Julian Assange’s lawyers to appeal latest ruling and raise ‘other important questions’

Julian Assange
Support us and go ad-free

In January 2021, judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that the US prosecution case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was valid. However, she also ruled that Assange shouldn’t be extradited for health reasons and because there was a risk he could end his life.

The US subsequently presented assurances that Assange would not be mistreated. On 10 December 2021, the appeal court ruled that those assurances were acceptable and Assange could be extradited after all.

Lawyers representing Assange have issued a statement saying they will appeal to the Supreme Court regarding the assurances. They add that “other important questions”, for example free speech and political motivation, are yet to be heard by the appeal court:

Birnberg's letter re Assange appeal

Assurances meaningless

The appeal court ruled it accepted US assurances that Assange would not be held in the supermax facility in Florence, Colorado. It also accepted assurances that he would not be detained under special administrative measures (SAMS). These measures include segregation, no visits, and no phone calls. It additionally accepted an assurance that if convicted of charges raised, Assange could serve his sentence in Australia.

The prosecution listed several ‘assurances’ regarding the kind of prison regime Assange could face. Prosecution lawyer James Lewis claimed Assange would likely be detained in a Communications Management Unit (CMU).

However, journalists Kevin Gosztola and Mohamed Elmaazi explained that should Assange be detained in a CMU:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

he would likely be limited to two scheduled 15-minute phone calls per week. Those calls could be restricted to immediate family, and the prison could deny him a call if an FBI agent was not available to monitor his conversation.

The visitation policy for a prisoner in a CMU is harsher than the policy for SAMs. Contact visits are not allowed, meaning Moris and his children, Gabriel and Max, would not be able to hug or kiss him.

Case study

In arguments presented to the court, the defence lawyers stated that if the US appeal is accepted, the courts should then consider the trustworthiness of US assurances.

On this point, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray stated that the US has broken assurances about incarceration in the past:

Journalist Richard Medhurst has referred to broken assurances given to Spanish citizen David Mendoza. As for Assange, he adds there is no guarantee that, if convicted, he could serve his sentence in Australia, “because Australia hasn’t said it would take him”:

Flawed charges

As for raising “other important questions”, The Canary has previously pointed out that the defence may seek to appeal other aspects of the January ruling on matters of law. This could include an alleged agreement between Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning, for her to “obtain and disclose” information about war crimes, which Baraitser said “would amount to conspiracy”.

But journalism historian Mark Feldstein cogently argued in his witness statement to the court that:

Good reporters don’t sit around waiting for someone to leak information, they actively solicit it; they push, prod, cajole, counsel, entice, induce, inveigle, wheedle, sweet-talk, badger, and nag sources for information—the more secret, significant, and sensitive, the better.

The Canary further reported how in an alleged conversation between Assange and Manning, the latter asked for help in ‘cracking’ a password. However, Patrick Eller, formerly lead digital forensics examiner with the US Army’s Criminal Investigation Command in Virginia, pointed out that this was unnecessary, given that Manning:

already had legitimate access to all the databases from which she downloaded the data… Logging into another user account would not have provided her with more access than she already possessed.

Eller added that Manning had access to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet). When asked how many people would have access to SIPRNet, Eller answered “in the millions”.

Other flaws

There may also be other grounds for appeal.

In June 2019, it was revealed that star prosecution witness Sigurdur Thordarson was a convicted felon in relation to several offences, including paedophilia. In July 2021, it was further revealed by Stundin that Thordarson admitted he had lied to US authorities in exchange for a deal with the FBI.

Moreover, surveillance footage of Assange, while a guest of the Ecuadorian embassy, was allegedly passed to the CIA, breaching client-lawyer confidentiality.

There are also claims that the entire US case is political and therefore should be dismissed in accordance with provisions in the US-UK extradition treaty.

In January 2020, The Canary published a list of six legal arguments as to why Assange’s extradition should not proceed.

Bias

There’s also the question of alleged bias.

On 2 December, journalists Mark Curtis and Matt Kennard revealed that lord chief justice Ian Burnett, one of two judges who presided over the US appeal:

is a close personal friend of sir Alan Duncan, who as foreign minister arranged Assange’s eviction from the Ecuadorian embassy.

