December 12, 202:
Information Clearing House
- The pursuit of Julian
Assange for revealing secrets and lies of
governments, especially the crimes of America, has
entered its final stage as the British judiciary -
upholders of 'British justice' - merge their
deliberations with the undeterred power of
I sat in Court 4 in the Royal Courts of Justice
in London with Stella Morris, Julian Assange's
partner. I have known Stella for as long as I have
known Julian. She, too, is a voice of freedom,
coming from a family that fought the fascism of
Apartheid. Today, her name was uttered in court by a
barrister and a judge, forgettable people were it
not for the power of their endowed privilege.
The barrister, Clair Dobbin, is in the pay of the
regime in Washington, first Trump's then Biden's.
She is America's hired gun, or "silk", as she would
prefer. Her target is Julian Assange, who has
committed no crime and has performed a historic
public service by exposing the criminal actions and
secrets on which governments, especially those
claiming to be democracies, base their authority.
For those who may have forgotten, WikiLeaks, of
which Assange is founder and publisher, exposed the
secrets and lies that led to the invasion of Iraq,
Syria and Yemen, the murderous role of the Pentagon
in dozens of countries, the blueprint for the
20-year catastrophe in Afghanistan, the attempts by
Washington to overthrow elected governments, such as
Venezuela's, the collusion between nominal political
opponents (Bush and Obama) to stifle a torture
investigation and the CIA's Vault 7 campaign that
turned your mobile phone, even your TV set, into a
spy in your midst.
WikiLeaks released almost a million documents
from Russia which allowed Russian citizens to stand
up for their rights. It revealed the Australian
government had colluded with the US against its own
citizen, Assange. It named those Australian
politicians who have "informed" for the US. It made
the connection between the Clinton Foundation and
the rise of jihadism in American-armed states in the
There is more: WikiLeaks disclosed the US
campaign to suppress wages in sweatshop countries
like Haiti, India's campaign of torture in Kashmir,
the British government's secret agreement to shield
"US interests" in its official Iraq inquiry and the
British Foreign Office's plan to create a fake
"marine protection zone" in the Indian Ocean to
cheat the Chagos islanders out of their right of
In other words, WikiLeaks has given us real news
about those who govern us and take us to war, not
the preordained, repetitive spin that fills
newspapers and television screens. This is real
journalism; and for the crime of real journalism,
Assange has spent most of the past decade in one
form of incarceration or another, including Belmarsh
prison, a horrific place.
Diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, he is a
gentle, intellectual visionary driven by his belief
that a democracy is not a democracy unless it is
transparent, and accountable.
Yesterday, the United States sought the approval
of Britain's High Court to extend the terms of its
appeal against a decision by a district judge,
Vanessa Baraitser, in January to bar Assange's
extradition. Baraitser accepted the deeply
disturbing evidence of a number of experts that
Assange would be at great risk if he were
incarcerated in the US's infamous prison system.
Professor Michael Kopelman, a world authority on
neuropsychiatry, had said Assange would find a way
to take his own life - the direct result of what
Professor Nils Melzer, the United Nations Rapporteur
on Torture, described as the craven "mobbing" of
Assange by governments - and their media echoes.
Those of us who were in the Old Bailey last
September to hear Kopelman's evidence were shocked
and moved. I sat with Julian's father, John Shipton,
whose head was in his hands. The court was also told
about the discovery of a razor blade in Julian's
Belmarsh cell and that he had made desperate calls
to the Samaritans and written notes and much else
that filled us with more than sadness.
Watching the lead barrister acting for
Washington, James Lewis - a man from a military
background who deploys a cringingly theatrical
"aha!" formula with defence witnesses - reduce these
facts to "malingering" and smearing witnesses,
especially Kopelman, we were heartened by Kopelman's
revealing response that Lewis's abuse was "a bit
rich" as Lewis himself had sought to hire Kopelman's
expertise in another case.
Lewis's sidekick is Clair Dobbin, and the 11th of
August was her day. Completing the smearing of
Professor Kopelman was down to her. An American with
some authority sat behind her in court.
Dobbin said Kopelman had "misled" Judge Baraister
in September because he had not disclosed that
Julian Assange and Stella Morris were partners, and
their two young children, Gabriel and Max, were
conceived during the period Assange had taken refuge
in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
The implication was that this somehow lessened
Kopelman's medical diagnosis: that Julian, locked up
in solitary in Belmarsh prison and facing
extradition to the US on bogus "espionage" charges,
had suffered severe psychotic depression and had
planned, if he had not already attempted, to take
his own life.
For her part, Judge Baraitser saw no
contradiction. The full nature of the relationship
between Stella and Julian had been explained to her
in March 2020, and Professor Kopelman had made full
reference to it in his report in August 2020. So the
judge and the court knew all about it before the
main extradition hearing last September. In her
judgement in January, Baraitser said this:
[Professor Kopelman] assessed Mr. Assange during
the period May to December 2019 and was best placed
to consider at first-hand his symptoms. He has taken
great care to provide an informed account of Mr.
