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
impartial.

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.


204 thoughts on “Why Eurosceptics Should Back Assange

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  • angrysoba

    Ooooh I love the bloody Queen, me! And it is so exciting that they’ll be talking about pagentry with Richard. E. Grant!!!!

  • angrysoba

    So who wants to bet there’ll be a big false flag dirty bomb on the Queen’s flotilla. Yeah, I know that would be bittersweet for Mark and Mary! 😀

  • Chris2

    Mary, David Walsh at the WSWS, has a terrific piece on the Medal presentations largely because Dylan was among them. Also a sharp, and well deserved dig, at the political formation formerly known as IS and half way to Euston.

  • Mary

    Chris 2. Thanks. Will look it up.
    .
    Angry – You are not on the rice wine are you? It’s alright for you away from it in Japan.
    .
    I couldn’t say it better than these people on Medialens.
    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1338730381.html and above their posts, some tweets from some of the crawlers in the ‘medja’.
    .
    LOL 🙂
    .
    And watch out for all that irradiated seafood Angry. Every blue fin tuna being landed in California has a dose from Fukushima.
    {http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/30/california-tuna-radiation-sushi-industry?newsfeed=true}

  • Fedup

    The bused in vetted “spectators” applauding on the bridges, and elsewhere joining in the celebrations of the dear leaders long rein, was that in Pyongyang, or in London?
    ,

  • Mary

    I almost feel sorry for the old dear having to endure this boring pastiche of HMS Pinafore in now drenching rain with a cold easterly wind. As with anything contrived, there is no substance. Even the male royals could not wear normal clothes. They are all in military rig with an abundance of medals and gold braid. That’s right boys. Keep banging the drums. No mention in the sickeningly trite commentaries about the latest military death in Adfganistan, the 416th British one. They also keep telling us that it is not costing us a penny. Oh really?
    .
    Kate’s outfit alone is many £hundreds and as for the cost of the sideways on flying saucer millinery, well that’s only a guess.
    .
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2154027/Queens-Diamond-Jubilee-Duchess-Cambridge-resplendent-red-boards-Royal-Barge-river-pageant.html

  • Clark

    I don’t have a telly on, and here at mine there is no sign of the jubilee apart from comments on this thread. The weather is very grey and wet, a miserable day for outdoor celebrations. I expect lots of people are putting on a brave face, much like at the Maldon Mud Race a month ago. I’ve lit the wood stove, which makes watching the rain quite pleasant.

  • Frazer

    Ho hum…the Germans are having a party in London !!

    Thanks be to the gods that i am missing all the slobbering sentimentality whilst blowing up landmines in Sudan.
    Lots of little boats whizzing up the Thames…jolly parties in sink estates…bunting and flags in the streets….ghee whiz…yet no news on any celebrations in Scotland…wonder why !

  • Clark

    At least no one turned up with a semi-automatic weapon to force me to go out and “celebrate”.
    .
    Crab: “Hislop and Rob Nobel did better to keep Campbell quite uncomfortable with wmd jibes on hignfy last week.” – Yes, I thought that might happen…

    ‘CENTRAL London ground to a halt last night as thousands of motorists slowed down to gawp at the mangled wreckage of Alastair Campbell.
    .
    Eyewitness Tom Logan, a lawyer from Finsbury Park, said: “It was like it was in slow motion. All these words came tumbling out of the middle of his face and just went crashing headlong into this huge truck full of truth and sanity that was coming the other way.’

  • crab

    Hi Clark,
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01jk61n/Have_I_Got_News_for_You_Series_43_Episode_8/
    .
    I watched it all through today and Hislop really did mess Campbell up! He mentioned how Blair got called a “war criminal” so politely at the enquiry (bbc news previously summarized decietfully – ‘a protestor shouts abuse..” )
    .
    Hislop also recalled that a million people protested against going to war with iraq and the government ignored them, like the current one tried to ignore the pasty tax opposition! During the course of the show he even jibes how Campbell should be arrested. Its a good one!

