The Assange Hearing Permission Appeal Judgment: Mad and Bad. 135


The latest judgment by the High Court in the Assange case achieved completely the objectives of the UK and US states. Above all, Julian remains in the hell which is Belmarsh maximum security prison. He is now safely there alone and incommunicado, from the authorities’ point of view, for at least several more months.

Importantly, the United States has managed to keep him detained without securing his actual appearance in Washington. It is crucial to grasp that the CIA, who are very much controlling the process, do not actually want him to appear there until after their attempt to secure the re-election of Genocide Joe. No matter what your opinion of Donald Trump, there is no doubt the CIA conspired against him during his entire Presidency, beginning with the fake Russiagate scandal and ending with their cover-up of the Hunter Biden laptop story. They do not want Trump back.

Biden is politically in deep trouble. Biden’s lifelong political support for Israel has been unwavering to the point of fanaticism. In the process he has collected millions of dollars from the Zionist lobby. That always seemed a source of political strength in the United States, not of weakness.

The current genocide in Gaza has changed all those calculations. The sheer evil and viciousness of the Israeli state, the open and undisguised enthusiasm for racist massacre, has achieved the seemingly impossible task of turning much American public opinion against Israel.

That is particularly true among key elements of the Democratic base. Young people and ethnic minorities have been shocked that the party they have supported is backing and supplying genocide. The mainstream media have lost control of the narrative, when the truth is so widely available on mobile phones, to the point that the MSM have actually been forced to change course and occasionally tell truths about Israel. That also was unthinkable a few months ago.

Precisely the same groups who are outraged by Biden’s support for genocide are going to be alienated by the attack on a journalist and publisher for revealing true facts about war crimes. Assange is not currently a major public issue in the United States, because he is not currently in the United States. Were he to arrive there in chains, the media coverage would be massive and the issue unavoidable in the presidential election campaign.

The extradition proceeding has therefore had to be managed in such a way as to keep Assange locked in a living hell the whole time, without actually achieving the extradition until after the presidential election in November. As the years of hearings have rolled by this has become increasingly difficult for the British state to finesse on behalf of their American masters.

In this respect, and only in this respect, Dame Victoria Sharp and Lord Justice Johnson have done brilliantly in their judgment.

Senior British judges do not have to be told what to do. They are closely integrated into a small political establishment that is socially interlinked, defined by membership of institutions, and highly subject to groupthink.

Dame Victoria Sharp’s brother Richard arranged an £800,000 personal loan for then Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and subsequently became chairman of the BBC despite a complete lack of relevant experience. Lord Justice Johnson as a lawyer represented the intelligence services and the Ministry of Defence.

They did not have to be told what to do in this case explicitly, although it was very plain that they entered the two-day hearing process knowing nothing except a briefing they had been given that the crux of the case was the revelation of names of US informants in the Wikileaks material.

The potential danger of an appeal, the granting of which would achieve the United States’ objective of putting the actual extradition back beyond the election date, was that it would allow the airing in public of a great catalogue of war crimes and other illegal activity which had been exposed by Wikileaks.

Sharp and Johnson have obviated this danger by adjourning the decision with the possibility of granting an appeal, but only on extremely limited grounds. Those grounds would explicitly gag the defence from ever mentioning again in court inconvenient facts, such as United States war crimes including murder, torture and extraordinary rendition, as well as the plans by the United States to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange.

All of those things are precluded by this judgment from ever being raised again in the extradition hearings. The politically damaging aspect of the case in terms of the Manning revelations and CIA behaviour has been cauterised in the UK.

There has been some confusion because the judgment stated that three grounds of possible appeal were open. But in fact this was really only two. The judgment states that freedom of expression under article 10 of the European Convention is adequately covered by the First Amendment protections of the US Constitution. Therefore this point can only be argued by the defence against extradition if the First Amendment will not be applied in the case.

The second ground of appeal which they stated may be allowed was discrimination by nationality, in that the prosecution has stated that as a foreign citizen who committed the alleged acts whilst outside of the United States, Julian may not have the protection of the First Amendment or indeed of any of the rights enshrined in the US Constitution.

So the first two grounds are in fact identical. Sharp and Johnson ruled that both would fall if an assurance were received from the government of the United States that Julian would not be denied a First Amendment defence on grounds of nationality.

The other ground on which an appeal may be allowed to go forward is the lack of an assurance from the United States that, following additional charges, Julian may not become subject to the death penalty.

I shall go on to analyse what happens now and the chances of success on any of these allowed appeal points, but I wish first to revisit the points which have not been allowed and which are now barred from ever being raised in these proceedings again.

The most spectacular argument in the judgment, and one which I trust will become notorious in British legal history, refers to the application to bring in new evidence regarding the US authorities’ illegal spying on Julian and plotting to kidnap or assassinate him.

There are any number of things in this case over five years which are so perverse that they have to be witnessed to be believed, but none has risen to this height and it would be a struggle for anybody to come up with anything in British legal history more brazen than this.

Judge Johnson and Judge Sharp accept that there is evidence to the required standard that the US authorities did plot to kidnap and consider assassinating Julian Assange, but they reason at para. 210 that, as extradition is now going to be granted, there is no longer any need for the United States to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange: and therefore the argument falls.

It does not seem to occur to them that a willingness to consider extrajudicial violent action against Julian Assange amounts to a degree of persecution which obviously reflects on his chances of a fair trial and treatment in the United States. It is simply astonishing, but the evidence of the US plot to destroy Julian Assange, including evidence from the ongoing criminal investigation in Spain into the private security company involved, will never again be allowed to be mentioned in Julian’s case against extradition.

Similarly, we are at the end of the line for arguing that the treaty under which Julian is being extradited forbids extradition for political offences. The judgment confirms boldly that treaty obligations entered into by the United Kingdom are not binding in domestic law and confer no individual rights.

Of over 150 extradition treaties entered into by the United Kingdom, all but two ban extradition for political offences. The judgment is absolutely clear that those clauses are redundant in every single one of those treaties.

Every dictatorship on Earth can now come after political dissidents in the UK and they will not have the protection of those clauses against political extradition in the treaties. That is absolutely plain on the face of this ruling.

The judgment also specifically rejects the idea that the UK court has to consider rights under the European Convention of Human Rights in considering an extradition application. They state that in the United States—as in other Category 2 countries in terms of the Extradition Act 2003—those rights can be presumed to be protected at trial by the legislation of the country seeking extradition.

