Julian Assange? Who's that?

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thirdcrank
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby thirdcrank » 14 May 2019, 8:49am

There's been a lot of spinning in this case and it shows no sign of stopping. I've posted before about the importance of a judge's sentencing remarks in understanding how a case was dealt with. Here are the sentencing remarks in the recent case against JA for failing to surrender to bail. Quite a bit to go at, but worth reading IMO

In full | Judge's sentencing remarks
Here are the remarks by Judge Deborah Taylor as she sentenced Julian Assange at Southwark Crown Court:
Julian Assange, on 11 April 2019 you were convicted at Westminster Magistrates Court of an offence under s.6(1) of the Bail Act 1976, and committed to this court for sentence.
On 24 February 2011 the Westminster Magistrates Court ordered your extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual offending, including an allegation of rape.
You were granted bail on conditions throughout your appeals against this order, which culminated on 14 June 2012 in the rejection of your application to re-open the Supreme Court dismissal of your appeal.
On 19 June 2012 you entered the Ecuadorean Embassy. On 28th June 2012 a notice requiring your surrender to Belgravia Police Station on 29 June 2012 was served on you in the Ecuadorian embassy.
You did not surrender and a warrant for your arrest was issued by Westminster Magistrates Court on 29 June 2012.
On 16 August 2012, Ecuador granted you diplomatic asylum status. You remained in the Embassy until 11 April 2019 when that status was revoked.
Police entered at the invitation of the Government of Ecuador, and arrested you. You were brought before Westminster Magistrates Court.
Bail Act proceedings were initiated and you were convicted of the s.6(1) offence. You have not appealed that conviction.
The background to this offence is now put forward as mitigation, rather than as any reasonable excuse for your failure to surrender.
I have considered, and had regard to the Sentencing Council Guidelines for failing to surrender to bail, the seriousness of the failure to surrender, the level of culpability and the harm caused.
This was in terms of culpability a deliberate attempt to evade or delay justice.
In terms of harm, there are several features of this case which put this in the A1 category, but in addition, are exceptional in seriousness, and therefore in my judgment put this offence outside the Guideline range for even the highest category offences.
The Magistrates' Court has committed the matter to this court having considered that its powers of sentence were insufficient.
Firstly, by entering the Embassy, you deliberately put yourself out of reach, whilst remaining in the UK.
You remained there for nearly 7 years, exploiting your privileged position to flout the law and advertise internationally your disdain for the law of this country.
Your actions undoubtedly affected the progress of the Swedish proceedings. Even though you did co-operate initially, it was not for you to decide the nature or extent of your co-operation with the investigations.
They could not be effectively progressed, and were discontinued, not least because you remained in the Embassy.
Secondly, your continued residence in the Embassy has necessitated a concentration of resources, and expenditure of £16 million of taxpayers' money in ensuring that when you did leave, you were brought to justice.
It is essential to the rule of law that nobody is above or beyond the reach of the law. Orders of the Court are to be obeyed.
Thirdly, you have not surrendered willingly. Had the Government of Ecuador not permitted entry to the Embassy, you would not have voluntarily come before the court.
I have taken into account all that has been said on your behalf in mitigation, including the background history of this case which has been set out in some detail.
These are matters which have previously been argued before the Chief Magistrate in relation to the instigation of s.6 proceedings and dismissed in her Ruling of 13 February 2018 on your application to withdraw the warrant, and again before the District Judge in the contested hearing on 11 April 2019 in which you did not give evidence, and they were rejected as affording any defence.
They include the history of the Swedish investigation and proceedings, with the discontinuance of the proceedings in 2017, and your expressed fear of being extradited to Sweden but then rendered to the USA.
As far as the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention opinion is concerned, this is not binding on this court, and, as is apparent from the ruling of the Chief Magistrate, with some personal knowledge of the matters relied upon, it was underpinned by misconceptions of fact and law.
It is no longer argued that these factors amount to good reason for your failure to surrender. In my judgment they afford limited mitigation in relation to this offence.
The argument that as a result this is a category C case is wholly unrealistic given the circumstances.
Whilst you may have had fears as to what may happen to you, nonetheless you had a choice, and the course of action you chose was to commit this offence in the manner and with the features I have already outlined.
In addition, I reject the suggestion that your voluntary residence in the Embassy should reduce any sentence. You were not living under prison conditions, and you could have left at any time to face due process with the rights and protections which the legal system in this country provides.
Similarly I reject also the suggestion that forfeiture of money by you or others who provided security for your attendance when you failed to attend court should reduce the sentence of the court.
The money was security attached to an obligation to ensure your attendance, not a down payment to offset or reduce any sentence you may receive for not complying.
I have taken into account the medical evidence of Dr Korzinski and Dr Ladbrooke as to the mental and physical effects of being in the Embassy for a prolonged period.
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 you 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.
Any time spent on remand in respect of this offence from the time of your arrest on 11 April 2019 will count against your sentence.
In respect of this offence you would fall to be released after serving half of the sentence, subject to being returned to custody if you commit any further offences during the remainder of your licence period.
That of course is subject to the conditions and outcome of any other proceedings against you.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/0 ... hing-bail/

