Juan Gris Portrait of Pablo Picasso 1912
Russia appears to have “liberated” Mariupol, but not -yet- the Azovstal complex.
Matt Walsh: pre-mummification
Matt Walsh nails it… pic.twitter.com/ssmZjMNr6y
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2022) April 21, 2022
“Sarmat could carry a payload capable of wiping out a landmass “the size of Texas or France..”
• Russia Test Fires ‘Satan 2’ Missile Amid Ukraine War (Celente)
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday the successful test launch of its new Sarmat superheavy Intercontinental Ballistic Missile that can reportedly deploy 10 or more nuclear warheads on each missile. Putin used the launch as a warning for “external threats and provide food for thought for those who, in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country,” Reuters reported. Western analysts have called the missile “Satan 2.” The design is intended to evade anti-missile systems and can reportedly hit any target on earth. The missile was called the world’s most powerful and with the longest range. The missile was launched from Plesetsk cosmodrome, in Russia’s northwest, and traveled about 3,2000 miles to the Kamchatka peninsula.
In 2018, Putin said the Sarmat would render even to most advanced missile systems useless. “No kind of, not even future missile defense systems will offer any trouble to the Russian rocket complex, Sarmat.” The Heritage Foundation’s 2021 Index of U.S. Military Strength said “Russia remains the primary threat to American interests in Europe and is the most pressing threat to the United States,” describing Russia as “aggressive in its behavior and formidable in its growing capabilities.” Congressional Research Service wrote on 21 March 2022: “Relations between the United States and Russia have shifted over time—sometimes reassuring and sometimes concerning—yet most experts agree that Russia is the only nation that poses, through its arsenal of nuclear weapons, an existential threat to the United States.”
“Reports indicate that the next-generation Sarmat can carry up to 15 warheads, along with penetration aids, and potentially several Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles. Russia began testing the Sarmat missile in 2016. Putin noted that Sarmat could attack targets by flying over both the North and South Poles, evading detection by radars seeking missiles flying in an expected trajectory over the North Pole. Sarmat could carry a payload capable of wiping out a landmass “the size of Texas or France,” according to a report by the Kremlin-aligned Sputnik news agency.” -CNBC
Russias latest ICBM can carry up to 10 heavy nuclear warheads on hypersonic glide vehicles. Impossible to intercept. Each one of these can wipe out millions of people and reach any target globally. The US playing war games with Russia is maximum stupidity. pic.twitter.com/ZeGQyGeBBc
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) April 21, 2022
• Zelensky: If Ukraine Had Access To More Weapons, War Would Already Be Won (NYP)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he believes the war against Russia would have already been won if Western allies including the US and NATO had sent more weapons to arm Ukraine. “If we had access to all the weapons we need, which our partners have and which are comparable to the weapons used by the Russian Federation, we would have already ended this war,” Zelensky said in a video address Tuesday evening, the Times of London reported. “We would have already restored peace and liberated our territory from the occupiers, because the superiority of the Ukrainian military in tactics and wisdom is quite obvious.”
Since the invasion began on Feb. 24, Zelensky has repeatedly asked the US and NATO for increased military aid and action, such as imposing a no-fly-zone over Ukraine — a move Western nations have avoided taking. Instead, the US in particular has repeatedly imposed sanctions against varying Russian oligarchs, businesses, banks, as well as President Vladimir Putin and members of his family. President Biden has also offered up packages of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, most recently approving an $800 million package last week — which includes helicopters, artillery and ammunition.
Still, Zelensky is looking for the West to do more. “It is unfair that Ukraine is still forced to ask for what its partners have been storing somewhere for years. If they have the weapons that Ukraine needs here, need more, if they have the ammunition that we need here and now, it is their moral duty first of all, to help protect freedom,” he said. “Help save the lives of thousands of Ukrainians.” Zelensky went on to claim that any delay in additional aid “gives the occupiers an opportunity to kill more Ukrainians.” Leading up to the invasion and since it began, the Biden administration has been slammed by Republicans and Democrats alike for not supplying Ukraine with more military aid, such as MiG-29 jet fighters.
