The Happiest of Days 267

I cannot tell you how happy I am at Julian’s release. It is 4.00am and I haven’t been to bed yet. I have spoken to John Shipton but everyone else is on a plane en route to Australia.

The guilty plea is of course coerced in the extreme and nobody should take it seriously. It gives a chance to claim hollow victory to the odious Biden regime, at the cost of a terrible precedent in law classifying journalism in espionage. But the precedent is only in a court of first instance so is not binding.

I should be plain I have always advised Julian and Stella to take a plea deal if offered and get out of jail. I have no doubt this was a life or death choice. I also believe we will be grateful for the still greater contributions Julian’s immense intellect and capacity for radical thought will make to human development in the future.

The Justice Department were further motivated to offer a deal by the fact that they appeared to have painted themselves into a very difficult corner at the next UK extradition hearing in a fortnight, over Julian’s ability as a foreign national acting outside the US to claim constitutional protections, and could have lost the extradition case altogether.

There is so much more to say but if I don’t get some sleep I will not be alive to say it. I am crying with happiness.

Meantime my election campaign in Blackburn continues. We are very seriously out of money. If you can channel your elation into a donation that would be very helpful.

Paypal address for one-off donations: [email protected]

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267 thoughts on “The Happiest of Days

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    • Jack


      Craig, if it was not for people like you (you, personally), Assange would still be in prison. You played a great part in this. Take pride today.

  • Ian

    Incredible news. I thought I was still dreaming this morning when I heard the news. What a vindication, not just for Julian, but very much for you Craig. Tirelessly pursuing justice and honest reporting almost singlehandedly, certainly compared to the richly resourced establishment media, you have thrown a penetrating light on how our legal system entraps people in its web, and then seeks to curtail any process of transparency or informed debate.

    By the extraordinarily radical idea of simply attending court and reporting the legal arguments, as you also did in the Salmond case, you have provided an exemplary service in the name of justice and the necessary scrutiny of the judicial processes and the character of those engaged in it. Had I the power I would make it compulsory for all journalism students to read your reports and think about what it means to report facts and arguments deployed in courts, and why the state might seek to dissuade them from doing so. I think even the decent-minded judges and barristers in Julian’s case would acknowledge that, as they seem to have done, albeit off handedly. It still staggers me that not one mainstream outlet even summarised your detailed reports in order to inform their readers/viewers, but kept quiet and avoided all of the disturbing implications of this cruel and unnecessarily vindictive process.

    It is also very much a vindication of your last court dispatch, which accurately and forensically concluded that the US had indeed painted itself into a corner, particularly around its vaunted First Amendment, from which there was no escape. It was also a tacit admission that the US claims to have the right to arrest and extradite citizens from other countries and jurisdiction while not granting them the fundamental rights it provides to its own citizens. There is a moral there for all future extraterritorial claims the US makes.

    I believe that was at the heart of it, and their feeble, lacklustre attempt to obfuscate that point did indeed collapse their claim, and would likely have proved fatal in the upcoming appeal. Instead they have opted to retain the Espionage charge, which presumably would also have fallen in the event of a successful appeal, so that may be their best hope, that a precedent has been established with which to intimidate future journalism. Certainly Alan Rusbridger thinks that is the case – journalists and media outlets will be extremely wary of publishing any whistleblower’s revelations in the future – and around Gaza/Israel there are no doubt multiple cases of the abuse of domestic and international laws, as well as secret agreements, arms provisions and other egregious crimes. I would welcome your thoughts on the implications in the future.

    But for now, enjoy the moment and the culmination of years of campaigning and writing for justice and transparency – you richly deserve it and have proved the extraordinary power of simple, dedicated, honest citizen journalism. Take that, ‘Lady’ Dorrian.

  • Republicofscotland

    Brilliant news, and don’t forget you played a major part in aiding Assange. The forces of evil CAN be defeated if we work together. Now for you to win in Blackburn to make it a good double.

  • Jack

    Amazing news, although it is a plea, probably a whole lot of various restrictions will be “put” on Assange for the rest of of life.

    Australia wants Assange home – PM
    The government is working with the WikiLeaks co-founder, who is set to enter a plea in a US court, Anthony Albanese has told MPs

    Same Australia that have not lifted a finger for Assange for some decade, now try to get some limelight, the gall. F off Assange should tell them.

