Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but He Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy

The termination of the Swedish investigation is, in one sense, good news for Assange. But it is unlikely to change his inability to leave the embassy any time soon. If anything, given the apparent determination of the Trump administration to put him in a U.S. prison cell for the “crime” of publishing documents, his freedom appears further away than it has since 2010, when the Swedish case began.

Fuente: Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but He Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy


If Trump leaks are OK and Clinton leaks aren’t, there’s a problem | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian

Journalists should always publish newsworthy information – even if its from a potentially biased source. This election should be no different

Fuente: If Trump leaks are OK and Clinton leaks aren’t, there’s a problem | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian


Yahoo email surveillance: who approved the secret scanning program? | Technology | The Guardian

By what legal authority do the National Security Agency and the FBI ask Yahoo to search its users’ emails? Neither the government nor the tech company would say, after Reuters first reported on Tuesday that Yahoo “secretly built a custom software program” it used on behalf of the NSA and CIA to scan customer emails.

Fuente: Yahoo email surveillance: who approved the secret scanning program? | Technology | The Guardian


Tratado de libre comercio con Chile, TPP y propiedad intelectual: retirando la escalera del desarrollo – Creative Commons

El Poder Ejecutivo anunció hace algunas semanas que se encuentra negociando un tratado de libre comercio con Chile, cuyo texto final pretende firmar en setiembre u octubre y remitirlo al parlamento para su ratificación. La celeridad y secretismo de la negociación hacen temer que el parlamento tenga que actuar sobre una lógica de hechos consumados, sin discusión previa ni apropiación de la temática por parte de la sociedad.

Fuente: Tratado de libre comercio con Chile, TPP y propiedad intelectual: retirando la escalera del desarrollo – Creative Commons


Periodista alemán que reveló “Panama Papers”: “Si las empresas fantasmas sirven para ocultar actividades criminales, el público tiene derecho a saberlo” – El Mostrador

Escrito por los periodistas alemanes Bastian Obermayer y Frederik Obermaier, del diario alemán Süddeutsche Zeitung –que fueron los primeros en investigar el caso–, “Los papeles de Panamá. El club mundial de los evasores de impuestos”, revela cómo, a partir de un mail anónimo, develaron un escándalo que incluía a ministros, presidentes, dictadores, jeques, emires, reyes, mafiosos, agentes secretos, funcionarios de la FIFA, aristócratas, artistas, ases del fútbol y multimillonarios.

Fuente: Periodista alemán que reveló “Panama Papers”: “Si las empresas fantasmas sirven para ocultar actividades criminales, el público tiene derecho a saberlo” – El Mostrador


LuxLeaks: ¿Revelación de secretos o servicio público?

La última sesión del juicio a los acusados de la filtración de los papeles del escándalo LuxLeaks augura penas de 18 meses de prisión y multasHacemos un repaso de la historia que llevó a dos trabajadores de una consultora encargada de auditar las cuentas de varias empresas a filtrar información

Fuente: LuxLeaks: ¿Revelación de secretos o servicio público?


LuxLeaks prosecutors seek jail term of 18 months for whistleblowers | Business | The Guardian

Prosecutors in Luxembourg have called for two whistleblowers on trial over the so-called LuxLeaks scandal to be jailed for 18 months and for a journalist to be fined.Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet, French former employees of auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), are accused of leaking thousands of documents to journalist Edouard Perrin.The documents revealed the huge tax breaks that Luxembourg offered international firms including Apple, Ikea and Pepsi, saving the companies billions of euros in taxes.

Fuente: LuxLeaks prosecutors seek jail term of 18 months for whistleblowers | Business | The Guardian


Panama Papers Source Wants Whistleblower Immunity to Aid Law Enforcement

“I have watched as one after another, whistleblowers and activists in the United States and Europe have had their lives destroyed by the circumstances they find themselves in after shining a light on obvious wrongdoing.”

Fuente: Panama Papers Source Wants Whistleblower Immunity to Aid Law Enforcement


Panama Papers source breaks silence over ‘scale of injustices’ | News | The Guardian

The whistleblower behind the Panama Papers broke their silence on Friday to explain in detail how the injustices of offshore tax havens drove them to the biggest data leak in history.The source, whose identity and gender remain a secret, denied being a spy.“For the record, I do not work for any government or intelligence agency, directly or as a contractor, and I never have. My viewpoint is entirely my own.”

