Julian Assange Files Perfected Grounds of Appeal

On the 26th August 2022, Julian Assange’s legal team file his Perfected Grounds of Appeal Today, 26 August 2022, Julian Assange is filing his Perfected Grounds of Appeal before the High Court of Justice Administrative Court. The Respondents are the Government of the United States and the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Priti … Continue reading “Julian Assange Files Perfected Grounds of Appeal”

On the 26th August 2022, Julian Assange’s legal team file his Perfected Grounds of Appeal

Today, 26 August 2022, Julian Assange is filing his Perfected Grounds of Appeal before the High Court of Justice Administrative Court. The Respondents are the Government of the United States and the
Secretary of State for the Home Department, Priti Patel.

The Perfected Grounds of Appeal contain the arguments on which Julian Assange intends to challenge District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s decision of 4 January 2021, and introduces significant new evidence that has developed since that ruling.

The Perfected Grounds of Appeal concerning the United States Government include the following

  • Julian Assange is being prosecuted and punished for his political opinions (s.81(a) of the Extradition Act);
  • Julian Assange is being prosecuted for protected speech (Article 10)
  • The request itself violates the US-UK Extradition Treaty and International law because it is for political offences;
  • The US Government has misrepresented the core facts of the case to the British courts; and
  • The extradition request and its surrounding circumstances constitute an abuse of process.

The Perfected Grounds of Appeal concerning the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) include arguments that Home Secretary Priti Patel erred in her decision to approve the extradition order on grounds of specialty and because the request itself violates Article 4 of the US-UK Extradition Treaty.


4 January 2021: Westminster Magistrates Court discharges (throws out) the US extradition request against Julian Assange. District judge Vanessa Baraitser rules that extradition is barred under the 2003
Extradition Act because it is “opressive” (s.91). The United States Government appeals.
27-28 October 2021: US appeal hearing before the High Court Appeal. Julian Assange suffers a
transient ischemic attack (TIA) on the first day.
10 December 2021: The decision to discharge the extradition request is overturned by the High Court due to the United States Government issuing so-called ‘diplomatic assurances’ to the UK Government.
The High Court rejects the United States Government’s arguments that the district judge erred in her findings.
14 March 2022: The Supreme Court refuses Julian Assange permission to appeal the High Court’s decision. The case is sent back to the Magistrates’ Court with instruction to issue the extradition order.
20 April 2022: The Magistrate issues the extradition order, which is sent to Home Secretary Priti Patel for approval.
17 June 2022: Home Secretary Priti Patel approves the extradition order to extradite Julian Assange to the United States.

Coverage in many media outlets:
ABC News

The US will break its assurances on Assange. Here’s why

On the 12th December Richard Medhurst offered his opinion in RT News after attending the Assange Extradition Appeal I’ve been covering Julian Assange’s extradition hearing since 2020. I’ve attended every hearing and ruling. What happened on Friday in the British High Court was a travesty of justice. To recap where we are in the Assange … Continue reading “The US will break its assurances on Assange. Here’s why”

On the 12th December Richard Medhurst offered his opinion in RT News after attending the Assange Extradition Appeal

I’ve been covering Julian Assange’s extradition hearing since 2020. I’ve attended every hearing and ruling. What happened on Friday in the British High Court was a travesty of justice.

To recap where we are in the Assange case: 

  • January 2021: District Judge Vanessa Baraitser blocked Julian Assange’s extradition from the United Kingdom to the United States on health grounds.
  • October 2021: the United States appealed this decision on five grounds.
  • December 10, 2021: the High Court ruled in favor of the US, overturning January’s decision, and saying the extradition could go ahead.

I watched Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde read out the ruling on Friday, when I attended the High Court remotely. It was done so casually and quickly – the whole thing lasted barely 10 minutes.

The High Court denied three grounds of the US appeal. It accepted Baraitser’s findings that Assange’s precarious mental state would cause him to take his own life if extradited, making the extradition oppressive. It accepted the medical evidence, despite the US’ attempts to attack the credibility of Prof. Michael Kopelman, the lead medical expert. But it allowed it to go ahead on two grounds: it said it accepted the diplomatic assurances provided by the US, and that the district judge should have notified the US of her provisional view, so as to afford it the opportunity to give these assurances beforehand.

The High Court’s entire decision was based on the assumption that you can trust America’s assurances. You can’t.

When the lead US prosecutor, James Lewis, told the High Court justices that “the United States have never broken a diplomatic assurance, ever”, I guess they decided to believe him. Assange’s lawyers pointed to the case of David Mendoza Herrarte, extradited from Spain to the US in 2009 for drug trafficking. He, too, was given diplomatic assurances by the US, which Lewis said, “are not dished out like Smarties”.

In its ruling on Friday, the High Court judges said they had looked at Mendoza’s case and found the US had not violated its assurances, and that Mendoza’s case did not offer any support to Assange’s claim that US assurances cannot be trusted.

We take a similar view of two other cases relied on by Mr Assange, namely those of David Mendoza and Abu Hamza [extradited in 2015 from the UK to the US on terrorism charges and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole]. Both can be said to show that the USA may be expected to apply the strict letter of an assurance which it has given, but neither provides any evidence of a failure to comply with an assurance and neither provides any support for Mr Assange’s submission that this court should not regard the offered assurances as reliable.

It’s astonishing that the High Court justices could reach such a conclusion. I recently published classified documentspertaining to Mendoza’s case. They reveal how the US offered diplomatic assurances for his extradition, only to violate them later. Did the judges see these documents at all? This ruling gives the impression they didn’t.

In Mendoza’s case, Spain placed three conditions on his extradition:

1) He had to serve his sentence in Spain.

2) There should be no life sentence (or similar term of confinement).

3) There should be no “currency-structuring” charge. 

Verbal note sent from the US Embassy in Madrid to the Spanish government, containing diplomatic assurances regarding David Mendoza Herrarte, January 2009. © Richard Medhurst

Here’s the diplomatic note sent by the US Embassy in Madrid. It doesn’t actually say the US will allow Mendoza to serve a sentence in Spain – it says the US does not object to Mendoza “making an application to serve his sentence in Spain”, which is completely different. Every prisoner can apply for a treaty transfer anyway – it’s not up to the US.

As for the life sentence, it says the US “will not seek a sentence of life imprisonment”, but that it “will do everything within its power, that Mendoza receives a determinate sentence of incarceration”. That could mean five months, five years, five centuries or any number of years – a practice not unusual in US courts.

It also lists all the charges brought against Mendoza – including the currency-structuring charge, despite this being explicitly ruled out by the Spanish court.

All this is very reminiscent of the assurances for Assange. The wording is equally ambiguous; even if you take these assurances at face value you simply can’t trust them. They allow the United States to subject the WikiLeaks co-founder to so-called special administrative measures (SAMs) or imprison him at ADX Florence supermax prison, a maximum-security facility in Colorado, if “after entry of this assurance, he was to commit any future act that met the test for the imposition of a SAM”. 

spoke to Mendoza, who was imprisoned at Englewood, near ADX Florence, where Assange is likely to be sent. He said that any innocent, random conversation Assange has with his partner or lawyers could be interpreted by the US authorities as some sort of “code”, and used as a pretext to lock him up immediately under SAMs in some other hellhole – that’s if they don’t do it the moment he sets foot in the US.

Alternatively, they could also place Assange in a communications management unit (CMU) or special housing unit (SHU) and then say, “See? We didn’t break any assurances, because we didn’t place Assange under SAMs.” The thing is, the reason Baraitser blocked the extradition is because the isolation and psychological torment is what could drive Assange to suicide. Whether it’s SAMs or a CMU or an SHU isn’t the issue here.

The High Court has also accepted an assurance from Washington that Assange could serve any potential sentence in his home country, Australia. As I heard Lewis put it in court, Assange could “look forward” to being jailed Down Under.

Prison transfers don’t work that way. The United States can’t just say Assange can serve his sentence in Australia, in Tanzania or on the Moon and then make it so. The administering state, meaning Australia, must also accept the transfer ahead of time. This is very clearly spelled out under Article 3(f) of the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

Having applied numerous times for treaty transfer to Spain, and being so familiar with the system, Mendoza told me that, as the United States and Australia are part of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, the US could easily talk to Australia through back channels and simply tell it not to take Assange. Having covered the court proceedings for so long, I can confirm that Australia has said nothing about taking Assange.