“..each and every nation at this time that has in any way violated the above provisions, which includes the United States, is not entitled under its provisions to anything..”
• NATO Is Invalid And The Nations In It Deserve What They Get (Denninger)
Everyone wishes to argue “Article 5” of the NATO treaty, which is the mutual-defense pact. You get attacked and we all get attacked. Ok. What does Article I say? “The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.” Shipping arms into an area where armed conflict is either occurring or threatening to occur, where the destination is NOT a NATO member and thus is NOT subject to NATO’s mutual defense obligations is a clear violation of Article I. It is escalatory, it is a threat to use force or enables the actual use of force, and thus is a clear violation of Article I.
How about Article 8? “Each Party declares that none of the international engagements now in force between it and any other of the Parties or any third State is in conflict with the provisions of this Treaty, and undertakes not to enter into any international engagement in conflict with this Treaty.” Providing arms to a belligerent not a member of NATO violates this provision in that it can cause a mutual defense obligation to arise that would otherwise not. Therefore NATO members are obligated to stay out of non-member conflicts except with the unanimous consent of all members. Intervening in a non-member’s conflict, in short, by other than unanimous consent is a violation of the treaty.
How about Article 11? “This Treaty shall be ratified and its provisions carried out by the Parties in accordance with their respective constitutional processes. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited as soon as possible with the Government of the United States of America, which will notify all the other signatories of each deposit. The Treaty shall enter into force between the States which have ratified it as soon as the ratifications of the majority of the signatories, including the ratifications of Belgium, Canada, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, have been deposited and shall come into effect with respect to other States on the date of the deposit of their ratifications. (3)”
For the United States to engage in the elements of a proxy war, which it did at Maidan and now through the provision of arms without a declaration of said war by Congress is a direct violation of the US Constitution and thus a violation of the treaty. Fraud vitiates all agreements. Therefore no nation is obligated under any other provision of the NATO Treaty and each and every nation at this time that has in any way violated the above provisions, which includes the United States, is not entitled under its provisions to anything, including mutual defense under Article 5.
Stating the obvious, which is disappearing at the horizon.
• Jeremy Corbyn Calls For End To NATO To Bring World Peace (GBNews)
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has suggested military alliances like Nato could build up “greater danger” in the world and should ultimately be disbanded. Mr Corbyn acknowledged the transatlantic alliance was not going to be scrapped immediately but added that people should “look at the process that could happen at the end of the Ukraine war”. He said he did not blame NATO for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine but questioned: “Do military alliances bring peace?” The Islington North MP said he wanted to see “some kind of much deeper security discussion, as indeed Nato was having a security discussion with Russia until last year”.
Mr Corbyn, a long-standing critic of NATO, told Times Radio: “I would want to see a world where we start to ultimately disband all military alliances. “The issue has to be what’s the best way of bringing about peace in the future? Is it by more alliances? Is it by more military build-up? “Or is it by stopping the war in Ukraine and the other wars… that are going on at the present time, which are also killing a very large number of people? “And ask yourself the question, do military alliances bring peace? Or do they actually encourage each other and build up to a greater danger? “I don’t blame NATO for the fact that Russia has invaded Ukraine, what I say is look at the thing historically, and look at the process that could happen at the end of the Ukraine war.”
Yeah, why not blame them too?!
• Red Cross Denies Kyiv’s Accusation Of Working ‘In Concert’ With Moscow (Y!)
