The Armoured Glass Box is an Instrument of Torture 128


In Thursday’s separate hearing on allowing Assange out of the armoured box to sit with his legal team, I witnessed directly that Baraitser’s ruling against Assange was brought by her into court BEFORE she heard defence counsel put the arguments, and delivered by her entirely unchanged.

I might start by explaining to you my position in the public gallery vis a vis the judge. All week I deliberately sat in the front, right hand seat. The gallery looks out through an armoured glass window at a height of about seven feet above the courtroom. It runs down one side of the court, and the extreme right hand end of the public gallery is above the judge’s bench, which sits below perpendicular to it. Remarkably therefore from the right hand seats of the public gallery you have an uninterrupted view of the top of the whole of the judge’s bench, and can see all the judge’s papers and computer screen.

Mark Summers QC outlined that in the case of Belousov vs Russia the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg ruled against the state of Russia because Belousov had been tried in a glass cage practically identical in construction and in position in court to that in which Assange now was. It hindered his participation in the trial and his free access to counsel, and deprived him of human dignity as a defendant.

Summers continued that it was normal practice for certain categories of unconvicted prisoners to be released from the dock to sit with their lawyers. The court had psychiatric reports on Assange’s extreme clinical depression, and in fact the UK Department of Justice’s best practice guide for courts stated that vulnerable people should be released to sit alongside their lawyers. Special treatment was not being requested for Assange – he was asking to be treated as any other vulnerable person.

The defence was impeded by their inability to communicate confidentially with their client during proceedings. In the next stage of trial, where witnesses were being examined, timely communication was essential. Furthermore they could only talk with him through the slit in the glass within the hearing of the private company security officers who were guarding him (it was clarified they were Serco, not Group 4 as Baraitser had said the previous day), and in the presence of microphones.

Baraitser became ill-tempered at this point and spoke with a real edge to her voice. “Who are those people behind you in the back row?” she asked Summers sarcastically – a question to which she very well knew the answer. Summers replied that they were part of the defence legal team. Baraitser said that Assange could contact them if he had a point to pass on. Summers replied that there was an aisle and a low wall between the glass box and their position, and all Assange could see over the wall was the top of the back of their heads. Baraitser said she had seen Assange call out. Summers said yelling across the courtroom was neither confidential nor satisfactory.

I have now been advised it is definitely an offence to publish the picture of Julian in his glass box, even though I didn’t take it and it is absolutely all over the internet. Also worth noting that I am back home in my own country, Scotland, where my blog is based, and neither is within the jurisdiction of the English court. But I am anxious not to give them any excuse to ban me from the court hearing, so I have removed it but you can see it here.

This is the photo taken illegally (not by me) of Assange in the court. If you look carefully, you can see there is a passageway and a low wooden wall between him and the back row of lawyers. You can see one of the two Serco prison officers guarding him inside the box.

Baraitser said Assange could pass notes, and she had witnessed notes being passed by him. Summers replied that the court officers had now banned the passing of notes. Baraitser said they could take this up with Serco, it was a matter for the prison authorities.

Summers asserted that, contrary to Baraitser’s statement the previous day, she did indeed have jurisdiction on the matter of releasing Assange from the dock. Baraitser intervened to say that she now accepted that. Summers then said that he had produced a number of authorities to show that Baraitser had also been wrong to say that to be in custody could only mean to be in the dock. You could be in custody anywhere within the precincts of the court, or indeed outside. Baraitser became very annoyed by this and stated she had only said that delivery to the custody of the court must equal delivery to the dock.

To which Summers replied memorably, now very cross “Well, that’s wrong too, and has been wrong these last eight years.”

Drawing argument to a close, Baraitser gave her judgement on this issue. Now the interesting thing is this, and I am a direct eyewitness. She read out her judgement, which was several pages long and handwritten. She had brought it with her into court in a bundle, and she made no amendments to it. She had written out her judgement before she heard Mark Summers speak at all.

Her key points were that Assange was able to communicate to his lawyers by shouting out from the box. She had seen him pass notes. She was willing to adjourn the court at any time for Assange to go down with his lawyers for discussions in the cells, and if that extended the length of the hearing from three to six weeks, it could take as long as required.

