The Turning of the Tide 75

In the normal run of things, if a very senior judge instructs you to give an assurance to their Court, it would probably not be wise to avoid giving the assurance, to devote a huge amount of text to trying to obscure the fact you have not given the assurance, and then to lecture the judge on why they were wrong to ask for the assurance in the first place.

Most lawyers would probably advise against that course of conduct. But this did not deter the fearless James Lewis KC, back to lead for the United States prosecution against Julian Assange, eyes twinkling and his neat nautical facial hair having grown rather wilder, as though he had decided to assume a piratical air to match his reckless conduct of the case.

This day of the Assange hearing felt rather different from all the other days these past 14 years. For one thing, when I arrived early in the morning, I was neither freezing nor drenched. Instead the sun was out and the sky untroubled by any thought of rain.

The many supporters gathered outside the Court appeared more colourful and cheerful than of late, and I was happily struck by the very large amount of Free Assange graffiti I passed on my mile long walk to the court, sprayed all over central London.

I was very confident we would win and this would be a good day, so confident in fact that I mounted the podium and broadcast it to a slightly startled Strand.

You will recall that in the last High Court judgment, the court had requested assurances from the US government against the use of the death penalty, and that Julian would not be barred by his nationality from claiming the freedom of speech protections of the First Amendment in a New York court.

The Americans had provided what seemed to me – and more importantly to Julian’s legal team – sufficient assurance against the death penalty.

On the right to plead the First Amendment, plainly no sufficient assurance had been given. The US government had simply assured that Julian’s defence in the US would be entitled to seek to make a First Amendment defence.

It is important to understand that the High Court has not asked for an assurance that the First Amendment argument would ultimately prevail against other factors, e.g. so-called national security. They had merely asked that the line of defence not be barred on nationality alone. The US assurances had sought to avoid the question completely by ignoring it and seeking to conflate the other arguments that might prevail against the First Amendment.

This was so blatant, I did not see how the court could rule that the US assurances were sufficient, and still retain any intellectual self-respect. My observation of judges Johnson and Sharp at the last hearing was that they very much possessed intellectual self-respect. So my optimism of winning the right to a new appeal was very high.

To match the bright new morning, the case had been moved to a new, much bigger and brighter courtroom. The audiovisual system for the press in nearby rooms broadly worked. Efficient new crowd management systems were in place. I was even given a laminated card entitling me to my place in the main courtroom, as opposed to an ad hoc scrap of paper. I had been spared from standing in the queue by Jamie, Jim and the wonderful volunteers.

What is more, Edward Fitzgerald was sporting a different horsehair wig, possibly a century or so younger than the previous model. For those who poo-poo the effectiveness of this blog, I can report that he told me that my comments on his wig in my last report caused him to dig out his spare. This blog gets results!

Once we had all settled in to this resplendent fake-medieval courtroom, with its extraordinary lantern roof architecture flooding light in from above, Fitzgerald rose and launched into the case with a notable lack of preliminaries. He appeared a bit puzzled at what he was meant to be arguing against. It was like punching fog.

Fitzgerald accepted that the assurance on the death penalty was sufficient. But the assurance that Assange could rely on the First Amendment was inadequate. It merely said he could “seek to” rely on it.

Furthermore the “assurance” did not even commit the prosecutor not to argue that Assange should be denied First Amendment protection on the grounds of nationality. The original statement before the court from US Prosecutor Kromberg that the prosecution may do that, still stood.

Even if the prosecution were to commit – which they had not – that they would not argue the point, there could be no guarantee that the US court itself would not debar Assange from First Amendment protection on account of his foreign citizenship, following a number of precedent cases including at the Supreme Court.

The High Court had made plain that this was a real concern of discrimination by nationality contrary to the Extradition Act, and its concern had not been addressed by the United States. “There is a real risk of discrimination and that risk survives the equivocal and downright inadequate assurance”.

Mark Summers KC then stood to complete the defence argument.

This transformational day had its greatest effect on Summers. Gone was the anger at events, the simmering impatience at the failure of the judges to grasp the arguments. Instead, he was so softly and sweetly spoken nobody could hear him. As he rose, the sun inched across the sky just enough that a clear shaft of sunlight pierced the lantern window and illuminated Summers. It seemed an effect too bold for Hollywood, possibly something out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I am pretty sure I heard angels singing.

Summers said he had the difficult task of countering the US arguments before they had made them, and asked the court for permission to speak again later, which Judge Dame Victoria Sharp – who had obviously also heard the angels singing – agreed immediately.

Summers enumerated the US arguments from their written submission. He went through these as:

1) Assange will be on US soil during trial and thus the First Amendment will apply.
But this Summers said was inconsistent with Kromberg’s sworn statement and with previous case law.

2) Assange might be found to have been on US soil when offences were committed and so the First Amendment would apply.
Except, said Summers, Assange clearly was not on US soil at the time.

3) Nationality is a narrower concept than citizenship so no relevant discrimination is taking place.
Summers said this was plainly wrong as shown by many examples including the Refugee Convention.

4) Nationality was only one of the factors which might lead to the first amendment not being applicable.
Summers pointed out that if nationality was a factor, that was discrimination. The existence of other factors was irrelevant.

5) The United States was saying that the 14th Amendment – which grants citizenship to all persons born in the United States – was somehow relevant.
Summers looked perplexed and dismissed this argument with a wave of his hand.

It was now time for James Lewis KC to re-enter the fray on behalf of the United States. His number 2, Clare Dobbin, who had replaced him so inadequately in the last hearing, was nowhere to be seen. I fear she may not just have been relegated back to the substitutes’ bench, she may have been transfer-listed.

Lewis said that the burden was on the Appellant (Julian) to prove there was a serious possibility of, or reasonable grounds to fear, prejudice on the basis of his Australian nationality.

Section 81b of the Extradition Act provides that the court could bar extradition where

if extradited he might be prejudiced at his trial or punished, detained or restricted in his personal liberty by reason of his race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or political opinions.

It is an anti-discrimination clause, which means you need to show unfair treatment against that of the comparator, in this case a US citizen.

Lewis than appeared to take a real swing at the absent Dobbin. He stated that he wished to draw attention to a Court of Appeal judgment which “for some reason” had not been highlighted at the previous hearing.

In a Court of Appeal case, the Foreign Secretary had won against a claim that it was unfair discrimination on his part to treat UK citizens differently from non-citizen UK residents, when making representations on their behalf over incarceration in Guantanamo Bay. This case showed it was legitimate to treat citizens and non-citizens differently.

