US makes formal request for Julian Assange’s extradition

The Washington Post has announced that officials from the DoJ issued the request to the authorities in the UK last Thursday, although the document hasn’t been made public.  After Assange’s arrest on April 11, the government had 60 days to deliver a complete extradition request to the UK; the hearing on the request is scheduled for June 14 at Belmarsh prison Magistrate’s Court.  The WaPo has confirmed that the Trump administration is charging him on 18 counts, 17 of which are for violating the Espionage Act.

‘US issues formal request for Assange’s extradition’, Oscar Grenfell, 11 June 2019, wsws.org; some outtakes:

“Under existing British and US laws, individuals who are extradited from the UK to the US cannot be charged with additional crimes other than those included in the formal extradition request, or that were allegedly committed after the application had been issued.

According to the Washington Post, the Justice Department will not charge Assange over WikiLeaks 2017 publication of a trove of documents from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) dubbed “Vault 7.” “According to government officials,” it stated, that decision was taken “out of concern that doing so would do more damage to national security.”

WikiLeaks has repeatedly explained that the stepped-up US pursuit of Assange stemmed from the release of “Vault 7.” Its publication prompted then CIA director Mike Pompeo to denounce Assange in April 2017 as a “demon” and WikiLeaks as a “hostile non-state intelligence agency.”

US officials immediately stepped up their campaign to pressure the Ecuadorian authorities to rescind Assange’s asylum and evict him from the embassy. They also initiated the FBI investigation that culminated in the Espionage Act charges.

“Vault 7” exposed the CIA’s development of offensive hacking capabilities and its deployment of malicious computer viruses. Documents demonstrated that the agency had developed the ability to hack into computer systems and leave “tell-tale signs,” so as to attribute the attacks to adversaries such as Russia, China and Iran.

Under existing British and US laws, individuals who are extradited from the UK to the US cannot be charged with additional crimes other than those included in the formal extradition request, or that were allegedly committed after the application had been issued.

According to the Washington Post, the Justice Department will not charge Assange over WikiLeaks 2017 publication of a trove of documents from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) dubbed “Vault 7.” “According to government officials,” it stated, that decision was taken “out of concern that doing so would do more damage to national security.

“Last Friday, WikiLeaks warned that the US was also seeking to revive an attempt by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to frame Assange for “computer hacking” in Iceland in 2011.

The media organisation reported that Icelandic FBI informant Sigurdur Thordarson, who has previously been convicted of fraud and embezzlement, had travelled to Washington DC late last month to answer questions, potentially leading to additional concocted charges against Assange. Thordarson was also interviewed in Iceland in early May by the FBI team that has led the investigation into Assange.”

Even via ‘private window’ I wasn’t able to get into the WaPo, but this piece seems to have all, or most of their report, and I’ll clip a passage that concerns the report of extra charges in Grenfell’s two paragraphs about criminal Sigurdur Thordarson above:

‘US makes formal extradition request to Britain for Julian Assange of WikiLeaks’, Jerry Dunleavy, June 10, 2019, washingtonexaminer.com

“The Justice Department said those charges “relate to Assange’s alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States.”

The U.S. government alleges that Assange “actively solicited United States classified information, including by publishing a list of ‘Most Wanted Leaks’ that sought, among other things, classified documents” starting in late 2009.

The extradition treaty between the two nations would make it very difficult for Assange to be charged with further crimes once he is brought from the U.K. to the U.S., because the agreement says that persons extradited under the treaty can only be tried for crimes “for which extradition was granted” or crimes that are carried out “after the extradition of the person.” The idea that someone cannot be prosecuted for crimes not mentioned in their extradition proceedings is known in international law as the Doctrine of Speciality, although a provision in the treaty does say that the U.K. could potentially waive that provision if the U.S. asks.

