Your Man Back in the Public Gallery: Assange Extradition, US Appeal Result 132


On Thursday afternoon I was in Edinburgh High Court to get back my passport, which had been confiscated during my own court proceedings avowedly to stop me going to Spain to testify in the trial of David Morales of UC Global. He stands accused by whistleblowers in his own company of spying on Julian Assange, his lawyers and other associates (including myself), on behalf of the CIA, and in engaging with them on plans to kidnap or assassinate Assange.

Having got my passport, I was wandering down the Canongate to buy a new sporran. I fear that I only wear my kilt on occasions where I end up not at all sober, and invariably spend the next morning wondering what on earth happened to my tie, left hose, mobile phone etc. The loss of a sporran is a particularly expensive experience. While explaining to the maker that my sporran needs a long chain to accommodate my finely matured figure, my phone rang and I was asked whether I could get to the High Court in London by 9.45am, as the judgement in the United States’ appeal in Julian’s extradition case was imminent. Waverley Station being a short walk down a steep close from the sporran maker, and with the agreement of Nadira and the rest of my long suffering family, I was off to England.

The Royal Courts of Justice have nothing of the grimness of the Old Bailey, or of Woolwich Crown Court inside Belmarsh Prison. They are Victorian Gothic at its least inspired and most gingerbread house cheesy, as though Mad King Ludwig was working on a straitened budget. Once inside there is no visible security of any kind, and the courtrooms are laid out in aged oak benches like the smaller lecture rooms of an old university.

A lovely man named Derek had been at the front of the queue for me since 5am, but his kindness turned out to be unnecessary. For the first time at any Assange hearing, nobody asked me for identification papers or fired inappropriate questions about why I was at a public hearing. At the reception desk I asked where the Assange judgement would be given, and was told Court No.1, but that there was no point in attending because copies of the judgement would simply be handed out.

I walked with my friend, Assange activist Deepa, to Court No.1 shortly after 9.30, and there was nobody else there except one reporter from Reuters. Over the next half hour about twenty other people turned up, mostly journalists but including a few European activists. There was no sign of Julian and no sign of either legal team. Julian’s fiancee Stella Moris arrived just before ten, and we were allowed in to the courtroom. The clerk of court told us there would be no lawyers present so we could sit anywhere we wished. Reporters and activists jumbled in the first two rows immediately below the judge’s bench. I sat alongside Stella in the fourth row, and shortly before the judge appeared, Gareth Peirce (Julian’s solicitor) arrived and simply took a seat also in the fourth row. The well of the court was perhaps a third full, and the public gallery above was completely empty.

It is important to explain that Stella did not know the judgement at this stage. We had spoken briefly before going in and we were not hopeful, but she sat there awaiting the decision on whether Julian might be home for Christmas, or potentially in jail for many more years, with enormous composure and self-control. I had spoken with her the night before on the telephone and knew she was in serious emotional distress. But here in public, she did not betray it at all.

Lord Justice Holroyde entered and read out a brief summary of the judgement. Lord Chief Justice Burnett, the other member of the two man panel, apparently had better things to do. It was evident after a few seconds that the insufferably smug Holroyde was going to find in favour of the United States Government.

Julian was not present, neither in person nor by videolink. That judgement should be given on a prisoner in the presence neither of himself nor of his counsel seems to me a quite extraordinary proceeding. The entire event felt wrong. I was aware that Julian was unwell, and that he had been very unwell at the hearing in October on which this was a judgement. Mary Kostakidis has constructed an edit of those tweets from her reporting on that day which referenced Julian’s state of health. What we did not know was that he was actually suffering a stroke.

(In her retweeting the original relevant tweets, they have all ended up dated 12 December, but these are in fact Mary’s tweets from the courtroom in October).

What I can tell you from personal experience is that the appalling standard of healthcare is the single worst thing about prison, and the callous disregard of prisoners’ lives an ingrained feature of the system, about which I shall write more in due course.

So Holroyde briefly announced to the world the capitulation to the United States. His argument was simple and short. The High Court accepted that Baraitser had rightly judged the expert evidence on Assange’s health, so the diagnoses of serious depression and autism stand. However she had erred in not seeking diplomatic assurances from the United States that he would be kept in conditions that would not trigger suicide. Holroyde’s argument rested entirely on the Diplomatic Note received from the US government containing these assurances. They constituted, he stated, a “solemn assurance from one state to another”, as though that were a thing of unimpeachable surety.

Holroyde did not address the point that these were assurances from the very state whose war crimes and multiple breaches of international law Assange had exposed, resulting in this very extradition in the first place.
He did not address the fact that the United States has a record of breaking exactly these kind of assurances on prisoner conditions, and there is substantial European Court of Human Rights case law on the subject. In fact the legal force of diplomatic assurances has been the subject of a massive opus of recent jurisprudence that Holroyde simply ignored.
He did not address the fact that the very assurances in this Diplomatic Note were shot through with conditionalities.
He did not address the fact that repeated US court decisions stated that US domestic authorities were not bound by any diplomatic assurances given to foreign governments (which incidentally is precisely the same argument, accepted by Baraitser, that UK courts are not bound by the UK/US extradition treaty bar on political extradition).
He did not address the fact that the majority of the charges against Assange in the extradition request were now exposed as based on perjured evidence from a convicted paedophile and fraudster in the pay of the CIA, which some might see as reflecting poorly on the US authorities’ bona fides.
He did not address the fact that the government whose assurances as to treatment he viewed as unquestionable, had been plotting to kidnap or assassinate the subject of the extradition.

