Oct 13, 2021
A group of prominent global progressives on Wednesday announced a return of the Belmarsh Tribunal, where participants will put the United States government on informal trial for war crimes and demand freedom for jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
"At the Belmarsh Tribunal, we will turn the world the right way up, placing crimes of war, torture, kidnapping, and a litany of other gross human rights abuses on trial."
On October 22, Progressive International's Belmarsh Tribunal, named after the notorious London prison where Assange is imprisoned as he faces possible extradition to the United States, "will try the U.S. government for its crimes of the 21st century--from atrocities in Iraq to torture at Guantanamo Bay to a surveillance program."
"We are convening parliamentarians, journalists, lawyers, and investigators to fight for truth and justice against Assange's extradition to the United States," said Progressive International, which held a similar tribunal last year. "In doing so, the Belmarsh Tribunal turns the tables in the extradition hearing against Julian Assange... a case that will shape the future of journalism for decades to come."
Britain's High Court has been considering the Biden administration's appeal in the extradition case against Assange, with a full appellate hearing scheduled for October 27 and 28.
\u201cANNOUNCING: The Belmarsh Tribunal.\n\nOn 22 October, we will put the War on Terror on trial \u2014 feat. Tariq Ali, @Selay_Ghaffar, @jeremycorbyn, @ApsanaBegumMP, @MashiRafael, @yanisvaroufakis, @SMaurizi, Daniel Ellsberg and more.\n\nReserve your place now: https://t.co/VDIGZXExQl\u201d— Progressive International (@Progressive International) 1634129972
"WikiLeaks exposed the reality of the War on Terror," said Progressive International. "It revealed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 300 incidents of torture, and secret killings by the United States armed forces. For exposing the criminality of the War on Terror, the U.S. and its allies have persecuted, imprisoned, and plotted to assassinate Julian Assange."
Last month, Common Dreamsreported that in 2017 the Central Intelligence Agency, under then-Director Mike Pompeo, plotted to kidnap--and possibly murder--Assange to avenge WikiLeaks' publication of the "Vault 7" documents exposing CIA cyber warfare and surveillance activities.
The Belmarsh Tribunal is inspired by the Russell Tribunal, a 1966 event organized by philosophers Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre to hold the U.S. accountable for its escalating war crimes in Vietnam.
British historian and activist Tariq Ali, one of the original Belmarsh Tribunal members, will participate in this year's event.
Some of the members of the 2021 Belmarsh Tribunal include German Left Party lawmaker Heike Hansel; Solidarity Party of Afghanistan spokesperson Selay Ghaffar; Greek lawmaker Yanis Varoufakis; former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa; Italian investigative journalist Stefania Maurizi; ACLU attorney Ben Wizner; and British Labour parliamentarians Apsana Begum, Richard Burgon, Jeremy Corbyn, and John McDonnell.
"At the Belmarsh Tribunal, we will turn the world the right way up," Corbyn tweeted Wednesday, "placing crimes of war, torture, kidnapping, and a litany of other gross human rights abuses on trial."
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.