AuthorTopic: Wikileaks Updates-Julian Assange Thread  (Read 25698 times)

Offline RE

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https://www.greanvillepost.com/2019/05/09/pamela-anderson-and-wikileaks-editor-in-chief-visit-julian-assange-in-prison/

Pamela Anderson and WikiLeaks editor-in-chief visit Julian Assange in prison
May 9, 2019

Another important dispatch from The Greanville Post. Be sure to share it widely.
“We need to save his life. That’s how serious it is”


Actress Pamela Anderson and WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson met Julian Assange at Britain’s Belmarsh Prison yesterday. His first personal visitors since being imprisoned nearly one month ago, they issued a strong appeal for public support.

Emerging from the maximum-security prison, visibly shocked and angered, Anderson and Hrafnsson addressed the media. Their statements were a searing indictment of state criminality and lawlessness on the part of the British and US governments.

Hrafnsson said, “It is for me, shocking to see my friend—an intellectual, a publisher, a journalist, a man that has transformed the world of journalism with his work—sitting in a high security prison, spending 23 hours a day in a cell, having half an hour outdoors if weather allows and half an hour to do everything else. This is not justice. This is an abomination.”

He continued, “Someone said that you could judge the civilisation of a society by visiting its prisons and frankly, I have to say from my heart, that this visit did not reflect well on the society here.”

Anderson condemned the state persecution of her friend as a “misrule of law in operation.”

Pamela Anderson and Kristinn Hrafnsson

Constantly derided by corporate and state media outlets, Anderson stood head and shoulders above her detractors. “Obviously it’s been very difficult to see Julian here and to make our way through the prison. To get to him was quite shocking and difficult. He does not deserve to be in a supermax prison. He has never committed a violent act, he’s an innocent person.”

She described Assange’s near total isolation, “He’s really cut off from everybody, he hasn’t been able to speak to his children and public support is very important.”

Anderson urged supporters to write to Assange in prison to show their support and give him strength.

While at times visibly upset, Anderson spoke with dignity and determination, “He needs all the support he can get. Justice will depend on public support … we have to keep fighting because it’s unfair, he’s sacrificed so much to bring the truth out and we deserve the truth.”

Asked by reporters what condition Assange was in, Hrafnsson explained he had already suffered years of arbitrary detention. Over the previous year, Assange had been held in total isolation in Ecuador’s embassy, “being harassed everyday” to make his life “a misery.” He had lost weight, but his spirit was “still strong.”

Asked about conditions for Assange inside the prison, Hrafnsson replied, “What is it like for anybody to be in Belmarsh Prison? Especially when you are there because another country demands your extradition for journalistic activity. It’s outrageous.”

Hrafnsson explained that as a result of Assange’s solitary confinement in a supermax jail, “He has not been able to properly prepare his case, which is of course the most important fight, against his extradition to the United States.”

Despite the wall of disinformation, lies and slander directed against Assange, support for the WikiLeaks publisher is growing.

A poll conducted this week by America’s MSNBC asking, “Should Julian Assange be prosecuted for his involvement with WikiLeaks?” found 95 percent of respondents answering “No, he is a whistleblower and deserves protection.”

In Australia, a 60 Minutes poll published on April 28, found 85 percent opposed his extradition to the United States, favouring calls to bring him home. A petition calling on the Australian government to defend Assange has attained more than 136,000 signatures.

Anderson said that she and Hrafnsson conveyed an important message to Assange: “We told him about our feeling that there is growing support among the general public and the population, and he was heartened to hear that and that gives him added strength.”

Asked how concerned Assange was about the possibility of extradition and a long prison sentence in the US, Anderson replied bluntly: “We need to save his life. That’s how serious it is.”

The public statements of Anderson and Hrafnsson underscore the importance of building the broadest support throughout the working class, among students, young people and the most principled intellectuals and artists to demand freedom for Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning, currently being held in a jail in the US for refusing to testify before a grand jury against the WikiLeaks founder.

Send letters of support to Julian Assange
Mr Julian Assange
DOB: 3/07/1971
HMP Belmarsh
Western Way
London SE28 0EB
UK

(You must write your return address on the back of the envelope or it will not be delivered. You must include his date of birth in the address as above.)
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Published on Cassandra's Legacy on May 6, 2019



 






 


Discuss this article at the Heroes of the Revolution Table Inside the Diner



 



And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand (Matthew. 12:25)






 



 



 



 



 



 



The more the current world drama unfolds, the more I am amazed by how closely we are following the path that the ancient Roman Empire followed toward its final collapse. Dmitry Orlov, another student of civilization collapse, seem to think in the same way. In a post on his blog, he notes how Julian Assange could be the first martyr for truth of modern times, he calls him "St. Julian." Says Orlov:




If all goes well, he (Julian Assange) will be released and reestablish himself as a media personality of great stature. And if everything goes badly and the Americans do get their hands on him and torture him to death, he will die as a martyr and live in public memory forever.



I don’t know whether Assange has been baptized, but a proper choice of saint for him would be St. Julian of Antioch, who was martyred during Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians between 303 and 313 AD. Julian was stuffed into a sack filled with sand, vipers and scorpions and dumped in the sea. Diocletian’s initiative was a failure: the son of one of his lieutenants, Constantine, not only canceled the persecution of Christians but made Christianity into Roman Empire’s state religion. He then moved its capital to New Rome (Constantinople), abandoning Old Rome to languish in the Dark Ages while his New Rome went on for a thousand glorious years.



Should Julian Assange end up martyred by the Americans, we can expect a vaguely similar result: future generations of Americans will say: “There once was a great journalist by the name of Julian. He died as a martyr for the truth. It was a long time ago, and we don’t know what’s been happening to us since then, because all we have been hearing ever since have been nothing but lies…”




I think this post by Orlov goes to the heart of the matter. A civilization collapse is, in the end, a collapse of trust. An empire, a state, a family, any social structure, can be rich or poor, powerful or weak, new or old, happy or sad, but if there is no trust keeping it together it cannot exist for long, it is like a solid turning into a gas when the chemical bonds keeping the atoms together are not strong enough. It is what happened to the Roman Empire, it is what's happening to us. As Matthew says, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand" (12:25).



Ultimately, trust is based on truth. Without truth, there cannot be trust. In Roman times, the fight of Christianity against the Empire of Lies was more than everything else a fight to rebuild trust by establishing a new truth, the revealed one. I wrote in a previous post that:

 




Augustine and other early Christian fathers were engaged, first of all, in an epistemological revolution. Paulus of Tarsus had already understood this point when he had written: "now we see as in a mirror, darkly, then we'll see face to face." It was the problem of truth; how to see it? How to determine it? In the traditional view, truth was reported by a witness who could be trusted. The Christian epistemology started from that, to build up the concept of truth as the result divine revelation. The Christians were calling God himself as witness.



In the name of truth, the Christian martyrs (a Greek term meaning "witness") were willing to give their life, to die vilified and tortured in the most gruesome manners. It was the courage of the early martyrs that eventually brought down the zombie creature that the once great Roman Empire had become.



And now? We are rapidly entering a phase when the lies told to us by our governments and our elites are so huge, so pervasive, so blatant to qualify as diabolical. But in the great confusion of our times even the good among us are confused, they can't discern the truth anymore. And the time may have come when we need a new generation of Martyrs for truth is needed.






 



…and in case you mised it…here's the story of another victim of this travesty, ASSANGE'S CAT!



 






 



 



 




 



 



 




 



 



 





Offline RE

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🐈 Julian Assange rape case will be reopened by Sweden, prosecutors say
« Reply #137 on: May 13, 2019, 03:27:56 AM »
He's better off in a Swedish prison than an Amerikan one.

RE

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/julian-assange-rape-case-will-be-re-opened-sweden-n1004801

Julian Assange rape case will be reopened by Sweden, prosecutors say
The Australian national currently is in jail in the U.K., where he is serving a 12-month sentence for skipping bail in 2012.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leaves a London court earlier this month.Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP - Getty Images

May 13, 2019, 1:19 AM AKDT / Updated May 13, 2019, 2:07 AM AKDT
By Patrick Smith

A rape case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be reopened, Swedish authorities announced Monday.

Eva-Marie Persson, the country's deputy director of public prosecutions, said that in her view "there is still probable cause to accuse Mr. Assange of rape."

The Australian national is currently in jail in the U.K., where he is serving a 12-month sentence for skipping bail in 2012, when he was fighting extradition to Sweden in connection with the same case.
Image: Eva-Marie Persson is Sweden's deputy director of public prosecutions
Eva-Marie Persson, Sweden's deputy director of public prosecutions, speaks at a press conference in Stockholm on Monday.Anders Wiklund / AP

Persson said Sweden will issue a European arrest warrant and request that Assange is brought to Stockholm for trial after he has served his British prison sentence.

The decision leaves Britain facing a decision on whether to extradite him to the Scandinavian country or the U.S.

Persson said that her team would also seek to interview Assange. "It is my assessment that a new questioning of Assange is required," she added.

Assange was arrested by police and carried out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he sheltered for almost seven years, on April 11.
00:00 / 00:00
Inside the Ecuadorian embassy where Julian Assange spent 7 years
April 14, 201901:04

The U.S. also is seeking the extradition of Assange, 47, so he can face charges relating to the release of hundreds of thousands of classified military documents provided by former Army intelligence officer Chelsea Manning.

That means a complex legal fight is certain to take place over his future, potentially involving a lengthy appeals process.

"When deciding which has precedence, a Swedish or U.S. extradition request, this decision will be left entirely to the British authorities," Persson said.

However, the clock is ticking: The statute of limitations on the rape charge expires in August 2020 and Persson confirmed that if the investigation would end if there was no conviction by this point.
Related
World news
Why Ecuador evicted 'spoiled brat' Assange from embassy

The case was opened following complaints from two Swedish women who said they were the victims of sex crimes committed by Assange. He has denied the allegations, asserting that they were politically motivated and that the sex was consensual.

Swedish prosecutors filed preliminary charges — a step short of formal charges — against Assange after he visited the country in 2010.

Seven years later, a case of alleged sexual misconduct was dropped when the statute of limitations expired. That left a rape allegation, and the case was closed as it couldn't be pursued while Assange was living at the embassy and there was no prospect of bringing him to Sweden.
Pamela Anderson's fears for Julian Assange: 'We need to save his life'
May 7, 201901:09

If convicted, Assange faces a maximum of four years in prison in Sweden.

Assange's Swedish lawyer Per E. Samuelsen told Swedish broadcaster SVT that he was "very surprised" by the decision to reopen the case and maintained that his client is innocent.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, said in a statement: "Assange was always willing to answer any questions from the Swedish authorities ... This investigation has been dropped before and its reopening will give Julian a chance to clear his name."

Assange, who describes himself as a journalist, took refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden.

