Tuesday 7th of April 2020


assange torture

A UN expert says Australian Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is displaying symptoms of torture while imprisoned in Britain.

UN rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer said Saturday morning (Australian time) that Britain has taken no action since he and medical experts visited Assange at a London prison in May.

They found Assange displaying “all the symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture”.

“However, what we have seen from the UK government is outright contempt for Mr Assange’s rights and integrity,” Mr Melzer said in a statement.

“Despite the medical urgency of my appeal, and the seriousness of the alleged violations, the UK has not undertaken any measures of investigation, prevention and redress required under international law.”

Assange appeared in court on Monday for a procedural hearing over a US extradition request.

The 48-year-old struggled to recall his name and age in court where a London judge refused a bid to delay his February extradition hearing.

Mr Melzer urged Britain to block the extradition and release Assange.

“Unless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, Mr Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life,” Mr Melzer, said.

The US government accused Assange of conspiring with former US military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak a trove of classified material in 2010.


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extradition process is a sadistic charade...

Julian Assange’s Extradition Process Is ‘A Charade’

Filmmaker John Pilger attended Julian Assange's last court hearing and observed not only that Assange is visibly suffering from prison mistreatment, but his defense is not being given a fair chance to make its case against his extradition to the US.

Story Transcript

This is a rush transcript and may contain errors. It will be updated.

Greg Wilpert: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Greg Wilpert in Arlington, Virginia. Julian Assange recently lost a court bid to have his upcoming February 2020 extradition hearing postponed. The hearing about the postponement took place on October 21, and according to observers who were present, he could barely speak in coherent sentences. Reacting to the hearing, UN Human Rights Rapporteur Nils Melzer warned last Friday that Assange continues to show symptoms of psychological torture. Melzer had visited Assange in May when he conducted an extensive review of his physical and psychological condition.

In his statement on Friday Melzer said, “Despite the medical urgency of my first appeal, and the seriousness of the alleged violations, the U.K. has not undertaken any measures of investigation, prevention, and redress required under international law.” In addition to the concerns about Assange’s treatment at Bellmarsh prison outside of London, many have also raised concerns about the impartiality of the proceedings against him. Assange was jailed last April when the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he had been given political asylum, allowed the police to arrest him.

He then received a 50-week sentence for having skipped jail in 2012. The Trump Administration has since then requested Assange’s extradition on 17 charges of espionage for which he could receive a 170-year prison sentence in the United States. Joining me now to discuss the latest developments in the case of Julian Assange is John Pilger. He has been observing the Assange case very closely, and was present at the October 21 court hearing. He is an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. His most recent film is The Coming War on China. Thanks for joining us again, John.

John Pilger: Very welcome.

Greg Wilpert: Let’s start with Assange’s condition. As I said, you were there at the last hearing. What was your perception of his condition, and how he presented himself?

John Pilger: Well, I was at the last hearing, and I saw Julian about a week before that, so I’ve seen him up close on a number of occasions recently. I think I can agree with Nils Melzer’s assessment. It’s very difficult to tell. His physical condition has changed dramatically. He’s lost about 15 kilos in weight. To see him in court struggling to say his name, and his date of birth, was really very moving. I’ve seen that when I visited Julian in Belmarsh prison where he struggles at first, and then collects himself.

I’m always impressed by the sheer resilience of the man, because as Melzer says, absolutely nothing has been done to change the conditions imposed on him by the prison regime. Nothing has been done by the British authorities. This was almost underlined by the contemptuous way that this court hearing recently was conducted by this judge, by this magistrate. There was a sense among all of us who were there that the whole charade, and it seemed a charade, was preordained. You had sitting in front of us, on a long table, four Americans who were from the U.S. Embassy here in London, and one of the prosecution team was scurrying backwards and forwards to get instructions from them. The judge could see this, and she allowed it. It was just absolutely outrageous.

When Julian did try to speak, and to say that basically he was being denied the very tools with which to prepare his case, he was denied the right to call his American lawyer. He was denied the right to have any kind of word process or laptop. He was denied certain documents. As he said, “I’m even denied my own writings,” as he called it. That is, his own notes and manuscripts. This hasn’t changed at all, and of course the effect of that on his morale, to say the least, has been very significant, and that showed in the court.

Greg Wilpert: Yeah. I want to dig a little bit deeper on that issue about the fairness of this trial. Craig Murray who is a blogger, and was also at the last hearing, wrote about a number of issues, which you also mentioned. He specifically mentions district judge, Vanessa Baraitser, and one of the things that she did was completely dismiss Assange’s request for determination whether the extradition proceedings are even legal. That is, he cites according to U.K. law, “Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense.” Now, what do you think of this issue? Is Assange’s offense political, and what do you say about the judge’s reaction to that request?

