Nils Melzer on the torture of Julian Assange: A compendium
Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, entered the case of Julian Assange as a cynic. He became a whistleblower on a multistate mugging. What follows is a compendium of related documents.
Latest UPDATE: 17 October 2022
This compendium of Nils Melzer’s writings, speeches and interviews (in print or video) is not a replacement for his book, but rather an accompaniment.
- The book: “The Trial of Julian Assange”
- Finding Julian
- Julian’s prior health care (or lack thereof)
- Nils Melzer takes action
- An Update on Censorship
Nils Melzer in speech and text
- 2022 (After leaving office 31 March 2022)
The book: “The Trial of Julian Assange”
Nils Melzer’s recently published (in German and Swedish) book will soon be available in English (on 8 Feb 2022).
[UPDATE] Leo Hollis, editor of Verso, publisher of the book (3 Jan 2022) summarises:
“The Trial of Julian Assange is the systematic account of the case against Assange from Cablegate to the recent Appeal hearing in October 2021. It is clear that Assange will never face a fair trial in the courts, so this fight needs to be in the public sphere.
► It is firstly a damning indictment of the treatment of a whistleblower at the hands of powerful governments who seem to think themselves above international law.
► Secondly, it is a passionate defense of the first amendment, and a journalist’s right to publish the truth.
► Finally it is the private story of Assange himself and the sacrifices he has had to face – and continues to endure – in the pursuit of the truth.”
All readers of this compendium are strongly encouraged to buy a copy. Or several - donate a copy to your local high school, university and/or public library. Give copies away as gifts. History will look back at the case of Julian Assange as the fulcrum on which the world-wide rise of twenty-first century totalitarianism (or what some call technocracy) began its surge into easily visible view. The results of that case will form the fulcrum on which our freedoms turn.
Melzer’s book will be central to that history.
This compendium of his writings, speeches and interviews (in print or video) is not a replacement for the book, but rather an accompaniment.
Nils Melzer - as the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment - found Julian Assange (or at least his case) in early 2019. Or rather, Julian’s case found him. Julian’s lawyers wrote to Nils Melzer at some point in late 2018, but at the time the case did not reach the small pile of cases ear-marked for his immediate attention. A second attempt to get his attention was more successful, and must have crossed in the ether with Dr Sondra Crosby’s preparations for her letter on behalf of Global Lawyers and Physicians (of 8 April 2019) to Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights because, on 5 April 2019 the UN Special Rapporteur for Torture, Nils Melzer announced (via a UN press release) his intention to visit Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy.
For many, this was the first time they had heard of Nils Melzer, the Special Rapporteur on Torture, or his UN mandate. But it would certainly not be the last.
For many, this was the first time they had heard of the Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, or his UN mandate.
But it would certainly not be the last.
Melzer’s first concern was with the health issues in Julian’s case, and whether these represented the bitter fruit of psychological torture, but as he dove deeper into the records, his scope broadened.
Julian’s prior health care (or lack thereof):
On 2 March 2015, in a Swiss TV (RTS) interview, Julian spoke briefly about the difficulty in getting medical and dental care inside the embassy.
“They say their insurance doesn’t cover Ecuador, if they're British doctors.”
On 14 Sept 2016 Wikileaks released confidential medical and psychological reports concerning Julian Assange's situation:
a 27 page psycho-social and medical assessment from 10 November 2015,
a report from Mr. Assange's physician from 8 December 2015, and
a dentist's report from 31 July 2015.
In a public statement 24 January 2018 Drs Sondra S Crosby, Brock Chisholm and Sean Love explained that they had “recently spent 20 hours, over three days, performing a comprehensive physical and psychological evaluation of Mr Assange.”
They called on the “British Medical Association and colleagues in the UK to demand safe access to medical care for Mr Assange and to oppose openly the ongoing violations of his human right to healthcare.”
Jennifer Robinson (one of Julian’s lawyers) reported on his inability to access healthcare at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva on 18 June 2018.
On 22 June 2018 Dr Sean Love made another statement about Julian’s health and his right to adequate care (published in the British Medical Journal), concluding that “Assange’s detention continues to cause a precipitous deterioration in his overall condition and amounts to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.”
On 8 April 2019, Dr Sondra Crosby wrote a letter to former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (and others) about the health implications for Assange of his continued confinement in the embassy, reporting on four evaluations she made of his health between October 2017 and February 2019. She wrote “that the conditions of Assange’s confinement had become observably worse since [her] initial visit.”
She also noted that her confidential medical notes had been removed (and presumably read) by embassy surveillance staff, and that “Mr Assange’s fundamental right to doctor-patient confidentiality had been violated.”
Further, she stated that “the severe daily pain endured by Mr Assange from this dental condition is inhumane, notwithstanding that the situation could be life threatening if left untreated.” She concluded:
It is my professional opinion that the synergistic and cumulative severity of the pain and suffering inflicted on Mr Assange - both physical and psychological - is in violation of the 1984 Convention against Torture Article 1 and Article 16. I believe the psychological, physical, and social sequelae will be long lasting and severe.
Following the arrest of Julian Assange (11 April 2019), Dr Sean Love and others continued to advocate for healthcare for Julian Assange.
On 8 May 2019 Dr Sean Love gave an interview on Telesur.
On October 2019 Dr Sean Love again spoke out (at Brown University):
Much of this information is protected by doctor-patient confidentiality. What I can say is that Assange is resilient, but his suffering and the psychological toll of his circumstances were apparent. Compounding these injuries was that, for nearly seven years, Assange had been unable to receive proper medical care.
Within the embassy, he had difficulty obtaining treatment, as most physicians refused to visit him for fear of associating themselves or their medical practice with him, his political views, or his publishing activities.
22 Nov 2019 Doctors for Assange made their first public statement, followed up by Open Letters, statements and representatives speaking on video panels. [Website]
29 Nov 2019 John Pilger describes health issues visible on a visit to Julian in prison, including his longing for some healthy food, and the way he had been deprived of his reading glasses for many months after his arrival.
22 Feb 2020 Dr Lissa Johnson said that Julian has STILL not had an MRI or treatment for his shoulder problem [FaceBook video from 9:00]
26 Aug 2020 In an update, Stella Moris wrote:
The visit to Belmarsh was difficult for everyone and very stressful. We had to wear masks and visors and were not allowed to touch during a 20-minute meeting. He looked a lot thinner than the last time I had seen him. He is also in a lot of pain with a frozen shoulder and a sprained ankle.
Recent events re health
15 Nov 2021 A very recent article by Helen Mercer “Julian Assange & the Crisis of British Public Service” also looked at the role the prison health service has played (or not played) in meeting the health needs of Julian Assange.
17 Nov 2021 Two days later, Kit Klarenberg, in “New files expose Australian govt’s betrayal of Julian Assange and detail his prison torment”, reported that the Australian government was well aware of the physical and mental health problems Assange was experiencing, but did nothing to help resolve (or even expose) these problems.
UPDATES after initial publication
11 Dec 2021 it was announced that Julian Assange had suffered a mini-stroke on the first day of the US Appeal (27 Oct 2021). [Tweet] [DailMail]
12 Dec 2021 Doctors For Assange put out a statement
- In text [D4A] A reading by Dr Jill Stein [YouTube]
13 Dec 2021 Doctors For Assange Video online panel [YouTube]
- Dr Jill Stein, Lissa Johnson and Prof Bill Hogan
10 Oct 2022 Stella Moris announces that Assange had tested positive for Covid-19
17 Oct 2022 Doctors for Assange letter to UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman & US Attorney General Merrick Garland [D4A website]
Nils Melzer takes action
What follows is a chronological listing of press releases, reports, tweets and interviews (in print and on video - some with transcripts) documenting the publicly available records of Melzer’s statements and actions in relation to this case - which you are reminded is just one of many from his ever growing caseload. While most resources listed are in English, some are in German [DE], French [FR] or Swedish [SE]. Snippets (auto translated where necessary) from many of the documents are also provided, but much more is available via the links.
This list, while lengthy, is by no means complete.
[It never ceases to amaze those paying attention that, while doing all this, Nils Melzer finds time to sleep, let alone spend time with his family and friends, or to compose music and play the piano - as he does, beautifully.]
When Julian Assange is released, as we hope he soon will be, Nils Melzer will be recognised as one of the heroes of this era, having formed a central part (along with Julian’s legal team and other key people and the efforts of worldwide Team Assange) of the fulcrum on which his case, and the totalitarian tide, turned.
An UPDATE on CENSORSHIP:
In March 2022, YouTube decided to censor the video channels for RT and Ruptly, ostensibly to rid the platform of “Russian disinformation” related to current events in Ukraine. As well as censoring an alternative view on those events, many years worth of interviews and livestreamed events related to Julian Assange (and many other dissident journalists and activists) were lost to the public.
These censored videos show as “this video is not available in your country” - itself a dishonest statement as such videos are not now made available in ANY country. When I find an alternative version on a platform that believes in free speech I will post a link to that version for any videos listed here that are now unwatchable.
In addition, most of the countries in the “free world” have now blocked other forms of access to RT and other free speech news sources. My apologies if some links do not work due to this further form of censorship.
On 5 April 2019 the UN Special Rapporteur for Torture, Nils Melzer announced his intention to visit Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy.
On 9 May 2019 Nils Melzer visited Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison, accompanied by two medical experts who specialised in examining potential victims of torture and other ill-treatment. [RT YouTube censored] [BBC Vimeo]
In late May 2019 Nils Melzer sent out official letters to the governments of the US, UK, Sweden and Ecuador stating his relevant observations, and seeking specific responses. These letters refer to, among other things, “Sustained and unrestrained public mobbing, intimidation and defamation in the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Ecuador”. The letter exchanges were dated:
GBR 27 May 2019 ||
ECU 28 May 2019 || These 1st letters are
USA 28 May 2019 || basically the same
SWE 28 May 2019 ||
USA 12 Sept 2019 (reply to response to 1st letter received 16 July 2019)
SWE 12 Sept 2019 (reply to response to 1st letter received 12 July 2019)
ECU 02 Oct 2019 (reply to response to 1st letter received 18 June & 26 July 2019)
GBR 29 Oct 2019 (reply to response to 1st letter dated 7 Oct 2019)
On 31 May 2019 Nils Melzer followed up on his visit to Julian Assange in HMP Belmarsh with a statement published on the UN OHCHR website. Among other things, he stated:
It was obvious that Mr. Assange’s health has been seriously affected by the extremely hostile and arbitrary environment he has been exposed to for many years,” the expert said. “Most importantly, in addition to physical ailments, Mr. Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.
The evidence is overwhelming and clear,” the expert said. “Mr. Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.
I condemn, in the strongest terms, the deliberate, concerted and sustained nature of the abuse inflicted on Mr. Assange and seriously deplore the consistent failure of all involved governments to take measures for the protection of his most fundamental human rights and dignity,” the expert said. “By displaying an attitude of complacency at best, and of complicity at worst, these governments have created an atmosphere of impunity encouraging Mr. Assange’s uninhibited vilification and abuse.”
Nils Melzer followed up this statement with multiple interviews - reported in written articles (including the BBC), audio and video files.
[Then] UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt responded immediately: [Tweet]
“This is wrong. Assange chose to hide in the embassy and was always free to leave and face justice. The UN Special Rapporteur should allow British courts to make their judgements without his interference or inflammatory accusations.”This is wrong. Assange chose to hide in the embassy and was always free to leave and face justice. The UN Special Rapporteur should allow British courts to make their judgements without his interference or inflammatory accusations.standard.co.ukJulian Assange showing symptoms of torture, says UN expertJulian Assange is suffering the symptoms of psychological torture, a United Nations expert said today as he argued the WikiLeaks co-founder should not be extradited to the US.
To which Nils Melzer responded: [Tweet]
“With all due respect, Sir: Mr Assange was about as „free to leave“ as a someone sitting on a rubberboat in a sharkpool. As detailed in my formal letter to you, so far, UK courts have not shown the impartiality and objectivity required by the rule of law.”@Jeremy_Hunt With all due respect, Sir: Mr Assange was about as „free to leave“ as a someone sitting on a rubberboat in a sharkpool. As detailed in my formal letter to you, so far, UK courts have not shown the impartiality and objectivity required by the rule of law.
Many memes then sprouted on social media: [sample Tweet]
5 June 2019 Nils Melzer spoke to The Atlas of Torture (published 18 Dec 2019) on “Torture and Corruption” [Tweet] [Vimeo]
Mid June 2019 Nils Melzer spoke with Chris Cook on Gorilla Radio (republished 16 June 2022) [Podcast from 34:42]
26 Jun 2019 On the occasion of the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, Nils Melzer published “Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange” [Website]
I know, you may think I am deluded. How could life in an Embassy with a cat and a skateboard ever amount to torture? That’s exactly what I thought, too, when Assange first appealed to my office for protection. Like most of the public, I had been subconsciously poisoned by the relentless smear campaign, which had been disseminated over the years. So it took a second knock on my door to get my reluctant attention. But once I looked into the facts of this case, what I found filled me with repulsion and disbelief. [Continued]
The publication of this article was the opening volley in a heated exchange - at least heated on the part of the women - with a group of women (mostly lawyers and ‘'HR academics’'). The exchange was partly via articles, with a lot of chatter on Twitter.
1 July 2019 Marie Davoise & 319 others “Open letter in response to UN Special Rapporteur’s op-ed on Julian Assange” [Medium]
2 July 2019 Nils Melzer “Dismantling the Swedish ‘Rape’-Narrative against Julian Assange” Response to Open Letter of 1 July 2019 [Medium]
These articles were followed up by two analyses of the exchange:
5 July 2019 - (by Laura Tiernanan) in “UN Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer replies to feminist legal critics on Assange” [WSWS]
This pointed out that:
“Framed as a response to his June 26 opinion piece, “Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange,” the open letter was a barely concealed threat made against Melzer’s job as UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It was addressed to the UN high commissioner for human rights, its deputy high commissioner and the Coordination Committee of UN Special Procedures.”
7 July 2019 - another (by Dulcie Leimbach) “Human-Rights Lawyers React to a UN Official’s Definition of Rape” [PassBlue]
7 July 2019 On Contact - Chris Hedges interview “Julian Assange w/UN special rapporteur on torture” [YouTube censored] [RT video archive]
12 Sept 2019 Nils Melzer sent his second official letter to Sweden
Note that the multi-lingual Melzer has Swedish citizenship (through his mother) and speaks and reads Swedish fluently. He visited Sweden as part of his investigations and had access to many of the records there, in the original.
This letter should be read by anyone who still has any doubts about the Swedish allegations. It is also discussed in depth in an article by Oscar Grenfell:
In his conclusion, Melzer noted the crucial role played by the Swedish pursuit of Assange in the entire US-led vendetta against the WikiLeaks founder since 2010.
[Melzer] wrote: “The medical, factual and circumstantial evidence at my disposal shows that the manner in which Sweden conducted its preliminary investigation against Mr. Assange, including the unrestrained and unqualified dissemination and perpetuation of the ‘rape suspect’ narrative, was the primary factor that triggered, enabled and encouraged the subsequent campaign of sustained and concerted public mobbing and judicial persecution against Mr. Assange in various countries, the cumulative effects of which can only described as psychological torture.”
Despite never charging him with a crime, Sweden’s investigation provided the pseudo-judicial pretext for embroiling Assange in the legal system. Britain’s support for Sweden’s unprecedented request that Assange be extradited merely to “answer questions” forced him to seek political asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy in June 2012.
The Swedish investigation provided the bogus rationale for Britain’s siege of the embassy and its threats that it would arrest Assange if he set foot outside the building.
More broadly, the Swedish allegations served to malign Assange, and to hide the real reasons that he was being persecuted. They were used to enlist an entire layer of upper middle-class feminists, pseudo-leftists and self-styled civil liberties advocates in a campaign to demonise and abandon any defence of Assange. This was under conditions in which the American state apparatus was working to silence WikiLeaks due to its publication of leaked documents exposing US war crimes, mass surveillance operations and global diplomatic intrigues, affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
This campaign of “public mobbing” was essential to creating the political climate in which the Ecuadorian government could violate Assange’s asylum and hand him over to the British police. It fostered the political environment in which the US administration of President Donald Trump could unveil 18 charges against Assange, explicitly over his legal publishing activities.
In section three of the document, Melzer made a point-by-point substantiation of his assessment that the entire Swedish investigation was marked by arbitrariness and a violation of fundamental legal norms.
14 Oct 2019 Nils Melzer gave his annual report to the UN General Assembly. On the Assange situation he said:
Further, I would like to thank the Government of the United Kingdom for having facilitated my visit to Mr. Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison in London 3 in May 2019, including his examination by two experienced medical experts. Although Mr. Assange showed a pattern of symptoms typical for long-term exposure to psychological torture, I regret to report that none of the concerned States have agreed to investigate or redress their alleged involvement in his abuse as required of them under human rights law.
15 Oct 2019 Video of Nils Melzer at a press conference where he followed up on his report to the UN.
1 Nov 2019 Another official press statement from the UN office:
The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, has expressed alarm at the continued deterioration of Julian Assange’s health since his arrest and detention earlier this year, saying his life was now at risk. […]
“However, what we have seen from the UK Government is outright contempt for Mr. Assange’s rights and integrity,” Melzer said. “Despite the medical urgency of my appeal, and the seriousness of the alleged violations, the UK has not undertaken any measures of investigation, prevention and redress required under international law.”
Under the Convention against Torture, States must conduct a prompt and impartial investigation wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed. “In a cursory response sent nearly five months after my visit, the UK Government flatly rejected my findings, without indicating any willingness to consider my recommendations, let alone to implement them, or even provide the additional information requested,” the UN expert said.
As predicted by Melzer, shortly after the Special Rapporteur’s visit, Mr. Assange had to be transferred to the prison’s health care unit. «He continues to be detained under oppressive conditions of isolation and surveillance, not justified by his detention status,” said Melzer, adding that having completed his prison sentence for violating UK bail terms in 2012, Mr. Assange was now being held exclusively in relation to the pending extradition request from the United States.
“Despite the complexity of the proceedings against him led by the world’s most powerful Government, Mr. Assange’s access to legal counsel and documents has been severely obstructed, thus effectively undermining his most fundamental right to prepare his defence,” said Melzer.
