Assange in Court 841


UPDATE I have received scores of requests to republish and/or translate this article. It is absolutely free to use and reproduce and I should be delighted if everybody does; the world should know what is being done to Julian. So far, over 200,000 people have read it on this blogsite alone and it has already been reproduced on myriad other sites, some with much bigger readerships than my own. I have seen translations into German, Spanish and French and at least extracts in Catalan and Turkish. I only ask that you reproduce it complete or, if edits are made, plainly indicate them. Many thanks.

BEGINS

I was deeply shaken while witnessing yesterday’s events in Westminster Magistrates Court. Every decision was railroaded through over the scarcely heard arguments and objections of Assange’s legal team, by a magistrate who barely pretended to be listening.

Before I get on to the blatant lack of fair process, the first thing I must note was Julian’s condition. I was badly shocked by just how much weight my friend has lost, by the speed his hair has receded and by the appearance of premature and vastly accelerated ageing. He has a pronounced limp I have never seen before. Since his arrest he has lost over 15 kg in weight.

But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both. I will come to the important content of his statement at the end of proceedings in due course, but his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought.

Until yesterday I had always been quietly sceptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture – even of Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – and sceptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that yesterday changed my mind entirely and Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness.

I had been even more sceptical of those who claimed, as a senior member of his legal team did to me on Sunday night, that they were worried that Julian might not live to the end of the extradition process. I now find myself not only believing it, but haunted by the thought. Everybody in that court yesterday saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes. To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable. Yet the agents of the state, particularly the callous magistrate Vanessa Baraitser, were not just prepared but eager to be a part of this bloodsport. She actually told him that if he were incapable of following proceedings, then his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later. The question of why a man who, by the very charges against him, was acknowledged to be highly intelligent and competent, had been reduced by the state to somebody incapable of following court proceedings, gave her not a millisecond of concern.

The charge against Julian is very specific; conspiring with Chelsea Manning to publish the Iraq War logs, the Afghanistan war logs and the State Department cables. The charges are nothing to do with Sweden, nothing to do with sex, and nothing to do with the 2016 US election; a simple clarification the mainstream media appears incapable of understanding.

The purpose of yesterday’s hearing was case management; to determine the timetable for the extradition proceedings. The key points at issue were that Julian’s defence was requesting more time to prepare their evidence; and arguing that political offences were specifically excluded from the extradition treaty. There should, they argued, therefore be a preliminary hearing to determine whether the extradition treaty applied at all.

The reasons given by Assange’s defence team for more time to prepare were both compelling and startling. They had very limited access to their client in jail and had not been permitted to hand him any documents about the case until one week ago. He had also only just been given limited computer access, and all his relevant records and materials had been seized from the Ecuadorean Embassy by the US Government; he had no access to his own materials for the purpose of preparing his defence.

Furthermore, the defence argued, they were in touch with the Spanish courts about a very important and relevant legal case in Madrid which would provide vital evidence. It showed that the CIA had been directly ordering spying on Julian in the Embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide security there. Crucially this included spying on privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers discussing his defence against these extradition proceedings, which had been in train in the USA since 2010. In any normal process, that fact would in itself be sufficient to have the extradition proceedings dismissed. Incidentally I learnt on Sunday that the Spanish material produced in court, which had been commissioned by the CIA, specifically includes high resolution video coverage of Julian and I discussing various matters.

The evidence to the Spanish court also included a CIA plot to kidnap Assange, which went to the US authorities’ attitude to lawfulness in his case and the treatment he might expect in the United States. Julian’s team explained that the Spanish legal process was happening now and the evidence from it would be extremely important, but it might not be finished and thus the evidence not fully validated and available in time for the current proposed timetable for the Assange extradition hearings.

For the prosecution, James Lewis QC stated that the government strongly opposed any delay being given for the defence to prepare, and strongly opposed any separate consideration of the question of whether the charge was a political offence excluded by the extradition treaty. Baraitser took her cue from Lewis and stated categorically that the date for the extradition hearing, 25 February, could not be changed. She was open to changes in dates for submission of evidence and responses before this, and called a ten minute recess for the prosecution and defence to agree these steps.

