The Kafkaesque Imperium: Julian Assange and the Second Superseding Indictment

The Kafkaesque Imperium has taken yet another absurd step towards mean absurdity with another superseding indictment against Julian Assange.  This move by the US Department of Justice seems to have surprised those involved in his extradition proceedings.  Mark Summers QC, one of the members of the Assange legal team, did not conceal his astonishment at the call over hearing at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court.  “We are surprised by the timing of this development.  We were surprised to hear about it in the press.”

What is baffling about this latest act of brutish pantomime is that the spruced up indictment does not contain new charges so much as added flesh.  WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson could only remark upon this fact with consternation.  We already know the sinister import of the charges, the lion’s share of 17 focused on alleged violations of the US Espionage Act, and one of conspiring to commit computer intrusion. US prosecutors evidently felt that the latter charge required bulking.

On June 24, the DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs made mention of a federal grand jury’s return of “a second superseding indictment […] charging Julian P. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, with offenses that relate to Assange’s alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.”  No additional counts are added, but the new document is not immaterial in what it builds upon.  It seeks to draw out the character of Assange as the enterprising “hacker” who also sought to recruit his fellow kind, a move that transparently seeks to undermine any journalistic or publisher credentials. It also casts a wider net against WikiLeaks, its associates and those who gave it a lending hand, while expanding the time line of alleged nefarious acts (no longer restricted to March 2010, it targets alleged activities between 2009 and 2015).  “According to the charging document, Assange and others at WikiLeaks recruited and agreed with hackers to commit computer intrusions to benefit WikiLeaks.”

The document makes mention, for instance, of Sarah Harrison, former spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and digital activist Jacob Appelbaum.  It also hones in on Assange on the conference circuit, noting how he, along with “a WikiLeaks associate”, participated at the “Hacking at Random” conference in the Netherlands.  Assange “sought to recruit those who had or could obtain authorized access to classified information and hackers to search for, steal, and send to WikiLeaks the items on the ‘Most Wanted Leaks’ list that was posted on WikiLeaks’s website.”

Assange is described as encourager and provocateur, suggesting to potential recruits that, “unless they were ‘a serving member of the United States military,’ they would have no legal liability for stealing classified information and giving it to WikiLeaks because ‘TOP SECRET’ meant nothing as a matter of law.”

This indictment does little to improve on previous defects.  As Kevin Gosztola writes in the indispensable Shadowproof, the DOJ draws heavily on statements from FBI informants, namely Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson and Hector Xavier Monsegur (“Sabu”) of the LulzSec hacker group.  Thordarson was fired from WikiLeaks in November 2011 after his embezzlement ventures amounting to $50,000 were discovered.  According to WikiLeaks, “In light of the relentless ongoing prosecution of US authorities against WikiLeaks, it is not surprising that the FBI would try to abuse this troubled young man and involve him in some manner in the attempt to prosecute WikiLeaks staff.”  The Bureau’s pieces of silver for Thordarson’s services amounted to $5,000.

Monsegur’s part in the whole business was, according to activist Jeremy Hammond and key figure in the hacking of the intelligence firm Stratfor, to entrap WikiLeaks in a cash-for-leaks scheme.  It was also Monsegur who gave the hacker collective AntiSec access to the company’s information trove.  Hammond was duly entrapped in transferring, without his knowledge, confidential data to an FBI server.  Monsegur’s rather smelly pride of place in the indictment is that of allegedly fielding requests from Assange “to look for (and provide to WikiLeaks) mail and documents, databases and pdfs.”

Another protagonist also makes an appearance in the prosecutorial show.  “To encourage leakers and hackers to provide stolen materials to WikiLeaks in the future, Assange and others at WikiLeaks openly displayed their attempts to assist [Edward] Snowden in evading arrest.”  Harrison, tagged “WLA-4”, is noted as assisting Snowden make his exit from Hong Kong to Moscow in 2013.  The assistance provided by WikiLeaks is deemed conspiratorial; vocalised support for Snowden given by Assange at the Chaos Computer Club conference on December 31, 2013, is trotted as an example of incitement to theft.

Gosztola notes the purposeful mutilations by the prosecutors regarding statements made by Assange regarding radical transparency.  Assange, for instance, is noted as claiming “that ‘the famous leaks that WikiLeaks has done or the recent Edward Snowden revelations’ showed that ‘it was possible now for even a single system administrator to…not merely wreck[] or disabl[e] [organizations]…but rather shift[] information from an information apartheid system…into the knowledge commons”.  The actual quote is more qualified in its philosophical belligerence, emphasising such liberated knowledge as “a disciplining force” and “constructive constraint” upon “those with extraordinary power and information” while also being “used to construct and understand the new world that we’re entering into.”

Assange’s stance on information, and his encouragement to the young to rush into the ranks of the Central Intelligence Agency, is taken as an exhortation of bad faith, encouraging the theft of classified information and the ruination of secrecy.  A better reading of this, urges Gosztola, is to see this as a call “to young people to help the public address a crisis of corruption in government by forcing transparency at a time when the government abuses the classified information system to conceal waste, fraud, abuse, and other illegal actions.”

