A Tale of Two Incarcerated Women 523


On International Women’s Day yesterday Chelsea Manning was imprisoned yet again, this time for refusing to testify against Julian Assange before a Grand Jury. Chelsea has already suffered over seven years of total imprisonment – no American had ever previously spent more than three years in jail for releasing government secrets to the public, in a land which had historically valued free speech.

I am in awe of Chelsea’s courage in refusing to testify, and shocked at a system that imprisons somebody for contempt of court for maintaining dignified silence.

Chelsea has also done a great service in finally stripping away the last vestige of excuse from the figures who refuse to support Julian Assange, pretending that they do not believe he faces extradition to the United States, and that the legal issue is not about Wkileaks’ right to publish.

The potential charges in Sweden – always based on quite ludicrous accusations – were dropped years ago after he was finally interviewed in the Ecuadorean Embassy by Swedish police and prosecutors, and it became very plain indeed there was no viable case against him.

Chelsea has gone to prison for refusing to participate in the prosecution of Wikileaks for publishing materials that revealed war crimes in the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Chelsea is a whistlebower, not a publisher. Assange is a pubisher, not a whistleblower. If Assange can be prosecuted for publishing official secrets, then so can every newspaper editor or television editor involved in the receipt of whistleblower material. There is a massive, a fundamental, media freedom issue at stake here. Even so, the MSM in the UK do not even have the guts to state the truth about what causes Julian to be confined to the Ecuadorean Embassy, let alone to support his right to publish.

Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe is in jail in Iran for spying for the British. She is certainly not an MI6 officer, and I can’t see that she would have sufficient access to information to make her of much use as an agent (as MI6 calls its informants). That she was involved in training Iranian journalists or citizen journalists in ways the Iranian government did not like is much more probable, but does not amount to espionage. Even if she were some kind of low level informant to MI6 (which I doubt), the Iranian authorities have sufficiently made their point and it is time to let her go.

The British government’s attitude to this case has been particularly interesting and extremely unusual. I cannot criticise them for the things they have done, because they are the things I used to get frustrated with them for never doing. But their handling of this case is truly out of the ordinary.

The UK allows dual citizenship. It has been longstanding Foreign Office policy that the UK does not give consular protection to UK dual nationals in the country where they are also a national. If the other state does not allow dual citizenship, it might not recognise any British standing in the matter. But there is another compelling reason for the standard policy of not assisting in these circumstances.

When working in Embassies, I used to get infuriated by cases where I wished to help people but was not allowed to, because they were dual citizens. It was explained to me, that if in Nigeria alone we accepted as consular cases all the British/Nigerian dual nationals in Nigerian jails, that would already double the FCO’s entire consular caseload worldwide. To accept dual nationals as consular cases everywhere in their other homeland would increase consular work by a large multiple and require a very large increase in FCO resources.

I nevertheless always felt we could do more. That the British government had, prior to yesterday, already done so much to try to help Nazanin Zagahari Ratcliffe, even though she was an Iranian dual national in Iran, was already extremely unusual. That the UK has now “adopted” the case, raising it to the level of a state dispute, is something not just unusual, but which I don’t think has happened since the First World War. Please note this is not the same process as granting Zaghari Ratcliffe herself diplomatic status, which has not been done.

Again, I can’t criticise the FCO for this, because adoption is something I had urged them to do in a past case while I was on the inside, (shout out to my friend John Carmichael), again being told by the FCO it was not possible as we never do it.

Whether the move is effective or wise in this case, is quite another question. It seems to me likely the Iranians will take it as confirmation that she is a spy. I would urge the Iranian government to take this course; they should now declare the the adoption of the case as a state dispute proves that Zaghari Ratcliffe is a spy, and having been proven right before the world, they will let her go as an example of mercy and compassion.

There are two fundamental points here. The first is that Iran has been subjected for years to crippling sanctions and an international campaign of hate spread by western government propaganda and their MSM. Western governments have aligned themselves with Saudi and Israeli sponsored brutal proxy wars against Shia communities across the Middle East, which look to Iran for protection. If the Iranian government is defensive and suspicious, is that really surprising? The week after the British government declare Hezbollah, the political and security organisation of Lebanese Shias, to be nothing but a terrorist organisation, do the Tories really think the Iranians will be looking kindly on them and their demands over Zaghari Ratcliffe?

The second point is that the entire purpose of the state “adopting” a case, is to make available the dispute resolution mechanisms which operate between states. But the UK only a few days ago repudiated the International Court of Justice, the final arbiter of such disputes, over the Chagos Islands. As the UK shows total contempt for international law, this attempt to access its remedies will be met with derision by the wider international community.

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523 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Incarcerated Women

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  • Republicofscotland

    Michael Glaikit indeed, desperately spinning the same old Project Fear lies. You must be fed up countering stupid and deceitful lies like this Rev.

      • Republicofscotland

        MJ even the British governments report on Brexit (specifically a no deal one ) states that Brexit will be very damaging. But if sticking your head in the sand helps you, then by all means keep on doing it.

          • michael norton

            Turkey, France, Italy, Germany all sliding into recession, yet it can’t all be about Brexit Laguerre?
            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47522338
            Now Turkey’s economy slides into recession

            The World is slowing down, we have reached Peak Stuff.
            For example mobile phone changing is no longer cool.

          • Salford Lad

            What we do know about Brexit is that we will escape the collapsing European Banking system. German banks Deutschebank and Commerz bank are to merge. Unifying two failed banks does not make one good bank. The German economy is moving into recession.
            The Italian and Spanish banks and economies are in deep trouble.
            Should Britain stay we will have to contribute £billions to rescue efforts. Possibly this is one of the reasons they are attempting to extend Article 50.
            Should Brexit be successful ,there will be a stampede for exit by many other Nations, especially those in the failed Eurozone trap.
            The EU cannot survive much longer in its present form, Their Economic policy of Austerity and the failed Eurocurrency are their Achilles heel ,but they will never admit their failures,
            A rigid ,stultifying self serving bureaucracy can not be reformed, ever, only collapse can make change in a Totalitarian construct, as happened in its counterpart the Soviet Union.

          • Laguerre

            Turkey is a different matter, norton. It is not part of the EU and is in a rather particular political situation. France, Italy, Germany – that is Brexiters hopes rather than reality. And yet we hear this morning that £1 trillion of assets have been moved out of London to the EU in advance of Brexit Day. Crazy destruction of the British economy.