The ruling states “a person who is not a British citizen is not entitled to protection”. British citizenship was simply a fact of law, and nothing to do with the person’s characteristics. “That is the correct prism through which to look at this case”.

You will perhaps permit me to point out that I predicted, before the US assurances were given, precisely and correctly what the US arguments would be, including this one: that it is legitimate to treat citizens differently from other nationals in terms of consular protection (which entirely routine legal concept is the only thing the Guantanamo Bay case quoted by Lewis effectively says).

Lewis continued that Assange would not face discrimination because of his Australian nationality; he would rather be treated differently as a non-US citizen. At issue was the “simple legal fact” of his non-US citizenship.

Lewis said the claim of discrimination only works here on fair trial issues and the assurance addresses fair trial issues. Assange is guaranteed a fair trial.

While the court has suggested that the First Amendment should apply because it provides Assange the kind of Article X ECHR protection to which Assange would be entitled, it must be noted that Article X only covers “reasonable and responsible” journalism. This is not what Assange did.

One factor that may define “reasonable and responsible” might be where the journalism took place. Assange had chosen to publish outside the relevant jurisdiction of the source of the material. That was not responsible. There were many other factors, not just nationality, which would decide whether the First Amendment applies. That includes national security of the United States. Assange was guaranteed a fair trial on all these points:

“He will be able to rely on the First Amendment but that does not mean he will succeed. As a plain matter of law, Assange is a foreigner in a foreign country carrying out acts that affect US national security”.

There were also 18 charges, covering different categories of offence. Some of the charges, such as hacking and conspiracy to steal documents, could never get First Amendment protection. That had been clearly shown in the Chelsea Manning judgment. Assange’s conduct was not protected by the First Amendment.

Mark Summers was then given his promised right to reply for the defence. He said that the notion that there was legitimate discrimination based on the characteristic of nationality was not applicable here. This was about a trial process.

None of the cases quoted by the prosecution relates to the trial process. Section 81b forbids discrimination by nationality in the trial process. That in other situations citizenship had legal effect was not relevant.

As regards the distinction being made between nationality and citizenship, it was worth noting that prosecutor Kromberg states that Assange may be excluded from First Amendment protection on the basis of nationality, and not of citizenship.

The argument that nationality is only one factor which might exclude the First Amendment fails. Lewis had stated that Assange may be excluded from the First Amendment because he is “a foreigner carrying out acts on foreign soil”. That is discrimination by nationality. If he were a US national he would not be excluded. The other factors become irrelevant.

The ability to rely on and argue from the First Amendment is not the same thing as to say this argument must ultimately succeed.

The finding against Chelsea Manning was not relevant. Manning was in a different position. He was a government employee, a whistleblower and not a journalist. The position in relation to the First Amendment was entirely different.

The argument that the First Amendment would automatically apply if Assange were on US soil is simply wrong. Several precedent cases showed this.

Summers then handed over to Edward Fitzgerald again. At this point. James Lewis rose to object. He said he had not objected to Mark Summers replying, although this was not the originally agreed procedure. But to have two people replying seemed excessive.

Judge Sharp responded with great seriousness. “Given what is at stake here”, she said, she would hear anything anybody wanted to say. If he wished, Lewis could respond again after Fitzgerald.

That “given what is at stake here” was very striking. It was the first real acknowledgement of the major issues at stake in this case, and perhaps also of the devastating consequences for Julian personally, from the judiciary in over a decade of proceedings. It did feel like something had changed.

Edward Fitzgerald then got going. The most important point, he said, was the deafening silence from Kromberg. He could have given the assurance that the prosecution would not seek to argue that Julian should be debarred from First Amendment protection by his nationality. But he had not done so.

It was perfectly normal practice for diplomatic assurances to include commitments for the prosecution to pursue or not pursue a certain course of action. In this very case they had assured the prosecution would not seek to pursue charges which might bring the death penalty. Yet Kromberg had not given any assurance he would not pursue the barring of the First Amendment, which he had on the contrary given an affidavit saying he might indeed pursue.

The assurance given was no assurance at all. Lewis had said that Assange would be able to rely on the First Amendment; but that was not what the “assurance” said. It said rather that he could seek to rely on the First Amendment, which was not the same thing at all.

Extradition could not be granted because there were too many issues of prosecutorial behaviour unresolved as well as issues of law.

The arguments were now at a close after just ninety minutes. Judge Sharp rose and said she and Judge Johnson would return in ten minutes to explain what would happen next.

In the end it took twenty minutes. When she returned, Judge Sharp had on her most solemn face. She started off by saying that everybody should listen to their decision in silence, and if anybody thought they could not do that, they should leave the court now.

I have to confess, I worried. If they now ruled against Julian, extradition could be immediate. He could literally be whisked straight to a military airfield. Was Judge Sharp expecting protest?

Very quickly the fears were allayed. Sharp stated simply that the right to appeal had been granted on grounds 4 and 5 of the applications – i.e. Freedom of Speech and Discrimination by Nationality. She also stated explicitly that the right to appeal applied to every count of the indictment, thus rejecting Lewis’s argument that some of the charges could not attract a freedom of speech defence.

The parties were given until 24 May to submit a joint memorandum on procedure and timetabling for the appeal hearing.

It is very important to understand that all of the other issues have fallen away and cannot be reintroduced. We are now down to the one narrow point on freedom of speech and discrimination by nationality. But I do not see how the United States escapes from this corner.

At the substantive appeal hearing, the issue, the arguments and the case law will all be exactly the same as at this preliminary hearing. The only difference will be the burden of proof. Here the defence only had to show there was an arguable case of discrimination. At the substantive hearing they will have to prove it is a winning argument.

But given the performances here and the fact the judges took only several minutes – when everyone was expecting at least several days – to reject the US prosecution arguments, I do not see how the USA can now win this.

We do not know when the substantive hearing will be. My bet would be October, though the legal team thought July possible. Of course Julian remains in a terrible maximum security prison. But freedom comes closer.

A cynic may see all this as a further kick into the long grass and spinning out of the process until beyond the US Presidential election, as Biden would be very ill-advised to bring Julian in chains to Washington for the campaign. But my feel for it was not that. I do believe this was a genuine win, and we are on the way to victory and freedom before Christmas.

It is unlikely, though not impossible, that the judges who granted the appeal will hear the appeal, so I fear that is the last we shall see of Dame Victoria Sharp. The frankly hideous Tory Lord Chief Justice Burnett has retired, so I expect the appeal will be heard by Lady Chief Justice Sue Carr, who has no previous involvement with the case.

