Judges in the High Court have agreed that Assange can be extradited to the US. There is credible evidence that the US spied on Assange and even on his communications with his lawyers. Yahoo News broke a story that the CIA had discussed killing or kidnapping Assange. These factors should, on purely legal grounds, absolutely preclude the extradition. (Regardless of whether the US-UK extradition treaty permits political extraditions or whether Assange’s activities went beyond legitimate journalism or not). UK courts would never agree to extradite someone to a country which had considered kidnapping or killing him – unless that country were our owners, the US. The judges who made this ruling have exhibited an extraordinary degree of spinelessness and cowardice.
This article by a senior figure at Amnesty International covers the main points.
After this of course the UK voids all rights to criticise Russia for its treatment of critics. Especially if the Minister of State confirms the extradition.
Also – see George Galloway. He is right. Had Assange revealed details of Russian or Chinese war crimes and not US ones he would certainly be being feted as a hero (like the amateur internet sleuth Bellingcat regularly is*) – not being destroyed as a human being in Belmarsh. The silence of the British political and media classes is indicative of the true state of British ‘democracy’ and ‘respect for human rights’.
* The analogy is exact. In their recent “exposé” that the FSB had Navalny under surveillance (widely reported, falsely, as evidence that the FSB had poisoned Navalny) Bellingcat – by their own admission – used illegally obtained data. Yet Bellingcat was praised by all sides for this work.
In the ruling, senior judges stated they sided with the US authorities after a near-unprecedented package of assurances was put forward that Assange would not face the strictest measures either pre-trial or post-conviction unless he committed an act in the future that required them
Suck. Suck. Suck.
In reality this “unprecedented package of assurances until we need to change them” means zero. There is no provision (as far as I know) for the British courts to be involved in any future decision about Assange’s treatment. Which means that the judges (and the Guardian) just accept these assurances at face value. From the same government which apparently discussed assassinating Assange. Weird.
Anyway – all this is a clever red herring created by the first trial judge. The actual issues are the political nature of the extradition and the extreme fragility of the US case which all seems to depend on whether Assange helped Manning crack a password (which apparently they failed to do). Apart from this issue Assange has done nothing other than receive and publish secret government information something journalists do quite often. The first judge cunningly ruled that the US case was upheld on the points about the nature of the charges but blocked extradition on health grounds knowing that these could be overcome and that this would make an appeal on the core grounds harder.