Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will not be extradited to the US after a shock ruling in his favour at London’s Old Bailey courthouse.
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that extradition at this point to the US to face 18 counts of espionage would worsen Assange’s already extremely fragile mental state.
“Faced with conditions of near total isolation … I am satisfied that the procedures (outline by U.S. authorities) will not prevent Mr. Assange from finding a way to commit suicide,” she said.
The rejection by the UK court of the US Govt's request to extradite Julian Assange to stand trial on espionage charges is obviously great news. But the judge endorsed most of the USG's theories, but ultimately found the US prison system too inhumane to permit extradition.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 4, 2021
This wasn't a victory for press freedom. Quite the contrary: the judge made clear she believed there are grounds to prosecute Assange in connection with the 2010 publication.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 4, 2021
It was, instead, an indictment of the insanely oppressive US prison system for security "threats."
Ultimately, though, from a humanitarian *and* a political perspective, what matters most is that Assange be freed as soon as possible. The US Govt doesn't care what prison he's in, or why: they just want him silenced and in a cage.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 4, 2021
He should be freed immediately.
The next step is that Assange's lawyers will apply for bail — while the US Govt appeals — based on the judge's ruling. The judge will then decide if he remains in prison while the appeal is resolved.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 4, 2021
Trump could still end this travesty with a pardon, or the DOJ to stop.
In September, psychiatrist Michael Kopelman testified that Assange has “begun making preparations to end his own life including confessing to a Catholic priest, drafting farewell letters to his family and drafting a will.”
Since his dramatic arrest at the Ecuadorian Embassy in April 2019, Assange has been languishing in Belmarsh, a notoriously horrid maximum security prison housing murderers and terrorists. For much of the time Assange has been kept heavily medicated in solitary confinement.
To contrast UK prisons with the dystopian hellhole of the US, here's what the judge said about how relatively good Assange has it in Belmarsh. She may use this to keep him in.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 4, 2021
Either way, Americans should reflect on how barbaric US "super-max" prison system is. It's repulsive. pic.twitter.com/QMXiVjNZOm
Cassandra Fairbanks of http://gatewaypundit.com joins guest host Owen Shroyer on The Alex Jones Show to call for Trump to take action on pardoning Julian Assange.
During the conclusion of today’s hearing, the judge ruled however that freedom of speech rights do not provide “unfettered discretion by Mr Assange to decide what he’s going to publish”.
The judge added Assanges activities went far beyond “encouraging a journalist,” and do constitute ‘conspiracy’ to hack US government computers.
The New York Times described the ruling as “…a major victory against the U.S. authorities who have accused him of conspiring to hack government computers and violating the Espionage Act with the release of confidential communications in 2010 and 2011.”
Assange supporters gathered outside the court celebrated the ruling:
The US now has 15 days to appeal the ruling. Given that the judge did validate the prosecution’s case against Assange, it is expected that the US legal team will now try to argue that Assange’s risk of suicide is not as heightened as the defence has suggested.
Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit Was A “Carefully Planned Provocation” To “Destabilize”: Putin
On Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin weighed on on major security issues ranging from the ongoing war in Ukraine to China-US tensions over Taiwan in a televised speech. Speaking before defense officials and regional think tank analysts at the Tenth Moscow Conference on International Security, among the most notable assertion of his is that NATO is moving “further east”.
Within days prior to launching the Feb.24 invasion of Ukraine, he gave what was essentially a war speech emphasizing that urgent military action was needed to prevent NATO’s further expansion into Ukraine. But it seems that in his latest comments Tuesday, he sees the threat of NATO influence at work as far as southeast Asia as well.
In the fresh remarks, Putin continued his prior theme of a turn from unipolar to multi-polar world order, based on the decline of the United States and West. He said as translated in state media:
“Western globalist elites are provoking chaos by rekindling old and inciting new conflicts, implementing a policy of so-called containment, while undermining any alternative, sovereign paths of development. Thus, they are desperately trying to preserve the hegemony and power that are slipping out of their grasp, trying to keep countries and peoples in the grip of a neo-colonial order.”
He blasted this Western “hegemony” as what in the end will result in global stagnation. Further he said:
“NATO’s war machine is moving, approaching Russia’s borders closely… Russia has been trying for 30 years to negotiate NATO non-expansion to the east…”
The Russian leader continued, “Any means are used. The United States and its vassals rudely interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign states by organizing provocations, coups d’état and civil wars. Threats, blackmail and pressure are resorted to in a bid to force independent states to submit to their will.”
The Kremlin has long emphasized that the 2014 overthrow of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was the real start of hostilities in Ukraine, and that it was fundamentally Washington and its EU allies behind it. The West, however, has rejected this narrative – emphasizing the Maidan events as a spontaneous democratic uprising.
On expanding East, he said of NATO:
“The so-called collective West is deliberately destroying the European security system, putting together new military alliances. The NATO bloc is expanding East, building up its military infrastructure, deploying missile defense systems and increasing the strike capabilities of its offensive forces.”
