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The Pronk Pops Show 1259, May 16, 2019, Story 1: President Trump’s New Immigration Proposal — What Happened To Border Security First With A 1,000 Mile Wall? — Build Big Beautiful Border Barrier — Additional 1500 Miles! — What Happened To Deporting and Removing All The Illegal Aliens (The 30-60 Million) Living and Working in United States? — Then and Only Then Talk About Common Sense Comprehensive Immigration Reform — No Sale Mr. President! — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1259 May 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1258 May 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1257 May 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1256 May 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1255 May 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1254 May 9, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1247 April 30, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

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Pronk Pops Show 1201 February 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1200 February 1, 2019

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Story 1: President Trump’s New Immigration Proposal — What Happened To Border Security First With A 1,000 Mile Wall? — Build Big Beautiful Border Barrier — Additional 1500 Miles Required! — What Happened To Deporting and Removing All The Illegal Aliens (The 30-60 Million?) Living and Working in United States? — Then and Only Then Talk About Common Sense Comprehensive Immigration Reform — No Sale Mr. President! — Videos

President Trump unveils new immigration proposal

Sarah Sanders: There’s one agenda, one decisionmaker, that’s Trump

Trump‘s immigration plan could have a strong impact on the U.S. economy

Jared Kushner And President Donald Trump’s Immigration Proposal Comes Out DOA | Deadline | MSNBC

MAJOR TRUMP IMMIGRATION PLAN: Watch As Donald Trump Outlines His Immigration Executive Plan FNN

Trump elaborates on plan to deport illegal immigrants

How would Donald Trump deport millions of immigrants?

Your tax dollars supporting deported illegal immigrants?

Trump to unveil ‘merit-based’ immigration plan with English tests for new arrivals which White House insists IS ‘designed to become law’ despite Republican saying it is dead on arrival

  • Donald Trump will unveil his immigration overhaul Thursday afternoon, providing a road map for weary lawmakers tired of anticipating what he wants 
  • In Rose Garden remarks, Trump will announce changes to America’s ‘screwed up’ asylum laws and seek to build GOP support for a new merit-based plan   
  • GOP senator who introduced a plan Wednesday suggested White House’s plan cannot pass, because it includes a border wall and merit-based immigration
  • Lindsey Graham said at a press conference that Trump’s plan ‘isn’t designed to become law – it was meant to ‘unify’ the GOP on border security
  • White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted it’s more than set of goals and bullet points as she spoke to DailyMail.com on Thursday morning
  • ‘We think it certainly is designed to become law. We think it should. That’s why we put it out,’ she said on the White House driveway
  • Plan does away with the diversity visa lottery and prioritizes skilled workers 

 

Donald Trump will unveil his ideal immigration plan in a speech today, calling for new criteria and a point-based system for legal entry into the United States.

The proposal eliminates the diversity visa lottery for potential green card holders and refocuses the legal immigration system around skilled workers. It proposes English-language tests for visa holders and requires applicants to pass a U.S. citizenship test.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that the proposal the White House previewed to Congress ‘isn’t designed to become law.’ He said it was intended to ‘unify’ the GOP on border security and a merit-based admission system.

A presentation by senior officials to press before Trump’s speech came in the form of a slideshow and did not include go into detail.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted Thursday that Trump’s proposal is more than a set of goals and bullet points, however.

‘We think it certainly is designed to become law. We think it should. That’s why we put it out, and that’s why we’ve spent a lot of time developing and making sure that this is something that could have buy-in from both sides and actually fix our system that hasn’t been upgraded or touched in decades,’ she told DailyMail.com.

President Trump will unveil his immigration overhaul Thursday, providing a road map for weary lawmakers who've tired of failed negotiations

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that the proposal the White House previewed to Congress 'isn't designed to become law.' He said it was intended to 'unify' the GOP on border security and a merit-based admission system

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday that the proposal the White House previewed to Congress ‘isn’t designed to become law.’ He said it was intended to ‘unify’ the GOP on border security and a merit-based admission system

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted Thursday that Trump's proposal is more than a set of goals as she spoke to DailyMail.com and other press

Graham unveiled an immigration plan Wednesday that zeros in on the humanitarian crisis at the border. The White House said the GOP senator’s proposal is a ‘subset’ of Trump’s and the plans are complimentary to each other.

‘These two things compliment one another,’ Sanders told Fox News.

She characterized Graham’s comprehensive immigration reform proposal as a quick fix.

‘The president’s plan, that he’s going to talk about later this afternoon, is more of a long-term thing looking at modernizing and updating our entire immigration system.’

Sanders said there’s nothing in Trump’s plan Democrats should be against. 

‘We want to move to this merit-based system. Democrats right now, unless they get on board with this, the only thing they’ve said they want is open borders. I think that is a terrible thing for our country and I think it’s a terrible message for them going into 2020 so I think it would be wonderful to watch them get on board with something that helps secure our border,’ she warned.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday at a news conference that Democrats want a plan that secures the border, has a path to citizenship, and respects the family. She said they would only support a package that has ‘certain principles’ that her party agrees to.

Graham had put the White House on blast the afternoon before, as he revealed his plan, telling reporters, ‘The White House’s plan is not designed to become law. This is designed to become law.’

He said the White House plan emphasizing a border wall and merit-based immigration cannot win bipartisan support.

‘I don’t think it’s designed to get Democratic support as much as it is to unify the Republican Party around border security,’ he said Tuesday after seeing the White House’s presentation.

Graham’s bill would require asylum applicants from Central American countries to apply for refugee status before they migrate to the U.S. Asylum claims from those migrants would be automatically rejected at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The senator wants to create processing centers in Mexico to review asylum claims – something Trump has also tried to establish.

Graham’s bill would also allow families to be held together for up to 100 days, revising a 20-day limit that’s currently in place. It would cut down on family separations but drive up the number of beds in use and the length of time that migrants can be detained to more than three months.

He would hire 500 new immigration judges to cut down on wait times. 

In Rose Garden remarks this afternoon, Trump will announce changes to America’s ‘screwed up’ asylum laws and seek to build GOP support for his plan, a senior administration official told White House press. on Wednesday.

Jared Kushner, a senior White House official and the president’s son-in-law, crafted the current proposal with the input of economic and border security experts such as senior policy advisor Stephen Miller.

At a briefing for press, officials stressed that it is the ‘Trump plan’ even though it was billed as ‘The Republican Proposal’ in the slideshow.

‘Right now, this is the Trump plan. We’re hoping this will become the Republican plan,’ an official clarified in response to to an inquiry from DailyMail.com on Wednesday, ‘and we’ll keep evolving.’

Whether Trump will be able to get a majority of lawmakers from its own party on board was an unknown as the White House made its second attempt at comprehensive immigration reform following a skirmish with the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives earlier in the year.

White House officials were hopeful and were working hard to fill in the proposal’s details.

Trump met with Republican senators last week and sent his proxies to Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

WHAT’S IN TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION PLAN?

  •  Expedited adjudication for asylum seekers & quicker removal process
  • Wall in ‘high-priority locations’ along border with Mexico
  • Change eligibility for visas, adding a point-based system 
  • Points include: U.S civics test; health screening, background check
  • Other factors: age, English proficiency, offer of employment, educational & vocational certificates
  • Plan would increase education and skills of new legal immigrants

A report after the GOP luncheon claimed that Trump’s plan was lacking in details and Kushner had trouble handling the information. 

An official disputed the claims on Wednesday, insisting senators’ reactions had been ‘misreported’ and telling DailyMail.com, ‘People were very, very enthusiastic about it.’

White House officials have briefed half of the Senate’s 53 Republican members on the president’s plan, the Trump adviser claimed. ‘And there’s been no negative public comments from GOP senators, as well, on the record.’

The person suggested that leakers claiming otherwise were intentionally trying to derail the plan that seeks to decrease the number of immigrants who come because of family connections and increase the number of skilled workers.

A slide in the presentation said that within the current system, just 12 percent of immigrants are coming because of employment and skill, while 66 percent are relocating because of family ties. Another 22 percent are allowed in for humanitarian causes and through the diversity visa lottery.

Trump’s plan, which the slide mistakenly referred to as ‘The Republican Proposal’ even though officials said that wasn’t the case, set up new categories of 57 percent employment and skill based, and a reduction to 33 percent for family links and 10 percent for humanitarian purposes.

The administration based its plan on systems in Australia, Japan and Canada.

Jared Kushner, a senior White House official and the president's son-in-law, crafted the current proposal with the input of economic and border security experts such as senior policy advisor Stephen Miller

Jared Kushner, a senior White House official and the president’s son-in-law, crafted the current proposal with the input of economic and border security experts such as senior policy advisor Stephen Miller

Australia’s point-based system prioritizes merit-based workers at 68 percent of its total with 30 percent relocating for family reasons and 2 percent coming for other reasons.

Trump would totally do away with the diversity visa lottery in America, which he incorrectly claimed on Wednesday involves countries picking its worst citizens and sending them to America.

Non-Americans apply for visas and are selected by the State Department at random through the system. If they pass background checks administered by the United States, they are allowed to come to America.

Many illegal immigrants attempt to take advantage of America’s asylum laws, which are meant for refugees. The Trump administration wants to scale back the number of asylum seekers and unclog the asylum system.

‘Right now we have a lot of people who want to use our asylum system. Right now it’s so screwed up that those people aren’t getting the adjudication they need,’ a senior official told press. ‘So we want to make sure that people who have legitimate claims can come through quickly, and that people who are trying to take advantage of the system, use it as a back door, are ejected and removed in an expedited fashion but also given due process.’

Trump has pushed for a system that allows him to reject most Central American migrants’ asylum requests and immediately send them back to their home countries.

Last week a senior White House official told DailyMail.com that Trump envisions a ‘big door’ that immigrants with skill sets the U.S. wants will be able to walk through, ant that’s the focus of his overhaul.

In the interim, Trump has floated a plan to send illegal immigrants to San Francisco and other sanctuary cities that provide safe harbor to undocumented migrants.

The official said that under the president’s proposed new law, the president’s controversial sanctuary cities plan wouldn’t be necessary.

‘I think that if this plan gets enacted, then the amount of illegal immigrants coming into this country should plummet,’ the senior official told DailyMail.com, ‘because you’ll have the secure border and you’ll have the ability to detain, adjudicate – with due process – and then remove people who coming in illegally.’

The person added, ‘And then we’ll have a big door, which is the people who are coming in legally will be able to come in in a much simpler, expedited fashion, and that’s what we, I think, should expect, and aim for as a country.’

President Trump threatened last week to resort to ‘harsh measures’ to address problems in the immigration system, if Democrats continue to stand in the way of his overhaul.

The Republican president tweeted before a meeting with GOP senators to say, ‘Democrats in Congress must vote to close the terrible loopholes at the Southern Border. If not, harsh measures will have to be taken!’

He did not elaborate on the threat and details of the immigration proposal his White House is preparing with the help of lawmakers remained murky, even after officials held a background briefing for the press.

An outline of Trump’s comprehensive plan laid of six areas of concern: securing the border, protecting American wages and recruiting the best and brightest migrants, family reunification and the preservation of humanitarian values, in that order.

