The World’s Most Important Political Prisoner 209


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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209 thoughts on “The World’s Most Important Political Prisoner

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  • michael norton

    So the question is, why was Julian not let out of Belmarsh to attend in court to give his point of view.
    Why must he stay in prison.
    I think the answer could be to hide from the court/public his state of health.

    However, why is his legal team so ineffectual?

    • Baalbek

      A significant majority of the public don’t care about Julian Assange, unfortunately, so he’s not being kept in a maximum security prison to hide his deteriorated condition from them.

      They are making an example of him to warn other potential whistleblowers and truth seekers what will happen to them should they decide to go down that road. That and they don’t want him to be able to martial the resources he needs to build the best defence he can. And, of course, they are afraid he might ‘jump bail’ again and evade their dirty clutches for good.

    • Baalbek

      Didn’t see the bit you wrote about his legal team.
      What makes you think it is “ineffectual?”

      • Muscleguy

        Yup, they will require time and access to their client to challenge the lack of bail. The latter is shamefully being restricted, not least by Assange’s poor mental and physical health. If he is not in a state to instruct counsel how is he in a state to ‘abscond’?

  • nevermind

    Let see what the MSM response/s to your excellent article look like. The stench of hypocrisy will be sheer unexplainable when they start fawning about next Tuesday’s high court decision, off course, trumping all other high court decisions as it sits in London, blah blah, and nobody in the public will hear of what happens in Belmarsh, bar some Tommy Robinson rot they can cobble together to keep his Tory cheerleaders happy.

    I hope that many here have written to Julian. If you wish to write to him, here is his address again
    To Julian Assange
    D.o.B: 03/07/1971
    HMP Belmarsh
    Western Way
    London SE28 0EB
    UK

  • Rose

    Well Craig, there really is no reason to worry about Julian’s health and well-being. How do I know? Because in a letter passed on to me by my MP from the Secretary of State for Justice, “prisoners can expect to be treated with dignity and respect and will receive the necessary support to safeguard their well-being for the duration of their sentence”.
    I also am assured that “prisoners are not detained in solitary confinement nor in contravention of international law” . So there you pleb – get back in yer collar.
    Here’s another beaut: “As a responsible Government Agency, HM’s Prison and Probation Service, (HMPPS) are duty bound to comply with legislation within the Data Protection Laws in a way to protect the personal information of all those who live and work in or visit any of our establishments. Therefore it would not be appropriate to offer comment on individual prisoners within HMPPS and am ….unable to provide you with a full response to the issues you have raised”
    I am comforted to know that my concerns have been noted and shared with the Governor of HMP Belmarsh. Phew that’s a relief then.

    Good for you to keep at this Craig. Justice surely must and will prevail.

    • N_

      The reference to data protection is typical Britain. The number of times I have been asked for e.g. my date of birth and mother’s maiden name by utility companies etc., with some mentally retarded clerk telling me “That’s for data protection, ducky”! Well they don’t say “ducky”, but they might as well. For them, robotic self-contradictory quacking is real explanation which only a dirty b*stard suitable for public birching or the gas chamber would question. They themselves have never questioned anything in their whole lives – it would hurt their heads. They’re grateful to the poshboys for giving them their dinner bowl every day. Dont bite the hand that feeds you.

      THAT is Britain. (And it’s all parts of Britain.)

      The same applies to most politicians and to whichever official wrote that letter to you for the Secretary of State, @Rose: fascist “duhhh” thought which deserves complete contempt.

      Informations as to which countries cabinet ministers hold citizenship of has also been stated to be protected under data protection laws. Three-quarters of the cabinet could be US citizens or Israelis or Russians and we wouldn’t be allowed to know. We’d be condemned as peeping Toms for even wondering.

      Why did Julian Assange not apply for bail? Baraitser says she invited his side to make an application and they declined. Wikileaks say she pre-empted an application. What happened? Was a government minister involved?

      Of course if he does get released he can help with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2020 in freer conditions than he did in 2016.

    • M.J.

      Your “beauts” reminded me of a cartoon about the Soviet Union in the 70s. The premier, Brezhnev is speaking to someone I will call (W)riter. It went something like this:

      W: What about civil rights in the Soviet Union?
      B: Our new Constitution GUARANTEES freedom of speech!
      W: Except when it goes against the interests of the State.
      B: That is interference in our internal affairs.

    • Tom Welsh

      ‘Because in a letter passed on to me by my MP from the Secretary of State for Justice, “prisoners can expect to be treated with dignity and respect and will receive the necessary support to safeguard their well-being for the duration of their sentence”’.

      Such people really do choose their words very carefully.

