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Assange has a Window of Opportunity!

In a fairly lengthy judgement, District Judge (Magistrates’ Court) Vanessa Baraitser of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London has given Julian Assange breathing space by denying the application for his extradition to the USA, made by the Trump administration. This extradition essentially for publishing information provided to Wikileaks by Chelsea Manning was not pursued by the Obama administration who evidently considered that issues of freedom of speech would make a prosecution unlikely : Obama also commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning who had been the original source of the Wikileaks releases.

Interestingly one of the arguments against the extradition raised by Assange’s team was that there exists in international law a Right to Truth and that in publishing the information Wikileaks, despite the embarrassment to the government of the USA, was merely publishing the truth. The Judge rejected that defence :

138.The defence have not established that the principle of the “right to the truth” is a legal rule that is recognised in either international law or domestic law. They identify no international convention or treaty that enshrines it as a free-standing legal right,still less one that has been ratified by the government and incorporated into domestic law. I accept that the phrase “right to the truth” appears in UN resolutions adopted by several UN bodies, but I have been provided with no authority to demonstrate that this translates into a right enforceable in English courts. I therefore reject the defence submissions that this principle would render Mr. Assange’s acts lawful in this jurisdiction.

This finding will no doubt be the subject of much interest and discussion in journalistic circles.

Judge Baraitser in her judgement skimmed over or dismissed several arguments concerning freedom of speech and other human rights issues and went straight to the Extradition Act 2003 (UK) and the physical and mental condition of Assange and his suitability for extradition balanced with the possibility or indeed probability that he would seek to commit suicide while in detention in the USA.The section of the act that the judge has relied on reads :

91 Physical or mental condition

(1)This section applies if at any time in the extradition hearing it appears to the judge that the condition in subsection (2) is satisfied.

(2)The condition is that the physical or mental condition of the person is such that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him.

(3)The judge must—

(a)order the person’s discharge, or

(b)adjourn the extradition hearing until it appears to him that the condition in subsection (2) is no longer satisfied.

Accordingly, with ample medical and psychiatric expert evidence the Judge made the Order [at 410]

“I order the discharge of Julian Paul Assange,pursuant to section 91(3) of the Extradition Act 2003.”

Even so on Wednesday UK time an application will be made to release Assange on bail pending what is likely to be a long and drawn out appeal process, if that course is adopted by the incoming Biden administration. Based on the judge’s findings concerning Assange’s ‘physical or mental’ condition it would seem that the bail application must surely succeed rather than continue his incarceration at Britain’s Belmarsh High Security jail where COVID-19 is also a very real risk : in the judgement the judge noted [at 346] that ” I find that Mr. Assange’s risk of committing suicide,if an extradition order were to be made,to be substantial”.

The difficulty for Assange is that, whilst he may be bailed and ultimately acquitted in the UK there is always the possibility that, should he return to Australia or another jurisdiction outside of the UK, he could again be confronted with an extradition request from a future vindictive US administration unless, of course, he receives a pardon from incoming President Biden or, less likely, the outgoing Trump administration.

We shall see, but at least things are heading in a positive direction for Assange despite his having been all but abandoned by the Morrison government.

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49 comments

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  1. pat daly

    it’s interesting to note that Trumps contention that the vote was rigged was supported by the former Australian representive in the US and brings into question his judgement

  2. leefe

    Not surprised that Baraiitser rejected so many of the defence submissions, but it is a surprise that she’s denied extradition and ordered Assange’s release. There seems to still be some element of decency in the British judiciary.

  3. Joe Carli

    That judge did the “Pontius Pilate” decision, leaving the way open for an appeal to succeed where she didn’t want to rule…Here’s a British judge who’s had the complete “job” of a classic education, so knows all the rules of jurisprudence philosophy and ethics..yet all that goes out the window once demand for obedience to class status and consciousness of kind walks in through the door.

  4. New England Cocky

    This Assange decision smells like the work of a gutless judicial marionette dancing to the tune of an English government kow-towing to the USa (united States of Apartheid) while attempting to prevent the loss of future promotions for her career.

