Media Freedom? Show me the MSM Journalist Opposing the Torture of Assange 141

Today, the corporate media that cried “Media freedom” when Extinction Rebellion blocked the billionaire owned propaganda presses, is silent as Julian Assange’s Calvary for bringing real truth unfiltered to the public moves on to its next station; the macabre Gothic architecture of the Old Bailey.

The Tories appeared remarkably tolerant in the days when Extinction Rebellion were causing general disruption to the public. But to threaten the interests of billionaire paymasters is something against which the entire political class will unite. At a time when the government is mooting designating Extinction Rebellion as Serious Organised Crime, right wing bequiffed muppet Keir Starmer was piously condemning the group, stating: “The free press is the cornerstone of democracy and we must do all we can to protect it.”

It is surely time we stopped talking about “free press”, as if it was Thomas Paine or William Cobbett distributing pamphlets. Print media is now the subject of phenomenonal ownership concentration. It broadcasts the propaganda of some very nasty billionaires to a shrinking audience of mostly old people. The same ownerships have of course moved in to TV and Radio and increasingly into new media, and have a political stranglehold over those who control state media. At the same time, the corporate gatekeepers of Facebook and Twitter purposefully strangle the flow of readers to independent online media. The idea of a “free press” as an open marketplace of democratic ideas has no real meaning in modern society, until anti-monopoly action is taken. Which is the last thing those in power will do.

Quite the opposite, they are actively seeking to eliminate dissent even from the internet.

I do not want permanently to close down the Sun or the Telegraph; neither do Extinction Rebellion. But their excellent action is an important opening to the debate about controlled public narrative, not least on climate change. The highly paid stenographers to power have been quick to protest. Murdoch mouthpiece David Aaronovitch tweeted out that in fact 99% of the time there was no editorial interference from Murdoch. But that is the point. Murdoch employs reliable right wingers like Aaronovitch; he does not need to tell them what to write.

Show me the Murdoch journalist who has more than once published about the human rights abuses against the Palestinians. Murdoch ejected his own son from his media empire because James was insufficiently enthusiastic about the slow genocide of the Palestinians, and does not believe that the market will magically fix climate change.

The corporate media selects its mouthpieces. Scotland has become an extreme example, where 55% of the population support Independence, but only about 5% of state and corporate media “journalists” support Independence.

Julian Assange has been a light in this darkness. Wikileaks have opened a window into the secret world of war crime, murder and corruption that underlies so much of the governance we live under throughout the “free” world. Coming in the wake of the public realisation that we had been blatantly lied into the destruction of Iraq, there was a time when it seemed Assange would lead us into a new age where whistleblowers, citizen journalists and a democratic internet would revolutionise public information, with the billionaire stranglehold shattered.

That seems less hopeful today, as the internet world itself corporatised. Julian is in jail and continuing today is an extradition hearing that has been one long abuse of process. The appalling conditions of solitary confinement in which he has been kept in the high security Belmarsh Prison, with no access to his legal team or a working computer, to his papers or to his mail, have taken a huge toll on his physical and mental health. The UN Special Representative has declared he is subject to torture. A media which is up in arms about the very dubious attack on Navalny, has no emotion for state torture victim Assange other than contempt.

It is constantly asked by Julian’s supporters why the media do not see the assault on a publisher and journalist as a threat to themselves. The answer is that the state and corporate media are confident in their firm alliance with the powers that be. They have no intention of challenging the status quo; their protection from those kicking Assange lies in joining in with the kicking.

I hope to be in court today, and throughout the extradition hearing. The public gallery of 80 has been reduced to 9 “due to Covid”. 5 seats are reserved for Julian’s family and friends, and I have one of these today, but not guaranteed beyond that. There are just 4 seats for the general public.

Journalists and NGO’s will be following the hearing online – but only “approved” journalists and NGO’s, selected by the Orwelian Ministry of Justice. I had dinner last night with Assange supporters from a number of registered NGO’s, not one of which had been “approved”. I had applied myself as a representative of Hope Over Fear, and was turned down. It is the same story for those who applied for online access as journalists. Only the officially “approved” will be allowed to watch.

