Federal Election – 7th September, 2013


It would be nice to have Free Speech, Rupert Murdoch:

Wait a minute

As quoted on Youtube:

The TV networks appear to be allowing Rupert Murdoch to again manipulate how people think and vote as he allegedly has an agenda.

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Julian Assange- Four Corners opens a can of worms


Monday 23rd July 2012

When Julian Assange arrived in Sweden in August 2010 he was greeted like a conquering hero. But within weeks there was a warrant out for his arrest and he was being investigated for rape and sexual molestation. Today he is taking sanctuary in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, arguing he won’t receive justice if he’s taken to Sweden and that US authorities are building a case for his extradition.

Julian-Assange

Is a man like Julian Assange be treated fairly in the legal system?

Next, Four Corners reporter Andrew Fowler examines in detail what happened in those crucial weeks while Julian Assange was in Sweden. What was the nature of his relationship with the two women who claim he assaulted them? And what did they tell police that led the authorities to seek his arrest?

I will not tell any media how I am going to represent the women in court.” Lawyer for Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilén

Both Assange and his supporters believe the attempt by authorities to force his return to Sweden is simply the first step in a plan to see him extradited to the United States.

Sweden has frankly always been the United States’ lapdog and it’s not a matter we’re particularly proud of.” Assange supporter

The US has nothing to do with the issue here, it’s simply a matter between the UK and Sweden.” Jeffrey L. Bleich, US Ambassador to Australia

Four Corners looks at claims the United States is working hard to unearth evidence that would lead to a charge of “conspiracy to commit espionage” being made against Assange – which in turn would be used in his extradition from Sweden. The program also documents the harassment experienced by Assange’s supporters across the globe – including his Australian lawyer – and the FBI’s attempts to convince some to give evidence against him.

“Sex, Lies and Julian Assange”, reported by Andrew Fowler and presented by Kerry O’Brien, goes to air on Monday 23rd July at 8.30pm on ABC1. It is replayed on Tuesday 24th July at 11.35pm. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 at 8.00pm Saturday, ABC iview and at 4 Corners.

Transcript

Sex, Lies, and Julian Assange – Monday 23 July 2012

KERRY O’BRIEN, PRESENTER: He humiliated the most powerful country in the world. But his relationship with two Swedish women, and their claims of sexual assault, may yet destroy Julian Assange.

PER E. SAMUELSON, SWEDISH DEFENCE LAWYER FOR ASSANGE: You shouldn’t write such text messages if you had been raped by that person the night before.

CLAES BORGSTROM, LAWYER FOR ANNA ARDIN & SOFIA WILEN: I will not tell any media of how I am going to represent the women in court. I’m sorry.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Sex, lies, the Swedish justice system, the founder of WikiLeaks – and, somewhere in the background, an angry and embarrassed US government. A tangled web indeed. Welcome to Four Corners.

Julian Assange may have suspended his fate at the hands of a Swedish court by claiming political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, but the Swedes are not going away anytime soon. Nor are the British police, who are waiting to arrest him and extradite him to Stockholm the minute he attempts to leave his temporary sanctuary. Assange’s troubles in Sweden go back almost exactly two years. The first sensational intelligence of diplomatic leaks had already hit the public domain. In the American government’s eyes, Assange had become public enemy number one. But for many others around the world, he was a cause célèbre. But for all their power and influence in the world, they had seemed impotent to stop the leaks, or somehow make Assange pay for what they saw as espionage.

When it emerged that two young Swedish women were pressing charges against him, alleging rape and molestation in somewhat curious circumstances, an extradition proceedings began in the British courts, Assange alleged that America was somehow manipulating the whole process behind the scene, in order to in turn extradite him back to the US to face the judicial music there.

On the assumption that Assange can’t wait in his Ecuadorian sanctuary forever, and while we await the outcome of that standoff, Four Corners has gone back to Sweden, where the drama began, to pin down what actually happened there, and take a closer look at the inconsistencies in the various versions of events. Here is Andrew Fowler’s report.

ANDREW FOWLER, REPORTER: In late 2009 WikiLeaks set up home in the Iceland capital of Reykjavik. It was a perfect fit. Iceland has world class internet. Its constitution forbids censorship. Julian Assange was made welcome. It was here that Assange received the first leaked cable of the now famous Cablegate documents. It centred on the US embassy in Reykjavik. Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic MP was working with WikiLeaks. She received an invitation to a cocktail party at the Embassy

BIRGITTA JONSDOTTIR, MP, ICELAND: Cocktail parties are mind-numbingly boring, and I only go if I have a reason. So I actually decided… I thought it was sort of funny and I’m a bit of a prankster sometimes, so I decided it would be quite funny for me to go with one of the WikiLeaks people to the Embassy.

ANDREW FOWLER: She invited Julian Assange, but on the day of the cocktail party she couldn’t find him. Birgitta Jonsdottir decided not to go, but Assange did.

In a moment of monumental chutzpah Julian Assange inveigled his way into the cocktail party here at the US embassy. He struck up a conversation with US diplomat Sam Watson. Several weeks later Assange published confidential cables authored by the very same diplomat. Now Sam Watson hadn’t leaked and neither had any of the other US Embassy staff. Nonetheless, there was a massive internal investigation.

BIRGITTA JONSDOTTIR: I think that many people thought that he had actually gone in and mysteriously sucked out the cables with some spy device or something.

ANDREW FOWLER: Once the document came out, it was convenient to say it might have come from the Embassy?

BIRGITTA JONSDOTTIR: Of course, yeah.

ANDREW FOWLER: Which would have driven the United States intelligence agencies crazy trying to find out where this leak came from?

BIRGITTA JONSDOTTIR: Yes. Well you know, they all need to have a reason to earn their bread.

ANDREW FOWLER: It was the first act of humiliation by WikiLeaks of the world’s greatest superpower, but it was nothing compared to what was to come: Collateral Murder; the gunning down of unarmed civilians in a Baghdad street; and the Afghan War Logs. Eight months after his taunting of the US in Iceland, Assange landed in Sweden. He was now a cyber-celebrity.

THOMAS MATTSSON, EDITOR, EXPRESSEN NEWSPAPER: I would say he was… it was a like a pop star, ah, arriving in Sweden. He made public appearances and many media companies wanted to, to talk about… talk with him about eventual co-operation with WikiLeaks.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange had come to Sweden to speak at a conference, but he was also there for more intriguing reasons – to negotiate the use of a former underground nuclear fall-out shelter that stores Internet servers. It would provide first class security against the prying eyes and ears of the world’s intelligence agencies. The bomb shelter houses the computer hardware of Rick Falkvinge’s Swedish Pirate Party.

RICK FALKVINGE, SWEDISH PIRATE PARTY: We contacted them first, as in just offering server space – right?

ANDREW FOWLER: It might sound like a whacky organisation, but in Sweden it’s taken seriously enough to have a member in the European Parliament. The Party’s close to WikiLeaks.

RICK FALKVINGE: So we knew about them, they knew about us. We saw they were in trouble and we said, “Hey guys we might be able to help you out here.”

ANDREW FOWLER: Falkvinge offered WikiLeaks some space in the bunker.

RICK FALKVINGE: It’s an amazing place, to be honest. But, yeah, that’s where we offered them hosting space. I don’t know how they’re using it. I shouldn’t know how they’re using it. That would interfere with my interests. But I understand it got quite some attention worldwide that WikiLeaks is now hosted in a nuclear bomb-proof fallout shelter.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange was on a roll. Stockholm August 16th, 2010. Julian Assange caught a train from the central station. All the years of hard work were finally paying dividends for Julian Assange. Collateral Murder had been released, so too had the Afghan War Logs. But what would happen in the next few days would derail the WikiLeaks juggernaut.

Assange was not travelling alone. His companion was Sofia Wilen, a 26-year-old admirer. As Assange and Wilen left the train to spend the night together, they could have no idea of the repercussions that would flow from their one night stand. Assange’s life would later descend into turmoil.

Two days earlier, the faithful and adoring had gathered at the L.O. building – Stockholm’s Trade Union Headquarters. In the audience were two women: Sofia Wilen – in the pink cashmere sweater – and Anna Ardin. Assange was staying at Ardin’s flat. They’d slept together the previous night. Later she would tell a friend she had a “wild weekend” with Assange.

Sofia Wilen was enthralled by the Assange phenomena – she texted during his talk, “He looked at me!”

PER E. SAMUELSON: He came to Sweden on the 11th of August 2010, and he had this apartment where one of these women lived. She was supposed to be away so he could stay there, but she came home on the that Friday night – 13th of August – and then they had co…sensual sex and he continued to stay in that apartment until the 18th of August. But in the meantime he made acquaintance with the other woman, and and one night he travelled to her town in Sweden and they had co-co-co…

ANDREW FOWLER: Consensual.

PER E. SAMUELSON: Consensual sex.

