Power Versus the Press: The Extradition Cases of Pinochet & Assange

With Julian Assange facing possible extradition from Britain to the U.S. for publishing classified secrets, Elizabeth Vos reflects on the parallel but divergent case of a notorious Chilean dictator.

By Elizabeth Vos

Eight months from now one of the most consequential extradition hearings in recent history will take place in Great Britain when a British court and the home secretary will determine whether WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange will be extradited to the United States to face espionage charges for the crime of journalism.

Twenty-one years ago, in another historic extradition case, Britain had to decide whether to send former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet to Spain for the crime of mass murder.

Pinochet in 1982 motorcade. (Ben2, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

In October 1998, Pinochet, whose regime became a byword for political killings, “disappearances” and torture, was arrested in London while there for medical treatment.

A judge in Madrid,  Baltasar Garzón, sought his extradition in connection with the deaths of Spanish citizens in Chile.

Citing the aging Pinochet’s inability to stand trial, the United Kingdom in 2000 ultimately prevented him from being extradited to Spain where he would have faced prosecution for human rights abuses.

At an early point in the proceedings, Pinochet’s lawyer, Clare Montgomery, made an argument in his defense that had nothing to do with age or poor health.   

“States and the organs of state, including heads of state and former heads of state, are entitled to absolute immunity from criminal proceedings in the national courts of other countries,” the  Guardian quoted Montgomery as saying. She argued that crimes against humanity should be narrowly defined within the context of international warfare, as the BBC reported.

Montgomery’s immunity argument was overturned by the House of Lords. But the extradition court ruled that the poor health of Pinochet, a friend of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, would prevent him from being sent to Spain.

Same Participants

Assange in 2014, while in the Ecuadorian Embassy. (Cancillería del Ecuador, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Though the cases of Pinochet and Assange are separated by more than two decades, two of the participants are the same, this time playing very different roles.

Montgomery reappeared in the Assange case to argue on behalf of a Swedish prosecutor’s right to seek a European arrest warrant for Assange.

Her argument ultimately failed. A Swedish court recently denied the European arrest warrant. But as in the Pinochet case, Montgomery helped buy time, this time allowing Swedish sexual allegations to persist and muddy Assange’s reputation.

Garzón, the Spanish judge, who had requested Pinochet’s extradition, also reappears in Assange’s case.  He is a well-known defender of human rights, “viewed by many as Spain’s most courageous legal watchdog and the scourge of bent politicians and drug warlords the world over,” as the The Independent described him a few years ago.

He now leads Assange’s legal team.

Friends and Enemies

The question that stands out is whether the British legal system will let a notorious dictator like Pinochet go but send a publisher such as Assange to the United States to face life in prison.

The tide of political sentiment has been running against Assange.

Before the U.K. home secretary signed the U.S. extradition request for Assange, leading to the magistrate’s court setting up a five-day hearing at the end of February 2020, British lawmakers publicly urged that the case against Assange proceed. Few elected officials have defended Assange (his image tainted by the unproven Swedish allegations and criticism about the 2016 U.S. election that have nothing to do with the extradition request).

Pinochet, by contrast, had friends in high places. Thatcher openly called for his release.

“[Pinochet] reportedly made a habit of sending chocolates and flowers to [Thatcher] during his twice-yearly visits to London and took tea with her whenever possible. Just two weeks before his arrest, General Pinochet was entertained by the Thatchers at their Chester Square address in London,” the BBC reported.  CNN reported on the “famously close relationship.”

Similar affection was also documented between Pinochet and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. The Nation reported on a declassified memo of a private conversation in Santiago, Chile, in June 1976, that revealed “Kissinger’s expressions of ‘friendship,’ ‘sympathetic’ understanding and wishes for success to Pinochet at the height of his repression, when many of those crimes – torture, disappearances, international terrorism – were being committed.”

Pinochet, left, greeting Kissinger in 1976. (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Chile, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Systematic, Widespread Abuse

Pinochet rose to power following a U.S.-backed, violent coup by the Chilean army on Sept. 11, 1973, which ousted the country’s democratically-elected president, the socialist Salvador Allende. The coup has been called “one of the most brutal in modern Latin American history.”

The CIA funded operations in Chile with millions of U.S. tax dollars both before and after Allende’s election, the 1975 U.S. Senate Church Committee reported. 

Although the Church Committee report found no evidence of the agency directly funding the coup, the National Security Archive noted that the CIA “actively supported the military Junta after the overthrow of President Allende. Many of Pinochet’s officers were involved in systematic and widespread human rights abuses. Some of these were contacts or agents of the CIA or US military.”

The violence Pinochet inflicted spilled over the borders of Chile. His orders for murder have been linked to the killing of an exiled Chilean dissident, Orlando Letelier, in a car bomb blast on U.S. soil. The attack also killed Ronni Moffitt, a U.S. citizen.

Villa Grimaldi, one of the largest torture centers during the Pinochet military dictatorship. (CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons)

More than 40,000 people, many only tangentially tied to dissidents, were “disappeared,” tortured or killed during Pinochet’s 17-year reign of terror.

Pinochet’s Chile almost immediately after the coup became the laboratory for the Chicago School’s economic theory of neoliberalism, or a new laissez-faire, enforced at the point of a gun.  Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan championed a system of privatization, free trade, cuts to social services and deregulation of banking and business that has led to the greatest inequality in a century.

By contrast to these crimes and corruption, Assange has published thousands of classified documents showing U.S. and other nations’ officials engaged in the very acts of crime and corruption. 

Yet it is far from certain that Assange will receive the leniency from the British extradition process that Pinochet enjoyed.

