Dec 072019

Saul Leiter Taxi c1957


When I read that Angela Merkel visited Auschwitz this week (for the first time ever, curiously, after 14 years as Chancellor, and now it’s important?), my first thought was: she should have visited Julian Assange instead. I don’t even know why, it just popped into my head. And then reflecting on it afterwards, of course first I wondered if it’s acceptable to compare nazi victims to Assange in any way, shape or form.

There are many paths to argue it is not. He is not persecuted solely for being part of a group of people (we can’t really use “race” here). There are not millions like him who are being tortured and persecuted for the same reasons he is. There is no grand scheme to take out all like him. There is no major police or army force to execute any such scheme. These things are all obvious.

But I grew up in Holland, where unlike in Merkel’s Germany, the aftermath of WWII and the Holocaust was very much present. I looked it up, and it’s already almost 10 years ago that I wrote Miep Gies Died Today, in which I explained this. Miep Gies was a woman who worked for Anne Frank’s father Otto, helped hide the family in the annex, and after the war secured Anne’s diary (or we would never have known about it) and handed it to Otto Frank.

So accusing me of anti-semitism for comparing the Holocaust to what is being done to Assange is not going to work. Why then did Merkel never visit Auschwitz before this week, and when she did, said how important it is to German history? And why did she not visit Assange instead?

Unlike the people who died in Auschwitz and other concentration camps (Anne Frank died in Bergen Belsen from typhoid), Julian Assange today, as we speak, IS being persecuted, he IS being tortured, and he IS likely to die in a prison. What does Angela Merkel think that Anne Frank would have thought about that? Would she have written in her diary that it was okay?

Would all those millions of Jewish and Roma and gay victims have thought that? There are 75+ years that have gone by. We can not get these victims back, we can not magically revive them. But we CAN make sure that what happened to them, torture and murder, doesn’t happen to people today. “Never Again”, right? Well, it IS happening again.

Are we all supposed to go say “I didn’t know” -“Ich hab es nicht gewüsst”- like the Germans did, and all those who collaborated with them across Europe?

There are victims who are dead, and there are victims who are -barely- alive. And if you claim you wish to honor the dead victims, you must ask what they would have felt about the ones like them who are still alive. Otherwise, you’re not honoring them, you’re just posing and acting and, in the end, grossly insulting them.

Julian Assange is not in a German prison, true, but Angela Merkel is still the uncrowned queen of Europe, and if she would visit Julian in his Belmarsh torture chamber it would make a huge difference. That she elects to visit Auschwitz instead, does not only make her appear hollow and empty, it is a grave insult to the likes of Anne Frank and all the other nazi victims.



Which brings me to another Assange-related issue. The Guardian’s editor, Katharine Viner, launched an appeal yesterday for people to donate money to her paper’s “climate emergency” fund. That in itself is fine. If people think they need to help save the planet with their savings, sure.

Though I will always have suspicions about all these things. From where I stand, I see too many people claiming to save the planet, oil CEOs and billionaires first, and too much money being invited to join their funds. If you want to donate something for the cause, why do it via a newspaper? But even with that in mind, yeah, whatever, it’s Christmas time. Who cares how effective the money will be?

My problem with Katharine Viner and the Guardian is that they have played a very active role in the smearing and persecution of Julian Assange. They’ve published articles that were proven to be 100% false, and never retracted them, or apologized, or attempted to make things right. The Guardian is a major reason why Julian is where he is. It has accommodated, make that encouraged, the British people’s “Ich hab es nicht gewüsst”.

You can donate to the Guardian’s climate emergency fund, if you believe they don’t run it to make you think they really care about the planet more than about their bottom line, but be careful: you will also be supporting the further smearing and persecution of Julian Assange. Are you sure you want to do that?

See, the headline for Katharine Viner’s article is: The Climate Crisis Is The Most Urgent Threat Of Our Time. And it’s not. The most urgent threat is that to Julian Assange’s health. That is today, not in 5 or 10 or 100 years. After all, what is the use of saving the planet if we allow the smartest and bravest among us to be tortured to death? What do we think Anne Frank would have said about that?



