Roger Waters performs in London at rally in support of Julian Assange

London, September 3 (RHC)-- Rock ’n’ Roll legend and former front-man of Pink Floyd Roger Waters performed Monday one of his hit songs ‘Wish You Were Here’ outside the United Kingdom’s Interior Ministry in London during a rally in solidarity with WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange.

The British activist is a long-standing supporter of Assange and WikiLeaks and staunch opponent of the United States imperialistic practices, publicly criticizing the unilateral sanctions against Venezuela, the lawfare strategy and jailing of Brazilian former president Lula da Silva, and challenging far-right leaders around the world. 

After playing the iconic song, during Monday’s support demonstration, Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s brother detailed that after visiting Assange, he could see that “Julian is emaciated and not in tip-top order or health... he is suffering anxiety.  He is still in fighting spirits, but his well-being is declining rapidly.”

Despite Julian Assange formally denying his consent to an extradition request before the Westminster Court of Magistrates in London, he now faces a full U.S. extradition hearing in February 2020. 

"I do not wish to surrender for extradition.  I'm a journalist winning many, many awards and protecting many people," said Assange who testified by video conference from the Belmarsh maximum-security prison, where he is imprisoned after having been condemned by another British court to 50 weeks of jail for violating his conditional freedom in 2012.

The U.S. Justice Department has mounted 18 charges in total against him, with accusations of conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to gain access to a government computer as part of a 2010 leak by WikiLeaks of hundreds of thousands of U.S. military reports about the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and American diplomatic communications.

As Assange continues imprisoned in Belmarsh his physiological and health condition, many denounce, has worsened.  Investigative journalist John Pilger said Julian Assange’s “psychological torture is unabated,” shortly after speaking to the Wikileaks founder last week. 

“I spoke to Julian Assange at the weekend.  His psychological torture is unabated.  He remains isolated in his small cell, mostly 23 hours a day, denied proper exercise.  He has lost more weight. Although 'approved', phone calls to his parents are still not possible,” Pilger tweeted.

Campaigners for Julian Assange’s freedom are not the only ones with serious concerns about the way Assange has been treated.  In May, U.N. rapporteur Nils Melzer visited Assange in prison and said that “physically there were ailments but that side of things are being addressed by the prison health service and there was nothing urgent or dangerous in that way.  What was worrying was the psychological side and his constant anxiety.”  
 

Edited by Ed Newman
  • Published in Culture

Assange lawyer reveals Pentagon behind pursuit of WikiLeaks publisher

A lawyer for WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange has confirmed that the Pentagon – not the White House or any other government agency whose secrets he leaked – was driving the nearly decade-long campaign to destroy the publisher.

After asking officials at the Obama administration if they “really wanted” the publisher for whistleblowers and warning that “there are dangerous precedents here,” Assange lawyer Geoffrey Robertson said they responded:

We don’t want him, but the Pentagon does, and the Pentagon may eventually get its way.

Robertson’s “high connections” got him an audience with Obama administration insiders after he learned of the secret grand jury they had convened against Assange in 2010, he told Phillip Adams on ABC’s Radio National on Thursday. When Robertson warned them of the First Amendment implications of charging a publisher under national security laws, however, they already knew what kind of precedent it would set.

While the Obama administration charged more leakers under the Espionage Act than all previous presidents combined, it never attempted to wield the law against a publisher.

And the Pentagon has finally gotten its way. British Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed a request for a US extradition order earlier this month, and Assange will face a full extradition hearing in February.

Also on rt.com Ecuador confident that US won’t execute Assange, but what about spending 175yrs in prison, instead?...

He is charged with 17 violations of the Espionage Act, including obtaining and disclosing national defense information, plus an earlier count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, concerning a massive trove of classified documents given to WikiLeaks by military intelligence analyst Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning. The Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, as they were titled for publication, exposed US atrocities including the torture of detainees and murder of civilians and constituted the largest leak of military secrets in US history.

If he is found guilty – and it is highly unlikely that the Eastern District of Virginia court where he will be tried and where no “national security” defendant has ever won a case, will acquit him – he faces 170 years in prison.

The grand jury investigation of Assange at its peak involved the Justice Department, the Defense Department, the FBI, the State Department, and the Diplomatic Security Service, according to WikiLeaks. But it was the Pentagon, as early as 2008, which began the quest to bring down the publisher, launching its war on WikiLeaks through its Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch.

