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Q: If Julian Assange is elected into Australian senate, how will it affect Chinese relations?

Yes, Assange is trying to get into the Australian Senate in the up-coming election, with his Wikileaks party, mostly on a platform of 'openness and transparency' in government.

 

And, let's not forget the concept of human rights, freedom of speech, etc etc that this may bring.

 

Is this likely to have an effect on Australian-Chinese relations??

 

Especially since we might recall the recent call for Kevin Rudd (possible new PM for Aus) to "not use his knowledged in dealing with China" etc etc (go find a post about it on here...).

 

AND... if Australia starts having issues with China,  how will the rest of the world look upon this?? (also recall that Assange is fairly anti-US and UK governments...).

8 years 45 weeks ago in  Culture - China

 
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Never heard of her before, but here is hoping for the best. You never really know with these things until they happen.....people claim they will do this and that, but many of those that claim that just do it to get elected...

TedDBayer:

No answer here, normal, why isn't this harmonized?

8 years 45 weeks ago
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8 years 45 weeks ago

There are cookies, bookies and too many rookies for me to sit here trying to be a hooky! Looky Looky don't call me a wooky. Touchy Touchy Feely Feely Spicy Spicy Nicey Nicey & that's what the doctor Ordered!!

 
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If Assange is elected, he will probably be disqualified for not attending three consecutive senate sittings. It is doubtful he will be granted diplomatic immunity, but if allowed to serve, I think he would have a definite negative impact on the current CCP (which is not a bad thing).

 

Rudd is a more real concern to China's CCP, though he could be the catalyst they need for reform, if they would just allow it. The Opposition have already promised Rudd a major diplomatic role if he loses the election (not hard to guess where), so either way, he's not going anywhere as far as China is concerned.

 

Another one joins the harmonised club. Proves you're a foreigner, at least  ... Shift+R improves the quality of this image. Shift+A improves the quality of all images on this page.

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Does Australia have an extradition treaty with Sweden?  Dude still needs to answer for that rape charge....

Traveler:

I didn't know he had been charged, that the Swedish police didn't have enough evidence. I was of the understanding that he was only wanted for questioning, which is what made the extradition order so extraordinary.

8 years 45 weeks ago
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cooter:

You may be right.  I just ASSumed he was charged due to the extradition order....

8 years 45 weeks ago
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Governor

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He will be granted diplomatic immunity - but just as he gets on the boat to Australia, Roger Murtaugh will magically appear and shoot him between the eyes...

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"If you start from the premise that Trump is a fascist dictator who has brought Nazi tyranny to the US, then it isn't that irrational to believe that anyone who helped empower Trump (which is how they see Assange) deserves to be imprisoned, hence the lack of concern about it," Greenwald said. 

 

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/glenn-greenwald-shocks-explanation-w...

 

Glenn Greenwald Shocks With Explanation On Why Mainstream Media Is Ignoring Assange Trial

Sat, 09/19/2020 - 19:00

ambivalentmace:

It has been interesting to watch Trump Derangement Syndrome in real time.

 

It is really opposition to some one coming into the 2 party system as an outsider, Trump is just the person who pulled it off.

 

Democrats used to be anti-war unless they fund and start it, now Trump does not do enough war.

 

Democrats used to be union lovers, but now the working class are a threat because Trump is actually talking to them and they make the mistake of listening.

 

Democrats used to own the police agencies and control them but progressives are more important so they throw them under the bus.

 

Democrats used to love Putin and kiss his ass but now he is the boss and Trump is a puppet.

 

Republicans are even worse, they used to scream about debts and spending but Trump gets no pushback except the metrosexual, wimpy mormon from Utah Romey who actually wrote most of Obamacare. Religious republicans have sided with a pervert almost as bad as blowjob Clinton, or pervert adulterer Joseph Smith because the left is already living in hell in their mind.

 

Regardless of politics, like I said 5 years ago. It's going to be a hell of a show. Now that the old biddy Ginsberg bit the dust, it's going to be BLM time. Bravado, Lunatic Maniacs on every broadcast.  It's like getting an extra movie for free.

1 year 40 weeks ago
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icnif77:

"It's like getting an extra movie for free."

... which you really don't want to watch ...

Beside US politics, i.e. you did ... he did ... and so on, Assange is bleeding just 'cause he acted like a reporter.

I wish, Trump-a would fix that with pardon. I fail to see the point of US gov. put him/them into the jail for life, Assange or "Up-Yours" ... except Assange might tell the truth about US gov. in shade, i.e. deep state. See 'Seth Rich' in search ...for more conspiracy ...

 

The difference between the two is Assange didn't expect such horrible blowback and "Up-Yours" in real stole NSA files and he escaped to asylum on time.

 

Now, tables have turned and NSA is in the hot seat 'cause of unlawfully collecting the (meta) data on US citizens and "Up-Yours" just exposed that .. by stealing the files. 

If I turn into an example in Layman ... you see somebody sets fire to the building and you report it.

Are they going to put you in jail 'cause building was full of As and had to be torn apart and burned to preserve health of other people?

Fire dept., i.e. gov. says, "Yes, person which filed a report should be jailed!"

You run away ... and after your 7th year in exile, it turns out there was no As in the building material ... and gov. lied ...

 

Law can be bleach ... but ... it is the Law!

1 year 40 weeks ago
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ambivalentmace:

The sad part is he was a real journalists, we don't have that anymore, you have right or left agenda brainwashed talking heads who think they are journalists. They are really just robots trying to get "clicks" on a website by pissing people off. I never thought news stations would become tabloids for money, but it happened. I"m not sure it will ever recover in the US.

1 year 40 weeks ago
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icnif77:

OT, but you or somebody else might be interested in this US Immigration updates:

 

https://lawandborder.com/expeditious-naturalization/

 

Expeditious Naturalization under Section 319(b) for Spouses of U.S. Citizens Employed Abroad

1 year 40 weeks ago
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https://www.aier.org/article/edward-snowden-deserves-a-pardon/

 

AMERICAN INSTITUTE for ECONOMIC RESEARCH

by David S. D’Amato

– September 20, 2020

 

Edward Snowden Deserves a Pardon

 

The global spotlight was cast upon Edward Snowden in 2013 after he blew the whistle on the National Security Agency’s (NSA) warrantless domestic surveillance programs. Working with The Guardian and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, Snowden famously (or infamously, depending on one’s point of view) revealed that the NSA was illegally gathering information on tens of millions of Americans—citizens who had been accused of no wrongdoing. Now, Snowden’s case is once again in the news, as President Trump recently told reporters that he will look carefully at “the Snowden situation,” going as far as polling his aides as to whether he should pardon the exiled whistleblower.

 

Snowden was a responsible whistleblower who took the role seriously and made careful, deliberate decisions in choosing the documents he would share with journalists. He performed this immeasurably brave act of public service at an enormous personal and professional cost. In an instant, he became one of the world’s most wanted individuals, reviled as a traitor by some of the most powerful and dangerous people in the world’s most powerful and dangerous government. “Having watched the Obama administration prosecute whistleblowers at a historically unprecedented rate,” Snowden understood the risks; he understood that the CIA or “[a]ny of their agents or assets” could come after him. 

Known liar Michael Hayden, for example, has called Snowden a traitor and is sufficiently shameless to argue, “Whistleblowing requires someone to actually point out a violation of law and [Snowden] has not done that.” Of course, the programs Snowden exposed were in fact quite illegal and, according to many legal scholars, unconstitutional. 

Hayden, whose career has seen him hold the top spot of Director at both the NSA and the CIA, intentionally misled Congress when he testified in 2007 on the CIA’s interrogation and detention program. James Clapper, who led the intelligence community under Obama, similarly lied to Congress when, replying to a question from Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), he stated under oath that the federal government does “not wittingly” collect “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.” Clapper, of course, knew he wasn’t telling the truth, but claimed that he “made a big mistake” and was thinking of another government surveillance program and “didn’t understand.”

Former Obama administration CIA Director John Brennan has also established a reputation for baldly lying to elected officials. In 2011, for example, he falsely claimed that the U.S. government’s drone strikes had never killed a civilian, even as he had constructive knowledge from the beginning of the Obama presidency that the drone program had killed “numerous civilians.” When Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) accused the CIA of “cover-ups, intimidation and smears,” she spoke words much truer than we’re accustomed to hearing from politicians, words that go to the heart of the problem in the government: Americans are, right now, governed by a permanent power bloc of unelected, unaccountable intelligence officials—whom we might call the Deep State. As a matter of practice, they can’t be disciplined or removed, nor do they have any sense that they answer to the American people or the people’s representatives.  

Under any sane standard, the country’s national security and intelligence establishment are the real traitors, selling out and betraying the American people in dangerous and misguided quests for unlimited power and knowledge about our every activity. 

The top brass in the intelligence community have established a clear, decades-long pattern of violating our rights and then brazenly lying to the people’s elected representatives, forgetting that they are supposed to be public servants, not omnipotent overlords. They lie under oath and violate their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution only to turn around and accuse actual heroes like Snowden of treason. And we let them get away with it—worse than that, we celebrate them, making them expert analysts on the major news networks, awarding them cushy posts at the nation’s most prestigious centers of learning, and generally ignoring, in investigative journalist William Arkin’s words, “the creeping fascism of homeland security.”

One can’t help but be reminded of the concept of what in George Orwell’s novel 1984 the Party calls “reality control”—or in its more famous Newspeak name: “doublethink.” The ascendency of America’s military and intelligence officialdom requires that we, paraphrasing 1984, deny the evidence of our senses. Orwell’s protagonist is tortured by the mental effort entailed in forcing himself to believe two opinions he knows to be irreconcilable. “All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory.” 

Americans must stop ignoring our senses and our memories. If President Trump has an ounce of decency, he should promptly pardon Edward Snowden, who at a very young age, with a promising career and his whole life ahead of him, put everything on the line to protect us from the very people who are supposed to be protecting us. Let’s hope that Trump does the right thing.

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https://www.zerohedge.com/medical/psychiatrist-testifies-julian-assange-...

 

Psychiatrist Testifies That Julian Assange Is "Preparing To Kill Himself In Prison"

A disturbing testimony from a psychiatrist outlines that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is in such a bad state in prison that he should be considered at ‘high risk’ of suicide.

The Daily Mail reports that Professor Michael Kopelman testified during an extradition hearing in London that Assange has “begun making preparations to end his own life including confessing to a Catholic priest, drafting farewell letters to his family and drafting a will.”

Kopelman, emeritus professor of neuropsychiatry at King’s College London, also said that Assange told him he experienced hearing voices in his head saying “we’re coming to get you.”

“He reported auditory hallucinations, which were voices either inside or outside his head, somatic hallucinations, funny bodily experiences, these have now disappeared,” Kopelman said.

“He also has a long history of musical hallucinations, which is maybe a separate phenomenon, that got worse when he was in prison,” the psychiatrist added.

“The voices are things like, “you are dust, you are dead, we are coming to get you”. They are derogatory and persecutory,” he continued, adding “They seem to have diminished. Subsequently the musical hallucinations have also reduced, and the somatic hallucinations have disappeared.”

Kopelman even noted that Assange “reported a near-death experience and wondered if the CIA would find a way to get him or mess with his head” noting that this “may or may not” be paranoia.

Kopelman warned that “The risk of suicide arises out of clinical factors…but it is the imminence of extradition and or an actual extradition that would trigger the attempt, in my opinion.”

