Belmarsh Tribunal

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Group.png Belmarsh TribunalRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Belmarsh Tribunal.jpg
Formation2 October 2020
FounderSrećko Horvat
Membership• Tariq Ali
• Renata Ávila
• Apsana Begum
• Richard Burgon
• Jeremy Corbyn
• Rafael Correa
• Özlem Demirel
• Deepa Govindarajan Driver
• Daniel Ellsberg
• Selay Ghaffar
• Heike Hänsel
• Srećko Horvat
• Annie Machon
• Stefania Maurizi
• John McDonnell
• Edward Snowden
• Yanis Varoufakis
• Ben Wizner
• Eyal Weizman

OpenDemocracy reports:

On 13 November 1966 – at the height of resistance to the war in VietnamBertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre convened a people's tribunal to hold the US government accountable for its escalating war crimes:

“The tribunal has no clear historical precedent”, Russell said. It represented no state power; it had no capacity to sentence the accused. “I believe that these apparent limitations are, in fact, virtues. We are free to conduct a solemn and historic investigation”, said Russell, “presented to the conscience of mankind.”

US imperialism

One half-century later, the Progressive International (PI) is once again calling on the conscience of mankind against the crimes of US imperialism.

First day

Today, Friday 2 October 2020, marks the first day of the Belmarsh Tribunal, named after Belmarsh Prison where Julian Assange has been kept in permanent confinement for daring to publish documents that detail torture, violence, and illegal spying by the US government.

From Belmarsh, Assange now faces extradition to the United States – the first time in history that a publisher has been indicted under the Espionage Act of 1917. Today’s tribunal takes its name from this site of complicity in the crimes that have been revealed by Assange, and the crimes that have been committed against him, in turn.[1]

2nd round

Belmarsh Tribunal: The War On Terror is Put on Trial

The Morning Star of 14 October 2021 reported:

Politicians, lawyers and journalists are to put the war on terror “on trial” at a people’s tribunal next week, ahead of Julian Assange’s latest extradition hearing.

The second round of hearings of the Belmarsh Tribunal will see left-wing figures including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, veteran anti-war activist Tariq Ali and Ecuador’s former president Rafael Correa “hold the US accountable for its war crimes.”

The event was launched last year by Progressive International, with the first hearings held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is inspired by the famous 1966 people’s tribunal on the Vietnam War, which investigated the US government for alleged war crimes.

Similarly, the Belmarsh Tribunal seeks to hold the US to account for 21st-century crimes uncovered by Wikileaks, including atrocities in Iraq and the use of torture in Guantanamo Bay.

Tribunal members, who will convene for the first time physically on October 22 at the Convocation Hall, Church House, Westminster, argue that it should be the US government that is put on trial and not Mr Assange.

Wikileaks exposed crimes of US empire in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond,” said Mr Corbyn, who is also a Progressive International Council member.

“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.

“The perpetrators of these crimes walk free, often still prominent public figures in the US, UK and elsewhere. They should be held accountable for the lives they destroyed and the futures they stole.”

The tribunal’s latest session comes ahead of the Wikileaks founder’s extradition hearing at the High Court in London at the end of the month.

The court will hear the US government’s appeal against last year’s decision by a judge to refuse extradition.

If convicted in the US, Assange faces a possible sentence of up to 175 years in jail, his lawyers have said.

Last month, it was revealed that the CIA had plotted to kidnap and assassinate Assange while he sought political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Belmarsh Tribunal founder Srećko Horvat said: “After the revelations about the murderous CIA plans to kill a publisher and journalist on British soil, not only the current US government but also the UK government must be held responsible for still keeping Assange in prison.

“The Biden administration should drop the charges against Assange and the UK government should free him immediately and end the suffering and torture of a courageous man who has committed no crime.

“In a society in which telling the truth becomes a crime, we are all accomplices of crime as long as Assange is in prison.”

The tribunal will also be joined by renowned whistleblowers Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers revealing US involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967, and Annie Machon, a former MI5 intelligence officer.

Labour MPs John McDonnell, Richard Burgon and Apsana Begum will also speak, as will Forensic Architecture director Eyal Weizman.[2]

Release Julian Assange

Tariq Ali ended the Belmarsh Tribunal session on 22 October 2021 by asking the MPs present to put a Bill to Parliament demanding the release of Julian Assange following the US appeal to have him extradited. Jeremy Corbyn promised that subject to sub judice rules this will be done.[3]

Post-Tribunal comments

Going Underground's Social Media Producer Farhaan Ahmed spoke to Jeremy Corbyn MP, Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and Richard Burgon MP at the conclusion of today's Belmarsh Tribunal session.[4]

Third round

Jeremy Corbyn testifies for Assange at the Belmarsh Tribunal in Washington DC

On 20 January 2023, Democracy Now! livestreamed the Belmarsh Tribunal from Washington D.C. featuring expert testimony from journalists, whistleblowers, lawyers, publishers and parliamentarians on assaults to press freedom and the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman and Srećko Horvat, the co-founder of DiEM25, chaired the tribunal, which was organised by Progressive International and the Wau Holland Foundation. Participants:

00:00 - Introductions
15:33 - Ben Wizner, lead attorney at ACLU of Edward Snowden
21:20 - Jeffrey Sterling, lawyer and former CIA employee
29:05 - Katrina vanden Heuvel, editorial director and publisher, The Nation
32:35 - Margaret Kunstler, civil rights attorney
39:09 - Stefania Maurizi, investigative journalist, Il Fatto Quotidiano
47:20 - Jeremy Corbyn, member of UK Parliament and founder of the Peace and Justice Project
56:16 - Steven Donziger, human rights attorney
1:05:19 - Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief, WikiLeaks
1:17:12 - Jesselyn Radack, national security and human rights attorney
1:25:07 - Chip Gibbons, policy director of Defending Rights & Dissent
1:31:45 - Kevin Gosztola, managing editor of Shadowproof
1:38:45 - John Shipton, father of Julian Assange
1:50:19 - Betty Medsger, investigative reporter
2:01:20 - Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower
2:09:50 - Suchitra Vijayan, writer, photographer & activist
2:15:56 - Noam Chomsky, linguist and activist
2:18:42 - Final remarks
2:22:03 - Roger Waters performance[5]


Known members

12 of the 19 of the members already have pages here:

Tariq Ali
Apsana Begum
Jeremy CorbynOn Labour's left wing, but on the right side of history!
Rafael Correa
Daniel EllsbergA feted whistleblower who exposed some details of how the US government was waging the Vietnam War. The fact that he was not persecuted has lead several commentators to suggest that he may not in fact have been all he appears to be. Specifically, the Pentagon Papers may have been a limited hangout.
Srećko Horvat
Annie MachonMachon quit together with fellow MI5 whistleblower David Shayler in 1996/7 to expose details of various illegal actions by the organisation. She is currently a political activist working to help other whistleblowers.
Stefania MauriziJournalist who worked on the WikiLeaks releases of secret documents
John McDonnell
Edward SnowdenIT specialist and former contractor for the NSA, Edward Snowden's 2013 leaks about their mass surveillance programs were widely reported by the corporate media, an interesting contrast to the leaks of earlier whistleblowers that were roundly ignored.
Yanis VaroufakisGreek politician and later Minister of Finance. In the last role played a much publicized campaign against the selling of Greek (state) companies during the Greece/Debt crisis.
Eyal Weizman
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