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police and taken into custody following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum

This graphic shows how Assange's dramatic arrest unfolded this morning at the Ecuadorian Embassy

The US charges were announced shortly after Assange was taken into custody this morning.

What is UK’s extradition agreement with the US and how long could it take to send Assange to America?

The UK to US extradition process is in place to seek justice for serious crimes affecting both countries and its citizens.

It protects the rights of those accused and victims.

The latest version of the  treaty updated the formal extradition relationship between the US and UK following changes in the UK’s own extradition laws and corrected a previous imbalances.

It was previously required that the US would have to  present its evidence in ‘prima facie’ form, when the US had never required that from the UK.

In the case of Assange experts have now said that he is likely to receive a custodial sentence in the UK and that and extradition to the US will follow.

Extradition lawyer Thomas Garner: ‘Given Assange’s public statements in the past it is clear that he would attempt to raise many bars to his extradition.

‘The extradition court here would not come to any conclusions on the merits of the US case in the proceedings here.

‘Its sole concern would be whether there are any legal bar to his being extradited to stand trial in the US. The process would take many months to conclude.

‘If there were an extradition request from the US, given the likely complexity of the case, it is doubtful that any final hearing would be heard this year.’

In a statement, US Department of Justice said Assange’s arrest was ‘in connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified US government computer’.

If found guilty, he could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison, it said.

Ms Manning, a transgender woman formerly known as Bradley Manning, was convicted in 2013 after leaking 700,000 military and State Department documents to WikiLeaks.

She was released in 2017 after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence, which was commuted by former president Barack Obama.

It is alleged Ms Manning and Assange had ‘real-time discussions’ on how to share the classified records, with Assange ‘actively encouraging’ Ms Manning to provide more.

During an exchange, Ms Manning allegedly told Assange that ‘after this upload, that’s all I really have got left’, to which Assange replied ‘curious eyes never run dry in my experience’.

The statement added: ‘Assange is charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

‘If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.

‘A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.’

Ms Manning was jailed in the US last month after she refused to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

Spanish lawyer Baltasar Garzon, who is coordinating Assange’s defence, claimed today he was the target of ‘political persecution’.

‘There is evident political persecution which started precisely with the massive publication by WikiLeaks in 2010 of cables and very serious information’ which Assange had published, including a trove of classified Pentagon documents detailing alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq,’ he said.

‘The threats against Julian Assange for political reasons, persecution on the part of the United States, are more current than ever.’

Mr Garzon also accused Ecuador’s president of lying about the reasons behind the revoking of Assange’s citizenship of the South American state, acquired in 2017.

Moments after the arrest, Wikileaks said Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Assange's political asylum 'in violation of international law'

Moments after the arrest, Wikileaks said Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Assange’s political asylum ‘in violation of international law’

British police are pictured arriving at the embassy moments before the Wikileaks founder was dragged outside in handcuffs

Media gathers outside Westminster Magistrates Court where Julian Assange is set to appear after his arrest by Metropolitan Police

Media gathers outside Westminster Magistrates Court where Julian Assange is set to appear after his arrest by Metropolitan Police

Mr Trump, who had declared 'I love WikiLeaks' during his 2016 campaign when the website released damaging emails concerning Hillary Clinton, said following Assange's arrest that 'I know nothing really about him'

Who is former US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning and how is she linked to Assange?

Chelsea Manning is a US Army intelligence analyst and delivered hundreds of thousands of classified documents that he found troubling to WikiLeaks.

In 2009 Manning was sent to Iraq where she had access to ‘troubling’ information.

She gave this information to WikiLeaks and was later arrested after her actions were reported to the US government.

In 2010 Assange was accused of conspiring with Manning and other conspirators to publish secret military and diplomatic documents that Manning had collected.

In 2013 she was sentenced to 35 years in prison for espionage and theft.

Chelsea Manning leaving court in March after testifying before a grand jury in the investigation against Julian Assange

Chelsea Manning leaving court in March after testifying before a grand jury in the investigation against Julian Assange

A year later Manning, who is transgender, was granted the right to be legally recognized as Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, after living as Bradley Manning.

In 2017 President Barack Obama commuted her sentence and she was released from prison.

Earlier this year, Manning revealed that she was fighting a subpoena to testify before a grand jury about her interactions with WikiLeaks.

On March 5 she testified before a grand jury in the investigation against Julian Assange.

On March 9 she was taken into custody after a federal judge found her in contempt for her refusal to cooperate.

Jennifer Robinson, who is also representing Assange, said: ‘Since 2010 we’ve warned that Julian Assange would face prosecution and extradition to the United States for his publishing activities with WikiLeaks. Unfortunately today, we’ve been proven right.

‘Mr Assange was arrested this morning at about 10am at the Ecuadorian Embassy after the ambassador formally notified him that his asylum would be revoked, and he was arrested by British police.

‘We’ve today received a warrant and a provisional extradition request from the United States, alleging that he has conspired with Chelsea Manning in relation to the materials published by WikiLeaks in 2010.

‘This sets a dangerous precedent for all media organisations and journalists in Europe and elsewhere around the world.

‘This precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States.

‘I’ve just been with Mr Assange in the police cells. He wants to thank all of his supporters for their ongoing support and he said: ‘I told you so’.’

It was accidentally revealed in November that Assange had been secretly indicted by the US Justice Department, but the exact nature of the charges against the 47-year-old was not disclosed.

Assange has not left Ecuador’s diplomatic soil since 2012, when the country offered diplomatic protection from allegations of sexual assault in Sweden.

The case was eventually dropped as investigators were unable to formally notify Assange of the allegations, however Swedish prosecutors revealed today that the case could now be revisited following his arrest.

Moments after the arrest, during which Assange held on to a Gore Vidal book on the history of the national security state, Wikileaks said Ecuador had acted illegally and ‘in violation of international law’.

Shortly after his arrest, vocal supporter and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson tweeted a black and white photo of Assange along with the caption ‘Veritas Valebit’, which is Latin for ‘the truth will prevail’.

The 51-year-old, who claims she was previously in a relationship with Assange, said she was in shock at the arrest.

Taking to Twitter she commented on his appearance and said he looked ‘very bad’.

She said: ‘How could you Equador? (Because he exposed you). How could you UK? Of course – you are America’s b***h and you need a diversion from your idiotic Brexit b*******. ‘

She also called out the USA and described President Donald Trump as ‘toxic’.

She added: ‘This toxic coward of a President He needs to rally his base? – You are selfish and cruel. You have taken the entire world backwards.

‘You are devils and liars and thieves. And you will ROTT And WE WILL RISE ✊.’

Shortly after his arrest, vocal supporter and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson tweeted a black and white photo of Assange along with the caption 'Veritas Valebit', which is Latin for 'the truth will prevail'

Taking to Twitter she commented on his appearance and said he looked 'very bad'

Shortly after his arrest, vocal supporter and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson tweeted a black and white photo of Assange along with the caption ‘Veritas Valebit’, which is Latin for ‘the truth will prevail’

Fidel Narvaez (left), former consul of Ecuador to London, looks at some of the footage, alongside WikiLeaks editor in chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and barrister Jennifer Robinson today

Fidel Narvaez (left), former consul of Ecuador to London, looks at some of the footage, alongside WikiLeaks editor in chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and barrister Jennifer Robinson today

Mr Narvaez, Mr Hrafnsson and Ms Robinson at Doughty Street Chambers in London today

Mr Narvaez, Mr Hrafnsson and Ms Robinson at Doughty Street Chambers in London today

Meanwhile, US whistleblower Edward Snowden warned the arrest was a ‘dark moment for press freedom’.

Snowden tweeted: ‘Images of Ecuador’s ambassador inviting the UK’s secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of-like it or not-award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books.

How Assange has cost UK taxpayers more than £12million while holed up in embassy

Julian Assange first entered the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 after he was granted conditional bail in 2010 after his supporters paid £240,000 in cash and sureties.

In 2015 the Met Police announced it would end its 24-hour guard as part part of a three-year police operation.

Scotland Yard released figures in 2015 which suggested that Assange being in the UK is estimated to have cost over £12million.

At the time the Met said the figure included £6.5million of costs incurred for police officer pay costs that would be incurred during normal duties, as well as a £2.7million price tag for police overtime.

Another £1.1million is said to have been ran up due to administration costs.

MailOnline has contacted the Met Police for an updated figure.

‘Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom.’

Snowden is currently living in exile Russia having fled the US after leaking a huge cache of declassified documents back in 2013.

The Former CIA agent has been a longstanding supporter of Assange’s cause having allegedly been helped by the Wikileaks founder in handing over the secret documents to journalists.

Assange’s arrest comes a day after Wikileaks accused the Ecuadorean Government of an ‘extensive spying operation’.

In a press conference yesterday, it was alleged that the Wikileaks founder’s meetings with lawyers and a doctor inside the Ecuador embassy in London over the past year had been secretly filmed.

The anti-secrecy organisation said it had been offered all the material from an unnamed person in Spain, if it paid €3million (£2.6million).

Wikileaks also told how it assumed the information had been handed over to the administration of US President Donald Trump.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said following the arrest: ‘What we have shown today is that nobody is above the law – Julian Assange is no hero.

‘He’s hidden from the truth for years and years and it’s right that his future should be decided in the British judicial system.’

He added: ‘What has happened today is the result of years of careful diplomacy by the Foreign Office.’

Mr Hunt added: ‘[It’s] a very courageous decision by President Moreno in Ecuador to resolve this situation that’s been going on for nearly seven years.

‘It’s not so much that Julian Assange was being held hostage in the Ecuadorian Embassy, it was actually Julian Assange holding the Ecuadorian Embassy hostage. It was a situation that was absolutely intolerable to them.’

How judge who called Assange a ‘narcissist’ has slammed celebrity chef Marco Pierre White’s son

Judge Michael Snow was appointed as District Judge for the south east in 2004.

He is based at the City of Westminster Magistrates in London.

In 2011 he accused prosecutors of ‘double standards’ over a drunk who allegedly racially abused an Irish worker at Westminster Cathedral.

He had also previously dealt with the case of Jacqueline Woodhouse, a woman who in 2012 launched a tirade of explicit rants on the central line tube in London.

A court sketch of Assange and Judge Snow

A court sketch of Assange and Judge Snow

At the time Judge Snow said she had been grossly offensive.

In 2016, he also criticised the son of British celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, Marco Pierre White Jr, after he pleaded guilty to dishonestly using his ex-girlfriend’s bank card.

He has also ruled over a number of recent cases including that of Lovel Bailey, who murdered Good Morning Britain’s Alex Beresford’s cousin Nathaniel Armstrong.

His term of office is set to be renewed in August 2020.

In a statement this morning, Scotland Yard said: ‘Julian Assange, 47, has today, Thursday 11 April, been arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at the Embassy of Ecuador, Hans Crescent, SW1 on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court.

‘He has been taken into custody at a central London police station where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as is possible.

‘The MPS had a duty to execute the warrant, on behalf of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, and was invited into the embassy by the Ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.’

Wikileaks tweeted: ‘URGENT: Ecuador has illigally (sic) terminated Assange political asylum in violation of international law.

‘He was arrested by the British police inside the Ecuadorian embassy minutes ago.’

Lenin Moreno, President of Ecuador, said in a statement on Assange: ‘Ecuador is a generous country and a nation with open arms.

‘Ours is a government respectful of the principles of international law, and of the institution of the right of asylum.

‘Granting or withdrawing asylum is a sovereign right of the Ecuadorian state, according to international law.

‘Today, I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behaviour of Mr Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declaration of its allied organisation, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.

‘Ecuador sovereignly has decided to terminate the diplomatic asylum granted to Mr Assange in 2012.

‘For six years and 10 months, the Ecuadorian people have protected the human rights of Mr Assange and have provided for his everyday needs at the facilities of our Embassy in London.

‘When I became the President of Ecuador, I inherited this situation and decided to adopt a protocol to set the daily life rules at the Embassy, which is less than anyone may expect from a guest hosted at his own house.

‘Ecuador has fulfilled its obligations in the framework of international law.

‘On the other hand, Mr Assange violated, repeatedly, clear cut provisions of the conventions on diplomatic asylum of Havana and Caracas; despite the fact that he was requested on several occasions to respect and abide by these rules.’

Rafael Correa, who was Ecuadorian president when Assange was granted asylum, has strongly condemned his successor’s decision.

He tweeted that Lenin Moreno was the ‘greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history’.

Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Alan Duncan (right) and Ecuadorian Ambassador Jaime Marchan (left) pose jubilantly at a press conference in Victoria Gardens, Westminster, after WikiLeaks founder Assange was arrested

An Assange supporter outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London's Knightsbridge last week, where protesters have gathered for seven years in support of the Wikileaks founder

The Swedish lawyer of Julian Assange’s alleged rape victim is pushing to reopen the case that was dropped in 2017.

Lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz says she would ‘do all we can to make prosecutors reopen investigation’ in the wake of the Wikileaks founder’s arrest today.

She said: ‘My client and I have just received the news that Assange has been arrested.

‘The fact that what we have been waiting and hoping for for nearly seven years is now happening, of course, comes as a shock to my client.

‘We will do all we can to get prosecutors to reopen the Swedish preliminary criminal investigation so that Assange can be extradited to Sweden and be prosecuted for rape.’

Julian Assange, centre, arrives for his extradition hearing at the High Court in London in 2011. He would walk into the Ecuadorian embassy as a political asylum seeker the following year

Julian Assange, centre, arrives for his extradition hearing at the High Court in London in 2011. He would walk into the Ecuadorian embassy as a political asylum seeker the following year

Assange was arrested by British police today after Ecuador dramatically withdrew political asylum seven years after he was given refuge in the country’s London embassy.

The 47-year-old has not left Ecuador’s diplomatic soil since 2012, when the country offered political protection from allegations of sexual assault in Sweden.

While the case was eventually dropped, Assange has always feared extradition to the US where his lawyers have claimed he could face the death penalty for the leaking of highly-classified documents.

Edward Snowden brands Julian Assange’s arrest ‘a dark moment for press freedom’

US whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned the arrest of Julian Assange is ‘a dark moment for press freedom’.

Soon after Assange’s arrest in London today, Snowden tweeted: ‘Images of Ecuador’s ambassador inviting the UK’s secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of-like it or not-award-winning journalism out of the building are going to end up in the history books.

Edward Snowden (pictured) said critics would cheer at the arrest

Edward Snowden (pictured) said critics would cheer at the arrest

‘Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom.’

Snowden is currently living in exile Russia having fled the US after leaking a huge cache of declassified documents back in 2013.

The Former CIA agent has been a longstanding supporter of Assange’s cause having allegedly been helped by the Wikileaks founder in handing over the secret documents to journalists.

An international warrant for arrest was issued on November 18 2010 for Assange on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion – which he denies.

He has since lived inside the embassy in Knightsbridge for seven years when Swedish authorities requested his extradition as a suspect in the rape case.

A into his time at the embassy, Assange told journalists he would not leave even if the sex charges against him were dropped, due to fears he would be extradited to the US for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks.

In 2015, investigations into the sex allegations were dropped because Swedish authorities ran out of time to question him – but the case of suspected rape remained open.

A senior Swedish prosecutor interviewed Assange a year later over the course of two days over the allegations of rape. But in 2017, Swedish authorities suddenly dropped the rape allegations.

The Wikileaks founder was dragged head-first in handcuffs today by a group of seven men today as stunned supporters and protesters watched on in central London as he screamed out ‘the UK must resist’.

Assange, who has overseen the publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through Wikileaks, is currently in custody and is set to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court ‘as soon as possible’.

Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno said the decision to withdraw Assange’s asylum status came after the ‘repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols’ and his ‘discourteous and aggressive behaviour’.

In a statement today, Ecuador’s president added that he had asked Britain to guarantee that Assange would not be extradited to any country where he could face torture or the death penalty.

The news of his arrest was immediately confirmed by Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Twitter, who said that ‘no one was above the law’.

In a statement this morning, Scotland Yard said: ‘Julian Assange, 47, has today, Thursday 11 April, been arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at the Embassy of Ecuador, Hans Crescent, SW1 on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 June 2012, for failing to surrender to the court.

‘He has been taken into custody at a central London police station where he will remain, before being presented before Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as is possible.

‘The MPS had a duty to execute the warrant, on behalf of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, and was invited into the embassy by the Ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.’

Who is Julian Assange and why is he wanted by Sweden, Britain and the US?

Assange (pictured above) has overseen the publication of more than 10 million documents

Assange (pictured above) has overseen the publication of more than 10 million documents

Julian Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy almost seven years ago.

He has become a poster boy for campaigners against state spying and censorship.

To his critics, he is a danger to national security and his work could make him the subject of espionage charges in the US.

The Australian started hacking into networks of the powerful elite when he was part of the ‘computer underground’ in his late teens.

The 47-year-old shot to public attention after founding the pro-transparency website in 2006 as an online library of otherwise secret documents from governments, intelligence agencies, political parties and multinational corporations.

WikiLeaks servers are located all over the world, but the central server is located in an underground nuclear bunker in Stockholm, Sweden.

As the self-styled editor-in-chief of the site, he has overseen the publication of more than 10 million documents and attracted high-profile supporters including Pamela Anderson, novelist Tariq Ali, filmmaker Ken Loach and Jemima Goldsmith (nee Khan).

He has been quoted as saying: ‘It is the role of good journalism to take on powerful abusers.’

Among the major leaks since the site’s foundation were battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, diplomatic communications and a military video showing a US helicopter attack that killed at least 11 men.

Assange has also been forced to deny Russian intelligence sources provided a trove of tens of thousands of emails from senior figures within the Democratic National Congress (DNC) during the US election campaign.

He published these alongside thousands of emails from the private server of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, originating from her time as Secretary of State, which the site obtained through freedom of information laws.

Assange stood down as editor of Wikileaks in September last year.

Little detail is known about his personal life.

His parents reportedly met at a demonstration against the Vietnam war and he was born in Townsville, Australia in 1971.

He passed through 37 different schools when he was on the road with his mother’s travelling theatre company. Later, while studying at the University of Melbourne between 2003 and 2005, he was vice-president of the mathematics and statistics society.

He left university without graduating after becoming disillusioned with academia, according to the society’s magazine Paradox.

Julian Assange's cat has her own Twitter and Instagram accounts, although it is not clear whether Assange runs them personally

Julian Assange’s cat has her own Twitter and Instagram accounts, although it is not clear whether Assange runs them personally

Assange took refuge inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 after being bailed during extradition court hearings. A short time later he was granted political asylum by the South American country.

For more than a year, doctors have warned of the Australian’s declining health due to the ‘prolonged uncertainty of indefinite detention’.

Visitors during his nearly seven years in residence have included Anderson and former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, while one member of his inner sanctum has attracted its own following.

His cat has her own Twitter and Instagram accounts, although it is not clear whether Assange runs them personally.

She was a gift from his young children to keep their father company.

Julian Assange’s fight for freedom: A timeline of the WikiLeaks founder’s decade in the limelight

2006

Assange creates Wikileaks with a group of like-minded activists and IT experts to provide a secure way for whistleblowers to leak information. He quickly becomes its figurehead and a lightning rod for criticism.

2010

March: U.S. authorities allege Assange engaged in a conspiracy to hack a classified U.S. government computer with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. 

July: Wikileaks starts releasing tens of thousands of top secrets documents, including a video of U.S. helicopter pilots gunning down 12 civilians in Baghdad in 2007.  What followed was the release of more than 90,000 classified US military files from the Afghan war and 400,000 from Iraq that included the names of informants. 

August: Two Swedish women claim that they each had consensual sex with Assange in separate instances when he was on a 10-day trip to Stockholm. They allege the sex became non-consensual when Assange refused to wear a condom.

First woman claims Assange was staying at her apartment in Stockholm when he ripped off her clothes. She told police that when she realized Assange was trying to have unprotected sex with her, she demanded he use a condom. She claims he ripped the condom before having sex.

Second Swedish woman claims she had sex with Assange at her apartment in Stockholm and she made him wear a condom. She alleges that she later woke up to find Assange having unprotected sex with her.

He was questioned by police in Stockholm and denied the allegations. Assange was granted permission by Swedish authorities to fly back to the U.K.

November: A Swedish court ruled that the investigation should be reopened and Assange should be detained for questioning on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. An international arrest warrant is issued by Swedish police through Interpol.

Wikileaks releases its cache of more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables.

December: Assange presents himself to London police and appears at an extradition hearing where he is remanded in custody. Assange is granted conditional bail at the High Court in London after his supporters pay £240,000 in cash and sureties.

2011

February: A British judge rules Assange should be extradited to Sweden but Wikileaks found vows to fight the decision.

April:  A cache of classified U.S. military documents is released by Wikileaks, including intelligence assessments on nearly all of the 779 people who are detained at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

November: Assange loses High Court appeal against the decision to extradite him.

2012

June: Assange enters the Ecuadorian embassy in London requesting political asylum.

August: Assange is granted political asylum by Ecuador.

2013

June: Assange tells a group of journalists he will not leave the embassy even if sex charges against him are dropped out of fear he will be extradited to the U.S.

2015

August: Swedish prosecutors drop investigation into some of the sex allegations against Assange due to time restrictions. The investigation into suspected rape remains active.

2016

July: Wikileaks begins leaking emails U.S. Democratic Party officials favoring Hillary Clinton.

November: Assange is questioned over the sex allegation at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the presence of Sweden’s assistant prosecutor Ingrid Isgren and police inspector Cecilia Redell. The interview spans two days.

