The National·The National Today

Beyond Assange: here's who else U.S. is probing over Wikileaks

A closer look at the day's most notable stories with The National's Jonathon Gatehouse: Julien Assange is just one of a list of people of interest to U.S. in connection with Wikileaks' activities; fallout of Alberta's election will be felt across the country.

Newsletter: A closer look at the day's most notable stories

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle in London on Thursday. After weeks of speculation, the Wikileaks founder was arrested by Scotland Yard Police Officers inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in Central London after Ecuador's President, Lenin Moreno, withdrew his asylum. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Welcome to The National Today newsletter, which takes a closer look at what's happening around some of the day's most notable stories. Sign up here and it will be delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday.

TODAY:

  • For all the focus on Julian Assange and his arrest today, he is hardly the only one under judicial scrutiny in connection with Wikileaks' activities.
  • The fallout of Alberta's election will be wide-ranging and felt by the entire country.
  • Missed The National last night? Watch it here.

Assange arrest

At 2,487 days, Julian Assange's stay in Ecuador's embassy in London lasted longer than the Brexit debate, or even the U.K.'s participation in the Second World War.

Over that time, the media story arc saw the 47-year-old Australian go from Hollywood movie fodder and celebrity pal to bad-smelling, unwanted house guest. Concluding with the video of a dishevelled, protesting Assange being placed under arrest and forcibly dragged from his former sanctuary this morning.

A new generation of alternative comics sparks criticism and a call for government censorship in 1988. WARNING: This clip features graphic images. 13:08

But for all the focus on the WikiLeaks founder's attempts to first avoid extradition to Sweden  for questioning in a rape case, and more lately stave off American efforts to have him face charges over the website's involvement in the 2010 publication of a vast trove of secret government information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he is hardly the only one under judicial scrutiny.

Chelsea Manning, who supplied the nearly 750,000 pages of classified U.S. diplomatic cables and Army reports, received a 35-year prison sentence in 2013. She ended up spending a total of seven years in custody, after President Barack Obama granted clemency.

Chelsea Manning addresses the media outside federal court in Alexandria, Va., on March 5, three days before the former Army intelligence analyst was jailed for refusing to testify to a Virginia grand jury investigating Wikileaks. (Matthew Barakat/Associated Press)

Today, Manning is  in jail again on contempt charges for refusing to testify before a Virginia grand jury that was investigating Assange, saying that she had already revealed everything she knew during her court martial proceedings.

Prosecutors say that she "chose what facts to admit" at the time, and contend that she might have "new or different" information to give about her dealings with Assange and WikiLeaks.

Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump associate and Richard Nixon superfan, faces jail for allegedly lying to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks over the release of hacked Democratic Party emails during the 2016 election campaign. The communications came to light during Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian efforts to tilt the vote in favour of the Republicans.

Stone, who proclaims his innocence, says the "innocuous" Twitter direct-messages "prove absolutely nothing."

Roger Stone flashes a trademark Nixon victory gesture following a status conference at U.S. District Court on Feb. 1 in Washington regarding the criminal case brought against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Mueller also indicted 12 Russian citizens last summer, all allegedly intelligence officers who are said to have conspired to hack into Democratic Party computers and share the stolen emails and other documents with WikiLeaks. Although, it seems unlikely that the men will ever stand trial, despite Vladimir Putin's  offer to "cooperate'' in the investigation.

And while the Special Counsel concluded his Russia investigation without further charges last month, other arrests may still be pending in the separate Assange probe.

Prosecutors in Virginia have reportedly been interviewing people with knowledge of  other WikiLeaks disclosures.

One former CIA employee, Joshua Adam Schulte, has already been indicted in connection with the 2017 publication of information about the spy agency's computer hacking technology.

There's also at least one civil lawsuit involving WikiLeaks still winding its way through the U.S. courts — the Democratic National Committee action against the Trump campaign, Russian government and Assange's organization over the email hacks, which was launched in New York State last summer.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor in chief of Wikileaks, and barrister Jennifer Robinson talk to the media outside the Westminster Magistrates Court after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested on Thursday. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

A similar Virgina suit, brought by a DNC staffer and two party donors, was dismissed last month.

For his part, Assange is now being held in a London jail  after Westminster Magistrates' Court found him guilty of skipping out on his 2012 bail. The offence carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison.

