On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this coming week, the national Parliament of Australia, the country of which Julian Assange is a citizen, will be sitting. Around the world, there is a huge popular outcry in support of Julian Assange. This includes other governments, and parliaments, including the government of Mexico, the Mexico City Council and the German Bundestag. They have all demanded of the British Government that it end its illegal imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange and, of the United States' government, that it end its illegal attempts to extradite Julian Assange.
Stella Moris @StellaMoris1), the mother of two of Julian Assange's children, spoke today to a London protest in support of the Palestinian resistance to Israel's recent aggression against the Gaza strip. She told the large crowd how Julian had previously revealed secret communications amongst Senior Israeli officers in their planning of wars against Palestinian men, women and children.
After six and a half years illegal detention, the courageous and visionary Australian journalist Julian Assange, founder of the Wikileaks news service, has had his asylum inside the London Ecuadorian Embassy revoked and has been arrested by the British police to face trial for skipping bail back in 2012, a charge which he could only be jailed for a few years at most. However, there remains a serious risk that the United States could seek to have Julian Assange extradited to face, in its rigged judicial system, charges which have suspiciously remained secret until now: helping whistleblower Chelsea Manning crack a password to leak classified US documents.
See SEP (Australia) rallies demand freedom for Julian Assange (13/4/19) | WSWS for report of protest of Friday 12 April. -17/4/19: Protest Friday 4pm Victorian State Library in Melbourne and at 1pm in Martin Place, Sydney for Julian Assange: Bring yourself, friends, placards and any literature you may have to inform members of the public of why they need to act to help prevent the deportation to the United States, of Julian Assange, who is not even a United States citizen and has never been there!
On 5 February 2016 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Julian Assange had effectively been held in arbitrary detention inside the London Ecuadorian Embassy since October 2012 when he had first been granted political asylum there. This finding was reaffirmed in November 2016.
From October 2012 until May 2016, Julian Assange had been effectively in detention because the British government intended to allow Sweden to extradite him for ‘questioning’ - not to charge him - over rape allegations dating back to 2010. Had the Swedish government given an undertaking not to allow the US to extradite him, Julian Assange would have readily agreed to travel to Sweden, but the Swedish government refused to give such a guarantee.
The Swedish government also refused requests by Julian Assange to be interviewed inside the embassy. Only in May 2017, after the findings of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention were published, did a Swedish prosecutor finally make the effort to interview Assange inside the embassy. As a consequence, the prosecutor was forced to admit that Assange was not guilty of rape. Clearly the rape allegations were, just as Julian Assange had feared from the outset, a cynical ploy by ‘neutral’ Sweden to grab him, them hand him across to the U.S.
After Assange had been cleared of the Swedish rape allegations, British Prime Minister Cameron decided to issue the warrant to arrest him for the trivial charge of skipping bail back in 2012, after he had clearly endured far more incarceration than such a trivial offence could warrant. As the Swedish government did before him, Cameron refused to give an undertaking not to allow the U.S. to extradite him.
This arbitrary detention, now for six and a half years, is clearly illegal under international law and a denial of basic human rights to a man whom the Australian Federal Police had found in 2010 had committed no crime.
This is also a test-case of the Australian Government's respect and care for its citizens. It should have acted immediately to end Australian citizen Assange's illegal incarceration. It should have long ago demanded of the British and Swedish governments to guarantee not to allow Julian Assange to be extradited by the US to face the same fate of other courageous whistleblowers, including US Army Private Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou, formerly of the CIA.
Had such a guarantee not have been given, the Australian Government should have dispatched to London a contingent of Australian Federal Police to escort Julian Assange back to Australia.
Even now, it is not too late to act. As Assange has already served far more detention than is warranted by the charge of skipping bail, he should be released no sooner than when he is sentenced the court. After that the Federal Police should escort him to Heathrow Airport thence back to Australia.