      With my “editor” hat on, I notice that prisoners can *expect* those things. But they won’t necessarily get them.

      • Muscleguy

        Indeed, as a Biomedical scientist I challenge the Home Office to prove that the ‘expectation’ of those is effective in an of itself to achieve the stated aims.

        Because if only the expectation is there and no evidence of full provision those are just weasel words. I used to hang out at the excellent PrisonerBen’s blog when he kept it up and am therefore well aware of how health needs can be and are frustrated and people accused of malingering, sometimes unto preventable deaths.

        Having Julian Assange die in prison from health deficiencies would be convenient for the government and pleasing to the Americans. Inconveniences from coroners etc can be managed and mediated just as the judges dealing with Assange’s cases have been hand picked.

        • Yr Hen Gof

          If there are any offices and functions of state in Britain today that haven’t been substantially corrupted I’d be very surprised.

          The DVLA sells 19,000 vehicle details a day to private parking companies and from my experience some of them are no better than the Tory party – a very effective criminal syndicate.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Craig,

    “It is worth noting that Baraitser’s claim that Assange had a “history of absconding in these proceedings”

    Well, there is a point here, from a UK governmental/establishment viewpoint: namely, it might very well be feared that Assange may again seek asylum in another Embassy which this time cannot be bought and/or bullied by the US the next time round.

    Yeah – unlawful, manipulative and not in accordance with ‘best practice’ legal rules: without a doubt.

  • Jack

    Compare the real democracy hero Assange, to the whiny and violent protesters in Hongkong, while Assange do not really beg anyone for help do commit no violence, the latter (hongkong protesters) now beg that US and UK to openly meddle in Chinese affairs to ulimately top their rule in Hong Kong! If this isnt treachery on behalf of the protesters and meddling by US, UK I wonder what is? But no, according to western pundits, media that cheer these protesters on and they are the same people that whine about “russian meddling” past 4 years. They have no shame!

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Jack,

      International law is applicable when it is politically convenient. Eg.

      Russia has referendum over Crimea ( not O.K.); Scotland had one over UK ( O.K.). Catalonia wants one ( not O.K. with the EU) – and there are several other examples from around the world on various issues. Assange is one; but a very important one.

      As the man said: ” War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

      • Laguerre

        The EU had nothing to say about the Catalonia referendum before the act, and little to say afterward, but did support the Spanish government, as it is their practice to support a member state. That was not against international law, so I’m not sure why you bring up a case which doesn’t support your point, and only has a minimal content of truth.

        • Jack

          Laguerre

          I would like to live in a EU that represented the will of the people, not what a oppressive member state say. In case Catalonians vote to leave, they should be respected by the EU to do that.
          As Courtenay said above: “International law is applicable when it is politically convenient. Eg.”
          So when people in Spain were beaten and suppressed for protesting, EU turned a deaf ear to these people.
          However, in Hongkong/Russia/Iran/Venezuela the same EU tell those nations that protesting is part of the human rights and must respected. The hypocrisy by EU is breathtaking. I wont ever support that sentiment.

  • Mist001

    In the end, it might just be easier for all concerned that he falls down a flight of stairs or something. There’s always Johnson of course, nobody really knows what he’s thinking so he might just turn around and give his full backing to Assange.

  • nevermind

    somehow surprised that nobody at the Off Guardian has written an article on Julian Assange’s publications and or the state he is being kept in by the UK Government, is it too close to the real Guardians editorial line now?

  • Goose

    Who will take a stand against authoritarianism and for the freedom to publish?

    Cue the Liberal Democrats and their self proclaimed champion of liberty, freedom and just all-round anti-authoritarian heroine leader, Jo Swinson…

    /S

  • Hatuey

    Instead of writing to Assange or the U.K. government, or father Christmas for that matter, why don’t you people start writing to the people that are responsible for this sort of crap, the people that stand by and say nothing every single time when it comes to shafting the poor, bombing innocent Middle easterners for oil, and a multitude of other sins?

    And if you aren’t prepared to do that then you should at last call them out. You should be naming and shaming individual editors and journalists, publishers, politicians, and all the other faceless organisations that have a responsibility to address this sort of stuff.

    Wtf is the point in writing to Assange? Are you going to ask him how he feels, give him some advice, and send carefully crafted platitudes and words of support? There’s a time for poetry and this isn’t it. If I was in his position and I received letters like that, I’d be livid. If you have time to waste, why not write to a newspaper editor or journalist? Post their responses here, it might actually do some good.

    And Craig, I’m sorry, but it just won’t do to hide behind terms like “the U.K.” as you do in this short article at least 7 times. Talk about generalising. I’m happy to generalise but when you can be more specific you have a moral obligation to do so on subjects like this.

