The world woke this morning to the news that yet another Palestinian journalist had been killed by Israeli gunfire. Veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while covering Israel's assault on the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Abu Akleh was shot in the head; she was taken to hospital where she was declared dead. "The bullet was aimed at a place that could not be covered by either a helmet or her 'PRESS' vest," explained Waleed Al Omari, Al Jazeera's bureau chief in Ramallah. "It seems to me that she was shot by a sniper who wanted to end her life deliberately." A colleague of Abu Akleh, producer Ali Al-Samudi, was shot in the back at the same time. He was reported to be in a stable condition.
"As a cross-party group of parliamentarians of the German Bundestag, we have the honor to reach out to you, and to ask for your attention in a case that is currently of great concern to us, knowing that we share a mutual concern for the protection as well as the implementation of internationally recognized human rights. We have closely followed the fate of Julian Assange in the past; however, the current developments in his case arouse our concern all the more."
The third anniversary of the arrest and incarceration of Julian Assange at a maximum-security prison has sparked protests in London and the United States. Tomorrow marks three years since the Wikileaks founder was forcibly dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy, where he had sought asylum over the previous seven years. Vigils were due to be held yesterday at the embassy, Westminster magistrates’ court and Belmarsh prison, where he has been held for the past three years. Mr Assange’s family, friends and supporters are calling for his release and the US to drop its extradition case against him. Protests are also planned today in Washington DC outside the British embassy and the Department of Justice offices.
In the early morning of March 19, 2022, agents from the federal Security Service of Ukraine, the SBU, showed up at the apartment of Yuri Tkachev, editor-in-chief of the online publication Timer, based in the southern Black Sea port of Odessa. What happened next was reported on Timer’s website (1), quoting journalist and human rights activist Oksana Chelysheva (2), who said she had spoken with Tkachev’s wife: “According to [Oksana], when Yuri opened the door of the apartment, he did not show any resistance. Despite this, the SBU dragged him to the site, laying him face down. They also asked Oksana to leave the apartment. No violence was used against her. “Oksana claims that through the open front door she saw how one of the SBU officers entered the bathroom and stayed there for several minutes. … After this man left the bathroom, the SBU took Yury [sic] and Oksana back to the apartment, where the search began.”
Washington, DC - Led by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), more than 26 antiwar groups and 2,500 individual peace and justice advocates have cosponsored a statement calling for the immediate release of publisher Julian Assange and commending him for his contributions toward global peace. Assange is currently fighting extradition to the United States after the Trump administration indicted him on unprecedented Espionage Act charges. His indictment marked the first time in U.S. history that a journalist has been charged for publishing truthful information. Since being removed from Ecuador's London embassy after a new Ecuadorian administration bowed to U.S. pressure to withdraw his asylum, Assange has been held for more than 1,000 days in Belmarsh Prison while his extradition case is being heard through UK courts.
Earlier this year, reports surfaced detailing alleged plots in 2017 to either kidnap or assassinate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, when he was five years into his political asylum inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. At the time, Assange’s team hoped the revelation would helped their push to not have the publisher extradited to the US. Stella Moris, the fiancee of Julian Assange, accused the UK on Sunday of playing the “executioner” in a US “plot” to kill the WikiLeaks publisher. In a Statement to the Daily Mail Online, Moris stressed to the outlet that Assange’s “incarceration is having a catastrophic effect on his health”. “The US government plotted to kill him and have found a way to do so - get the UK state to play the role of executioner,” she said, adding that “this is a slow-motion Khashoggi playing out in the heart of London”.
Craig Murray was released from Saughton Prison on Tuesday. This is what he was imprisoned for: Craig Murray, an ex-British ambassador and blogger, has been sentenced to eight months in prison after being found guilty in March of contempt of court during the 2020 trial of former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond. He was given three weeks to turn himself into police, pending his appeal. Judge Lady Dorrian issued the sentence, she said, despite Murray’s health issues. Murray faced up to two years in prison and unlimited fines. Murray must surrender his passport making it impossible to travel to Spain on May 20 to testify in the case of UC Global spying on WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in the Ecuador embassy in London.
