Assange Legal Farce Continues 165

There has simply never been a broadcast report in the UK on Assange as fair as this one from Sky News Australia.

nor is it conceivable that there ever could be.

I have reported already on the US changing the indictment after the defence’s opening statement had been heard and defence written evidence submitted. The latest legal twist in this Kafkaesque saga is that Julian may be released and instantly re-arrested under the new indictment.

The USA and the Crown continue to argue that the charges remain the same, even if the indictment has changed. This is like being halfway through a trial for the murder of Stephanie, the defence having demolished the prosecution case, and they suddenly change the allegation from murdering Stephanie to murdering Peter, but say it makes no difference as it is still the same charge of murder. As I have catalogued the relentless cruelty and the contortions of reason in this case, a little bit of me keeps saying “they cannot get away with this”. But so far, they always do.

If anyone can figure a way to embed the Sky News video…


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165 thoughts on “Assange Legal Farce Continues

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  • Stubbs

    “…we will sue for false imprisonment and malicious torture,” The floor is open for examples of non-malicious torture.

    • PhilM

      When it comes to intention in criminal law, you have varying degrees of culpability. It is possible to subject a person inadvertently to acts that are experienced as torture and do so with reckless indifference but not do so deliberately. Perhaps that’s why article 3 of the ECHR talks about “inhuman or degrading treatment” as well as torture.
      Looks like I took the floor and wiped it with your childish remark…

      • N_

        You seem to think it’s grownup to know the definitions of terms as agreed by lawyers and bureaucrats and to presume the superiority of such usage. I’m allowed to pick apart your usage of “childish” the way you picked at Stubbs’s use of “malicious”, right?

        When communicating something you know that the other person doesn’t, doing it in a filthily rude way suggests awful insecurity.

      • glenn_uk

        Have to agree with N on this one.

        @PhilM : you might have made a good point and actually left a positive impression of yourself, had it not been for the rudeness of your final sentence. Now it appears you copied someone else’s reasonable point and felt entitled to chip in with a few of your own snide words.

  • dgp

    One suspects that the authorities are now so contorted in disrepute that they cannot escape their own contradictions.They are like a small boy in the heads office denying vehemently that they did not steal the teacher’s hat, with it prominently displayed on his head. It is now an embarrassment.

    • Shatnersrug

      If only that were the case. However I’d liken them more to the headmaster who has spent years persecuting one boy who he feels had the audacity to embarrass him at the school assembly, and no matter what the teachers do the head seems to act with impunity.

    • N_

      Astute observation, @dgp ! So much in Britain now is like that. I can’t even listen to the radio now. We are supposed to believe the rulers’ lackeys’ and “experts’” ever more shouty pretence that they aren’t racist, they care about saving prole lives, and so on. Meanwhile they’ve murdered thousands in care homes and they haven’t even fixed their bayonets on yet.

      @Shatnersrug – Who are these “teachers” whose hearts are on the side of the oppressed but the poor things have their hands tied? Baraitser isn’t exactly in the ruling elite, but all the signs are that she loves helping out.

      • Shatnersrug

        Teachers – Craig? John Pilger? Roger Waters? All practically lost their public voices over it.

  • Pyewacket

    Heard elsewhere that the US side had to formally submit their revised indictments by the 27th July. Judge B reported as saying…it would be too late after that. Have heard no more about whether they got the paperwork in on time. But can’t see Baraister dismissing the case and throwing it out, as she should, for blatent abuse of process. If she continues in this charade, one hope is any right to appeal, and the case being considered by saner minds.

  • Ian

    If we had a responsible, independent legal system, with politicians who acted accordingly, this would have been thrown out of court a long time ago. What threat does Assange pose to anybody, especially now Wiki is a thing of the past? None whatsoever. The vindictive cruelty and deranged obsession with a man who made a fool out of the masters of the universe is as squalid as anything you would expect from the worst despotic regimes. And the UK, once an independent entity, can’t run fast enough to please their paymasters.

  • leroy

    “As I have catalogued the relentless cruelty and the contortions of reason in this case, a little bit of me keeps saying “they cannot get away with this”. But so far, they always do.”

    Honi soit qui mal y pense……….Shame on he who thinks ill of it.

    Your shame if you don’t like it, Craig. Not theirs.

    That’s the system. One in which the all-powerful Sovereign plays the plausible deniability game…

    “Paul, be careful. There are powers at work in this country about which we have no knowledge”

    So yes, they will continue to get away with it.

  • Mary

    Ms Payne cares about cats and horses apparently.
    ‘Foreign Minister & Minister for Women. Senator for NSW. Dragons tragic. Cats fan. Optimistic race horse owner & breeder. Proud to call western Sydney home.’
    She replaced Julie Bishop a Foreign Minister.

    She has just visited Pompeo et al. Just imagine the agenda.

    There are several mentions of Julian in her Twitter.

    Shame on all the persecutors of Julian.

    • glenn_uk

      Since Payne is the minister for foreign affairs, is it really that much of a surprise that she met the US Secretary of State?

      • Mary

        I am entitled to report that fact, mentioned in the video, without a sarcastic intervention.

        Julian’s incarceration, dating from his time in the Ecuadorian Embassy to now in Belmarsh, has taken place when eight different US Secretaries of State have been in power- from Condoleeza Rice through to Pompeo. five Republicans and three Democrats.. None have known the meaning of the word ‘justice’.

