Assange Won a Victory, but the Fight Isn’t Over"

Attached is a review of the May 20th High Court decision by Chip Gibbons of Defending Rights and Dissent as published in the recent edition of Jacobin.

Chip does a great job of summarizing the situation and I encourage you to read the article.

At the March hearing, the judges had requested certain assurances pertaining to Assange’s rights to freedom of speech and protection from the death penalty.

The U.S. State Dept. provided the following assurances on freedom of speech:

“ASSANGE will not be prejudiced by reason of his nationality with respect to which defenses he may seek to raise at trial and at sentencing. Specifically, if extradited, ASSANGE will have the ability to raise and seek to rely upon at trial (which includes any sentencing hearing) the rights and protections given under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. A decision as to the applicability of the First Amendment is exclusively within the purview of the U.S. Courts.”

Clearly, the above is no guarantee that Assange will be accorded the right of freedom of speech and the judges allowed the appeal because of the obvious unsatisfactory nature of these assurances.  The assurance against the use of the death penalty was accepted by the defense and the court.

The use of the term “nationality” is interesting, Nationality is based on one’s country of birth, and many foreign nationals are U.S. citizens and have full citizenship rights.  As the lawyers for the U.S. pointed out, Assange wouldn’t be discriminated against because of his nationality; however, non-citizens do not have citizenship rights!

“UK lawyers, representing the United States, pedantically lectured the court on the distinction between citizenship and nationality. Any deprivation of Assange’s First Amendment rights would be due not to his nationality, but his citizenship (i.e., an Australian-born US citizen could not be deprived of First Amendment rights, but any noncitizen may be). One of the UK government lawyers representing the United States stated Assange would not be “prejudiced for reason of his nationality, but because as a matter of law he is a foreigner operating on foreign soil.”

Hopefully at the appeal hearing, the judges won't be pedantic about the distinction between nationality and citizenship because the judges at the March hearing clearly made a mistake when they asked for assurances referring to nationality rather than citizenship - or did they???

Bottomline, this has now come down to the issue of free speech and the right of a foreign journalist/publisher/news-gatherer working from a foreign country to publish secrets of the U.S.   Does the U.K. really want to greenlight this situation as a freedom of the press precedent?  

No news yet as to when the next proceedings will take place.


Peace and solidarity,

Frank Lawrence


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Day 1 of Day X - Craig Murray's Report from the Courtroom in London, Feb. 20, 2024

Craig Murray's detailed, literate, and historical account of February 20 in the Royal Courts of Justice, when Assange's lawyers had the entire day to lay out all their grounds for appeal, is often hilarious.  In Murray's blogpost,  "Final Appeal - Your Man in the Public Gallery", he describes Assange's lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, KC: 

Barristers’ wigs have tight rolls of horsehair stuck to a mesh that stretches over the head. In Mr Fitzgerald’s case, the mesh has to be stretched so far to cover his enormous brain, that the rolls are pulled apart, and dot his head like hair curlers on a landlady.

But Murray's meticulous presentation will give you a thorough understanding of the points of law under consideration.  This is the first time that issues such as freedom of the press, and the war crimes exposed by Assange's publications, and the plot to assassinate Assange by the U.S. government, for example, have been allowed to be brought up in court to appeal the amended verdict to extradite.

Given how the U.K. excluded all applicants from the U.S. and Australia who were not on British or Welsh soil from even viewing a live-stream of the court proceedings, and given the poor quality of the stream provided, it is clear that the court did not want a wider audience to hear this "public" trial. (As I've noted, my application was denied as was that of others here in Milwaukee, as well as Chicago's Kevin Gosztola, author of the book, Guilty of Journalism, about Assange.  Noteably, the New York Times did not report on the content of the day's hearing.)

About two thirds of the way though the day, the lawyers seemed to miss the opportunity to explain the context for the revelation of unredacted names, failing to bring up the Guardian's David Leigh and Luke Harding's printing of the password to the unredacted cables in their book. That password made the entire cache of unredacted cables vulnerable to exposure by others, which is exactly what happened and was testified to in the 2020 hearing.

That evening, Craig and many of his fellow journalists gathered together to rehash the day in court and specifically brought up that missed opportunity in their conversation.  You can watch the entire confab here.  It's a fascinating discussion with among others: Pulitzer-prize-winning Chris Hedges, Joe Lauria of Consortium News, London-based journalist Mohamed Elmaazi, and Fidel Narvaez who was the Ecuadorian consul while Julian was in the Embassy - all of whom were in London that day.

Below is the beginning of Craig Murray's extensive and comprehensive blog-post of that day in court.  The link to the entire publication is below.


Assange Final Appeal – Your Man in the Public Gallery

by Craig Murray

Reporting on Julian Assange’s extradition hearings has become a vocation that has now stretched over five years. From the very first hearing, when Justice Snow called Assange “a narcissist” before Julian had said anything whatsoever other than to confirm his name, to the last, when Judge Swift had simply in 2.5 pages of glib double-spaced A4 dismissed a tightly worded 152-page appeal from some of the best lawyers on earth, it has been a travesty and charade marked by undisguised institutional hostility.

We were now on last orders in the last chance saloon, as we waited outside the Royal Courts of Justice for the appeal for a right of final appeal.

The architecture of the Royal Courts of Justice was the great last gasp of the Gothic revival; having exhausted the exuberance that gave us the beauty of St Pancras Station and the Palace of Westminster, the movement played out its dreary last efforts at whimsy in shades of grey and brown, valuing scale over proportion and mistaking massive for medieval. As intended, the buildings are a manifestation of the power of the state; as not intended, they are also an indication of the stupidity of large scale power.