Fuente: Panama Papers source breaks silence over ‘scale of injustices’ | News | The Guardian


El imperio ‘Ilegal’ de Hacking Team en América Latina | Motherboard

A principios de Abril de 2014, un espía del servicio de inteligencia de Ecuador mandó una serie de correos electrónicos al servicio al cliente de Hacking Team, una compañía italiana de hackers pagados que trabaja con agencias gubernamentales alrededor del mundo.

Fuente: El imperio ‘Ilegal’ de Hacking Team en América Latina | Motherboard


El auge del software de vigilancia en América Latina – Derechos Digitales

El software de Hacking Team es contrario a los estándares legales y violatorio de los derechos a la privacidad, a la libertad de expresión y al debido proceso.

Fuente: El auge del software de vigilancia en América Latina – Derechos Digitales


The Panama Papers: public interest disclosure v the right to private legal advice | David Allen Green

There have been two main responses to the leak of the Panama Papers.The first has been a great shrug of indifference: so what? The rich and powerful do things that only the rich and powerful can do. The second is a warm, indeed enthusiastic, welcome to this dramatic exercise in transparency: we can now see how the rich and powerful do the things that only the rich and powerful can do. The political consequences of the leak, for example in Iceland and the UK, indicate that the transparency in turn is leading to greater accountability.Are these the only valid responses? Is there any issue here about privacy and the right to confidential legal advice? Or are such concerns mere fusspottery and point-missing?

Fuente: The Panama Papers: public interest disclosure v the right to private legal advice | David Allen Green


Assange supporters condemn UK and Sweden in open letter | Media | The Guardian

Five hundred prominent names, including Ai Weiwei and Mairead Maguire, accuse countries of undermining UN human rights covenants

Fuente: Assange supporters condemn UK and Sweden in open letter | Media | The Guardian


Julian Assange accuses UK minister of insulting UN after detention finding | Media | The Guardian

Foreign secretary Philip Hammond dismisses panel’s finding as ‘ridiculous’ but WikiLeaks founder hails ‘sweet victory’

Fuente: Julian Assange accuses UK minister of insulting UN after detention finding | Media | The Guardian


The government will hide its surveillance programs. But they won't eliminate them | Trevor Timm | Comment is free | The Guardian

The government will hide its surveillance programs. But they won’t eliminate them | Trevor Timm | Comment is free | The Guardian.

 Wnsahen will the government stop listening in to our conversations? Photograph: age fotostock / Alamy/Alamy

Want to see how secrecy is corrosive to democracy? Look no further than a series of explosive investigations by various news organizations this week that show the government hiding surveillance programs purely to prevent a giant public backlash.

USA Today’s Brad Heath published a blockbuster story on Monday about the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) running a massive domestic spying operation parallel to the NSA’s that was tracking billions of international calls made by Americans. They kept it secret for more than two decades. According to the USA Today report, the spying program was not only used against alleged terrorist activity, but countless supposed drug crimes, as well as “to identify US suspects in a wide range of other investigations”. And they collected information on millions of completely innocent Americans along the way.

Heath’s story is awash with incredible detail and should be read in full, but one of the most interesting parts was buried near the end: the program was shut down by the Justice Department after the Snowden leaks, not because Snowden exposed the program, but because they knew that when the program eventually would leak, the government would have no arguments to defend it.

The justification they were using for the NSA’s program – that it was only being used against dangerous terrorists, not ordinary criminals – just wasn’t true with the DEA. The public would clearly be outraged by the twisted legal justification that radically re-interpreted US law in complete secrecy. “They couldn’t defend both programs”, a former Justice Department official told Heath. The piece also reveals that Attorney General Eric “didn’t think we should have that information” in the first place, which is interesting because Holder was one of the first Justice Department officials to approve the program during the Clinton administration. It’s nice he came to his senses, but if the program never risked going public, would he have felt the same?

