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Posts Tagged ‘Belmarsh’

Exclusive images from inside British court expose Assange’s un-democratic treatment, physical deterioration | The Grayzone

Posted by M. C. on June 1, 2020

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/05/29/british-court-assanges-physical-deterioration/

By Max Blumenthal

Photographs surreptitiously taken inside a British courtroom and provided to The Grayzone show a visibly disoriented Julian Assange confined to a glass cage and unable to communicate with his lawyers.

Photographs taken inside London’s Woolwich Crown Court and provided exclusively to The Grayzone highlight the un-democratic measures the British security state has imposed on jailed Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange.

Captured during Assange’s extradition hearing, which took place between February 24 and 28, the images highlight the confinement Assange has been subjected to, as well as the physical deterioration he has experienced since he was arrested in April 2019 and jailed in a maximum security prison.

On February 26, Judge Vanessa Baraitser vowed to hold anyone in contempt of court for taking photographs. However, an observer had taken several photos a day before the judge’s warning.

Anonymous Scandinavia, a Sweden-based group of Wikileaks supporters, provided the photos to The Grayzone in order to expose what they considered to be the state repression of an investigative journalist.

The images show Assange confined to a glass cage, physically sequestered from his legal team, and unable to follow his own trial.

Throughout the hearing, Assange protested his isolation, complaining to Judge Baraitser, “I am as much a participant in these proceedings as I am at Wimbledon. I cannot communicate with my lawyers or ask them for clarifications.” He told members of his legal team he was unable to hear from inside the glass cage.

Below, a seemingly dejected Assange can be seen gazing through the bulletproof glass panes at two of his lawyers, Stella Morris and Baltazar Garzon.

In a heartfelt video testimonial released this April, Morris disclosed that she was the mother of two infant sons with Assange.

Throughout 2017, Morris was spied on by a Spanish security firm apparently hired by the CIA through Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands. At one point, the director of the firm ordered an employee to steal a diaper from one of Morris’s sons in an attempt to match his DNA to that of Assange.

“I understood that the powers that were against Julian were ruthless and there were no bounds to it,” Morris commented after learning of the surveillance campaign. “And that’s why I feel that I have to [reveal myself as the mother of Assange’s children]. Because I’ve taken so many steps for so many years and I feel that Julian’s life might be coming to an end.”

“Prolonged exposure to psychological torture” continues in court

Since its foundation in 2010, Wikileaks has published troves of documents exposing American war crimes, meddling, and corruption around the globe. Following the release of thousands of classified State Department cables provided by military whistleblower Chelsea Manning, Vice President Joseph Biden denounced Assange as a “high-tech terrorist.”

In April 2017, then-CIA director Mike Pompeo labeled Wikileaks a “hostile foreign intelligence agency,” denigrating Assange as a “fraud” in a speech telegraphing Washington’s malicious campaign against the publisher.

That December, US federal prosecutors filed a secret indictment charging Assange with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act. He now faces 175 years in a US prison.

Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, warned that, if extradited, “Assange would be exposed to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial and the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Melzer was disturbed by the traits he observed after meeting Assange in May 2019. In a report published by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the expert noted, “in addition to physical ailments, Mr. Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.”

The photo below reveals a visibly disoriented Assange with a grim pallor and expressionless gaze.

Courtroom cages through history

Though Assange has never been convicted of a crime and has no record of violent behavior, his cage was more restrictive than the enclosure reserved for Adolph Eichmann when the top-level Nazi bureaucrat was placed on trial in Jerusalem in 1961. Unlike Assange, Eichmann was able to communicate freely with his lawyer and listen to a live translation of his trial.

During his corruption trial in Moscow in 2005, the Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky was similarly held in a cage. Following a formal protest of the confinement by his business partner and co-defendant, Platon Lebedev, who claimed that the cage represented a breach of the right to a presumption of innocence, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the two were subjected to “inhuman and degrading conditions in the courtroom.”

When Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, collapsed and died in a soundproof cage in a courtroom, six years after he was deposed in a 2013 military coup, Western media and human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International erupted in a chorus of condemnation.

These same rights groups have said little about the draconian restrictions imposed by the British security state on Assange throughout his extradition hearing. But their reticence might be excused on the grounds that clear images of his unwarranted courtroom isolation were not publicly available until now.