Holroyde whisked away in a flurry of dusty robes and horsehair wiggery. Gareth Peirce had advance knowledge of the result, but had been barred from telling anybody. She had been informed lawyers were not to attend court, but had come along to offer moral support, and simply sat with the public. Edward Fitzgerald QC, Julian’s counsel, was simultaneously giving the decision to Julian in the jail.

My admiration for Gareth is undisguised. In my view she is the greatest UK lawyer of post-war history, a notion I know she would find laughable. I also know she will be a bit cross about my writing about her, as she detests the limelight. If you don’t know of her, do a little research just now. I have been extremely fortunate in life to know many great people, but Gareth is the one of whose regard I am proudest. Anyway, Gareth was really cross about the judgement.

The effect of the judgement is that the case is now returned to Judge Baraitser with the instruction to reverse her decision and order Assange’s extradition. In doing so she passes the papers up to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, with whom the final decision on all extraditions lies. Julian has until 23 December to submit an appeal against this High Court decision to the Supreme Court, something he is minded to do.

Now read this very carefully. The United States Government’s appeal to the High Court was only on those points on which Baraitser had ruled against extradition – Assange’s mental health and the effect upon it of extradition and US prisoner conditions. Assange’s appeal now to the Supreme Court will also be restricted to those subjects. The points on which Baraitser originally ruled in favour of the United States, including Assange’s First Amendment protections and the right of freedom of speech, the bar on political extradition and the inapplicability of espionage charges to journalism – will only be heard later, if he loses at the Supreme Court on what is still the US appeal.

If the Supreme Court decides for the US on the basis of diplomatic assurances, and the case returns to Baraitser to exercise the extradition warrant, at that time we finally have the cross appeal on all the issues this case is really about. If the High Court then accepts the cross-appeal as arguable (and Holroyde stated specifically that Assange’s wider points of appeal “would be heard at a later stage in proceedings”), then Patel’s trigger itching hand will be stayed while we restart the appeals process, quite possibly back to Holroyde and Burnett.

This benefits the Machiavellian state in two ways. For up to another year the legal argument will continue to be about Julian’s mental health, where the self-disparagement required by his defence suits the state political narrative. Nobody inside court is currently permitted to be talking about freedom of speech or the exposure of US war crimes, and that of course feeds in to the MSM reporting.

The state also is happy that this convoluted Supreme Court and then cross-appeal process will last for years not months, even before we look at the European Court of Human Rights, and all that time Julian Assange is stuck in high security in Belmarsh jail, treated as a terrorist, and his mental and physical health are visibly deteriorating in a way that is simply horrible. It is not hyperbole to state we may well be watching his slow murder by the state. It certainly appears now probable that he will never fully regain his health. The Julian who went into captivity is not the same man we would get back if ever released.

My worry is that I have no confidence that there is any hope of fairness in the judicial process. I most certainly would not wish anybody’s destiny in the hands of the supercilious Holroyde. There seems no alternative but to batter on through the endless Jarndyce vs Jarndyce, but I fear we are but dignifying a cruel charade. Political will, rather than judicial sense, appears the more likely route to a breakthrough. But I look at Johnson, Biden and Morrison and I see no more conscience, principle or probity than I do on the judicial bench.

There does appear to be a recognition in the mainstream media that aspects of the prosecution are a real threat to journalism even in the muted way that the mainstream media pursue the profession. Persuading the fourth estate to use their influence on key politicians, backed by popular mobilisation including online, appears to be the most hopeful tactic at the moment. But it is a hard and bitter slog.

On leaving the High Court, Stella and I both gave impromptu speeches to the waiting crowd and media. The BBC carried this live until I mentioned US war crimes, when they hurriedly cut it off. These below are the full speeches, and the video should start at the right point. We had come straight from consulting with Gareth after hearing the judgement, so remember what I have told you and consider how extraordinarily well Stella coped and spoke here. How can we not continue to fight?

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132 thoughts on “Your Man Back in the Public Gallery: Assange Extradition, US Appeal Result

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  • nevermind

    Many thanks to Craig and John Pilger, Stella Morris, Gareth Pearce and all those who could make it on the day, to report about Julian’s ongoing plight.
    It is devastating to hear of Julian’s stroke. Let’s hope that there is no follow up and he recovers from it.

  • Wally Jumblatt

    Interesting that on the very same day Justice Holroyde determined that a State could do no wrong, he also handed down a crushing ruling against the UK’s very own Serious Fraud Office, for their behaviour in another case.
    So one tool of state is not to be trusted, but foreign ones are?
    -and deep in the mischief was an ex US govt offical of course.

    search for Ziad Akle appeal

  • Paul Cunningham

    My Facebook comment that goes along with my sharing of Craig’s post.

    ‘I hope that people start to realise that behind the politicians they vote for and behind the news media that backs them up is a stinking cesspit of lies and corruption. The item shared is about a guy, Julian Assange, who is slowly dying in Belmarsh jail. He has been incarcerated, without ever having been found guilty of anything, because he exposed to the public war crimes carried out by America’s army. You are not allowed to know about such things and anyone who lifts the lid on it thereby commits an offence. You will note that the reporting of this event comes from Craig Murray, just out of jail himself on trumped-up charges. This shared post also reveals the real reason why Murray was jailed and by jailing him when they did they prevented him from giving evidence in Spain in another trial that also threatens to expose what is going on. How do you square any of this with ‘freedom of speech’, a ‘free press’ or with ‘democracy’?’

    • Twostime

      Good job Paul, I left FB some years ago, but if you have an audience there and even if it was scrubbed thank you for posting that.

  • Ron Soak

    Two observations in the piece stand out:

    1 The gerrymandered legal process designed to stretch out the length of time Assange is incarcerated as a deliberate form of torture with the prime objective of causing death – in effect a planned legal execution.