In Mendoza’s case, the assurances he got from the US were so vague, the Spanish courts ordered more concrete assurances. The result of this was a contract called the “Acta de Entrega” or “Deed of Surrender”. This document was signed by Mendoza himself, Spain and the United States. Kimberly Wise, an employee at the US Embassy in Madrid, signed the document on behalf of the American government.

The Acta de Entrega, a contract between Mendoza, the US and Spain, stipulating that his extradition comply with the conditions imposed by the Spanish National Court © Richard Medhurst

This contract was very explicit: it didn’t say only that Mendoza had been surrendered to the US authorities, it said he had been surrendered to them “in accordance with what was previously stipulated by Section Two of the National Criminal Court”. That means the US agreed to all the conditions of Mendoza’s extradition i.e., serving his sentence in Spain, no life sentence, etc.

And did the US respect the contract once Mendoza was on American soil? Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, it refused to give him a copy of the contract once he got there so he wouldn’t be able to contest non-compliance in court. They told him it was classified and, instead, gave him a copy without his signature.

The US refused to give Mendoza a copy of the Acta de Entrega he signed (left), saying it was classified and that he was not privy to diplomatic communications. They instead gave him a copy without his signature (right) © Richard Medhurst

Mendoza was extradited to the US in 2009 and sentenced to 14 years. He applied three times for a treaty transfer back to Spain. Washington denied his request on every single occasion, and also told him he would have to wait two years before reapplying. I couldn’t find any mention of such a rule in the prisoner-transfer treaty.

The US Department of Justice denying Mendoza’s request for a transfer to Spain to serve his sentence, despite this being a condition of his extradition, July 2010 © Richard Medhurst

Mendoza was allowed to return to Spain in 2015 only after he sued Spain in the Spanish Supreme Court – twice – and won both times. The Supreme Court practically threatened to suspend the Spain-US extradition treaty if the Spanish government didn’t get him back. Mendoza told me this was really when Washington began to feel some pressure, because the Americans wanted to keep extraditing people to the US – having the treaty suspended would have been a legal nightmare and required getting it through the Spanish congress again and having all their dirty practices exposed.

Mendoza also sued the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for breach of contract. He was only able to do so because a Spanish judge, sympathetic to his case, sent him a copy of the original Acta de Entrega with his signature on it.

David Mendoza Herrarte’s civil suit against the United States Department of Justice and then-Attorney General Eric Holder for breaching the conditions of his extradition from Spain to the United States, March 2014 © Richard Medhurst

I spoke to Mendoza’s lawyer, Alexey Tarasov. He recalls how American prosecutors called him up one day and said that if his team dropped the civil suit against the DoJ, Mendoza could go back to Spain. Mendoza said having agreed to drop the suit had been the “biggest regret” of his life. He spent six years and nine months trapped in the United States. He was able to return only after suing both Spain and the US for failing to enforce the conditions of his extradition.

If Julian Assange is extradited, and Washington breaks its diplomatic assurances, what options will Assange be left with? He can’t sue the US in the civil courts. They’ll tell him: you’re not a signatory of the US-UK Extradition Treaty, so you have no claim, which is what they told Mendoza.

Assange’s other option would be to go to the UK courts. Does anyone seriously believe the British government could be compelled into pressuring the US to hold up its end of the deal and raise hell on Assange’s behalf? You can already see the results of the Special Relationship in the extradition itself.

When I spoke with Mendoza, he told me it was very important that any assurances include Assange as a party to the agreement despite his status as a non-signatory of the extradition treaty, so that, in the event of non-compliance, he can contest this in court. Moreover, he said, any transfer to Australia had to be agreed to by Australia in advance, otherwise it would be meaningless. 

Mendoza was fortunate to have the Spanish public, Spanish judges and the Spanish Supreme Court applying pressure on his behalf. Otherwise, he would still be in an American prison. The United States never held up its end of the deal, and the Spanish government did virtually nothing to get him back. Mendoza told me: “I’m a nobody. If they did that to me, what are they going to do to Julian Assange?

Mendoza’s case is now more important than ever, because it shines a light on how the United States makes false promises and cannot be held to account after the fact. When the High Court says in point 54 of Friday’s ruling that it “can be said to show that the USA may be expected to apply the strict letter of an assurance which it has given”, sure, in one sense, that’s correct. The diplomatic note sent by the US Embassy in Madrid is so purposely vague, the US could get around what it appeared to have promised.

However, in Mendoza’s case, there was an additional document: the Acta de Entrega. Diplomatic assurances can come in different forms and the Acta de Entrega is one of them – hence why the US Embassy in Madrid signed it. Did the judges even see this document? Or did they see only the vague, ambiguous verbal note sent in January 2009? That was nowhere near enough to make an accurate assessment of Mendoza’s case.

I can confirm, at the very least, that the vast majority of the documents I published have not been referenced in court in Assange’s case as of yet. Whether the judges had these documents in front of them, I don’t know. But if they did, and they still arrived at the conclusion that the US’ current assurances for Assange can be trusted, then they are terribly mistaken.

Anyone with a shred of common sense can see these assurances are worthless. Ironically, in that regard, Assange’s case isn’t all that unique. Mendoza told me about the countless Spaniards, Colombians, Mexicans and others he’s seen extradited to the US. It’s standard practice for the US to give these ambiguous assurances to game foreign judges and jurisdictions. It will play whatever games it can to get people into its jurisdiction, whether through the courts or by kidnapping and rendition, because once you’re in its grasp, there’s nothing you can do.

Read original article in RT News

FBI Fabrication Against Assange Falls Apart

On the 29th June 2021, Craig Murray reports On the final day of the Assange extradition hearing, magistrate Vanessa Baraitser refused to accept an affidavit from Assange’s solicitor Gareth Peirce, on the grounds it was out of time. The affidavit explained that the defence had been unable to respond to the new accusations in the … Continue reading “FBI Fabrication Against Assange Falls Apart”

On the 29th June 2021, Craig Murray reports

On the final day of the Assange extradition hearing, magistrate Vanessa Baraitser refused to accept an affidavit from Assange’s solicitor Gareth Peirce, on the grounds it was out of time. The affidavit explained that the defence had been unable to respond to the new accusations in the United States government’s second superseding indictment, because these wholly new matters had been sprung on them just six weeks before the hearing resumed on 8 September 2020. 

The defence had not only to gather evidence from Iceland, but had virtually no access to Assange to take his evidence and instructions, as he was effectively in solitary confinement in Belmarsh. The defence had requested an adjournment to give them time to address the new accusations, but this adjournment had been refused by Baraitser. 

She now refused to accept Gareth Peirce’s affidavit setting out these facts.

What had happened was this. The hearings on the Assange extradition in January 2020 did not seem to be going well for the US government. The arguments that political extradition is specifically banned by the UK/US extradition treaty, and that the publisher was not responsible for Chelsea Manning’s whistleblowing on war crimes, appeared to be strong. The US Justice Department had decided that it therefore needed a new tack and to discover some “crimes” by Assange that seemed less noble than the Manning revelations.

To achieve this, the FBI turned to an informant in Iceland, Sigi Thordarson, who was willing to testify that Assange had been involved with him in, inter alia, hacking private banking information and tracking Icelandic police vehicles. This was of course much easier to portray as crime, as opposed to journalism, so the second superseding indictment was produced based on Thordarson’s story, which was elaborated with Thordarson by an FBI team.

The difficulty was that Thordarson was hardly a reliable witness. He had already been convicted in Iceland for stealing approximately $50,000 from Wikileaks and with impersonating Julian Assange online, not to mention the inconvenient fact he is a registered sex offender for online activities with under-age boys. The FBI team was in fact expelled from Iceland by the Icelandic government, who viewed what the FBI was doing with Thordarson as wholly illegitimate.

Notwithstanding all of that, in June 2020 we had the extraordinary position of the US government, 18 months since the start of extradition proceedings and six months after opening arguments had been heard by the court, being permitted completely to change the charges and alleged crimes which were the grounds for extradition, in the second superseding indictment. 

