Tuesday, May 14, 2013

David Leigh's disgraceful performance at Frontline Club's Bradley Manning panel

Frontline Club panel (screenshot via Youtube)
On May 13, 2013, London's Frontline Club held a panel entitled "The Case of the U.S. vs Bradley Manning". On the panel was Chase Madar, author of "The Passion of Bradley Manning", former Guardian investigations executive editor David Leigh, and campaigner Naomi Colvin. The discussion was moderated by Richard Gizbert of Al Jazeera's Listening Post.

David Leigh is well-known to those familiar with WikiLeaks, mainly due to his publication of the Cablegate password in his and Luke Harding's book, "WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy". This led to the release of all 251,287 unredacted State Department cables in September 2011.

Throughout the hour-and-a-half long discussion, David Leigh put a great deal of effort into downplaying the significance of the what WikiLeaks has released, thereby downplaying Bradley Manning's sacrifice. His comments show a broad range of insensitivity, misunderstandings, and grand understatements. For someone whose career has relied heavily on WikiLeaks in the past few years, and for someone who was invited onto a panel due to his prior experience with WikiLeaks, his attitude is contemptible.

All emphasis in quoted statements is my own.



WikiLeaks: "not that sensational"

Despite The Guardian having published over 240 articles using WikiLeaks cables and having pages dedicated to both the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, David Leigh stressed the idea that WikiLeaks' releases were fairly insignificant.

(00:21:39) LEIGH: Another thought about the coverage that occurs to me is, and it's kind of a paradoxical one: the truth is, the uncomfortable truth is, that a lot of stuff that Bradley Manning leaked, in fact all of the stuff that he leaked, was at the end of the day not that sensational, and that's why it wasn't classified so high. It was actually classified really low, when you consider the habit of overclassification. This stuff was relatively trivial.
(00:23:00) LEIGH: The State Department cables, although politically deeply embarrassing and probably caused a great deal of rage in the State Department, were not such a big deal. They didn't actually show anything really bad about the United States Government. What they showed was a fairly accurate graphic reporting by United States Government employees of the crimes of other Governments.

Leigh emphasizes his opinion that not some, but all of what Manning is accused of leaking is "not that sensational". In court, Bradley Manning admitted to the following leaks:

Within these leaks, come thousands of revelations. Chase Madar specifically mentions the contribution Cablegate made to the uprising in Tunisia and the revelations about U.S. attempts to stifle an increase in Haiti's $3/day minimum wage law. They also revealed a U.S. cover-up of child abuse in Afghanistan, the FBI training Egyptian tortures, warnings about nuclear plant safety in Japan before the Fukushima disaster, men being sent to Guantanamo solely for wearing a certain Casio watch, Yemen claiming responsibility for U.S. airstrikes, and 15,000 previously unknown civilian deaths in Iraq. Cables have been used in multiple court cases and were sourced in half of The New York Times' 2011 issues. And all these make up just a small portion of the tens of thousands of headlines that continue to be made to this day.

At one point, Richard Gizbert asks David Leigh if Bradley Manning helped end the Iraq War, to which Leigh emphatically responds, "No". But, as Madar, Colvin, and Gizbert all say, there is quite a strong argument to the contrary. CNN reports:

These talks [between Iraq and the U.S.], however, broke down over the prickly issue of legal immunity for U.S. troops in Iraq, a senior U.S. military official with direct knowledge of the discussions told CNN this month.
...
The negotiations were strained following WikiLeaks’ release of a diplomatic cable that alleged Iraqi civilians, including children, were killed in a 2006 raid by American troops rather than in an airstrike as the U.S. military initially reported.

The cable details an event in which U.S. troops executed at least 10 civilians, including an infant and an elderly woman, then proceeded to call in an airstrike to destroy the evidence of the atrocity. CNN makes a clear connection between this cable and Iraq's unease at granting immunity to U.S. troops who commit such acts.

Yet to David Leigh, none of this shows "anything really bad about the United States Government". He admits that the cables did reveal crimes by other Governments, but of course these revelations are downplayed by his sweeping statement that the leaks as a whole were "not that sensational".

