Tag Archives: Assange

Here’s why our media are hypocrites for praising Russian ‘propaganda’ protest

Take a gander at this:

It’s a reference to a placard protest by Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at Russian state-controlled TV Channel 1.

Her placard read: “No war, stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.”

She was arrested, and has been fined 30,000 roubles for breaking protest laws in that country. A lucky escape – the maximum punishment is 15 years in prison.

It was a brave protest in the face of state censorship – but it has brought on a wave of hypocrisy from the west.

News outlets here in the UK have universally praised Ms Ovsyannikova – but have shown hardly a scrap of support for someone in prison in this country for doing much the same:

Both are journalists, both whistleblowers.

But here in the UK, one is raised up for praise while the other is cast down and ignored, even though his fate may be worse than hers could have been.

Doesn’t that make the UK’s news outlets just as bad as those in Russia?

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#Assange wins leave to #appeal to Supreme Court against extradition to USA

Appeal: Julian Assange.

Julian Assange has won a partial victory in his battle against extradition to the United States.

The High Court has found a point of law that may be argued – whether there was an injustice in the lateness of America’s assurances that he will be well-treated.

Assange must now lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court – and the future of that attempt is uncertain.

If the Supreme Court rejects his appeal, his extradition – to face a possible 175 years in prison if he is convicted of 18 counts of terrorism-related offences – may go ahead.

His partner Stella Moris had this to say after this morning’s High Court decision:

The US government wants to prosecute Julian Assange for 18 alleged crimes – 17 of them under a 1917 terrorism act – because his reports of these alleged US war crimes on the website Wikileaks allegedly caused risk to the lives of American military personnel.

No evidence has been brought forward to substantiate the claim. US prosecutors have admitted that they do not have any.

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#HighCourt decision on #Assange extradition set to be announced

Protest: you can tell the strength of public feeling in support of Julian Assange from this image – taken at Julian Assange’s last High Court appearance in December.

A High Court judge is to announce whether Julian Assange will be permitted to appeal against a decision to extradite him to the United States.

The decision will be handed down at 10.45am.

According to Wikileaks, the judgment will go one of two ways.

It may certify that points of law raised by Assange to prevent the extradition are of general public importance and give him permission to lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court.

Or it could deny him a certificate, meaning the extradition order will pass to Home Secretary Priti Patel, who will have the power to personally authorise – or deny – the extradition.

Details of the case and the issues it raises are available here.

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#JulianAssange appeals against extradition. Will #AnneSacoolas still come to trial?

Protest: the court’s announcement on whether to extradite Julian Assange faced huge public opposition.

Lawyers acting for Julian Assange have filed an application to appeal against a High Court decision to allow him to be extradited to the United States to be tried for espionage.

High Court judges must now decide whether one of the grounds of the appeal is a point of law of general public importance, before the application may be considered by the Supreme Court.

Birnberg Pierce Solicitors, acting for Assange, say they believe serious and important issues of law arise from the High Court’s reliance on US assurances regarding the prison regimes and treatment Assange is likely to face if extradited, and from its judgment.

Assange is wanted in the US over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information following WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

A decision on the application is unlikely to be announced before the third week in January.

This Writer is now agog to find out if the US will still surrender Anne Sacoolas, accused of killing Harry Dunn in a road collision but who then fled the UK under the protection of diplomatic immunity, to court proceedings beginning on January 18.

See. Assange’s extradition is in line with a one-sided UK-US deal whereby the UK has to surrender anybody wanted by the US, but the US doesn’t have to do likewise.

The fact that Sacoolas was suddenly offered to the UK after the High Court allowed Assange’s extradition seemed extremely suspicious to This Writer, for precisely that reason.

And now that the extradition is in doubt, I’m on tenterhooks to find out whether the Sacoolas trial will still go ahead.

(Not that I ever expected her to come to the UK to serve any sentence, if she’s found guilty. Do you?)

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After #JulianAssange extradition, #AnneSacoolas is to face UK court. Coincidence?

The late Harry Dunn: his family have been campaigning for justice ever since his death more than two years ago.

One aspect of the Julian Assange extradition case that has been well-examined is the fact that the US may demand that we hand over our people while there’s no reciprocal obligation.

That’s the reason Anne Sacoolas was given asylum in the United States after the death of Harry Dunn, who she is alleged to have killed in a road crash outside RAF Croughton on August 27, 2019 – she claimed diplomatic immunity and the US granted it.

Now, suddenly, everything has changed – and after the chief campaigner for the Dunn family had been told he had only a one per cent chance of securing a criminal trial:

The Crown Prosecution Service … sought an extradition warrant to bring her back to the UK to stand trial, but the US state department adamantly refused to grant her extradition, insisting that her status as the wife of a serving US diplomat meant she was not required to stand trial. The US confirmed she had been an intelligence officer.

The case would be heard at Westminster magistrates court on 18 January, the Crown Prosecution Service said. It is understood that she will appear via video link.

The Dunn family have always said they wanted her to face justice in the UK, and it is not clear what would happen if she was found guilty or whether she would serve a sentence or pay any fine in the US.

Was an under-the-table deal struck between the UK and the US – we give them Assange and they give us Sacoolas?

Its very hard to consider it a coincidence, what with both decisions occurring so close to each other.

I mean, people here were infuriated at the decision to extradite Assange to the US, due to a one-sided treaty with that country that doesn’t demand reciprocity. The announcement about Sacoolas gives the UK government a chance to save face.

It would be entirely in character for the UK’s corrupt Tory government to manipulate even the course of justice in order to win a public relations advantage.