On 8 September 2020 I was in court to report Mark Summers QC addressing the question of these new superseding charges:

The court resumed with a new defence application, led by Mark Summers QC, about the new charges from the US governments new superseding indictment. Summers took the court back over the history of this extradition hearing. The first indictment had been drawn up in March of 2018. In January 2019 a provisional request for extradition had been made, which had been implemented in April of 2019 on Assange’s removal from the Embassy. In June 2019 this was replaced by the full request with a new, second indictment which had been the basis of these proceedings before today. A whole series of hearings had taken place on the basis of that second indictment.

The new superseding indictment dated from 20 June 2020. In February and May 2020 the US government had allowed hearings to go ahead on the basis of the second indictment, giving no warning, even though they must by that stage have known the new superseding indictment was coming. They had given neither explanation nor apology for this.

The defence had not been properly informed of the superseding indictment, and indeed had learnt of its existence only through a US government press release on 20 June. It had not finally been officially served in these proceedings until 29 July, just six weeks ago. At first, it had not been clear how the superseding indictment would affect the charges, as the US government was briefing it made no difference but just gave additional detail. But on 21 August 2020, not before, it finally became clear in new US government submissions that the charges themselves had been changed.

There were now new charges that were standalone and did not depend on the earlier allegations. Even if the 18 Manning related charges were rejected, these new allegations could still form grounds for extradition. These new allegations included encouraging the stealing of data from a bank and from the government of Iceland, passing information on tracking police vehicles, and hacking the computers both of individuals and of a security company.

“How much of this newly alleged material is criminal is anybody’s guess”, stated Summers, going on to explain that it was not at all clear that an Australian giving advice from outwith Iceland to someone in Iceland on how to crack a code, was actually criminal if it occurred in the UK. This was even without considering the test of dual criminality in the US also, which had to be passed before the conduct was subject to extradition.

It was unthinkable that allegations of this magnitude would be the subject of a Part 2 extradition hearing within six weeks if they were submitted as a new case. Plainly that did not give the defence time to prepare, or to line up witnesses to these new charges. Among the issues relating to these new charges the defence would wish to address, were that some were not criminal, some were out of time limitation, some had already been charged in other fora (including Southwark Crown Court and courts in the USA).

There were also important questions to be asked about the origins of some of these charges and the dubious nature of the witnesses. In particular the witness identified as “teenager” was the same person identified as “Iceland 1” in the previous indictment. That indictment had contained a “health warning” over this witness given by the US Department of Justice. This new indictment removed that warning. But the fact was, this witness is Sigurdur Thordarson, who had been convicted in Iceland in relation to these events of fraud, theft, stealing Wikileaks money and material and impersonating Julian Assange.

The indictment did not state that the FBI had been “kicked out of Iceland for trying to use Thordarson to frame Assange”, stated Summers baldly.

Summers said all these matters should be ventilated in these hearings if the new charges were to be heard, but the defence simply did not have time to prepare its answers or its witnesses in the brief six weeks it had since receiving them, even setting aside the extreme problems of contact with Assange in the conditions in which he was being held in Belmarsh prison.

The defence would plainly need time to prepare answers to these new charges, but it would plainly be unfair to keep Assange in jail for the months that would take. The defence therefore suggested that these new charges should be excised from the conduct to be considered by the court, and they should go ahead with the evidence on criminal behaviour confined to what conduct had previously been alleged.

Summers argued it was “entirely unfair” to add what were in law new and separate criminal allegations, at short notice and “entirely without warning and not giving the defence time to respond to it. What is happening here is abnormal, unfair and liable to create real injustice if allowed to continue.”

The arguments submitted by the prosecution now rested on these brand new allegations. For example, the prosecution now countered the arguments on the rights of whistleblowers and the necessity of revealing war crimes by stating that there can have been no such necessity to hack into a bank in Iceland.

Summers concluded that the “case should be confined to that conduct which the American government had seen fit to allege in the eighteen months of the case” before their second new indictment.

Baraitser refused to rule out the new charges, and then did rule out the immediate defence request for an adjournment to give them time to respond to the new charges. At the end of the hearings she refused to accept the Peirce affidavit explaining why the defence was unable to respond. The court had by then spent nearly a month listening to witnesses refuting the first superseding indictment, as prepared by the defence, but nothing addressing the second superseding indictment. 

Summers was absolutely furious when Baraitser refused to accept Peirce’s affidavit on the subject, to the extent he was still explosive in the street outside after the hearings had concluded. 

While Baraitser’s eventual decision barred extradition on the grounds of Assange’s health and US inhumane prison conditions, the second superseding indictment and Thordarson’s accusations were accepted as a valid basis for extradition.

Thordarson has now told Icelandic magazine Stundin that his allegations against Assange contained in the indictment are untrue, and that Assange had not solicited the hacking of bank or police details. This is hardly a shock, though Thordarson’s motives for coming clean now are obscure; he is plainly a deeply troubled and often malicious individual.
Thordarson was always the most unreliable of witnesses, and I find it impossible to believe that the FBI cooperation with him was ever any more than deliberate fabrication of evidence by the FBI. 

Edward Snowden has tweeted that Thordarson recanting will end the case against Julian Assange. Most certainly it should end it, but I fear it will not. 

Many things should have ended the case against Assange. The First Amendment, the ban on political extradition in the US/UK Extradition Treaty, the CIA spying on the preparations of Assange’s defence counsel, all of these should have stopped the case dead in its tracks. 

It is now five months since extradition was refused, no US government appeal against that decision has yet been accepted by the High Court, and yet Julian remains confined to the UK’s highest security prison. The revelation that Thordarson’s allegations are fabricated – which everyone knew already, Baraitser just pretended she didn’t – is just one more illegality that the Establishment will shimmy over in its continued persecution of Assange.

Assange democratised information and gave real power to the people for a while, worldwide. He revealed US war crimes. For that his life is destroyed. Neither law nor truth have anything to do with it.

Read original article in Craig’s blog and contribute to Craig’s humanitarian and reporting efforts
Craig references the source post in
Studin “Key witness in Assange case admits to lies in indictment
by Bjartmar Oddur Þeyr Alexandersson and Gunnar Hrafn Jónsson
And this has been analysed by many commentators with highlights in
Consortium News “Key Witness in US Case Against Assange Changes His Story” by Joe Lauria,
The Canary “FBI collusion with discredited witness may undermine entire Assange extradition case” by Tom Coburg,
Democracy Now “Attorney: U.S. Case Against Julian Assange Falls Apart, as Key Witness Says He Lied to Get Immunity” interviewing Jennifer Robinson,
Sydney Criminal Lawyers “Key US Witness Admits to Falsifying Evidence Against Assange in Return for Immunity” by Paul Gregoire
World Socialist Web Site “Corporate media blacks out admission that witness against Assange lied for US indictment” by Oscar Grenfell
Los Angeles Progressive “After Key Witness Recants, Assange Supporters Demand Release” by Julia Conley
Jacobin “The Julian Assange Media Blackout Must End” by Branco Marcetic and
samples from a veritable Twitter storm

Key Witness in Assange Case Admits to Lies in Indictment

On the 26th June 2021, Bjartmar Oddur Þeyr Alexandersson (bjartmar@stundin.is) and Gunnar Hrafn Jónsson (ritstjorn@stundin.is) write in the Icelandic newspaper Stundin A major witness in the United States’ Department of Justice case against Julian Assange has admitted to fabricating key accusations in the indictment against the Wikileaks founder. The witness, who has a documented history … Continue reading “Key Witness in Assange Case Admits to Lies in Indictment”

On the 26th June 2021, Bjartmar Oddur Þeyr Alexandersson (bjartmar@stundin.is) and Gunnar Hrafn Jónsson (ritstjorn@stundin.is) write in the Icelandic newspaper Stundin

A major witness in the United States’ Department of Justice case against Julian Assange has admitted to fabricating key accusations in the indictment against the Wikileaks founder. The witness, who has a documented history with sociopathy and has received several convictions for sexual abuse of minors and wide-ranging financial fraud, made the admission in a newly published interview in Stundin where he also confessed to having continued his crime spree whilst working with the Department of Justice and FBI and receiving a promise of immunity from prosecution.

