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NuScale Faces Class Action Lawsuit Brought by Former Employees

  https://www.wweek.com/news/courts/2022/09/20/nuscale-faces-class-action-lawsuit-lawsuit-brought-by-former-employees/   By Lucas Manfield, September 20, 2022

Former employees of NuScale, a Tigard company that designs nuclear reactors, have filed suit in U.S. District Court in Portland, alleging the company denied them $100 million in proceeds when it went public earlier this year.

NuScale began trading under the ticker symbol SMR after a merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company in May. It was valued at nearly $1.9 billion, thanks to its innovative nuclear reactor design, which was recently greenlit by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The company emerged from research at Oregon State University.

The lawsuit is being brought by 13 former employees who allege that the company diluted the value of their stock without their approval using an “unlawful amendment” to an agreement between them and company. It’s similar to a lawsuit filed earlier this year, before NuScale went public, but this version is a class action on behalf of at least 600 shareholders.

They’re asking for $200 million in damages, along with the return of the money lost in the dilution.

After nearly going broke, NuScale’s founders sold a majority of the company to the Texas-based multinational conglomerate Fluor Corporation for $3.5 million in 2011. Fluor is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

“They’re screwing the employees of the company,” says Timothy DeJong of the Stoll Berne law firm, who represents the former employees, most of whom were once NuScale executives.

NuScale released a statement to WW saying the “claims are without merit” and promised to defend itself in “the appropriate forum.” Fluor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

September 22, 2022 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

Moscow says – US Afraid Inhumane Acts Committed by Azov Terrorists Will Be Made Public

25 Aug 22, WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Washington is afraid that crimes committed by Ukraine’s Azov* neo-nazi regiment would come to light during the international tribunal for war criminals in Mariupol, the Russian Embassy to the US said.

The Russian embassy noted that the upcoming tribunal against Ukrainian war criminals, which is being prepared by the DPR authorities, would hold Ukrainian Neo-Nazis accountable……………………………..

Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) leader Denis Pushilin earlier said that the suspected war criminals captued by the Donbass militias would face international an tribunal, which is to be held in Mariupol. He noted that the DPR authorities would not delay the trial, adding that the Foreign Ministry is working to invite the international community to take part in the tribunal…………….  The politician stated that among suspects are neo-Nazis and some troops who committed atrocities in Donbass over the past 8 years.

He noted that the DPR authorities would not delay the trial, adding that the Foreign Ministry is working to invite the international community to take part in the tribunal.

*Azov is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia  https://sputniknews.com/20220825/us-afraid-inhumane-acts-committed-by-azov-terrorists-will-be-made-public-russian-embassy-says-1099967315.html

August 30, 2022 Posted by | legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange files latest appeal in bid to stop extradition to United States

 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-27/julian-assange-files-latest-appeal-in-bid-to-stop-us-extradition/101378994?utm_campaign=abc_news_web&utm_content=twitter&utm_medium=content_shared&utm_source=abc_news_web&fbclid=IwAR3DulMSeQDAIJ9QPKhT-fpJNkzbZLPR3FMcGJFQmRR9r7JycwX4rkpDbuA 27 Aug 22

Julian Assange’s legal team has filed an appeal to Britain’s High Court in an effort to thwart his extradition to the United States to face espionage charges.

Key points:

  • The appeal argues that Julian Assange is being prosecuted and punished for his political opinions and for protected speech
  • Assange has been in custody since his was arrested in April 2019 and dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London
  • He is facing 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse in the United States

British Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder in June after he was denied an appeal in the Supreme Court appeal back in March.

A public relations firm representing Assange said in a statement that the respondents to the appeal were Ms Patel and the government of the United States.

Lawyers for Assange will argue that he is being prosecuted and punished for his political opinions and for protected speech, and that the extradition request violates the US-UK Extradition Treaty and international law as it relates to what it calls political offences.

His lawyers will also argue that the US Government “misrepresented the core facts of the case” to the British courts and that the extradition request “constitute an abuse of process”.

“The Perfected Grounds of Appeal contain the arguments on which Julian Assange intends to challenge District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s decision of 4 January 2021 and introduces significant new evidence that has developed since that ruling,” the statement read.

That January 2021 ruling saw Judge Baraister refuse the US Government’s extradition request on the basis that of Assange’s mental condition and the risk of suicide if he were held in a maximum-security prison.

But Judge Baraister rejected nearly all of the arguments put forward by Assange’s lawyers at the time, including that the charges against him were politically motivated and that he would not receive a fair trial in the US.

In December 2021 the US Government won an appeal against that decision in the UK’s High Court, with Judge Timothy Holroyde finding that the US had given assurances to the UK about Assange’s detention, including about his treatment in the US prison system and that the US would allow him to be transferred to Australia to serve any prison sentence.

