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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  • Peter Fitzpatrick

    Leon, ask any irishman & you’ll find its not so unbelievable after all… Britain has a LONG history of tyranny…

    • Jarek Carnelian

      Yes. That history is also predictably suppressed, though it is currently there for the reading if we care to search (until government AI takes control of what should be removed from the search results!) The historical truth is that Empire perpetuates through tyranny. What is new to our Era is the truly GLOBAL reach of this, and the scope of the consequence – a toxicity that cannot be escaped by running away to another country or founding some other colony… soon we will need to go off planet to claim any freedoms at all.

  • David MillsG.

    I am disgusted by the way in which this man is being treated and will forward this communication to my M.P..

    • Robyn

      I sent it to ‘my’ Prime Minister (Australia). So far no response, which is the response I’ve had to all my other attempts to get something out of the MPs I’ve emailed about Julian. Total silence. Perhaps if more people contacted their MP the weight of numbers would make a difference – it was public pressure which got Australian David Hicks out of Guantánamo and back home.

      • J

        “Perhaps if more people contacted their MP the weight of numbers would make a difference”

        More people are catching on (again) so presumably it’s going to start costing them votes to ignore us. You’d think anyway.

        • Tom Welsh

          We won’t have an opportunity to vote until Parliament graciously permits us to have an election.

          Which at present they don’t.

          • Goodwin

            I think that’s down to Steptoe and the party that brought us the Iraq War and extraordinary rendition …

  • Alex

    Assange is being publicly destroyed in part as an object lesson to any potential whistleblower out there. It also keeps the stenographer MSM in line and not to ask too many questions of a revealing or investigatory nature. See Peter Oborne’s excellent piece yesterday on pliant ‘ journalism’. Great work Craig

  • Jarek Carnelian

    Truly – they do not need to give us a Martyr – seriously, it is WE who need to terrify the Imperialists!

  • Crispa

    What is also concerning is the refusal to grant Chris Williamson MP the bringing forward of a motion in Parliament.about Julian Assange’s treatment. This was on the grounds that the matter was (i) sub judice (ii) the speaker refused to use his discretion to waive the matter, and allow it, which is in his power. If an MP cannot raise a question of human rights in parliament, which this would a have been, rather than a matter of potential interference in the judicial process, which as I understand it is the reason for the sub judice rule, what hope do the rest of us have of having our rights protected?
    Why should not the Home Secretary who started this off be held to account for the consequences of his decision, which are becoming plain to the whole world? And for that matter, when the alleged offence is unrelated to the breaking of a UK law, and where the political undertones cannot be ignored, why should the sub judice rule apply anyway? No doubt msm in their lack of meaningful reporting are hiding behind this smokescreen.

  • Jm

    Not a peep in The Grauniad of course.

    Happily though you can read about new Marvel Superhero movies,fashion trends,Coldplay and Springsteen guff,nice recipes and Martin Scorsese’s thoughts on Lou Reed.

    It’s almost as if the biggest war crimes,freedom of press and human rights story of our times doesn’t interest them in the slightest.

    Disgusting cowards.

  • Terry Jones

    Forgive me but what were people who supported Assange expecting?

    I have attempted over the course of the past few years to highlight the very real issue of misuse of psychiatry by the authorities in the UK and elsewhere, in cases where they have something to hide.

    This would appear to have been the case here judging by Julian Assange’s mental state.

    Sadly, wikileaks and other similar publication were seemingly dismissive of the issue. Had they listened and highlighted the issue, perhaps Julian might not be in the position which he is in.

    Whatever your opinion on Julian Assange and wikileaks, the treatment of the former rather discredits the reputation of British and American justice, such as it is.

    • Terry Jones

      I do not know much about the case and there may be some issue which can be determined in a court of law in a reasonable manner. At a glance, given the treatment to which he is subject, it seems very doubtful that there is a case to answer and more probable that this is sheer malice on the part of the authorities.

      This case may, as perhaps is intended, have the effect of putting off future whistleblowers or indeed it may galvanize future whistleblowers. What is certain however is that it will have the effect of putting off people from going to the United States or the United Kingdom.

    • Deb O'Nair

      “the very real issue of misuse of psychiatry by the authorities in the UK”

      In many instances the mental health act is clearly being used as an extension of the criminal justice act to confine and punish people. It always sends shivers down my spine when I hear some despotic politician talking about their concern for mental health – there motivation is not driven by a concern for the well being of individuals but extending the power of authorities, particularly the police, to silence and ruin people that they deem are engaging in what they like to call ‘anti-social’ behaviour, which is often just non-compliance or self-expression. This is straight out of the Soviet Union.

