In case you haven’t been paying attention for a while, Julian Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks – a journalist website dedicated to publishing primary source materials showing government and corporate corruption and other bad doings. In 2010 WikiLeaks published material obtained from intelligence analyst Bradley Manning and the US government decided that it had had enough. Some American politicians called for him to be pursued as a terrorist. Hillary Clinton, for example, reported asked “Can’t we just drone this guy?” A warrant was issued for his arrest. In 2011, he was awarded the Sydney Peace Foundation’s gold medal for exceptional courage in pursuit of human rights. He sought refuge from US arrest in the Ecuadoran embassy in 2012 and stayed there until April of 2019 when Ecuador withdrew its protection under US pressure and was arrested by British police.
In Assange in Court, Craig Murray talks about Julian Assange’s most recent appearance in court.
…Before I get on to the blatant lack of fair process, the first thing I must note was Julian’s condition. 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. I will come to the important content of his statement at the end of proceedings in due course, but his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought.
Until yesterday I had always been quietly sceptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture – even of Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – and sceptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments. But having 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 yesterday changed my mind entirely and 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…
…it was unclear why we were sitting through this farce. The US government was dictating its instructions to Lewis, who was relaying those instructions to Baraitser, who was ruling them as her legal decision. The charade might as well have been cut and the US government simply sat on the bench to control the whole process. Nobody could sit there and believe they were in any part of a genuine legal process or that Baraitser was giving a moment’s consideration to the arguments of the defence. Her facial expressions on the few occasions she looked at the defence ranged from contempt through boredom to sarcasm. When she looked at Lewis she was attentive, open and warm…
…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?
Global Research: The Torture and Murder of Julian Assange
Common Dreams: Why Everyone in the US Who Counts Wants Julian Assange Dead