US ambassador Jeff Bleich lies on Q&A about Julian Assange, while Australian foreign minister Bob Carr sits by and says nothing. Tess Lawrence reports.
We publish the full text here to counteract US, Swedish,UK and Australian propaganda and denials that America has no interest in extraditing Assange to the States.
Senator the Hon Bob Carr
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6100
Canberra ACT 2600
28 November 2012
Please find below a series of links to evidence relating to the existence of a criminal grand jury investigation into Wikileaks.
As you know, the 2010 diplomatic cable from Australia’s Ambassador in Washington released to Fairfax under FOI states that the investigation into Wikileaks and Assange is “unprecedented in scale and nature” and that media reports that a grand jury has been convened in Alexandria, Virginia were “likely true.”
This sensible and credible assumption on the part of Australian diplomats was presumably derived from multiple statements made by US Attorney General Eric Holder referring to “an active, ongoing criminal investigation” and " significant things” that he “personally authorized”, and statements such as, “I authorized just last week a number of things to be done so that we can hopefully get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable, as they should be”. These statements can be found at the following links:
28 July 2010 http://www.mainjustice.com/2010/07/28/doj-probing-wikileaks-disclosure/
29 November 2010 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/9383387
6 December 2010 http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/FraudOp
As you know, the US Department of Justice claims "Full Denial" on FOIA requests for "Any and all records pertaining to WikiLeaks Organization," citing exemption (b)(7)(A) saying, "Records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, the release of which could reasonably be expected to interfere with law enforcement proceedings" http://www.justice.gov/oip/docs/closed-foia-log-jan2012.pdf
Documents arising from the Twitter case refer to investigations underway. On December 14, 2010 Theresa Buchanan, a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, ordered Twitter to turn over to the U.S. Government, the non-content communication information of Julian Assange; WikiLeaks; Bradley Manning; Jacob Appelbaum, who is a developer for the Tor project; Rop Gonggrijp, described in court papers as a Dutch activist and businessman; and Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of the Icelandic Parliament.
On January 5, 2011, the Court ordered that the original December 14, 2010 Court Order be unsealed, thereby authorizing Twitter to disclose its existence to its subscribers.
On January 4, 2012, District Judge Liam O'Grady denied the petitioners' motion to stay the original December 14, 2010 Court Order and ruled that Twitter hand over the information. The docket and public filings for the Appelbaum (Case No. 1:11-dm-00003-TCB -LO-1), Gonggrijp (Case No. 1:11-dm-00003-TCB -LO-2), Jonsdottir (Case No. 1:11-dm-00003-TCB -LO-3), and Twitter (Case No. 1:11-dm-00003-TCB -LO-4) motion to vacate the December 14, 2010 2703(d) Court Order can be found here.
Within those filings is included another docket of secret 2703d orders still under seal in the WikiLeaks Grand Jury investigation.
The US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Neil MacBride, whose office is responsible for the Grand Jury empaneled in Alexandria, Virginia, and two of its US assistant attorney prosecutors, including Andrew Peterson, argue against unsealing certain documents in the case of a Grand Jury and write in footnote number two on page six of the February 4, 2011, “Government's Response in Opposition to the Real Parties in Interest Motion For Immediate Unsealing of Motions and Upcoming Hearing”: “The Attorney General publicly confirmed the existence of an investigation into disclosures of classified information made by WikiLeaks on November 29, 2010. See page 6 – footnote 2 at this link https://www.eff.org/sites/default/files/filenode/dorders_twitter/19%20Response%20to%20Opp%20by%20USA%20Re%20Mtn%20for%20Immediate%20Unsealing.pdf
At an April 6, 2011 hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee entitled, entitled “The Electronic Communications Privacy Act: Government Perspectives on Protecting Privacy in the Digital Age” with Department of Justice, James A. Baker, Esq. cites Judge Buchanan's WikiLeaks Grand Jury 2703(d) order regarding the probable cause standard for early “criminal” and “national security” investigations:
In considering the standard for issuing 2703(d) orders, it is important to consider the role they play in early stages of criminal and national security investigations. In the Wikileaks investigation, for example, this point was recently emphasized by Magistrate Judge Buchanan in the Eastern District of Virginia. In denying a motion to vacate a 2703(d) order directed to Twitter, Judge Buchanan explained that “at an early stage, the requirement of a higher probable cause standard for non-content information voluntarily released to a third party would needlessly hamper an investigation.” In re 2703(d), 2011 WL 900120, at *4 (E.D. Va. March 11, 2011). http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2011_hr/ecpa.pdf
On 11 May 2011 the Guardian reported on the existence of the Grand Jury after revelations from people subpoenaed to appear before it. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/may/11/us-opens-wikileaks-grand-jury-hearing
As you know from the Australian Ambassador in Washington DC, there are two publicly reported subpoenas compelling witness testimony - one for David House and the second for an unnamed Cambridge resident.
