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British Justice tortures Assange

Written By: - Date published: 4:14 am, October 26th, 2019 - 36 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, Dirty Politics, human rights, police, prisons, Spying, suppression orders, surveillance, uk politics, us politics - Tags:

Craig Murray reports on the horror of Julian Assange’s treatment by British so-called “justice.” Read it and don’t weep. You can see why Murray resigned from the UK foreign service; their diplomacy is just as bad.

On the International Day in Support of Torture Victims Professor Nils Melzer, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, wrote a backgrounder on the issues surrounding Assange and offered it to the Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Canberra Times, the Telegraph, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek. It’s a good summary to that date.

Murray brings it up to date with his account of Assange’s appearance in a UK Court to establish the timetable for his extradition hearing. As Murray explains:

The charge against Julian is very specific; conspiring with Chelsea Manning to publish the Iraq War logs, the Afghanistan war logs and the State Department cables. The charges are nothing to do with Sweden, nothing to do with sex, and nothing to do with the 2016 US election; a simple clarification the mainstream media appears incapable of understanding.

Chelsea Manning is also being held in solitary confinement,  and fined $1,000 a day, for refusing to testify against Assange in a grand jury hearing in the US.

Murray goes through the details of the court appearance and its decisions. It’s well worth reading in full but in summary:

The whole experience was profoundly upsetting. It was very plain that there was no genuine process of legal consideration happening here. What we had was a naked demonstration of the power of the state, and a naked dictation of proceedings by the Americans. Julian was in a box behind bulletproof glass, and I and the thirty odd other members of the public who had squeezed in were in a different box behind more bulletproof glass. I do not know if he could see me or his other friends in the court, or if he was capable of recognising anybody. He gave no indication that he did.

In Belmarsh he is kept in complete isolation for 23 hours a day. He is permitted 45 minutes exercise. If he has to be moved, they clear the corridors before he walks down them and they lock all cell doors to ensure he has no contact with any other prisoner outside the short and strictly supervised exercise period. There is no possible justification for this inhuman regime, used on major terrorists, being imposed on a publisher who is a remand prisoner.

I have been both cataloguing and protesting for years the increasingly authoritarian powers of the UK state, but that the most gross abuse could be so open and undisguised is still a shock. The campaign of demonisation and dehumanisation against Julian, based on government and media lie after government and media lie, has led to a situation where he can be slowly killed in public sight, and arraigned on a charge of publishing the truth about government wrongdoing, while receiving no assistance from “liberal” society.

Unless Julian is released shortly he will be destroyed. If the state can do this, then who is next?

On World Press Freedom Day this year the UK High Commissioner Laura Clarke organised a public panel discussion in Wellington where she was challenged by Alex Hills, peace activist and long-time campaigner for Assange’s freedom. You can watch Alex’s challenge here:

In the video Richard Harman leaps to support Laura Clarke by stating that the Guardian’s Luke Harding has declared that Assange is not a journalist. Again I prefer to believe Craig Murray:

The right wing Ecuadorean government of President Moreno continues to churn out its production line of fake documents regarding Julian Assange, and channel them straight to MI6 mouthpiece Luke Harding of the Guardian.

Assange is a publisher. His crime in the eyes of the surveillance states is to bring into the public domain matters they would prefer to keep hidden. The unseemly haste in his case seems to be to avoid his defenders being able to bring evidence from spanish courts. The refusal to address the fundamental issues of whether he is liable for rendition is inexcusable.

We should be grateful to Craig Murray and Alex Hills for their staunch attempts to bring these matters to public attention.

 

36 comments on “British Justice tortures Assange ”

  1. Brigid 1

    And John Pilger gives his account of the hearing here

    • ianmac 1.1

      And to think that extradition from here to say China might be rejected on the grounds that there would not be a fair trial. The riots in Hong Kong are about this.

      Will extradition from NZ to the UK be denied because a person clearly cannot get a fair trial?

  2. … ' The charge against Julian is very specific; conspiring with Chelsea Manning to publish the Iraq War logs, the Afghanistan war logs and the State Department cables. The charges are nothing to do with Sweden, nothing to do with sex, and nothing to do with the 2016 US election; a simple clarification the mainstream media appears incapable of understanding.

