MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘extradition’

The Limits of Punishment – Taki’s Magazine – Taki’s Magazine

Posted by M. C. on March 11, 2020

The court’s ruling seems to me both arrogant and decadent: arrogant because it assumes its own moral superiority and presumes to teach others a lesson, and decadent because the lesson it seeks to teach is both morally wrong and redolent of feebleness masquerading as generosity.

Right or wrong-Do you want to be tried by UN/EU/Soros controlled bureacrats from The Hague?

https://www.takimag.com/article/the-limits-of-punishment/

Theodore Dalrymple

A British court has just ruled that a couple accused of procuring the murder of a boy age 11 in India, whose life they had insured for a large sum of money, could not be extradited to India to face trial because they might, if found guilty, be sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole, which is against rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. The little boy’s brother-in-law was also killed in the assault on him.

There was a lot of prima facie evidence against the couple. Where someone is murdered whose life has just been insured for a large sum of money, especially where he is the kind of person whose life one would not expect to be so heavily insured, it usually gives the police a strong clue as to the culprit. My experience of such murders (I hasten to add as a doctor in a prison) is that the murderers do not usually waste much time or money on paying the premiums before trying to cash in on the death of the dear departed.

The ruling by the British judges is extraordinary. If the couple were tried in Britain, they might well face a life sentence without possibility of parole, notwithstanding (and in defiance of) the ECHR, just as they would in India. But even apart from this, there are two aspects of the ruling worthy of notice, the first being the ECHR itself, and the second being the concept of parole, which is completely incompatible with the rule of law.

“You can always find something more horrible than the last.”

The ECHR opposes life sentences without possibility of parole because they do not allow for remorse, repentance, or rehabilitation on the part of the culprit. In other words, the judges of the court could not imagine or conceive of a crime so heinous that it was, ipso facto, automatically beyond the reach of remorse, repentance, or rehabilitation; and this on a continent in which scores of millions had been murdered in recent history. If those responsible for these millions of murders had said, “I apologize, I now realize that what I did was wrong and I promise never to do it again,” that would have been enough for the court.

As to parole, it is in clear contravention of the rule of law, for it lightens punishment of or punishes the prisoner by releasing or failing to release him, based upon inherently doubtful speculations as to his future conduct. But punishment can be justified only by the undoubted record of what someone has done, not on uncertain speculations about what he might or might not do in the future. Sentences should therefore be determinate. They might be too long or too short, but that should be for a court of appeal to decide. The people who administer parole are no doubt well-intentioned, but it is not difficult to deceive them. The demand for expressions of remorse will call forth a supply of expressions of remorse, especially where there is a reward (release from prison) for expressing remorse. Furthermore, while I am genuinely remorseful that I ate too much for dinner last night, I would not if I were a betting man place a large wager that I would never again eat too much for dinner. This is surely a fairly common human experience.

In its ruling, the British court did not allege that the couple to be extradited would not receive a fair trial in which they would have a chance to defend themselves. If that had been alleged, it would have been (if true) a genuine derogation of the couple’s human rights—but it was not. The sole ground for refusal of extradition was that the hypothetical punishment would be cruel.

The allegation against the couple was that they had adopted the small boy, who came from a poor family, and that they had promised to bring him to Britain to have a better life. To this his own parents agreed. They then insured his life and hired killers to kill him.

In the annals of crime, no doubt, it would be possible to find even worse cases than this. As the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins put it in another context (that of states of mind), “No worst, there is none.” You can always find something more horrible than the last. And since punishment should be more or less proportional to the gravity of the crime, and since also there is a limit to the severity of the punishment that can be imposed in civilized countries, one might argue that the most severe punishment available should be reserved for the worst crimes—and this case, as we have seen, is not the very worst that can be imagined or has occurred. And since, moreover, the most severe penalty available to the court (at least where the death penalty has been abolished) is life imprisonment without possibility of parole, it should not be imposed in this case.