There are many other surveillance programs the government is desperate to keep hidden. Consider Stingray devices, the mini fake cell phone towers that can vacuum up cell phone data of entire neighborhoods at the same time and which are increasingly being used by local cops all around the country. The Associated Press reported this week that the Baltimore police have used these controversial devices thousands of times in the course of ordinary investigations and have tried to hide how the devices are used from judges.

The lengths to which the FBI will go to keep these devices secret from the public is alarming. As a Guardian investigation detailed on Friday, the FBI makes local police that use them sign non-disclosure agreements, and goes as far as to direct them to dismiss charges against potential criminals if the phone surveillance will be exposed at trial (like is required by due process rights in the Fifth Amendment).


Julian Assange to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in London | Media | The Guardian

Julian Assange to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in London | Media | The Guardian.

Julian Assange has been in Ecuador’s embassy in London for nearly three years to avoid extradition from Sweden.Julian Assange has taken refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London to avoid extradition from Sweden. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images

Lawyers for Julian Assange have claimed victory after a Swedish prosecutor bowed to pressure from the courts and agreed to break the deadlock in his case by interviewing the WikiLeaks founder in London.

Marianne Ny, who heads the investigation into accusations of rape, coercion and sexual molestation against Assange, made a formal request to interrogate him in the Ecuadorian embassy – the first sign of movement in a case that has been frozen since August 2012.

The prosecutor will also ask the UK government and Ecuador for permission to carry out the interviews at the embassy in London, where Assange has been staying for more than two-and-a-half years to avoid extradition to Sweden, from where he fears being handed over to the US to face espionage charges.

Ny said she had changed her mind because the statute of limitations on several of the crimes of which Assange is suspected runs out in August 2015.

“My attitude has been that the forms for a hearing with him at the embassy in London are such that the quality of the interrogation would be inadequate and that he needs to be present in Sweden at a trial. That assessment remains,” Ny said in a statement.

“Now time is running out and I therefore believe that I have to accept a loss of quality in the investigation and take the risk that the hearing will not take the investigation forward, because no other option is available as long as Assange does not make himself available in Sweden,” she said.

Per Samuelson, a Stockholm lawyer for Assange, said: “It is a victory for us. We have been asking for this to happen for over four years. That is the route to acquittal.”


La fiscal sueca cambia de opinión y pide interrogar a Assange en Londres | Internacional | EL PAÍS

La fiscal sueca cambia de opinión y pide interrogar a Assange en Londres | Internacional | EL PAÍS.

 

Assange, en una comparecencia desde la embajada de Ecuador, en 2012. / LEON NEAL (AFP)

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La Fiscalía de Suecia ha planteado al fundador de Wikileaks, Julian Assange, la posibilidad de interrogarle en Londres por los delitos sexuales que se le imputan en el país nórdico, por los que también se ha solicitado una prueba de ADN. Con ello, la justicia sueca espera poder esclarecer las cuatro denuncias que pesan en su contra y por las que dictó una orden de presión preventiva en ausencia de Assange en 2010.

El motivo del cambio de decisión de la fiscal superior de Suecia, Marianne Ny, que hasta ahora se había negado a viajar a Londres apelando a la legislación sueca, es que varios de los delitos de los que Assange es sospechoso prescriben en agosto de 2015, explicó la Fiscalía en un comunicado.

Assange permanece encerrado en la Embajada de Ecuador en la capital británica desde junio de 2012. En este tiempo, el fundador de Wikileaks ha evitado su extradición a Suecia aprovechando el limbo legal en el que se quedó tras saltarse los requisitos de libertad vigilada en Reino Unido.

Assange ha negado cualquier responsabilidad en estos delitos, pero se niega a dar explicaciones en Suecia porque no existen garantías de que no vaya a ser extraditado con posterioridad a Estados Unidos, donde sería juzgado por la filtración masiva de documentos oficiales a Wikileaks.


EE UU condena a un exagente de la CIA por revelar información clasificada | Internacional | EL PAÍS

EE UU condena a un exagente de la CIA por revelar información clasificada | Internacional | EL PAÍS.


