The Assange Verdict: What Happens Now 184


I fully expect that Julian will be released on bail this week, pending a possible US appeal against the blocking of his extradition.

There was discussion of when and how to make the bail application on Monday, after magistrate Vanessa Baraitser announced her decision not to grant extradition as it would be oppressive on health and welfare grounds. Lead Defence QC Edward Fitzgerald was prepared to make an immediate application for release on bail, but was strongly steered by Baraitser towards waiting a couple of days until he could have the full bail application ready in good order with all the supporting documentation.

I had the strong impression that Baraitser was minded to grant bail and wanted the decision to be fireproof. I have spoken to two others who were in court who formed the same impression. Indeed, in the past, she has more than once indicated that she will reject a bail application before one has been made. I can think of no reason why she would steer Fitzgerald so strongly to delay the application if there were not a very strong chance she would grant it. She gave him the advice and then adjourned the court for 45 minutes so Fitzgerald and Gareth Peirce could discuss it with Julian, and on return they took her advice. If she were simply going to refuse the bail application, there was no reason for her not to get it over with quickly there and then.

Fitzgerald briefly made the point that Assange now had very little incentive to abscond, as there had never been a successful appeal against a refusal to extradite on medical grounds. Indeed it is very difficult to see how an appeal can be successful. The magistrate is the sole determinant of fact in the case. She has heard the evidence, and her view of the facts of Assange’s medical condition and the facts of conditions in American supermax prisons cannot be overturned. Nor can any new evidence be introduced. The appeal has rather to find that, given the facts, Baraitser made an error in law, and it is difficult to see the argument.

I am not sure that at this stage the High Court would accept a new guarantee from the USA that Assange would not be kept in isolation or in a Supermax prison; that would be contrary to the affidavit from Assistant Secretary of State Kromberg and thus would probably be ruled to amount to new evidence. Not to mention that Baraitser heard other evidence that such assurances had been received in the case of Abu Hamza, but had been broken. Hamza is not only kept in total isolation, but as a man with no hands he is deprived of prosthetics that would enable him to brush his teeth, and he has no means of cutting his nails nor assistance to do so, and cannot effectively wipe himself in the toilet.

Not only is it hard to see the point of law on which the USA could launch an appeal, it is far from plain that they have a motive to do so. Baraitser agreed with all the substantive points of argument put forward by the US government. She stated that there was no bar on extradition from the UK for political offences; she agreed that publication of national security material did constitute an offence in the USA under the Espionage Act and would do so in the UK under the Official Secrets Act, with no public interest defence in either jurisdiction; she agreed that encouraging a source to leak classified information is a crime; she agreed Wikileaks’ publications had put lives at risk.

On all of these points she dismissed virtually without comment all the defence arguments and evidence. As a US Justice Department spokesman said yesterday:
“While we are extremely disappointed in the court’s ultimate decision, we are gratified that the United States prevailed on every point of law raised. In particular, the court rejected all of Mr Assange’s arguments regarding political motivation, political offence, fair trial, and freedom of speech. We will continue to seek Mr Assange’s extradition to the United States.” That is a fair categorisation of what happened.

Appealing a verdict that is such a good result for the United States does not necessarily make sense for the Justice Department. Edward Fitzgerald explained to me yesterday that, if the USA appeals the decision on the health and prison condition grounds, it becomes open to the defence to counter-appeal on all the other grounds, which would be very desirable indeed given the stark implications of Baraitser’s ruling for media freedom. I have always believed that Baraitser would rule as she did on the substantial points, but I have always also believed that those extreme security state arguments would never survive the scrutiny of better judges in a higher court. Unlike the health ruling, the dispute over Baraitser’s judgement on all the other points does come down to classic errors in law which can successfully be argued on appeal.

If the USA does appeal the judgement, it is far more likely that not only will the health grounds be upheld, but also that Baraitser’s positions on extradition for political offences and freedom of the media will be overturned, than it is likely that the US will achieve extradition. They have fourteen days in which to lodge the appeal – now thirteen.