Ecuador revoked his political asylum last month, accusing him of everything from meddling in the nation's foreign affairs to poor hygiene.
Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith is a London-based editor and reporter from NBC News Digital.
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Offline RE

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🐈 Assange Indicted Under Espionage Act, Raising First Amendment Issues
« Reply #138 on: May 23, 2019, 02:52:49 PM »
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/23/us/politics/assange-indictment.html?login=email&auth=login-email

Assange Indicted Under Espionage Act, Raising First Amendment Issues


Though Julian Assange is not a conventional journalist, much of what he does at WikiLeaks is difficult to distinguish in a legally meaningful way from what traditional news organizations do.CreditCreditJack Taylor/Getty Images

By Charlie Savage and Adam Goldman

    May 23, 2019

WASHINGTON — Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks leader, has been indicted on 17 new counts of violating the Espionage Act for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010, the Justice Department announced on Thursday — a novel case that raises profound First Amendment issues.

The new charges were part of a superseding indictment obtained by the Trump administration that significantly expanded the legal case against Mr. Assange, who is already fighting extradition proceedings in London based on an earlier hacking-related count brought by federal prosecutors in Northern Virginia.

The secret documents that Mr. Assange published were provided by the former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who was convicted at a court-martial trial in 2013 of leaking the records.

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“Assange, WikiLeaks affiliates and Manning shared the common objective to subvert lawful restrictions on classified information and to publicly disseminate it,” the indictment said.
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2:54Julian Assange: Friend and Foe to Left and Right
Over the years, the WikiLeaks founder has been embraced by everyone from Lady Gaga to Sean Hannity. But he’s also made enemies along the way. Our video shows how his anti-secrecy agenda has attracted, and repelled, people across the political spectrum.CreditCreditAndrew Testa for The New York Times

[Press freedoms and the case against Julian Assange, explained.]

The Justice Department’s decision to pursue Espionage Act charges signals a dramatic escalation under President Trump to crack down on leaks of classified information and aims squarely at First Amendment protections for journalists. Most recently, law enforcement officials charged a former intelligence analyst with giving classified documents to The Intercept, a national security news website.

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Legal scholars believe that prosecuting reporters over their work would violate the First Amendment, but the prospect has not yet been tested in court because the government had never charged a journalist under the Espionage Act.

Though he is not a conventional journalist, much of what Mr. Assange does at WikiLeaks is difficult to distinguish in a legally meaningful way from what traditional news organizations like The New York Times do: seek and publish information that officials want to be secret, including classified national security matters, and take steps to protect the confidentiality of sources.

Mr. Assange was secretly indicted in March 2018 in federal court in Alexandria, Va., on a charge of conspiring to commit unlawful computer intrusion. Prosecutors accused Mr. Assange of agreeing to help Ms. Manning crack an encoded portion of a passcode that would have enabled her to log on to a classified military network.

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Mr. Assange was arrested in London in April after being dragged out of the Ecuadorean Embassy, where he had resided for years to avoid capture. The United States has asked Britain to extradite Mr. Assange, who is fighting it.

The Obama administration considered charging Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act but never did out of concerns that such a case could chill traditional journalism.
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Offline AJ

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Re: Wikileaks Updates-Julian Assange Thread
« Reply #139 on: May 24, 2019, 03:43:45 AM »
Didn't we all know this was coming?? What a surprise!! The USA seeks to silence all critics wherever they exist on the planet, such chutzpah! Are laws apply to everyone everywhere!!  :evil4: We are surely the masters of the universe (at the end of civilization). :icon_scratch:
AJ
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Re: Wikileaks Updates-Julian Assange Thread
« Reply #140 on: May 24, 2019, 03:52:21 AM »
Didn't we all know this was coming?? What a surprise!! The USA seeks to silence all critics wherever they exist on the planet, such chutzpah! Are laws apply to everyone everywhere!!  :evil4: We are surely the masters of the universe (at the end of civilization). :icon_scratch:
AJ

It was a foregone conclusion of course.  Now we get to see the theater as they try to extradite him.

RE
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Re: Wikileaks Updates-Julian Assange Thread
« Reply #141 on: May 24, 2019, 11:49:06 AM »
Maybe the outcry from the British citizenry will keep them from extraditing Julian, but I doubt it if Tories are still in power. All the world is looking more Kafkaesque to me all the time.  I'm wondering if this will even get mentioned on the MSM evening news tonight? Kinda doubt it as its not enough "bread and circuses" for their average viewer. Hard not to get depressed, hard not to have more to drink.
AJ
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🐈 Assange Indicted, Facing 200 Years (plus Viewer Questions)
« Reply #142 on: May 27, 2019, 12:32:44 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/DAoqVs8p1yo" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/DAoqVs8p1yo</a>
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🐈 Swedish Sex Pistol Aimed at Assange
« Reply #143 on: June 05, 2019, 03:01:14 AM »
https://www.greanvillepost.com/2019/06/03/swedish-sex-pistol-aimed-at-assange/

Swedish Sex Pistol Aimed at Assange
June 3, 2019
Jim Kavanaugh


(Credit: ExtremeTech)

Another important dispatch from The Greanville Post. Be sure to share it widely.

In my article, Avoiding Assange, a month ago, right after the first US indictment was issued, I addressed two diversionary arguments that I knew would be used by those who want to hide their complicity with American imperialism under leftish cover—that is, those who don’t want to be seen as endorsing the United States government’s prosecution of Assange for, and intimidation of every journalist in the world from, reporting the embarrassing truth about American war crimes, but who also don’t really want to stand in the way of Assange’s extradition to the United States.

The first of those arguments was the denial that the USG’s charge against Assange posed any threat to press freedom—that it was just about “hacking,” not publishing. Both the New York Times (NYT) and the Washington Post (WaPo) pretended to believe in, and celebrated, the Trump administration’s meticulous threading of the legal/constitutional needle to avoid endangering freedom of speech and the press. For the NYT: “The administration has begun well by charging Mr. Assange with an indisputable crime…not with publishing classified government information, but with stealing it, skirting — for now — critical First Amendment questions.” For the WaPo, the indictment was “not the defeat for civil liberties of which his defenders mistakenly warn,” but “a victory for the rule of law.”

Well, that argument and pretense have now disappeared with the USG’s superseding indictment that uses the Espionage Act to threaten Assange with 175 years in prison. Even the most Assange-hating liberal media personalities and institutions—from the NYT and WaPo to MSNBC and the Guardian—have no way to deny the threat this poses to freedom of the press. As Alan Rusbridger, Assange-hating former editor of the Assange-hating Guardian, recognizes, the US indictment is an attempt “to criminalise things journalists regularly do as they receive and publish true information given to them by sources or whistleblowers.” And, for the NYT Editorial Board, the present indictment no longer “skirts,” but “aims at the heart of the First Amendment.”

(Though, as if it just couldn’t help itself, in its statement, the NYT sneaks in a pernicious point, saying Assange was “a source, not a partner.” This actually ratifies the USG’s “he’s not a publisher” argument, and I foresee the possibility of the USG quoting and using this editorial against Assange.)

At this point, nobody can pretend they don’t know what Assange is in for if sent to the United States. He’s facing 175 years of charges under the Espionage Act,which forbids a “public interest” defense. As John Kiriakou has stated, from personal experience: “A fair trial in the Eastern District of Virginia…is utterly impossible.”

Furthermore, by asserting the extraterritorial jurisdiction of A­­merican law to demand the extradition of another country’s (Australia) citizen from a third country (Great Britain) for activities that took place entirely outside the US, the present indictment is, as Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists, points out: “a direct threat to journalists everywhere in the world….Under this rubric, anyone anywhere in the world who publishes information that the U.S. government deems to be classified could be prosecuted for espionage.”

Indeed, under this legal rubric, China can demand that Italy extradite Dean Baquet (Executive Editor of the NYT) for publishing true, leaked information about Chinese military crimes, in contravention of Chinese espionage law! Hard to imagine, I know, because we all—and especially the US political leadership—assume that American imperialism makes that impossible. A correct assumption, for the moment. But we all also know the tricks “assume” can play on us.

Like many, I did not expect the USG would bare its fangs so quickly. I thought the Trump Administration would wait until Assange was on US soil before going for the jugular. The not-so-bad news is that by, for whatever reason, coming on so strong and fast with such an extraordinary threat, the USG has, I think, widened Assange’s base of support, at least for the moment.

This makes the real stakes clear in a way that’s particularly important in the British context, where Julian Assange’s fate is being decided. It also makes, more quickly than I expected, the second of those leftish diversions—a possible Swedish extradition request—a crucial tool for creating confusion in ways helpful to the US prosecution.

As I mentioned in the previous essay, it was heartening to see Jeremy Corbyn and his shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, declare that “the extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government,” and it was bizarre to see, immediately thereafter, a concerted campaign arise among liberal British politicians and press, with a letter from 70+ MPs, demanding that the present and future British governments “do everything…to ensure” that Assange be extradited to Sweden, “in the event Sweden makes an extradition request.”

In the space of 48 Hours, Jeremy Corbyn was pressured to say that Julian Assange “must answer” sex allegations “if Sweden decides to re-open their investigation.” It was bizarre because somehow a non-existent, hypothetical Swedish extradition request had instantly taken precedence in British liberal discourse over an actual US extradition request. Corbyn had immediately accepted that Great Britain must give greater priority to showing “the seriousness with which such [sex] allegations are viewed” than to protecting the freedom of the press to expose evidence of US atrocities.

Since then, the US extradition request has become considerably nastier and even more difficult for ostensibly anti-imperialist British left-liberals to leave unopposed. This leaves a possible Swedish sex-crime extradition request as the only remaining crutch for those who want to appear less complicit with the U.S. attack on Assange than they actually are.

Nothing epitomizes this more disgracefully than the Guardian’s editorial of 24 May, under the sub-head: “The founder of WikiLeaks faces charges of espionage in the US and rape in Sweden. He should stand trial for rape.” Yes, embedded among its repeated reminders of how much the Guardian “disapproves” of this “unattractive character” who revealed US war crimes to the world, is the statement that Assange “must be defended against this [US] extradition request because the indictments against him threaten to damage freedom and democracy.” Also because “the Espionage Act is quite the wrong instrument [Is there a right one?] to use against journalists or even their sources,” and “the American penal system would be more cruel than …even in our shameful prisons.” The Guardian’s editors even evoke, on point, the case of British hacker Lauri Love, whom Britain refused to extradite to the US because of the cruelty of its penal system.

But how is it that the Guardian proposes “defending” Assange against US extradition? By demanding that the UK “send Mr. Assange to Sweden”!

Somehow, the Guardian thinks that conjuring up an extradition request from Sweden that still does not exist trumps and solves all concerns about extraditing Assange to the US. The editors never consider the possibility that there may be no extradition request. (Perhaps they know something, but it’s not a sure thing.) Or what happens if Assange goes to Sweden and either is not charged with a crime (He is not, and never has been.), or is tried and found not guilty. In other words, they completely ignore the obvious: That the United States will demand extradition from Sweden just as it is doing from the UK, and that Sweden will comply. Sending Julian Assange to Sweden does not “defend” him from US extradition at all. It’s a liberal media version of “Don’t think of the elephant!”