Furthermore, he comments:

(00:22:47) LEIGH: The rest of the stuff that was revealed about the Afghan fighting and the Iraq fighting show that the American troops were confused, brutal, ineffective, and killing civilians, but we knew that.

While David Leigh again dismisses the significance of WikiLeaks documents, Richard Gizbert tells an anecdote of a conversation he had with a T-shirt salesman:

(00:25:10) GIZBERT: I was surprised at how many people were affected, actually, by those WikiLeaks cables.
...
This guy said to me, you know that 8,000 of those WikiLeaks cables came out of Islamabad. They didn't tell us anything we didn't know, but it confirmed everything that we knew, that our Government was denying, that Washington was denying.

To only look to WikiLeaks for brand new revelations dismisses a huge part of its value. By publishing official documents, WikiLeaks provides concrete evidence for people's suspicions, which may never be confirmed otherwise. 
 


Collateral Mistake

David Leigh also spoke in detail about the Collateral Murder video released by WikiLeaks.

(00:22:12) LEIGH: Even the notorious Apache video of the helicopter gun crew gunning down Reuters' employees in error in Baghdad, horrific as it was, wasn't ultimately a scandal on the level of Abu Grahib, say, because it was plain that the soldiers had made a mistake, they had not intentionally murdered these civilians.

Screenshot from Collateral Murder
Even military officials do not call the actions depicted in Collateral Murder a mistake; they say the attacks were justified. Throughout the video, the soldiers in the helicopter are constantly requesting for "permission to engage". A van, which was carrying a man and two children, is fired upon as it attempts to help one of the men shot by the helicopter.

Calling the brutal and intentional killing of civilians a "mistake" is frankly disgusting and severely disrespectful to the victims, their families, and all those who are affected by such violence each and every day. 

David Leigh continues:

LEIGH: And Reuters, it turned out, had already been shown a big chunk of the video, anyway, and chosen to keep quiet about it.

Some Reuters employees were shown the video in an off-the-record briefing. To say that they chose to keep quiet is entirely misleading. Reuters attempted to gain a copy of the video through a FOIA  request, but instead received documents stating the presence of weapons at the scene. After the release of Collateral Murder, Reuters "pressed the U.S. military to conduct a full and objective investigation into the killing of the two staff". Contrary to David Leigh's comment, Reuters showed a strong interest in discovering the truth behind the murders of their journalists.



"I'd like to think...."

Those who have been following the WikiLeaks saga for awhile, may be familiar with David Leigh's infamous 2011 tweet, which became a short-lived meme:

I like to think that if someone like #bradleymanning had first dealt with me at the #guardian, he wouldn't now be in jail

It seems David Leigh has not dropped his habit of imagining alternatives, as he spends a large portion of the discussion attempting to explain how Bradley Manning would be far better off had he leaked to The Guardian instead of WikiLeaks.

He initially dismisses the importance of the question, as he believes that the circumstance of Bradley Manning as a whistleblower was "over and done with" once the chatlogs between Adrian Lamo and Bradley Manning were released. (He also describes Adrian Lamo as a "fellow hacker" of Bradley Manning's, implying that Manning was a hacker as well).

(00:06:09) LEIGH: So the whole issue about whistleblowing and how you handle a source and how you look after them was already over and done with. Had it not been over and done with, I would have said the whole saga's raised some very serious questions about how you do look after sources, because the whole WikiLeaks notion that you could automate the process of leaking, that you could devise a mechanical system under which things could be uploaded and nobody would know who was involved and that you would never even know your source... that this sort of automated approach just doesn't work, because sources are human beings. And Bradley Manning was very much a human being in a very difficult human situation who cracked, talked, confessed to somebody he shouldn’t have done, who he didn't know. If... I don't know, if he'd been our source, I would've liked to think that we would've developed a relationship in which he could have been cared for a bit more and not proceeded to blow himself up. So that, you know, that's my main reaction as a journalist to the whistleblower situation. That you can't handle whistleblowers in a mechanical system or terrible things happen to them like this.