Baraitser stated that none of the psychiatric reports she had before her stated that it was necessary for Assange to leave the armoured dock. As none of the psychiarists had been asked that question – and very probably none knew anything about courtroom layout – that is scarcely surprising

I have been wondering why it is so essential to the British government to keep Assange in that box, unable to hear proceedings or instruct his lawyers in reaction to evidence, even when counsel for the US Government stated they had no objection to Assange sitting in the well of the court.

The answer lies in the psychiatric assessment of Assange given to the court by the extremely distinguished Professor Michael Kopelman (who is familiar to everyone who has read Murder in Samarkand):

“Mr Assange shows virtually all the risk factors which researchers from Oxford
have described in prisoners who either suicide or make lethal attempts. … I
am as confident as a psychiatrist can ever be that, if extradition to the United
States were to become imminent, Mr Assange would find a way of suiciding.”

The fact that Kopelman does not, as Baraitser said, specifically state that the armoured glass box is bad for Assange reflects nothing other than the fact he was not asked that question. Any human being with the slightest decency would be able to draw the inference. Baraitser’s narrow point that no psychiatrist had specifically stated he should be released from the armoured box is breathtakingly callous, dishonest and inhumane. Almost certainly no psychiatrist had conceived she would determine on enforcing such torture.

So why is Baraitser doing it?

I believe that the Hannibal Lecter style confinement of Assange, this intellectual computer geek, which has no rational basis at all, is a deliberate attempt to drive Julian to suicide. The maximum security anti-terrorist court is physically within the fortress compound that houses the maximum security prison. He is brought handcuffed and under heavy escort to and from his solitary cell to the armoured dock via an underground tunnel. In these circumstances, what possible need is there for him to be strip and cavity searched continually? Why is he not permitted to have his court papers? Most telling for me was the fact he is not permitted to shake hands or touch his lawyers through the slit in the armoured box.

They are relentlessly enforcing the systematic denial of any basic human comfort, like the touch of a friend’s fingertips or the blocking of the relief that he might get just from being alongside somebody friendly. They are ensuring the continuation of the extreme psychological effects from isolation of a year of virtual solitary confinement. A tiny bit of human comfort could do an enormous amount of good to his mental health and resilience. They are determined to stop this at all costs. They are attempting to make him kill himself – or create in him the condition where his throttling death might be explained away as suicide.

This is also the only explanation that I can think of for why they are risking the creation of such obvious mistrial conditions. Dead people cannot appeal.

I would remind you that Julian is a remand prisoner who has served his unprecedentedly long sentence for bail-jumping. His status is supposedly at present that of an innocent man facing charges. Those charges are for nothing except for publishing Chelsea Manning’s revelations of war crimes.

That Baraitser is acting under instructions seems to me certain. She has been desperate throughout the trial to seize any chance to deny any responsibility for what is happening to Julian. She has stated that she has no jurisdiction over his treatment in prison, and even when both defence and prosecution combined to state it was normal practice for magistrates to pass directions or requests to the prison service, she refused to accept it was so.

Baraitser is plainly attempting psychologically to distance herself from any agency in what is being done. To this end she has made a stream of denials of jurisdiction or ability to influence events. She has said that she has no jurisdiction to interfere with the strip searching, handcuffing and removal of Assange’s papers or with his being kept in solitary. She has said she has no jurisdiction to request that his defence lawyers have more access to their client in jail to prepare his defence. She has said she has no jurisdiction over his position in the courtroom. Se has suggested at various times it is up to Serco to decide if he may pass notes to his lawyers and up to Group4 to decide if he can be released from the armoured dock. The moments when she looks most content listening to the evidence, are those when prosecution counsel James Lewis argues that she has no decision to make but to sign the extradition because it is in good form and that Article 4 of the Treaty has no legal standing.

A member of the Assange family remarked to me at the end of week one that she seems very lazy, and thus delighted to accept any arguments that reduce the amount she needs to do. I think it is different to that. I think there is a corner of the mind of this daughter of dissidents from apartheid that rejects her own role in the torture of Assange, and is continually urging “I had no choice, I had no agency”. Those who succumb to do evil must find what internal comfort they may.

