Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser on Wednesday did not grant bail to WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange after she blocked a U.S. extradition request on Monday.

Westminster Magistrates Court where bail application was heard on Wednesday. (GrimsbyT/Wikimedia Commons)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser on Wednesday failed to release WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange two days after she ordered Assange discharged based on a severe risk of suicide. 

She ordered him back to Belmarsh prison on remand while the U.S. appeals process goes forward.

Assange’s lawyers had pled for him to leave Belmarsh prison, and be placed under house arrest with his partner Stella Moris and their two sons, wearing an ankle monitoring device. 

“Notwithstanding the package offered by the defense, I am satisfied that he might abscond,” Baraitser told the court.  The judge said that Assange had a huge network of supporters that could help him get away. 

In effect, Baraitser went back on her own ruling, not on extradition, but on discharge. “The history of this case is well-known… Assange skipped bail & remained in the Ecuadorian Embassy to avoid extradition to the U.S.,” Baraitser said in her decision. 

Baraitser said she ordered Assange’s  discharge, but because there has been an appeal,  “Mr. Assange still has an incentive to abscond.” She also said conditions in Belmarsh were nowhere near as dire as in U.S. prisons, though she acknowledged in her written judgement Monday that Assange spoke repeatedly of suicide in Belmarsh and that a razor and a rope were found in his cell.

Kristinn Hrafnnson, editor of WikiLeaks, said afterward that Assange’s lawyers would appeal the decision to deny bail to the High Court in hours or days. “We expect it to be overturned,” he said.

“It is unjust and unfair and illogical when you consider her ruling of two days ago about Julian’s health in large part because he is in Belmarsh prison,” Hrafnnson said. “To send him back there doesn’t make any sense.”

In her written judgement on Monday Baraitser exhibited a high indifference to Assange’s safety, saying that plans discussed by the U.S. to poison or kidnap him from the Ecuadorian embassy were apparently understandable. She wrote:

“They [the defense] alleged that the US authorities discussed more extreme measures such as kidnapping or poisoning Mr. Assange. I have declined to make findings of fact regarding whether this took place, as the allegations are currently being investigated in Spain. I merely note here that if the allegations are true, they demonstrate a high level of concern by the US authorities regarding Mr. Assange’s ongoing activities.”

Covid-19 in Belmarsh

The prosecution in the bail hearing argued that as of Tuesday night there were only three cases of Covid-19 in Belmarsh. Edward Fitzgerald QC for the defense said there had been 59 cases before Christmas and that the prison was still locked down, as is all of England because of the pandemic.

Baraitser said she believed the prosecution that the risk of Covid-19 in the prison was low, though it is clear that infections can rise as well as fall, as prosecutor Clair Dobbin herself alluded to. Fitzgerald said he did not want the bail hearing to overly focus on the Covid-19 issue, but it was clearly a point important to Baraitser.   

The prosecution argued that bail should be denied because Assange had “gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid extradition,” said Dobbin. She cited Assange taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy after he lost an appeal in the British Supreme Court in 2012 to be extradited to Sweden on sexual misconduct allegations.

Dobbin also pointed to Assange’s own account of how he and WikiLeaks helped Edward Snowden evade arrest in 2013, a point taken up by Baraitser in her oral ruling Wednesday.

“His history shows he will go to any length to get away,” Dobbin said. “He spent 7 years in a small embassy to avoid extradition. We can’t take chances that he will try again.”

‘Above the Law’

Dobbin said it is “obvious he considers himself above the law and that no cost is too great.” Fitzgerald argued for the defense that conditions for Assange were totally different now than when he entered the embassy for fear of extradition to the U.S. because Baraitser herself had blocked that extradition on Monday. 

The prosecution cited Mexico’s offer of political asylum as a way of pointing out that he could abscond if he were granted bail.  The defense made it clear that Mexico only meant after the appeals process plays out in Britain.  Dobbin took the opportunity to begin laying out the U.S. case for appeal until Baraitser cut her off as being irrelevant to a bail hearing. 

The U.S. strategy essentially is to try to prove that the U.S. has the capacity to prevent suicides in its prison systems.

Press Freedom Rejected

Baraitser was ready to immediately hear a bail application on Monday but Assange’s lawyers asked until Wednesday to make it. She told the court that her decision whether to release Assange from remand in Belmarsh prison would also depend on the U.S. decision on an appeal, which the U.S. has already lodged, Baraitser said in court.   

Baraitser ruled Assange discharged because she said U.S. authorities did not convince her they could prevent him taking his life. Before reaching her conclusion Baraitser agreed with virtually every point in the U.S. favor until she came to the condition of his health and what extradition to the U.S. would mean. Baraitser brought Assange down a dark alley before her surprise decision at the end. 

The moment the judge said Assange would be “discharged” on Monday the courtroom camera swung to him sitting in the glassed-in dock. He showed no reaction.  The camera did not show Assange when Baraitser ordered him back to Belmarsh on Wednesday.

Blow to Press Freedom

Scene in front of courthouse Wednesday morning before hearing. (Mohamed Elmaazi)

Press freedom advocates were disappointed in Monday’s judgement, saying Baraitser established a precedent to ensnare journalists by  accepting U.S. contentions that Assange was not engaging in journalistic activity but rather assisting his source, Chelsea Manning, crack into a government computer, as well as that he illegally possessed and published classified material. 

By affirming that journalists can be prosecuted under the U.S. Espionage Act, as well as the equivalent British Official Secrets Act, Baraitser handed down a perilous ruling for the future of journalism, the advocates argue.

However it may have been unrealistic to expect her to rule that the U.S. was criminalizing journalism. The outcome is probably the best Assange supporters could realistically have expected. Murray said on Monday that it was time to be joyful of the ruling and that the issue of press freedom was for “tomorrow.”

As the judge agreed on every point with the U.S. indictments of Assange, there is little the United States can appeal other than to argue, as Dobbin indicated, that Assange is not severely suicidal or that it can be managed, and that its prisons are not the well-established dungeons that they are. The U.S. may argue on appeal that Assange violated the Espionage and Official Secrets Acts but Baraitser’s ruling to deny extradition on mental health grounds would remain to be challenged.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former UN correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional career as a stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe



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  1. January 7, 2021 at 18:48


  2. January 7, 2021 at 14:12

    It’s the American way for Julian Assange = ‘ between a rock & a hard place’. His MENTHAL Torture continues- a British specialty for centuries!