And it was previously revealed that the husband of Emma Arbuthnot, the presiding judge in the magistrates court hearings, has connections with defence bodies.

Epic fight

American Civil Liberties Union’s Ben Wizner has explained how Assange’s conviction could mean any country in the world can raise charges of espionage against any media outlet in the world:

Meanwhile Assange’s fiancée Stella Moris starkly commented:

every generation has an epic fight to fight and this is ours

On media support (or lack thereof), journalist Glenn Greenwald commented:

Assange, over the last fifteen years, has broken more major stories and done more consequential journalism than all the corporate journalists who hate him combined. He is not being imprisoned despite his pioneering journalism and dissent from the hegemony of the U.S. security state. He is imprisoned precisely because of that.

The case against Assange is flawed. Moreover, it’s increasingly clear that US ‘assurances’ are of no value.

Featured image via Flickr/Cancillería del Ecuador

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. So this is the real story – Good man exposes criminal murder and theft, UK police/Legal System not interested in good, but happy to blindly obey the criminals in persecuting the man for doing good, because Police and Law is not about protecting us, but simply to destroy ANY decency or goodness that dares to rear it’s beautiful head in our societies.

      You see it’s very clear that most of us are blind fools for not supporting criminals, and making the mistake of thinking that laws are there to punish the bad and evil – how stupid I am to have taken so long to realize that the Governement and Legal System want us to be career criminals like them, and to pursue criminality (always the ‘real’ crime is getting caught in the UK and USA, and Law is just a game for many).

      The examples we are being shown, are enough grounds for ALL of us to refuse to obey them, or maybe to copy them exactly. They murder – we can murder, they steal – we can steal, they torture – we can torture, they commit genocide – we can commit genocide, they bear false witness – we can bear false witness, etc., etc., etc.

      The Police are worthless thugs who are only interested in protecting the state. They do not care about the law, democracy, or humanity, they literally only care about obeying their policies – which are far more important than even their own lives, let alone anyone else’s. Ditto with the Government, and ditto with a huge amount of self-interested organisations and businesses.

      When Government, Police, and the Legal system break the law, THERE IS NO LAW, AND LAW BECOMES MEANINGLESS WORDS ON PAPER.

      We have no rights – they have no rights.

      They break the law – we break the law.

      The harder they grip us, the harder we grip them.

      When are people going to work out that societies, nations only exist because of US, not them. They are a minority (criminal in many cases), we are the huge majority. They don’t create wealth, health, and happiness, WE DO!!! They don’t fight wars, we do, they don’t do anyhting of any real value, which is why they cause so much damage, WE pick up the peices of their broken promises and policies, WE are left to pay for all of it financially, mentally, and physically. They are like evil children, evil because they’ve never been punished, and so think they are parfect, and do worse things because we have never made them suffer the consequences of their actions.

      WE are the providers of society, we ARE society, and that society belongs to US, not them. They are paid to do a job they never do, WE pay their wages, WE educate them, cure them, entertain them, in short – WE run this world, not them.

      It’s our work that finances the nation, not theirs, they just take the credit, it’s our blood, sweat, and tears, that defend the nation, our work and purchases that make the economy function (money is just a token), without us, they have little to no power or wealth, and WE need to make them realise that they will pay for their criminality in the way they make us pay for doing good.

      Why do we take part in this society? Why do we even give these vile criminals anything? – they belong behind bars for their criminal behaviour, perhaps, as they are so keen to meet out death and punishment when it suits them, they are deserving of the same.

      If they can’t obey the rules, neither can we, neither should we. Democracy only works if the law applies to everyone equally, and completely across the board. Anything else is autocracy, oligarchies, and dictatorships.

      I have no faith in our law anymore because even our lawmakers and law givers are under the thumb of American exceptionalism and Washington’s dictates.

      It seems I am not British, I am American. Doesn’t matter that I was born and raised in the UK, I am American because my country may as well be another state (with less rights than Texas it seems), and the Americans think that their laws are not just superior to everyone else’s, but they REALLY beleive everyone on Earth must obey American laws. Our Politicians and Legal System are clearly run by America, not us.