Does the Guardian not see, or care, about this glaring logical and consequential fault in its position?

Of course it does. The Guardian knows exactly what it’s doing. The purpose of this editorial as written is not and cannot be to “defend…against this [US] extradition”; it is to support that extradition by ignoring it. The Guardian here is carefully crafting a discourse in which the threat of the US indictment and extradition disappears behind the evocation of a rape allegation. The intended effect is to encourage its British readers to support the capitulation to that threat as it will inevitably reappear in Sweden, while thinking they are not—while thinking that all they are doing is assuring their own virtuous adherence to “the seriousness with which such [sex] allegations are viewed.”

The Guardian isn’t asking the British government to honor an extradition request that doesn’t exist, it is suggesting a set-up by which Britain passes Assange through Sweden to the US.

This use of a sexual allegation against Assange to divert attention from, and effectively support, the American extradition demand is pernicious and phony. It’s an obvious attempt to give virtue-signaling identity-politics liberals a reason not to protest Assange’s extradition or imprisonment. It’s already the dominant ruse for such purposes in England, and it’s going to become more prominent everywhere now that the indictment can no longer be portrayed as a relatively minor matter.

As I said before, I agree with Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape that “the pursuit of Assange is political” and “the allegations against him are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks.”  The Swedish prosecution effort against Assange has been part of this stitch-up from the outset, and has been presented in misleading and mendacious ways by the western media, which is also part of it.

Most people do not understand that Julian Assange is not, and has never been, charged with a crime, and that the Swedish process has always been, and still is, a “preliminary investigation” that seeks to determine if there’s enough evidence to bring a criminal charge.

There is one extant allegation against Assange: that, after a night of sexual activity together, he initiated condom-less wake up sex with his partner (SW). It is agreed that the sex was consensual. It is agreed that the condom was at least asked about but definitely not insisted upon. The sole disagreement is over how fully awake his partner was at the moment of initiation—“half-asleep” according to a text she sent and what she told witnesses, “dozed off” according to a police summary (“protocol”) of her interview. Here’s how the Nordic New Networkexplains it: “According to the interview protocol Ms. Wilén somnade, which can be translated as “dozed off” or “went to sleep.” Prior to the interview, however, she had confided to friends that she was only ‘half asleep’ at the time of penetration.” The only open legal question is whether SW’s state of somnolence, at the moment Assange initiated a consensual act of intercourse, means she was “unduly exploit[ed]” while “in a helpless state,” supporting a charge of “rape.” (See the helpful video from Kim Iversen for the extremely expansive definition of “rape” in Swedish law.)

The Swedes have been “preliminarily investigating” this for nine years. They have all the physical and interview evidence they will ever have. If they could have charged Assange with a crime on the basis of that evidence, they would have. They don’t need him in Sweden to do so. They can charge him in absentia, as they have others. This means they do not have the evidence to make a charge.

And they are not going to get it. There is no new evidence that’s going to magically appear when Julian Assange arrives in Sweden. It is, therefore, unlikely that a charge will ever be made, or that a trial—in which Assange may very well be found not guilty—ever held.

It’s Assange who has been seeking the resolution of the sex allegations for nine years; it’s the Swedish prosecutors who have been avoiding it—and have been berated by the Swedish Court of Appeals and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) for doing so. The resolution of the sex allegation is not what any of state actors here—Sweden, Britain, or the US—want.

The purpose of all this is not to resolve the rape allegation—to make it into a real charge and bring it to trial. It is to get Assange moved judicially out of Britain to Sweden under the cloud of “rape,” and for Sweden to send him on to the US—precisely with the rape allegation unresolved and hanging over his head forever. Leaving so many with: “He deserves to be in prison, anyway.”

But, hey, that’s my wild and crazy take on the situation. There is a simple way for the Guardian and all liberal Brits to demonstrate both that the Swedish prosecutors are really interested in resolving the sex allegation, and that the Guardian liberals’ demand for the UK government to honor a Swedish extradition request is something other than a virtue-signaling gesture to wash their hands of imperialist stench with feminist soap: They can demand that any extradition to Sweden be made contingent on no onward extradition to the US. If Sweden is claiming to want Assange in country to resolve a rape allegation, then, to get him, it must promise to do just that—either charge and try him or close the case and release him, and not send him off to the US to face 175 years in prison for something entirely irrelevant to that allegation. If, per the Guardian, the UK really has the ethical obligation to defend Assange from US prosecution, then it must carry that defense through any process of extradition to Sweden.

And it can. The Swedish Prosecutorial Authority tells us so:

Once the British authorities enforce the UK Supreme Court’s decision to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden, Sweden is bound by the so-called “Doctrine of Speciality” which means that Sweden cannot extradite him further to a third country, for example the USA, without permission from the UK. This means that Julian Assange would be in the same position in Sweden as he would be in the UK with regard to further extradition to a third country.

Did you know about this rather significant point of law, which is publicly posted on the internet? Did the 70+ British MPs, and the entire editorial staff of the Guardian and of liberal politicians and media organizations crying for extradition to Sweden not know about this? Or did they just ignore it? Which is more damning?

Of course, we don’t need this law to demand no onward extradition from Sweden but it’s quite nice to know that it is there to support us, and quite interesting to know that nobody mentions it.

So, now we know: The British courts can, as a matter of ordinary law, make Sweden honor the defense of Assange from US extradition. And we can insist that anybody in Britain, Sweden, the US, or the outer planets who claims—as the Guardian and Jeremy Corbyn and most of the liberal media now do—to be concerned about resolving the sex allegation and to reject the threat to press freedom posed by the US indictment must demand that.

Even those who may claim not to care much about the US indictment, with all the issues it raises and penalties it carries, because resolving the sex allegation is so much more important to them, have to recognize now that it’s reasonable for Julian Assange and his supporters and most of the journalistic world to be very concerned about those issues and penalties. Indeed, those people especiallyshould be eager to demand that the entirely irrelevant US indictment, with all its heavy baggage, be taken off the table, so that proper, focussed attention can be paid to what they see as the much more important issue task of deciding, after nine years of preliminary investigation, whether consensual wake-up sex should be charged as felony rape.

In other words, in the present situation, the only people who would not demand that extradition to the United States be taken off the table as a condition for extradition to Sweden are those for whom the US  political charges are more important than the Swedish sex allegations, and who support extraditing Assange to the US for trial on those charges.

Bottom line: Anyone who explicitly supports extradition from Britain to Sweden without explicitly objecting to onward extradition to the United States is, in fact, supporting that onward extradition—and, now, knowingly.

Our principal task here, as it always has been, is to prevent Assange from being extradited and imprisoned in the US for revealing the truth about US war crimes. With the demise of the “hacking not publishing indictment” argument, the Swedish sex allegation is going to become the prominent tool for misdirecting us from that task over the next few months, as Julian Assange’s fate is settled in Britain. It is a ruse and a diversion whose purpose is to support Assange’s extradition to the US by ignoring it. This can be proved by raising the obvious and legally valid demand that any extradition to Sweden be conditioned on no onward extradition to the US, and watching the reaction from those who claim to be so concerned about resolving the sex allegation. Those who are speaking in good faith will accept that position immediately. Those who are liars and hypocrites, and are basically chill with Assange being extradited to the United States, will hem and haw and try to ignore. Don’t let them.

Those who actually do oppose extradition to the US cannot let that diversion stand unchallenged. Everyone—from the Guardian to Jeremy Corbyn—who demands Assange be extradited to Sweden must be challenged to also demand forbidding onward extradition to the United States. The defense of freedom of the press andthe just resolution of any investigation into a sexual allegation demand it.

I call on the Guardian, the 70+ MPs, and all the media voices who have been crying for the UK to honor any Swedish extradition request, to revise their calls to include the condition of no onward extradition, or stand exposed as lying, hypocritical enablers of the empire’s war on free speech and freedom of the press.

Never mind the bollocks.
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🐈 The Coming Show Trial of Julian Assange
« Reply #144 on: June 17, 2019, 01:08:37 AM »
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-coming-show-trial-of-julian-assange/

Jun 17, 2019
The Coming Show Trial of Julian Assange
by Chris Hedges


Mr. Fish / Truthdig

LONDON—On Friday morning I was in a small courtroom at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London. Julian Assange, held in Belmarsh Prison and dressed in a pale-blue prison shirt, appeared on a video screen directly in front of me. Assange, his gray hair and beard neatly trimmed, slipped on heavy, dark-frame glasses at the start of the proceedings. He listened intently as Ben Brandon, the prosecutor, seated at a narrow wooden table, listed the crimes he allegedly had committed and called for his extradition to the United States to face charges that could result in a sentence of 175 years. The charges include the release of unredacted classified material that posed a “grave” threat to “human intelligence sources” and “the largest compromises of confidential information in the history of the United States.” After the prosecutor’s presentation, Assange’s attorney, Mark Summers, seated at the same table, called the charges “an outrageous and full-frontal assault on journalistic rights.”

Most of us who have followed the long persecution of Assange expected this moment, but it was nevertheless deeply unsettling, the opening of the final act in a Greek tragedy where the hero, cursed by fortuna, or fate, confronts the dark forces from which there is no escape.

For more information on the Assange case, see Chris Hedges interview U.N. special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer and read the transcript. Also, see Hedges interview WikiLeaks Editor in Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson.

The publication of classified documents is not a crime in the United States, but if Assange is extradited and convicted it will become one. Assange is not an American citizen. WikiLeaks, which he founded and publishes, is not a U.S.-based publication. The message the U.S. government is sending is clear: No matter who or where you are, if you expose the inner workings of empire you will be hunted down, kidnapped and brought to the United States to be tried as a spy. The extradition and trial of Assange will mean the end of public investigations by the press into the crimes of the ruling elites. It will cement into place a frightening corporate tyranny. Publications such as The New York Times and The Guardian, which devoted pages to the WikiLeaks revelations and later amplified and legitimized Washington’s carefully orchestrated character assassination of Assange, are no less panicked. This is the gravest assault on press freedom in my lifetime.

The WikiLeaks publisher was trapped for nearly seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he had been granted political asylum. He feared being sent to Sweden to face sexual offense allegations, which he has denied, and then extradited to the United States. Two months ago, although diplomatic missions are considered sovereign territory, he was physically dragged out of the embassy by British police when the new government of Ecuador revoked his asylum and the Ecuadorian citizenship that had been granted to him. (Assange retains his Australian citizenship.) He was transported to court within three hours of his arrest, given 15 minutes to prepare a defense and summarily handed a 50-week sentence for a dubious bail violation. He was sent to Belmarsh, a notorious high-security prison in southeast London.

On Thursday, the day before Assange appeared in court, British Home Secretary Sajid Javid advanced the process for his removal to the United States by signing an extradition request. It is a clear signal to the courts where the British government stands.