Assange’s latest appeal also argues Ms Patel “erred in her decision to approve the extradition order on grounds of specialty” because the extradition request violated the US-UK Extradition Treaty.

US authorities have accused the 51-year-old of conspiring to hack government computers and of violating an espionage law in connection with the release of confidential cables by WikiLeaks in 2010-2011.

Assange is facing up to 175 years in prison over the 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse over the leaks, but the US government has said that a sentence of between three and six years was more likely.

Stella Assange, Assange’s wife, said the pursuit of her husband was “criminal abuse”.

“Since the last ruling, overwhelming evidence has emerged, proving that the United States prosecution against my husband is a criminal abuse,” she said in a statement.

“The High Court judges will now decide whether Julian is given the opportunity to put the case against the United States before open court, and in full, at the appeal.”

August 28, 2022 Posted by | legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Stop the Extradition! #FreeAssangeNOW

Julian Assange Files his Perfected Grounds of Appeal

Crowdfunder, Today, 26 August 2022, Julian Assange is filing his Perfected Grounds of Appeal before the High Court of Justice Administrative Court. The Respondents are the Government of the United States and the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Priti Patel.

The Perfected Grounds of Appeal contain the arguments on which Julian Assange intends to challenge District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s decision of 4 January 2021, and introduces significant new evidence that has developed since that ruling.

The Perfected Grounds of Appeal concerning the United States Government include the following points:

  • Julian Assange is being prosecuted and punished for his political opinions (s.81(a) of the Extradition Act);
  • Julian Assange is being prosecuted for protected speech (Article 10)
  • The request itself violates the US-UK Extradition Treaty and International law because it is for political offences;
  • The US Government has misrepresented the core facts of the case to the British courts; and
  • The extradition request and its surrounding circumstances constitute an abuse of process.

The Perfected Grounds of Appeal concerning the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) include arguments that Home Secretary Priti Patel erred in her decision to approve the extradition order on grounds of specialty and because the request itself violates Article 4 of the US-UK Extradition Treaty.

“Since the last ruling, overwhelming evidence has emerged proving that the United States prosecution against my husband is a criminal abuse. The High Court judges will now decide whether Julian is given the opportunity to put the case against the United States before open court, and in full, at the appeal,” said Julian Assange’s wife Stella Assange.

Background:……………………………………… more https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/free-assange/updates/187543#startc

August 28, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, legal, UK | Leave a comment

Connecting Toxic Memories: Hiroshima and Nuremberg

the NATO Three had the temerity to issue a joint statement expressing their total opposition to the approach taken by the so-called Ban Treaty (TPNW), declared it was their intention to continue to rely on nuclear weapons to meet their far-flung security needs broadly specified to include geopolitical deterrence, that is, not only is this weaponry not being limited to the defense of homelands but vital strategic concerns that could potentially arise anywhere on the planet. At present, this commitment to nuclearism is illustrated by the U.S. posture in response to the Ukraine War and the future of Taiwan, as well as by revealing refusal even to accept a No First Use framework of restraint.

What was most controversial about the [Nuremberg] trials was the failure to inquire into the violations of international criminal law by the winning side, which is why these tribunals, however conscientious their work, have been derided over the years as glaring instances of ‘victors’ justice.’

CounterPunch, BY RICHARD FALK, 12 Aug 22,

77 Years After Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Peace activists around the world often choose August 6th and 9th each year to grieve anew the human suffering and devastation caused by dropping atomic bombs on the undefended Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which lacked military significance. Among other things these atomic attacks were ‘geopolitical crimes’ of ultimate terror, with scant combat justification, and intended mainly as a warning to Soviet leaders not to defy the West in the peace diplomacy at the end of World War II.

These August dates marking the utter destruction of these two cities are treated as events giving rise to what has been widely known as the nuclear age. This awful beginning can never be forgotten or redeemed, although ever since the explosions in 1945 the solemnity of these occasions has been overshadowed outside of Japan by widespread fears that a nuclear war might occur at some point and a quiet rage continues to build around the world that the nuclear weapons states, above all the U.S., have stubbornly defiantly refused to take steps to fulfill pledges to seek a reliable path to nuclear disarmament in good faith.

This moral and political pledge became legally obligatory in Article VI of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (1970), a commitment affirmed unanimously in an Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice in 1996. It has become clear that for the security establishments of the ‘NATO Three’ (U.S. France, UK) this disarmament commitment was never more than ‘a useful fiction’ that conveyed the sense that the non-nuclear states were being given something valuable and commensurate to the willingness to give up their conditional option to underpin national security by acquiring nuclear weapons (as Russia and China, as well as Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea have done over the decades).