According to award-winning anti-war journalist John Pilger, their plot involved a media war using reputational smears and “threats of exposure [and] criminal prosecution” aimed at shredding the “feeling of trust” at the core of WikiLeaks’ operations. 

Also on rt.com ‘Assange extradition should be warning to liberals who believe in American democracy’ – Zizek...

The Pentagon’s mission is all but accomplished. Assange has been so thoroughly smeared most of his supporters doubt he will ever get a fair trial. Not only has he been demonized as a rapist, traitor, fascist, and every other name in the book, but even those journalists who have profited off his work – at the Guardian, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other mainstream media that published WikiLeaks disclosures years ago – have gleefully turned on him.

  • Published in World

Swedish court rejects request to detain Assange in absence over rape allegation

A Swedish court has struck down a prosecutor’s request to detain Julian Assange in absentia over outstanding rape allegations. The case was reopened after the WikiLeaks founder was hauled from London’s Ecuadorian embassy.

The court decided pre-trial detention for Assange would not be “proportionate,” said Swedish Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson at a press conference Monday, but added the investigation could still proceed without it.

The ruling was handed down Monday by a judge in a court in Uppsala, north of Stockholm.

Swedish prosecutors reopened the rape case earlier this month, soon after Assange was jailed for skipping a 2012 bail hearing. Assange requested Monday’s hearing be postponed, citing ill health, but the request was denied.

Also on rt.com Sweden’s probe made it impossible for Assange to ‘defend himself’ – UN rapporteur to RT...

Detaining Assange in absence would have allowed Sweden to issue an arrest warrant on him, but for now the European warrant already issued will have to suffice for the investigators, the Swedish judge said.

Assange was arrested in mid-April after spending over six years under political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

Also on rt.com 18 ways Julian Assange changed the world (by Lee Camp)...

  • Published in World

Assange psychologically tortured to ‘breaking point’ by ‘democratic states,’ UN rapporteur tells RT

Jailed WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange shows clear signs of degrading and inhumane treatment which only adds to his deteriorating health, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer told RT.

Assange has “all the symptoms typical for a person who has been exposed to prolonged psychological torture,” Melzer told RT’s Afshin Rattansi. This adds to the toll of his deteriorating physical state caused by a lack of adequate medical care for several years, he said.

Melzer said he was judging from two decades of experience in working with POWs and political prisoners, and only after applying “scientific” UN methods to assess Assange’s condition. But the journalist’s case still “shocked” him.

An individual has been isolated and singled out by several democratic states, and persecuted systematically… to the point of breaking him.

Earlier this month, a UK court sentenced the WikiLeaks co-founder to nearly a year in jail for skipping bail in 2012. The courts are now deciding whether to extradite Assange to the US where he is wanted for 17 charges under the Espionage Act. He can end up serving up to 175 years in prison if proven guilty.

Also on rt.com ‘Grave concerns’: Assange can barely talk, moved to prison hospital, says WikiLeaks...

Also in May, Sweden reopened an investigation into the allegations of rape by Assange, which he denies. The probe was originally dropped in 2017.

WikiLeaks warned that the journalist’s health had “significantly deteriorated” during the seven years he spent living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and continued to worsen after he was evicted in April and placed in a British prison. According to WikiLeaks, he was recently moved to the prison’s “hospital wing.”

 

  • Published in World

WikiLeak's Julian Assange "Too Ill" For US Extradition Hearing From Jail

London: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is too ill to appear via a video link from a British prison in a hearing on an extradition request from the United States, his lawyer said on Thursday.

The United States has requested the extradition of Assange, who was dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London on April 11. He faces a total of 18 US criminal counts with decades in prison if convicted.

"He's in fact far from well," Assange's lawyer, Gareth Peirce, said.

Judge Emma Arbuthnot said: "He's not very well."

WikiLeaks said it had grave concerns about Assange's health and that he had been moved to a health ward at Britain's Belmarsh prison. His health has deteriorated in prison and he has lost a lot of weight, WikiLeaks said.

The next hearing on the extradition request was set for June 12.

  • Published in World

Swedish Prosecutor Requests Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange

Stockholm, May 20 ( Prensa Latina) Swedish Public Prosecutor's Office filed an arrest warrant this Monday against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for alleged sexual offences he denies.

