178th Week, Julian Assange Sydney Town Hall Gatherings, 2023-04-21
More terrific impromptu speeches by members of the public in defense of Julian Assange, and a slice of Sydney.
More terrific impromptu speeches by members of the public in defense of Julian Assange, and a slice of Sydney.
The UK parliament is currently evaluating changes to the UK Official Secrets Act that would see jail for life for people who let others know of law-breaking in government and corporations (whistleblowers). Changes to the Act are aimed to prevent any public interest journalism. Journalist Mohamed Elmaazi reports on the draft legislation in fascinating and chilling detail in John Kiriakos' interview. Public interest would be erased as a defense.
In person and online event this Saturday 4th of March the Belmarsh Tribunal reconvenes for its fifth session in Sydney University Great Hall.
Every Friday at Sydney Town Hall, this group continues to stand up for Julian Assange. Stirring speeches about Australia's whistleblowers and Australia's involvement in war-crimes, Albanese's failure towards Assange, our crocodile tears for the prisoners of other regimes, but not for Julian Assange.
In this extraordinary interview, revealing more political abuse of the British legal system, Chris Hedges talks to Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, who was removed from his post after he made public the widespread use of torture by the Uzbek government and the CIA.
Murray has since become one of Britain’s most important human rights campaigners, a fierce advocate for Julian Assange and a supporter of Scottish independence. His coverage of the trial of former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, who was acquitted of sexual assault charges, saw him charged with contempt of court and sentenced to eight months in prison. The very dubious sentence, which upends most legal norms, was delivered, his supporters argue, to prevent him from testifying as a witness in the Spanish criminal case against UC Global Director David Morales. The company founder is being prosecuted for allegedly installing a surveillance system in the Ecuadorean Embassy when Julian Assange found refuge, that was used to record the privileged communications between Assange and his lawyers. Morales is alleged to have carried out this surveillance for the CIA.
The original title of this interview of Craig Murray by Chris Hedges on 27 June 2021 was, "On Contact: Judicial lynching." The original URL is https://www.rt.com/shows/on-contact/527602-craig-murray-judicial-lynching/ Below we have reproduced the videoed interview and the transcript.
YouTube channel: On Contact
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Chris Hedges: Welcome to On Contact. Today, we discuss the judicial lynching of the human rights, activist Craig Murray.
Craig Murray: When I became a whistleblower, they were very keen to put me in prison but that--they couldn’t find a way of doing it without the obstacle of a jury. I think they finally--the state--the establishment has finally found a way to imprison me without a jury. There’s also the fact that what this is about is that there’s a split in the independence group. And the reason, they were trying to frame Alex Salmond and I should be totally blamed. I have no doubt whatsoever that this was an attempt to fit up Alex Salmond on false charges orchestrated by those currently in charge of his own party, particularly orchestrated by the current First Minister of Scotland. And that this attempt to frame him was foiled by the jury. The jury saw through it. And the reason for this, the split in the Scottish National Movement was behind this is that Alex Salmond and I and others believe that the movement has been hijacked by people who have no intention of actually obtaining Scottish independence.
CH: Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan was removed from his post after he made public the widespread use of torture by the Uzbek government and the CIA. He has since become one of Britain’s most important human rights campaigners, a fierce advocate for Julian Assange, and a supporter of Scottish independence. His coverage of the trial of former Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, who was acquitted of sexual assault charges, saw him charged with contempt of court and sentenced to eight months in prison. The very dubious sentence, which upends most legal norms, was delivered, his supporters argue, to prevent him from testifying as a witness in the Spanish criminal case against UC Global Director David Morales who is being prosecuted for allegedly installing a surveillance system in the Ecuadorian Embassy when Julian Assange found refuge there, that was used to record the privileged communications between Assange and his lawyers. Morales is alleged to have carried out this surveillance on behalf of the CIA. Joining me to discuss his case is Craig Murray. So Craig, before we talk about the rather complicated judicial procedures that have been leveled against you--charges that have been leveled against you, let’s talk about UC Global and Julian Assange. You, I think, did probably the best coverage of the trial and have written, you know, very presciently and eloquently about Julian’s case.
