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#15130376
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Please read this open letter concerning chief Magistrate Arbuthnot and if you agree with the contents please sign using the petition form below. Alternatively, you can send an e-mail to [email protected] asking for your signature (and if you wish, profession and country of residence) to be added to the Open Letter. In addition we would welcome your comments.
#15131089
The US Government Won’t Care About Your Definition Of Journalism After The Assange Precedent Is Set
Since I published my last article about about the idiotic “Assange isn’t a journalist” smear, this talking point has become more and more commonplace in online discourse. It’s very important to defenders of the political status quo for us all to believe that Assange is not a journalist, because otherwise that would mean they’re cheering for a dangerous precedent which would allow for the prosecution of journalists who exposed the truth about US government malfeasance. And that would mean cognitive dissonance, which all defenders of the political status quo spend most of their day-to-day mental energy running away from.

So in the past few days, editorials like this one from free press avatar Peter Greste have popped up all over the place with their own definitions of what journalism is in order to argue why that label can’t possibly apply to Assange. All of these definitions ultimately boil down to the argument that because Assange doesn’t publish leaks in a way that they feel journalism ought to be practiced, it isn’t journalism and therefore sets no legal precedent for journalists around the world. As though the US government is going to be consulting their feelings about what specifically constitutes journalism the next time they decide to imprison a journalist for doing what Assange did.

It doesn’t work that way, sugar tits. Assange is being prosecuted by the Trump administration for standard journalistic practices, he stands no chance of receiving a fair trial, and it is very likely that he will be hit with far more serious charges for his activities once on US soil. The next time the US government, under Trump or someone else, sees another journalist anywhere in the world doing something similar to what Assange did, there will be nothing stopping them from saying, “We need to lock that person up like we did Assange; they’re doing the same sort of thing.”

It’s just so amazingly arrogant how people imagine that the way their feelings feel will factor into this in any way. Like the US Attorney General might show up on their doorstep one day with a clipboard saying “Yes, hello, we wanted to imprison this journalist based on the precedent we set with the prosecution of Julian Assange, but before doing so we wanted to find out how your feelings feel about whether or not they’re a real journalist.”

You won’t get to define how the US government will interpret what constitutes journalism in the future. Only the US government will. It’s amazing that this isn’t more obvious to more people.



In reality, journalism has always been and will always be defined as an activity. It’s not like being a doctor. If you happen to witness a car crash and you give CPR on the scene, you are not a doctor in that moment, but if you take some photos and post them online with a summary of what you saw then you are engaging in the act of journalism and all the legalities and rules of journalism apply to you.

The particular journalistic activities that the US is currently trying to extradite Assange for is encouraging a source to give him more documents and conspiracy to help Manning hide her identity so that she would not be persecuted for her heroic act of whistleblowing. In other words, Assange was attempting to make sure Manning’s leaks had enough impact to justify the risk, and also to try and make sure she wasn’t caught and tortured for it.

As Glenn Greenwald has pointed out on Twitter, the indictment describes an activity that all investigative journalists partake in all the time. A source offers you some docs and you see a gap that needs to be filled, you will ask them to get them for you. A source fears they will be found out and you do what you can to hide their identity. That’s journalism at its most raw and dangerous and important. Check out the film Spotlight to see a fairly true version of what the journalists at the Boston Globe had to do in order to expose the pedophile ring of the Catholic Church. These high level crimes must be exposed for people’s safety, but the higher the level the crime, the more risk there is in its exposure.

To be clear, you only have to engage in these kinds of activities when you are exposing the most powerful people with the most political clout for the most heinous of crimes. Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning suspected she was risking years of torture if she was found out, and history has since proved them both correct.

So of all the many enraging aspects of all of this extraordinary act of Nice Guy Fascism, one of them is the constant bloviation of the mainstream media elite with their endless personal definitions of what makes a one journalist. You’d think they were quaffing wine at an opening and wanking on about whether the paintings in the gallery were really art. “This journalist is not a journalist, my five year old son could paint that!” they grandstand to any poor bastard within earshot while inhaling olives and patting the waitress on the bum.





