Free, Enduring Love 63


UPDATE: Julian Assange – Looking through my photos, I just came across this one of Stella showing the panel on which Vivienne Westwood embroidered her personal wedding message to the couple. I thought you might like to see it.

It was a cheap, white, trestle table, its thin top slightly bowed down in the middle, of the type made of a weetabix of sawdust and glue with a sheet of plastic glued on top and plastic strips glued to the sides, held up on four narrow, tubular, black metal legs. On it was a register. In front of it stood Stella Moris, looking beautiful and serene with delight. She wore a stunning gown in a light lilac, designed for her by Vivienne Westwood. It had a mild satin shimmer, and appeared both sumptuous and tightly tailored, with an expansively lapeled jacket section diving in to a wasp waist, that the apparently soft billows never intruded upon, no matter how she moved.

Close up, the details on the dress were extraordinary. The cloisonne buttons were uniquely designed and commissioned by Vivienne for this gown, and she had herself embroidered a message of solidarity, love and support on one panel. The long veil was hand embroidered, with bright multicoloured words striding across the gauze. These were words chosen by Julian as descriptive of the Power of Love, and they were in the handwriting of close friends and family who were not able to be inside the jail, including Stella’s 91 year old father. I am proud to say one of those handwritings was mine, with the word “inexorable”. It really was embroidered on looking exactly as I wrote it, as witness the fact nobody could tell what it said. Julian’s chosen motif for the wedding was “free, enduring love”.

Stella in the dress, with Julian’s dad John in the background. Photo: Isabell Jezek

By Stella’s side stood Julian Assange, whom she described to me as “simply the love of my life”, outfitted in a kilt, shirt, tie, and waistcoat, again specially designed by Vivienne Westwood in a purple based tartan, and featuring hand embroidery, lacing and cloisonne buttons. Unlike Stella’s dress, which she later showed us in detail, I have not seen the kilt but am told the design is relatively traditional.

There was a two minute delay at the start of the ceremony as Julian had no sporran, and his brother Gabriel, resplendent in full highland dress for the first time, removed his own sporran and put it on Julian. Both Julian and Gabriel are proud of their Scottish heritage, in each case through their respective mothers.

The British authorities had done everything they could firstly to prevent, and then to mess up, this wedding. Permission to marry had first been formally requested of the prison service in 2020, and in the end was only granted by involving lawyers and threatening legal action. There followed a whole list of antagonisms on which I shall not dwell, one minor example of which was banning me from the wedding and then lying about it.

But now, on the wedding day, the ordinary, working staff of the prison were delighted to be hosting such a happy event. The searches of the bride were distinctly token and friendly. At the security checks, Julian and Stella’s three year old son Max managed to tangle himself so comprehensively around the legs of one guard that he fell over, and the large guard and small boy then had a hilarious mock wrestle on the floor. The guards who conducted Stella through the jail did so as though they were the escort of a Queen.

Gates and steel doors opened before the procession and were locked again behind them, until deep in the bowels of this maximum security prison they arrived in a banal room, oppressive and completely windowless, with plain magnolia emulsioned walls. It was about twenty feet by fifteen feet, and is used as a store room for the adjoining Chaplaincy. At the back of the room were piles of Muslim prayer mats, boxes of red-jacketed Christian hymnals, stacks of cheap chairs and folded trestles.

From which that one cheap trestle had been set up, and a single row of eight chairs in front of it. Present were Julian and Stella, and their permitted limit of six invited guests. These were Stella’s mother Teresa and brother Adrian, Julian’s father John, brother Gabriel, and Julian and Stella’s two children, Gabriel (4) and Max (3). One of the torments had been that the UK Ministry of Justice insisted that the two tots counted against the six person limit, contrary to the prison’s original advice.

A very unglamorous photo of the veil I took in Stella’s kitchen, with my illegible “inexorable” in the middle!