That argument abdicating responsibility for application of the ECHR is one that is not likely to be accepted if this case ever gets to Strasbourg (but see below on the possibility of that happening).

By refusing to hear the freedom of expression argument, the court is ruling out listening to the war crimes exposed by the material published and hearing that the publication of state level crime is protected speech. That entire argument is now blocked off in future hearings and there will be no more mention of US war crimes.

The judges accept—hook, line and sinker—the tendentious argument that Julian is not being charged with the publication of all of the material but only with those documents within the material which reveal the name of US informants and sources. As I reported at the time, this was plainly the one “fact” with which the judges had been briefed before the hearing.

That it is a legitimate exercise to remove entirely from consideration the context of the totality of what was revealed in terms of state crimes, and to cherry pick a tiny portion of the release, is by no means clear; but their approach is in any event fatally flawed by a complete non sequitur:

At para. 45 they argue that none of the material revealing criminal behaviour by the United States is being charged, only material which reveals names. Their argument depends upon an assumption that the material revealing names of informants or sources does not also reveal any criminal behaviour by the United States. That assumption is completely and demonstrably false.

Let us now turn to the grounds on which a right to appeal is provisionally allowed, but may be cancelled in the event of sufficient diplomatic assurances being received from the United States.

To start with the death penalty, which has understandably drawn the most headlines: it astonishes me, as this argument has been in play now for several months, that the United States has not provided the simple assurance against imposition of the death penalty which is absolutely bog standard in many extradition proceedings.

There is no controversy about it, and it is really quick and easy to do. It is a template: you just fill in the details and whiz off the diplomatic note. It takes 5 minutes.

I do not believe the Biden administration is failing to provide the assurance against the death penalty because they wish to execute Julian Assange. They do not need to execute him. They can entomb him in a tiny concrete cell, living a totally solitary existence in a living hell. Arguably, he is of more value alive that way as a terrible warning to other journalists, rather than an executed martyr.

I view the failure so far to produce a guarantee against the death penalty as the clearest evidence that the Biden administration is trying simply to kick this back past the election. By not providing the assurance, already they have achieved a delay of another few weeks which they have been given to provide the assurance, and then further time until the hearing on 20 May to discuss whether assurances produced have been adequate. Not giving the death penalty assurance is simply a stalling tactic, and I am sure they will go right up to the deadline given by the court and then provide it.

The second assurance requested by the court is actually much more interesting. They have requested an assurance that Julian Assange will be able to plead a First Amendment defence on freedom of expression and will not be prevented from doing so on the grounds of his Australian nationality.

The problem which the United States faces is that it is the federal judge who will decide whether or not Julian is entitled to plead that his freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment. Neither the Department of Justice nor the State Department can bind the judge by an assurance.

The problem was flagged up by the US prosecutor in this case who stated that it is open to the prosecution to argue that a foreign national, operating abroad as Julian did, does not have First Amendment rights. It is extremely important to understand why this was said.

The prisoners in Guantanamo Bay are deemed not to have any constitutional rights, despite being under the power of the US authorities, because they were non-US citizens acting abroad.

A key US Supreme Court judgment in the case of USAID versus Open Society stated unequivocally that non-US citizens acting abroad do not have First Amendment protection. At first sight that decision appears to have little relevance. It concerns foreign charities in receipt of US aid funds which, as a condition of aid, they must oppose sex work. They attempted to claim this was in breach of First Amendment rights but the Supreme Court ruled that, as foreigners acting abroad, they did not have any such rights.

While that may appear of limited relevance, referring to NGOs not individuals, there is a paragraph in the Open Society judgment which states as a rationale that were First Amendment rights to be granted to those NGOs they would also have to be granted to foreigners with whom the US military and intelligence services were in contact – i.e. the Guantanamo problem.

This paragraph of the Supreme Court ruling appears inescapable in the Assange case:

Julian was a foreign national operating abroad when the Wikileaks material was published. So I do not see how the United States can simply give an assurance on this point, and indeed it seems to me very likely that Julian would indeed be denied First Amendment rights at trial in the United States.

The sensible solution would of course be that as a non-US citizen publishing material outside the United States, Julian should not be subject to US jurisdiction at all. But that will not be adopted.

So I anticipate the United States will produce an assurance which tries to fudge this. They will probably give an assurance that the prosecutor will not attempt to argue that Julian has no First Amendment rights. But that cannot prevent the judge from ruling that he does not, especially as there is a Supreme Court judgement to rely on.

In May when we come to the hearing on the permitted points of appeal, it is vital to understand that there will be two parts to the argument. The first part will be to consider whether the assurances received by diplomatic note from the United States are sufficient for the grounds of appeal to fall completely.

However if it is decided that the assurances from the United States are insufficient, that does not automatically mean that the appeal succeeds. It just means that the appeal is heard. The court will then decide whether the death penalty or nationality discrimination points are strong enough to stop the extradition.

The absence of the death penalty assurance should end the extradition process. But the hearing would see the prosecution argue that it is not necessary, as there are no capital charges currently and none are likely to be added. The judges could go with this, given the undisguised bias towards the United States throughout.

The state will again kick in with its iron resolve to crush Julian. I don’t think that the United States will be able, for the reasons I have given, to provide assurances on the nationality and First Amendment rights, but I think the court will nonetheless order extradition.

The United States will argue that it is a free country with a fair trial system and independent judges and that Julian will be allowed to make the argument in court that he should have First Amendment rights. The UK court should accept that the US judge will come to a fair decision which protects all human rights considerations. They will say that it is perfectly reasonable and normal for states to treat citizens and foreign nationals abroad in different ways in different contexts, including consular protection.

A justice system which is capable of ruling that a person should be handed over to his attempted kidnapper, because then the kidnapper does not have to kidnap him, and ruling that the clauses of the very treaty under which somebody is being extradited do not apply, is capable of accepting that the ability to argue in court for a First Amendment defence is sufficient, even if that defence is likely to be denied.

There is, however, plenty of meat in those questions that would allow another adjourned hearing, another long delay for a judgment and plenty of leeway to get past the November election for Genocide Joe.