    This isn’t the U.K. A much more specific and useful generalisation would be “the British middle classes” for, as everybody and his dog knows, all of the institutions and roles that matter here are dominated by the educated middle classes.

    So, why aren’t you calling them out? Why does nobody ever call them out? This has as much to do with the poor and working class in this country as it has to do with shape-shifting lizards living in the hollowed-out moon.

    The judges, the journalists, the politicians, the editors and sub editors, the publishers, the influencers of society, they aren’t central heating installers from Barnsley. They’re virtually 100% educated middle class types, like you, Craig.

    And you know what, if nobody is prepared to call the middle classes out on this sort of stuff, then you can’t complain when nobody turns up to your protests and society crumbles to dust. There’s your Brexit.

    Every major problem this country faces, and has faced over the last 40 years, can be attributed to the educated middle classes either standing silent or actively supporting scumbag politicians like Thatcher and Blair on some promise of lower taxes. Assange is just another.

    • N_

      Almost all middle class people in Britain are extreme moral cowards. If you get e.g. a child who is badly beaten up at school and the c***s who call themselves “teachers” won’t tell the parents “because of data protection” (even the less sh*tty ones consider it to be more than their jobs are worth and then they internalise – the same old f***ing story!) , you’ll find that if anybody does tell the parents it will be the dinner lady or the cleaner. It will be a working class person who knows right from wrong. The middle class sh*ts all view themselves as in the castle with the poshies, helping to administer the animalistic natives.

      Are you saying the solution is to win the middle class tossers over (or at least – I don’t know what the reasoning is here – the ones who are graduates)?

      • Hatuey

        No. I’m not saying we need to win them over. I’m providing a warning from history. It may be too late, though, with too much damage done already to society.

        What’s clear to anyone with even a passing interest in history and sociology is that British society is badly damaged, “atomised” if you like, and when society breaks down like that it rarely happens ends well.

        The poor and disadvantaged in this country have done nothing but suffer over the last ten years. Conservative stumbles are that 130,000 died as a result of austerity. Nobody really seems to give a fuck.

        Well, that’s okay, don’t. But don’t complain when Brexit and the hard right explode in your pious faces…that’s what I’m saying to the middle classes.

        • Hatuey

          I’m sorry I’m busy and my spelling above is dire… fill in the blanks or whatever. This subject is boring to me because I’m spelling out what everyone knows anyway and it isn’t worth taking time over.

        • RandomComment

          1) Austerity is an EU-wide policy.

          2) You should probably look at where the working class vote landed

          • Hatuey

            1) yes, it is, but when things like the state pension are on average 4 times more in the continent than they are in the U.K., the impact is different. Go right through the welfare system of continentals and compare it. In Belgium those made unemployed get around 80% of their working wage. Have a look at even the poorer countries like Greece.

            2) it’s a two party system. Labour are basically pro-austerity Tories. Who else they gonna vote for, liberals? The fact is that turnout in working class areas is about half what it is in better off areas for a reason; they know it makes no difference. Choosing who shafts you isn’t much of a choice. The middle class and higher earners have reason to vote, essentially that comes down to who offers the lower tax rates.

            Brexit is blowback. A logical response to decades of torture.

          • RandomComment

            I would like to debate you further on these issues. But the clear attitude of this blog is to silence inconvenient opinions, all the while claiming to be “pro-democracy”

            Nonetheless, I agree with your last statement 😉


            [ Mod: RandomComment (a.k.a ‘freddy’, ‘Nick’, etc.), you were invited to continue debate about Extinction Rebellion and climate change in the discussion forums. ]

    • Rose

      Oh dear H that sounds a bit ranty.
      If I was banged up like Julian, I would be glad to receive expressions of support from anywhere as I guess would most of us. I doubt he has it in him at the moment to be “livid” at anything.
      It’s a sad day when well-meaning people are mocked for showing support for a suffering fellow human being. Don’t know where poetry comes into any of this – unless of course you are referring to Martin Niemoller’s poem.

      • Hatuey

        It’s all just poetry to me. Well meaning words sent to Assange will achieve nothing. Trust me on that. Zilch.

        • Gary Harrison

          Hatuey, you dimwit, you can send him something interesting to read – an article or whatever! You have no imagination, too busy whinging on here to do anything useful.

      • nevermind

        Thnks Rose just my feeling. Maybe H. has never seen the inside of a prison or the rigmarole that comes with being put into one.
        It is.dehumanising and not nice, whatever class you are.
        Reading someones letter of support will change your moral to the better.
        You must try and find out some day H. Who knows you might be supporting XR and could very likely be arrested one day.

