There was a new twist in the tragedy of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. District Judge Baraitser has blocked his extradition to the US citing his state of Health and conditions in the US prison system, but refused to release him on bail. Thus, Assange remains isolated from his family in the Belmarsh IRA torture prison. The conditions there have probably also contributed to his current condition. An overview of the developments and some press comments.
As I write these lines, things are happening again in the United States that remind me that an Irish friend once said to me that you can make any sentence, however incredible, believable with the phrase “in America”. There are the scenes of a strange Mob, strangely unhindered, storming the Capitol and there are four fatalities. Congresswoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has already announced that she will no longer contest the presidential elections.
Since the elections in Georgia, there has been a stalemate in the Senate with future Vice President Kamala Harris tipping the scales. The same Kamala Harris, who received virtually no votes in the Democratic Party primaries, now has so much power. In addition, yesterday the third former employee of the Financial Group BlackRock was promoted to the team of Joe Biden, as financial advisor of Kamala Harris.
More than 60 of the 100 US Senate members are millionaires.
I hope that in the medium term there will not only be dialogue and moderation in the USA, otherwise things will not look so good for all of us …
By the way, the Venezuelan government has not wrongly noted that the US is now getting an idea of what the upheavals they are inciting around the world feel like.
One wonders how one can even seriously consider delivering someone to this country at the moment – and in the state it is in at the moment.
But Judge Vanessa Baraitser had also rejected this in the first instance with regard to Assange’s state of Health and how it would be treated in the US prison system. Unfortunately, it has otherwise agreed to the statements of the US prosecution on all essential points.
The Neue Zürcher Zeitung welcomes the verdict as a possible way out of the human tragedy.
“Julian Assange, who is in English extradition custody, has many followers in Europe. He is regarded as a Freedom Hero and a symbolic figure of your personal critical attitude towards the US, because he has repeatedly published secret data on the platform Wikileaks over the past ten years, which put the US in a bad light.”
One cannot describe reports of war crimes and corruption more harmlessly.
To describe Assange’s embassy as “self-chosen” also testifies rather to ignorance of the overall situation. It goes on to say: “the conditions of the rule of law have been observed in this procedure.” Again, a general Statement, which is led ad absurdum by the fact that on Monday and yesterday as well as in September almost all observers were locked out.
Nor do I understand how it can be described as according to the rule of law that Assange, who is absolutely not violent, had to sit alone in a tank glass case every 5 weeks of the trial and also on the last 2 days of the trial. You can’t just pass that over in a clichéd way. Even Reporters Without Borders who normally only try to point out other “crimes” have repeatedly pointed out these abuses.
This sentence, too, has it in itself: “the allegation repeatedly made by Assange’s supporters that the case against the Whistleblower was a political process and that the defendant could not expect a fair trial in the USA, was rejected by the judge’s verdict.” A blue-eyed logic in which you let the judge certify to herself that the trial is not politically motivated, and you take that as a NZZ Journalist at face value.
The UN special representative for torture, Nils Melzer, sums this up beautifully in this Tweet:
Bedauernswert naive Staatssicherheitsapologetik: Als einzige seriöse Zeitung ist @NZZ noch kurzsichtig genug, dem Schauprozess gegen #Assange Rechtstaatlichkeit zu bescheinigen & einem Urteil zu applaudieren, das #Journalismus als #Spionage kriminalisiert.https://t.co/yf42DjNlZ3— Nils Melzer (@NilsMelzer) January 5, 2021
This is Nils Melzer’s official Statement.
As a conclusion at the NZZ this sentence: “it had always been primarily important to the government that its legal system was respected and correctly adhered to despite the provocations of Assange and his supporters. She has achieved this goal.“It may be true that some of Julian Assange’s actions are interpreted as provocation, but where his followers are said to have provoked is not clear to me. If the abduction of an embassy asylum seeker, the theft and handing over of his property, including medical records and correspondence with his lawyers, to the other side is described as respect for the legal system, then I am afraid and anxious about the rule of law and the media as the fourth instance. The way in which Mr Assange is being treated as a remand prisoner in Belmarsh is also incorrect, and that he was not released after refusing extradition.
One wonders what the purpose of such an article is, because in my eyes it is not really helpful for reporters all over the world who try to bring the truth to light under often adverse conditions. In recent times, some of the more established media have realized that they cannot stand aside in this case because otherwise they will be sitting next in the dock. Significantly, none of the media that cooperated with Wikileaks about ten years ago and partly published the same documents has been prosecuted.
In this article, the American Journalist Chris Hedges again summarizes his view of the Assange affair and that might be good reading for the makers of the NZZ, not to take over the 1:1, but simply as a fact check.
Christine Heuer of the DLF, who wrote this text about Assange and Wikileaks on Monday, should perhaps also take a look at Chris Hedges‘ Text. She also denies that this is about freedom of the press and tries to draw a sharp dividing line by calling Assange an activist and not a journalist. The Australian journalists ' association does not have these doubts and has issued Julian Assange a press card as a member. Actually, this question is not so central either, but it is about whether someone who publishes something that corresponds to the truth, but unmasks the rulers as criminals or as those who tolerate them, must be protected.