A senior official who spoke to a group of reporters last Tuesday said Trump will reveal a more detailed plan when he’s ready, and the meeting with senators was merely a first step in putting together a coalition.

‘I think he was very happy with the meeting today. I think we got a very positive reaction from people whose opinions he wanted to seek, and I think that was a good step forward to validate a lot of his instincts on what he wanted to produce and the work that he has subsequently done,’ the official stated.

A week later, the White House claimed it was ready to present the broad strokes of a proposal as it continued to work with legislators, however.

Officials said they were focused on winning the support of seven GOP senators, although they refused to say which lawmakers they were.

One who briefed press a week prior told DailyMail.com that what had changed in over the last eight days was that, ‘We got ready.’

‘We’re fairly fluid in terms of how we do these things, but what we’ll do is: when we’re ready,’ the senior Trump aide said.

The official explained that president approved the draft proposal and immediately brought in a focus group of 12 senators to solicit their input.

While it could have went poorly, the person said, ‘Turned out it went very, very well.

‘Feedback in the room was great, and these are all people who are not bashful about telling you both privately and publicly about when they’re not happy with what you put forward,’ the White House official assessed.

Stephen Miller, a senior adviser, to the president, is seen on Tuesday on Capitol Hill

Stephen Miller, a senior adviser, to the president, is seen on Tuesday on Capitol Hill

The White House promoted the meeting with senators as a ‘sounding board’ for options and claimed that a timeline for introducing the plan had not been set.

‘We had a good opportunity to share with them the outline that we’ve been working on, and then get some of their feedback, so it was a very constructive meeting. We’ll work on further refining it based on some of the things we heard today,’ the Trump aide who requested anonymity to brief the press said.

Trump is trying to avoid the mistakes Republicans made the first time they attempted to secure enough votes for an immigration overhaul after he assumed office, the White House official intimated.

‘People are always too quick to try and rush in to make deals,’ the person explained. ‘Once we have finalized what we believe is the right position, we’ll try to unify as many of the Republicans around that as possible, and then we’ll see.’

The person suggested that Democrats could come on board without much wrangling if the White House goes about rolling out its plan correctly.

‘Maybe the Democrats will like it. a lot of them say they’re for border security, a lot of Democrats say they’re for a merit-based system and so I think that we’re taking the first step of putting together these ideas in a very detailed format, and hopefully, that starts a very positive discussion,’ the Trump aide said.

Asked Wednesday whether the president seriously believes he can get a plan passed with Democratic senators vying for his job in hot pursuit, the official said the immediate goal is to get GOP senators on board.

‘It’s very easy to be pessimistic, right? We recognize how hard it is. But again the president’s mandate to us is come up with something that … represents my position on immigration, put it out there, let’s unify Republicans. That’s the immediate task. Once you do that, a lot of things become possible,’ the person said.

The aide said of the plan’s legislative viability, ‘I don’t know, maybe we can, maybe can’t but we’re gonna try like hell to see if we can do it.’

‘And the president’s a dealmaker, and he’s flexible and he wants to see this happen,’ the aide insisted.

Trump’s speech on Thursday is not anticipated to get into the nuts and bolts of the proposal.

‘We’re going to release some details tomorrow,’ the official said. ‘We’re going to release more details later on.’

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, suggested to DailyMail.com and other reporters Tuesday morning that the new plan would be similar to one Trump sent to Congress his first year in office

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, suggested to DailyMail.com and other reporters Tuesday morning that the new plan would be similar to one Trump sent to Congress his first year in office

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, suggested to DailyMail.com and other reporters last Tuesday morning that the president’s new plan would be similar to one Trump sent to Congress his first year in office.

‘This president submitted to Congress, in October of 2017, a 70-point immigration plan, that has never been acted on,’ she asserted.

Conway said Trump prioritizes securing the border, ending chain migration and the diversity visa lottery and moving to a merit-based immigration system.

‘This president has shown in the past a serious willingness to solve our Dreamers and DACA challenges, as well,’ she said. ‘So Jared Kushner and others have been talking about for awhile a big immigration plan, and we’re happy that the senators are coming over to be briefed on that.’

She declined to say, in response to a question from DailyMail.com, what is different about the new plan that Trump will be selling to senators.

The senior White House official suggested that the political climate could make immigration reform easier the second crack of the bat.

‘That the Democrats actually come to the table and their serious about it, because this will be our second attempt. Where’s their plan? What is their idea?’ she said.

Specific details of the White House plan are still under wraps, too.  Trump has only said that it will prioritize merit-based workers.

‘They have skills, they have talent. We have people coming in under these crazy laws that – I mean under these crazy laws that – I mean if they – if they need welfare or if they need hand outs in the next 50 years, they – they’re almost incentivized,’ he said in a recent interview. ‘Those are the people that we’re supposed to be taking and we take as few as possible of them, I’ll tell you.’

He said Wednesday at a Capitol Hill service for slain police officers that he would keep out illegal immigrant killers like the one who killed a California cop he was honoring.

‘Not one more American life should be lost because our lawmakers failed to secure our borders. Tremendous problems are caused at the southern border — from drugs, to the wrong people being allowed to come in because of a corrupt and broken system that can be changed in 20 minutes — 20 minutes, if they want to change it.’

He said, ‘In the meantime, we have to do it the tough way. And there’s no reason for that. That’s why we are calling on Congress to fix our terrible immigration laws, stop catch-and-release; you catch them and you release them.

‘To end deadly sanctuary cities. To stop the visa lottery program, where they take lottery systems and a country will put you into a lottery and then deposit you into the United States. I don’t think most countries are giving us their finest. Do you agree? And that’s what’s happening. And it’s causing tremendous problems with crime and other things.

Trump claimed an illegal immigrant who killed Officer Ronil Singh ‘could have been kept out with border security, with the wall, with whatever the hell it takes’ and he would make it happen.

‘We’re getting it there. We’re building the wall. We’re beefing up like you wouldn’t believe. The military is come into action,’ he said, ‘People are trying to come into our country illegally because our country is doing well. They can’t come in illegally. They have to come in through the legal system. They have to come in through merit.’

The president insisted, ‘They can’t come in like this killer came in. Just rode across the border, went through every sign he could go through,’ he alleged.

Kushner said at a Time 100 summit last month that  border security, including a wall or a barrier, remains the president’s first priority.

‘We want to protect our country’s humanitarian values. We want to make sure we’re reunifying families, and we want to do this in a way that allows our country to be competitive long term,’ he said. ‘And my hope is we can really do something that unifies people around what we’re for on immigration.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7036913/White-House-insists-Trumps-merit-based-immigration-proposal-designed-law.html

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1242, April 23, 2019, Story 1: The Arrogance and Stupidity of The Habitual Criminal Hillary Clinton — There Coming To Take You Away — Videos — Story 2: American People Waiting For Attorney General Barr Investigations, Grand Jury Indictments and Justice Department Prosecutions of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators — Videos — Story 3: Radical Extremist Democratic Socialists (REDS) Using The Government To Plunder or Steal From Others To Pay For What Elites Want — Senator Warren’s Free Education Proposal — Santa Claus Socialism Subsidies — Vote For Me For Free Stuff — There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch — Videos

Posted on April 23, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Diseases, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Elizabeth Warren, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, High Crimes, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Impeachment, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Kamala Harris, Law, Life, Lying, Medicare, Mental Illness, Military Spending, National Interest, National Security Agency, Networking, News, Nuclear Weapons, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Corruption, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Security, Subversion, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

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Story 1: The Arrogance and Stupidity of The Habitual Criminal Hillary Clinton — There Coming To Take You Away — Videos

Image result for hillary clinton time 100 See the source image

Hillary Clinton On Mueller Report And 2016 Election | TIME 100 | TIME

Hillary Clinton On Impeachment | TIME 100 | TIME

Napoleon XIV: ‘They’re coming to take me away’

The End of Mueller’s Probe Renewed the Right’s Hillary Clinton Obsession

The MAGA people can’t let go of their obsessive hatred of Hillary Clinton. Photo: RJ Sangosti/Denver Post via Getty Images

My first real understanding of the conservative obsession with the personal destruction of Hillary Rodham Clinton came in Des Moines, on the eve of the 2016 Iowa caucuses. At a Ted Cruz rally I noticed about half the attendees wearing pins that read “Hillary for Prison,” featuring a cartoon depiction of the former secretary of State behind bars. By the time Donald Trump won the nomination to face Clinton in the general election, the rank-and-file Republican hate frenzy toward this relatively conventional center-left Democrat metastasized to become a major feature of campaign rallies, with “Lock Her Up” chants providing a steady drumbeat to the GOP candidate’s own bombastic attacks on his opponent.

After Trump won his unlikely election victory and Clinton largely receded from public view, claims from his supporters that she, not Trump, deserved to be investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department regularly arose alongside every new allegation of malfeasance by the president or his campaign. Right on through the midterm elections, every time Trump mentioned his former opponent at public events the same old “Lock Her Up” cries quickly emerged.

As pathological as the phenomenon may seem, it’s not surprising that the first thought many MAGA folk had after Robert Mueller decided not to pursue further prosecutions in the Russia collusion case was to demand a fresh investigation of Hillary Clinton and her alleged responsibility for the Steele dossier that many of them blamed for the entire “witch hunt” against Trump. As usual, arch-sycophant Lindsey Graham was on the case, talking about turning the tables in Trump’s presence at a fundraising dinner shortly after the news broke of Mueller’s decision:

Graham soon made it clear this wasn’t just a taunt made to amuse POTUS, as the Daily Beast reported:

In a Monday press conference on Capitol Hill, the South Carolina senator — one of the president’s staunchest allies in Congress — declared that his next move is going after Democrats and the Department of Justice over “what happened” to Trump.

Graham laid out a laundry list of questions and grievances that have been stewing on the right since the 2016 election: How did the FBI go about spying on Carter Page, a Trump campaign associate with links to Russia? What was the deal with Bill Clinton meeting with Barack Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch, on an airport tarmac? How did the infamous “dossier” compiled by hired British spy Christopher Steele come to be? What about Hillary Clinton’s emails?

All of these questions, Graham said, will be at the top of the agenda for the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs.

The Clinton emails and the Steele dossier aren’t the only alleged HRC sins Trump’s allies now want to make the object of high-level investigations. Amid its massive coverage of Trump’s supposed vindication by Mueller, Breitbart.com was pushing for a probe of the so-called Uranium One scandal:

It is a well-known tactic, particularly among modern-day Democratic political operatives, to accuse your opponent of committing offenses that you and your team have actually committed. By doing so, you deflect public opinion away from what must not be discovered — your own illegal activities.

A number of unanswered questions surround the role then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton played in handing over 20 percent of America’s uranium supplies to Uranium One, a company entirely owned by the Russian government. To date, no serious investigation has been launched into this highly controversial decision.

The psychology of tit-for-tat vengeance here is pretty naked, I’d say. But unsurprising as it is, given Clinton’s symbolism as the feminist Red Queen of liberalism in the eyes of angry conservatives for decades, it’s amazingly self-indulgent for people who ought to be focused on their still-uphill fight to hang onto power in 2020.