After the dictator’s death, Christopher Hitchens wrote that the U.S. Department of Justice had an indictment for Pinochet completed for some time. “But the indictment has never been unsealed,” Hitchens reported in Slate.

Assange’s indictment, by contrast, was not only unsealed, more charges were heaped on.

Given the longstanding difficulties he has had accessing justice, it’s fair to say that the U.K. and the rest of the Western world are committing a slow-motion “enforced disappearance” of Assange.

Elizabeth Vos is a freelance reporter and regular contributor to Consortium News.

This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared on Disobedient Media.

70 comments for “Power Versus the Press: The Extradition Cases of Pinochet & Assange

  1. Suzanne
    July 9, 2019 at 03:13

    Thank you. Your Help will Greatly Appreciated.

  2. July 2, 2019 at 12:50

    Todo lo siniestro de estas “injusticias”, impulsado por los perversos poderes de las elites privadas dueñas de los los recursos y la riqueza.Es la busqueda y mantención del lucro y el afan de enriquecimiento. Es lo más deleznable del ser humano. Y desgraciadamente prevalecerá mientras este “orden” prevalezca”

  3. jmg
    July 2, 2019 at 05:21

    From another great article by Elizabeth Vos:

    “The UK paid legal fees for the defense of Pinochet against efforts to extradite him in light of severe human rights abuses, later paying the same barrister again to aid Sweden in its effort to extradite a journalist, Julian Assange, without charge. All this, in addition to paying for the costs associated with laying siege to the Ecuadorian embassy in London.”

    From Pinochet To Assange: A Tale Of Two Extraditions – Disobedient Media – June 15, 2018

  4. rosemerry
    July 1, 2019 at 16:57

    I saw this article via ICH and am so glad you have published it, as I am sure that like me, so many others had no idea of this connection.
    How can the UK pretend it cares about the rule of law?

  5. Dan
    July 1, 2019 at 12:26

    Thank you Elizabeth Vos for this great article. It perfectly summarises one of those historical instances in which the true nature of imperial policy becomes crystal-clear.

  6. Vera Gottlieb
    July 1, 2019 at 11:47

    Even today, after so may years, I find it totally repulsive seeing a dictator and murder being given such a heartfelt handshake by an American. But then…the US only knows how to support/install dictators, etc.

  7. Realist
    June 30, 2019 at 23:38

    Good lord, I take one look at that photo of Kissinger together with Chile’s Pinochet, flash on how much death and suffering the United States of America forced upon that country in our names using our tax dollars, and then realise it was far from an isolated incident. It has been standard American operating procedure throughout my lifetime, which started right after World War II, a conflagration I missed because my father was conscripted to do his share of the killing in that righteous “good war.” His father had been conscripted by Uncle Sam before him to shoot at Bolsheviks in Russia at the tail end of World War I because America’s ruling class didn’t like that regime before it had occupied a day in office.

    All my great grandfathers were children or teens during the American Civil War, lived through the subsequent Indian Wars and the Spanish American War. My great grandparents from Minnesota, contemporaries of Laura Ingalls Wilder, lived in close proximity to the famous massacres in the Dakotas. They passed tales down through my grandparents of what living among the Plains Indians was like in the farming and logging communities on the frontier. I read histories written by their neighboring settlers. The native Americans were considered close to garden pests that needed to be eradicated like gophers or crows. My great great grandparents from both sides of the family fled Prussia in the 1850’s to escape the constant wars, conscription and Kulturkampf in Europe for a fresh start… and more of the same, really, in America. The bloodletting forced upon them or on their behalf has never stopped, in spite of the many noble words published far and wide in Queen Victoria’s English, which was never any more genuine than Bismarck’s or the Kaiser’s German.

    • DW Bartoo
      July 1, 2019 at 12:26

      Your comments are very much appreciated, on so very many levels, Realist.

    • John
      July 2, 2019 at 07:54

      Thanks for these stories about your background Realist

      • Realist
        July 2, 2019 at 23:52

        The more things change, the more they remain the same.

  8. jsinton
    June 30, 2019 at 20:18

    I don’t think Mr. Assange can be expected to survive until his extradition hearing. He knows too much, and has done far too much damage to them, and could probably inflict more if he’s heard again. Pinochet had a similar problem. He knew too much. They probably couldn’t afford to have him on trial either, he might turn on them. Just like the sick old man they murdered in the bathroom in his underwear (Osama bin Laden), dead men tell no tales.

    • DW Bartoo
      July 1, 2019 at 12:23

      Your concern is most reasonable, jsinton.

      Yet, were Assange to die while in Brit or U$ custody, the question of, “How convenient was that?”, which would immediately be coupled with, as you say, “Dead men tell no tales.”

      Assange, though vilified by government and media, even despised by many U$ citizens has not yet become so hated, rightly or wrongly, as bin Laden.

      Such trial as Assange may have, in the U$, likely will be held behind closed doors, a secret proceeding made so by claims of “national security” concerns. It certainly will not be publicly televised, though the verdict may.

      Expect that the specific charges will not result in public evidence merely in assertion, that any testimony of Assange will be redacted, and realize that Assange is prohibited, by provisions of the Act under which he will be tried, from a “public service” defense.

      Kangaroos will abound.

      • Brian B
        July 2, 2019 at 09:32

        Even if Assange were let free tomorrow the damage to freedom has been done. Assange has been made an example, anyone attempting to reveal the truth now has to know what waits for them. This, much more than any pretended damage to ‘national security’, has been the rather blatant purpose of the millions spent in his persecution.

    • July 1, 2019 at 17:45

      Excellent points

  9. Yun Xia
    June 30, 2019 at 20:12

    Great Article!