        • glenn_uk

          Of course you are entitled to report any fact you want, but no – wrong – you’re not entitled to silence _my_ pointing out that your “fact” is so obvious as to be meaningless.

          “Foreign leader has met another foreign leader” is not exactly Politsa prize-winning material, is it? One can certainly “Just imagine the agenda”, but since that’s all you have done – imagine – why bother posting about it.

        • Ingwe

          Mary, ignore the sarcastic response. For some, still struggling with ‘Pulitzer’, you shouldn’t expect an intelligent response.

        • Deepgreenpuddock

          Surely the business of a hegemon is not justice A hegemon such as the US is by definition ‘self-serving’

  • John O'Dowd

    Grotesque abuse of process.

    The silence of the BBC et al speaks volumes in respect of their role as propaganda instruments. Never thought I’d see Sky do this real job of fair reportage. Shames the UK state broadcaster.

    • RogerDodger

      As per their actually bothering to write about how the PLP deliberately tried to throw the 2017 GE – the internal report on which was sat on by Sir Kier and provoked nary a whisper from Auntie – it seems to be the makings of a pattern. Mind you, two is coincidence, as the saying goes.

  • Cynicus

    A powerful video from SKY Australia, including the contribution of John Shipton, which manages to be damning, measured and dignified at the same time.

    There still are some decent people at the BBC. Can they really be content that coverage on this issue is inferior to that of a NewsCorp/Rupert Murdoch associate?

    As for the Beeb’s bean counters: do they think this situation strengthens the case for the licence fee?

    • N_

      When was the last time the BBC made anything at the level of Cathy Come Home or the early Up series? (Actually I haven’t watched the more recent Up series. I assume they’re sh*te compared to the first few, and would be amazed if they weren’t.)

      • Fwl

        1992 – Francovich’s Timewatch documentary?


        On the Skye News Video: Mr Shipton was very dignified and eloquent.

  • Bramble

    Let’s remember that Starmer was in at the start of this grotesque distortion of justice and now is presiding (with full approval of the so-called “liberal left” – ie, not left at all) over Labour, where similar grotesque distortions of justice are being enacted. His trademark?

    • joel

      Starmer’s Labour is stil being referred to as “the left”, as corporate Democrats are in America. The term has little meaning anymore.

      • glenn_uk

        It’s all relative… shows just how far to the right the “conservative” side has gone.

  • FranzB

    There is a court case continuing in Spain investigating UC global’s role in providing information to the CIA via the Las Vegas Sands security team. There is a report on Computer Weekly on various aspects of this case.

    In any state that wasn’t a corrupt banana republic these allegations alone would be enough to throw out the Assange extradition case.

  • joel

    There were only 2 or 3 decades when US democracy wasn’t completely controlled by the super rich. Those were an anomaly in American history.

  • John O'Dowd


    “Let’s remember that Starmer was in at the start of this grotesque distortion of justice and now is presiding (with full approval of the so-called “liberal left” – ie, not left at all) over Labour, where similar grotesque distortions of justice are being enacted. His trademark?”

    Correct Bramble. You don’t get to be the state’s chief prosecutor – and get knighthood for it – without being a lackie for the rich and powerful on whose behalf the state is operated.

    The Labour Party is long dead – and Starmer is there to bury it – and was put in place to do precisely that by those same interests. He continues to be of great service to the state – and its rich and corporate owners.

    • Goose

      Indeed, we can expect nothing from this opposition lite about the clear injustices, and the cruel and unusual treatment Assange is enduring.

      Incredible naivety from some on the left too, about what and whom Starmer represents. As the excellent Jonathan Cook alluded to in a recent piece on the ongoing antisemitism furore: if he ever gets into power, expect him[Starmer] to pursue a neoliberal domestic agenda and a neoconservative foreign policy agenda.

    • John O'Dowd


      That should have read “the state’s chief prosecutor in England and Wales.

      The British state has its own separate legal gauleiter (and deputy gauleiters) for Scotland in Edinburgh – as Craig is only too well aware.

    • Josh

      made me think of a quote by Benn, but not sure when he said it:

      “If the Labour Party could be bullied or persuaded to denounce its Marxists, the media – having tasted blood – would demand that it expel its socialists and form a harmless alternative to the Conservatives, which would be allowed to take office now and again when The Conservatives fell out of favour with the public. Thus British Capitalism would be safe.”
      Tony Benn

      – they certainly proved to be a ‘harmful’ alternative with Blair, but I guess that was technically a “New” political party :-))

      “What is really significant about Tony Blair was that he set up a new political party, New Labour”
      Tony Benn

  • Republicofscotland

    I’ve read that the judge handling Assanges extradition proceedings has 96% success rate in extraditions. Which means she almost always hands them over. I also read that when Julian eventually got access to a computer that the keys on the keyboard had been glued down so that he couldn’t use it to aid in his defence.

  • N_

    Why don’t the defence apply to a higher court for a writ of mandamus overruling Baraitser right now on the indictment change point?

    There are some lawyers about whom one would think “If they can’t get Julian out, nobody can”, but they don’t include those who are working for him at the moment.

    A fundamental law in this kind of asymmetric conflict is don’t get boxed in.

