Why Eurosceptics Should Back Assange 204

I have carefully read the entire judgements (including the dissenting ones) of the Supreme Court, dismissing Assange’s appeal against extradition. The appeal was on the narrow point of law that the Swedish Prosecutor was not a “Judicial Authority”, but rather a party to the case, and only a “judicial authority” can issue a European arrest warrant. That may sound dull. I hope to convince you it isn’t.

Eurosceptics are not the most natural supporters of Julian Assange, but they should be deeply disturbed by aspects of this judgement. So should anyone with a regard for personal liberty. Some of the points laid down by the majority judges are truly shocking.

Please read this part of Lord Kerr’s judgement. I suggest you read it several times.

117. It would be destructive of the international co-operation between states to
interpret the 2003 Act in a way that prevented prosecutors from being recognised
as legitimate issuing judicial authorities for European Arrest Warrants, simply
because of the well-entrenched principle in British law that to be judicial is to be

So the idea of an impartial judiciary is less important than obeying EU instruments, for which “international cooperation” is in this case a euphemism.

All of the judges accept that in ordinary English “Judicial authority” means a judge and a court, and not a prosecutor.

Lord Kerr says quite specifically:

101. The expression “judicial authority”, if removed from the extradition (or,
more properly, surrender) context, would not be construed so as to include
someone who was a party to the proceedings in which the term fell to be
considered. A judicial authority must, in its ordinary meaning and in the contexts
in which the expression is encountered in this jurisdiction other than that of
surrender, be an authority whose function is to make judicial decisions.

But Kerr then goes on to say that only in the context of European surrender/extradition, “judicial authority” should be understood in a way that is absolutely contrary to its normal English meaning. In a cavalier way Kerr dispenses with a fundamental principle of English Law for centuries, that words are to be construed in their ordinary sense – which every law student in the land learns in week 1 of their course.

The majority all rested their dismissal of the appeal on the grounds that the parliamentary Act of 2003 must be interpreted in line with the EU decision or “Framework Agreement” which it was created to implement. They specifically state that where there is conflict the EU Framework Agreement must take precedence over British law.

What follows is absolutely astonishing. The Framework Agreement in its English version specifically states, in Article 1, that the European Arrest Warrant must be issued by a “judicial decision”.

That really can only mean a court – it cannot mean a prosecutor on any construction.

Lord Philips seeks to get round this by a morally disgusting piece of legal casuistry. He states in terms that the French text should be followed and not the English (para 56 of the judgement). He argues: “The French version is the original and is to be preferred”.

But that contravenes an important and long established principle of international diplomacy. I have personally negotiated in both the EU and the UN and the essential and fully stated principle is that all official language texts have an equal validity. There is no “preferred original”. Lord Philips is just getting over an insuperable obstacle to his argument.

Having argued that the French text must be used and not the english text, Philips returns to the argument on which the whole judgement rests; that the French text is to be preferred to the English and that “judiciaire” has a more “vague” meaning than “judicial” (para 18). He rests this argument on a 1996 French dictionary and a google search.

Even if we accept that judiciaire has a vaguer meaning than judicial, the principle of interpreting international agreements based on the vaguest meaning of each of the individual words between the official languages would dissolve international law into inanity. There is a strong argument that where there is a conflict between languages the more precise and narrow formulation should be taken to be the most that can fairly be said to have been agreed by all.

The truth is that Philips and his fellow judges live in the real world, and were more concerned to please both the EU and the US by getting Assange extradited on charges that would not stand any genuine judicial investigation.

Assange is to be extradited on the argument that the British Act is subordinate to the European Framework, and that the english text of that is subordinate to the French text.

It is not surprising they dismissed an independent judiciary as unimportant. They are not one.

