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

Why the US rushed to propagate the 'naval mine' scenario to explain recent attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman

globinfo freexchange

The incident of the recent attack against two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman elevated the heat between the US and Iran. Naturally, the attack also produced some level of turmoil in the oil global market.

Trump's hostile attitude against Iran was clearly evident even before his election. His totally unjustifiable and completely incomprehensible action to kill the Iran nuclear deal, destroyed any remnants of US reliability. Consequently, even the US Western allies refused to follow this evidently counterproductive strategy.

Under these circumstances and given the endless history of US manufactured incidents used to justify the start of another war, most people rightfully thought that this has been just another false flag operation.

And it makes sense actually. Why the hell Iran would attempt to blow up its relations with Japan in the midst of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe visit in the country? Only the US empire would have reasons to do it in order to force one of its…

Confirmed: the US empire seeks to 'clear' the path for the invasion of Iran

globinfo freexchange

Sometimes it's quite surprising how fast some estimations appear to be confirmed.

Only four days ago, we wrote that the US imperialists know that an all-out war with Iran would equal a suicide. The goal is probably a 'surgical' invasion on the south shores of the country that would last just as long as to permit the US and allies to control the Strait of Hormuz, and therefore, the global oil market. The first step towards such an operation would be the mine-clearing of the strait.

This probably explains why the Western media insisted to circulate the scenario of the 'naval mine'. They want to drag Western leaderships behind US in an operation to clear the mines in the Strait of Hormuz, in the name of global energy security.

Well, we were quite close actually. Three days later, the US leadership attempted a broader global alignment - including rival countries like China - towards the protection of "freedom of navigation in the region". …

Όσοι περνάν των χώρα της απόγνωσης παθαίνουν αμνησία ...

globinfo freexchange
Δανειστήκαμε αυτή τη φράση από ένα παλιό κομμάτι της Ελληνικής ροκ μπάντας "Τρύπες", για να περιγράψουμε με λίγα λόγια αυτό που φαίνεται να έχει πάθει η Ελληνική κοινωνία. 
Πώς είναι δυνατόν μια ολόκληρη κοινωνία να έχει ξεχάσει ποιοι τη χρεοκόπησαν; Ποιοι έστησαν το άθλιο σύστημα των κρατικοδίαιτων 'ημέτερων' και της οικογενειοκρατίας; Ποιοι έσωσαν τις τράπεζες με πακτωλό δισεκατομμυρίων σε βάρος της μεσαίας τάξης; Ποιοι έκαναν τη μίζα και το ρουσφέτι επάγγελμα; Πώς είναι δυνατόν αυτή η κοινωνία να ετοιμάζεται να ξαναφέρει στην εξουσία ένα κομμάτι αυτού του άθλιου πολιτικού κατεστημένου, με την επιστροφή μάλιστα του αμετανόητα νεοφιλελεύθερου Κυριάκου Μητσοτάκη και της ομάδας του;  
Η απόγνωση που έφεραν εννέα χρόνια βάρβαρων νεοφιλελεύθερων πολιτικών και σκληρής λιτότητας και που ανάγκασε τη χώρα να διαβεί τον εφιαλτικό μονόδρομο της μόνιμης χρεοκοπίας, πρέπει να έπαιξε σημαντικό ρόλο. 
Διότι ως γνωστόν, η απελπισία λίγο απέχει από τ…

The 'Julian Assange' index: another evidence that Elizabeth Warren is establishment's last resort

 globinfo freexchange

We should be grateful to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for uncovering the ruthless and ugly face of the establishment. For the exposure of the biggest war crimes by the US empire in the Iraq war. For the exposure of the dirty war by the DNC against Bernie Sanders, and many more.
But even now, being in this extremely hard situation because of the absolutely inhuman treatment by this imperialistic crypto-fascist regime, Assange remarkably becomes the cause that forces more masks to fall.

Therefore, the 'Julian Assange' index can even help us identify the real and the fake progressives.

