Tag Archives: Julian Assange extradition

LETTER FROM LONDON: On the Matter of Assange’s Lawyers Considering a Cross Appeal, by Alexander Mercouris

Julian Assange was not extradited to the US on essentially a technicality, not on the substantive law. The US appealed, and now Assange’s attorneys have a big decision to make. From Alexander Mercouris at consortiumnews.com:

If this happens, the hearing at the High Court in London will acquire epochal importance,  writes Alexander Mercouris. 

 The Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, home to the High Court in London. (Sjiong, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Julian Assange’s lawyers are considering bringing a cross appeal to the High Court in London disputing parts of District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s Jan. 4 judgment not to extradite Assange to the United States, according to a report by journalist Tareq Haddad.

Baraitser refused the U.S. request on narrow grounds, saying Assange’s extradition would put his life and health at risk.  But Baraitser sided with the U.S. on every other point of law and fact, making it clear that in the absence of the life and health issues she would have granted the U.S. request.

That opens the way for the U.S. government to seek the extradition of other persons, including journalists, who do the same things as Assange did, but who cannot rely on the same life and health issues.

It also means that if the U.S. wins the appeal it filed last Friday in High Court it can try Assange in the U.S. on the Espionage Act charges that went unchallenged by Baraitser.  If Assange’s lawyers counter the U.S. appeal with one of their own in the High Court against Baraitser’s upholding of the espionage charges, it would be heard simultaneously with the U.S. appeal.

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Same as the Old Boss, Julian Assange Edition, by Thomas Knapp

It looks like Biden will pick up most of Trump’s bad policies, including the prosecution of Julian Assange. From Thomas Knapp at antiwar.com:

On February 9, the US Justice Department announced that US President Joe Biden, as in so many other areas, intends to serve Donald Trump’s second term when it comes to persecuting heroes guilty of exposing US war crimes and embarrassing American politicians.

As Trump’s presidency drew to an end, some activists held out hope that he’d pardon political prisoner Julian Assange, whose incarceration at the hands of the Swedish, British, and US governments has, according to the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, gone on for more than a decade now (between British prisons and de facto house arrest in Ecuador’s London embassy). No dice. Trump handed out plenty of pardons to political cronies, but left Assange in stir.

In January, British judge Vanessa Baraitser declined to extradite the founder of WikiLeaks to the US on trumped up (pun intended) espionage charges. Not because the charges are clearly nonsense, though they are. Nor because neither Assange’s person or his alleged actions were subject to US jurisdiction, though they weren’t. She denied the extradition because she (probably correctly) considers Assange a suicide risk if he’s handed over.

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The Assange Saga – Practicing Real Journalism Is Criminally Insane, by Pepe Escobar

They are never going to let Julian Assange go, and they’re fondest hope is that he dies in prison. From Pepe Escobar at The Asia Times via zerohedge.com:

Synchronicity is definitely fond of mirror wonderwalls. The Julian Assange saga seemed to have entered a new chapter as he was, in thesis, on his way to – conditional – freedom this past Monday, only one day after the first anniversary of the start of the Raging Twenties: the assassination of Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani.

The fate of the journalist the Empire seeks to terminate was just juxtaposed to the fate of the warrior/diplomat the empire already terminated.

Two days later, Julian Assange was de facto re-incarcerated exactly as the Empire was hit by an “insurrection” which, whenever instigated in that distant “Third World”, is celebrated in Exceptionalistan as “people power”.

The invaluable Craig Murray, from inside Westminster Magistrates Court No. 1 in London, meticulously presented the full contours of the insanity this Wednesday.

Read it in conjunction with the positively terrifying judgment delivered on Monday in the United States government case against Julian Assange.

The defining issue, for all those who practice real journalism all across the world, is that the judgment affirms, conclusively, that any journalist can be prosecuted under the US Espionage Act. Since a 1961 amendment, the Espionage Act carries universal jurisdiction.

The great John Pilger memorably describes “judge” Vanessa Baraitser as “that Gothic woman”. She is in fact an obscure public servant, not a jurist. Her judgment walks and talks like it was written by a mediocre rookie hack. Or, better yet, entirely lifted from the US Department of Justice indictment.

