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UK Foreign Secretary Defends Torturing Journalists, Then Says We Must Protect Journalists

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Written by Caitlin Johnstone; Originally appeared at her blog

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has just given a speech extolling the virtues of a free media, praising the journalists who’ve been brave enough to expose the truth about wicked governments in the face of tyrannical oppression. While he was preparing to give this speech, without any indication of any self-reflection at all, he defended the torture of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

UK Foreign Secretary Defends Torturing Journalists, Then Says We Must Protect Journalists

After news broke that UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer had found that Julian Assange has been the victim of psychological torture for years, Hunt, who is gunning to become the UK’s next Prime Minister, accused him of interfering in British affairs and making “inflammatory statements”.

“This is wrong,” Hunt tweeted. “Assange chose to hide in the embassy and was always free to leave and face justice. The UN Special Rapporteur should allow British courts to make their judgements without his interference or inflammatory accusations.”

“With all due respect, Sir: Mr Assange was about as ‘free to leave’ as a someone sitting on a rubber boat in a shark pool,” Melzer replied. “As detailed in my formal letter to you, so far, UK courts have not shown the impartiality and objectivity required by the rule of law.”

Hours after his defense of the torture of a journalist who exposed the truth about the malfeasance of a powerful government, Hunt was giving a speech at the World News Media Congress in Glasgow, praising journalists who expose the truth about the malfeasance of powerful governments.

If you want to stare aghast at some of the most appallingly cartoonish hypocrisy from a western politician you’ll ever see, I highly recommend clicking this hyperlink and reading through the transcript of Hunt’s speech in the context of what he just said about Assange.

Hunt decried the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, ignoring the inconvenient fact that his own government had just been found guilty of participating in the brutal torture of a far more impactful journalist spanning many years. Hunt sang the praises of two Reuters journalists who’d recently been released from prison in Burma after exposing a massacre of 10 Rohingya Muslims, right after defending the torture of the journalist who released the Collateral Murder video showing the massacre of 18 civilians, the fatalities from which included two Reuters journalists.

“The latest World Press Freedom Index describes how the ‘number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline’,” Hunt said. “And yet despite all the pressure, the risk — from physical threats, from insidious self-censorship — journalists in many countries press on with holding the powerful to account, exposing wrongdoing, deterring corruption, and strengthening democracy and openness.”

Other choice excerpts:

“We cannot physically stop journalists from being locked up for doing their jobs. But we can alert global public opinion and make sure the diplomatic price is too high.”

“Authoritarian states might launch sudden ‘crackdowns’ against corruption — which mysteriously target political opponents while leaving others untouched — but the risk of exposure by a free media is far more effective than any theatrical campaign.”

“But in the end, we must promote a free media not solely for practical reasons but because it’s what we stand for. Democracy and freedom of expression mean nothing unless independent journalists are able to scrutinise the powerful — and discover the stubborn facts — however inconvenient this might sometimes be for the politicians on the receiving end.”

“A free media is not an optional extra, still less a ‘Western’ value: it forms one pillar of a thriving society, benefiting people in every corner of the world.”

Hunt’s tweet defending Assange’s torture and his sanctimonious, self-congratulatory tweet about the speech he’d just given were about 29 hours apart. Twenty-nine hours.

Hunt, who has been leading the charge in smearing Assange since his arrest and imprisonment, is scheduled to co-host a London summit next month on media freedom.

We criticize this kind of hypocrisy in prominent figures not because self-contradiction is necessarily an indication of weakness in character or policy, but because it illustrates the phony and self-serving nature of their positions. Jeremy Hunt does not care about press freedoms. Jeremy Hunt does not care about the abuse of journalists. He does not care about the things he claims to care about. When it comes to the western empire of which Hunt is a loyal guardian, the policy is “Press freedoms for me but not for thee.”

The “liberal democratic values” that these self-righteous windbags pretend to promote at their conferences and their summits are neither liberal nor democratic. We are led by smiling sociopaths who are selling us Nice Guy Fascism. A jackboot wearing a “Coexist” button. A smiley-faced mask covering a hateful, blood-spattered grimace.

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  • Rob

    Idiot stop torturing Julian Assange. Only Jews are perverted creatures in our world.

    • frankly

      He is a true hero, balls of steel. Unfortunately, at this rate, he will soon be dead.

  • Ronald

    So we see where the natives got their phrase, “Englishman speaks with forked tongue”.

  • Xoli Xoli

    UK is mouth was democracy Guantanamo, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yugoslavia, Yemen, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran,Venezuela, Vietnam,Ukraine and Julian Assange.

  • You can call me Al

    Hunt rhymes with his description. He is crap, he had a hand in messing up Brexit, in fact he just messes up everything.

    In no way, is he a popular candidate for Prime Minister.

    • AM Hants

      Daddy was an Admiral and little Jeremy grew up with a sense of entitlement, but, lacking grey cells.

      Do you remember when he went to China, hosted by the Chinese, with his Chinese wife, but, for some reason introduced her as Japanese?

      Then you had his handling of the NHS.

      Theresa May, sure liked to promote her pretty little, loyal boys, above their pay grade. Didn’t she give us the wonderful ‘Tim but Dim’ Williamson, together with Jeremy C not H unt?