The non-nuclear Parties to the NPT  are not formally obliged to give up their option of acquiring nuclear weapons unconditionally.  Article 10 confers on all Parties to the NPT a right of withdrawal if “extraordinary events..have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country.” In practice, as Iran is finding out, this right of withdrawal gives way to the geopolitical priorities of an enforcement regime presided over by the United States. The so-called Jerusalem Declaration signed in July by U.S. and Israel leaders commits to using whatever military force is necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weaponry.

NPT Review Conference at the UN

Currently the NPT Review Conference, postponed since 2020 because of COVID, at UN Headquarters in New York City, two significant contradictory developments dominated the scene. It was the first such meeting of NPT Parties since the Treaty of Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) came into force in early 2021. This treaty, a project of governments from the Global South in active coalition with Global Civil Society has drawn a bright line between the majority views of the peoples of the world and the security elites of these nine nuclear weapons states.

This impasse between the nuclear haves and have-nots amounts to an existential confirmation of ‘nuclear apartheid’ as the precarious and self-serving underpinning of global security unless and until the advocates TPNW muster enough strength and will to mount a real challenge to such a hegemonic and menacing concentration of unaccountable power and discretionary authority.

New Patterns of Geopolitical Rivalry Increase Risks of Nuclear War

The second notable development at the NPT Review Conference lent a sense of immediacy and urgency to what had become 77 years after Hiroshima a somewhat abstract concern is the Ukraine War, and its geopolitical spillover effect of heightening the perceived risks of the use of nuclear weaponry and even the danger of nuclear war. The U.S. has decided it is worth challenging Russia’s attack on Ukraine sufficiently to uphold its strategic logic that since the end of the Cold War the world has political space for one extraterritorial state, which became the sole supplier of global governance when it comes to the international security agenda. Among other things, unipolarity meant that Cold War Era mutual respect for territorial spheres of influence on the borders of Great Powers no longer are pillars of stable geopolitical coexistence. After the Soviet collapse in 1992 the U.S. has acted as if entitled to implement a Monroe Doctrine for the world. To make such a grandiose hegemonic political destiny credible it has shouldered the immense economic and strategic burdens that accompany the role, maintaining hundreds of foreign military bases and naval fleets in every ocean.

NATO’s insistence early in the Ukraine War on making Russia pay for its invasion by being again reduced to the normalcies of territorial sovereignty was undoubtedly intended to be a master class for the benefit of Russia, and especially China, in the geopolitics of the post-Cold War world. It also provided an occasion to send China, currently the more formidable adversary of the West, a message written with the blood of Ukrainian lives, that any show of force to regain control over Taiwan will be met an even more punitive response, including thinly veiled threats that pointedly refuse to rule out uses of nuclear weapons. Pentagon war games some months ago ominously showed that China would prevail in any military encounter in the South China Seas unless the U.S. was prepared to cross the nuclear threshold. This assessment should be affirming the renewed strategic relevance of nuclear weaponry. It has proven helpful in making the case for even larger military appropriations from Congress.

American diplomacy toward China has aggravated an already inflammatory context by some inexplicably provocative behavior in recent months. First came a gratuitous public pronouncement by Biden last May while in Asia to provide whatever military assistance was deemed necessary to protect Taiwan if under attack by China. And secondly, a totally destabilizing August visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi at a time of already high tensions. These provocations violated the spirit of the Shanghai Communique that was issued by China and the U.S. in 1972………………………………………………………………………………….

What was most controversial about the [Nuremberg] trials was the failure to inquire into the violations of international criminal law by the winning side, which is why these tribunals, however conscientious their work, have been derided over the years as glaring instances of ‘victors’ justice.’

My interest in the connections between Hiroshima and Nuremberg is somewhat different. The insensitivity of such a high profile signing of this agreement on August 8th establishing the Nuremberg Tribunal is appalling. It occurred during the very days of the atomic bombings, arguably the worst crime of World War II at least on a par with the Holocaust. It is more than insensitivity, it is moral numbness, which prepares political actors, whether states, empire, or leaders, to embrace past crimes and commit future crimes. It leads directly to such features of world order as a geopolitical right of exception at the UN by way of the veto and impunity with respect to accountability procedures. In effect, the UN is designed quite literally to give assurances that the most dangerous states, as of 1945, are jurisprudentially protected forever from any adverse Security Council decision as to criminal acts, at least within the UN System.

What is this slightly disguised feature of legality and legitimacy conveying to a curious observer? That law and accountability are relevant for propaganda and punishment against Great Power adversaries, and that the wrongs of victors in major wars are beyond scrutiny but those of the vanquished and weak are to be judged in what amounts to ‘show trials’ because of this core failure to treat equals equally.