    • Stevie Boy

      Correct. Australia is an offshoot of the hegemon. Julian will need to assess where he can live in freedom, and the West is not that place. Also South America, whilst seemingly attractive, is always prone to CIA/USA coups.

  • Alistair Diamond

    I shouldn’t be too happy if I were you. Julian will plead guilty on US territory in the Pacific to one count of espionage, for which he will be sentenced to 62 months in prison – the time he has just spent. He will then be freed. This will then retroactively legitimise the illegitimate imprisonment, while making a precedent in international law that exposing US war crimes is a criminal offence of espionage whose punishment is five years in prison. By pleading guilty Julian is free to return to his wife and children, but cannot publish any more Wikileaks exposées because he will have already admitted in court that doing so is punishable espionage.

    So what has happened is that Julian has been imprisoned for five years in harsh punishment conditions without ever committing a crime and without being charged or sentenced for crime. During that period his physical and mental health have collapsed, he has had a stroke and became in danger of death. His jailers have then said “We will set you free, but only if you admit to a false trumped-up crime that we will use to justify and legalise our criminal treatment of you, so that we can get away with it in the future.” In desperation and close to death, Julian has agreed.

    By pleading guilty and agreeing to the legitimacy of his five year imprisonment Julian will have lost and the Americans will have won. The message will be trumpeted around the world: this is what happens to people who expose American war crimes. Don’t do it – you will lose!

    All in all today is a big win for the Americans and a smack in the face for justice and the rule of law.

    • Stevie Boy

      I understand that plea bargains do not set legal precedents. We will have to await the legal experts to tell us where we actually stand going forward.

    • glenn_nl

      You’re missing the point, Alistair. Assange is free – nobody expected a complete vindication.

      The only alternative to this outcome would have been just as you’ve laid out – the message to anyone exposing US war crimes, etc etc – and Assange landing in a grim Supermax gulag for as many decades as they could force him to endure before dying there.

      Personally, I don’t like that alternative, and clearly neither does CM, which is why he’s absolutely right to be happy, and why Assange was right to take the deal.

      • Paul M.

        At this point, Assange is not free. I have checked the court docket in Saipan and there is a summons for him to appear at 9;00 am this morning (it’s about 1:00 am in Saipan as of now..) It seems that the agreement was that he get on a special flight from London to Saipan (with stopover in Bangkok) to appear at the plea-sentencing hearing this morning, although there are plenty of commercial flights to Saipan.

        There is a single count information on file there filed by the U.S. Attorney from Saipan, plus a letter request from Matthew McKenzie, the deputy chief of the Counterintelligence Section of the U.S. Department of Justice that this be put on calendar for both plea and sentencing. The letter request says that Assange will plead to the single count, but says nothing about any other charges being dismissed. There is no plea agreement on file in the Northern Marianas court, nor is there anything showing that the Eastern District of Virginia judge has approved any plea agreement. There is no plea agreement on file in the Eastern District of Virginia proceedings either.

    • Observer

      “The message will be trumpeted around the world: this is what happens to people who expose American war crimes. Don’t do it – you will lose!”

      I think that message has already been trumpeted around the world. If they hadn’t gone after him with spurious “sexual assault” allegations, they’d have come up with child porn (remember the Icelandic minister’s revelations) charges or just assassinated him.

      We all know the risks of attracting the Eye of Sauron.

    • Jen

      In addition to what Alistair Diamond has posted, Julian Assange is required by his plea deal bargain to destroy or return information held by Wikileaks deemed “sensitive” to the United States and notify the US government via its lawyers (to their satisfaction) by affidavit that he has done so.

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange flew to the Australian capital after his release

      This requirement looks innocent but it could turn out to be onerous, depending on the whims of the US government and its lawyers, what information they decide is “sensitive” and whether they believe Assange and Wikileaks have returned or killed off enough of that information.

      Assange is also prohibited from entering the US without permission from US authorities.

  • Ian

    So I see Stella says the half a million dollar cost of the chartered flight will be charged back to Julian as per Australian law. There will be a crowdfunder which I hope will be spectacularly successful. She also says that Julian will apply for a pardon, which is maybe the answer to the question about the implications of being convicted under the Espionage Act, particularly for future journalism. Good luck with that.

    • glenn_nl

      Not doubting you, but I find this really hard to believe.

      Why can’t someone take a standard passenger flight? If official requirements demand a specific form of travel, incredibly expensive travel at that, how on earth can they demand it be paid for by the individual who has no other choice?