But if severity of punishment is limited by the need to remain civilized, and punishment should be roughly proportional to the gravity of the crime, it does not follow that no one should receive the most severe punishment for any crime that is less than the worst that can be imagined or has ever been committed. There is a level of gravity that merits the most severe punishment that can be meted out, and anything worse can only be punished by the same level of punishment. The principle of proportionate punishment holds only up to a certain point, beyond which it cannot go. And, if the couple are indeed guilty of what is alleged against them, they fully deserve the most severe punishment that a civilized society can inflict on them, even if worse crimes are sometimes committed. Their crime, after all, was not one that could have been committed in a fit of absence of mind or a rush of blood to the head. Moreover, moral culpability is not to be measured on a simple linear scale. If four people instead of two had been killed as a result of the couple’s orders, the crime would have been twice as bad in its results, but not straightforwardly twice as bad morally.

The court’s ruling seems to me both arrogant and decadent: arrogant because it assumes its own moral superiority and presumes to teach others a lesson, and decadent because the lesson it seeks to teach is both morally wrong and redolent of feebleness masquerading as generosity.

 

 

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DOJ Drooling Over Likely Assange Extradition | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2020

Let’s make this clear, there has never been any evidence presented in the decade since those cables were released, that anyone was ever harmed. This is a baldfaced canard deployed by Washington from the start and it is now being used to attempt to drag Assange back to the U.S. where he faces 18 federal charges of espionage, including theft and hacking, and for that, up to 175 years in prison.

Because the UK has no constitutional guarantee of a free press and its free speech rights are practically non-existent today, which means his pleas for both won’t buy him a basket of fish and chips from the local pub.

In other words, putting trust in the British system of law is a gamble. The British establishment hated Assange from the beginning too. And why not? Former PM Tony Blair was President George Bush’s poodle, and dragged his country into the war in Iraq against the majority of his countrymen’s wishes. They were right there with us as the lies played out in real time.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/state-of-the-union/doj-drooling-over-likely-assange-extradition/

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Assange lawyers’ links to US govt & Bill Browder raises questions – OffGuardian

Posted by M. C. on November 9, 2019

https://off-guardian.org/2019/11/08/assange-lawyers-links-to-us-govt-bill-browder-raises-questions/

Lucy Komisar

A US government lawyer in the Assange extradition case just wrote a London Times oped promoting the Browder Magnitsky hoax. Ben Brandon is one of five lawyers in a London network whose spokes link to convicted tax fraudster William Browder, the U.S. government, and to both sides of the extradition case against whistleblower publisher Julian Assange.

Here is how the British legal system works. Lawyers are either solicitors who work with clients or barristers who go to court in cases assigned by the solicitors. To share costs, barristers operate in chambers, which provide office space, including conference rooms and dining halls, clerks who receive and assign cases from solicitors, and other support staff. London has 210 chambers. There are not “partners” sharing profits, but members operate fraternally with each other.

Browder is key in the U.S. demonization of Russia. Assange has exposed U.S. war crimes. For lawyers associated in the British legal system to take both sides on that conflict would appear to be an egregious conflict of interest. But it fits with the U.S.-UK support of the Browder-Magnitsky hoax and their cooperation in the attack on Assange.

The law firm and chambers involved in the Browder-Assange stories are Mishcon de Reya, Matrix Chambers and Doughty Street Chambers.

Ben Brandon of Mishcon de Reya and Alex Bailin of Matrix Chambers co-authored an opinion article in The Times of London October 24, 2019 in which they repeated William Browder’s fabrications about the death of his accountant Sergei Magnitsky.

The article aimed to promote the Magnitsky Act which builds a political wall against Russia. It is based on the fake claim that Magnitsky, the accountant who handled Browder’s tax evasion in Russia, was really a lawyer who exposed a government scam.

Except that is not true, there is no evidence for it, and the lies are documented here. But the Act has prevented the Russians from collecting about $100 million Browder owes in back taxes and illicit stock buys.

