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Julian Assange set up a website in 2006 called Wikileaks in order to allow whistleblowers to release evidence of wrongdoing. Wikileaks has consistently, and with 100% accuracy, released documents that show the shocking extent of the criminality of some of the world’s most powerful people and organisations. US intelligence documents show that they were trying to discredit Wikileaks as far back as 2008. In 2010 Wikileaks released the files that are known as the Afghan war logs, and soon afterwards released the notorious videotape known as ‘collateral murder’, which shows US helicopter pilots killing civilians, children and journalists in Iraq. The US government did not like having their crimes exposed, so they asked their allies in the Afghan war (including Sweden) to find reasons to prosecute Julian. Shortly afterwards, Julian was accused of sexual assault in Sweden. A consulting firm called Stratfor, which has close connections with governments and intelligence agencies, recommended a strategy of keeping Julian in legal limbo, saying:
“Move him from country to country to face various charges for the next 25 years”
Since then, the US, British and Swedish governments, together with their media, have gone to great lengths to present misinformation to discredit Julian. There have been systematic violations of due process and right to a fair trial. The UN expert who looked into the case said:
“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.”
Julian is currently in Belmarsh top-security prison awaiting the hearing for extradition to the US. The following is a summary of the key facts.
The Stitch-up begins in Sweden
Julian has never been charged with any crime in Sweden. Two women went to the police to force Julian to have an HIV test. They did not go to report a crime. The police decided to prosecute him. One of the women refused to sign her statement and texted a friend to say she was being railroaded by the police. Julian was interviewed by the chief prosecutor, who said there was no evidence of a crime, so the case was dropped.
The case was resurrected by a second prosecutor. This new prosecutor, the police interviewer and her boss, one of the accusers, and her lawyer, were all friends or political acquaintances of each other. This creates conflicts of interest that are unacceptable in a normal legal process, but they have never been investigated.
Julian was given permission to return to the UK, which he did. However, soon afterwards, the prosecutor then asked for his extradition back to Sweden. Sweden has a history of participating in extraordinary rendition, where it illegally hands people over to the US Central Intelligence Agency to be tortured. It was now clear to Julian that this was a stitch-up to get him extradited to the US. He therefore took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2012.
The British Role in the Stitch-up
The second prosecutor claimed that she wanted to re-interview Julian, but emails show that the British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) interfered and advised her not to interview Julian in the UK. By 2013 she was under pressure to drop the case, but the CPS again interfered and wrote “don’t you dare…Please do not think this case is being dealt with as just another extradition.” The Swedish prosecutor was eventually forced to come to Britain to interview Julian in 2016. This clearly shows that the CPS and the Swedish prosecutor had no interest in justice – they just wanted the allegations to be maintained. Both prosecutors had illegally left the case in limbo for many years. Both prosecutors have also illegally deleted important emails, other files are missing, and the CPS has refused to release the rest of its emails. One cannot avoid the conclusion that there is a widespread cover-up at the highest levels, and all of the governments involved are trying to keep important information secret by making sure that it is not publicly released until it is too late for Julian.
Julian was surrounded by police 24 hours a day and told that if he tried to get medical or dental treatment, he would be arrested. Experts in rape cases explained that the process in this case was completely different from what normally happens with sexual assault allegations. The authorities were:
“using rape to make a political point…the allegations against him are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on Wikileaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning for wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction.”
A new President took charge in Ecuador in 2017. Julian’s conditions were steadily made worse. He was spied on 24 hours a day by a Spanish security company that gave the information to the US intelligence agency, the CIA. This included confidential meetings with his lawyers. Under normal circumstances, this alone would be enough to have the case thrown out. Julian’s Asylum was ended illegally in 2019. He had been in the embassy for almost 7 years, until he was forcibly removed by six policemen.
Smears and Lies in The Media
The British media have told multiple lies to discredit Julian. They repeatedly lied about what happened in Sweden. They carried fake stories about faeces on the wall of the embassy. Julian was mocked for his appearance and long facial hair, which was due to the embassy confiscating his razor. Staff at the embassy have admitted that he was polite and civil.
The media said he did not care about releasing documents containing people’s names. But other journalists who worked with him have said that Julian spent a long time hiding people’s names so they would not be harmed. The US government has admitted that Wikileaks’ releases have not led to a single death.
The media blamed him for Donald Trump’s election win but Wikileaks has released critical material of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The Clinton emails showed that senior members of the Democratic Party conspired against Bernie Sanders, to make sure that Clinton was their Presidential candidate. They also show how corrupt Hillary Clinton is. The media said Julian was a Russian asset, but on 30 July 2019, Judge John Koeltl ruled that there is no evidence of this. The ‘Russian asset’ story was a smokescreen to hide the corruption of Clinton and the Democratic Party.
These smears were propaganda to ensure that the general public would not support him. This propaganda campaign was successful. Most people in Britain and the US have been completely taken in by the lies and smears.
Judicial Conflicts of Interest
Julian has been brought in front of a number of judges. All have shown clear bias against him, with a former British Ambassador writing that one judge “displayed the most plain and open prejudice”. The current supervising judge has serious conflicts of interest. Her husband runs a security firm with the former head of the British spy agency, MI6. The husband had previously been exposed by Wikileaks. Her son works for a company that tries to stop whistleblowers from exposing the crimes of their employers. The judge should withdraw from the case, but she refused. The conduct by the current judge has been so bizarre that it has been criticised by international groups of lawyers. These legal proceedings have been compared to a kangaroo court in a dictatorship.
