Following seven years of imprisonment at the Ecuadorian embassy fighting US extradition, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks behind bars for an entirely bogus bail charge.

Sky News reporter Jordan Milne live-tweeted events as they unfolded, reporting that Assange’s defense argued that his fears of rendition and torture at the hands of the US government were well-founded. His life in the Ecuadorian embassy and the physical and psychological detriments which came with it were described, including deteriorated health and depression. The judge rejected his entire defense and delivered nearly the harshest sentence possible.

“Your continued residence in the Embassy has necessitated a concentration of resources, and expenditure of £16 million of taxpayers’ money in ensuring that when you did leave, you were brought to justice,” Judge Deborah Taylor told Assange upon his sentencing.

This is bullshit. Assange’s residency at the embassy never cost taxpayers a penny; it was the British government’s decision to pour money into patrolling the embassy around the clock with police who had orders to arrest Assange on sight over a petty bail charge. It was the British government’s decision to persuade the Swedish government not to drop its investigation in 2013 so that it could pursue the agenda to arrest Assange for US extradition. Assange’s residency didn’t cost British taxpayers anything; the agenda to imprison and extradite a journalist for publishing facts is what cost taxpayers £16 million. There is one reason and one reason only that the British government saw fit to spend £16 million of taxpayers’ money patrolling that embassy, and it wasn’t because they really, really hate bail violations.

No, the one and only reason the UK government found it reasonable to invest £16 million in patrolling the Ecuadorian embassy is because it had an agenda to help the US war machine punish someone who embarrassed it. And now the cost of that UK government agenda is being used to justify nearly a year behind bars after years of arbitrary detention.

“Julian Assange’s sentence, for seeking and receiving asylum, is twice as much as the sentencing guidelines,” WikiLeaks tweeted. “The so-called speedboat killer, convicted of manslaughter, was only sentenced to six months for failing to appear in court.”

The bail charge itself is entirely illegitimate. As scholar and WikiLeaks advocate Simon Floth explains, under British law bail is only legally breached if there’s a failure to meet bail “without reasonable cause”, which the human right to seek asylum certainly is. The UK itself was clearly unconvinced of its own authority to charge someone who was under political asylum for jumping bail, waiting a full nine days before issuing an arrest warrant in 2012.

After the Swedish government decided to drop its sexual assault investigation in 2017 without issuing any charges, Assange’s legal team attempted last year to get the warrant dropped. The judge in that case, Emma Arbuthnot, just happens to be married to former Tory junior Defence Minister and government whip James Arbuthnot, who served as director of Security Intelligence Consultancy SC Strategy Ltd with a former head of MI6. Arbuthnot denied Assange’s request with extreme vitriol, despite his argument that British law does have provisions which allow for the time he’d already served under house arrest to count toward far more time than would be served for violating bail.

All this of course pales in comparison to the far more grave threat Assange faces tomorrow, when his hearing for US extradition begins.

The US charge accompanying Assange’s extradition request is even more bogus than the bail charge; a re-interpretation of standard journalistic practices like source protection to create a charge which the Obama administration declined to prosecute based on the same evidence for fear of endangering press freedoms. Assange is charged with “conspiring” to help Chelsea Manning avoid detection while leaking evidence of US war crimes and malfeasance, which is something any investigative journalist who publishes leaks would do. The charge is a bunch of words designed to twist standard journalistic practices into just enough of a crime to get Assange onto US soil for “non-political” reasons.

As Pentagon Papers lawyer James Goodale explains, “Under the U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty, one cannot be extradited from the United Kingdom if the extradition is for ‘political purposes.’” Once he’s on US soil, far more serious charges may be added that are of a very political nature indeed. If that happens, Assange will not be spending the five years behind bars for computer offenses that his current charge allows, he’ll be spending decades.

“I don’t think Julian is looking at five years in prison, I think he’s probably looking at 50 years in prison,” said CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, adding, “I think that there are many more charges to be considered for Julian. I would expect a superseding indictment, possibly to include espionage charges.”

There is simply no such thing as a fair national security trial in the Eastern District of Virginia, which is where Assange will be heading if extradited to the US.

“No national security defendant has ever won a case in the EDVA,” Kiriakou told RT upon Assange’s arrest. “In my case, I asked Judge Brinkema to declassify 70 documents that I needed to defend myself. She denied all 70 documents. And so I had literally no defense for myself and was forced to take a plea.”

“He will not, he cannot get a fair trial,” Kiriakou said on a Unity4J vigil when Assange was still at the embassy. “It’s impossible, because the deck is stacked. And everybody knows what’s gonna happen if he comes back to the Eastern District of Virginia. This is the same advice I gave Ed Snowden: don’t come home, because you can’t get a fair trial here. Julian doesn’t have the choice, and that’s what frightens me even more.”

