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Posts Tagged ‘Nils Melzer’

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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Doctors raise alarm over Britain’s treatment of ailing Julian Assange

Posted by M. C. on February 18, 2020

“Much of that torture will have taken place in a prison medical ward, on doctors’ watch,” they said.

“The medical profession cannot afford to stand silently by, on the wrong side of torture and the wrong side of history, while such a travesty unfolds.”

Dead-of-Night-006-1200x720

Who is the puppet?

 

https://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/nation/doctors-raise-alarm-over-britain-s-treatment-of-ailing-julian/article_480bb697-f9c1-5a4a-97df-e23219bdff16.html

LONDON — More than 100 medical professionals have accused Britain of denying proper health care to jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and continuing to allow treatment that a U.N. envoy said amounted to torture.

The doctors urged Britain to end the “psychological torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange … before it’s too late.”

“Should Assange die in a UK prison, as the U.N. special rapporteur on torture has warned, he will have effectively been tortured to death,” the Doctors for Assange group said in a letter to medical journal The Lancet.

“Much of that torture will have taken place in a prison medical ward, on doctors’ watch,” they said.

“The medical profession cannot afford to stand silently by, on the wrong side of torture and the wrong side of history, while such a travesty unfolds.”

Australian citizen Assange, 48, is due to face an extradition hearing in London next week, after the U.S. government accused him of conspiring with former U.S. military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak a trove of classified material in 2010.

The documents relate to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to information on intelligence sources.

In November, Nils Melzer, the U.N. rapporteur on torture, said the British government had shown “outright contempt for Mr. Assange’s rights and integrity” by ignoring the advice of Melzer and medical experts who visited Assange at a London prison.

Melzer said Assange, who had lived inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years before his arrest last year, displayed “all the symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture.”

Be seeing you

?u=http1.bp.blogspot.com-nFa9eqDU4AUT00lrXxX0WIAAAAAAAAFK8-qG2rCMzhgcs1600Psycho.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

I am from the government, mate, and am here to help.

 

 

 

 

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RAY McGOVERN: German TV Exposes the Lies That Entrapped Julian Assange – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on February 8, 2020

Opposition to extraditing Assange to the U.S. is becoming more widespread. Another straw in an Assange-favorable wind came last week when the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called for Assange’s immediate release, ending years of silence by such European institutions.

https://consortiumnews.com/2020/02/06/ray-mcgovern-german-tv-exposes-the-lies-that-entrapped-julian-assange/

By Ray McGovern

Special to Consortium News

Ray McGovernTruth has broken through for those confused about how a publisher ended up in a maximum security prison in London with a one-way extradition ticket to court in the U.S. and the rest of his life behind bars.

One of the main German TV channels (ZDF) ran two prime-time segments on Wednesday night exposing authorities in Sweden for having “made up” the story about Julian Assange being a rapist.

Until last night most Germans, as well as other consumers of “major media” in Europe, had no idea of the trickery that enmeshed Assange in a spider-web almost certainly designed by the U.S. and woven by accomplices in vassal states like Sweden, Britain and, eventually, Ecuador.

ZDF punctured that web by interviewing UN Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer. One ZDF “Heute Sendung” segment (in German) is especially telling from minute 13:00 to 15:30 . The second is ZDF “Heute Journal” (minute 25:49 to 30:19.)

Both ZDF programs show Melzer being interviewed, with minimal interruption or commentary, letting his findings speak for themselves about how allegations against Assange were “made up” and manipulated to hold him captive.

The particularly scurrilous allegation that led many, including initially Melzer, to believe Assange was a rapist — a tried and tested smear technique of covert action — was especially effective.  The Swedes never formally charged him with rape — or with any crime, for that matter.  ZDF exhibited some of the documents Melzer uncovered that show the sexual allegations were just as “invented” as the evidence for WMD before the attack on Iraq.

Melzer had previously admitted to having been so misled by media portrayals of Assange that he was initially reluctant to investigate Assange’s case.  Here is what Melzer wrote last year in an op-ed marking the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, June 26.

No major media would print or post it. Medium.com posted it under the title “Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange.”

Excerpts:

“But surely, I found myself pleading, Assange must be a selfish narcissist, skateboarding through the Ecuadorian Embassy and smearing feces on the walls? Well, all I heard from Embassy staff is that the inevitable inconveniences of his accommodation at their offices were handled with mutual respect and consideration.