2017

January: Barack Obama agrees to free whistleblower Chelsea Manning from prison. Her pending release prompts speculation Assange will end his self-imposed exile after Wikileaks tweeted he would agree to U.S. extradition.

April: Lenin Moreno becomes the new president of Ecuador who was known to want to improve diplomatic relations between his country and the U.S.

May: An investigation into a sex allegation against Assange is suddenly dropped by Swedish prosecutors.

2018

January: Ecuador confirms it has granted citizenship to Assange following his request.

February: Assange is visited by Pamela Anderson and Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel.

March: The Ecuadorian Embassy suspends Assange’s internet access because he wasn’t complying with a promise he made the previous year to ‘not send messages which entailed interference in relation to other states’.

August: U.S. Senate committee asks to interview Assange as part of their investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

September: Assange steps down as editor of WikiLeaks.

October: Assange reveals he will launch legal action against the government of Ecuador, accusing it of violating his ‘fundamental rights and freedoms’.

November: U.S. Justice Department inadvertently names Assange in a court document that says he has been charged in secret.

2019

January: Assange’s lawyers say they are taking action to make President Trump’s administration reveal charges ‘secretly filed’ against him.

April 6: WikiLeaks tweets that a high level Ecuadorian source has told them Assange will be expelled from the embassy within ‘hours or days’. But a senior Ecuadorian official says no decision has been made to remove him from the London building.

April 11: Assange has his diplomatic asylum revoked by Ecuador.

The police bill? £13m and counting…

Scotland Yard has given the figure of £13.2million as the cost of guarding the Ecuadorian embassy while Assange was inside – but the true figure is likely to be far higher.

Uniformed officers were permanently stationed outside the embassy in Kensington, west London, from when the WikiLeaks founder arrived in June 2012 until October 2015.

At this point, the permanent deployment was stood down as police deemed it was ‘no longer proportionate’.

Under Freedom of Information laws, the Metropolitan Police has revealed that it cost at least £13.2million to guard the embassy from 2012 to 2015.

It said £7.2million had been incurred in police pay, £3.8million in overtime and £2.2million in admin overheads and costs to supporting departments.

Scotland Yard has refused to reveal costs incurred after 2015 for undercover officers and other surveillance.

It argued the release of such information would ‘cause operational harm’.

It also said it would ‘allow extremists to gauge the level of policing deployed to a specific site’ and adversely affect relations with Ecuador.

Last night the Metropolitan Police said it was ‘looking into’ whether it could provide an updated figure.

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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 11, 2019

WikiLeaks Founder Charged in Computer Hacking Conspiracy

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Julian P. Assange, 47, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested today in the United Kingdom pursuant to the U.S./UK Extradition Treaty, in connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer.

According to court documents unsealed today, the charge relates to Assange’s alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.

The indictment alleges that in March 2010, Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications. Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks. Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a deceptive measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures.

During the conspiracy, Manning and Assange engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning’s transmission of classified records to Assange. The discussions also reflect Assange actively encouraging Manning to provide more information. During an exchange, Manning told Assange that “after this upload, that’s all I really have got left.” To which Assange replied, “curious eyes never run dry in my experience.”

Assange is charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, John C. Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the charges were unsealed. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kellen S. Dwyer, Thomas W. Traxler and Gordon D. Kromberg, and Trial Attorneys Matthew R. Walczewski and Nicholas O. Hunter of the Justice Department’s National Security Division are prosecuting the case.

The extradition will be handled by the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:18-cr-111.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edva/pr/wikileaks-founder-charged-computer-hacking-conspiracy

Glenn Greenwald Rages Against Assange Arrest, Battles Journos: ‘It’s the Criminalization of Journalism’

Glenn Greenwald went on the warpath Thursday morning following the arrest of Julian Assange in London.

In a lengthy Twitter rant, Greenwald — founder of The Intercept — blasted those in the media who are not speaking out against the arrest, arguing it is a direct attack on press freedom.

“If you’re a US media star who has spent 2 years claiming to be so concerned about press freedoms over Trump’s mean tweets about your friends, but don’t raise your voice in protest over this grave attack on press freedom, take a hard look in the mirror,” Greenwald wrote.

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

If you’re a US media star who has spent 2 years claiming to be so concerned about press freedoms over Trump’s mean tweets about your friends, but don’t raise your voice in protest over this grave attack on press freedom, take a hard look in the mirror https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/09/the-guardian-view-on-julian-assange-it-would-be-wrong-to-extradite-him?utm_term=Autofeed&CMP=twt_gu&utm_medium=&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1554831501 

2,579 people are talking about this

Some journalists on Twitter issued similar warnings as Greenwald — but backed off their criticism of the arrest after the Department of Justice formally announced its charge, one count of conspiracy of hacking by helping Chelsea Manning break into a Department of Defense computer. Greenwald, though, maintained that the DOJ was still out of bounds.

“The DOJ says part of what Assange did to justify his prosecution – beyond allegedly helping Manning get the documents – is he encouraged Manning to get more docs for him to publish,” Greenwald wrote. “Journalists do this with sources constantly: it’s the criminalization of journalism.”

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

The DOJ says part of what Assange did to justify his prosecution – beyond allegedly helping Manning get the documents – is he encouraged Manning to get more docs for him to publish. Journalists do this with sources constantly: it’s the criminalization of journalism

In a lengthy Twitter rant, Greenwald — founder of The Intercept — blasted those in the media who are not speaking out against the arrest, arguing it is a direct attack on press freedom.

“If you’re a US media star who has spent 2 years claiming to be so concerned about press freedoms over Trump’s mean tweets about your friends, but don’t raise your voice in protest over this grave attack on press freedom, take a hard look in the mirror,” Greenwald wrote.

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

If you’re a US media star who has spent 2 years claiming to be so concerned about press freedoms over Trump’s mean tweets about your friends, but don’t raise your voice in protest over this grave attack on press freedom, take a hard look in the mirror https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/09/the-guardian-view-on-julian-assange-it-would-be-wrong-to-extradite-him?utm_term=Autofeed&CMP=twt_gu&utm_medium=&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1554831501 

2,579 people are talking about this

Some journalists on Twitter issued similar warnings as Greenwald — but backed off their criticism of the arrest after the Department of Justice formally announced its charge, one count of conspiracy of hacking by helping Chelsea Manning break into a Department of Defense computer. Greenwald, though, maintained that the DOJ was still out of bounds.

“The DOJ says part of what Assange did to justify his prosecution – beyond allegedly helping Manning get the documents – is he encouraged Manning to get more docs for him to publish,” Greenwald wrote. “Journalists do this with sources constantly: it’s the criminalization of journalism.”

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

The DOJ says part of what Assange did to justify his prosecution – beyond allegedly helping Manning get the documents – is he encouraged Manning to get more docs for him to publish. Journalists do this with sources constantly: it’s the criminalization of journalism

View image on Twitter

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

The security state agents for NBC/MSNBC cheering the Trump administration for arresting Assange because they’re authoritarians who only pretend to care about press freedom when it advances their partisan interests.This is what happens when news outlets merge with the US Govt

1,610 people are talking about this

Eventually, Greenwald focused his ire on NBC News.

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

I’m not surprised to see NBC journalists uniting behind Trump DOJ to justify the criminalization of WikiLeaks – NBC is fully aligned with the CIA/NSA long obsessed with destroying WL – but this tweet is false: the indictment also charges Assange with *encouraging* his source:

Tom Winter

@Tom_Winter

Replying to @Tom_Winter

The indictment makes it clear that this has nothing to do with the publishing of materials.

Assisting someone to break the law and access classified information is not protected by the 1st Amendment or the SCOTUS ‘NY Times vs. United States’ decision.

765 people are talking about this

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

I’m not surprised to see NBC journalists uniting behind Trump DOJ to justify the criminalization of WikiLeaks – NBC is fully aligned with the CIA/NSA long obsessed with destroying WL – but this tweet is false: the indictment also charges Assange with *encouraging* his source:

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

US journalists have long hated WikiLeaks because they have published stories of far greater importance & impact than most of those journalists in the lifetime will ever publish, all without being part of their little club. But to cheer the Trump DOJ prosecution is just grotesque.

738 people are talking about this

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

NBC News made the decision to hire a team of former military & intelligence officials to “report” & “analyze” the news – starting with the highly compromised ex-CIA DIrector now on its payroll – and as a result the have full-on fascists & authoritarians saying things like this:

1,070 people are talking about this

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

NBC is the official organ of whatever you call it: the military-industrial complex, the Deep State, the Blob. I’m glad they made it official by putting CIA & intel officials on their payroll. The above psychopathic tweet is what you’d expect to hear at Langley, not a news outlet.

828 people are talking about this

At one point, MSNBC justice and security analyst Matthew Miller decided to engage Greenwald — leading to this debate:

Matthew Miller

@matthewamiller

how is hacking a legitimate journalistic technique?

35 people are talking about this

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

So you’re saying the Obama DOJ searched for years to find evidence that Assange “hacked” those documents but failed to find any evidence, but the Trump DOJ found what you couldn’t. Pretty humiliating for you. Hacking is a crime, but they’re emphasizing “encouragement”:

59 people are talking about this

Matthew Miller

@matthewamiller

no, not humiliated at all. I’m glad when DOJ does its job, under any admin. The indictment shows an attempt to hack a password, which is a crime. It’s certainly not a legit journalistic technique, and prosecuting it does not threaten journalism or the first amendment.

39 people are talking about this

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

I love how you blindly trust the Trump DOJ’s accusations in a press release. It doesn’t surprise me at all to watch Democrats unite behind Trump to imprison their political enemy. The indictment doesn’t allege he hacked. Manning had access. It alleges he tried to help her hide it

89 people are talking about this

Prominent documentarian Alex Gibney jumped in the fray as well.

Alex Gibney

@alexgibneyfilm

Not accurate. The charge is “conspire…to knowingly access a computer…without authorization…” 15 (A) in the following document: https://www.justice.gov/usao-edva/press-release/file/1153481/download 

See Alex Gibney’s other Tweets

Glenn Greenwald

@ggreenwald

Manning had access. The indictment says that. It claims Assange’s efforts were designed to help her cover her tracks and, it seems clear,it did not work. It also alleges that he encouraged her to get more: something journalists do constantly with sources.

The seven-year itch: Assange’s awkward stay in the embassy

The WikiLeaks founder’s visit became uncomfortable for both him and his hosts

Julian Assange in a police van in London after his arrest.
 Julian Assange in a police van in London after his arrest. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

When Julian Assange, disguised as a motorcycle courier, first walked up the steps of Ecuador’s small embassy behind Harrods in central London and asked for asylum, few people – including, surely, Assange himself – could have imagined it would be almost seven years before he next exited the front door.

It was mid-June 2012, and as Britain expectantly awaited the opening of the Olympics just over a month later, the WikiLeaks publisher had exhausted every legal avenue in his attempts to avoid extradition to Sweden, where two women had made allegations of rape and sexual assault during a visit by Assange to Stockholm in 2010.

 Julian Assange removed from Ecuadorian embassy in London – video

Assange, who had been briefly imprisoned and then on bail for more than a year, argued that Swedish prosecutors should interview him in London. But as well as resisting extradition to Sweden, he also feared being handed over to the US for potential prosecution over the so-called Cablegate documents (published in the Guardian and elsewhere) and other releases. The WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning was already in custody on espionage charges (she would be sentenced to 35 years in prison, later commuted by President Obama. Manning was reimprisoned last month).

Q&A

Why was Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy?

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Ecuador offered Assange almost his last option to avoid extradition, his last appeal having failed at the supreme court. The country’s then president, the leftwinger Rafael Correa, was sympathetic and Assange was granted asylumtwo months later.

It was never a very comfortable arrangement at the poky embassy, however. An office was repurposed as a bedroom and workspace, but he was forced, initially at least, to sleep on a mattress on the floor, sharing a bathroom and with access only to a tiny basic kitchen.

Chelsea Manning has recently been reimprisoned on espionage charges.
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 Chelsea Manning has recently been reimprisoned on espionage charges. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

With the Swedes determined to extradite him, however, and a US grand jury hearing into WikiLeaks already under way, the Australian resolved to stay put. High-profile visitors came and went – Vivienne Westwood, Lady Gaga and the footballer Eric Cantona among them – and a small group of supporters maintained a periodic vigil outside. But still Assange remained.

Much has happened in the time he has been inside the embassy. WikiLeaks has continued to publish, exposing details of US tactics in trade negotiations, of the country’s surveillance of other governments, and of CIA hacking methods, among other revelations. A WikiLeaks staff member accompanied the whistleblower Edward Snowden to Moscow after he leaked classified NSA documents about US surveillance programmes to newspapers including the Guardian.

Assange has been the subject of a biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch, which flopped, and a documentary, which premiered at Cannes. He even acquired a cat.

More significantly for the Australian’s legal position, after years of torturous wrangling, his Swedish problem appeared to go away, thanks simply to the passage of time. An investigation into one of the Swedish women’s accusations, of sexual assault, was discontinued in 2015 after the statute of limitations expired, and in 2017, Sweden’s chief prosecutor said she was dropping her investigation into the outstanding allegation of rape after concluding there was no practical way of continuing. She gave herself the option of reopening the case if he later “made himself available”.

But even the apparent resolution of that seven-year legal standoff did not persuade Assange to leave the embassy, despite reports that the Obama administration had concluded it would not be able to prosecute him without pursuing the newspapers that had published WikiLeaks releases, including the New York Times and potentially the Guardian.

And, now that he has been removed from the embassy, the outstanding allegation of rape could be raised again if prosecutors decide to reopen the case. Elisabeth Massi Fritz, who represents his unnamed accuser, on Thursday told the Associated Press that “we are going to do everything” to have the case reopened “so Assange can be extradited to Sweden and prosecuted for rape”.

Assange’s Ecuadorian stay may have spanned two UK general elections (and two major referendums), but successive British governments have remained resolute, insisting that he would be subject to arrest if he left for alleged breaches of his bail conditions when he first sought asylum.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange in a scene from the biopic The Fifth Estate.
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 Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange in a scene from the biopic The Fifth Estate. Photograph: Frank Connor/AP

A finding by a UN panel in 2016 that Assange’s continued confinement in the embassy amounted to “arbitrary detention” was dismissed by the UK Foreign Office, which maintained that his presence there was voluntary.

Two significant things changed, however – both of them presidential elections.

Donald Trump was initially a great fan of Assange, praising WikiLeaks repeatedly during the 2016 presidential campaign after emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and his rival Hillary Clinton’s campaign were published by the website. But other US Republicans have remained hostile, and following Trump’s election to the presidency, his administration has vowed to attempt to prosecute Assange.

In February 2017 the then attorney general Jeff Sessions said arresting Assange was priority, while a mistake in a document filed last Novembersuggested criminal charges had been secretly filed against him. Trump and Sessions’s successor, William Barr, now have the yet-to-be-published report by special counsel Robert Mueller into Trump’s links to Russia, including allegations that the DNC releases published by WikiLeaks were obtained by Russian hackers.

But aside from events in the US, Assange has also had an increasing Ecuadorian problem. WikiLeaks’s DNC publications in 2016 prompted Ecuador’s discomfort at its sometimes troublesome houseguest to flare into irritation, and it temporarily cut off the Australian’s internet access saying he was using it to interfere in the US election.

Julian Assange speaks to reporters and supporters on a balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, in May 2017.
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 Julian Assange speaks to reporters and supporters on a balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy, London, May 2017. Photograph: Xinhua/Barcroft Images

The relationship between Assange and his hosts deteriorated further after Lenín Moreno was elected to the Ecuadorian presidency in 2017. Moreno had described Assange as a “stone in the shoe”, but said before his election that he could remain in the embassy if he agreed to abide by certain conditions.

In January 2018 it emerged that the country had made Assange an Ecuadorian citizen in a bid to resolve the impasse (its request to have him recognised as a diplomat was dismissed by the UK).

But the Ecuador-Assange relationship remained strained, and last year the country cut off his internet access again, saying he had breached an agreement not to interfere with other states. Assange had tweeted in support of the Catalan independence movement, causing a rift between Quito and Madrid, and challenged the UK’s accusation that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of a Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

Moreno later ordered the removal of an additional multimillion-pound security operation set up by his predecessor to protect Assange. In July last year the president said that Assange would ultimately have to leave the embassy, and by October the Australian was suing his hosts, saying their conditions for his stay violated his “fundamental rights and freedoms”. On Wednesday, WikiLeaks held a press conference to say it had uncovered a surveillance operation against him in the embassy, leading to private legal and medical information being offered for sale in what it said was an extortion attempt.

On Thursday morning, finally, Ecuador’s patience had “reached its limit”, Moreno said in a statement justifying his decision to revoke Assange’s asylum status. He is now, once again, in British custody.

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WikiLeaks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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WikiLeaks
1Graphic of hourglass, coloured in blue and grey; a circular map of the eastern hemisphere of the world drips from the top to bottom chamber of the hourglass.

The logo of WikiLeaks, an hourglass with a globe leaking from top to bottom

show

Screenshot
Type of site
Document archive and disclosure
Available in English, but the source documents are in their original language
Owner Sunshine Press
Created by Julian Assange
Website WikiLeaks.org[1]
Alexa rank Negative increase 25,736 (October 2018)[2]
Commercial No[3]
Registration None
Launched 4 October 2006; 12 years ago[4]
Current status Online

WikiLeaks (/ˈwɪkilks/) is an international non-profit organisation that publishes secret information, news leaks,[5] and classified media provided by anonymous sources.[6] Its website, initiated in 2006 in Iceland by the organisation Sunshine Press,[7] claims a database of 10 million documents in 10 years since its launch.[8] Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its founder and director.[9] Since September 2018, Kristinn Hrafnsson has served as its editor-in-chief.[10][11]

The group has released a number of prominent document dumps. Early releases included documentation of equipment expenditures and holdings in the Afghanistan war and a report informing a corruption investigation in Kenya.[12] In April 2010, WikiLeaks released the Collateral Murder footage from the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike in which Iraqi journalists were among those killed. Other releases in 2010 included the Afghan War Diary and the “Iraq War Logs“. The latter allowed the mapping of 109,032 deaths in “significant” attacks by insurgents in Iraq that had been reported to Multi-National Force – Iraq, including about 15,000 that had not been previously published.[13][14] In 2010, WikiLeaks also released the US State Department diplomatic “cables”, classified cables that had been sent to the US State Department. In April 2011, WikiLeaks began publishing 779 secret filesrelating to prisoners detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[15]

During the 2016 US presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks released emails and other documents from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton‘s campaign manager, John Podesta.[16] These releases caused significant harm to the Clinton campaign, and have been attributed as a potential contributing factor to her loss.[17] The U.S. intelligence community expressed “high confidence” that the leaked emails had been hacked by Russia and supplied to WikiLeaks, while WikiLeaks denied their source was Russia or any other state.[18] During the campaign, WikiLeaks promoted conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.[19][20][21] In private conversations from November 2015 that were later leaked, Julian Assange expressed a preference for a GOP victory in the 2016 election, explaining that “Dems+Media+liberals woudl [sic] then form a block to reign [sic] in their worst qualities. With Hillary in charge, GOP will be pushing for her worst qualities, dems+media+neoliberals will be mute.”[22] In private correspondence with the Trump campaign on election day (8 November 2016), WikiLeaks encouraged the Trump campaign to contest the election results in case they lost.[23]

WikiLeaks has drawn criticism for its absence of whistleblowing on or criticism of Russia, and for criticising the Panama Papers‘ exposé of businesses and individuals with offshore bank accounts.[24][25] WikiLeaks has also been criticised for inadequately curating its content and violating the personal privacy of individuals. WikiLeaks has, for instance, revealed Social Security numbers, medical information, credit card numbers and details of suicide attempts.[26][27][28][29]

History

Staff, name and founding

Julian Assange was one of the early members of the WikiLeaks staff and is credited as the website’s founder.