This is supposed to be a public hearing, to which in normal times anybody should be able to walk in off the street into the large public gallery, and anyone with a press card into the press gallery. What is the justification for the political selection of those permitted to watch? An extraordinary online system has been set up, with the state favoured observers given online “rooms” in which only the identified individual will be allowed. Even with approved organisations, it is not the case that an organisation will have a login anyone can use, not even one at a time. Only specifically nominated individuals have to login before proceedings start, and if their connection breaks at any point they will not be readmitted that day.

Given these restrictions, I was very conscious I may need to queue from 5am tomorrow, to get one of the 4 public places, if I drop off the family list. So I went this morning at 6am to the Old Bailey to check out the queue and work out the system. The first six people in the queue were all people who, entirely off their own bat, without my knowledge and with no coordination between them, had arrived while London slept just to reserve a place for me. I was swept up by their goodness, their trust in me and by their sheer humanitarian concern about Julian and the whole miscarriage of justice. I chatted cheerily with them for a while, then came back to write this, but just got round the corner when I burst into floods of tears, overwhelmed by all this kindness.

I have to pull myself together now and get into that court.


My coverage of Julian’s case is entirely dependent on your financial support. Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

Choose subscription amount from dropdown box:

Recurring Donations


Paypal address for one-off donations: [email protected]

Alternatively by bank transfer or standing order:

Account name
Account number 3 2 1 5 0 9 6 2
Sort code 6 0 – 4 0 – 0 5
IBAN GB98NWBK60400532150962
Bank address Natwest, PO Box 414, 38 Strand, London, WC2H 5JB

Bitcoin: bc1q3sdm60rshynxtvfnkhhqjn83vk3e3nyw78cjx9

Subscriptions are still preferred to donations as I can’t run the blog without some certainty of future income, but I understand why some people prefer not to commit to that.

141 thoughts on “Media Freedom? Show me the MSM Journalist Opposing the Torture of Assange

1 2 3
  • Stephen C

    Wow. Wonderful to see physical support for you by people unknown to you.
    Another well written piece showing the injustice and imbalance shown by the media,
    I hope the hearing goes as well as it can in these unreal and unfair circumstances.

  • Stephen Ambartzakis

    Unfortunately, Britain has become simply a lapdog of the United States and will do it’s bidding at the mere snap of the fingers from that conglomerate. The good old USA which sees itself as the “shining, exceptional city in the air” and will react with venom when anyone, even the International Criminal Court holds a mirror up to its warty face and exposes just how evil an empire it has become. What chance then does a man like Assange, or yourself, for that matter have against this behemoth funded as it is by “the tribe”

      • Deepgreenpuddock

        I think it was a reference to ‘exceptionalism’ where the US is regarded by itself to be a morally superior eactor, just as at the height of the british empire Englishmen and women were the epitome the righteous and f the crusaders of God’s kingdom. I think the comment may have been intended to be ironic.However I think it is interesting how the language of exceptionalism has crept into the political lexicon of Johnson and his crones and cronies.example: “freedom loving”- straight out of the Bush era and harking back to the jingoism of Rule Brittania.

        • Ian

          It is a misremembered quote from Reagan about the ‘shining city on the hill’, a religious reference to manifest destiny.

  • brendan stebbings

    You continue to amaze us with your perseverance and devotion to duty Craig, Julian is so fortunate to have you in his corner. Best of luck today. Don’t hesitate to request more crowdfunding in either cases. Atb B.

  • M.J.

    This may be a good area for tha application of citizen’s assemblies – the question of monopoly regulation with respect to mass media. But if government won’t do it, perhaps a university department should, as an important research project.

    • Stevie Boy

      I’m afraid as far as independent and unbiased research at universities goes, you’ve missed the boat !
      The universities have sold out to funding from the usual establishment suspects and most of the students seem to be infected with the woke disease. Not a place I’d expect any useful help from.

  • Nickle101

    Thank you Craig and thanks to those wonderful people who turned up to queue. Such solidarity is a wonder to behold.

  • Fazal Majid

    Andrew Orlowski has this theory that journalism’s decline began when it went from slightly disreputable working-class job to a respectable profession for college graduates, who would not dream of embarrassing their classmates who went into law or PR.