There is yet something else to reflect upon. If August 8th had been a different day that of infamy because an English or American city had been targeted by a German atomic bomb and yet Germany still lost the war, the act and the weapon would have been criminalized at Nuremberg and by subsequent international action. We might not be still living with this weaponry if the perpetrators of those dreadful events of August 6th and 9th had been the losers in World War II, which makes the rightly celebrated defeat of fascism on balance a somewhat questionable long-term victory for humanity.

77 years later it seems worth pondering allow this long repressed relationship between Hiroshima and Nuremberg in the context of the recent irresponsible heightening of geopolitical tensions with Russia and China.

Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, Chair of Global law, Queen Mary University London, and Research Associate, Orfalea Center of Global Studies, UCSB.   https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/08/12/connecting-toxic-memories-hiroshima-and-nuremberg/

August 14, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, legal, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | 1 Comment

EDF sues French government for €8.4bn after Macron forces it to sell energy at a loss

EDF is suing the French government for €8.3bn (£7bn) after Emmanuel
Macron forced the nuclear giant to sell energy at a loss.

The company has filed a compensation claim with the Conseil d’Etat, the French
administrative supreme court, over “losses incurred” as a result of a
price cap extended in January. Paris ordered EDF, which is currently 84pc
state owned, to sell more of its power to French rivals at below market
prices in an attempt to support households and businesses as energy costs
soared.

EDF, which is in the process of being fully nationalised by the
French state, said the €8.3bn figure reflected losses “estimated to
date”, suggesting the price cap could cost it €15bn over the full year.
EDF estimated the changes would cost it between €7.7bn and €8.4bn when
they were first announced and said it would consider “any measure to
protect its interests”. Before the measure was enacted, competitors were
allowed to buy 100TWh of EDF’s electricity at a heavy discount to balance
its monopoly position. In January, the Elysée ordered that cap to be
increased by a fifth.

 Telegraph 9th Aug 2022

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/09/edf-sues-french-government-84bn-macron-forces-sell-energy-loss/

August 9, 2022 Posted by | France, legal | Leave a comment

Russia’s Rosatom to take legal action against Finland company, over terminated €7 billion nuclear power plant project.

Russian state entity plans claim over Finnish nuclear project, Jack Ballantyne 22 July 2022 Russian state entity Rosatom is preparing to launch an arbitration against a Finnish company that cited the war in Ukraine when it terminated a contract for work on a €7 billion nuclear power plant project…………… (Subscribers only) more https://globalarbitrationreview.com/article/russian-state-entity-plans-claim-over-finnish-nuclear-project

July 22, 2022 Posted by | legal, Russia | Leave a comment

Austria to take EU to court over ‘greenwashing’ of gas and nuclear

 https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2022/07/13/austria-to-take-eu-to-court-over-greenwashing-of-gas-and-nuclearBy Euronews   13/07/2022 –

Austria wants the European Court of Justice to rule on whether the Commission was allowed to issue a Delegated Act to label gas and nuclear as green, the country’s minister said on Wednesday.

A controversial plan by the European Commission to include gas and nuclear in its taxonomy — a planned EU classification to give the financial sector clarity on which economic activities can be considered sustainable — was approved by MEPs last week with Austria immediately announcing it will challenge the vote in court. 

Speaking from Luxembourg ahead of an informal meeting of EU environment ministers on Wednesday, Leonore Gewessler stressed that “from the very beginning, Austria was strongly opposed to greenwashing fossil gas and to greenwashing nuclear in the taxonomy.”

“We will file a lawsuit at the European Court of Justice to prevent this greenwashing programme, I cannot call it otherwise, to come into force.”

“There is a legal period of two months after the entry into force that is there to file the suit for the annulment of the legislation under the treaties,” she explained, adding: “Of course, we will respect this time frame.”

Luxembourg has also announced it will turn to the courts over the issue but Gewessler said other member states could join them. 

“Several other states have been very critical of, and very vocal also, in their criticism on the delegated act and so we will also look for further allies in the lawsuit,” she told reporters. 

Environmental NGOs, including Greenpeace and WWF, have also condemned the vote by the European Parliament with Greenpeace also considering a legal challenge. 

Opponents argue that adding branding gas and nuclear as sustainable could lead to billions of euros being invested in these two energy powers rather than in renewables or other green technologies which would, in turn, endanger commitments made under the Paris Climate Agreement as well as the European Climate Law.

These plan for the bloc to become the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050 and to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

The taxonomy, the Austrian environment minister stressed on Wednesday, is “a tool where financial markets, investors, ordinary people who want to invest their money into something good and useful and green and climate-friendly need to have the certainty that wherever there is a green label on, they are truly green projects.”

“So neither fossil gas, nor nuclear fulfil the criteria for really truly green investments. And we also question whether the Commission has the power to regulate this in a delegated act, and all of this will be put in the lawsuit,” she concluded.