“The blatant and sustained arbitrariness shown by both the judiciary and the Government in this case suggests an alarming departure from the UK’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law. This is setting a worrying example, which is further reinforced by the Government’s recent refusal to conduct the long-awaited judicial inquiry into British involvement in the CIA torture and rendition programme.
“In my view, this case has never been about Mr. Assange’s guilt or innocence, but about making him pay the price for exposing serious governmental misconduct, including alleged war crimes and corruption. Unless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, Mr. Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life.”
In his urgent appeal to the UK Government, the Special Rapporteur strongly recommended that Mr. Assange’s extradition to the United States be barred, and that he be promptly released and allowed to recover his health and rebuild his personal and professional life.
This report was reported in some legacy media:
“Julian Assange's life is 'being put at risk' by the 'oppressive conditions of isolation' he is being held in while facing extradition to the US, UN expert says” [Daily Mail]
14 Nov 2019 Video of Nils Melzer address (at 31:50) in the EU Parliament, discussing some components of Julian’s stress, and forms in which it is ongoing [Transcript]:
It was only in October , after being arrested in April, that he has received access to his legal documents. How is that possible? That you are the defendant in legal proceedings, subject to an extradition request from the US - where I am convinced he will not get a fair trial, but will be the subject of a secret, show trial, and then very likely disappear in a high security facility for the rest of his life, in conditions that my mandate, and my predecessor in the US for High Security Detainees, have repeatedly criticised as being inhumane, cruel and degrading.
So how is it possible that a person like this does not get access to his legal documents? That he is asked to respond to an indictment that he has not been able to read? To me, this is outlandish. This is not worth of democracy. This increases stress levels ...
Melzer goes on to discuss the “arbitrary” nature of the legal process:
… where the whole system is biased against you […] where judges that have a documented conflict of interest against you are allowed to preside your case, where a judge calls you ‘a narcissist’ in an open hearing although you have not even said anything except ‘I plead not guilty’.
How can you trust that system? What kind of effect will that have on you, psychologically, when you know your whole environment is skewed against you, and is only after a certain result, and will not listen to you? [...] It is psychological torture’”
18 Nov 2019 “UN special rapporteur exposes Swedish sexual misconduct frame-up of Assange” [WSWS] An analysis of the official letters exchanged between Nils Melzer and the Swedish government.
Melzer’s September 12 reply is a meticulous documentary exposure of those evasions and of the entire frame-up that has been perpetrated against Assange. It should be examined in full by all defenders of democratic rights, and by anyone who wishes to know the truth about the Swedish “investigation.”
In his conclusion, Melzer noted the crucial role played by the Swedish pursuit of Assange in the entire US-led vendetta against the WikiLeaks founder since 2010.
He wrote: “The medical, factual and circumstantial evidence at my disposal shows that the manner in which Sweden conducted its preliminary investigation against Mr. Assange, including the unrestrained and unqualified dissemination and perpetuation of the ‘rape suspect’ narrative, was the primary factor that triggered, enabled and encouraged the subsequent campaign of sustained and concerted public mobbing and judicial persecution against Mr. Assange in various countries, the cumulative effects of which can only described as psychological torture.”
Despite never charging him with a crime, Sweden’s investigation provided the pseudo-judicial pretext for embroiling Assange in the legal system. Britain’s support for Sweden’s unprecedented request that Assange be extradited merely to “answer questions” forced him to seek political asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy in June 2012.
19 Nov 2019 Melzer tweeted a response to the press conference at which Sweden announced that it was permanently discontinuing its investigation into the “rape” allegations against Assange.
Today’s collapse of Sweden’s Assange investigation was inevitable. Given its gross arbitrariness, there must now be a full investigation, and accountability & compensation for the harm inflicted on Julian Assange. [Tweet]
The records of the Swedish statements are [Video] [SE Website] [DW Statement]
27 Nov 2019 Nils Melzer spoke (in German) at the Berlin event, “Anything To Say” along with John Shipton, Kristinn Hrafnsson, et al. [DE YouTube] [EN Transcript]
The cases of Manning, Snowden, Assange and others are the most important test of our time for the credibility of Western rule of law and democracy and our commitment to human rights.
In all these cases, it is not about the person, the character or possible misconduct of these dissidents, but about how our governments deal with revelations about of their own misconduct.
How many soldiers have been held accountable for the massacre of civilians shown in the video “Collateral Murder”? How many agents for the systematic torture of terror suspects? How many politicians and CEOs for the corrupt and inhumane machinations that have been brought to light by our dissidents?
That’s what this is about. It is about the integrity of the rule of law, the credibility of our democracies and, ultimately, about our own human dignity and the future of our children.
Let us never forget that!
27 Nov 2019 Nils Melzer in Berlin, addressed (in German) the public hearing in the Bundestag, along with Renata Avila, John Shipton, Kristinn Hrafnsson, MOD Sevim Dagdelen and Daniel Ellsberg (by videolink). [YouTube] [EN Transcript]
We then had to ask ourselves what could have caused these symptoms [of psychological torture]. We knew that this man had been confined in a highly controlled environment within the Ecuadorian Embassy for more than six years. Given that, in this environment, he had been exposed only to a very limited number of influences, the factors which could have triggered these symptoms could be determined with a high degree of certainty.
In fact, the relevant environment had been created primarily by four States. First and foremost, this included the United States, which wanted Julian Assange’s extradition from the start, although they did not, of course, publicly announce their intentions. Julian Assange’s greatest fear had always been to be extradited towards a show trial in the United States and then to be sentenced, most likely, to life in a high-security prison under the so-called “Supermax” regime, which my predecessors and I have consistently classified as inhumane. Assange’s fear had always been ridiculed as “paranoia”, but on the very day he first stepped out of the Ecuadorian Embassy, it did not take the United States more than an hour to submit their extradition request to the United Kingdom.
By no means had Assange’s fears been “paranoid”. On the contrary, he had been very realistic as to his situation and the risks he was facing. Assange’s looming extradition towards serious violations of hos human rights in the United States is the basic threat scenario that runs through the entire case from the beginning to this day.
28 Nov 2019 Nils Melzer in London for “Free the Truth” event with Mark Curtis (AU journalist), Lisa Longstaff (lawyer), Craig Murray, John Pilger. Melzer was welcomed with a standing ovation. [YouTube] [Extensive notes]
On press freedom: "Why am I so passionate about this case? Because this is about all of us - it is about the future of our democracy. It is also about the man - Julian Assange." […]
Today I am extremely concerned for his life. I have written to all countries concerned. I have asked them to investigate their contributions to this situation and asked them to take measures to alleviate the situation. None of the states have agreed to investigate their contribution to the situation. None of the states have taken any measures to protect his rights.
So, as the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, if they no longer engage with those they have mandated to report back to them, I only see a dark future for us, our human rights, and the rights of our children. States have to take responsibility for what they do. Responsibility consists of response and ability. Britain and Sweden have each sent me one-page responses to my letters, rejecting my observations and saying that they have nothing further to add. What kind of response is that?
They are required to engage with me, to have a dialogue, and to explain to their people why what they are doing is lawful. If they cannot respond, the presumption is that the unlawfulness of their behaviour is confirmed. There is no other conclusion I can draw.
This is about democracy, the rule of law, and the need to defend it. This case is emblematic – a precedent. If the telling of truth becomes a crime, this will not just have a chilling effect on journalism – it will do away with it, and we will end up living under tyranny.’
30 Nov 2019 Nils Melzer interviewed on “Going Underground”.
The reasons the US wants to extradite him for is a classic case of a political offence, UK law prohibits extradition for a political offence...this whole detention now, at present has no legal basis.
The UK authorities did not respond [to Melzer’s May letter] for five months after my visit - and I made an urgent appeal for urgent measures to protect Julian Assange's health and rights and dignity. On the same day I received a tweet by then Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, accusing me of interfering with judicial authorities in the UK. and basically claiming … that “You haven't have right to interfere with our country’s justice system”.
But then he invited me to conduct that visit and to report - he is my counterpart - so he had to expect the report. Now it turned out negative. And then also obviously [Hunt] claiming that Julian Assange could have left the embassy at any time. To which I then responded in a tweet - which I would not usually do, but when a Foreign Secretary … [if] all they can do in five months is to send a tweet to my official report, well I answered in a tweet, that in my view [Julian Assange] was about us free to leave the embassy as someone sitting in a rubber boat in a shark pool.
[RT YouTube censored]
2 Dec 2019 Nils Melzer makes public his letters to States [Tweet]
GBR 27 May 2019 ||
ECU 28 May 2019 || These 1st letters are
USA 28 May 2019 || basically the same
SWE 28 May 2019 ||
USA 12 Sept 2019 (reply to response to 1st letter received 16 July 2019)
SWE 12 Sept 2019 (reply to response to 1st letter received 12 July 2019)
ECU 02 Oct 2019 (reply to response to 1st letter received 18 June & 26 July 2019)
GBR 29 Oct 2019 (reply to response to 1st letter dated 7 Oct 2019, not made public until 30 Dec because still with 60 days period)
9 Dec 2019 Nils Melzer interviewed by WSWS (in text). “UN Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer: “With censorship inevitably comes tyranny””
I also saw that the British government had no intention whatsoever to enter into a dialogue with me or take my recommendations seriously. Assange has remained imprisoned after completing his prison sentence, and in a maximum security prison at that, which, in my view, is completely out of proportion.
WSWS: You described the Assange case during the unveiling of the sculptures in front of the Brandenburg Gate as the “most important test case of our time.” Can you elaborate on that? What exactly do you mean by that?
Melzer: The Western democracies, which call themselves mature democracies, have become very self-righteous. Especially since the fall of the Berlin Wall—we are sitting here in Berlin—and the end of the Cold War, they believe that their political and economic system has won and is therefore incontestably the correct and the best one.
In reality, however, we have become fair-weather democracies, whose state institutions cease to function in critical situations because they no longer monitor each other. It is, however, absolutely crucial for the protection of the rule of law that the judiciary and parliament monitor the government and intervene in cases of abuse of power. They have to hold politicians and authorities accountable. This no longer works today, especially where the fundamental interests of the economic and political establishment are at stake.
WSWS: And the media…
Melzer: In theory, the media are the fourth power in the state, which is supposed to observe from the outside to what extent the separation of powers is, in fact, working, and whether they should ring the alarm. But the mainstream media no longer do this because they themselves have become part of the establishment. They profit from it, they are dependent on it.
The same applies to many of the major human rights organisations. At least to some extent, one gets the impression that they have also become part of the establishment. They are supported by large donations and are dependent on the state. They are, therefore, not prepared to risk a lot and take uncomfortable positions that could, above all, cost money.
In this context, where there is no longer any monitoring of the powers of the state, neither through political institutions nor through the media, an organization like WikiLeaks emerges that tries to assume these functions. This is as logical as it is essential for the functioning of democracy, the rule of law and state policy.”
What is at stake here is state responsibility. The term “taking responsibility” contains the word “response.” States must be required to respond to questions from the public about the exercise of state power. What criteria have been applied? Who did what on whose orders?
If states no longer give the answers, if we get only blacked-out texts, then we no longer have transparency, but censorship. And with censorship inevitably comes tyranny. That comes as surely as day follows night, because uncontrolled power corrupts. And that is also the essence of the Assange case. Therefore, this is a test case for the system. If we do not pass this test case, then we have opened the doors wide for tyranny.
10 Dec 2019 Nils Melzer gives the keynote speech at Geneva conference on “Interrogation and Torture: Science, Law and Morality” on Human Rights Day [Tweet]
Keynote speech Nils Melzer [original video] [YouTube] [Transcription] [Melzer]
This speech is bone-chilling - a “must listen”.
It is about the whole topic (ie does not address Assange’s case specifically).
18 Dec 2019 Nils Melzer on RT America special on whistleblowers [RT video at 11:34]
18 Dec 2019 The Atlas of Torture publishes Nils Melzer’s speech (5 June 2019) on “Torture and Corruption” [Tweet] [Vimeo]
19 Dec 2019 Nils Melzer “The rule of law does not work in the Assange case” (in German) on Radio Bavaria [DE Audio Radio BR] Unfortunately this link no longer works. If anyone has a link to somewhere it was saved, please send it to me for updating.
19 Dec 2019 Nils Melzer on Swiss TV (in French) [FR Video]
28 Dec 2019 Nils Melzer in Blick - text interview (in German) [DE Blick]
“The Swiss Nils Melzer looks after Julian Assange at the UN. The Special Representative on Torture criticizes the US judiciary - and the silence of the Federal Council.”
30 Dec 2019 End of year publication by Nils Melzer of correspondence with the UK re detention of Julian Assange at Belmarsh (Melzer’s letter dated 29 Oct 2019)
[Twitter Thread] [EN Full letter] [FR translation]
This received little press attention, apart from RT-UK and the UK’s Morning Star and, in the new year from WSWS.
31 Dec 2019 End of year message from NilsMelzer on why US ongoing detention of Chelsea Manning is not lawful (letter dated 1 Nov 2019) [Tweet] [Full letter]
This received a bit more media attention, including from the US:
[RT article] [Guardian] [NPR] [Washington Post] [Intercept] [C21Wire]
Related materials: Grand Juries [Sputnik] [Chelsea Manning responds] [Snowden tweet] Re lack of coverage [Sputnik]
Doctors For Assange responded. [Twitter thread]
They note that the “UK Home Office statement on 25 November in response to our letter of 22 November to @GOVUK” said:
“The allegations Mr. Assange was subjected to torture are unfounded and wholly false. The UK is committed to upholding the rule of law and ensuring that no one is ever above it.”
To date, this is the closest thing we have had to a 'response' to our letters of 22 November and 4 December to the UK government and of 16 December to the Australian government.
How does @GOVUK reconcile its "no torture" stance with the unequivocal findings to the contrary of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, @NilsMelzer? Please see his important letter to UK government of 29 October 2019 (made public today).
2 Jan 2020 Nils Melzer made two follow up tweets [2 Jan 2020]
Prosecutors & judge say @xychelsea “can end her jail term at any time by agreeing to testify”. Well, that’s exactly how torture works: you can end the pain & suffering anytime, you just have to confess/testify/cooperate! [Tweet]
Here’s the difference btw criminal sanctions & torture:
1. Punishing someone with a defined, circumscribed sanction for refusing to testify is applying criminal law.
2. Coercing someone to testify through the intentional infliction of progressively severe suffering is torture. [Tweet]
13 Jan 2020 Nils Melzer comments on BBC’s silencing of Joe Corré during interview re Assange:
Interview [YouTube] [Meltzer Tweet]
“To see how desperately the BBC interrupts & discredits @realjoecorre’s attempts to expose the gross arbitrariness of legal proceedings against Assange is not only a deplorable betrayal of objective journalism but borders on suppression of legitimate dissent.”
[Question - Is Joe Corré an official spokesperson for Julian Assange - as indicated by the interviewer? Does anyone know the answer to this?]
Nils Melzer: 8-part THREAD on what constitutes “evading” justice. [Thread]
Nils Melzer: 7-part THREAD focused on the role the UK government is playing in the persecution and torture of JulianAssange, and the large gap between their rhetoric and their practice. [Thread]
22 Jan 2020 UN Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer on the Assange case and the sabotage of UN mechanisms by the United States, Great Britain, Sweden and Ecuador [DE Heise]
“In my view, it is in the core of my mandate to publicly protest when unmasked war criminals go unpunished while the whistleblowers and journalists are draconically punished for exposing such crimes”
25 Jan 2020 Nils Melzer announces a forthcoming report to the UN re psychological torture. [Tweet].
“If you want to understand what governments have been doing in your name, go and watch ‘Eminent Monsters.’ To mark Nils Melzer's forthcoming report on psychological torture UN HRC, [the film] ‘Eminent Monsters’ will play in cinemas across the UK from 16th Feb.”
See also this paper on ‘Personality Disruption as Mental Torture’ [Tweet] [Journal]
27 Jan 2020 Nils Melzer, as part of a panel of speakers, addresses the Council of Europe meeting to discuss Assange case: See full THREAD from Naomi Colvin:
“Melzer: Assange's rights have been "severely violated". His lawyers say they have inadequate access. Concerns that moving him out of medical wing may be designed to undercut medical arguments in the extradition hearing.” [Tweet]
“Melzer: the response he has had from UK, US and Sweden are "typical of the kinds of reactions I have from states that are conscious that their conduct is unlawful." [Tweet]
See also follow up from Nils Melzer [Tweet] and speech of Anthony Bellanger [IFJ]
Draft resolution; [EN COE] [FR COE]
Reporting: [RT] [Guardian] [FR LeGrandSoir] [WikiLeaks THREAD] [Bridges FMF]
[ES Cadenaser] [FR NextInpact] [Sputnik] [WSWS] [IndependentAustralia]
31 Jan 2020 New Nils Melzer interview: “A murderous system is being created before our very eyes” [EN Republik] [DE Republik] [EN short YouTube] [EN PDF]
This article had a major impact on grassroots supporters of Julian Assange and is still frequently tweeted. But it has rarely been addressed by the legacy media.
“[Sweden] pulled the plug and abandoned the case a week later because they knew I would not back down. When countries like Sweden allow themselves to be manipulated like that, then our democracies and our human rights face a fundamental threat.”
“From my perspective, Sweden very clearly acted in bad faith. Had they acted in good faith, there would have been no reason to refuse to answer my questions.
The same holds true for the British: Following my visit to Assange in May 2019, they took six months to answer me – in a single-page letter, which was primarily limited to rejecting all accusations of torture and all inconsistencies in the legal proceedings. If you’re going to play games like that, then what’s the point of my mandate? I am the Special Rapporteur on Torture for the United Nations. I have a mandate to ask clear questions and to demand answers. What is the legal basis for denying someone their fundamental right to defend themselves? Why is a man who is neither dangerous nor violent held in solitary confinement for several months when UN standards legally prohibit solitary confinement for periods extending beyond 15 days?
None of these UN member states launched an investigation, nor did they answer my questions or even demonstrate an interest in dialogue.”
What does all this mean?
“On a practical level, it means that you, as a journalist, must now defend yourself. Because if investigative journalism is classified as espionage and can be incriminated around the world, then censorship and tyranny will follow.
A murderous system is being created before our very eyes. War crimes and torture are not being prosecuted. YouTube videos are circulating in which American soldiers brag about driving Iraqi women to suicide with systematic rape. Nobody is investigating it.