          • Laguerre

            Salford Lad has of course been reading articles written specially for Brexiters and what they want to hear.

          • Glasshopper

            MJ. Truth is that no-one knows

            Correct. And nobody knows what the long-term future of the EU looks like either.

            The assumption by remainers that the EU has a bright future is wishful thinking. Clearly for many countries it is already a disaster and likely to get much worse.

            What’s more, it doesn’t look like we’re leaving in any meaningful way anyway.

  • Republicofscotland

    As D-Day closes in for the British soldiers involved in the Bloody Sunday shootings.

    “Footage has emerged of under fire secretary of state Karen Bradley discussing getting British soldiers who served in the north ‘off the hook.'”

    “Ms Bradley made the remarks when she appeared before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee in Westminster last November.”

    “During a discussion about the introduction of a statute of limitations – which would protect British soldiers from prosecution – Tory MP and former soldier Bob Stewart said: “I think we have got to find a way of getting our soldiers off this hook.”

    http://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2019/03/09/news/karen-bradley-discussed-getting-british-soldiers-who-served-in-the-north-off-the-hook–1568852/?param=ds441rif44T

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile as Venezuela suffered a suspicious electrical blackout. Yesterday was a a day of celebration, known as Anti-Imperialist day, which saw a huge turn out.

    The Anti-imperialist day is held every March 9 to commemorate the same date in 2015 when former US President Barack Obama announced the first decree against Venezuela, by considering it a threat to the North American nation.

      • PERMINDEX

        My information is that the Mossad are indeed operating in Venezuela (300 officers). John Bolton is a known Israeli agent, and traitor to America. His boss, Sheldon Adelson, is dying of cancer, and Adelson’s other pet, Netanyahu, looks to be heading to jail. Venezuela is starting to look like a distraction for the World, and especially Russia. The time for the Likudist dream of attacking Iran may be running out, and known actions and spook chatter indicate that it may in fact be coming very soon.

        Trump, Kushner, Bolton Weighing False Flag Scenarios for April-May War with Iran [Feb 23]
        https://www.veteranstoday.com/2019/02/23/trump-kushner-bolton-weighing-false-flag-scenarios-for-april-may-war-with-iran/

        MI6 chief makes secret Israel visit to discuss Iran [Feb 23]
        https://www.presstv.com/DetailFr/2019/02/23/589298/MI6-Mossad-Iran

        Committed to Tel Aviv regime, US deploys THAAD to Israel for 1st time [Mar 4]
        https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/03/04/590159/US-military-EUCOM-Israeli-security-THAAD

        • Wikikettle

          I dont think Iran will be on its own if Israel gets US to attack after a false flag. China will play a much bigger part in Iran than even Russia did in Syria. Sanctions and trying to stop Iran exporting oil is already an act of war. Killing their scientists and introducing a virus into their nuclear industry was a monumental glass house mistake. In Venezuela the majority who are poor support Maduro. Our UK secret services will no doubt involve themselves even more in preventing a Corbyn government. With the chaos in US and Europe, another hot war is on the cards I fear. I think the boys think its better to attack now then later. Its a pity for their own populations that they don’t know history.

  • Sharp Ears

    My comment about two infants being burned to death in a house fire in Hebron because the IDF would not allow the fire brigade through, seems to have been deleted. A third infant died later. Another comment about a lady from Hebron who runs a women’s cooperative there was also deleted. She gave a talk yesterday which I attended.

      • Ian

        Your old trick of trying to compare two tragedies as if it endorses your misanthropic and cynical view of the world, while avoiding the issue being discussed. Same old loony tunes.

        • Loony

          Let’s up the ante and go beyond a mere binary comparison. Here is another example of something that appears to be of absolutely no interest to anyone at all.

          https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6685595/Saudi-Arabia-boy-six-beheaded-taxi-driver-screaming-mother-fought-save-him.html

          I don’t suppose that you could offer a non racist explanation as to why people being killed by the actions or inaction of the Israeli government is so endlessly interesting whilst people being being savagely killed in Saudi Arabia is so deeply uninteresting.

          • Clark

            You’re quite right Loony. People should have no freedom about what causes they support. Special interests and hobbies should be banned also. If someone reads one novel, they should read them all.

          • Loony

            One of the main differences between us is that I am not an ideological zealot.

            I am not stopping anyone from pursuing their own interests – merely inquiring as to why some examples from the same genre of interests are so endlessly fascinating and other examples must be ignored at all costs. Given the claimed interest in “human rights” the inquiry would seem to satisfy the requirement of relevance.

            Given the mixture of irrelevant and ad-hominem responses it is perhaps reasonable to conclude that few people have any real interest in human rights but have an overwhelming interest in their own ideology and ego. A toxic combination that is not likely to convert many thinking people to the cause,

          • Ian

            As fine an example of whataboutery as you are likely to find. And then, of course, because no-one rises to the bait, that is proof that they don’t measure up to the superior standards of loony. As circular an argument as it is self-aggrandising.

          • Herbie

            “I don’t suppose that you could offer a non racist explanation as to why people being killed by the actions or inaction of the Israeli government is so endlessly interesting whilst people being being savagely killed in Saudi Arabia is so deeply uninteresting.”

            The Saudi incident wasn’t an act of the Saudi govt. It was the the act of what appears to be some sort of Sunni bigot.

            Human Rights activists concentrate on the actions of govts. I mean, that’s the point isn’t it.

  • Sharp Ears

    How Bolton sabotaged the Hanoi talks between Trump and Kim Jong Un.

    March 8 ,2019
    David Macilwain
    Bolton’s Act of Sabotage
    https://ahtribune.com/world/asia-pacific/korea/2936-bolton-act-of-sabotage.html

    ‘ “a well-informed senior Asian diplomatic source in Canberra has added another reason for the Summit’s breakdown: that Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, persuaded Trump to add another demand, without notice, that led to North Korean refusal and a premature end to the summit even before negotiations had begun.”

    “The Asian diplomat recalled that John Bolton had been scheduled to visit Canberra at the end of February. But the visit was cancelled when he suddenly went to Hanoi instead, whether at Trump’s directive or on his own initiative being unclear. The diplomat’s understanding is that Bolton suggested to Trump that as well as demanding a complete inventory of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems, Trump should also request details of the country’s chemical and biological arsenal, a demand Kim found unexpected, and for which he was unprepared, and refused. Trump then broke off the meeting before substantive negotiations had even begun.” ‘

    • Tom Welsh

      It’s a mystery why anyone from Washington (or, indeed, any American politician) has any business meddling (and I use that verb advisedly) in Korean affairs.

