Posts Tagged ‘Wikileaks’

Remember, Remember

Friday, November 5th, 2021

Despite some rumours I wasn’t around to photograph Guy Fawkes as he made his way into Parliament, but I was there in 2012 when ‘Anonymous’ wearing Guy Fawkes masks popularised in the graphic novel and film ‘V for Vendetta’ chose November 5th 2012, Bonfire Night, for their “worldwide Anonymous operation of global strength and solidarity, a warning to all governments worldwide that if they keep trying to censor, cut, imprison, or silence the free world or the free internet they will not be our governments for much longer.”

I wrote a fairly long account of the night, or at least those parts I witnessed, on My London Diary at Anonymous March to Parliament where you can also see many more pictures, and I won’t repeat the details here, but it is worth restating the aims of the protest:

In the UK the protest called for an end to cuts in education, health and welfare and the end of ‘austerity measures’ that target the poor and vulnerable, calling on the government to tackle the causes of the problems, including the banks and tax avoidance and evasion. They also want freedom for the Internet, with respect for the privacy of Internet users and the dropping of the Communications Data Bill.

My account also mentions that:

Anonymous also asks for Internet activists who are held as political prisoners to be released, including Julian Assange currently still unable to leave a London embassy, Richard O’Dwyer, the “PayPal 14, Jeremy Hammond, Topiary and the 4 anons of the UK that will stand trial on November 7th.

Everyone will be aware of some of what is still now taking place over Assange, including a CIA plot to kidnap him from the Ecuadorian embassy, then the Ecuadorian government withdrawal of his immunity, calling in the police to remove him, since when he has been kept largely in isolation in the high-secuirty Belmarsh prison as the US authorites continue to press for his extradition. The US appeal last week against a previous court decision that he could not be extradited because of this mental health and the likelihood that he would commit suicide has been largely the subject of a news blackout by the British media.

But the other cases have probably faded from most of our memories – if we were ever aware of them, so here are some brief reminders with information from Wikimedia.

Richard O’Dwyer created a web search engine which linked to copyright infringing sites and was charged in New York with conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and criminal infringement of copyright. He fought against extradition, but after Theresa May as Home Secretary ruled he could be sent to the US to face charges in November 2012 signed a deferred prosecution agreement, paying a £20,000 fine for charges to be dropped.

The PayPal 14 were charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in July 2011 for attempted denial of service attacks on Paypal in 2010 after it refused to make payments to a Wikileaks account, in what they say as a digital ‘sit-in’. Most later pleaded guilty to misdemeanours to avoid more serious charges and were sentenced to probation with 13 sharing a fine of $6,615 each.

American activist and computer hacker Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to two years in hail for hacking a US pro-Iraq war group in 2005. In December 2011 he was involved in a hack of private intelligence firm Stratfor, which compromised 60,000 credit cards and downloaded 5 million emails, some later published by Wikileaks. Identifying himself as anarchist-communist he defended his actions saying “I did what I believe is right” and was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 10 years in jail. He was released under supervision in November 2020, having been kept in jail longer for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigation into Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

Topiary, British hacktivist Jake Davis, was a member of Anonymous and LulzSec, involved in various online attacks including defacing the goverment websites of Zimbabwe, Syria, Tunisia, Ireland, and Egypt as well as the Westboro Baptist Church. Then aged 18, he was arrested in 2011 at his home in the Shetlands and charged with offences including a conspiracy to launce a denial-of-service attack against the Serious Organised Crime Unit. Tried with three fellow hackers (I think probably the 4 anons of the UK referred to by Anon) in 2013 he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 24 months in a young offenders institute, with the 21 months he had been electronically tagged before the sentence being counted against it.

Anonymous hackers were also responsible for a number of successful attacks on child pornography sites, and actions against Scientology, a cult they saw was causing harm to many followers. They say “Distributed Denial of Service must be recognised as a legitimate form of protest, as long as an aim and reason has been specified by the protestors.

Anonymous March to Parliament


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Eight Years Ago… 27 July 2013

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

Eight years ago on Saturday 27th July 2013 my working day began with the Rev Billy on a small green space on Victoria Street preparing the Stop Shopping Choir and volunteers for a “radicalized midsummer cloud forest dream” performance against the support given to fossil fuels and climate chaos by the banks and the City of London.