This changed only after the election of President Moreno, when they were suddenly instructed to find smears against Assange and, when they didn’t, they were soon replaced. The President even took it upon himself to bless the world with his gossip, and to personally strip Assange of his asylum and citizenship without any due process of law.

In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed.” (Emphasis added.)

Melzer ended his op-ed with this somber warning:

“… This is not only about protecting Assange, but about preventing a precedent likely to seal the fate of Western democracy. For once telling the truth has become a crime, while the powerful enjoy impunity, it will be too late to correct the course. We will have surrendered our voice to censorship and our fate to unrestrained tyranny.” (Emphasis added.)

Melzer’s indefatigable efforts to expose what Assange has gone through, including “psychological torture,” met with some modest success in the days before the German ZDF aired their stories. Embedded in the linked article is by far the best interview of Melzer on Assange.

Opposition to extraditing Assange to the U.S. is becoming more widespread. Another straw in an Assange-favorable wind came last week when the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called for Assange’s immediate release, ending years of silence by such European institutions.

It remains, nonetheless, an uphill struggle to prompt the British to think back 800 years to the courage of the nobles who wrested the Magna Carta from King John.

Be seeing you

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Facing 17 New Charges That Could ...

 

 

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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?

Be seeing you

 

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Is Orwell’s Ministry Of Truth Alive? Why Don’t We Hear Much About Julian Assange?

Posted by M. C. on September 12, 2019

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/orwells-ministry-truth-alive-why-dont-we-hear-much-about-julian-assange

by Tyler Durden

Authored by Michelle Wood via Medium.com,

In Orwell’s dystopian fiction 1984, the government’s mission through the Ministry of Truth is to supply its people with news, entertainment, books, films, plays and songs, packed with the information it wants the people to know. It constructs lies to fit the narrative it wishes to establish and sets about rewriting historical documents so they match the constantly changing current party line.

From the time Wikileaks published Collateral Murder in 2010, exposing the slaying of Iraqi civilians at the hands of merciless US Apache soldiers, in what became the biggest news story of its time, the United States has wanted Julian Assange silenced and forgotten.

He has lived in a state of confinement since May 2010 when he was arrested and jailed in the United Kingdom, lived under house arrest for a further 18 months in England and then sought political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy from June 2012 .Yet many people think Assange was in a position where he could simply walk free.

Has there been a well crafted smear campaign to dehumanise Assange and coax the public into forgetting him? How else could he have been detained within two tiny rooms devoid of sunlight for more than six years without public commentary and concern? The apparent dismantling of Assange’s character and disinformation has been thorough. Most people do not know the specifics of his case, but “believe” he is an arrogant rapist and an ungrateful, badly behaved houseguest, smearing faeces on the embassy walls and being cruel to his cat. These disputed claims are now so well accepted it’s inconceivable that they could actually be lies.

The one surety about Assange was that he did publish secret State documents and videos. Embarrassing yes, but surely not indictable in a country that protects freedom of speech in its constitution. Never mind the fact that Assange is an Australian citizen, but far from protecting him against being tried for espionage in America, the Morrison government’s public statements have been limited to assurances that he is being treated like any other citizen with ongoing consular assistance.

It appears the news media is choosing not to report much of Assange’s ongoing plight. Strange, given he was once feted for his courage and innovation, winning the Sydney Peace Prize and one of Australian journalism’s coveted Walkley awards. The case against Assange concerns the criminalisation of journalism at a time when media organisations in his own country are under siege. Federal Police raided the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in June for reporting alleged warcrimes by Australian forces in Afghanistan. This followed search warrants being executed at the home of Murdoch media journalist Annika Smethhurst over a leaked plan to allow government spying on its citizens. The coverage included detailed reporting of detectives rifling through her underwear drawer.

Contrast this with the lack of reportage on some important aspects of the Assange case.

In May, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer visited Assange in Belmarsh Prison producing a damning report which was widely circulated, but surprisingly had little impact.

“It was obvious that Mr. Assange’s health has been seriously affected by the extremely hostile and arbitrary environment he has been exposed to for many years. Most importantly, 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.

Mr Melzer’s report included this extraordinary claim:

“In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law. The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!”

How could such a grave statement not have triggered further investigation and commentary other than by independent journalists? Melzer’s horrific diagnosis involves the life of a western journalist going to a western jail for doing his job.