ANDREW FOWLER: The sex with Sofia Wilen in her apartment might have been consensual, but critically there was a question over whether Assange had used a condom. The next day, Assange caught the train back to Stockholm. Wilen stayed at home, worried about the possibility of an STD infection. She later rang Anna Ardin, Assange’s lover of the previous week.

PER E. SAMUELSON: Somehow the two women started to exchange text messages which… with each other and started to discuss what had happened, and they ended up at the police station, but they did not file any charges against Julian.

ANDREW FOWLER: Ardin and Wilen went to Central Stockholm’s Klara police station to see if they could compel Assange to take an STD test should he refuse.

PER E. SAMUELSON: But the police interpreted what one of the girls said as some sort of sex crime having been committed and that resulted in a prosecutor the same night issuing a warrant of arrest for Julian.

ANDREW FOWLER: It would become a tabloid journalist’s dream: sex, politics and international intrigue.

(to Thomas Mattson) How big a story has the Assange case been here?

THOMAS MATTSON: The Assange story has been huge, of course…

ANDREW FOWLER: Thomas Mattson is the Editor of Expressen.

THOMAS MATTSON: The story has so many aspects. You have the political question whether this is a case created to damage WikiLeaks…

ANDREW FOWLER: At the time though, Mattson thought it was little more than salacious scandal.

THOMAS MATTSSON: I think that many people… in the beginning, people were, like, shaking their heads, thinking that if you are innocent, well in that case, this is, cannot be a problem. Just show up, say that you’re innocent and you will most probably be cleared, if that’s the case.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange in fact did go to the Swedish Police ten days after the first allegations were made. He was interviewed but not charged with any offence, and he was free to leave the country while the inquiry continued.

PER E. SAMUELSON: In mid-September he got a message from his then-lawyer, but the prosecutor did not want him and… that he was… for an interview, and that he was free to leave Sweden, and under that assumption he left Sweden in the afternoon of the 27th of September in good faith that he had sought for and got approval from the prosecutor to leave the country.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange made his way to London, holing up at the Frontline Club for journalists. He had unfinished business with America.

JULIAN ASSANGE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, WIKILEAKS (October, 2010): This disclosure is about the truth.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange was at his peak, working with some of the most prestigious and influential media outlets in the world – including the Guardian and New York Times. But ominously, 12 days after giving Assange clearance to leave the country, the Swedes issued a warrant for his arrest. Three weeks later WikiLeaks launched the third big hit against America: The Iraq War Logs.

Then the Swedish prosecutor upped the ante – with Assange now working on the biggest and most sensitive cache of US cables yet, Sweden issued an Interpol Red Notice for his arrest.

JENNIFER ROBINSON, UK LEGAL ADVISOR TO ASSANGE: You only need to look at the way that Red Notices are used around the world. Red Notices are normally the preserve of terrorists and dictators. The president of Syria does not have a Red Notice alert. Gaddafi in Libya, at the same time Julian’s arrest warrant was issued, was not subject to a Red Notice but an Orange Notice. It was an incredibly… it was incredibly unusual that a red notice would be sought for an allegation of this kind.

ANDREW FOWLER: The timing of the Red Notice could not have been worse. US Army soldier Bradley Manning had allegedly leaked WikiLeaks more than a quarter of a million classified documents, and Julian Assange was anxious to get them out. They became known as Cablegate.

JULIAN ASSANGE (September 2012): There are so many thousands of stories that have come from that and have influenced elections and have been involved in the course of revolutions.

HILLARY CLINTON, US SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States strongly condemns the illegal disclosure of classified information. It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens out national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems.

ANDREW FOWLER: An outraged Washington set up a crack team of Pentagon investigators to take on WikiLeaks. It even launched a legally questionable financial blockade to starve WikiLeaks of funds. For America, Cablegate was the final straw. Some even wanted Assange dead.

(Excerpt from Fox News, December, 2010)

FOX PANELLIST: This guy’s a traitor, a treasonous, and, and he’s broken every law of the United States, the guy ought to be… and I’m not for the death penalty, so if I’m not for the death penalty there’s only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son-of-a-bitch.

FOX PRESENTER: Paul what about it?

FOX PANELLIST II: This little punk… now I stand up for Obama. Obama, if you’re listening today you should take this guy out, have the CIA take him out.

(End of excerpt)

ANDREW FOWLER: If Assange was looking for support from home, he didn’t get it.

JULIA GILLARD, AUSTRALIAN PM (December 2010): I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the WikiLeaks website. It is a grossly irresponsible thing to do – and, an illegal thing to do.

ANDREW FOWLER: The then-Attorney-General threatened to revoke his Australian passport. It was only because the Federal Police believed that Assange’s passport was the best way to track him that he kept it.

JULIAN ASSANGE (September 2012): Well the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General are US lackeys. I mean, it’s a simple as that. They had a whole of government task force involving every intelligence agency and the Australian Federal Police and the Department of Defence and him trying to work out how to deal with WikiLeaks and me personally.

ANDREW FOWLER: Though the task force found that Assange had broken no law, his more immediate worry was that his extradition to Sweden would be a backdoor to onward extradition to the United States.

For more than 500 days Julian Assange and his legal team fought his extradition. Through the magistrates courts to the High Court and on to the Supreme Court, the most powerful court in the land. But on June the 14th Julian Assange lost his final appeal. The Supreme Court ruled he’d have to be extradited. Five days later, Assange fled to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

Last month, we managed a brief phone call from a London hotel with Assange in the embassy.

(on phone to Julian Assange) Ok, hang on, I’m just going to put the speaker phone on, one second, sorry…

He revealed why he was seeking political asylum.

JULIAN ASSANGE (on phone): Yes, there are a number of dramatic events that occurred just beforehand. First of all, the Swedish government publicly announced that it would detain me without charge in prison under severe conditions. On the same evening, the UK government security contractors that maintained the electronic manacle around my leg turned up unannounced at 10.30pm and insisted on fitting another manacle to my leg, saying that this was part of routine maintenance – which did not sound to be credible.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange sensed that the net was tightening around him.

JULIAN ASSANGE (on phone): Then the next day, the Crown Prosecution Service, acting we believe on behalf of the Swedish government, requested that the 14 days that I had to apply to the European Court of Human Rights, be reduced to zero.

Assange is safe all the time he remains inside the embassy. But once he steps out, it’s almost certain he’ll be arrested and extradited to Sweden.

PER E. SAMUELSON: The minute he hits Swedish soil he will be arrested. He will be brought to a custody jail. He will be kept there in isolation for four days. He can only meet with me and my co-lawyer. On the fourth day he will be brought into a courtroom in handcuffs in front of a custody judge, and they will decide whether he will be kept in custody up until the final court case is tried, or if we if he will be released. I will try to get him released of course. But at least four days in Sweden in Swedish prison is… we can’t avoid that.

ANDREW FOWLER: At the heart of the matter is whether the Swedish judicial authorities will treat him fairly. Certainly, events so far provide a disturbing picture of Swedish justice. Using facts agreed between the defence and prosecution and other verified information, we have pieced together what happened during those crucial three weeks in August.

On August 11th, 2010, Assange arrived in Sweden to attend a conference organised by the Swedish Brotherhood – a branch of the Social Democratic Party. He was offered Anna Ardin’s apartment while she was away, but Ardin returned home a day early on Friday the 13th. She invited Assange to stay the night, and they had sex. She would later tell police Assange had violently pinned her down and ignored her requests to use a condom. Assange denies this.

The following day, Assange addressed the conference with Ardin at his side. Later that afternoon Ardin organised the Swedish equivalent of a top-notch barbeque – a Crayfish Party. She posted a Twitter message. “Julian wants to go to a crayfish party. Anyone have a couple of available seats tonight or tomorrow?”

The crayfish party was held that night in a court yard off her apartment. It went on until the early hours of the morning. Ardin tweeted at 2am: “Sitting outdoors at 02:00 and hardly freezing with the world’s coolest, smartest people! It’s amazing!”

A guest at the party would later tell Swedish Police the event was a very hearty evening. When he offered to put Assange up at his apartment, Ardin replied, “He can stay with me.”

In the past 24 hours, Ardin had worked closely with Assange, had sex with him, organised a crayfish party on his behalf – and, according to one witness, turned down alternate accommodation for him. It is during this same period that police will later investigate whether Assange coerced and sexually molested Anna Ardin.

PER E. SAMUELSON: Well, if you send text messages like that, “I’ve just spent some time with the coolest people in the world”, the night after you then say you were raped – I mean you shouldn’t write such text messages if you had been raped by that person the night before.

ANDREW FOWLER: Your client described Julian Assange as a “cool man”. I think, one of the “coolest men in the world” that she’d had in her bed.

CLAES BORGSTROM: I will argue in court. I have of course arguments concerning exactly what you’re talking about now, but I will not tell any media of how I am going to represent the women in in court. I’m sorry.

ANDREW FOWLER: But can you see how that looks as though…

CLAES BORGSTROM: Yes, of course I can.

ANDREW FOWLER: …it’s a fit up. It looks as though they are in fact setting him up.

