Ecuador has granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said Thursday.
The UK, meanwhile, has said it will not grant safe passage out of the country to Assange, who has been holed up inside Ecuador's embassy in London.
Assange has been holed up at the embassy since petitioning for asylum in June. He is seeking to avoid being sent to Sweden over claims of rape and sexual molestation, and said he fears that if extradited, Swedish authorities could hand him over to the United States.
Assange was arrested in Britain in 2010 because Swedish authorities wanted to question him about the allegations. Two women have accused Assange of sexually assaulting them during an August 2010 visit to Sweden in connection with a WikiLeaks release of internal U.S. military documents. Assange denies the allegations and argues they are retribution for his organization's disclosure of American secrets.FULL STORY
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8:00 am ET (est.) - Julian Assange learns asylum fate - Ecuador is expected to announce whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be given asylum in the South American country.
The mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will meet with Ecuadorian authorities Monday to urge them to grant her son asylum.
Christine Assange, who arrived in the capital city Quito on Saturday, told reporters she will appeal to Ecuador's stance on human rights during her meeting.
"Surely, the president and his staff will make the best decision," Christine Assange said, according to a report in the state-run El Ciudadano website.
Her son has been holed up inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since applying for political asylum on June 19.
He is seeking to avoid being sent to Sweden over claims of rape and sexual molestation and said he fears if he is extradited there, Swedish authorities could hand him over to the United States.
If her son is sent to the United States, he "could expect a sentence of death or many years in prison with torture as they are doing now with Bradley Manning," Christine Assange said, according to the El Ciudadano report.
"If they did that to a U.S. citizen, they would have fewer qualms about doing a foreigner."FULL STORY
WikiLeaks said Thursday it has begun publishing some 2.4 million e-mails from Syrian politicians, government ministries and companies dating back to 2006.
The e-mails, which are in a range of languages including Arabic and Russian, come from the ministries of presidential affairs, finance, information and foreign affairs, among others.
According to WikiLeaks, the e-mails "shine a light on the inner workings of the Syrian government and economy, but they also reveal how the West and Western companies say one thing and do another."
WikiLeaks, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, has published about 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables, causing embarrassment to the government and others. It has also published hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents relating to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Its founder, Julian Assange, was arrested in Britain in 2010 over allegations of rape and sex crime charges in Sweden.
Two women have accused Assange of sexually assaulting them in August 2010 when he was visiting Sweden in connection with a WikiLeaks release of internal U.S. military documents.FULL STORY
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be arrested if he comes out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he is seeking asylum, a Metropolitan Police representative at the scene said Thursday, without giving his name.
Assange was arrested in Britain in 2010 because Swedish authorities want to question him about allegations of rape and sexual molestation. His bail conditions included staying every night at the home of a supporter outside of London.
Two women have accused Assange of sexually assaulting them during an August 2010 visit to Sweden in connection with a WikiLeaks release of internal U.S. military documents. He was arrested in Britain that December and has been fighting extradition ever since, arguing the allegations are retribution for his organization's disclosure of American secrets.
Assange's only further legal recourse would be to apply immediately to the European Court of Human Rights, and his attorneys have vowed to do so. He has said he fears that if he is extradited to Sweden, authorities there could hand him over to the United States, where he then could be prosecuted for his role in the leaking of classified documents.
Assange has not been charged with a crime, but Swedish prosecutors want to question him about allegations of "unlawful coercion and sexual misconduct including rape," according to a Supreme Court document. Ecuador said its decision to consider Assange's asylum request "should in no way be interpreted as the government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden."
WikiLeaks, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, has published some 250,000 confidential U.S. diplomatic cables, causing embarrassment to the government and others. It also has published hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents relating to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Julian Assange is subject to arrest for breaking the terms of his bail, London's Metropolitan Police said Wednesday, after the WikiLeaks founder attempted to claim asylum at the embassy of Ecuador in Britain.
