By John Pilger
October 25, 2019 "Information
Clearing House" -
worst moment was one of a number of Ďworstí moments.
I have sat in many courtrooms and seen judges abuse
their positions, This judge, Vanessa BaraitserĖ
actually she isnít a judge at all; sheís a
magistrate ó shocked all of us who were there.
Her face was a
progression of sneers and imperious indifference;
she addressed Julian with an arrogance that reminded
me of a magistrate presiding over apartheid South
Africaís Race Classification Board. When Julian
struggled to speak, he couldnít get words out, even
stumbling over his name and date of birth.
When he spoke truth and
when his barrister spoke, Baraister contrived
boredom; when the prosecuting barrister spoke, she
was attentive. She had nothing to do; it was
demonstrably preordained. In the table in front of
us were a handful of American officials, whose
directions to the prosecutor were carried by his
junior; back and forth this young woman went,
The judge watched this
outrage without a comment. It reminded me of a
newsreel of a show trial in Stalinís Moscow; the
difference was that Soviet show trials were
broadcast. Here, the state broadcaster, the BBC,
blacked it out, as did the other mainstream
Having ignored Julianís
barristerís factual description of how the CIA had
run a Spanish security firm that spied on him in the
Ecuadorean embassy, she didnít yawn, but her
disinterest was as expressive. She then denied
Julianís lawyers any more time to prepare their case
Ė even though their client was prevented in prison
from receiving legal documents and other tools with
which to defend himself.
Her knee in the groin
was to announce that the next court hearing would be
at remote Woolwich, which adjoins Belmarsh prison
and has few seats for the public. This will ensure
isolation and as close to a secret trial as itís
possible to get. Did this happen in the home of the
Magna Carta? Yes, but who knew?
More Important Than
Julianís case is often
compared with Dreyfus; but historically itís far
more important. No one doubts ó not his enemies on
The New York Times, not the Murdoch press
in Australia Ė that if he is extradited to the
United States and the inevitable supermax,
journalism will be incarcerated, too.
Who will then dare to
expose anything of importance, let alone the high
crimes of the West? Who will dare publish
ĎCollateral Murderí? Who will dare tell the public
that democracy, such as it is, has been subverted by
a corporate authoritarianism from which fascism
draws its strength.
Once there were spaces,
gaps, boltholes, in mainstream journalism in which
mavericks, who are the best journalists, could work.
These are long closed now. The hope is the samidzat
on the internet, where fine disobedient journalism
is still practised. The greater hope is that a judge
or even judges in Britainís court of appeal, the
High Court, will rediscover justice and set him
free. In the meantime, itís our responsibility to
fight in ways we know but which now require more
than a modicum of Assange courage.
John Pilger is an Australian journalist and BAFTA
award-winning documentary film maker. He has been
mainly based in the United Kingdom since 1962.
This article was originally published by "
Consortium News "-
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