Julian Assange Extradition Hearing Day 4

by Elizabeth Cook

This ain’t ready for prime time, as defend.wikileaks.org doesn’t have day 4 up yet, the Guardian hadn’t until moments ago, but Benn Quinn must be out sick, and Frances Perraudin was just phonin’ it in.  Anyhoo, it’ Big Bread Day and other chores for me, so here’s what I’ve found.

‘Julian Assange’s extradition hearing finishes a day early’, 9news.com.au, Feb. 28, 2020

“Earlier in court, Assange’s lawyers made an application for him to be freed from the dock, allowing the Australian to sit with them in open court.

Despite the move, however, the Judge refused to let Assange come out of the dock and argued that other measures could be taken for him to be able to better communicate with his lawyers.

Those measures include delaying the start of hearings each day so lawyers can take instructions from Assange and the possibility of the upcoming May hearings running longer than the three weeks scheduled, if necessary.

Earlier, the court heard Assange’s alleged offences are solely political because he was trying to change US government policy by exposing wrong-doing and war crimes.

Barrister Edward Fitzgerald argued that Assange wanted the US government to change its foreign policy when WikiLeaks released thousands of classified military and diplomatic files in 2010.

“We’ve seen WikiLeaks did effect change, that was one of the reasons there was (US troop) withdrawal (from Iraq), we also say that the US frequently said: ‘WikiLeaks opposes US policy in Afghanistan’,” he said.

“What other purpose can there be publishing the Apache helicopter strike (video) and (US) rules of engagement showing that the war conflicted with fundamental human rights?”[snip]

“The barrister said there was an English definition of a political offence, which was not purely dependent on the name of the offence like espionage, which Assange is charged with in the US.

Extradition is based on conduct, it is not anymore based on the names of offences,” he said.

Mr Lewis said there was no “political struggle” going on between the US government and “other factions” like WikiLeaks when the organisation was publishing the classified files.

“Any bare assertion that WikiLeaks was engaged in a struggle with the US government … needs to be examined far more,” he said.

He also said a political offence was a “dated” exemption in modern societies because the “times had changed” from when dissidents were trying to uphold liberal democracy.

Via uk.reuters.com today:

“Assange’s lawyer Fitzgerald said his client is protected by privileges in the U.S.-UK extradition treaty because he was trying to change U.S. government policy.

Fitzgerald said Assange did indeed change U.S. government policy after publishing classified information about Guantanamo Bay and the actions of the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“WikiLeaks didn’t just seek to induce change, it did induce change,” he said.”

‘Live Updates: London Court Holds Fourth Day of Hearings on Assange’s Extradition’, sputniknews.com, Feb 27, 2020

(Boy, howdy did Kevin Kosztola’s stock go up!  It’s a storify by Tweet, here are a few)

  15:14

Extraditing Assange is Bullying Masquerading as Justice – Former Correspondent for the Guardian

  14:58

International Observatory of Human Rights Calls on London Not to Extradite Assange to US

  14:35

‘You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat it Too’ – Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks on Arguments of Prosecution

  14:20

‘If a 3-Week Hearing Becomes a 6-Week Hearing, So Be It’ – Judge

  12:55

Info Passed to Assange’s Defence Team to Allow Julian Access to Lawyers

US Gov’t Claims it Doesn’t Matter if Alleged Offences Are ‘Political’ in Assange’s Case

  • 11:28

There is Substantial Evidence Assange Was Subjected to Constant Surveillance – CCBE

Julian Assange Extradition Hearing – Day 4 Recap (Kevin Gosztola 28 mins)

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wendy davis's picture

from Thomas Scripps and Laura Tiernan at wsws.org today. i was disappointed in the following, but you may remember that not long go corbyn had shown his true colors (imo) by saying that assange should go to sweden and 'face the music'.

“The outrageous show trial being staged by British authorities has elicited not a word of protest this week from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn or his Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. Appearing yesterday in Prime Minister’s Questions, Corbyn focused on the government’s response to the UK floods, saying nothing about the fate of the world’s most famous political prisoner being decided ten miles away.
After a brief pose of opposition to extradition, McDonnell declared last week that Labour would be constrained in raising Assange’s plight by the sub judice rule. This is a convenient excuse of political cowardice and duplicity. Had he chosen to do so, Corbyn could have spoken out against the brutal treatment meted out to Assange every day this week and demanded his immediate release whatever the consequences.”

They've also added more of QC Fitgeralds arguments and case law citations:

“Fitzgerald then delivered a profound examination of the fundamental legal principles at stake. “The right to liberty is not just the right to liberty in accordance with tabulated statutory provisions, but the wider test of ‘is this non-arbitrary?’”
He continued, “due process of law is a compendious expression that invokes the concept of rule of law itself and universal standards of justice.”
Fitzgerald cited three key cases to make his point.

Firstly, R v Mullen (2000), in which abuse of process was successfully invoked because the behaviour of the British authorities in the extradition procedures involved them “acting in breach of public international law.”

Secondly, Thomas v Baptiste (2000), where the Privy Council “found that the due process clause of the Trinidad Constitution ‘invokes the concept of the rule of law itself’,” allowing defendants to appeal to a treaty unincorporated into domestic Trinidadian law. As Fitzgerald was forced to spell out in a British court in 2020, “the due process law in Magna Carta is still part of our law.”