What happened next was very instructive. There were five representatives of the US government present (initially three, and two more arrived in the course of the hearing), seated at desks behind the lawyers in court. The prosecution lawyers immediately went into huddle with the US representatives, then went outside the courtroom with them, to decide how to respond on the dates.

After the recess the defence team stated they could not, in their professional opinion, adequately prepare if the hearing date were kept to February, but within Baraitser’s instruction to do so they nevertheless outlined a proposed timetable on delivery of evidence. In responding to this, Lewis’ junior counsel scurried to the back of the court to consult the Americans again while Lewis actually told the judge he was “taking instructions from those behind”. It is important to note that as he said this, it was not the UK Attorney-General’s office who were being consulted but the US Embassy. Lewis received his American instructions and agreed that the defence might have two months to prepare their evidence (they had said they needed an absolute minimum of three) but the February hearing date may not be moved. Baraitser gave a ruling agreeing everything Lewis had said.

At this stage it was unclear why we were sitting through this farce. The US government was dictating its instructions to Lewis, who was relaying those instructions to Baraitser, who was ruling them as her legal decision. The charade might as well have been cut and the US government simply sat on the bench to control the whole process. Nobody could sit there and believe they were in any part of a genuine legal process or that Baraitser was giving a moment’s consideration to the arguments of the defence. Her facial expressions on the few occasions she looked at the defence ranged from contempt through boredom to sarcasm. When she looked at Lewis she was attentive, open and warm.

The extradition is plainly being rushed through in accordance with a Washington dictated timetable. Apart from a desire to pre-empt the Spanish court providing evidence on CIA activity in sabotaging the defence, what makes the February date so important to the USA? I would welcome any thoughts.

Baraitser dismissed the defence’s request for a separate prior hearing to consider whether the extradition treaty applied at all, without bothering to give any reason why (possibly she had not properly memorised what Lewis had been instructing her to agree with). Yet this is Article 4 of the UK/US Extradition Treaty 2007 in full:

On the face of it, what Assange is accused of is the very definition of a political offence – if this is not, then what is? It is not covered by any of the exceptions from that listed. There is every reason to consider whether this charge is excluded by the extradition treaty, and to do so before the long and very costly process of considering all the evidence should the treaty apply. But Baraitser simply dismissed the argument out of hand.

Just in case anybody was left in any doubt as to what was happening here, Lewis then stood up and suggested that the defence should not be allowed to waste the court’s time with a lot of arguments. All arguments for the substantive hearing should be given in writing in advance and a “guillotine should be applied” (his exact words) to arguments and witnesses in court, perhaps of five hours for the defence. The defence had suggested they would need more than the scheduled five days to present their case. Lewis countered that the entire hearing should be over in two days. Baraitser said this was not procedurally the correct moment to agree this but she will consider it once she had received the evidence bundles.

(SPOILER: Baraitser is going to do as Lewis instructs and cut the substantive hearing short).

Baraitser then capped it all by saying the February hearing will be held, not at the comparatively open and accessible Westminster Magistrates Court where we were, but at Belmarsh Magistrates Court, the grim high security facility used for preliminary legal processing of terrorists, attached to the maximum security prison where Assange is being held. There are only six seats for the public in even the largest court at Belmarsh, and the object is plainly to evade public scrutiny and make sure that Baraitser is not exposed in public again to a genuine account of her proceedings, like this one you are reading. I will probably be unable to get in to the substantive hearing at Belmarsh.

Plainly the authorities were disconcerted by the hundreds of good people who had turned up to support Julian. They hope that far fewer will get to the much less accessible Belmarsh. I am fairly certain (and recall I had a long career as a diplomat) that the two extra American government officials who arrived halfway through proceedings were armed security personnel, brought in because of alarm at the number of protestors around a hearing in which were present senior US officials. The move to Belmarsh may be an American initiative.

Assange’s defence team objected strenuously to the move to Belmarsh, in particular on the grounds that there are no conference rooms available there to consult their client and they have very inadequate access to him in the jail. Baraitser dismissed their objection offhand and with a very definite smirk.

