London - On October 27, the High Court of Justice in the United Kingdom will hear the Crown Prosecution Service argue on behalf of the United States government that a lower court improperly blocked the U.S. from extraditing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The proceedings in London are expected to last two days and will involve five grounds for appeal that were previously approved by the High Court of Justice. (Two were reinstated by the court after a hearing on August 11.) District Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled on January 4 that Assange’s mental health was such that it would be “oppressive to extradite him” to the U.S. But two days later, she accepted the U.S. government’s objections and ordered him to remain in jail while her decision was appealed.
Department of Justice
Last month Biden’s Haitian envoy resigned on principle. Is there someone in Biden’s Justice Department who would push the attorney general to drop the prosecution of Julian Assange? Last month the U.S. special envoy to Haiti quit in protest over the Biden administration’s decision to repatriate thousands of Haitian migrants from the United States. In his letter (pdf) of resignation to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Daniel Foote wrote, ““I will not be associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees and illegal immigrants to Haiti, a country where American officials are confined to secure compounds because of the danger posed by armed gangs in control of daily life.”
This was all rather predictable. As The Canary‘s Tom Coburg wrote back in 2018, Thordarson was never a credible witness. He: is a convicted felon in relation to several offences, including paedophilia (involving nine boys). He had pleaded guilty to these offences. Also, in December 2014, Thordarson was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison on 18 charges of embezzlement, theft, and fraud. So, with British MPs applying pressure and the legal case against him falling apart, Assange’s future is once again in question. Whether parliamentary pressure and this new evidence will be enough for the imprisoned journalist to secure his freedom, though, is sadly debatable.
A careful read of this stunning investigative piece in Iceland’s Stundin newspaper reveals that in June 2011 Eric Holder (no doubt with Obama’s enthusiastic approval) initiated a disgraceful FBI frame-up of Julian Assange. Displaying their usual incompetence, the FBI thoroughly screwed up the Holder framing assignment by coming up with a child-molesting embezzler and sociopath as their spy and agent provocateur within the Icelandic branch of Wikileaks, thereby creating such a mess that the Minister of the Interior had our federal gumshoes thrown out of Iceland. Undeterred by the 2011 mess, in May of 2019 William Barr (probably with equally enthusiastic approval from his boss) stepped into Holder’s shoes by reigniting the disgusting Assange frame-up plot.
Racial justice advocates welcomed Wednesday's announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice that three men imprisoned in Georgia on murder and other charges in connection with the death of unarmed Black man Ahmaud Arbery last February also have been charged with federal hate crimes and attempted kidnapping. According to a DOJ statement, Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William 'Roddie' Bryan "were each charged with one count of interference with rights and with one count of attempted kidnapping." "Travis and Gregory McMichael were also charged with one count each of using, carrying, and brandishing—and in Travis's case, discharging—a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence," the statement added.
The US Department of Justice under President Joe Biden has dropped a department lawsuit filed under former President Donald Trump that challenged California's net neutrality rules. California's law, considered more strict than federal rules adopted during the Obama administration, could set the baseline for future federal rules. The DOJ formally dismissed the lawsuit Monday. The suit was first filed in 2018 under ex-US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Trump appointee. Former California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed the California law in October 2018. California adopted the new rules after a Republican-led FCC in 2017 repealed federal rules that had been established under President Barrack Obama.
The letter comes just days before the United States’ deadline to appeal the ruling in Julian Assange’s extradition hearing. On January 4, British Judge Vanessa Baraitser blocked Assange’s extradition last month on medical grounds, and the U.S. announced its intent to appeal that decision. It has until February 12 to file its appeal. The New York Times’ Charlie Savage writes, “The litigation deadline may force the new administration to confront a decision: whether to press on with the Trump-era approach to Mr. Assange, or to instead drop the matter.”
The U.S. Justice Department has reversed an earlier assertion in court by prosecutors that protestors who broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 had plans to “capture and assassinate elected officials.” Instead, the head of the DOJ investigation into the Capitol siege admitted that federal prosecutors filed a misleading statement before a federal judge in Arizona that was intended to prevent Jacob Chansley, aka Jake Angeli, from being released on bail. The DOJ said that though there were calls to kill officials during the two-hour takeover of the Capitol, no evidence has been discovered yet to prove any serious effort to carry out such a plan.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Wednesday that it seized 27 online domains, claiming the websites were controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The DOJ seized the domains under the guise of enforcing US sanctions against Iran and the IRGC. Wednesday’s announcement followed the seizure of 92 domains in October that the DOJ also claimed were operated by Iran. The DOJ purports that the domains were being used to spread “Iranian propaganda” and “disinformation.”
An elected prosecutor who took a role in Donald Trump’s presidential commission on law enforcement has resigned, telling Attorney General William Barr that he is concerned the commission was “intent on providing cover for a predetermined agenda that ignores the lessons of the past” and will issue a final report that “will only widen the divisions in our nation.” Trump formed the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice late last October, announcing its formation at the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s annual meeting.
Last week I received an invitation to attend the annual whistleblowers luncheon hosted by the National Whistleblower Center (NWC). The luncheon is always a big deal. It’s held in Washington, D.C., in the Russell Senate Office Building’s Kennedy Caucus Room, the same room that hosted the Watergate hearings, the Army-McCarthy hearings, the Iran-Contra hearings and other momentous events in American political history. It’s attended by hundreds of whistleblowers from all over government and the private sector, as well as more than a few politicians.
A federal judge late Friday halted the implementation of a Seattle ban on police use of tear gas, pepper spray and other so-called less lethal weapons used for crowd control. His decision gives more latitude to law enforcement to use the tools ahead of what could be a weekend of protests, as federal agents arrive in Seattle with the stated orders of protecting federal property. A separate court injunction against use of the crowd control weapons remains in place, although that order allows for their targeted and limited deployment in certain circumstances.
The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday released a report that details why the federal government believes systemic use of excessive force within Alabama’s prisons for men violates the Eighth Amendment. The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Alabama found systemic problems of unreported or underreported excessive use of force incidents, a failure to properly investigate them and attempts by correctional officers and their supervisors to cover them up.
In early 2018, a few months after the cities of Oakland and San Francisco sued several major oil companies over climate change, attorneys with the U.S. Department of Justice began a series of email exchanges and meetings with lawyers for the oil companies targeted in the litigation. At one point, Eric Grant, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, sent an email to Indiana's solicitor general saying that his "boss" had asked him to set up a meeting to go over a plan for the government to intercede in the cases on the companies' behalf.
The US Justice Department is preparing even more charges against journalist and publisher Julian Assange, WikiLeaks warned Thursday. The charges, WikiLeaks said, would be based on the testimony of Sigurdur Thordarson, an FBI informant previously convicted of fraud, who recently travelled to the United States to answer questions aimed at preparing a new indictment. The news came the same day as fresh warnings about the deterioration of Assange’s health. Assange’s father, John Shipton, was scheduled to visit his son in Belmarsh Prison but was turned away and told Assange was seeing a doctor for an apparently urgent visit.