Roger Waters on Julian Assange 129


Roger Waters has become one of the most eloquent and persistent supporters of Julian Assange. He is prepared to challenge the propagandists of the mainstream media head-on in a way that many more people should do.

For yesterday’s rally for Assange Roger had prepared a talk putting Julian’s persecution in a global context. He did not have time to give the whole speech, and so I asked him if I could publish it:

WE ARE HERE TODAY FOR JULIAN ASSANGE.

But I have four names on this piece of paper.

The First and last of course is Julian Assange, A Journalist, a courageous shiner of light into the dark places from which the powers that be would dearly like to have us turn away.

Julian Assange. A name to be carved with pride intoany monument to human progress.

Julian is why we are here today, but this is no parochial protest. We are today part of a global movement, a global movement that might be the beginning of the global enlightenment that this fragile planet so desperately needs.

Ok. Second Name. Sent to me by my friend VJ Prashad.

Second name is Aamir Aziz, Aamir is a young poet and activist in Delhi involved in the fight against Modi and his rascist Citizenship law.

Everything Will Be Remembered

Kill us, we will become ghosts and write
of your killings, with all the evidence.
You write jokes in court;
We will write ‘justice’ on the walls.
We will speak so loudly that even the deaf will hear.
We will write so clearly that even the blind will read.
You write ‘injustice’ on the earth;
We will write ‘revolution’ in the sky.
Everything will be remembered;
Everything recorded

This out pouring of the human spirit from India is taking place in a time of revolt, when the fetters of propriety are set aside.

As we meet here in London, across the Atlantic in Argentina thousands of women are taking to the streets to demand the legalization of abortion from President Fernandez.

It’s not just Argentina. This last year we have seen major protests erupt across the whole world against neoliberal/fascist regimes. In Chile, The Lebanon, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti,France and now, of course also in Bolivia fighting the new US imposed military dictatorship there.

When will we see the name of England appended to that noble list? I sense the scratching of heads in drawing rooms across the home counties, “What’s he talking about, the man’s a bloody pinkopervert, bloody anti semite, what’s he talking about? We don’t live in a dictatorship, this is a free country, a democracy, with all the finest traditions of fair play, pah!”

Well, I’ve got news for you Disgruntled of Tunbridge Wells. We’d like to think this is a free country, but are we really free? Why, when Julian Assange is brought to the dock in the tiny magistrates court inside Belmarsh prison are so many seats occupied by anonymous American suits, whispering instructions into the attentive ear of the prosecution’s lead barrister, James Lewis QC?

Why?

Because we don’t live in a free country, we live in a glorified dog kennel and we bark and/or wag our tails at the bidding of our lords and masters across the pond.

I stand here today, in front of the Mother of Parliaments, and there she stands blushing in all her embarrassment. And just upstream from here is Runnemede, where in 1215, we, the English, laid out the rudiments of common law. Magna Carta, ratified in 1297 article 29 of whichgave us Habeus Corpus. Or did it? It stated:

“The body of a free man is not to be arrested, or imprisoned, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way ruined, nor is the king to go against him or send forcibly against him, except by judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

Sadly, Article 29 is not enforceable in modern law. Magna Carta is only an idea, and in this propaganda driven modern world, it provides no check in principle to Parliament legislating against the rights of citizens.

We do however have an extradition treaty with the USA and in the first paragraph of article 4 of that treaty it states. “Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense.” Julian Assange has committed no crime but he has committed a political act. He has spoken truth to power. He has angered some of our masters in Washington by telling the truth and in retribution for the act of telling the truth they want his blood.

Yesterday in front of Battersea Power Station I did a TV interview for SKY news to promote this event, there was no visual link, so my only contact with the lady asking me questions was via an ear bud on a curly wire. I learned something about telling truth in the phrasing of her questions to me. She came at me like some crazed Don Quixote every question laced, thick with the smears and innuendo and the false accusations with which the powers that be have been trying to blacken Julian Assange’s name. She rattled off the tired, but well prepared narrative, and then interrupted constantly when I made reply. I don’t know who she is, she may mean well. If she does, my advice would be to stop drinking the Kool-aid, and if she actually gives a fig for her chosen profession get her sorry ass down here and join us.