Also in the room were the registrar who conducted the civil wedding, the Catholic chaplain and two prison guards, one for each door. Julian was able to hug and hold each of his family as they arrived, even though that was very much against the rules. That kind of physical comfort is something he will have been craving for years, and all eyes were full of tears. Julian’s father John was alarmed by his appearance. Julian was a stooped figure, and worryingly thin, even though obviously very happy in the moment.

The service went ahead as such services do, transcending the grim environment. Light relief was provided by little Gabriel running around and threatening to push each in turn of the room’s two alarm buttons, forcing the guards to chase him around, but in a playful manner. Max, who was disappointed by the slowness in appearance of the promised cake, had fallen asleep bent over at the waist, with his feet on the floor and his head on the chair, as only small children can.

Each person at the wedding was allowed by the registrar to stand up and say a few words about the event and the couple, who having exchanged vows and being pronounced wed, Julian was then invited to kiss the bride, which was perhaps done with more gusto than is usual on these occasions; to the extent that Julian’s brother Gabriel jokingly proffered the bride some tissues!

The legal part of the wedding being over, the couple now received a blessing from the Catholic priest, whose friendship and spiritual and emotional support has been invaluable to Julian during the ordeal of the last few years. The priest had brought a tablecloth and candles, and suddenly the nasty trestle was transformed into an altar. The priest was particularly careful to provide the couple with several more opportunities to kiss during the short ceremony. Then suddenly it was finished.

The authorities had insisted that no wedding photos could be taken, but had eventually agreed that a prison guard could take photos using the prison’s own camera. The prison will eventually give one or two prints of photos of their choosing to Julian, on the condition that they must never be published or made public.

According to the authorities this repression is because photos “could endanger the security of the prison”. Plainly this is a nonsense. How could a picture of the bride and groom, standing in a plain storage room that has no windows, endanger the security of the prison?

Belmarsh prison was comprehensively pictured, including drone footage of the entire jail and lengthy interiors of every part, including the most secure units, in several documentaries including by right wing populist Ross Kemp, in which the Ministry of Justice fully cooperated. The dishonesty of complaining that wedding photos would be a security risk, is a callous and arrogant act by authorities who expect that they can never be held to account.

The truth is that the Establishment has put in years of consistent effort to dehumanise Julian in the public mind. That includes false allegations, ridiculous media stories about him not flushing the toilet, and fake claims that his journalism endangered lives. They simply wish to avoid any public exposure of Julian, the real man, that may challenge their drive to demonise. Wedding photos would never be a danger to the prison, but would be a danger to the state narrative.

This is of course the same reason that Pullitzer prize winning journalist Chris Hedges and I were vetoed by the Ministry of Justice from the original guest list. They did not want words or pictures to convey the love of the occasion or the joy of the family. They could not, however, prevent me from speaking to Stella and to all the guests who were there, and giving you this portrait in words.

After the wedding Julian and Stella were allowed time together – which meant that they were taken to the normal prison visiting room, where they could talk for half an hour amidst the other prisoners who were receiving their visitors, and back with the normal surveillance and restrictions of no touching. This must have been a terrible jolt, preparatory to the still worse jolt of being torn away from the one you love immediately after marrying.

I just cannot imagine how that feels; I suspect few people can.

Stella and Julian’s marriage is indeed a testimony to the power of love, and to the power of hope and human resilience. Just the preceding week their hopes were bruised for the umpteenth time as the Supreme Court refused to hear Julian’s case against the High Court’s agreement with the US appeal on his extradition. Julian faces a possible 175 years in jail under the US Espionage Act, for revealing the war crimes of the very state which is trying to extradite him. As Stella said, to marry in the face of this is both an act of resistance and an assertion of love.

The legal battle goes on, and we shall eventually win.

Those of us who value peace and love and freedom do not often get to feel that we are winning. But we do get days when we can triumph in the affirmation of our values. That Stella and Julian have done. That plain white table witnessed something more romantic than all the tosh of royal weddings and high altars. In Julian’s words, “free, enduring, love”.