A senior Kyiv official on Wednesday accused the International Committee of the Red Cross of working “in concert” with Russia in Ukraine, a charge the organisation denied. Ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova decried ICRC’s announcement last month that it was planning to open a branch in Russia’s southern Rostov region to help Ukrainian refugees, who, Kyiv says, have been forcibly deported to Russia. “The International Red Cross is not fulfilling its mandate, I am certain of that,” Denisova said on Ukrainian television Wednesday after meeting with the head of the ICRC’s Ukrainian branch. Citing data from the United Nations, Denisova said that some 550,000 Ukrainians, including 121,000 children, have been taken to Russia during the course of the war, but Kyiv has no information on who these people are and where they are being kept.
“Where are they? In filtration camps? In temporary facilities?” Denisova asked. The official said she had asked both her Russian counterpart Tatyana Moskalkova and the ICRC for help in getting information on these refugees so that Ukraine could facilitate their return home, but had received “zero answer from her or from the Red Cross”. Asked by the TV anchor whether Denisova suspected that the Red Cross was working “in concert” with Russia, Denisova replied: “Yes, I suspect they are.” The ICRC strongly rejected Kyiv’s accusations. “The ICRC does not ever help organize or carry out forced evacuations. We would not support any operation that would go against people’s will and international law,” the organisation said in a statement to AFP.
The global balance is shifting.
• Chinese Defense Minister Warns Pentagon Chief In 1st Call (ZH)
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held a call with his Chinese counterpart, Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, wherein Wei conveyed a warning that no one can change Taiwan’s status as part of China. The Wednesday phone call was the first that the two defense leaders have held. Wei informed Austin that “If the Taiwan issue were not handled properly, it would have a damaging impact on Sino-US relations,” according to Reuters. The call was intended as a follow-up between last month’s virtual meeting between presidents Biden and Xi, wherein Biden warned over China’s deepening cooperation with Russia it executes its war against Ukraine.
A Pentagon official later said the Austin emphasized that the US will continue to adhere to the ‘One China’ status quo policy, which is the typical response from Washington officials anytime Beijing warns over US officials stoking the pro-independence movement on the democratic-run island. Chinese state-run English language Global Times further described the importance of the call as one of Beijing conveying its unwavering resolve to Washington on the Taiwan issue. GT writes that Wei stressed “the importance of the Taiwan question, while demanding the US to stop its military provocations at sea, and not to throw mud or threaten China with the Ukraine issue.”
Further, “Wei stated a solemn position over the Taiwan question, as he stressed that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and this is a fact and a status quo no one can change.” Without doubt part of the “provocations” Beijing has in mind is that the US has been increasingly sending high-level officials to Taipei. In the latest example, just a week ago: “A delegation of United States lawmakers led by vocal China critics Bob Menendez and Lindsey Graham arrived in Taiwan on Thursday for a two-day trip as Beijing threatened “strong measures” in response. The group of six US legislators is making the latest in a string of visits by foreign politicians to Taiwan in defiance of Beijing’s efforts to isolate the island nation.”
“The scale of simultaneous user data-processing is not financially viable without the U.S government subsidizing it.”
• Former Intel Officials Want Efforts to Break Up Big Tech Stopped (CTH)
Of course, the Fourth Branch of Government would want to get the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence involved. The SSCI created all of the mechanisms to facilitate the existence of the Fourth Branch of Government. However, I would take the issue deeper…. and ask readers to see what really worries the intelligence apparatus about the potential breakup of Big Tech. These are the intelligence people who constructed the model for Jack’s Magic Coffee Shop. This public-private partnership between the cyber division of the intelligence apparatus and Big Tech social media is where the free coffee comes from. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and even Google itself, are financially and operationally dependent on the scale of the data processing system that is run by the U.S. government.
The capacity of each of the big social media companies to exist, operate and be financially viable, is dependent on the backbone of interconnected data networking, and massive data processing. The scale of simultaneous user data-processing is not financially viable without the U.S government subsidizing it. That’s the free coffee that cannot be duplicated in the private sector by any competing social media company. That’s the cost and scale system behind the partnership that permits Big Tech to operate. Ultimately, this is what the intelligence apparatus needs to keep hidden from the American (and global) public. The biggest of the Big DATA processing is done through a public-private collaboration between Big Tech and Big Government/Intel.
