Chris Hedges Justice Original

Hedges: UK High Court Overturns Assange Win

Next step for defense team after rejection of lower court ruling is likely appeal to UK Supreme Court.

By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

The British High Court in London today overturned an earlier lower court decision blocking the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States. The ruling sends the case back to Magistrate’s Court with instructions to allow the extradition to be approved or denied by the British Home Secretary Prita Patel. The ruling, which included a decision to continue to hold Assange in a high security prison, is a severe blow to the Wikileaks co-founder’s efforts to prevent his extradition to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act.  The extradition is now in the hands of Patel, unless Assange’s lawyers, as expected, file an appeal to the UK Supreme Court within two weeks.

District court judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled in October that Assange could not be extradited because of inhumane conditions in US prisons that would make Assange, who suffers from physical and mental health issues, a suicide risk. The United States, in appealing the decision, gave assurances that Assange would receive adequate medical and psychological care and would not be subject to measures commonly used in high profiled cases such as prolonged isolation and Special Administrative Measures, known as SAMs, which impose draconian rules limiting any communication and allows the government to monitor meetings with attorneys in violation of attorney-client privilege.

The US attempt, begun by the Trump administration and continued by the Biden administration, to extradite Assange has been widely condemned by civil liberties organizations including Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, the International Federation of Journalists, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights Watch, which have called it an existential threat to press freedom. If extradited to the United States Assange, who oversaw WikiLeaks publications of documents and videos that exposed U.S. war crimes, corruption, lies and a range of other illegal and nefarious activities, faces a 175-year prison sentence.

The ruling was read out by Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde.  He said the court rejected grounds 1,3 and 4, all dealing with Assange’s fragile psychological state, but allowed the appeal on grounds 2 and 5, which dealt with U.S. assurances that Assange would be held under humane conditions and receive appropriate medical and psychological care. 

“For the reasons given in the judgment which is today handed down, the court allowed the appeal on the grounds that … a. the DJ [District Judge], having decided that the threshold for discharge under section 91 of the Extradition Act 2003 was met, ought to have notified the USA of her provisional view, to afford it the opportunity to offer assurances to the court; and b. the USA has now provided the United Kingdom with a package of assurances which respond to the DJ’s specific findings,”

The US has also promised that Assange would be able to serve his sentence in Australia. The Biden administration, however, has given these assurances with provisions. The US has said that he will be subject to SAMs amd potentially placed in the ADX Florence Colorado supermax facility if he commits “any future act that met for the test of a SAM.”  It has also conditioned his transfer to Australia, where he is a citizen, on a request from the Australian government, which is highly unlikely given Australia’s support for Washington’s campaign against Assange and WikiLeaks.

There was no mention in the ruling of the evidence that showed that UC Global, the Spanish security firm at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, video taped Assange, including his meetings with his attorneys, on behalf of the CIA.  Nor did the ruling mention that a key witness who claimed Assange instructed him to hack into US government computers has retracted his testimony.  The court also did not accept that this was a politically motivated case or address the ramifications for all who publish classified material.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE FROM SCHEERPOST:

https://scheerpost.com/2021/12/06/possible-outcomes-of-imminent-ruling-in-assange-case/

https://scheerpost.com/2021/08/13/death-and-assange/


Chris Hedges writes a regular original column for ScheerPost. Click here to sign up for email alerts.

Chris Hedges
Chris HedgesChris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact.  Author Link

Copyright 2021 Chris Hedges

10 comments

  1. Thank you Chris for your continued coverage of this crime by the Empire! Biden regrettably has proven no different from Trump in fact even worse with his increased war budget. This sadly from a so called devout Catholic and admirer of Pope Francis who has called the money made from the international trade in weapons, “Money drenched in blood!” Address to US Congress 2015.

    1. > Biden regrettably has proven
      > no different from Trump

      I beg to differ: Trump’s evil at least had a certain entertainment value. Biden is as boring as the cancer I used to have.

  2. The hypocrisy of the Biden presidency came into full view with his opening remarks at his Summit for Democracy Fair [pause to vomit here] only serve to reinforce that governments’ hypocrisies will relentlessly bear down on any/all who displease them.
    Biden’s proclamation to “stand up for the values that unite us” is dependent upon who HE defines as ‘us’, and generally that will be none of us who expose the emperor’s naked hypocrisies.
    His comments regarding an unfettered and independent media only further highlighted that he’s got his foot stuck in his own shit: “It’s the bedrock of democracy. It’s how the public stay informed and how governments are held accountable. And around the world, press freedom is under threat.”
    As for Assange serving any time adjudicated by a US Imperial court?
    Still, not a public utterance about this possible scenario from the current Australian Government (led by former advertising exec Morrison) nor the Labor Opposition (Albanese, who aligns himself with the Labor left – mind, Australians who identify with ‘leftist’ politics find ‘the Labor left’ a ludicrous tautology).
    And now, as the inevitable conclusion draws near, those corporate media outlets who benefited from Wikileaks exposes, then shafted Julian, are now coming out and lauding that he be set free for the sake of journalistic independence – more likely, they figure one of their own number will be next.

    1. At the same event, one of Biden’s hand puppets, Secretary Of State Antony Blinken, made a similar statement:
      “We’re asking governments to make concrete commitments to strengthen free, independent media and help tackle the diverse challenges that they face. … We’re increasing protection for the free press here at home. In July, the Department of Justice adopted a new policy to stop using subpoenas, warrants and other investigative powers to obtain notes, work products or other information from journalists engaged in newsgathering activities.”
      No wonder electorates no longer trust their democratically elected representatives.

      1. > No wonder electorates no longer
        > trust their democratically elected
        > representatives.

        You could not be further from the truth. In the US, that’s exactly what the electorate does, to an excessive degree: Democrat voters revere Saint Joe, who will supposedly cure all ills in the world, despite being a senile chicken hawk career politician; Republican voters think that sadistic, make-up wearing, hair preening Saint Donnie with-the-lifts-in-his-shoes will save them from the Blacks and the queers and the Latinx and the Jews.

        I only — if only — they woke up to the fact that there is basically no difference between these two options, then a third (and a fourth, and a fifth…) option might arise. But both ‘sides’ have been brainwashed to the point where the only representatives they don’t trust are those on the ‘other’ side.

  3. This ruling is clearly a crime. UK and US are both criminals. Assange is a hero. One criminal (UK) extradites a hero (Assange) to another criminal (US). The hero will die, but the criminals will be punished sooner or later.

  4. Rest assured Folks.
    The Australian government, under Liberal or Labor rule, will do it’s utmost, bend over backwards and bow down to whatever the US Empire tells it to do with Julian Assange.
    Yep.
    The only things missing on our flag are a few more stars, some stripes and a can of spit and polish.

  5. Do you want to join the Secret Service?

    Can you keep a secret?

    Monty Python might also become classed, like Assange, as a hostile intelligence agency under our common secrecy regime.

  6. Chris, thank you for keeping Assange’s plight front and center for us. I just finished reading America – The Farewell Tour. Assange’s case is a painful example of how corporate capitalism is destroying one of our country’s liberal institutions: the press.

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