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Liveblog: Julian Assange Under Threat - Defend WikiLeaks Defend WikiLeaks
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Liveblog: Julian Assange Under Threat

Julian Assange Faces Extradition, Donate to the Campaign Now

Arrest info and how else to get involved here

See the full WikiLeaks Legal Defence fund website here

Continuous coverage of legal, political, and other developments; get in touch to add an event or item

For 2018 updates, click here.

For 2019 updates, click here.

Background: Julian Assange arrested, indicted, facing extradition

Throughout 2018, new Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno ratcheted up restrictions on Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, isolating the WikiLeaks journalist and steadily building a pretext to ultimately revoke his asylum and allow UK police in to arrest him.

Now, Julian Assange is detained in HMP Belmarsh, a high-security prison in southeast London, where he faces an extradition request from the United States, which has charged him on 18 counts threatening 175 years in jail. The charges include 17 counts of Espionage, the first ever such charges for a journalist, Geand 1 count of conspiracy to commit computer crime for allegedly attempting to protect a source’s anonymity. Press freedom groups, US presidential candidates, UK/EU politicians, and top newsrooms have condemned the US prosecution of Assange, warning of the grave threat it poses to journalistic freedoms around the world.

Courage is liveblogging daily updates, recapping legal, political and other developments in Assange’s case. See Courage’s fact sheets on various aspects of Assange’s case and WikiLeaks’ here, resources including legal documents and UN rulings & opinions here, a timeline of WikiLeaks’ releases and major events here, an archive of the 2018 version of this liveblog here, and ways to donate to Assange’s defense here.

10 November 2021

The Long Night Before Dawn: The Assange Appeal | Felicity Ruby

Julian Assange won his case against extradition to the United States on 4 January 2021. After watching the two-day appeal hearing in October, I believe he is likely to win again, defeating the US appeal to the High Court, with a ruling due before Christmas.

Given the already weak US case is suffering from several scandals, fuelling an ever-growing campaign, the Biden administration’s Department of Justice may not risk the embarrassment of yet another defeat in the Supreme Court in a case initiated by the Trump administration. Alternatively, the misuse of legal process to inflict punishment on Assange through endless delay could continue.

The case is weak because:

  • Thirty former US officials have come forward to reveal aggressive spying on Assange and his associates by the CIA, including the outlining of options for Julian’s abduction or assassination.
  • The United States is offering ‘assurances’ that are not assurances
  • The United States has dangled the idea of a sentence being served in Australia, a laughable concession
  • A star witness for the United States has admitted to fabricating allegations and lying to the FBI for immunity
  • Spain’s High Court is investigating five separate criminal complaints related to spying on Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London by UC Global, a security company that allegedly helped the CIA.
  • The prosecution seeks to denigrate the character and evidence of a distinguished psychiatrist for a trivial reason.
  • Scorn rather than arguments has greeted the evidence of medical professionals
  • Overall, the excesses of the US case are uniting larger and broader coalitions of unlikely bedfellows in a growing campaign.

9 November 2021

Julian Assange awarded Austrian Jouranalist Club most prestigious prize – The Dr. Karl Renner Solidarity Prize

The ÖJC has been committed to freedom of the press, human rights and quality in journalism since it was founded in 1977. Since 2017 the ÖJC has awarded the Dr. Karl Renner Solidarity Prize for persecuted journalists who have been unjustly imprisoned for their journalistic activities

“With the platform WikiLeaks, which he founded, Julian Assange has always been concerned with helping whistleblowers to bring the truth about crimes committed by governments and companies to the public. He did the only right thing and used all the possibilities of the modern media world available to him. He was charged by the US for his work under the Espionage Act – the anti-espionage law – of 1917. It must not be that powerful states like the USA, Great Britain and Sweden conspire against a single person and destroy him in front of the eyes of the world public – and that without condemnation. With the award of the Dr. Karl Renner Solidarity Prize to Julian Assange, we combine the demand for his immediate release so that his fiancée and two small sons can embrace him again”, said ÖJC President Prof. Oswald Klotz, explaining the unanimous decision of the jury.

Julian Assange’s Fiancée Stella Moris: WikiLeaks Helped Expose Climate Change Hypocrisy & War Crimes

Assange’s partner, Stella Moris was is in Glasgow as part of her campaign to free Julian and to highlight how WikiLeaks has also revealed evidence of how corporations and states have undermined the goals of prior climate summits.

“The WikiLeaks archive is quite an extraordinary tool for activists, for academics, for people working in this area, to be able to understand the relationship between the states and the fossil fuel companies, how those interests are intertwined, the fact that there is no bright line between many of these states and the fossil fuel industry, and that, in fact, there’s a revolving door and that the goals of the summit are frustrated by this reality”, says Moris.

“These revelations are part of the publications that Julian is indicted over. He faces 175 years for publishing the truth, for making this information, that is indisputably in the public interest, available to the public. And the U.S. government, under Trump, took the unprecedented step to criminalize journalism, to criminalize receiving information from a journalistic source and publishing that to the public”.

7 November 2021

Julian Assange and Stella Moris bring legal action against Dominic Raab for ‘preventing them from marrying in prison’

Julian Assange and his fiancee Stella Moris are bringing legal action against Justice Secretary Dominic Raab and the Governor of Belmarsh Prison, accusing them of preventing the couple from marrying behind bars.

They fear the obstacles put in the way of their wedding by UK authorities are linked to a US-backed political war against the Wikileaks publisher and campaigner.

In September it was revealed the CIA had drawn up plans to kidnap or kill Assange during his seven years exiled in the Embassy of Ecuador in London. The agency also spied on his family and friends and led a campaign of misinformation against him.

Stella, 38, a lawyer, said: “Those catch-or-kill plans were not implemented but other hostile measures were and this is the sting in the tail.”

“It’s part of an enormous conspiracy against Julian which makes itself felt in all that we try to do.

“A wedding would be a moment of happiness, a bit of normality in insane circumstances. Julian needs things to hold on to because daily life is a struggle for him in Belmarsh and there is so much uncertainty about his future.

“There is no reason for political interference in what is a basic human right. The CIA revelations show the lengths some agencies are willing to go to in their persecution of Julian.”

4 November 2021

John Rees: The Assange Appeal Is the Defining Trial of Our Time

In the Assange extradition appeal, the British and American establishments are fighting journalists’ unions from across the world – and their mission is simple: to make effective scrutiny of the powerful impossible.

So the question at the heart of the hearing is this: is it reasonable to assume that the agency that has repeatedly acted illegally to ensnare Julian Assange, and which has even developed plans to kidnap or kill him, can be assumed to be acting in good faith when they give assurances that he will be humanely treated in the US prison system?

And how much more doubt should there be about this when, as Lewis admitted in a mistimed and flustered summing-up, any assurances given now cannot be specific and can be withdrawn at a future date?

But every political case of this kind is decided fifty percent in court and fifty percent in the court of public opinion. In the High Court, there is no jury of Assange’s peers who will be the arbiters of his fate. In the court of public opinion, however, it is ordinary citizens who have the deciding vote.

That is why, as the High Court judges sequester themselves in their chambers to decide their verdict in coming weeks, it must be the voices of ordinary people that are raised loud enough to shape the outcome of the civil rights trial of the century.

Moderate Rebels: Stella Moris on dangers of US extradition case

Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton speak with Stella Moris, the fiancée of imprisoned WikiLeaks journalist Julian Assange, about the appeal hearings in the US extradition case and how it threatens freedom of the press around the world.

3 November 2021

John Pilger: Why Julian Assange’s Inhumane Prosecution Imperils Justice for Us All

The damage done to him in his decade of incarceration and uncertainty, including more than two years in Belmarsh (whose brutal regime is celebrated in the latest Bond film) is beyond doubt.

But so, too, is his courage beyond doubt, and a quality of resistance and resilience that is heroism. It is this that may see him through the present Kafkaesque nightmare—if he is spared an American hellhole.

The High Court judges are likely to announce their decision on the U.S. appeal in the new year. What they decide will determine whether or not the British judiciary has trashed the last vestiges of its vaunted reputation; in the land of Magna Carta this disgraceful case ought to have been hurled out of court long ago.

The missing imperative is not the impact on a collusive “free press.” It is justice for a man persecuted and willfully denied it.

Julian Assange is a truth-teller who has committed no crime but revealed government crimes and lies on a vast scale and so performed one of the great public services of my lifetime. Do we need to be reminded that justice for one is justice for all?

2 November 2021

Julian Assange becomes an honorary member of the German PEN

The German PEN center appoints the investigative journalist Julian Assange as an honorary member. Assange has been in solitary confinement in London’s maximum security prison Belmarsh since April 2019, after applying for asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 and living there as a political refugee for almost seven years.

The appointment as an honorary member of the German PEN Center is linked to the concern for the health of Julian Assange, whose prison conditions are described by Amnesty International as torture. The arbitrariness of the judiciary and the deprivation of liberty of Assange are a monstrous violation of human rights – and this happens in the midst of a Western European democracy and not in a despotic regime.

“We call on the authorities in England not to extradite our honorary member Julian Assange to the United States of America, where he faces up to 175 years in prison, but to release him immediately and unconditionally from prison. His continued detention is purely political and is therefore neither acceptable nor justified. It contradicts the right to freedom of expression and therefore the charter of the international PEN. We assure him, like our other honorary members, of our unlimited solidarity,” says Ralf Nestmeyer, Vice President of the German PEN.

Archive: 2021

1 November 2021

Philip Adams of the Late Night Live speaks to Rebecca Vincent on the US appeal hearing in the case of Julian Assange

The US Government is appealing the decision by a UK Court to deny their request for extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange – disputing the severity of Julian Assange’s mental state and offering the court assurances that he would not be subject to “Special Administrative Measures”. Can the court accept their claims to provide a safe environment for Assange given the reports that the CIA was plotting to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange in 2019?

Rebecca Vincent of the Reports Without Borders answers and gives an account of the US appeal hearing.

IFEX’s October report on free expression: Rights groups made a joint plea to the US Attorney General to drop the case against Assange

A decision on Julian Assange’s extradition case is expected in the next few weeks. The final week of October saw the US authorities in court, where they were appealing an earlier decision by a UK judge not to allow the extradition of the Wikileaks founder. Reporters Without Borders and PEN Norway, who attended the hearing as trial observers, have provided useful summaries of the proceedings. Shortly before the hearing, rights groups made a joint plea to the US Attorney General to drop the case against Assange, who, if extradited to the US, faces 175 years in prison.

31 October 2021

Spain opens five criminal actions related to spying on Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London

Spain’s National High Court is investigating 5 separate criminal complaints with respect to spying on Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

The first complaint is on behalf of Assange himself. Another, according to article, is a complaint filed by German journalists, WL staff and Assange’s lawyers. A third complaint is fromjournalist Stefania Maurizi and the fourth is from former Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa, while the fifth complaint relates to an employee of Promsecurity (who took over the security contract of the Ecuadorean embassy in May 2018) and the €3m extortion attempt of WikiLeaks.

All of these relate to Spanish security firm UC Global and its subsidiary Undercover UC Global. As was previously reported, David Morales Guillén (owner and director) and Michel Wallemacq (director of operations) are the accused.

30 October 2021

‘If Julian Assange Dies, He Would Have Been Tortured To Death!’- Nils Melzer

On Going Underground UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer speaks about the trial of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. He discusses his assessment that Julian Assange has been psychologically tortured by UK authorities, why it has become harder for the UK courts to refuse the US extradition request, the parallels between the video of the murder of George Floyd and Julian Assange’s revelations and what Julian Assange’s persecution means for the average citizen’s rights.

28 October 2021

Julian Assange Extradition Appeal: Day 2

On the second day of Julian Assange’s extradition appeal hearing, the defense laid out its arguments to uphold the District Judge’s ruling which barred Assange’s ruling on medical grounds.

Before the proceedings began, Assange’s fiancée Stella Moris clarified some misreporting about Julian’s condition. “Reports that Assange didn’t attend court in person due to medication are incorrect,” she wrote. “He asked to appear in person. The request was rejected. The medication interfering with his ability to follow has nothing to do with the fact he wasn’t permitted to attend court.”

Edward Fitzgerald, Barrister for the defense, addressed grounds 1, 3, and 4 of the U.S. appeal, all dealing with evidence surrounding Assange’s mental health and whether his psychiatric condition and prospective treatment are so oppressive so as to render an extradition unjust. In the afternoon, Mark Summers QC addressed grounds 2 and 5, comprising the U.S.’s claims of assurances that Assange wouldn’t be placed in the most severe and isolating conditions in a U.S. prison.

Read Assange Defense Appeal Arguments

Statements in front of the court

Tariq Ali: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Must Not Be Extradited for Exposing War Crimes in Afghanistan

Tariq Ali speaks to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now on the Assange case US appeal hearing:

“Effectively, what is taking place is a punitive attempt by the British government — I have to say this — to try and punish Julian on behalf of the United States. No British court could convict Julian or allow him to be extradited under existing laws. And therefore, there is still a hope that if the High Court decides in a few months’ time not to support the U.S. appeal for extradition, the Supreme Court here will take no more appeals. There is also a hope that the Biden government will accept this ruling, if it takes place. If the High Court, listening to the case, even as we speak, decides that Julian should be extradited, we will immediately appeal to the Supreme Court, which means it will be delayed. But the fact that Julian is being kept in a top-security prison, Belmarsh, which is hell, where his health is deteriorating, is an absolute scandal. If he is to be kept in prison at all, it should be in a low-grade prison, as they put lots of corporate criminals in when they’re charged with huge financial crimes. Why Julian should be in this prison is just vindictiveness. There is no other way to describe it. And this government and its home secretary should be ashamed of themselves, because that is where the orders come from.”

27 October 2021

Julian Assange Extradition Appeal: Day 1

Julian Assange’s extradition appeal hearing, which will turn in part on determinations about his health and risk of suicide, commenced with the news that Julian was too ill to even follow the proceedings by remote videolink from Belmarsh prison. Julian did enter the viewing box about midway through the morning’s session, but he appeared thin and unwell, and he could be seen leaving the room about an hour later.

As the appealing party, the U.S. government argued first, led by James Lewis QC. Lewis broke up up its objections to each aspect of the judge’s finding — whether Assange’s mental health condition puts him at high risk of suicide, his personal capacity to resist that impulse, how prospective treatment affects that risk level. He began with the so-called “assurances” that Assange wouldn’t be placed in ADX Florence, the U.S.’s highest-security prison designed specifically to isolate its inmates, and that he wouldn’t be imposed Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), which are applied, often in national security cases, to even further restrict an inmate’s communication with the outside world. The U.S. worked to restrict all of the defense’s objections regarding prison conditions to ADX Florence and SAMs, attempting to narrow its burden of proof by arguing that if ADX Florence and SAMs were removed from the equation, Judge Baraitser would have ruled to extradite Assange.

The prosecution then moved to Assange’s mental health and the testimony of Professor Kopelman, the psychiatrist who examined and interviewed Assange and determined he would be at high risk of suicide if his extradition were ordered. The U.S. contends that the defense conflates criteria for breaching Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which says, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” and those for breaching Section 91 of the UK Extradition Act, which prevent extradition if “the physical or mental condition of the person is such that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him.”

Numerous journalists’ associations and free media groups have expressed their support to Julian Assange ahead of the hearing.

If extradited, #Wikileaks publisher Julian #Assange faces highly controversial charges under the US Espionage Act that could result in up to 175 years in prison. Despite this, he has not been even been able to attend his own hearing #AssangeAppeal

— Fair Trials (@fairtrials) October 28, 2021

Were #Assange to be extradited to the US, the risk to for #FreedomofExpression, the public’s right to know & the practice of independent journalism worldwide is serious. The attempt to extend the US Espionage Act globally puts all journalists at risk for doing their jobs.

— WIN (@whistleblowing) October 28, 2021

“If the US is successful today, journalists around the world will have to look over their shoulders if they are publishing information that is detrimental to US interests.”@amnesty’s Simon Crowther on why the #AssangeCase is so important for freedom of expression. #Assange

— amnestypress (@amnestypress) October 27, 2021

#RSF strongly opposes the threat of extradition of Julian #Assange to the United States, where he faces up to 175 years in prison for passing on information of public interest to journalists.
The case must be closed and Julian Assange released!#FreeAssange

— RSF (@RSF_inter) October 27, 2021

As the appeal trial of #JulianAssange starts today, we call on #USA Justice Department to drop all charges. Those who gather news and expose human rights violations should not be prosecuted! @wikileaks @TheJusticeDept #freespeech

— ARTICLE 19 Law (@article19law) October 27, 2021

“The Biden administration’s relentless pursuit of Julian Assange should send a chill down the spine of journalists around the world,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director @RobertMMahoney.

— Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) October 27, 2021

Julian Assange must not be extradited

— IFEX (@IFEX) October 27, 2021

Today in London the appeals hearing in @wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition case begins.

IPI joins other #pressfreedom groups around the world in calling on Biden admin to drop effort to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act.

— IPI-The Global Network for Independent Journalism (@globalfreemedia) October 27, 2021

#FreeAssange: The US appeal over the decision not to extradite Julian Assange is to be heard today by the High Court. All charges against #Assange must be dropped. “The allegations that swirl around this case beggar belief” @abellanger49 @NUJofficial

— IFJ (@IFJGlobal) October 27, 2021

#Assange charges must be dropped. #NUJ’s Michelle Stanistreet: “The longer this attempted prosecution is pursued, the greater will be the damage to investigative reporting.”

— NUJ (@NUJofficial) October 27, 2021

Full page ad in today’s @thetimes ahead of the #Assange hearing beginning at 8.30pm AEDT. The US charges against Assange are a global attack on #pressfreedom and represent a threat to any journalist anywhere writing about the US government. #JournalismIsNotACrime #MEAAmedia

— MEAA (@withMEAA) October 27, 2021

National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and International Federation of Journalists (IFJ): Free Assange

On the day of the US appeal against the dismissal of its application to extradite Julian Assange, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have reiterated their demand that the charges be dropped and Assange released.

NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “The longer this case has dragged on the more issues of concern have been raised. Seeking to prosecute Julian Assange for cultivating a source and encouraging that source to reveal further wrongdoing is an attack on the very process of journalism. The longer this attempted prosecution is pursued, the greater will be the damage to investigative reporting.”

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “The allegations that swirl around this case beggar belief. The US did not dispute in court accounts of CIA bugging of client/lawyer meetings. Since then credible accounts of plans to assassinate or kidnap Assange have emerged. Devices have been illegally cloned; there are even suggestions of covert attempts to take the DNA samples from babies. Due judicial process is impossible against such a backdrop – the appeal should be thrown out.”

Rebecca Vincent: It’s well past time to free Julian Assange

Wednesday marks perhaps the most important momentyet in the case against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. From October 27-28, the High Court in London will consider the US government’s appeal against the January decision opposing Assange’s extradition to the US, where he would face trial on 18 charges that could land him in a supermax prison for the rest of his life — all for publishing information in the public interest.

My organization, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), welcomed the decision opposing extradition, but criticized the substance of the ruling, which was based only on mental health grounds. We share the serious concerns about Assange’s mental health, and for this reason have stated that his extradition to the US is a possible matter of life or death.

However, the court failed to take a strong position in favor of journalism and press freedom, which we fear leaves the door open to future similar prosecutions against publishers, journalists and sources.

We fully believe that Assange has been targeted for his contributions to journalism, as WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of leaked classified documents – the basis of the US charges – informed extensive public interest reporting by media around the world, exposing war crimes and human rights violations.

t is only in the UK that I have faced such extensive and constantly evolving barriers to observation — an experience shared by my RSF colleagues from other country offices who have also been involved in our monitoring efforts.

These access issues, along with the UK’s continued detention of Assange in the high-security Belmarsh prison in London for no reason other than the fact that the US is pursuing its appeal, are only serving to tarnish the UK’s international reputation.

For as long as this continues, a clear and damaging signal is being sent to those who wish to silence critical reporting around the world, that the very states who are looked to as standard-setters are also capable of such acts themselves. It’s well past time to put a stop to this travesty.

Stefan Simanowitz: Julian Assange must be freed, now

Today, the US government is attempting to overturn an earlier ruling blocking Julian Assange’s extradition.

The US government’s indictment poses a grave threat to press freedom both in the US and abroad. Much of the conduct it describes is conduct that journalists and publishers engage in on a daily basis. Were his extradition to be allowed it would set a precedent that would effectively criminalise common journalistic practices.

By charging with espionage someone who has no non-disclosure obligation, is not a US citizen and is not in the US, the US government is behaving as if they have jurisdiction all over the world to pursue any person who receives and publishes information of government wrongdoing.

Whistleblowers, publishers and journalists are of vital importance in holding governments to scrutiny and perpetrators of human rights violations to account. The charges against Assange should be urgently dropped and he should be released.

26 October 2021

RSF: UK High Court set to hear US appeal in the Assange extradition case

“As we return to court for yet more proceedings in the US’ never-ending legal battle against Julian Assange, we again emphasise our position: that Assange has been targeted for his contributions to journalism, that his extradition and prosecution would have severe and long-lasting implications for journalism and press freedom around the world, and that the case should be closed and he should be immediately released,” said RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire.

“We have faced more difficulties in accessing proceedings in the case of Julian Assange than we have in any other case, in any other country. We are extremely frustrated by the barriers to access we continue to face on the eve of the most important hearing to date in this case. These proceedings are overwhelmingly in the public interest and must be open to scrutiny. We sincerely hope the High Court will act in the interest of open justice and the right to a fair trial and enable us to do our jobs by accrediting us to observe the appeal hearing,” said RSF Director of International Campaigns Rebecca Vincent.

German Association of Journalists (DJV): Prevent Julian Assange from being extradited

The German Association of Journalists calls on the London HIgh Court to finally reject the US extradition request against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

“Julian Assange does not earn multiple life sentences, but a medal,” says DJV federal chairman Frank Überall. The exposures of US war crimes by Wikileaks were historically indispensable. “The British judiciary must not give in to the US administration’s thirst for revenge.”

Assange extradition appeal, WikiLeaks and journalism

Britain’s High Court is set to hear the United States government’s appeal against a ruling blocking the extradition of Julian Assange on mental health grounds. And warnings that US attempts to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder for publishing classified government documents could have devastating implications for press freedom.

Damien Carrick of ABC Law Report speaks to Jennifer Robinson, member of Julian Assange’s legal team and Professor Peter Greste, UNESCO Chair in Journalism & Communication, author and journalist.

Conference: ‘Stop the Torture: Free Assange’

With Lauri Love, Derek Summerfield, Bjartmar Alexanderson, Deepa Driver, Chris Williamson and Andrew Feinstein.

25 October 2021

Stella Moris: Allegation of CIA ‘murder’ plot is game-changer in Assange extradition hearing

Speaking  at a press conference ahead of US appeal hearing on October 27-28, partner of Julian Assange Stella Moris said a media report that the CIA had plotted to kill or kidnap the WikiLeaks founder was a game-changer in his fight against extradition from Britain to the United States.

“This (Yahoo report) is a game changer going into the appeal because it shows the true nature, the true origins, the true criminality of the U.S. actions against Julian,” she said.

She also added that he is “sick and very unwell”.

“I saw Julian on Saturday morning in Belmarsh prison, and I was quite taken aback by how thin he was.”

Kristinn Hrafnsson, Wikileaks’ editor-in-chief, said he was not surprised by the story given the organisation had known since 2017 that then CIA Director Mike Pompeo considered the group a “non-state hostile intelligence service”.

“That was the reality on the table and we knew that we needed to be careful. This has been basically the reality for 10 or 11 years now,” he said.

“When you expose the secrets of the empire, they will come back at you.”

Hrafnsson also said that successful US Assange extradition appeal ‘unthinkable’.

“It is unthinkable that the High Court will come to any other decision but to uphold the magistrates’ court decision. Anything else is totally unacceptable.

“It would be such a stain on the system in this country that I certainly hope there will be enough pressure and realisation of how devastating it would be for this country if somehow the judge comes to the decision of reversing the magistrates’ court decision.”

Amnesty International: Drop the charges, stop the extradition and free Julian Assange

Ahead of an appeal hearing against the decision by a UK court not to extradite Julian Assange to the USA, Amnesty International’s Secretary General has called on US authorities to drop the charges against him and the UK authorities not to extradite him but release him immediately.

The call by Agnès Callamard follows an investigation by Yahoo News revealing that US security services considered kidnapping or killing Julian Assange when he was resident in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. These reports further weaken already unreliable US diplomatic assurances that Assange will not be placed in conditions that could amount to ill-treatment if extradited.

“Assurances by the US government that they would not put Julian Assange in a maximum security prison or subject him to abusive Special Administrative Measures were discredited by their admission that they reserved the right to reverse those guarantees. Now, reports that the CIA considered kidnapping or killing Assange have cast even more doubt on the reliability of US promises and further expose the political motivation behind this case,” said Amnesty Secretary General, Agnès Callamard.

“It is a damning indictment that nearly 20 years on, virtually no one responsible for alleged US war crimes committed in the course of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars has been held accountable, let alone prosecuted, and yet a publisher who exposed such crimes is potentially facing a lifetime in jail.”

24 October 2021

Marjorie Cohn: UK High Court Should Deny Extradition Because CIA Planned to Assassinate Assange

Instead of dropping Trump’s extradition request, Biden is vigorously pursuing his predecessor’s appeal against Assange, which the U.K. High Court will hear on October 27 and 28. At that hearing, the High Court should determine what effect the CIA’s recently revealed plan to kidnap and assassinate Assange will have on his fragile mental state in the event he is extradited to the United States.

The United States will be allowed to present “assurances” that if Assange is extradited, tried, convicted and imprisoned, he will not be subject to special administrative measures (SAMs) — onerous conditions that would keep him in virtual isolation — or be held at the ADX maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado. The U.S. intends to provide an additional assurance that it would not object to Assange serving any custodial sentence he may receive in Australia. These so-called assurances, however, are conditional. The U.S. reserves the right to impose SAMs or hold Assange at ADX if his future behavior warrants it. Moreover, the U.S. cannot guarantee that Australia would consent to hosting Assange’s incarceration.

The High Court should give great weight to the U.S. plans to kidnap and assassinate Assange. The knowledge of those revelations will put even more mental stress on Assange, whom former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer described as having suffered “prolonged exposure to psychological torture” during his confinement. The High Court should affirm the district court’s denial of extradition.

The High Court will decide whether to affirm or overturn district judge Baraitser’s decision denying extradition. If they affirm Baraitser’s ruling, the Biden administration could ask the U.K. Supreme Court to review the case. If the High Court overturns Baraitser’s decision, Assange could appeal to the U.K. Supreme Court and then to the European Court of Human Rights if the Supreme Court ruling goes against him.

Biden’s appeal of the denial of extradition should be dismissed. Julian Assange should be released and celebrated for his courage.

23 October 2021

Massive march in London in support of Julian Assange

Ahead of Appeal hearing on 27th and 28th of October, a massive march for Assange was held in London.

Julian Assange finacee @stellamoris1 speaks at yesterdays huge March for Assange in London, ahead of upcoming October 27-28 court hearing: “your right to know is what is being criminalized” #FreeAssangeNOW #NoExtradition

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 24, 2021

Yesterday I was proud to march in support of the campaign against the imprisonment and extradition of Julian Assange.

Julian Assange is being persecuted for revealing war crimes and human rights abuses. This is an attempt to intimidate and silence journalists and whistleblowers.

There’s only one decision #NoExtradition!#FreeAssangeNOW #DropTheCharges

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) October 23, 2021

— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) October 24, 2021

#FreeJulianAssange #bbcbroadcastinghouse

— Gordon Dimmack (@GordonDimmack) October 23, 2021

London today.

— Sarah Abdallah (@sahouraxo) October 23, 2021

Chris Hedges speaks to John Pilger about the upocoming appeals hearing

On the show, Chris Hedges talks to documentary filmmaker and investigative journalist John Pilger about the upcoming appeals hearing in London for the Julian Assange case.

The most recent revelations, coupled with the numerous legal anomalies of the Assange case, including leaks that show that the Spanish security firm at the Ecuadoran Embassy in London where Assange sought refuge for seven years, turned over recordings of his meetings with his lawyers to the CIA, amply illustrate that the judicial pantomime carried out against Assange is a political persecution led by the U.S. government and the CIA because of embarrassing and damaging revelations about the inner workings of the US military, intelligence agencies and the political class repeatedly exposed by Assange and WikiLeaks.

Code Pink: Fate Of Anti-War Journalism Lies in Upcoming Assange Hearings

Within just a few days, the United States will once again make its case in a UK court that it has a right to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be tried under the Espionage Act, in what remains this century’s most dangerous attack on global press freedom.

Leading press freedom and human rights organizations have been clear about the implications of a potential Assange extradition and have called on President Biden to drop the case. If there were still any doubts that the Department of Justice’s focus on Assange was corrupt and politically motivated, those who remain skeptical should consider two major revelations about the U.S. campaign against Assange since the last hearing.

The press still has the power to challenge and prevent U.S. wars. However, this power hangs in the balance in the form of Julian Assange’s fate. Recent coverage of the Afghanistan withdrawal shows the potential for two types of press. One which sees its role as the mouthpiece for the most war-hungry members of a global empire or one that shows the true nature of war to the public, enabling them to oppose it and giving its victims some justice. For anti-war advocates who would rather see the latter option covering foreign policy, it is essential to show strong support for Julian Assange and demand the charges against him be dropped immediately.

War on Terror Film Festival: Panel Discussion – The War You Don’t See

Veteran journalist and Associate Editor of The Electronic Intifada, Nora Barrows-Friedman, hosts a discussion with director of Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore, along with co-director of The War You Don’t See, John Pilger, public intellectual Noam Chomsky, and attorney and partner of Julian Assange, Stella Moris.

22 October 2021

Belmarsh Tribunal: The War On Terror is Put on Trial

The Belmarsh Tribunal tried the US government for its crimes of the twenty-first century — from atrocities in Iraq to torture at Guantánamo Bay to a surveillance program.

In doing so, the Belmarsh Tribunal turns the tables in the extradition hearing against Julian Assange on 27-28 October — a case that will shape the future of journalism for decades to come.

Featuring: Tariq Ali, Renata Ávila, Apsana Begum, Richard Burgon, Jeremy Corbyn, Rafael Correa, Özlem Demirel, Deepa Govindarajan Driver, Daniel Ellsberg, Selay Ghaffar, Heike Hänsel, Srecko Horvat, Annie Machon, Stefania Maurizi, John McDonnell, Edward Snowden, Yanis Varoufakis, Ben Wizner, and Eyal Weizman.

19 October 2021

Chair of House Intelligence Committee asks intelligence agencies for information about CIA’s targeting of WikiLeaks

The House Intelligence Committee is seeking information about a Yahoo News report that CIA officials plotted to kidnap Julian Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2017 after WikiLeaks published documents describing the spy agency’s hacking tools.

Schiff added that, as the ranking Democrat on the intelligence panel in 2017, he was never briefed about the CIA’s plans to target Assange. But he said the committee had reached out “to the agencies” — an apparent reference to the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) — after reading about the Yahoo News account describing deep divisions within the Trump administration, including objections from White House lawyers, over the CIA’s plans for unusually aggressive measures to cripple WikiLeaks that had been proposed by then agency Director Mike Pompeo.

Senator Paul Gavan highlights Julian Assange’s case in the Irish Senate

Speaking about the Irish Government’s record on freedom of speech Senator Paul Gavan points out that Julian Assange has done more to expose war crimes than anyone else in his lifetime. He stressed that Ireland must use its seat on the UN Security Council to ensure his human rights are respected.

“This is clearly a politically motivated case, taken simply because Mr. Assange exposed US military and other war crimes, human rights abuses and corruption in the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Ira”, he said.

“Mr. Assange is, in effect, a political prisoner. His continued incarceration and threatened extradition to the US, therefore, is not just a threat to him personally but to all journalists, editors and publishers and the cause of investigative journalism, press freedom and freedom of speech generally. It is ironic that western countries, which claim to be defenders of freedom, are acting in this way.”

“How can this be acceptable in the face of the horrendous plight of Mr. Julian Assange? We all know why this is happening. The US wants to send a message to the world that if anybody tells the world what it does, this is the treatment that will be meted out. This is the punishment that will be received.”


— Stella Moris #FreeAssangeNOW (@StellaMoris1) October 20, 2021

18 October 2021

A coalition of 25 press freedom, civil liberties, and international human rights groups calls on the DOJ to dismiss its dangerous case against Julian Assange

A group of leading civil liberties and human rights organizations, including Freedom of the Press Foundation, Index on Cenzorship, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), PEN America, Defending Rights & Dissent, IFEX, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and others are making an urgent appeal to Attorney General Merrick Garland to drop the criminal prosecution of Julian Assange in light of what it called a “shocking” Yahoo News story recounting how in 2017 senior CIA officials plotted to kidnap the WikiLeaks founder and even discussed possibly assassinating him.

The letter reads:

“We, the undersigned press freedom, civil liberties, and international human rights advocacy organizations, write again to share our profound concern about the ongoing criminal and extradition proceedings relating to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, under the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

[T]he proceedings against Mr. Assange jeopardize journalism that is crucial to democracy. In our view, a precedent created by prosecuting Assange could be used against publishers and journalists alike, chilling their work and undermining freedom of the press.

In light of these concerns, and in light of the shocking new reporting on the government’s conduct in this case, we respectfully urge you to drop the ongoing appeal of Judge Baraitser’s ruling and to dismiss the indictment of Mr. Assange.”

Julian Assange’s prosecution poses a grave threat to journalists and freedom of the press.

The government should drop its charges against him immediately.

— ACLU (@ACLU) October 18, 2021

CPJ joins a coalition of #pressfreedom groups in calling for an end to #Assange prosecution@FreedomofPress @ACLU @hrw @knightcolumbia @RSF_inter

— Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) October 19, 2021

We stand with a broad coalition of human rights and press freedom organizations, including @ACLU and @FreedomofPress, again calling for an end to the Julian Assange prosecution.

— First Amendment Coalition (@FACoalition) October 18, 2021

It is a travesty that a CIA plot to kidnap or kill @wikileaks publisher Julian Assange was allowed to unfold in London, the heart of our democracy.

Assange deserves asylum – he should not be in a British prison and must not be extradited to the US. #FreeAssangeNOW

— Big Brother Watch (@BigBrotherWatch) October 18, 2021

Upcoming events in support of Julian Assange ahead of the High Court Extradition Hearing

22 October, 3pm BST, online – The Belmarsh Tribunal

22 October, 7pm EDT, online – What’s Next for Julian Assange?

23 October, 1pm BST, London – March for Assange

23 October, 1pm MDT, Denver – Meet Up to Free Assange

23 October, 4:30pm PDT, online – Repressing Free Speech: From Hip Hop to Julian Assange

25 October, 2pm EDT, Boston – Film screening: The War on Journalism

27 October, 9am BST, London – Final Appeal Hearing, Protest outside the High Court

17 October 2021

Stand-Ups For Assange

An evening of comedy, satire & music in support of Julian Assange


  • Lee Camp, host and head writer of Redacted Tonight
  • Randy Credico, satirist and civil rights activits
  • Max Blumenthal, journalist
  • John Kiriakou, CIA torture whistleblower
  • Jaffer Khan, correspondent to Redacted Tonight
  • Naomi Karavani, comedian and TV writer

14 October 2021

Panel: Veterans and Intelligence Experts on the US decision to extradite Julian Assange


  • Maj. Danny Sjursen, U.S. Army Veteran and Director of Eisenhower Media Network
  • Capt. Matthew Hoh, Former U.S. Marine Corps Captain and State Department Officer
  • Special Agent Coleen Rowley, Former FBI Agent and Whistleblower

Moderated by author and activist Marianne Williamson

11 October 2021

Daniel Ellsberg On The CIA Plan To Kidnap And Possibly Kill Julian Assange, The End Of The Afghanistan Occupation, And The Ongoing US Drone War

Critical News Autoblog speaks to Daniel Ellsberg on the heels of the troubling revelations that the US CIA was considering kidnapping and even killing Assange.

“[T]hat isn’t self-evident why at that point they would want to kill him, except that yes, they wanted him to come into trial, they wanted to kidnap him, and get him back here.

“But on the other hand, a trial isn’t actually perfect for them because that will certainly bring up two kinds of problems, the crimes that he revealed, the war crimes, the things that Chelsea Manning had given to him about Afghanistan and Iraq revealing enormous numbers of civilians killed which had not been reported, a major program of torture by our Iraqi allies…

“But of course, assassinating him would cut that short, just keep him silent, keep him out of the way, certainly form a good example, counter, to people who might be tempted to follow in his footsteps.”

8 October 2021

An open letter from the Irish Anti-War Movement, to the Minister of Foreign Affairs: Free Julian Assange

“We, the undersigned, appeal to the Irish Government and, in particular to you, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, to lobby by all means necessary, including via Ireland’s current membership of the United Nations Security Council, the British and United States Governments, to release the campaigning Wikileaks editor and journalist, Julian Assange.

Throughout his incarceration, visits by his family, supporters and his legal team have been, and continue to be, severely curtailed and often spied upon. He has been denied the right to a fair hearing in the UK because of the tactics of the US prosecutors, including submitting last minute fresh indictments, which were allowed by the UK judge.

This is clearly a politically motivated case simply because Julian Assange exposed US military and other war crimes, human rights abuses and corruption in the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The documents released by Wikileaks were published widely by mainstream media outlets such as The Guardian, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and many others.

Julian Assange is in effect a political prisoner. His continued incarceration and threatened extradition to the US, therefore, is a threat not only to him but to all journalists, editors and publishers, to the cause of investigative journalism, to press freedom and to freedom of speech generally. It is ironic that Western countries, which claim to be defenders of freedom, are acting in this way.

It is beyond time for him to be released and allowed to enjoy life in peace with his family. We appeal to you to do everything within your power to ensure this happens.”

Deathly Silence: Journalists Who Mocked Assange Have Nothing to Say About CIA Plans to Kill Him | John McEvoy for FAIR MediaWatch

Yahoo! News published a bombshell report detailing the US Central Intelligence Agency’s “secret war plans against WikiLeaks,” including clandestine plots to kill or kidnap publisher Julian Assange while he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Shortly after publication, former CIA director Mike Pompeo seemed to confirm the report’s findings, declaring that the former US intelligence officials who spoke with Yahoo! “should all be prosecuted for speaking about classified activity inside the CIA.”

It would seem that covert plans for the state-sanctioned murder on British soil of an award-winning journalist should attract sustained, wall-to-wall media coverage.

The news, however, has been met by Western establishment media with ghoulish indifference.

The present circumstances become even more deplorable upon consideration of the corporate journalists who arrogantly diminished, or even delighted in, Assange’s concerns for his own safety.

The Assange case once again demonstrates that when erroneous reporting falls on the right side of the US and UK foreign policy establishment, editorial standards are set aside, and journalistic failures are met with zero accountability.

As such, it’s important to remember those journalists who watched on, pointing, laughing, comfortable in the knowledge that their work would never produce the impact nor risk of WikiLeaks—and then said nothing as the right to a free press was removed in broad daylight.

6 October 2021

Key witness in Assange case jailed in Iceland after admitting to lies and ongoing crime spree

igurdur Thordarson, a key witness for the FBI against Julian Assange, has been jailed in Iceland. The notorious alleged hacker and convicted pedophile was remanded to custody in Iceland’s highest security prison. Thordarson was given immunity by the FBI in exchange for testimony against Julian Assange.

Thordarson was arrested the same day he arrived back in Iceland from a trip to Spain, and was subsequently brought before a judge after police requested indefinite detention intended to halt an ongoing crime spree. The judge apparently agreed that Thordarson’s repeated, blatant and ongoing offences against the law put him at high risk for continued re-offending.

Thordarson is a key witness for the United States Justice Department according to documents presented to a UK court in an effort to secure the extradition of Julian Assange. He was recruited by US authorities to build a case against Assange after misleading them to believe he was previously a close associate of his. In a recent interview with Stundin he admitted to fabricating statements to implicate Assange and contradicted what he was quoted as saying in US court documents.

“Last week we learned of the CIA plan to kidnap or kill Assange in the centre of London and now the key witness of the US prosecution against him is in prison for serial offences – the same person that a few weeks ago confirmed in interviews that the elements in the indictment against Julian where he was the only witness, were total fabrications. The case against Assange should be dropped and under no circumstances, given recent revelations, can the UK extradite him.”, said Kristinn Hrafnsson commenting on the arrest.

5 October 2021

BBC: WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson responds to revelations of CIA Kill or Kidnap plot against publisher Julian Assange

Colin Murray BBC 5 live speaks with WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson on the latest revelations of CIA Kill or Kidnap plot against publisher Julian Assange.

BBC: WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson responds to revelations of CIA Kill or Kidnap plot against publisher Julian Assange | @bbc5live

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 8, 2021

4 October 2021

On this day in 2006 Julian Assange founded Wikileaks

On the 15th anniversary of Wikileaks, Freddy Gray speaks to its editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson about the recent Yahoo article that exposed the fact that the Trump administration along with the CIA was working on plans to either kidnap or kill Julian Assange while he was still in hiding at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

2 October 2021

The CIA plot to kidnap or kill Julian Assange in London is a story that is being mistakenly ignored | Patrick Cockburn

Assange and Jamal Khashoggi were targeted because they fulfilled the primary duty of journalists – telling the public what governments want to keep secret.

The true reason the scoop about the CIA’s plot to kidnap or kill Assange has been largely ignored or downplayed is rather that he is unfairly shunned as a pariah by all political persuasions: left, right and centre.

Assange is a classic victim of “cancel culture”, so demonised that he can no longer get a hearing, even when a government plots to kidnap or murder him.

In reality, Khashoggi and Assange were pursued relentlessly by the state because they fulfilled the primary duty of journalists: finding out important information that the government would like to keep secret and disclosing it to the public.

Kidnap or Kill: The CIA’s plot against WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange | The Listening Post

Al Jazeera’s Listening Post detailed report on new Yahoo News revelations with Michael Isikoff – Chief investigative correspondent at Yahoo News, Kevin Gosztola – Managing editor at Shadowproof, Carrie DeCell – Staff attorney, Knight First Amendment Institute & Rebecca Vincent – Director of international campaigns & UK bureau director, Reporters Without Border.

30 September 2021

Pompeo: Sources for Yahoo News WikiLeaks report ‘should all be prosecuted’

Pompeo, appearing on Megyn Kelly’s podcast, was asked to respond to the Yahoo News story, which was based on interviews with 30 former U.S. intelligence and national security officials with knowledge of the U.S. government’s efforts against WikiLeaks.

“I can’t say much about this other than whoever those 30 people who allegedly spoke to one of these [Yahoo News] reporters — they should all be prosecuted for speaking about classified activity inside the Central Intelligence Agency,” Pompeo said.

At the same time, Pompeo declined to respond to many of the details in the Yahoo News account and confirmed that “pieces of it are true,” including the existence of an aggressive CIA campaign to target WikiLeaks in the aftermath of the organization’s publication of highly sensitive so-called Vault 7 documents revealing some of the CIA’s hacking tools and methods.

CIA plan to poison Assange wasn’t needed. The US found a ‘lawful’ way to disappear him | Jonathan Cook

Shocking as the revelations are – exposing the entirely lawless approach of the main US intelligence agency – the Yahoo investigation nonetheless tends to obscure rather than shine a light on the bigger picture.

Assange has not been deprived of his freedom for more than a decade because of an unimplemented rogue operation by the CIA. Rather, he has been held in various forms of captivity – disappeared – through the collaborations of various national governments and their intelligence agencies, aided by legal systems and the media, that have systematically violated his rights and legal due process.

The reality of Assange’s years of persecution is far worse even than the picture of a thuggish, vengeful, power-mad CIA painted by Yahoo’s reporting.

40 MEPs ask EU institutions to ensure protection and safety of Julian Assange

40 MEPs have written to the EU institutions asking them not to close their eyes to Assange‘s freedom because it would mean turning away from press freedom in the EU.

“With this letter, we call on EU institutions to take any useful initiatives within their comptences, including under international conventions and specifically the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, in order to ensure the protection and safety of Julian Assange under the custody of British authorities and to prevent his extradition.”

👁👁 In. 40 petitioners we asked the EU institutions not to close their eyes to #Assange‘s freedom because it would mean turning away from press freedom in the EU.
Please stand up for his protection and against his extradition.#LesspressFewerRights#assangecase

— Rosa D’Amato (@rosadamato634) September 30, 2021

A group of prominent Australians write to Scott Morrison over reported CIA plot to kidnap or kill WikiLeaks founder

A group of 21 lawyers, journalists, academics, and activists have written to the Prime Minister, asking what the government knew about an alleged CIA plot to kill or kidnap WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London, the ABC can reveal.

The members of the group, who all visited Assange in London, have also demanded the government reveal whether they were caught up in the US plot and if their lives, too, were ever at risk.

“It’s one thing [for the government] to ignore an Australian overseas who’s in difficulty,” Mr Burnside said. “It’s altogether another to ignore an Australian overseas who may be murdered by another government, a government that is ostensibly an ally.”

The US Considered Kidnapping and Even Assassinating Julian Assange | Chip Gibbons

The latest revelations are particularly shocking, but they join a growing list of outrages. In addition to National Security Council lawyers, the CIA also angered Sessions and the Justice Department. Their motives were not pure: the Justice Department viewed Assange as being on their turf and the CIA’s actions as jeopardizing a potential criminal prosecution (the CIA’s kidnapping scheme may have pressured the Justice Department to speed up seeking an indictment). Even before Sessions, the FBI and the CIA competed over jurisdiction for Assange. The FBI had been pushing for Assange to be charged since the Obama years.

The decision to let CIA war criminals off the hook while treating whistleblowers, journalists, and others who expose US war crimes as enemies on par with spies or terrorists has consequences.

One of those consequences: a completely lawless CIA plotting to assassinate or kidnap a journalist.

29 September 2021

Julian Assange Kidnapping Plot Casts New Light on 2018 Senate Intelligence Maneuver | Ryan Grim and Sara Sirota

The CIA labeled WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” while entertaining plans to kidnap or assassinate its founder.

The creative relabeling was the culmination of an effort that had begun under the Obama administration. In the wake of Edward Snowden’s leak of classified National Security Agency documents, intelligence officials moved to label WikiLeaks an “information broker,” which they distinguished from journalism and publishing. In an extraordinary assault on the press, the officials also pushed to apply the same designation to Intercept co-founders Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras in a related but failed effort to strip them of First Amendment protections in the wake of the NSA leaks. The Obama White House rejected that effort as it related to all three, Yahoo reported, but under Trump, officials successfully applied the “non-state hostile intelligence service” label to WikiLeaks.

Report On CIA Plans To Kidnap Assange Shows Clearest Evidence Yet Of Improper Pressure On Prosecutors | Kevin Gosztola

Though District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled against the United States’ extradition request, she rejected the argument from the legal team for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that hostility within U.S. intelligence agencies “translated into improper pressure on federal prosecutors to bring charges.”

However, a Yahoo! News report on the CIA’s plans to kidnap or kill Assange contains some of the strongest evidence yet that Assange was only charged with crimes because of their thirst for vengeance.

27 September 2021

Human rights organizations, civil liberties and media freedom groups call for an investigation into Yahoo news revelations and for the charges against Assange to be dropped immediately

Reporters without borders (RSF) – If true, these allegations of a CIA threat to Assange’s life are alarming, and underscore the very serious risk he remains at in detention, which would be exponentially heightened if the US is successful in securing his extradition. The exposed alleged plots that could cause severe harm or loss of life to Assange or his associates are threats to press freedom itself. The Biden administration must act immediately to distance itself from these shocking reports of the Trump administration’s actions, close the case against Assange once and for all, and allow for his release from prison before any further harm is caused.

National Union of Journalists (NUJ) – The suggestion that US security services even considered kidnapping and murder on the streets of a trusted ally is chilling. That such acts might have been contemplated as a reaction to an individual who had simply published inconvenient truths is all the more troubling.

If true, the story from Yahoo! News’ blows a hole in the case made by the US government that its attempt to extradite Assange is not politically motivated.

I am calling on the UK home secretary to explain whether the security services had any involvement in, or knowledge of, these plans.

Furthermore, it is clear that when the US appeal against the dismissal of its extradition application in respect of Assange is heard in October, it should be dismissed out of hand and its subject released at once.

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) – If these accusations are true, it would cast a long shadow over all independent journalism and they would once again prove that extraditing Assange to the United States would put his life at serious risk. We are calling for a full investigation and for the British authorities to release him immediately

Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) – Following credible reports that CIA officials discussed assassinating Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD), the Parliamentary Assembly’s General Rapporteur on the protection of whistleblowers, has expressed serious concern at the possibility of the extra-judicial assassination or abduction of whistleblowers.

“If these reports are true, I am horrified,” said Mr Omtzigt. “To kidnap or kill a civilian who published leaked documents would be a gross violation of basic Council of Europe human rights principles – and, one would hope, unthinkable in the world’s most powerful democracy. Reports that high-level US officials may have considered such an option are deeply worrying.”

“I am confident that the British courts will take these reports into consideration when ruling on Mr Assange’s extradition, and I call on the US authorities to clarify whether such appalling ‘options’ really were considered, and if so how to prevent this from happening again.”

Defending Rights and Dissent (DRAD) – “Regardless of the targets, such actions are illegal and immoral. That the CIA seriously considered resurrecting some of its most criminal tactics of the Global War on Terror and Cold War is cause for serious alarm. That the target was an award winning journalist, however, makes these revelations all the more chilling,” said Chip Gibbons, Defending Rights & Dissent’s Policy Director.

“That intelligence officials were so anxious to go after distinguished journalists, going so far as to ask the White House to declare that they weren’t journalists at all, demonstrates just how far out of bounds the CIA and other intelligence agencies have become.”

Defending Rights & Dissent reiterates its call for the charges against Assange to be dropped. While they never should have been brought, this latest revelation about the breadth of misconduct against Assange is in and of itself grounds for dismissing. We also call for Congress to investigate the CIA’s actions and for any CIA officer involved in illegal activity to be criminally prosecuted.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

This new report highlights that the prosecution of Julian Assange poses a grave threat to press freedom.

We’ll say it again: The government needs to drop its charges against him.

— ACLU (@ACLU) September 27, 2021


For War on Terror style renditions and extrajudicial assassinations to be considered by the @CIA on the streets of London, brings home the horror many experience across the globe. #FreeAssangeNOW and its time we call out the WoT impunity. @wikileaks

— CAGE (@UK_CAGE) September 27, 2021

Blueprint for Free Speech – The implication of the Yahoo News investigation is that pressure was brought on the US Department of Justice to hasten a prosecution in order to avert other parts of the government from undertaking actions that are blatantly illegal.

It is alleged American intelligence enlisted British intelligence in their plans. That the US and British governments would contemplate doing this to a citizen of a close ally is deeply disturbing. A natural perception for Australians now is that Julian Assange’s safety can no longer be assured inside either the United States or the United Kingdom.

The continued efforts to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange threaten his life and offend any sense of justice. The case continues to exert a chilling effect on investigative journalists and national security reporters everywhere.

We call on President Biden to drop the charges and uphold international standards on the protection and safety of journalists. Julian Assange should be allowed to come home to Australia.

26 September 2021

Kidnapping, assassination and a London shoot-out: Inside the CIA’s secret war plans against WikiLeaks

Investigation by journalists Zach Dorfman, Sean D. Naylor and Michael Isikoff, based on conversations with more than 30 former U.S. officials — eight of whom described details of the CIA’s proposals to abduct Assange — reveals for the first time one of the most contentious intelligence debates of the Trump presidency and exposes new details about the U.S. government’s war on WikiLeaks.

“As an American citizen, I find it absolutely outrageous that our government would be contemplating kidnapping or assassinating somebody without any judicial process simply because he had published truthful information,” Barry Pollack, Assange’s U.S. lawyer, told Yahoo News. “My hope and expectation is that the U.K. courts will consider this information and it will further bolster its decision not to extradite to the U.S.,” Pollack added.

When it came to prosecuting Assange — something the Obama administration had declined to do — the Trump White House had a different approach, said a former Justice Department official. “Nobody in that crew was going to be too broken up about the First Amendment issues.”