CLAES BORGSTROM: I’m quite aware of that.

ANDREW FOWLER: Sunday August 15th – the next day. Assange attended a dinner party at Stockholm’s Glenfiddich restaurant, organised by pirate party founder Rick Falkvinge.

RICK FALKVINGE: I think a lot of people at the… at the table had meatballs. I think Julian might have been one of them. Now, Swedish meatballs that, that’s a little bit like mum’s apple pie in Sweden – as in, you can call my wife ugly, you can kick my dog, but the instant you say something bad about my mother’s meatballs I’m going to take it personal.

ANDREW FOWLER: Also at the dinner was Anna Ardin.

(to Rick Falkvinge) So, just to get this straight: Julian Assange arrived with Anna Ardin and he left with Anna Ardin.

RICK FALKVINGE: Yep.

ANDREW FOWLER: What was their behaviour like towards each other?

RICK FALKVINGE: Well, I was discussing mainly with Julian and the… again I can’t go into too much detail here, but it was at least a very professional dinner. There were two high level organisations, both intent on changing the world behaving professionally.

ANDREW FOWLER: The fact that Anna Ardin accompanied Julian Assange through this dinner and left with him – what does that say to you?

RICK FALKVINGE: Well that’s going into speculating on merits of extradition, and I can’t really do that. I think that be… you’re presenting an objective fact, as did I, and if people want to read something into that that’s obviously ripe for doing so, but I can’t spell it out.

ANDREW FOWLER: Four Corners has obtained a photograph, lodged with police investigators, from that evening. Anna Ardin is on the left. Afterwards, Assange would again spend the night at her apartment.

The following day, August the 16th, Assange had sex with Sophia Wilen at her apartment. According to police records, Ardin was aware that he had slept with Sophia. A witness told police he contacted Anna Ardin looking for Assange. She texted back: “He’s not here. He’s planned to have sex with the cashmere girl every evening, but not made it. Maybe he finally found time yesterday?” That same day, the witness asked Ardin, “Is it cool he’s living there? Do you want, like, for me to fix something else?” According to the witness she replied: “He doesn’t, like, sleep at nights so that’s a bit difficult. So he has a bit of difficulty taking care of his hygiene. But it’s ok if he lives with me, it’s no problem.”

Three days later on August 20th, Wilen, accompanied by Ardin went to the Klara police station in central Stockholm to seek advice about whether Assange could be forced to take an STD test. Ardin had gone along primarily to support Wilen. Sometime during Wilen’s questioning the police announced to Ardin and Wilen that Assange was to be arrested and questioned about possible rape and molestation. Wilen became so distraught she refused to give any more testimony and refused to sign what had been taken down.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: The circumstances leading up to the issue of the arrest warrant gave cause for grave concern for Julian about the procedures that were adopted in the investigation. We have to remember that when the announcement was put out that he would be subject to a warrant, one of the complainants was upset by that, and later said that she felt railroaded by the police.

KARIN ROSANDER, SWEDISH PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE: Well what happened is what was that the duty prosecutor got a phone call from the police and the duty prosecutor decided that he should be arrested.

ANDREW FOWLER: And what happened?

KARIN ROSANDER: He was arrested in his absence, but he… they never got in… got in contact with him so, but he was arrested in his absence. It’s a technical… technical thing in Sweden, Swedish law, yeah.

ANDREW FOWLER: The Prosecutor’s Office might not have contacted Assange but within hours they let the whole of Sweden know what was going on – leaking to the Expressen Tabloid the statements of Ardin and Wilen. The newspaper front page read: “Assange hunted for rape in Sweden”.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: Julian wakes up the following morning to read the newspapers to hear that he’s wanted for double rape and he’s absolutely shocked.

THOMAS MATTSSON: Two of our reporters had information about Julian Assange, and we also had a confirmation from the prosecutor which confirmed on record that there was a police investigation against Julian Assange.

ANDREW FOWLER: It was now the case took a strange twist. Within 24 hours, a more senior prosecutor dismissed the rape allegations, leaving only the lesser accusation of molestation. Assange willingly went to the police on August 30th and made a statement.

During the interview he expressed his fears that anything he said would end up in the tabloid newspaper Expressen. The interviewing police officer said: “I’m not going to leak anything.” The interview was leaked.

PER E. SAMUELSON: Why did you leak his name to a tabloid paper? How… how can you drop the case and reopen the case and how can you… how can you not say that he waited for five weeks in Sweden voluntarily to participate in the investigation? Why do you have to arrest him? Why do you have to keep him in handcuffs? Why can’t you conduct this in a proper manner? The rest of the world sees it, but Sweden unfortunately doesn’t.

ANDREW FOWLER: It is perhaps understandable that Assange had doubts he would receive fair treatment from the Swedish authorities. On September 15th, the prosecutor told Assange he was permitted to leave Sweden. Assange, back in England, would later offer to return within a month. The Swedish Authorities said too late – a second warrant had already been issued for his arrest.

ANDREW FOWLER: He says that he left the country and then was prepared to come back at any time. Is that your understanding?

CLAES BORGSTROM: I don’t believe that.

ANDREW FOWLER: He says that he was prepared to come back in October but the prosecutor wanted him back earlier.

CLAES BORGSTROM: I don’t know. I don’t believe he wanted to he was he wanted to come freely back to Sweden. I don’t think so.

ANDREW FOWLER: Can you understand that the Australian people may not understand how somebody can be accused in their absence when they haven’t even been interviewed, then have that rape case dropped, the arrest warrant removed and then have it re-instituted, all in the space of a few days?

KARIN ROSANDER: Yeah I can very well understand the confusion and, and, I… that is very difficult to understand, well, exactly how it works.

ANDREW FOWLER: Well you call it confusing, it’s… it may be slightly more than that.

KARIN ROSANDER: Well that’s the way it works here in Sweden so, well… but I can understand the confusion, definitely.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange, still hunkered down in the London embassy, has no doubt what his fate will be if he is extradited.

JULIAN ASSANGE (on phone): If I was suddenly taken to Sweden, I would not be in a position to apply for political asylum in relation to United States. it would be the end of the road. I would just be taken from one jail to another.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: the US has said specifically, the US ambassador to London said, they would wait to see what happened in Sweden. And so we are very concerned about the prospect that once matters are resolved in Sweden, he will… there will be an extradition request from there and he will not be able to travel home to Australia and will have to fight extradition in the Swedish court.

ANDREW FOWLER: The US Ambassador to Australia suggests that Washington isn’t interested in the Swedish extradition.

JEFFREY L. BLEICH, US AMBASSADOR TO AUSTRALIA (May 2012): It’s not something that the US cares about, it’s not interested in it, it hasn’t been involved in it – and frankly, if he’s in Sweden, there’s a less robust extradition relationship than there is between the US and the UK, so I think it’s one of those narratives that has been made up – there’s nothing to it.

MICHAEL RATNER, US LAWYER ASSANGE: That’s diplomatic speak. That doesn’t mean anything. Their last statement three days ago by their spokesperson Linn Boyd says we are continuing our investigation of WikiLeaks. So you can’t accept those words.

ANDREW FOWLER: Michael Ratner, Assange’s New York lawyer, believes there’s an easy solution to the issue.

MICHAEL RATNER: If they flatly said, “We do not… we will not prosecute Julian Assange” that would be a very different kind of statement – and… and they, in my view, is they should that I think they should say it, one, because then Julian Assange could leave the Ecuadorian Embassy, go to Sweden, deal with Sweden and continue on with his life.

ANDREW FOWLER: But Ratner thinks that’s not what the United States wants. He’s convinced a Grand Jury is investigating WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Four Corners has obtained a copy of a subpoena from a Grand Jury which is examining evidence for possible charges relating to “conspiracy to communicate or transmit national defence information” and obtaining “information protected from disclosure from national defence”. Critically the subpoena contains the identifying codes “10″ and “3793′.

MICHAEL RATNER: There’s a Grand Jury currently sitting in Alexandria Virginia and the Grand Jury’s number – and it’s interesting the Grand Jury’s number is 10 standing for the year it began, GJ which is Grand Jury and then 3793. Three is the Conspiracy Statute in the United States. 793 is the Espionage Statute. So what they’re investigating is 3793: conspiracy to commit espionage.

ANDREW FOWLER: Certainly, anyone associated with Assange is feeling the heat of the US authorities. Icelandic activist, Smari McCarthy, worked on the Collateral Murder video. We caught up with him at a Reykjavik hotel.

ANDREW FOWLER: So what is it about WikiLeaks that changed everything?

SMARI MCCARTHY, ICELAND MODERN MEDIA INITIATIVE: It industrialised the process of leaking.

ANDREW FOWLER: McCarthy flew into Washington earlier this year to attend a conference. Security officials had him in their sights the moment he stepped off the plane.

SMARI MCCARTHY: When I get out through the doorway there’s two bordering customs control officers. One of them takes a look at my passport, says, “Yes this is the guy”, and they walk with me away.