An appeal result is in short likely to be humiliating for the USA. It would be much wiser for the US to let sleeping dogs lie. But pride and the wound to the US sense of omnipotence and exceptionalism may drive them to an appeal which, for the reasons given above, I would actually welcome provided Julian is out on bail. Which I expect he shall be shortly.

More analysis of Baraitser’s judgement will follow.

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184 thoughts on “The Assange Verdict: What Happens Now

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  • Mac

    I was really stunned by this news. Given the attitude and manner of the judge since the start I feared the worst.

    Did you ever file your report on the last day of the trial? It seemed you were so scunnered by what you saw it had sickened you too much. It really was not looking like this was on the cards at all at that point.

    Not a fan of Abu Hamza but to deny him his prosthetic hands is truly shocking and shameful. I don’t see any difference to that to denying a prisoner a wheel chair if they were unable to walk. It is just cruel for the sake of it.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      I am not privy to the wiles of international legal officers, but I do suppose that it is just possible that the only way that Baraitser and indeed UK-US relations could remain on an even keel would be for her to have made the rather questionable judgements to date, only to refuse extradition on medical grounds?

      I am not quite sure what threats the US would have made to the UK about economic consequences of a humiliating verdict (i.e. go take a running hike on all contentions), but one could conceivably imagine that there was fevered behind-the-scenes diplomatic exchanges going on in back channels for months before an agreed punch and judy script were agreed??

  • Eoin

    The USA must appeal.

    Imagine if there was another Abu Hamza-type case tomorrow. All his Defence would need do is cite USA prison conditions and engineer a suicide ideation and execution defence. After all, what sane person wouldn’t want to put an end to their lives if forced to live in USA prison conditions as detailed by Baraitser.

    Yes, this is insulting to Julian’s own circumstances which are doubtless genuine. But if the ruling stands, it provides an obvious blanket defence to anyone who is sane.

    • nevermind

      you are making a vital mistake Eoin, you have taken the cotswallop by the shovelful.
      Try not to conflate terrorism amd incitment to it, with journalismn and or whistleblowing.

    • Carl

      Interesting take. You don’t appear to dispute USA prison conditions are so barbaric they push prisoners to suicide. Yet you are hungry to inflict that on any UK resident deemed to be an approved enemy of the DC psychos. It’s a very Jack Straw kind of take.

    • Eoin

      It’s been confirmed this morning that the USA has already appealed. That was pretty damned quick!

      It had previously been suggested any appeal would be heard in April 2021. A decision may take a month or two.

      As bail has been denied this morning, looks like Julian will be confined to max security Belmarsh for at least another three months.

      Contrary to what Craig writes above, I think the USA prison conditions will be the focus of any appeal because if Baraitser’s ruling on Monday stands, it effectively nails the coffin shut on UK->USA extradition.

      • Eoin

        PS I am deeply sorry Craig, today must be another horrible day, all the more starkly so because of the optimism after Monday’s ruling. Yet again, we must regroup our feelings to stern ourselves for the battle ahead. Best wishes to you.

      • Josh R

        Bail denied 🙁
        evil bstrds….. so I guess no change there & I shouldn’t be surprised.

        nearly choked to read Dobbin (prosecution) state that it is “obvious he (JA) considers himself above the law…”,
        “He” being the fella who so seriously exposed every one of those lying, thieving, mass murdering members of our ruling minorities who couldn’t give a sht about the “law”.

    • Republicofscotland

      The previous charge could’ve easily been dealt with a fine, its not unknown, of course that was not the case because the 51st states masters desperately want Assange.

      • Martinned

        True, but that doesn’t change the fact that he absconded in the past, which is something that the district judge in this case would have taken into account regardless of what sentence might have been imposed under the Bail Act.

        • Theo

          I’m not sure I understand. She came exactly to the same decision as Assange in 2012:
          He has to fear for his life if extradited to the US. That was her ruling and that was his conclusion in 2012.
          In full accordance with intl. law he applied for political asylum which was granted precisely because of the threat for his life.

          You say it makes sense, she punishes him for rightfully fearing for his life, as she does as well per her ruling??