  10. Sam F
    June 30, 2019 at 17:36

    It is a wonderful observation that Garcon defends Assange against extradition, having sought extradition of Pinochet. A marvelous exposure of UK government corruption, that it refused to extradite Pinochet, but will do so to Assange! Clearly Assange would be free if he were accused of merely toppling democracy and disappearing thousands. Need we more evidence that the UK government is as completely corrupted by money power as the US government? I am very disappointed with the UK government, not for the first time, in its abject and amoral servility to money.

    • Yun Xia
      June 30, 2019 at 20:15

      Agreed. UK is a joke!

    • Abby
      July 2, 2019 at 01:12

      This shows the hypocrisy of the world’s governments doesn’t it? Be responsible for thousands of deaths and no punishment. But expose the world’s secrets and you will be prosecuted for it.

      That so many people are in favor of Assange’s rendition and bogus trial under the espionage act is just mind boggling. I know many people who used to be for everything Julian stands for and against the things that he exposed, but are now completely opposite. This happened during Obama’s tenure after they protested against Bush’s wars, but then became okay with Obama’s wars in Libya and Syria. Just how people’s minds get flipped because of the person doing it is just as mind boggling.

      Great essay! I will share it.

      • Sam F
        July 2, 2019 at 09:08

        Yes, the essay is powerful indeed, perhaps even understated. Most let the mass media define what they must say for job security and promotions. As HL Mencken put it, “the common man avoids the truth [because] it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn’t pay.”

  11. June 30, 2019 at 17:09

    Today we live in an Orwellian nightmare of lies, people know nothing because of the lies and propaganda. Reading comment of person who said they were better under Pinochet, how about being one of the tortured or disappeared? And this after the covert ops brought to Chile, the usual “softening up” by the CIA. And now total lies are told about Julian Assange! We just lost Justin Raimondo of Antiwar, gone from cancer but wrote till the end, just as Robert Parry did. Strategic Culture Foundation report on refugee crisis, and, as expected, US “regime change” wars are absolutely most responsible, millions and millions without homes (while Americans watch TV programs on fixing up a house)–greatest number Syrians but millions more from other ME/Africa countries and Venezuela. US is rogue nation, must be stopped. Europe may buckle to Trump’s threats on buying Iran oil, cowards! We are going to have to get out on street like in France, this cannot continue. Tulsi Gabbard is ignored by media, liars and war-mongers.

  12. jmg
    June 30, 2019 at 14:20

    The UK extradition cases of Julian Assange and Augusto Pinochet

    – Assange: Investigative journalist and publisher of whistleblowers’ information of public interest for human rights.
    – Pinochet: Mass murderer and torturer, ended democracy in Chile with a coup d’etat, dictator for almost two decades.

    Charges in extradition requests:

    – Assange: 18 US federal charges related to collaboration with a whistleblower to publish war crimes protected by secrecy.
    – Pinochet: 94 counts of torture of Spanish citizens, the 1975 assassination of Spanish UN diplomat Carmelo Soria, etc.

    Who called upon the British government to release them:

    – Assange: UN working group on arbitrary detention, American Civil Liberties Union, Committee to Protect Journalists, multiple media organizations on First Amendment grounds, and many more.
    – Pinochet: Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former US President George H. W. Bush, far-right Chileans.

    Situation during extradition proceedings:

    – Assange: Small cell in the Belmarsh High Security Prison, denied a computer, can’t prepare his own defense.
    – Pinochet: Under house arrest in a comfortable rented house, living with wife, visited by Margaret Thatcher.

    When ill health:

    – Assange: Moved to the health ward of Belmarsh prison. UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid signs US extradition request.
    – Pinochet: Released by UK Home Secretary Jack Straw. Upon arrival at the Chilean airport, ill health suddenly disappears:

    Pinochet’s return to Chile after his release in London for alleged ill health

    • Susan Rhodes
      July 1, 2019 at 15:21

      What a great comparison of cases of Julian Assange and Augusto Pinochet! The injustice is really made clear….

  13. Stephen M
    June 30, 2019 at 04:59

    Take a good long look at those warm smiles between Kissinger and Pinochet captured in that photograph
    Then contemplate how much death was masked by those smiles

    Flashback to the image of Assange being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy
    Clutching the Gore Vidal book History of the National Security State
    And wonder if he’ll ever smile again.

    Then excuse yourself for entertaining this thought:

    There is no justice in this world
    Only power

    • Skip Scott
      June 30, 2019 at 08:27

      Succinct and true. Well said Stephen M!

    • DW Bartoo
      June 30, 2019 at 11:36

      Superb comment, Stephen M.

    • jmg
      July 3, 2019 at 04:01

      That Pinochet–Kissinger photograph is the exact equivalent of a meeting between a mafia Don and an allied family’s very poweful Consigliere, in fact an acting Don. Only, in reality, they were bosses of organized crime on a massive scale.

      Michael Corleone: “My father is no different than any powerful man, any man who’s responsible for other people, like a senator or president.”
      Kay Adams: “Do you know how naive you sound, Michael?”
      Michael Corleone: “Why?”
      Kay Adams: “Senators and presidents don’t have men killed!”
      Michael Corleone: “Oh. Who’s being naive, Kay?”


  14. Maria C. Buenafe
    June 30, 2019 at 04:49

    Well done, Elizabeth Voss.
    Together with arguing press freedom before the courts, behind the scenes diplomatic and political moves is crucial, I think.
    Any supporters of Julian with friends in high places ?

  15. June 29, 2019 at 22:24

    Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture comes right out and calls it like it is. It isn’t about Assange, it’s always been about making a spectacle so great no one will pay attention to the information released by Assange. Because it’s true.


