Assange in Court 856


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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856 thoughts on “Assange in Court

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  • 6033624

    My own thoughts on the February date are that it either has to be a political consideration or a practical one

    Obviously they want this done quickly in any event for two reasons. Firstly you WOULD always want these matters dealt with swiftly, even if it were legal and above board but secondly I think, rather obviously, they are seeking to prevent a proper defence.

    It could be that timing is important for the sake of upcoming US electioneering? But, and I know little of this, it may be a consideration due to matters sealed by the court in the US or connected to the (I think) continued incarceration of Chelsea Manning. Is her incarceration time-limited? Does it have to be renewed? Would her reappearance in court tie in with this date, or the predicted outcome from the trial??

    Looking to Julian’s appearance and the way he was acting it is obvious that being held in solitary without the opportunity to mingle with the general population (jail) is taking its toll. Lack of human contact quickly causes mental problems, surprisingly quickly even for those with the strongest personalities. This is not some kind of short term punishment either, as such I thought this was illegal? Long term solitary is, as far as I know illegal in the UK and internationally. After all, it’s not just being on his own in a cell, he exercises alone and, as you say, the area is cleared before he can even walk through it. This has been designed to mentally torture him, there is no other reason.

    Added to the above and his very real poor mental state I would imagine that the prison are prescribing him something, or perhaps more than one drug. From personal experience I know that heavy doses of certain anti depressants can produce all of the symptoms you have described ie weight loss, hair loss, inability to concentrate for more than a few seconds, difficulty even forming coherent thoughts and sentences. These drugs CAN be useful but only for people who have a requirement due to psychosis, violent outbursts, suicidal or homicidal ideation etc. Prescribing them to someone who is (as is likely) suffering from clinical depression (his inhumane treatment would certainly lead to this I would have thought) would certainly not improve his condition but worsen it. But although it would be obvious to US it may not be obvious from his medical records, drugs have a different impact on every individual so SOME people (I have personally experienced this) are put on what ‘appears’ to be unsuitable drugs but with a good outcome, this is usually done ONLY if the patient has already tried the first and second line drugs without success. To me it appears he has been put on something very strong and a very high dose along with a secondary drug too. This will keep him quiet, disoriented and weak. By raising and lowering the dosages they can induce further bouts of what appears to be depression but is actually a withdrawal effect from the drug, just one ‘step’ down could produce up to 2 weeks of deep depression. Couple this to another night time tablet and he will be tired and unable to think at most times.

    We know ths can, and has, been done in the past. Patients in mental hospitals were treated like this in the bad old days, as were children in residential care homes. This was thought to have been left in the past, it hasn’t. Unfortunately I have seen this for myself when an inmate in a psychiatric hospital. Heavy doses of venlafaxine, trazadone and zopiclone, then drop a dose of venlafaxine to produce withdrawal leading to a further episode of acute depressive behaviour which justifies keeping someone either where they are, or on the drugs they are on. Very easy for someone who has access to the patients to torture them without their knowledge. I’m not saying this is at all common, it’s not. I’m saying it DOES happen and that Julian’s behaviour bears the hallmarks.

    I hope I’m wrong…

    • emma portman

      I have read a report from an inmate that they are injecting him daily with BZ to destroy his brain. I have also read that the CIA has been able to retrieve from him under heavy drugs the “keys” to his files revealing the names of whistleblowers. I cannot corroborate this information.

  • Gerald Fords Dog

    Why February? A General election and the possibility of a Corbyn Govt or Corbyn coalition.

  • Dan

    XXI century.

    Never forget this shit (and maybe start keeping up and catching up with it if all you know is propaganda dross and other mind control bullshit). The case of Assange and Wikileaks will always be proof that most concepts used to elevate Western “democracies” to something other than a slightly more manageable form of Feudalism are false. Sovereignty. Gone. Rule-of-law and due process. Gone. Separation of the justice system and the State(s) HAHA. The UN. No on cares. Torture. Sure why not. Transparency. Pff. Exposing War Crimes and national and global Corruption. NO CAN DO! Unaccountable and invisible actors persecuting those who expose them? Conspiracy theories from “Russian Assets”.