  • The Seeker

    Of course the State can do that: it does that since it existed.
    The State want to be the sole administrator of “justice” (and violence) not by mistake: they want to be sure to use it to destroy the good people and free the bad ones when they see fit.

    It happened, and happens, countless times.

    Maybe one day you’ll realize that the State is your enemy, but it will be too late, the propaganda brainwashing has already won.

  • Cascadian

    I have sent a copy of the whole web page to my MP – Mark Lancaster – Conservative MP for Milton Keynes North.

    I expect that I will receive the usual claim to be unable to act due to parliamentary procedures, etc.

    • J

      Mine repeated all the media talking points, almost as cover.* ‘I’m Left Wing, I would do something, but this Assange guy is loathsome and it wouldn’t be fashionable.’

      *Whatever else media lies are for, they certainly provide substantial cover for MP’s.

  • Jarek Carnelian

    Speaking of Psychiatry (and not just the obvious Organisational and Criminal Insanity of the state) we each have an issue to confront. We are all of us INSIDE a process of habitual dis-empowerment, long designed by the Controllers to keep themselves in endless power over those whose suffering they feed upon – and truly, it does appear that torture, war and all manner of horrors perpetuated on the peoples is literally a joyous nectar to these monsters.

    When we can only find ourselves on the inside looking out of our little fishbowl and repeating “oh looook, a castle!” every time there is a General Election, then nothing will ever change. We need to admit that we have a vast blind spot right where the Controllers want it and we need to actively assist each other in escaping the myth of our collective dis-empowerment.

    This myth is FAR greater and more damaging than we can imagine. We are all to an extent Enablers of the evils of state… who among us does all that we can? We can ALL do better, and acting together is not an arithmetic sum of so many units, it is at least geometric, and exponential in terms of consequences. I believe that even a small group of people united in their good intentions and commitment truly can change the world – many such groups acting together can change the world quickly, and this is what we need now. XR can say QED, and that is just the beginning.

  • mary

    I am so disgusted and heartbroken that human beings, whatever their nationality, can behave this way.
    Thank you Craig for your report, we must do more to make sure that these devils don’t get their way and destroy Julian Assange in his fight to tell the truth about what’s going on behind our backs.
    We can’t ignore this poor man’s plight, if we do we de-humanise ourselves, and deserve all the lies and deceptions that are common everyday occurrences now in our world. One day it might be our turn to suffer under injustice, and there will be no-one left to speak up for us if we don’t start defending the innocent now.

  • JB

    Thank you Craig for this report. How else would I/we know what really went on. (So much for the media as such and their purpose).
    Nothing surprising happened in the courtroom. The arrogance of evil power dressed as a judge and a court (how sad and dangerous) vs decency and the powerless all-the-rest of us. We allow such abuse all the time in every shape and form.
    Julian Assange needs to be saved, his life is clearly in danger after being in true peril for a very long time.
    An urgent request is needed for his release on humanitarian grounds due to his overall deterioration that you have described.
    There is a moral obligation to save this innocent man being destroyed before the whole world and all our eyes.
    We need the UN ( the EU is hopeless) and all people of conscience to put a stop to this murder in progress.
    Effective action is needed now. How do we live, if he dies?

  • S Green

    “Cowards and Sadists Support The Persecution Of Assange”

    Interesting, as a US veteran, my cowardice landed me in a military hospital where I stayed for 1.5 years from injuries received during service. Post service an armed home invader hit my girlfriends house while I was having dinner.

    The coward that I am I escaped out the back door, but only to arm myself at my vehicle and then flanked the armed intruder and stopped this threat. I was safe, but the coward I am went back to help the others.

    Actions have consequences and Assange has recklessly put many in harm’s way due to non redaction. Especially that raw NSA source code, releasing that was not kosher in ANY WAY.
    Now I very much appreciated Wiki showing Hillary as the sociopath she is, but Assange crossed many lines, and for that he must answer to.

    PS, All he had to do is behave himself in that embassy, instead he caused friction and they eventually had enough. If I was in his shoes, I’d have been a better guest. But Assange created his bed, totally his fault he went from a Tempur Pedic embassy bed to a 4″ prison mattress, that’s on him. I do however feel bad for his cat he had at the Embassy, I hope it found a new home.

