The US won their appeal against a UK court’s refusal to extradite Julian Assange, the co-founder of WikiLeaks.
A court in January blocked the US’s attempt to extradite Julian Assange, ruling that Assange would face brutal conditions in US prisons and might commit suicide.
In the US, Assange faces a series of espionage charges stemming from his role in the publication of various forms of classified information provided by whistleblowers. If convicted, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison.
When the US government indicted Alexandre Cazes, the alleged administrator of the original Alphabay market, Cazes hanged himself in his cell in a jail in Thailand rather than face a lifetime in prison in the United States.
In January, the court’s refusal to allow Assange’s extradition was “partially justified by the fact that [Assange] could be subjected to” so-called Special Administrative Measures (SAMs). US lawyers assured the High Court that Assange would not face SAMs while in US custody. The High Court accepted these assurances.
A special administrative measure (SAM) is a process under United States law (28 CFR 501.3; see also USAM title 9 chapter 24 — Requests for Special Confinement Conditions) whereby the United States Attorney General may direct the United States Bureau of Prisons to use “special administrative measures” regarding housing of and correspondence and visitors to specific inmates. It includes prisoners awaiting or being tried, as well as those convicted, when it is alleged there is a “substantial risk that a prisoner’s communications or contacts with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury to persons, or substantial damage to property that would entail the risk of death or serious bodily injury to persons.” Such measures are used to prevent acts of violence or terrorism or disclosure of classified information.
The law is considered particularly controversial because it permits monitoring of attorney-client communications of designated prisoners. Initiated in November 2001, the Department of Justice considered this an expansion of an existing regulation. Formerly it was only allowed through a court order. It specified that information protected by attorney-client privilege could not be used for prosecution; however, communications related to ongoing or contemplated illegal acts was not covered."
It seems unlikely that Assange will end up anywhere other than ADX Florence, USP Florence High, or a similar federal institution. At ADX Florence, inmates are kept in a small cell for 23 hours a day. Inmates in the institution’s Unit H are subjected to SAMs.
It has been established that such isolation causes psychological harm, at a minimum. In animal studies, such isolation has atrophied the brain. One researcher, neurologist and animal behavior scholar Michael Zigmond, reported that mice in isolation demonstrate a “decrease in the anatomical complexity of the brain (including fewer connections between nerve cells and even fewer nerve cells) and a decrease in the number of blood vessels in the brain.”
For the full resolution images, click here. The briefing in the picture stated:
“Brief - EQ. Embassy Brief Summary of current position Re: Assange. Action required Assange to be arrested under all circumstances. He comes out with dip[lomatic] immun[ity] as [dip[lomatic] bag in dip[lomatic] bag in dip[lomatic] vehicule ARRESTED.” “Discuss possibilities of distraction SS10 to liaise… provide additional support.”
I do not think anyone doubts that Assange will spend his days in solitary confinement. The US government wants Assange dead. When Assange was staying at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, US government officials discussed kidnapping or assassinating Assange, according to a Yahoo News investigation. Then CIA director, Mike Pompeo, allegedly discussed conducting such operations after the Vault 7 debacle.
Pompeo, now a member of the Hudson Institute, is the ultimate neo-conservative meddler. Although it is impossible to trust media reports that depend on anonymous officials in the Trump Whitehouse, Pompeo is the type who would love to have Assange murdered while tweeting about how the greatest threat to American citizens is China’s “predatory fishing practices.” Our values and such!
The US government is an honest institution. Everything just echoes. Like this obviously serious Tweet from Antony Blinken, who is effectively Pompeo’s similarly meddling clone.