They cannot stop that with their steel doors and iron bars.

With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible. This article, as with all the content of my blog, is entirely free to reproduce and publish, including in translation.

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63 thoughts on “Free, Enduring Love

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  • Carolyn L Zaremba

    Thank you, Craig Murray, for this very moving piece about Julian and Stella’s wedding. We who support Julian and have been acting on his behalf for years will continue the fight. I only hope that Julian’s health holds out. I hope that he knows how many people all over the world are on his side. We will never allow him to “disappear”. Never.

  • Elyse Gilbert

    I have a very hard time between Chris Hedges and you deciding whose writing appeals to my emotions and mind better… and I believe it is a draw. Mr. Craig Murray, you sir, have a unique relationship with the mighty pen and I suppose that is why the evil powers that be would not allow you to actually be present at their wedding. As Stella says… it is fear.. however abnormal that is.
    But alas! You succeeded anyway and your positive comments during the day of the event were truly remarkable. You showed the strength from within that we all cherish and admire.
    Thank you so very much for this. It is heartfelt, strong and loving. They are very lucky indeed to have you as a staunch supporter and a kind, loving friend.

    • ben madigan

      fully agree with FwL – best wishes to Mr and Mrs Assange for a long and happy marriage.
      Craig’s description reminded me of this song about another prisoner who married at another time in another (then) English gaol

      “Grace”– The Dubliners & Jim McCann

  • El Dee

    At a time when we are sharply aware of how repressive Russia is to journalists and so much is made of that, rightly, in our press it is even more discouraging that our own country conspires with the US to do exactly the same. Unlike Russia, who sentences their journalists and activists of single figure sentences Julian faces a potential 170 year sentence. And, going by previous experience, this is highly likely to happen..

    • bevin

      “…how repressive Russia is to journalists ..”

      A lot less repressive than Ukraine where failure to toe the line is very dangerous, and all the media is managed by the government.
      Or Poland, for that matter, where a Spanish journalist was arrested yesterday for being Pro Russian

  • Ian

    Wonderful writing, and in its own quiet, observant way a powerful riposte to the unbelievably small-minded, vindictive and heartless people who make the decisions that the passions and principles of normal people are a threat to their manufactured lies and propaganda. The fact that they fear publication of a wedding photo, taken in a featureless store room, or the report of a witness to the proceedings, exposes their callous, aggressively mean minds and hearts, which have apparently been surgically removed.
    Let us be clear, the authorities at Belmarsh who have acquiesced in this political trial and their masters do not represent us, the British people, or anybody, except the American authorities they are embarrassingly and undemocratically in thrall to. There is no reason, no case for Assange to answer. His reporting was true, the ‘witness’ the Americans have has admitted lying, and the court case was an abuse of process. No British administration which values its principles and independence would so cravenly acquiesce in such blatant injustice. How far we have fallen under this fraudulent administration.
    Craig is right, the power of love and justice will prevail, however long it takes, and these pathetic stooges who have jailed and abused him will receive the verdict of history.

    • dgp

      Iain – I will re-iterate and endorse your comment as it captures the essence of the process we are watching unfold.
      The vindictiveness of the authorities is breathtaking and depraved. I have the fear that the attitudes and actions of the authorities on display here will echo in some way in our wider world-that meanness and spite are somehow ‘alright’ in human relations but this report will act as an antidote to the disease.
      Thank you Craig for standing so stedfastly against the iniquities and the brutal nature of the British state and sections of British society.
      I am in awe of the display of such strength – the assertion of decency and humanity, and defiance in the face of such malice.

  • Jen

    Such a vivid post about Julian Assange and Stela Moris’s wedding – I almost felt I was in the store room myself, seeing the ordinary trestle table transformed by just a tablecloth and two candles into a portal to another world where freedom, hope and light exist for all and not just for a self-selected few. Thanks CM for this piece!