  • Mosaic

    In hopes that a small gesture might help Julian’s situation I contacted Amnesty International USA today.
    They have made statements in support of Julian in the spring of this year.

    I wanted to bring Craig Murray’s report to their attention.

    I was told that Amnesty has an email address where they want people to send reports etc. to bring to Amnesty’s attention. They also suggested writing a cover note explaining the importance of the issue (probably they get material that relates to relatively unknown situations).

    I reckoned there was nothing to lose, so I did so.

    I wonder whether those who would like to try to do *something** to help Julian mightn’t do the same thing.
    If Amnesty gets a large volume of email on this perhaps they will become more active.
    I pasted Craig’s report into my email and also sent the URL.

    Here is the Amnesty address to use:
    [email protected]
    My subject line: Oct. 22. Assange, Westminster Court hearing
    My cover note:

    “Dear Amnesty,
    I am deeply shocked by what occurred yesterday in Westminster Court in the hearing concerning the extradition of Julian Assange.

    Craig Murray was there and wrote a detailed report (below; also see
    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/10/assange-in-court/) that includes not only a description of what occurred but also provides some legal background documents that demonstrate the illegality of the attempt to extradite Julian. Namely, he is a political prisoner, and those with such a status are not covered by the extradition agreement between the USA and the UK.

    Murray also reports that the actual hearing, in February, is to be held inside Belmarsh Prison, where there are just 6 seats available to the press and public. In other words, in effect, a Star Chamber setup.

    Even if Assange had committed an extraditable crime, the conditions under which he is being held are inhumane. He is being tortured and slowly killed. He may not survive until February. This is doubly horrifying in the light of the fact that in the opinion of many he is a political prisoner, a journalist, a very important whistleblower who has committed no crime at all.

    The idea of the CIA spying on Julian in the Ecuadorian Embassy so that he had zero privacy is both sickening–and sick.

    Please read the account below (or at the website). I urge Amnesty to make a loud and public protest against the treatment of Assange in prison, and also against the very idea of extraditing him to the clutches of the USA. His civil rights are already being withheld by the theft of his materials and his ability to mount a defense is being fatally compromised—that is *literally* fatally compromised since he is slowly being killed.”
    ++++++++

    Please consider sending an email in support of Julian to Amnesty. Possibly they will respond with some kind of stepped-up defense of his rights as a prisoner of conscience.

  • technicolour

    Tried to post a summary of this on the Guardian website, with links, but it kept getting deleted, Thanks

    • Jen

      Try Off-Guardian.org instead, you are wasting your time with The Fraudian. The Fraudian won’t defend Julian Assange but is only interested in character assassinations of him.

  • Jason Smoothpiece

    I am very saddened to read this article. If there is any justice in the UK Julian will be released.
    Shame on the UK government shame on the UK media.

  • Ros Thorpe

    They are speeding things up because he’s dying and they need to find him guilty before he dies. Simple.

  • Monster

    I don’t reckon his legal team is anywhere near on the ball. Can’t they get a judicial review? The blatant disregard of procedures by this airhead magistrate is beyond belief.

    • Theo

      1) educate yourself on the case
      2) talk to relatives, friends, workcolleagues, whoever (even short non-confrontational discussions)
      3) buy T-Shirts or stickers from https://wikileaks.shop – wear, distribute and apply a sticker to your local politicians/’journalists’ forehead
      4) invite people to your home, serve some food and tell them, the most delicious wine will only be opened when you all have agreed on some group action to support Julian
      5) donate to his defence fund / WL
      6) locate MSM ‘journalists’ in your area and superglue a free Assange poster to their door and their car -> http://somersetbean.com/free-assange/
      7) invent your own action

      • Deb O'Nair

        It may seem futile but send a message to your MP and get concerned friends to do the same. Many MPs are as ignorant as the general population on matters that don’t make it onto corporate news outlets. https://www.writetothem.com/ If your MP is Alan Duncan just send him some expletives – he is the one who used his privileged position in the HoC to describe JA as a miserable little maggot.

        You can also complain about the conduct of the magistrate via Email: [email protected]

  • Mrs Pau!

    Anyone able to find out anything about Baraitser on line. It all appears tonnage been removed.

    • Brianfujisan

      Mrs Paul –

      ” Anyone able to find out anything about Baraitser on line. It all appears tonnage been removed.”