    Writ of mandamus…

    • Ingwe

      @N_ I think you misunderstand mandamus. Baraitser hasn’t yet made a final order which could be appealed and the interlocutors orders she has made were appealable but weren’t appealed. A wit of mandamus issued by court would be relevant if the court had refused to make an order. It is a remedy whether the court or a government department fails to carry out a non-discretionary act. Here, the court has a discretion and has exercised its discretion (albeit we argue unfairly) on procedural matters which have been appealable. And the trial itself, hasn’t yet happened and its outcome is subject to appeal. So mandamus is not, in my view, relevant or available to Mr Assange.

      • Ingwe

        Excuse the typos. Interlocutors should read interlocutory and wit of mandamus should be writ of mandamus.

        • glenn_uk

          So you don’t consider a typo indicates a lack of intelligence today? Is it only excusable in your case, or when coming from someone making comments you like?

  • chris

    surprising to hear an impartial broadcast report from Sky News Australia
    thought those things were a thing of the past

  • Natasha

    Why don’t Westminster MPs speak out publicly in support of Julian Assange?

    Does anyone here know more about the details on UK MPs & ‘sub judice’ rules, which appear in reality as mostly unwritten conventions, that would prevent MPs As law makers from speaking out?

    Surely the unprecedented nature of this [show] trial in London are abundantly sufficient grounds alone for MPs to speak out?

    Or are they too afraid of the threat of being bundled up in a cell like Julian for their efforts?

    Here’s my latest (7 July 2020) attempt to persuade the UKs only Green MP Caroline Lucas – who ought to be able to score some MASSIVE political points if she were to speak out publicly in support of Julian Assange – to stop dodging (by for example saying that she first needs to be “steered by those who are working closely” with Julian Assange) and speak her position publicly via a short press release of, for example, her own words to me.

    Dear Caroline,

    Thank you for agreeing to “drop a line to RSF as [you] support the arguments set out in their letter.” Though you do not make it clear whether this is private or public support?

    Meanwhile, please let’s not misconstruct what I have asked you to do, nor what I have written.

    I have not made “claims” that you “have denied this case [the Julian Aasange ‘show trial’ in London] is a problem”.

    Nor have I disputed “the work [you] have done more generally on the principles that underpin this case.”

    On the contrary I have noted and reflected back to you (in a short paragraph of your own words ready to be copied and pasted again below) the concerns about Julian Assange’s incarceration, that you have raised privately with me. And asked you to spend only a few moments to share those words specifically and publicly via several other public statements and campaigns from notable organisations, which I have shared with you, (in particular: RSF; Doctors4Assange; International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute; and the multi-party Australian Parliamentary Friends of the Bring Julian Assange Home Group).

    You say “it’s important to be steered by those who are working closely with Julian Assange”. As such then, the organisations that have spoken out, from the current Wikilwaks editor to doctors, lawyers and journalists and parliamentarians (listed above) are by your definition, close enough: they have spoken out publicly.

    Thus there really is no ill defined lack of “closeness” as excuse to not “be steered” into now publicly and openly supporting their public statements. They have led. Simply I am asking you to now follow.

    But for you to then suggest that this amounts to me wanting you to “campaign extensively on each and every one [of the] huge number of issues cross my desk every day” is a further obfuscating misconstruction of my request. And compounding this with a claim of being too busy with competing issues in light of the international gravity of the patent threat to freedom of the press barely deserves my attention rebuffing.

    For example, even today on the back of the Assange ‘show trial’ we witness yet more ever rapid erosions of press freedoms. The British ambassador to the US has launched an official complaint over the arrest of an Independent journalist covering protests in Seattle. The arrest sparked international condemnation, amid concern over police action against more than 60 other journalists covering George Floyd protests in the US and Donald Trump’s anti-media rhetoric.

    So in fact the first (not the last) thing I want you to do, contrary to your reluctance, is precisely to “weigh in when there are sensitive legal and diplomatic negotiations underway”.

    Yesterday was barely in time. Tomorrow will be too late.

    I’m not asking you to comment on the legal details. So you or I or anybody “not being privy to the full details” is irrelevant. For example, Clare Daly, an Irish MEP who chaired the European Parliament special event on the Assange case before the February 2020 hearing, is close enough to have said:

    “This is the most important press freedom case of a generation. Its implications for civil liberties and fundamental rights are far-reaching and serious.”

    Julian’s treatment by UK and US authorities is described as “torture” by the United Nations.

    So I am asking you to speak out publicly against the indisputable fact of the open torture on UK mainland of its victim and the attendant surrounding debilitating conditions of this specific ‘show trial’ in London.

    Please stop hiding behind “restrictions on what can be raised in Parliament in relation to this case” in support of a far right populist Tory Government hell bent on unconditional support of US global policy to destroy free speech and ignore international law by “strictly following the line that it is a matter for the courts at present and wrong for the legislature to interfere”.

    Julian is in solitary confinement 24hours a day at Belmarsh maximum security prison, where he is denied access to his lawyers, to court proceedings facing 175 years in a US jail for exposing systematic war crimes by the US and it allies including the UK, and where he is forced to be exposed to the Covid-19 virus to which he has severe life threatening vulnerabilities, thereby evidencing a clear intent by the UK authorities to let him die in prison as soon as possible.

    The man is being tortured under your watch. This should be sufficient “detail” for you to “weigh in” now.

    In this instance if it were not the London Parliament, but some other jurisdiction, public silence from the legislature would be quickly constructed by all fair minded people as silent complicity with an authoritarian right wing fascist regime.

    Julian already knew in 2012 that the UK and US authorities wanted to capture and torture him for exposing their war crimes. Such as the ‘collateral murder’ video showing civilians and a Reuters journalist in an urban setting in Iraq being gunned down and murdered in cold blood by spinless laughing US military shits, safe in their attack helicopter with no subsequent legal action against them.

