nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Julian Assange’s Biggest Fight in Notorious Prison Isn’t Over Extradition

NewsWeek, BY SHAUN WATERMAN ON 01/27/23 “…………………………………………….. Assange’s physical and mental health have declined severely during more than a decade in confinement — first sheltering from U.S. authorities in the Ecuadorian embassy in London from 2012-2019, where he lived in two rooms and never left the building, and for the last almost four years, since he was dragged from the embassy by British police in April 2019, in Belmarsh fighting extradition.

…………………… The proceedings in London continue to drag on. It has been more than a year since the High Court cleared the way for his extradition and his appeal was filed in August. But the court continues to weigh it, with no deadline to reach a decision. Even if he loses, there remains the possibility of an appeal to the British Supreme Court, or to the European Court of Human Rights. Assange could be in the U.S. within months, but he might remain in Britain for years.

His family says that with uncertainty about his extradition hanging over him like the sword of Damocles, he has lost weight and become depressed and anxious.

A confinement of uncertain duration

The worst part about the confinement is having no idea when or how he would be able to leave, Stella Assange said. “It is the uncertain duration that makes it so hard to bear … It’s a kind of torture.”…………..

The uncertainty has exacerbated Assange’s physical and mental deterioration, his wife said. In October 2021, during a High Court hearing about his extradition, Assange, attending via video link from Belmarsh, suffered a “transient ischaemic attack” — a mini-stroke. He has been diagnosed with nerve damage and memory problems and prescribed blood thinners.

“He might not survive this,” she said.

As a remand prisoner, not convicted or sentenced, and facing extradition, not prosecution, Assange is an anomaly in Britain’s most secure prison — designed to hold “Category A” inmates such as IRA militants, jihadis and murderers. One of a tiny handful of unconvicted prisoners, prison regulations require him to be treated differently, his wife said.

“He’s supposed to be able to get visits every day, he’s supposed to be able to work on his case,” she said, “But that’s only on paper. The way the prison system works, it is more efficient to treat everyone like a Cat A prisoner rather than to try to adapt the rules for individuals. In reality, that just doesn’t translate at all.” She said Assange is allowed one or two legal visits, and one or two social visits each week.

In between visits, time can stretch. And the isolation has been hard on him……………………………..

Phone calls, his half-brother Gabriel Shipton told Newsweek from Assange’s native Australia, are limited to 10 minutes. “You’ll just be getting into it and click, it’s over.”

Neither the governor’s office at Belmarsh, nor the press office for the British Prison Service, responded to emails requesting responses to detailed questions.

A source of inspiration and power

Assange gets thousands of letters and parcels from all over the world, Stella Assange said, but the authorities interdict banned items, such as books about national security, paintings and other forbidden objects.

His father, John Shipton, told Newsweek from Australia that Assange draws a lot of inspiration and power from the letters that people write to him. During their phone conversations, he will often read snippets or recall memorable letters, Shipton said. “He loves getting them … You can hear him light up a bit” when he talks about them………………………………………… more https://www.newsweek.com/2023/02/10/julian-assanges-biggest-fight-notorious-prison-isnt-over-extradition-1774197.html

Advertisement

January 29, 2023 Posted by | civil liberties, health, Legal | Leave a comment

The Belmarsh Tribunals Demand Justice for Julian Assange

Never before has a publisher been charged under the U.S. Espionage Act. The Assange prosecution poses a fundamental threat to the freedom of speech and a free press.

President Biden, currently embroiled in his own classified document scandal, knows this, and should immediately drop the charges against Julian Assange

JANUARY 26, 2023, By Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan  https://www.democracynow.org/2023/1/26/the_belmarsh_tribunals_demand_justice_for

“The first casualty when war comes is truth,” U.S. Senator Hiram W. Johnson of California said in 1929, debating ratification of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a noble but ultimately failed attempt to ban war. Reflecting on World War I, which ended a decade earlier, he continued, “it begins what we were so familiar with only a brief period ago, this mode of propaganda whereby…people become war hungry in their patriotism and are lied into a desire to fight. We have seen it in the past; it will happen again in the future.”

Time and again, Hiram Johnson has been proven right. Our government’s impulse to control information and manipulate public opinion to support war is deeply ingrained. The past twenty years, dominated by the so-called War on Terror, are no exception. Sophisticated PR campaigns, a compliant mass media and the Pentagon’s pervasive propaganda machine all work together, as public intellectual Noam Chomsky and the late Prof. Ed Herman defined it in the title of their groundbreaking book, “Manufacturing Consent,” borrowing a phrase from Walter Lippman, considered the father of public relations.

One publisher consistently challenging the pro-war narrative pushed by the U.S. government, under both Republican and Democratic presidents, has been the whistleblower website Wikileaks. Wikileaks gained international attention in 2010 after publishing a trove of classified documents leaked from the U.S. military. Included were numerous accounts of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the killing of civilians, and shocking footage of a helicopter gunship in Baghdad slaughtering a dozen civilians, including a Reuters journalist and his driver, on the ground below. Wikileaks titled that video, “Collateral Murder.”