This is why it’s imperative for everyone who stands for truth, press freedoms or government accountability to oppose this extradition request tooth and claw, wherever they’re at in the world. Australians should be pushing their government to intercede against US extradition, Britons should be doing the same, and Americans should be pushing their government not to extradite. It’s too late to keep Assange from being pried loose from the embassy and imprisoned by the UK, so now we need to put all our energy into keeping Assange out of the clutches of the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning.

Go to demonstrations, make phone calls to your local representatives, donate to get posters spread around Australia, write letters to the editor, and share information about what’s going on with your friends and family and anyone you can. We can’t rely on the legal system to sort this one out, because, as we’ve seen today, the legal system can very easily be manipulated to serve the interests of the powerful.


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41 responses to “Assange Sentenced 50 Weeks For Bogus Bail Charge”

  1. Exactly right; he did not cause the stupid British government to spend any money. They made the moronic choice to spend the money against a non-violent person for the crime of being offered protection, which was later revoked by that Ecuadoran stooge that’s now the country’s “leader”. The British government, in its infinite stupidity, made the arrest against a non-citizen. And they did so by invading another nation via their embassy.

    Although I don’t have any hope the events will turn this way, I would love to see the following happen:
    1. President Trump issues a general pardon in favor of Julian Assange;
    2. WikiLeaks exposes everything the British MI6 spy agency did against Trump leading up to and after his election;
    3. This causes the other parts of the Five Eyes (Australia, Canada, and New Zealand) to reveal their own complicity, under threat of the United States declaring war against them;
    4. The Five Eyes gets disbanded;
    5. The United States stops their War Against Journalism.

    There! Five basic actions that I want to see happen out of this disaster.

  2. Jimmy Roberts Avatar
    Jimmy Roberts

    Bravo Caitlin!! Marvellous article. Keep up the good work. The campaign to secure Julian Assange’s release is the cause-celebre of our times. It is the Dreyfus Case of the 21st Century, only with heightened world political significance. It is also a litmus test of all political parties, tendencies, and organisations the world over. UNCONDITIONAL support must be given to Assange, Manning, and all their co-accused. They are all victims of US imperialism, and its venal army of liars, arse-lickers, lackeys, and marionettes.

    Only the braindead, the politically corrupt, or the venal can possibly accept the smears aimed at Assange. They are a transparently obvious CIA cover story. Character assassination is part of the CIA manual of dirty tricks. It is an essential part of its dark arts when confronting a political opponent, especially one who cannot be bullied or bribed like Assange (and Manning).

    Vincit veritas!! Free Julian Assange is the cry on the lips of the flower of humanity. It signals you are on the side of justice, virtue, peace, human rights, and the forward progression of society so that it can be freed from the clutches of US Warmongers, plutocrats, capitalists, pathological liars, arms salesmen, and other merchants of death, who will drag us all into a nuclear holocaust if they are not stopped and overthrown.

  3. I wonder which court is less fair: the “intelligence court” in Virginia or the Arbuthnot court? My guess is the “intelligence court”. Maybe the UN or the EU human rights court can provide a check on British legal abuses.

  4. The “law” in Britain and the USA is nothing but a cruel farce. The courts in these countries are all kangaroo courts designed for oppression.

  5. Well, it sure appears that the system has crossed all their t’s and dotted all their i’s to systematically incarcerate Assange for the crime of effectively practicing high integrity journalism. It continues to make a mockery of my high school “civics” classes. I can hardly imagine the horror of being a well intentioned teacher presently forced to laud our system of “equal justice before the law” knowing full well that they are an evil tool propagandizing innocent young minds with bullshit lies.

  6. “Your continued residence in the Embassy has necessitated a concentration of resources, and expenditure of £16 million of taxpayers’ money in ensuring that when you did leave, you were brought to justice,” Judge Deborah Taylor told Assange upon his sentencing.

    Justice would have been better served by freeing Assange on that basis alone – thereby not incurring another year of pulic money to detain him. There is no justice in the uk any longer – when truth is gaoled then all we have left is a criminal cabal

  7. shit caitlin, i too have tried to post two of your latest articles and am not able to do it. i can’t believe fb is doing this. (i will write them and complain.) really scarey times. thank you for all that you are doing.

  8. The latest VIPS memo describes political aspects of Assange’s treatment by the U.S. Government….which is just like the USG’s treatment of national security whistleblowers.

  9. Assange is being used as a warning to We the People. Step out of line and this is what will happen to you.
    We are being ruled by Sociopaths and Psychopaths.

    Here in the U.S. I feel our last chance for real change, Political and Environmental, is to Elect Bernie Sanders President. If this does not happen, I fear all is lost.