    Julian’s fear of torture in retaliation for exposing US war crimes has since been adequately confirmed, following being granted political asylum in London’s Ecuadorian embassy in 2012. Against all international asylum laws and conventions and treaties, he was forcefully ‘extracted’ last April, on ‘show trial’ grounds ridiculously claiming he’s skipped bail in the UK, on charges that never materialised from Sweden, despite the now leader of the opposition’s corrupt interferences with the Swedish legal process, a process together with the US extradition he personally initiated as DPP under the New Labour government.

    So, now (in addition to supporting RSF) I am asking you to openly send at least those same few words of yours (copied below) to the Australian parliamentary Campaign, set-up and led by elected representatives, the multi-party Australian Parliamentary Friends of the Bring Julian Assange Home Group to secure Julian Asange’s immediate release and repatriation to Australia; to Doctors4Assange; and to the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute.

    Thank you,



    PRESS RELEASE [draft]
    Julian Assange is a political prisoner. He should not be put at risk of extradition to the United States.
    I sincerely hope that the Judge will find that Julian Assange’s safety and human rights cannot be guaranteed in the United States.
    It is clear that he should be afforded his full rights here in the UK.

    • Shardlake

      Immediately prior to the Labour leadership contest I wrote to the three candidates contesting the leadership explaining Mr Assange’s predicament at the hands of Judge Baraitser and the experiences Mr Murray had witnessed at first hand during the extradition hearings. None of those three letters have been graced with a response. When Sir Keir Starmer appointed his shadow Home Secretary (Nick Double-barrelled, his name currently escapes me) I wrote to him explaining Mr Assange’s continuing situation and asked him if he would raise the matter again with the Labour leader or Ms Patel, the Home Secretary. No such response has come forth since February. I fear asking the current Labour Party to intervene in the interests of Mr Assange and natural justice will fall on deaf ears. Short of a caper like the springing of George Blake in the 1960’s I have little else to offer as a solution; it’s thoroughly depressing that his journalistic colleagues are not taking up his cause with a vengeance for it could be them next.

    • Marmite

      This is really very sad, as Caroline is one of the politicians in the UK whom I had always thought of having some kind of decency and backbone. I have always voted Green, and will continue to do so, since I cannot abide the stench and toxicity of everyone else, which will always be so much worse. But I can see how one could therefore be easily misled to regard Green as a ‘wasted vote’ when they are not even prepared to die for upholding basic human rights.

      • Bramble

        I thought so too. Then she failed to stand by Jeremy Corbyn when he was so crudely attacked and failed to advocate a progressive alliance with Labour (though some local Greens did it off their own bats). Another idol with feet of clay.

        • Arbed

          Caroline Lucas has signed the recent Early Day Motion 719 titled “Julian Assange, press freedom and public-interest journalism”, so perhaps Natasha’s and your criticism that she’s doing nothing is a little unfair. There’s a few other MP names I’m glad to see here too.

          The Don’t Extradite Assange campaign is calling for UK supporters to write to their own MPs to ask that they sign on to EDM719.

          When I did so I was expecting only a rude knock-back for my trouble – mine’s a Conservative MP, one of the new bunch who came in at the last election – but I was pleasantly surprised that, although she defended Ecuador’s and the UK’s actions in rescinding Julian’s asylum (misinformed by media smears, unfortunately), she said she was worried about the implications of the case for press freedom and democracy and she promised to “monitor the situation carefully”.

          So, not 100% the result I wanted but a better response than I’d expected. When I replied to her I thought I’d skip trying to challenge her on the parts of the story she’s misinformed about but instead to thank her and use the opportunity to send her a link to an interview with James Goodale (general counsel to the New York Times over the Pentagon Papers) which very eloquently covered the areas she was interested in – the danger to global press freedom if the extradition goes through.

          • Marmite

            I think all that says is that it is still not really accepted that one comes across as intolerant of press freedom. This is more about the Conservative MP’s image, isn’t it? I very much doubt that she really cares at all. Once press freedom is completely gone, she will be whistling the same old fascist tune. I also find it hard to excuse Tories on the basis that they are just too stupid to understand certain things. I used to believe that there was that possibility. I now just think they are all in politics to further their own extremely selfish interests. Hence, I would think it a complete waste of time writing to a Conservative MP, though I wouldn’t hold it against anyone who tried that approach.

          • Natasha


            Thank you for the links.

            On 10 March I sent the first of 6 letters to Caroline Lucas MP, urging she speaks out publicly in support of Julian Assange. She’s replied to all but the latest, dated 12 July,

            So it is very good news to learn that 4 days later, on 16 July she signed the 14 July Early Day Motion 719 titled “Julian Assange, press freedom and public-interest journalism” – makes it seem as if it is worth writing to MPs after all.

      • Natasha

        Marmite, at the next Westminster ballot, the Green party’s silence over Julian Assange will make it very hard to differentiate them from the stench and toxicity of the usual line up of psychopaths on offer.

        Perhaps explaining partly why in previous UK general elections over a third of registered voters did not vote. Not going to the ballot box is way for the disempowered 95% of people who are not psychopathic, who mostly just ‘know’ instinctively to avoid all contact with such shitty manipulative, destructive and empathy-free examples of humanity, to say ‘fcuk-you’ to them.