The man in question, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, was recruited by US authorities to build a case against Assange after misleading them to believe he was previously a close associate of his. In fact he had volunteered on a limited basis to raise money for Wikileaks in 2010 but was found to have used that opportunity to embezzle more than $50,000 from the organization. Julian Assange was visiting Thordarson’s home country of Iceland around this time due to his work with Icelandic media and members of parliament in preparing the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a press freedom project that produced a parliamentary resolution supporting whistleblowers and investigative journalism. 

The United States is currently seeking Assange’s extradition from the United Kingdom in order to try him for espionage relating to the release of leaked classified documents. If convicted, he could face up to 175 years in prison. The indictment has sparked fears for press freedoms in the United States and beyond and prompted strong statements in support of Assange from Amnesty International, Reporters without borders, the editorial staff of the Washington Post and many others. 

US officials presented an updated version of an indictment against him to a Magistrate court in London last summer. The veracity of the information contained therein is now directly contradicted by the main witness, whose testimony it is based on.

No instruction from Assange

The court documents refer to Mr Thordarson simply as “Teenager” (a reference to his youthful appearance rather than true age, he is 28 years old) and Iceland as “NATO Country 1” but make no real effort to hide the identity of either. They purport to show that Assange instructed Thordarson to commit computer intrusions or hacking in Iceland. 

The aim of this addition to the indictment was apparently to shore up and support the conspiracy charge against Assange in relation to his interactions with Chelsea Manning. Those occurred around the same time he resided in Iceland and the authors of the indictment felt they could strengthen their case by alleging he was involved in illegal activity there as well. This activity was said to include attempts to hack into the computers of members of parliament and record their conversations.

In fact, Thordarson now admits to Stundin that Assange never asked him to hack or access phone recordings of MPs. His new claim is that he had in fact received some files from a third party who claimed to have recorded MPs and had offered to share them with Assange without having any idea what they actually contained. He claims he never checked the contents of the files or even if they contained audio recordings as his third party source suggested. He further admits the claim, that Assange had instructed or asked him to access computers in order to find any such recordings, is false.

Nonetheless, the tactics employed by US officials appear to have been successful as can be gleaned from the ruling of Magistrate Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser on January 4th of this year. Although she ruled against extradition, she did so purely on humanitarian grounds relating to Assange’s health concerns, suicide risk and the conditions he would face in confinement in US prisons. With regards to the actual accusations made in the indictment Baraitser sided with the arguments of the American legal team, including citing the specific samples from Iceland which are now seriously called into question.

Other misleading elements can be found in the indictment, and later reflected in the Magistrate’s judgement, based on Thordarson’s now admitted lies. One is a reference to Icelandic bank documents. The Magistrate court judgement reads: “It is alleged that Mr. Assange and Teenager failed a joint attempt to decrypt a file stolen from a “NATO country 1” bank”.

Thordarson admits to Stundin that this actually refers to a well publicised event in which an encrypted file was leaked from an Icelandic bank and assumed to contain information about defaulted loans provided by the Icelandic Landsbanki. The bank went under in the fall of 2008, along with almost all other financial institutions in Iceland, and plunged the country into a severe economic crisis. The file was at this time, in summer of 2010, shared by many online who attempted to decrypt it for the public interest purpose of revealing what precipitated the financial crisis. Nothing supports the claim that this file was even “stolen” per se, as it was assumed to have been distributed by whistleblowers from inside the failed bank.

More deceptive language emerges in the aforementioned judgment where it states: “…he [Assange] used the unauthorized access given to him by a source, to access a government website of NATO country-1 used to track police vehicles.”

This depiction leaves out an important element, one that Thordarson clarifies in his interview with Stundin. The login information was in fact his own and not obtained through any nefarious means. In fact, he now admits he had been given this access as a matter of routine due to his work as a first responder while volunteering for a search and rescue team. He also says Assange never asked for any such access.

Revealing chat logs

Thordarson spoke with a journalist from Stundin for several hours as he prepared a thorough investigative report into his activities that include never before published chat logs and new documents.

The chat logs were gathered by Thordarson himself and give a comprehensive picture of his communications whilst he was volunteering for Wikileaks in 2010 and 11. It entails his talks with WikiLeaks staff as well as unauthorized communications with members of international hacking groups that he got into contact with via his role as a moderator on an open IRC WikiLeaks forum, which is a form of live online chat. There is no indication WikiLeaks staff had any knowledge of Thordarson’s contacts with aforementioned hacking groups, indeed the logs show his clear deception. 

The communications there show a pattern where Thordarson is constantly inflating his position within WikiLeaks, describing himself as chief of staff, head of communications, No 2 in the organization or responsible for recruits. In these communications Thordarson frequently asks the hackers to either access material from Icelandic entities or attack Icelandic websites with so-called DDoS attacks. These are designed to disable sites and make them inaccessible but not cause permanent damage to content.

Stundin cannot find any evidence that Thordarson was ever instructed to make those requests by anyone inside WikiLeaks. Thordarson himself is not even claiming that, although he explains this as something Assange was aware of or that he had interpreted it so that this was expected of him. How this supposed non-verbal communication took place he cannot explain.

Furthermore, he never explained why WikiLeaks would be interested in attacking any interests in Iceland, especially at such a sensitive time while they were in the midst of publishing a huge trove of US diplomatic cables as part of an international media partnership. Assange is not known to have had any grievances with Icelandic authorities and was in fact working with members of parliament in updating Iceland’s freedom of press laws for the 21st century. 

On the FBI radar

Thordarson’s rogue acts were not limited to communications of that nature as he also admits to Stundin that he set up avenues of communication with journalists and had media pay for lavish trips abroad where he mispresented himself as an official representative of WikiLeaks.

He also admits that he stole documents from WikiLeaks staff by copying their hard drives. Among those were documents from Renata Avila, a lawyer who worked for the organization and Mr. Assange.

Thordarson continued to step up his illicit activities in the summer of 2011 when he established communication with “Sabu”, the online moniker of Hector Xavier Monsegur, a hacker and a member of the rather infamous LulzSec hacker group. In that effort all indications are that Thordarson was acting alone without any authorization, let alone urging, from anyone inside WikiLeaks.

What Thordarson did not know at the time was that the FBI had arrested Sabu in the beginning of June  2011 and threatened him into becoming an informant and a collaborator for the FBI. Thus, when Thordarson continued his previous pattern of requesting attacks on Icelandic interests, the FBI knew and saw an opportunity to implicate Julian Assange.

Later that month a DDoS attack was performed against the websites of several government institutions.

That deed was done under the watchful eyes of the FBI who must have authorized the attack or even initiated it, as Sabu was at that point their man. What followed was an episode where it seems obvious that Icelandic authorities were fooled into cooperation under false pretenses.

Ögmundur Jónasson was minister of interior at time and as such the political head of police and prosecution and says of the US activities: “They were trying to use things here [in Iceland] and use people in our country to spin a web, a cobweb that would catch Julian Assange”. 

Jónasson recalls that when the FBI first contacted Icelandic authorities on June 20th 2011 it was to warn Iceland of an imminent and grave threat of intrusion against government computers. A few days later FBI agents flew to Iceland and offered formally to assist in thwarting this grave danger. The offer was accepted and on July 4th a formal rogatory letter was sent to Iceland to seal the mutual assistance.. Jónasson speculates that already then the US was laying the groundwork for its ultimate purpose, not to assist Iceland but entrap Julian Assange:

“What I have been pondering ever since is if the spinning of the web had already started then with the acceptance of the letter rogatory establishing cooperation that they could use as a pretext for later visits,” says Jónasson.

Icelandic policemen were sent to the US to gather further evidence of this so-called imminent danger and Jónasson says he does not recall anything of substance coming out of that visit and no further attacks were made against Icelandic interests.

But the FBI would return.

Icelandic officials deceived by the US

Towards the end of August, Thordarson was being pursued by WikiLeaks staff who wished to locate the proceeds of online sales of WikiLeaks merchandise. It emerged Thordarson had instructed the funds be sent to his private bank account by forging an email in the name of Julian Assange.

