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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    • pete

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

  • Republicofscotland

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

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

    Assanges detainment and eventual handing over to the Great Satan, will be seen as just another nail in the coffin of British justice and fairness.

  • Hatuey

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

    Brexit is truly beautiful.

    Some day I will see a queue outside a food bank and half of them will be middle class people who have fallen from grace. That’s when I will know that Brexit has been a huge success.

    • Republicofscotland

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

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

      As for the Lib/Dems, they’re nothing more than a gun for hire for whichever of the two main parties requires them to prop them up.

    • Goose

      @Hatuey

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

      • Hatuey

        It’s already like that here for many, and has been for decades. That’s the point. And that’s why the many and not the few voted for Brexit.

        • Davey Dee

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

  • Harry Law

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

    • kathy

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

      He couldn’t get a better lawyer than her.

      • Ingwe

        Uh, Kathy, the Guildford Four had nothing to do with the IRA bombings in Birmingham. That was the Birmingham Six. Just saying.

        • kathy

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

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


          [ Mod: Er, kathy, Guildford is not in Birmingham – Map ]

          • kathy

            Oh, I see I made that mistake in the first post – sorry about that. I can only put it down to my ignorance of English geography since I am Scottish!

        • Ren

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

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

          Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, appointed Peirce as his solicitor in Swedish Judicial Authority v Julian Assange”

          • kathy

            Thanks for the additional information Ren..

            I think we can all agree then, that, based on that information, she is a true hero in her own right and eminently suitable to represent the hero, Julian Assange in his fight for truth and justice.

      • jmg

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

        Baltasar Garzón on Assange: This case involves an attack against the right of freedom of the press around the world
        http://theprisma.co.uk/2019/05/06/baltasar-garzon-on-assange-this-case-involves-an-attack-against-the-right-of-freedom-of-the-press-around-the-world/

        • jmg

          The UK extradition cases of Julian Assange and Augusto Pinochet

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

          Charges in extradition requests:

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

          Who called upon the British government to release them:

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

          Situation during extradition proceedings:

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

          When ill health:

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

          Pinochet’s return to Chile after his release in London for alleged ill health
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilxqhdgs4uU

    • Phil Espin

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

      • pretzelattack

        she is 79, yes. age affects different people differently. do you have any reason to believe it is impairing her performance as a lawyer?

      • kathy

        While what you say has some truth in it, it can also work the other way. Her life long experience might make her unbeatable.

    • Carolyn Zaremba

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

      • Tatyana

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

        • PhilW

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

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

          Belmarsh should be our Bastille

        • Borncynical

          Tatyana

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

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

          J.

          • Tatyana

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

            It is not very good illustration, but I think you understand my idea.

      • AlanB

        It is great that there are people in Britain who actually understand and value the events of the 1600s that resulted in Habeas Corpus and the 1689 Bill of Rights. Julian has been maliciously and unjustifiably persecuted when he has merely helped make public atrocities that governments wish to keep hidden. That is the whole purpose of the Nuremberg Principle and the fact that the US and UK appear to have forgotten the goal of the American prosecutors in 1946 – demonstrates that there is an organized need for a reminder about what democratic justice is all about. Please comment on the CANARY article on Amal Clooney’s reference to Julian as being an example of the messenger being jailed and the criminals being given impunity when she spoke during the summer at the Media Freedom Conference. https://www.thecanary.co/trending/2019/07/11/lawyer-humiliates-jeremy-hunt-at-his-own-event-with-the-hard-truth-about-julian-assange/

  • A2

    Have you considered that the US may actually prefer indefinite detention to extradition and a trial which could prove uncomfortable even if a guilty verdict was returned?

    • Brianfujisan

      Hi A2

      I don’t think so myself.. Certainly not for the reasons you speculate upon.. I think the U.S would love to get their hands on Julian.. Unless some other humane reason emerges.. Money is no Object after all.

  • bevin

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

    • Brianfujisan

      You made a very Good Point Bevin

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

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

      The mind boggles at the elite’s webs and tentacles… and their latest Technological Eyes n Ears… Oh, and their Lust for ever more Land, Oil, Gold, BLOOD

      • OnlyHalfALooney

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

        This is probably the only way for a country to protect it’s citizens against the USA, which seems to think it has jurisdiction over the whole world.

    • Hatuey

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

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

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

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

      I think England needs a new party to represent ordinary people.

        • Hatuey

          This referendum gets more special by the day. Now we need to factor in those that didn’t vote too.