David Leigh blames two people for Bradley Manning's arrest: WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning himself. He blames WikiLeaks for not treating its sources as "human beings", and Bradley Manning for confessing the leaks to Adrian Lamo.

Leigh continues:

(00:35:50) LEIGH: If Bradley Manning had dealt with any professional journalist, I imagine they would have said to him, 'Now shut up, don't say a word of this to any other person'. It seems an obvious thing to say, and obviously he wasn't instructed in that way. And so he goes and talks to someone he doesn't know online and gets himself betrayed.

Leigh is managing to blame both WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning for the same act. WikiLeaks for not telling him to keep quiet, and Bradley Manning for telling Adrian Lamo. Of course, while David Leigh claims it is "obvious" Bradley Manning wasn't instructed to keep secret, that is not something we know. The interaction between Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks, besides what was stated by Manning in his testimony, is largely unknown.

It is distressing that Leigh makes no attempt to define Lamo's role in the incident, as he is the person who turned Bradley Manning in, after explicitly telling him the conversation was protected and it was not for publication.

David Leigh continues to bash WikiLeaks' anonymous drop-box system multiple times throughout the panel.

(00:37:05) LEIGH: When this all happened, The Guardian, along with lots of other mainstream media, got very interested in the idea of setting up WikiLeaks-style anonymous dropboxes and so on. And then we all lost interest and thought, this isn't really what it's about. Y'know, these automated systems aren't what it's about; it's about human beings. And y'know, we all do it the same way we did before. If you contact somebody at The Guardian, I'd like to think that they deal with you in a secure and sensitive way as a person.

David Leigh implies that there was no interaction between Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks, which, if you have read or listened to Manning's testimony, is entirely false.

Naomi Colvin responds:

(00:34:32) COLVIN: What Bradley describes is... he talks about trying to go to New York Times first, and actually New York Times responded to this... sort of, quite dismissive of it.
After going to The New York Times, trying to contact The Washington Post, what Bradley Manning describes with dealing with WikiLeaks is pretty much a conventional source-journalist relationship.
So I think that trying to draw the hard line between this is how WikiLeaks deals with sources and this is how other media outlets deal with sources, probably isn't all that justified, if you go by what Bradley says.

In Bradley Manning's testimony, he stated the follwing:
Bradley Manning. Photo via AP
Due to the strict adherence of anonymity by the [WikiLeaks organization], we never exchanged identifying information. However, I believe the individual was likely Mr. Julian Assange [he pronounced it with three syllables], Mr. Daniel Schmidt, or a proxy representative of Mr. Assange and Schmidt.
As the communications transferred from IRC to the Jabber client, I gave 'office' and later 'pressassociation' the name of Nathaniel Frank in my address book, after the author of a book I read in 2009.
After a period of time, I developed what I felt was a friendly relationship with Nathaniel. Our mutual interest in information technology and politics made our conversations enjoyable. We engaged in conversation often. Sometimes as long as an hour or more. I often looked forward to my conversations with Nathaniel after work.

According to Bradley Manning himself, there actually seemed to be a great deal of conversation between him and a member of WikiLeaks, which completely contradicts David Leigh's representation of WikiLeaks' submission system as something entirely mechanical, with no respect for the sources.

Furthermore, Leigh never touches on how anonymous drop-boxes are helpful to sources, i.e. that even WikiLeaks is not able to reveal its sources, as they never know who they are. Leigh instead suggests that a less technical approach would be better, referencing Cold War tactics of hiding letters in holed out trees and how the Offshore Leaks were transferred using a harddrive sent via FedEx. (00:40:50) Yet Leigh fails to realize that, had Bradley Manning sent physical items as opposed to digital uploads, Adrian Lamo still would have turned him in, the records of his access would still be on the computers, and the likelihood of his arrest would still have been very high.

Chase Madar also combat Leigh's attacks on WikiLeaks' submission system.

(00:33:33) MADAR: I don't think it's entirely fair to beat on Wikileaks for failing to protect Bradley Manning as a source. Certainly, the New York Times has a terrible record of this. They left Daniel Ellsberg flapping in the breeze 40 years ago, and Ellsberg is still very upset about it.