Jeffrey Sterling fue acusado de entregar a un periodista datos de un programa contra el sistema nuclear iraní

James Risen, el periodista del ‘Times’ que supuestamente recibió información secreta del agente. / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (AFP)

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El triángulo lo forman un periodista del diario The New York Times, un exagente de los servicios de inteligencia y el Gobierno de Estados Unidos. En el centro, un programa de la CIA para sabotear el sistema nuclear de Irán. Es uno de los nueve casos en los que la Administración del presidente Barack Obama se ha querellado contra un espía por filtrar información a la prensa. Y ha vuelto a ganar.

Jeffrey Sterling fue condenado este lunes por nueve cargos que abarcan desde revelar información relativa a la “seguridad nacional” a James Risen, periodista y escritor del Times, hasta obstrucción a la justicia. El exagente, de 47 años, permanecerá en libertad hasta el 24 de abril, cuando conozca su sentencia, tras pasar los últimos cinco años intentando demostrar su inocencia.

El Fiscal General, Eric Holder, ha calificado la decisión del jurado en contra de Sterling como “justa y apropiada”. Según el responsable del Departamento de Justicia, “las filtraciones pusieron vidas en peligro y constituyeron una grave violación de la confianza depositada por los ciudadanos” en el agente.

El Gobierno ha asegurado durante el desarrollo de este caso que Sterling actuó por despecho tras ser despedido de la CIA en 2003. El exagente habría contactado con Risen para denunciar lo que consideraba un caso de discriminación laboral, aunque después acabó proporcionándole más información sobre el programa en el que había trabajado y que tenía como objetivo sabotear el sistema nuclear iraní.

El debate sobre la protección de reporteros ha llegado hasta el Congreso, donde se debatió la creación de una nueva ley ‘escudo’ para la prensa

El caso de Sterling cobró especial relevancia en EE UU por estar implicado un periodista del diario más importante del país y que declaró estar dispuesto a ingresar en prisión antes que revelar su fuente. Según el Gobierno, la persona de la que recibió datos para su libro ‘State of War’ siempre fue Sterling, quien no sólo dio detalles de las operaciones en las que estuvo implicado, sino que también puso en peligro a otros agentes.

La negativa de Risen reabrió además un debate entre los medios estadounidenses sobre la protección de sus periodistas en casos como éste. El Gobierno no se querelló contra el escritor, pero sí le exigió que revelara su fuente. A pesar de que el derecho a la confidencialidad sobre el origen de la información está reconocido en varios países e instituciones internacionales, el Gobierno federal de EE UU no lo estipula, por lo que Risen podía haber ido a prisión.


Australia quiere que los ISP sean policías del copyright – FayerWayer

Australia quiere que los ISP sean policías del copyright – FayerWayer.

 (cc) Scott Calleja / Flickr

El documento muestra un fuerte desequilibrio a favor de la industria.

Llegan noticias inquietantes desde Australia, a través de TorrentFreak. El sitio reporta que ha sido filtrada una nueva propuesta –impulsada por la industria del entretenimiento–que busca combatir a la piratería en Internet con medidas excesivamente restrictivas.

De acuerdo con la información, la propuesta contempla que los usuarios australianos de Internet son de los mayores consumidores de productos que violan derechos de autor. Por esto, en vez de ejercer acción legal en contra de cada individuo o de entidades con presencia internacional por la dificultad que esto implica –algo aprendieron de The Pirate Bay–, los impulsores de la propuesta han decidido proponer que se ejerza intente ejercer un mayor control en la red.

Parte del control, de acuerdo con el borrador, tendría que ser concentradodirectamente sobre los ISP, que son de los principales intermediarios en el ecosistema de Internet. De esta forma, la vigilancia no tendría que ser ejercida de manera directa por las autoridades y, a cambio, se crearían nuevos policías privados.

Esto, a su vez, crearía incentivos para que los ISP endurecieran el monitoreo de contenidos a cambio de evitar sanciones que les perjudicaran de manera directa. Sobre todo, debido a que la propuesta filtrada considera que puede sancionarse a un ISP si no toma medidas en contra de violaciones de derechos de autor ante la sola sospecha de que están ocurriendo.


WikiLeaks reveals Australian gagging order over political bribery allegations | World news | The Guardian

WikiLeaks reveals Australian gagging order over political bribery allegations | World news | The Guardian.