      I’m pretty sure that not many ex-cons being returned to Aus have $1/2 million to spring for the ride home.

      • Ian

        Well, I guess it is because he is not free to do so, because he is being escorted as a prisoner to US territory where there may be no commercial flights anyway. He will only be free when the plea deal is entered and signed off and he lands in Australia. Whatever, I don’t think the arrangements for travel are an issue at all for now, but one to deal with afterwards, and I am confident he has enough support to pay it off. It does seem another burden, but I am sure they don’t care about that right now, in view of the monumental nature of the decision. If that’s the price of his freedom, let’s pay it so he doesn’t have to. Fifty thousand people at $10 each = no problem.

      • Ian

        (Technically he has been granted bail, and is en route to being sentenced (albeit, his time is already served), so I daresay is being transported by special arrangement as a prisoner to the US Court.)

        Stella’s statement to Reuters:

        Julian Assange’s wife has said that her husband will seek a pardon from the US presidency after making a deal to accept a charge under the US Espionage Act. The WikiLeaks founder is currently en route to Australia after being released from prison the UK.

        Assange is reportedly travelling to a hearing on the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, where he will be sentenced at 9am local time on Wednesday (11pm GMT on Tuesday).

        “The fact that there is a guilty plea, under the Espionage Act in relation to obtaining and disclosing National Defence information is obviously a very serious concern for journalists and national security journalists in general,” she told Reuters.

        She told the agency it had been “a rough few years” and that she would not really believe he was free until they were reunited. She said she was still worried something would go wrong. Stella Assange, a lawyer who has worked on his campaign for release for many years, said:

        I feel elated. I also feel worried, you know, because I’m so used to this. Anything could happen. I’m worried that until it’s fully signed off, I worry, but it looks like we’ve got there. I’ll really believe it when I have him in front of me and I can take him and hug him and then it will be real you know?

        She confirmed that they intend to launch a fundraising campaign, after chartering a flight to take him from the UK to Australia via Thailand and the Northern Mariana Islands had cost $500,000 (£393k / $750k AUD). She told Reuters:

        It’s Australian policy that he will have to pay his own return flight so he’s had to charter a flight and so he will basically be in debt when he lands in Canberra. We’re going to launch an emergency fund to try to get this money so that we can pay the Australian government back for his freedom flight.”

        • Observer

          IIRC, the bank/transfer/paypal sanctions backfired bigly because Wikileaks were obliged to take donations in crypto… when BTC were still just a few bucks each.

          The biggest problem with asking for a pardon is that it implies there’s some actual crime to be pardoned.

          One of the (many) reasons Trump lost the supoort of libertarians was his failure to pardon Assange.

    • Mary Bennett

      For any other Americans who might be reading here, candidate Kennedy has already said he will pardon Assange “on day one” should he (RFK, Jr.) be elected. Just sayin’

      • fonso

        Who does Kennedy think he is fooling, even in the USA? Everyone has heard his angry apologia for the most vicious and depraved war crimes we have ever seen.

  • Stevie Boy

    Hilarious, not, the BBC is full of the Assange story.
    Jumping on the bandwagon after years of silence, innuendo and lies.

    • Bramble

      Full of the establishment version of the story, most of which is half truth and outright falsehood plus a good dollop of smears. You would not believe how many people think (or tell other people to thank) that Mr Assange is a nasty person who raped women and got noble spies shot dead by Putin. Er, the Taliban. Whatever,

  • Goose

    Fantastic news.

    He deserves financial compensation now, for the travesty of justice he’s endured over the years; unnecessarily and indeed, vindictively held, as he’s been, in a max-security jail. The fact powerful people can act like medieval monarchs, in 2024, has been quite the revelation.

    On the timing.

    Hard not to believe this was done now, to spare an incoming Starmer govt’s blushes over any extradition. Think about it: that would’ve potentially raised questions about Starmer’s previous involvement as DPP while at the CPS, his trips to Washington, CPS emails to Sweden etc. The press, and possibly a non-Tory opposition could have posed awkward questions at PMQs, about his involvement in the case.