It is a notable fact that so far female judges have shown themselves much less biddable by security service interests than male judges in this long saga. It appears that the judiciary have again found a way towards barring the extradition that does not involve any judgment on the public interest of revealing war crimes or any discussion of the issues in material revealed by Wikileaks most embarrassing to the United States.

If the United States loses this case, as at present they stand to do, then Biden is in a lose-lose situation. He will get no credit for promoting freedom of speech and media freedom by dropping the case. On the other side, the hawks will characterise him as a loser who could not win an important national security case, even in his closest ally. The political logic for Biden in taking the off ramp appears compelling. But can Biden’s interests prevail over the will of the CIA?



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75 thoughts on “The Turning of the Tide

1 2
  • Greg Park

    Biden’s response to the student protests and the mass murder of journalists in Gaza does not suggest a canny operator mindful of freedom of speech and media freedom. All the evidence of the past 7 months suggests he doesn’t care at all how he is perceived by ordinary voters. This week alone he has already told brazen lies about October 7th at a commencement ceremony, then further cemented the US as a rogue state vis a vis international law. This is barely halfway through a single week. Go back through the past seven months and you will struggle to find any counter evidence that Biden is adhering to political logic.

    • craig Post author

      Indeed. Biden cannot backtrack on his hardline zionism. But that he wants to compound the desertion on the left through the Assange case is not axiomatic.

      • Greg Park

        He could decide that pursuing Julian would compound it, but I doubt there are many leftists at this point who still regard Joe Biden as a protector of free speech. When he labelled the students as antisemites for expressing their First Amendment rights he was by extension smearing every person in America who prizes free speech; certainly every left-wing person who opposes his genocide. He might now conclude – quite accurately – that he has no reputation as a free-speech champion left to preserve.

        • Urban Fox

          A) Biden is a life-long. democratic party machine grifter. He has no fixed idealogical principles.

          B) He doesn’t know his arsehole from breakfast time, due to senility.

          The White House bending & twisting for political reasons. Is due to cynicism and should be seen as such.

          • Goose

            His bid to become the Presidential nominee was all but over, until a combination of Obama, the party machine and the collective media resuscitated his campaign.
            The West mocks theocratic Iran, noting how a bunch of clerics get to vet and produce an approved list of presidential candidates. Only then do the public get to choose. But if you think about it, the US has similar processes; albeit in the US they’re controlled via the party machine, donors and the media owning mega rich. In no truly free and fair democratic system would Trump and Biden emerge as the preferred prospective Presidential choices to go before the public.

        • AG

          if you look into the millions of swing voters who value the 1st Amendment, Trump has garnered quite a superficial reputation of being more “liberal”, supported by the Supreme Court in its rhetoric in favour for the 1st.

          Many voters regard the failures of the various court cases against Trump as the most important proof for the 1st still working. Which I fear will be a big disappointment for many.

          German investigative reporter Holger Stark – a frm former colleague of Assange´s and deputy editor with weekly German DIE ZEIT, wrote – and I do not believe it – in his long article in Febr. 2024 – that Assange had hopes that Trump would make him Ambassador of sorts for Australia.

          I regarded that statement in the article as potentially smearing Assange´s name in the anti-Trump EU public.

          But, may be I am dead wrong. And Assange did express such views – in earnest? Because that´s what the article implied. Not as a joke. Still as of now I think it´s a lie.

          Anyone with insight on the last point?

          • AG

            p.s. on Gaza:

            I have been trying to suggest to altern. alternative outlets to correct views about the rape allegations re: HAMAS, as expressed by NYT, and furthered by Pramilla Patten and now ICC.

            As much as there is resistance in terms of UKR propaganda in Germany – in this case I see noone no one picking it up.

            It´s unbelievable. I have not found a single item reporting even that 50 professors demanded the NYT to correct its story if it´s wrong. (may be I´d find 1 in daily “Junge Welt” which is tiny.)

            I really can´t wrap my head around this and I have grown up in this fucking place…

            (And stuff like rape sticks with masses of people who would know nothing about Gaza. That´s the problem with this particular set of evil PR and that´s why I think it´s among the most serious fabrications.)

          • Goose

            It stems from the false claims that Assange/WikiLeaks were part of the now completely discredited, debunked ‘Russiagate’ plot to install Trump.

            Trump is only out for Trump, he’s narcissism personified.

            If anything, Assange’s plight got worse under Trump’s presidency. Trump appointed Mike Pompeo, and everyone knows Pompeo’s opinion of WikiLeaks; he described WikiLeaks as a ‘non-state hostile intelligence service’.

            I’ve noticed a distinct shift towards a second Trump presidency though in recent months, even in our serious media. It’s due to his position on Israel; which is that of giving Netanyahu and co, free rein to kill and steal land as they see fit.

          • AG


            I wouldn´t have brought it up if said German example would have been ANYONE ANYWHERE.

            But it´s not. This particular allegation was part of a lengthy piece which, naturally, condemned US and the West´s conduct very much. So it was really no anti-Assange piece.

            BUT: It did include this – as I found – completely unnecessary excursion solely based on the author´s own personal frm. former working relationship experience with Assange. So this was so-to-speak a private anecdote, which would not demand further evidence, since seen as primary source.

            But I don´t buy that.

            I used to have the impression that among those few frm Assange associates in Germany there was an attempt to distance themselves after he had fallen out of the public´s favour.

            For whatever true reason, it was sold on the basis of Assange being an odd duck, passionate, brilliant, but strange, and perhaps sometimes putting his obsession above decency or the law.

            That´s the kind of the cowardly and telltale defamation that has become urban-legend-style knowledge about Assange.

            And, just like with Corbyn, it’s the worst kind.

            You see no difference between this high level media behaviour and the cheapest neighbourly gossiping.

    • Tom Welsh

      Yes. Mr Murray’s stature grows week by week. I very much hope to see him in Parliament soon. A worthy successor to one of my political heroes, Edmund Burke.

  • gareth

    Thanks for the article Craig. I’ve been waiting for your (informed) take as against the prattle from the MSM.
    I do note that the punishment of the process continues now for months more and the issue is kept out of public gaze until after the US election.

  • Dr John O'Dowd

    What an excellent and remarkable report. We and posterity (not to mention Julian himself) owe you a great debt of gratitude for your relentlessly fearless reporting of Julian’s court cases in recent years. This has been done at substantial personal cost – physical, emotional psychological and no small measure of personal risk.

