- Sputnik International, 1920, 10.12.2021
US Wins Appeal to Extradite Assange
The US has won an appeal in London's High Court to have Wikileaks founder Julian Assange extradited on spying charges. In January, UK district judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled against extraditing Assange to the US, but the US Department of Justice appealed her decision to the London High Court.

Ex-CIA Counterterrorism Officer Describes What Awaits Assange in the US

© Elizabeth CookThis is a court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Julian Assange appearing at the Old Bailey in London for the ruling in his extradition case, in London, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. A British judge has rejected the United States’ request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to face espionage charges, saying it would be “oppressive” because of his mental health. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said Assange was likely to kill himself if sent to the U.S. The U.S. government said it would appeal the decision. (Elizabeth Cook/PA via AP)
This is a court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Julian Assange appearing at the Old Bailey in London for the ruling in his extradition case, in London, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. A British judge has rejected the United States’ request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to face espionage charges, saying it would be “oppressive” because of his mental health. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser said Assange was likely to kill himself if sent to the U.S. The U.S. government said it would appeal the decision.  (Elizabeth Cook/PA via AP) - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.12.2021
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On Friday, a London court has ruled in favour of a US government appeal to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The ruling has been met with criticism from journalists and human rights activists around the world.
John Kiriakou, a former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee spoke about the British court's decision and what awaits Assange in the US.
What are your thoughts on the latest developments of the Assange trial?
John Kiriakou: I was surprised by the verdict. Probably shouldn’t have been. I’m in close touch with the Assange family and all of them expected this and I was foolish enough to say that I thought they were wrong. I thought there was an understanding in the British courts, there was certainly precedent in the British courts, that the US practice of solitary confinement is inhumane.
There have been three previous cases in the UK courts where the UK has refused to extradite prisoners to the United States just because of the risk of them being sent to solitary confinement.
The Justice Department’s promises to the UK that Julian wouldn’t be sent to a supermax and wouldn’t be subject to a communications management unit or solitary confinement were empty promises. Because it's not up to the prosecutors to decide what prisoners go to what prisons and are held in what conditions. It's solely up to the Bureau of Prisons.
The British seemed to have bought that.
I spoke to Gabriel Shipton, Julian's brother, a couple of days ago, and he said that they expected to lose at this level, but that they were going to appeal to the Supreme Court and if they lose at the Supreme Court they’ll appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. And it's the European Court of Human Rights that has upheld the United Nations’ position, that solitary confinement in the US is a form of torture.
So the fight is not over yet.
The seal of the United States Department of Justice is seen on the building exterior of the United States Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 17, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.12.2021
US Wins Appeal to Extradite Assange
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If the fight were to end in the way a lot of people are worried it might with Assange being extradited to the US, where might he be expected to go and what conditions could he expect?
John Kiriakou: There really is no good news there. Because Julian is a public figure and because he has been charged with national security crimes, the Bureau of Prisons is going to make an argument to keep him in a medium or high-security prison. And even then in a medium or high, they’ll further argue that he should be in a communications management unit.
This will undoubtedly come at the request of the CIA.
Because in a communications management unit you just are not free to speak to the public. You can't engage with journalists, your phone calls are monitored in real-time, your incoming and outgoing mail is monitored unlike with most other prisoners in the system. They will make it that he can't communicate with anybody.
With that said, his [Julian’s] family said that public opinion is truly turning in his favor in Australia. The leadership of the Labour Party has come out and said that Julian should be freed and allowed to return to Australia.
Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hold placards as they gather outside the Royal Courts of Justice, in London, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, ahead of next week's extradition case appeal.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.12.2021
US Wins Appeal to Extradite Assange
Australia Must Show US It Won't Tolerate Assange Being Treated This Way, Lawyer Says
There’s talk in the media that part of the deal that the United Stated will eventually negotiate with the UK for deportation is that they’ll try him here, convict him and send him to Australia. So there is always a possibility that he can be released once he gets to Australia.
But the question that the family has is will he survive long enough to make it to Australia?
John Kiriakou: He’s mentally fragile because he’s essentially been in solitary confinement since 2012. We know he suffers from autism, we know he suffers from profound depression. And what? Are we going to rely on the Bureau of Prisons to keep him safe? Come on, that’s not how it works.
What does this court decision mean for journalism?
John Kiriakou: That's the big question, that's the big issue. It's so disappointing that the likes of the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times are not coming out in support of Julian. This would be the first time that the publisher of classified information has been targeted in an espionage act case. WaPo, NYT, and WSJ publish classified information every single day. That’s what their job is! That's how they break stories.
Now sometimes those classified leaks are authorized, but wrong is wrong! If you’re going to prosecute one you have to prosecute the other.
So if Julian is successfully prosecuted, the logical next step is to prosecute national security journalists from mainstream outlets. And then that’s a slippery slope down the Constitution.
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