    • Peter Mo

      THere have never been any charges filed from Sweden. Surely then his absconding or whatever you call it is of no legal consequence. The absconding allegation becomes null and void. He has already served time for the shaky absconding allegation. Using proper legal practice Assanges lawyers should have argued the absconding is of no legal value and cannot be used as an argument.

      • Martinned

        At this point the past absconding is relevant only because it makes it more plausible that he would abscond again. It goes to character, if you like.

        In fact, following your logic the case for remanding him only becomes stronger. If Assange in 2011 was willing to abscond even though the case against him in Sweden was extremely weak, that suggests that the fact that this judgment will almost certainly be upheld on appeal (absent US concessions) is not necessarily going to be enough to reassure the judge. This is clearly a person who has in the past shown a willingness to abscond even in the face of only low chances of severe punishment.

        And, for the record, I probably would have bailed him, even with his track record. The appeal case is just too weak.

    • MrK

      “Bail refused. His previous absconding continues to haunt him.”

      Did he skip school? Is that it? ‘Absconding’, ‘flight risk’, ‘holed up’ are just gaslighting euphemisms for exercising the internationally recognized right to seek and receive political asylum.

      And why would any country give Julian Assange political asylum? Because for 10 years he has been hounded by the security services and media. He has not been convicted of any crime. He has spent nearly 2 years in solitary confinement awaiting an extradition that isn’t going to happen.

      And yet he’s still not let out of Bellmarsh. And that is why they are afraid he will receive political asylum again.

      They are treating American law as if it is international law, and international law as if it is the enemy. But then, Mike Pompeo did issue threats against the judges and lawyers of the ICC in The Hague, and their family members. (Google: pompeo icc threat)

      • Republicofscotland

        MrK.

        I’m under the impression that charges were dropped in Sweden, and that he didn’t abscond, he sought political asylum in the UK.

        • MrK

          “I’m under the impression that charges were dropped in Sweden, and that he didn’t abscond, he sought political asylum in the UK.”

          Exactly. When they say ‘absconding’ or ‘holed up’ or ‘bail jumping’, they mean political asylum.

          He exercised his internationally protected legal right to seek and accept political asylum, and they are keeping him in jail out of fear that he might exercise his legally protected rights again.

          This is just vindictive prosecution, which is a due process violation in the US itself.

    • Joe Mellon

      I fear you are right. One scenario is: the US will not appeal, Assange will be “released”, re-arrested for visa violation and on order of Patel immediately deported to Australia, where extradition papers have already been signed. The plane will land and Julian Assange immediately transfered to a US military plane.

      • M.J.

        Acording to the Guardian the lawyers for the US have indicated that they will appeal. So any deportation to Australia won’t happen for some time. But hasn’t Assange got Ecuadorean citizenship as well?

        • Theo

          No, he was stripped of his Ecuadorian citizenship against Ecuadorian law by that corrupt Lenin Moreno government, which “sold” him to the US.

  • Joe Mellon

    The justification for keeping Julian Assange in the UK equivalent of a Supermax is also missing.

    • he was not convicted except for the minor offence of bail violation
    • he was not allowed reading materials
    • even court documents were only allowed on a very restricted basis
    • contact with family, friends and even lawyers was very restricted
    • and many other privations

    What possible basis in law is there for these appalling conditions for a man remanded in custody?
    Of course as we all know there was none: on the contrary it was done to show the disregard for law and justice by the powerful and warn others not to expect the justice system to be of any assistance to those who expose the crimes of the powerful.
    This flagrantly vindictive and illegal behaviour on the part of the UK authorities cannot go unpunished: criminal and civil processes should be started against those responsible.

    • Natasha

      “This flagrantly vindictive and illegal behaviour on the part of the UK authorities cannot go unpunished: criminal and civil processes should be started against those responsible.”

      How?

  • Tatyana

    What strikes me most about the story of Assange’s persecution is, how loosely the cause and the effect are interpreted.
    After all, initially the war crime happened, and the publication in Wiki is the consequence, the inseparable consequence of that original cause.