Finally, Baraitser turned to Julian and ordered him to stand, and asked him if he had understood the proceedings. He replied in the negative, said that he could not think, and gave every appearance of disorientation. Then he seemed to find an inner strength, drew himself up a little, and said:

I do not understand how this process is equitable. This superpower had 10 years to prepare for this case and I can’t even access my writings. It is very difficult, where I am, to do anything. These people have unlimited resources.

The effort then seemed to become too much, his voice dropped and he became increasingly confused and incoherent. He spoke of whistleblowers and publishers being labeled enemies of the people, then spoke about his children’s DNA being stolen and of being spied on in his meetings with his psychologist. I am not suggesting at all that Julian was wrong about these points, but he could not properly frame nor articulate them. He was plainly not himself, very ill and it was just horribly painful to watch. Baraitser showed neither sympathy nor the least concern. She tartly observed that if he could not understand what had happened, his lawyers could explain it to him, and she swept out of court.

The whole experience was profoundly upsetting. It was very plain that there was no genuine process of legal consideration happening here. What we had was a naked demonstration of the power of the state, and a naked dictation of proceedings by the Americans. Julian was in a box behind bulletproof glass, and I and the thirty odd other members of the public who had squeezed in were in a different box behind more bulletproof glass. I do not know if he could see me or his other friends in the court, or if he was capable of recognising anybody. He gave no indication that he did.

In Belmarsh he is kept in complete isolation for 23 hours a day. He is permitted 45 minutes exercise. If he has to be moved, they clear the corridors before he walks down them and they lock all cell doors to ensure he has no contact with any other prisoner outside the short and strictly supervised exercise period. There is no possible justification for this inhuman regime, used on major terrorists, being imposed on a publisher who is a remand prisoner.

I have been both cataloguing and protesting for years the increasingly authoritarian powers of the UK state, but that the most gross abuse could be so open and undisguised is still a shock. The campaign of demonisation and dehumanisation against Julian, based on government and media lie after government and media lie, has led to a situation where he can be slowly killed in public sight, and arraigned on a charge of publishing the truth about government wrongdoing, while receiving no assistance from “liberal” society.

Unless Julian is released shortly he will be destroyed. If the state can do this, then who is next?

——————————————

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841 thoughts on “Assange in Court

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  • Nick

    Thanks for your report Craig. I can’t imagine how distressing this must be for him, and for friends to witness first hand. I don’t think it’s apathetic to say at this point that there is no hope, and that is tragic. Despite that I’ll continue to attend any and all protests. What else is there to do.

    • Theo

      When US secret services are into all Wikileaks personnel, Assange friends and affiliates, even collecting diapers of his children for DNA tests and surveilling him around the clock in the embassy, maybe we are entitled to surveil the US lackeys like Theresa May, Sajid Javid, Emma Arbuthnot, Vanessa Baraitser et al. Maybe we are entitled to dig in their dustbins, examine their relatives and children, their financial records and what not.
      Are we? After all the rule of law seems to deteriorate from a firm pillar to a lax British bread.

      • Jarek Carnelian

        Why not force all those in public office to be chipped with an RFID tag so that we know precisely where they are 24/7, and impose a “life blogging” regime with constant recording and cloud logging of every moment of their lives while in office? It could all be encrypted content only to be accessed in cases where accusations of corruption and criminality arise. They should have nothing to hide, right?

        This is EFFECTIVELY what they plan for each and every one of us. Get them first.

        • Jim C

          I urge everyone to write to their constituency MP and ask them what they’re doing about this travesty of justice, and to encourage everyone they know to do so ASAP.

          You know the hour is late when fascism doesn’t even try to hide its face any more.

  • Sarge

    Thanks Craig. Anybody relying on MSM news would hardly know this hearing even took place yesterday. Sounds like it was a very rapid corrective to the recent narrative that “our” courts bravely defy the establishment on “the people’s” behalf. What you witnessed with your own eyes were shameless imperialist stooges persecuting a brave man full of integrity.

    • Tom Welsh

      The resemblance to a Soviet show trial is breathtaking. As Russia and China have become freer and more prsoperous, Britain is rapidly becoming Airfield One. And we must all remember O’Brien’s conclusion.

      “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness; only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. [He means Room 101]. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?”

