The Julian Assange Extraordinary Rendition Tour

The Julian Assange Extraordinary Rendition Tour plane ticket is now expected to be formally sent to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to approve -or deny

Photo: Julian Assange Photo: AFP/Justin Tallis

15 March 2022 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News

It was always going to come to this, wasn’t it? (Julian Assange denied permission to appeal against US extradition 14 March 2022)

The Julian Assange Extraordinary Rendition Tour plane ticket is now expected to be formally sent to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to approve -or deny- the extraordinary rendition extradition, which one article suggests is the equivalent of asking mercy of the Devil.

We can imagine the freedom fighters in Langley and elsewhere, raising a glass of fake, piss-warm Champagne in celebration of their latest ‘victory.’

It is hard to even imagine how much time and money these people have invested in this worn and pathetic version of a cheap, spineless spy novel.

And we can of course picture them hunched over their computer screens, intently watching the cameras in the embassy secretly filming their subject as he screwed his visitor and then smirking as they listened to them chatting about their forthcoming children and the family life they will enjoy once the madness finally ends.

But it does not end. Because the secret society does not like to lose. Even when they fuck up or break a dozen laws, every single moment they have invested in this ‘case’ was manufactured in order to deflect from the fact that he dared to show the world first-hand pictures of collateral murder.

And now, even after all the horrid, despicable, despiteful things they have done to this human being, all in the name of preserving ‘freedom,’ they will carry on with their spiteful crusade until he is dead. As dead as all the innocents in countries too numerous to mention.

They are likely praying this happens before they have to secretly load him into The Julian Assange Extraordinary Rendition Tour Plane and whisk him off to the land of the free, never to be seen again.

Whereupon the US newspapers of record will lament the passing of the ‘freedom fighter’ and solemnly declare that the NEXT TIME someone fights for a just cause that exposes the dirt and filth of the system they will ring bells of support from the nearest church towers and celebrate the only true democratic system in the world.

As if.

And yes, we are all as fucking tired as he is, writing these odes to lost freedom and our hatred for the state machine that never, ever gives up on an absurdity once it has the bloody bone in its filthy, spoon-fed mouth. 

It really is pathetic. Seriously pathetic.

One can’t help but hope that maybe one day, a real and truly democratic society will replace the obscene, incoherent cry-baby-money-obsessed version we struggle under now and maybe they will look back and celebrate those who actually stood up for actual freedom. 

But for now, it was always going to come to this, wasn’t it?

James Porteous | Clipper Media News

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is taken from court, May 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

UK Supreme Court refuses Julian Assange’s appeal against extradition to US

15 March 2022 | Thomas Scripps | WSWS

The UK Supreme Court has refused to hear WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s appeal against a High Court decision ordering his extradition to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act. The case will now be sent to Home Secretary Priti Patel to give a final decision, barring further appeals by Assange’s legal team.

Assange has four weeks to make submissions to Patel, which is equivalent to asking mercy of the Devil. He can also seek to cross-appeal the original Magistrates Court decision, which sided with the US government on every point bar one on medical grounds—now successfully overturned.

His lawyers outlined the basis for such an appeal last April, which stands as an indictment of the pseudo-legal charade the heroic journalist has been subjected to. They argue that Assange’s extradition is being illegally sought for a political offence, barred by the US-UK Extradition Treaty; an abuse of due process; in breach of Article 3 (inhuman and degrading treatment), Article 5 (unfair detention), Article 6 (denial of fair trial), Article 7 (retroactive justice) and Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights; based on a misrepresentation of facts; and being pursued for ulterior political motives.

Assange’s legal team have also indicated that they may pursue an appeal in the European Court of Human Rights.

Assange’s life is in grave danger. Neither appeal is likely to be granted and not even such formal legal rights and processes to proceed should be considered a certainty.Assange’s prosecution has always been the “legal” continuation of a lawless assassination-cum-rendition operation organised by the CIA, seeking to silence Assange for good, one way or another.

The timeline has now been dramatically accelerated. The Supreme Court’s decision came suddenly, without any prior announcement. That it refused even to hear Assange’s case is highly unusual. The lower High Court certified on January 24 that a “point of law of public importance” had been raised by Assange, normally prompting the Supreme Court to consider the appeal.