Superinjunction reported to have been issued on 19 June to block reporting of claims involving international politicians
WikiLeaks screensaver

In a statement published with the leak, Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, said the gagging order relates to a case that “concerns the subsidiaries of the Australian central bank”. Photograph: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

A sweeping gagging order issued in Australia to block reporting of any bribery allegations involving several international political leaders in the region has been exposed by WikiLeaks.

The prohibition emerged from a criminal case in the Australian courts and applies throughout the country. It was issued by the criminal division of the supreme court of Victoria in Melbourne “to prevent damage to Australia’s international relations that may be caused by the publication of material that may damage the reputations of specified individuals who are not the subject of charges in these proceedings”.

The Australia-wide gagging order is a superinjunction, which means it also contains a clause insisting that the terms of the order itself should remain secret. It was issued on 19 June and states: “Subject to further order, there be no disclosure, by publication or otherwise, of any information (whether in electronic or paper form) derived from or prepared for the purposes of these proceedings including the terms of these orders.”

In a statement published with the leak, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, said the gagging order relates to a case that “concerns the subsidiaries of the Australian central bank”.

He said it was the first blanket suppression order of this nature in Australia since 1995. “With this order, the worst in living memory, the Australian government is not just gagging the Australian press, it is blindfolding the Australian public,” said Assange, who is himself Australian. “This is not simply a question of the Australian government failing to give this international corruption case the public scrutiny it is due. Foreign minister Julie Bishop must explain why she is threatening every Australian with imprisonment in an attempt to cover up an embarrassing corruption scandal involving the Australian government. The concept of ‘national security’ is not meant to serve as a blanket phrase to cover up serious corruption allegations involving government officials, in Australia or elsewhere. It is in the public interest for the press to be able to report on this case.”


59 International Organizations Call Upon UN to Remedy Human Rights Violations in Pre-Charge Detention of Wikileaks Publisher Julian Assange



59 International Organizations Call Upon UN to Remedy Human Rights Violations in Pre-Charge Detention of Wikileaks Publisher Julian Assange

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For Immediate Release: 16 June 2014

 

59 International Organizations Call Upon UN to Remedy Human Rights Violations in Pre-Charge Detention of Wikileaks Publisher Julian Assange

Geneva, Switzerland – Before the United Nations this Sunday, 26 international human rights, fair trial, and jurist organizations, and 33 Latin American civil society organisations, condemned Sweden’s violation of the fundamental human rights of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, who has experienced protracted pre-charge detention stemming from a Swedish investigation which has yet to charge him. Mr. Assange’s pre-charge detention has spanned nearly four years as US Federal Grand Jury prepares a criminal case against WikiLeaks and it’s officers.

 

Two Swedish organizations, as well as jurist organizations from around the world including the American Association of Jurists (AAJ), the National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG), the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), and the Indian Association of Lawyers submitted two reports —one in English and one in Spanish— each highlighting various procedural rights violations  of Julian Assange, Sweden’s longest running case of pre-trial deprivation of liberty.

 

A third report, signed by 33 human rights groups, media and civil society organisations, and unions, including the Global Women’s March (Marcha Mundial das Mulheres, MMM), petitioned the Human Rights Commission in Geneva to intervene to free the ’political prisoner’, Julian Assange.

 

The reports were submitted to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the peak UN human rights review mechanism that investigates each country’s human rights record every four years. The submissions expose numerous systematic deficiencies in Swedish pre-trial procedures like the routine placement of persons who have not been charged with any crime in indefinite, isolated, or unexplained pre-charge detention.

 

According to the English report, signed by 16 organizations, “The methods employed by the prosecutor in Mr. Assange’s case are a clear violation of his fundamental human rights, yet they remain beyond the reach of judicial review.”

 

The second submission, signed by 10 international human rights, fair trial, and jurist organizations, says that “the Swedish Authorities’ demand that Mr. Assange be physically present in Sweden for questioning… would imply that Mr. Assange would have to renounce his inalienable right [to the protection afforded by his asylum in relation to the United States], but also means in practice that Mr. Assange would have to risk his life and physical integrity”.

