The unimaginable happened to Julian Assange on April 11, 2019, “The Day of Betrayal” when he was abducted by British police then transferred to a high security prison on behalf of the United States. The bail breach infraction was a ruse for the immediate goal of putting him in proxy custody for the U.S.. But it got worse.
WATCH: Ecuador’s UK Ambassador Gave DW a tour of the London Embassy following the kidnapping of Julian Assange.
Ecuadorean officials received a U.S. request for access to Assange’s personal property left in the Ecuadorean embassy post kidnap, then a judge authorized a judicial request to go through everything. It was an invitation to pillage his privacy and legal defence. Last May 20 to 23rd, 2019 Assange’s personal, professional, legal and medical effects included cash, 27 phones, cameras, handwritten notebooks, SIM and memory cards, routers, legal documents, digital storage devices, laptops and paper files/binders.The objects were removed by prosecutors Wilson Toainga and Fabián Chávez in cooperation with a criminal assistance request by the United States within the extradition process.
It was a massive heist for which Ecuador was handsomely rewarded. Items were first transferred to Quito [Ecuador] and placed under the custody of the Judicial Police. Ecuador allowed the US to help themselves to Assange’s belongings, yet he can’t access them. I am not sure where his belongings are now. They could be in Ecuador where the US examines them or possibly in the US. Much of it has likely been uploaded to a secure cloud for remote access and team forensics. By one estimate the computing and cellular equipment has 110 terabytes with thousands of encrypted files.
According to the Evening Standard,
The search is being carried out under the authorisation of a judge and following a request for judicial assistance from the United States, the statement said, adding that other countries had also made similar requests.
If officials do decide to confiscate any of the whistleblower’s belongings these will be sent to Ecuador for analysis and then possibly passed on to those seeking judicial assistance.
It’s been a year since Ecuador seized Assange’s assets and subsequently gave access to the United States, his arch adversary. The forfeiture of legal defence, cell phones, laptops and memory storage devices is the horror of every journalist, activist, researcher or publisher. Assange was robbed. Even though it is his stuff, neither he nor his lawyers, family or colleagues can access it. By extension, the Assange defence team has been robbed. That is what he meant when he spoke during an Oct. 21st, 2019 case management hearing:
“This is not equitable. I can’t research anything. I can’t access any of my writing. It’s very difficult where I am [Belmarsh]. I’m up against a superpower with unlimited resources. I can’t think properly.”
Privacy Raid items: Ecuadorean diplomatic staff compiled an inventory of Assange’s items. Most of Assange’s items were electronic devices. It was the PrivacyRaid of the century, and possibly human history. According to documents obtained through online research, there was substantial cash (see tables) and a debit card in his name from the Swiss bank Postfinance), passports and identity documents. along with written materials manuscripts, binders, a notebook) and confidential legal/medical documents. One of his handwritten notebooks was of particular interest to Ecuadorean investigators. It contained his analysis of threats against him, political observations, plans for an autobiography to be released in 2020 to counteract the negative reports of him over the decade (GaslightingAssange) and urgent concerns about fundraising.
In the words of former CIA Director Mike Pompeo,
“I was the @CIA Director. We lied. We cheated. We stole.”
A rough translation of the above using online tools to summarize the stolen items.
“Ecuador is committing a flagrant violation of the most basic norms of the institution of asylum by handing over all the asylee’s personal belongings indiscriminately to the country that he was being protected from,” Aitor Martinez.
The private details of Julian Assange’s life are held in the stolen devices. The birth of his two children Gabriel and Max were filmed on a personal camera. Tense situations in the embassy were filmed. Storage devices contain documents and research which he requires to defend himself. His handwritten notebook/journal served as a sounding board and planning tool for his all-consuming fears and problems.
From an online source:
One of the pages shows, for example, the drawing, with children’s strokes, of a man with the rope around his neck. It may well be a figurative prophetic image of his own destiny.
The Crime Scene: (From the same online source):
This is what the room where Assange had his office looked like, hours after his expulsion and turned over to the Police of Great Britain. Documents, equipment, furniture, cell phones, books were found. Photos: staff of the embassy in London.
Ecuadorean defense lawyer Carlos Poveda for Assange noted that the actions of the Prosecutor’s Office violated all of Assange’s privacy rights and evidence gathered was not reliable as “the chain of custody was broken from when he was detained by the English police”.
Assange has no hope of a fair trial in the UK or the US. He and his legal team are disadvantaged beyond repair. If he is able to retrieve any of his belongings, that would level the field somewhat. If he dies in Belmarsh, his family and lawyers will have a long fight on their hands to retrieve his property. He is unable to defend himself against an adversary who literally stole every defense he has. The case must collapse.
It’s a given that all of the assets are being copied, hacked, photographed, analysed for fingerprints, DNA, personality traits, personal connections (which contacts were close to him), and any potential leaks will be hunted down for sources. It is the ultimate coup for British and American forensic experts and will likely take years to copy, upload and crowd source for breaking encryptions, tracking texts, phone calls, metadata, photographs, biometrics, and anything which is quantifiable for future reference (eg. voice print, facial print, fingerprints).
I cannot imagine the panic and all consuming anxiety this is causing Assange who at this very moment is stuck in an isolation jail cell, hoping he does not die from COVID19. Imagine if your home were raided by the US in the next 17 minutes and you had no time to prepare. Imagine if all of your belongings were then analysed and possibly used against your family, colleagues, sources, lawyers and your own legal defence. Picture yourself a year later, after being held in a maximum security prison on remand, awaiting possible extradition to a human mausoleum in the United States for a trial which has 100 percent probability of defeating you. That is Assange’s every nanosecond.