July 13, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, legal | Leave a comment

Extradition of Julian Assange – a travesty of justice

Alan William Preston Australia, 2 July 22, 1174 days in solitary confinement in London’s Belmarsh prison for having published evidence of the American military’s deliberate breaching of the Geneva Conventions during their illegal occupation of Iraq during which their personnel recorded 61,000 civilian deaths caused by their activities.

This is only a small corner of the truth he was shining the light on.

No further investigations or prosecutions for these war crimes have ever been pursued. Now the U.K. government is scrambling to disconnect itself from the European Court of Human Rights.

The U.N. had deemed that Julian Asssange had the right to publish this material and that his imprisonment is arbitrary and that the conditions equate to psychologicial torture and is ‘intimidation and reprisal’ being inflicted by the states that stand implicated by the evidence received and published.

We need to set the terms of reference for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the dysfunction in all the checks and balances that have allowed this travesty of injustice to occur.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquiries_Act_2005

July 4, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, legal | Leave a comment

South Africa. Fired National Nuclear Regulator board member takes Minister Gwede Mantashe to court

 Daily Maverick  By Sasha Planting 20 Apr 22,

Peter Becker is seeking declaratory relief that the minister’s decision to discharge him as a board member was unlawful and unconstitutional, and wants an order reviewing and setting aside this decision.

Peter Becker, formerly a member of the board of the National Nuclear Regulator, has served papers on the minister of mineral resources and energy, the National Nuclear Regulator and the chairman of that body to challenge his dismissal in February this year. 

Becker is seeking declaratory relief that the minister’s decision to discharge him was unlawful and unconstitutional, and wants an order reviewing and setting aside this decision. 

Becker’s initial suspension came in January, just days before the regulator approved the extension of life project for the Koeberg nuclear power station, a decision that should be reviewed, given the delays and safety concerns that have arisen since.  

The role of the regulator is not to protect the interests of Koeberg or nuclear power, but to ensure that nuclear activities are conducted safely in South Africa, ultimately in the interests of the public. 

Becker was appointed to the board in June 2021 by Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe. He was nominated by civil society organisations, including the Koeberg Alert Alliance, the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute and the Pelindaba Working Group, to represent communities that may be affected by nuclear activities. 

However, on 25 February Mantashe fired Becker, arguing that he was guilty of misconduct and was conflicted. This was because Becker had, in his personal capacity, and before his appointment, expressed critical and challenging views on the use of nuclear energy.  

“The minister has fundamentally misunderstood those duties. His decision is vitiated by substantive and procedural irrationality, errors of law and fact and unreasonableness,” Becker responds in the affidavit. 

His removal has not come at a good time. Maintenance and replacement work are being carried out at Koeberg, under authorisations granted by the regulator. However, this work is already behind schedule and several safety concerns have been raised. 

Moreover, Mantashe has signalled his intention to tender for new nuclear power proposals as soon as possible, possibly before the year is out. 

The alleged conflict of interest arose because Becker is concerned about the use of nuclear power in South Africa, is opposed to the building of more reactors at Koeberg and is worried about its lifespan being extended. He has been publicly vocal in this regard. However, as Becker has deposed, these views were well known and were included in his CV before he was appointed to the job.  ………………………..

At least one member of the board is actively and vocally pro-nuclear. This is  Katse Maphoto, the chief director of nuclear safety and technology in the minister’s department. On several occasions he has indicated his support for nuclear power, saying it should form part of SA’s energy mix.   

Thus Becker says, it is inconsistent and irrational to take the position that people who are generally critical of nuclear activity should be disqualified from exercising proper judgment concerning safety issues, while those who are supportive, are not. 

The minister has 15 days in which to submit a “record of proceedings” — the documents, evidence, arguments and other information relating to the dismissal — failing which, a court date will be set.  https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-04-19-fired-national-nuclear-regulator-board-member-takes-minister-gwede-mantashe-to-court/

April 21, 2022 Posted by | legal, South Africa | Leave a comment

South African Anti-nuclear activist taking Energy Minister to court for firing him

Anti-nuclear activist taking Gwede Mantashe to court for firing him

Fin 24, Lameez Omarjee,  13 Apr 22

  • Anti-nuclear activist Peter Becker has launched a legal challenge against Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe.
  • The minister had axed Becker from the board of the National Nuclear Regulator over an alleged conflict of interest.

Becker is the spokesperson of Koeberg Alert Alliance, a civil society group concerned with the safety of nuclear activity……………….. https://www.news24.com/fin24/economy/anti-nuclear-activist-taking-gwede-mantashe-to-court-for-firing-him-20220413

April 14, 2022 Posted by | legal, South Africa | Leave a comment

Extradition looms for Julian Assange, after Supreme Court refuses to hear his appeal.