    What I found especially touching is that Belmarsh prison guards themselves are doing what they can, however small it may be, to support Assange and mitigate his suffering.

  • Fleur

    Thank you for your “word picture” of this most important wedding, one that challenges the sadistic bullies that seek to stifle truth and truthtellers, and love itself. The bullies are not winning, no matter how many corrupt judges they have in their pockets. Love and truth always win in the end.

  • Goose

    Justice has to prevail.

    Although,..it might take a new generation of US politicians to finally end this part farcical, part tragic situation. As Glenn Greenwald has mentioned, the whole ‘Russiagate’ nonsense and widely propagated lies in the media about Assange’s supposed contribution to Trump’s election victory, mean they’re persecuting him under entirely false pretenses.

    Don’t see how any of this is serving the Democrats hopes in November either, it just looks like it’s vindictiveness preventing them from admitting they were wrong. The damage to investigative journalism by proceeding with this could be immense too.

  • velofello

    Man’s inhumanity to man. And in this case the crass inhumanity to a woman, her husband, and two children.

    “See yon birky a lord”, and so the mighty “lord United Kingdom” simply could not display/reveal/anything approaching compassion to Jullian Assange for fear of upsetting the mighty USA.

    And what troubles me is that if I knock on the door of each house in my street and ask their view on this matter the response would be – “What? Who?”. The silence of the Uk’s free press, and dear old Auntie Beeb
    Your excellent essay on the proceedings shames the UK.

    • NoOneYouKnow

      Thanks, Craig. A beautifully written account. My admiration for Julian, Stella, and Julian’s family is vast, a mirror of my contempt for the British ruling class that has so corrupted itself. It speaks so much of Julian’s stature that even kept silent and isolated in an English dungeon, he sticks in the throat of the British and American deep states and proves the lie of their professions of support for free speech and human rights. To any claim they make, we only need reply with his name.

  • Andrew Ingram

    A lovely, touching post.
    That the POs did their best to respect the occasion and lighten the mood speaks to their compassion and humanity.
    All of this sordid affair does not reflect well on the UK’s establishment.

  • nevermind

    Thank you for coverring this exceptional day and date for history, Craig. I wish the couple and their children health, happinees and peace to live together as a family.
    Not one of the MSM rags has realised the significance of Julian’s plight to thwir very own profession.
    Not yet!

  • bevin

    Gilbert Doctorow Has an idea:

    “An open letter to British PM Boris Johnson: a modest proposal of a prisoner exchange

    “Dear Sir:

    “I assume that even in these very eventful days you had the time to remark the prisoner exchange newly agreed between the Ukrainian and Russian authorities. If these mortal enemies were able to summon up the courage and humane feelings required to do the right thing on behalf of their own and the enemy’s soldiers, what I am about to propose to you will be both less onerous for you and far more rewarding for humanity in general than what is transpiring in the Ukrainian-Russian exchange.

    “My suggestion to you is to offer to exchange Julian Assange for Alexei Navalny. Such an exchange would support your political views, win you new supporters at home and abroad and add a dollop of humanity to our war crazed world. In Europe, in the Americas you alone have within your grasp a political prisoner of the international renown sufficient to entice the Kremlin to agree to part with Mr. Navalny.

    “You are by far the leading warrior in Europe against the “Putin regime.” For years now you have fought by all means fair and foul to achieve regime change and remove Vladimir Putin from power. I am appealing to your better side to act fairly in pursuit of your political objectives….”

    https://gilbertdoctorow.com/

    • Wikikettle

      Congratulations to Julian and Stella who looked lovely on her wedding day of days. Thanks goes to all their supporters and it was fitting that our Craig and the great and venerable Chris Hedges attended. We are ruled by class A Hypocrites with hearts of stone.