So England. I call upon our prime minister,Boris Johnson, to declare his colours, does he support the spirit of Magna Carta? Does he believe in, democracy, freedom, fair play, free speech, and especially the freedom of the press? If the answer to those questions is yes, then come on Prime Minister be the British Bulldog you would have us all believe you are? Stand up to the bluster of American hegemony, call off this show trial, this charade, this kangaroo court. “The evidence before the court is incontrovertible.” Julian Assange is an innocent man. A journalist doing very important work for “we the people” by exposing the crimes of powerful sociopaths in the corridors of power.

I call on you to free him today.

I cannot leave this stage without mention of Chelsea Manning, who provided some of the material that Julian published.

Chelsea has been in a federal prison for a year incarcerated by the Americans for refusing, on principle, to give evidence to a grand jury specifically convened to make an example of Julian Assange. What courage. They are also fining her $1,000 a day. Chelsea yours is another name to be carved in pride, I’ve been reading the latest on your case, it looks as if your legal team are finding light at the end of the tunnel, please god, you get out soon back to your loved ones, you are a true hero.You exemplify the bulldog spirit that I was talking about a few moments ago.

Also Daniel Hale

Daniel is a whistle-blower you may not know yet. He was in a great documentary movie National Bird, made by my good friend Sonia Kennebeck. He was part of the US drone program targeting Afghans in their own country from some mobile command center in Navada. When his stint in the USAF was over. Daniel’s good heart refused to edit out the burden of remorse he carried and he very bravely decided to tell his story. The FBI/CIA have pursued Daniel remorselessly ever since and he is now in prison awaiting trial. Daniel’s is another name to be carved in pride. Those of us who have never compromised our liberty in the cause of freedom, who have never picked up the burning torch and held it trembling over the crimes of their superior officers, can only wonder at the extraordinary courage of those who have.

There are other speakers here, so I will make way, I could stand here all day railing against the dying of the light should we not stand Bulldog like, with arms linked, ranks closed in front of our brother and comrade Julian Assange. And when the lackies of the American Empire come to take him, to destroy him and hang him in the hedge as a warning to frighten future journalists, we will look them in the eye and steadfast with one voice we will intone.

“Over our dead fucking bodies.”

Roger Waters Feb 22nd 2020

You can see Roger delivering the truncated version, with force but still self-deprecation, on this video of yesterday’s event. You can also see great speeches including by Yanis Varoufakis and Brian Eno. I hope you will forgive me for setting the video to start at my own speech, which was the final one. It was only by the generosity of readers of this blog that I have been able to be here campaigning this week at all.

Today I move from the centre of London down to Woolwich and have to get to Belmarsh Magistrate’s Court (which is entered through Woolwich Crown Court) before dawn to try to queue for one of the 14 public seats in the courtroom. Holding the hearing in such a tiny court is a deliberate act of censorship by the British government. If any readers can offer practical advice on where to queue precisely in terms of access to the building it would be extremely welcome. There is of course no guarantee that the authorities will respect any queue, or have not reserved some of the public seats for the US Embassy etc.

I promise this is the last time I shall repeat this appeal:

With great reluctance, I am obliged to ask for donations to help this blog cover the Assange court case. We have rented a house close to the court and I will be trying to queue in the early hours of the morning to get one of the tiny number of seats available to the public at the hearing. The last year has seen constant travels down to London to support Julian in one way and another, and funds for the blog are running very low at the moment – very substantially less than 1% of readers subscribe (I am grateful to and humbled by those who do subscribe – and was very touched to meet so many subscribers at yesterday’s rally. Please don’t feel reticent to introduce yourselves, it gives me heart). I generally do not seek one off donations, as long term income is required to keep things on the road, but for the Assange – and Salmond – cases to be covered properly an exception is needed. With humility and reticence, I therefore ask if a few people could put some small donations forward using the standard payment details below.