    But somehow the existing law allows the choice – what is to be prosecuted, and what is to be ignored. As if the connection doesn’t exist. As if Assange’s actions had no basis.
    This whole law system is fundamentally wrong. This is illogical and also is basically against justice.
    Because normally, logically and justly is – first the full investigation to establish ALL relevant events, and only then the court enters to evaluate the actions.
    Otherwise, I imagine a Nazi criminal filing a disclosure complaint!

    But the people of the United States have already swallowed this approach with the story of Hillary and her letters. So… well… perhaps they are ready to swallow Assange too.

    I’ve already mentioned that in my opinion, your Western mentality has a strange glitch of admiration for the written rule, without understanding its essence. Perhaps this is the merit of religion, which knows how to well condition people to observe the commandments without asking questions. Or, maybe it’s because we here remember well that when the written rules cease to meet the interests of the population, the population has the right to get a garden pitchfork and throw the bastards out of their palaces.

    • Republicofscotland

      Tatyana.

      The Great Satan, the US, has form around the globe in putting pressure on countries who harbour individuals that they desire, to rendition to Egypt or Iraq for torture. We read how Craig exposed the ICC, well I’ve read the Great Satan applied sanctions to individuals within the ICC that were working on cases of US war crimes. I doubt we’ve seen the last of the Great Satan’s attempts to acquire Assange.

      • Tatyana

        Republicofscotland,
        when I see someone has gained a lot of power and uses it for their own benefit, then at the same time I see a lot of cowardly human beings around, too busy with their own welfare to risk defending truth and justice.
        They consider themselves small people, as long as there is enough bread and personal space, they are not motivated to raise their voice.

        • Tom Welsh

          “‘I give you 24 hours to resign’: 1st OPCW chief on how John Bolton bullied him before Iraq War”
          https://www.rt.com/usa/423477-bolton-threat-opcw-iraq/

          ‘Bustani said he “owed nothing” to the US, pointing out that he was appointed by all OPCW member states. Striking a more sinister tone, Bolton said: “OK, so there will be retaliation. Prepare to accept the consequences. We know where your kids are.”‘

    • M.J.

      The case of Paul Whelan shows that Russian justice is a joke, decending as it does from a corrupt godless Communist dictatorship. Russians have no right to criticise Western justice. None!

      • Wikikettle

        MJ. Indeed, we’ve never forgiven them for getting rid of their German Victorian monarchy. Nor for being able to defeat the German Christian anslaught nor the earlier French Napoleon Euro invasion. We really hate Putin who has regained Russian dignity and able to withstand NATO expansion to its borders, defend its huge territory with the economy the size of South Korea. Reduce it debts, increase its gold reserves and all under blockade, while defending Syria against an ISIS take over.

      • Tatyana

        Well, if you point me to an international law prohibiting Russians from criticising Western justice… 🙂
        Actually, I don’t promise that I will obey it, but I certainly promise that I will read it very carefully. Moreover, I promise to give an unprecedented amount of my attention, just because I don’t want to miss a second of the most entertaining moment in my life!

        Until then, thanks for the chance to use one good expression that I recently learned – I hear you, M.J. 🙂

      • Republicofscotland

        “Russians have no right to criticise Western justice. None!”

        MJ.

        You would call what’s happening to Assange as Western justice.

      • FlakBlag

        M.J. … Are you saying that no human being born and residing within Russia has a right to comment on what clearly seems to be an ongoing politically motivated miscarriage of justice because of the actions of the Russian state? Do you think all Russians are bad people? I believe the state in which I was born and reside in (the UK) is deeply evil, it’s rulers often make it clear that they are bad people; does that mean I don’t get to comment on Russian miscarriages of justice because I’m a native of the UK?

        I’m not sure what your world view is, but I suspect it’s some kind of ominous angry authoritarianism. Stalin would be proud of you.

        • Tatyana

          I don’t think it’s ominous angry authoritarianism. I believe this world view is best described by an ukrainian saying “it’s not a big deal that our house burned down, we celebrate the neighbor’s cow has died”

      • Tom Welsh

        By the same argument, M.J., British justice is a joke, descending as it does from the proceedings of Anglo-Saxon trial by combat and medieval trial by ordeal.

      • lysias

        It’s now the West which has corrupt and godless governments. Russia, which gives a privileged position to the Russian Orthodox Church, is no longer godless.