What, exactly, can a renewed vendetta against HRC accomplish for Trump and the GOP at this point? The kind of people who exult at the thought of Clinton donning an orange jumpsuit and dining on prison fare fall into two categories, neither of whom are 2020 swing voters or people who need motivation to vote: hard-core MAGA people who would follow their brutish warlord to hell and back, or hard-core anti-Clinton progressives who are deeply invested in a post-Clinton, left-trending Democratic Party. A GOP that’s not only backward-looking in longing to bring back the America of the 1950s, but can’t let go of its hatred for a vanquished opponent, is not well-equipped to win an entirely new battle. No wonder conservative media kept buying into idiotic predictions that HRC would run again in 2020. That’s the contest they wanted, and will not get.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/03/gops-hillary-clinton-obsession-renewed-after-mueller-probe.html

 

Hillary Clinton: Mueller report is beginning, not the end

 

WOW! Hillary Clinton Discusses “Roadmap” to Impeachment — Says Trump Should Have been Indicted by Mueller Probe

Let it go, Hillary.
On Tuesday Hillary Clinton spoke at the TIME 100 conference of top celebrities for the year.

Hillary Clinton spoke briefly about the Mueller Report during her remarks.

Hillary Clinton: I’m really of the mind that the Mueller report is part of the beginning…because there’s still so much more that we should know and that we should act upon… And we’re a long way from knowing because we need to get the full report — the unredacted version.

 

Hillary then commented about the “roadmap” to impeachment.

Hillary Clinton: Actions that undermine the integrity of our government. That placed the personal or political interests of a president over the interests of the nation. And in so doing we were able to make a case that was accepted by the Judiciary Committee that then voted out articles of impeachment on a bipartisan basis. So I know what it looks like and I know what is required to do it in a way that wins the trust of not only the congress but of the American people. But I certainly think that the roadmap that some call it…

 

Hillary Clinton was part of the Watergate investigation.

Hillary went on to say that Trump should have been indicted.
Wow!

 

WOW! Hillary Clinton Discusses “Roadmap” to Impeachment — Says Trump Should Have been Indicted by Mueller Probe

Clinton: Trump Would Have Been Indicted If He Weren’t President

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that President Trump would have been indicted over the actions described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report had he not been a sitting president.

“I think there’s enough there that any other person who had engaged in those acts would certainly have been indicted,” Clinton said during her remarks at the Time 100 Summit. “The whole matter of obstruction was very directly sent to the Congress. And if you read that part of the report, it could not be clearer.”

Mueller concluded in the report that Trump and his associates had not engaged in collusion with Russia but declined to weigh in on whether a number of Trump’s actions during the investigation — including his decision to fire FBI director James Comey and his attempts to have Mueller fired — constituted obstruction of justice. The report instead left that determination up to Congress.

Stay Updated with NR Daily

“With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has the authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” the report read.

The details of the report have split Democrats on the question of impeachment. Party leaders in the House have continued to insist that no impeachment proceedings are forthcoming, while several 2020 presidential candidates, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, have called for such proceedings to be initiated since the redacted version of the report was released last week.

In her remarks Tuesday, Clinton echoed House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s view of the matter, saying impeachment should “be something undertaken in a really serious, diligent way, based on evidence,” and adding that Pelosi is “right to be cautious” about it.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/mueller-report-hillary-clinton-trump-would-have-been-indicted/

Story 2: American People Waiting For Attorney General Barr Investigation, Grand Jury Indictment and Justice Department Prosecution of The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators — Videos —

US intelligence agencies spied on Trump campaign, claims attorney general WIlliam Barr

Former Trump lawyer challenges details in Mueller report

Dershowitz: Mueller should have made a decision on obstruction

Full Rudy: ‘No Reason To Dispute’ Mueller Report | Meet The Press | NBC News

Graham grills Barr over Obama DOJ surveillance of Trump team

WATCH: Mueller report explains lack of obstruction of justice recommendation, Barr says

Mark Levin on why Obama may have been spying on Trump

Story 3: Radical Extremist Democratic Socialists (REDS) Using The Government To Plunder or Steal From Others To Pay For What Elites Want — Power For Them and Higher Taxes For You — Senator Warren’s Free Education Proposal — Santa Claus Socialism Subsidies — Vote For Me For Free Stuff —  Videos

 

Sen. Warren Pushes Student Loan Forgiveness Plan At NH Town Hall

Elizabeth Warren’s Free Public College Tuition: What Might the Real Cost Be for Students and Taxpayer

Elizabeth Warren’s plan for universal free college and student loan debt

Milton Friedman – Should Higher Education Be Subsidized?

Milton Friedman: There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

 

Elizabeth Warren unveils plan to cancel $640 BILLION in college debt in one-off amnesty she says would be paid for by tax on ultra-wealthy

  • Democratic 2020 candidate proposes canceling $50,000 in debt for each person with household income under $100,000
  • She calculates 42 million would benefit and calculates total bill of $640 billion and says she would pay for it by a tax on the ‘ultra-wealthy’
  • Her tax plan would see a 2 per cent annual levy on households worth more than $50 million – of which she says there are 75,000
  • Moves to make c4ollege free are becoming part of Democratic mainstream 

Democrat Elizabeth Warren is proposing the elimination of existing student loan debt for millions of Americans, part of a sweeping set of education funding proposals announced as she and other presidential candidates seek to differentiate themselves in a sprawling field.

The Massachusetts senator says the proposal unveiled Monday would eliminate almost all student loan debt for 42 million Americans, canceling $50,000 in debt for each person with household income under $100,000. 

According to Warren’s description of the plan in a piece to be posted on Medium, the debt cancellation proposal would create a one-time cost to the federal government of $640 billion.

Many in the growing field of Democratic candidates have proposed reforming the nation’s student loan programs, including dramatic restructuring of existing refinancing structures, but Warren appears to be the first to propose flat-out debt cancellation.

Radical move: Elizabeth Warren is suggesting a $650 billion massive write-off of college debt

Radical move: Elizabeth Warren is suggesting a $650 billion massive write-off of college debt

Competitive field: Tuition-free higher education was a mainstay of Bernie Sanders's 2016 presidential run. Elizabeth Warren and others are following his lead

 

Competitive field: Tuition-free higher education was a mainstay of Bernie Sanders's 2016 presidential run. Elizabeth Warren and others are following his lead

Competitive field: Tuition-free higher education was a mainstay of Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential run. Elizabeth Warren and others are following his lead

Among Warren’s other proposals is elimination of tuition and fees for two- and four-year public college degree programs, as well as a $100 billion investment in Pell Grants, a federal aid program that requires no payback.

Tuition-free higher education was a mainstay of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential run. Warren, Harris and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, another presidential contender, all signed owhat n as co-sponsors of Sanders’ 2017 College for All Act , which would have allocated $47 billion annually to states to cover two-thirds of the tuition obligation, leaving states responsible for the rest.

The costs of debt cancellation and universal free college, Warren said, would be ‘more than covered by my Ultra-Millionaire Tax — a 2% annual tax on the 75,000 families with $50 million or more in wealth.’

Warren announced the policy ahead of a CNN town hall in New Hampshire focusing on issues important to young voters. Her slot in the five-hour broadcast Monday comes along with other appearances by Harris, Sanders and Sen. Amy Klobuchar as well as Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Following New Hampshire, Warren this week is making stops in South Carolina, Texas, Iowa and Nevada.

WHO ARE ALL THE 19 DEMOCRATS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020?

CORY BOOKER

Age on Inauguration Day: 51

Entered race: February 1, 2019

Career: Currently New Jersey senator. High school football star who went to Stanford or undergraduate and masters degrees before studying in Oxford as a Rhodes scholar and Yale Law School. Worked for advocacy and youth projects and successfully ran for Newark, New Jersey, city council in 1998. Narrowly lost mayoral election in 2002 facing claims he was ‘suburban’ and ‘not black enough.’ Ran again in 2006 and won landslide on radical reform platform for troubled city, including being tough on crime, cutting budget deficit, increasing affordable housing and tackling failing schools – controversially taking a huge donation from Mark Zuckerberg for the city. Ran for New Jersey senate seat in 2013 special election and won; won full term in 2014

Family: Unmarried but dating actress Rosario Dawson. Parents Cary and Carolyn were among IBM’s first black executives. Brother Cary Jr. is education adviser to New Jersey’s Democratic governor

Religion: Baptist

Views on key issues: Self-proclaimed liberal. Endorses abortion rights; affirmative action; single-payer health care; criminal justice reform; path to citizenship for ‘dreamers; federal marijuana decriminalization; $15 minimum wage; but has also spoken against tech regulation and for long-term deficit reduction

Would make history as: First unmarried president since Grover Cleveland in 1886

 Slogan: Together, America, We Will Rise     

PETE BUTTIGIEG

Age on Inauguration Day: 39

Entered race: Announced formation of exploratory committee January 23, 2019. Formally entered race April 14, 2019

Career: Currently mayor of Sound Bend, Indiana. Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar who got a second degree from Oxford before working as a McKinsey management consultant and being commissioned as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer. Elected South Bend mayor in 2011 and served in combat in 2013, won re-election in 2015

Family: Came out as gay during second mayoral run and married husband Chasten Glezman, a middle school teacher in 2018. Parents were University of Notre Dame academics. Surname is pronounced BOOT-edge-edge. Would be first combat veteran since George H.W. Bush

Religion: Raised as a Catholic, now Episcopalian

Views on key issues: Has said Democratic party needs a ‘fresh start’; wrote an essay in praise of Bernie Sanders aged 17; backed paid parental leave for city employees; other policies unknown 

Would make history as: First openly gay and youngest-ever president

Slogan: To be announced

JULIAN CASTRO 

Age on Inauguration Day: 46

Entered race: January 12, 2018, at rally in his native San Antonio, TX. Had formed exploratory committee two months previously

Career: No current job. Stanford and Harvard graduate who was a San Antonio, Texas, councilman at 26 and became mayor of the city in 2009. Was Obama’s Housing and Urban Development secretary from 2014 to 2016

Family: Married with nine-year-old daughter, Carina, and four-year-old son, Cristian. His identical twin Joaquin, who is a minute younger, is Democratic congressman. Mother Maria del Rosario Castro was part of ‘radical’ third party for Mexican-Americans; father left his wife and five children for her but they never married. Would be first Hispanic-American president – announced his run in English and Spanish – and first-ever U.S. president with a twin

Religion:  Catholic

Views on key issues: Wants medicare for all; universal pre-K; action on affordable housing; will not take money from political action committees (PACs) tied to corporations or unions. Other views still to be announced

Would make history as: First Hispanic president, first to be a twin  

Slogan: One Nation. One Destiny

JOHN DELANEY

Age on Inauguration Day: 57

Entered race: Filed papers July 28, 2017

Career: No current job. Three-time Maryland congressman, first winning election in 2012. Previously set up publicly-traded companies lending capital to healthcare and mid-size businesses and was youngest CEO at the time of a New York Stock Exchange-listed firm

Family: Married father of four; wife April works for children’s issues nonprofit 

Religion: Catholic 

Views on key issues: Social liberal in favor of legalized pot and gun control but not single-payer healthcare; fiscally conservative

Would make history as: First president from Marlyand 

Slogan: Focus on the Future

TULSI GABBARD

Age on Inauguration Day: 39

Entered race: Still to formally file any papers but said she would run on January 11 2019

Career: Currently Hawaii congresswoman. Born on American Samoa, a territory, and therefore may be subject to questions over whether she is natural-born. Raised largely in Hawaii, she co-founded an environmental non-profit with her father as a teenager and was elected to the State Legislature aged 21, its youngest member in history. Enlisted in the National Guard and served two tours, one in Iraq 2004-2006, then as an officer in Kuwait in 2009. Ran for Honolulu City Council in 2011, and House of Representatives in 2012

Family: Married to her second husband, Abraham Williams, a cinematographer since 2015. First marriage to childhood sweetheart Eduardo Tamayo in 2002 ended in 2006. Father Mike Gabbard is a Democratic Hawaii state senator, mother Carol Porter runs a non-profit.