The point of law in question was, “In what circumstances can an appellate court receive assurances from a requesting state which were not before the court of first instance.” Even on these limited grounds, the case was considered worth examining by the High Court and legal experts in the field.

Last month, WikiLeaks cited a report of the case by the highly regarded London law firm Bindmans which noted, “Extradition practitioners largely welcome Supreme Court guidance on this point as late assurances designed to alleviate the court’s concerns about human rights violations following extradition have become a highly contentious issue, especially when provided by States with a poor record in human rights themselves.”

However, having been given the option to go through the motions and apply the Supreme Court’s legal imprimatur to Assange’s effective rendition, the justices instead delivered a one-line rejection: “The court ordered that permission to appeal be refused because the application does not raise an arguable point of law.”

The meaning is clear: the time for charades is over, Assange must be dealt with quickly.

This was a decision reached at the highest levels of the British state, delivered by the President of the Supreme Court Lord Reed and the Deputy President Lord Hodge, alongside Lord Briggs. The NATO-Russia war being waged through the proxy conflict in Ukraine, moving ever closer to a direct military confrontation between nuclear armed powers, has doubtless come as a powerful spur to action, underscoring for the ruling class why Assange must be silenced.

NATO’s drive to war with Russia relies on a wall-to-wall propaganda operation to disguise the predatory ambitions of the imperialist powers and present their intervention as the outcome of humanitarian concern for the Ukrainian people. Government talking points are dutifully regurgitated by the corporate media, whose opinion pages are opened to a torrent of Russophobia and calls for military escalation.

Assange has been imprisoned for a decade, his health destroyed and life endangered, because he is a declared enemy of this co-opted “journalism” and has fearlessly exposed the unrestrained criminality, barbarism and duplicity of American imperialism and its allies. WikiLeaks exposed mass civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, the use of torture and death squads in both countries, the savagery practised in Guantanamo Bay and US sponsorship of coups and corruption worldwide.

Since the Russian invasion, WikiLeaks’s Twitter account has repeatedly posted a video clip of an interview with Assange where he comments, “Nearly every war that has started in the past fifty years has been the result of media lies… populations don’t willingly and with open eyes go into a war.”

The account has also published links to secret US diplomatic communications acquired by WikiLeaks and published in 2010. These include a 2008 cable written by current CIA director William Burns, then ambassador to Moscow, warning of Russia’s deep strategic concerns over NATO membership for Ukraine and the possibility of a civil war in such an event.

Another tweet links to “A decade of Russia v US gas wars in Europe laid out in US embassy cable (2008)”.

Critical thought of this kind, encouraging a deeper look at the origins of the war in Ukraine than simply “Who fired the first shot”, is now routinely branded the work of a traitorous, pro-Putin fifth column. Indeed, Assange was one of the first targets of the “Russian stooge” witch-hunt, led by the Democratic Party in the US and the Guardian newspaper in the UK, waged in connection with demands for President Donald Trump to take a more aggressive stand towards Moscow.

Beyond Assange as an individual, his persecution is intended to spearhead a wider crackdown on opposition to NATO and war in the working class. The World Socialist Web Site wrote ahead of the US government’s successful High Court appeal last October, “From the beginning, the US and its allies have sought to destroy Assange both as a warning and a precedent to prevent any serious reporting of imperialist war crimes, human rights abuses, diplomatic intrigues and mass state surveillance—to cover up past crimes and to prepare new ones.”

That new crime has taken the form of a criminal and dangerous ongoing provocation against Russia that was intended to provoke its invasion of Ukraine and which risks spiralling out of control towards a third world war, fought with nuclear weapons. The international working class is confronted with the urgent need to develop a mass anti-war movement in a fight against their criminal governments.

Assange’s treatment exposes the utter hypocrisy of the imperialist powers’ condemnations of the Putin government’s suppression of anti-war protest in Russia. It proves that any serious opposition to the war plans of British and US imperialism will be met with the same brutal methods.