  • geoff

    bequiffed muppet Keir Starmer – care to remove that? You aren’t doing yourself any favours with comments like that

    • John+Deehan

      How about a puppet for the US oligarchs and the parasitical class which control this bouffant buffoon.

    • Bramble

      Mr Murray was being kind to the Establishment stooge who was a leading force in the persecution of Mr Assange.

    • Prasad

      “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum….”
      Noam Chomsky, The Common Good

      Muppet is a perfect description. Admittedly Cummings has expanded the spectrum more to the right but after the Israeli removal of Corbyn we have the left back in its place again.Corbyn was never ‘acceptable opinion’.

    • Geoff S

      Hello namesake,

      I generally hate name calling and ad hominem attacks in sensible writing, it does nothing to add to the argument and frequently detracts from it.

      However, in the case of Keir Blair, I will make an exception. He thoroughly deserves every ounce of scorn poured on him, no matter how base.Sorry, I meant Tony Starmer. Or whatever name it goes under.

      • Ort

        Pehaps everyone has misunderstood your lesser namesake’s meaning, and his disapproval arises because he considers “bequiffed muppet” too euphemistic and complimentary. 😉

    • giyane

      Sadly bequiffed muppets are by definition unable to take offence, neither the muppet, nor the hand inside the muppet nor any other muppet who could possibly be aware that Starmer got Julian Assange into prison in the first place through the CPS. Truth doesn’t hurt the brain-dead.

    • Stewart

      “You aren’t doing yourself any favours with comments like that”

      if you think the purpose of this blog is to gain “favour”, well, I really don’t know what to say
      you did bring a smile to my face though, however unintentionally, so thanks for that

    • Dungroanin

      Oh dear … Starmer CPS was instrumental in insisting the Swedes didn’t withdraw their dumb rape allegations once it was decided by the Swedes there was no case.

      Assange ended up in sanctuary and now prison because of Starmer.

      Only one of his heinous miscarriages of Justice.

      Probably good mates with Baraister and Arbuthnot and certainly a toady of the posh boys and DS groupie at best.

    • Franc

      Thankyou for that link, which tidies up the problems that Craig has had with trying to access NUJ membership.
      And thankyou again Craig for your latest report, and bearing in mind your own legal battle, it truly reflects the unselfish person that you are.

  • Neo-economist

    Sorry, but us voters have been roundly fooled, and tens of thousands have paid with their lives under the covid-19 travesty in care homes. That a “muslim” turk managed to get access past billionaire astors daughters knickers can only have been a donmeh feat, but is sadly only well known to his fellow chucktodds who dominate our media and politics. We can only continue to lie back and think of England as the national debt is increased further from the 2000 billion of today (with really nothing to show for it,it was “only” 500 billion in 2008 when Gordon Brown handed over to the cons). Its not a Peoples Republic of China debt trap the Scots seeking Independence have to fear, its this home-grown English debt trap spiraling out of control under extreme tory corruption,incompetence and jobs for dumb eton boys.

    • Mr Shigemitsu

      The so-called “UK National Debt”, or at least the 65% of it that isn’t currently held by the Bank of England, is nothing more sinister than the accumulated savings of the UK’s non-government sector.

      Why would you want to take away everyone’s money?

    • Alison C

      The national debt bears no resemblance to a household’s or business’s debt. It’s simply money that the government spent into the economy but which has not yet come back out of circulation via taxation. The Scots have nothing to fear from ‘national debt’. What they do have to fear (along with the rest of is) is the obscene accumulation of wealth (conveniently not being taxed away) in the hands of the oligarchs and media barons who then use it to circumvent democracy: control the public narrative, keep the political parties in their pockets and so dictate government policy.

  • Rod Coates

    I’m disappointed in you Craig. Pouring bile on Starmer is usually the job of paranoid stalinists in the labour party who obviously don’t want a lab govt of whatever stripe. BTW, i would have loved a Corbyn govt. Good luck with your reporting JA’s trial.

    • Jan+Brooker

      *Sir* is a member of the Trilateral Commission; a corporate mouthpiece and enabler. *Pouring bile* is quite mild, seeing that Sir could have ended the nonsense against Julian Assange, rather than partcicipating in his continuing *torture*.

