Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day Four 254


Please try this experiment for me.
Try asking this question out loud, in a tone of intellectual interest and engagement: “Are you suggesting that the two have the same effect?”.

Now try asking this question out loud, in a tone of hostility and incredulity bordering on sarcasm: “Are you suggesting that the two have the same effect?”.

Firstly, congratulations on your acting skills; you take direction very well. Secondly, is it not fascinating how precisely the same words can convey the opposite meaning dependent on modulation of stress, pitch, and volume?

Yesterday the prosecution continued its argument that the provision in the 2007 UK/US Extradition Treaty that bars extradition for political offences is a dead letter, and that Julian Assange’s objectives are not political in any event. James Lewis QC for the prosecution spoke for about an hour, and Edward Fitzgerald QC replied for the defence for about the same time. During Lewis’s presentation, he was interrupted by Judge Baraitser precisely once. During Fitzgerald’s reply, Baraitser interjected seventeen times.

In the transcript, those interruptions will not look unreasonable:
“Could you clarify that for me Mr Fitzgerald…”
“So how do you cope with Mr Lewis’s point that…”
“But surely that’s a circular argument…”
“But it’s not incorporated, is it?…”

All these and the other dozen interruptions were designed to appear to show the judge attempting to clarify the defence’s argument in a spirit of intellectual testing. But if you heard the tone of Baraitser’s voice, saw her body language and facial expressions, it was anything but.

The false picture a transcript might give is exacerbated by the courtly Fitzgerald’s continually replying to each obvious harassment with “Thank you Madam, that is very helpful”, which again if you were there, plainly meant the opposite. But what a transcript will helpfully nevertheless show was the bully pulpit of Baraitser’s tactic in interrupting Fitzgerald again and again and again, belittling his points and very deliberately indeed preventing him from getting into the flow of his argument. The contrast in every way with her treatment of Lewis could not be more pronounced.

So now to report the legal arguments themselves.

James Lewis for the prosecution, continuing his arguments from the day before, said that Parliament had not included a bar on extradition for political offences in the 2003 Act. It could therefore not be reintroduced into law by a treaty. “To introduce a Political Offences bar by the back door would be to subvert the intention of Parliament.”

Lewis also argued that these were not political offences. The definition of a political offence was in the UK limited to behaviour intended “to overturn or change a government or induce it to change its policy.” Furthermore the aim must be to change government or policy in the short term, not the indeterminate future.

Lewis stated that further the term “political offence” could only be applied to offences committed within the territory where it was attempted to make the change. So to be classified as political offences, Assange would have had to commit them within the territory of the USA, but he did not.

If Baraitser did decide the bar on political offences applied, the court would have to determine the meaning of “political offence” in the UK/US Extradition Treaty and construe the meaning of paragraphs 4.1 and 4.2 of the Treaty. To construe the terms of an international treaty was beyond the powers of the court.

Lewis perorated that the conduct of Julian Assange cannot possibly be classified as a political offence. “It is impossible to place Julian Assange in the position of a political refugee”. The activity in which Wikileaks was engaged was not in its proper meaning political opposition to the US Administration or an attempt to overthrow that administration. Therefore the offence was not political.

For the defence Edward Fitzgerald replied that the 2003 Extradition Act was an enabling act under which treaties could operate. Parliament had been concerned to remove any threat of abuse of the political offence bar to cover terrorist acts of violence against innocent civilians. But there remained a clear protection, accepted worldwide, for peaceful political dissent. This was reflected in the Extradition Treaty on the basis of which the court was acting.

Baraitser interrupted that the UK/US Extradition Treaty was not incorporated into English Law.

Fitzgerald replied that the entire extradition request is on the basis of the treaty. It is an abuse of process for the authorities to rely on the treaty for the application but then to claim that its provisions do not apply.

“On the face of it, it is a very bizarre argument that a treaty which gives rise to the extradition, on which the extradition is founded, can be disregarded in its provisions. It is on the face of it absurd.” Edward Fitzgerald QC for the Defence

Fitzgerald added that English Courts construe treaties all the time. He gave examples.

