In a special comment written for Consortium News, John Pilger, legendary filmmaker, journalist and friend of Assange, describes the troubling scene inside a London courtroom this week where the WikiLeaks publisher appeared in his U.S. extradition case.
By John Pilger
Special to Consortium News
The worst moment was one of a number of ‘worst’ moments. I have sat in many courtrooms and seen judges abuse their positions, This judge, Vanessa Baraitser—actually she isn’t a judge at all; she’s a magistrate—shocked all of us who were there.
Her face was a progression of sneers and imperious indifference; she addressed Julian with an arrogance that reminded me of a magistrate presiding over apartheid South Africa’s Race Classification Board. When Julian struggled to speak, he couldn’t get words out, even stumbling over his name and date of birth.
When he spoke truth and when his barrister spoke, Baraister contrived boredom; when the prosecuting barrister spoke, she was attentive. She had nothing to do; it was demonstrably preordained. In the table in front of us were a handful of American officials, whose directions to the prosecutor were carried by his junior; back and forth this young woman went, delivering instructions.
The judge watched this outrage without a comment. It reminded me of a newsreel of a show trial in Stalin’s Moscow; the difference was that Soviet show trials were broadcast. Here, the state broadcaster, the BBC, blacked it out, as did the other mainstream channels.
Having ignored Julian’s barrister’s factual description of how the CIA had run a Spanish security firm that spied on him in the Ecuadorean embassy, she didn’t yawn, but her disinterest was as expressive. She then denied Julian’s lawyers any more time to prepare their case – even though their client was prevented in prison from receiving legal documents and other tools with which to defend himself.
Her knee in the groin was to announce that the next court hearing would be at remote Woolwich, which adjoins Belmarsh prison and has few seats for the public. This will ensure isolation and be as close to a secret trial as it’s possible to get. Did this happen in the home of the Magna Carta? Yes, but who knew?
More Important Than Dreyfus
Julian’s case is often compared with Dreyfus; but historically it’s far more important. No one doubts — not his enemies on The New York Times, not the Murdoch press in Australia – that if he is extradited to the United States and the inevitable supermax, journalism will be incarcerated, too.
Who will then dare to expose anything of importance, let alone the high crimes of the West? Who will dare publish ‘Collateral Murder’? Who will dare tell the public that democracy, such as it is, has been subverted by a corporate authoritarianism from which fascism draws its strength.
Once there were spaces, gaps, boltholes, in mainstream journalism in which mavericks, who are the best journalists, could work. These are long closed now. The hope is the samizdat on the internet, where fine disobedient journalism is still practised. The greater hope is that a judge or even judges in Britain’s court of appeal, the High Court, will rediscover justice and set him free. In the meantime, it’s our responsibility to fight in ways we know but which now require more than a modicum of Assange courage.
John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist and filmmaker based in London. Pilger’s Web site is: www.johnpilger.com. In 2017, the British Library announced a John Pilger Archive of all his written and filmed work. The British Film Institute includes his 1979 film, “Year Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia,” among the 10 most important documentaries of the 20thcentury. Some of his previous contributions to Consortium News can be found here.
Please honor the legacy of Bob Parry, a friend of John Pilger’s, with a donation to our Fall Fund Drive.
“Julian Assange’s indictment aims at the heart of the First Amendment.”
— The New York Times Editorial Board, May 23, 2019
At some point one decides that there is no legitimacy in government, and acts accordingly. I suspect that most of us might have missed that point back a ways.
If anyone can get a message to anyone who witnessed the Court Proceedings last
Monday, they can report to the bias judge to
I tried to put on my time line but was not allowed.
I can’t think of a better example of a kangaroo court proceeding .I trust John Pilger to have delivered to us what actually happened as he is a man of integrity and honor.
No wonder there are revolts all over the world .The judicial system has gone insane along with the governments of said countries.
Did you ever see the film ” Captain Blood” starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Haviland? Peter Blood ( Errol Flynn), a Doctor, is sent into exile and servitude unjustly for telling the truth and clearly doing the right thing ( How is that for the Magna Carta?) . Well English Judges still dress in ridiculous wigs , wear robes and serve the Crown. . What?, Journalists have changed England in the last few hundred years and now judges are fair , descent, intelligent, have perspective on themselves and are motivated by law, fairness and justice? . Give me a break and not of a leg or an arm.