We know what will be done to Assange. It has been done to thousands of those we kidnapped and then detained in black sites around the world. Sadistic and scientific techniques of torture will be used in an attempt to make him a zombie. Assange, in declining health, was transferred two weeks ago to the hospital wing of the prison. Because he was medically unable to participate when the hearing was initially to be held, May 30, the proceeding was reset. Friday’s hearing, in which he appeared frail and spoke hesitantly, although lucidly, set the timetable for his extradition trial, scheduled to take place at the end of February. All totalitarian states seek to break their political prisoners to render them compliant. This process will define Assange’s existence over the next few months.

Assange’s psychological and physical state, which includes a dramatic loss of weight that was apparent Friday, came as Nils Melzer, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture, spoke out after he, with two physicians, went to Belmarsh Prison to assess Assange. Melzer said Assange had undergone prolonged psychological torture. He went on to criticize what he called the “judicial persecution” of Assange by Britain, the United States, Ecuador and Sweden. He warned that Assange would face a politicized show trial in the United States if he were extradited to face 17 charges under the Espionage Act, each carrying a potential sentence of 10 years, for his role in publishing classified military and diplomatic cables, documents and videos that exposed U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. An additional charge that he conspired to hack into a government computer carries a maximum sentence of five years.

At last week’s hearing, Assange spoke only briefly.

He does not have access to a computer, and his attorneys have complained that the heavy restrictions imposed upon him make it nearly impossible for him to prepare his case.

“I know there has been an indictment brought against me,” Assange said through the video conference system. “My lawyers have not yet given me the paperwork.”

He raised objections to the prosecutor’s charge that he and WikiLeaks attempted to hack into a U.S. government computer, insisting “WikiLeaks is nothing but a publisher.” The United States has charged him with offering to hack into a government computer to help Chelsea Manning—who passed the files and documents to WikiLeaks—conceal her identity. The government concedes, however, that no such hack ever took place.

“The prosecution attorney told the BBC yesterday I was wanted in the U.S. for computer hacking,” he said. “This is unquestionably false. Even the U.S. admits there was no hack. No passwords were broken. There is no evidence that I, WikiLeaks or Chelsea Manning engaged in hacking. I have 175 years of my life at stake. This is a signal that the prosecution will misrepresent the charges to mislead the press.”

The judge, Emma Arbuthnot, cut him off, saying “this is not the time to go into this.”

Commenting in 2018 when Assange’s lawyers requested that the warrant for his arrest be dropped, Arbuthnot said, “I accept that Mr. Assange had expressed fears of being returned to the United States from a very early stage in the Swedish extradition proceedings but, absent any evidence from Mr. Assange on oath, I do not find that Mr. Assange’s fears were reasonable,”

This statement by the judge captures the Alice-in-Wonderland quality of the judicial persecution of Assange. She dismisses as unreasonable Assange’s fears that if he voluntarily left the Ecuadorian Embassy he would be arrested by British police and extradited to the United States because he did not appear in court to express them. And yet, she is now presiding over his extradition trial.

This circular logic is not the only disturbing aspect of Judge Arbuthnot’s overseeing of the Assange case. She is married to James Arbuthnot, who sits in the House of Lords, is a British Conservative Party politician, was the minister of state at the Ministry of Defense and for nine years was the chairman of the Defense Select Committee in the House of Commons, a committee that oversees the operation of the Ministry of Defense and the armed forces. Arbuthnot, who was reprimanded while a member of Parliament for diverting public funds to maintain his two homes, is a director at SC Strategy, established by John Scarlett, the former head of the British foreign intelligence service MI6. The politician also is on the advisory board of Thales UK, a huge arms manufacturer whose corrupt business practices, which included massive bribes to heads of state in exchange for arms contracts, were exposed when some of its internal documents were published by WikiLeaks.

The judge “has a strong conflict of interest,” Melzer said from Vienna when I interviewed him by video link for my television show, “On Contact.” “Her husband had been exposed by WikiLeaks.”

Assange’s lawyers have asked the judge to recuse herself. She has refused.

“I was able to visit Mr. Assange in Belmarsh Prison,” Melzer said in the interview. “I was accompanied by two medical experts—a forensic expert and a psychiatrist. Both of them were specialized in identifying, examining and documenting psychological and physical torture. What we found was Mr. Assange showed all the symptoms that are typical for a person who has been exposed to prolonged psychological torture. What we’re talking about is severe traumatization. Chronic anxiety. Intense, constant stress, and an inability to relax or focus, to think in a structured, straight line. Someone who is in a constant, hyper-stimulated stage and can no longer relax.”

“Psychological torture can have various consequences,” Melzer continued. “It is difficult to predict exactly how the situation will evolve. What you see now, during my visit, was already alarming. What we have seen since then, his state of health has dramatically deteriorated as predicted by the psychiatrist who accompanied my visit. What can happen during the prolongation is it can have irreversible damage, even on the physical level. First on the psychological and emotional level. But then also on the physical level it can lead to a nervous breakdown and to cardiovascular damage that is no longer reversible.”

Melzer, who is an attorney, closely examined the 2010 Swedish allegations against Assange. He said he found a series of disturbing judicial anomalies and indications that the sexual assault charges were being manipulated by Swedish authorities to extradite the publisher to the United States. When legal proceedings were initiated against Assange, for example, they were immediately made public. Assange learned about the allegations in the press.

“He was in Sweden at the time,” Melzer said. “He immediately went to a police station himself and said, ‘Could I please make my statement and participate in this?’ Sweden law prohibits the publication of the name of the complainant and the suspected offender in a sexual offense case. His statement was taken. Two or three days later, the prosecutor closed the case, saying, ‘There was no evidence of any crime being committed at all.’ ”

But a few days later the case was reopened by a different prosecutor.

“Mr. Assange voluntarily stayed on in Sweden for three weeks, saying, ‘I’m at the disposal of the prosecution for any questions you have to ask,’ ” Melzer said.

Assange had a commitment in Britain and, Melzer noted, received permission from the prosecutor to leave Sweden. Once he arrived in the United Kingdom, however, Sweden issued an arrest warrant, claiming he was trying to avoid questioning.

“They asked him to come back to Sweden for questioning,” Melzer said. “Then Mr. Assange became a little bit suspicious. ‘I thought we had dealt with this. What is the issue?’ He was afraid that he was being called back so Sweden could surrender him to the U.S.”

Sweden has on several occasions surrendered foreign nationals to the CIA without due process, including handing over two Egyptian nationals, Mohammed al-Zari and Ahmed Agiza, to CIA operatives on Dec. 18, 2001, for transfer from Stockholm to Cairo. The men were seeking asylum in Sweden. Once returned to Egypt they were imprisoned and tortured. Sending asylum seekers to countries that are known to engage in torture is a violation of international law.

When Assange’s lawyers asked for a guarantee that he would not be extradited to the United States, Swedish authorities refused. Assange’s lawyers said he would be willing to undergo questioning by video link from Britain, a proposal Sweden rejected despite having used this procedure in past criminal cases. Assange proposed to be questioned by Swedish officials in Britain. This offer, too, was rejected. The Swedish authorities insisted he return to Sweden.

“That is why Mr. Assange looked for refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy once the extradition proceedings to Sweden didn’t go in his favor at the Supreme Court in the U.K.,” Melzer said.

“What is called a rape allegation [in the Swedish case] is not what would be called a rape in English or Swedish or any other language in the world,” Melzer said. “I know what I’m talking about because I speak Swedish. What the rape allegation refers to is an offense that doesn’t involve any violence. He has been alleged of intentionally ripping a condom during consensual intercourse with a woman. She said it was intentional. He said it was an accident. Predictably, this is something no one will ever be able to prove. The piece of evidence submitted to the prosecution, the condom, was examined and did not have any DNA on it from him, or from the complainant, or anyone else.”

“There is no evidence that he committed a sexual offense … ,” Melzer said. “This whole narrative is extremely important. It dominated his presence in the Ecuadorian Embassy for seven years.”

A leaked email exchange between Swedish judicial authorities, who sought to drop the case four years before they formally abandoned proceedings in 2017, and Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service, handling the Assange case, included a message to the Swedes warning them not to “get cold feet!!!”

Assange’s 50-week sentence is for violating his bail conditions by refusing to surrender to the British authorities and accept extradition to Sweden. After he requested and took political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, the British government refused him safe passage to the airport, trapping him in the Ecuadorian compound. The Swedish judiciary, which conveniently reopened its case against Assange the moment he was taken from the embassy, has since dropped its extradition request, clearing the way for his extradition to the United States.

In 2017 Lenin Moreno was elected president of Ecuador. He sought to mend relations with the United States and agreed, apparently in exchange for debt relief, to unilaterally revoke Assange’s asylum status and the Ecuadorian citizenship he had been granted under the previous administration. Ecuador was given a $4.2 billion debt relief package by the International Monetary Fund three weeks before Moreno authorized British police to enter the embassy in London.

Judge Michael Snow called a disheveled Assange “a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own self-interest” when he appeared in court three hours after being dragged out of the embassy April 11. The only words Assange spoke during that hearing were “I plead not guilty.” The 50-week sentence he received for bail violation is only two weeks short of the maximum provided by law.

“This shows the disproportionate sentencing and bias against him,” Melzer said. “Normally a bail violation would end in a fine and perhaps in a very grave case a short  prison sentence [much less than 50 weeks].”

Melzer said he is convinced Assange cannot “get a fair trial in the United States” after nearly a decade of “unrestrained public mobbing, intimidation, calls for his assassination and instigation to violence against him.”

“He has been exposed to public ridicule, including by serving officials and former officials of government, by prominent personalities,” Melzer said.

“A fair trial requires legality—that he’s actually being charged for something that is punishable,” Melzer said. “Seventeen out of the 18 charges are under the Espionage Act. All of them relate to activities that any investigative journalist would conduct and would be protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The 18th charge, the so-called hacking charge, doesn’t relate to him. The U.S. doesn’t claim he actually hacked a computer to receive information. He obtained all of the information he published [from] someone who had full clearance. He received this information. He may have perhaps encouraged the source, as any journalist would do, to give him the information and then published it. The hacking charge relates to him unsuccessfully attempting to help the source break a password that would have allowed her to cover her tracks. But he didn’t succeed.”

“I don’t see any possibility that Mr. Assange would be acquitted in the U.S. or that he would receive a very light sentence of six weeks in prison,” Melzer said. “That is utterly unrealistic, especially under the so-called espionage court, in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he has been charged. There has been no defendant that has been acquitted there of national security charges.”

“A fair trial requires equality before the law,” Melzer said. “When a government prosecutes a whistleblower, let alone a journalist, for having exposed serious crimes by government agents—we’re talking about war crimes—and then these war crimes are not being prosecuted [this is not equality before the law].”