At the same time, a person who exposes such things is being threatened with 175 years in prison. For an entire decade, he has been inundated with accusations that cannot be proven and are breaking him.
And nobody is being held accountable. Nobody is taking responsibility. It marks an erosion of the social contract. We give countries power and delegate it to governments – but in return, they must be held accountable for how they exercise that power. If we don’t demand that they be held accountable, we will lose our rights sooner or later. Humans are not democratic by their nature. Power corrupts if it is not monitored. Corruption is the result if we do not insist that power be monitored.”
FollowUp: [SwissInfo] [MediaLens 13 Feb]
“Despite the credibility and integrity of the source, and the obvious newsworthiness of the issue, our ProQuest database search finds that Nils Melzer and his comments published in Republik on 31 January have not been mentioned in any US or UK media outlet.”
- [MediaLens 13 Feb]
31 Jan 2020 Nils Melzer [7:10], Lauri Love [1:10:04] and John Kiriakou [1:42:25] on ‘Assange - Countdown to Freedom Ep 5 2020’ [Audio and bios]
3 Feb 2020 “Free the Truth” event London
Speakers: Eva Joly, Nils Melzer & Craig Murray - Full stream [YouTube]
Nils Melzer clip [YouTube] [Transcript]
I refuse to be intimidated ... It's a violation of my independence to try to circumvent official proceedings & to undermine my credibility with the UN and my employer. I will certainly NOT back down.
Coverage: [WiseUp] [Sputnik] [WSWS]
4 Feb 2020 Interview with Nils Melzer on the subject of Torture. [Sputnik]
What I have realised through that investigation is that we have a systematic problem that needs to be addressed. That there are three ways in which my mandate is affected:
Julian Assange has a disclosed, exposed torture that has not been prosecuted systematically;
He has been tortured himself; and
If extradited to the US he likely to be tortured until the day of his death.
4 Feb 2020 midday “Legal, Systemic and Reputational Implications of the Assange Case”
Speakers: Keme Nzerem (Moderator), James Goodale, Helena Kennedy QC,
Nils Melzer [YouTube clip], Peter Oborne, Claire Smith (at Frontline Club)
On Site: RealMediaGB [Tweet video] Longer RealMedia [YouTube video]
Reporting: [MorningStar] [Newsweek]
4 Feb 2020 at 7pm “Press freedom and the case of Julian Assange”
Speakers: Tom Dawson, Kristinn Hrafnsonn, Jennifer Robinson, Richard Burgon, Nils Melzer [YouTube clip], John McDonnell, John Rees, Tariq Ali:, Deepa Driver (Moderator) - Logan Hall, London [Full event YouTube]
“So I was objective. I was neutral. I was impartial. But once I have investigated and I have identified someone as being a torture victim, I am not neutral between the torture victim and the torturer.” [12:48]
Reporting: On the politics [WSWS] On speeches [Sputnik] Background [Counterfire] [CamdenNewJournal]
6 Feb 2020 German cross-party appeal for release of Julian Assange launches in Berlin [Livestream Ruptly]
German papers full of Assange articles: [DE Tweet] [DE ORF] [DE ZDF] [DE Freitag] [DE DW ][EN DW] [DE Stern] [DE Tagesspiegel] [DE Taz] [DE Taz 2] [DE Zeit] [DE NZZ] [Ruptly tweet video] [DE CourrierInternational] [HeuteJournal]
EN FollowUp: [ConsortiumNews US] [Standard UK] [DissidentVoice] [EN DW Opinion]
Nils Melzer Interview (in German) [DE DeutschlandFunk]
“And the argument that nobody is above the law, I think, is completely inappropriate here. Or perhaps the other way around: one would have to ask whether the British authorities and the Swedish and American authorities are above the law.
It should also not be forgotten that WikiLeaks has proven the most serious crimes, including war crimes, with its publications and that no one has been prosecuted to this day - that is, the credibility of the rule of law is already very badly affected there. Instead, the person who published this information is now being tracked.”
More on Nils Melzer [Sueddeutsche]
[DW tweet video]
Q: Have the democratic governments of Sweden, UK, US, also Ecuador, who are all involved here, intentionally manipulated justice?
A: This is my conclusion, yes. I was very reluctant to come out in the pubic with this statement because I thought no-one will believe me.
But I have the pieces of evidence, and I put the questions to these four states. And I asked them to explain how their conduct is compliant with human rights law. And none of them were able or even willing to respond to me and to engage in a dialogue, which certainly is not a good sign.
13 Feb 2020 MediaLens analyse the persecution of Assange via commentary by Nils Melzer - “Burned at the stake” [Article]
14 Feb 2020 Nils Meltzer interviewed “Julian Assange shows typical symptoms of torture” [DE Beobachter article and video]
16 Feb 2020 Nils Melzer at Film “Eminent Monsters”:
“By not speaking up we align ourselves with the human rights abusers and criminals in our military and governments. As a consequence we persecute the very people who take their lives in their hands to expose them." [Tweet]
See also earlier (13 Feb) tweet from The Nine
“A documentary about Dr Ewan Cameron is released this weekend. Born in Stirlingshire, he carried out experiments like sensory deprivation, forced comas and LSD injections during the Cold War. UN Special Rapporteur Prof @NilsMelzer spoke to #TheNine about what torture actually is.” [Tweet with video]
16 Feb 2020 The Australian MPs (Andrew Wilkie and George Christensen) arrive in London and meet up with Nils Melzer. [Tweet].
“In London and we met with UN Special Rapporteur on Torture @NilsMelzer to discuss Julian Assange. Nils left us in no doubt that Assange is showing the effects of psychological torture and feels betrayed by the justice system in the UK, the USA & Aus #auspol #politas #FreeAssange” [Tweet with image]
Reporting: [EveningStandard] [MSN with SkyNews video]
18 Feb 2020 Public screenings of ‘Eminent Monsters - A Manual For Modern Torture’ begin to coincide with the publication of Nils Melzer’s Report to the UN on Psychological Torture. [Tweet]
20 Feb 2020 UK Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell visited Julian in Belmarsh [Tweet] [Sputnik]
Speaking on Assange's prison conditions, Mr McDonnell said that the activist was being detained in a cell for "20 hours a day with limited field of association and exercise" which "clearly takes its toll”.
But the pair had found him "extremely strong" despite his upcoming trial, and "absolutely determined that the truth will be out and that he will not be extradited", allowing him to return to his work, McDonnell said.".
Speaking on Assange's torture at the embassy and in prison, he agreed with UN special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, adding he was "anxious" of the ill effects on the whistleblower's health. Mr McDonnell slammed the treatment of Assange at Belmarsh as "barbaric", in addition to the overall prison system across the UK.
21 Feb 2020 Nils Melzer interviewed by Juan Passarelli (@jlpassarelli)
- Discusses the nature of psychological torture [YouTube] (4:49)
- “Psychological torture is to deprive sense of all control" [YouTube] (1:33)
- "The UK did not conduct any investigations" on Assange. [YouTube] (2:37)
- Lists why Assange should be freed [Tweet] [YouTube] (1:41)
- Can Assange get a fair extradition hearing in the UK? [YouTube] (1:06)
- "Even in the UK he's not going to get a fair extradition trial." [YouTube] (3:08)
- "First they came for Assange, (...) now I hear they're coming for the BBC." [YouTube] (1:01)
- "It's about all of us, it's about democracy, It's about the rule of law" [YouTube] (0:46)
- “3 levels on which my mandate is clearly involved” [YouTube] (1:04) SEE BELOW
- “You don't need to be a specialist to see that US soldiers have been intentionally massacring people.” ” [YouTube] (1:26)
- "Once it has become a crime to tell the truth, then we will have tyranny." [Tweet] [YouTube] (1:24)
NOTE These are loaded on the Wikileaks channel
23 Feb 2020 Nils Melzer writes a (for him) scathing tweet response to a vicious article in a Swiss paper. He says a longer response is coming in the same paper.
- Article [NZZ] Melzer responses: [DE Tweet] [Follow-up article - link not found]
“ [DE] The author tries to give her poorly researched blanket attack a factual touch, but above all is sawing the branch of her own credibility. Coming soon in the @NZZ: my "reply to an unreliable criticism” [DE Tweet]
24 - 27 Feb 2020 PART 1 of the Extradition Hearing
24 Feb 2020 Nils Melzer publishes “J’Accuse”
[EN Schweizer Monat] [EN Schweizer Monat archived] [DE Schweizer Monat]
From fighter for transparency to outcast
If Julian Assange’s beliefs were to be reduced to a slogan, it would probably be: “Privacy for citizens – but transparency for governments!” Through his Wikileaks platform, he has published hundreds of thousands of secret documents, leaked to him by others, about misconduct by states and corporations. The revelations have gone around the world: They concerned torture in Guantanamo, civilian victims in Afghanistan, and war crimes in Iraq, gruesomely culminating in a video entitled “Collateral Murder”. We can observe US soldiers massacring more than a dozen people from a helicopter in Baghdad, among them two Reuters journalists. When a minibus stops to rescue the injured, the rescuer, too, is deliberately murdered. His two children survive, badly injured. The soldiers cheer each other on, making flippant remarks as if the whole thing were a video game. The war crime is seamlessly documented, including its premeditation, but none of those responsible has ever been held to account. The US military claims to have found no wrongdoing. An odyssey begins for Julian Assange.
In the Assange case, the more puzzle pieces one assembles, the harder it becomes to escape the impression of a gangster-like conspiracy. Assange’s uncompromising dissemination of unpleasant truths soon antagonized virtually the entire establishment worldwide, and provoked efforts at silencing him. In 2012, Wikileaks published an internal email exchange from Stratfor, a private US security company which has been described as the “shadow CIA”.1 Today, this correspondence reads like the script for what has been going before our eyes on ever since. In particular, it was recommended that Assange be moved “from country to country to face various charges for the next 25 years” and, in doing so, to completely discredit him in the eyes of the public. This the involved states have successfully achieved, and I too initially succumbed to their propaganda. Still candidate for Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” in 2010, support for Julian Assange crumbled rapidly after rape allegations had been made against him. Suddenly, Assange had gone from a freedom fighter to an outcast, whose defence had become politically incorrect.
State-sponsored mobbing begins…
24 Feb 2020 Nils Melzer interviews
- Going Underground [Tweet] [YouTube]
- German TV [DE tagesgespraech]
24 Feb 2020 Nils Melzer releases a draft of his coming Report to the UN Human Rights Council, focusing on psychological torture. [Tweet] Document [download]
“In the present report, the Special Rapporteur examines conceptual, definitional and interpretative questions arising in relation to the notion of “psychological torture” under human rights law. ”
NB: Para 42 directly addresses the situation faced by Chelsea Manning - defining her indefinite imprisonment and her fines as forms of psychological torture.
Reporting: [Al Jazeera]
28 Feb 2020 The sessions with the Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, at the 43rd Session of UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)
- Speech plus Interactive Session [Part 1 video ] [Part 2 video] [THREAD]
4 March 2020 Peter Whish-Wilson raises the reports by Nils Melzer re Julian with Marise Payne (Minister for Foreign Affairs) in the Australian parliament’s Legislative Committee [Tweet video]
Reporting: [ArmidaleExpress] [SBS] [The Standard]
- See also Penny Wong [YouTube]
- In a follow up, WSWS referred to Penny Wong’s “feigned concern” [WSWS]
5 March 2020 Nils Melzer comments on the detention of Chelsea Manning
[DE Tweet] [DE DeutschlandFunk]
6 March 2020 One of the women from the Swedish allegations, Anna A, hits out at Nils Melzer. [DE Spiegel]
“She has never felt "so much abused" as by him, writes Anna A. from Sweden in a dossier that she sent to Melzer's office and which SPIEGEL could see. Melzer had spoken of manipulation by the Swedish investigators and claimed the invention of a "rape story".
So he blames the victims, the woman writes; it was "a classic patriarchal technique to define the conditions for how 'a real rape victim' should behave". It also accuses the lawyer of personally slandering her and, in part, spreading the untruth about the investigation, such as Assange's willingness to testify about the incidents. This is "completely unacceptable, shocking and a reason to quit his job at the UN". …
Similar to Anna A., more than 300 human rights lawyers and law professors from numerous countries have already sharply criticized Melzer. In an open letter they accused him last summer that his statements were "both legally wrong and harmful with regard to sexual violence". Melzer rejected this even then.
While he shares the signatories' legal opinion, he also believes "that every victim must be supported and taken seriously who is brave enough to report sexual abuse". In the Assange case, however, he stuck to the fact that the evidence gathered in Sweden was not a basis to investigate on suspicion of rape - a clarification that the three initiators of the open letter "sincerely welcomed"
6 March 2020 Nils Meltzer tweets initial response to the article (above) [Tweet]
“I thank Ms A. for her courage & resolve to reach out & provide her views. She cannot be blamed for Sweden’s human rights violations, nor expected to disprove them. This is the Government's duty, whose failure to cooperate with UN bodies speaks for itself.” [Tweet]
And again, in response to another outburst - see this [article]
“After an in-depth interview, @Fempersint & @jennyronngren are remarkably quick to accuse me of “false statements” & lack of objectivity/neutrality, but base themselves on unsubstantiated claims by partisan sources & conveniently ignore uncomfortable facts supporting my findings.” [Tweet]
9 March 2020 The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)
“condemns the reported mistreatment of Julian Assange during his United States extradition trial in February 2020, and urges the government of the United Kingdom to take action to protect him.” [IBAHRI]
“The IBAHRI is concerned that the mistreatment of Julian Assange constitutes breaches of his right to a fair trial and protections enshrined in the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the UK is party. It is deeply shocking that as a mature democracy in which the rule of law and the rights of individuals are preserved, the UK Government has been silent and has taken no action to terminate such gross and disproportionate conduct by Crown officials.
As well, we are surprised that the presiding judge has reportedly said and done nothing to rebuke the officials and their superiors for such conduct in the case of an accused whose offence is not one of personal violence.” ...
“It is troubling that Mr Assange has complained that he is unable to hear properly what is being said at his trial, and that because he is locked in a glass cage is prevented from communicating freely with his lawyers during the proceedings commensurate with the prosecution.’
Nils Melzer thanks the IBAHRI [Tweet]
“Thanks to the International Bar Asscoiation @IBAHRI for its timely condemnation of the #UK judiciary for its sustained exposure of #Assange to gross due process violations & #PsychologicalTorture in his US extradition trial!
Reporting [Law Gazette UK] [Irish Legal News] [Sputnik] [WSWS] [Lawyers Weekly]
Comment [DEA Tweet video]
11 March 2020 Chelsea Manning reported as having attempted suicide while imprisoned for not testifying against Assange.[Sparrow Media]
“On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, Chelsea Manning attempted to take her own life. She was taken to a hospital and is currently recovering.
Ms. Manning is still scheduled to appear on Friday for a previously-calendared hearing, at which Judge Anthony Trenga will rule on a motion to terminate the civil contempt sanctions stemming from her May, 2019 refusal to give testimony before a grand jury investigating the publication of her 2010 disclosures.
In spite of those sanctions — which have so far included over a year of so-called “coercive” incarceration and nearly half a million dollars in threatened fines — she remains unwavering in her refusal to participate in a secret grand jury process that she sees as highly susceptible to abuse. Ms. Manning has previously indicated that she will not betray her principles, even at risk of grave harm to herself.”
Petition to free her: [Tweet] [Petition]
Reporting: [Gizmodo] [New Matilda] [The Guardian] [The DailyBeast] [Daily Mail] [WSWS] [AP News] [NY Times] [FR FranceInfo] RT video] [RT article] [DemocracyNow] [The Intercept]
- Daniel Ellsberg and Kevin Gosztola [Defending Rights & Dissent from 18:00]
Nils Melzer [Tweet]
“Alarming news on @xychelsea On 1 Nov  I called on US Govt to terminate her coercive detention without delay, categorized it as torture [Letter] & reiterated this in my official report to HRC43 [Tweet re Report]. No response.”
[NOTE: Chelsea Manning is referenced by name in FNs 8, 32 & 50 of the Draft Report.]
More from Nils Melzer [Tweet]
“After speaking to @xychelsea's lawyers: Her state was critical but stable now. Such acts of desperation are typical for the confusion, dehumanisation & suffering deliberately inflicted through prolonged Psychological Torture [Report] ”
11 March 2020 Nils Melzer gives a briefing on the Assange case to members of the Swiss Parliament @ParlCH in Bern [Tweet] [DE Tweet]
“... thanks to the participating MPs for the open & constructive discussion!”
12 March 2020 Detailed update on the medical and judicial treatment of Julian Assange by Lissa Johnson and Doctors For Assange [New Matilda]
“Given that an Australian citizen is at the heart of this global attack on press freedom and human rights, we Australians must hold our government to its human rights obligations according to its own Human Rights Commission.
Because this abuse will not stop at Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning. Glenn Greenwald is in the crosshairs as we speak. Other gentle journalists and whistleblowers the world over are at risk. A senior official at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has recently expressed fear for his family’s safety if he tells the truth about what goes on behind the scenes.
Persecutors everywhere will be emboldened by the Assange precedent. Secrecy will run riot. Victims’ stories will go unheard and untold.
And that is what this show-trial is ultimately all about. It is about rendering victims’ voiceless, with no journalists or whistleblowers to tell their stories, nor hold their abusers to account.”
- Nils Melzer “Thanks to @LissaKJohnson for one of the best, sharpest & most convincing articles on the Assange case I have ever read - systematically demasking the UK Govt’s disgraceful betrayal of the most fundamental norms of humanity, justice & RuleOfLaw.” [Tweet]
12 March 2020 Chelsea Manning's released from jail in Virginia on Judge orders
“A federal judge has ordered the release of Chelsea Manning: "the court finds Ms. Manning's appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose."” [WikiLeaks Tweet]
NOTE: The bad news was that the fines still stand. $256,000
Court Order [Court Listener PDF] [Document Cloud Text]
Official fundraising for Chelsea; [Tweet] [Tweet]
Official Statement [The Sparrow]
Livestream outside the jail [Ruptly]
On site - Ford Fischer - The Sheriff speaks [Tweet video]
Reporting [The Guardian] [ShadowProof] [NBC] [RT] [The Intercept] [ES RT video] [NewsWeek] [WaPo] [DissidentVoice] [WSWS] [Caitlin Johnstone] [CNN]
Nils Melzer “Judge orders @xychelsea's release. Finally a first step in the right direction!” [Tweet]
15 March 2020 ABC Four Corners “Killing Field” examines possible Australian war crimes in Afghanistan - with people recognising the parallels to “Collateral Murder” and connection to “The War Logs”. [ABC article] [ABC video] [Tweet]
Nils Melzer [Tweet]
“Total impunity for Western #WarCrimes & #CaH:
— CollateralMurder 2007
— CIA Torture Rpt 2014
— UK Torture Rpts 2018
— EU Migrant pushbacks 2019
— AUS SAS murder 2020
BUT: Assange @xychelsea Snowden etc persecuted
How far have we sunk?”