        Instead vote: ‘NONE’ a positive protest, to say: ‘I believe in democracy, but I do not support any of the candidates. I want better politics in the UK’.—psychopath-test-all-policymakers

        • Marmite

          I agree with that sentiment entirely.

          But I also feel that the noble idealism of the anarchist stance on this has simply become a gift to the status quo. I begin to doubt that refusing to vote is a very effective way of protesting. Rather than them hearing ‘fcuk-you’, they just see casual acceptance of their power.

          Despite Lucas’ position on this single cause, which we can all agree is reprehensible, there is still a huge difference between Green on the one hand and the mega-stench of the mainstream parties. With Labour, it is now gotten to the point where I’d probably vote Tory, in the hope that things would become so bad that people would say enough with being sheep.

          Then again, that was my hope with Trump too, but the good Americans even still kept behaving like sheep, for all 4 years now. Absolutely unbelievable in any other age in history probably. I can’t imagine our much more intelligent ancestors every accepting anything so barbaric.

  • Tony

    And let us not forget how James Earl Ray was extradited to the U S which enabled the authorities there to frame him for the assassination of Martin Luther King.

  • Republicofscotland

    Could (if Baraitser does decide that Julian Assange should extradited to the United States) it not be quashed by the Appeal court on the grounds of Assange’s poor health, and that he’d be unable to support his family there is a precedent.

    “In one case, Baraitser’s decision to extradite was overturned because the appeal judge “attached considerable weight to the likely impact of extradition upon the health and wellbeing of the defendant’s wife”, who “will be left with very little support”.”

    • np

      The dailymaverick website found 24 extradition cases involving Baraitser. It said she ruled in favour of extradition in all except one of them, but six were successfully appealed.

      The one case in which she ruled against extradition was overturned on appeal.

      In that case, Germany was seeking the extradition of an Indian immigrant accused of blackmail and threats of violence. The alleged crimes took place in 1993. Since then, the accused had moved to Britain (in the back of a lorry), obtained asylum and British nationality and settled down with a job, wife and kids. The Germans issued a European Arrest Warrant for him in 2014. He was arrested in Britain in 2018.

      Baraitser said he shouldn’t be extradited because the long delay in issuing the arrest warrant had diminished the public interest in bringing him to justice and was outweighed by the impact which extradition would have on his private and family life, in terms of causing his wife and kids financial hardship and emotional harm (under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights).

      The UK court of appeal reversed her decision. To quote an extract from their judgment:

      “The seriousness of the charge in this case makes the public interest (in all its aspects) in extradition particularly strong… On the other side of the scale, there is little evidence of how or to what extent the delay has impacted on the Respondent and his family’s Art 8 rights, established in precarious circumstances as a fugitive evading justice. As the District Judge found, the children will continue to be cared for by their mother; and the family will be financially provided for by the state. There will be emotional distress and disruption for the Respondent and this family consequent on the separation that is inevitable if extradition is ordered. However, there is no evidence that the potential interference with article 8 rights is any more than with any other case, even taking the effects of delay into account. I can see no basis in the evidence or the District Judge’s findings for concluding that the delay here has had such an impact as to render extradition disproportionate in this case. Far from it.”

      Sounds ominous for Julian.

  • Wikikettle

    The sad fact is that most people don’t care about Julian, or even know who he is. This is in a so called rich, educated country, with a ‘free’ press and ‘independent’ Judiciary. Working people in the past went to fight the Fascists in Spain and adored and listened to the songs of Paul Robeson.

    • Goose

      There’s a virtual media blackout.

      If he were some Russian or Chinese citizen detained by the Russian or Chinese authorities, for exposing their secrets, his plight would be getting more UK and US political attention & MSM publicity. The US and UK elite are incapable of that kind of introspection however.

  • 6033624

    I must agree, this was fair and balanced. They simply report on the facts and with Assange’s father being interviewed they don’t agree/disagree with him but simply put the points to him for comment.

    This should be shown to our own press as an example of what they should be doing, not just in this case, but generally. Our press just copy/pastes government handouts. We don’t have a ‘free and fair’ press anymore.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    The general rule in criminal trials is that once the defence has closed its case then no major amendment is permissible – for obvious reasons of ensuring that there is fairness in the overall trial process. The accused is required to answer that which is charged within the indictment – not to what the indictment may for reasons of expediency, at any stage, raise to ensure a conviction.

    What has been done, seems to me, quite evidently a travesty of justice as the proceedings presently stand.

  • John Addo

    Craig, I’m a bit confused by what you’ve written about proceeding on the current indictment and then, if JA is extradited, trying him on a superseding indictment that alleges different offences. Particularly the passage you wrote: “But it is the indictment which forms the basis of the extradition hearing and the different indictment which would form the basis of any US prosecution. To have extradition decided on the merits of one indictment when the accused actually faces another is an outrage. To change the indictment long after the hearing is underway and defence evidence has been seen is an outrage.”

    There’s a protection in extradition law called “specialty.” The speciality rule means that a person cannot be tried for offences other than those for which they were extradited (unless first given an opportunity to return to the territory that extradited them). So if what you write is indeed what is planned, then there would plenty of arguments to be made on this in the US courts.