      Logically, it would be a wonderful thing if, one day, the two Koreas agreed to merge again. Korea was a single nation for at least 2,000 years until, after WW2, the US government decided to chop it in half for fear it would all “go communist”. (The same reason they divided Vietnam and then killed millions of its people).

      But if there is any country in the world that has absolutely no business sticking its nose into Korean affairs, it is the USA. It is already responsible for killing at least 3 million Koreans – probably far more – and doing its best to turn North Korea into a featureless field of rubble full of corpses.

      Odd, isn’t it, how that (minimum) figure of 3 million dead keeps turning up over and over. Korea, Vietnam and its neighbours, Iraq… Who’s next? (Afghanistan is probably not more than about 1 million so far, but not for want of trying).

    • Republicofscotland

      Well the man that only 30 odd percent of Labour supporters recognise, needs something flamboyant to say to the 50 odd supporters attending the Scottish branch offices conference at the Caird hall in Dundee.

      Meanwhile YouGov latest.

      Latest Westminster voting intention (3-4 Mar)
      Con – 40%
      Lab – 31%
      Lib Dem – 11%
      Other – 18%

      • Loony

        It may be instructive to keep a careful eye on the 18% “other” figure. It could rise substantially and only a fool would believe that the SNP and the embryonic new Labour/Tory party/group are significant players in the other category.

        Soon it could be time for the intelligentsia to pen learned articles explaining why elections are a bad thing and why no sensible person could ever have believed in the idea of elections.

        • Ken Kenn

          That should be a trigger for May to call an election if her plans go up in smoke next week.

          That is the only decision she will be in charge of by Thursday.

          No use having a government that can’t get its bills through Parliament.

          The MPs are planning on taking responsibility for government business away from May.

          She will not like that.

          Problem is – no one else wants her job yet until the 29/3/19 and then depending on the fallout in the Tory Party
          and the splits ( not a splinter a la TIGs ) that will follow the consequences of Parliamentary actions next week
          for all Johnson’s bluster he won’t want it either despite writing 57 different versions of his acceptance speech.

          I smell an election in the very near future.

          And yet again all the pundits will be wrong.

          Watch Survation they called it right last time.

          The other polling companies distribute don’t knows wrongly between Tories and Labour.

          Watch out for the revival of St Nigel.

          Things are about to get interesting and as usual the media won’t know what to say.

          If you think the politicians are clueless the MSM are worse by a mile.

          • giyane

            Ken

            Since we often become the same as our enemies, what about dictatorship for a change. The vast indifference of the British public would not even notice the change

            Not sure w.hether Fatty Johnson could actually fit into a Mussolini outfit or be bothered with trousers of any kind . Members of the ERG are full fascists already and have the racist mob eating out of their hand.

            Coup, faile state status and UN Security Resolutions seem to me more likely than elections as the outcome of female rule for three years.

            The female in question wouldnt know the difference between dictatorship and her way of governance.
            Not because she’s female but because they never worked out what they were going to do with power after rigging the last four elections

          • Tom Welsh

            “Since we often become the same as our enemies, what about dictatorship for a change”.

            What is this “change” of which you speak, giyane? I find myself in a bewilderment.

        • Ken Kenn

          The SNP are usually listed in polls as the SNP.

          Ironically the Green(s) are listed as if there are more MP’s than just one.

          I don’t know why they list The Lib Dems at all but they have got more than some.

          Vince will be retiting in the near future to spend more time with his wallet.

          Giyane;

          Good points re: Dictatorship vs Democracy.

          Most pundits don’t understand that if the ‘ wrong ‘ type of government ( think anti nuke/NATO etc etc) was voted in in the UK then ‘ regime change would happen similar to other ‘ Failed Sates ‘

          Failed States meaning those who fail to obey the US’s orders.

          I dare say there are posters on here who’s jaws have hit their knees at the very idea of that happening.

          I believe our bestist mate would do that – without a second thought.

          We are dealing with people who make the Mafia look like Girl Guides.

          We should never forget that.

      • michael norton

        Republic of Scotland you claim
        Latest Westminster voting intention (3-4 Mar)
        Con – 40%
        Lab – 31%
        Lib Dem – 11%
        Other – 18%

        but there is not mention of the S.N.P.

        The groups above add up to 100%

        so I’ll ask you again, where do the S.N.P. fot into this voting intention?

    • Jo1

      Yes, Michael, but he was actually talking about extending the current arrangement to the under 25s. But, no, he didn’t say how he’d pay for it.

      Does anyone know if Labour’s Deputy Leader attended?

    • Ian

      Leonard – another Corbyn clone, oblivious to anything resembling what people might want, and determined to stick to a rigid script, including undermining others in his own party. Corbyn hasn’t a clue about Scotland, and that the politics might be different to North London.

      • nevermind

        we do have the SMS and the BBC already peeing from great height at a principled man, we do not need their sheep blaring these speculative assumptions here.
        So what if Labour would introduce a law that stipulates fair and proportional voting at all elections, for all, how do you think that would go down after this s..t shower of donkeys, my apology to donkeys, in the current administration, you can’t really call them a Government, they are not leading anything.

          • nevermind

            you must have missed the bit when politicians change their mind, sometimes twice/day, see Brexit promises by ‘led the donkey’.

  • Republicofscotland

    Who the hell do these state sponging parasities think they are? Only independence will rid us of these leeches.

    “Her Majesty The Queen has marked Prince Edward’s birthday by granting him the historic title of the Earl of Forfar which he will use in Scotland.”

    “The Earl of Wessex and his wife Sophie will be known as the Earl and Countess of Forfar when they are north of the border.”

    https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/angus-mearns/845269/queen-grants-prince-edward-title-of-earl-of-forfar-to-mark-his-birthday/?utm_source=twitter

    • Laguerre

      If you ask that question of Carrington, you have to ask it of all Tories. I don’t think you’ll get an answer. Most Tories have dirty money. How else do you get rich?

    • Sharp Ears

      Correction. He resigned from Thatcher’s government.