Sadly, while one of those involved – Sacoolas – is likely to face justice, as This Site has reported already, it seems unlikely the other – Assange – will.

Source: Anne Sacoolas to face UK court over death of Harry Dunn | UK news | The Guardian

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#JulianAssange has lost #extradition fight in the High Court – but there will be an appeal

Protest: you can tell the strength of public feeling in support of Julian Assange from this image – but the law is the law, even if it is a bad one.

How ironic that a plan to extradite a public interest reporter to the United States, to face trial under extremely restrictive conditions for reporting alleged war crimes against foreign people and corruption, should have happened on Human Rights Day.

The good news is that an appeal is under way.

The US government wants to prosecute Julian Assange for 18 alleged crimes – 17 of them under a 1917 terrorism act – because his reports of these alleged US war crimes on the website Wikileaks allegedly caused risk to the lives of American military personnel.

No evidence has been brought forward to substantiate the claim. US prosecutors have admitted that they do not have any.

Bear in mind that those responsible for the alleged war crimes and corruptions have not faced any form of justice and were allowed to walk free, despite the allegations and evidence supporting them.

The US has been foiled in its attempts to bring Assange to trial for 11 years – firstly because the journalist, fearing his own life would be under threat if he was brought into US custody, fled to the UK’s Ecuadorian Embassy seeking asylum, which he received until 2019, when he was arrested for breaking UK bail by British police.

He has stayed in Belmarsh Prison for two years since then – long after his jail term for the bail offence was over – because the US had applied to extradite him and he has a history of absconding.

This has led him to suffer mental ill-health, according to his supporters.

It led a court to deny the US extradition request in January, on the grounds that his mental health would suffer much more if he were subjected to the US penal system, which is far more hostile that that in the UK. The judgement last week was on an appeal by the US government.

Meanwhile, it is understood that US secret service operatives planned to either kidnap or assassinate Assange, while he was in UK custody.

Former CIA director and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, confronted with the allegation, said the 30 sources who spoke to Yahoo News reporters “should all be prosecuted for speaking about classified activity inside the Central Intelligence Agency” – which seems to be an admission that the claims were accurate.

It seems that in 2017, US intelligence agents plotted to poison Assange. They bugged the Ecuadorian embassy in London so they could listen to meetings with his solicitors, followed Assange’s family and associates, targeted his then six-months-old baby to steal his DNA, and burgled the office of his lawyer.

Given this information, one would expect a UK court to dismiss any extradition request at once, on the basis that Assange’s life is in clear danger.

Unfortunately, the UK has a one-sided extradition treaty with the US – signed during Tony Blair’s period in office – that makes no provisions for such circumstances. Indeed, the UK must take US assurances that a suspect will not be ill-treated at face value, with no evidence requirement, and US claims cannot even be cross-examined in court.

This has been highlighted by former UK diplomat Craig Murray, who was only recently released from prison himself after being convicted on what many believe to be a trumped-up charge relating to his own journalism:

Stella Moris, Assange’s partner, also spoke powerfully about the implications:

Here’s some more information on the deal, and the Acts of Parliament that enforce it:

Once extradited to the States, it seems Assange will face a kangaroo court, rather than receiving any actual justice.

The law under which he is charged does not allow a public interest defence, meaning he cannot argue that he was holding the US government to account by publishing details of its alleged war crimes.

And as Assange is not a US citizen, it seems he would not enjoy constitutional free-speech rights.

Furthermore, the US authorities have arranged for his case to be heard in Alexandria, Virginia – home of the US intelligence services, where people cannot be excluded from a jury because they work for the US government – prompting fears that Assange will be judged by people with a vested interest in supporting their employer.

He could go to prison for 175 years, according to colleagues at Wikileaks – although the US government says the term is more likely to be between four and six years. Who do you believe?

Oh, and he could be sent to Australia to serve the term, so it’s closer to home. This would address concerns about the state of the US prison system – but has the state of Australian penal servitude been checked?

Wikileaks has also raised the wider issue of precedent – that extraditing Assange could make it possible for UK journalists to be sent all over the world to face trial for crimes in foreign countries that simply aren’t offences here.

This Writer is not convinced by the argument. The US-UK extradition deal is unique; it isn’t one that we’re offering to any despotic regime that accuses you of terrorism for looking at a photo of their dictator the wrong way.

That being said, we live in a country where Boris Johnson is the prime minister (for now) and Priti Patel is Home Secretary. The Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe case shows that he will happily allow a UK citizen to rot in a foreign jail if it means he can keep some money; logically he’ll send UK citizens to foreign jails for the sake of some filthy lucre too. And she is just desperate to deport as many people as she can.

If they see this as an opportunity to clear the UK of interfering right-on lefties, then who knows what kind of carnage this will cause?

Still, there’s the appeal, which could take place on two grounds: firstly, that the leaks do not amount to an alleged crime; secondly, that the US’s diplomatic assurances aren’t worth the time it takes to speak them.

I don’t have much hope for either. The US-UK treaty means the High Court must accept the assurances at face value, and this also means that they have to honour the claim that a trial under US criminal law is justified.

It means that, as Kit Klarendon stated in his Twitter thread, Assange will be kept “in Belmarsh, his mental and physical health evaporating each day, pinballing from cell to court and back”. So perhaps the US government is having its revenge on him by alternative means.

These are dangerous times – not just for Julian Assange, but for freedom of speech and freedom from tyranny.

Without journalists holding governments to account in the public interest, dictatorial regimes – and I include the United States in that group, along with the UK, at least as far as their behaviour toward foreign nations evidences – can get away with mass murder.

And it seems we have Tony Blair to blame.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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