    Everyone knows its true, we just aren’t supposed to talk about it. Namely, the US is in bed with the Saudis – who are the Wahhabi terrorists. Yes, the US government is best friends with the goddam 9/11 terrorists, and both of them are in bed with Israeli Mossad. A threesome of terrorists: the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. And the Democratic party rigged the US primary election for Hillary Clinton. Everyone knew it, which is why nobody ran against her except that crazy Sanders guy. The torture and persecution of Julian Assange is meant to distract everyone from talking about this. There. I said it out loud.

    • DW Bartoo
      June 30, 2019 at 11:31

      Were the “press” really contending with power, then Nils Melzer’s report would be front page news. In fact, major U$ media are running away from the very clear and concise history which Melzer presents, in favor of the very hoopla designed, and intended, just as you say, O Society, to create a spectacle of immense proportion to obscure the actual truth.

      Along with other effective means of blocking or ignoring sources, commentators, and investigators who could provide information and evidence which could, and would, undermine the narratives of power.

      Which latter is the required function of the “press”, in nations promoting even the most feeble presence of a pretend “democracy”, and one-dimensional claims of “free speech” or “freedom of thought”.

      Otherwise, as you suggest, most everyone knows what cannot be talked about, even without an enforced 15 minute time limit when talking to anyone.

      Continue speaking aloud.

      Who knows?

      It might become fashionable.

      Then, we could suggest the value of listening, of reading, of asking the questions that matter.

      • old geezer
        July 1, 2019 at 10:30



        shorter than reading a book. i didn’t know before of Greenfield’s sense of humor. his comment regarding his wife and mother in law was quite loving.

        the way he mentioned what made marx happy made me wonder if alynsky might have been marx re-incarnated.

        anne r is not recommended to read this, though. Greenfield is a descendant of egyptian slaves.

        his thesis is is a direct comment on censorship, and the objectives of the censors.


        • DW Bartoo
          July 1, 2019 at 13:19

          Now you know, old geezer, that I am going to agree with quite a bit of what Greenfield says.

          I know that really doe not surprise you.

          I agree that genuine, by which I mean respectful open-minded and honest debate, “political” being a just about big enough descriptor to cover the breath and depth of it, is sadly lacking.

          I find the terms “left” and “right” to be widely inaccurate, often abused and frequently used to disparage and belittle all too easily ABSENT debate or the experience of communicating with those believed to be “opposite”.

          Frankly, Democrats are no more “left” than many “Conservatives”, and I use that term RATHER than Republicans, are “right”.

          My measure of people is whether they care about other people beyond themselves and their own “in-crowd”.

          I would like to see a serious examination of what, too often, is glibly termed “human nature”, but which often merely means simply “what I think it means and supports my idea of what motivates others, especially if it excuses what I do.”

          I agree about culture wars, completely.

          That they are merely about expressing hatred and contempt.

          As a throw-away aside: (Where are MAGA caps made?)

          How can a place (a people) be great if they don’t make their own caps, cups, or cars?

          I do not understand the great concern with who other people marry.

          One does not (generally) have to marry anyone one does not want to marry. Why should one care what others do?

          (See, this is how one opens debate. We do not have to agree, merely come to as much of an understanding of each other’s viewpoint as we may. It is not about making others agree, it is about respecting honest difference, not as threat but as part of “human nature”. It is about appreciating that difference, so long as we do not try to force OUR viewpoint ON others.)

          Mistreatment of veterans is wholly bipartisan, just as is sending the young to war in the first place.

          You know my prejudice around that.

          Yes, regulators should get out and fly on those planes, walk through those fields and really look at what Wall Street is up to, and so on …

          I also think the segregation of people you do not agree with is not only wrong and counterproductive, it reduces the opportunity to learn.

          It is not just Conservatives who are banned from social media and ALL the banning is despicable and destructive to trust and social openness about what we each think about, value, and regard as moral principle.

          • DW Bartoo
            July 1, 2019 at 13:40

            Not having children, today, in the U$, is quite as much about economic concerns as anything else.

            Environmental degradation IS something humans do, and that behavior reflects attitude, notions that the environment is an “external” that need not be cared for or cherished.

            The pollinators are disappearing due to pesticide use.

            Plant diversity, which affects soil quality and local “climate”, is being lost because species deemed “undesirable” or “weeds” are ruthlessly destroyed which can contribute to soil depletion, which too much of Big Ag does not carefully replenish.

            “Religions” of control, and Silicon Valley is precisely such a “belief $y$tem, is ALL about total control, their own and that of corporations and governments …

            As opposed to moral principles and sensibilities premised upon lived social experience and human society.

            I remain skeptical of claims of divinity and supernatural influence, which I do not consider a prejudice but my own observation that all gods seem to be fashioned in man’s (occasionally woman’s) image and, far too often are used to explain or support “authority”, whenever cant or ritual is contested.

            (That is one reason why “voting”, as practiced in the U$, is far more a rite than a right, being based on faith and not a rational examination of the consistent outcome that nothing, ever, changes as a result.)

