A star prosecution witness in the US extradition case brought against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has admitted he lied in his testimony to US authorities. But there’s another dimension too, as previously leaked emails clearly show that the witness was groomed by the FBI.
Altogether, this may provide an opportunity for a legal challenge to the prosecution’s case.
Stundin exclusively published details of how the witness, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, lied to US authorities.
WikiLeaks tweeted that the fabrication of evidence was in exchange for a deal with the FBI:
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 26, 2021
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
I warned Julian from day one, there’s something not right about this guy… I asked not to have him as part of the Collateral Murder team
is a convicted felon in relation to several offences, including paedophilia. He pleaded guilty to these offences. Also, in December 2014, Thordarson was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison on 18 charges of embezzlement, theft, and fraud.
These two extracts from emails understood to be between Thordarson and FBI agents provide an insight into their relationship:
But as Wired pointed out, Thordarson was not just groomed by email. Rather, “The FBI flew [Thordarson] internationally four times for debriefings, including one trip to Washington D.C.”. And as part of their ongoing communications with Thordarson, the FBI paid him $5k.
In June 2019, WikiLeaks published a press statement claiming the US department of justice (DoJ) would be using Thordarson in its prosecution case as part of an “FBI entrapment operation”:
Press Release: DoJ preparing to file additional indictment against Assange.
The Trump´s DoJ is so desperate to build its case against Assange that it is using as star witness a sociopath, convicted conman and sex criminal, involved in an FBI entrapment operation against WikiLeaks pic.twitter.com/DX0hIDSJRr
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 7, 2019
Significantly, the press release added:
While the case would collapse in the U.S. due to the prosecution’s reliance on testimony by Thordarson and [Hector] Monsegur, who are not credible witnesses, the United States can conceal their witnesses’ identities during UK extradition proceedings in order to boost their chances of winning.
Under English law, where a law enforcement agency is shown to have directly fabricated or colluded in the fabrication of evidence, there are grounds to seek dismissal of convictions or the prosecution case.
The case against the Guildford Four involved massive failure to disclose evidence, the disappearance of material evidence, perjury, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and perversion of the course of justice, forgery, criminal behaviour towards people in detention, withholding and concealment of the alibi evidence in relation to Gerard Conlon [one of the four], witness tampering, concealment of evidence, misuse of the powers under the Prevention of Terrorism Act to intimidate alibi witnesses and destroy their credibility, threatening and interfering with witnesses, fabrication of evidence and conspiracy.
As for Thordarson’s alleged admissions, they may provide a further opportunity for the defence to challenge the veracity of the prosecution case as a whole.
Indeed, barrister Greg Barns SC, adviser to the Australian Assange campaign, told The Canary:
The admission by a key witness that he was not a witness of the truth is a blow to the extradition case. No doubt US department of justice lawyers will have to assess if there is a case at all which can be brought against Assange. More broadly this development points again to the fact that the Assange case is pure politics.
Moreover, on hearing of the alleged admissions by Thordarson, exiled NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden tweeted:
This is the end of the case against Julian Assange. https://t.co/bhFCfVBuq0
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) June 26, 2021
Meanwhile, Assange continues to be held in arbitrary detention, a practice condemned by UN rapporteur Nils Melzer. This farce must end.
Featured image via YouTube
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?