Barnaby Joyce MP Warns Australian Parliament on the Extraterritorial Precedent of Julian’s Extradition

On 28th November 2023, Barnaby Joyce Nationals MP for New England, addressed Australian Parliament on the dangers of the extraterritorial precedent of the extradition of Julian Assange Mr JOYCE  (New England) (16:23): I would like to follow on from the member for Makin and also acknowledge Gabriel Shipton, who’s here today. There are very few … Continue reading “Barnaby Joyce MP Warns Australian Parliament on the Extraterritorial Precedent of Julian’s Extradition”

On 28th November 2023, Barnaby Joyce Nationals MP for New England, addressed Australian Parliament on the dangers of the extraterritorial precedent of the extradition of Julian Assange

Mr JOYCE  (New England) (16:23):

I would like to follow on from the member for Makin and also acknowledge Gabriel Shipton, who’s here today. There are very few things that draw together people from both sides of the political fence, whether it’s the Greens; Alex Antic; Tony Zappia—we’ve known each other for a long time and worked together—the Nationals; the Labor Party; the Liberal Party; the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese; or Peter Dutton, but this issue has done that. It’s time that this issue is resolved and brought to a conclusion. I acknowledge that Gabriel Shipton is Julian Assange’s brother, but I’m not here to give warrant to Mr Assange did—not for one second. But I am saying that extraterritoriality is an incredibly dangerous precedent. I’ll say, for the Australian people, that—and not to go through the details, which the member for Makin has done—Julian Assange was not a US citizen.

Julian Assange did not commit a crime in Australia. In fact, he got a Walkley Award for it. Julian Assange was never in the US when any offence that the US has nominated was committed.

So we are sending a person to a third country on the behest of a third country because of their domestic laws. Once you start agreeing to do that, it’s only a matter of time before the Chinese government says, ‘We’ve got a few people in Australia we want you to send to China.’ If someone offends a religion in another part of the world, they’ll say, ‘You should send those people to us as well.’ How are you going to argue against that when you have given credibility to what is happening here? For the US, how are they going to justify their position when they are part and parcel of this? I’ve said before that Australia has been a good neighbour to the US, and, with Mr Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, who most definitely committed offences in Australia—most definitely—we haven’t called for their extradition back to Australia. If we did, they would go to jail for quite a while.

So I ask something of those in the United States. I know the Prime Minister of Australia has now been to the US. I’m not going to delve into what discussions the Prime Minister may or may not have had, but I want to reinforce to the people of the United States and the government of the United States our great respect for their nation but our displeasure that this issue continues on. It needs to be resolved. This carbuncle in the relationship needs to be removed. We have bigger fish to fry. There are bigger issues out there for us to deal with. This issue needs to be put aside.

I want to also acknowledge the great work done by the delegation with Tony Zappia, Alex Antic, Peter Whish-Wilson, Monique Ryan and David Shoebridge—I’m forgetting some more. I thank them for their work. The support will continue on.

Refer original coverage in Hansard

Recent articles covering Mr Joyce’s support for Julian :
Australian Financial Review

Exposing War Crimes Riskier Than Doing War Crimes

On the 16th November The Shovel published this article in response to David McBride pleading guilty as crucial evidence was ruled to be too sensitive to the Security of the Nation to be presented in court. Blowing the whistle in Australia about war crimes is more likely to see you face a prison sentence than … Continue reading “Exposing War Crimes Riskier Than Doing War Crimes”

On the 16th November The Shovel published this article in response to David McBride pleading guilty as crucial evidence was ruled to be too sensitive to the Security of the Nation to be presented in court.

Blowing the whistle in Australia about war crimes is more likely to see you face a prison sentence than if you actually just did the war crimes yourself, ex solider David McBride is discovering.

McBride was the first person in Australia to be charged in relation to war crimes in Afghanistan. However, in a minor detail that seems to have gone unnoticed by the Australian Government, he was the guy actually revealing the war crimes, rather than doing them.

Criminal expert Samantha Richelli said there may have been some confusion within the Albanese Government. “Forgive me for getting a little technical here, but traditionally in a war crimes hearing the person who is on trial has done some war criming. The person who reveals the war crimes is on the other side. I’m sure it’s just an embarrassing mix up which they’ll realise any day now”.

Defence barrister Phillipa Lee said she always advised her clients against revealing war crimes. “If you’re into that type of thing it’s a much safer option to just do them. At least in Australia,” she said.

Refer original article in The Shovel
And further articles :
Pearls and Irritations
Who do you serve? The non-trial of David McBride
Crown successfully overturns Nuremberg war crimes principles in Australian court
As whistleblower David McBride pleads guilty, pressure is building on the Albanese government
9 News
War crime whistleblower David McBride pleads guilty to leaking classified information

9 News summarises

Originally facing five charges, the former military lawyer pleaded guilty to three offences, including stealing Commonwealth information and passing that on to journalists.
The classified documents led to a series of reports alleging Australian special forces troops committed war crimes in Afghanistan.A later inquiry uncovered credible information of 23 incidents of potential war crimes, which involved the killing of 39 Afghans and cruel treatment of two more between 2005 and 2016.The report found 25 soldiers were perpetrators or accessories – some on a single occasion and some on multiple.

Editors Note: The 9 News summary overlooks the glacial progress as the Brereton Report was made public in 2020 and refers to issues now up to 14 years old.

Editors Note: Hiding war crimes is a War Crime. David McBride has faced a dilemma of following international law ( to which Australia is a signatory ) or following Australian Law as charged and becoming an active participant in Australian War Crimes in Afghanistan. We believe international Law prevails

Editors Note: This issue of frustrating War Crimes investigations is not limited to Australia but may be a common occurrence with all the perpetrators of the War on Terror for example the report in the BBC Afghanistan inquiry hears senior officers hid SAS killings as recently as the 11th October 2023.

Jennifer Robinson: Julian Assange, Free Speech and Democracy

On the 19th October 2022, Jennifer Robinson addressed the Australian National Press Club Available on ABC Iviewand followup interview with Chris Mitchell on ABC NewsRadio Thank you for your warm welcome and introduction, Laura. It is a great pleasure to be with you at Australia’s National Press Club on Ngunnawal land. I pay my respect … Continue reading “Jennifer Robinson: Julian Assange, Free Speech and Democracy”

On the 19th October 2022, Jennifer Robinson addressed the Australian National Press Club

Available on ABC Iview
and followup interview with Chris Mitchell on ABC NewsRadio

Thank you for your warm welcome and introduction, Laura.

It is a great pleasure to be with you at Australia’s National Press Club on Ngunnawal land. I pay my respect to Ngunnawal elders past, present and emerging – and to all First Nations people here today and joining us remotely.

I’d like to also acknowledge the presence today of those who have supported Julian and his family – including:

  •  Members of the Friends of Assange Parliamentary group, Senators Peter Whish Wilson and David Shoebridge as well as Member for Kooyong, the Hon Dr Monique Ryan;
  • Bernard Collaery, whose endurance, courage and integrity inspires so many of us; And
  • David McBride, the whistle-blower still facing trial, who remains the only person charged years after the Brereton Report

I have been working on Julian Assange’s defence and talking about its implications for freedom of the press and democracy for more than a decade.

You might have heard some media soundbites from me on these themes over the years: about the stark injustice that Julian faces 175 years in prison for committing acts of journalism; about how the US seeks to condemn him to life in prison for the very same publications for which he has won awards the world over – including the Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism and the Sydney Peace Prize Medal; and that his prosecution sets a dangerous precedent for free speech and journalists everywhere.

But having an opportunity to elaborate is rare, so my thanks to the National Press Club for giving me this time with you today.

I’m often asked how Julian is, so let me start there:
I don’t know how much longer he can last.

The world was shocked by his appearance when he was arrested in 2019. I wasn’t.

For over 7 years, I had been watching his health decline inside the Ecuadorian embassy where he was protecting himself from US extradition.

After years of government statements and media commentary claiming Julian was paranoid and should just leave the embassy, some were surprised when Julian was served with a US extradition request.

I wasn’t. It was exactly what we had been warning about for a decade.

For the past 3.5 years, Julian has been in a high security prison in London – and I have watched his health decline even further.

Then last year, during a stressful court appeal hearing, Julian had a mini stroke.

As the prosecution was deriding the medical evidence of Julian’s severe depression and suicidal ideation – and the risk to his life – those with video access saw Julian in a blue room in Belmarsh with his head in his hands.

I’ve seen Julian on some pretty bad days, but he looked terrible. I was alarmed. And for good reason.