Assange is languishing in Belmarsh, a notoriously horrid maximum security prison housing murderers and terrorists. For much of the time since being arrested on leaving the Ecuadorian embassy, Assange has been kept in solitary confinement. He is also heavily medicated.

The wikileaks founder faces extradition to the US, where he would be charged with an 18-count indictment related to hacking computers and conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information.

Professor Kopelman also noted during the hearing that Assange has been depressed “certainly throughout the time I’ve been seeing him.”

“It’s fluctuated a bit, his appetite has fluctuated, he’s had persistent problems with sleep and his mood state is worst in the early hours of the morning and that’s stayed consistent,” Kopelman added.

“Mr Assange was very reluctant to talk about his suicidal ideas and plans because he feared he would be put on constant watch or isolation,” the psychiatrist further explained.

The report notes that the QC for the US government argued that Assange is ‘exaggerating’ his psychiatric symptoms and ‘self reporting’ suicidal ideas, and that Kopelman is an ‘advocate’.

“I’m a psychiatrist, you’re a lawyer. I make my diagnoses on my criteria,” the professor is said to have replied.

Assange’s QC reportedly read out a list of multiple times, at least ten, that Assange had requested the Samaritans suicide prevention helpline number between August and November 2019.

Assange has been in the prison since April of last year:

 

icnif77:

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk

 

Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 15

 

When Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers, the US Government burgled the office of his psychiatrist to look for medical evidence to discredit him. Julian Assange has been obliged to submit himself, while in a mentally and physically weakened state and in conditions of the harshest incarceration, to examination by psychiatrists appointed by the US government. He has found the experience intrusive and traumatising. It is a burglary of the mind.

Julian is profoundly worried that his medical history will be used to discredit him and all that he has worked for, to paint the achievements of Wikileaks in promoting open government and citizen knowledge as the fantasy of a deranged mind. I have no doubt this will be tried, but fortunately there has been a real change in public understanding and acknowledgement of mental illness. I do not think Julian’s periodic and infrequent episodes of very serious depression will be successfully portrayed in a bad light, despite the incredibly crass and insensitive attitude displayed today in court by the US Government, who have apparently been bypassed by the change in attitudes of the last few decades.

I discuss this before coming to Tuesday’s evidence because for once my account will be less detailed than others, because I have decided to censor much of what was said. I do this on the grounds that, when it comes to his medical history, Julian’s right to privacy ought not to be abolished by these proceedings. I have discussed this in some detail with Stella Morris. I have of course weighed this against my duty as a journalist to you the reader, and have decided the right to medical privacy is greater, irrespective of what others are publishing. I have therefore given as full an account as I can while omitting all mention of behaviours, of symptoms, and of more personal detail.

I also believe I would take that view irrespective of the identity of the defendant. I am not just being partial to a friend. In all my reporting of these proceedings, of course my friendship with Julian has been something of which I am mindful. But I have invented nothing, nor have I omitted anything maliciously.

I will state firmly and resolutely that my account has been truthful. I do not claim it has been impartial. Because in a case of extreme injustice, truth is not impartial.

The following account tries to give you a fair impression of today’s courtroom events, while omitting the substance and detail of much of the discussion. The single witness all day was the eminent psychiatrist Prof Michael Kopelman, who will be familiar to readers of Murder in Samarkand. Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London and formerly head of psychiatry at Guy’s and St Thomas’s, Prof Kopelman was appointed by the defence (he is not one of the psychiatrists of whom Julian complains, who will give evidence later) and had visited Julian Assange 19 times in Belmarsh Prison. His detailed report concluded that

“I reiterate again that I am as certain as a psychiatrist ever can be that, in the event of imminent extradition, Mr. Assange would indeed find a way to commit suicide,”

.. more ..

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https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/surreal-us-case-against-assange

 

The Surreal US Case Against Assange

Thu, 10/01/2020 - 02:00

Following the Julian Assange case as it has progressed through its various stages, from the original Swedish allegations right up to and including the extradition hearing which is currently underway in the Central Criminal Court in London, has been a troubling and very strange experience.

The U.S. government has failed to present a coherent case. 

Conscious that the British authorities should in theory refuse to extradite Assange if the case against him were shown to be politically motivated and/or related to Assange’s legitimate work as a journalist, the U.S. government has struggled to present a case against Assange which is not too obviously politically motivated or related to Assange’s legitimate work as a journalist. 

This explains the strange succession of one original and two superseding indictments. 

The U.S. government’s first indictment was based on what was a supposedly simple allegation of computer interference, supposedly coordinated in some sort of conspiracy between Assange and Chelsea Manning. 

This was obviously done in an attempt to dispel the idea that the request for Assange’s extradition was politically motivated or was related to Assange’s legitimate work as a journalist. 

However lawyers in the United States had no difficulty pointing out the “inchoate facts” of the alleged conspiracy between Assange and Manning, whilst both lawyers and journalists in the United States and elsewhere pointed out that the facts in the indictment in fact bore all the hallmarks of action by a journalist to protect a source.

The result was that the U.S. government replaced its indictment with a first superseding indictment, which this time was founded largely on the 1917 Espionage Act, and was therefore closer to the real reasons why the case against Assange was being brought. 

However, that made the case look altogether too obviously politically motivated, so it has in turn been replaced by a second superseding indictment, presented to the court and the defence team virtually on the eve of the trial, which has sought to veer back towards strictly criminal allegations, this time of involvement in computer hacking.

More Problems for Another Indictment

The allegations in the second superseding indictment have however faced major difficulties, in that they do not seem to concern the United States and may not even be actual crimes.  Also they rely heavily on the evidence of a known fraudster, whose “evidence” is inherently unreliable. 

The U.S. government has failed to make clear whether the additional allegations in the second superseding indictment are intended to constitute a separate standalone case.  Initially they appeared to deny that they did; then they hinted that they might do; now however they seem to be acting as if they don’t.

