LONDON — A British court on Friday set February 2020 as the date for the full extradition hearing on whether Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, should be sent to the United States to face a slew of charges, including several under the Espionage Act.
Mr. Assange, 47, appeared by video link from Belmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London for his first hearing since the United States formally requested his extradition. He had skipped a previous hearing because, his lawyer said, he was too ill to appear. Some experts, including a United Nations official, said he had exhibited signs of a deteriorating physical and mental condition.
Mr. Assange’s hearing came days after Britain’s home secretary, Sajid Javid, signed the extradition request from the United States and expressed his support for Mr. Assange’s detention.
“He’s rightly behind bars,” Mr. Javid told BBC’s Radio 4.
Protesters holding signs that read “Hands off Assange” outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Friday denounced Mr. Javid’s decision and demanded Mr. Assange’s release. If the court rules in the United States’ favor, the extradition process is expected to be a long and complicated one.
Prosecutors from the United States had initially charged Mr. Assange with a single count of computer hacking, and said he had conspired with the former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack into a Pentagon computer network, a crime punishable by up to five years in an American prison.
But in May, prosecutors added 17 charges to the list, including violating the Espionage Act, a move that has raised profound First Amendment issues. Most of the new charges were related to obtaining the secret document archives as opposed to publishing them, Justice Department officials said. But some worry it could set a precedent to criminalize future acts of national-security journalism.
The charges stem from Mr. Assange’s purported involvement in a 2010 leak of hundreds of thousands of classified documents, mostly related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that proved damaging and embarrassing for the United States and its allies.
Journalists and supporters of Mr. Assange gathered on Friday outside a London court, where he appeared at a hearing by video link.
In a brief court appearance on Friday, Mr. Assange, wearing glasses and a gray T-shirt, denied cracking a Pentagon network password as prosecutors read out the accusations against him, according to Reuters.
“It is important that people aren’t fooled into believing that WikiLeaks is anything but a publisher,” Mr. Assange told the court. “The U.S. government has tried to mislead the press.”
Mr. Assange is serving a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in Britain and is still appealing that sentence. He was removed from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in April and promptly arrested, seven years after first seeking refuge there to avoid extradition in a Swedish investigation into allegations made in 2010 by a woman who said Mr. Assange had sexually assaulted her.
Last month, Sweden announced it would be reopening the investigation into allegations of rape. A Swedish court has ruled that Mr. Assange should not be extradited to Sweden for the investigation, though he would still be questioned in the case while he is imprisoned in Britain.
That decision removed the potential for dueling extradition requests from the United States and Sweden, at least for now.
Outside the courtroom on Friday, Jennifer Robinson, a lawyer for Mr. Assange, said her client was being held in the hospital’s health care ward and “continues to suffer the permanent and difficult adverse health impacts” of his long-term stay in the Ecuadorean Embassy, and now in prison.
“He’s under a huge amount of pressure, and we are very concerned about him,” she told reporters.
Last month, a United Nations expert on torture said that an examination of Mr. Assange showed an alarming deterioration in his mental and physical state, and that he was suffering from psychological torture as a result of the cases brought by Britain, Sweden and the United States.
The United Nations special rapporteur on torture and ill treatment, Nils Melzer, said in an interview that Mr. Assange was “extremely jumpy and stressed.”
One of the most popular and influential finance and crypto news media outlets, CCN, has recently announced its shutting down. As it said, the reasons include an extreme fall in mobile search traffic, small revenue and Google’s monopoly on media in the world.
Update. The changes touch the search algorithms which directly influence daily traffic. In figures, the CCN’s web traffic dropped by 53% overnight, while the AMP traffic went down by 71%. CCN tried to resolve the situation by asking for guidance in Google’s Webmasters Forum. However, there were no specific details of the reasons.
CCN is not the only one who suffered from Google’s update. According to the Sistrix.com, Coindesk also showed a big drop in traffic, almost 35%; Cointelegraph has experienced a 21% drop in mobile search traffic.
Another reason why the team of CCN decided to stop its activity is that its daily revenue decreased by 91%. The staff consists of more than 60 people (full-timers and part-timers), except for ads they did not receive any funding from other parties.
The other factor is the monopoly of Google in the media sector. CCN provided information that Google controls 88.47% of the global desktop search market (April 2019). The founder of CCN, Jonas Borchgrevink, personally calls for the world to stop Google from taking over the world of media aka the world of freedom and justice.
You Can't Watch This is a documentary coming out Wednesday. They interviewed a few people who've been deplatformmed, including Alex Jones, who I think is hilarious, but that's unrelated.
I was actually going to write a long article about the banning at some point, then I got a bad headache last weekend. Maybe I'll still do this sometime this week.
Techliberty has been a WP blog for a while, but yesterday I got the wild idea to bring it over here. Mostly because there are a lot of things going on I want to catch up with, and also because it's cheaper than my WP hosting. This also gave me an idea for a blogging event that I'll most likely be doing at the end of July. I'll talk about that as it gets closer.