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Celebrated Spanish human rights investigator Baltasar Garzon to head Julian Assange’s legal team

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Famous Spanish human rights investigator Baltasar Garzon will lead the legal team representing WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, the whistleblower website announced on Tuesday.

Assange is currently at the Ecuadoran embassy in London, seeking political asylum in the Latin American country, after losing his legal battle to avoid extradition to face questions over rape and sexual assault claims in Sweden.

Garzon, best known for issuing an international arrest warrant against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, recently met with Assange at the embassy to discuss a new legal strategy, according to a statement approved by both men.

According to the release, the aim is to “defend both WikiLeaks and Julian Assange from the existing abuse of process and expose the arbitrary, extrajudicial actions by the international financial system” against the former hacker and his website.

Garzon will also strive to “show how the secret US processes against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have compromised and contaminated other legal processes, including the extradition process against Mr Assange,” it added.

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The judge has previously voiced concern over the alleged lack of safeguards and transparency involved in actions against Assange.

WikiLeaks and Assange enraged the United States by publishing a flood of secret information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The website founder fears that if extradited to Sweden, he will be subsequently re-extradited to the United States to stand trial for espionage, on account of the 250,000 US diplomatic cables that were published on the Wikileaks website.

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Ecuador’s leftist President Rafael Correa, who has often been at odds with Washington and offered Assange asylum in 2010, has said that the South American country will take its time considering the application.

Garzon was in February disbarred from his role as an investigating magistrate in Spain after he was found to have wiretapped conversations between defence lawyers and their clients.

He has said he will appeal to the Constitutional Court of Spain against his expulsion.

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In 2008, the former jurist formally declared Spain’s Franco regime to have committed crimes against humanity and ordered the exhumation of 19 unmarked graves.


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Hundreds of thousands protest in Puerto Rico, calling for governor to resign

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Hundreds of thousands of people marched in San Juan on Monday to demand Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló resign over offensive chat messages, the latest scandal to hit a bankrupt island struggling to recover from 2017 hurricanes.

Rosselló's announcement on Sunday that he would not seek re-election next year and would step down as head of the New Progressive Party failed to appease the crowds, who called for him to immediately surrender the governorship.

The island’s largest newspaper called on the first-term governor to leave office and reported over 500,000 protesters took to the streets in San Juan.

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Harrowing new report: Malicious browser extensions are stealing your personal information

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Web browsers have become the equivalent of safe deposit boxes, digital spaces where we stuff our personal information and expect it to be kept safe. While the websites that harbor sensitive data generally swear that this information is private and protected, a detailed report by cybersecurity researcher Sam Jadali, explained in depth by Dan Goodin at Ars Technica, found that eight browser extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox were harvesting personal data from millions of people, unbeknownst to both them and to the makers of those browsers.

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The US has a history of testing biological weapons on the public – were infected ticks used too?

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The House of Representatives has instructed the Pentagon to disclose whether it used ticks to infect the American public with Lyme disease between 1950 and 1975. The allegation comes from Chris Smith, the Republican representative for New Jersey. A long-standing campaigner on Lyme disease, Smith says the claims are from a new book about the illness and the man who discovered it – a bioweapons scientist called Willy Burgdofer.

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