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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128 thoughts on “The Armoured Glass Box is an Instrument of Torture

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  • Tony_0pmoc

    “this daughter of dissidents from apartheid”

    Now I am intrigued. I thought almost all her history had been deleted, and images of her expunged, as if she never existed as a real human being, at least at one stage – a little girl with a mummy and a daddy???

    Don’t give up on Julian Assange, he quite obviously has this inner strength to survive, no matter what they do to him.

    There is this spark of light, and life, coming from the end of the tunnel. A few photons bounce through..

    I reckon Julian Assange will again be a Free Man, and feel and see the sunshine, and go back to Normal. Public memory is very short. If he dyed his hair black, none but his closest friends and family would ever recognise him again. He has already done far more, than could be expected of any man.

    I have absolutely no interest in the judge, and have already forgotten her name.

    Tony

    • Robyn

      Julian Assange will never ‘go back to normal’. Even if he were released tomorrow morning to loved ones and sunshine, he would not ‘go back to normal’. How could anyone emerge unscathed from all he has been through for almost 10 years. Trauma, even of much shorter duration than Julian’s torture, has life-long effects.

    • lysias

      Information about Baraitser may have been erased from the Internet, but I imagine there’s plenty of gossip about her among legal circles in London.

    • mark golding

      Greetings Tony – I adore the phrase, “A few photons bounce through” yet when one reads that light we realise that the British establishment is utterly and wholly petrified Julian might be given an instrument of suicide; stricken that Julian Assange will transmute to a pietist phenomenon, loved and worshiped by others willing to step into the shoes of authenticity, integrity, and devotion.

  • Goose

    Seems to me, if this goes badly, he’ll have excellent grounds for an appeal under article 3 of the European convention on human rights – part of our law by virtue of the Human Rights Act, which states: “No one shall be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” This applies to “treatment” as well as “punishment”.

    • Alan Dow

      Of course, that is the true US strategy. As in the Middle East, where they promote not peace, but an ongoing ‘peace process’, so in Julian’s case, where they seek not extradition, but an ‘extradition process’. They are clearly hoping to manage the process to necessitate appeals to the High Court, then the Supreme Court, then the European Court of Human Rights, which could take a decade to resolve.

  • fwl

    I often disagree with Craig’s polemic, but I feel obliged to thank him for another’s day reporting.

    The two sure things that maintain justice or the potential for justice i.e. keeps judges on their toes are

    (1) the ability to appeal and

    (2) open courts (ideally within the centre of the community) in which an alert observer (formerly called the press) watches and reports.

  • writeon

    Well done, Craig. Sterling work indeed. Valuable testimony that future historians will prize like gold when they write about this ghastly process.

    Assange has been subjected to psychological torture of various kinds and massive threatening stress situations for around ten years, wow! It’s a miracle he’s still alive. Though the cost to his well-being seems to have taken its toll. Poor man. Not only was he smeared by the Guardian, what a low betrayal that was, as a double rapist; but he couldn’t defend himself because he was never charged with anything, but had the virtually impossible task of defending oneself against mere ‘allegations’ of sexual misconduct/abuse.

    It’s probably the isolation that’s hurt him most psychologically. The treatment and the conditions and architecture of the prison and the court, are specifically designed to undermine the prisoners sense of self and at the same time his sense that he’s not alone but part of a community. This slowly and surely breaks down prisoner’s ego bit by bit, stripping away the layers of ‘self’ and character that form one’s personality. This is actually worse for the prisoner that harsh physical torture on the rack or with hot irons, because the psy-torture leaves no tell-tale marks on the outside. The hot iron is twisting and prodding away inside one’s skull right into the soft tissue of the human brain, as it’s meant to!

    They want to see him totally broken down, smashed to pieces and rubbed out as a functioning human being. That this is happening with so little criticism, in mini totalitarian state dungeon in the middle of London, is a terrible sign of the truly dreadful times we live in.