As it turned out, he had just had – or was experiencing as we watched – a mini stroke, often the harbinger for a major stroke.

Once again, we were witnessing Julian’s health deteriorate in real time.

Julian’s wife Stella waits anxiously for the phone call she dreads. As she has said, Julian is suffering profoundly in prison – and it is no exaggeration to say he may not survive it.


Unless a political resolution is found – and this case has always been political – Julian will be detained for many years to come.

It is impossible to accurately predict the timeline, but here is a brief overview of where we are and what the legal process ahead looks like.

After a year-long extradition hearing process, interrupted by COVID outbreaks, Julian won his case in early January 2021. If extradited to the US, he would be placed under prison conditions known as Special Administrative Measures – or SAMs – which has been described as the darkest black hole of the US prison system. The magistrate ruled that Julian’s extradition would be oppressive because the medical evidence shows that if extradited and placed under SAMs, he would suicide. So she barred his extradition.

But the Trump administration appealed – and in its last days, sought to get around the court decision and shift the goal posts by offering an assurance that Julian would not be placed under SAMs.

As Amnesty International has said, US assurances aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

But in Julian’s case it’s even worse that that because the US assurance was conditional: the US only promised not to place him under SAMs unless they decide he later deserves it.

And who would decide? The CIA. And he would have no right to appeal their decision.

Before the US government appeal was heard, we learned – thanks to important investigative journalism – that the CIA had planned to kidnap and kill Julian.

Yes: let’s pause there for a moment.

The CIA had planned to kidnap and kill an award-winning Australian journalist in London.

Again: the Central Intelligence Agency had plans in place to send someone to London to kidnap and assassinate Julian Assange. We know this because of an investigation based on interviews with 30 official US government sources.

And this is the intelligence agency which has the power to place Julian, once extradited to the US, under prison conditions that doctors say would cause his suicide.

When the news broke, I thought – finally – this has got to end the case. But no.

The British courts accepted the US assurance and ruled Julian could be extradited despite these circumstances.

In June, the British Home Secretary ordered his extradition.

We have filed an appeal and we should learn soon whether the High Court will grant permission and hear it.

If it does, we can expect a process that could take years – through the High Court, and to the UK Supreme Court. If we lose, we will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights – that is, if the conservative British government doesn’t remove its jurisdiction before we are able to.

If our appeal fails, Julian will be extradited to the US – where his prison conditions will be at the whim of the intelligence agencies which plotted to kill him. He will face an unfair trial and once convicted, it could take years before a First Amendment constitutional challenge would be heard before the US Supreme Court.

Another decade of his life gone – if he can survive that long.

And that is why I am here.

This case needs an urgent political solution. Julian does not have another decade to wait for a legal fix. It might be surprising to hear me, as a lawyer, say this: but the solution is not legal, it is political.

When you hear politicians or government officials in the UK or US or in Australia using language like due process and rule of law – this is what they are talking about. Punishment by legal process. Bury him in never-ending legal process until he dies.

In fact, there’s been very little “rule of law” or “due process” in what’s been inflicted on Julian. As we argue in our appeal, the case has been rife with abuse.

The case against him is unprecedented – it is the first time in history a publisher has faced prosecution for journalism under the Espionage Act. And the US is going to argue that, as an Australian citizen, Julian is not entitled to constitutional free speech protection at all.

The UK-US extradition treaty prohibits extradition for political offences – and yet the US is purporting relying on this treaty to extradite Julian under the Espionage Act. Espionage is a political offence.

We have seen the fabrication of evidence against him – the US’ key witness in Iceland has admitted he lied but the US continues to press charges based on his evidence. And its indictment deliberately misrepresents the facts.

We have seen unlawful surveillance of Julian, on me personally and his lawyers, on his medical treatment, and the seizure of legally privileged material. At the extradition hearing, we heard evidence from Daniel Ellsberg, the revered leaker of the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg explained that his prosecution under the Espionage Act by the Nixon administration was thrown out – with prejudice – for far less abuse than Julian has faced. But Julian’s prosecution commenced under the Trump administration – and now continues under Biden. What does that say about our civil liberties and our democracies in 2022?

The list of abuse goes on and on. [take a breath…]

As a lawyer working on human rights cases, it’s important to remain focused on the principles at stake and the work at hand. An essential part of the job is being dispassionate and level-headed in the face of injustice.

But it has become harder and harder over the years to remain unaffected by what Julian is being put through – as a human being and fellow Australian.

In 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, reported his findings on Julian’s case and concluded Julian had been subjected to torture. Years before, we had made a complaint to Melzer’s mandate – but we heard nothing back. Melzer would later admit he had ignored our complaint because, like many, he was prejudiced against Julian after years of government propaganda and media coverage attacking Julian’s reputation.

But in 2019, he agreed to read our complaint. And what he read shocked him and forced him to confront his own prejudice. He has since written a book about what he learned, The Trial of Julian Assange, which I highly recommend.

In his UN findings, Melzer put it this way:

‘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’.

It hasn’t always been easy to remain dispassionate in the face of this persecution – and its impact on Julian and his family.

Julian’s has two small children, Gabriel and Max, who are just 5 and 3. When they tell me about going to see Daddy “in the queue” – they are talking about seeing him in prison. They call it “the queue” because of the security queue they have to stand in, as guards pat down and search their little bodies, checking inside their ears and mouths, in their hair and in their shoes, before they can see their father.

It is heart-breaking.

Due to COVID restrictions, Julian wasn’t allowed to see his children for 6 months. When they were finally let into see him, ongoing prison restrictions meant there was a period he wasn’t allowed to touch them or give them a cuddle. Explain that to a child.

It is heart-breaking.

Last week, thousands of people linked hands to form a human chain around British Parliament in an inspiring protest to demand Julian’s freedom. The kids came to the protest and I walked with them around the chain. They were wearing their “Free My Dad” t-shirts, and chanted along with the crowd “Free Julian Assange”.

It is heart-breaking.

I say this because I want to remind you all today of the very real, human consequences of this case.


But what is Julian in prison for? Why are he and his family being put through all of this?

The events that led to Julian’s indictment started in a room similar to this one.

On 5 April 2010, at the National Press Club in Washington DC, WikiLeaks shared the Collateral Murder video with the world. It put WikiLeaks – and Julian – on the map in all kinds of ways.

As you know, it showed the murder of civilians, children and journalists by US forces in Iraq. A war crime, which the US authorities then tried to cover up.

An Australian journalist, Dean Yates, was the head of Reuters in Iraq at the time. He sought answers about what had happened to his colleagues. The US claimed their forces had complied with their rules of engagement. That was a lie. Freedom of Information requests were rejected – and Yates and Reuters were denied the truth.

It was only after the video and rules of engagement were published by WikiLeaks that the world understood what happened.

I want to emphasise here: Julian is being prosecuted for publishing evidence about the murder of your journalist colleagues in Iraq.

After the release of Collateral Murder came the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs and the State Department Cables. In each of these releases, WikiLeaks pioneered global collaborations between journalists on a scale never seen before. Working together with WikiLeaks, journalists from mainstream media outlets, analysed large sets of data, identifying patterns and trends to understand what was really happening, and tell the story.

The publications showed that thousands more civilians were killed in American wars than the US government had ever admitted. They showed evidence of war crimes, extrajudicial killings, and torture by US forces, western governments and their autocratic regime allies. They revealed the dense networks of support between those governments and major corporations and the extent to which foreign and trade policy was driven by corporate interests.

Journalism like this, at its core, is about subjecting power to scrutiny, and holding it accountable.

And the powerful didn’t like it. WikiLeaks was responsible for hundreds – even thousands – of stories about how power really works in Washington, in London, in Canberra, in capitals across the world – about what it means in the streets and homes of people in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan – and about the price that is paid for the application of power in shattered lives and dead and broken bodies.

Rather than shame, WikiLeaks provoked rage – rage that journalism was exposing the powerful.

The Obama administration opened a criminal investigation which Australian diplomats reported was unprecedented in size and scale.

But the Obama administration ultimately did not indict Julian. Their concern was the “New York Times problem”: that is, that prosecuting Julian would mean criminalising what the New York Times does every day.

President Trump had no such qualms. After all, he called the media, “the enemy of the people” and said he wanted to see reporters in prison. And the result is an indictment against Julian which describes – and criminalises – routine journalistic practices.

But let’s not forget that Trump was willing to play politics with this prosecution.

Back in 2017 – before Julian had been indicted – a Congressman came to visit Julian in the embassy to offer him a deal.

Julian asked me to attend to observe the meeting and I would later give evidence about it for his extradition hearing.

