Julian Assange

Posted on behalf of network member Nozomi Hayase.  If you’d like to make contact, substitute [AT] with @ in this address: nhayse[AT]riseup.net

Statement in Support of Julian Assange’s Freedom

We are psychologists committed to supporting the health of individuals and communities. We practice the psychology of liberation, which acknowledges the effects of social and political oppression in contributing to individual suffering.

One of great liberation psychologists of our time, Jesuit priest Ignacio Martín-Baró, observed how people live “burdened by the lie of a prevailing discourse that denies, ignores, or disguises essential aspects of reality” and are made to conform to “a fictional common sense that nurtures the structures of exploitation and conformist attitudes”. With this understanding, he initiated the practice of “the de-ideologization of everyday experience” to “retrieve the original experience of the oppressed and return it to them as objective data”.

Decades after his death, the liberatory praxis of Martín-Baró has been rekindled on the global stage. In spring of 2010, a little known whistle-blowing site, WikiLeaks blazed onto the global stage with the release of the Collateral Murder video, a classified U.S. military footage depicting an Apache helicopter killing of Iraqi civilians.

WikiLeaks’ subsequent revelation of government secrecy brought crucial information, evidencing the way States and transnational corporations steal the original experience of people, manipulate perception and exert control over their lives. Through these disclosures, people are now gaining a truer understanding of the world and beginning to transform themselves from state victims to active agents to take hold of their own reality.

Martín-Baró was murdered by the US backed El Salvadorian Army for challenging the official narrative of governments who silence the voice of dissidents and those who oppose exploitation and human right abuses. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks has become such a target for political retaliation. For the last five and half years, he has been detained without charge (first in prison and solitary confinement, then house arrest, and now for more than three years in asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy). We recognize him as an icon who stands up for the truth and engages in a similar struggle for justice.

On February 5, 2016, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) ruled that Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained since 7 Dec 2010. In support of their findings, over 500 human rights organizations, law professors, former UN office holders, and high-profile rights defenders signed an open letter condemning UK and Swedish governments’ blatant rejection of the UNWGD’s decision and urging them to ensure the right of freedom for Assange. This statement was released at the 31st United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva.

(here is the link to the original letter; http://diem25.org/urging-sweden-and-the-uk-to-free-julian-assange/)

We stand with this open letter concerning Sweden and the United Kingdom’s active defiance of the UN decision and we demand Assange’s freedom.

In addition as psychologists, we contend that the situation Assange has been subjected to by these governments created not only physical but psychological alienation, as he is denied and deprived of the basic need to be a part of a community and has been marginalized through demonization by the Western governments and media. Maintaining healthy human contact with the outside world and ones family and friends is a foundation of basic health. We express concern for the effect of such deprivation of psychological needs in the long term.

Martín-Baró once remarked to a North American colleague, “In your country, it’s publish or perish. In ours, it’s publish and perish.” WikiLeaks, as the publisher of last resort, continues this same battle that Martín-Baró and others engaged in, risking their lives and freedom to defend those who are oppressed around the world.

For the liberty of Julian Assange, we urge Sweden and the UK to respect the UNWGAD’s deliberation and show the world that Western enlightenment values and rule of law can triumph over barbaric forces of state terror and oppression.

Unlike the time of Martín-Baró, we hope now we can work toward creating a world where journalists can publish and not perish; that speaking up for the truth and the oppressed is no longer a crime, but is something all of society can celebrate.


Mr. Assange has not been charged with any crime in any investigation conducted in Sweden. 

Both women explicitly denied having been raped. One woman says she was “railroaded by police” and they made up the charges. Early on, Assange was cleared of the suspicion of ‘rape’ by a chief prosecutor in Stockholm before it was then reopened by another prosecutor.

For more information, visit Justice for Assange.




Honduras Resistance

Dec. 2, 2013   Amigos,

I’ve been to Honduras, but was not able to see Chavelo. There is a new petition circulating on his behalf, so link to it rather than the one of Nov. 21. A message I put out to friends on my return following the election of Nov. 24 is pasted below, fyi, and includes the petition link.