Any private sector entity who attempts to create, or duplicate the scale of social media runs into this cost issue. It is just too expensive to operate a competing coffee shop without the free coffee. That’s why the coffee providers are lined up against Elon Musk’s attempt to buy Twitter. The ramifications of the public discovering Facebook and Twitter social media are only possible with subsidy from government tech architecture are massive. Essentially, the U.S. government is in control of our social media networking.
Always found this a very weird story.
“This data, Sussmann claimed, “demonstrated that Trump and/or his associates were using supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones in the vicinity of the White House and other locations.”
• Democrats Sicced The CIA On Their Domestic Enemy, The President (Fed.)
Newly released CIA memoranda suggest the tech gurus behind the Alfa Bank hoax also tracked Donald Trump’s movements to devise another collusion conspiracy theory. While smaller in scale than other aspects of Spygate, the Yotaphone hoax represents an equally serious scandal because it involved both the mining of proprietary information and sensitive data from the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and the apparent surveillance of Trump’s physical movements. When Special Counsel John Durham charged former Hillary Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann in September 2021, the indictment focused on the Alfa Bank hoax that Sussmann, tech executive Rodney Joffe, and other cybersecurity experts had crafted. The indictment detailed how Joffe and other tech experts had allegedly mined data and developed “white papers” that deceptively created the impression that Trump had maintained a secret communication network with the Russia-based Alfa Bank.
Then, allegedly on behalf of the Clinton campaign and Joffe, Sussmann provided the Alfa Bank material to the media and to the FBI’s general counsel at the time, James Baker, with Sussmann falsely telling Baker he was sharing the “intel” on his own and not on behalf of any client. That alleged lie formed the basis for the one count, Section 1001 false statement charge against Sussmann. The 27-page indictment, however, also spoke of Sussmann sharing “updated allegations” on February 9, 2017, to another U.S. government agency, namely the CIA, while allegedly repeating the same false claim that he was not sharing the “intel” on behalf of any client. From the framing of the indictment, it appeared that what Sussmann had shared with the CIA concerned the same Alfa-Bank data provided to the FBI several months earlier, albeit updated.
But then two months ago, as part of the government’s “Motion to Inquire Into Potential Conflicts of Interest,” Durham’s team revealed for the first time that when Sussmann met with the CIA in early 2017, he provided agents with internet data beyond the Alfa Bank conspiracy theory. This data, Sussmann claimed, “demonstrated that Trump and/or his associates were using supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones in the vicinity of the White House and other locations.” The “supposedly rare, Russian-made wireless phones” were “Yotaphones.” Following Durham’s filing of the conflicts of interest motion, it appeared Sussmann bore responsibility for peddling a second conspiracy theory to the CIA. But the details contained in the government’s motion proved insufficient to understand the Yotaphone angle to Spygate. That all changed on Friday, when the special counsel filed two CIA memoranda memorializing what Sussmann said about the Yotaphones and the data Joffe and his tech experts had compiled.
“On Oct. 31, 2016, Clinton wrote on Twitter: “Donald Trump has a secret server … It was set up to communicate privately with a Putin-tied Russian bank.”
• Sussmann Doesn’t Want Clinton Tweet Admitted in Durham Case (ET)
The lawyer charged with hiding his work for the Clinton campaign from the FBI filed a motion requesting that special counsel John Durham not be able to use a Hillary Clinton Twitter post that made reference to alleged Trump–Russia collusion claims. Durham wrote last week that he wanted an October 2016 Twitter post from the Clinton campaign that promoted an allegation that there was a secret backchannel between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank. The campaign’s lawyer, Michael Sussmann, was charged last year with lying to the FBI by allegedly stating that he wasn’t working on behalf of any client when he pushed the Trump-Russian bank claim to then-FBI General Counsel James Baker.