      That made me wonder where Sharp Ears has got to.. I hope She is ok

  • Brianfujisan

    Craig.. Thank you for this very valuable work.

    It’s so poignant in many parts..

    When you announced your Skripal’s Project, I wondered if a Documentary on Julian should come first.

    i seen a video a few months ago of Julian’s dad speaking –

    ‘If Julian goes down, the rest of you do’ –

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KRND_oFoME&t=161s

    • Hatuey

      Agree. Since it’s the same corrupt people and institution at the root of both cases, and so much else, there’s also a case for a third video… probably a box set actually.

      Britain was never an angel but it seems to me that the country has fallen into the hands of really dedicated scumbags in the last few years. I suspect it’s all connected to dark money coming in from offshore.

  • Tom Welsh

    “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”.

    Surely the judge must be obliged by law to rule Assange unfit to stand trial?

  • Linda Lewis

    That sounds exactly like the American government’s idea of justice for truthtellers. It’s the same formula used for whistleblowers who disclosure abuses of power.

  • SayLess

    A couple of points to add.

    Near the end of the hearing, Baraitser asked Julian to stand and asked him if he understood what had occurred, and explained the next steps. I didn’t quite know why, but the way she addressed him stuck in my mind and troubled me. I now realise why it troubled me – the way she spoke to him was the same way one would speak to eitherr a child of around 5, someone of limited intelligence, or an elderly person losing their faculties. And the fact she addressed him this way means that SHE KNEW the extent of Julian’s diminished health. If she knows this, doesn’t she have a duty to arrange for him to be treated? Doesn’t she have a duty to delay any hearings until he is an acceptable level of fitness? I am sure I have read about court proceedings that have been delayed due to the health of the attendees.

    In the Extradition Treaty that Murray refers to above, point 2) may be where the loop-hole is. 2(a) lists one reason on offence shall not be considered a political offence: “an offence for which both Parties have the obligation to a multilatereal international agreement to extradite”. Could it be that there is a multilatereal international agreement which covers the offences Julian is accused of? If there isn’t, then point 1) is crystal clear no extradition should be allowed.

    I don’t think anyone could argue sanely that Julian’s offenses are not political offences. The Wikipedia page on political crimes is instructive. Especially relevant is the quote from Thomas Jefferson:

    “Treason. This, when real, merits the highest punishment. But most Codes extend their definitions of treason to acts not really against one’s country. They do not distinguish between acts against the government, and acts against the Oppressions of the Government. The latter are virtues: yet have furnished more victims to the Executioner than the former…”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_crime

    I don’t think it can be disputed that Julian’s goal in publishing those documents was to make the public aware of corruption and war crimes so that those responsible could be held to account. Ultimately his goal was to make the world a better place. Seeing this evil being brought upon him is nothing short of abhorrent.

    • Theo

      treason against a foreign country?
      will Vatican state be able to intradite me for not believing in god from now on?
      will anybody be extraditable to any country because that government invents some far-fetched fairy-tale?

      • Tom Welsh

        Not quite, Theo, I think.

        Jefferson referred to “acts not really against one’s country”. By that I think he meant acts against a corrupt or criminal government, or its members.

        Many others agreed. For instance:

        “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public”.

        – Theodore Roosevelt

        • Theo

          As you see, both didn’t have the faintest idea it could be possible to indict a foreigner in a foreign country of espionage.
          They lived in times, when common sense was noticable.

  • Jenny James

    Craig thank goodness you are there to write such clear and shocking accounts of what is being done to Julian, and to campaign on his behalf.
    I am breathless after reading your report and see that Britain is indeed turning fascist if this is allowed to go ahead.
    (I left England in 1974)
    I want you and Julian to win. That ‘judge’ should be behind bars herself.

  • Blissex

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

    What an innocent question: for several years GW Bush, BH Obama, D Trump, and also G Williamson, have boasted in public, for naked electoral purposes, that they give regularly lists of “enemies of the people” to be kidnapped, tortured and/or eliminated, to a vast network of military/security services junta-style death squads, all taxpayer funded, and the taxpayers are delighted by the rapid “disappearance” of their alleged enemies. That’s the new standard: the “Star Chamber” and “lettres de cachet”.