Fitzgerald went on that the defence did not accept that treason, espionage and sedition were not regarded as political offences in England. But even if one did accept Lewis’s too narrow definition of political offence, Assange’s behaviour still met the test. What on earth could be the motive of publishing evidence of government war crimes and corruption, other than to change the policy of the government? Indeed, the evidence would prove that Wikileaks had effectively changed the policy of the US government, particularly on Iraq.

Baraitser interjected that to expose government wrongdoing was not the same thing as to try to change government policy. Fitzgerald asked her, finally in some exasperation after umpteen interruptions, what other point could there be in exposing government wrongdoing other than to induce a change in government policy?

That concluded opening arguments for the prosecution and defence.

MY PERSONAL COMMENTARY

Let me put this as neutrally as possible. If you could fairly state that Lewis’s argument was much more logical, rational and intuitive than Fitzgerald’s, you could understand why Lewis did not need an interruption while Fitzgerald had to be continually interrupted for “clarification”. But in fact it was Lewis who was making out the case that the provisions of the very treaty under which the extradition is being made, do not in fact apply, a logical step which I suggest the man on the Clapham omnibus might reason to need rather more testing than Fitzgerald’s assertion to the contrary. Baraitser’s comparative harassment of Fitzgerald when he had the prosecution on the ropes was straight out of the Stalin show trial playbook.

The defence did not mention it, and I do not know if it features in their written arguments, but I thought Lewis’s point that these could not be political offences, because Julian Assange was not in the USA when he committed them, was breathtakingly dishonest. The USA claims universal jurisdiction. Assange is being charged with crimes of publishing committed while he was outside the USA. The USA claims the right to charge anyone of any nationality, anywhere in the world, who harms US interests. They also in addition here claim that as the materials could be seen on the internet in the USA, there was an offence in the USA. At the same time to claim this could not be a political offence as the crime was committed outside the USA is, as Edward Fitzgerald might say, on the face of it absurd. Which curiously Baraitser did not pick up on.

Lewis’s argument that the Treaty does not have any standing in English law is not something he just made up. Nigel Farage did not materialise from nowhere. There is in truth a long tradition in English law that even a treaty signed and ratified with some bloody Johnny Foreigner country, can in no way bind an English court. Lewis could and did spout reams and reams of judgements from old beetroot faced judges holding forth to say exactly that in the House of Lords, before going off to shoot grouse and spank the footman’s son. Lewis was especially fond of the Tin Council case.

There is of course a contrary and more enlightened tradition, and a number of judgements that say the exact opposite, mostly more recent. This is why there was so much repetitive argument as each side piled up more and more volumes of “authorities” on their side of the case.

The difficulty for Lewis – and for Baraitser – is that this case is not analogous to me buying a Mars bar and then going to court because an International Treaty on Mars Bars says mine is too small.

Rather the 2003 Extradition Act is an Enabling Act on which extradition treaties then depend. You can’t thus extradite under the 2003 Act without the Treaty. So the Extradition Treaty of 2007 in a very real sense becomes an executive instrument legally required to authorise the extradition. For the executing authorities to breach the terms of the necessary executive instrument under which they are acting, simply has to be an abuse of process. So the Extradition Treaty owing to its type and its necessity for legal action, is in fact incorporated in English Law by the Extradition Act of 2003 on which it depends.

The Extradition Treaty is a necessary precondition of the extradition, whereas a Mars Bar Treaty is not a necessary precondition to buying the Mars Bar.

That is as plain as I can put it. I do hope that is comprehensible.

It is of course difficult for Lewis that on the same day the Court of Appeal was ruling against the construction of the Heathrow Third Runway, partly because of its incompatibility with the Paris Agreement of 2016, despite the latter not being fully incorporated into English law by the Climate Change Act of 2008.