      Julian Assange is being held ILLEGALLY in Belmarsh, and was detained ILLEGALLY by OUR police and OUR Legal System, because of pressure (read insistence) from America. From the outset our legal system and theirs conspired to ignore laws and to falsify evidence in favour of persecuting Julian Assange ILLEGALLY, and plotting to kill him and cause him great harm ILLEGALLY. (This is a proven conspiracy which people like to ignore because it makes them uncomfortable knowing the truth).

      Anyone involved in the incarceration of Julian Assange are themselves guilty of supporting crimials in the act of committing crimes, and due to their free-willed help, should themselves be in prison for their crimes. Bearing false witness in Law is a serious crime, anyone of us could spend years in prison for just lying about what someone else did, yet the Government, The Police, The Courts, The Judges, The Barristers, The prosecution Lawyers, are all guilty as hell of breaking the law, yet they are not being treated like Julian Assange has, and the fact is that these are vile, criminal people who will say and do anything to get their way. In other words, they are the real criminals, Julian Assange isn’t.

      The fact that the sheer amount of evidence that SHOULD exonerate Julian is being denied to be used for his defence, clearly shows the criminality of the judges involved in this case, and it shows that our legal system, our government and politcal system is no longer fit for purpose.

      As it is almost a given that Julian Assange will be murdered (probably reported as ‘self-inflicted’, or unknown causes, or accidentally) in American custody, everyone involved in extraditing him to his death in America should be arrested and jailed for life, for committing institutional murder of an innocent, good man.

      They will do it, and they do not care who sees it – they just want us to know, that our rights are dead, our hopes are dead, our humanity is dead, our freedom is dead, and if we complain, so are we. THIS is the message AMERICA and the UK wish to send to all peoples, particularly their citizens and journalists. If you expose our evil criminality and hypocrisy, we will kill you, after torturing you for years. This, because THIS is what THEY want us to beleive Democracy is, THIS is what they want us to beleive justice is. They can also kill us on a whim, so we can be punished, exiled, tortured, and generally mistreated, and even if we are doing the very best of things, saving lives, good lives, they will kill us for it, or make us suffer for it, for no more reason than they can, and of course it ensures they can keep doing this for ever (if the species survives – which of course it won’t with ‘leaders; like these).

      They break the law, we cannot be held to it, it really is that simple, and we should see it that way.

      We are a species that does what it sees – monkey see, monkey do, to coin an old phrase. Therefore, when criminals are rewarded for bearing false witness, theft, and murder, I can only conclude that this is how they want us to behave too. The idea that we are not allowed to defend ourselves with everything at our disposal to protect ourselves, goes against my animal instincts, and I’m sure many people’s instincts. The ONLY reason we tend not to live like that in society is because of trust in Law, and trust for the most part, in each other, for the sake of a more peaceful, and enjoyable society. When criminal politicians and criminal legal professionals trample all over the law, how are we supposed to read it and follow it when it is covered in blood and filth?

      Police should have no authority or power because they stand idly by for decades while criminals in power grease their palms, yet they eagerly involve themselves in criminality when it suits their purpose – which is to say – when they want to break the law and get away with it.

      Police should protect the people from criminals – all of them!!!!
      The Military should protect the Nation, which is to say the vast majority of us, NOT the interests of a few corrupt and criminal elites, and by that charter, they should also root out corruption and criminality within our legal and political systems. A military that only serves abroad, will always come home to corruption, criminality, and a huge amount of ingratitude, that is why the Military should, where the circumstances dictate it, step in to remove beligerent, stubborn, criminally corrupt elites.

      Society cannot work like this, stupid politicians, stupid police, stupid Legal systems are no good for us. I hope these criminal fools end up fearing for their existence in the same way they have made innocents like Julian suffer. They think they are untouchable, and yet I can already hear their stupid, avoidable agony, echoing back through time, their excuses and pleas falling on deaf unhearing ears (just like they subjected others to – it’s an old, old, repeating story that no-one ever learns, because they always think they are above being found out, above being punished).

      Opinionated rant over – still it’s nothing compared to what so many good and innocent people are going through at the hands of criminally corrupt politicians, police, judges and more.

    2. Those who have followed the Julian Assange story have witnessed, in real time, the destruction of a man who sought to let people know the truth.

      By those who are not worthy of representing the people they serve.

      How cannot we all now weep for the loss of our right to a fair and just hearing within the the law.

      Truth has now been criminalised.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.