    • Cascadian

      Mr. Green.
      I respectfully suggest that you educate yourself considerably more about the realities regarding what Wikileaks and Assange may or may not have done.

      And I’ll ask a question: do you excuse the actions of the Apache crew for what they did in Iraq? I’m a pilot and the way that helicopter was leisurely floating around over the scene indicates very clearly that they did not perceive that they were under threat. And the audio track indicates, also very clearly, that they were spoiling for action and took it regardless of the evidence available. Further, I am utterly convinced that it was not an isolated incident.

      You argue about putting people in harms way – well the US’ adventure in Iraq put a lot of innocent people in harms way on the basis of a littany of lies. If you are so convinced that people who put others in harms way, inadvertently or otherwise, should be punished then why no start with your own leaders who you so willingly obeyed.

      And before you accuse me of being a mere civvy, I am ex British Army.

        • Cascadian

          And my response was directed at the post immediately above mine which is labelled as being from S GREEN.

          Exactly where do you fit into my response??

      • Brianfujisan

        Cascadian.. Well said, and thank you for sharing your Expertise

        ” well the US’ adventure in Iraq put a lot of innocent people in harms way on the basis of a littany of lies ”

        And the same sadistic lies that ended up with the Carnage in Libya.. the same attempted Ruin and slaughter in Syria.. The sort of evil Lies that lead to dead Babies washing up on Turkish. and other Mediterranean beaches..Like Syrian Baby Aylan.

    • Jm

      You’re spectacularly missing the point,is that deliberate?

      If you are a guest at someone’s house do you expect to be spied on by numerous cameras and microphones?

      Oh and the issue is one of moral not physical cowardice.

      Do try and keep up hmm?

    • Doghouse

      “All he had to do is behave himself….”

      And therein lies the problem. For more than half a century with or without the backing or assistance of others, the US raptor has been telling the rest of the world how to behave and to ensure that it does has deposed elected leaders, destabilised stable democracies, applied liberal sanctions and used you and your buddies as pawns to that end, invading country after country and engaging in endless war and causing untold death, destruction and abject misery whilst some of your buddies have engaged in some of the most stomach churning war crimes in the history of humanity, all in the name of civilised democracy. Perhaps before pointing the finger at a true pacifist,like Mr Assange you should question your own decisions and motives. You knew the potential when you signed up to the endless war waaaay from home then returned to look after your woman having left great swathes of nameless women widows.

      How would you feel if your home was not a superpower, if such a monster deemed your leader unacceptable, sanctioned you to the point of starvation, then rained mega bombs time and time again on the heads of your woman, your mother, your sister. Can you for one minute begin to consider the sheer heart-stopping abject fear that so many civilians, me women and children have had to endure because they didn’t behave themselves?

      The true hero finds no need to declare himself such. The true hero is a pacifist who stands firm and says “this is wrong”, he or she is unarmed and calls out a superpower. That my friend is heroism.

      If he’d behaved himself – sheesh. And who are you to determine what is appropriate behaviour?

      • Doghouse

        That was a reply to S Green, not sure how it ended here.
        If there is a God, may he or she bring some peace and sanity to this world and these times.

    • jmg

      S Green wrote:
      > Actions have consequences and Assange has recklessly put many in harm’s way due to non redaction.

      That’s an old smear that was already debunked by multiple witnesses. For example:

      “Davis said the assertions by Guardian journalists that Assange exhibited a callous attitude towards US informants and others who may have been harmed by the publication of the document were ‘lies.’ . . .

      “Their statements have played a key role in the attempts by the corporate media to smear Assange, and dovetail with US government claims that the 2010 publications ‘aided the enemy.’ In reality, the US and Australian militaries have been compelled to admit that release of the Afghan war logs did not result in a single individual coming to physical harm. . . .

      “Significantly, Davis explained that despite the vast technical resources of the Guardian and the New York Times (NYT), it was left to Assange to personally redact the names of informants and other individuals from the war logs, less than three days before scheduled publication. Davis said Assange was compelled to work through an entire night, during which he removed some 10,000 names from the documents.

      “‘Julian wanted to take the names out,’ Davis said. ‘He asked for the releases to be delayed.’ The request was rejected by the Guardian, ‘so Julian was left with the task of cleansing the documents. Julian removed 10,000 names by himself, not the Guardian.’”