    Starmer’s govt are already likely to be deeply illiberal and hugely intolerant of dissent. The Labour manifesto says little about restoring civil liberties lost under the conservatives; rolling back oppressive Tory legislation. All the parties are weak on civil liberties imo. The Lib Dems at least recommit to ending bulk surveillance and introducing a v. welcome Digital Bill of Rights. But the atrocious, oppressive Online Safety Act’s implementation is coming. Its unworkable provisions around online age verification, are squarely aimed at adults – aimed at changing behaviours our puritanical elites’ dislike. This is obvious, because it’s impossible, as an adult, to simply opt-out of this planned ISP-enforced censorship regime. Of course, there are multiple technical ways around it, but that’s not the point. It’ll be interesting to see if they try to ban circumventing it? As, if they prosecute adults, it’ll prove it was never about protecting the young at all.

    • Wilshire

      “ to spare an incoming Starmer govt’s blushes over any extradition”
      I understand you don’t really believe in the prospects of George Galloway being the next PM? Regarding the extradition, it’s very clear that Julian Assange wasn’t kidnapped yesterday, meaning he must have legally waived his right to appeal and agreed to being extradited to US territory. Harsh decision, but he obviously acted according to Mr Murray’s advice.
      And freedom was at such a price.

      • Goose

        His father, along with Stella and his kids deserve lots of praise too. Their tireless campaigning made it harder for the Australian govt to simply ignore his plight. God only knows where he’d be without them.

      • Goose

        Seems I guessed correctly, if this is true:
        The story went up at 6.53pm

        Although, if (???) the Biden administration really does think Starmer would’ve intervened to stop his extradition, well, they are more confident in Starmer’s compassionate side than I am. As DPP, Starmer flew back and forth to Washington to consult with senior Obama administration people, remember. And we all know about that CPS email to their Swedish counterparts – who were at the time considering dropping their case – saying, “Don’t you dare get cold feet!!!”

        I think the Biden administration is probably more concerned that it could’ve become a November campaign issue. Biden’s team didn’t want Trump posing as the great defender of civil liberties, by promising to pardon Assange and Snowden, in the debates. This then being contrasted to Biden’s uncompromising position. But who knows, as to the why now?

    • Observer

      ” The fact powerful people can act like medieval monarchs, in 2024, has been quite the revelation.”


      Agree re: Starmer. He’s another CFR corporatist, and under his command Labour will just accelerate the tyranny the Tory leadership embraced.

      Dark times for the West.

      • Goose

        Galloway predicts we’ll be involved in a major war within six months of Starmer taking office.

        The big problem Starmer will have, is, he just isn’t all that popular. Sure, his party is outpolling the hated Tories, but the enthusiasm for Labour is very muted indeed – support is a mile wide, an inch deep.
        With so many ‘undecideds’ the UK establishment are fretting about a late surge to Reform, especially if Le Pen’s National Rally dominate in Sunday’s first round of voting in France. In my opinion, what’s happening is; people will increasingly use any democratic tools at their disposal, against the unprincipled, managerial centrism, that leaders like Macron and Starmer embody.

        • David Warriston

          ‘Vote Starmer – vote War!’ might well be the most appropriate slogan.

          Snap elections have been called in France and the UK with neither of the leaders likely to win the popular vote. Why this apparently suicidal behaviour? I suspect it’s to clear the decks for an escalation in military action. A newly elected government has a fresh ‘mandate’ from the people and thus the authority to take such bold decisions. Coincidentally, I believe a major NATO meeting is planned for 9th July.

          Why no snap election in Germany? Scholz would see his party decimated but unlike Sunak there is no reliable ‘opposition’ to whom he can pass on the baton. Germany also has deep anti-war roots from 1945 and a fair number of people with Russian identity live in the country.

          • Goose

            David Warriston

            Galloway didn’t elaborate on where he thinks this conflict will occur.

            I believe an US/UK air/sea campaign against Iran’s nuclear sites is far more likely than say, ‘boots on the ground’ NATO involvement, in Ukraine.
            Israel’s response to Iran’s retaliatory missile & drone strikes was suspiciously muted. The Biden administration must have promised something post the upcoming November election, for those Israeli hawks in Netanyahu cabinet to downplay it?

            If so, it’ll be a very tough sell for Starmer. Remember, Starmer, pledged to introduce : ‘A Prevention of Military Intervention Act’ – the idea behind that, to expressly rule out British participation in any US-led military action without a UN mandate that authorises the use of force i.e. no more Iraq-type military misadventures. Starmer may claim Russia and/or China are blocking any UN route, but that was ever thus.

            And, complicating matters further; it looks like Russia is about to offer Iran, some sort of mutual defence agreement or pact, as per North Korea.

