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Australia, Media Demand US End Persecution of Julian Assange



Australia, Media Demand US End Prosecution of Julian Assange

Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he recently asked US President Joe Biden’s administration to end the persecution of Wikileaks founder and Australian citizen Julian Assange.

Albanese’s comments to Parliament on Wednesday appear to increase Australia’s diplomatic pressure on the US to drop spying charges against the 51-year-old resisting extradition from Britain.

“I have personally raised this with representatives of the United States government.” “My position is clear, and it has been made clear to the US administration: it is time to put this matter behind us,” Albanese told Parliament.

“This is a citizen of Australia,” Albanese added. “I don’t sympathize with Mr. Assange’s actions on various issues, but… you have to reach a point where you wonder what the point is of… continuing this legal action that could be caught up now for many years into the future?”

Albanese did not say whether he discussed Assange directly with Biden during a bilateral meeting two weeks ago on the sidelines of a Cambodian summit. However, Albanese stated that he had “recently in meetings” advocated for Assange.

Albanese compared Assange’s treatment to that of Chelsea Manning, a former US Army intelligence analyst who the prime minister said was “now able to participate freely in US society.”

Prosecutors in the United States allege that Assange assisted Manning in stealing classified diplomatic cables and military files, which Wikileaks later published, putting lives in danger. Manning’s 35-year sentence was commuted to seven years by then-President Barack Obama, allowing her release in 2017.

Albanese was responding to a question from independent lawmaker Monique Ryan about whether the Australian government would intervene to bring Assange home.

Julian Assange

Since its election in May, Albanese’s government has been cautious about prosecuting Julian Assange. Ministers’ criticisms have been limited to phrases like “dragged on for too long.”

When the British government agreed to extradite Assange in June, Albanese refused to publicly demand that the US drop the prosecution.

“Some people believe that putting things in capital letters and using an exclamation mark on Twitter makes them more important. “No, it doesn’t,” Albanese said at the time.

“I intend to lead a government that engages with our partners diplomatically and appropriately,” Albanese added.

Top media outlets demand US end the prosecution of Julian Assange

Five major news organizations issued an open letter on Monday condemning the US prosecution of Assange, who is wanted on 18 counts, including espionage.

“This indictment sets a dangerous precedent and threatens to undermine America’s First Amendment and press freedom,” The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El Pais editors and publishers wrote.

“Holding governments accountable is part of a free press’s core mission in a democracy.”

The letter arrives exactly 12 years after media outlets published revelations gleaned from Wikileaks’ release of over 250,000 confidential US military records and diplomatic cables, dubbed “Cablegate.”

Julian Assange

Chelsea Manning, a former US soldier, leaked the material to Wikileaks, revealing the inner workings of Washington’s diplomacy worldwide.

According to the letter, the documents revealed “international corruption, diplomatic scandals, and spy affairs.”

“Twelve years after the publication of ‘Cablegate,’ the US government should drop its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing classified information.” “It is not a crime to publish,” the media outlets stated.

According to the 2019 US Justice Department indictment, Assange’s leak caused “serious damage” to US national security and put US government sources in danger of physical harm or detention.

However, Assange’s supporters claim that he is being prosecuted for exposing US wrongdoing, including that committed during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

He remains in British custody pending a US extradition request to face trial, and if found guilty, he could face up to 175 years in prison in the US. Julian Assange has filed an appeal against the British government’s decision to extradite him.

The letter on Monday noted that when Barack Obama was president and Joe Biden was vice president. The US administration delayed indicting Assange because the journalists could have also faced prosecution.

That changed under President Donald Trump when the US Justice Department charged Julian Assange with violating the 1917 Espionage Act, which, according to media outlets, “has never been used to prosecute a publisher or broadcaster.”

The letter is the latest manifestation of public pressure on President Biden’s administration to drop Julian Assange’s prosecution.

Julian Assange

Leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union, urged Washington to drop the charges last year.

“The indictment of Mr. Assange threatens press freedom because much of the conduct described in the indictment is conduct that journalists engage in regularly – and that they must engage in to do the work that the public requires,” they wrote.

In July, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wrote a letter to Biden defending Assange and renewing an earlier offer of asylum to the Wikileaks founder.

“I left a letter to the president about Assange, explaining that he did not commit any serious crime, did not kill anyone, did not violate any human rights, that he exercised his freedom, and that arresting him would mean a permanent affront to freedom of expression,” Lopez Obrador said.

Last week, Colombia’s left-wing President Gustavo Petro said he met with Wikileaks representatives and planned to ask Biden not to charge a journalist “just for telling the truth.”

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G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack



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Paris police find no weapons on a man detained at Iran’s consulate.

Police said Friday that they discovered no weapons on a man held at the Iranian consulate in Paris after responding to a report of a suspicious man carrying a grenade and an explosives vest.

A Paris police spokesperson told The Associated Press that authorities were verifying the man’s identity but discovered no such weapons on him or in his car.


AP News – VOR News Image

G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not permitted to be publicly identified under police procedure.

Some of the police, special agents, and firefighters who rushed to the situation at the consulate were later spotted leaving the area after being arrested. A police cordon remained in place, although traffic had resumed in the area.

According to the official, the individual was observed late Friday morning, and police initiated a special operation as soon as they were notified.

The event occurred at a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East, as Paris prepares to host the summer Olympics.

The director of the United Nations’ nuclear inspector says there was no damage to the Isfahan nuclear facility following a purported Israeli drone attack on a major air base near the Iranian city.

When asked about the nuclear facility on Sky News, International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi stated, “There hasn’t been any damage at the site or anything that would indicate that (there) were hits nearby or something that could lead you to believe that there was an intention to reach these places.”

The Isfahan facility has three small research reactors supplied by China, as well as fuel production and other activities for Iran’s civilian nuclear program.


G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack

Isfahan also contains locations related with Iran’s nuclear program, such as the subterranean Natanz enrichment facility, which has been frequently attacked by suspected Israeli sabotage strikes.

Iranian authorities claim that air defenses fired on a key air base in Isfahan, which has long housed Iran’s fleet of American-made F-14 Tomcats, purchased prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Missile remnants were discovered Friday near Latifiya, southwest of Baghdad.

An official with an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with journalists, said the missile was shot down due to jamming efforts. The Iraqi army lacks jamming systems similar to those used to destroy the rocket, but Iran has handed such gear to its allied militias.

It was unclear whether the rocket was part of an Israeli attack on Iran or last weekend’s Iranian attack on Israel. Local media images of the site showed what seemed to be an air-to-surface missile. There were no reports of Iran firing air-to-surface missiles during Saturday’s onslaught, which comprised over 300 drones, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles.


G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack

Tehran launched the attack in response to a purported Israeli strike in Syria on April 1, which killed two Iranian generals in an Iranian consulate building.


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Police Arrest Six People Over US$14.5 Million Gold Heist in Canada



Gold Heist in Canada
Largest Gold Heist in Canadian History: File Photo

Six people have been arrested, including a jeweler and a commercial airline employee, and police have issued warrants for three more suspects in connection with what they say the single-largest gold robbery in Canadian history.

According to Peel Regional Police in Ontario, a joint investigation with the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) resulted in the filing of nearly two dozen charges against the suspects in connection with the nearly $20 million Canadian dollar ($14.5 million) heist that occurred a year ago.

During a news conference in Ontario on Wednesday, Peel Regional Police Detective-Sergeant Mike Mavity told reporters that 400 kilograms of gold bars weighing more than 900 pounds, as well as approximately CA$2.5 million ($1.8 million) in stolen bank notes, were hijacked at Toronto Pearson International Airport after arriving on a commercial flight from Europe.

In total, 6,600 gold bars of various sizes were stolen, each of which was “99.9% pure and contained individualized serial numbers,” according to Mavity.

Gold Heist Air Canada

Gold Was in Hull of Air Canada aeroplane: File Photo

According to Peel Regional Police in Ontario, a joint investigation with the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) resulted in nearly two dozen charges being filed against the suspects in connection with the nearly $20 million Canadian dollar heist that occurred on April 17, 2023.

On April 17, 2023, the gold and money were loaded into the hull of an Air Canada flight in “an approved airline container” bound for Toronto.

At 3:56 p.m. same day, the flight arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport, and the gold and cash were quickly removed from the aircraft and transported to an Air Canada facility.

At 6:32 p.m., a man suspect came at air can freight driving a 5-ton truck and approached the property with what police called a counterfeit airway bill, a document used by carriers to track shipments.

Shortly after, a forklift arrived and loaded the item into the suspect’s truck. The suspect then drove off.

fake shipping bill

Fake Shipping Bill: Photo Peel Police

According to a police press release, officials discovered the document bill at 2:43 a.m. the next day to be a duplicate of an airline bill for a valid shipment of fish delivered and picked up the day before.

