Inside the Houses of Parliament Kenny MacAskill MP with Alba party made reference to the cases of Julian Assange and Craig Murray on Tuesday the 21st of June and the following day our Free Assange solidarity vigil was once more outside the Houses of Parliament bringing awareness about his case at the heart of British political life. He said among other things:
We are in difficult times, and it is important that we do hold power to account and that truth will out and equally to ensure that we require to ensure that those who are seeking to report it, who are seeking to expose it often malevolent, and certainly often under difficult circumstances are protected. It’s why I pay tribute to the names that he mentioned. But it was also put on record the Palestinian journalist Shireen, Abu Arklay, who was sadly murdered by Israeli defence forces not that long ago, I was glad to see excellent AlJazeera news at breakfast time this morning that this matter is being pursued by that organisation, a news organisation to the International Criminal Court.
But I think the comments I want to make relate to our own country because we are not immune, either in the UK, or indeed in Scotland, we are in a better position than what is happening in Israel with regard to the Palestinians and those who seek to deport it. We’re in a better position, obviously, than what is happening in Ukraine, that we are by no means a paragon of virtue, and we do have to ensure that we uphold the standards here, which brings me to the case of Julian Assange.
I know that others will be commenting on in particular as well. But it is important because Mr. Assange has brought power to account he has exposed war crimes, as well as a lot of other malevolent actions not simply by the USA but other governments including our own but we also going to comment the government of Sweden so we have to be [..] there. I read with interest. I think all MPs were sent the book by Nils Melzer The Trial of Julian Assange, I have to say I did not know of Mr. Meltzer before, he is a U N, Special Rapporteur on torture. But he narrated his journey to conclusions about Julian Assange, and where he speaks out vehemently against it. And I have to say I shared his positions because when I first heard about Julian Assange, I was surprised about what was reported over sex misdemeanour in Sweden. Sweden is a country I knew well. One of my best friends in Edinburgh was the Swedish Consul General, I still keep in touch with them although he is retired. My son had studied two years in Gothenburg, not at the Chalmers University, a legacy of Scottish immigrants here but indeed at the University of Gothenburg. I was a big fan and remain a big admirer of Swedish social democracy, and indeed, of Olaf Palmer, surely this could not have happened in Sweden. Surely Sweden wouldn’t be involved in anything that was duplicitous or wrong. And the sad thing is, it was clearly Sweden has now exonerated him and the conclusions against Mr. Assange here have come to an end, you do have to draw some conclusion Mr. Assange did expose that the Swedish security services were in fact in the reason that they were doing things in cooperating with us in a manner that the government did not know about and that their government would not probably approve of, which may have had something to do with it a bit. What occurred with regard to Mr. Assange in Sweden was shameful.
And the United Kingdom is being both supine, and indeed sadly complicit in his return to the United States. He has committed no offence in the United States other than to expose the war crimes, the United States has given an assurance that they will not execute him. But we know from the attitude of the United States that Mr. Assange is unlikely to see the light of day from a federal prison if he sent there. And indeed, given his current state of health he is unlikely to survive.
It is simply unacceptable that we should be in collusion with what has been ongoing by the UK Government through the Ecuadorian embassy with the United States. And even the United States contemplating a hit job, to put in their parlance upon Mr. Assange in this country that is simply unacceptable.
Equally, I have to say they have to challenge some of the media reporting in this country because I too, was shocked when I saw Mr. Assange looking like some wild man of Borneo being brought out of the Ecuadorian Embassy. It did challenge your assumptions about who this person could be with somebody who was so dishevelled, somebody that keep their appearance like that, how could you possibly have any faith or trust in them? And it was only when I read the book and I realised that while he had been detained, the government of Ecuador had changed and the attitude of the Ecuadorian government and administration had changed and they refuse to allow him cleaning equipment, they refused him access to scissors or indeed shaving equipment. Mr. Assange was like that not because he chose to appear like that, but because he was deliberately set up so when he was released or forced out of the Ecuadorian embassy, he would look in a manner that people would immediately be aghast and turn against him. That was deliberate manipulation of the media, which is just as bad as a failure to report the truth.
[…] there’s something gone fundamentally wrong not with regard to Julian Assange, but also with the situation of Craig Murray. Craig Murray, spent almost six months at a Scottish prison, he did so for a reporting offence, which others who did similarly were not punished for or even brought before the court. I leave that aside, as it’s something he will seek to raise with courts in Europe, his appeal in Scotland is precluded, but their logic taken by Lady Dorian, the presiding judge, and the actions taken by the prosecutors in Scotland was fundamentally wrong. They take the view, and they took the view that the mainstream media was all perfect. Well, given what I’ve mentioned about Mr. Assange, you have to wonder about that. […]
But it’s also there has to be an acceptance that our society moves on. Just over 100 years ago, papers were closed down by the British government, because they were viewed as subversive. […] I’m a fan of big papers and write for them. People do go to online sites and those people who go through online sites who are legitimate, and they are not putting disinformation require protection. So it’s right to challenge us we have to ensure that we protect media and true throughout the world. But we have to look to ourselves. The case of Mr. Assange, it’s a shame upon the United Kingdom and the treatment of Craig Murray is a shame upon the current government and judiciary in Scotland.
With many thanks to all activists supporting this event and Joe Brack as always for the wonderful photographs and videos.
In Solidarity #FreeAssange