There is no evidence backing up David Leigh's claim that Bradley Manning would have been better off had he leaked to The Guardian or any other media outlet. In fact, knowing that Bradley Manning attempted to contact mainstream media outlets before WikiLeaks, and knowing past records of poor source protection, Manning quite possibly would have been worse off had he gone to The Guardian.

But David Leigh goes even further, questioning whether Bradley Manning should have even leaked in the first place.



"I sometimes wake up in the night"

(00:23:30) LEIGH: "I hate to say this as a journalist, but in a way, I sometimes wake up in the night and wonder whether it was worth it for Bradley Manning, what he did."

Having stated his belief that all of WikiLeaks' recent releases have been mediocre, David Leigh questions whether it was worth it for Manning to have leaked at all, which put him through long, sometimes torturous confinement, and the possibility of life imprison. While it may seem like Leigh's trying to be sympathetic toward Manning, in reality he is completely undermining Bradley Manning, his morals, and his justification for the leaks.

Naomi Colvin responds, referencing comments made by Manning to Adrian Lamo:

(00:29:16) COLVIN: I just wanted to come back on what David said, about y'know, was it worth it, would Bradley Manning have thought it was worth it. In that conversation with Adrian Lamo that led to Bradley Manning being arrested, he was asked what he wanted to see from what he did. And he said, 'worldwide discussions, debates, and reforms'.

She proceeds to detail the worldwide political action throughout 2011.

COLVIN: All that, that spark of enthusiasm started in the middle east. And the State Department cables are at least a contributing factor to that. I hope that Bradley Manning is sitting wherever he is, in Fort Leavenworth or in Washington, wherever it is, I hope he's very pleased with himself and I hope he's satisfied with what he's done because I think he has every right to be.

David Leigh asking whether it was "worth it" for Bradley Manning shows complete disrespect for Manning's decision to blow the whistle. Because Leigh is dismissive of WikiLeaks' impact, he fails to recognize the importance of Bradley Manning's sacrifice. But as Colvin says, Manning leaked these documents because he wanted to affect the world and inform the public. He was well aware of the risk he was taking, but sacrificed his freedom in order to expose wrongdoings within the U.S. and other governments.

Toward the end of the panel, WikiLeaks staffer Joseph Farrell, present in the audience, asks David Leigh the following:

(1:20:42) FARRELL: The Guardian, during the three major leaks of the Afghan, Iraq, and Cablegate, increased their print run and their sales and clearly benefited a lot from these leaks. And I was wondering, has The Guardian helped towards Manning's defense? Do you know?

David Leigh responds:

LEIGH: Well, I made a donation. That's all I can tell you.

He then refuses to answer a question from Richard Gizbert asking how much.

David Leigh benefited greatly from the WikiLeaks saga. He authored a book on his experiences and The Guardian gained increased sales due to interest in WikiLeaks' coverage.

So, while David Leigh may toss and turn over the possibility that Bradley Manning could have chosen to stay quiet, it seems there is little that he and The Guardian have actually done to support him.

Of course, Leigh couldn't end a WikiLeaks panel without taking a few jabs at Julian Assange.



"The Ecuadorian regime"

During the Q&A session, David Leigh is discussing Julian Assange's situation at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

(1:10:15) LEIGH: He could stay there indefinitely as far as I can see, or until the Ecuadorian regime is replaced by a different el presidente.

Richard Gizbert immediately questions him about using "regime":

GIZBERT: "Regime? You see it as a regime, or..."
LEIGH: "Well, you know, I mean the administration."

Regime carries the connotation of a non-democratic, authoritarian government. To use it in reference to Ecuador, a democratic republic with an elected president, is extremely misleading. Although, it is of little surprise coming from David Leigh, as The Guardian is one of the papers who decided to publish multiple articles attacking Ecuador shortly after Julian Assange took refuge in the Embassy. David Leigh's description of it as a "regime" does not fall short from The Guardian tree.