Vault 7 prompted “a brand-new mindset with the administration for rethinking how to look at WikiLeaks as an adversarial actor,” Evanina said. “That was new, and it was refreshing for the intelligence community and the law enforcement community.” Updates on Assange were frequently included in Trump’s President’s Daily Brief

When Pompeo declared WikiLeaks “a non-state hostile intelligence service,” he was neither speaking off the cuff nor repeating a phrase concocted by a CIA speechwriter. “That phrase was chosen advisedly and reflected the view of the administration,” a former Trump administration official said.

Soon after the speech, Pompeo asked a small group of senior CIA officers to figure out “the art of the possible” when it came to WikiLeaks, said another former senior CIA official. “He said, ‘Nothing’s off limits, don’t self-censor yourself. I need operational ideas from you. I’ll worry about the lawyers in Washington.’”

Pompeo and others at the agency proposed abducting Assange from the embassy and surreptitiously bringing him back to the United States via a third country — a process known as rendition. The idea was to “break into the embassy, drag [Assange] out and bring him to where we want,” said a former intelligence official.

Some discussions even went beyond kidnapping. U.S. officials had also considered killing Assange, according to three former officials. One of those officials said he was briefed on a spring 2017 meeting in which the president asked whether the CIA could assassinate Assange and provide him “options” for how to do so.

Eisenberg was concerned about the legal implications of rendering Assange without criminal charges in place, according to a former national security official. Absent an indictment, where would the agency bring him, said another former official who attended NSC meetings on the topic. “Were we going to go back to ‘black sites’?”

Eventually, those within the administration arguing for an approach based in the courts, rather than on espionage and covert action, won the policy debate.

Freedom of the Press Foundation: After shocking story about CIA illegal acts, Biden admin must drop Assange charges immediately

Following the report on CIA’s plans to kidnap and even murder Julian Assange FPF exectutive director Trevor Timm has said:

“The CIA is a disgrace. The fact that it contemplated and engaged in so many illegal acts against WikiLeaks, its associates, and even other award-winning journalists is an outright scandal that should be investigated by Congress and the Justice Department. The Biden Administration must drop its charges against Assange immediately. The case already threatens the rights of countless reporters. These new revelations, which involve a shocking disregard of the law, are truly beyond the pale.”

24 September 2021

Reporter Fumes at Biden’s Press Secretary Psaki Trying to Stonewall Her on an Assange Story She’s Long Pursued

Al Jazeera English White House correspondent Kimberly Halkett appeared peeved with Jen Psaki on Friday after the White House press secretary declined to give an update on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

In asking what she called a “freedom of the press question,” Halkett remarked that “members of the administration, you recently, have talked about the importance of journalism to democracy. The president also made a point of saying his presidency was different from his predecessor’s.”

Halkett went on to ask “why has President [Joe] Biden keeping the [Donald] Trump era charges against Julian Assange. Why is he allowing the prosecution from publishing the truth about human rights abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. And does the president believe the ongoing detention of Assange is reasonable, even moral, given the transparency delivered in the greater good served?”

Psaki replied she doesn’t have “anything new to say on Julian Assange” and referred Halkett to the Department of Justice.

23 September 2021

Andrew Wilkie: AUKUS allies must set Assange free

Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has called on the Prime Minister to use his Washington trip to negotiate the release of Australian journalist Julian Assange with his new partners in the AUKUS alliance.

“Mr Assange should be at home with his young family, watching his two little boys grow up,” Mr Wilkie said. “But instead he’s languishing in one of the United Kingdom’s most notorious prisons after recently losing a British High Court battle to stop the United States Government from expanding its appeal against an earlier refusal to allow his extradition. A full appeal hearing is expected next month.

All the while Australia has sat idly by and watched this heinous case play out. If the US succeeds in extraditing Mr Assange to face espionage charges then he faces life, and very possibly death, behind bars. Why punish someone who has only ever acted in the public interest?”

22 September 2021

Two Years of Assange’s Extradition Detention

It’s been exactly 2 years on September 22nd, that Julian Assange is being held on remand in British most notorious high security prison solely for the US attempt to prosecute him for Wikileaks publishing.

Even when the U.S. extradition request was defeated earlier this year, Assange was not released from prison, with District Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejecting his bail application two days after ruling he should be discharged from detention.

The continued imprisonment has only further worsened Assange’s mental and physical health. Nearly two and a half years ago, in May 2019, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer found that Assange, who had spent the previous seven years without sunlight in the limited space of Ecuador’s Embassy in London—had suffered psychological torture.

Is it time to free Julian Assange?

A conversation between Jen Robinsons, barrister for Julian Assange, Julian Burnside QC, barrister and Scott Ludlam, former senator and deputy leader of Australian Greens on the case of Julian Assange, the free speech implications of his case for journalists, news outlets and publishers and the need for additional protections for whistle-blowers and the media.

21 September 2021

Assange extradition case has cost British public over £300,000

America’s bid to extradite Julian Assange from London is costing the British public hundreds of thousands of pounds in prosecution fees and prison costs, despite serious flaws in the US case, Declassified has found.

New figures show Britain’s public prosecutor, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), splashed £151,000 on barristers who failed to convince a judge in January that the US has the right to extradite the WikiLeaks publisher.

Another £22,000 of British public money was spent on expert witnesses, as well as £5,000 on transcripts. The bill will rise further next month when an appeal by the CPS, at the behest of the US government, reaches the High Court in London.

The CPS has also ramped up the costs to the public by arguing against Assange getting bail. The father of two young children has been detained since September 2019 at London’s Belmarsh prison purely on the Trump administration’s charges.

Belmarsh, a high security site normally reserved for the most dangerous criminals like murderers and terrorists, costs £58,000 per prisoner each year, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Another £23,000 likely went on paying district judge Vanessa Baraitser and her clerks to sit through four weeks of court hearings in 2020.

Under Article 20 of the US-UK Extradition Treaty, America does not have to pay for any of the costs involved in extraditing someone from British soil, apart from the transatlantic flight and “translation of extradition documents,” which would normally be written in English.

John Rees from the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign told Declassified: “Tomorrow marks two years that Julian has been held on remand: innocent and still not charged with any crime.

“The human and financial cost of this inhuman treatment is entirely the fault of the US and UK governments. Justice delayed is itself injustice. This costly tragedy needs to end now and Julian Assange needs to be set free.”

While superpowers extradition costs are covered by tax payers, a journalist needs to fundraise to cover his defense, said Stella Moris, and called on the public to donate to Julian Assangećs fight against extradition.

19 September 2021

Truth to Power with Lowkey: Roger Waters on Julian Assange

In episode five of Truth to Power with Lowkey we speak to musician and human rights activist Roger Waters.

Beppe Grillo: Freedom for Assange

Italian politician Beppe Grillo calls for Julian Assange to be released.

Who remembers Julian Assange? Since 11 April 2019, the iconic man of Wikileaks has been in a cell in the Belmarsh maximum security prison after having spent seven years in a cramped space in a London embassy where he had requested and obtained political asylum which was then withdrawn.

In the lack of international attention, Assange has been hunted down for ten years… and still in prison today, without convictions but pursued by the request for extradition to the United States for making public thousands of secret documents on the criminal actions carried out by US-backed coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the 27th, the life of a man deeply marked by persecution and the fundamental right to information on power will be decided. Because the denial of these rights is basically the only reason why an innocent and courageous man has lived in confinement for years, in the indifference of the governments of Western democracies.

If Assange is extradited or loses his freedom it means that our freedom is limited and illusory. Chelsea Manning was jailed and had three suicide attempts. Edward Snowden had to flee, alone and hunted down. The inhumane treatment reserved for Assange affects us all and goes beyond the Wikileaks case because it concerns the model of society in which we have to live. If we cannot disclose state crimes without going to jail then this is not democracy.

10 September 2021

Why is Biden Prosecuting Assange for Telling the Truth about Afghanistan?

“As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, in the midst of a wrenching reassessment of our endless wars, we cannot ignore the U.S. government’s persecution of those who revealed the brutality of the Afghan war and the lies on which it was founde”, write Daniel Ellsberg, Alice Walker and Noam Chomsky in their opinion piece published by Newsweek.

The Biden administration is stubbornly pursuing the extradition of Julian Assange, who exposed the corrupt motives and doomed policies behind the War on Terror. This unprecedented political prosecution poses a grave threat to truth telling and freedom of the press.

When Assange published hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010, the public was given an unprecedented window into the lack of justification and the futility of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The truth was hidden by a generation of governmental lies. Assange’s efforts helped show the American public what their government was doing in their name.

These charges send a message to reporters around the world—Assange is an Australian citizen, not an American—that the U.S. government will decide what can and cannot be published about its misdeeds, even beyond its borders.

Biden’s Justice Department, which has proclaimed a renewed commitment to press freedom, could end these proceedings at any moment. Biden now owns the prosecution of Julian Assange by actively pursuing Trump’s appeal.

Biden stuck to his word and finally ended the war in Afghanistan. But he cannot close this chapter with the man who told the truth about that war still in prison.

9 September 2021

Newly published recording blow up Julian Assange case

Ryan Grim breaks down new audio that seemingly exonerates Julian Assange from hacking allegations.

8 September 2021

Press freedom bill would protects journalists facing persecution but not Julian Assange

Senators say they want to protect foreign journalists from government aggression. But what happens when the U.S. is the aggressor?, writes Rose Adams for the Intercept.

Earlier this year, Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined forces to introduce the International Press Freedom Act of 2021, a bipartisan bill to protect at-risk journalists working in highly censored countries.

But that safe harbor doesn’t seem to apply to foreign journalists the U.S. government itself has threatened. For years, the Justice Department has worked to extradite and prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing Army war logs provided by Chelsea Manning in 2010.

“It’s clear they’re out to get him,” said Chip Gibbons, policy director for Defending Rights & Dissent, who has covered Assange’s case for Jacobin. “It’s fine to offer visas to persecuted journalists, but … it’s immensely hypocritical for the U.S. to do this at the same time it is seeking to extradite Julian Assange.”

And press freedom advocates, while supportive of the press freedom bill, said that the legislation would yield the biggest impact if the U.S. followed its own policies.

“Anytime we, or the U.S. government, or members of Congress are talking about press freedom internationally, it’s, in my mind, a good thing,” said Trevor Timm, co-founder and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. “But for any of that advocacy to be remotely effective, it’s important for the U.S. to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.”

6 September 2021

Assange Countdown to Freedom: Rebecca Vincent & John Shipton

RSF’s Rebecca Vinsent and Julian Assange’s father John Shipton speak to Rendy Credico about the case of Julian Assange and the upcoming appeal hearing.

5 September 2021

Assange Case Action Alert

The appeal hearing at the High Court which will decide Julian Assange’s immediate fate has been set for Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th October. This is a watershed moment in the most important press freedom case of the 21st century.

Don’t Extradite Assange campaign is organizing two important events to call for Julian Assange’s freedom.

Saturday 23 October, 1pm: Assemble at BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place for a march to the High Court.

Thursday 27th October, 9am: On the first day of the Appeal hearing assemble outside the High Court, the Strand.

Jailing of Assange: the End of Press Freedom

Taylor Hudak, Richard Lahuis, Katya Stiletti, Daniel O’Brien and Deepa Driver speak about the continued torture of journalist and publisher Julian Assange. The event was hosted and organized by Journalist Support Committee

31 August 2021

Assange Warned: Afghanistan Goal Was ‘Endless War, Not a Successful War’

Nozomi Hayase writes about Assange’s warnings regarding Afghanistan war and freedom of the internet.

As the U.S. loses face in the Afghanistan debacle, a video of Julian Assange speaking in 2011 about the goal behind the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan went viral on social media. While war criminals walk free, Assange who exposed the U.S. government’s war crimes in the Middle East and its illegal torture in Guantanamo, is in jail – tortured, suffering and isolated.

Assange, now silenced inside London’s maximum-security prison, warned us about the censorship via private corporations that is moving our society into authoritarianism. In January 2018, a little over a year before the UK police illegally arrested him inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Assange predicted “the future of humanity is between humans that control machines and machines that control humans”.

Julian Assange reminded us; “Our task is to secure self-determination where we can, to hold back the coming dystopia where we cannot, and if all else fails, to accelerate its self-destruction”.

26 August 2021

‘The secret power’ the book by Stefania Maurizi reveals who and how wants to destroy Julian Assange and Wikileaks

This is a book that should make you very angry. It is the story of a journalist imprisoned and treated with unbearable cruelty for exposing war crimes; the determination of British and American politicians to destroy it; and the quiet connivance of the media in this monstrous injustice.

23 August 2021

Interview with Greg Barns on Julian Assange and freedom of speech

22 August 2021

Actors for Assange: Julian Assange Defence Statement

Julian Assange’s defence team were prevented from delivering his defence statement verbally in court, so it was submitted only for the record, to maintain the secrecy surrounding the case. 49 actors from around the world recorded an abridged version (55 minutes) of explosive testimony.

16 August 2021

Threat of extradition for Assange grows following British High Court ruling – Marjorie Cohn

Marjorie Cohn writes about the latest development in the Assange case.

On August 11, in a rare occurrence, the U.K. High Court’s Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde and Justice Dame Judith Farbey overruled the July 5 decision of Justice Jonathan Swift and allowed the Biden administration to add two additional grounds for its appeal against Julian Assange, who is being held on charges filed by the Trump administration under the Espionage Act. Assange was indicted for revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo that Chelsea Manning furnished him and WikiLeaks. He faces 175 years in prison if he is extradited from the U.K., tried and convicted in the United States.

Joe Biden should have dismissed Trump’s appeal — consistent with the Obama-Biden administration’s refusal to indict Assange out of fear that indicting a journalist would imperil the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press. No journalist or media outlet has been prosecuted under the Espionage Act for publishing truthful information. The First Amendment protects journalists who publish illegally obtained material that is a matter of public concern, including evidence of war crimes. The U.S. government has never prosecuted a journalist or media outlet for publishing classified information, which constitutes an essential tool of journalism.

But Biden is doubling down and continuing Trump’s appeal.

If the United States is ultimately allowed to extradite Assange and try him under the Espionage Act, it will send an ominous message to investigative journalists that they publish material critical of the U.S. government at their peril. This would threaten freedom of the press under the First Amendment and deprive the American people of crucial information with which to hold their government accountable.

Ryan Grim: State Department dodges question on Julian Assange, Support Of Free Press

Ryan Grim breaks down the state department’s hypocritical support of international press freedom while attempting to prosecute Julian Assange.

12 August 2021

A Day in the Death of British Justice – John Pilger

The reputation of British justice now rests on the shoulders of the High Court in the life or death case of Julian Assange, writes John Pilger.

WikiLeaks has given us real news about those who govern us and take us to war, not the preordained, repetitive spin that fills newspapers and television screens. This is real journalism; and for the crime of real journalism, Assange has spent most of the past decade in one form of incarceration or another, including Belmarsh prison, a horrific place.

On Wednesday, the United States sought the approval of Britain’s High Court to extend the terms of its appeal against a decision by a district judge, Vanessa Baraitser, in January to bar Assange’s extradition. Baraitser accepted the deeply disturbing evidence of a number of experts that Assange would be at great risk if he were incarcerated in the U.S.’s infamous prison system.

Dobbin said Kopelman had “misled” Judge Baraister in September because he had not disclosed that Julian Assange and Stella Moris were partners, and their two young children, Gabriel and Max, were conceived during the period Assange had taken refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Lord Chief Justice Holroyde said it was “very unusual” for an appeal court to have to reconsider evidence from an expert accepted by a lower court, but he agreed with Ms. Dobbin it was “misleading” even though he accepted Kopelman’s “understandable human response” to protect the privacy of Stella and the children.

This does not necessarily mean that in October the full bench of the High Court will order Julian to be extradited. In the upper reaches of the masonry that is the British judiciary there are, I understand, still those who believe in real law and real justice from which the term “British justice” takes its sanctified reputation in the land of the Magna Carta. It now rests on their ermined shoulders whether that history lives on or dies.

Australian Senators Janet Rice and Peter Whish-Wilson write to the Minister for Foreign Affairs

“As we have stated repeatedly, Assange’s imprisonment is anti-democratic, anti-press freedoms, and amounts to torture.”

“We again ask that you personally make representations to the Biden administration to drop the US case against julian Assange.”

Assange’s extradition hearing in the UK High Court last last night was painful to watch. The @potus intention? Send a clear message – do not expose or embarrass the powerful. @janet_rice and I wrote this letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs today.

#FreeAssange #auspol

— Peter Whish-Wilson (@SenatorSurfer) August 12, 2021

US authorities granted more grounds to appeal Julian Assange extradition, an interview with Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer Robinson  one of the lawyers representing Julian Assange talks about  the latest developments for ABC’s RN Breakfast.

11 August 2021

Preliminary appeal hearing: U.S. allowed to expand scope of Assange appeal

Britain’s High Court granted the U.S. government’s request to expand the scope of its appeal of Julian Assange’s extradition ruling. Assange’s appeal hearing has been scheduled for October 27-28, 2021.

In January of this year, the District Court blocked Assange’s extradition to the United States on the grounds that sending the WikiLeaks publisher to the harsh conditions of U.S. imprisonment would put him at grave risk of suicide. In the final days of the Trump administration, prosecutors acting on behalf of the U.S. filed an application to appeal that decision to the UK’s High Court, requesting permission to appeal on five lines of argument. A High Court judge granted the U.S. limited permission, on three of the five grounds for appeal, and today two separate High Court judges heard arguments over whether to allow the remaining two grounds.

These remaining lines of argument concern the testimony of Professor Michael Kopelman, the psychiatrist who evaluated Assange in prison and found that the combination of his Autism spectrum diagnosis and clinical depression put him at severe risk of suicide should his extradition be ordered. The U.S. wants to challenge whether Prof. Kopelman’s testimony should have been admissible and then whether the District Judge erred in her “overall assessment of the evidence going to the risk of suicide.”

The High Court’s came to the conclusion “that it is at least arguable” to challenge Kopelman’s testimony over this omission, noting Koeplman’s declaration that his duty to the court overrides any obligation to the defendant. Lord Justice Holroyde said, “To my mind, this goes more to the weight of the evidence than to its admissibility,” but the fact that it is “arguable” was enough to grant the U.S. request to appeal on the remaining two grounds.

The High Court scheduled Assange’s appealing hearing for October 27-28. Julian followed today’s proceedings by video-link from HMP Belmarsh and will be invited to do the same in October.

Major press freedom organizations have yet again called on the Biden administration to drop the charges and release Julian Assange immediately

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) believes that Assange has been targeted for his contributions to public interest reporting, and retains concerns about the state of his mental and physical health in prolonged detention in Belmarsh Prison.

Internation Federation of Journalists (IFJ) General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “President Joe Biden must end the years of politically motivated prosecution of Julian Assange by finally dropping the charges against him. The criminalisation of whistleblowers and investigative journalists has no place in a democracy. Condemning Assange would not only endanger his life but also fundamental principles of press freedom.”

Amnesty International‘s Europe Director, Nils Muižnieks said: “This disingenuous appeal should be dismissed by the court and President Biden should take the opportunity to drop these politically motivated charges which have put media freedom and freedom of expression in the dock.”

The US gov’t case is an attack on #PressFreedom and undermines the public’s #Right2Info.

We stand in solidarity with #JulianAssange and join the call for his immediate & unconditional release.#FreeAssange #FreePress #JournalismIsNotACrime #DropTheCharges

— ECPMF (@ECPMF) August 11, 2021

An appeals court in the UK is considering the decision earlier this year not to extradite Julian Assange. We hope the court upholds that prior decision—and again call on the Justice Department to drop Espionage Act charges against Assange.

— PEN America (@PENamerica) August 11, 2021

IPI’s original statement against extradition of @wikileaks‘s Assange:

“This prosecution would set a dangerous precedent that could be abused to harass journalists, criminalize their work, and prevent them from speaking truth to power.”

It remains true.

— IPI – The Global Network for Press Freedom (@globalfreemedia) August 11, 2021

With today’s preliminary hearing wrapped, the Assange extradition appeal is expected to begin in earnest in October. We continue to oppose this prosecution, and renew our call for the Biden administration to drop these charges.

— Freedom of the Press (@FreedomofPress) August 11, 2021

The world’s largest association of journalists has spoken: prosecuting Assange endangers journalism.@IFJGlobal: “The criminalisation of whistleblowers and investigative journalists has no place in a democracy.”#DropTheCharges #FreeAssangeNOW

— Defending Rights & Dissent (@RightsDissent) August 11, 2021

Julian Assange’s partner pleads for Biden to drop espionage case

Stella Moris visited Assange at HMP Belmarsh and says US ‘can’t defend press freedom at the same time as pursue this case’.

Ms Moris said: “It’s very clear that the US administration should drop the case.

“The Biden administration can’t defend press freedom at the same time as pursue this case.

“The chilling effect its having already is diminishing our freedoms and the right of the press to be able to publish without fear of being imprisoned.

“It’s worse than hypocrisy. It’s a frontal attack on the cornerstone of what makes a country free and open and that’s something you don’t turn on and off with a switch.

“This is a dark legacy that Biden is making his own unless he reverses course and that has to be done.”

9 August 2021

Truth to power: Lowkey interviews Stella Moris 

Stella Moris, partner of Julian Assange, talks about new revelations int the Assange case, Julian’s health and US security services spying operations.

Marianne Williamson and Chip Gibbons talk about Julian Assange and the free press

Marianne Williamson speaks with the policy director at Defending Rights and Dissent Chip Gibbons about Julian Assange, the Espionage Act and freedom of the press, J. Edgar Hoover, Daniel Hale and more.

7 August 2021

Malalai Joya praises Julian Assange in an interview with Independent

Afghan activist Malalai Joya praises Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, whose organisation exposed many of the worst atrocities of the “war on terror”.

“He is a hero. In my view, he exposed the wrong policies, the disgusting policies of the US government and Nato,” she says. “Now he’s living in the hearts of all the justice-loving people.”

She adds: “He should not be put in jail. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, all these warmongers, should be in jail, not Julian Assange, not Chelsea Manning… They are brave and raise their voices for justice and peace.”

6 August 2021

Update from Stella Moris on Julian Assange’s new court date

Stella Moris, lawyer and partner of Julian Assange, has published a new update regarding the August 11th court hearing.

It is seven months since Julian’s extradition was blocked by Judge Vanessa Baraitser, yet he has remained in prison, suffering and isolated, despite having committed no crime.

It took the court six months to decide whether to grant the US government permission to appeal. Permission has been granted on a limited basis; that is to say, two out of the five grounds that the US applied to appeal on were rejected by the High Court judge who reviewed the application.

The next court date will be on August 11th at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London. Julian is expected to attend in person.

The United States government is not accepting the High Court’s ruling, which allows only limited grounds of appeal and this is what next Tuesday’s hearing will be about: the US is asking different High Court judges to grant permission for the two grounds that it lost on, in an attempt to appeal on all five grounds.

The US government’s handling of the case exposes the underlying nature of the prosecution against Julian: subverting the rules so that Julian’s ability to defend himself is obstructed and undermined while he remains in prison for years and years, unconvicted, and held on spurious charges. The “process” is the punishment.

Preliminary Assange Appeal Hearing scheduled for August 11 – What to expect

The U.S. government set forth five lines of argument for its appeal of the extradition ruling, and two of them were denied. It will be allowed to argue that the judge misapplied section 91 of the 2003 Extradition Act, which says someone can’t be extradited if the “physical or mental condition of the person is such that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him,” and that the judge should have notified the prosecution that she found extradition would be unjust or oppressive so that it could have provided “assurances to the Court” ahead of time. Finally, the High Court will allow the U.S. to put forth said assurances in the appeal hearing.

The High Court denied the U.S. government’s request to appeal on the grounds that the testimony of Professor Michael Kopelman should have been ruled inadmissible. Professor Kopelman is a psychiatrist who evaluated Assange and determined that he would be at risk of suicide if his extradition were ordered. The court also denied the U.S. government’s request to argue that the judge erred in her overall assessment of evidence that Assange would be at risk of suicide.

On August 11th, the High Court will hold a preliminary hearing for the parties to argue these last two grounds.

The U.S. government purports to give “assurances” that if Assange is extradited to the United States, he won’t be placed in the highest-security prison, Supermax ADX Florence, and he won’t be subjected to Special Administrative Measures (SAMs). But these assurances include caveats that render them meaningless.

Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s Expert on Counter-Terrorism, Criminal Justice, and Human Rights, says, “Those are not assurances at all. It is not that difficult to look at those assurances and say: these are inherently unreliable, it promises to do something and then reserves the right to break the promise.”

2 August 2021

Julian Assange: peering through the murk

Why might Julian Assange be sent for trial in the United States, despite a ruling in January that it would be oppressive to extradite him? Joshua Rozenberg explains how a High Court judge’s decision granting the US permission to appeal remains shrouded in secrecy

31 July 2021

The troubles of the Assange family: Studin interveiw with Stella Moris

Stella Moris, partner of Julian Assangeis in Iceland and is asking Icelanders to fight for his liberation. She talks about her 10 year long fight to save him in an interview with Stundin.

30 July 2021

The End Game: Either they free Assange or they kill him

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is slowly dying in a UK prison, as the US maintains its fight to have him die in theirs – but there is hope, writes former Australian Senator Scott Ludlam.

In an astonishing cave-in to US prosecutors, the court agreed that despite most of the publications having occurred while Assange was in the United Kingdom and Europe, “the conduct in this case occurred in the US because the publication of the materials caused harm to the interests of the US”.

It’s a shocking precedent: the judgement accepted US prosecutors’ arguments that national-security journalism can be considered a form of espionage no matter where it occurs, leaving other publishers and journalists open to being charged as spies.

Trump and his appointees are gone, but the “New York Times problem” is no longer a hypothetical. An unprecedented alliance of media unions, press freedom advocates and global human rights organisations has now mobilised to urge Biden and his new attorney general, Merrick Garland, to drop the appeal.

“The Australian government holds the key to Julian’s prison cell,” Stella Moris tells me on a late-night call from London. “If the Australian government intervened on Julian’s behalf, this would end. It can be reversed by popular pressure, and by pressure from Julian’s colleagues in the media, by constantly drawing attention to the fact that an innocent man is being persecuted for exposing state crimes.”

“Knowing you are out there fighting for me keeps me alive in this profound isolation,” wrote Assange in a letter to a supporter in 2019.

Transparency alone isn’t enough to ensure justice. It’s going to take a fight.

29 July 2021

A preliminary High Court hearing scheduled for 11 August

A preliminary High Court hearing has been scheduled for 11 August in which prosecutors on behalf of the US government will challenge the legal grounds they can appeal January’s ruling refusing extradition to the US.

The Don’t Extradite Assange campaign will hold a protest outside of the Royal Courts on August 11th at 9am

(1/2) New in #Assange case: A preliminary High Court hearing has been scheduled for 11 August in which prosecutors on behalf of the US government will challenge the legal grounds they can appeal January’s ruling refusing extradition to the US.

— Tareq Haddad (@Tareq_Haddad) July 28, 2021

Have been busy on Malta, but haven’t lost sight of Julian Assange’s case. I will do my damnedest to monitor the 11 August preliminary appellate hearing for @RSF_inter. Let’s see how the High Court handles NGO observers after the severe restrictions we’ve previously faced.

— Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) July 29, 2021

26 July 2021

Amnesty International: The US diplomatic assurances are inherently unreliable. Julian Assange must be released

Amnesty International reiterates its call for the release of Julian Assange.

“There is a much bigger issue at stake that goes way beyond Assange. The Assange case would affect so many people, should he be sent to the United States and prosecuted.”

“The strategy is to keep Assange detained as long as possible. It’s a kind of death by a thousand cuts.”

Assange case update: Stefania Maurizi in conversation with Richard Medhurst

Stefania Maurizi and Richard Medhurst discuss the latest developments in the US effort to extradite Julian Assange.

24 July 2021

Julia Hall, Amnesty International expert on National security: “Assange should be released”

In an interview with Stefania Maurizi for Il Fatto Quotidiano, Julia Hall Amnesty International’s expert on National security talks about the dangerous US case against Assange and the US (non)assurances to the High court.

We had some hope early on, when the Biden Administration first took office in January, and we really thought that potentially there could be a review of the case. Biden was the vice president in the Obama Administration, and the Obama Administration clearly chose not to pursue Assange, and so there was some hope at the beginning. Then we saw the appeal. It was really quite disappointing, because we did think that possibly there was an opening there, and for reasons that the Administration has not articulated well so far, they have made the decision to pursue. At this point, I think the appeal will go through in the United Kingdom, and the disturbing thing about it, in addition to the fact that they are appealing at all, is how long things will take, how this really continues to harm Assange because of his conditions in detention in the UK, especially now with Covid. This is part of the strategy to keep him detained as long as possible, it’s a kind of death by a thousand cuts.

The US made it very easy for us to oppose the extradition, because they gave with one hand and took away with the other. They say: we guarantee that he won’t be held in a maximum security facility and he will not be subjected to Special Administrative Measures and he will get healthcare. But if he does something that we don’t like, we reserve the right to not guarantee him, we reserve the right to put him in a maximum security facility, we reserve the right to offer him Special Administrative Measures. Those are not assurances at all.

Assange is such an important test case, because he is representative of all that, of state power, and if the US extradites him, if the US gets that long arm to reach out and grab a foreign publisher and bring him into the United States, and says he doesn’t have First Amendment rights to do what he does, that precedent can be damaging so far beyond this case, and that is why we are trying to forestall.

22 July 2021

President of Mexico López Obrador calls for the release of Julian Assange

“Assange must be freed because he is in prison unjustly. No one should be punished for revealing facts.”, sadi López Obrador in his address.

“Assange must be freed because he is in prison unjustly. No one should be punished for revealing facts.” President of Mexico @lopezobrador_ calls for the release of #WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange#FreeAssangeNOW #DropTheCharges #Pegasus #NSOGroup

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) July 22, 2021

Phillip Adams talks to Stella Moris on why Julian Assange should be freed

Stella Moris makes the case for Julian Assange to be freed from Britain’s maximum security prison and to have the request for extradition to the USA denied.

21 July 2021

The Assange Case Is Collapsing – But it Remains a Travesty of Justice

Last month, a key witness against Julian Assange admitted that his testimony was false. It’s further proof that this case has little to do with justice – but is a persecution designed to silence critical journalists, writes John Reese for the Tribune.

After all, a leading prosecution witness has admitted lying in his evidence to the court and the defendant and his lawyers have been spied on by the intelligence agency of the government attempting to extradite him. In any other case, the mere facts of these revelations would be enough to halt court proceedings, but the detail makes the case for abandonment of the extradition even more compelling.

The most recent bombshell is that Sigurdur ‘Siggi’ Thordarson has admitted to Icelandic journalists at Stundin that he lied when he gave evidence alleging that Julian Assange had instructed him to hack US government accounts. Thordarson’s evidence is not marginal to the US case: it’s woven all through the prosecution’s argument, and it is specifically referred to by the judge in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in those parts of her judgement which are hostile to Assange.

Thordarson admitted to the Stundin investigative team that Assange never asked him to hack anything. In fact, he now says that his previous claim that Assange had instructed or asked him to access computers is false.

Yet this is precisely the evidence on which the US prosecution relies.

As the Assange case goes to the High Court, we are reaching a critical moment. This is the crucial freedom of the press case of the twenty-first century. If it is lost, the shadow of authoritarian government will be cast longer and darker over the body politic. We should not allow that to happen.

20 July 2021

Amnesty International: Julian Assange’s “Arbitrary” Detention Must End. Release Him Now.

In an interview with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard says Julian Assange’s detention since 2010 “is arbitrary and that he should be released.” She adds that allegations made against him by the U.S. authorities “raise a large number of problems and red flags in relation to freedom of the press.”

.@amnesty secretary general @AgnesCallamard says that the detention of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange since 2010 is “arbitrary and that he should be released.”

— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) July 20, 2021

Critics Note Blinken’s Vow to Support ‘Independent Journalists’ Does Not Apply to Julian Assange

Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed Monday that the United States “will always support the indispensable work of independent journalists around the world”—a commitment that the Biden administration has refused to apply to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whom the U.S. government is attempting to prosecute for releasing classified information that exposed war crimes in Iraq and elsewhere, writes Jake Johnson for Common Dreams.

Critics were quick to note that Blinken’s expression of support for Alinejad and “independent journalists around the world” has not yet been extended to Assange, given that the Biden administration has continued its predecessor’s attempt to extradite the publisher from the United Kingdom, where he has spent more than two years in a maximum-security jail.

International advocacy organizations have consistently argued that prosecuting Assange for publishing classified information—something journalists do frequently—would pose a grave threat to press freedoms around the world.

19 July 2021

Assange Extradition: Why the Crumbling Computer Conspiracy Case Is So Vital to the US

Since the U.S. is on shaky constitutional ground with the espionage indictment, the computer intrusion charge has served as a hook to try to get Assange, by portraying him not as a journalist, but as a hacker, writes Cathy Vogan for Consortsium News.

While most of the talk about the Julian Assange case is about the espionage charges, which are political in nature, the U.S. case hangs by a thread for the second time on the non-political charge: conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

There is a reason why the computer charge is so vital to the U.S. case. Charging a journalist with espionage for unauthorized possession and dissemination of defense information has been possible since 1917, but it runs the risk of violating the First Amendment.

With the recanting of Thordarson’s testimony, and the weakness of the conspiracy allegation with Manning, the U.S. is back to what Biden said when was vice president: that Assange is a journalist who was merely doing his job by receiving state secrets, pretty much in his lap.

If Assange is extradited to stand trial in the U.S., what would happen if the computer intrusion charge collapses? It would leave the U.S. with only the political charges and Assange in the same legal state as other publishers of the same material, protected by the First Amendment.

17 July 2021

The controversial prosecutor at the heart of the Julian Assange case

The battle to extradite WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange from the United Kingdom to the United States is shaping up to be a legal case of paramount importance to the future of national security reporting, writes Murtaza Hussain for the Intercept.

One little-noted name in filings from extradition hearings in the U.K. keeps popping up as a key figure in the U.S. government’s case: a federal prosecutor named Gordon Kromberg.

Kromberg, an assistant United States attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, may be unknown to foreign and even many American observers. In U.S. legal circles, though, he has been a highly controversial figures for over two decades, dogged by accusations of bias and politicization in his prosecutions.

In all, the January court documents from Assange’s extradition case mention Kromberg over 40 times to help make the legal argument for extraditing Assange. Many of his statements go to the heart of the Espionage Act case against the WikiLeaks publisher.

Kromberg’s key role, however, suggests that the Justice Department is not taking the implications of the case on its end lightly. Legal observers say that the incredible extent that the government is going to level these charges, spending years pursuing Assange in various forms, and placing one of its most aggressive prosecutors on the case all sends a dire message to those who would publish classified information in the future.

16 July 2021

Gabriel Shiton and Kevin Gosztola talk to Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper about the case of Julian Assange

Matt and Katie sit down with Julian Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, and journalist Kevin Gosztola to talk about the astonishing new development in the Julian Assange case. Namely that the government’s star witness in its extradition case has admitted that he lied about Assange in exchange for immunity.

Mr. Assange is a journalist, not a ‘hacktivist’

A lawyer for Julian Assange, Barry J. Pollack wrote to the Washington Post to protest their use of the term “hactivist” when describing Mr. Assange.

Rather than referring to Mr. Assange as a journalist, which he is, or even less controversially simply as a publisher, which he undoubtedly is, the article referred to him as a publisher and “hacktivist.” A “hacktivist” is a person who illegally hacks into computers to make a political statement or advance political ends. Mr. Assange does no such thing, nor has he even been accused of being a “hacktivist.”

Mr. Assange is an award-winning journalist who has exposed serious wrongdoing, including war crimes. He is controversial and is not a typical journalist. But he is a publisher of truthful, newsworthy information, which is the very definition of a journalist. Regardless of whether or not The Post wants to accept that he is a journalist, what The Post cannot do responsibly is characterize him as a “hacktivist.” This utterly inaccurate description is worse than doing the government’s bidding by presuming him guilty of a computer crime the government has not proved and which he denies.

14 July 2021

The German Association of Journalists calls on Chancelor Merkel to ensure charges against Julian Assange are dropped

The German Association of Journalists (DJV) has issued a statement appealing to Chancellor Merkel to ensure, during her talks with President Biden on Thursday in Washington, that the charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange are dropped.

“Julian Assange has exposed war crimes in the USA,” says DJV Federal Chairman Frank Überall. “He deserves a medal for this rather than decades in prison.” The Chancellor would be well advised to convince the American president that he should break the principle of revenge of his predecessors in the White House in the Assange case.

The DJV chairman points out in this context that large sections of civil society and the media have been campaigning for the release of Julian Assange for years.

“Neither the Chancellor nor the US President should ignore these voices.”, he concludes.

13 July 2021

Amnesty International: US assurances leave Julian Assange at risk of ill-treatment if extradited from UK

Following the recent decision by UK High Court to allow appeal process in the extradition case against Julian Assange, to move forward, Amensty International has issued a statement reiteraterating its calls on the US government to drop the charges against Julian Assange and on the UK authorities to halt his extradition and release him immediately.

Diplomatic assurances offered by the US authorities to the UK government in Julian Assange’s ongoing extradition process will leave him at risk of ill-treatment if extradited and should be rejected, according to Amnesty International.

These alleged “guarantees” are an implicit acknowledgement that conditions for persons incarcerated in US federal prisons can amount to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in violation of international human rights law, which absolutely prohibits transfers of persons to countries where they would be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Notably, the assurances also give the US discretion to place Assange in a maximum-security facility and impose SAMs should he “do something subsequent to the offering of these assurances that meets the tests for the imposition of SAMs or designation to ADX”.

Read the entire statement here

Assange Case Again Points to Kafkaesque Criminalization of Journalism

Recruited by The United States to build a case against Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of Wikileaks Julian Assange, convicted criminal Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson has admitted to fabricating information used by The Department of Justice in the charges it has filed against the Australian-born publisher, writes Eric Harvey for the LA Progressive.

As a result, again attention should be drawn to how absurd the American government’s criminalization of Assange is. He is a journalist once at the helm of a publishing platform, an entity falling under the umbrella of the constitutionally protected press.

In its criminalization of Assange, The United States continues its nonobservance of precedent such as that set in New York Times Co. v. U.S., a landmark Supreme Court case that unprecedentedly affirmed protections for the press in cases where publishers release classified information in the public interest. And this nonobservance is in great part now evidenced to have been facilitated by lies that a convicted pedophile and scam artist, Thordarson, fed the American government. The similarities between the historical developments that precipitated New York Times Co. and what has happened with Assange and members of his circle are remarkable, and they add to any argument that the Founder of Wikileaks is a publisher entitled to First Amendment protections.

An example must be made of Julian Assange

In olden days, they would have hanged, drawn and quartered Julian Assange, writes Alex Lo for the South China Morning Post.

But, since we live in supposedly more civilised times, the great whistle-blower against the mighty United States has, more humanely, been put in a tiny isolated cell with 24-hour camera surveillance, in what is euphemistically called “suicide watch”.

Across three presidential administrations, the real message in its relentless decade-long pursuit of Assange – and of the other fellow great whistle-blower Edward Snowden – is that any such disclosure of American dirty laundry would invite ruination not only of your life as you know it, but also severe disruption of the lives and well-being of your closest and dearest, as well as your friends and close associates.

12 July 2021

Over 120 politicians, artists and journalist appeal to Chancellor Merkel to stand up for the release of Julian Assange during her visit to US President Biden

The signatories of the letter to Merkel initiated by the investigative journalist and writer Günter Wallraff include cross-party MPs from CDU, SPD, FDP, Linke and Grünen, several ex-ministers such as Sigmar Gabriel (SPD), Gerhart Baum (FDP), Oskar Lafontaine (Linke), the writer Elfriede Jelinek and the editor of the women’s magazine “Emma”, Alice Schwarzer.

The letter reads:

Like many well-known human rights organizations and journalists’ associations, we see the persecution of Julian Assange as an attack on freedom of the press and freedom of expression that must be rejected with all determination. Those who are committed to human rights and democracy cannot avoid campaigning for Julian Assange’s freedom.

Dealing with Julian Assange cannot be reconciled with the rule of law, and the dire prison conditions are a humanitarian scandal. In view of the threatening health of Julian Assange, there is an urgent need for action.

Dear Chancellor, we plead with you to help build bridges in the Julian Assange case. During your talks with US President Joe Biden in Washington, make it clear how important it is, in the interests of defending press freedom, to drop the charges against the Wikileaks founder so that he can freely recover with his family.

10 July 2021

The Julian Assange Media Blackout Must End

Stunning revelations have emerged overseas about the reckless and duplicitous methods used by US law enforcement against Julian Assange, writes Branko Marcetic of the Jacobin.

Two weeks ago, the Icelandic newspaper Stundin published a bombshell report revealing that Sigurdur Thordarson, a former WikiLeaks volunteer from Iceland whose testimony was key to the US case against Assange, admitted to fabricating accusations against Assange. Those accusations had been featured in the US indictment against the organization’s founder, and they were cited by the British judge who narrowly ruled against Assange’s extradition at the start of this year.

All of this has become particularly relevant this week, with the UK courts agreeing to hear the US government’s appeal of the rejection of Assange’s extradition, as reported by Shadowproof. Happily piggybacking on Donald Trump’s seedy deal with Thordarson, the Biden administration has now offered several “assurances” in an effort to reverse the January decision, including that they would allow Assange to apply for transfer to a prison in his home country of Australia to serve out his time.

With Thordarson recanting on his allegations, however, this puts the Biden administration in a bit of an awkward position. Secretary of state Antony Blinken has previously acknowledged the danger to press freedoms from prosecuting Assange, noting quite accurately in 2017 that “if he is simply publishing information that happened to come his way . . . that doesn’t make him a whole heck of a lot different, perhaps, than the New York Times.” He had then added the caveat that “if, on the other hand, he is actually instructing people to try to steal classified information that he can publish, that might be different.”

9 July 2021

A cross party group of Icelandic MP’s urges the US government to drop all charges against Julian Assange

A cross-party group of ten Icelandic MPs has sent a statement to the US Embassy in Iceland calling on the US government to drop charges against investigative journalist and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. According to the parliamentary group, he could, if convicted, be sentenced to 175 years in prison for his work, but he has now been held in a security prison in the UK for over two years.

We, the undersigned, MPs in Iceland from the entire political spectrum, urge the US Government to drop the charges against Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, and withdraw the extradition request against him in the UK.

The allegations of “espionage” against Assange are an attempt to criminalize investigative journalism, setting a dangerous precedent for media freedom around the world.

Recent revelations, in which a key witness in the case admits to having fabricated allegations against Assange, should mark the end of attacks on a multi-award winning journalist. We urge leaders, governments and parliamentarians around the world to raise their voices and support media freedom, the rule of law and the public’s right to knowledge.

8 July 2021

Russell Brand: The U.S. case against Julian Assange is falling apart, as key witness says he lied to get immunity

What is going on with the Assange story and what does it tell us about mainstream media and censorship?

7 July 2021

US government given limited permission to appeal January decision that Assange should not be extradited

Permission has been granted on a limited basis, allowing only narrow, technical grounds to form the basis of the appeal. Crucially, the High Court did not allow the United States to appeal any of the factual findings concerning Assange’s condition. No date has been set for the hearing.

Julian Assange’s fiancee, Stella Moris, said:

“Six months ago, Judge Vanessa Baraitser blocked the extradition of my partner, Julian Assange, because consigning him to the US prison system would have amounted to signing his death warrant. That should have been the end of it.

“The new revelations concerning the DoJ’s lead witness, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, confirm what we all knew: that the case against Julian has been built on lies. The case is rotten to the core, and nothing that the US government can say about his future treatment is worth the paper it is written on.  This is a country whose agents plotted to kill Julian on British soil; who harried his solicitors and stole legal documents; who even targeted our six-month-old baby.

“I am appealing directly to the Biden government to do the right thing, even at this late stage. This case should not be dragged out for a moment longer. End this prosecution, protect free speech and let Julian come home to his family.”

BREAKING: Julian Assange’s fiancée @StellaMoris1 gives powerful statement outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London. “This case is the most vicious attack on global press freedom in history.” #AssangeCase #FreeAssange

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) July 7, 2021

Assange’s team also said that US Government assurances – that he will not be held in an ADX prison (super high security) and would be able to serve any prison sentence in Australia – don’t really amount to concessions given prisoners convicted in America can apply to serve their sentences in their home countries. He could also very well be kept in solitary, even if not at ADX prison.

Read also the detailed reports on the US appeal from Kevin Gosztola and Computer Weekly.

Comenting on the UK court decision, Press Freedom groups have yet again called on US President Biden to drop all charges against Julian Assange.

As the UK High Court grants limited permission for the US to pursue its appeal against the decision opposing the extradition of @Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, RSF reiterates the call to #FreeAssange.

Full statement 👉

— RSF (@RSF_inter) July 7, 2021

The UK High Court has granted the US government permission to appeal a judge’s denial of its request to extradite journalist Julian Assange.

Assange’s prosecution threatens global press freedom.

We urge @POTUS and @TheJusticeDept to withdrawal their extradition request.

— Defending Rights & Dissent (@RightsDissent) July 7, 2021

The US government has been granted permission to appeal the UK court decision not to extradite #JulianAssange. This relentless pursuit of Julian must stop – it’s time to #DropTheChargesUSA!

— Amnesty International Australia 🕯 (@amnestyOz) July 8, 2021

Open Letter to Joe Biden by 95 Greek MPs: “Drop all charges against Julian Assange!”

As part of the international mobilisation to apply pressure on the US government to end the persecution of Julian Assange, 95 members of the Greek Parliament have written an open letter to US President Biden.

The letter reads:

“We are addressing you as Members of Greece’s Parliament to congratulate you for your recent comments in defence of media freedom.

The case against Mr. Assange weakens the right to publish important information thatagovernment finds uncomfortable. Indeed, this value is central to a free and open society. The case against Mr. Assange also undermines public confidence in our legal systems. Our countries are also increasingly confronted with the contradiction of advocating for press freedom abroad while holding Mr. Assange for years in the UK’s most notorious prison at the request of the US government.

We appeal to you to drop this prosecution, an act that would be a clarion call for freedom that would echo around the globe.”

With the Prosecution Collapsing, Doctors for Assange Implore Biden to Drop Case Endangering the Health of Assange and the Health of Democracy

A group of medical doctors representing over 250 medical professionals from 35 countries wrote to President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland urging them to drop all charges against Mr Assange. Doctors demand freedom for Assange amid fears he is suffering ‘severe psychological abuse’.

The letter reads:

“Doctors for Assange joins politicians, human rights, press freedom, and rule of law advocates across the globe in urging you to end the unwarranted US legal persecution and torture of Julian Assange, by dropping all charges against him now.

Doctors for Assange is alarmed by recent reports that Julian Assange continues to suffer severe psychological abuse in HMP Belmarsh Prison. Having won his case against extradition to the United States on unprecedented Espionage Act charges against him as a publisher, the UK judge nevertheless has been holding Mr. Assange in unjustified indefinite detention pending your appeal of the decision.

Meanwhile, Mr. Assange continues to suffer serious, life threatening effects of the psychological torture he has been subjected to for more than a decade.

For these reasons, we urge you to drop the appeal and all charges in this case that constitutes an egregious violation of the rule of law, human rights and press freedom. Failing to do so would establish a precedent with permanent, devastating effects on the foundations of our democracy, and irrevocably damage the United States’ reputation in the international community’s eyes. We urge you to put an end to this case before its dire consequences become your personal responsibility.”

6 July 2021

Ryan Grim gives a breakdown of the indictment against Julian Assange and why it is so utterly outrageous

Brother of Julian Assange, Gabriel Shipton says Wikileaks founder is enduring ‘Slow Motion Murder’

Brother of Julian Assange, Gabriel Shipton, details what his brother is enduring in prison and what the public needs to know about his case.

Free Press Advocates Call on Biden to Dismiss Trump’s Appeal Against Assange

As the father and brother of imprisoned journalist Julian Assange wrapped up their month long “Home Run for Julian” tour through 16 U.S. cities, the government’s principal witness against Assange recanted his testimony, writes Marjorie Cohn for TruthOut.

“By enlisting Thordarson to construct a case against Assange, the U.S. government “made a deal with the devil,” constitutional law scholar Stephen Rohde stated during the tour’s June 28 Los Angeles panel discussion.

John Shipton stated that by prosecuting Assange, the U.S. government “brought shame upon themselves.” But, he added, “with the freeing of Julian and bringing him home to his family … we are allowed to emerge once more and see the stars.”

Trump started a war on journalism. Biden has yet to end it

When the Trump administration indicted WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange under the infamous 1917 Espionage Act, journalists and other public figures sounded the alarms, warning of a war on the free press, writes Mark Weisbrot for LA Times.

“Biden’s Justice Department has not called off the attack. On the contrary, it is moving full speed ahead with the prosecution. So where is the chorus of voices who denounced the indictments in 2019? They’ve gone quiet this year. Members of Congress have been silent. They should speak up now, as the case hangs in the balance.

America’s most prominent organizations concerned with human rights, freedom of the press and civil liberties haven’t lost sight of the threat that this indictment and continued prosecution of Assange pose to fundamental press freedoms. They wrote a letter to the Justice Department in February calling it a “grave threat to press freedom both in the United States and abroad,” which could “jeopardize journalism that is crucial to democracy.””

5 July 2021

DiEM Voice: Why are you so afraid of Julian Assange?

This exclusive episode featureS artists Davide Dormino and Angela Richter, who have been fighting over the years for Assange’s freedom, and for the future of the free press. They discuss how the silencing of whistle-blowers, including cancel culture, hinders progressive change, and how art can have an impact in the defence of freedom of expression.

Thordarson’s Fabrications: Another Hole in the Julian Assange Prosecution

The tyrannical, brutal cynicism of keeping Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison remains one of the more inglorious marks of the British legal system, writes Binoy Kampmark.

“The case against Assange could have been thrown out under any number of grounds. Unfortunately, the judgment halting his extradition to the US on 17 charges based on the Espionage Act and one charge of computer intrusion was framed in purposely narrow terms, ignoring the patently political nature of the proceedings.

“A vital prosecution witness, Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson, admitted that the testimony gleefully used by US prosecutors had been riddled by fabrications.”

4 July 2021

Julian Assange’s Father & Brother speak with Krystal Kyle & Friends

Gabriel and John reveal details about Julian’s current living conditions, the discovery of fabricated testimony against him, and the U.S. media’s determined blackout of his case.

3 July 2021

Julian Assange’s 50th birthday celebrated throughout the world

Julian Assange supporters protested across the globe to celebrate Assange’s 50th birthday. After over a decade of illegal imprisonment, the protestors send a message that they will never give up fighting for his release.

Numerous press freedom and human rights organizations have again called for Julian Assange to be released including International Federation of Journalists, The Center for Investigative Journalism, PEN International, Big Brother Watch, The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, MEAA, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, Defending Rights & Dissent and many others.

Take a look a the collection of videos from some of the actions from around the world and messages marking Julian Assange‘s 50th birthday.

Assange Supporters Demand Release Amid Key DOJ Witness’s Admission Testimony Was Fabricated

The family of Julian Assange was joined by supporters on Saturday in Parliament Square, London, where they marked Assange’s 50th birthday—the third he’s spent in the city’s Belmarsh Prison as he awaits possible extradition to the U.S.—and to demand his release days after a key witness in the case against him admitted his testimony was false.

“Democracies do not imprison journalists. Julian is a political prisoner,” Moris told the supporters in Parliament Square. “He’s a prisoner of conscience. He’s in prison because he acted according to his conscience, exposing the powerful and defending the weak and the powerless.”

Marianne Williamson calls on Biden to drop efforts to extradite Assange

Activist and former Democratic presidential candidate, Marianne Williamson, said Assange should not be punished for releasing information on WikiLeaks that provided details on “the U.S. war machine.”

“What Assange revealed here was torture and rape and murder. What he revealed was up to 15,000 more civilian deaths than we had even known… this is about the U.S. war machine, about the fact that it is a very very big business. It is very well funded. We are not supposed to question the funding and we are not supposed to question what they do,” she said.

1 July 2021

Fair Media Watch: Key Assange Witness Recants—With Zero Corporate Media Coverage

In an interview he gave to Icelandic outlet Stundin, a key witness in the DOJ’s case against Julian Assange has admitted that his entire testimony is false.

“Such a blatant and juicy piece of important news should have made worldwide headlines. But, instead, there has been literally zero coverage of it in corporate media”

German MPs demand the release of Julian Assange in an open letter to US President Biden

“President Biden, end the the prosecution of journalist Julian Assange” writes athe letter signed by Bundestag’s a cross-party working group Freiheit fur Julian Assange.