  • Ruth

    ‘The real framework which secretly controls our lives is little understood or studies even by those who work within its musty and murky depths. It has only recently emerged that Appeal Court Judges are secretly briefed making appearances before such luminaries a sham and a joke. The public can thank Mr Geoffrey Scriven for these revelations. Lloyds names can hardly have realised that legislation was secretly framed to prevent wrong doers being sued. (Times Magazine Article 21/2/00).’ Gerald James

  • JB

    Indicted war criminals being tried at international criminal tribunals and the International Criminal Court (ICC) sit with their lawyers during the hearings and have unimpeded access to their counsel.
    They stand trial for the gravest crimes sanctioned by the human race today – genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes involving murder of hundreds, and thousands of people and other heinous criminal acts.
    Being innocent until proven guilty, they are treated with respect and all dignity, also after conviction while at the detention units of the international courts.
    The standards applied by the international criminal courts are the highest that there are. They were adopted by consensus by most states, including the UK.
    How does the treatment of Julian Assange compare to that!!!

    • chris

      If only Assange was a military dictator, installed by the CIA and expecting extradition from the UK to another european country.
      He would not be in jail but house arrest, could visit the Prime Minister and of course would not be extradited.

      “During her time as Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher openly called a terrorist a “true friend”, invited a terrorist into her home for tea, and personally lobbied against a terrorist’s prosecution for war crimes…..
      Thatcher’s support for Chile’s former torturer-in-chief General Pinochet is no secret; it was something she was proud of.”

      https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/tories-have-forgotten-that-thatcher-wasnt-just-a-terrorist-sympathiser-but-close-friends-with-one-10507850.html

      “The government’s involvement in the “inhumane” arrest of the former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, has sullied Britain’s reputation for loyalty, fair dealing and the orderly conduct of international relations, Lady Thatcher claimed last night.

      She concluded: “This is the Pandora’s box which has been opened – and unless Senator Pinochet returns safely to Chile, there will be no hope of closing it.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/1999/jul/07/pinochet.chile

      Well, he did return safely to Chile.

      “How does the treatment of Julian Assange compare to that!!!”

      • Courtenay Barnett

        “If only Assange was a military dictator, installed by the CIA and expecting extradition from the UK to another european country.”

        Recall Pinochet and Mrs. Thatcher.

  • jmg

    Craig wrote:

    > They are ensuring the continuation of the extreme psychological effects from isolation of a year of virtual solitary confinement. A tiny bit of human comfort could do an enormous amount of good to his mental health and resilience. They are determined to stop this at all costs. They are attempting to make him kill himself . . .

    They tried to break Julian down before, with no success.

    Fidel Narvaez, former Ecuadorian consul in London:

    “I was fired for helping Julian Assange, and I have no regrets. . . .

    “Contrary to what Moreno’s government led people to believe, there was mutual respect between Assange and the diplomatic and administrative staff at the embassy. . . .

    “Lenín Moreno never liked Julian, not even when he was vice president. He doesn’t understand what WikiLeaks is or what they do. . . . Julian’s fate was decided: they started making the case to end his asylum. How? They isolated him, they tried to break him down, so that he would leave the embassy of his own accord. They failed. . . .

    “Another was to defame him in order to justify his expulsion, and to approach the British and the Americans in order to hand Julian over. . . .

    “I left in July 2018, because I was asked to. They didn’t want me anymore — and I didn’t want them anymore either. It was unbearable. Julian’s isolation began when I was there. I witnessed it. . . .

    “I wouldn’t be able to say whether Julian’s expulsion was a condition of the deal, but we do know that the United States has veto power with the IMF. . . .

    “Of course, I’ve paid a price. . . . But I don’t regret anything at all. As a diplomat, the most interesting people I met were in connection to providing asylum for Julian Assange, and in trying to help Edward Snowden. I would do it again, for sure.”

    I Was Fired for Helping Julian Assange, and I Have No Regrets — An interview with Fidel Narvaez — Jacobin Magazine — Oct 25, 2019
    https://jacobinmag.com/2019/10/julian-assange-fidel-narvaez-ecuador-moreno

    Craig wrote:

    > That Baraitser is acting under instructions seems to me certain. . . .