Religion: Hindu

Views on key issues: Has apologized for anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage views; wants marijuana federally legalized; opposed to most U.S. foreign interventions; backs $15 minimum wage and universal health care; was the second elected Democrat to meet Trump after his 2016 victory

Would make history as: First female, Hindu and Samoan-American president; youngest president ever

Slogan: Lead with Love

KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND

Age on Inauguration Day: 54

Entered race: Announced exploratory committee on Stephen Colbert’s CBS show on January 16, 2019. Formal launch in front of Trump International Hotel and Tower, New York, March 24, 2019

Career: Currently New York senator. Dartmouth and UCLA law grad who was a high-flying Manhattan attorney representing big businesses. Says she was inspired to enter politics by hearing Hillary Clinton speak, although she is also scion of a prominent New York Democratic political family. Won New York’s 20th district, centered on Albany in 2004; appointed to Hillary Clinton’s senate seat in 2008 and won it in 2010 special election 63-35; won first full term 2012 and re-elected 67-33 in 2018

Family: Married to British venture capitalist Jonathan Gillibrand with two sons, Theodore, 15, and Henry, ten. Father Douglas Lutnik was Democratic lobbyist; grandmother Polly Noonan was at center of Albany Democratic politics

Religion: Catholic

Views on key issues: Initially pro-gun as Congresswoman, has since reversed herself to be pro-gun control and also pro-immigration; said Bill Clinton should have resigned over Monica Lewinsky and helped force Al Franken out of Senate over groping allegations; in favor of single-payer healthcare and Medicare for all

Would make history as: First female president 

Slogan: Brave wins

KAMALA HARRIS  

Age on Inauguration Day: 56 

Entered race: Announced she was running January 21, 2018 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day – on Good Morning America. Formally entered race January 27

Career: Currently California senator. Howard and U.C. Hunter law school grad who worked as assistant district attorney in Alameda County, CA, then in San Francisco’s DA’s office before being elected San Francisco DA in 2003 and used it as springboard to run successfully for California attorney general in 2010. Won again in 2014 and was at center of U.S. attorney general and Supreme Court speculation but also endured a series of controversies, including over police brutality allegations. Ran for Senate in 2016 and established herself on liberal wing of party

Family: Born in Berkeley, CA, to immigrant Indian Tamil mother and Jamaican father who were both academics and brought up from seven to 18  in Montreal, Canada. Dated married San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, when he was 60 and she was 29. Married attorney Douglas Emhoff in 2014 and has two stepchildren; Cole, an aspiring actor, and Ella, an art and design student. Sister Maya was a Hillary Clinton adviser and brother-in-law Tony West is Uber’s chief legal counsel

Views on key issues: Social ultra-liberal who has rejected criticisms of ‘identity politics’ and is running without a political action committee, which will make her reliant on small donors. Has shifted left on criminal justice reform; supports Medicare for all;  pro-gun control and anti-death penalty; says illegal immigration is a civil not a criminal offense

Religion: Has said she was brought up in both Baptist and Hindu tradition

Would make history as: First female and first Indian-American president

Slogan: Kamala Harris: For The People 

JOHN HICKENLOOPER

Age on Inauguration Day: 68

Entered race: March 4, 2019 with Good Morning America interview

Career: No current job. Wesleyan University-educated geologist who moved to Colorado to work in petroleum industry but was laid off and started Wynkoop Brewing Company, the first craft brewpub in 1988 in Denver’s LoDo (lower downtown) area. Ran for mayor of Denver as an outsider in 2003 and won, then won a second term in 2007. Ran for Colorado governor in 2010 and won 51 per cent of the vote; his nearest rival took 36.5 per cent. Won re-election 49.3 to 46 in 2014, but was term limited and ended his second term in January 2019

Family: Married to second wife Robin Pringle, 40, a vice president at LibertyMedia Corp., owners of Sirius XM. Divorced first wife Helen Thorpe in 2012 after 10 years of marriage; ex-couple have son Teddy, a high school student. Born and brought up in Narbeth, in the Main Line of Philadelphia, his father’s ancestors include Civil War Union general Andrew Hickenlooper

Religion: Quaker

Views on key issues: Voiced support for Green New Deal but has also been in favor of fracking; has not embraced single-payer healthcare but expanded Medicaid in Colorado; long record of being pro-gun control; pro-choice but has gone out of his way to talk about reducing unplanned teenage pregnancies ; opposed to the death penalty; advocated for gay marriage

Would make history as: First Colorado president

Slogan:  To be announced     

JAY INSLEE

Age on Inauguration Day: 69

Entered race: March 1, 2019

Career: Currently Washington governor. Stanford drop-out who graduated from University of Washington and Williamette University School of Law before working as a city prosecutor in Selah, WA. First elected to Washington House of Representatives in 1989 and again in 1990; won Congressional seat in 1992 elections but lost in 1994 and then had failed 1996 gubernatorial run. Returned to Congress in 1998 elections and stayed until 2012 to run for governor. Won first term 51.5 to 48.5; re-elected in 2016 by 54.4 to 45.6

Family: Born in Seattle to late parents Frank, a Navy veteran and high school teacher and coach, and Adele, a Sears sales clerk. Married high school and college sweetheart Trudi since 1972. Three adult sons Jack, a radio producer in Washington D.C.; Connor, director of a Washington state non-profit for the disabled; and Joe, who works for King County, WA’s department of natural resources and parks. Grandfather of three 

Religion: Non-denominational Protestant 

Views on key issues: Running to combat climate change with praise for  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal – his record in Washington D.C. including aspiring to ‘zero emissions’ buildings and largely eliminate fossil fuel use; vocal gun control advocate; fought Trump’s ban on entry to people from seven Muslim-majority countries; called moratorium on death penalty in Washington; supported marijuana legalization in Washington and expected to do so federally; will not take money from political action committees; healthcare position still unclear

Would make history as: First Washington state president 

Slogan:  Our moment 

AMY KLOBUCHAR

Age on Inauguration Day: 60

Entered race: Announced candidacy February 10, 2019 at snow-drenched rally in her native Minneapolis

Career: Currently Minnesota senator. Yale and University of Chicago law graduate who became a corporate lawyer. First ran unsuccessfully for office in 1994 as Hennepin, MI, county attorney, and won same race in 1998, then in 2002, without opposition. Ran for Senate in 2006 and won 58-38; re-elected in 2012 and 2018

Family: Married to John Bessler, law professor at University of Baltimore and expert on capital punishment. Daughter Abigail Bessler, 23, works fora Democratic member of New York City council. Father Jim, 90, was a veteran newspaper columnist who has written a memoir of how his alcoholism hurt his family; mom Rose is a retired grade school teacher

 Religion: Congregationalist (United Church of Christ)

Views on key issues: Seen as a mainstream liberal: says she wants ‘universal health care’ but has not spelled out how; pro-gun control; pro-choice; backs $15 minimum wage; no public statements on federal marijuana legalization; has backed pro-Israel law banning the ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ movement; spoke out against abolishing ICE

Would make history as: First female president

Slogan: To be announced

WAYNE MESSAM

Age on Inauguration day: 46

Entered race: Announced March 28, 2019, formal launch March 30, 2019

Career: Currently mayor of Miramar, Florida. Florida State University football star who played starting wide receiver, and graduated in 1997. Worked in construction industry as contractor and started his own company in 2007. Ran for City of Miramar Commission in 2011 and mayor in 2015, defeating 16-year Democratic incumbent and becoming first black mayor of the city. Won second term March 2019, days before announcing presidential bid

Family: Married to college sweetheart Angela Sands, 44, who is also his business partner. Three college-age children: son Wayne Jr. and twin daughters Kayla and Kyla. Fourth child and first American-born child of Jamaican immigrants Hubert , a sugar-cane cutter, and his wife Delsey, who are both deceased. Was president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials in 2018

Religion: Worships at the Fountain of New Life Church in Miami Gardens where he is a deacon

Views on key issues: Says he is staunch advocate of gun control. Wants action on climate change and is opposed to off-shore oil drilling. Opposes Trump immigration policies and proposed forcing immigration officials to get a warrant before entering city property. Yet to state position on health care and foreign policy

Would make history as: First Jamaican-American and first Florida president 

Slogan: Your Champion

SETH MOULTON

Age on Inauguration Day: 42

Entered race: April 22, 2019

Career: Currently Massachusetts Congressman. Educated at elite Phillips Academy Andover – like both Bush presidents – and Harvard, he joined the Marines early in 2001. Was commissioned in 2002, then saw combat in invasion of Iraq and four total tours of duty, rising to captain and winning a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and a Bronze Star. Attended graduate school, worked for a high-speed rail project in Texas and ran against incumbent Democrat and then Republican in 2014 to take his hometown district of Marblehead, which he has held since.  Would be only second sitting congressman elected president – first was James Garfield in 1880

Family: Married wife Liz Moulton, a divorcee, in 2017. Couple had a daughter, Emmy, in October 2018. Parents Tom and Lynn, a real estate attorney and a secretary, campaigned against Vietnam as students

Religion: United Church of Christ

Views on key issues: Democratic moderate who campaigned on opposition to Iraq War which he served in. Wants a Pacific NATO and radical change to military, with concentration on new technology. Pro-gun control. Healthcare views unclear. Announced support for  Green New Deal. Has compared Trump’s rise to Hitler’s 

Would make history as: Youngest ever president, beating Theodore Roosevelt by 234 days 

Slogan:  To be announced

BETO O’ROURKE 

Age on Inauguration Day: 47

Entered race: March 14, 2019

Career: No current job. Born Robert Francis O’Rourke. Boarding-school educated Columbia grad who lived in a New York loft, playing in a punk band and doing desultory jobs and setting up an internet firm. Ran for El Paso city council in 2005, winning re-election and serving until 2012. Ran for Congress in 2012, defeating eight-term Democratic incumbent in primary. Gave up seat to run for Senate against Ted Cruz in 2018, losing 51-48

Family: Married to wife Amy Sanders, nine years his junior, with sons Ulysses and Henry, and daughter Molly. Father Pat was long-time El Paso politician who switched from Democrat to Republican; mom Melissa ran family-owned store in city until selling it after IRS probe. Melissa’s stepfather Fred Korth was one of JFK’s secretaries of the Navy. Father-in-law William Saunders is real estate developer estimated to be worth $500 million