ANDREW FOWLER: McCarthy was questioned for several minutes about the reason for his trip, before the border guards got to the point.

SMARI MCCARTHY: And then about, like, in the last couple of minutes they say, “Well you know we’re actually asking you these question is because we know you’re related to WikiLeaks”, and I say, “Well I was, but I’m no longer”. And they ask, like, “So you’re not in contact with Julian Assange?” And I say, “No, I have no contact with Julian”, and they’re like, “Oh, okay”, and basically let me out. I’m on my way.

ANDREW FOWLER: But it wasn’t the last McCarthy would see of the FBI. After the conference McCarthy had a drink with friends before heading to the Washington Metro. He missed the last train. As he walked out of the Archives Station two men confronted him.

SMARI MCCARTHY: Two guys come up to me and address me by name, and say that they’re FBI agents, and, “We’d like to ask you some questions”, and I say to them, “Well I’ve had some beers and I don’t have lawyers, so no, I’m not going to answer any questions”. They nevertheless give me a piece of paper with a phone number and an email address. This was not a business card, this was a piece of paper. This was just a kind of a card file thing, but it was handwritten and the email address was not at FBI.gov as you would expect from FBI agents.

ANDREW FOWLER: Just why they wouldn’t give an FBI email address puzzled McCarthy .

SMARI MCCARTHY: They say, “Well, they contain our full names”, and I said, “Why is that a problem?” “Well we’re afraid that if our full names… if we give you our full names, then there will be retaliation against us personally from Anonymous.”

ANDREW FOWLER: The two men seemed worried he might be a member of the cyber-hacker group Anonymous which had worked with WikiLeaks.

SMARI MCCARTHY: And I said, “Who the hell do you think I am? I’m not like the grand master of Anonymous. There’s no… I don’t even know anybody in Anonymous,” right?

ANDREW FOWLER: McCarthy’s experience could be dismissed as an oddity, but in the backstreets of Paris we found someone with a very similar story. Jérémie Zimmermann heads up an Internet activist group. He’s a WikiLeaks supporter.

JÉRÉMIE ZIMMERMANN, INTERNET LIBERTY: I’m a friend with Julian. I think he’s a he’s a very intelligent and and very witty person, and I enjoy very much the conversations we have together.

ANDREW FOWLER: Earlier this year, as he prepared to board a plane at Washington’s Dulles Airport, two men approached him about his involvement with WikiLeaks

JÉRÉMIE ZIMMERMANN: They didn’t show any badge. So I didn’t ask for one, but I saw their colleague maintaining the gate of the plane open, so I thought you don’t do that with a, you know, a university library card, so I thought…

ANDREW FOWLER: So you thought they must be FBI?

JÉRÉMIE ZIMMERMANN: I thought they must be FBI – and actually the agent questioning me was a caricature of FBI agent, you know, with a large jaw, short hair, tight suit – and he said, “Well, your name was mentioned in a criminal investigation for conspiracy involving lots of people”, and so which case he was referring to it’s the Grand Jury in Virginia. And so I ask him, thinking aloud, if I understand correctly: “Either I talk to you or I take full responsibility for my actions in front of a judge during a fair trial”. And this is where he replied immediately: “Have you ever been arrested? Have you ever been to jail?” – in an obvious attempt to intimidate me.

ANDREW FOWLER: What do you think they were trying to achieve?

JÉRÉMIE ZIMMERMANN: Maybe it was to turn me into an informant, try to send me, get information from Julian, or whatever. I don’t know. I will never know, probably.

MICHAEL RATNER: Zimmermann was stopped roughly at the same time coming back from a similar thing with McCarthy, so I don’t know who would be tricking them into thinking they were FBI agents. What we’ve seen in a couple of these stops in the Assange WikiLeaks case is people introduce themselves as Homeland Security – at least in one instance – and not as FBI and then when they get pushed a little they have to admit they’re FBI. Now, it’s interesting when you think about it: these people have been hit by the FBI and that what it also tells you that this is a Justice Department investigation of civilians.

ANDREW FOWLER: Even Assange’s UK legal advisor, Jennifer Robinson, appears to have been caught in the US dragnet.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: I’d had an incredibly long day at work and I was late to the airport. I rushed out to Heathrow, handed over my passport and the woman behind the desk was having a lot of difficulty. She couldn’t check me in. She looked at me in a strange manner and said “Look, this is odd. You’re Australian, you’re travelling home to Australia, you shouldn’t need a visa”. I said, “Well no, I’m Australian. Here’s my passport, I’m going home”, and she said, “I can’t check you in”.

ANDREW FOWLER: A security officer took Robinson’s passport away

JENNIFER ROBINSON: She came back about 15 minutes later carrying a mobile phone, handed my passport to the woman behind the desk and said, “She’s inhibited. We can’t check her in until we’ve got approval from Australia House.”

ANDREW FOWLER: Though Robinson was eventually allowed to catch the plane, she has still not received an explanation why she is on a so-called “inhibited list”. It does not appear to be an Australian government term. But US Homeland Security uses the phrase to identify people who need to be watched.

Now back in England, she continues to be Assange’s legal advisor. We caught up with her on a visit to the Ecuadorian Embassy.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: Look he is now gathering and preparing materials for the purpose of his application to the Ecuadorian authorities, and essentially now it’s a matter for the Ecuadorian government.

ANDREW FOWLER: How is he… what’s his manner like? How’s his humour?

JENNIFER ROBINSON: I have never known anyone to deal with the amount of stress that he’s under as well as he does. He’s in very good spirits and still very committed to WikiLeaks work. He may be confined to the embassy but as he showed during house arrest, that doesn’t stop him. In the last 18 months we’ve seen a television program, we’ve seen further WikiLeaks releases – so I don’t think he’ll let this stop him either.

ANDREW FOWLER: Assange’s primary concern is that the Australian Government has never properly addressed the central question: the near certainty that a Grand Jury is investigating WikiLeaks and the possibility of him being charged.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: We are very concerned about the very prospect of potential extradition to the US. We need only look to the treatment of Bradley Manning. He’s been held in pre-trial detention for more than two years now, in conditions for a large part of that detention which the UN Special Repertoire said amount to torture. We are very concerned about the prospect of him ending up in the US, and the risk of onward extradition from Sweden was always a concern and remains a concern.

ANDREW FOWLER: Once in Sweden he would be at the mercy of a system which has a record of complying with US wishes. And there’s evidence that Sweden has acted illegally in past extraditions involving the US.

RICK FALKVINGE: Sweden has frankly always been the United States’ lap dog and it’s not a matter we are particularly proud of. The Swedish Government has… essentially, whenever a US official says, “Jump”, the Sweden Government asks, “How high?”

ANDREW FOWLER: If that seems like a heavy handed comment, there’s evidence to back it up.

RICK FALKVINGE: There was a famous case in last decade where a couple of Swedish citizens were even renditioned by the CIA in a quite torturous manner to Egypt where they were tortured further, which goes against every part of Swedish legislation, every international agreement on human rights – and not to say human dignity.

ANDREW FOWLER: A United Nations investigation later found against Sweden. The country was forced to pay compensation. For Assange, coupled with his other experiences of the Swedish judicial system, it is perhaps understandable that he fears ending up in Sweden.

MICHAEL RATNER: For me the question really is if I’m sitting in Julian Assange’s if I if I’m sitting in Julian Assange’s position, I’d be very, very nervous because the United States gets their hands on you in this case, and you’re a goner. So, you know, what I get asked all the time is, “Well, how do you know.” To me the question isn’t how I know I know there’s a lot of evidence out there that it looks like that. To me the burden should be on the United States Government to say, “We are not planning to prosecute Julian Assange”. If they just gave that assurance, I can guarantee you that Julian Assange would go to Sweden tomorrow.

KERRY O’BRIEN: We approached Australia’s Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, to pose a number of questions related to the Assange case, but she was unavailable on holidays. Ultimately, some of our questions were answered by a Foreign Affairs spokesman, by email, on behalf of Foreign Minister Bob Carr. They’re on our website.

Next week on Four Corners, the woman who forecast her own brutal death, but could find no one willing to listen. Until then, good night.

End of transcript

 

 

New technology, the media and criminal trials – Let's talk about it


Here is an interesting article folks that I found that comes at a time when the media and the internet are colliding with the long-held protocols of the old school legal system of the last century, who needs to catch up with who I wonder?

Where are we headed with blogs like this? the instant twitter commentary from courtrooms, the insatiable thirst for the information, good bad or ugly. You all know I am a believer of  Major Trials being telecast to those who want to and indeed need to watch them. Just like some have an interest in Question Time in Parliament and some do not. make it available, what is there to hide?

By Peter Gregory

July 06 2012

Are we now behind the times?

On an overseas crime website was the personal and criminal history of a man known to the Victorian public.

At the time, he was before the courts on a serious charge. The trial judge had warned jurors not to look up the internet, because they were to return a verdict only on the evidence they saw or heard in the courtroom.