“There is no longer the rule of law,” Melzer said. “There is no longer equality before the law. There are no longer transparent court proceedings when you have a secret grand jury and a secret session debating classified evidence. These are proceedings skewed against the defendant. I don’t think Julian Assange would get a fair trial.”

“Britain, Sweden and Ecuador have violated the convention against torture,” Melzer said. “They should release Mr. Assange. They may question him in response to the sexual offenses. Frankly, I don’t think there is much behind that. If there is, I think he has suffered more than his share already through that ill treatment. He should be released. He should be compensated and rehabilitated by those states.”
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🐈 Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange
« Reply #145 on: June 30, 2019, 02:26:52 AM »
https://medium.com/@njmelzer/demasking-the-torture-of-julian-assange-b252ffdcb768

Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange

Jun 26, 2019

By Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

On the occasion of the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, 26 June 2019


I know, you may think I am deluded. How could life in an Embassy with a cat and a skateboard ever amount to torture? That’s exactly what I thought, too, when Assange first appealed to my office for protection. Like most of the public, I had been subconsciously poisoned by the relentless smear campaign, which had been disseminated over the years. So it took a second knock on my door to get my reluctant attention. But once I looked into the facts of this case, what I found filled me with repulsion and disbelief.

Surely, I thought, Assange must be a rapist! But what I found is that he has never been charged with a sexual offence. True, soon after the US had encouraged allies to find reasons to prosecute Assange, two women made the headlines in Sweden. One of them claimed he had ripped a condom, and the other that he had failed to wear one, in both cases during consensual intercourse — not exactly scenarios that have the ring of ‘rape’ in any language other than Swedish. Mind you, each woman even submitted a condom as evidence. The first one, supposedly worn and torn by Assange, revealed no DNA whatsoever — neither his, nor hers, nor anybody else’s. Go figure. The second one, used but intact, supposedly proved ‘unprotected’ intercourse. Go figure, again. The women even texted that they never intended to report a crime but were ‘railroaded’ into doing so by zealous Swedish police. Go figure, once more. Ever since, both Sweden and Britain have done everything to prevent Assange from confronting these allegations without simultaneously having to expose himself to US extradition and, thus, to a show-trial followed by life in jail. His last refuge had been the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Alright, I thought, but surely Assange must be a hacker! But what I found is that all his disclosures had been freely leaked to him, and that no one accuses him of having hacked a single computer. In fact, the only arguable hacking-charge against him relates to his alleged unsuccessful attempt to help breaking a password which, had it been successful, might have helped his source to cover her tracks. In short: a rather isolated, speculative, and inconsequential chain of events; a bit like trying to prosecute a driver who unsuccessfully attempted to exceed the speed-limit, but failed because their car was too weak.
Professor Nils Melzer

Well then, I thought, at least we know for sure that Assange is a Russian spy, has interfered with US elections, and negligently caused people’s deaths! But all I found is that he consistently published true information of inherent public interest without any breach of trust, duty or allegiance. Yes, he exposed war crimes, corruption and abuse, but let’s not confuse national security with governmental impunity. Yes, the facts he disclosed empowered US voters to take more informed decisions, but isn’t that simply democracy? Yes, there are ethical discussions to be had regarding the legitimacy of unredacted disclosures. But if actual harm had really been caused, how come neither Assange nor Wikileaks ever faced related criminal charges or civil lawsuits for just compensation?

But surely, I found myself pleading, Assange must be a selfish narcissist, skateboarding through the Ecuadorian Embassy and smearing feces on the walls? Well, all I heard from Embassy staff is that the inevitable inconveniences of his accommodation at their offices were handled with mutual respect and consideration. This changed only after the election of President Moreno, when they were suddenly instructed to find smears against Assange and, when they didn’t, they were soon replaced. The President even took it upon himself to bless the world with his gossip, and to personally strip Assange of his asylum and citizenship without any due process of law.

In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News.

Very well, you may say, but what does slander have to do with torture? Well, this is a slippery slope. What may look like mere «mudslinging» in public debate, quickly becomes “mobbing” when used against the defenseless, and even “persecution” once the State is involved. Now just add purposefulness and severe suffering, and what you get is full-fledged psychological torture.

Yes, living in an Embassy with a cat and a skateboard may seem like a sweet deal when you believe the rest of the lies. But when no one remembers the reason for the hate you endure, when no one even wants to hear the truth, when neither the courts nor the media hold the powerful to account, then your refuge really is but a rubber boat in a shark-pool, and neither your cat nor your skateboard will save your life.

Even so, you may say, why spend so much breath on Assange, when countless others are tortured worldwide? Because this is not only about protecting Assange, but about preventing a precedent likely to seal the fate of Western democracy. For once telling the truth has become a crime, while the powerful enjoy impunity, it will be too late to correct the course. We will have surrendered our voice to censorship and our fate to unrestrained tyranny.

This Op-Ed has been offered for publication to the Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Canberra Times, the Telegraph, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek.

None responded positively.
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🐈 The World’s Most Important Political Prisoner
« Reply #146 on: September 17, 2019, 09:46:24 AM »
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/09/the-worlds-most-important-political-prisoner/

The World’s Most Important Political Prisoner

15 Sep, 2019  by craig murray


We are now just one week away from the end of Julian Assange’s uniquely lengthy imprisonment for bail violation. He will receive parole from the rest of that sentence, but will continue to be imprisoned on remand awaiting his hearing on extradition to the USA – a process which could last several years.

At that point, all the excuses for Assange’s imprisonment which so-called leftists and liberals in the UK have hidden behind will evaporate. There are no charges and no active investigation in Sweden, where the “evidence” disintegrated at the first whiff of critical scrutiny. He is no longer imprisoned for “jumping bail”. The sole reason for his incarceration will be the publishing of the Afghan and Iraq war logs leaked by Chelsea Manning, with their evidence of wrongdoing and multiple war crimes.

In imprisoning Assange for bail violation, the UK was in clear defiance of the judgement of the UN Working Group on arbitrary Detention, which stated

    Under international law, pre-trial detention must be only imposed in limited instances. Detention during investigations must be even more limited, especially in the absence of any charge. The Swedish investigations have been closed for over 18 months now, and the only ground remaining for Mr. Assange’s continued deprivation of liberty is a bail violation in the UK, which is, objectively, a minor offense that cannot post facto justify the more than 6 years confinement that he has been subjected to since he sought asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador. Mr. Assange should be able to exercise his right to freedom of movement in an unhindered manner, in accordance with the human rights conventions the UK has ratified,

In repudiating the UNWGAD the UK has undermined an important pillar of international law, and one it had always supported in hundreds of other decisions. The mainstream media has entirely failed to note that the UNWGAD called for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe – a source of potentially valuable international pressure on Iran which the UK has made worthless by its own refusal to comply with the UN over the Assange case. Iran simply replies “if you do not respect the UNWGAD then why should we?”

It is in fact a key indication of media/government collusion that the British media, which reports regularly at every pretext on the Zaghari-Ratcliffe case to further its anti-Iranian government agenda, failed to report at all the UNWGAD call for her release – because of the desire to deny the UN body credibility in the case of Julian Assange.

In applying for political asylum, Assange was entering a different and higher legal process which is an internationally recognised right. A very high percentage of dissident political prisoners worldwide are imprisoned on ostensibly unrelated criminal charges with which the authorities fit them up. Many a dissident has been given asylum in these circumstances. Assange did not go into hiding – his whereabouts were extremely well known. The simple characterisation of this as “absconding” by district judge Vanessa Baraitser is a farce of justice – and like the UK’s repudiation of the UNWGAD report, is an attitude that authoritarian regimes will be delighted to repeat towards dissidents worldwide.

Her decision to commit Assange to continuing jail pending his extradition hearing was excessively cruel given the serious health problems he has encountered in Belmarsh.

It is worth noting that Baraitser’s claim that Assange had a “history of absconding in these proceedings” – and I have already disposed of “absconding” as wildly inappropriate – is inaccurate in that “these proceedings” are entirely new and relate to the US extradition request and nothing but the US extradition request. Assange has been imprisoned throughout the period of “these proceedings” and has certainly not absconded. The government and media have an interest in conflating “these proceedings” with the previous risible allegations from Sweden and the subsequent conviction for bail violation, but we need to untangle this malicious conflation. We have to make plain that Assange is now held for publishing and only for publishing. That a judge should conflate them is disgusting. Vanessa Baraitser is a disgrace.

Assange has been demonised by the media as a dangerous, insanitary and crazed criminal, which could not be further from the truth. It is worth reminding ourselves that Assange has never been convicted of anything but missing police bail.

So now we have a right wing government in the UK with scant concern for democracy, and in particular we have the most far right extremist as Home Secretary of modern times. Assange is now, plainly and without argument, a political prisoner. He is not in jail for bail-jumping. He is not in jail for sexual allegations. He is in jail for publishing official secrets, and for nothing else. The UK now has the world’s most famous political prisoner, and there are no rational grounds to deny that fact. Who will take a stand against authoritarianism and for the freedom to publish?

——————————————

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191 thoughts on “The World’s Most Important Political Prisoner”
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    Reply ↓
    Ort
    September 15, 2019 at 18:45

    Assange’s appalling and reprehensible Via Dolorosa is now lengthened by another arbitrary, capricious, and malicious exercise in judicial fiat.

    Assange is obviously being treated in accordance with a vicious, brutal administration of ostensible justice in which Enemies of the State are subjected to ultra-sadistic, viciously violent treatment as a lesson to the rest of us.

    It recalls all of the worst of authoritarian “civil” punishment, from the Roman Empire’s punitive flagellation and crucifixions through the Spanish Inquisition, imprisonment and torture in the dungeons of the Tower of London, Bastille, etc.

    The present-day version of this slow degradation and death is more Kafkaesque and Orwellian, of course– mediated by bureaucracy and high hypocrisy in the name of the “rule of law”.

    It may be that the US government prefers to have Assange consigned to their tender mercies while he is still alive and relatively rational in order to wring information from him before finishing him off one way or the other.

    But, as is obvious from any number of sudden and suspicious deaths of persons in US custody, if the victim somehow “ups and dies” along the way, the ruthless captors will consider it a satisfactory lesson to the public: here’s what happens to people who rock the boat.

    I am not competent to assess the opinions of some who claim that Assange’s defense team is curiously inept or inadequate, and that more skilled or rigorous advocates might have more successfully resisted the continual depredations to which he’s been subjected.

    But I fear that even “ironclad” objections and appeals would be give “due consideration”, while the deadly “facts on the ground” proceed apace.
        Reply ↓
        SmilinJackAbbott
        September 16, 2019 at 07:29

        “the ruthless captors will consider it a satisfactory lesson to the public: here’s what happens to people who rock the boat.”

