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How critical journalists are muzzled in Europe

by Ralf Streck
Besides the case of Julian Assange, the case of the Basque Pablo González has stood out for almost a year now. Poland wants to keep him in solitary confinement for at least a year without presenting any evidence for the accusations of alleged espionage for Russia. His offense is apparently to have done research in eastern Ukraine, which alarms Ukrainian and Polish intelligence.
Human Rights Day December 10

Critical journalism leads behind bars even in the EU
Basque journalist Pablo González is accused of spying for Russia. Poland wants to keep him in solitary confinement without presenting evidence or bringing charges. Something is moving in the Assange case.

We have been drawing attention to the case of Pablo González in this space since the spring, and with it the fact that the freelance Basque journalist has been imprisoned in Poland on the dubious charge of being a spy for Russia.

He faces up to ten years in prison there for this. Again and again, without providing any evidence for the accusations, the pre-trial detention was extended by three months at a time, as it is now again. The Polish judiciary does not give any reasons. They like to cite the risk of absconding because of the expected high prison sentence, but otherwise they keep the reasons secret.

The journalist will therefore also have to spend Christmas behind bars in the Polish prison Radom, and thus he will then sit in solitary confinement for a year without any charges being brought.

The accusation that he is a spy of Putin was constructed in an abstruse way. Among other things, the fact that he has Spanish and Russian citizenship and two passports was used. It has long since been disproved that he only allegedly posed as a journalist, as he was accused of doing, in order to be able to move freely as a spy.
Source: Telepolis

Add to this: How critical journalists are muzzled in Europe
Besides the case of Julian Assange, the case of the Basque Pablo González has stood out for almost a year now. Poland wants to keep him in solitary confinement for at least a year without presenting any evidence for the accusations of alleged espionage for Russia. His offense is apparently to have done research in eastern Ukraine, which has put him in the crosshairs of Ukrainian and Polish intelligence agencies.
Source: Overton Magazine

Documentary film Ithaka now also in Germany
What's it about.
It's about crimes committed by governments and a man who, with his vision of justice, founded an organization to expose just that. He succeeded very well and this is where the problem starts. Because it is not the criminals who are currently behind bars, but the man who published the crimes and protected whistleblowers.

The world's most famous political prisoner, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has become a symbol of an international arm wrestle over journalism freedom, government corruption and unpunished war crimes.

"Ithaca shows how far the richest and most powerful nations in the history of the world will go to hide their crimes. Ithaca cuts to the heart of how freedom of the press and our right to communicate are slowly being dismantled before our eyes." - Gabriel Shipton, brother of Julian Assange and producer of the documentary.

Note Moritz Müller: This film tries to bring the human being Julian Assange and what he has achieved and also his family to the fore. On the page of FREEASSANGE.EU you can find the further screening locations, tonight and in the next days and weeks. Partial contributors to the creation of the film are present in the cinema.

Flights to the World Climate Conference: Government causes 308 million tons of CO2
Flights by the German government to the World Climate Conference emitted millions of tons of CO2. The German Foreign Office states that there is compensation. However, criticism is not absent.

During outbound and return flights in connection with the World Climate Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, members of the German government and their employees emitted about 308 million tons of carbon dioxide.

This is according to a recent written response from the German Foreign Office to a question posed by former AfD member of parliament Joana Cotar.

The climate conference was held in the Egyptian resort from November 6 to 18. According to the Federal Foreign Office, the emissions mentioned include all flights incurred in the context of the German government's participation in the conference.
Source: ZDF

How critical journalists are muzzled in Europe
by Ralf Streck
[This article posted on 11/30/2022 is translated from the German on the Internet,]

Pablo González

Next to the case of Julian Assange, the case of the Basque Pablo González has stood out for almost a year now. The one Poland wants to keep in solitary confinement for at least a year, without presenting evidence for the accusations of alleged espionage for Russia. His offense is apparently to have done research in eastern Ukraine, which has put him in the crosshairs of Ukrainian and Polish intelligence services.

Basque journalist Pablo González will also spend Christmas behind bars in Poland's Radom jail - about an hour and a half's drive south of the capital, Warsaw (Does Poland want to break the will of journalist Pablo Gonzales, who has already been imprisoned for three months without charge?). So he will probably have to continue spending the next three months in solitary confinement, because last weekend the Polish judiciary extended the pre-trial detention of the journalist, who has Spanish and Russian citizenship, again by three months. Reasons were not given by the Polish judiciary. Previously, they were happy to cite the risk of flight because of the expected heavy prison sentence, but otherwise they are keeping the reasons secret and continue not to press charges.