Put simply, the judge’s warning was part of delivering a fair trial. If accused of crime, you are judged by a jury of your peers.

They base their decision on the material presented to them in the courtroom. Almost always, that means no reference to the previous convictions of the person on trial, or neighbourhood gossip about a case, or the wise pronouncements of media commentators.

The legal system’s assumption is that jurors, not being trained as lawyers, will find it harder to put aside prejudicial information. If you were a juror on a rape trial, and learned that the accused person had been convicted (separately) of rape six months earlier, what would you think about this case?

“Guilty,” said one student when this question was posed during a seminar some years ago. That is why jury members are told not to follow media reports, do their own research, or talk to their families about the case. They are also instructed to be wary of social media, like Twitter or Facebook.

“If your family is like mine, everyone will have an expert opinion,” one judge would say at the start of a Supreme Court trial.

“You can blame me. If they ask about the evidence, you can say the judge told you that you are not allowed to discuss it.”

Journalists would get very nervous about their court stories, fearing they might be fined or worse if they revealed information that the courts believed was likely to be prejudicial.

In one case, five media organisations were fined a collective $670,000 after reporting that a man arrested over three New South Wales murders in 1989 had confessed. The reports were likely to interfere with the administration of justice, it was found.

These were simpler times when a big worry for publishers was the potential to mix up the conservative court story written for local audiences with a more comprehensive account prepared for interstate editions.

If the Victorian jury was protected from prejudice, all was well. If a stuff-up occurred, media lawyers were sent to court to apologise.

More than 20 years later, safety and conservatism sound like foreign concepts.

The crime website which featured the Victorian suspect was not the worst by any means. True, its advertisements for criminal-related merchandise, including DVDs, calendars and magazines, was distracting, but his segment was a fairly sober summary of his court appearances, material from interviews and legal debate about his future.

Numerous other websites talk about criminals and killers. Some are moderate and feature court decisions. Others appear to follow the “hang ‘em high” school, practised with or without a trial.

Still wary of the legal process, mainstream media websites monitor or ban comments being made about court-related stories.

Inflammatory remarks can raise difficulties for many institutions which have embraced social media and the internet to engage with the public.

Bond University professor Mark Pearson recently analysed problems with the Queensland Police Facebook site, which was flooded with hard-nosed commentary following a high-profile arrest.
“I fear it will not be long before a savvy defence lawyer seizes the opportunity to use such prejudicial commentary as grounds for appeal, perhaps resulting in a trial being aborted at great public expense or even a verdict quashed,” he told The Australian newspaper.

So, what can the courts do?

Last month, the New South Wales Criminal Court of Appeal allowed a media challenge to court orders that would have forced news websites to remove thousands of archived stories about a conspiracy to murder trial. The Sydney Morning Herald said the court upheld the argument that the orders were futile because “vast swathes of information on the internet are essentially beyond the court’s control”.

“It is something of an irony that the (media organisations)…are, on one view, the only people against whom an order could properly have been made,” the court said in its published judgment.

While NSW law might let prosecuting authorities seek suppression orders over prejudicial material published online by local media, that permission could not validly apply to the world at large.

Suppression orders might cover material on internet sites beyond the control or awareness of local publishers.

Imagine the SMH finding all the international crime websites, and persuading them to take down some of their murder summaries because an Australian prosecutor was worried about them.

A Law Council of Australia committee, of which this writer is a member, outlined some other problems in a submission made to the Federal Government.

The media and communications committee said information could not be effectively censored or removed once it was available online. Material was often republished or cached on other sites. Monitoring archives for past publications would be costly and a significant exercise, and in many cases would have little practical effect, the committee argued.

Removing mainstream material might also bump the relevant information contained on less reputable websites up the search engine list for determined researchers.

“Suppression and non-publication orders that that operate to censor or remove historical reports by mainstream media organisations can lead to (the other) websites being elevated in lists of search results carried out, for instance, on the names of accused persons, and thus perversely increase the risk of prejudice to forthcoming trials,” the committee said.

If censoring the media does not work, the focus returns to juries. Jurors can be fined for looking up the internet during trials, if they decide to ignore judges’ warnings.

On its website, the Judicial College of Victoria has quoted court decisions describing jury members as “robust and responsible”, not “fragile and prone to prejudice”. But it warns that the availability of internet databases posed new problems for protecting jurors from prejudicial information.

Could that mean sequestering the jury – staying at hotels, not at home – for the whole trial, to keep it away from outside influences? Would that happen at all trials, or just the ones that attracted massive media attention?

One of the court decisions suggested keeping juries together during the proceedings would protect the open court principle and avoid prejudice. The accommodation costs in a long hearing, and the associated pressure to avoid mistrials, would be very likely to create their own problems.

What are your thoughts readers?

New technology, the media and criminal trials – Let’s talk about it


Here is an interesting article folks that I found that comes at a time when the media and the internet are colliding with the long-held protocols of the old school legal system of the last century, who needs to catch up with who I wonder?

Where are we headed with blogs like this? the instant twitter commentary from courtrooms, the insatiable thirst for the information, good bad or ugly. You all know I am a believer of  Major Trials being telecast to those who want to and indeed need to watch them. Just like some have an interest in Question Time in Parliament and some do not. make it available, what is there to hide?

By Peter Gregory

July 06 2012

Are we now behind the times?

On an overseas crime website was the personal and criminal history of a man known to the Victorian public.

At the time, he was before the courts on a serious charge. The trial judge had warned jurors not to look up the internet, because they were to return a verdict only on the evidence they saw or heard in the courtroom.

Put simply, the judge’s warning was part of delivering a fair trial. If accused of crime, you are judged by a jury of your peers.

They base their decision on the material presented to them in the courtroom. Almost always, that means no reference to the previous convictions of the person on trial, or neighbourhood gossip about a case, or the wise pronouncements of media commentators.

The legal system’s assumption is that jurors, not being trained as lawyers, will find it harder to put aside prejudicial information. If you were a juror on a rape trial, and learned that the accused person had been convicted (separately) of rape six months earlier, what would you think about this case?

“Guilty,” said one student when this question was posed during a seminar some years ago. That is why jury members are told not to follow media reports, do their own research, or talk to their families about the case. They are also instructed to be wary of social media, like Twitter or Facebook.

“If your family is like mine, everyone will have an expert opinion,” one judge would say at the start of a Supreme Court trial.

“You can blame me. If they ask about the evidence, you can say the judge told you that you are not allowed to discuss it.”

Journalists would get very nervous about their court stories, fearing they might be fined or worse if they revealed information that the courts believed was likely to be prejudicial.

In one case, five media organisations were fined a collective $670,000 after reporting that a man arrested over three New South Wales murders in 1989 had confessed. The reports were likely to interfere with the administration of justice, it was found.

These were simpler times when a big worry for publishers was the potential to mix up the conservative court story written for local audiences with a more comprehensive account prepared for interstate editions.

If the Victorian jury was protected from prejudice, all was well. If a stuff-up occurred, media lawyers were sent to court to apologise.

More than 20 years later, safety and conservatism sound like foreign concepts.

The crime website which featured the Victorian suspect was not the worst by any means. True, its advertisements for criminal-related merchandise, including DVDs, calendars and magazines, was distracting, but his segment was a fairly sober summary of his court appearances, material from interviews and legal debate about his future.

Numerous other websites talk about criminals and killers. Some are moderate and feature court decisions. Others appear to follow the “hang ‘em high” school, practised with or without a trial.

Still wary of the legal process, mainstream media websites monitor or ban comments being made about court-related stories.

Inflammatory remarks can raise difficulties for many institutions which have embraced social media and the internet to engage with the public.

Bond University professor Mark Pearson recently analysed problems with the Queensland Police Facebook site, which was flooded with hard-nosed commentary following a high-profile arrest.
“I fear it will not be long before a savvy defence lawyer seizes the opportunity to use such prejudicial commentary as grounds for appeal, perhaps resulting in a trial being aborted at great public expense or even a verdict quashed,” he told The Australian newspaper.

So, what can the courts do?

Last month, the New South Wales Criminal Court of Appeal allowed a media challenge to court orders that would have forced news websites to remove thousands of archived stories about a conspiracy to murder trial. The Sydney Morning Herald said the court upheld the argument that the orders were futile because “vast swathes of information on the internet are essentially beyond the court’s control”.

“It is something of an irony that the (media organisations)…are, on one view, the only people against whom an order could properly have been made,” the court said in its published judgment.

While NSW law might let prosecuting authorities seek suppression orders over prejudicial material published online by local media, that permission could not validly apply to the world at large.

Suppression orders might cover material on internet sites beyond the control or awareness of local publishers.

Imagine the SMH finding all the international crime websites, and persuading them to take down some of their murder summaries because an Australian prosecutor was worried about them.

A Law Council of Australia committee, of which this writer is a member, outlined some other problems in a submission made to the Federal Government.