          • Alyson

            Re Goose’s reply to your prediction – there has been a 3 way agreement between Israel, Russia, and Iran, that if either Israel or Iran attacked the other’s sovereign territory then Russia would support whichever country was attacked first. Many years ago I watched an interview with Kissinger who was proud of his achievement in protecting Israel from Iran. When Kissinger handed over negotiations to Netanyahu proxy wars were okay, and occupying the Golan Heights was okay.

            We now have Hezbollah which is fighting the proxy wars, while Iran respects the agreement which has been in place for several decades. The attack on the Iranian Embassy was technically in breach of the agreement, and the measured retaliation was intended to be a balanced and singular response.

            Our tub thumping leaders seem to be considering that a supine Iran might allow the West to take out its nuclear facilities. Russia will be trying to manage keeping the door open to the possibility of stepping back from the brink. But the agreement stands. Any attack on Iran will see Russia supporting the counter offensive.

            Putin has sacrificed a very large number of Russian soldiers to keep the conflict in Ukraine limited to defence of the seceded regions. My observation is that he keeps his word and we still have the option of pulling back from the brink. Israel and Saudi will be a formidable combination if we should decline to support Israel’s genocide of Palestinians under a change of government. And Saudi would be happy to manage the oil rich regions of Iran on behalf of the US.

            Alliances for profit or alliances for defence. Either way an escalation appears likely, and Starmer is in the WEF boat, under control, and naive as a half convinced neophyte.

          • will moon

            “Many years ago I watched an interview with Kissinger who was proud of his achievement in protecting Israel from Iran.”

            I am not sure what you are referring to Alyson. What and when was this achievement? I’m not knowledgeable on this so I scanned wiki but couldn’t identify anything that might fit

          • Alyson

            After Kissinger was Theresa May’s first visitor, on the evening of the day she moved into 10 Downing Street, I was intrigued by the narrator’s comment, which was something like surprise and ‘well what is that wily coyote Kissinger doing here’ so I knew nothing about Kissinger except that he was Nixon’s decision maker a long time ago, so I looked online and among other things there was a television interview on YouTube, from an African television channel, in which he spoke of his visits to stay with Putin as he negotiated this balanced agreement that would keep Israel safe in return for leaving Iran’s borders unbreached. The Times of Israel over the years has spoken of Netanyahu’s visits to Putin to renegotiate this agreement to allow proxy wars and attacks on prominent Iranians when they are not on Iranian soil. Iran has not retaliated because the agreement still stands. They are now preparing for this agreement to come to an end. But it has protected Israel and Iran for several decades.

  • Colin Alexander

    Great news about Julian Assange. Our prayers for his freedom have been answered.

    After all his prolonged suffering, I hope he can now enjoy peace, health, and happiness with his wife, family and friends.

    I know some people think he should not have pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain deal, but I am sure they would soon change their minds if they were subjected to only a tiny fraction of the ordeal that Mr Assange has suffered.

    And well done Craig for all the support you have given Julian Assange over the years and for keeping us updated.

    Such a wonderful update this time! Hooray!

  • Frank Hovis

    Just looked at the shameless, nauseating, breathtaking hypocrisy of the coverage of Julian’s release in the MI6 house journal (a.k.a. The Guardian).
    Two of that rag’s “journalists” (Harding and Leigh) were largely responsible for his predicament over the last decade or so by publishing that famous password in their book “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy”.
    Also, we mustn’t forget Harding’s famous fake “scoop” regarding the supposed visits of Paul Manafort, Trump’s chief gofer at the time, to the Ecuadorian Embassy which of course never took place. That was published on November 27th 2018 and still hasn’t been retracted as far as I know.
    Don’t know how they’ve got the brass kneck to cover the story. They should hang their heads in shame. Bunch of hypocritcal c**ts.

    • Derek

      Agreed. That rag is largely responsible for Assange’s plight. For years they have been spewing a litany of lies and smears.

      Congratulations to all his family and those like Craig who have worked so hard for so many years.
      A top up donation is on the way Craig and good luck in Blackburn.