    > Baraitser is plainly attempting psychologically to distance herself from any agency in what is being done. To this end she has made a stream of denials of jurisdiction or ability to influence events. . . .

    > I think there is a corner of the mind of this daughter of dissidents from apartheid that rejects her own role in the torture of Assange, and is continually urging “I had no choice, I had no agency”. Those who succumb to do evil must find what internal comfort they may.

    The magistrate should know that one of the many issues related to Julian’s possible extradition to the US for life in supermax federal prison for spies and terrorists — permanent solitary confinement in a small soundproof concrete cell with one window 4 inches wide — is the even much harsher treatment that he will receive in the case of being classified as a suicide risk.

    It happened to Manning, who was not even in supermax:

    Bradley Manning: how keeping himself sane was taken as proof of madness | US news | The Guardian | 30 Nov 2012
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/30/bradley-manning-keeping-sane-madness#maincontent

    Probably the magistrate should be informed of these facts. Perhaps she is human after all.

  • Baalbek

    This ‘hearing’ is a piece of dual-purpose macabre theatre. It is a propaganda exercise designed to show that Assange is getting “justice” while simultaneously, and primarily, serving as a chilling demonstration of state power and how it will be brought to bear on journalists and publishers who cling to antiquated notions about a free press, speaking truth to power and publicly exposing the crimes of states and empires.

    Once again I ask why are prominent civil liberties/rule of law advocacy and watchdog groups not uniting and loudly condemning this show trial and the psychological abuse and torture of Julian Assange? Where is their integrity? Their silence is deafening.

    In the decade or so following 9/11 there was a genuine grassroots pushback against the war crimes of “coalition forces”, the creeping totalitarianism of the global surveillance state and massive economic inequality. After the Occupy movement lost momentum, apathy and lethargy seem to have set in and many formerly active civil liberties groups have gone silent.

    Only in France are the masses still awake and motivated enough to unite and fight in the physical world for their rights and liberties. The Yellow Vests even managed to send a few of their own to London as a show of support for Julian Assange. In the Anglosphere, it rarely goes beyond bullshitting on the internet. e.g. how many UK residents who read this blog are with Craig at Woolwich Crown Court in London to support Assange and the vital civil liberties his case represents?

  • np

    Maybe Johnson has decided to drop the case by ensuring that an appeal is successful (on multiple potential grounds, according to Craig’s reports), but only after harassing and humiliating Julian for the benefit of the Americans.

    An agreement with Australia to let him return there “on humanitarian grounds” after a successful appeal would get rid of an embarrassing problem for Johnson and make the Australians take the heat from Trump.

    • lysias

      Baraitser’s behavior in court reminds me not of the Allied judges at Nuremberg, but of the Nazi judge Roland Freisler of the Volksgerichtshof.

  • jmg

    Remarkable video today with the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell:

    “UK member of parliament @JohnMcDonnellMP speaks about his recent visit with Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison — where the regime is ‘brutal’

    “‘Please don’t underestimate the importance of this case for the future of our democracy’”

    WikiLeaks, Double Down News — Twitter — Mar 2, 2020
    https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/1234468704051744769

    • Alastair McP

      Thanks for that jmg (I deplore Twatter) and apologies again for my rebarbative comments last week. This McDonnell involvement is indeed superb news.

      To Craig: you’ve played a blinder writing this up day by day. You deserve medals, awards and international recognition for your diligence and devotion. I am pleased (and a little surprised) you were able to keep going to achieve what you have. Amazing how you find the stamina when you need it.

      Actually.. bollox to the medal – you deserve a case of Dimple to help you wind down, now your safely back up the road. Sorry I wasn’t there last week. I have a close mate with a flat by Sainsburys at Woolwich Arsenal (you can see HMP Belmarsh out of his 7th floor windows). Had it all planned out to spend a few days and lend my meagre support (but generous hip flask!)… but I’ve been snowed under til now.

      The highest marks possible from all right-thinking folks to you for giving the maximal diffusion you were able to what you saw and heard at the Baraitser hearing. I salute your dedication to this crucial crusade.