The media and communications committee said information could not be effectively censored or removed once it was available online. Material was often republished or cached on other sites. Monitoring archives for past publications would be costly and a significant exercise, and in many cases would have little practical effect, the committee argued.

Removing mainstream material might also bump the relevant information contained on less reputable websites up the search engine list for determined researchers.

“Suppression and non-publication orders that that operate to censor or remove historical reports by mainstream media organisations can lead to (the other) websites being elevated in lists of search results carried out, for instance, on the names of accused persons, and thus perversely increase the risk of prejudice to forthcoming trials,” the committee said.

If censoring the media does not work, the focus returns to juries. Jurors can be fined for looking up the internet during trials, if they decide to ignore judges’ warnings.

On its website, the Judicial College of Victoria has quoted court decisions describing jury members as “robust and responsible”, not “fragile and prone to prejudice”. But it warns that the availability of internet databases posed new problems for protecting jurors from prejudicial information.

Could that mean sequestering the jury – staying at hotels, not at home – for the whole trial, to keep it away from outside influences? Would that happen at all trials, or just the ones that attracted massive media attention?

One of the court decisions suggested keeping juries together during the proceedings would protect the open court principle and avoid prejudice. The accommodation costs in a long hearing, and the associated pressure to avoid mistrials, would be very likely to create their own problems.

What are your thoughts readers?

Time for a REMINDER about behaviour on this site…


BEFORE YOU CONTINUE, I ASK YOU VISIT THIS POST (PRESS ANYWHERE HERE) AND READ IT, AND ACKNOWLEDGE YOU HAVE DONE SO BY MAKING A COMMENT ON THAT POST

Hi folks, It has sadly come to my attention once again that the behavior of some people on this site have shown disregard for the guidelines I have tried to set, and or casually choose to ignore them, in particular, during my many absences of late, as I attended to my young baby son who has been in hospital after being born premature last month. he came home yesterday and we have been getting settled.

I have to say, I started this blog so I could highlight and discuss things that interested me, and of course others. It became successful as many many others popped in and shared the same ideas as I did.

Now having said that, I have to say, unfortunately I do not care whether you have been here for months and made 2 thousand comments, or one day and made 5. I will NOT tolerate the bad language, the bully tactics of some who like to dominate the discussion, and those who are quite  impolite in disagreeing with another contributors point of view.

How often have I politely said, it is how you say something that is important, not so much WHAT you have to say. As far as I am concerned it is not too much to ask on a community blog where we gather with common interests.

Because I want this to be read tonight, I am going to post it now, but shall be adding to it.

Those people I speak of in the above sentences, expect to hear from me over the next 24 hours, because you will find yourself banished from the place and I will block every comment you make to go directly to moderation, where it will sit, until I personally read it. Like a child would be treated who does not know how to behave.

I have put thousands and thousands of hours into this site over 2 years or so, and WILL NOT have anybody, no matter who they are, or what they have done here, to ruin it for everyone else, OR for the people who will come in the future.

This blog is not for “A self selected few” to take some sort of control over what can be discussed and which opinions are to reign supreme. You can always go start your own blogs…

To be frank I am quite upset at the moment because some who have been around for a while should know better. Forcing me to get rid of you is something I will SADLY do if I have to.

Finally, and most regrettably, I also have to add, just because someone has very kindly made a donation to my site, (for which I honestly am very grateful).

It does not give he or she any extra rights or privileges here. We are all equal and any assumed extra power or status or “Weight” on any opinion or topic would be incorrect and unfair  (for want of a better word, I’m not in a good head space ATM). I hope I have conveyed that clearly enough.

PS. I WILL SIT HERE ALL NIGHT IF I HAVE TO AND GO THROUGH ALL THE COMMENTS OF RECENT DAYS

You have all be warned

Sincerely

Owner and operator of Aussiecriminals

Robbo

 

Our Recently passed Diggers in Afghanistan-Please go visit


Hi everyone I hope you are all enjoying ANZAC day around Australia.

I have always had a page here dedicated to the Aussies who have died in combat over in Afghanistan, it was one of the early things I did.(Menu-Aussie Crimes-Diggers Roll of Honour)

I went to bed last night thinking I should make that a sticky page for ANZAC DAY.

Hopefully readers will have a browse and pay a few minutes respect to the diggers who were killed in what I consider Overseas crimes against us! I thought…

Well I just remembered that thought at lunchtime, and have spent a few hours trying to work out how to get a “Page” to stick when someone comes to the site.It seems it only works with posts…(I hate pages…grrr)

This will stick to the front page, in honour of these great Aussies, until tomorrow…All the best to the loved ones mourning their loss today!

SO PLEASE TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO GO HERE AND READ ABOUT SOME GREAT AUSSIES WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR US WAY TOO SOON!

Thanks

http://aussiecriminals.wordpress.com/afghanistan-roll-of-honour/ and here http://www.defence.gov.au/vale/index.htm

Our recently passed Diggers

Casey Anthony Verdict In NOT GUILTY


This is massive, less than a day and a half deliberations after 3 years getting to trial and 8 weeks, 300 pieces of evidence and nearly 100 witnesses Verdict to be read at 2.15 Orlando time Aust time 4.15am NOT GUILTY except for lying to law enforcement.SPEECHLESS AFTER WATCHING EVERY MINUTE LIVE

Cindy and George Anthony, parents of Casey Anthony, are the first to leave the courtroom, with their attorney Mark Lippman, after their daughter was found not guilty in her 1st-degree murder trial, at the Orange County Courthouse, in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, July 5, 2011.

Casey Anthony reacts to being found not guilty on murder charges at the Orange County Courthouse Orlando, Fla. on July 5, 2011. At left is her attorney Jose Baez. On the right is attorney Dorothy Clay Sims.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Casey Anthony was found not guilty Tuesday of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony, in a case that captivated the nation as it played out on national television from the moment the toddler was reported missing three years ago.

Officials said Casey is back in the Orange County jail and remains in protective custody.

“As to the charge, first-degree murder, we the jury find the defendant not guilty,” read the court clerk.

Casey, 25, wept after the clerk read the verdict, which jurors reached after less than 11 hours of deliberation over two days. She was charged with first-degree murder, which could have brought the death penalty if she had been convicted.

Instead, she was convicted of only four counts of lying to investigators looking into the June 2008 disappearance of her daughter Caylee. Her body was found in the woods six months later and a medical examiner was never able to determine how she died.

Casey will be sentenced by Judge Belvin Perry on Thursday and could receive up to one year in jail for each lying count.

After the verdict was read, Casey hugged her attorney Jose Baez and later mouthed the words “thank you” to him. Prosecutor Jeff Ashton, meanwhile, shook his head in disbelief.

Casey’s parents, Cindy and George Anthony left the courtroom without speaking to her as the judge thanked the jury.

“While we’re happy for Casey, there are no winners in this case,” Baez said at a news conference after the hearing. “Caylee has passed on far, far too soon and what my driving force has been for the last three years has been always to make sure that there has been justice for Caylee and Casey because Casey did not murder Caylee. It’s that simple. And today our system of justice has not dishonored her memory by a false conviction.”

Casey’s attorneys claimed that Caylee drowned accidentally in the family swimming pool, and that her seemingly carefree mother in fact was hiding emotional distress caused by sexual abuse from her father.

Prosecutors contended that Caylee was suffocated with duct tape by a mother who loved to party, tattooed herself with the Italian words for “beautiful life” in the month her daughter was missing and crafted elaborate lies to mislead everyone from investigators to her own parents.

Captivated observers camped outside the courthouse to jockey for coveted seats in the courtroom gallery, which occasionally led to fights among those desperate to watch the drama unfold.

Casey did not take the stand during the trial, which started in mid-May. Because the case got so much media attention in Orlando, jurors were brought in from the Tampa Bay area and sequestered for the entire trial.

Baez conceded that his client had told elaborate lies and invented imaginary friends and even a fake father for Caylee, but he said that doesn’t mean she killed her daughter. “They throw enough against the wall and see what sticks,” Baez said of prosecutors during closing arugments. “That is what they’re doing … right down to the cause of death.”

He tried to convince jurors that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool and that when Casey panicked, her father, a former police officer, decided to make the death look like a murder by putting duct tape on the girl’s mouth and dumping the body in woods about a quarter-mile away.

Her father firmly denied both the cover-up and abuse claims. The prosecution called those claims “absurd,” saying that no one makes an accident look like a murder.

Lead prosecutor Linda Drane-Burdick concluded the state’s case by showing the jury two side-by-side images. One showed Casey smiling and partying in a nightclub during the month Caylee was missing. The other was the tattoo she got a day before her family and law enforcement first learned of the child’s disappearance.

“At the end of this case, all you have to ask yourself is whose life was better without Caylee?” Burdick asked. “This is your answer.”

Prosecutors hammered on the lies Casey, then 22, told from June 16, 2008, when her daughter was last seen, and a month later when sheriff’s investigators were notified. Those include the single mother telling her parents she couldn’t produce Caylee because the girl was with a nanny named Zenaida Gonzalez, (Zanny) a woman who doesn’t exist; that she and her daughter were spending time in Jacksonville, Fla., with a rich boyfriend who doesn’t exist; and that Zanny had been hospitalized after an out-of-town traffic crash and that they were spending time with her.