20 March 2020 Nils Melzer RT’d “Freedom from Torture” video about torture being used to begin the Iraq War. [Tweet]
Thanks @FreefromTorture & @glynco for reminding us that the #US/#UK Aggression against #Iraq, which left millions of people traumatized, raped, tortured & killed, was “based on false & fabricated information that was a byproduct of #Torture”.
No one has been held accountable. [Tweet video]”
20 March 2020 The Council of Europe has recorded the “Continued Detention of WikiLeaks Founder and Publisher Julian Assange” as a Level 1 ‘State Threat’ against a journalist. [Website] [28 Jan 2020 Resolution 2317 Point 6.2]
NOTE Level 1 is the most serious level of alert.
On 20 March 2020 the UK replied, by email: [Website]
“Mr Julian Assange is accused of unlawfully obtaining and disclosing classified documents related to the national defence of the US, and of computer misuse. The US extradition request for Mr. Assange is governed by Part 2 of the Extradition Act 2003. The Act provides a person whose extradition is sought by another jurisdiction with full and effective safeguards. For example, the court must consider human rights issues, including whether the person will receive a fair trial.
The next stage in the US extradition proceedings is a Magistrates’ Court hearing at which Mr. Assange may challenge his extradition on the grounds of the statutory bars in the Extradition Act, such as human rights. The hearing began on 24 February 2020 for one week and will continue on 18 May for three weeks. ”
25 Mar 2020 Procedural Appearance of Julian Assange at Westminster Court
NOTE This appearance included an application for bail for Julian, related to his vulnerability to coronavirus. [DEA Tweet] Bail denied. [DEA Tweet]
Nils Melzer “No surprise. If UK cared for Assange’s health, justice or Rule Of Law, he would not be persecuted, imprisoned & tortured for the purpose of suppressing Press Freedom & facing extradition to a country claiming total impunity for Torture & War Crimes.” [Tweet]
25 March 2020 Michelle Bachelet, UNHR Chief, urges Governments to act now to prevent #COVID19 devastating the health of people in detention and other closed facilities, as part of global efforts to contain the pandemic. [Tweet]
RT’d by Nils Melzer [Tweet], quoting:
“Now, more than ever, governments should release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views.”
25 March 2020 Former UN special rapporteur on arbitrary detention Mads Andenæs speaks about the denial of bail to Julian Assange. [Tweet video]
30 March 2020 Nils Melzer notes that the UN torture prevention body (SPT) has issued detailed COVID19 advice [Tweet] [Press Release] [PDF]
“The measures include considering reducing prison populations by implementing schemes of early, provisional or temporary release of low-risk offenders, reviewing all cases of pre-trial detention, extending the use of bail for all but the most serious cases ...
Governments have to take precautionary measures necessary to prevent the spread of infection, and to implement emergency measures to ensure detainees have access to appropriate levels of health care and to maintain contact with families and the outside world.”
30 April 2020 Nils Melzer RTs an earlier speech [St. Pancras, Feb 3, 2020 at 19:52] [Tweet]
“How far have we sunk…
- when we prosecute people for exposing war crimes?
- when we no longer prosecute war criminals because we identify more with them
than with their victims & exposers?
- when telling the truth becomes a crime?
What does this say about us & our governments?”
30 April 2020 Nils Melzer RTs an earlier statement from an interview by Juan Passarelli (21 Feb 2020) [Tweet] [YouTube clip]
“In a democracy, the power does not belong to the Government, but to the people.
But the people have to claim it.
Secrecy disempowers the people because it prevents them from exercising democratic control. Which is precisely why Governments want secrecy!”
1 May 2020 Interview with Stephen Bennett, whose film Eminent Monsters prompted Nils Melzer to draft his report on psychological torture. [Sputnik]
“Eminent Monsters: A Manual for Modern Torture examines the history of CIA-funded human experiments as part of a "brainwashing" programme codenamed MK Ultra.“
2 May 2020 International solidarity event from UK (1pm UK Time)
“Free the Truth” - Legal perspectives [YouTube]
3 May 2020 Dominic Raab (UK) writes: [Tweet]
“The UK is proud to be part of the Media Freedom Coalition championing press freedom around the world today. #WPFD2020 At this critical time, journalists & media professionals need our support and I call on governments to #DefendMediaFreedom”
3 May 2020 Nils Melzer responds to Dominic Raab [Tweet]
“With all due respect, Sir, but as long as your Government continues to evade a constructive dialogue with #SRTorture on the #UK’s treatment of #Assange, its commitment to #PressFreedom, #HumanRights & #RuleOfLaw sounds hollow at best.” [Attached link]
3 May 2020 Nils Melzer writes (with video) [Tweet video]
“Today is #WorldPressFreedomDay
The first duty of a #FreePress is to serve as the #FourthEstate: to inform
& empower the public by exposing governmental misconduct.
A press that does not do that is not free, is no press at all,
it is just the PR-department of the government!”
9 May 2020 Nils Melzer marks one year since he visited Julian in prison with several tweets:
“Today one year ago we visited #Assange in prison.
He showed clear signs of prolonged psychological #Torture.
First I was shocked that mature democracies could produce such an accident.
Then I found out it was no accident.
Now, I am scared to find out about our democracies...” [Tweet video]Today one year ago we visited #Assange in prison. He showed clear signs of prolonged psychological #Torture. First I was shocked that mature democracies could produce such an accident. Then I found out it was no accident. Now, I am scared to find out about our democracies...
“When persecuting #Assange States readily chant «no one is above the law!» Yet, when we have clear evidence for #WarCrimes #Torture #HumanRightsViolations & #Corruption we see no investigation & no prosecution by any of the States screaming so loudly about #RuleOfLaw in this case.” [Tweet video]When persecuting #Assange States readily chant «no one is above the law!» Yet, when we have clear evidence for #WarCrimes #Torture #HumanRightsViolations & #Corruption we see no investigation & no prosecution by any of the States screaming so loudly about #RuleOfLaw in this case.
“This is important!
It is about democracy.
It is about the rule of law.
If telling the truth becomes a crime, this will not only have a ‘chilling effect’ on journalism - it will do away with it.
We will then live under censorship & inevitably also under tyranny!” [Tweet video]This is important! It is about democracy. It is about the rule of law. If telling the truth becomes a crime, this will not only have a ‘chilling effect’ on journalism - it will do away with it. We will then live under censorship & inevitably also under tyranny!
9 May 2020 Nils Melzer also tweeted the press release from the group of independent UN experts announcing “Deliberation No 11” from the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention:
“OHCHR | COVID-19 not an excuse for unlawful deprivation of liberty – UN expert group on arbitrary detention” [Tweet] [Press Release]
That Press Release includes:
“The human rights experts also called on Governments to release all victims of arbitrary detention recognized in previous opinions adopted by the Working Group.”
13 May 2020 Nils Melzer speaks in Germany: [Tweet video]
“Thanks to the #HumanRightsCommittee of the German #Bundestag in Berlin for inviting me to contribute to today's hearing on the #Assange case & its systemic implications for democracy. global governance & the rule of law. Germany's voice matters!”
14 May 2020 Nils Melzer tweets about the launch of “The OUP Law Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law” (he co-authored chapter 10 on “Methods Of Warfare”) [Tweet] [Book]
2 Jun 2020 In the wake of the George Floyd demonstrations, and the violence that occurred, Donald Trump tweets “LAW & ORDER!” [Tweet]
Nils Melzer responds: [Tweet]
“Well, @realDonaldTrump, LAW & ORDER starts NOT with suppressing dissent, but with ENDING IMPUNITY for
Lawlessness begets lawlessness & violence begets violence - can’t you see the writing on the wall?”
6 Jun 2020 Event: 1PM BST “Doctors4Assange: Doctors Speak Out” [YouTube]
Lissa Johnson Psychologist and New Matilda columnist
Derek Summerfield Honorary senior lecturer at London's Institute of Psychiatry
Bob Gill NHS Doctor, producer of “The Great NHS Heist”
[36:04] Dr Lissa Johnson (Australia) Background to the issue & her involvement
She addresses the impact of the intervention by Nils Melzer re psychological torture, then the first D4A letter to UK govt, ongoing letters, the impact of coronavirus, refusal of bail, impact on democracy
13 Jun 2020 Nils Melzer tweets very blunt statements related to the US refusal to assist (and promises to obstruct) ICC investigation of War Crimes:
[Tweet]Attacking a Court’s legitimacy to evade justice is an old trick. So did: - Nazis @ Nuremberg - Milosevic @ ICTY - Saddam Hussein @ IQTribunal. ICC has full jurisdiction in Afghanistan, so this is only about whether the US lives up to the standards it so readily applies to others.
[Tweet]What distinguishes democracy from authoritarianism is not whether journalists can "question" the Government, but who gets arrested & prosecuted: a) torturers & war criminals? OR: b) whistleblowers & journalists? The US has yet to tick the right box.hrw.orgPompeo Channels US Hypocrisy Over Human RightsComments this week by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo show little recognition that United States human rights violations in its own backyard have implications for its foreign policy.
13 June 2020 DEA event “#FreeTheTruth - Spying on Julian Assange, his lawyers and visitors” Preview (archive clips) [YouTube] Event: [YouTube]
Speakers: Stefania Maurizi @SMaurizi, Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal , Fidel Narvaez #FidelNarvaez, Mads Andenæs @MadsAndenas
[1:07:07] Deepa Driver - acknowledges the importance of the inputs of Nils Melzer and Doctors4Assange.
16 Jun 2020 Nils Melzer responds to a UN Experts comment about oppression of journalists in the Philippines [Tweet]
Well said: “ANY criminalisation of journalism serves ONLY to defeat the ability of journalists to INFORM the public & ensure open & rigorous public debate”.
Having set the precedent by persecuting #Assange the West should not be surprised at finding eager apprentices worldwide.
19 Jun 2020 Nils Melzer writes to the UK govt protesting against their latest attempt to grant its officials impunity for grave offences incl. #Torture, #WarCrimes & #Aggression. [Tweet] [Letter]
“The only way to deal with “vexations claims” is to prove them wrong in a court of law!
20 Jun 2020 On #WorldRefugeeDay and the 8 year anniversary of #JulianAssange finding refuge in #Ecuador's London embassy, Afshin Rattansi speaks with Nils Melzer. [Tweet] [YouTube]
Melzer discusses "structural violence in the #US system" & "systemic impunity for misconduct".
In that video, NilsMelzer refers to his report (20 July 2017) Report: [UN.org PDF] Press Release: [ohchr.org]
"Extra-custodial use of force and the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment"
The refusal of the US to recognise the jurisdiction of the ICC is also discussed. Melzer notes other high profile characters (Nazi Party, Saddam Hussein, etc) who have refused to accept the jurisdiction of the international tribunals (eg Nuremberg) who tried them, and explains why the ICC DOES have jurisdiction over US activities in other countries.
At [11:35] Rattansi asks Nils Melzer what he thinks of Joe Biden referring to Julian as “a high-tech terrorist.” As part of his reply he notes that “the US refuses to acknowledge that accountability of their own officials for their own misconduct is the prerequisite of democracy and the Rule of Law.”
[YouTube censored] [RT video archive]
25 Jun 2020 Doctors4Assange publish another letter in The Lancet “The ongoing torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange”
[Tweet] [The Lancet] [Appendix PDF] [Website]
This letter has 216 signatories, representing 33 countries.
“Dr Allen Keller, Director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, has said that “As physicians, we have a crucial role to play in promoting human rights (32),” and Professor Leonard Rubenstein, of the John Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, stresses that “the medical community as a whole needs to speak out far more forcefully against torture (33).” We have a professional and ethical duty to speak out against torture, report past torture, to stop present torture and to prevent future torture. Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists have recently warned that silence on Mr Assange’s torture may well facilitate his death (34). The silence must be broken.”
Reporting: [Liveblog] [WSWS] [Consortium News] [YahooNews] [ITV] [Express&Star] [WaPo] [ilfattoquotidiano] [Sputnik]
Comment: Tweet from The Lancet [Tweet]NEW—"As physicians, we have a professional & ethical duty to speak out against, report, & stop torture. Silence on Mr Assange’s torture might well facilitate his death" Correspondence from W Hogan et al @Doctors4Assange on behalf of 216 signatories hubs.ly/H0rXG5t0
Nils Melzer [Tweet]
“Should #Assange die in a #UK prison, as #SRTorture has warned, he will effectively have been tortured to death. The medical profession cannot afford to stand silently by, on the wrong side of #Torture & history, while such a travesty unfolds.“ Thanks @TheLancet @Doctors4Assange”
6 Jul 2020 Nils Melzer [Tweet] in response to a reply from Damian Green MP to TrumanHuman [Tweet]
“Very revealing indeed. High time for my upcoming GA75 report on unconscious patterns of self-deception & denial of reality, highly prevalent among officials, media & ordinary citizens worldwide, suppressing moral dilemma from complacency & complicity with torture & arbitrariness.”
6 Jul 2020 Nils Melzer responds [Tweet] to Dominic Raab [Tweet]
Dominic Raab: [Tweet]
“Today I will introduce a sanctions regime that will target people who have committed the gravest human rights violations. Global Britain will be an even stronger force for good in the world, in the years ahead.”
Nils Melzer: [Tweet]
“Actually, Sir, the #UKGovt
- Refuses to prosecute #Torture (Link)
- Promotes impunity for #WarCrimes (Link)
- Persecutes #Assange for exposing such crimes (Link)
- Ignores #UN on #HumanRightsViolations (Link)”
14 July 2020 Official launch of “Not In Our Name”, a film about the state torture of Assange. Written, produced and directed by John Furse. Followed by a discussion.
@NilsMelzer (Special Rapporteur on Torture)
@john_furse (Film maker)
[24:05] John Furse - Why make the film? [The impact of the Republik article]
[26:40] Nils Melzer - Why did he get involved in the Assange situation?
Melzer 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.]
[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.
[41:00] Nils Melzer Govt and public understandings of psychological torture 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 essential 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.”
[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 ...”
[56:27] Nils Melzer More on the nature of torture. “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.”
[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. Their Special 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 …”
6 Aug 2020 DEA released a new video clip of Nils Melzer speaking about how torture works and the serious nature of psychological torture [YouTube]
Breaking their resistance - that's the first thing.
And then so you can achieve that through physical pain, or you can achieve that through non-physical pain and suffering so:
- isolation, combined with humiliation, combined with intimidation, combined with a profound arbitrariness,
targets very specifically innate needs of:
- stability, security, orientation, identity, that we have.
These are confirmed psychological needs that are much closer to our personal identity even than our body. DS psychological torture is a very targeted method at systematically destroying these aspects of the self, and therefore much more effectively even achieve the breaking of someone's mind.
So psychological torture, really, is not less serious than physical torture, but very often it has even more long-lasting consequences than physical ill treatment.
13 Aug 2020 Nils Melzer puts out a questionnaire to states re Torture Policy
[Tweet] [ohchr] Deadline for state response 15 Oct 2020 Report due March 2021.
“Just out: State consultation by Questionnaire for my report to #HRC46 (2021), which will systematically evaluate the quality of Governments' cooperation with #SRTorture in preventing, investigating, prosecuting & redressing #torture for the past 4 years.”
16 Aug 2020 New Open Letter to the British Government from a wide range of International Lawyers and Lawyer associations.
Letter: [l4Assange] [Lawyers4Assange] [Consortium News]
“We write to you as legal practitioners and legal academics to express our collective concerns about the violations of Mr. Julian Assange’s fundamental human, civil and political rights and the precedent his persecution is setting.
We call on you to act in accordance with national and international law, human rights and the rule of law by bringing an end to the ongoing extradition proceedings and granting Mr. Assange his long overdue freedom – freedom from torture, arbitrary detention and deprivation of liberty, and political persecution.”
Reporting: [WSWS] [DEA] [Consortium News] [PressGazette] [DailyMail] [7News] [lbc news] [TheSun] [Evening Express] [Express and Star] [The Canary] [SydneyCriminalLawyers] [ES Publico] [Neoskosmos] [StateWatch]
Correct the Record: “Correct the record in the Assange case: LBC” [WiseUp]
“Thanks to @Lawyers4Assange for recalling the irreparable illegality & profound arbitrariness of #Assange’s continued detention, abuse & persecution. Unless #UKGovt comes to its senses soon, it will irreversibly end up on the wrong side of history.” [Twitter]
7 Sept - 1 Oct 2020 PART 2 of the Extradition Hearing
9 Sept 2020 Nils Melzer Interviewed “UN Rapporteur on torture: “Julian Assange is a political prisoner.” [Exberliner]
12 Sept 2020 Nils Melzer [Tweet with article]
“Thanks to @exberlinermag for this powerful interview on the truth about #Assange! For the UK judiciary, this is THE test of integrity, credibility or demise. It’s obvious to any conscientious lawyer that this extradition cannot lawfully go forward.”
10 Sept 2020 Nils Melzer nominated for the 2020 Prix Courage “He stands up against the mighty” [beobachter]
15 Sept 2020 Nils Melzer [Tweet with images] [Annual Report]
“SUMMARY: In the present report, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Nils Melzer, explores the root causes of the current worldwide complacency with regard to torture and ill-treatment, based on well documented biopsychosocial patterns of self-deception and denial, and recommends the urgent and proactive incorporation of his science-based conclusions into ongoing, policy-based global governance reform processes, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
21 Sept 2020 The Swiss Box Conversation [FR] “La persécution de Julian Assange, grave menace pour nos libertés fondamentales avec Nils Melzer TSBC” [YouTube]
Translation: “Persecution of Julian Assange, serious threat to our fundamental freedoms with Nils Melzer TSBC”.