For the past two days, Chris Hedges has been watching the extradition hearing for Julian Assange via video link from London. The United States is appealing a lower court ruling that denied the US' request to extradite Assange not, unfortunately, because in the eyes of the court he is innocent of a crime, but because, as Judge Vanessa Baraitser in January concluded, Assange's precarious psychological state would deteriorate given the “harsh conditions” of the inhumane US prison system, “causing him to commit suicide.” The United States has charged Assange with 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of trying to hack into a government computer, charges that could see him imprisoned for 175 years.
The United States vowed that only a “moderately depressed” Julian Assange would serve time in a humane U.S. prison if he is extradited, while lawyers for Assange told the High Court that the Central Intelligence Agency plotted to assassinate him, as a two-day U.S. appeal hearing came to a close on Thursday in London. The U.S. is seeking to overturn a lower court decision in January not to extradite the imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher on the grounds that he is at high risk of suicide if he faced time isolated in a harsh American prison. A prosecutor for the U.S. set out over the course of the hearing to convince the two High Court justices to reject that ruling, arguing that Assange is not seriously ill and would not be placed in solitary confinement should he be sent to the U.S.
Washington, DC - For the past two days, I have been watching the extradition hearing for Julian Assange via video link from London. The United States is appealing a lower court ruling that denied the US request to extradite Assange not, unfortunately, because in the eyes of the court he is innocent of a crime, but because, as Judge Vanessa Baraitser in January concluded, Assange’s precarious psychological state would deteriorate given the “harsh conditions” of the inhumane US prison system, “causing him to commit suicide.” The United States has charged Assange with 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of trying to hack into a government computer, charges that could see him imprisoned for 175 years.
Yahoo! News (9/26/21) published a bombshell report detailing the US Central Intelligence Agency’s “secret war plans against WikiLeaks,” including clandestine plots to kill or kidnap publisher Julian Assange while he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Following WikiLeaks‘ publication of the Vault 7 files in 2017—the largest leak in CIA history, which exposed how US and UK intelligence agencies could hack into household devices—the US government designated WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service” (The Hill, 4/13/17), providing legal cover to target the organization as if it were an adversarial spy agency. Within this context, the Donald Trump administration reportedly requested “sketches” or “options” for how to kill Assange, according to the Yahoo! expose (written by Zach Dorfman, Sean D. Naylor and Michael Isikoff), while the CIA drew up plans to kidnap him.
I want to make one or two points for you to ponder while I am in jail. This is the last post until about Christmas; we are not legally able to post anything while I am imprisoned. But the Justice for Craig Murray Campaign website is now up and running and will start to have more content shortly. Fora and comments here are planned to stay open. I hope that one possible good effect of my imprisonment might be to coalesce opposition to the imminent abolition of jury trials in sexual assault cases by the Scottish Government, a plan for which Lady Dorrian – who wears far too many hats in all this – is front and centre. We will then have a situation where, as established by my imprisonment, no information at all on the defence case may be published in case it contributes to “jigsaw identification”, and where conviction will rest purely on the view of the judge.
In the case against former United Kingdom diplomat-turned whistleblower Craig Murray, the UK supreme court refused to hear Murray’s appeal. He will now surrender himself to police for an eight-month prison sentence. The High Court in Edinburgh in Scotland convicted Murray of contempt on March 25 after concluding that he published several blog posts, which they believe led people to identify witnesses in the sexual assault trial against former Scottish Minister Alex Salmond.
Legal precedent will be set tomorrow as Craig Murray will be the first person to be imprisoned on the charge of jigsaw identification in the UK, and indeed in the entire world. Scotland’s second most senior judge, Lady Dorrian, sentenced Murray to 8 months of incarceration following a contempt of court charge for ‘jigsaw identification’ relating to the trial against Alex Salmond.
A journalist is taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police after it refused to release correspondence with the US about three WikiLeaks journalists under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on terrorism and national security grounds. Italian investigative journalist Stefania Maurizi argued in a tribunal yesterday that terrorism legislation should not be used to “clamp down” on journalists working in the public interest to report on national security. The Metropolitan Police, which is backed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), claims that the release of the information, which it exchanged with the US Department of Justice, will harm counter-terrorism initiatives and damage the UK’s relationships with the US.