"I'm a professional journalist"

Another audience member asks a detailed question about David Leigh's appearance in Channel 4's documentary "WikiLeaks: Secrets and Lies":

(1:14:30) AUDIENCE MEMBER: Do you not think that by trashing and by character assassination of Julian Assange in the Channel 4 documentary you have assisted Julian and Bradley Manning's detractors and even detracted from the broader principle that we're all looking for out of this, which is of freedom of information?
David Leigh. (screenshot via Youtube)
After listening to the question, David Leigh asks, "Me?", as if in surprise, despite the question being directly addressed to him.

LEIGH: What, because I gave an interview on a Channel 4 documentary about Assange.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Uh, you gave more than an interview in a Channel 4 documentary. Looked to anybody who was watching the film as if you had appeared with the sole intention of assassinating the character of Julian Assange.

LEIGH: Well, if you think that then there's no discussion to be had, because that's just dumb. I'm a professional journalist, I'm not an assassinator.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: The way you describe Julian Assange, now I can't quote from the documentary, but there was a constant preoccupation with his personality, which you found displeasing or inadequate or in some way, you know, there's something wrong with it. So, the impression you're left in that documentary was that Julian Assange is barmy, and that therefore the unfortunate outcome of that documentary was that public were persuaded that what he was trying to do was lacking in any value.

LEIGH: Well, I guess people can come to their own conclusions. People who have watched that documentary would have come to very different conclusions to you. And if you think I'm a person that spends my time assassinating Julian Assange, you don't understand the practice of professional journalism.

The documentary discussed came under a huge amount of controversy due to its biased take. Not only was David Leigh interviewed in the film, as he claims, but he was also "the programme's fact-checker and was paid 'consultancy fees' for this role", as reported by WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks filed an Ofcom complaint over the inaccuracies of the film, however the complaint was ultimately dismissed. I previously wrote on "Secrets and Lies" in 2012, noting comments from Der Spiegel's Holger Stark about omitted facts. For David Leigh to berate the audience member as "dumb" for bringing this up is far from "professional".

And one last point, David Leigh seems to believe that "mainstream media" is some crazy term coined by Julian Assange:
(01:17:12) LEIGH: We're the mainstream media, as he calls it. And from the get-go, Julian disliked us, the mainstream media, the MSM, as he calls us.

Wikipedia defines "mainstream media" thusly:

Mainstream media (MSM) are those media disseminated via the largest distribution channels, which therefore represent what the majority of media consumers are likely to encounter. The term also denotes those media generally reflective of the prevailing currents of thought, influence, or activity.

It's not "the mainstream media, as Julian Assange calls it" it's the mainstream media, as everyone calls it. As The Guardian is the third most circulated newspaper in the UK, there's little to argue against it being part of the MSM.



David Leigh's attitude throughout this entire event was hugely disrespectful, not only to WikiLeaks, but to Bradley Manning, to victims of the Iraq War and their families, and to all those who have discovered important truths hidden within WikiLeaks documents. For someone who has benefited so greatly from WikiLeaks, Leigh shows absolutely no gratitude. His attempted sympathy for Bradley Manning falls flat, as it shows no understanding of Manning and his stated motives.

To have David Leigh describe himself as a "professional journalist" after this disgraceful display of ignorance and disrespect is truly laughable.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Guardian's obsession with sullying the reputation of Julian Assange

[Updated below]

After Julian Assange gave a speech at the Oxford Union on January 23, 2012, The Guardian published an article criticizing his appearance, saying "he refused to be gracious". At the time, video had not been uploaded of the event, so it was impossible to contradict The Guardian's claims. Now that the Oxford Union has uploaded the full speech and Q&A session (albeit only after editing out footage of "Collateral Murder" due to copyright fears), The Guardian's blatant smear tactics can be revealed.

It should first be noted that The Guardian chooses to focus on Julian Assange, rather than the event which he was speaking at: the Sam Adams Award ceremony. Thomas Fingar, the recipient of the award who authored a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate which asserted that Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, is not even mentioned in The Guardian's article.