          • old geezer
            July 2, 2019 at 01:09

            i guess when the reply button gets past a certain number of iterations it gives up. so this is for your comment above and below.

            did you look to see if Pillsbury’s book is available ” at a library near you “. i mention it again since i know it will resonate with you as much as i. caution though, it made my blood boil. i was only able to barely read one chapter at a time.

            the current guy residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave was barely elected, never ran for any political office before ( not even dog catcher ) because he appealed to enough americans who who are generally deemed expendable by the power elite.

            after getting past platitudes, specifics are next. if one just keep going down platitude street, Scott Adams parodies are are next.

            left and right are wildly inaccurate ? i’d much rather address a specific than a label or linguistic definition.

            my measure is whether a specific action is good for the country overall. the country is made of citizens.

            human nature … there are many characteristics. many dissertations are possible on that subject. i referred to Olsen’s thesis of Distributional Coalitions. a nice phrase he writes about to describe sclerotic practices that benefit the ” in ” crowd ( power elite ) at the expense of the overall nation.

            later on in Greenfield’s presentation he zeroed in on the objective, raw power. the culture wars being a means.

            mine was made in the USA. but i got mine only a couple of months ago. there was some event , i forget now ( old geezer is writing, not young whippersnapper ) that finally pushed me over the edge. maybe i’ll wear it some time. i do recall the guy who put the early orders together overlooked that obvious detail. do you think he was fired ? i never watched that show. maybe i missed something but it reminded me of survivor. no airplanes, change the channel.

            i often wonder, how different would i think if i had not been one of the guys helping out with airplane parts. i did sili con valley parts too. DJT isn’t the only guy noticing americans getting the shaft.

            Greenfield’s marriage example was to show how very different the country has become. i would think that was very easy to spot.

            everyone has a breaking point. Danny Sjursen questioned if he really should have been a soldier, ” Ghost Riders of Baghdad “. he elaborated about his very strong dis agreement with one particular order he was given. then he compared it to one of his own flawed commands. so what happens when the guys at the top don’t get it right ? are they all evil ? all the way down the line ? no, of course not. so show me where in the affairs of men where large numbers of people get it right all the time.

            glad to hear you favor draining a little bit of the swamp – Dept Of Ag moved to Missouri.

            Wall St. now there is the obvious example of industrial policy. do you remember that debate in the 90’s ?

            you haven’t mentioned what you think of the US institutions of higher learning. my poly sci ( 1 class req’d for eng majors at Cal Poly ) prof said 1/2 of the grade was for participation in class discussions. finally, i thought, i have a shot at getting an A. i understand the requirements for class discussions are a little more strict now.

            the last article i read reported the portland anti fa head bashers are still showing off their latest successes on face book and twitter. i thought steve crowder was a great comedian in an age of the death of comedy. who’s getting banned on the left ?

            helping families in our country. it would seem that is not a priority. quite the opposite, and quite intentional. why ? the question answers itself. but we should import more from everywhere else (sic) . you get to help pay for that too, right ?

            big ag. were the guys at monsanto that smart and the bayer people that stupid ? you should see how much water is used in the northern central valley of california to grow rice. but if you really want to see some real trouble, double or triple the price of food world wide. do you remember those elasticity curves from econ 101 ? it’s the only thing i remember.

            sili con valley is sick. mentally.

            never been a fan of organized religions. i think i got that wrong. as a boy the catholics made me very edgy, and i never knew why … at the time. fascinating to me though, when an atheist will argue that he has no soul.

            so what about the big picture ?
            is it the objective to radically transform America ?
            should we have world government ?
            who gets to run the show ?

            what will work for the citizens of the United States ? should we import more to negate the vote of some one like me in places besides my state ? my vote obviously does not matter anymore.

            the issue is power. ironic how Greenfield did an entire presentation just a couple of days ago.

            keep getting it wrong and the country goes under. the economics aren’t looking to well either –

    • Gregory Herr
      July 1, 2019 at 20:25

      Nils Melzer’s candid willingness to openly examine how he had been “blinded by propaganda” and his subsequent understanding that Julian has suffered psychological torture is praiseworthy. And he understands that “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.”

      He also despaired of people not even wanting “to hear the truth”. I think that’s even more of a problem than being “distracted by spectacle.”

      “Distractions” abound…the competition for short attention spans is unrelenting. And people like it as long as they feel entertained. The sustained effort to develop a factual and contextual basis of knowledge (truth) that leads to insights and understandings that are often in themselves “uncomfortable” can be taxing or burdensome. And heavily propagandized Americans are mostly enthralled with their propaganda—loving their comforts and illusions.

      I don’t think it’s the spectacle of Assange’s demonization and arrest that keeps people from talking about Wikileaks disclosures (or any other information about machinations of power and the deeds and events of our times and history). I think, simply put, the comprehension of such machinations and what they may portend or mean requires a deeply saddening sense of sobriety and disappointment.

      It is not comforting to know the “war on terrorism” is in actuality a “war of terrorism” perpetrated by my government. Keep connecting those dots O Society. Those interlinked “intelligence agencies” are a good start.

  16. Robyn
    June 29, 2019 at 21:07

    While the long delay before the hearing might be justified when considered in its legal context, and welcomed by Julian’s legal team for the time if gives them to prepare his case, in a purely personal sense this is just prolonged uncertainty and doubt and fear for Julian and his parents who have already gone through so much.

  17. Nick Munoz
    June 29, 2019 at 21:05

    Elizabeth let me be clear about something,

    • John A
      June 30, 2019 at 02:33

      ‘We’ of course, in this instance, the 1% of Chile!

      • Josep
        June 30, 2019 at 04:30

        I am reminded of the film Machuca set around the time of the 1973 coup d’état. The film’s protagonist, Infante Gonzalo, belongs to a rich family of European heritage who disagrees with Allende. In the end, after 9/11, Gonzalo witnesses the persecution, and eventual disappearance, of a whole shantytown and its indigenous inhabitants, one of whom being his new friend Pedro Machuca, and the Gonzalo family moves to a more lavish, luxurious house following the wealth redistribution.

