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Martin Sonneborn in an interview about Assange: “It borders on sabotage”



Martin Sonneborn in an interview about Assange: “It borders on sabotage”
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Martin Sonneborn speaks in an interview about Julian Assange's hearing. © Alberto Pizzali/Philip von Dittfurth/DPA

The Supreme Court in London decides to extradite Julian Assange to the United States. European Parliamentarian Martin Sonneborn speaks about the issue in an interview.

Mr Sonneborn, you are attending Julian Assange's extradition hearing in London. How has it gone so far?

Sonneborn: Actually very good. There were two submissions that were brilliantly presented by Assange's lawyers. I was in the courtroom and understood almost nothing.

There were reports that the technology left a lot to be desired.

What the British are doing here amounts to sabotage. The world's most important trial over freedom of the press – and it's taking place in the smallest courtroom you can find in the Supreme Court. The court blocked granting internet access outside of England and Wales – so people from the USA, Australia and the EU were unable to connect. Hence there is only room for twenty journalists at the exhibition. With live streaming, postage stamp-sized heads appear on the screen, often with no discernible sound for the first half. We managed to sneak into the hall, and MP Sevim Dagdelen was sitting with the Assange family and he let us in. Germans abroad must band together.

Sonneborn on Assange: “An attempt to silence critical journalism”

Assange case

The United States charges Julian Assange The charges of espionage and conspiracy threaten his personal safety and freedom of the press. A hearing on Assange's extradition to the United States was held at the High Court in London on February 20-21. This initially ended without resolution. If extradited, Assange could face up to 175 years in prison.

Frankfurter Rundschau The case of Julian Assange is accompanied by analyses, commentaries and interviews. They highlight the background and provide an overview of events in London. We have compiled the texts into our electronic file on Assange.

What did Assange's lawyers say?

All the arguments are on his side – I have shown once again how crazy it is to accuse a propagandist of publishing true information, including US war crimes. The whole thing is an attempt to criminalize and silence critical journalism. Assange's information was available in Spiegel, The Guardian, and The New York Times.

Assange is accused of espionage. what do you think?

Even if the espionage charge was deemed justified, he would not be allowed to be extradited because that would violate the bilateral extradition treaty between the United States and Great Britain, which includes an explicit ban on political crimes. Espionage is considered a political crime under British law.

An Australian citizen is set to receive a 175-year prison sentence in the USA for exposing US war crimes. I once recommended to my colleagues in the European Union Parliament to show the film „Collateral Murder” on YouTube in one of my speeches. American soldiers can be seen shooting indiscriminately at civilians, children and journalists from a helicopter in Baghdad. The people who committed these war crimes will not be tried. And the man who announced this had been rotting in six-square-meter cells for five years.

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Extradition Hearing – Concern about Assange is great

Julian Assange himself was not present on Tuesday. They said he was sick. What do you know about his condition?

There is great concern for him here. He has been detained in a high-security prison for five years, without any valid legal basis. Belmarsh, to make this more descriptive, is the prison where the supervillains in the James Bond films are imprisoned. British food in solitary confinement, with malnutrition, is often an additional torture, as I have just discovered again in London.

At least he was still connected to the last trial, right?

Yes, there was a camera in the cell he was in. Assange suffered a minor stroke during the trial. It must be terrible when you're sitting there listening to lawyers negotiating your fate with other lawyers, and you can't even express yourself. On Tuesday, a luxury cell was prepared for him in the courtroom: a wire cage.

Wire cage?

Yes, you have to imagine it a little like the old Robin Hood movies. A late British Gothic room in which a few light bulbs, some broken microphones and some decorated curtains are hung in front of the high windows. On the front left was a few square metres, perhaps larger than his cell, which was surrounded by huge black bars. This is where Assange was supposed to sit.

The petitions claimed that Assange was accused of a political crime and that Britain was not allowed to extradite him because of a related treaty with the United States. What to expect for day two?

On Wednesday, the American side filed its charges under the Espionage Act, a law dating back to World War I. In fact, I don't see what would be great in terms of content. However, we know of course that the final decision will be made in Washington whether to halt this process or continue it until the bitter end.

'It's not enough': Sonneborn on lack of support for Assange

Do you have the impression that the number of Assange supporters has decreased? In Germany, many Green leaders have remained virtually silent. What does the situation look like in the European Parliament?

