Assange expelled from embassy and arrested for both Bail Act offence and US extradition request

Innula Zenovka

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It occurs to me that, if the authorities comply with the demand that
“Consistent with its commitment to human rights and rule of law, the UK Government must heed the urgent warning of medical professionals from around the world, and transfer Julian Assange to an appropriately specialised and expert hospital setting, before it’s too late.”
the appropriately specialised and expert hospital setting to which he would move would be a secure hospital like Broadmoor, Ashworth or Rampton.

I suggest that "Be careful what you wish for" is a good maxim to have in mind here, since if he were admitted to a secure hospital involuntarily (that is, by order of the court, even if he consented to the order), he'd likely stay there until the psychiatrists treating him told the court he was fit to return to Belmarsh again.
 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on toture, has been given the Swiss online publication "Die Republik" a quite disturbing interview about Julian Assange at the beginning of February. Melzer is from Switzerland as well as the publication, so the interview is in German.

The short version of it is that according to Melzer Assange was always in touch with the law authorities, testified and willing to testify. But at some point they ignored it completely, fabricated false evidence against him with only goal: to set an example and break this man as revenge for what he disclosed with Wikileaks, because the USA as main driving force wanted to get him badly, and Sweden and the UK, also later Ecuador collaborated like good little minions, dismissing all law.

And now for the long story... all opinions below are Melzer's now out of the interview:

1. He had no personal sympathy left for Assange. Assange's lawyers had to ask him several times for support, before he looked at the documents they provided to him out of professional curiosity. Immediately he came to the conclusion that there's something very fishy, and decided to take the case and look into it.

2. On the question if he should be officially involved as UN special reporter: yes, because of three reasons. a) Assange disclosed evidence for systematic torture; but instead of the offenders Assange has been chased instead. b) Assange shows signs of psychological torture. c) Assange could be tortured to death in the USA.

3. The reason why he came to the conclusion that something is clearly not going the normal way was that Assange has been for over nine years in a police investigation on the charge of rape, but a trial before court was never opened. Offenders can be judged in absence, and this clearly is more than unusual.

4. Assange was in touch with the Swedish law authorities, and tried to deliver his view on the charges. The Swedish authorities never replied to this, they simply ignored it.

5. On the rape charges he thinks that they have been fabricated by the Swedish police for one reason: to get Assange.
a) The first supposed victim had consensual sex with Assange, but without condom. So she went to the police to get an answer to her question, if she could require a HIV test from Assange by law. The police took her complaint, rewrote it so that it was rape and told her that the attorny is going to arrest assange. She was so shocked about it that she refused to sign the protocol, and went home.
b) The second supposed victim also had sex with Assange, using a condom. She also told that during sexual intercourse Assange has sabotaged the condom in order to be leaking, so called stealthing which is indeed an offence. But the same woman told that she noticed this only after the sexual intercourse, which contradicts the first statement: if I did not notice it I cannot know that this has been done on purpose. On the condom which she gave the police was no DNA from Assange, or herself.
c) The events have been disclosed very fast by the public prosecution service mentioning Assange's name to a Swedish tabloid, which clearly is against the Swedish law. A few days after that the investigation has been closed by the leader of the prosecution service that the story itself was plausible, but there was no hard evidence for a delict.
d) After that the superior of the police woman ordered her to rewrite the testimony in such a way that it was part of a interrogation, and sign it. The emails of the Swedish Police are known by now and have been disclosed to the public.
=> What has been rewritten is unknown, because the documents are not there any longer on the computer. It's clear though that the statement has been rewritten without cooperation of the supposed victim in a way to construct a rape crime by the Swedish authorities, it's a false evidence.

6. Assange immediately called the police to deliver his statement; while the scandal was rolling they let him wait for 9 days. One charge has already been dismissed back then, the other was still ongoing. At the 30. August 2010 he went to the police station and talked to the police who ordered to fabricate false evidence. Assange told at the beginning of his interrogation that he is willing to talk, but does not want to have anything leaked to the Swedish press, which is his right and he was assured to. After he was done, the whole interrogation had been leaked again to the press.