Assange’s hearing postponed, his isolation extended

The Belmarsh supermax prison where Assange has been held is regarded as the UK’s version of the US facility at Guantanamo. Aside from Assange, the jail is home to mafia henchmen, al-Qaeda members, and neo-fascist enforcers like Tommy Robinson. Around 20 percent of prisoners in Belmarsh are murderers, and two-thirds have committed a violent crime.

117 licensed medical professionals from around the world have written to the British and Australian governments to condemn “the torture of Assange,” “the denial of his fundamental right to appropriate health care, “the climate of fear surrounding the provision of health care to him” and “the violations of his right to doctor–patient confidentiality.”

Since the doctors’ open letter, Belmarsh has become a site of Covid-19 infection. As journalist Matt Kennard reported, a 2007 report by the UK’s Chief Inspector of Prisons found that “infection control was inadequate” in the detention facility.

Rather than allow a temporary medical furlough for Assange, however, Judge Baraitser has postponed  his extradition trial for four months, disappearing him again from public view.

“In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution,” the UN’s Melzer said of the Wikileaks founder’s treatment, “I have never seen a group of democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonize and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law.”

When Assange returns to court this September, the glass cage awaits.

 

 

 

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A Letter to the Staff of Belmarsh Prison – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 11, 2020

Left we forget.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/04/bretigne-shaffer/a-letter-to-the-staff-of-belmarsh-prison/

By

Dear Staff of Belmarsh,

A lot of other people are writing to politicians, elected representatives, celebrities, and other people who have “platforms” or “influence.” I’ve decided to write to you.

You are no doubt aware that there is a man being held in your prison by the name of Julian Assange. I am sure that you are also aware that a great many people believe this that he should not be there, or in any prison. They (and I) believe that the only crime he has committed is having revealed actual crimes committed by people and institutions much more powerful than himself.

We further believe that the only reason he is being held–and held at a time when other non-violent prisoners are being released in order to help minimize the spread of Covid-19–the only reason the most powerful government on earth has contorted the justice system of your own country to the point that it is no longer recognizable as such, is that that government (the government of my country) wishes to send a strong message to anyone else who ever thinks about making its crimes public:

“We can do whatever we want, to whomever we want. We are bound by no laws, no justice system, and if you dare to expose our crimes to the world as this man has, we will do this to you too.”

I am not going to repeat all of the charges against him, nor explain why they are nonsensical. Nor will I dwell on his treatment in prison, which according to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, constitutes torture. Nor will I take apart the various smears against him. Others have done a very good job of all of those things already, as you can read here, here, and here. You can also read detailed accounts of the mockery that his hearings have made of British Justice, with representatives of the US government almost literally pulling strings attached to the person of magistrate Vanessa Baraitser.

You can read all of that for yourselves, and I hope that you will. I will only say this:

There is a long-standing tradition in Western culture of honoring disobedience to immoral laws. In my own country, this tradition was upheld by abolitionists who defied the Fugitive Slave Acts and helped escaped slaves get to freedom; It was upheld at the Nuremberg trials after World War II, when some German officers were hanged for obeying laws that violated more fundamental principles of human rights; And it is enshrined in something much older, known as the “Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates.”

This doctrine dates back to at least 39AD, and was formally articulated by Christian pastors in the Magdeberg Confession of 1550. It can be summed up as follows:

When those in high authority command that those beneath them enforce laws that are immoral or unjust, those authorities beneath them have a duty to refuse to enforce those laws, and if necessary to actively resist them.

The persecution of Julian Assange is a grotesque abomination of justice. And it represents a direct assault on our ability to hold our governments accountable for their actions. If the government of the United States succeeds in extraditing Julian Assange, or if he is allowed to die in prison in the UK, then we will have lost much more than the life of one man. We will have allowed the most powerful government on earth to cement its lawless rule over us all, to effectively prohibit free and open discourse about its actions in our societies.

So why am I writing to you? Because I don’t believe in politicians. I don’t believe that “elected representatives” really represent anyone other than themselves and the people who keep them in power. But, strangely, I do believe in people. Not all of them of course. There are good people and there are bad people. But I do believe, very strongly, that out of all the people who happen to work at Belmarsh prison, there are some good ones. How many, I don’t know. Maybe a hundred? Maybe thirty? A dozen? Three or four? Maybe just one.