    Certainly as Joe Carli notes, a Pontius Pilate decision dragging out the tress of litigation for the defendant who dared to expose the war crimes of the unlawful imperialist invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and the war crimes committed there by members of the American led Coalition of Willing Supplicants (CoWS).

  5. Karen Kyle

    Joseph Carli…….Pontius Pilate my foot. It was an Extradiction hearing. Not a criminal trial. The Judge ruled on the extradiction…..nothing else as she was supposed to.

  6. Joe Carli

    I know why you “research” so much, Karen…it’s to try to give legitimacy and credence to an empty imagination…If you believe what you have just aserted above, it is because your base of ethics, morality and core beliefs are anchored in the mire of conservative class tenents.

    To have granted the extradition would have signed Assange’s death warrant…and the judge said as much…if THAT wasn’t a “trial” then nothing is.

    You’re a simple soul, Karen, that’s why you over-egg your explanations..

  7. Karen Kyle

    Joseph Carli…….imagination is fine…..when you are writing fiction, and it should not be applied as hyperbole when talking about a legal process.

  8. Joe Carli

    To recap for your “reality”, Karen..Pilate, while agreeing with the Jewish lawmakers that “Jesus” had offended their creed, he (Pilate) could not see where “Jesus” had broken Roman Law..but to keep the peace he washed his hands of the judgement and handed (extradited) “Jesus” over to be executed to satisfy the Jews…

    The judge stopped short of the execution bit, but in leaving the door open for appeal, she in effect “washed her hands” of the judgement.

    Karen…I spent my working life in building/construction…in that industry, there is really only one enemy..: gravity…and gravity shows no pity and never rests, so one must lay solid foundations and build up off of them..solid support, not idle talk….I suspect your world was/is one paper-clips and verbal contention…the enemy of which is more and greater counter-contention…ie; “point, counter-point”…it is why many on this site get caught in an endless repeat of mindless babble of your webs of “wikipedia wisdom”.

    We have both made our points…let us go our own ways…

  9. Roswell

    Joe, me thinks KK is being a bit petty.

    PS: I still don’t know what happened to Seph. 😁

  10. Karen Kyle

    Listen Joseph…….it is hard to talk about the Gospels and reality in the same breath. The two dont’ go ya know.

  11. paul walter

    As Joe Carli says, a true “Pontius Pilate” decision. I thought it beyond possible to be more repulsed by this decade long perversion of justice to be the more so, but here it is.

    Sad to see Kyle following in the mental and moral gymnastics that must be employed to find some merit and this filthy mess.

    And to DARE cite Christianity in the same bracket as this filth, that is truly nauseating.

  12. Karen Kyle

    Paul Walter……..I didn’t bring Christianity into the topic at all. Despite the Pontius Pilate claims I don’t see a skeric of anything remotely like the Gospel story.

  13. paul walter

    If I had referenced the thirty pieces of silver and Judas Iscariot, that would have been more to your taste?

    Or the Good Samaritan aiding the beat-up victim while the righteous folk cross to the other side of the road and look the other way?

    Let’s not dare call the system out, even when so obviously perverted in the vested interests of rulers over subjects, through lies, state sanctioned murder and other war crimes.

    Teach your children, “Never tell the truth when someone in authority might be exposed” and see how long civilisation lasts.

  14. Andrew J. Smith

    Embarrassing how Australians can often encourage or respect (other) powers and even act on their behalf i.e. the UK and/or the US; hardly suprising we have no ethical, moral or independent leadership in Oz?

    While Assange’s case was discharged (with potential appeal by the US in the UK legal system), our former AG Brandis was offering Australia to rollover for the UK on free trade agreement while following present US policy in upsetting our major trade partner China.

    Laughable how the LNP claim we can simply ‘decouple’ from China and find new markets overnight (aka Brexit) is either treasonous or simply stupid e.g. wine to Saudi? Beef to India? Thought these guys were supposed to be libertarians or free marketeers but it’s sickening to observe the fawning worship of anything Anglo Saxon (which is based upon myth itself, relabelling of British Romans).