    2. The wider implications.

    Whilst this second observation of Craig’s article concerns the impact on journalism and the ability of the populace to have access to relevant information about the criminal activities of powerful individuals and organised groups hiding under the guise of ‘democracy’ that impact cannot be limited in such a way.

    What is happening to Assange certainly has far wider implications for anyone, journalist or otherwise, putting their head above the trenches to challenge the narratives and power of these legal criminals. It is also represents one part of a wider attack on civil society incorporating elements such as:

    – Governments seizing Henry VIII type powers to neuter effective Parliamentary scrutiny;

    – Neutralising effective political opposition party’s – see the current state of the SNP and LP’s;

    – Legislating to make any public protest, however small, effectively illegal and impossible to carry out – with not only gaol sentences but also additional unlimited fines based on charges arising from the conveniently subjective opinions of agents of the corporate State;

    – Full Spectrum Control of all narratives at every level – including not only overt and covert censorship of any opinion which does not fit the official narrative, up to and including making it an offence to publicly state any contradictory narrative (ask most women) but also the promotion of narratives which divide people into ever smaller atomised groups in conflict with each other over a shrinking pool of civil rights.

    The only relevant question right now is how to prevent this?

    The first sub question from this point is to assess the effectiveness or otherwise of present methods. Marching, protesting, signing online petitions from armchairs, writing to politicians, attempting to influence the policy direction of political opposition party’s, and other similar reasonable options have, to put it bluntly, had little, if any, practical effect in stopping this juggernaut.

    I recall attending both protest marches in London against the impending War crime against Iraq in the early part of this century. Standing listening to speakers in Hyde Park it was obvious these marches and protests were not going to prevent not only what was about to occur but also a whole series of large and small incremental events in the years which followed. Events of which are a direct consequence of allowing such unfettered irresponsible power to remain unchecked in any effective and practical way.

    It occurred to me at the time that the only practical means of preventing the impending illegal war and occupation which was about to occur was for the millions of people who marched in Europe and elsewhere throughout the World to stop marching around the streets of our own locale and decamp on mass to Iraq to act as human shields against the prevailing racist hierarchy being once more played out. Something which was never going to happen at that time, in that place.

    In a similar vein it seems the only practical effective means of reversing the current rapidly increasing incremental trajectory towards a renewed form of fascism is to stop playing by the rules dictated by those running and rigging the system. Some obvious thoughts occur which, if articulated explicitly, would likely get this site shut down pronto. However, a starting point would be to reject the divisive, dangerous and damaging narratives which are being imposed by corporate and state institutions, organisations and tamed NGO’s designed to shatter civic unity and prevent any further effective opposition to the current and future direction of travel.

    The only other practical alternative which occurs is that rather than this being sorted out and prevented internally, in house, that it is achieved via outside intervention.

  • Aidworker1

    Is there any coincidence in the timing between Anne Sacoolas agreeing to a court hearing (by video remotely) and Julian’s proposed extradition?

    Cannot Julian give evidence by video and not be extradited – perhaps to the MCC?

  • Hope

    I saw all of Mary’s tweets, even though I was credentialed. I had major technical issues with the feed on the first day, so I decided I would catch up with Twitter about an hour or so in.
    As I remember though, it wasn’t just her. Everyone who was on the feed said Julian looked like he wasn’t feeling well at the time.

  • Stevie Boy

    As mentioned. If we change the scenario slightly does it sound morally better ?
    “Nazi Germany demands that the UK extradite Winston Churchill to Germany for publishing state secrets and defamatory statements against the third Reich. The UK courts agreed after Adolph Hitler’s government gave reassurances to the Judiciary that Mr Churchill would be treated well and hosted at a pleasant camp near Belson.”
    Or.
    “Saudi Arabia demands that the UK extradite Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi for publishing state secrets and defamatory statements against the Saudi Regime. The UK courts agreed after Mohammed’s Bin Salesman’s government gave reassurances to the Judiciary that Mr Khashoggi would be treated well and hosted at their Embassy in Turkey.”
    Just an idle thought …

    • Wikikettle

      A Peoples Tribunal should hold hearings and call witnesses to investigate the crimes of various journalists, politicians, governments and Judicary in their role in the Torture and Murder by “Jigsaw” Culpability……..of Julian

    • Twirlip

      That’s a good point. It makes me wonder if Chamberlain’s infamous piece of paper was a “solemn assurance from one state to another”.

  • U Watt

    Thanks for this Craig. Worth mentioning too that on the day Biden won his appeal to extradite and prosecute a truth-telling journalist he was convening a “Summit for Democracy” in DC, where he warned of a “backward slide of rights” around the world and reiterated his concern for press freedom.

    Unmentioned at the Summit was a survey earlier this year of people in 53 countries in which nearly half were concerned that democracy in their country is under threat from the USA. By contrast 38% fear Chinese influence and 28% Russian influence. Uncomfortable findings for the leader of the free world and its coterie, aka The International Community

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/05/us-threat-democracy-russia-china-global-poll

    • Tatyana

      People fear of the US, because the USA behave like a mad fanatic, putting their ‘democracy cult’ above everything else. They water ‘undemocratic’ countries with ‘democratic missiles’. What they pass off as ‘defending democracy’ is nothing more than aggressive military behavior.