However many of you there are, you are the ones I am speaking to. I believe that there is something you can do–one of you, some of you, all of you–although I can’t say for sure what it might be, to change how this story ends. I am writing to remind you of the Doctrine of Lesser Magistrates, and to urge you to do the right thing. Not only for Julian Assange, but for all of us. Our history is quite literally in your hands.

Be seeing you

 

 

 

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Julian in the Dock, by Israel Shamir – The Unz Review

Posted by M. C. on March 13, 2020

The Court is designed with no other purpose than to exclude the public, on an island accessible only through navigating a maze of dual carriageways, the entire location and architecture of the building is predicated on preventing public access. It is in truth just the sentencing wing of Belmarsh prison.

In the end, none of this role-play mattered since none of the media reported on this exchange, as it wasn’t inserted into the daily press release. The MSM journalists used only these prepared texts, so convenient for copying and pasting into their own reports.

This will ensure isolation and be as close to a secret trial as it’s possible to get.”

https://www.unz.com/ishamir/julian-in-the-dock/

Julian Assange’s extradition hearing has had very little media coverage. Even The Guardian and The New York Times barely mentioned it, though these newspapers made a fortune publishing Assange-provided cables. Unless you had been looking for it, you wouldn’t even know that on February 24 to 27, the first stage of Assange’s extradition hearing was being adjudicated in the secretive Woolwich Crown Court embedded within the huge Belmarsh Prison nicknamed “British Gitmo”. Luckily for us, Ambassador Craig Murray, the indomitable truth fighter, went there, waited in line for hours in the rain, underwent searches and discomfort, and wrote an extensive report (12,000 words) on this travesty of justice that went under the name of a ‘trial’. His reports leave nothing out, from the threatening atmosphere to the sinister legal arguments. He captured the menace and the abuse bordering with public torture, and delivered it to the world, something that none of the journalists on the payroll of the mass media had been allowed to do. Here are some insights from his report in my free rendering augmented with other sources.

The Court is designed with no other purpose than to exclude the public, on an island accessible only through navigating a maze of dual carriageways, the entire location and architecture of the building is predicated on preventing public access. It is in truth just the sentencing wing of Belmarsh prison.

The judge, the Magistrate (or District Judge) Vanessa Baraitser is a modern version of the Hanging Judge George Jeffreys, a female Judge Dredd. She is the chief villain by all descriptions of the trial, not just tolerating but exceeding the demands of the prosecution. The lawyers acting for the prosecution did request some niceties if only for the trial to appear fair. Baraitser had no such pretensions. She went straight for the jugular. If she could, she would hang Assange right away.

This Jewish lady is surrounded by mystery: she has left no trace upon the Internet. A newly born child has more Internet presence than this middle-aged woman. I doubt such a blank slate could be achieved nowadays without the active assistance of the Secret Services.

Ambassador Murray writes: “Ms Baraitser is not fond of photography – she appears to be the only public figure in Western Europe with no photo on the internet. Indeed the average proprietor of a rural car wash has left more evidence of their existence and life history on the Internet than Vanessa Baraitser. Which is no crime on her part, but I suspect the expunging is not achieved without considerable effort. Somebody suggested to me she might be a hologram, but I think not. Holograms have more empathy.”

John Pilger saw Baraitser in action during the previous round of Assange hearings in October 2019. He wrote: “I have sat in many courtrooms and seen judges abuse their positions. This judge, Vanessa Baraitser shocked all of us who were there. Her face was a progression of sneers and imperious indifference; she addressed Julian with cruel arrogance. When Assange spoke, Baraitser contrived boredom; when the prosecuting barrister spoke, she was attentive. When Julian’s barrister described the CIA spying on him, she didn’t yawn, but her disinterest was as expressive. Her knee in the groin was to announce that the next court hearing would be at remote Woolwich, which adjoins Belmarsh Prison and has few seats for the public. This will ensure isolation and be as close to a secret trial as it’s possible to get.”

It turned out to be practically a secret trial. There were MSM journalists, but “not a single one of the most important facts and arguments today has been reported anywhere in the mainstream media.”

On the first day, James Lewis QC for the prosecution tried to drive a wedge between Assange and the media. He claimed that in no way are mainstream outlets like The Guardian and The New York Times threatened by this trial, because Assange was not charged with publishing the cables but only with publishing the names of informants, cultivating Manning and assisting him to attempt computer hacking. The mainstream outlets are not guilty of any crimes, having only published sanitised cables.