I think there are three MEPs here. This is very little. I saw Andrzej Honko and Sevim Dagdelen from the Bundestag and Jeremy Corbyn from the Labor Party. It is very unfortunate that more politicians are not defending Assange. It's about absolute basic rights, and it's about these Western values ​​that we always vocalize when it suits us. Unfortunately, both Baerbock and Habeck, who had publicly called for Assange's release before the government took office, promptly forgot their demands in their offices. Fortunately, there were a relatively large number of people on the streets of London.

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It was previously said that Julian Assange could be extradited to the United States within a few days after the hearing. How do you rate that?

So, based on everything I've heard, I think Democrats don't want to have a third contentious issue before the presidential election in addition to the problem areas of Ukraine and the Middle East. I think it will not be delivered at the moment. Assange may remain detained in his cell until the US elections.

Supporters demand freedom for Julian Assange. But if he is not extradited to the US after the hearing, but remains imprisoned in Belmarsh, it will only be a victory. On what legal basis can he continue to be detained?

The court may postpone its pending decision indefinitely. Assange has hardly any contact with his family. He has two young children and a wife. This is very stressful for everyone. An example is made here.

French texts on the Assange case (selection)

– Julian Assange in Portrait: One Man, Many Faces
Comment: The Assange case is a campaign against freedom of the press
– Article: Art, Protest, and the Julian Assange Case
– The United States of America and the Assange case: the dark side of power
– Analysis: What remains of WikiLeaks?
– Retrospective article: For Julian Assange, it's all about the now
– Support: Protests in front of the magnificent London Palace
– Politics: In the Assange case, the Greens were clearly silent

-Stella Assange: “Julian could be on a plane to the United States the day after the hearing.”
-Jeremy Corbyn: 'The media is very disappointing'

Assange case: Every whistleblower will 'think three times' in the future

What do you mean?

In the future, all whistleblowers will think three times whether they really want to expose government crimes. But I think everyone understands that at this point, so: release Assange! There is a public interest in uncovering Secret Service and military crimes.

We have published a 32-page booklet on the case, which can be downloaded from my home page. This is the only semi-official document from the EU Parliament in which Assange's name is mentioned. Otherwise, the major parties will work to distance him from even the smallest mention on any sub-point, even in the least important decisions. In our documentary, which is unfortunately not at all satirical, and even a bit controversial at times when the story becomes too tiresome, it becomes clear that Mike “Fatty” Pompeo is waging a vendetta against him.

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Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of State and former CIA Director?

Yes. Assange has posted via WikiLeaks that the CIA not only conducts mass surveillance and espionage on governments and citizens around the world, but also – and this is against US law – on its own American citizens. It is capable of invading all computers and even taking over Internet-connected home appliances, even steering your car or turning your refrigerator into a well-stocked listening device. Pompeo took this personally, and the CIA then hatched a plan to kidnap and kill Assange. Approved by the White House. How do you want to extradite a person to a country that was planning to kill him?

I said that at the European Union level they avoid mentioning Assange's name. what is the reason?

I think that at the moment under Ms. von der Leyen's leadership, we are very close to the United States and NATO. This is anti-European and contrary to the Treaty. The Assange case is important to the highest levels of government in the United States; Every US president has pursued him, from Obama to Trump to Biden.

“There are two reasons”: Sonneborn is running for the EU Parliament again

Another question about your renewed candidacy for membership in the European Union Parliament. What motivates you to do this – the final part of idealism?

There are two reasons why we are competing again. The first is: We don't want to get kicked out the door. The CDU and SPD have passed an electoral law reform that violates the constitution and aims to keep us out of parliament using a threshold clause. The real accusation: very bad jokes and too much transparency. We are currently conducting member dispute procedures, and the Federal Constitutional Court recently informed President Steinmeier that he should not prepare the new electoral law at this time. Smiling

I think the accusation of transparency is more serious, right?

Exactly, and this is also the second reason: we can create transparency. Your colleagues here in Brussels are not that critical. But in the European Union we are moving more and more towards surveillance, extra-treaty militarization, and discrimination of opinions. I would like to continue to make all of these things transparent.