The New York Times and other newspapers partnered with Wikileaks to publish stories based on the leaks. This brought increased attention to the founder and editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, Julian Assange. In December, 2010, two months after release of the Collateral Murder video, then-Vice President Joe Biden, appearing on NBC, said Assange was “closer to being a hi-tech terrorist than the Pentagon papers.” Biden was referring to the 1971 classified document release by Daniel Ellsberg, which revealed years of Pentagon lies about U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam.

With a secret grand jury empanelled in Virginia, Assange, then in London, feared being arrested and extradited to the United States. Ecuador granted Assange political asylum. Unable to make it to Latin America, he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He lived inside the small, apartment-sized embassy for almost seven years. In April 2019, after a new Ecuadorian president revoked Assange’s asylum, British authorities arrested him and locked him up in London’s notorious Belmarsh Prison, often called “Britain’s Guantánamo.” He has been held there, in harsh conditions and in failing health, for almost four years, as the U.S. government seeks his extradition to face espionage and other charges. If extradited and convicted in the U.S., Assange faces 175 years in a maximum-security prison.

While the Conservative-led UK government seems poised to extradite Assange, a global movement has grown demanding his release. The Progressive International, a global pro-democracy umbrella group, has convened four assemblies since 2020 called The Belmarsh Tribunals. Named after the 1966 Russell-Sartre Tribunal on the Vietnam War, convened by philosophers Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sarte, The Belmarsh Tribunal has assembled some of the world’s most prominent, progressive activists, artists, politicians, dissidents, human rights attorneys and whistleblowers, all speaking in defense of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

We are bearing witness to a travesty of justice,” Jeremy Corbyn, a British Member of Parliament and a former leader of the Labour Party, said at the tribunal. “To an abuse of human rights, to a denial of freedom of somebody who bravely put himself on the line that we all might know that the innocent died in Abu Ghraib, the innocent died in Afghanistan, the innocent are dying in the Mediterranean, and innocents die all over the world, where unwatched, unaccountable powers decide it’s expedient and convenient to kill people who get in the way of whatever grand scheme they’ve got. We say no. That’s why we are demanding justice for Julian Assange.”

Corbyn is joined in his call by The New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais and Der Spiegel–major newspapers that published articles based on the leaked documents. “Publishing is not a crime,” the newspapers declared.

Never before has a publisher been charged under the U.S. Espionage Act. The Assange prosecution poses a fundamental threat to the freedom of speech and a free press. President Biden, currently embroiled in his own classified document scandal, knows this, and should immediately drop the charges against Julian Assange.

January 29, 2023 Posted by | civil liberties, legal, media, USA | Leave a comment

Julian Assange and the US government’s war on whistleblowers


Chris Hedges, The Real News Network, Fri, 20 Jan 2023 

Thirteen years ago, WikiLeaks published extensive leaked US government documents detailing a range of criminal and unethical acts, from the slaughter of civilians in the “War on Terror” to acts of espionage against foreign heads of state. Since then, the persecution of Julian Assange has not ceased. This year, Assange is expected to stand trial in the US for violations of the Espionage Act. Journalist Kevin Gosztola joins The Chris Hedges Report to review the cases of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, and discuss Washington’s wider war against whistleblowers and the truth itself.

Kevin Gosztola is the managing editor of Shadowproof, where he writes The Dissenter. He is the author of Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange.


TRANSCRIPT

Chris Hedges:  The long persecution of Julian Assange, the publisher of WikiLeaks, is set to culminate in its final act: a trial in the United States, probably this year. Kevin Gosztola has spent the last decade reporting on Assange, WikiLeaks, and the wider war on whistleblowers. His new book, Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case against Julian Assange, methodically lays out the complex issues surrounding the case, the gross distortions to the legal system used to facilitate the extradition of Julian, now in a high security prison in London, the abuses of power by the FBI and the CIA, including spying on Julian’s meetings when he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London with his family, doctors, and attorneys, and the dire consequences, should Julian be convicted, for the press.

Joining me to discuss his new book is Kevin Gosztola. So Kevin, you do a very… I think your book and Nils Melzer are the two books I would recommend for people who don’t understand the case. I use this show in this interview to really lay out for people who are unfamiliar with the long persecution of Julian and the legal anomalies that have been used against him. You know, what those are. So let’s just start with what are the charges, what are the allegations, which is where you begin your book.

Kevin Gosztola:  Yeah. And the intention was to look ahead and say, Julian Assange is likely to be brought to the US by the end of 2023, maybe 2024. We need something out there for the general public so they can wrap their head around the unprecedented nature of what’s unfolding. And so the charges against Julian Assange, he was first indicted back in April of 2019. Or sorry, that was when it was unveiled. He was charged first with a computer crime offense. They alleged, essentially, a password cracking conspiracy. And that was of intrusion, of essentially agreeing to help Chelsea Manning anonymously access military computers.

And then the other charges were 17 espionage act offenses. …………………………………………………………  https://therealnews.com/julian-assange-and-the-us-governments-war-on-whistleblowers

January 25, 2023 Posted by | civil liberties, politics, USA | Leave a comment

UK police powers increased, to shut down climate protests

The police are to be given powers to shut down protests before they cause
widespread disruption, under plans being announced by ministers today. In a
move to clamp down on so-called guerrilla tactics used by groups such as
Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain, officers will for the first time be
allowed to shut down protests before they cause disruption.

