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WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Charged in Superseding Indictment Prior To Extradition Hearing

The Department of Justice, (DOJ) announced a second superseding indictment in the case against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange.

Justin MacLachlan

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(TMU) – The Department of Justice, (DOJ) announced a second superseding indictment in the case against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange, alleging that he intentionally worked with hackers affiliated with groups “LulzSec” and “Anonymous” to target and publish sensitive documents.

The new indictment, handed down by a secret federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., did not add any charges to the existing 18 charges brought against Assange last year, but alleged that Assange and WikiLeaks actively recruited hackers to provide WikiLeaks with documents.

Assange is alleged to have provided the leader of the hacking group “LulzSec” and FBI informant Sabu or Hector Monsegur with a list of groups to target in 2012, in order to obtain information to post to the WikiLeaks platform, and that such information was revealed in chat logs.

However, in a video posted by anti-Wikileaks journalist Emma Best, the founder of DDoSecrets, a WikiLeaks-like leaking site shows Assange was only merely in the room while the true culprit – a former WikiLeaks employee Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson – talked in IRC with Sabu. Thordarson was also a turned FBI informant at the time, as Rolling Stone previously reported.

It’s not known if there were other exchanges not recorded on video, but as Yahoo News wrote at the time, the leaked chat logs may be apart of the DOJ’s case against Assange. Today, the DOJ revealed that those chat logs were apart of the historic case.

The new indictment alleges that in one instance, Assange gave the LulzSec leader specific documents and PDFs to target and sent to WikiLeaks, and WikiLeaks eventually published information obtained from an American intelligence company Stratfor by a hacker associated with LulzSec and with hacktivist collective Anonymous, Jeremy Hammond.

Although there is no solid proof provided in the chat logs. As Yahoo News reported, it does not include any direct communication from the WikiLeaks founder, but only a supposed alias, named Leon Davidson.

“To obtain information to release on the WikiLeaks website, Assange recruited sources and predicted the success of WikiLeaks in part upon the recruitment of sources to illegally circumvent legal safeguards on information, including classification restrictions and computer and network restrictions,” the indictment reads, noting this was done with the intent to publish the information online.

In another section of the indictment, Assange is further alleged to have sought to recruit hackers at conferences in Europe and Asia to provide his anti-secrecy website with classified information, including military secrets. The allegations in the new indictment stem on conferences in 2009 in the Netherlands and Malaysia, which prosecutors say Assange and a WikiLeaks associate sought to recruit hackers who could locate classified information, including material on a “Most Wanted Leaks” list posted on WikiLeaks’, CBS News reported.

Finally, the indictment also alleges that, in 2010, Assange gained unauthorized access to a government computer system of a NATO country.

The 18 charges unveiled last year alleged that Assange worked with former Army Intelligence Analyst Chelsea Manning in 2010 to obtain and disclose sensitive “national defense information” through conspiring to crack a password tied to a Department of Defense computer.

WikiLeaks has published thousands of pages of material obtained from Manning, including details around Guantanamo Bay detainees and combat guidelines concerning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan known as the war diaries.

If convicted, Assange faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for each of the existing 18 charges brought against him except for alleged conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, which contains language from the Espionage Act. Assange faces a total of 175 years in jail if extradited to the U.S. with a total of 18 charges.

Assange is currently detained in the United Kingdom in Belmarsh prison after he was evicted and arrested from the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he took refuge for several years. The U.S. has requested Assange’s extradition, in which a hearing is planned for September.

Earlier in the year, a magistrate court judge Judge Vanessa Baraitser decided that Assange must remain isolated in a glass box at the back of the courtroom during his extradition hearings. Julian Assange’s lawyer also claimed in court at his extradition hearing that the U.S. wanted to murder the WikiLeaks founder and make it look like an accident as TMU reported.

U.S. lawyers have falsely claimed that Assange’s publishing of the Iraq and Afghanistan war diaries endangered lives, a claim that is debunked by the Pentagon’s own admission that there is no evidence that any of WikiLeaks’ actions have caused even a single death,as Glenn Greenwald previously reported for Salon during the court trial of whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

In fact, it was Assange who went to “extreme measures” redacting names and information. According to multi-award winning Australian journalist Mark Davis, it was the Guardian journalists who appeared to care little about redacting names, as a Consortium News video explains. Davis had documented the entire process of the release of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs in a film called Inside Wikileaks, which showed the former Wikileaks editor-in-chief working alongside journalists from the New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel.