    • Yuri K

      Yeah, like when Putin is gone you Brits will love us, Russians. Cut the crap, pal, you always hated us and you will always hate us. You hated us in the times of Nikolas I and II, hated us in the times of Alexander II and III, hated us with Lenin, with Stalin (with a brief break when you got desperate, thanks to Herr Hitler), and with Brezhnev. To hate Russians is a British tradition, like fox hunting and cricket.

  • Ann Rayner

    Thank you so much for writing this with such understanding and feeling, Craig, The banality of the setting, the humanity of the prison guards and the enduring love in such desperate circumstances are all captured perfectly.
    Meanwhile I read that your own appeal against your unjust sentence has been rejected. While unsurprising, it is yet another blow to your vindication and the lies given as reasons show the real failure of any attempt ot deal justly with your case.
    To say that you are arrogant and deliberately set out to provide information which could lead to the identification of the complainants are lies. It is those who rejected the appeal who are arrogant, as are the complainants themselves, both secure in the knowledge that they are fulfilling the wishes of those who control them.
    If there are any further avenues for you to continue the effort to clear your name, I will be happy to make a contribution to the cost.

      • Lochside

        The comments made by the so-called ‘Judges’ in their pronouncements are so lacking in any kind of veracity or worse, principled judicial rigour, as to be a parody. But then again, Scottish ‘justice’ has been an oxymoron since, at the very least, the Lockerbie fit up when the same class of bewigged and befrocked clowns were falling over themselves to please their colonial masters to imprison Megrahi.

        Even basic critical analysis of this latest sham judgement demonstrates the falsehood of the deliberately fabricated, defined division in public media, magicked up by these hypocrites, between ‘blogger’ journalists and MSM imposters. Either you identified some or all the ‘alphabetties’ or the MSM et al did. The straightforward answer is the latter did, but not you. ‘Jigsaw’ identification is a nonsensical, totally subjective and dangerous basis to execute any prosecution. It is also designed to smother free speech. Further, it appears that another unannounced alteration is that of clear perjury by people in a court of law, are now in perpetuity, to be protected by anonymity, as being part of Scottish legal practice henceforth.

        So Scotland, since Sturgeon’s rule, has experienced through its Prosecution Service acting in concert with the police, a witch hunt of a leading politician, costing millions to the taxpayer, ending with his total vindication of innocence by a jury. However, with no repercussions for the politicians, civil servants and judicial officials involved .Add in the recognised as ‘malicious’ prosecution of former Glasgow Rangers directors with damages of millions of pounds and the ‘optics’ are pretty damning of the corruption at the heart of darkness ruling Scotland.

        Moreover, nothing is done about such a disgraceful affront to our democracy. Tumbleweed blowing in the wind is the response from all political parties and the other supposed ‘institutions’ of civic Scotland. Add in the hounding and the ensuing criminal charges of political patriots, such as yourself, for risible’criminal’ charges. Eventually dropped, but at great personal emotional and financial cost to the recipients of State harassment. All of whom are not Unionists, but Scottish Nationalists. Again initiated in plain sight by an autocratic collusion between the ruling elites both domestic and Uk ,operating in our benighted colony.

        If anyone still harbours doubt that the Sturgeon cabal are under the control of the Westminster gangster hegemony, then the joins are ever more transparent by this prejudiced and frankly partisan judgement on the most visible and articulate supporter of Julian Assange. The fingerprints of Deep State UK and its Scottish servants are all over the universal attempts by it to subjugate all civil resistance against its cruel and inexorable increasing neo fascist power.

        All credit to you Craig for your bravery, determination and erudition in exposing the evil hypocrisy and imperial cronyism imprisoning our people with lies and propaganda. The latest being the crazy war lust being stoked by irresponsible, but apparently bullet proof MSM outlets with the BBC leading the charge of the Light Brigade ( they got gubbed BTW) by proxy of the Ukrainian/Russia misery. Please keep up the great and important work for democratic access to truth. I will be supporting with a donation your ongoing fight in the European Court.