CM: Thank you. Yes. UC Global was spying, specifically, on Julian’s defense counsel, and on meetings Julian had in which he was discussing his defense, and the evidence is--and the evidence that’s been given in court is, by former employees of UC Global who have turned whistleblower, that that was at the behest of the CIA. And of course, this is quite extraordinary. The idea that the government which was trying to extradite Julian Assange, was spying on his legally privileged conversations with his counsel to defend that extradition. In any normal course, anywhere, in any Western so-called democracy, that would be enough to have the case dismissed in itself. That hasn’t been the view taken by the London courts. The counsel for the US government claimed that due to Chinese walls, the CIA have never given the Justice Department any of the material which the CIA had obtained on the defense counsel. In which case, why were the CIA specifically instructing UC Global to spy on the defense counsel if they weren’t going to use the material? What other use could the CIA be putting that material to, you know? It’s plainly nonsense. You don’t--you don’t tell a company to spy specifically on somebody’s lawyers if you’re not going to use it in the legal case. So this whole thing is a [INDISTINCT] of lies and evasion, and it all goes back to the--to the CIA and the state department.
CH: So we should be clear that a lot of the stuff is leaked, El Pais, and other newspapers. So we have videos that they took inside. You know, the leaks, this isn’t conjecture. Can you--a lot of this evidence has become public. Can you lay out, you know, what we’ve been able to see, especially in the Spanish press?
CM: Yeah, certainly. The Spanish press has, you know, put out in some detail that the employees have testified that they were ordered specifically to spy on the defense counsel. The video material itself has been leaked to the media. You can find it online, including video material of my own conversations with Julian, because it wasn’t only his legal counsel who were spied upon. And as well as that, you know, it’s been leaked that there were discussions of potentially poisoning and killing Julian Assange. There were discussions on kidnapping him, there were discussions on obtaining material like nappies of his babies, so their DNA could be mapped and the parenthood checked. The--and also, not discussions, what actually happened was not just videoing his lawyers, but following his lawyers away from the embassy, tracking them to their homes, surveilling them more generally. And in fact, there have been burglaries at offices of some of his lawyers, which, so far, evidence hasn’t directly linked to UC Global, but we--it seems almost certainly was.
CH: And for those of us who visited, I visited Julian a couple of times, we had to turn over all of our electronics to the UC Global security system, and we now know, from these leaks, that our information was copied, is that true?
CM: That’s absolutely right. In fact, you know, both you and I are, I think, in a situation where, you know, all the information, as well telephones has been--has been taken and given to the CIA by UC Global.
CH: So let’s talk a little bit about--and this isn’t the first time you’ve run into a confrontation with the CIA as ambassador to Uzbekistan. You exposed the widespread use of torture on detainees held at the behest of the CIA by the Uzbek government. And so you, you know, for many years, have I think been a--safe to say, a target. I know we can talk about what’s happening at this moment, but before we got to this moment, where you’ve been charged with contempt of court and we can talk about, you know, how they’ve kind of twisted legal normalities to get to that verdict, what--since you left the diplomatic service, and then especially during your long campaign, you’re quite close to Julian, have you seen other attempts to essentially criminalize you in any way?
CM: Well, very much so. And it should be said, of course, that the CIA was actively shipping people to Uzbekistan from other countries, in order for them to be tortured, that they were sending people there to be tortured, taking them on the CIA-controlled rendition flights, and one of the things that happened was Tashkent being a small place, I used to actually meet and talk with the people who physically did the renditions with the pilots who flew them in. So, you know, there’s no doubt at all that was happening, and I was able to provide with my testimony as to it happening. At that time, I was threatened repeatedly with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act which carries very long jail terms, and in many ways, it’s the equivalent of the Espionage Act which Julian is now--is now charged. Those didn’t--that didn’t happen in the end, and these that didn’t happen. It was under the Official Secrets Act. In those days, you got a jury trial, and the jury would have had to decide whether to send me to jail or not. And we have hesitance and particularly the late and great whistleblower Clive Ponting who blew the whistle on British publications that deliberately inflamed and led to full warfare in the Malvinas, or Falkland Islands, with the sinking of General Belgrano. He leaked information that the Belgrano was in fact steaming away from the islands at the time we sank it, killing many hundreds of people. He undoubtedly leaked that information and should have been jailed under the Official Secrets Act legally, strictly, but the jury refused to convict him because the jury felt he had done the right thing. And in my case, the government felt that they tried to convict me under the Official Secrets Act. It was extremely likely the jury would refuse to convict even though I was, you know, openly admitting to having leaked the material and to doing my best to whistle-blow on them and stop CIA torture. So that was a difficult period, when I was expecting potentially to be jailed for a long time. I’ve face numerous legal threats, and so like many whistleblowers, I’ve had evidence, and first-hand evidence of government interference every time I tried to get a job [INDISTINCT] with the government going and talking to potential employers and telling them not to employ me. I’ve had a great deal of surveillance and intimidatory surveillance, and those kinds of things. So it’s a climate, that in many ways, I got used to it, and which, to be honest, serious national security whistleblowers have to get used to it, it’s what is going to happen to you if you become a national security whistleblower.