Assange even attempted to contact the U.S. State Department and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warning about the leak of un-redacted documents on other websites, Assange’s lawyers have said.

Assange’s lawyers have argued in court that their client would be a “suicide risk” if extradited to the United States. Other court statements were heard according to 9News.

Manning was freed from prison in March after being jailed since May 2019 for refusing to appear before the grand jury involved in the indictment against Assange. Both Manning and Hammond refused to testify against Julian Assange, this leaves two culprits who could potentially testify against Assange, Monsegur, and Thordarson.  Although, this is pure speculation, and the Justice Department could have another witness that will testify against Assange.

A federal judge ruled that Manning’s testimony was unnecessary, however, ordered her to pay a fine of $256,000. The ruling came a single day after reports emerged that Manning had attempted suicide while in custody as TMU previously reported.

If Assange is extradited, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer has continuously said Assange could be exposed to “a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial, and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Melzer has also stated that Assange has deliberately been exposed “for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.”

Health

Humans May Have Found a Way To Not Only Stop Aging – But To Reverse It as Well

Elias Marat

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Humans have long to reverse the effects of aging and prolong their lives. Whether this was due to a love of power, a love of wealth or simple human anxiety about the loss of youth, tales about immortality can be found in the folk tales of countless cultures.

And while aging is a wholly natural process, humans have always struggled to fight against it – be it through science and medicine or through the search for supposed cures such as the mythical Fountain of Youth.

And now, Israeli scientists have claimed to have figured out a solution not only to the process of biological aging – but to reverse it as well, simply by administering pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber.

In a study published Nov. 18 in the peer-reviewed journal Aging, the scientists claim to have showed how aging could be reversed in two key biological clocks in humans related to aging and illness by administering high-pressure oxygen in a pressurized chamber.

When humans grow olders and their cells divide, the sequences of DNA at the end of chromosomes – known as telomeres – grow shorter with time. After the telomeres become too short, the cell is unable to replicate and eventually dies.

While telomere shortening can keep rogue cancerous cells from multiplying rapidly, this also results in genetic aging. As a result, geriatric cells that aren’t able to divide –  also known as senescent cells – accumulate throughout our lives, and are one of the key causes of aging.

In the clinical study, 35 people aged 64 or older were given hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) for 90 minutes a day, five times a week over the course of three months. Blood samples were collected from subjects prior to the treatment, after after the first and second months of the trial, and two weeks after the trial ended.

The patients didn’t have any lifestyle, diet, or medication changes during the study. However, their blood revealed major increases in the telomere length of their cells and a decrease in the number of their senescent cells.

For the researchers, the results of the study offered proof that the process of aging is reversible.

“Researchers around the world are trying to develop pharmacological and environmental interventions that enable telomere elongation,” Prof. Shai Efrati of Tel Aviv University told the Jerusalem Post. “Our HBOT protocol was able to achieve this, proving that the aging process can in fact be reversed at the basic cellular-molecular level.”

The groundbreak study, he added, “gives hope and opens the door for a lot of young scientists to target aging as a reversible disease.”

The oxygen treatment also improved subjects’ attention, ability to process information, as well as subjects’ executive functions, the researchers said.

While attempts to halt aging through modifying one’s lifestyle or intensively exercising can provide “some inhibiting effect on telomere shortening”, the hyperbaric oxygen treatment is more effective, said Efrati’s partner at the Shamir Medical Center, Chief Medical Research Officer Amir Hadanny.

“In our study, only three months of HBOT were able to elongate telomeres at rates far beyond any currently available interventions or lifestyle modifications,” Hadanny said.

The study could open the door to a radical new approach to medical problems and medicine in general.

“Today telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of aging,” Prof. Shai Efrati of Tel Aviv University told the Jerusalem Post. “We are not [just] slowing the decline – we are going backwards in time.”

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Saturn and Jupiter Will Align and Create Extremely Rare ‘Christmas Star’ During Winter Solstice

Elias Marat

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The 2020 holiday season is widely expected to be one unlike any other, due in no small part to the ongoing public health emergency. However, Christmas celebrations will also be unique due to an extremely rare planetary alignment, the likes of which have never been seen since medieval times.