The wikileaks.org domain name was registered on 4 October 2006.[4] The website was established and published its first document in December 2006.[30][31] WikiLeaks is usually represented in public by Julian Assange, who has been described as “the heart and soul of this organisation, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organiser, financier, and all the rest”.[32][33] Sarah Harrison, Kristinn Hrafnsson and Joseph Farrell are the only other publicly known and acknowledged associates of Assange who are currently living.[34] Harrison is also a member of Sunshine Press Productions along with Assange and Ingi Ragnar Ingason.[35][36] Gavin MacFadyen was acknowledged by Assange as a ″beloved director of WikiLeaks″ shortly after his death in 2016.[37]

WikiLeaks was originally established with a “wiki” communal publication method, which was terminated by May 2010.[38] Original volunteers and founders were once described as a mixture of Asian dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa.[39] As of June 2009, the website had more than 1,200 registered volunteers.[39][40][41]

Despite some popular confusion, related to the fact both sites use the “wiki” name and website design template, WikiLeaks and Wikipedia are not affiliated.[42] Wikia, a for-profit corporation affiliated loosely with the Wikimedia Foundation, purchased several WikiLeaks-related domain names as a “protective brand measure” in 2007.[43]

On 26 September 2018, it was announced that Julian Assange had appointed Kristinn Hrafnsson as editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks while the organisation’s statement said Assange was remaining as its publisher. His access to the internet had been ended by his then hosts in the Ecuadorian embassy in March 2019 as he had broken a commitment “not to issue messages that might interfere with other states”.[11][44][45]

Purpose

According to the WikiLeaks website, its goal is “to bring important news and information to the public … One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth.” Another of the organisation’s goals is to ensure that journalists and whistleblowers are not prosecuted for emailing sensitive or classified documents. The online “drop box” is described by the WikiLeaks website as “an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to [WikiLeaks] journalists”.[46]

Some describe WikiLeaks as a media or journalistic organisation. For example, in a 2013 resolution, the International Federation of Journalists, a trade union of journalists, called WikiLeaks a “new breed of media organisation” that “offers important opportunities for media organisations”.[47] Harvard professor Yochai Benkler praised WikiLeaks as a new form of journalistic enterprise,[48] testifying at the court-martial of Chelsea Manning (then Bradley Manning) that “WikiLeaks did serve a particular journalistic function,” and that the “range of the journalist’s privilege” is “a hard line to draw”.[49] Others do not consider WikiLeaks to be journalistic in nature. Media ethicist Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies wrote in 2011: “WikiLeaks might grow into a journalist endeavor. But it’s not there yet.”[50] Bill Keller of The New York Times considers WikiLeaks to be a “complicated source” rather than a journalistic partner.[50] Prominent First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams writes that WikiLeaks is not a journalistic group, but instead “an organization of political activists; … a source for journalists; and … a conduit of leaked information to the press and the public”.[51] Noting Assange’s statements that he and his colleagues read only a small fraction of information before deciding to publish it, Abrams writes: “No journalistic entity I have ever heard of—none—simply releases to the world an elephantine amount of material it has not read.”[51]

Administration

According to a January 2010 interview, the WikiLeaks team then consisted of five people working full-time and about 800 people who worked occasionally, none of whom were compensated.[52] WikiLeaks does not have any official headquarters. In November 2010 the WikiLeaks-endorsed[53] news and activism site WikiLeaks Central was initiated and was administrated by editor Heather Marsh who oversaw over 70 writers and volunteers.[54] She resigned on 8 March 2012.[55]

WikiLeaks describes itself as “an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking”.[56] The website is available on multiple servers, different domain names and has an official Darkweb version (available on the Tor Network) as a result of a number of denial-of-service attacks and its elimination from different Domain Name System (DNS) providers.[57][58]

Until August 2010, WikiLeaks was hosted by PRQ, a Sweden-based company providing “highly secure, no-questions-asked hosting services”. PRQ is said to have “almost no information about its clientele and maintains few if any of its own logs“.[59] Currently, WikiLeaks is hosted mainly by the Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof in the Pionen facility, a former nuclear bunker in Sweden.[60][61] Other servers are spread around the world with the main server located in Sweden.[62] Julian Assange has said that the servers are located in Sweden and the other countries “specifically because those nations offer legal protection to the disclosures made on the site”. He talks about the Swedish constitution, which gives the information–providers total legal protection.[62] It is forbidden, according to Swedish law, for any administrative authority to make inquiries about the sources of any type of newspaper.[63] These laws, and the hosting by PRQ, make it difficult for any authority to eliminate WikiLeaks; they place an onus of proof upon any complainant whose suit would circumscribe WikiLeaks’ liberty, e.g. its rights to exercise free speech online. Furthermore, “WikiLeaks maintains its own servers at undisclosed locations, keeps no logs and uses military-grade encryption to protect sources and other confidential information.” Such arrangements have been called “bulletproof hosting“.[59][64]

After the site became the target of a denial-of-service attack on its old servers, WikiLeaks moved its website to Amazon‘s servers.[65] Later, however, the website was “ousted” from the Amazon servers.[65] In a public statement, Amazon said that WikiLeaks was not following its terms of service. The company further explained: “There were several parts they were violating. For example, our terms of service state that ‘you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content … that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.’ It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content.”[66] WikiLeaks was then moved to servers at OVH, a private web-hosting service in France.[67] After criticism from the French government, the company sought two court rulings about the legality of hosting WikiLeaks. While the court in Lille immediately refused to force OVH to deactivate the WikiLeaks website, the court in Paris stated it would need more time to examine the complex technical issue.[68][69]

WikiLeaks used EveryDNS, but was dropped by the company after distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against WikiLeaks hurt the quality of service for its other customers. Supporters of WikiLeaks waged verbal and DDoS attacks on EveryDNS. Because of a typographical error in blogs mistaking EveryDNS for competitor EasyDNS, the sizeable Internet backlash hit EasyDNS. Despite that, EasyDNS (upon request of a customer who was setting up new WikiLeaks hosting) began providing WikiLeaks with DNS service on “two ‘battle hardened’ servers” to protect the quality of service for its other customers.[70]

WikiLeaks restructured its process for contributions after its first document leaks did not gain much attention. Assange stated this was part of an attempt to take the voluntary effort typically seen in “Wiki” projects, and “redirect it to … material that has real potential for change”.[71] Some sympathisers were unhappy[citation needed] when WikiLeaks ended a community-based wiki format in favour of a more centralised organisation. The “about” page originally read:[72]

To the user, WikiLeaks will look very much like Wikipedia. Anybody can post to it, anybody can edit it. No technical knowledge is required. Leakers can post documents anonymously and untraceably. Users can publicly discuss documents and analyse their credibility and veracity. Users can discuss interpretations and context and collaboratively formulate collective publications. Users can read and write explanatory articles on leaks along with background material and context. The political relevance of documents and their verisimilitude will be revealed by a cast of thousands.

However, WikiLeaks established an editorial policy that accepted only documents that were “of political, diplomatic, historical or ethical interest” (and excluded “material that is already publicly available”).[73] This coincided with early criticism that having no editorial policy would drive out good material with spam and promote “automated or indiscriminate publication of confidential records”.[74] The original FAQ is no longer in effect, and no one can post or edit documents on WikiLeaks. Now, submissions to WikiLeaks are reviewed by anonymous WikiLeaks reviewers, and documents that do not meet the editorial criteria are rejected. By 2008, the revised FAQ stated: “Anybody can post comments to it. [ … ] Users can publicly discuss documents and analyse their credibility and veracity.”[75] After the 2010 reorganisation, posting new comments on leaks was no longer possible.[38]

Legal status

The legal status of WikiLeaks is complex. Assange considers WikiLeaks a protection intermediary. Rather than leaking directly to the press, and fearing exposure and retribution, whistleblowers can leak to WikiLeaks, which then leaks to the press for them.[76] Its servers are located throughout Europe and are accessible from any uncensored web connection. The group located its headquarters in Sweden because it has one of the world’s strongest laws to protect confidential source-journalist relationships.[77][78] WikiLeaks has stated it does not solicit any information.[77] However, Assange used his speech during the Hack in the Box conference in Malaysia to ask the crowd of hackers and security researchers to help find documents on its “Most Wanted Leaks of 2009” list.[79]

Potential criminal prosecution

The US Justice Department began a criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange soon after the leak of diplomatic cables began.[80][81] Attorney General Eric Holder affirmed the investigation was “not saber-rattling”, but was “an active, ongoing criminal investigation”.[81] The Washington Post reported that the department was considering charges under the Espionage Act of 1917, an action which former prosecutors characterised as “difficult” because of First Amendment protections for the press.[80][82] Several Supreme Court cases (e.g. Bartnicki v. Vopper) have established previously that the American Constitution protects the re-publication of illegally gained information provided the publishers did not themselves violate any laws in acquiring it.[83] Federal prosecutors have also considered prosecuting Assange for trafficking in stolen government property, but since the diplomatic cables are intellectual rather than physical property, that method is also difficult.[84] Any prosecution of Assange would require extraditing him to the United States, a procedure made more complicated and potentially delayed by any preceding extradition to Sweden.[85] One of Assange’s lawyers, however, says they are fighting extradition to Sweden because it might result in his extradition to the United States.[86] Assange’s attorney, Mark Stephens, has “heard from Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empanelled grand jury in Alexandria [Virginia]” meeting to consider criminal charges for the WikiLeaks case.[87]

In Australia, the government and the Australian Federal Police have not stated what Australian laws may have been violated by WikiLeaks, but then Prime Minister Julia Gillard has stated that the foundation of WikiLeaks and the stealing of classified documents from the United States administration is illegal in foreign countries.[88] Gillard later clarified her statement as referring to “the original theft of the material by a junior U.S. serviceman rather than any action by Mr Assange.”[89] Spencer Zifcak, president of Liberty Victoria, an Australian civil liberties group, notes that without a charge or a trial completed, it is inappropriate to state that WikiLeaks is guilty of illegal activities.[90]

On threats by various governments towards Julian Assange, legal expert Ben Saul argues that Assange is the target of a global smear campaign to demonise him as a criminal or as a terrorist, without any legal basis.[91][92] The US Center for Constitutional Rights has issued a statement emphasising its alarm at the “multiple examples of legal overreach and irregularities” in his arrest.[93]

Use of leaked documents in court

In a UK Supreme Court judgement given on 8 February 2018, the court unanimously decided that a document leaked through WikiLeaks “could be admitted into evidence”.[94][95]

The appeal that led to this ruling centred on a US government cable provided by Chelsea Manning and published by WikiLeaks. The Chagos islanders argued that the document showed the UK’s motive for setting up a marine park on their territory was improper, but it had been excluded from proceedings earlier in the case.[96]

In an “important test of Vienna Convention in relation to Wikileaks documents” The Court ruled that “the cable should have been admitted into evidence before the Administrative Court”, addressing the main issue. During this decision, the leaked document was said to not meet the criteria necessary to help the Chagos Refugee Group recover their homeland.[95][96]

Financing

WikiLeaks is a self-described not-for-profit organisation, funded largely by volunteers, and it is dependent on public donations. Its main financing methods include conventional bank transfers and online payment systems. According to Assange, WikiLeaks’ lawyers often work pro bono. Assange has said that in some cases legal aid has been donated by media organisations such as the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, and the National Newspaper Publishers Association.[52] Assange said in 2010 that WikiLeaks’ only revenue consists of donations, but it has considered other options including auctioning early access to documents.[52] During September 2011, WikiLeaks began auctioning items on eBay to raise funds, and Assange told an audience at Sydney’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas that the organisation might not be able to survive.[citation needed]

On 24 December 2009, WikiLeaks announced that it was experiencing a shortage of funds[citation needed] and suspended all access to its website except for a form to submit new material.[97] Material that was previously published was no longer available, although some could still be accessed on unofficial mirror websites.[98] WikiLeaks stated on its website that it would resume full operation once the operational costs were paid.[97] WikiLeaks saw this as a kind of work stoppage “to ensure that everyone who is involved stops normal work and actually spends time raising revenue”.[52] While the organisation initially planned for funds to be secured by 6 January 2010,[citation needed] it was not until 3 February 2010 that WikiLeaks announced that its minimum fundraising goal had been achieved.[citation needed]

The Wau Holland Foundation helps to process donations to WikiLeaks. In July 2010, the Foundation stated that WikiLeaks was not receiving any money for personnel costs, only for hardware, travelling and bandwidth.[99] An article in TechEye stated:

As a charity accountable under German law, donations for WikiLeaks can be made to the foundation. Funds are held in escrow and are given to WikiLeaks after the whistleblower website files an application containing a statement with proof of payment. The foundation does not pay any sort of salary nor give any renumeration [sic] to WikiLeaks’ personnel, corroborating the statement of the site’s former German representative Daniel Schmitt [real name Daniel Domscheit-Berg][100] on national television that all personnel works voluntarily, even its speakers.[99]

However, in December 2010 the Wau Holland Foundation stated that 4 permanent employees, including Julian Assange, had begun to receive salaries.[101]

In 2010, Assange said the organisation was registered as a library in Australia, a foundation in France, and a newspaper in Sweden, and that it also used two United States-based non-profit 501c3 organisations for funding purposes.[102]

On 22 January 2010, the Internet payment intermediary PayPal suspended WikiLeaks’ donation account and froze its assets. WikiLeaks said that this had happened before, and was done for “no obvious reason”.[citation needed] The account was restored on 25 January 2010.[citation needed] On 18 May 2010, WikiLeaks announced that its website and archive were operational again.[citation needed]

In June 2010, WikiLeaks was a finalist for a grant of more than half a million dollars from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation,[31] but did not make the final approval.[103] WikiLeaks commented via Twitter: “WikiLeaks was highest rated project in the Knight challenge, strongly recommended to the board but gets no funding. Go figure.”[104] WikiLeaks said that the Knight foundation announced the award to “’12 Grantees who will impact future of news’ – but not WikiLeaks” and questioned whether Knight foundation was “really looking for impact”.[103] A spokesman of the Knight Foundation disputed parts of WikiLeaks’ statement, saying “WikiLeaks was not recommended by Knight staff to the board.”[104] However, he declined to say whether WikiLeaks was the project rated highest by the Knight advisory panel, which consists of non-staffers, among them journalist Jennifer 8. Lee, who has done PR work for WikiLeaks with the press and on social networking websites.[104]

During 2010, WikiLeaks received €635,772.73 in PayPal donations, less €30,000 in PayPal fees, and €695,925.46 in bank transfers. €500,988.89 of the sum was received in the month of December, primarily as bank transfers as PayPal suspended payments 4 December. €298,057.38 of the remainder was received in April.[105]

The Wau Holland Foundation, one of the WikiLeaks’ main funding channels, stated that they received more than €900,000 in public donations between October 2009 and December 2010, of which €370,000 has been passed on to WikiLeaks. Hendrik Fulda, vice-president of the Wau Holland Foundation, mentioned that the Foundation had been receiving twice as many donations through PayPal as through normal banks, before PayPal’s decision to suspend WikiLeaks’ account. He also noted that every new WikiLeaks publication brought “a wave of support”, and that donations were strongest in the weeks after WikiLeaks started publishing leaked diplomatic cables.[106][107]

The Icelandic judiciary decided that Valitor (a company related to Visa and MasterCard) was violating the law when it prevented donation to the site by credit card. A justice ruled that the donations will be allowed to return to the site after 14 days or they would be fined in the amount of US$6,000 a day.[108]

Leaks

2006–08

WikiLeaks posted its first document in December 2006, a decision to assassinate government officials signed by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys.[31] In August 2007, the UK newspaper The Guardian published a story about corruption by the family of the former Kenyan leader Daniel arap Moi based on information provided via WikiLeaks.[109] In November 2007, a March 2003 copy of Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta detailing the protocol of the US Army at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp was released.[110][111] The document revealed that some prisoners were off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross, something that the US military had in the past denied repeatedly.[112] In February 2008, WikiLeaks released allegations of illegal activities at the Cayman Islandsbranch of the Swiss Bank Julius Baer, which resulted in the bank suing WikiLeaks and obtaining an injunction which temporarily suspended the operation of wikileaks.org.[113] The California judge had the service provider of WikiLeaks block the site’s domain (wikileaks.org) on 18 February 2008, although the bank only wanted the documents to be removed but WikiLeaks had failed to name a contact. The website was instantly mirrored by supporters, and later that month the judge overturned his previous decision citing First Amendment concerns and questions about legal jurisdiction.[114][115] In March 2008, WikiLeaks published what they referred to as “the collected secret ‘bibles’ of Scientology“, and three days later received letters threatening to sue them for breach of copyright.[116] In September 2008, during the 2008 United States presidential election campaigns, the contents of a Yahoo account belonging to Sarah Palin (the running mate of Republican presidential nominee John McCain) were posted on WikiLeaks after being hacked into by members of a group known as Anonymous.[117][118] In November 2008, the membership list of the far-right British National Party was posted to WikiLeaks, after appearing briefly on a weblog.[119] A year later, in October 2009, another list of BNP members was leaked.[120]

2009

In January 2009, WikiLeaks released 86 telephone intercept recordings of Peruvian politicians and businessmen involved in the 2008 Peru oil scandal.[121] During February, WikiLeaks released 6,780 Congressional Research Service reports[122] followed in March by a list of contributors to the Norm Coleman senatorial campaign[123][124] and a set of documents belonging to Barclays Bank that had been ordered removed from the website of The Guardian.[125] In July, it released a report relating to a serious nuclear accident that had occurred at the Iranian Natanz nuclear facility in 2009.[126] Later media reports have suggested that the accident was related to the Stuxnet computer worm.[127][128] In September, internal documents from Kaupthing Bank were leaked, from shortly before the collapse of Iceland’s banking sector, which caused the 2008–2012 Icelandic financial crisis. The document shows that suspiciously large sums of money were loaned to various owners of the bank, and large debts written off.[129] In October, Joint Services Protocol 440, a British document advising the security services on how to avoid documents being leaked, was published by WikiLeaks.[130] Later that month, it announced that a super-injunction was being used by the commodities company Trafigura to stop The Guardian (London) from reporting on a leaked internal document regarding a toxic dumping incident in Côte d’Ivoire.[131][132] In November, it hosted copies of e-mail correspondence between climate scientists, although they were not leaked originally to WikiLeaks.[133][134] It also released 570,000 intercepts of pager messages sent on the day of the 11 September attacks.[135][136][137] During 2008 and 2009, WikiLeaks published the alleged lists of forbidden or illegal web addresses for Australia, Denmark and Thailand. These were originally created to prevent access to child pornography and terrorism, but the leaks revealed that other sites featuring unrelated subjects were also listed.[138][139][140]

2010

Gun camera footage of the airstrike of 12 July 2007 in Baghdad, showing the slaying of Namir Noor-Eldeen and a dozen other civilians by a US helicopter.

In mid-February 2010, WikiLeaks received a leaked diplomatic cable from the United States Embassy in Reykjavik relating to the Icesave scandal, which they published on 18 February.[141] The cable, known as Reykjavik 13, was the first of the classified documents WikiLeaks published among those allegedly provided to them by United States Army Private Chelsea Manning (then known as Bradley). In March 2010, WikiLeaks released a secret 32-page US Department of Defense Counterintelligence Analysis Report written in March 2008 discussing the leaking of material by WikiLeaks and how it could be deterred.[142][143][144] In April, a classified video of the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike was released, showing two Reuters employees being fired at, after the pilots mistakenly thought the men were carrying weapons, which were in fact cameras.[145] After the mistaken killing, the video shows US forces firing on a family van that stopped to pick up the bodies.[146] In the week after the release, “wikileaks” was the search term with the most significant growth worldwide during the last seven days as measured by Google Insights.[147] In June 2010, Manning was arrested after alleged chat logs were given to United States authorities by former hacker Adrian Lamo, in whom she had confided. Manning reportedly told Lamo she had leaked the “Collateral Murder” video, in addition to a video of the Granai airstrike and about 260,000 diplomatic cables, to WikiLeaks.[148]

In July, WikiLeaks released 92,000 documents related to the war in Afghanistan between 2004 and the end of 2009 to the publications The GuardianThe New York Times and Der Spiegel. The documents detail individual incidents including “friendly fire” and civilian casualties.[149] About 15,000 of the 92,000 documents have not yet been released by WikiLeaks, as the group is currently reviewing the documents to remove some of the sources of the information. WikiLeaks asked the Pentagon and human-rights groups to help remove names from the documents to reduce the potential harm caused by their release, but did not receive assistance.[150] After the Love Parade stampede in Duisburg, Germany, on 24 July 2010, a local resident published internal documents of the city administration regarding the planning of Love Parade. The city government reacted by securing a court order on 16 August forcing the removal of the documents from the website on which it was hosted.[151] On 20 August 2010, WikiLeaks released a publication entitled Loveparade 2010 Duisburg planning documents, 2007–2010, which comprised 43 internal documents regarding the Love Parade 2010.[152][153] After the leak of information concerning the Afghan War, in October 2010, around 400,000 documents relating to the Iraq War were released. The BBC quoted the US Department of Defense referring to the Iraq War Logs as “the largest leak of classified documents in its history”. Media coverage of the leaked documents emphasised claims that the US government had ignored reports of torture by the Iraqi authorities during the period after the 2003 war.[154]

On 29 July 2010 WikiLeaks added an “Insurance file” to the Afghan War Diary page. The file is AES encrypted.[155][citation needed] There has been speculation that it was intended to serve as insurance in case the WikiLeaks website or its spokesman Julian Assange are incapacitated, upon which the passphrase could be published.[156][157] After the first few days’ release of the US diplomatic cables starting 28 November 2010, the US television broadcasting company CBS predicted that “If anything happens to Assange or the website, a key will go out to unlock the files. There would then be no way to stop the information from spreading like wildfire because so many people already have copies.”[158] CBS correspondent Declan McCullagh stated, “What most folks are speculating is that the insurance file contains unreleased information that would be especially embarrassing to the US government if it were released.”[158]

Diplomatic cables release

On 28 November 2010, WikiLeaks and five major newspapers from Spain (El País), France (Le Monde), Germany (Der Spiegel), the United Kingdom (The Guardian), and the United States (The New York Times) started simultaneously to publish the first 220 of 251,287 leaked documents labelled confidential – but not top-secret – and dated from 28 December 1966 to 28 February 2010.[159][160] WikiLeaks planned to release the entirety of the cables in phases over several months.[needs update][160]

WikiLeaks supporters protest in front of the British Embassy in Madrid, 11 December 2010

The contents of the diplomatic cables include numerous unguarded comments and revelations regarding: critiques and praises about the host countries of various United States embassies; political manoeuvring regarding climate change; discussion and resolutions towards ending ongoing tension in the Middle East; efforts and resistance towards nuclear disarmament; actions in the War on Terror; assessments of other threats around the world; dealings between various countries; United States intelligence and counterintelligence efforts; and other diplomatic actions. Reactions to the United States diplomatic cables leak varied. On 14 December 2010 the United States Department of Justice issued a subpoena directing Twitter to provide information for accounts registered to or associated with WikiLeaks.[161] Twitter decided to notify its users.[162] The overthrow of the presidency in Tunisia of 2011 has been attributed partly to reaction against the corruption revealed by leaked cables.[163][164][165]