The Guardian describes Mr Assange's talk as "an impassioned defence of WikiLeaks and against censorship of all kinds", but foregoes any actual discussion of his 21-minute speech, instead focusing on the Q&A session. The article states that Mr Assange "repeatedly refused to answer questions about his decision not to return to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault". This is false as Mr Assange did not "refuse" to answer any questions, but indeed answered all that were asked of him.

The first question The Guardian mentions is a student asking how long Mr Assange will stay in the Embassy. He responds, "We will see. Hopefully not much longer, but who knows". As Mr Assange and the Ecuadorian Government are attempting to arrange a diplomatic solution with Britain, this can be viewed as an honest, straightforward answer. But The Guardian implies that his answer was insufficient, stating that "the next student fared no better".



The following question is about Julian Assange's refusal to return to Sweden. The Guardian describes his answer stating:
"Assange's smile faded. "I have answered these questions extensively in the past," he replied sharply and referred the student to a website."

First off, The Guardian implies that the question altered Julian Assange's mood, something which can be concluded to be false upon seeing the video. He receives and answers the question in the same manner. Secondly, it is true that he has "answered these questions extensively", and it is also detailed in Ecuador's statement on the acceptance of his asylum. Furthermore, after referring the student to the Justice for Assange website, he goes on to give a brief explanation of how Sweden refuses to guarantee against his extradition to the U.S. Again, answering the question. 

 

Mr Assange is then asked, "What would you say to the protesters outside who say that your appearance here and you being in the Ecuadorian Embassy is dismissing victims of rape and the seriousness of the crime of rape?"

The Guardian states, "Assange half closed his eyes and sighed", neither of which happen. Again, we see The Guardian attempting to paint Mr Assange as someone who is annoyed by these questions, when he is actually answering them in an even, straightforward manner.

The Guardian continues:
"[Assange speaking:] "I heard there was a protest but we sent our cameras out there before joining you tonight and there were 28 supporters of me and of no one else."
Before the event, however, there had been at least 50 protesters and no supporters of Assange to be seen. After the ceremony, security staff confirmed they had not seen anyone defending the WikiLeaks founder all evening."
 
If you listen to Mr Assange's actual response, you will notice that he is implicitly referring to the planned protest outside the Ecuadorian Embassy:
"Well, I'm here at the Embassy. I heard there was going to be a protest, repeated ad infinitum in The Guardian by PPE students who somehow have roles writing for The Guardian. But actually, we count 28 supporters of ours out there—we just sent out the cameraman—and no one else."



As he suggests, there were plans to protest both outside the Oxford Union and the Ecuadorian Embassy, arranged by the same person.

The second half of The Guardian's article contains quotes from the protesters outside, as if to frame Mr Assange as a liar based on the previous claims they make. All other questions he is asked go unreported—namely, all the ones not about the Swedish allegations, but about a government's right to keep secrets, Mr Assange's asylee status, the publication of unredacted cables, WikiLeaks' decision process of what to publish, and cyberterrorism.

It is clear from The Guardian's article that they have an obsession with Julian Assange and are incredibly selective of their quotations in order to frame him as an ungrateful liar. But if one reviews the actual source material, it is evident that The Guardian's claims hold no truth.



All videos of Julian Assange's speech at the Oxford Union can be seen at its YouTube Channel.


[Update]

A short letter criticizing the same article, signed by ten former intelligence officers and foreign service officers, has been published by The Guardian. It reads as follows:
If the Guardian could "find no allies" of Julian Assange (Report, 24 January), it did not look very hard. They could be found among the appreciative audience at the Oxford Union, and in our group seated at the front: the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence. Many in our group, which co-sponsored the event, had travelled considerable distances to confer the 10th annual Sam Adams award on Dr Thomas Fingar for his work overseeing the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that revealed the absence of an Iranian nuclear weaponisation programme since 2003. Many of us spoke about the need for integrity in intelligence, describing the ethical dilemma that confronts government employees who witness illegal activity, including serious threats to public safety. However, none of this, nor any aspect of Dr Fingar's acceptance speech, made it into your article.
Signatories: Ann Wright Retired US army colonel and foreign service officer of US state department, Ray McGovern Retired CIA analyst, Elizabeth Murray Retired CIA analyst, Coleen Rowley Retired FBI agent, Annie Machon Former MI5 intelligence officer, Thomas Drake Former National Security Agency official, Craig Murray Former British ambassador, David MacMichael Retired CIA analyst, Brady Kiesling Former foreign service officer, US department of state, Todd Pierce Retired US army major, judge advocate, Guantánamo defence counsel