Star-gazers will be in for a major treat come December 21, 2020 – the date of the winter solstice – when Jupiter and Saturn will appear extremely close to one another in our night sky, making the planets appear that they might almost collide and becoming one extremely luminous point of light.

The rare celestial treat coinciding with Christmas week will see the Solar System’s two largest planets appear as a “double planet” for the first time in almost 800 years.

“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” said astronomer Patrick Hartigan in a press release from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

“You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky,” he added.

Of course, these massive planets won’t be close to one another. Consider our own planet’s distance from the sun. Astronomers use what’s called astronomical units (au) to measure distances in the sprawling expanse of our solar system. Jupiter lies 5 au from the Earth, while Saturn lies 10 au away.

Since the summer, Jupiter and Saturn have been headed towards each other in our own night sky. And from Dec. 16-25, they will appear to be separated by only less than the diameter of a full moon.

While astronomers are recommending that the best views will be seen from around the equator, if good weather permits then the alignment will be clear from any location here on Earth.

Jupiter and Saturn will also be clear during the twilight, for roughly an hour after sunset every evening. However, a telescope tilted toward the western sky will be the best way to catch a glimpse of the extremely rare event.

“On the evening of closest approach on Dec 21 they will look like a double planet, separated by only 1/5th the diameter of the full moon,” Hartigan explained. “For most telescope viewers, each planet and several of their largest moons will be visible in the same field of view that evening.”

“The further north a viewer is, the less time they’ll have to catch a glimpse of the conjunction before the planets sink below the horizon.”

Websites like Stellarium will also be helpful in figuring out where you should look for the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.

If you don’t get a chance to catch Jupiter and Saturn this close together, you can catch the pair again relatively soon – on March 15, 2080.

However, the next time Jupiter and Saturn will be so close in earthly night skies will be in 2400.

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Breonna Taylor Protest Leader, Suspect in Drug Case, Both Shot Dead Within Days

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Two people with close ties to the Breonna Taylor case have been shot and killed this week, and no suspects have announced in either case. Last Thursday, 28-year-old Adrian O. Walker was shot and killed in west Louisville, Kentucky, according to the Courier-Journal. Walker was one of the primary suspects in the investigation that led to the raid on Breonna Taylor’s home back in March. 

Adrian Walker entered a not guilty plea in late July to charges of engaging in a criminal syndicate, along with drug and gun charges, in connection with the investigation. He was one of the three people listed on the search warrant for Taylor’s home. 

Adrian Walker is not related to Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who fired back at police when the home was raided, they just happen to have the same last name. 

Police believed that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, was storing cash and receiving packages of drugs at Taylor’s home, and that Adrian Walker was working with him.

Glover previously told reporters that he was offered a plea deal in which he would be promised a lighter sentence if he agreed to claim that Taylor was a criminal who belonged to an “organized crime syndicate.”

Glover turned down the deal. He believes that Taylor’s house may have been targeted because she bailed him out of jail when he was in trouble in the past. Police say that Glover was selling drugs out of a house nearly ten miles away from where the raid occurred, but he has pled not guilty to those charges and claims that the police are mistaken.

Adrian Walker, who was listed as an associate of Glover’s in the warrant, was found dead sometime in the afternoon on November 19th, on the 2300 block of Magazine Street, and police have not shared any details about the case with the public.

Just a few days later, one of the protest leaders behind the justice for Breonna Taylor movement was shot and killed, the Courier-Journal reported. On Monday, Hamza “Travis” Nagdy, was killed on the 2100 block of Crittenden Drive, also in Louisville.

Alton Strupp / Courier Journal

There are no suspects in his shooting either, and police have not revealed any details about the case.

In a post on Facebook, Nagdy’s mother and stepmother both confirmed his death. His sister, Sarah Nagdy, launched a GoFundMe for Nagdy’s funeral expenses, which has already raised over $17,000 in the first day that it was posted. A candlelight vigil in Nagdy’s honor will take place at Jefferson Square Park at 6 p.m. on Monday evening.

There is no indication that these two shootings are connected, but it is concerning that two people with connections to such a high profile case have died in unexplained murders.

So far this year there have been over 140 homicides in the city of Louisville, breaking the city’s record of 117 homicides in 2016 over a month before the end of the year.

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