I don’t know about the UK, but the problem in the US is that the polarization is between 1) neoliberal Democrats who use identitarian politics to control their base and keep them rabidly loyal to the Democratic Party and 2) ultra-nationalist and often racist Republicans who use fear of the “other” to accomplish essentially the mirror image. Once party loyalty takes over in the minds of the multitude, it’s easy for the elites of both Democrats and Republicans to convince their bases, on the Democratic side that Putin and even Russia itself and on the Republican side that any people who resist US hegemony, are white whales that must be destroyed. Anybody who resists the mantra is smeared as a Putin puppet, a Russian bot, an antisemite, a communist or a terrorist sympathizer.
Meanwhile, the elites and their system plunder the entire world that isn’t protected by Russia and China. They replace governments at will and coerce the new governments to hire their relatives and associates in a disguised “protection” racket that benefits both elite factions but in varying percentages depending on which party has successfully rented the White House. Thus, in 2014 the Republicans received Romney/(Biden, Kerry, Pelosi and Romney) = 25% of the spoils while the Democrats received 75%. It’s thoroughly disgusting, but so far they’ve been able to hide it from the people.
What makes it worse (unless you’ve mentioned this already) is the two-party dichotomy. Despite its reputation as a beacon of “freedom” and “democracy”, the USA forces its voters to pick their poison, while many other Western nations, including the oft-maligned Russia, have more than two political parties to choose from. No amount of autistic screeching from the hypocritical Democrats and Republicans will change that.
No, ML, we can rise up and take control of what has been taken from us by a very few, very wealthy people who have assumed power and stolen the hearts of those who govern us. Government, and those who run it, are nothing more than people who put their pants and skirts on everyday just like the rest of us. There is nothing that says we have to abide by these people. We can simply take back our government as we have the tens of millions while they have only a few thousand and the power that we continue to grant. Time to change history, eh!
What do you have in mind, Skip Edwards? Only so much one can do against a police state. This ain’t Mayberry, USA anymore with the kindly Andy Griffith cop on the beat. I do what I can. And that counts for something. Of course, when I write letters to those in power, I get back canned responses or nothing at all. Make some suggestions how we can “simply take back our government.” ML
Finally, someone besides me speaks out to end the tyranny of the US government. We cannot win by a violent revolution, but we can win with direct action, i.e. BDS, demonstrations that shut down or otherwise inhibit the status quo. Chris Hedges offered the idea of a group of people driving old cars to a major traffic artery in the city. Park the car in the middle of the street. Then remove the battery and take it away.
I strongly suggest that everyone who commented here find Joe Rogan Experience #1368 – Edward Snowden at the youtube. This interview is very informative and Snowden should be here in the U.S. with Julian helping us fight for our rights.
Who is this sadistic and cruel Vanessa Baraitser?
Why does it prove impossible to find any reference to her on the web?
Manipulation of algorithms?
What does she look like?
Who is her partner ?
What’s her history and that of her other court cases?
Is she simply a sleeper who’s been activated to do the bidding of the US Deep State – [well yes]
Either way – To everyone who has actually seen her in court recently, would you be able to verify if there’s a picture out there to confirm her appearance.
Scarface had it right. “Let me introduce you to my little friend”. Go down in a hail of bullets befor trusting “justice ” . Who owns justice? England?, the land of contracts and property rights? As for the Magna Carta, well it ain’t what it used to be and never actually was.
The Final Say, is what each of us decides it must be;
And is able to impose it in whatever way we can.
I note the silence of the manner in which Assange has been treated is not only conspicuous by its actions in the leadership of the Conservative party, that of course is to be expected. But what place are we now at when the leader of the opposition party – Jeremy Corbyn – openly states that Assange should have gone back to Sweden to defend himself against ”rape charges”. I JC aware or not that no such charges have every been brought against Assange, and the Swedish authorities have never brought any since there was insufficient or no evidence to indicate his alleged ”guilt”. Corbyn must have been aware of this but he obviously thought that it would be more politically expedient to howl with the Woke mob.