        • Hatuey

          Why don’t you write to Assange and ask him the question;

          Dear Julian,

          do you want ineffectual words of support and adoration or would you prefer we wrote to journalists, editors, religious leaders, politicians, and other people of influence, and made a meaningful effort to set you free?

    • Laguerre

      “all of the institutions and roles that matter here are dominated by the educated middle classes.”

      Eton is not the middle classes, educated or not. It is the top of the pile, the toffs. It is Eton which is deciding our future.

      • Hatuey

        Is that what it boils down to for you, whether Elton is middle class or not?

        We could debate that but I think you’re missing the bigger picture.

  • DiggerUK

    As he is only held in jail awaiting a decision as to if he will get extradited to the USA, what is his status. Will he be categorised as a remand prisoner, despite no charges against him?
    Will he have improved visitation rights, from doctors, friends and legal team. Is he restricted In communicating with the outside world?
    And how serious are his health issues now. What is the conclusion on allegations that he was “chemically interrogated” whilst in Belmarsh?

    I am beyond disappointed at the paucity of this article, after the best part of three days, from someone on the inside track to Julian…_

      • jmg

        Very interesting from your link, now that Julian is going to change from convicted to on remand:

        *What are the differences in how a remand prisoner awaiting trial is treated and a convicted prisoner?*

        An individual held in custody awaiting trial is presumed to be innocent. The regime and entitlements for remand prisoners awaiting trial are different to those of convicted prisoners. Although these prisoners should be held separately from sentenced prisoners often a individual on remand awaiting trial will have to share a cell with a convicted prisoner.

        *What special rights does an individual on remand awaiting trial have?*

        Remand Prisoners have the following rights:

        – Access to reasonable facilities to seek release on bail and to prepare for trial.

        – The right to preserve their home and job i.e. to make arrangements in case they should be convicted.

        – The right to maintain contact with family and friends.

        . . .

        *How long is allowed for a visit?*

        The minimum visiting allowance for an individual on remand awaiting trial is 90 mins every week. Longer time maybe allowed depending on the specific prison.

        . . .

        *Comparison between Remand Prisoners and Convicted Prisoners*

        This table compares the rights of remand prisoners and convicted prisoners:

        . . .

        Business
        – Remand Prisoner Awaiting Trial:
        Can undertake reasonable activity to maintain business interests.
        – Convicted Prisoners:
        No provision to maintain any business interests.

        Health
        – Remand Prisoner Awaiting Trial:
        Can be treated by own doctor and dentist (although this rarely happens in practise).
        – Convicted Prisoners:
        Treated by prison medical staff.

        . . .

        Visits
        – Remand Prisoner Awaiting Trial:
        Entitled to a minimum of 90 minutes visiting per week.
        – Convicted Prisoners:
        Entitled to a minimum of 60 minutes visiting per month.

        . . .

        About

        Jigsaw Visitors’ Centre is a registered charity that offers services and support to those visiting their loved ones in prison.

      • DiggerUK

        We can at least expect Mr. Murray to verify if the allegations of Julian being chemically interrogated whilst in Belmarsh are credible.
        I maintain my position they are beyond false, and seem to involve a wall of silence around an organisation that has to date provided good information. These “chemical interrogation” allegations emanate from one individual within that group and are verified nowhere.

        I spent a good portion of my working life in that area, and know exactly what Belmarsh looks like, your straw argument about organising a breakout is just silly.

        • pretzelattack

          how would you expect craig or anybody to verify them? you’re pretending the government wouldn’t do that? on what basis and what evidence?

          • DiggerUK

            I’m sure Craig isn’t limited to discussing just the weather and prison food with Julian. If anybody knows how Julian was treated, it’s Julian. Then there is his legal team.

            If it is the case that Julian was chemically interrogated, why the silence as to the veracity of the story. The silence is beyond disheartening.
            I’ve made my point, I can’t further on what I have said. But others can…_

          • Rowan Berkeley

            When asked by the judge whether he understood her remarks, Julian said: “Not really, but I’m sure my lawyers will explain them to me.”

          • pretzelattack

            why the silence about the skripals for that matter? is that craig’s fault, too? why do you assume the government would share the information with craig or assange’s legal team about what drugs are being given to julian without his knowledge?

    • RandomComment

      Mr Murray – activist, journalist and historian – all three of which are mutually incompatible

        • RandomComment

          Activists want to change history, journalists want to report it and historians want to analyse it.