CH: You have stood up for other people who are being persecuted. I mean, you’ve really become quite an important voice within the UK. And you sat in on this trial with Salmond. And just--we have a minute and a half before we have a break, but just lay out what he was being charged with, which you found to be--or you always believe was untrue.
CM: Basically, there were accusations from nine women of sexual assaults, which went at one end of the spectrum from the actual attempted rape, possible attempted rape, to the other end of the spectrum, putting a knee on somebody--a hand on somebody’s knee in a--in a car. But the circumstances of each of the accusations was staged in ways I can’t really detail here. And the--and the women all knew each other, and were all very closely connected to each other, and were--and the majority of them were extremely close allies of the current First Minister of Scotland. And they’re stories were--just didn’t work, they just didn’t match, and ultimately, he was acquitted by the jury. So that’s what made me suspicious of the entire thing when I first heard of it. There were aspects to their stories which just didn’t square with known facts, and that led me to start my investigation.
CH: Great. When we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Craig Murray. Welcome back to On Contact. We continue our conversation with Craig Murray about his trial, conviction, and appeal. So you sat in on a courtroom. It was a very brief trial, wasn’t it? And I read through twice the--what they’ve charged you with. It’s really quite obscure and not very clear. They essentially blame you for identifying those witnesses but you never named them. Just, you know, explain, you know, how they’ve essentially twisted the legal framework to go after you.
CM: Yeah. No, this is--this is quite extraordinary. I’ve been found in contempt by Jigsaw Identification. And that means not that I named anyone and not that I personally identified anyone but that I gave clues in what I vote, which put together with other information that could be found elsewhere in the public domain might enable or make it lightly in legal terms that somebody could identify someone. There was no evidence at all presented to court anybody had been identified as a result of anything I published. But the idea was that somebody could be identified. And if I can give one example, if a piece of information I’d written in reporting the defense case were added together with another piece of information which six years previously and unbeknown to me had been published on page six of the regional newspaper. And that were added together to a piece of information in a book which I had never read and heard anyone else had ever read either. If you put those three together, that would give you sufficient clues to work out who somebody was, what was--was the argument. Some of them were more direct than that, I mean, some of them saying if you put together what I said with the BBC report, then those two might give you enough clues to work out who somebody was. It’s an extraordinary thing because, of course, it makes it almost impossible for any reporter to know what somebody else knows or know what the BBC are going to report or to say anything at all about the events that happened and who was involved, without the chance that you’re giving a little bit of extra information that may enable somebody to reveal an identity. And it’s extremely--it’s called Jigsaw Identification. That’s what courts formally call it. It’s not called batting statutes. This is a construct the courts have been--have come up with in their history of finding ways to enforce contempt laws. And of course it’s not total--it’s not totally daft. The idea is is that if somebody is a protected witness, you shouldn’t be able to say that they live in such and such streets. They work in such and such profession. They drive a red car. They were born in this town. And then say, “Oh, I didn’t publish for them therefore I’m not guilty.” I mean, you can understand why there is a law that prevents you getting at an identity by publishing clues. It’s not unreasonable to have such a law. It’s just that in this case, they’ve used it at an extreme stretch to say that little bits of information I gave out and gave out solely in the context of reporting the case of the defense could, added together with other things from a wide variety of places, help be a clue that help find an identity.
CH: This sentence of, you know, this prison sentence, what’s the legal basis for it? It, you know, of course there’s no legal basis now to hold Julian in Belmarsh. One hopes this isn’t endemic throughout the UK judicial system but how do they justify the sense? And I think one of the things that struck me when I read through this is that they also said that it didn’t matter what intent was, that even if you had no intent to expose the identities of these women, you still would be found guilty.