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Home Forums Assange and Auschwitz

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  • #52014

    Saul Leiter Taxi c1957   When I read that Angela Merkel visited Auschwitz this week (for the first time ever, curiously, after 14 years as Chance
    [See the full post at: Assange and Auschwitz]


    The elites hire enablers to operate torture chambers.
    The enablers must have lost a lot of feathers by the wikileaks.
    I blame the enablers for what Assange has been put through.
    The elites have not been damaged by wikileaks.

    Doc Robinson

    Are we all supposed to go say “I didn’t know” -“Ich hab es nicht gewüsst”- like the Germans did, and all those who collaborated with them across Europe?

    In some ways we, as a society, are more complicit now, since it’s easier to know about the injustices (if we really wanted to know), and most of us aren’t living under a brutal regime that will shoot whoever dissents.

    A from OZ

    The fabricated Manafort story was published 27 November 2018. Wikileaks immediately said they would sue for libel. Courage Foundation started a Go Fund Me page for that exact purpose (it is still current and has over $60,000). In January 2019 Wikileaks tweeted that they had reached their goal of $50,000 and that “Legal action will now commence”.
    On July 20 on Consortium News, Kristinn Hrafnsson confirmed they would sue before the 1 year limitation under UK law. The deadline passed, they didn’t sue. I’ve been stonewalled trying to find out why. Silence. The Guardian story is still online.

    Dr. D

    Interesting. Let’s assume Wikileaks is no less honest than ever. So in that world, WHY would they not need to prosecute and sue? What hidden facts make laying low and waiting be a better idea?

    Everyone talks about the camps, and now, in history, the ONLY people ever in the camps, or ever prosecuted. What careless, hapless, reckless history. As if to not understand how it happened, to cartoonify it, would stop it from happening again, instead of helping it. Here’s a thought: a friend’s parents met in a camp, in Poland. NEITHER were Jews. One was from Greece, which is a lesson we seem to have forgotten. Like Kamala Harris’ CA kids, they picked them up, just ’cause. Just ’cause they were work camps and they needed the work. Harris is considered an honorable, credible, top Presidential candidate, and their only disappointment was the people didn’t like her proto-camps after they invested a lot of media time on her.

    So no, the thought that Assange is in ANY WAY dissimilar from Nazi Germany is ridiculous. This is exactly what happened to thousands who attempted to flee, just as Julian attempted to flee, we caught, just as Julian was caught, were put on show trials or no trials just as Julian was –NOT– put on trial, and then died in prison, just as the White Rose society, a group of four teens who released just six –six– leaflets. Sophie Scholl was then executed for said publishing. Last I knew, none were Jews, they were good Germans, who believed as Germans should, and as we say in America, were defending their country against their government.

    But none of this happened in history now. Hitler was not a socialist. He was not democratically elected. The majority of the German people were not against him, or at least did not vote for him. No one opposed him, undermined him, constantly attempted assassinations of him. He never killed Bavarians, Lithuanians, Dutch, Norwegians, Belgians, or Poles, only Jews. And now when we suggest he was oppressive at home, against Germans who stood for the people of Bach, Gothe, Handel, Gutenberg and Plank, who opposed their own governments and were run over by the fashion-mob like Captain Von Trapp, we must apologize.

    We’re never going to NOT repeat history if we don’t understand history. Nobody, no group ever was not opposed. There were always exceptions, ironies, contradictions. Nobody ever did or followed the platform they espoused. History itself is the catalogue of their intricacies, reversals, and contradictions. In this case, Assange is EXACTLY the representation of Nazi Germany, the real one, not the cartoon version we now use in every sentence and see on TV.

    A from OZ

    I’m not so sure about this:

    Interesting. Let’s assume Wikileaks is no less honest than ever. So in that world, WHY would they not need to prosecute and sue? What hidden facts make laying low and waiting be a better idea?

    Assange has been gagged since 28 March 2018. Immediately prior to that, and forever before, he has always had plenty to say about everything. Ever since he was gagged, other people have been speaking ABOUT him, and presenting as if they speak FOR him, but in all that time we’ve never had any serious direct message conveyed by any of these people out from him.

    We were told (when he was in the embassy) that his food had been cut off, his heating had been cut off, they took away his bedding and so on – but if you look back carefully over this whole period, never a direct message from him. OK, maybe that was the Ecuadorian rules.

