By Julian Assange
May 06, 2023:
Clearing House -- ON THE
coronation of my liege, I thought it only fitting to extend a heartfelt
invitation to you to commemorate this momentous occasion by visiting your very
own kingdom within a kingdom: His Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh.
You will no doubt recall the wise words of a renowned playwright: ‘The
quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
upon the place beneath.’
Ah, but what would that bard know of mercy faced with the reckoning at the
dawn of your historic reign? After all, one can truly know the measure of a
society by how it treats its prisoners, and your kingdom has surely excelled in
Your Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh is located at the prestigious address of One
Western Way, London, just a short foxhunt from the Old Royal Naval College in
Greenwich. How delightful it must be to have such an esteemed establishment bear
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It is here that 687 of your loyal subjects are held, supporting the United
Kingdom’s record as the nation with the largest prison population in Western
Europe. As your noble government has recently declared, your kingdom is
currently undergoing ‘the biggest expansion of prison places in over a century’,
with its ambitious projections showing an increase of the prison population from
82,000 to 106,000 within the next four years. Quite the legacy, indeed.
As a political prisoner, held at Your Majesty’s pleasure on behalf of an
embarrassed foreign sovereign, I am honoured to reside within the walls of this
world class institution. Truly, your kingdom knows no bounds.
During your visit, you will have the opportunity to feast upon the culinary
delights prepared for your loyal subjects on a generous budget of two pounds per
day. Savour the blended tuna heads and the ubiquitous reconstituted forms that
are purportedly made from chicken. And worry not, for unlike lesser institutions
such as Alcatraz or San Quentin, there is no communal dining in a mess hall. At
Belmarsh, prisoners dine alone in their cells, ensuring the utmost intimacy with
Beyond the gustatory pleasures, I can assure you that Belmarsh provides ample
educational opportunities for your subjects. As Proverbs 22:6 has it: ‘Train up
a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from
it.’ Observe the shuffling queues at the medicine hatch, where inmates gather
their prescriptions, not for daily use, but for the horizon-expanding experience
of a ‘big day out’ — all at once.
You will also have the opportunity to pay your respects to my late friend
Manoel Santos, a gay man facing deportation to Bolsonaro’s Brazil, who took his
own life just eight yards from my cell using a crude rope fashioned from his
bedsheets. His exquisite tenor voice now silenced forever.
Venture further into the depths of Belmarsh and you will find the most
isolated place within its walls: Healthcare, or ‘Hellcare’ as its inhabitants
lovingly call it. Here, you will marvel at sensible rules designed for
everyone’s safety, such as the prohibition of chess, whilst permitting the far
less dangerous game of checkers.
Deep within Hellcare lies the most gloriously uplifting place in all of
Belmarsh, nay, the whole of the United Kingdom: the sublimely named Belmarsh End
of Life Suite. Listen closely, and you may hear the prisoners’ cries of
‘Brother, I’m going to die in here’, a testament to the quality of both life and
death within your prison.
But fear not, for there is beauty to be found within these walls. Feast your
eyes upon the picturesque crows nesting in the razor wire and the hundreds of
hungry rats that call Belmarsh home. And if you come in the spring, you may even
catch a glimpse of the ducklings laid by wayward mallards within the prison
grounds. But don’t delay, for the ravenous rats ensure their lives are fleeting.
I implore you, King Charles, to visit His Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh, for it
is an honour befitting a king. As you embark upon your reign, may you always
remember the words of the King James Bible: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they
shall obtain mercy’ (Matthew 5:7). And may mercy be the guiding light of your
kingdom, both within and without the walls of Belmarsh.
Your most devoted subject,