    • nevermind

      Thanks for that lonk jmg, I have written to Keir Starmet asking him about his email traffic regards Julian during his reign as the DPP, but as yet have not received any answers.
      Its time for the Labour party future leaders to speak up about free speech as they have been given solemn assurances to the FoI and their incessant backstabbing schemes.

      C’mon Keir Starmer owe up and say why you wrote what you wrote and who asked you to do it.

  • Robyn

    Interesting article by Tareq Haddad and Kit Klarenberg with more information on the Rohrabacher pardon story.

    ‘U.S. President Donald Trump offered Julian Assange clemency in return for confirmation that Seth Rich was the source of leaked Democratic Party emails — only to push for the indictment of the Wikileaks founder when he refused to comply.’

    Kim Dotcom has released text messages which, ‘…reveal a different version of events than those expressed by Rohrabacher and the White House, however. In a further screenshot, this time between him and Assange, the interactions showed Trump had first-hand knowledge of the pardon agreement.’

    https://thewatchdog.net/2020/03/02/leaked-evidence-shows-that-assange-arrest-came-after-wikileaks-publisher-refused-to-name-sources/

  • James Mills

    I disagree , Craig . She is not distancing herself from blame , no , she is simply doing what so many criminals in the Nazi camps did – ”only following orders ! ”

  • Liane Franck

    There is a quality about the voices of those who plead for the freedom of Julian Assange that feels hollow and abstract no matter how passionately spoken. It is the voice of the child that no one listens to simply because she is powerless. We are that child – in shock and praying for a crumb of support from those who consider us of little value. As long as we remain in this mindset we cannot effectively fight for Julian. We must grow up quickly.

    • Alan Dow

      I hope somebody, somewhere is planning to take action which will be noticed. Of course, in these days of internet surveillance, such a person would never give any hint of their intentions online.

  • Nick

    “this daughter of dissidents from apartheid”
    These words to describe the judge are very intriguing. Can Craig Murray, or anyone, expand on this? I am keen to learn more about her.
    Thank you Craig Murray for your efforts to report on the horror-show each day. Vital that we all know what is being done.

  • Giyane

    Daughter of dissidents to South African apartheid.

    There are two ways to oppose injustice, either to fight it in the same way as your opponents, in which case you become the same problem as your opponents, like Al Qaida in Libya for example or turn the other cheek and resist injustice intellectually like Jeremy Corbyn.

    I was listening to a discussion about the way that Western Society requires dissidents to articulate themselves in the same manner as their persecutors on Radio 4 last night.
    Julian Assange us articulate and rational as society demands of dissidents. Baraitser is refusing to be either. She is refusing to be moulded by the stereotype of Western values, possibly because she knows that they are hypocritical.

    It’s annoying that the right wing , like Trump , are adopting a populist role , after previously demanding that opposition to them should always be polite and rational. It’s annoying, because its a dog whistle. It’s annoying because millions of people are following Julian Assange’s trial in the few moments of reelection time they have in their busy lives.

    They are going to think,’ he must be a dangerous criminal because my liberal democracy doesn’t cage innocent remand prisoners badly. Look how little our right wing governments understand their countrymen, and how much they despise us.
    They think we’re dumb. But were not dumb. We see through the little charade that Baraitser is the dissident and Assange part of the establishment., a game scripted by the makers of Hollywood and the creators of the orange haired orangutan and blonde bimbo Bumcheeks with the unzipped pork sword.

    Stupid little game that Assange is the conservative and Bojo & Trump are Radicals. Even Thatcher played that stupid little game.

  • Michela R.