VITAL PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

It is intensely embarrassing for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) when an English court repudiates the application of a treaty the UK has ratified with one or more foreign states. For that reason, in the modern world, very serious procedures and precautions have been put into place to make certain that this cannot happen. Therefore the prosecution’s argument that all the provisions of the UK/US Extradition Treaty of 2007 are not able to be implemented under the Extradition Act of 2003, ought to be impossible.

I need to explain I have myself negotiated and overseen the entry into force of treaties within the FCO. The last one in which I personally tied the ribbon and applied the sealing wax (literally) was the Anglo-Belgian Continental Shelf Treaty of 1991, but I was involved in negotiating others and the system I am going to describe was still in place when I left the FCO as an Ambassador in 2005, and I believe is unchanged today (and remember the Extradition Act was 2003 and the US/UK Extradition Treaty ratified 2007, so my knowledge is not outdated). Departmental nomenclatures change from time to time and so does structural organisation. But the offices and functions I will describe remain, even if names may be different.

All international treaties have a two stage process. First they are signed to show the government agrees to the treaty. Then, after a delay, they are ratified. This second stage takes place when the government has enabled the legislation and other required agency to implement the treaty. This is the answer to Lewis’s observation about the roles of the executive and legislature. The ratification stage only takes place after any required legislative action. That is the whole point.

This is how it happens in the FCO. Officials negotiate the extradition treaty. It is signed for the UK. The signed treaty then gets returned to FCO Legal Advisers, Nationality and Treaty Department, Consular Department, North American Department and others and is sent on to Treasury/Cabinet Office Solicitors and to Home Office, Parliament and to any other Government Department whose area is impacted by the individual treaty.

The Treaty is extensively vetted to check that it can be fully implemented in all the jurisdictions of the UK. If it cannot, then amendments to the law have to be made so that it can. These amendments can be made by Act of Parliament or more generally by secondary legislation using powers conferred on the Secretary of State by an act. If there is already an Act of Parliament under which the Treaty can be implemented, then no enabling legislation needs to be passed. International Agreements are not all individually incorporated into English or Scottish laws by specific new legislation.

This is a very careful step by step process, carried out by lawyers and officials in the FCO, Treasury, Cabinet Office, Home Office, Parliament and elsewhere. Each will in parallel look at every clause of the Treaty and check that it can be applied. All changes needed to give effect to the treaty then have to be made – amending legislation, and necessary administrative steps. Only when all hurdles have been cleared, including legislation, and Parliamentary officials, Treasury, Cabinet Office, Home Office and FCO all certify that the Treaty is capable of having effect in the UK, will the FCO Legal Advisers give the go ahead for the Treaty to be ratified. You absolutely cannot ratify the treaty before FCO Legal Advisers have given this clearance.

This is a serious process. That is why the US/UK Extradition Treaty was signed in 2003 and ratified in 2007. That is not an abnormal delay.

So I know for certain that ALL the relevant British Government legal departments MUST have agreed that Article 4.1 of the UK/US Extradition Treaty was capable of being given effect under the 2003 Extradition Act. That certification has to have happened or the Treaty could never have been ratified.

It follows of necessity that the UK Government, in seeking to argue now that Article 4.1 is incompatible with the 2003 Act, is knowingly lying. There could not be a more gross abuse of process.

I have been keen for the hearing on this particular point to conclude so that I could give you the benefit of my experience. I shall rest there for now, but later today hope to post further on yesterday’s row in court over releasing Julian from the anti-terrorist armoured dock.

With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible. I wish to stress again that I absolutely do not want anybody to give anything if it causes them the slightest possibility of financial strain.

This article is entirely free to reproduce and publish, including in translation, and I very much hope people will do so actively. Truth shall set us free.

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254 thoughts on “Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day Four

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  • Castor

    Unless you can tell me otherwise you are the *only* source of rational reporting in this matter. Thank you.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I had never read this before today, but my respect for Julian Assange has just increased tremendously.