Speaking of the woke mob it is instructive to see that crucial pillar of truth and justice – the Guardian – almost joined in the baying.
”The founder of WikiLeaks faces charges of espionage in the US and rape in Sweden. He should stand trial for rape.”
Fri 24 May 2019 17.50 BST
Last modified on Mon 27 May 2019 17.50 BST
To repeat, no such charges have ever been filed, and he has never been arrested. But, hey that doesn’t stop establishment hyenas of the media howling for blood.
The UK is a country which is under American occupation and served by a Vichy elite whose only interest is their self-aggrandisement
The Guardian is a seriously flawed publication which, since Rusbridger, has become a mouthpiece for US corruption and propaganda. The Guardian is also responsible for the framing of Julian Assange and the publication of misinformation: he was never charged by Sweden.
It is clear (as it has always been) that Justice does not exist in UK.
Read Craig Murray’s blog on what has taken place in the UK court – the Judge is answering to direct orders from the US.
This is a kangaroo court, and, as others have asked, who is this Judge working for?
Laurie Love was going to be extradited to the US. His appeal to the High Court was successful. There must be a High Court Judge who is still independant. Perhaps not every judge in Uk is as corrupt as this puppet in the Magistrate Court. If only Assange survived long enough to appeal there can be hope.
Hope for Assange’s future yes, but hope in general has already lost. Assange and Manning were allowed to be (and continue to be) reviled, literally tortured, their lives destroyed–right in the open, and this being cheered on by bipartisan politicos and the media. They already serve as examples to anyone thinking of siding with the public and truth instead of the state. Even as an example to anyone believing in justice.
They lost, and authoritarianism won. It’s over.
In addition to my other reply is the importance (to those who desire injustice) of the counterpoints to Assange, Manning, and other whistleblowers. Those who report war crimes and torture are themselves tortured, while those who did the torturing are promoting to head of the CIA, giving nice media pundit jobs, and handed candy at other war criminal’s funeral.
So the potential whistleblower not only has to weigh risking his life and freedom in order to bring to light injustices, but also what if any consequences there’ll be for the bad guys. Which in almost all cases is either none or actually positive (failing upward).
The judges behaviour is typical of common law judges around the world. Political appointees with too much discretion.
So if we no longer have freedom of the press and speech then why are our troops overseas fighting for our freedoms? Yes I know that that is why they are there, but lots of people do.
I’m appalled at what we and the U.K. are doing to Julian. And very sad. I wish I knew how to help him.
> I wish I knew how to help him.
“It’s important that parliamentarians learn the facts of this matter. There’s so much naiveté and ignorance and disinformation swirling around that it’s no wonder that a lot of people are wary or even dislike Julian, but I reckon that when people find out the facts of the matter they will get behind him.”
— Australian Federal MP Andrew Wilkie, Oct 2019
The truth shall set you free…
Let as many people you can know that this has happened and is happening.
For evil to triumph we just require the silence of all good men.
Are they good, if they stay silent?
Blatantly is a word insufficient for such inversion.Incitement to riot ?Transpose this inflammatory explanation of media incompetence? To 1969 &London would be rioting. ? 50years ! J.Pilger s Leak-that is accurate -BBC silence is making spoken truth act of dissent !! injustice truth SUPRESSED BY STATE PROPAGANDA..UNARGUABLY TRUE.
The dead silence of the media (the “mainstream” ones) is the final nail in the coffin of the “free press”. What more evidence do you need that the mainstream media which, during eight years now, sheepishly took part in Julian Assange’s character assassination and which now, very consequently, won’t cover truthfully, if ever, what is done to him by the UK judiciary system? The “free press” concept is dead. The “fourth power” was always a myth. But now we know there is no democratic mainstream media left. It’s nothing astonishing that in the US now people coming from the intelligence services go openly working for the mainstream media. People are totally brainwashed it seems. Those media do not speak very loudly about such scandals as Integrity Initiative either. They’re a part of it, that’s how it is.