Julian will stay in jail in Britain awaiting years of extradition hearings. His conditions are appalling. He is only a remand prisoner, yet he is imprisoned in a maximum-security prison alongside convicted murderers, often in ‘unofficial solitary confinement.’ His lawyers have been unable to spend enough time with him to prepare his case. As far as the US authorities are concerned, it is clear that for Julian to be held almost permanently ‘in limbo’ awaiting hearings, unable to work with Wikileaks, is almost as effective as imprisoning him in the US.
Nils Melzer and the United Nations
In 2019 Nils Melzer, a United Nations expert on Torture become involved. Initially he was reluctant to do so, as he himself admitted that:
“I had been subconsciously poisoned by the relentless smear campaign… Once I looked into the facts of this case, what I found filled me with repulsion and disbelief”.
Nils speaks fluent Swedish, and he understands the subtleties of Swedish law. After much detailed research he stated that Julian had suffered psychological torture over a prolonged period and wrote:
“Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide…once telling the truth has become a crime, while the powerful enjoy impunity, it will be too late to correct the course. We will have surrendered our voice to censorship and our fate to unrestrained tyranny.”
Nils wrote to the Swedish prosecutor giving a detailed explanation of 50 serious anomalies with the Swedish case, requesting an independent investigation. The Swedish case was dropped a few days after this letter became public, to avoid any more criticism. Nils has also written a similar letter to the British government, outlining the irregularities in the British process, and demanded an independent investigation. Under international law, the British and Swedish governments have an obligation to carry out these investigations, but have not done so. This is further evidence of a high-level cover-up.
The US Government Wants To Scare Journalists
There can be no doubt that Julian will not receive a fair trial at the court where he will be tried in the USA. According to former CIA agent, John Kiriakou, no National Security defendant has ever won a case there. If Julian is sent to the US, yet again he will be tried in a kangaroo court, sent to prison for the rest of his life, and kept in conditions that are considered to be torture.
What the US and Britain are attempting is not a legal form of extradition, it is extraordinary rendition – the ILLEGAL transfer of a person from one country to another. Julian has been prosecuted by corrupt prosecutors, psychologically tortured, spied on illegally, dragged from an embassy where he had been given asylum, brought in front of biased judges, and imprisoned indefinitely in appalling conditions. The pretence of due process is just theatre to keep Julian locked up for even longer, and to mislead the public, and journalists, into accepting the charade as legitimate.
This case will have huge implications for decades to come. Firstly, Julian is not an American citizen and he was not operating in the USA. The US government should have no jurisdiction over him. If he is extradited, this means that any government can arrest any individual, anywhere in the world, for telling the truth.
Secondly, this case is about our right to know when powerful people are committing crimes. It is about freedom of the press, about freedom of speech, about your right to express critical opinions. It will limit the ability of every campaign organisation, every journalist, every protester, every academic and every citizen to express critical opinions, and it will make it harder for everyone to organise to bring about change.
Thirdly, the real criminals are the people in government who attack and destroy other nations. They are the invaders, the occupiers, the mass murderers, the mass torturers, and the creators of war zones – regions of lawlessness where the most violent crimes, including rape, become a regular occurrence. They want to commit their crimes in secret, and Julian and Wikileaks pose a threat to that secrecy. This is the reason that Julian has been targeted. Right now, he is possibly the world’s most important political prisoner.
Never before has the US government openly talked about overthrowing other governments, such as that of Venezuela, with almost no challenge from the mainstream press. In the past the CIA had to act secretly when overthrowing governments. Journalists who expose war crimes are being prosecuted. We have seen recently, in Australia, raids on the media that exposed Australian military crimes in Afghanistan. Dissent is no longer being tolerated. The media have become more and more afraid of their governments.
Julian is not a hacker. He is a publisher. All the information that Wikileaks publishes is leaked to them. If normal legal rules were being followed, the case would have been dropped long ago. There should be a major investigation in Sweden to examine the misconduct by the prosecutor, and the conflicts of interest involving the police and the second prosecutor. There should also be a major investigation in the UK to examine Julian’s mistreatment in prison, the misconduct by the CPS, the conflicts of interest by the supervising magistrate, the clear bias by other judges, and the conflicts of interest of many other people involved in Julian’s persecution.
Julian is a hero in many countries for having exposed the crimes of the powerful. Thousands of people worldwide are campaigning for his release. Doctors and lawyers have criticised his treatment. You might ask “what can I do?” When Julian was asked what people should do, he would reply “Find out how the world really works.” The simplest thing you can do is to forward this briefing to everyone you know. Write to your MP. Write to the newspapers and journalists. Write to organisations that you belong to. Then start talking about it. Find out if there are protests anywhere near you and join in:
“atrocity does not take place without passive, complacent, compliant bystanders: citizens watching silently, declining to take a stand…against torture and the criminalization of journalism”
There is an additional point worth making, aimed at any journalist who has still not spoken out against the persecution of Julian. If you’ve ever wondered how authoritarian leaders rise to power, take a good look in the mirror. It is your journalistic propaganda that enables governments to get away with their crimes:
“Every act of ‘journalism’ that buries crucial information, and every utterance that vilifies or dehumanises Julian Assange, or sanitises his abuse, is complicit.“
Nils Melzer has given an interview with Republik magazine covering many of the key points in more detail here.
Rod Driver is a part-time academic who is particularly interested in de-bunking propaganda.