7. Based on the rewritten testimony the investigations were reopened. The supposed rape victims suddenly had an assigned counsel, Claus Borgström, which was paid by Sweden. This man was a partner of former Swedish minister of justice Thomas Bodström who was known for deporting people without trial on behalf of US security authorities, handing them to the CIA who tortured those people then. Assange again wanted to make his statement, but the attorney always "had no time." Three weeks after that Assange's lawyer wrote that he needs to attend a conference in Berlin and wanted to know if Assange is allowed to leave the country. The prosecution office agreed in written form to it that Assange is allowed to leave the country for a short time.
=> At the same day when Assange left Sweden an arrest warrant against him had been issued. Stuff from him suddenly disappears, like laptops.

8. Assange traveled from Berlin to London, but was still in contact with the Swedish authorities. Assange also became aware of that a secret trial against him in the USA had been opened. This was not confirmed back then by the USA, but we do know by now that this is a fact. So from this point on Assange's lawyer said that Assange is willing to come to Sweden and make his testimony, but only by diplomatic assurance that Sweden will not extradite him to the USA.
=> This demand has never been met; Assange's lawyers offered while he was in the embassy of Ecuador over 30 times to Sweden that he will come over and testify, but only if they do agree to this demand. Sweden always replied that they must refuse, because there is no extradition sought by the USA.

9. Diplomatic demands to not extradite somebody to certain countries are a common practice; and happen all the time. Of course Sweden could have agreed to it easily; if a country really denies such a request there is not much faith left in the good will of such a country. Why on earth should Sweden not have been able to guarantee it? From a law perspective the USA were never involved in the rape charges against Assange in Sweden.

10. Even this demand has never been met, Assange was willing regardless to testify in London or by videolink. Both did never happen, although the UK and Sweden have even treaties in place that Assange could have just gone to a British police station and testify. Sweden and the UK used this possibility in 44 other cases during that time without problems, and only in Assange's case Sweden demanded that it is a must that he must go to Sweden in order to testify personally.
 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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11. After the Swedish prosecution authority avoided it over five years to take Assange's testimony, his lawyers went finally before the Swedish supreme court with a clear mission: either the attorney should finally open a trial, or dismiss the case. When the Swedes wrote this to their British colleagues, they got this email as reply which speaks volumes:



The British Crown Prosecution Service clearly wanted that the Swedes are not going to close the case. In a normal world the Brits should have been glad to finally get rid of the obligation to observe Assange in the embassy in order to provide his possible escape, which did cost the tax payers clearly millions. But exactly that was not the case.

So what to make of it? It is quite clear that getting an investigation on sexual charges done was never the intended goal, because otherwise the actors would have done their job. Assange had for a short amount of time the spotlight on the nasty dirty works of the USA and other states; they returned the favor by rotating the spotlight and fabricating false evidence in order to divert the public attention away from their bad deeds and getting Assange destroyed. The goal is to set an example.

If Assange would be extradited to the USA he would clearly be judged by the court of Alexandra, Virginia, the so called "espionage court." 85% of the inhabitants there are working for the CIA, NSA, Department of Defense or State, so getting judged before such a jury for charges againt the national security the outcome is clear from the beginning. The trial is always done by the same judge with disclosure of the public and secret evidence. Nobody there was ever found unguilty; so most culprits there are making a deal, at least pleading partly guilty and are getting a less drastic penalty for that. So in the end Assange will never get a fair trial in the USA which would be compliant to constitutional state.