  • Ronelle

    “…what makes the February date so important to the USA? I would welcome any thoughts.”

    We won’t know the answer until February but my immediate thought was that some new false flag extravaganza has already been planned for March. That’s always a good month for an invasion or serious confrontation (China? Russia? Iran?) allowing the President to claim “mission accomplished ” a few months before his “landslide re-election.”

  • Deb O'Nair

    The UK, after 20 years of Neoliberal and Neoconservative dominated politics, has produced 3 PMs who are indictable war criminals. This country, which has been the victim of their authoritarian regimes, is now controlled by a lawless, despotic, fascist elite running a corrupt police state which is totally subservient to a foreign nation. You can stick “the special relationship” and “shoulder to shoulder” right up there along with “strong and stable”, “taking back control” and “Brexit means Brexit”. Prime examples of just how dumb the majority of the UK has become; instead of reasoned discourse and debate people are bombarded with meaningless three word slogans endlessly repeated. People have their human and legal rights snatched away before their eyes and they say nothing. Their country is being sold out to a bunch of foreign oligarchs, financial institutions and multinational corporations and all they can grunt is “get Brexit done”, just as they have been endlessly instructed. The disgraceful plight of JA is not the problem, it’s the symptom.

    • Hatuey

      Totally agree with all of that, particularly the stuff about how dumb the majority are. What passes as British culture today — football, strictly, Brexit, Union Jacks on everything, the BBC, etc. — simply makes me want to throw up.

      It’s good being a sort of anti-social crackpot though… tonight I happily sat and read a geology book for about 2 hours.

  • Ian

    Even if, for whatever reason, you believed Assange should stand trial in America, you could not possibly condone the methods being used to forcibly relocate him there. It is beyond belief that he is being treated as a Grade A terrorist, a man who has no known history of violence or any capital crime, and clearly no danger to anyone. You also could not possibly condone the deliberate disallowance to him of the most basic human right of a legal defence, with access to evidence and time to prepare a case, as well of course as access to any necessary medical treatment.
    It is shocking to see the UK government, who have clearly agreed to whatever the US has demanded and given assurances that he will be handed over, behave as ruthlessly as we expect from countries like Israel, China and Russia, when it comes to the treatment of political dissidents.
    He is accused of hacking, or abetting hacking, crimes for which the UK has previously argued for clemency and compassion from the US for the individuals concerned, and there has been widespread concern about whether those people would get a fair trial, much discussed in the media. There is clearly no chance of a fair trial when the accused is unfit to stand, and has been denied access to his defence. A robust UK would at the very least stand up for those principles. It is a sign of how far we have fallen, and how corrupt we have become, with no shame.
    But most of all, it underlines how terrified they are of a fair trial, where Assange can articulately argue his case, the evidence can be provided, witnesses called and the illegal CIA behaviour exposed. And that they will make certain is never going to happen. Whatever you think of Assange’s actions, no human being in a so-called civil state, deserves this. Trump is the tip of the iceberg, a dark, dystopian hell-hole, where dissent is vanished.

    • jake

      Remember in all of this that he is not being imprisoned as a man found guilty in law of any crime…he is being held in remand.

  • Tatyana

    Very upset to know it.

    February – I guess Brexit will be delayed until February.

    When people were going to rallies in support of Assange, demanding to release him, I expressed my opinion that this would not help. Not a single judge or government has the power to release a person at the request of protesters.
    Efforts should be directed at requiring the authorities to adopt a special law that protects journalists and whistleblowers.
    It’s like with video shooting – it’s forbidden to make photos or videos of people without their consent. But at the same time, it’s allowed to make photos or videos, fixing an offense. We need a law that extends this principle to information.

    • Hatuey

      “It’s like with video shooting – it’s forbidden to make photos or videos of people without their consent.”

      Actually it isn’t illegal, at least not in public. In the U.K. you can film and photograph anyone or anything if visible from a public accessible area — you can have no expectation of privacy in a public place.

      I used to be somewhat involved with PINAC which you can search for on YouTube.