The auto translate works quite well on the subtitles.
22 Sept 2020 (DAY 11 of the extradition hearing)
James Lewis QC (for the state), during the medical testimonies and in cross examination of the psychiatrist Michael Kopelman, brought up some of the statements of Nils Melzer made after his visit to Julian in prison.
Tweeting from the live link to the hearing, Kevin Gosztola reported:
“Lewis calls report from UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer neither balanced or accurate. Reads from it. Kopelman says he didn't rely on it to make a psychiatric diagnosis. It's a "political document."” [Tweet]
“US prosecutor James Lewis describes UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer's assessment of Assange as "palpable nonsense."” [Tweet]
“Lewis insists on reading further from this report from Melzer, even though Kopelman hasn't used any of the political sections. Kopelman objects. He merely referenced bits on physical or mental health. Reading what he specifically included” [Tweet]
”Nils Melzer [Tweet video]
“Having investigated this case in my capacity as the #UN #SRTorture, I am absolutely convinced that, if extradited to the USA, #Assange will be exposed to an unfair trial & conditions of detention amounting to #Torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”Having investigated this case in my capacity as the #UN #SRTorture, I am absolutely convinced that, if extradited to the USA, #Assange will be exposed to an unfair trial & conditions of detention amounting to #Torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Craig Murray’s report about the same day of the hearing makes it clear that Lewis was not quoting from a report to the court from Melzer:
“Lewis then addressed the reference in Prof Kopelman’s report to the work of Prof Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. Without specifying Professor Melzer’s background or position or even making any mention of the United Nations at all, Lewis read out seven paragraphs of Prof Melzer’s letter to Jeremy Hunt, then UK foreign secretary. These paragraphs addressed the circumstances of Assange’s incarceration in the Embassy and of his continual persecution, including the decision of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Lewis even managed to leave the words “United Nations” out of the name of the working group.”
Craig Murray then added:
“I could not help but consider Julian was the last person in this court who needed a psychiatrist.”
Related archival records:
Re Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture:
- (20 Feb 2018) Baraitser, on Nils Melzer (in Yilmar & Anor v Govt of Turkey):
“The most recent, reliable, object information … therefore comes from Mr Melzer, the UN Rapporteur on Torture ...” [Casemine Point 60]
- (31 May 2019) “UN expert says "collective persecution" of Julian Assange must end now” [ohchr]
- (31 May 2019) “Assange a victim of torture and Australia shares blame, says UN expert” [SMH]
- (31 May 2019) “U.N. Special Rapporteur Calls for Julian Assange to Be Freed, Citing “Psychological Torture”” [Democracy Now] Includes video & transcript
- (13 Sept 2019) ““Please save my life”: Julian Assange in prison” [ECPMF]
- (31 Jan 2020) “A murderous system is being created before our very eyes” [Republik]
Re admitted US Torture methods and prison system
- (7 Feb 2008) Greg Miller “Waterboarding is legal, White House says”
[Los Angeles Times]
- (8 Aug 2020) Courage event “What would Julian Assange face in the US?” [YouTube]
Panel: US Lawyer Barry Pollack, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling & Lauri Love / Moderated by Kevin Gosztola
Re Medical matters:
- Kopelman cites the (TOMM) Test of Memory Malingering
“(TOMM) Test of Memory Malingering” [wpspublish]
- (2010) Dr Oliver Sacks (Neurologist) BOOK “Hallucinations” [OliverSacksBooks]
“Hallucinations don’t belong wholly to the insane. Much more commonly, they are linked to sensory deprivation, intoxication, illness or injury. ”
- (6 June 2020) DEA Event “Julian Assange - Doctors speak out” [YouTube]
Dr Lissa Johnson – Psychologist
Dr. Derek Summerfield – Senior Lecturer at London's Institute of Psychiatry
Dr. Bob Gill – NHS doctor
- (7 March 2020) “End torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange” [Lancet]
24 Sept 2020 (DAY 13 of the extradition hearing)
James Lewis tried the same tack re statements by Nils Melzer with the witness Dr Sondra Crosby. He got short shrift. [Tweet] [Tweet]
Relevant items from the archives:
- Dr Sondra Crosby, Brock Chisholm & Sean Love (24 Jan 2018)
OPINION “We examined Julian Assange, and he badly needs care – but he can’t get it” [The Guardian]
- Dr Sondra S Crosby (8 April 2019) Letter to UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet [DocCloud]
- BU Staff (12 April 2019) “A BU Physician Once Examined Assange. What Did She Find?” [bu.edu]
- Also, see Pre-arrest health section at top of this file.
- Doctors for Assange (24 Nov 2019) “Concerns of medical doctors about the plight of Mr Julian Assange” [Medium]
Open letter to the UK Home Secretary and Shadow Home Secretary
- Doctors for Assange (17 Feb 2020) “End torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange” [The Lancet]
- Nils Melzer (20 Jul 2020) “Interim report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Nils Melzer: Biopsychosocial factors conducive to torture and ill-treatment” [UN docs PDF]
- Dr Oliver Sacks (27 Dec 1993 ) “A Neurologist’s Notebook: An Anthropologist on Mars” [The NewYorker]
Discusses, at length, the phenomena of Asperger’s Syndrome.
- Legal background for Blackwood's assessment of the question of whether it's "unjust or oppressive to extradite" to the US include:
- USA v Turner (28 Aug 2012) [casemine]
- USA v Lauri Love ( 5 Feb 2018) [judiciary.uk]
- Prison Conditions in the US
- Center for Constitutional Rights (14 Sept 2017) “The Darkest Corner: Special Administrative Measures [SAMs] and Extreme Isolation in the Federal Bureau of Prisons” [CCRJustice]
- (ongoing) “Prison Conditions: A Curated Collection of Links”
[The Marshall Project]
- Life in ADX Federal Prison [YouTube]
-True Crime Chronicles: Inside Colorado's Supermax Prison [YouTube]
- Previous extraditions to the US refused by UK:
- Gary McKinnon Blocked (16 Oct 2012) by Theresa May (Home Secretary) [BBC]
- Lauri Love Request rejected (5 Feb 2018) UK High Court [FreeLauri] [judiciary.uk PDF]
See also Channel 4 News (5 Feb 2018) “Lauri Love on computers, autism & extradition” [YouTube]
- Extradition and Mental Health
- (2019) Paul Arnell “Extradition and Mental Health Law in the UK”
Criminal Law Forum [Downloadable PDF]
“The response of UK extradition law and practice to requested persons presenting with mental health disorders is multi-faceted and unnecessarily complex. There are a number of reasons for this. They centre upon the law failing to adequately recognise that mental health cases can give rise to concerns not present in physical health cases. The deficiencies of the law are found in the three applicable bars to extradition; oppression, human rights and forum. They also can be seen in the applicable rules of evidence and the practice of diplomatic assurances. The time has come for UK law to specifically and systematically respond to mental health disorders in the context of extradition”
28 Sept 2020 (DAY 15 of the extradition hearing)
Nils Melzer tweets again:
- Nils Melzer [Tweet]
“«Silence this one man & the US & accomplices will spread fear of persecution & prosecution over the global media community - the stakes really are that high» @JuliaHall18
Well then, HIGH TIME for @amnesty to recognize #Assange as a #PrisonerOfConscience!”«Silence this one man & the US & accomplices will spread fear of persecution & prosecution over the global media community - the stakes really are that high» @JuliaHall18 Well then, HIGH TIME for @amnesty to recognize #Assange as a #PrisonerOfConscience!amnesty.orgJulian Assange extradition hearing: Punishing the publisherJulian Assange’s extradition hearing is punishing the publisher and threatening media freedom
- Nils Melzer [Tweet with video]
“Please make no mistake about this:
The #Assange case is a battle over #PressFreedom #RuleOfLaw & the future of #Democracy, none of which can coexist with #secrecy.
Deprive the public of the right to know & you will have deprived them of their ability to control the Government.”Please make no mistake about this: The #Assange case is a battle over #PressFreedom #RuleOfLaw & the future of #Democracy, none of which can coexist with #secrecy. Deprive the public of the right to know & you will have deprived them of their ability to control the Government.
- Nils Melzer [Tweet] [BBC] [alluding to the “Hunger Games”]
“Here they are again, chipping away at the rule of law as if it were a walk in the park.
Last week they got impunity for crimes overseas.
This week they want impunity for domestic crimes.
I guess they are almost ready now to let the "games" begin...”Here they are again, chipping away at the rule of law as if it were a walk in the park. Last week they got impunity for crimes overseas. This week they want impunity for domestic crimes. I guess they are almost ready now to let the "games" begin...bbc.comNew rules for MI5 and police to authorise crimesThe unprecedented legislation follows years of unclear rules over when agents can break the law.
5 Oct 2020 “UN torture rapporteur [Nils Melzer] slams British bill on immunity for soldiers” [SwissInfo]
“The Overseas Operations Bill violates international humanitarian law, human rights and criminal law, said Melzer and a dozen of his fellow independent UN experts in Geneva. “There can be no excuse for illegal executions or torture,” they added.
The UN experts said the British government can neither grant immunity nor refuse to investigate and prosecute acts that are banned.”
16 Oct 2020 Nils Melzer addresses the UN: “UN's Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer's comments to the General Assembly & the US's reply” [YouTube]
Re “Biopsychosocial factors conducive to torture and ill-treatment” [Report]
30 October 2020 Article [DE] “He wants to turn the spotlight back on the States” [bielertagblatt]
Interview with Nils Melzer
“As the UN special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer keeps a watchful eye on those in power. For his involvement in the Wikileaks case Julian Assange, he came under fire and has now been nominated by the "Observer" for the "Prix Courage".
26 Nov 2020 interchange with Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi Gabbard (re Thanksgiving pardons) [Tweet with video]
“.@realDonaldTrump Since you're giving pardons to people, please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state.”Brave whistleblowers exposing lies & illegal actions in our government must be protected. Join me and urge Congress: Pass my bipartisan legislation (HRes1162, HRes1175, HR8452) calling for charges against @Snowden & Assange to be dropped & to reform the Espionage Act. #PassItOn
- Nils Melzer (re Tulsi’s call) [Tweet]
“Thank you @TulsiGabbard for your courage, integrity & leadership. This is what true patriotism looks like.”
8 Dec 2020 Nils Melzer [Tweet] [Press Release]
“Today, I urgently call on the #UK to:
- release #Assange amid Covid-19 outbreak at HMP Belmarsh
- prevent his extradition to the #US due to #HumanRights concerns
- end 10yrs of persecution, abuse & arbitrary detention” [Tweet]
“UN torture envoy [Nils Melzer] calls for immediate release of Julian Assange on 10th anniversary of arrest: ‘He’s not a criminal and poses no threat to anyone’” [Independent]
“UN rapporteur Nils Melzer demands Assange’s immediate release after ten years’ arbitrary detention [WSWS]
Other reporting: [CommonDreams] [DailyMail]
16 Dec 2020 re Project Veritas Tape:
- Project Veritas [Tweet video] [YouTube raw audio - 1hr from 26 Aug 2011]
“In the tape, released by conservative outlet Project Veritas on Wednesday, Assange allegedly speaks to Cliff Johnson, an attorney at the State Department. ”
See also [InfoCleaingHouse]
NOTE: A transcript of a related tape was put before the court in the extradition hearing (Oct 2020) by Gareth Peirce. See Affidavit No 5 Gareth Pierce (date 12 Feb 2020, tendered 1 Oct 2020) at point 11 re Annex 2) [TH PDF]
See also Kristinn Hrafnsson in “Assange tape throws Justice Department's indictment out of the window – Kristinn Hrafnsson ” [YouTube]
- Timeline of events around the phonecall [THREAD]
- Other reporting re Project Veritas Tape: [The Canary] [RT]
- Randy Credico interview “UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer” [CountdownToFreedom] [YouTube]
17 Dec 2020 Wikileaks (re UK parliamentarians) [Tweet with images of letter]
“UK lawmakers request urgent meeting with Julian Assange”
Letter is hard to read (blurry) but it seems that Nils Melzer has met with a group of UK parliamentarians and got them interested in the Assange case at last.
They have requested to meet with Assange via video prior to the 4 Jan decision.
17 Dec 2020 Nils Melzer (re Tucker Carlson with Stella Moris) [Tweet]
“Thanks @TuckerCarlson & @FoxNews for providing such a powerful platform for the truth about #Assange - he fights #secrecy & #corruption, but is not, and never was, an enemy of #America.”
19 Dec 2020 Nils Melzer tweets:
”Satirical summary of my work as the UN #SRTorture...” [Tweet]
Nils Melzer “UN expert asks U.S. President Donald Trump to pardon Julian Assange” [UN OHCHR] Also [Tweet] and [Tweet video] [news.un] Also a Reading [YouTube]
Today, I respectfully request that you pardon Mr. Julian Assange.
Mr. Assange has been arbitrarily deprived of his liberty for the past ten years. This is a high price to pay for the courage to publish true information about government misconduct throughout the world. [...]
I ask you to pardon Mr. Assange, because he is not, and has never been, an enemy of the American people. His organization, WikiLeaks, fights secrecy and corruption throughout the world and, therefore, acts in the public interest both of the American people and of humanity as a whole.
Reporting: [Washington Times] [Canberra Times] [RT]
22 Dec 2020 Nils Melzer (re Heritage hit piece) [Tweet] [Heritage]
“Two questions to @Heritage: What, in your view, are the legal & moral implications of:
1) you falsely accusing #Assange of multiple #homicide on a public platform?
2) persistent impunity granted to #US officials for #WarCrimes incl. #Torture & #Murder?”
24 Dec 2020 Nils Melzer and family contracted Covid-19 [Tweet]
After contracting #Covid my family & I are self-isolating & struggling thru the symptoms. While we parents look with worry at world events, at least our children’s most urgent concern - can Santa still come? - seems to be resolved.
#MerryXmas & Stay safe!
Fortunately this was resolved quickly:
26 Dec 2020 [Tweet]
Dear all Many thanks for your countless heartwarming messages! Please know that, after a few nasty days fighting Covid, we already feel much better. Even Santa managed to visit. Truly grateful for all your support & looking foward to be back on track soon! #MerryXmas & Stay safe!
28 Dec 2020 Interview in text “UN rapporteur on Assange: 'The US is trying to criminalize investigative journalism' [DW]
30 Dec 2020 Nils Melzer & UN on the Blackwater pardons)
UN Special Procedures (Blackwater pardons) [Tweet with image] [Press Release]
“#Blackwater: The pardons granted to four convicted private security contractors for war crimes in #Iraq violate #US obligations under international law, UN experts say. They call on all States parties to the Geneva Conventions to condemn the pardons”
Nils Melzer (on the Blackwater pardons) [Tweet]
“Granting #pardon for #Blackwater #WarCrimes:
- is an affront to #justice
- triggers #CommandResponsibility of #POTUS under international criminal law
- is binding only for #US domestic courts
- obliges all other States to prosecute these perpetrators under #UniversalJurisdiction”
30 Dec 2020 Nils Melzer on the Barack Obama quote (5 June 2012):
“No Sir, leaks’ are not speculation‘. #Leaks END speculation by exposing #truth suppressed by #secrecy. By declaring ‚zero-tolerance for leaks‘ you declared ‚zero-tolerance for truth‘ & total #impunity for state-sponsored #torture & #WarCrimes. This @BarackObama is your legacy.“
Melzer was, in part, responding to this (which contains the Obama clip):
“This is an absolute *must-see* by @theintercept & @jeremyscahill. Watch it - now!”
1 Jan 2021 Nils Melzer (responding to Human Rights goals for UK PM) [Tweet]
“My wish list is too long for Twitter. Here only my top three:
1) Don‘t extradite #Assange
2) End #UK impunity for #torture, #WarCrimes & #Aggression
3) Stop starving your own people, so @unicef can focus on poor countries”
3 Jan 2021 Nils Melzer (re Decision Day) [Tweet with text image]
“Tomorrow #VanessaBaraitser @VanessaBaraits1 you will render verdict on the extradition of #Assange.
Today, from lawyer to lawyer, I would like to share a quote with you, which has inspired & guided me throughout my career as a legal professional.
May #LadyJustice be with you!”
4 Jan 2021 UK Lower Court judgment released re US extradition request
4 Jan 2021 After the judgment is released
Interview of Nils Melzer [Tweet DW News video]
Interview of Nils Melzer [RT YouTube ccensored] [RT Article with archived video]
The interviewer asks “Who is responsible for the state of his mental health?”
”… I'm extremely happy for Julian Assange as a person [with the decision not to extradite] but he should not have been brought to a point where he's suicidal. He has been persecuted to a point where he has been broken, and now they - basically the system - is spitting him out. Obviously that is a legal obligation, but in a sense the system has succeeded in intimidating the world, and in passing the message that this is what's going to happen to you if ever you have the idea of publishing our dirty secrets and and making that known to the world.”
See also interviews by German channel DW [YouTube] and Aaron Maté [YouTube]
5 Jan 2021 Official statement “United Kingdom: UN expert cautiously welcomes refusal to extradite Assange” [OHCHR].
He also tweeted:
“If you read anything on the #Assange ruling, read this brilliant piece by @Jonathan_K_Cook:
"It would be nice to imagine that #UK grew a backbone in ruling against extradition. The far more likely truth is that they sounded out the incoming @JoeBiden team & received permission".” [Tweet] [Article]
17 Jan 2021 Online event “The Trial of Julian Assange & its implications for PressFreedom" [FUSM YouTube] [CN YouTube]
Speakers: Nils Melzer, Ray MacGovern, Ann Batiza (Host)
[16:09] When you look at what psychological torture is, it's a form of torture that does not leave physical traces - at least not in the short term - in increasing duration even psychological torture can lead to cardiac arrest or or nervous breakdowns and severe, even physical damage. But in the first place it does not leave physical traces and there is a very complex structure of how this is being achieved.
It always involves elements of isolation, of intimidation - and here we should remember that Julian Assange has repeatedly received death threats, especially from the US, where several public figures had called for his assassination.
There has been evidence being brought in the proceedings in London in September that the private security service that surveilled him in the embassy - there have been plans of kidnapping or even poisoning him in the in the embassy, so he was fearing for his life, and that's what's being done - intimidations, threats, especially death threats, are a very effective way of of causing intense distress. which is an element of psychological torture.
