At SCHEERPOST, Matt Kennard writes of his interview with Stella Assange (video above):
The wife of the world’s most famous political prisoner is speaking to Declassified as part of her relentless battle to save her husband’s life.
“Sometimes it’s been really, really very difficult for him, and sometimes when he’s able to see the children, when he’s with the children, when there’s progress in the case, then he’s energised,” she adds. “And he’s energised by all the support that he sees out there for him. He gets letters of support and expressions of support constantly.”
One thing immediately noticeable when talking with Stella is she has the same unusual intensity and focus as her husband. For anyone who has met Julian, the similarities are striking.
[. . .]
In 2020, Declassified published a story showing Assange was one of just two inmates at Belmarsh, which then housed 797 prisoners, being held for violating bail conditions.
The figures showed that more than 20% of the prison population was held for murder, while nearly two-thirds — or 477 people — were imprisoned for violent offences. A further 16 inmates were held for offences related to terrorism, including four people who planned to carry out terrorist attacks. Assange himself has never been charged with a violent offence.
“I think they keep him in Belmarsh because they can get away with it, because it’s the most effective way of silencing him, precisely because of this extreme regime that Belmarsh is known for,” Stella says.
“It’s a punishment in itself. The very fact that he is in prison for having exercised his right to seek and actually obtain asylum…that’s a right that’s enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That is a long recognised right that every person has. And it violated a technicality, and it’s usually treated as a technicality if there is a sufficient reason for violating the bail. In this case, there undeniably was.”
Stella, whose real name is Sara, continues: “Very rarely is it actually punished with prison time, and he finished serving that prison sentence in October 2019. But effectively it’s an indefinite sentence because while he exercises his right to challenge the US extradition request, the UK keeps him in Belmarsh at the request of the American government.”
A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
• US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.
• A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
• More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.
The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death.
franceinfo: How is Julian Assange today?
Stella Morris: He has been in Belmarsh high-security prison since April 11, 2019, when he was arrested outside the Ecuadorian embassy, and his health has been declining ever since. The conditions of detention are very harsh. He had a mini heart attack in October last year. And it is of course very difficult for him to be in isolation. He’s not serving any time, he’s here because the United States wants him extradited because he did his job.
Where are you in the fight for his extradition?
Julian appealed the decision of the British government, which agreed to his extradition. Since that decision in January 2021, we have discovered that there were plans to assassinate Julian in the embassy, to kidnap him etc., when Mike Pompeo was at the head of the CIA. So we defend the fact that Julian cannot be extradited to the country that tried to plan his assassination. There were incredible abuses of process that involved criminality. And we have much more evidence of that today.
When can you present these conclusions and get the final answer to his incarceration?
This is the uncertainty of this whole procedure. We don’t even know if he will be able to appeal, there is no legal obligation to accept it. It can also try to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, but the United Kingdom is trying to free itself from its obligations to this Court.
Huge scandal: A former minister of Ecuador testified that the US gov't conspired with a right-wing party to run a disinfo campaign against the leftist Correísta movement, backing a millionaire banker for president in exchange for giving up Julian Assangehttps://t.co/XYjg7aSvS2— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 11, 2022
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights: "Allowing Julian Assange’s extradition would have a chilling effect on media freedom. The UK government should not allow his extradition to the United States" #FreeAssangeNOW @coe pic.twitter.com/dLQPUDksiU— Defend Assange Campaign (@DefendAssange) November 12, 2022
This week, in Baghdad, Stephen Troell was killed.
The killing of US national Stephen Edward Troell in Baghdad on Monday was "pre-planned", three Iraqi security sources told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
The sources said the killers were intending to abduct him but killed him later on after he exchanged gunfire with them.
Troell, a 45-year-old native of Tennessee, was working as an English teacher with an organization affiliated to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The US national was in possession of a licenced gun for self-defence, according to the sources.
He was killed by unknown assailants in his car as he pulled up to the street where he lived with his family in Baghdad's central Karrada district.
Saturday, Iraq saw heavy rains. They are needed because the rivers are drying up.
IRAQI NEWS AGENCY notes the Deputy Special Rep of the UN Secretary-General. These are the Rep Ghulam M. Isaczai's statements:
When I traveled to Baghdad a month ago to assume my mission in Iraq in order to help in coordinating our support for the government and the people of Iraq, Mesopotamia was completely different from what I had in my mind two decades ago when I first worked in Iraq. Dust is everywhere stirred by hot air. There are also wide areas of desert in which palm trees exist, standing with patience against desertification. It wasn’t Mesopotamia which was described by history as the cradle of civilization.
And when I asked Iraqis and others who spent years here, I was told that it wasn’t likethis before. It’s clear that weather has bad effects on this country.
In my career, I have visited many countries and seen many problems, but the effect of climate change is massive here. This beautiful fertile land known through history by its civilizations that flourished around the great Tigris and Euphrates is now confronting the international climate crisis as the fifth of the most vulnerable countries in the world.
I was hoping to be more positive in my first speech to the Iraqi Public, but it is hard to hide reality. I must say that we’ve not lost everything, that there is hope in changing the course of things and the Iraqis should take the lead.
With holding the UN 27th conference for Climate Change COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, it is important to discuss environmental issues and challenges in Iraq and what should be done in their concern.
COP27 will rely on the results of COP26 and respond to the intense international climate state of emergency, providing the most needed efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses and building the ability to adjust to the inevitable effects of climate change.
COP27 needs to fulfill its obligations to fund climate work in developing countries, including Iraq. COP27 is regarded as an important chance to governments of the world to hold on their climate obligations keeping to develop them ( nationally specified participations) in accordance with conveying awareness of climate change to Iraq again.
We are all aware of the problems here: extreme weather and climate changes such as heatwaves, heavy rains, rising temperatures, increased precipitation volatility and unpredictability, sandstorms and dust droughts, land degradation, inundation, and water scarcity.
The following sites updated: