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Cops Arrest Julian Assange’s Friend – New Side of the Story

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Cops arrested friend of Julian Assange, Ola Bini

Mired in controversies, the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has added another so called criminal in the case. In early hours after the British police arrested Assange, the cops made another arrest after they suggested it was related to hampering the nation’s security.

The man arrested Ola Bini, a Swedish cybersecurity expert and digital privacy advocate, was taken into custody on April 11 on charges that he had attacked computer systems in the country.

However, the activists and digital security advocates have deemed the move as unethical, citing that there is no evidence yet of a crime or connection, other than the fact Bini is Assange’s friend.

Prosecutors though have pointed to the laptops, iPads, iPods, encrypted USB sticks and credit cards as the proofs of abduction. They also claimed that he often travelled and had also spent more than $230,000 in internet services over the past five years.

Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno, who even accused Assange of breaching the laws of asylum, said Bini was one amongst “many hackers” who had visited Julian Assange at the country’s embassy in London. He further added, it was at that time when the WikiLeaks founder gave him the instructions to attack the computer systems.

However, his arrest has upended the scale of protests, with protesters asking the grounds on which he has been detained. Even Amnesty International along with Article 19 – an organization that promotes and defends free speech – have raised an eyebrow over the issue.

Bini “is a highly respected expert in digital security and cryptography and is recognized for major contributions in the field,” Article 19 said in a statement.

Ola Bini was arrested at the international airport in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, while he was on his way to Japan, his girlfriend Sofia Celi informed. Later, government officials went on television and affirmed the move.

Bini’s lawyer, however, clearly said that it was unlawful to deny him the access to any lawyer for 17 hours, not informing of the charges, and not providing the translator as required by the local news.

Assange’s friend who has not been granted bail despite protests, will now remain in custody for 90 days, as Ecuadorean prosecutors build a case against him. Meanwhile, WikiLeaks founder who fears extradition to the US, could also face the charges of espionage, according to the CNN report.

Based on the US prosecutors, Assange’s logs clearly show that Manning sought out Assange’s assistance in cracking a password. The move, thus allowed her access Defence Department computer networks on a password that was not her own, helping to protect her identity.

Therefore, with the serious charges already against Assange, and now his friend also getting involved, Assange’s position in the mix can be seen as weakening. Besides Bini, who activists proclaim, has been arrested following the confusion in the type of work he did, might still escape the chaos if no solid connections emerge in the near future.

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Prison Sentence of 175 Years Aggravates Allies of WikiLeaks Founder

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WikiLeaks Founder

Following Julian Assange’s extradition to the US, the former Australian foreign minister Bob Carr said that the prison sentence faced by the WikiLeaks founder would be similar to the capital punishment, hurting the sentiments of his allies. He asked the Australian government to stand in support of the former.

47-year-old Assange, whose earlier charges included hacking a Pentagon computer system, is now serving a 50-week sentence in the UK jail for skipping bail, when he fled to the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012.

The US prosecutors on Thursday announced 17 additional charges against Assange for publishing secret diplomatic cables and files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The WikiLeaks founder would face a maximum sentence of 175 years in the US prison, if convicted.

Earlier Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson assured Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, by signing a letter, confirming that the British legislation suggested that if a person could face a death penalty, then he cannot be extradited.

On Friday, Carr said the government “must oppose” the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder that could lead to capital punishment. He added that the size of the punishment, attracting a 175 years imprisonment might aggravate Assange’s allies and partners. He continued that the US-UK extradition treaty excluded “political offences” and Assange’s cases were “thoroughly political”, as he exposed war crimes and other abuses through WikiLeaks.

Carr criticized the current Australian foreign minister Marise Payne, saying that she failed in her duty to protect the life of the WikiLeaks founder.

The Australian press freedom groups have criticized the US prosecutors for the latest charges, claiming that these were hampering their freedom of expression. They believed that the charges were an attempt to criminalise Assange on matters of national security. 

Australian Senator Rex Patrick said that the Australian government should actively provide diplomatic support to Julian Assange so as to avoid him being extradited to the US on charges that possess a great threat to the freedom and expression of press.

Greg Barns, Australian Barrister and adviser to Assange, asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign minister Payne to intervene in the case. He said that the nature of sentences faced by Assange, including the accusations that the latter violated the Espionage Act, is not proportionate.

Assange’s supporters have abruptly responded to the current charges, considering it as an escalation of attack on the journalism and a direct assault on the First Amendment. They believe it to be a threat to all the news organisations. Such precedents would also be dangerous for US journalists, who uncover the secrets of other nations.

In the wake of the recent charges, there has been a constant disruption amongst the WikiLeaks founder’s allies, demanding his freedom.

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Formula 1 Champion Niki Lauda Loses the Race of Life at 70

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Formula 1 Champion Niki Lauda Loses the Race of Life at 70

Renowned Formula 1 world champion Niki Lauda, who spent his life running cars in speed, lost the race of life, on Monday. The racer survived 9 months after a lung transplant in August, and “passed away peacefully” at the age of 70, as confirmed by his family.

Born in Vienna in February 1949, the legendary Austrian was a motor racing legend. His most remarkable time goes back to when he took the title for Ferrari in 1975 and 1977, and for McLaren in 1984.

Ferrari’s Formula 1 team said he would “remain forever in our hearts”.

People also remember Niki Lauda as the man who cheated death. A year after winning his first title, he suffered three-degree burns to his head and faced after a crash in the German Grand Prix on August 1, 1976. Inhaling the toxic gases after his vehicle burst into flames at Nurburgring, the motor racer damaged his lungs.

His recovery from after the accident was miraculous, as the doctors had given him the last rites in hospital. Being the legend and a passionate racer, he returned to racing in just 40 days, still bandaged covering the burns on his face.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said, “We haven’t just lost a hero who staged the most remarkable comeback ever seen, but also a man who brought precious clarity and candour to modern Formula 1.”

Niki Lauda became known to the new generation of fans in the acclaimed 2013 film Rush, which set forth his rivalry with British driver James Hunt, the 1976 world champion.

After a legendary journey in motor racing and retirement, he became a successful entrepreneur in the business of airlines. Most recently, he became a non-executive chairman for the Formula 1 Mercedes team.

Mercedes stated that the passing of their “irreplaceable” chairman “leaves a void in Formula 1”.

His family’s statement stated, “His unique achievements as an athlete and entrepreneur are and will remain unforgettable, his tireless zest for action, his straight forwardness and his courage remain a role model and a benchmark for all of us.”

His ill health followed him into his years later, where he spent several years fighting for life. Niki Lauda leaves behind his wife, their twins born in 2009, and three sons from his previous relationships.

The legend will forever be remembered by numerous people of mixed generations for his racing skills both on track and in life.

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Chelsea Manning: “Won’t Answer Subpoena”

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Chelsea Manning

Former US Army Intelligence Analyst, Chelsea Manning, also known as Bradley Manning was released on Thursday from a prison in Northern Virginia. She served in the US army as Bradley Manning, and was seen in the news after she disclosed thousands of diplomatic and military secrets to WikiLeaks in 2010.

She experienced imprisonment of 62 days on accusations of civil contempt as she denied to testify to a grand jury. Manning was released because the term of her Grand Jury ended, although her lawyers worried that she could be imprisoned again.

During her first interview with the media, after serving jail time, Chelsea Manning denied to accept another subpoena or to answer the questions of a new grand jury on May 16. Considering that she will not testify and will stick to her principles, her lawyers have asked the court to not sentence her again.

She was arrested and charged with imprisonment of 35 years in the military prison, after leaking diplomatic and military secrets to WikiLeaks in 2010. However, the former US president Barack Obama modified her sentence, after she completed seven years of her total term in 2017.

During her interview with Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources”, Manning said, “I think that we have a much stronger case in terms of like the legal objections, which the previous judge didn’t — refused to even hear. He refused to even hear or act on the motions. He just simply placed me in contempt and ignored our motions.”

“I think that the Eastern District of Virginia is now turned into a rubber stamp for all these different prosecutions. I think that ultimately what they really want is they want to go after journalists.”

“This administration clearly wants to go after journalists,” she added.
Earlier, US Prosecutors revealed that Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks was charged discreetly by the US grand jury in March 2018 on the accusations of plotting with Manning to bypass the military computer system.