          • jmg

            All necessary and complementary activities. Those who research and learn from history, as seen in Mr. Murray’s books, are better qualified to write articles explaining truth on current events, which in the current situation of massive misinformation is one of the best ways to help improve society. I think that’s why Mr. Murray has also collaborated with WikiLeaks, which is all about revealing and defending truth.

  • Sarge

    Didn’t realise the Home Secretary is now Priti Patel! That is the kind of outlandish political appointment that once only Silvio Berlusconi was capable of. Now it has become routine in Britain. Equally crazy was Theresa May’s appointment of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary. That was a truly ludicrous appointment. But now look at him .. Difficult to feel any optimism about Julian Assange’s prospects under this regime.

  • Sharp Ears

    I repeat ‘Where the law ends, tyranny begins’ to paraphrase John Locke who said ‘ The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom.’

    https://oll.libertyfund.org/quotes/115
    John Locke on the idea that “wherever law ends, tyranny begins” (1689)

    From: The Two Treatises of Civil Government (Hollis ed.) (John Locke)
    John Locke states in Section 202 of Chap. XVIII “Of Tyranny” in Book II of the Two Treatises of Government that +++even magistrates must abide by the law+++.
    ____

    I see that a Gove created all bells and whistles academy has been named after John Locke, one of 28 ‘created’ y the Elliott Foundation.
    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/08116706/officers

    Oh no! Not Goldman Sachs …again. https://www.elliotfoundation.co.uk/about-us/who-we-are/

  • Cross Aussie

    Julian has NEVER absconded. When he first learnt of the sexual assault allegations (via the front page of a newspaper in a disgusting breach of legal process re privacy) he presented himself to the Swedish police He stayed in Sweden, fully cooperative, answering all questions for >a month & was granted permission to leave. Despite this the Swedes issued an arrest warrant for him again after not communicating with him re wanting to see him again etc. So Julian presented himself to a UK police station in regard to that. The Swedish matter was completely bogus as anyone who has done an iota of looking in to it will know. It was dismissed immediately by the Swedish prosecutor then re-opened by another. Bizarre. As Craig so clearly showed Ms A was completely unreliable. Both women say they were never raped and Ms W additionally would not sign the police beat up statement or continue the interview with them and messaged she did not want Julian in trouble. Of interest she seems to have vanished off the earth since around that time & its been suggested that her whole online presence was so well scrubbed & hidden that it must have been done by the NSA or Swedens equivalent. Five govts have colluded through trashed law & obligations to persecute the greatest truth teller of our time. Julians plight is THE most important issue we all face. Its a test case for insisting on honesty, govt accountability & the rule of law. We owe it to Julian and the whole world to make sure this goes his way which is the moral, correct way, & not the way of the lying secretive war criminals and crooked judges et al

  • Robyn

    Meanwhile, here in Australia, the country of which Julian is a citizen and the country which has done FA for him, it’s impossible to get an answer from any MP or Minister to correspondence about Julian. I am still waiting for a reply from the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition the Honorable (LOL) Anthony Albanese (aka Oppositionsführer) to my most recent email which was sent 10 days ago. Earlier emails have similarly gone unacknowledged. Contrast this with the tireless efforts made by the Government and MSM to get journalist Peter Greste released from detention in Egypt – the same Greste who, safely home in Australia since 2015, supports the corporate media and has declared that Julian is not a journalist.

  • Deb O'Nair

    And while the UK treats Assange appallingly I have to listen to the UK state broadcaster telling their listeners how terrible the Chinese are for a 24 hour arrest and detention of Joshua Wong (who is being run by the US consulate) for “breaching bail conditions”. Unbelievable levels of hypocrisy.

  • Goose

    Assange is like the establishment’s plaything. Someone being mistreated in plain sight. It’s not even clear what he’s supposed to have done wrong and yet this grave injustice unfolds for no apparent reason, with journalistic indifference among his peers..

    Some investigative outlets in the US have finally awoken to the the precedent this may set and potential ramifications for their future handling of leaked documents. The argument preventing liberals supporting him has always been that he somehow connived to bring Trump to power.

    They ignore the elephant in the room mitigating against that idea; namely , do current proceedings suggest the Trump administration is favouring Assange in any way?

  • Andrew F

    “We are now just one week away from the end of Julian Assange’s uniquely lengthy imprisonment for bail violation.”