Brandon’s and Bailin’s connections are notable. Law firms, at least in the U.S., tend to stake out their commitments. Lawyers who represent unions do not represent companies fighting unions. It appears to be different in Britain, where legal chambers have members on either side of some cases.

Bailin is a member of Matrix Chambers, which was founded by the wife of Tony Blair, the former neocon Labor British Prime Minister.

He is solidly in the Browder camp. He represented Leonid Nevzlin, a major partner of Browder collaborator Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who according to filings with FARA (the Foreign Agents Registration Act), paid $385,000 for Congress to adopt the Magnitsky Act which has been used by the U.S. as a weapon against the Russian government.

Nevzlin’s suit was for $50 billion against Russia for money allegedly lost by the nationalization of Yukos Oil. Yukos was obtained by Khodorkovsky in the mid-90s in one of then Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s rigged auctions. Khodorkovsky’s bank Menatep ran the auction.

He paid $309 million for a controlling 78 percent of the state company. Months later, Yukos traded on the Russian stock exchange at a market capitalization of $6 billion. Not surprising, after Yeltsin departed, the state wanted the stolen assets back.

To add insult to injury, Khodorkovsky laundered profits from Yukos through transfer-pricing and other scams.

Transfer pricing is when you sell products to a shell company at a fake low price, and the shell sells them on the world market at the real price, giving you the rake-off. It cheats tax authorities and minority shareholders. See how Khodorkovsky and Browder did this with Russian company Avisma, which Khodorkovsky also got through a rigged auction.

The Times oped co-author, Brandon of Mishcon de Reya, has a startling connection. The day after an extradition request targeting Julian Assange was signed by the UK home secretary, Brandon representing the U.S. government, formally opened the extradition case.

Now look at another Assange link. Mark Summers, who is representing Julian Assange is, along with Bailin, a member of Matrix Chambers.

But while he is Assange’s lawyer, Summers is acting for Assange’s persecutor, the U.S. government, in a major extradition case involving executives of Credit Suisse in 2013 making fake loans and getting kickbacks from Mozambique government officials.

Does Assange, or those who care about his interests, know he is part of chambers working for the U.S. government?

And where do you put this factoid? Alex Bailin is representing Andrew Pearse, one of the Credit Suisse bankers that the U.S. government, represented by Summers, is seeking to extradite!

But there’s chambers where two members are each supporting both Browder and Assange.

Geoffrey Robertson is founder of Doughty Street Chambers. He is also a longtime Browder / Magnitsky story promoter. He has pitched implementation of a Magnitsky Act in Australia and has served Browder in UK court.

In 2017 British legal actions surrounding an inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy, he represented Browder, who claimed that the Russian, who died of a heart attack, was somehow a victim of Russian President Putin. Perepilichnyy had lost money in investments he was handling for clients and had to get out of town.

Needing support, he decamped to London and gave Browder documents relating to his client’s questionable bank transfers. He died after a jog, Browder claimed he was poisoned by a rare botanical substance, obviously ordered by Putin, but forensic tests found that untrue. Robertson accused local police of a cover-up.

He is a legal advisor to Assange and is regularly interviewed by international media about the case.

Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers also has a Browder connection. She is acting for Paul Radu a journalist and official of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) which is being sued by an Azerbaijan MP. OCCRP is a Browder collaborator.

Browder admits in a deposition that OCCRP prepared documents he would give to the U.S. Justice Department to accuse the son of a Russian railway official of getting $1.9 million of $230 million defrauded from the Russian Treasury. The case was settled when the U.S. couldn’t prove the charge, and the target declined to spend more millions of dollars in his defense. OCCRP got the first Magnitsky Human Rights award, set up for Browder’s partners and acolytes.

Robinson is also the longest-serving member of Assange’s legal team. She acted for Assange in the Swedish extradition proceedings and in relation to Ecuador’s request to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Advisory Opinion proceedings on the right to asylum.

Why did Assange or his advisors choose lawyers associated with the interests of the U.S. government and Browder? Or how could those lawyers be so ignorant about the facts of Browder’s massive tax evasion and his Magnitsky story fabrications?