      The New York Times describe the top secret American strike cell in Syria:

      “… too often the cell relied on flimsy intelligence from Kurdish and Arab ground forces or rushed to attack with little regard to who might be nearby.
      “… the Delta operators in the strike cell were biased toward hitting and often decided something was an enemy target when there was scant supporting evidence
      “… in the city of Raqqa in June 2017… the task force claimed the ferries were carrying enemy fighters, and he watched on high-definition video as it hit multiple boats, killing at least 30 civilians, whose bodies drifted away in the green water
      “… C.I.A. personnel were shocked when they repeatedly saw the group strike with little regard for civilians
      “… The Delta operators would push analysts to say they saw evidence such as weapons that could legally justify a strike, even when there was none
      “… Talon Anvil started directing drone cameras away from targets shortly before a strike hit, preventing the collection of video evidence
      “… drone crews were trained to keep cameras on targets … Yet he frequently saw cameras jerk away at key moments

      https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/12/us/civilian-deaths-war-isis.html

      And now the UK gives Assange into the hands of these very people, so that they “judge” him for revealing these very secrets?

      • M.J.

        The extradition treaty between the UK and the USA is one-sided and needs reforming. Citizens should never be extraditable without the need to present proper evidence. Talon Anvil sounds like a rogue unit, and the USA will need to control such units more effectively to protect its own reputation.
        But America has an independent judiciary, and in that there may be some hope for Assange. It is not the case that judges are afraid to acquit people for fear of punishment themselves. The kind of corrupt sham justice that is found in Myanmar or Belarus is not found in the USA.

        • Stevie Boy

          Too much evidence to blame rogue units, this is USA policy.
          USA extradition treaties around the world are all one sided. They do what they want, everyone else does as they are told – backed up by sanctions. All the five eyes regimes sign up to this travesty.
          The place where Assange is likely to be arraigned is in Virginia, conveniently close to Langley and where a significant proportion of people work for the CIA. It has been speculated that he will be dealt with behind closed doors.
          In the USA if you want justice you need money. Plea bargaining is rife. This is not justice.

          • Jimmy Riddle

            Stevie Boy – ah yes – sanctions – whereby they punish the ordinary people of a country, simply because they don’t like the leadership (while the ordinary people actually have very little influence over who their leaders are).

            Makes it very easy for the leaders to answer the question `why is our economy so rubbish?’ with the answer `because the USA/UK have imposed economic sanctions.’ Then the Americans wonder why (a) the most unlikely leaders actually have a level of popularity in their country and (b) why so many people chant `death to America.’

        • Jimmy Riddle

          M.J. – but corrupt sham justice is clearly found in the UK, both in England and in Scotland, just like Myanmar and Belarus.

          I’m looking on at the current situation with a degree of horror. Those of us who remember that the Americans went into Vietnam and we didn’t join them were under the impression that we were somehow different – and the fact that we stayed out of the USA versus Vietnam conflict seemed to prove it.

          They were able to keep up some sort of pretence, but for the last (say) 30 years it has been completely clear that the USA/UK is basically one unit. This is not because the UK Foreign Office feels, against its better moral judgement, the need to side with the USA because it fears the consequences of doing otherwise; not at all. The UK Foreign Office / MI5 / Government – in short, the establishment – people are exactly where they want to be when they join the USA in yet another destructive conflict and sometimes (e.g. first Iraq war) it seems to be the UK who are the catalyst and dragging the USA into the conflict.

          In short – you can consider the UK/USA as one single unit – and the UK side are very, very happy with the extradition arrangements. They can blame the Americans `oh they forced us into this treaty and by this treaty we simply have to extradite him’ – and then they let the Americans do all the dirty work – and take the blame for it.

          I wonder what would have happened to Lady Dorrian if she had acquitted Craig Murray – but (of course) she would never have been a senior judge in that position if there had been any such possibility.

          • Giyane

            Jimmy Riddle

            The nest of spies in London houses the CIA agents who wound up Saddam Hussain into repression. Those same agents devised and legitimised terrorism to assist the US in controlling its colonies.

            Britain is no longer in command, but it spins the web of Islamist terror and protects terror imams. This leaves the US as Clint Eastwood to round up the Dictators they had previously put in power.

            I marched like you against the ear in Iraq in the company of an Iraqi who wanted us to invade. Nobody can colonise a country without citizens of that country’s assistance.

            Britain gives asylum to every US agent , houses them in Westminster at vast expense where they can be fully assimilated into the Brish intelligence system. They use them to promote “”””” jihad “”””” as a tool of Neo-colonialism.

            This is a symbiotic relationship where the psychopaths of different countries pool criminal knowledge. It is no accident that Pritti Patel is Asian, Israeli, African and British , Baraitser too. London foments criminal knowledge which allows Clinty Biden to walk off into the sunset looking cool.

        • Tatyana

          I don’t believe that the independence of the judges in the United States will outweigh the capabilities of the CIA, the government and whatever other state institutions will be involved. I believe that not only the judge, but also the Congress and the President will be pushed through if the issue is posed as a threat to national security.
          This accusatory wording is a huge lie, because the essence of the information disclosed by Assange is precisely in war crimes. This essence was reinterpreted using the same methods that covered the story of Hillary Clinton and her e-mails. Verbal and logical gymnastics, hocus-pocus and voila, everyone is preoccupied with the alleged hostile action of a completely different person, while the real culprit remains out of the spotlight

          • Rhys Jaggar

            Tatyana

            The way that justice ‘works’ in the UK and the USA is that the judge assigned a poliically charged case will have been chosen to get the result the establishment desire.

            The Establishment can’t be seen to be rigging the case, but they can ensure that the judge assigned will do what is required.

            It’s why we value trial by jury so much. There has been more than one case in my lifetime where a judge directed a jury to convict and they returned 12-0 ‘go f**k yourself’ rejoinders….

            That is of course why the current fascists have ‘abolished’ trial by jury. All legal cases are now heard solely by a presiding judge. Judges are corruptible and chosen to be corrupt.