How you can help
Attend the protest today (Friday 12 April) at 4:00pm at the State Library to demand the Australian government act;
Talk to friends and family about Julian Assange;
Ask your federal member, whether Government or Opposition, why he/she has failed to act in all this time to uphold international law in regard to Julian Assange;
Ask each candidate seeking your vote at the federal elections on 18 May, what he/she intends to do for Julian Assange if elected. Give your highest preference to those who give the best responses.
#E8FFFF">A comment containing excerpts from this page has been posted beneath #comment-76762">Assange Arrest Imminent: Ecuadorian Embassy To Expel Him In “Hours To Days” (5/4/19) by Tyler Durden | The Duran (21/4/19).
The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the reasons behind Ecuador's Foreign Minister stating that they have no plans of revoking Julian Assange's asylum status.
After news broke that Ecuador was planing on expelling Assange from their London Embassy, people gathered in the streets of London, and online voices blasted Ecuador's decision to deliver Assange to UK authorities, with eventual extradition to the United States.
The Ecuadorian government was compelled to quickly release a statement refuting the news of Assange's expulsion.
Comment by James Sinnamon: In this otherwise insightful and informative discussion of 8:53 minutes, I think Alex Christoforou and Alexander Mercouris are far too kind to the UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn has had six and a half years to act to force the UK government end its illegal detention of Julian Assange. Corbyn, who purportedly supports Julian Assange, could have easily led many thousands of Labour Party supporters to protest at the Ecuadorian Embassy in support of Julian Assange. Such a crowd could easily have escorted Assange to Heathrow Airport and onto a flight back to Australia. Certainly, had he spoken more loudly in support of Julian Assange in all of these years, it would have been politically impossible for Theresa May to have persisted with her government's criminal and secretive collusion with the United States against Julian Assange.
I write to ask you to act to bring to an end circumstances faced by Julian Assange which certainly have already harmed his health and may well end his life if those circumstances are not rectified soon.
An investigation by the Australian Federal Police into Julian Assange ordered by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2010, found that he had committed no crime.
In spite of that, he was threatened with extradition to the United States to face, in its rigged court system - as attested to by former CIA officer John Kiriakou, amongst others - charges that the United States is not even prepared to reveal to the public. Julian Assange, who is not even a United States' citizen, could face many years of imprisonment - or worse - for merely having made known, through Wikileaks, information that the public should know about world events of recent years.
To prevent this, he sought asylum inside the London Ecuadorian Embassy in October 2012. Asylum was granted to him by former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa as required by International Law.
Unfortunately, Assange's asylum inside the Ecuadorian embassy has been turned by the British government into an illegal detention. This has been found twice - on 5 February 2016 and on 30 November 2016 by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. This illegal detention has now lasted six and a half years and has had terrible consequences for Julian Assange's mental and physical health. In all this time, he has seen no sunlight, had little exercise and has been refused medical attention - clearly a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of international law.
President Lenin Moreno, who succeeded President Rafael Correa in 2017, has made Julian Assange's already dire living situation worse - putting him under constant surveillance, denying him access to the Internet or even reading material and restricting visitors.
On top of this, there are rumours that the Ecuadorian government may soon expel Julian Assange from the Embassy. Should he be expelled he faces what he has endured so much up until now to avoid - extradition to the United States.
Surely, neither the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, nor his continued confinement under the degrading conditions he has been made to endure for so long, are alternatives that should be acceptable to an Australian government showing a basic duty of care to each and every one of its citizens.
I therefore urgently request that you act now to end the illegal detention of Julian Assange. You could despatch today a contingent of Federal Police to fly to London, go to the Ecuadorian embassy and escort Julian Assange back to Heathrow Airport and thence back to Tullamarine Airport. I doubt if any British government authority would dare obstruct a contingent of Federal Police clearly acting to uphold the law and to end such a cruel denial of basic human rights.
Should your efforts to free Julian Assange somehow fail, you could try to ensure that he receives fair judicial process in the United States. He should be given an attorney of his choice funded by the Australian government and the United States be asked to conduct the trial in public. Certainly any charges arising from what is already been revealed to the public through Wikileaks should be tried in public.
