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In-Depth Interview: Reporter/Editor Joe Lauria Recaps Assange Extradition Hearings

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Joe Lauria, editor in chief at ConsortiumNews, was in London to cover the preliminary extradition hearings of Julian Assange, and recaps them for us.These hearings, during the last week of February, were mostly ignored by US corporate media outlets, while ConsortiumNews delivered excellent coverage. Lauria opens with a blast at mainstream outlets for failing to address this major challenge to press freedom.

We discuss the clear bias of the judge, Vanessa Baraitser, who frequently interrupts Assange’s lawyers while allowing British lawyers for the US government to make many false claims without interruption.  She has placed Assange in a glass cage at the back of the courtroom, and rejected his request to be seated with his lawyers.

Lauria briefs us on the proceedings, and the major argument over whether the controlling legal authority is a British law from 2003 or the extradition treaty between the US and UK; the treaty includes an exemption for “political acts” but the law is silent on that aspect.

We also discuss that, contrary to claims made by attorneys for the US, there is no evidence of harm to any individual whose identity may have been exposed by WikiLeaks, and that infamous Guardian reporter Luke Harding published secret passwords in a book that allowed unauthorized access to WikiLeaks files.

Lauria also comments on the health of Assange, which seems improved.