On 1 September 2011, it became public that an encrypted version of WikiLeaks’ huge archive of unredacted US State Department cables had been available via BitTorrent for months and that the decryption key (similar to a password) was available to those who knew where to find it.[166][167] Guardian newspaper editor David Leigh had just published the decryption key in his book, so the files were now publicly available to anyone. Rather than let malicious actors publish selected data, WikiLeaks decided to publish the entire, unredacted archive in searchable form on its website.[citation needed]

2011–2015

In late April 2011, files related to the Guantanamo prison were released.[168] In December 2011, WikiLeaks started to release the Spy Files.[169] On 27 February 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor.[170] On 5 July 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing the Syria Files (emails from Syrian political figures 2006–2012).[171] On 25 October 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Detainee Policies, files covering the rules and procedures for detainees in US military custody.[172] In April 2013 WikiLeaks published more than 1.7 million US diplomatic and intelligence documents from the 1970s, including the Kissinger cables.[173]

Placard in front of Embassy of Ecuador, London, 22 August 2012

In 2013, the organisation assisted Edward Snowden (who is responsible for the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures) in leaving Hong Kong. Sarah Harrison, a WikiLeaks activist, accompanied Snowden on the flight. Scott Shane of The New York Times stated that the WikiLeaks involvement “shows that despite its shoestring staff, limited fund-raising from a boycott by major financial firms, and defections prompted by Mr. Assange’s personal troubles and abrasive style, it remains a force to be reckoned with on the global stage.”[174]

In September 2013, WikiLeaks published “Spy Files 3“, 250 documents from more than 90 surveillance companies.[175] On 13 November 2013, a draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership‘s Intellectual Property Rights chapter was published by WikiLeaks.[176][177] On 10 June 2015, WikiLeaks published the draft on the Trans-Pacific Partnership‘s Transparency for Healthcare Annex, along with each country’s negotiating position.[178] On 19 June 2015 WikiLeaks began publishing The Saudi Cables: more than half a million cables and other documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry that contain secret communications from various Saudi Embassies around the world.[179]

On 23 June 2015, WikiLeaks published documents under the name of “Espionnage Élysée”, which showed that NSA spied on the French government, including but not limited to then President Francois Hollande and his predecessors Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac.[180] On 29 June 2015, WikiLeaks published more NSA top secrets intercepts regarding France, detailing an economic espionage against French companies and associations.[181]In July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents which showed that the NSA had tapped the telephones of many German federal ministries, including that of the Chancellor Angela Merkel, for years since the 1990s.[182] On 4 July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents which showed that 29 Brazilian government numbers were selected for secret espionage by the NSA. Among the targets there were also the President Dilma Rousseff, many assistants and advisors, her presidential jet and other key figures in the Brazilian government.[183]

WikiLeaks supporters protest in front of the Ecuadorian embassy in London

On 29 July 2015, WikiLeaks published a top secret letter from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Ministerial Meeting in December 2013 which illustrated the position of negotiating countries on “state-owned enterprises” (SOEs).[184] On 31 July 2015, WikiLeaks published secret intercepts and the related target list showing that the NSA spied on Japanese government, including the Cabinet and Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi and Mitsui. The documents revealed that United States espionage against Japan concerned broad sections of communications about the US-Japan diplomatic relationship and Japan’s position on climate change issues, other than an extensive monitoring of the Japanese economy.[185] On 21 October 2015 WikiLeaks published some of John O. Brennan‘s emails, including a draft security clearance application which contained personal information.[186]

2016

On 4 July 2016, WikiLeaks tweeted a link to a trove of emails sent or received by then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and released under the Freedom of Information Act.[187] The link contained 1258 emails sent from Clinton’s personal mail server which were selected in terms of their relevance to the Iraq War and were apparently timed to precede the release of the UK government’s Iraq Inquiry report.[188]

On 19 July 2016, in response to the Turkish government’s purges that followed the coup attempt,[189] WikiLeaks released 294,548 emails from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP).[190] According to WikiLeaks, the material, which they claim to be the first batch from the “AKP Emails”, was obtained a week before the attempted coup in the country and “is not connected, in any way, to the elements behind the attempted coup, or to a rival political party or state”.[191] After WikiLeaks announced that they would release the emails, the organisation stayed for over 24 hours under a “sustained attack”.[citation needed] Following the leak, the Turkish government ordered the site to be blocked nationwide.[192][193][194][195] WikiLeaks had also tweeted a link to a database which contained sensitive information, such as the Turkish Identification Number, of approximately 50 million Turkish citizens, including nearly every female voter in Turkey.[196] This information first appeared online in April of the same year and was not in the files uploaded by WikiLeaks,[197] but in files archived by Michael Best, who then removed it when the personal data was discovered.[198][199][200]

On 22 July 2016, WikiLeaks released approximately 20,000 emails and 8,000 files sent from or received by Democratic National Committee (DNC) personnel.[201] Some of the emails contained personal information of donors, including home addresses and Social Security numbers.[202] Other emails appeared to criticise Bernie Sanders and showed apparent favouritism towards Clinton.[203][204]

On 7 October 2016, WikiLeaks started releasing series of emails and documents sent from or received by Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, including Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches to banks.[205][206][207][208] According to a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, “By dribbling these out every day WikiLeaks is proving they are nothing but a propaganda arm of the Kremlin with a political agenda doing Vladimir Putin‘s dirty work to help elect Donald Trump.”[209] The New York Times reported that when asked, president Vladimir Putin replied that Russia was being falsely accused. “The hysteria is merely caused by the fact that somebody needs to divert the attention of the American people from the essence of what was exposed by the hackers.”[210][211]

On 17 October 2016 WikiLeaks announced that a “state party” had severed the Internet connection of Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy. WikiLeaks blamed United States Secretary of State John Kerry of pressuring the Ecuadorian government in severing Assange’s Internet, an accusation which the United States State Department denied.[212] The Ecuadorian government stated that it had “temporarily” severed Assange’s Internet connection because of WikiLeaks’ release of documents “impacting on the U.S. election campaign,” although it also stated that this was not meant to prevent WikiLeaks from operating.[213]

2017

On 16 February 2017, WikiLeaks released a purported report on CIA espionage orders (marked as NOFORN) for the 2012 French presidential election.[214][215][216] The order called for details of party funding, internal rivalries and future attitudes toward the United States. The Associated Press noted that “the orders seemed to represent standard intelligence-gathering.”[217]

On 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks started publishing content code-named “Vault 7“. In a series of tweets and a Facebook Live + Periscope press conference, WikiLeaks announced these documents contain CIA internal documentation of their “massive arsenal” of hacking tools including malware, viruses trojects, weaponised “zero day” exploits and remote control systems to name a few.[218][219][220] Leaked documents, dated from 2013 to 2016, detail the capabilities of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to perform electronic surveillance and cyber warfare, such as the ability to compromise carssmart TVs,[220] web browsers (including Google ChromeMicrosoft EdgeMozilla Firefox, and Opera Software ASA),[221][222][223] and the operating systems of most smartphones (including Apple‘s iOS and Google‘s Android), as well as other operating systems such as Microsoft WindowsmacOS, and Linux.[224]

On 5 May 2017, WikiLeaks posted links to e-mails purported to be from Emmanuel Macron’s campaign in the French 2017 presidential election.[225] The documents were first relayed on the 4chan forum and by pro-Trump Twitter accounts, and then by WikiLeaks, who indicated they did not author the leaks.[225][226] Experts have asserted that the WikiLeaks Twitter account played a key role in publicising the leaks through the hashtag #MacronLeaks just some three-and-a-half hours after the first tweet with hashtag appeared.[227][228]The campaign stated that false documents were mixed in with real ones, and that “the ambition of the authors of this leak is obviously to harm the movement En Marche! in the final hours before the second round of the French presidential election”.[225][229] France’s Electoral Commission described the action as a “massive and coordinated piracy action”.[229][225] France’s Electoral Commission urged journalists not to report on the contents of the leaks, but to heed “the sense of responsibility they must demonstrate, as at stake are the free expression of voters and the sincerity of the election”.[229] Cybersecurity experts initially believed that groups linked to Russia were involved in this attack. The Kremlin denied any involvement.[230][231][232] The head of the French cyber-security agency, ANSSI, later said that they did not have evidence connecting the hack with Russia, saying that the attack was so simple, that “we can imagine that it was a person who did this alone. They could be in any country.”[233]

In September 2017, WikiLeaks released “Spy Files Russia,” revealing “how a St. Petersburg-based technology company called Peter-Service helped state entities gather detailed data on Russian cellphone users, part of a national system of online surveillance called System for Operative Investigative Activities (SORM).”[234]

Claims of upcoming leaks

In January 2011, Rudolf Elmer, a former Swiss banker, passed data containing account details of 2,000 prominent people to Assange, who stated that the information will be vetted before being made publicly available at a later date.[235] In May 2010, WikiLeaks said it had video footage of a massacre of civilians in Afghanistan by the US military which they were preparing to release.[236][237] In an interview with Chris Anderson on 19 July 2010, Assange showed a document WikiLeaks had on an Albanian oil-well blowout, and said they also had material from inside British Petroleum,[238] and that they were “getting enormous quantity of whistle-blower disclosures of a very high calibre” but added that they had not been able to verify and release the material because they did not have enough volunteer journalists.[239] In December 2010, Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens, told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC Television that WikiLeaks had information it considered to be a “thermo-nuclear device” which it would release if the organisation needs to defend itself against the authorities.[240]

In a 2009 interview by the magazine Computerworld, Assange claimed to be in possession of “5GB from Bank of America“. In 2010, he told Forbes magazine that WikiLeaks was planning another “megaleak” early in 2011, from the private sector, involving “a big U.S. bank” and revealing an “ecosystem of corruption”. Bank of America’s stock price decreased by 3%, apparently as a result of this announcement.[241][242] Assange commented on the possible effect of the release that “it could take down a bank or two”.[243][244] In August 2011, Reuters announced that Daniel Domscheit-Berg had destroyed approximately 5GB of data cache from Bank of America, that Assange had under his control.[245]

In October 2010, Assange told a major Moscow newspaper that “The Kremlin had better brace itself for a coming wave of WikiLeaks disclosures about Russia”.[246][247] Assange later clarified: “we have material on many businesses and governments, including in Russia. It’s not right to say there’s going to be a particular focus on Russia”.[248]

Authenticity

WikiLeaks has contended that it has never released a misattributed document and that documents are assessed before release. In response to concerns about the possibility of misleading or fraudulent leaks, WikiLeaks has stated that misleading leaks “are already well-placed in the mainstream media. WikiLeaks is of no additional assistance.”[249] The FAQ states that: “The simplest and most effective countermeasure is a worldwide community of informed users and editors who can scrutinise and discuss leaked documents.”[250]According to statements by Assange in 2010, submitted documents are vetted by a group of five reviewers, with expertise in different topics such as language or programming, who also investigate the background of the leaker if his or her identity is known.[251] In that group, Assange has the final decision about the assessment of a document.[251]

Columnist Eric Zorn wrote in 2016 that “it’s possible, even likely, that every stolen email WikiLeaks has posted has been authentic.”[252] (Writer Glenn Greenwald goes further, asserting that WikiLeaks has a “perfect, long-standing record of only publishing authentic documents.”[253]) However, cybersecurity experts agree that it is trivially easy for a person to fabricate an email or alter it, as by changing headers and metadata.[252] Some of the more recent releases, such as many of the emails contained in the Podesta emails, contain DKIM headers. This allows them to be verified as genuine to some degree of certainty.[254]

In July 2016, the Aspen Institute‘s Homeland Security Group, a bipartisan counterterrorism organisation, warned that hackers who stole authentic data might “salt the files they release with plausible forgeries.”[252] Russian intelligence agencies have frequently used disinformation tactics, “which means carefully faked emails might be included in the WikiLeaks dumps. After all, the best way to make false information believable is to mix it in with true information.”[255]

Promotion of conspiracy theories

Murder of Seth Rich

WikiLeaks has promoted conspiracy theories about the murder of Seth Rich.[256][257][258] Unfounded conspiracy theories, spread by some right-wing figures and media outlets, hold that Rich was the source of leaked emails and was killed for working with WikiLeaks.[259]WikiLeaks fuelled the conspiracy theories by offering a reward of $20,000 for information leading to the capture of Rich’s killer and hinting that Rich may have been the source of the leaked emails.[260] No evidence supports the claim that Rich was the source of the leaks.[20][261]

The Guardian wrote that WikiLeaks, along with individuals and groups on the hard right, had been involved in the “ruthless exploitation of [Rich’s] death for political purposes”.[262] The executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, an organization that advocates for open government, was critical of WikiLeaks’ fueling of conspiracy theories surrounding the murder of Seth Rich: “If they feel like they have a link to the staffer’s death, they should say it and be responsible about it. The insinuations, to me, are just disgusting.”[263]

Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton

WikiLeaks has popularized conspiracies about the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton, such as tweeting an article which suggested Clinton campaign chairperson John Podesta engaged in satanic rituals (which was later revealed to be false),[19][264][265] implying that the Democratic Party had Seth Rich killed,[20] suggesting that Clinton wore earpieces to debates and interviews,[266] claiming that Hillary Clinton wanted to drone strike Assange,[267] promoting conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health,[21][268][269] and promoting a conspiracy theory from a Donald Trump–related Internet community tying the Clinton campaign to child kidnapper Laura Silsby.[270]

Criticism and controversies

Allegations of anti-Americanism

Short of simply disclosing information in the public interest, WikiLeaks has been accused of purposely targeting certain states and people, and presenting its disclosures in misleading and conspiratorial ways to harm those people.[264] Writing in 2012, Foreign Policy‘s Joshua Keating noted that “nearly all its major operations have targeted the U.S. government or American corporations.”[271] In a 2017 speech addressing the Center for Strategic and International Studies, CIA Director Mike Pompeo referred to WikiLeaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service” and described founder Julian Assange as a narcissist, fraud, and coward.[272]

Allegations of anti-Clinton and pro-Trump bias

Assange wrote on WikiLeaks in February 2016: “I have had years of experience in dealing with Hillary Clinton and have read thousands of her cables. Hillary lacks judgement and will push the United States into endless, stupid wars which spread terrorism. …  she certainly should not become president of the United States.”[273] In July 2017, during an interview by Amy Goodman, Julian Assange said that choosing between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is like choosing between cholera or gonorrhea. “Personally, I would prefer neither.”[274] WikiLeaks editor, Sarah Harrison, has stated that the site is not choosing which damaging publications to release, rather releasing information that is available to them.[275]

In an Election Day statement, Assange criticized both Clinton and Trump, saying that “The Democratic and Republican candidates have both expressed hostility towards whistleblowers.”[276] In conversations that were leaked in February 2018, WikiLeaks expressed a preference for a Republican victory in the 2016 election.[22]

Having released information that exposed the inner working of a broad range of organisations and politicians, WikiLeaks started by 2016 to focus almost exclusively on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.[277] In the 2016 US presidential election, WikiLeaks only exposed material damaging to the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton. WikiLeaks even rejected the opportunity to publish unrelated leaks, because it dedicated all its resources to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. According to The New York Times, WikiLeaks timed one of its large leaks so that it would happen on the eve of the Democratic Convention.[278] The Washington Post noted that the leaks came at an important sensitive moment in the Clinton campaign, as she was preparing to announce her vice-presidential pick and unite the party behind her.[279] The Sunlight Foundation, an organisation that advocates for open government, said that such actions meant that WikiLeaks was no longer striving to be transparent but rather sought to achieve political goals: “It’s become something else. It’s not striving for objectivity. It’s more careless. When they publish information it appears to be in service of some specific goal, of retribution, at the expense of the individual.”[263]

WikiLeaks explained its actions in a 2017 statement to Foreign Policy: “WikiLeaks schedules publications to maximize readership and reader engagement. During distracting media events such as the Olympics or a high profile election, unrelated publications are sometimes delayed until the distraction passes but never are rejected for this reason.”[277] On 7 October 2016, an hour after the media had begun to dedicate wall-to-wall coverage of the revelation that Trump had bragged on video about sexually harassing women, WikiLeaks began to release emails hacked from the personal account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.[280][281] CNN notes that due to extensive coverage of the Trump tapes, the leaks were an “afterthought” in news coverage.[280] Podesta suggested that the emails were timed to deflect attention from the Trump tapes.[281]

In 2010, Donald Trump called WikiLeaks “disgraceful” and suggested that the “death penalty” should be a punishment for WikiLeaks’ releases of information.[282] Following the dump of e-mails hacked from the Hillary Clinton campaign, Donald Trump told voters, “I love WikiLeaks!”[283] Trump made many references to WikiLeaks during the course of the campaign; by one estimate, he referenced disclosures by WikiLeaks over 160 times in speeches during the last 30 days of the campaign.[284]

Correspondence between WikiLeaks and Donald Trump Jr.

In November 2017, it was revealed that the WikiLeaks Twitter account corresponded with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 presidential election.[23] The correspondence shows how WikiLeaks actively solicited the co-operation of Trump Jr., a campaign surrogate and advisor in the campaign of his father. WikiLeaks urged the Trump campaign to reject the results of the 2016 presidential election at a time when it looked as if the Trump campaign would lose.[23] WikiLeaks asked Trump Jr. to share a claim by Assange that Hillary Clinton had wanted to attack him with drones.[23] WikiLeaks also shared a link to a site that would help people to search through WikiLeaks documents.[23] Trump Jr. shared both. After the election, WikiLeaks also requested that the president-elect push Australia to appoint Assange as ambassador to the US. After The New York Times published a fragment of Donald Trump’s tax returns for one year, WikiLeaks asked Trump Jr. for one or more of his father’s tax returns, explaining that it would be in his father’s best interest because it would “dramatically improve the perception of our impartiality” and not come “through the most biased source (e.g. NYT/MSNBC).”[23] WikiLeaks also asked Trump Jr. to leak his own e-mails to them days after The New York Times broke a story about e-mail correspondence between Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-affiliated lawyer; WikiLeaks said that it would be “beautifully confounding” for them to publish the e-mails and that it would deprive other news outlets from putting a negative spin on the correspondence.[23] Trump Jr. provided this correspondence to congressional investigators looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election.[23]

Allegations of Russian influence

In August 2016, after WikiLeaks published thousands of DNC emails, it was claimed that Russian intelligence had hacked the e-mails and leaked them to WikiLeaks. At the time, DNC officials made such claims, along with a number of cybersecurity experts and cybersecurity firms.[285][286] In October 2016, the US intelligence community announced that it was “confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations”.[18] The US intelligence agencies said that the hacks were consistent with the methods of Russian-directed efforts, and that people high up within the Kremlin were likely involved.[18] On 14 October 2016, CNN reported that “there is mounting evidence that the Russian government is supplying WikiLeaks with hacked emails pertaining to the U.S. presidential election.”[287] WikiLeaks has denied any connection to or co-operation with Russia.[287] President Putin has strongly denied any Russian involvement in the election.[210][211]

In September 2016, the German weekly magazine Focus reported that according to a confidential German government dossier, WikiLeaks had long since been infiltrated by Russian agents aiming to discredit NATO governments. The magazine added that French and British intelligence services had come to the same conclusion and said Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev receive details about what WikiLeaks publishes before publication.[288] The Focus report followed a New York Times story that suggested that WikiLeaks may be a laundering machine for compromising material about Western countries gathered by Russian spies.[289]

On 10 December 2016, several news outlets, including The Guardian and The Washington Post, reported that the Central Intelligence Agency concluded that Russia intelligence operatives provided materials to WikiLeaks in an effort to help Donald Trump’s election bid. The Washington Post article stated: “The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.”[290] The Guardian article reported, “individuals linked to the Russian government had provided WikiLeaks with thousands of confidential emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and others.”[291] WikiLeaks has frequently been criticised for its absence of whistleblowing on or criticism of Russia.[24] The Guardian notes that journalists are killed frequently in Russia, and notes that Freedom House has ranked Russian press freedom as “not free … The main national news agenda is firmly controlled by the Kremlin. The government sets editorial policy at state-owned television stations, which dominate the media landscape and generate propagandistic content.[292]

In April 2016, WikiLeaks tweeted criticism of the Panama Papers, which had among other things revealed Russian businesses and individuals linked with offshore ties (Vladimir Putin’s associates had as much as $2 billion in offshore accounts).[293][277] The WikiLeaks Twitter account tweeted, “#PanamaPapers Putin attack was produced by OCCRP which targets Russia & former USSR and was funded by USAID and [George] Soros”.[25] Putin would later go on to dismiss the Panama Papers by citing WikiLeaks: “WikiLeaks has showed us that official people and official organs of the U.S. are behind this.”[25] According to The New York Times, both Assange claims are substance-free: “there is no evidence suggesting that the United States government had a role in releasing the Panama Papers.”[294] Assange also falsely asserted that the Panama Papers gave Western figures a free pass, when the leaks in fact reported on a number of high-profile Western politicians, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron.[277]

In 2012 when WikiLeaks began to run out of funds, Assange began to host a television show on Russia Today, Russia’s state-owned news network.[295] Assange has never disclosed how much he or WikiLeaks were paid for his television show.[295]

After President Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn resigned in February 2017 due to reports over his communications with Russian officials and subsequent lies over the content and nature of those communications, WikiLeaks tweeted that Flynn resigned “after destabilization campaign by U.S. spies, Democrats, press.”[296][297]