There is absolutely no possibility of Assange getting due process or humane treatment in the US during any planned trial for Espionage. He will be tortured, restricted from legal access and visitors and he will likely die sooner rather than later if he is transferred into US custody. I cannot be more emphatic about this. The outcome is a foregone conclusion. The Department of Justice is planning to unleash more misuse of the Espionage Act on more journalists, videographers, publishers, sources, bloggers and activists. Reporters including Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Afshin Rattansi and Chris Hedges need to prepare for a forthcoming onslaught and theft.
Hindsight is 20/20:
Could his arrest, robbery and this intelligence heist have been prevented? I believe so. Based on documents I retrieved from a UK FOIA site, it is clear that Assange was not “self-confined”, nor a volunteer for “self imposed exile”. He was trapped, kettled, tortured and railroaded by the UK, Sweden, the US, Australia and eventually Ecuador. The documents were obtained by journalist Stefania Maurizi in August 2017 under a FOIA request and follow up legal challenges to the FOIA results. Notably, most of the documents were never released in full for the public to view or analyze directly. I did that in Feb. 2020. My analysis shows that Britain stacked the deck against Assange prior to his asylum in the embassy. It created a loophole in its extradition laws which excluded him from legal entitlement to be presumed innocent and not be subject to Swedish extradition as long as Sweden had not filed formal charges against him. It was a question of proportionality. The full documents demonstrate that Assange was arbitrarily detained, despite the false narratives given in the media, UK House of Commons and around the world.
It’s devastating to think that since August 3, 2017, Assange and his legal defense could have challenged UK authorities on the handling of his case, right up to the Supreme Court, and possibly had the case reopened. He might have been free by now. Instead, he is literally at death’s door, in prison on provisional arrest for US Extradition. He is now the property of the United States, along with the assets seized from his refuge at the embassy. He is a political trophy to Britain and the US, not a human.
Between August 2017 and April 2019 there were 617 days to shred Assange’s reputation. It’s devastating to review the slander of Ecuador’s president, UK ambassador, UK Members of Parliament, media coverage claiming Assange was a fugitive, foreign agent or an ill behaved housepet while residing at the embassy. The reports are untrue, engineered for maximum humiliation and character assassination and were widely reported around the world without evidence. It has been extreme emotional abuse on a scale I have called GaslightingAssange. I am in the process of writing and editing a 12 part series entitled GaslightingAssange (sample).
Consider how much permanent mental, emotional, legal and physical damage the passage of time has afforded to Assange’s adversaries. It is unconscionable what has been done to a man whose only “crime” is to expose the perversions, lies, war crimes and power imbalances of the wealthy and corrupt of this world.
If any colleague(s) of Assange was/were in possession of full documents which could have leveraged a reopening of the UK Supreme Court case and correction of the injustice done to him, but withheld it, then those persons bear the guilt of his torture and premature death as much as the corrupt politicians who engineered Assange’s demise. If Jesus Christ had an opinion, he might likely say: “Better to have a stone wrapped around their neck and be thrown to the bottom of the sea”, or something akin to that.
Give Assange access to his own items immediately. Give his lawyers and family access as well. There is no equal legal fight if the defendant has been robbed by their prosecutorial adversary (the US).
Collapse the case based on multiple breaches in due process, interference in Assange’s access to the tools and persons he requires to defend himself (computers, notes, notebooks, information on storage devices, medical and legal documents).
Grant Assange bail immediately so he is no longer at risk of getting Covid19 in Belmarsh, and can access the tools and persons he requires to defend himself. His young sons need him. His fiancee needs him.The public needs access to his thoughts and to see that he is in a place where he can heal.
Court proceedings going forward must undergo a radical “attitude adjustment” by treating Assange as a human being, not an object or political trophy, increasing public and journalistic access so that justice is seen to be done. Assange must be afforded due process, without bias, favour or prejudice against him.
Emotional posture: It’s critical to remember we are not powerless in the face of all this injustice and evil. Imagine how desolate and powerless Assange must feel; trapped inside Belmarsh while the meat grinder of injustice pummels night and day to macerate him. Do what you can to fight for his freedom, family and the future of press freedom. Thank you. ~ jude
Post Script: I would like to see the UC Global surveillance videos of the diplomatic staff rummaging through Assange’s items and cash. My suspicion is that not all of the cash found was catalogued in the inventory… perhaps cash, jewelry, memory sticks, small items were pilfered. Cash is cash. The other items would be of value in certain circles. I’d also like to see who went where immediately after Assange was kidnapped.
On a personal note: I find it difficult to research, write and edit blog posts on the subject of Assange as it triggers my own anxiety and interferes with concentration. It gets overwhelming. I struggle with PTSD and anxiety disorder myself, though certainly less intensely than Assange. My effort to explain the complexity of the case is my best attempt to bring justice and a hope for the future of media freedom, free expression/association and democracy. In my view, private rumination on the topic is fruitless. I often choose to publish my ideas in draft or developing forms in order to get the information out in the public as soon as possible. This is a developing story which I will update as I am able, with decompression breaks. There is a pit of revulsion and despair in my stomach.
If you appreciate my work, please make a donation to John Shipton who is fighting for Julian Assange. I dedicate my research and writing to preserving the life, work and legacy of Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Your donation now is much appreciated.