    • Fat Jon

      They have the biggest personality disorder of them all – following the path of evil rather than that of love; either because they genuinely believe evil is the way forward, or they are paid handsomely to pretend to believe it.

      Happily, they can’t win in the long term; because love will conquer all.

  • Hope

    You did exactly what the prison never wanted you to do. This is why they banned you from going in in the first place. This was absolutely epic!!

  • mark cutts

    Very much like bad capitalists ( Russian Oligarchs ) and good capitalists _ Bezos Musk etc there is an increasing reality of the British losing their sense of irony.

    It was Political Prisoner week in the media and they were all across the Iranian release of said prisoners but not a peep about a British Political Prisoner held ( for no reason I can see ) by his captors for a reason as yet unknown.

    Meanwhile the BBC’s ‘ Monitoring Unit ‘ informed us that the woman who was Monitoring Russian news output was doing so by having access to the RT News Channel thereby telling us the viewers about something we as the populace are not allowed to ‘ Monitor ‘ for ourselves as the News Channel has been banned for fear of scaring the children and horses.

    Not a blush on the cheeks of the BBC and their chums on either occasion.

    ” Today children – we are looking through the Round Window”

    Apparently this is the ‘ Freedom’ that the Ukranians are fighting for and the values that the Free West upholds.

  • pete

    Craig, thank you for your more complete account of Mr Assange’s wedding. I mean more complete than available elsewhere. I did a search and found the wedding mentioned in the Grauniad, the Mirror, the Belfast Telegraph and the Reuters release published in the Independent. The BBC covered it also in their own inimitable style, not failing to mention that he was charged with espionage in another country.
    It was good to read an account that was so detailed and lacking in the bias that the case has been tarred with. It reminds us that in a land with so-called liberal values, this man, who has not broken any of our laws, has been held in isolation in a maximum security prison for over two years. An act that defies logic, reason and any sort of common sense, while the people who pulled the trigger in the Collateral Damage recording roam free.

  • Laguerre

    It’s a really lovely dress. Vivienne Westwood really outdid herself. Not that I understand why brides continue to wear veils, as if they’re wearing a sort of burqa.

  • Kyle Elsbernd

    Like everyone else, this story makes me angry and sad. However, unlike many others it has reinforced my faith in divine retribution–not as a justification for the ongoing injustice that has occurred, but rather as a promise that justice will be served for Julian Assange, that the Godless people trying to destroy love itself will not and cannot succeed. Transcendent and sublime, this story has only brought me closer to my faith in absolute right and wrong, to the Platonic realm that supercedes these crimes committed by corrupt governments and media that recognize no Gods but themselves. Divine Logos governs, and justice will be served. Make no mistake.

  • jane hamilton-post

    ’tis six am 27/03/22 some tears, my friend, from miles away down under;
    a virtual judge would hold no grudge for this celestial splendour..
    my thanks, my thoughts, we’re sold, we’re bought, but constance, faith and vespers
    traverse with verse the universe, of that there is no question
    bom dia, boa noite, verdade, luz e amor
    obrigado …obrigado
    it was on this wind that the hearts on fire
    it was on this wind that the minds inspire
    it was on this wind that we tread this wire
    and for parity that the church enquire…who are we?

    • BrianFujisan

      jane hamilton-post

      “We do not want churches because they will teach us to quarrel about God. We do not want to learn that. We may quarrel with men sometimes about things on this earth, but we never quarrel about the Great Spirit. We do not want to learn that.”
      — Chief Joseph (Of Nez Perce Nation)

  • Suzannah Mee

    As a fellow Australian and freedom lover, I thank you CM for your mindful & heartfelt description of the wedding of JA and SM. Thank God you were there on behalf of truth & mercy. Few Australians know anything about Julian, apart from his name (if that), thanks to the heavily censored news we are forced to endure. I pray he remains strong.
    “Love is stronger than death.”

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