Thirdly, Neville Lewis v Attorney General Jamaica (2001), which held that the constitutional concept of “the protection of law” trumped the Jamaican state’s reliance on the very authorities cited by the prosecution in the Assange case. The same constitutional concept is established in the fifth amendment of the US Constitution, which is the “cornerstone of the constitutional protections offered to its citizens.”

Fitzgerald concluded, “the prosecution’s simplistic rejection of any reliance on the requesting state’s duties under public international law… ignores the fact that the abuse of process jurisdiction is there to protect against the disregard for the rule of law, of which international law itself forms a part.”

both RT.com has a brief recap of day $, nothing new, same for defend.wikileaks.org., just a bit more about how snotty, cruel, and cavalier judge baraitser was.

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wendy davis's picture

The State of Play: Joshua Schulte and Julian Assange’, February 26, 2020, emptywheel.net

Last year, it looked like the Joshua Schulte trial, rescheduled in the fall to start January 13, would be done before the extradition hearing for Julian Assange started. Two things changed since then: Schulte got a delay until February 3, and then last month, Assange convinced Judge Vanessa Baraitser to split his extradition hearing into two, the first part lasting a week starting Monday, and then resuming on May 18 for three more weeks.

As a result, both men are in court during the same week, intersecting in interesting ways.
Thus far, Assange’s argument is threefold:

1. His prosecution is hopelessly political, merely retaliation by the hated President that Assange helped elect, Donald Trump
2. The evidence in the case against Assange is so weak as to be abusive
3. A person cannot be extradited for political crimes like the Espionage Act

The first argument is a load of horseshit covering up the fact that the timing of the treatment of WikiLeaks as a non-state hostile intelligence service, the increased surveillance of Assange, and the initial December 21, 2017 charge all stem from WikiLeaks’ burning the CIA by publishing all its hacking tools. It’s horseshit, but it garners a lot of enthusiasm among WikiLeaks supporters who like to conveniently forget that, whatever Assange’s motivations were in 2010 (when he engaged in the acts he is charged with), he nevertheless helped Russia help Trump get elected. That said, even though the claims about what changed in 2017 are horseshit, it doesn’t change that the existing charges against Assange pose a real danger to journalism.”, [how white of her...]

Hot and Cold Running Mike Pompeo and Other Ridiculous WikiLeaks Defense Claims’, February 24, 2020, emptywheel.net (rohrbacher, stone, including):

“Unsurprisingly, WikiLeaks did not mention that discussions of a pardon started at least as early as December 2016 as payback for his role in the election, and continued in February 2017 as Assange tried to use the Vault 7 files to extort a pardon.” [snip]

“WikiLeaks is also misrepresenting the timing of the increased surveillance by UC Global in December 2017 to suggest Assange was always being surveilled that heavily.
I will pass over the intervening period during which Julian Assange continued to have his conversations with his lawyers and family constantly monitored and recorded by a private agency acting on the instructions of US intelligence and for their benefit.
As slides from Andrew Müller-Maguhn make clear, the surveillance only began to really ratchet up in December 2017, after Assange had helped Joshua Schulte burn CIA to the ground (and at a time when WikiLeaks remained in communication with Schulte).”, yada, yada

Bmaz, marcy’s pitbull got in a food-fight over harry dunn’s case being applicable or not, and someone signed in as Laurie Love asked bmaz: ‘what is your problem?’

bmaz says:

February 25, 2020 at 10:33 am
‘I don’t have any problem, do you? I merely stated a fact that the Sacoolas/Dunn matter has no relevance whatsoever as to Assange, and that if any collateral matter might provide a basis for argument by Assange, it would be yours. Also a fact.

I also think Assange is a dirtbag piece of shit that is a Russian tool and threat to the US, though am trepidatious about propriety of the charges currently pending on the extradition warrant. There are other matters it would be completely proper to prosecute him on, and they will likely be forthcoming.’

not likely so but laurie love on wikipedia:

Extradition hearing

During Love's two day extradition hearing on 28 and 29 June 2016 at the Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, his father testified that Lauri Love has Asperger syndrome and so should not be extradited.[4] Specifically, he testified that his son was not diagnosed with autism until he was an adult serving in the Finnish Army.[21] Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen, who diagnosed Love with Asperger syndrome in 2012, testified that Love should not be extradited because of his diagnosed disorders, which also include eczema, psychosis, and depression. Baron-Cohen stated that Love told him that he would commit suicide if extradited.[21]

Love, who lives at home with his parents, testified at his extradition hearing on 29 June 2016. He was supported by the Courage Foundation. Love's barrister for this extradition hearing was Ben Cooper of Doughty Street Chambers [where jennifer robinson practices]. The case was adjourned.[25]

On 16 September 2016, at Westminster Magistrates' Court, a judge ruled that Love could be extradited to the United States. Love's solicitor Karen Todner said that they would appeal, and on 5 February 2018, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and Mr Justice Ouseley, at the High Court, upheld his appeal against extradition, while ruling that it would "not be oppressive [to] prosecute Mr Love in England for the offences".

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wendy davis's picture

thanks for the thumbs and all the fish.

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