- 14 July 2020 Official launch of a film about the state torture of Assange written, produced and directed byJohn Furse “Not In Our Name”, followed by a discussion. [Tweet] [Register] 6pm London
@NilsMelzer (Special Rapporteur on Torture)
@john_furse (Film maker)
[00:00] Intro Rebecca Vincent
[00:31] Short film “Not In Our Name”
[23:43] Rebecca Vincent
[24:05] John Furse – Why make the film? [Republik]
[26:40] Nils Melzer – Why did he get involved in the Assange situation?
Speaks about discovering, when he looked into the case,that he had been deceived by the propaganda.
“If YOU think that Julian Assange is a hacker and a narcissist and a rapist, you are not to blame – because you have been deceived. If you think that you have NOT been deceived, it means that the deception is working. … It’s normal that you think you are not being deceived – that is the whole point of deception.”
[But in this case] you only have to scratch the surface a little bit and immediately you will see the contradictions. And that’s what I did in March 2019. …”
“Most of the ‘official’ world is STILL being deceived, and they are not aware of it.”
[31:31] Nils Melzer – Public reaction to his initial allegations that Assange had been and still was being tortured.
“Quite shocked …” “The authorities were simply not receptive, They didn’t want to hear the truth ….” [So he stepped into the public limelight.]
[32:38] Rebecca Vincent: “… we found in our work at RSF – that the public opinion really enables govts to continue their behaviours, and that many people in the UK and US reject the idea that this could be happening to somebody – that what we know to be true IS true, that he’s been targeted for political reasons ..
[33:03] Nils Melzer Reactions of States since?
“Theÿ rejected everything …”
He has just now submitted a report to the UN about this kind of psych-social pattern at the level of state authorities, media and ordinary citizens about this pattern of rejection of facts and denial.
[37:14] John Furse What can we do now as individuals, journalists etc to further the conversation?
[39:46] John Furse People’s understanding of how Assange has been treated. Do people understand what psychological torture is?
[41:00] Nils Melzer Govt and public understandings of psychological toture and its seriousness.
“Torture, essentially, is when you instrumentalise the infliction of pain and suffering to achieve a purpose. … These purposes are always mental. The seesential nature of torture is always to affect and break a person’s mind. …
The actual target of ANY act of torture is the mind. It’s ALWAYS psychological.”
[So the choice of physical or psychological means is not as important as we normally think.]
And the media treatment is such that “We’re always discussing what Julian Assange did, but this case is not about him. It’s about the states [and what THEY did – War Crimes]. It has always been about them.”
He discusses Collateral Murder, and how no-one has been held accountable.
“We’re discussing cats and skateboards … but we are not discussing things which have been documented as War Crimes.”
[46:19] Q & A
[45:27] Q:The case against Assange in the US? What will happen if he is deported there? Impact of superseding indictment.
Nils Melzer “The purpose of the superseding indictment is really to feed the narrative that he is ‘’not a journalist” …”
Advises looking at the timeline of the elements in the indictment.
Then discusses the way the US attempts to manipulate public opinion in the US.and the flaws in the US ‘justice’ system. “There’s no chance he could have a fair trial there.” “The only chance is to inform the public ...”
[54:35] Q: RSF position – RSF agrees. Discusses impact on press freedom and freedom of speech.
[56:27] Nils Melzer More on the nature of tourture. “The real purpose of torture, most of the time, is INTIMIDATION.And it is not necessarily intimidation of the victim. It’s intimidation of everybody else. That’s why people are tortured in public places [and] women raped in the village square in armed conflicts [and] people are being executed publicly…”
“That is what is happening to Julian Assange. It’s not about punishing him [or] interrogating him and finding the truth. It’s about intimidating all other journalists and publishers and making sure that no-one does what he has done – because that’s what states are afraid of.”
“And this purpose has already been achieved ….”
“So this fight is really to re-establish press freedom, rather than just protecting it.”
[59:23] Rebecca Vincent: “So that brings us back to the need to change public opinion.”
Q: The role of the media – how to get more coverage, and what ordinary people can do.
John Furse talks about the role of Big Money in all this, and the way te Assange case fits with the need to resume democracy.
[1:01:14] Q: Re Nils Melzer’s report, and the role of the UN. Has he received any threats?
He has been told there will be a political price to pay for speaking out, but being “grudgingly tolerated” for now. Discusses the way this case threatens the concept of the UN. Rapporteurs are independent, but up against a globalised system.
“We have been privatising public service for 40 years, and now we have almost been privatising governments. We have privatised prisons, armies, police …So no wonder govts think they are private [too]..”
“So we have to remind govts that they are NOT private …They are serving us, the people – so we, the people, are the beginning of everything..”
[1:06:04] Rebecca Vincent: “...it is increasingly the special mandate holders [Independent Rapporteurs] that are getting at the core issues, the most crucial cases, in a way that other institutions are failing …”
[1:06:37] Q: John Furse What will he do with the film next?
“People need to get it out there.” “A major problem is to move the soft middle.”
INDEX to event video:
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