Category Archives: Corruption

Documentary on Julian Assange Revealing War Crimes and Corruption

This is in the global interest.

It is the truth hat sets us free. Silence and secrets when concealing criminality are NOT in the public or global interest. It is a duty to reveal corruption, crimes and harm to innocent civilians.

3/4 of a million documents were released.

Julian Assange Trial and Tribulations of Injustice

In the global interest. Humanity is on trial. Corruption is what obscures justice. That has to be the focus of investigation. Who is blocking justice? Who is silencing dissent? What are the networks? What is the global agenda happening here?

Perhaps this is the beginning of disruption and the testing of totalitarian influence and power. So it is the puppeteers that we are becoming aware of.

Julian Assange Awakens Secrecy as Repugnant to Freedom

This is an article from the Australian ABC regarding Julian Assange, lawyers, breach of privacy and surveillance.  the article focuses on the recording of Geoffrey Robertson QC a famous Australian barrister, well known by those of us over 40 for the ABC program ‘Hypothetical’.  Geoffrey Robertson demonstrated justice as he challenged influential Australians to respond to controversial issues, scenarios indicating how they would handle a difficult problem. He demonstrated Justice and Inquiry. 

He is a human rights lawyer and his lawyer-client privilege was breached due to powerful interests not driven by Justice but power. 

I felt inspired to give J F Kennedy a voice in this blog which drives to the heart of this problem.  

Transcript: https://www.jfklibrary.org/archives/other-resources/john-f-kennedy-speeches/american-newspaper-publishers-association-19610427

The keystone message of Kennedy is as follows:

I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers–I welcome it. This Administration intends to be candid about its errors; for as a wise man once said: “An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.” We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed–and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment– the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution- -not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants”–but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.

The important question for US lawmakers and politicians is – Can you face high crimes and misdemeanours and correct mistakes rather than criminalise the messenger?   Wikipedia provides insight into the meaning:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_crimes_and_misdemeanors

When you deeply contemplate the journey of Julian Assange you realise he is a light on the hill as he reminds the US of its true purpose as they have lost their way.  He is a beacon who not only revealed US secrets but awakened the world to what is called the ‘dark side’ of surveillance and political corruption. Justice is not a business deal it is about the truth that sets all free.

Recently I wondered about him. I sent light and protection to him and that he is safe as the US seek to jail him for revealing what is on ‘a need to know basis’. 

When you have experienced inequality before the law, illegal surveillance, privacy breaches and corruption your Cinderella world view dissolves as you become dis-illusioned.  That is, the illusion falls from your eyes and you see clearly. 2020 (vision) is about clear seeing. Until you walk in Julian’s shoes you cannot know the sacrifice he made in the public interest, albeit global interest. We are learning about how power operates as distinct to Justice. The lengths people will go to, to win and pervert the course of  justice. The lack of ethics, integrity and manipulation of the rule of law is under the spotlight. 

It is noteworthy that those persons exposed of crimes and/or breaches to the Constitution are not arrested but the whistle-blowers are pursued as if criminals and rights to Justice undermined. The Brave New World is a teacher, we are being given glimpses into this possible future and every person is choosing. This is the real universal vote. Complacency or democracy?

The surveillance state is increasingly being privatised as contractors are paid by national intelligence agencies accessing secrets themselves.  Secrets (security) are leverage.  Imagine how wide spread is espionage as intelligence becomes private security (business) becomes intelligence in the revolving door of greed where there is always a back door to breach privacy and make money from vulnerability.  Greed is the key issue arising out of a desire to live like the US, yet, must we rob Peter to pay Paul. Debt is another leverage point.

Some key quotes from the ABC article below are worthy of contemplation.

“It’s important that clients can speak frankly and freely in a confidential space with their lawyers in order to be able to protect themselves and ensure that they have the best possible legal strategy and that the other side does not have advance notice of it,” Robinson said.

Referring to a Spanish allegation that the US Government had advance notice of legal conversations in the embassy, she said: “That is … a huge and a serious breach of [Assange’s] right to a defence and a serious breach of his fair trial rights”.