Religion: Catholic

Views on key issues: Wants comprehensive immigration reform to give citizenship to ‘dreamers’ and a path to it for their parents, and vehemently opposes Trump’s wall. Supports federal marijuana legalization. Pro-gun control including an assault rifle ban and universal background checks. Supports single-payer health care but with co-pays and has backed Medicaid expansion. Strongly pro-choice. Has hinted at backing breaking up tech giants. Said he would have voted for impeachment in Congress if he had had the chance

Would make history as: No clear claims 

Slogan: To be announced  

TIM RYAN

Age on Inauguration Day: 46

Entered race: April 4, 2019

Career: Currently Ohio congressman. High school football star who got a scholarship to Youngstown State, Ohio, but transferred to nearby Bowling Green University when his career ended in injury. Became a congressional aide, picked up a law degree, then served in the Ohio Senate and when his former House boss Jim Traficant went to prison for fraud ran for his seat in 2002 and won. Has held district – first Ohio 13th then the 17th when Youngstown was redistricted – since with little opposition since. Released book on meditation in 2012 and considered running against Nancy Pelosi for minority leader

Family: Married first grade schoolteacher Andrea Zetts in 2013. Couple had a son, Brady, the following year. Zetts has a daughter, Bella, and a son, Mason, from her first marriage who Ryan says he ‘loves like his own.’ Ryan’s first marriage ended in divorce. He was brought up by his mom Rochelle after she and his father Allen divorced when he was seven

Religion: Catholic

Views on key issues: Moderate who backs Medicare for all. Flipped from anti-abortion to pro-choice in dramatic fashion in 2015. Does not appear to back the Green New Deal but suggests a carbon tax. Spoken up for capitalism but is also pro-union. Advocated for mindfulness teaching in classrooms. Also flipped on gun control from A rating by NRA to strong support of anti-gun measures

Would make history as: Only second sitting congressman elected president – first was James Garfield, also from Ohio, in 1880 

Slogan: To be announced

BERNIE SANDERS

Age on Inauguration Day: 79

Entered race: Sources said on January 25, 2019, that he would form exploratory committee. Officially announced February 19

Career: Currently Vermont senator. Student civil rights and anti-Vietnam activist who moved to Vermont and worked as a carpenter and radical film-maker. Serial failed political candidate in the 1970s, he ran as a socialist for mayor of Burlington in 1980 and served two terms ending in 1989, and win a seat in Congress as an independent in 1990. Ran for Senate in 2006 elections as an independent with Democratic endorsement and won third term in 2018. Challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016 but lost. Campaign has since been hit by allegations of sexual harassment  – for which he has apologized – and criticized for its ‘Bernie bro’ culture

Family: Born to a Jewish immigrant father and the daughter of Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York. First marriage to college sweetheart Deboarah Shiling Messing in 1964 ended in divorce in 1966; had son Levi in 1969 with then girlfriend Susan Cambell Mott. Married Jone O’Meara in 1988 and considers her three children, all adults, his own. The couple have seven grandchildren. His older brother Larry is a former Green Party councilor in Oxfordshire, England. Would be first Jewish president

Religion: Secular Jewish 

Views on key issues: Openly socialist and standard bearer for the Democratic party’s left-turn. Wants federal $15 minimum wage; banks broken up; union membership encouraged; free college tuition; universal health care; re-distributive taxation; he opposed Iraq War and also U.S. leading the fight against ISIS and wants troops largely out of Afghanistan and the Middle East

Would make history as: Oldest person elected president

Slogan: Not me. Us.

ERIC SWALWELL

Age on Inauguration Day: 39

Entered race: Announced on the Stephen Colbert Show, April 8, 2019

Career: College soccer scholar whose sporting career was ended by injury who was a Capitol Hill intern in the building on 9/11. University of Maryland law graduate, served as a prosecutor in Alameda County, CA – where Kamala Harris worked in earlier years. He was elected to Dublin City Council, CA, in 2010 and ran for Congress in California’s 15th District the following year, unseating 20-seat Democrat incumbent through California’s ‘top-two’ system. Number 6 on The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful List in 2014. Won fourth term 73-27 in 2018. Would be only second sitting congressman elected president – first was James Garfield in 1880

Family: Married second wife Brittany Ann Watts, a Ritz-Carlton sales director in 2016, and has a son Nelson and daughter Kathryn. First marriage to Melissa Maranda ended in divorce. Born in Iowa where his father was a police chief who was fired for being too hardline, and brought up in California where the family moved in search of work

Religion: Christian

Views on key issues: Socially-ultra liberal. Has called for mandatory buyback of ‘military-style semi-automatic assault weapons’ and other gun control measures. Supportive of the green new deal but with new jobs guarantee for fossil fuel workers. Wants ‘health-care guarantee’ rather than Medicare for all. Aggressive voice for investigation of Trump

Would make history as: Youngest president ever 

Slogan: Go big. Be bold. Do good.          

ELIZABETH WARREN

Age on Inauguration Day: 71

Entered race:  Set up exploratory committee December 31, 2018

Career: Currently Massachusetts senator. Law lecturer and academic who became an expert on bankruptcy law and tenured Harvard professor. Ran for Senate and won in 2012, defeating sitting Republican Scott Brown, held it in 2018 60% to 36%. Was short-listed to be Hillary’s running mate and campaigned hard for her in 2016

Family: Twice-married mother of two and grandmother of three. First husband and father of her children was her high-school sweetheart. Second husband Bruce Mann is Harvard law professor. Daughter Amelia Tyagi and son Alex Warren have both been involved in her campaigns. Has controversially claimed Native American roots; DNA test suggested she is as little as 1,064th Native American

Religion: Raised Methodist, now described as Christian with no fixed church

Views on key issues: Was a registered Republican who voted for the party but registered as a Democrat in 1996. Pro: higher taxes on rich; banking regulation; Dream Act path to citizenship for ‘dreamers’; abortion and gay rights; campaign finance restrictions; and expansion of public provision of healthcare – although still to spell out exactly how that would happen. Against: U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Syria; liberalization of gambling

Would make history as: First female president 

Slogan: To be announced 

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON

Age on Inauguration Day: 68

Entered race: Announced exploratory committee November 15, 2018. Formally entered January 28, 2019

Career: Currently an author, Dropped out of Pomona College, California, became part of the counter culture and anti-war movement and ran a ‘metaphysical bookstore’ before publishing spiritual guide A Return to Love and being praised by Oprah, sending it to number one. Published series of follow-ups and founded AIDS charity and subsequently more non-profits including a peace movement. Ran for Congress in 2014 and lost

Family: Born to immigration attorney father Sam and housewife mother Sophie in Houston, Texas. Married for ‘a minute and a half’ to unnamed man; daughter India was born in 1990 but Williamson declines to name her father

Religion: Jewish

Views on key issues: Wants vast expansion of physical and mental healthcare; and nutrition and lifestyle reforms including ban on marketing processed and sugary foods to children; universal pre-K; much of the Green New Deal’s proposals including a de-carbonized economy, electric cars and rebuilding mass transit; gun control through licensing; wants more vacation time; pro decriminalizing all drugs

Would make history as: First female president 

Slogan: Join the Evolution

ANDREW YANG

Age on Inauguration Day: 46

Entered race: Filed papers November 6, 2018

Career: No current job. Started a dotcom flop then become healthcare and education tech executive who set up nonprofit Venture for America

Family: Married father of two. His parents were both immigrants from Taiwan who met at the University of California, Berkeley, as grad students

Religion: Reformed Church

Views on key issues: Warns of rise of robots and artificial intelligence, wants $1,000 a month universal basic income and social media regulated. Spoke out against male circumcision. Wants a state monitor to crack down on ‘fake news.’

Would make history as: First Asian-American president 

Slogan: Humanity First

AND THOSE WHO’VE ALREADY WITHDRAWN 

RICHARD OJEDA. West Virginia ex- state senator and paratrooper veteran

Entered race: November 12, 2018. Quit: January 25, 2019

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6946939/Warren-unveils-640-billion-college-debt-forgiveness-plan.html

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1240, April 16, 2019, Story 1: Our Lady of Paris Cathedral Will Be Restored To Its Former Glory — Every Catholic in The World Would Restore Notre Dame Cathedral By Donating $1 Dollar — Videos — Story 2: Vandalism of Churches in France On The Rise — Videos — Story 3: Yes America The FBI Spied On The Trump Campaign By Lying To (By Omission) and Not Verifying Representations To The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — A Felony — Round Up The Conspirators — Vidoes

Posted on April 16, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Countries, Crime, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, European History, European Union, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, France, Government, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Impeachment, Independence, James Comey, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, National Interest, National Security Agency, Networking, News, Obama, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Corruption, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Surveillance/Spying, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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The damage to Notre-Dame cathedral is seen by drone

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Story 1: Our Lady of Paris Cathedral Will Be Restored To Its Former Glory — Every Catholic in The World Would Restore Notre Dame Cathedral By Donating $1 Dollar — Videos

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‘The heart of France burns and the world cries’: How newspapers across the globe reacted to Notre Dame inferno

  • Notre Dame inferno has made international headlines around the world today
  • It sparked a wave of solidarity with France as newspapers reacted to the disaster
  • Many front pages carried dramatic images of the spire collapsing as fire raged
  • Headlines included ‘Heart in Ashes’ and ‘The heart of France burns and the world cries’ 

The Notre Dame inferno has made international headlines as the world reacted in horror to the disaster.

The huge fire sparked a wave of solidarity with France across the globe as newspaper’s dedicated their front pages to the shocking scenes in Paris.

Many carried dramatic images of the famous spire collapsing as the fire raged, alongside eye-catching headlines.

They included one in a daily in Argentina, which said: ‘The heart of France burns and the world cries’ and another in Italy comparing it to ‘The September 11 of Christian Europe.’

In France, La Croix, a daily Catholic paper, carried the headline: ‘Heart in ashes’ with an editorial that said the nation ‘suddenly felt its heart shake to see a church aflame.’

It adds: ‘The cathedral in Paris clearly has a specific place in the collective consciousness, in France, in Europe and in the world.’

Le Figaro, one of the oldest daily newspapers in France, carries the headline 'Disaster'

Le Figaro, one of the oldest daily newspapers in France, carries the headline ‘Disaster’

La Parisien uses the headline 'Our Lady of Tears' and features nine page of images and reports

La Parisien uses the headline ‘Our Lady of Tears’ and features nine page of images and reports

In France, La Croix, a daily Catholic paper in France, carried the headline: 'Heart in ashes'

Daily paper 'Libération,' also known as 'Libé,' uses a play on the French word 'Drame,' which translates to drama.

 

In France, La Croix, a daily Catholic paper in France, carried the headline: ‘Heart in ashes’. Daily paper ‘Libération,’ also known as ‘Libé,’ utilized a play on the French word ‘Drame,’ which translates to drama

La Nacion in Argentina went with 'The Heart of France burns and the world cries'

La Nacion in Argentina went with ‘The Heart of France burns and the world cries’

The El Pais in Spain has the headline 'Flames devastate Notre Dame, a symbol of European culture'

Italian daily il Giornale described it as 'The September 11 of Christian Europe.'