    • Geoff S

      Perhaps I’m a paranoid stalinist, but when I think of the Starmer/Blair types, I think of the old wartime trope of captured soldiers being taken as prisoners and looked after but if they weren’t in uniform, they would be shot as spies. In that vein, while I have a healthy dislike for the blue team, I generally don’t sink to name calling. However, when it’s one of the blue team who decides to wear red, then they deserve no respect whatsoever.

      You are free to support anyone who wears a red tie if you wish, but I have nothing but the highest contempt for tories like Starmer or Blair.

    • John A

      As for Starmer, I had been a lifelong Labour voter, thrilled in May 1997 that Blair had won and would reverse the destructive misery of Thatcher. No such luck, I continued voting for Labour but eventually could no more and reluctantly switched to Green. Then Corbyn became leader and re-enthused me and I returned to the fold for both Corbyn elections. Sadly the smears and establishment nonsense, including much of the party high-ups, once again destroyed these hopes. Starmer is as much an establishment non boat rocker as Blair. I will probably vote Green again next time, never for Starmer.

      • M.J.

        Voting Green is a good idea. After all, people should vote according to their convictions, whether their candidate is likely to win or not. I’m liable to vote LibDem for the same reason.
        All that said, Keir may be preferable to Boris.

        • Shardlake

          The issue here is trying to ‘spring’ Mr Assange from the clutches of an extremely right wing government who will apply all the pressures and more we have seen in the previous extradition hearings. The fact that Sir Keir Starmer may be preferable to Mr Johnson is hardly likely as Starmer has shown no interest in Mr Assange’s case. He will not enter into correspondence relating to the plight of a political prisoner in his own country, moreover he is on record in a Huffington Post interview on February 25th, 2020, that he supports Judge Baraitser and that our extradition treaty with the USA is a good one. Sir Keir Starmer falls in to the same category as Mr Johnson who managed to increase Mrs Radcliffe’s prison sentence in Iran. The only difference is that Mr Johnson’s attempts at statesmanship have been lacking through sheer incompetence while Sir Keir’s actions are glaringly deliberate.

          • M.J.

            I don’t plan to vote Labour myself, but given Boris’ comfortable majority, we won’t have a choice for another 4 years barring an extraordinary event, so this is all a bit academic. We’ll have to spend time preparing the way, for example making the case to join the EU again, for use when disillusionment over Brexit sets in.

        • Shardlake

          MJ @15:53
          We must be kindred spirits. Like you, I have voted for the Greens in the past and I share your belief that it’s likely we will have wait another four plus years before we have the opportunity to lend our votes to whoever suits our needs best. As I don’t live in the Labour leader’s constituency I won’t be voting for him next time we have a general election in any event. If the Labour candidate in my constituency is a supporter of Starmer and his already expressed policies, which include seeing Mr Assange extradited to the USA, then I will be looking for an alternative candidate where I can lodge my vote. I will certainly question all candidates canvassing my vote and I will want to know if they support the stands made by Alex Salmond, Julian Assange and Craig Murray. As a final note, I’m not that enamoured by the stance the Greens have shown to Mr Assange’s predicament and I am disgusted with the lack of support the NUJ has given to Mr Murray.

          • Shardlake

            … and MJ … what makes you think the European Union, as a bloc, would want to re-admit the UK or England (only, as it then might be) back in again after the trouble and expense we’ve caused ? Would you trust a nation with a proven record of disruption and a History of reneging on past agreements and treaties ? No ! they are well rid of us and a substantial proportion of Scots feel the same way and who can blame them.

          • M.J.

            I regret that I agree with you about the EU – I wouldn’t trust the UK! They’ve put up with more from us than they should have to. However, the younger generation weren’t for Brexit, and that’s something. I was once speaking to a young German who said that the EU shouldn’t reward Britain for Brexiting. I agreed but he agreed with me when I said that we should try to minimise the damage. That is going to be a longer term goal now.