    Yes, a conviction which was not appealed against – Assange’s lawyers should have appealed on the basis that under the Bail Act there is a defence of “Reasonable Cause”. But they didn’t. Then he was obviously pressed to write his grovelling apology letter on the sentencing. In that letter he accepted that he had wrongly avoided coming to court under his bail conditions, no way in the world he would have instigated that approach. Then he filed an appeal against the 50 week sentence but that appeal was inexplicably dropped just days before the hearing. The reason given by Wikileaks was “we need to devote resources to fighting the extradition”. They also keep saying that in Belmarsh he can’t prepare his case against extradition. So which is it? Save money by keeping him locked up, where he can’t prepare, so that we can devote our resources to preparing? BS from the “PR Strategy” Craig referred to a while ago.

    “He is not in jail for bail-jumping.”

    Yes he is. That’s the whole point. If his lawyers had appealed against the conviction on the Bail breach then there would be no conviction and no sentence and he would be presumed to be free on bail while fighting the extradition. They didn’t appeal the conviction, so that’s gone. He filed an appeal against the 50 week sentence (I suspect he actually did this himself without the lawyers) and just days before it was to be heard his lawyers told the court it had been dropped. So, obviously, you have a self-confessed bail jumper who was sentenced to the max penalty for jumping bail and the prospects for getting bail while on remand fighting the extradition start to look pretty slim.

    And his lawyers DIDN’T EVEN ASK FOR BAIL???

    I’m a commercial Barrister (Australia) who doesn’t do criminal law, but recently I did a favour for a friend and ran a Supreme Court bail application for his son who was up on serious drug trafficking charges and we got him out on bail with strict conditions.

    Forget the Deep State and the 1%, the immediate enemies of Assange’s freedom are his inner circle (who are silencing him – we haven’t heard directly from him in 18 months), and his “Legal Team”, who don’t seem to be doing anything to get him his voice back.

    • pretzelattack

      you see the decisions the uk courts are making in real time and you still claim assange would have won on appeal?. you’re ignoring that the legal process has been fixed in this case from the start.

    • DiggerUK

      AndrewF. There are many issues you raise that deserve answers. I am becoming more alarmed by the day at those who claim to represent Julian’s best interests, but at a total loss what to do.
      If you are as you claim, then a legal view is sort from you by me. Thanks…_

      • Andrew F

        Digger, I am as I claim (of course I’m in no position to prove that other than to ask you to take me at face value).

        But as I said, I’m an Australian Barrister who practices in commercial law. I do not pretend to be an expert in UK law, Criminal Law or extradition. However, there are certain basic principles and logic that apply across the board.

        Unfortunately, I can’t give you a legal view apart from generalities and the observations I’ve already made. But I would note that in the case of my mate’s son, I sweated blood and picked the brains of all of my colleagues who do criminal law to put together that bail application. I organised Legal Aid solicitors to take on his case and I ran the Supreme Court application. From memory I got paid about $400 for roughly 30 hours work, as well as appearing in the Supreme Court to argue the case.

        I suppose my point is this – if I could do all of that just for a few bucks for a mate (and I would have done it for free if necessary), why can’t Julian Assange get bail? Resources? Rubbish! Put together one single dedicated crowd-fund solely for the purpose of getting him out on bail with the best UK lawyers in that field (what would it cost? Thousands of pounds? I bet we’d raise it in less than a day!). It doesn’t make any sense.

        Sadly, my belief is that there is an “inner circle” around Assange who actually want him silenced. Why have we not heard direct messages conveyed out from him to us since 28 March 2018 when he was silenced and gagged in the Ecuadorian embassy? If the reason was fear that he would be expelled from the embassy that excuse has now gone. So what about the six months since he’s been in Belmarsh? High profile visitors keep going in and coming out, sometimes giving press conferences – but they never actually SAY anything directly from Assange to the outside world. Isn’t that strange?

        I’m convinced that the Wikileaks insiders have a deliberate strategy to keep him silenced. I can not think of a single reason why that would be a good idea for him or for his future legal struggles. If silencing him IS for the best, then I’d really like to hear him say he agrees to that approach!!

        Cheers all, and as Assange said: “Keep Fighting!”

        • DiggerUK

          Andrew F, many thanks.
          Having been introduced to our host by his account from Uzbekistan, I am surprised by his continuing ‘no comments’ to allegations of torture against Julian…_

  • Antonym

    If Julian Assange dies in Belmarsh, the UK judicial system can be degraded to below Zimbabwe and marked in historic infamy.

    Nothing to do with the EU, Trump or Sweden. No excuses accepted.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    I beg to dffer. Edward Snowden is, forced to flee to Russia, and spilling what goods he could discover because the CIA was trying to set him uo as a communist spy.