    The Guardian headline says it all (reported from a Daily Telegraph UK article) ‘Australia ‘not for turning’ in dispute with China, UK envoy George Brandis says’; using the language of Thatcher or encouraging nostalgia for empire?

  15. Karen Kyle

    The above selective nhilist rants are fairly typical, coupled with smelly red herrings dragged across the argument. We can’t have anyone believing that British Justice might exist, or that it might sometimes work.

    The writer of this article is correct. Things are moving in a positive direction for Assange, and his family welcomed the decision.

    The Justice made exactly the right decision for exactly the right reasons.

    The decision protects the individual rights and therefore the basic human rights of Assange. The decision is correct legally and morally.

    I don’t know about the appeal stuff Joseph Carli is so worried about. Most decisions handed down by a Court can be appealed, and it is unlikely that a Biden administration would take it further.
    We will have to wait and see.

  16. Gangey1959

    The judge finally made the correct decision, for mostly the wrong reasons, after a tial that was very long and at times unfair to the defence. In my opinion she was hoping that JA would die in belmarsh, either by his own hand or natural causes, therefore releasing herself from any decision at all, but he did not accommodate.
    Act 2 will follow in due course, maybe wit acts 3 an4 too. Time will tell.

  17. DrakeN

    Karaen Kyle: “The Justice made exactly the right decision for exactly the right reasons.”

    Just as in the 18th century the same, only very slightly altered judicial system sent the impoverished and hungry to the colonies for extended periods based on petty property offences.

    I call “bullshit” and blinkered prejudice to your claim of any understanding of this case.

    You simply haven’t got a clue – but then that has never prevented you for offering bold statements on all the other matters to which you have applied your accumulated ignorance and dogma.

  18. paul walter

    Here is the sort of reasoning so critical to what the case is REALLY about that Baraitser (deliberately?) ignored.

    https://theconversation.com/julian-assanges-extradition-victory-offers-cold-comfort-for-press-freedom-152676. I can add that Greste is one of those folk at least partially taken in by right wing propaganda, but the article sticks to the point.

    The point is that the shabby corrupt creatures who have persecuted Assange and other whistleblowers underestimated graphically their ability to hide their hypocrisy and now try to find a way to solve their Assange problem without having to own up tot he sort of crimes Assange, Manning, Snowden and many others including Bernard Colleary and Witness K here.

  19. paul walter

    Sorry last word previous, exposed.

    Karen, Assange needs vindication, not a phony alibi for his release that avoids facing up to his treatment and others like him while continuing the besmirchment of his reputation and harm done him over a decade, and the upholding a fake, undemocratic system.

    He should be able to take his case to court and on evidence receive comprehensive compensation and a unreserved apology from his tormenters.

  20. Karen Kyle

    Oh dear…..Assange broke the law, he stole information and he hacked, then he dumped, Democrat and Clinton e-mails without any redaction, sorting to protect people etc. He just dumped. He is not a publisher. He is not a journalist. He is a very skilled computer hacker.

    He cannot behave with total disregard for ethics and then claim freedom of speech. The law pertaining to the publication of classified information was quite simple and straightforward and journalists knew where they stood. If Assange had worked in a newsroom, their lawyers would have not allowed his unethical behaviour. And if he had persisted he would have been sacked, just for starters.

    It is Assange who has jeopardised free speech by his unethical behaviour.

    Obama decided not to pursue Assange…..but Trump who loved Wikileaks and hates the press went ahead.

    The two weeks timeline for an Appeal will run right into the Biden administration. The Appeal might be lost or the Biden Adminstration might decide to drop it for the sake of protecting journalists who behave ethically.

    And it may be worth looking at the fact that Assange is autistic and inclined to see no reason why he can’t do as he likes. His behaviour is often odd and inappropriate and it would be a pity if this unethical man had a role in diminishing free speech because he feels entitled.

  21. paul walter

    No. It was the crew of the helicopter gunship in Baghdad. How many other massacres went UNreported?

  22. paul walter

    But you are right, Julian Assange and others (Collaery and witness K as to the rip off of poverty ridden Timor L’Este?) HAVE tried to protect other people, from wars of genocide sponsored by the greedy and the arrogant.

