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Wikileaks

UK Court Gives Biden Chance To Dodge Assange Appeal

WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is closer than ever to being extradited to the United States for trial on 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion over WikiLeaks’s 2010-2011 revelation of evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. He faces 175 years in prison. “This is a signal to all of you that if you expose the interests that are driving war they will come after you, they will put you in prison and they will try to kill you,” said Stella Assange, Julian’s wife, of his prosecution.

Basic Press Freedoms At Stake In The Julian Assange Case

At least a half hour before the Royal Courts of Justice opened their doors on Tuesday, February 20, thousands had already gathered outside the courthouse. In two hours, two British judges would be hearing two days of arguments in what may be journalist Julian Assange’s final plea that the UK courts halt his extradition to the United States. The United States is seeking to put the WikiLeaks founder on trial for exposing its war crimes — which would set a precedent that the Espionage Act can be used to prosecute journalists who publish information the US government doesn’t like.

The Show Trial Against Julian Assange

“Those who tell the truth need a fast horse,” says an Armenian proverb. Or they need a society that protects the truth and its messengers. But this protection, which our democracies claim to offer, is in danger. As a journalist, Julian Assange has published hundreds of thousands of files documenting war crimes committed by the USA and its allies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo and elsewhere. The authenticity of the documents is beyond question. However, none of the perpetrators have been brought to justice or convicted.

Julian Assange’s Grand Inquisitor

London - The prosecution for the U.S., which is seeking to deny Julian Assange’s appeal of an extradition order, begun by the Trump administration and embraced by the Biden administration, grounded its arguments on Wednesday in the dubious affidavits filed by a U.S. federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Virginia, Gordon Kromberg. The charges articulated by Kromberg — often false — to make the case for extradition did not fly with the two High Court judges, Jeremy Johnson and Dame Victoria Sharp, who are overseeing Julian’s final appeal in the British courts.

Support For Julian Assange As He Fights Extradition To The US

There is no benefit to the people for Julian Assange to be extradited or to be charged, none whatsoever. He should be free, he should never have been forced into the Ecuadorian embassy. And by the way, he always made it clear that he would go to Sweden and face those charges against him if he was guaranteed not to be turned over to the U.S. And his fears were well founded, as we now see. He exposed corruption, political corruption, financial corruption, and that is what makes him an enemy of powerful people, and a friend to people around the world. So I support Julian Assange.

US Obfuscates And Misrepresents On Second Day Of Assange Hearings

On the second and final day of the crucial appeal permission hearing for Julian Assange, the US repeated long-debunked and discredited theories and allegations. On Wednesday, February 21, the court began by hearing the submission by the prosecution representing the US government. The prosecution team led by Claire Dobbin and Joel Smith presented arguments that obfuscated facts and misrepresented both the prosecution against Assange and the nature of work done by WikiLeaks. The US opened with unsubstantiated claims that Assange’s publishing of the classified documents exposed several contacts, putting them in harm’s way especially those in war zones and under oppressive regimes.

Assange Appeal Hearing Plagued By Media Access Issues

In a high-profile extradition case widely regarded as a threat to global press freedom, administrators of the United Kingdom’s courts have repeatedly shown that they are incapable and unwilling to ensure open justice for journalists. All reporters outside of England and Wales (including this reporter) were barred from accessing the audio-visual link for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s hearing, where he urged the British High Court of Justice grant permission to appeal extradition to the United States. Several journalists who traveled internationally to cover proceedings have been seated in a section of the courtroom that makes doing their job practically impossible.

Julian Assange’s Day In Court

By the afternoon on Tuesday the video link, which would have allowed Julian Assange to follow his final U.K. appeal to prevent his extradition, had been turned off. Julian, his attorneys said, was too ill to attend, too ill even to follow the court proceedings on a link, although it was possible he was no longer interested in sitting through another judicial lynching. The rectangular screen, tucked under the black wrought iron bars that enclosed the upper left-hand corner balcony of the courtroom where Julian would have been caged as a defendant, was perhaps a metaphor for the emptiness of this long and convoluted judicial pantomime.