“The latest revelations of fictitious hacking accusationsfrom a key witness cooperating with the FBI show once again that the allegations againstthe journalist Julian Assange are contrued and unfounded. We call upon the new US administration under President Joe Biden to end the extradition proceedings started by the previous administration led by Donald Trump once and for all and to stop the prosecution of the Wikileaks founder. Julian Assange has been kept for over two years under conditionsakin to torture at Belmarsh high security prison in London where he is forced to spend his 50th birthday in solitary confinment despite the critical condition of his health. We call upon German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel to urgently advocate, during her forthcoming visit to Washington to meet with US President Biden, an end to the persecution of Julian Assange and to insist that freedom of speech and of the press are upheld.”

#HomeRun4Julian finale in Washington DC

John and Gabriel Shipton’s month-long US tour ends in Washington DC with a rally in front of the Department of Justice.

That’s a wrap for #HomeRun4Julian! Thank you Washington DC supporters for a great rally!

— Assange Defense (@DefenseAssange) July 1, 2021

Julian’s brother @GabrielShipton has words outside the US Department of Justice

— Morgan Artyukhina (@LavenderNRed) July 1, 2021

30 June 2021

Bipartisan coalition of Australian parliamentarians from across the political spectrum call for proceedings against publisher Julian Assange to be dropped

Eleven federal MPs from across the political spectrum have appealed to Washington to drop its espionage charges against the Australian citizen and for the British government to allow him to return home.

#HomeRun4Julian at National Press Club with Cornel West and John and Gabriel Shipton

Renowned activist and public intellectual Dr. Cornel West and The Intercept’s DC bureau chief Ryan Grim join the family of award-winning WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange at the National Press Club to advocate for his release.

29 June 2021

UK lawmakers protest in front of Belmarsh prison seeking a meeting with Julian Assange

A Cross party group of UK politicians deliver a letter to Belmarsh prison calling out their ongoing refusal to allow a meeting with detained publisher Julian Assange. Richard Burgon, Diane Abbot and Jeremy Corbyn have delivered a letter from 20 MPs demanding to exercise their right as Parliamentarians to visit Julian Assange, a right that has been denied for 6 months.

This morning @HackneyAbbott @RichardBurgeon and I joined Stella and Max – the partner and son of Julian Assange who has been held in Belmarsh prison for two years. We delivered a letter from 20 MPs demanding to exercise our right as Parliamentarians to visit him. #FreeAssange

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 29, 2021

For six months the authorities have prevented MPs from meeting with Julian Assange to discuss the implications of any extradition to the US.

It’s in the public interest that elected officials get to discuss these issues. The authorities must now allow a meeting to go ahead.

— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) June 30, 2021

For six months, MPs have been trying to organise an official meeting with Julian Assange.

Today, I joined @JeremyCorbyn & @RichardBurgon at Belmarsh Prison to deliver a cross-party letter calling on them to facilitate this without further delay #FreeAssange

— Diane Abbott MP (@HackneyAbbott) June 29, 2021

FBI Fabrication Against Assange Falls Apart | Craig Murrey

“Many things should have ended the case against Assange. The First Amendment, the ban on political extradition in the US/UK Extradition Treaty, the CIA spying on the preparations of Assange’s defence counsel”, writes Craig Murrey.

“It is now five months since extradition was refused, no US government appeal against that decision has yet been accepted by the High Court, and yet Julian remains confined to the UK’s highest security prison. The revelation that Thordarson’s allegations are fabricated – which everyone knew already, Baraitser just pretended she didn’t – is just one more illegality that the Establishment will shimmy over in its continued persecution of Assange.

Assange democratised information and gave real power to the people for a while, worldwide. He revealed US war crimes. For that his life is destroyed. Neither law nor truth have anything to do with it.”

28 June 2021

US case against Julian Assange falls apart, as key witness says he lied to get immunity – Assange’s attorney Jennifer Robinson talks to Amy Goodman of the DemocracyNow!

“This is just the latest revelation to demonstrate why the U.S. case should be dropped,” says Jennifer Robinson, a human rights attorney who has been advising Assange and WikiLeaks since 2010. “The factual basis for this case has completely fallen apart.”

“[T]he evidence from Thordarson that was given to the United States and formed the basis of the second, superseding indictment, including allegations of hacking, has now been, on his own admission, demonstrated to have been fabricated. Not only did he misrepresent his access to Julian Assange and to WikiLeaks and his association with Julian Assange, he has now admitted that he made up and falsely misrepresented to the United States that there was any association with WikiLeaks and any association with hacking.”

#HomeRun4Julian in Los Angeles

Julian Assange’s father & brother join Marjorie Cohn, Jody Armour, and Stephen Rohde for a panel discussion.

Krystal and Saagar of BreakingPoints talk about newly released information that could shake up the Julian Assange case

26 June 2021

Key witness in Assange case admits to lies in indictment

In major scoop by the Icelandic Stundin, a maj­or wit­n­ess in the United States’ Depart­ment of Justice ca­se against Ju­li­an Assange has admitted to fabricat­ing key accusati­ons in the indict­ment against the Wiki­leaks found­er.

The man in question, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, was recruited by US authorities to build a case against Assange after misleading them to believe he was previously a close associate of his. In fact he had volunteered on a limited basis to raise money for Wikileaks in 2010 but was found to have used that opportunity to embezzle more than $50,000 from the organization.

The court documents refer to Mr Thordarson simply as “Teenager” (a reference to his youthful appearance rather than true age, he is 28 years old) and Iceland as “NATO Country 1” but make no real effort to hide the identity of either. They purport to show that Assange instructed Thordarson to commit computer intrusions or hacking in Iceland.

Thordarson now admits to Stundin that Assange never asked him to hack or access phone recordings of MPs.

Other misleading elements can be found in the indictment, and later reflected in the Magistrate’s judgement, based on Thordarson’s now admitted lies.

Julian Assange and partner Stella Moris planning to marry in Belmarsh prison

Julian Assange and his partner Stella Moris are planning to get married in prison, Moris told dpa in an exclusive interview ahead of the Wikileaks founder’s 50th birthday on July 3.

“We’re looking into getting married in the prison because we’ve been engaged since 2016,” Moris said, adding that the circumstances had not allowed them to go ahead with their plans yet.

#HomeRun4Julian: Family of Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Rally for His Freedom in Oakland

Family members and supporters of Assange are on a nationwide tour to advocate for both his freedom and the freedom of the press. Their most recent stop was in Oakland where they spoke next to Alice Walker with Daniel Ellsberg and Noam Chomsky

Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s brother, said dropping the extradition request could help the Biden Administration re-establish the idea that the United States is on a “moral high ground” when confronting overseas authoritarian states.

“They often get Assange thrown back in their faces,” Shipton said. “‘Look at what you’re doing to Assange, how could you confront us on our human rights or press freedoms?’ We’ve seen this with the Russian ambassador to the U.K.”

#HomeRun4Julian US tour continues in Los Angeles, California, and will be concluded in Washington DC, with a rally in front of the Jusitce Department. For more information vist visit here

25 June 2021

Assange’s fiancée Stella Moris urges Biden to free WikiLeaks founder to show U.S. has changed

President Joe Biden must let Julian Assange go free if he wants the United States to become a beacon for a free press once again and put the legacy of Donald Trump behind it, the fiancée of the WikiLeaks founder told Reuters.

“If Biden really wants to break with the Trump legacy, then he has to drop the case,” Moris told Reuters in an interview. “They can’t maintain this prosecution against Julian while saying that they defend a global press freedom.”

“I think there’s no doubt that Julian wouldn’t survive an extradition,” she said.

23 June 2021

HomeRun4Julian in Denver and Minneapolis/St. Paul

John and Gabriel Shipton, Julian Assange’s father and brother, speak at the Denver Press Club in Denver, CO, before a rally at the state capitol.

Julian Assange indictment is attack on press freedom, his father and brother tell St. Paul forum

Gabriel Shipton and Assange’s father, John Shipton, spoke Monday at a St. Paul forum sponsored by Women Against Military Madness. It was part of a monthlong 17-city tour of the United States they’re making to argue that the 17-count federal indictment against their son and brother is an attack on freedom of the press.

John and Gabriel Shipton, who are from Melbourne, Australia, urged those attending Monday’s forum to ask members of Congress to have the Justice Department reconsider its prosecution of Assange.

Get more info about the HomeRun4Julian US tour here

Edward Snowden says Julian Assange ‘could be next’ after John McAfee dies by suicide in jail

Former NSA consultant and data privacy advocate Edward Snowden tweeted on Wednesday that Julian Assange “could be next,” after antivirus mogul John McAfee died by apparent suicide in a Barcelona prison cell following news that he was being extradited to the US.

Europe should not extradite those accused of non-violent crimes to a court system so unfair—and prison system so cruel—that native-born defendants would rather die than become subject to it. Julian Assange could be next.

Until the system is reformed, a moratorium should remain.

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) June 23, 2021

22 June 2021

40 Years After the Pentagon Papers Decision, Press Freedom Still Threatened

“The work of putting the Department of Justice fully and firmly on the side of press freedom is far from finished”, writes John Nichols.

“One area where the Department of Justice should change course involves the ongoing effort to extradite Julian Assange from the United Kingdom. (…) [T]he Justice Department’s moves to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act—for working with a whistleblower to acquire and disseminate classified documents—poses a clear threat to press freedom.”

“Trump is out of office, and so is former Attorney General William Barr. But their influence on the Department of Justice lingers. That influence will threaten press freedom for so long as the department maintains its dangerous interpretation of the Espionage Act as a tool to punish whistleblowers and those who tell the American people what is being done in their name but without their informed consent.”

Calls for Assange release at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Speaking at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on a debate on media freedom, public trust and the people’s right to know, Irish Senator Paul Gavan called for the release of Julian Assange. He said:

“Whenever we in the West speak about media freedom, the elephant in the room is the continued imprisonment of Julian Assange.

“Wikileaks editor Julian Assange is facing up to 175 years in prison for publishing truthful information in the public interest.

“The politically-motivated charges represent an unprecedented attack on press freedom and the public’s right to know-seeking to criminalize basic journalistic activity.

“Whenever we speak of media freedom it is incumbent on all of us, regardless of who we are, to call for Julian Assange’s freedom and I make that call today.”

The call was repeated by UK MP Jeremy Corbyn who also spoke at the debate.

This morning I spoke to The Council of Europe @coe about media ownership and the plight of Julian Assange. I have joined other MPs in calling on @Potus to stop the appeal against the British court ruling which found that Assange should not be extradited to the US.

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 22, 2021

John and Gabriel Shipton talk to acTVism Munich

The Shipton’s are touring the United States to engage with Assange supporters and to put pressure on the Biden Administration to drop the case against the WikiLeaks founder. acTVism Munich caught up with the Shipton’s after the event in Columbus, Ohio, to discuss the Home Run for Julian Tour and why Americans should support their family member, Julian Assange.

21 June 2021

Julian Assange’s Continued Imprisonment Is A Test For Bitcoin’s Values

Roger Huang writes about Bitcoin values and why the Bitcoin community should rally behind Julian Assange.

“Even as early as 2010, Assange expressed a desire to wrestle with censorship in the West, including in “common law” societies that “prided” themselves on fundamental freedoms and Enlightenment ideals.

A decade or so later, Assange sits in Balmarsh Prison for the third year without an official sentence. This is the harshest prison in the United Kingdom, usually reserved for violent repeat offenders, many of whom have committed rape or murder — it is hard to justify why a non-violent activist would be here aside from sadistic extension of state power.

People who support bitcoin should be concerned about Assange’s imprisonment not only because it reflects the betrayal of bitcoin’s ideals in the specific case of Assange — states tying themselves into pretzel knots in order to undermine a non-violent disseminator of information — it also makes vulnerable the principles of true transaction neutrality that underpin bitcoin, creating the most pressing version of the “wrench attack”. If you cannot go after the system, you must go after the person.

Julian Assange’s Father And Brother Visit Milwaukee To Promote Their Request To President Biden

Assange’s father and brother are touring the US in an attempt to  get the Biden administration to drop its appeal of the case. While they were in Milwaukee they spoke to the WUWM radio.

Assange’s father, John Shipton, said there are good reasons for President Joe Biden to do so.

“Well, in the first place, it’s unjust and nobody likes to be seen as being unjust. [Second] in a practical matter because the defense of the First Amendment is a principal responsibility of governments in the United States and it’s in the United States Constitution. Thirdly, it brings no credit the administration of justice in the United States. This would bring great credit to any administration that brought this persecution and prosecution to an end,” John Shipton told WUWM.

19 June 2021

Julian Assange’s partner Stella Moris visits him in prison for the first time in 8 months

Stella Moris and the couple’s two young sons visited Assange in prison for the first time in eight months on Saturday morning.

Ms Moris said: “He was happy to see the kids, but he’s suffering. You know it’s a grim, horrible place.”

When asked about Assange’s mental health, Ms Moris said: “The situation is utterly intolerable and grotesque, and it can’t go on.

“You know he’s been in there for two years and going on to two-and-a-half years. Today is actually the nine-year anniversary of him going into the Ecuadorian Embassy.”

“The Biden administration is showing signs of wanting to project a commitment to the first amendment,” Mr Moris said.

“The only logical step for (Mr Biden) to take would be to drop this entire prosecution, and I hope that cooler heads prevail than under the Trump/Pompeo/Barr administration.”

HomeRun4Julian continues in Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison

Milwaukee shows up to #FreeAssange on the #HomeRun4Julian tour!

— Assange Defense (@DefenseAssange) June 19, 2021

Go Chicago! Next Stop Milwaukee on the #HomeRun4Julian tour. Bigger and bigger turnouts as we move across the USA. American standing up for their free press #FreeAssange #FreeAssangeNOW #DropTheCharges

— Gabriel Shipton (@GabrielShipton) June 18, 2021

18 June 2021

The Continuing Fight to Free Wikileaks Publisher Julian Assange

Flashpoints News host Dennis Bernstein and Rendy Credico speak with John & Gabriel Shipton as the HomeRun4Julian zeros in on the Bay Area in a special program featuring Daniel Elsberg and Alice Walker.

Julian Assange Rots in Jail as U.S. Slaughters First Amendment

Eve Ottenberg writes how the charges against Julian Assange undermine the First Amendment.

“Years pass, and journalist Julian Assange languishes in a British jail. His crime? Truthful reporting of U.S. military atrocities in Iraq, reporting that sparked a lust for vengeance among U.S. politicos and military men.”

“So while Biden claims to support free speech, actions speak louder than words. Prosecuting Julian Assange speaks loudest of all. If Assange is convicted under the Espionage Act, that will kill off the first amendment once and for all. It will mean any reporter, of any nationality, working in any country, who digs into the U.S. government’s dirt, risks fatal grasp in the empire’s iron talons, namely, being hustled onto a plane, hijacked to Northern Virginia, charged with Espionage Act violations and being buried alive, for 175 years, in supermax, solitary confinement.”

16 June 2021

It’s Not Just About Assange, It’s About Press Freedom | Defending Rights and Dissent

Defending Rights and Dissent’s (DRAD) Cody Bloomfield reports from the Washington DC HomeRun4Julian event and argues that defending Assange means defending public’s right to know

“It’s fitting that an event in support of Julian Assange took place on the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the Pentagon Papers. The court cases surrounding the publication of the Pentagon Papers once laid bare the lengths the government will go to prevent the public from knowing the full extent of the American national security state and war machine. Now, the fate of press freedom is once again at a crossroads. The Department of Justice’s prosecution of Julian Assange is an attack on the key premise of democracy: that the public has a right to know.”

“It’s long past time for the U.S. to stand by its promises. The U.S. needs to drop the charges against Assange immediately and end its war on the courageous whistleblowers, journalists, and activists who form the lifeblood of democracy.”

Sign DRAD’s petition to AG Merrick Garland to drop the charges against Assange here.

15 June 2021

Trump spied on journalists. So did Obama. America needs more press freedom now

“Before Trump, Obama’s justice department did more to hurt press freedom than any administration since Nixon. Here’s how we stop history repeating”, writes Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

“Garland has said so far that the DoJ won’t spy on journalists unless they are engaged in a crime. Well, the DoJ is currently attempting to make newsgathering a crime, in the form of its case against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.

[T]he actions described in the indictment against him, most notably the 17 Espionage Act charges, are indistinguishable for what reporters do all the time: talk to sources, cultivate their trust, request more information, receive classified documents, and eventually publish them.

News outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post already know what a threat the case is to their reporters’ rights; they’ve said so in public. However, it’s vital that they say this to the attorney general’s face. Right now, there is little pressure on the DoJ to drop the Assange charges, despite the fact that virtually every civil liberties and human rights group in the US has protested against them.

If Garland bars surveillance of journalists “doing their jobs” but secures a conviction that makes journalists’ jobs a crime, his promises will ultimately be worse than meaningless.”

‘We’re feeling the momentum’: Julian Assange family says Reality Winner’s release raises fresh hope

News of the release of Reality Winner came as AG Garland met with representatives of several major media outlets, after it had emerged that the DoJ, which he now heads, had under Trump secretly obtained the phone records of reporters from the New York Times and CNN, to try and squash leaks. It also came midway through a nationwide speaking tour by Julian Assange’s father and brother, John and Gabriel Shipton, to try and draw awareness to the case of the WikiLeaks’ founder, and to urge the Biden administration to end Washington’s efforts to extradite him to the US to face charges under the Espionage Act.

“I think for Joe Biden and his administration, they’re facing all these problems now that they’re preaching freedom of the press. Joe Biden said himself that what DoJ was doing under Trump, trying to subpoena journalists, to find out their sources … was wrong,” said Gabriel Shipton. “The other angle is that it’s going to confront him abroad. What we’re seeing when he’s confronting China, is China’s foreign affairs spokesman coming back and saying ‘what about Assange’.”

Nathan Fuller who heads the Courage Foundation, called on Mr Biden to act in support of the first amendment of the US constitution which protects the right to free speech.

“He should protect the first amendment and stop this Trump-era assault on it,” he said. “This is a Trump-era case. He has every opportunity to drop it right now.”

Revisiting the case of Julian Assange and the reality of the “rule of law”

“A society that prohibits the capacity to speak in truth extinguishes the capacity to live in justice.”, writes Chris Hedges.

“[T]he battle for Julian’s liberty has always been much more than the persecution of a publisher. It is the most important battle for press freedom of our era. And if we lose this battle, it will be devastating, not only for Julian and his family, but for us.”

“The long campaign against Julian and WikiLeaks is a window into the collapse of the rule of law, the rise of what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of “inverted totalitarianism,” a form of totalitarianism that maintains the fictions of the old capitalist democracy, including its institutions, iconography, patriotic symbols and rhetoric, but internally has surrendered total control to the dictates of global corporations.”

“Julian exposed the truth. He exposed it over and over and over until there was no question of the endemic illegality, corruption and mendacity that defines the global ruling elite. And for these truths they came after Julian, as they have come after all who dared rip back the veil on power.”

14 June 2021

Major news outlets must push DOJ to drop Assange charges – their press freedom rights are at stake | Freedom of the Press Foundation

The prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange constitutes the most clear and present danger to this country’s press freedom rights, writes Parker Higgins, Freedom of the Press Foundation’s Advocacy Director.

“Three major news organizations are set to meet with the the Department of Justice (DOJ) today to discuss the recent journalist surveillance scandals, and talk with the Attorney General Merrick Garland about how the DOJ plans to to prevent the use of subpoenas and surveillance to root out journalistic sources in future leak investigations.

While the news outlets plan to push for more concrete promises from the Justice Department to prevent further spying on reporters, it’s vitally important that the same publishers use today’s opportunity to press the Attorney General to drop the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, which constitutes the most clear and present danger to this country’s press freedom rights. If the case continues, it would render Garland’s new promises worthless.”

“When the Trump administration proceeded with the indictment, many major news publishers spoke out forcefully against it, despite harshly criticizing Assange in the past. Virtually every major human rights and civil liberties group in the country urged Biden’s DOJ not to continue with the prosecution earlier this year.”

“If the Justice Department is promising on the one hand not to use subpoenas against journalists unless they are otherwise engaged in a crime, and on the other hand is laying out the blueprint for charging journalists who report on sensitive national security information, the problem could not be more clear.”

“Today, as stakeholders hammer out the details of this new rule, we urge the news organizations and the self-described press freedom advocates within the administration to consider the danger of pending Espionage Act charges against a publisher. And we continue to urge the Department of Justice to drop the prosecution.”

AG Merrick Garland raises as many questions as he answers with First Amendment promises

George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley argues for the need to draw bright lines in leak investigations: AG Garland must address “the most important press freedom case in 300 years”– the continued prosecution of publisher Julian Assange.

“If Garland is going to implement protections for the media in the use of leaked material, he will have to address the continued prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by the DOJ. The Justice Department is still fighting to extradite Assange. It is using the same tactic that was used in the Rosen case by treating Assange not as a journalist but as a criminal co-conspirator.  DOJ insists that Assange played an active role in his correspondence with and advice to the hacker. Yet, Assange would not be the first journalist to work with a whistleblower who is prospectively or continuing to acquire nonpublic information.”

“Both the rights of free speech and the free press require bright lines to flourish. For the free press, one bright line is to bar reverse engineering in leak investigations and the targeting of publishers or recipients of information in the media or Congress. Another is to require a higher showing (and higher authorization) for any searches of the records of journalists. That, however, will take us inevitably to the questions that the government and frankly some in the media have avoided for years. What is a journalist, and what to do with Julian Assange?”

Six months since Julian’s extradition was refused, latest update from Stella Moris

In the latest update Stella Moris gives an overview of the upcoming dates and events around which activists can mobilize, and a detailed outlook on campaign, legal and political activities.

Help reach the goal of 100.000 £ towards Julian’s legal costs defending him from DoJ extradition.

#HomeRun4Julian US tour continues in Columbus, Ohio

Next stop is in Chicago on June 17th. Check the next tour dates and places here

13 June 2021

John and Gabriel Shipton’s #HomeRun4Julian US tour in Washington DC

Policy director of Defending Rights and Dissent Chip Gibbons, author and political activist Marianne Williamson and DC bureau chief of the Intercept Ryan Grim, join John and Gabriel Shipton on stage in Washington DC.

Next stop is in Columbus, Ohio on June 14th. Check the next tour dates and places here

11 June 2021

“Julian Is Suffering”: Family of WikiLeaks Founder Assange in U.S. to Demand His Release from Prison

John and Gabriel Shipton, Julian Assange’s father and brother who are touring the United States to advocate for his release, spoke to Amy Goodman for Democracy Now.

John Shipton, father of Julian Assange, calls for the U.S. and U.K. to end the Wikileaks founder’s imprisonment in London. “The G7 meeting is based upon values, and yet they have, just a few kilometers down the road, a foremost journalist in jail.”

Assange is a victim of “an abusive process” meant to punish him for his journalism, adds Gabriel Shipton. “The situation there is really dire, and Julian is suffering inside that prison.”

British MPs petition Biden to drop Julian Assange prosecution A group of British MPs have written to the US president urging him to drop his administration’s attempt to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

An open letter to Joe Biden who is in the UK for the G7 summit, said dropping the prosecution would be a “clarion call for freedom”.

The letter reads:

“Your administration, in partnership with the government of this country, has launched the campaign in defence of media freedom. It is in this context that we wish to raise with youthe case of Julian Assange.”

“Civil liberties groups and top newsrooms alike view the government’s prosecution against this publisher with alarm.”

“The effect of your predecessor’s decision to take a criminal case against a member of the press working in our country is to restrict the scope of permissible press activities here, and set a precedent that others will no doubt exploit.

The case against Mr. Assange weakens the right to publish important information that the government finds uncomfortable. Indeed, this value is central to a free and open society. The case against Mr. Assange also undermines public confidence in our legal systems. Our countries are also increasingly confronted with the contradiction of advocating for press freedom abroad while holding Mr. Assange for years in the UK’s most notorious prison at the request of the US government.

We appeal to you to drop this prosecution, an act that would be a clarion call for freedom that would echo around the globe.”

10 June 2021

Richard Burgon MP appeals in the UK parliament to US president Biden to drop the charges against Julian Assange

Richard Burgon MP gives powerful speech in parliament today to appeal to US president Joe Biden who is in the UK for the G7 summit to drop the charges against Julian Assange.

“Much of what we know about those crimes was exposed by the fearless work of a journalist, a journalist who has exposed unlawful killing, a journalist who exposed US renditions, a journalist who exposed the horrors of Guantanamo bay, a journalist invited to work in this country by the Guardian newspaper, a journalist who, as we meet today in our parliament for this debate is sitting in prison, in a British high-security prison, solely because his journalism.”

WATCH: Richard Burgon MP @RichardBurgon gives powerful speech in parliament today to appeal to US president @JoeBiden who is now in the country for the G7. @POTUS #DropTheCharges #FreeAssange

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) June 10, 2021

John and Gabriel Shipton’s #HomeRun4Julian US tour continues in New York

Julian Assange’s father & brother, John & Gabriel Shipton, are touring the United States to call on the Biden Administration to drop the charges against Assange. After Miami and Boston they spoke in New York City.

Introductory remarks by satirist and radio host, Randy Credico, journalist and tv host Chris Hedges, journalist at The Grayzone Aaron Mate, and composer, Pink Floyd co-founder and activist Roger Waters

9 June 2021

Julian Assange awarded the 2021 Sacco & Vanzetti Award by the Community Church of Boston

The Community Church of Boston presented its 2021 Sacco-Vanzetti Memorial Award for Social Justice to WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange on Wednesday. Accepting the award for the imprisoned Assange was his father and brother, John and Gabriel Shipton who are on a 17-city U.S. tour. Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was among the speakers.

Julian Assange: The Man Who Knew Too Much

“If America truly values an informed public, the persecution of Julian Assange must end”, writes Skip Kaltenheuser for the LA Progressive.

“President Biden can shore up the journalism on which democracy depends. He can cease government threats to journalists and prove he values government transparency. Stopping the prosecution – persecution – of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange accomplishes this. Assange remains imprisoned in London as the US seeks his extradition on specious charges, including actions journalists routinely engage in.”

7 June 2021

Stella Moris: “This situation shames the UK’s justice system. It is a blight on the UK’s global reputation”

In an interview with Daily Mail Stella Moris discusses the plight of her partner Julian Assange who might soon know if the US government can continue to have him held in Britain’s toughest jail. Assange is being held on remand in a maximum-security jail, raising troubling political questions about the indefinite detention of a man who has not been convicted of anything.

“Julian won his case against extradition to the USA six months ago yet he remains locked up.

“He is barely hanging on inside Belmarsh. He is still fighting and committed but this feels like an endless punishment. At times he is in such despair he thinks he is a burden, so suicide is a very real fear.”

“It is unacceptable for a foreign power to be able tell Britain what to do. It’s time for President Joe Biden to drop the charges against Julian and Boris Johnson should ask him to do so at the G7 meeting in Cornwall this week. Hopefully then, justice will prevail.”

“The Americans are trying to prove their Espionage Act is the same in law as Britain’s Official Secrets Act, which has never been used against a publisher or journalist. I don’t want to accept this. If you accept it you are lost.”

John and Gabriel Shipton’s #HomeRun4Julian US tour kicks off in Miami

Julian Assange’s father & brother, John & Gabriel Shipton, are touring the United States to call on the Biden Administration to drop the charges against Assange. They began the #HomeRun4Julian tour in Miami.


  • John and Gabriel Shipton, Julian’s father and brother
  • Mara Shlackman, National Lawyers Guild
  • Scott Luxor, independent journalist
  • Nicolas “Sandy” Davies, journalist and researcher for Code Pink

Next stop is in Boston on June 9th. Check the next tour dates and places here

4 June 2021

Gabriel Shipton’s speech at Bitcoin 2021 conference

“We had planned to read a letter today for you from Julian. Unfortunately years of what the UN has found to be psychological torture have taken a toll on my brother. Julian suggested we read you A Call to Cryptographic Arms The intro of his book Cypherpunks“

Geneva call to free Julian Assange: Press conference and statements

Assange’s fiancee Stella Moris teamed up in Geneva with Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, and Geneva mayor Frederique Perler to call for his release and the scrapping of extradition proceedings.

They urged international organisations based in the Swiss city to help free Assange, and called on Switzerland and other democratic nations to offer the Australian former computer hacker a refuge from potential further prosecution moves.

“My hope is that it will end today, it’s being going on for too long, it’s an absolute aberration that Julian is in prison at all,” said Moris.

“He won his case of extradition at the lowest level in January and he is still in prison, and he is prosecuted for journalistic activities.”

Moris signed the Geneva Call to free Assange which is now opened to electronic signature to all citizens ot the world who defend human rights and press freedom.

Sign it here

Melzer told reporters in Geneva that Assange’s case was “probably one of the biggest judicial scandals in history”.

“He’s told the truth about misconduct of powerful states, of powerful corporations, he has challenged the powerful who do their business in the shadows,” said the special rapporteur.

The recording of the press conference is available below:

2 June 2021

Ai Weiwei accuses curators of rejecting artwork over Julian Assange content

In his op-ed the artist claims piece was rejected from exhibition for addressing imprisonment of the WikiLeaks founder.

Weiwei said the piece, called Postcard for Political Prisoners, incorporated a photograph of the running machine given to him by Assange, who is detained in Belmarsh high-security prison in south-east London.

“I am a strong supporter of Assange because I firmly believe in the importance of investigative journalism in a civil society. As I felt that I did not have the chance to do justice to Assange’s story, the combination between my encounter with him and my ongoing interest in sending letters to political prisoners was crystallised into Postcard for Political Prisoners. It is a project which not only shows care to political prisoners, but it also encourages participants to reflect upon the relationship between the freedom that they enjoy and the price these fighters pay for that freedom.”

1 June 2021

Stella Moris interview with C à Vous: “The situation, as it stands, is this either ends in Julian’s freedom or it ends in his death”

Julian Assange’s partner @StellaMoris1 to @EmmanuelMacron: “I would ask him to defend French values.” |@cavousf5#FreeAssangeNOW#DropTheCharges#NoExtradition

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) June 1, 2021

30 May 2021

Julian Assange, Wikileaks and Bitcoin with Gabriel Shipton [in Spanish]

Together with Alfre Mancera as co-presenter, Lunaticoin spoke with Gabriel Shipton – Julian’s brother – about who Julian is, what his background is, his work as a cypherpunk, his fight with Wikileaks, his opinion about Bitcoin and why we should see bitcoiners overturn with his case.

29 May 2021

#HomeRun4Julian: John and Gabriel Shipton’s nationwide tour of the United States

The father and brother of award-winning Australian journalist Julian Assange will undertake a nationwide tour of the United States from June 6 – July 2, calling on the U.S. government to drop its prosecution and finally let Julian come home.

John and Gabriel Shipton, Julian Assange’s father and brother, will begin the #HomeRun4Julian tour in Miami on June 6 via a live-streamed event. The Shiptons are scheduled to make stops on both coasts and the Midwest before concluding the tour in the nation’s capital.

Assange’s family members will meet with activists, press, and policymakers to raise awareness of the importance of protecting whistleblowers and journalists, and to advocate for the release of Julian Assange, whom the United Nations has declared “arbitrarily detained” since 2010.

25 May 2021

Geneva calls for the release of Julian Assange

In the name of the humanitarian values rooted in Geneva, City of Peace and Human Rights, a dozen personalities, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer and the Mayor of Geneva, are mobilizing on Friday, June 4 to launch the “Geneva Call to Free Assange” #GVA_FreeAssange.

The Call GVA_FreeAssange will be launched at a press conference on June 4 at 2 pm with UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, Frédérique Perler Mayor of Geneva, Julian Assange’s fiancée Stella Moris, RSF’s Denis Masmejan and others.

Installed on the Pâquis pier, in front of the Geneva Jet d’eau, the sculpture by Davide Dormino AnythingToSay? representing whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be officially inaugurated on Saturday, June 5, the day after the launch of the Geneva Call. Eminent personalities will take part to the inauguration. Many eminent guests will take part in the inauguration.

21 May 2021

The case of Julian Assange, an interview with Nils Melzer [in German]

The Swedish-Swiss UN diplomat Nils Melzer has investigated the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. In the interview for Berlier Zeitung he speaks of the banality of evil, which we can also observe it in the liberal West.

“Wikileaks itself is not a whistleblower, but a journalistic platform that publishes information from whistleblowers. Wikileaks has taken over this task from traditional media that have ignored them. Wikileaks and Assange certainly didn’t do everything perfectly. But that’s not what this is about. It is about war crimes that are not prosecuted and punished. It is one of the western principles that we have the rule of law. There is a systemic failure here in the West. What should be done is to ask: What do you want with the torture cellars? When will the guilty be punished? When is there compensation for the victims? This should be discussed by the public and not whether they find Assange likeable or not.”

18 May 2021

Two cases that share more than Europe’s double standards [in German]

Navalny and Assange are both victims of political persecution and arbitrary justice, but experience different levels of solidarity – also from Europe, writes Harald Schuman for Tagesspiegel.

“One prisoner is the victim of a poison attack and his health is badly damaged. Even so, a court sent him to a notorious prison camp for three and a half years for embezzlement and money laundering.”

“The other prisoner has been held in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison for two years – and without a valid judgment. According to a UN expert, it shows the typical symptoms for victims of psychological torture. He was not guilty of any crime in the country of his captivity. A foreign government accuses him of conspiracy and espionage.”

“Navalny, Assange – both are undoubtedly political prisoners. Both are victims of political persecution and arbitrary justice. But while Navalny finds support and assistance from the governments of Europe, they are giving the British government a free hand to let the whistleblower Assange rot in prison on behalf of the US government.”

The Vanguard: Gabriel Shipton, Kevin Gosztola & Glory Jones discuss the case of Julian Assange

15 May 2021

John Shipton marches for his son, Julian Assange

Father of incarcerated journalist Julian Assange, John Shipton, is continuing his campaign for his son’s freedom. Speaking at the event in support of Julian Assange in Brisbane he said:

“Julian is now ten years in arbitrary detention: Wandsworth prison, ten days solitary confinement; Norwich, 18 months house arrest; Ecuador’s London embassy, 7.5 years; and now, Belmarsh maximum security prison, two years in a cell, 23 hours per day. Ten years just for telling the truth. Morrison should get on the blower and tell Biden to drop the charges.”

John Shipton was on a journey to everywhere to rally support for his son and to reconnect with Assange supporters, before embarking on an even more impressive journey to the UK and the US where he will plead with President Joe Biden to ease his family and Julian’s decade-long suffering and drop the charges and free Julian Assange.

13 May 2021

Gabriel Shipton: Defend Julian Assange, Defend Free Internet

Gabriel Shipton, in the AnitaPosch show talks about the current state of Julian, who is the first publisher charged under the US espionage act and is awaiting further trials locked up in Belmarsh high security prison, the connections between WikiLeaks, journalism and Bitcoin and why and how Bitcoiners can support Julian’s case.

11 May 2021

Assange’s Persecution Highlights U.S. & U.K. Hypocrisy

The United States and United Kingdom continue to imprison WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange for journalistic activity, under charges that press freedom experts across the political spectrum agree represent a grave and unprecedented threat to investigative journalism around the world. At the same time, U.S. and UK leaders use their international platforms to condemn other countries for the very same abuses of basic journalistic rights. Foreign leaders are taking notice, and pointing out this blatant hypocrisy in response. The Assange case no longer represents a hypothetical danger; it is actively undermining the West’s moral authority to push back on human rights violators around the world.

On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab held a joint press conference in which they condemned China, Russia, and other countries for press freedom violations.

Days later, Chinese Foreign Secretary Hua Chunying held a press conference in which she was asked about these types of comments, and she responded by calling attention to the glaring double standard underlined by Assange’s ongoing persecution

10 May 2021

The Trump administration spied on journalists. The Biden administration defended it.

Jon Allsop writes for the Columbia Journalism Review about the press record of the new Biden administration.

“[I]n its first weeks in office, his administration continued the Trump-era push to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, under the Espionage Act, drawing blowback from a coalition of press-freedom groups who say that the charges against Assange threaten to criminalize various routine acts of journalism.”

“As the Freedom of the Press Foundation noted in January, after Biden was inaugurated, he had “already been lauded for striking a new tone” with the press. “But refraining from insulting and delegitimizing reporters on a daily basis is an incredibly low bar. It is by the actions of its Justice Department and intelligence agencies that the Biden administration should ultimately be judged.”

9 May 2021

Antony Blinken Continues to Lecture the World on Values His Administration Aggressively Violates, writes Glenn Greenwald

How can you feign anger over others’ attacks on a free press when you imprison Assange as punishment for his vital revelations about U.S. officials?

“That the Biden administration is such a stalwart believer in the sanctity of independent journalism and is devoted to defending it wherever it is threatened would come as a great surprise to many, many people. Among them would be Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks and the person responsible for breaking more major stories about the actions of top U.S. officials than virtually all U.S. journalists employed in the corporate press combined.

“Currently, Assange is sitting in a cell in the British high-security Belmarsh prison because the Biden administration is not only trying to extradite him to stand trial on espionage charges for having published documents embarrassing to the U.S. Government and the Democratic Party but also has appealed a British judge’s January ruling rejecting that extradition request. The Biden administration is doing all of this, noted The New York Times, despite the fact that “human rights and civil liberties groups had asked the [administration] to abandon the effort to prosecute Mr. Assange, arguing that the case . . . could establish a precedent posing a grave threat to press freedoms” — press freedoms, exactly the value which Blinken just righteously spent the week celebrating and vowing to uphold.”

“How can you run around the world feigning anger over other countries’ persecution of independent journalists when you are a key part of the administration that is doing more than anyone to destroy one of the most consequential independent journalists of the last several decades?”

7 May 2021

Chris Hedges on the Ruling Class’ Revenge Against Julian Assange

Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges joins Robert Scheer to discuss the WikiLeaks founder’s plight as he languishes in a British prison.

Scheer and Hedges assert that Assange’s case is a clear threat to freedom of the press given that he acted in the capacity of a publisher in the same way the global media outlets that printed the content released by WikiLeaks did. Should the publishers of the Washington Post, New York Times and other media have been charged with a crime for publishing the content?

“I’ve been stunned at what an egregious assault [Assange’s persecution] is on press freedom and how the institutions that purport to care about freedom of the press have been complicit in the persecution of Julian.”

4 May 2021

Julian Assange on the European Federation of Journalists list of imprisoned journalists in Europe

European Federation of Journalists has updated its list of journalists jailed in Europe, with Julian Assange listed as imprisoned in the UK. The arbitrary detention of Julian Assange has set a dangerous precedent for journalists, says EFJ.

“We believe that the arbitrary detention and criminal prosecution of Julian Assange set an extremely dangerous precedent for journalists, media actors and freedom of the press,”

3 May 2021

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press 2020 Report: Despite some progress Biden’s administration continued prosecution of Julian Assange remains a troubling development

In their 2020 Press Freedom report RCFP draws attention to the continued prosecution of Julian Assange by the new Biden administration. “The new administration under President Joe Biden has continued to pursue a historic criminal prosecution against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, which includes charges based solely on the act of publicly disclosing government secrets — the first time such a legal theory has advanced beyond the grand jury stage. Following an extradition trial in fall 2020, a court in the United Kingdom declined to extradite Assange, finding a strong risk he would attempt suicide were he in U.S. custody. The judge, however, addressed and agreed with the government’s substantive legal arguments, including the claimed ability to use the spying laws to punish “pure publication.” That decision is on appeal, and the Biden Justice Department has indicated it will continue the extradition effort.” Read the entire report here

Calls to free Julian Assange on World Press Freedom Day

On World Press Freedom Day, numerous media, human rights and press freedom organizations, activists, journalists and politicians have called for the release of Julian Assange.

This would be more persuasive if the White House weren’t aggressively seeking an 175-year sentence for the publisher of award-winning journalism of global importance—despite pleas from every significant press freedom and human rights organization:

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) May 3, 2021

It’s an assault on #PressFreedom that Assange is still locked up in a covid-infested dungeon.
Shame on the corporate press for not protesting.
They are in the target hairs too.
Fight for his freedom to defend our own!

— Dr. Jill Stein🌻 (@DrJillStein) May 3, 2021

My reaction to @secblinken @DominicRaab press conference on #WorldPressFreedomDay:

“I’m angry. Because the single greatest threat to press freedom globally is the US government’s prosecution of #Assange. The brazen hypocrisy is not just dangerous- it’s completely unsustainable.”

— Stella Moris #DropTheCharges (@StellaMoris1) May 3, 2021

Truth-telling journalism is not a crime.

Its not a crime for journalist to report on national security issues; we the public have a right to know: the lies of our governments and the crimes they commit in our name.

Free Julian Assange#WorldPressFreedomDay

— Claudia Webbe MP (@ClaudiaWebbe) May 3, 2021

For months I’ve tried to secure a video-meeting between a group of MPs and Julian Assange, in jail in the UK because the US wants him extradited for exposing war crimes.

The UK authorities have prevented this

Today on World Press Freedom Day they should permit this to go ahead.

— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) May 3, 2021

Read @RSF_inter’s comment on the “unnecessarily cruel” decision to keep Assange detained despite the extradition ruling in his favour. He remains detained at Belmarsh prison, where he faces serious mental & physical health risks. It’s time to #FreeAssange!

— Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) May 3, 2021

On #WorldPressFreedomDay, the Biden admin needs to drop the charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Every major press freedom and civil liberties group has said the case against him would irreparably damage press freedom. Listen to them!

— Freedom of the Press (@FreedomofPress) May 3, 2021

Julian #Assange wird als investigativer Journalist politisch durch US-GB-Justiz verfolgt. EU und BuReg müssen dies endlich verurteilen! #WorldPressFreedomDay #worldpressfreedomday2021 #Pressefreiheit #PressFreedom #FreeAssange

— Heike Hänsel (@HeikeHaensel) May 3, 2021

When reporting a crime is treated worse than the crime itself, we live in a dangerous propaganda circus.

This #WorldPressFreedomDay we continue to shout it loud & proud – FREE JULIAN ASSANGE! His incarceration is an absolute disgrace.#PostForThePress #FreeJulianAssange

— James Kennedy (@JamesKennedyUK) May 3, 2021

On #WorldPressFreedomDay, it’s time for @potus to #BringJulianHome. Journalism shouldn’t be a crime!

— Jeff Sparrow (@Jeff_Sparrow) May 3, 2021

Le accuse contro Julian Assange minacciano il diritto alla libertà di stampa. Oggi #3maggio si celebra la giornata per la libertà di stampa. Ricordiamo che la libertà di espressione è un diritto umano: proteggerla vuol dire proteggere la democrazia

— Amnesty Italia (@amnestyitalia) May 3, 2021

7/. “We live in a ‘Mediaocracy’ where what is politically possible is defined by the media environment” #JulianAssange

The Iraq War showed how swiftly the media comes to heel at “times of national crisis”

Those who fail to do so – like #Assange – can face draconian consequences

— Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) May 3, 2021

1. #FreeJulianAssange. Authorities in the US must drop the espionage and all other charges against Assange, that relate to his publishing activities as part of his work with Wikileaks.

— Amnesty International Australia 🕯 (@amnestyOz) May 3, 2021

On World Press Freedom Day, It’s Time to Free Julian Assange

Julian Assange has never been convicted of a crime, but remains incarcerated in a high-security prison for revealing the truth about wartime atrocities – the case makes a mockery of the idea of press freedom, writes John Rees.

“The judge refused an offer by Assange’s lawyers that the bail conditions could include confinement to his home and the use of an ankle bracelet to track his movements. Although, in reality, such precautions would be entirely unnecessary since the victory against extradition in a UK court means that this country is the only jurisdiction in which Assange would be safe. If he were ever to go anywhere else the US could restart new extradition proceedings in that state.”

“The Assange case is the great freedom of the press trial of the 21st century. For it to be lost would be the signal for every regime threatened by freedom of speech to clamp down with impunity. Some of the most authoritarian regimes in the world, including most recently Putin’s Russia, are now readily using this reply to challenges to their human rights record: ‘Well, look what you are doing to Assange’. The stain of US and UK hypocrisy is spreading. It is providing a global excuse for threats to press freedom. The prosecution of Assange must stop before more serious damage is done.”

Defending Assange is crucial to protecting human rights and free speech in the West and beyond

On Press Freedom Day, Erik Sandberg argues that defending Assange is crucial to protecting human rights and free speech in the West and beyond.

“The reputational standing of the West as being a make-up society where journalists can work relatively freely, and ‘hold power to account’ isn’t just at threat, it’s quickly evaporating abroad and on a mass-scale.”

“Meanwhile, the spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry is pulling similar tricks in parallel with the liberal activist, Navalny; and if engaged, China would easily employ similar tactics if pressed on the Apple Daily publisher, Jimmy Lai.”

“But “America is back”, according to Biden. Yet, at the time of writing, he and Merick Garland have taken no position on Assange nor looked to consolidate the First Amendment which has been trashed by this Trump-era persecution on journalism. They could drop the charges, or they could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their aforementioned nemeses to the East augmenting a multilateral ideology that reads as clear as spring break: “If you publish something that we don’t like — then we’re coming after you.””

2 May 2021

UK’s National Union of Journalists: Assange’s imprisonment threatens unfettered journalism

On World Press Freedom Day, the NUJ has stressed the need for renewed, collective effort to defend and protect media freedom at home and abroad. They stress the case of Julian Assange as one of the most significant threats to press freedom in the UK.

“Julian Assange may not have been extradited this year but the ruling in his case leaves open the possibility for the US government to pursue journalists and publishers around the world if their reporting annoys the Washington establishment. That Assange remains in prison pending the US appeal against this decision underlines the grievous threat to unfettered journalism that this US legislation poses.”

As the world celebrates Press Freedom Day, Julian Assange remains in Belmarsh prison

As people worldwide celebrate the UN’s World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, WikiLeaks publisher and journalist Julian Assange remains incarcerated, writes Mohamed Elmaazi

“There are noteworthy parallels which can be drawn between Assange’s case and that of famed US Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.”

“Ellsberg and Assange each helped to reveal war crimes and other criminality by the US government. They were both subjected to warrantless wiretapping and violations of their privileged communications. And they both faced possible assassination, or at least the risk of serious harm, at the US government’s hands.”

“Despite the clear similarities between the two cases, the determinations by the judges in Ellsberg’s trial and Assange’s extradition hearing diverge markedly.”

“US president Joe Biden has claimed that his presidency will mark a break from that of former president Donald Trump, including in relation to attacks against the press. But his government remains committed, at least for now, to Assange’s prosecution for his role in revealing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other forms of wrongdoing by the state.”

30 April 2021

Knight First Amendment Institute: Biden White House Makes Headway on Free Speech Challenges But Some Major Issues Remain Unaddressed

In their overview of the Biden administration first 100 days in office, Knight First Amendment Institute welcomes several important steps taken to protect freedom of expression, but warnes that some major issues – including the continued prosecution of Julian Assange – remain unaddressed.

“In other important areas, however, the administration has thus far failed to act—or even, more troublingly, begun to embrace policies that undermine First Amendment freedoms. It continues to pursue the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in a case that could have broad negative implications for press freedom.”

For a broader review, see the Institute’s “A First Amendment Agenda for the New Administration.”

29 April 2021

Council of Europe calls attention to continued unjust detention of publisher Julian Assange in its 2021 Annual Report

Under the heading ‘Criminalization of journalism’ and ‘Abuse of the criminal law by the state’, of its 2021 Annual Report, Council of Europe (CoE) mentions the case of Julian Assange and his continued detention by the UK despite a ruling preventing extradition to the US. CoE calls attention to the alert issued at the begining of 2020 and a statement from Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatović that “Julian Assange should not be extradited due to potential impact on press freedom and concerns about ill-treatment”.

Read the enitire report here

Release Julian Assange – CODEPINK petition to US Attorney General Merrick Garland

“We, the undersigned, are firmly opposed to the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, where he is facing 18 charges under the Espionage Act and could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. We call on you to drop extradition proceedings.

We urge you to respect the principles of freedom of expression and the defense of journalism, and to respect Assange’s human rights. Rather than being extradited to the U.S to be tried and imprisoned, we urge you to drop the extradition proceedings and all charges against Julian Assange.”

Sign the petition here

28 April 2021

The UK government campaign to force Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy, by Matt Kennard

A wide-ranging UK government campaign was brought to bear on Ecuador to press it to hand over WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, new information reveals.

  • Prime minister Theresa May was told in March 2018 to ‘butter up’ Ecuador’s president in order to get Assange out of Ecuadorian embassy in London
  • Later in the year, May’s government spent £20,000 to bring Ecuadorian officials and defence minister to UK
  • British foreign minister arranged Daily Mail hit piece on WikiLeaks publisher days after his eviction from the embassy
  • Same minister gave Ecuador’s president a plate from Buckingham Palace gift shop to ‘say thank you’ for handing over Assange
  • National security adviser Richard Moore, now head of MI6, was in Ecuador two weeks before Assange was expelled from embassy

Raise Your Voice For Assange! virtual exhibition by DiemVoice

The first DiemVoice online exhibition takes us to the realm of Julian Assange’s power to defend the truth.

DiEM Voice’s first online exhibition is focused on DiEM25’s Advisory Panel member Julian Assange. In response to the urgent need for his release and until he is granted freedom, it is vital that we as artists in DiEM25 show our support!

27 April 2021

The CIA’s Chinese Walls by Craig Murrey

“It is not in dispute that the CIA is in possession of Julian Assange’s legal and medical files seized from the Ecuadorean Embassy, including correspondence and drafting by his lawyers on his defence against extradition to the USA on Espionage charges. The defence submitted evidence of this in court. After Julian was arrested in the Ecuadorean Embassy and removed, all of his personal possessions were illegally seized by the Ecuadorean authorities, including his files and his IT equipment. These were then shipped back to Ecuador by diplomatic bag. There, they were handed over to the CIA.”

“In any court in any Western jurisdiction against any other defendant but Assange, the seizure of the defence’s legal files by the state seeking extradition would in itself be sufficient for the case immediately to be thrown out as hopelessly tainted. That is without adding the fact that the CIA was also secretly video recording Assange – through the UC Global security firm – and was specifically recording his meetings with his lawyers.”

“I find breathtaking the UK court’s insouciance about the most gross and deliberate violation of attorney/client privilege of which the human imagination is able to conceive. Yet this is just one of the numerous breaches of procedure in the Assange case.”

26 April 2021

Australian Council of Trade Unions Resolution – Julian Assange

Australian Council of Trade Unions passed a resolution in support of Julian Assange.

“ACTU Executive supports global calls for the United States Government to drop its appeal to the British High Court over the rejection of its request to extradite Australian citizen and MEAA member Julian Assange on charges of espionage for the publication of information revealing US war crimes.”

“We further support the campaign for all extradition proceedings to be dropped, allowing his safe return to Australia.”

“We urge the Australian Government to do all in its power to lobby US authorities to end their prosecution.”

Continued imprisonment of Julian Assange an attack on press freedom says the Irish Senator Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has called for the release of Julian Assange from Belmarsh Prison in Britain.

“Julian’s only ‘crime’ was to reveal to the world the truth of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“If it wasn’t for Julian, we would not know about horrific acts like the US Apache helicopter, which in 2010 gunned down 18 civilians in Baghdad. In that particular incident, when a van arrived to take away the wounded, the same gunship opened fire on them too.

“It is time to end the silence over the continuing imprisonment of Julian Assange. I am calling today for his freedom and for an urgent debate on this issue.

“I call on people from across all parties to stand up for democracy. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ), has called for his release, as have the Washington Post and the New York Times. Journalism is under threat. We need freedom for journalists and for Julian Assange.”

25 April 2021

A decade since Wikileaks began publishing the Guantanamo Files

Ten years ago Wikileaks began publishing the Guantanamo Files which detail human rights abuses at Guantanamo Bay. They exposed systematic and routine violation of the Geneva Conventions and abuse of nearly 800 prisoners as young as 14 and as old as 89 at Guantanamo Bay.

Marking the 10th anniversary of the publication, Andy Worthington, who worked as Wikileaks’ media partner on the release of The Guantánamo Files, recalls the significance of the release by WikiLeaks, and calls for Julian Assange to be freed:

“The files’ greatest significance lay in the fact that they provided the names of those who made false or dubious allegations against their fellow prisoners, revealing the extent to which unreliable witnesses were relied upon by the US to justify holding men at Guantanamo who were either innocent, and were seized by mistake, or were simply foot soldiers, with no command responsibility whatsoever.”