It was at the height of the Mueller investigation – about Russian interference in the 2016 election – when President Trump was a subject of the investigation. Julian had already stated in public that the material was not from a government source. But Trump clearly wanted to know more.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher made clear that President Trump was aware of and had approved of him coming to discuss a proposal.

It was what he called a “win-win solution” that would allow Julian to “get on with his life”. Julian was asked to identify the source of the 2016 election publications – which the Congressman explained would solve Trump’s political problems and help him put a stop to the Mueller investigation. In return, Julian would receive a pardon or some form of protection against US extradition.

Julian refused to provide the identity of his source.

A publisher’s promise to sources is solemn, as would be well understood in this room, even if it carries a cost.

Trump too, made good on his promise, his administration indicting Julian after he refused to name his source.

Julian has had other opportunities to act in his own interest rather than in the interests of democracy and free speech – and he has always put his own interests second.

And the result is an indictment against him which threatens free speech and democracy. The Freedom of the Press Foundation calls Julian’s prosecution “the most terrifying threat to free speech in the 21st century”. And that is not an exaggeration.

One of the 18 charges relates to taking measures to protect the identity of a source. The remaining 17 charges, all brought under the Espionage Act, relate to receiving and publishing information – and there is no public interest defence.

And around the world the media has responded – The New York Times,
the Washington Post, and the Guardian have warned that the US is criminalising public interest journalistic practices.

Journalists unions have responded – IFJ, MEAA, NUJ, have condemned the prosecution and called on the US to drop the charges.


Today, at the National Press Club of Australia, I want to make very clear: the Trump administration indicted Julian to send a message to the press. To deter journalism and publishing. Prosecuting Julian is intended to send a message to all of you.

With those reflections on the case against Julian, let me now turn to the implications for free speech and democracy.


Julian founded WikiLeaks with a mission statement – the goal is justice, the method is transparency. He could see that secrecy breeds injustice and that by shining a light, governments can be held accountable. He knew that transparency deters unlawful conduct and encourages better policy-making.

And he was right: WikiLeaks publications have been used in human rights cases the world over – including in some of my cases – to hold government accountable and enforce your rights.

Julian founded WikiLeaks to improve democratic accountability. As he says, we cannot act if we do not know. He wanted to provide the public with the information they need to make more informed democratic choices.

And he was right: Amnesty International credited Wikileaks with sparking the Arab Spring – and democratic movements for change.

Julian once said, if lies can start an unlawful war, then the truth can stop it.

And again, he was right: WikiLeaks publications led to the Iraqi Parliament removing immunity for US troops in occupied Iraq – which led to the withdrawal of US troops.

For this work, he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year for the past decade – that is more times than any other Australian.

WikiLeaks was out in front in recognising the implications of the internet for journalism and its promise and potential for protecting sources with anonymity guaranteed by technology. Julian created technology that has been replicated by media organisations the world over to protect themselves and their sources.

For this work, Julian has won journalism awards around the world. And for this work, he faces life in prison.

This injustice could not be more obvious. No matter how long the US government drags this out, we must all resist the normalisation of this treatment of an Australian journalist and publisher – or he won’t be the last of you to suffer.

As the President of the IFJ said this week, ‘If Julian Assange is jailed in the US, there is not a journalist on earth who will be safe”.

And she is right.

If Julian is extradited, the precedent being set means that any journalist, anywhere in the world, can be extradited and prosecuted in the US for publishing truthful information in the public interest. Would we stand by and accept this if it was Russia or China doing the same?


I want to make a few concluding remarks about Julian’s future. About what the Australian government can do. And about what you can do.

Those who resolve Julian’s case – by securing his release – will be remembered well in the books that will be written about it. They will be on the right side of history.

Australians remember well who brought David Hicks home. We remember well who got Peter Greste, Melinda Taylor and James Ricketson out of overseas prisons. We remember well who got Kylie Moore-Gilbert out of prison in Iran. If we can put an end to an espionage case against an Australian citizen in Iran, we can do it in respect of an equally outrageous espionage case in the US.

And what a great day that was, when Kylie was free.

I look forward to another great day, when this Australian Prime Minister and this government gets Julian out of prison.

For more than a decade we have had nothing but silence and complicity from consecutive Australian governments. Government after government – on both sides of politics – did not have the courage to speak to our close ally and act to protect an Australian citizen and journalist.

We now have a Prime Minister who has said, and I quote, “Enough is enough”.

“I fail to see what purpose is being served by the ongoing incarceration of Julian Assange. A heavy price has been paid.”

I couldn’t agree more.

We now need to see action.

We all want to see our Prime Minister taking questions at a press conference about Julian’s release – rather than about Julian’s death in custody.

And what will help force the government bring this to a close? You – the journalists in this room.

You, above all people, are able to differentiate between publishing and espionage; a distinction that the US government and its allies seem intent on erasing.

You have the unique opportunity and responsibility of facing the Prime Minister and his colleagues day after day. You can ask what is being done and when it is we will see Julian brought home. Ask them this – the Attorney General, the Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister – at every press conference until Julian is free.

If we don’t see that day, Julian Assange won’t be the last of your colleagues to have his life destroyed in this line of work.

What will also help force our government to do the right thing and bring Julian home?

You – the public.

Protest, write to your MP, write to the Prime Minister, turn up at their offices and demand action. Working for democratic accountability is why Julian is in prison – and I believe democratic accountability can help him get out of it.

So hold our government to account. And let’s bring Julian Assange home. Thank you.

Jen Addressing rally at doors to Press Club

Nil Melzer: This Will Have an Enormous Chilling Effect on Free Press

On the 17th May 2022 , Assange Defence posted a video of Nil Melzer discussing his book ‘The Trial of Julian Assange by Nils Melzer’ on Twitter The Trial of Julian AssangeA Story of Persecution “This will have an enormous chilling effect on free press…” Available at Verso Books Merchandise Desk on most Australian Ithaka … Continue reading “Nil Melzer: This Will Have an Enormous Chilling Effect on Free Press”

On the 17th May 2022 , Assange Defence posted a video of Nil Melzer discussing his book ‘The Trial of Julian Assange by Nils Melzer’ on Twitter

The Trial of Julian Assange
A Story of Persecution

“This will have an enormous chilling effect on free press…”

Available at
Verso Books
Merchandise Desk on most Australian Ithaka screenings

John Shipton, Julian’s father, recommends all supporters read this book and publish quotes from it freely and frequently

Why the Julian Assange case is the most important battle for press freedom of our time

On the 28th October 2021, Chris Hedges publishes in Scheer Post If Assange goes to prison for exposing war crimes, it will mean the death of real national security reporting For the past two days, I have been watching the extradition hearing for Julian Assange via video link from London. The United States is appealing … Continue reading “Why the Julian Assange case is the most important battle for press freedom of our time”

On the 28th October 2021, Chris Hedges publishes in Scheer Post

If Assange goes to prison for exposing war crimes, it will mean the death of real national security reporting

For the past two days, I have been watching the extradition hearing for Julian Assange via video link from London. The United States is appealing a lower court ruling that denied the US request to extradite Assange not, unfortunately, because in the eyes of the court he is innocent of a crime, but because, as Judge Vanessa Baraitser in January concluded, Assange’s precarious psychological state would deteriorate given the “harsh conditions” of the inhumane US prison system, “causing him to commit suicide.” The United States has charged Assange with 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of trying to hack into a government computer, charges that could see him imprisoned for 175 years. 

Assange, with long white hair, appeared on screen the first day from the video conference room in HM Prison Belmarsh. He was wearing a white shirt with an untied tie around his neck. He looked gaunt and tired. He did not appear in court, the judges explained, because he was receiving a “high dose of medication.” On the second day he was apparently not present in the prison’s video conference room.

If Assange is extradited and found guilty of publishing classified material, it will set a legal precedent that will effectively end national security reporting, allowing the government to use the Espionage Act to charge any reporter who possesses classified documents, and any whistleblower who leaks classified information, under the Espionage Act.

Assange is being extradited because his organization WikiLeaks released the Iraq War Logs in October 2010, which documented numerous US war crimes — including video images of the gunning down of two Reuters journalists and 10 other unarmed civilians in the Collateral murdervideo, the routine torture of Iraqi prisoners, the covering up of thousands of civilian deaths and the killing of nearly 700 civilians that had approached too closely to US checkpoints. He is also being targeted by US authorities for other leaks, especially those that exposed  the hacking tools used by the CIA known as Vault 7, which enables the spy agency to compromise cars, smart TVs, web browsers and the operating systems of most smart phones, as well as operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, macOS and Linux.  

