Friday, January 29, 2021

Biden Administration Declines Extradition in Harry Dunn Case: "Our decision in that regard was final"

The Biden administration wasted no time dealing with the matter of extradition in the Harry Dunn case. One day after SecState Blinken’s first phone call with his UK counterpart, the new State Department spokesman announced the Biden administration takes exactly the same position on that issue as the Trump administration did.

State spokesman Ned Price was delicate enough, or cagey enough, to put the message in past tense voice:
“We again offer our sincere condolences and sympathy to the Dunn family for the loss of their son. This was a tragic accident.”

“Since the tragic accident occurred, the United States has been closely engaged with the UK government and we have been transparent about our positions on legal and diplomatic matters concerning this accident. “The United States government has declined the United Kingdom's request for extradition of a US citizen involved in a tragic vehicle accident that occurred in the United Kingdom. Our decision in that regard was final.”

“At the time the accident occurred, and for the duration of her stay in the UK, the US citizen driver in this case had immunity from criminal jurisdiction.”

In effect, he said hey, the last guys in charge here refused to extradite, and they already said that was final, so what do you want from me?

The Mum did her part, repeating for the UK media what her advisor/pitchman told her:

“This statement from the State Department comes as no surprise,” Ms Charles said. "It is a repeat of exactly what they have said before as their public position on the case."

“The bottom line is that this is not what diplomatic immunity is to be used for between two friendly countries and the State Department knows that."

“Our spokesperson Radd Seiger is having conversations with officials in Washington and London, and remains absolutely confident that we will get justice for Harry."

“You do not get to kill someone and walk away no matter who you are and I maintain my direct appeal to President Biden and his new secretary of state Tony Blinken to do the right thing. It is the only way forward."

So, the family remains in denial, shaking off the announcement of the Biden administration's refusal to extradite as just some odd little thing that a minor employee happened to say. Their emotional appeal continues regardless. Well, of course the State Department spokesman would say that, the State Department has always said that. But, if Blinken and Biden would only listen to me cry, they’d find out what’s going on, and that would change everything. Complete denial. 
And, of course, it goes without saying that Professor Radd Seiger "remains absolutely confident“ about that stirring occasion when he saw 76 trombones leading the big parade.

Do the rubes actually believe it when he tells them he is having conversations with “officials” in Washington? He even pretends to have inside info about what Biden has or hasn’t seen about the case. Wow.

In related news about that lawsuit filed in a Virginia court against the U.S. citizen driver on behalf of the Dunn family, the court was due to hear a motion to dismiss today, but the judge in the case has rescheduled that hearing for February 3, 2021.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Most Head Shakingly Bad Thing of the Week

Gwyneth Paltrow’s vagina-scented candle explodes into flames causing an ‘inferno’ in a woman’s living room - The Sun

“The candle exploded and emitted huge flames, with bits flying everywhere ... I’ve never seen anything like it. The whole thing was ablaze and it was too hot to touch. There was an inferno in the room ... We eventually got it under control and threw it out the front door."

Monday, January 4, 2021

Assange Avoids Extradition, Pending Appeal by USG

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.