Based on the fact that he has two passports, a good part of the accusations that the journalist is a spy for Russia. For this, he faces up to ten years in prison in Poland. Allegedly, he used his journalistic activity only to be able to move freely, it was claimed from Warsaw. A monthly transfer of 350 euros from Russia was also cited. This came from his father, who rents an apartment in Moscow and supports his freelance son with part of the income.

González was born in Russia as the son of a "war child." Children from the Basque Country were evacuated to various countries after the 1936 coup. In Russia, González is listed under the name Pavel Rubtsov (father's last name). It was even claimed by Poles that they were forged passports, which has long since turned out to be false.

Almost nothing has changed in the dramatic situation, including the harsh prison conditions, since the arrest in Poland in February. About it Krass & Konkret had reported several times. Also to the last detention examination the Polish public prosecutor's office presented again no proofs for its heavy reproaches.

Between all chairs

"They have now robbed Pablo of a year of his life and that is irreparable damage," explains Galician photographer Juan Teixeira, who was traveling with González. "It could have been me," he explains. The Galician has traveled with González on all seven of his research trips to Ukraine in recent years. These also took both of them to the east of the country, since the warlike conflict began there in 2014. The fact that they researched and reported from there did not please many in Ukraine, who wanted to hang a cloak of silence over the events. Having worked and researched on "both sides of the conflict," he found himself "caught between all the stools," explains his Basque wife, Oihana Goiriena.

González was informally interrogated by the secret service in Ukraine a few weeks before his later arrest in Poland. Already at that time he was accused of being a "Russian spy", his photographer colleague reports. After the unpleasant contact with the Ukrainian secret service, both journalists initially returned to Spain. After Russia's invasion, however, González was drawn to the region again. Among other things, he reported for the Spanish television station "La Sexta," for the newspapers "Público" and the Basque "Gara" from the border town to Ukraine Przemysl about the refugees who streamed in large numbers across the border into Poland. There he was eventually arrested by the Polish secret service ABW and initially even disappeared completely from the scene for a few days.

"I'm sure they have me on their radar, too," Texeira says. "They probably understand me as a supporter or something, because everything Pablo did in Ukraine, I was always there," he says. There is no proof of the accusations, which is why they cannot be presented, the photographer says. He, too, has had no contact with his friend for ten months now. He, too, has written him letters that he doesn't know if they ever arrived. González, who has been under a strict contact ban and in solitary confinement since his arrest, is unable to reply.

Solitary confinement like Julian Assange's

Detention conditions continue to be harsh. "I am locked in the cell for almost 23 hours a day on average," his wife quotes from one of the six letters that were let through to her in more than nine months. It took several months for the first letter to reach them. They are not allowed to make phone calls, not even on the birthdays of their three children. "When they let me out of the cell, I am always handcuffed," she continues, quoting from the letter. He reports that he cannot see outside. He says the window cannot be opened; it lets in light, but one cannot see through it.

Because of the conditions of detention and the ban on contact, one can also speak of sensory deprivation, as has been used in a more pointed form for years against the inconvenient Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. In his case, experts have been speaking of "torture" for two years. Assange has already been subjected to solitary confinement in the British high-security Belmarsh prison for about three and a half years, which have left heavy marks on him.

"The charges against Assange are a dangerous precedent and an attack on press freedom," Der Spiegel, Le Monde, El País, The New York Times and The Guardian have just denounced in a jointly signed open letter to the US government. "Twelve years after the embassy leaks, it is time for the U.S. government to stop prosecuting Julian Assange for publishing secret documents," they demand, noting, "Because journalism is not a crime."

That's exactly the case for González. Reporters Without Borders is calling for his release, and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) already demanded, unsuccessfully, six months ago, a "fair and transparent trial" in which he would not be punished for his journalistic activities. "Reporting is not a crime," CPJ also believes.

In some ways, González's situation is even worse than Assange's. Even contact with the lawyer he trusts is consistently prevented by Poland, because Gonzalo Boye is an internationally renowned and successful lawyer. Even contact with the family was completely prevented for a long time. It has only been slowly softening for some time. At first, González had received only a few visits from the Spanish consul.

Even the request of the member of the Bundestag Andrej Hunko was rejected last week "without any justification" by the Polish authorities, Hunko told Krass & Konkret. He wanted to visit the journalist as part of his work for the Council of Europe and announced, "I will raise the case as a European policy spokesman both in the EU and in Council of Europe debates." Hunko is not the only one who is surprised by Spain's behavior; after all, "Poland is under criticism in the Council of Europe and in the EU for serious flaws in the rule of law."

