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  • Writer's pictureFred Guerin

Julian Assange v. Power Elite

British Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled against US extradition for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. That is something to cheer about. However, her reasoning is the last thing we should be applauding.

Baraitser upheld virtually every argument by US prosecutors, no matter how absurd or Orwellian, while consistently deriding and dismissing claims made by Assange's defense team. She showed zero concern for press freedom, subserviently echoing US arguments that journalists should be prosecuted for exposing war crimes, government secrets, and protecting their sources. She was not in the least persuaded by the fact that the US has no moral or legal authority to extradite an Australian journalist from the UK for exposing their war crimes. She also seemed to be in perfect harmony with the idea that prosecuting investigative journalists who reveal government corruption and crime under the Espionage Act is right and proper. In the end she ruled against extradition because Assange would be 'too high a suicide risk' in America’s inhuman prison system. Then she denied him bail.

So lets review the logic here: She accepted the defense submission that there were humanitarian concerns involved. Thus, her ruling was in agreement with medical and prison experts that extradition would likely end in a life-long prison term in a brutal US super-max prison which would very likely increase Assange's risk of suicide. On those grounds she refused extradition.

Then a few days later she refused Julian Assange's bail and sent him back to Belmarsh, the UK's version of a super-max high-security prison--a prison regime classified as torture by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Nils Melzer.

There just are no reasonable grounds to deny bail to Julian Assange. In his condition is the furthest thing from a flight risk imaginable. On ther other hand, there are very good legal and humanitarian reasons to grant him bail (which would essentially mean house arrest and electronic monitoring until after the appeal ). At this point one can only conclude that as far as the UK and the US are concerned, this was never about justice, but always about revenge against someone who dared to expose the crimes of the power elite.

So here's the reality folks: Assange was not depressed, despairing or fearful of his future until Great Britain (with help from the US and Sweden) persecuted and imprisoned him in deplorable conditions while denying him proper health-care. After what Assange has been through and with the threat of torture in a US Supermax prison who would not be depressed, despairing or fearful of their future?

And why did they do this? Because he told the truth about US war crimes and government corruption. Justice? Far from it. Cruelty is and has always been the point when dealing with Julian Assange.

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