The British establishment continues to move inexorably towards ordering Julian’s extradition at the time of its choosing. Once extradition is ordered, Julian in theory has an opportunity to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

The European Court of Human Rights can delay the extradition until it hears the case by a section 39 order. But there are two flaws: firstly the extradition may be carried out immediately upon the court judgement before a section 39 order can be obtained, which would take at least 48 hours. Secondly the Rwanda Safety Act has provision, though specifically in the Rwanda context, for the government to ignore section 39 orders from the ECHR.

It cannot be ruled out that the British government would simply extradite Julian even in the face of an ECHR hearing. That would be popular with the Conservative base and, given Starmer’s extremely extensive and dubious role in the Assange saga while Director of Public Prosecutions, I certainly do not put it past him either. It is worth noting that there have been several occasions in recent years when the Home Office has deported people despite British court orders putting a stay on the deportation. There has never been any consequence other than a verbal rap on the knuckles for the Secretary of State from the court.

So the struggle goes on. It is a fight for freedom of speech, it is a fight for freedom of the press, and above all it is a fight for the right of you and me to know the crimes that our governments commit, in our name and with our money.

I am ever more struck by the fact that in fighting for Julian I am fighting exactly the same power structures and adversaries who are behind the genocide in Gaza.

I need to close with an appeal. Please do not stop reading. You will recall that I recently addressed the UN Human Rights Committee on Julian’s case and in doing so had the opportunity to state a few hard truths about the war crimes of the United States.

My opportunity to do so was organised by the Swiss NGO Justice For All International, who submitted a shadow report (open link and click on red icon) by their lawyers to the UN 7 year Periodic Review of the UK’s human rights record. Justice For All also carried out a great deal of lobbying activity in connection with this to get me onto that stage and into meetings with key officials.

I had agreed a fee to pay Justice For All for this legal and lobbying activity, in the expectation that it would be met from the substantial funds held by the bodies comprising the US/European institutions of Julian Assange campaign.

Unfortunately the Assange campaign has refused to meet the bill and I have been left holding it.

I have been told that I failed to follow correct procedures to apply for the spending. I am frankly in shock and a form of grief, because I thought we were friends working for a common cause, in my own case for free. I am reminded of the brilliant perception of Eric Hoffer: “Every great cause begins as a movement and becomes a business”.

I am left with this bill I cannot pay for the work at the UN. Justice For All could not have been nicer about the situation, but if you could contribute to this Justice For All crowdfunder, I should be very grateful.

 

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135 thoughts on “The Assange Hearing Permission Appeal Judgment: Mad and Bad.

1 2
  • Walt

    Absolutely outrageous that your costs were not reimbursed.
    I tried to donate but it does not accept donations from a Chinese address. China is not on the countries list.
    I will send to your usual bank and mark it for this purpose.

    • Mitch

      I absolutely agree with Walt – it does seem outrageous. I can only think that they’re worried about investigations into financial propriety (after all, the state will use all means available to obstruct justice) and have gone into an unfortunately process-heavy mode of operation.

      I think Craig would agree he can be a maverick – and it does fit with the quote 😁

      I tried to donate, but the page won’t load on my battered iPhone – will try on a laptop!

    • Melrose

      What is very disturbing is to hear about ‘costs’ in this particular case. In a reasonable world, Justice For All (and furthermore the “Assange Campaign”) should have viewed Mr Murray’s short intervention in front of the UN committee as a powerful asset, and not as a cost.
      Meanwhile, the unanswered question is why both these entities only mentioned their financial standpoints afterwards, and why Mr Murray fell into such a trap only because he failed to request written *assurances* (word of the week) before offering his services.
      What does Stella think about this? Is she planning to charge Craig for her appearance on the recent filmed dialogue that was broadcast recently?
      At least these tribulations cannot be blamed on the British Judiciary…

      • craig Post author

        The cost is largely in the preparation of the “shadow report”, which is quite a substantial bit of work. Legal staff do have to be paid.

        • Melrose

          But apparently, this Shadow Report too was something to which you offered your contribution pro bono. It certainly implies some work, but quite within the scope of what can be expected on a regular basis from a bona fide NGO. Not something that should be charged in part to someone like you. And legal staff, in my book, implies fees that are agreed upon in advance, in a fees agreement.
          And paid by the requesting party. Once again, it seems surreal to face such conundrum afterwards.
          If you admit yourself that these people are legitimate in asking you to partially fund their endeavors, then you cannot be surprised when they send you the bill…
          As for myself, I think they should be making a contribution to you, for work well done, not the other way around…

          • craig Post author

            You are bluntly talking complete nonsense. I made zero work contribution to the shadow report. And what extraneous source of funding do you think this NGO has to do the work?

            By no means all work by lawyers in the world is a client representation with a fees agreement. You are just spouting bullshit. In fact I did agree a cost with Justice For All. Of course I expected a bill. But I expected the funds of the Assange Campaign – of which I have been an integral and I might say leading part for fifteen years – to meet it.

  • guido paoluzi cusani

    I am not going to pay anything to the “Justice for all” NGO crowfunding… I am afraid they are coming out of this as grifters as much as the Julian Assange campaign, that is not going to see a penny any more, either. I reserve myself the opportunity to thank you for your hard work with a personal transfer on your bank account at the next opportunity.
    The quote you mention would be more likely: “Every great cause begins as a movement and ends to be great when it becomes a business.”

  • dearieme

    Then the Scotnaz police can accuse Assange of a hate crime committed twenty years ago and get him locked up all over again.

  • Abdul

    Just a thought. Why does the Assange campaign still try to stop the extradition to the US? It can’t be much worse than it is here in the UK. I think he stands a better chance of having his sentence commuted or forgiven in the US. If he was in the US at least his case will be widely talked about in the vast and powerful alternative media. This trial has shown the UK establishment will let this drag on for years and they haven’t the slightest bit of remorse in his treatment.

    • glenn_nl

      Abdul – just briefly…

      The legal punishment system of the US is far worse than that in Britain. They have politically motivated prosecutors whose elections depend on getting high conviction rates and long, harsh sentences. Huge numbers are jailed – over 1.25 million IIRC – the highest proportion of the population of any country.

      Sentences are very long compared to the UK (and pretty much everywhere else), can be extremely cruel, up to and including huge terms in solitary and the death penalty.

      US prisons are extraordinarily violent places, and make our prisons look like holiday camps in comparison.