            Juries are ordinary members of Joe Public.

          • Tatyana

            Rhys,
            you see the essence of the problem, and I see the essence of the problem. But, in the case of Assange, many people don’t look that far.
            They believe that it’s simply necessary to protest and demand his release. That won’t help.
            The establishment will quite reasonably say “We cannot do this within the framework of the current legislation” – it would be unfair, but quite legal.

            You see that the law doesn’t ensure justice, doesn’t reflect the will of the society. To remove this, you need to protest for legislative reform. Like BLM. It is necessary to demand institutional changes, otherwise it will continue over and over again. Start with Assange case and go all the way to get the proper result.

            I see why people don’t go all the way in their demands. This phenomenon is well revealed by Mikhalkov in his Russian interpretation of the film “12 Angry Men”. Public Joe has no power to change the system, he is only allowed to express an opinion on a particular case.

            Abolished trial by Jury, you say. Well, I think you all know who did that, you know the names, so you can make them resign and revoke this unfair decision. Also you may make them reconsider non-jury cases, you may fine and imprison them for the violation of the basic freedoms of citizens declared in your Constitution.

        • Tatyana

          M.J. I wrote a long commentary especially for you 🙂 Hope you agree

          What makes a judicial system fair, is a clear set of rules. It’s easy and has worked for thousands of years.
          See how it works – a Society starts by setting the Rules. People come to an agreement with each other and write down the Code, for example: “In our society, theft is illegal. A thief should (cut off his hand) be imprisoned for a term of 2 to 7 years. The term of punishment is determined by the Judge, depending on the circumstances.”

          Thus, any citizen can know the Rules and decide for himself whether to become a thief. This is how a fair democratic society works. Democratic in its true sense, that is, the citizens themselves set the rules, and the Judges only follow these rules.
          The corruption of the Judge in such a society is easily obvious to everyone – one has only to compare the actions of the Judge with the written Code.

          What makes the judicial system unfair is the overly exaggerated role of the Judge. You can call it “the independence of the Judge”, but in essence it is still an anti-democratic use of authority.
          In the case of Mr. Murray, they suddenly invent a new crime of “puzzle identification”. In the case of Mr. Assange, his journalistic activities are interpreted as a “threat to national security.”

          In a truly democratic society, a court case would look like this:
          – What did he do?
          – Journalism.
          – Is it prohibited by the Code?
          – No. Our Code, on the contrary, encourages freedom of speech.
          – Then, why did the investigation even send this case to court? Why do you spend taxpayers money on this?
          – Because he revealed the crimes of the accusing party.
          – OK, this man is innocent, this case is closed. And I, by the power given to me by the people of my country, open a new case against the prosecution.

          This would be an example of a truly independent Judge, in the true sense of the word “independent”.

          • M.J.

            The problem with preserving modern democracy in my view is not so much the production of a code or constitution, as that it depends on the restraint of those having military power. This in turn depends on the quality of the popular political culture.
            Thus in Burma the generals could simply disregard the popular vote and lock up the elected leaders. In Belarus Lukashenko could do the same. In America democracy was in real danger a year ago, and that danger has not gone away. I fear that the damage to American international leadership caused by the election of Trump could become permanent.
            The danger for America is that its internal bitter party political divisions, which have become almost tribal may create a sort of “Cold Civil War”, which its enemies will exploit, and which will give comfort to dictators. To what extent Biden will succeed in improving the situation, I don’t know.
            In the right circumstances democracy could give way to dictatorship, if it degenerates into mob rule, and economic depression could pave the way as well, as happened in Germany. Sinclair Lewis explored the possibility in America with his novel “It couldn’t happen here.”

          • Tatyana

            Well, I understand your concerns about people with military power. But I believe that any force can be limited by law. In my opinion, it’s the law that should stand above everything.
            You cite the example of Burma, this situation should be resolved according to the law as follows – a society whose democratic freedoms are violated elects its representative and appeals to the international organization for help. Like Tikhanovskaya in Belarus.

            Sometimes we can see very kind and caring people, roaming here and there on our planet, trying to “help” even before a due appeal was put into relevant international organization. E.g. we have situations like Syria, where the US is absolutely illegal without a UN mandate. Or, like the situation in Ukraine, where a military coup took place with the support of the United States, and I very much doubt that they had a mandate for this either 🙂

            To keep legislation system working we must ensure that the people have a mechanism to control compliance with the law.
            It is missing in case of Assange, and in case of Syria, and in case of Ukrainian coup.
            In simple words, when the US want to violate the law, there’s no institution to stop them. Any ideas why?

          • M.J.

            One thing that limits abuse of power in the USA is the separation of powers, so that the judiciary is independent. But the culture is vital. Lack of a good civil and political culture can result in the military simply ignoring the law up when it suits them. In the US Trump couldn’t intimidate officials into “doctoring” results for him, and judges wouldn’t cooperate with his attempts to overturn the election. But his supporters still would not convict him when he was impeached, which is why the situation there is still dangerous. He created a cult of the personality, which Steven Hassan, an ex-moonie himself, has written of in his book “The cult of Trump”.

          • Tatyana

            M.J.
            Ok, let me rephrase my question.
            You say that the judiciary in the US is independent and separation of powers is one thing that limits abuse of power.
            I see it is separating one person with power from another person with power. For example, a person with legislative power from a person with executive power.

            Now, an average Joe with no power – what mechanism does he have to be sure it works in reality? How does he know that those powerful people do not collude?
            Suppose the average Joe sees the military and other services pressuring the Court and the Senate, to inflate a threat to National Security and to silence the journalist who exposed their abuse of power. What can the average Joe legally do to ensure that such a journalist is released?