        This probably won’t be popular here but is there any doubt the continual imprisonment of Tommy Robinson on the sudden need to make an example of him & only him for some technical breach or other is the same thing? Interestingly Robinson said in an interview upon his release days ago he was in the same prison as Assange & communicating with him across a balcony.
            Reply ↓
            N_
            September 16, 2019 at 10:33

            Robinson is certainly a player, but probably almost anyone who didn’t speak with a public school accent would have been jailed for what he did.

            (Try waiting outside a courthouse and shouting abuse at a judge and see what happens. They’d much rather be feared than loved. Also the Home Office have a network across the country staffed with responsibilities including “inter-community relations”, by which they mean preventing the race riots that they have long thought will break out at a moment’s notice if someone lights the touchpaper. This network hardly ever gets mentioned in the media. The same kind of mentality inspires some of those who work in “Prevent”, although the networks aren’t the same.)

            I wouldn’t read too much into Robinson and Assange encountering each other at Belmarsh. If you’re in that situation, you’re going to say hello. There’s little point walking around with your nose stuck in the air.

            @Ort is right about the tradition of public cruelty in England against miscreants. Practically every town had a gallows hill. The rate of executions was far higher than in Scotland.

            Then again, even without the arbitrary public cruelty against Julian Assange would-be whistleblowers in say the NHS or local councils know to keep their mouths shut and just forget about stuff you can’t change. If they do start blowing the whistle, the most common path they then take is to crack up mentally. The authorities aren’t going to have an inquiry under Lord Muck that “finds” that the whole of the state is as corrupt as f****, which it is. Those who “have got anything to say” get individualised, just as under Stalinism in the USSR. If they potential whistleblower goes through official channels, the bureaucrats who handle their “concerns” will be far more interested in THEM than in what they have to say which might endanger the position of “proper people” on say £100K a year and who might wear Rolexes etc. The same is true in all parts of Britain.
            Reply ↓
            Ruth Gould
            September 16, 2019 at 18:26

            Surely the difference is that Robinson was found guilty of an offence, served his sentence and was released? None of these things apply to Assange.
    Reply ↓
    Mary Pau!
    September 15, 2019 at 18:49

    Has Liberty expressed a view on Julian Assange’s continuing detention ?
        Reply ↓
        pete
        September 16, 2019 at 11:54

        I searched though the first 20 pages of Liberty’s latest news to see if they had any mention of Assange, without success. I have written to them now about their attitude to this case, If I get a reply I will post it in this section of Craig’s blog
    Reply ↓
    Republicofscotland
    September 15, 2019 at 19:00

    From the plight of the Chagossians to the detaining of Assange in order for the Great Satan (US) to acquire him, Britain is in my opinion no longer seen around the globe as country of fairness and justice. The right wing coup by Johnson and the greatest recipient of state benefits ever Old Queen Lizzie reinforces that idea.

    If/when we Brexit without a deal as predicted, and we embrace the Trumpian ideology injustices will only grow in broken Britain, which is on the verge of moving to independent nations, the sooner the better I say.

    Assanges detainment and eventual handing over to the Great Satan, will be seen as just another nail in the coffin of British justice and fairness.
    Reply ↓
    Hatuey
    September 15, 2019 at 19:29

    The Lib-Dem’s is a party that is dedicated to representing middle class hypocrisy. They think they can stop Brexit but nobody can. If you stop it, you are into civil war territory anyway. It’s a lose/lose situation for them.

    Brexit is truly beautiful.

    Some day I will see a queue outside a food bank and half of them will be middle class people who have fallen from grace. That’s when I will know that Brexit has been a huge success.
        Reply ↓
        Republicofscotland
        September 15, 2019 at 19:50

        There is no successful form of Brexit, there’s only levels of self inflicted damage awaiting us.

        You’ll hear from leavers that not to leave is an affront to democracy, even though Johnson, Gove et al, lied from day one, on the severe impacts of a no deal Brexit, even the architect of the vote David Cameron is now running for cover blaming Johnson and Gove.

        As for the Lib/Dems, they’re nothing more than a gun for hire for whichever of the two main parties requires them to prop them up.
        Reply ↓
        Goose
        September 15, 2019 at 20:23

        @Hatuey

        Any smug satisfaction, schadenfreude, from such a scenario would quickly turn to sadness, set against the personal downsides for you and yours. Think of all the people in the UK with medical conditions etc. The first thing the Tories would target would be the NHS; we’d be softened up for change with endless stories about its current unaffordability. The US has that sort of pay for everything culture , a raw ‘winners and losers’ society, where the rich are really rich and the poor are dirt poor ,having to work three jobs, and it’s not really something we want to emulate.
            Reply ↓
            Hatuey
            September 15, 2019 at 22:47

            It’s already like that here for many, and has been for decades. That’s the point. And that’s why the many and not the few voted for Brexit.
                Reply ↓
                Davey Dee
                September 15, 2019 at 23:17

                I never voted for Brexit because i am poor, will still be poor afterward.
                But totally respect those who did.
                Guy Verhostadt said the world order of tomorrow. is not a world order based on nation states, or countries.
                It is a world order based on empires, this what he endorses, that the EU is an empire, how disgusting is that.
                    nevermind
                    September 16, 2019 at 13:00

                    You are living in a wannabe empire again, Davey De.
    Reply ↓
    doug scorgie
    September 15, 2019 at 20:28

    British judge jails Assange indefinitely, despite end of prison sentence
    By Oscar Grenfell
    14 September 2019

    A website worth noting.
        Reply ↓
        lysias
        September 15, 2019 at 22:17

        What website is that?
            Reply ↓
            Robyn
            September 16, 2019 at 03:47

            The article is on the World Socialist Web Site: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/09/14/assa-s14.html
    Reply ↓
    Harry Law
    September 15, 2019 at 21:05

    In my opinion Julian Assange is being held in relation to an extradition request from the US government, who allege in 18 indictments his involvement in inter alia helping Manning continue her theft of classified documents and agreeing to help her crack a classified hash to a military computer https://www.scribd.com/document/411275244/Assange-superseding-indictment#from_embed In his defence Julian has denied he helped crack a computer password and that at all times he was acting as a good Journalist. The extradition Act I presume is being handled properly by Julian’s lawyers https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/extradition I also presume he has a top legal team who are unencumbered by ‘resources’, so I am rather perturbed by the accusations of Andrew F up thread, I hope Julian’s team can alleviate these concerns as soon as possible.
        Reply ↓
        kathy
        September 15, 2019 at 21:50

        His lawyer is the renowned Gareth Peirce who, almost single-handedly, was responsible for freeing the Guildford Four, wrongly convicted for the IRA Birmingham pub bombings for which they were imprisoned for many years.

        He couldn’t get a better lawyer than her.
            Reply ↓
            Ingwe
            September 16, 2019 at 00:01

            Uh, Kathy, the Guildford Four had nothing to do with the IRA bombings in Birmingham. That was the Birmingham Six. Just saying.
                Reply ↓
                kathy
                September 16, 2019 at 00:12

                “Gareth Peirce (born March 1940), is an English solicitor and human rights activist. She is best known for her work and advocacy in high-profile cases involving allegations of human rights injustices. Her work with Gerry Conlon and the Guildford Four – wrongly convicted of bombings carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army – was chronicled in the film In the Name of the Father (1993), in which she was portrayed by Emma Thompson.”

                As you can see from the above extract from wikipaedia, you are the one who has your facts wrong and I am correct.

                —
                [ Mod: Er, kathy, Guildford is not in Birmingham – Map ]
                    kathy
                    September 16, 2019 at 00:24

                    Oh, I see I made that mistake in the first post – sorry about that. I can only put it down to my ignorance of English geography since I am Scottish!
                Reply ↓
                Ren
                September 17, 2019 at 08:39

                She was involved with the Birmingham Six case too and several other high profile cases.

                “During her career she represented Judith Ward, a woman wrongfully convicted in 1974 of several IRA-related bombings, the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six, several mineworkers after the Battle of Orgreave, the family of Jean Charles de Menezes and Moazzam Begg, a man held in extrajudicial detention by the American government.

                Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, appointed Peirce as his solicitor in Swedish Judicial Authority v Julian Assange”
            Reply ↓
            jmg
            September 16, 2019 at 00:04

            It seems that multiple lawyers from several countries (UK, US, Sweden, Australia, Spain…) are involved in the different aspects of Julian’s defense, including Gareth Peirce who has acted as his solicitor at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, and others like for example Baltasar Garzon, the former judge who requested the extradition of Augusto Pinochet and who is now preparing the extradition battle as one of the defense lawyers:

            Baltasar Garzón on Assange: This case involves an attack against the right of freedom of the press around the world
            http://theprisma.co.uk/2019/05/06/baltasar-garzon-on-assange-this-case-involves-an-attack-against-the-right-of-freedom-of-the-press-around-the-world/
                Reply ↓
                jmg
                September 16, 2019 at 09:33

                The UK extradition cases of Julian Assange and Augusto Pinochet

                – Assange: Investigative journalist and publisher of whistleblowers’ information of public interest for human rights.
                – Pinochet: Mass murderer and torturer, ended democracy in Chile with a coup d’etat, dictator for almost two decades.

                Charges in extradition requests:

                – Assange: 18 US federal charges related to collaboration with a whistleblower to publish war crimes protected by secrecy.
                – Pinochet: 94 counts of torture of Spanish citizens, the 1975 assassination of Spanish UN diplomat Carmelo Soria, etc.

                Who called upon the British government to release them:

                – Assange: UN working group on arbitrary detention, American Civil Liberties Union, Committee to Protect Journalists, multiple media organizations on First Amendment grounds, and many more.
                – Pinochet: Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former US President George H. W. Bush, far-right Chileans.

                Situation during extradition proceedings:

                – Assange: Small cell in the Belmarsh High Security Prison, denied a computer, can’t prepare his own defense.
                – Pinochet: Under house arrest in a comfortable rented house, living with wife, visited by Margaret Thatcher.

                When ill health:

                – Assange: Moved to the health ward of Belmarsh prison. UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid signs US extradition request.
                – Pinochet: Released by UK Home Secretary Jack Straw. Upon arrival at the Chilean airport, ill health suddenly disappears:

                Pinochet’s return to Chile after his release in London for alleged ill health
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilxqhdgs4uU
        Reply ↓
        Phil Espin
        September 16, 2019 at 08:17

        Kathy, Gareth Peirce has a remarkable reputation and is no doubt rightly revered by many. She is 79 years old. There is a reason judges have to retire at 75. I know nothing about her or her team but this single fact would have to make you think twice. Andrew F raises important points which need addressing.
            Reply ↓
            pretzelattack
            September 16, 2019 at 16:35

            she is 79, yes. age affects different people differently. do you have any reason to believe it is impairing her performance as a lawyer?
            Reply ↓
            kathy
            September 17, 2019 at 00:33

            While what you say has some truth in it, it can also work the other way. Her life long experience might make her unbeatable.
    Reply ↓
    Iain Melville
    September 15, 2019 at 21:53

    Time for a “free Assange” campaign.
        Reply ↓
        Carolyn Zaremba
        September 15, 2019 at 23:19

        A “free Assange” campaign has been going on for years, particularly supported by the World Socialist Web Site, journalists like John Pilger, Chris Hedges, Aaron Mate, and Caitlin Johnstone. In addition, such prominent people as Roger Waters, Pamela Anderson, and Vivienne Westwood have been speaking and writing about Julian’s case. Julian’s supporters have been writing to him in prison regularly to show our support for him. I have attended and spoken at rallies in support of Julian over the last couple of years.
            Reply ↓
            Tatyana
            September 16, 2019 at 08:42

            I understand the importance of keeping the case always in people’s minds, but besides showing the support, did it all help?
            I mean, did it make any official to perhaps choose less severe punishment term, or to interprete the law in favor of Mr. Assange?
                Reply ↓
                PhilW
                September 16, 2019 at 11:08

                It will help Julian if, when Corbyn becomes Prime Minister, he feels it is an issue he has to stand up to the US about. The consequences for Corbyn, and for all of us in the UK, could be huge.