      Australian investigative journalist exposes Guardian/New York Times betrayal of Assange
      https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/08/10/assa-a10.html

        • Ian

          It really doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with what he did. No sentient human being could condone what is happening to him now, or the way the trial is being gerrymandered. Any person is entitled to a fair trial, which means access to your legal counsel and any necessary evidence. And of course it goes without saying that such a person is entitled to be treated in a basic humane way while in custody, with access to any medical facilities as required. The way he is being treated would be an outrage even in the worst of dictatorships, never mind a supposed civil democratic country in charge of its own affairs.

    • Mighty Drunken

      S Green, can you be specific to the unredacted and dangerous leaks made by Wikileaks? I am having trouble finding an example, for example Eternalblue was leaked by the Shadow Brokers.
      The US diplomatic cables is usually given as an example, but it was actually The Guardian journalists who leaked the password.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ S Green October 24, 2019 at 17:19
      Juliian Assange was quite clearly ‘fitted up’ in Sweden at the behest of the CIA (who are very free with ‘Black Money’ they get from illegal arms deals, drug trafficking and people (especially child) trafficking (see ‘Presstitutes, Embedded in the Pay of the CIA’ by Udo Ulfkotte).
      And you seem to believe the baloney about his ‘misbehaviour’ in the Ecuadorean Embassy. The reason that he was ejected was because a slimy traitor to the people and country of Ecuador made out he was a Socialist, got voted in by them, then immediately showed his true colours by filling his government with the Right-Wing Opposition. I have no doubt he was encouraged in that trickkery by the ‘Great Satanic Empire’ to their north. Lenin Moreno, already in debt to the Yanks, was then bribed with massive loans to chuck Assange out, and he didn’t take much persuading. A previous Embassy staffer says Assange behaved quite normally and amicably.
      Like all Luciferians, the Yank administrations can’t abide the truth, and punish it whilst letting War Crimes go unpunished, indeed often the perps are promoted.
      Now Trump says he’ll send more troops, and tanks, to ‘look after’ the oil in Syria, and will later decide what to do with it. A completely lawless, thieving pack of War Criminal Satanists run the States, and have been in the ascendancy ever since they assassinated JFK.

  • Jm

    Cascadian,

    To clarify:my post at 17.30 is directed at S.Green.

    Other than that I’ve no issues with your post at all.I think it’s just the vagaries of the blog reply timeline/format that causes confusion.

  • writeon

    Craig. Really excellent work. I think the truly ghastly circumstances brings out the best in your prose. Righteous anger at the dreadful treatment of Julian Assange. It kind of undermines close to everything one used to believe about the ‘liberal’ character of our democracy. Can this really be happening in this way, with scarcely a murmur of protest or even meaningful coverage from the rest of the media, like they’ve all swallowed a loyalty to the state pill and none of them have the courage to spit it out and tell the public the truth about what’s happening? Not in Russia, not in North Korea, not in Iran; but in England. It’s like we’ve moved into the ‘post democratic’ era without people realising it. This whole miserable process is really breaking a butterfly on the wheel.

    • lysias

      Craig’s work in this thread will be remembered. Like Voltaire’s work protesting the injustices of the French monarchy, like Russian Samizdat, it will be anthologized over and over.

      Once a system is discredited and loses legitimacy, it is one crisis — be it economic, fiscal, or war — away from revolution.

  • Amie Stroud

    I’m so very enraged and saddened and shocked, to say the least, to be a witness to the destruction of such a man as Julian Assange. There is no hope for any nation to free themselves from the corrupt dictators who unlawfully enforce their will on the masses. As a 40 year old American I believed that we are free and that our government surpassed those of the world but I see that I was so very misled by those in power as we all are. It is sickening that no one seems to be aware, much less care about the censorship and murder of all who dare to speak the truth about the politicians or the elite and I can only pray that the world wakes up before we lose all ability to strike down these ruthless oppressors! My thoughts and prayers are with Assange, his family, and friends. May the Most High God bless and keep you all.
    P.S. You have permission to post my comment and name. I have no desire to hide.

  • Yukon John

    Julian’s claim of possessing “irrefutable evidence” contending Russia was not responsible for the US DNC hack has made the deepest State actors in the Five Eyes intelligence apparatus all culpable for a great hoax. Damning indeed, if in fact Julian has the goods. One would have to think they’ve broken him by now to reveal such evidence, but maybe not! If they haven’t, they certainly have interest in his “natural” demise, or discredit from perceived cognitive decline.