“I wasn’t surprised at all. It’s an occupational hazard for human rights lawyers. You’re bugged, you’re followed by secret police, you’re spied upon,” said Robertson, one of Australia and the UK’s most respected human rights barristers for almost 50 years.

The extradition hearing comes amid a flurry of activity related to Assange: on Friday his legal team also confirmed they will try to seek asylum for the WikiLeaks boss in France, and on Thursday an English court heard that Assange was offered a US presidential pardon if he agreed to say that Russia was not involved in a 2016 leak of Democratic Party emails.

When the ABC asked questions of the US embassy in Canberra, it referred questions to the US justice department, which did not respond by deadline.

The ABC also sent questions to the CIA and the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Neither responded by deadline.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/julian-assange-and-his-australian-lawyers-were-secretly-recorded-in-ecuadors-london-embassy/ar-BB10hrG3?ocid=spartandhp

Julian Assange and his Australian lawyers were secretly recorded in Ecuador’s London embassy

Dylan Welch, Suzanne Dredge and Clare Blumer 2 hrs ago

WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Britain January 13, 2020.

© REUTERS/Henry Nicholls WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Britain January 13, 2020. Barrister Geoffrey Robertson’s shuffles into the entrance to Ecuador’s embassy in London, a camera recording the sound of his shoes echoing on the hard tiles.

It’s just after 7:00pm on January 12, 2018.

The camera rolls as Robertson stops at the front door, unbuttons his overcoat and removes his cap.

Once inside the embassy, other cameras follow him as he’s ushered into a meeting room, where the storied Queen’s Counsel is offered a cup of tea.

After a few minutes, he is greeted by the embassy’s most famous resident, Julian Assange.

The camera continues to roll, recording every word of the confidential legal conversation which follows.

While this may be typical surveillance at a secure diplomatic property, what Robertson did not know was he and a handful of other lawyers, were allegedly being targeted in a remarkable and deeply illegal surveillance operation possibly run at the request of the US Government.

Pictures: The case of Julian Assange (Showbizz Daily)

And recordings such as Robertson’s visit are at the heart of concerns about the surveillance: privileged legal conversations between lawyer and client in a diplomatic residence were recorded and, later, accessed from IP addresses in the United States and Ecuador.

Robertson was only one of at least three Australian lawyers and more than two dozen other legal advisers from around the world that were caught up in the surveillance operation.

Long-time WikiLeaks adviser Jennifer Robinson was one of the other Australian lawyers caught in the spying operation.

“It’s important that clients can speak frankly and freely in a confidential space with their lawyers in order to be able to protect themselves and ensure that they have the best possible legal strategy and that the other side does not have advance notice of it,” Robinson said.

Referring to a Spanish allegation that the US Government had advance notice of legal conversations in the embassy, she said: “That is … a huge and a serious breach of [Assange’s] right to a defence and a serious breach of his fair trial rights”.

On Monday evening (Sydney time), Assange will face an extradition hearing relating to US criminal charges against him for his role in the WikiLeaks releases of classified US Government material.

The extradition hearing comes amid a flurry of activity related to Assange: on Friday his legal team also confirmed they will try to seek asylum for the WikiLeaks boss in France, and on Thursday an English court heard that Assange was offered a US presidential pardon if he agreed to say that Russia was not involved in a 2016 leak of Democratic Party emails.

The offer of a pardon was allegedly made by the US congressman Dana Rohrabacher when he visited Assange in the embassy in August 2017. Rohrabacher has denied he was making the offer on behalf of Donald Trump.

‘It’s an occupational hazard for human rights lawyers’

The surveillance was uncovered via a very public investigation into the Spanish company contracted by the Ecuadorian Government to provide security at the embassy, UC Global.

WikiLeaks Spanish lawyer, Aitor Martinez, told the ABC the surveillance came to light after Assange was arrested, when former UC Global employees provided a large file of material.

“This consisted of recordings from cameras installed in the embassy and hidden microphones; recordings made with secret microphones placed inside the embassy; hundreds of secret copies of the passports of Mr Assange’s visitors; multiple emails exchanged between the company owner and the employees,” Martinez said.

