That's our Julian Assange update theme, in honor of the whitest-skinned person ever to come from Australia. The first thing he should do once he's sprung is to get a massive dose of vitamin D, if you ask me.
The news today from the UK is that a judge has decided to release Assange rather than extradite him to the U.S., where she fears he might kill himself if confined in a U.S. prison.
In 2018, a British court refused to extradite Lauri Love, a hacker accused of penetrating U.S. government networks, because of the risk he would kill himself. In 2012 then-Home Secretary Theresa May blocked the extradition of Gary McKinnon, who was accused of breaking into U.S. military and space networks, because of the risk he would end his life. So there is a clear pattern here.
On all the substantive issues raised by the U.S. government against Assange, the judge actually agreed. She said that the alleged offenses go beyond "encouraging a journalist." For instance, Assange called for people to join the CIA so they could access confidential information for WikiLeaks, something the judge found to be "beyond investigative journalism."
The judge also said the right to free speech does not give anyone "unfettered discretion" to disclose any document they wish, and she rejected Assange's assertion of free speech laws noting that the difficulty with this argument is it vests in Assange the right to sacrifice the safety of individuals named in leaked documents, in the name of free speech. Such as the 50-some persons who sought asylum in the United States after being so named.
Moreover, the judge pointed out Assange’s eventual "indiscriminate" release of some 800,000 State Department cables, in contrast to his first, more responsible and much smaller, release of cables to news media outlets who published them with redactions.
Warming up to the subject, the judge noted that any hurt caused to Assange's family by his extradition "is nothing unusual in these kind of proceedings." Damn! I am liking this judge.
Regarding the U.S. judicial system, the judge said she does not accept it would be impossible to find twelve impartial jurors, or that the plea bargaining system was unjust, or that U.S. prosecutors would prosecute Assange out of pure vengeance. She even noted that President Trump has publicly praised Assange.
So, then, what's her objection to extradition?
Only that Assange has a frail mental condition. She accepted testimony that Assange suffers from autism and clinical depression, and is at risk of self-harm. If confined in a U.S. prison under special administrative measures, Assange has the intellect and determination to get around suicide prevention measures, she thinks. Therefore, "extradition would be oppressive by reason of Assange’s mental health."
From the AP story:
Assange, who sat quietly in the dock at London’s Central Criminal Court for the ruling, wiped his brow as the decision was announced. His partner Stella Moris, with whom he has two young sons, wept.
Outside court, Moris said the ruling was “the first step towards justice,” but it was not yet time to celebrate.
“I had hoped that today would be the day that Julian would come home,” she said. “Today is not that day, but that day will come soon.”
“Mr. President, tear down these prison walls,” she said. “Let our little boys have their father.”
Ms. Moris is one of Assange’s lawyers and also his jailhouse squeeze, now age 37 with two little kids that he fathered during his years of self-imposed exile in London's Ecuadorian Embassy. Specifically, while in a tent set up inside his room in the embassy in order to avoid the secret cameras that the lovebirds assumed must have been trained on Assange by the CIA.
Ms. Moris says that by 2017 the pair were "secretly engaged,” and that Assange even proposed to her, kind of, via a virtual reality experience.
She is quite sure Assange wants to marry her. Good luck with that, but based on everything I've read about him, Assange does not seem the family-man domestic type.
It is not rare for even more or less normal women to marry convicts. Google “Hybristophilia.”
But Assange is only two weeks away from freedom, unless the USG's appeal of today's decision succeeds, which it probably won't. Like all famous outlaws, he has surely received tons of female fan mail. Once he’s out of his British prison, Assange will have a vastly expanded range of available females. Do you see marriage in that future? I don't.
Whereas, if he were to be extradited, well, the U.S. federal prison system provides many benefits to inmates who wish to marry, including a minimum of four visiting hours per month. (No conjugal visits, however.)
Think about it, Ms. Moris.