      There are very good reasons not to be enthusiastic about going up against the US legal system, particularly if you’re some sort of ‘undesirable’. Embarrassing the administration definitely puts one in that category.

    • Fleur

      “If he was in the US at least his case will be widely talked about ”

      Really Abdul? Joshua Schulte – the person recently sentenced for leaking the ‘Vault 7’ files to WikiLeaks – is in the US, and his trials (there were two because of a hung jury in the first) went almost totally under the radar. As did his reports of the medieval conditions in which he was warehoused.

      Were Julian to be esconced in the monstrous US prison gulag, and therefore to fall firmly under the guiding thumb of the CIA, it is extremely unlikely he would ever re-emerge.

      Have a look at this document (“The Darkest Corner”), as well as some of the witness statements in this THREAD re US prison conditions:
      https://twitter.com/LaFleurDelSur/status/1313112152006365186

  • nevermind

    ‘A justice system which is capable of ruling that a person should be handed over to his attempted kidnapper, because then the kidnapper does not have to kidnap him, and ruling that the clauses of the very treaty under which somebody is being extradited do not apply, is capable of accepting that the ability to argue in court for a First Amendment defence is sufficient, even if that defence is likely to be denied.’

    Well said, Craig. Add to that that the attempted kidnapper had conspired and planned to carry out murder, should the kidnap not work out.

    I’m appalled that a very well-endowed Julian Assange campaign in Germany and Europe is refusing to fund your valuable with ‘Justice for all’. Why are they sitting on monies given to them by the public to get Julian out of his incarcerated life? I’m sure that it can not possibly be fathomable that security services are involved in destabilising a campaign at a point in time when it is vital to stop extradition into a supermax hole of hell in America.

    • Carlyle Moulton

      What browser are you using? I tried CHROME and Seamonkey to donate to justice for all and neither worked. You could try Firefox.

      In the end I donated to Craigs’s email address for one off donations via Paypal. I suggest you do likewise, but if amounts are small expect him to wait until he has a decent amount before forwarding it towards the ultimate bill.

      Notify him via a comment so that he knows to what the donation relates.

    • Tom Welsh

      You might like to check any security software you are running, such as extensions to block advertisements and tracking. They often have unintended side effects; for instance, preventing scripts from running properly in the browser.

  • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett

    There is an extant problem for journalism in the UK and US by reason of the Julian Assange case.

    So far the UK court has reasoned around free speech entitlements (inclusive of the First Amendment of the US). However, the US case involving the publication of the Pentagon Papers sets the gold standard, thus, ultimately, the Assange case cannot approbate and reprobate in unison. The implication of ignoring the First Amendment and free speech is that a precedent will now be set to replicate such prosecutions against other journalists in the UK and US. At least this is the legal opinion of thirty-five law professors in the US (see below).

    https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/julian-assange-law-professors-warn-of-threat-to-us-constitution/5118759.article

    • Melrose

      Exactly. This is why, unless The Donald manages to get elected again, US authorities will do their best to make Assange’s life a calvary, but across the pond. As Craig wisely mentions, Julian is a better example of punishment alive, than he would be dead as a martyr to the cause of journalism.
      Don’t forget our adversaries, the international ruling class, are not only enemies of the people, they are also cynical perverts.
      Nothing pleases them more than a respectable person alive in endless agony after defying the system…

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      Thanks for your reply, Boss. It may be tangential to your article’s main argument, but it is still incorrect. To anyone not familiar with the case, the opening paragraph of Supreme Court’s opinion is ambiguous – I haven’t added any nuance. However, out of respect for your readership (and the truth), I think you should amend the text. (The lyric from Ms. Dynamite was a reference to the output of the Supreme Court Justices – or whoever drafts their opinions – not to you. As you may have gathered, I don’t like lawyers).

      • Melrose

        Tangential or not, I think this is far from being a nuance. In fact, it’s almost the opposite.
        And, as we’ve seen even recently, the SCOTUS doesn’t mind reversing previous decisions, when it fits the political agenda of the day…

        • craig Post author

          Of course it is a nuance. To say you must not support sex work is not the opposite of saying you must actively oppose sex work, don’t be ridiculous. And what the freedom of speech issue actually was in Open Society has zero effect on the main argument. If it was about the right to say Biden is an alien it would make zero difference.

        • Melrose

          I beg to persist.
          In your article, you write that, as an express condition to receiving funds, the NGOs involved were “not allowed to say anything against sex work”.
          It’s almost the opposite: they were (unlike American organizations) MANDATED to do so !!!

          “But as has been the case since 2003, foreign organizations that receive Leadership Act funds remain subject to the Policy Requirement and still must have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.” SCOTUS Decision

          I totally agree with you though that it still shows differential treatment between US and non-US entities. But this is very hardly breaking news…

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply Melrose. I agree with you: there’s very little, if any, nuance – the original sentence in the article is incorrect and should be amended. I’m by no means an expert on US federal law vis-a-vis foreign NGOs but, to my mind, reading about Congress passing laws essentially requiring charities not to speak out against prostitution and *sex trafficking* FFS in the developing world (where some countries have HIV rates in excess of 20%) didn’t pass the smell test. Why would it do that when, unlike the UK and many European countries, since 2009 when it was banned in Rhode Island, prostitution of any kind has been outlawed everywhere in the US*, apart from in certain licensed premises in certain rural counties of Nevada? Not for the first time, I’m thinking that our host should probably cut back a little on the drinking.

          * It’s worth bearing in mind though that, whilst prostitution may be almost entirely banned, what with the US’s general schizophrenic attitude to matters of sex, stuff like this is perfectly legal in California (and probably most, if not all, of the states):

          https://twitter.com/growing_daniel/status/1763434646791172559 (probably NSFW – it’s a Bank Holiday in the UK mind)

          Enjoy the Easter weekend – whatever you’re up to.

        • craig Post author

          I apologise Melrose and LA what I wrote in the article is indeed the opposite of what I intended to write!

          It is however still entirely irrelevant to the main argument.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply, Boss. Apology accepted.

            Correction to previous comment: ‘unlike the UK’ should read ‘unlike in Great Britain’, since Northern Ireland adopted the ‘Nordic Model’ in 2015. Forgot about that.

            Happy Easter to all who celebrate.

