Very bad news for those who still care about freedom of the press and what the fate of Julian Assange means for the artifact-First Amendment added to the U.S. Constitution 240 years ago. The UK High Court just announced it will hear the US appeal of a lower court decision against extraditing Julian Assange.
Godot is likely to arrive before the US/UK finish the legal pantomime denying Assange his freedom.
The High Court decision solidifies Britain’s status as a US vassal state – the 800-year legacy of the Magna Carta be damned. Giving obsequious hypocrisy a bad name, the High Court’s announcement comes a week and half after the prime witness for the latest indictment of Assange recanted his testimony.
It should come as no surprise that British "Justice" officials are following the detailed "Washington Playbook" approach that was exposed by WikiLeaks itself in Feb. 2012.
Some readers may recall that WikiLeaks-revealed confidential emails from the US private intelligence firm Stratfor mentioned that the US already had a secret indictment against the WikiLeaks founder. Bad enough.
What also showed up in the Stratfor emails was the unrelenting, Inspector-Javert-type approach taken by one Fred Burton, Stratfor’s Vice-President for Counterterrorism and Corporate Security. (Burton had been Deputy Chief of the Department of State’s counterterrorism division for the Diplomatic Security Service.)
Here’s Javert – I mean Burton:
"Move him [Assange] from country to country to face charges for the next 25 years. But seize everything he and his family own, to include every person linked to Wiki." [my comment: "country to country", or – equally effective – court to court]
"Pursue conspiracy and political terrorism charges and declassify the death of a source, someone which could link to Wiki."
"Assange is a peacenik. He needs his head dunked in a full toilet bowl at Gitmo."
“Take down the money. Go after his infrastructure. The tools we are using to nail and de-construct Wiki are the same tools used to dismantle and track al-Qaeda."
"Bankrupt the arsehole first; ruin his life. Give him 7-12 years for conspiracy."
"Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He’ll be eating cat food forever … extradition to the US is more and more likely."
Nice people – once sworn under oath "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic". Since comparisons are invidious, apologies to "Javert" and Victor Hugo.
Meanwhile Back at Belmarsh
It is not clear whether the likes of Fred Burton have been able to dictate the menu for Julian Assange (but who would be surprised?). What is clear is that, unless a major grassroots campaign can gather more steam, and soon, Julian is likely to be moved from court to court, prison to prison – all under color of law – until they destroy what is left of him. It is a sad pantomime, a mockery of justice. Talk about Les Miserables!
As UN Rapporteur for Torture Nils Melzer has pointed out, Julian Assange is being subjected to psychological torture – in full view of the rest of the world. And, as reprehensible as this crime is – still more is at stake for democracies, which cannot exist without a free media.
Last Saturday Julian Assange "celebrated" his 50th birthday in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison. I was asked to record a message to be loud-speakered at the demonstration in support of Julian before the prison that day. Here is the recording. For those lacking appreciation for my singing, the 8-minute talk is transcribed here.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27-year career as a CIA analyst includes serving as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).