Assange was arrested in Britain in 2010 because Swedish authorities want to question him about allegations of rape and sexual molestation.
His bail conditions included staying every night at the home of a supporter outside of London.
Police were notified Tuesday night that he had breached that condition, they said Wednesday morning.
"He is now subject to arrest under the Bail Act for breach of these conditions," they said.
It is not clear that they will be able to arrest him, since diplomatic protocol prevents authorities from entering foreign embassies.
Assange has requested political asylum in Ecuador, officials and WikiLeaks said Tuesday.FULL STORY
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has formally requested asylum in Ecuador, the country's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said.
Patino, speaking at a press conference in Quito, Ecuador, read from a statement that Assange was currently at Ecuador's embassy in London, England, where he formally requested asylum. Patino read a statement to reporters at a news conference in Quito. He took no questions.
The request comes after the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom on Thursday dismissed an application filed by an attorney for the WikiLeaks founder who was seeking to reopen his appeal against extradition to Sweden.
The application was Assange's last option in the British courts. Britain's Crown Prosecution Service has previously said if the court dismissed Assange's appeal, his only further remedy is to apply immediately to the European Court of Human Rights, and Assange's attorneys have vowed to do so.
The appeal itself would be a rarity, as the court's decisions are supposed to be final in Britain.
Assange has been fighting for a year and a half against being sent to Sweden for questioning about accusations of sexual abuse. Two women accused him in August 2010 of sexually assaulting them during a visit to Sweden in connection with a WikiLeaks release of internal U.S. military documents.
WikiLeaks' work is not at issue in the extradition matter or the Swedish allegations against Assange.
Assange has not been charged with a crime, but Swedish prosecutors want to question him about allegations of "unlawful coercion and sexual misconduct including rape," according to a Supreme Court document.FULL STORY
Though it's nothing new for WikiLeaks to publish information belonging to a private company, Monday's release of Stratfor e-mails might be an indication that for the first time, Anonymous and WikiLeaks have worked together. And that could have legal consequences for WikiLeaks' editor Julian Assange, experts say.
In December, Anonymous claimed it had hacked Stratfor, the Austin, Texas-based private company that produces intelligence reports for clients. On Monday, WikiLeaks began releasing 5 million e-mails it said belonged to Stratfor that reveal, WikiLeaks says, a litany of injustices by the company. WikiLeaks is calling the leak The Global Intelligence Files.
WikiLeaks has not said where it got the e-mails. Anonymous, an amorphous group of hackers worldwide, is claiming on Twitter and on other social media that they gave it to the site. Numerous media outlets such as the Washington Post and Wired are reporting the partnership.
"Their [WikiLeaks and Anonymous] working together made sense. Anonymous did the hack, had the stuff and in the end decided that someone else would be better-suited to comb through this and release it," said Gregg Housh, who acts as a spokesperson for Anonymous. "Anonymous just didn't have the ability to go through all the e-mails themselves. This was a happy partnership. WikiLeaks did such an awesome job categorizing the [State Department] cables."
In the past few days, the WikiLeaks saga has taken two sharp turns.
On Thursday, 287 documents appeared on the WikiLeaks site about the global surveillance and arms industry. The dump provided many documents to mine, and it's still unclear what they might all mean. The Washington Post and other outlets called it a comeback for the site and for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
And on Monday, Assange won the right to fight his extradition from the United Kingdom to Sweden on sexual assault allegations. This is the latest (and last) chance Assange will get to avoid answering allegations made by two women in 2010 that he forced them to have sexual relations. Assange has not been charged with a crime. Sweden is seeking him for questioning.
Swedish officials have said that the sex crime case has nothing to do with WikiLeaks or anything published on the site, including a trove of classified American intelligence in 2010 and early 2011. But Assange has repeatedly said that he believes the Swedish case is a ruse, and that if he is extradited to Sweden he'll be more vulnerable to extradition to the U.S., where he could be prosecuted in relation to WikiLeaks' release of classified U.S. information.