        • Melrose

          Agreed.
          But in the future, please think twice before calling other’s comments “ridiculous”.
          No hard feelings obviously. I wouldn’t be here otherwise…

        • Melrose

          Once again, lapsed agnostics can provide the best believers!
          At the end of the day, the most reliable comment should be that, would Julian Assange be extradited, everything could happen. Because, despite time passed and all the heritage, the USA still is for grabs in terms of justice.
          As I previously said, they’re no fools. They will kick the can down the road, past the election.
          And then, if he gets elected again as seems very, very likely, Mr. Trump will ask his friend Putin: “Vlad, what do you want me to do. Cancel the charges and let him fly to Russia, or stick with them and give him the Navalny treatment?”
          If Biden gets reelected, anything bad is possible…

  • Carlyle Moulton

    Craig.

    Excellent article.

    I tried to donate to the site you specified but had problems on 2 of my 3 available browsers so have donated GB Pounds 50.00 to your one-off donation address for you to forward to the actual target when you have enough to make forwarding worthwhile. I suggest that you draw your one-off donation address to the attention of commentators on this thread, as the first comment I saw before mine was from a Chinese blocked by a firewall or something.

    I think there will be a 24+ hour delay before you get it because I am in GMT +11 timezone which is out of business hours now for my bank and then it will be out of business hours for your bank.

    I strongly suggest that you contact Glenn Greenwald, another OSM journalist who obeys principles no matter what ideological position he is attacking. He used to be a darling of the “left” when he was attacking the “right” but is now seen as an apostate because he is attacking the “left” for the same behaviour for which he was – and is – still attacking the “right”. He has a recent post supporting Assange. You non-MSM journalists need to hang together and encourage your followers to cross-follow.

    I have a list of similar journalists I follow:-
     •  Binoy Kampmark; No blog but appears at consortiumnews, counterpunch & dissident voice & elsewhere.
     •  Glenn Greenwald; as above
     •  Jonathan Cook; Has Blog but also appears also on counterpunch & dissidentvoice
     •  Phillip Weiss of web site Mondoweiss
     •  Tony Greenstein; you already know.

    In the case of Greenwald, I have been following him for years. Originally he had his own blog but then he became one of the 3 founding editors of The Intercept, but left when the Intercept banned him from publishing what was probably the first attempt to disclose the Hunter Biden influence-peddling scandal. He then moved to Substack but now runs a long format video show on Rumble and emails transcripts to his subscribers later. I wait for the transcripts since I believe I can read faster than members of species homo sapiens speak. In the year 2000 he was a constitutional lawyer, but switched to blogging in 2005 because of concern with the limitations MSM short timespans put on their output which most people consume. He likes to have space to build a good argument.

    He is a supporter of free speech and Julian Assange, and a strong opponent on the formerly “left” but now US/UK “bipartisan” war on non-mainstream comments, journalism and opinion. Reply to this comment if you would like me to forward his Assange-related transcript. Warning: more than 45 minutes to read.

  • harry law

    Thanks for the excellent summary on Julian’s appeal. I certainly know how disappointed you were on not being compensated for your fees to ‘justice for all’ campaign. Your free work over the years is much appreciated; however, not all, but most, lawyers and other such organisations are conducting businesses and they demand their pound of flesh.
    Over the years I have spent all my time on Israel/Palestine, to that end. I went to the Magistrates court on two occasions as a litigant in person under section 6 of the Prosecution of Offenders Act 1985. On labelling issues for products emanating from Occupied Territories, the LPHR would not help – even though it states in their constitution its primary aim is to give advice and take up claims beneficial to the Palestinians. I was told by a Trustee who happened to be a Professor at a prodigious law school: “We only have a tiny staff, and have no money” [absolute garbage]. I was refused help and advice.

    Long story short, I failed to get a summons on the ground that I had not proven that Katzrin [Golan Heights] was not part of Israel. I could not believe the Judge’s ignorance and told him it was not me who declared the Golan Heights as part of Syria, but the UNSC in Res 497 … to no avail, and I did not get the summons.
    Fast forward to November 2019, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union Judgment in case C-363/18 declared that all labelling from OPT must have the clear indication of the “occupied territory and the specific indication of its provenance from an “Israeli Settlement””.
    This means that all labelling in the UK must abide by this judgment, since EU Regulation 1169/2011 is retained UK law and the EU courts decisions are binding.
    https://res.cloudinary.com/elsc/images/v1618232184/C_363_18_PSAGOT-ELSC-Analysis/C_363_18_PSAGOT-ELSC-Analysis.pdf

    • harry law

      The Grand Chamber of the European Court Judgment in my comment above is instructive because any product emanating from Occupied Territory must have the correct country of origin or place of provenance as described above. This is so important since the Israeli government refuse to tell the truth on this information and have threatened blue murder if forced to comply, in theory it could drive a coach and horses through the settlement enterprise, making anything produced in OPT, toxic. here is a link to the full judgment, which is now part of retained UK legislation after Brexit. https://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?doclang=en&pageIndex=0&docid=220534&cid=1470115

  • harry law

    “The first thing we do” said the character in Shakespear’s Henry V1 is “Kill all the Lawyers”. I do not accept that proposition, I think we should torture them first.

    • Lysias

      Stratford Grammar School graduate and writer Shakespeare put this saying in the mouth of a character he named “Dick the Butcher”, one of Jack Cade’s confederates. In the scene, Cade condemns all the educated.

  • Tom Welsh

    “Judge Johnson and Judge Sharp accept that there is evidence to the required standard that the US authorities did plot to kidnap and consider assassinating Julian Assange, but they reason at para. 210 that, as extradition is now going to be granted, there is no longer any need for the United States to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange: and therefore the argument falls”.

    In other words, they consider it irrelevant that the US government plotted to kidnap or murder Mr Assange illegally, since they expect that it will now be allowed to do those things under colour of law.

    The price is awfully high, but people all around the world are gradually coming to understand that all talk of “the rule of law” in the USA has always been nonsense. Ever since its foundation, the USA has been a huge criminal enterprise. Like the Mafia scaled up thousands of times, or a vast modern version of Tortuga, the notorious pirate stronghold. Even against its own highest magistrates, the US “justice system” is nothing more than a weapon cynically wielded against all who threaten, or even offend, the ruling oligarchy.