David House made his subpoena public
The unnamed Cambridge resident did also
According to these documents signed by Neil MacBride US Attorney Eastern District of Virginia, Tracy Doherty-McCormick Assistant US Attorney and Andrew Peterson Assistant US Attorney, the Grand Jury in Alexandria, VA is investigating, "possible violations of federal criminal law involving, but not necessarily limited to conspiracy to communicate or transmit national defense information in violation of 18 U.S.C. 793(g) and conspiracy to violate the laws of the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371 to wit; knowingly accessing a computer without authorization or exceeding authorized access and having obtained information protected from disclosure for reasons of national defense or foreign relations in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1030(a) and knowingly stealing or converting any record of thing of value of the United States or any department or agency thereof in violation of 18 U.S.C. 641"
On 12 July 2012 the Stratfor emails were released, with one dated 26 January 2011 indicating that a sealed indictment existed: http://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/375123_fw-ct-assange-manning-link-not-key-to-wikileaks-case-.html
You will note in a number of court records pertaining to the Twitter case references to cases that are assigned a GJ number such as references in this document: https://www.eff.org/sites/default/files/filenode/dorders_twitter/Publicdocketingopposition.pdf
A "GJ" number is assigned by the United States Attorney's Office to identify documents related to a grand jury investigation. "GJ" numbers are created by U.S. Attorney's Office staff, and are used to ensure that subpoenas and other documents related to various investigations are appropriately handled and filed. An investigation assigned a "gj" number may become a criminal case, or it may not.
According to the 4 Corners piece conducted by Mr. Andrew Fowler, the docket number for the Grand Jury criminal investigation of WikiLeaks case is 10GJ3793, with 10 standing for the year it began, GJ which is Grand Jury and then 3793. 3 is the Conspiracy Statute in the United States. 793 is the Espionage Statute.
Multiple references to the Grand Jury investigation have been made in evidence given under oath in the Manning trial, at which Australian diplomats have been present. Your representatives will have noted that Judge Lind, Prosecution Fein and the Defence Counsel Coombs have made multiple references.
On 21 June 2012 one reporter present at the hearing stated, “When the defense provided the Court with a two portions of unclassified grand jury testimony that the Government had provided them, consisting of 30 pages of running black redactions, the lead counsel for the Government, jumped up, interrupted the Judge, instructed the Court that the unclassified black portions were under seal. The following unofficial transcript is just one example
“...its grand jury testimony...information protected. And, we will provide the Court the protective order that Mr. Coombs and the whole defense counsel had signed based on off your previous order on the Grand Jury testimony. The Assistant US Attorneys went to a Federal Judge to have it approved to be turned over for limited purposes. So, that should at least in our Court be filed under seal.”
Defence Counsel Coombs requested that certain witnesses recuse themselves due to their involvement in Grand Jury Process. http://www.alexaobrien.com/secondsight/wikileaks/bradley_manning/transcripts/transcript_us_v_pfc_manning_motions_hearing_june_6_2012.html
Mark Mander, US Army Computer Crime Investigative Unit special agent, told the pre-trial hearings that the FBI was targeting seven civilians, including “the founders, owners or managers of WikiLeaks,” for criminal activity and espionage. He said a US military investigation into WikiLeaks began in early June 2010, a few days after Manning was arrested. Mander revealed that the investigation was receiving legal advice from Neil McBride, who is the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia that has signed the subpoenas to appear at the Grand Jury empanelled in Alexandria.
Minister, I look forward to discussing these issues with you in the near future.
Senator Scott Ludlam
Minister Carr couldn't be bothered responding to his brother Senator until January 7, 2013.
Read the lines. And then re-read between the lines. The next two paragraphs from Carr's brief response is an insult to the calibre of Ludlam's well-researched document.
This year on January 14, Senator Ludlam again wrote to Foreign Minister Carr, this time documenting some of the prejudicial and extraordinary public histrionics that Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Foreign Minister Bildt and other Swedes publicly disgorged about Julian Assange.
Senator the Hon Bob Carr
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6100 Senate Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600
14 January 2012
Please find below a series of statements made by members of the Swedish Executive and government officials on the Assange case.
Such executive commentary in Sweden, or indeed Australia, compromises the democratic principle of separation of the executive from judicial processes and is prejudicial and therefore jeopardises the potential for a fair trial.
