(TMU) – U.S. intelligence assets and a private security company plotted to abduct or even poison Julian Assange during the WikiLeaks co-founder’s seven-year stay at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, a British court has been told.
The discussed plans were allegedly part of a wide-ranging and complex spying operation that targeted Assange and any of his visitors, according to former employees of Spanish security firm Undercover Global.
Two anonymous witnesses who worked for UC Global told London’s Old Bailey court that from 2017 onwards, after the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, American intelligence agencies stepped up their surveillance of Assange. The witnesses had been granted anonymity due to fears for their safety, reports The Guardian.
Assange’s confidential meetings with lawyers were recorded by microphones, his fingerprints were lifted from a drinking glass, and moles hatched a scheme to obtain the nappy of a baby who was being brought to the embassy on routine visits.
According to UC Global founder and director David Morales, “the Americans” sought to establish paternity but called off the plan when the then-employee tipped off the child’s mom.
The witnesses, who are apparently equally afraid of Morales and the U.S. Government, allege that their former director was won over to “the dark side” before giving instructions to install sophisticated cameras with advanced audio recording capabilities in order to secretly record Assange’s conversations with visitors, and especially his attorneys.
One of the witnesses claims that after Morales went on a business trip to Las Vegas in July 2016 to promote his security firm, he obtained a “flashy contract” with the Las Vegas Sands, owned by close Trump ally and billionaire campaign financier Sheldon Adelson.
“After returning from one of his trips to the United States, David Morales gathered all the workers in the office in Jerez and told us that ‘We have moved up and from now on we will be playing in the big league,'” the witness explained.
The other anonymous former employee claims that in December 2017, “the Americans were desperate” and had demanded that “more extreme measures should be employed against the ‘guest’ to put an end to the situation of Assange’s permanence in the embassy.”
Assange had been living there since 2012, when then Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa granted political asylum to the Australian amid the British government’s attempts to detain him and extradite him to Sweden over a sexual assault case that was subsequently dropped.
The witness said an idea was hatched whereby the door to the embassy would be intentionally left open, “which would allow the argument that this had been an accidental mistake, which would allow persons to enter from outside the embassy and kidnap the asylee”.
Another plan involved the possibility that Assange could be poisoned.
“All of these suggestions Morales said were under consideration during his dealing with his contacts in the United States,” the witness said.
The witness claims that Morales requested that he install a microphone in a fire extinguisher in the embassy’s meeting room, as well as in the bathroom where Assange was holding meetings out of the well-grounded concern he was being targeted in a spying operation.
“I used a nearby socket to conceal a microphone in a cable in the toilet in the back of the embassy,” the witness said.
“This was never removed, and may still be there.”
Lawyers for the U.S. Government have not contested the anonymous allegations but have shrugged them off as “wholly irrelevant” to the matter being considered, namely Assange’s likely extradition to the United States. The extradition hearings had been delayed due to the ongoing pandemic, but will conclude by week’s end.
After being removed from the embassy by police in April 2019, Assange has been held at the maximum-security HMP Belmarsh prison.
The U.S. government is seeking the extradition of Assange to the United States on 17 charges, including allegations of conspiracy to hack into computers in the U.S. and violating the Espionage Act. Analysts say he would face a sentence of up to 175 years in prison or even the death penalty if found guilty of the charges.
Assange’s defenders claim that he is simply being sought due to his role in the release of scandalous information implicating Washington in a range of crimes, including serious war crimes and violations of international law.
Trump “Pretty Likely” to Land in Jail For Many Alleged Crimes, Legal Analyst Says
Legal experts continue to say that it remains likely that former President Donald Trump could land in jail if convicted on one of the many legal challenges he faces.
Throughout his life, Trump has been involved in a number of lawsuits – both as the subject and instigator of them – but he is currently facing no less than 29 lawsuits and is also the subject of several criminal lawsuits, including one which saw his tax returns opened up to lawyers.
Trump is being investigated for potential bank, tax and insurance fraud by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for what Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office calls “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization,” reports the New York Times.
The former head of state denies any malfeasance and has said that he is “proud” of his tax returns.
However, legal analyst Jay Michaelson told Daily Beast’s The New Abnormal that Trump is “pretty likely” to face jail time if found guilty.
“Trump’s lawyers will always come up with something, but there should be no reason why the grand jury won’t get these financial records tomorrow,” Michaelson said.
“Will he go to jail for, like, the rest of his life? Probably no,” he continued. “Is it possible that this would lead to criminal charges that would carry jail time? I would say that’s pretty likely, and we could have a grand jury indictment fairly soon.”
Last month, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump legal team’s appeal to keep his tax returns closed from prosecutors. The move opens the door to the returns being shown to a grand jury in New York.
Following the ruling, Trump denounced the move as a result of him being a victim of “’the greatest political witch hunt in the history of our country.”
“In the meantime, murders and violent crime are up in New York City by record numbers, and nothing is done about it,” he added. “Our elected officials don’t care. All they focus on is the persecution of President Donald J. Trump.”