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 14 May 2019, 9:37am

None of this has or ever will go away, and all he's done is delayed it for 7 years. It would have stopped and been over and done with years ago if he'd faced the music, and he'd be a free man today doing whatever he likes, where he likes. On top of that, he's served a self-imposed 7 year prison sentence in conditions little better, and in many ways rather worse, than he would have faced in a US prison.

He's a twit, who's nothing to do with this country, who only came here in a cynical attempt to subvert our own systems and process for his won selfish ends. The only place he was even halfway likely to evade extradition anywhere was Russia, but for reasons only Assange knows he would rahter imprison himself for 7 years than travel there.
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby Tangled Metal » 14 May 2019, 7:19pm

Any chance he could be returned to Australia where I believe his nationality is? Iirc a lot of agreements with other countries exist where a foreign national jailed here can serve out the balance of his sentence in a prison in their own country. That's after a certain proportion of his sentence has been served over here.

I suspect that only happens if the prisoner's country wants him back. For example UK citizen jailed on Turkey would eventually come here to finish their sentence. I'm sure we probably do the reciprocal with those countries with a just system such as France, Germany, Sweden, etc. Would Australia want him back?

thirdcrank
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby thirdcrank » 20 May 2019, 2:42pm

I see that the current régime in Ecuador has come up trumps, or at least it's backing him to have first dibs on JA
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48335692

I presume belongings = computer(s) I don't suppose Donald is bothered about his whistle.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby Tangled Metal » 20 May 2019, 3:05pm

And Sweden has filed fit his arrest in absentia which then allows his case to be investigated. Which is the first step to issuing a European arrest warrant. If this goes ahead I think. Sweden would be ahead of the US in the extradition stakes.

Psamathe
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby Psamathe » 20 May 2019, 4:45pm

On reflecting on this, I suspect he is in effect massively extending his sentence/punishment. If Sweden or the US seek his extradition I'd expect one to get it now and the other have to wait for any sentence there to be finished.

From legal people appearing on more sensible TV programs, it sounds like Sweden may have priority due to their statute of limitations and higher potential sentence. Assuming that goes ahead, then once Sweden had finished with him (i.e. not pursued any case or found him not guilty or and punishment completed) then the US can put in their claim. So faster these legal cases get heard, sooner any punishment starts and sooner he becomes a free man again.

After all this time I can't see any of them "running out of interest" so I'd expect better to get it over and done with rather than drag it out.

When I have a tooth ache I hate visiting the dentist but am faced with a choice of enduring the pain for 1, 2, 3 etc. weeks and then going to the dentist or just go to the dentist now and get pain free sooner. Either way I've got to go to the dentist so delaying just means more pain between now and the dreaded dentist.

Ian

Tangled Metal
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby Tangled Metal » 20 May 2019, 4:50pm

Although in his case dragging it out has meant only one tooth is in pain, the other ones stopped hurting because of statute of limitations on the type of pain involved. Having one tooth treated is better than iirc 4 or 5!

In mixing it up a bit there, but you'll get my meaning I think.

irc
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby irc » 20 May 2019, 10:38pm

Psamathe wrote:On reflecting on this, I suspect he is in effect massively extending his sentence/punishment.


As Hannibal Smith would say ""I love it when a plan comes together."

Mike Sales
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby Mike Sales » 26 May 2019, 11:08am

Do you remember the Collateral Murder video – the one that showed US air crew in Apache helicopters killing people as though playing computer games, laughing at the dead after slaughtering a dozen people, including two Iraqis working for the Reuters news agency? Do you remember how the US military had lied about what happened in that incident in July 2007 – first claiming that all the dead were insurgents, and then that the helicopters were responding to an active firefight? Neither claim was true. Do you recall that Reuters had spent three years unsuccessfully trying to obtain the video?
Was it in the public interest that the world should have eventually seen the raw footage of what happened? You bet. Was it acutely embarrassing for the US military and government? Of course. Was the act of revelation espionage or journalism? You know the answer.