These people have obviously had their personal opinions taken far too seriously for far too long. It’s truly the hallmark of someone whose mother put too many of their crappy crayon drawings on the fridge when you think that your precious little homespun definition of what constitutes journalism will serve as a legal precedent in the years to come. No one will care about your feelings regarding who is a real journalist or not when the long arm of the US empire reaches out across the planet and nabs the next guy for exposing inconvenient truths about the US military-industrial complex or US corporate interests. No one is going to grant you a sit-down and consult you about your oh-so-fascinating ruminations about the next journalist they wish to use Assange’s precedent on.

It’s obvious to any journalist who doesn’t have their head up their ass that this is the beginning of the end of the fourth estate. Want to expose the US corporate corruption fueling the degradation and desecration of your environment in your particular province in the world? Oh well, uh-oh, now you’ve found yourself on a plane to Gitmo.

Journalism is an activity. It is bringing the detrimental activities of the powerful to the light, regardless of how you do it, whether it’s through the legacy media, publishing documents, or making a Facebook post. The powerful are not entitled to a private space where they can abuse humans or resources. They don’t get to commit crimes in secret just because they are rich or in government. Journalism is the only way the everyday person has any window into what the powerful are doing to them, doing to their planet, doing with their tax money, and doing in their name.

So in every way it is probably even worse if you don’t consider Assange a journalist. This precedent puts every single person on earth in danger. That means you can be nabbed wherever you may be on the globe for helping a whistleblower, and I’m sorry to say to all you impassioned bloviators, you will not be consulted on how your feelings feel about whether they fit your dubious definition of what a journalist is, because journalism is an activity, not an elitist club of which you have been the self-proclaimed gatekeeper for so long.

These narcissistic wankers are a severe danger to press freedom and they need to put their personal proclivities aside and start fighting a very dangerous legal precedent that is being set right before our eyes.
https://caityjohnstone.medium.com/the-u ... ae974d23fe
#15132929
He's already done the time for the phoney accusations of "skipping bail" and whatever. They're just keeping him imprisoned during this trial because they're eager to get him over to the U.S. for more torture and potential death at the behest of Donald Trump, for his crime of publishing the truth / U.S. war crimes.

Weird how so few are bothered by the most important free speech story of our time.
#15135351
skinster wrote:He's already done the time for the phoney accusations of "skipping bail" and whatever. They're just keeping him imprisoned during this trial because they're eager to get him over to the U.S. for more torture and potential death at the behest of Donald Trump, for his crime of publishing the truth / U.S. war crimes.

Weird how so few are bothered by the most important free speech story of our time.


I think hiding in an Embassy is skipping bail, and the UK can not be blamed for acting in accordance with the law.

The UK does have a Bill of Rights indeed the US Bill of Rights was actually based upon it, whilst Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus also form part of the UK Constitution which is written in to numerous pieces of legislation and precedents rather than just in one document.

The UK also adheres to the European Convention on Human Rights and this was fully enshrined in to UK law in the 1998 Human Rights Act.

It also should be noted that the UK has refused extradition to the US in recent years in relation to the Gary McKinnon and Lauri Love cases and the Assange case will not be decided until early next year.

It also should be noted that a review of the UK/US extradition treaty is being sought with political support across the House of Commons, including that of the Prime Minister.
#15135469
Assange Legal Team Submits Closing Argument Against Extradition To United States
In submission to magistrates' court in London, attorneys detail the "politically motivated" case the Trump administration pursued against the WikiLeaks founder.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team submitted their closing argument to a British magistrates’ court. They argue, “It is politically motivated, it is an abuse of the process of this court, and it is a clear violation of the Anglo-U.S. treaty that governs this extradition.”

The closing argument relies on evidence presented by witnesses, who testified during a trial in September, and details how President Barack Obama’s administration declined to prosecute Assange. President Donald Trump’s administration reversed this “principled” position because of the nature of Assange’s “disclosures to the world and the nature of his political opinions, which inevitably attracted the hostility of the Trump administration and the CIA.”

Prosecutors will submit their closing argument on November 20, and Judge Vanessa Baraitser is expected to rule on the extradition request on January 4.