“I will fight on, just as I have, for the last five years (even before I was successfully elected), despite all of the election crimes that were committed against me. We will win!”
Minneapolis Police Lieutenant Calls Chauvin’s Use of Force On George Floyd “Totally Unnecessary”
The head of the Minneapolis Police Department’s homicide division flatly denounced former officer Derek Chauvin’s use of force against George Floyd as “totally unnecessary.”
Lt. Richard Zimmerman testified on Friday about his over three decades of police training and the lethal dangers of the techniques used on Floyd on May 25, 2020.
Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis police officer, is currently facing trial for his role in the killing of Floyd, 46, a Black man, by pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes as he lay handcuffed on the ground.
“Once you handcuff a person you need to get them out of the prone position as quickly as possible, because it restricts their breathing,” Zimmerman said, adding that being handcuffed “stretches the muscles back through your chest and it makes it more difficult to breathe.”
“That would be the top tier, the deadly force,” he said, noting that escalating to such a degree goes against use-of-force training at MPD. “Because if your knee is on someone’s neck, that can kill them.”
When asked if such force was necessary, Zimmerman responded that it was “totally unnecessary” given that any potential threat from Floyd had been subdued.
“First of all, pulling him down to the ground facedown and putting your knee on the neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for,” Zimmerman said. “I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger, if that’s what they felt. And that’s what they would have to feel to use that type of force.”
Continuing, Zimmerman noted that handcuffing a person quickly alters the permissible use of force that can be used in a situation.
“Once a person is cuffed, the threat level goes down all the way to, they’re cuffed, how can they really hurt you?” he said. “That person is handcuffed, and the threat level is just not there.”
At that stage, the use of force quickly declines, he added.
“If they become less combative, you may just have them sit down on the curb,” Zimmerman said. “The idea is to calm the person down and if they are not a threat to you at that point, you try to, you know, to help them so that they’re not as upset as they may have been in the beginning.”
Derek Chauvin has faced at least eighteen complaints during his 19-year career with the Minneapolis police, including six times in which prosecutors claim the former officer used force against arrestees.
However, these incidents – like George Floyd’s own criminal record – won’t be introduced to jurors in the Chauvin trial so that the defendant isn’t punished for prior misconduct, and is instead evaluated on the charges he faces for the death of Floyd: third- and second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Jeffrey Epstein Threatened to Feed Young Woman to Alligators After Raping Her, New Lawsuit Claims
The disgraced pedophile Jeffrey Epstein may be dead, but he is facing a fresh allegation that he raped a 26-year-old real estate broker and threatened to feed her to alligators, all with the help of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, according to the brutal details of a new lawsuit.
In the federal complaint filed last week, the woman – identified only as Jane Doe – claims that Epstein sexually abused her at his Palm Beach estate in 2008 with the “assistance” of Maxwell, who is currently facing a range of charges for the sexual exploitation of minors, sex trafficking and perjury.
According to Jane Doe, a married woman and devout Muslim of Turkish descent, following the rape Epstein and Maxwell drove the woman to pick up her 8-year-old son before stopping the car “at a large body of water that was infested with alligators.”
“Epstein then ushered the Plaintiff to the body of water and told her in explicit detail that, as had happened to other girls in the past, she would end up in this body of water and be devoured by the alligators, should she ever reveal what Epstein had done to her,” the suit filed in South Florida Federal Court reads.
The federal filing, reported first by the Miami Herald, also notes that she was “repeatedly raped” by Maxwell and Epstein, even in the presence of her young son, and that Epstein forced her to have sex with other men, including one man identified as a local judge.
Doe also alleges that she was forced to “unwanted and unnecessary vaginal surgery” to give the false impression that she was a virgin, and that the “violent and illegal procedure” was botched and left Doe “permanently sexually dysfunctional.”
According to Doe, she met Epstein and Maxwell at a barbecue hosted by her boss in late 2006 or early 2007 before being hired to find a property for Epstein.
It was at that point, she claims, that she was recruited and groomed by Maxwell to be abused by the multimillionaire pedophile.
In the following months, Epstein and Maxwell sex trafficked her while threatening her with rape, deportation, arrest for prostitution, and having her son seized from her.
“While making these threats, Epstein emphasized his personal connections to many powerful actors within the legal system and elsewhere whom he asserted would not hesitate to act on his behalf,” the suit noted.
Epstein also told Doe, who looked young for her age, to tell clients that she was 17. Additionally, she claims that she was coerced by the pair into helping them sex traffic other young women, including some believed to be underage.
The details of the case are especially gut-wrenching, even by the standards of the Epstein case.
Epstein, 66, was found hanged in a lone cell in the special housing unit (SHU) of a federal Manhattan prison in Manhattan on Aug. 10, 2019, while facing a potential prison sentence of up to 45 years on charges of pedophilia and sex trafficking. A city medical examiner ruled the death a suicide.
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