The recording of lawyers and legal conversations was not accidental, according to the Spanish criminal case, which is now investigating UC Global and its owner, former Spanish Navy marine David Morales.

“David Morales was justifying himself by saying that he had been expressly asked for this information, sometimes referring to ‘the Americans’,” a UC Global employee turned prosecution witness said.

“He sent on several occasions — via email, by phone and verbally — some lists of targets in which we had to pay special attention … they were mainly Mr Assange’s lawyers.”

“I wasn’t surprised at all. It’s an occupational hazard for human rights lawyers. You’re bugged, you’re followed by secret police, you’re spied upon,” said Robertson, one of Australia and the UK’s most respected human rights barristers for almost 50 years.

Robinson — also an Australian citizen — was spied on while providing confidential legal advice to Assange.

“It is incredibly troubling that our secret and privileged legal conversations with Julian Assange were recorded and apparently handed to US authorities,” she told the ABC.

“It is one of the most fundamental principles of protecting attorney-client relationships that we are able to have confidential and private meetings, to discuss legal strategy.”

The concerns about illegal monitoring of confidential legal discussions may become part of his defence, with his lawyers expected to argue that the espionage has denied Assange his basic legal rights.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne did not respond to ABC questions about the Spanish case. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) also declined to discuss it, only noting that it had previously sought assurances that Assange would be treated appropriately under UK law.

“The Australian Government cannot intervene in any extradition request for Mr Assange, which is a matter for the UK authorities,” a DFAT spokeswoman said.

Robinson said that she believed Canberra had not done enough to protect Assange, an Australian citizen.

“This is a case in which an Australian citizen is facing 175 years in prison in the United States for the same publication for which he won a Sydney Peace Prize and the Walkley award for the most outstanding contribution to journalism,” she said, referring to WikiLeaks’ publication in 2010 and 2011 of confidential US documents that revealed, among other things, war crimes and illegal spying on world leaders.

“His Australian lawyers — all of us Australian citizens — have [also] had our rights as lawyers and our ability to give him a proper defence superseded by the US and potentially the UK Government.

“This is something that the Australian Government ought to be taking very seriously and ought to be raising both with the UK and with the United States. It is time the Australian Government stands up for this Australian citizen and stops his extradition.”

The file

The ABC has obtained hundreds of internal UC Global documents, videos, audio files and photos tendered in the Spanish case, which commenced in April last year days after Spanish newspaper El Pais published videos and audio of Assange and guests being spied on in the embassy.

The files reveal the remarkable and expanding secret surveillance targeting the WikiLeaks boss and his guests.

In an email from September 2017, Morales ordered UC Global staff to find out what the walls around Assange’s bedroom were made of, and to photograph the embassy’s rooms and its furniture.

Then in December, UC Global updated the embassy’s camera system, installing audio-capable cameras.

A month later, and under instructions from Morales, they installed a listening device in the false base of the meeting room’s fire extinguisher.

They also installed a microphone in the women’s bathroom — a place where Assange would regularly hold sensitive legal meetings.

The case is being investigated by Spain’s federal court, the Audencia Nacional, which is examining whether Morales and UC Global are guilty of breaching both Assange’s privacy and lawyer-client privilege, as well as crimes relating to misappropriation of funds, bribery, and money laundering.

“From 2015 to mid-2018, when UC Global lost the embassy’s security contract, a battery of illegal espionage measures was deployed, with massive interference in the privacy of [Assange], in his communications with his [legal] team, in meetings with his doctors, and in general against everyone close to him,” a criminal complaint filed by Assange’s Spanish lawyers stated.

“In those years the defendants created a sort of ‘Big Brother’ in which all the movements of Mr Assange and the people close to him were monitored.”

The case commenced after a group of Spanish citizens contacted senior WikiLeaks employees and demanded a significant sum of money in return for what they said was voluminous proof of the espionage.