      – George Orwell (O’Brien to Winston Smith, “1984”)

      • Jim C

        I’m not sure China is getting any freer. The expansion of their social credit system (coming to a “Democracy” near you) suggests otherwise.

        But yes, how can the UK government condemn other countries’ treatment of journalists when it behaves this way itself?

  • Jane

    I just glanced at the Guardian’s front page. Not a word about Julian Assange. We are however being asked to feel sympathy for Meghan Markle’s treatment by the tabloids. So at least they’re bringing us the important news.

  • Sim

    “Everybody in that court yesterday saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes”

    God help us, because every protection the commons have ever forced from the hands of the elites, from “a government of the people, for the people, by the people” to our once proud and free press is being stripped from us by members of the above whose sole concern is staying on the Elite’s gravy train.

    Until the Elite’s middle management, our political class, and their enablers in the msm, are queuing up for their turn at the guillotine, and their heads piling up in the basket under its blade, will the commons ever see any benefit for themselves, us, the living people of the Earth.

    • John

      “Everybody in that court yesterday saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes”

      ABSOLUTE RUBBISH! What about all the whistleblowers? Assange supported Brexit, knowing it would lead to more deaths – google “atos mirror suicide” and “calumslist” – the guy who set up “calumslist” is now also dead, page 4 of the site. Great journalism from Assange – SEEMS MORE LIKE POLITICS TO ME! And a lot of Assange’s supporters come across as a cult.

      • Jarek Carnelian

        Sorry you feel that way. I think you are missing the point rather than being actively malicious, but the point is so vitally important that you more than deserve an answer. I do not want to hog bandwidth here so I will be bluntly brief.

        1) Brexit is a process designed to divide us and then more efficiently consume us – and the fact that any person voted one way or the other “knowing” what the consequences would or would not be, is by now both irrelevant and false as far as the architects are concerned. Divided you Fall. Nobody knew a goddamned thing, sadly.

        2) Seems like Politics? So what actually. There is politics in how you drive your car or push forwards in a queue or in where you send your kids to school. There is politics in every purchase you make and thanks to pollution, in every breath that you take. If you want a politics free existence you need to become Robinson Crusoe. (You would then painfully discover that personality is itself partly a social construct and equally nourished by everyday politics – which is why Solitary Confinement is legally considered to be TORTURE!!!) The politics of this matter can be summed up in one word: Freedom. Free Julian!

        3) A Cult? Really. Have you properly studied the research on this one? I have. If you want to grasp the boundaries of the cult phenomenon have a look at the US Marine Core. Are you intending to malign supporters of Assange with the implication that they are splitting their “membership” away from the influence of family and friends? (By the way, there is none as there is no membership organisation to start with).

        Thank you for putting your opinion out there, it helps in the debate to have some myths to dispel. The entirety of the Assange Phenomenon is redolent of mythic distortions and fetid conspiracy accusations. Since the Kennedy Era this has become par for the course when Establishment Power gets spooked. We need to be aware of this and to know how to answer it, or we are toast.

        Julian is being tortured to death. You prefer to speak of cults and to find new accusations to level at him? Do not be surprised that your motivations are questioned – I am honestly interested to know how you formed these opinions.

      • Me

        Unfortunately it does not look like politics to the British judge who is going to decide about his fate. If it were the judge would refuse extradition.

  • Stephen Chalkley

    I have followed this case over the years and am angry about how Julian Assange has been treated. I hate the fact that our government allow our processes to be dictated by the US. Our media are complicit in this of course and are not publicising the injustice of this. I have written to my MP but have received no response on this topic.
    Thanks for your continued efforts on this and am saddened by the effect the court appearance had on you. We are living in a free country except if you directly threaten those in power.

    • antoon van maris

      No, we are Not living in a free country, or world, any more, any longer and you better start fighting them yourself, for your life and that of your children, is now on the line !

    • Jonathan

      Well said. My feelings exactly. I have also written to my MP and also to Amnesty, and to others, with little or no result to date. I am now ashamed to have to call myself a British citizen.

  • John Mann

    Thank you, Craig, for being in court, speaking up for Julian over the years, and in particular writing this.

    It is so sad and tragic for Julian as a human being.