Comments of Chelsea Manning come into light during the argument, if the accusations of US prosecutors on Assange can be considered as an assault on the freedom of press.

After denying to testify in front of a new grand jury, it might be possible that Chelsea Manning will be arrested soon enough. Also, after her sparking interview with Stelter, it might be possible that her message against the Trump administration reaches many people and they might come in her support, avoiding further assault on the Freedom of Press.

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Is Saudi Using the “Sabotage Attack” as a Defense Strategy or Tool?

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Attack on Two Saudi Oil Tankers: A Strategy in Disguise

Two vessels of Saudi Arabia, which were on their way to cross into the Arabian Gulf, have become a victim to “a sabotage attack” in the exclusive economic zone of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on Sunday. However, the Kingdom’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih confirmed the news on Monday, stating that two of their oil tankers were damaged in attacks that wrecked the vessels off the coast of the Emirate of Fujairah.

As per the reports, one of the two tankers was on the move to get loaded with Saudi crude oil at the port of Ras Tanura. Besides, it was to be delivered to the state-owned oil beneficiary Saudi Aramco’s customers in the United States.

The attack came amidst the soaring tensions at the Persian Gulf, due to the US-Iran rift. Although the tankers were not identified, the blame has shifted slightly towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. As the US and its Arab rival are tangled in a conflict, chances of attacks are also high.

Considering that, the Trump administration deployed warships and bombers at the Persian Gulf.

While the relations between the Kingdom and Iran are similar, the attack on Saudi’s oil tankers is also being associated to Tehran.

On the other hand, the Foreign Ministry of Iran called for clarification on the incident and to Saudi’s claim that its vessels were targeted in a “sabotage attack”. On Monday, the Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said that more details should be provided about what exactly happened, as he expressed his concerns over the matter.

Moreover, state-run IRNA news agency also quoted Mousavi as cautioning against any “conspiracy orchestrated by ill-wishers” and “adventurism by foreigners” to undermine the region’s stability and security.

As per the statement of Saudi’s Energy Minister Falih, there were no casualties or oil spill, but it did cause a significant damage to the structures to the two vessels. Besides, no details on the nature of the sabotage were provided.

On one hand the Kingdom has no specific details on the so-called “sabotage attack” on its oil tankers, and on the other it is subtly targeting its long-time enemy, Iran, by putting the blame of unproven attacks on it.

As the story draws, it could be perceived that Saudi Arabia is trying to assist its western ally, the United States, by bring its rival in the picture without any proves. Moreover, the Kingdom could possibly be using the “two vessels” loading oil to bury down the story of the vessel spotted at the French coast to load weapons, which were supposed to be deployed in Yemen war.

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1 killed and 8 injured after two students opened fire in Colorado School

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Colorado school shooting

Two high school students opened vacuous firing at students of a Colorado community school, killing at least one and injuring eight others.

According to the Douglas County sheriff officials, the 18-year-old Devon Erickson and a juvenile student rushed into the classrooms of STEM School Highlands Ranch, Colorado, on Tuesday afternoon, causing havoc in the corridors.

Within a few minutes, the suspects were engaged and taken into custody by the Douglas County sheriff officials.

Eight victims, of age 15 and older, received treatment at local hospitals, including two who were in critical condition. At least four other victims were released the same day. No employees or teachers were injured in the shooting, authorities have confirmed.

Sheriff Tony Spurlock said that the motive behind shooting was unclear, and the officials have not received any information about someone being particularly targeted by the juvenile shooters.

The FBI and Denver’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were rendering assistance in the investigation.

In an official statement, the White House said that the tragic incident was reported back to President Donald Trump, and he is monitoring the situation.

“Tragically, this community and those surrounding it know all too well these hateful and horrible acts of violence,” Judd Deere, the White House deputy press secretary, said. “We offer our full support to local law enforcement and first responders and thank them for their heroism.”

The STEM School and other nearby schools were completely evacuated and locked-down for many hours, as stated by the Douglas County School District.

Over 1,850 students in elementary, middle, and high school have been enrolled in STEM School, according to its website.

STEM School is situated close to the Columbine High School, where 13 people were shot dead by two students on April 20, 1999. The incident was so far the worst in US’s history.

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