    But that doesn’t explain why it continues since 11 April when he was dragged out and jailed. OK, maybe that was because he was serving a sentence.

    But that sentence has finished and he is only being held on remand now – which means he has far more rights than a prisoner serving a sentence. In fact, under the extradition procedures a person held on remand must be brought back before the Court every 4 weeks and the Judge must decide whether they should continue to be held on remand or should be released (on whatever conditions would satisfy the Judge that the person is unlikely to abscond). Under UK law there is a presumption that everyone held on remand should be released on bail, it is up to the Crown to argue that the person should not be released on bail with conditions.

    Any person held on remand has a legal right to apply to be released on bail. If bail is refused they have an automatic right to appeal to the UK High Court and get a full hearing on whether they should be released on bail.

    Assange’s lawyers have not once even APPLIED for bail, even though they can argue for it every 4 weeks. The next opportunity will be the remand decision on 13 December. These have been previously referred to as “merely technical” court dates! If Assange is in mortal danger under his present conditions then his lawyers should be seeking bail.

    Then he can speak for himself, he can prepare his case against extradition and he can get every medical attention he needs.

    Instead, all of these facts are simply ignored and we are told that he’s dying, he can’t prepare his case, he’s being tortured etc..

    I am a lawyer, so I know what I’m talking about. Happy to discuss in more detail if interested, but serious action needs to be taken by his representatives right now to secure his IMMEDIATE (temporary) freedom.

    John Day

    I commented on that post 10 years ago. I remember doing so. I almost never commented before that.
    Now I’m a pest. 🙂

    John Day

    Oh, I see I had the first comment that day, too. “John” in Blogger format.

    John Day

    John said…
    I took my family traveling in 2005-2006, biking and backpacking in Europe, Asia and New Zealand for months, Mom, Dad and 4 teenagers. We sold the house and cars, and blew the money.
    We visited Ann Frank’s house, Dachau, the Budapest Ghetto, and also the Tuol Sleng Prison Torture Memorial in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
    The lesson is that this is what ordinary people do to each other in this situation. None of the “monsters” began as anything but ordinary, and most of them were also consumed in the carnage. This happens when one group of people sees another as subhuman, or a threat, or a prisoner, or a slave, and then it is almost automatic.
    The Russians killed and raped German civilians. Sadly, the Americans under Eisenhower killed Germans, even civilians in concentration camps,as did the French. The European Israelis are doing the same thing to the natives of their “promised land”, the Palestinians, today.
    The lesson is, that this ugliness is nascent in all of us. This is the main lesson to take to heart. As long as it seems like somebody bad did this, you miss the point, and you could be tricked to do it to them.

    JANUARY 11, 2010 AT 10:34 PM


    Thank you, Raul. I’m so glad you have not forgotten Julian Assange.

    Thank you, John Day. For reminding us that we could have this complicit trait within each of us.

    Thank you, A from Oz. Those are very good questions about his legal situation. What the h.. is up with that?


    A from OZ.

    I am a lawyer, so I know what I’m talking about. Happy to discuss in more detail if interested

    Absolutely, not a shade of a doubt. Keep it coming. I’m not a lawyer, but I have to question why his legal team would let him rot in hell while they could appeal at least one a month, with a reasonable shot at changing his present circumstances. But of course your first comment also made me wonder.

    A from OZ

    OK, some further concerns…

    Assange was charged for “jumping bail”. The actual section of the Bail Act is technically “fails…to surrender”. If someone is on bail and they fail to appear at the time and place required then they have committed an offence under the Act. HOWEVER, there is an exception which is available as a Defence and that is “reasonable cause”.

    From the reporting of the conviction in April when Assange was dragged out of the embassy and into Court charged under the Bail Act, there is nothing to confirm that his lawyers forcefully argued that seeking and being granted political asylum in accordance with international law and every person’s right to do so provided him with the Defence of “reasonable cause”. Maybe they did, but I’ve never seen evidence of it. In any case, he was famously convicted and later sentenced to just short of the maximum possible penalty (52 weeks imprisonment is the max). Usually the penalty is a fine, or in very serious cases a brief jail sentence.