Interview: Christine is grateful

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ZDF equipment destroyed during the storming of the Capitol – Human must pay compensation



ZDF equipment destroyed during the storming of the Capitol – Human must pay compensation
outside Installments over 131 years

ZDF equipment destroyed during the storming of the Capitol – Human must pay compensation

Riots at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021

Riots at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021

Source: photo alliance/ M Suarez

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ZDF reporters' equipment was also destroyed during the riots at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. The person responsible was ordered to pay compensation, but it seems questionable whether he will pay it in full.

HMann in the United States must pay compensation to the insurance company of the German television station ZDF because it destroyed reporters' equipment on site when the Capitol was stormed in 2021. A Washington court decided, on Friday, to reject the appeal filed by the 40-year-old, and confirmed a previous ruling. . Therefore, the man owes the insurance company a dollar amount equivalent to 29,989.36 euros.

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On January 6, 2021, supporters of then-US President-elect Donald Trump violently stormed the Capitol building in Washington. Congress met there to formally affirm Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election.

Damaged equipment for media personnel - ZDF reporters' equipment was also damaged that day

Media personnel's equipment was damaged on 6 January 2021 – ZDF reporters' equipment was also damaged on that day

Source: Picture Alliance/AA/Tayfun Coskun

Trump previously incited his supporters during a speech with baseless claims that electoral victory was stolen from him through widespread fraud. The riots resulted in the deaths of five people. The attack continues to have an impact today. Long prison sentences have been handed down in dozens of trials, and many cases are still ongoing.

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The man who has now been ordered to pay compensation is also currently serving a 32-month prison sentence. He turned himself in, among other things, through a series of text messages sent on January 6. According to court documents, he wrote, among other things, that he had broken into the Capitol and sent photos from a senator's office. Later, he and other defendants participated in destroying the equipment of several television stations. He also documented this in text messages.

However, it is questionable to what extent he will pay damages in full: the ruling now confirmed stipulates an installment payment of US$20 per month (about €19) – paying the full amount in this way would be questionable. It takes about 131 years.

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Belgium exposes pro-Russian networks in several countries



Belgium exposes pro-Russian networks in several countries

As of: April 12, 2024 at 1:54 p.m

The secret services of one of the European Union countries have once again revealed the structures through which Russia seems to want to influence the upcoming European elections. Belgian Prime Minister De Croo called on the European Union to take more decisive action.

According to Belgian investigators, Russian-controlled networks are trying to help pro-Russian candidates succeed in the European elections. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that Belgian intelligence services had discovered “the existence of pro-Russian interference networks” that were said to be active in several European countries.

According to information received from the secret services, Moscow's goal is to bring as many pro-Russian candidates to the European Parliament as possible, thus strengthening the pro-Russian discourse in this institution.

De Croo did not mention which politicians were the target of the influence attempts. He only confirmed that the Belgian judiciary has begun an investigation and that there is currently no evidence of money transfers in Belgium itself.

Pro-Russian portal revealed

At the end of March, the Czech Republic included the Internet platform Voice of Europe (VoE) on its national sanctions list after secret services investigated the pro-Russian portal. The site is part of a Russian influence operation aimed at questioning Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and freedom.

Interviews with AfD politician Petr Bystrun and his party colleague Maximilian Krah appeared on the portal, which was blocked in the Czech Republic.

The Czech newspaper Denek Inn reported that Bystron may have also accepted money. The Alternative for Germany MP rejected this several times. Bystron occupies second place on the AfD's federal list for the European elections, and Krah is running in the elections as the party's best candidate.

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EU authorities can take action against influence peddling

“We cannot allow this kind of Russian threat in our midst,” De Croo said of the investigation in Belgium. Action must be taken at national and EU levels. Specifically, he proposed studying whether the European Anti-Fraud Office (Office Européen de Lutte Anti-Fraude, OLAF) is able to pursue these types of threats. If not, the authority's mandate must be expanded.

Observers fear that attempts to influence the European elections will increase again. Russia has been trying for years to destabilize European countries with the help of media networks, fake accounts and organized campaigns.

According to his own information, De Croo is also in close contact with European Parliament President Roberta Mizzola regarding this issue. The European elections are scheduled to take place from June 6 to 9.