John Pilger: I know his lawyer Gareth Peirce very well, and she’s not a person to really be angered as such. But I saw her before and after the hearing, and she was quite angry about the fact as she said, “Here we have an extradition hearing, based on a treaty between the United States and Britain, and there is a section in that treaty that said,” as you’ve just mentioned, “No one can be extradited if the,” and I paraphrase, if the so-called offense is in any way political. Well under law, it’s not a matter of opinion. They are political. All but one of the charges concocted in Virginia are based on the 1917 Espionage Act, which was a political piece of legislation used to chase off the conscientious objectors during the first World War.

It’s political. There is no charge. There is no basis, no foundation, for allowing these extradition proceedings to go forward, and almost perversely the judge seemed to, if not acknowledged that in her contempt for the proceedings. Whenever Julian Assange spoke, she feigned a disinterest, a boredom, and whenever his lawyers spoke, the same thing. Whenever the prosecutor spoke, she was attentive. The theatrics of this hearing were quite remarkable. I’ve never seen anything like it. Then very hurriedly, when Julian Assange’s lawyer requested a delay in when the case actually starts from February, they said, “We’re not going to be ready in February,” and she dismissed that out of hand.

Not only that, she said that the extradition case would be held in a court that is in fact adjoining Bellmarsh prison. It’s almost part of the prison. It’s a long way out of London. So you have, if not a secret trial, but a trial in which, or an extradition hearing in which very few seats are available to the public. It’s a very difficult place to get to. So every obstacle has been put in the way of Assange getting a fair hearing. And I can only repeat, this is a publisher and a journalist convicted of nothing, charged with nothing in Britain, whose only crime is journalism. That may sound like a slogan, but it’s true. They want him for exposing the kind of outrageous war crimes, Iraq, Afghanistan, that journalists are supposed to do.

Greg Wilpert: Right. Finally, I want to ask you also about the support that Assange seems to have been getting or not getting. It seems that the media organizations that benefited tremendously from Assange’s work, are hardly mentioning his case, let alone supporting him. Also, human rights groups such as Amnesty International have urged the U.K. not to extradite Julian, but they haven’t elevated the case. I just looked it up. They haven’t elevated it to the status of a campaign as they do for political prisoners normally. How do you explain this lack of concern among the media and human rights groups for Assange’s situation?

John Pilger: Because so many human rights groups are deeply political. Amnesty International never made Chelsea Manning a prisoner of conscience. A really disgraceful thing. Chelsea Manning, who was effectively tortured in prison, and they haven’t, as you say, they haven’t elevated Julian’s case. Why? Well, they’re an extension. They’re an extension of an establishment that is now almost systematically coming down on any form of real dissent. In the last five, six years, the last gaps, the last bolt holes, the last spaces in the mainstream media for journalists, from average journalists for the likes Assange, not only Assange, for the likes of people like even myself and others, have closed.

The mainstream media, certainly in Britain, always held open those spaces. They’ve closed, and there is generally I would think a fear, right throughout the media, a fear about opposing the state on something like the Assange case. You see the way the whole obsession with Russia has consumed the media with so many nonsensical stories. The hostility, the animosity towards Julian. My own theory is that his work shamed so many journalists. He does what journalists ought to have done, and don’t do any more. He’s done the job of a journalist. That can only explain it. I mean when you take a newspaper like The Guardian, which published originally the WikiLeaks revelations about Iraq and Afghanistan, they turned on Julian Assange in the most vicious way.

They exploited him for one thing. A number of their journalists did extremely well with their books, and Hollywood scripts, and so on, but they turned on him personally. It was one of the most unedifying sights I think I’ve ever seen in journalism. The same thing happened in the New York Times. Again, I can only surmise the reason for that. It’s that he shames them. We have a desert of journalism at the moment. There are a few who still do their jobs. Who still stand up against establishment power. Who still are not frightened. But there’re so few now, and Julian Assange is totally fearless in that. He knew that he was going to run into a great deal of trouble with the state in Britain, the state in the United States, but he went ahead anyway. That’s a true journalist.

Greg Wilpert: Well, we’re going to have to leave it there for now, but of course we’re going to continue to follow his case as we have been since the beginning. I was speaking to John Pilger, award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. Thanks again, John, for having joined us today.

John Pilger: Very welcome Greg.


Greg Wilpert: Thank you for joining The Real News Network.



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FREE ASSANGE... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

sharing browder's lawyers has pitfalls...

 A US government lawyer in the Assange extradition case just wrote a London Times oped promoting the Browder Magnitsky hoax. Ben Brandon is one of five lawyers in a London network whose spokes link to convicted tax fraudster William Browder, the U.S. government, and to both sides of the extradition case against whistleblower publisher Julian Assange.