If Assange is extradited and found guilty of publishing classified material, it will set a legal precedent that will effectively end national security reporting, allowing the government to use the Espionage Act to charge any reporter who possesses classified documents, and any whistleblower who leaks classified information.

If the appeal by the United States is accepted Assange will be retried in London. The ruling on the appeal is not expected until at least January.

Assange’s September 2020 trial painfully exposed how vulnerable he has become after 12 years of detention, including seven in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He has in the past attempted suicide by slashing his wrists. He suffers from hallucinations and depression, takes antidepressant medication and the antipsychotic quetiapine. After he was observed pacing his cell until he collapsed, punching himself in the face and banging his head against the wall he was transferred for several months to the medical wing of the Belmarsh prison. Prison authorities found “half of a razor blade” hidden under his socks. He has repeatedly called the suicide hotline run by the Samaritans because he thought about killing himself “hundreds of times a day.”

James Lewis, the lawyer for the United States, attempted to discredit the detailed and disturbing medical and psychological reports on Assange presented to the court in September 2020, painting him instead as a liar and malingerer. He excoriated the decision of Judge Baraitser to bar extradition, questioned her competence, and breezily dismissed the mountains of evidence that high-security prisoners in the United Sates, like Assange, subjected to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), and held in virtual isolation in supermax prisons, suffer psychological distress. He charged Dr. Michael Kopelman, emeritus professor of neuropsychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, who examined Assange and testified for the defense, with deception for “concealing” that Assange fathered two children with his fiancée Stella Morris while in refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He said that, should the Australian government request Assange, he could serve his prison time in Australia, his home country, after his appeals had been exhausted, but stopped short of promising that Assange would not be held in isolation or subject to SAMs.

The authority repeatedly cited by Lewis to describe the conditions under which Assange will be held and tried in the United States was Gordon Kromberg, the Assistant United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Kromberg is the government’s grand inquisitor in cases of terrorism and national security. He has expressed open contempt for Muslims and Islam and decried what he calls “the Islamization of the American justice system.” He oversaw the 9-year persecution of the Palestinian activist and academic Dr. Sami Al-Arian and at one point refused his request to postpone a court date during the religious holiday of Ramadan. “They can kill each other during Ramadan, they can appear before the grand jury. All they can’t do is eat before sunset,” Kromberg said in a 2006 conversation, according to an affidavit filed by one of Arian’s attorneys, Jack Fernandez. 

Kromberg criticized Daniel Hale, the former Air Force analyst who recently was sentenced to 45 months in a supermax prison for leaking information about the indiscriminate killings of civilians by drones, saying Hale had not contributed to public debate, but had “endanger[ed] the people doing the fight.” He ordered Chelsea Manning jailed after she refused to testify in front of a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. Manning attempted to commit suicide in March 2020 while being held in the Virginia jail.

Having covered the case of Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was arrested in London in 2006, I have a good idea of what waits Assange if he is extradited. Hashmi also was held in Belmarsh and extradited in 2007 to the United States where he spent three years in solitary confinement under SAMs. His “crime” was that an acquaintance who stayed in his apartment with him while he was a graduate student in London had raincoats, ponchos and waterproof socks in luggage at the apartment. The acquaintance planned to deliver the items to al-Qaida. But I doubt the government was concerned with waterproof socks being shipped to Pakistan. The reason, I suspect, Hashmi was targeted was because, like the Palestinian activist Dr. Sami Al-Arian, and like Assange, he was fearless and zealous in his defense of those being bombed, shot, terrorized and killed throughout the Muslim world while he was a student at Brooklyn College. 

Hashmi was deeply religious, and some of his views, including his praise of the Afghan resistance, were controversial, but he had a right to express these sentiments. More important, he had a right to expect freedom from persecution and imprisonment because of his opinions, just as Assange should have the freedom, like any publisher, to inform the public about the inner workings of power. Facing the possibility of a 70-year sentence in prison and having already spent four years in jail, much of it in solitary confinement, Hashmi accepted a plea bargain on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism. Judge Loretta Preska, who sentenced the hacker Jeremy Hammond and human rights attorney Steven Donziger, gave him the maximum 15-year sentence. Hashmi was held for nine years in Guantanamo-like conditions in the supermax ADX [Administrative Maximum] facility in Florence, Colorado, where Assange, if found guilty in an American court, will almost certainly be imprisoned. Hashmi was released in 2019.

If the government will go to this length to persecute someone who was alleged to have been involved in sending waterproof socks to al-Qaida, what can we expect the government to do to Assange?

The pre-trial detention conditions Hashmi endured were designed to break him. He was electronically monitored 24-hours a day. He could only receive or send mail with his immediate family. He was prohibited from speaking with other prisoners through the walls. He was forbidden from taking part in group prayer. He was permitted one hour of exercise a day, in a solitary cage without fresh air. He has unable to see most of the evidence used to indict him which was classified under the Classified Information Procedures Act, enacted to prevent US intelligence officers under prosecution from threatening to reveal state secrets to manipulate the legal proceedings. The harsh conditions eroded his physical and psychological health. When he appeared in the final court proceeding to accept a guilty plea he was in a near catatonic state, clearly unable to follow the proceedings around him.

If the government will go to this length to persecute someone who was alleged to have been involved in sending waterproof socks to al-Qaida, what can we expect the government to do to Assange?

A society that prohibits the capacity to speak in truth extinguishes the capacity to live in justice. The battle for Assange’s liberty has always been much more than the persecution of a publisher. It is the most important battle for press freedom of our era. And if we lose this battle, it will be devastating, not only for Assange and his family, but for us.

There is no legal basis to hold Assange in prison. There is no legal basis to try him, an Australian citizen, under the US Espionage Act. 

Tyrannies invert the rule of law. They turn the law into an instrument of injustice. They cloak their crimes in a faux legality. They use the decorum of the courts and trials, to mask their criminality. Those, such as Assange, who expose that criminality to the public are dangerous, for without the pretext of legitimacy the tyranny loses credibility and has nothing left in its arsenal but fear, coercion and violence. The long campaign against Assange and WikiLeaks is a window into the collapse of the rule of law, the rise of what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of inverted totalitarianism, a form of totalitarianism that maintains the fictions of the old capitalist democracy, including its institutions, iconography, patriotic symbols and rhetoric, but internally has surrendered total control to the dictates of global corporations and the security and surveillance state.

There is no legal basis to hold Assange in prison. There is no legal basis to try him, an Australian citizen, under the US Espionage Act. The CIA spied on Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Assange and his lawyers as they discussed his defense. This fact alone invalidated the trial. Assange is being held in a high security prison so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, has testified, continue the degrading abuse and torture it hopes will lead to his psychological if not physical disintegration.The architects of imperialism, the masters of war, the corporate-controlled legislative, judicial and executive branches of government and their obsequious courtiers in the media, are guilty of egregious crimes. Say this simple truth and you are banished, as many of us have been, to the margins of the media landscape. Prove this truth, as Assange, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond and Edward Snowden have by allowing us to peer into the inner workings of power, and you are hunted down and persecuted.

Assange’s “crime” is that he exposed the more than 15,000 unreported deaths of Iraqi civilians. He exposed the torture and abuse of some 800 men and boys, aged between 14 and 89, at Guantánamo. He exposed that Hillary Clinton in 2009 ordered US diplomats to spy on U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and other U.N. representatives from China, France, Russia, and the UK, spying that included obtaining DNA, iris scans, fingerprints, and personal passwords, part of the long pattern of illegal surveillance that included the eavesdropping on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in the weeks before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. He exposed that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the CIA orchestrated the June 2009 military coup in Honduras that overthrew the democratically-elected president Manuel Zelaya, replacing it with a murderous and corrupt military regime. He exposed that George W. Bush, Barack Obama and General David Petraeus prosecuted a war in Iraq that under post-Nuremberg laws is defined as a criminal war of aggression, a war crime, which authorized hundreds of targeted assassinations, including those of US citizens in Yemen. He exposed that the United States secretly launched missile, bomb, and drone attacks on Yemen, killing scores of civilians. He exposed that Goldman Sachs paid Hillary Clinton $657,000 to give talks, a sum so large it can only be considered a bribe, and that she privately assured corporate leaders she would do their bidding while promising the public financial regulation and reform. He exposed the internal campaign to discredit and destroy British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by members of his own party. He exposed how the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency permits the wholesale government surveillance of our televisions, computers, smartphones and anti-virus software, allowing the government to record and store our conversations, images and private text messages, even from encrypted apps. 