But Judge Baraitser didn’t accept this vegetarian approach. She thirsted for blood. She referred to the Official Secrets Act 1989, which declares that merely obtaining and publishing any government secret is an offence. Surely, Baraitser suggested, that meant that newspapers publishing the Manning leaks would be guilty of a serious offence?

Lewis agreed with the judge and admitted that indeed, the mainstream journalists also are guilty, fully denying what he said in his opening statement. In the end, none of this role-play mattered since none of the media reported on this exchange, as it wasn’t inserted into the daily press release. The MSM journalists used only these prepared texts, so convenient for copying and pasting into their own reports.

The main argument of the defence was that the motive for the prosecution was entirely political, and that political offences were specifically excluded under the UK/US extradition treaty. For a normal human judge, that would suffice to dismiss the case. But Baraitser had a trick up her sleeve. Although the US/UK Extradition Treaty forbade political extraditions, this was only the Treaty, and this is not an international court, she said. That exemption does not appear in the UK Extradition Act. Therefore political extradition is not illegal in the UK, as the Treaty has no legal force on her Court. With such a judge, who needs the prosecution? Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Absolutely unaware’ Assange testifies in trial of Spanish company that spied on WikiLeaks founder inside embassy — RT World News

Posted by M. C. on December 23, 2019

The proceedings were closed to the press on the grounds of “national security.”

It is OK for “spies” and governments to know, but not US.

https://www.rt.com/news/476529-assange-testify-spanish-spying/

RT

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange briefly stepped out of maximum security prison in the UK to testify via video-link in a Spanish case against a company that spied on him inside the Ecuadorian embassy, allegedly on the US’ behalf.

Assange, who is being held at Belmarsh prison in southern London pending his hearing on extradition to the US, was driven over to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday, where a video-link was set up for him to speak with a judge in Madrid. The proceedings were closed to the press on the grounds of “national security.”

RT

The High Court in Madrid is hearing Assange’s case against Undercover Global Ltd, a Spanish security company that allegedly bugged him during his stay at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Undercover Global was contracted to provide embassy security between 2015 and 2018, and in that capacity secretly recorded Assange’s every move via hidden cameras, microphones and electronic surveillance, the lawsuit says.

Assange told the court “he was absolutely unaware that the cameras recorded audio, that hidden microphones had been introduced” into the fire extinguisher mounts inside the embassy, his attorney Aitor Martinez told reporters in Madrid after the testimony.

Assange was “an absolutely passive subject of an illegitimate interference that would have been eventually coordinated by the United States,” Martinez added.

If the illegal surveillance targeted Assange’s legal team and violated his attorney-client privilege, that has ramifications on the proceedings against him in both the UK and the US, his lawyers have argued.

David Morales, owner of Undercover Global, was briefly arrested in September and then released on bail. In June, he told the Spanish daily El Pais that his company “simply did a job” and that all the information it gathered is “confidential and it belongs to the government of Ecuador.”

Assange sought asylum from Ecuador in 2012, facing an investigation of sexual assault in Sweden and fearing it was a pretext to have him extradited to the US. He ended up spending almost seven years trapped inside the Latin American country’s embassy in London, because UK authorities denied him permission to leave. The new government in Quito withdrew his asylum in April, and he was dragged out of the building by UK police.

Within days of his arrest, the US would confirm Assange’s suspicions by unsealing the indictment charging him with violating the Espionage Act, over publishing the Iraq and Afghanistan war documents in 2010. If extradited and convicted, he faces 175 years in prison. British authorities sentenced him to 50 weeks in prison for bail violation, and then kept him locked up at Belmarsh after he served that sentence, pending extradition hearings. Sweden formally dropped an investigation against Assange last month.

Editor’s note: The article has been updated to clarify that Assange faced ‘allegations’, not ‘charges’, of sexual assault in Sweden.

Be seeing you

Nit

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Now That Assange Is Safely Locked Up, Sweden Drops Its “Investigation” – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on November 21, 2019

“How do I know that Interpol, Britain and Sweden’s treatment of Julian Assange is a form of theater? Because I know what happens in rape accusations against men that don’t involve the embarrassing of powerful governments.”

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/11/20/now-that-assange-is-safely-locked-up-sweden-drops-its-investigation/

Now that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is safely locked up in Belmarsh prison awaiting a US extradition hearing, Sweden has, for a third time, dropped its rape investigation.

