Mon, 20 Sep 2021

U.S. to appeal to get their hands on Julian Assange

Independent Australia
21 Jul 2021, 08:52 GMT+10

On 7 July, the UK High Court of Justice agreed to hear an appeal from the U.S. Government on narrow grounds, though no date has been set for those proceedings.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), representing the U.S. Government, is challenging District Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser's ruling that Julian Assange not be extradited for health and medical reasons.

The original judgment accepted the defence's evidence that Assange was a suicide risk and that the conditions of detention in a U.S. supermax prison facility might well exacerbate it.

There was also a:

The result of such measures would see his mental health:

She was further:

The submissions by the prosecution are not publicly available, but they have been reviewed by the very able Kevin Gosztola of Shadowproof.

The prosecution contends that the Judge erred in law in determining that Assange's extradition would be an oppressive measure. The Judge should have also been forthcoming to the U.S. Government of her concerns or "provisional view" of the risk posed to Assange and sought relevant "assurances".

This latter point is disingenuous; the case by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) was based on shoddy assertions by prosecutors and expert witnesses who betrayed their ignorance about the role played by SAMs and supermax prison conditions.

Julian Assange still not in the clear from prosecution or persecution

District Justice Vanessa Baraitser gave supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a surprise on Monday in blocking the request for extradition by the U.S.

But in making their appeal, the prosecutors were all sweetness, suggesting that SAMs would not be imposed on Assange in pre-trial detention or, should he be convicted, in prison. Feeling the need to draw the line somewhere, they would not promise that other forms of isolation of administrative segregation would not be used.

While Assange would not necessarily find himself incarcerated at the ADX Florence in Colorado, it would depend on any "future act" that would qualify.

As for how Assange would be treated medically, the CPS made another weak promise that he would:

The prosecutors were also willing to give another assurance they refused to test at trial. Assange would be allowed to avail himself of the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons in brokering a prisoner transfer to Australia.

The DoJ would give their consent to any such arrangement.

Assange's defence lawyers were clearly sceptical about the prosecution's motives:

Any such proceeding pursuant to the treaty, in any case:

As this was taking place, the publisher would face conditions of isolation 'in an alien and hostile environment far from his family'.

The prosecutors further sought to weaken Judge Baraitser's judgment by again targeting the testimony of Professor Michael Kopelman, whose evidence they had attempted to discredit with almost manic enthusiasm.

That less than noble effort involved claiming that Assange "had a strong incentive to feign or exaggerate his symptoms" aided by his consultation of "scientific journals". The prosecution also accused Kopelman being partial to Assange, having deliberately concealed 'information that he had been told about Mr Assange's partner Stella Moris and their children'.

JOHN PILGER: Eyewitness to the agony of Julian Assange

John Pilger has watched Julian Assange's extradition trial from the public gallery at London's Old Bailey.

Judge Baraitser conceded in her judgment that the concealment was:

She accepted Professor Kopelman's view that:

The defence countered in their submission against the appealing prosecutors that Baraitser had not erred in law in concluding that Assange's "suicidal impulses" would stem from his "psychiatric condition" and would not be the result of "his own voluntary act".

The "attack" on Kopelman also failed to:

In a statement in response to the High Court decision, Moris recalled the miscellany of glaring defects in the case against her partner: the fabricated testimony of lead DoJ witness Sigurdur Thordarson; nefarious suggestions that Assange be assassinated by U.S. agents; surveillance of his legal team and the theft of legal documents; and, for good measure, threats against the family.

She asserted:

Moris's reference to Thordarson is important since it forms an important part of the prosecution case claiming that Assange was more a hacker than a journalist and inclined to recruit people to that cause with an ideologue's enthusiasm.

The argument is designed to neutralise any protections the publisher might have under the free speech amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

JOHN PILGER: Julian Assange's Stalinist trial mocks democracy

John Pilger gave this address outside the Central Criminal Court in London on September 7 as Julian Assange's extradition hearing entered its final stage.

The indictment alleges that Assange, in early 2010 and while in contact with Chelsea Manning for reasons of obtaining 'classified information ... met a 17-year old ... who provided [him] with data stolen from a bank'.

The indictment asserts that Assange asked the teenager in question:

In 2011, Thordarson caught the eye of the Federal Bureau of Investigation after planning a distributed denial-of-service attack on an Icelandic website in concert with Hector Xavier Monsegur.

Monsegur, posing as a member of the hacking outfit LulzSec, had turned informant. With his touted links to WikiLeaks and Assange, the FBI sought the teenager's services. Thordarson had never been much more than a volunteer with the mundane task of raising revenue for WikiLeaks, though he left an enduring mark by embezzling over $50,000 from the organisation's coffers.

In an interview with the Icelandic biweekly Stundin last month, the witness who has had an inglorious record of fraud, embezzlement and abusing minors revealed that 'that Assange never asked him to hack or to access phone recordings of MPs'.

Thordarson now insists that he had:

He never went through the files, nor verified whether they had audio recordings as claimed by the third-party source. The allegation that Assange instructed him to access computers in order to find such recordings was also dismissed.

Despite all this, the sham theatre of British justice continues. Assange, his health fragile, remains locked up in Belmarsh prison, all previous bail applications refused. Despite January's ruling against extradition, the Biden Administration is still keen to get their man.

Dr Binoy Kampmark was a Cambridge Scholar and is an Independent Australia columnist and lecturer at RMIT University. You can follow Dr Kampmark on Twitter @BKampmark.

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