                So far it has done nothing to help him. He is the human battleground in a great war between US imperialists and those who value freedom.

                Belmarsh should be our Bastille
                    Ren
                    September 17, 2019 at 09:06

                    “Belmarsh should be our Bastille”

                    From listening to TR’s account (whatever you think of the person) following his release, it would seem the governor may have that in the back of his mind?

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjT1ogCKn80
                Reply ↓
                Borncynical
                September 16, 2019 at 11:29

                Tatyana

                Perversely for a supposedly democratic society, such campaigns are treated with disrespect, scorn and disdain and seem only to empower the dictators running our country. The latter don’t even feel it’s necessary to defend their position against those who challenge them. But, quite rightly and commendably, people of integrity and sound morals continue to persevere in their efforts to change the status quo.

                I wrote to my MP on 22 July asking for the Government’s explanation of the legal basis (purportedly ‘EU sanctions’) for the detention of the Grace 1 oil tanker in Gibraltar. Despite several reminders from me since, my request has been met with complete silence. I have to draw only one conclusion from that, but it also serves to exemplify how ‘ordinary’ citizens like me who raise awkward but sensible questions are treated with nothing but contempt because we aren’t prepared to just sit back and accept what we are told without question.

                J.
                    Ren
                    September 17, 2019 at 09:09

                    As for living in a democracy, most have no idea what that means…

                    (half way through)
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUxV6SvQHc0&t=26m9s
                    Tatyana
                    September 17, 2019 at 09:13

                    Let me tell it in other way.
                    Suppose, I’m a manager and one of my employees appears drunk in his workingplace. The reason is understandable by any human being, e.g. loss of a wife or a child, sort of that.
                    As a manager I have to dismiss the employee, but his coleagues ask me to let him stay. Everyone understands that I should act according to the law and everyone understands the man is not so very much guilty as to lose his job.
                    What am I supposed to do? To break the law, to replace the evidence or what?
                    There is a normal civilised way to make everyone happy – to change the law. Make ammendments to the law. Make legal precedent.
                    His coleagues might put forward an initiative so that the case will be examined in a special order, and amend the rules, instead of shouting “let him stay”, because I can’t let him stay under the current law.

                    It is not very good illustration, but I think you understand my idea.
    Reply ↓
    Brianfujisan
    September 15, 2019 at 22:09

    Great Post Craig

    Julian must have a VERY Strong Spirit.. No Sunlight, No Fresh Air to Breathe.. For all these Years.. is 9 now.

    Here, the Brilliant John Pilger speaks, at the recent Roger waters Event outside Patel’s H.O

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-k7Be1X-2E
    Reply ↓
    A2
    September 15, 2019 at 22:09

    Have you considered that the US may actually prefer indefinite detention to extradition and a trial which could prove uncomfortable even if a guilty verdict was returned?
        Reply ↓
        Brianfujisan
        September 15, 2019 at 22:15

        Hi A2

        I don’t think so myself.. Certainly not for the reasons you speculate upon.. I think the U.S would love to get their hands on Julian.. Unless some other humane reason emerges.. Money is no Object after all.
        Reply ↓
        N_
        September 16, 2019 at 12:14

        @A2 – Would you argue for that being likely and on what basis?
    Reply ↓
    bevin
    September 15, 2019 at 22:28

    It seems to me fairly clear that the most obvious way to put an end to Julian’s sufferings, and, more importantly, the crippling of that essential arm of popular democracy that is wikileaks is to join local Labour Parties and ensure that at the coming General Election, a socialist committed to democracy, anti-imperialism and free speech represents you in Parliament.
    In the meantime CLPs can pass resolutions calling for the matter to be discussed at Conference. Labour MPs or candidates not ready to support Julian would not be likely to fight for their constituents either and should be de-selected.
    Of course, a similar option exists for Nationalists in Scotland and Wales. The commitment of the SNP to Assange is not obvious and some MPs are as bad as any in the PLP but joining the SNP and fighting for decent policies, including an end to the persecution of our friend and wikileaks is a viable policy.
    In any case, short of mass action, and there has been none of that in the past years, the best hope of translating pieties into policies is through the Parliamentary process.
    It is my considered opinion that the Assange issue-and the matter of imperialism- is of far more importance than the relatively trivial matter of Brexit. A point with which, I suspect Jonathan Cook would agree.
        Reply ↓
        Brianfujisan
        September 15, 2019 at 23:13

        You made a very Good Point Bevin

        And made me wonder.. that No One Man is should come before an Independence vote for SNP..

        Then I wonder if the Battle for Julian, and Wkileaks is lost.. Would any Scottish investigative journalist be safe WHILST IN Scotland, for exposing U.K ..US Crimes.

        The mind boggles at the elite’s webs and tentacles… and their latest Technological Eyes n Ears… Oh, and their Lust for ever more Land, Oil, Gold, BLOOD
            Reply ↓
            OnlyHalfALooney
            September 16, 2019 at 10:38

            Perhaps an independent Scotland can simply ban extradition of Scottish citizens and permanent residents (except possibliy within the EU). (Like France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway and the Czech Republic).

            This is probably the only way for a country to protect it’s citizens against the USA, which seems to think it has jurisdiction over the whole world.
        Reply ↓
        Hatuey
        September 15, 2019 at 23:16

        As I said, the problem is that ‘the many and not the few’ voted for Brexit and they think it’s quite important.

        Of course, in causal terms, Brexit in itself represents a failure of the Labour Party.

        In Scotland, Labour are finished and will never be trusted again. It would be hypocritical of me to encourage English people to vote for them when I wouldn’t myself.

        If Corbyn’s Labour can’t give you a straight answer on the low lying fruit of trident renewal, it’s hard to believe that they will represent anything other than business as usual if they win power.

        I think England needs a new party to represent ordinary people.
            Reply ↓
            JeremyT
            September 16, 2019 at 06:55

            38% voted for leaving, 35% voted remain, 28% of voters didn’t bother.
            Not that many.
                Reply ↓
                Hatuey
                September 16, 2019 at 11:29

                This referendum gets more special by the day. Now we need to factor in those that didn’t vote too.
            Reply ↓
            Dom
            September 16, 2019 at 08:20

            Has your encouragement swayed anybody to vote a certain way in the past?
                Reply ↓
                Hatuey
                September 16, 2019 at 11:33

                It’s not about me.
            Reply ↓
            N_
            September 16, 2019 at 10:41

            Brexit represents a countrywide version of the campaign successfully fought in the Smethwick constituency in 1964 by Peter Griffiths.
                Reply ↓
                N_
                September 16, 2019 at 11:54

                Kirsten Johnson, the LibDem candidate in North Devon (who incidentally uses the style “Dr” legitimately – she is a doctor of music) let slip the real reason people voted for Brexit (or “White Power” or “Enoch was Right” as it is also known) and then she tried to backtrack.

                Personally I think if there’s a third Brexit referendum then even if you take away Brexit voters’ dinner and you tell them “Look, you cretins, you won’t be getting any food if you vote the same way you did last time, and you will agree that food in your belly is more important than living next to neighbours who all share your skin colour, yes?” they will STILL vote for Brexit and they will probably scrawl an extra big X in the box (if they can put down their smartphone for long enough) just to make sure, because “no-one tells THEM what to do”. Brexit voters are racist cretins and they should be called what they are. Yes there are a few exceptions and a man such as Dennis Skinner has my respect but they could probably all be fitted on a single double-decker bus.

                Creeping down to the polling station to vote for the nudge nudge wink wink “leave the EU” option rather than having the guts to put on their white hoods is their element.
                    Tony
                    September 16, 2019 at 19:16

                    Ugh!!! What a repulsive, ignorant post!
                    RenWeb
                    September 17, 2019 at 09:23

                    Why not try educating yourself, rather than believing propaganda…

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUxV6SvQHc0&t=26m9s
        Reply ↓
        N_
        September 16, 2019 at 12:18

        @Bevin – “Democracy” rarely denotes much that I ascribe great value to, but on what basis do you call Wikileaks, which functioned as a small secretive organisation acting out of a box number in Australia, an “arm of popular democracy”?
    Reply ↓
    tom kane
    September 15, 2019 at 23:00

    This is atrocious treatment… Is there even a precedent for keeping a man with no charges against him in jail, let alone Belmarsh?

    Surely this has to be a case for Amnesty International now? There is something about what we have become that is past creepy.

    Respect, Craig.
        Reply ↓
        Ingwe
        September 16, 2019 at 09:41

        Amnesty International? You’re joking aren’t you? What are Amnesty going to do?
        Reply ↓
        OnlyHalfALooney
        September 16, 2019 at 10:32

        Amnesty International does NOT consider Julian Assange a “prisoner of conscience” apparently.

        https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/05/23/assa-m23.html

        They didn’t recognise Chelsea Manning as a “prisoner of conscience” either, although AI did campaign for “clemency”.

        I’m afraid AI seems to become rather muzzled over the past decade. Isn’t Assange the perfect example of a prisoner of conscience?

        Perhaps AI is afraid rich “liberals” might not leave them lots of money in their wills any more?
            Reply ↓
            John A
            September 16, 2019 at 14:10

            Amnesty International is currently running a hate campaign in Norway against a Norwegian biathlon coach who was recently appointed coach of the Chinese national team.
            https://steigan.no/2019/09/amnestys-urimelige-angrep-pa-ole-einar-bjorndalen/

            Amnesty International argues China is using sport for propaganda purposes. As if China is somehow unique in this respect! Amnesty has become an American propaganda operation.
        Reply ↓
        N_
        September 16, 2019 at 10:46

        @Tom – Julian Assange has been charged in the US.
        Reply ↓
        Borncynical
        September 16, 2019 at 12:06

        Tom

        Besides the fact that Amnesty International is one of the many NGOs which operates entirely at the bidding of the US, a UK government that selectively ignores the views of the UN when it doesn’t suit their agenda (such as the UN General Assembly’s emphatic verdict supporting a non-binding ruling from the International Court of Justice that the UK should return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius) is highly unlikely (to use their favourite phrase) to pay any attention to the views of Amnesty International if it doesn’t accord with their agenda.