Extradition Looms for Assange After UK Supreme Court Refuses to Hear His Appeal, Marjorie CohnTruthout, March 16, 2022  

The British judicial system has erected still another barrier to Julian Assange’s freedom. On March 14, the U.K. Supreme Court refused to hear Assange’s appeal of the U.K. High Court’s ruling ordering his extradition to the United States. If extradited to the U.S. for trial, Assange will face 17 charges under the Espionage Act and up to 175 years in prison for revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes.

With no explanation of its reasoning, the Supreme Court denied Assange “permission to appeal” the High Court’s decision, saying that Assange’s appeal did not “raise an arguable point of law.” The court remanded the case back to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, which is the same court that denied the U.S. extradition request on January 4, 2021.

In all likelihood, the magistrates’ court will refer the case to the British Home Office where Home Secretary Priti Patel will review it. Assange’s lawyers then have four weeks to submit materials for Patel’s consideration. If she orders Assange’s extradition — which is highly likely — his lawyers will file a cross-appeal in the High Court asking it to review the issues Assange lost in the magistrates’ court.

If the High Court refuses to review those additional issues, Assange can appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. That could take years. Meanwhile, he languishes in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison, in fragile mental and physical health. He suffered a mini-stroke as his extradition hearing began. United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer wrote in a Twitter post that the “U.K. is literally torturing him to death.”

The Legal Background……………….

Issues Assange Seeks to Raise on Cross-Appeal

In the cross-appeal, Assange’s lawyers will raise the following points:

*The extradition treaty between the U.S. and the U.K. forbids extradition for a political offense and since espionage is a political offense, the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case;

*Extradition would be oppressive or unjust due to the passage of time;

*The charges against Assange do not satisfy the “dual criminality test” which requires that they constitute criminal offenses in both the U.S. and the U.K.;

*Extradition is barred because the request is based on Assange’s political opinions;

*Extradition is barred because it would violate Assange’s rights to a fair trial and freedom of expression, as well as the prohibition on inhuman and degrading treatment, under the European Convention on Human Rights; and

*The request for extradition is an abuse of process because it is being pursued for a political motive and not in good faith.

Human Rights Organizations Decry Supreme Court’s Refusal to Hear Appeal…………………..

Assange’s Fiancée Says U.S. Wants to Imprison Him for Exposing Its War Crimes

Stella Moris, Assange’s fiancée, says Assange is being persecuted for carrying out a core journalistic mission: telling the truth.

“Whether Julian is extradited or not, which is the same as saying whether he lives or dies, is being decided through a process of legal avoidance,” Moris said. “Avoiding to hear arguments that challenge the UK courts’ deference to unenforceable and caveated claims regarding his treatment made by the United States, the country that plotted to murder him. The country whose atrocities he brought into the public domain. Julian is the key witness, the [principal] indicter, and the cause of enormous embarrassment to successive US governments.”

Moris added, “Julian was just doing his job, which was to publish the truth about wrongdoing. His loyalty is the same as that which all journalists should have: to the public. Not to the spy agencies of a foreign power.”

According to Moris, the United States wants to imprison Assange for 175 years because he “published evidence that the country that is trying to extradite him committed war crimes and covered them up; that it committed gross violations that killed tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children; that it tortured and rendered; that it bombed children, had death squads, and murdered Reuters journalists in cold blood; that it bribed foreign officials and bullied less powerful countries into harming their own citizens, and that it also corrupted allied nations’ judicial inquiries into US wrongdoing.”

Assange and Moris, who have two small children together, have finally received permission to marry. They will be wed later this month in Belmarsh Prison.  https://truthout.org/articles/extradition-looms-for-assange-after-uk-supreme-court-refuses-to-hear-his-appeal/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=6141299d-bdd4-4062-8b24-47c47f1bdba5

March 17, 2022 Posted by | legal, Reference, UK | Leave a comment

Lies leave the Assange case exposed – this is a political persecution

Lies leave the Assange case exposed – this is a political persecution,  https://www.counterfire.org/articles/opinion/22480-lies-leave-the-assange-case-exposed-this-is-a-political-persecution

John Rees on how a false testimony has further confirmed that the Assange case is a political attack against critical journalists

Watching the US government’s case against Julian Assange is like watching a levitation act at the music hall. You can see that the object floats, but you’ve no idea how. If normal gravitational laws applied, the Assange case would have crashed to the ground already.

After all, a leading prosecution witness has admitted lying in his evidence to the court and the defendant and his lawyers have been spied on by the intelligence agency of the government attempting to extradite him. In any other case, the mere facts of these revelations would be enough to halt court proceedings, but the detail makes the case for abandonment of the extradition even more compelling.