They will also
be able to treat a series of protests by the same group as one incident
when defining what can be classed as “serious disruption” under the
Public Order Bill going through parliament. The measures are designed to
give more clarity to the police about when they can intervene to disrupt
protests such as the blocking of roads or slow marching to cause
disruption.

Times 16th Jan 2023

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/public-order-bill-would-give-police-power-to-close-down-climate-protests-zsmzh52hv

January 17, 2023 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

UK govt to tighten anti-protest restrictions, despite criticism from human rights groups

https://www.ft.com/content/57730f56-6966-4c35-8d32-67a52f5efe6e 16 Jan 23

Rishi Sunak will on Monday propose new measures to help the police stop disruptive public protest in Britain, heading further down a route that has drawn heavy criticism from civil rights groups.

The prime minister wants to broaden the legal definition of “serious disruption” in a new public order bill, to help police stop what he calls a “disruptive minority” who use tactics such as blocking roads or slow marching.

Sunak believes the public and business will support the government’s efforts to stop protesters causing serious disruption following a series of high-profile protests by groups such as Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain. But Human Rights Watch, the international NGO, last week criticised the government for a series of recent measures, including restrictions on protest………

The government will this week table an amendment to the bill, currently in the House of Lords, which it says will give police “greater flexibility and clarity” over when to intervene to stop a “disruptive minority”.

Police have already been given additional powers to prevent protesters using what Downing Street calls “guerrilla tactics”, but police chiefs say there is uncertainty over what reaches the threshold of “serious disruption”.

The changes would mean that police will not need to wait for disruption to take place and can shut protests down before any “chaos” is caused, Downing Street said.

Police would not need to treat a series of protests by the same group as standalone incidents but would be able to consider their total impact; they would also be able to consider the cumulative effect of long-running campaigns over a number of weeks intended to cause repeat disruption. Sunak said: “The right to protest is a fundamental principle of our democracy, but this is not absolute.

A balance must be struck between the rights of individuals and the rights of the hard-working majority to go about their day-to-day business.” Recommended Extinction Rebellion Extinction Rebellion abandons disruptive climate protests in UK Sir Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police commissioner, said: “Increasingly police are getting drawn into complex legal arguments about the balance between that right to protest and the rights of others to go about their daily lives free from serious disruption. “The lack of clarity in the legislation and the increasing complexity of the case law is making this more difficult and more contested.” But Hassan said last week: “A slew of legislation was passed last year where fundamental human rights are being challenged.

The protest law is something we are deeply concerned about. “When you talk about civic space and about people’s right to participate in a democratic society, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to protest are key pillars of that. We’ve seen an outright assault from this government on that.”

HRW also criticised government measures including a new elections act which will require voter identification in polls and the plan to allow offshore processing of asylum claims in Rwanda.

January 16, 2023 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Guilty of Journalism

The Political Prosecution of Julian Assange

by Kevin Gosztola https://www.sevenstories.com/books/4493-guilty-of-journalism?fbclid=IwAR2np9Ku9WHMKuJ7xTPkrrolJRvbkxdWcmyac0FnEZqKSduuhH2g2M-zPaM 7 Jan 23

From an acclaimed independent journalist, this carefully-documented analysis of the government’s case against Julian Assange and its implications for press freedom acts as a crucial, compelling guidebook to Assange’s upcoming trial.

The legal action against Julian Assange is poised to culminate in a trial in the United States in 2023, and this book will help the public understand the proceedings. The establishment media’s coverage of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition case has focused on his deteriorating health and what CBS News called his “secret family,” but most of this coverage failed to detail the complex issues at stake against Assange.

Guilty of Journalism outlines how WikiLeaks exposed the reality of American wars, the United States government’s unprecedented indictment against Assange as a publisher, and the media’s role in persuading the public to “shoot the messenger.” This new book by Kevin Gosztola, who has spent the last decade covering Assange, WikiLeaks, and the wider war on whistleblowers, tells the full story based on testimony from dozens of witnesses.

It examines abuses of power by the CIA and the FBI, including a spying operation that targeted Assange’s family, lawyers, and doctors. Guilty of Journalism offers a balanced and comprehensive perspective on all the events leading up to what press freedom advocates have called the trial of the century.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | civil liberties | Leave a comment

‘Publishing is not a crime’: media groups urge US to drop Julian Assange charges

First outlets to publish WikiLeaks material, including the Guardian, come together to oppose prosecution

Guardian, Jim Waterson Media editor, 28 Nov 22

The US government must drop its prosecution of the WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange because it is undermining press freedom, according to the media organisations that first helped him publish leaked diplomatic cables.

Twelve years ago today, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El País collaborated to release excerpts from 250,000 documents obtained by Assange in the “Cablegate” leak. The material, leaked to WikiLeaks by the then American soldier Chelsea Manning, exposed the inner workings of US diplomacy around the world.

The editors and publishers of the media organisations that first published those revelations have come together to publicly oppose plans to charge Assange under a law designed to prosecute first world war spies.