    I find it implausible cooperation would be that to light between Trump affiliated Justice Department staff and U.K. counterparts, so, my guess is the court participants are all Intel agency officials, looking to forestall a Julian extradition to a Trump controlled Justice Department – or at least before they attempt an impeachment!

    I would argue the safest place for Julian is in the hands of a Trump controlled Justice Department, as it was clearly not them bringing the indictment against Assange related to Chelsea’s theft – the May 2019 indictment carrying potential death penalty implications. This indictment has been refuted by Trump appointed officials and they have publicly stated will not be pursuing – quite apparently filed by Five Eye conspirators to provide a basis for delay, if not denial of extradition. If Assange can exonerate the Russians, he has great value to Trump and will destroy those elements running rogue, now referred to as the Deep State! Julian’s extradition should be expedited, to save him!

    • Jesse

      I agree that Julian would be safer in the US. His lawyers here would be given ample time to prepare, and Julian is in obvious need of medical care — he’d get it here. And I believe President Trump would probably pardon him, just to gall Hillary and “Barry O.” Look what was done for that “freak show” Bradley Manning! The “Free Assange” protest sign I’ll be holding up in Washington, D.C. will have a totally different meaning than the signs hoisted in front of the magistrate hall in UK!

      • Andrew Paul Booth

        Just work to get your US PTB to drop the trumped-up charges, if you will, Jesse. Julian would be safer here in Spain, for just one example.

      • lysias

        You’re assuming Trump would have the willingness and the power to go against the Deep State on this matter.

        If it were me, I would defy them to do their worst, but I am unmarried. Trump has a family.

  • Jesse

    The contrasts between Mr. Murray’s account of these proceedings and US media’s reporting are stark. Mr. Assange’s attorneys’ arguments are perfectly sound; they, of course, should be given more time to prepare his defense. He should not be extradited, in my opinion. As for this “Yank’s” opinion, that judge’s behavior is disgusting. I’ll pray for Julian’s health, and urge everyone to do the same. He must survive this! Share Mr. Murray’s account with everyone through social media! I thought we had problems in America! UK: Get active, vote, and take your country back! It’s going to shit!

  • Slick Criminal

    [ MOD: Caught in spam-filter, timestamp updated ]

    nottice how they treat a serious whistleblower, and how they treat snowden, who seemed perfectly fine on joe rogan’s podcast yesterday. Assange is a true american patriot, snowden is a con who simply released information that had been made known 5 years prior.

    • Ian

      Snowden is as worthy as Assange for telling citizens what their governments are covertly doing, with no oversight.

    • Tatyana

      Mr. Snowden is a real patriot of his country and its people, he had decency and integrity to reveal his government’s crimes.
      It is wrong, I think, to compare Mr. Snowden an US ex-serviceman and Mr. Assange an Australian journalist.

      Mr. Snowden appears to be from a dinasty of servicemen, you understand what I mean, patriotic and sharing all the noble values of his nation. It also means he will never love Russia. He supports Navalny, not that he knows the man, he simply believes it is right to support opposition. I’ve seen in his Twitter the post on Moscow protests this summer. Snowden would never even try to understand the process going now in my country.
      He feels trapped here. Though relatively safe, but nontheless trapped.

      It’s not that I expected gratitude from Snowden, but the granting of asylum for him greatly complicated relations between Russia and the West, so he could at least try to understand how important justice is for the Russians and why Putin commented “мы своих не сдаем”.

      • N_

        “Мы своих не сдаем”? Putin’s such a card, even if he has been much more successful and capable than say De Gaulle. In the 1930s the NKVD that Putin was later head of when it used a different name devoured many many of its own. As for Russia, it’s true that at least one non-Russian nationality was over-represented in the NKVD and its camp administrations (Solzhenitsyn’s “Two Hundred Years Together” still hasn’t been published as a whole in English), but that’s by no means the whole of the story and “Russia” can’t be let off the hook in respect of the millions of Russians and others who died in state-created famines and labour camps.

        Patriotism is poop.

        Over to Joseph Goebbels, admirer of Edward Bernays: “People can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. It’s easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”

        • Tatyana

          N_, I read your comment about Putin and NKVD and I think you could easily натянуть сову на глобус 🙂

          You’d better write about developed democratic countries that highly value freedom of speech, how they all rushed to help Snowden. Will you, N_?
          About that big country Australia, free country Canada, priviliged EU member the UK, feeling guilty for nazism Germany, “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” motherland France etc.
          Only Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua agreed to provide asylum, even China made it clear the Snowden’s presence there is unwanted.