  • Chris Clay

    there are good people in this crazy world and you met half a dozen of them today…behind them are thousands of others all wishing you and Julian well and ready to give you both all the support that you may need
    once again thank you for your leadership on these issues
    with all my best wishes

  • Brendan

    Keir Starmer was Director of Public Prosecutions when the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) pressured Swedish prosecutors to continue their rape investigation against Julian Assange. The CPS lawyer handling the case e-mailed the Swedish director of public prosecutions (Starmer’s counterpart), Marianne Ny with the words: “Don’t you dare get cold feet!!!”

    Rupert Murdoch is a board member and shareholder in Genie Energy, which was granted exclusive rights by the Israeli government to drill for oil in the illegally occupied Golan Heights.

    It’s unfortunately too much to expect the media to mention these facts in its reports on the latest alleged attack on journalism by opponents of fossil fuel use.

  • Margaret+Eleftheriou

    I aam so glad that you have managed to get to the hearing, b y virtue of others like yourself are willing to literally ‘walk the walk’ in support of human rights and human decency. I too was moved to tears by this gesture as well as by the horror of Assange’s continuing torture carried out by the British state. Please look after your own health!

  • Marmite

    When I read that Patel was crying about XR’s ‘attack on democracy’, my initial instinct was to upchuck my breakfast.

    Does she really believe the British public is so absolutely stupid.

    It hardly needs spelling out to anyone (I should hope) that the little democracy that Britain has enjoyed has been under attack for at least 10 years now, because of her and her gang of assorded mobsters and zombies.

    • Marmite

      This sounds really simplistic, if not nonsense. Thanks for the reference though. Marcie Smith’s work looks interesting in a cautionary sort of way, but you cannot infer from it that XR is going to pave the way for something that cancels out its very premise. To bring this back to the topic of this thread, that’s kind of like implying that campaigning for Assange’s freedom will end up with the cooptation of the more honest kind of investigation journalism that he stands for. Too many assumptions there, and the causality implied is also annoying. What you seem to be saying is that there should be no dialogue, no awareness, no coverage about these sort of things. Worse yet, you seem to be suggesting that peaceful protest is pointless, and that is worrying.

  • Brian c

    Worth taking a look at the flexible approach to ‘media freedom’ of our Assange-hating, Aaronovitch-supported Leader of the Opposition, Sir Second Referendum.
    A few months ago when running for Labour leader Sir Have Another Go made great play of having been on the picket lines at Wapping in the 80s preventing distribution of the Sunday Times.

    Fast forward to last weekend and the great man is thundering

    “A free press is vital for our democracy. People have the right to read the newspapers they want. Stopping them from being distributed and printers from doing their job is wrong.”

    Maybe I’m wrong to suspect that Sir Second is no more principled and passionately committed on this issue than he is on the issue of Brexit or eradicating racists from the Labour party. Perhaps he should be lauded one more time for his liberal-Blairite pragmatism.

  • Republicofscotland

    What are friends for eh. There’s a remarkable amount of goodwill out there towards you Craig, and admiration to think the pressure you must be under yourself with your own injustice, that you’re taking time out to help Julian Assange by trying to get in to listen to his injustice.

    You’ve spelt it all out the corporate media, follow power.

  • Mary

    Nothing about the trial on the state broadcaster’s website but it was briefly mentioned on their ‘news channel’. A search for ‘Assange’ on the BBC website, brings up a July link to Vivienne Westwood in a birdcage.

    Whereas Sky News have cameras outside the Old Bailey and are repeating info about the case on Sky News. Sky News is no longer owned by Murdoch of course but by Comcast..

    ‘It is owned by Sky Group, a division of Comcast. John Ryley is the head of Sky News, a role he has held since June 2006. Sky News is currently Royal Television Society News Channel of the Year, the 12th time it has held the award.’

    • Stewart

      A small article went up 40 minutes ago – presumably AFTER the day’s proceedings had finished.
      They kindly inform us that “Mr Assange was jailed for 50 weeks in May 2019” but make no comment on the fact that he’s still in jail now, nearly 70 weeks later. Well worth the licence fee…

  • Patsy Millar

    Good to hear that you have support down there at the court. The term ‘free press’ is becoming more and more of an oxymoron with each day that passes. Wishing you all the best. Stay safe.