While Trump’s campaign for re-election failed, the outcome of the U.S. presidential election is not expected to impact the decision. (In fact, the submission contains zero references to President-elect Joe Biden.)

Assange was charged by the United States Justice Department with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer intrusion that contains elements of an Espionage Act offense.

The charges criminalize the act of merely receiving classified information, as well as the publication of state secrets from the U.S. government. It targets common practices in newsgathering, which is why the case is widely opposed by press freedom organizations throughout the world.

All of the charges relate to the documents Pfc. Chelsea Manning provided to WikiLeaks in 2010.

Assange’s defense refers to the “political agenda” of the Trump administration and their “obvious hostility” to Assange’s “exposure and condemnation of U.S. war crimes and human rights abuses.”

“Trump’s ‘America First’ policy supporting immunity for U.S. crimes, denouncing the investigations by the ICC [International Criminal Court] of U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, occurred in harmony with the CIA’s motivation for targeting Julian Assange,” the submission declares.

Beginning in 2017, Trump officials publicly condemned Assange. Charges were “ratcheted up” between December 2017 and June 2020, and “breaches of the rule of law” allegedly occurred, as Assange was targeted by a U.S. intelligence-backed surveillance operation while he lived under political asylum in the Ecuador embassy in London.

What unfolded was an “unprecedented prosecution for the receipt and publication of documents, where the international publications were plainly in the public interest,” the legal team contends.

“To this end, the U.S. prosecution has sought to distort the facts in order to present what is plainly a prosecution for political offenses into a prosecution for ‘ordinary’ crimes.”

The Washington Post reported on May 24, 2019, that the decision to indict Assange under the Espionage Act led to protest and the resignation of career prosecutors in the Justice Department.

Back in 2013, former Justice Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told the Post, “If you are not going to prosecute journalists for publishing classified information, which the department is not, then there is no way to prosecute Assange.” Miller later said Assange acted as a publisher and not a hacker. So, the Obama administration never charged Assange.

In February 2017—Trump’s first month in office—WikiLeaks published “CIA espionage orders” that called attention to how major political parties in France were “targeted for infiltration” in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election.

About a month later, WikiLeaks brought further scrutiny to the CIA when they published the “Vault 7” material, which they described as the “largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.”

The files exposed the CIA’s “fleet of hackers,” who targeted smartphones and computers. They called attention to a program called “Weeping Angel” that made it possible for the CIA to attack Samsung F8000 TVs and convert them into spying devices.

As CNBC reported, the CIA had 14 “zero-day exploits,” which were “software vulnerabilities” that had no fix yet. The agency used them to “hack Apple’s iOS devices such as iPads and iPhones.” Documents showed the “exploits were shared with other organizations including the National Security Agency (NSA) and GCHQ, another U.K. spy agency. The CIA did not tell Apple about these vulnerabilities.”

WikiLeaks additionally revealed that the CIA targeted Microsoft Windows users, as well as Signal and WhatsApp users, with malware.

Mike Pompeo, who was the CIA director, responded to the publication on April 13, 2017. “The false narratives that increasingly define our public discourse cannot be ignored. There are fictions out there that demean and distort the work and achievements of CIA and of the broader intelligence community.”

“And in the absence of a vocal rebuttal, these voices—ones that proclaim treason to be public advocacy—gain a gravity they do not deserve. It is time to call these voices out. The men and women of CIA deserve a real defense.”

“That is one of the many reasons why we at CIA find the celebration of entities like WikiLeaks to be both perplexing and deeply troubling.”

Stunningly, in Pompeo’s first public remarks as CIA director, and with zero evidence, he labeled WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

Pompeo said Assange had “no First Amendment freedoms” because “he is not a U.S. citizen,” which to Assange’s legal team was a preview of the legal theory top administration officials later “devised” to justify pursuing charges.

“We’ve had administrations before that have been squeamish about going after these folks under some concept of this right-to-publish,” Pompeo also declared.

A Target Of Espionage And Lawfare
Unlike the Obama administration, Pompeo would not let principles of freedom of the press under the Constitution stop the CIA from seeking revenge—through espionage and lawfare.