U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-New York, has said that Assange should be prosecuted for espionage. He also has said that the U.S. should classify WikiLeaks as a terrorist group so that "we can freeze their assets." King has called Assange an enemy combatant.
In less than two weeks, starting on December 16, the U.S. military will begin its case against Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier suspected to have leaked classified information that appeared on the WikiLeaks site. Who is Manning?
The soldier, in his early 20s, will face a military trial in Maryland on a range of charges that could send him to prison for life. It's been more than a year since the Swedish case first hit the news.
Here's a look at what has transpired since then.
In December 2010, Assange was detained in England on a Swedish arrest warrant. Two women were accusing Assange of sexual assault. Assange spent 10 days in jail in England (inspiring a "Saturday Night Live" spoof). He was released on $315,000 bail and placed under electronically monitored house arrest. Since that time, Assange has been living at a mansion in the British countryside, where he did an interview with "60 Minutes" in September.
In February, a British court ordered Assange extradited to Sweden for questioning in relation to the sexual assault allegations. He appealed, while his lawyers publicly challenged Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny to go to London to defend her handling of the case against Assange. "Today, we have seen a Hamlet without the princess – a prosecutor who has been ready to feed the media within information, but has been unwilling to come here," Assange attorney Mark Stephens told reporters outside a south London courtroom.
In November, an appeals court denied his appeal against extradition. The decision sparked different reactions from key WikiLeaks players. It left Assange with one last option: Great Britain's Supreme Court.
On December 5, Assange got approval from the British courts to proceed with an appeal to the highest court.
Assange addressed reporters Monday, saying that his case will benefit other cases involving extradition.
"The long struggle for justice for me and others continues," he said.
In 2010 WikiLeaks posted 77,000 classified Pentagon documents about the Afghanistan war and 391,832 secret documents on the Iraq war. It also published a quarter million diplomatic cables — daily written correspondence between the State Department's 270 American outposts around the globe. The cables were released in batches for several months, until September of this year when they were released in total. U.S. officials called the release of the cables "dangerous" and "illegal."
An unauthorized biography of Assange, which he has fiercely criticized, was also released in September. According to several reports, British newspaper The Independent published what it said were portions of the book. In one section of the book, Assange is quoted as saying, "I did not rape those women."
Since Assange's Swedish case began, WikiLeaks has struggled. The website, launched in 2006, has had financial problems. In October, Assange said that it would stop publishing until the group could raise more money. In February, former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg released a tell-all book about what it was like to work with Assange and for WikiLeaks. He blasted Assange, calling him a "paranoid, power-hungry, meglomaniac." Several articles, from CNN.com to the New York Times, have wondered whether Assange's legal problems and WikiLeaks' internal strife would kill the site. Perhaps reports of WikiLeaks' demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Last week's new release, which WikiLeaks is calling "The Spy Files," could mean that the site is far from doomed.
A few days before The Spy Files hit, on November 28, Assange addressed journalists at a News World Summit in Hong Kong via a video link from England. For at least 30 minutes he went on a rant criticizing Washington, mainstream media, banks and others, while accepting an award from a noted journalism group, the Walkley Foundation of Australia.
CNN.com was at the event.
Among other statements in his acceptance speech, Assange said a federal grand jury in Washington is investigating WikiLeaks and that people and companies around the world have been or are being coerced to testify against WikiLeaks. He accused banks of blockading WikiLeaks. He also said that journalists have become ladder climbers and must be held to greater account, and that there is a "new McCarthyism" in the United States. Assange vowed that WikiLeaks' next "battle" would be to make sure governments and corporations cannot use the Web as a surveillance tool.
WikiLeaks on Thursday released 287 documents of what it called “the Spy Files,” a trove of files exposing the reach of the global surveillance industry.
The documents - brochures, manuals, catalogs and other literature - offer a glimpse into the clandestine world of spying technology used by governments and the companies that supply them.