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129 thoughts on “Roger Waters on Julian Assange

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  • Courtenay Barnett

    WORTHY OF NOTE:-

    “The Department of Justice just declared war — not on Wikileaks, but on journalism itself. This is no longer about Julian Assange: This case will decide the future of media.”
    — Edward Snowden, May 23, 2019

  • michael norton

    The family of Harry Dunn has urged the government to refuse the extradition of Julian Assange until the U.S.A. returns the suspect in his death back to the U.K.

    Dunn family spokesman Radd Seiger accused the U.S.A. of “hypocrisy” in seeking Assange’s extradition, despite rejecting the return of Anne Sacoolas.

    There does seem to be a movement at last in strong support of Julian Assange, even in the media.

    • Deb O'Nair

      The problem here is that Julian Assange should not be used as a bargaining chip for Sacoolas. As much as I appreciate the Dunn family’s fight for justice that cannot come at the price of an innocent person being subject to a more gross injustice.

      • glenn_uk

        What an exchange that would be.

        “You give us someone guilty of a hit & run killing, and we’ll hand over someone guilty of telling the truth.”

          • glenn_uk

            Thanks John! Hope you’re keeping well. The weather hasn’t improved here much, I couldn’t help but notice.

          • michael norton

            No, we should not bargain one life for another.
            I doubt if that’s how the parents of Harry Dunn, see it.
            I guess, they want justice and they can see that there is neither justice for their son, nor for Julian Assange.

      • Ingwe

        Well said Deb O’Nair at 12:38. It would be a false equivalency to trade someone who has committed no indictable or other criminal offence,for another innocent person (at least until she has had a trial and been convicted) but who, prima facie, has caused death by dangerous driving at worst, or careless driving, at the least.

    • doghouse

      Most distasteful, using a publicly tortured man as a trampoline for height in an inappropriate comparison. Similarity does not equal equivalence. He is in effect saying, if you give us the guilty you can have the innocent by exchange. Another innocent life for the illusion of justice. Perhaps this spokesperson should offer his mother up, she probably hasn’t broken any laws – civil or moral – either…..

    • Michael

      The Harry Dunn case goes to prove American spies have more rights in Britain than the British families of the victims they kill.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Can you believe that pundits on MSNBC and BBC wonder what Putin’s motivation is for wanting to influence Western elections? That he prefers Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders over Joe Biden for POTUS and Jeremy Corbyn over Theresa May and herv successor Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. Because they do not promote dirty tricks like Edward Snowden was a Russian agent all along and murdered Vladimir Skripal was too.

  • Deb O'Nair

    “She came at me like some crazed Don Quixote every question laced, thick with the smears and innuendo and the false accusations with which the powers that be have been trying to blacken Julian Assange’s name. She rattled off the tired, but well prepared narrative, and then interrupted constantly when I made reply.”

    This is one of the reasons that the UK today is a dystopian, dysfunctional nightmare. Corporate media shills have no shame, no honour and no integrity. They are literally an army of Lord Haw-Haw’s doing a job on the British public on behalf of their foreign multi-billionaire paymasters.

  • Shatnersrug

    Hi Craig, we was there yesterday, I hopping along with my walking stick, you must have been right near us, I would have loved to have said thank you personally to you all for keeping the faith and doing what is right 🙂

  • Mary

    What a brilliant speech by Roger Waters. He is a true poet and a fine human.

    I have just read this account on the Bloomberg site. Bloomberg himself is of course aspiring to become the next (geriatric) US President.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-21/historic-assange-trial-to-hinge-on-trump-s-political-motivations

    Note that the ‘trial’ will last for four weeks. It will break after a week and resume in May. The torture of Julian Assange is slow and most cruel.