In this context he again stressed that just before Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine, Moscow repeatedly submitted requests for security ‘guarantees’ to NATO, but that this was ignored. He said this is what has damaged European security. He also charged that the West in the end sees the Ukrainian people as “cannon fodder” for its proxy war.
Putin’s defense minister has also of late been stressing the role of the West in planning and executing Ukrainian military actions, also as Crimea has recently come under rare attack…
Interestingly, in the speech he turned his attention to rising China tensions, charging that the US is still trying to add “fuel to the fire” over the Taiwan issue. This echoes precisely Beijing’s own line, as the two countries continue to grow lockstep while under the crosshairs of Washington. He called Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan a “carefully planned provocation”meant to whip up tensions.
China will without doubt applaud Putin’s fierce defense of Beijing’s point of view:
“The American reckless gamble in relation to Taiwan is not just a visit by an individual irresponsible politician, but part of a purposeful, conscious US strategy to destabilize… the situation in the region and the world, a brazen demonstration of disrespect for the sovereignty of other countries and for its international obligations. We see this as a carefully planned provocation,” Putin said.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Russia Says It May Sever US Relations If Declared Terrorism Sponsor
A Russian diplomat warned that if his country is declared a state sponsor of terrorism, it could not only harm US-Russo relations but potentially sever them completely.
On Friday, Alexander Darchiyev, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s North American department told the TASS news agency:
“I would like to mention the legislative initiative currently being discussed in Congress to declare Russia a ‘country sponsor of terrorism.’ If passed, it would mean that Washington would have to cross the point of no return, with the most serious collateral damage to bilateral diplomatic relations, up to their lowering or even breaking them off. The US side has been warned.”
Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have been leading an effort to pressure the Biden administration into making the terror designation, which would allow new categories of sanctions. The are only four designated countries today: Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria.
On July 28, the Senate passed a non-binding resolution calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to designate the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism. At the time, Graham said this about a potential designation:
“It means that doing business with Russia with that designation gets to be exceedingly hard – it has secondary effect sanctions, it would limit dual export items, and more importantly it would waive sovereign immunity when it came to suing Russia in U.S. courts. This designation would be a nightmare for Russia.”
Blinken, however, has said a terror designation wouldn’t change things much: “The costs that have been imposed on Russia by us and by other countries are absolutely in line with the consequences that would follow from designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.”
On Thursday, the Latvian parliament made its own terror-sponsor designation of Russia. “Latvia recognizes Russia’s actions in Ukraine as targeted genocide against the Ukrainian people,” declared the legislature’s resolution.
“A timely move,” tweeted Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba. “Russia has long deserved this status with its actions in Ukraine and beyond. Ukraine encourages other states and organizations to follow suit.”
As we wrote in June, “the U.S. government’s application of terrorist designations has been impulsively disingenuous to the point that it saps the label of any meaning apart from the financial consequences. In practice, terror designations are just another means of bludgeoning countries that are out of favor with the U.S. government.”
Designating Russia a state sponsor of terror over a conventional military invasion would represent just the latest bastardization of the term. Indeed, if the terror label were attached to every invasion that’s accompanied by alleged war crimes, the U.S. government would have to designate itself.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Watch: Reporter Tells White House Security Coordinator ‘You Gave A Whole Country to Extremists’
“What did you think was going to happen?”
White House Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council John Kirby was confronted Tuesday by Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy over the revelation that Al Qaeda has resestablished itself in Afghanistan following the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from the country, handing it back to Taliban extremists.
Doocy first raised the issue of the administration claiming they knew Al Qaeda has a presence in Afghanistan despite Joe Biden’s claim last year that the terrorist organisation was “gone” from the country.
Kirby responded, “They weren’t playing a major role in operations or resourcing or planning in Afghanistan. But Peter, I know specifically because I was at a different podium a year ago and we talked about the fact that al-Qaida had a presence in Afghanistan, but small and not incredibly powerful or potent. And, I think, again without getting into numbers, we would still assess that to be the case.”
Doocy fired back, “So, we know that the Taliban was harboring the world’s most wanted terrorist. You guys gave a whole country to a bunch of people that are on the FBI Most Wanted List, what did you think was going to happen?”
Kirby responded, “I take issue with the premise that we gave a whole country to terrorist groups.”
“They were harboring the world’s number one terrorist, how is that not giving a country to a terrorist-sympathizing group, if not giving them permission to have terrorists just sit on a balcony?” Doocy replied, referring to the revelation that Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was reportedly killed by drone strike while relaxing in Kabul.
“Are we waiting for some spectacular terrorist attack in the U.S. to then say ‘oh, well there’s terrorists in a safe haven in Afghanistan, now we can go get them,’” Doocy further pressed.
In an interview the same day, Kirby admitted that Al Qaeda is now using Afghanistan as a “safe haven” again:
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