This ain’t ready for prime time, as defend.wikileaks.org doesn’t have day 4 up yet, the Guardian hadn’t until moments ago, but Benn Quinn must be out sick, and Frances Perraudin was just phonin’ it in. Anyhoo, it’ Big Bread Day and other chores for me, so here’s what I’ve found.
‘Julian Assange’s extradition hearing finishes a day early’, 9news.com.au, Feb. 28, 2020
“Earlier in court, Assange’s lawyers made an application for him to be freed from the dock, allowing the Australian to sit with them in open court.
Despite the move, however, the Judge refused to let Assange come out of the dock and argued that other measures could be taken for him to be able to better communicate with his lawyers.
Those measures include delaying the start of hearings each day so lawyers can take instructions from Assange and the possibility of the upcoming May hearings running longer than the three weeks scheduled, if necessary.
Earlier, the court heard Assange’s alleged offences are solely political because he was trying to change US government policy by exposing wrong-doing and war crimes.
Barrister Edward Fitzgerald argued that Assange wanted the US government to change its foreign policy when WikiLeaks released thousands of classified military and diplomatic files in 2010.
“We’ve seen WikiLeaks did effect change, that was one of the reasons there was (US troop) withdrawal (from Iraq), we also say that the US frequently said: ‘WikiLeaks opposes US policy in Afghanistan’,” he said.
“What other purpose can there be publishing the Apache helicopter strike (video) and (US) rules of engagement showing that the war conflicted with fundamental human rights?”[snip]
“The barrister said there was an English definition of a political offence, which was not purely dependent on the name of the offence like espionage, which Assange is charged with in the US.
“Extradition is based on conduct, it is not anymore based on the names of offences,” he said.
Mr Lewis said there was no “political struggle” going on between the US government and “other factions” like WikiLeaks when the organisation was publishing the classified files.
“Any bare assertion that WikiLeaks was engaged in a struggle with the US government … needs to be examined far more,” he said.
He also said a political offence was a “dated” exemption in modern societies because the “times had changed” from when dissidents were trying to uphold liberal democracy.
Via uk.reuters.com today:
“Assange’s lawyer Fitzgerald said his client is protected by privileges in the U.S.-UK extradition treaty because he was trying to change U.S. government policy.
Fitzgerald said Assange did indeed change U.S. government policy after publishing classified information about Guantanamo Bay and the actions of the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“WikiLeaks didn’t just seek to induce change, it did induce change,” he said.”
‘Live Updates: London Court Holds Fourth Day of Hearings on Assange’s Extradition’, sputniknews.com, Feb 27, 2020
(Boy, howdy did Kevin Kosztola’s stock go up! It’s a storify by Tweet, here are a few)
Julian Assange Extradition Hearing – Day 4 Recap (Kevin Gosztola 28 mins)