    But it is also pretty scary for the rest of us. If I am right, you have got to the heart of the matter when you say “What we had was a naked demonstration of the power of the state”, and “I have been both cataloguing and protesting for years the increasingly authoritarian powers of the UK state,” and “If the state can do this, then who is next?”

    Liberalism has always, historically speaking, about curtailing the power of the state. Real liberalism is in decline, and most people in the west trust the state much more than they should. The law, which exists to protect people, is being perverted so that it is used far too often to hurt those who have not hurt anyone.

  • Michael Wehle

    “the object is plainly to evade public scrutiny and make sure that Baraitser is not exposed in pulic again again” should read
    “the object is plainly to evade public scrutiny and make sure that Baraitser is not exposed in public again”

  • DJ

    I suspect the timetable the US are pushing is timed for the US elections, Trump will boast about the fact he was the one who has brought Assange “to justice” and will use him all through the campaign.

    • lysias

      Trump’s base would far prefer it if Trump pardoned Assange.

      This isn’t electoral politics. It’s Trump acceding to the wishes of the Deep State.

      • Tom Welsh

        Don’t forget the “precedent” that has so often been cited: that Obama choose not to prosecute Wikileaks because such prosecution would apply equally to the MSM.

        I hope we have all noticed that Trump needs no more reason to tear anything down than that Obama built it.

      • Julie. Sydney, Australia

        I am intrigued to read this. On WHAT are you basing your statement,Trump’s base would far prefer it if Trump pardoned Assange” ?

  • Mighty Drunken

    Thank you Craig for this informative piece on an important case, perversely ignored by the media.

    What concerns me most is Julian’s physical and mental condition. It feels like he will not survive even a short prison sentence. I suspect it is a combination of drugs, psychological torture and nutritional deficiencies.

  • Tony Tingle

    This is strongly reminiscent of the inhuman, vengeful treatment handed out to another whistle-blower – Mordecai Vanunu – by the Israeli state.

    • antoon van maris

      And you and me, us, will be next ! The sooner Julian is dead, the sooner they’ll come for, Us, if they are not allready after us, so we’d better start defending ourselfs !

  • Andyoldlabour

    Thanks Craig, for this depressing but hugely necessary thread, because it serves to remind us that the UK is nothing more than a proxy of the US, trundling on behind the warmogering entity, validating and enabling its crimes against humanity.
    Meanwhile, the forces for good, the people trying to expose this evil, Julian being the highest profile, are being destroyed in plain sight. If I was not an atheist, I would say this is akin to the crown of thorns and the march to Calvary prior to crucifixion.
    An innocent man and people stand by, powerless to intervene.
    As Sarge said, the MSM are not even featuring this.

  • Clark

    Hello Craig, I’m glad to see that you’ve posted. If I can be of any help around London, please call.

    Next I’ll read this post.

  • John A

    I remember as a child watching a TV series about Henry VIII and his wives. Keith Michell played Henry. At some point they clearly showed some individuals being tortured to confess to some crime against the king and the infidelities of whichever queen he wanted to get rid of. They then appeared in court, blinded or otherwise showing clear evidence of torture to confess to their ‘crimes’. That was 500+ years ago when the king was the state, as it were and above and beyond all jurisdiction. Those days have clearly returned. Belmont is the new Bastille. Would that that could be stormed as well to release Assange, the very definition of a political prisoner.

  • David G Crowther

    One of the big issues today in the Australian Commonwealth parliament was press freedom and the press “Your Right to Know” campaign. Not one Australian politician stood up to discuss Assange’s predicament. Not one MSM reporter mentioned it today, not even Peter Greste.

    As far as I’m aware only one Australian politician, a federal Labor backbencher, has even raised the issue in parliament or in the media. And the Australian MSM has never spoken up on Assange’s, their fellow journalist, behalf.

    • Robyn

      To my knowledge, the only Australian MPs who have mentioned Julian Assange recently are Barnaby Joyce who said Julian should not be extradited and Andrew Wilkie who is, according to reports, trying to get together a group of parliamentarians to lobby on behalf of Julian. Peter Greste, a journalist who was imprisoned in Egypt on bogus charges, was returned to Australia after heroic intervention by the government (the same party, different office holders, as the current government). Greste’s only contribution to the Julian matter was to express sympathy for his being locked up but to point out that Julian is not a journalist.

