Julian Assange appeared at a further administrative hearing at Westminster Crown Court, London on 27 July via video link, the first time since 7 April when he was last seen in court. The conference call was organised after delay, due to failure of Belmarsh prison to arrange the appearance, and only after his lawyers protested his absence. Judge Baraitser said as the new substances of the case weren’t being discussed, Assange didn’t need to appear via videolink from Belmarsh prison, although last month she ordered him to appear unless he had a medical reason not to.
It was Julian Assange’s 49th birthday on 3 July. He did not have much to celebrate being incarcerated in in the high-security HMP Belmarsh for more than a year facing extradition to the United States where he has been indicted under the Espionage Act for Wikileaks’ 2010-11 publications of the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diaries, and State Department cables. But he would have cheered to know that on that day 40 press freedom groups and journalist organisations wrote to the Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (with a copy to Dominic Raab MP Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) calling for the British Government to release the Wikileaks founder and to block his extradition to the US. The charges against Julian carry a potential maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.
Earlier this month Brian Cathcart, author and long standing campaigner for media reform, wrote an article in The Byline Times questioning why The Guardian had joined the deal negotiated with the Government by the News Media Association (NMA). In return for publishing Government advertorial newspapers shared out £35 million in the ‘All In, All Together’ deal. You can read the article at: https://bylinetimes.com/2020/06/05/why-is-the-guardian-accepting-a-dodgy-subsidy-from-this-dodgy-government/
Brian’s article asks reasonable questions about the newspaper’s participation in the Government three month advertising package and it is a pity that The Guardian appear to have not responded to all of them, more especially about its understanding of the character of the scheme, and the near exclusion of the independents from it. But then having taken the money maybe they won’t want to be critical of the scheme?