As if that were not confusing enough, the U.S. government and its British lawyers have floated confusing and contradictory theories about whether or not the British authorities can extradite Assange even if the case against him is politically motivated, and even if it is related to his journalistic activities.

Initially they seemed to be arguing that — contrary to all British precedent and the actual text of the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Britain — Britain can in fact extradite Assange to the U.S. on a politically motivated charge, because the enabling Act which the British Parliament passed, which made the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Britain a part of British law, is silent on whether or not individuals can be extradited to the U.S. on a politically motivated charge.

This argument of course came close to conceding that the case against Assange is politically motivated after all.

This threadbare argument, at least for the moment, seems to have been abandoned.  At least nothing has been heard of it throughout the current hearing.  Instead the U.S. government and its British lawyers have argued, in the face of the incredulity of a string of expert and factual witnesses, that the case is not politically motivated after all.

The same inconsistencies have beset the U.S. government’s arguments as to whether or not Assange is being charged under the Espionage Act for activities related to his work as a journalist. 

Initially the U.S. government’s position was that he was not.  This was based on some theory — never satisfactorily explained or articulated — that Assange in some way is not a journalist, even though he is charged with doing things that journalists do. 

Faced by a barrage of expert witnesses who pointed out that the charges brought against Assange under the Espionage Act do in fact relate to work journalists do, the U.S. government midway through the hearing reversed course. 

Now it says that the charges against Assange not only do relate to his work as a journalist, but that they can be brought against any journalist who does the things Assange is being charged with having done.  The U.S. government has even argued that The New York Times would have been successfully prosecuted under the Espionage Act for publishing the Pentagon Papers, because that was an action essentially identical to the ones for which Assange is being charged.

The implications for journalists of this astonishing reversal are truly shocking.  It is staggering that in the media it has attracted no attention.

Trouble with Witnesses 

The U.S. government has shown the same lack of coherence in its response to the defence’s impressive lineup of expert witnesses.

The conventional way of responding to an expert is to call another expert to state a contrary view.  On the critical issues of U.S. law, especially the protections provided to journalists by the First Amendment to the Constitution, as well as on the politics in the U.S. behind the Assange prosecution, the U.S. government has however done no such thing.  Presumably it has found it difficult or impossible to find experts who can be relied upon credibly to state a contrary view. 

Instead, armed only with affidavits from U.S. Justice Department officials, who are of course not impartial experts at all, but who are part of the U.S. government’s legal team, the U.S. government’s British lawyers have been left to argue that the defence’s experts are not really experts at all — an impossible argument to make convincingly in my opinion — and to debate with the experts points of U.S. politics and U.S. law — including difficult points of U.S. constitutional and case law — about which the experts are by definition far more knowledgeable than the British lawyers. 

The result, inevitably, has been a series of humiliations, as the lawyers have been repeatedly caught out by the experts making basic errors of fact and interpretation about the points which they have sought to argue. 

Unsurprisingly, the lawyers have attempted to make up for this by trying to intimidate and denigrate the experts, in a way that has only highlighted their own lack of expertise in the relevant areas by comparison with that of the experts.

Given the collapse into incoherence of the U.S. government’s case, it is unsurprising that the U.S. government’s British lawyers are now reportedly trying to persuade the Judge against hearing closing arguments. 

Given the constant shifts and reversals in the U.S. government’s position, preparing and presenting a closing argument to the court which would be internally consistent and credible must be fast becoming a nightmare.  If closing arguments do take place, as I still expect, it will be interesting to see which of the many conflicting arguments and theories they have made the U.S. government’s lawyers finally run with.

On its face the U.S. government’s case ought to be close to collapse.  There was even a point in the hearing where one of the U.S. government’s British lawyers apparently admitted to the judge that the reason for the second superseding indictment was that the first superseding indictment was “failing.” 

If so, then given that the charges being prosecuted against Assange are still basically those set out in the first superseding indictment, the case against Assange ought to be dismissed, and the U.S. government’s request for his extradition ought to be refused.

The Underlying Truth

It remains to be seen whether that is what actually happens.  However, that brings me to the single most important fact, and the underlying truth, about this extraordinary case.

It is very easy when following the intricacies of such a complex legal process to lose sight of what this case is really about.

Ultimately the U.S. government is not pursuing Julian Assange because he helped Chelsea Manning take certain steps with a computer to conceal her identity, or because he had some historic contacts with hackers, or because he became involved in some activities in Iceland, which caused him to fall foul of a fraudster (and FBI informant). 

Nor is it because Assange received and published classified material.  In the U.S. the receipt and publication by the news media of classified material has grown to almost industrial levels. 

It is because Assange, to a greater extent than any other journalist since the end of the war in Vietnam, has exposed the darkest and most terrible secrets of the U.S. government.

The case against Assange has its origin in the calamitous “War on Terror” launched by the Bush administration in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. 

That “war” provided the cover for a series of violent military aggressions, primarily in the Middle East, by the U.S. and its closest allies, first and foremost Britain but also including other countries such as Saudi Arabia and France.

The result has been a series of wars in a succession of Middle East countries — Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen— fought by the U.S. and its allies and proxies, which have caused the devastation of whole societies, and the death and dispersal of millions.

In the process the U.S. has become drawn increasingly into practices which it once condemned, or at least said it condemned.  These include the “extrajudicial killing” (i.e. murder) of people — who have included children and U.S. citizens — by drone strikes, a practice which has now become routine; the kidnapping of individuals and their detention without trial in places like Guantanamo, a practice which despite unconvincing protestations that “extraordinary rendition” no longer happens almost certainly continues; and the practice of torture, at one time referred to as “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which almost certainly still continues, and indeed appears to have become normalized.

