Document:Assange Judge is 40-year "good friend" of Minister who orchestrated his arrest
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Assange Judge is 40-year "good friend" of Minister who orchestrated his arrest
Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett, the Judge that will soon decide Julian Assange’s fate, is a close personal friend of Sir Alan Duncan, who as foreign minister arranged Assange’s eviction from the Ecuadorian embassy.
The two have known each other since their student days at Oxford in the 1970s, when Duncan called Burnett “the Judge”. Burnett and his wife attended Duncan’s birthday dinner at a members-only London club in 2017, when Burnett was a Judge at the Court of Appeal.
He continued: “At Oxford we always called him ‘the Judge’ and they always called me ‘Prime Minister’, but Ian’s the one who’s got there.”
Duncan studied politics and economics at St John’s College, Oxford from 1976-79, while Burnett studied jurisprudence at Pembroke College in the same period.
“Miserable little worm”
|Alan Duncan calls Assange a "miserable little worm"|
Duncan’s diaries also show that as foreign minister he spoke privately to Lord Chief Justice Burnett in May 2019, a conversation that was not logged in government records. Burnett briefed him on a dinner he’d had with then prime minister Theresa May two days before.
In his diaries, Duncan refers to the “supposed human rights of Julian Assange”. He admits to arranging a Daily Mail hit piece on Assange that was published the day after the journalist’s arrest in April 2019.
He later admitted he was “trying to keep the smirk off [his] face”, and hosted drinks at his parliamentary office for the team involved in the eviction.
Duncan then flew to Ecuador to meet President Lenín Moreno in order to “say thank you” for handing over Assange. Duncan reported he gave Moreno “a beautiful porcelain plate from the Buckingham Palace gift shop.”
“Job done,” he added.
Duncan’s diaries also highlight a birthday dinner held for him in June 2017 that was attended by Burnett and his wife. The dinner, held at the private "Beefsteak Club" in London the day before the general election, was a “generous present from David Ross”, Duncan noted.
Other guests included the Syrian-Saudi billionaire businessman Wafic Saïd. Long close to the Saudi royal family, Saïd helped negotiate the massive UK-Saudi arms deal known as al-Yamamah in the 1980s.
Saïd’s wife, Rosemary, who was also in attendance, is another major donor to the Conservative Party and has funded Boris Johnson. She was a guest at David Cameron’s “Leader’s Group” meetings of key party donors.
Other attendees at Duncan’s birthday dinner included William Hague, Duncan’s close colleague and friend, who was Foreign Secretary when the UK decided not to recognise the asylum granted to Assange by the Ecuadorian government.
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