“All the journalists and publishers involved are at liberty to continue their work — and even Chelsea Manning, given a 35-year sentence after a trial in 2013, was freed after President Obama commuted her sentence just before leaving office — and yet Julian Assange remains imprisoned in HMP Belmarsh, a maximum-security prison in south east London, even though, in January, Judge Vanessa Baraitser, the British judge presiding over hearings regarding his proposed extradition to the US, prevented his extradition on the basis that, given the state of his mental health, and the oppressive brutality of US supermax prisons, the US would be unable to prevent him committing suicide if he were to be extradited.”

23 April 2021

Inter American Press Association: Charges against Julian Assange implicate the constitutional right of news outlets to publish government secrets

In its mid-year report Inter American Press Association (IAPA) expresses concern over US administration’s continued efforts to extradite Wikileaks editor and founder Julian Assange.

“The first months of the Biden presidency have appeared to signal, in large part, a return to a pre-Trump dynamic between the administration and the press, seen most prominently through the return of regular White House press briefings and an absence of anti-press rhetoric from the administration.”

“Nevertheless, the Biden administration has thus far continued the Trump administration’s efforts to extradite Julian Assange in order to pursue charges against him for, among other things, the act of publishing government secrets—a historic indictment that implicates the constitutional right of news outlets to do the same.”

“Another troubling potential prosecution is that of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In 2019, the Trump administration obtained a federal grand jury indictment against Assange under the Espionage Act, which included three charges based only on the publication of government secrets online—the first time in history the federal government has secured an indictment on that theory. This indictment set a chilling precedent for journalists who report on government affairs, as the Espionage Act contains no exceptions for the disclosure of newsworthy information to or by members of the press. The Biden Justice Department stated in February 2021 that it will continue to seek Assange’s extradition from the United Kingdom, indicating that it will continue to pursue his prosecution, should he be extradited to the United States.”

21 April 2021

US Has No Moral Standing to Criticize Russia or China

Dave Lindorff writes how US objections to Russia’s treatment of a political rival or dissident, like US objections to China’s harsh treatment of democracy advocates would carry a lot more weight,  if President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken would also be demanding decent treatment and release from prison of political prisoners who have been getting abused, degraded and denied adequate medical treatment at the hand of the US “justice system.”

“And finally there’s Julian Assange, the journalist and founder of Wikileaks. Assange, an Australian citizen, became a wanted man by the US after his Wikileaks organization began exposing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, most notably with the release of a gun-sight video of a cobra helicopter whose two crew members were slaughtering a group of Iraqi civilians including two cameramen working for a US news organization, and laughing as they killed the wounded with additional fire.”

“It all makes a farce of the US criticizing the Russian government for it’s treatment of Navalny, and China’s imprisonment of democracy activists in Hong Kong.

Mumia, Peltier and Assange should all be freed and the cases against them dropped. Other prisoners in the US whose lengthy prison sentences are clearly the result of political persecution should also be freed. Now!

Otherwise our political leaders are just power-tripping autocrats in glass houses tossing stones at other autocrats.”

20 April 2021

Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index 2020/21

RSF’s Press Freedom Index finds UK press freedom record marred by FOI restrictions, the detention of Julian Assange, and threats to the safety of journalists in Northern Ireland.

“The detention of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange particularly blighted the UK’s press freedom record. Assange’s extradition proceedings were marred by extensive barriers to open justice. Despite deciding against the US extradition request in January 2021, the court denied Assange’s bail application. Assange’s mental and physical health remain at high risk in Belmarsh prison, where Covid-19 infections have been rampant.“

Take a look at the rankings here

The case of Julian Assange: Rule of law undermined

Injustice, torture, political persecution — UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer raises serious allegations in his new book, backed up by the results of a two-year investigation. Matthias von Hein gives an overview of the book “Der Fall Julian Assange”.

A journalist uses a new platform to expose the dirty secrets of powerful governments, including war crimes, corruption, and torture. However, it isn’t the war criminals and torturers who are punished, but the journalist who brought these crimes to light. His reputation is systematically destroyed, his freedom is taken away, he suffers psychological torture. All this happens not in a military dictatorship or a one-party state known for such behavior, but in Western democracies that portray themselves as shining examples when it comes to human rights.

The 51-year-old Melzer hopes his book will create new pressure for Julian Assange’s release. He feels compelled to act because the nations concerned — the United States, Great Britain, Sweden, and Ecuador — have refused to engage in constructive dialogue. Not only that, but according to Melzer’s observations they are exacerbating Assange’s persecution and mistreatment. The UN representative calls his book the “continuation of diplomacy by other means.”

17 April 2021

Nils Melzer on his new book “The Julian Assange Case”

In an in-depth interview with Stefania Maurizi for Il Fatto Quotidiano, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer discusses his investigation on the WikiLeaks founder which he deals with in his new book “Der Fall Julian Assange”, and which has made him speak out as a whistleblower and raise an alarm on this case and its implications.

“I was convinced Julian Assange had been deliberately persecuted and kept in a legal limbo in Sweden, in the US, in the UK and everywhere to put him under pressure and to make him crack. It was done very publicly, in order to make an example of him, to scare other investigative journalists. The message was: ‘If you expose our dirty secrets, this is what is going to happen to you, and no one can protect you. We can violate your rights every day the way we want and no one can do anything about it.’”

“Judge Baraitser confirmed everything that the United States wanted, except extradition. She established a legal precedent and that legal precedent confirms that what Assange has done is espionage under the US Espionage Act, and that it is a crime even in the United Kingdom, under the Official Secrets Act, and that in both cases there is no public interest defence, and there is no political offence exception for extradition. All these things were confirmed, step by step. Only in the end, she said: we could extradite him, but we won’t because the prospect of US detention conditions would probably cause him to commit suicide and that would be oppressive. But she has passed a precedent judgment establishing that you, as investigative journalists, can be prosecuted in the future as spies simply for doing your job and informing the public about the crimes of the powerful.”

“The reason I wrote the book, because you asked, is because I have used all the official tools I have at my disposal: I have a mandate to investigate torture, to transmit allegations to states, to ask for explanations, and to report to the UN on my observations. I did all of that, but the states refused to cooperate. And it’s not some dictatorship, where I don’t expect anything else, it’s Sweden and Britain, who go about the world claiming that they are a force for good, they are an example in human rights, but when you confront them with their own violations, they close their eyes. They are happy to support anti-torture activism in other parts of the world, but not in their own garden. If I have used all the tools of my system but they aren’t working, then I have to inform the public. Actually, I have become a whistle-blower myself.”

“When Navalny came to Germany, we didn’t say he was violating his bail, and when he flew back voluntarily to Russia and was arrested and sentenced for bail violation, everybody immediately screamed “foul” and imposed sanctions against Russia. But then I thought: Hold on, you have your own guy whom you sanctioned for bail violations, and he has finished his sentence more than a year ago, and he is still in prison without any legal basis. When I see the hypocrisy of the West I am speechless, I am honestly speechless.”

International Symposium of Parliamentarians: The case of Julian Assange

Over 40 politicians from around the world took part in the International Symposium of Parliamentarians to discuss the case of Julian Assange. In a joint statement they say:

“We wish to express our deep concern over the continued imprisonment and attempted extradition of Julian Assange. He faces charges in the United States which would result in a prison sentence of 175 years. In January this year the Westminster Magistrates Court rightly dismissed the United States extradition case against Julian Assange, yet he remains a remand prisoner in Belmarsh high security jail.

The US is attempting to reverse the finding of the Westminster Magistrates Court despite the judge’s clear ruling that Julian Assange’s life would be at risk were he committed to the brutality of the US prison system.

We believe that this case presents a very real danger to the freedom of the press. It extends the judicial reach of the US government and it deploys the 1917 US Espionage Act against a foreign publisher for the very first time. The message that such a prosecution would inevitably send is that no journalist of any nationality, no matter where in the world they publish, is safe to publish material that the US government has not approved. The precedent sends a signal to other governments to do the same.

We urgently ask US president Joe Biden and his administration to drop this prosecution. We request that the British government review this extradition request and take urgent action to halt a process from which there can be no satisfactory outcome either for Julian Assange or for the freedom of the press.” Watch the Symposium here:

12 April 2021

Two years after Assange’s arrest, Biden can end Trump’s assault on Press Freedom

“President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Attorney General Merrick Garland now have the obligation, if they are serious about press freedom, to drop the charges that were issued under Trump by a Justice Department deeply politicized by Attorney General Bill Barr.” writes Kevin Gosztola.

Marking two years since Assange’s arrest press freedom advocates demand Biden DOJ drop all charges

Press freedom advocates marked the two-year anniversary of Julian Assange’s arrest at the hands of British police by demanding that the Biden administration immediately drop all U.S. charges against the WikiLeaks publisher, who is currently facing 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act.

“Today marks two full years that Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange has been incarcerated at Belmarsh prison,” said Rebecca Vincent, director of international campaigns at Reporters Without Borders. “Shame on the U.S. and U.K. It’s time to free Assange.”

Torture Australian-Style: A New Secret Country – A chapter from  A secret Australia, written by Dr Lissa Johnson

“Julian Assange is being held in what is known as ‘Britain’s Guantanamo’, Belmarsh prison, a high-security facility designed for those charged with terrorism, murder and other violent offences. He is being detained without any custodial sentence or UK charge in place.”

“Whether he is extradited or not, his long slow death in UK custody sets an example to anyone watching and thinking of airing the dirty secrets of those in power: the genuinely dirty secrets, such as wantonly slaughtering and torturing innocent people and covering it up. Like all public torture, it sends a message to onlookers: this could happen to you.”

“In Assange’s case, his torture and prosecution under the Espionage Act are about making state crime a protected activity and journalism a prohibited one. His torture is about creating a climate of consent through a climate of impunity and fear.”

“Journalists the world over, and those whose stories they tell, are at risk if his persecution and torture are allowed to stand. His abuse, therefore, is the business of every citizen and every government. Not least the Australian government.”

Going Underground: UN Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer on the psychological torture of Julian Assange

Melzer discusses the significance of the arrest of Julian Assange for the war on press freedom, how Julian Assange’s persecution started with the arbitrary detention at the Ecuadorian Embassy, the health of Julian Assange and his assessment that he has been psychologically tortured, the war crimes and corruption Wikileaks has exposed, the media’s role in the psychological torture of Assange and more.

11 April 2021

Julian Assange arrested two years ago today

11th April marks 2 years of Julian Assange’s imprisonment in high security Belmarsh prison. Vigils were organized across the world to protest Julian Assange’s incarceration and demand his immediate release. Human rights and media freedom organizations have repeated their call to the US to drop the charges and to the UK to free Julian Assange.

Today, April 11, marks two years since the arrest of Julian #Assange. We implore US and UK authorities to discontinue extradition appeals and to release Julian from Belmarsh prison. The Morrison govt must do more to secure his freedom. #PressFreedom

— MEAA (@withMEAA) April 11, 2021

“One of the best ways to achieve justice is to expose injustice.”
Julian #Assange

Today marks 2 years of Julian #Assange‘s imprisonment on pre-trial detention in high security Belmarsh prison.

Last weekend was the 11th anniversary of the publication of #CollateralMurder.

— Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) April 11, 2021

Julian Assange has been imprisoned in high-security Belmarsh Prison for two years.

It is high time to #FreeAssange

— ECPMF (@ECPMF) April 11, 2021

.@SNJ_national demande la libération immédiate de Julian Assange, incarcéré dans une prison britannique de haute sécurité. Le SNJ lui réitère son soutien. Son travail a reçu des prix de journalisme à travers le monde ➡️

— SNJ – premier syndicat de journalistes (@SNJ_national) April 11, 2021

Julian Assange has now been incarcerated for 2 full years at Belmarsh prison, where his mental and physical health remain at great risk.

730 days in a high-security UK prison as the US pursues him for publishing information in the public interest.

It’s time to #FreeAssange!

— RSF (@RSF_inter) April 9, 2021

“Assange should be seen as a hero of democracy.”

Two years ago, Julian Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London and imprisoned in the notorious HMP Belmarsh, where he remains today.

Watch @LulaOficial‘s powerful testimony from our #BelmarshTribunal:

— Progressive International (@ProgIntl) April 11, 2021

Britain is damaging its reputation by keeping Julian Assange in jail, says partner Stella Moris

Britain would be on stronger ground campaigning against authoritarian regimes if it pressed the Biden administration to drop its call to extradite Julian Assange on espionage charges, Stella Moris, Assange’s partner, has told the Guardian.

In an interview coinciding with the second anniversary of his detention in the high-security Belmarsh prison in south-east London, she says:

“The treatment of Julian is compromising the UK constantly all round the world. It’s giving authoritarian governments points to score all round the world both privately and in international fora like the UN. You cannot start a new values competition with China with Julian Assange in Belmarsh for publishing war crimes. It just does not work. You don’t get to take the moral high ground with this as your starting point.

“Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, said the difference between China and the US is that China puts its critics in prison. I am not sure the British government is aware of how much international criticisms it is facing over this issue, or the damage it is doing to its soft power reputation. It’s a tool to whack the UK again and again. It is the perfect response for authoritarian leaders when they are criticised by the UK, or pressed to release political prisoners: ‘What about Julian Assange?’”

10 April 2021

Randy Credico’s Live on the Fly with John Pilger marks the 2nd anniversary of Assange’s imprisonment

Four years since the start of Countdown to Freedom, Pilger returns for his 12th significant appearance and typically pulls no punches in his scorching critique of the US and UK governments’ unrelenting ten year persecution of the courageous Wikileaks founder.

In addition, Nathan Fuller, executive director of the Courage Foundation, close the program with an update on Assange’s current legal status and upcoming events revolving around the two year arrest anniversary April 11.

7 April 2021

Amnesty International Report 2020/2021: The State of Human Rights in the World

The Amnesty International Report 2020/21 documents the human rights situation in 149 countries in 2020, as well as providing global and regional analysis.

The report explicitly cites Julian Assange’s case as one of human rights violations when discussing the United Kingdom: “Extradition proceedings against Julian Assange threatened the right to freedom of expression.”

“Hearings to consider a US extradition request for Julian Assange began in February and resumed in September. Assange remained detained at Belmarsh prison and faced prosecution in the USA for the publication of disclosed documents as part of his work with Wikileaks. Amnesty International called on the USA to drop the charges and on the UK to halt his extradition to the USA where he would face a real risk of serious human rights violations”

Read the entire report here

John Shipton discusses with Phillip Adams the campaign to stop his son’s extradition to the USA

Two years after Julian Assange was imprisoned in Belmarsh, his father, John Shipton, discusses the campaign to free his son from gaol and stop his extradition to the USA.

Bitcoiners should stand up for my  brother Julian Assange, writes Gabriel Shipton

An Espionage Act prosecution against Julian Assange isn’t just an attack on the First Amendment. It’s a cruise missile against a free internet, and Bitcoin could be next.

“WikiLeaks and Bitcoin were both born of the cypherpunk movement. And it was in those embryonic days of the Cypherpunks Mailing List that Julian began his long intellectual interest and curiosity in Bitcoin. Julian participated in discussions and debate that cemented the cypherpunk movements values around freedom, privacy, mastery of technology and codified curiosity.

“Bitcoin and WikiLeaks are inherently anti-establishment. Both projects ask us to temper our faith in people and institutions and rely instead on publicly-verifiable information, on the basis that a better-informed population creates a freer and fairer society — it has championed those who share these ideals.

“Bitcoin and WikiLeaks are the utilities of a free internet. They are necessary for it to develop and thrive in a meaningful way.”

6 April 2021

A Plague of Malice: The State v Julian Assange – A conversation with Gabriel and John Shipton

In this special episode of What Bitcoin Did, Peter McCormack talks to Julian Assange’s father and brother, John and Gabriel Shipton. His friend Janine also joins to discuss the plague of malice regarding Julian’s case, his alignment with the Bitcoin ethos, and how you can support his defence.

5 April 2021

Collateral murder published 11 years ago

Today marks 11 years since WikiLeaks published Collateral Murder. It was a defining moment in our understanding of the Iraq war.

None of the soldiers implicated faced legal consequences but the whistleblower Chelsea Manning was jailed for more than 7 years, while the publisher Julian Assange faces 175 years in prison for exposing US war crimes.

Watch the unedited 38-minute version of the video here

4 April 2021

Blue Mountains City Council’s call to release Julian Assange

Blue Mountains City Council will write to the Foreign Minister and Prime Minister asking the government to advocate for the immediate release of Julian Assange and the dropping of all charges.

Greens Cr Kerry Brown, who proposed the motion at the March meeting, said: “Around the world momentum is gathering to challenge the denial of human rights for the most well-known Australian citizen that also threatens the freedom of our media and society. None of us are free while Julian Assange is incarcerated.”

“The case against Assange has always been politically motivated with the intent of curtailing free speech, criminalising journalism and sending a clear message to future whistleblowers and publishers that they too will be punished if they step out of line.”

2 April 2021

Collateral Crucifixion – New massive mural unveiled in Berlin drawing attention to Julian Assange’s ongoing detention

With the title “Collateral Crucifixion”, the artist duo Captain Borderline has completed a giant Assange mural in Berlin on a house facade directly in front of the Willy Brandt House.

“For almost 10 years, Julian Assange has been in captivity for exposing horrific, inhumane war crimes in an oil war that violated international law and for making his knowledge available to a broad public.”, said the artists.

“The real issue in this legal case against Assange, is freedom of the press. Journalists and whistleblowers are being made to believe, through this witch hunt, that they will suffer the same fate should they report on the illegal machinations of the American or Western establishment and governments.”

28 March 2021

Pope Francis writes a message of solidarity to Julian Assange

Pope Francis has sent a message of solidarity to Julian Assange, wrote Stella Moris, Assange’s partner in a Twitter post. She said that the chaplain at the prison in Belmarsh delivered the message and thanked Christian and Catholic communities for their support

After a hard night, Julian woke up this morning to a kind, personal message from Pope Francis @pontifex delivered to his cell door by the prison priest.

Our family wishes to express our gratitude to the many Catholics and other Christians campaigning for his freedom. #Assange

— Stella Moris #DropTheCharges (@StellaMoris1) March 28, 2021

27 March 2021

Julian Assange could finally walk free – if we seize the moment

“For the first time in more than a decade there’s cause for hope”, writes Scott Ludlam, “if the Biden administration decides to make a principled break with the fateful decisions of President Donald Trump.”

“President Biden’s pick for US attorney general, Merrick Garland, told the Senate judiciary committee of his commitment to the protection of rights, to fair treatment of the press, and to the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. It is impossible to reconcile any of these priorities with the continuation of the former president’s dangerous conflation of journalism and espionage.”

“Now is the time to raise our voices, to demand lawmakers here urge their American counterparts to let Julian Assange walk free and reunite with his family after more than ten years.”

25 March 2021

Irish Parliamentarians show their support to Julian Assange

A group of Irish Parliamentarians took to Twitter to show their solidarity with Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

Showing my solidarity with @wikileaks #FreeAssange

— Mairéad Farrell TD (@Farrell_Mairead) March 24, 2021

Solidarity with @wikileaks #FreeAssange

— Sorca Clarke TD (@SorcaClarke_TD) March 24, 2021

Showing my support for @wikileaks with other Irish Parlimentarians#FreeAssange @DEAcampaign @DefendAssange @people4assange

— Chris Andrews TD (@chrisandrews64) March 24, 2021

Showing my support for @wikileaks with other Irish Parlimentarians#FreeAssange @DEAcampaign @DefendAssange @people4assange

— Darren O’Rourke TD (@orourke_darren) March 25, 2021

22 March 2021

Bipartisan delegation of Australian MPs meets with US embassy about Julian Assange

A cross-party delegation of Australian MPs has met with Washington’s top envoy in Canberra in their continued attempts to encourage the United States to drop its extradition attempts against the WikiLeaks founder.

Nationals MP George Christensen, Independent Andrew Wilkie and Labor’s Julian Hill lobbied the US embassy’s charge d’affaires, Michael Goldman, on Monday morning, arguing the Australian citizen should be allowed to return home.

The trio argued the US was at risk of “reputational damage” over the inconsistency that WikiLeaks source, Chelsea Manning, had her sentence commuted while WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, was still being pursued.

“Hopefully our representations this morning impressed upon him the broad concern in Australia, and indeed right around the world, at the shocking injustice being meted out to Julian Assange. The US’s pursuit of Mr Assange is obviously not in the public interest and must be dropped.” said Mr Wilkie.

Key upcoming dates – the latest update from Stella Moris

Pressure must mount on the Biden Administration, and especially incoming Attorney General Merrick Garland, to break with this Trump-era indictment, to “return to sanity” and to the Obama-era policy not to prosecute Julian. Biden and his Justice Department under new leadership must drop the charges.

There is a severe risk that the lower court’s decision could be reversed, and if Julian is extradited it would be a death sentence.

Here are some dates to keep in mind and organized around:

April 5 – 11-year anniversary of the Collateral Murder/Rules of Engagement publication

April 11 – marks the 2-year anniversary of Julian’s incarceration in Belmarsh prison. Julian is now into his 11th year of deprivation of liberty.

April 24 – 10-year anniversary of the publication of the Guantanamo Bay Detainee Assessment Briefs (Gitmo Files)

May – it is possible the High Court appeal against January’s extradition decision will be held

July 3 – Julian’s 50th birthday

‘What Happens to Julian Assange Will Affect Us All’ says hip-hop artist Lowkey

“If you have any interest in real political participation and real democratic values, then you would support what Julian Assange has done because people’s ability to participate in society is determined by their access to information.”

“I would say the most important thing for people to absorb is that what happens to him will not only be about him, and will not be isolated to him. The ramifications of a successful extradition and then prosecution of Julian Assange will be chilling to all genuine journalists… The reality is that what happens to Julian Assange will affect us all and it is for that reason that we must do everything we can to protect him.”

18 March 2021

Labor MP Julian Hill calls for government to step up and bring Assange home

Julian Hill, the member for Bruce, told Parliament on Thursday in an impassioned statement that Assange was still locked up even though he had never been convicted of any crime.

“Julian Assange is an Australian citizen. He has never been convicted of any crime,” Hill said. “Yet he has been locked up and confined for years, facing extradition to the US and an effective death sentence, on trumped-up, politically motivated charges.

“Two months ago, a UK court found on humanitarian and health grounds that he should not be extradited to the US.

“Yet still, today, bail is withheld and Julian is locked up, isolated in a maximum security UK prison with murderers and rapists, at risk of death from COVID-19 because of his conditions. His health continues to deteriorate.”

Bring Julian Assange home NOW. Stop his extradition to the United States.

Labor calls on Scott Morrison to bring this to an end.

Respect the UK Court’s decision & save his life.
#JournalismIsNotACrime #FreeAssangeNOW #Assange #Wikileaks #NoExtradition #DropTheCharges

— Julian Hill MP (@JulianHillMP) March 18, 2021

15 March 2021

Bring Julian Home Rally in Canberra

#HomeRun4Julian rally at Parliament House in Canberra demanding Australian government to break the silence and help free Julian Assange now.

Speeches were given by Aunty Shirley Lomas, Jacob Grech, Lissa Johnson, John Shipton, Alison Broinowski, Joe Lauria, as well as politicians Andrew Wilkie, Janet Rice and Peter Whish-Wilson

Parliament House, Canberra

Break the silence @ScottMorrisonMP and help free Julian Assange now.#FreeAssange#SaveJulian#auspol@MurdochCadell @WilkieMP @CollaeryBernard @SenatorSurfer

🎗People For Assange (@people4assange) March 15, 2021

This morning I spoke at the #FreeAssange rally at Parl House. At this week’s 18th anniversary of Iraq invasion the significance of WikiLeak’s & Julian’s truth-telling still shines like a bright light. He’s a hero not a villain & Aus Govt must press the US to drop the extradition.

— Andrew Wilkie MP (@WilkieMP) March 15, 2021

Watch Australian politician Andrew Wilkie’s impassioned plea for Julian Assange’s immediate release: “This is indefinite detention – and wrong on so many levels” @WilkieMP #FreeAssangeNOW @Consortiumnews

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 15, 2021

“The road from here will only get more dark and more dangerous if we don’t make a stand for the extradition of Julian Assange” Message from @SenatorSurfer#FreeAssangeNOW#DropTheCharges#NoExtradition

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) March 16, 2021

“The powerful did not want to hear the truth he (Assange) was telling, they did not want to hear how war crimes had been committed. That’s the reason Julian is there (in Belmarsh prison)” |@janet_rice#FreeAssangeNOW#DropTheCharges#NoExtradition

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) March 16, 2021

11 March 2021

Australian government must demand Julian Assange’s release – Australian Citizens Party

The Australian Government must demand the Biden Administration drop its extradition order for Julian Assange and the charges which he faces under the US Espionage Act.

Prime Minister Morrison cannot afford to ignore the growing support for Assange in the Australian Parliament which runs across the political divide from the Greens to George Christensen and Barnaby Joyce in the Liberal/National Coalition. There are now 24 Australian parliamentarians in the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group, and Labor leader Anthony Albanese has just broken his silence and called for Assange’s release. Albanese was asked for his view on Assange’s ongoing detention at a 23 February caucus meeting in Canberra. “Enough is enough”, he responded. “I don’t have sympathy for many of his actions but essentially I can’t see what is served by keeping him incarcerated.”

Australians should not tolerate their government abandoning this heroic fellow citizen, especially as it’s in their power to get him released. Everyone can help by contacting their MP to urge that they join the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group.

10 March 2021

New York Law Journal: The Newfound Significance of U.S. Prison Conditions in Contesting Extradition

In January 2021, the U.K. denied the U.S. government’s request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on charges of conspiracy to disclose national defense information and related offenses.

The court found that the isolating nature of such confinement would cause Assange’s mental health to “deteriorate to the point where he will commit suicide.”

In May 2018, a similar scenario unfolded in the case of Lauri Love, who was indicted in the United States for executing cyber attacks on federal agencies, among others, and apprehended in the U.K.

The Assange and Love rulings reveal that international skepticism about the conditions of U.S. prisons is not academic—in limited circumstances, it can translate into a defense against being extradited for prosecution here.

9 March 2021

Assange Defense: How Will Merrick Garland’s Justice Department Handle the Assange Case?

As the U.S. Senate is reportedly on the verge of confirming President Biden’s nominee for Attorney General, Merrick Garland, Assange Defence campaign is drawing attention to his record and possibilities of him dropping the extradition of Julian Assange.

As for the Garlands First Amandment record ‘The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press found some cause for optimism, noting that Garland “has taken strong stands on First Amendment issues” in a number of cases. Specifically, RCFP notes, Garland defended the media’s right to publish questionably obtained information, supported a stronger reporter’s privilege, and showed a commitment to government transparency in his decisions on FOIA cases.’

“We should be cautiously optimistic about Garland’s pro-transparency and pro-First Amendment record. And his promise to be independent should count as a plus — if true, it means he would be more resistant to other voices in the administration who might have animosity toward Assange.”

“But Garland’s “by-the-book” ethos suggests he will likely defer to staff prosecutors who have already invested significant time and resources into pursuing Assange — at least for the time being.”

8 March 2021

Updates to Julian Assange’s extradition case from his partner Stella Moris

If the new US Attorney General Merrick Garland opts to pursue the Trump administration’s indictment against Julian Assange it will adopt, entrench & continue the most serious assault unleashed by the Trump administration against the press and civil liberties, Assange’s partner Stella Moris has written in an update on the crowd justice fundraiser page. She added:

“[T]he incoming Attorney General Merrick Garland could drop the charges against Julian entirely. This would align Biden’s administration with Obama’s, rather than Trump’s, on the WikiLeaks matter.

It was the Trump administration which brought charges against Julian, all relating to the revelations he helped to expose about Guantanamo Bay, the US embassy cables, and the Bush-wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Garland faces a choice: whether to continue the Trump administration’s war on the press or defend the integrity of the US Constitution.

She urged supporters, press freedom and human rights groups to keep the pressure on the Biden administration to return to the right position, the position under Obama.

6 March 2021

Julian Assange’s Partner, Stella Moris, Speaks Out

Stella Moris, lawyer and life partner of Julian Assange, joins the Useful Idiots show to discuss the current status of Assange’s case and it’s implications for global journalism.

4 March 2021

Irish Parliamentarians call for end to unjust detention of Julian Assange

Irish MPs Mairéad Farrell and Chris Andrews have raised the question of continued detention of Julian Assange in the Dáil Éireann. They quoted concerns expressed by UK National Union of Journalists and asked the government to raise the issue directly with the British Ambassador & the US administration. “Julian Assange has done the world a huge service”, they emphasized.

Myself and @chrisandrews64 raised #JulianAssange continued detention with Leo Varadkar in the Dáil today.

I quoted @NUJofficial concerns and asked him to raise it directly with the British Ambassador & the US administration.@wikileaks #FreeJulianAssange

— Mairéad Farrell TD (@Farrell_Mairead) March 4, 2021

2 March 2021

Joe Biden’s Persecution of Julian Assange

“[T]he Biden administration announced that it would appeal the extradition ruling and continue Washington’s attempts to bring Assange back to the United States for trial. In doing so, the new administration implicitly adopted the Trump Justice Department’s rationale that Assange was not a legitimate journalist and was instead guilty of espionage.

It’s extremely dangerous to the health of journalism and the First Amendment to allow the government to decide who warrants the “legitimate” label.

Prosecuting Julian Assange or other maverick journalists for publishing leaked classified information, however, created a very real and alarming threat. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has decided to emulate its predecessor’s worst initiative and continue that menacing campaign.”

25 February 2021

Senator Whish-Wilson heartfelt appeal to the US President, Joe Biden in the Australian Senate chamber

“My appeal to you is to prioritise, review and walk away from your appeal seeking the extradition of Australian award-winning journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.”

If Biden is committed to the First Amendment, he must stop the persecution of Julian Assange

“If the US wants to market itself on the world stage as a defender of a free press and of human rights, it must stop pursuing espionage charges against Julian Assange for conducting journalism. The importance of this case cannot be understated, for what is at stake here is our very right to live in a free society and our right to know what our governments are doing.”

23 February 2021

Australian Labour leader Anthony Albanese joins calls for Julian Assange to be released

Anthony Albanese has thrown his support behind releasing Julian Assange from prison after 10 years without freedom.

The Labor leader was asked at a caucus meeting in Canberra on Tuesday for his view on the ongoing detention of the Australian WikiLeaks founder.

“Enough is enough,” he responded.

“I don’t have sympathy for many of his actions but essentially I can’t see what is served by keeping him incarcerated.”

22 February 2021

Irish MPs requesting a meeting with Julian Assange

A group of more than dozen Irish MPs has written to UK Ambassador in Dublin requesting a video meeting with the “imprisoned journalist and publisher” Julian Assange. The letter reads:

“We make this request because while we welcome the Court decision not to extradite Julian, we are deeply concerened his continued imprisonment endangers his life and therefore violates his human rights. We wish to speak to him directly via a video meeting to establish his situation.

Indeed, it is the independent view of Prof Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment that Julian’s imprisonment amounts to “psychological torture”.

As Irish parliamentaries we cannot fail to notice the uncunny coincidence that the decision to keep Julian Assange imprisoned was taken in the very same courtroom where the Guildford 4 were wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1975.”

19 February 2021

The Atrocious Prosecution of Julian Assange

“Make no mistake, this case is a frontal assault on the first amendment. It is also one of the worst attacks on a free press in centuries. But that hasn’t stopped Trump and Biden. With a pusillanimous press quiescent about Assange and unless Biden reverses course, these two presidents will have trashed the ability of journalists to report on military and government abuses.”

“There is no doubt: Assange is being prosecuted for practicing journalism, for his 2010 publication of military documents leaked by Chelsea Manning, revealing U.S. war crimes in Iraq.”

“The New York Times reported that Assange’s lawyers contend that the U.S. is prosecuting him for political reasons. That is correct. Assange very publicly shamed the U.S. government. And the U.S. government does not stand for humiliation. (Just witness its treatment of Iran for over 40 years because of the hostage crisis.) For that, Assange has been hounded, falsely accused, tortured, prosecuted and threatened with 175 years in prison. The same fate awaited whistleblower Edward Snowden, had he not had the sense to flee to a place the U.S. could not follow, namely Russia.”

16 February 2021

Important updates to Julian Assange’s extradition case

Lawyers for Julian Assange are considering cross-appealing January’s verdict in which District Judge Vanessa Baraitser halted his extradition to the United States on medical grounds, his partner Stella Moris wrote in an update on the crowd justice fundraiser page. She wrote:

“The next step in the legal case is that Julian’s legal team will respond to the US grounds for appeal. Julian’s lawyers are hard at work. Julian’s team has asked the High Court to give them more time to consider whether to lodge a cross appeal in order to challenge parts of the ruling where the magistrate did not side with Julian and the press freedom arguments. A cross appeal would provide an opportunity to clear Julian’s name properly.”

“We wanted a UK court to properly quash the extradition and refute the other grounds too. We wanted a finding that the extradition is an attempt to criminalise journalism, not just in the US but in the UK and the rest of the world as well; and that the decision to indict Julian was a political act, a violation of the treaty, a violation of his human rights and an abuse of process.”

“Julian’s extradition team is considering all these issues, and whether they can be cross-appealed. The Court will set the deadline for the defence to submit its response, and once it has all the arguments before it, the High Court will decide whether it wishes to grant permission for the appeal to be heard.”

Moris also added that Julian’s conditions in detention continue to obstruct his ability to prepare his legal case. He is denied proper access to his lawyers, there are delays in legal papers reaching him and the laptop he was issued is read-only so he cannot provide adequate feedback to his team.

She underlained that the campaign is at its most critical point.

“The Biden Administration will soon appoint its new Attorney General and this will be an important moment to raise the pressure on the Biden Administration to live up to its commitments to defend press freedom and drop the charges against Julian.”

“Do whatever you can, however you can to help raise awareness about Julian’s case in the coming weeks and months, until Julian’s freedom is secured.”

12 February 2021

Biden DOJ asks British court to extradite Assange while press freedoms advocates urge the new administration to instead drop the charges

The Justice Department had been due to file a brief in support of its appeal of a judge’s ruling last month blocking the extradition of Mr. Assange on the grounds that American prison conditions are inhumane.

The appeal was lodged on Jan. 19 — the last full day of the Trump administration — so the decision to proceed with filing the brief was the first opportunity for the Biden administration to reconsider the disputed prosecution effort.

Rebecca Vincent, the director of international campaigns for Reporters Without Borders, said the group was “extremely disappointed” that the Biden Justice Department had pressed on with the effort to bring Mr. Assange to the United States for prosecution.

“This marks a major missed opportunity for President Biden to distance himself from the Trump administration’s terrible record on press freedom,” Ms. Vincent said.

She warned: “The U.S. government is creating a dangerous precedent that will have a distinct chilling effect on national security reporting around the world. No journalist, publisher or source can be confident that they wouldn’t be criminally pursued for similar public interest reporting.”

10 February 2021

‘Free Assange’ Demands Grow as Biden DOJ Says It Will Continue to Seek Extradition

Just a day after a coalition of press freedom groups urged President Joe Biden to drop his predecessor’s effort to prosecute Julian Assange, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said Tuesday that the new administration intends to challenge a British judge’s rejection last month of the U.S. attempt to extradite the WikiLeaks publisher.

“None of this is inevitable,” said Rebecca Vincent, director of international campaigns at Reporters Without Borders. “At every step of the way, individuals with agency are actively choosing to continue the political case against Julian Assange that will have alarming consequences for journalism around the world. It’s time to free Assange.”

The Courage Foundation, an organization founded to support whistleblowers and journalists, stressed in a series of tweets Tuesday that while “the U.S. may submit its Assange appeal filing by Friday to meet its deadline… one would expect a serious policy decision to be made by the new Attorney General [Merrick Garland] who, once confirmed, can review the incredibly weak case against Assange in full before making a determination.”

“The incoming DOJ,” the group added, “can drop the charges against Assange at any time, including after this Friday’s appeal deadline.”

9 February 2021

Assange Verdict a ‘Severe Blow to Press Freedom’: An Interview with Noam Chomsky

Assange, who remains in custody at Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh in south-east London, is facing up to 175 years in prison for publishing, in 2010, U.S. government documents that exposed war crimes and human rights abuses.

“My guess is that, secretly, the Justice Department was quite pleased with the ruling, and may find some pretext to let it rest – perhaps concurring in the judgment that Assange suffers from psychiatric problems,” Noam Chomsky observes. He states that “Assange’s crime is to have performed the work of a serious journalist: to provide the public with critical information that the US government does not want them to have.”

8 February 2021

Press freedom coalition calls on Biden’s Justice Department to drop the Assange prosecution

More than two dozen major media freedom and human rights organization have called on the Department of Justice to drop the charges against Julian Assange in a letter organized by the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

ACLU, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Knight First Amendment Institute, Committee to Protect Journalists, Index on Cenzorship, Defending Rights & Dissent, the Center for Constitutional Rights, CAIR, Demand Progress, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Project on Government Oversight, First Amendment Coalition, and Reporters Without Borders are among the signatories delivering this unified message to the Acting Attorney General.

First Amendment experts across the spectrum have long said the indictment of Assange threatens basic press freedom rights of countless journalists around the country. President Biden campaigned on restoring the values of press freedom to the United States, and this is a critically important way for the Justice Department to follow through on that promise.

“The indictment of Mr. Assange threatens press freedom because much of the conduct described in the indictment is conduct that journalists engage in routinely—and that they must engage in in order to do the work the public needs them to do. Journalists at major news publications regularly speak with sources, ask for clarification or more documentation, and receive and publish documents the government considers secret. In our view, such a precedent in this case could effectively criminalize these common journalistic practices.”

A coalition of civil liberties and human rights groups urged the Biden administration on Monday to drop efforts to extradite the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from Britain and prosecute him, calling the Trump-era case against him “a grave threat to press freedom.”

The coalition sent a letter urging a change in course before a Friday deadline for the Justice Department to file a brief in a London court. American prosecutors are due to explain in detail their decision — formally lodged on Jan. 19, the last full day of the Trump administration — to appeal a ruling blocking their request to extradite Mr. Assange.

“Most of the charges against Assange concern activities that are no different from those used by investigative journalists around the world every day,” Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, said in a separate statement. “President Biden should avoid setting a terrible precedent by criminalizing key tools of independent journalism that are essential for a healthy democracy.”

Jameel Jaffer: The Biden Administration Should Drop the Assange Case

“Of Trump’s many attacks on press freedom, however, it’s his Justice Department’s indictment of Julian Assange that could have the most significant implications over the long term. (…) the Justice Department’s indictment of Assange focuses principally on activity that national security journalists engage in “routinely and as a necessary part of their work”—cultivating sources, communicating with them confidentially, soliciting information from them, protecting their identities from disclosure, and publishing classified information. As a result, a successful prosecution of Assange would have far-reaching implications both for national security journalists and for the news organizations that publish their work.”

6 February 2021

Julian Assange still not delivered his winter clothes says Stella Moris

Severe weather warnings have been issued in the UK over the next few days.

Julian’s warm winter clothes are still in prison storage. #FreeAssangeNOW#DropTheCharges

— Stella Moris #DropTheCharges (@StellaMoris1) February 6, 2021

5 February 2021

#FreeTheTruth online panel: Julian Assange – A Decade of Arbitrary Detention & Torture

February 5th 2021 marks five years since the public issuance of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s conclusive findings that publisher Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained, now for a decade.

Prof Mads Andenas, former chair of UNWGAD, Prof Eva Joly, member of the Paris bar & former judge, and Prof Liora Lazarus discuss how & why the UK has chosen to ignore international law by continuing to torture him.

4 February 2021

IFJ and Belgium4Assange have asked the city of Brussels to adopt Julian Assange

In the name of freedom of expression and in order to guarantee the future protection of Julian Assange, founder and former editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Belgium4Assange collective have written to the mayor of the City of Brussels and to municipal officials, so that Brussels officially adopts Julian Assange, like other defenders of freedom of expression.

What Assange and WikiLeaks said about Australia

The Sydney Morning Herald reviews the book “A Secret Australia” surveies the impact WikiLeaks has had on Australia’s media landscape and the consequences.

WikiLeaks invented a “pioneering model of journalism” – one that embodied the “contemporary spirit of resistance to imperial power”, says Richard Tanter, from the school of political and social sciences at the University of Melbourne. It brought renewed debates on free speech, digital encryption and questions around the management and protection of whistleblowers who risk their lives to expose covert, deceitful actions by governments.

Most of the essays expostulate on the same things: Assange is a journalist, not a hacker. He’s won a Walkley Award (at least six mentions of this). We have an undeniable legal obligation to him. His persecution is a “gruesome legal experiment in criminalising journalism” – a long and tortured legal process that Ludlam declares “has degenerated into an unworkable shit-show”.

US Prosecution has been granted an extension in submitting grounds for appeal says Kristinn Hrafnsson

Speaking at the online panel organized by Stop The War coalition, Wikileaks editor in chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said that US Prosecution has been granted an extension in submitting grounds for appeal Judge Baraitser’s No Extradition ruling till February 12 2021.

Kristinn Hrafnsson: US Prosecution has been granted an extension in submitting grounds for appeal Judge Baraitser’s No Extradition ruling till 15/2/2021. #Assange #StWLiverpool

— Committee to Defend Julian Assange (@JA_Defence) February 4, 2021

2 February 2021

Caroline Lucas, UK Green Party Leader, calls on Home Secretary to immediately release Julian Assange

In a letter sent to the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel UK Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas calls for immidiate release of Julian Assange.

I share the widespread view that Mr Assange’s prosecution under the US Espionage Act set a dangerous precedent for press freedom and criminalised investigative journalism – in common with other journalists he should be protected by the European Convention on Human Rights and the right to freedom of speech.

There is a clear and compelling requirement for you to review the decision to order Julian Assange’s extradition to the US and ensure that he is released with immediate effect.

1 February 2021

Assange: What Australia is not doing to save its citizen and media freedom

Given its inaction on the Assange case, Australia risks being remembered as a complicit ally in the war on journalism launched by the Trump Administration, especially now that the hopes for a pardon have vanished.

31 January 2021

Julian Assange nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by multiple public figures and politicians

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate

Chelsea Manning, as an American soldier based in Iraq, could not go along with the murder of Iraqi civilians. Julian Assange, as a publisher, had to do his duty and disclose facts of the Iraqi and Afghan wars to the public. Edward Snowden, working in U.S. intelligence, could not remain silent knowing that his government was carrying out illegal surveillance of US citizens and world governments.

The Nobel Committee could protect and help save the lives of these three champions of peace by awarding them the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

Australian Senators Peter Whish-Wilson and Janet Rice

The link between peace and a free press is vital — only by facing the truth about war and militarism can action be taken to realise peace and justice. This why myself and @janet_rice have nominated Julian Assange for the 2021 @NobelPrize. #FreeAssange

— Peter Whish-Wilson (@SenatorSurfer) January 31, 2021

Jean-Luc Mélenchon – French politician and MP

I decided to nominate journalist Julian Assange for the Nobel Peace Prize, as I have the power to do as a parliamentarian. Julian Assange is a hero of freedom.

On January 4, 2021, British justice refused his extradition to the United States, but maintained his imprisonment. More than ever, Julian Assange needs the protection of the peoples of the world. Granting him the Nobel Peace Prize would allow that.

Mathilde Panot – French politician and MP

En ma qualité de parlementaire, je peux proposer une personnalité pour le prix Nobel de la paix.
Comme @JLMelenchon, je propose le lanceur d’alerte et journaliste Julian #Assange.
C’est un héros et la France s’honorerait à lui offrir l’asile politqiue. #NobelPeacePrize4Assange

— Mathilde Panot (@MathildePanot) January 31, 2021

Steve Keen – Australian economist and author

I’ve done it. Please join me.

— Steve Keen (@ProfSteveKeen) January 31, 2021

Violeta Tomić – Slovenian politician and MP, member of PACE

Today they are officially candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize @Snowden, @JulianAssange_ and @xychelsea because a Slovenian MP @tomicvioleta from @strankalevica has nominated them to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.


— Čezvesoljska Zombi cerkev blaženega zvonjenja (@CZCBZ) February 1, 2021

Elisabeth Eide, Professor emerita, Oslo Metropolitan University and Rune Ottosen, Professor emeritus Oslo Metropolitan University

“By publishing documents about war crimes committed by the U.S. and their allies, Julian Assange has contributed to public debate on their warfare, with special emphasis on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. If such crimes were to continue to be unnoticed, the large warring powers and alliances may be able to create illusions of “clean” wars against the “criminal others”, at a time when thorough investigations of atrocities show that such responsibilities oftentimes are equally shared.”

28 January 2021

Calls to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to consider Julian Assange for the Nobel Peace Prize

Julian Assange has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. A petition has been launched to encourage the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to consider Julian for the Nobel Peace Prize and to persuade formal nominators to support Julian’s nomination.

At the same time, the nomination was supported by French politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon who called Assange “a freedom hero”. “More than ever, Julian Assange needs the protection of the peoples of the world. Granting him the Nobel Peace Prize would allow it.”, he wrote in a twitter statement.

Plus que jamais, Julian #Assange a besoin de la protection des peuples du monde. Lui accorder le prix Nobel de la paix le permettrait.

— Jean-Luc Mélenchon (@JLMelenchon) January 28, 2021

27 January 2021

With Trump and Pompeo gone, it’s the media’s job to get justice for Julian Assange

Biden has no love for Assange, describing him during the Cablegate releases as a “high-tech terrorist”, publishing being the same as bombing — an example of the sort of American patriotism whose essence is exactly contrary to the country’s constitution.

Finally, several of the key players in the UK-US papers working with WikiLeaks on Cablegate were crazed narcissists who started a war on Assange that some have continued to this day. Only Pompeo’s draconian extravaganza finally shamed them into taking a stand. Now what is needed is an unequivocal and united stand against the continued prosecution of Assange, who is being charged with espionage on the basis of the standard practice of investigative journalism. Something on the order of a common, clear-the-front/home-page sort of statement on as many news sites as possible.

The operant contradictions within liberalism will become live only if they are made visible; they can persist indefinitely in silence. Such a move would be part of the ongoing grassroots global campaign — but it’s something big like this that would make it possible to ;end the malarkey, by giving the administration moral public pressure it can respond to.

Where Assange’s Extradition Appeals Process Stands

Almost immediately upon District Judge Vanessa Baraitster’s ruling that WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange would not be extradited from the United Kingdom to the United States on medical grounds, lawyers representing the U.S. announced their intent to appeal that decision. Two days later, Judge Baraitser denied Assange’s bail application, meaning he will remain in the freezing cold, COVID-infected maximum-security Belmarsh prison in London as he waits for the appeal process to unfold. That process could take weeks, months, or longer if the U.S. refuses to drop the case altogether.

25 January 2021

A letter from Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire to President Biden

Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire wrote a letter to President Biden with two urgent requests: to free Julian Assange and save the children of Yemen.

“Please do all you can to free Julian Assange and release him to let him go home to his family.
He has served long enough and his family long for his presence and his punishment to be ended.”

24 January 2021

Assange vs the violence of imperial ‘humanitarianism’

‘Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that it would be “oppressive” to extradite Assange – but not because of the injustice of the US government’s campaign of retribution against him for exposing its massacres, misrepresentations and manipulations, but rather due to the fragility of Assange’s mental health.’

‘Judge Baraitser not only declined to find that the US’s prosecution of Assange is for political “offences” – and therefore barred by the UK-US Extradition Treaty – but held that there is no judicially enforceable barrier against political extraditions at all: “the defence has not established that the UK-US treaty confers rights on Mr Assange which are enforceable in this court” since the treaty is “not yet incorporated into domestic law”. Perversely, according to this judgement, Assange (and other extradition targets) are subject to the treaty, but precluded from invoking its protections.’

‘The fact that Assange revealed damning truths about state atrocities that would otherwise have remained concealed was also dismissed as irrelevant. “The defence have not established that the principle of the ‘right to truth’ is a legal rule that is recognised in either international law or domestic law.”’

22 January 2021

UK’s former Brexit secretary says Assange judge ‘got the law wrong’

David Davis has told Declassified UK that the British legal establishment is “blinkered” to the one-sidedness of the UK/US extradition treaty under which the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being heard.

Davis, a former chair of the Conservative Party who served as Brexit minister in 2016-18, described the treaty as “massively asymmetric” and said the judge, Vanessa Baraitser, “got the law wrong” by claiming the treaty included political crimes.

“Parliament made clear in terms that it would not cover political crimes,” he said.

The only circumstances in which alleged crimes with a political ingredient could be pursued under the treaty was when violence was involved, Davis insisted. He has raised the case, which has serious implications for human rights and press freedom – and in the view of Davis, a leading Brexiteer, British sovereignty – as a matter of urgency in the House of Commons.

David Davis [@DavidDavisMP] yesterday in the House of Commons: “The decision to block the extradition of Mr #Assange this month was a human rather than a legal victory.”#FreeAssange #NoExtradition #DropTheCharges

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 22, 2021

Why Julian Assange is still caged

While it’s deeply alarming that the judge had accepted the majority of the prosecution’s case, extradition was rejected on the narrowest of grounds. Extradition would be denied because Julian was weak, not because he was right. We should have been happier, given we have worked and waited for Julian’s freedom for ten years, but having worked on this campaign for ten years, we couldn’t quite believe it was over. And it’s not.

Two days later Baraister ruled that Julian is to remain caged in Belmarsh Prison during the appeal phase. Given that her ruling has made the United Kingdom the only safe jurisdiction from which Julian cannot be extradited, it is absurd that this Australian publisher and journalist in such poor health must remain in a supermax prison through which COVID-19 is raging.

The prevailing logic of the Obama administration was that prosecuting WikiLeaks would lead to the ‘New York Times problem’. That logic should hold true for the Biden administration. The Trump administration appeal against Julian lodged last Friday should be among the host of excessive and dangerous Trump policies that are dumped and reversed as a matter of urgency by the Biden administration. President Obama and Vice-President Biden decided not to prosecute, and it follows that President Biden and Vice-President Harris should right the wrongs of the Trump administration. That’s where our focus must be until Julian is free to come home with his family.

21 January 2021

Biden should end espionage act prosecution of whistleblowers and journalists

‘President Joe Biden has an opportunity to right some of these wrongs. He should publicly commit to ending the use of the Espionage Act against whistleblowers. Congress could also amend or repeal the act so that it cannot be used for such purposes. Biden should also take actions to end the persecution of Assange and return to the Obama-era position that Assange should not be prosecuted by the United States. “We thought it was a dangerous precedent to prosecute Assange for something that reporters do all the time,” said Matthew Miller, an Obama Justice Department spokesperson. “The Espionage Act doesn’t make any distinction between journalists and others, so if you can apply it to Assange, there’s no real reason you couldn’t apply it to [the New York Times].”’

20 January 2021

No Pardons For Edward Snowden Or Julian Assange

Although several long shot campaigns were mounted, President Donald Trump did not pardon any whistleblowers who were indicted or prosecuted under the United States Espionage Act. He also declined to pardon the only journalist ever to be indicted under the World War I-era law.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden were not offered clemency because Trump “did not want to anger Senate Republicans who will soon determine whether he’s convicted during his Senate trial.”

19 January 2021

The US has lodged appeal paperwork

According to journalist reports, the US has lodged appeal paperwork in the extradition case of Julian Assange.

Brief #Assange extradition update- the US has lodged appeal paperwork (did so on Friday). Now has another fortnight to hand in the more detailed information on grounds for appeal.

— Ben Lewis (@benlewismedia) January 19, 2021

The bad news about the Julian Assange verdict – Interview with Stefania Maurizi

“Why should a peaceful man, a journalist who is at risk for his mental and physical health – as the judge acknowledged – be denied bail and remain in a maximum security prison? Meanwhile the UK authorities released the London Bridge attacker, Usman Khan, who had been convicted of preparing an act of terrorism – he immediately killed two people and injured three others”

“This judgement is concerning because the judge, Vanessa Baraitser, denied extradition only on account of Assange’s health condition. It would have been tremendously important to see a strong position from Judge Baraitser stating that revealing war crimes and torture is what journalists should do in our democracies. It is the quintessential mission of the Fourth Estate.”