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204 thoughts on “Why Eurosceptics Should Back Assange

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  • Roderick Russell

    I notice a few comments on the Jubillee. From a Canadian perspective it seems to me that Canadians have been somewhat ambivalent on the Jubilee celebrations, though one does admire the extent of the UK’s Royal advertising campaign. Here is what one of Canada’s major (Conservative) Newspapers, The National Post, said on the subject:

    “Britain’s royal hyperbole elevates banal to new heights”

  • Chris2

    This is excerpted from an RT article

    “The FBI is apparently collecting evidence to indict Julian Assange before a grand jury. Sweden must not be the final destination of the designed extradition,” sources close to the WikiLeaks and Julian Assange told RT.
    The Cypherpunks episode of The Julian Assange Show has not even premiered on RT, but a pot of trouble is already boiling and Jeremy Zimmerman, a co-founder of cyber freedoms group La Quadrature du Net, has got a taste of it.
    Jeremy Zimmerman was detained on his way from the US to France after filming the episode of Assange’s show, during which he was interviewed with two other Cypherpunks movement activists.
    Zimmerman was grabbed by “self-identified FBI agents,” reports the WikiLeaks whistleblowing website. After that he spent several hours in quite another sort of the interview. The officers asked him about various details regarding Julian Assange. When he asked about his rights, the cyber activist was threatened with arrest and imprisonment.
    “We have confirmed US authorities have this week detained and interrogated multiple Europeans about Assange,” reads the WikiLeaks Tweet.
    Smari McCarthy, a co-founder and board member of the Icelandic Digital Freedoms Society, has also been stopped while entering the US, the source adds. McCarthy was approached by three US officials in Washington DC, and asked to become an informer.
    At the moment McCarthy’s whereabouts are unknown, though he maintains communication with the Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir.
    In earlier incidents, Nabeel Rajab, a Bahraini human rights activist, was beaten up at Bahrain’s international airport on his return from Lebanon in April. Then he was detained for half a day.
    The Bahraini authorities have not commented on the reasons behind the arrest, but it took place exactly after Rajab Episode 4 of The Julian Assange Show. In the episode, Rajab said that on the same day he announced on his Twitter account that he was going to appear on RT his house was surrounded by almost 100 policemen armed with machine guns – but luckily he was not there at the time.
    Fears are high these are not random incidents, but that evidence against Julian Assange is already being collected in the US. American senators and top officials have repeatedly accused the scandal-stirring whistleblower of espionage and terrorism, some even saying he should be tried by a court martial and sentenced to death.
    Following the UK Supreme Court ruling last week that Assange should be extradited to Sweden, where he is to be interviewed about sex crime allegations, the concern is that the Scandinavian country will not be his final destination and that he will then be extradited to the US, where he might well face indictment before a grand jury.

    Assange has no more chance of a fair trial in the United States than Jose Padilla had. Actually less because Padilla was a citizen and the Supreme Court in his day was rather less clearly committed to the jurisprudence of the Nazis.
    The bottom line for the, so called, Supreme Court ought to be that the Swedish government is clearly implicated in rendition to the United States. Whether the Swedish legal system would protect Assange’s rights is not the real question: the government, which is formed of precisely those forces in Swedish society that gave the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo nightmares, sees itself as an agent of the US Empire.

  • Chris2

    The above post ought to have made clear that the excerpt from the RT article ends before the penultimate paragraph. The last two paragraphs are mine:
    [Mod: blockquote tags inserted]

  • crab

    Hehe Roderick. Yes the miserable rain left not a redeeming vista. The total dullness of it! but even that is somehow complemented by the mystical dullness of her majesties blank gaze, stating simply, internaly, iamqueen iamqueen iamqueen iamqueen iamqueen…

  • Jives

    MK-Ultra and Tavistock Institute more likely.
    Or else.
    Poor John didn’t realise the stakes in time.

  • Mary

    Roderick – That piece is more of a critique of the broadcasters’ output, which has been dire, than of the monarchy itself. Both the Telegraph and the Independent printed almost identical pieces on the dumbed down BBC and Sky reporting. We have just been told on Sky News by a reporter visiting barracks that the royal family has strong links to the military. Wow! Really?
    This is the last of four days of the propaganda which has been unbearable. Now we have to brace ourselves for the continuing progress of the FLAME and then weeks’ more output from Stratford.
    We learn from the Guardian that unemployed people were bussed in to steward the pageant and told to sleep under London Bridge. That just about sums up the current underlying cruelty of this state. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/04/jubilee-pageant-unemployed
    A urologist was called in by Sky to explain the intricacies of the prince’s waterworks and the likely prognosis. Another specialist has probably been on the BBC.