    Chelsea Manning is also being held in solitary confinement, and fined $1,000 a day, for refusing to testify against Assange in a grand jury hearing in the US '…

    Its time to call this what it is :

    HITLER – SOUND

    https://youtu.be/QGLl0LKsa-g?

    They did the same to all other dissenters leading up to and including the duration of that evil regime.

    What is the primary difference when the surreptitcious interference's with foreign sovereign nations are concerned , – in light of the euphemistically called 'collateral damage' or more honestly , – murder, – of civilian populations is concerned, – do people not have the right to protest and dissension anymore?

    Is an open democracy an impediment to and password for a messy humanity's right to choose and freedom that must be put down at any cost , now?

  3. Similar, but different to… the Dreyfus affair whereby a man was wrongfully convicted of treason in his own country and was sentenced to the infamous Devils Island penitentiary where he spent many years in solitary confinement , – only to be exonerated after the damage of lost years and inhumane treatment was done ( think Arthur Allan Thomas if you dont think false charges and imprisonment cant happen here…).

    Assange , however, is not even a citizen of the USA and yet is obviously being tried in a foreign country ( Britain ) to be extradited to another foreign country ( USA ) to rot in another ' Devils Island' type prison … Gulag or concentration camp.

    I hope all these woke left types who recently railed against Assange are proud of themselves.

    All this is ,.. is fascist Germany and Italy revisited.

    Lets not hear anymore of Australia's treatment of foreign nationals on their offshore islands until we can at least honestly grow a backbone and call this for what it is: a KANGAROO COURT TRIAL.

  4. Stuart Munro. 4

    Craig Murray is a very dodgy piece of shite. One should not impugn Assange for Murray's other apologies – novichok poisoning and Syrian chemical adventures for example. But finding a genuine cause that coincidentally serves Murray's usual puppet masters hardly exonerates him.

    The UK really ought to show a bit of moral leadership – not something that will happen under the Polar Bear or would have under his predecessors. Corbyn at least would understand that there is an issue.

    • AB 4.1

      "Corbyn at least would understand that there is an issue"

      Yes – which is why it would be riveting to watch the same array of interests that is killing Assange trying to take down Corbyn. What chance that they would over-reach in some way and discredit themselves – thereby entrenching and extending the Corbyn project? Probably that is being too hopeful.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    "…

    In the video Richard Harman leaps to support Laura Clarke by stating that the Guardian’s Luke Harding has declared that Assange is not a journalist. Again I prefer to believe Craig Murray:

    The right wing Ecuadorean government of President Moreno continues to churn out its production line of fake documents regarding Julian Assange, and channel them straight to MI6 mouthpiece Luke Harding of the Guardian…"

    It really, really worries how many people on this site are wide eyed useful idiots for Putin's propaganda.

    Assange is a deeply unlikeable character. He lay down with the feral cats and he's now got a bad, bad case of fleas.

    But the normalisation of the use of psychological torture techniques originally dreamed up by sadists in US Supermax prison system on prisoners it is EXTREMELY disquieting and very concerning.

    Perhaps we need to amend and extend the common law definition of habeas corpus to also include the ability of a judge to determine if the conditions of a lawful detention are humane.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 5.1

      Use of the (feral) cats and fleas meme is unfortunate.

      In October 2018 "an Ecuadorian judge ruled against him, saying that a requirement for Assange to pay for his Internet use and clean up after his cat did not violate his right to asylum."

      Chelsea Manning will be released from solitary confinement (with a hefty accumulated debt from the US $1000/day fine regime) only after Assange has been sentenced in a U.S. of A. court to a lengthy period of incarceration. Assange will die in prison – that's a very very very very very bad case of 'fleas'.