          • M.J.

            The average Joe, lacking any obvious political power or influence or connections, may appear to be useless when i comes to positive change. But I believe that in reality, it might not be so. I believe that there there is a invisible influence in the world which I will call Providence or Heaven that may bring good out of what do we do even when we are not aware of it. And I haven’t begun to talk about our individual invisible soul. Maybe I should leave that subject to others more worthy.

          • Tatyana

            🙂 Well, here in Russia there is a great saying – На Бога надейся, а сам не плошай – trust in God, but don’t be stupid yourself.
            We know that the average Joe is able to read, so is able to compare the written Code with the actions of the Judge. In the case of corruption, other people with power come to settle the matter. According to the written Code.
            If we see that corruption has gone so far that there are no honest people in power, then the average Joe takes a garden pitchfork in his hands and goes to put this manure in its proper place.

  • uwontbegrinningsoon

    I doubt the Americans are really in a hurry. Any changes that the Turnip makes to the Human Rights legislation will be challenged and wont be retrospective. Does BREXIT require compliance with ECHR. I hope that the European Court has the last say and doubt that Assange will ever be sent to USA but his health from years of mental torture might mean he just fades away. Let’s hope for a good outcome.

  • Jimmy Riddle

    …. well, Australian deputy Prime Minister now states that the UK should not extradite Assange.

    Pity the Australian government hadn’t stated that clearly a long time ago.

    I wonder if this will make any difference (probably not – but we live in hope).

    • Wikikettle

      I am sure one day sooner than later, the Global South, Iran, Russia, Venezuela and China will impose sanctions on the Collective West, which has set the precedent. Howls of apoplexy…..

    • Peter Mo

      That’s an important development. Now is a good time for the Australian Free Assange movement to put some real pressure on all Australian politicians to join with Barnaby Joyce.
      Countries like Australia, New Zealand look up to the English justice system therefore its in their interests to come out with at least a query when the judicial process is failing. They don’t have make any comment on whether Assange was right or wrong but be more concerned that the UK Justice system is being brought into disrepute.

  • Ruth

    But what can we do? We’re living in a state which is gradually suffocating our freedoms in order that we become its pinions to carry out its murderous tasks.

    • Wikikettle

      Ruth, leave and go to Ireland, especially if Clare Daly ever becomes Taoiseach and stops Shannon Airport being used by US military. Or go to a truly Independent Scotland not in NATO…..

  • DunGroanin

    Here is a Irish MEP making it an issue in the EU Parliament, calling out the EU hypocrisy on Julian Assange’s treatment by the U.K. and EU.

    https://twitter.com/wallacemick/status/1471041573316177925?s=20

    Meanwhile, Today, Van Der Leyen is doing the dirty business as mistress of Nato warmongering along with Stoltenberg and his pack of mongrel Nordic & Eastern European hounds promised a place in the pack. Dumb dogs they are.
    It hasn’t taken long since the departure of Mutti cat for the mice to start peeing and poking everywhere.
    It seems Scholz at least is standing firm.
    Our current M had lost the plot of the disaster of Afghanistan and washes his hands.

    I’m looking forward to CM’s appraisal of the yet another forced retreat of Imperial ambition – from Afghanistan – pray its the last.

    All eyes should be on Xi/Putin summit today – they are reading the riot-act to the mass media of the world they have been doing privately, diplomatically and in the proxy theatres for the last 7 years to the mass murdering ‘leaders’ and financiers of the ‘Western World Empire’.

    Listen carefully this is the point that the worm turns and bares its teeth. Sanctions start flowing in the other direction.
    What are you going to do? Recruit heroes to go die in some foreign land for fake reasons again?
    Think we the people are dumb enough to do so again so soon? There is now 2 weeks for combat troops to be out of Iraq and the rest of the MENA not long after.

    More Popcorn garçon!

    • Tatyana

      Putin and Xi had a very good friendly conversation. I will look forward to the Russia-India-China summit.
      Worms, teeth or sanctions maybe very interesting topics to chat about, but I believe they had more important things to discuss.

      I’m delighted to know about the grain supply, because my region is agricultural. And another pipeline to Asia is great, just great! Although, with the current gas prices in Europe, it seems to me that Gazprom is not in too much in a hurry to sell gas to Asia for cheap 🙂 The Green Party in Germany is probably bribed by Gazprom 🙂 because every time they make their panicky statements and demands to ban contracts for Russian gas, the prices just skyrocket. The latest news says that the gas price in Europe has reached $1,500 (while Belarus buys it at about $150 and China at $170).
      Well, they are Green, so perhaps they are hoping for warm winters due to global warming?

      • DunGroanin

        Indeed and very funny about Gazprom and spot gas prices. Though I believe Russian gas is more contract based as the Poles found out when they won billions back for being on fixed rates from Gazprom compared with every one else paying on the open market. Now they are paying billions more because the spot price is many times more than the contract they were on.
        Bernarhd at MoA did a splendid report of it a couple months ago
        https://www.moonofalabama.org/2021/10/how-poland-tried-to-win-but-lost-the-gas-game.html

        I’m not worried about NS2 – it’s major infrastructure, like ports, rail, airports, channel tunnel etc these are owned by worldwide ‘interests’ and they never get destroyed as IG Farben / ICI and all these multinationals managed to miss the fatal bombing that cities and civilians got.

        I am worried about the countdown to Ukraine war which is certainly underway and the very real reference that the Russian minister made yesterday about today’s meeting of ‘Allies’. As in allies in war.

        Just waiting for the WMD dossier and media narrative management to achieve its zenith in about, 50 days now.