      ‘Carrington was Foreign Secretary when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982. He resigned from the position on 5 April, taking full responsibility for the complacency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in its failure to foresee this development and for the misleading signals sent by the Foreign Office on British intentions for retaining control over the Falklands. In her autobiography, Margaret Thatcher was later to express her sorrow at his departure. Since his resignation, no other member of the House of Lords has held any of the four Great Offices of State.’ Wikipedia

      Britain’s approach on the Falklands: neglect and hope for the best
      Release of National Archives papers include Lord Carrington’s admission that ‘we did not have any cards in our hands’
      https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/dec/28/british-approach-falklands-neglect-hope

        • Martinned

          Given what I see from Andrew Neil etc on Twitter from time to time, I wouldn’t be so sure. That guy has much too large an ego to say something stupid on purpose.

          • Tom Welsh

            It’s not so much “saying something stupid on purpose”.

            More like chuckling inside as he tells various colourful lies that will help to line his already heavy pockets.

  • Martinned

    As for Assange, I understand your urge to speak out for a fellow-traveller in your ongoing quest to accuse everyone but Russia of vast conspiracies, but that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing. Unlike Chelsea Manning, Assange is not being detained, and hasn’t been since he absconded from bail several years ago.

    As for Chelsea Manning, I thought conspiracy theorists were always in favour of getting to the bottom of things? If so, how can you object to a law that compels people to testify when properly subpoenaed?

      • Martinned

        How can you investigate if key witnesses can simply opt not to testify? Think of what such a rule would do to the Mueller investigation. (That’s generally a good rule: think of how the rule you’re advocating would impact things you like.)

        • Ian

          Perhaps you should inform yourself what exactly they are ‘investigating’ and why, and why Manning has taken the stance she has.

          • Martinned

            That’s the thing, the rule of law means that the law’s the same for me as’t is for thee. Lex dura, sed lex. I understand the impulse to want a different law for yourself and for people/causes you like, but I promise you that that’s not healthy in the long run.

          • Ian

            I didn’t mention any such impulse. You are doing a sterling job though of obfuscating the point and dragging in irrelevant and false claims.

          • Clark

            Hmmm. Let’s see. Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy, and the UK police immediately made to raid the place; they had dozens of coppers outside, coppers in the stairwell outside the embassy’s door, coppers climbing up and looking in the windows. But a load of us were following proceedings, many members of the public reporting from the scene, the rest of us relaying their reports far and wide via the Internet. The UK government then direct threats to breach the diplomatic status of the premises, but I think that went down rather badly internationally.

            Then followed several years of a very expensive police operation constantly monitoring the embassy; twelve million quid was it, or was that the yearly cost? And now we’re absolutely certain that there’s a Grand Jury convened with a sealed indictment against him.

            Of course he’s detained! If he comes out he’ll be arrested, ostensibly on a breach of bail, but then the US will issue its extradition order. He has no support from his own, Australian government, the UK government are in it up to their necks (note the deleted CPSS e-mails).

            This is a obvious case of the law being applied differently to different people. Dozens of millions to issue a bail offence charge in custody? Don’t make me laugh!

          • Martinned

            Of course the Police were aggravated when Assange went into the embassy, that’s when he was officially on his way towards absconding! (Which is, to repeat, an offence under s. 6 of the Bail Act 1976.)

            If he comes out he’ll be arrested, ostensibly on a breach of bail,
            Yes, and if/when that happens, he’ll be detained. Not before. How can he be detained before he’s arrested???

            the US will issue its extradition order
            Well, extradition *request*. Even after Brexit, we haven’t quite sunk so low that the US gets to issue orders in the UK.

            He has no support from his own, Australian government, the UK government are in it up to their necks (note the deleted CPSS e-mails).
            He doesn’t need support from any of those. All he needs is a decent lawyer. And he had no trouble finding one of those the last time he was in court. Even now he seems to be set, legal representation-wise, since he just brought a complaint against the US authorities in the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (for the record: also not a court).

            This is a obvious case of the law being applied differently to different people. Dozens of millions to issue a bail offence charge in custody? Don’t make me laugh!
            The test for whether to prosecute under the Code for Crown Prosecutors basically has two prongs:
            1. Is there enough evidence that there is a realistic prospect of conviction?
            2. Is a prosecution in the public interest?

            In a situation where the accused isn’t otherwise going to be prosecuted, and where the case is high-profile, I’d say that it’s reasonable to conclude that there is a greater public interest in prosecuting than there otherwise would be. What’s the point of prosecuting someone separately for absconding when that won’t add a day to their sentence?

            In any event, whether Assange would be prosecuted for absconding is uncertain. The only way to find out is for him to get out of his hidey-hole and surrender to the authorities, as he promised to do in 2010.

          • Blunderbuss

            @Martinned

            “That’s the thing, the rule of law means that the law’s the same for me as’t is for thee”

            Try telling that to the U.S. government.

        • Isa

          Dura lex sed lex yes in systems and countries that apply the law rather than the arbitrary interpretation of law typical of Anglo Saxon countries .

          Chelsea Manning already testified years ago . She’s been jailed served time for sharing information of public interest .

          Grand juries have no judge nor defence lawyer present and are secretive by nature . That’s not the law but a perversion of the law .

          Julian Assange is in arbitrary detention because the U.K. government works in the side of the law . Jailed for a minor bail breach- and that is a convenient interpretation of the law by the U.K. system – years ago for a case in which there were never any charges .

          Furthermore , in the case of Assange he has, as anyone else in a civilised country , the right to know the charges made against him or that will be made against him in order to defend himself legally .

          Dura lex sed lex is a latin maxim where in dubio pro reo and presumption of innocence are actually internationally recognised fundamental parts of the law system as is the right of accused of suspects to mount a defence .

          Sadly both the U.K. and the USA are persistently caught interpreting the law in a very unlawful manner .

          Of course you know that but it’s nice to spin it with some Latin eh ?

      • Martinned

        Really, McCarthy? That’s the example you went with? I think we can all agree that the issue with McCarthy was less the testifying and more the black list.

        (OK, I’m being facetious. There is zero chance that people on this blog will agree with me on this, or indeed on the colour of the sky, or on anything else.)

        • Ken Kenn

          The test for whether to prosecute under the Code for Crown Prosecutors basically has two prongs:
          1. Is there enough evidence that there is a realistic prospect of conviction?
          2. Is a prosecution in the public interest?

          So can you explain M’Lud how Assange is alleged to have jumped Bail on a charge that was dropped?

