Assange Free Speech Joe Lauria

Home Secretary Signs Assange Extradition Order

The imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher can now appeal her decision to the High Court, as well as the points of law he lost when the magistrate’s court initially blocked the extradition.
Assange: Simon Dawson, Reuters. Patel: Alamy Stock Photo. Collage by Cathy Vogan under Fair Use terms.

By Joe Lauria / Consortium News

British Home Secretary Priti Patel on Friday signed an extradition order to send Julian Assange to stand trial in America.

WikiLeaks called it a “dark day for press freedom” and said “the decision will be appealed.”

Legal Road Ahead

The extradition order landed on Patel’s desk after the U.K. Supreme Court refused to hear Assange’s appeal against a High Court victory for the United States.

The U.S. had appealed a magistrate court’s decision in January last year not to extradite Assange because it would be oppressive to do so based on Assange’s health and the dire conditions of U.S. solitary confinement. The High Court decided in favor of the U.S. based solely on Washington’s conditional diplomatic “assurances” that it would treat Assange humanely.

Assange still has legal options left. He can appeal Patel’s decision to the High Court. He can also launch a “cross” appeal to the High Court. The court could deny both applications for appeal. Though he won in magistrate’s court on health grounds and the condition of U.S. prisons, the judge in that court ruled on every other point of law in Washington’s favor.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser denied that the case was a political offense in violation of the U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty; that it violated the U.S. first amendment and threatened press freedom; and that Assange’s rights to due process were violated when it was revealed that the C.I.A. had spied on privileged conversations with his lawyers and she ignored testimony that the C.I.A. had discussed kidnapping or poisoning Assange.  

“The judges will have all the other elements, the important elements, that were discussed by the magistrate’s court but disregarded by the High Court [in October] because it was not the appeal point,” WikiLeaks Editor Kristinn Hrafnsson told Consortium News last month. The U.S. appeal was only about Assange’s health and U.S. prison conditions and Washington won because it convinced the judges of the credibility of its conditional assurances to treat Assange humanely. 

Since Baraitser’s Jan. 4, 2021 decision, other facts have emerged that could form part of the cross appeal. The C.I.A. plot against Assange was further corroborated by U.S. officials in a Yahoo! News report. A key U.S. witness on computer charges against Assange recanted his testimony. And Assange’s health has further deteriorated when he suffered a mini-stroke last October. 

Joe Lauria
Joe Lauria

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at and followed on Twitter @unjoe  


  1. The US would be quite happy if Assange died in GB – it would breathe a sigh of relief, as it would save the US a lot of trouble and bad press – which is why he was kept in Belmarsh pending his appeals, which dragged on – this case , it seems to me, is primarily about revenge …. so considerations of “press freedom” “human rights” let alone justice, are feathers in the wind …

  2. What nonsense. Assange is being killed for revealing to the world a ‘war crime’. He should get a medal, instead.

    Our governments (UK, US, and apparently Austrailia) have sunken to this level of depravity, and what does that say about us?

  3. Woo lordy! I do get tired of the Assange show. Why does it surprise anyone that courts in the Atlantic world are totally corrupted?

    I really dislike martyr cults around charismatic self harmers. If you want to speak out for someone, how about the person who leaked the vault 7 stuff, who Assange burned? (Joshua Adam Schulte)

    Assange is getting out of jail when he either dies or there is a revolution in UK or USA, wherever he happens to be. I suggest focussing on the latter option.

    I have done some writing on this topic. Analysis here;

    And sometimes things are best explained in a fictional story, like here;

    1. @Tim Rourke
      Great essay on Assange and how he got into his predicament. Whereas I support his release and return to his family before his health deteriorates further, I’ve long wondered why he made so many poor choices. There was no reason not to escape to Russia safely as Snowden did.

      Founding an ‘intelligence service for the public’ vs. CIA/FBI and going on TV and the internet to talk about it is like advertising for a US currency counterfeiting firm on a billboard where the federal government will see it and know who is doing it. Might as well put a red X on your back and pick out your burial plot. I thought he had good intentions but was naive.

      What is a yaxl?

      1. @Melanie
        I don’t at all agree with you or Tim Rourke. Assange did the world a great service by pointing out U.S. war crimes and other nefarious things that governments have been doing but have tried to keep secret. He was the best journalist of our time by far. Instead of projecting your personality onto him, consider that he was willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good instead of thinking that he made “poor choices” or was “naive.” Assange had to know what he was doing, there’s no way he was naive.