    The crowds though are loving it. They seem to be clocking up attendances at jubilees, silver, gold and diamond now. They just adore looking back and living in the past. P Charles’ tribute to his mama included the words -you make us proud to be British – at which a huge cheer came forth.
    Crab – Mostly all of the songs from the old has-beens were inappropriate apart from Dame Shirley Bassey’s Diamonds are Forever. HM drips with them. Some of the performances were cringeworthy – more celeb than talent.
    PS Cameron and Beardie were in the royal box. Some mistake surely. Beardie was seen attempting to sing along to a Beatles number bit didn’t know the words. McCartney is more at home giving concerts in Tel Aviv btw.

  • Mary

    15 more killed by way of the deck of cards that Obama flicks through to select his target, very much like the Bush/Cheney system in Iraq when the targets were given ranks from a deck of cards. http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/05/31/obama-at-large/
    5 June 2012

    US drone attack ‘targeted al-Qaeda deputy’
    Libi is reportedly in charge of day-to-day operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas
    Related Stories
    Is Obama’s drone doctrine counter-productive?
    US drone ‘kills four’ in Pakistan
    White House explains drone policy
    A US drone strike on Monday in Pakistan targeted al-Qaeda’s second-in-command Abu Yahya al-Libi, US officials say. They say it is still unclear whether he was among those killed in the strike on a suspected militant compound in North Waziristan, near the Afghan border.
    Two missiles by the unmanned aircraft killed 15 people, Pakistani officials say.
    Pakistan’s foreign ministry strongly condemned the strike, calling it “illegal”, Reuters news agency reports.

  • GoodGrief

    Weird seeing the same media people who are telling the country that Mr Assad is very very evil, and base all this on information provided by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Observatory_for_Human_Rights which is run out of one man’s Coventry bedroom (and said man is a regular attendee to Whitehall meetings with closet-boy Hague) and then telling us about the ‘wave of gratitude and love’ carrying the Queen (major bank and arms industry share-holder) down the Thames, or even telling us of the ‘wonderful atmosphere’ aboard a rowing boat, bobbing about on the river whilst being lashed in the face by torrential rain.

    BTW the thing was a farce, hardly any spectators along the river and I have seen only one street party in all of central London. There is no ‘love’, ‘gratitude’, or ‘affection’ for the billionaire parasites, it’s all media hype.

  • Mary

    A little light – Via Twitter John McManus BBC World Service reporter Tweets: Christianity Uncut members protesting outside St Paul’s – say ancient biblical meaning of Jubilee = forgiveness of debts, social justice.

    Christians to reject monarchy and celebrate justice at republican protests The following news release was issued today (01.06.12):


    A group of Christians will join republican protests this weekend to call for a ‘real jubilee’ that celebrates justice, peace and the equality of all people as created in the image of God. They believe that this reflects the original, biblical meaning of jubilee rather than a celebration devoted to monarchy and military might.
    The group will be part of a major anti-monarchy demonstration on Sunday (3 June), which will include people of many religions and of none.
    Christianity Uncut, whose supporters include clergy, theologians and writers, pointed out that ‘jubilee’ is a biblical idea that was originally about a time of justice, when slaves were freed, debts cancelled and equal relationships restored. At a time of cuts and huge gaps between rich and poor, they suggest that this is the jubilee our society really needs.

  • Mary

    The companion to the Queen this morning is Lady Farnham, widow of 12th Baron. He was a
    master Freemason, and a merchant banker. Enough said.
    Q How does Wikipedia get updated so quickly, almost as it happened? viz ‘Lady Farnham rode alongside the Queen on the way to the Diamond Jubilee service on 5 June 2012 in the absence (through illness) of the Duke of Edinburgh.’