      • N_

        Brexit represents a countrywide version of the campaign successfully fought in the Smethwick constituency in 1964 by Peter Griffiths.

        • N_

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

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

          Creeping down to the polling station to vote for the nudge nudge wink wink “leave the EU” option rather than having the guts to put on their white hoods is their element.

    • N_

      @Bevin – “Democracy” rarely denotes much that I ascribe great value to, but on what basis do you call Wikileaks, which functioned as a small secretive organisation acting out of a box number in Australia, an “arm of popular democracy”?

  • tom kane

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

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

    Respect, Craig.

    • OnlyHalfALooney

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

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

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

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

      Perhaps AI is afraid rich “liberals” might not leave them lots of money in their wills any more?

    • Borncynical

      Tom

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

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

  • Gary

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

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

    • pretzelattack

      he made himself unavailable because sweden wouldn’t give him assurance that they wouldn’t render him to the u.s., which was illegal in the first place, not that that has stopped any of the state actors in this drama.

    • N_

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

  • Carolyn Zaremba

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

    Other than that, I am grateful for your continued revelation of the truth behind the lies concerning the DNC computers and the Mueller “investigation”. Keep it up.

  • Andrew Nichols

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

  • jmg

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

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

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

    Julian Assange to remain in jail pending extradition to US — 14 Sep 2019
    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/sep/14/julian-assange-to-remain-in-jail-pending-extradition-to-us

    • OnlyHalfALooney

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

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

      Why does this not surprise me from the UK’s prime mouthpiece for the intelligence services?
      .

      • Borncynical

        …and the Daily Mail reported three days ago:

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

        One can hope it’s ignorant and sloppy journalism (no surprise) but it’s a pretty emphatic statement.

  • Hatuey

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

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

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

    Iran will not take kindly to being bombed.

    • Republicofscotland

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

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

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

      Expect a rise in prices at the petrol/diesel pumps in the UK, as they try and squeeze every last penny out of the attack.

    • nevermind

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

  • Northern

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

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

    • Hatuey

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

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

      Thus, food banks, austerity, rising suicide rates, wars, etc., they’re good to go. And don’t forget about their environment and global warming…

    • Richard

      WRITING TO JULIAN

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

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

      It says: “If you do not know the prisoners’ prison number, please address the envelope as above with the prisoner’s date of birth next to his name.”

  • Doghouse

    Northern @ 12.12

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

    It’s a no brainer imho.

  • Sharp Ears

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

    Throughout I heard not one mention of Julian or of his predicament.

  • Chris Hopkins

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

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Chris,

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

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

      And thank you Craig Murray.

    • richard

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

  • M.J.

    Assange jumped bail, got caught, and so is in jail. But having jumped baiul is proof that he might do it again, so he stays in jail. No brainer. If the Americans lock him up forever for espionage, he shouldn’t have dunnit, should he?

      • Courtenay Barnett

        Michael,

        A Habeas Corpus application would proceed as follows:-

        1. There is an extradition application pending.
        2. He is a flight risk and a court has already exercised jurisdiction and ruled on the matter.
        3. Due legal process has been afforded Julian Assange – and – application dismissed with costs.

        Not that I agree; that is the establishment position.

        • AlanB

          Courtenay – what is your view on the idea of anyone being subjected to “bail” in the absence of any charge? The Swedish gave up trying to make a case against Julian, and if it can be proven that the Swedes sent evidence to the UK to this effect, then Julian has been a victim of abuse of process and malicious and unfounded prosecution that is groundless. He has cause for massive recovery of damages, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture would agree. This Rapporteur said Julian’s is the most egregious case he has come across in 25 years, and he has been studying the abuses around the world.

      • M.J.

        According to the US Justice department: Aided and abetted Chelsea Manning in obtaining classified information with reason to believe that the information was to be used to the injury of the United States or the advantage of a foreign nation. Assange, WikiLeaks affiliates and Manning shared the common objective to subvert lawful restrictions on classified information and to publicly disseminate it.

        • nevermind

          and you believe all this revenge twaddle M.J. so hence it must all be right, just like the US says.