CM: Yeah, it’s what they call in the UK and possibly they use the same terminology in the US. It’s what they call an offense of strict liability, that if you do it, even if you do it by accident, you are just as guilty. And possession of narcotics is perhaps an example of the best known offense of strict liability, saying I didn’t know I had them isn’t an excuse. You have them, you have them and you’re going to jail. That was quite extraordinary because, I mean, one thing I will say, I want to make absolutely plain, I have no intent whatsoever to reveal these identities and I do not believe I did reveal them. And I most certainly did not intend to reveal them. The judgment does says there’s no--there’s no requirement for intent in the legislation. Intent doesn’t have to be--has to be pilgrim. They did gratuitously asked--they did gratuitously add that they believed I did have intent despite there having been no evidence whatsoever given of intent. And the hearing only lasted an hour and a half. And it had no evidence for anybody had identified anybody. And no evidence of intent but then the verdict said that I had been deliberately trying to put out names or deliberately trying to identify people. And the prison sentence was because this would cause, you know, potentially serious harm to protect the witnesses or prevent other protected witnesses from coming forward based on no evidential basis whatsoever. Very, very peculiar judgment. And I should say my defense team can’t find any evidence of anyone publishing, anyone from the media, old media or new media, having been jailed for contempt for over 40 years in the UK. People just don’t get jailed for contempt of court. And there are rulings of the European Court of Human Rights to which, you know, just gotten the subject which state unequivocally that normally you shouldn’t be jailing journalists. If a journalist does do something wrong, they or their media organization should be fined. And, but it--you know, to actually jail journalists for writing things is a very serious intrusion upon freedom of speech.
CH: Okay. Let’s just from the broad picture why are they doing this and what do they hope to accomplish?
CM: I think it’s several things coming together. And, of course, there was no jury in my trial. And I sent you the note , when I became a whistleblower, they were very keen to put me in prison but that--they couldn’t find a way of doing it without the obstacle of a jury. I think they finally--the state--the establishment has finally found a way to imprison me without a jury. There’s also the fact that what this is about is that there’s a split in the independence group. And the reason, they were trying to frame Alex Salmond and I should be totally blamed. I have no doubt whatsoever that this was an attempt to fit up Alex Salmond on false charges orchestrated by those currently in charge of his--in party, particularly orchestrated by the current First Minister of Scotland. And that this attempt to frame him was foiled by the jury. The jury saw through it. And the reason for this, the split in the Scottish National Movement was behind this is that Alex Salmond and I and others believe that the movement has been hijacked by people who have no intention of actually obtaining Scottish independence. And what this is about is putting a lid on people like me who support Scottish independence actively and really want Scottish independence shortly. And I should say there are four or five other--the speech prosecutions. Prosecutions for what I would call court crime currently active in Scotland. I’m not the--I’m not the only one. And all of them against independence supporters. In fact, there are five prosecutions and four of them are of people I know, which shows you that it’s a close group being picked upon all for just saying things. So I think the motives are essentially critical.
CH: I think also--I mean, wouldn’t you agree you’ve already become a lightning rod because you are one of the most prominent and vocal defenders of Julian Assange;.
CM: Well, I think that certainly lays behind a lot of it. I mean, my relationship to Julian and my relation to WikiLeaks and my having a platform which is widely read internationally which could expose the shenanigans of the--of the court hearings against Julian. I think that certainly increased the market labor costs, willingness--the state’s willingness to try to shut me up and imprison me, yes. There’s no doubt that’s in play here.
CH: And just to close last 50 seconds, you are--you and your lawyers are appealing this decision, is that where we are?
CM: Yes, we filed our appeal to the Supreme Court today. I have a stay of imprisonment until the 6th of July in order to enable me to appeal to the Supreme Court and that’s what we’re now--we’re now doing.
CH: And if the Supreme Court decides not to hear your appeal, what happens?
CM: At that stage, I’ll go to prison. Though strongly, I will be appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.
CH: Great. Thank you very much. That was Craig Murray on his trial, conviction, and his struggle for appeal over his coverage of the trial of former Scottish Minister Alex Salmond.