You cumulate that with constant humiliation, social isolation. physical isolation, and this together, over time, erodes a person's sense of identity, a person's sense of reality. It causes a a stress level that is far beyond anything that a normal defendant or prisoner [experiences] in what is already a very stressful situation … and it can actually cause very grave physical consequences.
[18:17] So when we examined him we could already measure physically the impact of this constant. inhumane stress level, with cognitive impairments and neurological impairments that were already physically measurable. I still experienced him as being clear in his head - I mean he was able to communicate with us. He was very anxious, he was under a lot of stress. He didn't look healthy - I mean he had lost a lot of weight, he had problems already focusing in his discussions, and he had this general kind of behavior that I know from experience from visiting political prisoners that are in similar types of situations around the world - this sense of of constant anxiety, of trying to find … having lost control over their lives and their situation.
He's a very intelligent man. He obviously was absolutely aware of the trap he had been in, in this Ecuadorian embassy. And he was absolutely realistic about what expected him in the US, and he told me that he will not be extradited alive to the United States. And so I think here we really saw someone who is very determined - this option of suicide being the last option of somehow keeping control over his destiny. But, as I said, we can already in in his capacity to coordinate and to communicate we could already sense that he was on a downward spiral. And the doctors that accompanied me, they said that his state of health was on the brink of a kind of a downward spiral where his life could also be then under threat.
And nine days after our visit actually, we proved to be right. He had to be moved to the health department of the prison because his state of health became uncontrollable. They had to stabilize him through medication, and from then on he was kept in medical isolation, which deteriorated his state of health even further. Very shortly afterwards he was no longer able to participate in court hearings and so for many months we feared that we might wake up to a day where the news would just say that Julian Assange was found dead in the cell.
So I personally think it's - based on 20 years of experiences of visiting prisoners, many of whom are being exposed to extremely severe conditions, including ill treatment - it is a miracle that this man is still alive.
12 March 2021 Nils Melzer (re ‘legalised’ torture) [Tweet] [Article]
“No it’s not #AprilFoolsDay. This is actually happening: The Appeals Court (really!) found that #MI5 can secretly authorise #murder #rape & #torture as long as the #UKGovt believes “the harm is outweighed by the benefits”. Let this sink in for a moment …”
6 April 2021 Nils Melzer [Tweet]
“The continued impunity for #CollateralMurder epitomizes what the #Assange case is all about: A man slowly #tortured to death by govts for exposing their lies crimes & corruption.
The real tragedy is that the public still fails to grasp what this means for them & their children.”
10 April 2021 Going Underground “2 years since Assange was arrested in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London (UN special rapporteur Nils Melzer and Fidel Narvaez) E1000 ” [RT]
Pt 1 ‘'Governments Have Put Spotlight On Julian Assange To Distract From Crimes'-UN Rapporteur Nils Melzer” [YouTube censored] [RT video archive]
[10:40] It is striking the irony of a government like the British government accusing someone like Assange of wanting to evade justice, yet Julian Assange is basically there facing justice (or injustice) and while the British government evades justice whenever the international system, which is part of, criticizes the British government. We've seen similar developments with the EU. The government simply feels that it has some kind of a sense of entitlement to violate international law without any accountability.
[Interviewer: Of course the British government denies any wrongdoing in all of this.]
17 April 2021 Online Event “International Symposium of Parliamentarians” [YouTube]
Politicians from around the world discuss the issues at stake w/ the continuing proceedings against Julian Assange.
With guests: @NilsMelzer, @StellaMoris1, @RichardBurgon (Chair)
Nils Melzer: BRIEFING 0:03:43 [Clip YouTube] || RESPONSE 0:40:12 [YouTube]
[45:32] Let me just close on this remark: Judge Baraitser — who actually refused Julian Assange's extradition on the 4th of January based on medical grounds. and because she said that the US conditions of detention would be oppressive — she confirmed that Julian Assange was right n seeking asylum in Ecuador.
She didn't say that, but he sought asylum in Ecuador, in the embassy, because he was afraid of being extradited to inhumane detention conditions. So he was right to ask for guarantees from Sweden, to ask for guarantees from the UK that they would not extradite into the US. And he always offered that he would come out of the embassy if that were given but both states refused to do that.
And now even the Magistrates Court has confirmed that he was right in essence.
17 April 2021 Interview by Stefania Maurizi (in Italian) “Assange, Nils Melzer says the treatment of Julian leaves him"speechless"” [Il Fatto]
The reason I wrote the book, because you asked, is because I have used all the official tools I have at my disposal: I have a mandate to investigate torture, to transmit allegations to states, to ask for explanations, and to report to the A on my observations. I did all of that, but the states refused to cooperate. And it's not some dictatorship, where I don't expect anything else, it's Sweden and Britain, who go about the world claiming that they are a force for good, they are an example in human rights, but when you compare them with their own violations, they close their eyes. They are happy to support anti-torture activism in other parts of the world, but not in their own garden. If I have used all the tools of my system but they aren't working, then I have to inform the public. Actually, I have become a whistle-blower myself.
When Navalny came to Germany, we didn't say he was violating his bail, and when he flew back voluntarily to Russia and was arrested and sentenced for bail violation, everybody immediately screamed “foul” and imposed sanctions against Russia. But then I thought: Hold on, you have your own guy whom you sanctioned for bail violations, and he has finished his sentence more than a year ago, and he is still in prison without any legal basis. When I see the hypocrisy of the West I am speechless, I am honestly speechless.
We have already created a parallel world of secret services that controls everything, and it is getting worse every year. When you go to sleep in democracy, you wake up in tyranny. That's the motto of my book, taken from a German lawyer, commenting on the Third Reich. That is precisely the situation we are in, we have a world population that is sleeping by and large, and we are still in democracy, but in the background the structures of tyranny are already being built up, and they are already advanced. My book rings the alarm bell, it is a wake-up call, because my biggest fear is that, by the time the world public wakes up from their sleep, we will all live in a tyranny ".
17 April 2021 Interview by Hasso Suliak (in German) “You can no longer rely on the rule of law” [LTO]
Q: In your book you accuse Germany of waving "between appeasement and complicity" in relation to the mistreatment of Julian Assange. Why?
A: In my book I only discuss Germany as an example. Other states could be accused of exactly the same thing.
Unfortunately, even in Germany, two standards are used: while in the Navalny case they are rightly indignant that someone is being persecuted and threatened - also on the pretext of breaching bail, by the way, in the Assange case they turn a blind eye. Presumably, the cooperation between German intelligence services with the CIA and NSA, to the detriment of their own population, is a greater good than maintaining the rule of law and defending human rights.
17 April 2021 [DE] "Assange Case: The Body in the Closet of the West" [YouTube]
Interview with @NilsMelzer is from Observer. This interview is in German, but you can turn on translation in the captions on the YouTube video.
20 April 2021 Interview by Matthias von Hein “The case of Julian Assange: Rule of law undermined” [DW]
The fact that the Assange prosecution has massively undermined the West's credibility as human rights advocate is well understood by dictators around the world. In early November, for example, BBC correspondent Orla Guerin asked Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev critical questions about press freedom in his country. He replied coolly that in view of its treatment of Assange, United Kingdom had no right to reproach other nations over human rights or press freedom.
21 April 2021 Randy Credico interview “Live on the Fly, Nils Melzer” [YouTube]
Discussion of use of force by police, in the wake of the Chauvin verdict.
[15:32] “You simply cannot tolerate military forces committing War Crimes abroad, such as those that are shown in the infamous ‘Collateral Murder’ video, or you cannot have the CIA kidnap and torture countless people around the world as a matter of policy, and not prosecute any of these atrocious crimes and grant impunity to criminals in uniform, basically, and then expect your law enforcement officers at home to obey the law and treat your own citizens with respect and dignity. It just doesn’t work like that.”
26 April 2021 Nils Melzer [Tweet] [Article]
“Finally! #UKGovt excludes
from the #OverseasOperationsBill.
This should have been a no-brainer but still comes as a great relief.
Warmest thanks to all those who stood up & fought the good fight! ”
29 April 2021 Geneva Academy of IHL and Human Rights [Tweet] [YouTube]
“Our Teaching Assistant @pavle_kilibarda discusses with @NilsMelzer, our Swiss #HumanRights Chair, about his #career & #UN Special Rapporteur on #torture mandate. You will discover that Nils Melzer wanted to be an astronaut, not an international lawyer!”
1 May 2021 Randy Credico “Nils Melzer: The Case of Julian Assange” [YouTube]
Discusses Nils Melzer’s new book currently available in German and soon to be available (Feb 2022) in English.
[4:37] That book actually is different than the others [I have written] in the sense that it's not a technical book written by a lawyer for lawyers. It's really written by me for the broader public - for anyone for anyone who doesn't want to wake up very soon in a world where it's become a crime to tell the truth.
7 May 2021 Nils Melzer re “Prisoners of Conscience” [Tweet]
“Thanks @amnesty & @agnescallamard for acknowledging & correcting a past mistake & re-recognizing #Navalny as #PrisonerOfConscience.
Your credibility & integrity now DEPENDS on issuing an equivalent apology & recognition with regard to #Assange. Anything else would be a scandal.”
8 May 2021 “International festival of Whistleblowing, Dissent & Accountability”
“ 70+ amazing contributors & you : Art, music, workshops, film screenings, discussions, mini-lectures and more.”
Session 20:45-22:15 - Panel - “Wilful Blindness, Strategic Ignorance, Retaliation
& Covert Censorship” Pt 1 [YouTube] & Pt 2 [YouTube]
- Nils Melzer is in PART 2 [00:00]
10 May 2021 Nils Melzer (Re UK prison system)
“The #UK runs a system of prolonged & indefinite #SolitaryConfinement which, in my assessment, is not only financially incentivized, but also amounts to #Torture, #illtreatment & #ArbitraryDetention. Regrettably the #UKGovt has failed to respond to our official queries & concerns.” [Tweet]
UK: UN expert raises alarm over abuse of Close Supervision Centres [UN Press Release]
4 June 2021 “Nils Melzer's Speech in Geneva [published 10 June] on Julian Assange, Edward Snowden & Chelsea Manning” [YouTube]
4 June 2021 Nils Melzer [Tweet with video (Geneva Press Club)]
“The #Assange case may be the biggest judicial scandal in history.
It is the story of a man being persecuted for telling the truth, the whole truth & nothing but the truth.
I cannot leave to my children a world where telling the truth has become a crime, for it will be a tyranny.”
5 June 2021 “Fiancee of Julian Assange seeks safe haven for jailed WikiLeaks founder” [straitstimes]
“Assange's fiancee Stella Moris teamed up in Geneva with Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, and Geneva mayor Frederique Perler to call for his release and the scrapping of extradition proceedings.
They urged international organisations based in the Swiss city to help free Assange, and called on Switzerland and other democratic nations to offer the Australian former computer hacker a refuge from potential further prosecution moves.”
“Melzer told reporters in Geneva that Assange's case was "probably one of the biggest judicial scandals in history".
"He's told the truth about misconduct of powerful states, of powerful corporations, he has challenged the powerful who do their business in the shadows," said the special rapporteur, who does not speak for the UN but reports his findings to the global body.”
5 June 2021 Geneva Press Club [Tweet with image] [Petition]
“Julian Assange's fiancée signed the Geneva Call to free Assange #GVA_FreeAssange. It's now opened to electronic signature to all citizens ot the world who defend #HumanRights and #PressFreedom. SIGN HERE:”
NOTE: The image with this tweet is of Stella Moris speaking from the empty chair of the “Something to say” sculpture, with Nils Melzer beside her holding an umbrella over her head. A truly powerful metaphor as well as a literal statement about one of the roles Nils Melzer has played in this case - protecting the rights of truth tellers and the right of all people to be free from torture.
6 June 2021 “UN’s torture expert condemns persecution of Julian Assange as efforts to free journalist ramp up ahead of G7 summit” [RT] Nils Melzer
9 June 2021 Nils Melzer (In Geneva) [Tweet with video]
“Persecuting inconvenient truthtellers like #Assange, @Snowden & @xychelsea is like switching off the fire alarm in the house of democracy & the rule of law. Yes you will feel comfortable for a little bit longer, but once you wake up & look around the whole house will be on fire!”
13 June 2021 Bailey Lamon and Rico Brouwer interview “Whistle-blower on the Case of Julian Assange - United Nations Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer” [YouTube] [Transcript]
50:18 Response to propaganda
That's how marketing works, right? It works with pictures and images and messages that hit you ... on the unconscious level, and then they create a decision to buy something. And then they give you the little sentences to explain to your mind ... to explain to your emotions why you buy it. They give you some good reason, but actually you've already decided before. But you think you're rational, and so this ...
50:44 But this happens not only in marketing, and in purchasing decisions, but also in political decisions. Right? You know, when they tell you about all those dangerous foreigners that are coming from Africa and elsewhere, taking over, all this messaging that is being pushed by politicians. It hits you at the emo ... or the warning of terrorism and national security, and all these things, they play into your survival instinct.
51:10 So I researched this very broadly, and I saw that … The social psychologist said “Look, people, by and large, when they get confronted with a moral dilemma - and here we're in the whistleblower situation, you're inside the system and all of a sudden you're in a moral dilemma because some bad stuff is going on and no one is taking care of it, and so now now you're in the dilemma - most of the time, by nature our first reaction is to deny the facts. We close our eyes. We don't want to see it, right? Because it allows us to maintain our comfort.”
51:49 But then, if we can't ignore the facts, then we're denying responsibility - at the next level. We say “Okay, it's bad but I can't do anything about it because the boss told me I have to do this” - you know, higher superior orders. Or it's a different department. Or whatever. Maybe you find a reason to say why, to blame someone else for it, right?
52:14 The next level, if you can't deny the facts, you can't even deny your responsibility, now you start justifying it. You deny the wrongfulness of it. You say, “Yes, but these are the terrorists, these are the bad guys, it's because he did this and he …” So you start justifying things.
52:31 And that's where the discrimination usually comes in. The foreigners, the LGBTI whatever, the unbelievers. I mean, whatever criteria you find to “other” someone; to say this person is something else, so now i can justify why i mistreat you, and so on.
So it's denial of fact, denial of responsibility, and denial of wrongfulness. The interesting thing with the whistleblowers usually is, in the beginning - like everybody else - they will try to deny the facts. But when they can't, they can’t deny their responsibility ... so they feel responsible. So now they go out to the public.
53:13 But the natural thing is [after accepting the facts]: then you deny responsibility, then you deny the wrongfulness.
53:18 And that's a very simple pattern that happens all the time. When I write to governments, most of the responses I get - 90% - is denial of reality, denial of responsibility, or denial of wrongfulness. it's always those three levels of denial.
53:35 There's always denial in order to avoid a moral dilemma that would force you to change something. Only when you can't deny any of those three levels, then you have to change something - and that's very painful, right, because we all try to avoid pain. And then you have to be courageous and you have to face the problem, right? But that's usually how it happens.
54:03 And, obviously, that's why we have ... it's so important to have transparency. Because secrecy protects these patterns, right?
It protects the denial of facts - because it's secret, so you don't even know.
It protects, it blurs who's responsible, so it allows you to deny the responsibility, because the responsibility chain is secret, right? That's why states are so keen on secrecy - because it allows them to maintain this type of illusion, this fake reality.
54:43 And that's also why the public generally doesn't even want to know. Because they can know today, even though it's difficult. Wth the internet and so on, by and large if you want to know, you can know. Maybe not everything, but you get the big picture, right?
55:00 But most people, they don't - because it brings them into a moral dilemma. So they don't want to know. That's the biggest … It's also what I - in my book - I come to this conclusion, that it's not …
55:13 The main problem is not that people don't know, it's that they don't want to know.
25 June 2021 Nils Melzer and Steven J Barela “The Méndez Principles: Beware Crossing the Line to Psychological Torture” [Just Security]
“The mandate of the Special Rapporteur has long recognized the conceptual distinction between physical and mental or “psychological” torture, and particular attention has been placed on the worrisome fact that the latter form of ill-treatment has often been “brushed away as mere allegations,” since it leaves no obvious physical scars. Even if States have generally been open to acknowledging the problem of psychological torture, national practice has tended to trivialize any treatment that does not include corporal pain or suffering. At the same time, various disciplines (e.g. medicine, psychology, ethics, philosophy, sociology) have found it useful to distinguish this type of conduct for diverse purposes, thus giving rise to differing interpretations.
Despite all of this, it should not be overlooked that torture is a unified legal concept. That is, drawing a distinction between physical and psychological torture by no means changes the universal prohibition or the legal obligations derived from it. There is no hierarchy of severity as the “two types are interrelated and ultimately, both have physical and psychological effects.” Torture is never an exclusively corporal ordeal, but always purposefully targets the mind and emotions of the victims themselves or of third persons forced to witness the act.”
26 June 2021 Nils Melzer [Tweet with Stundin article]
“Dismantling the persecution of #Assange:
2019: UK torture & arbitrariness exposed
2019: Swedish rape allegations collapse
2020: Embassy surveillance exposed
2021: US prisons declared inhumane
2021: US hacking allegations collapse
Time to end this travesty!”
2 July 2021 Online event “Freedom of the press and the rule of law in danger - appeal for the release of Julian Assange” [DE] “LIVE: Diskussion N. Melzer, M. Nowak, F. Turnheim: Pressefreiheit und Rechtsstaat in Gefahr”
Discussion Nils Melzer and Manfred Nowak - Austrian Press Club [YouTube]
“Vienna (OTS) - The Austrian Journalists Club (ÖJC), in cooperation with the Swiss Press Club, invites you to a background discussion followed by a book presentation on the occasion of Julian Assange's 50th birthday”
4 July 2021 Nils Melzer “As You Celebrate Your Freedom, Remember Julian Assange | Opinion” [Newsweek]
In short, Independence Day celebrates the right and duty to free and just dissent.
Indeed, throughout history, dissidents have brought about lasting political change, liberation from oppression, and the empowerment of the people. By 'dissident', I do not mean the opposition in parliament, I mean political activists challenging established power from the outside. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela were dissidents whose names are now cherished worldwide. Yet, all of them radically challenged the political, social and economic order of their time, which got two of them murdered and the third incarcerated for 27 years.