15 January 2021

Republican Liberty Caucus joins calls to pardon Julian Assange

Open Letter to President Trump Regarding Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Ross Ulbricht#PardonSnowden #PardonAssange #FreeRoss@Snowden @WhiteHouse

— RLC (@RLibertyCaucus) January 15, 2021

12 January 2021

UN expert on torture Nils Melzer talks to Richard Medhurst about the persecution of Julian Assange

11 January 2021

Jameel Jaffer: Julian Assange is still in prison. And America’s democratic principles are still at stake.

“The Justice Department’s case against Assange raised serious press freedom concerns from the outset. This is partly because so much of the indictment is devoted to describing activity that journalists engage in routinely — like cultivating government sources, communicating with them confidentially, protecting their identities and publishing classified secrets.”

“The problem with Baraitser’s ruling, from the perspective of press freedom, is that it rejected the extradition request only because of concerns relating to Assange’s mental health and the conditions in which he would be imprisoned were he handed over to the United States. This aspect of Baraitser’s ruling appears to be well supported by the evidence, but, significantly, its protection does not extend beyond Assange.”

“This latest decision may protect Assange, but it leaves journalists and publishers at the mercy of prosecutors. That is unfortunate. Neither journalists nor publishers should have to risk criminal prosecution in order to do work that the public urgently needs them to do.”

9 January 2021

Glenn Greenwald: Why Julian Assange should be released from prison immediately

8 January 2021

This Ruling Is a Victory for Julian Assange — But Still a Blow Against a Free Press

“In her ruling, the judge made clear that Assange would have been extradited, if it weren’t for his “substantial risk” of committing suicide. In so doing, Baraitser left the door open to the prosecution and extradition of journalists and publishers engaged in investigative news-gathering the world over. Hence the ruling ends up adding to the “chilling effect” already experienced by those interested in national security journalism.”

“Ultimately, the court determined that multiple allegations against Assange would put him beyond the realm of acceptable journalism, if substantiated. Any disputes over the conspiracy charge, motives for publication, or whether any harm was caused due to the publication of documents, would be a matter for a trial court in the United States to determine.

There is, however, a fundamental problem in this reasoning. Due to the “strict liability” nature of the vast majority of the charges against Assange — i. e., the intentions of the accused do not matter in establishing guilt — his motives, the contents of the documents themselves, the password hash cracking matter, and even whether any actual harm ever resulted from the disclosures, is entirely irrelevant.

All that really matters insofar as the Espionage Act charges are concerned is whether Assange conspired to receive, obtain, and disclose national defense information. If it can be shown that Assange did any of those things, he faces ten years for each count proven to a jury’s satisfaction — with seventeen counts in total.

Judge’s ruling in Julian Assange case could threaten investigative journalism in UK and around the world

There is a real danger that the British judge’s ruling in the Julian Assange extradition case will encourage other governments to charge and seek to extradite journalists in the UK and elsewhere for exposing their military operations and human rights abuses.

“Assange could only be extradited if the offences with which he was charged were criminal offences under British law – that is, they were indictable offences in Britain. The judge’s ruling drove home the point that, contrary to the widespread assumption, a public interest defence is not available to whistle-blowers and journalists in British law.”

“There is a real danger that Assange’s extradition will encourage other governments – the Israeli, Russian or Turkish, for example – to charge and extradite journalists in Britain and elsewhere for exposing their military operations and human rights abuses, indeed for revealing any information they want to suppress for reasons of “national security” – a term that can cover a multitude of sins.”

7 January 2021

Amnesty International Australia writes to Prime Minister Morrison asking him to call on Trump and Biden to drop the charges

“I am writing to you on behalf of Amnesty International’s 10 million global supporters to ask you to actin regards to the case of Julian Assange. Please use your access and relationships to urge US President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden to drop the charges against Assange.”

Andrew Wilkie MP: Julian Assange must be allowed to walk free

“This is an unfathomable and cruel turn of events,” Mr Wilkie said of the bail decision. “The extradition of Mr Assange has already been denied and further detention clearly compounds the risk to his precarious mental health.

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison must get on the phone to US President Donald Trump and President-Elect Joe Biden and say ‘Let’s just rule a line under this, drop the charges, pardon him if that’s what’s needed and let him come home’.”

Jonathan Cook: The US and UK may not will Assange’s death, but everything they are doing makes it more likely

“[The jugde] disregarded warnings from Assange’s legal team that acceptance of the political rationale for extradition amounted to an all-out attack on fundamental journalistic freedoms. She established a terrifying legal precedent for the US to seize foreign journalists and prosecute them for “espionage” if they expose Washington’s crimes. Her ruling will inevitably have a profoundly chilling effect on any publication trying to dig out the truth about the US national-security state, with terrifying consequences for us all.”

6 January 2021

Judge denies bail for Julian Assange

Two days after blocking Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser has denied Assange’s bail application, keeping him in custody at HMP Belmarsh while the U.S. appeals the decision.

Lawyers for Assange today argued to release Assange immediately, saying he would accept stringent conditions including house arrest. Defense lawyer Ed Fitzgerald said the “natural consequences” of the judge’s ruling on Monday, which ordered Assange’s discharge, “must be that he regains his liberty, at least conditionally.”

Fitzgerald also argued that Assange must be released for his own safety. Belmarsh has seen a spike in COVID19 cases in December, and a fellow inmate has recently committed suicide.

Finally, Fitzgerald said Assange should be freed for “broader reasons of humanity,” to finally be allowed physical contact with his family—his partner and their two young children.

Statement from Stella Moris

Stella Moris, Assange’s fiancée: I urge the ⁦@TheJusticeDept⁩ to drop the charges and ⁦@realDonaldTrump⁩ to pardon #Assange.

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 6, 2021

Statement from Kristinn Hrafnsson

Kristinn Hrafnsson from @WikiLeaks, final statement on #Assange case victory. “Enough is enough.”
The fight is not over.

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 4, 2021

Statement from Rebecca Vincent, Reporters without borders (RSF)

Reporters Without Borders @RSF_en strongly condemn today’s decision to deny Julian Assange bail saying it is unnecessarily cruel and believe he has been targeted and made to suffer for publishing information in the public interest.


🎗People For Assange (@people4assange) January 6, 2021

Amnesty International: Decision to refuse Assange bail renders his continued detention “arbitrary”

“Today’s decision to refuse Julian Assange’s bail application renders his ongoing detention ‘arbitrary’, and compounds the fact that he has endured punishing conditions in high security detention at Belmarsh prison for more than a year,” said Nils Muižnieks, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

“It is clear that Julian Assange should not have been jailed pending extradition in the first place. The charges against him were politically-motivated, and the UK government should never have so willingly assisted the US in its unrelenting pursuit of Assange.”

RSF condemns “unnecessarily cruel” decision to keep Julian Assange detained

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the decision of a UK district judge to deny bail to Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, despite a prior ruling against his extradition to the US due to his state of mental health. RSF calls again for his immediate release, on substantive and humanitarian grounds.

“We are deeply disappointed by the decision not to grant bail to Julian Assange, which is an unnecessarily cruel step following the prior decision against his extradition. The mental health issues that were grounds to prevent his extradition will only be exacerbated by prolonged detention, and his physical health also remains at risk. This decision is the latest in a long line of disproportionately punitive measures against Assange,” said RSF’s Director of International Campaigns Rebecca Vincent.

Index on Cenzorship: A win for Assange, but not for free speech 

“Judge Baraitser’s ruling at no stage allowed for the protections governed by Article 10 of the UK Human Rights Act to halt the extradition. Instead, in denying the US Government’s request to extradite Assange, Baraitser concluded that “the mental condition of Mr. Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America”.

“Baraitser’s decisions regarding the key legal arguments of Assange’s defence are cause for concern and risk creating a precedent which would prevent journalists from publishing sensitive information in the public interest and the ruling appears to have extended the scope of Britain’s Official Secrets Act.”

5 January 2021

UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer cautiously welcomes refusal to extradite Assange

UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer today welcomed a British court’s refusal to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States on the basis that he would be exposed to “oppressive” conditions of imprisonment that would almost certainly cause him to commit suicide.

At the same time, the judgement on Monday sets an alarming precedent effectively denying investigative journalists the protection of press freedom and paving the way for their prosecution under charges of espionage. In 2010, Mr. Assange published sensitive military documents relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I am gravely concerned that the judgement confirms the entire, very dangerous rationale underlying the US indictment, which effectively amounts to criminalizing national security journalism,” Melzer said.

Assange decision is a welcome one, but it won’t save the free press

Ultimately, Baraitser did not refuse the extradition of Assange to the United States based on matters of principle – such as respect for the first amendment and its full protection of free speech – or concerns that Assange would not get a fair trial in the Virginia court renowned for putting away into maximum security those the US security state regard as a threat.

Anyone hoping to find words that respect freedom of speech or freedom of the press will be bitterly disappointed by the judgment. Rather, Baraitser said Assange had breached US national security laws, and further there were parallel offences via the Official Secrets Act in the UK. The mainstream press, especially in Britain and Australia, so quick to abandon Assange, should be deeply concerned.

It was hardly a ringing endorsement, then, by the judiciary for the fourth estate.

The Sydney Morning Editorial: PM should urge US to abandon pursuit of Julian Assange

The decision of British judge Vanessa Baraitser to block the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States to face espionage charges was made on the grounds of his mental health and the regime under which he would be jailed there. This leaves important wider questions still at issue.


Mr Biden might also look back on the past two decades of US politics and ask himself – as a torrent of misinformation, conspiracy theories about the “deep state” and resentment over the cost and character of decisions to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to distort American public debate – whether fighting hard for the cause of state secrecy is really how he wants his presidency to be remembered.

4 January 2021

Judge blocks the extradition of Julian Assange to the US

In a ruling in which she accepted nearly every argument from U.S. government, Judge Vanessa Baraitser agreed with the defense’s claims that the U.S. prison conditions Assange would face if he were extradited, including solitary confinement, Special Administrative Measures, and extreme restrictions at ADX Florence, would drive Assange to suicide. She ruled it would therefore be unjust to extradite Assange to the U.S. and ordered his release.

The U.S. will appeal the decision.

Case was adjourned until Wednesday 10am GMT for the full and formal bail application, Assange will be physically produced then, will be kept in HMP Belmarsh until then.

Statement from Stella Moris

Stella Moris: Julian’s freedom is tied to all of our freedoms. I call on insiders to come forward to expose the full extend of the misconduct in this case. #FreeJulian #FreePress

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 4, 2021

Statement from Kristinn Hrafnsson

Kristinn from ⁦@wikileaks⁩ – it is a win for Julian #Assange, but it is not a win for journalism. The US government should drop their appeal and let Julian go free.

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 4, 2021

Press freedom and human rights organizations and advocates welcome the decision but express concern it leaves open future threats to journalists

Rebecca Vincent, Reporters without borders (RSF)

Statement from Rebecca from ⁦@RSF_inter⁩ on #Assange case

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 4, 2021

Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists (NUJ)

“The judge rejected the defence case that the charges against Assange related to actions identical to those undertaken daily by most investigative journalists. In doing so, she leaves open the door for a future US administration to confect a similar indictment against a journalist.”

Amnesty International

We welcome the fact that Julian Assange will not be sent to the USA, but this does not absolve the UK from having engaged in this politically-motivated process at the behest of the USA and putting media freedom and freedom of expression on trial.

— Amnesty International (@amnesty) January 4, 2021

Freedom of the Press Foundation

The extradition request was not decided on press freedom grounds; rather, the judge essentially ruled the US prison system was too repressive to extradite. However, the result will protect journalists everywhere.

— Freedom of the Press (@FreedomofPress) January 4, 2021

Knight First Amendment Institute

Knight Institute Comments on Decision to Reject U.S. Request for Extradition of Julian Assange:
Says indictment under the Espionage Act will continue to cast a shadow over investigative journalism.

Statement at the link 👇

— Knight First Amendment Institute (@knightcolumbia) January 4, 2021

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

#UK 🇬🇧 British court says @wikileaks founder Julian Assange cannot be extradited to the US for charges of espionage and hacking government computers by reason of Assange’s mental health. The US have 14 days to appeal.

— IFJ (@IFJGlobal) January 4, 2021

European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)

The European Federation of Journalists welcomes this morning’s verdict from Old Bailey that #WikiLeaks founder Julian #Assange should not be extradited to the USA. It us time now to put an end to his detention

— EFJ (@EFJEUROPE) January 4, 2021

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA)

Julian Assange is a member of #MEAAmedia and as his union we are relieved that – pending any appeal by the US government – he will be free from the decade long ordeal he has suffered for trying to bring information of public interest to the light of day. #AssangeCase

— MEAA (@withMEAA) January 4, 2021

Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

THANK YOU! #VanessaBaraitser @VanessaBaraits1 for having done the right thing! Extradition to the #US would have exposed #Assange to #Torture.

— Nils Melzer (@NilsMelzer) January 4, 2021

Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions

SUPERBE news from the UK! #Assange will not be extradited to the US. This was the only valid decision under international human rights law. All my respects to @NilsMelzer @rebecca_vincent and many others who have campaigned tirelessly for such an outcome.

— Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 4, 2021


We welcome the blocking of the extradition of Julian Assange. However, once again the UK-US extradition treaty is exposed to be ripe for abuse as all journalistic and whistleblowing protections fell to pieces before it.

Assange was spared only on account of his suicide risk.

— CAGE (@UK_CAGE) January 4, 2021

Christophe Deloire, Reporters without borders (RSF)

Whatever the official arguments are, the decision not to extradite #Assange is historical for the right to information. It does not add an additional threat to investigative journalism. An extradition would have set a precedent. For those who defend him, it is a huge relief.

— Christophe Deloire (@cdeloire) January 4, 2021

Article 19

2⃣-“We call on the new US administration of President-Elect @JoeBiden to drop all charges against @Wikileaks founder #JulianAssange and to urgently improve protections for all #whistleblowers and others who hold power to account,” ARTICLE 19 Executive Director @QuinnMcK added.

— ARTICLE 19 (@article19org) January 4, 2021

IPI – The Global Network for Press Freedom

UK court’s decision to deny extradition of Julian #Assange to the US is a victory for #pressfreedom. Prosecution under the Espionage Act would set a dangerous precedent.

IPI statement ⬇️

— IPI – The Global Network for Press Freedom (@globalfreemedia) January 4, 2021

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)

ECPMF is glad about the judge’s decision not to extradite Julian #Assange. We continue to advocate for complete freedom for #JulianAssange.

— ECPMF (@ECPMF) January 4, 2021

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

CPJ welcomes UK decision not to extradite Julian Assange, urges DOJ to drop charges

— Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) January 4, 2021

Comments from journalists, politicians, human rights & press freedom advocates

Glenn Greenwald, journalist

The rejection by the UK court of the US Govt’s request to extradite Julian Assange to stand trial on espionage charges is obviously great news. But the judge endorsed most of the USG’s theories, but ultimately found the US prison system too inhumane to permit extradition.

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 4, 2021

Clare Daly, MEP

A huge victory but we should also recognise Assange won on narrow mental health grounds. On political aspects of the case this judgment was a travesty. Press freedom is almost completely unprotected by it. A huge battle is ahead to defend it.

— Clare Daly (@ClareDalyMEP) January 4, 2021

Alan Rusbridger, journalist

The judge’s reasoning was hardly a ringing endorsement of either Wikileaks or the function of journalism. But the extradition outcome is the right one and I hope the US will now drop the pursuit of Assange (and @Snowden) and let them get on with their lives.

— alan rusbridger (@arusbridger) January 4, 2021

Stefania Maurizi, journalist

my comment to @AJEnglish: “I am relieved the judge just ruled against extradition, however I am very unhappy about how she stuck to all the major arguments put forward by the US to characterise #Assange’s work as going beyond free speech and journalism”

— Stefania Maurizi (@SMaurizi) January 4, 2021

Andrew Wilkey, Australian MP

Great news from London – Julian Assange’s extradition to US denied by UK court. US President must rule out an appeal. UK PM must release him. And Oz PM must allow him to return home a free man. Assange was always the hero, not the villain #auspol #politas #FreeAssange

— Andrew Wilkie MP (@WilkieMP) January 4, 2021

Zarah Sultana, UK MP

Today’s court ruling to not extradite Julian Assange to the US to face espionage charges is the right decision.

He should be released from Belmarsh prison immediately.

— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) January 4, 2021

John Pilger, journalist

Julian #Assange has been discharged by the judge at the Old Bailey on grounds that he was too great a suicide risk if extradited to the US. This is wonderful! It’s a face-saving cover for the British to justify their disgraceful political trial of #Assange on America’s behalf.

— John Pilger (@johnpilger) January 4, 2021

Mark Curtis, journalist

I can’t see how the #Assange ruling amounts to a victory for the free press, as some are claiming. Judge seems to have accepted US prosecution arguments right up the point where she considered a suicide risk. The judgement may have set a scary precedent.

— Mark Curtis (@markcurtis30) January 4, 2021

Fidel Narvaez, Ecuadorian diplomat

Fidel Narvaez: This is a victory- but Journalists should be very concerned, freedom of expression is still under attack. #assange

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 4, 2021

Jeremy Corbyn

Good news the extradition of Julian Assange has been refused.

Extradition would be an attack on press freedom.

It is alarming the judge has accepted US Government arguments threatening freedom of speech and to publish.

Assange should be released.


— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) January 4, 2021

Owen Jones: Refusing to extradite #Assange to the US on mental health grounds is humane, but it doesn’t protect future whistleblowers

“It is not to critique the soundness of Baraitser’s legal judgment to argue that this was the right decision, but for the wrong reason. That a British court has ruled that the US prison system is too barbaric to guarantee the safety of Assange tells its own story. But this is about something much bigger than Assange: it’s about journalism, the free press, and most importantly of all, the ability to expose atrocities committed by the world’s last remaining superpower.

Patrick Cockburn: Rejection of Assange extradition is a victory for freedom of the press – but the media silence is worrying

“Judge Vanessa Baraitser gave as the reason for her decision Assange’s mental health and possible suicide risk, not freedom of expression or evidence of a politically inspired persecution by the Trump administration. If the judge is correct, this must be one of the very few non-political actions of the Trump era in the US.”


“Yet much of the media remained silent or made nit-picking attacks on Assange’s personality, despite the seriousness of the case. The failure of the attempt to extradite Assange – if confirmed on appeal – gets them off the hook and they will no longer have to take a stand. This is one of the most worrying aspect of the case – the willingness of the media to stand to one side during one of the greatest attacks on press freedom in modern history.”

Archive: 2020

23 December 2020

James Risen: Snowden and Assange deserve pardons. So do the whistleblowers Trump imprisoned

“If the Assange prosecution is successful, it will set a dangerous precedent: that journalists can be prosecuted based on their interactions with sources who provide them with government secrets.

Such a precedent could make it extremely difficult for journalists to cover military, intelligence, and related national security matters, and thus leave the public in the dark about what the government is really doing around the world.

That is why the U.S. indictment of Julian Assange is so dangerous to liberty in America, and why the case against Assange should be dropped and he should be pardoned.”

Bruce Brown: Assange, and the critical threat to publishing state secrets

“The US’s aggressive efforts to extradite Assange under spying charges for publicly disclosing classified information—in contravention of the political offense exceptioncould create precedent that impacts the US press. If the UK grants the request to deliver Assange to the US, UK prosecutors could make similar arguments in an effort to extradite a journalist in the US for violations of its Official Secrets Act, which explicitly criminalizes the publication of leaked military or intelligence information.”

22 December 2020

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer asks U.S. President Donald Trump to pardon Julian Assange

Nils Melzer UN human rights expert and Special Rapporteur on Torture today issued an open letter to U.S. President Donald Trump, asking him to pardon Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been held in Belmarsh high security prison since his arrest.

“Today, I respectfully request that you pardon Mr. Julian Assange.” reads the letter.

“Mr. Assange has been arbitrarily deprived of his liberty for the past ten years. This is a high price to pay for the courage to publish true information about government misconduct throughout the world.


I ask you to pardon Mr. Assange, because he is not, and has never been, an enemy of the American people. His organization, WikiLeaks, fights secrecy and corruption throughout the world and, therefore, acts in the public interest both of the American people and of humanity as a whole.


Please, use your power of pardon to right the wrongs inflicted on Julian Assange, to end his unjust ordeal and reunite him with his family!“

“If Julian is not pardoned, it will be the end of the First Amendment” – Revolver interview with Stella Moris

“The case against Julian is political and should never have been pursued. It is extremely controversial even within the DOJ. The Washington Post reported that two prosecutors working on the case resigned over Julian’s indictment under the Espionage Act, because they understood that it is a violation of the Constitution to apply it to a publisher and the result is that it will destroy the First Amendment.”

“If Julian is not pardoned, it will be the end of the First Amendment. The case means catastrophically shifting the nature of American society from one of free and open debate about the nature of government, to one like China where the state controls who can publish and what can be published.”

21 December 2020

Laura Poitras: Journalism is not a crime

“I am guilty of violating the Espionage Act, Title 18, U.S. Code Sections 793 and 798. If charged and convicted, I could spend the rest of my life in prison.

This is not a hypothetical. Right now, the United States government is prosecuting a publisher under the Espionage Act. The case could set a precedent that would put me and countless other journalists in danger.”

“It is impossible to overstate the dangerous precedent Mr. Assange’s indictment under the Espionage Act and possible extradition sets: Every national security journalist who reports on classified information now faces possible Espionage Act charges. It paves the way for the United States government to indict other international journalists and publishers. And it normalizes other countries’ prosecution of journalists from the United States as spies.”

“To reverse this dangerous precedent, the Justice Department should immediately drop these charges and the president should pardon Mr. Assange.”

Charles Glass: If Assange’s fate were up to a jury, he, too, might have walked free

Like William Penn and John Peter Zenger, the Wikileaks founder is fighting for our freedom, writes Charles Glass in The Nation.

“The surest sign that the United States has ended its war on the free dissemination of vital information would be for the Justice Department to withdraw its extradition application and drop all charges against Assange. President Trump could order that before he leaves office. Joe Biden can do it after he takes the oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitition,” including the First Amendment, on January 20. After all, it would be consistent with President Obama’s decision not to prosecute Assange because it would have represented an assault on the entire free press that disseminated the same information Assange did.”

German MPs form parliamentary working group “Freedom for Julian Assange”

The circle of German MPs who demand freedom for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange  is growing. On Monday the “Freedom for Julian Assange” working group was formed, with members from all democratic parties represented in the Bundestag.

“We founded this working group out of great concern for the life of the journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been in solitary confinement in critical health for over a year and a half in the British maximum security prison Belmarsh and whose extradition to the US will be decided on January 4, 2021″, declared the members of the Bundestag Sevim Dagdelen (Die Linke), Bijan Djir-Sarai (FDP), Frank Heinrich (CDU), Frank Schwabe (SPD) and Margit Stumpp (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen).

19 December 2020

Increasing bipartisan support for a pardon: Sarah Palin says Trump should pardon Assange

Sarah Palin is publicly calling for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to receive a pardon. In a video published on youtube she said it was a “mistake” for her to ever come out against Assange. “I made a mistake some years ago, not supporting Julian Assange— thinking that he was a bad guy, that he leaked material that perhaps he shouldn’t”. “He deserves a pardon,” she said, adding that Assange also should be recognized for what “he has done in the name of real journalism.”

18 December 2020

The Guardian view on Julian Assange: do not extradite him

The Guardian editorial warns about the consequences of Julian Assange extradition and proclaims: “The US should never have brought the case against the WikiLeaks founder. This attack on press freedom must be rejected.”

“On 4 January, a British judge is set to rule on whether Julian Assange should be extradited to the United States, where he could face a 175-year sentence in a high-security “supermax” prison. He should not. The charges against him in the US undermine the foundations of democracy and press freedom in both countries.”

“No one has been brought to book for the crimes exposed by WikiLeaks. Instead, the Trump administration has launched a full-scale assault on the international criminal court for daring to investigate these and other offences, and is pursuing the man who brought them to light. It has taken the unprecedented step of prosecuting him under the Espionage Act for publishing confidential information.

No public interest defence is permissible under the act. No publisher covering national security in any serious way could consider itself safe were this extradition attempt to succeed – wherever it was based.”

“A political solution is required. Stella Moris, Mr Assange’s partner and mother of his two young children, is among those who have urged Donald Trump to pardon him. But Joe Biden may be more willing to listen. The incoming president could let Mr Assange walk free. He should do so.”

16 December 2020

Audio recordings confirm Assange spoke to US State Department to stop publication of unredacted cables

Audio recordings of a 2011 conversation between Julian Assange and Hillary Clinton’s State Department, published by Project Veritas, provide new insight into the extent with which the WikiLeaks publisher sought to minimise harm from the potential release of unredacted US diplomatic cables, by actors working against the express wishes of the transparency organisation.

“So the situation is that, we have intelligence that the State Department database archive of 250,000 diplomatic cables, including the classified cables, is being spread around. […]To the degree that we believe that within the next few days, it will become public and we’re not sure what the timing could be, imminently or within the next few days to a week. And, there may be some possibility to stop it”, Assange is heard explaining to Cliff Johnson, an attorney with the US State Department.

Tucker Carlson interviews Stella Moris about ahe possibility of President Trump pardoning Julian Assange

Watch full: @TuckerCarlson interviews @StellaMoris1 about #JulianAssange.#FreeAssangeNOW #DontExtraditeAssange#PardonAssange #FreePress

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) December 17, 2020

15 December 2020

Index on Cenzorship: Assange hearing outcome could set an “alarming precedent” for free speech

People need to “forget what they think they know” about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and recognise that if he is extradited to the USA, it would set a worrying precedent for media freedom. Index on Cenzorship spoke to Julian’s partner Stella Moris and Rebecca Vincent of RSF about the case.

“People who care about free speech and press freedom need to forget what they think they know about this case and look at it afresh and understand Julian is in prison for publishing. This is not something that democracies do.” – Stella Moris

“You can see this for what it is; this very much feels like a political prosecution by states that are not meant to engage in this behaviour. The reason our states can get away with this is because of a lack of public pressure. A lack of public sympathy has resulted in a lack of widespread public pressure to hold our governments to account.” – Rebecca Vincent

The Assange Prosecution: A Haunting Reminder Of What Happened In My Espionage Act Case

Jeffrey Sterling, a CIA whistleblower, responds to how his case has been invoked by prosecutors to help them win the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition.

“Should Assange be extradited and put on trial in the EDVA, he will face the same terminal decision I faced: whether to go to trial and risk an unending sentence or plead guilty to a crime created by and imposed on him by the U.S. government.”

Neither justice, law, nor the truth stood a chance in my trial, and that leads me to believe none of those hollow tenets of American jurisprudence will matter in Assange’s case.

Assange has none of the protections under the U.S. Constitution that I supposedly had, and he is continually brandished as an enemy aligned against America.

The Assange case is a clear example of the government’s willingness to target journalists and media outlets throughout the world, which is why numerous press freedom organizations oppose the prosecution.

14 December 2020

Growing calls to Trump to Pardon Assange and Snowden

After Stella Moris and Edward Snowden asked Trump to pardon Julian Assange, calls for his and Edward Snowden’s pardon are multiplying.

A petition demanding pardon for Julian Assange was launched by US support group Assange Defence. Sign it here

.@realDonaldTrump has been no friend to journalism in his four years in office. But he has one last chance to improve his press freedom legacy and the United States’ international image. RSF calls for immediate presidential pardons for Julian Assange and @Snowden.

— Christophe Deloire (@cdeloire) December 15, 2020

With #Assange trending, and momentum growing, Twitter users are asking @realDonaldTrump to pardon #JulianAssange and @Snowden before he leaves office. #FreeAssange #FreeAssangeNOW #Snowden #PardonAssange #PardonSnowden

— NSW Council for Civil Liberties (@NSWCCL) December 14, 2020

Dear @realDonaldTrump Please consider being punk as fuck. You will make history if you pardon Assange, Edward Snowden & any whistleblower wrongly persecuted. DC Cult Leaders aka politicians hate truth. Burn them down on your way out. #FreeAssange #PardonSnowden #PunkAF

— Rose McGowan (@rosemcgowan) December 14, 2020

After 10 years of political persecution for publishing FACTS a pardon to @wikileaks founder is the only decent thing to do. All Americans should rally for it, as it will avoid that a very complex freedom of expression case will be decided by a conservative SCOTUS.

— Renata Avila (@avilarenata) December 14, 2020

11 December 2020

Last call over hearing before extradition decision

Due to covid-19 outbreak at Belmarsh prison, Judge Baraitser had granted Assange leave not to appear. He was remanded back into custody until the 4 January hearing at the Old Bailey.

Observeres have yet again stressed problems with access. Rebecca Vincent of RSF, who was monitoring the hearing has stated: “I am furious about these continued access issues, which are clearly intentional. At every step of the way, we face unprecedented barriers to observing any aspect of proceedings in Julian Assange’s case. This is not open justice.”

RSF was back in court in London this morning to observe the last call over hearing in the case of @wikileaks publisher Julian Assange before his extradition decision is given on 4 January. We once again witnessed barriers to open justice. #FreeAssange

— RSF (@RSF_inter) December 11, 2020

10 December 2020

On Human Rights Day prominent press freedom and human rights organizations say Defend media freedom – Free Julian Assange

On Human Rights Day National Union of Journalists (NUJ), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Article 19, Index on Cenzorship, English PEN, The European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Blue print for free speech, Big Brother Watch and Courage Foundation have called on the UK government to defend media freedom and free Julian Assange.

“When a journalist or publisher is held in a high-security prison because of their work, our government should intervene. When he faces a 175-year sentence for embarrassing a foreign power, our government should intervene. When a foreign state charges him under espionage laws, criminalisng journalistic activity, our government should intervene.

Yet that publisher is in the UK. That man is Julian Assange. (…) Applying foreign secrecy laws to a UK based publisher creates a dangerous legal precedent, allowing any journalist in Britain to be prosecuted and extradited.

Our government must ensure the UK is a safe place for journalists & publishers to work. Whilst Julian Assange remains in prison facing extradition, it is not”

8 December 2020

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer calls for immediate release of Julian Assange after 10 years of arbitrary detention

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, today appealed to British authorities to immediately release Julian Assange from prison or to place him under guarded house arrest during US extradition proceedings.

He made the urgent call 10 years after Mr. Assange’s first arrest on 7 December 2010, amid an outbreak of COVID-19 at Belmarsh prison. Reports say 65 of approximately 160 inmates, including a number in the wing where Mr. Assange is being held, have tested positive.

“Mr. Assange is not a criminal convict and poses no threat to anyone, so his prolonged solitary confinement in a high security prison is neither necessary nor proportionate and clearly lacks any legal basis.”

Today, I urgently call on the #UK to:
– release #Assange amid Covid-19 outbreak at HMP Belmarsh
– prevent his extradition to the #US due to #HumanRights concerns
– end 10yrs of persecution, abuse & arbitrary detention

Direct link:

— Nils Melzer (@NilsMelzer) December 8, 2020

7 December 2020

What’s At Stake in Julian Assange’s Extradition Trial

“Julian Assange’s extradition trial in London this fall revealed the lengths to which the US government was willing to go to secure the return of the WikiLeaks founder to America. It also threw light on a disturbing abuse of process in the English courts.”

“What has been put in question with the Assange case is not only his life but also the principles that characterize journalism, which is being likened to criminal activity. If this extradition attempt is successful, no one should feel safe in calling authority to account or in scrutinizing the actions of those who hide behind the veil of power, since the United States will feel empowered to extradite anyone in the world Washington views as an enemy.”

6 December 2020

Roger Waters: Standing up for free expression means standing up for Julian Assange

“If the U.S. extradites Assange, it will set the dangerous precedent that journalists can be prosecuted merely for working with inside sources, or for publishing information the government deems harmful. As many experts have testified, this would be the death knell of investigative journalism. It would become nearly impossible for a free press to fulfill its obligation to inform the citizenry, challenge government secrecy, expose concealed wrongdoing or share any information that might embarrass those in power.”

“So what to do now? I am sometimes accused of preaching to the choir. So be it. Choir — we are a very large choir, and in the name of truth and love and freedom we must raise our voices in unison, in a mighty choral roar to demand of the U.S. and U.K. governments that they end their war on journalism. That they dismiss the charges against Julian Assange and cancel the extradition proceedings in the kangaroo court in London. Certainly the future of democracy, and possibly the very future of life on earth, depends upon it.”

Jennifer Robinson: Silencing dissent – WikiLeaks and the violation of human rights

Julian Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson says his case needs to be recognised for what it is: “persecution of a puvlisher for robustly publishing what the powerful do not want the public to see – evidence of war crimes, human rights abuse and corruption.” The Sydney Morning Herald publishes an extract from “A Secret Australia”

In many jurisdictions, whistleblowers have no legal protection, relying instead on the obligation journalists have to protect and maintain the confidentiality of their sources to prevent the identification of the whistleblower and hence protect them from prosecution.

WikiLeaks’ model provides a practical solution: its anonymous submission system was specifically designed to provide protection to journalists and whistleblowers that the law does not provide.

This is why WikiLeaks is so dangerous to those in power with something to hide – and why WikiLeaks must be defended and protected.

Assange was acutely aware of the personal consequences and the persecution that would follow, but felt a duty to the source and to the public to publish the material: “They will chase me to the end of the earth, but I have to do it.”

Assange has contributed much to human rights accountability through his work for WikiLeaks and yet he is persecuted for that work. It is time his human rights are respected.

3 December 2020

Edward Snowden asks Trump to pardon Julian Assange

“If you grant only one act of clemency during your time in office, please: free Julian Assange,” Snowden tweeted. “You alone can save his life.”

Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency during your time in office, please: free Julian Assange. You alone can save his life. @realDonaldTrump

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) December 3, 2020

Oliver Stone: why should Trump pardon Assange and Snowden

A pardon of @Snowden and #Assange would be a great shock to this world, and reflect well on @realDonaldTrump. Despite all the negatives he’s created, it will be seen as a purely merciful action. It will not be forgotten.

— Oliver Stone (@TheOliverStone) December 3, 2020

Why @realDonaldTrump should pardon @Snowden & #Assange: 1. It will take the edge off his pardons for his family & loyalists by being unselfish and not self-serving. And at the least, confound his many critics — as well as future historians.

— Oliver Stone (@TheOliverStone) December 3, 2020

Peter Oborne and Millie Cooke: We can’t say we weren’t warned The Julian Assange extradition hearing goes to the heart of why journalism matters so, by taking little interest in it, write Peter Oborne and Millie Cooke, the British media turned their backs on freedom and democracy and safe reporting of US misdeeds.

“For the British media, the consequences are grim, especially for investigative journalism. Any story which depends on obtaining documents from US government sources will become impossibly dangerous. No British journalists would dare to handle it, let alone publish it. Indeed, the same would be true of stories relying on leaked official information from other friendly countries. Any journalists involved could find themselves subject to an extradition request. (…) This means that the Assange hearing in September was the most important court case concerning free speech this century.”

Stella Moris: My message to insiders

“If you are an insider and you know something, please expose it – – to me, to any of Julian’s lawyers, or to any secure platform, or several. Together, we must set him free.”

A Secret Australia: Revealed by Wikileaks Exposes – book promotion and panel

Peter Cronau is joined by ‘A Secret Australia’ contributors Benedetta Brevini, John Keane and Antony Loewenstein.

2 December 2020

What we learnt from Wikileaks Phillip Adams discusses WikiLeaks, contextualises the political and historical importance of their work and highlights the necessity of such a fearless publisher with Felicity Ruby, Peter Cronau, Suelette Dreyfus, Scott Ludlam, Antony Loewenstein & Clinton Fernandes, authors and editors of newly published “A Secret Australia: Revealed by the Wikileaks exposé” Listen here

1 December 2020

Charles Glass: Biden’s Choice on Julian Assange and the First Amendment

“When Joe Biden becomes president of the United States on January 20, a historic opportunity awaits him to demonstrate America’s commitment to the First Amendment. He can, in a stroke, reverse four years of White House persecution of journalism by withdrawing the application to extradite Julian Assange from Britain to the U.S. (…) Assange’s liberty represents the liberty of all journalists and publishers whose job is to expose government and corporate criminality without fear of prosecution. We need and deserve to be protected against government control of the press.”

“America’s return to the community of law-abiding nations would be enhanced further by adhering to judgements from the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights calling for Assange’s immediate release.”

29 November 2020

Legendary musician Manu Chao dedicates his song “Words of Truth” to Julian Assange

#FreeAssange #manuchao#palabrasdeverdad#wordsoftruth@DEAcampaign @fcdhbcn
Mas info en :

— Manu Chao (@manuchao) November 29, 2020

28 November 2020

10 years ago today WikiLeaks began publishing Cablegate

November 28 2020 marks 10 years since WikiLeaks started publishing over 250 000 US diplomatic cables known as Cablegate along with Der Spiegel, El Pais, Le Monde & the Guardian.

10 years ago today WikiLeaks began publishing #Cablegate

50 years of the 175 year sentence faced by Julian #Assange relate solely to the #Cablegate publication

The archive is still used by journalists and researchers everywhere. #JournalismIsNotACrime

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 28, 2020

Julian Assange develó, diez años atrás, cables del Departamento del Estado sobre la política injerencista de EE.UU. y las violaciones cometidas contra los DD.HH. en las guerras de Irak y Afganistán y en otros ámbitos.
Lo persiguen por decir la verdad.
¡Libertad para Assange!

— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) November 28, 2020

Today: 10th anniversary of international media together with @wikileaks publishing 250.000 diplomatic cables: Thanks! Today: publisher Julian #Assange is persecuted for his contributions to journalism:He should be immediately released & all charges should be dropped. #FreeAssange

— Christian Mihr (@cmihr) November 28, 2020

#Cablegate 10-year anniversary today.

December 7th will mark another important 10-year anniversary: a decade since Julian lost his liberty.

The chronology objectively understood cuts through all the noise.#FreeAssangeNOW#PardonAssange

— Stella Moris (@StellaMoris1) November 28, 2020

Today marks 10 years since the publication by @wikileaks & its media partners of 250k cables that changed the face of journalism.

It also marks 11 days that Assange has been locked in his cell in a prison block riddled with Covid.

Enough is enough. The UK must #FreeAssange now.

— Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) November 28, 2020

Panel: Marking the 10th anniversary of Wikileaks‘ Cablegate publication

To mark 10 years of the release Don’t Extradite Assange is hosting an online discussion chaired by Kristinn Hrafnsson editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, on the panel Alison Broinowski former Australian diplomat, academic, journalist and Craig Murray former British diplomat, human rights campaigner, whistleblower and Hans-Christof von Sponeck former UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.

Alan Rusbriger: Supporting Julian Assange, fighting for a free press

A decade after the publication of 250,000 secret US cables, the former editor-in-chief of ‘The Guardian’ criticizes widespread indifference over the fate of the WikiLeaks founder

“Meanwhile the two figures who were mainly responsible for the Diplomatic Cables leak have already suffered the fate which may lie in store for many editors and reporters in future. The documents’ source, Chelsea Manning, has been jailed and repeatedly harassed. And now Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, lies in jail waiting to hear if he will be extradited to the US and the prospect of serving a very long time inside a maximum security prison.”

“But we ignore Assange’s fate at our peril. Many of the things he is accused of – encouraging a source to come up with more material or helping a source conceal their identity – are things that most diligent journalists would do.”

“So, while the collaboration that saw the important publication of highly significant material 10 years ago should be remembered and celebrated, the project is also a stinging reminder that freedom of expression is a battle never won. With the privilege of being a journalist – and, I might add, the reader of such revelations – comes the responsibility to continue the centuries-old fight for a free press. And Julian Assange, whatever we think of him personally, is now a central part in that struggle.”

27 November 2020

Concern over Covid-19 breakout at Belmarsh: Julian Assange should be released

Index is alarmed by reports of an escalation in Covid infections at Belmarsh prison, where Julian Assange has been confined to a cell for 10 days now. These conditions are clearly a threat to his own health and safety. His release is not only necessary, it is urgent #FreeAssange

— Index on Censorship (@IndexCensorship) November 27, 2020

Day 10 that Julian Assange has been confined to his cell 24/7 with Covid infections dangerously on the rise in his prison block.

It’s well past time to #FreeAssange. If anything happens to him in Belmarsh prison, it will be the UK’s legal and moral responsibility. Shame on us.

— Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) November 27, 2020

This is worrying. #JulianAssange should be released and given immediate medical attention. #COVID19

— ECPMF (@ECPMF) November 26, 2020

#Covid19 infection rates have soared to 25% among inmates at Belmarsh prison where @Wikileaks founder #JulianAssange is being held, putting his already delicate health at further risk. His prison conditions are inhumane and a human rights violation! 👇

— IFJ (@IFJGlobal) November 27, 2020

Tulsi Gabbard urges Trump to grant clemency to Assange, Snowden

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has called on President Trump to pardon National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange before the president leaves office on Jan. 20, according to a report.

“Since you’re giving pardons to people, please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state,” Gabbard tweeted, tagging President Trump.

.@realDonaldTrump Since you’re giving pardons to people, please consider pardoning those who, at great personal sacrifice, exposed the deception and criminality of those in the deep state.

— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) November 26, 2020

26 November 2020

Julian Assange confined to his cell 24/7, misses administrative hearing

Due to the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak at Belmarsh, Julian Assange has stayed in his cell for protection and did not appear before judge Ikram. The hearing was therefore adjourned until 11 December.

The judge asked defence counsel Fitzgerald if Assange was refusing to attend, or prohibited by a lockdown on the wing. Fitzgerald answered that while he was not forbidden from moving to the video link room in his block, it was unwise as he is at high-risk from COVID. /2

— Austin Cooper (@AustinPatrickC) November 26, 2020

Belmarsh #Covid outbreak: Day 9 of Julian being confined to cell 24/7, except for 20 min outside on Monday.

As of 2 days ago, 56 people on Julian’s house block tested positive for Covid including staff. His house block holds 168 prisoners. Several have been taken to hospital.

— Stella Moris (@StellaMoris1) November 26, 2020

RSF calls for Julian Assange’s urgent release as Covid infections rise at Belmarsh Prison

Reporters Without Borders calls for the urgent release of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange as an alarming increase of Covid infections has been reported at Belmarsh prison. Assange has been held in his cell 24 hours a day since 18 November and missed his callover hearing scheduled for 26 November.

RSF attempted to monitor the callover hearing scheduled for 26 November at Westminster Magistrates’ Court; however the hearing was adjourned until 11 December as Assange’s lawyers reported that due to the rapid increase of Covid infections in Belmarsh prison, it was not safe for him to be taken to the video conference room to appear before the court – a concern that had also prevented Assange from attending hearings during lockdown earlier in the year.

“We are alarmed by reports of a rapid increase in Covid infections at Belmarsh prison, resulting in Julian Assange being held in de facto solitary confinement. His physical and mental health history leaves him highly vulnerable, and it is clearly unsafe for him to be detained in these conditions. We continue to call for Assange’s unconditional release, but this situation adds urgency to the need for his humanitarian release without further delay”, said Rebecca Vincent, RSF’s Director of International Campaigns.

Julian Assange’s partner Stella Moris appeals to US President Donald Trump to pardon him

Stella Moris used Thanksgiving Day to issue a plea to the president after he pardoned ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Ms Moris made a personal plea to Mr Trump through Twitter, saying it was the only channel he seems to value.

Including a picture of her and Mr Assange’s two children, she tweeted: “These are Julian’s sons Max and Gabriel. They need their father. Our family needs to be whole again. I beg you, please bring him home for Christmas.”

These are Julian’s sons Max and Gabriel. They need their father. Our family needs to be whole again.

I beg you, please bring him home for Christmas @realDonaldTrump.#PardonAssange#FreeAssangeNOW

— Stella Moris (@StellaMoris1) November 26, 2020

23 November 2020

Update on the Covid-19 outbreak in Belmarsh prison

49 prisoners and 15 staff have reportedly tested positive for Covid-19 after all prisoners on the house block, where Julian Assange is detained, were tested last week.

Update – Belmarsh COVID outbreak

Julian’s been told that 49 prisoners and 15 staff on his house block (or wing) have tested positive for COVID after all prisoners on the house block were tested last week. (Thread)

— Stella Moris (@StellaMoris1) November 23, 2020

22 November 2020

Doctors for Assange repeat their call to end psychological torture & medical neglect of Julian Assange

Doctors for Assange issues a statement repeating their call for Julian Assange’s freedom from imprisonment and extradition over publishing activity.

“Sunday 22nd November 2020 marked 12 months since doctors from around the world wrote to the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, calling for an immediate end to the torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange.

Since that time, Doctors for Assange has repeatedly cautioned that the documented abuse of Mr Assange’s human rights, including his detention in London’s Belmarsh prison, is deleterious to his health and survival.

Now, one year on, the torture and medical neglect of Mr Assange not only continues unabated but has intensified.”

“Doctors for Assange joins the world’s leading human rights and press freedom authorities in calling for Julian Assange’s freedom from imprisonment and extradition over publishing activity. At a minimum, Julian Assange must be urgently released to home detention for medical reasons, consistent with his human right to life and health, and in line with the inviolable medical obligation to do no harm.”

Time for Scott Morrison to request Biden to free Julian Assange

With the Democrat Joe Biden set to take over as the next US president, it is high time for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to make contact with him and discuss the matter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange if Canberra is, as it claims, serious about providing assistance to the man and helping him go free, writes Sam Varghese for ITWire.

“Until now, Australia has done the bare minimum to help Assange because it did not want to annoy its American protector. But Barack Obama, while president, had decided that he could not sue Assange without also suing some of the world’s major newspapers, and hence abandoned the idea. Biden was Obama’s vice-president at the time.”

“Whenever Australian authorities have been asked about Assange, their stock response has been that he is being provided the same consular assistance as any other citizen would be. Now, given the circumstances, it is time for Canberra to stir itself and push for saving his life.

He has done nothing more than any journalist would and no journalist has been imprisoned in Australia for publishing stories based on leaked information. The same applies in the US.”

21 November 2020

Panel: Free Press = Free Assange

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, former National Lawyers Guild president Marjorie Cohn, and Consortium News Editor-in-Chief Joe Lauria discuss the US extradition trial of Julian Assange; the 18 charges the US has construed; and how the case impacts the 99 percent.

19 November 2020

The real threat to democracy isn’t Julian Assange — it’s the espionage case against him

“Assange is currently facing extradition to the United States from London, for allegedly violating the U.S. Espionage Act — marking the first time the act has been used to prosecute the publishing of information. If the extradition is successful, he’ll face trial in a Virginia “espionage court” that has never once absolved a national security defendant.  Allowing the Virginia court to try (and most likely convict) him would be a disaster for democracy — something even Obama’s Justice Department believed in 2013, when they determined that indicting Assange would mean having to prosecute any news organization or writer who publishes classified material.”

“To continue persecuting Julian is to persecute journalism. If Democrats keep squelching their own best ideas, fascism may take over — but without journalism, without a free press, democracy fails for sure.”

18 November 2020

Julian Assange has been placed into lockdown after an outbreak of Covid-19 in Belmarsh

The prison block in which Julian Assange is being detained under extradition proceedings has been locked down following an outbreak of coronavirus.

His partner Stella Moris, the mother of their two young children, said: “Keeping Julian in the UK’s harshest prison, exposed to a deadly virus and away from his family is not only cruel, it offends British values and democracy itself.

“He is a political prisoner being held on behalf of a foreign nation, whose war crimes he exposed.

“I am extremely worried about Julian. Julian’s doctors say that he is vulnerable to the effects of the virus.”

Very concerned about Julian Assange as he’s now locked in his cell with Covid infections on the rise at Belmarsh prison. His serious underlying physical and mental health issues leave him highly vulnerable. He should be immediately released.#FreeAssange

— Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) November 19, 2020

17 November 2020

Peter Whish-Wilson: Powerful figures and organisations making an example of Julian Assange

“The fact that President Trump and other powerful figures such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, openly deny and defy an obvious democratic election result and use their office to further their advantage and political agendas, is no surprise to anyone who has been watching the extradition trial of Australian journalist and citizen Julian Assange.

Assange is being held without charge in the UK’s most notorious maximum-security prison, awaiting potential extradition to the exact country whose criminal behaviour, war crimes and gross human rights violations he helped expose.

This trial is the most egregious possible abuse of power and the legal process.”

13 November 2020

EFJ calls on all journalists’ organisations to support Assange

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate in the UK, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), in condemning the detention of Julian Assange pending his extradition proceedings. We call on journalists’ organisations in Europe to support the NUJ’s DEA campaign to draw to broad attention concern about the implications of this lawsuit for free speech.

The EFJ joins the NUJ in further condemning the attempted use of the US Espionage Act to prosecute Assange for his work exposing the war crimes committed by US service personnel in the Iraq and Afghan war logs. The Espionage Act has also been used in the past to jail trade unionists and criminalise the activities of those who wish to report on the incompetence, corruption and illegality of the powerful.

12 November 2020

Unite statement on Julian Assange: Unite welcomes NUJ condemnation of Julian Assange detention 

Unite welcomes the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) condemnation of the detention of Julian Assange pending his extradition proceedings. We applaud the NUJ’s campaign to draw to broad attention concern about the implications of this for free speech.

Unite believes that the use of these judicial measures by the US constitutes a grave threat to free speech and a free press and that this attempted prosecution is without precedent in US law.

Unite calls on all trade unions and civil society to support this campaign and to oppose the persecution of Julian Assange.

10 November 2020

NUJ calls on all unions to campaign against Assange’s extradition

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has written to every trade union in Britain to call on them to campaign against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States.

In the letter dated November 6 and addressed to the general secretaries in Britain, NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet highlighted the danger to a free press that would be triggered if Mr Assange is extradited.

“(…) the charges themselves seek to criminalise activity that for many NUJ members is their daily work: cultivating sources who are willing to share sensitive information that reveals incompetence, corruption and illegality.

“It is vital that we build a campaign to oppose Mr Assange’s extradition and prosecution that is located in the mainstream of progressive concerns, and only trades unions have the reach to achieve this.”

9 November 2020

Assange Legal Team Submits Closing Argument Against Extradition To United States

Kevin Gosztola gives an overview of the closing argument submitted by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team to a British magistrates’ court.

They argue, “It is politically motivated, it is an abuse of the process of this court, and it is a clear violation of the Anglo-U.S. treaty that governs this extradition.”

The closing argument relies on evidence presented by witnesses, who testified during a trial in September, and details how President Barack Obama’s administration declined to prosecute Assange. President Donald Trump’s administration reversed this “principled” position because of the nature of Assange’s “disclosures to the world and the nature of his political opinions, which inevitably attracted the hostility of the Trump administration and the CIA.”

Australian Senate passes Julian Assange motion submitted by Senator Peter Whish-Wilson

The Australian Senate passed the Greens motion which notes the extraordinary factual circumstances and irregularities surrounding the recent extradition trial of Australian citizen and award winning journalist Julian Assange

It is significant that the Australian Senate passed this #JulianAssange motion Only Gov Senators and @JacquiLambie voted against it. Thanks to @AustralianLabor for their support. This is something to continue building on within the Australian Parliament to bring #Assange home.

— Peter Whish-Wilson (@SenatorSurfer) November 9, 2020

7 November 2020

Calls to the new US president-elect Joe Biden to drop the charges against Julian Assange

Following the news that Democratic candidate Joe Biden is elected new president of the US, a number of politicians, media representatives, press freedom organizations and advocates has called for charges against Julian Assange to be dropped.

We call on the new #US🇺🇸 president @JoeBiden to drop the US extradition of #JulianAssange. The new government must stop harassing journalists and prosecuting those who expose war crimes and corruption #FreeAssange #JournalismIsNotACrime

— IFJ (@IFJGlobal) November 9, 2020

.@JoeBiden an early test of your presidency – and your commitment to press freedom – will be how you handle the case against @wikileaks publisher Julian Assange. Drop the charges against him and bring the extradition proceedings to a halt.

— Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) November 7, 2020

Looking to President-elect Biden to commit to dropping the US extradition of #JulianAssange. Journalism is not a crime. #NoUSExtradition #politas #auspol

— Andrew Wilkie MP (@WilkieMP) November 9, 2020

Order the Justice Department to withdraw its extradition request for Julian Assange.

— Jeffrey St. Clair (@JSCCounterPunch) November 8, 2020

4 November 2020

Prison watchdog investigates death of Julian Assange friend in Belmarsh

The prisons and probation ombudsman confirmed that an investigation was under way into the death of  Manoel Santos, a Brazilian who was reportedly a friend of Julian Assange and was being held on the same wing as the WikiLeaks founder in Belmarsh prison in south-east London.