UN Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer discussing Julian Assange

In July 2019 US Federal District Judge John Koeltl dismissed a DNC lawsuit against Wikileaks, emphasizing the “newsworthiness” of Wikileaks publishing activities describing them as “plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers.”

“If WikiLeaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC’s political financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them ‘secret’ and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet,” — Judge Koeltl

Even today an online search of reportage of this Federal court judgement appears to show an absence by Australia’s main media outlets such as the ABC, Nine news media and News Corporation. Would it influence the public perception of Julian Assange if more knew a US Judge considered his work to be worthy?

Recently multi-awarding winning journalist Mark Davis gave an eyewitness account refuting claims Assange was reckless and that he carelessly dumped documents endangering the lives of many. Instead he reported the Wikileaks founder took great care to redact and protect innocent people named in the trove of documents released as part of the Afghan war logs. Davis said he considered Assange acted with journalistic integrity…

This means the majority of people wont know how shocked veteran Australian journalist John Pilger was after seeing Assange in prison last month. They wont know his health is said to be deteriorating while confined to his single cell for almost 21 hours a day. Nor will they know that he gets just two social visits a month and is denied the opportunity to prepare with his US lawyers for his upcoming extradition trial.

John Pilger joined with musician Roger Waters to organise a rally this week in London to honour their friend, calling for the UK government to resist the US extradition request…

At a recent press freedom conference in England, Special Envoy for Media Freedom, Amal Clooney, spoke of the alarm felt by journalists around the world at the Assange US indictments which “criminalises common practices in journalism that have long served the public interest.” If this is true who are the concerned journalists and why aren’t we hearing from them?

Not only has the UK government silenced Assange in prison, but the last decade of his life appears to have been censored. Who is steering the narrative in a near vacuum of information and repeated disinformation? Is there are a modern day “Ministry of Truth” behind the ongoing media blackout of one of the most influential and controversial people of our times?

“Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they rebelled they cannot become conscious” — George Orwell

Be seeing you

Assange

 

 

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BBC, Sky News Have Hidden Their Interviews With UN Expert On The Torture Of Assange – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on June 3, 2019

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/06/02/bbc-sky-news-have-hidden-their-interviews-with-un-expert-on-the-torture-of-assange/

UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer has said that on the 31st of May he gave video interviews with both Sky News and the BBC on his findings that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is the victim of psychological torture. As of this writing, footage of those interviews is nowhere to be found.

In response to a smear by virulent empire propagandist Idrees Ahmad about his conducting an interview with RT, Melzer tweeted that he has given interviews to both Sky News and BBC World, but that they seem not to have been aired.

“So the UN rapporteur actually appeared on the Kremlin’s premier propaganda network—yes, the propaganda network of the state that shoots journalists in the face—to discuss Julian Assange’s ‘torture’,” tweeted Ahmad, pretending to be under the illusion that UN experts are meant to remain exclusively loyal to a specific group of nations.

“For the record: On 31 May, I have also given similar exclusive TV interviews to both Sky News and BBC World on Julian Assange, but it seems they decided not to broadcast them,” Melzer responded.

Indeed, there is as of this writing no video footage to be found anywhere of Melzer’s interviews with either of these outlets. If you search for online video footage of Nils Melzer conducting interviews on this subject, you’ll find videos from RT and Ruptly, you’ll find his excellent interview on Democracy Now which we discussed recently, but you won’t find videos from BBC World or Sky News, nor any record of any video interviews ever having been aired.

So appears that these interviews were never aired at all, or, if they were aired, have had any record of them hidden from easy online visibility. In any case, this is a big deal. The BBC published one print article that contains a few small excerpts from a discussion with Melzer, but in terms of impact and quantity of information this comes nowhere close to a televised interview and online video footage.

The idea that anyone from the UN should only be giving interviews to western media outlets is of course ridiculous, and it’s made even more ridiculous by the fact that Melzer has been wide open to speaking with any platform that’s willing to circulate his findings, including my own.

“I stand ready to respond to uncomfortable questions, but then media must also stand ready to publish uncomfortable truths,” Melzer told me via Twitter when asked about the missing footage. He said the interviews were conducted with BBC World and Sky News via Skype, and lasted about five minutes each.

We may be sure that “uncomfortable truths” were indeed what came out in Melzer’s interview. Watch any existing video interview that Melzer has done on this subject and you’ll see how much damning information he packs into each minute of footage. You may also get a pretty strong suspicion of why establishment narrative management firms like the BBC and Sky News may not have wanted to publicize that footage.