    When the travesty against Alex Salmond is also factored in, your service to the people of both Scotland and the UK (which state’s perfidy lies at the core of this), in revealing the depravity of state actions and actors, is beyond calculation. The fact that the writing is both informative and stylish is an extra source of satisfaction and pleasure.

    No wonder they went out to get you!

    I believe that you will be remembered in history as one of the great court reporters (among many other things).

    When Julian is finally freed, you will gain huge satisfaction from your contribution to that happy event.

    When the full truth of the Salmond travesty is revealed (as it inevitably must be) your role will have been crucial. No-one else reported the defence – and they jailed you for it. We owe you.

    Thank you.

  • Karl

    Another outstanding and peerless court report from Craig!
    We are eternally grateful for your writing and your significant contribution to the fight to free Julian!
    I take it there is nothing in the High Court appeals process which would allow Julian’s legal counsel to apply for bail.
    Also, that the US is precluded from providing any further supplements to their “assurances” in an attempt to escape being legally cornered.

    • craig Post author

      They could apply for bail. I have frequently suggested it to them. They reply it will not be granted and will give the media and prosecution an excuse to drag up a lot of old muck stories.

      • Karl

        I see. Thanks for the clarification,Craig.
        I hope they do apply because, in the context of the tide turning, and the security state orchestrated media perpetrated smear campaign of Julian having largely run out of road, even a refusal to grant bail could increase public support and sympathy for Julian and further discomfit his persecutors by highlighting their pathological obsession with doing everything possible to destroy him.

      • ronny

        There must be some office or body which makes the decision as to who goes to Belmarsh and who goes to a mid- or low-security prison. How does one lean on that body? Would a bail application be the place to introduce such a request? ie please grant bail, but if not, at least send him somewhere else while he waits?

        • thatoldgeezer

          This has already been thought about. There are three risks; 1) if Julian were sent to a low-security jail, it might be anywhere in the country. His wife and children might have to spend their their whole life on the road just to visit him twice a week as at present. 2) An older, more decrepit prison would be far more unhygienic and unpleasant than in the most modern and state-run prison in the UK. 3) If Julian were one amoungst others with ‘yer normal crims’ he would be far more at risk from casual violence both from ‘the system’ and other inmates. As things are, he does benefit from the status of being the foremost political prisoner in the only political prison in the UK. Lets not risk that proud position.

      • nevermind

        Not during a GE, they far too busy speculating and fawning one way or the other.
        Indeed they will try and get Brownie points of granting bail, and if they drag each other onto the mud, you will have ample scope to mention the real facts about Starmers ignorance re legalities of EU arrest warrants and the facts about collateral damage.
        As for Ghaza, they grey parties have all mud on their faces.

      • tonyopmoc

        Nearly met you in 2009, I was about to leave for the House of Commons, and you asked can anyone record this. It was an obscure video feed and it took me an hour to work out how to do it. Thank You Craig. Good luck in Blackburn. Maybe the tide has turned. You are a Good Man. Hope to see you next time as an MP in the House of Commons.
        “Craig Murray – Torture 1 of 7”

      • Peter Mo

        So you are saying Julian’s team of lawyers don’t wish to apply for bail? They should be sacked. Like most well educated souls when they are proven wrong or failed they just don’t wish to admit it. Since the Swedish people never entered charges, any transgression against bail has to be viewed in different light. At minimum, any bail skipping should be inadmissible as evidence in future bail hearings. That is the strong point for Julian Assange. I doubt his lawyers have grasped this fact.

  • Wunderschwein

    Fantastic commentary and case reporting combined. It is significant that the issues in the forthcoming appeal are so narrow, but it was the best result Julian could have hoped for in this stage of the proceedings.

    My concern as to how the appeal will go is, to paraphrase US jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes, dependent on what the judges ate for breakfast on the morning of the appeal hearing – or, more pertinently, with whom they ate that breakfast.

  • Athanasius

    Quite why the process has become the punishment is debatable. I would argue that much of it has to do with the left/socialist assumption of historical inevitability, a cretinous, “ends justify the means” notion which, unfortunately, has oozed into the conservative/right and drawn the intellectual vim and vigour out of it. The practical effect is that the traditional rule of law, which assumes that right has to be done anew every day, is being slowly beaten to death. We see it in the increasingly crazed lawfare prosecutions of Donald Trump, but even in the UK, it has been on the rise ever since the Blair politicisation of the judiciary (and everything else.) For these reasons, I’m less sanguine than Craig is about the ultimate outcome of this legal battle. Much will depend on the judges’ personal character. If they recognize that Britain is now, for functional purposes, back in the Georgian age, when the courts existed to validate the powerful, then Assange may yet prevail, but only if those judges are prepared to say, “no, we’re not having this,” just as many of their forebears did two hundred years ago. Things don’t just get better because it’s the current year. They have to be MADE better, then they have to be KEPT better.

    • Mike T

      “If they recognize that Britain is now, for functional purposes, back in the Georgian age, when the courts existed to validate the powerful,”

      Georgian? Might I suggest that ‘validating the powerful’ has been a function of law since Kings worked out that they could make such laws as they pleased, long before the first George. But judges?

      Charles I had dismissed his Chief Justice KB Ranulph Crewe in 1626 for dissent over his latest fund raising wheeze, Forced Loans. He ‘sacked’ Sir John Walter as Chief Baron of the Exchequer in 1630 over dissent on the ‘indefinite’ imprisonment of Sir John Eliot, who after years of close and severe confinement in the Tower succumbed to ‘consumption’, aged 40 .

      The grievance remained to be addressed in 1642 when the Parliament, struggling to restrain Charles autocratic instincts, included in their Propositions “That all the Judges and all Officers placed by approbation of both Houses of Parliament, may hold their Places, Quam diu bene se gesserint [during good behaviour] as opposed to ‘at government pleasure’.”

      The matter was nearly settled by the Article 3.7 of the 1701 Act of Settlement, reducing dismissal solely to ‘resolution of both houses’. That in turn has been superseded by section 11(3) of the Senior Courts Act 1981, which gives the government the final say again, but only on the petition of both houses. That power hasn’t ever been used.

      In practice, judges have de facto lifetime security of tenure, as long as they don’t get caught sticking their fingers in the proverbial till. That permits them to follow their own political instincts, but subject to their ability to frame that within a judgement that is in keeping with Law. They also know that the rest of the senior law community are watching them quite closely. They really do all know each other quite well.