On Oct. 31, 2016, Clinton wrote on Twitter: “Donald Trump has a secret server … It was set up to communicate privately with a Putin-tied Russian bank.” She later wrote that “computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.” The claims about the alleged secret backchannel between the bank, reportedly identified as Alfa Bank, and former President Donald Trump’s business were ultimately refuted by the FBI. Durham also sought to preserve a Twitter post from Clinton’s campaign that included a lengthy statement from former adviser Jake Sullivan, who now works as President Joe Biden’s national security adviser. “This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow,” Sullivan claimed. “This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia.”
Last week, Durham argued that these Twitter posts are material because Sussmann “had communicated with the media and provided them with the Russian Bank-1 data and allegations” before articles on the claims were published. He also kept Clinton campaign staff “apprised of his efforts” while they “communicated with the Clinton Campaign’s leadership about potential media coverage of these issues.” But Sussmann’s lawyers over the past weekend, in court, wrote that the Clinton campaign’s Twitter posts about the matter, including the Sullivan one, should not be preserved for Sussmann’s trial. “The Tweet, which was posted on October 31, 2016, does not reveal anything about Mr. Sussmann’s state of mind over a month earlier, when he purportedly made the alleged false statement,” his attorneys wrote. “There is no evidence that Mr. Sussmann’s meeting with Mr. Baker had anything to do with the Clinton Campaign’s broader media strategy.”
How nervous are they?
• ‘Horrifying Amount Of Information’ Recovered From Biden Laptop (OAN)
Journalist and whistleblower Jack Maxey says he may have recovered “a horrifying amount of information” previously thought to have been erased from Hunter Biden’s laptop. One America’s John Hines has more from Washington.
• Inside The New Right (Vanity Fair)
NatCon, as this conference is known, has grown into a big-tent gathering for a whole range of people who want to push the American right in a more economically populist, culturally conservative, assertively nationalist direction. It draws everyone from Israel hawks to fusty paleocon professors to mainstream figures like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. But most of the media attention that the conference attracts focuses on a cohort of rosy young blazer-wearing activists and writers—a crop of people representing the American right’s “radical young intellectuals,” as a headline in The New Republic would soon put it, or conservatism’s “terrifying future,” as David Brooks called them in The Atlantic.
But the people these pieces describe, who made up most of the partygoers around me, were only the most buttoned-up seam of a much larger and stranger political ferment, burbling up mainly within America’s young and well-educated elite, part of an intra-media class info-war. The podcasters, bro-ish anonymous Twitter posters, online philosophers, artists, and amorphous scenesters in this world are variously known as “dissidents,” “neo-reactionaries,” “post-leftists,” or the “heterodox” fringe—though they’re all often grouped for convenience under the heading of America’s New Right. They have a wildly diverse set of political backgrounds, with influences ranging from 17th-century Jacobite royalists to Marxist cultural critics to so-called reactionary feminists to the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, whom they sometimes refer to with semi-ironic affection as Uncle Ted.
Which is to say that this New Right is not a part of the conservative movement as most people in America would understand it. It’s better described as a tangled set of frameworks for critiquing the systems of power and propaganda that most people reading this probably think of as “the way the world is.” And one point shapes all of it: It is a project to overthrow the thrust of progress, at least such as liberals understand the word. This worldview, these worldviews, run counter to the American narrative of the last century—that economic growth and technological innovation are inevitably leading us toward a better future. It’s a position that has become quietly edgy and cool in new tech outposts like Miami and Austin, and in downtown Manhattan, where New Right–ish politics are in, and signifiers like a demure cross necklace have become markers of a transgressive chic. No one is leading this movement, but it does have key figures.