“Publishing is not a crime,” they said, saying the prosecution is a direct attack on media freedom.

Assange has been held in Belmarsh prison in south London since his arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2019. He had spent the previous seven years living inside the diplomatic premises to avoid arrest after failing to surrender to a UK court on matters relating to a separate case.

The then UK home secretary, Priti Patel, approved Assange’s extradition to the US in June but his lawyers are appealing against this decision.

Under Barack Obama’s leadership, the US government indicated it would not prosecute Assange for the leak in 2010 because of the precedent it would set. The media outlets are now appealing to the administration of President Joe Biden – who was vice-president at that time – to drop the charges.

The full letter sent by the media organisations

Publishing is not a crime: The US government should end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.……………………………………………………………….. more https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/nov/28/media-groups-urge-us-drop-julian-assange-charges?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other

November 29, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, Legal, media | Leave a comment

Videos showing execution of Russian POWs in Ukraine are authentic – New York Times

Rt.com 21 Nov 22

The clips suggest captive troops were “killed at close range,” the American newspaper insists.

The New York Times says it has verified the authenticity of videos that surfaced online last week, showing the execution of captive Russian soldiers by Ukrainian troops. The men “appear to have been shot dead at close range,” according to the newspaper.

The events shown in the clips occurred in the village of Makeyevka in the People’s Republic of Lugansk, earlier this month, the newspaper reported on Sunday.

“The videos… whose authenticity has been verified by The New York Times, offer a rare look into one gruesome moment among many in the war, but do not show how or why the Russian soldiers were killed,” the NYT wrote, adding that what actually happened to the soldiers remains “a mystery.”

However, the outlet noted out that judging by the footage, “at least 11 Russians… appear to have been shot dead at close range after one of their fellow fighters suddenly opened fire on Ukrainian soldiers standing nearby.”

The NYT also cited Dr. Rohini Haar, medical adviser at Physicians for Human Rights, who said that “killing or wounding a combatant, who, having laid down his arms or having no longer means of defense, has surrendered at discretion” is a violation of the laws of international armed conflict……………….. https://www.rt.com/news/566901-ukraine-pow-execution-nyt/

November 22, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Moscow accuses Ukrainian soldiers of killing POWs (DISTURBING IMAGES)

https://www.rt.com/russia/566776-kiev-soldiers-kill-russian-captives/ 18 Nov 22, A video has surfaced on social media showing what appear to be Kiev’s troops alongside executed Russian servicemen.

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS DISTURBING IMAGES

The Russian Defense Ministry has accused Ukrainian forces of committing a war crime after a video surfaced on social media, on Friday, which appears to show captured Russian servicemen first alive and subsequently dead.

The footage depicts soldiers dressed in Russian uniforms first surrendering to troops in uniforms bearing Ukrainian insignia before being shown lying on the ground, presumably dead.

The ministry described the video as evidence of “the deliberate and methodical murder” of over ten Russian servicemen at the hands of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, who “shot them straight in their heads.” Such actions prove the “barbaric nature” of the government in Kiev led by President Vladimir Zelensky, as well as “all those, who defend and support it,” the statement added. 

The video also purports to show one of the supposed Russian soldiers opening fire on the Ukrainians as his fellow servicemen already lie on the ground with their hands behind their heads. At least one of Kiev’s fighters was allegedly injured in the incident, according to the footage. It is unclear how this particular episode was linked to what happened to the Russians next.

The Russian Presidential Human Rights Council reacted to the alleged incident by calling for an international probe into what its head, Valery Fadeev, described as a “demonstrative and audacious crime.

This is a violation of all possible conventions banning cruel treatment of captives, as well as of international law and moral norms,” Fadeev said in a statement, adding that “we will demand a reaction from the international community, as well as an investigation.” According to Fadeev, the UN Human Rights Office is already studying evidence of extrajudicial killings near the Ukrainian town of Kupyansk, as well as the shelling of a civilian river crossing in the city of Kherson.

READ MORE: Russia investigates alleged footage of Ukrainian troops torturing POWs

Moscow will send the information on the alleged execution of Russian captives to the UN Human Rights Office, the Council of Europe, as well as Amnesty International, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, Fadeev added.

This is not the first high-profile incident supposedly involving Ukrainian troops and Russian prisoners-of-war. In late March, footage surfaced purportedly showing Ukrainian servicemen shooting Russians, under their care, in the legs at point-blank range.

November 18, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

A Father Fights for His Son & What’s Left of Democracy

The film Ithaka, about the quest of Julian Assange’s father to save his son, makes its U.S. premiere on Sunday in New York City. It is reviewed by Joe Lauria.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

To the extent that the media has covered the tragedy of Julian Assange at all, the focus has been on politics and the law.

Consortium News, which has provided perhaps the most comprehensive coverage of the prosecution under the Espionage Act of the WikiLeaks publisher, has also focused more on the case and less on the man.

The great issues involved transcend the individual: war, diplomacy, official deception, high crimes, an assault on press freedom and on the core of what little democracy is left in a militarized and money-corrupted system.

Assange supporters sometimes also overlook the person and concentrate instead on the larger issues at stake. Ironically, it has been Assange’s enemies and detractors who’ve long focused on the person in the worst tradition of ad hominem assaults.