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The US and UK Are Making Assange’s Death More Likely, by Jonathan Cook

The plan may well be to let Assange die in prison. It would cut through some knotty legal and political issues. From Jonathan Cook at antiwar.com:

There was a hope in some quarters after Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled on Monday against an application to extradite Julian Assange to the US, where he faced being locked away for the rest of his life, that she might finally be changing tack.

Washington has wanted Assange permanently silenced and made an example of – by demonstrating to other journalists its terrifying reach and powers of retaliation – ever since the WikiLeaks founder exposed US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago.

There were reasons, however, to be suspicious of what Baraitser was really up to even as she made her ruling in Assange’s favor. This district judge has a record of nodding through extradition cases, including several that have recently been overturned on appeal by a higher court.

During the hearings back in September, Baraitser had endlessly indulged lawyers representing the US while showing absolute disdain for Assange’s legal team, obstructing them at every turn. Her contempt for Assange and his political and moral worldview was on show throughout the proceedings. She often arrived in court with a prepared script she read from, barely feigning a pretense that she had listened to the legal arguments presented in court.

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Both Tortuous and Torturous, by Craig Murray

Julian Assange is still stuck in Belmarsh. From Craig Murray at antiwar.com:

Magistrate Vanessa Bararitser walked into Westminster Magistrates Court No.1 at 10.12am this morning with the sunniest smile and most carefree disposition I have ever seen her adopt. Her shoulders appeared visibly lifted. She positively beamed at Clair Dobbin, counsel for the US government, as she invited her to put the case for the prosecution as to why Julian Assange should not be released on bail.

Mrs. Dobbin has one of those gloomy, Presbyterian personalities that only fully comes to life when it has the chance to condemn somebody. There is nothing like a flat Belfast accent for a really rousing condemnation, and this was a collector’s item.

Julian Assange, she stated in tones that made plain she considered that name in itself to be suspicious and unsavory, had shown he would go to great lengths to avoid extradition to the United States. The judgment against his extradition turned only on one single point – that of his mental health – and that single point might easily be overturned by the High Court.

Assange had helped Edward Snowden to flee justice; he had boasted about it. As detailed in the US Government’s second superseding indictment, he had organized flights for Snowden and arranged a distraction operation to throw the CIA off the scent. When the US authorities had trapped Snowden in Russia by canceling his passport, Assange had tried to arrange not just private jets but even Presidential jets to help Snowden escape further. Such was Assange’s reach and ability.

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British Judicial Cowardice on Assange, by Jacob G. Hornberger

It’s a realization that goes down hard that in both Great Britain and the US, the progenitors of Anglo-American law, the judges and judicial systems are just as corrupt as the rest of their governments. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

This morning British Judge Venessa Baraitser denied the U.S. government’s extradition request for Julian Assange. That of course was the right thing to do. The problem though is with Baraitser’s reason for the denial: She says that there is a high danger that Assange will commit suicide if he is extradited. That was the justification she used for her decision.

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What judicial cowardice! Baraitser should have denied the extradition request for the right reason: The U.S. government, specifically the U.S. national-security establishment (i.e., the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA) simply wants vengeance for Assange’s disclosing the truth about the evil and immoral actions of the U.S. government. That’s why they have been seeking Assange’s extradition for years — to punish him for committing the dastardly “crime” of disclosing the truth about them.

After all, let’s keep something important in mind: Assange isn’t accused of perjury or lying, like former Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. was (and who wasn’t charged with anything for doing so). Assange’s “crime” is that he told the truth about the deep state. That’s verboten in any national-security state, whether it’s Russia, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Egypt. Pakistan, Nazi Germany, or the United States.

Assange, who isn’t even a U.S. citizen, had to be taught a lesson. Moreover, he had to be used to send a message to anyone else who was contemplating disclosing the dark-side, sordid secrets of the U.S. national-security state. That message is a simple one: “Disclose our secrets and this is what will happen to you. We will harass you, persecute you, prosecute you, abuse you, and torture you until you want to kill yourself — that is, unless we have the opportunity to kill you first.”

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Assange Wins. The Cost: The Crushing of Press Freedom, and the Labeling of Dissent as Mental Illness, by Jonathan Cook

The decision on Julian Assange’s extradition was the right outcome for the wrong reason. From Jonathan Cook at antiwar.com:

The unexpected decision by Judge Vanessa Baraitser to deny a US demand to extradite Julian Assange, foiling efforts to send him to a US super-max jail for the rest of his life, is a welcome legal victory, but one swamped by larger lessons that should disturb us deeply.