All of this activity straightforwardly violates international (and domestic U.S.) law, including war crimes law and human rights law, and does so moreover in fundamental ways. 

It also requires, in order to implement the policies that result in these unlawful acts, in the creation of a vast and ultimately unaccountable national security apparatus of a sort that is ultimately incompatible with a democratic society.  Inevitably its activities, which have become routinely unlawful, are becoming unlawful within the territory of the United States, as well as outside it. 

This manifests itself in all sorts of ways, for example through the vast, indiscriminate and illegal bulk-surveillance program exposed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, and by the systemic FISA surveillance abuse exposed over the course of the Russiagate “scandal.” 

The extent to which the very existence of the national security apparatus, required to implement various U.S. illegal activities and to achieve its foreign policy goals, has become incompatible with a democratic society, is shown by one of the most alarming of recent developments, both in Britain and in the United States. 

This is the growing complicity of much of the media in concealing its illegal activities.  Obviously without that complicity these activities would be impossible, as would the serial violations of international law, including war crimes law and human rights, which the United States and some of its allies now routinely engage in.

All this explains the extreme reaction to Julian Assange, and the determined attempts to destroy him, and to pulp his reputation.

Julian Assange and his organization WikiLeaks, have done those things which the U.S. government and its national security apparatus most fear, and have worked hardest to prevent, by exposing the terrible reality of much of what the U.S. government now routinely does, and is determined to conceal, and what much of the media is helping the U.S. government to conceal.

Thus in a series of astonishing revelations Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have exposed in the so-called embassy cables the extraordinarily manipulative conduct of U.S. foreign policy; in the Vault 7 disclosures the instruments the CIA uses in order to — as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said, “lie” and “cheat” — and, most disturbingly, in collaboration with Chelsea Manning, the rampant war crimes and egregious human rights abuses carried out by the U.S. military during the illegal war and occupation of Iraq.

This is an extraordinary record for a journalist, and for an organization, WikiLeaks, which was only set up in 2006. 

Not surprisingly, the result has been that the pursuit of Assange by the U.S. government has been relentless, whilst the media, much of which has been complicit in covering up its crimes, has preferred to look the other way.

Hence, the Surreal Quality 

It is this underlying reality which gives the whole case currently unfolding in London’s Central Criminal Court its surreal quality.

That the true purpose of the U.S. government’s relentless pursuit of Assange is to prevent him from exposing more of its crimes, and to punish him for exposing those of its crimes which he did expose, if only so as to deter others from doing the same thing, is perfectly obvious to any unbiased and realistic observer.  However, the hearing in London is being conducted as if this were not the case. 

Thus, the extraordinary zigzags in the U.S. government’s rationale for bringing the case, as it cannot admit the true reason why the case has been actually brought.

Thus, also the U.S. government’s strenuous efforts throughout the hearing to prevent evidence being produced of its crimes which Assange exposed.  

The U.S. government has strenuously opposed all attempts to introduce as evidence the appalling “Collateral Murder” video, which shows the deliberate murder of civilians in Iraq by members of the U.S. military.  It has also strenuously opposed the introduction of evidence from a defence witness about his own torture.  This despite the fact that in both cases the fact of the U.S. crimes is scarcely disputed, and has in fact been all but admitted.

The result is the paradoxical and bizarre situation whereby the U.S. authorities try to cobble together a case against Assange based on a confusing medley of discordant and conflicting claims and facts, whilst failing to prosecute or hold to account those who were responsible for the very serious crimes which he has exposed.

In fact, as the U.S. government’s case has unraveled, the argument has become increasingly confined to the discrete issue of whether — by exposing the U.S. government’s crimes —Assange “irresponsibly” put the safety of various U.S. government informants at risk.

As it happens the evidence is clearly that he did not.   Over the course of the hearing the court has heard of Assange’s many and serious attempts to conceal the identities of these informants, and of the reckless and even possibly malicious actions of certain others, who actually exposed them. 

The court has also been told of the absence of any evidence that any one of these informants has in fact been harmed by any disclosure by WikiLeaks or Assange.  Moreover, an expert witness has argued convincingly that the disclosure by a journalist of the identities of such informants would not under U.S. law be a crime anyway.

In response the U.S. government’s lawyers have relied heavily, not on the evidence of any actual witness, but on passages in a book by two Guardian journalists who are known to be hostile to Assange, and who — by publishing a password — seem to have done more to compromise the identities of the informants than Assange ever did. 

Neither of these journalists has been called to give evidence on oath about the contents of their book.  Doing so would, of course, have exposed them to cross-examination by the defence about the truth of the book’s contents. Given the weight the U.S. government is apparently placing on the book, I find it astonishing that they were not called.

The surreal quality of the U.S. government’s treatment of this issue is shown by the fact that when an actual witness — the German journalist John Goetz — did in fact come forward and offer to give evidence on oath about a specific allegation in the book — refuting an allegation in the book that Assange supposedly made comments at a dinner, which Goetz attended, that showed a reckless disregard for the safety of the informants — the U.S. government’s lawyers strenuously objected, and were able to get the judge to exclude this evidence.

However, it is the staggering disproportion between the scale of the crimes Assange has exposed, and the crimes of which he is accused — if they are even crimes, and of which he anyway appears to be innocent — which for me stands out.

Assange and WikiLeaks have exposed rampant war crimes and human rights abuses over the course of illegal wars waged by the U.S. government and its allies.  The death toll from these wars runs at the very least into the tens of thousands, and more plausibly into the hundreds of thousands or even millions. 

By contrast over the course of the entire hearing no evidence whatsoever has been produced that as a result of any of Assange’s actions anyone has come to any actual physical harm. 

Yet it is Assange who is in the dock, facing demands for his extradition to the United States, where a 175-year sentence may await him, whilst the persons responsible for the colossal crimes he has exposed, not only walk free, but are amongst those who are trying to jail him.