Describing Assange as “the public face of WikiLeaks,” the Justice Department said he founded the website with the purpose of it being “an intelligence agency of the people.” The superseding indictment also said the information that WikiLeaks published “included names of local Afghans and Iraqis who had provided information to U.S. and coalition forces,” which prosecutors alleged “created a grave and imminent risk that the innocent people he named would suffer serious physical harm and/or arbitrary detention.”

“The Justice Department said the disclosures from WikiLeaks put sources working with the U.S. “at great risk to their own safety,” including “journalists, religious leaders, human rights advocates, and political dissidents who were living in repressive regimes and reported to the United States the abuses of their own government.”

“Nor was the WikiLeaks founder charged in connection to Russia’s election interference in 2016. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report said Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, or GRU, hacked into Democratic Party email systems, stole thousands of their emails, and then distributed them through two GRU-operated fronts — the DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 websites. Mueller further reports “the GRU units transferred many of the documents they stole from the DNC and the chairman of the Clinton Campaign to WikiLeaks.”

Dunleavy adds that Assange can appeal his case to a higher British court and perhaps even to the European Court of Human Rights.  Oddly,  none of the WikiLeaks on Twitter doesn’t have the news, nor do any of the related accounts I’d checked.

We have no idea of Julian’s current medical condition, as it’s been over a month since Nils Melzer and the docs had examined him, and I don’t trust that Ruptly video RT.com has up for a second, myself.

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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wendy davis's picture

seen this instagram photo before but as i was searching unity4j on twitter to find the graphic of julian's belmarsh prison address, they had this news:

earlier retweet:

and for anything you may have missed in the (Updated at the bottom, cassandra fairbanks, etc.): ‘abandon all hope of Australia or the UK helping Julian Assange: *Updated’, june 5

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QMS's picture

can't have that /s

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Listen to your higher mind.

wendy davis's picture

@QMS

that they want him dead before he can even be extradited.

beats me on the timing, and his name's John Shipton, but:

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wendy davis's picture

@HenryAWallace

tradition (if not law, i've forgotten) that doesn't allow extradition to a nation with the death penalty for said charges. that's why only these counts are afoot at the moment, and iirc, carry penalties of 175 years in prison.

but of course, that's why this portion is so key:

"The extradition treaty between the two nations would make it very difficult for Assange to be charged with further crimes once he is brought from the U.K. to the U.S., because the agreement says that persons extradited under the treaty can only be tried for crimes “for which extradition was granted” or crimes that are carried out “after the extradition of the person.” The idea that someone cannot be prosecuted for crimes not mentioned in their extradition proceedings is known in international law as the Doctrine of Speciality, although a provision in the treaty does say that the U.K. could potentially waive that provision if the U.S. asks.

so yes, if he's still alive by the time he fulfils his 5o weeks at belmarsh gitmo, then gets extradited to amerika, you can bet charges will be added as per criminal Icelandic FBI informant Sigurdur Thordarson's testilying, and immunity offered to the nasty-ass domsheit-berg, assange's Moriarity, or who knows? the DoJ offered immunity for crimes he testify to against julian. joshua schulte as well, who's been charged with leaking the CIA vaults 7 and 8.

but sure, he can appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (which of course holds zero power, as did the UN body that determined he's been illegally (and capriciously, was it?) detained for all these years.

too bad john shipton hadn't had more to say. the sun uk's a tabloid rag, small wonder their 'coverage' had included the questionable ruptly video...with the wrong time stamp and all, iirc. i'd even found this from cassandra fairbanks weird as hell.

bet assange's attorneys loved all that dude's rubbish.

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wendy davis's picture

and i dunno where RT UK got it, and it might be i'm simply not getting his use of the english language, but what does it mean?

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wendy davis's picture

and i'll close with the incomparable bruce cockburn. and not just because lenin moreno traded julian for a $4.2 billion IMF loan, as i'm sure the deal included military support and other goodies as well.

but as to all assange's enemies, i'll commit this thought crime gladly: if i had a rocket launcher...i'd blow then all away. g' night.

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