A former UC Global employee — who cannot be identified for legal reasons — also separately approached WikiLeaks, wanting to reveal what they saw as the illegal behaviour of their former company.

WikiLeaks referred the case to Spanish courts, who launched an investigation and arrested Morales. He was later released on bail.

“This spying did not only affect Mr Assange’s lawyers, it also affected all of his visitors, including journalists,” Martinez said.

“It got to the point where, during a visit to Mr Assange, the head of Ecuador’s intelligence service [Rommy Vallejo, on December 21, 2017] was also spied on,” Martinez added.

“In the meeting between Mr Vallejo and Mr Assange the possible release [from the embassy] of Mr Assange in a few days later was discussed.”

Within hours of that secret meeting, which was known to only a few people, the US Ambassador to Ecuador complained to Ecuadorian authorities, and the next day the US issued an international arrest warrant for Assange, Martinez said.

“That leads us to believe that the conversation was urgently sent to the US authorities and that they urgently issued the international arrest warrant the next day,” he said.

Martinez was himself spied on while having legal meetings with Assange at the embassy.

“Mr Assange began to suspect that he was being spied upon … so he asked us to hold the most sensitive meetings in the women’s toilet at the back of the building,” Martinez recalled.

“We honestly thought it was an exaggerated step to hold our legal meetings in the women’s toilet, where he would even open the water tap to avoid anyone listening.

“It was interesting to find out that Mr Assange was, in fact, correct: the material before the court proves that UC Global knew the meetings were held inside the women’s toilet, as they proceeded to install an additional microphone [there].”

‘It goes to the heart of client-lawyer privilege’

While the case made headlines in Europe and the UK, there has been little to no discussion here about what it means for the Australian citizens and lawyers caught up in the alleged espionage operation.

The Law Council of Australia told the ABC the alleged surveillance operation was “deeply disturbing”.

“The allegations that Julian Assange’s conversations with his lawyer were being recorded are really serious,” the council’s president, Pauline Wright said.

“If you can’t have that full, frank discussion without fear that that’s being recorded and potentially released to the authorities … it erodes trust in the whole system.

“It goes to the heart of the client lawyer privilege.”

The file also reveals that Morales’ surveillance project — dubbed Operation Hotel — did not just observe Assange and his guests. Internal UC Global documents reveal staff also stole or illicitly photographed visitors’ belongings.

The file includes photos of passports, mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices owned by dozens of activists, journalists, lawyers and public figures that visited Assange.

The file also reveals a growing desire, on Morales’ part, for ubiquitous surveillance of Assange and his visitors.

Morales directed UC Global to scrutinise particular people visiting Assange, whom he refers to as “el huesped” (the guest).

“We must … create or improve the following profiles (personal data, relationship with the guest, phones, emails, number of visits, et cetera) of these regular visitors or collaborators of the guest,” he said.

He lists nine people, one of whom is Robinson.

“We must do everything to know their data … I want a person completely dedicated to this work, so if you have to hire someone for it, tell me,” Morales said.

“All this must be considered top secret.”

UC Global staff sometimes resisted their boss’s more intrusive requests. In December 2017, Morales allegedly directed an employee to steal the used nappy of a baby who sometimes accompanied his mother when she visited Assange.

The theft was necessary, Morales said, to DNA test faecal matter to establish if the child was Assange’s son.

“I decided to talk to the mother of the child,” the employee said in his statement to the court.

“When we were outside of the embassy, I told her that she must not take the child to the embassy anymore because they planned to steal her baby’s diapers to prove whether he was the son of Julian Assange.”

‘Amigos americanos’

The Spanish criminal complaint states the turbo-charged surveillance operation began after Morales travelled to Las Vegas in 2015 for a security fair. There, he signed a contract with Las Vegas Sands, a company owned by billionaire Trump donor Sheldon Adelson, according to the complaint.

Ostensibly, the contract was to provide security services to Adelson on his mega yacht, the Queen Miri.

But, when Morales returned to Spain, he told UC Global staff they were now “playing in first division”, according to two witness statements tendered in the case.