In April 2017, the WikiLeaks Twitter account suggested that the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, which international human rights organisations and governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, and Israel attributed to the Syrian government, was a false flag attack.[298] WikiLeaks stated that “while western establishment media beat the drum for more war in Syria the matter is far from clear”, and shared a video by a Syrian activist who claimed that Islamist extremists were probably behind the chemical attack, not the Syrian government.[298]

In May 2017, cybersecurity experts stated that they believed that groups affiliated with the Russian government were involved in the hacking and leaking of e-mails associated with the Emmanuel Macron campaign; these e-mails were published on Pastebin but heavily promoted by WikiLeaks social media channels.[230][231][232]

In April 2017, CIA Director Mike Pompeo stated: “It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is – a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” Pompeo said that the US Intelligence Community had concluded that Russia’s “primary propaganda outlet,” RT had “actively collaborated” with WikiLeaks.[299]

In August 2017, Foreign Policy reported that WikiLeaks had in the summer of 2016 turned down a large cache of documents containing information damaging to the Russian government.[277][300] WikiLeaks justified this by saying “As far as we recall these are already public … WikiLeaks rejects all information that it cannot verify.[301] WikiLeaks rejects submissions that have already been published elsewhere”.[277] Whereas news outlets had reported on some contents of the leaks in 2014, the information that news outlets reported on was less than half of the data that was made available to WikiLeaks in the summer of 2016.[277]

In October 2017, it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a company working on behalf of the Trump presidential campaign, had contacted WikiLeaks about missing Hillary Clinton e-mails and the possibility of creating a searchable database for the campaign to use.[302][303] After this was reported, Assange confirmed that WikiLeaks had been approached by Cambridge Analytica but had rejected the approach.[302][303] WikiLeaks did not disclose what the subject of Cambridge Analytica’s approach was.[304]

Allegations of anti-semitism

WikiLeaks has been accused of anti-semitism both in its Twitter activity and hiring decisions.[305][306][307][308] According to Ian Hislop, Assange claimed that a “Jewish conspiracy” was attempting to discredit the organization. Assange denied making this remark, stating “‘Jewish conspiracy’ is completely false, in spirit and in word. It is serious and upsetting.”[305][309]

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting in 2015, the WikiLeaks Twitter account wrote that “the Jewish pro-censorship lobby legitimized attacks”, referring to the trial of Maurice Sinet.[307] In July 2016, the same account suggested that triple parentheses, or (((echoes))) – a tool used by neo-Nazis to identify Jews on Twitter, appropriated by several Jews online out of solidarity – had been used as a way for “establishment climbers” to identify one another.[306][308] In leaked internal conversations, Assange discussed an article critical of WikiLeaks by Associated Press reporter Raphael Satter. He went on call the journalist “a rat”, adding “but he’s Jewish” and encouraged others to troll him.[22]

Exaggerated and misleading descriptions of the contents of leaks

WikiLeaks has been criticised for making misleading claims about the contents of its leaks.[310][311] Media outlets have also been criticised for reporting on WikiLeaks’ claims about the CIA leak, which were later retracted.[310]

According to University of North Carolina Professor Zeynep Tufekci, this is part of a pattern of behaviour. After the 2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt, WikiLeaks announced that it would release e-mails belonging to Turkey’s ruling conservative Justice and Development Party. WikiLeaks released Turkish emails and documents as a response to the Turkish government’s crackdown on real or alleged government opponents that followed the coup attempt.[189] When these e-mails were released, however, it “was nothing but mundane mailing lists of tens of thousands of ordinary people who discussed politics online. Back then, too, the ruse worked: Many Western journalists had hyped these non-leaks.”[310] According to Tufekci, there are three steps to WikiLeaks’ “disinformation campaigns”: “The first step is to dump many documents at once — rather than allowing journalists to scrutinise them and absorb their significance before publication. The second step is to sensationalise the material with misleading news releases and tweets. The third step is to sit back and watch as the news media unwittingly promotes the WikiLeaks agenda under the auspices of independent reporting.”[310]

Inadequate curation and violations of personal privacy

WikiLeaks has drawn criticism for violating the personal privacy of a multitude of individuals and inadequately curating its content. These critics include transparency advocates, such as Edward Snowden, the Sunlight Foundation and the Federation of American Scientists.[26]

WikiLeaks has published individuals’ Social Security numbers, medical information, and credit card numbers.[27] An analysis by the Associated Press found that WikiLeaks had in one of its mass-disclosures published “the personal information of hundreds of people – including sick children, rape victims and mental health patients”.[27] WikiLeaks has named teenage rape victims, and outed an individual arrested for homosexuality in Saudi Arabia.[27] Some of WikiLeaks’ cables “described patients with psychiatric conditions, seriously ill children or refugees”.[27] An analysis of WikiLeaks’ Saudi cables “turned up more than 500 passport, identity, academic or employment files … three dozen records pertaining to family issues in the cables – including messages about marriages, divorces, missing children, elopements and custody battles. Many are very personal, like the marital certificates that reveal whether the bride was a virgin. Others deal with Saudis who are deeply in debt, including one man who says his wife stole his money. One divorce document details a male partner’s infertility. Others identify the partners of women suffering from sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and Hepatitis C.”[27] Two individuals named in the DNC leaks were targeted by identity thieves following WikiLeaks’ reveal of their Social Security and credit card information.[27] In its leak of DNC e-mails, WikiLeaks revealed the details of an ordinary staffer’s suicide attempt and brought attention to it through a tweet.[312][313]

WikiLeaks’ publishing of Sony’s hacked e-mails drew criticism for violating the privacy of Sony’s employees and for failing to be in the public interest.[314][315] Michael A. Cohen, a fellow at the Century Foundation, argues that “data dumps like these represent a threat to our already shrinking zone of privacy.”[314] He noted that the willingness of WikiLeaks to publish information of this type encourages hacking and cybertheft: “With ready and willing amplifiers, what’s to deter the next cyberthief from stealing a company’s database of information and threatening to send it to Wikileaks if a list of demands aren’t met?”[314]

The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates for open government, has criticised WikiLeaks for inadequate curation of its content and for “weaponised transparency,” writing that with the DNC leaks, “Wikileaks again failed the due diligence review we expect of putatively journalistic entities when it published the personal information of ordinary citizens, including passport and Social Security numbers contained in the hacked emails of Democratic National Committee staff. We are not alone in raising ethical questions about Wikileaks’ shift from whistleblower to platform for weaponised transparency. Any organisation that ‘doxxes’ a public is harming privacy.”[316] The manner in which WikiLeaks publishes content can have the effect of censoring political enemies: “Wikileaks’ indiscriminate disclosure in this case is perhaps the closest we’ve seen in reality to the bogeyman projected by enemies to reform — that transparency is just a Trojan Horse for chilling speech and silencing political enemies.”[316]

In July 2016, Edward Snowden criticised WikiLeaks for insufficiently curating its content.[28] When Snowden made data public, he did so by working with the Washington Post, the Guardian and other news organisations, choosing only to make documents public which exposed National Security Agency surveillance programs.[28] Content that compromised national security or exposed sensitive personal information was withheld.[28] WikiLeaks, on the other hand, makes little effort to remove sensitive personal information or withhold content with adverse national security implications. WikiLeaks responded by accusing Snowden of pandering to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.[28]

University of North Carolina Professor Zeynep Tufekci has criticised WikiLeaks for exposing sensitive personal information: “WikiLeaks, for example, gleefully tweeted to its millions of followers that a Clinton Foundation employee had attempted suicide … Data dumps by WikiLeaks have outed rape victims and gay people in Saudi Arabia, private citizens’ emails and personal information in Turkey, and the voice mail messages of Democratic National Committee staff members.”[29] She argues these data dumps which violate personal privacy without being in the public interest “threaten our ability to dissent by destroying privacy and unleashing a glut of questionable information that functions, somewhat unexpectedly, as its own form of censorship, rather than as a way to illuminate the maneuverings of the powerful.”[29]

In January 2017, the WikiLeaks Task Force, a Twitter account associated with WikiLeaks,[317] proposed the creation of a database to track verified Twitter users, including sensitive personal information on individuals’ homes, families and finances.[318][317][319] According to the Chicago Tribune, “the proposal faced a sharp and swift backlash as technologists, journalists and security researchers slammed the idea as a ‘sinister’ and dangerous abuse of power and privacy.”[318] Twitter furthermore bans the use of Twitter data for “surveillance purposes,” stating “Posting another person’s private and confidential information is a violation of the Twitter rules.”[317]

Internal conflicts and lack of transparency

Within WikiLeaks, there has been public disagreement between founder and spokesperson Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg, the website’s former German representative who was suspended by Assange. Domscheit-Berg announced on 28 September 2010 that he was leaving the organisation due to internal conflicts over management of the website.[100][320][321]

Julian Assange (left) with Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Domscheit-Berg was ejected from WikiLeaks and started a rival “whistleblower” organisation named OpenLeaks.

On 25 September 2010, after being suspended by Assange for “disloyalty, insubordination and destabilisation”, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, the German spokesman for WikiLeaks, told Der Spiegel that he was resigning, saying “WikiLeaks has a structural problem. I no longer want to take responsibility for it, and that’s why I am leaving the project.”[322][323][324] Assange accused Domscheit-Berg of leaking information to Newsweek, claiming the WikiLeaks team was unhappy with Assange’s management and handling of the Afghan war document releases.[324] Daniel Domscheit-Berg wanted greater transparency in the articles released to the public. Another vision of his was to focus on providing technology that allowed whistle-blowers to protect their identity as well as a more transparent way of communicating with the media, forming new partnerships and involving new people.[325] Domscheit-Berg left with a small group to start OpenLeaks, a new leak organisation and website with a different management and distribution philosophy.[322][326]

While leaving, Daniel Domscheit-Berg copied and then deleted roughly 3,500 unpublished documents from the WikiLeaks servers,[327] including information on the US government’s ‘no-fly list’ and inside information from 20 right-wing organisations, and according to a WikiLeaks statement, 5 gigabytes of data relating to Bank of America, the internal communications of 20 neo-Nazi organisations and US intercept information for “over a hundred Internet companies”.[328] In Domscheit-Berg’s book he wrote: “To this day, we are waiting for Julian to restore security, so that we can return the material to him, which was on the submission platform.”[329] In August 2011, Domscheit-Berg claims he permanently deleted the files “in order to ensure that the sources are not compromised.”[330]

Herbert Snorrason, a 25-year-old Icelandic university student, resigned after he challenged Assange on his decision to suspend Domscheit-Berg and was bluntly rebuked.[324] Iceland MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir also left WikiLeaks, citing lack of transparency, lack of structure, and poor communication flow in the organisation.[331] According to the periodical The Independent (London), at least a dozen key supporters of WikiLeaks left the website during 2010.[332]

Non-disclosure agreements

Those working for WikiLeaks are reportedly required to sign sweeping non-disclosure agreements covering all conversations, conduct, and material, with Assange having sole power over disclosure.[333] The penalty for non-compliance in one such agreement was reportedly £12 million.[333] WikiLeaks has been challenged for this practice, as it seen to be hypocritical for an organisation dedicated to transparency to limit the transparency of its inner workings and limit the accountability of powerful individuals in the organisation.[333][334][335]

Lawsuit by the Democratic National Committee

On 20 April 2018, the Democratic National Committee filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit in federal district court in Manhattan against Russia, the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, alleging a conspiracy to disrupt the 2016 United States presidential election in Trump’s favor.[336] WikiLeaks called the lawsuit a “publicity stunt” by the DNC and said, “As an accurate publisher of newsworthy information @WikiLeaks is constitutionally protected from such suits.” WikiLeaks added that they were considering filing a countersuit against the DNC.[337]

Reception

Graffiti in Bilbao “We want to know.”

Awards and praise

From interested parties

WikiLeaks has received praise as well as criticism. The organisation won a number of awards in its early years, including The Economist‘s New Media Award in 2008 at the Index on Censorship Awards[338] and Amnesty International‘s UK Media Award in 2009.[339][340] In 2010, the New York Daily News listed WikiLeaks first among websites “that could totally change the news,”[341] and Julian Assange received the Sam Adams Award[342] and was named the Readers’ Choice for TIME’s Person of the Year in 2010.[343] The UK Information Commissioner has stated that “WikiLeaks is part of the phenomenon of the online, empowered citizen.”[344] During its first days, an Internet petition in support of WikiLeaks attracted more than six hundred thousand signatures.[345]

Support for good use of free speech

Sympathisers of WikiLeaks in the media and academia commended it during its early years for exposing state and corporate secrets, increasing transparency, assisting freedom of the press, and enhancing democratic discourse while challenging powerful institutions.[346][347][348][349][350][351][352] In 2010, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern over the “cyber war” being led at the time against WikiLeaks,[353] and in a joint statement with the Organization of American States the UN Special Rapporteur called on states and other people to keep international legal principles in mind.[354]

Public positions By U.S. politicians

Several Republicans who had once been highly critical of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange began to speak fondly of him after WikiLeaks published the DNC leaks and started to regularly criticise Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.[355][356] Having called WikiLeaks “disgraceful” in 2010, President-Elect Donald Trump praised WikiLeaks in October 2016, saying, “I love WikiLeaks.”[357][358] Newt Gingrich, who called for Assange to be “treated as an enemy combatant” in 2010, praised him as a “down to Earth, straight forward interviewee” in 2017.[355] Sean Hannity, who had in 2010 said that Assange waged a “war” on the United States, praised him in 2016 for showing “how corrupt, dishonest and phony our government is”.[356] Sarah Palin, who had in 2010 described Assange as an “anti-American operative with blood on his hands”, lavished praise on him in 2017.[359] Ann Coulter called for Assange to be awarded the presidential medal of freedom.[355]

Concerns from U.S. government

At the same time, several US government officials have criticised WikiLeaks for exposing classified information and claimed that the leaks harm national security and compromise international diplomacy.[360][361][362][363][364] Several human rights organisations requested with respect to earlier document releases that WikiLeaks adequately redact the names of civilians working with international forces, to prevent repercussions.[365] Some journalists have likewise criticised a perceived lack of editorial discretion when releasing thousands of documents at once and without sufficient analysis.[366] In 2016, Harvard law professor and Electronic Frontier Foundation board member Jonathan Zittrain argued that a culture in which one constantly risks being “outed” as a result of virtual Watergate-like break-ins (or violations of the Fourth Amendment) could lead people to hesitate to speak their minds.[367]

In April 2017, CIA Director Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia”.[368]

Also in April 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that arresting Julian Assange of WikiLeaks was a priority: “We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious. So yes, it is a priority. We’ve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.”[369]

Campaigns to discredit Wikileaks

In 2011, hacktivist group Anonymous published a secret proposal presented by a Palantir Technologies employee to Hunton & Williams, a Washington, D.C. law firm, to attempt to discredit WikiLeaks and supporters such as Glenn Greenwald with disinformation and cyberattacks.[370] Two other private security firms, Berico Technologies and HBGary, were also involved in the proposal.[371][372][373][374] Palantir temporarily suspended the employee, its CEO Alex Karp apologised to Greenwald, and a spokesperson said the company would have collapsed if it had carried out the proposal.[370]

Spin-offs

Release of United States diplomatic cables was followed by the creation of a number of other organisations based on the WikiLeaks model.[375]

  • OpenLeaks was created by a former WikiLeaks spokesperson. Daniel Domscheit-Berg said the intention was to be more transparent than WikiLeaks. OpenLeaks was supposed to start public operations in early 2011 but despite much media coverage, as of April 2013it is not operating.[376]
  • In December 2011, WikiLeaks launched Friends of WikiLeaks, a social network for supporters and founders of the website.[377]
  • On 9 September 2013[378] a number of major Dutch media outlets supported the launch of Publeaks, which provides a secure website for people to leak documents to the media using the GlobaLeaks whistleblowing software.[379]
  • RuLeaks is aimed at being a Russian equivalent to WikiLeaks. It was initiated originally to provide translated versions of the WikiLeaks cables but the Moscow Times reports it has started to publish its own content as well.[380]
  • Leakymails is a project designed to obtain and publish relevant documents exposing corruption of the political class and the powerful in Argentina.[381][382][383]
  • Honest Appalachia,[384] initiated in January 2012, is a website based in the United States intended to appeal to potential “whistleblowers” in West VirginiaVirginiaPennsylvaniaOhioKentuckyTennessee and North Carolina, and serve as a replicable model for similar projects elsewhere.[385][386]

In popular culture

Both The Fifth Estate and We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks have received heavy criticism from Wikileaks itself, over fabrications and irresponsibility.[392] [393]

See also

References …

External links

Story 2: Obama vs. Trump Using Drones To Kill Terrorist and Many Innocent Civilians? —  No Transparency and No Accountability —  Videos

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US drone strikes in Yemen continue to kill civilians

The US has been waging a drone war in Yemen for the last 16 years, trying to suppress Al Qaeda’s branch in the country. But the campaign has had a hidden cost: civilians killed by the strikes. #USDroneWar #Yemen #drones

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Trump cancels Obama policy of reporting drone strike deaths

The reporting requirement was the first-ever effort by the U.S. government to account for how many people have been killed in targeted strikes.
US Conducts Air War Against ISIL From Secret Base In Persian Gulf Region

Contract workers load a Hellfire missile onto a U.S. Air Force MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle at a secret air base in the Persian Gulf region on Jan. 7, 2016.John Moore / Getty Images file

By Ken Dilanian and Courtney Kube

In the latest step toward rolling back Obama-era rules for targeted killings, President Donald Trump will no longer require U.S. intelligence officials to publicly disclose the numbers of people killed in drone strikes and other attacks on terrorist targets outside of war zones.

Trump ended the reporting requirement by signing an executive order Wednesday. The move had been expected since the administration last year failed to release an annual accounting of civilian and enemy casualties required under an order signed in 2016 by then-President Barack Obama.

The order signed by Trump revokes a specific requirement that the administration release an unclassified summary of “the number of strikes undertaken by the United States government against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities, as well as assessments of combatant and noncombatant deaths resulting from those strikes, among other information.”

Obama dramatically expanded the use of targeted strikes with drone strikes against al Qaeda and the Islamic State group. He also sought to put in place a set of rules designed to promote accountability and encourage policymakers to minimize civilian casualties. Critics said those rules placed unwarranted constraints on counterterrorism operatives.

Among the rules was a requirement that there be a “near certainty” of no civilian casualties before the CIA launched a strike. That rule did not apply in war zones, where the standard is less strict. It’s unclear whether that rule remains in place.

The reporting requirement was the first-ever effort by the U.S. government to account for how many people have been killed in targeted strikes in places such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Obama’s first report in 2016 said the U.S. launched 473 strikes from Jan. 20, 2009, until Dec. 31, 2015, killing 2,372 to 2,581 combatants and 64 to 116 noncombatants.

Outside groups have much higher estimates for the death toll in American drone strikes.

That requirement is now repealed.

Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at the Human Rights Watch, called Trump’s decision “deeply troubling.”

“Unless Congress wants to leave open the possibility that the CIA can be a secret killing squad, it should immediately act to mandate robust unclassified and appropriately classified reports on the use of all force by the United States, and assessments of any and all civilian deaths, injury or other harm, caused by the United States,” Prasow said.

A spokesperson for the National Security Council (NSC) insists the administration is committed to “acknowledging responsibility” when civilian casualties occur, but called the reporting requirement “superfluous.”

“This action eliminates superfluous reporting requirements, requirements that do not improve government transparency, but rather distract our intelligence professionals from their primary mission,” the NSC spokesperson said.

Trump’s order does not affect a separate law that Congress passed last year requiring the Department of Defense to provide Congress with a report of civilian casualties resulting from military operations. But that does not apply to many areas where CIA drone strikes take place.

Under Trump, CIA drone strikes have not reached the level they did in the early Obama years, when the agency was pummeling targets in Pakistan on a weekly basis.

But in 2017, there were a record 156 counterterrorism strikes in Yemen and Somalia, according to Long War Journal, a website that tracks the attacks through credible U.S. and foreign media reports.

Last year, that number fell to 82, the website reported.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-cancels-obama-policy-reporting-drone-strike-deaths-n980156

Trump outpacing Obama in drone strikes; 80 in first year: Report

But analysts warn Trump administration far too secretive with drone program

A U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

Civilian casualties from U.S. drone strikes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

President Trump is outpacing his predecessor in the number of U.S. drone strikes abroad and has made it easier for the CIA to use the craft to eliminate targets, according to a new study released Thursday — but specialists warn the use of the unmanned killing machines remains shrouded in secrecy with rules of engagement that haven’t been publicly explained.

The comprehensive report from the nonpartisan Stimson Center examined U.S. drone policy since Sept. 11, 2001, and found that the steady rise in the frequency of drone strikes during former President Barack Obama’s tenure has continued since Mr. Trump came to power. During his eight years in office, Mr. Obama authorized roughly 550 drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other nations in which the U.S. wasn’t explicitly at war.

In just his first 12 months, Mr. Trump green-lighted at least 80 strikes in those countries and “is on pace to surpass the strike tempo of both of his predecessors, which perhaps signals a great willingness to use lethal force,” the survey says.

The figures do not include military action in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, where the U.S. has has a formal military presence for more than a decade, and the strikes in countries such as Yemen and Somalia are typically overseen by the CIA, not the Pentagon.

Analysts argue that one reason for the uptick in the use of drones could be the Trump administration’s relaxation of the rules governing drone strikes. The administration reportedly has lessened the certainty required about a target’s whereabouts before launching a drone strike, and has declared parts of Yemen and Somalia to be area of “active hostilities,” which allow greater flexibility in the use of drones.

But the details of those and other drone policies remain secret, and some analysts contend that whatever progress on drone transparency had been made during the Obama administration has been swiftly reversed.