Lawyers for Assange maintain the case “coincided with the grant of diplomatic status by the Ecuadorian government” in December 2017. “That grant of diplomatic status was of course well-known to the U.S. authorities because US intelligence agencies had access to recordings in the embassy” collected by UC Global.

“By then, prosecution had become a political imperative, and they wished to counteract the potential effects of the granting of diplomatic status by Ecuador.”

Extralegal measures were taken that involved making attorneys representing Assange priority targets for surveillance. Legally privileged papers were seized by Ecuador authorities so they could be handed over to the FBI’s office in the United Kingdom.

Furthermore, the legal team for Assange sees a connection between this prosecution and the Trump administration’s retaliation against the ICC. They sanctioned ICC officials in June after the body asserted the authority to investigate war crimes by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Pompeo and Attorney General Bill Barr stated, “Those who assist the ICC’s politically motivated investigation of American service members and intelligence officers without the United States’ consent will suffer serious consequences. The Department of Justice fully supports these measures and will vigorously enforce the sanctions imposed today under the executive order to the fullest extent of the law.”

***

Assange and WikiLeaks revealed war crimes and exposed the U.S. agenda to obstruct international bodies and foreign governments from holding the U.S. government accountable for human rights violations.

Numerous examples were raised by witnesses at the extradition trial and mentioned in the closing argument submitted to the court.

The CIA and U.S. forces were involved in extrajudicial assassinations in Pakistan. Civilians were killed.

European countries were pressured by U.S. officials to not investigate torture. This included efforts to ensure the German government did not prosecute CIA personnel involved in the abduction, rendition, and torture of German citizen Khaled el-Masri, who submitted testimony in defense of Assange.

According to diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks, the Yemeni government held their own citizens in prison for the U.S. government, even though they had “no evidence they were involved in terrorist acts.”

The CIA enlisted U.S. officials to spy on the UN Secretary-General, UN Security Council members and foreign diplomats at the UN in New York in violation of international law. Officials were encouraged to collect “DNA samples, iris scans, and computer passwords” of foreign government officials.

Measures were put in place to limit the scope of the “Chilcot Inquiry,” which was established to examine the British government’s involvement in the Iraq War.

U.S. war crimes in Iraq were exposed, including a 2006 raid by U.S. troops, where an elderly woman and her five-month old child were killed. An airstrike was called in to wipe out evidence of the killing. (This revelation eventually led to the withdrawal of U.S. troops because the Iraqi government refused to grant soldiers immunity for war crimes.)

The closing argument asserts, “It is highly significant that the Department of Justice under the Obama administration recognized that it would be both wrong and impolitic to prosecute Julian Assange.”

“It is equally significant that the DOJ under the Trump administration, for blatantly political reasons, was pressured into reversing the approach of the Obama administration and prosecuting Julian Assange despite the implications of the prosecution for the constitutional protection of the First Amendment, and despite the nature of the revelations.”

“Indeed,” as attorneys conclude, “the prosecution was part of a political drive to punish leakers, intimidate journalists, and assert worldwide U.S. impunity for war crimes, rendition, and torture.”
https://dissenter.substack.com/p/assang ... xtradition


Brave New World wrote:I think hiding in an Embassy is skipping bail, and the UK can not be blamed for acting in accordance with the law.


He wasn't "hiding" in the embassy, he was granted political asylum by Ecuador after the U.S. was threatening him, which preceded and is unrelated to the accusations of skipping bail re: Sweden allegations. Regarding the latter, he offered to go to Sweden to face charges if they could guarantee he wouldn't be extradited to the U.S., which the Swedish refused. He then invited Swedish prosecutors to the embassy for interviews - something not abnormal - and they refused that too.

Even if one was to argue that he skipped bail, he's done way beyond more than the jail time for it, about a year ago.
#15135775
skinster wrote:He wasn't "hiding" in the embassy, he was granted political asylum by Ecuador after the U.S. was threatening him, which preceded and is unrelated to the accusations of skipping bail re: Sweden allegations. Regarding the latter, he offered to go to Sweden to face charges if they could guarantee he wouldn't be extradited to the U.S., which the Swedish refused. He then invited Swedish prosecutors to the embassy for interviews - something not abnormal - and they refused that too.