Thordarson saw a way out and on August 23d he sent an email to the US Embassy in Iceland offering information in relation to a criminal investigation. He was replied to with a call and confirmed that he was offering to be an informant in the case against Julian Assange.

The prosecutors and FBI were quick in responding and within 48 hrs a private jet landed in Reykjavik with around eight agents who quickly set up meetings with Thordarson and with people from the Icelandic State Prosecutors office and the State Police Commissioner.

Mid day, Mr. Jónasson, then Minister of Interior got wind of this new visit and requested confirmation that this related to the same case as earlier in the summer. “I asked on what rogatory letter this visit was based and if this was exactly the same case”, Jónasson says in an interview with Stundin. “I then found out that this was of a totally different nature than previously discussed”. He says he put two and two together and said it was obvious that the intention was to lay a trap in Iceland for Assange and other staff members of WikiLeaks. 

Such actions were according to Jónasson way outside the scope of the agreement and thus he ordered that all cooperation with the agents be stopped and that they would be informed they were acting in Iceland without any authority. Only days later he learned that the agents and prosecutors had not yet left the country so the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted the US embassy with the demand they halt police work in Iceland and leave the country.

They did, but left with the new informant and “star witness”, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson who flew with them to Denmark.

Not a hacker but a sociopath

Thordarson has been nicknamed Siggi the hacker in Iceland. That is actually an antonym as several sources Stundin has talked to claim that Thordarson’s computer ability is menial. This is supported by several chat logs and documents where he is requesting assistance from others doing rather uncomplicated computer jobs. Once he even sought FBI expert help in uploading a video from his own phone.

The meeting in Denmark was the first of a few where the FBI enthusiastically embraced the idea of co-operation with Thordarson. He says they wanted to know everything about WikiLeaks, including physical security of staff. They took material he had gathered, including data he had stolen from WikiLeaks employees and even planned to send him to England with a wire. Thordarson claimed in interviews he had refused that particular request. It was probably because he was not welcomed anymore as he knew WikiLeaks people had found out, or were about to firmly establish, that he had embezzled funds from the organization.

After months of collaboration the FBI seem to have lost interest. At about the same time charges were piling up against Thordarson with the Icelandic authorities for massive fraud, forgeries and theft on the one hand and for sexual violations against underage boys he had tricked or forced into sexual acts on the other.

After long investigations Thordarson was sentenced in 2013 and 2014 and received relatively lenient sentences as the judge took into account that he changed his plea at court and pleaded guilty to all counts.

According to a psychiatric assessment presented to the court Thordarson was diagnosed as a sociopath, incapable of remorse but still criminally culpable for his actions. He was assessed to be able to understand the basic difference between right and wrong, He just did not seem to care.

Incarceration did not seem to have an intended effect of stopping Thordarson from continuing his life of crime. It actually took off and expanded in extent and scope in 2019 when the Trump-era DoJ decided to revisit him, giving him a formal status as witness in the prosecution against Julian Assange and granting him immunity in return from any prosecution.

The New York Times Problem

In the month following Assange’s arrest in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on April 11th 2019 a new rogatory letter arrived in the Ministry of Justice in Iceland. This time the request was to take a formal statement from Thordarson in Iceland in the presence of his lawyer. The Ministry had a new political head at the time, who had limited knowledge of the prior history of the case. 

Although the Department of Justice had spent extreme resources attempting to build a case against Julian Assange during the Obama presidency, they had decided against indicting Assange. The main concern was what was called “The New York Times Problem”, namely that there was such a difficulty in distinguishing between WikiLeaks publications and NYT publications of the same material that going after one party would pose grave First Amendment concerns.

President Donald Trump’s appointed Attorney general William Barr did not share these concerns, and neither did his Trump-appointed deputy Kellen S. Dwyer. Barr, who faced severe criticism for politicizing the DoJ on behalf of the president, got the ball rolling on the Assange case once again. Their argument was that if they could prove he was a criminal rather than a journalist the charges would stick, and that was where Thordarson’s testimony would be key.

In May 2019 Thordarson was offered an immunity deal, signed by Dwyer, that granted him immunity from prosecution based on any information on wrong doing they had on him. The deal, seen in writing by Stundin, also guarantees that the DoJ would not share any such information to other prosecutorial or law enforcement agencies. That would include Icelandic ones, meaning that the Americans will not share information on crimes he might have committed threatening Icelandic security interests – and the Americans apparently had plenty of those but had over the years failed to share them with their Icelandic counterparts.

In any event, Assange has never been suspected of any wrongdoing in Iceland. Stundin has seen confirmation of this from the District Prosecutor in Iceland, the Reykjavik Metropolitan Police. Assange has no entry in the LÖKE database of any police activity linked to an individual collected by the Icelandic State Police Commissioner from 2009-2021.

Assange’s lawyer also inquired in the Icelandic Foreign Ministry if the points in his updated indictment where Iceland is referred to as NATO country 1 meant that his case had any relevance to Icelandic membership to NATO, the bilateral defense agreement between USA and Iceland or any national security interests. All such connections were dismissed in a reply from the defense attache at the Ministry.

Immunity and a new crimespree

According to information obtained by Stundin the immunity deal between DoJ and Thordarson was presented at the Headquarters of the Reykjavik police where the only role of the Icelandic policeman was to confirm the identity of Thordarson before leaving him alone with his lawyer in the back room where he met the US delegation.

It is as if the offer of immunity, later secured and sealed in a meeting in DC, had encouraged Thordarson to take bolder steps in crime. He started to fleece individuals and companies on a grander scale than ever; usually by either acquiring or forming legal entities he then used to borrow merchandise, rent luxury cars, even order large quantities of goods from wholesalers without any intention to pay for these goods and services. 

Thordarson also forged the name of his own lawyer on notices to the Company House registry, falsely claiming to have raised the equity of two companies to over 800 thousand US dollars. The aim was to use these entities with solid financial positions on paper in a real estate venture.

The lawyer has reported the forgery to the police where other similar cases, along with multiple other reports of theft and trickery, are now piling up.

When confronted with evidence of all these crimes by a Stundin journalist he simply admitted to everything and explained it away as normal business practice. He has not yet been charged and is still practicing this “business”. Local newspaper DV reported last week that Thordarson had attempted to order merchandise on credit using a new company name, Icelandic Vermin Control. Despite using a fake name and a COVID face mask he was identified and the transaction was stopped. He was last seen speeding away in a white Tesla, according to DV.

Read original English article in Stundin

Nils Melzer – He would be exposed to oppressive conditions of detention in the US

On the 4th January 2020, RT News posted this interview with Nils Melzer on You Tube Nils Melzer, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, speaks to RT following the UK court decision on Julian Assange. He discusses whether the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the US would have negatively affected his mental health and led … Continue reading “Nils Melzer – He would be exposed to oppressive conditions of detention in the US”

On the 4th January 2020, RT News posted this interview with Nils Melzer on You Tube

Nils Melzer, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, speaks to RT following the UK court decision on Julian Assange. He discusses whether the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the US would have negatively affected his mental health and led to his possible suicide, whether it be the end of the Assange saga should the US lose its appeal, and more.

This interview is also summarised by RT News summarised in the article The system won and spit him out: UN torture rapporteur blasts UK’s near-total embracement of US case for extraditing Assange

A UK court’s refusal to extradite Julian Assange to the US on medical grounds is a blow to journalism since the judge has sided with the US in its justification for prosecuting him, UN rapporteur Nils Melzer told RT. 

Melzer became a supporter of the WikiLeaks founder after digging into his situation in his official capacity as UN Special Rapporteur on torture. He said he is happy for Assange personally, but the Monday ruling, which denied his extradition to the US on espionage charges, was still a huge disappointment for him. 

“It is certainly a victory in the sense ‘a battle won’ but we also have to be aware that the judgement went very, very far in confirming the basic rationale that underlines the US indictment. It essentially criminalizes investigative journalism,” he told RT.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser refused the US extradition request because Assange may take his own life if handed over to the US, but rejected all other arguments of the defense in her ruling. Supporters of the 49-year-old Australian say he is a victim of US persecution and that Washington and its allies are targeting him for exposing their embarrassing and criminal acts. Their mistreatment of him is the reason why his current health condition is so poor, Melzer pointed out. 

