As Julian Assange edges towards freedom investigative journalism takes a big hit.

It’s been a week of mixed fortunes for Julian Assange. On Monday many were taken aback by the ruling of district judge Vanessa Baraitser not to allow the US to extradite Julian to stand trial on criminal charges of conspiracy, hacking and violations of the 1917 Espionage Act. On closer reading it was clear that the judge had rejected all the defence arguments against extradition to protect free speech, that the extradition was politically motivated and he would not get a fair trial in the US. It was the appalling state of the US prison system that was the key factor and the ‘supermax’ prison ADX Colorado, where it is generally accepted Julian would have been sent, if sentenced by a US court. This taken with Julian’s mental health history led her to believe that he would be potentially in danger of taking his own life if so incarcerated.

Two days after her ruling against the US extradition came the setback when the same Vanessa Baraitser sitting at Westminster magistrates court rejected his application for bail, saying that Julian “…still has an incentive to abscond from these, as yet unresolved, proceedings. As a matter of fairness the US must be allowed to challenge my decision…”

Continue reading As Julian Assange edges towards freedom investigative journalism takes a big hit.

Celebrating Jewish radicalism – lessons for today and tomorrow

On the evening of 15 December I watched  ‘A celebration of Jewish radicalism’, with Alexei Sayle, Leon Rosselson, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, David Rosenberg, Andrew Feinstein and Barnaby Raine. Organised by Red Labour, I found it moving, education and inspiring – the event is at: https://www.facebook.com/RedLabour2016/videos/402437467682837/

The most moving contribution was the reading of a poem by Irena Klepfisz, (which can also be found in the current issue of Jewish Socialist). Irena was born in the Warsaw Ghetto and smuggled to safety with her mother when she was two and a half years old. Her father Michał who made weapons for the resistance fighters, took arms back into the Ghetto just before the Nazis entirely destroyed it, along with the few fighters left. He knew that if he went in at that point, he wouldn’t survive. He died in the Warsaw Ghetto on 20 April 1943. Irena, a remarkable woman, now lives in New York. Continue reading Celebrating Jewish radicalism – lessons for today and tomorrow

When you want to know the future don’t ask Liam Fox (amongst others)

I don’t know how many extensions there have been during the government’s protracted negotiations with the EU to achieve (or not) a trade deal. The talks started at the beginning of March 2020 and yesterday after it appeared that a ‘no deal’ was likely, a joint statement by the parties announced that there would be a further extension, “to go the extra mile” but with no cut-off date this time (although there is the real date of 31 December 2020 –but they could ‘stop the clock’ I suppose). Wind back to September when Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed a deadline of 15 October for a free-trade deal with the European Union. If missed, both sides should, he said, “accept that and move on”.

Continue reading When you want to know the future don’t ask Liam Fox (amongst others)