Here is how the British legal system works. Lawyers are either solicitors who work with clients or barristers who go to court in cases assigned by the solicitors. To share costs, barristers operate in chambers, which provide office space, including conference rooms and dining halls, clerks who receive and assign cases from solicitors, and other support staff. London has 210 chambers. There are not “partners” sharing profits, but members operate fraternally with each other.

Browder is key in the U.S. demonization of Russia. Assange has exposed U.S. war crimes. For lawyers associated in the British legal system to take both sides on that conflict would appear to be an egregious conflict of interest. But it fits with the U.S.-UK support of the Browder-Magnitsky hoax and their cooperation in the attack on Assange.

The law firm and chambers involved in the Browder-Assange stories are Mishcon de Reya, Matrix Chambers and Doughty Street Chambers.

Ben Brandon of Mishcon de Reya and Alex Bailin of Matrix Chambersco-authored an opinion article in The Times of London October 24, 2019 in which they repeated William Browder’s fabrications about the death of his accountant Sergei Magnitsky.

The article aimed to promote the Magnitsky Act which builds a political wall against Russia. It is based on the fake claim that Magnitsky, the accountant who handled Browder’s tax evasion in Russia, was really a lawyer who exposed a government scam.

Except that is not true, there is no evidence for it, and the lies are documented here. But the Act has prevented the Russians from collecting about $100 million Browder owes in back taxes and illicit stock buys.

Brandon’s and Bailin’s connections are notable. Law firms, at least in the U.S., tend to stake out their commitments. Lawyers who represent unions do not represent companies fighting unions. It appears to be different in Britain, where legal chambers have members on either side of some cases.

Bailin is a member of Matrix Chambers, which was founded by the wife of Tony Blair, the former neocon Labor British Prime Minister.

He is solidly in the Browder camp. He represented Leonid Nevzlin, a major partner of Browder collaborator Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who according to filings with FARA (the Foreign Agents Registration Act), paid $385,000 for Congress to adopt the Magnitsky Act which has been used by the U.S. as a weapon against the Russian government.

Nevzlin’s suit was for $50 billion against Russia for money allegedly lost by the nationalization of Yukos Oil. Yukos was obtained by Khodorkovsky in the mid-90s in one of then Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s rigged auctions. Khodorkovsky’s bank Menatep ran the auction.

He paid $309 million for a controlling 78 percent of the state company. Months later, Yukos traded on the Russian stock exchange at a market capitalization of $6 billion. Not surprising, after Yeltsin departed, the state wanted the stolen assets back.

To add insult to injury, Khodorkovsky laundered profits from Yukos through transfer-pricing and other scams. 

Transfer pricing is when you sell products to a shell company at a fake low price, and the shell sells them on the world market at the real price, giving you the rake-off. It cheats tax authorities and minority shareholders. See how Khodorkovsky and Browder did this with Russian company Avisma, which Khodorkovsky also got through a rigged auction.

The Times oped co-author, Brandon of Mishcon de Reya, has a startling connection. The day after an extradition request targeting Julian Assange was signed by the UK home secretary, Brandon representing the U.S. government, formally opened the extradition case.

Now look at another Assange link. Mark Summers, who is representing Julian Assange is, along with Bailin, a member of Matrix Chambers.

But while he is Assange’s lawyer, Summers is acting for Assange’s persecutor, the U.S. government, in a major extradition case involving executives of Credit Suisse in 2013 making fake loans and getting kickbacks from Mozambique government officials.

Does Assange, or those who care about his interests, know he is part of chambers working for the U.S. government?

And where do you put this factoid? Alex Bailin is representing Andrew Pearse, one of the Credit Suisse bankers that the U.S. government, represented by Summers, is seeking to extradite!

But there’s chambers where two members are each supporting bothBrowder and Assange.

Geoffrey Robertson is founder of Doughty Street Chambers. He is also a longtime Browder / Magnitsky story promoter. He has pitched implementation of a Magnitsky Act in Australia and has served Browder in UK court.

In 2017 British legal actions surrounding an inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy, he represented Browder, who claimed that the Russian, who died of a heart attack, was somehow a victim of Russian President Putin. Perepilichnyy had lost money in investments he was handling for clients and had to get out of town. 

Needing support, he decamped to London and gave Browder documents relating to his client’s questionable bank transfers. He died after a jog, Browder claimed he was poisoned by a rare botanical substance, obviously ordered by Putin, but forensic tests found that untrue. Robertson accused local police of a cover-up.

He is a legal advisor to Assange and is regularly interviewed by international media about the case.

Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers also has a Browder connection. She is acting for Paul Radu a journalist and official of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) which is being sued by an Azerbaijan MP. OCCRP is a Browder collaborator.

Browder admits in a deposition that OCCRP prepared documents he would give to the U.S. Justice Department to accuse the son of a Russian railway official of getting $1.9 million of $230 million defrauded from the Russian Treasury. The case was settled when the U.S. couldn’t prove the charge, and the target declined to spend more millions of dollars in his defense. OCCRP got the first Magnitsky Human Rights award, set up for Browder’s partners and acolytes.

Robinson is also the longest-serving member of Assange’s legal team. She acted for Assange in the Swedish extradition proceedings and in relation to Ecuador’s request to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Advisory Opinion proceedings on the right to asylum.

Why did Assange or his advisors choose lawyers associated with the interests of the U.S. government and Browder? Or how could those lawyers be so ignorant about the facts of Browder’s massive tax evasion and his Magnitsky story fabrications? 

It raises questions about how they are handling the Assange defense.

The individuals cited were asked to respond to points made about them, but none did.


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“his life is now at risk.”...


“The CIA can hack into a system and make it look like the Russians did it,” said McGovern. This challenges the official narrative that Russians hacked the DNC server, exposing Hillary Clinton’s emails. “Imagine that.”

The October hearing was Assange’s first public appearance since May. Illness has prevented him from attending previous hearings.

The UK ignored earlier pleas that to protect Assange’s health and dignity, Melzer said, and his condition has progressed to the point where “his life was now at risk.”

In fact, when Melzer tried to raise the alarm in the media, The Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Canberra Times, The Telegraph, The New York Times,The Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek all refused to publish his op-ed.

Instead of addressing Assange’s health, “what we have seen from the UK government is outright contempt for Mr. Assange’s rights and integrity,” said Melzer. “Despite the medical urgency of my appeal, and the seriousness of the alleged violations, the UK has not undertaken any measures of investigation, prevention and redress required under international law.”

Assange has lost 33 pounds during his imprisonment, according to Australian filmmaker John Pilger. He attended the hearing and has visited Assange in Belmarsh prison.

“To see him in court struggling to say his name, and his date of birth, was really very moving,” said Pilger. “When Julian did try to speak, and to say that basically he was being denied the very tools with which to prepare his case, he was denied the right to call his American lawyer. He was denied the right to have any kind of word processor or laptop. He was denied… his own notes and manuscripts.”

Assange’s “access to legal counsel and documents has been severely obstructed” undermining “his most fundamental right to prepare his defense,” charged Melzer.

The judge refused to grant Assange’s request to delay the February trial.

The lack of legal process in the hearing was “profoundly upsetting,” to watch unfold, writes Murray, because it is “a naked demonstration of the power of the state.”

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

Barbara Boland is The American Conservative’s foreign policy and national security reporter. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC.


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com'on rupert! demand assange freedom!...

GENEVA, November 12 (Sputnik) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is in very poor condition and needs to be allowed to see the doctors he chooses, Assange's father, John Shipton, said.

"He is not very well. After many years of being persecuted, his health is beginning to suffer badly ... We believe that he can recover if circumstances change very quickly," his father said.

According to him, Assange is being provided with medical assistance in the British prison, but his lawyers insist that the doctors must be of Assange’s own choosing.

Shipton also said that he would like to contact the Russian authorities in order to receive additional assistance for the release of his son.

Shipton also said the governments of the United Kingdom and Sweden have not yet contacted the family of Julian Assange to discuss possible compensation for the years he spent in custody.

Since Assange's arrest earlier in the year, various experts have made claims regarding his health.

In May, independent UN rights expert Nils Melzer condemned the "deliberate and concerted abuse" inflicted on Assange for years by the governments of the US, the UK and Sweden. The expert said Assange had been systematically persecuted and his health had deteriorated as a result of his prolonged exposure to stress and psychological trauma.

In September, Assange's lawyer, Carlos Poveda, told Sputnik that the WikiLeaks founder was isolated in jail and faced serious health problems.

Earlier in November, Melzer issued another report, saying London had failed to ensure that the detention of Assange complied with international law. The expert noted that Assange's health continued to deteriorate and emphasized that his life was at risk.

Assange was taken to prison in April after being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had lived for years. Since then, the WikiLeaks founder has been kept in detention as he waits for hearings on his extradition to the United States, which he has opposed.


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forced rendition of assange...

The planned extradition and prosecution of Julian Assange by the United States is a “new form of forced rendition” and a “dangerous precedent” for press freedom, according to the Wikileaks editor-in-chief, Kristinn Hrafnsson.

Ahead of a private briefing for Australian parliamentarians on Tuesday afternoon, Harfnsson, the Icelandic-based investigative journalist, who is editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, told the National Press Club in Canberra the “forced rendition” of Assange was not occurring “with a sack over the head and an orange jumpsuit but with the enabling of the UK legal system and with the apparent support of the Australian government”.

“I strongly believe that resolving this issue has important international implications,” Hrafnsson said. “Prolonging it creates an enabling environment for the deterioration of press freedom standards globally”.


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See also:

the brits are killing him...




one word is missing from the free press (media) rhetoric: ASSANGE...


let him free...