          What does the US justice department say to the NRA for the multiple murders carried out in schools, due to the lax Laws the NRA will run riots for to keep?
          If you want to trust a US justice system that extradites its murderers from the UK, especially forces slaves, so they don’t have to face trial here, and ignores the ICC and the client states it serves, then that’s your awful decision/opinion many who read this blog will not agree with.
          The US justice department makes it up as they are told by their supreme court and the judges are appointed by politicians such as Trump and the Clinton’s, only what they decide is just for America counts and if we have to extradite somebody who accuses them of multiple war crimes, they can convict him for life on something else.
          After extinguishing the life’s of many indigenous US Americans since they landed on that continent, slaughtered them for their very own interests and reasons, a society barely 400 years old, we are now faced with a cabal of maybe 1 million people who direct and exploit that country, by any means possible. They are so rich that they can plan to take over the world if they try, by more destruction, more pollution more energy expenditure and more death for all those who are not white, an armed to the teeth, racist society.
          Go find another friend M.J.

        • Northern

          That’s a neat piece of circular reasoning you’ve got yourself there. So by your logic, Assange should have realised his accomplices apparent crime would result in persecution by the Empire and preemptively changed course and it’s his own stupid fault for not doing so? Freedom of speech and information be damned.

          This is without unpacking the ever growing catalogue of issues with the rest of the case – presumably you’re fine with the United States selectively applying it’s laws to citizens of other sovereign states outside of their own territory? If he can be tried as an American citizen then how are you or anyone else different? I hate these shallow rule of law arguments, its about as much use as the Nuremberg defence.

        • OnlyHalfALooney

          Indictment: “Conspiracy to Commit Computer Intrusion”.
          https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1153486/download

          FBI Agent Megan Brown
          AFFIDAVIT IN SUPPORT OF A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AND ARREST WARRANT
          https://defend.wikileaks.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Assange-Affidavit.pdf

          7. Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log onto the computers
          under a usemame that did not belong to her. Such a deceptive measure would have made it more
          difficult for investigators to determine the source ofthe illegal disclosures. While it remains
          unknown whether Manning and Assange were successful in cracking the password
          , a follow-up
          message from Assange to Manning on March 10, 2010, reflects that Assange was actively trying
          to crack the password pursuant to their agreement.

          Read the actual chat transcript to see how flimsy this allegation is. The chat transcript itself was “restored” from a partially damaged hard drive.

          There is no evidence that Assange/wikileaks actually did anything to hack the MD5 password.The password was not needed to obtain the information anyway, Manning already had top-secret clearance and Manning had already provided wikileaks with “hundreds of thousands of classified records” when this alleged “agreement” was supposedly entered into.

          8. Circumstantial evidence reflects that Assange and Manning intended to crack the
          password to facilitate Manning’s illegal disclosure of classified information. At the time they
          formed their illegal password-cracking agreement, Manning had already provided WikiLeaks
          with hundreds ofthousands of classified records
          relating to, among other things, the wars in
          Afghanistan and Iraq.

          • michael norton

            Well you wouldn’t, would you.
            America has bigger fish to fry right now, than Julian Assange.
            They are about to fry the Middle East, again.

    • AlanB

      How exactly does one “jump bail” when no charge has been laid, M.J.? We have to begin to think a bit about why the Habeas Corpus and 1689 Bill of Rights came into effect. These institutions became necessary to end arbitrary persecution. Julian is being persecuted without grounds. When he provided a venue for an American soldier to disclose evidence of atrocities in Iraq this was facilitating the Nuremberg Principle.

      Since Britain appears to have forgotten all that, there will have to be a serious reification process among all NATO countries to align with principles of democratic and authentic justice. Britain has descended into the depths of the worst of the times of the Stalin Terror when anyone could be jailed or otherwise attacked on a baselessness that was completely arbitrary. This should not be tolerated within the British Commonwealth, and I want every Amnesty Chapter in Canada to face up to our duties on this matter. #SDG16 provides for de-corrupting dysfunctional institutional systems so that healthy institutions may advance equal justice for all. This is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 that Britain voted in favour of in 2015. A world league for #SDG16 should seize this atrocious unlawfulness that is being inflicted on Julian. He is taking a stand in support of the principle that when governments choose to try to hide atrocities that militaries have perpetrated, then this information becomes owned by the public. The government – by its malfeasance has forfeited ownership of such records.

  • John2o2o

    Well I can’t disagree with that headline.

    I had trouble sleeping last night. I couldn’t get Julian off my mind. I wrote to him in July, but don’t know if there’s more I can do to help him. Maybe I could write again. Maybe my first letter helped. I got an encouraging reply from him anyway.

