In my last piece for LewRockwell.com, entitled “The Quality of Mercy”, I discussed the excellent interview with UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer recently posted by RT on their program Going Underground. On 8 June 2019 Chris Hedges conducted a new, comprehensive, and powerful interview also with Nils Melzer, an interview that I feel is worth watching for all those concerned about the current state of Julian Assange, and the actions of the governments persecuting him.
Dr. Melzer states in the beginning regarding the health of Julian that, “what we’re talking about is severe traumatization, chronic anxiety, intense constant stress, inability to relax, to focus, to think in a structured straight line…someone in a hyper-stimulated state.”
In response to Mr. Hedges question, “What are both the physical and psychological short-term and long-term effects and what do you attribute that psychological torture to? Because you have really pinned the blame on four different governments,” Dr. Melzer replied, “Obviously, psychological torture can have various consequences. It’s difficult to predict exactly how the situation will evolve. What we’ve seen now, during my visit, was already alarming. And what we have seen since then [is] that his state of health has rapidly deteriorated, as predicted by the psychiatrist accompanying my visit. What can happen obviously on the prolongation of this is that we’ll have irreversible damage, even on the physical level; first, on the psychological-emotional level, but then also on the physical level it can lead to nervous breakdowns or even actually then to cardiovascular damage that is no longer reversible. But it’s very difficult to predict with accuracy and I’m not myself a doctor. But we see today Mr. Assange is no longer able to participate in his own court hearings.”
He then explains why he believes the four states he mentioned are responsible, starting with the attempt by “the elephant in the room,” the United States to get Mr. Assange extradited and to prosecute him: “Mr. Assange had a credible fear to be extradited to the U.S. and to be exposed to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment there.”
Later in the interview, Dr. Melzer discussed how Mr. Assange had a fifteen minute hearing, in which he was just given fifteen minutes to prepare his defense. Julian was, “in a very agitated state, he had just been arrested after six years in the embassy…The defense counsel during the hearing submitted a file to the judge saying that one of the judges had a strong conflict of interest because her husband had been exposed by Wikileaks and so there was a conflict of interest that needed to be investigated…The judge brushed this [concern about the conflict of interest] aside apparently, and immediately…complained, ‘How dare you, defense counsel, accuse one of our judges of a conflict of interest,’ convicted Mr. Assange immediately and called him a ‘narcissist who cannot go beyond his own self-interest.’ Now…Mr. Assange had said nothing other than ‘not guilty’…so clearly the judge had brought a bias into the courtroom.”
Dr. Melzer also noted that he personally is convinced Mr. Assange would not get a fair trial in the United States since a fair trial requires a presumption innocence, which is impossible given what he described is the current state of public opinion in the U.S. after over a decade of what he called the “unrestrained public mobbing…instigation of violence…public ridicule,” of Julian Assange.
He also discussed the charges. Seventeen are under the Espionage Act but as has been made plain by many commentators worldwide, Julian Assange’s actions should be protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution; they are the ordinary actions of a journalist working with a source. Regarding the charge of “hacking,” Dr. Melzer makes clear Julian made an unsuccessful attempt to help the source cover her tracks. “But he didn’t succeed. So there was no damage done.”
Regarding an acquittal or light sentence in the U.S., Dr. Melzer thinks this unlikely especially since in the court where Julian Assange will be tried no one has ever been acquitted once charged and prosecuted in that venue. Dr. Melzer also notes, “A fair trial requires equality before the law. When a government prosecutes a whistle-blower, let alone a journalist, for having exposed serious crimes by government agents—we’re talking about war crimes—and these crimes are not being prosecuted at all. But the source is being prosecuted…and [Assange] is facing the death penalty, that’s when I say prosecution becomes persecution because there is no longer the rule of law.”
For anyone interested in the fate of Julian Assange, for libertarians or others who desire proof of the destructive, malicious power of an unrestrained state, there can be no better evidence than what’s been presented in this excellent interview.
(RT Link here for those who don’t want to view on YouTube.)