      I can report from personal experience that writing to MPs of any party about Julian will not elicit a response of any kind.

    • Barbara

      Jo Lauria from Consortium News writes:

      Australian MPs Back Assange

      Meanwhile in Assange’s native Australia, members of Parliament have demanded that Assange be returned to his country.

      MP Andrew Wilkie told the House of Representatives last week that Assange is “an Australian citizen and must be treated like any other Australian. He was not in the U.S. when he provided evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq. He can’t possibly have broken their laws.”

      If Assange is extradited, Wilkie said he

      “faces serious human rights violations including exposure to torture and a dodgy trial. And this has serious implications for freedom of speech and freedom of the press here in Australia, because if we allow a foreign country to charge an Australian citizen for revealing war crimes, then no Australian journalist or publisher can ever be confident that the same thing won’t happen to them. Put simply, he must be allowed to return to Australia.”

      Wilkie, an Australian former intelligence officer who resigned because of the falsehoods about WMD in Iraq before the 2003 invasion, is reportedly working to set up a parliamentary committee that crosses party lines to demand that the Liberal government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison opposes Assange’s extradition.

      The Australian TV program “The Project” reported on Sunday that up to 10 politicians were ready to join the committee.

      “It’s important that parliamentarians learn the facts of this matter,” Wilkie told the program. “There’s so much naiveté and ignorance and disinformation swirling around that it’s no wonder that a lot of people are wary or even dislike Julian, but I reckon that when people find out the facts of the matter they will get behind him.

      “This is about the right of person not to be extradited to another country based on a whim or the politics of it. The whole thing stinks quite frankly, I think he should be allowed to come to Australia.”

      Wilkie called the ability for Morrison to stand up to Trump, with whom he’s said to be close, “a test for the prime minister.”

      “It’s one thing to be mates with someone, but it’s another thing entirely to agree to do something which is entirely improper. I mean ScoMo is the prime minister of Australia, he’s not the vice president of the United States I hope. And this is an opportunity for Australia to say we stand for the rule of law and we stand behind people who stand up and speak about war crimes. Australian politicians kowtow to the U.S. all the time without realizing that our alliance would be even stronger if sometimes we said, ‘No.’ Because if ScoMo just rolls over on this and is happy for Julian Assange to be extradited from Belmarsh Prison in the UK to the U.S., well that just means Australia can be taken for granted. You actually lose leverage bizarrely by having a really close relationship that Scott Morrison seems to have with Donald Trump. Rather than putting Australia in a better position it can put Australia in a weaker position because the U.S. knows it can be taken for granted.”

      Wilkie joined right-wing MP Barnaby Joyce who the previous week came out in Assange’s defense. “Whether you like a person or not, they should be afforded the proper rights and protections and the process of justice,” Joyce said.

      Wilkie told “The Project,” “When someone like Barnaby Joyce thinks there’s an issue here then people should pay attention.”

  • Mary Gordji

    It is a disgrace how Julian is being treated,the UK government should be held accountable.We all know they are puppets of America but karma will eventually get them.God bless Julian because only through Gods help shall he be set free.🙏

    • antoon van maris

      If that were thru, not only Julian, but we all, are doomed, for gods freedom of speech, is only his, word ! Time to wake up, madam, time to wake up !

  • John E

    Thank you Craig for the detailed and disturbing report. We are not getting much detailed coverage in Australia, though there was a short piece on the ABC news tonight but without much background to the case.

    Australian media just ran a Right To Know campaign, following outrageous Aus Federal Police raids on journalist Annika Smethurst and the ABC. Our media ignored the Assange case for years, which I think emboldened the Australian government to attempt press restrictions here too. Hopefully the media are making the connection now.

    Australia won’t forget Baraitser’s appalling treatment of Julian.

    Thank you for your terrific coverage and support for Julian.

  • Jarek Carnelian

    “I have been both cataloguing and protesting for years the increasingly authoritarian powers of the UK state,” and “If the state can do this, then who is next?”