    Terrible. Psychological torture, incitement to suicide, no chance of even giving some human comfort to Julian Assange. This process is an abomination, those who perform hope to do it silently. And as I read your testimony, Mr. Murray, I don’t think I can translate because of the tears that fill my eyes.
    Thanks for sharing this report

  • writeon

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

    Strange days indeed. I might have posted this before, sorry. Only I’m still puzzled by Corbyn’s lack of interest, action or dynamism about stepping forward to help Julian Assange, when Assange so obviously needs help, desparately. I mean Corbyn hasn’t got a lot of time left in frontline politics. He could use his fleeting fame to do something important for a change and draw attention to the forgotten prisoner trapped in his glass dungeon. What’s Corbyn got to lose exatly? I thought he was supposed to be the great man of integrity and honour, the fearless human rights champion, what’s up with him then? What’s he afraid of? Surely not the idea that he could have a negative effect on his prospects of retaining some kind of leading role in Labour under a new leader? Why can’t he just use the little power he has, whilst he still has it, before he reuturns to comfortable obscurity again, to do something right and good?

    • Northern

      I share your frustration, although it is heartening to see McDonnell raising the case, even in a lacklustre manner, today.

      I would suspect it’s the paranoia of what happens to him once he’s in ‘comfortable obscurity’ that prevents Jezza from being more forthcoming on the subject. As this monstrous abuse of process shows, the state has a long memory.

  • writeon

    The terrible thing is that this ghastly process, with Assange suffering systematic psy-torture in virtual isolation in a high-tech dungeon, will most likely drag on for years and years as the legal process grinds on and on. This is the whole point. The authorities want him to breakdown totally, die of a heart-attack or force him into suicide. They want rid of him and all he stands for and they don’t care how it’s done, as long as it’s done. Can he hold out for another four or five years of this insane treatment designed to destroy him as a functioning human being. They are peeling away layer after layer of his personality and breaking him down with a viciousness that’s truly horrible.

    Where are the journalists on the Guardian, tha liberal beacon of virtue, that worked with Assange? One knows they betrayed him and smeared him terribly. But surely there are limits, even for them? Basic, common humanity and decency, is that too much to ask? If they saw an animal being tortured in a cage, wouldn’t they show more sympath and empathy? But they know Assange, and still they turn their back on him. It’s utterably deplorable and shameful.

    Where are the writers and intellectuals in all this? Why do only a handful of people step forward to defend Assange? Has the cancer of indentity and gender politics, the dreadful power of the ‘rape’ smear, taken over completely?

  • Patricia Howard

    I am very grateful to have a clear picture from your reporting of the treatment of Julian Assange and can only keep posting and forwarding your material as far as I can with my occasional donation from Australia as a recipient of the age pension here. As and English born and bred woman with thoughts of returning back to uk over the past few years as all my family are still there, I am really having 2nd thoughts as I begin to understand how the British hierachy really operate and it both angers me and fills me with shame knowing it was this same mentality that caused so much abuse of the Australian Aborigine culture and is still rampant in this country today but hotly denied by so many but the country’s lack of humanity for one of its own is another revelation of the lack of soul of this country’s leadership and many of its people. I salute you sir for your efforts and unbiased reporting.

  • Bibbit

    The apology for a ‘judge’ Baraitser will go down in history as the most hated and inept foreign state lackey ever.

    She is a traitor to English justice and should be vilified forever, for her evil, torture trial.

    I suspect that instead of being debarred & hounded out of civilised society, she will be rewarded by both the English & the USA establishments.

    What a pity Julian did not seek refuge in Scotland, if one compares the Scottish justice afforded to Catalans in Scotland by the Scots legal system, who were, (and continue to be), hounded by the fascist Spanish establishment. The Scottish courts threw out the Spanish extradition requests.

    This ‘court’ is a mockery to English justice.

    Is Baraitser mentally well?

  • Mary

    Meanwhile Edward Snowden is out of it in Moscow.

    24 Feb 2020
    Declassified: From Snowden to WikiLeaks to Crypto AG, these are the biggest leaks of the past decade and what we’ve learned from them.
    https://www.businessinsider.com/snowden-wikileaks-crypto-ag-biggest-leaks-secrets-revealed-2010-2020-2?

    Just a couple of mentions of Julian and a photo of him within. An annoying website. BI has a New York HQ, and is owned by Axel Springer. Launched into S Africa recently.

    The usual just now – ‘Below you’ll see everything we could locate for your search of “julian assange”
    Nothing to Show Right Now’

    Yet he is mentioned in their article I have linked to!