He exposed the truth. He exposed it over and over and over until there was no question of the endemic illegality, corruption and mendacity that defines the global ruling elite. And for these truths alone he is guilty.

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Tulsi Gabbard: Another Nail in the Coffin of Democracy

On the 28th October Tulsi Gabbard former US congresswoman and Presidential candidate post on Twitter As re-reported in RT News Tulsi Gabbard has called out the “Biden-Garland administration” for its “vindictive retaliatory crusade against Julian Assange,” warning it was a slippery slope to the demise of American democracy. “If they succeed in [extraditing Assange], this … Continue reading “Tulsi Gabbard: Another Nail in the Coffin of Democracy”

On the 28th October Tulsi Gabbard former US congresswoman and Presidential candidate post on Twitter

As re-reported in RT News

Tulsi Gabbard has called out the “Biden-Garland administration” for its “vindictive retaliatory crusade against Julian Assange,” warning it was a slippery slope to the demise of American democracy.

“If they succeed in [extraditing Assange], this will be yet another nail in the coffin of democracy here in our country and around the world,” Gabbard warned in a video posted to social media on Thursday. 

In its continued persecution of Assange, Gabbard declared, the Biden administration was “doubling down on its crusade against our constitutionally protected rights,” specifically those protected by the First Amendment: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press. 

The role of the BBC in the state-sponsored persecution of Julian Assange, Part 2 – Impunity

On the 19th October 2021, Nina Cross reported in The Indicter This is the second of now three articles looking at the different ways the BBC manipulates our perception of Julian Assange.  Part 1 looks at how the BBC helped the government to present Assange as a serious criminal after he was arrested in 2019.  Part 2 focuses … Continue reading “The role of the BBC in the state-sponsored persecution of Julian Assange, Part 2 – Impunity”

On the 19th October 2021, Nina Cross reported in The Indicter

This is the second of now three articles looking at the different ways the BBC manipulates our perception of Julian Assange.  Partlooks at how the BBC helped the government to present Assange as a serious criminal after he was arrested in 2019.  Part 2 focuses on the ways the BBC has helped to grow a culture of impunity towards him, impunity which has taken hold inside British public institutions and courts, and which could result in his death if it is not stopped.

The upcoming US appeal against January’s court ruling that Assange would not be extradited has in essence nothing to do with extradition, but will focus on his character and psychology.  It is designed to discredit his name further, diminish his suffering and downplay the risks he faces in the US. We can see how the BBC has been instrumental in laying the groundwork for this.

A picture of prejudice and propaganda

We can see the corporate media smear campaign of Assange has not bypassed judges.  We know that Judge Snow, convicting Assange for bail violation, accused him of being a narcissist who could not get beyond his own self-interest after Assange simply said “I plead not guilty”.  We know Judge Taylor claimed Assange had been charged with rape and had to be corrected.  Sentencing him to 50 weeks in prison for bail skipping she dismissed his fears of persecution, ignored the appearance of the US indictment and claimed he had fled to the embassy to “evade justice”. This was illogical given the first US indictment against him was unsealed the day of his arrest, the official reasonsEcuador gave for granting asylum and the pile of threats against Assange’s life by US officials.  Judge Taylor repeated the same narrative of “evading justice” that the BBC and other corporate media had pushed for the years between Assange’s arrival at the embassy and the date of her sentencing.

The recent revelation of the CIA plot to kidnap and assassinate Assange in 2017, ignored by the BBC unless you live in Somalia, is vindication of Assange’s fears and shows Judge Taylor’s sentencing statement for what it was: politically motivated propaganda.  Judge Baraitser in turn was observed ruling significantly in favour of the requests made by the US prosecution,  arbitrarily barring trial monitors and opining that possible CIA plots to assassinate Assange back in 2010 were not unreasonable.

Even if we excluded the reality of allegiances and political influences, the fact judges have likely followed BBC and other corporate media news for the last decade means they have very likely acquired a negative and distorted view of Assange and historical facts around him.  The following are some of the ways the BBC has smeared Assange.

Discrediting Assange as a journalist

The BBC always describes Assange as the ‘founder of Wikileaks’ but for Jamal Khashoggi, Roman Protasevich, Anna Politkovskaya, and countless others, whose work does not threaten US military impunity but is considered ideologically acceptable, they qualify as journalist, activist journalist, dissident journalist, campaigning human rights journalist.  

But the journalist who exposes US war crimes is an “attention seeker“,  “definitely a bad house guest – that much we’re sure of,” an empty man, mischief-maker, wanting attention, a played Putin stooge, trouble-maker,  an activist hacker,  a narcissist – according to a “widely held opinion”, Russia’s useful idiotunhygienic, uncaring towards his cat, noisy, rude and anti-sociala cyberterrorist with disgusting habitssomeone who avoided extradition to Sweden to avoid being interviewed about sexual allegationsa fugitive,   a smirk-faced irresponsible hack who ha ha will be murdered by the CIA,  

But these form just a segment of output on Assange.  The BBC has greatly invested in his character assassination, which takes various forms, including news articles, videos and podcasts. Repetition is important if you want to programme your audience to dislike someone or worse see them as a danger, a public enemy.   And while we are busy being programmed that Assange is the enemy, we slip into a comatose state and forget who should be in the dock.  The BBC wants us to think the crimes against humanity, the killing of hundreds of thousands of people, the dissolution of entire countries, programmes of rendition and torture and state-sponsored military war crimes all pale into insignificance when compared to evil Assange.  The smearing of his character, designed to inspire disgust, has likely influenced judges just as much as it has other BBC licence payers.

Parallel to the nurturing of disgust towards Assange by the BBC, there is a growing disdain towards journalists not receiving corporate salaries.  The precedent-setting case of Craig Murray, sentenced by a High Court, shows that a tiered justice system is in the making in Britain, that journalists not in the corporate club do not have the same protections. The BBC’s long term toxic Assange-bashing output, reinforced by other corporate media, put together with a culture of disdain for ‘not proper journalists means that while he remains subjected to the will and whim of the British courts Assange’s life is in danger.

Airbrushing and hiding abuses of process 

The abuses of process and ill treatment inflicted upon Assange have been well-documented by the UN Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer,  the United Nationspolitical leaderslawyershuman rights advocatesdoctors and NGOs.  Instead of practising journalism and exposing these abuses, the BBC has hidden the corruption of public institutions.

The BBC will tell you that the two initial investigations concerning Assange in Sweden were dropped by the public prosecutor but picked up later by another, Marianne Ny.  It won’t tell you that police changed witness testimony to give the appearance a possible rape had been committed.  It won’t tell you that the women involved went to the police station only to inquire if they could compel Assange to take an STD test.

The BBC will tell you that the Swedish prosecutors issued a red alert but won’t tell you this was issued along with a European arrest warrant after the prosecutor gave Assange permission to leave Sweden.  It will not tell you that Former Stockholm chief district prosecutor, Sven-Erik Alhem, described Ny’s steps to extradite Assange as:

“… unreasonable and unprofessional, as well as unfair and disproportionate.” providing a statement on the abuses of process she had engaged in.

The BBC will tell you the Supreme Court ordered Assange to be extradited in 2012 but it will not tell you that the law was changed in 2014 so that extradition requests could not be issued in the same way Assange’s had been by Marianne Ny.

The BBC will tell you that Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden where he was wanted for questioning regarding sexual allegations, implying reluctance to cooperate with the Swedish authorities.  It won’t tell you Assange made repeated attempts to meet with the prosecutors but they stone-walled him.  Connecting political asylum to sexual violence does not make legal or common sense, except to Judge Taylor. What civilised countries give political asylum to suspects of sexual violence?  

The BBC sometimes tells you Assange sought asylum to avoid onward extradition from Sweden to the US, but this is not enough to counter its prolific fugitive rhetoric.  It will not tell you of the evidence indicating Sweden would extradite him to the US.

It will tell you that one of the two cases of allegations against Assange was dropped as the statute of limitations for the offence had expired while he was in the embassy.  It will not tell you that Marianne Ny had only to walk into the embassy or switch on the video link but refused, caving into the pressure from the CPS because Assange was “not just another extradition case.”

This BBC article published in 2012 – after Assange had sought refuge in the embassy – tells us the Swedish authorities accused Ecuador of halting the Swedish judicial process:

“The accusations… are serious, and it is unacceptable that Ecuador would want to halt the Swedish judicial process and European judicial co-operation,” said Anders Joerle, spokesman for the Swedish foreign ministry”.

but then the article tells us:

A subsequent offer by Ecuador to allow Swedish investigators to interview Mr Assange inside the embassy was rejected.” 