One is Peter Thiel, the billionaire who helped fund NatCon and who had just given the conference’s opening address. Thiel has also funded things like the edgelordy and post-left–inflected New People’s Cinema film festival, which ended its weeklong run of parties and screenings in Manhattan just a few days before NatCon began. He’s long been a big donor to Republican political candidates, but in recent years Thiel has grown increasingly involved in the politics of this younger and weirder world—becoming something like a nefarious godfather or a genial rich uncle, depending on your perspective. Podcasters and art-world figures now joke about their hope to get so-called Thielbucks. His most significant recent outlays have been to two young Senate candidates who are deeply enmeshed in this scene and influenced by its intellectual currents: Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance, running for the Republican nomination in Ohio, and Blake Masters in Arizona.
Doesn’t feel bitter.
• Le Pen, Macron In Bitter Clash Ahead Of Tight French Election (Y!)
French President Emmanuel Macron and far-right rival Marine Le Pen on Wednesday clashed bitterly over relations with Russia and the Islamic headscarf as they sought to sway undecided voters in an acrimonious debate four days ahead of presidential elections. France faces a stark choice in Sunday’s second-round run-off between the centrist Macron and the anti-immigration Le Pen, who will seek to become the country’s first far-right head of state in an outcome that would send shockwaves around Europe. There was little cordiality in the bruising three-hour live televised debate, with Macron repeatedly seeking to land punches on Le Pen over her record, while she sought to keep the focus on the government’s performance.
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine overshadowing the campaign, Macron angrily zeroed in on a loan Le Pen’s party had taken from a Czech-Russian bank ahead of her 2017 election campaign. “You are dependent on the Russian government and you are dependent on Mr (Russian President Vladimir) Putin,” Macron said. “When you speak to Russia you are speaking to your banker.” Macron also referred to Le Pen’s past recognition of Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. “Why did you do this?” he asked. Le Pen replied that she was “an absolutely and totally free woman”, arguing that her party had only taken that loan as it could not find financing in France where banks refused to lend to her.
Macron adopted a variety of poses to express scepticism at her arguments, raising his eyebrows, leaning his chin on his fists and lamenting in apparent bewilderment “Madame Le Pen… Madame Le Pen!” The most explosive clash came when Le Pen confirmed she was sticking to her controversial policy of banning the wearing of the Islamic headscarf by women in public, describing it as a “uniform imposed by Islamists”. Macron responded: “You are going to cause a civil war if you do that. I say this sincerely.”
How long until the entire housing market goes poof?
• US Mortgage Interest Rates Reach a 12 Year High (R.)
The average interest rate on the most popular U.S. home loan climbed to a 12 year high last week and fewer homebuyers sought properties in a sign that the Federal Reserve’s aim of cooling the housing market may be beginning to have an impact, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) showed on Wednesday. The average contract rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 5.20% in the week ended April 15 from 5.13% a week earlier, the MBA survey showed. It has risen 2 percentage points from one year ago.
The bulk of the run up, however, has occurred since the start of the year, causing the fastest climb in home-financing costs in decades as the Fed abandoned a cautious approach to raising its benchmark overnight lending rate in favor of swifter and more decisive action to bring down persistently high inflation. The central bank is also set to decide at its next meeting on May 3-4 to begin reducing its portfolio of $8.5 trillion of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, a stash of assets that had helped keep consumer borrowing costs – for mortgages in particular – low throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Those expectations for Fed tightening actions have led to a surge in Treasury yields as financial markets reacted. The yield on the 10-year note US10YT=RR, which acts as a benchmark for mortgage rates, is at its highest level since 2018.
Who cares about the law when they are in power?
• Assange Extradition Order Sent to Priti Patel (Lauria)
An order to extradite WikiLeaks‘ publisher Julian Assange was sent to British Home Secretary Priti Patel on Wednesday morning by Westminster Magistrate’s Court. The order came after the U.K. Supreme Court last month declined to hear Assange’s appeal of a High Court decision to allow the extradition to the United States to proceed. Patel now has four weeks to decide whether to send Assange to the U.S. to face espionage and computer intrusion charges for publishing prima facie evidence of U.S. war crimes that could land him behind bars for up to 175 years — an effective life sentence. Assange’s legal team can appeal to Patel during the next four weeks. After her decision is made Assange can then make a renewed appeal to the High Court if she opts to send him to the U.S.