“Julian Assange, from what I have known of him, is a very resilient person. But he has been brought to the breaking point by 10 years of joint prosecution for political reasons by Sweden, by the United Kingdom, by the US, by Ecuador. And none of this is being addressed” in the court ruling, he said.

The same governments refused to investigate, on Melzer’s request, what had been done to Assange, despite having an obligation to do so, he said. 

The ruling served as a face-saving exercise for all the governments involved, and it’s likely that nobody will be held accountable, Melzer said. And thus, the message of intimidation is upheld and maintained, even as Assange is protected for the time being from vanishing into a US supermax prison for the rest of his life.  

“I am extremely happy for Julian Assange as a person. But he should not have been brought to a point where he is suicidal,” the UN official stressed. “Now the system is spitting him out … In a sense, the system has succeeded in intimidating the world and passing the message.” 

“This is what is going to happen to you if ever you have the idea of publishing our dirty secrets.”

Melzer noted the irony in the fact that the non-extradition also means his case is likely to be reviewed and tossed out due to gross government misconduct, unlike the cases against Daniel Ellsberg and Tony Russo, the whistleblowers behind the Vietnam War-era Pentagon Papers. Like Assange, Ellsberg was subjected to invasive surveillance by the US. Judge Baraitser decided that spying on Assange’s conversation with lawyers may have been justified by concerns of US national security. 

ABC: A UK court has refused a US extradition request for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. What happens now?

On the 4th January 2020, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected the US Extradition Request finding ‘Assange’s precarious mental health would likely deteriorate further under the conditions of “near total isolation” he would face in a U.S. prison’. The on the 5th January 2020, the Australian broadcasting Corporation (ABC) released three articles Julian Assange’s extradition to … Continue reading “ABC: A UK court has refused a US extradition request for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. What happens now?”

On the 4th January 2020, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected the US Extradition Request finding ‘Assange’s precarious mental health would likely deteriorate further under the conditions of “near total isolation” he would face in a U.S. prison’. The on the 5th January 2020, the Australian broadcasting Corporation (ABC) released three articles

Some snippets read

In a ruling that was more than a decade in the making, a UK court has refused a US request that WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange be extradited to the United States to face 18 charges, including espionage.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser refused the request on the basis of Assange’s mental condition and risk of suicide.

Why did the judge refuse the extradition order?

Assange’s legal team argued during extradition hearings that the entire case was brought on by pressure from the Trump administration, and that Assange’s extradition would pose a severe threat to press freedom.

But it was only the real risk he would commit suicide if he were held in a US maximum security jail that led Judge Baraitser to reject the extradition request.

Judge Baraitser rejected Assange’s lawyers’ arguments that the case was political and an assault on journalism and freedom of speech, saying there was insufficient evidence that prosecutors had been pressured by Trump’s team and little evidence of hostility from the US President.

If the court ruled in his favour, why isn’t he free?

Assange will have to remain in London’s Belmarsh Prison until at least Wednesday, when a bail application will be made at Westminster Magistrates Court.

US prosecutors have also indicated they would appeal the decision, which could take the matter to London’s High Court and eventually the UK’s Supreme Court, meaning it could drag on for many more months.

“We will continue to seek Mr Assange’s extradition,” a US Department of Justice statement said.

Editors Note: Julian Assange is an unconnected detainee held in oppressive conditions in a maximum security prison for over 20 months. Much of the time was in illegal solitary confinement.

Will Donald Trump grant a pardon?

Julian Assange’s family have begun directly pleading with Trump to issue a pardon before he leaves the White House later this month.

Assange’s fiancée, Stella Morris, made a direct plea to the President after the court’s ruling, fearing US authorities would continue to pursue him.

Editor’s Note: There have been many calls in Twitter for President Trump to pardon Julian. Also many questions asking whether President-elect Joe Biden may drop the proceedings being a remanent excess of the Trump administration

Craig Murray: The Assange Verdict: What Happens Now

On the 5th January 2020 Craig Murray reports I fully expect that Julian will be released on bail this week, pending a possible US appeal against the blocking of his extradition. There was discussion of when and how to make the bail application on Monday, after magistrate Vanessa Baraitser announced her decision not to grant … Continue reading “Craig Murray: The Assange Verdict: What Happens Now”

On the 5th January 2020 Craig Murray reports

I fully expect that Julian will be released on bail this week, pending a possible US appeal against the blocking of his extradition.

There was discussion of when and how to make the bail application on Monday, after magistrate Vanessa Baraitser announced her decision not to grant extradition as it would be oppressive on health and welfare grounds. Lead Defence QC Edward Fitzgerald was prepared to make an immediate application for release on bail, but was strongly steered by Baraitser towards waiting a couple of days until he could have the full bail application ready in good order with all the supporting documentation. 

I had the strong impression that Baraitser was minded to grant bail and wanted the decision to be fireproof. I have spoken to two others who were in court who formed the same impression. Indeed, in the past, she has more than once indicated that she will reject a bail application before one has been made. I can think of no reason why she would steer Fitzgerald so strongly to delay the application if there were not a very strong chance she would grant it. She gave him the advice and then adjourned the court for 45 minutes so Fitzgerald and Gareth Peirce could discuss it with Julian, and on return they took her advice. If she were simply going to refuse the bail application, there was no reason for her not to get it over with quickly there and then.

Fitzgerald briefly made the point that Assange now had very little incentive to abscond, as there had never been a successful appeal against a refusal to extradite on medical grounds. Indeed it is very difficult to see how an appeal can be successful. The magistrate is the sole determinant of fact in the case. She has heard the evidence, and her view of the facts of Assange’s medical condition and the facts of conditions in American supermax prisons cannot be overturned. Nor can any new evidence be introduced. The appeal has rather to find that, given the facts, Baraitser made an error in law, and it is difficult to see the argument.

I am not sure that at this stage the High Court would accept a new guarantee from the USA that Assange would not be kept in isolation or in a Supermax prison; that would be contrary to the affidavit from Assistant Secretary of State Kromberg and thus would probably be ruled to amount to new evidence. Not to mention that Baraitser heard other evidence that such assurances had been received in the case of Abu Hamza, but had been broken. Hamza is not only kept in total isolation, but as a man with no hands he is deprived of prosthetics that would enable him to brush his teeth, and he has no means of cutting his nails nor assistance to do so, and cannot effectively wipe himself in the toilet.

Not only is it hard to see the point of law on which the USA could launch an appeal, it is far from plain that they have a motive to do so. Baraitser agreed with all the substantive points of argument put forward by the US government. She stated that there was no bar on extradition from the UK for political offences; she agreed that publication of national security material did constitute an offence in the USA under the Espionage Act and would do so in the UK under the Official Secrets Act, with no public interest defence in either jurisdiction; she agreed that encouraging a source to leak classified information is a crime; she agreed Wikileaks’ publications had put lives at risk. 

On all of these points she dismissed virtually without comment all the defence arguments and evidence. As a US Justice Department spokesman said yesterday:
“While we are extremely disappointed in the court’s ultimate decision, we are gratified that the United States prevailed on every point of law raised. In particular, the court rejected all of Mr Assange’s arguments regarding political motivation, political offence, fair trial, and freedom of speech. We will continue to seek Mr Assange’s extradition to the United States.” That is a fair categorisation of what happened.

Appealing a verdict that is such a good result for the United States does not necessarily make sense for the Justice Department. Edward Fitzgerald explained to me yesterday that, if the USA appeals the decision on the health and prison condition grounds, it becomes open to the defence to counter-appeal on all the other grounds, which would be very desirable indeed given the stark implications of Baraitser’s ruling for media freedom. I have always believed that Baraitser would rule as she did on the substantial points, but I have always also believed that those extreme security state arguments would never survive the scrutiny of better judges in a higher court. Unlike the health ruling, the dispute over Baraitser’s judgement on all the other points does come down to classic errors in law which can successfully be argued on appeal. 

If the USA does appeal the judgement, it is far more likely that not only will the health grounds be upheld, but also that Baraitser’s positions on extradition for political offences and freedom of the media will be overturned, than it is likely that the US will achieve extradition. They have fourteen days in which to lodge the appeal – now thirteen.