What it does not tell you is that hanging an arrest warrant over someone and refusing to interview them is not normal practice.  This contradiction shows the suspect motives by the Swedish authorities; the intention was extradition not investigation. 

Assange himself told the BBC:

The Swedish government refuses to behave in a way that is at all normal, rational or reasonable and that is why I have been granted political asylum”.

But instead of exposing the inconsistencies, contradictions and abnormal behaviours, the BBC has buried them as seen here: hear nothing, see nothing, say nothing.

The Swedish authorities continued this abuse and in 2015 it was a factor in the decision of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) that Assange was arbitrarily detained.

The BBC will tell you Assange cost the British taxpayer many millions through surveillance by not leaving the Ecuadorian embassy but it will not tell you this was a misuse of public funds and of the police service. Hundreds of uniformed men and women stood bored outside the embassy in essence on ceremony, saluting the Whitehouse, while Theresa May slashed the policing budget during a period of soaring knife crime in London.

The BBC will tell you Assange is in Belmarsh prison but it won’t tell you that he was held in indefinite solitary confinement, contrary to the government’s agreement to comply with the UN convention against torture.

The impunity to persecute Assange has been enabled by the BBC through omission and silence. Instead of practising journalism it has turned a blind eye to abuses of the British authorities and those of its allies.    The BBC’s behaviour is contrary: anti-journalism, anti-truth.

Disinformation to defamation

Imagine being a judge and listening to BBC News the day Assange was arrested in April 2019. In this video chief BBC diplomatic reporter, James Landale:

  • not only confuses the 2010 extradition request from Sweden with an extradition request not yet made by the USA, but his odd comment about “information and what we now call Wikileaks” appears to be a desperate attempt to avoid saying “US war crimes
  • claims “rape charges had lapsed but could be restarted if the Swedish authorities wished to do that.” Landale was most likely here referring to the statute of limitations for allegations as charges were never brought against Assange.

The Eton-educated Landale swings between allegations and charges, typical of corporate media’s disregard for factual accuracy.  Perhaps Etonian confidence is enough to persuade most judges he knew what he was talking about.  Landale plugged the government narrative, and whitewashed the Ecuadorian government’s abuses of process, claiming it “formally” withdrew asylum when in practice Assange was stripped of asylum and Ecuadorian citizenship without any due process. It was a catalogue of disinformation. During the video words appearing on the screen included “discourteous aggressive behaviour”.

A demonstration of how to cover abuses of process

In this 2019 BBC article we are told the Swedish prosecutors closed the case because:

“ the time they felt they were unable to take the case forward while Assange was inside the Ecuadorean embassy.” 

This is how the BBC hides abuses of process. Procedures do not depend on the feelings of prosecutors; they are carried out according to laws and norms. Stone-walling your own investigation is an abuse and was a factor in the UNWGAD decision of arbitrary detention.

This BBC article in March 2015 quotes Ny on her U-turn decision to finally interview Assange to avoid completely sabotaging her own investigation. She shows no sense of urgency or responsibility towards the case she was supposedly investigating:

My view has always been that to perform an interview with him at the Ecuadorian embassy in London would lower the quality of the interview,’”  

Yet when the BBC reported that Swedish prosecutors finally dropped the supposed investigation in 2019 because: 

“…the evidence has weakened considerably due to the long period of time that has elapsed since the events in question.” 

we have to question, because neither the BBC nor the courts have, is it normal for Swedish prosecutors to arrest someone, refuse to interview them for years then complain about having poor evidence? But we are in the fictitious world of the BBC where the fancy of prosecutors takes priority over law, which is presumably the same world inhabited by Judge Taylor.

Its behaviour shows that the BBC does not serve the interests of the public but of the Foreign Office, the British elite and its allies in the US security state, the true beneficiaries of the culture of impunity cultivated towards Assange.   Critical facts are buried or manipulated by the BBC, and arbitrarily ignored by the British courts, so we have a non-sensical distorted version of reality where the rulings of the courts reflect what is peddled in BBC output: disinformation, the abnormal presented as normal and gross contempt towards Assange. 

Logically judges and other professionals watch and read beyond BBC News, although likely digest other corporate media propaganda about Assange from outlets such as the Guardian.  And as recognised, many things influence judges.  However, the courtroom prejudice Assange has faced cannot be ignored, and a trial by media has run parallel to legal proceedings for years.

Neither can the power of the BBC be ignored, as David Clementi, former head claimed:

“No other national asset has the potential to serve Britain so powerfully”

In Assange’s case it has served the interests of the British state apparatus, enabling a culture of impunity by spoon feeding its audience government narratives, manipulating perception, and promoting ridicule and disdain.   The persecution of Assange that increasingly looks like a slow assassination by the UK and US authorities could not be so conceivable without a servile media.  The BBC stepped up.  It is time the trial by media ended.

Read original article in The Indicter

The Role of the BBC in the State-Sponsored Sersecution of Julian Assange. Part 1

On the 28th September 2021, Nina Cross reported in The Indicter This is the first of two articles analysing the role of the BBC in the state-sponsored persecution of Julian Assange.  It analyses how the British government used the BBC to present Assange as a criminal following his arrest on 11th April 2019.  It then … Continue reading “The Role of the BBC in the State-Sponsored Sersecution of Julian Assange. Part 1”

On the 28th September 2021, Nina Cross reported in The Indicter

This is the first of two articles analysing the role of the BBC in the state-sponsored persecution of Julian Assange.  It analyses how the British government used the BBC to present Assange as a criminal following his arrest on 11th April 2019.  It then examines how the BBC helped to control the narratives around the stripping of Assange’s asylum, a violation of international law.

Some BBC background – how Britain’s most powerful ‘national asset’ helps keep the British people in check while serving imperialism

To understand the position the BBC has taken towards Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, award-winning journalist, publisher, fiancé, father, son, brother, human being, it is useful to know some basic BBC facts.

The heads of the BBC are cherry-picked by the government.  They often have long and close links to the Prime Minister, such as Chris Patten who was a member of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet in 1989 and David Clementi, former deputy head of the Bank of England, advisor to Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.  The current head is Richard Sharp, former advisor to Boris Johnson when Johnson was Mayor of London. Sharp was also the manager of the billionaire Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak when Sunak worked at Goldman Sachs bank. A political ally of the government, Sharp has donated £400,000 to the Tory party. He is so rich he can afford to work for the BBC for free.

It remains a criminal offence in Britain to have a TV and not pay for a TV licence, which provides the main source of income for the BBC.  People have served time, and still can, for not paying the licence fee.

In 2020 the licence fee income amounted to £3,750,000,000, more than the UK spent on its prisons in 2019.  Its commercial activities generate more income. The BBC’s funding position, described by the regulator OFCOM as privileged,  provides senior journalists, news anchors and news presenters with lucrative salaries.

The Foreign Secretary controls the objectives, priorities, targets and languages in which the World Service is delivered.

The BBC World Service is not regulated, it is exempt from official scrutiny despite the BBC having a far greater international audience than domestic. The BBC’s global news could possibly reach a weekly target of 500 million by 2022.

The World Service is funded by licence fees and by the government.  In 2015 it was allocated £289 million from the National Security and Defence budget under the then PM David Cameron, to be spread over five years.  This may very possibly be continued. 

Last year the previous head of the BBC, David Clementi, commented:

No other national asset has the potential to serve Britain so powerfully – uniting us as one nation at home, and representing global Britain abroad… The BBC is a great national asset; a diminished BBC is a weakened United Kingdom.” 

In short, the BBC helps the British elite to control the narrative at home and abroad.  With the BBC on board, conjointly with other corporate media servile to the powerful, tyranny can be exported to countries targeted by the Foreign Office in the form of military, economic or proxy wars, façade managed as ‘humanitarian’ or wars against terror.  Julian Assange has helped us to understand this tyranny. 

How the British government used the BBC to manage Assange’s arrest

Within an hour and a half of Assange’s arrest on 11th April 2019, the BBC broadcasted a statement by Jeremy Hunt, the then Foreign Secretary.  The BBC refused to answer any FOI questions about this interview, and so far the Foreign Office has denied any correspondence exists around it (a review is supposedly in progress).  It was likely filmed in a room in the Foreign Office, indicated by this image of former junior Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan, apparently taken in the same place.  This suggests that Hunt invited the BBC to the Foreign Office explicitly to manage the narrative around the Ecuadorian government stripping Assange of his asylum.

