The CIA and empty promises

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On the second day of the appeal hearing against the extradition of Julian Assange, the defense covered the CIA’s conspiracy to silence the WikiLeaks editor, writes Dr. Binoy Kampmark.

ON THE SECOND DAY of the United States appeal against Julian Assange, the defense filed a lawsuit against the overturning of District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s January judgment. Any extradition to the US, she concluded, would be so depressing for the publisher that it would be unjust under British extradition law. Both Edward Fitzgerald QC and Mark Summers QC tried to preserve the status quo in the UK High Court.

The morning session focused on defending the act of defense witness Michael Kopelman, whose initial psychiatric assessment of Assange’s welfare contained no evidence of Stella Moris and the existence of her two children. Prosecutors alleged that this undermined Kopelman’s partiality in court, regardless of his rectification of the account in the final trial. The failure, according to Fitzgerald, was justified because the CIA feared the surveillance operation in the Ecuadorian embassy and a possible kidnapping and murder. This point was made in the now famous Yahoo! News.

One day before the first report was submitted, Kopelman sought legal advice from the head of the Assange law firm, Gareth Peirce. However, since Peirce was faced with an avalanche of documents to be served – including surveillance, kidnapping and poisoning allegations – she was unable to give him advice in time. Baraitser noted that Kopelman’s behavior, while misleading, was not that of a dishonest person, but “a very human response.” The judge also knew of Moris’s identity before reading the first report.

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To strengthen Kopelman from the prosecution’s attacks, the defense relied on the opinion of consultant forensic psychiatrist Keith Rix, a recognized authority on the ethical duties of psychiatric experts. According to Rix, Kopelman acted “professionally, responsibly” and “exercised reasonable and appropriate caution” ”by omitting the reference to Moris and the children in his first report.

The defense also indicated that the U.S. government couldn’t be surprised by the relationship between Moris and Assange and their children. Nigel Blackwood, one of the prosecutor’s election doctors, was informed of the children’s existence in March 2020.

Fitzgerald, anxious to reach out to Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett, reminded him of the parallels between the Assange case and hacktivist Lauri Love, whose extradition was reversed in 2018. Love’s extradition to the United States was initially approved by Westminster Magistrate’s Court, but rejected by the High Court chaired by Burnett. Love was also diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which adds to his risk of suicide in a US prison. The court there had accepted a “prediction function” so frowned upon by James Lewis QC, who insisted the day before that only the latest medical evaluations – and especially those of the prosecution – counted.

Burnett disagreed with the characterization. “This is a completely different case,” he interjected, pointing out that District Judge Love had found in the case of the District Court Love that preventive measures were sufficient and would prevent suicide. District Judge Baraitser had found the opposite with Assange. Fitzgerald claimed that the mental disorders in question were the same in both cases and that these would play a role in depriving intelligent people of the willpower to be suicidal.

The defense submission to the High Court also states that District Judge Baraitser:

This was based on the evidence from consulting neuropsychiatrist Quinton Deeley on the effects of Assange’s Autism Spectrum Disorder and Kopelman’s opinion on the effects of Assange’s depression.

After lunch, Summers took aim at the prosecutor’s package of “assurances” regarding Assange’s pre- and post-trial fate. This included the promise that Assange would not be subjected to repressive Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), would be placed in solitary confinement or, if convicted, would even end up in ADX’s Supermax prison in Florence. They also contain a promise that Assange will receive appropriate “clinical and psychological treatment as recommended” from the prison doctor in charge. If convicted, the US government would allow him to apply for a transfer of prisoners to serve his sentence in Australia, subject of course to Australian approval.

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From a defense perspective, the overall package was unreliable. Even assuming that there was a response, they would be inadequate. They also had an odd timing and were not verifiable as they were only issued after Baraitser’s decision. They only addressed two of the seven reasons for finding Assange at significant risk of suicide, and even then did not adequately address those limited issues. And how could you trust such promises from a power whose officials had considered kidnapping and killing Assange?