  3. January 7, 2021 at 10:23

    There seem to be a contradiction between the version of CN on the subject of bail application with what Craig Murray written testimony version is, and is when Magistrate Baraitser recommend the Defence to have a couple of days to make the bail application. This is what Craig recorded as physically present
    Every information is so crucially important.
    his version of events of what was said, is then to be compared with all the other reporters versions who were listening via video link; it would be particularly important to pay attention to the whole dialogue that took place regarding the bail application and all of what was said by Baraitser.
    Thank you, I read your news updates many times, as is always so uniquely presented.

      January 7, 2021 at 11:44

      We very clearly heard from the video link into the courtroom that Baraitser was ready to hear a bail application immediately after her judgement on Monday, gave the defense time to confer with Assange, and when they returned they requested the bail hearing for Wednesday. It was very clearly the defense’s choice.

  4. Bill Jones
    January 7, 2021 at 09:04

    The plan is to kill him.
    It’s taking longer than they thought.

  5. Eric
    January 6, 2021 at 19:47

    El País, January 5, 2021:
    “Spain’s High Court is probing ties between American intelligence and a Spanish security firm
    that made secret recordings of the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorean embassy in London”
    El País’s headline is an understatement. While it “suggests”, the story **confirms** what the Grayzone reported last fall.
    Also, it says the U.S. and U.K. are hindering the High Court’s investigation of the Spanish spy (security) company.

  6. January 6, 2021 at 17:56

    I take solace in this old bit of wisdom: “You reap what you sow”.

    2021 is the year of reckoning.


  7. Brian Eggar
    January 6, 2021 at 17:30


    Compare cases as I believe same judge.

  8. rodion raskolnikov
    January 6, 2021 at 15:31

    This is really a travesty of justice. The judge accepted the arguments made by the US attorneys, which means she did not defend Julian because he was a journalists or had a right to freedom of the press. She only denied the extradition request because she knew that conditions in US prisons would drive anyone to suicide. BUT she must also know conditions in Belmarsh also incite suicide. The CIA discovered in its experiments with sensory deprivation and solitary confinement that suicide is a likely outcome. So now this judge won’t release Julian on bail and she’s continuing him in conditions of near solitary confinement.

    I sure hope the appeal to the superior court or the European Court of Human Rights will gain Julian’s release very soon. He’s been in confinement for about seven years — all because the US wants him there. The US record of torturing and mistreating prisoners is just too well known.

  9. January 6, 2021 at 15:15

    Let’s not forget the Brits invented concentration camps in South Africa besides being specialists in mental & physical torture as we saw inWW I & II. Today Judge Baraitser proves again this British speciality of mental torture on Julian Assange who after more than 10 years of lock up & torture has become suicidal!! This is the British way of MURDER without getting BLOOD on their hands!!

  10. martin goodwin
    January 6, 2021 at 14:32


  11. Tom Partridge
    January 6, 2021 at 12:28

    Describing the English Justice as a system of justice is a misnomer. The most acclaimed and celebrated English judge of the 20th century, Lord Denning, once said in an appeal judgement about six innocent men, ” if the six men win, it will mean that the police were guilty of perjury, that they were guilty of violence and threats, that the confessions were involuntary and were improperly admitted in evidence and that the convictions were erroneous. . . this is such an appalling vista that every sensible person in the land would say: that it cannot be right these actions should go any further, it is a scandal that should not be allowed to continue.” On another occasion while referring to the same six innocent men, that it would have been better that they had been hanged, as then there could have been no appeal. He was of course referring to the case of the Birmingham Six, one of the great miscarriages of justice of the 20th century. This was at a time when even the dogs in the street knew that these men were innocent.

    • VallejoD
      January 7, 2021 at 18:02

      Amusing in a way that our Brit lapdogs punted on Assange. My guess is that the last thing the CIA wants right now is to try Assange in the US where Americans can be reminded of Wikileaks exposure of the USs war crimes.

  12. rosemerry
    January 6, 2021 at 09:30

    So the wonderful, free, sovereign UK is now completely under the thumb of the USA, leader of democracy and freedom.
    If there is a more cruel and vicious woman in the UK, where is she? Is anyone safe?

  13. January 6, 2021 at 09:16

    Does Magistrate Cruella Baraitser require a public flogging?

  14. Ron Ridenour
    January 6, 2021 at 08:41

    We DO NOT live in “democracies”, Stefani. That is yet another of the bourgeiois lies.

  15. January 6, 2021 at 06:57

    This taking back with one hand what the other offers, namely bail for Julian, makes me wonder whether Baraitser hasn’t heard from her “higher ups” that the obviously legally indicated granting of bail is simply not acceptable to them. In any case, it is miserable new measure. The US government will probably appeal the extradition denial even if they don’t expect to win the appeal simply to prolong the agony, for, after all, the entire prosecution, mush like US foreign policy itself, is based on little more than a sadistic “will to punish” at bottom. Is it the clearly prejudiced Baraitser alone who would hear such an appeal? Or will the case finally go to an actual jury, as it should have at the beginning? In the latter case, Julian’s chances would, I think, be greatly improved.

      January 6, 2021 at 07:49

      The appeal on bail denial will be heard by the High Court, WikiLeaks said.

      • January 6, 2021 at 20:41

        Well that should be some improvement even if there is no jury involved. Thanks so much for the information!

    • Rev Bhikshuni Trinlae PhD
      January 6, 2021 at 08:39

      Yes, and the judge’s suggestion that the British security state could not prevent him escaping even with an ankle bracelet during a complete social police state lockdown betrays a reality where this oligarchy is indeed profoundly split into numerous factions within their own ranks!

    • Alex Cox
      January 6, 2021 at 12:27

      No jury is involved in Julian’s or Craig Murray’s forthcoming trial. Just one politically appointed judge.