It raises questions about how they are handling the Assange defense.

The individuals cited were asked to respond to points made about them, but none did.

Here is my audio interview on this issue on Fault Lines, “The Avisma Scandal + The Link Between Browder & Assange.” The Browder-Assange part starts 13:20 minutes in.

Be seeing you

 

 

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Only Cowards And Sadists Support The Persecution Of Assange – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on October 23, 2019

Assange’s extradition hearing will commence without delay on February of next year, despite the case violating the 2003 US/UK extradition treaty, and despite new evidence emerging of CIA-tied espionage on Assange and his lawyers while he was at the Ecuadorian embassy. It will commence in a tiny Belmarsh courtroom with almost no room for the public to provide scrutiny, without Assange’s defense having adequate time to prepare.

Keep the pressure up, keep watching, and keep talking about what you’re seeing to anyone who will listen. It may very well save Julian’s life.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/10/22/only-cowards-and-sadists-support-the-persecution-of-assange/

Former British ambassador Craig Murray has published a very disturbing account of Julian Assange’s court appearance yesterday which I recommend reading in full. There have been many reports published about Assange’s case management hearing, but the combination of Murray’s prior experience with torture victims, his familiarity with British courts, his friendship with Assange, and his lack of reverence for western power structures allowed for a much more penetrating insight into what happened than anyone else has been able to provide so far.

Here is a small excerpt:

Before I get on to the blatant lack of fair process, the first thing I must note was Julian’s condition. I was badly shocked by just how much weight my friend has lost, by the speed his hair has receded and by the appearance of premature and vastly accelerated ageing. He has a pronounced limp I have never seen before. Since his arrest he has lost over 15 kg in weight.

 

But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both. I will come to the important content of his statement at the end of proceedings in due course, but his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought.

 

Until yesterday I had always been quietly sceptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture – even of Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – and sceptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that yesterday changed my mind entirely and Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness.

Murray reports that there were no fewer than five representatives of the US government in the Westminster Magistrates Court that day, and that there were seated behind the British prosecutors and essentially giving them orders. The judge, Vanessa Baraitser, reportedly behaved coldly and snarkily towards the defense, smirking and refusing their requests without explanation, while behaving warmly and receptively toward the prosecution. Assange’s extradition hearing will commence without delay on February of next year, despite the case violating the 2003 US/UK extradition treaty, and despite new evidence emerging of CIA-tied espionage on Assange and his lawyers while he was at the Ecuadorian embassy. It will commence in a tiny Belmarsh courtroom with almost no room for the public to provide scrutiny, without Assange’s defense having adequate time to prepare.

Assange’s lawyer Mark Summers told the court that the case was “a political attempt” by the United States “to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information.” And of course he’s right. Nobody sincerely believes that the 175-year sentence that Assange is looking at if he’s successfully extradited to the US by the Trump administration is a reasonable punishment for publishing activities which the Obama administration had previously declined to prosecute based on the exact same evidence, citing concern for the damage the precedent would do to press freedoms. These charges have nothing to do with justice, and they aren’t meant to be merely punitive. They’re made to serve as a deterrent. A deterrent to journalists anywhere in the world who might otherwise see fit to publish inconvenient facts about the US government.

This is obvious. It is obvious that the US government is destroying Assange to signal to journalists the consequences of publishing information. It is therefore also obvious that any journalist who fails to use whatever platform they have to speak out against Assange’s persecution has no intention of ever publishing anything that the US government doesn’t want published. Their silence on or support for what is being done to this man can and should be taken as an admission that they are nothing other than state propagandists. State propagandists, sycophants, and cowards.

Cowardice is driving public support for Assange’s persecution. Cowardice and sadism. Even if every single bogus smear against him were true, from the lies about feces on embassy walls to the still evidence-free allegation of Trump/Russia collusion, even if every single one of those ridiculous fantasies were true, his punishment to date would be more than enough. I mean, exactly how much torture is appropriate because your preferred candidate wasn’t the one who was elected? How weird is it that such entitled sadism goes unquestioned? To continue to call for more is to reveal your sick fetish, whether you’re one of the powerful people he pissed off or just another mindless repeater in the comments section. Enough. You’ve had your pound of flesh.