The point was made forcefully during the hearing by one of the defence’s most powerful witnesses, Daniel Ellsberg.

It was also made forcefully to Consortium News by one of its readers, who has correctly pointed out that the crimes which Assange exposed were clearly defined as war crimes by the Nuremberg Tribunal, whose decisions are universally accepted as forming the bedrock of international war crimes law. 

The Nuremberg Tribunal moreover made it clear that there is not only a positive duty to refuse to participate in such crimes, even when ordered to do so, but that no sanctions should ever been imposed for exposing such crimes when they occur. 

 

In other words, it is Assange and his sources, first and foremost Chelsea Manning, who are the defenders of international law, including the Nuremberg Principles, and including in the case which is currently underway, whilst it is those who persecute them, including by bringing the current case against Assange, who are international law’s violators.

This is the single most important fact about this case, and it explains everything about it.

Assange and Manning have paid an enormous price for their defence of international law, and for the principles of basic human decency and humanity. 

Manning was recently held in long spells of solitary detention, and has had her savings confiscated by the U.S. authorities, for no reason other than that she has refused to testify against Assange.

Assange has been subjected to what various UN agencies have characterized as long periods of arbitrary detention and psychological torture. 

He continues to be denied bail, despite his known health problems, and is separated from his family. 

He continues to have difficulties consulting privately with his lawyers, and has been exposed to the indignity — qualified in other cases by the European Court for Human Rights as a human rights violation — of being kept inside court rooms confined to a glass box or cage. 

John Pilger has described vividly and in great detail, including to Consortium News, the inhuman conditions to which Assange is daily exposed to. That these amount to human rights violations ought not to require discussion or explanation. 

International Conventions

That these human rights violations breach a host of international conventions to which Britain is a signatory, including against torture and arbitrary detention, in respect of the right to a fair trial, in respect of the right to privacy and dignity of the person, and of the right to a family life, also ought not to require discussion or explanation. 

Recently there has been an outcry in Britain because legislation the British government is proposing, which would allow it to modify unilaterally the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement it agreed last year with the European Union, breaches international law. 

Without in any way disputing the importance of this issue, which may have important consequences for peace in Ireland, I find the angry protestations of some British journalists and politicians, that Britain never violates international law, frankly unreal. 

If they want examples of Britain violating international law they need look no further than the facts of Assange’s case.  They might also benefit from looking at what has been said over the course of the ongoing hearing in the Central Criminal Court.

Despite all the difficulties, there is however no reason to give up hope.

London graffiti, March 2020. (duncan c, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.Innocent

The extraordinary zigzags the U.S. government has been forced to make as it tries and fails to put a coherent and convincing case against Julian Assange together, show that the law, for all its many flaws, remains an important defence.

I am aware of the many criticisms which have been made of Vanessa Baraitser, the judge who is hearing Assange’s case.  I don’t disagree with any of them. 

However, I do get the impression that Baraitser’s patience has been sorely tried by the U.S. government’s repeated and dizzying changes of position.  I also get the impression that she was particularly annoyed when the U.S. government, on the virtual eve of the hearing, presented to the court and the defence its second superseding indictment, which in effect made a nonsense of the first. 

That may explain why the U.S. government’s British lawyers have largely conducted the case as if the second superseding indictment did not exist, basing their arguments mostly on what the first superseding indictment says, though perhaps unsurprisingly, and to the bafflement of the experts, they are now increasingly making arguments which have no basis in any indictment.

Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, Baraitser has rejected the U.S. government’s various attempts to exclude en masse the evidence of defence witnesses, even if she has imposed a 30-minute guillotine on their examination in chief (direct examination) by defence lawyers.

In summary, and in my opinion, there is still a chance, however small, that Baraitser will decide the case in Assange’s favour. 

If she does not do so, then I would have thought, based on what has happened over the course of the hearing, that Assange will have good prospects on appeal.

More encouraging than what has been happening inside the court, where the outcome remains very much in doubt, and where the prospects must be considered problematic to say the least, is what has been happening outside.

My wife, who attended one of the hearings last week, saw placards held up by some of Assange’s supporters outside the court, which called on road users to honk their horns in support of Assange.  To her delighted astonishment, despite the media blackout which surrounds the case, and despite the long campaign of character assassination to which Assange has been subjected, an extraordinarily high proportion of road users (more than a quarter) did so.

That reinforces my sense that the tide of opinion, at least in Britain, is shifting.  The battle is far from over, and can still be won.

    icnif77:

    Prison Official Tells Hearing Assange To End Up At Notorious Extreme Isolation ADX Supermax

      The “Alcatraz of the Rockies” is home to the Unabomber, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 9/11 terror mastermind Zacarias Moussaoui, and the most damaging spy in FBI history Robert Hanssen. 

       

       

      Thu, 10/01/2020 - 04:15

      During WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition hearing this week in London, a former warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York testified on behalf of the defense that it's almost certain that should the US gain custody of Assange, he'll be transferred to the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.

      Describing that during his pre-trial detention in the US he would be put in isolation under 'Special Administrative Measures' (SAMS) as it is a national security case, the prison official Maureen Baird underscored that the “only place” he could go is the notorious Supermax facility, which is also known as ADX.

      1 year 38 weeks ago
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      Stiggs:

      If they get hold of him he'll probably get Epsteined. 

      1 year 38 weeks ago
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      icnif77:

      Epsteined? One should look at both possibilities:

      1. Epstein died by hanging in his cell  ...

      or

      2. Epstein was whisked away into secure asylum, i.e. he isn't dead.

       

      He was Joos' shill and he had loads of incriminating matterial on many powerful, decision making people. I'd say, his island was spot for making movies ... on influential people engaging in underage sex and other bestialities ...