The WikiLeaks founder's first hearing on the U.S. extradition request will come on June 12.

His lawyers say they intend to fight the American demand.


  • Like this newsletter? Sign up and have it delivered by email.
  • You may also like our early-morning newsletter, the Morning Brief — start the day with the news you need in one quick and concise read. Sign up here.

At Issue

The outcome of Alberta's election is something that will affect all Canadians, writes The National co-host Rosemary Barton.

By this time next week, we will know who Albertans have chosen as their next Premier. An NDP leader who they historically swept into power four years ago, or a former federal cabinet minister who came home to unite the right.

Our own poll tracker certainly suggests it is more likely to be the latter than the former.

Jason Kenney has led his campaign by trying to show Rachel Notley has been weak in the face of both a difficult economy, and a federal Liberal government that hasn't done enough to help.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks to the media in Calgary on April 9. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

More than 170,000 Albertans are now looking for a job, and while that is hardly all Notley's fault, Kenney has tried to make her wear all the blame.

People are worried about the economy, their jobs, their future, and what happens to the oil sector if no new markets are opened up.

The Transmountain pipeline expansion (that we all now own, incidentally) is still stalled as we wait for the federal government to finish consulting with First Nations communities that were not heard from enough the first time around.

So, that is the backdrop. But the fallout of Alberta's election will be wide-ranging and felt by the entire country.

The economic decisions in Alberta affect all of Canada, and with Kenney threatening such things as a referendum on equalization, it could end up being a battle we all have to wear.

United Conservative leader Jason Kenney makes a campaign stop at the Trans Mountain Edmonton Terminal on March 22. (Candace Elliott/Reuters)

It's why this election will be closely watched here in Ottawa, too.

Though as my smart colleague Aaron Wherry points out this morning, another adversary may be just what Justin Trudeau needs.

By the way, I'll be in Calgary on Sunday to talk to voters and report on all these issues through the beginning of next week. I'm looking forward to it.

We'll mull some of this and maybe more with Chantal Hébert, Andrew Coyne and Jason Markusoff tonight on At Issue. I'm going to get more coffee — see you all later.

- Rosemary Barton

  • WATCH: At Issue tonight on The National on CBC Television and streamed online

NHL playoffs

The National will be delayed on the CBC television network in Newfoundland & Labrador and provinces in the Eastern time zone due to the NHL playoffs. The show will air at its usual time, 9 p.m. ET, on News Network and online.


A few words on ... 

Hockey talk.


Quote of the moment

"The armed forces will take power with representation of the people to pave the way for Sudanese people to live in dignity."

- Sudan's defence minister, General Awad Ibn Auf, announcing that President Omar al-Bashir has been deposed in a coup after almost three decades of authoritarian rule.

Sudan's Defence Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf makes an announcement about the coup in this still image taken from video on Thursday. (Sudan TV/Reuters TV )

What The National is reading

  • Atlantic mackerel stocks down 86 per cent over past 20 years, says DFO (CBC)
  • Changes to flight software on 737 Max escaped FAA scrutiny (NYTimes)
  • North Korea threatens "telling blow" against those behind sanctions (Reuters)
  • Parents of children shot in Parkland massacre file 20-plus negligence lawsuits (Miami Herald)
  • New Zealand police expect tens of thousands of firearms in buy-back scheme (CBC)
  • New species of early human found in the Philippines (Science Daily)
  • "Three person" baby boy born in Greece (BBC)
  • Why a specific podcast shuts down Mazda car stereos (Digg)

Today in history

April 11, 1988: Sex, violence and the modern comic book

Comic books aren't for kids anymore, but some parents are still catching up on the news, complaining about the violence and "perverted acts" that have replaced the wholesome hijinx of yore. Some call for censorship, but in this piece fans, retailers and cartoonists defend the "new wave" of comics as adult-themed art.


Sign up here and have The National Today newsletter delivered directly to your inbox Monday to Friday.

Please send your ideas, news tips, rants, and compliments to thenationaltoday@cbc.ca. ​


About the Author

Jonathon Gatehouse

Jonathon Gatehouse

Has covered news and politics at home and abroad, reporting from dozens of countries. He has also written extensively about sports, including seven Olympic Games and a best-selling book on the business of pro-hockey.