We are watching a great tragedy unfold in a fractal-like way, from the zoomed-out meta tragedy of the worldwide death blow to press freedom, drilled down to the personal tragedy of this death blow to a man called Julian Assange. His once encyclopaedic brain can now barely remember his own birthday. This guts me. There are no other minds on earth that understood the power dynamics of invisible imperialism and the Orwellian dangers humanity now faces as we hurtle towards and AI-dominated information landscape as well as his did. That mind has been purposely destroyed. We must never forget that. We must never forgive that.

It’s been a tough day. My heart has been hurting and my sighs have been long. The only brightness I can see through the bleakness is the quandary that appears to be emerging for these nationless plutocrats who are pulling the strings. The more they get their way, the more obvious their actions must necessarily be, because the thing they are attempting to do is so totally abnormal. Yesterday’s court proceedings were blatantly farcical, from the curious rulings, to the strange sight of US advisers interfering in a UK case about an Australian citizen, down to even the dismissive smirk on the judge’s face. None of this is normal, and when things aren’t normal there is a risk that people will notice, and things are only going to get stranger as they attempt to pull this off.

The only thing keeping people from really seeing what’s going on here is a thin layer of narrative management, and the only thing keeping them from acting on their seeing is feeling like they are alone in their seeing. Keep the pressure up, keep watching, and keep talking about what you’re seeing to anyone who will listen. It may very well save Julian’s life.

_________________________________

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“Hands Off Hong Kong” – The Cry That Seldom Is Heard, by John V. Walsh – The Unz Review

Posted by M. C. on September 9, 2019

http://www.unz.com/article/hands-off-hong-kong-the-cry-that-seldom-is-heard/

Through the summer the world has watched as protests shook Hong Kong. As early as April they began as peaceful demonstrations which peaked in early June, with hundreds of thousands, in protest of an extradition bill. That bill would have allowed Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China, to return criminals to Taiwan, mainland China or Macau for crimes committed there – after approval by multiple layers of the Hong Kong judiciary. In the wake of those enormous nonviolent demonstrations, Carrie Lam, CEO of Hong Kong, “suspended” consideration of the extradition bill, a face-saving ploy. To make sure she was understood, she declared it “dead.” The large rallies, an undeniable expression of the peaceful will of a large segment of the Hong Kong population had won an impressive victory. The unpopular extradition bill was slain.

But that was not the end of the story. A smaller segment continued the protests. (The Hong Kong police at one point estimated 4,000 hard core protesters.) pressed on with other demands, beginning with a demand that the bill be “withdrawn,” not simply “suspended.” To this writer death by “suspension” is every bit as terminal as death by “withdrawal.” As this piece is sent to press, news comes that Corrie Lam has now formally withdrawn the bill.

As the summer passed, two iconic photos presented us with two human faces that captured two crucial features of the ongoing protests; they were not shown widely in the West.

First, Fu Guohao, a reporter for the Chinese mainland newspaper, Global Times, was attacked, bound and beaten by protesters during their takeover of the Hong Kong International Airport. When police and rescuers tried to free him, the protesters blocked them and also attempted to block the ambulance that eventually bore him off to the hospital. The photos and videos of this ugly sequence were seen by netizens across the globe even though given scant attention in Western media. Where were the stalwart defenders of the press in the US as this happened? As one example, DemocracyNow! (DN!) was completely silent as was the rest of the U.S. mainstream media.

Fu’s beating came after many weeks when the protesters threw up barriers to stop traffic; blocked closure of subway doors, in defiance of commuters and police, to shut down mass transit; sacked and vandalized the HK legislature building; assaulted bystanders who disagreed with them; attacked the police with Molotov cocktails; and stormed and defaced police stations. Fu’s ordeal and all these actions shown in photos on Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, a paper leaning to the side of protesters, gave the lie to the image of these “democracy activists” as young Ghandis of East Asia. (The South China Morning Post is based in Hong Kong and its readership is concentrated there so it has to have some reasonable fidelity in reporting events; otherwise it loses credibility – and circulation. Similarly, much as the New York Times abhorred Occupy Wall Street, it could not fail to report on it.)