He has been attacked to deflect public attention from what WikiLeaks has revealed, from what the state is doing to him and to hide the impact on freedom in the media and standards in the courtroom.

There has been a steady and organized stream of smears against Assange, from ridiculous stories about him smearing feces on Ecuadoran Embassy walls to the widely reported falsehood that he was charged with rape. That case was dropped three times before any charges were filed, but the “rape” smear persists.

These personal attacks were planned as far back as March 8, 2008 when a secret, 32-page document from the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessment branch of the Pentagon described in detail the importance of destroying the “feeling of trust that is WikiLeaks’ center of gravity.” The leaked document, which was published by WikiLeaks itself, said: “This would be achieved with threats of exposure and criminal prosecution and an unrelenting assault on reputation.”

An answer to these slurs and the missing focus on Assange as a man is Ithaka. The film, which makes its U.S. premiere Sunday night in New York, focuses on the struggle of Assange’s father, John Shipton, and his wife, Stella Assange, to free him.

f you are looking for a film more fully explaining the legal and political complexities of the case and its background, this is not the movie to see. The Spanish film, Hacking Justice, will give you that, as well as the more concise exposition in the brilliant documentary, The War on Journalism, by Juan Passarelli.

Ithaka, directed by Ben Lawrence and produced by Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, humanizes Assange and reveals the impact his ordeal has had on the people closest to him.

The title comes from the poem of that name by C.P. Cavafy (read here by Sean Connery) about the pathos of an uncertain journey. It reflects Shipton’s travels throughout Europe and the U.S. in defense of his son, arguably the most consequential journalist of his generation.

The story begins with Shipton arriving in London to see his son for the first time behind bars after the publisher’s rights of asylum were lifted by a new Ecuadoran government leading to him being carried out of the embassy by London police in April 2019.

“The story is that I am attempting in my own … modest way to get Julian out of the shit,” Shipton says. “What does it involve? Traipsing around Europe, building up coalitions of friendship.” He meets with parliamentarians, the media and supporters across the continent. Shipton describes the journey as the “difficulty of destiny over the ease of narrative.”……………………………

We learn that Julian Assange’s frustration with the inability to stop the 2003 Iraq invasion, despite the largest, worldwide anti-war protests in history, motivated him to start WikiLeaks.

The releases he published about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, leaked by Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, were published not only by WikiLeaks but by its partners at The New York Times, Die Spiegel and The Guardian, yet only Assange has been prosecuted.

The main focus of the film is the extradition hearing in Westminster Magistrate’s Court that began in February 2020 and ended in September of that year…………………………

One of several scenes that drives home the personal side of the story is audio of Assange speaking from Belmarsh Prison to Stella about what children’s books to read to their two sons. The toll it is taking on her is seen as she breaks down emotionally during the recording of a BBC interview that has to be paused.

“Extraditions are 99 percent politics and one percent law,” Stella says. “It is entirely the political climate around the case that decides the outcome. And that is shaped by the media. For many years there was a climate that was deliberately created through false stories, smears; through a kind of relentless character attack on Julian to reduce that support and make it more likely to successfully extradite him to the United States.”

“This is the public narrative that has been spread in the media for ten years,’ Nils Melzer, the now former U.N. Special rapporteur on torture, says in the film.


“No one has been able to see how much deception there is. Why is this being done? For ten years all of us were focused only on Julian Assange, when he never wanted it to be about him. It never was about him. It was about the States and their war crimes and their corruption. That’s what he wanted to put a spotlight on – and he did. And that’s what made them angry. So they put the spotlight on him.”

“He just needs to be treated like a human being,” says Stella, “and be allowed to be a human being and not denied his dignity and his humanity, which is what has been done to him.”

Ithaka makes its first theatrical showing in the U.S. at the SVA Cinema, 333 W. 23rd St, New York, N.Y., on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 7:45 pm. There will be a Q&A following the first screening with Ben Lawrence, Gabriel Shipton, Adrian Devant, cinematographer Niels Ladefoged, and John Shipton.

For ticket information: https://docnyc.net/film/ithaka/  https://consortiumnews.com/2022/11/11/a-father-fights-for-his-son-whats-left-of-democracy/

November 11, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, legal, media | Leave a comment

Russian language should become extinct in Ukraine – security chief

According to the 2001 census, approximately 14.3 million Ukrainians (29% of the population) speak Russian as their first language. Some other estimates put that number even higher.   

The language is particularly widespread in the eastern and southern regions of the country.

Rt.com 21 Oct 22,

The language is part of Moscow’s propaganda, Defence Council boss claims

The Russian language should be eradicated in Ukraine as it is allegedly being used as a tool by Moscow to wield influence on Ukrainians, one of the country’s key security officials has claimed.

The Russian language is nothing but an “element of enemy propaganda and brainwashing of our people,” Alexey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said on the ‘Big Lviv Talks’ show on Friday.  

The official also spoke in favor of Ukrainians learning English instead.  ………

The senior official went on to criticize pundits and experts who speak Russian while appearing on Ukrainian TV.   

According to the 2001 census, approximately 14.3 million Ukrainians (29% of the population) speak Russian as their first language. Some other estimates put that number even higher.   