This video is from the 26 February episode of Afshin Rattansi's show, Going Underground. On this episode of Going Underground, Afshin Rattansi speaks to CIA Whistle-blower Jeffrey Sterling, who was convicted for revealing details about Operation Merlin. He discusses the extradition trial and persecution Julian Assange is facing, his own experience of being prosecuted for whistleblowing on circumstantial evidence, whether the Wikileaks founder will face a fair trial in Virginia, his experiences of racism with the CIA, his advice for other potential whistle-blowers and more!
Kenneth Eade is a legal thriller writer who chooses difficult and original subjects, of the kind that preoccupy candobetter.net readers and authors. This article foreruns the imminent publication of The Spy Files and is based on Kenneth's research for that novel. See also "Book Review: Kenneth Eade's Thriller faction series highlights GMO industrial politics in US and Ukraine conflict". Candobetter.net Editor.
Privacy today faces threats from an ever-growing surveillance apparatus that is justified in the name of national security or the war on terror. Agencies of the federal government, such as the FBI and the NSA intrude on the communications and activities of private citizens on a regular basis, using data they mine from our private resources to establish watch lists, based on what they perceive to be “suspicious behavior.”
These watch lists have, among other things, prevented people from entering the country, prevented them from flying on airplanes, barred them from certain jobs, and shut them out of financial accounts.
The founders of our [United States] government designed it to be transparent, so that the governing people could know what the governors were doing. One of the most important methods of making the government transparent, in their minds, was a free press.
The Freedom of Information Act, which was signed into law on July 4, 1966, is a tool which is available to anyone, but it is frequently used by reporters in order to obtain information from the government.
In 2012, Reporter Jason Leopold was working on a story about Hesham Abu Zubaidah, the brother of Guantanamo detainee and accused terrorist, Abu Zubaidah. Hesham signed a consent to allow Leopold to request documents on him under the Freedom of Information Act and was visited by an FBI agent. (Truthout.org article May 29, 2012 by Jason Leopold, “So Then the FBI Sent Out an Agent to Check Up on My FOIA Request”).
In 2006, the FBI claimed that it had inadvertently sent classified and privileged documents to the Washington Post, and requested the Post to return them. It claimed that any further “review, disclosure, retention, and/or dissemination of the classified document or the classified information contained in the classified document may be a federal crime.” The Post agreed to and did return the document, but only because it did not directly relate to the story it was working on (Editor & Publisher, March 3, 2006, “Post Did Not Feel it Had to Return Classified Document.”)
While there is currently no precedent of such a successful prosecution, The government has also been known to reclassify documents that it previously produced. This retroactive classification prevents public discourse of the information contained in the documents, even by congressional subcommittees and even when Congress is actually investigating alleged abuses by the FBI (Abel, “Do You Have to Keep the Government’s Secrets?” University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 163, 1038.)
This article reports that, in the National Archives Scandal, the CIA claimed that classified documents that were inadvertently disclosed gives the government the right to treat them as classified (without being reclassified.) While there is no law against publishing classified documents, The Espionage Act prevents the disclosure of information relating to national defense.
The article also notes that, while no journalists have ever been prosecuted for publishing classified information, two members of the public have been prosecuted for disseminating information given to them by a government source. I agree with the author of the article, who states, “A generation ago, one could be confident that the press would not be prosecuted. Now, such a prosecution is cause for concern, even for those who think the First Amendment would ultimately prevail.”
According to an article in the Fall 2013 issue of National Affairs, while the Bush administration merely threatened prosecution of journalists for espionage, the Obama administration has actually engaged in seven such prosecutions. The article further reports that, while, by law, most government secrets are required to be declassified after 25 years, as of 2013 there were over 58 million pages of documents that had not yet been reviewed for declassification.
The danger in the government using the Espionage Act and other tools to prosecute reporters, attorneys, and others is that its misuse is stifling freedom of the press and freedom of expression, and is making government opaque, instead of transparent as it is supposed to be. The federal government has so much power with regard to federal prosecutions that it is virtually impossible for an ordinary citizen to defend him or herself if they decide to charge or indict you.
As Judge Jed S. Rakoff observed in his article, Why Innocent People Plead Guilty, The New York Review of Books, November 20, 2014, fewer than 3% of all federal criminal cases go to trial. Because of sentencing guidelines, high bail, and the high cost of a defense, an accused often finds himself in jail, unable to defend himself, and succumbs to a federal prosecutor in a plea bargain agreement. In a federal criminal case, the prosecutor has all the advantages.