    Australia is a small country and somewhat isolated. Perhaps your people can organize and force your leaders to bring Assange home. This isn’t just about Assange.

    It is about Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech. All over the world.

  10. The US and UK are now nations of ad hoc law — politicians decide what crimes and punishments will be, regardless of what laws are “on the books” or precedent. The US wants its vassal state UK to punish Assange, so that’s what the UK does.

  11. Time for sanctions against the US and The UK. Freeze their assets in Australia and then pay 16 million pounds to Julian as some part compensation to him and his family for the disgusting UK treatment.

  12. Kerry Johnson Avatar
    Kerry Johnson

    I tried to post two of your articles to Facebook, and both failed (though, I WAS able to post things from other sources). FYI

  13. MY CONCERN: A delaying tactic so the Julian Assange story moves to the back page (if at all). Plus it gives the Criminal Politicians ample time to totally ruin Julian’s health and/or reduce him chemically to something akin to an idiot. Sad beyond words.

  14. Orlando Valerino Avatar
    Orlando Valerino

    “clutches of the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning.”

    Odd how he went in as Bradley Manning and after 7 years of physical and psychological torture and solitary confinement, she is released as Chelsea Manning and his/her supposed gender identity disorder revelation came out during his defense. A defense carried by military lawyers who are still loyal to the very same military and government than Manning was accused of betraying.

    Odd how Julian Assange had some relationship with Pamela Anderson, the only person who saw him face to face on a regular basis throughout his time at the embassy even when his lawyers couldn’t.

    1. That’s just objectively false. There was never a time when Anderson was able to visit Assange and his lawyers weren’t. There was however a long stretch where only his lawyers were able to visit him. Not sure what point you think you’re making with the Manning gibberish.

      1. On Oct 18th 2016: Pamela Anderson visits Assange and feeds him a vegan sandwich

        On Nov 12th: 2016 Assange meets with Swedish prosecutor regarding rape allegations, lawyers barred from attending, meeting conducted via an Ecuadorian ambassador (not face to face)

        1. Claiming that Anderson brought him a sandwich at one time and then claiming his Swedish lawyer was barred from attending a meeting with a Swedish prosecutor at a different time in no way substantiates your claim that Anderson had privileged access to Assange that his lawyers lacked for any period of time.

      2. Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Per Samuelson, said he had been barred from the interview. “Ecuador refuses to let me in and insists that the questioning will continue without my presence, against my client’s wishes to have me there,” he told Reuters.

        1. Yes. That was one instance of one lawyer being barred from one event. Now explain how that substantiates your claim that there was a period of time where Anderson had access but his lawyers didn’t. Was Anderson at the meeting with the Swedish prosecutor? Do you have some evidence that nobody visited Assange at all during that period between October and November besides Pamela Anderson? Or is this just some silly nonsense you’ve concocted in your head?

          1. Prior to the Anderson visit:

            April 18th 2016 Wikileaks lawyer John Jones, a 48-year old father of two with a loving wife, was said to have thrown himself in front of a train at West Hampstead Thameslink station in a borough of London.

            May 11th 2016 Michael Ratner Wikileaks chief council suddenly died of cancer

            It was also reported that
            Amal Clooney no longer represented Assange as well by October 18t of that same year.

            1. Okay, you’re obviously not interested in substantiating your claim. Take care.

              1. Honest question Johnstone, does none of these events occurring in around 2016 seem suspicious to you? In particular October and November where a DDoS attack took down Wikileaks for the first time on November 6th, two days prior to Trump’s election or that on the day of Anderson’s visit, Assange’s internet access was cut off and news outlets were reporting his imminent arrest or later that day: made publicly visible, file dates/timestamps changed to 1984 (Orwell reference).

                1. That’s just a nonsensical jumble of events. You’re being completely incoherent, you’ve refused to make anything resembling a concrete and lucid argument, and I’ve lost interest in this conversation.

                  1. Presenting a timeline of events as they occurred concerning Wikileaks leading up to the most surprising “election” of that last 40 years is nonsensical? Okay good to know.

          2. Also in that same year of 2016
            Oct 22nd: Gavin MacFadyen (mentor to Assange and key player in Wikileaks) dies of lung cancer.

  15. Once more, they crucify Jesus..

  16. RC - Garrs Avatar
    RC – Garrs

    There’s a few people on the Earth that think the world is their Monopoly Game.
    We’re the properties that can be bought, traded, sold and scrapped.
    The printers of fiat money (phony money like in the game) need to backtrack.
    This action and this thinking has to change before we self destruct.
    Arrvark makes some really good points.

  17. RC - Garrs Avatar
    RC – Garrs

    50 weeks?
    I’d say Julian has already served seven times that much guarded by a wall of bobbies.
    Passed time to turn loose.