  • Mary

    Having failed to find any information about trustees on the website of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, I went to the site of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
    .
    There the list is given. Names are representatives of banking/King, the CoE/Chartres, the FCO and UN/Geidt, Carlyle Group’s and general stooge when a stooge is needed/ Major, Commonwealth’s Sharma and lastly the late Secretary General of NATO, the warmingers’ warmonger Lord Robertson of Port Ellen. Dunblane always comes up in any search on him.
    .
    What a wonderful collection. The gangsters-in-charge.

    .
    Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma will serve on the Trust’s Board of Trustees, which is chaired by former British Prime Minister Sir John Major.
    .
    The Trust will be in existence for five years. Fundraising will take place during the Jubilee year itself (6 February 2012 – 6 February 2013) and funds will be distributed thereafter.

    .

    As well as Sir John and Mr Sharma, the Board of Trustees comprises: Sir Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England; Sir Richard Chartres, Bishop of London; Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queen’s Principal Private Secretary; and Lord Robertson Of Port Ellen.
    .
    http://www.thecommonwealth.org/news/33247/163102/243996/060212qedjt.htm

    .

    More details about the Trust, including a way to contribute, can be found at the Trust’s website: {http://www.jubileetribute.com/}
    .
    ~~~~~
    A visit to this site opens with a donate page. The emphasis is on getting hold of your money.

  • guano

    Thank God it’s raining. It will help to wash away the smell of swine slurry deposited in the mosque behind my house by the possible presence of war-aider and abetter Liam Byrne. Like William Hague and Libya/ Syria, those mullahs seek out the pongiest wafters of war-crimes and rub their perfume into their beards and clothes.

  • Gap Yah

    Thanks be to the gods that i am missing all the slobbering sentimentality whilst blowing up landmines in Sudan.

    Well done that man. Let’s hope you find time inbetween missing the celebrations to mention your heroic activities in Sudan.

  • crab

    Backdoor <= secret factory debug mode. The big issue is could such a sequence of doors exist which could ever be utilised. I recall such foreseen computing distasters such as the y2k bug, the overloaded internet, possibilities blown out of proportion. Scary thing is theyll probably make 'invicible ground droids' in a while, maybe with a chinese backdoor in each digital demons cryogenic id…

  • CheebaCow

    Clark:
    .
    The recent revelations about Stuxnet (though the secret was roughly equivalent to the Israeli nuke secret) are particularly ironic considering only days before the US announced it considers cyber attacks an act of war. Imagine if Iran was running around assassinating US scientists and blowing up scientific facilities (Stuxnet literally caused the centrifuges to ‘explode’, and it was estimated that 45% of the centrifuges were affected).
    .
    Mark:
    .
    I read The Journal link, but apart from Assad’s claims that the govt was innocent of the attacks, it didn’t provide any other evidence of foreign involvement, do you have more details?
    .
    Re: David Mitchell and the Jubilee media coverage:
    .
    Lets not be too hard on David Mitchell, he surely isn’t a revolutionary, but Peep Show has to be the best comedy made in a long time, especially the earlier seasons. Also, even in Peep Show it’s pretty obvious he is basically establishment left, his (very funny) rant on the pro’s of consumer capitalism makes this plain; youtube.com/watch?v=q3cUmHAs3yY
    .
    I watched maybe 5 minutes of the BBC coverage, but I got a good laugh when one of the female presenters described the event as ‘extremely democratic’. I dunno, I’m certainly not a monarchist (especially since the Queen fired an Australian Prime Minister), but when it comes to establishment figures, the royals do seem to be more decent than most. At least they seem to value something other than the pure pursuit of money. I guess I can’t get too worked up about the royals, because there are so many other institutions in the world that need to be fixed/replaced first.