While some of the information was previously published in a Wall Street Journal piece about the burgeoning retail market for surveillance tools, Thursday's release in conjunction with six other organizations paints a composite of just how difficult it is for the world's citizens to truly protect their privacy.
The American soldier behind bars for more than 18 months, suspected of leaking classified documents to the WikiLeaks website, will go before a military panel on December 16, according to a U.S. military release.
The military made the announcement Monday afternoon regarding Pfc. Bradley Manning. The hearing will happen at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland. CNN.com placed a call to Manning's attorney, who was not immediately available for comment.
Manning is charged with aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, theft of property or records, transmitting defense information, fraud and related activity in connection with computers and violating Army regulations, according to the military.
If convicted of all charges, he would face life in prison and a dishonorable discharge.
In February, a friend of Manning's told reporters that the soldier, who was 23 when he was arrested in 2010, was deteriorating mentally and physically from his imprisonment. Manning was initially held at the Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia, but has since been transferred to the prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
Last month, WikiLeaks founder and editor Julian Assange was ordered extradited from England to Sweden to face charges related to a sex crime investigation unrelated to WikiLeaks. But Assange's extradition is significant in the WikiLeaks story because many say that if he is behind bars, WikiLeaks will not be able to continue.
WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange lost a court battle to stay in the United Kingdom Wednesday and will be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over sex charges, a court ruled.
Appeals court judges Lord Justice John Thomas and Justice Duncan Ouseley rejected all four of the arguments Assange's defense team used to fight the extradition.
They will hold another hearing later this month to determine whether he can appeal.
Assange, who has been under house arrest for nearly a year while waiting to find out the results, said Wednesday he will now consider his next steps.FULL STORY
Editor's note: iReporters all over the globe are showing us what Occupy Wall Street is like in their towns and cities through the Open Story: from the Aleutian Islands to Raleigh, North Carolina; from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Zadar, Croatia. Check out a map of the reports, videos and pictures here.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, which swept across the United States as thousands demanded that government institutions change to help fix a struggling economy, gained a major boost as the world began to come together in solidarity over shared economic frustrations.
As the sun rose on each country, one-by-one in the same way each stock market would open, protesters took to the streets. What began as a movement that was largely ignored by the mainstream media can't be dismissed anymore, not when thousands of people are sharing rally cries from Zucotti Park in New York to City Hall Square in Copenhagen, Denmark. Perhaps that's what organizers hoped for when they called the global day of protest "Solidarity Saturday."
But that global push may not end with the one day of solidarity. Some would say it has bolstered the ambitions and confidence of those who began Occupy Wall Street. It was a hint that, with the right support and organization, they can spread the message they've so desperately tried to get across: They want change, and they want it now. And even though the frustrations and complaints may differ from country to country, the theme remains that governments aren't handling economic crises properly.
The protests spread amid the growing financial troubles for several Western countries. Maybe that's why it's no surprise the global movement came during a G20 meeting of ministers and bankers in Paris. Finance ministers with the Group of 20 pledged Saturday to take "all necessary actions" to stabilize global markets and ensure that banks are capitalized.
Europeans turned out to protest amid debt troubles and austerity plans in Greece, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Germany. And in an increasingly intertwined global economy where Americans watch what happens in the Greek debt crisis, the world too is watching to see how the United States is handling its economic issues.
In the spirit of that solidarity, thousands stepped out to support the frustrations of the unemployed in the U.S. and, in some cases, to share their own grievances.
We're taking a look at scenes from across the world to find out more about the main frustrations being lodged and how the protests are drawing support from each other through the lenses of our reporters and iReporters around the world.
The movement gained traction in London especially because of the presence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Some Brits, who have not been shy to share their frustrations with their economic situation during riots months earlier, echoed American sentiments that governments need to focus not just on the rich but on the little man.
Amedeo d'Amore , an iReporter, was at a demonstration near St. Paul's Cathedral, where he said there were about 1,500 to 2,000 protesters along with a few hundred police officers.