Hunt made no reference to any crime, charge or conviction; by implication he painted Assange as a dishonest, despicable and cowardly character “Assange is no hero” “…has been hiding from the truth for years” “…has held the Ecuadorian embassy hostage…”

At the time the statement was broadcasted all Assange was known to be wanted for was a 7-year old breach of police bail which was not attached to any charge, but which had resulted from him seeking asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy.  In essence, Hunt used Britain’s most powerful ‘national asset’ to create a sense of grievous criminal behaviour over a minor violation of law,.  This made no legal or logical sense

Jeremy Hunt had not been known to use Britain’s most powerful ‘national asset’ to make similar speeches about the thousands of people who have skipped bail over the years in Britain, or about known serious offenders but on 11thApril 2019 he decided to single out Julian Assange for such treatment.

Hunt’s treatment of Assange can be compared to the case taken to the ECHR against Vladimir Putin by Mikhail Khodorkovsky when Putin was the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.  Khodorkovsky claimed Putin violated his right to the presumption of innocence by making certain comments, including “a thief should be in jail” prior to Khodorkovsky’s second trial for financial crimes.  However, the ECHR ruled that Putin did not violate the presumption of innocence as:

  • his comments were spontaneous, unrehearsed
  • they were made during a presser covering many topics – not coordinated around Khodorkovsky
  • Putin clarified the comments related to Khodorkovsky’s first conviction

We now compare the same criteria to Hunt’s comments about Assange and we see the opposite applies:

  • they implied criminal behaviour without reference to any charge or conviction
  • they formed a statement, pre-written and likely rehearsed
  • the filming of his statement was likely engineered by Hunt using Britain’s most powerful ‘national asset’, for the purpose of encouraging the public to see Assange in a particular way
  • no other media outlet was invited by Hunt to pose questions or challenge Hunt’s narrative
  • as the only journalist in a position to ask questions or challenge Hunt, the BBC journalist did not go there, instead his question invited Hunt to pick up a different point

In Khodorkovsky’s case the ECHR explained both defamation and violation of the right to the presumption of innocence:

The Court reiterates that Article 6 § 2 will be violated if a statement of a public official concerning a person charged with a criminal offence reflects an opinion that he is guilty before he has been proved so according to law. It suffices, even in the absence of any formal finding, that there is some reasoning to suggest that the official regards the accused as guilty.

The Court has previously held that Article 6 § 2, in its relevant aspect, is aimed at preventing the undermining of a fair criminal trial by prejudicial statements made in close connection with those proceedings. Where no such proceedings are, or have been in existence, statements attributing criminal or other reprehensible conduct are relevant rather to considerations of protection against defamation and raising potential issues under Article 8

Other ministers, including the then PM Theresa May, the then Home Secretary Sajid Javid and the then junior Foreign Minister Alan Duncan, all piled in with statements that Assange was “rightly facing justice”.  Yet all they could muster between them was a minor police bail skipping offence, showing a wildly disproportionate use of their high-ranking public offices, two of them using the ready-to-serve-empire BBC, available on tap.  In Hunt’s case he used both the BBC and Twitter.  Of all the statements on Assange’s arrest it was Theresa May’s that referenced the charge of bail skipping. Following this she claimed “…this goes to show that in the UK, no one is above the law, another phrase employed throughout the day by this group of ministers.

This reference to UK law was by design: Assange had been in the Ecuadorian embassy legitimately under international laws of asylum.   In 2015 the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNGWAD) stated the UK “refused to honour its obligations to respect Mr. Assange’s asylum under either the 1951 Refugee Convention, or customary international law” and that  Assange was being held in arbitrary detention in the Ecuadorian embassy.  So, on the day of his arrest, Britain’s top ministers engaged in a campaign of buzz words to bury any noise that could be made about the UNGWAD statement and cover the crimes of the Ecuadorian government in removing Assange’s asylum.  

All this before Assange had even entered court over the bail charge.  Assange had no hope of the presumption of innocence.  Their behaviour was an example of public mobbing’ , a term used by the UN Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, to describe how public institutions and officials have attacked Assange.

And it was not just the general public who made up the BBC audience: many judges would have listened to the BBC and other corporate news reporting ministers’ statements that day.

A few days later Assange received the harshest sentence possible in Britain for this minor offence: 12 months in prison.   He was sent to Britain’s most secure prison, where he remains almost two and a half years later as a favour to the US government.

How the BBC helped the governments of Ecuador and the US to manage Assange’s arrest

By the day of Assange’s arrest, the same day the US requested his extradition from Britain, the BBC had published multiple articles on Assange’s fears about this happening.  Examples are hereherehere here and here. Yet a few days after Assange’s arrest, reporter Jon Sopel, on a £245,000 BBC salary, sat with the President of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, and ignored almost a decade of BBC articles on the subject.  Instead, Sopel fed Moreno lines that allowed him to spread whatever defaming and damning narratives he wanted:


  • How did he treat staff? 
  • I heard reports that he was spying on your staff, what does that mean?
  • His claim is that he is a champion of open government, of freedom of information, that he is a journalist and deserved asylum
  • Do you believe he is an agent for Russia?
  • So he was on the Russian side?
  • Were you under pressure by the British and from the Americans to revoke his asylum?
  • Are you relieved that he is gone?

Moreno’s answers painted a filthy faeces-smearing , physically violent, unhinged cyber-terrorist spy working for Russia.  All of Moreno’s narratives have been debunked.  This ‘piece’ by the BBC is titled ““Assange smeared faeces in the Ecuador embassy” says president’”

Such narratives served to dehumanise Assange and to contain his support.  Not only did it shield the US from public scrutiny, but it also enabled Moreno to promote unhinged claims by leading US politicians including Jo Biden (“Assange is a hi-tech terrorist”) and Mike Pompeo when head of the CIA  (“Wikileaks is a non-state hostile intelligence service”). It is now known that using the narratives of ‘hostile’ and ‘terrorist’ individuals inside the Trump government including Pompeo considered assassinating Assange.

Sopel reported back home on his ‘interview’, repeating the stories peddled by Moreno. He delivered the defaming and debunked stories to BBC World News which even then had a weekly audience of hundreds of millions. 

We see that the BBC is the propaganda tool of choice for the British government to assault Assange.  It is on tap to the government, it can stream their false statements, it can send a team up at the snap of a Foreign Office finger, it can be relied upon to not ask intelligent questions or challenge narratives, it can feed useful lines, it can promote defaming narratives on its huge BBC World News platform, there are no stories it will not peddle: faeces, cat abuse.  All of these have been used on Assange. 

Part 2 of the role of the BBC in the persecution of Julian Assange will look at:

BBC disinformation, its sustained campaign to ignore historical facts, its sustained campaign to delegitimise Assange as a journalist, character assassination, repetition and promoting of US narratives.

The appeal hearing at the High Court which will decide Julian Assange’s fate has been set for Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th October.   On Saturday 23rd October, there will be a demonstration in support of Julian Assange assembling at the BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place at 1 pm for a march to the High Court.

Read original article in The Indicter

Also covering media bans and biased reporting of the Assange Saga by Mainstream Media Britain’s Guardian publishes 78 articles on Nalvany to 16 on Assange

Garland bars prosecutors from seizing reporters’ records

On the 19th July 2021, Eric Tucker And Michael Balsamo report in AP News Editor’s Note: We have included this article as any step in returning media rights and independence is a step towards the release of Julian Assange . Time for the US to return Julian’s laptops stolen in 2010 when leaving Sweden, his … Continue reading “Garland bars prosecutors from seizing reporters’ records”

On the 19th July 2021, Eric Tucker And Michael Balsamo report in AP News

Editor’s Note: We have included this article as any step in returning media rights and independence is a step towards the release of Julian Assange .
Time for the US to return Julian’s laptops stolen in 2010 when leaving Sweden, his personal item pilfered during the excessive Ecudorian embassy kidnap in 2019, . . . and the spy tapes taken in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday formally prohibited federal prosecutors from seizing the records of journalists in leak investigations, with limited exceptions, reversing years of department policy. 

The new policy largely codifies the commitment Garland made in June, when he said the Justice Department would abandon the practice of seizing reporters’ records as part of efforts to uncover confidential sources. It aims to resolve a politically thorny issue that has long vexed Justice Department prosecutors trying to weigh the media’s First Amendment rights against the government’s desire to protect classified information.

“The United States has, of course, an important national interest in protecting national security information against unauthorized disclosure,” Garland wrote in his memo. “But a balancing test may fail to properly weight the important national interest in protecting journalists from compelled disclosure of information revealing their sources, sources they need to apprise the American people of the workings of their government.”