  • Eoin

    The only coverage of Julian Assange’s extradition I caught in yesterday’s papers was the front of Murdoch’s Times which had a photograph of the woman with whom Julian has had two kids, smiling away and certainly not looking distressed or deprived. My first and lasting impression was, “wasn’t it well for Julian he could sow his oats, even when he was holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy” and his incarceration doesn’t seem to have done them any harm at all, and shure, aren’t they blossoming without him. And that was all. Maybe there were other stories buried inside.

    So, thank you Craig. You were required daily reading in the earlier Belmarsh hearing. You are needed again today.

    • Antonym

      Strangely critical Craig Murray is still hypnotized by the Palestinian cause and Climate change, two causes that fade in oblivion in comparison to other regions or periods.
      On Assange and the rottenness of official Londonistan I agree fully with him.

  • Tarla

    Humbert Wolfe summed up the corrupt media lackeys otherwise known as ‘journalists’,

    Though his works are little read today, the following epigram from The Uncelestial City continues to be widely known and quoted:

    You cannot hope
    to bribe or twist,
    thank God! the
    British journalist.
    But, seeing what
    the man will do
    unbribed, there’s
    no occasion to

    • M.J.

      That reminds me of a comedy sketch by Stephen Colbert where he mimics Islamists saying ‘Death to America – no hold on, they’ve got that covered.’

  • giyane

    I am astonished at the disconnect between thought and government at all levels. There’s no longer such a thing as a thinking politician. They only do or say what will ingratiate themselves to somebody more powerful than themselves. I suppose in a world where engineers have all the ngineering done for them in China, judges can expect to have all the judging done for them in the US.

    We are no longer expected to think for ourselves, but must receive ready-made opinions from wankers like Aaronovitch like walking photocopiers. The public would be seriously impaired if it couldn’t receive its daily download of utter tripe. The government told us not to go to work in order to avoid coronavirus, but because it didn’t tell us not to go to Portugal with the proceeds of furlough, many did.

    And because the government told us not to go to work, many people now won’t go to work.
    Government and other institutions appear to love us being in this totally vegetitive state.

  • Ed

    Craig, you are a shining beacon of truth in very dark times. I wish there was more I could do to help.
    I hope you get some sense of the feeling of support behind you for doing what you do.

  • NoTwoReally

    I’m surprised at the number of comments here about Starmer. If it is so wrong to call him a “right wing bequiffed muppet”, how much wronger is the destruction of our democracy, the rule of law etc of which Assange’s treatment is a salient example? All of this goes beyond the individual.

  • Maat

    “John 1:5, NIV: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

    Those seven lamps shining in the darkness this morning outide the court (the six + Craig) recalls

    “Revelation 1:12-13
    Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.”

    • Stevie Boy

      Good to see that Serco are profiting from the suppression of press freedoms in this country by providing the transport.
      Maybe, people would like to email Serco’s CEO, Mr Rupert Soames, at: [email protected] to ask his position oo this ?

  • Nigel Stapley

    On Aaronovitch’s strop, it is always worth recalling the words of Michael Parenti when faced with hacks who claim that no-one tells them what to write, oh deary me no. When such a one says, “I say what I like!”, Parenti responds with, “You say what you like because *they* like what you say”.

    • Ken Kenn


      Michael was right.

      I’ve witnessed three BBC interviews with Chomsky.

      At the end after the information all Marr- Sacker and a woman ( can’t remember her name) all virtually said despite the interesting info – how dare you bite the hand that fed/feeds you?

      That’s dissidence that is OK in the non Western world – but not allowed in the Western Democratic world.

      Aaronovich – Hitchens (c) and Amis excuse the West because they are Democracies.

      They think that the West makes mistakes due to meaning well.

      The only thing that can be said for that view is that it is not dissimilar to my country – right or wrong arguments.

      Even fake patriots should criticise their own countries when they are wrong.

      By the way: Parenti thinks the West makes mistakes but in the main he say’s they don’t.

      I agree.

      Errors yes – mistakes no.

      Great to hear you can get in Craig.

      People sometimes are very selfless.

      It’s a rarity in a wicked self centred world.

1 2 3

Comments are closed.