Murray Blocked from Assange Courthouse in Virginia

The former British diplomat sought to visit the courtroom where Julian Assange would be tried if he is extradited to Virginia. He was told he could not enter.

Albert V. Bryan United States Courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, where Craig Murray was denied entry. (Tim Evanson/Wikimedia Commons)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

Craig Murray, a former British ambassador and close associate of imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, said he was prevented by a U.S. marshal from entering the courthouse in Alexandria, VA where Assange would be put on trial if he loses his extradition case in Britain.  

In Washington on a U.S. tour, Murray told a gathering on Wednesday that with some time to kill he decided earlier that day to visit the federal courthouse in Alexandria “just to see what that was like.”

“So I found the federal court and I went to enter, as any member of the public is entitled to do,” Murray said, according to a video recording of his remarks. “They asked me for my ID, as they ask everybody, I believe, and I handed in my passport.

“And they made a phone call and somebody came down and he had a badge on that said, ‘U.S. Marshals,'” Murray went on. “And he said, ‘Sorry sir, but you cannot enter the courtroom.'”

“And I said, ‘Is it not a public courtroom? Is there not a public right of access?'”

“And he said, ‘Yes sir, but you are not the public.’

“And I said, ‘But there are trials. And trials, by law, are open to the public, generally.’

“He said, ‘Yes sir, I’m sorry but you can’t come in, Ambassador Murray.'”

“And that was really interesting,” Murray said, “because nowhere in my passport does it give my title and nor had I mentioned it. So how did they know who I am?”

“The level of surveillance,” Murray went on. “I don’t know if that is facial recognition technology. I don’t know what it is that brought that up. I don’t know whether they had a memo sitting on their desk in the courtroom saying, ‘If Craig Murray ever comes, don’t let him in.'”

Murray then asked a troubling question: “What does that mean for the open access should Julian have a trial here?”  

Murray became known for his literary and highly critical accounts from inside the courtroom at Assange’s London extradition hearings in 2020. It would be a blow to the public interested in a potential trial in Alexandria if Murray were not allowed to cover it. 

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23 comments for “Murray Blocked from Assange Courthouse in Virginia

  1. September 17, 2023 at 19:27

    Unable to share this post

    Under Canadian government law, news content cannot be shared.

  2. September 17, 2023 at 19:26

    So fb. gave me a nice little message when I tried to share it there.

    “Impossible de partager cette publication”

    En vertu de la legislation gouvernementale Canadienne le contenu de nouvelles ne peut pas être partagé.

  3. Elyse Gilbert
    September 17, 2023 at 18:59

    It has come to be that nothing the US Government does surprises me anymore. Freedoms, rights and liberties have been eroding at an excelling pace and citizens don’t seem to be aware enough. This is not just my opinion. The entire trial would’ve been tossed out years ago just singling out one rule of law not followed nevermind the multiple state collusion and witch hunt.
    Please make it stop, it must end. Assange must be free and this lean into fascism must be haulted.

  4. ray Peterson
    September 17, 2023 at 10:53

    “if extradited” if that’s a matter of course, since
    British courts have shown themselves blind
    to justice, and the CIA is calling the shots;
    it’s a call for protest occupation forces
    for Assange to be mobilized right here, where
    Graig Murray has fired the first shot.

  5. Lois Gagnon
    September 16, 2023 at 15:35

    Yet we keep hearing our “enemies” hate us for our freedoms. What freedoms would those be? They are dwindling by the day.

  6. WillD
    September 15, 2023 at 23:23

    What kind of message is the US deep state sending with this move? It’s quite sinister.

    Barring Murray from entering a public courtroom and addressing him by his title indicates that someone already knew he was there and told the US marshals not to let him in. Why? What did they not want him to see?

    More curious still is why he was told he wasn’t a member of the public. If not a member of the public then what do they think he is?

  7. Jim Thomas
    September 15, 2023 at 18:46

    And that’s the way it now is here in the “land of the free”. Stormtroopers in jack boots refuse our entry into our court houses.

  8. Steve
    September 15, 2023 at 18:21

    I agree this is outrageous. However, it may be the case that rather than state surveillance the security guards just did a simple Google search on Craig Murray – that would be enough to raise flags.

