Tag Archives: Julian Assange extradition

A Day in the Death of British Justice, by John Pilger

The travesty that is Julian Assange’s extradition hearing continues. From John Pilger at consortiumnews.com:

I sat in Court 4 in the Royal Courts of Justice in London Wednesday with Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s partner. I have known Stella for as long as I have known Julian. She, too, is a voice of freedom, coming from a family that fought the fascism of Apartheid. Today, her name was uttered in court by a barrister and a judge, forgettable people were it not for the power of their endowed privilege.

The barrister, Clair Dobbin, is in the pay of the regime in Washington, first Trump’s then Biden’s. She is America’s hired gun, or “silk”, as she would prefer. Her target is Julian Assange, who has committed no crime and has performed an historic public service by exposing the criminal actions and secrets on which governments, especially those claiming to be democracies, base their authority.

For those who may have forgotten, WikiLeaks, of which Assange is founder and publisher, exposed the secrets and lies that led to the invasion of Iraq, Syria and Yemen, the murderous role of the Pentagon in dozens of countries, the blueprint for the 20-year catastrophe in Afghanistan, the attempts by Washington to overthrow elected governments, such as Venezuela’s, the collusion between nominal political opponents (Bush and Obama) to stifle a torture investigation and the CIA’s Vault 7 campaign that turned your mobile phone, even your TV set, into a spy in your midst.

WikiLeaks released almost a million documents from Russia which allowed Russian citizens to stand up for their rights. It revealed the Australian government had colluded with the U.S. against its own citizen, Assange. It named those Australian politicians who have “informed” for the U.S. It made the connection between the Clinton Foundation and the rise of jihadism in American-armed states in the Gulf.

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Assange To Be ‘Moved Around’ Sine Die, by Ray McGovern

It appears the plan is to keep Assange incarcerated for the rest of his life, regardless of the law or the recent admission by one of the prosecution’s chief witness that he lied. From Ray McGovern at antiwar.com:

Very bad news for those who still care about freedom of the press and what the fate of Julian Assange means for the artifact-First Amendment added to the U.S. Constitution 240 years ago. The UK High Court just announced it will hear the US appeal of a lower court decision against extraditing Julian Assange.

Godot is likely to arrive before the US/UK finish the legal pantomime denying Assange his freedom.

The High Court decision solidifies Britain’s status as a US vassal state – the 800-year legacy of the Magna Carta be damned. Giving obsequious hypocrisy a bad name, the High Court’s announcement comes a week and half after the prime witness for the latest indictment of Assange recanted his testimony.

It should come as no surprise that British “Justice” officials are following the detailed “Washington Playbook” approach that was exposed by WikiLeaks itself in Feb. 2012.

Some readers may recall that WikiLeaks-revealed confidential emails from the US private intelligence firm Stratfor mentioned that the US already had a secret indictment against the WikiLeaks founder. Bad enough.

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JOHN KIRIAKOU: DOJ Promises Ring Hollow

As you might expect, DOJ promises regarding Julian Assange have a caveat that swallows up the promises. From John Kiriakou at consortiumnews.com:

The U.S. government hates Julian Assange. Can we trust the Justice Department to not put him in a SAM unit or to keep him out of an ADX super max prison?

ADX Florence in Colorado. (Federal Bureau of Prisons, Wikimedia Commons)

Many of my friends here at Consortium News and elsewhere have written recently about the UK High Court’s decision to allow the U.S. Department of Justice’s appeal of a lower court’s decision against extraditing Julian Assange to go forward.

The Higher Court’s decision is narrow in nature—the court will allow the DOJ to appeal the lower court’s finding that U.S. prisons are dangerous and oppressive—but will not allow the U.S. to appeal any factual findings on Julian’s condition or mental health. Assange faces 175 years in prison in the United States if he is extradited and found guilty of national security crimes related to Chelsea Manning’s revelations to Wikileaks more than a decade ago.

By way of background, the mainstream media in the United States barely touched on the UK ruling. It was a one-day story, and a small one at that, and the editorial line was that the DOJ is working hard to get its man. The ruling, though, wasn’t the real news.

The more important news, which broke just a few days before the court decision, was that the DOJ’s top witness against Julian had granted an interview with an Icelandic newspaper in which he recanted everything he said about Assange.

He admitted he’d lied to the FBI about being instructed by Assange to conduct hacking operations. Everything that Sigudrur “Siggi” Thordarson told the FBI was a lie, and the FBI’s case appears to be falling apart. Indeed, Ed Snowden opined soon after that the case against Assange was “dead.”

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Key Witness Admits Lying About Julian Assange, a Major Blow to U.S. Extradition Case, Yet Western Media Ignores This Development, by Ron Ridenour

This newest development probably increases the chance that fifty-year-old Assange dies of an unexpected heart attack or kills himself in prison in the near future. If he dies, expect no questions from the legacy media. From Ron Ridenour at strategic-culture.org:

Former WikiLeaks volunteer, who became an FBI informant for $5,000, says he fabricated important parts of the accusations in the U.S. indictment.

Conclusive evidence: Julian Assange committed no crime of hacking or seeking access to telephone recordings of Icelandic MPs. This revelation comes from the witness who lied about that, in order to please the United States prosecution against the publisher in the extradition trial, in London, last summer. Key witness in Assange case admits to lies in indictment – Stundin

Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, an Icelandic citizen and former WikiLeaks volunteer, who became an FBI informant for $5,000, told the Icelandic newspaper Stundin that he fabricated important parts of the accusations in the U.S. indictment. Thordarson also admits that he mispresented himself as an official representative of WikiLeaks, and that he stole documents from WikiLeaks staff by copying their hard drives.

Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, a pathological liar, key U.S. witness exposed. MYND: SIGTRYGGUR ARI

Thordarson has a documented history with sociopathy and has several convictions for sexual abuse of minors and wide-ranging financial fraud. He admitted lying in the June 26 interview. He also confessed to having continued his crime spree whilst working with the Department of Justice and FBI and receiving a promise of immunity from prosecution.

U.S. officials presented a last minute updated version of an indictment against Assange to Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser. which included alleged “crimes” based on several lies that Thordarson fed them. While the magistrate rejected extradition on humanitarian grounds, due to Assange’s deteriorated health and the possibility of suicide, she supported all the prosecutions’ arguments that Assange had violated U.S. 1917 Espionage Act for which he could be sentenced up to 175 years by a U.S. special court. The U.S. District Court in Eastern District Virginia has never found innocent any accused violator of that act since the area is dominated by U.S. intelligence services’ employees who live there.

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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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