          There is no charge to jump bail on.

          Unless it’s a hindsight prosecution?

          Then explain how even if they held him for a term why the UK should hand him over ( literally – despite your why should the UK oblige the US etc etc) to the US when the alleged crime(s) were not committed in the US?

          Do you know where the ‘crime ‘ was committed?

          Craig might – but I don’t.

          Care to explain?

          • Martinned

            That’s not what absconding means. Absconding means not showing up when you’re supposed to. And when he was supposed to was in 2011, when there was still a Swedish investigation. (Not necessarily a charge, IIRC.) That investigation wasn’t dropped until five years later.

    • Republicofscotland

      “Assange is not being detained,”

      That’s akin to saying Venezuelan’s are being liberated by Guaido’s democratic mantra. It sounds good on paper but the reality is very
      different.

      • Martinned

        The position of President Guaido in Venezuela is tricky, and one where reasonable people can disagree. No reasonable person can say that Julian Assange is being detained if he’s in a building of his own free will with nothing preventing him from leaving at any time. Claiming that Assange is being detained is pretty much “sky is really green” territory.

          • Martinned

            @ROS: Yes, because the opinions of UN human rights bodies deserve to be ignored if they’re based on nonsense. Absconding from bail is (quite rightly) an offence, and the UK is entitled to prosecute Assange for that offence.

            @Tom Welsh: Have you read the Venezuelan constitution? I posted some excerpts in another thread last week, but they were quite long so I won’t do that again. Long story short, if there is no President or Vice-President, for example because none were validly elected and the incumbents’ terms of office ran out, the chairman of the National Assembly assumes the powers of the presidency.

          • Republicofscotland

            Who said the UNHR experts report is nonsense?

            Also in May 2017 – Sweden’s director of public prosecutions announces that the rape investigation into Mr Assange is being dropped.

            Its apparent to everyone, and I’d say including you that the British lesser charge of failing to surrender to the courts seven years ago, is still active in an attempt acquire Mr Assange.

          • Martinned

            I do, for one.

            And yes, there’s still an open prosecution running against Assange in the UK, and probably in the US as well. But that’s hardly an excuse for absconding, and still less a reason for asserting that the man hiding in a foreign embassy is somehow detained there by a government that has no control over said embassy.

          • Republicofscotland

            “I do, for one.”

            Are you a UN expert Martinned? Should we believe you instead of the UN experts?

            Or is it just your opinion?

          • Martinned

            It is my legal opinion. It is also the legal opinion of every international law professor who’s commented on the case, as far as I’m aware. I’ve linked to many such pieces in the past.

        • Tom Welsh

          Guiado – the random Venezuelan guy – has never even stood for election as president. And the Venezuelan constitution makes it crystal clear that he cannot claim to be taking over as president because Mr Maduro is not able to carry out his duties.

          Guiado is the most flagrantly outrageous example yet of Washington’s utter disregard for law, common sense, or common decency.

          His only claim to play any significant role in Venezuela politics is “because Washington says so”.

          Anyone who wants international relations to be be conducted according to the rule of law must see that as the worst possible trend.

          • John A

            Last week some White House press spokesperson chided the attending journalists for calling Guiado the self-proclaimed president rather than president. One media representative then pointed out that while 40 or 50 countries that had acknowledged this random Venezuelan guy as president, this was far fewer than half the UN countries.

          • Borncynical

            @John A (11 March, 13.47)

            “One media representative…” Not just anyone. That was the brilliant Matt Lee of Associated Press. Just google “AP’s Matt Lee Youtube” to see other examples of him showing up White House spokespeople over the years for the lying, manipulative individuals they are over their foreign policies. He has them squirming. He is an old fashioned, intelligent journalist whom I can just imagine sitting at an old manual typewriter with a glass of Bourbon in one hand and a cigarette in the other (when he’s not typing of course!). There was one occasion when he had to ask the same question repeatedly as the spokesperson evaded the point. Eventually in frustration he exclaims “Am I not speaking English?” Priceless.

          • Tom Welsh

            Matt Lee is one contemporary US journalist whom H.L. Mencken, I.S. Stone and Gore Vidal would recognize as such.

          • Ken Kenn

            From what I hear in the UK it would be the equivalent of John Bercow taking over as PM because he doesn’t like May and her actions.

            The fact that he doesn’t like May anyway is irrelevant but for truth purposes needs to be said.

            Quentin Letts called Bercow ‘ bent’ live on the Daily Politics.

            JoCo was that busy reading her running order script that she didn’t notice.

            Or maybe she only notices when those on the left say things.

            She did miss the ‘ funny tinge ‘ happened on the way to the theatre moment

            By the way well done Will Self.

            I like Will he’s likeable and mad and interesting- whereas Francois is just mad.

            It looks like The Death Cult don’t want to partake of the Kool Aid.

            Grudgingly well done May.

          • Tom Welsh

            @Ken:

            “From what I hear in the UK it would be the equivalent of John Bercow taking over as PM because he doesn’t like May and her actions”.

            Omigod, please don’t put that idea into what passes for their “minds”.

            No matter how awful they are, things can always get even worse.

            I can see the headlines already:

            “Bercow takes over from Sour Cow”.

        • michael norton

          Martinned, the moment Assange steps outside of the embassy he will be put on a plane at Heathrow for Glasgow-Prestwick.
          And you know what happens next.

          • Martinned

            Assange managed to invoke the protection of the courts quite well the last time. His case went all the way up to the Supreme Court of the UK. If you’re going to claim that UK courts won’t be able or willing to protect him a second time, you’re going to have to offer some evidence for that claim.

        • Republicofscotland

          “The position of President Guaido in Venezuela is tricky, and one where reasonable people can disagree.”

          He’s not the president and it isn’t tricky, Guaido is a western backed puppet used to usurp the democratically elected president Maduro.

          The convicted criminal Elliot Abrams dubbed the US Special envoy to Venezuela has already attempted a coup in Venezuela under President Chavez, it failed miserably and so will this one.

          You can dress it up anyway you like Martinned but Guaido isn’t the president, the military remain loyal to Maduro.

          • Martinned

            O, well, if you put it like that. For sure Maduro will continue to be the democratically elected president of Venezuela as long as the military remain loyal to him. Because that’s absolutely how democracy works.