Mrs. Heuer writes: “Who in his fan club would have thought that the supposedly so inhumane British justice would judge so humanely?“This” humanity " has been somewhat relativized since yesterday, after the judge sent Assange back to his solitary confinement indefinitely by rejecting the bail application. In this article, too, the DLF has the judge attest to the rule of law in the USA and herself. In the article, the shooting of civilians is played down as follows: “thanks to him, we know that US soldiers condoned all kinds of atrocities.“These crimes were committed by US personnel and a few weeks ago the US president pardoned murderers and Manslayers who had been legally convicted. Because “accept cheaply” sounds pretty cheap.
Then the 2016 US elections are brought into play and the unproven rumor that Wikileaks received the Clinton emails from Russia. These e-Mails were not about stupid-boy-pranks, but about concrete corruption allegations and the Over-Bias of Bernie Sanders in the pre-election campaign. These emails are also not at all the subject of the current proceedings and a US judge in the summer of 2019 had also rejected such a request from the Democratic Party.
Ms. Heuer writes: “Not everything that is published is journalism – and Julian Assange is rightly a controversial figure.“You can leave it like that, but the first part must then also apply to everyone else who calls themselves journalists. In the article, Assange is accused of meddling in the US elections. But this is also what journalists did every day in the last US election campaign and at the moment a new president is being transfigured into the form of salvation.
Even people from the” team Assange as self-proclaimed grail Guardians of the freedom of the press " to call, does not lead further. Actually, many publicists should pull together to fend off the attacks on freedom of the press and freedom of expression and freedom itself. It would be really nice and necessary if a dialogue were or remained possible. I hope that I correctly interpret Mrs Heuer’s last paragraph in this direction. I too, although not always happy, let myself be taught a better one.
This article of the World Socialist Website seems to be better informed, but they have been dealing with the case of Assange for years, even though I cannot always understand the internal trench warfare of this party.
Unfortunately, from a purely humanitarian point of view, the decision of Monday yesterday was again strongly put into perspective, because Assange was sent back to the prison by Baraitser, where his health has deteriorated so much in the last almost 21 months.
Because it is not 15 months imprisonment for violation of bail conditions, as the SZ and DPA write here. The maximum penalty for this offence in the United Kingdom is 52 weeks, of which Assange received 50. Normally, if you are well managed, you will be dismissed after half the time and that would have been in September 2019. The 15 months that Assange’s lawyer Edward Fitzgerald mentioned yesterday relate to the time that Assange spent in prison solely as an investigative prisoner at the instigation of the US indictment and its aides.
In fact, the judge’s ruling on Monday stated that Assange should be released, but the prosecutors have announced that they intend to appeal, and therefore Assange was not immediately released.
The SZ does not quite correctly state here that an appeal has been lodged. But as I said, it was only announced and now the US has about 14 days to do so. This is a small but subtle difference, because if the US did not appeal, Assange would be a free man, without a GPS bracelet and bail conditions.
The bail application was rejected on Wednesday. Prosecutor Claire Dobbin pointed out that Assange had already fled to an embassy and that the Mexican president had offered Assange asylum. It was also alleged that Assange helped Edward Snowden escape to Moscow.
The defense countered that the Mexican offer was meant for the period after Assange’s release and that the seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy had been a “rather unpleasant experience” that Assange did not want to repeat. Moreover, there was no reason for Assange to leave the only jurisdiction in which the US extradition request had just been rejected. In other countries, the procedure could simply start again from scratch.
At the moment Assange wants to go to his family to live a secluded life until the appeal hearing. Claire Dobbin then went on to remark that Assange’s children were born during his time at the embassy and that the family had never lived together anyway. “The defence relies upon Mr Assange having children in this jurisdiction… the point was made on the last occasion and was made again. Those children were born while he was in the embassy … And it follows from that that they have never lived together.”
To conclude that the little sons and his fiancée do not need him, I find really cold. With the same reasoning, many German soldiers could have been left as prisoners of war in Russia, because there were even children who had never seen their father.
Unfortunately, Judge Baraitser at the end followed the statements of the prosecution and did not release Assange from prison.
I’m not quite sure what’s behind it. Does it want to prevent his state of health from noticeably improving and to remove this obstacle to delivery? This can also backfire and the state of Assange deteriorates to the point that the case is settled “naturally” for the states involved.
In front of the court yesterday there were some arrests of supporters because political Protest in Corona times is not considered essential by the British government.
Now the world public must pay more attention to this case, so that the state actors involved notice that they are being watched. And it would be good if the above-mentioned Media would do the same and find out something from their comfortable symbiosis with the rulers.
A prosecutor leaving office with the current US Administration has said in an Interview that it is not clear whether the upcoming Biden Administration wants to put more resources into this case. This probably depends on how many chances you calculate at the High Court. Unfortunately, I do not see a resource problem with the US judicial authorities at the moment regarding the prosecution of Assange.
Perhaps it is also about how resentful the Democratic Party is.
It remains very exciting, but for Julian Assange and his family I hope that this state of affairs will soon come to an end. For him, sitting around in prison is probably unbearably boring, coupled with constant tension over the uncertainty of what comes next.