A spokesperson for the immigration detention organisation Bail for Immigration Detainees, said: “We were heartbroken to hear that our client Mr Santos died on Monday. We are told that he may have taken his own life, although this has not been confirmed. We had recently received his written instructions that we should apply for bail for him and his application was due to be prepared. Like many of our clients, Mr Santos was detained under immigration powers in prison, a cruel and unnecessary practice that we have long opposed. Many of our clients held in prisons have pre-existing mental health conditions which make such treatment particularly problematic. We will continue to oppose in every possible way the UK’s automatic deportation regime and the use of prisons for immigration detention.”

Spoke to Julian. A friend of his killed himself in the early hours of this morning. His body is still in the cell on Julian’s wing. Julian is devastated.

Manoel Santos was gay. He’d lived in UK for 20 years. The Home Office served him with a deportation notice to Brazil.(Thread)

— Stella Moris (@StellaMoris1) November 2, 2020

3 November 2020

Panel: Julian Assange, democracy, the media and the US election

Discussion on Assange’s ongoing legal battle, implications for press freedom, what UK can do to stop his extradition, how US election could affect the outcome

Speakers: John Rees from the Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign, trade unionist and a member of the National Executive Committee of UCU Dr Deepa Driver, and Canary regular contributor John McEvoy.

Chaired by: The Canary‘s editor-at-large Kerry-Anne Mendoza

30 October 2020

Ryerson’s Centre for Free Expression: Freedom of expression experts weigh in on Julian Assange

“October marked the 10th anniversary of WikiLeaks’ release of the Iraq War logs, which, along with the Afghanistan documents released just before, revealed at least 15,000 unreported civilian casualties, war crimes including the killing of journalists that were labelled as “enemy killed in action” and other human rights abuses that were hidden from U.S. citizens.

Now, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is currently being held in a maximum security prison in London, awaiting the judge’s verdict on whether he will be extradited to the U.S. on one charge of computer hacking and 17 counts under the Espionage Act, external link including obtaining and disclosing national defence material pertaining to the Afghan and Iraq wars.

This trial is considered, among freedom of expression experts, to be a major assault on the freedom of the press and could set a dangerous precedent for publishers around the world.”

29 October 2020

Administrative Hearing

Julian Assange’s US Extradition Administrative Hearing took place Thursday at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. NGO observers have not been permitted access to the remote phone line and six of them have been allowed to the court room, as reported by RSF’s Rebecca Vincent.

Next Administrative Hearing is scheduled for November 26 2020.

Statement from @rebecca_vincent (@RSF_inter) at today’s administrative hearing, #London: ‘We continue to call for #Assange‘s release, for the charges against him to be dropped and not to be extradited to #US.’#FreeAssange #journalismmatters #PressFreedom

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) October 29, 2020

Proceedings lasted about 2 minutes, and were adjourned until 26 Nov. Oddly, Baraitser did not appear, but was replaced by Judge Ikram. Fitzgerald appeared in person for the defence and Joel Smith for the prosecution. Assange appeared via video link only to state his name & DOB.

— Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) October 29, 2020

28 October 2020

The Trial of Julian Assange Should Terrify Everyone | Matt Kennard

“The most powerful country in the world is exerting the right to put any foreign citizen in prison for life for publishing information it doesn’t like”

27 October 2020

Yanis Varoufakis testifies against private company hired to spy on Assange

The fight for justice for Julian Assange took place in the Greek courts today, where Yanis Varoufakis testified against the private company that was hired to spy on Assange while he resided in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

BREAKING@yanisvaroufakis‘ statement after testifying against the company that spied on #Assange.

@mera25_gr, @DiEM_25 & the @ProgIntl are going to do whatever it takes to turn the tables on those who are killing Assange in Britain’s Guantanamo Bay.”#FreeAssange#AssangeCase

— DiEM25 (@DiEM_25) October 27, 2020

10 Years After Iraq War Logs, It’s Impunity for War Criminals, War on Whistleblowers

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning have both paid a tremendous price for revealing U.S. and allied war crimes while the planners and perpetrators face no consequences.

None of the Bush or Obama administration officials who planned or executed the illegal war, nor any of the field commanders or even rank-and-file troops connected with any of the crimes revealed in the logs, were ever seriously punished.

The whistleblowers, on the other hand, suffered tremendously for exposing the truth. Both Manning and Assange were charged under the 1917 Espionage Act.

25 October 2020

Chris Williamson: The Guardian must change its treacherous course on Assange

Of all the mainstream media, it is the institution priding itself on its liberal values and progressive heritage that has carried the worst betrayal against the whistleblower of the century. It must listen to our protests now — before it is too late

“Assange’s treatment by the corporate media, even by their incredibly low standards, has plumbed new depths.

They have perpetuated the fabrications about Assange, and their failure to accurately report on his show trial and torture, on British soil, has been truly breathtaking.

But it is the Guardian that deserves most opprobrium, because it used and then abused its relationship with Assange for its own material gain.

It cashed in on the explosive revelations Assange provided to them — and then threw him under the bus.”

22 October 2020

Kevin Gosztola: Ten Years After WikiLeaks Published Iraq War Logs And Revealed ‘Small Change Of War’

“The Iraq War Logs published by WikiLeaks revealed 15,000 civilian deaths that were previously unknown. They also exposed torture that the United States military instructed officers to ignore.”

“Ten years after their release, Assange is in Belmarsh prison in London and faces an extradition request from the U.S. government on charges that he violated the Espionage Act when he engaged in journalism.

Iraq Body Count estimated the reports described 23,000 violent incidents in which Iraqi civilians were killed or bodies were found that were previously unknown. “The majority of these new deaths came from small incidents of one to three deaths”—the very kinds of incidents that attract that least amount of media coverage.”

Panel: Ten Years Since The Iraq War Logs

22 October marks 10 years since WikiLeaks published the Iraq War Logs. The Resistance Movement commemorated the 10 year anniversary with an online panel.

Chris Williamson, Former MP
Kristinn Hrafnsson, Editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks
Dr Deepa Driver, Trade Unionist, Academic

21 October 2020

Justin Amash joins bipartisan call to drop charges against Julian Assange & Edward Snowden

Rep. Justin Amash threw his support Wednesday behind congressional resolutions calling for the U.S. government to abandon its cases against wanted leakers Edward J. Snowden and Julian Assange.

Mr. Amash, Michigan Libertarian, announced on Twitter that he signed on to become a co-sponsor of separate, similar resolutions urging the government to drop the charges facing the two secret-spillers.

Both resolutions were introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii Democrat, and had already gained slight bipartisan support before Mr. Amash — the only registered Libertarian in Congress — joined in.

20 October 2020

Julian Assange case ‘politicised’, says his lawyer Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer Robinson speaks to Al Jazeera about the case and what the future may hold for Assange, who is in poor health.

“During Assange’s confinement in the high-security Belmarsh prison in London, he was strip-searched whenever he arrived at court. He was driven back and forth from Old Bailey court at the back of the prison van. After a day in court, he would be driven “home” to Belmarsh and then strip-searched again. During the trial, he would spend his days between the cells downstairs in the court building and the courtroom upstairs.

He still spends 23 hours a day in his cell. Although he has not formally been placed in solitary confinement, the conditions of his detention effectively amount to solitary confinement.”

“It is completely unprecedented for the receiving state to issue a superseding indictment so late in a trial. It meant that we absolutely did not have enough time to prepare witnesses – we sought to present evidence on the new charges but the court refused to hear the evidence.

We have long had concerns about the politicisation of the process in the United States. We have serious concerns about the way the US has behaved so far in the trial, particularly by bringing new accusations. It indicates that Assange will not get a fair trial should he be extradited.”

16 October 2020

Panel: The trail of Julian Assange Online discussion hosted by Miko Peled, featuring Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, journalist John Pilger and former intelligence analyst Ray McGovern.

The US Should Indict American War Criminals, Not Julian Assange

“The US is attempting to imprison one of its critics, Julian Assange, by claiming a global right to prosecute any journalist in the world. If that prosecution succeeds, it would be a severe blow not just to press freedom, but to our very right to oppose imperialism and empire.”


“Assange’s extradition comes as part of a heightened war on those who expose the human rights abuses of the US national security state. Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo, the whistleblowers who gave the Pentagon Papers to the media, were the first people ever indicted under the Espionage Act for “leaking” information to the media. With a few exceptions, this particular use of the Espionage Act largely remained dormant — until the Obama administration. Obama normalized the once-rare practice and made the Espionage Act the go-to weapon against national security whistleblowers. The Trump administration has been more than happy to escalate this war on whistleblowers and has now indicted a journalist.”

Spanish court to question witnesses over ‘illegal surveillance’ of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

A Spanish court investigating allegations that a security company illegally spied on visitors to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London will hear evidence from lawyers and a computer security specialist.

Andy Müller-Maguhn, a computer security expert and former spokesman for hacking organisation the Chaos Computer Club, is due to give evidence by video-link on 26 October as part of an investigation into illegal surveillance at the embassy.

The court will also question lawyer Renata Ávila from Guatemala and Juan Branco, a French lawyer, on 26 and 27 October. They are two of at least 15 lawyers who are said to have assisted Assange.

Stella Moris on the conditions of Julian Assange’s imprisonment

I spoke to Julian just now. For the past week his section of the prison has had no heating. Julian is trying to insulate his cell by boarding up the opaque ‘window’ (which has bars) with books people have sent in as gifts. But it’s cold and he’s cold.

— Stella Moris (@StellaMoris1) October 16, 2020

15 October 2020

Stefania Maurizi: “This is an unbelievable failure of journalism”

“We need whistleblowers, but we also need organisations like WikiLeaks to publish information. You might have the best whistleblower, the most explosive, secret documents but if you don’t have the guts to make it public, it’s worthless. People say, ‘Well we like Chelsea Manning, she had the courage but WikiLeaks were just a passive recipient’. That’s completely false. If you’ve ever been a journalist you know what it means to publish something that someone very powerful wants to stop. You know what it means to be afraid for your life and your freedom. You have to have extremely courageous journalists and publishers who will say, ‘I will publish no matter what’. This is what impressed me from the very beginning. I have been a journalist for the last 19 years and I have never heard anyone say “no” to the Pentagon.”

Kathy Lette: I knew Assange was autistic – it explains why people read him unfairly

As revealed in court, Assange has recently received an official diagnosis of autism. It wasn’t news to me. I’ve been convinced Julian’s on the spectrum from the moment we first met (…) Like all parents living with the condition, I’ve developed an astute radar for the symptoms.

A diagnosis of autism is not a “get out of jail free” card, but it could help explain why people so often misread Julian’s single-minded absorption as “narcissism” and why he has alienated allies so easily in the past.

12 October 2020

Fidel Narváez: Julian Assange faces the ‘trial of the century’: 10 reasons why it threatens freedom of speech

At the end of the hearings that seek to extradite journalist Julian Assange to the United States, on October 1, his defense team should have felt triumphant. Because with more than 30 witnesses and testimonies, throughout the whole month of September, they gave a beating to the prosecution representing the U.S.

If the case in London were decided solely on justice, as it should in a state based on law, this battle would have been won by Assange.

In this extensive summary, allow me to explain 10 reasons that I identified as important factors against the extradition.

1. The accusation is for a “political crime,” which is not subject to extradition. Publishing classified, and truthful, information is not a crime.
2. There was never a reckless disclosure of names. No one has been hurt due to WikiLeaks publications.
3. WikiLeaks’ publications are truthful information that is historically relevant.
4. WikiLeaks was not the first to publish the diplomatic cables without redaction, but only Julian Assange is being persecuted.
5. Assange never helped Chelsea Manning access national security information
6. Assange would not have a fair trial in the U.S. “Spy Court”
7. Assange would face inhumane conditions in the U.S.
8. Assange faces a high risk of suicide in the U.S.
9. Assange and his lawyers were illegally spied on by the U.S., which makes a fair trial impossible
10. Ecuador illegally gave the U.S. confidential materials about Assange, including documents about his legal defense

11 October 2020

Marjorie Cohn: Assange Faces Extradition for Exposing U.S. War Crimes

Three weeks of testimony in Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London underscored WikiLeaks’s extraordinary revelation of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. But the Trump administration is seeking to extradite Assange to the United States to stand trial for charges under the Espionage Act that could cause him to spend 175 years in prison.

Like the heroic whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who helped end the Vietnam War by leaking the Pentagon Papers in 1971, Assange is the target of the U.S. government’s wrath for revealing evidence of war crimes by the United States. “I observe the closest of similarities to the position I faced, where the exposure of illegality and criminal acts institutionally and by individuals was intended to be crushed by the administration carrying out those illegalities,” Ellsberg, who was also prosecuted under the Espionage Act, noted in his written testimony.

Although the U.S. government claims that Assange endangered informants named in the published documents, John Goetz, an investigative reporter who worked for Germany’s Der Spiegel, testified that Assange took pains to ensure that the names of U.S. informants in Iraq and Afghanistan were redacted to protect their identities. WikiLeaks, Goetz testified, went through a “very rigorous redaction process”, and Assange repeatedly reminded his media partners to use encryption. In fact, Goetz said, Assange tried to stop Der Freitag from publishing material that could result in the release of unredacted information.

9 October 2020

RSF: Julian Assange’s extradition hearing marred by barriers to open justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls again for his release. Expert testimony highlighted the political nature of the case against Assange, the US government’s lack of evidence for alleged harm caused, and urgent humanitarian concerns related to Assange’s physical and mental health. RSF also documented extensive barriers to open justice, which marred proceedings. The extradition decision is expected on 4 January 2021.

“We are alarmed by what we have witnessed in the US extradition case against Julian Assange. We firmly believe Assange has been targeted for his contributions to journalism, and the case against him is clearly a political application of the Espionage Act – which should present a bar to extradition. We also have serious humanitarian concerns, which make Assange’s extradition a possible matter of life or death. Finally, we have concerns about extensive barriers to open justice, which made it nearly impossible for us to do our jobs as NGO observers and monitor proceedings. We call again for the charges against Assange to be dropped, and for him to be immediately released – and certainly not extradited to the US,” said RSF’s Director of International Campaigns, Rebecca Vincent.

Stefania Maurizi and Richard Medhurst discuss the Assange hearing

Richard Medhurst interviews investigative journalist Stefania Maurizi about her work with Wikileaks, the Julian Assange extradition hearing, and how the UK is attempting to block foreign journalists from using the Freedom of Information Act.

Lauri Love on Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearings

Taylor Hudak’s exclusive interview with Lauri Love about Julian Assange’s extradition hearings. Love’s perspective is rare and unique. In 2018, Love successfully fought extradition from the UK to the US.

8 October 2020

Kafka on steroids: summarising the extradition hearing of Julian Assange

If a precedent is set that allows the United States to assert its laws (but none of its legal protections) over non-citizens publishing outside the United States, press freedom and national-security journalism will never be the same again.

What also hangs in the balance is Julian Assange’s life. Will he walk free into the arms of his partner, family and friends? Or will his life end in Belmarsh prison in the United Kingdom, where a second wave of COVID-19 threatens prisoners and staff alike, or in ADX Florence, the cruellest of US supermax prisons, the architecture of which was designed to isolate and destroy human beings, as described in chilling detail in the testimony of a former prison warden and several lawyers who visit prisoners there.

The four-week evidentiary hearing finally set the historical record straight, with so many elements of the story now officially on the record. Here is what the court heard:

  • The prosecution of Assange and WikiLeaks is political
  • The conduct of US government agencies in surveilling Assange’s meetings with lawyers, and the seizure of legally privileged material from the embassy by the FBI is illegal
  • The health of Assange is gravely compromised and would be broken in the US system under Special Administrative Measures (SAMS)
  • Assange and WikiLeaks engaged in journalistic activity, including meticulous redaction processes
  • No harm was done by WikiLeaks, but enormous harm was revealed
  • Computer forensic evidence was among the most significant in demolishing the hacking allegations

7 October 2020

EFF: The Selective Prosecution of Julian Assange

As the extradition hearing for Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange unfolds, it is increasingly clear that the prosecution of Assange fits into a pattern of governments selectively enforcing laws in order to punish those who provoke their ire. As we see in Assange’s case and in many others before this, computer crime laws are especially ripe for this form of politicization.

The conspiracy charge is rooted in a chat conversation in which Manning and Assange discussed the possibility of cracking a password. Forensic evidence and expert testimony make it clear that not only did Assange not crack this password, but that Manning only ever provided Assange with a piece of a password hash – from which it would have been impossible to derive the original password.

Furthermore, recent testimony by Patrick Eller, a digital forensics examiner, raises questions about whether the alleged password cracking attempt had anything to do with leaking documents at all, especially since the conversation took place after Manning had already leaked the majority of the files she sent to Wikileaks.

6 October 2020

Charles Glass: The unprecedented and illegal campaign to eliminate Julian Assange

Over the 17 days of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London, prosecutors succeeded in proving both crimes and conspiracy. The culprit, however, was not Assange. Instead, the lawbreakers and conspirators turned out to be the British and American governments. Witness after witness detailed illegal measures to violate Assange’s right to a fair trial, destroy his health, assassinate his character, and imprison him in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. Witness after witness detailed illegal measures to violate Assange’s right to a fair trial, destroy his health, assassinate his character, and imprison him in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. Courtroom evidence exposed illegality on an unprecedented scale by America’s and Britain’s intelligence, military, police, and judicial agencies to eliminate Assange.

Court to rule on UK freedom of information bids from overseas

The rights of those living abroad to submit freedom of information requests are to be tested in court after more than a dozen cases – including one relating to Julian Assange’s extradition – were blocked.
A combined hearing involving the Home Office, Metropolitan police, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and 13 separate cases is to be held at an information tribunal in London.

At issue is whether applicants overseas are entitled to a response when submitting freedom of information requests to UK government departments and agencies.

It is not clear who triggered the “stay” imposed on the 13 requests. The ICO has declined to comment. No date has been set for the case.

One of the blocked cases is an appeal by the Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi, who works for daily newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano and writes about WikiLeaks.

She has been pursuing information about how the Crown Prosecution Service dealt with its Swedish counterpart during initial attempts to extradite Assange to Sweden.

Barristers Jennifer Robinson, who represents Assange, and Estelle Dehon, who specialises in freedom of information, are representing Maurizi.

They have asked the tribunal to lift the stay and allow their appeals for the release of further information to proceed.

5 October 2020

Patrick Cockburn: The Assange extradition case is an unprecedented attack on press freedom – so why’s the media largely ignoring it?

The silence of journalists in Britain and the US over the extradition proceedings against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is making them complicit in the criminalisation of newsgathering by the American government.

In an Old Bailey courtroom in London over the past four weeks, lawyers for the US government have sought the extradition of Assange to the US to face 17 charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 and one charge of computer misuse. At the heart of their case is the accusation that in leaking a trove of classified US diplomatic and military cables in 2010, Assange and WikiLeaks endanger the lives of US agents and informants.

One of the many peculiarities in this strange case is that the evidence for any such thing is non-existent. The Pentagon has admitted that it failed to find a single person covertly working for the US who had been killed as a result of the WikiLeaks disclosures.

Other allegations against Assange put forward by the lawyers for the US government are similarly flimsy or demonstrably false, yet he is still in real danger of being sent to a maximum security prison in the US after the court makes its ruling on 4 January. Once there he faces a sentence of up to 175 years and, whatever the length of his incarceration, he is likely to spend it in solitary confinement in a tiny cell.

The Assange case creates a precedent that mortally threatens freedom of the press in Britain. If Assange is extradited then any journalist who publishes information that the American authorities deem to be classified, however well-known or harmless it may be, will risk being extradited to face trial in America. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, says that non-Americans like Assange do not enjoy First Amendment rights to free expression.

“It Should Put all Australians on Notice”: Andrew Wilkie on the Unjust Assange Extradition Trial

Sydney Criminal Lawyers Paul Gregoire spoke to Independent Member for Clark Andrew Wilkie about the treatment Julian has had to bear during his time in Belmarsh Prison, why the prime minister is shirking his responsibilities on this matter, and how Morrison could quite probably save Assange from the injustices he’s now facing.

“It’s a very curious decision by the judge to delay it until after the election result. That would seem to be at odds with my understanding of the law: that it should run its course regardless of politics.

The fact that the judge has made that decision highlights how intensely political this whole matter is: that it’s not about justice being served, it’s about politicians wanting a political outcome.”

“A lot of people are very concerned about this claim to extraterritoriality. That’s basically what’s going on here. The US is claiming that it has jurisdiction globally, which, of course, it doesn’t.
This is a remarkable turn of events, and it will be a chilling precedent if Assange is extradited.

It should be especially chilling for journalists. If this precedent is set, does that mean if an Australian journalist writing in Australia offends the Saudi or the Chinese or the Russian regime, and the government wants to maintain good relations with that country, that it hands over our citizens?

Well, of course, it shouldn’t, but this Assange matter really does risk establishing that precedent.”

Petition to US Congress: Drop the charges against Julian Assange!

Assange Defense group calls US citiznes to sign a petition urging their representatives to join this effort and condemn the attack on our civil liberties.

“We can defend the free press and Julian Assange, but we need your representatives to stand up and do the right thing. Sign our petition and let your representative know how crucial it is that the United States drop its charges against Julian!”

Sign the petition here

4 October 2020

Daniel Ellsberg blows the whistle on the America’s dark side

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg reveals to Cornel West and Tricia Rose what he said in his testimony during the Julian Assange extradition hearing and sheds light on America’s dark side – then and now.

3 October 2020

Craig Murray discusses Julian Assange’s extradition hearing

Chris Hedges discusses Craig Murray, a former British Ambassador, the hearing underway in London to extradite Julian Assange. Murray’s exhaustive reporting, has become one of the few sources of reliable information about a hearing that has become notoriously difficult to cover because of court restrictions imposed on the press, and is being ignored by most mainstream news organizations.

Panel: Julian Assange’s Extradition Trial and the War on Journalism

Journalists from independent or alternative media, who were credentialed by the court, came together to highlight crucial developments during the extradition trial. They outlined some of the most effective testimony and also discussed some of the obstacles, which Assange’s legal team faced in convincing a judge to reject the United States government’s extradition request.

Panelists: Mohamed Elmaazi, Tareq Haddad, Mary Kostakidis, Taylor Hudak, Richard Medhurst, Joe Lauria and Cathy Vogan

Moderated by: Kevin Gosztola & Juan Passarelli

2 October 2020

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard & Thomas Massie introduce bipartisan Resolution defending the free press & call for charges against Julian Assange to be dropped

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Thomas Massie introduced H.Res.1175, a resolution that defends the freedom of the press, noting that newsgathering activities and news organizations ability to acquire and publish information are protected under the First Amendment. The resolution calls for the United States to drop all charges and efforts to extradite Julian Assange.

“Freedom of the press is a vital function of a free democracy in which the government is accountable to the people. Julian Assange published information that exposed lies and abuses of power at the highest levels of our government. His indictment under the Espionage Act sends a chilling message to every member of the media and all Americans. U.S. government prosecutors now claim that any journalist or news organization that publishes classified material is liable to prosecution under the Espionage Act — which would have led to the indictment of the Washington Post for the publication of the Pentagon Papers. The Federal government’s prosecution of Julian Assange sets a dangerous precedent.  All extradition efforts and charges under the Espionage Act against Julian Assange must be dropped now.” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Interview with John Pilger, an eyewitness to the agony of Julian Assange

“The prevailing atmosphere has been shocking. I say that without hesitation; I have sat in many courts and seldom known such a corruption of due process; this is due revenge. Putting aside the ritual associated with ‘British justice’, at times it has been evocative of a Stalinist show trial.”

I strongly expect the final decision was made in this case even before opening arguments were received.

The plan of the US Government throughout has been to limit the information available to the public and limit the effective access to a wider public of what information is available. Thus we have seen the extreme restrictions on both physical and video access. A complicit mainstream media has ensured those of us who know what is happening are very few in the wider population.

The ‘Assange effect’ is already being felt across the world. If they displease the regime in Washington, investigative journalists are liable to prosecution under the 1917 US Espionage Act; the precedent is stark. It doesn’t matter where you are. For Washington, other people’s nationality and sovereignty rarely mattered; now it does not exist. Britain has effectively surrendered its jurisdiction to Trump’s corrupt Department of Justice. In Australia, a National Security Information Act promises Kafkaesque trials for transgressors. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has been raided by police and journalists’ computers taken away. The government has given unprecedented powers to intelligence officials, making journalistic whistle-blowing almost impossible.”

IFJ: Unfettered reporting threatened – what Assange extradition hearings reveal

Statement from the International Federation of Journalists regarding the extradition hearing of Julian Assange:

“Whether or not you consider Assange a journalist, as some had agonised over, is rendered irrelevant. He is being prosecuted for activities that a great many journalists undertake every day of their working lives.

Assange’s case is groundbreaking – it is the first to be pursued this way against a publisher. Most disturbing of all, it would create a precedent that US administrations could deploy against journalists anywhere in the world if their stories relied upon information gleaned from classified documents.

The Belmarsh Tribunal: US war crimes in the 21st century — and Julian Assange’s right to reveal them

Progressive International gathered a planetary cast of activists, artists, thinkers, and political representatives to stand with Julian Assange in the fight for truth and justice against extradition to the United States.

The event takes its inspiration from the Russell-Sartre Tribunal of 1966, when representatives of 18 countries gathered to hold the United States accountable for their war crimes in Vietnam, in the absence of an international authority that dared to do so. The Belmarsh Tribunal puts the US government on trial for its crimes of the twenty first century — from atrocities in Iraq to torture at Guantánamo to the CIA‘s illegal surveillance program — and draws attention to the extradition case of Julian Assange.

Participating in this Tribunal are: Roger Waters, Lula Da Silva, Alicia Castro, Yanis Varoufakis, Jennifer Robinson, Rafael Correa, M.I.A., Pamela Anderson, Jeremy Corbyn, Slavoj Žižek, Angela Richter, John McDonnell and Srećko Horvat

1 October 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 18

Stella Moris: US is tearing our family apart

Julian Assange’s partner has accused the US of tearing their family apart, and described the bid to extradite him from the UK as “a frontal assault on journalism”, as four weeks of court hearings about his fate were adjourned.

Stella Moris said the two children she has with the cofounder of Wikileaks “need their father”. Assange will spend Christmas in prison contemplating a ruling in the new year on whether he should be extradited to face prosecution and a potential 175-year prison sentence.

“He is in prison because he informed you of actual crimes and atrocities being committed by a foreign power. That foreign power has ripped away his freedom and torn our family apart. That power wants to put him in incommunicado detention in the deepest darkest hole of its prison system for the rest of his life,” she said in a statement read outside the Old Bailey.

Julian Assange’s fiance Stella Moris @StellaMoris1 speaking on the final day of evidence in London extradition hearing:

“Julian is being punished for performing a public service that we have all benefited from” #Freepress #FreeAssange

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 1, 2020

Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) Rebecca Vinsent at the conclusion of Julian’s 4-week extradition hearing

Julian Assange’s Prosecution for Publishing Leaked Government Documents Is an Extremely Dangerous Precedent – An interview with Kevin Gosztola

“Julian Assange faces seventeen counts of allegedly violating the Espionage Act. This law has never in its history been directed against a journalist or a publisher. There have been cases threatened against press, there have been cases threatened against individual journalists, but the charges have never been filed.”

“It does target journalism. It targets the mere receiving of information. Just possessing information is a crime that Julian Assange is committing because, as it says in the charge, he was a person that was unauthorized to receive the information. He did not have a security clearance.”

“What’s likely to happen next is the judge will issue a ruling, and then depending on the outcome, the US government is going to appeal. Or Julian Assange’s team will appeal. So, it’s going to go through at least one or two higher level courts before it is over and done with. That will involve challenging the way the case was handled and managed by the judge. It won’t involve new evidence. It’ll be arguments over abuse of process. After that, if he runs out of avenues for appeal, then if he has lost, he’ll be brought to the United States.”

30 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 17

Anonymous witnesses detail U.S.-directed spying of Julian Assange in the Embassy

The defense read several witness statements aloud in court today, including two statements from anonymous former employees of UC Global, the Spanish security company led by David Morales which spied on Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The witness statements testify to the particular zeal Morales had in recording conversations between Assange and his lawyers as well as his contract with an American company to report the recordings back to American intelligence officials. Morales even discussed kidnapping or poisoning Assange.

Crumbling Case Against Assange Shows Weakness of “Hacking” Charges Related to Whistleblowing

New testimony from the third week of Assange’s extradition trial makes it increasingly clear that this hacking charge is incredibly flimsy. The alleged hacking not only didn’t happen, according to expert testimony at Manning’s court martial hearing in 2013 and again at Assange’s extradition trial last week, but it also couldn’t have happened.

The new testimony, reported earlier this week by investigative news site Shadowproof, also shows that Manning already had authorized access to, and the ability to exfiltrate, all of the documents that she was accused of leaking — without receiving any technical help from WikiLeaks.

Trump associate ordered huge surveillance of Assange inside embassy, court told

A former employee of a Spanish security firm has told Julian Assange’s extradition hearing of a plan to abduct and even poison the Australian as part of a widespread surveillance operation said to have been ordered by an associate of US President Donald Trump.

The court at the Old Bailey in London also heard claims the Spanish firm targeted Assange and his lawyers by bugging his living quarters inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, setting up secret cameras and even installing a listening device inside the female toilet where Assange would sometimes hold his meetings because he feared he was being spied on.

According to the testimony, which was made anonymously in affidavits, the United States organised for laser microphones capable of recording the sound of conversations to be installed inside the building, where the 49-year-old had lived since 2012.

The witness, one of two former employees of Undercover Global SL, also known as UC Global, claimed that the firm’s owner, David Morales, bugged Assange’s living quarters on behalf of his “American friends” – the CIA.

Shooting of unarmed civilians in Iraq ‘would have remained a secret but for Julian Assange’

In a statement to Assange’s extradition hearing at the Old Bailey, Patrick Cockburn, the Independent’s Middle East correspondent and a veteran war reporter, said he had reported on the July 2007 incident (released in 2010 by Wikileaks as ‘Colateral murder’) but could not confirm that the victims were actually unarmed civilians.

“I published a piece in The Independent about the killing of eleven people by a US helicopter in Baghdad two days earlier. The dead included two Iraqi journalists working for Reuters news agency but the US military claimed that their forces had come under fire, called for air support, and had killed two civilians and nine insurgents.

“The evidence was compelling, but in the face of official denials of wrongdoing by the US military authorities it was impossible to prove that all those who died were unarmed civilians.

“It was known that a film of the killing had been taken by the gun camera of the US Apache helicopter, but the Pentagon refused to give this up even under a Freedom of Information Act request.”

“Making such information public, as Assange and Wikileaks had done, weaponised freedom of expression.”

29 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 16

Julian Assange may end up at Colorado Supermax jail, U.K. court told

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would have to be “almost dying” to get out of arguably the most notorious prison in the United States if convicted of espionage charges and sent there, the court at London’s Old Bailey heard Tuesday.

Assange, who is fighting an extradition request from the U.S., would likely be sent to the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, if convicted, according to Maureen Baird, a former warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York.

Baird said Assange would likely face the most onerous prison conditions that the U.S. can impose, conditions that she has seen lead to an array of mental health issues, including anxiety and paranoia.

“From my experience, of close to three decades of working in federal prisons, I would agree that long term isolation can have serious negative effects on an inmate’s mental health,” she said.

She said Assange would likely be held under special administrative measures, or SAMs, if extradited to the U.S., both in pre-trial detention and after any conviction, because of national security concerns within the U.S. government.

Under these measures, which are at the discretion of the U.S. Attorney General and have been used on convicted terrorists, inmates spend almost the whole day confined in their cells with no contact with other prisoners and little contact with the outside world. She said there was little, if no, flexibility for wardens to tweak the restrictions.

Spanish judge seeks Sheldon Adelson security chief in Assange spying case

The Spanish judge presiding over the trial of a security firm owner apparently hired to spy on jailed Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange has sent a request to the US Department of Justice for an interview with Zohar Lahav, the Israeli-American vice president for executive protection at Las Vegas Sands.

According to court documents reviewed by The Grayzone, the judge seeks to probe Lahav’s relationship with disgraced UC Global CEO David Morales, who was indicted for an array of crimes after allegedly presiding over a spying operation targeting Assange while he was confined within Ecuador’s embassy in London.

The Grayzone has now learned that Lahav and Morales have been identified together in at least one US-allied South American country since the operation at the embassy ended. Further, a Spanish police document seen by this reporter placed Morales on Adelson’s Queen Miri luxury yacht in July 2019.

Private communications by Morales and testimony by his former employees strongly suggested that Adelson’s Sands was functioning as a front for the CIA.

28 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 15

Julian Assange faces ‘torturous’ months in parking space-sized cell if extradited to US, court hears

On Monday, the Old Bailey heard from witnesses with experience of the Alexandria Detention Centre in Virginia, Assange’s likely pre-trial destination if he was extradited.

The court heard that due to his high profile and his perceived national security risk, he could be placed in an administrative segregation (ad seg) unit.

On conditions in an “ad seg” unit, he said: “It’s a very small confined space with a steel door and a small window, a little slot where meals are pushed through.

“It’s a very small area – like a parking space.”

Sickler said there would be limited contact with other inmates, saying the suggestion they could communicate between cells was “ridiculous”.

He said: “You have to scream. There’s a lot of noise and a lot of screaming because from a mental health standpoint, people are angry and confused and there’s a lot of yelling.”

On the issue of sensory deprivation, he said: “First of all you have very limited social interaction with any others.

“You have little access to the outside world except from a rare few monitored phone calls and meeting with counsel.

The dissident Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei stages silent protest in support of Julian Assange

The dissident Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei staged a silent protest outside London’s Old Bailey court on Monday against the possible extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States where he is wanted on an array of espionage charges.

Dissident Chinese artist @aiww staged a silent protest in London against the possible extradition of @wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the US, where he is wanted for espionage charges.

— DW News (@dwnews) September 30, 2020

26 September 2020

Prosecutors’ password-cracking conspiracy theory against Assange unravels at extradition trial

Assange was charged with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” and accused of “agreeing” to assist Pfc. Chelsea Manning in “cracking a password.”

At the end of the third week of an extradition trial, allegations related to this were entirely discredited by Patrick Eller, who was a command digital forensic examiner responsible for a team of more than 80 examiners at U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command headquarters in Quantico, Virginia.

Eller analyzed court martial records in Manning’s case that contained Jabber chat logs relevant to the allegations. He considered testimony from the U.S. military’s own forensic expert that contradicted presumptions at the core of this charge against Assange.

Manning never provided the two files necessary to “reconstruct the decryption key” for the password hash, Eller testified. “At the time, it would not have been possible to crack an encrypted password hash, such as the one Manning obtained.”

Or put another way, Eller declared, “What Manning sent was insufficient to be able to crack the password in the way that the government [has] described.”

25 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 14

Assange extradition judge says no decision will be made until after US election

On Friday, Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Assange, asked for time to prepare his closing arguments in the case, following the close of evidence next week.

He said it would take a “dramatic” development such as Trump declaring “we will execute all journalists”, for him to reopen his case.

Fitzgerald told Judge Vanessa Baraitser: “Evidently it seems unlikely we will be able to get judgment before November 4 even if you were able to get our submissions.

“You have to bear in mind there is an election and the future is uncertain.”

On the timing of the decision, Judge Baraitser responded: “I agree with you, one way or another my decision is likely to go after the election in the US.”

She gave the defence four weeks to prepare written closing submissions, with the US Government a further two weeks.

24 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 13

Progressive International: “We demand the immediate release of Julian Assange”

“We, members of the Progressive International Council, support the freedom of Julian Assange against the unlawful and dangerous extradition trial currently set against him in London. Julian Assange has been a world-defining journalist, editor, and intellectual whose work has been crucial in promoting global justice. The prosecution by the United States of an Australian citizen for his journalistic activities done in sovereign countries in Europe is a gross violation of human rights and international law. More dangerously, it sets a legal precedent that means that any dissident from the foreign policy of the United States may be shipped to the United States to face life imprisonment or even the death penalty. The results of the case threaten free speech and national sovereignty across the world.”

23 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 12

‘Clear’ Julian Assange is on autistic spectrum, doctor tells court

Giving evidence on Wednesday, Dr Deeley, who also spoke to Assange’s parents during his assessment, said: “To my mind, it’s clear Mr Assange presents as a person with an autistic spectrum condition.

He described Assange as “an intelligent person” who shares the characteristics of “many high-functioning people on the autistic spectrum”, including engineers and computer scientists.

Dr Deeley said he has “difficulty discussing his own emotions”, with a “primary focus on his own thoughts and interests” and noted a “failure to initiate or sustain” conversations.

Doctor diagnosed Julian Assange with Asperger’s syndrome

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, while detained in the Belmarsh high-security prison in London. This likely increases Assange’s risk of suicide if confined in restrictive prison conditions in the United States, according to a psychiatrist who testified at his extradition trial.

Dr. Quinton Deeley, who works for the National Health Service (NHS), conducted an Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) test on Assange and produced a report. He interviewed Assange for six hours in July.

In the cases of Lauri Love and Gary McKinnon, the U.S. government was blocked from extraditing them because the United Kingdom High Court of Justice (Love) and the British Home Secretary (McKinnon) recognized their Asperger’s syndrome would result in degrading or inhuman treatment that violated human rights.

RSF’s #FreeAssange campaign targeted by spambot attack

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has become aware of an online attack on the #FreeAssange petition and other areas of the RSF website. No data has been compromised and RSF took immediate action to secure its petition tool. The heavy targeting of the #FreeAssange petition suggests a deliberate attempt to undermine the campaign, but RSF is more determined than ever to secure the release of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange and to stop his extradition to the United States.

Trevor Timm: The Next Bob Woodward Could Be Muzzled by the Assange Verdict

The U.K. extradition hearing for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now in its third week, but you would hardly realize it if you read only mainstream news outlets. Despite the fact that most of the major newspapers in the United States vehemently condemned the Trump administration’s charges against Assange as a threat to press freedom, there has been a worrying lack of coverage of the case.

Yet it also happens that the one person who so perfectly exemplifies the danger of the charges against Assange is someone who’s been the source of countless front-page stories for the past two weeks: America’s most famous reporter, Bob Woodward.

The Espionage Act charges against Assange can be broken down into three basic categories: “conspiring” with Chelsea Manning to obtain classified “national defense” documents by speaking with her while she was sending them and then allegedly implying he would like more, receiving those documents, and publishing a subset of the documents he received.

Obtaining secret documents, convincing sources to hand over more, and publishing them are core activities journalists engage in every day. And all you have to do is listen to any interview with Woodward to believe it.

22 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 11

Julian Assange likely to attempt suicide if extradition to U.S. is approved

Michael Kopelman, emeritus professor of neuropsychiatry at King’s College London, said Assange has a history of depression and there is a “very high” risk of suicide if the U.S. extradition attempt succeeds.

“It’s the imminence of extradition and/or an actual extradition that will trigger the attempt, in my opinion,” Kopelman said during testimony as a witness for Assange at London’s Old Bailey criminal court.

He said there were “an abundance of known risk factors” including a family history of depression and suicide and the isolation Assange has experienced – first in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he took refuge in 2012, and since April 2019 in a British prison.
Kopelman said Assange has also been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, which has been associated with an increased tendency to ruminate on suicide.

”In Defense of Julian Assange” – A book talk and panel discussion

The urgent purpose of the book “In Defense of Julian Assange” is to build support for Assange and prevent his delivery into the hands of the Trump administration. In the wide range of distinguished contributors, many of them in original pieces, here set out the story of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, the importance of their work, and the dangers for us all in the persecution they face. In Defense of Julian Assange is a vivid, vital intervention into one of the most important political issues of our day.

Joining this critical discussion are contributors to the publication: Margaret Kimberley, Nathan Fuller, and Renata Avila, moderated by journalist Anya Parampil.

21 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 10

Former president of Brazil Lula: The extradition of Julian Assange would undermine freedom of speech

“I call on all those committed to the cause of freedom of speech in every corner of the world to join me in an international effort to defend the innocence of Assange and demand his immediate release.

This is the first time in the history of the US that a journalist has been indicted under the Espionage Act for publishing truthful information. The world knows, however, that Assange never spied on the US. What he did was publish documents he received from Chelsea Manning, a US Army intelligence analyst who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Manning was tried, convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. She has now served her sentence.

We know that the accusations against Assange represent a direct assault on the first amendment rights guaranteed by the US constitution, which guarantees freedom of the press and expression. We know that treaties between the US and the UK prohibit the extradition of persons accused of political crimes.

The risks that Assange will be extradited, however, are real. No one who believes in democracy can allow someone who provided such an important contribution to the cause of liberty to be punished for doing so. Assange, I repeat, is a champion of democracy and should be released immediately.”

More than 160 former heads of state, prime ministers, and ministers demand Assange’s freedom

A remarkable international letter from more than 160 heads of state and former heads of state, and a raft of politicians and lawyers, has been released in support of Julian Assange. The letter argues that Julian Assange should not be prosecuted for his political opinions or his actions as a journalist and publisher.

The signatories include José Luis Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain (2004- 2011), Alberto Fernández, President of Argentina (2019-) , Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil (2011-2016), Evo Morales Ayma, President of Bolivia (2006-2019), Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil (2003 -2010), and Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador (2007 – 2017).

The signatories are supporting a statement by lawyers which challenges the legality of the Trump administration’s prosecution, in particular the extension of the reach of the US legal system beyond its own territory.

Read the full text of the letter here

Take a look at the list of signatories here

Why are Amnesty International monitors not able to observe the Assange hearing?

“Amnesty International had requested access to the court for a trial monitor to observe the hearings, but the court denied us a designated seat in court. Our monitor initially did get permission to access the technology to monitor remotely, but the morning the hearing started he received an email informing us that the Judge had revoked Amnesty International’s remote access.

We applied again for access to the proceedings on Tuesday 8 September, setting out the importance of monitoring and Amnesty International’s vast experience of observing trials in even some of the most repressive countries.

The judge wrote back expressing her “regret” at her decision and saying: “I fully recognise that justice should be administered in public”. Despite her regret and her recognition that scrutiny is a vital component of open justice, the judge did not change her mind.

We submitted a third application to gain direct access to the overflow room at the court where some media view the livestream, but this has also been denied.

If Julian Assange is silenced, others will also be gagged either directly or by the fear of persecution and prosecution which will hang over a global media community already under assault in the US and in many other countries worldwide.”

18 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 9

Khaled el-Masri stands up to CIA intimidation, support Assange during extradition trial

Khaled El Masri, a survivor of CIA kidnapping, torture, rendition, and detention, submitted testimony in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during his extradition trial.

The Central Criminal Court in London was prepared for El Masri to testify. An interpreter was lined up for the ninth day of proceedings. However, technical problems prevented him from addressing the court beyond his written statement.

Prosecutors also objected to El Masri giving live testimony. According to Court News UK reporter Charlie Jones, that prompted Assange to stand up and declare, “I will not accept you censoring a torture victim’s statement to this court.”

El Masri declared, “I record here my belief that without dedicated and brave exposure of the state secrets in question what happened to me would never have been acknowledged and understood.” He added threats and intimidation are “not diminishing but expanding for all concerned.”

Assange lawyer says Trump offered indirect offer of pardon

A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has told a London court that her client was indirectly offered a “win-win” deal by President Donald Trump that would see him avoid extradition to the U.S. if he revealed the source of a leak of documents from the Democratic Party before the 2016 election.

Jennifer Robinson, who has represented WikiLeaks for a decade, relayed to the court Friday via a written statement that her client had been made an offer at a meeting on Aug. 15, 2017, with former Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Trump associate Charles Johnson.

In her statement that was read out at London’s Criminal Court, Robinson said the pair “wanted us to believe they were acting on behalf of the president” and that they had stated that Trump was “aware of and had approved of them coming to meet” with Assange to discuss the proposal. She also said the pair said they would have an audience with the president to discuss the matter on their return to Washington.

17 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 8

WikiLeaks partners developed software to redact 400,000 Iraq War Logs

John Sloboda, co-founder of the NGO, Iraq Body Count, which monitors civilian casualties in Iraq, told the court that WikiLeaks insisted on a “stringent redaction” of the documents to protect the identity of individuals before the documents were published.

WikiLeaks and its media partners used software developed by an independent non-government organisation (NGO) to redact information that could identify individuals from 400,000 classified documents on the Iraq war, a court heard today.

Lawyer says Assange charged under broad, contentious US law

An American constitutional law expert Carey Shenkman said Thursday that the United States indicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under an “extraordinarily broad” spying law that has been used in the past for politically motivated prosecutions.

Shenkman also said in a written witness statement that the administration of President Donald Trump “has prosecuted disclosures of national security information more aggressively than any presidency in U.S. history.”

Shenkman said there has never been a successful prosecution of a publisher under the act, although there have been attempts, including over the 1971 “Pentagon Papers” leak of documents about the Vietnam War.

16 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 7

Pentagon Papers leaker comes to the defense of Assange

Daniel Ellsberg, who is widely credited for helping to bring about an end to the Vietnam War through his leaking of the so-called Pentagon Papers in 1971, told London’s Central Criminal Court via a video link that there are echoes of his experience in the way Assange is being treated by the U.S. government.

He told the court that he concluded after his several meetings with Assange over the past decade that they shared the same aspirations, to shine a light on the “great lack of transparency” in decision-making circles in the U.S., especially when it comes to matters of war.

15 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 6

MEPs denied access as observers to Julian Assange extradition hearing speak out

Some politicians were blocked from viewing Julian Assange’s London extradition trial. They’ve released a video compelling authorities to grant them access. They’ve raised serious questions about the obstruction of their ability to witness a trial with wide-ranging implications for the free press around the world, and especially in Europe.

I am among a group of MEPs who along with @amnesty and @RSF_en last week had their videolink access to the #Assange case revoked. We are now unable to observe this hugely important case. @Mariearenaps @MarketkaG @ASPelletier @sirarego @MiguelUrban @wallacemick @lukeming

— Clare Daly (@ClareDalyMEP) September 15, 2020

Craig Murray: Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day 9

Things became not merely dramatic in the Assange courtroom today, but spiteful and nasty. There were two real issues, the evidence and the procedure. On the evidence, there were stark details of the dreadful regime Assange will face in US jails if extradited. On the procedure, we saw behaviour from the prosecution QC that went well beyond normal cross examination and was a real attempt to denigrate and even humiliate the witness.

14 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 5

Kevin Gosztola: At Assange trial prosecution invokes human rights court decision that downplayed abusive supertax prisons

The legal team for Julian Assange strongly believes if the WikiLeaks founder is extradited to the United States he will be detained in harsh and abusive conditions, and if convicted, he will be incarcerated in a supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, in conditions that amount to solitary confinement.

13 September 2020

Panel: Celebrating the Courage & Journalism of Julian Assange

Reporting after the first week of Julian Assange’s reconvened extradition trial, veteran journalists John Pilger, Andrew Fowler and Serena Tinari, and former UK ambassador and writer Craig Murray join #FreeTheTruth as we turn the spotlight onto the courage and journalism of Julian Assange.

10 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 4 – Case management hearing

Julian Assange’s extradition hearings have been postponed due to concerns over one of the prosecution lawyer’s possible exposure to COVID-19. The case has been adjourned until Monday, September 14th, 10am BST.

  • For coninuous detailed coverage of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing see here
  • For daily reports see here

EL PAÍS: US demands hinder Spanish probe into alleged CIA ties to security firm that spied on Assange

There will be no judicial cooperation forthcoming from the United States unless a Spanish judge reveals his information sources in an investigation into alleged espionage against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange while he was living in the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Judge De la Mata, who is heading the probe into security firm UC Global, has asked US prosecutors for the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of the computers or other networked devices that allegedly connected from American soil to a server held by the private security firm at its headquarters in the southern Spanish city of Jerez de la Frontera.

In return, the Spanish judge has been asked by the US authorities to answer a long list of questions regarding every aspect of his investigation, including who he believes that Morales was providing information to, or whether the judge thinks Morales was working for a foreign information service or as an agent for a foreign power – or whether it was simply a case of bribery.

Noam Chomsky & Alice Walker: Julian Assange is not on trial for his personality – but here’s how the US government made you focus on it

“Assange is not on trial for skateboarding in the Ecuadorian embassy, for tweeting, for calling Hillary Clinton a war hawk, or for having an unkempt beard as he was dragged into detention by British police. Assange faces extradition to the US because he published incontrovertible proof of war crimes and abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan, embarrassing the most powerful nation on Earth. Assange published hard evidence of “the ways in which the first world exploits the third”, according to whistleblower Chelsea Manning, the source of that evidence. Assange is on trial for his journalism, for his principles, not his personality.”

Computer Weekly: Assange prosecution would put journalists around the world at risk

Trevor Timm, co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF), told a hearing at the Old Bailey that the case poses extreme danger to journalists if it is allowed to go ahead.

“This would criminalise every reporter who received a secret document whether they asked for it or not,” he told the court.

“My position is that this indictment is clearly unconstitutional. WikiLeaks has a First Amendment right to say we would like to receive documents that show illegality,” he said.

9 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 3

Evening Standard: Julian Assange ‘targeted as a political opponent of Trump administration and threatened with the death penalty’

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been targeted as a “political opponent” of President Trump’s administration and threatened with the death penalty, the Old Bailey heard today.

Professor Paul Rogers, a lecturer in peace studies at Bradford University and specialist on the ‘War on Terror’, said Assange’s opinions put him “in the crosshairs” of Trump’s top team.

“The clash of those opinions with those of successive US administrations, but in particular the present administration which has moved to prosecute him for publications made almost a decade ago, suggest that he is regarded primarily as a political opponent who must experience the full wrath of government, even with suggestions of punishment by death made by senior officials including the current President.”

8 September 2020

Extradition Hearing: Day 2

Amnesty International presented a petition with almost 400,000 signatures to the United States Consulate

The petition is calling on the US government to drop the charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and end its attempt to get him extradited from Britain.

Former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr spoke at a media conference in Martin Place. He backed Amnesty Australia’s call for help to pressure US authorities to “drop the charges that relate to Assange’s publishing activities as part of his work with WikiLeaks and help protect the right to freedom of expression”.

Journalist and former ABC presenter Quentin Dempster called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison and foreign minister Marise Payne to “intervene to demand that the US desists with Assange’s extradition on now trumped-up charges”.

Roger Waters: If Julian Assange is guilty so am I

In an interview with Vijay Prashad for NewsClick musician Roger Waters says “In 2010 Julian Assange along with Chelsea Manning played a pivotal role in releasing classified documents on US military activity in Iraq and Iran. I displayed the video for three years. If Julian is guilty so am. I am ready to give my arrest and may be in the coming time they can arrest me too. ”

7 September 2020

Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Resumes

Extradition Hearing: Day 1

40 NGOs, European parliamentarians, and other legal observers had their access to Julian Assange’s extradition proceedings revoked

Judge Vanessa Baraitser decided to restrict remote access to the hearings, abruptly revoking video access for some 40 individuals and groups who had already been approved. Amnesty International, PEN Norway, and European parliamentarians were among those affected. WikiLeaks’ own editor Kristinn Hrafnnson was denied access without explanation as well.

UK Prime Minister Office refuses to accept petition by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders represented by Rebecca Vincent and Christian Mihr, alongside Julian Assange’s partner Stella Moris attempted to hand in to Downing Street a petition of over 80,000 signatories requesting the immediate release of Julian Assange. UK Prime Minister Office refused to accept it.

Wired: Julian Assange Lays Out His Case Against US Extradition

Ahead of Assange’s extradition hearing, which began in London today and is expected to last for several weeks, both prosecutors and the WikiLeaks founder’s defense lawyers submitted “skeleton arguments” to the court that lay out in new detail the central arguments they plan to make in Assange’s extradition case. The defense document in particular reveals Assange’s most complete response yet to the US indictments against him, expanding on an opening statement his attorneys released in February and including snippets of still unpublished written testimony from a long list of witnesses, from free speech advocates and media scholars to four doctors who have assessed Assange’s mental health

5 September 2020

Panel: Defend Julian Assange

Political comedian Jimmy Dore hosted a panel featuring Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, and Daniel Ellsberg, preeminent experts on free speech and the fight to protect it, for a discussion on Assange’s persecution just 2 days before his extradition hearing resumes in London. They examine the implications of his indictment and explain why they have joined up as co-chairs of a new U.S. support group for Assange.