        Will it be avoided this time? There is always hope but I doubt it. Hence the SCO flexing a collective muscle to the 600 year Imperial dreamers closing in with their Nato bases all the way to AUKUS land!

        • Tatyana

          Ah! The Poland’s story was super funny! I enjoyed it greatly!
          Счастлив не тот, у кого много добра, а тот, у кого жена верна 🙂

          Actually, there are some weird things happening just now in Ukraine, some revelations by Ukrainians themselves. The Ukrainian president appointed a high official, I’m afraid to name the position incorrectly, something like a vice-minister for foreign affairs. That man appeared to be a Russian citizen, ethnic Georgian. His wife, either also a Russian citizen, or running business in Russia, anyway she is a Russian agent in the eyes of the Ukrainians – that woman is Zelensky’s secretary, sitting together with him in one room. I mean literally in one room, not in the front room, or other normal place for a secretary job. Well, that was a scandal, and Zelensky may soon be accused of state treason.
          Yet another story unwraps, spreaded mostly by the opposition, in a very cautious way, but looks like they have proof. This is really dirty story and I don’t want to be in any way connected to spreading it, just to keep you informed generally on the Ukrainian affairs – Zelensky is a drug addict they say, it’s stated they have medical proof and also evidence from his close circle. Marijuana and methadone were mentioned.
          If anything of this proves true, then the whole presidency of Zelensky is questionable and any treaty with his administration maybe illegal.

          As to war, I doubt it will happen, since the USA stated already that they are not fighting for Ukraine and promised to evacuate their military pesonnel in case of war. I cannot speak for all my country, my president or my army, but I will say as an ordinary citizen, average russian – the idea of Russia invading Ukraine is seen here the same absurdity as poisoning an ex-spy with some rare substance somewhere in Salisbury some years after we ourselves swapped him. Nonsense.

          Every country which talked about the possible war agreed that the Minsk agreement is the only way to stop the conflict, every country including USA and Russia, excluding Kiev. I remind you that the Donbass territory demands more autonomy within Ukraine and this is the point that Kiev don’t want to implement. They’ve talked about the possibility of a referendum for 8 years already.

          I believe it’s Britain who may want inspire a war of Ukraine and Russia. But again, as an average citizen, I trust Putin and Lavrov and I believe they will work to settle the conflict in a peaceful way. Also I think they now know what to expect from London, and perhaps got ready.

          • DunGroanin

            I agree neither Russia or China want to divert real resources to war ! Only the global MIC benefits from that game. Neither did Syria or Iraq or Libya or Ethiopia etc… want war. But when the Imperialist financiers and their trillionaire desires want a war it happens. Usually.
            R2P is what Russia is being forced into – a concept invented by Empire. They want the banderists and various private mercenaries, the head choppers especially to make a genocidal attack on the Russian peoples of Ukraine. A suicidal attack – that will inevitably force Russia to intervene to save and protect actual innocent civilians and Ukraine will be split apart and handed to the laughing Poles & other nato wannabes. It’s a simple plan. That even a clown like Zelensky has finally realised, he is a puppet clown just like Johnson always has been in Britain.
            Fortunately for the majority of the peoples of the planet Xi and Putin and a good handful of Leaders across the world and their establishments are REAL SERIOUS about putting their people and the poorest ahead of the ancient Imperialists.

            I do hope you can keep us informed of the zeitgeist in your homeland over the next few months – it is impossible to find anything in the ‘western’ MSM – only at bloggers with insights such as CM and commentators.

          • Tatyana

            I’d be happy to bring news from my region 🙂
            I discovered an Ukrainian politician Muraev. He speaks out very reasonable things. He looks like a true Ukrainian patriot but not as anti-Russian as the rest. Muraev’s program is very down to reality, he admits they should work with Russia instead of waging wars. I hope very much that he may be elected the next president, if he is implementing what he promises, then there’s hope for peace.

          • Wikikettle

            Tatyana & DunGroanin. When Putin visited India. It was a sudden visit with all kinds of deals and agreements between two old allies. Yet I suspected and hoped for something from Putin. Today my hopes were realised. He has managed to get Modi to agree to attend a summit meeting involving China ! This is big news. India was ramping up its rhetoric with China. If you listen to WION, they have anti China stuff on all the time. Yet a big arms deal between India and Russia was a big blow to US. US hoping to muster India in its campaign against China, Putin has pulled off a blinder. A Russia China block including India is seriously big news. US is already starting to talk about ” Human Rights” issues in India ! I always thought it better for India and China as neighbours to settle their border disputets and for India not to be used by US to use its position to help blockade China via maritime choke points and even have a war. I bet the media now have a campaign against Modi and try and destabilise India.

          • Tatyana

            Wikikettle
            Putin’s visit to India was scheduled long ago and did not come as a surprise, it’s just a coincidence.
            They work on training an Indian cosmonaut, have agreed on oil and gas delivery by the Northern Sea Route (which is very interesting project, indeed, short way and spectacular it must be in winter, when they deploy icebreacker ships).

            Worked on vaccination certificates and India will produce several hundred million doses of Sputnik – very nice news!
            Agreed to work on humanitarian aid to Afghanistan!
            By the way, did you know what the Taliban recently announced? They made a law that women cannot be forced to marry. It was news for me, because I didn’t even know that it was still normal practice for them. Yes, Taliban orderd to implement this law and secure women’s rights. They also prepare positions in government for women!

            Well, as for military cooperation with India, about 80% of the equipment in the Indian military forces is Russian.

          • Wikikettle

            Tatyana DunGroanin. I fear the US NATO EU block do not have capacity to negotiate respecting Russian or Chinese security interests. Any agreement reached would have to be passed in Congress which is impossible with various lobbies owning the vote of Senators.

