Skip to main content

Freeing Julian Assange: the last chapter

by John Pilger

One of the epic miscarriages of justice of our time is unravelling. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention - the international tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations - has ruled that Julian Assange has been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden.

After five years of fighting to clear his name - having been smeared relentlessly yet charged with no crime - Assange is closer to justice and vindication, and perhaps freedom, than at any time since he was arrested and held in London under a European Extradition Warrant, itself now discredited by Parliament.

The UN Working Group bases its judgements on the European Convention on Human Rights and three other treaties that are binding on all its signatories. Both Britain and Sweden participated in the 16-month long UN investigation and submitted evidence and defended their position before the tribunal. It would fly contemptuously in the face of international law if they did not comply with the judgement and allow Assange to leave the refuge granted him by the Ecuadorean government in its London embassy.

In previous, celebrated cases ruled upon by the Working Group - Aung Sang Suu Kyi in Burma, imprisoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia, detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian in Iran - both Britain and Sweden have given support to the tribunal. The difference now is that Assange's persecution and confinement endures in the heart of London.

The Assange case has never been primarily about allegations of sexual misconduct in Sweden. The Stockholm Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, dismissed the case, saying, "I don't believe there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape" and one of the women involved accused the police of fabricating evidence and "railroading" her, protesting she "did not want to accuse JA of anything". A second prosecutor mysteriously re-opened the case after political intervention, then stalled it.

The Assange case is rooted across the Atlantic in Pentagon-dominated Washington, obsessed with pursuing and prosecuting whistleblowers, especially Assange for having exposed, in WikiLeaks, US capital crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale killing of civilians and a contempt for sovereignty and international law. None of this truth-telling is illegal under the US Constitution. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama, a professor of constitutional law, lauded whistleblowers as "part of a healthy democracy [and they] must be protected from reprisal".

Obama, the betrayer, has since prosecuted more whistleblowers than all the US presidents combined. The courageous Chelsea Manning is serving 35 years in prison, having been tortured during her long pre-trial detention.

The prospect of a similar fate has hung over Assange like a Damocles sword. According to documents released by Edward Snowden, Assange is on a "Manhunt target list". Vice-President Joe Biden has called him a "cyber terrorist". In Alexandra, Virginia, a secret grand jury has attempted to concoct a crime for which Assange can be prosecuted in a court. Even though he is not an American, he is currently being fitted up with an espionage law dredged up from a century ago when it was used to silence conscientious objectors during the First World War; the Espionage Act has provisions of both life imprisonment and the death penalty.

Assange's ability to defend himself in this Kafkaesque world has been handicapped by the US declaring his case a state secret. A federal court has blocked the release of all information about what is known as the "national security" investigation of WikiLeaks.

The supporting act in this charade has been played by the second Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny. Until recently, Ny had refused to comply with a routine European procedure that required her to travel to London to question Assange and so advance the case that James Catlin, one of Assange's barristers, called "a laughing stock ... it's as if they make it up as they go along". Indeed, even before Assange had left Sweden for London in 2010, Marianne Ny made no attempt to question him. In the years since, she has never properly explained, even to her own judicial authorities, why she has not completed the case she so enthusiastically re-ignited - just as the she has never explained why she has refused to give Assange a guarantee that he will not be extradited on to the US under a secret arrangement agreed between Stockholm and Washington. In 2010, the Independent in London revealed that the two governments had discussed Assange's onward extradition.

Then there is tiny, brave Ecuador. One of the reasons Ecuador granted Julian Assange political asylum was that his own government, in Australia, had offered him none of the help to which he had a legal right and so abandoned him. Australia's collusion with the United States against its own citizen is evident in leaked documents; no more faithful vassals has America than the obeisant politicians of the Antipodes.

Four years ago, in Sydney, I spent several hours with the Liberal Member of the Federal Parliament, Malcolm Turnbull. We discussed the threats to Assange and their wider implications for freedom of speech and justice, and why Australia was obliged to stand by him. Turnbull is now the Prime Minister of Australia and, as I write, is attending an international conference on Syria hosted the Cameron government - about 15 minutes' cab ride from the room that Julian Assange has occupied for three and a half years in the small Ecuadorean embassy just along from Harrods. The Syria connection is relevant if unreported; it was WikiLeaks that revealed that the United States had long planned to overthrow the Assad government in Syria. Today, as he meets and greets, Prime Minister Turnbull has an opportunity to contribute a modicum of purpose and truth to the conference by speaking up for his unjustly imprisoned compatriot, for whom he showed such concern when we met. All he need do is quote the judgement of the UN Working Party on Arbitrary Detention. Will he reclaim this shred of Australia's reputation in the decent world?