  • Mary

    In his report on the ‘proceedings’ Kevin Gosztola draws attention to the fact that in the US defendants sit with their attorneys. There are no docks.

    ‘A half century ago, the United States completely did away with the dock. It has the largest prison population in the world, yet defendants, even terrorism suspects, sit with their attorneys during trial.

    As the JUSTICE report put it, “The rejection of the dock is embedded in constitutional guarantees, indicative of the struggle against colonial powers, and due process abuses.”

    The United States government may exhibit flagrant contempt for press freedom in pursuing a case against Assange, but if Assange is brought to the U.S., he will not be secluded in a glass box during trial. That deplorable practice fortunately will not follow him across the pond.’

    https://shadowproof.com/2020/02/27/judge-julian-assange-must-remain-in-glass-box-during-extradition-proceedings/

    • Mary

      ‘Comments such as these mark a progression in the jurisprudence of the Strasbourg court towards an understanding of the dock as a structure which has a significant impact on the defendant’s due process rights, in addition to offending the dignity of the individual placed in it, whether metal or glass. Irrespective of the Court’s approach, enclosing a person in a glass box or wooden pen is clearly an objectively humiliating experience and its rationale must be questioned as an affront to the dignity of proceedings.’

      https://justice.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/JUSTICE-In-the-Dock.pdf

      The recommendations of JUSTICE are:

      1. There should be a presumption that all defendants sit in the well of the court, behind or close to their advocate;
      2. Open docks should no longer be used and defendants should sit with their legal team;
      3. Where security concerns exist, a procedural hearing should be held to satisfy the court that additional security is required;
      4. In cases where there is no security risk, defendants should also sit with their legal team;
      5. We invite the Lord Chief Justice to consider issuing a practice direction with regard to the above recommendations;
      6. We invite HM Courts and Tribunal Service, the Ministry of Justice and other appropriate agencies to explore alternative security measures to the dock, mindful of the need for such measures to be concealed from the judge/jury and comfortable for the defendant; and
      7. We invite the Ministry of Justice and other relevant agencies to review prisoner escort custody contracts to ensure that appropriate security can be supplied to the courtroom.

  • Stephen Ambartzakis

    The more I read of this reporting from Mr Murray (more strength to his arm) the more i am reminded of the proceedings of another kangaroo court in Nuremberg, strange how the major protagonists are the same two countries.

  • Babak Fakhamzadeh

    “I think there is a corner of the mind of this daughter of dissidents from apartheid that rejects her own role in the torture of Assange, and is continually urging “I had no choice, I had no agency””

    Where is there more on Baraitser?

  • Shari & Lamb Chop

    As with extradition, Baraitser’s CIA ventriloquist Lewis has his hand up her shirt and they’re working her jaws, clack clack clack. CIA forced Congress to amend its war crimes act to decriminalize its go-to war crimes: denial of the rights of trial and outrages against human dignity. This manifest subversion of the object and purpose of universal-jurisdiction law permits CIA to coerce confessions with psychological torture that leaves no physical marks. To avoid the legal terms of art, CIA focal points in DoJ call this form of torture ‘compulsion.’ With the glass booth, CIA’s British satellite state attacks Assange’s human dignity while denying his rights to trial. The Belmarsh torturers’ arbitrary changes to draconian rules are a staple of CIA torture regimes in Latin America, the Middle East and now in Langley’s British torture gulag.

    We hear a lot of nonsense about the rationale for Brexit but one thing explains it all: Britain’s attempt to renounce ECtHR jurisdiction. CIA is going to sacrifice Israel to preserve its own impunity. CIA still needs a controllable satellite state to run its torture chambers, and that is Britain now. Therefore Britain must escape its human rights obligations and commitments.

    Britain’s problem is that the ICCPR and not the ECHR is the binding constraint on British torture, and General Comment 26, Continuity of Obligations, makes the commitment irrevocable.

    https://www.refworld.org/docid/453883fde.html

    The US is using its British puppets as an ablative shield, torching the servile statelet’s international standing to accomplish its objective. Assange’s torture will ultimately cost the UK its P-5 veto, because Assange was tortured to stop denunciation of war crimes.

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