Craig Murray – Assange Truth and UN Shenanigans

I spent the last week at the UN, trying to ram home some truths about the Assange case as input to the UN’s Periodic Review (every 7 years) of the UK’s human rights record, in terms of its compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Craig Murray is a British former diplomat, political activist, human rights campaigner, blogger, and whistleblower

Cross-posted from Craig Murray’s website


I spent the last week at the UN, trying to ram home some truths about the Assange case as input to the UN’s Periodic Review (every 7 years) of the UK’s human rights record, in terms of its compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

I had a very short opportunity to address the UN Committee on Human Rights, which is a body of elected experts. In such a short time frame you have to go with just a couple of points. I am open to criticism of my selection, but I maintain that this was much plainer speaking than is generally heard. The reasons for this are interesting.

There are fora like this where registered NGOs can make their point. Human rights is quite an industry in Geneva, where literally hundreds of NGO reps live and roam the UN buildings. The favoured NGOs are those with ECOSOC registration status. The delegates of UNESCO status NGOs have blue passes and extremely free access throughout, at any time.

But UNESCO status is granted by a committee of member states – and is difficult to get. It is therefore unsurprising that a high proportion of NGOs are not real NGOs at all. They are astroturf; fake NGOs paid to whitewash the record of their governments. I did not understand this at first until I attended (as a dry run for the UK) the meetings of the Human Rights Committee for the Egyptian periodic review. Several Egyptian NGOs, one after the other, told us what a great respect for human rights the Egyptian dictatorship has. (It has, incidentally, just sentenced another group of opposition figures to death, after murdering Egypt’s only ever freely elected President.)

Even well-known western NGOs tend to pull their punches at the UN because, bluntly, almost all of them receive large amounts of funding from Western governments. While theoretically this is funding to attack the human rights record of the western governments’ designated enemies, it is a concomitant that the NGOs are reluctant seriously to bite the hand that feeds them.

Consider these facts: firstly, no important whistleblower has ever subsequently found employment with an established NGO. A great many have tried.

Secondly, had I not been there, nobody would have mentioned Julian Assange in the periodic review of the UK’s human rights record.

Money talks in the UN itself too. The US and Western powers contribute a very high proportion of the UN budget. There is a reason why I attended a commemoration ceremony in Geneva for UN staff killed in Gaza, where none of the senior UN staff dared to mention who killed them.

Also of course the NATO powers and allies are disproportionately represented in key staff positions.

The UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, an Austrian, has been disgustingly pusillanimous on Gaza and has done nothing on Assange. I spoke with a member of his staff who regurgitated to me a number of detailed US prosecution talking points on Assange which are simply factually incorrect. They have been thoroughly briefed.

Staff are visibly afraid to take on the UK/US interest. I met a number of UN staff who were happy to chat away until I brought up Assange; then they quite literally physically recoiled, in some cases took an actual step back, and always discovered they had pressing business elsewhere.

After the Human Rights Committee meeting with NGOs, the committee then met with the UK government representatives to discuss their concerns. One member of the committee, Rodrigo Carasco of Costa Rica, decided he would raise the case of Julian Assange, based on the briefing which we had supplied. A full elected member of the committee, Carasco is also the former Costa Rican Ambassador to the United Nations.

Carasco was put on the speakers’ list and he informed the committee what he was going to raise. Come the meeting with the UK delegation, Amb. Carasco was astonished when the Chair simply skipped over him in the speaking list and did not call him. He caught the Chair’s eye several times as the meeting progressed but still was not called, then it wound up and the Chair went to the UK delegation to respond to the bland and generic points which had been raised.

You can view the film here:

In this short video, when it first cuts away from the Chair you can see the white-haired Amb. Carasco rising from his seat to remonstrate with her. She then disappears off the next shot while they had a pretty pointed exchange. I am sorry it is off camera; you will have to take my word for it.

My conclusion from this is that the UK and US are currently very sensitive to international criticism over Assange, and that rather than be discouraged we need to keep pushing. As both the US and UK are becoming international pariah states over Gaza, we need to remind the world of their long established crimes.


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