  • Ian

    Great report, Craig, And what a victory for the bewigged! I am so glad the judges read your reports – they might indeed learn something, of even more significance than their attire. Interesting also that they have improved the choice of venue and the feed – did they finally realise how crabbit and obfuscating they appear to be, thanks to you?

    On the more substantial victory, thankyou for laying out the reasoning which led to it. It is impossible to disagree that the US case was very weak and deliberately obtuse in seeking to bring up a host of irrelevant considerations and previous cases, while avoiding the central point. I find it fascinating that the US is caught in this bind, since it exposes what is clearly an overreach of basic principles of justice, caused by their arrogant assumption that they can force other countries and individuals to acquiesce to their laws, while refusing to recognise that their sacred constitutional amendments will then be bound to also apply. Their wriggling around this concept betrays their hubris in believing that they can extradite individuals on political grounds and then disapply their basic foundational principles which are granted to all US citizens, This is, I believe, why Obama didn’t proceed with trying to prosecute Assange, because of the diffculties and repercussions that would ensue from the First Amendment.
    We can only hope that wiser heads prevail, and will eventually see the wisdom of dropping the case – apart from sheer bloody-minded vindictiveness there is nothing the US has to gain by insisting on the sadistic treatment of a journalist – especially since the original whistleblower was pardoned. They have already broken him psychologically and physically, although we hope he will recover, so what further abuse can possibly be justified? I would certainly like Assange to eventually take action against the UK for incarcerating him in a high security remand prison with none of the support an unconvicted prisoner deserves, There was never any reason for the savage and harsh treatment, other than deliberate torture, of him. He is plainly neither a physical or security threat to anyone and of course also has a family who need him. The decision to keep him there was obviously purely political, in cahoots with the Americans, and designed to deny him a voice, or even a tolerable existence. That is not only inhumane, it is a terrible precedent for anyone caught in political prosecutions in the future – no doubt also a consideration.
    It is, however, very heartening, to feel a shaft of optimism for once that his long nightmare might end. I believe, like you, that the US has virtually admitted that it is caught in a trap of its own making, and will have great difficulty in making any substantial changes to their already feeble, arrogant arguments. It then comes down to the justiciary in the appeal, and where there allegiances lie. It has been heartening to read that on Monday they recognised the validity of the defence and the chicanery of the prosecution.
    Well done to you for persistently keeping us informed of the actual arguments, a service not available in any other media, as far as I know. All that resources and money in the established media and they can’t manage it – that only underlines the crucial importance of vigilant and conscientious citizens.

  • John S

    Joe Lauria, in his article of 20/5/24 on Consortium News “Assange Wins Right to Appeal on 1st Amendment Issue” (, states that: “In another sense, it was a victory for the supremacy of European law when it comes to free speech.”.

    As I commented BTL, nothing could be further from the truth.

    Whether or not “Trump Derangement Syndrome” eventually becomes officially defined as a mental illness by inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (, there is already more than enough empirical evidence on the ground to conclude that liberal mental health is “not all that”. How to explain the collective demeaning of the psychiatric profession (via ad hoc “diagnoses” that violate all treatment principles) or the MSM (via the blatant dishonesty of their reporting)? But most jaw-dropping of all has been the reversal of their attitude towards both the State’s repressive apparatuses (the various branches of the “intelligence” services, the police and the “justice” system) and the Constitution, the former now “saviours of our civil rights” and the latter now “a product of antiquated, reactionary thought”.

    Of course, liberals have always hated the 2nd Amendment, the part of the Constitution that, uniquely in the world and 100 years before the first communist parties were formed in Europe, gave the manual working class the right to bear arms and form non-State controlled militias. (It is richly ironic, but yet another demonstration of the power of ideology to “fuck with minds”, that if one turned up at an NRA meeting and proclaimed them all communists the remainder of the day might not go so well, but it would be interesting to see how long the 2nd Amendment lasted if the realisation sunk in). The British State was not so sanguine, bringing in the first systematic firearms legislation ( in August 1920, weeks after the official formation of the Communist Party of Great Britain in July.

    This liberal ire has now turned on the 1st Amendment, as both the current “Gaza fallout” and the recent “Twitter Files” hearings have demonstrated: anyone opposing censorship and/or promoting free-speech is now characterised as “Right-wing” and/or a “threat to democracy” and/or anti-Semitic.

    All of which is a long-winded way of saying that Americans who do not understand how lucky and superior they are to have not just a written Constitution but one with free-speech and communist elements need to step up intellectually: remember, it took the American Bar Association to erect the Magna Carta Memorial at Runnymeade!

    • Ian Stevenson

      John, the second amendment is part of the US Bill of Rights which has many similarities to the English Bill of Rights of 100 years before.
      The English (Scotland was still a separate nation) one granted the right to bear arms-according to law. But not for Catholics. There had just been a revolution which deposed the Catholic King James the second and seventh.
      The American Bill said – and its meaning has been discussed for generations – “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
      The context is that the Continental Army had been disbanded and there was not a police force in the sense we know it now. The militia were under the regulation of the state – as in Virginia, North Carolina, etc. But I don’t think that is “non-state controlled’. Washington used them to put down the Whiskey rebellion using militias from four sates.

  • will moon

    “As he rose, the sun inched across the sky just enough that a clear shaft of sunlight pierced the lantern window and illuminated Summers. It seemed an effect too bold for Hollywood, possibly something out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I am pretty sure I heard angels singing.”

    If you remember the Powell and Pressburger film “A Canterbury Tale” made at the back end of WW2, a more weighty representation is depicted than a Pythonesque inversion, though essentially the same image that you offer. It is a great scene in a wonderful film.

    For those who have not seen it, it is a version of Chaucers “Canterbury Tales”using wartime Britain as its backdrop

    Bob Johnson: [On train arriving in Canterbury] Pilgrims for Canterbury, all out and get your blessing.
    Peter Gibbs: Rum sort of pilgrimage for you.
    Thomas Colpeper, JP: Pilgrimage can be either to receive a blessing, or to do penance.
    Peter Gibbs: I don’t need either.
    Thomas Colpeper, JP: Perhaps you are an instrument.
    Peter Gibbs: Do I get a flaming sword?
    Thomas Colpeper, JP: Nothing would surprise me.
    Peter Gibbs: I’ll believe that when I see a halo round my head.
    [Carriage goes dark and a light from outside puts a halo round his head]
    A Canterbury Tale (1944) Michael Powell and Emile Pressburger

  • nevermind

    Excellent news, thanks for your atmospheric descriptions of proceedings, one feels as if being there.
    I hope that the appeal will be heard soon and that Julian will be able to see and play with his children soon. Stella must derive much hope from this decision.

    Biden has no more need to increase the current protest movement, he has a campaign to lead, so freedom for Julian is near.
    US discrepancy between rich and poor and a growing discontent with the system will split society ever more and tear it apart. No party politics has a recipe to stop this inevitable occurrence, imho. The sooner it happens, the better for the world. Imho.

  • Mike T

    “I do not see how the USA can now win this.”

    Seems entirely possible that some of them may agree. Biden’s term looks to be coming towards its conclusion, and the senior CIA officials most heavily invested in this extradition…presumably the same ones that discouraged the assassination, as this would be ‘better’…will be shuffling off. Leaving the stage clear for a ‘final solution’ to the Assange problem. I have long wondered if the ludicrously excessive detention conditions were more of a protective than punitive character. Harder for CIA assassins to kill him in high security (and simultaneously cause intense embarassment to the Home Office.

    “…we are on the way to victory and freedom before Christmas.”

    Heard that before somewhere. Presages four more years of trench warfare!

  • Crispa

    Keeping a person banged up for five years in awful conditions while awaiting a decision to grant a request from another country to try him for having allegedly broken the laws of that country is just a travesty of any notion of natural justice.
    Surely there should be some of limitation introduced into an extradition process that works on the basis that if the extraditing applicant cannot produce a convincing effectively unchallengeable case by say 12 months the request should automatically expire?
    That’s if extradition should be allowed at all, or only under the strictest of conditions.

  • Jon

    Another excellent report; thank you Craig. I confess to not feeling so cheery, since it feels like the technicalities left to argue are much smaller than the major items that should have already gotten the case thrown out.

    Why was the US spying on Assange’s counsel in the embassy, or the confiscation of Assange’s papers, not a CIA overreach that the UK court could use to put a stop to the whole thing? Is there not a British/EU mechanism for which “free and fair trial” would specifically disbar 175 year possible jail terms? Could the threat of permanent solitary confinement trigger an objection on the grounds of “cruel and unusual torture” in the UK? etc.

    • craig Post author


      As you know the courts have already ruled out all those more important issues, and they cannot be raised again in the case. But it would have been a political explosion to find against the US on any of those. Releasing Julian on a more “technical” issue is the way out for them.

      • Jon

        Fair enough. I suppose in my naivete I’d have classified those things as technical as well, and while the US establishment will expect mainstream British politicians to dance to their tune, I’d not have thought they would rage if British judges did not. Perhaps I am expecting too much of the judiciary, who all will be very aware of the many Machiavellian pressures operating behind the scenes.

        Anyway, a win is a win. I’ll take it! 🎉

  • M.J.

    Good speech, you look and sound like an influential politician making an speech, good practice for being an MP in the future, I suppose! Hopefully Assange will be free in the coming months.

  • intp1

    Nice Metaphor – The Turning of the Tide
    From your excellent reporting it seems that the US Govt could have given assurance that Prosecutors would not seek to disbar Assange from 1st Amendment defense but did not. If they had done so the path to extradition would be clearer and he could be in their hands on their soil probably for life, in court or in jail.
    I conclude that they don’t want him there, that the powers that be, know that and therefore there is no pressure on the UK justice system (which has been plain to see in the past)
    So they do not really want to win and that is for me the underlying good news.

    • Twirlip

      “[It] seems that the US Govt could have given assurance that Prosecutors would not seek to disbar Assange from 1st Amendment defense but did not. If they had done so the path to extradition would be clearer […]”

      As I understand it (I find the legalities very befuddling, although Craig’s articles certainly help to make them less so), the first part of that is correct, but not the second part.

      As Craig presciently wrote, in his article of Friday 29 March 2024, “The Assange Hearing Permission Appeal Judgment: Mad and Bad.”:

      “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. […] 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.”

      Perhaps I’m confused, but it seems to me as if the reason why the US didn’t give an assurance that the prosecution wouldn’t attempt to deny Julian First Amendment rights (as even Craig in March expected them to do, in spite of correctly predicting a fudge) was that they were aware that such an assurance would carry no weight, for the reason Craig explained in the first two quoted sentences.

      If that’s correct, then it doesn’t follow that “they don’t want him there” or “they do not really want to win”, although everyone seems to agree that they would much rather that Julian’s extradition could be delayed until after the presidential election.

      • intp1

        Not sure I follow. Which 2 sentences?
        But, The Yank lawyers cant bind a court from such a ruling (that 1st Amendment doesn’t apply). They could however have offered that the Counsel for Prosecution would be barred from arguing the above.
        Not sure what would physically stop them from doing so in the end but they would be maligned as lying scum bags (Would they care? they already know that they are)
        Also, even if the Prosecution didn’t argue his non-1st Amendment status, the justice could still rule it on his own judicial volition. Is that what you mean?

  • Clark

    UK election date announced – Fourth of July, US Independence Day! How ironically appropriate:

    The Yankee Doodle Boy (song; 1 minute 52 seconds)

    – I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,
    – A Yankee Doodle, do or die;
    – A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam,
    – Born on the Fourth of July.

    Let’s drive that song viral to help turn the tide, declaring Scottish, English, Irish and Welsh independence from the good ol’ USA.

      • Goose

        Most Tory MPs are furious, according to Nick Watt. They were going to put in no-confidence letters and Sunak’s obviously done this to preempt any such move over the summer

        Now, where’s that book, ‘Engineer A Hung Parliament For Dummies’ – UK Edition.

        • M.J.

          I wondered why Sunak chose this date. I thought it might have been because he knew he would get slaughtered anyway, so why not get it over with early, and then he could take his family on a nice long summer vacation befitting the wealthy.
          But from what you say, he did it to get protection from his own fellow MPs. Dear oh dear, as His Majesty said to Liz Truss.

          • Goose

            With all that wealth, I honestly don’t know why Sunak wanted to be involved in UK politics? We should think about having a maximum wealth limit for Prime Ministers, perhaps?

            Maybe for him, it was part of some to-do list? How he even got gifted the safest Tory seat in the country is a mystery. Suppose having a billionaire father-in-law helps? Especially when there’s a party as eager for donations as the Tory party c. 2010-15 under David Cameron.
            Remember the ‘Kitchen suppers’ scandal in the same time period; whereby for a £250,000 donation, you and yours could have supper with David and Samantha in the flat above No.10.Those paying were informed they could discuss any topic or area of policy they were concerned with (hint, hint). And then handily leave any policy change proposals in a No.10 ‘in-tray’ on the way out. If that’s not an invitation to buy policy I don’t know what is. Yet the UK is seen as relatively corruption free? It’s likely worse than Italy, during their so-called Tangentopoli (bribesville) scandal years.