The language is particularly widespread in the eastern and southern regions of the country. Ever since the Maidan coup back in 2014, Moscow has been consistently accusing the Ukrainian government of systematically discriminating against Russian-speakers.

The perceived violations of the linguistic minority’s rights were also cited by the secessionist movements in the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, parts of which went on to become the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, respectively.  ………………………. more https://www.rt.com/russia/565118-ukrainian-official-russian-language-eradication

October 23, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

World-Wide Backing as Parliament Encircled for Assange

Protests around the world supported the human chain that formed around the British parliament in support of an imprisoned publisher, reports Mohamed Elmaazi

By Mohamed Elmaazi, in London, Consortium News, 10 Oct 22,

Thousands of supporters of Julian Assange descended upon London’s Palace of Westminster to form a human chain around the Houses of Parliament in support of the embattled WikiLeaks publisher on Saturday. 

Meanwhile, the London action was backed up by rallies in Melbourne, Australia, Washington D.C., San Francisco and other locales.

In the British capital, men and women from a myriad of backgrounds attended the demonstration from across the U..K, and beyond, including from France, Germany and the United States. It was the first known human chain to surround the Houses of Parliament.

Stella Assange, wife of the imprisoned publisher, said around 5,000 people showed up to form the chain despite a nation-wide strike announced by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transportation Workers (RMT). Other estimates put the crowd as high as 7,000.

The chain extended over Westminster Bridge to Lambeth on the other side of the River Thames and then along the south bank and over Lambeth Bridge, through Victoria Tower Gardens to the front of Parliament, a distance of about 2.5 kilometers. Hundreds of other supporters also attended the demonstration, albeit without joining the human chain.

“The Human chain is self-proving” Stella Assange said. “Julian has enormous support and much more. He has millions of people around the world who are disgusted by the injustice that is unfolding.”

Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labour Party leader, British actor Russell Brand, Iraqi-British hip hop artist Lowkey, former counsel to the Ecuadorian Embassy Fidel Narvaez, Craig Murray, the former British diplomat and WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnnson were among those who formed part of the chain. Members of France’s Yellow Vest movement also took part.

Corbyn said: 

“Julian Assange is a journalist who told the uncomfortable truth all around the world of what happened in Iraq, what happened in Afghanistan, what happened in Syria, Libya, environmental destruction, the power and interface of big business and arms companies with governments.  That truth made a lot of very powerful people very uncomfortable so the U.S. has tried to charge him under the Espionage Act.

If we believe in free speech, if we believe in independent, democratic journalism, then Julian Assange should be freed from Belmarsh and not removed to the United States. Today we’ve shown the levels of public support for Julian by having this huge human chain all around Parliament despite the obvious transport difficulties today because of the rail strike. Internationally there is huge support for Julian Assange. … So my message to journalists around the world is, take up your chosen profession to take on a responsibility to tell the truth without fear nor favor. Tell the truth about Julian and say to the British government, refuse the extradition.”  

…………………………………………………………………………………. Radio Silence

The mainstream British media ignored or underreported the extraordinary event. The Independent said only “hundreds” of people showed up, as did The Daily MailThe Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times had no report at all. The BBC hasn’t had a story about Assange since July 1.

Overcoming the Strike

The event was organized by WikiLeaks’ official Don’t Extradite Assange (DEA) campaign with the support of the NUJ as well as the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). The IFJ, along with the EFJ and NUJ, represents “600,000 media professionals from 187 trade unions and associations in more than 140 countries”, its website says……………

The cancellation of trains across England likely reduced the overall attendance figures in the end, with people noting their desire to attend on social media but also  the difficulty of getting there and back.

The event was publicized via social media, adverts in widely read newspapers like The GuardianEvening Standard and Camden News Journal and as well as via volunteers leafleting across the U.K.

Actions Around the World

There were at least 21 other solidarity events held in cities across the world including in Washington D.C.; Ontario, Canada; Rio de Janero, Brazil; Hamburg, Germany; Paris, France; Pretoria, South Africa; Melbourne, Australia and Wellington New Zealand.

In solidarity with the London events, about 5,000 people crowded across Prince’s Bridge in the central business district of Melbourne, where they heard Assange’s father and brother, John and Gabriel Shipton, address supporters. In San Francisco Assange defenders crowded Harry Bridges Plaza to hear speakers support Assange.

In Washington about 300 protestors with a 240-foot yellow ribbon walked around the Department of Justice building, inside of which the prosecution of Assange is being managed.

Speaking at the ensuing rally in front of the DOJ’s doors on Pennsylvania Avenue, former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, said:

“The more you look at this case, the more you become traumatized. This is an assault not only on freedom of the press, it makes a complete mockery of our judicial system, it’s an attack on human rights, it is absolutely unacceptable.”

Ben Cohen, a founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, said: “According to the U.S. government, publishing the truth has become a crime. They are literally killing the messenger.”

Scott Ritter, military analyst, asked: “What has Julian Assange given us?” He has “defined the facts, reported the facts, turned them over to the people so they can judge the facts and hold people accountable for the facts.”

