British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has just given a speech extolling the virtues of a free media, praising the journalists who’ve been brave enough to expose the truth about wicked governments in the face of tyrannical oppression. While he was preparing to give this speech, without any indication of any self-reflection at all, he defended the torture of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
After news broke that UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer had found that Julian Assange has been the victim of psychological torture for years, Hunt, who is gunning to become the UK’s next Prime Minister, accused him of interfering in British affairs and making “inflammatory statements”.
“This is wrong,” Hunt tweeted. “Assange chose to hide in the embassy and was always free to leave and face justice. The UN Special Rapporteur should allow British courts to make their judgements without his interference or inflammatory accusations.”
“With all due respect, Sir: Mr Assange was about as ‘free to leave’ as a someone sitting on a rubber boat in a shark pool,” Melzer replied. “As detailed in my formal letter to you, so far, UK courts have not shown the impartiality and objectivity required by the rule of law.”
Hours after his defense of the torture of a journalist who exposed the truth about the malfeasance of a powerful government, Hunt was giving a speech at the World News Media Congress in Glasgow, praising journalists who expose the truth about the malfeasance of powerful governments.
If you want to stare aghast at some of the most appallingly cartoonish hypocrisy from a western politician you’ll ever see, I highly recommend clicking this hyperlink and reading through the transcript of Hunt’s speech in the context of what he just said about Assange.
Hunt decried the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, ignoring the inconvenient fact that his own government had just been found guilty of participating in the brutal torture of a far more impactful journalist spanning many years. Hunt sang the praises of two Reuters journalists who’d recently been released from prison in Burma after exposing a massacre of 10 Rohingya Muslims, right after defending the torture of the journalist who released the Collateral Murder video showing the massacre of 18 civilians, the fatalities from which included two Reuters journalists….
She obviously needs to watch more talking TV heads chanting the “safe and effective” mantra between pharmaceutical ads.
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With the news that Julian Assange is “wasting away” in Belmarsh prison hospital, and with UN rapporteur Professor Nils Melzer’s report detailing how this happens, I’m once again drawn towards the lawlessness that all “authorities” involved in his case have been displaying, and with impunity. They all apparently think they are literally above the law. Their own laws.
But they can’t be, nowhere, not above their respective national laws nor the international ones their countries have signed up to. They can’t, because that would instantly make any and all laws meaningless. So you tell me where we find ourselves today.
There’s this paragraph in an article by Jonathan Cook entitled Abuses Show Assange Case Was Never About Law, which lists “17 glaring anomalies in Assange’s legal troubles”, that sums it all up pretty perfectly:
Australia not only refused Assange, a citizen, any help during his long ordeal, but prime minister Julia Gillard even threatened to strip Assange of his citizenship, until it was pointed out that it would be illegal for Australia to do so.
See, Cook is already skipping a step there. Gillard didn’t take Assange’s citizenship away, because that is against Australian law, but it’s just as much against Australian law for a government to let one of its citizens rot in some kind of hell. Still, they did let him rot, but as an Australian citizen. At that point, what difference does anything make anymore?
This is a pattern that runs through the entire Assange “file”, and it does so to pretty astonishing levels. Where you’re forced to think that the countries involved effectively have no laws, and no courts, because if they did, the actions by their governments would surely be whistled back by parliaments or judges or someone, anyone. They’re all essentially lawless.
There are 5 principal countries involved in the case (that doesn’t absolve any other country from its own responsibility for speaking out when international laws are broken). In alphabetical order, they are Australia, Ecuador, Sweden, the UK and the US. We can go through them in that order….
Today on Flashpoints: We continue our multi year collaboration with Live On The Fly, Julian Assange: Countdown, to Freedom. We’ll be joined on the show by human rights activist, Naomi Colvin, in Great Britain. Also joining us is John Kiriakou, former CIA analyst and jailed whistleblower. Later, noted whistleblower and attorney, Jesslyn Radack
Listen to Kiriakou on obama’s commitment to human rights around 25:00.