Only then, if found guilty by a fair-minded and impartial jury, could any of what Julian Assange has endured since 2010 be seen to have been deserved. However, I believe that he would almost certainly be found not guilty if such a trial were to occur and he would then be able to walk free.
So, I appeal to you, even at this late stage, to use the powers vested in you to end Julian Assange's ordeal and to ensure that justice and the rule of law ultimately prevail in this instance.
On Friday 5 April 2019, as revealed by John Pilger on Twitter from a high level source within the Ecuadorian Government, Julian Assange would shortly be expelled from the London Ecuadorian Embassy. Once evicted, he stands to be arrested by the UK police, extradited to the United States where he faces a secret trial based on a secret indictment. He may face many years behind bars - even the death penalty can't be excluded - all for just publishing, through Wikleaks, facts about world events that the public would be entitled to know in a fair and just world.
In 2010 then Prime Minister Julia Gillard, before Julian Assange was forced to seek asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in October 2012, had ordered the Australian Federal Police to investigate Assange in the hope that they would find he had committed a crime. They found none.
In February 2016, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) stated that his detention was unlawful. This was reaffirmed by the Working Group in November 2015
An Australian government - if it was committed to the rule of law, free speech, human rights and democracy - could could act now to end the British government's illegal detention of Julian Assange in a matter of hours. It could send to London a contingent of Federal Police to escort Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian Embassy back to Heathrow Airport and thence to Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne.
Were the British government to dare attempt to interfere with Australian Federal Police escorting Julian Assange back to Australia, the outcry would be enormous - from within Britain, Australia and the rest of the world.
However, not one Australian government, that of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, nor any of the subsequent governments- those of Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull have enacted this basic duty of care towards Julian Assange. They have not even shown any sympathy for him, or interest.
Not one of the political parties with representation in parliament - The Liberals, the Nationals, Labor, the Greens, nor any of the Independent members have spoken up for Julian Assange. This seems an appalling failure of our parliamentary system and those members of Parliament who supposedly represent us. (One exception to this is the now demonised OneNationParty.)
What You Can Do
Give your first preference to candidates who promise to act for Julian Assange. With a federal election looming, it should now be possible to hold to account those elected members of Parliament who have behaved so shamefully towards Julian Assange. Where you are asked to vote for a sitting candidate from one of the major parties, ask him/her should vote for a candidate who has been silent - or worse - about Julian Assange. Where any other candidate asks for your vote ask him/her what he she intends to do for Julian Assange. Give your first and subsequent references to those who give the best responses and put the major parties last.
At 1:00pm on Sunday 10 March originally, incorrectly the given date was 10 May - Ed) outside the State Library in Swanston Street Melbourne, supporters of investigative journalism, free speech and human rights will rally to demand that the Australian government act to free journalist Julian Assange from the arbitrary imprisonment he has faced inside the London Ecuadorian embassy since October 2012 when he sought asylum, that is more than 6 years ago.
Assange's living conditions inside the narrow confines of the Ecuadorian Embassy were already poor. They have been deliberately made worse by the new Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno. This is consistent with President Moreno's treatment of the Ecuadorian people to whom he made many promises in the election 19 February 2017, which he subsequently broke.
As described below by John Pilger in his address to the Sydney rally of last Sunday 3 March, Assange's health and even his life are now at risk. So, the need for the Australian government to act to protect one of its citizens is even more urgent.
Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy after the Swedish government requested that he be extradited to Sweden to be questioned by police over allegations that he had sexually assaulted two women. The women had initially made the allegations when he visited Sweden in August 2010, but Swedish police, who interviewed Assange closed the case and told him he could leave the country.
However the case was re-opened by a special prosecutor in November 2010. The prosecutor requested that Julian Assange be extradited from England for questioning, but failed to give him any assurance that he would not be extradited to the U.S. Assange then sought asylum in the Ecuadorian emabassy.