  • guano

    Yes. I was talking to respected contributor, former UK military, dog-owner and total rebel Mark Golding. The sects reduce the agenda of Islam to a shadow of real life and make the issues small-hearted instead of big-hearted. They serve the enemies of Islam by doing so and they take their worldly rewards from them.
    How does the big imam swing 4 wives on social security in a high profile position? This is almost Nigerian level of fraud. The sects regurgitate just enough anti-imperial racism to con the normal Muslim into thinking that they are their political representatives, while in fact they narrow the context of Islam down to a mental straightjacket. They use the Western slogan of safety and security to spy on the Muslims through their personal I.T. devices, and in so doing cross the boundaries permitted by Islam for spying, for safety and security, into the realm of snooping and suspicion, which is very, very haram. With friends like these, who needs enemies.

    Also the sects are united with eachother in the acceptability of these haram practises. Each one vying with the other over the promiscuity of their unlawful control over the Muslims private lives. It has become an accepted concept among the leaders of the sects that the ability to spy on free individuals, automatically means that those Muslims are under their control/ Sultan. Wallahi, keeping dogs is a small sin compared to what is now practised in political Islam. Of course politics is part of Islam, same as dogs have a role in Islam. But the sects have twisted all the politics up, and the enemies of Islam know only too well the small price/ thamanan qaleelah, the bastards will sell themselves for. Bombs rain from the sky on Libya while AlQaida hobnobs with UK special forces. Fuck the whole lot of them I say. La’natalluh ‘alaihim kulluhum. The leaders of the sects of political Islam love to rub their beards with the perfume of pig slurry from the CIA and UK prime ministers.

    It isn’t just me who says that the Muslim Brotherhood is under the control of the enemies of Islam. Watch events unfolding in Tahrir Square as the people of Egypt reject the crap which has been put out for them by these democratic elections. There is no difference to choose between Muslim Brotherhood and Mubarak’s old guard. Given the choice, I would vote for the latter every day.

  • Komodo

    You blame the sects, Guano, and I am sure you are right up to a point. Is a Muslim a Muslim’s brother any more? Another reason why the answer tends to be “no” is, of course, intentional subversion by the usual suspects. I don’t remember this degree of division, even along the Sunni/Shi’a fault line, being present in the 90’s. The West/Israel has done all it can to divide and conquer, based on the (false, in Iraq) premiss that it could buy allegiance from the subordinate population by “liberating” it. Shi’as and Sunnis are killing each other in a now-divided Baghdad, and the Shi’a are looking East, not West. We are on the verge of supporting the old Sunni Ba’athists in Iraq again, while howling for the blood of Shi’a Ba’athists in Syria. I don’t think you can blame the 12th Imam for that…
    Re. The Muslim Brotherhood; NO party gaining power in Egypt would rationally invite the loss of US aid – on a similar scale to that given to Israel – with the country in its present condition. Whoever takes charge HAS to play nice with the Yanks, and that’s not a religious or even a political issue. It’s a vital economic one.
    But your point is well taken, and thank you.

  • John Goss

    You’re right Komodo. Divide and rule has always been a facet of politics, even before Machiavelli wrote ‘The Prince’. It was not long ago that the Soviet Union was the sworn enemy of allied western states. It was an ideological war. The war against Islam is so blatant and because Islamic countries have inferior weapons the brave heroes of the west are happy to test out their superior weapons on harmless civilians. But there was a time when China was the most developed country in the world. And that time is returning. Hopefully wisdom will prevail – but knowing human nature it is doubtful.

  • guano

    US aid to Pakistan has created a slush fund for the military to buy-up, bully, torture their way into owning most of the land. The same is true in Egypt. US dollars simply serve to impoverish the people and enrich the military. It is a mechanism for disenfranchising Muslims and it is just about to explode in the US’s face. By the time the coalition of idiots leave Afghanistan and two years of state terror from the Muslim Brotherhood, there will be an explosive volcano of frustration in the Muslim world.
    Just so you know. Chief of those whose rags and limbs will be hanging off the telegraph poles will be the political Islamists who gave Pakistan 13 years of daily massacres and 2 years of Stalinist terror in North Africa. There is going to be a 2008 moment when the people realised that the bankers had bankrupted us all, when the Muslim people also see that their so-called leaders have sold us down the river to fill their pockets with US gold.