    Additionally, I cannot agree with your statement: “To change the indictment long after the hearing is underway and defence evidence has been seen is an outrage.” Let me break this down…First, both prosecution and defence evidence is disclosed by their respective parties before the trial starts. Contrary to what people may think from courtroom dramas, there should be no surprises. Secondly, new charges are added or dropped regularly during English trials. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as prosecution witnesses not coming up to proof (i.e. what they were expected to say based on their witness statements), or witnesses going off their statements and revealing other crimes have been committed, or new evidence becoming available (again, see above re surprises, this is rare and there are strict rules regarding when new evidence can be adduced), or … I could go on for a long time based just on my personal experience. Anyway, per s5(1) of the Indictments Act 1915, the key for the court is to decide whether the amendments can be made “without injustice” to the defendant. As I said, this happens all the time, so save your outrage.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      John Addo,

      “Craig, I’m a bit confused by what you’ve written about proceeding on the current indictment and then, if JA is extradited, trying him on a superseding indictment that alleges different offences.”

      Pray tell – how do you, to use some Americanisms – get past first base under British jurisprudence to even arrive at anything arguable ( for a home run) and/or anything applicable in the US courts to then arrive at the “specialty” rule?

      • John Addo

        Totally do not understand your question. The doctrine of specialty would prevent the US courts from preferring a new indictment against an extradited person unless they were first allowed to leave the country (which would mean new proceedings would have to brought). I’m not commenting on the sufficiency of evidence against JA, just highlighting that CM is neglecting to mention this important doctrine and, in doing so, does good reporting a disservice and overstates the issue of a second indictment.

        • Giyane

          John Addo

          In a world of video conference I doubt physical presence in any particular location is relevant. Trump, sitting in the flight deck of the Enterprise would exceptionalist rights over all alien judidiciaries and Bojo would be happy to waive British authority with regard to any matter relating to Trump’s Brownie points from Israel for his forthcoming election.

          Assange might be in the UK, but the crimes which he reported took place in Iraq, which the US regards unofficially as it’s own sovereign territory. Yes I know what Bush said but in reality Americans think they conquered Iraq militarily.

          The entire matter is seen in terms of what is in the interests of Israel, which according to them is the destruction and subjugation of the entire Middle East. The entire proceeding against Julian Assange is being held as if in the Starship Enterprise hovering in space above the Middle East.

          The defendant is safely confined in Belmarsh UK, while the Captain and his team take orders from Zion. Specialty in this context refers to the Universe ethnicity of the evil person in Zion custody. Specialty is irrelevant to the mindset of Captain Kirk, since he serves an authority higher than local laws.

        • Courtenay Barnett

          John Addo,

          “…an extradited person unless they were first allowed to leave the country (which would mean new proceedings would have to brought).”

          Please reconsider, reread, and then reply and I shall then respond in a detailed way on the technicalities.



          • John Addo

            Specialty prohibits an extradited person from being prosecuted for crimes not named in the extradition papers. I’m sure this will be raised as bar to extradition if JA”s lawyers think there’s a risk of this happening. If he is extradited and then the DOJ attempts to prefer different charges against him, he must be given the opportunity to leave the country before those charges can become the basis of a trial – i.e. he has to have the opportunity to have the extradition process begin again (from England or wherever he chooses to go).

          • Courtenay Barnett

            John Addo,
            Your comment I think adequately sums up the judicial procedural farce surrounding Assange’s extradition hearing:-

            “ Specialty prohibits an extradited person from being prosecuted for crimes not named in the extradition papers. I’m sure this will be raised as bar to extradition if JA”s lawyers think there’s a risk of this happening. If he is extradited and then the DOJ attempts to prefer different charges against him, he must be given the opportunity to leave the country before those charges can become the basis of a trial – i.e. he has to have the opportunity to have the extradition process begin again (from England or wherever he chooses to go)”

            Craig Murray’s point is stated as follows:-

            “ The USA and the Crown continue to argue that the charges remain the same, even if the indictment has changed. This is like being halfway through a trial for the murder of Stephanie, the defence having demolished the prosecution case, and they suddenly change the allegation from murdering Stephanie to murdering Peter, but say it makes no difference as it is still the same charge of murder.”

            Here I believe that Murray is accurate.

            Then you say:-

            “ If he is extradited and then the DOJ attempts to prefer different charges against him, he must be given the opportunity to leave the country before those charges can become the basis of a trial – i.e. he has to have the opportunity to have the extradition process begin again (from England or wherever he chooses to go”

            In all seriousness, since the indictment has been changed, then any UK court ordering the extradition would have to be seen as collusive with the US in the extreme. Such an extradition, then having already been compromised would not stand a hope in hell of having the DOJ adhere to the procedural requirements of the specialty rule.
            Craig Murray’s original point stands as being a perfectly valid expression of concern.

          • John Addo

            Nothing you have written makes me think that my points are incorrect in anyway. I note you have accepted that it is quite normal to alter indictments during the course of a trial. And that brings me to your earlier comment in this chain, “The accused is required to answer that which is charged within the indictment.” I should correct you about a basic matter of criminal law: the accused is not required to answer that which is charged within the indictment. It is a fundamental tenet of our and the U.S. criminal justice system that the prosecution has to prove the case and the defendant does not have to prove a thing. Everyday across the land, defendants are acquitted without offering any evidence whatsoever. Anyway, I don’t think there’s any point in continuing this back and forth so won’t be commenting on or checking this thread again.