    “Assange wrote on WikiLeaks in February 2016: “I have had years of experience in dealing with Hillary Clinton and have read thousands of her cables. Hillary lacks judgment and will push the United States into endless, stupid wars which spread terrorism. … she certainly should not become president of the United States.”[164] On 25 July, following the Republican National Convention (RNC), during an interview by Amy Goodman, Assange said that choosing between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is like choosing between cholera or gonorrhea. “Personally, I would prefer neither.”

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

    Tony

  • richarda

    Thanks for the clarification and demonstration that the government is lying.

    I’ll point to the prosecution’s pursuit of the notion that publication of US government secret material caused harm.
    As a separate issue, the prosecution offered no evidence, except that it caused risk.
    So, why aren’t the Guardian’s “reporters”, the ones who published the secret password to redacted material in the dock with Julian Assange?
    Let me offer one possible answer to that question. We already know from Operation Mockingbird and later exposes, that intelligence agencies recruit reporters within main stream media. It would be interesting to find out whether one or more parties to the publication of the secret password was employed by or acting on behalf of one or more of the intelligence agencies.
    If that were the case, it would be entirely logical that that person would not be in the dock with Julian Assange.

    • Jen

      Indeed, when Tintin Harding was Moscow correspondent for The Fraudian more than a decade ago, ripping off articles almost word for word from Mark Ames’ English-language Moscow-based newspaper The eXile, the Russian government initially refused to renew his visa because it suspected that he was working for MI6. His visa was finally renewed in 2011 for the sake of his children who were going to school in Russia at the time.

  • Paul Barbara

    Turkish ‘mobs’ attack Sputnik journalists’ homes, then when the journalists go to a police station to file charges, they are detained incommunicado: ‘Contact lost with Russian Sputnik news agency journalists who sought police help after Turkish nationalists attacked their homes’: https://www.rt.com/news/482043-sputnik-turkey-staff-attack/
    All over the world, from Colombia to Britain, from Ireland to Malta, from China to Japan, from the US to the Gulf States, real journalists who print the truth are being harassed, imprisoned and murdered.

    • Rowan Berkeley

      They’re out now. An interesting speculation was that they were questioned regarding a story they did a day or two ago on Hatay.

      • Jen

        The story was about how France (in the days when Syria was under the French Mandate) was horse-traded to Turkey to get Turkish support in the event of a war between France and Germany. Since by giving Hatay province to Turkey was a breach of the Treaty of Lausanne, signed in 1922, France proposed to hold a referendum in the province. Apparently Turkey bussed in huge numbers of Turkish citizens into Hatay to boost voting support for Hatay becoming part of Turkey.

  • Mary

    I came across this Die Welte documentary about Julian, going back to 2010 and Wikileaks. 28 mins

    WikiLeaks – public enemy Julian Assange | DW Documentary
    142,626 views
    25 Feb 2020
    The Wikileaks revelations shocked the world, and co-founder Julian Assange shot to fame. WikiLeaks exposed U.S. army war crimes, the secret emails of top international politicians and controversial secret service surveillance methods.

    Assange’s relentless pursuit of total transparency has changed the face of journalism and given rise to much imitation, as well as fierce criticism.

    But it seems the spell has broken. After spending seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assange is now in a cell at Belmarsh, a maximum-security prison in London. In many ways, he is being treated as a terrorist. His health has suffered. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer has even referred to a “murderous system” designed to make an example of Assange.

    Assange took on a very powerful opponent. The U.S.A. is pressing charges for obtaining and disclosing classified information. Now, the extradition hearing is about to begin in London. If Assange is extradited from England to the U.S.A., he faces up to 175 years in jail for espionage. Experts are expecting one of the most significant trials of its kind to date.