      2008, The Economist New Media Award
      2009, Amnesty International UK Media Awards
      2010, Time Person of the Year, Reader's Choice
      2010, Sam Adams Award
      2010, Le Monde Readers' Choice Award for Person of the Year
      2011, Free Dacia Award
      2011, Sydney Peace Foundation Gold Medal
      2011, Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism
      2011, Voltaire Award for Free Speech
      2012, Big Brother Award Italy 2012 "Hero of Privacy"
      2013, Global Exchange Human Rights Award, People's Choice
      2013, Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts
      2013, New York Festivals World's Best TV & Films Silver World Medal
      2014, Union of Journalists in Kazakhstan Top Prize
      2019, GUE/NGL Galizia prize
      2019, Gavin MacFadyen award

  6. Thinking about Assange in Britain, and then thinking about Boris Johnson in Britain – the two represent the two sides of present civilisation there. One without care or scruples, that is callous and self-wanting and then the one with scruples, making a sacrifice of self for the wider advantage, caring about others' welfare and willing to sacrifice one's own.

    These are two sides of thought and behaviour that are at polar opposites. This is an example of why we have religion which codifies our dim understandings that we have to keep ourselves in check from our desires and cruelty that we will inflict on others to some extent, as we look after ourselves and our own wants.

    I promise to myself to start writing letters to the UK government asking for better conditions for Assange. Bad things happen when people do nothing, and if you do nothing then you allow the bad thing, and are bad yourself. That is a truth. And if you don't try to stop the bad early on in its growth, like an awful weed, it can swamp you so you become helpless to make change. That is a bad thought. I think that is the way we are going now, and it frightens me. At present I am reading recollections of Jews who survived the attempted genocide of WW2. Those stories, that history, stands as a present example, not something to be labelled as the past that we have risen above to new levels of probity.

    • … ' At present I am reading recollections of Jews who survived the attempted genocide of WW2. Those stories, that history, stands as a present example, not something to be labelled as the past that we have risen above to new levels of probity '…

      Good on ya mate.

      That's why I included a cheesy clip of the effects of Hitlerism. Interestingly , you tube doesnt like to offend people so clips of crowds chanting seig heil are taboo it seems. More censorship of what was the cause of millions dying and millions more fighting it. Yet they'll have every other perverted thing going, but woebetide anyone who wants to research or learn about the stark reality of what really DID happen.

      Snowflakes?- or just political covering up and the rewriting of our history?

      And whats happening to Assange is no different to how those evil temporary regimes acted.

      Have we learnt nothing?

      Maybe we should blame you tube.

    • SPC 6.2

      You and maybe we (and I have some idea) have no idea how bad it really is already.

      The reaction to Snowden and Assange speaks to a need to prevent/deter/intimidate further whistle blowers from coming forward to reveal far worse things that are going on.

      And do not expect those of "faith" (religions anoint authoritarians) to be the ones who come forward – many Jewish and Christian people know already and they have not come forward – theists desire power and authority over us and are natural servants of an order of rule in their own image – even a tyranny.

      The American Christian faith is of their God coming to end their democracy – killing off all the urban liberals so they can rule and reign without any opposition. Their own work on earth work, to make it so, is called Christian dominionism – take control of the Supreme Court, gerrymander the electorates etc.

      The Area 51 Panoptican Society planned – some call the Invisible Government of God is going to leave democracy an empty shell. It makes the Chinese and Iranian regimes look like pre school.

  7. Thanks Mike

    I regularly get jumped on here whenever I bring this up.

    The fact that Assange published leaks from the DNC ,which put Clinton in a bad light , and rightly so, will never be forgiven by those binary, tribal souls who think the Democrats are the goodies no matter what , and the Republicans are the baddies.American politics has also got to that stagnant point where the only bipartisanship it seems is ratifying war.

    For these people Assange is stripped of all human rights and common human decency.

  8. weka 8

    what's the rational the prison is using for keeping him in almost total solitary confinement?

    • The same mentality as this, Weka,… to ensure he never is heard, that the media do not cover his story ( as if they ever supported him ) and that the public soon forget all about him.

      They are taking no chances of his becoming a martyr.

      Just like the French did to Alfred Dreyfus.

      Off To Devil's Isle! (1933)

      • weka 8.1.1

        that doesn't answer my question. I'm asking what rationale the prison is using in putting a prisoner in solitary like this. Have they been asked? Are they allowed to do this without a reason?

        • WILD KATIPO 8.1.1.1

          To do that we would have to know UK laws on the holding of political prisoners.

