WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the past few days, a series of unexpected developments have cleared the path for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London without fear of arrest.
On Tuesday, WikiLeaks posted a tweet announcing the U.S. government had ended its eight-year-long grand jury proceedings against WikiLeaks that was expanded in 2017 to cover the WikiLeaks various “Vault” releases on CIA spy technology.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 2, 2018
The WikiLeaks tweet referenced a State Department press conference held that day, Jan. 2, 2018, in which State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert made a strong statement regarding freedom of speech that was couched in a reference to Iran.
.@statedeptspox: We support a freedom of the press. When a nation clamps down on social media, we ask the question — what are you afraid of? We support the people of #Iran, and we support their voices being heard. pic.twitter.com/4dG4FlWTMJ
— Department of State (@StateDept) January 2, 2018
The WikiLeaks tweet confirmed the State Department’s reference to freedom of speech in Iran was a coded communication intended to extend the umbrella of free speech and press rights to WikiLeaks in a clear reversal of the policy in which both CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Sessions have argued that arresting Julian Assange is a priority. It is not clear that Assange has violated national security laws, even if it can be shown he published U.S. national security classified documents.
Specifically, Nauert said the following:
“We support a freedom of the press here in the United States. We support the right of voices to be heard. And when a nation clamps down on social media or websites or Google or news sites, we ask the question, “What are you afraid of?” What are you afraid of? We support the Iranian people and we support their voices being heard.”
Trump’s attorneys argue Assange’s First Amendment right to publish
In a motion filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Dec. 29, 2017, in the case Roy Cockrum vs. Donald J. Trump for President, Trump’s attorneys argued that Julian Assange had a right under the First Amendment to publish the DNC and John Podesta emails, even if the emails were stolen.
The case was orchestrated by Project Democracy, a group run by former attorneys from the Obama administration, arguing that then former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone had conspired with the Russians to publish the DNC and Podesta emails.
In a 32-page motion defending the Trump Campaign, Michael A. Carvin of the Jones Day law firm and attorney of record representing President Trump, argued that the Trump campaign, and by inference Julian Assange at WikiLeaks, could not be held liable under the First Amendment for a disclosure of stolen information if the information published involves “a matter of public interest” and the speaker was not “involved” in the theft.
In making the argument, Trump’s attorneys relied upon Bartnicki v. Vopper. 532 U.S. 514 (2001), a labor union case in which the Supreme Court ruled a radio station had the right to broadcast a stolen tape of a phone call between the chief union negotiator for a Pennsylvania high school and the chief union negotiator together with the union president.
Technically, Assange has not yet been indicted of any criminal offense in the United States, nor is it clear if he committed any crime. Under the Supreme Court Decisions New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), and in the Pentagon Papers case, New York Times v. U.S. 403 U.S. 713 (1971), a journalist is allowed to accept and publish classified documents provided by other sources.
While Roger Stone’s case is still pending in the District of Columbia District Court, the opinion submitted by President Trump’s attorneys can be seen to have established the basis for pardoning Assange as a pre-condition of allowing Assange to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London without U.S. federal authorities seeking to arrest him.
Sweden drops charges against Assange
In May 2017, the government in Sweden dropped the rape case against Assange, ending the four-year long attempt by the Swedish government to arrest Assange via a European Arrest Warrant.
A recent decision by a United Kingdom tribunal also appears to have vitiated the arrest warrant issued by a British court in 2012, after Assange violated his bail conditions to take refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy.
On Dec. 29, 2017, Assange posted a tweet that referenced an article published by the Guardian on Dec. 14, 2017, citing a United Kingdom tribunal that declared WikiLeaks to be a media organization and a free speech advocate – designations that could carry a legal importance in placing Assange under “free speech” protections both in the UK and in the United States.
— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) December 29, 2017
Will President Trump pardon Assange?
A QAnon post on the Internet bulletin board 8chan on Christmas Day and a series of messages posted on Twitter by Julian Assange on New Year’s Day appear to deliver a coordinated message that an extradition for Assange from his sanctuary in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London is imminent.
While interpreting posts intended to be cryptic is not a science, those following QAnon understand QAnon has forecast several important developments in code, in an effort to mobilize Internet-aware Trump loyalists.
Ultimately, the question QAnon is raising is this: Will President Trump pardon Julian Assange?
The QAnon Christmas Day post reads as follows:
On Jan. 1, 2018, Infowars.com posted on Scribd.com a decoding of this cryptic QAnon Christmas Day post.
- Using gematria, the numbers 10, [10-9] are translated into the letters JA, the initials of Julian Assange with “J” being the 10th letter of the alphabet and “A” being the first. The operational window for Assange’s extraction from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London is signaled to be later this week, Jan. 5-6, 2018.
- That Assange will be extracted with the blessings of the Trump administration is suggested by the designation FDeltaC, referencing a Federal Detention Center of undetermined location. That the location is outside the United States is suggested by the “Delta” designation.
- Dec. 25-26 references Emanuel Leutze’s famous painting depicting George Washington’s historic crossing the Delaware River on Christmas night in 1776, with painting posted in synch on the Internet bulletin board 8chan by both QAnon and by the U.S. Department of Defense on Dec. 25, 2017.
- With the possibility Assange might return to the United States, the “storm” QAnon has been predicting appears ready to begin.
- QAnon’s reference to “Secured” suggests the path for Assange to return to the United States has been secured at the highest level of the U.S. government, with the knowledge and approval of President Trump.
- QAnon’s reference to “Floor is yours” suggests this is Assange’s opportunity to drop key files on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the hoax of “Russia collusion” developed by CIA Director John Brennan and propagated to the mainstream media with the assistance of Google’s Eric Schmidt.
- The comment “Twitter FW” suggests Twitter will be used by Assange to communicate with the public as the extraction mission goes forward. The additional comment “Twitter [kill_rogue] suggests Assange will post key information on the Twitter account @kill_rogue.
- Finally, the notation “CONF_WHITE_WHITE” suggests Assange’s initial destination of Switzerland has been confirmed. Switzerland’s national flag is a white cross (WHITE_WHITE) against a red background.
On New Year’s Eve, Julian Assange posted on Twitter a cryptic string of numbers that appear to be a “Dead Man’s Switch,” linking possibly to a new cache of WikiLeaks documents Assange’s associates would post should Assange be arrested.
— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) January 1, 2018
Assange’s New Year’s Eve post also embedded a video of the song “Paper Planes” by singer M.I.A. that linked to YouTube.
Again, in what appears to have been a synchronized post, @kill_rogue retweeted Assange’s New Year’s Day post and asked, “What words do you hear in the song?”
The second line of the lyrics in the song reads, “If you catch me at the border I got visas in my name …”