    “WikiLeaks – Public Enemy Julian Assange” is a detailed depiction of the rise and fall of Julian Assange. The film reveals some personal glimpses into different aspects of the story: meetings with Assange’s worried father, talks with high-ranking U.S. officials, an exclusive interview with whistleblower Edward Snowden. And every time the key question re-emerges: Is Julian Assange a journalist or a spy?’
    https://youtu.be/pgw6FoFPhjo

    I abhor the interrogative ‘Is Julian a journalist or a spy? So that’s a loaded question. And how about the attribution of ‘public enemy’?

  • writeon

    I’m still ‘surprised’ by the lack of interest shown by the mainstream media, or at least the journalists working inside the great machine. One would imagine that this hearing, involving one of the most influential, famous and important journalist/publishers in the whole world in recent history, would fascinate and intrigue them. What’s happening is so obviously of massive importance on so many levels linked to so many aspects of modern life, things that our democracy is supposed to be built on and value; that the lack of reaction to Assange’s trial is extraordinary. That the journalists ignore all of this as they are directly affeted by what’s happening is staggering in its implications.

    It’s like we’ve already left the democratic era behind us and now live somewhere else, but with the totalitarian regime emerging in front of us, but the journalists are keeping quite about it’s ugly face hiddnen by the thin, threadbear, veil of ‘liberal democracy.’

    Why have the journalists accepted with barely a murmur of protest or coverage or questioning, the States version and ‘framing narrative’ that Assange isn’t really a ‘proper’ journalist and publisher? Because it’s easier and simpler and far less dangerous. Or is it that they are just too stupid to see it? Have they really been taught, not to think properly and boldly? Or is it much worse? Do they actually believe and even support the State’s propaganda about Julian Assange? That’s a terrible thoght, isn’t it? If they can get away with destroying someone like Assange, an innocent man who’s done nothing wrong or criminal, for having the courage and willingness to tell the Truth, doesn’t that mean they can do it to anyone?

    • Blue Dotterel

      What makes you think “main stream” journalists are journalists – Just because their title is “journalist”. These so called journalists aren’t worried because they have no intention of ever telling the truth.

      • writeon

        But they are wedded to the dogma that they are Journalists. The best ones they can be. It’s the disconnect between their self-serving, self-image, that worries me.

        • Tom Welsh

          It’s perfectly simple. They pretend to be honest journalists, and write the material their employers demand of them. It doesn’t matter much whether they use their own initiative and their own words, or simply transcribe government releases.

          As long as the “broad masses” don’t have any reason to suspect that what they are reading, hearing and seeing is untrue, they will continue to “consume” it in perfect contentment (image of cow chewing cud).

          They reason (if at all): “Wikileaks is obviously lying”. “How do you know that?” “Because what they say contradicts The Times, The Guardian, the BBC, The NYT, the Washington Post… etc. And the US and UK governments”.

          As long as the MSM stick together and tell the same story, most of the BM will go on trusting them. And the huge majority of the MSM employees will stick together, because Money Talks.

  • Rod

    There’s a piece in the Guardian/Observer this morning about Sir Kier Starmer and how he has been less critical than Prime Minister Johnson in the current extradition treaty between the UK and the USA. I tried to bring it to the attention of the contributors in the comments section that Sir Kier, in an interview with the Huffington Post, had declared he thought the extradition current treaty between this country and the USA was a good one and that Judges in no-jury courts should be left to get on with their job. In short, I laid out as succinctly as I could the proceeding of the Hearing Mr Murray has been recounting to us all this past week and at the point of posting, my contribution disappeared into the ether. I might have thought it may have been a glitch in their system, but the same thing happened yesterday at a similar attempt to widen the scope of what Mr Murray is trying to achieve which has me thinking there may be trigger words, eg. Assange etc., or phrases that prevent the post being aired and truth being spread.

    • Rod

      Correction : the piece was about his suitability as a candidate for leadership of the Opposition – I was quoting from an article in ‘Crossfire’.