    I think it is important to focus attention on this corrupt Tory government led by Boris Johnson. I cannot believe that Julian would have been treated like this in Britain a few years ago. We used to have some respect for our prisoners. Now it seems that all they are bothered about is pleasing the Americans – especially with Brexit on and Boris keep to secure a trade deal with the United States.

    The way Julian is being treated is outrageous.

    There are some hopeful signs though in the Media. Peter Oborne, a senior “establishment” journalist who writes for the Daily Mail has written a forthright article in full support of Julian in the British Journalism Review. It can be read here:

    http://www.bjr.org.uk/current-edition+he_is_a_hero,_not_a_villain

    Even the likes of George Monbiot of the Guardian have apparently expressed some support for Julian. I think he said something on twitter, but then got scared it might upset his masters and deleted it.

    I think the problem with the media is that it has been infiltrated by the security services. (MI5 etc). I have thought this for a long time, but Kennard and Curtis brilliantly exposed the truth about the Guardian in a piece last week.

    Perhaps it may only be a matter of time before the media en masse wakes up to the injustice that is being visited upon Julian.

    • jmg

      “I wrote to him in July, but don’t know if there’s more I can do to help him. Maybe I could write again. Maybe my first letter helped. I got an encouraging reply from him anyway.”

      John, if you can share Julian’s reply, please do it. I can’t understand why almost nobody does it, there is like a wall of silence around him.

      “People writing songs that voices never share
      No one dared
      Disturb the sound of silence
      ‘Fools’ said I, ‘You do not know
      Silence like a cancer grows
      Hear my words that I might teach you
      Take my arms that I might reach you’
      But my words like silent raindrops fell
      And echoed in the wells of silence”
      — Paul Simon: The Sound of Silence

      To my knowledge, there is only a four months old letter (May 13). Some excerpts:

      “Thanks Gordon. You are a good man.

      “I have been isolated from all ability to prepare to defend myself: no laptop, no internet, ever, no computer, no library, so far . . . Just two visits a month . . .

      “I am defenseless and am counting on you and others of good character to save my life.

      “. . . the days when I could read and speak and organize to defend myself, my ideals, and my people are over until I am free! Everyone else must take my place. . . .

      “Truth, ultimately, is all we have.”

      Julian Assange writes a letter from Belmarsh prison – Defend WikiLeaks
      https://defend.wikileaks.org/2019/05/26/julian-assange-writes-a-letter-from-belmarsh-prison/

      • John2o2o

        jmg, it’s only that it is marked “private” at the top and I want to respect Julian’s wishes.

    • jmg

      Also in the US:

      “In a historic win for WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange a federal judge in New York dismissed a lawsuit by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) over WikiLeaks’ publication of DNC documents in 2016. The case sets an important precedent for freedom of the press.

      “In the 81-page ruling, District Judge John Koeltl emphasized the ‘newsworthiness’ of WikiLeaks’ publishing activities, describing them as ‘plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers.’

      “Judge Koeltl importantly emphasized, ‘Journalists are allowed to request documents that have been stolen and to publish those documents.’ The Judge also observed that such journalistic collaboration with sources is ‘common journalistic practice.’ That principle is important for investigative journalists who often receive information from whistleblowers.

      “The Judge drew a comparison to the Pentagon Papers case of 1971, where the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of the New York Times and Washington Post to publish secret documents on the Vietnam War provided by whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. In that case the Nixon administration attempted to prevent the newspapers from publishing and threatened them with criminal prosecution.”

      DNC lawsuit against WikiLeaks dismissed in major free press victory — Defend WikiLeaks
      https://defend.wikileaks.org/2019/08/03/dnc-lawsuit-dismissed/

      • OnlyHalfALooney

        Judge Koeltl also noted that it is “constitutionally insignificant” whether WikiLeaks knew the published documents were acquired without permission, by hacking, or other means before they were obtained by WikiLeaks. “A person is entitled [to] publish stolen documents that the publisher requested from a source so long as the publisher did not participate in the theft.”

        This is why the US government has invented a very flimsy case for Assange having “entered into an illegal agreement to hack a password”. The prosecutors are trying to allege that Assange was an active participant with Manning in actually stealing the documents. The fact is that most of the data was sent by Manning before the few rather meaningless lines in some unverified chat logs. So this seems rather immaterial to me.

        However, the whole thing is not about justice it is about ruining Assange to make an example of him and scare off others from ever breathing a word about the US’s secret programmes. Just like during the illegal war against Iraq, the UK is more than willing to aid the US’s deep state.