In Western intelligence circles, Gonzalez is portrayed as a Russian agent

Boye has no doubt that Poland is trying to "break the will" of his client with the harsh terms. He alludes to González thus admitting to alleged espionage. If Poland had evidence of this, "they would have shown it long ago." Boye thinks that Poland has reached a dead end and knows no way out. Piotr Niemczyk, the ex-director of a Polish secret service, has a similar view. In an article in "Gazeta Wyborcza," he virtually mocked his former colleagues for what had happened. The fact that a "Russian spy" was standing up for human rights and supporting refugees fleeing from Putin seems rather Spanish to him.

But in Western intelligence circles, González is defiantly held up as an example of extensive Russian espionage. At the Aspen Security Forum in the U.S., the head of Britain's MI6 asserted that Russia had large espionage capabilities. This has been reduced in Europe thanks to the expulsion of 400 spies, Richard Moore explained. He also spoke about arrests of Russian agents, citing journalist Pablo González as an example. However, he did not provide any evidence for his accusations. He also spread the Polish nonsense that González had only "pretended" to be a journalist. Wrongly, he also stated that González had intended to go to Ukraine to act as part of Russian destabilization. What is correct is that he had left Ukraine.

Left-wing MP Hunko agrees with Boye's assessment that apparently "the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights" does not apply in Poland. That is supposed to guarantee "presumption of innocence and rights of defenders." "Not a single European provision on the fundamental rights of the treatment of prisoners, not a single provision of the Charter of Fundamental Rights regarding due process, has been respected," the lawyer told Krass and Konkret. Boye has also consistently criticized the Spanish Social Democratic government. The did not stand up for the respect of the journalist's fundamental rights, let Poland "undermine the foundations of the EU."

In fact, during the visit to Warsaw in the summer, the head of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, did absolutely nothing to improve the situation for the journalist. Although Sánchez is also aware of the doubts about Poland's rule of law, he did not criticize the country, but asked for "respect" for Polish justice. "The Spanish government logically respects the rule of law in Poland, and therefore the Polish judicial system, just as we always ask to respect the Spanish judicial system and that of any EU country."

Indeed, neither Boye's lawyer nor the journalist's family or friends expected anything from the self-proclaimed "most progressive government in Spanish history," and so it is also not surprising that Poland has continued to extend the pre-trial detention without bringing charges or presenting evidence. Despite everything, the international pressure, as also built up by Hunko, is slowly showing some effect in Warsaw. Last week Goiriena was able to visit her husband for the first time. She hopes that this marks a turning point and sees "a crack in the contact barrier." The visit, she says, gave the battered and emaciated journalist "strength" again and "courage." She hopes that further visits will be possible, even if they continue to take place under the eyes of a secret service employee. Finally, she said, she has also been able to tell him how great the support is for him.

Pablo, she said, has asked her to "explicitly thank everyone who cares about his situation." Knowing that he is no longer alone has filled him with energy to remain steadfast in this struggle, which will be neither short nor easy, Goiriena explained after the visit. She was in Poland accompanied by Boye, and following the visit, the two met with the new Polish legal team. This will now be coordinated by Boye and will also ensure that his wife's visit is not a one-time experience.
Related Posts:

Murder cover-up by Spanish judiciary to prosecute Puigdemont lawyer?
Spanish journalist held for two weeks in Polish high-security prison with contact ban
Is Poland trying to break the will of journalist Pablo Gonzales, who has already been detained for three months without charge?
The rigged game of four countries against Assange and press freedom
"Mockery of justice": Assange may be extradited to the U.S.

Mengel says:
November 30, 2022 at 7:42 am

The facade is crumbling more and more....

Thanks to §130 there may soon be this type of prisoner status more often....

By the way, thanks to Mr. Rötzer for dragging this chapter of the dark European side into the public eye.
AeaP says:
November 30, 2022 at 8:11 am.

If the "value west" had even a hint of value orientation, Poland would have to be kicked out of the EU in high dudgeon and Ukraine would not be allowed in in the first place. Instead, these so-called "democracies" are kowtowed to. This gives a deep insight - into an abyss of pathetic hypocrisy and double standards.
Show 1 reply to this comment ▼
Eckart says:
November 30, 2022 at 8:20 am

@ Mengel
The § 130 StGB is a rule that is applied very selectively, because it has become even more dangerous to be right yourself when the state is wrong.
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ColMeyer says:
November 30, 2022 at 8:27 am

Commendable to bring the story to the public. But the commitment to Western democratic values must be, I guess, so the "Russian raid".
Wouldn't want to be a journalist.
Gerd says:
November 30, 2022 at 8:58 am

"How critical journalists are muzzled in Europe".