Adrianne Aron

Dear friends,

I’m back, safe, and grateful for your being “on call” while I was in Honduras observing the elections as part of the Alliance for Global Justice/Task Force on the Americas team of about 50 volunteers. For detailed info, look for report-backs by people of our Honduras Solidarity Network, but for a quick-and-dirty summary, let me say that although I did not personally observe any serious irregularities in the election procedures, I believe the LIBRE party is correct in challenging the results. Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, LIBRE candidate for president, has demanded an inspection of the tallies sent to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (the TSE), so as to compare them with the figures the TSE used to confirm a victory for the Nationalist Party. This demand for a comparison of the tallies, guaranteed by the constitution, is both appropriate and essential, for evidence of fraud at that stage of the process is very strong. (Defects were found in the tallies from nearly 3,000 polling places).

As in Haiti, where I observed the 2000 election that gave a landslide victory to Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in Honduras, too, at the level of the polling place workers did their best to assure the integrity of the process. Wretchedly poor, Honduras nevertheless enjoys conditions a notch above those in Haiti. There were bathrooms in the schools that served as polling stations in Honduras; unlike in Haiti, workers did not have to be furnished with a roll of toilet paper to use in the bush. And the schools have electricity. In Haiti I had watched poll workers counting votes by candlelight.  In Honduras, 42% of the population is illiterate, yet there was little need to explain anything to the voters. Nearly everyone knew how to sign their names and did not have to put a fingerprint in lieu of a signature. At the polling place where I watched the counting of the ballots, people were glad to be voting, glad to be registering their opposition to the status quo by voting for the new anti-coup, pro-democracy LIBRE party. Xiamora Castro led in this polling place by a margin of 2 to 1. There is no question that nationally, regardless of which party ultimately takes office for president, the LIBRE party has made a formidable show of strength. It broke the stranglehold of the traditional two-party system, where the National Party (a rough equivalent of the U.S. Republicans) and the Liberals (analogous to the U.S. Democrats) have held sway for decades—both in the service of the 10 families who make up the oligarchy that runs the country.

The violence and acts of intimidation surrounding the elections had to do with efforts by the powers-that-be to prevent the LIBRE party from gaining power. Twenty of the party’s candidates for office and activists were assassinated, some on the very eve and the very morning of the election. Repression of campesinos, lawyers, teachers, journalists, human rights advocates and members of the LGBT community has been fierce, with murders, disappearances, detentions without charges or trial, and telephoned death threats from anonymous callers. In some areas of the country it was so dangerous to openly support the LIBRE party that young people who wanted to work at the polls were too scared to do so, because in order to work, party affiliation must be disclosed. International election delegations were advised by the human rights group COFADEH to avoid sending observers to those areas of great violence.  Thus, the voting stations to which we were deployed may have projected to us a picture of honesty and good intentions that was not “typical,” because these stations were already vetted as “safe.”  In spite of our relatively sheltered condition, some members of our team encountered LIBRE people who were ambushed by masked men on their way to go work at the polls in the Department of Copan, close to the Guatemalan border. The tires of their vehicle were slashed, they were taken to a hotel room and held there until two hours after the polls opened. Giving their testimony to our international observers, they were shaking, weeping, traumatized. During the interview the cell phone of one of them rang. An anonymous voice said, “You’re still in town? You better leave.” Thinking it might be helpful for these victims to talk to a psychologist, I told two honchos of the LIBRE party that I would be willing to go see them. They did not know where the people were, they had not heard of the kidnap! “There are so many cases like this, we can’t keep track of them,” they told me. One pointed to his own cell phone. “They’ve got all our numbers. I keep getting death threats over the phone.”