        Suddenly I am reminded of Trump’s tax-cuts-for-the-rich policy, which can possibly explain why leftist billionaires like Taylor Swift hold so much influence in American pop culture and act like they’re above the law. It doesn’t seem to have originated with Trump, if a comment on that link is anything to go by:

        In retrospect it is clear that Ronald Reagan, ironically, opened up the floodgates of globalism and cultural leftism by massively redistributing wealth, and hence power, away from the middle class, which is disproportionately nationalist and Christian cultural conservative, to billionaires, who are disproportionately globalist and cultural leftist.

        Brezhnev, on the other hand, unintentionally nurtured nationalism and social conservatism in Eastern Europe by preventing the emergence of the most extreme anti-conservatives ever known to man – the billionaires.

      • Raymond Comeau
        July 1, 2019 at 16:05

        I love your reply. It says it all perfectly cleary!

    • Josep
      June 30, 2019 at 04:17

      I seem to recall reading about how people who publicly disagreed with Pinochet’s policies were persecuted (and by that, I mean either arrested, executed or exiled) by the government. What do you think?

    • DW Bartoo
      June 30, 2019 at 08:04

      I am curious.

      WHO, specifically are the “we” to whom you refer, Nick Munoz?

      And HOW, again with some specificity, were those “we”, as you claim, “better off”?

    • June 30, 2019 at 12:02

      Please expand your comment, Nick, perhaps beginning with a definition of who “WE” were.

    • jmg
      June 30, 2019 at 12:31

      Nick, probably you are referring to the economic warfare against Chile ordered by US President Richard Nixon to create the conditions for Pinochet’s bloody coup against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. See for instance https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_Chilean_coup_d'état .

      You can also watch the celebrated three-part documentary “The Battle of Chile” for some aspects of it, such as the truck owners’ long strike, funded by the CIA, which paralyzed the distribution of food, gasoline, fuel, etc. before Pinochet’s coup. A coup that ended democracy in Chile for almost two decades.

    • anon4d2
      June 30, 2019 at 17:17

      So why can’t you be clear about that, with some evidence and argument?

    • rosemerry
      July 1, 2019 at 17:03

      I bet you were, just as the rich in Venezuela are so determined to ensure a régime which does NOT help the rest of the people is “elected”. It has happened in Argentina, in Honduras, in Brazil of course- lots of happy people now enjoying the privileges allowable only to the rich few.

  18. DW Bartoo
    June 29, 2019 at 20:12

    It may also be understood that, although in the Pinochet case, Baltasar Garzon was the judge who requested extradition and in the Assange case he heads the defense, he is also furthering that fundamental interests of actual justice, in terms of an actual rule of law and not some malleable empty pretense masquerading as law.

    While the outward legal “roles” Montgomery and Garzon are “playing” appear to be opposite “sides”, as officers of a court, in these two cases, the philosophies each serves are thoroughly consistent.

  19. DW Bartoo
    June 29, 2019 at 18:19

    When Clare Montgomery claims that heads of state and former heads of state should have “absolute immunity” from prosecution by other governments or, presumably, the ICC, she recalls, first, the claims argued at Nuremberg, that those Germans accused of war crimes should be tried only under German law, which had been debased to nothing but an empty form of law and, second, she was raising the old European standard which held that heads of European states, bring interrelated through blood or marriage should never faced consequence for simply playing the Great Game, as it would set bad precedent and likely encourage the lesser classes to lose respect for their betters.

    That she would seek to punish Assange for exposing war crimes and other criminal behaviors of the elite classes does not suggest, at all, an antithetical approach to her previous position, but a smooth and seamless extension of the very same philosophy of law, one always tending to uphold the prerogatives of privilege while always seeking to savage those whose revelations threaten such privilege.

    Those of us of a certain age were fed notions like Humphrey Bogart’s line in the movie “Deadline”, in which he plays the role of a newspaper editor, whose paper is about to be sold to a competitor;
    a young would-be reporter asks Bogart’s character for a job, and Bogart asks the young man if he knows what “a profession” is, the young man says, “A skill?”, and Bogart responds, “A profession is a performance for the public good.”

    That is a laughable naivety in the current philosophy of the “press”. From the very beginning of U$ “journalism”, among the “pragmatic” that has been a useful fiction. Certainly by Hearst’s time, the Big Papers, those of “record”, the value of that fiction was the creation of a homogenized “News” intended to “manufacture consent”, ignore dissident or divergent viewpoints now, using the “weaponised” of the CIA, known as “conspiracy theories” or “fake news”.

    The “press” no more stands in opposition to power, than a collapsed umbrella resists the gale, or even a middling strong gust of Autumn breeze.

    • Skip Scott
      June 30, 2019 at 08:23

      Slightly off topic, I am waiting to see if Julian Assange’s case is allowed any time in the Democratic primary presidential debates. As far as I know Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate coming out in defense of Assange. Tulsi has already “peed in the punchbowl” by promoting a non-interventionist foreign policy on National TV; I wonder if they’ll give her an opportunity to talk about Assange? If so, will the planted “Russian Agents” applaud yet again?

      • DW Bartoo
        June 30, 2019 at 12:01

        I would say you are very much ON topic with those most timely questions, Skip Scott.

        To slide a bit off-topic (quite a bit further), in response to your comment, I do wish we knew more about Gabbard’s other perspectives, specifically about Israeli influence on U$ policy and her position on BDS.

        I’d thrown in austerity and neoliberalism, healthcare, and corporate regulation, corporate ownership of the political and legal systems, access to education, and meaningful political choice.

        If Gabbard survives the “cuts”, it may be that the sound-bite “debates”, constrained and controlled as they are, might make more clear these generally obscured issues.

        The “Russiabot” accusations, already in full, riotous bloom, will be grown in blue team greenhouses to proportions fantastic.

        Which may well hasten the well-deserved end of the Dems.