      • bevin

        The nature of the post revolutionary Russian state system were moulded by the immediate and savage reactions of the capitalist states. That these attacks and attempts to induce famines were illegal by any reading of international law can hardly be disputed. Thet were also entirely consistent with the centuries of viking style imperialist looting that the “west” had engaged in and upon which it founded its legal system. At the root of which is a comprehensive looting of the powerless for the benefit of the powerful.
        The notion that this is founded on any Christian principles is an extreme example of blasphemy-watch out, that is a crime.

      • Piotr+Berman

        Spy cases are routinely based on secret evidence, West or East. The case of Marina Butina, which was “concurrent”, was based on total balderdash. The case of Meng Wangzhou is a baseless kidnapping, and also a good example that the only way to achieve at least semi-humane treatment for citizens subjected to politically charged persecution in the West is retaliation. Would Australia arrest some British spying or fraud suspects, Assange would go through the proceedings while on bail. In the cases of “state concern”, justice is what “state concerns” say.

    • Tom Welsh

      “But somehow the existing law allows the choice – what is to be prosecuted, and what is to be ignored”.

      That, Tayana, is exactly the point. All Anglo-Saxon and most other “Western” legal systems have what might be described as an emergency safety valve: the decision to prosecute is taken by the executive branch of government! In other words, either by a politician or by someone who reports to politicians.

      For anyone interested in this serious problem – a gaping hole, in fact, in our “justice system” – the following short article will be worth reading.

      “That Pesky Napoleonic Code” by David Hathaway
      https://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/12/david-hathaway/that-pesky-napoleonic-code/

  • J Arther Nast

    I thought it likely that bail would be refused. Neither Baraister or her handlers would wish her to be the sole target of the inevitable
    backlash against a decision to extradite. She has done the groundwork with the rulings on all the other issues, so the final blow can be left
    to a more diffuse team of three or five old trustees in a few months time. Then Julian can be more quietly slipped out during the Summer
    holiday period.
    These empire loyalists are a vile bunch.

  • DiggerUK

    This could be the juggernaut of justice winning through, or it could just be a ‘ruse de guerre’

    If the US lodge an appeal Trump could pardon. But after ‘Russiagate’ it would be bizarre for Biden to pardon, or stop pursuing, after inauguration.
    I don’t believe it unthinkable for Biden to bring new charges when in office, barring statutes of limitation, if Julian is indeed released today.

    When is that fat lady gonna sing, or is she self isolating for a couple of weeks…_

    • RogerDodger

      Funny thing is, in a roundabout way Biden probably owes his presidential title to WikiLeaks for exposing the DNC’s corruption! That’s gratitude for ya…

    • lysias

      A pardon could be a blanket pardon for anything Assange may have done up to the date of the pardon. That’s what Nixon got. So any new charges would have to be for things Assange has done since the pardon. Hard to imagine what those could be.

  • Andrew F

    Julian Assange has been denied Bail, again.

    Good news is that he has an automatic right to apply to the High Court to get Bail!

    That can be done immediately. The lawyers will surely be lodging the Bail Application with the High Court in the next few hours as they must have anticipated this outcome.

    Craig, could you please follow that process with your contacts on the Assange Team and keep everyone posted? At this point, even the lodging of a Bail Application with the High Court would be world wide news and a great turning of the PR in Julian’s favour.

      • nevermind

        I agree Wiki, to stall the bail application for two days and get everyone to agree to it, was a good ruse for VB.
        Time to appeal on all grounds,

  • Dave

    Was the defence advised to delay applying for bail as there was no reasonable grounds to deny an immediate application for bail, and so the delay was needed to refuse bail?

      • Dave

        Yes. An immediate US appeal would be evidence of collusion, and so, it shows VB as horrible as she has always appeared, strange anyone thought otherwise, seen the error of her ways, considering her particular role within the ‘judiciary’.

  • Giyane

    The US believes it owns Iraq by conquest. Now it is behaving like a corporate gaffer, asking why his instructions have not been obeyed. Why has this problem not already been dealt with?