    He was convicted of the bail offence on 11 April and then remanded to the higher Crown Court for sentencing. The Crown Court could impose the maximum penalty whereas the Magistrate could only impose a lesser sentence. He was sentenced on 1 May to 50 weeks.

    After conviction, you have 28 days to file an appeal against the conviction. IF they ran the “reasonable cause” Defence and it was rejected then that would have been grounds to appeal. No appeal was filed and once the time expires you have lost that chance.

    Even if you do not appeal against your conviction, you CAN appeal against the sentence imposed within 28 days of sentencing. SOMEONE, we really don’t know who but I suspect it may have been Assange himself, DID file an appeal against the sentence. That appeal was listed for a full hearing on 23 July, but it was mysteriously dropped on 18 July, just a few days before the hearing. No announcement or explanation from Wikileaks or the “team”, just confirmation from the Court that it had been dropped.

    So what?

    It’s extremely important because now he is being held on remand, and as I said above he has a right to apply to be released on bail until the extradition hearing. If you have been convicted for jumping bail and that offence was so “serious” that you got the maximum penalty for it, then obviously it is much harder to now apply for bail in this case. IF he had appealed against the conviction (and even the sentence imposed) then it would be much easier to argue for bail now. It can still be done, and it should be done, but the task is made harder.

    So – no appeal against the conviction, no appeal against the sentence, and no application for bail even though every 4 weeks his remand must be re-considered by the Court. AND, he is being effectively gagged by his closest circle.

    On remand he is allowed 2 social visits (up to 3 people each visit) every week and unlimited legal visits. There has been a parade of people coming and going from Belmarsh: singer MIA, Vivienne Westwood, John Pilger, his father John Shipton, Australian journalists and many more….and yet not a single serious direct message out from him? Yes, they all tell us “he’s effectively in solitary confinement”, “he has lost 15 kilos”, :Nils Melzer says he’s being tortured”, “doctors say he might die” and so on. But NEVER: “Julian says xxxxx, and yyyyy and zzzzz”. Never. He’s being gagged but I can’t work out why or what good that could possibly do his cause. Nobody needs to know personal private information or what he discussed with his lawyers, but he is being turned into an abstraction without a voice.

    Wikileaks has appointed a UK Labor connected PR man from New Zealand called Richard Hillgrove to do the PR which we are seeing played out as a campaign which seems to have the theme: “This isn’t about Julian, it’s about freedom of the [establishment] press and free speech!”

    A PR industry news outlet called “The Drum” did an interview with him – it’s behind a wall but the NZ Herald did a piece on it in November 2018. It’s eerie, the gagging and “de-personalising” of Assange is a deliberate PR strategy:

    The Christchurch-born and Massey University-educated Hillgrove, 47, came to work for the WikiLeaks figurehead after being connected by Assange’s long-serving lawyer Jennifer Robinson, according to an interview with UK marketing and advertising trade news site, The Drum.

    The Kiwi expatriate and founder of 6 Hillgrove Public Relations, who was convicted in 2014 on a £93,000 tax fraud, said he’s trying to make Assange’s PR “less personal”.

    “The cult of personality aspect around Julian Assange has caused a lot of his problems,” Hillgrove told The Drum in a Q&A.

    “Even though he’s broken no laws and simply published the truth, in exactly the same way the New York Times or Guardian do, they are treating him personally like some sort of criminal.

    “The move [to] take him out of the editor role of WikiLeaks is a good start to de-personalising everything.”

    Hillgrove believes his PR skills have “greatly amplified” Assange’s message but he wants to get “more supportive voices” come forward and to reinforce the United Nations ruling that he has been arbitrarily detained and that there are serious concerns about his health.

    “Not just the usual voices like Vivienne Westwood and Pamela Anderson, but other people coming forward,” Hillgrove said.

    Sadly, I could go on but I’ll leave it there for now. In the short term I believe the most important thing is to get him his voice back and let him speak for himself. Equal or second is getting him out on bail. The extradition hearing is 24 February, the next remand decision is 13 December and there will be another in January and February (every 4 weeks). It’s almost getting too late to apply and then appeal to the High Court when it is inevitably refused.


    Sigh. I can’t help but wonder if Julian’s lawyers have been “bought out” some how.

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