            The Tories are only half the problem though, with centrist Labour being the other half. Both need to go.

          • Goose

            Run as an independent? Paul Mason is vying to be Islington North’s new official Labour candidate.

            Yep, the same Paul Mason who was demanding Corbyn’s immediate reinstatement, until Mason was outed some sort of anti-leftist informant by the Grayzone. Ever since then, Mason has become a defence hawk, obsessed with preparing for WW3.

            We need to ban anyone connected to the security establishment from holding political, judicial or media roles. There’s a clear conflict of interest and the rules should be codified. Gawd knows how many have feet in both camps at the BBC, the Telegraph,Times and guardian newspapers.

          • Mike T

            Well. he’d be entirely at rights to retire and do a John Battle, campaigning from outside Parliament for good causes in his home patch. But I suspect the temptation to metaphorically kick Paul Mason in the NATO’s might just persuade him to have another run. One hopes so, at least.

          • Goose

            I’m reading reports that Paul Mason has failed in his bid to become Labour’s Islington North candidate? Anyone confirm because I’m having trouble using X/Twitter. Some upstream throttling issue with my ISP looking into it. Big latency spikes and strange routes reported. Was thinking of changing ISPs soon anyways as I’m out of contract.

            This isn’t Mason’s first loss if so. You have to conclude that Mason, despite having contacts among the securocrats, may be seen as too left-wing for Starmer’s Labour? For I don’t personally think Mason was being completely dishonest for all those years supporting left-wing politics. He couldn’t have authored those books arguing for leftist remedies and socialism, using an entirely fake persona.

            This article really sums up what we’re all up against with the Starmerites:

            What a grifter. Though Andy Beckett leaves out the part about sexual harassment and how he promised, then failed, to refer himself to the standards committee. How did he get through the House of Lords Appointments Commission (HOLAC) with these matters unresolved? It remains a mystery. The idea anyone should have to obey what this unelected moronic Johnson lackey comes up with, is outrageous. The House of Lords should be abolished with no sunset or grandfather clauses, simply abolished!

    • will moon

      The film “Yankee Doodle Dandy” starred James Cagney. Apparently, he had to be persuaded to take the role as he had identified himself with social issues rather than adventures abroad but came to believe the war had to be fought by America

      The film, surprisingly, doesn’t finish with “Yankee Doodle Boy” but with something called “Over There” an uber-patriotic siren song, used to recruit the cannon fodder in WW1, here’s the last verse

      “Over there, over there,
      Send the word, send the word over there
      That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,
      The drums rum-tumming everywhere.
      So prepare, say a prayer,
      Send the word, send the word to beware –
      We’ll be over, we’re coming over,
      And we won’t come back till it’s over, over there.”

      • Lysias

        “Yankee Doodle Dandy” was a release of Warner Brothers, the most left-wing of the Hollywood studios. It had already been the first Hollywood studio to release an explicitly anti-Nazi movie, “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” (1939), at a time when other Hollywood studios were afraid of losing their German market.

        So “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” was their first movie meant to soften up American audiences for the idea of going to war against Nazi Germany. It was preceded by a bunch of Warner Brothers swashbucklers starring Errol Flynn, an Australian of Irish ancestry, with the villains, although English or Spanish, meant to remind audiences of Nazis. The most notable of these swashbucklers was “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938).

        A year after “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” and two years before “Yankee Doodle Dandy” was another Warner Brothers movie meant to soften up the American audience for the idea of going to war against Germany. That movie was “The Fighting 69th” (1940). It starred James Cagney as an Irish-American, and most of the other characters in the movie were Irish-American.

        So Cagney and his audience were well prepared for “Yankee Doodle Dandy” two years later. Shooting of the movie started the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

        • will moon

          Consider Churchill’s deeply ambivalent reaction when shown “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp”, possibly Powell and Pressburger’s greatest film. I don’t think WC thought it “tabloid” enough, didn’t trigger enough blind hatred for “the Hun”

          The end of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” where the ageing soldier character played by Cagney joins the troops marching through the streets to war, cheered by watching crowds and all they start singing “Over There” says it all. I think this one would of appealed to Churchill, rather then the powerful, multi-layered script largely provided by Emeric Pressburger, where the viewer has to make several adult decisions about what they are seeing and their relationship to the story

          There is a great 20 second time passes shot – Clive Candy played by Roger Livesy, the “Colonel Blimp” in the title is posted to various African Imperial possessions between the wars and the passing years are depicted as mounted antelope heads that are the local fauna in his various postings, with dates underneath so the viewer gets the continuity of the soldier’s career – very humorous but better to watch than read lol

          Like E.Waugh’s wartime trilogy “Sword of Honour”, it shows the replacement of the obsolete Imperial professional soldiers with the “citizen” soldiers needed to fight and win WW2. The following is “Blimp’s” summation of WW1, discussing the Armistice with his sergeant

          “Sergeant Murdoch: Anything wrong, sir?
          Colonel Candy: Murdoch, the war is over. The Germans have accepted the terms of the armistice; hostilities cease at 10 O’clock. It’s nearly that now. Murdoch, do you know what this means?
          Sergeant Murdoch: I do, sir. Peace. We can go home. Everybody can go home.
          Colonel Candy: For me, Murdoch, it means more than that; it means that right is might after all. The Germans have shelled hospitals, bombed open towns, sunk neutral ships, used poison gas, and we won — clean fighting, honest soldiering have won. God bless you, Murdoch.
          Sergeant Murdoch: Sir.”
          Life and Death of Colonel Blimp(1943) – Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

          ps Some insane Army Motorcycle Unit stunts involving hi-speed synchronised team antics along claustrophobic tiny English country roads – it is hard to believe people do such things!

  • James Andrews

    Thank you, Craig, for your incredible support for Julian Assange, your helpful articles and wicked sense of humour. I too believe, so long as Julian’s health holds out, he will soon be free. The noise on the street is demanding his release, and this has not gone unnoticed by the ruling elites.

    Free Assange, free the truth and George Galloway for PM.

    • tonyopmoc

      I have just watched his new video. It’s only taken 15 years, but Craig Murray, not only, does look better ..(maybe it’s his time in jail)

      He is a Rock Star now – Blimey – This is Powerful – Has he been Practicing with George Galloway???