        Earlier this year the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, officially expressed extremely critical views on the treatment Julian Assange has been subjected to by the UK but his concerns were arrogantly met with no reaction whatsoever from the UK government.
            Reply ↓
            Tony
            September 16, 2019 at 19:21

            Didn’t he have a bit of a Twitter skirmish with bird-brain Hunt, in which he put Hunt firmly in his place?
                Reply ↓
                Borncynical
                September 17, 2019 at 16:17

                Indeed, Tony.

                https://twitter.com/nilsmelzer/status/1134400849097220102?lang=en
    Reply ↓
    Gary
    September 15, 2019 at 23:11

    No, to simply dwell on the words “these proceedings” is to overlook the fact that he avoided/evaded potential action against him by seeking political asylum. This was widely used against him s ‘if you’ve nothing to hide..’ He DID ‘make himself unavailable’ at the very least. Any court seeking to offer bail would have to consider that he might ‘make himself unavailable’ again. They WOULD look stupid if, when released, he did exactly the same again.

    But you’re right, he was punished for seeking political asylum. He was made out to be a sex offender. All of the charges, including the current ones, are pretexts. It IS entirely political, he is a political prisoner and this is not even being given the veneer of respectability by either the state or, more shockingly, or ‘so called’ free press. Are our press self-censoring or have they been given handouts on EXACTLY how to report on this case, a list of do’s and don’ts about what they must say? Words that must not be used? Reminds me of how the BBC report on ISIS, they never call them ‘ISIS’ they ALWAYS call them ‘so called Islamic State’ perhaps someone, somewhere is scared that if the BBC called ISIS a ‘state’ then they WOULD be considered a defacto state. But I suppose annexing land and calling it your sovereign state is solely the province of Israel these days…
        Reply ↓
        pretzelattack
        September 15, 2019 at 23:54

        he made himself unavailable because sweden wouldn’t give him assurance that they wouldn’t render him to the u.s., which was illegal in the first place, not that that has stopped any of the state actors in this drama.
        Reply ↓
        N_
        September 16, 2019 at 12:05

        “So-called Islamic State group” is another dogwhistle. Regime media are pretending to imply “We think real Muslims are OK” and “Britain is tolerant”. They are making the name of the enemy sound as foreign and outlandish as possible while in this case continuing to use the English language. Honky governments always speak with forked tongues. If there were any such thing as a nomenclature unbesmirched by either side’s propaganda in the war between the poshboy kingdom and the headchopper caliphate, the contenders would be called Britain and Iraq-Syria, which is what the second “IS” in “ISIS” stands for, or “Iraq-Levant” if you want to use the “ISIL” form. Which is not to say this foul organisation has ever been recognised as having legitimacy by any more than a small minority of people in those two countries, but that is what they call themselves. It is not as if there haven’t been two conflicting states each referencing the same nation before. For example there were two German republics, two Finnish republics, etc.
    Reply ↓
    Carolyn Zaremba
    September 15, 2019 at 23:15

    Dear Craig. It is not “leftists” who are not supporting Julian Asange. It is the bourgeois liberals. The true left, i.e., socialists, particularly the Socialist Equality Party and the World Socialist Web Site, have been publishing articles about this outrage and holding rallies all over the world in support of Julian Assange. Please do not write about the pseudo-lefts as though they represented anything approaching the real left.

    Other than that, I am grateful for your continued revelation of the truth behind the lies concerning the DNC computers and the Mueller “investigation”. Keep it up.
        Reply ↓
        Dom
        September 16, 2019 at 08:25

        Indeed, it’s as liberal an application of the term leftist as that used by Mike Pence.
    Reply ↓
    Andrew Nichols
    September 16, 2019 at 02:21

    Sadly the por sod has been consigned to the media memory hole – a deliberate voluntary act analogous to the SA Apartheid state “banning” which eliminated all mention of the targeted unfortunate from any public forum…ie they became an “unperson”. We are descending into a very dark period with no relief in sight.
    Reply ↓
    jmg
    September 16, 2019 at 09:23

    It appears that — at least according to law — on next Sunday (Sep 22) Julian should change from convicted prisoner to remand prisoner awaiting trial, with much less restrictions to prepare his defense:

    “The WikiLeaks founder would have been released from HMP Belmarsh on 22 September, Westminster magistrates court heard on Friday, but he was told he would be kept in jail because of ‘substantial grounds’ for believing he would abscond again. . . .

    “Another administrative hearing will take place on 11 October and a case management hearing on 21 October, the court heard. The final extradition hearing is expected in February.”

    Julian Assange to remain in jail pending extradition to US — 14 Sep 2019
    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/sep/14/julian-assange-to-remain-in-jail-pending-extradition-to-us
        Reply ↓
        jmg
        September 16, 2019 at 09:25

        “Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot ordered for a full extradition hearing, expected to last five days, to begin on 25 February 2020.”

        Julian Assange extradition case ‘outrageous assault on journalism’ — 14 June 2019
        https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48633682
        Reply ↓
        OnlyHalfALooney
        September 16, 2019 at 10:20

        F*ing Guardian: “Julian Assange to remain in jail pending extradition to US”

        As far as I know, the extradition hearing has yet to be held. I’m not optimistic in view of the obvious bias of the judges so far. But the headline suggests it has all already been decided.

        Why does this not surprise me from the UK’s prime mouthpiece for the intelligence services?
        .
            Reply ↓
            Borncynical
            September 16, 2019 at 11:41

            …and the Daily Mail reported three days ago:

            “Julian Assange will not get out of prison half way through his sentence like most criminals because the courts don’t trust him not to run away again ahead of his PLANNED [sic, and my emphasis] extradition to the US”.

            One can hope it’s ignorant and sloppy journalism (no surprise) but it’s a pretty emphatic statement.
    Reply ↓
    Hatuey
    September 16, 2019 at 11:52

    “Trump: US ‘locked and loaded depending on verification’ of attack on Saudi oil field“ (CNN)

    It looks like Iran will be bombed in the next 24 hours and the war in the Middle East that we have all been dreading is essentially underway.

    I suspect the timing will be more down to Israeli elections than any “verification” which means they will attack imminently.

    Iran will not take kindly to being bombed.
        Reply ↓
        Republicofscotland
        September 16, 2019 at 12:28

        Who’s to say the attack wasn’t perpetrated by the Saudi’s themselves in order to get a green flag from the Great Satan (US) to prepare for war against Iran.

        Even with British help in murdering countless civilians, starving women and children, and at one point using banned explosive devices, Saudi Arabia, hasnt neutralised the Houthis in Yemen.

        The plan now could be take out Iran and remove backing for the Yemeni fighters opposed to a Western state puppet leader.

        Expect a rise in prices at the petrol/diesel pumps in the UK, as they try and squeeze every last penny out of the attack.
        Reply ↓
        nevermind
        September 16, 2019 at 15:15

        Bibi would be very happy if that happens and his election/ failure to get elected, is postponed indefinitely due to the state of war Israel will put upon itself.
        He has the greatest reasons , and he would be helping his friends the Saudis to bring up the oil price, by bombing their insured oil refineries/infrastructure.
        How can it be possible that the newspapers writing futuristic copies of each others predictions that Julian will be extradited, as much as they can rig trials by choosing neocon judges, they can’t change the law, or erase facts as they have happened, and we can only hope that Gareth Pierce will hole their boast below the waterline.
    Reply ↓
    Northern
    September 16, 2019 at 12:12

    Couple of fantastic comments on this thread. Some equally risible ones from people who are still living in fantasy land too. Private finance has been asset stripping society for the last 4 decades but we’re supposed to all rally around the health service now? Where were all these people when they were busy farming out the contracts for the railways, prison services etc etc? We’re living through class war on steroids and it’s like the middle class just woke up and noticed after the EU referendum.

    RE: Julian – I agree with the commentators who are starting to question Julian’s own circle at this point. I note with interest that the ‘write to Julian’ website is still wrongly informing people not to include his prisoner number on their correspondence, thereby ensuring he will not receive it.
        Reply ↓
        Hatuey
        September 17, 2019 at 02:29

        “Private finance has been asset stripping society for the last 4 decades but we’re supposed to all rally around the health service now?“

        Anything that impinges on the “haves” is immoral. Everything can be explained with that simple idea.

        Thus, food banks, austerity, rising suicide rates, wars, etc., they’re good to go. And don’t forget about their environment and global warming…
        Reply ↓
        Richard
        September 17, 2019 at 16:50

        WRITING TO JULIAN

        Northern, you’re wrong! Belmarsh prison itself state that if you don’t know the prisoner’s number, then you must state their birth date, in the format stated by “writejulian”:

        https://www.prisonadvice.org.uk/hmp-belmarsh

        It says: “If you do not know the prisoners’ prison number, please address the envelope as above with the prisoner’s date of birth next to his name.”
    Reply ↓
    Doghouse
    September 16, 2019 at 13:02

    Northern @ 12.12

    It would be foolish not to question both Assange’s inner circle of so called friends and his team of Counsel considering not an attributable word in 18 months. Let’s face it, the preferred method is both established and proven, infiltrate to control the top, just one person all it takes. The friendly Ecuador leader was replaced, the Swedish and British judiciary are bending the light laws of legal physics to a degree that would frazzle Einstein’s already frazzled barnet. By that measure one would consider that over a decade, what remains of essentially an internet team – don’t forget two including the PR representation have been subject to almost identical fate as Julian – and a bunch of lawyers should be the proverbial piece of piss think ye no…….

    It’s a no brainer imho.
    Reply ↓
    Sharp Ears
    September 16, 2019 at 13:02

    I have been watching various segments of the coverage of the LD conference. Chuka was boasting of their heritage in standing up for human rights and liberty, to much applause including from the Dear Leader.

    Throughout I heard not one mention of Julian or of his predicament.
    Reply ↓
    Chris Hopkins
    September 16, 2019 at 13:17

    Craig – Overall, I appreciate this article’s intent (to point out that Julian will soon be detained only for his releases of american secrets), but there is a factual error in the statement, ‘It is worth reminding ourselves that Assange has never been convicted of anything but missing police bail.’ In his much younger days, in Australia, Julian was convicted of computer crimes (he hacked into some Nortel systems in 1991). I’d hate to have the article dismissed for this small error.
        Reply ↓
        Courtenay Barnett
        September 16, 2019 at 13:29

        Chris,

        Julian was making the template to hand over to Chelsea so that she could later him hand him most useful and revealing information.

        However viewed – from my perspective – much kudos and respect to Julian Assange.

        And thank you Craig Murray.
        Reply ↓
        richard
        September 17, 2019 at 17:05

        Chris, the article is referring to convictions in relation to his imprisonment in Belmarsh, NOT in Assange’s enti
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