Labour MPs hand letter to Belmarsh prison governor demanding meeting with Assange

Labour MPs hand letter to Belmarsh prison governor demanding meeting with Assange

LABOUR MPs Richard Burgon and Diane Abbott handed a letter to the governor of HMP Belmarsh today, demanding permission for a meeting with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

The two socialist MPs joined Mr Assange’s fiancee Stella Moris outside the prison to deliver the letter on behalf of a parliamentary working group.

Mr Assange remains locked up at the Covid-hit south London prison pending an appeal after he beat an extradition case brought by the US.

The letter is signed by 20 parliamentarians including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, MPs Bell Ribeiro-Addy, John McDonnell, Zarah Sultana, Caroline Lucas, Claudia Webbe and members of the House of Lords.

Julian Assange is a ‘journalist of distinction’ & has to be set free, Jeremy Corbyn tells RT outside UK’s Belmarsh Prison

Julian Assange’s case should’ve ended as soon as a UK judge denied his extradition to the US, Jeremy Corbyn, former Labour leader, told RT as he joined other MPs to demand a meeting with the WikiLeaks founder in a London prison.

Corbyn described Assange as “somebody that has stood up for truth around the world. He’s helped us to understand what happened in Guantanamo Bay and so many places around in the world where the US military has done terrible things. We think that he’s a journalist of distinction.”

FBI Fabrication Against Assange Falls Apart

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Boris Johnson, COVID and the Media

The Pursuit of Truth – Or Not Boris Johnson, COVID and the Media Dorothy Byrne 21 June 2021

When a man lies often enough, every now and then, something he says will turn out to be true. And so it happened with Boris Johnson. He said our country would be “record-breaking” in this pandemic and it has been, twice over: at one point, the UK had achieved the highest rate of COVID-19 deaths per capita in the world; and it also suffered the worst fall in GDP in Europe.

How have the Prime Minister and his Cabinet fared when it comes to telling the truth about the greatest disaster our country has experienced since the Second World War?

Privately, radio and television journalists will reel off what they think are the most outrageous lies of this Government’s Coronavirus catastrophe – how it claimed that it was simply ‘following the science’ or ‘protecting the NHS and care homes’ or awarding contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE) sensibly. 

Back in autumn 2019, I condemned Boris Johnson as a known liar in the annual MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival. A number of my colleagues in broadcasting disapproved strongly even though they did not dispute the accuracy of my statement. That the Prime Minister is a notorious liar is accepted among journalists in the UK across the political spectrum.

Johnson was sacked by The Times early on in his career for an untruthful front-page story which he misattributed to his own godfather. As the Daily Telegraph’s Brussels’ correspondent between 1989 and 1994, he regularly disseminated ‘Euromyths’. He was sacked in 2004 as the Conservative Party’s vice-chairman and Shadow Arts Minister for dishonestly assuring the then leader Michael Howardthat reports he had had an affair with a columnist were an “inverted pyramid of piffle”.

Yet, almost all broadcast journalists believe that they should not use the ‘L’ word about Johnson.

Why? Firstly, it’s rude and we’re British. Secondly, they fear that the public could thereby think we have lost our impartiality. Well, that’s a risk we have to take. I am indeed not impartial between truth and lies. The public doesn’t have the wherewithal to research the facts about politicians’ statements and therefore judge accurately whether they are telling the truth. They rely on us for that. 

Ministers have made untrue statements over and over again and it has worked for them. A significant proportion of the population has accepted these statements. This is partly because they sympathised with a Government dealing with a plague without precedent for which it could not be blamed. But this is also because broadcast journalists have not said that we have been lied to in significant ways.

Back in 2019, I was complaining about Johnson’s lies concerning EU rules on condoms and kippers. What halcyon days they were, pre-pandemic, when a politician lying about fish seemed like a big deal. Now, he and his Cabinet lie about life and death. Previously, his lies were specific. Now, they are are so vast in their ambition that they create a parallel universe.

In the past, lying politicians were held to account on television and radio. They were not named as liars, but their statements were analysed forensically in lengthy interviews. Not any more.

During the Coronavirus crisis, we have not seen Boris Johnson putting himself up for the sort of grilling to which, for example, Margaret Thatcher subjected herself over the Falklands. Johnson and senior Cabinet ministers have failed to appear on Newsnight or Channel Four News, the two programmes with the time to carry out in-depth interviews. 

A leading broadcast journalist told me: “They just don’t believe in accountability. In one of the great crises of modern times, where is the major interview with the Prime Minister? I can’t think of a time when a Prime Minister in a crisis has put himself up so little. There is no proper scrutiny. It’s a complete contempt for accountability.” 

This is an edited extract from ‘Populism, the Pandemic and the Media: Journalism in the Age of Brexit, COVID, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson’ to be published on 24 June 2021 by AbramisDorothy Byrne is a television journalist and producer. She was formerly editor-at-large at Channel 4 Television, where she previously served as head of news and current affairs

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Craig Murray on how the Left can win

Craig Murray has an excellent article on how the Left can win.

“A Daily Mirror opinion poll following a BBC televised Labour leadership candidates’ debate this week had Jeremy Corbyn as the clear winner, with twice the support of anyone else. The media ridicule level has picked up since. This policy of marginalisation works. I was saddened by readers’ comments under a Guardian report of that debate, in which Labour supporter after Labour supporter posted comment to the effect “I would like to vote for Jeremy Corbyn because he believes in the same things I do, but we need a more right wing leader to have a chance of winning.”

There are two answers to that. The first is no, you don’t need to be right wing to win. Look at the SNP. The second is what the bloody hell are you in politics for anyway? Do you just want your team to win like it was football? Is there any point at all in being elected just so you can carry out the same policies as your opponents? The problem is, of course, that for so many in the Labour Party, especially but not just the MPs, they want to win for personal career advantage not actually to promote particular policies.”

 

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