“After conducting a comprehensive assessment of what has emerged during the course of the preliminary investigation I then make the assessment that the evidence is not strong enough to form the basis for filing an indictment,” said deputy chief prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson at a press conference in Stockholm on Tuesday.

This decision comes days after the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer began making noise about the Swedish government’s refusal to answer his questions on the many enormous, glaring plot holes in the investigation which began in 2010. These plot holes include “proactive manipulation of evidence” with the testimony of the alleged victim, a condom provided as evidence that had neither the DNA of Assange nor of the alleged victim on it, complete disregard for confidentiality rules and normal investigative protocol from the earliest moments of the investigation onward, disregard for conflicts of interest, Sweden’s refusal to provide assurance that Assange would not be extradited to the US if he went there to answer questions, statements made by the alleged victims which contradict the allegations, unexplained correspondence between Swedish prosecutors and the FBI, and many others.

None of which matters anymore. He is caged, and public support for him has been deliberately demolished. The Swedish parody of an “investigation” did its job. Assange took political asylum with the government of Ecuador out of fear of US extradition and was slowly squeezed off from the outside world, his own reputation, and his own physical health while the empire prepared its case against him, keeping him increasingly immobilized, silenced and smeared until he could be forcibly pried from the embassy in April of this year.

Once this was accomplished, all the feigned concern for alleged victims of sexual assault suddenly vanished, lining up perfectly with a 2010 article authored in the early days of the investigation by feminist writer Naomi Wolf who said, “How do I know that Interpol, Britain and Sweden’s treatment of Julian Assange is a form of theater? Because I know what happens in rape accusations against men that don’t involve the embarrassing of powerful governments.”

“In other words: Never in twenty-three years of reporting on and supporting victims of sexual assault around the world have I ever heard of a case of a man sought by two nations, and held in solitary confinement without bail in advance of being questioned — for any alleged rape, even the most brutal or easily proven,” Wolf wrote. “In terms of a case involving the kinds of ambiguities and complexities of the alleged victims’ complaints — sex that began consensually that allegedly became non-consensual when dispute arose around a condom — please find me, anywhere in the world, another man in prison today without bail on charges of anything comparable.”

Everyone who was familiar with sexual assault investigations knew that Assange’s case was being treated wildly different from any other, and anyone with a shred of intellectual honesty knew that this was because his case was different from any other: it was an investigation of a man who had embarrassed powerful governments. That was always what this was about. It was never about protecting women. The fact that the case is being flushed now that the imperialists have gotten what they wanted makes this abundantly clear.

And now he’s locked up for no other reason than a pending US extradition request, exactly as he anticipated and rightly tried to avoid. The ridiculous bail sentence he was serving has already expired, and the rape investigation everyone pretended was so important has been tossed aside like an old gum wrapper. As one reader put it on Twitter today, “So Julian Assange continues to be detained in a high security prison, having completed an extreme sentence for not meeting the bail conditions for a charge that wasn’t and won’t be made. All on top of the rules of asylum being cast aside to net him. This is rule of jackboot not law.”

“Let’s call this for what it is: an outrage,” the Defend Assange account tweeted after the news broke. “The road to Belmarsh and 175-years in prison was paved in Stockholm–and so it will be remembered. The damage done to Assange’s and WikiLeaks’ reputation-outing his name in an ‘investigation’ for which he was never charged-is monstrous.”

Monstrous it is. And monstrous the whole thing remains. They have maneuvered circumstances and narratives in such a way that they are now able to literally imprison a journalist for exposing US war crimes, right in front of us, while telling us we live in a free society. It’s like watching someone who’s supposed to be your friend reach down and start strangling your dog to death while looking you right in the eye and saying “I’m not killing your dog. I would never do that. We’re friends.”

They’ve locked him up. They’ve silenced him. They’ve broken his body. They’ve broken his mind. And now they’re trying to lock him out of sight forever, out of sight and out of mind, so we can all forget all about the evil things they’ve revealed about themselves.

But all that means is that now his fate is in our hands. Back when he was strong and bright-eyed and had a voice, it was easy to kid ourselves and say “Eh, he’ll find a way out of this. He’s the smartest guy around!” It was easy to lean on his strength in order to abdicate our responsibility to defend him tooth and claw from a globe-spanning oligarchic empire which seeks to criminalize holding power to account.