          • Courtenay Barnett

            John Addo,
            To be fair you said that you won’t be commenting further – so thanks for permitting me to have the last word – and I do hope to be both fair and accurate.
            When you state:-
            “ And that brings me to your earlier comment in this chain, “The accused is required to answer that which is charged within the indictment.” I should correct you about a basic matter of criminal law: the accused is not required to answer that which is charged within the indictment. It is a fundamental tenet of our and the U.S. criminal justice system that the prosecution has to prove the case and the defendant does not have to prove a thing.
            I can explain the terminology:-
            “The accused is required to answer that which is charged within the indictment.”
            To say, “…answer that which is charged within the indictment.” Does not say that the accused must abandon his/her right of silence, or in anyway must tender evidence or himself/herself take an oath and personally testify. To the contrary, the case may rest on a ‘no case submission’ in a criminal trial and then chance and/or test be taken – which may end up in an appeal court for further/final determination. So, I am not at all saying that the accused must give evidence: he/she must however, “answer” in the sense of attending the court wherein the indictment is preferred to be answered. Failing that a ‘bench warrant’ will be issued. It is in this context and sense that the word – “answer” – is used.
            So, for the record, I do not agree with your line of reasons, as I have stated.
            Likewise you do not agree with mine.
            You have said your piece; I have stated mine.

  • Republicofscotland

    It’s disgraceful that the UK government are currently flouting UNWGAD determinations, which are binding, with regards to Julian Assange, British authorities contend that UNWGAD findings have no binding impact on UK law.

    • Giyane

      Illigetimate interests would be truth, complaining about invading Iraq for Israel and poking his nose into the nest of maggots that is British parliamentary politics.
      I suppose MPs can be be made or destroyed with a single click on a keyboard, + algorithm + black book of past misdeeds. One word out of place criticising the Star Chamber and you enter Fox’s Book of Martyrs. 2 words and you get a hand engraved illustration of your soul leaving your tortured corpse on ethereal wings.

  • Crispa

    This was my MP’s unsurprising reply to my suggestion that he might sign and support the proposed Early Day Motion to debate the human rights abuses committed against Julian Assange. If this is typical of the attitudes of MPs, which I suspect it does, because there is little evidence that they care a toss, it is no surprise that he is left languishing in Belmarsh.

    “I was encouraged to see the situation in the Ecuadorean embassy finally come to an end.
    Ecuador’s actions recognise that the UK’s criminal justice system is one in which rights are
    protected and in which, contrary to what Mr Assange and his supporters may claim, he and his
    legitimate interests will be protected.
    As you will know, in May 2019, as a result of Mr Assange’s failure to surrender in relation to his
    extradition proceedings, he was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison.
    You may also be aware that the then Home Secretary signed an extradition warrant, following a
    request by the US Department of Justice. In making this decision, the then Home Secretary had
    limitations on what could be considered, in line with the Crime and Courts Act 2013; judgments
    on human rights or health issues can only be made in court.
    I understand due to the Coronavirus outbreak the extradition hearing for this case has now
    been delayed. Julian Assange is currently held on remand and under these circumstances, it is
    for the courts to determine whether an individual should be granted bail or remain in custody.
    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me”.

  • Mary

    This info just came from an activist friend who lives in Italy.

    #WeAreMillions exhibition for Julian Assange in Leipzig

    We Are Millions a mass photo campaign created to demonstrate global support for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is holding an exhibition in Leipzig, Germany August 7th at the Kub Gallery, 7:00 p.m.

    The exhibition is to draw attention to the possible extradition of Julian Assange to the USA. Assange is currently suffering from psychological torture that is contrary to human rights, and the entire charge against this journalist is a danger and will restrict press freedom.

    Famous representatives of politics and art like Ai Weiwei, Noam Chomsky, Yanis Varoufakis, Pamela Anderson, Vivienne Westwood, M.I.A., Srećko Horvat, Oliver Stone and many more have also showed their support to Julian Assange by joining this campaign.’

  • np

    As in Australia, some mainstream journalists in France are still doing their job.

    About 10 days ago, the French newspaper Le Monde ran a story marking the 10th anniversary of Wikileaks publication of US army documents on the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

    The story doesn’t contain anything new but it reminds readers of the dreadful price Assange is paying for publishing information of historic importance (along with Chelsea Manning).

    • N_

      Neither Sky nor Le Monde are publicly owned and their journalists have no legal responsibility to work in the public interest. Few journalists do.

      I’ve always despised the holding up of journalism as virtuous and the idiotic bourgeois dinner-party phrase “speaking truth to power”. A journo who finds out about a crime for example when “following a story” should be considered to be in exactly the same legal position as a lorry driver or anyone else. There’s nothing holy about writing stuff down to tell people.

      • N_

        What have journalists ever done for us?

        Sure, there was the Sunday Times and thalidomide back in the 1960s. Good job they did. Probably funded by one of Distillers’ competitors though, or perhaps the entire sector’s competitor given that sectors tend to act as cartels where sector-helping public relations are concerned – something the left has hardly got a clue about even though it explains most of what’s in the media, much of the history of the past 200 years, most of the items that are in most people’s houses, most of what gets in the statute book, and most of what is argued over by politicians and policy heads. [*]

        Remember the “Russian bird” story… He who gets you out of the sh*t isn’t necessarily your friend.

        (*) Talking of media issues and money, it’s kinda interesting that Alun “security risk” Cairns [+], the Tory former Welsh Secretary who was in the cabinet under both Theresa May and Boris Johnson, is connnected with TWO of the matters that are making big headlines right now. One of them is…oh it would be so naughty to say, given that his name is being kept out of the reports…and the other is the Covid-19 test that the government and media are currently marketing. Cairns has trousered a lot of dosh as an “adviser” to a company that was “working” on a test. I’m not sure whether it was the same company that made the test that the government eventually bought, but either way it’s interesting.

        [+] Talking of security risks, what’s the reason that Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is Leader of the Commons and Lord President of the Council, hasn’t been appointed to the cabinet? Did someone pop a black ball in the bag when he was vetted?

        • N_

          The cabinet itself is a subcommittee of the Privy Council, and yet the guy who is Lord President of the Council wasn’t seen as an appropriate appointment to the cabinet. His predecessor Mel Stride wasn’t, either. Might be something to do with the deranged crown prince. Got to be a good story behind this.

          • Mary

            ‘Stride endorsed Michael Gove to become Leader of the Conservative Party in the 2019 leadership election. Following Boris Johnson’s election as party leader and appointment (as) Prime Minister he was dismissed from his role as Leader of the House of Commons and replaced by Jacob Rees-Mogg.’

            That’s the way they do it. He is a relative’s MP and is never helpful.

        • giyane


          So according to you we might have a Welsh alphabet jigsaw running alongside the Scottish one or the poor boy forgot to take his ‘ I rape easy ‘ sticker off his out in the sticks party clothes.
          He should have listened to uncle Donald’s advice about honey traps and wolves in sheep’s clothing in those lanoliny London hotels.

  • fonso

    It’s just a matter of time now before the tsunami of outrage from UK journalists, politicians, diplomats, clergy and statesmen. All who boast of British fair play, individual liberty, a free press, a fair trial and all the rest of it have yet to pronounce.

    These are some of the most principled people on the planet we are talking about, so hold onto your hats!

    • Goose

      Like the ‘but facts are scared’ Guardian?

      Today’s front page(4th August) is dominated by the headline “Russia stole secret documents from ex-minister’s personal email’ – a story based on a Reuters report that clearly states the ‘hackers’ (what hacking was involved?) are suspected to be Russian … and even that claim of “reported as originating from Russia” was attributed to one Ben Nimmo of Graphika.

      • Goose

        Btw. I get the fact you were being sarcastic.

        The Guardian was pretty much the last bastion of journos holding out against an unquestioning obedience to authority; post-Snowden, and after Rusbridger left, it’s fallen particularly far and fast. Any rumour about Russia is printed without so much as further enquiry. And the fact Russophobic obsessives’ Luke Harding and Carole Cadwalladr are still there suggests a much deeper, more sinister malaise right at the top.

      • Goose

        ‘but facts are sacred’… typo.

        Although ‘scared’ is probably a more appropriate for today’s guardian.

        • Goose

          Finally , and sorry for hijacking the blog, but the current state of the press is intrinsically linked to the lack of public attention regarding Assange’s plight.

          Craig is right to point out nothing about this Liam Fox story rings true:

          1. Why was he using a personal private email to conduct govt business, & host sensitive trade documents etc, and not a secure govt email account which would have had better protections from unauthorised and esp. foreign access?

          2. Why didn’t he have 2FA (two-factor authentication)? Any determined adversary who knows your email address (not hard to obtain) can probably guess your password, especially if it’s something simple and easy to remember , like for eg. LFox123, . Guess it correctly and they grab everything. Fox must have been informed about this risk. Why aren’t ministers and other officials provided with a Yubikey each, set up by the people responsible for govt data security? Why don’t they buy their own? No excuses really.

          3. And ‘Phishing emails’ aren’t hacks , they’re opportunistic attempts to trick gullible individuals into handing over account details. The tech equivalent of getting burgled after leaving the house key under the plant pot next to the door.

          • FranzB

            As numerous replies to CM’s tweet make the point, the Guardian claims the hack took place from July 12th onwards, whereas the Telegraph’s report on a cache of documents appears on July 10th, two days before the supposed hack. Have the Telegraph got Dr. Who on their staff?

        • Antonym

          Might as well go the whole hog: “facts are scarce” at the Graun plus “comment if for sale”.

          • Goose

            Statement of the obvious but…

            Many liberal journos and those calling themselves ‘progressives’ who you ‘d hope would be speaking out, hold Assange partly culpable for Trump’s election. They imagine some complex collaboration involving Assange/WikiLeaks/Trump’s team and finally Putin(who they despise) to put Trump in the White House.
            Despite this ‘collusion’ conspiracy theory being comprehensively and painstakingly examined, and exposed as a myth, they cling to it, and Assange remains a persona non grata as far as they’re concerned.

  • only1

    Unfortunately Craig, the average Australian doesn’t give a shit what happens to Julian. I doubt that he crosses their minds from one month to another. That odious little turd, Peter Greste, wrote a long article in the SMH reviling Julian for not being a true “journalist” and the readership bought his whole twisted, five spies, narrative. He’s getting his payoff for his CIA activities in the Middle East with a nice, well paid, academic sinecure and they wheel him out to push the CIA line on “press freedom”.. Ha!

    And now they’re quivering in fear over the corona virus. They’ve declared martial law in Victoria over the “tragic” death of 100 geriatrics with an average age of about 88. Today they even pronounced that a woman over 100 had died of the coroni..

    Poor Julian is not going to get a look in. The country is reverting to prison colony conditions..

    Thank you so much for reminding ua again and again about this travesty of “justice”. The Australlian press and the ABC and the opposition Labor party are silent. Disgusting.

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