The new indictment has made something of a mockery of the London extradition proceedings.  Judge Vanessa Baraitser conceded to being informed of the superseding document by email, but still awaits its official receipt.  Prosecution barrister Joel Smith merely remarked that both parties were still pouring over its contents and implications.  “If we need to involve the court … then we will inform the court at the appropriate time.”  Summers was less sanguine, suggesting that the expansive larding of the new indictment would affect future management hearings.  “This shows,” stated Hrafnsson, “how they are abusing due process in the UK and flaunting the legal system’s rules.”

During the hearing, Judge Baraitser was again her merry self, suggesting that Assange had no good reason to avoid attending the call-over session.  According to word from Belmarsh prison officials, he was refusing to attend for fear of contracting COVID-19, which was no reason at all.  Medical evidence had to be supplied for any absence at the next call-over session on July 27.  Another entry into the book of travesty that is this entire affair has been made.

Dissident Voice

Dear friends of this aggregator

  • Yes, I intentionally removed Newsbud from the aggregator on Mar 22.
  • Newsbud did not block the aggregator, although their editor blocked me on twitter after a comment I made to her
  • As far as I know, the only site that blocks this aggregator is Global Research. I have no idea why!!
  • Please stop recommending Newsbud and Global Research to be added to the aggregator.

Support this site

News Sources

Source Items
Please Stop the Ride 27
The Infectious Myth 27
Lockdown Skeptics 52
Sam Husseini 33
Dr. Andrew Kaufman 3
Swiss Propaganda Research 36
Off Guardian 145
Cory Morningstar 10
James Bovard 70
WWI Hidden History 51
Grayzone Project 453
Pass Blue 399
Dilyana Gaytandzhieva 17
John Pilger 426
The Real News 367
Scrutinised Minds 29
Need To Know News 3492
FEE 5505
Marine Le Pen 420
Francois Asselineau 25
Opassande 53
HAX on 5July 220
Henrik Alexandersson 1263
Mohamed Omar 404
Professors Blog 10
Arg Blatte Talar 40
Angry Foreigner 19
Fritte Fritzson 12
Teologiska rummet 36
Filosofiska rummet 148
Vetenskapsradion Historia 197
Snedtänkt (Kalle Lind) 265
Les Crises 4088
Richard Falk 226
Ian Sinclair 139
SpinWatch 61
Counter Currents 12764
Kafila 684
Gail Malone 45
Transnational Foundation 221
Rick Falkvinge 95
The Duran 11655
Vanessa Beeley 226
Nina Kouprianova 9
MintPress 6177
Paul Craig Roberts 2672
News Junkie Post 76
Nomi Prins 27
Kurt Nimmo 191
Strategic Culture 6340
Sir Ken Robinson 83
Stephan Kinsella 123
Liberty Blitzkrieg 889
Sami Bedouin 65
Consortium News 2685
21 Century Wire 4239
Burning Blogger 324
Stephen Gowans 103
David D. Friedman 174
Anarchist Standard 16
The BRICS Post 1543
Tom Dispatch 647
Levant Report 18
The Saker 5234
The Barnes Review 614
John Friend 538
Psyche Truth 160
Jonathan Cook 173
New Eastern Outlook 5008
School Sucks Project 1833
Giza Death Star 2221
Andrew Gavin Marshall 28
Red Ice Radio 699
GMWatch 2637
Robert Faurisson 150
Espionage History Archive 35
Jay's Analysis 1196
Le 4ème singe 91
Jacob Cohen 225
Agora Vox 20049
Cercle Des Volontaires 458
Panamza 2651
Fairewinds 122
Project Censored 1265
Spy Culture 631
Conspiracy Archive 85
Crystal Clark 19
Timothy Kelly 659
PINAC 1482
The Conscious Resistance 1095
Independent Science News 91
The Anti Media 6895
Positive News 820
Brandon Martinez 30
Steven Chovanec 61
Lionel 318
The Mind renewed 463
Natural Society 2627
Yanis Varoufakis 1166
Tragedy & Hope 122
Dr. Tim Ball 114
Web of Debt 168
Porkins Policy Review 459
Conspiracy Watch 174
Eva Bartlett 648
Libyan War Truth 381
DeadLine Live 1916
Kevin Ryan 69
Aaron Franz 275
Traces of Reality 166
Revelations Radio News 126
Dr. Bruce Levine 162
Peter B Collins 1822
Faux Capitalism 205
Dissident Voice 12183
Climate Audit 228
Donna Laframboise 521
Judith Curry 1201
Geneva Business Insider 40
Media Monarchy 2788
Syria Report 84
Human Rights Investigation 94
Intifada (Voice of Palestine) 1685
Down With Tyranny 13845
Laura Wells Solutions 51
Video Rebel's Blog 490
Revisionist Review 485
Aletho News 23268
ضد العولمة 27
Penny for your thoughts 3451
Northerntruthseeker 3024
كساريات 37
Color Revolutions and Geopolitics 27
Stop Nato 4917 Blog 3465 Original Content 7771
Corbett Report 2710
Stop Imperialism 491
Land Destroyer 1309
Webster Tarpley Website 1161

Compiled Feeds

Public Lists

Title Visibility
Funny Public