Court number 5 had been allocated for this hearing. It is one of the smallest courts in the building. Its largest dimension is its height. It is very high, and lit by heavy mock medieval chandeliers hung by long cast iron chains from a ceiling so high you can’t really see it. You expect Robin Hood to suddenly leap from the gallery and swing across on the chandelier above you. The room is very gloomy; the murky dusk hovers menacingly above the lights like a miasma of despair; below them you peer through the weak light to make out the participants.

A huge tiered walnut dais occupies half the room, with the judges seated at its apex, their clerks at the next level down, and lower lateral wings reaching out, at one side housing journalists and at the other a huge dock for the prisoner or prisoners, with a massy iron cage that looks left over from a production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

This is in fact the most modern part of the construction; caging defendants in medieval style is a Blair era introduction to the so-called process of law.

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A Visit to Julian Assange in Prison

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Mary Kostakidis: Assange’s Very Life Is at Stake

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Will We Let a Publisher Go to Prison?

January 14 at 10 a.m. CST


Join Us for a HYBRID presentation by Ray McGovern at the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee.

INFO is HERE.   In-person at 1432 N. Astor Street or live-streamed on YouTube.  Only the in-person audience can ask questions.


Ray McGovern, CIA Soviet Foreign Policy Branch (retired) and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.


This winter, freedom of the press is in serious danger as publisher Julian Assange languishes in prison. As the extradition process of Julian Assange winds down in the UK, it is clear that this political case is now in our hands. The founders of the U.S. knew that tyranny is inevitable without a free press and so we have the first amendment. Can we muster the courage to safeguard it? Mr. McGovern will discuss Julian Assange’s case and its implications for our free press.

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“Free the Truth”: The Belmarsh Tribunal on Julian Assange & Defending Press Freedom

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Assange Finla UK Court Appeal to be Heard Feb 21, 22, 2024

20 December 2023

Julian Assange’s Final Appeal to be held in UK High Court 20 & 21 February 2024

The UK High Court has confirmed that a public hearing will take place on 20 and 21 February 2024. The two-day hearing may be the final chance for Julian Assange to prevent his extradition to the United States. If extradited, Julian faces a sentence of 175 years for exposing war crimes committed by the United States in the Afghan and Iraq wars. 
The Australian publisher and WikiLeaks founder has been confined in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison since he was arrested on a US extradition request on 11 April 2019 and forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian UK Embassy where Julian had sought asylum for 7 years. This will be his 13th Christmas in arbitrary detention and the fifth in Belmarsh Prison.
The upcoming public hearing will be held before a panel of two judges who will review an earlier UK High Court decision taken by a single judge on 6 June 2023 which refused Julian permission to appeal. It will determine whether Julian will have further opportunities to argue his case before the UK courts, or whether he will be extradited to the United States to face charges under the 1917 US Espionage Act.
Julian’s family have been joined by millions of supporters globally campaigning relentlessly for the US to drop the prosecution and release him.
Said Gabriel Shipton, brother of Julian Assange: “This hearing signals a crucial stage in Julian’s battle for justice and is the end of the line in the UK courts. This Christmas will be Julian’s 5th in a UK prison. He has gone through years of uncertainty, his mental and physical health getting worse and worse. He should be able to come home to Australia with his children and get the support he needs. I urge the Prime Minister to pull out all the stops in his efforts to end Julian’s suffering.  Bring Julian home.”
Stella Assange, Julian’s wife who he married while in prison said, “The last four and a half years have taken the most considerable toll on Julian and his family, including our two young sons. His mental health and physical state have deteriorated significantly. With the myriad of evidence that has come to light since the original hearing in 2019, such as the violation of legal privilege and reports that senior US officials were involved in formulating assassination plots against my husband, there is no denying that a fair trial, let alone Julian’s safety on US soil, is an impossibility were he to be extradited. The persecution of this innocent journalist and publisher must end.”
Immediately after the court date was announced, protestors responded by calling for a mass protest at the Court on the days of the hearing at 8:30am. They welcome all those who support press freedom to join them in London and around the world.
Julian's campaign for freedom is supported by Amnesty International, the National Union of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and civil rights, press freedom and media organisations around the world, including the other five media outlets who simultaneously published the shocking ‘Collateral Murder’ video that changed the course of the US-led coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003. A war that is estimated to have cost the lives of more than 1.1 million people, most of whom were innocent civilians including women and children, with millions more injured and displaced,
More than 70 Australian Federal politicians have called on the US to drop the prosecution. In the United States, the number of Congressional representatives calling for the case to be dropped grows steadily; currently H. Res 934 sponsored by Paul Gosar is gathering signatures from all sides of the House in Washington DC.
Media contact  
Jodie Harrison    +61 425 754 370    [email protected]
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Going to the mountain for Assange

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Banner Drop with us July 3 on the Lakefront!

Celebrate Julian Assange’s Birthday

 Banner Drop on the Brady Street Bridge overpass

 Monday July 3 at 4:30 pm


 Join us for this nationwide Banner Drop on Julian's birthday on the Brady Street Bridge over Lincoln Memorial Drive in Milwaukee. 

We will drop 20-foot banners for traffic going each way that say FREE JULIAN ASSANGE and Journalism is not a crime.

You can do something- make noise,  protest, and  make this effort visible. Help us hand out flyers and visit our table on the Prospect side of the overpass.

Ramp access is available from both sides, Prospect Avenue and Lincoln Memorial Drive.


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Chris Hedges: The Imminent Extradition of Julian Assange & the Death of Journalism

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