Blog Feeds

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Zelenskii in free fall Wed Oct 16, 2019 22:23 | The Saker
[this analysis was written for the Unz Review] Well, that didn’t take too long.  Let me summarize what just happened in the Ukraine. Everything was looking oh-so-promising and then suddenly…

offsite link And now, a message from our wannabe masters about Syria Wed Oct 16, 2019 21:44 | The Saker
this just came to my inbox: Dear The Saker, The American Jewish Congress opposes the U.S. decision to withdraw troops from Syria and strongly condemns Turkey’s actions in Syria against

offsite link US Withdraws From Syria With Tail Between Legs! Russian Troops Move In to Keep the Peace! Wed Oct 16, 2019 21:31 | amarynth
American troops have left their military bases in Syria in the district near Dadat town and Um Mial locality and headed for Iraq. Syrian government forces have entered the districts

offsite link Wanna see how fast the US forces ran from northern Syria? Wed Oct 16, 2019 19:17 | The Saker
Then check out this video (in Russian, but not translation needed): also, notice how these “invincible warriors” are used to fight with refrigerators full of Coca-Cola to sustain them in

offsite link The West?s Long War Against Serbia; The Paradoxes of Yugoslav History Wed Oct 16, 2019 16:57 | The Saker
The Archibald Reiss Institute: Serbian patriot and war hero Mihailovic takes center stage again Introduction by “Serbia Unchained”: Political and military analyst The Saker recently stirred considerable controversy with a

The Saker >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link US Holds China To Account For Human Rights Violations Sun Oct 13, 2019 19:12 | Human Rights

offsite link UN Human Rights Council Should Address Human Rights Crisis in Cambodia Sat Aug 31, 2019 13:41 | Human Rights

offsite link Fijian women still face Human Rights violations Mon Aug 26, 2019 18:49 | Human Rights

offsite link Saudi Human Rights Violation Fri Aug 09, 2019 20:41 | Human Rights

offsite link China?s LGBT Community Mon Apr 15, 2019 19:19 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Cedar Lounge
For lefties too stubborn to quit

offsite link Peace in Our Time: Update and some questions?. 18:45 Wed Oct 16, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link ILHS & ICTU Joint Conference The Irish Congress of Trade Unions 1959 ? 2019 18th, 19th October 2019 18:30 Wed Oct 16, 2019 | guestposter

offsite link 1989 revisited: October 16th ? Over 100,000 protest in Leipzig 13:10 Wed Oct 16, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link An all island economy and loyalism? 10:34 Wed Oct 16, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link What you want to say ? 16 October 2019 07:58 Wed Oct 16, 2019 | WorldbyStorm

Cedar Lounge >>

Dublin Opinion
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting

offsite link Some Thoughts on the Brexit Joint Report 11:50 Sat Dec 09, 2017

offsite link IRISH COMMONWEALTH: TRADE UNIONS AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE 21ST CENTURY 14:06 Sat Nov 18, 2017

offsite link Notes for a Book on Money and the Irish State - The Marshall Aid Program 15:10 Sat Apr 02, 2016

offsite link The Financial Crisis:What Have We Learnt? 19:58 Sat Aug 29, 2015

offsite link Money in 35,000 Words or Less 21:34 Sat Aug 22, 2015

Dublin Opinion >>

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture - Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Thursday June 27, 2019 22:03author by Nils Melzer - UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Report this post to the editors

On the occasion of the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, 26 June 2019

I know, you may think I am deluded. How could life in an Embassy with a cat and a skateboard ever amount to torture? That’s exactly what I thought, too, when Assange first appealed to my office for protection. Like most of the public, I had been subconsciously poisoned by the relentless smear campaign, which had been disseminated over the years. So it took a second knock on my door to get my reluctant attention. But once I looked into the facts of this case, what I found filled me with repulsion and disbelief.
prof_nils_melzer_un_raporteur_on_torture.jpeg

Surely, I thought, Assange must be a rapist! But what I found is that he has never been charged with a sexual offence. True, soon after the US had encouraged allies to find reasons to prosecute Assange, two women made the headlines in Sweden. One of them claimed he had ripped a condom, and the other that he had failed to wear one, in both cases during consensual intercourse — not exactly scenarios that have the ring of ‘rape’ in any language other than Swedish. Mind you, each woman even submitted a condom as evidence. The first one, supposedly worn and torn by Assange, revealed no DNA whatsoever — neither his, nor hers, nor anybody else’s. Go figure. The second one, used but intact, supposedly proved ‘unprotected’ intercourse. Go figure, again. The women even texted that they never intended to report a crime but were ‘railroaded’ into doing so by zealous Swedish police. Go figure, once more. Ever since, both Sweden and Britain have done everything to prevent Assange from confronting these allegations without simultaneously having to expose himself to US extradition and, thus, to a show-trial followed by life in jail. His last refuge had been the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Alright, I thought, but surely Assange must be a hacker! But what I found is that all his disclosures had been freely leaked to him, and that no one accuses him of having hacked a single computer. In fact, the only arguable hacking-charge against him relates to his alleged unsuccessful attempt to help breaking a password which, had it been successful, might have helped his source to cover her tracks. In short: a rather isolated, speculative, and inconsequential chain of events; a bit like trying to prosecute a driver who unsuccessfully attempted to exceed the speed-limit, but failed because their car was too weak.

Well then, I thought, at least we know for sure that Assange is a Russian spy, has interfered with US elections, and negligently caused people’s deaths! But all I found is that he consistently published true information of inherent public interest without any breach of trust, duty or allegiance. Yes, he exposed war crimes, corruption and abuse, but let’s not confuse national security with governmental impunity. Yes, the facts he disclosed empowered US voters to take more informed decisions, but isn’t that simply democracy? Yes, there are ethical discussions to be had regarding the legitimacy of unredacted disclosures. But if actual harm had really been caused, how come neither Assange nor Wikileaks ever faced related criminal charges or civil lawsuits for just compensation?

But surely, I found myself pleading, Assange must be a selfish narcissist, skateboarding through the Ecuadorian Embassy and smearing feces on the walls? Well, all I heard from Embassy staff is that the inevitable inconveniences of his accommodation at their offices were handled with mutual respect and consideration. This changed only after the election of President Moreno, when they were suddenly instructed to find smears against Assange and, when they didn’t, they were soon replaced. The President even took it upon himself to bless the world with his gossip, and to personally strip Assange of his asylum and citizenship without any due process of law.

In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News.

Very well, you may say, but what does slander have to do with torture? Well, this is a slippery slope. What may look like mere «mudslinging» in public debate, quickly becomes “mobbing” when used against the defenseless, and even “persecution” once the State is involved. Now just add purposefulness and severe suffering, and what you get is full-fledged psychological torture.

Yes, living in an Embassy with a cat and a skateboard may seem like a sweet deal when you believe the rest of the lies. But when no one remembers the reason for the hate you endure, when no one even wants to hear the truth, when neither the courts nor the media hold the powerful to account, then your refuge really is but a rubber boat in a shark-pool, and neither your cat nor your skateboard will save your life.

Even so, you may say, why spend so much breath on Assange, when countless others are tortured worldwide? Because this is not only about protecting Assange, but about preventing a precedent likely to seal the fate of Western democracy. For 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.

This Op-Ed has been offered for publication to the Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Canberra Times, the Telegraph, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek.

None responded positively.

un_rapporteur_assange_jun26.jpg

© 2001-2019 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy