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

Operation Mindfuck: The origins of the Illuminati conspiracy fraud and how it became popular in our times

From the new documentary Can 't Get You Out of My Head by Adam Curtis   globinfo freexchange   The first settlers had come from Europe to America to flee from the corruption of power in the Old World. But although they had got away from the old power, they hadn't got away from their suspicious minds, and alone, out in the vast wilderness of the new America, that led them to imagining dark, hidden conspiracies in their own government, far away in Washington.    One of the first of these, in the early 19th century, said that a secret group from Europe, called the Bavarian Illuminati, were running a giant conspiracy in America to destroy the new democracy. In reality, the Illuminati had been a utopian movement who wanted to replace religion with reason. But instead, they now became the first of a series of frightening suspicions that fed off the isolation of the settlers in the New World.    One night (in 1958, somewhere in the vicinity of Whittier, California), Kerry Thornley

COVID-19: After one year, Mitsotakis regime fails dramatically to control pandemic in Greece

globinfo freexchange   After one year, Greece has become one of the most characteristic cases of blatant failure concerning COVID-19 pandemic control. The situation is getting worse and the National Health System of Greece receives extreme pressure, while there are signs that it has already crashed. According to some recent reports , " A record number of patients with Covid-19 in Greece are on ventilators on Thursday. The total number of people undergoing the treatment has reached 706, breaking the previous record of 699, which was recorded on both the last two consecutive days, on Tuesday and Wednesday. " With the help of jodi.graphics we present a brief timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country: February 26, 2020: The first verified COVID-19 case in Greece. March 10, 2020: The government shuts down schools and universities. March 12, 2020: The first death in Greece from COVID-19.   March 23, 2020: The first lockdown in Greece.   March 28, 2020: COVID-19 cases in Gr

Γκάλοπ πρόωρων εκλογών

failed evolution survey software * Η σειρά με την οποία έχουν τοποθετηθεί τα πολιτικά κόμματα έγινε με βάση το αποτέλεσμα των τελευταίων βουλευτικών εκλογών του Ιουλίου του 2019.  * Αν προτιμάτε άλλο κόμμα από αυτά που εκπροσωπούνται στη βουλή, υπάρχει η επιλογή "Άλλο", ενώ μπορείτε, αν θέλετε, να γράψετε στα σχόλια το όνομα του κόμματος.  * Παρακαλούμε κοινοποιείστε για καλύτερο δείγμα.

QAnon and Russiagate: How the capitalist elites produced a mass conspiracy hysteria to maintain power

globinfo freexchange   In his new documentary Can't Get You Out of My Head , Adam Curtis traces the origins of popular conspiracy theories that survived up to our days and spread rapidly due to Internet. As a result, Curtis finds that Trump election and Brexit triggered a conspiracy paranoia that took over both the liberal establishment and the ultra-conservative camp. The story begins in the late 60s, when Kerry Thornley and his friend Greg Hill had started what they called Operation Mindfuck . They had spread the conspiracy theory that the Illuminati were really the secret rulers of the world. They had done it to parody and ridicule all conspiracy theories because they thought that they undermined the confidence of individuals and made them easier to control.    But now, in the mass of data online, those stories about the Illuminati got mixed up with other conspiracies, both true and false, and out of it came extraordinary dreamlike stories built out of fragments of truth and fic

Ποιος ολιγάρχης θα πηδήξει πρώτος από το κυβερνητικό Μητσοτακικό καράβι που βουλιάζει;

failed evolution   Όλα δείχνουν ότι η αντίστροφη μέτρηση για την πτώση του Μητσοτακικού καθεστώτος έχει αρχίσει. Το καθεστώς δέχτηκε απανωτά χτυπήματα σε όλα τα μέτωπα, με κεντρικό, βεβαίως, το μέτωπο της πανδημίας. Η αποτυχία του καθεστώτος όσον αφορά τα μέτρα και το πρόγραμμα εμβολιασμών, που απ'ότι φαίνεται χωλαίνει, θα αποτελέσει την αρχή του τέλους της αποτυχημένης Μητσοτακικής διακυβέρνησης.   Η απέλπιδα προσπάθεια ενός τραγικού Μητσοτάκη να κινητοποιήσει τα αντανακλαστικά των νοικοκυραίων, πάντα με τη βοήθεια της μιντιακής χούντας, χρησιμοποιώντας την πρόσφατη επίθεση εναντίον αστυνομικού, φαίνεται ότι πέφτει στο κενό. Οι νοικοκυραίοι μεσαιοταξίτες δεν "τσιμπάνε" πλέον με τέτοιου είδους φτηνά επικοινωνιακά κολπάκια, πολύ απλά γιατί βλέπουν ότι το παρατεταμένο λοκντάουν του ενός έτους, τους εξοντώνει συστηματικά κυρίως στον οικονομικό τομέα. Όπως είχαμε γράψει αμέσως μετά τις εκλογές του Ιουλίου του 19, μπορεί ο Έλλην μικροαστός να άγεται με ευκολία από τη μιντιακή

Max Blumenthal debunks US accusation of China's 'genocide' against Uighurs

The Grayzone   Max Blumenthal documents the deceptions behind the US government's accusation that China is committing "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims in its Xinjiang region, picking apart NED-funded studies that rely on botched statistics and exposing extremist Adrian Zenz and his error-filled research. 