As The Interceptreported:
The Justice Department filed 17 charges against WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange on Thursday, deploying the controversial Espionage Act as a cudgel against First Amendment protections and press freedom. It’s the first time the U.S. government has used the Espionage Act to prosecute a publisher, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

[..…

Brussels bureaufascists are ready to replace Alexis Tsipras with their most faithful puppet in Greece

globinfo freexchange
The latest European election in Greece was a real shock for the government. Alexis Tsipras and his party SYRIZA took the second place and suffered a heavy defeat with almost 10 points behind the right-wing New Democracy. Tsipras was forced to declare national elections on July 7th and it seems that blog's predictions are about to become true.

As we wrote already in 2016, right after the internal elections for the new leadership in New Democracy:
The result for the leadership of the main opposition party, New Democracy, in Greece after Sunday's elections, must had brought waves of relief to the Brussels-Berlin axis. Brussels bureaufascists and Berlin directorate have now the best "backup" alternative in case that Tsipras administration attempt to diverge from the catastrophic policies imposed by the European Financial Dictatorship (EFD).
The new leader of New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is probably the ideal alternative solution. The man that co…

Το σύστημα της διαπλοκής παίζει τα ρέστα του, αλλά ο Τσίπρας δεν φαίνεται να βάζει μυαλό ...

failed evolution
Η εικόνα αρχίζει σιγά-σιγά να γίνεται όλο και πιο ξεκάθαρη. Όσο πλησιάζουμε προς την ημέρα των εθνικών εκλογών το σύστημα της διαπλοκής παίζει τα ρέστα του. Τα ιδιωτικά κανάλια των ολιγαρχών συνεχίζουν την προπαγάνδα και σε συνδυασμό με την Τρόικα εσωτερικού και εξωτερικού προωθούν 'με τα χίλια' το νεοφιλελεύθερο οδοστρωτήρα, Κυριάκο Μητσοτάκη.

Η απόπειρα σαμποτάζ ξεκίνησε από ένα κομμάτι της Τρόικας εσωτερικού, προκειμένου να δημιουργήσει σύγχυση και επιπλέον αγανάκτηση στους πολίτες μέσω του ευαίσθητου τομέα της υγείας. Προς το παρόν, η συγκεκριμένη φράξια της Τρόικας εσωτερικού αποφάσισε την αναστολή των κινητοποιήσεων, μετά τις αντιδράσεις που προκάλεσε το εκβιαστικό lock out με την υπογραφή του Γιώργου Πατούλη, σύμφωνα με το οποίο απαιτούσε από τους ασφαλισμένους να καταβάλλουν το 85% του κόστους των εξετάσεων. Φαίνεται ότι το σαμποτάζ δεν είχε πολύ μεγάλη επιτυχία.  
Στη συνέχεια είχαμε τις καταγγελίες Αγγελή, ο οποίος εμφανίστηκε 'όλως τ…

Έρχεται ο νεοφιλελεύθερος "οδοστρωτήρας" Κούλης που θα ισοπεδώσει τους εργαζόμενους

globinfo freexchange
«Επταήμερο εργασίας. Όχι ο εκβιασμός που γίνεται από τους ελέγχους εδώ πέρα, όχι εξαήμερο, επταήμερο! Απαιτούμε να γίνει πιο εύκολο, πιο ευέλικτο το θέμα των 7 ημερών και όχι να επικρέμεται η σπάθη των προστίμων», απαίτησε ο "ευγενής" επιχειρηματίας από τον Κυριάκο Μητσοτάκη που επισκέφτηκε την Κω. 
Δηλαδή, το "αφεντικό" δεν θέλει να έχει κανένα έλεγχο πάνω από το κεφάλι του και να κάνει ότι γουστάρει με τους εργαζόμενους. Αν μπορεί δηλαδή να τους βάζει να δουλεύουν και δωδεκάωρα (όπως πέρασε με νόμο στην Αυστρία η συντηρητική δεξιά) και να τους δίνει ένα ξεροκόμματο, ίσα-ίσα για να μπορούν να δουλεύουν.  Θεωρεί τον έλεγχο, δηλαδή αν τηρείται με λίγα λόγια η εργασιακή νομοθεσία, "εκβιασμό". Καταλάβατε νοοτροπία; 
Προσέξτε το ύφος του: το "αφεντικό" με θράσος απαιτεί, χτυπώντας σχεδόν το χέρι στο τραπέζι, να μπορεί ουσιαστικά να εφαρμόζει συνθήκες σύγχρονης δουλείας, όχι μόνο χωρίς καμία επίπτωση, αλλά ούτε καν ενόχληση.  