      • will moon

        You are wrong here Alyson. Rusbridger left in 2015 after editing the the newspaper for twenty years. It was a cordial hand over – he was promoted upstairs into the highest echelons of the Scott Trust, who own the Guardian

        The vicious smear campaign against Assange, from amongst others, the Rusbridger edited Guardian is documented in the link below. You should read this Alyson so you know what has happened here, instead of distributing falsehoods

        Here is a choice one from an employee of the paper

        “Nick Cohen
        18 Sep 2011
        The treachery of Julian Assange
        The WikiLeaks founder, far from being a champion of freedom, is an active danger to the real seekers of truth”

        and another from the same farsighted pen, who must be beloved by the “intelligence community”, surely?

        “Nick Cohen
        23 Jun 2012
        Definition of paranoia: supporters of Julian Assange
        The right does not have a monopoly on paranoia, as the conspiratorial fantasies of the backers of Julian Assange show”

        Just in case you don’t know, Craig Murray has been one of Julian Assange’s staunchest advocates and we are conversing on his website. It is important Alyson to know what you are talking about – here, many could easily take offence at your ignorance. Cohen with Rusbridger’s imprimatur, is amongst other things calling Mr Murray and Assange’s other supporters “names”, using the language of “Mockingbird” and the Integrity Initiative. In these cases the wise old adage, “sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me” does not apply. These “names” can ruin careers and drive people to breakdown and suicide, they are meant to cow anyone who thinks the same way as these targeted individuals, they are coordinated attacks across the information domain

        Above info gleaned from commentator Neil’s repository on the Assange story, the address I give below

        Thanks Neil

        • Alyson

          I have never agreed with anything Nick Cohen has written. Others may enjoy or even agree with his standpoints. He is I consider, an established journalist who represents misogyny’s control of resources and influence (just my opinion) and as a self styled spokesman for the establishment he is not known for flexibility or embrace of egalitarian concepts.
          The Guardian published wiki leaks. Rusbridger left. Correlation is not causation. The Guardian is different under a different editor.

          • will moon

            “ they pushed out the former editor, Rusbridger, for publishing extensive excerpts from wiki leaks.”

            No they didn’t Alyson. This claim is factually wrong.

  • M.J.

    Why fly to the Marianas at all? Wouldn’t it have been much simpler to organise an impromptu court in the U.S. Embassy in London with someone delegated judicial authority for the purpose; and if he were released as expected, then for him to be free to travel anywhere – including maybe visit Craig for a cup of tea first. Maybe that’s what they were desperate to prevent: Assange strengthening Craig’s campaign? Not that they can prevent them linking up by internet well before election day, of course.

    • David Warriston

      I think your analysis is spot on. On the streets of the UK Assange would be feted like a martyr whereas the plan is to make him slip out of the country as a self-confessed felon.

  • andyoldlabour

    Well done for all your hard work on this awful case Craig. I am so happy for Julian Assange and his friends and family.

  • Robert Dyson

    When histories are written, the plea deal will be seen for the disgrace it is. Julian should have been given massive compensation. May he have some happy life now.

  • Athanasius

    Crying with happiness? Why? They kept Assange inside for literally years in the full knowledge of his innocence. They knew what they were doing at every stage, and what they were doing was making the process the punishment. This is no victory. They achieved exactly what they set out to do.

    • glenn_nl

      Are you seriously this daft? Happy because it’s over! Happy because the future is no longer looking like the inside of an Amerikkkan maximum security jail cell for life!

      You know about those sub-postmasters recently exhonorated, right? Suppose one of them came out of a court with a vindication, weeping with joy. You’d berate them I suppose, saying, “Oh – oh! What are you so happy about? There’s been a lot of grief you’ve been put through for no reason. Don’t you realise that?”


      • Athanasius

        I get that leftists are completely on board with the idea of the process being the punishment, but did this instance of it not teach you anything at all? Like that it can be used against YOUR people, not just those holding right-leaning opinions? Manifestly not. The post office cases were genuine mistakes. This was deliberate.

        • glenn_nl

          I fear you have entirely missed the point yet again, and so badly, that no matter how many examples are provided, the point will forever elude you.

          People are generally happy to see someone they like and admire _not_ being further punished, _not_ going to a US Supermax gulag, and who _is_ going home to their family – a result many of us have wanted for a long time.

          This is quite a common human response to such situations, you know.

          I can explain it to you (and have tried), but I cannot understand it for you. And it certainly appears to be the case that you cannot understand it for yourself.

          • JBird4049

            And if anything, an American supermax prison is worse than anything that the British have. My country has turned legal torture into a science and an art.