          • N_

            Russia isn’t a nonpareil of “looking after its own”, any more than any other country. There are famous examples of the KGB looking after its own, as they did with say George Blake and Konon Molody, and every army requires strong loyalty otherwise it would fall apart the first time the troops marched past a chip shop.

            In some sense there is more community in Russia than in the obviously culturally degenerate most US-influenced parts of the West. There’s also a massive culture of thieving whatever isn’t nailed down.

          • Tatyana

            OK, N_, I just want to better understand your point on Mr. Snowden’s patriotism.
            I see that you still don’t have a desire to write about the modern developed contries and their treatment of Assange and Snowden. You prefer the NKVD and the KGB from the times of the USSR – a country that no longer exists. You may be surprised to know that Stalin and Beria were georgians and Dzerzhinsky was a pole, just to add to your constant “Russia, russians, its own”
            —-
            Please remind me, if it were you who complained that people could not interpret the Crime and Punishment otherwise than they learned at school. And also said that Alena quite deserved to be chopped up by Raskolnikov’s ax?

          • N_

            Of course morale is much higher in Russia than in the west.

            Morale in our epoch is a double-edged thing and it has both national-statist (tending to fascist and militarist) and genuine communitarian (looking after your neighbours) aspects.

            I have no doubt that in a large-scale military confrontation with the West it is Russia that would win. One only has to look at how the national anthem is received at pop concerts. Napoleon said morale was three times more important than the sum of the other factors.

            (On the nasty side of the feeling of “togetherness”: Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, recently met with the paramilitary UVF and UDA to discuss Brexit. This was reported in the Belfast Telegraph but not much in the GB press. Those who think that the main “physical force” reaction in Northern Ireland to the Boris Johnson “BINO for NI” “Deal” – or for that matter to a No Deal Brexit – would be Irish Republican attacks on new “infrastructure” installed on the land border don’t have a clue about the real disposition of forces in NI, or what the Troubles were all about. The Protestant armed forces outpower the entire armed forces of the Irish Republic. Foreign and presumed Catholic customs officials checking goods coming in to NI from Great Britain? Ain’t going to happen.)

            Solzhenitsyn was absolutely right to call the west degenerate and doomed, although that applies mostly to the more US-influenced cultures and those which would have headed down the toilet anyway, such as Britain, rather than to the Hispanophone and Lusophone area where the family remains strong, as it also does in say France and Italy. I could say something about gay marriage here and the increasing importance of the notion of transsexuality, but I would fall foul of moderation policy.

            Russian people showed admirable resilience after 1990. Had a dislocation of that scale happened in Britain, I am sure there would have been large-scale famine here. There is a LOT more “common sense” in Russia than there is in Britain. In Britain, many people believe what anybody speaking in a posh accent tells them. They don’t understand that suddenly the shelves in the shops might run bare, and they won’t know what to do when that happens.

            The position is that Britain may collapse at the end of next week. I don’t know whether you are following all the bullsh*t that’s going on in the legislature and publicised diplomacy, but that’s the nub of it. The tabloids are readying themselves to blame the French, the Labour party, and to a lesser extent the Irish. You should hear how the acronym “EU” is spat out on BBC radio as though it’s a word meaning “repulsive muck”.

            Nobody who isn’t on the left understands what Tory culture is all about, and unfortunately very few who are on the left even begin to understand it. The very existence of the NHS has grated like nobody’s business on minds dominated by a Tory mentality, grated for many decades and for several generations.

          • N_

            Tatyana. Just FYI: I’m fully aware of the nationalities of Stalin, Beria and Dzerzhinsky, and also for that matter of Zinoviev and Trotsky. The NKVD had many Jews in positions of authority, which is something Solzhenitsyn wrote about and is important. Where do you think the idea came from of forming a new word from the letters Ч and К? Doesn’t sound like an idea that had very deep roots in Russian tradition…

            Stalin understood the politics of national feeling (and how it meshes with culture and religion) extremely well, much better than the British rulers who partitioned India. The USSR no longer exists, but the map of much of Eurasia is still marked by different kinds of borders according to Stalin’s model in which the USSR would have some national areas that were inside Russia and others that were outside. Was it obvious in the 1920s and 1930s that a workable model would be for Georgia to be a Union Republic and Kalmykia and Dagestan etc. to be autonomous inside Russia? I’m not sure it was, but Stalin knew his stuff and his model worked. Today there aren’t any “Union Republics”, but Georgia is still outside Russia while Kalmykia and Dagestan are autonomous within it. This all goes back to Stalin. He wasn’t the knuckle-dragging moron that Trotsky painted him as.