  • ricardo2000

    Asserting that treaties have no practical force or application under English law is extremely dangerous. It is stating the UK will never recognize treaty provisions unless convenient.
    So why would anyone negotiate a treaty with the UK?
    No Free Trade agreement with Canada, the EU, the USA or anyone else.
    Exit the Open Skies Treaty; Exit Overflight permissions: anyone flying from the UK to North America should get used to flying around Canada.
    Exit policing and military cooperation agreements: the next time ‘ze natzis’ arrive look elsewhere for friends and allies.
    The bigoted and arrogant empire logic behind this attitude is indescribably offensive without resorting to profanity.

  • bj

    Question to Craig:

    Based on what we heard from the prosecution and from the defense this week — which will last longer: a completely unbiased and fair trial, or an obviously biased trial with appeals (upon appeals)?

    In essence: which circumstances ensure a prolonged detention of Julian Assange?

    In even more essence: isn’t this case fundamentally about terrorizing investigative journalism.

  • The 51st State

    This all makes perfect sense if you understand CIA’s standard bad-faith interpretation of treaty obligations. What’s happened here is CIA came over to speak for its UK puppet rulers and impose its treaty-abrogation system on its satellite.

    As implemented by CIA focal points in State and Justice, the US has a three-step treaty process. Step one is signing. Step two is ratifying. Step three is ignoring its treaty obligations, then, if necessary, going to the treaty body and saying, “Gee, sorry, but this here’s a non self-executing treaty and that darn Congress won’t execute it! We feel real bad about this, but you know, nothin we can do, Congress ratified it and made it binding at least, and anyway, we already have all the legislative authority we need, we could use half of this law and a little bit of that one, so we don’t need to do anything anyway, only those darn states won’t follow the treaty and we have a federal system, you know, so we uh, ratified it but we can’t comply, sorry, we really really do want to, oh uh except we don’t agree that the word will in Article 9 really means we’re going to, but more like in the sense of Hannah Arent’s Willing, or something like that, I think it’s called, where you want to and that has a value in itself, you know? Because the United States always complies with its treaty obligations.

    • Tom Welsh

      Thanks, 51st State, for articulating with perfect clarity Washington’s attitude to treaties.

      • Wikikettle

        Thanks Brianfujisan. I have not been so disheartened with the multiple bad news on all fronts. Listening to George and Craig has helped to carry on supporting Craig in his work and I hope more who read his reports do so. Amen.

      • Cubby

        George Galloway and the Scorpion state. A scorpion state that he insists that Scotland should remain in. A scorpion state that we must suffer under yet have absolutely no ability to change. A state that crucifies truth tellers. A state that tortures truth tellers.

        Keira Hardie may not be proud of Keir Starmer as gorgeous George says but as Keir Hardie was for Home rule for Scotland I suspect he may well not be that proud of Galloway either.

        Any chance of someone telling Galloway to stop shouting. He perhaps should model himself more on Craig Murray.

        • Brianfujisan

          I thought I said earlier.. where dd that post go.. It would be great if G.G was on our side – Indy – So be it.

  • Brianfujisan

    I second that Cubby.. And yes I don’t understand GG..I was thinking earlier that I wish he was A voice for our Indy movement. Cos along side Craig they would kick ass.

  • Dungroanin

    Has Craig been put in Twitter brig?

    The junta could be getting heavy – i’m keeping my pitchfork close by.

  • Giyane

    Thanks to Vanessa Baraitser, the utter malignancy of the US uk and Israel Confederacy has been made more public, not less.
    And this is extremely important because the more people witness their gross behaviour towards Julian Assange,,the publicist of their war crimes in Iraq, the more people will understand the context of their peacetime lighting of the flames of war when nobody was attacking them at all.

    It is universally acknowledged that 9/11 was the pre meditated pretext for the War on Islam in 2001. What is not generally acknowledged is that, like the Nazis, USUKIS poisoned hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims with psycho-morphic drugs after torture. The intention of USUKIS being to exploit the rage engendered by rendition-torture-brainwashing by creating a crazy war mongering Islamist army whom they and others could attack.