We can’t do that anymore. We can’t take comfort in Assange’s power, because he doesn’t have it anymore. His frailty now means we need to be the strong ones. We need to fight for him, because he can’t do it himself. We need to win this battle if we’re ever to have any hope of overturning the status quo that is oppressing us all and shoving us toward greater and greater peril. We can’t afford to lose this one. We need to fight for Assange like the world depends on it. Because, in a very real sense, it does.

_________________________

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Be seeing you

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Craig Murray – Historian, Former Ambassador, Human Rights Activist – Assange in Court

Posted by M. C. on October 23, 2019

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

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

by

I was deeply shaken while witnessing yesterday’s events in Westminster Magistrates Court. Every decision was railroaded through over the scarcely heard arguments and objections of Assange’s legal team, by a magistrate who barely pretended to be listening.

Before I get on to the blatant lack of fair process, the first thing I must note was Julian’s condition. I was badly shocked by just how much weight my friend has lost, by the speed his hair has receded and by the appearance of premature and vastly accelerated ageing. He has a pronounced limp I have never seen before. Since his arrest he has lost over 15 kg in weight.

But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both. I will come to the important content of his statement at the end of proceedings in due course, but his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought.

Until yesterday I had always been quietly sceptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture – even of Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – and sceptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that yesterday changed my mind entirely and Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness.

I had been even more sceptical of those who claimed, as a senior member of his legal team did to me on Sunday night, that they were worried that Julian might not live to the end of the extradition process. I now find myself not only believing it, but haunted by the thought. Everybody in that court yesterday saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes. To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable. Yet the agents of the state, particularly the callous magistrate Vanessa Baraitser, were not just prepared but eager to be a part of this bloodsport. She actually told him that if he were incapable of following proceedings, then his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later. The question of why a man who, by the very charges against him, was acknowledged to be highly intelligent and competent, had been reduced by the state to somebody incapable of following court proceedings, gave her not a millisecond of concern.

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.

The purpose of yesterday’s hearing was case management; to determine the timetable for the extradition proceedings. The key points at issue were that Julian’s defence was requesting more time to prepare their evidence; and arguing that political offences were specifically excluded from the extradition treaty. There should, they argued, therefore be a preliminary hearing to determine whether the extradition treaty applied at all.

The reasons given by Assange’s defence team for more time to prepare were both compelling and startling. They had very limited access to their client in jail and had not been permitted to hand him any documents about the case until one week ago. He had also only just been given limited computer access, and all his relevant records and materials had been seized from the Ecuadorean Embassy by the US Government; he had no access to his own materials for the purpose of preparing his defence.

Furthermore, the defence argued, they were in touch with the Spanish courts about a very important and relevant legal case in Madrid which would provide vital evidence. It showed that the CIA had been directly ordering spying on Julian in the Embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide security there. Crucially this included spying on privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers discussing his defence against these extradition proceedings, which had been in train in the USA since 2010. In any normal process, that fact would in itself be sufficient to have the extradition proceedings dismissed. Incidentally I learnt on Sunday that the Spanish material produced in court, which had been commissioned by the CIA, specifically includes high resolution video coverage of Julian and I discussing various matters.

The evidence to the Spanish court also included a CIA plot to kidnap Assange, which went to the US authorities’ attitude to lawfulness in his case and the treatment he might expect in the United States. Julian’s team explained that the Spanish legal process was happening now and the evidence from it would be extremely important, but it might not be finished and thus the evidence not fully validated and available in time for the current proposed timetable for the Assange extradition hearings.

For the prosecution, James Lewis QC stated that the government strongly opposed any delay being given for the defence to prepare, and strongly opposed any separate consideration of the question of whether the charge was a political offence excluded by the extradition treaty. Baraitser took her cue from Lewis and stated categorically that the date for the extradition hearing, 25 February, could not be changed. She was open to changes in dates for submission of evidence and responses before this, and called a ten minute recess for the prosecution and defence to agree these steps.

What happened next was very instructive. There were five representatives of the US government present (initially three, and two more arrived in the course of the hearing), seated at desks behind the lawyers in court. The prosecution lawyers immediately went into huddle with the US representatives, then went outside the courtroom with them, to decide how to respond on the dates…

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?