    (Donation sent Craig. Best wishes and thanks for standing up for what is right. See Johnson’s mealy mouthed stuff in the report above.
    ‘Johnson refused to comment on the case but said the government supports the safeguarding of journalists.’

    • John Goss

      It’s a first Mary. Roger Waters said yesterday that he does not normally write speeches (certainly when he’s on RT he does not appear to do) so to have a written version is unique.

      I only got down there for the speeches which suited me. It’s not particularly comfortable walking in cycling shoes and to have taken a change of shoes would have added too much weight.

  • John Goss

    It was a fine rally of concerned people. All the speakers, Craig included, delivered their messages from the heart. You could feel it transfer to your own heart. The crowd was a good size (even the BBC at 4 am this morning said it was in its hundreds) and were all there in harmony of purpose. The speakers had a unified aim and all were committed as one. Each had a slightly different angle on what has been done and needs to be done to counter the imprisonment of a good man and honest journalist. The main message was: if we let the establishment get away with extraditing Julian Assange it spells the end of free journalism, the fearless type that in the US, great journalists and writers like Ernest Hemingway stood for last century. The seconds really are counting down towards the end of freedom as we once knew it.

    On a personal note it was good to meet face to face with the owner of this blog.

    • Brianfujisan

      Well Done John..Great stuff..Must be tricky cycling in Central London..
      Thanks for the description of the Rally.. Good Vibes Eh
      That’s good too that you met Craig.

  • Node

    I am suspicious of the 3 second time lag in Sky’s interview with Roger Waters. Even trans-atlantic interviews have less delay than this trans-london one. The lag led to awkward talk-overs and pauses, detracting from the impact of Roger’s words. I wonder if the Sky interviewer also suffered the lag, or did she hear Roger in real time, ie 3 seconds before we heard him, allowing her time to interrupt and talk over him when he broached sensitive topics?
    Thanks, Craig, for giving those of us who can’t be in London an opportunity to support Julian.

  • N_

    Other speakers included (…) the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, who wore a halo with Assange’s name on it and referred to herself as “the angel of democracy

    Can’t someone take Westwood aside and say no thanks, dear, you can donate money and you can lick some envelopes for us if you like, but your presence and showing off when the cameras are filming aren’t welcome?

    • N_

      The issue is the war crimes conducted by the United States government and the global jurisdiction it is asserting over those who blow the whistle on its war crimes.

      It has nothing to do with angels, democracy, climate change, or carbon dioxide.

    • N_

      On the halo: “During the day this physical body is permeated by the so-called etheric or life-body which projects very slightly round about the head as a luminous halo.”

      Rumbled you, Vivienne!

      • Rowan Berkeley

        @N_: Dear Marxist, in response to your frequent expressions of concern regarding the high-society connections and networking power of the Anthroposophists, allow me to tell you that the Austin, Texas-based OTO is populated by secret service types and imposes ordeals (particularly in the Third Degree) which leave lifetime injuries. I know, because I still suffer from the effects of one such injury, inflicted by John Bonner’s Shemesh Lodge in St Leonards, 20 years later. Can you really compare the Anthroposophists to that, in terms of malignancy and powerful contacts?