As is observed in my latest novel, The Spy Files, in the words of James Madison, ‘Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom, and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech, which is the right of every man.’ If the government is allowed to spy on the people, that means that the people have no privacy in their thoughts or speech, which means that the government has taken away their liberty. This is the same government that has sacrificed hundreds of thousands of lives in the name of liberty, and not just the lives of American servicemen. Patrick Henry said ‘give me liberty or give me death.’ I think his famous quote makes it crystal clear that the Constitutional framework of this country values liberty as an essential element of life, worth dying for. If something is worth such a sacrifice, how can the loss of it be justified for the argument that it will make us safer to give up our liberty and our civil rights? Are we to tell the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers of all the soldiers lost in foreign wars that it was all a big lie? That they died for nothing?
Kenneth Eade is an environmental and political activist, and author, who has been called by critics ‘one of the strongest thriller writers on the scene.’ For more information on his political and legal thrillers, including the latest, ‘The Spy Files’ go to http://kennetheade.com
Updates (18/8/15) : 1. "Julian Assange and the Value of WikiLeaks: Subverting Illusions" (17/8/15) | Global Research republished from Roots Action, 2. Manning barred from legal library before solitary confinement hearing (17/8/15) | RT.
This article has been adapted from the original article which was published on RT on 10 Aug 2015. The fate awaiting Julian Assange should he be extradited to the United States is indicated by the treatment of fellow whistleblower Chelsea Manning at the hands of the United States Government. See Chelsea Manning faces indefinite solitary confinement, lawyer says (13/8/15) | RT.
Australian citizen Julian Assange is believed to have been 'victimized' by Swedish prosecutors following revelations that they interviewed 44 people in the UK, but refused to interview the WikiLeaks head in the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he has been for over three years.
A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Hazel Press news organization has revealed that Sweden has granted 44 requests to interview witnesses or suspects in the UK since 2010, the Press Association reports. This has led supporters of the WikiLeaks founder to claim that Assange has been "singled out," as he has also agreed to be interviewed by Swedish prosecutors inside the embassy concerning sex allegations in the Scandinavian country.
A member of Assange's legal team, Jen Robinson, says that a number of important questions have been raised, adding that "Julian hasn't been charged, yet he is being punished."
"First, they refused to take his testimony while he remained in Sweden. Then they refused to hear it in the UK, saying it was illegal to come here. Five years later, after being rebuked by their own courts, they say they'll consider it," she told the Press Association.
"Instead of hearing what he had to say, the prosecutor chose to cast a shadow of suspicion over Julian by seeking his extradition. We offered his testimony from London before the arrest warrant was issued, and have continued to offer it since."
In March, the Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, agreed to question Assange on Ecuadorian embassy soil, as the sexual assault allegations reach the statute of limitations in August.
However, the meeting planned for June 17 was called off at the last minute, as Ny said Sweden had not received official permission from Ecuador to enter its London embassy. Assange scorned Ny's decision, saying it was nothing more than "a public relations exercise."
Meanwhile, UK human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell#fn1" id="txt1"> 1 said that by agreeing to interview 44 people in the UK, but not Assange, Sweden was "guilty of double standards and victimization," adding they are "making an exception of him."
"It is wrong to deny Assange the option to be interviewed in the UK, which has been extended to others and which he has been offering for five years," the Press Association cited him as saying.
"The Swedish authorities are not applying the law about overseas interviews consistently and fairly. They are acting in an exceptional and discriminatory way towards Assange. Julian Assange has been in various forms of detention for five years, without ever having been charged with any offence. This amounts to pre-trial punishment and is a gross abuse of his human rights and the legal system."
If Assange steps out of the Ecuador Embassy, he will be arrested and extradited to Sweden. Police officers are keeping a round the clock watch on the Australian's refuge, which has already cost the British tax payer more than £12 million ($18.6 million).
"Will the Cameron government spend another £12 million to detain a person who hasn't been charged, simply because Sweden refuses to make use of the mechanisms available to resolve Julian's case?" Robinson asked.
The 43 year-old sought asylum in the embassy because he fears that his extradition to Sweden on suspicion of rape and sexual assault will lead to his transfer to the US, where he could face trial over WikiLeaks' publication of classified US documents.
Assange denies Sweden's accusations, calling them politically motivated. He claims that the ultimate goal of this legal process is to transfer him to the United States.