3 September 2020

Kenneth Roth: “Core principles like freedom of the media are at stake in the Assange case”

In an interview with Stefania Maurizi for Il Fatto Quotidiano, Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth discusses the Assange case and its implications.

“My view remains that it is completely inappropriate to prosecute Assange merely for publishing government secrets that Chelsea Manning had given to him and it is particularly inappropriate to use the Espionage Act – which the Trump Administration is now doing – because the Espionage Act doesn’t allow a whistleblower defense, so if Julian Assange ultimately will go before a Jury in the United States, he will not be able to say he did it in the public interest. The US government, even the Trump Administration, recognises the threat that an Espionage Act accusation for mere publication poses to ordinary journalism, so what they are mainly trying to do is to portray Assange as a hacker.”

“The British government can prevent Julian Assange being extradited for simply publishing information, so we shouldn’t assume that the US can get away with this, because the British government can stop it.”

“If Trump does manage to prosecute Assange simply for acting as a journalist, that would pose a threat to freedom of the media within the United States and within Western countries that might be inclined to follow that precedent. That’s why it is so important that the British government not succumb to the Trump Administration’s attempt to pursue that charge.”

29 August 2020

Panel: Julian Assange as political prisoner

Why is Julian Assange the first journalist to be prosecuted under the US’s Espionage Act for publishing? Why is Assange indicted, and the journalists from the New York Times or The Guardian who also published the Iraq and Afghan War Logs and the US State Department Cables are not? Why are there so many legal and judicial abnormalities in Assange’s case?

The Courage Foundation hosts a panel discussion of Julian Assange as a political prisoner, persecuted for exposing the war crimes and corruption of the United States.


  • Mumia Abu-Jamal, a political prisoner formerly on death row who will call in from his jail cell. Abu-Jamal is a former Black Panther whose political statements in his youth were used against him at trial.
  • Jeff Mackler, a veteran activist who has campaigned for Mumia, for political prisoner Lynn Stewart, and now for Julian Assange.
  • Cristina Navarrete, who was a political prisoner in Chile under dictator Augusto Pinochet, and who now speaks out in support of Assange in London

The War on Journalism: The Case of Julian Assange – Film Screening and Q&A

Journalists are under attack globally for doing their jobs. There is a war on journalism – Julian Assange is at the centre of that war. If this precedent is set then what happens to Assange can happen to any journalist.

Join director Ken Loach and filmaker Suzie Gilbert for a discussion with Juan Passarelli about his new documentary – The War on Journalism: The Case of Julian Assange

Watch the documentary and the discussion here

25 August 2020

Julian Assange in ‘a lot of pain’ says partner Stella Moris after first prison visit in nearly six months

“Yesterday I was able to take our two sons Gabriel and Max to visit Julian in Belmarsh Prison for the first time in almost six months”, wrote Moris in a statement.

I’ve written an update on our @crowdjustice fundraiser page about our visit to see Julian yesterday. It had been almost 6 months since he had last seen us. This picture was taken as we were leaving Belmarsh prison.

— Stella Moris (@StellaMoris1) August 26, 2020

“Julian wanted me to thank you personally for all of the help you have provided in covering his legal fees to fight the extradition to the USA, where he faces 175 years in prison.”

“The visit to Belmarsh was difficult for everyone and very stressful. We had to wear masks and visors and were not allowed to touch during a 20-minute meeting. He looked a lot thinner than the last time I had seen him. He is also in a lot of pain with a frozen shoulder and a sprained ankle.”

“However, it was great that Julian was able to see his children. Gabriel showed him that he can now recite the alphabet and count.”

21 August 2020

Ex-Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger: ‘Surprising more can’t see Assange case is worrying for all journalists’

“When you stand back and say, well, whatever we think of Assange, what he is being targeted for is the same or similar as many journalists have done, then it’s surprising to me that more people can’t see that this case has worrying implications for all journalists”

“The danger here is that if everyone sort of shrugs and leaves Assange to his fate and this sets some kind of judicial precedent, then the next time… a journalist on the Sunday Times writes about a secret Israeli weapons system, as has happened in the past, the Israelis say ‘well actually that breaches our Official Secrets Act, under the Assange precedent we now ask for this person to be returned to our country so we can prosecute them’.”

20 August 2020

Stella Moris: Join my fight to free Julian Assange and stop US extradition

The partner of Julian Assange launches an appeal to crowdfund his fight against the US Government’s bid to extradite him over Wikileaks publications exposing war crimes and human rights abuses. She writes:

“Our resources are very limited. The Wikileaks releases were all issued, in an enormous exercise over a period of more than a year, without receiving payment. However, the legal costs to fight Julian’s extradition have already exceeded £500,000 – and will continue to increase. We are trying to raise as much as possible to contribute to those costs. Now it is a matter of David against Goliath.

“Everyone involved in the legal case is doing so at minimum remuneration or pro bono. Nevertheless, the sheer volume and range of work required, means that we need to continue to raise funds to cover the mounting costs.

“We all recognise the responsibility placed upon us, and what is at stake, and express our gratitude to anyone who feels able to contribute. Even small amounts, which might not feel like they make a difference, will collectively be of huge benefit – and will be gratefully received.

“Please do share the link on this page with anyone who may think they might want to help.”

17 August 2020

169 lawyers and legal groups join calls for Julian Assange extradition to halt

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel, 169 individuals and international legal organisations called for the Government to intervene.

If extradited, campaigners said the 49-year-old will face a “show trial” in the US.

They added he has been subject to surveillance which violates his right to a fair trial.

“We call on you to act in accordance with national and international law, human rights and the rule of law by bringing an end to the ongoing extradition proceedings and granting Mr Assange his long overdue freedom,” the letter, signed Lawyers for Assange, reads.

The signatories include barrister Lord John Hendy QC and groups including the UK’s Arab Lawyers Association as well as the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights.

14 August 2020

Chaos in Assange case management hearing

Attorney General William Barr issued a replacement extradition request just two days after Julian Assange’s defence team submitted their full and final evidence for the extradition hearing due in September, Westminster Magistrates court heard today (Friday 14th August).

The clear attempt to blindside the defence by US Attorney General William Barr emerged as the court heard Julian Assange has not even seen the warmed-over extradition request, which contains no new charges but introduces new narrative content that the defence argued should be excluded from the proceedings.

The defence argued the replacement indictment introduced alleged conduct from 2010 and 2011 which the US had investigated almost a decade ago, and could therefore not plausibly be argued to be new information to the US investigation.

The defence considered the move by the prosecution to bring in the replacement extradition request at the eleventh hour “astonishing”, given the case had been prepared over the course of one year and was well into substantive hearings which began in February.

The defence was given a week to decide whether to ask for the September hearing to be adjourned, or to proceed as planned on 7 September.

And that was only part of the chaotic hearing in which Belmarsh prison did not initially bring Assange to the video room to join proceedings, the US prosecution failed to turn up (having got the time of the hearing wrong), and every journalist and NGO observer that tried to dial-in was directed to another trial entirely and never made it into the Assange hearing.

Comments and reactions:

“This only ends if the public, if you take a stand. You have to be a witness becuase if this cotinues you will be a bearing witness to the worst judicial scandal in decades in the United Kingdom. It cannot happen!” @khrafnsson #DontExtraditeAssange #FreeAssange

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) August 14, 2020

I have never in my career faced so much difficulty attempting to trial monitor as in Julian Assange’s case. Whether in person or remotely, there are constant barriers to access. Completely unacceptable. @RSF_inter will again be writing to the court and @MoJGovUK.

— Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) August 14, 2020

RSF has again been unable to observe an administrative hearing in the case of Julian Assange. We were turned away in person and the court again failed to connect the conference call line, barring remote access. This has become the – unacceptable – norm in this case. #FreeAssange

— RSF (@RSF_inter) August 14, 2020

13 August 2020

US Attorney General William Barr issues a replacement extradition request for Julian Assange which puts the September hearing in jeopardy

Julian Assange was notified of the replacement extradition request issued by US Attorney General only today, almost 2 months after DoJ publicized the new indictment, and just three weeks before the full extradition hearing is scheduled to resume on 7th September.

Just spoke to Julian. He’s just been notified that William Barr has signed the replacement extradition request. 175 years in prison. No new charges. Based on an indictment that DoJ publicised almost 2 months ago. Tomorrow’s hearing will be interesting. See

— Stella Moris (@StellaMoris1) August 13, 2020

At an administrative hearing on 27 July Assange’s lawyers said that the apparent intention to introduce a changed extradition request half-way into Assange’s extradition case appeared to be an attempt by the Trump administration to derail the case and force the postponement of the hearing until after the US election, which will take place on 3 November.

‘Barr is instrumentalising the UK justice system to avoid political embarrassment ahead of the US election’ said WikiLeaks ambassador Joseph Farrell.

The Don’t Extradite Assange campaign said ‘Given that the replacement extradition request contains the same 18 charges and 175 year sentence, the purpose appears to be to force a postponement to the extradition hearing and as part of a larger PR strategy.’

10 August 2020

Online events announced:

Wikileaks Iraq War Logs and what it means for Press Freedom

Saturday, August 15th 6pm BST / 1pm EDT

This online event organised by the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign welcomes investigative journalists Iain Overton and Chris Woods to discuss the impact of their release.

Register here
Simulcast on Don’t Extradite Assange campaign Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Women’s Voices for Assange

Tuesday, August 18th, 7pm BST / 2pm EDT

Lindsey German, national convenor of Stop the War Coalition
Suzie Gilbert, Filmaker
Alia Butt, NHS Psychotherapist
Lucy Nichols, Stop the War Youth and Student Group

Register here

9 August 2020

#WeAreMillions exhibition and press freedom event in Leipzig

The Courage Foundation in cooperation with DiEM25 opens the Europe-wide exhibition “We Are Millions”, a massive photo campaign in support of imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, in Leipzig. Find the exhibition online and add your own photo at

The exhibition culminated with a talk by EcoLeaks founder Esteban Servat, a video message from WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson, and performances and video installations to shed light on Assange’s case.

8 August 2020

VIDEO: What Would Julian Assange Face in the US?

The Courage Foundation has convened a panel of experts to examine what Julian Assange would endure and be up against if the United Kingdom extradites him to the U.S., from pre- and potentially post-trial prison conditions, the lack of a public interest defense under the Espionage Act, and the extremely high rate of convictions in U.S. federal courts.

Barry Pollack, Julian Assange’s attorney in the U.S.
Jeffrey Sterling, CIA whistleblower who was convicted under the Espionage Act
Lauri Love, U.K. activist who successfully defeated an extradition request from the United States

Moderated by Kevin Gosztola, independent U.S. journalist at who has covered Chelsea Manning’s military court martial and Julian Assange’s extradition proceedings thus far.

5 August 2020

Nozomi Hayase: From Bombing of Hiroshima to Collateral Murder; War Crimes of Empire and Prosecution of Free Press

“Assange’s extradition is recognized by free speech groups as the most important press freedom case of the 21st century. What is this prosecution of a publisher really about? Here, a story of an Australian journalist who exposed the brutal truth of war at the end of WWII can provide a historical context and help us better understand the significance of this case.”

“The prosecution of Julian Assange is a direct attack on the First Amendment. The outcome of this not only determines the future of journalism, but also of our democracy.”

“Now, the empire – which covered up their dirty war in the Middle East – desperately tries to prevent the public from knowing the truth behind their prosecution of a journalist who exposed their crimes. According to Assange’s lawyers, the US may soon drop its existing extradition request and then re-arrest him on the same 18 charges after a new extradition request.”

4 August 2020

Event announced:

“What would Julian Assange face in the US?”

Saturday, August 8th, 1 pm EDT

The Courage Foundation has convened a panel of experts to examine what Julian Assange would endure and be up against if the United Kingdom extradites him to the U.S., from pre- and potentially post-trial prison conditions, the lack of a public interest defense under the Espionage Act, and the extremely high rate of convictions in U.S. federal courts.

Barry Pollack, Julian Assange’s attorney in the U.S.
Jeffrey Sterling, CIA whistleblower who was convicted under the Espionage Act
Lauri Love, U.K. activist who successfully defeated an extradition request from the United States

Kevin Gosztola, independent U.S. journalist at who has covered Chelsea Manning’s military court martial and Julian Assange’s extradition proceedings thus far

Register here

This event will also be livestreamed at Courage’s YouTube channel

2 August 2020

Europe-wide exhibition “We Are Millions” in Leipzig

On the 1st of August the Courage Foundation in cooperation with DiEM25 continue the Europe-wide exhibition “We Are Millions” in Leipzig to draw attention to the possible extradition of Julian Assange to the USA.

On the 7th of August, it will host a speaker, as well as performances and video installations in order to shed light on Assange’s case. He is current suffering of psychological torture contrary to human rights and the charges against this journalist are a threat to and restriction of freedom of the press.

19-20h : Opening and photo portrait shootings
20-21h : Speech and Q&A Session with Biologist Esteban Servat on EcoLeaks; which published a secret Argentine government study of the environmental effects of fracking Mendoza

1 August 2020

Sky News: US seeks to arrest Julian Assange with new extradition request

Julian Assange’s lawyers have suggested the WikiLeaks founder may soon be re-arrested in London after a new extradition request citing the same 18 offences, according to Sky News host Brent O’Halloran.

31 July 2020

Declassified UK: UK government refuses to release information about Assange judge who has 96% extradition record

The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice is blocking the release of basic information about the judge who is to rule on Julian Assange’s extradition to the US in what appears to be an irregular application of the Freedom of Information Act, it can be revealed.

Declassified has also seen evidence that the UK Home Office is blocking the release of information about home secretary Priti Patel’s role in the Assange extradition case.

30 July 2020

Computer Weekly: Former UC Global staff confirm Embassy surveillance operation against Julian Assange

Aitor Martínez Jiménez, a member of Assange’s Spanish legal team, said the four UC Global staff had confirmed email evidence already presented to the court that detailed the surveillance operation.

“They have confirmed what we had said, that the cameras recorded audios, that they kept the hard drives with the recordings, that when there were sensitive visits, they were asked for the recordings,” said Martínez Jiménez. “And they took the documentation of the people who visited Assange.”

After the hearing, Garzón said his conversations with Assange at the Embassy had been secretly recorded.

“I have been shown some images from the recording video surveillance listening devices in which we, the lawyers, appear talking to Julian – something scandalous that could only be said to actually happen in spy movies,” he said.

The judge has also agreed to take a statement from 10 more people as witnesses or victims through the criminal assistance system with third countries. They include attorneys Jennifer Robinson, Gareth Peirce and Renata Ávila, Assange’s friend Pamela Anderson and Greek economist and politician Yanis Varoufakis. The most anticipated statements of those agreed by the judge are those of Zohar Lahav, chief of security for Las Vegas Sands Corp, and former US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

29 July 2020

DoJ may attempt to delay Assange hearing past US election, warns Assange’s partner

In a series of tweets, Julian Assange’s partner Stella Moris, who on Monday testified before the Spanish court Audiencia Nacional, wrote that she had spoken to Julian Assange and that she anticipates “the US will drop its existing extradition request and then re-arrest him on the very same 18 charges, under a different extradition request.” She added: “We don’t know if this means he’ll be brought to court to be ‘re-arrested’.”

I spoke to Julian today. At any moment we expect that the US will drop its existing extradition request and then re-arrest him on the very same 18 charges, under a different extradition request.

We don’t know if this means he’ll be brought to court to be ‘re-arrested’. (Thread)

— Stella Moris (@StellaMoris1) July 28, 2020

The DoJ had been given a deadline by Westminster Magistrates’ Court to finalise any further extradition requests by 14 June 2019.

“That makes the latest superseding indictment 14 months late”, said Moris.

The latest indictment was publicised on the Department of Justice website on 24 June 2020, over one month ago.

“Five weeks have passed since the DoJ publicised the indictment” on its website, said Moris; adding “the US has so far made no attempt to incorporate the superseding indictment into UK jurisdiction”, a process that was “inexplicably delayed” she said.

Julian Assange’s Political Indictment: Old Wine in Older Bottles

“The book of hours on Julian Assange is now being written. But the scribes are far from original. Repeated rituals of administrative hearings that have no common purpose other than to string things out before the axe are being enacted. Of late, the man most commonly associated with WikiLeaks’ publication project cannot participate in any meaningful way, largely because of his frail health and the dangers posed to him by the coronavirus.”

“Assange is facing one of the most disturbing confections put together by any state that claims itself to be free. Should this stratagem work, the publisher will find himself facing the legal proceedings of a country that boasts of having a free press amendment but is keen on excluding him from it. What is even more troubling is the desire to expand the tent of culpability, one that will include press outlets and those who disseminate classified information.”

28 July 2020

Diem25: The most dangerous case against press freedom continues in silence

“DiEM25 stands in solidarity with Assange and asks you to join us in doing so. It is exactly those deemed controversial by elite circles and the extreme Center that we must protect. If they make an example out of Assange, other journalists and thinkers will be next.

Without information about what governments do in our names, we cannot have functioning democracies. In order for another (post) pandemic world to be possible, we need radical thinkers and rigorous journalists that will hold the powerful to account.”

27 July 2020

Julian Assange administrative hearing

Julian Assange has appeared at today’s hearing via video link, first time after April 7 when he was last seen in court. The conference call was organized after delay, due to failure of Belmarsh prison to arrange the appearance, and only after his lawyers protested his absence. Judge Baraitser said as the new substances of the case weren’t being discussed, Assange didn’t need to appear via videolink from Belmarsh prison, although last month she ordered him to appear unless he had a medical reason not to.

A second superseding US government indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is still yet to be served to a British court. “As it stands no further superseding indictment is before this court,” said the judge.

Multiple media and other NGO observers, have again been barred access from remotely monitoring today’s hearing.

Along with media and other NGO observers, RSF has again been barred access from remotely monitoring today’s administrative hearing in the case of Julian Assange. This has very worrying implications for the resumption of his full extradition hearing in September. #FreeAssange

— RSF (@RSF_inter) July 27, 2020

Colleagues are leaving the dial-in system, because audio is very bad, thus making impossible to follow the Julian #Assange hearing. It’s a disaster

— Stefania Maurizi (@SMaurizi) July 27, 2020

WikiLeaks’ Kristinn Hrafnsson has said that “the ‘new’ superseding indictment actually contains nothing new. All the alleged events have been known to the prosecution for years. It contains no new charges. What’s really happening here is that despite its decade-long head-start, the prosecution are still unable to build a coherent and credible case. So they’ve scrapped their previous two indictments and gone for a third try. They are wasting the court’s time and flagrantly disregarding proper process.”

Next administrative hearing confirmed for 14th August ahead of Spetember hearing at the Old Bailey.

US attorney general may be using Assange case for political ends, court told

The US attorney general, William Barr, may be using Julian Assange’s extradition case in the UK for political ends, the WikiLeaks founder’s defence team alleged during a court hearing at which he appeared by video link from prison for the first time in months.

It was a fact that Donald Trump had described the defence case as “a plot by the Democrats”, Edward Fitzgerald QC told the hearing at Westminster magistrates court.

Fitzgerald said a new superseding US indictment, produced months after the start of attempts in the UK to secure his extradition, had been “sprung” on his defence team.

Spain: Court Hears Testimony on Whether Assange Was Spied On

Among those set to face the court’s questions Monday were prominent Spanish lawyer Baltasar Garzón, who is part of Assange’s legal team; former Ecuadorean consul in London Fidel Narváez; and Stella Morris, a legal adviser and Assange’s partner,

According to the National Court summons seen by The Associated Press, the preliminary investigation has raised suspicions that, under the cover of his security work, Morales used bugging devices and video equipment to record Assange’s meetings with visitors.

26 July 2020

VIDEO: #FreeTheTruth – Injustice and Resistance: Reflections on the Tolpuddle ‘Martyrs’ and Julian Assange

Through the lenses of economics, politics, law and history the panel examines the case of Julian Assange and the lessons we learn from the Toldpuddle ‘martyrs’.


Geoffrey Robertson QC, lawyer
Chris Williamson, former UK MP
Dr Helen Mercer, JA Defence
Chair: Dr Deepa Driver

25 July 2020

VIDEO: 10 years since WikiLeaks released the Afghan War logs

The panelists discuss the effects of the Afghan war and the importance of the freedom of the press.

Joe Glenton, former Soldier, jailed for refusing to fight in Afghanistan
Nick Davies, investigative journalist, writer and documentary maker
Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief

moderated by Claudia Webbe, UK MP

21 July 2020

Julian Assange receives Stuttgart Friedenspreis 2020

The founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange receives the Stuttgart Friedenspreis 2020 (Peace Prize) awarded by the citizens’ organization Die AnStifter. The award comes together with the appeal “not only to protect the right to unconditional freedom of information and the press, but to enforce it.”

The AnStifter chair Annette Ohme-Reinicke said that the “sharp repression” against Assange goes also against the achievement of comprehensive political information for everyone.

The award ceremony will take place on December 6 2020 in Stuttgart’s Theaterhaus.

Protests in London: Old Bailey Court and UK Foreign Office

Vivienne Westwood staged an artistic protest in favour of Julian Assange in front of the Old Bailey Court where his extradition hearing will take place starting September the 7th.

Vivienne Westwood outside of the Old Bailey Crown Court says Julian #Assange is a Freedom Fighter.#FreeAssangeNOW

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) July 21, 2020

Protestors demanding freedom for Julian Assange have also gathered in front of the UK Foreign Office where the meeting between Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State and Dominic Raab, his UK counterpart was taking place.

Supporters for freedom of information & protection of journalists in London today to show their disgust for Mike Pompeo. R. #freethetruth

— Committee to Defend Julian Assange (@JA_Defence) July 21, 2020

19 July 2020

Event announced

WikiLeaks, Afghan War Logs & Press Freedom

Saturday, July 25th, 3pm BST / 10am EDT

Former soldier Joe Glenton, jailed for refusing to fight in Afghanistan, Nick Davies, investigative journalist, writer and documentary maker, and WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson will discuss the effects of that war and the importance of the freedom of the press.

Moderated by Claudia Webbe MP.

Register here

Simulcast on Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

17 July 2020

UK House of Commons motion asks MPs to oppose extradition of Julian Assange

19 MPs across parties have tabled a Commons’ motion opposing the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange spearheaded by Richard Burgon, supported by Diane Abbott, Caroline Lucas, Liz Saville Roberts, Kenny MacAskill, Gavin Robertson, Jeremy Corbyn & others.

The Motion reads:

That this House notes the July 2020 statement by the National Union of Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and others in relation to the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and affirms its commitment to press freedom and public-interest journalism.

Don’t Extradite Assange campaign calls on the UK citizens to email their MP and ask them to sign the Early Day Motion 719.

16 July 2020

Trade unionists back campaign to Free Assange

In Birmingham, Plymouth, and Newcastle trades councils have voted to join the campaign to halt the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States where he could face 175 years in jail.

In recent weeks the three metropolitan trades councils, which are attended by delegates from all the local unions, have voted overwhelmingly to support Assange.

Julian Assange’s extradition hearing is set to resume in September. The National Union of Journalists’ resolution has become a template used across the trade union movement and is being circulated for other trade unions, Labour Party bodies, and campaign organisations to adapt for their own use.

15 July 2020

The Greyzone interview with John Shipton: Assange’s father speaks out, calls oppression of WikiLeaks founder a “great crime of 21st century”

An extended interview with Julian Assange’s father John Shipton, who condemns the US, UK, and Australian governments for their “11 years of ceaseless psychological torture” of the WikiLeaks publisher.

14 July 2020

VIDEO: Not In Our Name – film launch and discussion

Official launch of a documentary about the state torture on Julian Assange, a film by John Furse: “Not In Our Name”, followed by a discussion with Nils Melzer UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and John Furse and moderated by Rebecca Vincent, Director of of International Campaigns for Reporters Without Borders

Hosted by Don’t Extradite Assange campaign and broadcasted by Consortium News

Craig Murray: Damage to the Soul

“The imprisonment of Julian Assange has been a catalogue of gross injustice heaped upon gross injustice, while a complicit media and indoctrinated population looks the other way. In a truly extraordinary twist, Assange is now being extradited on the basis of an indictment served in the UK, which is substantially different to the actual indictment he now faces in Virginia if extradited.”

“To have extradition decided on the merits of one indictment when the accused actually faces another is an outrage. To change the indictment long after the hearing is underway and defence evidence has been seen is an outrage. The lack of media outrage is an outrage.

None of which will come as any shock to those of us who have been paying attention. We have to continue to build public consciousness of the fact that the annihilation of a journalist for exposing war crimes, based on a catalogue of state lies and dodgy procedure, is not an act that the state can undertake without damage to the very soul of the nation.”

12 July 2020

On Contact: Collateral Murder video & US Military cover up

Chris Hedges talks to journalist, Dean Yates, who thirteen years ago was the head of Reuters’ Baghdad bureau. On July 12, 2007, Yates learned two of his employees – Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen had been fired upon and killed by the U.S. Army.

9 July 2020

Tim Cushing: New Indictment Tries To Tie Julian Assange To A Hacking He Had Nothing To Do With

“This case was already problematic — willing to walk right up to the First Amendment and dare it to do something about it. Now it’s become more farcical, with the government accusing someone of doing something it appears clear they didn’t do and bolstering it with half-truths about the FBI’s own involvement in malicious hacking efforts.”

8 July 2020

VIDEO: The most dangerous man in the world – Julian Assange and Wikileaks’ fight for freedom

Andrew Fowler author of the “The most dangerous minds: Julian Assange and Wikileaks’ fight for freedom” in conversation with journalist Mary Kostakidis.

5 July 2020

Bradley Blankenship: Freeing Assange is a premise for the West to criticize press freedom

“On July 3, Julian Assange celebrated his 49th birthday alone – away from his partner and children – in a tiny cell in Belmarsh Prison. The Australian man is being detained in the United Kingdom, not for any crime committed within the country, but solely at the behest of the United States to punish Assange for publishing damning evidence of war crimes, conspiracy and espionage by the United States and its allies.

His detention has set a precedent that anyone who publishes factual information in the public interest may be prosecuted simply for the fact that it challenges Washington.”

4 July 2020

Coverage: Rights Groups call on UK to Free Julian Assange

More than 40 press freedom, human rights and privacy rights organizations have co-signed an open letter to the UK government calling for the immediate release of Julian Assange.

Reporters Without Borders

PEN International

International Federation of Journalists

European Center for Press & Media Freedom

English PEN

Article 19

Peter Tatchell Foundation

Julian Assange is 49 today. He ‘celebrates’ in Belmarsh prison. Isolated for 23 hours a day. Why? Because he revealed American war crimes. The US wants him extradited. This must not happen. We demand his release#freejulianassange #dontextraditeassange #happybirthdayjulian

— Norsk PEN (@PEN_Norway) July 3, 2020

“This never-ending persecution simply has to stop. We call again for all charges against Julian Assange to be dropped and for him to be immediately released” – RSF’s @rebecca_vincent @wikileaks @mtaibbi @Robert_Scheer @P24Punto24 @Molenews1

— IFEX (@IFEX) July 3, 2020

Desde Internacional Progresista América Latina homenajeamos a #JulianAssange, creador de @wikileaks, en su cumpelaños!

Pedimos al gobierno del Reino Unido que libere al Sr. Assange y bloquee su extradición a los EE UU, para cesar con esta violación a los DDHH#HBDJA #FreeAssange

— Internacional Progresista (@ProgIntl_ES) July 3, 2020

Messages of support for Julian #Assange and @wikileaks from @DiEM25_Belgrade. #FreeAssange#AssangeCase

— DiEM25 (@DiEM_25) July 3, 2020

As Julian Assange spends his 49th birthday behind bars, it’s clear that the US government will continue to target him at all costs. It’s up to the UK to uphold its own obligations and not enable a politically motivated prosecution.

— Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) July 3, 2020

The call was supported by Labour MP Richard Burgon.

“We call on the UK government to release Mr Assange without further delay and block his extradition to the US”

I support this call by the International Federation of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders & the National Union of Journalists among others.

— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) July 3, 2020

3 July 2020

40+ Rights Groups call on UK to Free Julian Assange

Dozens of press freedom, human rights, and privacy rights organizations across five continents have co-signed an open letter to the U.K. government, calling for the immediate release of imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The publisher, who turns 49 years old today in HMP Belmarsh, is facing extradition to the United States where he has been indicted under the Espionage Act for WikiLeaks’ 2010-11 publications of the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diaries, and State Department cables. If convicted, Mr Assange would face up to 175 years in prison, “tantamount to a death sentence.”

The co-signers write,

“This [indictment] is an unprecedented escalation of an already disturbing assault on journalism in the US, where President Donald Trump has referred to the news media as the ‘enemy of the people’. Whereas previous presidents have prosecuted whistleblowers and other journalistic sources under the Espionage Act for leaking classified information, the Trump Administration has taken the further step of going after the publisher.”

Press freedom groups have warned since his arrest and initial indictment in April 2019 that a U.S. conviction for Mr Assange—an Australian citizen who operated in Europe and was granted asylum and citizenship by Ecuador—would criminalise publishing around the world, allowing the United States to dictate what journalists can publish beyond its borders. The United Kingdom, which is detaining Mr Assange on the U.S.’s behalf, has the power to stop the extradition process and let him walk free immediately.

Read the full text of the Open Letter here.

2 July 2020

Dr Lissa Johnson: Julian Assange’s ‘Torture’ Has ‘Intensified’ and Must Be Stopped

In an interview with Mohamed Elmaazi Dr Lissa Johnson explains why ‘Doctors for Assange’ felt it necessary to reitarete their demand to end the “ongoing torture and medical neglect” of Julian Assange.

“Importantly, Julian Assange is fighting controversial and unprecedented Espionage Act charges which cast journalism as espionage, effectively placing him on trial for publishing activity. Yet he is being treated like a violent criminal, and subjected to degrading and dehumanising treatment as a result. That treatment has included unnecessary strip-searches, handcuffing, confiscation of privileged legal documents, and keeping him in a bullet-proof glass enclosure where he is unable to hear or participate in his own trial, or communicate with his lawyers. These extreme measures are being imposed despite the fact that Julian Assange is unsentenced, charged with nothing under UK law, and is arbitrarily detained in Belmarsh prison according to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

In addition to abuse of his fair trial rights and his inhumane treatment in court, we pointed out that, medically, denial of Julian Assange’s emergency bail application in March has placed his life at even greater risk than it was previously. Not only has this placed Julian Assange in harm’s way from a deadly virus, he is kept in isolation for at least 23 hours a day under coronavirus lockdown measures, and is therefore entirely unable to meet with his lawyers to prepare for the second phase of his extradition hearing. All of this intensifies his psychological torture, by intensifying solitary confinement, helplessness and defencelessness in the face of threat.”

1 July 2020

Wikileaks-Hosted “Most Wanted Leaks” Reflects the Transparency Priorities of Public Contributors

In an article published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Rainey Reitman and Kurt Opsahl, explain how the key US claim against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange is false and misleading.

“The government prosecutors are trying to paint a picture of Assange as a mastermind soliciting leaks, and is charging him with violating computer crime law and the Espionage Act. It doesn’t suit their narrative to show Wikileaks as a host for a crowdsourced page where activists, scholars, and government accountability experts from across the globe could safely and anonymously offer their feedback on the transparency failures of their own governments. But as we analyze the indictment, it’s important that we keep this context in mind. It’s overly simplistic to describe the Most Wanted Leaks list, as the government does in its indictment, as “ASSANGE’s solicitation of classified information made through the Wikileaks website” or a way “to recruit individuals to hack into computers and/or illegally obtain and disclose classified information Wikileaks.” This framing excises the role of the untold number of contributors to this page, and lacks an understanding of how modern wikis and distributed projects work.”

“We’ve long argued that working with sources to obtain classified documents of public importance is a well-established and integral part of investigative journalism and protected by the First Amendment. Even if Assange had himself written and posted everything on the Most Wanted Leaks page, then the First Amendment would protect his right to do so. There is no law in the United States that would prevent a publisher from publicly listing the types of stories or leaks they would like to be made publicly. But that’s not what happened here—in this case, Wikileaks was providing a forum where contributors from around the world could identify documents and data they felt were important to be made public. And the First Amendment clearly protects the rights of websites to host a public forum of that nature.”

30 June 2020

RSF reiterates call for charges against Julian Assange to be dropped as US issues new superseding indictment

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the US Department of Justice’s issuing of a new superseding indictment against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange – the latest in a long series of US government attempts to manipulate legal loopholes and undermine Assange’s defence. RSF calls again for all charges against Assange to be dropped and for him to be immediately released.

“The superseding indictment is the latest in a long series of moves by the US government to manipulate legal loopholes in their targeting of Julian Assange, to undermine his defence, and to divert public attention from the extremely serious press freedom implications of his case. This never-ending persecution simply has to stop. We call again for all charges against Mr Assange to be dropped and for him to be immediately released,” said RSF Director of International Campaigns Rebecca Vincent.

29 June 2020

Julian Assange misses another hearing, lawyers tell court they haven’t seen the new indictment

Julian Assange did not appear for his call over hearing in Westminster Magistrates’ Court, following the medical advice from his doctors. Ill health prevented him from making the journey to the video room in Belmarsh prison to be part of the court proceedings. He has not  been able to join these routine procedural court proceedings for more than 3 months.

The full hearing, announced previously to begin on September 7, is expected to be at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey), Judge Baraitser said.

The US government has failed to show its new indictment of Julian Assange either to his legal team or the Judge. Mark Sommers QC, acting for Assange, told the court he was “concerned that we are only hearing about this fresh indictment in the press” and that neither he nor the court have been served with the document.

Press release issued by the Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign states that the US government is showing contempt both for the court and the defence lawyers by trying to run a prosecution in the press rather than in front of the judge.

Next hearing is scheduled for July 27.

Andrew Fowler: The botched extortion scheme that forced the UK’s hand on Assange

“It could be reasonably argued that uncovering the espionage operation against Assange might have tipped the scales of justice in his favour. The only charge Assange faced in the United Kingdom at the time was the relatively minor offence of skipping bail when he entered the Ecuadorian Embassy. Sex allegations against him by two Swedish women had long been dropped.

But on April 11, 2019, within hours of Hrafnsson calling a press conference in London to reveal the covert operation at the Ecuadorian Embassy, the Metropolitan Police stormed in and dragged Assange out.
Exposing the internal surveillance had seemingly forced the British government’s hand.”

28 June 2020

Stefania Maurizi: The Assange case will decide the future of Journalism, and yet there is a deafening silence

“It is a judicial case that will decide how far journalism can go in our Western democracies. Can a journalist violate state secrets when they cover up very serious human rights violations, war crimes against entire populations and systematic torture? That is what the Julian Assange and WikiLeaks case is about. And the Trump Administration’s attempt to imprison him for one hundred and seventy-five years for publishing truthful information in the public interest is unprecedented in the history of the United States. Yet there is a deafening silence. This week, the U.S. Department of Justice made public a new superseding indictment against Julian Assange: the news was barely covered by world media and has received very little attention.”

International Association of Democractic Lawyers (IADL) calls on UK Court to grant bail to Julian Assange, ill and vulnerable to COVID-19

“IADL is extremely alarmed at the psychological torture of Julian Assange and the serious threats to his health as a result of his continued incarceration.”

“After WikiLeaks published damning evidence of the United States’ commission of war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo prison, the U.S. government mounted a campaign to discredit and vilify Julian Assange.”

“IADL strongly opposes the continued life-threatening incarceration of Julian Assange who only remains convicted of a bail offense. IADL calls on the UK court to grant bail forthwith to Julian Assange.”

26 June 2020

UN Speacial Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer interview with Deutsche Welle: Julian Assange does not have a fair trial in the UK

“Julian Assange does not have a fair trial in the UK. And I say this as a UK professor of law. I am very respectful of the British rule of law tradition. I am shocked to see that Julian Assange was not given — and is currently still not being given — adequate access to his lawyers, that he has not been given access to his American lawyers at all although he is threatened with extradition to the United States, and that he has not had access to legal documents for many months. It is not right that Mr. Assange should be held in virtual isolation in a prison, although he is not being punished for a crime, he’s simply being detained to prevent his escape in case he should be extradited to the United States.”

“It would be wrong to think of the Julian Assange case as being just about the person of Julian Assange. This case really isn’t as much as about Julian Assange himself as it is about the precedent it sets with regard to investigative journalism, secrecy and impunity for torture and war crimes around the world. Firstly, if the United States convicts Julian Assange for espionage, it means that it becomes a crime to expose secret evidence for serious crimes committed by US officials. That is an extremely dangerous precedent because we will then effectively live under censorship.

Secondly, let us not forget that none of the crimes that Julian Assange has exposed have ever been prosecuted. This includes torture on a very large scale. Also, let us not forget that the Iraq war was illegal, a war of aggression that led to more than a million people being killed, and millions being displaced and tortured. So this is not a small case that we’re talking about and the implications it has are emblematic and of global proportions.”

25 June 2020

Doctors for Assange: The ongoing torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange

In letter printed in The Lancet, Doctors for Assange representing 216 signatories from 33 countries, reitarate their accusation of UK and American officials of “intensifying Julian Assange’s psychological torture” amid new indictment and call for his immediate release.

Since February, 2020, there has been a string of hearings in the context of Mr Assange’s US extradition trial. His treatment throughout has been described as “shocking and excessive” by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI). He has been held in a bulletproof enclosure unable to fully hear proceedings and denied meetings with his lawyers. He was strip-searched, handcuffed 11 times, moved to five different holding cells, and had privileged client–lawyer communications seized.

Prison lockdowns in the UK have prevented meetings with his lawyers to prepare for future hearings. These irregularities and excesses cause helplessness, arbitrariness, threat, and isolation, all key components of psychological torture.

Mr Assange is at grave risk from contracting COVID-19. As he is non-violent, being held on remand, and arbitrarily detained according to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, he meets internationally recommended criteria for prisoner release during COVID-19. A bail application with a plan for monitored home detention was refused, however, and Mr Assange is held in solitary confinement for 23 h each day.

We reiterate our demand to end the torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange.

As physicians, we have a professional and ethical duty to speak out against, report, and stop torture. Silence on Mr Assange’s torture might well facilitate his death. The silence must be broken. Now. Please join us!

Dell Cameron: DOJ’s new Wikileaks indictment has significant convenient plot holes

In its push to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the U.K., the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday published a superseding indictment aimed at broadening “the scope of the conspiracy surrounding alleged computer intrusions with which Assange was previously charged.” The names of certain organizations and individuals are masked, including that of a paid FBI informant who stole money from WikiLeaks and later confessed to having sex with nine underage boys in exchange for money and other valuables.

A decent chunk of the filing relates to Chelsea Manning, her interactions with Assange and other possible ties to known WikiLeaks associates, which serve as the foundation for the bulk of the charges against Assange, including multiple counts of espionage.

DOJ omits several crucial details about the Stratfor hack in its attempts to name Assange as a conspirator in a breach that happened without his knowledge. Most notably, prosecutors exclude that the actual breach of Stratfor’s security, in late 2011, occurred 83 days prior to the events they describe, unknownst by anyone DOJ identifies as part of the conspiracy, including Assange.

Moreover, the evidence appears to show a clear violation of DOJ’s guidelines for the use of confidential informants, which expressly forbid informants from initiating or instigating “a plan or strategy to commit a federal, state, or local offense.”

24 June 2020

New US indictment against Julian Assange

The US Department Of Justice has unsealed a new superseding indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This second superseding indictment (following the first back in May 2019) does not add any new counts, but “broaden[s] the scope” of the DOJ’s allegation that Assange engaged in conspiracy to commit computer intrusions with journalistic sources. In effect, the DOJ’s new superseding indictment attempts to paint Julian Assange’s journalistic work as that of a “hacker.”

Assange’s lawyer, Barry Pollack, said in a statement,

“The government’s relentless pursuit of Julian Assange poses a grave threat to journalists everywhere and to the public’s right to know. While today’s superseding indictment is yet another chapter in the U.S. Government’s effort to persuade the public that its pursuit of Julian Assange is based on something other than his publication of newsworthy truthful information,” he added, “the indictment continues to charge him with violating the Espionage Act based on WikiLeaks publications exposing war crimes committed by the U.S. Government.”

Read media analysis of the initial superseding indictment.

Kevin Gosztola: US Government expands Assange indictment to criminalize assistance provided to Edward Snowden

“The United States government expanded their indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to criminalize the assistance WikiLeaks provided to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden when staff helped him leave Hong Kong.

Sarah Harrison, who was a section editor for WikiLeaks, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former spokesperson, and Jacob Appelbaum, a digital activist who represented WikiLeaks at conferences, are targeted as “co-conspirators” in the indictment, though neither have been charged with offenses.

The computer crime charge is not limited to March 2010 anymore. It covers conduct that allegedly occurred between 2009 and 2015.

“To encourage leakers and hackers to provide stolen materials to WikiLeaks in the future, Assange and others at WikiLeaks openly displayed their attempts to assist Snowden in evading arrest,” the indictment declares.

Prosecutors note WikiLeaks booked Snowden on “flights to India through Beijing” and Iceland as examples of how Assange engaged in an alleged conspiracy.

The indictment criminalizes Assange’s speech in support of Snowden and any future whistleblowers and twists his words into a prime example of WikiLeak “encouraging” the “theft of information” from the U.S. government. Prosecutors even omit particular words to make the message Assange shared seem more nefarious than an endorsement of radical transparency.

Prosecutors rely heavily on statements and chat logs from Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson and Hector Xavier Monsegur (“Sabu”), who were both FBI informants, in order to expand the scope of the prosecution.

Thordarson was fired from WikiLeaks in November 2011 after the media organizations discovered he embezzled about $50,000.”

23 June 2020

City of Melbourne passes motion of support for Julian Assange

City of Melbourne councillors of the Future Melbourne Committee have voted to support the call to the Australian Government to intervene and uphold the human rights of Julian Assange, an Australian citizen and former Melburnian.

The Motion:

– Notes that despite controversy over many years since its inception, WikiLeaks has played an important and effective role in disclosing war crimes, corporate fraud, environmental damage and other criminal abuses.

– Notes that Mr Assange is currently being held on remand maximum security prison in the United Kingdom (UK) without charge, locked in a cell for 23 hours per day.

– Notes that Mr Assange is now in very poor health and is facing extradition from the United Kingdom to the United States of America (USA) in an unprecedented Espionage Act prosecution for engaging in journalistic activity and, if convicted, faces 175 years imprisonment and potentially the death penalty.

– Requests that on behalf of the Council, the Chief Executive Officer or the Lord Mayor write to the Australian Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs forthwith requesting that the Australian Government immediately intervene in this matter to ensure that UK authorities urgently address Mr Assange’s poor health and mistreatment and in doing so, uphold the Human Rights of an Australian citizen unjustly imprisoned.

Nozomi Hayase: Julian Assange’s U.S. Extradition and Bitcoin’s Battle for Freedom of the Internet

“At its heart, WikiLeaks is an innovative endeavor. Started as a project of Sunshine Press, it was an invention of a new form of journalism built on the platform of the internet.”

“In his 2006 essay ‘Conspiracy as Governance’, a kind of manifesto from which WikiLeaks was conceived, Assange analyzed the structure of power and means to shift the balance of power between the individual and the state. By using cryptography as a ‘non-violent democratic weapon that gives claws to the weak,’ Assange found a way to provide information to the public, to hold the powerful accountable, and to help ordinary people empower themselves with knowledge.”

14 June 2020

Julian Assange indictment fails to mention WikiLeaks video that exposed US ‘war crimes’ in Iraq

“US prosecutors have failed to include one of WikiLeaks’ most shocking video revelations in the indictment against Julian Assange, a move that has brought accusations the US doesn’t want its “war crimes” exposed in public.

Reuters Baghdad bureau chief at the time, Dean Yates, said the US military had repeatedly lied to him – and the world – about what happened, and it was only when Assange released the video (which WikiLeaks posted with the title Collateral Murder) in April 2010 that the full brutal truth of the killings was exposed.

“What he did was 100% an act of truth-telling, exposing to the world what the war in Iraq looks like and how the US military lied … The US knows how embarrassing Collateral Murder is, how shameful it is to the military – they know that there’s potential war crimes on that tape,” Yates said.

“Collateral Murder shows unlawful killing by Australia’s closest ally,” said Greg Barns, legal adviser to the Australian Assange Campaign. “It is something we deserve to know about. Its publication was, and remains, clearly in the public interest.”

‘All lies’: how the US military covered up gunning down two journalists in Iraq

For all the countless words from the United States military about its killing of the Iraqi Reuters journalists Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh, their colleague Dean Yates has two of his own: “All lies.”

The US continues its legal efforts to extradite Assange from a British prison, where he is remanded in failing health, to face espionage allegations. Instructively, the detailed, 37-page US indictment against him makes no mention of Collateral Murder – the video that caused the US government and military more reputational damage than all the other secret documents combined, and that launched WikiLeaks and Assange as the foremost global enemy of state secrecy.

Namir and Saeed would have remained forgotten statistics in a war that killed countless Iraqi combatants, hundreds of thousands of civilians and 4,400-plus US soldiers had it not been for Chelsea Manning, a US military intelligence analyst in Baghdad. In February 2010 Manning, then 23, discovered the Crazy Horse 1-8 video and leaked it to WikiLeaks. The previous month Manning had leaked 700,000 classified US military documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to WikiLeaks. Assange unveiled the Crazy Horse 1-8 footage (a 17-minute edited version and the full 38-minute version remain on WikiLeaks’ Collateral Murder site). The video was picked up by thousands of news organisations worldwide, sparking global outrage and condemnation of US military tactics in Iraq – and launching WikiLeaks as a controversial truth-teller, publisher and critical enemy of state secrecy. WikiLeaks later made public the cache of 700,000 documents.

13 June 2020

Yanis Varoufakis: Julian Assange just called. To talk about the pandemic’s effect on capitalism & politics!

Julian called me a little earlier on, at 14.22 London time to be precise. From Belmarsh High Security Prison of course. This is not the first time but, as you can imagine, every time I hear his voice I feel honoured and moved that he should dial my number when he has such few and far between opportunities to place calls.

“I want a perspective on world developments out there – I have none in here”, he said.

11 June 2020

Patrick Cockburn: Julian Assange in Limbo

The WikiLeaks documents exposed the way the US, as the world’s sole superpower, really conducted its wars – something that the military and political establishments saw as a blow to their credibility and legitimacy. There were some devastating revelations, the helicopter video among them, but many of the secrets uncovered weren’t particularly significant or indeed very secret. In themselves they don’t explain the degree of rage WikiLeaks provoked in the US government and its allies. This was a response to Assange’s assault on their monopoly control of sensitive state information, which they saw as an essential prop to their authority. Making such information public, as Assange and WikiLeaks had done, weaponised freedom of expression: if disclosures of this kind went unpunished and became the norm, it would radically shift the balance of power between government and society – and especially the media – in favour of the latter. It is the US government’s determination to defend its ongoing monopoly, rather than the supposed damage done by the release of the secrets themselves, that has motivated it to pursue Assange and to seek to discredit both him and WikiLeaks.

4 June 2020

Transnational support from current & former elected representatives for humanitarian appeal of Australian MPs Andrew Wilkie & George Christensen for Assange’s release

A group of 11 current and former statesmen from Europe and the US wrote an open letter to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland and UK Commons Justice Committee Chair Bob Neill, asking for Assange to be released into home detention with a 24-hour monitoring ankle bracelet.

“We ask that you urgently reconsider providing Mr Assange with release from Belmarsh Prison to monitored home detention, as he fits all of the grounds noted for such early release by leading organisations as the World Health Organisation, the United Nations and the UK Prison Officers Association. These organisations have been unanimous in calling for the release of all non-violent COVID-19 prisoners, and we ask that you give compassionate consideration to the following:

• Mr Assange is a non-violent remand prisoner with no history of harm to the community. He is not convicted and is thus entitled to the presumption of innocence.
• Doctors of Mr Assange warn he is at high risk from dying if he contracts COVID-19 as he has a pre-existing chronic lung condition.
• We are advised that COVID-19 is rapidly spreading throughout UK prisons, and that there are infections [and at least one death] at Belmarsh Prison.
• We understand that the prison is short staffed and normal activity regimes are suspended.
• Mr Assange is in poor mental health due to spending so much time in solitary confinement over recent years, and prison COVID-19 lockdown measures are further undermining his mental health.”

3 June 2020

A resolution campaign is being launched across the labour movement in solidarity with Assange

A new call for solidarity with Julian Assange has been issued as his extradition hearing is set to resume in September. Following motions in support of Assange at Birmingham Trade Union Council and from the National Union of Journalists a resolution campaign is being launched across the labour movement. The comprehensive resolution adopted by the NUJ is to be circulated for other trade unions, Labour Party bodies, and campaign organisations to adapt for thier own use.

Read the NUJ resolution, now adopted also by TUC Birmingham here

2 June 2020

Events announced

Julian Assange: Doctors speak out
Saturday 6th June, 1pm BST / 8am EDT / 10pm AEST

Dr Lissa Johnson, psychologist and New Matilda columnist
Dr Derek Summerfield, honorary senior lecturer at London’s Institute of Psychiatry
Dr Bob Gill, NHS doctor and producer of The Great NHS Heist who will discuss these vital concerns

Hosted by Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign

Register here

Free the Truth
Saturday 13th June, 6pm BST / 7pm CET / 1pm EDT

Max Blumenthal, journalist
Stefania Maurizi, journalist
Fidel Narvaez, former Ecuadorean consul

Hosted by: Deepa Driver
Register here

1 June 2020

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange misses court hearing due to respiratory problems

The judge said she had hoped to provide the name of the crown court that could hear Assange’s extradition case today, but said she was still waiting for confirmation of the venue.

The judge gave the prosecution a deadline of 31 July to produce the psychiatric report on Assange.

The judge ordered the prosecution to present a new skeleton argument to the court on 25 August, with the defence skeleton argument due on 1 September

The next scheduled hearing will take place on 29 June, and a full three-week hearing is due to start on 7 September.

Don’t Extradite Assange campaign has issued a press release confirming that Julian Assange was, once again, unable to attend his own proceedings on medical advice.

“It’s ridiculous that we still don’t have a time and a place for the remainder of the hearing’, said WikiLeaks Ambassador Joseph Farrell, ‘The delay has been a punishment in itself. Whether Julian can get proper access to his legal team remains unlikely, as Belmarsh prison remains in full lockdown. And to add insult to injury the court is unable to provide reporters with the most basic levels of access.’”

“The Don’t Extradite Assange campaign joins calls by the UN for Assange’s immediate release from prison to avoid the risk of contracting Covid 19, along with all other political prisoners around the world. Julian Assange’s pre-existing health problems make him particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. He is a remand prisoner kept in jail despite the fact that he is not serving a sentence, and he poses no threat whatsoever to the public.”

29 May 2020

Australian lawyers, journalists, politicians and NGO’s call on Foreign Minister Marise Payne to support bail for Julian Assange

Four letters, signed by Australian journalists, lawyers, politicians and NGO’s were sent to Foreign Minister Marise Payne asking for the intervention on behalf of Julian Assange.

“Before the court reconvenes on 1 June we request of you the following:
1. To make representation on Mr Assange’s behalf that he be released on bail immediately
2. To relay to us the outcome of this representation.”

Read the letters:

MPs for Assange

Human, civil and digital rights advocates for Assange

Writers, publishers, journalists for Assange

Legal professionals for Assange

28 May 2020

Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign Press Release: Covid risk for Julian Assange at next court hearing

Julian Assange is due to appear in court by video link from Belmarsh prison next Monday, 1st June, just days after the Ministry of Justice admitted that Covid 19 is far more widespread in prisons than was previously announced.

On doctor’s advice, Assange did not participate in the last two procedural hearings, as moving through the prison to use the communal video room would put him at even greater risk of contracting the virus.
Campaigners continue to insist that as a remand prisoner held in jail for no crime Assange should be immediately released on bail to avoid the risk of contracting Covid 19.

How the free press worldwide is under threat

“The Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is currently held in HMP Belmarsh, while the UK decides if he can be extradited to the US, where he has been charged with violating the Espionage Act, and faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison if he is found guilty. As Alan Rusbridger, the former editor of the Guardian, has written, the charges against Assange are ‘attempting to criminalise things journalists regularly do when they receive and publish true information given to them by sources or whistleblowers’.”