Elsewhere in Europe, Italian daily il Giornale described it as ‘The September 11 of Christian Europe.’ El Pais in Spain has the headline ‘Flames devastate Notre Dame, a symbol of European culture’

The Portuguese daily Diario de Noticias features an image of the famous spire on fire, with the words  Ardeu da humanidade, that translates as 'Burned humanity'

The Portuguese daily Diario de Noticias features an image of the famous spire on fire, with the words  Ardeu da humanidade, that translates as ‘Burned humanity’

Italian daily La Repubblica features an image of the spire collapsing in flames with the words: The world upset that Notre Dame is gone'

Italian daily La Repubblica features an image of the spire collapsing in flames with the words: The world upset that Notre Dame is gone’

Footage inside flame ravaged Notre Dame shows extent of the damage
Germany's Der Tagesspiegel writes alongside an image of the inferno: 'Notre Dame in flames'

Germany’s Der Tagesspiegel writes alongside an image of the inferno: ‘Notre Dame in flames’

Another French daily, La Parisien uses the headline ‘Our Lady of Tears’ and Le Figaro, one of the biggest selling daily newspapers, went with ‘Disaster’.

The front page carries the words: ‘Faced with this scene of loss, accounts of solidarity and sadness have flocked from across the world.’

And Liberation features a dramatic image of the cathedral ablaze with the words ‘Our tragedy.’

Elsewhere in Europe, Italian daily il Giornale described it as ‘The September 11 of Christian Europe.’

he Chicago Tribune using most of its front page with a picture of the blaze and the headline 'Notre Dame Burns'

The Dallas Morning News went simply with 'Paris icon burns'

The inferno made headlines across most US newspapers. The Chicago Tribune using most of its front page with a picture of the blaze and the headline ‘Notre Dame Burns’ The Dallas Morning News went simply with ‘Paris icon burns’

The New York Times had the headline: 'Fire Mauls Paris's Beloved Notre-Dame' alongside dramatic images of the spire collapsing
The Wall Street Journal also had an image of the spire collapse, with the words: 'Blaze ravages Notre Dame'

 

The blaze also made the front pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, describing it as ‘Fire Mauls Paris’s Beloved Notre-Dame alongside dramatic images of the spire collapsing

Belgium’s De Standaard covered the front page with a picture of the spire collapsing.

Also in Belgium, Het Belang Van Limburg declared ‘Paris weeps’ and the Gazet van Antwerpen went with ‘The sorrow of France’.

El Pais in Spain has the headline ‘Flames devastate Notre Dame, a symbol of European culture’.

And in Germany Der Tagesspiegel writes alongside an image of the inferno: ‘Notre Dame in flames’

Clip shows Paris firefighters battling to contain Notre Dame fire
Peruvian newspaper El Comercio featured an image of smoke billowing from the burning cathedral with the headline:  'Notre Dame burns'

 

Peruvian newspaper El Comercio featured an image of smoke billowing from the burning cathedral with the headline:  ‘Notre Dame burns’

In the US the blaze also made the front pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

The New York Times describes it as ‘Fire Mauls Paris’s Beloved Notre-Dame’ alongside dramatic images of the spire collapsing.

In South America, Peruvian newspaper El Comercio featured an image of smoke billowing from the burning cathedral with the headline: ‘Notre Dame burns.’

La Nacion in Argentina featured one of the most eye-catching headlines and went with ‘The Heart of France burns and the world cries.’

And the largest newspaper in Argentina, Clarin, simply went with: ‘Paris will no longer be the same.’

Emmanuel Macron vows to rebuild Notre Dame in five years after blaze
Publico in Portugal had the headline 'Our Lady of Europe' and like many other used an image of the spire ablaze

Publico in Portugal had the headline ‘Our Lady of Europe’ and like many other used an image of the spire ablaze

Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen went with 'The sorrow of France'

 

The largest newspaper in Argentina, Clarin, had the headline: 'Paris will no longer be the same'

Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen went with ‘The sorrow of France’.  The largest newspaper in Argentina, Clarin, had the headline: ‘Paris will no longer be the same’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6927427/How-newspapers-globe-reacted-Notre-Dame-inferno.html

Years? Decades? Uncertainty over time needed to rebuild Notre-Dame

Clare BYRNE with Herve ASQUIN in Strasbourg
AFP News

 

-A picture taken on April 16, 2019 shows Notre-Dame-de-Paris in the aftermath of a fire that devastated the cathedral

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A picture taken on April 16, 2019 shows Notre-Dame-de-Paris in the aftermath of a fire that devastated the cathedral
Rebuilding the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris could take decades after it was gutted by a fire, experts warned Tuesday, even as its top priest expressed hope he could celebrate mass there within years.

Parisians and people around the world watched in horror on Monday as flames ripped through the roof of the beloved 850-year-old Gothic cathedral, causing the spire and most of the vaulted roof to collapse.

“We will rebuild Notre-Dame together,” French President Emmanuel Macron vowed after assessing the damage, declaring that the disfigured cathedral had been spared “the worst”.

France has experience of reconstructing cathedrals, including one in Reims that was severely damaged by shelling during World War I and another in Nantes that was gutted by fire in 1972.

Asked how long the rebuild could last, Eric Fischer, head of the foundation in charge of restoring the 1,000-year-old Strasbourg cathedral, which recently underwent a three-year facelift, said: “I’d say decades.”

“The damage will be significant. But we are lucky in France to still have a network of excellent heritage restoration companies, whether small-time artisans or bigger groups,” he told AFP.

Fischer said the ability to rebuild the colossal cathedral in a manner that respects its original form and character would depend on the plans, diagrams and other materials available to the architects.

They would need “a maximum of historical data or more recent data gathered with modern technology such as 3D scans” of the kind used in the restoration of the Strasbourg cathedral, he said.

– ‘Not in my lifetime’ –

The French government’s representative for heritage, Stephane Bern, said that money would not be the problem.

Within hours, pledges of donations amounting to nearly 700 million euros ($790 million) had flooded in from some of France’s richest families and companies and foreign governments were lining up with offers of help.

Bern, a 55-year-old TV presenter famous for his programmes on medieval France, said he feared it would not reopen in his lifetime.

“It will be rebuilt for future generations,” he said.

A symbol of Paris for close to a millenium, serving as a sanctuary for the hero in Victor Hugo’s classic novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”, the towering house of worship has been in the wars before.

During the French Revolution its treasures were plundered and the figures of kings carved into the stone above its entrance doors defaced.

Deemed unstable the spire was dismantled in 1792 and the cathedral fell into a state of disrepair until the mid-19th century when architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc gave the famed structure a major makeover.

But the intricate wooden oak frame that held up the roof, the so-called “forest”, had stood the test of time since its construction in 1220-1240 — until being consumed by Monday’s inferno.

For carpenters, “it’s a bit as if the Mona Lisa went up in smoke,” Thomas Buechi, head of Charpente Concept which specialises in timber frames, told AFP.

Recreating it will be the trickiest part of the restoration, experts said.

France’s top producer of oak said he was worried the country did not have enough of the precious timber for the job.

Sylvain Charlois estimated that around 1,300 oak trees had been used in the construction of the original roof.

“To constitute a big enough stock of oak logs of that quality will take several years,” he said.

– Tighter deadline needed? –

Francois Jeanneau, one of the 40 architects in charge of state monuments, suggested that Paris draw on the example of Nantes cathedral and build a new “forest” of reinforced concrete.

“The un-initiated can barely tell the difference,” he told Le Parisien newspaper.

Despite the longer forecasts of decades of work, the rector of Notre-Dame, Monsignor Patrick Chauvet, said he was hopeful of being back behind the pulpit before he retired.

“I’m 67 now and if all goes well, even if it takes 10 years, I will be 77 and still able to do it,” he told France Inter radio.

Jack Lang, who served as a hugely prominent culture minister under late president Francois Mitterrand, called talk of a decade-long restoration programme “a joke”.

“We have to give ourselves a tighter deadline, like we have done in the past on major projects.”

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/years-decades-uncertainty-over-time-needed-rebuild-notre-111811083.html

Story 2: Vandalism of Churches in France On The Rise — No Go Areas and No Media Coverage Areas — Videos

French Church Is Ninth in Eleven Days Vandalized Across The Country

Published on Feb 12, 2019

French Church Is Ninth in Eleven Days Vandalized Across The Country. The attack, which targeted the Saint Nicolas Roman Catholic church, saw the tabernacle of the church overthrown and vandalised and is not the first church in the area to be vandalised in recent weeks, according to local prefect Jean-Jacques Brot, Le Parisien reports. Mr Brot commented on the incident saying, “This vandalism is part of a sensitive and distressing context and the church of Saint-Nic…..

800 Year Old Church In Paris No-Go Zone Vandalized

Published on Mar 12, 2019

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If churches keep getting vandalized in France, should American news outlets cover the story?

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Is it a news story if a church is set on fire or vandalized in some other way? What about if it’s part of a string of incidents? What if it happens five times? How about 10 times?

What if there are flames pouring out of one of the world’s most iconic cathedrals and it’s Monday of Holy Week?

We will come back to the flames over Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in a moment.

The answers to the earlier questions are yes, yes, yes, yes and, of course, yes! As someone who worked as a news reporter (and later a editor) at two major metropolitan dailies (at the New York Post and New York Daily News) and a major news network website (ABC News), I can tell you that any suspicion of arson at a house of worship, for example, is a major story.

It must somehow no longer be the case in the new and frenetic world of the internet-driven, 24-hour news cycle. That’s because a major international story — one involving at least 10 acts of vandalism at Catholic churches in France — went largely unreported (underreported, really) for weeks. The vandalism included everything from Satanic symbols scrawled on walls to shattered statues.

That’s right, a rash of fires and other acts of desecration inside Catholic churches — during Lent, even — in a country with a recent history of terrorism somehow didn’t warrant any kind of attention from American news organizations. Even major news organizations, such as The Washington Post, were late to covering it and only did after running a Religion News Service story.

This brings us to Monday’s fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, where a massive blaze engulfed the 12th century gothic house of worship. It’s too early to tell if this incident is part of the earlier wave of vandalism, but it certainly comes at a strange time. For now, officials say the blaze remains under investigation. The cathedral has been undergoing some renovation work and the fire may — repeat MAY — have started in one of those areas.

It would be crazy to assume there is a connection between all of these fires and acts of vandalism. It would be just as crazy for journalists not to investigate the possibility that there are connections.

There will be more to come on the Notre Dame story in the hours and days that follow and comes at the start of Holy Week, the most solemn time on the Christian calendar.

But back to my questions about the earlier string of fires and the lack of coverage. In my experience, fires were always a thing because they generally produced good art. Flames shooting from a window, whether a still photograph or video, was always a major reason editors put these incidents on their story budgets. In the case of the French churches, however, the photos tell only a small part of the story.

