An unexpected turn in the case of the founder of WikiLeaks. Former CIA director and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been summoned to testify in a Spanish court over the attempted kidnapping and assassination of Julian Assange.
Former CIA Director and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been summoned by Spain’s National High Court to testify about a massive spy operation he allegedly orchestrated against Julian Assange and a related plot by the Trump administration to kidnap or kill a WikiLeaks publisher in London. wsws.org.
The subpoena, released by ABC Spain last Friday, was issued by the National High Court Judge Santiago Pedras. He is reportedly forcing Pompeo, along with former director of the U.S. National Center for Counterintelligence and Security, William Evanina, to testify in a Spanish court in person or via video link later this month.
Pompeo and Evanina were subpoenaed in a criminal case against Davis Morales, a former Spanish marine who headed private security firm UC Global. In 2015, the Ecuadorian government hired Morales’ company to secure its embassy in London, where Assange was living as a political refugee.
According to UC Global whistleblowers who provided evidence to the Spanish trial, Morales entered into an agreement with US authorities in 2016 to closely monitor the WikiLeaks founder. Former employees also said that the possibility of Assange being kidnapped or poisoned next year was discussed.
Last September, it was alleged that there were discussions in the upper echelons of the Trump administration in the US in 2017 about taking emergency action against Assange, including a possible kidnapping or assassination.
The report, based on discussions with 30 former U.S. officials, claimed that Pompeo, as then director of the CIA, played a central role in the plot, instructing subordinates that “nothing is off limits” in the campaign against Assange.
According to business insiderPompeo did not respond to the subpoena, although he was only called to testify, and the Spanish court made it clear that he did not fall under its jurisdiction.
Pompeo has been closely linked to the Trump administration’s crackdown on democratic rights, including open violations of international law. As Trump’s Secretary of State, Pompeo was implicated in the January 2020 assassination of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Iraq.
Pompeo has already given something about his time as director of the CIA, telling an audience in Texas in 2019, a year after he left office: “When I was a cadet, what was the motto of the cadets at West Point? You will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do. I was the director of the CIA. We lied, we cheated, we stole. We had entire training courses where we were taught how to do it. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.”
When the report was released, Pompeo called for the prosecution of his sources under national security laws, which all but confirmed the veracity of the report.
The attitude of the US Department of Justice to the proceedings in Spain is also a tacit admission of guilt. Last November Yahoo! News reported that the Ministry of Justice had denied all requests by Spanish judge Santiago Pedras for assistance in prosecuting Morales.
The US government refused to provide any information about the IP addresses of US computers that had access to illegal surveillance of Assange collected by UC Global. At the same time, Justice Department officials sought information from Pedraza, including an unusual and disturbing inquiry about the identity of the UC Global whistleblowers.
Evanina provided even more direct confirmation that the allegations of collusion between the US government and UC Global are true, Assange’s lawyers said. In the documents of Assange’s lawyers for the Spanish court, cited in “Lens”, it is alleged that Evanina “confessed” that “United States intelligence had access to the cameras of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, to the recordings of conversations within the mission, to the devices of visits and travel documents to all of them, even planning to kill or kidnap an asylum seeker.”
Evanina was the only former Trump administration official detailing an alleged plot to kidnap or kill Assange. While repeatedly condemning the founder of WikiLeaks, Evanina said that the US “has a fine collection of his plans and intentions.” She spoke about the escalation of electronic and live surveillance of Assange.
Referring to Assange’s thwarted plan to escape the embassy and seek asylum abroad, Evanina said sometime in 2017: “We were very confident in the Five Eyes that we could prevent it” from escaping from the clutches of the British and US authorities. The Five Eyes is a US-led electronic surveillance alliance that includes the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
This remark points to the scope of the imperialist campaign against Assange and to a large extent points to the involvement of the Australian authorities and central actors in infringing on the rights of the founder of WikiLeaks, despite the fact that he is an Australian citizen and a journalist.
In other words, whether Pompeo appears in a Spanish court or not, the U.S. campaign of dirty tricks against Assange will become public knowledge. The Spanish challenge again exposes the ongoing US attempt to extradite Assange from the UK as a pseudo-legal front for an extradition operation that violates international and domestic law in several jurisdictions.
FROMIt became clear that the intensification of the US campaign against Assange was in response to WikiLeaks’ early 2017 exposure of illegal CIA spying operations. The indictment against him was based on separate publications from 2010 and 2011 revealing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan to create a fictitious legal basis for Assange’s detention in the US if he were abducted from London by the CIA.
The issue was raised by Assange’s lawyers during the UK High Court hearing related to Assange’s extradition in October last year. Mark Summers QC stated: “We are aware that this is the first time the US has sought the assistance of a British court in obtaining jurisdiction over someone where the evidence suggests they contemplated, if not planned, murder, kidnapping, poisoning this person.
Despite this, the High Court accepted useless and contradictory US diplomatic assurances that Assange would not be treated as badly as his lawyers claim if he were sent to a US prison. In March, the UK Supreme Court refused to hear Assange’s appeal against the decision.
WikiLeaks tweeted yesterday that UK Home Secretary Priti Patel will announce soon whether she is issuing an extradition order. Given the British government’s keen hostility to Assange, the result is just a formality. On paper, he has another possibility of appeal under the British legal system, but more than a decade of arbitrary infringement of his rights means that even that is not guaranteed.
In other words, Assange faces extradition to the United States or an even longer term in Belmarsh maximum security prison, where he has been held for more than three years, if the appeal is successful.
The persecution of Assange in the United States began under the Democratic administration of Barack Obama, was intensified by the Republican Trump administration, and continues under Joseph Biden. In Britain, the Conservatives and Labor are opposed to Assange. In Australia, the newly elected Labor government has already signaled it will do nothing to protect the publisher of WikiLeaks, signing on to US demands for aggression against China.
In other words, the struggle for Assange’s freedom is inextricably linked with the political struggle against all these governments, the author of the publication sums up.