EU more worried about Parma ham branding than COVID vaccine patents

How did EU governments decide to oppose a global measure that could boost production of COVID vaccines and medicines for the global south? You won’t get the slightest hint from official EU sources. But leaked documents reveal that the Commission and member states see the real problem as a mere PR issue of how to deflect criticism. Given the pandemic, their position seems indefensible.   Corporate Europe Observatory   Part 4 - The world needs to understand the EU better   To almost anyone, to the public, that would be where the story ended – with no insight into how the EU’s decision to oppose the India/ South Africa proposal was made, nor into what arguments were considered. But then sometimes, with a stroke of luck, documents are leaked. And in this case, documents from a German Ministry ended up with Corporate Europe Observatory (unfortunately they cannot be made public). According to those documents, the proposed India/ South Africa waiver was discussed on three occasions in the Tra

Νέα απόπειρα περαιτέρω μετάλλαξης του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ από την ντόπια ολιγαρχία καθώς το κυβερνών καράβι της Μητσοτακοδεξιάς βουλιάζει

globinfo freexchange   Ήδη από τον Ιούλιο του '15, ανιχνεύσαμε την πιο σοβαρή απόπειρα της ντόπιας ολιγαρχίας, σε συνεργασία πάντα με τους δανειστές της Τρόικας, να μεταλλάξουν τον ΣΥΡΙΖΑ σε συστημικό κόμμα, κομμένο και ραμμένο στα μέτρα τους. Η μεγάλη επιτυχία των ολιγαρχών και του άξονα Βρυξελλών-Βερολίνου, ήταν η απομάκρυνση της επικίνδυνης γι'αυτούς Αριστερής πλατφόρμας από το κόμμα.    Όπως είχαμε γράψει πριν από ένα χρόνο, μετά την εικονική έξοδο από τα μνημόνια, οι ολιγάρχες άρχισαν να φοβούνται ότι ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ θα μπορούσε να εκτροχιαστεί από την "κανονικότητά" τους. Δεν είναι τυχαίο ότι η "κανονικότητα" άρχισε να πλασάρεται, ως έννοια, από τους μιντιακούς παπαγάλους, όταν οι ντόπιοι ολιγάρχες και το νεοφιλελεύθερο ιερατείο είδαν τον ΣΥΡΙΖΑ να "τσινάει" και να αρχίζει να σκαλίζει διάφορα μεγάλα σκάνδαλα. Έτσι, η "κανονικότητα" ταυτίστηκε με την άνοδο της Μητσοτακικής δεξιάς στην εξουσία, που θα γλίτωνε τη χώρα από τους επικίνδυνους

End of the Megamachine: How capitalism & its crises have turned us into a failing civilization

Going Underground   Fabian Scheidler, author of The End of the Megamachine. A Brief History of a Failing Civilization ( https://www.megamaschine.org/en/​ ), discusses why capitalism is in terminal crisis due to its continuous growth model. Why he classifies human civilization as a failing civilization. How capitalism will likely not go through a sudden collapse but rather transition into something else. How crises such a climate change and coronavirus continue to break capitalism. The role of neoliberalism in accelerating capitalism’s collapse. Capitalism’s reliance on 70% of the world being cheap labour. The role of regime change and debt in keeping nations poor.  

Αν είσαι Κούλης ...

globinfo freexchange Δεν παραδέχεσαι πότε, ούτε εμμέσως, ως πρωθυπουργός μιας χώρας, ότι η χώρα αυτή είναι προτεκτοράτο. Εκτός και αν είσαι ... Κούλης.   Όχι βέβαια ότι δεν το ξέραμε. Ότι δηλαδή η χώρα είναι εδώ και δεκαετίες Αμερικανικό προτεκτοράτο και πιο πρόσφατα, Γερμανική αποικία χρέους. Αλλά ένας πρωθυπουργός υποτίθεται ότι δεν πρέπει να τα λέει αυτά (ούτε άμεσα, ούτε πλαγίως, ούτε με κανένα τρόπο), γιατί είναι σαν να δηλώνει υποταγή με τον πιο επίσημο τρόπο και να παραδέχεται ανοιχτά ότι δεν πρόκειται να αλλάξει ποτέ αυτή η κατάσταση.  Αλλά είπαμε. Όταν είσαι Κούλης και θεωρείς τη χώρα τσιφλίκι που κληρονόμησες απ'τον μπαμπά για να το παραδώσεις βορά σε ντόπια και ξένα συμφέροντα, δεν δίνεις σημασία σε τέτοιες "λεπτομέρειες". Αυτά είναι ψιλά γράμματα για το Πριγκιπόπουλο του Μητσοτακιστάν. Λόγω αλαζονείας, λόγω αμετροέπειας και τελικά λόγω ... βλακείας.   Ο Κούλης, λοιπόν, κατηγόρησε τον ΣΥΡΙΖΑ για "σατανικό σχέδιο" (εδώ γελάνε και οι πιο "ψεκασμένο