Stella Assange: 'Corrupting the System at Every Level'

Article author: 
Matt Kennard
Article publisher: 
Consortium News
Article date: 
7 November 2022
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

“I think there are some people within the U.S. and U.K. governments who understand how cancerous this whole affair is,” the wife of the imprisoned publisher tells Matt Kennard in a wide-ranging interview. 

  • “I think they keep him in Belmarsh because they can get away with it. It’s the most effective way of silencing him.”
  • “I’m convinced Julian cannot survive under the conditions the US will put him in. The only reason he’s surviving now is because he’s able to see me and the children.”
  • “If the UK press had reported fairly and critically about this case, would Julian be in Belmarsh prison today? I don’t believe so.”
  • “These concepts of independence and fairness are the only thing that stand between us and a complete darkness of raw power where they can just crush you.”

“Julian is fighting for his survival and he’s going through hell, that’s the best way to put it,” Stella Assange says when I ask how he’s doing....

He has now been in Belmarsh maximum-security prison in London for three and a half years. He was initially put in there ostensibly because of a bail violation after he was given political asylum by the Ecuadorian government....


In 2012, U.K. courts had ordered Assange’s extradition to Sweden to face questioning over sexual assault allegations. The case was dropped [for the third time] in August 2019, soon after Assange was put in Belmarsh. He is now being held as a remand prisoner at the behest of the U.S. government.

“Belmarsh has about 800 prisoners, and it’s a very harsh regime because it has very serious offenders,” Stella says. “It also has people on remand for non-serious offences. And it has people who are like Julian, where there’s some kind of political aspect to it. Everyone is treated as if they were a serious offender. This is what distinguishes Belmarsh from other prisons.”...

In 2020, Declassified published a story showing Assange was one of just two inmates at Belmarsh, which then housed 797 prisoners, being held for violating bail conditions....

Assange’s treatment in the U.S. would be much worse. In 2020, U.K. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser blocked Assange’s extradition to the U.S. because of the risk of suicide under the onerous conditions he would face.

Baraitser’s decision was based on the fact that, if convicted, Assange would likely be moved to the “Supermax” Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado, home to convicted terrorist Abu Hamza and Mexican drug lord El Chapo.

A former warden of the prison has said: “There’s no other way to say it — it’s worse than death.”...

Another bizarre aspect of the Assange case is that the state requesting the extradition of the defendant is on record as spying on his privileged conversations with his defence lawyers —and plotting to assassinate him.... She pauses, exasperated. “Julian has been the victim of a C.I.A. plot to assassinate him.”...

National security whistleblowers have always been criminalised, but this is the first time a journalist and publisher faces life in prison.

“What is not properly understood, I think, because of their failure to report accurately, critically, or diligently, is that Julian is being prosecuted as a journalist,” Stella says. “They are going after him as a journalist, not as a whistleblower, not as anything else. The activities that they have criminalised are journalistic activities.”...