What is certain is that the decent world owes much to Julian Assange. He told us how indecent power behaves in secret, how it lies and manipulates and engages in great acts of violence, sustaining wars that kill and maim and turn millions into the refugees now in the news. Telling us this truth alone earns Assange his freedom, whereas justice is his right.

Source:


Related:



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How CIA altered the ending of Orwell's 'Animal Farm' to project Communism as the sole tyrannic system

globinfo freexchange

This interesting short documentary by AJ+, explores the cultural war between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In an effort to project Communism as the evil against capitalist West and the "free world", CIA had to covertly interfere through various ways in art, music, literature, philosophy.

In one of these cases, the documentary reveals how CIA altered the ending of Orwell's 'Animal Farm' to project Communism as the sole tyrannic system. It is also interesting the fact that the case involved an animated film, indicating that CIA's cultural propaganda was targeting minor Americans in order to "train" them ideologically.

According to the story, George Orwell, who wrote such middle-school classics as 1984 and Animal Farm, described himself as a Democratic Socialist. And he was actually pretty anti-Stalinist and anti-Soviet-style socialism, something which was unusual among Leftist circles at the time.

We already live in a permanent recession in which the Wall Street mafia secretly and continuously is being bailed out with billions by the Fed!

globinfo freexchange
Jimmy Dore and Dylan Ratigan explain in this video the secret mechanism through which the Fed is permanently bailing out the Wall Street mafia with billions. 
Dore refers to a September article by CNN Business with information that, under normal circumstances, should have made big headlines, generating massive anger.
We were trained not to be surprised by the liquidity injections that the central banks like the Fed and ECB provide to the biggest financial institutions. When at the same time, the real economy, and especially the small-medium business sector is literally struggling to survive in the capitalist West.
Yet, in this case, some additional information reveals something impressive. As Dore highlights from the article: 
                  Until this week, the Fed hadn't launched an operation like this since 2008. [...] Still, the fact the Fed needed to pump $128 billion into the system on successive days shows that a crack has emerged in a seldom-discusse…

The global youth radicalization and the fight for Socialism

by Eric London
Across the world, in countries as culturally distinct as Ecuador, Lebanon, France, Germany, the US, Iraq, Chile and Haiti, a new generation of working class youth is making its powerful entrance onto the battlefield of the global class struggle.

Citing the international scope of recent mass demonstrations, the Guardian's Simon Tisdall recently wrote: “Each country’s protests differ in detail, but recent upheavals do appear to share one key factor: youth ... This global phenomenon of unfulfilled youthful aspirations is producing political time bombs. Each month in India, one million people turn 18 and can register to vote. In the Middle East and North Africa, an estimated 27 million youngsters will enter the workforce in the next five years.

The political awakening of the most educated, urbanized and technologically interconnected generation in history is of critical strategic significance for the entire working class. 
Born beginning in the 1990s, today's youth…

Το Μητσοτακικό καθεστώς βάζει σε εφαρμογή το σχέδιο για τη δημιουργία κράτους σκληρής καταστολής

globinfo freexchange

Μετά το πρώτο βήμα που έκανε το Μητσοτακικό καθεστώς για τη δημιουργία Ειδικών Οικονομικών Ζωνών εντός της Ελληνικής επικράτειας, δηλαδή για τα φέουδα του 21ου αιώνα, όπως είχαμε προβλέψει, φαίνεται ότι, δυστυχώς, αρχίζει να επαληθεύεται και το σχέδιο για την ανασύσταση του δεξιού παρακράτους.  
Ήδη από το Μάιο του 18, είχαμε επισημάνει ότι σε ομιλία του στη βουλή, ο Μητσοτάκης ξεκίνησε το παραλήρημα του περί βίας αναφερόμενος συγκεκριμένα στα 'Εξάρχεια', τους 'Ρουβίκωνες' και τους 'αγανακτισμένους'. Και στο σημείο αυτό, πάλι κάτι ξέχασε: τους φασίστες.
Έτσι, έστειλε σήμα στους μηχανισμούς του αστικού καθεστώτος ότι θα συνεχίζει να το προστατεύει εγκαθιστώντας ένα κράτος σκληρής καταστολής, χωρίς να πειράξει το ακροδεξιό βαθύ κράτος που επιστρατεύει η εγχώρια ολιγαρχία όταν αισθάνεται κίνδυνο. Ένας κίνδυνος που μπορεί να έρθει σε περίπτωση νέων αναταραχών από τις βάναυσες πολιτικές λιτότητας που ο Μητσοτάκης θα συνεχίσει να εφαρμόζει π…