For these reasons I respectfully request that representations be made to the Swedish government noting and regretting the potential damaging nature of these statements made about an Australian citizen, requesting their retraction or at the very least cessation.
11 February 2011 – The Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt mistakenly stated that Assange had been charged. The statement was never officially retracted.
25 January 2012 - Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, criticised Assange on Swedish national radio one week before Assange’s Supreme Court case was heard in the UK. Reinfeldt stated that Julian Assange’s criticisms of abuses by the Swedish system in his case were not legitimate and were a strategy to avoid extradition. The full interview is available at this link: https://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=1637&artikel=4928323
February 2012 – Foreign Minister Carl Bildt makes statements on Assange via Twitter
8 February 2012 - In a parliamentary address the Prime Minister Reinfeldt said that "we do not accept sexual abuse or rape" and said that Assange and his lawyers had little regard for women’s rights. Mr Assange’s barrister, Geoffrey Robertson QC, said Mr Reinfeldt had also “accused Mr Assange of claiming women’s rights are worthless”.
15 August 2012 - Swedish Minister of Social Affairs Göran Hägglund issued a series of tweets: "Sick. A coward who does not dare to have his case tried by the court. If the accusations against him are true, he is a lowlife.” None of these statements have been retracted. https://twitter.com/goranhagglund/status/235462124435025921 For a longer version of the entire Twitter conversation: http://rixstep.com/1/1/20120815,00.shtml
In a statement given to Expressen later that week, The Minister called Assange a “coward” and a “pitiful wretch” for taking refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy. “Assange is a very cowardly person who does not dare confront the charges against him.” http://www.expressen.se/nyheter/hagglund-om-asyl-for-assange-fegis/
18 August 2012 – the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a tweet, presumably arguing why Assange cannot be questioned in London: “You do not dictate the terms if you are a suspect. Get it?” https://twitter.com/Utrikesdep/status/236792222937399296
While the comments of journalists, particularly those writing for Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Expressen and Aftonbladet are beyond the control of the government, statements made by senior officials have contributed to providing a permissive environment for blatantly offensive aggression towards Assange in the Swedish press, a few examples of which are also provided below.
22 February 2012 – Expressen publishes a story – entirely false as it turns out – that Wikileaks threatens to publish an internal memo that will reveal Carl Bildt as an informant for the US. This causes Bildt to make hostile public statements on his blog. Wikileaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson puts the matter to rest but not before a great deal of destructive and malicious commentary is made in the Swedish press.
29 February 2012 - Sweden’s largest daily, Dagens Nyheter, called Assange “paranoid”, and a “querulant”. http://www.dn.se/ledare/huvudledare/riddare-i-solkad-rustning-1
14 March 2012 – Aftonbladet’s prominent journalist Martin Aagård called Assange an, “Australian pig”. "There are many good reasons to criticize Assange. One of them is that he’s a repugnant swine.” http://www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/article14519491.ab
24 April 2011 – Jan Guillou stated in Aftonbladet that regardless of, “whether Assange is guilty or not – he’s still an unprincipled disgusting little creep”, adding "and now I’m holding back”. http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/kolumnister/janguillou/article12926443.ab
16 August 2012 - Aftonbladet columnist Oisín Cantwell characterised Assange as a "coward”, a ”creep”, a ”white-haired crackpot” and an ”asshole” because he would rather request asylum from Ecuador than face extradition to Sweden. http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/kolumnister/oisincantwell/article15270151.ab
18 August 2012 – TV journalist Jenny Strömstedt stated in Expressen that Assange should be put on display in a glass cage at Ecuador’s London embassy for the next fifteen years "so that anyone willing to pay entrance can watch his aging struggles”.
Minister, I look forward to discussing these issues with you in the near future and request that you raise these matters with your Swedish counterparts.
Senator Scott Ludlam
CC Senator Doug Cameron
In a conveniently undated (hackneyed old trick) letter back to Senator Ludlam, with a receipt date stamp of February 8, 2013, the sincerely yours Bob Carr responded with the following pap:
The key sentence is:
“I would expect to renew our request for such assurances at my next meeting with my Swedish counterpart.”
That meeting is today.
Alas, the notion that the ineffective Mr Carr, or the equally ineffective Australian Government would or could assert any authority over the Swedish or American consortia is laughable — except for Assange or his family and supporters or anyone concerned with the universal application of Justice and Human Rights.
After all, Assange is a son of Australia and in big trouble and under international government disapprobation and surveillance — for what? He's been dubbed an international criminal — for what? Distributing information that rightly belongs to the peoples of the world?
Yes, lofty ideals. Fancy that. If there's nothing wrong with the US militia gunning down innocent human beings, what's the problem? Keep firing bro.