We have two people to thank for us knowing the truth about how those Reuters employees died, along with 10 others who ended up in the crosshairs of the laughing pilots that day: Chelsea Manning, who leaked it, and Julian Assange, who published it. But the price of their actions has been considerable. Manning spent seven years in jail for her part in releasing that video, along with a huge amount of other classified material she was able to access as an intelligence analyst in the US army. Assange has been indicted on 17 new counts of violating the Espionage Act, with the prospect that he could spend the rest of his life in prison.



[url]https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/26/prosecuting-julian-assange-for-espionage-poses-danger-freedom-of-press
[/url]
Last edited by Mike Sales on 26 May 2019, 2:07pm, edited 1 time in total.

Psamathe
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby Psamathe » 26 May 2019, 12:37pm

I see the US has now added a load of new charges (beyond the "token" charge to lodge the extradition request.
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/may/23/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-with-violating-the-espionage-act-in-18-count-indictment wrote:New US charges against Julian Assange could spell decades behind bars

Prosecutors announced 17 additional charges against Assange for publishing hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic cables and files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Ian

thirdcrank
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby thirdcrank » 31 May 2019, 7:05am

I see that his health is reported to be deteriorating, which doesn't seem surprising.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48459760

I see that the Chief Magistrate has suggested holding the next extradition hearing in Belmarsh. I don't know if that's just for technical reasons eg no video link or so she can inspect - and be seen to inspect - the conditions of his detention and medical treatment.

I know next to nothing about extradition law, but AFAIK, the home secretary has the final say. It's hard to see a Tory home secretary not giving it the OK. A snap general election is always possible, but it's equally hard to see a home secretary of any persuasion stopping an extradition to Sweden.

dim
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby dim » 31 May 2019, 3:12pm


thirdcrank
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby thirdcrank » 3 Jun 2019, 5:04pm

A further update on the Swedish investigation and extradition request

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48503730

Tangled Metal
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby Tangled Metal » 4 Jun 2019, 12:18am

I like the russberger comment piece when it says that we'd know the answer whether it's espionage or journalism. I'm not sure most people on here are qualified or seen the evidence to know that. It's opinion only.

Without a case tried in a court I don't think you can know that answer. Here's a novel idea, why not allow the case to reach a court. If he's a law abiding journalist or a spy surely a court would discover that?

Basically I find it amusing how there's whole tranches of online presence and journalists so confident in their opinion he's journalist who's being picked on for breaking a story. As good as it sounds that they've made public the video of apache pilots doing this illegal act there's a whole lot more that's not in the public interest I reckon. There's so much released afterall, a lot is the private embassy communications which is really not good to leak.

It looks like Sweden had been knocked out of contention for his extradition. That leaves America with even more crimes that he's on the hook for. I guess it looks like he's going to America for trial. At least we'll get truth on Russberger's conviction that he's a journo or spy.

PS Russberger is heavily tied in to Snowden and all the wiki leaks revelations. A lot of his big successes seem to be related to this. Stands to reason he'll continue to argue for Assange's corner.

thirdcrank
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Re: Julian Assange? Who's that?

Postby thirdcrank » 4 Jun 2019, 7:40am

Here's the link to the Rubbisher piece.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... m-of-press

I'd agree that as a general principle, openness is preferable to secrecy; investigative journalism can be a powerful force to that end. There must be some circumstances where secrecy is justified and if so, then the question concerns where the line is drawn. A state whose secrets are exposed may not be a neutral arbiter, but that's hardly a .... secret.

Whatever the legal outcome, I'd question whether the personal publicity which JA has courted has helped or hindered the effectiveness of wikileaks. The nature of the allegations in Sweden doesn't help, but they may be false. One effect of the personal publicity may be that it has upped the ante: in effect openly thumbing your nose and giving it nah nah ni nah nah you can't catch me seems guaranteed to ensure they will try to disabuse you of that belief.

Perhaps there's been a wish for a measure of martyrdom to gain publicity for the wider cause. I'm pretty sure there's been misjudgement eg an assumption that the UK authorities would violate the diplomatic status of the Ecuadorean embassy to arrest him. The reports of a decline in his health suggest to me that he may not be coping well with the uncertainty of his future: he's lost whatever element of control of the situation he had before his recent arrest and conviction.

Yvonne Fletcher and Terry Waite separately come to mind in connection with respecting the integrity of an embassy and coping with detention.