        • N_

          @Rowan – Was the ordeal part of the initiation into the OTO’s Third Degree? I’m not up on the Steinerite initiations. In Britain they run a lot of schools, some of which receive state money, and they arranged with the Department for Education that their schools would be inspected by a special body of inspectors which is basically under their control and is completely separate from the inspectorates that inspect other state and private schools. That is real power. The whole point of their schools is to be there so that “great souls waiting to incarnate” can have somewhere to go after they incarnate physically and then etherically. That is kept quiet from the world outside the cult – the teachers lie to parents, journalists, etc. and pretend it’s all nicy-nicy stuff about having wooden toys, and so on. They also have connections into the British Cabinet, more than one royal family, NATO, and the EU. They run “communities” for mentally disabled people too. One shudders to think what happens at those places given their crazy kook ideas about reincarnation, and given how at the schools they don’t do anything to stop bullying because they think it’s all “karma”. Thelema doesn’t have the same external branding – nobody says they are only into Aleister Crowley because of the happy clappiness, and Crowley wouldn’t get praised in say the crown prince’s book “Harmony” as Rudolf Steiner does, even though I imagine the crown prince probably rates Crowley highly given his own naivety and the Trinity College, Cambridge, connection. So I’m not sure what amount of pull the OTO has in high places.

          • N_

            Some would doubtless call me silly for giving weight to the fact that Silvio Berlusconi sent his daughters to Steiner school, but they are probably unaware of the role Steinerites played in the Nazification and racialisation of Italian fascism at the time of the Salo Republic.

            The key point for anybody looking for a way in to this is that Steinerites believe fanatically in reincarnation. When they think of a personage like Berlusconi, Steinerites of the “First Class” and lower down in the cult too do not think of this criminal late 20th and early 21st century statesman-businessman the way most of the rest of us do. They have specific past figures in mind whose physical bodies they believe a single “great soul” incarnated in before it incarnated in Berlusconi.

          • Rowan Berkeley

            The ordeal was indeed part of 3rd Degree Initiation. I would like to expose the trick, actually. Many people know about the trick with the thumbscrew in the Second Degree, because someone blabbed about it in the 1960s, perhaps Francis King. But no-one has ever exposed the nasty trick in the Third. I reported it to the police (and MI5) back in 1997. I went back and did the Fourth the next year, just to show them I could take it. I still have the certificates. If I could publicise the nasty trick, then no-one need suffer the injury again.

            Steiner bought a charter for a branch of John Yarker’s Memphis & Misraim in 1902. This transmogrified gradually into the sex-magical OTO. By 1912, Crowley had bought the english franchise from Reuss. See the final section of Ellic Howe’s AQC monograph:
            https://freemasonry.bcy.ca/aqc/reuss/reuss.html

          • Rowan Berkeley

            I might as well spill the beans, having gone so far already: a low bow required while wearing an unexpectedly heavy belt made of filled sandbags, calculated to bust a spinal disc and produce lifetime sciatica, though not immediately.

  • Robyn

    Interesting to compare Julian’s hearings with trials of prominent people in the US – to take just one example, O J Simpson’s trial was televised across the planet.

    • Mary

      Yes. That’s our very own Sajid Javid, the very recently resigned Chancellor of the Exchequer, the one who also said he admired Israel and would like to live there.
      https://www.timesofisrael.com/meet-sajid-javid-uks-top-muslim-pro-israel-politician-who-just-may-become-pm/

      He has held more ministerial jobs than many of us have had hot dinners. He failed in his bid to become Prime Minister.

      Has he returned to work for Deutsche Bank? When he left them in 2009, it is said he was earning £3million pa.

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

      • nevermind

        Thanks for all the great links here, as well as for the effort of many today who were supporting Julian Assange to be set free.
        I very much hope that Craig will be able to sit in proceedings and report back verbatim from the kangaroo proceeding/ dances with wolfs.

        Here is Sajid preferred new abode and aptly placed contact address in Palestine/renamed Israel.

        Deutsche Bank Capital Markets and Investments Ltd.
        46 Rothschild Boulevard
        21st Floor
        66883 Tel Aviv
        Israel

      • Paul Barbara

        @ Mary February 23, 2020 at 17:51
        ‘..said he admired Israel and would like to live there…’
        Bon voyage! I don’t think any of us would miss him.

  • Rosemary MacKenzie

    Thanks Craig for all you do for Julian Assange. I hope you get a place in the courtroom, he needs as many friendly faces as can be squeezed in. I hope he knows that many, many people support him and wish him good fortune and real justice.