“[Morales] said he’d gone to the ‘dark side’, referring to himself as a casual collaborator with US authorities, and he said that as a result of this collaboration, ‘The Americans will get us contracts all over the world’,” one witness said in his statement.

Throughout the operation, the employees were repeatedly told by Morales that the surveillance operation was being directed by people he referred to as “amigos Americanos” (American friends).

Concerned about the increasingly illegal behaviour, the UC Global associate pressed Morales on the euphemistic references to “Americans”, demanding to know exactly who they were working for.

According to the statement, Morales replied: “la inteligencia de Estados Unidos” (United States intelligence).

“However, when I asked him who was the particular intelligence person he was meeting to provide them information, Mr Morales ended the conversation and told me that this topic was handled exclusively by him outside the company,” the UC Global associate told prosecutors.

The associate told the court he had repeated and heated discussions with Morales about the operation and who was behind it.

Once such conversation ended with Morales making the gesture of opening his shirt and saying: “I’m a mercenary!”

US action

At first, Morales collected the surveillance footage and delivered it by hand to unknown people in the US.

Later, he asked staff to create a file server and then a secret website to stream the embassy cameras.

A UC Global employee responsible for running the secret website told the Spanish court he noted at least one visitor to the site with an American IP address.

In a Spanish interview, Morales said neither he nor UC Global staff installed any listening devices in the embassy and suggested WikiLeaks had placed the microphones around the embassy.

When the ABC asked questions of the US embassy in Canberra, it referred questions to the US justice department, which did not respond by deadline.

The ABC also sent questions to the CIA and the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Neither responded by deadline.

The Vatican, Illegality and when the Holy Can’t See

In the public interest. What the holy can’t see won’t hurt them hmmmm. Corruption is revealing unethical and criminal behaviour in an institution that preaches moral virtues and humility. This is the lesson for the Catholic church (and others). The trust of the people is what has been betrayed overtime. One can’t just confess sins it is to face what actions have done to innocent people. So a person would have to go to those personally he or she affected. This is how the crime is seen and felt. Forgiveness is then the next step of one’s greed, lust, indifference. The corruption of character.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-vaticans-dirty-money-problem

The Vatican’s Dirty Money Problem

 
FISHY

A mysterious firing and a new report on the Vatican’s creative bookkeeping begs the question: Why does no one ever get in trouble for laundering money at the Holy See?

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

 

ROME—In 2015, the Council of Europe’s financial-evaluation arm Moneyval laid down the law for the Vatican Bank, telling the rather unholy financiers who had been accused of abetting money laundering for years that it isn’t enough to just smoke out suspicious account holders and freeze assets. Instead they said the Vatican Bank, formally known as the Institute for Religious Works, or IOR, needed to start actually prosecuting criminal cases.

Two years later, thousands of accounts have been closed or frozen, but Moneyval still isn’t happy. According to its 209-page December 2017 progress report, the Vatican gets good marks for not funding terrorism and for flagging potential illegal behavior. But the holy bank fails once again to actually hold anyone accountable for what are clearly crimes such as “fraud, including serious tax evasion, misappropriation and corruption,” according to the report.

More curious still, a week before the highly anticipated report was released, the IOR Deputy Director Giulio Mattietti was fired with no advance warning and escorted from his office out of fear he might remove files from his desk.

Mattietti was hired in 2007 by Paolo Cipriani, the former head of the bank who resigned under pressure a few months after Pope Francis was elected in 2013, after a Vatican accountant nicknamed “Monsignor 500” for his penchant for 500-euro notes, was arrested for trying to smuggle $26 million to Switzerland. Mattietti’s removal followed the sacking of a lower-level IOR employee days earlier. The Vatican gives no official reason for either of the firings beyond “reforms,” but a source close to the bank says the bank employees who were let go may have been whistleblowers who were alerting officials outside the bank about continuing impropriety.

In fact, despite apparently precise record keeping on the part of IOR, Moneyval evaluators still found 69 actions involving 38 customers that were not in accordance with money laundering and fraud standards set forth by the Council of Europe. None of those suspect cases were prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law, and instead Moneyval investigators point to vague records that imply that the cases were closed.