        • Robert Dyson

          Where did you get the idea that the Post Office cases were genuine mistakes? It is very clear the PO top people knew that Horizon could be accessed remotely by Fujitsu and that accounts were being altered, yet people went to jail or killed themselves, and even now compensation is being delayed and is inadequate.

          • glenn_nl

            I’ve no idea where Athanasius got the crazed notion that the PO cases were “genuine mistakes”, but I didn’t address it because it’s a complete non sequitur in any case.

            It also doesn’t matter whether the freed person has a moustache, is wearing a blue shirt, or is bald. The point is that they are now free, which is a cause for happiness.

            Athanasius – for reasons best known to themselves – thinks it’s somehow down to it being a left/right perspective, whether the conviction was a “genuine mistake” or not, and doubtless other complete irrelevancies.

            The simplest explanation is often the best. – Athanasius is indeed being every bit as daft as it appears.

  • Frank Hovis

    Despite the events of the day so far, I still harbour more than a smidgen of doubt whether the Yanks will honour their side of the bargain once Julian Assange lands on U.S. territory. They never seem to negotiate in good faith and have broken virtually every treaty/agreement they’ve ever made with anyone. In fact they were breaking treaties with the Native Americans when they became inconvenient to uphold even before the U.S.A. existed.

  • Feral Finster

    Ambassador Murray, with all due respect, the US never was going to lose the extradition case, no matter how flimsy the arguments.

    All an American need do is snap his fingers and point at his crotch, and the knees of british justice hit the floor with a resounding thud, grateful to be permitted to service its American Master.

    • Jon

      I understand why you have this view Feral, but I think it is wrong. History teaches us that the world’s premier superpower sometimes loses the coin toss, even when the toss is rigged. As you will know, Craig’s previous analysis showed that the American lawyers had backed themselves into a corner, and Assange’s lawyers had played a very good game of chess, even with one arm tied behind their backs.

      The US spotted the gambit and realised that they were going to lose on a technicality, which is explains this late plea-deal now. It is the only way Biden can save face, and warmongers more cruel than he are already painting this as justice denied for the US Security State.

  • Auld Nickum

    Heartiest congratulations Craig, your remorsless campaign for Julian’s liberty finally vindicated by his release, what a slow tortuous ride it’s been! Your expertise and dedication in keeping us fully informed of the vital facts was key to keeping the resistance alive against this travesty on which the mainstream narrative conspired so hard to distort or bury; all power to both your pen and stamina! I know the personal cost to you has been dear.
    I share the joy of a family re-united and given back their future. But what a price to pay for ending the torment, having to plea bargain for life. Innocent, perish in jail, Guilty, walk out the prison gate. What a grubby deal, one that puts a final seal on the sordid litany of crimes committed against Julian since his living hell started 12 years ago.
    The quality of mercy is indeed strained but ASSANGE is FREE at last!

  • Ian

    The British security state just can’t help themselves:

    Kristinn Hrafnsson, the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, told the Guardian that the transport of Assange to Stansted after being woken and handcuffed at 2am on Monday had involved a “final kick by the British establishment”.

    “He was brought into a transport vehicle and put in a tiny box there, where he basically sat for three hours,” Hrafnsson said of his friend’s delivery to Stansted airport in Essex, 40 miles (65km) north-east of the capital.

    “There were up to 40 policemen guarding the outside. There was a helicopter hovering overhead, six police vehicles in a convoy to the airport, when they knew they were driving him basically out of the country in accordance to the agreement that has been drawn up.

    “It begs the question: why on earth? What on earth did they envision? That he will abscond on his way to freedom?”

    They could have just driven him there in a car. But no, they go into full high security mode, terrified that this super villain might break out and eat them all alive, and then run away, a la Hannibal Lecter. As Kristinn said, he might run away from his own release. What paranoid and vindictive mind thinks like this, about a man not known to ever have harmed a soul? It is a perfect illustration of how, once a person is demonised, the enforcers lose all reason and inflict great and entirely unnecessary cruelty on this perceived ‘threat’ to society and thus themselves. It is exactly how the witch trials worked – give people the tools to hate, and the means to inflict their hatred and fear on a victim, and they act with extreme prejudice and a sadistic enthusiasm. This is particularly the case when authority sanctions, and rewards, such behaviour. Philip Zimbardo has spent his life studying the psychology of evil, and writes convincingly about it, and how this situation is engineered. Abu Ghraib and Rwanda are two examples he studied in depth. Israel, of course, is the paradigm of this kind of mass psychosis at the moment. It is very disturbing.