    • On the train

      Yes I feel exactly the same way. I hope and pray that Julian Assange knows how much support there is for him.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Both Roger Waters and Craig Murray were absolutely Brilliant. Unfortunately so was the little girl interviewing Roger Waters. I don’t know who she is, cos I don’t watch TV, but almost everyone I know does watch TV, and they believe the propaganda, that she, and all the other “nice” people they see on their TV screens tell them every day. It gets subliminally embedded within their brains, such that once they might have been capable of critical thought, those specific neurons on that side of their brain, have largely been put to sleep.

    This almost certainly applies to the little girl interviewing Roger Waters too. I think she actually believes the nonsense she speaks, and she is not just a performer on stage in a play. She believes it. She’s Brainwashed too. If she knows its all a pack of lies, maybe in pursuit of some political agenda, she agrees with, then I consider her, and all of the rest of the “journalists”, almost exactly the same as The War Criminal ANTHONY CHARLES LYNTON BLAIR, and they not Julian Assange, should all be in jail, awaiting Trial on the charge of War Crimes Against Humanity.

    Tony

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Tony_0pmoc February 23, 2020 at 18:18
      Or just plain old ‘Charles Lynton’, the name he was charged under in Bow St. Magistrates Court for importuning.

  • jmg

    Like Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders has a Julian Assange global campaign now as well. 42582 signatories so far:

    #FreeAssange : Sign against Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States ! | Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
    https://rsf.org/en/free-assange

    “#RSF will be at the court tomorrow for the start of the hearing. Now, more than ever, is the time to join us in this fight.  Sign and share the petition against Julian #Assange’s extradition to the United States.”

    Reporters sans frontières – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) — Twitter — Feb 23, 2020
    https://twitter.com/RSF_inter/status/1231629840798932996

    “At a press conference today in Paris with Julian Assange’s international lawyers — Eric Dupond-Moretti, Antoine Vey, Baltasar Garzon, and with Assange’s father John Shipton, RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire firmly opposed Assange’s extradition to the United States”

    Assange’s extradition to the US would “threaten the work of all journalists” | Reporters Without Borders (RSF) | February 20, 2020
    https://rsf.org/en/news/assanges-extradition-us-would-threaten-work-all-journalists

    • Pb

      The Law says he should not be imprisoned (based on Judicial law)

      Morality and Ethics says he should not be imprisoned (based on Philosophical Teachings)

      The Doctors say he should not be imprisoned (based on the oath they take and the job they do)

      The public around the world say he should not be imprisoned (based on what they pay their taxes for and what they expect in return)

      US politicians say he should be destroyed (based on fear)

      MSM Journalists say nothing except describe his journey to the gallows (based on cowardice)

  • Brian Eggar

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8005605/Couple-wanted-India-murder-adopted-son-allowed-walk-free-London.html

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/chief-magistrate-assange-extradition-received-financial-benefits-shadowy-groups

    Just why two people accused of murdering a child are entitled to stay in this country over Assange is beyond me.
    It would appear that British Justice is now fully subservient to the US and is perhaps now one small step from becoming a vassal state.

  • Brian Eggar

    Just sent some moneyto cover your bacon butties.

    I did read that Chelsea Manning is being woken up every twenty minutes during the night which is a clear case of torture. Can Assange expect the same treatment when he gets there?

    I must admit Chelsea Manning is one of the few people of principle in this case and she has my complete admiration.

    • Michael

      I don’t think even the Nazis or Soviets did that, which goes to show just how inhuman the Yanks have become. They are often worse than the terrors since defeated, and they must be defeated too.

  • James Mills

    An important topic to be sure – but could someone not have pointed out to Mr Waters the difference between England and Britain /UK .

    • glenn_uk

      It’s a real blind spot of the English. They can’t help it… popular media always conflate UK and England in a neutral sense.