      • January 6, 2021 at 20:47

        When does Craig’s trial come up? The case against him is just as ludicrous as the charges against Julian! Let’s see Mr. Murray, you sent a post to your friends which contained some vague mention of something that might conceivably, in some other possible world, have slightly influenced the court, or not, on the extremely unlikely chance that anyone outside of your circle managed to read it. Talk about grasping at straws! How in the world do they get away with this kind of malicious prosecution? Sickening, but typical of the new move of authoritarian states to prosecution on wild hearsay and innuendo alone.

  16. Rev Bhikshuni Trinlae PhD
    January 6, 2021 at 06:48

    As soon as the report was released, the London police suddenly could be seen becoming hostile and brutish on the street, arresting people gathered outside the court. Know them by their actions and not their words!

    Church of England, shame on you for staying silent – spit on the graves of all those bombed and veterans who fought fascists in WWII!

    • Bill Jones
      January 7, 2021 at 09:06

      You have a stunningly naive view of WWII

      • Rev Dr Bhikshuni Trinlae PhD
        January 8, 2021 at 13:41

        Vasily Grossman was a war correspondent, the first journalist on the scene at Treblinka concentration camp, and as such an eye witness during the Nuremberg trials of war criminals. Julian Assange published reports and video evidence of war crimes. That’s why he is in prison! The American and British governments, represented through the act of his imprisonment, assert their rights to commit war crimes in silence and without accountability to the public. In fact, this imprisonment and trial ensures that future generations will see the clear records of who was silent and who criminalized the publisher.

        Anyone can self-test their naivete about WWII by reading what Grossman wrote about it in his text Life and Fate: hXXps://

  17. Dr Sven Sudler
    January 5, 2021 at 18:33

    Hey Mr. Lauria, you said yesterday you weren‘t prepared for this decision. But I immediatedly thought of your comment during the September hearing that this would be the easiest way for her to come out. Let‘s pray tommorow/today assange will be out. Thanks in the name of iusticia for y‘all work inlightening us, from Germany

  18. Robert Emmett
    January 5, 2021 at 10:45

    Well done, Julian Assange & Support. Deft pivot to reveal how Top Media Willing to Capitulate in Demise of Free Press: sells out rights for name recognition & shekels. Then to shine a prima facie light on the brutality of the US Carceral State and its craven injustice system.

    May many more notice and raise their voices. Sorry you’ve had such a brutal row to sow. May you walk free again.

  19. pol bel
    January 5, 2021 at 10:12

    Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s mental processes got saturated by american legal requests. She lost sight of the big picture and to her as to american prosecutors because of this mental transfer, every problem became a nail having one solution, hammering down. The big picture is that like Trump, usa is spending too much of its energy hiding the lies and omissions of its history. You cannot trust a country that blatantly came in the hall of nations and through the mouth of colin powell, lied about a threat as Peter about the wolf to cause a false sense of emergency triggering abominable acts of war. This would have been sufficient reason to reject the extradition request against Julian Assange. Proof by induction of major recurrent inadmissibility of what comes out of american government’s mouth.

  20. bardamu
    January 5, 2021 at 03:15

    Thank you to CN among others for the support for this admittedly partial victory. We all need it, and had best move towards getting the rest.

  21. pol bel
    January 5, 2021 at 01:06

    Revealing a country’s war crimes is not a crime it is a service to mankind. Assange deserves the Nobel peace prize, not prison. Too bad the peace prize got devalued by giving it to among others a potus so cowardly that during his 8-year imperial reign, he used drones instead of doing his killing mano a mano. usa used to have allies, now it only has hostages such as rest of the 5-eyes countries, because of foreign relations that stink like pig fec**. Pray that Assange does not get the same fate as Gerald Bull, a great canadian that wanted to use cannons to launch satellites at low cost, murdered in Brussels by the mossad on usa orders. RIP

  22. Ian
    January 4, 2021 at 20:21

    It is quite remarkable that Baraitser managed to make the worst ruling possible, while simultaneously providing an exit to the grossly embarrassing situation of this sham legal process in the the UK and US.

    I would speculate this is likely because of Biden’s election, as Democrats are more concerned about optics than Trump was.

    I hope Julian is soon freed and can find some degree of safety outside of prison.

  23. chet380
    January 4, 2021 at 20:06

    It should be remembered that Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s ‘boss’ is Lady Emma Arbuthnot, who was forced, because of glaring conflicts of interest that tied her to the Brit Secret Service as well as to the Brit Military — to carefully select the almost-anonymous Baraitser to take her place. It is beyond doubt that all of Baraitser’s rulings and judgments were dictated by Arbuthnot.

    The substantive arguments raised in Assange’s defence were all carefully rejected and the extradition application was denied on a ‘non-substantive’ compassionate ground — by virtue of this ‘judicial tactic’ Assange’s lawyers might well be precluded from arguing that the extradition application should be dismissed for any, or all, of the ‘non-compassionate grounds that were argued. This result has the distinct smell of decisions made’ on-high’ for a disposition that will keep the Americans content.

    • Anne
      January 6, 2021 at 14:55

      Yes – and the fearful thing is – should Mr Assange die in Belmarsh (not by his own hands, so to speak, but by the efforts of….oooh, MI6, CIA, Mossad) it will be put down to suicide, his mental deterioration…. How handy can his continuance of imprisonment, of solitary confinement (known psychological torture) and Baraitser (another without any conscience) denying the extradition for this very reason be???

      • Jim
        January 6, 2021 at 23:00

        I don’t see why Mossad would assassinate Mr. Assange. Yes, they have a history of assassination — anyone from uncooperative US presidents to Palestinian officials — but I don’t believe Wikileaks has earned the wrath of Mossad.

  24. Eric
    January 4, 2021 at 18:22

    The next question is whether Assange should appeal the (expected) ruling that journalism is extraditable.

    I wonder whether his team made a mistake in not anticipating this ruling (and other options)
    and being ready to immediately apply for bail.

    • January 6, 2021 at 20:27

      IMHO, it is NOT up to Assange or his team to challenge the ruling that journalism is extraditable. That is up to the journalists World wide and their employers to challenge as the ruling effects everyone of them.
      The question is, Will they have the intestinal fortitude to do so, or will they cowardly cave in like they did with their NON support of Assange ? Time will tell us shortly.