I have long witnessed the extreme corruption of the US judiciary, about 40-50 federal judges and magistrates in 5 states and DC. There is not one of them who cares in the least for the Constitution and laws of the United States. Every one of them is a very willing, practiced and prolific liar for whomever has the most money. While there are about 900 federal judges (including bankruptcy judges and magistrates), I have no reason to believe on this evidence that even one of them is an honest judge. If there is even one honest federal judge, he/she is certainly hiding in some obscure jurisdiction.
The judges are selected for corruption, which is conformism with groupthink that celebrates money=virtue no matter how it is obtained, so long as it ends up in the coffers of the Repubs (and maybe the Dems in other states). Not one of them would hesitate for a moment to completely misrepresent or ignore every single fact and argument of a case, including even the facts of the course of the proceedings. Not one of them would hesitate to betray every alleged ideal and principle of the Constitution. The only honest judges are in small claims court, with perhaps a few novices in corruption in sate district courts. Otherwise the corruption is absolute and ever more extreme from the district court level to the appeals (circuit) courts, to the Supreme Court. People doubt that only because they are afraid of the truth and cannot get the facts.
So the hope “that a judge… in Britain’s court of appeal, the High Court, will rediscover justice and set him free” is a hope that they have some motive apart from money and conformism with UK politicians’ fear of the US.
Well I entertain the same hope that there is one non-corrupt judge in the US, to whom I cannot steer a case anyway, who cares whether constitutional rights are ignored, cares whether the government steals private property, cares whether politicians steal hundreds of millions of conservation funds for themselves, cares about internet racketeering, etc. I have zero evidence that any of them are not corrupt, but I keep on fighting corruption.
But after twenty years of this, I know that legal process is not the path of hope.
Thanks John. I had the privilege of introducing John’s work to a friend of mine, David, about a month ago. David hails from Australia. He’s in his 80s and a retired architect. He’s surprised that he never knew about John Pilger before now. In fact, David is discovering alternative media and history for the first time in his life and, for the most part, is up to it and happy to dive in. I happened to show up in the coffee shop one day with an extra copy of Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History Of The United States,” which I bought for next to nothing in a second hand bookstore here in Toronto. I pop into second hand bookstores from time to time to see what they have. Beside books for myself which I might find, I also might grab a few cheap books that I know and have read, just to give them away (activism if you like). David took Zinn’s book from me when I offered it and, although I had my copy at home already, he read his twice before I even started mine. He was blown away. Every now and then I give him a new alt/progressive website to check out, depending on the conversation we are having in Rooster in downtown Toronto. The last few times we met there, he brought John up, still surprised that he didn’t know him and impressed with some of the writing and documentary material by Pilger that he’s examined.
The US has long since dubbed John Pilger a conspiracy theorist for exposing their conspiracies. That’s why your friend had never heard of him. In Australia, Pilger holds a place in the Australian Hall of Fame for his own courageous effort towards truth-telling since before many of us were even in nappies :)
Let us pray it will be different in Britain’s court of appeal, the High Court. I have no doubt that this shamefully biased Magistrate will in February rule for #JulianAssange to be extradited to US. I hope then that some of Britain’s judicial proprieties and decencies , that have been so lamentably absent in this kangaroo court so far, will belatedly be remembered and implemented .
I recall you saying something similar to this recently, Mr. Kevin. I’ll say now what I thought then: God, I hope you’re right. Thank you.
NYT Oct. 25, 2019
WASHINGTON — Maria Butina, the young firearms advocate and covert Russian agent who tried to infiltrate conservative Republican circles during the 2016 presidential campaign, is headed back to her home country after serving 15 months in prison for conspiring to act as a foreign agent.
Upon deciphering the meaning of “conspiring to act as a foreign agent”, it means “socializing while being a citizen of an unfriendly country”. USA law enforcement is full of laws and regulations that can be light as a feather or heavy as the national production of gravel and crush stone as the needs (whose?) require, and our media cheers, parrots etc. as the needs require. Of course, Chelsea Maning is one of the heavy cases, and so will Assange be if Tories will remain in power.