An appeal result is in short likely to be humiliating for the USA. It would be much wiser for the US to let sleeping dogs lie. But pride and the wound to the US sense of omnipotence and exceptionalism may drive them to an appeal which, for the reasons given above, I would actually welcome provided Julian is out on bail. Which I expect he shall be shortly.

More analysis of Baraitser’s judgement will follow.

Read original article or support Craig Murray at Craig’s blog

Craig Murray: Julian Assange – Imminent Freedom

On the 5th January 2020, Craig Murray reports It has been a long and tiring day, with the startlingly unexpected decision to block Julian’s extradition. The judgement is in fact very concerning, in that it accepted all of the prosecution’s case on the right of the US Government to prosecute publishers worldwide of US official … Continue reading “Craig Murray: Julian Assange – Imminent Freedom”

On the 5th January 2020, Craig Murray reports

It has been a long and tiring day, with the startlingly unexpected decision to block Julian’s extradition. The judgement is in fact very concerning, in that it accepted all of the prosecution’s case on the right of the US Government to prosecute publishers worldwide of US official secrets under the Espionage Act. The judge also stated specifically that the UK Extradition Act of 2003 deliberately permits extradition for political offences. These points need to be addressed. But for now we are all delighted at the ultimate decision that extradition should be blocked.

The decision was based equally on two points; the appalling conditions in US supermax prisons, and the effect of those conditions on Julian specifically given his history of depression. The media has concentrated on the mental health aspect, and given insufficient attention to the explicit condemnation of the inhumanity of the US prison system. 

I was the only person physically present in the public gallery inside the court, having been nominated by John Shiption to represent the family, aside from two court officials. I am quite sure that I again noted magistrate Baraitser have a catch in her throat when discussing the inhumane conditions in US supermax prisons, the lack of human contact, and specifically the fact that inmates are kept in total isolation in a small cage, and are permitted one hour exercise a day in total isolation in another small cage. I noted her show emotion the same way when discussing the al-Masri torture evidence during the trial, and she seemed similarly affected here.

Julian looked well and alert; he showed no emotion at the judgement, but entered into earnest discussion with his lawyers. The US government indicated they will probably appeal the verdict, and a bail hearing has been deferred until Wednesday to decide whether he will be released from Belmarsh pending the appeal – which court sources tell me is likely to be held in April in the High Court. I should be very surprised if Julian is not released on Wednesday pending the appeal. I shall now be staying here for that bail hearing.

I apologise for not giving a full analysis of the judgement yet, it has all been rather hectic, but wonderful. Here is a brief video giving more detail. I can produce a more considered piece tomorrow

Craig Murray on the Assange Verdict on Live on the Fly with Randy Credico

Read original article or support Craig Murray at Craig’s blog

Assange extradition ruling due January 4th

On the 26th December, Al Burke posted Profound implications for individuals and societies everywhere Nine days from now, on 4 January 2021, a corrupt and malicious British judge is expected to deliver her ruling on whether or not a corrupt and malicious British government may be permitted to deliver Julian Assange into the hands of … Continue reading “Assange extradition ruling due January 4th”

On the 26th December, Al Burke posted

Profound implications for individuals and societies everywhere

Nine days from now, on 4 January 2021, a corrupt and malicious British judge is expected to deliver her ruling on whether or not a corrupt and malicious British government may be permitted to deliver Julian Assange into the hands of a corrupt and malicious U.S. government. 

Anyone who regards that as a matter of little or no importance may perhaps be forgiven — given that, with relatively few exceptions, it has been systematically ignored and/or misrepresented for over a decade by leading political and journalistic actors. In so doing, they have grossly violated their essential democratic functions with, among other things, an unprecedented smear campaign and abuse of judicial power concentrated on a single human being. 

In fact, however, the case has profound implications for individuals and societies everywhere. 

With good reason, the persecution of Julian Assange has been called the Dreyfus affair of our time — although that is probably an understatement. Among the issues at stake:  

  • freedom of the press
  • freedom of speech in general
  • the viability of civil and legal rights
  • abuse of judicial and governmental powers
  • accountability of governments for war crimes and other serious misdeeds.

As an aid to those who wish to acquaint or reacquaint themselves with the facts of the case, a collection of news and analysis concerning the Assange extradition hearing is being assembled in two PDF documents. The first is now available at:  www.nnn.se/nordic/assange/docs/hearnews-1.pdf

Barring medical or other impediments, the second part should be completed within the next few days; recipients of this e-mail will be notified at that time. (The web address is expected to be: www.nnn.se/nordic/assange/docs/hearnews-2.pdf)  

This compilation of published material contains several hundred pages, and few may have enough time or ambition to wade through all of them. But anyone who reads only the relatively few “Selected Highlights” listed on page 1 should thereby acquire a basic knowledge of the main issues and events.

Questions and comments are welcome, and may be addressed to Al Burke via e-mail at editor@nnn.se

Al Burke
076 - 392 19 20

The Code for (UK) Crown Prosecutors

Many who followed the September Assange Hearing have published that it was a ‘show trial’. This document outlining the expectations of (UK) Crown Prosecutors to uphold the rule of law is published here so that readers can make up their own mind whether the Crown Prosecution is following its own guidelines. If you feel that … Continue reading “The Code for (UK) Crown Prosecutors”

Many who followed the September Assange Hearing have published that it was a ‘show trial’. This document outlining the expectations of (UK) Crown Prosecutors to uphold the rule of law is published here so that readers can make up their own mind whether the Crown Prosecution is following its own guidelines.

If you feel that the Rule of Law is being violated – what then ?


The CPS Statement of Ethical Principles for the Public Prosecutor reads


Public prosecutors and those external advocates briefed by them, uphold the rule of law and deliver justice for and on behalf of their communities. That function is central to the maintenance of a just, democratic and fair society.

The way in which we perform this role is of crucial importance. It has long been recognised that the prosecutor has a special and overriding responsibility to act without fear, favour or prejudice, in the interests of justice and to provide the cornerstone of an open and fair criminal justice system. The criminal justice system continues to evolve. It is now important to refresh and restate the fundamental principles and values which we believe to be constant and which lie at the heart of all our decisions.

This Statement sets out the ethical principles that underpin and guide our work as public prosecutors. It confirms our commitment to internationally agreed standards of probity, fairness, openness and accountability in our dealings with others, whether they are victims, defendants or other criminal justice legal professionals. In abiding unswervingly by the principles set out in this Statement, we shall continue to serve the public and uphold justice in a rapidly changing world.

Keir Starmer QC
Director of Public Prosecutions
2 November 2009

1. IntroductioN

1.1 Public prosecutors play a key role in the criminal justice system. By their actions in advising on investigations, deciding on whether prosecutions are to be brought, prosecuting those who are accused of criminal offences and assisting the courts in sentencing, prosecutors uphold the rule of law and deliver justice for and on behalf of their communities.

1.2 The manner in which prosecutors discharge their powers and duties directly affects victims, witnesses and defendants as well as society as a whole. The behaviour of prosecutors also affects the ability of others in the criminal justice system the police and other investigators, the courts and defence practitioners, among others to fulfil their own responsibilities.

1.3 The central role that prosecutors play in the criminal justice process places obligations on them to act at all times in accordance with the highest ethical standards and in the best interests of justice. Except where the contrary is expressly stated in the text, this document lays down the standards of conduct and practice which are expected of every prosecutor who prosecutes on behalf of the public.

2. Basic Obligations

2.2 In addition to their duty to comply with the law and the rules of procedure, prosecutors must, at all times, act in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors (the Code) and all departmental policies currently in force. They must have due regard to any guidelines issued by the Attorney General.

2.3 As a member of the Bar, the Law Society or as an Associate Prosecutor member of the Institute of Legal Executives, prosecutors must act in accordance with and uphold the Codes of Conduct and professional and ethical standards set by their professional regulators. Prosecutors are in the same position as other professionals providing legal services. Prosecutors are subject to the same duties to the court and to others with whom they have dealings, and they must uphold the same professional standards of conduct and ethics. Prosecutors who are Civil Servants are obliged to act in accordance with the Civil Service Code and, in particular, the statement of core values set out in it.

