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U.S. Diplomatic Note to U.K. Court Provides False 'Assurance' for Assange

April 18, 2024 (EIRNS)—The years-long process of the U.S. seeking extradition of publisher/journalist Julian Assange from the U.K., including five years incarceration without charge in the high-security HM Prison Belmarsh, is witness to yet another farce. After U.K. courts demanded assurances from the U.S. government that Assange would enjoy First Amendment-style protections for his defense and be under no threat of the death penalty, the U.S. reply is pathetically non-responsive.

Regarding the first point, the U.S. has provided the following “assurance” to the U.K. government:

ASSANGE will not be prejudiced by his nationality with respect to which defenses he may seek to raise at trial and at sentencing. Specifically, if extradited, ASSANGE will have the ability to raise and seek to rely upon at trial (which includes any sentencing hearing) the rights and protections given under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. A decision as to the applicability of the First Amendment is exclusively within the purview of the U.S. Courts. [emphasis added]

What baloney is this? As noted by Julian’s wife Stella Assange, the note says that Assange is free to raise the issue of the First Amendment, and to seek to rely upon it, but in the end it’s up to the U.S. courts.

And there is no mystery as to the expected rulings of U.S. courts. As Craig Murray points out, the Supreme Court has already ruled in USAID v. Open Society:

But the Court has not allowed foreign citizens outside the United States or such U.S. territory to assert rights under the U.S. Constitution. If the rule were otherwise, actions by American military, intelligence, and law enforcement personnel against foreign organizations or foreign citizens in foreign countries would be constrained by the foreign citizens’ purported rights under the U.S. Constitution. That has never been the law.

So Assange may “raise” the issue of the First Amendment, but the presiding judge can cite the Supreme Court and that’s the end of Assange’s First Amendment protections.