        As for the DNC case. Hillary Clinton, the DNC and the US intelligence services have concocted a completely fabricated narrative that “Putin elected Trump” (not the US voters, who were apparently too stupid to know how they were supposed to vote) in a “concerted operation between Wikileaks and Russia” (as put by Hillary Clinton). It is as much of a fabrication as the WMDs Saddam Hussein was supposed to have. If this ever comes for a genuinely impartial court, the allegations would be thrown out of court, just like the whole invented Magnitsky narrative.

        My worry is that the neither the UK nor the US will permit all this to ever come before an impartial court.

    • Tony

      The USA, making accusations about others in Central America wrt drug trafficking. PMSL. It must have been ‘the wrong type of’ drug trafficing.

      Btw, did anyone see today’s big lie by fatboy (we lied, we cheated) Pompeo? Saudi defences didn’t see the refinery attacks because their air defences were facing toward The Yemen. The US-supplied PAC2 and PAC3 missile defence systems have fixed radars: they can only be pointed in one direction. Pointing them in a different direction requires a major re-set. The Saudi air defence system is default set against Iran. The Saudis turned their air defences away from Iran toward The Yemen, which presented an open target from Iran? Fatboy Pompeo has lots of bridges and land that he would like to sell to you.

    • OnlyHalfALooney

      I am not sure about the details of the case, but the Netherlands let him leave Aruba previously after being asked to arrest him by the USA.

      BTW Did you know that you can be sentenced for “drug trafficking” in the US even though the drugs are entirely fictional? The sentence is based on the quantity of drugs even if fictional. You can also be sentenced for “conspiracy to murder” even if the person to be murdered does not actually exist (i.e. a fictional DEA agent).

    • Borncynical

      Garth,
      Thanks for the ‘pointer’. It makes very interesting reading. I have to say I am appalled and shocked that Monbiot, in his professional position, wasn’t aware that Nils Melzer had written official reports, and articles, about Julian Assange. I don’t consider an excuse that he was “focusing on other things” to be anywhere near acceptable.

  • AlanB

    I completely agree with your take on the Julian Assange miscarriage of justice, Craig. To even think for a second of imposing bail on someone hitherto not being arraigned on charges – and where no prosecutor has done anything more than discuss bringing the accused in for questioning – as had been the case in the Swedish matter with Julian, is a complete trashing of the advances of British justice in the 1600s with the #1689BillOfRights and Habeas Corpus that were a direct result of the polemics and sacrifices and abuse inflicted against Freeborn John Lilburne earlier in the 1600s.

    What Britain has descended into is an absurd realm of arbitrary persecution of the kind seen during the worst of the Stalin Terror of the 1930s when one could be facing prosecution on a whim. It is a complete nullification of procedural justice to let this “bail without the existence of a specific charge” become a tolerated practice. Every NATO country should tell Jeremy Hunt to respond to the statements of Amal Clooney in her courageous and direct reference to Julian as being a messenger who is being jailed instead of the criminals when she was on the stage at the Media Freedom Conference in London a few weeks ago. Neither Minister Chrystia Freeland nor Jeremy Hunt have replied to my requests for their reactions to Amal’s statements. If anyone has seen a response of any kind, please share. A good place to put information is in the comment section of the CANARY article on Amal’s references to Julian at that conference. It takes a while to find the comment feed, below the video clip in the article, but it would be of great help if this could reach the stage of public discussion. https://www.scribd.com/document/411275244/Assange-superseding-indictment#from_embed https://www.thecanary.co/trending/2019/07/11/lawyer-humiliates-jeremy-hunt-at-his-own-event-with-the-hard-truth-about-julian-assange/

  • Ivy Rose NightScales Williams

    Julian

    Assaunge is a hero deserving a hero’s welcome and treatment for allowing people to know the truth.

    Its down the rabbit hole for people who speak the truth. How disgusting.

  • Ducon

    And now they also try to remove the US elected president under an already proven fallacious excuse (see transcript of conversation).

    They also try to kill Brexit the same week and just after having removed the most popular political leader in Italy Matteo Salvini.

    But , hey, this is not an international coup by the globalists who are turning our countries into wastelands and forcing us to slavery with the help of unelected and corrupt politicians and the corporate media.

    Only solution is revolution: hang merkel soros, macron, clinton, pelosi and all the other bilderberg, cfr and davos assholes.

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