  9. Selina Sweet
    September 15, 2023 at 15:58

    Please check out Michael Brenner’s ( piece entitled “Autocracy – in Stars and Bars” for a brilliant comprehensive analysis of the depth of rot in our governmental institutions. It is not a screed. His conclusion states this. “A democratic system, especially one that vaunts individual freedom as its hallmark, needs a collective super-ego.  As norms of public conduct are blurred, and constitutional legal principles elided, the risk of an unravelling of our institutions and personal conduct grows.
    The sine qua non for stopping or, at least – slowing the rot by everybody who is cognizant how perilous is the path we have taken is activism at every level, in every sphere. Narcissism, the obsession with selfish gain and simple cowardice are admittedly formidable obstacles. Still, …”

  10. Cal Lash
    September 15, 2023 at 15:28

    Time to start prosecuting those that refuse to
    Free ASSANGE.

  11. Cal Lash
    September 15, 2023 at 15:20

    Time to start prosecuting those that refuse to
    Free ASSANGE.

  12. Moochie
    September 15, 2023 at 15:09

    I’m always impressed by Mr. Murray’s indefatigability.

  13. Richard Romano
    September 15, 2023 at 15:07

    This is another example of government total control. What more do we need.

  14. Antiwar7
    September 15, 2023 at 15:03

    Our government is hopelessly corrupt. Withdraw your willing consent. I did.

  15. Valerie
    September 15, 2023 at 14:41

    “If Craig Murray ever comes, don’t let him in.”

    There must be lots of Craig Murrays in the world. Of course this particular one was tracked and surveilled. And i believe all of us involved any way with the Assange case, are noted and watched; as with any other topic on which we disagree or voice our disapproval.

  16. Emma M.
    September 15, 2023 at 14:26

    “Ambassador Murray”? I am a tad confused since I was under the impression that he hasn’t had an official diplomatic title for many years…? I suppose it’s to be expected given how in the US your titles are permanently bestowed aristocratic honours, and just as the former President (among other types of elected officials) are often referred to as if it were their current status, he must be “Ambassador Murray” and British diplomat for life.

    If that’s how it works, there must be some decent American former diplomats from times long forgotten still around who ought to take note and go do all the work Blinken and Co. are unwilling to. Just explain to the foreign statesmen that’s how it works in the US, you were a diplomat once and no longer have the office, but you’re still a diplomat and it is your rightful aristocratic title.

  17. Anon
    September 15, 2023 at 14:15

    This commenter has been similarly prohibited from Los Angeles Superior Court on occasion following submission of article to local LA print media.
    Understand LA County Superior Court, according to State Calif sponsored Court Income Analysis 2006, showed that 25% of State Population generated 45% of State Court Income.
    Indication of Crooked Court in VA as well?

  18. susan
    September 15, 2023 at 13:27

    So much for “Freedom” – what a joke!!!

  19. Me Myself
    September 15, 2023 at 13:27

    Highly critical seems like an appropriate attitude towards a caustic judicial system.

    That is it, Criminal Justice is “Criminal”.

    Monitors of the judicial system that cite evidence of discrimination aren’t welcome. Big surprise! (not)

    • Me Myself
      September 15, 2023 at 15:28

      I wonder what would have happened if Mr. Murray ignored the Marshall and just walked past him.

      Would they Dare… Tackle him?

      That would be a really big story!

      Mr. Murray, I am happy you were left unharmed.

  20. Drew Hunkins
    September 15, 2023 at 12:56

    The censorious surveillance state deepens.

    On another level this is also quite chilling. For example, think of some working class guy who also happens to be a pro-Palestinian/anti Zionist activist. This all encompassing surveillance apparatus could ultimately keep this fellow from obtaining a job by besmirching him
    in a most unfavorable light.

    • Emma M.
      September 15, 2023 at 14:39

      I wonder if being an activist as in your example would even be necessary. Maybe it would be necessary today to be noticed and have the system respond to it, I’m not sure, but if so, what about tomorrow? Snowden’s revelations show how state surveillance systems know everything about our private lives, with the few exceptions being pretty much the things we’ve never communicated to others at all or have only communicated when away from any microphones.

      It is scary to imagine, but assuming they aren’t already (the wonder of totalitarianism is often how difficult it is to be sure), one wonders how much longer we have until they are willing to go after people or deny people their rights even for privately held views. That’s the reality we live in, where that’s possible and sounds more likely by the day.

      • CaseyG
        September 17, 2023 at 15:37

        Hi Emma:
        Yes I agree.. But then, many have wondered about our collective future. IF you have’t read the novel ,’ FAHRENHEIT 451—-it does give a person hope.

Comments are closed.