  • Mary

    4 June 2012
    A strike by an unmanned US drone aircraft has killed 15 people near the Afghan border, Pakistani officials say.Two missiles are reported to have hit a suspected militant compound before dawn in Hesokhel, to the east of Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan.
    .
    The frontier tribal region is considered a hub of activity by al-Qaeda and Taliban militants. There have been ++ eight US drone strikes in the past two weeks ++despite Pakistani demands for them to be stopped.
    .
    In the latest incident, the first missile struck the compound in Hesokhel before dawn, killing three militants, security officials said. A second missile then killed 12 more militants who had arrived at the scene, they added. {http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18320431#}
    ~~~~
    Obomber does not have any idea who he is ordering to be killed. The resulting deaths of innocent civilians surrounding his selected target are purely random.
    .
    ‘The excellent, astounding New York Times story by Jo Becker and Scot Shane published on May 29 and vigorously discussed on this site by Ralph Nader, says that Obama decided to take personal control of the White House’s secret and unconstitutional death list after reading Augustine and Aquinas. “A student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, he believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions. And he knows that bad strikes can tarnish America’s image and derail diplomacy.” Notice how the paragraph devolves rapidly from moral duty to pr.’
    .
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/06/01/theres-a-cancer-on-the-presidency-called-barack-obama/

  • Mary

    Even more of these terrible planned executions are taking place and nothing is being said on the ‘news’ broadcasts which consist mainly of the four day long Jubilee. Yet this morning there is much coverage of a plane crash in Nigeria which was accidental presumably.
    .
    Drone blitz on Pakistan enters third straight day
    Up to 27 people have died in strikes that began on Saturday as US shows no signs of bowing to Pakistani objections
    .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/04/15-dead-drone-pakistan
    .

  • guano

    Cheebacow
    Hi. The Assad government is not morally innocent of the attacks which have been carried out by others. Of course these brutal murders of innocents have been done by political Muslims trying to discredit Assad. They are sponsored by Cameron and Hague, and paid for by Saudi and Qatar. The whole world except the media know that.
    .
    The point is that Assad is the uncompromising son of a brutal dictator, neither of them representative of anything but their own brutality. If Assad cared a sausage about his people or his country he would have seen the scam that is putting the Zionist controlled Muslim Brotherhood and created a democratic alternative which would have put Syrians in power.
    .
    The people who control the massacres are sitting in London on copious benefits, having spent years of political struggle in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. A million corpses are nothing to them. US, EU UK bombs can rain from the sky for months on the Syrian people, Civil war, invasion by US troops based in Israel.
    The political asylum seekers sitting in London don’t mind what befalls Syria, because the time for their enthronement as Archbishops of Islam is near.
    .
    Even then, the buck stops at the top. Assad is just sitting in Damascus eating Russian caviar.

  • Fascist-on-Thames

    At least they seem to value something other than the pure pursuit of money.

    .
    I’m afraid this is one of the benefits of aristocracy. Just about all the criticism on these pages is levelled against the pursuit of power and wealth, but the aristocracy, having been born into generations of both, is the least interested group in this regard. Unjust, yes, and it brought a multitude of other problems, but you will not find many others; even revolutionaries succumb to the trappings of power once they find themselves in charge.

  • guano

    ‘Even revolutionaries succumb to the trappings of power once they find themselves in charge.’
    Let’s get it straight. Politics is about ego, self, me, power, sex, money. For the pursuit of these things slogans are required.
    What better slogan than a religious one? Fid. Def. Sheikh. Guru.
    These are the favourite slogans of the ambitious, the greedy, the selfish, the ones who think only about themselves.
    It takes only a few snippets of wisdom to convince the masses that their hearts are in the same place as theirs.
    Let’s face it, ‘Up my own arse’ would not look as good stamped onto the currency as ‘Defender of the Faith’.
    Jesus peace be upon him described the rabbis of his time as ‘whited sepulchres’. They scheme and plot with the enemies of their faith. They had the key to heaven. They did not go in themselves and they did not let anyone else in either.
    That’s the definition of fundamentalism, wanting to put or keep one’s own bottom on the seat of power.

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