 

The third submission, signed by 33 human rights groups, media and civil society organisations, and unions, from Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Ecuador, petitioned the UN Human Rights Commission to intervene with Sweden in order to secure the immediate release of Julian Assange:

 

“The entire international community has witnessed the opportunistic manipulation of the accusations against Mr. Assange, in an attempt to destroy his reputation and to prevent his freedom and his ability to act politically. It is obvious that this unprecedented situation has not come about as a result of the alleged acts committed in Sweden, but rather due to the clear political interference by powerful interests in response to Mr. Assange’s journalistic and political activities. This situation has turned Julian Assange into a political prisoner, who is effectively condemned to house arrest without any charges having been brought against him, without being able to exercise his right to due process.”


Reino Unido considera legal intervenir a Google y Facebook – El Mostrador

Reino Unido considera legal intervenir a Google y Facebook – El Mostrador.

 

runidofacebook

El gobierno de Reino Unido reveló que su servicio de inteligencia, GCHQ, puede intervenir las cuentas de Google y Facebook de sus ciudadanos sin autorización legal porque dichas compañías están basadas en el exterior.

El jefe de inteligencia británico, Charles Farr, afirmó que esos servicios están clasificados como comunicaciones externas.

La política de fisgoneo fue revelada como parte de una lucha legal que viene librándose con el grupo activista Privacy Iternational (PI).


Social media mass surveillance is permitted by law, says top UK official | World news | theguardian.com

Social media mass surveillance is permitted by law, says top UK official | World news | theguardian.com.

 

Mass surveillance of social media is permitted by law, says top official

Social media count as ‘external communications’, according to Farr, and so can be indiscriminately monitored. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

 

Anyone’s Google searches or use of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can be monitored by the security services because such “external communications” do not require individual intercept warrants, according to the government’s most senior security official.

Charles Farr, director general of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, has produced the first detailed justification of the UK’s mass surveillance policy – developing a legal interpretation that critics say sidesteps the need for traditional intercept safeguards.

His 48 page document, released on Tuesday, provoked calls for the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to be overhauled urgently and allegations that the government was exploiting loopholes in the legislation of which parliament was unaware.

The government defence was published in response to a case brought by Privacy International, Liberty, Amnesty International and other civil rights groups before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which deals with complaints against the intelligence services. A full hearing will take place next month.

The allegation that mass online surveillance is illegal emerged in the wake of revelations from the US whistleblower Edward Snowden about the impact of the Tempora monitoring programme operated by the UK monitoring agency GCHQ and the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Under RIPA, traditional interception of communications within the UK requires an individual warrant. Farr argues that in a technologicallly-fast moving world, where the greatest threat to national security is from “militant Islamist terrorists” operating both abroad and in the UK, identifying individual targets initially is too difficult.

He says: “Any regime that … only permitted interception in relation to specific persons or premises, would not have allowed adequate levels of intelligence information to be obtained and would not have met the undoubted requirements of intelligence for the protection of national security.”

Farr’s statement, published on Tuesday by Privacy International and other human rights organisations, is the first time the government has commented on how it exploits the UK’s legal framework to operate its mass interception programme.

Under section 8(1) of RIPA, internal communications between British residents within the UK may only be monitored pursuant to a specific warrant. These specific warrants should only be granted where there is some reason to suspect the person in question of unlawful activity. “External communications”, however, may be monitored indiscriminately under a general warrant according to section 8(4).

Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, said: “Intelligence agencies cannot be considered accountable to parliament and to the public they serve when their actions are obfuscated through secret interpretations of byzantine laws.


Manning conviction under Espionage Act worries civil liberties campaigners

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/31/bradley-manning-espionage-act-civil-liberties

Private awaits sentencing in WikiLeaks case as one observer says: ‘Obama has managed to do what Nixon couldn’t’

Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning faces a maximum 60-year prison sentence. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

Bradley Manning began his first day as a convict on Wednesday, after he was found guilty of 20 counts relating to the transmission of state secrets to WikiLeaks. Outside the courtroom, the consequences of what amounts to a major escalation in the US government’s war on whistleblowers are beginning to sink in.

Tuesday’s verdict was the first time under the Obama administration that any leaker of official secrets has been convicted under the 1917 Espionage Act – a criminal statute designed to ensnare actual spies and traitors working with foreign governments. The only other time in US history that an official has been found guilty at trial under the Act for passing classified information to the press involved a naval intelligence expert, Samuel Morison, in 1985.