          • Republicofscotland

            Indeed as your man Guaido attempts to that very thing, to win over the military, with aid of the warhawks, Bolton, Pompeo and Abrams.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Martinned March 11, 2019 at 16:59
            Ex-President Jimmy Carter is on record as saying Venezuela has the most foolproof (or best, or words to that effect) elections in the world, and he has been around. You seem to jump to the conclusion that the elections are faked – presumably that’s because the MSM pumps that BS out – but then again, they are always pumping BS out.
            I don’t believe any country in the world has has so many elections , and won most of them, than Chavez and Maduro in Venezuela.

          • Alex Westlake

            Carter said nothing of the kind about last year’s Venezuelan presidential “election” where leading opposition figures like Henrique Caprilles and Leopoldo Lopez were prevented from standing

          • Borncynical

            @Martinned (12 March 11.44)

            Re “The Carter Centre hasn’t been able to monitor any Venezuelan elections since 2012”.

            I presume that you didn’t intend to give the impression that they wanted to monitor the elections but their wishes were refused. According to Wikipedia, the Carter Center is ‘reactive’ in its monitoring of elections and not ‘proactive’, only monitoring elections if they are invited to by the electoral authorities in the country in question. Presumably they were not invited by the Venezuelans, a position which they are legitimately entitled to adopt without question, after 2012.

        • Tony

          Will Assange be able to walk away to a destination of his own choosing if he walks out of the Equadorian embassy?

          Who is “President Guaido”? Are you referring to Juan Guaido? The man who illegally (and rather preposterously) declared himself ‘president of Venezuela’ under a law which covers the permanent absence of the elected president, and who’s presidency is only temporary (28 days I believe), and has to be approved by the supreme court?

          You have just argued that the law is the law is the law, and to start making special exceptions is a slippery slope. Yet you are prepared to make special exceptions for Juan Guaido. How bizarre!

          • Tom Welsh

            Since I have been quoting it rather widely, I shall favour everyone with a magnificent piece of exegesis by Noam Chomsky which is extremely relevant to the Venezuelan situation. For those with five minutes to spare, I strongly recommend reading the whole short article at the link below.

            ‘I don’t think, incidentally, that it would be fair to criticize [Samantha} Power for her extraordinary services to state violence and terror. I am sure she is a decent and honorable person, and sincerely believes that she really is condemning the US leadership and political culture. From a desk at the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Kennedy School at Harvard, that’s doubtless how it looks. Insufficient attention has been paid to Orwell’s observations on how in free England, unpopular ideas can be suppressed without the use of force. One factor, he proposed, is a good education. When you have been through the best schools, finally Oxford and Cambridge, you simply have instilled into you the understanding that there are certain things “it wouldn’t do to say” — and we may add, even to think’.

            https://zcomm.org/zblogs/samantha-power-bush-and-terrorism-by-noam-chomsky/

          • Martinned

            Will Assange be able to walk away to a destination of his own choosing if he walks out of the Equadorian embassy?
            That is in no way the test for whether Assange is currently being detained by the UK authorities. How can he be detained by the UK when he’s in a building that the UK does not control?

            The man who illegally (and rather preposterously) declared himself ‘president of Venezuela’ under a law which covers the permanent absence of the elected president, and who’s presidency is only temporary (28 days I believe), and has to be approved by the supreme court?
            Given that the normal process for replacing an interim president with a new one are being prevented with military force by Maduro, yes, in Venezuela the law is powerless. Like Cicero said in Pro Milone: Inter arma enim silent leges.

            Which begs the question: Why are you so keen to defend a dictator who can only cling on to power with military repression? If Maduro was truly beloved – or even mildly liked – by his people, what does he have to fear from free and fair elections?

    • Sharp Ears

      You sound just like another frequent poster on here who tells us, ad infinitum, that Julian is not imprisoned. Perhaps you could illuminate us on what will happen exactly at the moment he steps outside into Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge. A cheery wave goodbye for him from the plods on duty perhaps?

      • Martinned

        Well, for one thing there haven’t been any police on duty outside the Ecuadorian embassy for 2 years or so.

        Secondly, the fact that he’ll be arrested once he leaves the embassy simply means that yes, then he’ll be detained. That doesn’t mean he’s detained today.

        To take a simple example to clarify: If I punch a policeman in the face I’ll be arrested. (“If I do X, I’ll be arrested.”) But that doesn’t mean I’m detained now, before I’ve done that.
        And once I’ve been arrested, I’ll be brought before a court within 48 hours, potentially bailed, etc, all of which is aimed at balancing the need to keep my pre-trial detention to a minimum with the need to make sure I don’t abscond or re-offend. But I can’t very well complain that I haven’t been taken before a court before I’ve even been arrested. That’s just nonsense.

        • Sharp Ears

          Four years ago to be precise but that does not mean that a police car won’t come screaming along and/or police are in waiting when the call comes. I have witnessed police waiting in unmarked cars and vans when the protests were taking place in Kensington High St outside the entrance to the Israeli Embassy when Gaza was under attack, over and over.

          A Question Of Humanity: How To Free Julian Assange
          March 11, 2019
          An Australian man has been held against his will for nearly a decade. That should concern everyone, regardless of their politics writes Stuart Rees.

          If any individual is repeatedly labelled ‘unusual, odd, deviant, criminal, possibly a terrorist,’ that person’s alleged guilt of something reprehensible begins to be taken for granted.

          Contained in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost seven years, Julian Assange is the victim of such labelling. If he tries to walk outside, he may be arrested and shipped to a US prison. He has been damned for revealing US governments’ fascination with violence, with the arms trade, with wars involving cooperation with human rights abusing regimes.

          The time has come to campaign for Julian Assange’ freedom. Such a movement must reject the false labelling and end the character assassinations. It must overcome public inertia and ignorance. At best people say ‘I’ve forgotten about Julian.’ At worst you’ll hear, ‘He’s a criminal isn’t he?’
          /..
          https://newmatilda.com/2019/03/11/question-humanity-free-julian-assange/

          The Australian government has behaved appallingly throughout.

          • Martinned

            So what? He’s committed an offence, so the Metropolitan police are entitled to (attempt to) arrest him. None of that makes him currently a detainee.

          • Tony

            The “offence” is related to a malicious accusation, which the relevant authorities have now investigated and dropped related charges. The related trivial bail-skipping charge should also be dropped. The fact that it hasn’t (and an absurdly disproportionate amount of money has been spent on trying to enforce it) tells observers that this is about a far bigger issue than arresting a bail skipper on related charges that have now been dropped. Anyone trying to argue that this is just about following legal procedure is being disingenuous to the highest degree.