The most recent bombshell is that Sigurdur ‘Siggi’ Thordarson has admitted to Icelandic journalists at Stundin that he lied when he gave evidence alleging that Julian Assange had instructed him to hack US government accounts. Thordarson’s evidence is not marginal to the US case: it’s woven all through the prosecution’s argument, and it is specifically referred to by the judge in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in those parts of her judgement which are hostile to Assange.

Indeed, when the Trump administration realised that their case was weak, they specifically sought out Thordarson in Iceland and reissued their charges against Assange so that it would be, they imagined, strengthened by his evidence. They should have known better.

To say that Thordarson is an unreliable witness is a very considerable understatement. His allegations had been reviewed by the Obama administration and found too problematic to be taken seriously. Trump’s administration re-animated Thordarson in an attempt to breathe life into their flagging case.

Thordason had been a volunteer for WikiLeaks, working to raise funds. He stole some $50,000 from WikiLeaks and he misrepresented himself to the outside world in order to embezzle money. He was also convicted of sexual abuse of children. On both counts, Julian Assange helped put him in jail. His motive for lying once again for the Trump administration is plain: revenge. And his false evidence is meant to bolster a central contention of the US case: that Julian Assange is a hacker, not a journalist.

Quite what has now convinced this serial liar to admit that he invented the material on which the US case so heavily relies we cannot know. But his decision to do so blows a hole through the centre of the case for extradition.

Thordarson admitted to the Stundin investigative team that Assange never asked him to hack anything. In fact, he now says that his previous claim that Assange had instructed or asked him to access computers is false.

Yet this is precisely the evidence on which the US prosecution relies. Indeed, it was so important to them that they tore up their original indictment of Assange on the very eve of the extradition hearing so that they could reissue a second indictment specifically including Thordarson’s evidence – evidence now admitted to be a total fiction.

At this point most cases which had been exposed as relying on perjured testimony would collapse. Not so the Assange case, which is now heading to the Appeal Court where the US will try to overturn the decision of the Magistrates’ Court at the start of this year, which found that the US prison system is so ‘oppressive’ that Assange would be a suicide risk were he committed to it.

It’s not even as if the Thordarson revelations are the first time that evidence has emerged which would normally halt court proceedings in their tracks. It is already a matter of record that Assange and his legal team were spied on by a Spanish security firm reporting to the CIA. The firm, UC Global, were employed by the Ecuadorean embassy to protect Assange when he was granted asylum. They were suborned by the CIA and then supplied them with both audio and video recordings of Assange and his legal team in the embassy. All this has been revealed in an ongoing court case in Spain.

Again, in any normal trial, the revelation that attorney-client privilege had been abused in this way would have been grounds for dismissal. But not in the Assange case. The court seems content to accept the US government’s argument that the CIA would respect departmental boundaries and never tell the Department of Justice any information obtained from the spying operation on Assange. This excuse beggars belief, since the exact function of the CIA is to tell the US government about the threats to national security, as they see it.

And there is the whole core of the problem: the US government under Trump allowed the fiction to develop that the fundamental business of investigative journalism is a threat to national security. Accordingly, Julian Assange became reclassified as a ‘cyber-terrorist’, not a journalist.

In pursuit of this dangerous fantasy, the US government is keeping a multiple award-winning journalist banged-up in a high security jail specifically used for terrorists, in spite of the Magistrates’ Court decision against them.

It’s time that both the US government and the British government brought this embarrassing farce to an end. Every major human rights organisation on the planet has said it is wrong. Journalists’ unions across the globe say its wrong. Parliamentarians in Italy are protesting in their legislature to says its wrong. German MPs are demanding Angela Merkel tells Joe Biden its wrong. Australian MPs are campaigning for Assange’s release in unprecedented numbers. British MPs have been protesting outside Belmarsh because they are not even being allowed a briefing with Assange.

As the Assange case goes to the High Court, we are reaching a critical moment. This is the crucial freedom of the press case of the twenty-first century. If it is lost, the shadow of authoritarian government will be cast longer and darker over the body politic. We should not allow that to happen.

March 10, 2022 Posted by | legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Julian Assange appeals to the Supreme Court.


Julian Assange appeals to the Supreme Court, https://www.bindmans.com/insight/updates/julian-assange-appeals-to-the-supreme-court, Kate Goold, 03 FEBRUARY 2022.

In December 2021, the High Court ruled that Julian Assange could be extradited to the USA, reversing a previous decision of Westminster Magistrates’ Court that extradition would be unjust or oppressive due to Mr Assange’s mental condition.

The ruling of the High Court was based on a package of diplomatic assurances provided by the US government about how and where Mr Assange would be detained if extradited and/or convicted. The assurances had been provided after the Magistrates’ Court found that Mr Assange was at a high risk of suicide if imprisoned in the very harsh regime that can be imposed on prisoners, who are considered a threat to national security, by the US. These fresh assurances were said by the USA to be sufficient to meet that concern, and the High Court agreed.

