Chris Hedges – The Imminent Extradition of Julian Assange and the Death of Journalism

Opinion & analysis by Chris Hedges

“WASHINGTON DC — (Scheerpost) — High Court Judge Jonathan Swift — who previously worked for a variety of British government agencies as a barrister and said his favorite clients are “security and intelligence agencies” — rejected two applications by Julian Assange’s lawyers to appeal his extradition last week. The extradition order was signed last June by Home Secretary Priti Patel. Julian’s legal team have filed a final application for appeal, the last option available in the British courts. If accepted, the case could proceed to a public hearing in front of two new High Court judges. If rejected, Julian could be immediately extradited to the United States where he will stand trial for 18 counts of violating the Espionage Act, charges that could see him receive a 175-year sentence, as early as this week.

The only chance to block an extradition, if the final appeal is rejected, as I expect it will be, would come from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The parliamentary arm of the Council of Europe, which created the ECtHR, along with their Commissioner for Human Rights, oppose Julian’s “detention, extradition and prosecution” because it represents “a dangerous precedent for journalists.” It is unclear if the British government would abide by the court’s decision — even though it is obligated to do so — if it ruled against extradition, or if the U.K. would extradite Julian before an appeal to the European court can be heard. Julian, once shipped to the U.S., would be put on trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia where most espionage cases have been won by the U.S. government.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser at Westminster Magistrates’ Court refused to authorize the U.S. government’s extradition request in Jan. 2021 because of the severity of the conditions Julian would endure in the U.S. prison system.

“Faced with the conditions of near total isolation without the protective factors which limited his risk at [Her Majesty’s Prison] Belmarsh, I am satisfied the procedures described by the U.S. will not prevent Mr. Assange from finding a way to commit suicide,” said Baraitser when handing down her 132-page ruling, “and for this reason I have decided extradition would be oppressive by reason of mental harm and I order his discharge.”.

Baraitser’s decision was overturned after an appeal by U.S. authorities. The High Court accepted the conclusions of the lower court about increased risk of suicide and inhumane prison conditions. But it also accepted four assurances in U.S. Diplomatic Note no. 74, given to the court in Feb. 2021, which promised Julian would be well treated. The U.S. government claimed that its assurances “entirely answer the concerns which caused the judge [in the lower court] to discharge Mr. Assange.” The “assurances” state that Julian will not be subject to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs). They promise that Julian, an Australian citizen, can serve his sentence in Australia if the Australian government requests his extradition. They promise he will receive adequate clinical and psychological care. They promise that, pre-trial and post-trial, Julian will not be held in the Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado. No one is held pre-trial in ADX Florence. But it sounds reassuring. ADX Florence is not the only supermax prison in the U.S. Julian can be placed in one of our other Guantanamo-like facilities in a Communications Management Unit (CMU). CMUs are highly restrictive units that replicate the near total isolation imposed by SAMs.“


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2 Responses to “Chris Hedges – The Imminent Extradition of Julian Assange and the Death of Journalism”

  1. Belyi says:

    I’ve heard from several people, who haven’t probably been getting their info from the same source, that Julian has been in the US for a while now and just comes back to the UK for hearings. It’s all optics.

    • pete fairhurst 2 says:

      Yes indeed Belyi, all optics indeed. That info does not surprise me one bit, but I’d not seen it myself

      Assange is an agent I think and his Wikileaks is/was a deep state operation. Just research how exactly he came to notice in the first place. Time magazine, Washington Post, New York Times etc. All deep state and all promoted Assange and Wiki at the start. Coincidence? Ha ha

      And at the end then, the very obvious deep state “extraction” from the Embassy. Pure theatre for the masses. Was he ever in that Embassy beyond photo ops? How would we know? It has a basement and uses diplomatic vehicles with blacked out windows. Easy peasy