The British, American, Russian and world working class must be mobilised on a common socialist perspective of class struggle to defend democratic rights and overthrow the warmongers. The campaign to free Assange is inseparably connected with that fight.

14 March 2022 | DW

The UK Supreme Court on Monday refused an extradition appeal for free speech activist Julian Assange. His organization, WikiLeaks, said Assange’s fate now lay in the hands of the UK’s Conservative home secretary, Priti Patell.

The politician is now set to decide on an extradition request from the United States.

The whistleblower is accused of publishing secret documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and could be sentenced to up to 175 years for breaking US espionage laws.

What is the case about?

Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006, and drew the ire of Washington by releasing information allegedly obtained by US soldier Chelsea Manning from the US Department of Defense in 2010. The data famously included a recording of a US military helicopter firing at civilians in Baghdad.

US prosecutors claim that his work put lives at risk.

In 2010, Assange was accused of rape by a Swedish woman and of a sexual assault by another following a WikiLeaks conference in Stockholm. The Australian-born activist has denied the charges, claiming that sex was consensual. The case against him was eventually dropped in 2019.

However, the accusations were enough to prompt Assange to seek asylum in Ecuador and hide in the Ecuadorian embassy in London from 2012 to 2019, when Ecuador stripped him of their citizenship. He was then dragged out of the embassy and is now in UK jail. He is due to marry his partner Stella Moris on March 23.

Assange’s fate prompted outrage from Reporters Without Borders, and many other free speech groups from across the world, with Nils Melzer, UN special rapporteur on torture,  accusing the US of trying to “criminalize investigative journalism.” Melzer also publicly accused Stockholm police of changing the accuser’s testimony so that it would appear as if a rape had taken place. The UN official also said Assange was exhibiting symptoms of “psychological torture” during his prolonged detainment. 

What comes next?

Assange has continued to fight US extradition from the UK custody, with a lower court ruling that he should not be extradited because his mental health problems might put him at a risk of suicide in the United States. But this ruling war overturned by a higher court in December.

Now, the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court denied his option to appeal because “that application did not raise an arguable point of law” according to a spokesperson.

If the extradition decision is ratified by the United Kingdom’s home secretary, Assange’s team has the option of trying to challenge it via a judicial review. The 50-year-old could also take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

dj/aw (AP, Reuters, AFP)

If extradited to the US, Assange could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison
If extradited to the US, Assange could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison

Julian Assange denied permission to appeal against US extradition

14 March 2022 | Haroon Siddique and Ben Quinn | The Guardian

Julian Assange has moved a step closer to a US trial on espionage charges after the UK’s highest court refused to hear his appeal against extradition.

The WikiLeaks founder was attempting to appeal against a judgment by the high court in December that ruled he could be extradited after assurances from the US authorities with regard to his prison conditions there.

The supreme court said on Monday that it had refused permission to appeal “as the application didn’t raise an arguable point of law”. After the decision, the case is expected to be formally sent to Priti Patel to approve the extradition.

Assange’s lawyers will have four weeks to make submissions to the home secretary before her decision. There also remain other routes to fight his extradition, for instance by mounting a challenge on other issues of law raised at first instance that he lost on and have not yet been subject to appeal.

The attempted appeal to the supreme court was specifically on the issue of the US assurances.

In January last year, district judge Vanessa Baraitser blocked extradition on the basis that procedures in prisons in the US would not prevent Assange from potentially taking his own life.

But that decision was overturned by two senior judges, Lord Burnett of Maldon, the lord chief justice, and Lord Justice Holroyde, at the high court. Burnett said the risk of Assange being held in highly restrictive US prison conditions was “excluded by the assurances which are offered. It follows that we are satisfied that, if the assurances had been before the judge, she would have answered the relevant question differently.”

Responding to the supreme court’s decision, a spokesperson for Assange’s solicitors, Birnberg Peirce, said: “We regret that the opportunity has not been taken to consider the troubling circumstances in which requesting states can provide caveated guarantees after the conclusion of a full evidential hearing. In Mr Assange’s case, the court had found that there was a real risk of prohibited treatment in the event of his onward extradition.”

Assange is due to marry his fiancee, the lawyer Stella Moris, in Belmarsh prison on 23 March.


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