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Run! – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on October 3, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/10/karen-kwiatkowski/run/

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Julian Assange is reported to very thin, very sick and being treated at this point, as little more than a “lab rat” by his state doctors and interrogators at Belmarsh.  Word is that his encryption key ring (with his private keys that unlock his various public keys) has already been extracted, under physical duress, cold, light and noise torture, food deprivation, BZ variants, some experimental, and now that he is very physically weak, PCP.  The arrests have started and they won’t stop until the injured parties –mainly the US government – have satisfied their bloodlust.

If the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of donors of information to Wilikeaks around the world haven’t begun to already, they need to rapidly take cover – legal, physical, operational and otherwise.

The US, its allies and understudies, its lackeys and satraps, both of the state and corporate type, want to know where the leaks are.  And they will find them.

Was Julian Assange the publisher (like Google and Facebook)?  Was he some kind of fake whistleblower (like the CIA guy on loan to the White House)?  Might he be considered an actual whistleblower like Chelsea Manning or Ed Snowden and Bill Binney and many, many more driven by a sense of real patriotism and justice to share with the people what is being done in their name?…

Assange must not be tried in a court of law, even the dubious law of the Eastern District Court, because his “crimes” if any, will be found invalid, or invalidated.  He himself is not a whistleblower, and the charges in the US case against him thus relate to hacking and “encouraging” an existing whistleblower.  Decisions were made at the highest levels of both US and UK governments that Assange will be sacrificed in the name of the higher goal of tamping out current leaks, punishing past leakers, and discouraging future leakers, as well as improving information and technical security at NSA and other parts of the USG.   Part of this project is recent. Coming arrests and trials of people who may have violated their employment agreements in sharing classified information with Wikileaks, will, even if it must use parallel reconstruction as Judge Napolitano explains, will be enough for a trial.  Even kangaroo courts have their standards.

As Caitlyn Johnstone explains in the current US case, what we are witnessing is beyond a double standard and indicates CIA readiness to take on a president inclined to restrict it.  Perhaps, hope of hope, Trump was planning to fire its budget hungry and war-inflamed Director Pompeo? Meanwhile, Trump fails to rein in his IC, and fails to protect Assange, a man he once admired, if one can believe his tweeting.  Another man who once praised Wikileaks, and now leads England, was just this week praising Egypt for its freedom, and silent on Assange.  This summer’s first ever Media Freedom Conference was held in London not far from Belmarsh, with a several day, 14 page agenda studded with famous people.  Illustrating the very “deep fake” conundrum they did talk about at the conference, the agenda contained not a single mention of Wikileaks or Julian Assange.

This world is not for freedom lovers, or truth tellers.  Run!

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Julian Assange On The Mire Of Politically Distorted ...

 

 

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Why Is Julian Assange Being Tortured to Death? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 14, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/09/karen-kwiatkowski/why-is-julian-assange-being-tortured-to-death/

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I think we already know the answer.  We need to go further and try and understand what this partially veiled, but completely serious, US and UK destruction of a modern journalist means for all of us.

Assange is an advocate for whistleblowers, a promoter of information access and information security for everyone, not just governments and major government-connected corporations.  He, with the help of information security specialists, codewriters, truthtellers and witnesses around the world, received and published material that embarrassed and exposed a number of powerful organizations, including the US government and its many cronies and beneficiaries.

Why is he being tortured to death?  Why is he still being subjected to new and experimental variants of BZ fresh from Porton Down, and deprived, not only of friends, relatives, and unsupervised access to his legal team, but to food and basic care?

The short answer is that he is being held on behalf of the United States and he is being chemically and physically interrogated in Belmarsh (the British Gitmo) in order to reveal his private cryptographic keys, and the names and cryptographic information relating to others within the Wikileaks information network…

It is fascinating that the plea deals of two recent NSA “spies” – government employees who took home and “hoarded” vast quantities of NSA material were remarkably mild, when compared to what Julian Assange is going through, and how Bini and Manning have been and are being treated.