    I believe he is giving an interview on 48 Hour tonight

  • Yonatan

    I wonder if this Vanessa Braitser is the same Vanessa Braitser who is (or was) a trustee of a registered charity ‘THE DAVID ISAACS FUND’ which is intended to ‘PROVIDE RELIEF FOR PERSONS WHO ARE IN NEED, HARDSHIP OR DISTRESS WHO SHALL COME TO THE ATTENTION OF A DISTRICT JUDGE OR CORONER PRESIDING AT A GREATER LONDON OR CITY OF LONDON MAGISTRATES COURT OR CORONERS COURT.’

    http://opencharities.org/charities/205896

    One of the other trustees is ‘MR KWAME INYUNDO’. A person of that name is listed in the District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) Appointment notices on the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website. So it is certainly a possibility that This is the same Vanessa Braitser.

    https://www.judiciary.uk/announcements/district-judge-magistrates-courts-appointment-inyundo/

    I can certainly think of one person who would appear to be suitable for such relief. Maybe an application can be made?

  • dearieme

    I disagree with you on many issues, Mr Murray, but I do agree that the treatment of Assange has been a bloody disgrace.

    Sweden, UK, USA: shame, shame, shame!

  • Kempe

    Right or wrong it was obvious that Assange wouldn’t be granted bail again. The fact that he wasn’t in hiding is irrelevant, the conditions of his bail required him to be at Henry Vaughan-Smith’s house in Norfolk every night. He violated that condition by decamping to the Ecuadorean embassy. After that and the cost of the police surveillance operation did anyone seriously expect he was going to get a second chance to abscond?

    If his legal team didn’t apply for bail it was because they knew it was hopeless and least in prison he’ll get access to the medical and dental care he couldn’t get previously.

    • Tony

      Here’s Kempe,at it again. Now he’s claiming that it’s Assange’s fault that that our government spent an eight figure amount on surveilling him! Maybe Kempe can point us in the direction of any other case in UK legal history where a bail-jumper has required even one-hundredth of the surveillance Assange has received. I suspect he will struggle to find another case where there has ever been ANY significant surveillance of a person wanted for bail-jumping. Then again, Kempe is only an engineer, and one who thinks that a gas cylinder can smash a hole smaller than the gas cylinder through a roof, and then change it’s vertical flight pattern to a horizontal one in order to hit an internal wall, so that it can gently fall onto a bed without collapsing it. So I might be asking rather a lot of him.

      • nevermind

        Kempe is wrong anyway.Julian did not abscond from Gt. Ellingham and kept his regular daily sign on with Beccles police.
        When Keir Starmer mistakenly made moves to have him extradited to Swedden and the US prepared secret charges against him, only then did he decide to seek refuge and safety in the Ecuadorian embassy.

        Julian should be granted bail to be able to organise his defence against trumped up charges designed to revenge his publicating multiple war crimes for which the US/UK should be held responsible by a court of law. Kempe is defending war criminals and he does not want a fair judicial application of bail conditions as it would upset the rotten applecart, unless off course, it is himself who is accused of a crime.
        Is there a crime of deliberate obfusecation?

  • Goose

    Doesn’t it speak volumes as to how cowed the political opposition parties are in the UK that as far as I know only Corbyn , Abbott and a few others have made any mention of Assange’s plight and treatment. The misandric wing of the PLP were totally gung ho for his extradition to Sweden, they cared not about the flimsy nature of those allegations nor the questionable background of his accusers(s).

    I haven’t been following the Lib Dem conference, so I don’t know, but I’d wager they haven’t said to date, nor will they say anything about Assange? Charles Kennedy would have almost certainly spoken out against his extradition were he still leader, I reckon even the pre-2010 coalition Nick Clegg would have spoken out too.

    Assange’s best hope now is an election and, if they win, a Labour minister rescinding the already signed (by Sajid Javid) extradition papers.

      • Goose

        I can’t guarantee they would.

        But because Corbyn and Abbott went to the effort to state on their twitter accounts his extradition to the US for “exposing war crimes” was wrong.

        If in a position to halt it, then the logic has to be they surely would?

        • RandomComment

          Thanks, appreciated. I don’t use Twitter much 😉

          I guess the next question – which I can’t answer myself – will that government be headed by Corbyn and Abbot?

      • Glasshopper

        I’m sure they would. But i’m equally sure they will never be in a position to do so.

        Another question would be how Trump reacts to extradition. He used to be a fan of wikileaks, and they may have dirt on him?

        • Goose

          Last year, had someone said Boris Johnson will be PM people would’ve chuckled at the notion.

          If Corbyn can win then hold a referendum and bring about ‘remain’ ending this Brexit nightmare, the establishment won’t prevent him, is my best guess. Look how Blair has just praised him.

          He’s 70 years of age he’ll probably only serve a few years before handing over the leadership.