Even if one was to argue that he skipped bail, he's done way beyond more than the jail time for it, about a year ago.


The UK had no choice but to adhere to a European Arrest Warrant, and once you break bail conditions you are not given the opportunity of bail in the future.

The initial case was for Sweden to decide, the UK only had to satisfy itself that the case met the legal requirements as laid out in European Arrest Warrant legislation.

Assange may well have served his sentence in relation to breaking bail conditions but is not legally being held on 'Remand', which is reserved for those who have previously not adhered to bail conditions or those accused of serious crimes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remand_(detention)

https://www.gov.uk/charged-crime/remand

The UK has to adhere to extradition treaties and given that the policing bill for Assange whilst he was in the Embassy was over £10 million, the authorities are keen not to have that happen again.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/ ... an-embassy

Assange who is an Australian wanted by the United States, will have his case heard in relation to the current extradition arrangements between the UK and US and the UK Courts will merely establish if there is a case to answer for in the US.

If the extradition is granted, then a US Court will decide on his guilt and any sentence.
#15135808


Brave New World wrote:The UK had no choice but to adhere to a European Arrest Warrant, and once you break bail conditions you are not given the opportunity of bail in the future.


Right, but he's done his time for the skipping bail nonsense.

The initial case was for Sweden to decide, the UK only had to satisfy itself that the case met the legal requirements as laid out in European Arrest Warrant legislation.


No, the Swedish allegations came after the U.S. case. This is why Assange said he would go to Sweden to deal with the charges as long as he could get a guarantee he wouldn't be extradited to the U.S.

Anyway, what's that sticker you have in your profile? Are you a member of Worker's Party of GB? If so, your leader is on the exact same page as me on the Assange show-trial. :)
#15135836
skinster wrote:https://twitter.com/DEAcampaign/status/1320723565151440898?s=20



Right, but he's done his time for the skipping bail nonsense.



He's in jail on Remand, which is standard practice for those who have previously broken bail or who are charged with serious offences.


skinster wrote:
No, the Swedish allegations came after the U.S. case. This is why Assange said he would go to Sweden to deal with the charges as long as he could get a guarantee he wouldn't be extradited to the U.S.

Anyway, what's that sticker you have in your profile? Are you a member of Worker's Party of GB? If so, your leader is on the exact same page as me on the Assange show-trial. :)


The initial request for extradition by British Courts was under a European Arrest Warrant to Sweden, and anything beyond that was nothing to do with the UK or it's Courts.

Similarly the current case for extradition only has to establish that Assange has a case to answer in the US, and that he will be treated properly in relation to Human Rights.

However it is not for the UK Courts on guilt or innocence in relation to an Australian Citizens wanted in either Sweden or the US.
#15135864
Brave New World wrote:He's in jail on Remand, which is standard practice for those who have previously broken bail or who are charged with serious offences.


The British government said he wouldn't be held for more than 6 months if he was charged for skipping bail. He's been in Belmarsh for 1 year and 7 months.

Britain says Assange will be arrested for skipping bail if he leaves the embassy, but that any sentence would not exceed six months, if convicted.
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-brita ... KKCN1OK1U1


The initial request for extradition by British Courts was under a European Arrest Warrant to Sweden, and anything beyond that was nothing to do with the UK or it's Courts.


Not sure why you're defending the courts, this case is outrageous and shouldn't be happening.
#15136144
skinster wrote:The British government said he wouldn't be held for more than 6 months if he was charged for skipping bail. He's been in Belmarsh for 1 year and 7 months.

Not sure why you're defending the courts, this case is outrageous and shouldn't be happening.




You are kept on Remand until the court case is concluded, as for bail that was not granted due to previous bail breaches.

As for the British Courts, they are merely deciding on an extradition request and not in relation to guilt or innocence.

Assange is Australian and was wanted in Sweden who we have an extradition agreement with under the European Arrest Warrant legislation and therefore are duty bound to extradite people as well as the US who we also have a legally binding extradition agreement with.

The Courts haven't made any exradition decision yet, and the case has been delayed due to the pandemic.
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