What if we don’t want him?

Breaking news overnight out of the UK:

LONDON — A British High Court ruled Friday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to the United States to face charges of violating the Espionage Act.

The 50-year-old Australian will remain in London’s Belmarsh prison, where he has been held since April 2019 after the Ecuadoran Embassy revoked his political asylum.

Assange’s lawyers probably will file a final appeal to the British Supreme Court, which could either reject hearing the case or take it — if the highest court sees in the appeal a point of law “of general public importance.” That process could take weeks or months.

The U.S. charges are for espionage related to the publication of files and documents in 2010. The U.S. won the extradition appeal by agreeing to certain conditions if Assange is brought to the U.S. to stand trial, including the following, according to CNN:

Assange would not be made the subject of “special administrative measures”; nor would he be held at a maximum security prison before or after trial. In addition, the US would “consent” to an application by Assange to be transferred to Australia to service his sentence (if convicted); and while in custody in the US, Assange would receive “appropriate clinical and psychological treatment.”

Assange’s lawyers claim he would be at high risk of suicide in a U.S. prison because he’d be subject to harsh treatment. I’m not sure what charges he’s being held on in the UK. Is it still for evading charges in Sweden, which have since been dropped?

I don’t know and don’t care enough to look it up, but one way or another, Assange has been locked up for years. When dragged out of the Ecuadoran embassy looking like a disheveled garden gnome, he certainly gave the impression of being unhinged.

Anyhoo, IIRC, the present U.S. charges were leveled by the Trump admin after the Obama admin had declined to pursue them on the grounds that the case could subject publishers to espionage charges. IMO, Obama made the right decision.

Do we really want to import this rat on the taxpayer dime? I’d rather see an indictment for colluding with Russia to rig the 2016 U.S. election if sufficient evidence exists for a charge.

Open thread.



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