  • Mr Mark Cutts

    Great news – but at a price.

    If he has to admit some culpability to be free then so be it. He knows it’s not true, and so do the MSM and of course all other more honest observers. Good luck to him.

    But – we are dealing with an administration full of spite her so until he lands safely in Aus then I will believe it.

    Never heard of this ‘US Commonwealth’ Island so a new one on me. Not exactly neutral but this is where it happens for better or for worse. The point for all people who defend the right to know or free speech/public interest is simple:

    Free speech and revelations can only be the norm if the governments of each country tell the US to go and take a running jump.

    Unfortunately it is Starmer’s job to get even further up the backside of the US than Blair. And to carry out further and deeper austerity – whether he likes it or not.

    That is the perilous state of not just British Democracy but Western Democracy. Including the US itself.

    • kodlu

      It’s done. BBC, 12:03 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time:

      Judge wishes Assange an early happy birthday
      The judge reiterates that the US government has agreed not to pursue any other prosecutions and then wraps up.

      Assange smiles as she wishes him an early happy birthday (he turns 53 next week), saying she hopes he starts his new life with that positive note.

  • Willie

    Absolutely so delighted for Julian and all those around him.

    He has been through absolute hell and his incarnation for years in solitary confinement by the British authorities was nothing less than state-inflicted cruelty. Torture is a very British thing as they metaphorically roasted this man.

    And what was it for? Exposing the truth about slaughter most vile. This is when you realize the state would chop you to pieces or burn you alive. Grotesque pain is their pleasure.

    But he is free now. Most probably because the regime in Washington saw his case now coming to trial as something that could expose American wrongdoing as an election portends.

    But aside, for the moment, he is on his way home to his family and friends. Time to go for a walk, go to a shop, spend time with his children, speak with his father.

    Get strong Julian. They did not win. You stood strong, took the pain. We all owe you a debt of gratitude.

    So delighted you are free.

  • Ebenezer Scroggie

    At 06:44BST this morning I watched the freedom flight of VJT199, on Flightradar24, entering the coastline of Oz.

    OK, I’ll admit it, I cried.

    14 years of Hell. Over.

    For one man.

  • dearieme

    Look backwards on the bright side. At least confinement in the Embassy and Belmarsh meant he wasn’t Epsteined in an American prison.

    But otherwise the whole farrago was a bloody disgrace.

    • willie

      We should never ever forget that the British authorities did everything to torture Julian Assange.

      His incarceration for five years in solitary confinement in a small cell is torture. Let no one misunderstand that. A man convicted of nothing, tortured to rot five long years in a hell hole of solitary confinement.

      Happy day today but let no one, absolutely no one, should fail to understand the true brutal vicious inhumane Brits. Heads on spikes, or hung drawn and quartered is no exaggeration of Brit behaviours. And that’s the behaviours we can see.

        • will moon

          Who do you mean? People like these mentioned in Mr Assange’s letter to the King, published here?

          “Brother I am going to die in here” and the others waiting in the “End of Life” unit at Belmarsh

          I said at the time and I say again, I won’t forget this phrase.

  • Stevie Boy

    Let’s not forget that although this disgusting episode was at the behest of the USA, it was the UK that was 100% responsible for Assange’s confinement and torture over all these years.
    Cameron, Clegg, Starmer, May, Johnson, Truss, Sunak.
    Remember, never forget.

  • Peter

    I was losing hope that this day would come, absolutely over the moon with amazement and delight. I know many people have been involved in defending Julian. But thank you so much for your tenacity in keeping the torch lit and persevering. I feel renewed hope for swinging the balance towards fair play and human rights. Look forward to seeing you driving for greater fair play and decency in parliament soon. Best wishes, finger crossed.

  • M.J.

    Assange is a free man and over Australian air space. The Judge reportedly went through the details of the plea bargain with a toothcomb, making sure that both parties understood what they were doing and agreed. She then said that since Chelsea Manning had had a sentence commuted from 35 years to 7 by President Obama, there was no way that Assange as a civilian could get a more harsh sentence – so she released him with her best wishes for his future.
    Good for him!

  • Wilshire

    And touchdown of flight VJT 199
    Clear skies and 8° C in Canberra
    We hope you enjoyed your trip with us and wish you a very pleasant stay in Australia.

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