Ken Loach calls out Sir Keir Starmer, what were his dealings in the Julian Assange case

On the 26 July 2021, Paul Knaggs interviews Ken Loach ( acclaimed Film director, human rights campaigner, long history with UK Labour Party and long term supporter of Julian Assange) in the blog Labour Heartlands

Everyone knows the real story everybody can see it, we can’t believe anybody is hoodwinked. it’s not espionage this is journalism!

Ken Loach spoke out after a screening of a new film highlighting Julian Assange’s political incarceration titled ‘ The War on Journalism: The Case of Julian Assange.‘ After denouncing the mainstream media for sucking every story out of Julian Assange and the Wikileaks organisation, then leaving him to dry in the clutches of the vengeful establishment. Ken went on to call out the self-serving media. Ken Loach always one for expressing the truth asked the questions of the mainstream media most journalists and political commentators now shy away from. He went on to say:

“Everyone knows the real story everybody can see it, we can’t believe anybody is hoodwinked. it’s not espionage this is journalism! When you get a right-wing politician like David Davis saying Julian Assange is a political prisoner, everyone knows it, the Guardian knows it who took his stories then disowned him, the BBC knows it, Channel 4 news, every serious editor current affairs programme, of a national newspaper ‘knows this is the truth’ and yet they are silent the journalist are silent, the lawyers are silent.”

Ken Loach: Starmer should be challenged, what does he know?

Stating this should be a test for him! Starmer speaks of openness in his dealings, well let him be open about this, and let’s hear what he says about the torture and the illegal oppression of Julian Assange.

What do we know about Sir Keir Starmer as head of the Prosecution service.

As DPP, Sir Keir Starmer tempered his supposed love of liberty by fast-tracking the extradition of Julian Assange (a process now making its way through the courts). He flouted legal precedents by advising Swedish lawyers not to question Assange in Britain: a decision that prolonged the latter’s legal purgatory denied closure to his accusers in Sweden and sealed his fate before a US show trial. Leaked emails from August 2012 show that, when the Swedish legal team expressed hesitancy about keeping Assange’s case open, Sir Keir’s office replied: ‘Don’t you dare get cold feet’.

Documents released under Freedom of Information requests to Italian magazine La Repubblica confirm the very close relationship between the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Sweden in the Julian Assange case. The files contain hundreds of mostly redacted emails sent over a five-year period.

But according to one authoritative source, the number of CPS documents relating to the case may be much greater than has so far been disclosed.

In May 2017, the Swedish authorities announced they had ceased all remaining investigations into alleged sexual assault by WikiLeaks founder Assange. But the Metropolitan Police arrest warrant for skipping bail would remain in force. Subsequently, Assange’s legal team sought a ruling that the Met warrant should be rescinded, but the court ruled otherwise.

Chief Magistrate hearing the Assange case: Baroness Emma Arbuthot, married to Baron Arbuthot, former British Conservative Party MP & Chairman of the Defence Select Committee. Yes of course the judiciary is completely independent in the UK.


CPS intervention

The emails between the Swedish Prosecuting Authority (SPA) and the CPS show that the latter was closely involved in the Assange case at every stage.

In one such email, dated 25 January 2011, a CPS lawyer advised the SPA not to send someone to the UK: “My earlier advice remains, that in my view it would not be prudent for the Swedish authorities to try to interview the defendant [Assange] in the UK.

In August 2012, in response to an article saying Sweden could withdraw the warrant against Assange, a CPS staffer (name redacted) warned [pdf, p1] Sweden’s Director of Public Prosecutions Marianne Ny: Don’t you dare get cold feet!!!

But a year later, in October 2013, NY wrote [pdf, p332]we have found us to be obliged to consider to lift the detention order… and to withdraw the European arrest warrant. If so this should be done in a couple of weeks. This would affect not only us but you too in a significant way.

However, it took three and a half more years for that to happen.

Edward Fitzgerald QC said in court that Assange is ‘anti-war and anti-imperialist’ and this is why the US is out to get him.

This case is one of the great political cases of the century, as John McDonnell recently said. It’s a defining case for the left, and Sir Keir Starmer has taken the most conservative position imaginable.

This is what Labour Party members can expect from a Starmer leadership: unquestioning loyalty to the establishment on both sides of the Atlantic.

It beggars belief that Julian Assange who is ‘subjected to every kind of torment’ in Belmarsh prison sits and awaits extradition, yet the likes of Tony Blair walks free. To rub salt into this travesty of justice, when the Scottish SNP proposed a motion to investigate Tony Blair for allegedly misleading parliament over the Iraq war, Sir Keir Starmer voted against it.

Meanwhile, the most high profile political prisoner is treated like a war criminal for exposing war crimes.

Read original articles in Labour Heartlands