Day One: Assange Timeline Exposes US Motives

On Day One of Julian Assange’s attempt to appeal Britain’s order to extradite him to the United States, his lawyers laid out a timeline that exposed U.S. motives to destroy the journalist who revealed their high-level state crimes. Before two High Court judges in the cramped, wood-paneled Courtroom 5 at the Royal Courts of Justice, Assange’s lawyers argued on Tuesday that two judges had seriously erred in the case on a number of grounds necessitating an appeal of the home secretary’s decision to extradite Assange to the United States. High to the left of the court, next to oak shelves with neat rows of law books, was an empty iron cage.  The court said it had invited Assange to either attend in person or via video link from Belmarsh Prison, where he has been locked up on remand for nearly five years.

UK High Court Finally Hears Assange’s Request For An Appeal

The United States government's prosecution of Julian Assange represents an attempt to punish Assange and WikiLeaks for exposing the criminality of the U.S. government on a “massive and unprecedented scale,” lawyers for the WikiLeaks publisher told two senior judges at the British High Court of Justice. Crimes exposed by the WikiLeaks publications that are central to this case include “torture,” “[extraordinary] rendition,” and “drone strikes” that killed scores of civilians. Assange is seeking permission to appeal District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s extradition decision, which was issued in January 2021. Barristers Mark Summers KC and Edward Fitzgerald KC set out seven grounds for challenging the ruling.

The Assange ‘Death Plots’

Documents obtained under freedom-of-information applications have revealed a worrying side to official Australian efforts regarding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In September 2021, DFAT  [Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade] became aware of media reports detailing C.I.A. planning to murder Assange in London. The plot revealed to journalists working for Yahoo News, who spoke to over 30 intelligence sources, involved consideration by the C.I.A. of plans to poison Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy or to shoot him should he attempt to flee.

Day X Protests To Free Assange

Day X is here: February 20-21, imprisoned publisher Julian Assange returns to court in London for his final bid to appeal his extradition to the United States where he would face life in prison for publishing truthful information in the public interest. Human rights leaders and civil liberties groups around the world are again warning that the prosecution of Assange threatens journalism everywhere. In this month alone, a UN Special Rapporteur, leading press freedom groups, over 35 U.S. law professors, and the Australian Parliament have called for an end to the prosecution of Julian Assange. 

Julian Assange’s Final Appeal

If Julian Assange is denied permission to appeal his extradition to the United States before a panel of two judges at the High Court in London this week, he will have no recourse left within the British legal system. His lawyers can ask the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for a stay of execution under Rule 39, which is given in “exceptional circumstances” and “only where there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm.” But it is far from certain that the British court will agree. It may order Julian’s immediate extradition prior to a Rule 39 instruction or may decide to ignore a request from the ECtHR to allow Julian to have his case heard by the court.

UK Steps Up War On Whistleblower Journalism

It was the afternoon of May 17 2023 and I had just arrived at London’s Luton Airport. I was on my way to the city of my birth to visit my family. Before landing, the pilot instructed all passengers to have their passports ready for inspection immediately upon disembarking the plane. Just then, I noticed a six-strong squad of stone-faced plainclothes British counter-terror officers waited on the tarmac, intensely studying the identification documents of all travelers. As soon as the cops identified me, I was ordered to accompany them into the airport terminal without explanation. There, I was introduced to two officials whose names I could not learn, who subsequently referred to each other using nondescript callsigns. I was invited to be digitally strip searched, and subjected to an interrogation in which I had no right to silence, no right to refuse to answer questions, and no right to withhold pin numbers for my digital devices or sim cards.

Dear Mr. High Commissioner: Help Free Assange

On 20-21 February, a High Court in London will decide Julian Assange’s fate: freedom or death. Two judges will decide whether the WikiLeaks founder will still be able to lodge an ultimate appeal, or will end his days in an American jail. Mr. Assange has committed no crime. His only fault is to have revealed some of the crimes of the powerful of our time. Lèse majesté crime! American wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere have destroyed millions of lives and ruined these countries for generations to come. No one has been prosecuted. On the contrary, these crimes have been covered up with impunity in the United States. And yet Mr. Assange is being punished for having published evidence of some of them. Political justice.
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