    • Melrose

      That’s absolutely true. No justice in this world.
      We’re living in a terrible world, where force is always eventually winning.
      That’s even probably the reason why certain billionaires are planning to live on Mars (not Jupiter) 🎵

  • harry law

    This whole Assange travesty is a symptom of the International Law system being replaced by the “Rules based order” – an American invention of course, which Arnaud Bertrand takes apart in this excellent article. My two pence worth, any assurances the US gives are not worth the paper they are written on.
    “The beauty of the rules-based order: the rules are made-up in the moment to fit the interests of the U.S. and its henchmen, depending on the circumstances.

    Had the very same resolution, with the exact same language, been adopted for a conflict that the U.S. actually wanted stopped, there’s no doubt they’d have argued the exact opposite: that it was binding and the hostilities had to cease immediately. Which goes to show that sometimes the Rules-Based Order does align with international law, when it’s in the US’s interests to do so.

    In that sense, Israel’s genocide in Gaza is a great revealer because everything about it goes against international law: the mass killing of civilians, journalists, and humanitarian workers; the pre-existing occupation of Palestinian land; the wholesale destruction of Gaza: the hospitals, the mosques, the schools; the torture of prisoners; the deliberate starvation of the population, etc. So never before have we been able to see in such an obvious way the immense contrast between the rules-based order and international law.

    And there’s no going back, the curtain was pulled: if they hadn’t noticed before, the world now knows for sure that the US (and Israel of course) is quite literally a rogue state, operating outside international laws and norms, and outside the most fundamental moral principles.

    There’s no overstating how consequential this is for the integrity of international relations. By doing so, the US effectively destroys the world order it largely created after WW2 because it effectively tells everyone that the set of institutions, rules and norms that underpin it are meaningless. We’re effectively now in a world system where everyone realizes the police, the government, the basic set of beliefs, have become completely corrupted”. This changes everything.
    https://twitter.com/RnaudBertrand/status/1772818294363521429

    • Melrose

      Agreed.
      To begin with, it’s very easy to be abused by formal language. In English, “order” has many different meanings, depending on whether you use the word in a restaurant, the military, a religious organization, etc… such meanings being frequently opposed. Just like “guest” can either mean a person who’s been invited, or a person who’s due to pay for the service they received.
      The phrase usually says “Law and Order” but it frequently means that the latter comes first. It’s not a new thing. It’s been the case for thousands of years. Only our candor made us think it was different because of the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, or whatever your local government calls the smokescreen they provide to mask the harsh reality.
      In that capacity of dishonesty, all governments are alike, whether in the US, the UK, the EU, Israel, the RF, and most other nations. Not one to save the other, so to speak.
      And yet, this world is FILLED with WONDERFUL PEOPLE. Everywhere. Just look 👀 for them…

    • Melrose

      No, but you’re not Catherine Tate either. Or if you are, do the right thing: give us your ‘verified user’ profile.

    • John S

      “… probably won’t.”

      Which is a shame because Anderson, arguably the UK’s greatest living historian, in an erudite sketch tracing the history of the term “international law” reveals just how long jurists have understood that they are dealing with a cynical, power-based fantasy: to attempt to define it is to see it’s moral pretensions “melt into air”, as Marx would have it.

  • SleepingDog

    So, this amounts to a British legal acknowledgement and support of the USAmerican deep state (represented by the independent policies and practices of the CIA), and the acceptance of extrajudicial death squads? Much like royal prerogative and licence to kill in the British Empire, I guess. In which case, what worth are assurances from the puppet show above? Is this just slavish subjection by one ailing empire to a larger ailing empire, or is there a quid pro quo involved? After all, the USA has been less concerned about historic crimes squeezing out through the desecretisation pipeline than the more nervous and draconian-secrecy-conditioned Brits.

        • Jon

          Squeeth: it is perhaps not so surprising, from an organisational perspective. The good people doing legal research (the actual work) are at the bottom of the tree. The folks who fiercely guard the purse-strings, who may be rather more factional on issues that the whole org should agree on, are at the top. The two ends of the org are not always pulling in the same direction, sadly.

  • ronny

    How much is the bill? I don’t know if there’s a reason to keep it hush, the crowdfunder doesn’t say at all how much they’re looking to raise. It’s hard to judge how much to give.

    • Jon

      Ronny, the total on the crowd-funder is given on the right-hand side, at least for me. It’s CHF40,000 (about £35k). The description says though that this is not just the legal report preparation, but travel and accommodation expenses, and other related costs.

      • Melrose

        The more you look for information, the more confusing it becomes. Maybe we shouldn’t.
        In this case, even though a “goal” of CHR 40,000 is indeed specified, it’s rather hard to understand how its intended use as announced by the funds solicitor coincides with Craig’s mention of some outstanding “bill I cannot pay”. A bill from someone who’s raising funds for you?
        Beats me.
        No matter what, let’s all wish for the best for Mr. Murray (no more ‘self dictation’), and bien sûr for Julian Assange. Out of jail free card…

        • craig Post author

          Melrose,

          I am getting very fed up with your insinuations. You seem determined to raise false doubt to stop people donating. They are not raising funds for me. But the money will go to their continuing work as an NGO of which this cooperation with me is an example. What do you think they are going to spend it on, cigars?

          Jon I think my article makes clear that the bill is not only for the shadow report but also for extensive lobbying and preparation.

        • Jon

          Melrose,

          A bill from someone who’s raising funds for you?

          This does not seem strange to me. Craig assumed that the Assange Campaign would pay it, and met with unexpected resistance. He let the charity “Justice For All” know about the predicament, and in response they put up a GoFundMe, to affray the unmet costs. I wonder if they rather assumed that the monies would obviously be covered by the Assange Campaign too, and were surprised at the outcome.

          I know nothing about the intricacies of funding in this case, except what Craig has written in his article and below the line. But I have a foolish optimism that the Assange Campaign can be persuaded eventually to release some funds; it is not like they could assert the monies in this case were misspent.

  • Jon

    I’m very sorry to hear the response of the Assange campaign on the question of funding, Craig. But must that be the end of the matter? If there is a funding application process, can it be gone through in order to obtain the funding retroactively?

    (I am heartened to hear they at least have decent funds. Perhaps at least that means the fight for Julian can continue.)

      • Jon

        Ouch, that’s rotten. I am sorry.