Assange background and psychiatric history. He has
given close attention to the prison medical notes
and provided a detailed summary annexed to his
December report. He is an experienced clinician and
he was well aware of the possibility of exaggeration
and malingering. I had no reason to doubt his
She added that she had "not been misled" by the
exclusion in Kopelman's first report of the
Stella-Julian relationship and that she understood
that Kopelman was protecting the privacy of Stella
and her two young children.
In fact, as I know well, the family's safety was
under constant threat to the point when an embassy
security guard confessed he had been told to steal
one of the baby's nappies so that a CIA-contracted
company could analyse its DNA. There has been a
stream of unpublicised threats against Stella and
For the US and its legal hirelings in London,
damaging the credibility of a renowned expert by
suggesting he withheld this information was a way,
they no doubt reckoned, to rescue their crumbling
case against Assange. In June, the Icelandic
newspaper Stundin reported that a key prosecution
witness against Assange has admitted fabricating his
evidence. The one "hacking" charge the Americans
hoped to bring against Assange if they could get
their hands on him depended on this source and
witness, Sigurdur Thordarson, an FBI informant.
Thordarson had worked as a volunteer for
WikiLeaks in Iceland between 2010 and 2011. In 2011,
as several criminal charges were brought against
him, he contacted the FBI and offered to become an
informant in return for immunity from all
prosecution. It emerged that he was a convicted
fraudster who embezzled $55,000 from WikiLeaks, and
served two years in prison. In 2015, he was
sentenced to three years for sex offenses against
teenage boys. The Washington Post described
Thordarson's credibility as the "core" of the case
In the High Court, Lord Chief Justice Holroyde
made no mention of this witness. His concern was
that it was "arguable" that Judge Baraitser had
attached too much weight to the evidence of
Professor Kopelman, a man revered in his field. He
said it was "very unusual" for an appeal court to
have to reconsider evidence from an expert accepted
by a lower court, but he agreed with Ms. Dobbin it
was "misleading" even though he accepted Kopelman's
"understandable human response" to protect the
privacy of Stella and the children.
If you can unravel the arcane logic of this, you
have a better grasp than I who have sat through this
case from the beginning. It is clear Kopelman misled
nobody. Judge Baraitser - whose hostility to Assange
personally was a presence in her court - said that
she was not misled; it was not an issue; it did not
matter. So why had Lord Chief Chief Justice Holroyde
spun the language with its weasel legalise and sent
Julian back to his cell and its nightmares? There,
he now waits for the High Court's final decision in
October - for Julian Assange, a life or death
And why did Holroyde send Stella from the court
trembling with anguish? Why is this case "unusual"?
Why did he throw the gang of prosecutor-thugs at the
Department of Justice in Washington - who got their
big chance under Trump, having been rejected by
Obama - a life raft as their rotting, corrupt case
against a principled journalist sunk as surely as
This does not necessarily mean that in October
the full bench of the High Court will order Julian
to be extradited. In the upper reaches of the
masonry that is the British judiciary there are, I
understand, still those who believe in real law and
real justice from which the term "British justice"
takes its sanctified reputation in the land of the
Magna Carta. It now rests on their ermined shoulders
whether that history lives on or dies.
I sat with Stella in the court's colonnade while
she drafted words to say to the crowd of media and
well-wishers outside in the sunshine. Clip-clopping
along came Clair Dobbin, spruced, ponytail swinging,
bearing her carton of files: a figure of certainty:
she who said Julian Assange was "not so ill" that he
would consider suicide. How does she know?
Has Ms. Dobbin worked her way through the
medieval maze at Belmarsh to sit with Julian in his
yellow arm band, as Professors Koppelman and Melzer
have done, and Stella has done, and I have done?
Never mind. The Americans have now "promised" not to
put him in a hellhole, just as they "promised" not
to torture Chelsea Manning.
And has she read the WikiLeaks' leak of a
Pentagon document dated 15 March, 2009? I recommend
this document, for it foretells much of what has
happened. US intelligence, it says, intended to
destroy WikiLeaks' and Julian Assange's "centre of
gravity" with threats and "criminal prosecution".
Read all 32 pages and you are left in no doubt that
silencing and criminalising independent journalism
was the aim, smear the method.
I tried to catch Ms Dobbin's gaze, but she was on
her way: job done.
Outside, Stella struggled to contain her emotion.
This is one brave woman, as indeed her man is an
exemplar of courage. "What has not been discussed
today," said Stella, "is why I feared for my safety
and the safety of our children and for Julian's
life. The constant threats and intimidation we
endured for years, which has been terrorising us and
has been terrorising Julian for 10 years. We have a
right to live, we have a right to exist and we have
a right for this nightmare to come to an end once
and for all."
Follow John Pilger on twitter @johnpilger
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