  4. UK dog justice caving in to usa bigger bully justice.

    Main thing that psd off usa was that the filmed recording of usa military machine gunning to death of three reporters and other innocents. Assange hauled over the coals for telling truths.

    Shame upon shame on this so called judge. Corrupt. The UK in a shameful state.

    Assange half dead by now in UK custody. To be Epsteined in usa dubious criminal system next. Shame on the judicial system of both countries. Shame upon shame to both countries and the Australian authorities who should of gone to bat for their citizen Assange.

  5. What’s the deal with the Consortium News site? Has been down for a few hours.

    “This site can’t be reached”

    1. @Damir
      I wouldn’t want to live in either. But I don’t want to live here in the U.S. either, though I’m stuck with it because I don’t want to leave my wife. Small countries are by far the best. New Zealand doesn’t seem too awful, some small south Pacific island would be nice.

  6. Since the seminal disease causing all issues and inequality is EMPIRE, it is essential for the vast majority of people in America, and in this our deadly “Quiet American” EMPIRE is the untold level of inequality regarding all resources to support life is sufficient funding of anything possibly called a living people’s economy:

    IMHO, the only solution to this Global Empire’s unrestrained greed is an aggressive but necessarily enforced Golden Jubilee of ‘Wealth Reform’ capped at somewhere near $30M — which multiple honest, capable, and moral ‘inequality economists’ (eg. Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, Joseph Stiglitz, Den Baker, et. al.) could define and adjust over time.

    With the “Quiet American” Empire’s crushing and looting of Russia’s formerly highest/worst GINI Coefficient of Global Wealth INEQUALITY having been depressed from it’s former #1 status at 0.879 in 2021 (US GINI trailed in 2nd place at 0.858 in 2021 data) — there is substantial near assurance, that today, in 2022, the actual world champion trophy for “We’re #1”, “We’re #1”, “We’re #1” in Global GINI Coefficient of Wealth INEQUALITY is already a reality! [Perhaps America will actually exceed the magic Golden Prize of getting the GINI Coefficient of Wealth INEQUALITY over the GINI Mark of 0.90?

    Of course the GINI Scale of Wealth Inequality is simply defined as a GINI of 0 equates with all people in a country sharing the SAME Wealth, and where a GINI of 1.0 equals only ONE single MEGA greedy person in a country having all the effin money in that country!

    Jeff, Elon, Bill, —- are you keeping your greedy “Eyes on the Prize” GUYS?? —- while so many children — dies?? Or are you like, the third richest bastard in the world, in the fabulously revealing and metaphorically focused film “Don’t Look Up” — just looking forward to leaving all the dead children on earth while you Rocket to Hell?.

    BTW, the actual ending of our only fragile little world, far more likely dying because of EMPIRE, rather than the scripted Comet (which will certainly NOT be how we all die).

    SPOILER ALERT: the Co-producer of “Don’t Look UP” was actually Ron ‘We’re an EMPIRE Now’ Suskind — who, like many serious and seriously visionary historians and authors, like those in the 2000 “American EMPIRE Project”, including; Chomsky, Chalmers Johnson, Andrew Bacevich, et. al. are betting on our death of earth coming from self-made EMPIRE!

    As all our founders of America fully understood from their ‘deep reading’ of Roman history, that “The disease of Republics is EMPIRE”.

  7. @Jeff
    Tim Rourke’s point is that you don’t have to choose between your life and telling the truth about war crimes, etc. Whistleblowers who are sneaky, who stay under the radar, can live long and remain free. In his essay he said what Assange could’ve done differently to spare his own life. I’m not disputing Julian Assange was the best journalist of our time, and it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate him if I don’t agree with “sacrificing himself for a greater good.” He can’t get back to Wikileaks if he’s dead. Why didn’t he take the deal with the Russia? From Russia maybe he could’ve gone back to Australia. Why did he think Ecuador was better?

    I don’t agree with all of Rourke’s essay, in fact his style reminded me of Ann Coulter. He relies on the shock value of ridiculous and insensitive suggestions, such as ‘Assange is a cult and we should forget about him.’ I don’t think he believes that at all. On another page he posts his vax card and says how easy they are to counterfeit. His sense of humor is subtle. I think you missed it.

    1. @Melanie
      I’m not going to argue about strategy and tactics, that’s a totally different issue. But I don’t think that denigrating Assange for whatever reason is appropriate, and I certainly don’t think it’s funny.

      1. @Jeff
        It wasn’t at all what I meant. I do not think Assange’s suffering is funny. I’m sorry if it came across that way. My heart breaks for Julian Assange and his family with him being placed on suicide watch. He is in my prayers.

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