          • Tom Welsh

            As far as I can see, this discussion about Julian Assange and whether he is “imprisoned” or not hinges on a simple issue: whether you believe the UK, the USA, and “the West” as a whole are subject to the “rule of law” or not.

            To my mind, it is crystal clear that they are not. The “rule of law” is talked up a great deal by dishonest shysters and politicians, but it is always interpreted in such a way that the ruling powers get their way.

            Assange is accused of committing a criminal offence by skipping bail. But he was never the subject of any criminal indictment, either here or in Sweden. (Whether he is in the USA cannot be determined because it conducts grand jury proceedings in secret – another useful technique for undermining the supposed “rule of law”).

            The question is: what is the criminal status of a man who, having committed no crime anywhere, and not having been indicted for any crime anywhere, is nevertheless threatened with imprisonment and likely deportation to a country which is widely known for making people “disappear”, imprisoning them without trial, and occasionally torturing them to death?

          • Martinned

            what is the criminal status of a man who, having committed no crime anywhere, and not having been indicted for any crime anywhere, is nevertheless threatened with imprisonment and likely deportation to a country which is widely known for making people “disappear”, imprisoning them without trial, and occasionally torturing them to death?

            Fairy tale

        • Tom Welsh

          “Well, for one thing there haven’t been any police on duty outside the Ecuadorian embassy for 2 years or so”.

          No doubt some copper with an IQ greater than his shoe size – or more likely Sir Humphrey – decided it would be a good idea to lure the rabbit into the open.

          As a foreign embassy is the only place where he is immune from arrest, and as Ecuador is the only nation whose embassy is clearly willing to accommodate him, once out of it he would become a hunted animal with all the hounds in the UK after him.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Martinned March 11, 2019 at 10:50
      ‘…how can you object to a law that compels people to testify when properly subpoenaed?’
      Simple, really; because the PTB only subpoena people when it suits them – can you imagine the Bushes, Obomba, Clinton or Trump being subpoenaed? When they don’t want answers in a court (often times, and a host of people have been assassinated just before they are due to testify) the one/s due to testify have an ‘accident’, or perhaps it will be thwarted ‘For Reasons of National Security’.
      As for Julian Assange ‘not being detained’, have you any idea what US prisons are like? And he should not be faced with prison anyhow, or deportation; all he did was expose crimes, including War Crimes.
      Do you think the exposer deserves to go to prison, and the War Criminal gets off Scott free?

  • Xavi

    Peter Oborne is one shining journalistic exception among the establishment lackeys that compose MSM. Having blown the whistle on his colleagues’ appeasement of corporate sponsors in 2015, he is now slamming them for uniform praise of Tom Bower’s highly dishonest hatchet job on Corbyn.

    “There is a crisis here which goes much deeper than Tom Bower himself and raises dark questions about British media and political culture.”

    https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/tom-bower-book-dangerous-hero-jeremy-corbyn-labour-leader-truth

  • N_

    Perhaps the Democratic Unionist Party will take a leaf out of these evangelical Brazilian Christians’ book?

    One priest, who closed his Umbanda temple for fear of being killed, believes the evangelical bandits have been ‘inspired by the fanatics in Islamic State’. He told a Brazilian newspaper: ‘(…)The bandits are intent on creating a Christian caliphate, where only evangelical Christianity is allowed.’

  • Sharp Ears

    The details/record of any lawbreakers amongst us on here are now held on Motorola’s PRONTO app.
    https://www.motorolasolutions.com/en_xu/products/command-center-software/records-and-evidence/pronto.html#

    The state broadcaster is giving the introduction of the system a lot of publicity today on BBC South. They show a police officer looking up the details of a motorist who has been stopped and then announcing that he is also a sex offender.

    This explanation dates from when it was being introduced. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22954783

  • N_

    The talk of Theresa May being about to pull tomorrow’s “meaningful vote” (MV2) is probably what is called expectation management. In this case, it’s background to how the event of her allowing MV2 to go ahead will be portrayed as extra wonderful.

    According to the BBC (in an article by some scribe who is probably more used to tweeting and has not even bothered to cite his source), “(t)he EU has said it is now up to MPs to decide the next steps for Brexit and it remains ‘committed’ to agreeing a deal in time for the UK to leave this month” (emphasis added).

    Punters probably unaware of the (largely unreported) fact that nearly 500 Brexit-related statutory instruments have already been laid before Parliament have bet so much money on Britain not leaving the EU on 29 March that the midprice of that eventuality is at 5.95, giving a ludicrously low implied probability of 17%.

    Expect some supernatural events before the end of the month. Those with keen memories for this sort of thing will remember how the Sun published a photo of a “miraculous” cloud formation that apparently looked ever so much like Great Britain and Ireland minus Scotland. Companies that got some advertising out of the story included Asda, British Gas, Apple, Twitter, and Facebook – although the last two aren’t surprising because these companies, which are themselves advertising companies, get advertsing out of most of what gets published nowadays.

    • N_

      To clarify: the Betfair exchange’s current midprice of Britain leaving the EU on 29 March is 5.95, implied probability 17%.

        • N_

          What are you talking about, @Ian? Nobody has offered “bookies’ odds” as “evidence”, “solid” or otherwise, for a “conspiracy” or for anything else. I referenced the betting market’s price because it is a long way from my own appraisal, which I argue for. (For example, the tabling of 500 pieces of legislation makes it more likely rather than less likely that the elite really are preparing for an exit on 29 March.) I’d advise removing your palm from your face and attempting to stop thinking in Twitterese.

  • Sharp Ears

    Refusing to “Snitch,” Whistleblower Chelsea Manning Becomes Two-Time Political Prisoner
    “I will not participate in a secret process that I morally object to, particularly one that has been historically used to entrap and persecute activists for protected political speech.” — Chelsea Manning
    by Alexander Rubinstein
    https://www.mintpressnews.com/refusing-to-snitch-whistleblower-chelsea-manning-becomes-two-time-political-prisoner/256031/
    8th March 2019

    Little concern from the court for her health needs.

  • Sharp Ears

    I have always loved birds, especially those in our gardens and countryside.

    Read this for corruption and preferment. It’s disgusting.