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fact Sheet: Julian Assange, his asylum, and the Swedish investigation

This is a fact sheet which was designed to inform those attending or protesting Julian Assange's January 23, 2013 appearance at the Oxford Union. It is available as a .pdf to be printed and handed out.

Why did Ecuador grant asylum to Julian Assange?
Ecuador fulfilled Julian Assange's asylum request due to the risk of persecution by the U.S. Government. U.S. officials have confirmed an ongoing investigation into WikiLeaks, with continued calls for the prosecution of Mr Assange. He has also faced multiple calls for his assassination. It is apparent from Bradley Manning's hearings that the U.S. is attempting to implicate Mr Assange.

Is Ecuador interfering in the Swedish investigation?
The Government of Ecuador officially extended an offer for Sweden to question Julian Assange in the Embassy, which was rejected. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has reiterated that Ecuador has no means to hinder the investigation, but only wishes to protect Mr Assange from U.S. persecution.

Is Julian Assange avoiding questioning by the Swedish prosecution?
Julian Assange has offered to be questioned in London for over two years, and continues to offer such to this day. Questioning someone in another country is a standard EU legal procedure, which Sweden used just last year for an alleged murderer. The Swedish prosecutor offers no reason as to why she will not question Mr Assange in London.

If Julian Assange is innocent, why doesn't he just go to Sweden?
If extradited to Sweden, Julian Assange will be immediately placed in solitary confinement, incommunicado, despite the fact that he has yet to be charged with a crime. This treatment can be seen in the recent case of Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm. Mr Assange would not have had the ability to seek asylum were he to be extradited, therefore being unable to protect himself from U.S. persecution.

[Addendum: People often try to dispute the fact that Mr Assange has not been charged. Here are two official sources—the UK Supreme Court and the Agreed Statement of Facts between both Applicant and Respondant—which state that Mr Assange has not been charged (emphasis mine).
  1. UK Supreme Court: "charges have not yet been brought against Mr Assange".
  2. Agreed Statement of Facts: "The Appellant [Julian Assange] has not to date not been given the copies of the complete case file relating to the case (save those that were provided to the Swedish court by the prosecutor). Under Swedish law the Appellant is only entitled to have access to this material once a final decision to prosecute is made."]

What else should I know?
The Swedish investigation against Julian Assange has been very unusual. The case was initially closed, then reopened by another prosecutor. The interview of one complainant was not recorded, despite the fact that interviews with all other persons were recorded. A condom submitted as evidence by the other complainant contained no DNA from Mr Assange. These are just a few examples of the peculiar conduct of the investigation.


All sources are hyperlinked within the article.
For more information please see the following websites:
U.S. v WikiLeaks - A website dedicated to detailing the ongoing U.S. investigation into WikiLeaks and the case against Pfc. Bradley Manning.
Justice for Assange - A website dedicated to detailing the Swedish investigation against Mr Assange.
"The Wikileaks, Julian Assange Diplomatic Standoff" - An animated infographic, offering a quick and easy way to understand the Swedish investigation against Mr Assange.
Agreed Statement of Facts and Issues - Court document showing facts of Mr Assange's case that are agreed on by both the defense and prosecution.
Jennifer Robinson: Brief to Canberra - A briefing by Mr Assange's lawyer giving a timeline of events and overview of concerns regarding the Swedish investigation.
WL Facts - Assange FAQ - A list of frequently asked questions surrounding Mr Assange.


This flyer was put together by M Cetera.
She can be contacted via Twitter at @m_cetera or via email at mcetera[at]mail[dot]be.