“Eight money-laundering investigations have been closed formally without any charges, while six additional investigations have been concluded without an indictment for any offense and their formal closure has been requested,” the report states.

And that is a problem.

The report specifically points to the recent Vatican tribunal case in which the chairman of the Vatican’s children’s hospital was accused of serious financial crimes using around a half million euros in funds meant for sick children to renovate a penthouse apartment for the former Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. The cardinal was never under investigation, but the hospital’s former president and treasurer were tried in a Vatican court for using funds they funneled through the Vatican Bank.

Moneyval is calling foul on the judicial outcome. The chairman was given a suspended sentence and the treasurer was acquitted even though the money clearly was misappropriated. “An immediate custodial sentence was not imposed on the former chairman of the  foundation. He received a one-year suspended prison sentence and was placed on probation for five years,” the report notes, adding the fact that there was “no application for restitution or compensation to the foundation.” That means the half-million that was criminally mishandled will never go to the sick children for whom it originally was intended.

In this case, Moneyval evaluators have advised the Vatican’s “promoter of justice,” or chief prosecutor, to “impose a fine, as foreseen by the law, in addition to the custodial sentence” essentially demanding that the chairman spend his year in prison.

The Moneyval report also outlines a case in which a Vatican Bank customer who was “a foreign citizen” and not a Vatican resident, withdrew more than $3 million from his private IOR account and deposited that money into three separate safety deposit boxes kept in the bank, which was a practice apparently used by Mother Teresa and others who had big sums of money but who lacked the paperwork to move it around legally.

The Moneyval report says that the cash was then subsequently “gradually withdrawn from the safety boxes and transferred to a third country without declarations.” In 2014, the Vatican Bank reported the case and suspended access to the safety boxes, the contents of which, by then, had been depleted. An unnamed foreign country then opened its own investigation into the deposit of the same sum ($3 million) that had apparently come from the Vatican Bank account.

The Vatican tribunal originally levied a sanction of more than $250,000 on the customer, but in a secret hearing in June of this year, the Vatican promoter of justice apparently reduced the fine by more than half. “The appeal against the administrative sanction was heard by the Vatican Tribunal in June 2017, when the fine, was reduced considerably,” according to the Moneyval report. Moneyval then leaned on the Vatican’s promoter of justice to reopen the case and consider reinstituting the original fine for apparent money laundering but found that “So far there has been no indictment in this case.”

The evaluators went further to suggest the promoter of justice is actually complicit in keeping cases out of its courts. “While this review cannot form a view on the quality of the evidence adduced in financial-crime cases that have so far come before the Tribunal, the success rate of the promoter before the tribunal so far is not encouraging,”  the evaluators state. “It is noted that persons have been discharged by the tribunal. That is the tribunal’s prerogative, having heard the evidence in the case. However, if the promoter is dissatisfied with evidential decisions of the tribunal or decisions of the tribunal to convict on lesser charges than those brought by his office, he is encouraged to be proactive in appealing those decisions in appropriate cases.”

The bank once had more than 30,000 account holders, including several religious entities and private citizens who maintained accounts worth millions at the hallowed institution, which is tucked safely within the sovereign state of  Vatican City. The bank has since closed several high-profile accounts, including many held by diplomatic missions and the consulates to Syria, Iran, and Iraq who moved millions of euros around through “vague cash transactions,” but it has never been able to shake its troubled past.

Last June the Vatican’s prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy, Cardinal George Pell was sent back to Australia to face child sex-abuse charges in early 2018, leaving a notable gap in the pope’s efforts to reform the church’s troubled finances, which had been a priority since his election in 2013.

The Vatican had little to say after the recent Moneyval report. “The Holy See is committed to taking the necessary actions in the relevant areas to further strengthen its efforts to combat and prevent financial crimes,” was the only official word from the Vatican press office. Just shortly after he was elected, Pope Francis threatened to close the bank for good after widespread allegations that it was involved in corrupt practices including money laundering. No doubt he has been second-guessing the decision to keep it open ever since.