It's now or never: the first step for a Sanders/Corbyn synchronization in power must be done on 12 December in UK

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the global working class
by system failure
Two years ago, we wondered whether a US government under Bernie Sanders, together with a UK government under Jeremy Corbyn, could mark a decisive victory against neoliberalism. Whether it could mark the beginning of the end of the Reagan/Thatcher awful legacy.

It seems that the time has come for the first step towards this prospect.

The oncoming UK general election on Thursday 12 December 2019, will be the most critical for decades, especially for the global working class. The outcome will determine to a significant degree, whether the capitalist West will change course away from the destructive neoliberalism, towards a form of Democratic Socialism. A new model that will resurrect the social state, while at the same time, will seriously deal with the great environmental challenges, defying big interests and rejecting the for-profit-wars model.



As we already pointed out, the whole Brexit issue is pri…

Trump threatens to transfer the endo-capitalist war into a civil war level

globinfo freexchange
Donald Trump finally counter-attacked against corporate Democrats and their persistent desire to impeach him, through the ultimate threat: a civil war. In a recent tweet he wrote:
"... If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.
....If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Pastor Robert Jeffress, @FoxNews — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
Speaking to the Real News Network, Jeet Heer of The Nation pointed out:
The civil-war tweet is almost like a threat. It’s like, 'Well, this is a nice little Republic you got here, and it’d be a shame if anything happened to it.' But the thing is that this civil-war talk did not originate from T…

Slavoj Zizek: we may be entering an era of widespread civil unrest

RT
Anti-establishment protests are popping up all over the world, in countries with different political systems, and various levels of wealth. We may be entering an era of widespread civil unrest.

Under digital surveillance: how American schools spy on millions of kids

Fueled by fears of school shootings, the market has grown rapidly for technologies that monitor students through official school emails and chats
by Lois Beckett

Part 5 - Shifts in culture

School officials say that their primary motivation for using surveillance technology is the chance to save a student’s life. But schools are monitoring students’ digital documents in real time for a wide range of content they see as problematic, from swear words to nude images and pornography to cyberbullying to evidence of drug and alcohol use.

In Weld county, Colorado, a student emailed a teacher that she heard two boys were going to smoke weed in a bathroom, Hernandez, the student services and safety director, said. Gaggle immediately alerted school officials: “Within four minutes of her sending this email, the troops had deployed,” she said.
Gaggle also automatically sends students a scolding email any time they use a profanity.

A few school districts have chosen not to send students Gaggle’s war…

Julian Assange's extradition process is 'a charade'

The Real News Network
Filmmaker John Pilger attended Julian Assange's last court hearing and observed not only that Assange is visibly suffering from prison mistreatment, but his defense is not being given a fair chance to make its case against his extradition to the US.


Bernie and AOC demonstrate how Baby Boomers could help Millennials escape the neoliberal Matrix

globinfo freexchange
In a recent ad, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez explains why she endorsed Bernie Sanders for President. Yet, it would be interesting to examine a specific point she makes at the beginning of this short video. AOC says:
                    The first time I ever heard about Bernie Sanders was when I was a waitress in a greasy spoon diner type of restaurant in downtown Manhattan. And I had been working 12 hour days. I didn't have health insurance. I was being paid less than a living wage. And I didn't think that I deserved any of those things, I thought that that's just how life was.

Her last (highlighted) phrase tells you a lot of how deeply the neoliberal perception has penetrated inside societies and especially inside the minds of new generations. Entire generationshave been trained to believe that that's how things are, in order to accept the neoliberal order and retire from any attempt to overthrow it.
As we wrote in a previous article, during the last f…