I’m not sure what staff and customers at the HSBC close to Victoria station made of the event, which pointed out that in the two previous years the top five UK banks raised £170 billion for fossil fuel companies, with HSBC in the lead. The Golden Toad costumes were for the Central American species forced into extinction by climate change in the 1980’s and recent weather events have now forced even the more sceptic to take the crisis seriously, even if so far to take little actual action.

After the performance in the bank, and as police began to arrive the group made their way to a wide area of pavement outside and staged another performance watched by pedestrians in the busy street close to the station, before leaving to celebrate in a nearby café.

I left to go to Trafalgar Square where as a part of an international day of action the Bradley Manning Support Network held a vigil at St Martin-in-the-Fields. The ‘gay whistleblower’, now Chelsea Manning, was being celebrated in countries across the world for passing documents to WikiLeaks which exposed a great deal of illegal and immoral actions by the US and other governments and had recently been awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Prize and was then on trail in Fort Meade. She was later sentenced to 35 years in a maximum security jail, but this was commuted to around seven years by President Obama and she was released in 2017.

From there I made my way to the US Embassy, then still in Grosvenor Square, for a rally before the start of march organised by BARAC against Global Racism and Injustice in solidarity with families of Trayvon Martin, Stephen Lawrence, Azelle Rodney, Jimmy Mubenga and many others, aimed a highlighting the reality of racism and demanding justice, both in the UK and US.

Although the march had been prompted by the acquittal in Florida of the murderer of Trayvon Martin which had led to a global outcry, the emphasis of the speeches at the Embassy was very much on events here in the UK. In his speech Lee Jasper of BARAC after mentioning the Martin case went on to say:

“We march to support the call from the Lawrence family for a full and independent judicial led public inquiry into the allegations that the Metropolitan Police sought to smear both the family and supporters through a covert police surveillance unit.”

“We march for Jimmy Mubenga, Mark Duggan, Kingsley Burrell, Smiley Culture and Azelle Rodney. We march for justice and equality in the 50th anniversary year of Dr Martin Luther King’s 1968 March on Washington. The truth is that his dream is a threadbare vision here in the UK where racism is on the rise amplified by austerity.”

My London Diary

After an hour or so of speeches the marchers left to march to a further rally at Downing St, but I left them as they went down Oxford St.

Against Global Racism and Injustice
Free Bradley Manning Vigil
Rev Billy at HSBC


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Assange

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Wikileaks has released an enormous amount of information which has enabled us to see more clearly how the world really works, rather than how those in power would like us to think it works, revealing many deceptions and cover-ups. That many of those have revealed the crimes of the US military and other agencies is perhaps hardly surprising given that the US is the dominant country in the world, and certainly one that has engaged most in so many dubious military and other interventions around the world, particularly in the Middle East and Latin America.

So of course the US is out to get Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, and would like to lock him away for life (or in some way bring it to a premature end) and it is only surprising that they have not yet manage to do so. Perhaps one day Wikileaks will publish evidence of their planning against him.

What is shameful has been the willingness of othe Sweden and the UK to collude with the US over this, with court cases that resulted in Assange jumping bail and taking refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London – and then following a change of government to one more favourable to US interests (and the leaking not by Wikileaks and possibly by a US agency of material linking the Ecuadorean president with a corruption scandal) in his arrest there by UK police, and the treatment he has received in a British prison, serving 50 weeks for skipping bail and under threat of extradition to the US.

Wikipedia reports that in February 2016 the

” UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Assange had been subject to arbitrary detention by the UK and Swedish Governments since 7 December 2010, including his time in prison, on conditional bail and in the Ecuadorian embassy. According to the group, Assange should be allowed to walk free and be given compensation.”

The article also quotes Nils Melzer, UN special rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  who visited Assange in May 2019 and stated  “in addition to physical ailments, Mr Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma” and later criticised Sweden, Ecuador, Britain and the US for their bias and abuse of their legal systems to “make an example of Mr Assange before the eyes of the world.” 

Here in the UK, apart from the normal right-wing bias of most of our press, there has also been a campaign against him because of the allegations of sexual misconduct made against him in Sweden, which have been widely misrepresented, including by some on the left who should know better.

I’ve hardly met the man, exchanging just a few words with him before he spoke in Trafalgar Square, and I didn’t warm to him, but still admire much of the work that he and Wikileaks have done and feel he has been very badly treated by the British government and establishment manipulation of our judicial system. So I was pleased to be able to photograph this protest in Parliament Square. And yes, we should free Assange and either allow him to stay here or travel to a country of his own choosing.

Free Julian Assange


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