"Essentially, they are very disappointed by the current economic system," he said. "From my understanding, they feel that governments have done too much to protect companies while doing very little to assist the average citizen."
WikiLeaks has released close to 800 secret military documents that reveal fascinating insights into al Qaeda and terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, including close-up photographs of detainees. One document reveals that a detainee threatened guards by saying he would fly airplanes into houses. Another said that Osama bin Laden was, at one point, in good health despite having only one kidney.
The Guantanamo document dump is only the latest in 2011 from WikiLeaks, which gained international prominence in 2010 when it leaked thousands of papers about the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. Late last year, WikiLeaks began publishing 251,287 leaked United States Embassy cables dating from 1966 to February 2011. The cables are still being slowly released. The content is so broad, and involves so many countries, there isn't room enough on this blog to adequately describe it. Need a WikiLeaks refresher? Watch this.
A few notable 2011 WikiLeaks revelations:
Tunisia - WikiLeaks released cables alleging the president of Tunisia's corruption and high spending. The documents painted a scathing portrait of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his relatives by describing them as a "quasi-mafia" that pushed businesses for a slice of any venture they were involved in.
Syria - In the past few days, Syria has erupted in violence, and witnesses tell CNN that authorities are going door to door shooting people. On April 19, the U.S. State Department denied it was seeking to undermine the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, despite the revelation in diplomatic cables unveiled by WikiLeaks that the U.S. is financing groups seeking to overthrow him.
Libya - Cables related to Libya were credited by some for helping fuel the fighting in the country. A cable described the town of Derna, Libya, as a "wellspring" of Libyan foreign fighters for al Qaeda in Iraq. They also revealed much about Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi's odd personal life, his penchant for hiring celebrities and his love of a good party.
Mexico - The U.S. ambassador to Mexico resigned after a January 2010 WikiLeaks leaked cable described the Mexican army as "slow" and "risk averse" and concluded that only 2% of people arrested in Ciudad Juarez, the most violent city in Mexico, were charged with a crime.
Bahrain - A cable showed the "deep suspicion" that Bahrain has for its Persian Gulf neighbor, Iran.
Iran - WikiLeaks exposed an alleged secret plot to assassinate an Iranian-American dissident.
Egypt - A cable revealed details about Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, Egypt's new deputy prime minister, as more details and images emerged from the country that experienced a historic revolution this year.
Turmoil in Libya – It's Day 10 of anti-government protests in Libya. There were bloody clashes Thursday between security forces and demonstrators in Zawiya, a town west of the capital, Tripoli. Seven people have died there, witnesses said. "Blood is all over the streets," a mother told CNN, saying her son had been shot. A witness said the violence began when people who support leader Moammar Gadhafi came into the city square and encountered those who are protesting his ouster.
Speaking by phone Thursday on state TV, Gadhafi blamed the country's violence on young people, who he said were taking drugs and being influenced by al Qaeda. Addressing the situation in Zawiya, he said, "We shouldn't leave (the town) without any control."
Lawyers for Julian Assange wrapped up their case against his extradition to Sweden on Tuesday and challenged a Swedish prosecutor to "come to London" to defend her handling of the sexual misconduct allegations facing the WikiLeaks founder.
"Today, we have seen a Hamlet without the princess - a prosecutor who has been ready to feed the media within information, but has been unwilling to come here," Assange attorney Mark Stephens told reporters outside a south London courtroom. Stephens called on Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny to attend the extradition hearing when it resumes Friday and "subject yourself to the cross-examination."
Assange has not been charged with a crime, but Swedish prosecutors want to question him in connection with sexual misconduct allegations related to separate incidents last August. Assange denies the accusations, and his attorneys are fighting his extradition on procedural and human-rights grounds.FULL STORY
Will Assange be extradited? – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange returns to court in London. He's fighting extradition to Sweden, where he's wanted for questioning in a sex crimes investigation. The 39-year-old Australian has repeatedly said he is innocent and is confident he will be exonerated. He has not been charged with a crime.