  • Elizabeth Burton

    With regard to why the US is in such a rush, February is the month of the first caucus in preparation for determining the Democrat Party’s candidate for president. By the end of March, it should be clear which of the contenders will lead the pack; and there is a very good chance that leader will be Sen. Bernie Sanders, despite the Democrats’ and their sycophant media’s ongoing efforts to convince the public otherwise.

    Sen. Sanders just announced today (10/22/19) that as president he will end the practice of prosecuting whistleblowers under the Espionage Act. This comes as no surprise to those of us who have followed or studied his career, and it’s very likely something the current political factions in DC would consider likely. So, the goal is to get “the Assange business” cleared up before next November, at the latest.

    • glenn_uk

      What “Democrat Party” is this that you refer to? There is no such thing. There is the Democratic Party, of course. Perhaps you are not very well informed on US politics?

        • glenn_uk

          Oh, I get the message alright – it’s a bunch of right-wing talking points dressed up as comments about Assange. Or comments about Assange, peppered with right-wing talking points.

          • Hatuey

            Being a bit petty there, Glenn, but don’t mistake me for someone who cares.

            I don’t see anything offensive in what Elizabeth said and of all the comments I have read hers is the one that I think offers the most room for a little hope.

          • glenn_uk

            Hmm, perhaps. But talking about journalists as if they’re all raging lefties (and of course the big media companies – staffed from the multi-million $ CEO on down – they’re all anti-capitalist commies too!), then this “Democrat Party” nonsense – a neat little word-play long used by proponents of hard-right politics.

            In any case, the US has been champing at the bit to get hold of Assange ever since his activism started. The idea that all this is because of a statement by Sanders released just today rings a little hollow.

  • Ken Kenn

    Lets put this simply.

    If Julian Assange was a dog and in the Battersea Dogs Home in the ‘ care ‘ of the kennel owners and the dog had lost 30 plus pounds in weight then the twitter sphere and the hand wring Guardian would have an expose in respect of the maltreatment of the animal.

    The media say nothing – as they could be the next dog.

    Tulsi Gabbard is a bad dog – as is Corbyn.

  • Hatuey

    We are all terminally ill and on death row. Assange will at least die a hero.

    In terms of prolonging his life, I actually think he might benefit from being extradited out of the clutches of the twisted British establishment. And I still think he can win his case in the US by way of jury nullification.

    Britain is a rancid open sewer today, run by criminals for criminals. Half of the bastards don’t even pay a penny in tax. If I was Assange, I’d be praying they extradited me just to get out of this backward hole of a country.

    • glenn_uk

      Things don’t work out that well for people revealing the truth about the US establishment. Didn’t work out too well for Chelsea Manning, nor indeed for poor Aaron Schwartz. The US justice system is appallingly brutal, positively sadistic in dealing with those deemed to be a problem to the system itself. Never mind ordinary criminals lacking huge financial resources.

  • Nick

    The psychopaths are running the show as they have for a few thousand years.
    Unfortunately can’t see Assange’s torture changing that.
    Humanity is fucked.

  • Malcolm Bush

    Thank you most sincerely for this article regarding Julian Assange; I am a ‘do gooder’ and have followed Julian Assange for a long time. This in depth coverage of the most recent events is of great interest and help to me. I am old and cannot do much, but I have posted some letters , the later ones with PO and SAE, in the hope they perhaps do some good. We can only highlight this situation and campaign all we can; though to be honest I find mass disinterest and lack of knowledge throughout the mass of the public.

  • emma portman

    2 questions
    1 – Why did Assange’s attorneys not announce in court loudly in earshot of the press that the prosecutor and the judge were taking orders from CIA agents ?
    2 – Why did the British people not storm the courthouse in protest of this blatantly fake trial and demand a real hearing by an impartial judge? How can the British people allow this travesty to continue without demanding that this disgrace of a judge be dismissed from the bench?

    • Hatuey

      There are no British people. There’s a sort of aggregate material composed of hate-filled and narrow minded crackpots who can’t see past their own self interest. Those of us who know it’s crap are in a small minority and as powerless as the bugs you scrape off your windscreen after a long drive.

      • Iain Stewart

        I appreciate your optimism, Hatuey. A couple of weeks ago we were nothing, and now we’ve progressed to squashed insects, so things are looking up 🙂

    • Paul Barbara

      @ emma portman October 23, 2019 at 02:08
      The MSM also take their orders – and $$$’s – from the CIA.
      See ‘Presstitutes Embedded in the Pay of the CIA: A Confession from the Profession’ by Dr. Udo Ulfkotte.