  25. Tony Kevin
    January 4, 2021 at 17:38

    A well balanced sane assessment of # Assange verdict by #ConsortiumNews editor # JoeLauria. Assange has suffered enough and press freedom issues are for another person to fight, another day . If US vindictively appeals # Baraitser decision they will be forced embarrassingly to defend a known to be brutal prison system. Look at Epstein’s alleged suicide (or more likely murder), Manning’s suicide attempt,#Butina’s gross mistreatment. .

    • January 6, 2021 at 07:08

      “they will be forced embarrassingly to defend a known to be brutal prison system.” True enough, but if they only need to defend it before Baraitser, with no coverage of their spurious arguments by the MSM, they may well prevail in overturning the ruling. After all, everything in this case has depended, and will always depend upon keeping the public in the dark about vile injustice that is being delivered. That is why it is so important for all of us to do, in whatever small way we can, just what Consortium News has done, and keep exposing the de facto secret proceedings for the miscarriage of justice and common decency that they truly are!

  26. Jon Travis
    January 4, 2021 at 17:22

    Ok, the US has had its fun, it is now time for Donald Trump to do at least one good thing before he leaves office and respond to Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, who has asked him to pardon Assange and bring this whole sorry saga to an end. Bravo to Consortium News for their coverage.

    • rosemerry
      January 6, 2021 at 09:38

      There is absolutely no hope of that. He bribed Lenin Moreno, Pres. of Ecuador, to allow the UK police to drag Julian from the embassy, Ecuador now has an IMF loan, 52% of its population in poverty and has just paid $2billion to its creditors without any help to its people. Trump is completely heartless and so, it seems is magistrate Baraitser.

      To speak of “skipping bail” as if Julian is playing same sort of silly game, is adding to the horror.

      • Sylvie L
        January 6, 2021 at 13:11

        What bewilders me is that Julian or his advisers thought that he would be out of ‘Deep states’ reach and safe in the Ecuadorian Embassy (or any Embassy for that matter), he for sure knows that it’s their game their rules !

    • January 6, 2021 at 20:33

      It has been stated very clearly, time and time again, Assange is an Australian citizen therefore not obliged to adhere to U.S. laws, thus did not do anything warranting a pardon. I’m Australian living in Australia, and I’m expected to abide by American laws ????????? What stupidity is this ? Am I allowed to VOTE in American elections, have any say in their introduction of their laws ? NO ! NO ! and NO ! Yet it appears the western nations in thrall to the U.S. accept this illegal dictatorial behaviour without a whimper ???? Clearly, they have all lost the plot.

        January 6, 2021 at 21:58

        A 1961 amendment to the Espionage Act gave it universal jurisdiction.


  27. January 4, 2021 at 16:47

    “As the judge agreed on every point with the U.S. indictments of Assange, there is little the United States can appeal other than to argue that Assange is not severely suicidal or that it can be managed, and that its prisons are not the well-established dungeons that they are.”

    It will be interesting if the US tries to prove that “its prisons are not the well-established dungeons that they are.” I just sent this to a publication, the San Francisco Bay View, which prioritizes prison reporting.

    • Anne
      January 6, 2021 at 15:00

      One wonders if they (US) would even bother to argue that their prisons are not (despite utter reality) grotesque places of well considered solitary confinement, of torture in other words….Who in their right minds would believe a word the effers said???? But then, it might well be convenient for the Brit Govt., especially one post Brexit….All of my sympathies and hopes for Mr Assange, but it would require a person with humanity, a conscience to rule in his favor, and I wouldn’t bet on any such existing in a position to help him…

      • Eddy
        January 6, 2021 at 20:38

        Anne, it would appear the majority of posters here, are unawares of Britain’s dread full history of incarceration of it’s own people’s thru time imemorial, and it’s citizens of the lands it had colonised. It could be said, the U.S. system is simply a much advanced system from those beginnings. After all, the Brits invented the Concentration camp. IMHO, no nation is as well institutionalised regarding prisons, than the Brits. Do rotting hulks anchored in the Tems bring back any memories ?

        • Anne
          January 7, 2021 at 11:24

          Oh yes – hangings for stealing something as immaterial, unimportant as a handkerchief (a young mother of a baby whose husband had been press-ganged into the RN) and equally minor, insignificant offenses…Yes, ships anchored off Britain’s shores holding prisoners (almost certainly for minor offenses) for years until dropped off in what became Australia…gallows everywhere…(beheadings by sword reserved for those of the aristo “class”)…burnings at stakes for those of the opposing “christian” religion (depending which facet of “christianity” the monarch and thus the folks really in charge – the early Deep State – adhered to), for (as in Salem – only a few by comparison) being elderly, probably with dementia, mainly being female and the above…and thus a “witch”…Indeed one might posit that the workhouses (fully instituted in the second decade of the 19th C by Edwin Chadwick under the overwhelming influence of Jeremy Bentham and his utilitarianism. E P Thompson, the Hammonds, Peter Linebaugh and others have written about all of the grotesqueries, the horrors and abominations of British (and not only English) treatment of the poor, the working classes, their prisoners, and the totally unethical, immoral mind set behind their being in prison…

          It is horrendous to know from which people one emerges…even though working class…

  28. LowellHighlander
    January 4, 2021 at 14:33

    As an Honorably Discharged Veteran (from the U.S.M.C.), I fear that freedom of the press isn’t now the only dead letter of the U.S. Constitution; consider the stipulation that only Congress can declare war (now made moot by the precedent of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force handed to the would-be Emperor George W. Bush). Rather, it’s another – but certainly ginormous – nail in the Constitution’s coffin, especially our civil liberties under the Bill of Rights.

  29. Alex Cox
    January 4, 2021 at 13:00

    Interesting how few commenters appear to have read the article. Baritser has declared journalism an extraditable offense, and Julian remains in jail.

    Thank you, Consortiumnews, for such clear and valuable reporting.

  30. Dfnslblty
    January 4, 2021 at 12:37

    Unfortunate headline –
    usa too appeal – NOT the magistrate appealing!