Which brings us to the second photo, much more important to U.S. citizens, that of a “Political Counselor” at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong who in August was pictured meeting with, Joshua Long and Nathan Law, at a hotel there. The official was formerly a State Dept functionary in the Middle East – in Jerusalem, Riyadh, Beirut, Baghdad and Doha, certainly not an area lacking in imperial intrigues and regime change ops. That photo graphically contradicted the contention that there is no US “black hand,” as China calls it, in the Hong Kong riots. In fact, here the “black hand” was caught red-handed, leading Chen Weihua, a very perceptive China Daily columnist, to tweet the picture with the comment: “This is very very embarrassing. … a US diplomat in Hong Kong, was caught meeting HK protest leaders. It would be hard to imagine the US reaction if a Chinese diplomat were meeting leaders of Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter or Never Trump protesters.”

And that photo with the protest leaders is just a snap shot of the ample evidence of the hand of the U.S. government and its subsidiaries in the Hong Kong events. Perhaps the best documentation of the U.S. “black hand” is to be found in Dan Cohen’s superb article of August 17 in The Greyzone entitled, “Behind a made-for-TV Hong Kong protest narrative, Washington is backing nativism and mob violence.” The article by Cohen deserves careful reading; it leaves little doubt that there is a very deep involvement of the US in the Hong Kong riots. Of special interest is the detailed role and funding, amounting to over $1.3 million, in Hong Kong alone in recent years, of the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED), ever on the prowl for new regime change opportunities. Perhaps most important, the leaders of the “leaderless” protests have met with major US political figures such as John Bolton, Vice President Pence, Secretary Pompeo, Senator Marco Rubio, Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, Nancy Pelosi and others, all of whom have heartily endorsed their efforts. This is not to deny that the protests were home grown at the outset in response to what was widely perceived as a legitimate grievance. But it would be equally absurd to deny that the U.S. is fishing in troubled Hong Kong waters to advance its anti-China crusade and regime change ambitions.

That said, where is the U.S. peace movement on the question of Hong Kong?

Let’s take DemocracyNow! (DN!) as one example, a prominent one on the “progressive” end of the spectrum. From April through August 28, there have been 25 brief accounts (“headlines” as DN! calls them, each amounting to a few paragraphs) of the events in Hong Kong and 4 features, longer supposedly analytic pieces, on the same topic. Transcripts of the four features are here, here, here and here. There is not a single mention of possible US involvement or the meetings of the various leaders of the protest movement with Pompeo, Bolton, Pence, or the “Political Counselor” of the US Hong Kong consulate.

And this silence on US meddling is true not only of most progressive commentators but also most conservatives.

On the Left when someone cries “Democracy,” many forget all their pro-peace sentiment. And similarly on the Right when someone cries “Communism,” anti-interventionism too often goes down the tubes. Forgotten is John Quincy Adams’s 1823 dictum, endlessly quoted but little honored, “We do not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Where does this lapse on the part of activists come from? Is it a deep-seated loyalty to Empire, the result of endless indoctrination? Is it U.S. Exceptionalism, ingrained to the point of unconsciousness? Or is it at bottom a question of who the paymasters are?

Fortunately, there are a handful of exceptions to this New Cold War attitude. For example, on the left Popular Resistance has provided a view of the events in Hong Kong and a superb interview with K.J. Noh that go beyond the line of the State Department, the mainstream media and DN! And on the libertarian Right there is the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and the work of its Executive Director Dan McAdams.

We would all do well to follow the example of these organizations in rejecting a New Cold War mentality which is extremely dangerous, perhaps fatally so. A good beginning for us in the U.S. is to demand of our government, “Hands Off Hong Kong.”