  23. New England Cocky

    Uhm ….. methinks that KK has got her toga in a tangle attempting to justify the unjustifiable. The US military conducted war crimes during their imperialist invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Assange, a LIfe Member of the Australian Journalists Association, exposed those war crimes to the world, embarrassing the US military and political establishment in the process.

  24. Michael Taylor

    Can’t disagree with Paul and NEC.

  25. paul walter

    Whose “law”?

    He didn’t break “the law” because it is not a legitimate law, going against Natural Justice as it does. For a start, it is retrospective of the events involving Julian Assange that now occurred a decade ago.

    FISA courts and the like are the real examples of perversions of justice as has been this desolate London manipulation of justice to induce injustice from the authorities.

    It begs the question, the autism smear, though (as it may just be, offhand)

    If he is autistic, why has he been put through hell over the last decade? Autistic people by their nature are pretty much programmed to tell the truth anyway.

  26. paul walter

    See, it’s like this.

    I am an Egyptian and I kiss my wife on the arse.

    Years later, someone worried about the global pandemic of arse-kissing, gets Washing ton to pass a retrospective law passed saying it is illegal for a man to kiss his wife on the arse.

    As it happens, I am visiting Israel, a country with an extradition treaty with the USA. I am picked up on a technicality, say having the wrong shaped nose, and brought before a court to decide whether I am extradited to the USA for breaking a retrospective law?

    Some thing akin to this is someone’s idea of “Justice”?

  27. Karen Kyle

    Please read the judgement. That judge is smart. Smarter than anyone on this blog and smarter than most of the press. And Assange’s autism is not a smear for Christ’s sake. It is a medical diagnosis testified in court and it took until he was fifty years old and an inmate of Belmarch to work out what was wrong.

    And “he didn’t break the law because it is not a legitimate law”. Says who? You? Try arguing that in court.

  28. Karen Kyle

    As for Natural Justice I would say he got a fair hearing even if the Judge quite properly ignored US law and interpreted only by means of British Law for which she has jurisdiction.

    And Assange certainly got a positive result. Without bias. Denied NaturalJustice. I don’t think so.

  29. Karen Kyle

    And you bring up Iraq and Afghanistan and the gun ship helicopter all of which were bad.

    But you never bring up the ninety four to one hundred million souls who have died under the oppressive totalitarian Communist regimes. Starvation, imprisonment, forced labour camps, exile, beatings, shootings, you name it the Marxist Leninist world did it. Pol Pot for Christ’s sake.

    And yet you grab any Western atrocity with malicious glee and play it for all it is worth. Really hype it up.Bring the same things up again and again. Because you want to pullthe system down and replace it with something much worse and murderous in the extreme. Comrades your moral compass is sadly out of wack. Try reading the Black Book of Communism. You can’t spin and you can’t justify these shocking regimes. And they are all pretty much the same.

  30. Roswell

    I’m with Paul and NEC, too.

  31. Matters Not

    Entertain the possibility that Assange wasn’t operating with the best of motivations. That he, like most of us, is less than perfect. This is not to say that he shouldn’t be freed but let’s keep the hagiographical tendencies to a minimum. Canonization ain’t going to happen.

    Seems to me that a (British) judicial decision based on what might happen (inadequate care) in another jurisdiction (USA) is very interesting to say the least. Surely the USA will have to appeal to save face? (And yes I know that (non)extradition to a place which permits capital punishment sets a precedent. )

    Suspect all involved wish it would just go away.

  32. paul walter

    Exactly, Karen Kyle.

    Now it can’t be lack of intelligence, so what can it be?

  33. paul walter

    He we go.

    Here is the “freedom” we brought the imperilled natives of the third world. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/06/brazilian-beef-farms-used-workers-kept-in-conditions-similar-to-slavery.

    Just as well the rest of the so called developing world isn’t like this, eh?

    Why, it would be like a giant Gulag, run by local thugs for the benefit of a tiny ruling elite. It would be almost…C…….t! ( fill in the word where the dots are).

    Yet most of hundreds of countries haven’t had a communist government since the fall of the Soviet thirty years ago.