    Keep reporting

    Protest Loudly!

      January 4, 2021 at 14:08

      But her decision to block extradition can be overturned on US appeal. That’s what it says. Her decision is pending US appeal. It’s not final yet.

      • jo6pac
        January 4, 2021 at 21:50

        Thank you for the updates

  31. FromMSMrehab
    January 4, 2021 at 12:21

    Most sensible way to make Assange irrelevant is not to imprison him but to have more transparent the US government. Prosecute people behind the Clinton foundation rather than the likes of Assange-Manning-Winner-Seth Rich and more individuals that I am ignorant of. Printing truth should be less expensive, i.e. not need to be paid with the human lives.

    • rosemerry
      January 6, 2021 at 09:42

      Surely you have noticed that human lives and their loss are of no concern at all to the USA unless they are of a very select rich few.
      Secrecy seems to be essential to ensure certain crimes are kept hidden and others are manufactured (eg Russiagate) and have to be kept in the public eye.

      • Anne
        January 6, 2021 at 15:05

        And those lives, societies, cultures are even less important should they involve folks with a genetic sun tan and not be of a certain religio-ethnicity….We can kill, bomb, slaughter, destroy, devastate those peoples and their countries – at will and not give an eff… even less so if we are well educated, so called :Progressive” (whatever that means), Liberal (they appear not to know what that means) – what have you…

  32. Bufffalo_Ken
    January 4, 2021 at 12:11

    This was a political decision made in a case of an obvious “political” extradition attempt that any fair court would of never even considered. But that is the theatre of the situation. 2021 is the year of reckoning in my mind.

    Nonetheless, I am pleased for the sake of Julian Assange and hope and pray that he is in a safe house soon. Time is of the essence.


  33. January 4, 2021 at 11:53

    This reminds me of the decision in the most important case in US history, one that had no basis in cat or law but was an enormously important strategic triumph for judiciary over the other two branches of government. History has muddled the issue, as it so often does. There the Court decided in favor of Secretary of State Madison, and by extension in favor of Chief Justice Marshall Cousin, Thomas Jefferson (ignoring the obvious conflict), but under terms that stole judicial review of Congressional action from the executive and usurped it for the judiciary thus placing Jefferson in a position of having to accept the decision while losing a huge portion of his power (the presidential veto was supposed to have been the check on unconstitutional legislative action, and impeachment the check on unconstitutional executive action). In the Assange case, the judge created horrendous precedent regarding freedom of the press (it is non-existent, but then, today, so is a free and unbiased press) and instead ruled that Assange was too unstable to withstand US torture, if he’s released, that case too is unlikely to be appealed by Assange. One wonders how the US government will react, having won a major victory on precedent, while perhaps not on the revenge the Deep State craves.

    • January 4, 2021 at 11:54

      “fact” not “cat!!!!

    • Mark Walker
      January 4, 2021 at 19:03

      Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, was indeed landmark.

      The President, a position with many undetermined aspects in 1803, is hardly the place for Constitutional evaluation of law. The President is a politician for one thing. Might be a lawyer, but unlikely to be well versed in the nascent and evolving field of Constitutional law. More importantly though, a President may arbitrarily veto any new law without justification. Hardly trustworthy enough for questions of such import.

      On the flip-side of the usual aspect of this disagreement, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are the foundation of this nation’s laws. Prime Precedent as it were. What would you have a court do when presented with a case in conflict with the Constitution? Something has to give, and until the Congress, President and the nation’s people say otherwise, the Constitution rules over the conflict via our courts.

      This court case did not establish the concept of Judicial Review. Judicial Review was foreseen by Hamilton. Oddly, they called it “Judicial” Review. Where else would such a process be carried out but in the Judiciary?

      About the point that the Constitution does not create Judicial Review by the Judiciary. Well, it didn’t create it by the President either. When considering such an argument, one might consider why we have legislatures at all? Didn’t the Constitution explicitly answer all possible future legal questions? Should all court cases be tried from the first principles of the Constitution?

      Maybe we could document along the way what has been determined to be the intent of the Constitution [settled law] in much the same way we do engineering progress [i.e. Civil, Mechanical, Aeronautical standards].

      One of the most awesome examples of this mechanism in practice is the related cases:
      Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586 (1940), and
      West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).
      The unconstitutional nature of the situation was even found outside the statement of the complaint. Not religious freedom, but freedom of speech.

  34. Fran Macadam
    January 4, 2021 at 11:27

    So he will continue to be held in prison, pending endless appeals, but not Guantanamo?

      January 4, 2021 at 12:05

      His lawyers will file a bail appeal on Wednesday, which Baraitser was ready to hear today.

  35. January 4, 2021 at 11:22

    In this brief announcement of the result, CN speaks of disappointment. Wrong. I don’t care what Magistrate Baraitser’s reasons were. I just feel great relief that humanity prevailed.

    • January 4, 2021 at 16:17

      Humanity did not prevail. What this sorry excuse for a judge did was help the US get out of the embarrassment of prosecuting an innocent publisher for revealing crimes, NOT government secrets. She should have found him not guilty of the charges, instead of ruling that he was insane and could therefore not be tried for his “crime.” That would have been humanity. Instead, the crime of the US and its CIA was not condemned. Assange is not yet at home, and may never be. Instead of a guilty criminal, he is now officially declared to be among the criminally insane. That is not humanity.

    • SylvieL
      January 6, 2021 at 13:24

      I don’t think this ruling has anything to do with Humanity,
      otherwise we wouldn’t still be here,
      It was a move in a complex game that’s all, and buying time, not to his advantage I fear.
      Nothing was won here!

  36. rochelle glickman
    January 4, 2021 at 11:09

    Justice was done! They should immediately let him out of jail and not continue this horror show. The man has suffered enough. Rochelle Glickman

  37. Edward
    January 4, 2021 at 10:32

    What a pleasant surprise. I expected the worst, given the judge’s behavior so far. Maybe she was getting nervous about the historic nature of this case and her role in it, or whoever was pulling her strings changed their mind. It is ironic that extradition was refused because U.S. prisons are so abusive, given the treatment Assange has received from the British system. I hope this represents a change in approach by the British government.