According to Mavity, the fake bill was produced at the Air Canada facility, and when officials discovered the products were gone, they used security footage to monitor part of the suspect’s subsequent trip until losing track of the truck in north Milton, an Ontario suburb.

Police stated that the crime was an inside operation and that a former Air Canada manager was wanted in the case.

So far police said they have arrested the following suspects in connection to the gold heist case:

  • Air Canada employee Parmpal Sidhu, 54, of Ontario
  • Jewelry store owner Ali Raza, 37, of Toronto
  • Amit Jalota, 40, of Ontario
  • Ammad Chaudhary, 43, of Ontario
  • Prasath Paramalingam, 35, of Ontario

All five were released on bail and are scheduled to appear in court at a later date, Mavity said.

The truck driver who allegedly picked up the gold, Durante King-Mclean, 25 of Ontario, is currently in custody in the U.S. on firearms and trafficking related charges.

Here are the suspects at large:

  • Air Canada manager Simran Preet Panesar, 31, of Ontario
  • Archit Grover, 36, of Ontario
  • Arsalan Chaudhary, 42, of Ontario

Only CA$90,000 ($65,000) of the more than CA$20 million recovered, said to Peel Regional Deputy Chief Nick Milinovich.

According to US Today, U.S. ATF Special Agent Eric DeGree, King-Mclean was detained in Pennsylvania following a traffic stop that resulted in the seizure of 65 illicit guns destined for Canada. According to DeGree, King-Mclean attempted to flee after police discovered the firearms in a rental car he was driving.

According to Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick, two of the individuals identified by police worked for the airline’s cargo division at the time of the crime.

“One left the company prior to the arrests announced today, and the second has been suspended,” he stated, according to the site. “Because matter is now before the courts, we are unable to speak further.

According to the announcement, only about CA $90,000 (one kilogram of gold) has been found and melted down into bangle bracelets. According to authorities, the remaining gold was most likely melted down and used to purchase illicit weaponry.

“I commend our investigators, the ATF, other law enforcement partners, and our community for working together to identify and arrest those responsible for this brazen crime,” Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah said in a statement this week.

Anyone with information regarding the case should contact Peel Regional Police.

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2023: Poland Arrests Man Suspected Of Spying For Russia To Aid Zelenskyy Assassination Plot



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WARSAW, Poland – A Polish man has been arrested on suspicion of preparing to spy for Russia’s military intelligence in an alleged plot to assassinate Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Polish prosecutors said Thursday.

According to a statement released by Poland’s National Prosecutor’s Office, the individual, known only as Pawel K. under Polish privacy regulations, was accused of preparing to transmit airport security information to Russian agents and was arrested in Poland on Wednesday.


AP News Image

Poland Arrests Man Suspected Of Spying For Russia To Aid Zelenskyy Assassination Plot

The man was looking for contact with Russians directly involved in the war in Ukraine and was expected to provide detailed information about the Rzeszow-Jasionka airport in south-east Poland, near the Ukrainian border, which serves as the gateway for international military and humanitarian supplies to Ukraine. It also caters to leaders and politicians traveling in and out of Ukraine. The airport is controlled by US soldiers.

If convicted, the guy faces up to eight years in prison, according to the statement.


AP News – VOR News

Poland Arrests Man Suspected Of Spying For Russia To Aid Zelenskyy Assassination Plot

The prosecutors claimed that close cooperation with Ukrainian prosecutors and security agencies, who tipped them off and provided crucial evidence, made the arrest possible. They stated the case is progressing.

On Thursday, prosecutors in Germany announced the arrest of two German-Russian individuals on suspicion of espionage, with one accused of agreeing to carry out assaults on potential targets, including US military bases, in the hopes of damaging supplies to Ukraine.

Dieter S. and Alexander J. were arrested Wednesday in Bayreuth, Bavaria, according to German federal authorities.

Since Moscow initiated its campaign on Ukraine in February 2022, several persons have been arrested in Poland on suspicion of spying for Russia, including a dual Russian-Spanish citizen.


CNN – Vor News Image

Poland Arrests Man Suspected Of Spying For Russia To Aid Zelenskyy Assassination Plot

Poland, a European Union member, has been a loyal backer of neighboring Ukraine and Zelenskyy in their fight against Russia’s aggression for more than two years.


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