Comic, activist and radio host Randy Credico said, “This is going to be a very tough road to hoe going forward, because there is a lot of apathy and a lot of antipathy towards Julian Assange here in D.C. We are up against a mammoth force. People gotta know how important this is.”

C.I.A. whistleblower John Kiriakou called on the crowd to be outside the courtroom in Alexandria, Virginia every day, should Assange be extradited there.

Where the Case Stands

On Aug. 26 Assange’s lawyers filed Perfected Grounds of Appeal with the High Court and are currently waiting to hear whether they will be permitted to present their arguments that District Judge Vanessa Baraitser erred when ruling against all but one of his grounds opposing extradition to the U.S.

Among the grounds for appeal argued is that Assange is being prosecuted for speech protected under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, that he is being punished for his political views and opinions, that the US government has “misrepresented the core facts” of the case to the UK courts and that the request itself is an “abuse of process.”

The appeal also challenges then-Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision to grant extradition on the basis that it violates Article 4 of the U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty which prohibits extradition where the prosecution is “politically motivated” or where the alleged crime in question is a “political offense.”

If extradited to the U.S., Assange faces up to 175 years in prison for his role in receiving and publishing government documents without authorization, an act which journalists and publishers around the world engage in on a daily basis.

Joe Lauria in Washington and Cathy Vogan in London contributed to this report.  https://consortiumnews.com/2022/10/09/world-wide-backing-as-parliament-encircled-for-assange/

October 11, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

Julian Assange tests positive for COVID-19

WSWS, Thomas Scripps 10 Oct 22,

Julian Assange has contracted COVID-19. He received the test result Saturday, on the day several thousand people formed a human chain around Parliament in London to protest his persecution.

His wife, Stella, told the press, “I am obviously worried about him and the next few days will be crucial for his general health. He is now locked in his cell for 24 hours a day.” She said Assange had been feeling ill throughout the week and developed a fever and cough on Friday.

Assange’s infection confirms the repeated warnings of medical professionals and his legal team that his health and life are endangered by his wrongful imprisonment. It must lend renewed urgency to the demand for his immediate release.

Just months before the pandemic, over 100 doctors signed an open letter to the British government warning that Assange’s life was at risk while he was kept in HMP Belmarsh—the UK’s top-security prison. When COVID-19 began to spread rapidly throughout Britain, one of the lead signatories, Dr Stephen Frost, told the World Socialist Web Site, “Given what we know about this case, Mrs Assange is right to be concerned. Julian Assange, because he is immuno-compromised, following years of arbitrary detention first in the Ecuadorian Embassy and latterly in Belmarsh prison, is necessarily at higher risk of contracting any viral or bacterial infection, including infection by coronavirus.

“He should be released on bail immediately, so that he can access the health care which he urgently requires. The UK government is effectively playing Russian roulette with Julian Assange’s life.”

Another doctor, Lissa Johnson, explained, “As long ago as 2015 medical and human rights experts warned that anything more than a trivial illness could prove fatal for Julian Assange. His health is even more fragile now, and the coronavirus only renders those warnings more urgent and more dire.”

She added, “If Julian Assange does succumb to coronavirus or any other catastrophic illness in prison, it will not be an accident. It will be a foreseeable result of prolonged psychological torture and wilful medical neglect.”

…………………………. By the end of October 2020, Ministry of Justice figures showed that 1,529 inmates had been infected, 600 in the previous month alone. At least 32 prisoners had been killed by the virus.

In November, a wave of infections hit Belmarsh prison. Stella Assange revealed, “I’ve been told the number of people infected with COVID on Julian’s house block is 56, including staff.” This was on a block with fewer than 200 inmates.

Assange and the other inmates were placed under an indefinite lockdown, kept in their cells 24 hours a day. His lawyer Edward Fitzgerald had warned at his bail application of the “risk to his mental health and his human contact” posed by lockdown procedures. At Assange’s extradition hearing that autumn, his defence team presented extensive medical evidence of the damage done to his mental health and of the risk of suicide.

……………………………. Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, examined Assange with a medical team inside Belmarsh Prison in May 2019 and concluded that he showed symptoms of psychological torture. He commented on his illness, “Assange’s stroke is no surprise. As we warned after examining him, unless relieved of the constant pressure of isolation, arbitrariness and persecution, his health would enter a downward spiral endangering his life. [The] UK is literally torturing him to death

Melzer added, “As Assange clearly was not medically fit to attend his own trial through videolink, how can they even discuss whether he is fit to be exposed to a show trial in the US, a country that refuses to prosecute its torturers and war criminals but persecutes whistleblowers and journalists?”

Saturday’s protest was the largest yet organised in defence of Assange, attracting a broader range of ages and social backgrounds. It indicated the potential that exists for a mass, global campaign to secure the WikiLeaks founder’s freedom and safety. ………… https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/10/10/picp-o10.html

October 11, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, health, UK | Leave a comment

7,000 form human chain in London to protest treatment of Assange

WSWS 9 Oct 22, Around 7,000 people formed a human chain around the Houses of Parliament in the UK Saturday, protesting the British government’s persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The chain ran continuously from Parliament Square along the Palace of Westminster, across Lambeth Bridge, along South Bank to Westminster bridge, then back over the Thames river to Parliament Square—roughly two miles. The event was organised by the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign.