  • John Monro

    When I was old enough to think about such matters, in my later teenage years in the early 1960s, I wondered just how it was that an advanced and civilised nation such as Germany, a centuries’ old home (as a collection of Germanic states and later as a nation) of the best and most advanced in science, culture, music, literature and philosophy could, over a period of about seven years, deteriorate and regress to a witch-hunting, cruel and despotic mediaeval society. I never thought I’d be around long enough to be pondering the same question about my own country. I have lived in New Zealand for over thirty years, but still have awful bouts of home-sickness and feel keenly the absence of my relatives in my life. So I follow events in the UK as obsessively as I follow events in New Zealand. I have observed the deterioration of democracy in the UK over a number of years and the concomitant gross inequalities and unfairness of neoliberal and right wing dogmas, and understood how the crumbling edifice of the Houses of Parliament is a perfect metaphor for the crumbling political edifice of the “Mother of All Parliaments”, which should of course now be renamed “The Mother F……r of All Parliaments”. Julian Assange has had the particular misfortune to have started his whistle blowing activities at a time when the UK democratic institutions are no longer capable of anything other than protecting its own corrupt organ, or acting as surrogate for another failing state, the US, and he is suffering the consequences – he may well die for his beliefs, he won’t be the first and he won’t be the last. .. But in a sense, you’re all suffering the same. A few people, like you, Craig, and those subscribing to this blog and similar outlets of opinion, see this all too vividly, but the vast majority of the population are totally unaware and are fodder for whatever misfortune is coming your / our way.

    That magistrate you describe and the previous judicial authorities that have dealt to Julian in the UK over the years have, merely in their contempt for Julian as a human being, proven that there is no longer a worthwhile justice system in the UK. Yes, other judges did ultimately find against Boris Johnson and his illegal prorogation, so it’s not completely black, but I now understand that with a compliant or scared or bought judiciary, you can persuade meekness and compliance in the face of tyranny and you can do anything. It’s actually quite easy. Just a few plotters, keen planning, ruthlessness, lying as modus operandi and an utter disregard to humane action, and you can mobilise a nation to war, to rage, to stupidity, to ignorance and to self-destruction.

    I can certainly understand your raging, shaking frustration and anger, I feel the same from 12,000 miles away. The feeling of impotence in the face of unreason must have been felt by a considerable number of Germans in the 1930s – they eventually were quietened or seen to, or maybe they wrote down on paper with pen and ink and with equally shaking hands what they were witnessing and then just faded away from view as events overwhelmed them all.

    • Hatuey

      The court’s decision against Boris shouldn’t be misconstrued as any sort of healthy sign. Brexit is a disagreement at the top of society amongst the rich and powerful, with most establishment institutions on one side or the other (I’d say most were full of Remainers since in most cases it was Remainer politicians that put them there).

      As for missing this den of iniquity and corruption, trust me, you made the right decision getting out. I’m envious.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ John Monro October 23, 2019 at 02:26
      From what you write, I guess you are a little younger than me (I was born 1943).
      ‘…Just a few plotters, keen planning, ruthlessness, lying as modus operandi and an utter disregard to humane action, and you can mobilise a nation to war, to rage, to stupidity, to ignorance and to self-destruction…’
      That very neatly sums up Britain’s deliberate fomenting of WWI. We both fell for the ‘Victor’s History’, and you probably still believe the Kaiser brought about WWI. But no, it was principally Britain, with France a willing partner and Russia a reluctant one (it wasn’t the Czar who wanted war, but Russians in the pay of the Brits) – see ‘Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War’ by Gerry Docherty and James MacGregor. And it was the iniquitous ‘Versialles Treaty’ which was responsible for the rise of Hitler and WWII, along with American Banksters and industrialiists who built him up in the 30’s.
      If you read the book, you will see just how your sentence (quoted above) fits the British/French/Russian plotting for WWI to a T.
      Now, the ‘West’ is plotting WWIII. The lives of the masses and the destruction mean sod all to the PTB, who foolishly believe they will be safe in their deep underground bunkers,

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