“The Trump administration appears to be rolling back initial, albeit limited, efforts to increase transparency in the U.S. drone program, which impedes the ability of the public to assess whether the use of drones is appropriate and responsible and to hold the government accountable for any mistakes or wrongful killings resulting from the use of drones in lethal operations,” wrote Rachel Stohl, managing director at Stimson who oversaw the drone study. “A lack of transparency also undermines the legitimacy of the U.S. drone program and the policy underpinning it, and implies that the United States has something to hide.”

A host of other groups, such as the ACLU, Amnesty International, and others, earlier this year released a joint statement calling on the Trump administration to make public much more information about the extent of its drone program, the rules of engagement it is using, and a host of other information.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jun/7/donald-trump-outpacing-barack-obama-drone-strikes-/

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Since the September 11 attacks, the United States government has carried out drone strikes in Pakistan (see drone strikes in Pakistan), Yemen (see drone strikes in Yemen), Somalia (see drone strikes in Somalia), Afghanistan, and Libya (see drone strikes in Libya).[1][2]

Drone strikes are part of a targeted killing campaign against jihadist militants; however, non-combatant civilians have also been killed in drone strikes.[1][2] Determining precise counts of the total number killed, as well as the number of non-combatant civilians killed, is impossible; and tracking of strikes and estimates of casualties are compiled by a number of organizations, such as the Long War Journal (Pakistan and Yemen), the New America Foundation (Pakistan), and the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism (Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan).[1] The “estimates of civilian casualties are hampered methodologically and practically”;[3] for example, “estimates are largely compiled by interpreting news reports relying on anonymous officials or accounts from local media, whose credibility may vary.”[1]

 

 

Total numbers

According to the Long War Journal, which follows US anti-terror developments, as of mid-2011, drone strikes in Pakistan since 2006 had killed 2,018 militants and 138 civilians.[4] The New America Foundation stated in mid-2011 that from 2004 to 2011, 80% of the 2,551 people killed in the strikes were militants. The Foundation stated that 95% of those killed in 2010 were militants and that, as of 2012, 15% of the total people killed by drone strikes were either known civilians or unknown.[5] The Foundation also states that in 2012 the rate of known civilian and unknown casualties was 2 percent, whereas the Bureau of Investigative Journalism say the rate of civilian casualties for 2012 is 9 percent.[6] The Bureau, based on extensive research in mid-2011, claims that at least 385 civilians were among the dead, including more than 160 children.[7] The Obama administration estimated in June 2016 that US drone strikes under Obama had killed 64 individuals conclusively determined to be non-combatants, in addition to 52 individuals whose status remained in doubt.[8]

It has been reported that 160 children have died from UAV-launched attacks in Pakistan[9] and that over 1,000 civilians have been injured.[10] Moreover, additional reporting has found that known militant leaders have constituted only 2 percent of all drone-related fatalities.[11] These sources run counter to the Obama administration’s claim that “nearly for the past year there hasn’t been a single collateral death” due to UAV-based attacks.[12]

The New America Foundation estimates that for the period 2004-2011, the non-militant fatality rate was approximately 20%.[13]

President Donald Trump, on March 6, 2019, signed an executive order revoking the requirement that U.S. intelligence officials publicly report the number of civilians killed in drone strikes and other attacks on terrorist targets outside of war zones. The Trump administrationhad previously ignored a May 2018 deadline for an annual accounting of civilian and enemy casualties required under Executive Order 13732[14] signed in 2016 by Barack Obama.[15][16]

Afghanistan

After more than 30 UAV-based strikes hit civilian homes in Afghanistan in 2012, President Hamid Karzai demanded that such attacks end, but the practice continues in areas of Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has criticized such use of UAVs: “We don’t know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks … This would have been unthinkable in previous times.”[17]

Pakistan

In October 2013, the Pakistani government revealed that since 2008, civilian casualties made up 3 percent of deaths from drone strikes. Since 2008, it alleges there have been 317 drone strikes that killed 2,160 Islamic militants and 67 civilians. This is less than previous government and independent organization calculations of collateral damage from these attacks.[18] S. Azmat Hassan, a former ambassador of Pakistan, said in July 2009 that American UAV attacks were turning Pakistani opinion against the United States and that 35 or 40 such attacks killed 8 or 9 top al-Qaeda operatives.[19]

Yemen

An attack by the US in December 2013, in a wedding procession in Yemen, killed 12 men and wounded at least 15 other people, including the bride. US and Yemeni officials said the dead were members of the armed group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), but witnesses and relatives told Human Rights Watch the casualties were civilians. Witnesses and relatives told Human Rights Watch that no members of AQAP were in the procession and provided names and other information about those killed and wounded. They said the dead included the groom’s adult son and the bride received superficial face wounds. The local governor and military commander called the casualties a “mistake” and gave money and assault rifles to the families of those killed and wounded – a traditional gesture of apology in Yemen. A few days after the incident, Yemeni MPs voted for a ban against the use of drones in Yemen, though it is unclear what effect this will have on drone usage.[20][21]

Criticism

There are a number of vocal critics of the use of UAVs to track and kill terrorists and militants. A major criticism of drone strikes is that they result in excessive collateral damage. David Kilcullen and Andrew Exum wrote in the New York Times[22] that drone strikes “have killed about 14 terrorist leaders”. It has also killed an unknown number of militants. But, according to Pakistani sources, they have also killed some 700 civilians. Grégoire Chamayou’s analysis, of one three hour long surveillance and attack operation on a convoy of three SUVs that killed civilians in Afghanistan in February 2010, shows a typical, if notorious, case. Throughout the operation there is a sense of the drone controllers’ desperation to destroy the people and destroy the vehicles — whatever the evidence of their clearly civilian nature. The transcript is full of statements like “that truck would make a beautiful target”; “Oh, sweet target!”; “the men appear to be moving tactically”; and “They’re going to do something nefarious”.[23]

It is difficult to reconcile these figures because the drone strikes are often in areas that are inaccessible to independent observers and the data includes reports by local officials and local media, neither of whom are reliable sources. Critics also fear that by making killing seem clean and safe, so-called surgical UAV strikes will allow the United States to remain in a perpetual state of war. However, others maintain that drones “allow for a much closer review and much more selective targeting process than do other instruments of warfare” and are subject to Congressional oversight.[24] Like any military technology, armed UAVs will kill people, combatants and innocents alike, thus “the main turning point concerns the question of whether we should go to war at all.”[24]

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:abcd Cora Currier, Everything We Know So Far About Drone Strikes, Pro Publica (February 5, 2013).
  2. Jump up to:ab Obama’s covert drone war in numbers: ten times more strikes than Bush, Bureau of Investigative Journalism (January 17, 2017).
  3. ^ Counting Drone Strike DeathsColumbia Law School Human Rights Clinic (October 2012).
  4. ^ Roggio, Bill, and Alexander Mayer, “Charting the data for US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 – 2016“, Long War Journal, 5 July 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011. Archived February 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ “Out of the blue”The Economist. 30 July 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  6. ^ Counting civilian casualties in CIA’s drone warArchived2012-11-04 at the Wayback Machine, Foreign Policy
  7. ^ Woods, Chris (10 August 2011). “Drone War Exposed – the complete picture of CIA strikes in Pakistan”Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  8. ^ “White House releases its count of civilian deaths in counterterrorism operations under Obama”Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  9. ^ Woods, Chris (11 August 2011). “Over 160 children reported among drone deaths”The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  10. ^ Woods, Chris (10 August 2011). “You cannot call me lucky – drones injure over 1,000”. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  11. ^ Bergen, Peter (19 September 2012). “Drone is Obama’s weapon of choice”CNN. Retrieved 16 December 2016Since it began in 2004, the drone campaign has killed 49 militant leaders whose deaths have been confirmed by at least two credible news sources. While this represents a significant blow to the militant chain of command, these 49 deaths account for only 2% of all drone-related fatalities.
  12. ^ Muhammad Idrees Ahmad (30 July 2011). “Fighting Back against the CIA drone war”Al Jazeera. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  13. ^ Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann. “2004–2011”. New America Foundation. Archived from the original on August 30, 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  14. ^ “Executive Order — United States Policy on Pre- and Post-Strike Measures to Address Civilian Casualties in U.S. Operations Involving the Use of Force”whitehouse.gov. 2016-07-01. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  15. ^ “Executive Order on Revocation of Reporting Requirement”whitehouse.gov. 6 March 2019.
  16. ^ “Trump Cancels U.S. Report on Civilian Deaths in Drone Strikes”Bloomberg News. 6 March 2019.
  17. ^ Carter, Jimmy (24 June 2012). “A Cruel and Unusual Record”New York Times.
  18. ^ Sebastian Abbot and Munir Ahmed (31 October 2013). “Pakistan says 3% of drone deaths civilians”Usa TodayAssociated Press. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  19. ^ Newsweek, 8 July 2009. Anita Kirpalani, “Drone On. Q&A: A former Pakistani diplomat says America’s most useful weapon is hurting the cause in his country.” Retrieved on 3 August 2009.
  20. ^ “US: Yemen Drone Strike May Violate Obama Policy”. Human Rights Watch.
  21. ^ “The Aftermath of Drone Strikes on a Wedding Convoy in Yemen”The New York Times.
  22. ^ Kilcullen, David, and Andrew Exum (16 May 2009). “Death From Above, Outrage Down Below”The New York Times. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  23. ^ “Drone: Robot Imperium – Longreads”longreads.tni.org. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  24. Jump up to:ab Etzioni, Amitai (March–April 2013). “The Great Drone Debate”(PDF)Military Review. Archived from the originalon 22 May 2013.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_casualties_from_U.S._drone_strikes

 

Story 3: Fake Sanctuary Cities Oppose Sending Illegal Aliens To Their Cities — Suggestion or Presidential Order? — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

Trump Threatens To Send ‘Illegals’ To Sanctuary Cities

Trump: Let’s see if sanctuary cities have open arms

Trump Announces Possible Sanctuary Cities For “Illegal Immigrants”

‘The Five’ reacts to Trump’s sanctuary city proposal

WH might send immigrants to sanctuary cities

OPEN ARMS: President Trump Considers Sending Migrants To Sanctuary Cities and States

Trump considers sending illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities

Donald Trump: I’m Considering Releasing Migrants In ‘Sanctuary Cities Only’ | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

 

MIGRANTS TO SANCTUARY CITIES: President Trump’s Plan For Illegal Immigration

Trump’s NEW Policy? Send ALL Illegals to Sanctuary Cities!

President Trump signs order to strip sanctuary cities of federal funding

Trump sanctuary city idea could help migrants stay in US

today

An idea floated by President Donald Trump to send immigrants from the border to “sanctuary cities” to exact revenge on Democratic foes could end up doing the migrants a favor by placing them in locations that make it easier to put down roots and stay in the country.

The plan would put thousands of immigrants in cities that are not only welcoming to them, but also more likely to rebuff federal officials carrying out deportation orders. Many of these locations have more resources to help immigrants make their legal cases to stay in the United States than smaller cities, with some of the nation’s biggest immigration advocacy groups based in places like San Francisco, New York City and Chicago. The downside for the immigrants would be a high cost of living in the cities.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University announced this week that an analysis found that immigrants in sanctuary cities such as New York and Los Angeles are 20% less likely to be arrested out in the community than in cities without such policies.

“With immigrants being less likely to commit crimes than the U.S.-born population, and with sanctuary jurisdictions being safer and more productive than non-sanctuary jurisdictions, the data damns this proposal as a politically motivated stunt that seeks to play politics with peoples’ lives,” said George Gascon, district attorney for San Francisco.

Trump has grown increasingly frustrated over the situation at the border, where tens of thousands of immigrant families are crossing each month, many to claim asylum. His administration has attempted several efforts to stop the flow, and he recently shook up the top ranks of the Department of Homeland Security.

The idea to ship immigrants to Democratic strongholds was considered twice in recent months, but the White House and Department of Homeland Security said the plan had been rejected. But Trump said Friday he was still considering the idea.

“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” Trump tweeted. He added that, “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!”

Asked about the proposal Sunday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said it was “not the ideal solution.”

“The president heard the idea, he likes it,” she told ABC’s “This Week,” adding that it is among several options being reviewed by the White House. “The president likes the idea and Democrats have said they want these individuals into their communities so let’s see if it works and everybody gets a win out of it.” She said she hopes Democrats will work with the president on a comprehensive immigration bill.

Wilson Romero is an immigrant from Honduras who chose to settle in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Romero, 27, was separated from his daughter, now 7, by federal authorities at the U.S. border at El Paso, Texas, last year and jailed for three months before being released and making his way to live with his mother in San Jose, California. There he was reunited with his daughter, who attends public kindergarten.

https://apnews.com/e991a0409f7c475ba48e827e232b6cfe

 

White House proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities, targeting political foes

April 11 at 11:55 PM

White House officials have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of “sanctuary cities” to retaliate against President Trump’s political adversaries, according to Department of Homeland Security officials and email messages reviewed by The Washington Post.

Trump administration officials have proposed transporting detained immigrants to sanctuary cities at least twice in the past six months — once in November, as a migrant caravan approached the U.S. southern border, and again in February, amid a standoff with Democrats over funding for Trump’s border wall.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco was among those the White House wanted to target, according to DHS officials. The administration also considered releasing detainees in other Democratic strongholds.

White House officials first broached the plan in a Nov. 16 email, asking officials at several agencies whether members of the caravan could be arrested at the border and then bused “to small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities,” places where local authorities have refused to hand over illegal immigrants for deportation.

The White House told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the plan was intended to alleviate a shortage of detention space but also served to send a message to Democrats. The attempt at political retribution raised alarm within ICE, with a top official responding that it was rife with budgetary and liability concerns, and noting that “there are PR risks as well.”

After the White House pressed again in February, ICE’s legal department rejected the idea as inappropriate and rebuffed the administration.

A White House official and a spokesman for DHS sent nearly identical statements to The Post on Thursday, indicating that the proposal is no longer under consideration.

“This was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion,” the White House statement said.

Pelosi’s office blasted the plan.

“The extent of this administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” said Pelosi spokeswoman Ashley Etienne. “Using human beings — including little children — as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable.”

President Trump has made immigration a central aspect of his administration, and he has grown increasingly frustrated at the influx of migrants from Central America. He often casts them as killers and criminals who threaten U.S. security, pointing to cases in which immigrants have killed U.S. citizens — including a notable case on a San Francisco pier in 2015. And he has railed against liberal sanctuary-city policies, saying they endanger Americans.

“These outrageous sanctuary cities are grave threats to public safety and national security,” Trump said in a speech to the Safe Neighborhoods Conference in Kansas City, Mo., on Dec. 7, less than a month after the White House asked ICE about moving detainees to such cities. “Each year, sanctuary cities release thousands of known criminal aliens from their custody and right back into the community. So they put them in, and they have them, and they let them go, and it drives you people a little bit crazy, doesn’t it, huh?”

The White House believed it could punish Democrats — including Pelosi — by busing ICE detainees into their districts before their release, according to two DHS whistleblowers who independently reported the busing plan to Congress. One of the whistleblowers spoke with The Washington Post, and several DHS officials confirmed the accounts. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller discussed the proposal with ICE, according to two DHS officials. Matthew Albence, who is ICE’s acting deputy director, immediately questioned the proposal in November.

Albence declined to comment but issued a statement through a spokesman acknowledging there was a discussion about the proposal.

“As the Acting Deputy I was not pressured by anyone at the White House on this issue. I was asked my opinion and provided it and my advice was heeded,” the statement said.

DHS officials said the proposal resurfaced during the shutdown talks three months later, when Albence brought ICE attorneys into the discussion, seeking the legal review that ultimately doomed the proposal.

Miller declined to comment. His name did not appear on any of the documents reviewed by The Post. But as he is White House senior adviser on immigration policy, officials at ICE understood that he was pressing the plan.

Homeland Security officials said the sanctuary city request was unnerving, and it underscores the political pressure Trump and Miller have put on ICE and other DHS agencies at a time when the president is furious about the biggest border surge in more than a decade.

“It was basically an idea that Miller wanted that nobody else wanted to carry out,” said one congressional investigator who has spoken to one of the whistleblowers. “What happened here is that Stephen Miller called people at ICE, said if they’re going to cut funding, you’ve got to make sure you’re releasing people in Pelosi’s district and other congressional districts.” The investigator spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect the whistleblower.

The idea of releasing immigrants into sanctuary cities was not presented to Ronald Vitiello, the agency’s acting director, according to one DHS official familiar with the plan. Last week, the White House rescinded Vitiello’s nomination to lead ICE, giving no explanation, and Vitiello submitted his resignation Wednesday, ending his 30-year-career.

The day after Vitiello’s nomination was rescinded, President Trump told reporters he wanted to put someone “tougher” at ICE. DHS officials said they do not know whether ICE’s refusal to adopt the White House’s plan contributed to Vitiello’s removal. His departure puts Albence in charge of the agency as of Friday.

he White House proposal reached ICE first in November as a highly publicized migrant caravan was approaching the United States. May Davis, deputy assistant to the president and deputy White House policy coordinator, wrote to officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, ICE and the Department of Homeland Security with the subject line: “Sanctuary City Proposal.”

“The idea has been raised by 1-2 principals that, if we are unable to build sufficient temporary housing, that caravan members be bussed to small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities,” Davis wrote, seeking responses to the idea’s operational and legal viability. “There is NOT a White House decision on this.”

Albence replied that such a plan “would create an unnecessary operational burden” on an already strained organization and raised concerns about its appropriateness, writing: “Not sure how paying to transport aliens to another location to release them — when they can be released on the spot — is a justified expenditure. Not to mention the liability should there be an accident along the way.”

The White House pushed the issue a second time in the midst of the budget standoff in mid-February, according to DHS officials, and on the heels of a bitterly partisan 35-day government shutdown over Trump’s border wall plan. The White House discussed the immigrant release idea as a way to punish Democrats standing in the way of funding additional detention beds.

ICE detainees with violent criminal records are not typically released on bond or other “alternatives to detention” while they await a hearing with an immigration judge, but there have been instances of such detainees being released.

The White House urged ICE to channel releases to sanctuary districts, regardless of whether immigrants had any ties to those places.

“It was retaliation, to show them, ‘Your lack of cooperation has impacts,’ ” said one of the DHS officials, summarizing the rationale. “I think they thought it would put pressure on those communities to understand, I guess, a different perspective on why you need more immigration money for detention beds.”

Senior officials at ICE did not take the proposal seriously at first, but as the White House exerted pressure, ICE’s legal advisers were asked to weigh in, DHS officials said.

A formal legal review was never completed, according to two DHS officials familiar with the events, but senior ICE attorneys told Albence and others that the plan was inappropriate and lacked a legal basis.

“If we would have done that, we would have had to expend transportation resources, and make a decision that we’re going to use buses, planes, etc., to send these aliens to a place for whatever reason,” a senior DHS official said. “We had to come up with a reason, and we did not have one.”

The proposal faded when House Democrats ultimately relented on their demand for a decrease in the number of detention beds, a final sticking point in budget talks between the White House and House Democrats.


An immigration detainee stands near a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement grievance box in the high-security unit at the Theo Lacy Facility, a county jail that also houses immigration detainees in Orange, Calif. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

The number of immigrant detainees in ICE custody has approached 50,000 in recent months, an all-time high that has further strained the agency’s budget. Those include immigrants arrested in the U.S. interior, as well as recent border-crossers transferred from U.S. Border Patrol. With unauthorized migration at a 12-year high, the vast majority of recent migrants — and especially those with children — are quickly processed and released with a notice to appear in court, a system that Trump has derided as “catch and release.”

The process has left Trump seething, convinced that immigration officials and DHS more broadly should adopt a harsher approach.

Vitiello’s removal from ICE last week was followed Sunday by the ouster of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who lost favor with Trump and Miller by repeatedly warning the White House that the administration’s policy ideas were unworkable and likely to be blocked by federal courts.

The sanctuary city proposal ran contrary to ICE policy guidelines, as well as legal counsel. ICE officials balked at the notion of moving migrants to detention facilities in different areas, insisting that Congress only authorizes the agency to deport immigrants, not relocate them internally, according to DHS officials.

The plan to retaliate against sanctuary cities came just after Trump agreed to reopen the government in late January, following a five-week shutdown over wall funding. The president gave lawmakers three weeks to come up with a plan to secure the border before a second fiscal deadline in mid-February.

During the talks, Republicans and Democrats sparred over the number of detention beds, with House Democrats pressing for a lower number amid pressure from their left flank.

It was during that mid-February standoff that one whistleblower went to Congress alleging that the White House was considering a plan to punish Democrats if they did not relent on ICE funding for beds. A second official independently came forward after that.

According to both, there were at least two versions of the plan being considered. One was to move migrants who were already in ICE detention to the districts of Democratic opponents. The second option was to bus migrants apprehended at the border to sanctuary cities, such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco.


An Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer monitors a demonstration outside of the San Francisco ICE office on June 19, 2018. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sanctuary city

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Sanctuary city (Frenchville sanctuaireSpanishciudad santuario) refers to municipal jurisdictions, typically in North America and Western Europe, that limit their cooperation with the national government’s effort to enforce immigration law. Leaders of sanctuary cities say they want to reduce fear of deportation and possible family break-up among people who are in the country illegally, so that such people will be more willing to report crimes, use health and social services, and enroll their children in school. In the United States, municipal policies include prohibiting police or city employees from questioning people about their immigration status and refusing requests by national immigration authorities to detain people beyond their release date, if they were jailed for breaking local law.[1] Such policies can be set expressly in law (de jure) or observed in practice (de facto), but the designation “sanctuary city” does not have a precise legal definition. The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimated in 2018 that more than 500 U.S. jurisdictions, including states and municipalities, had adopted sanctuary policies.[2]

Studies on the relationship between sanctuary status and crime have found that sanctuary policies either have no effect on crime or that sanctuary cities have lower crime rates and stronger economies than comparable non-sanctuary cities.[3][4][5][6] Opponents of sanctuary cities argue that cities should assist the national government in enforcing immigration law. Supporters of sanctuary cities argue that enforcement of national law is not the duty of localities.[7] Legal opinions vary on whether immigration enforcement by local police is constitutional.[8]

European cities have been inspired by the same political currents of the sanctuary movement as American cities, but the term “sanctuary city” now has different meanings in Europe and North America.[9] In the United Kingdom and Ireland, and in continental Europe, sanctuary city refers to cities that are committed to welcoming refugeesasylum seekers and others who are seeking safety. Such cities are now found in 80 towns, cities and local areas in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.[10] The emphasis is on building bridges of connection and understanding, which is done through raising awareness, befriending schemes and forming cultural connections in the arts, sport, health, education, faith groups and other sectors of society.[11] Glasgow and Swansea have become known as noted sanctuary cities.[10][12][13]

Tradition

The concept of a sanctuary city goes back thousands of years. It has been associated with ChristianityIslamJudaismBuddhismBaha’iSikhism, and Hinduism.[14] In Western Civilization, sanctuary cities can be traced back to the Old Testament. The Book of Numberscommands the selection of six cities of refuge in which the perpetrators of accidental manslaughter could claim the right of asylum. Outside of these cities, blood vengeance against such perpetrators was allowed by law.[15] In AD 392, Christian Roman emperor Theodosius I set up sanctuaries under church control. In AD 600 in medieval England, churches were given a general right of sanctuary, and some cities were set up as sanctuaries by Royal charter. The general right of sanctuary for churches in England was abolished in 1621.[14]

United States

History

The movement that established sanctuary cities in the United States began in the early 1980s. The movement traces its roots to religious philosophy, as well as in histories of resistance movements to perceived state injustices.[16] The sanctuary city movement took place in the 1980s to challenge the US government’s refusal to grant asylum to certain Central American refugees. These asylum seekers were arriving from countries in Central America like El Salvador and Guatemala that were politically unstable. More than 75,000 Salvadoreans and 200,000 Guatemalans were killed by their governments in hopes to suppress the communist movement in those countries at the time.[17] Faith based groups in the US Southwest initially drove the movement of the 1980s, with eight churches publicly declaring sanctuary in March 1982.[18] John Fife, a minister and movement leader famously wrote in a letter to Attorney General William Smith, saying that the “South-side United Presbyterian Church will publicly violate the Immigration and Nationality Act” by allowing sanctuary in its church for those from Central America.[19]

A milestone in the U.S. sanctuary city movement occurred in 1985 in San Francisco, which passed the largely symbolic “City of Refuge” resolution. The resolution was followed the same year by an ordinance which prohibited the use of city funds and resources to assist federal immigration enforcement–the defining characteristic of a sanctuary city in the U.S.[20] As of 2018 more than 560 cities, states and counties considered themselves sanctuaries.[2]

Terminology

Sanctuary Cities in the United States*
 State has legislation in place that establishes a statewide sanctuary for illegal immigrants
 County or county equivalent either contains a municipality that is a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, or is one itself
 All county jails in the state do not honor ICE detainers
 Alongside statewide legislation or policies establishing sanctuary for illegal immigrants, county contains a municipality that has policy or has taken action to further provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants

*Map is based on data published by ICE in a February 2017 reportoutlining jurisdictions that have declined ICE detainers.

Several different terms and phrases are used to describe immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally. The term alien is “considered insensitive by many” and a LexisNexis search showed that its use in reports on immigration has declined substantially, making up just 5% of terms used in 2013.[21] Usage of the word “illegal” and phrases using the word (e.g., illegal alienillegal immigrantillegal worker and illegal migrant) has declined, accounting for 82% of language used in 1996, 75% in 2002, 60% in 2007, and 57% in 2013.[21] Several other phrases are competing for wide acceptance: undocumented immigrant (usage in news reports increased from 6% in 1996 to 14% in 2013); unauthorized immigrant (3% usage in 2013 and rarely seen before that time), and undocumented person or undocumented people (1% in 2007, increasing to 3% in 2013).[21] A recent term is “illegalized immigrant”.[22]

Media outlets’ policies as to use of terms differ, and no consensus has yet emerged in the press.[23][24] In 2013, the Associated Press changed its AP Stylebook to provide that “Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.”[25]Within several weeks, major U.S. newspapers such as Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today adopted similar guidance.[24] The New York Times style guide similarly states that the term illegal immigrant may be considered “loaded or offensive” and advises journalists to “explain the specific circumstances of the person in question or to focus on actions: who crossed the border illegallywho overstayed a visawho is not authorized to work in this country.”[23] The style book discourages the use of illegal as a noun and the “sinister-sounding” alien.[23] Both unauthorized and undocumented are acceptable, but the stylebook notes that the former “has a flavor of euphemism and should be used with caution outside quotation” and the latter has a “bureaucratic tone.”[23] The Washington Post stylebook “says ‘illegal immigrant’ is accurate and acceptable, but notes that some find it offensive”; the Post “does not refer to people as ‘illegal aliens’ or ‘illegals,’ per its guidelines.[26]

Electoral politics

This issue entered presidential politics in the race for the Republican Party Presidential Nomination in 2008. Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo ran on an anti-illegal immigration platform and specifically attacked sanctuary cities. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney accused Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani of running it as a sanctuary city.[27] Mayor Giuliani’s campaign responded saying that Governor Romney ran a sanctuary Governor’s mansion, and that New York City is not a “haven” for undocumented immigrants.[27]

Following the shooting death of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco (a sanctuary city) by an undocumented immigrant, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D-NY) told CNN that “The city made a mistake, not to deport someone that the federal government strongly felt should be deported. I have absolutely no support for a city that ignores the strong evidence that should be acted on.”[28] The following day, her campaign stated: “Hillary Clinton believes that sanctuary cities can help further public safety, and she has defended those policies going back years.”[29]

Trump administration agenda

On March 6, 2018, the U.S. Justice Department sued California, Governor Jerry Brown, and the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, over three state laws passed in recent months, saying the laws made it impossible for federal immigration officials to do their jobs and deport criminals who were born outside the United States. The Justice Department called the laws unconstitutional and asked a judge to block them. The lawsuit says the state laws “reflect a deliberate effort by California to obstruct the United States’ enforcement of federal immigration law.”[30] The Trump administration previously released a list of immigration principles to Congress. The list included funding a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a crackdown on the influx of Central American minors, and curbs on federal grants to sanctuary cities.[31] A pledge to strip “all federal funding to sanctuary cities” was a key Trump campaign theme. President Trump issued an executive order which declared that jurisdictions that “refuse to comply” with 8 U.S.C. 1373—a provision of federal law on information sharing between local and federal authorities—would be ineligible to receive federal grants.[32]

States and cities have shown varying responses to the executive order. Thirty-three states introduced or enacted legislation requiring local law enforcement to cooperate with ICE officers and requests to hold non-citizen inmates for deportation. Other states and cities have responded by not cooperating with federal immigration efforts or showcasing welcoming policies towards immigrants.[32] California openly refused the administration’s attempts to “clamp down on sanctuary cities”. A federal judge in San Francisco agreed with two California municipalities that a presidential attempt to cut them off from federal funding for not complying with deportation requests is unconstitutional,[33] ultimately issuing a nationwide permanent injunction against the facially unconstitutional provisions of the order.[34] On March 27, 2018, the all-Republican Board of Supervisors in Orange County, California voted to join the Justice Department’s lawsuit against the state.[35] In Chicago a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration may not withhold public safety grants to sanctuary cities. These decisions have been seen as a setback to the administration’s efforts to force local jurisdictions to help federal authorities with the policing of illegal immigrants.[36] On July 5, 2018, a federal judge upheld two of California’s Sanctuary laws, but struck down a key provision in the third.[37]

Local officials who oppose the president’s policies say that complying with federal immigration officers will ruin the trust established between law enforcement and immigrant communities. Supporters of the president’s policies say that protection of immigrants from enforcement makes communities less safe and undermines the rule of law.[36]

Political action

State

Opposition

Georgia banned “sanctuary cities” in 2010, and in 2016 went further by requiring local governments, in order to obtain state funding, to certify that they cooperate with federal immigration officials.[38]

Arizona, through SB 1070 (enacted in 2010), requires law enforcement officers to notify federal immigration authorities “if they develop reasonable suspicion that a person they’ve detained or arrested is in the country illegally.”[39]

Tennessee state law bars “local governments or officials from making policies that stop local entities from complying with federal immigration law.”[40] In 2017, legislation proposed in the Tennessee General Assembly would go further, withholding funding from local governments deemed insufficiently cooperative with the federal government.[40]

In Texas no city has formally declared “sanctuary” status, but a few do not fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities and have drawn a negative response from the legislature.[41] Bills seeking to deprive state funding from police departments and municipalities that do not cooperate with federal authorities had been introduced into the Texas Legislature several times.[41] On February 1, 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott blocked funding to Travis County, Texas due to its recently implemented de facto sanctuary city policy.[42][43]On May 7, 2017, Abbott signed Texas Senate Bill 4 into law, effectively banning sanctuary cities by charging county or city officials who refuse to work with federal officials and by allowing police officers to check the immigration status of those they detain if they choose.[44][45]

As of 2019, Florida [46] and Arkansas [47][48] are pushing for anti ‘sanctuary cities’ measures in their states.

Support

The California state senate passed California Sanctuary Law SB54, a bill that largely prohibits local law enforcement agencies from using their money, equipment or personnel to aid federal government action against illegal immigrants. [49]

Federal

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 addressed the relationship between the federal government and local governments. Minor crimes, such as shoplifting, became grounds for possible deportation.[50] Additionally, the legislation outlawed cities’ bans against municipal workers reporting a person’s immigration status to federal authorities.[51]

Section 287(g) makes it possible for state and local law enforcement personnel to enter into agreements with the federal government to be trained in immigration enforcement and, subsequent to such training, to enforce immigration law. However, it provides no general power for immigration enforcement by state and local authorities.[52] This provision was implemented by local and state authorities in five states, California, Arizona, Alabama, Florida and North Carolina by the end of 2006.[53] On June 16, 2007 the United States House of Representatives passed an amendment to a United States Department of Homeland Security spending bill that would withhold federal emergency services funds from sanctuary cities. Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) was the sponsor of this amendment. 50 Democrats joined Republicans to support the amendment. The amendment would have to pass the United States Senate to become effective.[54]

In 2007, Republican representatives introduced legislation targeting sanctuary cities. Reps. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., Thelma Drake, R-Va., Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and Tom Tancredo introduced the bill. The legislation would make undocumented immigrant status a felony, instead of a civil offense. Also, the bill targets sanctuary cities by withholding up to 50 percent of Department of Homeland Security funds from the cities.[55]

On September 5, 2007, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a House committee that he certainly wouldn’t tolerate interference by sanctuary cities that would block his “Basic Pilot Program” that requires employers to validate the legal status of their workers. “We’re exploring our legal options. I intend to take as vigorous legal action as the law allows to prevent that from happening, prevent that kind of interference.”[56][57]

On January 25, 2017 President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13768 directing the Secretary of Homeland Security and Attorney General to defund sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to comply with federal immigration law.[58] He also ordered the Department of Homeland Security to begin issuing weekly public reports that include “a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.”[58] Ilya Somin, Professor of Law at George Mason University, has argued that Trump’s withholding of federal funding would be unconstitutional: “Trump and future presidents could use [the executive order] to seriously undermine constitutional federalism by forcing dissenting cities and states to obey presidential dictates, even without authorization from Congress. The circumvention of Congress makes the order a threat to separation of powers, as well.”[59] On April 25, 2017, U.S. District Judge William Orrick issued a nationwide preliminary injunction halting this executive order.[60][61] The injunction was made permanent on November 20, 2017, when Judge Orrick ruled that section 9(a) of the order was “unconstitutional on its face“.[62] The judgment concluded that the order violates “the separation of powers doctrine and deprives [the plaintiffs] of their Tenth and Fifth Amendment rights.”[63]

In December 2018 the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a federal law that criminalized encouraging people to enter or live in the U.S. illegally. The court said the law was too broad in restricting the basic right of free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Opponents of the law argued that it was a danger to lawyers advising immigrants and to public officials who support sanctuary policies.[64][65][66]

Jurisdiction

Whether federal or local government has jurisdiction to detain and deport undocumented immigrants is a tricky and unsettled issue, because the U.S. Constitution does not provide a clear answer. Both federal and local government offer arguments to defend their authority. The issue of jurisdiction has been vigorously debated dating back to the Alien Act of 1798.[67] Opponents of local level policing tend to use the Naturalization Clause and the Migration clause in the Constitution as textual confirmation of federal power. Because the Supremacy Clause is generally interpreted to mean that federal law takes priority over state law, the U.S. Supreme Court in the majority of cases has ruled in favor of the federal government. Certain states have been affected by illegal immigration more than others and have attempted to pass legislation that limits access by undocumented immigrants to public benefits. A notable case was Arizona’s SB 1070 law, which was passed in 2010 and struck down in 2012 by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.[68]

States like Arizona, Texas and Nevada justify their aggressive actions as a result of insufficient efforts by the federal government to address issues like use of schools and hospitals by illegal immigrants and changes to the cultural landscape—impacts that are most visible on a local level.[69] Ambiguity and confusion over jurisdiction is one of the reasons why local and state policies for and against sanctuary cities vary widely depending on location in the country.

Effects

Crime

A 2017 review study of the existing literature noted that the existing studies had found that sanctuary cities either have no impact on crime or that they lower the crime rate.[5] A second 2017 study in the journal Urban Affairs Review found that sanctuary policy itself has no statistically meaningful effect on crime.[70][3][71][72][73] The findings of the study were misinterpreted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a July 2017 speech when he claimed that the study showed that sanctuary cities were more prone to crime than cities without sanctuary policies.[74][75] A third study in the journal Justice Quarterly found evidence that the adoption of sanctuary policies reduced the robbery rate but had no impact on the homicide rate except in cities with larger Mexican undocumented immigrant populations which had lower rates of homicide.[76]

According to a study by Tom K. Wong, associate professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, published by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank: “Crime is statistically significantly lower in sanctuary counties compared to nonsanctuary counties. Moreover, economies are stronger in sanctuary counties – from higher median household income, less poverty, and less reliance on public assistance to higher labor force participation, higher employment-to-population ratios, and lower unemployment.”[4] The study also concluded that sanctuary cities build trust between local law enforcement and the community, which enhances public safety overall.[77] The study evaluated sanctuary and non-sanctuary cities while controlling for differences in population, the foreign-born percentage of the population, and the percentage of the population that is Latino.”[4]

Economy

Advocates of local enforcement of immigration laws argue that more regulatory local immigration policies would cause immigrants to flee those cities and possibly the United States altogether,[78] while opponents argue that regulatory policies on immigrants wouldn’t affect their presence because immigrants looking for work will relocate towards economic opportunity despite challenges living there.[7] Undocumented migrants tend to be attracted to states with more economic opportunity and individual freedom.[79] Because there is no reliable data that asks for immigration status, there is no way to tell empirically if regulatory policies do have an effect on immigrant presence. A study comparing restrictive counties with nonrestrictive counties found that local jurisdictions that enacted regulatory immigration policies experienced a 1–2% negative effect in employment.[7]

Health and well-being

A preliminary study’s results imply that the number of Sanctuary cities in the U.S. positively affects well-being in the undocumented immigrant population.[80] Concerning health, a study in North Carolina found that after implementation of section 287(g), prenatal Hispanic/Latina mothers were more likely than non-Hispanic/Latina mothers to have late or inadequate prenatal care. The study’s interviews indicated that Hispanics/Latinos in the section 287(g) counties had distrust in health services among other services and had fear about going to the doctor.[81]

Laws and policies by state and city[edit]

Alabama

  • In Alabama, state law (Alabama HB 56) was enacted in 2011, calling for proactive immigration enforcement; however, many provisions are either blocked by the federal courts or subject to ongoing lawsuits.[citation needed] On January 31, 2017, William A. Bell, the mayor of Birmingham, declared the city a “welcoming city” and said that the police would not be “an enforcement arm of the federal government” with respect to federal immigration law. He also stated that the city would not require proof of citizenship for granting business licenses. The Birmingham City Council subsequently passed a resolution supporting Birmingham being a “sanctuary city”.[82]

Arizona

  • Following the passage of Arizona SB 1070, a state law, few if any cities in Arizona are “sanctuary cities.” A provision of SB 1070 requires local authorities to “contact federal immigration authorities if they develop reasonable suspicion that a person they’ve detained or arrested is in the country illegally.”[39] The Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates restrictive immigration policies, labels only one city in the state, South Tucson, a “sanctuary city”; the label is because South Tucson does not honor ICE detainers “unless ICE pays for cost of detention”.[39]

California

  • According to the National Immigration Law Center, about a dozen California cities have some formal sanctuary policy, and none of the 58 California counties “complies with detainer requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”[83]
  • Berkeley became the first city in the United States to pass a sanctuary resolution on November 8, 1971.[84] Additional local governments in certain cities in the United States began designating themselves as sanctuary cities during the 1980s.[85][86] Some have questioned the accuracy of the term “sanctuary city” as used in the US.[87] The policy was first initiated in 1979 in Los Angeles, to prevent the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) from inquiring about the immigration status of arrestees. Many Californian cities have adopted “sanctuary” ordinances banning city employees and public safety personnel from asking people about their immigration status.[88][89]
  • Coachella – 95% Latino, 2nd highest percentage Latino city in Southern California, adopted the sanctuary policy in 2015.[90]
  • Huntington Beach obtained a ruling from the state Supreme Court that the protections in California for immigrants who are in the country illegally do not apply to the 121 charter cities. The Orange County city is the first to successfully challenge SB 54.[91]
  • Los Angeles – In 1979, the Los Angeles City Council adopted Special Order 40, barring LAPD officers from initiating contact with a person solely to determine their immigration status.[92] However, the city frequently cooperates with federal immigration authorities.[83]Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti does not use the phrase “sanctuary city” to describe the city because the label is unclear.[83]
  • San Francisco “declared itself a sanctuary city in 1989, and city officials strengthened the stance in 2013 with its ‘Due Process for All’ ordinance. The law declared local authorities could not hold immigrants for immigration officials if they had no violent felonies on their records and did not currently face charges.”[83] The 2015 shooting of Kathryn Steinle provoked debate about San Francisco’s “sanctuary city” policy.[93]
  • Seaside – On March 29, 2017, Seaside became Monterey County’s first sanctuary city.[94]
  • Williams – 75% Latino, largest percentage Latino town in Northern California, adopted the policy in 2015.[95]
  • On October 5, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill, California Sanctuary Law SB54, that makes California a “sanctuary state”. It prohibits local and state agencies from cooperating with ICE regarding illegal criminals who have committed misdemeanors.[96]

Colorado

  • Boulder[97] became a sanctuary city in 2017.
  • Denver does not identify as a sanctuary city. The Denver Post reports: “The city doesn’t have an ordinance staking out a claim or barring information-sharing with federal officials about a person’s immigration status, unlike some cities. But it is among cities that don’t enforce immigration laws or honor federal ‘detainer’ requests to hold immigrants with suspect legal status in jail past their release dates.[98]
  • Estes Park police chief Wes Kufeld stated that, “As far as day-to-day policing, people are not required to provide proof of immigration status, and our officers are not required by ICE to check immigration status, nor to conduct sweeps for undocumented individuals. So, we don’t do these things.” He added that town police do assist ICE in the arrest and detainment of any illegal immigrant suspected of a felony.[99]

Connecticut

  • Hartford passed an ordinance providing services to all residents regardless of their immigration in 2008. Said ordinance also prohibits that police from detaining individuals based solely on their immigration status or inquiring as to their immigration status. In 2016, the ordinance was amended to declare that Hartford is a “Sanctuary City”, though the term itself does not have an established legal meaning.[100]
  • In 2013, Connecticut passed a law that gives local law enforcement officers discretion to carry out immigration detainer requests, though only for suspected felons.[101]
  • On February 3, 2017, Middletown, CT declared itself a sanctuary city. This was in direct response to President Trump’s executive order. Said Middletown’s mayor, “We don’t just take orders from the President of the United States”[102]

Florida

  • In January 2017 Miami-Dade County rescinded a policy of insisting the U.S. government pay for detention of persons on a federal list. Republican Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered jails to “fully cooperate” with Presidential immigration policy. He said he did not want to risk losing a larger amount of federal financial aid for not complying. The mayor said Miami-Dade County has never considered itself to be a sanctuary city.[103]
  • St. Petersburg Democratic Mayor Rick Kriseman said residents from all backgrounds implored him to declare a sanctuary city. In February 2017 he blogged that, “I have no hesitation in declaring St. Petersburg a sanctuary from harmful federal immigration laws. We will not expend resources to help enforce such laws, nor will our police officers stop, question or arrest an individual solely on the basis that they may have unlawfully entered the United States.” He said the county sheriff’s office has ultimate responsibility for notifying federal officials about people illegally in the city. The mayor criticized President Trump for “demonization of Muslims.”[104][105]

Georgia

  • The mayor of Atlanta, Georgia in January 2017 declared the city was a “welcoming city” and “will remain open and welcoming to all”. This statement was in response to President’s Trump’s executive orders related to “public safety agencies and the communities they serve”. Nonetheless, Atlanta does not consider itself to be a “sanctuary city”.[106] Atlanta also has refused to house new ICE detainees in its jail, but will keep the current detainees.

