The extradition proceedings against Julian Assange resume in court next Monday and are expected to last several weeks.
It is a shocking case of political persecution on British soil and it is a national disgrace.
An unconvicted journalist, Assange has been held in Belmarsh prison, a top security institution, in inhumane conditions. It took about a year for an unconvicted man to secure a radio in his prison cell.
The mainstream media has been complicit by its silence. Peter Oborne considers it shameful and that history will judge current journalists.
The UK judicial process is demonstrating that British justice is not blind but that it is very partial when it involves politics. No wonder when the ordinary citizen of the UK has unequal access to justice – British law overlooks Natural Justice where it matters. There is no “British” justice. There is only justice for those who can afford a top lawyer to plead their case.
The extradition contract between Britain and the United States of America is imbalanced and contrary to natural justice, just as the European Arrest Warrant is. The European Union undermined the British concept of habeus corpus with the result that men can be treated as guilty until proved innocent on the mere ‘say-so’ of an accusing woman. George Galloway as an MP drew the Home Secretary David Blunkett’s attention to the dangers of the Extradition Treaty at the time.
Earlier this year, a rare visitor to Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison was the Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell who said that this is “the Dreyfus case of our age”.
Wikipedia says of Belmarsh prison: “It is often used for the detention of prisoners for terrorist related offences.” This imprisonment of Assange is overkill, but no wonder when he has been almost killed already. His physical health is precarious after years of self-imposed and then judicially-imposed incarceration, to say nothing of his mental health and the torture of character assassination.
A film has been produced No Extradition and interviews Julian Assange’s father.
Amnesty International asserts that this case will be a key test of UK and USA justice.
Julian Assange has powerful supporters and does not need my input, but I wish to add my protest to the injustices perpetrated against him and to warn about the direction in which secular leaders are taking the UK. I watch proceedings with interest.
3 Oct 2020: the four-week trial of Julian Assange has concluded. The verdict is expected on 4th January. If you obtain your news from the BBC, you would probably not even know that there has been a trial. You may be familiar with people ‘disappearing’ in certain regimes around the world, but Assange has disappeared from the mainstream media in the UK. We await the verdict. If it suits the BBC, there will be a Newsnight report on it; if not, an archival item may be substituted. However, surely even the BBC cannot avoid discussing it when the verdict is announced.
Journalist John Pilger was present at the Old Bailey trial for the extradition of Julian Assange to the USA. He said: “It is the most important political trial of this century, certainly one of the most important of my lifetime and it has been virtually blacked out by most of the so-called misnamed mainstream media.” “British justice has been so trashed by this trial … those of us who have been in many courts around the world can no longer put the two words ‘British’ and ‘justice’ together.”
2 Nov 2020: little interest shown by the mainstream media in the Julian Assange case.
28 Nov 2020: an interview with a spokesman for Doctors for Assange claims that the mental strain on Assange amounts to torure and refers to the correspondence in Britain’s leading medical journal The Lancet last year. The British mainstream media hardly mentioned this correspondence. Doctors for Assange wrote to the UK Home Secretary in Nov 2019 and drew attention to the lack of progress by Mar 2020. The lack of progress continues to the present and there is now an outbreak of COVID-19 in Belmarsh prison.
14 Dec 2020: interviews with Doctors for Assange define Assange’s treatment by the British state as mental torture. Journalism is on trial. “Innocent till proved guilty” has already disappeared from the British scene. Habeus corpus was overturned by the UK involvement in the EEC/EU experiment and it will take some time to unwind under Brexit. The unequal Extradition arrangements between the USA and the UK need to be corrected. It would be appropriate for outgoing President Donald Trump to stop the extradition proceedings.
21 Dec 2020: expectations and calls for Donald Trump to release Julian Assange from US prosecution/persecution.
4 Jan 2021: 11:30 a.m. unexpected but good news – District Judge Vanessa Baraitser sitting in Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London has refused the request by the USA to extradite Julian Assange! The decision has astonished the watching world. 12:05 p.m. Apparently the decision is based upon Assange’s mental health, so there is still plenty scope for improving the law in Britain. So when his mental health improves, will ‘they’ resume the process and damage his mental health again? “The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” Proverbs 12:10.