    So far the entire Middle East has been systematically trashed, either by USUKIS proxies like Al Qaida and Deash or the victims of al qaida and daesh, their proxy dictators like Gadaffi and Assad plus their powerful allies Russia, France, Germany and China. This is Empire2,

    Thank you magistrate Baraitser for providing such clear evidence of Usukis malice against Islam. So solly you had to shut the case down because of your raking up the shit, and the ensuing pong. Open the windows and seal your noses with clothes pegs. Light a cigarette lighter to burn off the methane.
    Your nemesis is upon you. Prepare for neo-con extinction.
    You will make good oil and methane, a firing end for those who murdered and plundered like Vikings in the pursuit of fossil fuels.

    • Mary

      Craig’s Twitter

      ‘@CraigMurrayOrg
      ·
      28 Feb
      So you did not notice that yesterday the prosecution and defence each spoke about an hour to conclude opening arguments, in which Baraitser interrupted the prosecution once and the defence 17 times? Do you claim that did not happen?
      https://craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/02/your-man-in-the-public-gallery-assange-hearing-day-four/
      You are a liar, Bishop.’

      ‘Mac William Bishop
      @MacWBishop
      · 28 Feb
      Replying to @MacWBishop, @KristianHarstad and 4 others
      …I hold to the maxim that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And I have yet to see anyone produce evidence of bias or lack of impartiality that would be convincing to a reasonable person.’

      Bishop = ‘Int’l news. TV, pics & words. Producer
      @NBCNews. NY Times, FT & Jane’s Defence Weekly alum. Former Marine infantry. Goes places, sees things, talks to people.’

      (His Twitter biog says it all)

  • writeon

    I think, perhaps paradoxically, that it’s precisely because the Assange Affair is so historically important and goes right to the heart of how our democracy functions and the central role of journalism and the character of our ‘free’ media; that this is why the journalist’s have chosen to look away from it and wilfully ‘blind’ the public to what’s at stake and what’s happening.

  • writeon

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/03/02/corb-m02.html

    Whilst I don’t really agree with all their ‘sectarian’ political conclusions; I do believe their characterisation of the woefully inadequate response of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership to the Assange Affair is spot on.

    Here, Corbyn and Labour had a golden opportunity to stand up for what’s right and proper and ‘use’ Assange’s plight to create a strong political profile for themselves and occupy the moral highground by challenging the very foundations of the witch-hunt aimed at destroying and silencing Assange. They had a ’cause’ linked to questions of liberty, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, the UK’s sovereignty, opposition to Trump and on and on; and they still managed to fuck it up!

    The levels of incompetence at the top of the Labour Party and including Cobyn himself, were, and are, staggering. No wonder they lost the election so badly.

      • writeon

        Why didn’t Corbyn fight back when he was openly accused of being a ‘fucking antisemite’? One would think he’d never heard of suing people for libel. They had literally years to develope a strategy, but failed miserably. Why didn’t he mobilise all the outstanding Jewish members of Labour that aren’t zionist fanatics and haters of the Palestinians? He seems to have massively miscalculated, as did the shower around him, and they prioritised party unity before what was right.

        • Deb O'Nair

          I never understood his refusal to take these people to court, it would have certainly helped to nip it in the bud. Instead he was being openly described as an antisemite on QT to wild applause. Not making a stand and fighting against these personal attacks allowed people to believe that he was weak, i.e. if he won’t fight for his own reputation what will he fight for?

          As well as Labour’s refusal to make an issue out of JA’s treatment it was also disappointing to see the Labour leadership cower from the media when they power nexus were targeting Venezuela, and when the OPCW leaks came out – putting May in the position of committing a war-crime. Time and time again Labour let the Tories off the hook.

    • Stewart

      I ended up not believing in Corbyn at all – his failure to respond robustly to the anti-semitism accusations at first suggested only weakness/fear but eventually his lack of response seemed contrived and ulterior. Apparently up to a third of labour party members believed that the PLP had an “anti-semitism” problem immediately prior to the December election. His historical contact with the “IRA” could mean he’s been working for the spooks all along – the labour party (or The Opposition as we jokingly used to refer to them) is far too important to the establishment to allow just anybody to be the leader.