    • Edward
      January 4, 2021 at 13:10

      Biden’s victory (if he actually won) in the election may be connected to this decision. The U.S. was behind the scenes in this trial. The Trump administration may have twisted British arms to have Assange prosecuted. Trump will probably leave office soon, and the Brits may have felt they could have this verdict without U.S. wrath.

      The coverage given to this case by outlets like Consortium News may have also made British officials nervous about the attention to the abuses going on and helped shame them into a quasi-fair verdict. If this trial had not received public scrutiny or had occurred in secret, would the same verdict have resulted? Well done, Consortium News, and shame on the Guardian, which tried to bury this story for a long time.

      • January 4, 2021 at 16:23

        Edward – why would Trump want Assange prosecuted? To help Hillary Clinton, the wicked witch who maligned and persecuted him? It was Assange who published Hillary’s crimes, and this is the reason the CIA set traps for him and got Sweden to charge him with false accusations. Trump’s mistake was to not pardon him while in office. Trump owed it to him, but he also knows what happens to people crossing the Clintons.

        • ML
          January 6, 2021 at 08:44

          “Trump’s mistake was to not pardon him while in office.” I got news for you Ms. Fellay- it wasn’t a “mistake.” Trump is every bit as much a criminal, self-focused goon as any other US president has been in office for many years now. He’ll NEVER do the right, moral, or ethical thing. It’s not in his DNA.

          • Eddy
            January 6, 2021 at 20:44

            ML, absoluetly dead right. I fail to see how people can think Trump is a white knight, when he is simply a reincarnation of the same old in a different body and a MURDER to boot.

        • Anne
          January 6, 2021 at 15:10

          Didn’t the Strumpet used to be a friend of the Clints and a Blue Face??

          • Jim
            January 6, 2021 at 23:16

            And someone above in the thread (above) pointed out that it was the Trump admin. that pressured — in fact, bribed — the Ecuadorean government into allowing Assange to be removed from their embassy.

            Trump also told a reporter that Edward Snowden should be ‘shot’ when he was asked his opinion about that case.

            Trump is the very ugliest of Ugly Americans…

  38. Em Sos
    January 4, 2021 at 10:30

    Reactionary Plutocratic ‘Civilization and its Malcontents’ in Action: The Actual Inhuman Dissidents
    ‘Civilization’ is the most infamous of misnomers in the English language, for the reality is quite the opposite of any of the definitions of civilized; which makes the word the leading oxymoron of history.
    The term civilization, as applied, does not relate to humanism [an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems], in any form. (wiki) Regrettably, therefore, it refers primarily, to how persons, on this planet, conduct themselves in reality. It has nothing to do with the all-inclusive Darwinian ideas of the processes of ‘natural evolution’ of species.
    Homo-Sapiens, like all other organisms certainly are changing, yet this so-called evolution has, by its own hand split off from anything relating to the natural evolution Darwin was referring to.
    Man has begun to see himself as separate – superior to nature… but I digress!
    What a so-called civilized humanity – the U.S., has inflicted on Julian Assange, over the past ten-plus years, is an abomination of that notion of itself.
    Trump is but one example of an emblematic fruit of this twisted self.
    Then there is the lackey Judge, overseeing the Assange extradition farce, who has now arbitrarily decided that first they try driving him to mental incompetence; to cause him to become mentally ill, as well as physically deteriorated to the degree that he is at near death, without actually dying, in which they have succeeded; before ruling against extradition to the U.S., on totally bogus charges. This judgement represents the uncivilized insane behavioral response of the global – U.S. “powers that be”!

  39. Mike from Jersey
    January 4, 2021 at 10:26

    This is wonderful news.

    No other way to describe it.

  40. Lee
    January 4, 2021 at 10:22

    As I understand the law, because the judge has discharged Assange, the only issue the US team can challenge is the threat of suicide. The fact that the judge didnt question the claims made by the US team, means they cannot appeal about those. However, the UK High Court, where this will land up, is quite at liberty to disagree with the judges views on the merits of the case, even although I cant see how that can be part of the US team’s appeal. If I am correct, this is an excellent legal strategy, that should assure that the extradition demand will fail.

  41. doris
    January 4, 2021 at 10:16

    But what does it even mean? If he’s freed in Britain, will he be picked up by some rouge US asshat and shot? Will they protect him like other people? If he recovers enough to be considered “healthy” will they extradite him on the US appeal? The sad thing is, that they didn’t release because all of the charges are bogus. I’ll be shocked if war-criminal O’Biden drops the charges.

  42. Piotr Berman
    January 4, 2021 at 09:55

    Suicide prevention in American jails and prison is indeed a bit worse than in other OECD countries. One example would be Jeffrey Epstein, another, Chelsea Manning. There was also Sandra Bland, a “women of color” who suffered from depression and was rushing to be in time on a new job (traveling from Midwest to Texas), arrested for improper lane change on a highway. Overall statistics stink too.

    I suspect a hidden signal from the new Administration. “Moderates” want to (a) intimidate leaking (b) avoid problems when elections and Congressional votes have raiser thin margins, the “left radicals” have to be trampled for the sake of moderation, but rubbing salt in the wounds can backfire.

    • Eric
      January 4, 2021 at 18:16

      It’s far from clear that Epstein committed suicide,
      though if anything his death bolsters the arguments that U.S. jails are unsafe.

  43. Vera Gottlieb
    January 4, 2021 at 09:50

    After all the bad 2020 news…this certainly IS GOOD NEWS!!!

  44. Litchfield
    January 4, 2021 at 09:36

    Praise be!
    So happy to hear this good news.
    I hope he can be released immediately to the care of his partner, children, and parents.
    And start the road to recovery.

    • January 4, 2021 at 10:48

      His bail application won’t be heard until Wednesday and, according to The Guardian, is likely to be refused. So little, in reality, will change.

      • Susan
        January 7, 2021 at 23:38

        So the Guardian knew the bail application was likely to be refused. Now that’s interesting….

        According to Craig Murray, he and Assange’s defense team were “optimistic” he would be bailed.