      Have you seen these two articles from the Daily Mail? You may or may not enjoy them, but, sharing them far and wide. So reminds me of the 90s, when politics was similar to what it is today.

      I do like how Jonathan Aitken describes 21st Century, Westminster politicians, to those he witnessed, back in the 60s-early 80s. Including the role of the media. Comparing Robin Day with John Humphries. Now why does ‘Are You Being Served’ so come to mind, when mentioning Humphries. Have I mixed him up the BBC propagandist with the actor?

      PETER HITCHENS: I’m glad Alastair Campbell got the chop – he’s much more dangerous than Corbyn… https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-7095023/PETER-HITCHENS-Im-glad-Alistair-Campbell-got-chop-hes-dangerous-Corbyn.html

      I’d rather be back in jail with Noel the Razor than sit with the second-raters in today’s House of Commons, writes JONATHAN AITKEN
      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7095161/JONATHAN-AITKEN-Id-jail-Westminster.html

      By the way, have a happy son, following Liverpool’s success. Doubt, you see it the same. but, who would you have gone for? Mersey or the South? However, do believe Russia grabbed the headlines.

      Wilberforce Clayborne Humphries is free… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8jizCq3Su4

      • You can call me Al

        It’s the red shite, I wanted the South (God bless me, I have sinned and the last time I confessed was …..).

      • You can call me Al

        Sorry I messed up …. to continue, I once watched the Jackson 5 in Grace Brothers in Australia.

        PS This program was the first time I saw a, well you know, homosexual. He pissed me off then as they all do now.

        Right, now onto colour, race and …..

  • Tommy Jensen

    Usual Western double speak.

  • FlorianGeyer

    Jeremy Hunt Looks like a creep, Speaks like a creep and would be a Creepy Prime Minister who is in the ‘ Conservative Friends Of Israel society’.

  • AM Hants

    There is an interesting article, over on Zero Hedge, which goes well with the above. Well, he did serve under May. What I like about the article below, is the focus on May and ‘Integrity Initiative’, although ‘Most Probably’, concerned the Litvenko Court Case, under David Cameron, where the Coroner, with no authority to handle the case, changed UK Law. Before, in a court of law, you had two outcomes, Guilty, beyond all doubt of Innocent. You also have case cannot be proven, but, that is not a verdict, which can deliver a sentence. The coroner, decided, ‘Most Probably’, could replace ‘Guilty, beyond all doubt’. May, I do believe was Home Secretary, when dealing with the Litvenko case. A double agent, who had many enemies, and more powerful and a higher priority than the Russian Government, including Bill Browder. Who just happens to be heavily involved in ‘Integrity Initiative’.

    Grenfell, Windrush, & Skripal: Theresa May’s Tainted Legacy…

    ‘…However, Williamson was not alone in his anti-Russian stance. It was under May’s leadership that the controversial government-funded Integrity Initiative program really began to flourish. Designed to “counteract Russian propaganda” it instead deceptively engaged in spreading disinformation about Russia and even the UK Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, by hiring journalists, academics and commentators who would all sing from the same hymn sheet when it came to discourse about Russia in the press.

    What was most chilling about the revelations in the Integrity Initiative hacked documents was the extent to which policy makers within the inner workings of the establishment are apparently obsessed about an imminent “Russian threat” and are prepared to go to considerable lengths to persuade the British population of this.

    …Staged or not, May’s handling of the Skripal incident left much to be desired. Even her experience of handling the Litvinenko affair as home secretary hadn’t taught her a great deal. Before any concrete evidence was produced to implicate the Russian government in the poisoning, May was already issuing ultimatums to the Russian president. Her infamous phrase that the government concluded it was “highly likely” Russia was responsible for the poisoning even entered itself into the Russian vocabulary and became something of a household joke in Russia.

    The decision to publicly accuse another state of attempting murder on British soil with evidence that only amounted to “a nerve agent of a type produced by Russia,” was utterly reckless, not only deeply harming relations with Russia, but undermining the credibility of the U.K. as a whole. And despite it being an attempt to bolster the PM’s position at a time when desperately needed to generate support for her upcoming Brexit white paper – this itself, given a delayed Brexit and divided country, proved fruitless.
    So what can we expect from the next prime minister of the not-so-Great Britain? Whoever it is has their work cut out not only to unite the Conservative party, but the country. In terms of improving relations with Russia — as long as the Tories remain in power, and the “deep state” or civil service continues to push its aggressive anti-Russian agenda —, we are unlikely to see any significant change in policy.

    One could hope that a certain Boris Johnson, himself named after a Russian émigré, and the leading candidate to replace May, could seek to build bridges in this regard, but his record on the Skripal case leaves room for doubt. The PM is after all a figurehead, and the UK civil service remains a driving force of policy-making.

    As former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair once said:

    “You cannot underestimate how much they [the civil service] believe it’s their job to actually run the country and to resist the changes put forward by people they dismiss as ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ politicians. They genuinely see themselves as the true guardians of the national interest, and think that their job is simply to wear you down and wait you out.”

    Says it all really…’

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-01/grenfell-windrush-skripal-theresa-mays-tainted-legacy

  • Carol Davidek-Waller

    Another nut case in a position of power. The is the best we can expect from the ruling elite. Birds of a feather……..

  • goingbrokes

    Another moronic “leader” being hoisted on British people. It appears no sane person is allowed to lead the people.