        • Giyane

          Mary

          Armchair warriors who like me have been frustrated by Jeremy Corbyn’s not being St George or superman, have not understood the scale of the menace of the right wing. Corbyn has survived attacks on a massive scale from multiple rabid right wingers.

          Right wing Islamists. Right wing Zionists. Right wing feminists. Right wing business. Right wing politicians in his own party and outside it. Right wing MSM. Right wing America. The list us endless.

          His strategy of not taking it personally, but as an attack on the social rights of humanity, is unique and amazing. I presume that he understands that his attackers want him to waste time and energy defending his own pride instead of defending the Labour Movement..

          After my initial frustration I now have enormous respect for him. He makes it look so easy to stand in front of the baying mob of right wing sobs and deliver the quiet voice of reason.. he never shows the slightest hint of irritation.
          A very remarkable man.

  • Mary

    There is no show without our old friend, Louise Mensch. I saw her name appear as a recipient in a thread relating to Julian’s trial.

    Here is another one:

    ‘@LouiseMensch
    Just disgraceful “reporting” on behalf of Julian Assange by
    @NatashaBertrand
    **Of course** any US Ambassador would have reassured the UK the death penalty was off the table – the UK can’t legally extradite him if it isn’t
    Assange fight draws in Trump’s new intel chief
    Lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder plan to use newly obtained recordings and screenshots to argue that Assange’s prosecution is political in nature.
    politico.com’
    25 Feb 220

    Plus dozens more from her in the thread.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/louisemensch/status/1232100173200941056

    Mensch obviously did not like he content in this piece by Bertrand.
    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/24/assange-grenell-intelligence-117244

    PS Remember Mensch defending Murdoch in that committee hearing?

    Ref Murdoch. Kay Burley of Sky News, is in the US to report on the election. She is getting some sunshine in Arizona currently. Burley joined Sky News in 1988. Murdoch flogged it off to Comcast in 2018.

  • remember kronstadt

    apologies for my continence failing but I’m impressed by Boris’ clever, classical even, choice in picking such a useful foil and s**t screen as the now so quiet no-Pity Patel.

  • John Strover

    I really appreciate what Craig Murray is doing by giving such detailed and knowledgeable accounts of what is clearly a fixed show trial. With this magistrate there can only be one conclusion to the so-called trial. I only hope, and I would like information on this, that this is not the end of the road and that appeals can be made. It is absolutely obvious that the fixed result of this ‘trial’ would be overturned by any other judges.

  • GreenHills

    In short Assange lost 90% of his influential supporters when Wikileaks released the DNC, Hilary Clinton emails, made a comment on ((())), criticised identity politics and commented on a “declining white super majority”.
    https://twitter.com/DefendAssange/status/894558905115844609

    Transparency and holding truth to power does not apply when you do it to socially left wing politicians.

    His influential left wing supporters have mostly dumped him.
    Few on the centre-right will put their necks out in support as they will gain nothing.
    Apart from the principled left wing supporters his core support is the alt-right, which beyond anonymous social media accounts has little clout and won’t publicly raise their heads.

  • Frank Rowson

    Brilliant, thank you so much for the legal observations and common sense. As a lay person involved in fighting abuse of delegated authority in areas affecting public, animal and environmental health I find your observations very helpful, especially regarding the treaty vs empowering Act.
    On the whole aspect of Julian’s treatment it is a prime example of the reason why we the public have such loss of trust in governments and the reason why this case is so important.

  • David Morgan

    I have been following your commentary with interest and gratitude (very little information anywhere else!), but don’t understand why nothing has appeared in the last few days. I’ve re-read this most recent post, but can’t find an explanation for the interruption. I’m guessing that the magistrate is taking a few days to “deliberate” before announcing the decision that has been handed down to her?

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