    The senility of US presidents means that Bush’s denial of this reality has to be seen as worthless. They just read out what they have been told to read.

    Sadly the Muslims whose rights Assange defended are too busy sucking up to Israel and the US, mostly in the hope of punishing Britain for its colonial crimes.

    If you have been kickedcaround for 300 years by an odious bunch of arrogant parts, you’re going to kick the Brit while he’s down , even if he isn’t a Brit but a white victim of that same evil Empire.

    Muslims have told me they would like to see all British people begging for pence on the streets of Karachi. And yet they are under the delusion that America is a different kind of empire to the last one.

    Only when one understands how desperate the US is to be seen as an improvement on ourselves, will we be able to understand how desperate they are to choke any journalism that e poses their crimes.

    It’s a bit like Talcum Powder or before it Asbestos. They want to keep their image clean as long as possible. Hence their rage at China about covid.

    The Muslims want to see the Brits belittled and pauperised. Seeing Assange tortured will in some way satisfy their desire for revenge. Weird, since he was trying to defend them . That’s life, I’m afraid.

  • Ian

    John Pilger on Twitter:

    Judge Baraitser has refused to grant Julian #Assange bail – even though she acknowledges his extreme suffering in prison. Such is the Queen of Cruelty. But there is an informed hint from Washington that Biden may not pursue an appeal to the UK High Court, where Julian will win.

    • Courtenay Barnett

      If I were to be cynical I would say that Baraitser’s judgment is as political as one can ever get:-

      A. Give to Assange what he wanted – not to be extradited to the US.

      B. Give something to the US – your lawyers got it all right on points of law.

      C. Give to the UK Government something – don’t pass go – you are not free – stay in prison.

      • Piotr+Berman

        My suspicion is that Biden “transition team” would prefer to keep Assange abroad, they have to handle more fights between the left and right wings of Democrats. Squashing the left in British Labour style is more problematic in USA, more graduated approaches are needed.

        • Ian

          Biden will have a mountain of stuff to deal with, why waste his initial capital getting embroiled in a case that is now of historic value. The easiest option is surely to revert to the Obama position that the First Amendment precludes his imprisonment, and the convoluted charade that Trump embarked to get around it is a waste of time and resources.

          • N_

            There’s still a fortnight to go until 20 January. If the US still has a case against Assange by then, I would have thought it would be easiest for Biden just to drop it. Assange won’t be a problem either for Biden or for the US government once he’s on the outside, any more than Manning is.

            I doubt ANY important faction in the US wants Assange to stand trial in that country.

            Then again, who knows? Curiously, Baraitser referred to Jeffrey Epstein at least twice in the recent court hearing…and although Epstein is dead his mate Ghislaine Maxwell is still alive and she could be MUCH more of a problem for certain people than Assange ever could. Those “certain people” are on both sides of the Atlantic and include at least one member of the British royal family.

        • N_

          @Piotr+Berman – I don’t quite follow this. Are you saying Assange is pals with, a supporter of, or an icon for the left wing of the US Democratic party? If so, is that the kind of “Democrat left” that views Hillary Clinton as the main enemy?

  • N_

    In court today: Clair Dobbin, for the USA, told the court Mr Assange had the “resources, abilities and the sheer wherewithal” to arrange in secret a flight to another country.

    I take it Baraitser didn’t ask for evidence to support that assertion. Can he hack into air traffic control systems then? Or do the Sicilian mafia owe him a favour, or what? She’s absolutely taking the p*ss.

    All this was presumably agreed between the Foreign Office and the US embassy. What the next step is, is anyone’s guess. I was thinking the US might announce today that it wasn’t appealing, but that doesn’t appear to have happened.

    What’s the time limit for appealing?

    Dobbin is not even a silk.

    • Fwl

      He didn’t manage to escape abroad before did he. He only ever got as far as Kensington. If the Court released on bail pending an appeal he would be under exceptionally close scrutiny. Surely UK and US combined could keep tabs on him for a few weeks. He was successfully penned in for many years in the embassy.

  • James Cook

    I opined after the first judgment on 4Jan:

    “UNEXPECTED????? HARDLY!!!!

