U.S. treats Assange as Soviets treated dissidents

Americans and Britons have historically prided ourselves on the rule of law—the no-one is above being subject to the law and no-one is below being protected by the law.

Col. Rudolph Abel, the Soviet master spy who was apprehended in 1957, was defended in his trial by a top lawyer, James Donovan.  The accused Nazi war criminals tried at Nuremberg were given the opportunity to defend themselves and some actually got off.  All of them were treated humanely while awaiting trial.

The dissident publisher Julian Assange, who is accused of publishing secret information about U.S. war crimes, is being treated worse than any accused Nazi.  He has been kept in solitary confinement, denied needed medical care and restricted in the ability to conduct his own defense.

He appeared in Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday in a proceeding to schedule the hearing on whether he should be extradited from Britain to the United States on charges of spying.

Spectators saw that his physical and mental health is broken.  Of course it will be highly convenient to the U.S. national security establishment if he is unable to speak in his own defense and better still if he dies in prison.

He was barely able to understand what was going on.  He was like some Soviet dissident of the 1970s and 1980s who’d been subjected to psychiatric, or rather anti-psychiatric, drugs.

Here is what his friend Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, saw:

I was badly shocked by just how much weight my friend has lost, by the speed his hair has receded and by the appearance of premature and vastly accelerated ageing. He has a pronounced limp I have never seen before. Since his arrest he has lost over 15 kg in weight.

But his physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration. When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both.  [snip]

[H]aving attended the trials in Uzbekistan of several victims of extreme torture, and having worked with survivors from Sierra Leone and elsewhere, I can tell you that … … Julian exhibited exactly the symptoms of a torture victim brought blinking into the light, particularly in terms of disorientation, confusion, and the real struggle to assert free will through the fog of learned helplessness. [snip]

Everybody in that court yesterday saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes. To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable.

Yet the agents of the state, particularly the callous magistrate Vanessa Baraitser, were not just prepared but eager to be a part of this bloodsport. She actually told him that if he were incapable of following proceedings, then his lawyers could explain what had happened to him later.

The question of why a man who, by the very charges against him, was acknowledged to be highly intelligent and competent, had been reduced by the state to somebody incapable of following court proceedings, gave her not a millisecond of concern.  [snip]

The purpose of yesterday’s hearing was case management; to determine the timetable for the extradition proceedings. The key points at issue were that Julian’s defence was requesting more time to prepare their evidence; and arguing that political offences were specifically excluded from the extradition treaty. There should, they argued, therefore be a preliminary hearing to determine whether the extradition treaty applied at all.

The reasons given by Assange’s defence team for more time to prepare were both compelling and startling. They had very limited access to their client in jail and had not been permitted to hand him any documents about the case until one week ago.  He had also only just been given limited computer access, and all his relevant records and materials had been seized from the Ecuadorean Embassy by the US Government; he had no access to his own materials for the purpose of preparing his defence.

One of the reasons Assange’s lawyers asked for a delay was to await the results of a legal case in Madrid, involving a Spanish company, UC Global, that allegedly spied on Assange for the CIA.  Evidence before the Spanish court indicates that the CIA not only tried to sabotage Assange’s defense, but plotted to kidnap him.

Under British law, you can’t be extradited for a purely political offense without a special waiver.  Their argument is the Spanish testimony shows the political nature of this case.

Murray said there were five representatives of the U.S. embassy in the courtroom, who were obviously giving orders to the prosecution.  The chief prosecutor, James Lewis QC, told the judge that he was “taking instructions from those behind,” as he went to the rear to consult with them.

The actual extradition hearing will be held in an annex to Belmarsh prison, where Assange is being held.  There is room for only six spectators, Murray said, so it will in effect be a closed trial.

In Belmarsh he is kept in complete isolation for 23 hours a day. He is permitted 45 minutes exercise. If he has to be moved, they clear the corridors before he walks down them and they lock all cell doors to ensure he has no contact with any other prisoner outside the short and strictly supervised exercise period. There is no possible justification for this inhuman regime, used on major terrorists, being imposed on a publisher who is a remand prisoner.

I have been both cataloguing and protesting for years the increasingly authoritarian powers of the UK state, but that the most gross abuse could be so open and undisguised is still a shock. The campaign of demonisation and dehumanisation against Julian, based on government and media lie after government and media lie, has led to a situation where he can be slowly killed in public sight, and arraigned on a charge of publishing the truth about government wrongdoing, while receiving no assistance from “liberal” society.

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

Source: Assange in Court – Craig Murray

To destroy someone mentally and spiritually is worse than killing.  All our lives have to end sometime, but we can live with a minimum of dignity while we live.

The definition of evil is hatred of the good—the hatred of the coward for the courageous, the hatred of the liar for the truth-teller, the hatred of the slave for the free.  The persecutors of Julian Assange are evil.

LINKS

Defend WikiLeaks.

Assange in Court by Craig Murray.

Only Cowards and Sadists Support the Persecution of Assange by Caitlin Johnstone.

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2 Responses to “U.S. treats Assange as Soviets treated dissidents”

  1. Nikolai Vladivostok Says:

    Aspects of Tommy Robinson’s treatment were also highly irregular, but few cared because it was Tommy Robinson.
    Authorities will bend the rules on unpopular cases first, then gradually extend this treatment to anyone they consider a political enemy.

    Like

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