  • Komodo

    I am slightly more optimistic than you, I thimk, Guano. I’m thinking that Turkey’s example is the one to be hoped Egypt will follow, and this is not impossible. Having finally pushed the military into the background while retaining to some extent Kemal’s nationalistic ideals as a common cause, Turkey has faced and overcome a financial crisis which would have collapsed most Western countries (if you had foreign currency there in the late 90’s you were checking the exchange rate twice a day as the lira spiralled out of control), built an export market, raised its standard of living appreciably and even disengaged from its de facto alliance with Israel. You might characterise its Islam as lax, at least in the west, but it is far from moribund; and not afflicted by sectarian wars. Here, of course, the Naqshbandis were removed early from the state’s hierarchy – the ensuing secular governments tended to moderate religious expression and keep it out of politics.
    It’s a possible future, I think.

  • guano

    Saddam Hussain was Kurdish, lived in Sulaiymaniah for a time and had no reason to make genocide on the Kurdish people except for the work of a limited number of double and treble agents who made it their job to annoy him by pretending to make alliances with his enemies. That is what is going on in Syria now, dictator baiting.
    These double agents handed over the millions of Kurdish victims to Saddam, and put their puss and poison into Saddam’s mind at the same time. These people regard themselves as the heroes of Kurdistan because they hardened their hearts against the deaths of millions by convincing themselves as with the Taliban that they were not proper Muslims. Their only skill is duplicity.
    Kaida shaytana thaeefa. The devil’s plan is weak. They remind me of the neanderthal son of Adam who killed his brother because of his own shortcomings.
    The double agent mind is unable to find anything very attractive inside their own selfish nature, so they project their own hardness and cruelty onto ever one else around them. Having convinced themselves that everyone else is worthy of punishment, they work single-mindedly to increase the chance of punishment raining down. They use their double-dealings to anticipate the timing of the onslaught of dictator rage and skip over the border.
    The first time I mentioned these sick people on this blog, about seven years ago, someone read what I had said and asked the question to me, how did I think that these double-dealers had survived the Saddam years without being caught. The answer lies in the depth of their disease. The more people they betray, the greater the need to project their disgust with themselves onto others. Until, almost anyone who is practising Islam with a clean and simple heart, becomes a target of their tormenting.
    War criminal M.P.s and Zionists become targets of their genuine admiration, because they provide camouflage for their own malice.
    This country has had a tough introduction to Islam. Long dispossessed Asians behaved badly and attracted racism. They fought racism with guile. Now the grand=children have emerged from two generations of mixed, comprehensive school education, flirting in their jobs and eyeing up the talent with the rest of them. The West has converted them into their own system and a few angry young men shorten their trousers and scowl.
    In the Middle-East everyone is tired of the long-drawn out war with the dictators and the long, drawn-out killing caused by the madmen who bait them like jackals. Syria wants peace, but the jackals are not going to leave Assad and the Syrian people alone. What would you do if you were told you could get rid of the UK political system by civil war and a sharp guillotine?
    Would you sacrifice your life to be rid of this corpse of corruption called parliament and the Queen? I would love to stick the heads of all the toffs and toffesses, priests and priestesses of England on spikes on traffic cones until I ran out of motorway to put them on.
    Ain’t going to happen, but in Syria it is, and I can’t make up my mind whether to be happy or sad for them.

  • jonah Stiffhausen

    The ruling of our Noble Lords is a good reminder of why the French felt recourse to the guillotine all those years ago.
    Well worth remembering Peter Cook’s dictum regarding the “law”.
    In commerce and industry, when one becomes senile and slightly dotty, one is given a gold watch and pensioned off. In the law, they’re made judges.

  • Apostate

    Assange is just another arm of the corporate media. He’s even closer to the Rothschilds than they are.

    You guys need to do some homework.

    U can’t see the evidence of your own eyes.

    Waiting for Murray the censor to blather on re-anti-semitic conspiracies etc

    Grow up u saps!

  • Courtenay Barnett


    ” Assange is just another arm of the corporate media. He’s even closer to the Rothschilds than they are.

    You guys need to do some homework.”

    O.K. – show us all the evidence and provide the argument based on the homework that you have done.

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