My question is. Will this magistrate have the final say? Are there avenues for an appeal? Surely this magistrate who gives every appearance of working for the American Dept. of State cannot be allowed to send this innocent man to a country that tortures and executes people in dubious court procedings , with not so much as a shred of justice? British Justice? What a joke.
This is outrageous to say the least.
Also, Craig Murray wrote an article & was interviewed by Dennis Bernstein & Randy Credico on KPFA Flashpoints radio recently. Mr. Murray (former UK ambassador) said that he personally saw US officials speaking with members of the prosecution during the proceedings. This is another very troubling aspect: the UK appears to be openly following orders from their imperial overlords – the law be damned, national sovereignty be damned, democracy be damned.
Whenever a US or UK politician mentions “the rule of law” “human rights” or “democracy”, they should be ridiculed, mocked & raked over the coals.
Thanks to John Pilger. Unless western nations demand proper justice for Julian, I fear for him. The chances of that are slim, because of the stranglehold Washington has on the west and MSM.
..remember, the Lords of Karma rule…those who conspire to subvert truth and the rule of written, embedded law will in time be graced with the effects of their stupidity and arrogance…the USA, UK and their NATO warmongering allies WILL pay a price for their diabolical and demonic acts of violence against innocent humans…
The presence of such characteristics as freedom, equality, and rule based order are present in a society in inverse proportion to the frequency of their proclamation.
Yes, just as patriotism and moral values are present in politicians and judges in inverse proportion to their flag-waving and religious or legal pretenses.
Yes Jeff, “The louder they proclaim their honesty, the faster we count the spoons!” My hope is that this instinctive truth will be their undoing.
Assange is like the man in the iron mask. Kept a prisoner and denied speech in case he says anything that might be revealing. A prisoner until his death.
We have returned to the 1600s.
Let’s not forget that, although the Magna Carta led to rights for the common person, it’s purpose was to limit the power of the monarch over the barons. Therefore, it is not really ironic that the “barons” continue to wield huge power.
Universal suffrage arrived in Northern Ireland, part of the U.K., in 1968. Hong Kong, handed back to China in 1999, never had the right to vote under the British Empire. The same goes for B.I.O.T. (British Indian Ocean Territories), ask the Chagossians!
The hypocrisy of the Australian media is mind boggling especially the ABC & SBS – those pretend purveyors of accurate News.
As far as they are concerned Julian Assange is NOT a Journalist & they do NOT care what happens to him. Shameful bastards.
Currently all MSM in Australia is bleating (rightly) about over the top Govt censorship. However THEY have imposed censorship or are taking orders not to talk about the abuse & deportation of a heroic brave Australian to the terrorist Nation known as USA .
Hamish Macdonald ( ABC so called Journalist) just the other day on Nation Radio several times during an interview with Julians Lawyer questioned whether Julian was indeed a Journalist. It was sickening — but the same disease runs right through the ABC with their false news reports received directly from the Deep State black ops department.
Peter Greste is another ABC so called Journalist who back in April published a hit piece on Julian Assange in the SMH.
This is the same Peter Greste who was sentenced to 7 yrs jail in Egypt and was released after nearly 2 years. This after strong representation from the Australian Govt & along with millions of Australians who supported the efforts to get Him out of Jail.
He is referred to as “a founding director and spokesman for the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom, and UNESCO chair in journalism and communication at the University of Queensland”. What a mickey mouse outfit that must be if his other fellow wankers agree with him! Both these a$$holes have in common the fact that they both have worked for Al Jazeera.
The local papers will not publish what is really going on & it’s only from articles by the likes of John Pilger that the truth gets out.
I am disgusted with our mickey mouse Govt – liars & shameful cowards all.
All governments are evil, they will never do what is right by the people …they only do things to save their own backs…the world is governed by the corrupt elites and governments, what hope do we have…our only hope is through divine intervention
He may be powerless and unable to defend himself.We can pray for him and put his life in God’s hands ?