At this point, the Australian government could easily have acted to resolve the situation. They could have insisted that the Swedish government give Assange a guarantee against extradition to the U.S. or, failing that, expedite his return to Australia, if necessary, with an escort by members of the Australian Federal Police.
But the Australian government failed to act. In more than 8 years since then, it has either done either nothing or has acted to make Assange's circumstances worse.
Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador on 16 August 2012, but the UK government refused to allow him to leave the UK to go the Ecuador. As he has been threatened with arrest by the UK authorities for "skipping bail" should he step outside the embassy, Assange has been effectively imprisoned inside the embassy and, since February 2017 has faced additional hardships deliberately imposed upon him by the new Ecuadorian government, as described above.
On Sunday 3 March, the Socialist Equality Party, publishers of the World Socialist Web Site organised a rally in Sydney to support Julian Assange. The speech by John Pilger and the embedded video, previously published on their web site, is re-published below:
"Whenever I visit Julian Assange, we meet in a room he knows too well.
There is a bare table and pictures of Ecuador on the walls. There is a bookcase where the books never change. The curtains are always drawn and there is no natural light. The air is still and foetid.
This is Room 101.
Before I enter Room 101, I must surrender my passport and phone. My pockets and possessions are examined. The food I bring is inspected.
The man who guards Room 101 sits in what looks like an old-fashioned telephone box. He watches a screen, watching Julian. There are others unseen, agents of the state, watching and listening.
Cameras are everywhere in Room 101. To avoid them, Julian manoeuvres us both into a corner, side by side, flat up against the wall. This is how we catch up: whispering and writing to each other on a notepad, which he shields from the cameras. Sometimes we laugh.
I have my designated time slot. When that expires, the door in Room 101 bursts open and the guard says, “Time is up!” On New Year’s Eve, I was allowed an extra 30 minutes and the man in the phone box wished me a happy new year, but not Julian.
Of course, Room 101 is the room in George Orwell’s prophetic novel, 1984, where the thought police watched and tormented their prisoners, and worse, until people surrendered their humanity and principles and obeyed Big Brother.
Julian Assange will never obey Big Brother. His resilience and courage are astonishing, even though his physical health struggles to keep up.
Julian is a distinguished Australian who has changed the way many people think about duplicitous governments. For this, he is a political refugee subjected to what the United Nations calls “arbitrary detention.”
The UN says he has the right of free passage to freedom, but this is denied. He has the right to medical treatment without fear of arrest, but this is denied. He has the right to compensation, but this is denied.
As founder and editor of WikiLeaks, his crime has been to make sense of dark times. WikiLeaks has an impeccable record of accuracy and authenticity which no newspaper, no TV channel, no radio station, no BBC, no New York Times, no Washington Post, no Guardian can equal. Indeed, it shames them.
That explains why he is being punished.
For example: Last week, the International Court of Justice ruled that the British Government had no legal powers over the Chagos Islanders, who, in the 1960s and 70s, were expelled in secret from their homeland on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and sent into exile and poverty. Countless children died, many of them from sadness. It was an epic crime few knew about.
For almost 50 years, the British have denied the islanders’ the right to return to their homeland, which they had given to the Americans for a major military base.
In 2009, the British Foreign Office concocted a “marine reserve” around the Chagos archipelago.
This touching concern for the environment was exposed as a fraud when WikiLeaks published a secret cable from the British Government reassuring the Americans that “the former inhabitants would find it difficult, if not impossible, to pursue their claim for resettlement on the islands if the entire Chagos Archipelago were a marine reserve.”
The truth of the conspiracy clearly influenced the momentous decision of the International Court of Justice.
WikiLeaks has also revealed how the United States spies on its allies; how the CIA can watch you through your i-phone; how presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took vast sums of money from Wall Street for secret speeches that reassured the bankers that if she was elected, she would be their friend.
In 2016, WikiLeaks revealed a direct connection between Clinton and organised jihadism in the Middle East: terrorists, in other words. One email disclosed that when Clinton was US Secretary of State, she knew that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were funding Islamic State, yet she accepted huge donations for her foundation from both governments.