The memo makes clear that federal prosecutors can, in some cases, obtain journalists’ records. Those exceptions include if the reporters are suspected of working for agents of a foreign power or terrorist organizations, if they are under investigation for unrelated activities or if they obtained their information through criminal methods like breaking and entering. There are also exceptions for situations with imminent risks, like kidnappings or crimes against children.

Garland was moved to act following an outcry over revelations that the department during the Trump administration had obtained records belonging to journalists at The Washington Post, CNN and The New York Times as part of investigations into who had disclosed government secrets related to the Russia investigation and other national security matters.

Others whose records were obtained were Democratic members of Congress and aides and former White House counsel Don McGahn.

. . .

Read whole article in AP News

Britain proudly announces a plan to ‘protect journalists’ – but if it really cared it would free Julian Assange

On the 10th March, George Szamuely, reports in RT News George Szamuely is a senior research fellow at Global Policy Institute (London) and author of Bombs for Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War on Yugoslavia. Follow him on Twitter @GeorgeSzamuely The UK Government’s new “action plan” to protect journalists will do little to burnish the credentials of a would-be … Continue reading “Britain proudly announces a plan to ‘protect journalists’ – but if it really cared it would free Julian Assange”

On the 10th March, George Szamuely, reports in RT News

George Szamuely is a senior research fellow at Global Policy Institute (London) and author of Bombs for Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War on Yugoslavia. Follow him on Twitter @GeorgeSzamuely

The UK Government’s new “action plan” to protect journalists will do little to burnish the credentials of a would-be champion of media freedom that continues to imprison the world’s most famous dissident journalist.

Continuing to promote itself as the soi-disant global defender of journalistic freedom, the UK Government has just grandly unveiled a National Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists to protect newsmen and women from harassment and threats. UK journalists have apparently “suffered abuse and attacks while going about their work,” and the government is selflessly riding to their rescue. The plan involves “new training for police officers as well as aspiring and existing journalists, and commitments from social media platforms and prosecution services to take tough action against abusers.”

Facebook and Twitter, we are told, are on board, promising “to respond promptly to complaints of threats to journalists’ safety.” The government makes no mention of the threat Facebook and Twitter pose to journalism. During the past few years, Twitter and Facebook have been closing down, or threatening to close down, the accounts of journalists, and with cheerful abandon. Moreover, during the 2020 US presidential election, the two social media giants interfered with the work of journalists by preventing the sharing of New York Post’sunflattering articles about Hunter Biden, son of then-candidate Joe Biden. Twitter went further and locked the newspaper’s account for the two critical weeks before the election.

Prime Minister (and former journalist) Boris Johnson issued a statement nobly declaring: “Freedom of speech and a free press are at the very core of our democracy, and journalists must be able to go about their work without being threatened. The cowardly attacks and abuse directed at reporters for simply doing their job cannot continue. This action plan is just the start of our work to protect those keeping the public informed, and defend those holding the government to account.”

For all the self-congratulatory verbiage emanating from the government, it’s hard to discern very much in this plan other than a promise to collect data about the supposed ongoing harassment of journalists.

Among the journalists the government of Boris Johnson will not be rushing to collect data about is of course Julian Assange. Assange has been languishing for nearly two years in HMP Belmarsh, a maximum-security prison dubbed Britain’s Guantanamo Bay. Its detainees include serial killers, child rapists and child killers, the 2013 murderers of a British Army soldier in Woolwich, the Manchester Arena bomber and the London nail bomber

Julian Assange has been convicted of nothing other than the minor, procedural crime of skipping bail. Assange did not of course skip bail. In November 2010, Swedish prosecutors obtained a European Arrest Warrant, demanding that Assange be detained in the UK so that he could be questioned in relation to the sexual offense allegations made by two women with whom he had had brief sexual relations and who wanted him to be tested for HIV. Assange had to be questioned in person, and only in Sweden. 

Assange fought the extradition request, suspecting that it was a ruse to get him to Sweden, from where he would be swiftly extradited to the United States, which, in all likelihood had prepared a secret indictment against him. The British courts consistently ruled against Assange and in favor of the Swedish extradition request. On June 15, 2012, following the British Supreme Court’s dismissal of his challenge to the Swedish extradition request, Assange walked into the Ecuadorian embassy in London and asked for political asylum. 

We learned subsequently from e-mail exchanges between the Swedish prosecutors and the UK Crown Prosecution Service, whose head at the time was current Labor Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, the British were encouraging the Swedes to refuse to come to London to interview Assange. 

Though Sweden announced in May 2017 that it was discontinuing the investigation of Assange, the British authorities insisted that Assange would still face arrest the moment he stepped out of the embassy on the charge of skipping bail. 

On April 11, 2019, the government of Ecuador withdrew Assange’s asylum status, and invited the British authorities to enter the embassy and seize him. Assange was rushed before a judge and immediately sentenced to prison for 50 weeks. Within minutes of his arrest, the United States confirmed what Assange had said all along. It announced that it would seek his extradition on the basis of a secret indictment that had been prepared a year earlier. The charge was that Assange had conspired with Chelsea Manning to hack into a secure computer system. A month later, the United States announced 17 additional charges against Assange under its Espionage Act.

Within a month, UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed the extradition warrant that would allow the extradition of Assange to the United States. Javid did this even though the 2004 extradition treaty between the US and the UK explicitly states that “Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense.” Assange’s “offense” –publication of government documents detailing war crimes and official abuses of power– is about as “political” as any offense can get. 

In early January 2021, Judge Vanessa Baraitser denied the US extradition request for Assange on the grounds that the inhuman conditions in a US Supermax prison could drive Assange to suicide. Then, with extraordinary inconsistency, she ordered Assange to remain in Belmarsh, the UK’s Supermax, while the US appealed her decision–a legal process that could last for years. 

Yet even as Assange was languishing in prison, amidst a global pandemic and among some of the worst criminals in the land, the UK Government was launching a campaign to promote itself as the global champion of journalistic freedom and the scourge of unenlightened regimes resisting transparency.

In July 2019, one month after the Home Secretary had signed off on the US’s extradition request, the UK Government co-hosted, with Canada, a Global Conference on Media Freedom“part of an international campaign to shine a global spotlight on media freedom and increase the cost to those that are attempting to restrict it.” In the spirit of shining a “spotlight on media freedom,” the UK Foreign Office refused to permit RT and Sputnik to attend the conference. “We have not accredited RT or Sputnik because of their active role in spreading disinformation,” the Foreign Office explained.

Without a trace of irony, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt declared to the conference attendees: We are on the side of those who seek to report the truth and bring the facts to light. We stand against those who suppress or censor or exact revenge.” 

Scarcely a day goes by without the UK Government’s sounding off on the persecution of journalists somewhere–other than in the UK of course. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has weighed in on the persecution of journalists in Belarus. He was disturbed by, yes, the denial of accreditation. “The Belarusian authorities,” he tweeted out in August 2020, “are continuing to target @BBCNews, local and international media by cancelling their accreditation to report in Belarus.” The UK championed the cause of Svetlana Prokopyeva, who was convicted on charges of “justifying terrorism,” even though she was not sent to prison. During the recent protests over the trial and imprisonment of Alexey Navalny, Raab sternly warned Russia not to target journalists.

The UK Government’s self-congratulatory commitment to media freedom notwithstanding, its own record is rather unimpressive. Journalist advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders publishes an annual survey of the state of journalistic freedom in the world. According to the most recent World Press Freedom Index, the UK has slipped to number 35 in the world. Among the issues Reporters Without Borders raised were the continued imprisonment of Assange, as well as the criminal probe of the July 2019 publication of embarrassing diplomatic cables. The documents, like those of WikiLeaks, were clearly genuine since their appearance in print led to the swift resignation of the UK ambassador to Washington. 

The government’s ‘action plan’ is not only self-serving, but also disingenuous. Why do journalists get special protections denied to others? Anyone in the public eye–politicians, lawyers, judges, athletes, actors, TV celebrities–is likely to experience abuse, personal insults and threats. This rush to single out journalists for special protection smacks of governmental unctuousness, a heavy-handed attempt to flatter journalists by suggesting that they are doing something frightfully dangerous, something likely to provoke powerful interests. Very few journalists do any such thing. Indeed, that the government is so eager to tout the virtues of journalists would surely indicate that it has little to fear from them. The kind of journalist who does indeed take risks, who does dedicate his life to bringing transparency to government–a Julian Assange, in other words–is not the sort of journalist the UK Government will do anything to protect. On the contrary, it will aid and abet in his persecution.  

Read original article in RT News with associated links of interest
More articles about Julian by George Szamuely and RT News
For reference a report on the same topic by The Guardian which seems wholly supportive of UK Government.