If you are a religious sort, do go ahead and pray. I tend to stick to direct action, speaking out to friends, neighbors, family, writing letters to elected officials, giving money to independent media like CN, etc. I am not willing to participate in violence against anyone. I’d love to “storm the barricades” and take over Congress if I were young, but I am not. Being an observer of life for several decades, I haven’t been able to find a shred of evidence that “praying” does anything other than make you and sometimes, someone else, feel better. That’s worth a lot, but it’s just not my way of living in the world. Be good because it’s right, ethical, and just and not for any other reason.
Just because someone is praying, ML, does not mean they are not doing anything else. Often the one precedes the other.
A few Aussies that I run into online seem to be clueless as to the plight of Assange. As far as I can see, the PMs attitude is that Assange “ needs to face music” and that is reflected in their media.
Also, Aussies seem to be unaware that they are not as independent of the British crown as they like to think.
“This isn’t just about me . . . this is about so many people, every journalist in the UK. If I can be grabbed, just another Australian working in London, any journalist or publisher can be grabbed for simply doing their jobs.”
— Julian Assange, during a visit at Belmarsh prison by Felicity Ruby, 2019
Can the eloquent outrage by John Pilger be more touching? I can see in my mind’s eye and feel in my soul the disdain and sneers of the magistrate, the Americans at the table and the behavior of the prosecutor’s lady: “back and forth this lady went, delivering instructions” to the prosecutor.
You think back to the great decider when millions cried out and the facts undeniably on the side of no war and opened the gates of hell, nevertheless.
You think of many things and worry that you might be gaining some satisfaction from your self-righteousness, safe from harm in your comfortable chair in front of the screen.
Yes, action is needed, and there are few willing to abandon their armchair.
The action involves great risk and will not occur until many millions are very angry.
Every assurance of security is an equivalent deprivation of freedom. We must generate outrage amongst those who still have a modicum of freedom and a will to preserve it !
“Île Saint-Joseph was for the worst of those criminals to be punished in solitary confinement in silence and for extra punishment in darkness of the worst of the worst criminals of the penal colony. Devil’s Island was for political prisoners, including Dreyfus in 1895-1899 after his conviction in metropolitan France for treason.”
So now Assange is kept in solitary confinement, unlike Dreyfus.
I was born during the depths of the great depression and grew up during a succession of wars, and when still young
served in the U.S. Army overseas; I went to school on the G.I.Bill and loved my country. That has now all changed,
and I am saddened by what I see, read, and hear every day. I no longer recognize my nation, and I am distressed.
There is little left of what used to be important, but at least I experienced what was left of the good and honest
Hear hear, Dr. MacLeod, hear hear. And here, here is the addendum-provided truth telling: Mr. John Pilger. I don’t know how you sat there and held your tongue with that criminal judge in the same room.
Dr. Macleod, I know exactly how you feel. I too was born in the great depression, and now I am so depressed by what I see happening
to our country. I realize that anyone younger than 70 has no memory and thus no true comprehension of our democracy and what the world was like in a functioning democracy because they have never seen it.
All they know is Reagan’s version of government which everyone has been taught from kindergarten to adulthood. My liberal 60 year old son thinks I’m a radical because I think State colleges should be free. But they were free when I was growing up. Unions were praised not denigrated and countless other benefits of true liberalism were considered normal. But not today. This is not the planet I was born on. When you look at the polls, you can see that despite all the programmed pundits of the MSM and the gov’t propaganda, that people still want a fair deal from the law and in our relationship with others, but the people who run the government are not interested in what the citizens want – not the bloated military’s generals, or the unbelievably wealthy people who own the programs that run the internet, or the oligarchs who own the fossil energy companies, or the people who control our medical choices of doctors and medication. We are in fact living in a modern version of Orwell’s 1984 where all privacy and thus
liberty has disappeared.
Craig Murray’s blog struck my heart with grief over what is happening to Julian and fear for what has happened to our planet. Everyone should be in fear for their lives and for the lives of those they love.
So many of us feel as you do, Malcolm. You are not alone. Take heart at least in that. So many beating hearts, beating as yours with a settling sadness. Radiate out into the world, what goodness you have inside you. That’s about all we can do along with speaking out against injustice.