12. 2017 Ecuador had a new government, which wanted to gain the sympathy of the USA, and both came quickly to the consensus that this could happen, but only if Assange is being handed over. The new government of Ecuador was willing to get rid of him and first tried to make his life in the embassy miserable, but Assange did not leave. So Assange, who in the mean time had the citizenship of Ecuador, first was being robbed of his passport, because the constitution of Ecuador forbids the extradition of own citizens. Then he was being arrested, and dragged before a British judge for charges against bail violations.

Assange only had 15 minutes to prepare himself for trial; the trial itself was also done in 15 minutes. The husband of one of the female judges had been exposed by Wikileaks 35 times; so Assange's lawyer pleaded for bashfulness. This had been dismissed, Assange only said one thing "I plead not guilty", and the ruling judge told "You are a narcissigt who cannot get beyond his own self-interest. I convict you for bail violation." So Assange punishment for this are 50 weeks in a high security prison in the UK which is unusual, because bail violation in the UK normally only gets punished by a fine or a few days of prison.

Since then Assange has been kept in isolation and denied contact with his lawyers in the USA and impeded contact with his UK lawyer. When in May 2019 Assange was visited by Melzer in his cell in London he had two colleagues with him, two doctors who are world wide renown on the area of forensic and psychiatric diagnosis of torture victims. Both agreed that Assange is clearly showing heavy symptoms of psychological torture and if not getting the protection he needed soon his state of mind will quite likely worsen up to a possible death.

13. After Sweden has been caling Assange for over a decade as sexual offender they suddenly dismissed the investigation with the same argumentation the first attorney did back then in 2010 after five days: the testimony was plausible, but there's no hard evidence.

Melzer asked the Swedish government over 50 question about that case, and only got a very short reply: "the government denies to comment." Which is for Melzer an admission of guilt, because if a state has nothing to hide it normally answers en detail and quickly, but it took Sweden two months to deliver this reply.

He concludes his stuff with saying that this all clearly shows that the freedom of speech is in danger, and if people are not standing up now against such behaviour the path will go only more downwards and we should just think about what might be in 20 years.

 
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Innula Zenovka

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It's astonishing how many articles I read detailing all sorts of concerns about how Assange is being treated and about gross abuses of the legal process and of Assange's human rights, and yet his legal advisors never raise them in court.

Maybe he should sack his lawyers and find a new team?
 

Kamilah Hauptmann

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It's astonishing how many articles I read detailing all sorts of concerns about how Assange is being treated and about gross abuses of the legal process and of Assange's human rights, and yet his legal advisors never raise them in court.

Maybe he should sack his lawyers and find a new team?
 

Kamilah Hauptmann

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I must confess, I've seen that meme online a few times but I've never been sure what it means.
I probably misused it in this case. Ordinarily it's when looking at something from afar in horror.

I was fishing about for something to express just how... unstoppably British this post is:

It's astonishing how many articles I read detailing all sorts of concerns about how Assange is being treated and about gross abuses of the legal process and of Assange's human rights, and yet his legal advisors never raise them in court.

Maybe he should sack his lawyers and find a new team?
Also, bravo.
 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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It's astonishing how many articles I read detailing all sorts of concerns about how Assange is being treated and about gross abuses of the legal process and of Assange's human rights, and yet his legal advisors never raise them in court.
At first glance that's an interesting question. On second thought however, if what Melzer said is only half true - and Melzer claims that he's got ample evidence for that, and Assange has been indeed the victim of an long time orchestrated effort of several states producing false evidence in order to sack him, and just ignoring law/human rights at all for over a decade because they can - why should you suddenly trust the legal system of such a country? What makes you think that suddenly such a system would start working again in the way it is supposed to be on paper when in the past it has been not? And what makes you think that even if it would still work somewhat the other authorities would care at all if something in favor for Assange would manifest?