            As for British military or military-style leadership, there has never been a De Gaulle or Putin here. One of Britain’s most famous military leaders was the (Anglo-Irish) Duke of Wellington. He later became Tory prime minister but he was no De Gaulle, let alone a Putin. He called his own soldiers the “scum of the earth”. Nobody could imagine Putin doing anything so f***ing stupid in a million years.

            I’m not at all anti-Russian. The great Brigitte Bardot threatened to leave France and go and settle in Russia!! Power to her elbow!

      • Rowan Berkeley

        Tatyana: George Brandis, the Attorney-General of Australia, asserted that Snowden’s disclosure was the “most serious setback for Western intelligence since WW2.” But to me, the story of Snowden wandering through the NSA casually picking up secrets is a bit implausible. I think he was a CIA raider, protected by other CIA double-agents inside the NSA, there to cut it down to size. NSA is Pentagon property, unlike the CIA etc.

        • Tony

          Turf wars do happen.
          J.Edgar Hoover saw the CIA as a possible threat to the FBI. At the same time he knew that many in the CIA started out on the left. And so he passed that information on to Senator Joe McCarthy.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Tatyana October 25, 2019 at 02:27
        I don’t know what Putin’s expression means, but I agree Snowden should be more circumspect in his activities.
        I have noticed that a lot of US citizens who have campaigned against USG’s actions, spying or whatever, against their own citizens, yet they still find no fault with their treatment of foreigners or other countries, and still believe the BS they were taught about the ‘Communists’.
        He should be very grateful that Russia has protected him from the torture Julian Assange is being forced to go through.
        Putin appears to me a damn sight better man than any of our present Western ‘leaders’.

        • Tatyana

          I’m glad that he is protected, and actually it doesn’t matter whether I (or other russians, or Putin) like Mr. Snowden’s opinion. It is just emotions.
          There are much more important principles, quite different from ‘like/dislike Mr. Snowden’s view on Russian inner affairs”. Much more important, like не сдавать своих – *we are on the same side, we will not give each other to the adversary*

    • Dungroanin

      Snowden is safe because?
      1. He is not in a jurisdiction that will send him to the USA.
      2. He is a double/triple/quadruple.. agent living openly in a regime that he is trying to destroy and Putin is letting him.

      Alright, morons, which is it?

      • Tatyana

        Double agent indeed, playing some dirty game invented by the bl*ody dictator Putin and his f*cking totalitarian regime 🙂

        Snowden feels trapped in Russia, these are his exact words from an interview. He is looking for another country to move to. His residence permit expires 2020.

        If he doesn’t apply for prolongation and if he finds another country ready to host him, you’ll see a lot of speculation how bloody dictator Putin kicked him off the country for supporting opposition.

        In other words, they will say anything except for admitting that Russia is normal country going its own way, one of few daring to oppose the US.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Tatyana October 25, 2019 at 11:41
          ‘…one of few daring to oppose the US…’
          Thank God; would that more countries woke up and joined with Russia to oppose the ‘Great Satan’ and it’s NATO and Wahhabi demons.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Slick Criminal October 24, 2019 at 20:53
      Assange can hardly be a ‘True American Patriot’, as he’s Australian. And the reason Snowden is OK is he is safe in Russia, not in Guantanamo Land.

  • Gary

    One thing that your article REALLY exposes, when you put it up against the BBC coverage say, is the easy ability of this country to suppress information about how it acts. It is acting illegally and is having a ‘show trial’ of an innocent man. He is a political prisoner by any definition who is facing being entombed in a US jail for the rest of his life simply for publicising the illegal actions of a country that allegedly holds itself to the highest standards.

    We often hear of third world countries imprisoning dissidents and reporters for political reasons, locking them up and throwing away the key because they didn’t like what they said. We look on with pity and KNOW it couldn’t happen here. At least now, with access to blogs like yours, Craig, we can learn the truth. You have connections inside government and a previous career with them too, you know how it all works and despite their unhappiness with you on this they can’t remove the fact that you DO know what you’re talking about.

    But, sadly, most people don’t have the time to pay attention to this, to seek out what YOU are saying. TV news and our newspapers lack the guts to report this as it is actually happening and some of the other blogs that report on this are having their reputations deliberately damaged by your adversaries. Ensuring advertising is withdrawn is usually the first step. Then dragging them through the mud to damage their standing.