A Mr. Pho, a 67 year old who worked as a developer for NSA’s Tailored Access Operations, pled guilty to one count of willful removal of defense information, and was free on bail prior to his sentencing in early 2018 to 66 months.  The NSA bit-hoarder extraordinaire, Harold Martin, recently was sentenced to nine years, for his “crimes against the state.”  Even Reality Winner, who was tried under the Espionage Act and did not plea out, received a relatively light sentence, to be completed in a prison close to her home with promises that she can be treated for bulimia.  John Kiriakou did little more than reveal what the whole country already knew about torture conducted by the CIA, and he was sentenced to 30 months of prison…

In the case of Assange, while no damage was done to the world or to human life, the US Government experienced significant embarrassment through the release of USG hacking tools by the Shadow Brokers hacking group.  Those tiered releases indicate what the NSA and other parts of the US Government (and their Five Eyes allies) were and are capable of doing, and are doing, to all of us.  The 2016 retroactive legalization of UK surveillance of its citizens indicates the scope and the concern of existing governments that are engaged in self-preservation in difficult times…

On the other hand, there will be no slow painful recovery for Julian Assange.  He has been reduced to the mental capacity of a drug-addled rubberhead, and some of these effects will be found to be permanent.  Physically he is reported to be underweight (under 100 pounds) with food and water being used as bargaining chips in his continued interrogation.  Ironically, even the prisoners at Gitmo, as part of the tender care by the USG, were force-fed when they tried to starve themselves to death.  Julian’s government caretakers are using food and water to break him completely.

Is there any good news?  NPR’s Terri Gross presented an interesting historical perspective on CIA drug experimentation just last week.  Well worth a listen, as all change is but evolution.  Interestingly, as with the end of Sidney Gottlieb’s employment, if the sponsor of evil within a government is removed, sometimes their entire cadre is cleared out.  More often than not, illustrating Robert Higgs’ “ratcheting effect”, it is simply relocated elsewhere in the government, or even expanded among several agencies.

Modern day government power is fundamentally related to its “believability.”  This believability, this trustworthiness, is teetering everywhere – in part to the valiant work of honest people everywhere – and make no mistake, we are indeed everywhere.  The hopeless and evil persecution of Julian Assange signals just such a believability crisis.  When a building, or an institution, begins to crumble, there are many urgent jobs to do to save lives and ensure a happier future.  Find one of them and start doing it.

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Craig Murray – Historian, Former Ambassador, Human Rights Activist

Posted by M. C. on August 14, 2019

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

by

The highly dubious death of Jeffrey Epstein in a US maximum security prison is another strong reason not to extradite Julian Assange into one – particularly as many of the same people who are relieved by Epstein’s death would like to see Assange dead too.

But there is every reason to fear Assange is already in danger, in Belmarsh maximum security prison, where he is currently incarcerated. As the great journalist John Pilger tweeted six days ago:

Do not forget Julian #Assange. Or you will lose him.
I saw him in Belmarsh prison and his health has deteriorated. Treated worse than a murderer, he is isolated, medicated and denied the tools to fight the bogus charges of US extradition. I now fear for him. Do not forget him.

There is no official explanation as to why Julian’s health has continued to deteriorate so alarmingly in Belmarsh. Nobody genuinely believes him to be a violent danger, so there is absolutely no call for him to be imprisoned in the facility which houses the hardcore terrorist cases.

Assange is fighting major legal cases in the UK, Sweden and the United States, yet is permitted visitors for only two hours per fortnight, inclusive of time spent with his three sets of lawyers. All of his visitors have been alarmed by his state of physical health and many have been alarmed by his apparent disorientation and confusion.

It is because of Assange’s draconian one year sentence for “bail-jumping” on claiming political asylum that he can be kept in such harsh conditions and with so little access to his lawyers. That is why his sentence was so unprecedentedly stiff for missing police bail. Otherwise, as a remand prisoner awaiting extradition hearing his conditions would ordinarily be less harsh and his access to lawyers much better. The Establishment has conspired to reduce his ability to defend himself in court. I am not convinced it is not conspiring to destroy him.

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‘Grave Concerns’ – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on June 1, 2019

Assange is in the land of the worshiped NHS.

There should be no excuse for complete recovery. Unless he has contracted cancer or some such while in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Or unless death while in custody is the plan. That would be very convenient.

But would the torture be forgotten?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/06/no_author/grave-concerns/

RT News

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been moved to the hospital wing of the Belmarsh prison in the UK, prompting concerns about his health pending the hearing on his extradition to the US.

Assange’s health had already “significantly deteriorated” during the nearly seven years he spent inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and has continued to get worse over the seven weeks he has spent in Belmarsh, WikiLeaks said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The decision of prison authorities to move him to the health ward speaks for itself,” said WikiLeaks, adding that Assange has lost a lot of weight and was barely able to speak to his Swedish lawyer last week…

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Julian Assange Arrested: WikiLeaks Founder Arrested From ...

 

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