She then approved the world’s biggest ever arms sale to her Saudi benefactors: arms that are currently being used against the stricken people of Yemen.
That explains why he is being punished.
WikiLeaks has also published more than 800,000 secret files from Russia, including the Kremlin, telling us more about the machinations of power in that country than the specious hysterics of the “Russia-gate” pantomime in Washington.
This is real journalism—journalism of a kind now considered exotic: the antithesis of Vichy journalism, which speaks for the enemy of the people and takes its sobriquet from the Vichy government that occupied France on behalf of the Nazis.
Vichy journalism is censorship by omission, such as the untold scandal of the collusion between Australian governments and the United States to deny Julian Assange his rights as an Australian citizen and to silence him.
In 2010, Prime Minister Julia Gillard went as far as ordering the Australian Federal Police to investigate and hopefully prosecute Assange and WikiLeaks—until she was informed by the Australian Federal Police that no crime had been committed.
Last weekend, the Sydney Morning Herald published a lavish supplement promoting a celebration of “Me Too” at the Sydney Opera House on 10 March. Among the leading participants is the recently retired Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop.
Bishop has been on show in the local media lately, lauded as a loss to politics: an “icon,” someone called her, to be admired.
The elevation to celebrity feminism of one so politically primitive as Bishop tells us how much so-called identity politics have subverted an essential, objective truth: that what matters, above all, is not your gender but the class you serve.
Before she entered politics, Julie Bishop was a lawyer who served the notorious asbestos miner James Hardie, which fought claims by men and their families dying horribly with asbestosis.
Lawyer Peter Gordon recalls Bishop “rhetorically asking the court why workers should be entitled to jump court queues just because they were dying.”
Bishop says she “acted on instructions ... professionally and ethically.”
Perhaps she was merely “acting on instructions” when she flew to London and Washington last year with her ministerial chief of staff, who had indicated that the Australian Foreign Minister would raise Julian’s case and hopefully begin the diplomatic process of bringing him home.
Julian’s father had written a moving letter to the then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, asking the government to intervene diplomatically to free his son. He told Turnbull that he was worried Julian might not leave the embassy alive.
Julie Bishop had every opportunity in the UK and the US to present a diplomatic solution that would bring Julian home. But this required the courage of one proud to represent a sovereign, independent state, not a vassal.
Instead, she made no attempt to contradict the British Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, when he said outrageously that Julian “faced serious charges.” What charges? There were no charges.
Australia’s Foreign Minister abandoned her duty to speak up for an Australian citizen, prosecuted with nothing, charged with nothing, guilty of nothing.
Will those feminists who fawn over this false icon at the Opera House next Sunday be reminded of her role in colluding with foreign forces to punish an Australian journalist, one whose work has revealed that rapacious militarism has smashed the lives of millions of ordinary women in many countries: in Iraq alone, the US-led invasion of that country, in which Australia participated, left 700,000 widows.
So what can be done? An Australian government that was prepared to act in response to a public campaign to rescue the refugee football player, Hakeem al-Araibi, from torture and persecution in Bahrain, is capable of bringing Julian Assange home.
The refusal by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra to honour the United Nations’ declaration that Julian is the victim of “arbitrary detention” and has a fundamental right to his freedom, is a shameful breach of the letter and spirit of international law.
Why has the Australian government made no serious attempt to free Assange? Why did Julie Bishop bow to the wishes of two foreign powers?
Why is this democracy traduced by its servile relationships, and integrated with lawless foreign power?
The persecution of Julian Assange is the conquest of us all: of our independence, our self-respect, our intellect, our compassion, our politics, our culture.
So stop scrolling. Organise. Occupy. Insist. Persist. Make a noise. Take direct action. Be brave and stay brave. Defy the thought police.
War is not peace, freedom is not slavery, ignorance is not strength. If Julian can stand up to Big Brother, so can you: so can all of us."