    ALL OF US are next! Every last one of us, young or old, rich or poor, strong or weak. This is the writing on the Wall. This is the tyranny of a supra-national power spanning the globe and beyond, and it will never end unless the people rise up from their apathetic delusions, just say no to RealityTV and take uncompromising direct action.

    The most upsetting aspect of it is that we are NOT in fact powerless to intervene – the faceless state for all its satanic cruelty is terrified of a free and informed public. The analysis of Hallam and others is spot on: Change ONLY comes about after mass campaigns of non-violent and timely action to disrupt the status quo, and to force the evil machinations of the state into the glaring light of public awareness.

    Evil hates to be dragged into that spotlight. Assange did it, on a global scale. He is being martyred before our eyes – do not look away, do not flinch, do not fear. Swear a silent Oath against tyranny and oppression, and start walking the NVDA talk – anything less does no honour to him or to those who came before him.

    • Clark

      “do not look away, do not flinch, do not fear. Swear a silent Oath against tyranny and oppression, and start walking the NVDA talk”

      Seconded. Dear God please help me do better.

    • Theo

      I agree we (or those who haven’t yet) should start with non violent direct action on all fronts.
      ‘Dynamite’ has to be the last resort.

    • Muscleguy

      Sadly prayer will be useless. We saw in the original Swedish case that the UK state was out to lynch him. Remember the Swedish European Arrest Warrant should have been kicked out of court since it is only supposed to be used for charged people. Julian had not been charged, just wanted for interview. But the judge then ignored that. After Julian was stitched up that way the UK parliament changed the law so nobody else could be done that way. Which tells you all you need to know.

      I perfectly understand why he felt the need to walk into the Ecuadorian Embassy seeking protection. His fears of being extradited to the US were dismissed as a wild fantasy but look now.

      A Pox and every infestation possible on the current Ecuadorian govt who will have his blood on their hands if he comes to harm.

  • Gina Rose

    This is terrible and I feel so bad for you and just horrified about what is happening to Julian. Seems we are actually living in Nineteen Eighty-Four and it was George Orwell’s premonition rather than his imagination. I talk to people all the time about the horrors being inflicted upon this man and I’m just stunned and disappointed when there’s a kind of curtain of blankness that comes down – a “that’s irrelevant to me” kind of look – that’s the best case scenario – worst case is an actual argument. How can people be so blind to what is going on right in front of them? How come when a story of injustice is told in a movie or book – like Joker or 1984 or V for Vendetta or hundreds of others – people talk about it and are on the side of the protagonist – but then when it is actually happening in real time, in the real world they look right through it? It is sickening – history will not judge us kindly. If there is a history that is

  • jo black

    Craig, the situation seems rather hopeless but is there anything that can be done? Anything we could all be doing (besides sharing your post).

    • Andrew Mcguiness

      I suggest sending paragraph’s of Craig’s article to politicians and public news outlets, asking if they are aware and why they haven’t reported on this aspect of the hearing.

  • Hilary

    It sounds like Julian Assange, a journalist who enlightened the world, is being extinguished very slowly and painfully, and it fills me with rage and a sense of utter powerlessness. Is there nothing that one can do to help reverse this seemingly inexorable course?

    • Theo

      Think about your own circle. Can you hold a lecture on the basic facts around Wikileaks and Assange?
      Lure them into some location with the best food you can come up with, lock the door, and hammer them with facts and feelings.
      Only when finally a constructive group action is written down, open the door again.

      • Theo

        or at least buy Wikileaks T-Shirts and stickers, distribute them and transform the busstations in your area in your private info-coloumns.

        • Jarek Carnelian

          Use the Deed Poll and have a mass change of name movement in the form “Joe Julian Assange Bloggs” then wear the T-Shirt that says “I am Assange”. Use it to create opportunities to speak to everyone who notices it about why it is so important to us all, and FAR beyond even the Assange Phenomenon – why it should also be important to them.

          I am only kidding in part – the evidence is that the public mind is best swayed by experiencing ordinary people making extraordinary commitments and taking personal risks for a cause. XR uses the stigma of getting arrested and going to prison for the cause to enable public empathy.
          People are by now so dis-empowered by their life struggles, their several miserable jobs, their kids, their sick parents – it is very hard to find empathy in the bleakness of this state manufactured and perpetual crisis. Do not be frustrated by their closed attitude – they are just overwhelmed and often without even knowing it, their humanity is being strangled.