      “We Are On The Way To Victory”

  • AG

    Tariq Ali in an ad-hoc short comment at NLR forgets to mention Craig alongside Stella Assange and Nils Melzer but has this to say on Starmer:

    “Back in 2013 the Swedes were keen to drop the case. But the CPS, led by Starmer, pleaded with them to keep it open. He and his staffers flew to the US where they conspired with the Obama administration – though the documents related to these trips have been either hidden or destroyed. Like hardened criminals, Starmer and his chums did not want any details leaked to the public. That this fellow is now the so-called ‘Leader of the Opposition’ – applauded by the establishment for having gotten rid of Corbyn’s cohort, reinstated the Blairite old guard and supported the Israeli genocide – is hardly surprising. His training to become the next acceptable Prime Minister began with the framing of Assange.”


    • Lysias

      I am now in the midst of reading Tariq Ali’s “Winston Churchill”, a powerful book. Tariq Ali estimates the number of deaths from the Bengali famine of 1942-4 at 5 million or more. That puts it in the same ballpark as the Holocaust. Raul Hilberg, in “The Destruction of the European Jews”, puts the number of deaths from the Holocaust as 5.1 million plus or minus 200,000.

      • will moon

        Lysias, I have a memory that food was diverted from Bengal to the Middle East, where it was slated for “the troops”. Due to incompetence or distraction, it was spoiled – no one eat it.

        Does Mr Ali include this in his narrative or I have mis-remembered?

  • Ian

    Remember when the friend and consiglieri of Nicola Sturgeon, ‘Lady’ Dorrian, haughtily proclaimed that Craig Murray was not a ‘proper’ journalist and promptly jailed him without deigning to allow him to defend himself? Well, where are you now, ‘Lady’? If this isn’t a fine piece of journalism and reportage, serving the populace by explaining courteously and comprehensively how courts work and arrive at decisions, then I will eat your antiquated, moth-eaten, mouldy old wig.

    • JK redux

      Wallace is a failed property developer who, depending on who you believe, ripped off his employees or the Revenue (i.e. the State).

      He is entirely opportunistic, supporting Palestine’s right to self defence (good) but not supporting Ukraine’s right to self defence (bad).

      Daly did some good work on police corruption in the past but seems to have allowed her personal relationship with Wallace to blind her to his opportunism.

      Both are happy to defend Orban and other authoritarian leaders.

      Daly is by far the better of the two. Unfortunately that is not to say much.

  • Cornudet

    Good luck in Blackburn, Craig. Fight hard and fight dirty. Your enemies will offer no quarter and must expect none.

  • DavidH

    Thanks for the details, Mr Murray. It’s amazing how superficial the reporting is in the more mainstream media, even when they do get around to an article on this case. I’m never sure if it’s the journalists themselves who are incapable or uninterested in concentrating for more than a couple of connected ideas, or they just assume that in their readers.

  • Mary W Maxwell

    It looks like we’re all being had. First, the Bosses instructed Sweden to go along with the made-up rape charge. That took years to undo. Then the bosses used Ecuador to drag out the case by delaying court action for many years. (Come on, Ecuador could never have stood up to the bosses.) Now we have foolish distractions about “assurances.”
    There is no case, never was. The downloading of the military files was done by Chelsea Manning, not Assange. Granted, Julian then published it on Wikileaks, but so did the New York Times, and no NYT man has suffered so much as a bawling out.
    The clincher is today’s report, by (the superb) Craig Murray, of graffiti. London has a surveillance camera in every tree and on the back of every ant. Cops know who did the graffiti. Will the graffiti artists (all of whom seem to have the same style!) be punished? No. So ask: Why?
    As for lack of “consular protection,” where is the Oz prime minister Anthony Albanese? May I query (from Adelaide): “Is there an Australia?” I hinted there is no Sweden and no Ecuador.
    There is but one God and his name is … um…um….

  • DavidH

    The Guardian view in particular, after an exhaustive (NOT) review of the case: “time to dial this process down”!

    If it’s now time to “dial down”, then why not at least 5 years ago when he was first thrown in high security prison without being convicted of any crime, or more than a decade ago when he was fighting trumped up charges from Sweden? Where was the Guardian’s voice and support during that time and what has changed right now to make it finally time to dial down?

    Actually, however two-faced, The Guardian support might be significantly good news, as the publication, if nothing else, does now seem to be something of a bellwether for establishment opinion.

  • M.J.

    OK, I’ve made a modest donation and wish you good luck. One question though: if you become an MP, you’ll have to take an oath of loyalty to His Majesty. Will that be a problem for you?

  • Roy David

    It is interesting that a letter has been sent to the Justice Select Committee by several cross party MPs calling for an inquiry into the role of the Crown Prosecution Service in the Assange-Sweden affair, which led to Assange’s further incarceration, claiming that the CPS had ‘misjudged or possibly overstepped’ its role when advising Swedish prosecutors. It has been well documented in the FOI papers unearthed by the Italian investigative journalist Stefania Mauritzi that, during the time when the CPS was run by Keir Starmer, several salient facts emerged as to the ‘advice’ given to Sweden not to visit Assange in the Ecuador embassy (as they had wished) and a warning from the CPS lawyer, Paul Close, for the Swedes not to ‘get cold feet’ when they talked of dropping the case. They were also reminded not to treat the issue as ‘just an ordinary extradition case’ such was the vital importance to the US of keeping Assange in check. Starmer, who was knighted in 2014 after leaving the CPS, has several questions to answer for his role in the affair and also about his visit to the States in November 2011 when he met US Attorney General Eric Holder – it would be naive to suggest the Assange case did not feature in their talks (if not the reason for them!). The letter has been signed by David Davis, Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Caroline Lucas. Whether in light of July 4, this will now be quietly forgotten is a worry – but it shouldn’t be and we can only hope that, at some time in the future, the lid will be lifted.

  • Feral Finster

    “A cynic may see all this as a further kick into the long grass and spinning out of the process until beyond the US Presidential election, as Biden would be very ill-advised to bring Julian in chains to Washington for the campaign. But my feel for it was not that. I do believe this was a genuine win, and we are on the way to victory and freedom before Christmas.”

    My admittedly pure SWAG* is that the plan is to keep bouncing Julian though the legal system until he dies or “dies”. That allows the US and UK to make an example out of him, but spares the US from having to conduct a secret trial and allows the preservation of the “Muh Rule of Law!” farce.

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