    ‘England and Wales Authority Issues Licences to Property Developers to Kill Protected Robins, Starlings, Blackbirds, Sparrows, Bullfinches
    By Tom Pride
    Global Research, March 11, 2019

    Natural England and Natural Resources Wales have mysteriously given the go-ahead for protected species such as robins, starlings, blackbirds and bullfinches to be shot: Licences granted to kill multiple Red-listed species

    I say mysteriously, because the reasons given are very strange.

    When asked why these licences have been granted, Natural England simply claim the birds are a “threat to public health and air safety” and the slaughter is to “prevent serious damage to livestock”.

    It’s somewhat hard to imagine how starlings and robins could ever be a danger to the public or herds of cows.

    Of course, the fact that these protected nesting birds are one of the biggest problems facing property developers (*see information below) when they attempt to develop brownfield sites for residential housing is nothing at all to do with the decision.

    As, I’m sure, is the fact that the Chair of Natural England, Andrew Sells, also happens to be one of the founders of Linden Homes, a property development business specialising in the development of brownfield sites for residential housing.

    Tory government ministers chose Andrew Sells – a venture capitalist with no experience of ecological or environmental matters – as the Chair of Natural England a few years ago.

    A surprise decision which I’m sure was not at all influenced by the fact that Andrew Sells is a major Tory party donor and the fact that property developers in general are some of the Tories’ biggest donors.

    No conflicts of interest at all then.’

    The article continues to list details of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as amended.

    There are two links within the piece –
    https://www.birdguides.com/news/licences-granted-to-kill-multiple-red-listed-species

    https://anewnatureblog.com/2013/12/02/the-new-natural-england-chair-andrew-sells/ Emetic. Warning.

  • Republicofscotland

    If there’s no secrecy over the charges or whom the charges relate to why decline.

    “Washington a federal judge has declined to force the Justice Department to unseal an apparent criminal charge against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.”

    “The ruling on Wednesday came after the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press asked U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema to force the Justice Department to release documents relating to the case after a mishap in documents for an unrelated case last year revealed that “Assange has been charged,” and was being targeted for arrest and extradition.”

    https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/01/30/julian-assange-judge-possible-charges-remain-sealed/2725471002/

    This is why the British judiciary won’t drop the charges against Assange, he’s been earmarked for extradition.

    • Martinned

      The British judiciary doesn’t decide on which charges get dropped or not. That’s the job of the DPP and the Crown Prosecutor’s Office.

      The British judiciary does, however, decide on who gets extradited. And for now we still have the extraterritorial effect of art. 3 ECHR, originally established in another case about extradition from the UK to the US: Soering v. UK. Since then UK and European courts have prevented extradition to the US on a number of occasions, or have required that assurances be given before extradition can take place. There is no reason to believe that they would not do the same in Mr Assange’s case, if he should ever decide to come out of hiding.

  • Blunderbuss

    I’d like to raise the issue of another (potentially) incarcerated woman.

    This is Catherine Shaw who is missing in Guatemala. Has she been kidnapped?

    As usual, we are only being told half the story.

    “Catherine Shaw, from Witney, Oxfordshire, had been travelling and was reported missing on 5 March.

    She was last seen the day before and had been staying in the San Pedro, Lake Atitlan area of the central American country with a friend, the Lucie Blackman Trust said.”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-47511996

    Is the friend missing as well? We have not been told. Can the friend shed any light on Catherine’s disappearance? We have not been told.

  • Alexander

    Assange’s situation is that of a very visible scarecrow. He’s probably more useful to the US etc self-incarcerated in the embassy, swinging figuratively in the wind, than he would be if put on divisive trial in the US. He is left where he is to discourage anyone who might try to emulate him.

    My guess is that Russia and China don’t mind either, as he is constant reminder of the West’s contempt for law. “The rules-based order!” (Sound of raspberry being blown).

  • Gavin C Barrie

    @ Salford Lad: Substitute UK for EU in your post, and you’ve nailed it!

    The EU may well be able to by discussion and negotiation avoid the alleged recessions of it’s members, I cannot believe the same for the UK as there is no intent by Westminster to engage with the other three nations of the UK, other than of course the DUP – the dark money, bungs strategy.
    Is austerity an alternative expression for recession?
    Is Quantative Easing an alternative expression for devaluation?

    • Salford Lad

      The UK has is own Sovereign currency, the pound sterling. It can not go bankrupt as it issues its own money.
      Unlike those in the Eurozone who use the Euro. Eurozone countries are in a trap. Their deficits are financed by borrowing from the International private banking system.
      Austerity policies are beneficial to the International Financiers. Austerity creates large deficits ,hence large Govt borrowing requirements.
      The ECB has the ability/weapon to punish a recalcitrant Nation by manipulating bond interest rate upwards to bring them to heel.

      • Alex Westlake

        Having your own currency is not in itself a guarantee against bankruptcy – look at Zimbabwe, Venezuela or Weimar era Germany

        • Tom Welsh

          Or look at the USA right now.

          And for anyone who repeats that well-loved slogan “It’s just money that we owe to ourselves”, I would say (after half a minute or so of hysterical laughter), “For some meanings of ‘we'”.

          Namely, it’s money that the taxpayers as a whole (the vast majority of whom are dirt poor) owe to a handful of filthy rich creditors – some of them citizens of the nation in question, many of them not.

          Of course creditors are very happy for people (and especially governments) to get further and further in debt to them. That assures them of a growing “revenue stream” for the indefinite future.

          Until the debtors are no longer solvent. In a year or two the US government’s interest payments will equal or surpass the immense amounts it spends on armaments and wars. Soon after, it will collapse, leaving its creditors holding the bag.

          • Martinned

            The US seems like the one country I wouldn’t mention in that debate. They get billions in interest-free loans from foreigners every year, just because they can persuade foreigners to accept worthless pieces of paper in return for actual goods and services.

    • Borncynical

      @Michael

      I don’t know enough about this lady or the case against her to comment categorically myself but it is interesting to see that arab news outlets are quoting the judge in the case as saying that she has been sentenced to 7 years in jail (‘5 years for collusion against the system and 2 years for insulting the leader’); no mention of lashings. Her husband was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment in January. Mrs Sotoudeh’s case has gone to appeal.

      http://www.arabnews.com/node/1464951/middle-east

    • Alex Westlake

      It would certainly be interesting to hear the so called human rights activist’s take on that, and on executions of homosexuals in Iran.

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