  34. Terence Mills

    The final statement in the extradition judgement delivered by judge Baraitser was :

    “I order the discharge of Julian Paul Assange, pursuant to section 91(3) of the Extradition Act 2003.”

    Yet when the application for his discharge (on bail) is made, it is refused !

    To borrow from Charles Dickens : if the judge considers that remaining incarcerated is a danger to Assange’s health, then to refuse him bail pending some long drawn out appeals flies in the face of the original judgement and shows the law is a ass – a idiot.

    Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist was the origin of the phrase. In that novel when Mr. Bumble in chapter 37 of Oliver Twist was told that the law assumes that a wife follows the authority of the husband he responded with “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass–a idiot.”

  35. Karen Kyle

    Paul……..try reading some history. Try reading the history of political development world wide.

    Try Francis Fukuyama “The Origins of Political Order”

    You will find that South American Countries inherited their political system from Spain. And Spain had the same venal corrupt self serving system as France before the Revolution. ThT..e French Revolution swept away all the corruption of the old regime allowing a new modern state to emerge. There was no such revolution in Spain, and Spain exported it’s ancient venal system of government to South America. South American countries are still feeling the effects today, although they are trying hard to aim for Liberal Democracy. And Spain the poor man of Europe is still mired in economic woes and poor government.

    The state of South American countries doesn’t have much to do with Capitalism. Their politics were set in a pre capitalist pre industrial age. Nor does the condition of South American countries have much to do with the US.
    That is all just a pleasant Marxist fantasy.

    The book details the early political development of the Middle East, China, India, Russia, Western Europe with special attention paid to Hungary and England.

    Of all these countries England comes out the best for effective inclusive government by a country mile. And especially the development of English common law and the Rule of Law which was also developing further in Europe.The book is well worth reading and Fukuyama has lectures etc on Youtube for anyone who wants a gentle introduction to a big topic.

    For a close look at China try Googling The China Tribunal. That should make you hair curl.

  36. Michael Taylor

    Karen, you underestimate Paul. In the years he has been commenting on this site he comes across as a well-read person.

  37. Phil Pryor

    Who could overestimate K K, a yabbering and fixated type who seems correct to herself by occasional lunges. She might read and have explained to her the Broinowski article (available on Pearls and Irritations) which is intelligently persuasive. Assange has broken no Australian or even U K law. He exposed ongoing daily filth and crime by USA military and other agencies, information collected by USA people about USA people and actions. Let the conservative constipated cranially leached Morrison government bring him home and compensate him. Law has been argued here by repetitive pointlessness and we can all stand accused by others of some deficiency. But do remember, as I have said hereabouts often. ALL of the five veto powers in the UNO Council, the great surviving “winners” of W W 2, are our leading symbol of LAW, standing for its orthodoxy, reverence, applicability. Yet, ALL are descended in a raw and barely modified way from rebellion, murder, theft, assassination, upstart insolence, revolutionary rage, with monarchs slaughtered, official governments overthrown, former loyal subjects declared criminal. In my life, much murder and theft has been done, lawfully, under Hitler, Mussolini, Peron, Pinochet, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Saddam, Gaddafi, and a horde of others, because it was their law and they enforced it with evil intent. It is a secretive USA institutional industry and they don’t like intruders of the Assange type. We all deserve the information of the type Assange has his name to, in release. The world deserves more honesty.., and balance, so, the Philby, McLean, Burgess types did some good.., but they broke LAW. Someone tell of the LAW broken by the odious Trump, the fascist fantasising fool who believes he is above all LAW. And, Vlad Putin and Xi may be laughing away at all and sundry. LAW is nothing.., steal it, rent it, fabricate it.

  38. Karen Kyle

    Law is not just Nothing Phil. Law exists because it has the broad general support of most people because they know it is necessary and they consider it fair. To dismiss Law as nothing is to dismiss civilization.