I did not see these victims. José Isabel Morales (“Chavelo”), a victim I saw and evaluated on my last trip to Honduras, two years ago, is still in prison on false charges. After much international pressure the court ordered his release, but he has not been released. If you want to do a good deed for one innocent victim of the repression in Honduras, sign this new petition that is being circulated, and pass it on to your friends to sign: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/341/189/267/freedom-for-chavelo-now-libertad-para-chavelo-ahora/

I’m relieved to be home in one piece, and thank you MUCHO, MUCHO for your moral support during this difficult time.

In solidarity, with lots of abrazos,



Hi Friends,

There is a new petition circulating, in defense of Chavelo Morales, a political prisoner I saw 2 years ago on a trip to Honduras, and who I hope to see again when I return in November as an observer of the national elections. Please sign the petition to the Supreme Court, the President, the Secretary of the Penal Dept:


Like many, many others, this man was falsely accused, then thrown in prison, then, finally, 4 years later, tried, convicted, and sentenced, all without due process. Other prisoners, in the pay of big landowners, made threats against his life every single day. If I do get to see him, I will report back to you on his psychological condition, which 2 years ago was serious and deteriorating. Since then he has been moved to a different jail (after much international pressure) so I hope he is doing better.

There is concern for the safety of the international election observers. Two European human rights workers were detained and threatened last month–a warning. Sixteen candidates running on the LIBRE ticket have been assassinated. Hopefully, we’ll be okay. But just in case, I will contact you if I can, asking that you try to mobilize support to get me or others released, if they are holding us.

Thanks, warm regards. Adelante!

Adrianne Aron



A year later, no progress in the Mexican disappearances | ¡NO MAS VICTIMAS!

A year later, no progress in investigating the disappearance of three youths in Paracho | ¡NO MAS VICTIMAS! (NO MORE VICTIMS!.

Sadly just over a year after the disappearance of three young professionals, tow of them psychologists, in Paracho, Michoacán, Mexico, thre is still no word of what happened to them.  The above link is to the website that covers their disappearance and the inaction, or likely complicity of the local authorities.  It’s a reminder that in some places those committed to a better world do run significant risks.

If you haven’t signed the petition (link from the site) then please do as it is one way of reminding the families they are not alone and the authorities that we are watching them.



Guantánamo Bay USA extraterritorial prison – call to end force feeding of hunger strikers



On August 12th, over 400 health care professionals and human rights leaders sent an urgent appeal to President Obama to order Guantánamo detention camp officials to stop force-feeding hunger strikers, immediately release the detainees approved for release, and make closing Guantánamo his first priority. Now in its seventh month, the hunger strike included 106 detainees at its peak, with as many as 46 of them force-fed.

The letter states that force-feeding mentally competent adults is a violation of medical and nursing ethics, and emphasizes that the method of force feeding in Guantánamo is “exceptionally brutal.” In describing the procedure in which the detainee is forcefully extracted from the cell by several soldiers and strapped into a restraint chair for up to two hours, the letter also notes that “Men weakened by significant weight loss are particularly at risk for serious injury during this regimen.”

Sponsored by Psychologists for Social Responsibility and signed by ten additional organizations, including the Center for Constitutional Rights and Physicians for Human Rights, the letter focuses on the ethical and professional dilemmas of Guantánamo health personnel who force-feed the detainees: 

“Health care professionals, including those in the military, must maintain their licenses in good standing, and to do so they must follow standards of good ethical practice. This is not what is happening during the hunger strike.”

Because information is classified at Guantánamo, doctors, nurses and psychologists cannot honor their ethical obligations to confer with independent experts in such dilemmas, and are “constrained from securing the support of their professional colleagues if they experience reprisals for registering a complaint or refusing to participate further.”

The signers urge President Obama to “act immediately before more prisoners die” and argue that as Commander-in-Chief he has the power to immediately stop the force-feeding, release the detainees approved for release, and make closing Guantánamo his top priority.

The full text of the letter with the list of all signers is available online at www.psysr.org/GTMO-Letter.