      Now, when you add secret cameras all around that place, nothing else can come into mind but extortion scam(s). Not for money, but ...

       

      That is Mossad's way ...

      1 year 38 weeks ago
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      Stiggs:

      I haven't been following his story closely but I thought the incriminating videos he took of very powerful people were pretty much a given. Then they put him in the cell with a freakishly big dude, the cameras were mysteriously turned off, the suicide watch protocols somehow ignored and he 'hung' himself. I reckon he was killed. The fact that the matter was just dropped by the media and everyone else is probably some sort of sign too.

      1 year 38 weeks ago
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      Do you know Noam Chomsky? Good!

      He appeared at Assange's trial in Old Bailey and ...

       

      https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/noam-chomsky-testifies-assange-he...

       

      I am happy to say that after court two pints of Guinness and a cheese and ham toastie had a substantial restorative effect. Those who have followed these reports will understand how frustrating it was to be deprived of James Lewis asking Noam Chomsky how he can venture an opinion on whether this extradition is politically motivated when he is only a Professor of Linguistics, or whether he has ever published any peer-reviewed articles. To attempt to encapsulate the wealth of information skipped through yesterday is not the work of an evening.

      What I shall do for now is give you the eloquent and brief statement by Noam Chomsky on the political nature of Julian Assange’s actions:

       

      A friend last night gave me the cold comfort that I should not worry about the hurried close of these proceedings reducing the public gaze on the evidence and the arguments (and I think there were altogether nine witness statements yesterday), because that public gaze had been extremely limited, as indeed I have been continually explaining. In other words, it makes no difference. I follow that argument, but it goes against some fundamental beliefs and motivations I have about bearing witness, which I shall need to develop further in my own mind.

      In the next few days I will try to bring you a synthesis and analysis of all that passed on Wednesday. Now I need to go to court and see the last few dribbles of this case, and exchange last glances of friendship with Julian for some months.

       

      icnif77:

      This c&p is PDF and I am unable to edit it to readable version. Better read is straight from Zero's link above ...

      1 year 38 weeks ago
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      https://www.zerohedge.com/political/british-court-rules-julian-assange-c...

       

      British Court Rules Julian Assange Can Be Extradited To US 

       

      More than 2.5 years have passed since Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange was dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy in London after 7 years in hiding from British authorities, during which time Assange has struggled through a lengthy court battle, all while remaining imprisoned. And yet it seems Assange's real nightmare is only just beginning as Britain's high court ruled Friday that he could be extradited to the US to face charges that could see him imprisoned for the rest of his life.

       

      Assange can appeal the ruling, but it's clear at this point that the chips are stacked against him. The US government has been quietly pursuing charges against the Wikileaks founder under the Espionage Act for years. According to what's been publicly revealed, Assange is facing an 18 count indictment in the US with most of the charges focused on violating the Espionage Act. Should he be found guilty, Assange could be imprisoned for up to 175 years.

      In response to the ruling, Wikileaks slammed the US for trying to avoid accountability by covering up the "collateral murder" incident where two Reuters journalists were killed in Iraq, along with innocent civilians, by the US military. The infamous footage from that incident, which was first published by Assange after being leaked by Chelsea Manning (back when she was an army intelligence analyst named Bradley Manning)....

       

      ... more ...

      icnif77:

      https://www.zerohedge.com/political/greenwald-biden-administration-eager-see-assange-punished-over-2016-election

       

      Greenwald: Biden Administration 'Eager To See Assange Punished' Over 2016 Election

       

      In a London courtroom on Friday morning, Julian Assange suffered a devastating blow to his quest for freedom. A two-judge appellate panel of the United Kingdom's High Court ruled that the U.S.'s request to extradite Assange to the U.S. to stand trial on espionage charges is legally valid.

      As a result, that extradition request will now be sent to British Home Secretary Prita Patel, who technically must approve all extradition requests but, given the U.K. Government's long-time subservience to the U.S. security state, is all but certain to rubber-stamp it. Assange's representatives, including his fiancee Stella Morris, have vowed to appeal the ruling, but today's victory for the U.S. means that Assange's freedom, if it ever comes, is further away than ever: not months but years even under the best of circumstances.

       

      ... more ...

      28 weeks 6 days ago
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      icnif77:

      https://news.yahoo.com/united-states-wins-appeal-over-102858213.html

       

      The legal wrangling is almost certain to go to the Supreme Court, the United Kingdom's final court of appeal.

      Assange's fiancée, Stella Moris, said his legal team would appeal the decision.

       

      "How can it be fair, how can it be right, how can it be possible, to extradite Julian to the very country which plotted to kill him?" she said. "We will appeal this decision at the earliest possible moment."

      Supporters of Assange gathered outside of the court after the ruling, chanting "free Julian Assange" and “no extradition”. They tied hundreds of yellow ribbons to the court’s gates and held up placards saying "journalism is not a crime".

      Judge Holroyde said the case must now be remitted to Westminster Magistrates’ Court with the direction judges send it to Home Secretary Priti Patel to decide whether or not Assange should be extradited.

       

      HELICOPTER ATTACK

       

      Assange, who denies any wrongdoing, started out as a teenage hacker with the nickname Mendax - a classical Latin word for “liar” - but a few decades later would expose some of the United States's darkest secrets.

      WikiLeaks came to prominence when it published a U.S. military video in 2010 showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.

      It then released thousands of secret classified files and diplomatic cables that laid bare often highly critical U.S. appraisals of world leaders from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.

       

      ... more ...

      28 weeks 6 days ago
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      • MPs blast government inaction on Julian AssangeMPs blast government inaction on Julian Assange

        Australian opposition lawmakers have urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to “end [the] lunacy” over Julian Assange’s imprisonment on alleged espionage charges and demand the US and UK release the WikiLeaks founder.