    Back in the 80s we laughed at the level of propaganda being pumped out to the people of Russia through their limited access to TV. I don’t think we are much better than that now. Freedom ONLY counts when it’s difficult to allow. Currently the government, working hand in glove with our news media, is suppressing real news and feeding us lies. The only word for this is propaganda..

    • Peter

      “It is acting illegally and is having a ‘show trial’ of an innocent man.”

      Indeed.

      I’m taking some time to get my head round all this.

      And in a further sign of the political and moral chaos that 40 years of neoliberalism and neoconservatism, 16 years of war in the Middle East, 10 years of Tory rule and the bankers’ austerity have left us in, today Aidan James was found guilty of terrorism – for training to fight Isis – whom, of course, British forces have been engaged in fighting against.

      As I said, I’m taking my time … , there’s a lot of dots to join and fathom.

  • J

    Thanks Craig. I’m gladdened the article is being seen by a wider audience. Like many I’m both heart sick and enraged at what is happening.

  • Peter Burger

    I am deeply concerned that any whistle-blower on wrong-doing by a government should be persecuted to this degree. 1984 & Animal Farm! Persecute the wrong-doers; not the whistle-blowers!

  • Doghouse

    My final word on this. Spent 60 years in this country, believed in it, sincerely, then all of the sudden overnight it seems, the place seems to have turned into an asylum where the people supposed to lead from the top and set example are behaving like total whack jobs with no regard for the law and a propensity for lying that is truly staggering. Maybe its always been that way and took me a lifetime to see it, or maybe they just don’t give a damn for whatever reason and no longer cast a modicum of discretion. What with the Skripal fiasco simultaneous to the Syrian fiasco and this its madness – fitting up Russia, fitting up Syria, fitting up Julian. It’s insane – did I suddenly wake up in the twilight zone of dishonesty or what? Tell me I’m imagining it and twill be alright in the morning……

    • Deb O'Nair

      “Maybe its always been that way and took me a lifetime to see it, or maybe they just don’t give a damn for whatever reason and no longer cast a modicum of discretion.”

      Even in the darkest days of Thatcher there was a sense that there was competency within her cabinet. Now one looks at the collection of horrors occupying the government’s front bench in stunned amazement. Never have I seen such a bunch of nasty, corrupt, incompetent and useless people assembled as a UK cabinet, and one that appears to have a rather large lead in opinion polls. What the hell is wrong with British people? (That’s a rhetorical question – obviously they are ignorant, ill-informed, brainwashed idiots but you can’t say that in public).

    • Hatuey

      “Maybe its always been that way”

      It has. The difference is we know about it and can see what they get up to.

      That said, I think Britain has really gone to the dogs in the last 10 years. I suspect it has a lot to do with offshore dark money being used to infiltrate and manipulate the political system. Up until recently the offshore crooks were quite happy to keep a low profile and get on with their dirty deeds but today they seem to want more than that.

      The UK is firmly in the hands of extremely wealthy crooks, aided and abetted by crooks from other countries like Israel and the US. The Tory party just gives me the creeps. It’s as sinister as hell.

      • N_

        Do you reckon the plan is for No Deal next Thursday, @Hatuey? There must be “interests” with clout in the Tory party who are drooling all down their ties at the thought of doing an Iceland times 10 or 100.

  • Criss Sharp

    The ones who have so much to hide are showing just that! This man should get a medal not a punishment.

    • N_

      For those who would like Julian Assange to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, here is the list of official nominators. Some of the groups are quite large and probably contain some people who would be willing to nominate him, especially if they were to receive some encouragement. Some associate professors of social science, for example, might be more than willing to do it but currently be unaware that they hold the required status. There may also be some parliamentarians in some countries who would be willing to do it. (In Britain one who comes to mind is Jenny Tonge.)

      * Members of national assemblies and national governments of sovereign states as well as current heads of state
      * Members of the International Court of Justice in the Hague
      * Members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague
      * Members of l’Institut de Droit International
      * Members of the Executive Committee of the international board of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
      * University professors, professors emeritus, and associate professors of history, social science, law, philosophy, theology, and religion
      * University rectors and university directors and equivalents
      * Directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes
      * Former recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize
      * Members of the main boards of directors of organisations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
      * Current and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee
      * Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee

      • N_

        Mairead Maguire, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate herself, nominated Julian Assange last year. Great work, Mairead! If we could get 100 nominators to back him this year…

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