In Germany, people will be called to the polls on Sunday, June 9. More than 700 members of the European Parliament are elected. Parliament is closely involved in European legislation, and also has a say in the composition of the next EU Commission.

Andreas Meyer-Fest, ARD Brussels, Tagesschau, April 12, 2024 at 2:56 pm

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German killed (19) – Analysis shows how treacherous snowboarding is



German killed (19) – Analysis shows how treacherous snowboarding is
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An avalanche surprised a hiking group from Bavaria at Lake Achensee in Tyrol. She was actually traveling in a snow-free area. There was one dead and one wounded.

Update from April 10, 2:29 p.m.: Tyrol's avalanche warning service has one analysis From the published disaster. “The avalanche was a sliding avalanche that slid down a steep grassy slope (more than 35 degrees),” she says. It was not the group that caused the avalanche itself. “Due to the very warm weather of the previous days, gliding avalanche conditions tended to be higher at the time of the accident,” she continued. The snow was very wet from melting snow and rain.

Moreover: “This reduces friction and increases the probability of avalanche sliding.” We are currently dealing with „still above average snow cover” at altitude. Meanwhile, little or no snow falls at low and medium elevations. The hiking group's route initially passed through a partially snow-covered hiking trail in a wintry area. Finally, experts warn: “Avalanches that explode at heights can penetrate the countryside, as happened with this avalanche.”

First report from April 10, 2:53 p.m.: Pertisau – The 1,991-metre-high Pärenkopf near Pertisau on Lake Achensee is a panoramic mountain par excellence located in the extreme eastern foothills of the Karwendel Mountains. From its summit you can enjoy the best view of Lake Achensee in Tyrol – the most beautiful lake for many Austria.

Avalanche surprises German tourists visiting Austria in Tyrol: despite the melting ice, there was a lot of snow

An avalanche rolled into the snowless area below and killed a mountain hiker from Bavaria. © Bergreitung Genbach/Facebook

A hiking group from the Eichstadt region in Upper Bavaria also wanted to enjoy the panorama of the summit on Tuesday (April 9). According to the Tyrol State Police, the group ascended from Pertisau via Weissenbachtal towards Barenkopf. The group planned to descend via Bärenbadalm, located northwest of Bärenkopf.

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However, despite the snow melting in the past few days, hikers apparently found more snow than they expected. At an altitude of about 1,800 metres, the group decided to skip the climb to the summit and start directly descending towards Barrenbadalm.

A young man was fatally injured in an avalanche in Barenkopf.
Hotel Bärenkopf offers a unique panoramic view of Lake Achensee. © imageBROKER/Mara Brandl via

The panorama of the summit attracted German holidaymakers to Austria – but there was too much snow

“At about 3pm, when they were following tracks in the snow at an altitude of 1,850 metres, which ran roughly at the same level as the track to Barenbadalm, an avalanche occurred sliding down the slope about 30 meters above them.” The police continued. Two 19-year-old hikers who were hiking ahead were swept away by the avalanche.

“Other group members were able to run back a few meters and were not hit by the avalanche.” The remaining five immediately made an emergency call and waited to climb for help. One of the two young men who were swept away by the avalanche was released after climbing about 250 meters and remained injured next to the avalanche. He was rescued by an emergency helicopter with a rope and taken to Schwaz Hospital for treatment.

Drama in Tyrol: As if out of nowhere, they are hit by an avalanche in a snowless area

His friend of the same age was swept 330 meters away and was completely buried one meter deep in the avalanche. Mountain rescuers from surrounding communities searched for him using probe poles and recovered the buried victim at 4:23 p.m. The young man was fatally injured.

A total of three helicopters, mountain rescue teams in Mürach, Achenkirch and Genbach, two mountain rescue dogs, three Alpine police officers, as well as fire departments and a crisis intervention team took part in the work.

Snowfall in the Alps has greatly worsened avalanche conditions in recent weeks. In Italy's Aosta Valley, there are four meters of snow on the peaks, and about three meters on the Zugspitze mountain. The melting ice has temporarily separated the layer of snow from the ground. Avalanche warning services advised people to be careful of gliding avalanches.

Recently, an avalanche disaster occurred in Switzerland, killing five people. In the Italian Dolomites there was one 14 years of snowboard registered. During the scramble on top of the Zuckerhütl in Stubaital Five mountaineers fell far.

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