        Dec 11, 2021 15:12  

       

      After a British court ruled on Friday that Assange could be extradited to the US, parliamentarians have called on Canberra, and Morrison in particular, to intervene during what Australian Greens leader Adam Bandt described to The Guardian as a “critical moment in the fight against suppression of press freedom.”

      The US wants Assange, 50, extradited to stand trial over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and publish classified information following WikiLeaks’ release of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents about the country’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. If convicted, he faces a 175-year prison sentence.

      Meanwhile, Independent MP Andrew Wilkie described Assange as a “hero” and called on Morrison to “end this lunacy” since “journalism is not a crime.” He criticized the UK for being a “lackey of the US” and blasted Canberra as being “delighted to go along for the ride.”

      Tweeting that a “political response” was needed to get “justice” for Assange, Greens senator Janet Rice urged Foreign Minister Marise Payne to tell her US counterparts to “drop these absurd charges and end Assange’s torture.”

      icnif77:

      https://www.zerohedge.com/political/julian-assange-suffered-stroke-due-us-extradition-battle-fiancee-says

       

      Julian Assange Suffered A Stroke Due To US Extradition Battle, Fiancée Says

       

      News on Sunday that imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange suffered a stroke on Oct. 27 has raised the question of when the High Court knew about it and whether it would have influenced its ruling to overturn a lower court judgment, allowing his extradition to the United States.

      Stella Moris, Assange’s financée and one of his lawyers, told the Mail on Sunday that doctors determined that the mini-stroke has left Assange with "a drooping right eyelid, memory problems and signs of neurological damage."

      28 weeks 3 days ago
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      https://www.rt.com/news/545105-mexico-offers-assange-asylum/

       

       

      Assange offered asylum just across US border

       

      Mexico’s leader extends asylum offer to WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange 

      exican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he sought a pardon for Julian Assange under the Donald Trump administration but was ignored, while reiterating an asylum proposal he first floated last year.

      President Obrador described efforts he made to secure the anti-secrecy activist’s freedom and repeated an offer for political asylum during a Monday press conference, following a December 10 decision by the UK High Court of Justice which ruled that Assange could be extradited to the United States on a series of espionage charges linked to his publication of classified material.

      “It would be a sign of solidarity, of fraternity, to allow him asylum in the country that Assange decides to live in, including Mexico,” he said, noting that while his office had sent a letter to the Trump administration regarding a pardon for Assange, it never received a response. 

      Should Assange be permitted refuge in Mexico, he would not interfere in other nations’ affairs and would pose no threat, the president claimed. 

       

      .

      .. more ...

       

      Stiggs:

      He'd probably be murdered if he did go there.

      25 weeks 2 days ago
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      icnif77:

      While, I'd say for Assange being free, witness-protection kind of program should be in place anywhere he goes.

      Same as it is for Up-Yours in Russia. Not too many Russians are aware where he really is.

      25 weeks 2 days ago
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      https://www.rt.com/news/552562-assange-moris-belmarsh-wedding/

       

      Assange gets married in prison

      The WikiLeaks co-founder, behind bars at Belmarsh, ties the knot with the mother of his childrenAssange gets married in prison 

      Stella Moris, wearing a wedding dress created by British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, arrives outside the high-security Belmarsh prison where she is set to marry WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London, UK, March 23, 2022.

      Julian Assange married Stella Moris inside London’s maximum-security Belmarsh prison on Wednesday, in a long-awaited ceremony. The couple have two children. The imprisoned WikiLeaks co-founder is fighting attempts to extradite him to the US on espionage charges over publishing Iraq and Afghanistan war documents more than a decade ago.

      The British authorities allowed only a small ceremony, attended by four guests, two official witnesses, and two guards, citing security concerns to deny all media access.

      Moris was photographed outside the prison with the two sons she had with Assange – Gabriel and Max.

      “I am convinced that they fear that people will see Julian as a human being. Not a name, but a person,” Moris said in an article published by The Guardian on Wednesday. “Their fear reveals that they want Julian to remain invisible to the public at all costs, even on his wedding day, and especially on his wedding day. For him to disappear from public consciousness.”

      Assange is being held in the maximum-security prison pending the decision on his extradition to the US, where he faces up to 175 years behind bars for allegedly conspiring to hack Pentagon computers. The hacking charges are based on discredited testimony of a convicted Icelandic criminal, and the US has not offered any tangible guarantees Assange will not be held in solitary or tortured, but the UK has so far denied his appeals.

      The US has been after Assange since 2010, when WikiLeaks published a trove of State Department cables as well as Pentagon documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The documents were provided by US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who was convicted under the Espionage Act and spent years in prison.

      In 2012, Assange sought asylum in Ecuador, fearing – correctly, as it turned out – that allegations of sexual impropriety in Sweden were a pretext to have him sent to the US. He spent seven years trapped inside Ecuador’s embassy in London, with the UK denying him permission to leave, until his asylum was revoked by a new government in Quito. In April 2019, Assange was dragged out of the embassy by British police to face charges the US quickly made public. He has been imprisoned in Belmarsh ever since.

      Moris met Assange in 2011, and began a relationship with him in 2015. She described him as “a wonderful man, intelligent and funny, [with] a deep-seated sense of right and wrong,” and said that the wedding is “a declaration of love and resilience in spite of the prison walls.”

       

       

      Stiggs:

      Getting married...  hasn't he been punished enough?

      14 weeks 14 hours ago
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      icnif77:

      LOL, I don't think that applies to him. I mean, it might applies to the most married men, except him.

      When I go through what he suffered, I am asking myself when torturers get tired ...??

      In all normal circumstances, they should already let him go ...

      I just hope, there won't be a general uprising 'cause ruling class will get skinned alive ...

      14 weeks 14 hours ago
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      14 weeks 15 hours ago
       
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