#fn1" id="fn1">1. #txt1">↑ See Sweden's double standards on Julian Assange (10/8/15) | Peter Tatchell Foundation.
Whilst much of the content on Peter Tatchell's web-site, including his defence of Julian Assange, is laudable, other content on his site, unfortunately repeats the lying narrative of the mainstream media. Examples can be found in Iran nuclear deal: Why aren't we talking about Iranian human rights abuses? (23/7/15):
The country's rulers have ambitions to be a regional and, eventually global, power. Having nuclear weapons would give them leverage and a place at the top table in international affairs. Tehran calculates that the world would have to take them seriously, and would not be able to pressure them, if they had the bomb.
Iran's desire for expanded geo-political influence in the Middle East echoes the existing US and Saudi Arabian influence in the region. The ayatollahs are already projecting their power beyond their own borders; supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and Assad in Syria.
Whatever may be the truth behind Peter Tatchell's claims that Iran persecutes gays in the above article and elsewhere, the scale of the alleged persecution seems trivial compared to mass killings in neighbouring Iraq since 1990 and Syria since 2011 at the hands of United States military and its proxy terrorists. See Former US Attorney General: US (& Australian) sanctions against Iraq are genocidal (Jan 2014).
I could find nothing about any of this on Peter Tatchell's web-site.
Glenn Greenwald has only released 1% of the Snowden documents and those were approved and released after over 100 meetings with US and British intelligence. Some documents are being held back to be released with Greenwald's book. And Greenwald's possession of the documents were the basis of his new $250 million media venture with PayPal's Pierre Omidyar raising ethical questions of checkbook journalism. But even more troubling is the close relationship between the NSA and Omidyar's PayPal.
Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds of BoilingFrogsPost.com has been publicly asking questions of Greenwald and Snowden to determine the ethics and purpose of the Snowden leaks.
by Jamison Maeda. First published on Clare Daly's web site (http://claredaly.ie) on 7 Sep 2013. (Emphasis not in Original.)
Bradley Manning was a 25 year old intelligence analyst in the US Army, who was arrested in 2010 for leaking hundreds of thousands of confidential, government and military documents to the public via Wikileaks. Manning claimed his objective was to remove "the fog of war and reveal the true nature of 21st century asymmetric warfare." Manning accomplished much more.
Manning was believed to be responsible for the Wikileaks release of 38 minutes of cockpit gun sight footage of an American airstrike in Baghdad in 2007. The video shows a United States Army AH 64 Apache helicopter killing a group of men including a Reuters journalist and photographer, and a civilian man who stopped to assist the wounded. That man's two children were also wounded in the attack. (Preventing those who attempt to assist wounded in battle is a violation of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and considered a war crime.)
Also, Manning was believed to have provided Wikileaks with video of the Granai Airstrike of a B-1 Bomber in 2009, also known as the Granai massacre. Between 86 and 147 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed during the strike in the Farah province of Afghanistan. (Deliberately directing an attack on a civilian population or on individual civilians not taking part in direct hostilities is considered a war crime.)
Nearly 780 formerly secret documents known as the Guantanamo Bay File Leak, also attributed to Manning, revealed the detention of over 150 innocent Afghani and Pakistani farmers, drivers, cooks, and a 14 year old boy held for several years without being charged of a crime. There was also evidence of sexual abuse and torture. The UK Court of Appeal ruled former prisoner, Binyam Mohamed, a citizen of the United Kingdom, was the victim of "cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment by the United States authorities" and awarded him compensation in the amount of £1 million.
Documents known as the War Logs also allegedly provided to Wikileaks by Manning showed much larger civilian casualties than previously reported by the United States. The reports from the Iraq War Log recorded the deaths of 66,000 civilians. The Afghan War Log reported the deaths of over 91,000 civilians.
In addition to the videos, the Guantanamo Bay Files and the War Logs, 251,287 diplomatic cables were leaked, exposing US spying on the United Nations as well as allied nations from 1966-2010. It was also revealed that the US State Department backed giant corporations like Nike and Nautica who blocked a proposed increase in the Haitian minimum wage in 2009, a country long ravaged by poverty and famine.