12: 15 p.m. The judge threw out the political and the public interest defence but at the end of her judgment she said that the conditions in the probable American prisons were such that Assange was at a high risk of suicide to avoid extradition and that for this reason she refused the extradition. The same could possibly be said about his detention in Belmarsh prison, so his application for bail should also be granted. At least the judgment draws attention to the state of American prisons and it might lead to a useful debate in America with beneficial results. One may think that the case could be appealed on the basis that it was not judge’s role to decide on the state of American prisons, but I would answer that it is only necessary to judge the state of Assange’s mental health. Within minutes of the decision the US said that they will appeal. The reasoning behind the verdict counted for nothing to these appelants.
12:19 p.m. John Rees, the organiser of Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign said while the application for Bail is being heard: “It is absolutely remarkable that in Britain a high profile, globally-important, civil liberties case goes first to the [magistrates’] court, where you normally go when you have a motoring offence!” So it is almost inevitable that it will be appealed to a higher court, but this is the opportunity for the US to extricate itself from the extradition proceedings because the state of American jails will not change quickly. The US has 15 days to appeal the decision, within the remaining days of the Donald Trump presidency. Joe Biden has previously described Assange as close “to being a high-tech terrorist” on ABC News 19 Dec 2010.
The US Espionage Act is still there as a threat to journalists, and the UK Secrets Act as a threat to freedom of speech.
Extradition is in the same league as the European Arrest Warrant and both need reassessment.
The application for bail will be considered on Wednesday 6th Jan 2021.
6:10 p.m. Fiona Bruce, the BBC Newsreader, introduced the news item about the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine thus: “Well, there has been some good news today. The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is now being administered.” [her emphasis]. Does this suggest that the Julian Assange decision might not be included in ‘good news’? No doubt the BBC will defend itself by claims of impartiality, but Freudian slips are common enough.
6:45 p.m. the judgment is long, but the sections relevant to the judge’s ultimate decision are 278, 279, 295, 305, 316, 318, 319, 337, 346, 355, 363, 410.
363. “I find that the mental condition of Mr. Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America.”Judge Vanessa Baraitser. Section 363 of her judgment.
However, it is quite unjust that a Christian who would not contemplate suicide would not have this defence against extradition available to them. Relying too heavily on the risk of suicide simply increases the use of this defence among prisoners in the future. The other issues raised by investigative journalists are more weighty and the judgment in this respect is of great concern.
“Justice delayed is justice denied.”
The timeline thus far.
6 Jan 2020: as expected, the judge has refused bail to Julian Assange on account of his going to ‘extraordinary’ lengths to avoid extradition in the past and his previous jumping bail and seeking refuge in the Ecuadorial Embassy in London for seven years. However, in that case Assange sought political asylum, which is a political right. Mexico has now offered him political asylum. Some view the London judgment as supporting the American Espionage Act, which they claim criminalises investigative journalism.
It highlights the whole issue of detention without trial of an unconvicted person, contrary to habeus corpus that was sidelined during the UK’s time in the EEC and the European Union.
The easiest way for the USA and all concerned to save face in this impasse is for US President Donald Trump to drop the extradition case. On the one hand, commentators opposing the USA say that Assange faces 175 years in a top-security US prison, which has supported his mental health defence, while, on the other hand, others seeking to minimise this defence have said that in practice he would face 5-6 years. If so, then he has already lost his liberty for longer than this, and what further purpose is incarceration supposed to accomplish? This is unchristian behaviour.
20 Jan 2021: even the courageous and maverick US President Donald Trump could not find it in his heart to drop the extradition case, but pardoned 73 others on his last day in office.
28 Jan 2021: Trump let Julian Assange down.
17 Feb 2021: the law of extradition is being tested in the Harry Dunn-Ann Sacoolas case. US citizen Sacoolas fled from Britain and resisted British jurisdiction for a crime on British soil and the US administration refused the UK request for her extradition. In recent developments that may allow a trial on US soil, the “British government takes the view that British citizens can bring their case in whichever court they think appropriate.” This in interesting. My contention against the laws of extradition is that it is contrary to natural justice to expect a defendant to defend themselves in a foreign jurisdiction. It is more appropriate in international cases that the defendant should be able to choose the jurisdiction in which to defend themselves. The same should apply to the European Arrest Warrant.