      If we’re talking about a notable success, there’s a wonderful inclusiveness all of a sudden – when a Welsh or Scottish person wins a medal, it’s a British achievement. But that’s reversed when it’s a disgrace – the scoundrel is immediately granted their due Welsh or Scottish nationality – definitely nothing British about them then.

      You should hear the sports announcements, and the joyful tones which lead the news upon an English victory, compared with the afterthought of another part of the UK winning something. If the English lose against a fellow UK opponent, the tone is decidedly sombre – we’re left in no doubt this is a national loss.

      • Bayard

        As an athlete once commented, “if you win gold, you’re English, silver, you’re British, bronze, you’re West Indian and if you get caught cheating, you’re black.”

  • Los

    Presumably if there are only 14 seats available for the Public then they might all get snapped-up to the exclusion of genuine members of the Public ?

  • Antonym

    before dawn to try to queue for one of the 14 public seats in the courtroom. Holding the hearing in such a tiny court is a deliberate act of censorship by the British government.

    The UK Judicial system seems hell bent on proving that they are a mix of 1984’s Ministry of Truth and Harry Potter’s Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
    Their image is now in the gutter, just for money / power – what losers!

  • nevermind

    If there is a global pandemic declared today, and all signs point to it, can this trial be cancelled?
    Can the petty 14 places available to the public be withdrawn/ cancelled as a precautionary measure, before this wretched Government gets its medical emergency teams and hospitals prepared to deal with it?
    Are they ready to distribute food supplies to many once towns are shut off as a precaution? I doubt very much that they are prepared.
    I’m going to a funeral, with many others, to see a very good friend off today….. such gatherings will very likely also be scrapped as it becomes impossible to be everywhere.

    My best wishes to all who are gathering in this weather to show their support, that are thousands more watching and hopefully getting there this week.

    • Bayard

      I would expect that the government response to the declaration of a pandemic would be to remove the right of members of the public to attend any trial and ban any form of public gathering whatsoever. After all, it’s an emergency and they must think of of public safety.

  • Peter

    Superlative speech.

    There can be little doubt that the next Nobel Prize for Peace must be awarded jointly to Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning.

    • Deb O'Nair

      “QC for the US at Julian #Assange extradition hearing says documents from Wikileaks were found at the home of Osama Bin Laden when it was raided by American troops.”

      From that Twitter feed; This is absurd nonsense – Osama Bin Laden died in 2002, despite what the USG and corporate media say.

      Benazir Bhutto stated as a matter of fact that Bin Laden died in 2002 and she was assassinated one month later. And then, to underline the absurdity of it all, it was claimed throughout the media that Osama Bin Laden was behind her assassination.

      • King of Welsh Noir

        Well why not, it’s amazing what they claimed to have found in Osama bin Laden’s house. He had a library of every conspiracy theory book under the sun including stuff by Chomsky, William Blum, David Ray Griffin et al. It was almost as if they had a parlour game to see who could up with the most conspiracy theorist titles. And the press just lapped it up, seemingly with no idea that they were being played.

        What they didn’t find was the dialysis machine without which he could not have survived all those years without leaving the compound.

        Perhaps even more remarkable, they held an Islamic funeral for him on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson and not one of the 3,500 ship’s crew saw it.

  • Magic Robot

    It is all well and good supporting Mr. Assange. If I were able to be there in support, I would be. But, this is not about JA; the real fight should be to change the law that is making this possible. Anything else, sadly, is just maudlin sentimentality.

    The first commercial dialup ISP in the world started operating in 1989 following the invention of the Web and, that very same year in GB the new Official Secrets Act was introduced.