APA Fiddles While Psychology Burns | Psychology Today

Hawaiian Mind Games: APA Fiddles While Psychology Burns | Psychology Today.

Here is an article by Eidelson and Soldz about the American (sic) Psychological Association’s continued collusion in abusive practices at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp in an occupied corner of Cuba.  Ironically enough the Polynesian Hawaiian islands were colonised by the USA in the 19th Century.  Here is a section of this excellent article:-

“As has been reported many times over the past decade, psychologists designed, implemented, supervised, researched, and provided ethical cover for abuses committed by the CIA and U.S. military. As a result, the APA has faced repeated calls to take action to prevent future abuses by members of the profession. But rather than engaging in a careful evaluation and reconsideration of the ethics of psychologists’ involvement in national security settings, the Association’s leaders have instead responded, over and over again, with little more than empty talk and feeble resolutions devoid of any real significance. And true to form, last week the APA successfully enacted one of the most vacuous of these recurring exercises.”
read more:  web version or  pdf version


Update on our disappeared Mexican colleagues


Luis Enrique “Kike”

Diego (“Toño”)

Unfortunately there is still no more news about Luis Enrique Castañeda Nava,  Diego Antonio Maldonado and  Ana Belem Sánchez, who were forcibly removed from their hotel in Paracho, Michoacán, Mexico in July.  There is strong suggestion of complicity by the State authorities and this update in English from No Más Víctimas brings us up to date on the case and on the campaign.
If you haven’t already please sign the petition to the authorities at http://www.change.org/petitions/ay%C3%BAdenos-a-encontrar-a-ana-bel%C3%A9m-s%C3%A1nchez-diego-maldonado-y-luis-casta%C3%B1eda
If the suspension of a professor of psychology (who drew the kidnap in Paracho to our attention) can obtain 3,000 signatures on the same site, surely the international psychological community can together achieve at least this level of support for these young colleagues in mortal danger – at present the number of signatures is 750.


Ian Parker’s suspension from Manchester Metropolitan University

You can follow the case of one of our network members, Ian Parker at this link.




Disappeared Mexican Psychologists: Statement from Critical Psychology Symposium in Turkey

Statement agreed following discussion at the Third Critical Psychology Symposium (Diyarbakir, Turkey).  It has been forwarded to those in Mexico campaigning for a proper investigation into the disappearance of Ana Belén, Diego and Enrique Luis.  The Spanish translation follows the English and a Turkish version is also available.

We, the participants of the Third Critical Psychology Symposium (Diyarbakir, Turkey) in the name of TODAP, the Association of Psychologists for Social Solidarity, want to register our support for the recent calls on the authorities in the State of Michoacán, Mexico and other relevant authorities in Mexico to investigate the forced disappearance of Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga, Diego Antonio Maldonado Castañeda and Enrique Luis Castañeda Nava, on 22th July in Paracho after taking part in the Festival of Balloons of Cantoya.

Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga and Diego Antonio Maldonado Castañeda are psychology students at the Autonomous University of Mexico City.

 We urge the authorities to investigate this case immediately.

 Nosotros, participantes del Tercer Symposio de la Psicología Crítica (Diyarbakir, Turquía) en nombre de TODAP La Asociacón de Psicólogos para la Solidaridad Social, queríamos registrar nuestro apoyo por los llamamientos recientes a los autoridades en el Estado de Michoacán, México y otros autoridades relevantes del país que investiguen la desaparición forzada de Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga, Diego Antonio Maldonado Castañeda y Enrique Luis Castañeda Nava, el 22 de julio en Paracho, Michoacán después de participar en el Festival de Globos de Cantoya.

Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga y Diego Antonio Maldonado Castañeda son estudiantes de la carera de psicología en la Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México.
Llamarmos que las autoridades hayan investigación del delito sin demora.
16 September 2012

The symposium in Divarbakir was attended by some 370 people and the agreement to send the statement of support made at the final plenary session.  The symposium over two days was sponsored by the municipality of the largely Kurdish city and it focussed on social trauma.  There were two sessions that presented the ideas of Liberation psychology presented by Güneș Kyacı and  Özge Yılmaz, and by Mark Burton.  there was coniderable interst, especially given the similarities between the social contexts of Turkey and much of Latin America.