I recall covering several church fires in New York City during my time as a general assignment reporter, one in February 1999 just days before Ash Wednesday and another in March 2002. In the case of the second blaze, no one was hurt and it ultimately proved to be an electrical fire. Nonetheless, sacred relics were destroyed in the process. That it happened during Lent had made it that much worse for worshippers — and certainly a news story.

Fast-forward to present-day France. Crux was one of the first English-language Catholic news outlets to cover the phenomenon on March 28. While the article was accompanied by flames shooting through the front door of St. Sulpice Church in Paris, it wasn’t the reason why they wrote about it. It’s worth noting that St. Sulpice is a baroque church completed in 1870. It is also the city’s second-largest church, behind Notre Dame, and used in the movie version of The Da Vinci Code.

Here’s how the story opens:

Vandals and arsonists have targeted French churches in a wave of attacks that has lasted nearly two months.

More than 10 churches have been hit since the beginning of February, with some set on fire while others were severely desecrated or damaged.

St. Sulpice, the second-largest church in Paris, after Notre Dame Cathedral, had the large wooden door on its southern transept set ablaze March 17.

Investigators confirmed March 18 that the fire was started deliberately, according to the website of the Vienna-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, an independent organization founded with the help of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences.

In early February, in the Church of Notre-Dame-des-Enfants in Nimes, near the Spanish border, intruders drew a cross on a wall with excrement then stuck consecrated hosts to it.

Utter the words “France” and “Catholicism” in the same breath and you immediately get statements such as, “No one in France goes to church anymore.” While it is true that France ranks near the bottom of countries in the world where regular church attendance is low. While Pew Research found that 64% identified as Christians in 2018, only 18% attend services regularly in some of the same places that have been recently vandalized. It took me a simple Google search to find this information.

Furthermore, a very good piece in America magazine posted to its website in April 2018 alluded to a French Catholic renaissance. The essay looked at how faith and politics influenced the country’s presidential elections the year before. Could these heinous acts have a political connection? More on that later.

With all that, the spate of vandalism was picked up by a major outlet when it was published as a feature story by RNS on April 2. The nut graph — what journalists refer to as the part of the story that tells the reader why they’ve even bothered to write this thing — is the third paragraph. Here’s how the story opened:

Sometimes it’s a cross of human excrement smeared on a church wall, with stolen Communion hosts stuck at the four corners. Other times, a statue of the Virgin Mary lies shattered on the floor.

Now and then, a fire breaks out in a house of prayer.

Roman Catholic churches have increasingly come under attack in France, a country so long identified with Christianity that it used to be called “the eldest daughter of the church.”

A recent fire at St. Sulpice, the second-largest church in Paris, has shed light on a trend that has become commonplace in many smaller towns.

“Who has heard of the sacking of the monastery of Saint Jean des Balmes in Aveyron? Of those teenagers who urinated into the holy water font of the church at Villeneuve de Berg in Ardèche?” the Paris daily Le Figaro asked last week in an article highlighting some of the lesser-known profanations around the country this month.

Incidents such as these get a brief mention in the press, complete with quotes from Catholics shocked at the sight of scattered hosts or beheaded statues, and sometimes a short video clip on national television.

Other wire services, such as Reuters, wrote about the St. Sulpice fire. So did Newsweek, which was one of the first U.S. outlets to do so. That’s largely it. In England, The Daily Express, a tabloid newspaper, published a story on March 20 detailing the phenomenon. In Russia, RT’s English-language site also made a point of covering it.

The American press in particular has been negligent on this one. In fact, one of the first websites to write about the incidents for American audiences was Breitbart. Did coverage on the politically conservative site dated March 20 suddenly make this a right-wing story? It shouldn’t have. Vandalism, no matter who the potential culprits are, should be reported by journalists. Is there a conservative or liberal way to cover a fire? I never thought so — until now.

The Brietbart story ends with several key statistics, further proving that these cases aren’t isolated, but part of a terrifying trend:

The Catholic hierarchy has kept silent about the episodes, limited themselves to highlighting that anti-Christian threat and expressing hope that politicians and police will get to the bottom of the crimes.

Reports indicate that 80 percent of the desecration of places of worship in France concerns Christian churches and in the year 2018 this meant the profanation of an average of two Christian churches per day in France, even though these actions rarely make the headlines.

In 2018, the Ministry of the Interior recorded 541 anti-Semitic acts, 100 anti-Muslim acts, and 1,063 anti-Christian acts.

Even with the RNS story out there for media subscribers to use, the only major media outlet to run the story on its website was The Washington Post. There was, for example, no New York Times story (just to name one of the largest newspapers in the English-speaking world) until Monday’s Notre Dame disaster. It’s hard to believe that a rash of fires tied to vandals isn’t of interest to one of the world’s largest news organizations with a bureau in the French capitol.

Why? Would this rash of sacrilegious attacks have enjoyed more coverage had they occurred in synagogues or mosques? It’s hard to say. After all, the string of fires at black churches in Louisiana has warranted — and deservingly so — lots of media attention. On this series of fires, culminating with the arrest of a suspect on April 10, The New York Times did a solid job.

What makes this story even more intriguing is that it remains largely a mystery who committed these awful acts. This was buried in the Newsweek account from March 21:

The Vienna-based Observatory of Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, which was founded in cooperation with the Council of European Bishops Conferences (CCEE) but is now independent said there had been a 25 percent increase in attacks on Catholic churches in the first two months of the year, compared with the same time last year.

Its executive director, Ellen Fantini, told Newsweek that while in many cases the motive for the attacks was not known, France faced growing problems with anti-Christian violence, especially by anarchist and feminist groups.

“I think there is a rising hostility in France against the church and its symbols,” but “it seems to be more against Christianity and the symbols of Christianity.

“These attacks are on symbols that are really sacred to parishioners, to Catholics. Desecration of consecrated hosts is a very personal attack on Catholicism and Christianity, more than spray-painting a slogan on the outside wall of a church.”

She said that while France had a long tradition of secularism, it was seen as a culturally Christian country, and so any “attack on the church as a symbol of religion was also an attack on authority and patrimony.

Maybe it’s the suspects in this case that made the mainstream press skittish to report on it extensively. It’s true that foreign news is expensive for American news outlets. Furthermore, my experience is that Europeans know a lot more about what happens in America compared to what most Americans know about Europe.

Nevertheless, the political unrest in France involving protestors clad in yellow vests have, by comparison, gotten lots of attention from many of these aforementioned news sites. Another good example, Brexit and its aftermath, has been something The New York Times and many U.S. news websites can’t get enough of. Political stories, the new religion of our secular culture, are widely covered. The past few weeks has shown that when it comes to vandalism against Catholics, there isn’t so much interest in covering it.

https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2019/4/10/is-it-a-story-if-french-churches-are-vandalized

CATHOLIC CHURCHES ARE BEING DESECRATED ACROSS FRANCE—AND OFFICIALS DON’T KNOW WHY

France has seen a spate of attacks against Catholic churches since the start of the year, vandalism that has included arson and desecration.

Vandals have smashed statues, knocked down tabernacles, scattered or destroyed the Eucharist and torn down crosses, sparking fears of a rise in anti-Catholic sentiment in the country.

Last Sunday, the historic Church of St. Sulpice in Paris was set on fire just after midday mass on Sunday,  Le Parisien reported, although no one was injured. Police are still investigating the attack, which firefighters have confidently attributed to arson.

RELATED: Everything we know about the devastating fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Built in the 17th century, St. Sulpice houses three works by the Romantic painter Eugene de la Croix, and was used in the movie adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown.

Notre Dame cathedralPolice officers patrol Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, on September 10. French churches have been targeted by vandals in a spate of attacks since the start of the year.MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Last month, at the St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Houilles, in north-central France, a statue of the Virgin Mary was found smashed, and the altar cross had been thrown on the ground, according to  La Croix International, a Catholic publication.

Also in February, at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, in south-central France, an altar cloth was burned and crosses and statues of saints were smashed. The attack prompted Lavaur Mayor Bernard Canyon to say in a statement: “God will forgive. Not me.”

And in the southern city of Nimes, near the Spanish border, vandals looted the altar of the church of Notre-Dame des Enfants (Our Lady of the Children) and smeared a cross with human excrement.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Diocese de Dijon@DiocesedeDijon

Tristesse de la communauté catholique diocésaine et de la paroisse Dijon-Notre-Dame en particulier: profanation de l’église ce matin. Messe de réparation présidée par l’archevêque ce samedi à 17h30. @Lebienpublic @RCFDijon @F3Bourgogne Merci pour vos RT.

Consecrated hosts made from unleavened bread, which Catholics believe to be the body of Jesus Christ, were taken and found scattered among rubbish outside the building.

Bishop Robert Wattebled of Nimes said in a statement: “This greatly affects our diocesan community. The sign of the cross and the Blessed Sacrament have been the subject of serious injurious actions.

“This act of profanation hurts us all in our deepest convictions,” he added, according to The Tablet, which reported that in February alone there had been a record 47 documented attacks on churches and religious sites.

The Vienna-based Observatory of Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, which was founded in cooperation with the Council of European Bishops Conferences (CCEE) but is now independent said there had been a 25 percent increase in attacks on Catholic churches in the first two months of the year, compared with the same time last year.

Its executive director, Ellen Fantini, told Newsweek that while in many cases the motive for the attacks was not known, France faced growing problems with anti-Christian violence, especially by anarchist and feminist groups.

“I think there is a rising hostility in France against the church and its symbols,” but “it seems to be more against Christianity and the symbols of Christianity.

“These attacks are on symbols that are really sacred to parishioners, to Catholics. Desecration of consecrated hosts is a very personal attack on Catholicism and Christianity, more than spray-painting a slogan on the outside wall of a church.”

She said that while France had a long tradition of secularism, it was seen as a culturally Christian country, and so any “attack on the church as a symbol of religion was also an attack on authority and patrimony.

Embedded video

Ruthann@TeaBoots

Saint Sulpice Church
The moment it caught on fire people were inside and attending. Firemen on the ground saying this was no accident- This was set.

“The pressure is coming from the radical secularists or anti-religion groups as well as feminist activists who tend to target churches as a symbol of the patriarchy that needs to be dismantled,” she added.

On February 9, the altar at the church of Notre-Dame in Dijon, the capital of the Burgundy region, was also broken into. The hosts were taken from the tabernacle, which adorns the altar at the front of the church, and scattered on the ground.

Last month, the Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe met French church leaders and said in a statement: “In our secular Republic, places of worship are respected. Such acts shock me and must be unanimously condemned.”

Senior Figures within the French Catholic Church expressed their sorrow at the rise in attacks on symbols of their faith.

“To  open the tabernacle, to take the hosts and to profane what for us is the basis of our faith, that is to say the presence of Jesus Christ in the hosts is something that is terrible for us.”

https://www.newsweek.com/spate-attacks-catholic-churches-france-sees-altars-desecrated-christ-statue-1370800

Story 3: Yes America The FBI Spied On The Trump Campaign By Lying To (By Omission) and Not Verifying Representations To The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — A Felony — Round Up The Conspirators — Vidoes

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Behind the Obama administration’s shady plan to spy on the Trump campaign

In Senate testimony last week, Attorney General William Barr used the word “spying” to refer to the Obama administration, um, spying on the Trump campaign. Of course, fainting spells ensued, with the media-Democrat complex in meltdown. Former FBI Director Jim Comey tut-tutted that he was confused by Barr’s comments, since the FBI’s “surveillance” had been authorized by a court.