What is it, then, that makes dissidents such a threat? Contrary to common criminals they serve a higher cause. Contrary to terrorists, they inform, empower and mobilize the people. And contrary to parliamentary oppositions, they have no stakes in corrupt institutions and practices that often feed both sides of the political aisle. Governments fear dissidents, because they cannot be owned and controlled. Some imprison, torture and execute them routinely, based on classified evidence and summary trials. Others conceal their oppression behind a veil of due process, crushing them through judicial harassment and defamation.
Whether we like it or not, Julian Assange is a dissident. He despises secrecy and cannot be tamed, bought or otherwise controlled. He has flooded the world with compromising disclosures, including evidence for war crimes, aggression and abuse, without ever resorting to violence or fake news. He has initiated a paradigm shift in public awareness and dried up safe havens of governmental impunity. And like everyone who endangers the perks of the powerful, he has been made to pay the price.
But how do you break a political dissident, a promoter of truth and transparency? Well, first you attack his reputation and credibility, and destroy his human dignity. You maintain a constant trickle of poisonous rumors, first half-truths and then increasingly bold lies. You keep him suspected of rape without trial, of hacking and spying, and of smearing feces on Embassy walls. You portray him as an ungrateful narcissist with a cat and a skateboard, whose only aim is self-glorifying exceptionalism.
31 July 2021 Nils Melzer re jailing of Craig Murray [Tweet] [Cook article]
“Thanks @Jonathan_K_Cook for this troubling account on the suppression of independent #journalism. If anyone in Scotland deserves to be called a «proper journalist» whose writing & integrity actually make a difference, it is @CraigMurrayOrg”
9 Aug 2021 From Live on the Fly “Nils Melzer: The Trial of Julian Assange ” [YouTube]
Nils Melzer discusses the coming English version of his new book (already a bestseller in Germany).with Randy Credico.
10 Aug 2021 Assange Countdown To Freedom (Nils Melzer) [Tweet] [YouTube]
“British authorities lied to @UN Special Rapporteur on Torture @NilsMelzer”
18 Aug 2021 “Not notable enough? UN torture rapporteur who defended Assange gets rejected by Twitter for verification” [RT]
27 Sept 2021 Randy Credico, “Nils Melzer: Analysis of the Yahoo News Report on Assange” [YouTube] [Transcript]
2:12 I can’t really speak for other organisations. Clearly, what I think is very positive is that we see that the story has been picked up by big news organisations. Yahoo News obviously has published it; CNN has also picked up the story, and rightly so because it is an extremely important story.
Now, to me this has not come as a surprise. As you know, I have been investigating this case for more than two years and I have written a book about it. I have intervened several times officially with states because I have come to the conclusion that there has been extensive collusion between intelligence services of various democratic states, including the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Ecuador, in order to not prosecute Assange, but actually persecute him.
03:18 So, and when I say that it is about persecution not prosecution, I mean that prosecution is here formally being used, but for ulterior motives - not in order to enforce the law but for political purposes, and therefore it is actually a persecution.
3:37 So what these revelations really confirm are the findings that I have already voiced several times: that this case is not about Assange having committed any crimes and having to face justice, but this is really a political persecution case where intelligence services are pursuing illegitimate interests of secrecy and of impunity, and that is what they feel is threatened.
4:10 The revelations of WikiLeaks that Assange obviously has sponsored in 2010 and afterwards … starting in 2010 with huge revelations about Afghanistan and on the Iraq Wars; then the diplomatic cables [Cablegate]; then the Vault 7 revelations on the hacking activities of the CIA in 2017 - which seems to have triggered those plans to either kidnap or assassinate Assange.
4:43 This is not because Assange has committed any crime. This is investigative journalism. So clearly what the States are trying to do here is
to suppress the methodology of WikiLeaks;
to pursue a person because he has embarrassed the CIA, the United States; because they fear that this approach will serve as an example to others - that others may also launch leaking platforms and follow the example of Julian Assange, so therefore he had to be destroyed at all costs.
5:30 So what we really see in this this article is that this is not a state trying to prosecute someone by using regular legislation and the procedures that any society governed by the rule of law provides for these purposes, but they are actually trying to neutralise what they perceive as a threat to their essential interests through illegal means - like kidnapping, rendition, assassination. So that clearly is what we see here and what we have received now is confirmation that that indeed is a case of political persecution and nothing else.
30 Sept 2021 Nils Melzer on Pompeo statement [Tweet] [Yahoo article]
“So here we go again: a prime suspect of official misconduct calling for the criminal prosecution of witnesses for exposing the truth & trying to restore the credibility, integrity & dignity of their government. High time @POTUS to end this travesty & hold perpetrators to account!”
6 Oct 2021 Randy Credico “UN's Nils Melzer on Donziger case” [YouTube]
7 Oct 2021 Nils Melzer on Blinken blather [Tweet]
“Well, @SecBlinken, Sir, I fully agree. But how about starting to #WalkTheTalk by bringing to justice those responsible for the planned kidnapping & assassination and continued torture & arbitrary detention of #Assange & the perpetrators of crimes exposed by @WikiLeaks & others?”
In response to Secretary Blinken’s: [Tweet]
“With sadness, today we mark 15 years since Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was killed in Moscow for her work bringing to light human rights abuses in the conflict in Chechnya. We again call for those who ordered her killing to be brought to justice.”
8 Oct 2021 Nils Melzer “[FR] Julian Assange torturé? Liberté de presse en danger? Nils Melzer, de l'ONU, fait le point.” [YouTube]
Interviewed 8 Oct 2021 by J. Friedli, presented by @InvestigAction
Published 1 Nov 2021, “Julian Assange tortured? Press freedom in danger? Nils Melzer of the UN provides an update.”
This 2 hour interview is conducted totally in French.
It seems to be associated with the publication of the book “Julian Assange Parle” by Karen Sharpe [website] - also available in English as: “Julian Assange Speaks”.
A series of snippets were then tweeted by Nils Melzer from 24 Nov 2021.
[FR] “Fait ou fiction:
“ #1: Julian Assange a-t-il mis des personnes en danger par ses publications?” [Tweet] [YouTube]
“ #2: Julian Assange a-t-il volé/hacké des données?” [Tweet] [YouTube]
“ #3: Julian Assange poursuivi pour viol en Suède?” [Tweet] [YouTube]
“ #4: Julian Assange a-t-il essayé d’échapper à la justice?” [Tweet] [YouTube]
“ #5: Pourquoi Julian #Assange est-il emprisonné ? [Tweet] [YouTube]
13 Oct 2021 Nils Melzer delivers his Annual Report to the UN General Assembly.[Report]
UN Geneva: “Too many countries blame torture on rogue officials, deny systemic patterns of torture, and fail to hold torturers to account," human rights expert @NilsMelzer told UN General Assembly, #UNGA.” [Tweet]
UN Special Procedures: “UN expert @NilsMelzer says States should demonstrate the political courage and determination required to eradicate systemic patterns of secrecy, collusion, and impunity conducive to #torture & ill-treatment. #UNGA76 report” [Tweet]
UN Special Procedures: “UN expert @NilsMelzer deplores worldwide accountability gap for #torture and ill-treatment. He calls on States to take immediate corrective measures to ensure effective prevention, investigation, prosecution, punishment and redress for such crimes” [Tweet]
27-28 Oct 2021 US appeal of Lower Court judgment
27 Oct 2021 [SE] “The case of Julian Assange: Devastating criticism of Sweden” [svd.se]
Review of Nils Meltzer’s book “Fallet Julian Assange” in Swedish
Also available (in full) at [GlobalPolitics]
“Bureaucratic complicity - this is how a new book describes Sweden's handling of Julian Assange. Stina Oscarson reads Nils Melzer's book - and is ashamed. ”
”If there was a Nobel Prize for non-fiction books, it should go to Melzer. Or: take the Obama peace prize and give it to Melzer. The risk he takes by writing this is admittedly small compared to the price Assange, Snowden and Manning had to pay, but still.
Melzer does the work that every journalist who wrote a line about Assange should do. He highlights loyalties and a far-reaching interaction between the judiciary and authorities in a number of countries where Sweden's actions also play a central role. How lots of delays, missed answers and systematic shift of focus become a way to neutralize one of today's perhaps most troublesome whistleblowers. And not least how an extradition to the United States and the punishment Assange there risks would affect freedom of expression and journalism.”
28 Oct 2021 Nils Melzer lecture [DE] “The Julian Assange Case - A History of Persecution” (in German) at the University of Zurich [eiz]
29 Oct 2021 Nils Melzer interview on Going Underground “US Extradition: ‘If Julian Assange Dies, He Would Have Been Tortured To Death!’- Nils Melzer”
Discussion of the appeal issues.
[RT YouTube censored] [RT article] [RT video archive]
Julian Assange is not mentally ill. Yes, he has a slight form of autism - as you know, many people do. But he is a very resilient, intelligent man, and so he does not belong in a mental institution. So if he has a mental issue now, it's because of the abuse that he has suffered.
And you cannot get someone to recover from torture by continuing continuing to torture him. And that's exactly what they do - they isolate him, they keep him in that limbo.
And just to put the record straight for everybody, Julian Assange is not serving a sentence. He's not even accused of anything that would be criminal. He is being held in extradition detention to, as you said, to prevent his escape in case he should be extradited at the end. But he does not need to be in Belmarsh prison for that. even if we assume - for the purpose of the argument - that the extradition proceeding is legitimate. If we have to somehow secure his presence he can be in house arrest - that's what they did with Gusto Pinochet - he was protected by the UK government. They put him in a villa, Margaret Thatcher visited him and brought him whiskey and as soon as a doctor attested that he had some problems to concentrate, and had a slight forms of amnesia, he was funneled out without even facing a judge.
Julian Assange who has grave medical [issues], harm has been caused to him in the last decade through that constant isolation and defamation and abuse and a constant anxiety that he suffers, and he's being isolated absolutely unnecessarily - and therefore unlawfully - so he is continuously also arbitrarily detained.
It would be a tragedy if he lost his life in those circumstances.
29 Oct 2021 Nils Melzer (Re BBC garbage video) [Tweet] [BBC]
(Re BBC garbage video) [Tweet] [BBC]
“Once the mouthpiece of the free world, @BBCNews misses another opportunity to address the #ElephantInTheRoom & challenge US & UK Govts over persecuting #Assange & criminalising #FreePress.
You are the #4thEstate - at some point silence becomes complicity!”
(Re new interview) [Tweet]
“The real issue with the US extradition request is not whether #Assange's health is strong & stable enough to survive cruel & inhuman conditions of detention - it is that, as a journalist not having committed any crime, he should not be imprisoned & persecuted in the first place.”
(Re new book in EN) [Tweet with video] [Verso]
“Dedicated to all who fearlessly fight for the truth:
The English edition of my book «The Trial of Julian #Assange - A Story of Persecution» (forthcoming @VersoBooks on 8 February 2022) can now be pre-ordered here:”
31 Oct 2021 RT “If Assange dies in UK prison it would mean he’d been ‘tortured to death,’ UN special rapporteur on torture tells RT” Nils Melzer
[RT article] [RT YouTube censored] [RT Video archive]
2 Nov 2021 On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, Nils Melzer tweets in support of his colleagues’ statement “States must investigate and prosecute violence against journalists – UN experts” [ohchr]
“«Around the world journalists are being threatened, harassed, attacked physically, abducted, arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, tortured and killed – simply for doing their job.» #EndImpunity #PressFreedom #ProtectJournalists” [Tweet]
3 Nov 2021 Randy Credico “The Assange Appeal (Part 2) with Nils Melzer, Michael Isikoff, Gabriel Shipton, Katie Halper and Roger Waters” [YouTube]
12 Nov 2021 Randy Credico “The Case of Assange: Anatomy Of A Show Trial” with Guests: Nils Melzer, Daniel Ellsberg, Angela Richter [YouTube]
12 Nov 2021 Nils Melzer tweets after the panel discussion:
“If #Assange is not even medically fit to attend his own trial thru videolink, how can they discuss whether he is fit to be extradited to cruel & inhuman detention in the US, a country that fails to prosecute torturers & war criminals but persecutes whistleblowers & journalists?” [Tweet]
“My word of caution on how to interpret the UK’s last-minute «judge switch» at the #Assange appeals hearing & how it relates to the #LauriLove precedent. In-depth discussion of the Assange show-trial with @DanielEllsberg & @AngelaRichter_ @CredicoRandy” [Tweet]My word of caution on how to interpret the UK’s last-minute «judge switch» at the #Assange appeals hearing & how it relates to the #LauriLove precedent. In-depth discussion of the Assange show-trial with @DanielEllsberg & @AngelaRichter_ @CredicoRandy
“The #Assange case is just the tip of the iceberg. What we see is the worldwide proliferation of official secrecy & impunity for corruption & crime, while telling the truth becomes a crime. If we do not stop this here & now, we will have lost not just a battle but the entire war!” [Tweet]
14 Nov 2021 Åsa Linderborg [SE] “The media houses must be able to defend Assange” [aftonbladet]
Listed as a book review of Nils Melzers new book - in Swedish - this is more like a partial synopsis of the Swedish section of the story (with some complaints about the Swedish translation).
18 Nov 2021 Malou von Sivers [SE] “Has Wikileaks founder Julian Assange been tortured?” [tv4.se] Interview with Nils Melzer, later republished [YouTube]
In English with Swedish subtitles, introduction in Swedish
18 Nov 2021 Cyril & Stig “#3 "The trial against Julian Assange" with Nils Melzer” [podcast] First 02:30 min in Swedish, then in English
25 Nov 2021 Interview (in French) Espace Saint Michel [FR] “Echange en DUPLEX avec Nils Melzer (ONU) retransmis en direct du Saint Michel” [YouTube]
26 Nov 2021 On the new book:
Srećko Horvat: [Tweet]
“Thanks to @VersoBooks I've read an early copy of the new book by @NilsMelzer about the most important trial of our century and can't overstate the importance of it. It's both well-researched and an urgent call to release #Assange before it's too late.
Everyone should read it!” “
Nils Melzer: [Tweet]
“Thanks @HorvatSrecko for the shout out.
The trial of #Assange
→ is the biggest judicial scandal of our times
→ threatens #justice, #PressFreedom & #HumanRights
→ endangers the credibility, integrity & sustainability
of Western #democracy & #RuleOfLaw
28 Nov 2021 Alfred de Zayas [Tweet]
“The corporate media is guilty of systematic suppression of views that do not fit the matrix. UN Rapporteurs who call out the crimes of the US and UK are ignored. Only the rapporteurs who sing the desired song are given visibility.”
30 Nov 2021 Oscar Grenfell “Official documents expose Australian government’s complicity in the torture of Assange” [WSWS] [re TheGrayZone]
“The documents obtained by Tranter are themselves a demonstration of what Melzer correctly identified as the Australian government’s complicity in the torture of Assange. With its non-reaction to Assange’s medical crisis in late 2019, the Australian government and Labor clearly indicated that they would stand by and watch on, even if his persecution resulted in the WikiLeaks’ founder’s death.”
UPDATES after initial publication
3 Dec 2021 “CN Live! S3 E12: The Espionage Act & Julian Assange” [YouTube]
James Goodale (former senor counsel for the NYT during the Pentagon Papers case) refers to Nils Melzer’s analysis of the Swedish episode as contained in his book.
10 Dec 2021 UK High Court appeal judgment released re US extradition request
10 Dec 2021 [DE] “A poor certificate for the British judiciary” [Tagesanzeiger]
The United Nations independent rapporteur on torture has sharply criticized the London judgment in the Julian Assange case. "This is an indictment of the British judiciary," said Nils Melzer on Friday the DPA news agency. "You can think what you want about Assange, but he is not in a state in which you can extradite him." Melzer spoke of a “politically motivated judgment”.
10 Dec 2021 [DE] “UN special envoy on Assange ruling: "This is shocking!"” [Berliner-Zeitung]
The UN special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, describes the London court decision against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as "shocking" and calls on all Western parliamentarians to protest against a possible extradition of Assange to the USA. Melzer told the Berliner Zeitung: “Assange is not in a state of health for an extradition. In addition, it is still incomprehensible to this day that the person who exposes crimes should be punished, while the accused war criminals are not being prosecuted. Then such a decision will be announced on Human Rights Day 2021 of all places. That's shocking. "
Melzer said: “If the Universal Declaration for Human Rights is to be of any value, all politicians in western-liberal democracies must stand up and raise their voices. Anyone who stands behind Alexej Navalny - quite rightly - must also stand up for Julian Assange. This is about the credibility of our constitutional state. "
10 Dec 2021 Interview with Katie Halper and Matt Taiibi “Reacting To Assange Verdict With UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer” [Podcast] [YouTube]
As well as discussing the appeal verdict, this session looks at some of the many instances of procedural abuse in the case, and at particular concerns that Anericans express in relation to Assange and WikiLeaks (especially the DNC leaks).
10 Dec 2021 Panel discussion “LIVE with Daniel Ellsberg, John Pilger, Roger Waters, Nils Melzer, Craig Murray & Stefania Maurizi” [YouTube] [Transcript]
This panel took place after the announcement of the High Court judgment in the US appeal of the lower court judgment in the extradition hearing of Julian Assange.
46:46 “I was not surprised. I was surprised to hear that it was going to be today.
Today, I remind you, is the International Day of Human Rights. The 10th of December - the day when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted.
I mean, seriously, it’s the top of cynicism to have this Appeals judgment - supported by the Chief Justice of England and Wales - that runs counter to the basic notion of what Human Rights is really about. It’s the negation of Human Rights - what we’ve seen today, happening at the High Court.”
1:04:35 “In my book, “The Trial of Julian Assange”, the last chapter is on the appeals procedure. And I called it “Playing Out The Plot”, because that’s really what we are seeing in this case.
All along, since his expulsion from the embassy, it’s just a plot that is playing out with a predictability that’s scary. It’s like watching a car crash happening in slow motion, and then every now and then someone asking you to comment on what you are seeing.
Well, it’s still a car crash. We know exactly what’s at the end of this. At the end, Julian Assange is crushed as a person, and our rights have been done away with.
That’s what the purpose of this is. Because we have a very small - and ever smaller - powerful elite, that concentrates more and more power. And by and large, the general public is under the illusion that we have functioning democracies, governed by the rule of law.
I believe that our job is to dis-illusion people.- be gentle enough for them to actually listen to you, but to be clear enough for them to actually be dis-illusioned.