  39. Phil Pryor

    K K, tell it all to Attila, to William the murdering thieving conqueror, to Cromwell, to Mao, to any of the endless murderers and thieves and slavers and utter beasts, who did it, who do it, who will do it in future forever, unless we somehow improve. “We” all like the concept of lawful peace, and tend to obey laws and regulations daily, but LAW is a fabrication. Cf. Freud’s many works and that of others. As for civilisation, it remains a good idea, but leave all the figures mentioned here OUT. Today, in the interests of civilisation, one might hope Trump is charged, found guilty and shot (or another of the USA variations…do they still have a functioning electric chair? Meanwhile, you and I and others may dream the dream of lawful, agreed, civilised behaviour. Freud thought that law was created by enough people to defy the domineering bully, or face eternal oppression. So..? And now back to irrelevant quiet…

  40. Karen Kyle

    Phil……You left out slavery in Biblical times, a subject which drove this blog nuts with finger pointing, blame, sniffling and whining some time ago.

    You need some perspective man, you need to recognise that Homo Sapien is sometimes not a nice animal and sometimes is a good and wise animal.

    Stop blaming the West and the USA for everything……and that old fraud George Galloway and his perfidious Albion. It really is juvenile and pointless.

    Deocracy must continue to evolve…….and the USA needs to sort out the corrupt power hungry Republican Party, and we all need to separate corporate business power from dominating government.

    The next big job for democracy. Long may it live.

  41. Phil Pryor

    I leave out most things K K, (one more K?) as did the encyclopaedia Britannica and the Bible. Most of us here feel able to offer some views, even sincerely and competently. You sit in a high saddle, but your imaginary thoroughbred may just be a pile of manure. So many of us a laps ahead of you, so just say your say and wait for sympathy.., short in supply lately, for you.., but Matters will correct your spelling and offer a shoulder. Man (the species) is not a nice one and those rotten ones dominate rule and regulation, so, good offering there. I blame everyone occasionally.., who doesn’t or can’t?…but it takes time. Wasn’t Tojo a Darling, and Vlad the Impaler? Democracy may live, once it is born, actually, properly, lawfully (??) So, cheers to us all in positive repartee…

  42. DrakeN

    Karen Kyle:
    “Paul……..try reading some history. Try reading the history of political development world wide.” to someone who exhibits a broadly read understanding of world affairs.
    “Phil…Stop blaming the West and the USA for everything.” following upon Phil’s: “…tell it all to Attila, to William the murdering thieving conqueror, to Cromwell, to Mao, to any of the endless murderers and thieves and slavers and utter beasts…”

    Get your head our of your fundamental alimentary orifice, KK.

  43. paul walter

    We need to focus on justice. The law should not be employed to thwart justice.

    That is the worst perversion of the Assange story.

  44. Joe Carli

    Oh dear!..all the middle-class c#nts of USA past leaders who led their nation down this path with invasion after invasion of foreign lands are now “shocked and disgusted” when the chooks come home to roost…I wonder if Iraq or Afghanistan is weeping for American democracy?

  45. paul walter

    “As ye live by the sword so do ye die by the sword”.

    Joe, it is true that the example set by authorities, including the lavish and blatant one practiced most recently by the magistrate Baraitser, along with the refusal to prosecute yet more police murderers of the unarmed and harmless in the USA, has demonstrated to the people who invaded Congress, for example, that violence is the legitimate way to achieve (badly misconceived and misunderstood) goals.

    Since logic, fact, compassion and ethics are now trashed beyond recognition by opportunist political and big business scum who should have known better, but did not care any way, Justice evens the balance.

  46. paul walter

    By the way, Michael Taylor, thank you for your kind comment earlier

  47. paul walter

    Actually Karen has me smiling. Let Democracy evolve, and the best way to do this is to silence dissent and discourse?

    Apart from the usual emptiness about the poor victimised West, which develops an obstructionist red herring or false binary that dislocates western thought and experience from wider universal thought and aspiration.

    No, Karen.

    Thought and feeling are not self centred, it might not even be exclusively about “us”.

    Decentre.

    To suggest bombing an Arab village back to the stone age because it benefits a few oil barons in the West is not going to necessarily hold water in the minds of the Arab villagers and many others besides. What is supposedly good for us is not necessarily good for them at all, just because it good for a few oligarchs and a brainwashed population here.

    Thank God after all, we had Copernicus and Galileo to sort these things out four centuries and more ago.

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