    I do not believe in coincidences. The French government had already had a nasty experience of ‘direct action’ in their country with minitel, a communication system which was on a relatively tiny scale. PC’s however, were all over the US, GB and everywhere else in the West, not just France. At the time, however, people were not aware an ‘internet’ existed at all, for the most part (it was developed by the military), so there was little opposition from the public to this fundamental change in the law. Charter 88 objected strongly, and had press support so proposed a written constitution for GB & NI. You may read it here (along with an interesting point concerning Scotland):

    https://unlockdemocracy.org.uk/resources-index/2016/07/04/charter-88

    But they failed to prevent the new law being passed. The change was made as follows: The new Official Secrets Act 1989 contains no mention of section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911, thereby removing ‘the public interest’ defence created by that section. In practice, even if an official were brave enough to speak out, (blow the whistle) anyone PUBLISHING this knowledge would also face a term in prison. Even someone reporting it to their MP would risk the same fate.

    A generation later, and the dreadful implications are clear: not ‘publish and be damned’ but publish and go to prison – forever. Mr. Assange is their example, and under existing law, he has no defence, at all.

    This law needs to go.

    • Deb O'Nair

      “the real fight should be to change the law that is making this possible.”

      There is no law that enables this kind of behaviour. This is the problem, they are breaking their own laws – welcome to despotism.

        • Magic Robot

          Mary

          John Locke has nothing to say on what is happening now.

          The new law WAS passed, by a HoC elected by a minority, and an unelected upper house. There was no public debate, although some newspapers and Charter 88 opposed it. The new Official Secrets Act 1989 contains no mention of section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911, thereby removing ‘the public interest’ defence.

          Poor JA is on his own.

          This law needs to go.

        • Mary

          John Locke, at that time, was writing about natural law and morality..

          In the Second Treatise of Government, Locke’s most important political work, he uses natural law to ground his philosophy. … Natural law theories hold that human beings are subject to a moral law. Morality is fundamentally about duty, the duty each individual has to abide by the natural law.

          I understood that Julian was being charged by UK authorities, in the first place, on behalf of the US for breaching their Espionage Act, 2017.

          Now:

          ‘The First Amendment and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act collided last month when the UK arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on, among other things, a US extradition request for computer crime. He has since been sentenced to 50 weeks in a British prison. For roughly seven years before his arrest, he’d been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, but on April 11, the Ecuadorian government withdrew his asylum. Now the UK courts will evaluate the US’s request to send Assange to Virginia to stand trial in federal court for a single felony charge of conspiracy to commit unauthorized access to a government computer, a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)’
          Wired.com July 2019

      • Magic Robot

        “they are breaking their own laws”
        No, they are not. Under the 1989 Act they are perfectly entitled to extradite him, to wherever, whomever and whenever they want.

        However the courts would have been unable to deport JA if the ‘public interest’ clause of the O.S.A. 1989 were still in place – they would, in effect, be saying “Well, it is legal here, what JA has done, but we’ll just extradite him anyway.” This would not do. They would have been unable to show ‘good cause’ for extradition, in other words.

        As it is now he has no ‘public interest’ defence (which had formerly been the case for 78 years until the change), and neither will anyone else who follows his example. Without a change in that law, this will just be the start, and the public will soon lose interest as the ‘arrests’ become more frequent.

        The law must go.

  • jmg

    “The best live tweets from inside the Assange courtroom:
    “@jamesdoleman”

    Cassandra Fairbanks — @CassandraRules — Twitter — Feb 24, 2020
    https://twitter.com/CassandraRules/status/1231889602929139712

    James Doleman (Byline Times) — @jamesdoleman — Twitter
    https://twitter.com/jamesdoleman

    See also:

    “This is a thread for Day 1 of Julian Assange’s one-week extradition hearing.”

    Kevin Gosztola (Shadowproof) — @kgosztola — Twitter — Feb 24, 2020
    https://twitter.com/kgosztola/status/1231889705496666113

    “I’m at Woolwich Crown Court, where the extradition hearing for Julian Assange has just begun.”

    Mac William Bishop (NBC News) — @MacWBishop — Twitter — Feb 24, 2020
    https://twitter.com/MacWBishop/status/1231885871516921856

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