Assange is currently held in Belmarsh maximum security prison in London. The United States government is seeking his extradition under the Espionage Act for exposing the war crimes and human rights abuses of US imperialism and its allies. It has plotted his assassination and levelled charges which carry a life sentence in solitary confinement. The WikiLeaks founder is seeking to overturn orders by the British judiciary and the home secretary approving his extradition. His legal team filed an appeal with the High Court in August.

Stella Assange, the WikiLeaks publisher’s wife, told protestors on Saturday, “Julian is suffering and part of the point of making this human chain was to show that what is happening here is not a legal process, it’s not a legitimate process. It is the instrumentalisation of the law in order to persecute a person, a journalist, in order to keep him in prison indefinitely.

“People around the world are witnessing this atrocity and that is what compels them to come here to show their solidarity, to show that they care about Julian. That they believe in justice, that they see what is happening here is a state that has committed crimes against innocent, that is now committing crimes against a journalist who exposed those crimes they committed.

“Let’s not forget that the US planned to assassinate Julian in the UK, while he was in the embassy and now they’ve put him in the harshest prison in the UK for almost four years.”

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson said proceedings against Assange were “not a legal case,” because of the way the legal system has “bent itself to the demands and requests of the government… it’s appalling.”

He continued, “Julian is a political prisoner. He’s being politically persecuted. The chain around Parliament is sending a message to those inside. They are there to serve the people on the outside. And those are Julian’s supporters. Thousands of them here today, and millions around the world who know that this is a travesty.”

Labour MP and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell had the brass neck to announce, “As we go into the 18 months up to a general election, this will become a general election issue. Every MP will be asked: do you stand up for journalism, do you stand up for the rights of journalist to report freely, do you stand up for his basic human rights, do you stand up for justice?”……………………..

Reporters from the World Socialist Web Site spoke with some of the protestors……………………………………………

A number of those protesting travelled to London from other countries to do so. Mantas, who traveled from Lithuania that day to support Assange as part of the chain, told our reporters, “Assange told the truth about war crimes, and he fought for human rights and freedom of the press.”

The US and UK governments “want to make a clear and obvious example of Assange so that no-one attempts what he did. The powers that be are trying to impose their own world view, control how people think, to seduce them into thinking nothing can be done or that the world is as it’s supposed to be, when we are actually entering into wholesale madness in the world.”

He said of the war in Ukraine that the weapons manufacturers and businesses “want to promote a new war, and they don’t care about the consequences for the Ukrainian people or the Russian people. I don’t agree with Putin’s actions, but I think there was another option, but Zelensky was encouraged to take a hard line and oppose any deals from the Russian Federation.”

Listing the crimes exposed by WikiLeaks he said, “Where do you start? You can look at the video of an Apache helicopter shooting civilians. The Afghan and Iraq war logs and so on. People should look into it. There’s too much to go into herethat many crimes have been uncovered. People should look into what WikiLeaks has done what its expose and be objective about the matter.”

Assange’s case “shows that if anyone finds out something like this and tries to tell the public then they can be prosecuted for it. So obviously that can threaten everyone.”  https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/10/08/chai-o08.html?fbclid=IwAR0oU-kS9VcRD34qsOcy2SC2BTcKB2CmeY6IwAoPfyc-MniCzPt3xsgXEu4

October 10, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, media, UK | Leave a comment

Assange protesters rally for his release

 https://www.examiner.com.au/story/7934633/assange-protesters-rally-for-his-release/ By Tara Cosoleto, October 8 2022 ,

Thousands have marched through the Melbourne city centre calling for the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The 51-year-old Australian has been in London’s Belmarsh prison since he was removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in 2019.

Assange is fighting a long-running legal battle to avoid extradition to the United States, where he is wanted for espionage offences.

Melbourne protesters marched through the city streets and formed a human chain across a Southbank bridge on Saturday morning as they called on the Australian government to intervene.

“There’s an expectation in the electorate that the prime minister and this government is going to get Julian out of jail,” Assange’s brother Gabriel Shipton told AAP.

“The prime minister’s statements before the election – enough is enough, he doesn’t see what purpose is served by Julian being kept in prison – those were seen as a commitment.

“It’s been so many days of this government and Julian is still rotting in that prison.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese should contact the US president directly and plead Assange’s case, Mr Shipton said.

“They can pick up the phone, call Joe Biden and say, hasn’t Julian suffered enough? Drop the charges and extradition,” he said.

“Julian would walk free.”

In August, lawyers for Assange filed an appeal against his extradition to the US, arguing he is being prosecuted and punished for his political opinions.

Assange was charged by the US with 17 counts of espionage and one charge of computer misuse after WikiLeaks published thousands of leaked military and diplomatic documents.

Melbourne’s demonstration against Assange’s detention was one of many being held across the world on Saturday.

It was heartening to see such global solidarity for Assange’s cause, Mr Shipton said.

“The movement is growing around the world as evidenced by these protests,” he said.

“We’re not going to stop. We are not going to be quiet.”

Australian Associated Press

October 8, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties | Leave a comment