        2020, may well be their last “Harumph!”, as disgust will take solid and substantial root.

        We might even see the birth of a substantive new party.

        Recall the Whigs.

  20. DW Bartoo
    June 29, 2019 at 15:11

    I must admit to a bit of confusion.

    The title of this article, by Elizabeth Vos, is:

    “Power Versus the Press: The Extrdition Cases of Pinochet & Assange”

    The “power” referred to is government, its systems, and heads of government, if I understand aright.

    The “press” is little discussed. The only mention I see is the reference to Julian Assange AS a publisher, an assertion with which I quite agree.

    If my old memory serves the “press”, or “media”, at least in the U$, having never seriously questioned the role the U$ played in bringing Pinochet to power, having never seriously exposed or questioned Pinochet’s repressive and violent regime, never really, during the extradition proceddings, made notable efforts to provide honest historical perspective about why extradition might be appropriate, or encouraged any sense that Pinochet escaped necessary justice.

    I never saw the U$ press stand up to, or challenge power, as that power raised Pinochet to power, supported his regime, and then protected Pinochet from consequence.

    In the case of Assange, the “press” also has not contested power, even as yet, except in most desultory fashion. Indeed, the press has happily, for more than seven years, orchestrated, continuously expanded, and apparently enjoyed the character assassination of Julian Assange.

    Frankly, the only “press” that has behaved in adversarial opposition TO power has been Wikileaks and Julian Assange, as well as sites such as CN.

    The MSM have behaved as propagandists of power, willingly abetting the “sexing-up” of lies to enhance brute power, to “cover” for and ignore the consequences of financial fraud, neoliberal “austerity”, and the undermining human rights and democratic institutions, rendering “democracy” to mere pretense and sham.

    Beyond that wee confusion, I much appreciate the histories presented of Clare Montgomery, who is a true handmaiden of repression, and Baltasar Garson, long appreciated for his general willingness to grow in his understanding, to actually speak truth to power, to have dared be a consultant to the ICC (so very much detested by U$ “power), and his current role in the defense of Assange.

    • Bob Van Noy
      June 29, 2019 at 16:36

      Thank you DW Bartoo, for me, studying the 60’s Assassinations, plus a fascination with Economics, I remained unaware of the deep corruption until Naomi Klein, a Canadian, published “The Shock Doctrine” in 2007. Then it became instantly clear what the program of the “Deep and Corrupt State” was all about. So I suppose that it was published scholarship and not exactly the press that alerted me. And, I’m still a bit stunned by the coordinated efforts of the Duopoly.

      I should say too, that being introduced to Consortiumnews and Robert Parry was the only press that I believed for nearly an entire adult lifetime Post November 22, 1963…


      • DW Bartoo
        June 29, 2019 at 20:30

        I think it fair to say, Bob Van Noy, that academia and the media share the role of furthering the mythology of the status quo while assiduously seeking to ridicule critical thought as “radical”, impractical, “antiSemitic”, dangerous, or foreign dupishness.

        Even as both “institutions” brook no serious or honest criticism of war-making, neoliberalism, or the influence of Zionist lobbying and character assassination, through the one and within the other.

        One notes that universities in the U$ are being encouraged, now, to spy on their Chinese students.

        The assault on open and free inquiry, and deep examination of severe societal failures is increasingly full-blown and blatant in its chilling effect and intent.

        • Realist
          July 2, 2019 at 02:39


          The FBI has been pressuring university professors to spy on Chinese students since the Tiananmen Square demonstrations of 1989. I received a visit from an agent who had me believe that one of our graduate students was a spy for the Chinese government–a cell leader no less! He pumped me for all the information I had about her at the time (which was considerable as I was the department Graduate Advisor and Admissions Chairman) and requested that I provide the agency with any records on her in our files. I must admit that thirty years ago I thought I was doing a service for my country when I copied all her files and forwarded them to the FBI. The agent was so intense–it was as if he employed some form of hypnosis–that it would be difficult to resist his requests even today now that I know better. Do they learn this in psy-ops training?

          • DW Bartoo
            July 2, 2019 at 14:53

            Realist, I very much appreciate this recounting of your personal experience.

            I think the “surveillance” was less broadcast in years past.

            More than several professors have shared
            similar stories with me over the years, during the Vietnam era, especially.

            I should imagine that such training promotes those most adept.

  21. Brian James
    June 29, 2019 at 12:23

    “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Sep 24, 2013 40th anniversary of fascist coup in Chile—Made in the USA

    40th anniversary of the fascist coup in Chile—Made in the USA 11 September 2013 Today is the fortieth anniversary of the fascist coup in Chile on 11 September 1973, when the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende was overthrown in a coup that was planned, organized and directed from Washington.


  22. James Henderson
    June 29, 2019 at 10:52

    The obvious difference is that Pinochet and Kissinger both committed War Crimes….(supported by Margaret Thatcher…..who also had a soft spot for apartheid South Africa)….Whereas Assange exposed War Crimes, much to the embarrassment of the rich and powerful…….Always a thankless and dangerous task!

  23. AnneR
    June 29, 2019 at 10:05

    While remaining completely silent about what the UK (and US) govt is doing to Assange – 50 weeks in a maximum security prison (akin to US Super Max ones by the looks of things) for *skipping bail*! – the BBC (NPR is also absolutely mum on it all) is all hot under the collar about the dastardly Iranians who have imprisoned a British-Iranian “journalist.”

    Apparently she has been on hunger strike and her Brit spouse too (he in front of the Iranian embassy in London). She ended her hunger strike yesterday or earlier today and so did he. (No clear reason given for her ending hers – my thought was: it wasn’t working in her favor so why continue.)