Illinois

  • Chicago became a “de jure” sanctuary city in 2012 when Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council passed the Welcoming City Ordinance.[107][108] The ordinance protects residents’ rights to access city services regardless of immigration status and states that Chicago police officers cannot arrest individuals on the basis of immigration status alone.[109] The status was reaffirmed in 2016.[110][111]
  • Urbana, Illinois[112]
  • Evanston, Illinois[113]
  • On August 28, 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law that prohibited state and local police from arresting anyone solely due to their immigration status or due to federal detainers.[114][115][116][117] Some fellow Republicans criticized Rauner for his action, claiming the bill made Illinois a sanctuary state. However, the Illinois associations for Sheriffs and Police Chiefs stated that the bill does not prevent cooperation with the federal government or give sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Both organizations support the bill.[118][119][120]

Louisiana

Maine

  • A 2004 executive order prohibited state officials from inquiring about immigration statuses of individuals seeking public assistance, but in 2011, the incoming Maine governor Paul LePage rescinded this, stating “it is the intent of this administration to promote rather than hinder the enforcement of federal immigration law.” In 2015 Governor LePage accused the city of Portland, Maine of being a sanctuary city based on the fact that “city employees are prohibited from asking about the immigration status of people seeking city services unless compelled by a court or law,” [122] but Portland city officials did not accept that characterization.[122]

Maryland[

  • In 2008, Baltimore and Takoma Park are sometimes identified as sanctuary cities.[123] However, “[m]ost local governments in Maryland – including Baltimore – still share information with the federal government.”[124] In 2016, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blakesaid that she did not consider Baltimore to be a “sanctuary city.”[125]

Massachusetts

Michigan

  • Detroit and Ann Arbor are sometimes referred to as “sanctuary cities” because they “have anti-profiling ordinances that generally prohibit local police from asking about the immigration status of people who are not suspected of any crime.”[129] Unlike San Francisco’s ordinance, however, the Detroit and Ann Arbor policies do not bar local authorities from cooperating and assisting ICE and Customs and Border Protection, and both cities frequently do so.
  • Kalamazoo re-affirmed its status as a sanctuary city in 2017. Vice Mayor Don Cooney stated, “We care about you. We will protect you. We are with you.”
  • Lansing voted to become a sanctuary city in April 2017, but reversed the decision a week later due to public and business opposition. An order by mayor Virg Bernero still prohibits Lansing police officers from asking residents about their immigration status, however.[130]

Minnesota

  • Minneapolis has an ordinance, adopted in 2003,[131] that directs local law enforcement officers “not to ‘take any law enforcement action’ for the sole purpose of finding undocumented immigrants, or ask an individual about his or her immigration status.”[132] The Minneapolis ordinance does not bar cooperation with federal authorities: “The city works cooperatively with the Homeland Security, as it does with all state and federal agencies, but the city does not operate its programs for the purpose of enforcing federal immigration laws. The Homeland Security has the legal authority to enforce immigration laws in the United States, in Minnesota and in the city.”[131]

New York

New Jersey

Among the municipalities which are considered sanctuary cities are Asbury Park, Camden, East Orange, Hoboken, Jersey City, Linden, New Brunswick, Newark, North Bergen, Plainfield, Trenton and Union City.[138] Those with specific executive orders made by mayors or resolution by municipal councils are:

North Carolina

  • The state of North Carolina currently restricts any city or municipality from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration and customs enforcement officials.[149] There are therefore no official sanctuary cities in the state. A bill, under consideration as of March 2017, is entitled Citizens Protection Act of 2017 or HB 63. Under the new provisions, the state would be able to deny bail to undocumented immigrants for whom Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) has issued a detainer; allow the state to withhold tax revenues from cities who are not in compliance with the statewide immigration regulations; and encourage tipsters to identify municipalities which violate these laws.[150]

Ohio

Oregon

  • State law passed in 1987: “Oregon Revised Statute 181.850, which prohibits law enforcement officers at the state, county or municipal level from enforcing federal immigration laws that target people based on their race or ethnic origin, when those individuals are not suspected of any criminal activities.[152][153]
  • Beaverton city council passed a resolution in January 2017 stating, in part, “The City of Beaverton is committed to living its values as a welcoming city for all individuals …regardless of a person’s … immigration status” and that they would abide by Oregon state law of not enforcing federal immigration laws.[154]
  • Corvallis[155]
  • Portland[156]

Pennsylvania

There are currently 18 sanctuary jurisdictions in the state of Pennsylvania.[157][158] Sanctuary jurisdictions exist in Bradford CountyBucks CountyChester CountyClarion CountyDelaware CountyErie CountyFranklin CountyLebanon CountyLehigh CountyLycoming CountyMontgomery CountyMontour CountyPerry CountyPhiladelphia CountyPike County, and Westmoreland County.

Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney said in November 2016 that federal immigration policies lead to more crime, and that crime rates declined the year he reinstated a sanctuary city policy.[159] U.S. Attorney General Sessions has included Philadelphia on the list of cities threatened with subpoenas if they fail to provide documents to show whether local law enforcement officers are sharing information with federal immigration authorities.[160]

Washington

Canada

Ontario[edit]

Toronto was the first city in Canada to declare itself a sanctuary city, with Toronto City Council voting 37–3 on February 22, 2013 to adopt a formal policy allowing undocumented migrants to access city services.[162] Hamilton, Ontario declared itself a sanctuary city in February 2014 after the Hamilton City Council voted unanimously to allow undocumented immigrants to access city-funded services such as shelters, housing and food banks.[163] In response to US President Donald Trump‘s Executive Order 13769, the city council of London, Ontario voted unanimously to declare London a sanctuary city in January 2017[164] with Montreal doing the same in February 2017 after a unanimous vote.[165]

Western Canada

While VancouverCanada is not a sanctuary city, it adopted an “Access to City Services without Fear” policy for residents that are undocumented or have an uncertain immigration status in April 2016.[166] The policy does not apply to municipal services operated by individual boards, including services provided by the Vancouver Police DepartmentVancouver Public Library, or Vancouver Park Board.[167]

As of February 2017, the cities of CalgaryOttawaReginaSaskatoon, and Winnipeg are considering motions to declare themselves sanctuary cities.[167][168]

As of September 9, 2018, Edmonton adopted “Access Without Fear” policy for undocumented and vulnerable residents.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, sanctuary cities provide services – such as housing, education, and cultural integration – to asylum seekers (i.e. persons fleeing one country and seeking protection in another).[11] The movement began in Sheffield in the north of England in 2005. It was motivated by a national policy adopted in 1999 to disperse asylum seekers to different towns and cities in the UK.

Sheffield

In 2009, the city council of Sheffield, UK drew up a manifesto outlining key areas of concern and 100 supporting organizations signed on.[169]

A city’s status as a place of sanctuary is not necessarily a formal governmental designation. The organization City of Sanctuary encourages local grassroots groups throughout the UK and Ireland to build a culture of hospitality towards asylum seekers.[170]

Glasgow

Glasgow is a noted sanctuary city in Scotland. In 2000 the city council accepted their first asylum seekers relocated by the Home Office. The Home Office provided funding to support asylum seekers but would also forcibly deport them (“removal seizures”) if it was determined they could not stay in the UK. As of 2010 Glasgow had accepted 22,000 asylum seekers from 75 different nations. In 2007, local residents upset by the human impact of removal seizures, organized watches to warn asylum seekers when Home Office vans were in the neighborhood. They also organized protests and vigils which led to the ending of the removal seizures.[10][13]

See also

References …

Further reading

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctuary_city

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1237, April 12, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Goes On Offense  — These Were Dirty Cops — An Attempted Coupe — This Was Treason — I’m Running The Department of Homeland Security — I Won: No Collusion and No Obstruction — Videos — Story 2: Attorney General Bill Barr Makes It Perfectly Clear FBI spied on the Trump Campaign — Round Up The Real Suspects — Clinton, Obama, Jarrett, Rice, Power, Clapper Lynch, Yates, Orh, Comey, McCabe, Priestrap, Strzok, Page, Brennan, Simpson,  Steele, Halper, and Many others Including Big Lie Media (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, NYT, WaPo, L.A.Times) —  Videos — Story 3: Broken Record of U.S. Budget Deficits — Totally Out of Control Federal Government Spending — Videos

Posted on April 13, 2019. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Candidates, Addiction, American History, Applications, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Dependency, Hardware, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, James Comey, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Monetary Policy, National Security Agency, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Senate, Servers, Social Networking, Software, Spying, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Story 1: President Trump Goes On Offense  — These Were Dirty Cops — An Attempted Coup — This Was Treason — I’m Running The Department of Homeland Security — I Won: No Collusion and No Obstruction — Videos —

See the source image

 

Trump praises Netanyahu, rips Mueller in fiery press remarks

Story 2: Attorney General Bill Barr Makes It Perfectly Clear — FBI spied on the Trump Campaign — Bring Me The Real Suspects — Clinton, Obama, Jarrett, Rice, Power, Clapper Lynch, Yates, Orh, Comey, McCabe, Baker, Priestrap, Strzok, Page, Brennan, Simpson,  Steele, Halper, and many others in Big Lie Media (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, NYT, WaPo, L.A.Times) —  Videos — Not A Conspiracy Theory — A Real Criminal Conspiracy — Worst Political Scandal in United States History —  Videos

Word for Word: Attorney General discusses Spying on Trump Campaign (C-SPAN)

WATCH: Barr says ‘I think spying did occur’ on Trump campaign

Barr: ‘I think spying did occur’ on Trump campaign

Graham grills Barr on Obama surveillance of President Trump

SPYING: William Barr Says Trump Campaign Was Spied On By Feds

What Does Attorney Gen. William Barr Mean By ‘Unauthorized Surveillance?’ | Andrea Mitchell | MSNBC

FULL: Mueller Report Update William Barr Senate Hearing

Nunes: Prepared to send 8 criminal referrals to Barr

Obama admin intelligence officers under fire for Trump investigation

Graham: What the public deserves to know about Clinton probe

Did the Obama administration spy on the Trump campaign?

What did Obama know about an alleged spy in Trump campaign?

FBI Trump campaign spying allegations: How much did Obama know?

Obama denies Trump’s wiretapping claims

Kobayashi explains it all

The Usual Suspects – The Lineup & Ending in HD

Casablanca Final Scene

CASABLANCA, Michael Curtiz, 1942 – Round Up the Usual Suspects!

[youruvw=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqFVLAKaEWs]

 

BARR: ‘I THINK SPYING DID OCCUR’ AGAINST TRUMP CAMPAIGN

Chuck Ross | Reporter

Attorney General William Barr dropped a bombshell Wednesday, telling a group of senators that he believes spying against the Trump campaign did take place in 2016.

“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr said during an exchange with Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

 

Barr says he thinks spying occurred on 2016 Trump campaign

by Reuters
Wednesday, 10 April 2019 14:54 GMT

 Attorney General William Barr said on Wednesday U.S. intelligence agencies engaged in spying directed at the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump and that he would look at whether the surveillance was undertaken legally.

“I think spying did occur,” Barr told a Senate hearing. “But the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I am not suggesting that it wasn’t adequately predicated. … I am not suggesting those rules were violated, but I think it is important to look at that. And I am not talking about the FBI necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly.

“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal – it’s a big deal.” (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

http://news.trust.org/item/20190410144125-laelo

THE FBI’S USE OF INFORMANTS IS FULL OF PROBLEMS, BUT WHAT HAPPENED IN “SPYGATE” ISN’T ONE OF THEM

THE #SPYGATE CONSPIRACY theory started, as so many things do these days, with a tweet from President Donald Trump:

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Apparently the DOJ put a Spy in the Trump Campaign. This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn’t commit.” David Asman @LouDobbs@GreggJarrett Really bad stuff!

Initial reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post described the “spy” as a U.S. professor living in the United Kingdom who had met with Trump campaign aides on orders from the FBI in the summer of 2016.

The reports provided enough detail about the informant — or, to use the FBI’s preferred term, “confidential human source” — that some quick Googling allowed journalists, including The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, to identify him as Stefan Halper, a retired University of Cambridge professor who was involved in an effort in 1980 to help Ronald Reagan spy on President Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign. Halper, who worked for three previous Republican administrations and reportedly provided information to the CIA, has raked in more than $1 million in U.S. Defense Department contracts in just the last five years.

As with many of Trump’s conspiracy theories, #Spygate contains a kernel of truth. The FBI has an informant problem. With more than 15,000 informants today — 10 times as many as J. Edgar Hoover had during his era of intrusive surveillance operations — the FBI has loose regulations on how agents can recruit and run informants, who turn to the bureau to make a lot of money or avoid deportation, among other reasons. A decade ago, the FBI spied on Muslims throughout southern California with no reason for suspicion other than their religion. Informants regularly commit crimes, including while investigating accused terrorists. The bureau’s roster of informants has included terrorists such as Al Qaeda operative Najibullah Zazi, murderous criminals such as mobster Whitey Bulger, and even traitors to their causes like Ernest Withers, who reported to the FBI as he was building a reputation as the photographer of record for the civil rights movement.

With #Spygate, Trump has wrapped his conspiracy theory — that the FBI inserted an informant into his presidential campaign — around a fundamental truth about the FBI’s misuse of informants and then, further burnishing his reputation as a modern-day P.T. Barnum, sent it into the world with plenty of rhetorical flourish.

“The FBI could be the world’s most successful PR agency. They excel at making themselves look good. You realize that early on as an agent,” said Jeffrey A. Danik, a retired supervisory FBI agent. “The problem with the FBI today is that they’ve come up against one of the truly great marketing geniuses in Donald Trump. Their normal PR and spin is getting hammered by the PR spin master. He knows exactly which word will sell. ‘Spy’ is perfect.”

The FBI’s defense has been to disassociate itself from the term “spy,” even though that is exactly what FBI informants do whether they are working criminal or national security investigations. Instead, the bureau’s surrogates have been peddling the fiction that its informants have not been a constant source of scandal.

Former FBI Director James Comey commented this month that FBI informants are “tightly regulated,” a demonstrably false statement. (Read the FBI’s “Confidential Human Source Policy Guide” for yourself.)

Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent who wears a T-shirt bearing the red, white, and blue words #ComeyIsMyHomey when she’s not defending her former employer on CNN, argued in a Washington Post op-ed that informants deployed in national security investigations are somehow different from the ones used in criminal inquiries. She described Halper as an “intelligence source,” rather than an informant — a convenient but meaningless distinction, because FBI informants aren’t siloed. An informant could be working a criminal investigation one day and a national security inquiry the next, or a criminal investigation could become a national security concern, and vice versa. That’s a primary reason that Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as FBI director, argued against a post-9/11 proposal to split the bureau into two agencies, one for intelligence and another for criminal investigations.

BUT WHILE THE FBI’s defenders seek to distance the bureau from the word “spy,” giving #Spygate even more momentum, they’re not talking about one clear sign that Trump’s claim of politically motivated spying is indeed a conspiracy theory.

Halper, the FBI’s informant, was a U.S. citizen living in London. Because he was overseas, he would have been considered, in the FBI’s parlance, an “ET CHS” — extraterritorial confidential human source — which means that the FBI would have been required to follow significantly more onerous rules than if he were spying in the United States.

Under the FBI’s informant guidelines, agents are permitted, through time-limited investigations known as “assessments,” to use informants to spy on people in the U.S. without having reason to believe they are committing crimes or posing national security concerns. Assessments have so few safeguards that their use in politically motivated spying is not implausible, though there’s no known case of this to date.

But assessments aren’t available to the FBI when working outside the U.S. To deploy an overseas informant, the FBI’s informant guidelines require agents to have a full investigation open. Such an investigation requires an “articulable factual basis” — in other words, evidence that a national security concern might exist or criminal activity may be occurring. An unsubstantiated tip, while enough to support the opening of an assessment, would not be enough to initiate a full investigation that could be used to task an informant working internationally.

Halper reportedly met with Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page in July 2016, prior to the FBI’s opening of its Trump-Russia investigation, code-named Crossfire Hurricane. This by itself is not scandalous, since the FBI was at the time investigating Russia’s alleged efforts to recruit Page as a spy of their own. In 2013, the bureau had obtained recordings of Russian agents discussing their approaches to Page. Those recordings, coupled with Page’s meeting with Russian officials in Moscow in July 2016, likely would have been enough to open a full investigation, making Halper’s activity in London perfectly justifiable under FBI rules.

Halper’s later known activity — meeting with Trump campaign aides Sam Clovis in August 2016 and George Papadopoulos in September 2016 — happened after the opening of Crossfire Hurricane, which again would have required an “articulable factual basis,” making baseless and politically motivated spying of the kind that Trump has alleged highly unlikely.

What’s more, because the FBI ran Halper as an overseas informant, any spying would have been documented in Delta, the FBI’s program for managing informants, creating a long paper trail about why the FBI chose to use Halper and what agents tasked him with doing. This is likely among the classified information Trump demanded that FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein provide to select senators and congressional representatives.

After reviewing the FBI’s materials, Republican U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy this week dismissed #Spygate on Fox News as the conspiracy theory that it is:

Embedded video

Fox News

@FoxNews

.@TGowdySC: “I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got, and that it has nothing to do with @realDonaldTrump.”

1,917 people are talking about this

So let’s clear this all up: The FBI’s informants can run afoul of the law and internal regulations, and FBI informants are indeed spies. But there’s no evidence yet to suggest Halper’s actions were rooted in the political motivations of FBI agents.

The Russian collusion hoax meets unbelievable end

As the Russia collusion hoax hurtles toward its demise, it’s important to consider how this destructive information operation rampaged through vital American institutions for more than two years, and what can be done to stop such a damaging episode from recurring.

While the hoax was fueled by a wide array of false accusations, misleading leaks of ostensibly classified information, and bad-faith investigative actions by government officials, one vital element was indispensable to the overall operation: the Steele dossier.

Funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee, which hid their payments from disclosure by funneling them through the law firm Perkins Coie, the dossier was a collection of false and often absurd accusations of collusion between Trump associates and Russian officials. These allegations, which relied heavily on Russian sources cultivated by Christopher Steele, were spoon-fed to Trump opponents in the U.S. government, including officials in law enforcement and intelligence.

The efforts to feed the dossier’s allegations into top levels of the U.S. government, particularly intelligence agencies, were championed by Steele, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, and various intermediaries. These allegations were given directly to the FBI and Justice Department, while similar allegations were fed into the State Department by long-time Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal.

Their efforts were remarkably effective. Officials within the FBI and DOJ, whether knowingly or unintentionally, provided essential support to the hoax conspirators, bypassing normal procedures and steering the information away from those who would view it critically. The dossier soon metastasized within the government, was cloaked in secrecy, and evaded serious scrutiny.

High-ranking officials such as then-FBI general counsel James Baker and then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr were among those whose actions advanced the hoax. Ohr, one of the most senior officials within the DOJ, took the unprecedented step of providing to Steele a back door into the FBI investigation. This enabled the former British spy to continue to feed information to investigators, even though he had been terminated by the FBI for leaking to the press and was no longer a valid source. Even worse, Ohr directly briefed Andrew Weissmann and Zainab Ahmad, two DOJ officials who were later assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. In short, the investigation was marked by glaring irregularities that would normally be deemed intolerable.

According to Ohr’s congressional testimony, he told top-level FBI officials as early as August or September 2016 that Steele was biased against Trump, that Steele’s work was connected to the Clinton campaign, and that Steele’s material was of questionable reliability. Steele himself confirmed that last point in a British court case in which he acknowledged his allegations included unverified information. Yet even after this revelation, intelligence leaders continued to cite the Steele dossier in applications to renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

It is astonishing that intelligence leaders did not immediately recognize they were being manipulated in an information operation or understand the danger that the dossier could contain deliberate disinformation from Steele’s Russian sources. In fact, it is impossible to believe in light of everything we now know about the FBI’s conduct of this investigation, including the astounding level of anti-Trump animus shown by high-level FBI figures like Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, as well as the inspector general’s discovery of a shocking number of leaks by FBI officials.

It’s now clear that top intelligence officials were perfectly well aware of the dubiousness of the dossier, but they embraced it anyway because it justified actions they wanted to take — turning the full force of our intelligence agencies first against a political candidate and then against a sitting president.

The hoax itself was a gift to our nation’s adversaries, most notably Russia. The abuse of intelligence for political purposes is insidious in any democracy. It undermines trust in democratic institutions, and it damages the reputation of the brave men and women who are working to keep us safe. This unethical conduct has had major repercussions on America’s body politic, creating a yearslong political crisis whose full effects remain to be seen.

Having extensively investigated this abuse, House Intelligence Committee Republicans will soon be submitting criminal referrals on numerous individuals involved in these matters. These people must be held to account to prevent similar abuses from occurring in the future. The men and women of our intelligence community perform an essential service defending American national security, and their ability to carry out their mission cannot be compromised by biased actors who seek to transform the intelligence agencies into weapons of political warfare.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/rep-devin-nunes-the-russian-collusion-hoax-meets-unbelievable-end

Story 3: Broken Record of U.S. Budget Deficits — Totally Out of Control Federal Government Spending — Videos

Harvard’s Feldstein Says Debt to Reach 100% of GDP by End of Decade