If there's nothing wrong with exposing how our governments lie to us, where's the rub?
Keep lying ad infinitum.
At the very least, keep repeating untruths in the hope they morph into the truth. Consider the outrageous untruth uttered by US Ambassador Jeff Bleich on Monday's ABC TV program, Q&A. [IA emphasis]:“This is a very simple matter. There's an individual who has been charged with a crime in Sweden. The UK courts were prepared to extradite him. He didn't want to face extradition so he sought asylum somewhere else. The United States has nothing to do with it.”
Did you spot the biggest untruth? To make it easier for the Q&A team, we've emphasised it in bold type. They clearly missed it the first time.
You have to wonder why Ambassador Bleich, indisputably a crash hot 'super-lawyer' (Q&A blurb no doubt provided by the Ambassador's minders) and expert on international human rights would say such a thing. And you have to wonder why Tony Jones did not see fit to challenge the Ambassador on his egregious and defamatory slur on Assange's reputation.
Such is the confidence of American government representatives overseas that they continue to ply propaganda and arrant nonsense with impunity.
Why did our obsequious Foreign Minister just sit there like a drongo and not correct the Ambassador? So what that he's Barack Obama's buddy? Why didn't Carr come to Assange's defence insofar as this important material fact is concerned?
Now hear this Mr Ambassador Bleich: Julian Assange has NOT been charged with ANYTHING.
There is no question that both Bleich and Carr know this. Moreover, after being extensively questioned about his sexual activities with two separate women, Assange was allowed to leave Sweden freely and without impediment.
Foreign Minister Carr should demand a retraction and apology from the US Ambassador.
And Julian Assange should receive the same.
Why didn't host Tony Jones ask Bob Carr if he would be discussing the Assange matter today with Carl Bildt?
Why didn't Bob Carr himself raise the subject of the meeting on Q&A? Was there a tacit agreement to remain silent between Carr and Bleich? We are entitled to think so.
Carr must have been praying that no-one would ask him about Phil Dorling's article in Monday's The Age that referred to Carr's writings last year. How's this:Writing in his Thoughtlines political blog in February last year, then retired former New South Wales premier Carr was highly critical of the Swedish prosecutorial process levied against Mr Assange.
''The Swedish judge is prosecutor . . . yes, the two roles in the one officer, an outrage by Australian standards,'' Mr Carr wrote. ''The charge includes rape but the sex was consensual. The victims have exchanged emails talking revenge and money.''
Senator Carr promptly distanced himself from these and other comments once he was appointed Foreign Minister, saying that they were the views of a private individual and did not necessarily reflect the positions he would adopt as a member of the Federal Labor Government.
It was disappointing that Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband Malcolm Turnbull, a former lawyer, also said nothing despite telling the Q&A audience of his own intercedence:“I took up Assange's case in the sense of making representations to Kevin Rudd when he was the Foreign Minister, because some of Assange's supporters were constituents of mine and had asked me to do that, and I had spoken about it and I asked Kevin Rudd to have a close look at it.”
Sadly, none of the other panelists challenged Bleich.
For the full ABC transcript of the show, click here.
Now that Julian Assange is on both the Victorian and Federal electoral roles, he is inching closer to becoming more of a threat as a Senate candidate, rather than a mere absentee voter.
His pending WikiLeaks Party will undoubtedly shred votes from the tired existing parties and the independents that cling like limpets to them, given that the Australian people are utterly disaffected with the farcical shenanigans of Federal and State politics, some of which have spilled from the floor of the House into the courtrooms of the nation.
Such things as transparency and public accountability have been reduced to the effectiveness of a torn condom. Those of us who care about the erosion of such tenets are dismissed by those in office as bleeding and bleating hearts.
There are few politicians we can trust. We live under the yoke of government for the party and not government for the people.
It would not be surprising if several Greens defected to a WikiLeaks Party.
Australia is ripe for bold intruders, a political spring. Even from his room with a view on the world from the Ecuador Embassy, Assange has the capacity to direct his election campaign and his proxy.
The irony is that the existing parties et al might, for the first time, work together to suffocate Assange's political ambitions before he can get any serious traction, given that he is their common enemy.
Let us hope when Bob Carr meets Carl Bildt today and they break political wind, as well as bread, that Carr behaves as a Foreign Minister should, in protecting the rights and well being of an Australian citizen. He should extract undertakings from Bildt.
For a start, both Foreign Ministers should take questions without notice from the media.
Carr should have the courage to put to Bildt the matters addressed by Senator Ludlam's dossier in politics 101.
After all, unlike Carr, Scott Ludlam was elected by the people. And they were neither faceless nor nameless and have the right to be represented. As does Julian Assange.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License