Informing The London Assembly about the Assange Case – Part 2

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Since the case of Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy is politicised, it is important that London politicians become aware of the details of the matter. As MSM often disregard many of the details of the case, it is great to take small initiatives to inform them directly. This is a letter I sent to the London Assembly members in January 2015, with the latest at the time developments.

16th January 2015

Dear Mr/Mrs ********

I am writing to you to draw your attention once again to the plight of Julian Assange, Editor in Chief of WikiLeaks, the publishing organisation. Metropolitan Police has a guarding and surveillance Operation on a 24/7 basis surrounding the Ecuadorian Embassy, in Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge since June 2012. The cost is over £10 million to date and growing. This is excessive and against his Human Rights, let alone wasteful of valuable resources.

Julian Assange lost his extradition appeal in 2012 but recent changes in the UK law mean that the application of the same European Arrest Warrant today would not have lead to an extradition decision.

“His case has been won lock, stock and barrel,” Gareth Peirce told me, “these changes in the law mean that the UK now recognises as correct everything that was argued in his case. Yet he does not benefit. And the genuineness of Ecuador’s offer of sanctuary is not questioned by the UK or Sweden.” [1]

Where is the benefit to the London Taxpayer in holding Julian Assange captive at the Embassy? As a member of the GLA you scrutinise how our Tax money is spent. What justification can possibly exist for such expenditure? Do not stay silent to this injustice and waste of resources.

UK government is refusing to grand him safe Passage to Ecuador where he has been given political Asylum to protect his human rights from US political persecution for his work with WikiLeaks. Still, at the British Parliament on 28th October 2014, government Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugo Swire, confirmed that the Swedish Prosecutor Marriane Ny was welcome to come question Mr Assange in London, breaking the stalemate.

“Miss Anne McIntosh (Thirsk and Malton) (Con): Would the Government welcome a visit from the Swedish prosecutor if she were to seek to question Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London?

Mr Swire: My hon. Friend will know that the Swedish prosecutor is, quite rightly, a fiercely independent lady, and independent of the Executive, as she would imagine. These are matters for the prosecutor to decide on, but if she wished to travel here to question Mr Assange in the embassy in London, we would do absolutely everything to facilitate that. Indeed, we would actively welcome it.” [2]

November 20th 2014 the Swedish Court of Appeal upheld Julian Assange’s detention order but expressed criticism at the way the prosecutor has proceeded with the case.

“The Court of Appeal notes, however, that the investigation into the suspected crimes has come to a halt and considers that the failure of the prosecutors to examine alternative avenues is not in line with their obligation – in the interests of everyone concerned – to move the preliminary investigation forward.” [3]

Using Mutual Legal Assistance within EU could easily accommodate the expediting of the Swedish investigation. The Ecuadorian government is willing to accommodate the Swedish Prosecution in interviewing Mr Assange, his legal team has repeatedly offered his co-operation from the safety of the Embassy where he has been given political asylum, why does Sweden refuse to use MLA?
Sweden’s handling of the Assange case will be addressed during its upcoming UN human rights review on January 26, 2015. Specifically, the prosecutor in charge of the case faces criticism over her failure to progress the case using routine methods while respecting Assange’s asylum status (see pt. 36-38). [4]

The UK media do not report objectively on the case, contented with poorly researched articles full of inaccuracies and errors, like the Guardian’s repeated claim that Julian Assange faces charges, whilst he is wanted for questioning as part of a preliminary investigation. Even the Supreme Court had to issue a correction confirming that ‘Charges have not yet been brought against Mr Assange’. [5]

But is it important to counter this narrative. I attach two articles both by John Pilger, a special investigation ‘The siege of Julian Assange is a farce’ and a speech he made at the recent Logal Symposium in London “War by media and the triumph of propaganda”. I hope they provide an opportunity to consider in a balanced way the situation of Julian Assange and what is at stake with his legal situation. The greatest miscarriage of Justice occurs under your watch. It is your position to question and scrutinise the decisions of the Mayor and who controls the purse strings, controls the government. It is your role to scrutinise the decisions taken.

How long will the situation continue? How much more discrimination and oppression will state institutions bestow upon the founder and publisher of WikiLeaks? Even the BBC is adding to the media war against him. The forthcoming BBC4 comedy programme ‘Asylum’ that is supposed to celebrate 800 years of Magna Carta becomes another opportunity to de-humanise him and humiliate his condition. One of the writers of the programme has expressed in twitter on 16 Aug 2012:

”if the met want to regain my trust they should drag Assange out the embassy + shoot him in the back of th head in the middle of traf square” [6]

My complaint to the BBC about Mr Phipps’ extreme views was dismissed by their Mr Lonergan (CAS-3059434) as “Mr Phipps is a comedy writer so it could be assumed his comment is almost certainly intended to be taken as a joke rather than a genuine call for Mr Assange to be murdered.” Is the BBC comfortable with such content being broadcasted to the British nation that has full understanding of the historic sectarian role of policing in Northern Ireland? Or the crimes perpetreted on radical Freedom of Expression publishers like the ones we witnessed in France against Charlie Hebdo? Mr Phipps certainly holds such extreme views whether he clothes them in his art is irrelevant. He is free to express his private views but what is BBC4 doing hiring such a person to write ‘Assange-inspired comedy Asylum’? [7]

I repeat my call to you. Do not stay silent in what is evidently a politically motivated persecution. Do not let our London remain in history as the place where the radical publisher Julian Assange was walled in without sun until he perished and Londoners’ Tax money paid for the deed.

Please contact me above if you want more information on the subject or with advise on how I can escalate my concerns.

Many thanks

[1] “The Siege of Julian Assange is a farce”
[2] House of Commons Hansard Tuesday 28 October 2014
[3] Decision on the detention of Julian Assange
[4] Human Rights Council, Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Twenty-first session see pt.36-38
[5] Supreme Court corrects paragraph 83 of the judgement on Extradition, see pt. 5
[6] Mr Phipps’ Tweet August 2012
[7] Ben Miller to star in BBC4 Assange-inspired comedy Asylum