Richard Medhurst attended both days of the High Court Appeal by the US to obtain extradition of Assange to America, and we have linked to his video report below, and transcribed parts of it, including the question of whether Assange might do a prison sentence in Australia, if convicted - a question that has been treated very naively by the Australian media. The narrowness of the US appeal against the UK's refusal to allow them to extradite Assange must bemuse large sections of the public. It is, however, typical of the way in which the British legal system deals with political problems. Instead of examining the absurd, abusive, and illegal context of Assange's hijacking via false accusations of rape, which Sweden tried to drop but the UK justice system secretly prevailed upon them to pursue; or the thuggish and criminal manner in which the United States obtained some of its 'evidence', via illegal and invasive spying within a diplomatic embassy; or the use by the CIA of a paid witness against Assange, which witness has now totally recanted, saying he lied to stay out of prison himself; the court has confined its examination to whether or not Assange might commit suicide if he went to a United States prison. This means Assange's fate relies on a pissing match where lawyers take aim at arcane psychiatric opinions with clumsy legalistic buckshot, and US prosecutors seem to promise anything they feel like, with little or no authority or responsibility, and obscenely minimise the horrors of the US prison system, in order to get what their employers want. All this on the whim and demands for revenge of grotesquely powerful war criminals who run the United States, and are ridiculously affronted because Assange revealed them and their disgusting acts for the benefit of humanity. The powerful hate being shown up. It was ever so.
Richard Medhurst, live reporting recorded on youtube, 29/10/21 - Second day of Julian Assange Extradition US Appeal
The video, which was a live broadcast, starts at 15.40 minutes in. (Pointing and clicking on the 15:40 minute point on the line at the bottom of the There is a partial transcript below, which includes the question of Assange maybe doing a jail sentence in Australia.
Richard Medhurst on US Appeal against UK Extradition judgement - Some excerpts
We have transcribed and paraphrased from Richard's commentary and his tweets as they appear in the above video.
Could Assange do his jail sentence in Australia?
At 1.21.32 minutes Medhurst addresses the question of whether Assange could do his jail sentence in Australia. This is one of the things that the United States is offering. They are saying now – on Ground E, ‘Well, don’t worry, because we will even let Assange go to Australia to serve his sentence.’ Assange's Defence addressed this argument: “This would only work if [US Prosecutor] Mr Kromberg does not do what I just described to you, if he does not subpoena Assange back into custody and civil contempt, as he’s done in other cases (e.g. Chelsea Manning). And, on top of that, Australia would have to agree to take Assange." So, when the United States says, ‘We can send Julian Assange to serve a sentence there,’ has Australia actually accepted this? We have no information about this. It could depend on various issues and political decision makers. You don’t know whose going to be in power by the time Julian is actually tried and sentenced. That will take years. What government is going to be in power in Australia then? Who says that they will take Assange, even if there’s an assurance now. There’s no indication from Australia, at all. They haven’t responded to this. Assange’s Defence pointed out that the wording of this ‘assurance’ is very important, especially in regards to American law. It appears that it would only bind the prosecutor to consent, not the Department of Justice to grant it. So there is no guarantee that this would even come true. The Defence provided examples of this. Mark Summers QC referred to the case of Mendoza. The Spanish Court made Mendoza’s extradition conditional on prisoner transfer back to Spain to serve any sentence. Mendosa applied and then the US Department of Justice refused on the basis that: ‘We the Department of Justice never promised we would grant it, it was only the prosecutor who promised.’ This is how the promises about Assange are being constructed, right now. The US Department of Justice is and would be under no obligation to grant the transfer because only the prosecutors have ‘assured’ this – not the US Department of Justice. Another example given by Mark Summers is of Abu Hamza. The district judge heard detailed evidence about the fate of Abu Hamza, who was promised transfer to an appropriate medical facility. Instead, he was sent to ADX, following a BoP medical appraisal. [ADX stands for Administrative Maximum Facility, as in the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility, in Florence. It is the highest-security federal prison, located in the Colorado mountains, and known as the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.] So those assurances came to nothing. Another example given was that of Haroon Aswat, who was extradited from Broadmoor Prison hospital, UK, to the USA, after assurances given to the UK of psychiatric placement and treatment. The opposite happened. The BoP [Federal Bureau of Prisons]evaluation simply disagreed that Aswat needed hospitalization. So, the UK and Europe had allowed the extradition on the understanding that Aswat would be given psychiatric treatment, but the United States disregarded its own assurances. Mark Summers said, “It’s loose wording [of the United States assurances to Julian Assange] ought to have alerted this court that the very opposite might happen.” Summers also said that the United State Government had plans to do serious harm to Julian Assange. Mr Pompeo has said that some of that was true. The former CIA director has confirmed it. Summers closed by recalling that the United States government has contemplated, if not plotted, kidnapping, poisoning, rendering, and assassinating, Julian Assange. Therefore, there must be an investigation of the assurances presented by the United States and if they can be trusted. So his point is, ‘Look who you’re dealing with. This government has considered maybe killing the defendant. How can you just take their assurances at face-value?’ That’s where the arguments [of which most have not been transcribed here] from the defendants finished. Then the prosecution got 30 minutes to respond. Prosecutor Lewis countered by saying that Abu Hamza was never given diplomatic assurances, like the ones Assange was being given, and that Abu Hamza only had a letter or something. Regarding Mendoza, he was allowed to return to serve a sentence in Spain, ultimately. (It is not clear to Richard Mehurst, whose reporting on the trial is being transcribed here, however, whether that meant the original assurance had not already been violated.) Regarding Chelsea Manning, he said this was a court marshal, a military matter, and hence not relevant. To the Defense’s question as to why the Prosecutors had not previously made these promises, in the first hearing, US Prosecutor Lewis’s reply was that ‘We the prosecution can offer assurances at any time.’ Meaning they did not have to do so at the more appropriate time of the first hearing. He said that a “diplomatic assurance is a solemn undertaking given out at the highest order. These are not dished out like smarties.” Lewis said that Assange would not be in conditions akin to SAMs under Ad Seg [Administrative Segregation] (solitary confinement). Ad Seg only applies in pre-trial, and would only be in ADC [Adult Detention Centre] Alexandria, which is a ‘very well-run jail’. Medhurst comments that he doesn’t see where Lewis addressed the argument about the length of pre-trial. Because the Defense argued that even if you put Assange in Ad Seg, that’s going to last for years! It will take years before there’s a trial, at all. Lewis made the point that, in Ad Seg, you’re allowed communication, attend three programs with the general prison population. You can meet with your lawyers on an unlimited basis. He argued that the defense was characterizing Ad Seg as not simply isolation, but solitary confinement. “It is impossible to describe that as solitary confinement,” he argued. Lewis said that, according to the European court as to why SAMS are not oppressive, it’s because it’s not solitary confinement if you can meet with your lawyer on unlimited occasions. It’s simply not isolation. You have two in a cell. When the defense calls it solitary confinement it’s simply nonsense. If we look at judge ruling, she only dealt with conditions of SAMs and ADX. “Ad seg and SAMSs are completely different.” He said, if Assange is placed in an SHU (Special Housing Unit), Kromberg makes it clear that it’s not solitary confinement. ["Special Housing Units (SHUs), also known as “the hole,” are how the Federal Bureau of Prison segregates prisoners. There are three categories of prisoners who are housed in the SHU: Those in disciplinary segregation as a result of a formal disciplinary finding, those on administrative detention pending transfer or investigation of a disciplinary infraction, and those in protective custody. Regardless of the status, all three groups receive basically the same treatment. The SHU basically consists of a jail within a prison. In most federal prisons this means a secured, separate area of the prison where there are a few halls housing one-, two-, and three-man cells. Within these rows of dark and dingy cells are prisoners. Most such cells consist of a bunk bed, maybe a desk, a toilet/sink combo, a frosted window (so the occupants can’t see out of it), and perhaps a shower. This truly is the lowest existence possible in federal prison." (Source: https://prisonerresource.com/prison-life/special-housing-units-shus/)] Richard Medhurst asks if we can see that the Prosecution is confirming what the Defense is saying, that there is a risk that Assange could be placed in something oppressive, just not ADX Florence. So, for example, instead of ADX, it could be a Special Housing Unit. So, he’s inadvertently confirming this. He says if Assange is placed in an SHU, [US Prosecutor] Kromberg makes it clear that it’s not solitary confinement. Lewis said, “Everything was aimed at the conditions of SAMs and ADX. Mr Assange is thinking ‘I’ll be sent to SAMs and ADX’. He now knows he’s not going to go to SAMs and ADX. That MUST reduce the suicidal ideology. Now he knows he’s not going to be subject to that.” Thus Lewis implies that the Defense’s case has lost its basis. The judges said they had much to consider and no ruling has been handed down yet. Click here for a short video of Richard Medhurst decrying the absence of mainstream press and laggardly coverage by alternative press.