Yes, it’s about Julian Assange, but it’s much more. His case to me is like a keyhole through which you can see a parallel universe that already exists.- and where our democratic rights and institutions have already been neutralised.
1:21:28 What I want to say is - let’s stop trying to convince people that this is unfair to Assange. Yes it is - it’s horrible what’s being done to him.
But it is about them, and their own interests, and their future, and their kids, and their ability to know the truth about what their governments are doing with their tax money, and their own power that they have delegated to them. And what they have to expect if they allow a world to be created, before their eyes, where it’s a crime to tell the truth, where they’re not allowed to ask questions because they will be regarded as conspirators in espionage.
What will the world look like, and what will the world be doing to them and their children - because they’re not part of the elites, 99% of the population is not part of the elites. And once they realise that they’re going to lose everything, because they’re not acting now, then you’ll get a movement.
11 Dec 2021 Nils Melzer [Tweet] [Daily Mail article]
#Assange’s stroke is no surprise. As we warned after examining him, unless relieved of the constant pressure of isolation, arbitrariness & persecution, his health would enter a downward spiral endangering his life. #UK is literally torturing him to death.#Assange’s stroke is no surprise. As we warned after examining him, unless relieved of the constant pressure of isolation, arbitrariness & persecution, his health would enter a downward spiral endangering his life. #UK is literally torturing him to death.mol.imJulian Assange has a stroke in Belmarsh prison, fiancée revealsStella Moris, partner to imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, stands with protestors on Dec. 10 as she denounces a British appellate court’s overturning of the ruling regarding Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States.
12 Dec 2021 Randy Credico panel “LIVE with Nils Melzer & Gabriel Shipton” [YouTube] [Transcript]
Also present on the panel was Roger Waters and Chuck Zlatkin
This was a discussion of how Julian’s mini-stroke affects the current situation, and what can be done now.
1:14:51 [The High Court] decision basically cancels out the core of, the essence of, what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is about. It is the negation of it. It is the antithesis of human rights.
And this was clear to me already when I saw that verdict. And when I learned that during that hearing Julian Assange actually had a stroke, and the judges, obviously, when they decided a few weeks later that they would extradite him to the US, they were aware of that.
And I remind you, this hearing was about whether Julian Assange’s health is strong enough to withstand an extradition and a show trial in the US. Now isn’t that the culmination of cynicism? That a hearing that, where the defendant cannot even follow the hearing because his state of health is so weak, and he is even having a stroke during that hearing, and then the judges come to the decision that he can be extradited to the US based on some set of flimsy assurances that, everybody who just takes the time to read those five points of those assurances will immediately realize that the US has not given any assurances whatsoever! They have kept all their options open.
It’s just so blatant that, as perhaps as others have just said, the only positive thing is that now the abuse, the grotesque level of abuse, has become so obvious that really, even the blind can see it.
So I really just invite people to look reality in the face as long as we can still change it. Because very soon this will be taken out of your hands, and all of us will have become just part of a mass of people that will be maneuvered by those in power.
18 Dec 2021 Nils Melzer interviewed by Chris Hedges in “The Persecution of Julian Assange” [YouTube]
In this interview, Nils Melzer comments (at 17:01) on the effect of Julian’s Asperger’s syndrome on his interpersonal behaviours, and the way ignorance of Asperger’s has led many people to reach erroneous conclusions about his personality and motivations.
18 Jan 2022 Interview by Current Affairs editor in chief Nathan J. Robinson; “UN Official: How Julian Assange Is Being PERSECUTED” [YouTube]
In this interview the Swedish allegations are discussed at some length, establishing (among other things) that, indeed, Julian Assange could NOT just leave the embassy if he chose.
20 Jan 2022 Discussion with Randy Credico: “Nils Melzer, The Trial of Julian Assange with co-host Roger Waters” [YouTube]
"[This case showed that] the whole Human Rights system was not working. It's simply dysfunctional." (from 23:32)
"As soon as it's considered that their 'essential interests' are being affected, there is a parallel world in which there is really no law. It's lawlessness. It's simply political interests & power politics that dominate completely in that parallel world." (23:51)
"I wanted to provide the public with the facts, the evidence, to disclose what is really going on behind the curtains of official policy. What's the reality - not only of Julian Assange or WikiLeaks - that dominate their lives?" (24:44)
"This is the purpose of this book. It's a wake-up call for every single one of us. To call everybody to their responsibility to ask themselves - "What kind of society do I want to live in?"" (25:20)
"[People] have been deceived. I'm taking them on a journey ... [from] where you actually think that your govt is obeying the rule of law; where you actually believe you live in a functioning democracy, when in fact you don't. It's a journey of discovery." (26:18)
26 Jan 2022 Podcast from ‘The Take’: “The Trial of Julian Assange” [omny.fm]
From around 8:30 Nils Melzer describes his visit to HMP Belmarsh, and the way an official visit from the UN Rapporteur on Torture and his experts was treated with contempt by that institution.
27 Jan 2022 Nis Melzer responds to an attack on his book in the German media: [DE] “"Questionable methods?"” [Medium]
In the Süddeutsche Zeitung of January 25, 2022, Thomas Kirchner and Ronen Steinke accuse me of “questionable methods” in the title and even claim online that I am acting as a “shrill key witness for corona deniers and Putin friends”. The thickly applied criticism of my conduct as UN Special Rapporteur is surprising, especially since I took a lot of time to explain my working methods and motivations to Mr. Kirchner over the phone. But a differentiated presentation does not seem to be the aim of the article.
Rather than deal seriously with the uncomfortable facts underlying my public statements, the authors corner me as a conspiracy theorist with disconcerting zeal. To do this, they point to suspicious media outlets, panellists, and Twitter accounts as if I vouch for the integrity of everyone I deal with professionally. Whether in war zones, in prisons, in diplomacy or in the media landscape: an effective commitment to human rights always requires that you remain in dialogue with all relevant actors, even if you have different opinions.
Furthermore, the authors obviously object to the fact that I criticize torture and ill-treatment even when the victims are not politically correct, practice civil disobedience, or have perhaps even made themselves a criminal offence. What they forget is that the prohibition of torture is absolute and without exception.
12 Feb 2022 Interview by NZ’s Kim Hill “Nils Melzer: the political persecution of Julian Assange” [RNZ audio]
18 Feb 2022 Nils Melzer discussed his new book, The Trial of Julian Assange, in a press briefing with the Foreign Press Association. [Assange Defense] [YouTube]
"If the main media organisations joined forces, I believe this case would be over in 10 days ... ... if they joined forces to expose the truth about this case."
Quote / meme from the book (p209, line 14, slightly edited):
"Freedom of expression is guaranteed so long as we discuss only what is served up to us in the headlines. When we stray into subject areas declared off-limits, our dissent becomes a 'conspiracy theory' & our thirst for knowledge criminal 'espionage'"
11 March 2022 Nils Melzer makes his farewell address to the UN. [Tweet with video]
11 March 2022 Nils Melzer Press Release [ohchr]
“Taking stock during his sixth and final year as the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Nils Melzer deplored that States had a “generalized, strongly distorted self-perception” regarding their own compliance with the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment.
“While governments readily promote respect for human rights in other States, they rarely, if ever, show genuine political will to address violations or shortcomings within their own jurisdictions,” he said.
Melzer also criticised States’ ineffective cooperation with his office. “When faced with allegations of torture, governments almost invariably tend to deny, justify or trivialize such abuse, avoid accountability, procrastinate reforms, and deprive victims of redress and rehabilitation,” said the expert. “Whenever I insist, States tend to adopt a progressively defensive, evasive, obstructive or even aggressive stance, or they simply terminate the dialogue altogether.”
The expert reiterated his recommendation to the Office of the High Commissioner to lead a multi-stakeholder process aiming to identify agreed standards for assessing and improving the effectiveness of the interaction of States with mandated human rights experts in all areas of their work, including official communications, country visits and thematic reporting.
“I must admit that my outlook is bleak,” Melzer said as he presented his concluding report to the Human Rights Council.
“As long as governments fail to evolve beyond their currently predominant attitude of indifference, self-righteousness and denial, torture and ill-treatment will remain widespread, and impunity rampant throughout the world, traumatizing millions of victims without any prospect of justice and dignity.
“Unless governments finally start walking their talk, the worldwide eradication of torture and ill-treatment will remain pie in the sky,” he said.
“Today, as my time in office comes to an end, I would like to thank the Council and all UN Member States for their confidence and for the many frank and constructive exchanges held during my tenure, and I look forward to continuing our fruitful cooperation in my new function,” Melzer added.”
31 March 2022 Nils Meltzer’s term as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture comes to an end. H takes up a new position with the International Red Cross.
He tweeted a farewell [THREAD]
Today, my tenure as #SRTorture @UN_SPExperts comes to an end.
@UN_HRC will appoint my successor at its 50th session in June 2022.
Application deadline 6 April: [OHCHR]
Today, I wish to sincerely thank:
> @UN_HRC & @UN Member States for their confidence throughout my tenure
> All colleagues @UNHumanRights for their support & guidance
> Entire #SRTorture team for their dedication & professionalism
> @SwissMFA for their consistent support (2/6)
Today, I wish to express my solidarity with the millions of victims & survivors of #torture & with their families. I know my work was just a drop in the ocean. But, while it may not have changed the world for all, I hope it may have done so at least for a few. (3/6)
Today, I wish to pay tribute to the courage & perseverance of millions of #HumanRightsDefenders & families who risk everything every day in our worldwide fight against #torture & ill-treatment. (4/6)
Today, after 65 months of service @UN_SPExperts, 17 official reports, 1’000+ communications & a few major battles fought for the prevention, investigation, prosecution & redress of #torture & ill-treatment worldwide, the time has come to move on. (5/6)
Today, I salute the @UN & its Member States, and I sincerely look forward to continuing our fruitful cooperation, albeit in a very different role & with a very different working methodology, after taking up my impending new function with the @ICRC
> Thank you & good-bye! (6/6)
#Assange case: After all four involved States (US; UK; Sweden; Ecuador) failed to cooperate with my official investigation, a comprehensive account of my findings & concerns can be found here: [Verso Books]
>My @Twitter account covers only a small part of my work as #SRTorture. For a complete account of my reports, communications, country visits etc. please consult official UN records through the links provided here: [OHCHR]
Nils Melzer’s service as UN Special Rapporteur on Torture ends here. But his integrity, courage and willingness to speak out goes on.
After leaving office
20 April 2022 Judge makes order for extradition
The judge acting in the place of Vanessa Baraitser (who had since been moved on) washes his hands of Julian Assange in the Westminster Court:
[Live tweeted by Richard Medhurst THREAD]
“The judge speaks directly to Assange.
"Mr. Assange can you hear me?"
Judge explains that today's hearing "requires me to act as if Baraitser had decided in favor of extradition"”
“Judge to Assange: "I am duty bound to send your case to the Secretary of State".”
“Judge to #Assange: I'm obliged to explain to you matters in Section 92 (of Extradition Act)
a) You have the right to appeal to High Court. If you do, it will not be heard until the Sec of State has made her decision under the act” [Tweet]
“Judge to #Assange: The same exceptions to bail apply, and I remand you in custody pending decision from Sec of State.
"Thank you very much, you can go with the officers."
Hearing ends. Assange stays a bit to have chat with his lawyers.”
Nils Melzer responds with a tweet:
On this day, let us remember that the «banality of evil» manifests whenever officials, simply by sticking their heads in the sand & «just doing their jobs», enable dehumanization torture & persecution.
On this day, let us look in the mirror & ask ourselves: How far have we sunk?
22 Apr 2022 “Nils Melzer's farewell gift” [Republik]
On why Nils Melzer left his post early
“At the end of March, he resigned from his UN mandate early – and two days earlier he did something very important. During his last working days, Nils Melzer sent a letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), co-signed by two other UN experts. The 52-year-old Swiss calls it a "final intervention".
His regular term as Special Rapporteur on Torture would not actually expire until October. But Melzer was appointed director of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) at the beginning of the year; from July he will be responsible for international law, politics and humanitarian diplomacy in Geneva. The two tasks, he says, cannot be reconciled. His new job at the ICRC is based on confidentiality. As the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, on the other hand, he had to speak plainly, be unpleasant and publicly denounce abuses.
Melzer did all of this without biting inhibitions: be it in the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange – or be it in the case of long-term Swiss prisoner Brian, who became known nationwide under the pseudonym “Carlos”.
The fact that a Swiss UN man, of all people, criticized events in Switzerland's model democracy was not well received.
4 May 2022 Jonathan Cook “According to the UN torture expert, the UK and US have colluded to publicly destroy the WikiLeaks founder – and deter others from exposing their crimes” [MiddleEastEye]
A very detailed review of Nils Melzer’s book “The Trial of Julian Assange”. Many passages are quoted (with page references).
“Melzer believes Assange’s case is so important because it sets a precedent to erode the most basic liberties the rest of us take for granted. He opens the book with a quote from Otto Gritschneder, a German lawyer who observed up close the rise of the Nazis, “those who sleep in a democracy will wake up in a dictatorship".”
27 May 2022 Aljazeera interview (26 Jan 2022) updated by Alexandra Locke [Aljazeera]
"[Julian Assange’s case] is about intimidation, a demonstration of power - to the public and to journalists worldwide that if you ever come to the idea that you want to publish our dirty secrets, this is what we are going to do to you. We are going to violate your rights, gravely, in broad daylight, and no one will be able to protect you.
I think it really should send chills down our spines. This is not about whether you like Julian Assange or not. It’s about whether you like your right to know what your government if doing with your tax money and the power you have delegated to them.
If you are no longer allowed to ask questions as to the lawfulness of what governments are doing, if this becomes espionage, then you no longer live in a democracy. I think if it is as grave as that, the Assange case is not about Assange. It is about our rights.”
On 17 June 2022 the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, signed the extradition order for Julian Assange. Nils Melzer tweeted:
On 19 June 2022 Nils Melzer tweeted:
As I transition to @ICRC you can now follow me at: @NMelzerICRC.
My old account may be updated occasionally but remains active primarily for reference to my tenure as #SRTorture 2016-22 I warmly thank all of you for your support & engagement on #HumanRights in the past years!
On 25 June 2022 Nils Melzer tweeted (appending a press release from 22 March 2022 entitled “Unless States start “walking their talk” the torture ban will remain “pie in the sky” – UN expert”):
“Today, on #TortureVictimsDay 2022, torture & abuse remains widespread & impunity rampant worldwide. While Goverments readily promote respect for #HumanRights in other States, they rarely if ever, show genuine political will to address their own violations.”
On 26 June 2022 Nils Melzer retweeted a statement from António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN:
“Torturers must never be allowed to get away with their crimes, and systems that enable torture should be dismantled or transformed. Together, let's stand in solidarity with all victims of torture and work towards making torture history.”
On 1 July 2022 Nils Melzer tweeted (with link to the article)
“Our joint article in @TheLancet explaining how the #IstanbulProtocol empowers health professionals to eradicate #torture.”
On 2 July 2022 Nils Melzer, in a tweeted video, explains his coming silence due to the confidentiality requirements of his new International Red Cross position.
On 3 July 2022, Nils Melzer tweeted a video of the “Song Without Words” he had composed and played. While he states that this piece was dedicated to his wife, it is likely no accident that he tweeted it on the birthday of Julian Assange.
On 8 July 2022 Nils Melzer tweeted a welcome to the person (@DrAliceJEdwards) following in his footsteps at the UN. [He has left extremely large shoes to fill. We all hope she is up to the challenge.]
“BREAKING - NEW SR-TORTURE: Congratulations @DrAliceJEdwards on your appointment as new #SRTorture by @UN_HRC! I wish you all the strength, courage & determination needed to speak truth to power & give a voice to the voiceless in these trying times. May the force be with you!”
22 July 2022 Another book review is published: “When telling the truth becomes a crime”, by Barry White.
5 Aug 2022 The Guardian publishes “Assange family barred from taking book about WikiLeaks founder into Australia’s parliament” The book concerned was Nils Melzer’s “The Trial of Julian Assange”.
“Security staff at Parliament House in Canberra seized copies of a book about Julian Assange from his family members as they entered the building to meet MPs on Thursday, deeming it “protest material”.
Assange’s family and supporters visited parliament on Thursday to urge the Albanese government to intervene in the proposed extradition of the WikiLeaks founder from the UK to the United States.
They were carrying copies of a book on Assange’s case by Nils Melzer, the former United Nations special rapporteur on torture, which they intended to give to MPs and media.
But Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, said parliament security refused to let the family take the book into the building, because they deemed it to be “protest material”.
“I was saying ‘this is ridiculous. They’re books’,” Gabriel Shipton said. “I offered to call Andrew Wilkie, who was the MP who co-chaired the Parliamentary Friends of the Bring Julian Assange Home Group. He said ‘yes, go ahead, call him, but you can’t take the books in’.”
The family was able to distribute books to MPs and media from a box already stored in Wilkie’s office, and a staffer from Wilkie’s office was able to later retrieve the seized books.” […]
The Department of Parliamentary Services said it could not comment on “specific operational security matters”. […]
12 Aug 2022 Nils Melzer tweeted:
Today 73 years ago the #GenevaConventions were signed:
codifying absolute minimum standards of humanity for any armed conflict
the humanitarian legacy of two World Wars that had brought unprecedented cruelty & suffering upon millions
Let us remember & NOT go there again!
4 Sept 2022 Nils Melzer’s book now available in French [FR] “L'Affaire Assange: Histoire d´une persécution politique” [Amazon]
This compendium may be further updated as time moves on.
The compiler of this compendium lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
As a long time supporter of Julian Assange, I have become aware that it would be hard to overestimate the impact that Nils Melzer has had on ‘The Assange Case’ - especially on public comprehension of the real issues involved but hidden beneath the morass of the official narrative. His unique combination of legal training, fluency in key languages (English, French, German, Swedish), detailed knowledge of the bloody field of torture, access to key people and institutions (by virtue of his mandate), and personal qualities of courage, integrity, warmth and endurance have, in no small way, changed the landscape around this case. He is a true warrior for transparency and justice.
This document has been compiled to give easier access to the breadth of his contributions, and out of gratitude for all that he continues to do to help build a better world. I hope his courage is contagious.
PART 1 of this series “Julian Speaks: Two Voices from behind The Wall” is here.
I am also on Twitter at La Fleur Productions.
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