    Trust the POMS to cut the Gordian Knot in such a way that everyone can claim a small win, while still controlling their Human Collateral in THEIR own version of GUANTANAMO.

    This theatre will continue till Julian dies; then everyone can walk away head-held-high without settling the issue of Freedom-of-Speech……….yet signalling to every journo what happens to those who do not follow the correct narrative.

    Continuous war, Continuous Virus, Continuous Control!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by: James Cook | Jan 4 2021 14:57 utc | “

    Unfortunately, Julians’ fate is not his own!
    The only thing that will continue to change is “The Virus” as continual mutation will allow continuous lockdown and continuous control!

  • Olly Perry

    Refused bail. Honestly, the ongoing crushing of this man’s spirit by the inflexible, indifferent state is cruel beyond words. Where exactly is he meant to flee or abscond in a locked down world where airports, stations and ports are watched and where surveillance is all seeing? Even with a tag, if that would mollify the bastards, he could be with his partner and children in considerably more comfort than he is now. I am almost apoplectic with rage against this inhumanity, no doubt demanded by the US government.

    • John O'Dowd

      Good sentiments Olly – but the state is not “indifferent” – it is following the Empire’s instructions.

      The British state is an active protagonist in the political imprisonment of Assange:

      I urge you to read Chris Hedges in the link below:

      https://scheerpost.com/2021/01/04/chris-hedges-the-empire-is-not-done-with-julian-assange/

      “The arrest (of Assange) eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The illegalities, embraced by the Ecuadorian, British and US governments, in the seizure of Assange were ominous. They presaged a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes — especially war crimes — carried out by corporate states and the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presaged a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse of power will be hunted down, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given lifetime prison terms in solitary confinement. They presaged an Orwellian dystopia where news is replaced with propaganda, trivia and entertainment”.

    • Bramble

      Whatever the US demanded (and I am sure they did) a British state now claiming to be independent and sovereign (as if!) could have denied them in the name of judicial integrity. All that has happened is that the UK’s total subjugation to the Empire has been demonstrated. This is the sort of torture cats engage with when they play with mice, and was to be expected given the way the interests of the US/UK/Israel etc are so tightly interwoven..

  • Xavi

    I see that old softy Vanessa has denied bail, imprisoning him in Belmarsh for maybe another year or two waiting for the yanks to appeal. Doubtless done with a catch in her throat.

  • Wikikettle

    Lady Justice a top the Old Bailey…A Banksy take..Blindfold removed to revealing the manic eyes of Blair a la Steve Bell, the scales tilted with cocain spilling Boris and the sword castrating independence of the Judicary testicles.

  • Yuri K

    I’d rather speculate that “pride and the wound to the US sense of omnipotence and exceptionalism may drive them to” kidnap Assange the way this was done with Viktor Bout and Mordechai Vanunu. They’ll lure Assange into some 3-d country, not to embarrass the British, then use their Haloperidol SOP.

  • Andy Trefusis

    This is not the first time Baraitser has denied Julian bail and I fail to see why her judgement against extradition led to the firm expectation that he would be released pending the appeal by the American government. I note that Nick Vamos, the former head of extradition at the Crown Prosecution Service, was quoted by Reuters as saying: “I expect his bail application to fail”.

  • writeon

    One of Craig Murray’s most impressive and endearing qualities is his… optimism in the face of the horrific tide that’s rising around us all. A form of sentimental, liberal authoritarianism, where the various parts of the state increasingly merge into one another form a new, corporate whole where wealth and power are concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, and, importantly dissent and opposition is seen as a threat and marginalised and cancelled.

    I don’t think one can underestimate the malign role of the UK’s media in the campaign to destroy Julian Assange and Wikileaks. This is typified by the Guardian. The great centres of journalism like the BBC, CNN, Washington Post, New York Times have all had an incredibly malign role too in managing and manufacturing liberal consent for the persecution of Assange. There’s definitely been a shift. a lurch to the political right among the journalists employed by these organisations, with hardly a critical or dissenting voice allowed to be heard.