(Needless to say, the former director neglected to mention that the court was not informed that the bureau’s “evidence” for the warrants was unverified hearsay paid for by the Clinton campaign.)

The pearl-clutching was predictable. Less than a year ago, we learned the Obama administration had used a confidential informant — a spy — to approach at least three Trump campaign officials in the months leading up to the 2016 election, straining to find proof that the campaign was complicit in the Kremlin’s hacking of Democratic emails.

As night follows day, we were treated to the same Beltway hysteria we got this week: Silly semantic carping over the word “spying” — which, regardless of whether a judge authorizes it, is merely the covert gathering of intelligence about a suspected wrongdoer, organization or foreign power.

There is no doubt that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign. As Barr made clear, the real question is: What predicated the spying? Was there a valid reason for it, strong enough to overcome our norm against political spying? Or was it done rashly? Was a politically motivated decision made to use highly intrusive investigative tactics when a more measured response would have sufficed, such as a “defensive briefing” that would have warned the Trump campaign of possible Russian infiltration?

Last year, when the “spy” games got underway, James Clapper, Obama’s director of national intelligence, conceded that, yes, the FBI did run an informant — “spy” is such an icky word — at Trump campaign officials; but, we were told, this was merely to investigate Russia. Cross Clapper’s heart, it had nothing to do with the Trump campaign. No, no, no. Indeed, the Obama administration only used an informant because — bet you didn’t know this — doing so is the most benign, least intrusive mode of conducting an investigation.

Me? I’m thinking the tens of thousands of convicts serving lengthy sentences due to the penetration of their schemes by informants would beg to differ. (Gee, Mr. Gambino, I assure you, this was just for you own good . . .) And imagine the Democrats’ response if, say, the Bush administration had run a covert intelligence operative against Obama 2008 campaign officials, including the campaign’s co-chairman. Surely David Axelrod, Chuck Schumer, The New York Times and Rachel Maddow would chirp that “all is forgiven” once they heard Republicans punctiliously parse the nuances between “spying” and “surveillance”; between “spies” and “informants”; and between investigating campaign officials versus investigating the campaign proper — and the candidate.

The “spying” question arose last spring, when we learned that Stefan Halper, a longtime source for the CIA and British intelligence, had been tasked during the FBI’s Russia investigation to chat up three Trump campaign advisers: Carter Page, George Papadopoulos and Sam Clovis. This was in addition to earlier revelations that the Obama Justice Department and FBI had obtained warrants to eavesdrop on Page’s communications, beginning about three weeks before the 2016 election.

The fact that spying had occurred was too clear for credible denial. The retort, then, was misdirection: There had been no spying on Donald Trump or his campaign; just on a few potential bad actors in the campaign’s orbit.

It was nonsense then, and it is nonsense now.

The pols making these claims about what the FBI was doing might have been well served by listening to what the FBI said it was doing.

There was, for example, then-Director Comey’s breathtaking public testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on March 20, 2017. Comey did not just confirm the existence of a counterintelligence probe of Russian espionage to influence the 2016 election — notwithstanding that the government customarily refuses to confirm the existence of any investigation, let alone a classified counterintelligence investigation. The director further identified the Trump campaign as a subject of the probe, even though, to avoid smearing people, the Justice Department never identifies uncharged persons or organizations that are under investigation. As Comey put it:

“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts . . .”

The FBI was spying, and it was doing so in an investigation of the Trump campaign. That is why, for over two years, Washington has been entranced by the specter of “Trump collusion with Russia” — not Page or Papadopoulos collusion with Russia. Comey went to extraordinary lengths to tell the world that the FBI was not merely zeroing in on individuals of varying ranks in the campaign; the main question was whether the Trump campaign itself — the entity — had “coordinated” in Russia’s espionage operation.

In the months prior to the election, as its Trump-Russia investigation ensued, some of the overtly political, rabidly anti-Trump FBI agents running the probe discussed among themselves the prospect of stopping Trump, or of using the investigation as an “insurance policy” in the highly unlikely event that Trump won the election. After Trump’s stunning victory, the Obama administration had a dilemma: How could the investigation be maintained if Trump were told about it? After all, as president, he would have the power to shut it down.

On Jan. 6, 2017, Comey, Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers visited President-elect Trump in New York to brief him on the Russia investigation.

Just one day earlier, at the White House, Comey and then–Acting Attorney General Sally Yates had met with the political leadership of the Obama administration — President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and national security adviser Susan Rice — to discuss withholding information about the Russia investigation from the incoming Trump administration.

Rice put this sleight-of-hand a bit more delicately in the memo about the Oval Office meeting (written two weeks after the fact, as Rice was leaving her office minutes after Trump’s inauguration):

“President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia. [Emphasis added.]”

It is easy to understand why Obama officials needed to discuss withholding information from Trump. They knew that the Trump campaign — not just some individuals tangentially connected to the campaign — was the subject of an ongoing FBI counterintelligence probe. An informant had been run at campaign officials. The FISA surveillance of Page was underway — in fact, right before Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration obtained a new court warrant for 90 more days of spying.

Enlarge ImageCarter Page
Carter PageGetty Images

In each Page surveillance warrant application, after describing Russia’s espionage operations, the Justice Department told the court, “The FBI believes that the Russian Government’s efforts are being coordinated with Candidate #1’s campaign[.]” Candidate #1 was Donald Trump — now, the president-elect.

The fact that the Trump campaign was under investigation for collaborating with Russia was not just withheld from the incoming president; it had been withheld from the congressional “Gang of Eight.”

In his March 2017 House testimony, answering questions by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), then-director Comey acknowledged that congressional leadership was not told about the Trump-Russia probe during quarterly briefings from July 2016 through early March 2017, because “it was a matter of such sensitivity.” Let’s put aside that the need to alert Congress to sensitive matters is exactly why there is a Gang of Eight (comprised of bipartisan leaders of both chambers and their intelligence committees).

Manifestly, the matter was deemed too “sensitive” for disclosure because that would have involved telling Republican congressional leadership that the incumbent Democratic administration was using foreign counterintelligence powers to investigate the Republican presidential campaign, and the party’s nominee, as suspected clandestine agents of the Kremlin.

How to keep the investigation going when Trump took office? The plan called for Comey to put the new president at ease by telling him he was not a suspect. This would not have been a credible assurance if Comey had informed Trump that (a) his campaign had been under investigation for months, and (b) the FBI had told a federal court it suspected Trump campaign officials were complicit in Russia’s cyber-espionage operation.

So, consistent with President Obama’s instructions at the Jan. 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting, information about the investigation would be withheld from the president-elect. The next day, the intelligence chiefs would tell Trump only about Russia’s espionage, not about the Trump campaign’s suspected “coordination” with the Kremlin. Then, Comey would apprise Trump about only a sliver of the Steele dossier — just the lurid story about peeing prostitutes, not the dossier’s principal allegations of a traitorous Trump-Russia conspiracy.

This strategy did not sit well with everyone at the FBI. Shortly before meeting with Trump on Jan. 6, Comey consulted his top advisers about the plan to tell Trump he was not a suspect. In later Senate testimony, Comey admitted that there was an objection from one FBI official:

“One of the members of the leadership team had a view that, although it was technically true [that] we did not have a counterintelligence file case open on then-President-elect Trump[,] . . . because we’re looking at the potential . . . coordination between the campaign and Russia, because it was . . . President-elect Trump’s campaign, this person’s view was, inevitably, [Trump’s] behavior, [Trump’s] conduct will fall within the scope of that work.”

Note that Comey did not refer to “potential coordination” between, say, Carter Page or Paul Manafort and Russia. The director was unambiguous: The FBI was investigating “potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

Enlarge ImageRobert Mueller
Robert MuellerGetty Images

Perspicaciously, Comey’s unidentified adviser connected the dots: (a) because the FBI’s investigation focused on the campaign, and (b) since the campaign was Trump’s campaign, it was necessarily true that (c) Trump’s own conduct was under FBI scrutiny.

Then-director Comey’s reliance on the trivial administrative fact that the FBI had not written Trump’s name on the investigative file did not change the reality that Trump, manifestly, was the main subject of the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation.

Remember last year’s hullabaloo over special counsel Robert Mueller’s demand to interview the president? What need would there have been to conduct such an interview if Trump were not a subject of the investigation? Why would Trump’s political opponents have spent the last two years demanding that Mueller be permitted to complete his probe of collusion and obstruction if it were not understood that the investigation — including the spying, or, if you prefer, the electronic surveillance, the informant sorties, and the information gathered by national-security letter demands — was centrally about Donald Trump?

That brings us to a final point. Congressional investigations have established that the Obama Justice Department and the FBI used the Steele dossier to obtain FISA court warrants against Page.

The dossier, a Clinton campaign opposition research project (again, a fact withheld from the FISA court), was essential to the required probable-cause showing; the FBI’s former deputy director, Andrew McCabe, testified that without the dossier there would have been no warrant.

So . . . what did the dossier say? The lion’s share of it alleged that the Trump campaign was conspiring with the Kremlin to corrupt the election, including by hacking and publicizing Democratic Party e-mails. This allegation was based on unidentified Russian sources whom the FBI could not corroborate; then-director Comey told Senate leaders that the FBI used the information because the bureau judged former British spy Christopher Steele to be credible, even though (a) Steele did not make any of the observations the court was being asked to rely on, and (b) Steele had misled the FBI about his contacts with the media — with whom Steele and his Clinton campaign allies were sharing the same information he was giving the bureau.

It is a major investigative step to seek surveillance warrants from the FISA court. Unlike using an informant (a human spy), for which no court authorization is necessary, applications for FISA surveillance require approvals at the highest levels of the Justice Department and the FBI. After going through that elaborate process, the Obama Justice Department and the FBI presented to the court the dossier’s allegations that the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to undermine the 2016 election.

To be sure, no sensible person argues that the government should refrain from investigating if, based on compelling evidence, the FBI suspects individuals — even campaign officials, even a party’s nominee — of acting as clandestine agents of a hostile foreign power. The question is: What should trigger such an investigation in a democratic republic whose norms strongly discourage an incumbent administration’s use of the government’s spying powers against political opponents?

The Obama administration decided that this norm did not apply to the Trump campaign. If all the Obama administration had been trying to do was check out a few bad apples with suspicious Russia ties, the FBI could easily have alerted any of a number of Trump campaign officials with solid national-security credentials — Rudy Giuliani, Jeff Sessions, Chris Christie. The agents could have asked for the campaign’s help. Instead, Obama officials made the Trump campaign the subject of a counterintelligence investigation.

That only makes sense if the Obama administration’s premise was that Donald Trump himself was a Russian agent.

Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, is a contributing editor of National Review.

https://nypost.com/2019/04/15/behind-the-obama-administrations-shady-plan-to-spy-on-the-trump-campaign/

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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.

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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

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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?

Show

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.
Pinterest
 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.
Pinterest
 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 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

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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 a