        How come the Guardian knew in advance?

    • dfnslblty
      January 4, 2021 at 12:50

      And unfortunately there will be a “cease & desist” clause in there somewhere to keep Julian silent.
      Justice of the plutarchs and of the fearful.
      Protest Completely!

  45. Veronica Mauvis
    January 4, 2021 at 09:32

    What a relief. Is there any chance that he will get back some of his human rights NOW. I understand he is still being tortured in nasty spiteful ways by people who are UNhuman. We must continue to support him until his release all charges dropped — and then let’s sue for compensation for wrongful imprisonment – crowd funded and supported by all real jounalists (not Murdoch stenographers) and a very angry public. This is not a good image for Britain and we are British citizens.

    • Lily
      January 6, 2021 at 07:06

      Having been an ardent lover of the English Culture in any sense, well, this is gone. I only keep on admirinh English Theater and BbC films and the English people who did not give up on Assange but no UK Politics. Human rights in the land of the Magna Carta – zero.

      May Julian Assange revocer!

      Thank you Joe Lauria for you consistent reports.

      • Anne
        January 6, 2021 at 15:20

        I’m sorry to say, but any survey of British/English treatment of the plebeians – steal a hankie e.g. – would totally dissuade you of any idea that the Magna Carta had ever been intended to apply to the ordinary, working poor (i.e. plebeians)….Hanging, burning at the stake, dragging by horses and carts to pull your body limb from limb…..all too common and for the most minor of infractions (that hankie stealing – which actually happened in the early 19th century to a young mother whose hubby had been press-ganged by the Navy and was totally on her uppers…so she stole this hankie hanging from the back pocket of a better off bloke’s rear pocket (possibly to sell it for a penny or two so that she could eat and thus breast feed her baby)…she was caught, jailed and hanged….The Magna Carta (so too the 400 year later Bill of Rights) applied to the bourgeoisie, NOT the poor, the workers…

  46. evelync
    January 4, 2021 at 09:31

    Series binging on Brit tv – last episode of Kavanaugh with John Thaw and last 2 or 3 seasons of Foyle’s War with Michael Kitchen and Honeysuckle Weeks – one sees from the inside the f…k ups of the national security state and the all too ordinary people at the top. The publicly granted “secrecy” hides wrongdoing; serves a corporate agenda that violates the national security in the truest sense. Without sunlight to hold people accountable, Hypocrisy, Greed, Injustice Incompetence and Hubris take over.

    No oversight on funds sucked out of the treasury. No oversight on what’s being done in the name of the citizens who deserve better.

    Julian’s crime – to expose what any decent investigative journalist would try to uncover to share with the people who pay the price and must (if democracy means anything) have a say in how their own governments work.

  47. January 4, 2021 at 09:30

    Any other decision would have made Baraitser a pariah in the Legal profession. In two weeks the monster in America will have gone and Assange must be released and paid punitive damages

    • January 4, 2021 at 10:49

      You’re optimistic. Biden is as much a creature of the US intelligence establishment as any other President.

      • David
        January 4, 2021 at 16:47

        It’s the only way you’ll ever see the words ‘intelligence’ and ‘Biden’ linked in a sentence.

      • evelync
        January 5, 2021 at 15:06

        No question about that, James Simpson! He’s shown very little awareness of reality and/or very little courage to change things for the better since (in my memory) the Thomas hearings when Anita Hill was thrown under the bus.
        And then, as you point out, there were most of the votes he cast during his looooong career…..
        I guess the question now – if we have a shred of hope – is how much can he be pushed?
        Is he open minded enough, intelligent enough and courageous enough to understand that this country is headed off a cliff wrt nuclear war & climate disruption? Can he accept and act on what needs to be done for to help stabilize the devastated working class left in the wake of shortsighted unsustainable destabilizing policies?
        Who is the real Joe Biden? People say he’s a “nice guy”. But there’s his shameful support for the reckless policies that served the short term financial interests of the “movers and shakers”.
        Is he just the figurehead the MICIMATT hoped he would be when they couped the Sanders campaign or can he rise to fight for Responsible Statescraft, responsible banking regulation, fair trade, judicial and policing reform and the rest?
        Who is he?

      • Anne
        January 7, 2021 at 11:35

        Oh so true…Hasn’t he been a critter of the DC dependents on the taxpayer (never the likes of Bezos/Musk and whatnot but us low rung working folks) for some 47 years already??? Wasn’t he a serious enabler of BC’s 1990s Crime Bill???? Didn’t he object strongly to Bussing??? Isn’t he simply and completely a tool of the corporate-capitalist-imperialist-militarist plutocratic ruling elites (and their foreign friends)??? (Ray ‘s MICIMATT + ) Harris even more so, were that possible?

  48. alexandra moffat
    January 4, 2021 at 09:24

    Democracy relies on accountability. That requires whistle blowers. Ergo, we need Mr Assange and others who reveal the crimes of government & military. Espionage law must disappear and whistle blowers must be cherished. The Judge sort of slide by the point, not showing a whole lot of courage or attention to that bad WWI law. But at least it is respite for now for Mr A. Obama was not fond of whistle blowers- hope Biden veers away from his ex boss on that.

  49. ML
    January 4, 2021 at 09:18

    Oh!!!!!! So happy at this turn of events today! ABC news put it in tiny captions below all the other “headlines.” When I read it, I could not believe what I was reading, so I came here to CN. I’m dancing for joy. Now if we can just get him back to his family where he belongs.

  50. Stevie Boy
    January 4, 2021 at 09:14

    It’s only one battle, the war continues.
    Julian remains locked up.

  51. Guy Mettan
    January 4, 2021 at 09:11

    Let’s go on with the fight for his complete release. It would be probably tough again.

  52. PEG
    January 4, 2021 at 09:00

    Very good news, apparently. But – although not an expert in English legal procedure – I think that unless Julian Assange is in fact released on bail the end result may well be the same as if the decision had gone fully against him – there will in any event be an appeals process after which he could well be deported to the USA. At least Magistrate Baraitser has assured that she will not go down in legal annals as the 21st century successor of jurists such as Roland Freisler and Andrey Vyshinsky.