        In my naivete, I had rather assumed that Stella would be in control of the funds, and would short-circuit the process for folks whose commitment is beyond doubt! 🙃

      • Emma M.

        Why might they want to do that? It truly escapes the bounds of my cynicism to imagine why, as it seems so far from what one would expect from anyone with the (I thought) common goal of freeing Julian Assange.

  • El Dee

    If Assange is refused leave to appeal and the government ignores the section 39 as you say then he would end up in the US in June of this year at the latest – if I have read your piece correctly. Given what you say about not wanting this to come before Biden’s election campaigning then they should allow the appeal and possibly the EHRC appeal too. The appeal in the UK will, of course, fail and the EHRC appeal could be ignored or overturned by the UK using the Rwanda laws you have mentioned. The plus-point for the Tories is that this would kick the can further down the road until after the GE and could be something they could use to kick the incoming Labour Government with, especially with, as you say, Starmer’s personal involvement with it. This could be something good with which a new Tory Opposition Leader could cut their teeth on and could be damaging to Starmer’s ‘brand’

    Of course there’s an entirely different thought. Maybe the US doesn’t actually want this to happen anytime soon or anytime AT ALL. How do they control the narrative in any way whatsoever when Assange eventually lands on their shores? As you say, in the US literally no one is thinking about him never mind reporting on him. The reporting on him could spread the pain in every direction as both parties are to blame in both the crimes in war and of the attempts to kidnap and murder him. For them, they must wake every morning hoping against hope that he has not. If he spends long enough imprisoned without charge then I’m sure their wish will be granted..

    • Melrose

      Exactly. Except for the man imprisoned at Belmarsh, every other person involved has every motive to wish him to stay in jail as long as he is alive, and if it’s on the British side of the pond, the US will be generous in compensation.
      Legal considerations are merely make-believe in this case.
      Now, you’re going a step further in trying to see what the consequences could be on domestic UK politics. Who knows? Better ask Julian.

    • Lysias

      As the time draws nearer to when Trump seems likely to win the election, and then after Trump wins the election (if he does), and then after Trump again becomes President (if he does), how you think the UK government’s subservience to the wishes of the Biden administration will move, up or down?

      • Cornudet

        To paraphrase Gore Vidal’s famous analysis, all that the re-election of Trump will imply is the succession to the hard right of the Property party (Biden) by the Loonatic Fringe of the Property party, in what even the most skilled trichologist would admit to be the strictest possible sense of the word. Trump was president when Julian was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy, and his administration made the slimy deal which made this possible, in defiance of not only the spirit of international law,but the very letter. Expecting justice, or even any modicum of human decency,from an incoming Trump presidency is akin to going prospecting for gold at the end of a rainbow.

    • nevermind

      The Rwanda laws should not apply to Julian’s case at all; he did not appear to be a refugee from Australia and or Sweden as he volunteered to go back to Sweden before it became clear that his extradition from there to the US was discussed and agreed in secret.
      Only after Starmer intervened and told the Swedes not to get cold feet, became it necessary for Julian to find refuge in an embassy.
      The Rwanda law can’t possibly be bent to apply to him, and I’m sure that the ECHR would reject such move as they clearly don’t agree with this draconian UK law to send people from our shower into a raging judicial hailstorm.

  • Re20240329

    Excellent report, I think I have donated on the strength of this. Although I got “504 Gateway Time-out” the money has at least gone from my account. Reference is my userid. Minor quibble: my bank said that NatWest Strand is WC2N 5JB.

    • Fat Jon

      I am quite suprised at all the problems with payment, because I am the one who normally has difficulties while I have VPN switched on. My Gofundme payment went through without a hitch, and I use Firefox which can give me extra problems.

      Could it be that I have used Gofundme before, and therefore have certain cookies stored on my computer?

      • Clark

        “Could it be that I have used Gofundme before, and therefore have certain cookies stored on my computer?”

        You can prevent Firefox from presenting stored cookies by opening a new private window.

  • Patrick Haseldine

    Last Sunday’s “Not The Andrew Marr Show” carried a piece warning “Why we should boycott GoFundMe”. Apparently, Zionists are in control of ‘GoFundMe’ and do not release the money when it is required. In the immortal words of ‘Dragons Den’, “I’m Out” when it comes to putting money into ‘GoFundMe’!

  • TPaine

    Thank you for your careful analysis of this confectionary maze. I can follow the arguments but it is, simply, a remarkable piece of judicial lawmaking. But we should expect that from any state which subscribes to the Rules Based Order. This is a dance, like a gavotte, or a scene from Candide or Dicken’s Jarndyce v Jarndyce or Carroll’s Caucus Race: there is no effort to move toward the truth, quite the opposite – truth is a plastic coating used to create a pleasing appearance to hide ulterior motive. Assange is guilty of breach of the Rules Based Order by causing the Pirate King to lose face. His punishment must be exemplary. Real legal argument is meaningless because the ruler is an outlaw, a rogue state, and so are its henchmen here and elsewhere. On Easter weekend prayer seems the best option, but I have made a small contribution to the UN fund.

  • Alistair Diamond

    Is there a mechanism for applying for funding for a Julian-Assange-supporting project? If so what is it and who do I contact please?

  • Sean_Lamb

    I think the ruling is possibly more hopeful than my initial reaction or this blog post suggests. Even the fact that the judges gave a summary of the poisoning and rendition evidence in their judgement will be useful at the ECHR (the ECHR prefers looking at judgements and rulings over re-parsing evidence).

    “The United States will argue that it is a free country with a fair trial system and independent judges and that Julian will be allowed to make the argument in court that he should have First Amendment rights. The UK court should accept that the US judge will come to a fair decision which protects all human rights considerations.”

    This MIGHT cover the objection over ECHR requirements for freedom of expression, but it doesn’t really cover the Extradition Act that Assange should not be disadvantaged by his nationality, since the very fact that Assange needs to make the argument (which Cryptome’s John Young did not) means he is disadvantaged. The fact that there might be legitimate reasons to discriminate against someone due to their nationality doesn’t alter the fact that there is a bar in the Extradition Act. If you like it is the reverse of the duality argument re the treaty. You didn’t specify that political crimes were a bar to extradition in the Act, if Parliament wishes to enact that they need to pass legislation so doing. You did place a bar that cases involving the First Amendment could potentially be non-extraditable, if you don’t like that you need to pass legislation to clarify the situation. The potential trap is I assume rights to a fair trial are also constitutional rights, the defense would need to argue that there were sufficient guarantees outside the constitution that protected these rights, otherwise it is argument that risks barring all extraditions.