  18. Wikileaks was taken out back in 2016 when Assange’s actual lawyers and mentor all died suddenly in the same year. John Podesta , the main subject of the last bombshell Wikileaks dropped even tweeted about it teasing Assange about it.

  19. Aarvark-Gnosis Avatar

    It should be quite clear by now that Zionist control America… We have be invaded by every despicable ideology connected with Zionism… Yet, the proof of the insanity becomes apparent when foreign lobbyist control our military and our Parliamentary sham of a governing congress…they do not govern. They follow the pied piper of Zionist ideological trolls that rule the infrastructure of world money and usury by the few. Those that think Assange is a hero have yet to see the bait of the Royal hegemony of Jesuit priest that steer the rudder of neo-con powers… The word Con, is the oxymoron, the 1000 pound Gorilla in the room of citizens on the dopamine of Machiavellian money and bait and switch tactics of false freedom and false flags… including false money backed by nothing!

    Every story is manipulated to keep the citizens off the world focused on the bait…while the trawlers with nets capture the everything but the thieves and predators in our midst. They keep stealing, they keep lying, the lies become the truth and the truth a lie… Ignorance abounds in the minds of Orwellian slaves, ruled by electronic diversion and false information and mass dissemination of bait and switch tactics to keep the truth hidden. The truth??? That we need governing at all???, And the police state of military might to keep the payola of those that produce nothing but carnage and death alive and call it good vs bad…Spy vs Spy… the cartoon of evil that men do to one another in the name of freedom for the rich sycophants that run the con game of deluding the masses… These are the Zionist followers of ideological dogma, magic, superstition, mental self-importance, war mongers with a blank check…. And those that think genocide is good for some but whine about holocausts and detention, the amorist whom love to hate because they see themselves as victims while victimizing without a second thought of non-retribution…an eye for and eye…tooth for a tooth and free from the sin of to much self-love… While others have died in their battles and wars of victim hate and age old tribal customs that say the are the rulers of this earth.
    The few run the planet behind the seen… “By way of deception, thou shalt do war”. When will the sane prevail? Death my be the only way any of use will have peace on this planet! THE UNITED STATES of Hell… Assange (0), Controllers of citizens (?)… Machiavellians, (the sky is the limit)… Ruling the power of the airwaves… we shall conceive our master plan to enslave the masses. Not a shot fired… not a stone unturned by the deceptions of royals and tribal chefs… ???????

    1. Orlando Valerino Avatar
      Orlando Valerino

      Yet folks are too afraid to call the empire by its actual name. The Anglo-Zionist empire has not only physical control but psychological control of the masses. The best prison is the prison of the mind.

  20. Is War Criminal Tony Blair, Bush, Obama & Co. out on Bail ? Is Bernie and AOC fighting for the Truth regarding Assange? I hear crickets. F UK F US and it’s poodles. Thank you Caitlin and co..

    1. I left out Trump and too many others also.

  21. They’ve given themselves ample time to prosecute the extradition. Cunning bastards.

  22. Great work, thankyou so much Caitlin.

  23. Petra Liverani Avatar
    Petra Liverani

    Caitlin, please recognise that controlled opposition was used to undermine Wikileaks. Under no circumstances would the power elite not have tried to implement a controlled opposition campaign, of course, and the evidence shows, unfortunately, that whatever strategies Wikileaks implemented to counter controlled opposition they failed – at least in important cases. The point is that now that controlled opposition is identified can it help Julian’s case?

  24. Have any Australians who have contacted their MP about Julian had a response? The only response I’ve ever had was a year or so ago when my Labor Federal MP replied to the effect that Julian could leave the Embassy any time he chose. They are all beyond disgusting.

    1. I tried with Andrew Wilkie…
      No response.

      1. Seems they’re all too cowardly to go against their US puppet-master. No response from Andrew Wilkie is particularly disappointing given that he resigned on principle over what he knew to be false intelligence prior to the invasion of Iraq. One by one, journalists and others whom I respected end up on the neo-con side.

        Richard di Natale is the only politician to speak up for Julian: from his Greens web page

        Australian Greens Leader and Foreign Affairs spokesperson Dr
        Richard Di Natale has called upon the Australian Government to swiftly intervene to ensure that Julian Assange is not extradited to the United States. “This arrest is a dark day for press freedom around the world,” Di Natale said. “Regardless of what you think about Assange as an individual, he is facing extradition to the US on charges relating to his work to shine light on potential war crimes – an act that won him Australia’s highest honour for journalism.

  25. Bless you, m’lady.

  26. Chuck Nasmith Avatar
    Chuck Nasmith

    Boycott the country that holds Assange for telling the Truth.

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