Mark Summers QC, one of Assange’s lawyers, told Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, that while he was not permitted by rule to present “fresh evidence” at the present hearing, Assange’s legal team would make submissions to Patel on “fresh developments” in Assange’s case. Without elaborating, Summers said Patel would be sent “serious submissions on U.S. sentencing practices.” Among the new developments since the High Court hearing in October is a deterioration in Assange’s health after he suffered a mini stroke on the first day of that hearing. Assange initially won his extradition case in the magistrate’s court in January 2021 based on the high likelihood that his mental health would lead to his suicide in harsh prison conditions in the United States.
After the case was lost, the U.S. made diplomatic “assurances” to Britain that it would not put Assange in so-called Special Administrative Measures (SAMS), the most severe condition of isolation in the U.S. prison system. The U.S. also promised that Assange would be given adequate physical and mental health care. The U.S. then appealed. Based on those assurances alone, the High Court on Dec. 10, 2021 overturned the lower court’s decision to block extradition. But that decision was made after Assange had suffered a stroke during the first day of the two-day High Court hearing. The stroke was not made public until the day after the ruling.
That markedly changed the conditions upon which the decision was reached as one of the High Court judges made the distinction during the hearing that Assange was suffering only from a mental and not physical disability. The crucial question remains: when did the High Court learn about the stroke? If Patel decides to extradite and if Assange decides to appeal again to the High Court, his lawyers could also challenge parts of the lower court’s ruling on issues of press freedom and the political nature of the U.S. charges, which are not allowed in the U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty.
Not nearly enough people outside the court
UK court issues order to extradite Assange to US pic.twitter.com/DG7wx0QrNR
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2022) April 20, 2022
The threat appears much wider than just press freedom.
• Dark Day For Press Freedom As UK Court Orders Assange Extradition (Gosztola)
While the defense for Assange objected to District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s ruling on January 4, 2021, particularly as it related to issues of press freedom, they never had an appropriate opportunity to raise their objections. She denied the extradition request after determining it would be “oppressive” for mental health reasons. His attorneys would likely challenge many of Baraitser’s conclusions about Assange if Patel allowed the request. (Note: Baraitser is no longer a district judge at the Westminster Magistrates Court.) Assange is detained at Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh. He faces 18 charges brought against him by the US Justice Department, 17 of which are under the Espionage Act. All the charges relate to documents WikiLeaks released in 2010 and 2011, which were provided by US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
The prosecution makes Assange the first publisher to be charged under the 1917 law, and globally the case has been condemned by virtually all reputable civil liberties, human rights, and press freedom organizations. Patel and the Home Office support an expansion of the Official Secrets Laws in the UK, which Elmaazi reported “would expand possible imprisonment for leakers, recipients of leaks and secondary publishers–including journalists–from the current maximum of two years to as high as 14 years in prison.” The Home Office contends there is no longer much of a difference between “espionage and the most serious unauthorized disclosures.” That includes what Patel would call “onward disclosure.” The department treats journalism as an act capable of “far more serious damage” than traditional espionage.
In the UK, the Office for Security and Counterterrorism is a part of the Home Office. The division is responsible for MI5 (Britain’s FBI) and anti-terrorism police operations. Operation Pelican, the name for the pressure campaign to force Assange out of the Ecuador embassy in London, was supported by the Home Office. But as Declassified UK chief investigator Matt Kennard noted, the Home Office claims it does not “hold” any records containing details related to the operation, even though eight officials from the department were involved. Kennard also reported that Patel was on the advisory council for a right-wing group linked to the CIA called the Henry Jackson Society, which has attacked Assange in the press for over a decade.
Calvin gets 25c
Name this band
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