    And it may be that this was the DOJ’s answer all along to Obama’s so called New York Times problem – how do we criminalize Assange’s activities without criminalizing the New York Times – residents and citizens of the US have First Amendment protections, non-residents and non-citizens – particularly those who belong to hostile foreign intelligence agencies – do not (I have always been deeply skeptical of the assertion that Obama decided not to prosecute Assange, rather than just while he was happy to imprison himself in the Ecuadorian embassy the prosecution could be placed on ice).

    This is why the ruling might be more of a problem than people realize. The DOJ may be sitting on an opinion that says Assange’s activities are covered by the First Amendment (eg John Young) and by the real albeit opaque rules that these individuals operate under, they are unable to prosecute someone unless they think they can get a conviction. It would be interesting to see what they come up with in a few weeks time.

    Craig Murray claims he more or less predicted the ruling by listening to judges’ intervention, as such it would be likely the DoJ could do the same. In any case, unless the judges are writing their decision using a quill and parchment, the NSA would have been in possession of drafts as they were being composed. Hypothetically this might explain the sudden reported interest within the DoJ for getting Assange to plead guilty to a misdemeanor.

    • Sean_Lamb

      Incidentally, I wouldn’t totally write off Keir Starmer – at least in this particular case.

      He used to work in Doughty Street chambers and apparently Philippe Sands has a high opinion of him, so he might be susceptible to a bit of peer pressure – regardless of the manipulative behavior in the Swedish case

        • Cornudet

          Last summer I read again Michael Mansfield ‘s Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer – I own a signed copy, purchased from the branch of Waterstones on Keele university, both he and I being the product of this institution’s Philosophy department. (I only met the great man once, in 1997) Mansfield recalls how he worked with Starmer in the trial of a group of Iraqi nationals attempting to use the duress defence after having hijacked an airliner to avoid repatriation to the regime of Saddam Hussein. The fact is that although Starmer might well have operated in a liberal cause, Michel’s Iron Law of Oligarchy, alluded to recently on this very page, has shaped him into a fashion agreeable to the imperialiist British establishment as a sausage machine case raw minced pork, and no-one can look to this man as anything other than a stooge to an inherently reactionary system

      • will moon

        Sean, Starmer will do what he is told to do – an Establishment shill par excellence.

        Have you forgotten his responsibility for not prosecuting Jimmy Savile – he can’t even remember it, the most important decision of his career and we are asked to believe that some lowly, anonymous legal grunt made the decision – poppycock

        As for his love of genocide does that not prove the Zionist fifth column in Britain own him? Traitors like Joan Ryan and foreign hostile actors like Mark Regev tell him what to do

  • Sam (in Tiraspol)

    Just try explaining the Assange case to a 5-year-old and it instantly becomes obvious how utterly ridiculous it is.

    Well, you see, honey, a man who isn’t American and wasn’t in America did something that America didn’t like. So America tried to kidnap him. But when that failed, they got their friends in England to kidnap him, and now they’re arguing over who gets to keep him locked up in the basement.

    But what did he do, Daddy? Why is America so angry with him?

    His only crime was telling the truth.

    But aren’t you supposed to tell the truth, Daddy?

    You are, sweetie. But America hates the truth, so they go around the whole planet and find and punish anyone who tells the truth.

    America is bad. And I’m scared, Daddy.

    So you should be, darling. So you should be.

    • Mr Mark Cutts

      Sam

       ”So America tried to kidnap him. But when that failed, they got their friends in England to kidnap him…”

      That’s it in a nutshell.

      The Washington Post was in the news this morning referred to by his first name because Russia ‘kidnapped’ him.

      Meanwhile Julian Assange is referred to as ‘Assange’.

      Two Political Prisoners but one has a first name (he is kidnapped by Russia ) and the other only has a last name because he has been kidnapped by the UK on behalf of the US.

      Just put an Orange Boiler suit on him and a blindfold in Belmarsh and we’ll be back to the Good Ol’ Days of Gitmo.

  • Peter Mo

    I don’t see any effort to get bail for Julian. He was convicted for breaching pre charge bail which is not a criminal offence. Therefore using the conviction as reason for denial of bail when there never was a charge (Sweden) and the breach was not criminal is illogical. In effect Assange is serving time for breaching bail far in excess of the actual penalty.

  • marc molitor

    Dear Mr Murray,

    Nowhere do I see any mention of the retraction of the confession of a key prosecution witness, the young Icelandic Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson. To your knowledge, was this mentioned during the appeal hearings? If not, why not? Is this part of the “fresh evidence” ruled out?

    best regards

    • craig Post author

      It wasn’t mentioned Marc. The original judgment was that the evidence was a sworn legal statement and could not be retracted by a magazine article. I am afraid that probably couldn’t be argued as wrong in law.

      • marc Molitor

        Thank you for your reply, which does however raise other questions:
        So, isn’t this also the same argument for the Yahoo news investigation?

        From this point of view, wouldn’t the only admissible evidence be the embassy spying case? Since there is a trial in Spain, with evidence gathered in a judicial context?

        regards, thank you for all your explanations

  • Willie

    Thoroughly informative article that continues to expose the rotten, corrupt and murderous US and UK regimes for what they are.

    No surprise either that it is being reported that the CIA were acting against Donald Trump throughout his presidency or through all the lawsuits and legal actions thereafter.

    Interesting too how from news breaking today Sir Jeffrey Donaldson leader of the DUP has been charged with in relation to alleged historic sex crimes including rape.

    I make no comment on the guilt or otherwise of Sir Jeffrey but do wonder at how and why this has just arisen. For me it raises once again the question about how the law is used for political purposes and something we are about to see more of.

    • Lysias

      I read on Page A9 of today’s Washington Post that Jeffrey Donaldson has stepped down as leader of the DUP as a result of the scandal. I am surprised that the WaPo would even bother reporting such foreign news of merely local significance.

      Makes me wonder whether the CIA was somehow involved.

    • ET

      A woman was also charged at the same time in connection with the same allegations, which at this stage are just that, allegations. Perhaps someone didn’t like that he allowed Stormont to reassemble. Who knows?

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