  53. January 4, 2021 at 08:49

    It may be too early to celebrate. What is the likelihood of a successful US appeal? It is concerning to me that the only issue preventing his extradition is his health.

  54. Reilly G
    January 4, 2021 at 08:35

    It’s incredibly awesome that Mr Assange will not be sent to prison in the US…

    But ruling so out of his risk of suicide alone is honestly a total loss for everything that Assange supporters and the”Assange case” morally stands for. Sends the message: Don’t mess with the empire or we will have you on the run for a decade and you won’t have any shot at freedom unless you are a hair’s width from suicide as badly as this dissociative feeble outlaw is. *Camera pans to Assange* (no reaction). Point made. Sad.

  55. Ed Rickert
    January 4, 2021 at 07:57

    While I rejoice in Assange’s impending release, there is concern regarding Baraitser’s upholding the charges made by the US. What does this mean for journalism?

    • January 4, 2021 at 10:51

      Assange’s release is not pending in any way. His bail app will be heard on Wednesday and there’s every likelihood it will be refused on the grounds that an appeal is being mounted – which will take years. As I know from personal experience, the British criminal justice system errs on the side of imprisonment in most cases.

  56. torture this
    January 4, 2021 at 07:55

    I’m at the point where I can’t even recognize good news. I’m suspicious of every act committed by the monsters that control our lives. I’m not celebrating until Julian can take a picture with his parents, his kids and their mom.

  57. Marilyn Goodman
    January 4, 2021 at 07:34

    Great news thank you CN.Love your reporting and fighting spirit.
    Waiting for the live programme. Just hope we can get him out,try to heal him,get his great brain back.

  58. Christine
    January 4, 2021 at 07:25

    Not free just yet, though?! Bail to be discussed on Wednesday?

  59. January 4, 2021 at 07:21

    The best news in a very long time.

    Given all the dark horrors in which we are immersed, it comes as an unexpected beam of dazzling light.

    Though there was never any doubt of the rightness of Assange’s case, British authorities have been unrelenting and brutal.

    Now, maybe we can see a man go to jail who genuinely belongs there, Donald Trump.

    • Jim
      January 6, 2021 at 23:23

      The torture of Assange these last ten years has certainly helped cure me of my Anglophilia…

  60. January 4, 2021 at 06:45

    Freedom! Por nós! ?????????

  61. Tom Partridge
    January 4, 2021 at 06:42

    This is absolutely wonderful news and thanks to publications like Consortium news we were kept well informed about proceedings. The MSM, to its eternal shame, left us all down and has further discredited itself. I just hope Julian can be released during the appeal so that he may recover his health.

    • January 4, 2021 at 10:52

      This is wonderful news for the US intelligence establishment. Assange will likely remain locked up for the duration of the appeals, which will be dragged out for several years.

  62. pH
    January 4, 2021 at 06:26

    Go Julian!
    Thanks CN

  63. January 4, 2021 at 06:11

    Justice – at last!

    • January 4, 2021 at 10:53

      Justice? Did you read the article? None of Assange’s arguments was accepted. All of the American ones were.

    • richard Coleman
      January 4, 2021 at 12:02

      If he is actually released he’d better get his butt fo Cuba fast. The bastards won’t quit until he’s dead or permanently beyond their reach. “God”speed Julian.

      • Sylvie L
        January 4, 2021 at 13:45

        This ruling doesn’t even have a glimpse of a exoneration

      • January 6, 2021 at 07:34

        I think you are right about that since, despite the offer of clemency in Mexico, the US has too much power over that country for Julian to be safe from extradition there. All if would take is the restoration of the still very strong right-wing forces and the inauguration of one of their members to the presidency for the safe haven offered now by AMLO to be overturned. The more interesting question is what exactly would be the Cuban response if Assange seeks refuge there. I suspect they would be supportive, but I certainly have not noticed that Assange’s case is any high priority to them.

  64. Robyn
    January 4, 2021 at 06:11

    Can this be true? If yes, I haven’t been this happy in so long I can’t remember. Please let it be true that he can go home.

  65. January 4, 2021 at 06:10

    Thank you, CN and all of the contributors for your reliable and consistent coverage spanning so many years!

    • Rev Bhikshuni Trinlae PhD
      January 4, 2021 at 06:17

      Every day during my meditations I would send Julian so much energy of support. Because a chaplain was involved in deceiving Chelsea, I felt really the trust of spiritual supporters was the first thing attacked by those who would find joy and profit in harming others through war and war profiteering. But not a day has gone by without keeping thoughts of support alive for self and others. Horrah to the journalists and activists, and thanks to Julian.

      • bobLich
        January 4, 2021 at 07:09


      • January 4, 2021 at 10:55

        Oh, how powerfully effective meditation and sending energy has been! The object of your efforts remains locked up; the US intelligence establishment were entirely successful in convincing a British judge of their false and misleading arguments.

        • Rev Bhikshuni Trinlae PhD
          January 5, 2021 at 20:09

          Okay: let us make effectiveness: do you happen to have a streetside garden in London open for hunger strike campers?

          But even Deitrich Bonhoeffer could not be spared by the Reich!

        • Rev Bhikshuni Trinlae PhD
          January 6, 2021 at 07:02

          Yes, time for HUNGER STRIKES!

  66. Stoneheart
    January 4, 2021 at 06:08

    I am amazed. The Brits will be punished for this I expect.

    • Susan O'Neill
      January 4, 2021 at 09:53

      What can the US do to us? They need us, we don’t need the Trumps, Obama’s and Bush’s of this world. Even if Biden is an a**hole, I doubt he’s stupid enough to say “we won’t sell you our expensive oil and gas”, that would be like shooting himself in the foot, the Brits would simply respond by buying the cheaper oil and gas from Russia, Iran, Iraq,Venezuela, in fact any country with goods that the US has made targets of would be delighted and the US knows it. Why do you think Washington is going after so many countries? If it keeps it up the US will find itself isolated because many of the populations around the world prefer Russia and China to the US

    • Willow
      January 4, 2021 at 12:37

      perhaps Brexit being finalized last week made it possible for her to risk it.

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