“UK’s BBC News and Sky News censored exclusive interviews with UN Torture expert Nils Melzer showing overwhelming evidence that Assange has been deliberately exposed to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” tweeted the Defend Assange campaign in response to Melzer’s post.

“So the BBC and Sky kept the UN’s expert on torture off air, and viewers were denied the chance to hear that, in his expert opinion, the UK state has subjected Julian Assange to torture. I’m struggling to understand how that decision could be justified by any normal news values,” said British journalist Jonathan Cook.

Pressure must be put on these outlets to explain why they didn’t air these exclusive interviews, and they must be forced to give a response. Yes, any response we might get will be mealy-mouthed, they’ll make some huffy noises about limited air time etcetera, but they need to know that people aren’t just watching what they are airing with skepticism, they’re watching what they’re ignoring. When it comes to propaganda, lies by omission are even more pernicious than outright lies because they are difficult to confront.

Don’t let them fool you, this story is big. In terms of newsworthiness, it meets all the criteria and then some. Nils Melzer is great “talent” as they say; he is well spoken and interesting, and he has hugely important things to say about a hugely important situation. There is no reason to bin these interviews other than backroom politics. Demand to know what went on behind closed doors.

Julian Assange has been tortured. His health has been declining dangerously. The US, UK, Sweden, Ecuador and Australia are responsible for this. They did this to him because he published inconvenient facts about the powerful. These are truths. They are uncomfortable truths, but they are truths we all must ingest, process, and respond to.

UPDATE: Melzer reports that Sky News may have aired his interview on television, though it remains hidden online.

________________________

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The UN Torture Report On Assange Is An Indictment Of Our Entire Society

Posted by M. C. on May 31, 2019

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/05/31/the-un-torture-report-on-assange-is-an-indictment-of-our-entire-society/

On the eighth of April, shortly before London police forcibly carried WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy, a doctor named Sondra S Crosby wrote a letter to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights requesting that the office look into Assange’s case. Today, following a scorching rebuke of multiple governments by UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer, mass media outlets around the world are reporting that Julian Assange has been found to be the victim of brutal psychological torture.

Melzer, who by his own admission began his investigation as someone who had “been affected by the same misguided smear campaign as everybody else” regarding Assange, speaks of Assange’s plight with the fresh-eyed ferocity of a man who has not been immersed in a soul-corroding career in establishment politics or mass media. A man has not been indoctrinated into accepting as normal the relentless, malicious character assassinations of the western political/media class against a publisher of inconvenient facts about the powerful. A man who, when looking deeply and objectively into the facts with uncorrupted vision, was able to see clearly just how unforgivably abusive Assange’s treatment has been.

“In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law,” Melzer said. “The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!”

Melzer condemned attempts to extradite Assange to the US under the Espionage Act, as well as what he called “a relentless and unrestrained campaign of public mobbing, intimidation and defamation against Mr. Assange, not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, Sweden and, more recently, Ecuador.”

“According to the expert, this included an endless stream of humiliating, debasing and threatening statements in the press and on social media, but also by senior political figures, and even by judicial magistrates involved in proceedings against Assange,” the OHCHR statement reads.

“In the course of the past nine years, Mr. Assange has been exposed to persistent, progressively severe abuse ranging from systematic judicial persecution and arbitrary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to his oppressive isolation, harassment and surveillance inside the embassy, and from deliberate collective ridicule, insults and humiliation, to open instigation of violence and even repeated calls for his assassination,” Melzer said.

“It was obvious that Mr. Assange’s health has been seriously affected by the extremely hostile and arbitrary environment he has been exposed to for many years,” said Melzer. “Most importantly, 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 evidence is overwhelming and clear,” Melzer said. “Mr. Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.”

“I condemn, in the strongest terms, the deliberate, concerted and sustained nature of the abuse inflicted on Mr. Assange and seriously deplore the consistent failure of all involved governments to take measures for the protection of his most fundamental human rights and dignity,” Melzer added.

It is hugely significant that a UN expert has included the massive anti-Assange smear campaign in his assessment of psychological abuse. For far too long this devastating psychological weapon of the powerful has gone fully normalized and unacknowledged for the damage and suffering it causes, and now an authoritative voice has pointed it out and called it into public consciousness for the depraved manipulation that it is. It’s a very interesting development to see western governments and their media stenographers condemned in this way for their participation in such savagery.