3. Professional Conduct in General

3.1 When acting in the course of their employment or in accordance with their instructions, prosecutors must, at all times, adhere to the highest professional standards. This means that prosecutors must:

  1. exercise the highest standards of integrity and care;
  2. not conduct the prosecution of a case which is beyond their competence, knowledge or experience;
  3. take reasonable steps to maintain and enhance their professional knowledge and skills and keep themselves well-informed and aware of relevant legal developments;
  4. strive to be, and to be seen to be, consistent, independent, fair and impartial;
  5. preserve professional confidentiality at all times, subject to the requirements of the law;
  6. serve and protect the public interest; and
  7. respect the right of all people to be held equal before the law – prosecutors must never act in a way that unjustifiably favours or discriminates against particular individuals or interests.

3.2 Prosecutors must perform their duties without fear, favour or prejudice. They must:

  1. take decisions based upon an impartial and professional assessment of the available evidence, independently and with objectivity within the framework laid down by the law, the Code, all departmental policies currently in force and all guidance issued by or on behalf of the Attorney General; and
  2. take into account all relevant circumstances, irrespective of whether they are to the advantage or disadvantage of the defendant.

3.3 Prosecutors must not knowingly participate in, or seek to influence, the making of a prosecution decision in regard to any case where their personal or financial interests or their family, social or other relationships would influence their conduct as a prosecutor. They should not act as a prosecutor or advise in cases in which they, their family or business associates have a personal, private or financial interest or association.

3.4 Prosecutors must not act as an advocate in any case in which their action or decision is the subject matter of litigation, or in which, for any other reason, they are likely to be called as a witness.

3.5 Prosecutorial discretion in deciding whether to initiate or continue a prosecution, in the selection of charges, in the acceptance of pleas and in any other matter, shall be exercised independently and impartially, in accordance with the law, and having due regard to the Code and all departmental policies currently in force. When making such decisions, prosecutors must not allow themselves to be influenced by individual, sectional or political interests or media pressures.

3.6 Public prosecutors who exercise rights of audience in the higher courts are entitled ultimately to consult the Attorney General as guardian of the public interest if they have reason to doubt the propriety of any action or proposed action in a case proceeding in the higher courts for which they have responsibility. If an employed prosecutor considers that they are involved in such a matter, they must first discuss their concerns with their line managers before contacting the Attorney General.

3.7 Prosecutors must report to their line manager (or instructing prosecutor, if an external advocate) any improper attempt to influence their decision-making, or where any person does an act with the intention of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Prosecutors should also draw to the attention of their line manager or their instructing prosecutor any potential conflict of interest of which they are aware which could reasonably be perceived as affecting their independent judgment in any case of which they have conduct.

4. Professional Conduct in the Context of Criminal Proceedings

4.1 When exercising a right of audience before any court or conducting litigation in relation to any court proceedings, prosecutors have a duty to the court in question to act with independence in the interests of justice.

4.2 Prosecutors must maintain the highest standards of fairness and impartiality at all times. In particular, they must uphold the principle of a defendants right to a fair trial as enshrined in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

4.3 In relation to victims and witnesses, prosecutors must fulfil the obligations and responsibilities set out in the Victims Code of Practice and The Prosecutors’ Pledge and any other relevant guidance.

4.4 Prosecutors must discharge their duties to the courts, witnesses, defendants and their legal representatives, the police or other investigative agency, whether nationally or internationally, with respect and courtesy.

4.5 Prosecutors must perform their duties fairly, consistently, effectively and efficiently. Throughout the proceedings, including when giving pre-charge advice to investigators, prosecutors must:

  1. remain impartial and objective;
  2. when deciding whether to start or continue criminal proceedings, apply the Full Code Test as set out in the Code (except in those circumstances where the Threshold Test may properly be applied). Prosecutors must not start or continue a prosecution unless the requirements of the appropriate Test (whether the Threshold or the Full Code Test) are fully met;
  3. in accordance with the law and the requirements of the Code, give due consideration to alternatives to prosecution;
  4. subject to the requirements of a fair trial, consider the rights, views, legitimate interests, privacy and concerns of victims and witnesses, when their personal interests are, or might be, affected;
  5. seek to ensure that victims and witnesses are informed of their rights, as far as they reasonably can;
  6. having due regard to the rights of the defendant, prosecute firmly and fairly and not beyond what is indicated by the evidence;
  7. bearing in mind the Courts discretion to exclude improperly obtained evidence, decline to use evidence reasonably believed to have been obtained through unlawful methods which constitute a grave violation of the suspect’s or other person’s human rights, against anyone other than those who applied such methods;
  8. draw to the attention of the appropriate authority any instance where a public official may have committed a criminal offence or acted improperly in the course of a criminal investigation; and
  9. render mutual legal assistance to the prosecution services and investigative agencies of other jurisdictions, in accordance with the law and in a spirit of mutual co-operation.

4.6 To ensure the fairness and effectiveness of prosecutions, prosecutors must:

  1. endeavour to ensure that all reasonable enquiries are made and the results disclosed in accordance with law, whether that points towards the guilt or the innocence of the defendant;
  2. endeavour to ensure that the facts are presented fairly and that all relevant authorities are drawn to the courts attention, whether they are in the favour of the prosecution or defence;
  3. endeavour to ensure that evidence which is favourable to the defendant or which undermines the prosecution case is disclosed as soon as reasonably practicable in accordance with the law, the Attorney Generals Guidelines on Disclosure and the requirements of a fair trial;
  4. assist the court in the administration of justice and not deliberately, knowingly or recklessly mislead the court;
  5. endeavour to ensure that the criminal justice process operates as expeditiously as possible, being consistent with the interests of justice; and
  6. bring to the attention of the court any matters of law relevant to sentence in accordance with the Attorney Generals Guidelines on the Acceptance of Pleas and the Prosecutors Role in the Sentencing Exercise.

5. Public Prosecutors who hold Judicial Appointments

5.1 Public prosecutors who hold a judicial appointment will be subject to the terms and conditions of judicial appointment and to the Codes of Conduct applicable to their branch of the profession.

5.2 When employed prosecutors are appointed to judicial office, they carry out the duties and responsibilities of that office in their personal capacity and not as an employee of the Service. Prosecutors holding a judicial appointment are not accountable to the Service for their conduct or their decisions whilst acting in that capacity and the Prosecution Service does not have any part to play in their judicial decisions.

6. Failure by External Advocates to Observe the Statement of Ethical Principles

6.1 Failure by any external advocate instructed by a public prosecutor to adhere to the principles set out in this document may result in the public prosecutor withdrawing current instructions from them and not briefing that advocate again. Where the public prosecutor thinks it appropriate, any breach of this Statement of Ethical Principles by an external advocate will be referred to the appropriate professional regulator for its consideration. (This paragraph should be read in conjunction with paragraph 4.10 of The Farquharson Guidelines: The Role and Responsibilities of the Prosecution Advocate).

6.2 Any enquiry by an external advocate in relation to this Statement of Ethical Principles, or any request for further guidance in respect of areas of potential conflict, should be addressed to the public prosecutor from whom the advocate has received instructions.

7. Review of this Statement

7.1 This Statement will be reviewed regularly to ensure that it continues to reflect the appropriate standards that can be expected of all those who practise as public prosecutors.

This Statement of Ethical Principles has been informed by

  • Guidelines for the Role of Prosecutors (1990) adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders;
  • Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors (1999) – International Association of Prosecutors as recognised and promulgated by the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in April 2008;
  • Council of Europe Recommendation 19 (2000) on the Role of the Public Prosecution in the Criminal Justice System;
  • The Budapest Guidelines (2005) adopted by the Conference of Prosecutors General of Europe;
  • The Code of Conduct for the Bar of England and Wales (2004);
  • The Solicitors Code of Conduct (2007);
  • The Code of Conduct and Supporting Guides to Good Practice issued by the Institute of Legal Executives (2008);
  • The Farquharson Guidelines: The Role and Responsibilities of the Prosecution Advocate (2002);
  • The CPS Code of Conduct; and
  • The CPS Disciplinary Policy.