A minister claimed Julian Assange was protected from an FBI investigation by the Icelandic government due to concerns of an attempt to frame Assange. According to former Icelandic minister Ogmundur Jonasson, in June of 2011, President Obama’s administration warned that Iceland hackers were aiming to target Iceland’s electronic infrastructure, according to the Express. The former Minister stated Iceland politicians immediately became suspicious when the U.S. swiftly offered help in taking down the hackers.
“U.S. authorities made some approaches to us indicating they had knowledge of hackers wanting to destroy software systems in Iceland. I was a minister at the time. They offered help. I was suspicious, well aware that a helping hand might easily become a manipulating hand!”
Jonasson said he feared the U.S. was attempting to frame Assange, according to the Daily Mail. Jonasson said he promptly told the FBI agents to leave the country. The situation occurred five years ago and was reported heavily in 2013. However, this is the first time Jonasson has publicly claimed the U.S. was trying to frame Assange.
“It was also made clear to them that they were to leave the country. They were unable to get permission to operate in Iceland as police agents, but I believe they went to other countries, at least to Denmark.”
WikiLeaks tweeted Jonasson’s statement but makes no direct mention of any attempts made by the FBI to frame the organization or Assange. Also, Jonasson offered no evidence to support his new claims.
Jonasson told the New York Times that “eight or nine” FBI agents had arrived to gather material on WikiLeaks. The former minister said he had asked the agents to leave because “they had misrepresented the purpose of their visit.”
“Since they had not been authorized by the Icelandic authorities to carry out police work in Iceland, and since a crackdown on WikiLeaks was no on my agenda, I ordered that all cooperation with them be promptly terminated. I also made it clear they should cease all activities in Iceland immediately.”
Jonasson said he made it clear that when it came to picking a side, he was with Assange, according to the Daily Mail.
“I also made it clear at the time that if I had to take sides with either WikiLeaks or the FBI or CIA, I would have no difficulty in choosing: I would be on the side of WikiLeaks.”
According to the Daily Mail, it was later known that the FBI’s Iceland operation was part of a “wide-ranging investigation” into WikiLeaks and Assange.
“We owe a lot to Edward Snowden. We owe a lot to Assange. We owe a lot to WikiLeaks.”
The former minister said he believes it’s important that whistleblowers are protected.
“I look at what [Assange] stands for and that is where I side with him; his endeavors to open the secret world of the military and of power-politics.”
Assange is currently at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he is avoiding extradition to Sweden due to sexual assault allegations. There are two separate allegations against Assange — one of rape and one of molestation, according to BBC News. The most serious potential charge of rape against Assange does not expire until August 2020.
Assange, who is Australian, has said he fears deportation to Sweden and the United States, where he could be charged for the publication of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables. According to the Wall Street Journal, Julian also believes if he is extradited to Sweden, he will then be extradited to the U.S., where he could face espionage charges due to leaking thousands of classified documents on the WikiLeaks website.
The WikiLeaks founder maintains that he has been robbed of his freedom for the last six years, according to The Guardian. The situation has also taken a toll on Assange’s physical well-being. Assange’s health deteriorated significantly since his confinement. He developed an arrhythmia, high blood pressure, chronic cough, and a Vitamin D deficiency, according to the Observer.
Julian Assange Released A Public Testimony In His Defense Of Rape Allegations
In a combined effort, Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks team have published 19 pages of the statement Julian gave during questioning over rape allegations. Assange, 45, read his statement aloud to investigators in response to questioning. The statement published by WikiLeaks is the first time a detailed account by Assange has surfaced. The public had yet to hear Assange thoroughly defend himself against the 2010 rape allegations.
Lawyer Claims Julian Assange’s Released Testimony ‘Violated’ Her Client In The Media, ‘Assange Seems Desperate’ https://t.co/T0uZxUYBiP— Inquisitr News (@theinquisitr) December 8, 2016
Julian Assange released a cover letter discussing his reasoning for publishing the given testimony.
“I am now releasing my statement to the public… The reason is simple. I want people to know the truth about how abusive this process has been.”
According to The Guardian, Swedish prosecutors hoped certain aspects of the controversial case would remain shielded from the public. The Swedish prosecutor in the case, Marianne Ny, insisted the proceedings remain private to protect the plaintiff. A spokesperson for Ny told The Guardian she was awaiting the formal report on the interviews from Ecuador (which is due Mid-December) before deciding which steps to take next.
The decision for Assange to release his side of the story appeared to be an effort to place pressure on Ny to speed up the stagnant case.
According to The Guardian, this could get prosecutors to either issue a charge of rape and explain the evidence for the charge or lift the arrest warrant against him. Assange has been denied access to evidence against him due to the risk of it becoming public.
“In the past the prosecution has fed partial information to tabloids that politically oppose me… It is better that my statement, which I am happy with, and which makes it obvious to all that I am innocent, sees the light in full.”
[Featured Image by Carl Court/Getty Images]