Responses to Melzer’s findings have been explosive. Virtually every major media outlet in the English-speaking world has been carrying headlines about this story, from the New York Times to the Washington Post to Fox News to CNN to the Guardian to the BBC to the Herald Sun. An attempt to regain control of the narrative by the accused governments, therefore, was of course quick to follow.

“This is wrong,” tweeted Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in response to the story. “Assange chose to hide in the embassy and was always free to leave and face justice. The UN Special Rapporteur should allow British courts to make their judgements without his interference or inflammatory accusations.”

Abusers always demand the right to conduct their abuse in private.

Hunt, who’d just returned from hanging out with the Trump administration’s warmongering psychopath John Bolton, received a direct response from Melzer himself.

“With all due respect, Sir: Mr Assange was about as ‘free to leave’ as a someone sitting on a rubber boat in a shark pool,” Melzer tweeted. “As detailed in my formal letter to you, so far, UK courts have not shown the impartiality and objectivity required by the rule of law.”

Australia, another of the governments accused of facilitating Assange’s torture, was also quick to issue an equally feeble response.

“We reject any suggestion by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture that the Australian Government is complicit in psychological torture or has shown a lack of consular support for Mr Assange,” reads a statement by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. “The Special Rapporteur has not been in contact with the Australian Government to raise these concerns directly. The Australian Government is a staunch defender of human rights and a strong advocate for humane treatment in the course of judicial processes. We are confident that Mr Assange is being treated appropriately in Belmarsh Prison.”

Assange has in fact grown so ill in Belmarsh Prison that he is reportedly unable to carry out a lucid conversation, and has been losing a drastic amount of weight. His failing health has been an established fact for a year and a half, with doctors warning at the beginning of last year that conditions in the Ecuadorian embassy are placing his physical wellbeing in serious danger, and has the entire time been pathetically ignored by the government of Assange’s home country.

Melzer’s report is an indictment of our entire society. It’s an indictment of the US-centralized western power alliance. It’s an indictment of the politicians, opaque government agencies and plutocrats who lead that alliance. It’s an indictment of the mass media who regurgitate whatever their government tells them to into the minds of a credulous populace. It’s an indictment of everyone who has ever helped spread the smear campaign against Assange, wherever they may have spread it; every remark, every social media comment, every share and retweet. The entire abusive construct has been outed as exactly what it is, from top to bottom.

So things have been severely shaken up. A massive smear campaign spanning all western nations across all political sectors has been pulled into the spotlight of public consciousness, mass media outlets who’ve devoted huge amounts of resources to assassinating Assange’s character have been forced to report a major revelation coming directly from the United Nations, Assange supporters can now officially say with full authority that his persecutors have literally tortured him, and establishment narrative managers are fighting on the back foot.

And right now all I can feel is gratitude. Gratitude toward Dr Crosby for writing to the UN after examining Assange, gratitude toward Nils Melzer for going to visit him in Belmarsh with an open mind and a compassionate heart, and, most importantly, gratitude toward Julian Assange. Gratitude to him for never giving up this fight.

I mean, think about it. Imagine if Assange had just gone to Sweden when he was told to? He would have surely been extradited to the United States years ago, wrongfully prosecuted in an Eastern District of Virginia court proceeding impossibly rigged against him, and by now the world would have all but forgotten him. He could have laid down, he could have given up, he could have died in that embassy in any number of ways. He had so many off-ramps he could have taken from the psychological torture that he has been subjected to since exposing US war crimes in 2010, but he chose to stand and fight instead. He decided that if they wanted his head, they were going to have to work for it.

Because of that decision, because Julian Assange decided to stand his ground and trade blows toe-to-toe with the most powerful empire in the history of human civilization, he forced them to expose themselves. He forced the oppression machine to reveal its true face, by coordinating across national borders to drag him bodily out of the embassy, locking him in a cage, waging a war upon the free press with outrageous espionage charges, and finally being found guilty of torturing a journalist for publishing factual documents about the powerful.

We have all that information now. It can’t be unseen. Because Assange chose to fight, we now have that evidence and we can use it to help wake people up to the true face behind the smiling mask of “liberal democracy” we’ve all been told to believe in since grade school. Even while imprisoned, sick, and barely even able to speak, Julian Assange is still exposing these bastards for what they are.

Don’t let his example go to waste.

________________________

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