    Of course the Beeb was all on the side of this couple – and of course, what can you expect of an authoritarian government but the imprisoning of “journalists”? It’s what *they* do to prevent dissent, the “truth” emerging into the public arena. “We” the western media, “journalists” – reveal the truth, are objective in our reportage, hide nothing etc. etc. Of course the latter is utter bullshit.

    The Iranians, if I recall right, tried and convicted this Iranian British woman “journalist” because they believed they had proved her to be a British spy (working for GCHQ or its satellites). Of course the Beeb denounced such conviction and ensuing imprisonment as utter twaddle – she’s British, she works for the British media, therefore she *is* honest, objective and *not* a spy. It goes without saying. (I think the Iranians are probably right – Integrity Initiative and all that…)

    It is the utter hypocrisy of the UK-US governments and the state-corporate media and their stenographers that sickens.

    • George
      June 29, 2019 at 13:00

      If Mr. Assange had been a Russian citizen and did what he did against the Russian Govt, he would be dead now.

      • richard baker
        July 1, 2019 at 11:57

        If a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his arse in the mud.

        This hypothetical statement has exactly as much relevance as yours does.

      • Gregory Herr
        July 1, 2019 at 20:48

        If the Russian Federation of the 21st Century perpetrated what would even remotely approach the amount of waste, fraud, and abuse towards humanity that emanates from Foggy Bottom and Langley—you might have a point. And even if one were to accept your premise, that might be considered merciful compared to the way the U.S. is killing Julian (and millions of already killed).

      • Realist
        July 2, 2019 at 07:49

        Are you saying this is a race to the bottom with respect to human rights?

    • Lily
      June 30, 2019 at 10:37

      Thank you DW Barto. I like what you write.

      It is a great shame that the press is no opposition anymore as it should be. Who else can be an adversary of the high and mighty elites and make the citizens assemble to show their disgust for the political crimes and their sympathy with Julien Assange? On Saturday the Yellow Wests were in the streets again demonstrating against Macron and for Assange.

      I feel so sorry for this man still being tortured by isolation and his fear of an uncertain future, suffering in a high security prison being ill and weakened already. Hopefully the British High Court will be independent and stick to the law. Balthasar Garson is hope too.

  24. June 29, 2019 at 09:48

    Hummm – Crimes against humanity vs leaking crucial information the public has a right to know – this world is so screwed up…

  25. Vishnu Ram
    June 29, 2019 at 07:32

    This is a very true and exact picture depicted by the jounalist without any fear or prejudice. Let us see how the British justice works now- whether it will apply the same principle for an ailing independent but intrepid journalist who has dared to expose the powerfuls.

  26. jmg
    June 29, 2019 at 05:40

    Investigative journalist Julian Assange and mass murderer and torturer Augusto Pinochet have certainly been subjected to very different extradition proceedings…

    Remember when Pinochet, upon his arrival from London to the Chilean airport, miraculously abandoned his wheelchair and started walking by himself with the military and right-wing political leaders welcoming him?

    He had started using wheelchair while Home Secretary Jack Straw was deciding about stopping his extradition proceedings for bad health. Before that, Pinochet had been seen on TV in good health. For instance, walking with his old friend former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when she visited him during his comfortable house arrest to express her support.

    March 2000:

    “The crowd cheered, the band played. The commander-in-chief of the armed forces, old comrades and political allies were there to greet him. General Augusto Pinochet beamed with pleasure. The world watched as a man supposedly too ill to stand trial walked steadily across the tarmac, greeted his children, embraced his brother officers and raised an arm in a triumphant salute. . . .

    “The Pinochet who flew home in triumph was very different from the frail old man who arrived in Northwick Park Hospital in a wheelchair two months earlier for an examination by a team of medical specialists. He had to be helped into bed and have his hearing aid checked.

    “Human rights organisations have claimed a Chilean naval psychiatrist had been staying in England with Pinochet since last August and that she had coached him on how to fail the tests. . . .

    “A military hospital spokesman, Colonel Alejandro Campusano, announced – after taking blood and urine samples – that the 84-year-old was in good health.”

    Did the dictator dupe us? | World news | The Guardian

  27. bardamu
    June 29, 2019 at 02:50

    There’s nothing subtle here. They are just persecuting someone who has the temerity to be a journalist.

    • cityfellow
      June 29, 2019 at 13:12

      The Romans dragged people through the streets. I don’t think they were shooting for subtle either.

  28. Andrew F
    June 29, 2019 at 01:09

    “…it’s fair to say that the U.K. and the rest of the Western world are committing a slow-motion “enforced disappearance” of Assange.”
    This is true, but what is incomprehensible is the participation in silencing him of the very people who are most prominently portrayed as “supporters”.
    We never hear any direct message from Assange himself (the only exception in the last 15 months being the letter from Belmarsh published by Gordon Dimmack in May 2019). This inner-circle has visited him many times in both the embassy and Belmarsh and never once conveyed a direct message out to his supporters. There has obviously been a direction given by someone to people (such as John Pilger, Assange’s father John Shipton and Ai Wei Wei etc..) that they must not pass on any direct message.
    When speaking with the media after their recent visit (chapperoned by the mysterious man in the blue Nike cap), both Shipton and Ai Wei Wei responded to questions by saying words to the effect that “I’m not allowed to say”.
    There is no legal reason why. It is a deliberate silencing, “enforced dissappearance”, of Assange by his own “team”.

    • coup 63
      June 29, 2019 at 12:35

      You might wan’t to open your legalese mind set….

      • Andrew F
        June 30, 2019 at 01:13

        Can anyone explain, in clear language, what that Reply (by “coup 63”) means?

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