But arguably the most horrifying of the crimes leaked by Manning was the alleged involvement of US contractor DynCorp in child trafficking and providing children as entertainment for a sex party for Afghan security recruits. In multiple reports, boys between the ages of 8-15 were forced to dance for men and afterward were purchased for sex. The Guardian reported that two Afghan policemen and nine others were arrested for "purchasing services from a child." Dyncorp faced similar allegations in 1999 in Bosnia when whistle blower, Kathryn Bolkovac, a UN Police Monitor accused Dyncorp employees in Bosnia of selling and having sex with minors. She was fired by DynCorp but filed an unfair dismissal case in Great Britain and won.
Manning was convicted on July 30, 2013 of 17 charges including espionage and theft, but acquitted of aiding the enemy. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
On August 22, 2013, Manning released a statement saying that she is a transgender person and considers herself to be a woman. She requests that she be referred to as Chelsea Manning going forward.
Within minutes American mainstream media, in an obvious attempt at sensationalism and ratings grabbing began asking people on the street if they thought taxpayers should have to pay for Chelsea's hormone therapy. Not a single person was asked their opinion on tax payer funded torture, the detention and massacre of innocent civilians, or the sex trafficking of children. Instead, the mainstream media chose to focus on the personal life of Chelsea Manning, who as one of the over 700,000 transgender Americans now finds herself in possibly the most vulnerable group in America, second only to whistle-blowers it seems.
It is incorrigible for politicians and so-called journalists to distract the world with Chelsea Manning's personal situation when Americans urgently need to address the issues Chelsea brought to light, and to consider the fate of the whistle-blowers whose sacrifices do not endanger, but ensure our freedom. She gave up her freedom to expose horrible atrocities upon human beings that demand investigation. And for that, she is a hero.
Sibel Edmonds worked for years prior to 9/11 interrogating terrorist suspects in Farsi, Turkish and other Middle-Eastern languages on behalf of the FBI. She learned of the terrorist attacks planned for September 11 2001, but her warnings were ignored by her superiors, with tragic results for 3,000 US residents and even more tragic results for Afghanis, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Libyans, Yemenis, Somalis and Syrians, many hundreds of thousands who have since been killed in wars for which 9/11 was used as both a direct and indirect pretext. After years of waiting for clearance to publish her book from the FBI, she has gone ahead and published as Sibel Edmonds explains in this interview on Russia Today.Sibel Edmonds worked for years prior to 9/11 interrogating terrorist suspects in Farsi, Turkish and other Middle-Eastern languages on behalf of the FBI. She learned of the terrorist attacks planned for September 11 2001, but her warnings were ignored by her superiors, with tragic results for 3,000 US residents and even more tragic results for Afghanis, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Libyans, Yemenis, Somalis and Syrians, many hundreds of thousands who have since been killed in wars for which 9/11 was used as both a direct and indirect pretext. After years of waiting for clearance to publish her book from the FBI, she has gone ahead and published as Sibel Edmonds explains in this interview on Russia Today.
What I find so remarkable is Sibel’s persistence in trying every avenue and possible outlet in trying to get the truth out. When going up the chain of command in the executive branch and Inspector General internal mechanisms for investigating fraud, waste, and abuse went nowhere, she sought judicial remedy by filing lawsuits only to be improperly gagged by “state secrecy privilege”. Along the way she also sought congressional assistance, testified to the 9-11 Commission, and engaged with various media and other non-governmental organizations. It’s somewhat ironic that Sibel herself demonstrated such enormous energy and passion throughout this decade quite the opposite of the “boiling frog” idiom she uses for her website as a warning to others. If her book can inspire readers to summon even 1/100th of the determination and resolve she has modeled, there’s hope for us!
-- Coleen Rowley
Retired FBI Agent & Time Magazine Person of the Year, 2002
I've read a million reviews of nonfiction books about our government that referred to them as "page-turners" and "gripping dramas," but I had never read a book that actually fit that description until now... Yet, thus far, no branch of our government has lifted its little finger to fix the problem of secrecy and the corruption it breeds, which Edmonds argues has grown far worse under President Obama. That's why this book should be spread far and wide, and read aloud to our misrepresentatives in Congress if necessary. This book is a masterpiece that reveals both the details and the broader pattern of corruption and unaccountability in Washington, D.C. Edmonds has not exposed bad apples, but a rotten barrel of toxic waste that will sooner or later infect us all.
-- David Swanson
Author & Activist, WarisaCrime.Org