What you get in such a system is a mock trial, nothing more nothing less. You never have a real chance in such a thing.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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At first glance that's an interesting question. On second thought however, if what Melzer said is only half true - and Melzer claims that he's got ample evidence for that, and Assange has been indeed the victim of an long time orchestrated effort of several states producing false evidence in order to sack him, and just ignoring law/human rights at all for over a decade because they can - why should you suddenly trust the legal system of such a country? What makes you think that suddenly such a system would start working again in the way it is supposed to be on paper when in the past it has been not? And what makes you think that even if it would still work somewhat the other authorities would care at all if something in favor for Assange would manifest?

What you get in such a system is a mock trial, nothing more nothing less. You never have a real chance in such a thing.
I am reasonably familiar with the English legal system in general and the criminal justice system in particular, and I can assure you that they are robustly independent of government, as both Theresa May and Boris Johnson found out the hard way.

You say, " if what Melzer said is only half true - and Melzer claims that he's got ample evidence for that".

Let him produce his "ample evidence" then, and explain why he's not made it available to Assange's lawyers (or, if he says he has, what their response was).

Until we see some evidence, this gets filed away with Q-Anon's and Alex Jones' nonsense.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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If anyone is interested, in the course of considering an application from Assange's team that the arrest warrant be set aside, the District Judge (Chief Magistrate) considered the Opinion concerning Assange issued by United Nations’ Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/assange-ruling-2-feb2018.pdf (paras 17 --40).

She begins her analysis by explaining,
I have read the Opinion. The group appears to have based its conclusions on some misunderstandings of what occurred after Mr Assange’s arrest.
(para 21) and, at para 40, she concludes
For reasons which must be clear I give little weight to the views of the Working Group.

(ETA: "The group appears to have based its conclusions on some misunderstandings" is judicial English for "the group doesn't have the first idea what they're talking about).


The reason, incidentally, why the Bail Act hearing was so short -- though not compared with most Bail Act proceedings, because there's not generally much to prove, since either the defendant surrendered to his bail or didn't -- was that the court had previously spent two days (Feb 6 and 13, 2018) considering applications from Assange's side to quash the arrest warrant.

Since the court had refused the application, there wasn't much left to do when he was finally brought before them.

Mr Melzer expresses his surprise that
So Assange punishment for this are 50 weeks in a high security prison in the UK which is unusual, because bail violation in the UK normally only gets punished by a fine or a few days of prison.
The sentencing guidelines for failure to surrender bail are to be found here: Failure to surrender to bail

HHJ Taylor's analysis of the offending behaviour, in her sentencing remarks, makes it clear why the sentence was so severe; she concludes

It is difficult to envisage a more serious example of this offence. The maximum sentence for this offence is 12 months. You do not have the benefit of a plea of guilty. You have made a written apology today, the first recognition that you regret your actions. In my judgment, the seriousness of your offence, having taken into account the mitigation merits a sentence near the maximum. The sentence is imprisonment for 50 weeks.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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I'm surprised to see you putting "Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture" in the same group as acknowledged right-wing trolls...
I didn't say he shares their motives, but his interview, as reproduced by Bartholomew, is no more well-founded in fact than most of their output, which is why I discount it.

Read the District Judge's critique of his group's report that I referenced above and see if you don't agree.

When I read accounts of the report on its initial publication, I was left wondering if they'd bothered to familiarise themselves with the basic facts of the case by reading the published judgments (which set out the facts as presented in court by both sides) or they'd simply relied on what they'd picked up on Facebook, Twitter and a few blogs.

Of course, if the anonymous source on whom they relied was one of Assange's supporters, like Glenn Greenwald or Pamela Anderson, that would explain a lot.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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The first two days of Assange's extradition hearing in the UK are now over, and let's just say they clearly show that Innula's trust in the UK's legal system is unjustified. He's on mock trial and it clearly shows more and more that the intention is to make an example to scare possible whistleblowers.

Craig Murray, a former British ambassador, attended the hearings, because it is public and only 16 seats are in total avaialable for the public to watch it. So Murray attended it and gives quite detailed descriptions on how it went so far.