The prosecution of Julian Assange is an attack on our Freedom of Speech

The Intercept
The Trump Department of Justice has openly declared war on the First Amendment. And the case they have chosen to pave the way for criminally prosecuting journalists and publishers is that of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act. It is the first time since the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was enshrined in law, that the government is criminally charging a publisher for publishing truthful information.
This indictment centers around the exposure of war crimes committed by the forces of the most powerful nation on Earth. It is about publishing documents that laid bare the blackmail, the backroom deals, the threats, the lies of the U.S. government in nations across the world. It is retaliation against an organization that presented to the world video evidence of a U.S. helicopter gunship massacre on Iraqi civilians and two Reuters news journalists. 
This prosecution is revenge for publishing documents on the U.S. kill campaign in Iraq and Afgha…

Οι λούμπεν μικροαστοί είναι έτοιμοι να επιλέξουν τον δήμιο τους που αποτελεί και την καλύτερη εφεδρεία για τους γραφειοφασίστες των Βρυξελλών

του system failure
Το πρόσφατο αποτέλεσμα των ευρωεκλογών δείχνει ότι το νεοφιλελεύθερο ιερατείο Βρυξελλών/Βερολίνου θεωρεί ότι έφτασε η ώρα να αντικατασταθεί ο Αλέξης Τσίπρας με την καλύτερη εφεδρεία του: τον Κυριάκο Μητσοτάκη. 
Πράγματι, οι προβλέψεις φαίνεται να επαληθεύονται εντυπωσιακά. Όπως είχαμε αναφέρει σε προηγούμενο άρθρο ήδη από το 2016 και αμέσως μετά την εκλογή Μητσοτάκη στην ηγεσία της ΝΔ, τα αποτελέσματα των εκλογών στη ΝΔ λύνουν τα χέρια του άξονα Βρυξελλών-Βερολίνου. Οι γραφειοφασίστες των Βρυξελλών και το διευθυντήριο του Βερολίνου έχουν τώρα μια πρώτης τάξεως εφεδρεία σε περίπτωση που τα πράγματα "στραβώσουν" με την σημερινή κυβέρνηση.  
Ήδη, η κυβέρνηση ΣΥΡΙΖΑ έδωσε κάποια μικρά σημάδια ανυπακοής ενάντια στη λιτότητα που επιβάλλει το ιερατείο, ρέποντας 'επικίνδυνα' προς μια πιο φιλολαϊκή πολιτική. Δεν είναι τυχαίο φυσικά ότι τα πρώτα αυτά σημάδια άρχισαν να γίνονται ορατά μόλις η χώρα βγήκε από το πρόγραμμα επιτήρησης που επέβαλε η Τρό…

Trump's top hawkish neocon gives signs that the US could possibly participate in a military coup against Jeremy Corbyn

globinfo freexchange

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt held a joint press conference in London after meeting for talks in the UK capital.
Pompeo condemned what he described as the support of certain UK and US leaders for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. "It is disgusting to see leaders, not only in the United Kingdom but in the United States as well, who continue to support the murderous dictator [Nicolas] Maduro," said Pompeo.

What's disgusting is that Pompeo has gone so far as even to launch indirect threats against US/UK leaders who refuse to align with the empire's typical regime change operations against legitimate governments.

It's obvious that these warnings are targeting progressive anti-war leaders like Tulsi Gabbard, Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders.

Pompeo depicts the anxiety of the empire, as it finds more and more difficult to make countries and leaders align behind US regime change efforts. …