Those who campaigned so vigorously to keep Assange’s case in the spotlight, even as the US and UK corporate media worked so strenuously to keep it in darkness, are the heroes of the day. They made the price too steep for Baraitser or the British establishment to agree to lock Assange away indefinitely in the US for exposing its war crimes and its crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But we must not downplay the price being demanded of us for this victory.

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The Assange Extradition Ruling Is A Relief, But It Isn’t Justice, by Caitlin Johnstone

Essentially the judge agreed with the US arguments, but ruled against the US because the prisons are so bad. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

British Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled against US extradition for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but not for the reasons she should have.

Baraitser’s frightening ruling supported virtually every US prosecutorial argument that was made during the extradition trial, no matter how absurd and Orwellian. This includes quoting from a long-discredited CNN report alleging without evidence that Assange made the embassy a “command post” for election interference, saying the right to free speech does not give anyone “unfettered discretion” to disclose any document they wish, dismissing arguments from the defense that UK law prohibits extradition for political offenses, parroting the false claim that Assange’s attempt to help protect his source Chelsea Manning while she was exfiltrating documents she already had access to was not normal journalistic behavior, saying US intelligence might have had legitimate reasons to spy on Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy, and claiming Assange’s rights would be protected by the US legal system if he were extradited.

“Judge is just repeating the US case, including its most dubious claims, in Assange case,” tweeted activist John Rees during the proceedings.

in the end, though, Baraitser ruled against extradition. Not because the US government has no business extraditing an Australian journalist from the UK for exposing its war crimes. Not because allowing the extradition and prosecution of journalists under the Espionage Act poses a direct threat to press freedoms worldwide. Not to prevent a global chilling effect on natsec investigative journalism into the behaviors of the largest power structures on our planet. No, Baraitser ultimately ruled against extradition because Assange would be too high a suicide risk in America’s draconian prison system.

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Prosecution of Assange Is an Attack on Our Own Humanity, by Nozomi Hayese

Monday, one of the bravest men in history will have his fate decided by a pack of braying jackals. From Nozomi Hayese at antiwar.com:

On January 4, 2021 the London Court will release the hearing verdict of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange’s US extradition case. The indictment against Assange is politically motivated. Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who is presiding over hearings, has even acknowledged the political nature of this case when she decided not to rule until at least after the US Presidential election on November 3, 2020.

The verdict will not only determine the life of Assange, but also the future of journalism. The extra-territorial overreach involved in the US government charging a journalist who exposed their war crimes under the Espionage Act threatens press freedom everywhere. This is why all major media and human rights organizations have now stepped forward to oppose the extradition proceedings against Assange.

Their message is clear. Publishing documents that are verified to be authentic and are of public interest is not a crime. It is a central role of the press in a functioning democracy to defend the public’s right to know, and to help keep the government honest. WikiLeaks has done exemplary work in fulfilling this duty. This is journalism, and journalism is not a crime.

The attempted prosecution of Assange is already creating chilling effects on journalists, with a dangerous precedent having been set. One Turkish journalist has now been sentenced to more than 27 years in prison for allegedly supporting terrorism and engaging in political espionage. As we now face a critical moment for our democracy, it is important for us to think about what this war on journalism means and what WikiLeaks represents to all of us.

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London Court Hears Details Of CIA Plot To Poison Julian Assange, Steal DNA From Family Members, by Tyler Durden

No surprises here—there is just no low to which the US government will not stoop in its vendetta against Julian Assange, including murder. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Now in its second week, Julian Assange’s extradition hearing at the Old Baily in London just heard explosive testimony based on previously reported revelations that the CIA had actively plotted to assassinate him, by either poisoning or via a kidnapping plot.

The testimony is part of the defense team’s attempt to frame the US extradition case as entirely political in nature, and not based on breaking US law, but also toward convincing the judge that the WikiLeaks founder would certainly face extreme and excessive punishment, which would be cause for Britain to block the extradition.

Though mainstream media has by and large ignored much of the bombshell testimony from the hearing since last week, this latest cloak-and-dagger type information detailing just how far US intelligence was willing to go is impossible to ignore.

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