Among the assurances were undertakings that Mr Assange would not, at this time, be subject to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), restricting his correspondence, visits and use of the telephone, nor detained at USP Florence ADMAX (ADX), a maximum-security prison in Colorado.

Crucially, however, these assurances were subject to the caveat that the US retained the power to impose such conditions if Mr Assange were to commit any future act that meets the tests for the imposition of SAMs or designation to ADX.

Application to the Supreme Court

As anticipated, Mr Assange sought permission to appeal the High Court judgment to the Supreme Court on the basis that there is a point of law of general public importance involved in the decision. He argued that the Supreme Court’s guidance was required on three questions of law regarding the assurances.

Firstly, he submitted that the Supreme Court ought to consider the question of whether a court can consider assurances that are introduced for the first time on appeal.

The second and third questions related to the caveat in the assurances concerning future acts. Mr Assange questioned whether it could be lawful to allow for potential exposure to conditions under SAMs or in ADX if the imposition of those prison regimes was judged by the US authorities to be justified by his own conduct. In Mr Assange’s case, this was said to be particularly important because conduct could involve speech, and also because it was accepted that he suffers from a severe mental condition.

On 24 January 2022, only the first question was certified by the High Court as an issue of general public importance:

In what circumstances can an appellate court receive assurances from a requesting state which were not before the court of first instance in extradition proceedings.

In the view of the High Court, this point of law is settled, but the High Court has certified a point of law of general public importance with regards to the provision of assurances at a later stage in proceedings, as the Supreme Court has not yet considered this specific question. The High Court concluded that the Supreme Court should have an opportunity to do so, since assurances are at the heart of many extradition proceedings and are increasingly relied on.

In extradition proceedings, assurances are not currently classed as ‘evidence’, but as ‘issues’, and therefore do not necessarily attract the same scrutiny. This also means they can be introduced after all evidence has been heard and tested.

The Supreme Court itself will now decide whether or not it should hear the appeal on this point.

Extradition practitioners largely welcome Supreme Court guidance on this point as late assurances designed to alleviate the court’s concerns about human rights violations following extradition have become a highly contentious issue, especially when provided by States with a poor record in human rights themselves.

It is of note that the High Court refused to certify the point of law with regards to future acts and did not appear to be overly concerned regarding the conditional nature of the diplomatic assurances provided. Mr Assange’s lawyers argued that the principle of absolute protection against inhuman or degrading treatment, contrary to Article 3, should also apply in cases where an individual’s mental condition is such that even if they are moved to a severe regime due to their behaviour (including speech), extradition should still be barred as oppressive (s91 Extradition Act) because the severity of the regime will cause such a deterioration in their mental health. The assurances provided do not rule out this possibility. This would have been an interesting issue for the Supreme Court to have considered, but that opportunity is no longer available.

Wider issues

Meanwhile, Mr Assange is likely to appeal to the High Court those grounds where he was unsuccessful before the District Judge at Westminster, as he was unable to cross appeal while the US appealed the District Judge decision. These grounds will largely focus on political motivation, freedom of speech and fair trial issues. If leave to appeal on the certified point is refused by the Supreme Court, Mr Assange still therefore has an opportunity to appeal to the High Court and his fight continues.

February 17, 2022 Posted by | legal, UK | Leave a comment

Judicial review on the dumping of Hinkley Point C radioactive mud

A group campaigning against the dumping of sediment from the site of a
decommissioned nuclear power station has succeeded in securing a judicial
review challenging the legality of a licence to dump waste into the River
Severn.

The Save the Severn Estuary / Cofiwch Môr Hafren campaign involves
the Geiger Bay coalition and groups from the English side of the estuary
and is seeking to halt the dumping of sediment from the construction of the
Hinkley C power station in the Marine Protected Area (MPA) near Portishead,
Bristol.

In 2018, EDF, which is building the plant, dumped mud and sediment
off the coast of Cardiff despite fierce objections. The Campaign group says
that millions of tonnes of contaminated mud and sediment will contaminate
the waters and beaches used by local communities, and that by choosing to
ignore legal safeguards, energy giant EDF is threatening the health of
families and animal life.

Save the Severn Estuary / Cofiwch Môr Hafren say
that EDF are now trying to avoid further opposition and negative media
attention by moving the operation to Portishead, Bristol as a ‘soft
touch’ location after initially applying for a new license to dump more
waste off the Cardiff coast. At the judicial review on 8 March the campaign
group will challenge the legality of the licence granted by the Marine
Management Organisation (MMO), stating that several important procedures
haven’t been met and that an alternative to dumping at Portishead should
be adopted.

 Nation Cymru
 Nation Cymru 12th Feb 2022

February 14, 2022 Posted by | legal, UK, wastes | Leave a comment