          At some point we need a “straw that broke the camel’s back” moment to motivate mass action and demand real change, and it MUST be via new forms of democratic engagement or the energy will be neutered in some version of the status quo under another label.

          We cannot leave it all to XR – they have the model, but there are many other injustices to fight alongside that one (which is fundamental to life itself).

  • nevermind

    Thanks, in the absence of any main media reports, Craig, it must have been a wave of emotion seeing Julian in such a state of utter mental dispair.
    I share with you the feeling that the possible outcome of this UK TORTURE TREATMENT IN BELMARSH, might result in his premature death before he is extradited.
    Such an event would be widely written about, further dragging this courageous publishets achievements through the disinformation mill, regurgitating the Swedish accusations and failings of their judiciary, all multiplying what was heard and understood as false and fake news yonks ago, like fingerpointing child bullies.
    The feeling of helplessness over the process must have resounded in George Orwell when he wrote a hypothetical book about such an all controlling situation.
    My redponse to this judgement is that i will not respect or take advice from a politically bias that is festering the British judiciary. Their petty dependancy on our taxes for their wages should be pointed out to them.

    Judge Baritser is a renegade who should be sacked for her inhumane collaborative fagging to a world power that rules by economic and military hegemony.

    May she burn in hell.
    I shall be at the next hearing of this political prisoner who can’t get justice. The same justice that let Pinochet , a mass murderer? Walk away under false pretences.

  • Sarge

    Seens scant prospect of this kind of honest reporting of next year’s hearing. The court Baraltser has nominated has a “public gallery” of just three eeats.

    “In a final vindictive move, Baraitser declared that next year’s week-long extradition hearing would take place at Woolwich Magistrates Court near Belmarsh Prison. There were audible gasps in the public gallery at Baraitser’s announcement. The venue near Belmarsh has a “public gallery” of just three seats, all but denying public scrutiny and allowing a biased media to selectively report and spread disinformation and lies”.

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/10/22/assa-o22.html

    • Antonym

      So Belmarsh is the UK variant of Guantánamo Bay. Thin sauce of just-ice to conceal the torture.
      Julian Assange was so gone that he even failed to drop down on the floor in public.

      Those involved in both places will find out that Karma is a bitch in their next lives. Looks like that Baritser woman is one already a bitch in this one: a sadist dressed up for official “business”.

  • Ken Kenn

    A chink of light in this assassination attempt by this governement’s authorities is that a Corbyn led government ( possibly assisted by the SNP – if need be? ) can stop all this.

    By Fbruary that could be a possibility – hence the rush by the US.

    It is obvious that his Belmarsh ‘ carers’ are not looking after him well at all.

    The fear of an Epstein situation should weigh heavy on everyone’s minds.

    Of course the ” fearless ” media will not report the state that he is in.

    Due to the effect that this could be a state they are all in in the future- so they keep schtum.

    No legal expert here so a little info needed:

    Julian Assange has done his Bail skipping sentence and is on a ” charge ”

    The charge seems to be a conspiracy charge.

    He is being held on remand until the case for that charge is presided over by a court.

    Has it already been decided that he broke a Law?

    Is that the reason why he is in jail?

    Is he a danger to the public – as sya a terrorist?

    Why is he not allowed to break the law as a free man as in skip bail again if he wants to?

    The right to break the law – like Johnson can?

    Or the right to run off as Mrs Saccoolas has?

    If he breaks the law as a free man then apply the law once he does it – not before.

    Or do the representatives from the Land of the Free not want that?

    • Jarek Carnelian

      All they want is for us to BEHAVE. We must bow to our masters and do their bidding, and never utter the words “Direct Action” or “General Strike”. If we dare to raise our eyes in protest – even by standing silently, even prayerfully in numbers exceeding 10, while wearing masks with the face of Assange printed there, and beneath banners that proclaim “Free Julian!”… then the message is: You Will Be Next.

      (Soon there will be brain scanners that can detect rebellious thoughts, and satellite based weapons you cannot sabotage – this is SO beyond the scope of Party Politics. Resist NOW, or forever be enslaved.)

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