Assange's lawyers have said Swedish prosecutors are attempting to discredit him because of his work with WikiLeaks, which published reams of classified government intelligence last year. The attorneys speculated that if Assange were extradited, Sweden could hand him to the U.S., which could charge him with espionage, leading to his confinement in Guantanamo Bay prison and his execution. The proceeding in London should wrap up today.
Protesters in peril? – There have been no reports of gunfire in Cairo, Egypt, today, but Middle East expert Fouad Ajami cautions that that is no indication protesters are safe. He says this is the most dangerous phase of the conflict for protesters because many of their identities are known to security services. If President Hosni Mubarak's administration survives, people speaking against Mubarak could face severe consequences, he says. Ajami is a professor of Middle East studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, the White House's position toward Egypt appears to be changing, and details are surfacing of abuse that journalists have suffered while trying to cover the protests. See CNN.com's full coverage of the crisis.
Toyota report due – A report is expected today about the government's 10-month investigation into sudden acceleration problems in Toyota cars and trucks. The Department of Transportation and scientists from NASA conducted the study at the request of Congress, following a string of consumer claims that Toyota cars and SUVs accelerated out of control.
A two-day extradition hearing for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange opened Monday in a London court, where celebrities watched as Assange's lawyers argued against his transfer to Sweden.
Assange has not been charged with a crime, but Swedish prosecutors want to question him in connection with sexual misconduct allegations related to separate incidents last August.
His lawyers argue Assange could ultimately end up at Guantanamo Bay or be executed if he is extradited to Sweden, according to papers they released Monday.
While the sexual misconduct allegations are apparently unrelated to Assange's role as head of the WikiLeaks site, his lawyers say Sweden could send him to the United States to face espionage charges related to the site's disclosure of thousands of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents.FULL STORY
Two interesting posts popped up on the WikiLeaks site today. The first is the announcement of "The WikiLeaks Roundtable" on Tuesday, which would be the first of its "regular direct meetings with the public and press." WikiLeaks will take questions via Twitter (prefix "#wlquest" tag) and e-mail (email@example.com). The posting didn't explain who would be answering questions, or how much time would be available for the back-and-forth. But if you have a question, e-mails will be received until 6 p.m. GMT (1 p.m. ET) on Saturday. This first digital news conference of sorts will be videotaped, the posting promises, and broadcast at 11:30 a.m. GMT (6:30 a.m. ET) on Tuesday, according to the post.
The other posting on the WikiLeaks site that caught CNN.com's attention: "WikiLeaks is looking for the most reliable and trustworthy organisations to collaborate with on our upcoming releases. If you would like to register your interest please fill out the form below. Should an appropriate collaboration opportunity present itself we will be in touch. http://wikileaks.ch/Medias.html?nocache."
On Monday in London, a former Swiss bank executive gave WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange two discs with the names of prominent individuals and companies the executive says are involved in tax evasion and other crimes.
Rudolf Elmer would not say where he obtained the information or which banks were involved. The discs outline wrongdoing by several dozen politicians and "pillars of society," he said. His motivation? He wants to "educate our society," he said. "I know how the system works. ... It's damaging."
Elmer was fired in 2002 from the Julius Baer Group. He ran the bank's Cayman Islands office for eight years. On Wednesday, he will go to trial in Switzerland on charges that he stole bank information. Elmer was reportedly held for a month in 2005, accused of falsifying documents and threatening people at the bank, among other allegations.
Julius Baer released this statement about Elmer: "After his demands (including financial compensation) in connection with the dismissal could not be satisfied, Mr Elmer embarked in 2004 on a personal intimidation campaign and vendetta against Julius Baer. The aim of his activities was and is to discredit Julius Baer as well as clients in the eyes of the public."
In 2008, WikiLeaks published hundreds of pages of secret Julius Baer banking records.
In addition to Elmer, Assange is also facing charges. Assange's sex crime investigation continues to play out in Sweden as he remains out of jail on bail. Assange is due in court in London in early February.