Be seeing you

Going Too Far: The American Public's Attitudes Toward ...

 

 

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Opinion  – Judge’s ruling throws huge spanner into US extradition proceedings against Assange

Posted by M. C. on August 3, 2019

News Flash: Doing what the New York Times and Washington Post do on a regular basis is not a crime.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52021.htm

By Tom Coburg

August 01, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  A US judge has ruled that WikiLeaks was fully entitled to publish the Democratic National Congress (DNC) emails, which means no law was broken. The ruling is highly significant as it could impact upon the US extradition proceedings against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as well as the ongoing imprisonment of whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

The ruling

On 30 July, federal judge John G. Koeltl ruled on a case brought against WikiLeaks and other parties in regard to the alleged hacking of DNC emails and concluded that:

If WikiLeaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC’s political financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them ‘secret’ and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet.

In other words, if WikiLeaks is subject to prosecution, then every media outlet in the world would be. The judge argued that:

[T]he First Amendment prevents such liability in the same way it would preclude liability for press outlets that publish materials of public interest despite defects in the way the materials were obtained so long as the disseminator did not participate in any wrongdoing in obtaining the materials in the first place.

Significantly, the judge added that it’s not criminal to solicit or “welcome” stolen documents, and how:

A person is entitled to publish stolen documents that the publisher requested from a source so long as the publisher did not participate in the theft.

Important win

Jen Robinson, a member of Assange’s legal team, described the judge’s ruling as an “important win for free speech”:

And US WikiLeaks lawyer Joshua Dratel said he was:

very gratified with the result, which reaffirms First Amendment principles that apply to journalists across the board, whether they work for large institutions or small independent operations.

Legal precedents

Prior to the ruling, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was party to a briefing to the court.

The ACLU summarised some of the legal precedents listed in the briefing. For example, the First Amendment of the US Constitution is a:

legal principle, articulated most clearly in the 2001 Supreme Court decision Bartnicki v. Vopper, [and] is a bedrock protection for the press. It is particularly important for national security reporters, who often rely on information that was illegally acquired by a source in publishing stories of considerable public concern. Indeed, this principle animated the court’s famous Pentagon Papers decision, protecting the right to publish stories based on a secret government account of official misconduct during the origins of the Vietnam War...

Be seeing you

Assange

 

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Watch: Julian Assange Arrested In London | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on April 11, 2019

In other words Lenin Moreno was made an offer he couldn’t refuse.

I have always wondered what Wikileaks has held back and what it would take to make it spill.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-11/julian-assange-arrested-london

by Tyler Durden

The “Assange Precedent”: The threat to the media posed by Trump’s prosecution of Julian Assange -…

THE “ASSANGE PRECEDENT”: THE THREAT TO THE MEDIA POSED BY THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S PROSECUTION OF JULIAN ASSANGE March 2019   Read the PDF version here.   A precedent with profound implications for…

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The US warrant was delivered in December 2017, showing that the US prosecutors were behind his arrest.

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Press reports suggested that Assange was arrested at around 10 am London Time (5 am New York) in what appeared to be a “planned operation.” Though his first battle will be with the British legal system over charges of skipping bail when he sought asylum in 2012, analysts expect that he will eventually face extradition to the US, after a sealed indictment against him were accidentally revealed last year. Wikileaks accused Ecuador of illegally terminating Assange’s asylum, adding that the Ecuadorian ambassador invited police inside the embassy to take Assange into custody.

In a tweet published moments ago, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said that Assange’s “discourteous and aggressive” behavior, as well as “hostile” acts committed by Wikileaks, pushed Ecuador to revoke his asylum. Moreno cited Wikileaks’ publication of sensitive Vatican documents earlier this year as the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. Members of the organization purportedly visited Assange in the embassy after the leak, apparently substantiating suspicions that Assange was still in charge of the organization.

Furthermore, Moreno declared his asylum “unsustainable and no longer viable” because Assange had repeatedly violated “clear cut provisions of the conventions of on diplomatic asylum.”…

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