Wednesday, 7 February 2018

BAD news from London on Julian Assange


Earlier I posted a pronouncement by Dr. Jerome Corsi (interpreting Anon) that Assange had been spirited out of Britain and was safe in Switzerland.

I was spectacularly wrong and naive to even consider this might be true.

However, in a world with hope one does hold on to small hopes (and this was top in my prayers - that Julian Assange be released from the Ecuadoran embassy. My only justification was that some people hold onto unreasonable hope in the face of incredible odds (and evidence) on the big things.

Dr. Corsi should eat humble pie and offer up an apology, but that might be too much much to expect.

I find today's news dispiriting and truly depressing. I would love to hold onto the hope that a new hearing on Feb 13 might offer a different result but am less than confident after today.

Arrest warrant upheld in Julian Assange case, new hearing on February 13

6 February, 2018

A British judge will rule on February 13 whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can have his arrest warrant, for breaching bail conditions, lifted on “public interest grounds.”

Judge Emma Arbuthnot had earlier rejected a bid by Assange, who is holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, to have an arrest warrant against him dropped on different grounds.

Speaking outside court, Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson said all of us should be resisting the threat to free speech posed by the persecution of Assange.

We hope this situation will come to an end very soon and we look forward to the decision next week,” Robinson said. “[The outcome on Tuesday] is not disappointing, we finally had the court understand the public interest of this case.”

According to Assange, only the first technical point of his legal challenge has failed. Judges will hear and decide on the other points on Tuesday afternoon, and if Assange wins any of them, the warrant falls.

Wall to wall fake news stating stating the government won today's hearing. Nothing of the sort has happened. The hearing is still happening. Only one point has been ruled on. 

The Judicial Office tweeted the judgment on Tuesday afternoon. Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot said in her ruling: “Having considered the arguments … I am not persuaded that the warrant should be withdrawn.”

Assange, 46, absconded in 2012 to enter the Ecuadorian embassy, to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault and rape. However, Swedish prosecutors have since dropped those charges.

Still, Assange has been unable to leave the embassy in London, as he faced arrest for breaching his bail conditions in the UK.

Assange's lawyer, Mark Summers, argued that the arrest warrant should be dropped because it had “lost its purpose and its function,” citing the dropped charges against Assange in Sweden.

[Assange] has spent five-and-a-half years in conditions which, on any view, are akin to imprisonment, without access to adequate medical care or sunlight, in circumstances where his physical and psychological health have deteriorated and are in serious peril,” Summers wrote in court papers, as quoted by the Guardian.

Claiming freedom would be a huge risk for Julian Assange with US lurking
However, Aaron Watkins, who represents the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), called Summers’ argument “strange and untenable,” adding that it was an attempt at “contorting legislation” to allow Assange to leave the embassy.

Assange had been released on bail in proceedings; he was under a duty to surrender to the custody of the court and he failed to surrender at the appointed time for him to do so. Therefore the warrant stands,” Watkins said, calling Assange’s situation “extremely simple.”

Assange was made an Ecuadorian citizen in December. However, the UK refused to recognize him as having diplomatic status, which would have given him legal immunity and allowed him to leave the embassy.

Even if Assange's arrest warrant has been dropped, he could have still been extradited to the US to face trial over WikiLeaks' publication of classified US military and diplomatic documents in 2010 – which amounted to one of the largest information leaks in United States history.

Julian Assange claims package containing 'threat' and 'white powdery substance' sent to him at Ecuadorian embassy
  • Julian Assange claims package containing 'threat' and 'white powdery substance' sent to him at Ecuadorian embassy
  • Comes on the day a court ruled an arrest warrant against the Wikileaks founder is still valid

6 February, 2018

Julian Assange has claimed a package containing a "threat" and white substance was sent to him at the Ecuadorian embassy.

The item, which has been deemed "non-suspicious" by police, was addressed to Mr Assange, he said in a tweet.

It comes on the day a court ruled an arrest warrant against the WikiLeaks founder is still valid despite Swedish authorities ending an investigation against him.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said the incident was "stood down" after the package was assessed.

Mr Assange wrote: "I can confirm that a package containing an unknown white powdery substance and a threat was addressed to my name.

"It was handed to UK diplomatic police. I understand they are performing toxicology and forensics."

MPS Kensington and Chelsea tweeted: "Police attended the Ecuadorian Embassy in SW1 following reports of a small suspicious package.

"The item was assessed by specialist officers and deemed to be non-suspicious.

"There are no injuries and this incident has now been stood down."

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