Geoffrey Robertson today stated on television that the ruling on Julian Assange’s ‘detention’ was arrived at by five ‘distinguished judges’. In fact, the WGAD website indicates that none of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is a judge in any sense. The chairman is a lecturer, a conciliator and a campaigner on human rights. If any of the members of the Working Group is a judge, it is not mentioned on the WGAD website.
Of the rest, one is a former civil servant and academic and three are essentially ‘just’ academics. I don’t seek to argue that they are not experts in the field, nor do I seek to argue against their judgment (I shall do that with an entirely different argument), but I do seek to draw attention to Geoffrey Robertson QC acting today as a PR agent and shill on national television whilst apparently not in possession of the facts. By inflating the qualifications of the panel, he seeks to establish in the minds of the viewer the idea that they cannot possibly be wrong. Perhaps they are not – but the use of a bare-faced lie is jury-baiting sophistry and can’t be allowed to go unchallenged by the BBC.
Perhaps Robertson was just rushed today. Hardly a diamond standard excuse.
In any case, argument from authority is a defining logical fallacy. I hold that the British Government is right to ignore the ‘ruling, and to consider if, really, the WGAD procedure is one to which it really ought be attached.
Incidentally, Joanna Gosling was brilliant in questioning Roberston today, quite excellent, but his bravado and bluster was so blatant as to possibly confuse any viewer.