The day before, Lewis had argued that it was up to the judge to obtain these assurances as to how Assange would be treated in the first place. This somewhat strange interpretation was given a deserved shredder by Summers. There was a lot of talk about SAMs, ADX Florence, and solitary confinement during the extradition hearing. The prosecution might have taken these conditions off the table, but as Baraitser himself noted, “Mr. Kromberg acknowledges that their imposition is possible”.

Furthermore, these new “conditional assurances do not actually remove the real risk of SAM or ADX incarceration. They certainly do not remove the very real risk of incarceration or administrative segregation.” According to the submitted statement, the US authorities still reserved “the power to impose SAMs on Mr. Assange in the event that after giving this assurance he should commit any future act that meets the test for the imposition of a SAM”. ‘”. Even leaving the SAMs and ADX matters to Florence, Assange would still risk being faced with” other highly isolating prison regimes or other notorious prisons in the US that the [District Judge] heard a lot of evidence “.

Lewis suggested to the prosecutor that regimes such as Administrative Segregation (AdSeg) could not be equated with solitary confinement. But the US prison system is full of terminology aimed at hiding the same thing.

The National Immigrant Justice Center, the US-based human rights organization, claims:

The High Court of Defense submission also notes the rough reality that:

US government continues to fight for the extradition of Julian Assange

The US authorities’ particularly vicious efforts to get Julian Assange continued at the preliminary hearing in the UK High Court on August 11th.

Summers continued to focus on the role of the CIA, reminding the judges that this was “the first time the US has sought the assistance of a UK court in obtaining jurisdiction” over an individual who was poisoned by a US government agency or considered murder. “That is worth investigating for the representations.” The CIA has shown an “obsession with revenge” and there is “credible evidence of plans by the US government to cause serious harm to Mr. Assange.”

Drawing from the Yahoo! News report, Summers noted that “Oval Office Discussions About Killing” [Assange]”And” Sketches drawn in the summer of 2017 when things escalated to bring him back to America from the UK. But Britain refused to go along with it. “Then CIA Director Mike Pompeo was” on record that some things are true and that Congress is under investigation “.

The assurances that Assange could be transferred to an Australian prison also deserved some contempt, his lawyers said:

The precedent also showed that the US could not be trusted to meet the commitment.

The case of Spanish drug trafficker David Mendoza Herrarte was cited by Summers. In this case, a Spanish court was assured that if Mendoza were extradited to the United States for trial, it could serve any prison sentence in Spain. The US Department of Justice had something else in mind and initially rejected the transfer request when it was made.

The promise, it was later alleged, had given Mendoza the freedom to apply for a transfer; the DOJ reserves the right to refuse. It took six years of diplomatic wrangling between Madrid and Washington, supported by the Spanish Supreme Court, to finally get the prisoners released.

In his rebuttal, Lewis, leaving out any reference to the role of the CIA after dismissing such allegations as “tangible nonsense”, made the delay in the US insurance offer frivolous:

The murderous conspiracy against Julian Assange

After sensitive CIA information was leaked, Mike Pompeo and the Trump administration sought revenge on Julian Assange.

Conditions are subject to change. Even if a person were released, Lewis, citing precedents, suggested resuming the extradition process on the basis of assurances from the requesting state. “We could start again with Assange.” A promise of perennial legal purgatory.

That second and final day highlighted the barbarically flawed nature of all efforts against Assange. The fact that it had reached the appeal process is itself a grotesque reflection on the UK judiciary. That these trials might even assume Assange either gets a fair trial or is treated fairly in a U.S. prison after officials chew over the possibility of kidnapping or killing can only be described as troubled madness.

The US government, Fitzgerald noticed At one point gladly made statements like that of Assistant US Attorney Gordon Kromberg, but not:

The High Court justices will now consider whether to continue this deplorable, sadistic enterprise. The defense is considering contesting parts of the original decision with a cross appeal as it poses a grave threat to freedom of the press. Whatever the outcome, an appeal to the Supreme Court is likely. In the meantime, the procedural torture of Assange continues.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Cambridge Scholar and is a columnist and lecturer for Independent Australia at RMIT University. You can Dr. Follow Kampmark on Twitter @BKampmark.

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