        • Gary Harrison

          Glasshopper, Trump was NEVER a fan of Wikileaks. Search YouTube for “Trump calls for the death penalty to be used against Wikileaks in 2010 Class Conscious”.

  • RandomComment

    So now we have a right wing government in the UK….

    Yes the Tories are right wing

    …with scant concern for democracy

    The government has just asked twice for a general election

    and in particular we have the most far right extremist as Home Secretary of modern times

    Ah, we’ve moved off the line that Boris is *literally Hitler* because it is so obviously ridiculous.

    But I agree, what they are doing to Assange is disgraceful and terrifying

  • Carsten Wiethoff

    This is another, perhaps currently the most egregious case of the Britsh Justice System in its entirety being completely dead in the water.
    Are there no checks and balances? Obviously they do not work.
    Is there any, I mean more than zero, prosecutor willing and able to do his job? If so, please step forward.
    How much fear is in the system? All, who are not afraid, please step forward and say so. #NOEMERGENCYHERE
    All, who are afraid, please also step forward. #AFRAID
    Is it only the top layer that is criminally corrupt, or does it go down to the bottom as well?
    Do categories like ethos and honor and pride exist inside the British Justice System? I cannot see them right now, so anybody, please, step forward.

    Please consider asking these questions to anybody working in the Britsh Justice System.

    • Loony

      Caution is needed in criticizing the British Judiciary.

      On the one hand they are acting for and on behalf of powerful interests to persecute Julian Assange and on the other hand they are acting in the interests of humanity in seeking to place limits on the power of rabid racists, xenophobes and general nutters who wish to destroy the world by enacting policies so that the UK leaves the EU.

      If people come to accept that the Judiciary is instrumental in the persecution o Assange then some very stupid people may leap to the wholly false conclusion that the Judiciary is instrumental in subverting the will of the people through judgements that serve to frustrate the process of the UK withdrawing from the EU

  • Glasshopper

    Excellent piece from Mr Murray. The treatment of Assange brings shame on our country.

    I keep hearing people say they are ashamed to be British since the Brexit vote. They never say a word about this unfolding outrage. Sickening.

  • Clark

    Craig wrote: “Who will take a stand against authoritarianism and for the freedom to publish?”

    I take that stand. Yesterday, with the other members of Extinction Rebellion Chelmsford, I recommitted to my Declaration of Rebellion against our governments. Without doubt, the social contract with the people has been broken by governments worldwide, including that of the UK, by their support, encouragement and enforcement of an economic trajectory towards human extinction.

    “Tell the Truth” is Extinction Rebellion’s first demand, and that demands that truth-telling be protected. Julian Assange is imprisoned because he facilitated exposure of the truth about direct, deliberate extinction of countless human lives. He posted on-line the personal extinction of Reuters journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen.

    The toxic system is psychopathic. It pretends to be benign while it holds Manning and Assange by their necks to intimidate all truth-tellers, yet it is itself clearly based on deception in every form. This is part of why I have to rebel. Please join me in London in October.

    https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/about-us/

  • Ort

    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.

    • SmilinJackAbbott

      “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.

      • N_

        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.

      • Ruth Gould

        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.

      • AlanB

        Thanks for this comment, SmilinJack…I for one feel there is absolutely nothing wrong with bringing Tommy Robinson into this discussion. The western world has naively allowed itself to be torn apart over ideological differences. It would be a vast improvement if people could set aside their differences in politics and understand that all reporting has to be protected. I feel that Assanganistas and Tommy Robinson allies have to show that it is possible to separate #RightToReport from any issue that relates to the beliefs of the reporters.

        The same holds in the matter of the Amal Clooney reference to Julian in her valuable speech to the Media Freedom Conference in London a month ago. Foolishly, many Assange activists are suggesting ignoring her speech merely because Amal believed that it was preferable to have Hillary Clinton win over Trump in 2016. This is not grounds to justify failing to participate in THE CANARY’S comment section on the article. How many other media covered Amal’s comments on Julian as an example of jailing the messenger rather than the criminal? https://www.thecanary.co/trending/2019/07/11/lawyer-humiliates-jeremy-hunt-at-his-own-event-with-the-hard-truth-about-julian-assange/ There should be way more than 2 people in that comment feed.

    • L Took

      Totally agree. The British state is extremely sadistic and vicious. And people just let them be. I only realized how black the blood runs when I saw the way Assange was being treated and spoken of. Dickensian England. The lack of self-control when it comes to Assange is really obscene, there’s no other word for it. Bureaucrats and judges like ghouls — rubbing their hands and salivating over a half-dead man.

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