8 Mar 2021: the EU is ignoring the injustice about Julian Assange.
1 May 2021: even the USA does not guarantee human rights – this link shows the inability of teams of US lawyers to withstand one lawyer with the truth on his side. Some people are destined for a fearful eternity if they do not repent. It is time for a review of law and justice in the western world, and not just in Russia, China, North Korea and wherever. Of course, it is central to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but that is another matter.
6 Nov 2021: the US case of espionage against Assange is falling apart. Another aspect of the US case for extradition is that Assange cannot have the protective measures afforded to journalists because he is accused of being a hacker. The lack of evidence has been exposed as fabricated testimony from an Icelandic teenage child-molester who is in prison in Iceland and the US case is being so discredited that more and more people are finding the courage to come out of their burrows to support Assange.
11 Dec 2021: more shame on the UK now that the UK High Court ruled yesterday that Assange can be extradited to the United States, based upon promises from the US to mitigate the concerns raised by the January 2021 decision. Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said: “That risk is in our judgement excluded by the assurances which are offered.” In effect, the High Court was judging a new case with new information supplied by US authorities instead dealing with the January 2021 judgment as it stood. Lawyers have the ability to frame the issue to their liking and narrow it down to specific issues and then to persuade themselves that justice has been done. With some pathos, the judgment was handed down on International Human Rights Day and while Joe Biden was hosting the first Summit on Democracy. This is why common sense so often says “the law is an ass”, but Jesus went further and challenged such people: “You justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts” Luke 16:15. It shows that more stress should have been placed on the unequal and unjust extradition provisions between the US and the UK. Assange is an Australian citizen and the Australian Prime Minister has been urged to intervene on behalf of Assange. This is a blot on British justice. Thankfully there will be an appeal to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile Assange experiences “justice delayed is justice denied”. However, in the long run, such prosecutors and judges will yet face Him Who said: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” John 7:24 and “with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged” Mat 7:2 and Whose step-brother wrote: “he shall have judgment without mercy who has shown no mercy; and mercy rejoices against judgment” James 2:13. Jesus tells us that they will have a very much longer time than Assange has been deprived of his freedom to consider their judgment and behaviour.
“Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these needy people, you did it not to Me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment.”The Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew 25:45-46.
18 Dec 2021: George Galloway interviews an informative FBI whistleblower explaining some of the thinking in modern Britain.
5 Feb 2022: former UN Special Rapporteur Professor Alfred de Zayas asserts that there is political pressure on the UK legal establishment concerning the Julian Assange case, and that there is a propaganda war propagated by “fake news, fake history, fake law, fake diplomacy, fake democracy” using the corporate media. He accuses the human rights movement of being taken over by money-hungry “careerists and opportunists” with CEO-like six-figure salaries – a money-making enterprise, which he plans to expose in his next book The Human Rights Industry.
14 Mar 2022: the Supreme Court has rejected Julian Assange’s Appeal against extradition because it did not raise “an arguable point of law”. More’s the pity. It is just as well that there is a Gospel for those who are on the wrong side of the law. Jesus Christ is the Advocate with the Father Who has the capacity to plead successfully the case of His people. Who would be a lawyer or judge administering the sort of law that Britain now has? They have eternity to reconsider how best they used their God-given talents in this life. The final decision will be made by Home Secretary Priti Patel. The US counters the claim that Assange faces up to 175 years with the claim that his sentence is more likely to be four to six years. Really? Why should justice rely upon behind-the-scenes discussions and assurances? It still does not answer my question above, see 11 Dec 2021, why new material was allowed to be introduced in the middle of a case. The prosecution case should have stood or fallen on the case as presented, not as modified when its weakness was exposed.
17 Jun 2022: the UK Home Secretary has bowed to American pressure and cleared the way to extradite Assange to the USA. It is a thorough disgrace.