DAY 47: Casey Walks In, Judge Dismisses Jury
IN COURT: Casey, Attorneys, Judge
BAEZ JOKES AROUND: Raw Video | See Images
MOTION: On Zenaida Gonzalez Lawsuit
EVIDENCE ARCHIVE: Casey Anthony Case
CASEY COVERAGE On Twitter | On Facebook

Judge Belvin Perry says he will read the verdict at 2:15 p.m. EDT Tuesday.

The Florida jury deliberated for more than 10 hours. If convicted of first-degree murder, 25-year-old Casey could get a death sentence.

She could also be acquitted or convicted of second-degree murder or manslaughter.

She is also charged with lying to sheriff’s detectives investigating her daughter’s 2008 disappearance.

Previous Stories:

Contributors Wanted-Long hours, no pay…Passion for the truth a must


Contributors Wanted-Long hours, no pay…Well I’m kidding about long hours that will be up to you, but yes NO PAY! It’s a tough world this blogging business, and I’m falling behind because I cannot keep up on everything happening nor keep up with cases and events WORTHY of coverage and exposure here! I also encourage people to also have an opinion as an author when they put their name to a story. The debates on here are one of the best things we have

So here is what I am asking for folks and then you can decide if it is something you are interested in doing for our little community here and the wider “Net” for people to discover without fear or favour.

  • Contributors from each State, to allow better coverage on cases in their state as they happen
  • Researchers that can help look beyond the headlines (the sleuths that use more than google to find stuff!) Maybe suitable for anyone who likes to dig around, but not be the face of the article
  • Moderators now I pretty much allow anyone to have their say in the comments, but we do get people who trawl and make extreme comments purely for their own entertainment and stir up trouble. Over use of certain explicit language. So someone to help keep these types in line or off-line all together by deleting irrelevant vulgar comments etc

These are all ideas and please, I do this for you all, assuming you are the same as me and hate seeing the criminals, and scum-bags that float around our cities and streets getting away with stuff unscathed, hidden behind friends in high places or ancient suppression orders handed out like ice creams…

So please, suggestions here are encouraged, make a comment below…because without you guys, this site is nothing… Thanks

The details in the following form are kept private and will never be made public here on the Blog. It is for my eyes only guys…Regards Robbo

Casey Anthony Murder Trial- Live Feed to trial


UPDATE 05/07/11  8 Weeks and finally the jury has gone into deliberations in this case. Closing statements are over, 100′s of pieces of evidence, just short of 100 witnesses and plenty of Barneys with the State and defence going at each other. So 3 years after little Caylee went missing and her little bones were found in swampland near here home, we have the jury in deciding the outcome. I pray to god this disgusting excuse for a mother gets the death Penalty, the very same one she gave her little girl so she could go out and party party party.

State Ends Arguments, Casey Jury To Be Instructed

July 4, 2011

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The state ended its closing arguments in Casey Anthony’s murder trial on Monday, and the jury will be instructed by the judge on the seven separate charges Casey faces, including first-degree murder.

Prosecutors in the Casey Anthony murder trial told jurors they kept their promises, alluding to defence claims that never materialized.

Prosecutors also said it is “absurd” to think her 2-year-old daughter drowned or that Casey’s father, George Anthony, covered up Caylee Marie Anthony‘s death to make it look like murder.

Monday marks day 46, including jury selection, in Casey’s trial. She’s accused of killing Caylee.

Casey entered the courtroom just before 8:30 a.m. on Monday, wearing a blue and white striped shirt and dark pants. She had her hair pulled back in a bun. Casey’s parents, Cindy and George Anthony were also present.

The state was trying to persuade the jury that their forensic evidence was strong, countering the defence accusation that it was based on “fantasy.”

Prosecutor Jeff Ashton told the jurors during his rebuttal closing argument that no one makes an innocent accident look like a murder. The defence contends that Caylee drowned in the family’s pool and when Casey panicked, George, a former police officer, decided to make the death look like a homicide by placing duct tape over Caylee’s mouth and dumping her body in some nearby woods. George Anthony has denied that.

“That’s absurd. Nothing has been presented to you to make that any less absurd,” Ashton said.

Ashton also spent significant time reminding the jurors about the forensic evidence that he says links Casey to her daughter’s death, including the smell and chemical signature of decomposition in her car.

After a short recess, it was lead prosecutor Linda Drane-Burdick’s turn. Drane-Burdick told the jurors during the rebuttal closing argument that she and her colleagues backed up every claim they made in their opening statement six weeks ago. Without saying it, she was pointing out to the jury that the defence never directly backed up its opening statement claim that Caylee drowned and that Anthony’s father made the death look like a murder.

The jurors, who were chosen from the Tampa Bay area and sequestered in an Orlando hotel, will then begin their deliberations and decide which portrait of 25-year-old Casey Anthony to believe.

The state contends Casey was a party girl who killed Caylee because the toddler got in the way of her love life.

“Something needed to be sacrificed, that something was either the life she wanted or the life thrust upon her. She chose to sacrifice her child,” Ashton said during his original 90-minute argument Sunday.

Her attorneys contend that after Caylee drowned, her troubled mother’s lies and erratic behaviour were brought on by sexual abuse she suffered as a child from her father. George Anthony also denies that allegation. Judge Belvin Perry has ruled that no evidence of such abuse has been presented and struck it from closing arguments.

Defense attorney Jose Baez said during his closing argument on Sunday that the prosecutors’ case was so weak they tried to portray Casey as “a lying, no-good slut” and that their forensic evidence was based on a “fantasy.” He said Caylee’s death was “an accident that snowballed out of control.” Baez began his closing argument Sunday with his biggest question: How did Caylee die? Neither prosecutors nor the defence have offered firm proof.

He attacked the prosecution’s forensic evidence. He said air analysis of the trunk of Casey’s car, which allegedly showed air molecules consistent with decomposition, could not be duplicated. No one could prove a stain found in the trunk was caused by Caylee’s body decomposing there. And witnesses showed maggots found in the trunk came from a bag of trash that was found there, he said.

“They throw enough against the wall and see what sticks. That is what they’re doing … right down to the cause of death,” Baez said. He conceded his client had told elaborate lies and invented imaginary friends and even a fake father for Caylee, but he said that doesn’t mean she killed her daughter.

Baez also attacked George as unreliable. He said a suicide note that George wrote in January 2009 that claimed no knowledge of what happened to Caylee was self-serving and the attempt was a fraud. He said George claimed he was going to kill himself with a six-pack of beer and some high-blood pressure medicine.

Ashton, the prosecutor, began his closing argument Sunday by showing a video of Casey playing with Caylee, causing Casey to apparently choke back tears. But she quickly regained her composure.

He said Caylee’s death wasn’t an accident because three pieces of duct tape were placed on her face — one on the mouth, one on the nose and one over those to be “thorough.”

He then told the jury that Casey worried Caylee was getting to the age where she would have told Casey’s parents the woman was spending her days and nights with her boyfriend — not going to work and leaving Caylee with a nanny.

“Casey is very bright,” Ashton said. “Her lies are very detailed. … But when Casey wants to do what Casey wants to do, she finds a way.”

The prosecutor then described the lies Casey told her parents, George and Cindy, about why she couldn’t produce Caylee after the toddler was last seen June 16, 2008: that she was with a nanny named Zenaida Gonzalez (Zanny), a woman who doesn’t exist; that Casey and her daughter were spending time in Jacksonville with a rich boyfriend who doesn’t exist; and that Zanny had been hospitalized after an out-of-town traffic accident and that they were spending time with her.

The lies only fell apart, Ashton said, a month later when a junkyard employee told George and Cindy their daughter’s car had been towed. When they picked it up, they discovered a foul odour. George y and the tow yard operator said it smelled like human decomposition.

Cindy then tracked down her daughter. When she couldn’t produce Caylee, her parents called police. Casey then told investigators she worked at Universal Studios theme park as an event planner. She went so far as to take them there, talk her way past security into an office building. She gave up the lie as she was walking down the hall.

After the state is done with its rebuttal Monday, about an hour of jury instructions is expected before deliberations begin.

Casey is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of lying to law enforcement. The child abuse and manslaughter charges each carry a 30-year prison term if convicted.

Casey has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Caylee’s death and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

Re Casey Anthony Trial If anybody wants to chat online about this case during the night I started a chatroom here http://www.chatzy.com/579050344752 while we watch the trial.Come join me there

I just put together a couple of images so you can tell who is where if you come on and watch this trial live each night.