          The fact that Pilger and others have raised the alarm suggests possibly not. But once in the penal system and being a high profile prisoner seems to imply they can and will. Once there… they can do whatever the hell they bloody well like it seems…

          Then again , perhaps a more pertinent question is ,… just what do international bodies like the U.N have to say about solitary confinement and what constitutes a person held on such charges… do they warrant solitary confinement? Assange is not a violent criminal nor is he a terrorist…

          Therein is the litmus test , as those same govts that make up such bodies all fear whistleblowers like Assange… perhaps what you are implying has merit,- whether it sees the light of day is another thing.

        • francesca 8.1.1.2

          Rationale?

          Since when did the powerful have to have a rationale?

          The powerful do what they will, the weak suffer what they must.

          Who does one appeal to ?

          The UN?

          The UK has haughtily ignored the UN rulings on Assange., and are prepared to break their own laws covering human rights in detainment.

        • veutoviper 8.1.1.3

          Trying Googling "Julian Assange reasons for solitary confinement".

          • McFlock 8.1.1.3.1

            It's a rabbit hole, ain't it? And no answer to the question.

            • weka 8.1.1.3.1.1

              google just gives me lots of articles about Assange being solitary confinement and reasons for him being prison. You'd think google would be smarter by now.

              Sometimes it's good to just ask people in the hope that someone knows 😉

        • Stuart Munro. 8.1.1.4

          It appears to be informal solitary

          Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is being kept in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day, despite being due for release earlier in September, says his father.

          Following a visit to see Mr Assange in May, Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, condemned "the deliberate, concerted and sustained nature of the abuse inflicted on Mr Assange", adding that the "collective persecution" must cease.

          The defining time limit for solitary is 22 hours a day. The UK is subject to EU conventions on using solitary but honours them in the breach. The UK is subject to The Mandela Rules but in this instance is not keeping them.

          • weka 8.1.1.4.1

            sorry, don't know what most of that means and think it doesn't answer the question either.

            • Stuart Munro. 8.1.1.4.1.1

              It means that Assange is not officially in solitary, though the way he is being held, together with the consequent mental deterioration, are reasonably evident. It is how the rightwing break rules – not openly, but by eroding standards. Thus officials can claim a degree of deniability, all the way up the chain.

              • weka

                Is there no oversight of how prisoners are treated?

                • Stuart Munro.

                  Not on Boris's watch. The same might be observed of the NZ civilian shooting in Afghanistan – no inquiry or progress until the conservatives left power.

                  Should he suicide however, no doubt someone will be found to carry some of the blame.

    • McFlock 8.2

      I think it would be his security classification based on flight risk. Same reason for having him in a higher security courtroom – stop him running out the front door (unless the brits have gone full courtroom security for everything).

      lol this is one of the few questions Puckish would have been useful for. 🙂

      • weka 8.2.1

        Security classification, in solitary to stop him escaping? Or to stop him talking to other prisoners?

        PR's got quite a while until he's back 😐

        • McFlock 8.2.1.1

          It might not even be about him at all.

          Belmarsh is overcrowded. Some NZ prisons have been criticised for using cell confinement during periods of overcrowding simply to maintain control of the prisoners.

          Additionally, his extended period evading custody could have qualified him for category A treatment anyway, rather than what the yanks call "general population".

          Think of it as a points system rather than menu selection. Getting enough points gets you to the next level.

  9. Why has the British left not been able to or wished to even, support Assange and what is a public's right to know, freedom of expression and information matter? Perhaps there will be some light shed on this question in the link below, perhaps not.

    I came across this September 2019 recap of thinking around the British left and Tony Blair's path in 1980 involving the infamous Third Way. I put the link from Pundit if you are interested.

    https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/the-moderniser-tony-blair-on-the-third-way-the-giddens-project-blog-5

  10. Obtrectator 10

    The Brits have always been able to keep someone in near-complete isolation for as long as they want to, rules or no rules. One of the justice system's severest critics, G F Newman, gave a fictionalised example in his Law And Order TV series in the late 1970s. GF was not the man to make things up. Something of the kind had undoubtedly occurred in reality, and continues to do so.

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