    In essence, we now live in a form of liberal, authoritarian, state, which resembles a form of modern fascism. Here the state’s institutions and the corporations, including the media giants like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon… have become part of the state, its’ unofficial ministry of propaganda and Truth, similar to the role of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages.

    This is a bleak assessment, sorry. What’s good about Craig Murray is his optimism and faith in human nature, even in times like these. I think it’s probably the only way to live and remain healthy. Unfortunately, there is no pathway to reform that’s capable of challenging this newly emerging fascist, fuedal, form of the state. Elections are at best a form of political theatre, at worst, irrelevant; because the parties, or more correctly, factions, have merged as well. In the UK, and the US, there is, literally, no one to vote for anymore. This, unfortunately, makes some kind of mass uprising more and more likely at some point. In a way the fate of Corbyn and Trump were similar, both men riding on a wave of revulsion against the ‘rigged’ system. The last gasp of faith that voting for some outsider, some disruptor, was worth it, could make a difference. What comes next will be much worse.

  • Jo

    Hmmmmmm. Now people say it will go to High Court for appeal against……does that mean that the “confirmation” by the judge that the USA charges and evidence she believes in….can be re-exposed to be refuted by the defence and as she has not correctly nor had the power to adjudge these charges to arrive at a legal verdict…that this and any further trial is thus prejudiced(particularly with regard to the inhibitions/prohibitions/restrictions against the defence and J A. legal cooperation by her HMG Prison Service) and of course by the CIA operations against him whilst in the Ecuadoran Embassy?

    • Ingwe

      Jo – Yes. If the USA appeals, I’d expect (and Mr Murray has already indicated in his report) that the defence will cross appeal on the findings in the magistrate’s court. Although I think it’s been an exceptionally cruel act (to deny bail, thereby making the judgment “you are discharged” meaningless) I still think that the USA will actually appeal.

      I believe what they’re likely to do is to go through the motions of appealing, getting JA to incur the costs and stress of the cross-appeals. Then just before there is the appeal hearing itself which, given the number of findings that will be appealed means it will be a lengthy hearing (possibly a week or more) the USA all withdraw the appeal. Sure it would have to pay JA’s costs but the sums are trifling to the USA. In the meantime, JA will have been kept in Belmarsh in the awful conditions that amount to torture with the very real prospect that he may die before the hearing.

      What a sad day for justice.

  • writeon

    My understanding is that the Americans haven’t formally submitted an application to the judge for an appeal, not yet. They have until Monday, apparently. Then why did the judge not release Assange until they make up their minds? Assange is in a kind of legal limbo, isn’t he? The Americans and their lawyers have said they intend to appeal, but surely that cannot have the same ‘weight’ and the same consequences, until they actually do appeal and submit the paperwork? Does the continued imprisonment of Assange have a legal basis in British law, at this moment? Surely his legal team need to apply to a higher court immediately and secure his release? What if the Americans decide to drop the case before the Monday deadline? Does he even need bail anymore as the judge has refused the extradition request? It’s all rather illogical and strange.

  • ET

    It’s a travesty that Julian Assange didn’t get bail today. I think magistrate Vanessa Baraitser has demonstrated a masterclass in covering your own ass. No matter what happens from here she cannot be held responsible. In denying extradition she has effectively kicked it upstairs for others to judge. If it isn’t appealed she can point to the fact that they could have appealed if they disagreed with her decision and therefore must have agreed with it (or at least agreed there was no reasonable case to bring against her decision). Her judgements on the other points of law still stand to be contested by someone else at some other time.
    If she had granted bail and Julian Assange did abscond she would be blamed for a poor decision. In not granting bail this cannot happen because of her decision. If the High Court grant bail, nuthin to do with me guv. If an appeal is successful in the high court and her decision is overturned again not her decision. If an appeal is brought and any of the points of law judgements are changed it is again nothing to do with her.
    No matter what happens from here she can point to the fact that it was someone else’s decision. Arse covered, I’m alright jack.

  • Mike

    I have a bad feeling about this
    I wouldn’t be surprised if Julian will not leave the prison in the UK alive
    The evil cabal has the power to kill him there i have no doubt about that
    But I pray that he will be out healthy soon

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