More information on disappeared psychologists in Mexico

A bit more information on the case. See the article that appeared today, below. This states the facts of the case. It is also worth adding that the State authorities in Michoacán have not been answering calls from family of the 3 who were kidnapped.

We know that 2 of the three (Ana Belén and Diego) are psychology students at the Autonomous University of Mexico City. The three are members of the Citizens Movement: Luis Enrique is also the coordinator for the Federal District (i.e. Greater Mexico City) Youth Movement, responsible for the circle for study of progressive and director for the inter-party accord. He is also at the same University where he studies communications.

There are also some posts in English (and more in Spanish) at http://nomasvictimas.org/http://nomasvictimas.org/

The petition site is still live at http://www.change.org/es/peticiones/ay%C3%BAdenos-a-encontrar-a-ana-bel%C3%A9m-s%C3%A1nchez-diego-maldonado-y-luis-casta%C3%B1edahttp://www.change.org/es/peticiones/ay%C3%BAdenos-a-encontrar-a-ana-bel%C3%A9m-s%C3%A1nchez-diego-maldonado-y-luis-casta%C3%B1eda

The following article is from La Jornada, a reliable Mexican daily newspaper La Jornada 13 Sept. Morelia Michoacán, Mexico

Families of three young people, Ana Belén Sánchez Mayorga, Diego Antonio Maldonado Castañeda y Enrique Luis Castañeda Nava, forcibly ‘disappeared’ on 22th July in the municiplaity of Paracho after taking art in the Festival of Balloons of Cantoya, went to the Michoacán State Procurator for Justice Office (State Attorney) to press for the matter to be investigated. It is known that the three were taken from the hotel where they were were staying and that the hotel administration did not report the incident to the authorities. The three young people, from Mexico city, were sent by the company KidScience, contracted by the State Council for Science, Technology, and Innovation, so that they could provide a workshop before the balloon festival. They arrived Wednesday 18th of July and lodged at the Santa Fe Hotel in the centre of Paracho. They delivered the course for children during the next three days and on Saturday 22nd, in the evening, after the inauguration of the festival, were in the bar of the hotel where it seems they were in argument with persons who tried to molest the young woman who is a psychologist. The individuals left but hours later arrived with an armed group which took the three from their rooms by force. The hotel administration was maintained silence and closed the hotel for two weeks. Unofficial sources say assert that the kidnappers were members of a criminal band that operates in the area of the Purépacha plateau. Laura Beatriz Castañeda, mother of Diego, confirmed in a telephone interview that the staff of the State Procurator’s office only said that it is possible that the victims are alive, because bodies have not been found. Then she was taken out via a back door and taken to the bus station to leave without talking to the press.

translation MB original article at http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/09/14/estados/042n2est


Online petition for the disappeared colleagues in Paracho, Mexico

Online petition for the disappeared colleagues in Paracho, Mexico (see next post for background). Once on the site you can select English or another language, but the information remains in Spanish.
Unfortunately the brief text is not translated there – here is what it says.

Porque los seres humanos merecemos una vida libre de violencia, queremos paz, luz, amor y un país en donde la vida sea segura, estable y llena de oportunidades para los jovenes.
Because human beings deserve a life free of violence. We want peace, light, love and a country where life is safe, stable and full of opportunities for young people.


Hola, Acabo de firmar la siguiente petición pidiendo a:Gobierno de Michoacan

Hello I’ve just signed the following petition to the government of Michoacan [State].

—————-Por favor! traigan de regreso a Ana Belém Sánchez Mayorga, Diego Antonio Maldonado, Luis Enrique Castañeda.
—————-Please bring back Ana, Diego, Luis.

Please share.