Murray already felt very welcome when entering the building which is clearly an anti-terror-court, and Assange has to sit in a bulletproof glass cage which makes it hard for him to follow the proceedings at all:

To make sure I got one of those 16 and could be your man in the gallery, I was outside that great locked iron fence queuing in the cold, wet and wind from 6am. At 8am the gate was unlocked, and I was able to walk inside the fence to another queue before the doors of the courtroom, where despite the fact notices clearly state the court opens to the public at 8am, I had to queue outside the building again for another hour and forty minutes. Then I was processed through armoured airlock doors, through airport type security, and had to queue behind two further locked doors, before finally getting to my seat just as the court started at 10am. By which stage the intention was we should have been thoroughly cowed and intimidated, not to mention drenched and potentially hypothermic.

The prosecutor Lewis delivered at the beginning a speech, not the the court but to the media.

The points which Lewis wished the media to know were these: it is not true that mainstream outlets like the Guardian and New York Times are also threatened by the charges against Assange, because Assange was not charged with publishing the cables but only with publishing the names of informants, and with cultivating Manning and assisting him to attempt computer hacking. Only Assange had done these things, not mainstream outlets.

The judge then asked the prosecutor if Lewis is sure about his stance, because that's not her understanding of the Official Secrets Act that the media is uninvolved; he was caught off guard, but told then this:

Yes, he said much more firmly. The 1989 Official Secrets Act had been introduced by the Thatcher Government after the Ponting Case, specifically to remove the public interest defence and to make unauthorised possession of an official secret a crime of strict liability – meaning no matter how you got it, publishing and even possessing made you guilty. Therefore, under the principle of dual criminality, Assange was liable for extradition whether or not he had aided and abetted Manning. Lewis then went on to add that any journalist and any publication that printed the official secret would therefore also be committing an offence, no matter how they had obtained it, and no matter if it did or did not name informants.

So exactly the opposite. On day 2 the judge was of the opinion that the UK court does not have to accept evidence which was being accepted by the US court in the case of Chelsea Manning.

She told Summers that he had presented the findings of the US court martial of Chelsea Manning as fact. But she did not agree that her court had to treat evidence at a US court martial, even agreed or uncontested evidence or prosecution evidence, as fact.

One of the main points in the trial is that the USA are claiming that Assange put lives at risk. Again: a lie.

The US government had been actively participating in the redaction exercise on the cables. They therefore knew the allegations of reckless publication to be untrue.

Once Die Freitag announced they had the unredacted materials, Julian Assange and Sara Harrison instantly telephoned the White House, State Department and US Embassy to warn them named sources may be put at risk. Summers read from the transcripts of telephone conversations as Assange and Harrison attempted to convince US officials of the urgency of enabling source protection procedures – and expressed their bafflement as officials stonewalled them.


How to dodge that bullet? Easy:

She stated that although Article 4.1 of the US/UK Extradition Treaty forbade political extraditions, this was only in the Treaty. That exemption does not appear in the UK Extradition Act. On the face of it therefore political extradition is not illegal in the UK, as the Treaty has no legal force on the Court.

Assange also gets the torture and abuse treatment you could him expect to receive:

Day 2 proceedings had started with a statement from Edward Fitzgerald, Assange’s QC, that shook us rudely into life. He stated that yesterday, on the first day of trial, Julian had twice been stripped naked and searched, eleven times been handcuffed, and five times been locked up in different holding cells. On top of this, all of his court documents had been taken from him by the prison authorities, including privileged communications between his lawyers and himself, and he had been left with no ability to prepare to participate in today’s proceedings.

Magistrate Baraitser looked at Fitzgerald and stated, in a voice laced with disdain, that he had raised such matters before and she had always replied that she had no jurisdiction over the prison estate. He should take it up with the prison authorities.


Quote of the day from the judge: "“Are you suggesting, Mr Summers, that the authorities, the Government, should have to provide context for its charges?”"