Is Julian Assange on a hiding to nothing?

A question looms throughout this book: is it better to die rather than experience the wrath of a publicly shamed America? The story begins in 2018 when Nils Melzer, a UN Special Rapporteur on torture, received an email: ‘Julian Assange is seeking your protection.’ Melzer’s office receives approximately 50 requests for help each week, and he was initially dismissive of this one. He believed the founder of WikiLeaks was ‘hiding out in an embassy somewhere because of rape allegations’. A few months later, Assange’s lawyers made contact again. This time Melzer read the documents forwarded to him and changed his mind: ‘I began to wake up to my own prejudice.’

Sacrificing to the false god of gold

Deep in Peru’s Amazon rainforest sits a desolate zone, stretching for miles and pockmarked with chemical-tainted water that glistens orange and blue. This was the centre of the country’s illegal gold-mining operations, where tens of thousands of desperate people dug into the soil in search of a precious mineral that could make the difference between destitution and wealth. For every ounce found in the crime-infested badlands, nine tonnes of toxic waste are thought to be left behind in an environmental catastrophe that will contaminate the region for decades. No wonder Pope Francis, on a visit to the impoverished area, called gold ‘a false god’ when so much wreckage is left

Priti Patel under investigation – as Tory MPs rally to her defence

Since Sir Philip Rutnam resigned as the Home Office permanent secretary, alleging that Priti Patel had created a climate of fear in the department, the Home Secretary has kept a low profile and made no public comment. Today the government were forced to formally respond to the claims thanks to an urgent question from Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour leader asked why the Prime Minister defended Patel over the claims and called her ‘fantastic’, when if true the allegations would ‘constitute a breach of the ministerial code’. Speaking for the government, Michael Gove put in a passionate defence of his colleague. He praised Patel as someone he had always found to