'I have asked the court in Uppsala (north of Stockholm) to arrest Assange in absentia, suspected of rape to a lesser degree for probable cause. If the court decides to arrest him, I will send an European arrest warrant for him to be sent to Sweden', prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson said in a statement.

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said Assange's case has been 'mishandled at all times', denouncing that Ecuador will hand over to the United States on Monday the belongings left by the Australian journalist at the South American country's embassy in London after his arrest last month.

There has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen its investigation, but there has always been political pressure around this case,' Hrafnsson said.

Assange was arrested on April 11 by British police at the Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom after the government of Ecuador ended his seven-year asylum.

The cyberactivist is in a 50-week jail sentence in the United Kingdom for violating the terms of a bail bond in 2012, and also faces an extradition order to the United States, which wants to try him for spreading confidential information about U.S. national security.

In the case of a conflict between a European arrest warrant and an extradition order from the United States, British authorities will have to decide the order of priority, said the Swedish prosecutor.

Sweden reopened the case on May 13, since the accusation, which involves Assange in a minor degree of rape (for having unprotected sexual relations with a young woman while sleeping), is still in force until 2020.

The Public Prosecutor's Office filed legal actions against the computer programmer in May 2017, given the impossibility of advancing the investigations.

  • Published in World

Assange rape case politicized, ‘mishandled throughout’ says WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief

Following the Swedish prosecutor’s decision to reopen the rape investigation against Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson has claimed that the “case has been mishandled throughout.”

“There has been considerable political pressure on Sweden to reopen their investigation, but there has always been political pressure surrounding this case,” Hrafnsson said in a statement Monday morning, following the announcement by Swedish authorities that the investigation against Julian Assange had been officially reopened.

Also on rt.com Swedish prosecutor reopens case probing Assange rape allegations...

Hrafnsson added that several key details surrounding the investigation were suspicious after a Swedish prosecutor initially found that “no crime at all” had occurred, after which the case was reopened at the behest of the British authorities.

The Icelandic WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief told RT that any decision taken by UK authorities in terms of prioritizing the US or Swedish extradition request will be based on politics and not on achieving justice.

Hrafnsson added that several key details surrounding the investigation were suspicious after a Swedish prosecutor initially found that “no crime at all” had occurred, after which the case was reopened at the behest of the British authorities.

The Icelandic WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief told RT that any decision taken by UK authorities in terms of prioritizing the US or Swedish extradition request will be based on politics and not on achieving justice.

"It will be a political decision first and foremost. Justice is long gone from anything when it comes to Julian Assange, he has no justice at all".

"Justice is long gone from anything when it comes to Julian Assange, he has no justice at all" editor talks to RT after Sweden seeks extradition warrant after Julian Assange's UK prison sentence. MORE:

A Swedish prosecutor also refused to question Assange during his forced exile in the Ecuadorian embassy before eventually being impelled by the courts. Swedish authorities then sought to drop the arrest warrant as early as 2013, Hrafnsson claimed, adding that it was the British government that insisted that the case continue.

Also on rt.com Rape allegations: TIMELINE and details of Sweden's case against Julian Assange...

The investigation was then closed in 2017 only for it to be reopened shortly after Assange’s arrest in 2019.

Hrafnsson also alleges that he has received reports of Swedish and British authorities destroying documents related to the case, though he did not provide any evidence. He also slammed media reports that Assange had eluded questioning throughout his time in London, insisting that “Assange was always willing to answer any questions from the Swedish authorities and repeatedly offered to do so, over six years.”

  • Published in World

Julian Assange's 50-Week Jail Sentence Dispropotionate, Says UN

Geneva: United Nations human rights experts voiced concern on Friday at what they called the "disproportionate sentence" of 50 weeks in prison imposed on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for skipping bail in Britain.

Assange is being held in the high-security Belmarsh prison "as if he were convicted for a serious criminal offence", the UN working group on arbitrary detention said in a statement, adding that this "appears to contravene principles of necessity and proportionality".

It described the skipping bail charge as a relatively "minor violation".

The group, composed of five independent experts, issued an opinion in 2015 that Assange - holed up at the time at the Ecuadoran Embassy in London after skipping bail to avoid extradition to Sweden to face an allegation of rape - was being arbitrarily detained.

Assange has denied the rape allegations.

  • Published in World
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