UPDATE well I have been up late at night to the detriment of my family and obligations but this LIVE TO AIR case in intriguing and every day brings a surprise or 5…But this one has to take the cake. Casey’s mum Cindy has done a few flips in this case because she is torn between her only daughter and the grand daughter in question. BUT to lie outright against earlier testimony reeks…She was made a fool of by the state, because what she had to say went against all known depositions etc etc she had given.Now sure save your daughters death penalty but when the time comes….stick to the facts in court…All she has done is discredit herself in front of millions…

Cindy Anthony’s testimony on Thursday directly contradicted prosecutors’ theory that Casey was the one who made the Internet searches.

Chloroform is a chemical compound that can be used to knock someone unconscious and also is found in human decomposition.

She said she started searching chlorophyll, but Google sent her elsewhere. Her attorney said she’s telling the truth and not just trying to protect Casey.

“She testified as truthfully today as she did when she testified for the state of Florida,” said attorney Mark Lippman.

Lippman said Cindy Anthony’s memory is now better because of medication, and now she remembers being home from work on the day “chloroform” was Goggled.

Cindy’s work records indicate she was at work, and prosecutors asked her to read aloud a question from an earlier deposition on the same subject, chloroform searches.

But prosecutors quickly focused on earlier depositions when Cindy denied searching for chloroform.

“Do you recall denying looking up chloroform?” asked prosecutor Linda Drane-Burdick.

“I didn’t look up how to make chloroform, I looked up chloroform,” said Cindy Anthony.

Prosecutors say someone in the Anthony home ran searches on chloroform as many as 84 times.

And prosecutors pointed out that Cindy did not use the website MySpace, while Casey did, and that website was accessed within seconds of one of the chloroform searches.

“If there’s a search for chloroform, then 15-20 seconds later it hit on MySpace, likely it’s Casey as opposed to Cindy,” said Sheaffer.

Other terms that were searched, Cindy could not explain.

Cindy Anthony told prosecutors that she did not run searches on household weapons, chloroform habit or neck-breaking, although she said she remembered a YouTube video involving a skateboarder, whose trick was described as a “neck-breaking feat.”

Prosecutors also asked if the Anthony’s computer was password protected, Cindy said no, but a computer expert then testified that it was and that the searches were done with Casey’s username.

Earlier in the trial, a medical examiner testified that even a small amount of chloroform would be sufficient to cause a child’s death.

Cindy Anthony also said stains in the trunk of Casey’s car were present when the family bought the car in 2000.

The state contends Casey used pieces of duct tape to suffocate her child. The defense says the toddler drowned in her grandparents’ swimming pool.

Casey is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of lying to law enforcement. She has pleaded not guilty and faces the death penalty if convicted.

View from Casey Anthonys table

View from the public gallery to judge

Well I have just spent all night watching the LIVE feed of the Criminal Trial of Casey Anthony in Orlando Florida . She is on trial for the Murder of her daughter Caylee in 2008. The prosecution have sought the DEATH PENALTY if convicted.

I have followed this case since the beginning and to me personally I find it riveting to be actually in the court room as it happens and I feel all major trials should be conducted this way. I will post some background info on this case below, but any true crime lover will be well aware of this case, which has become one of the biggest most protracted murder cases over there for a long time. It was the second day of the trial since the jury has been sworn in.It is expected to run for 4 to 6 weeks. If you are a crime lover and night owl like me, it makes for fascinating viewing. The best link to everything concerned with the case is here. The live feed and blog starts about 11pm AEST (Where all evidence, transcripts, video etc  including a live video feed each day as well as audio can be found!)

Casey Anthony enters court 25th May 2011

Casey Marie Anthony  was the mother of Caylee Anthony. She has been charged with the first degree murder of her daughter, Caylee.

She was first arrested on July 16, 2008, for giving false statements, neglect of a child, and obstruction of a criminal investigation with a request that she be held on a no bond status until Caylee Anthony was located.

On August 21, 2008, Casey Anthony was released after one month of incarceration. She was released from the Orange County jail after her $500,200 bond was posted by California bail bondsman Leonard Padilla.

She was arrested again on August 29, 2008, on charges of forgery, fraudulent use of personal information, and petty theft for forging $700 worth of checks and using her friend’s credit cards without permission. Leonard Padilla subsequently rescinded the $500,200 in bail due to a lack of cooperation from Casey Anthony.

On September 5, 2008, Casey Anthony was released again on bail after being fitted with an electronic tracking device. Her $500,000 bond was posted anonymously, and it was later revealed that her parents, Cindy and George Anthony, signed a promissory note for the bond.

Caylee Anthony's remains were found Dec. 11, 2008 less than a mile from her home.

On October 14, 2008, Casey Anthony was indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree murder. The Florida state attorney’s office in April 2009 announced that it intended to seek the death penalty.

Jury selection began May 9, 2011, at the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Centre in Clearwater, Florida, because the case has been so widely reported in the Orlando area. Jurors will be brought from Pinellas County to Orlando where they will be sequestered during the trial, which is expected to last between six and eight weeks.  The trial was originally scheduled to begin May 17, 2011; however, jury selection took much longer than expected and ended on May 20, 2011, with twelve jurors and five alternates being sworn in.

The trial began on May 24, 2011, at the Orange County Courthouse, with Judge Belvin Perry presiding. In the opening statements, prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick described the story of the disappearance of Caylee Anthony day-by-day. The defence, led by Jose Baez, presented its claim that Caylee drowned accidentally in the family’s pool on June 16, 2008, and was found by George Anthony, who then covered up Caylee’s death. Baez also shocked those in the courtroom when he alleged that George Anthony had sexually abused Casey since she was 8 years old. Baez also claimed that Casey’s brother Lee had made sexual advances toward Casey and was even given a paternity test to see if he was Caylee’s father.

According to a jail source, Casey spends her days reading the Bible and writing letters. She is housed in a 12 X 7-foot cell in the Protective Custody wing of the Orange County jail, only emerging to take a shower and exercise. She has weekly meetings with her lawyers and apparently has had no visitors since 2008. Florida law states that all inmate visits and phone calls are videotaped and are public records.

On May 20, 2011, at the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Centre in Clearwater, Florida, a jury of twelve jurors and five alternates were sworn in and will ultimately decide the guilt and the fate of Casey Anthony. The panel contains nine women and eight men. The jurors are to be sequestered in Orange County for the trial, which started on May 24. It has been estimated that the trial will take anywhere from 7 to 10 weeks, during which the jury will be closely supervised and away from their homes, family, friends, and media outlets. On May 24, in the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, opening statements were presented.

Bin Laden Raid Photo’s – Real or Fake? (warning very graphic)


WARNING THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC FOOTAGE THAT MAY DISTURB SOME READERS. YOU NEED TO MAKE AN ADULT CHOICE TO CONTINUE WITH THIS TOPIC

PLEASE BE AWARE OF THIS WARNING

ANOTHER WARNING WILL BE POSTED BEFORE THE IMAGES CAN BE SEEN FURTHER DOWN THE PAGE

Anybody who has not googled something about the death of Osama Bin Laden probably does not know what the internet is. For the rest of us it has been a subject of much discussion and conjecture.

We all have questions, how did he die, did he indeed die, When? Why the sudden secrecy in releasing pictures of his body? What are they hiding. I personally think the longer it goes on without absolute solid evidence that can be examined and tested, even refuted, the less we can believe what we have been told, are told now and into the future.

So What would you do if the photos became available.AS awful as they may be, would you still want to see for yourself?

Having said that I have come across some footage as well as some photos that  I have no way of checking as being authentic.

Many thousands of people have been killed in the war against terrorism, and the odds of people being killed that may look similar in appearance may not be that difficult to comprehend. So even though the photos may be real, are they of the real person as described. Of course they may be fake, doctored, “Photoshopped” being the buzz word.

The first 4 images are snapshots I took from a video that I have seen, and as far as I can discover, their identities have not been revealed. The film was taken allegedly from within the compound where Osama bin Laden had been killed in   Abbottabad in a U.S. operation. The compound is located at 34°10′9″N 73°14′33″E.

The images are very graphic and their bodies are bloodied.

The Last and FINAL image is a black and white photo purporting to be of Osama Bin Laden shot in head with severe facial wounds, and is the most graphic of all. Proven to be fake

The only content further down the page will be the images as described here. Any updates I make will be noted at the top of the post and you will always have to scroll to see the images. Hopefully this will avoid exposing them to readers who do not want to see them. I do welcome discussion via the comments section on this topic.

I cannot stress enough that these pictures may distress some people and if you feel you do not want to view them than please finish reading here.

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LAST CHANCE TO SCROLL BACK UP. THE GRAPHIC IMAGES ARE POSTED JUST BELOW THIS MESSAGE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. NOT  SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN


Photographs acquired by Reuters and taken about an hour after the U.S. assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan show three dead men lying in pools of blood, but no weapons.

The photos, taken by a Pakistani security official who entered the compound after the early morning raid on Monday, show two men dressed in traditional Pakistani garb and one in a t-shirt, with blood streaming from their ears, noses and mouths.

The official, who wished to remain anonymous, sold the pictures to Reuters.




Our eagled eyed readers have done the research and we say FAKE