  • John Beech

    Craig,
    Glad to learn you are a free man. Regarding Assange, is there even a small part of you who wonders if what he did was wrong? Perhaps it’s a matter of personality-type, but if I found a box containing your secrets, I’d close the lid, return it to you, and remain schtum about the contents. For this reason, principally, I find myself possessed of very little sympathy for Julian Assange. After all, who appointed him conscience of our nation? Meanwhile, I hope the thrill of revealing what was not his to reveal was worth his way of life. Honestly, it strikes me as strange how we get a turn in the batter’s box of life and this is how he chose to take his cuts, but ultimately? Not my monkey, not my circus. Color me glad – on balance – there are those standing for us.

    • Peter Mo

      If someone gave you a photo showing a murder you would no doubt take it to the appropriate authority. Well Assange did the same and he took it to the most appropriate authority i.e. the public.

    • Wikikettle

      John Beech. Your Philosophy sounds pretty much like philosophy of Germans who knew what was going on in the Holocaust and said nothing, did nothing and when in the Dock said they were only following orders. Its people like you that cross the street and let the muggers and murderers that are our Governments carry on without intervening that are sadly in the majority. So take heart you are like the many and Julian and Craig are the few…

    • Giyane

      John Beech

      How dare abuse victims divulge the secrets of paedophiles? Dog eat dog.

      There was recently a very good article on Moonofalabama about how the excessive pursuit of hard-nosed capitalism has brought international trade to a grinding halt.. The lorry drivers in the US ports are given no facilities and the ports won’t buy trailers to put containers on. They are paid by the job, but it now takes all day to get into the port and out again. US ports are totally log-jammed.

      The result is Global.inflation and the cure is high interest rates for mortgage borrowers. Looks like the US rednecks who despise the lives and rights of poor people have succeeded in achieving something even Usama bin Laden couldn’t achieve in 9/11.

  • Yuri K

    The irony is that European Parliament recently awarded Sakharov Prize “for freedom of thought” not to Assange but to Alaxei Navalny, who is a crook and a jingoist. Though the pace of Ukrainization of the whole Europe amazes me sometimes, I was expecting that Svetlana Tikhanovskaya of Belarus would get the prize, her only sin being stupid.

    • Yuri K

      Ooooops! Tikhanovskaya already got the prize last year. Who’s next? I bet Anatoly Shariy won’t be the winner.

  • DunGroanin

    Americans trying to educate Americans about Assange. Brilliant
    https://youtu.be/8DRVDq8cicg

    Free Assange! Marianne Williamson, Krystal Ball, Katie Halper, Kyle Kulinski, Glenn Greenwald + More
    Katie Halper1,128 watching nowStarted streaming 30 minutes ago
    Katie Halper, Krystal Ball, Marianne Williamson & Kyle Kulinski join forces to host a livestream to free Julian Assange, the radical truth-teller and champion for the First Amendment who is set to be extradited to the United States by Biden who is joining Donald Trump (and parting ways with Obama) in his pursuit of Assange. We will be joined by guests including Susan Sarandon, Glenn Greenwald, Roger Waters, Rep. Ro Khanna, Margaret Kimberley, Julian’s brother Gabriel Shipton, Julian’s fiancee Stella Moris, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, Saagar Enjeti, Ryan Grim, Randy Credico and more!

    • Peter Mo

      Good to see a change in strategy viz going on the offensive rather than defensive. The weak point from the USA side is the Iraq murder video and non prosecution of the offenders. Bringing the UN with international law and showing Assange had moral and legal duty to report the crimes once he had received the evidence.

    • DunGroanin

      A ghost of Christmas past, from 2015 , Sweden’s more than incidental role in the greatest political jailing without even a trial. They don’t care about such niceties, never have, the fake cuddly Swedes.
      https://wikileaks.org/Sweden-Tells-the-UN-that.html

      “The Director-General responded that Sweden was under no obligation to limit time in pre-trial detention, or limit the time someone is detained, even if not charged. He stated that he had no issues from a human rights perspective of detaining someone indefinitely, even if they have not been charged.

      Sweden and the United Kingdom are blocking Mr Assange’s right to take up his asylum. While Sweden refuses to use any of the standard legal mechanisms available to question Mr Assange over allegations, the UK, whose spending on policing the Ecuadorian embassy in London today, Thursday, 5 February 2015, hits 10 million pounds, prevents him taking up his legal right to asylum.
      WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said: “It is embarrassing to see the UK Government spending more on surveillance and detaining an uncharged political refugee than on its investigation into the Iraq war, which killed hundreds of thousands.”“

      Must have cost lots more since and in this greatest mis-justice of the C21st.

  • Tatyana

    The news which want to bring to you attention relates to human rights and journalistic activities.
    The journalists union of Belorussia turns to their Poland colleagues and to the international media in Poland, to investigate the confession of Emil Chechko.

    Emil Chechko is the soldier from Poland, who crossed the border with Belarus and asked for political asylum. Emil claims, that Poland soldiers commit crimes agains the migrants on the border. He claims that Poland military kill migrants, and also he claims that 2 Polish volunteers helping the migrants were killed by Poland military.

    Interview in Russian language
    https://youtu.be/JIBMVRulnfE

  • Brian Eggar

    I was wondering if it is possible to start a different type of campaign and that if for the editors of the various media outlets that published the Wikileak’s documents to be hauled up in the dock and charged with the same offences.

    Is it only a state that can charge somebody under the espionage act or can a private American citizen bring the same charge?

    • Wikikettle

      Brian Eggar. One needs to contribute a few million to an election campaign and then doors start to open !

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