Who says Gonzales is a "critical journalist" ? Maybe he would have published the same bullshit as Spiegel-Online.
Because he was running around in Eastern Ukraine ?

He was not accredited.
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Jock the Prepper says:
November 30, 2022 at 9:27 am

! § > The rule of law means that the exercise of state power is permitted only on the basis of the Constitution and of formally and substantively constitutionally enacted laws with the aim of guaranteeing human dignity, freedom, justice and legal certainty < § !

In case someone is still not quite clear what is actually meant!
Show 2 replies to this comment ▼
North Country Traveler says:
November 30, 2022 at 9:50 am.

Thanks for pointing out this sad fate. Actually, when Assange is pointed out, it is always clear that he is mentioned vicariously and that it is only the tip of the iceberg. Every politically persecuted person and prisoner in Europe should receive the best possible support. At the same time, everything must be done to completely expose the responsible politicians. They all have enough dirt on them.
umbhaki says:
November 30, 2022 at 11:58 am

In Russia, as is well known, unruly journalists are shot (see Politkovskaya e. a.), although it usually remains open who gave the order in each case. This is not nice and is also a violation of all kinds of (human) rights. It deserves all criticism.

In Ukraine, which, as we know, defends the rule-based order against Russia for the whole world, unruly people like to be publicly exposed or tortured a bit before being killed. This is not nice either, but at least it ends in a relatively short time for the victims.

In the rule-based world of the good Christians, on the other hand, insubordinate journalists like Assange or González are psychologically put to death over a period of years, in a long, never-ending, carefully thought-out process of suffering. The sadism revealed here dwarfs even the methods of the Ukrainian Nazis.

We can truly be proud of ourselves, we liberal rule-based Christian people. Hail to our leaders and their henchmen! Hosanna to the LORD on high, Madam Foreign Minister!
eggmen says:
November 30, 2022 at 5:58 pm

"No member of the press shall be threatened, harassed, assaulted, arrested or killed because of his or her work. On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, we vow to continue to protect and promote the rights of a free press and the safety of journalists.
On this International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, we call on other governments to hold accountable those who target journalists with harassment, intimidation and violence. We renew our commitment to an open and free press at home and abroad. "
Well, who said that???
And what about J. Assange???
Well, who believes "stinky Blinken" who "vows" in the name of the USA to continue to protect and promote the rights of a free press and the safety (this already borders on shameless hypocrisy, yes after "lying") of journalists.
Simon says:
November 30, 2022 at 6:41 pm

"Although Sánchez is also aware of the doubts about the rule of law in Poland, he did not criticize the country, but asked for "respect" for Polish justice. "The Spanish government logically respects the rule of law in Poland, and therefore also the Polish judicial system, just as we always ask to respect the Spanish judicial system and that of any EU country.""

I would also have been surprised if one crow pecked out another crow's eye. Anna Lena has great faith in the British judiciary, after all.
oskarwagenrecht says:
November 30, 2022 at 7:27 pm

The list of crimes against the own population in the EU is getting longer and longer and the silence of the media is getting bigger and bigger. And should something nevertheless push itself from these unpleasant events under the carpet to the daylight, then ten fact checkers come along and put it in perspective. Just happened with the execution of the captured Russian soldiers ( by the ARD.

The more the beautiful appearance in the EU with its luminosity decreases, the more the states must use force against their population. A real left could help here, but thanks to many pro-American subs in the PdL there is no anti-imperialist left any more. In an interview, Leftist politician Diether Dehm says "The Left will end up in Nirvana" and also goes after NATO supporter Ramelow. If ordinary people like the single mother or the worker at Amazon don't get the idea of voting Die Linke, then "the party has done something fundamentally wrong," but instead of correcting the course, "they are still beating their hooves," Dehm stresses. In an entertaining interview on Odysee, Dehm explains how he views the possible formation of a party by Sahra Wagenknecht and how, in his view, Die Linke has failed across the board in the Ukraine war.

Learning from History:
History always repeats itself twice - the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce, Karl Marx once said. More than 150 years later, cabaret artist Lisa Eckhart has followed this insight and made it short: "80 years of Stalingrad. And history repeats itself. Once again we are cold. And the Russian is to blame. But this time we are wiser. This time the Germans think to themselves: Why wait until after Stalingrad. You can freeze at home, too."

Kai Ambos
Double standards - The West and Ukraine

The German discussion about the Ukraine war is based on the assumption that our condemnation of the Russian war of aggression is shared by the whole world. However, this assumption is incorrect and it is time to ask self-critically about the reasons for this. The Russian breach of the prohibition of the use of force, the fundamental norm law, seems sublimated...
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