“According to the RSF, ‘the next 10 years will be pivotal for press freedom because of converging crises affecting the future of journalism: a geopolitical crisis (due to the aggressiveness of authoritarian regimes); a technological crisis (due to a lack of democratic guarantees); a democratic crisis (due to polarisation and repressive policies); a crisis of trust (due to suspicion and even hatred of the media); and an economic crisis (impoverishing quality journalism).’”

VIDEO: Julian Assange – is this a fair trial?

The extradition hearing of Julian Assange has raised so many issues about the fairness of the legal process. Have Assange’s lawyers had reasonable access? Have the media been able to attend the court in a way which has allowed them to report fully? Is the judge treating the defendant fairly? Now many are asking ‘can this be a fair trial?’

Suzie Gilbert – Filmmaker
Matt Kennard – Independent journalist, co-founder of Declassified UK, author of Irregular Army & The Racket
Phil Miller – Staff reporter for Declassified UK, investigative journalist and author of Keenie Meenie

Hosted by Declassified UK

27 May 2020

UK endangers Assange’s life by imprisoning him during COVID-19

“The trend towards greater government secrecy has been labelled ‘the war on journalism’ and is being waged in Australia and around the globe in the name of ‘national security’ behind the cloak of ‘the war on terror’.

In this regard, it is striking that Julian Assange is locked up in Belmarsh, a prison built specifically to house terrorists. In court, he was kept enclosed in a bullet-proof glass cage like a terrorist and brought to the Court handcuffed and forced to undergo a strip-search. When you decipher the theatrics, western governments such as the UK continually portray him not as a journalist, but as a terrorist.

For the security states taking root across the world, citizen journalism has become a dangerous new form of ‘terrorism’.”

23 May 2020

Interview with investigative journalist Barton Gellman: “The Assange precedent is dangerous”

“I am very much worried that the precedent that the present US administration is trying to set with Assange is dangerous, and quite new in the American legal tradition. Assange is charged with asking for information, with receiving information, and with publishing information. And I don’t mind saying that those are exactly the things that I do. And there has never been a prosecution for espionage based entirely on publication. If that’s allowed to stand, there’s absolutely no reason why it couldn’t be used against the Washington Post or the New York Times or CNN.”

22 May 2020

Dr Alison Broinowski: How Assange’s popular following was reversed, his reputation trashed, and his health ruined

“What is lacking is Australian political intervention for Assange in London and Washington, particularly of the kind that produced the release of David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib. Australia often makes representations for its detained citizens in other countries, and Assange, who has been found guilty of nothing, deserves no less. But he has revealed crimes the US is guilty of, for which the UK treats him as if he’s guilty, and Australia presumes he’s guilty of whatever they say. The Assange case is a test of the values and the rule of law which Australian leaders claim is shared with Anglo-allies. The probity of the political and justice systems of the three countries is what’s on trial, and that affects us all.”

20 May 2020

Dr Jill Stein and Aaron Maté join #WeAreMillions photo Campaign

Dr Jill Stein: “Assange is a hero for exposing corruption and war crimes. His persecution amounts to psychological torture and it’s intimidated the press out of doing its job as an essential watchdog of state power. Without that, democracy’s in freefall and we’re all in the crosshairs. Defend his freedom to defend our own!”Aaron Maté: “The Trump administration’s persecution of Julian Assange is not just an attack on a media publisher’s right to expose classified information, but also on the right of people around the world to stand up to the criminality that Assange and Wikileaks have exposed. The campaign for Assange’s freedom – freedom from imprisonment, and freedom to continue doing his vital work – is a campaign for the freedom of us all.”Join the campaign and add your photo at

17 May 2020

VIDEO: Freedom of the Press, Julian Assange, & Imprisonment in the Time of Covid-19 

Speakers: Prof. Melina Abdullah, Sharon Kyle, Prof. Marjorie Cohn, Stephen Rohde, Vincent De Stefano, Nathan Fuller

Moderator: Jim Lafferty

Also: Video appearances by Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg

16 May 2020

Video: Prisons & the COVID-19 Crisis

Speakers: Richard Garside, Faith Spear, Steve Gillan

Moderator: John Rees, Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign

15 May 2020

‘The American friends’: New court files expose Sheldon Adelson’s security team in US spy operation against Julian Assange

An exclusive investigation by The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal reveals new details on the critical role Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands played in an apparent CIA spying operation targeting Julian Assange, and exposes the Sands security staff who helped coordinate the malicious campaign.

“Obtained by media outlets including The Grayzone, the UC Global files detail an elaborate and apparently illegal US surveillance operation in which the security firm spied on Assange, his legal team, his American friends, US journalists, and an American member of Congress who had been allegedly dispatched to the Ecuadorian embassy by President Donald Trump. Even the Ecuadorian diplomats whom UC Global was hired to protect were targeted by the spy ring.”

“This investigation will further establish the US government’s role in guiding UC Global’s espionage campaign, shedding new light on the apparent relationship between the CIA and Adelson’s Sands, and expose how UC Global deceived the Ecuadorian government on behalf of the client Morales referred to as the ‘American friends’.”

14 May 2020

Webinar announced

Freedom of the Press, Julian Assange, & Imprisonment in the Time of Covid-19

Sunday, May 17 12pm PST / 3pm EST / 8pm BS

This webinar explores why Assange is seen as such a threat, how the fact of his prosecution threatens investigative journalists everywhere, and the role that racism plays in the demographics of our prison population and why, as with Assange, they face an increased risk of contracting the Coronavirus and should now be freed from their toxic confinements.

Prof. Melina Abdullah: Professor, Dept. of Pan-African Studies, Cal. State Los Angeles.; Co-founder of Black Lives Matter/LA
Sharon Kyle: National Board member, American Civil Liberties Union; Publisher of the LA Progressive.
Prof. Marjorie Cohn: professor emerita, Thos. Jefferson School of Law; human rights lawyer and editor/author of Drones & Targeted Killing
Stephen Rohde: Civil liberties activist, writer, and former President of the ACLU of Southern California.
Vincent De Stefano: Human rights activist; recipient of Amnesty International’s 2019 Urgent Letter Writer of the Year Award.
Robert Corsini: Writer, producer and documentary filmmaker; owner of Videocratic Media.
Nathan Fuller: Director, The Courage Foundation; Executive Director of the Committee to Defend Julian Assange and Civil Liberties

Moderator: Jim Lafferty, Executive Director Emeritus, National Lawyers Guild, L.A.; and host of The Lawyers Guild Show on KPFK.

Also: Video appearances by Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg

More info & registration

13 May 2020

Extradition Hearing – New date set

A date of September 7 has been set for the resumption of Julian Assange’s delayed extradition hearing. A court location has yet to be determined.

Breaking: A date of September 7 has been set for the resumption of Julian Assange’s delayed extradition hearing. A court location has yet to be determined.

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 13, 2020

12 May 2020

Epicentar podcast with John Shipton and Harry Halpin

Harry Halpin, CEO of Nym Technologies and friend of Julian’s, teams up with Julian’s father John Shipton to discuss how a conviction could jeopardize the values of censorship resistance, permissionless innovation, and privacy.

11 May 2020

Exhibition: The Assange Condition. Forty portraits by Miltos Manetas

The Sala fontana of Palazzo delle Esposizioni hosts an exhibition that will admit no visitors, even in the event that galleries reopen their doors to the public.

The exhibition is a series of about forty portraits of Julian Assange painted by Miltos Manetas between February and April of this year.

This is also, and above all, an intervention that captures the analogies between the condition of Julian Assange – in his lengthy imprisonment and isolation, first as a refugee in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and then, after his “kidnapping”, in British prisons, being overexposed in the media and, at the same time, reduced to silence – and the condition experienced by billions of inhabitants of the planet in recent weeks.

The exhibition can be explored here

10 May 2020

Tom Coburg: The torture that awaits Julian Assange in the US

“Assange is already in a precarious position, alongside all other UK prisoners. Belmarsh is a high-security Category A facility and, as with all other prisons in the UK, inmates there are at risk to infection from coronavirus (Covid-19).

“It’s likely that Assange will be placed under SAMs if he is extradited to the US. The Darkest Corner, a report authored by the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic and The Center for Constitutional Rights, describes how SAMs work.

“SAMs are the darkest corner of the U.S. federal prison system, combining the brutality and isolation of maximum security units with additional restrictions that deny individuals almost any connection to the human world. Those restrictions include gag orders on prisoners, their family members, and their attorneys, effectively shielding this extreme use of government power from public view.”

9 May 2020

Video: US-UK Extradition Treaty – Why it should be replaced

The panel, convened by the Don’t Extradite Assange analyzes the US-UK Extradition Treaty and reasons why it should be replaced. The Treaty under which the United States is seeking to extradite Julian Assange has been widely condemned as unproportional, the panel asks if the it is fit for purpose.

David Davis, Conservatives MP
Radd Seiger, legal advisor for Harry Dunn family

Moderated by: Helena Kennedy QC

7 May 2020

Online event announced

US-UK Extradition Treaty – Why it should be replaced
Saturday, May 9th / 3pm BST / 4pm CEST

The Treaty under which the United States is seeking to extradite Julian Assange has been widely condemned, even by Boris Johnson, as unbalanced. Some 200 UK citizens have been extradited from Britain to the US. Only 11 Americans have been extradited to the UK. Our panel will ask if the Extradition Treaty is fit for purpose.

David Davis, Conservatives MP
Radd Seiger, legal advisor for Harry Dunn family

Moderated by: Helena Kennedy QC

Registration and more info

Video: “Free Assange – Stop the Extradition”

Greater Manchester Stop the War Coalition hosted ‘Free Assange – Stop the Extradition’ online meeting with Renata Avila (Wikileaks legal team), Tim Dawson (National Union of Journalists), John Rees (Stop the War Coalition) and John Shipton (anti-war activist & Julian Assange’s father).

Watch the webinar here

5 May 2020

Peter Oborne: Julian Assange’s case exposes British hypocrisy on press freedom

“If there was an ounce of sincerity in the foreign secretary’s claim that he is a supporter of media freedom, he would be resisting the US attempt to get its hands on Assange with every bone in his body.

“As Human Rights Watch has pointed out, the British authorities have the power to prevent any US prosecution from eroding media freedom. Britain has so far – at least – shown no appetite to exercise that power.

“There’s no denying, however, that Assange has done more than every other journalist in Britain put together to shed light on the way the world truly works.

“The US authorities aren’t out to get Assange because he’s a spy. They want him behind bars for his journalism. That’s why the consequences are so chilling if Britain gives into the US extradition request and allows Assange to face trial in the United States.

“We should be under no illusions. If successful, the US indictment against Assange will have terrible consequences for the free press.”

4 May 2020

Extradition hearing against Assange delayed until September

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s US extradition case will be moved to another British court, potentially outside London, after being delayed until September, the court has ruled.

The new location and start date for the remaining three weeks of the hearing will be confirmed on Friday, May 8th.

Journalists and observers who attempted to call into the hearing on a remote telephone line were unable to hear the proceedings, after a court clerk reportedly made an error with the phone system.

3 May 2020

Video: World Press Freedom Day – Persecution of Julian Assange

The panel, convened by the Courage Foundation, features two journalists whose reporting on the Snowden documents earned a Pulitzer Prize as well as the UK Bureau Director for Reporters without Borders, which tracks threats to journalism around the world.

Bart Gellman, staff writer at The Atlantic, author of the forthcoming “Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State”
Rebecca Vincent, UK Bureau Director at Reporters without Borders, monitored Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London
Ewen MacAskill, former defence and security correspondent for The Guardian, covered WikiLeaks’ Cablegate disclosures and Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations

Aaron Maté, contributor to The Nation and host of Pushback at The Grayzone

2 May 2020

Stella Moris: Why Julian Assange must urgently be freed

“The image of Julian being carried out of the embassy shocked many. It struck a blow to my chest, but it did not shock me. What happened that morning was an extension of what had been going on inside the embassy over an eighteen-month period.”

“It is not just our family who suffers from the infringement of Julian’s rights. If our family and Julian’s lawyers are not off-limits, then nothing is. The person responsible for allegedly ordering the theft of Gabriel’s DNA is Mike Pompeo, who last month threatened the family members of lawyers working at the International Criminal Court. Why? Because the court had had the temerity to investigate alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan. The same crimes that Julian exposed through WikiLeaks, and which the US wants to imprison him over.”

“Julian needs to be released now. For him, for our family, and for the society we all want our children to grow up in.”

Video: #FreeTheTruth – International solidarity event

This #FreeTheTruth panel is focused on the legal aspects of what’s happening to Julian Assange.


Mads Andenæs, Professor of Law at the University of Oslo, former chair of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and a former Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary Detention
Robert Tibbo, litigating barrister working in the areas of administrative and constitutional law. His focus is on human rights and on asylum and refugee law. He is well-known for his role in saving the life of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden
Ben Wizner, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. He has worked at the intersection of civil liberties and national security. He is also the principal legal advisor to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden

Moderator: Deepa Driver

30 April 2020

Online events announced

#FreeTheTruth – International solidary event
Saturday, May 2nd, 8am EST / 1pm BST / 2pm CEST

This #FreeTheTruth event will focus on the legal aspects of what’s happening to Julian Assange.

Prof Mads Andenæs
Robert Tibbo
Bez Wizner

Registration and more information here

Free Assange – Stop the Extradition
Wednesday, May 6th, 2pm EST / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST

Renata Avila
John Shipton
Tim Dawson
John Rees

Hosted by Greater Manchester Stop the War Coalition

Register here

29 April 2020

Julian Assange joins Catalan and other political prisoners calling on UN Human Rights High Commissioner to urge states to safeguard the lives of vulnerable prisoners during the pandemic

Around thirty political prisoners from different territories around the world have sent a letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, with the purpose of denouncing their situation of imprisonment during the Coronavirus crisis, after international institutions and organizations such as the Council of Europe, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch recommended reducing the population in prisons due to  the high risk  of spreading  the disease.

“We are concerned that many States are not complying with your recommendations, since as you stated, maintaining inmates in detention during this pandemic carries a high risk to their life and health, and doing so should be exclusively a measure of last resource.” reads the statement.

Among the signatories are the Catalan political prisoners, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and activists imprisoned in Argentina, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Morocco and Western Sahara.

Baltasar Garzon, head of Assange legal team, denounces the political persecution of Assange

Garzon, a renowned Spanish lawyer, told Sputnik that the UK judicial system would have turned down any extradition request for Assange were it not for the United States.

“I’m sure that if the country that required extradition were not the United States but any other country in the international community seeking to persecute a journalist for publishing reliable information, then it’s absolutely certain that the issue of extradition would not even be considered in court,” Garzon said. “Extradition against Julian Assange has a clear political focus, and we will be able to prove it without any reasonable doubt.”

27 April 2020

Julian Assange extradition hearing postponed

Hearings in the U.S. extradition case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, scheduled to start on May 18, will not go ahead because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Arguing for the delay, Assange’s lawyers said the coronavirus lockdown in the prison makes it impossible for them to meet their client. Lawyer Edward Fitzgerald told the judge his legal team had been unable to speak to Assange for a month, bar a few short phone calls.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser adjourned the case until May 4 when a new date will be fixed. She also said that a three-week block hearing can be held from November 2 at the earliest.

The hearing highlighted the difficulty of holding the case remotely, since much of it was inaudible to journalists who dialled in to listen via a conference call, leading to a court clerk having to repeat Fitzgerald’s arguments word by word.

Amnesty International: Delay in Assange proceedings important for ensuring access to justice amid COVID-19

“It makes sense to delay the proceedings so that Julian Assange can prepare a defense against his transfer to the US on charges related to his lawful publishing activities. We believe that Mr. Assange should not be sent to the US under any circumstances as he will be at risk of serious human rights violations”, said Massimo Moratti, Deputy Director of the AI Europe Office

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates the need for Assange’s immediate release before his health is further jeopardised

“We are alarmed by the continued disregard for Julian Assange’s health, particularly now with the added risk of his being exposed to coronavirus in detention. He should be immediately released before his health is further jeopardised, and the court must ensure that he is able to participate fully in future hearings”, said RSF UK Bureau Director Rebecca Vincent.

“Today’s experience attempting to remotely observe proceedings in Julian Assange’s case was extremely frustrating, and shows that resuming the full extradition hearing in such conditions would not allow for open justice. This case is of tremendous public interest, and the press and NGO observers must be able to scrutinise proceedings. We call for the full hearing to be postponed until lockdown conditions are lifted”, said Vincent.

25 April 2020

VIDEO: Whistleblowers for Assange

Whistleblowers who have shaped what we know about modern politics talk about the importance of free speech, a free press, and the case of Julian Assange.

Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers Whistleblower
Katharine Gun, Iraq War secrets Whistleblower
John Kiriakou, CIA Whistleblower

24 April 2020

Julian Assange’s administrative hearing to take place on Monday April 27

Julian Assange’s legal team will make a new bid in Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Monday to delay his extradition hearing scheduled to start on May 18 due to their lack of access with Belmarsh prison in lockdown. The lawyers will also argue that key witnesses won’t be able to travel from overseas and journalists to adequately cover the hearing.

Online event announced: Whistleblowers for Assange
Saturday, April 25th, 6pm BST / 7pm CEST / 1pm EDT

A chance to learn first hand from some whistleblowers who have shaped what we know about modern politics about the importance of free speech, a free press, and the case of Julian Assange.

Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers Whistleblower
Katharine Gun, Iraq War secrets Whistleblower
John Kiriakou, CIA Whistleblower

Register here

23 April 2020

System Update with Green Greenwald: The Ongoing Travesty — and Dangers — of the Prosecution and Attempted Extradition of Julian Assange

Gleen Greenwald’s comprehensive overview of the Assange case, latest updates to it and the reasons it is so pernicious, with two guests: the international human rights lawyer Jen Robinson, who has long represented Assange in this and other legal proceedings, and the Washington Post’s media reporter Margaret Sullivan

21 April 2020

VIDEO: The Prosecution of Julian Assange and the Fight for Free Speech

A panel discussion of leading attorneys, human rights defenders and social justice activists as the London trial of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is underway. Speakers present the critical legal and policy issues involved as well as rebut government efforts to undermine the reputation and credibility of Assange.

 Margaret Kimberley, Joe Lombardo & Jeff Mackler with the UNAC, Nozomi Hayase, Nathan Fuller of Courage Foundation, and James Lafferty of National Lawyers Guild

Video messages from Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson, Noam Chomsky, & Daniel Ellsberg

Canberra Times: A Spanish security firm tailed the mother of Julian Assange’s fiance and illegally recorded hours of footage of their baby son

Court documents in the Spanish criminal probe into UC Global, security firm that spied on Assange on behalf of the CIA, reveal that the firm tailed the mother of Julian Assange’s fiancee and illegally recorded hours of footage of their baby son. The footage of the infant stored on company computers were handed to the Spanish court by former employees.

Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index: UK ranking declines due to Lyra McKee’s murder & Assange’s disproportionate sentence and ongoing extradition case

The UK has dropped two places to 35th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF’s) 2020 World Press Freedom Index, after the murder of Lyra McKee and active threats to the safety of journalists in Northern Ireland, and the detention of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who faces possible extradition to the US.

“The sentencing of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to a disproportionate jail term of 50 weeks for breaking bail also marred the UK’s press freedom record in 2019, as did the Home Office’s decision to green light the US extradition request. Assange remained in custody at the high security Belmarsh Prison despite widespread international concern for his health and safety, including by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.”

“With coronavirus and other converging crises presenting unprecedented threats to press freedom globally, it is more important than ever for democratic states to lead by example. The UK should be performing better on the World Press Freedom Index, and must address these domestic concerns as a matter of priority. Concrete steps should be taken to ensure the safety of journalists in the wake of Lyra McKee’s murder, and Julian Assange should be released – and certainly not extradited to the US”, said RSF UK Bureau Director Rebecca Vincent.

Daniel Ellsberg: I strongly urge that Julian Assange is released because he is in great danger of a death penalty in that prison

Daniel Ellsberg in conversation with Angela Richter on Diem25TV

19 April 2020

Geoffrey Robertson writes about Julian’s extradition case and imprisonment amid covid

“The most immediate danger to Assange, with his chronic lung condition, is coronavirus. Prisons are hotbeds and have already had eight deaths so thousands of non-violent offenders are being released on parole to avoid their exposure. But parole is not on offer for Assange.”

18 April 2020

Online event: Journalists speak out for Assange

John Pilger – award winning journalist
Stefania Maurizi – investigative journalist
Charles Glass – author, journalist, broadcaster

16 April 2020

Assange’s partner and previously undisclosed documents reveal the grim condition of the Wikileaks founder

Fatto Quotidiano has had exclusive access to Assange’s partner Stella Morris’ court statement, and to some of the UK authorities’ internal communications on Julian Assange obtained through a five-year-long Freedom of Information Act litigation which is still ongoing, as well as to UG Global internal documents on the espionage activities against Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Documents reveal the extreme conditions Julian Assange has been living under in recent years: his deteriorating state of health, profound lack of interest for it displayed by the UK authorities, and the scope of UC Global spy operation that extended to his most intimate relations.

Spanish lawyer Aitor Martinez, a member of Julian Assange’s legal team who was also filmed by UC Global, thinks that these activities targeting the WikiLeaks founder, his partner, children and the collaborators and lawyers, doctors, and journalists who visited him were so extreme that extradition to the US must be denied.

15 April 2020

EL PAÍS: Spanish firm that spied on Julian Assange tried to find out if he fathered a child at Ecuadorian embassy

The spying that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was subjected to during the seven years that he lived at the Ecuadorian embassy in London extended to his most intimate relations.

David Morales, owner of security firm Undercover Global SL, who is under investigation by Spain’s High Court for spying on Assange’s meetings with lawyers and allegedly handing information to the CIA, suspected that a baby who was repeatedly brought into the embassy might really be Assange’s own child, and these visits were recorded. Morales even issued orders to steal the baby’s diapers to analyze the contents for DNA, although the task was never carried out.

A former employee of UC Global, protected witness in the Spanish probe, has testified that “there was an attempt to take the baby’s pacifier” and that “they wanted to prove that it was his child in a bid to harm him”.

14 April 2020

Online events announced

Journalists speak out for Assange
Saturday, April 18th, 7am EST / 12pm BST / 13pm CET

Julian Assange has been detained in Belmarsh prison for over a year now where Coronavirus is rapidly spreading but the officials are not being forthright about that. Julian faces 175 years in United States prison on the Espionage Act charges for publishing truthful information in the public interest.

John Pilger – award winning journalist
Stefania Maurizi – investigative journalist
Charles Glass – author, journalist, broadcaster

Register here

The Prosecution of Julian Assange and the Fight for Free Speech
Sunday, April 19th, 12pm PST / 3pm EST / 8pm BST

A panel discussion of leading attorneys, human rights defenders and social justice activists as the London trial of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is underway. If Assange is extradited to the United States, he faces the first-ever charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 for the publication of truthful information in the public interest. Speakers will present the critical legal and policy issues involved as well as rebut government efforts to undermine the reputation and credibility of Assange. In these difficult times for civil liberties and democratic rights we demand: Free Julian Assange! Defend Free Speech and the First Amendment!

Margaret Kimberley,  Joe Lombardo, Nozomi Hayase, Nathan Fuller, James Lafferty

Video messages from Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson, Noam Chomsky, & Daniel Ellsberg

More info here
Register here

13 April 2020

Eva Joly: “If Julian Assange is extradited, it’s the end of the rule of law in the West”

In an interview with Pressenza, Eva Joly, lawyer, former magistrate and former MP, talks about the case of Julian Assange, the ongoing extradition trial and the importance of the case for the rule of law in the West.

Replying to a question if Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights could prevent his extradition she says: “All this should protect this multi-award winning journalist, but we see that it does not protect him, which makes us fear the worst for the future. The FBI has been following the case for a long time. Julian Assange was also being watched by a Spanish company working for the CIA while he was granted political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. If Julian Assange is extradited, it is the end of the rule of law in the West as we have built it for nearly a century.”

12 April 2020

Julian Assange’s partner and mother of their two children urges UK government to bail him and other vulnerable prisoners amid coronavirus

After many years of protecting the privacy of her family with Julian Assange, Stella Morris has given a statement to court to support his bail and had to give up her anonymity to do so. “He doesn’t have a voice at present but I do. That’s why I am using it.”

Julian Assange’s newly revealed partner, mother of their 2 young children, urges UK government to bail him and other vulnerable prisoners as #coronavirus sweeps prisons#FreePress#DontExtraditeAssange #coronavirus #COVID19

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 11, 2020

WATCH: Julian Assange’s newly revealed partner, and mother of their 2 young children, speaks for the first time: Urges UK government to bail her vulnerable fiance amid #coronavirus fears#FreePress#DontExtraditeAssange #COVID19

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 11, 2020

11 April 2020

Today marks one year since Julian Assange was arrested

On April 11, 2019, Assange was expelled from the Ecuador embassy in the U.K. British police arrested him and charged him with violating bail conditions when he sought asylum in 2012, but the arrest was also connected to an indictment and extradition request filed by the U.S. government.

Assange has served a 50-week sentence for the bail charge and since remains in jail on behalf of of the US, despite his deteriorating health, the way it inhibits his ability to work with his legal team on his extradition case, and the reality that the global coronavirus pandemic threatens the lives of every incarcerated or jailed person.

Kevin Gosztola gives an overview of the Assange case since the arrest.

Webinar: 1 Year Since Julian Assange’s Arrest

A panel discussion marking one year since WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and arrested by British police. Assange is fighting extradition to the United States where he faces 175 years in prison on the first-ever charges of espionage for publishing truthful information in the public interest.

Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower
Marjorie Cohn, former president of the National Lawyers Guild
Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

Aaron Maté, writer for The Nation and host of Pushback at The Grayzone

Online solidarity event: Free the Truth

The United Kindom event honoring Julian Assange on the 1 year anniversary of his (illegal) arrest at the Ecuadorian Embassy and detention in Belmarsh Prison (known as the Guantanamo Bay of the United Kindgom). The battle for press freedom, and Julian’s freedom is far from over. He will face up to 175 years in prison in the USA if the UK is allowed to extradite him.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief
Stefania Maurizi, journalist
Peter Oborne, journalist
Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador
Catherine Brown, literature acdemic
Chris Williamson, politician and former MP
Andrew Feinstein, author

Hosted by:
Deepa Driver

Three leading French Journalist Unions pen letter of solidarity to Julian Assange [French]

“Julian Assange, thank you for having given strength and inspiration to a number of citizens who are committed to making transparent the criminal designs and the operating modes of administrations which survive only by the opacity of their actions.”

9 April 2020

UK journalist Vaughan Smith posts his account of recent telephone conversation with incarcerated Julian Assange

“Julian Assange called me yesterday from Belmarsh prison. His incarceration in the time of Covid 19 threatens his life.

Julian is now confined alone in a cell for 23 1/2 hours every day. He gets half an hour of exercise and that is in a yard crowded with other prisoners. With over 150 Belmarsh prison staff off work self-isolating, the prison is barely functioning.

We know of 2 Covid 19 deaths in Belmarsh so far, though the Department of Justice have admitted to only one death. Julian told me that there have been more and that the virus is ripping through the prison.”

“Julian Assange is a political prisoner and his treatment is a national disgrace. While Iran has responded to Covid 19 by letting Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe out of prison, British justice is being gamed against Julian in a further act of cowardly vengeance.”

Statements: Leading press freedom and human rights organizations, legal experts, academics, journalists and politicians oppose the extradition of Julian Assange

Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign has collected statements from leading press freedom organizations, human rights groups and institutions, journalist’s unions and associations, legal experts, investigative journalists, academics and politicians opposing the extradition of Julian Assange, and urging for his release from Belmarsh in the time of coronavirus crisis.

Australian parliamentarians ask U.K. to release Julian Assange from prison amid coronavirus outbreak

British officials were pressed to release WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange from Belmarsh prison where inmates have contracted the coronavirus.

Andrew Wilkie and George Christensen, the Australian parliamentarians who made the request, argued that Assange meets all of the criteria that should qualify for his release per the guidance of groups including the World Health Organization and U.K. Prison Officers Association and that rather than remaining at Belmarsh Prison, Assange should be freed and fitted with an ankle monitor.

“Mr. Assange is a non-violent remand prisoner with no history of harm to the community. He is not convicted and is thus entitled to the presumption of innocence,” they wrote in letters sent to Bob Neill, the chair of the U.K. Commons Justice Committee, and Robert Buckland, the British lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice.

COVID-19 is in the UK’s prisons. #JulianAssange is at high risk due to his chronic lung condition and must be released into home detention. He is no risk to the public. Our letters to the UK Government. #politas #auspol

— Andrew Wilkie MP (@WilkieMP) April 9, 2020

8 April 2020

Online event: One Year Since Julian Assange’s Arrest
April 11th, 12pm PST / 3pm EST / 8pm BST / 7pm CET

A panel of experts will mark the one-year anniversary of the arrest of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in a webinar hosted by the Courage Foundation.

Panelists will comment on the treatment Assange has endured in his year of detention at HMP Belmarsh in London, which the UN Rapporteur on Torture has described as “psychological torture.” Panelists will also address the threat of the coronavirus spreading through British prisons and the district judge’s decision to deny Assange bail amid this pandemic.

Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower
Marjorie Cohn, former president of the National Lawyers Guild
Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

Moderated by:
Aaron Maté, writer for The Nation and host of Pushback

Register here
More info here

Online International Solidarity Event: Free The Truth
April 11th, 5:30pm BST / 12:30pm EST / 9:30pm PST

This online solidarity event commemorates the inhumane removal of award-winning journalist & publisher Julian Assange from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, and seeks to examine the circumstances surrounding his planned extradition to the US.

Andrew Feinstein, Kristinn Hrafnsson, Stefania Maurizi, Peter Oborne, Chris Williamson

Register here

7 April 2020

Judge denies request to postpone extradition trial due to coronavirus pandemic

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser says extradition proceedings against Julian Assange will go ahead on May 18 as previously scheduled, despite his legal team’s concerns about open justice and his health amid the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.

Defence lawyers applied for the hearing to be delayed until September and prosecuting lawyers had a “neutral” stance in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

“This is an unpredictable situation but I cannot assume the courts will not operating normally by then,” said the Judge. “Mr Assange is in custody and there is some urgency of this case being heard to its conclusion.”

Due to lockdown measures Tuesday’s hearing took place in unusual circumstances with Assange reportedly unwell and no lawyers attending in person.

Defence lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said it’s near impossible to meet Assange inside the locked-down Belmarsh prison. He said it will put Assange at risk of coronavirus as he has to pass through communal areas of the prison where at least one prisoner has died of coronavirus. Mr Fitzgerald noted that the lockdown was taking a toll on the mental state of Assange, who suffers clinical depression.

Judge Baraister ruled against a deferral, but said she would review the viability of the May hearing closer to the date.

5 April 2020

10 years ago WikiLeaks published Collateral Murder

10 years ago WikiLeaks published “Collateral Murder” – a classified US military video documenting a war crime. The video shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight shows U.S. Army helicopters shooting more than a dozen Iraqis in Baghdad including Reuters’ photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and his assistant, Saeed Chmagh, and their rescuers. WikiLeaks has said as many as 25 people were killed as a result of the incident. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

Speaking about her decision to the leak the video, Chelsea Manning said that Reuters’ inability to get the footage themselves via Freedom of Information Act request contributed to her decision to leak it.

None of the pilots, military officials nor policy-makers have ever been charged or otherwise held responsible for the events shown in the video.

Short documentary marking the 10th anniversary on of the infamous publication which changed the discourse of the Iraq war.

Webinar with WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, Dr. Nozomi Hayase and chaired by Ann Wright.

UK government won’t release Julian Assange amid coronavirus

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange isn’t eligible to be temporarily released from jail as part of the UK government’s plan to mitigate coronavirus in prisons.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed with AAP that Julian Assange who is being held on remand in Belmarsh prison, will not be temporarily released because he’s not serving a custodial sentence and therefore not eligible.

In a statement issued by ‘Scotland Against Criminalising Communities’, SACC chair Richard Haley said that Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill contains a ‘Julian Assange clause’ which excludes prisoners in custody under the Extradition Act 2003. “The only plausible reason for it is to avoid embarrassing Westminster, who need a similar clause in order to keep Julian Assange behind bars”, said Haley.

3 April 2020

The Anti-War Initiative (AKI) honors Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden with honorary membership

“The Anti-War Initiative (AKI) wishes to honor the three whistleblowers Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden with honorary memberships. All three have helped open our eyes to the criminal abuses of state power. They have revealed war crimes, human rights violations and mass surveillance on a large scale, and created awareness of crimes that were never intended to be known. Each of the three has acted at great personal cost and is suffering for his sacrifice now. We can do nothing but admire the courage and the steadfastness shown by the three.”

“Julian Assange and WikiLeaks came into the public light in 2010 when they published tens of thousands of classified documents from the United States, known as Afghan War Diaries and Iraq War Logs. The papers documented more than 100,000 civilian deaths as a result of the respective occupations. A number of compromising leaks made known through WikiLeaks show that states operate outside international law and act as though international jurisdiction doesn’t apply to them. Without Assange and WikiLeak’s operations, these conditions would very likely never have been known.”

“By acknowledging Assange, Manning and Snowden with honorary memberships, the AKI wishes to highlight a manifest injustice: the whistleblowers are punished while the war criminals go free.”

Council of Europe reclassifies detention of Julian Assange as ‘Level 1’ alert

Following the reply from the Permanant Representation of the UK to the COE on March 20, COE reclassifies the detention of Julian Assange as a ‘Level 1’ alert — “Covering the most severe and damaging violations of media freedom because of their journalistic work”

2 April 2020

Online Event: Collateral Murder – 10 Years On (Sunday, April 5 – 5pm BST)

It’s been 10 years since WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting three airstrikes from a US Apache helicopter on July 12, 2007 in New Baghdad, Iraq. At least eighteen people were killed in the airstrikes, including two journalists working for Reuters, Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen.

In this special online event Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and columnist Nozomi Hayase will be discussing the global political impact of one of the greatest journalistic coups of this century: the release of the cockpit video of US troops shooting down journalists and innocent civilians in Iraq.

Register for the event here

1 April 2020

Declassified UK: At risk from coronavirus, Julian Assange is one of just two inmates in Belmarsh maximum-security prison held for skipping bail

Investigation conducted by Matt Kennard for the Declassified UK, revelas that Julian Assange is one of just two inmates at Belmarsh being held for violating bail conditions.

“The figures, correct for March 11 2020, show that more than 20% of the Belmarsh prison population is held for murder, while nearly two-thirds — or 477 people — are imprisoned for violent offences. A further 16 inmates are held for offences related to terrorism, including four people who planned to carry out terrorist attacks.”

“Twenty inmates are held for sex crimes against children. This includes four people imprisoned in Belmarsh for rape of a child under 13, with a further three jailed for making indecent photographs of a child. Thirty-seven inmates are in Belmarsh for serious sex crimes, including 14 inmates convicted of rape of a woman aged over 16.”

“In the list of offences of Belmarsh inmates provided to Declassified UK (found at the bottom of this article) it is likely that the one prisoner in the ‘fail to surrender to court/police bail at the appointed time’ category refers to Assange. Another prisoner is held under a similar category: ‘fail to answer to court/police bail as soon as practicable’. It is not known who this prisoner is.”

“The new figures raise further questions as to why the WikiLeaks publisher continues to be held at Belmarsh, which is described as ‘holding high-security risk prisoners on remand and awaiting trial’.”

“Assange is now held solely at the behest of the US after his bail violation sentence was extended by Judge Baraitser last September on the grounds that his ‘remand status changes from a serving prisoner to a person facing extradition’. Assange may now be held indefinitely at Belmarsh given the likely delay in US extradition proceedings due to coronavirus.”

30 March 2020

Stefania Maurizi: Only public pressure can save Assange

In an interview with Ivana Nenadović streamed on DiEM25TV journalist Stefania Maurizi speaks about why we must save Julian Assange

“We are being confined at home for the last few weeks and we realize how depressing, how hard it is to stay at home 24h per day without being allowed to go out. Imagine what Julian Assange experienced in the last 10 years when he basically spent an entire decade initially under house arrest, then 7 years confined to an embassy in a tiny room (…) without even an hour outdoors per day. I mean we give an hour outdoors to some of the worst mafia people, people who do all sorts of horrific things and he was not allowed to have an hour outdoors for 7 years. He was not allowed to go to the hospital when he needed treatment so imagine now that we are confined at home, now we can maybe realize what it means. I would have gone mad after 7 months not 7 years. And after this treatment he is now at Belmarsh in high-security prison at the risk of getting, maybe dying due to corona virus. I don’t think people realize how cruel is his treatment and how he was abused.”

“The reason why I am not optimistic is, I have spent the last 5 years trying to access the documents on the case and I got some of the documents and if you read them you realize how cruel are the UK authorities in dealing with him. (…) I have very very little hope in the legal process in London courts because I have seen how the legal case is highly unusual, highly distorted. I am very concerned and this is why I want to speak out because I think what I have seen in this case is completely unacceptable, completely incompatible with freedom of the press in our democratic societies. (…) Thanks to this documents now we have evidence of the UK authorities meddling in this case in order to assist the US to extradite him, not for RussiaGate, to extradite him just for revealing war crimes and tortures. This is what is really alarming. (…) Because let’s not forget, if they are able to extradite Julian Assange, Sarah Harrison, journalist who assisted Edward Snowden to get asylum, Kristinn Hrafnsson the current Wikileaks editor, Jospeh Farrell, the current Wikileaks ambassador, they will be the next, and the whole Wikileaks team of journalists will be the next.

27 March 2020

‘Doctors for Assange’ Statement on Assange Bail Hearing over Coronavirus Risk

“Doctors4Assange strongly condemns Wednesday’s decision by UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser to deny bail to Julian Assange. Despite our prior unequivocal statement that Mr Assange is at increased risk of serious illness and death were he to contract coronavirus, and the evidence of medical experts, Baraitser dismissed the risk, citing UK guidelines for prisons in responding to the global pandemic: “I have no reason not to trust this advice as both evidence-based and reliable and appropriate.”

26 March 2020

John Shipton, father of Julian Assange in conversation with Srećko Horvat

John Shipton: “The bail application was rejected. The US prosecutors said that the human rights obligations of the UK don’t apply. Can you believe that? The human rights obligations of the UK don’t apply to a person who’s in danger of catching COVID-19 in a maximum security prison, a remand prisoners who has committed no crime in the UK, and the US prosecutors said human rights provisions don’t apply to Julian. That’s disgraceful.”

Srećko Horvat: What can we learn about isolation from Julian Assange

“First of all because this whole concept of self-isolation today I think is already ideological concept, like in the sense of course you and me can self-isolate because we are lucky enough to have a home, but what about all those homeless people, or to put it into the context of Julian Assange who is at this moment at high security prison Belmarsh in the UK, how can the prisoners, be protected from coronavirus?”

“You remember those cruisers ‘Princess Diamond’ and so on, imagine 3000 people on a cruise ship and the virus is spreading around. That already looks like a dystopia. They were in their rooms, food was delivered to them and then it was discovered that the food was infected. Now to make a parallel. Compare that boat which is a luxurious virus prison with a real prison where also the officers who carry the food might get infected and where he is in a room without television, without internet, without anything. We have internet at home, we can communicate, so I think this situation at this moment is really dire and it’s urgent, more urgent than ever to get him out of prison.”

25 March 2020

Assange denied bail amid coronavirus pandemic

British Magistrate Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser denied WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s request for bail, despite calls for the release of detainees and prisoners to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

The Don’t Extradite Assange campaign said “Assange’s lawyers argued that the virus can spread rapidly in Britain’s overcrowded prisons and that there are already 100 staff off sick with coronavirus symptoms at HMP Belmarsh, the high security prison where Assange is held. (…) Yet despite Assange’s already weakened medical condition, including a previously reported lung complaint, the Judge refused to accept that there were fresh grounds for granting bail, even though the Justice Minister is currently reviewing whether remand prisoners like Julian Assange should be released.”

Statement from Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson

@wikileaks editor-in-chief @khrafnsson condemns the decision not to release Julian #Assange on bail in light of the #Coronavirus crisis. More than 100 staff from Belmarsh are off sick.

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) March 25, 2020


Outrageous for the UK Court to deny Julian Assange bail. As if extradition to the US wouldn’t be bad enough, now the UK is risking Assange being infected & possibly dying in prison. He’s a journalist & this is a political fix. Disgraceful! #FreeAssange #politas #Auspol

— Andrew Wilkie MP (@WilkieMP) March 26, 2020

#FreeAssange Yesterday, the emergency bail application for Julian Assange made in light of the #COVIDー19 pandemic was denied. Due to his health condition, Assange faces an elevated risk of contracting Covid-19 and could suffer serious consequences from the virus. Time to act.

— IFJ (@IFJGlobal) March 26, 2020

Die britische Justiz spielt eiskalt mit dem Leben und der Gesundheit von Julian #Assange . Die Ablehnung seines Kautionsantrags ist angesichts einer drohenden Ansteckung mit #COVIDー19 im Hochsicherheitsgefängnis rücksichtslos & ignorant #FreeAssange

— Sevim Dagdelen, MdB (@SevimDagdelen) March 25, 2020

It is a disgrace for the UK and for humanity, that the UK refuses to release Assange, even in view of Covid 19 — and in contravention of the judgment of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention #COVID2019

— Alfred de Zayas (@Alfreddezayas) March 25, 2020

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet: Urgent action needed to prevent COVID-19 “rampaging through places of detention”

On the same day Baraitser denied Assange’s bail request, Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued a statement urging governments to protect the health and safety of people in detention.

“Now, more than ever, governments should release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views.”

URGENT: UN Human Rights Chief @mbachelet urges Governments to act now to prevent #COVID19 devastating the health of people in detention and other closed facilities, as part of global efforts to contain the pandemic.

Learn more 👉

— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) March 25, 2020

Amnesty International: UK authorities should urgently consider releasing some people who are currently in detention or prison

Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Europe Deputy Director of Research, said:

“In light of the COVID-19 crisis, UK authorities should urgently consider releasing some people who are currently in detention or prison, especially those who are more at risk from the virus.”

“If Julian Assange is shown to have an underlying condition that puts him at risk, he should be immediately released on bail.”

24 March 2020

UK: Email your MP to help release Julian Assange from Belmarsh prison before Coronavirus spreads

Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign starts an emergency online lobby of MPs. Send an email to you MP asking for the release of Julian Assange.

Click on the link and follow the the instructions.

Yanis Varoufakis: Last night Julian Assange called me. Here is what we talked about

“His prison conditions are deteriorating. Now that visits have stopped, his isolation is getting worse. His lawyers are about to petition the court for bail. If any prisoner’s health at Belmarsh High Security prison is in jeopardy from Covid-19 infection, it is Julian’s.”

23 March 2020

Assange to Apply for Bail as Experts Warn of COVID-19 Spread in Prisons

On Wednesday, 25th of March, Julian Assange’s lawyers will make a bail application at Westminster Magistrates Court. They will argue that he is vulnerable to the COVID-19 outbreak in the prison where he is on remand.

The WikiLeaks founder and publisher is being held at HMP Belmarsh on a US extradition warrant for WikiLeaks’ 2010 publications about the Iraq and Afghan wars and US foreign policy. UN officials and the OSCE have called for Julian Assange’s immediate release and for the US request to be thrown out. He faces 175 years in prison if extradited to the U.S.

Prisons are considered epicentres for the spread of COVID-19 due to overcrowding and the propensity of the virus to spread in closed environments. Andrea Albutt, the President of the Prison Governors Association, has warned that “there will be deaths” in UK prisons.

18 March 2020

‘Doctors for Assange’ seek release of Julian Assange over coronavirus concerns

In a letter addressed to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Morise Payne, ‘Doctors for Assange’, a group of nearly 200 medical professionals, warned that Julian Assange is at increased risk from coronavirus illness (COVID-19) if he continues to be detained in Belmarsh maximum-security prison. They urged the Australian government to intervene and secure Assange’s release.

“Now, with the president of the Prison Governor’s Association warning that prisons provide ‘fertile breeding grounds’ for coronavirus, Julian Assange’s life and health are at heightened risk due to his arbitrary detention during this global pandemic. That threat will only grow as the coronavirus spreads”, the doctors warn.

Petition: Release Julian Assange from Belmarsh Prison before COVID-19 spreads

Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign started a petition to UK’s Home Office Secretary Priti Patel, demanding a release of Julian Assange before the coronavirus spreads through the prison population.

“As a vulnerable prisoner whose health is already in jeopardy further isolation would be damaging in itself, let alone the threat that the virus breaks out inside the prison. The increased health risk means he should be released immediately.

“There is a high possibility that the prisons will cancel all visits which means even harder access to his family and friends. Releasing him and other vulnerable prisoners would reduce the risk of outbreak of the virus inside the prison.”

Sign the petition here

16 March 2020

Julian Assange’s mother calls for his immediate release from prison over coronavirus fears

The mother of imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has appealed for his immediate release from Belmarsh Prison over fears he could catch coronavirus while behind bars.

Christine Assange’s plea came after a leading prison boss warned last week that the worsening Covid-19 epidemic will kill inmates throughout the UK, describing the conditions inside jails as a fertile breeding ground for the virus.

“Bail him now to save his life from #COVID19,” she wrote.

14 March 2020

Jeffrey Sterling: Reject Using My Unjust Conviction Against Julian Assange

“As a U.S. citizen, I was ostensibly armed with certain rights going into a Virginia courtroom to fight for my freedom. I was woefully mistaken. The court in Virginia where Assange would be tried is the same court that prevented me from suing the Central Intelligence Agency for employment discrimination, on grounds that it would pose a threat to the national security of the United States. To that court and to the U.S. government, an African American fighting for his supposedly guaranteed civil rights is a threat to national security.”13 March 2020

Dr. Lissa Johnson: The Julian Assange Show Trial, And The Not-So-Subtle Art Of Normalising Torture

“What is not “standard” or normal is for Walkley Award-winning Australian journalists to be prosecuted as spies by the United States, and subjected to maximum security conditions as a result. What is not “standard” is for someone charged with nothing whatsoever under United Kingdom law to be treated exactly like someone charged with terrorism.It is not standard, nor remotely normal, for journalists with no criminal history, no custodial sentence, and no history or risk of violence to be detained under the harshest and most punitive conditions that UK law enforcement has to offer.Nor is it standard for publishers to be held behind bullet-proof glass while on trial for their journalism, thereby preventing them from sitting with their lawyers, as if their journalistic skills might break loose and terrorise the court.”

12 March 2020

Chelsea Manning ordered released from prison and Jeremy Hammond ordered released from his contempt as the grand jury investigating Wikileaks ends

A federal judge has ordered the release of Chelsea Manning: “the court finds Ms. Manning’s appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.”

A statement from her legal team said: “Judge Anthony Trenga today ordered Chelsea Manning’s release from confinement, after the apparent conclusion of the grand jury to which she had been subpoenaed, and before which she refused to testify. He further ordered that she pay $256,000 in fines which accrued each day she refused to cooperate with the grand jury.”

Jeremy Hammond will return to BOP to finish serving his time.

11 March 2020

Chelsea Manning recovering after suicide attempt

Manning’s legal team confirmed the incident in a statement saying she is currently in the hospital and is recovering.

“In spite of those sanctions — which have so far included over a year of so-called ‘coercive’ incarceration and nearly half a million dollars in threatened fines — she remains unwavering in her refusal to participate in a secret grand jury process that she sees as highly susceptible to abuse.

Ms. Manning has previously indicated that she will not betray her principles, even at risk of grave harm to herself.

Writing in a 2019 letter to Judge Trenga, Ms. Manning said: ‘I object to this grand jury … as an effort to frighten journalists and publishers, who serve a crucial public good. I have had these values since I was a child, and I’ve had years of confinement to reflect on them. For much of that time, I depended for survival on my values, my decisions, and my conscience. I will not abandon them now.’”

10 March 2020

International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) condemns UK treatment of Julian Assange in US extradition trial

IBAHRI co-chair the Hon Michael Kirby said Assange’s treatment may constitute breaches of his right to a fair trial and protections enshrined in the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

“The IBAHRI is concerned that the mistreatment of Julian Assange constitutes breaches of his right to a fair trial and protections enshrined in the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the UK is party. It is deeply shocking that as a mature democracy in which the rule of law and the rights of individuals are preserved, the UK Government has been silent and has taken no action to terminate such gross and disproportionate conduct by Crown officials. As well, we are surprised that the presiding judge has reportedly said and done nothing to rebuke the officials and their superiors for such conduct in the case of an accused whose offence is not one of personal violence. Many countries in the world look to Britain as an example in such matters. On this occasion, the example is shocking and excessive. It is reminiscent of the Abu Grahib Prison Scandal which can happen when prison officials are not trained in the basic human rights of detainees and the Nelson Mandela Rules.”

6 March 2020

“Julian Did Redact”: An Interview With Lawyer-Journalist Mark Davis

“These charges are patently absurd. If these charges can be applied to Julian, it’s not being too dramatic to say, they can be applied to anyone.
These sorts of espionage laws in America have never been used. But, they’ve been dusted off to be applied to a man who did a great act of journalism, and made a great contribution to world knowledge.
He may have expected some impact – perhaps a travel ban on going to America. He would not have expected a whole new phase of legal precedent, where an intelligence agency of one country can reach into another and pluck someone out of it for a breach of their laws. It’s unparalleled.”

“I can say as a matter of fact – as an eyewitness observation – Julian did redact. He’s never been given credit for it. And it absolutely astounds me.
This casual slur is being repeated by journalists ad nauseum around the world, as well as by American officials. And no one has ever bothered to establish whether it’s true or not.”

Ex president of Brazil Lula meets with John Shipton, father of Julian Assange

“All my sympathy to the founder of Wikileaks. Humanity should demand its freedom. Instead of being arrested, he should be treated like a hero. #FreeAssange”

Encontro com John Shipton, pai de @JulianAssange_. Toda minha solidariedade ao fundador do @wikileaks. A humanidade deveria exigir sua liberdade. Ao invés de preso ele deveria ser tratado como um herói. #FreeAssange

Foto: Ricardo Stuckert

— Lula (@LulaOficial) March 6, 2020

Angela Richter: At the heart of judicial farce [in German]

“Even more disturbing is the brutal treatment of Julian Assange, who has been held in solitary confinement for months, like a terrorist. On the first day of the hearing, he had to undergo two body searches, naked, he was handcuffed eleven times, and his documents were confiscated. He took the floor several times, complaining that he could not follow the trial, but was each time severely interrupted by the judge, who has asked him to speak only through his lawyers. Kafkaesque: That’s exactly what he can’t do.”

5 March 2020

Whistleblowers must be protected and Julian Assange freed, interview with German MP Frank Schwabe

“The rule of law has a long European tradition. And we are rightly proud of its standards. We must vigorously counter any impression that this could be overridden in special cases. A breach of the rule of law in the Assange case would have far-reaching negative effects beyond this specific case. Britain has committed itself to the rule of law not only within the EU but also within the Council of Europe. No matter the specific case.”

Espionage Act reform bill to improve protections for national security reporting

Under the proposed legislation, the United States government would not be able to prosecute journalists like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who publish classified information. The legislation to amend the 1917 Espionage Act was introduced by Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden in the Senate and California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna in the House of Representatives.

However, Khanna told The Intercept that the new bill wouldn’t stop the prosecution of Assange for his alleged role in hacking a government computer system, but would make it impossible for the government to use the Espionage Act to charge anyone solely for publishing classified information.

Read the analysis of the proposed Bill by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press here

3 March 2020

Transparency Deutschland and the German association of investigative Journalists – Netzwerk Recherche issue a statement asking for the release of Julian Assange [in German]

“Journalists may no longer be prosecuted as ‘traitors’ if they have published documents classified as secret by the state. The federal government should urge the British government to release Assange.”

Ulrike Fröhling, Transparency Deutschland: “The freedom of the press, which is protected by fundamental rights, must not be undermined by the state persecuting journalists for aiding and abetting treason when they publish classified documents.”

Julia Stein, Chairwoman Netzwerk Recherche: “The Julian Assange case affects us all. Uncovering grievances is a central task of the media. Julian Assange has proven with Wikileaks that the US government has not told the truth about the war to its citizens.”

2 March 2020

Stefania Maurizi: Julian Assange is the defendant, journalism is under trial

“Before the court, James Lewis QC, who acts for the United States, tries to convince the judge and the public that the United States is not putting journalism under trial. In reality, this is the first time in US history that a journalist has been charged with violation of the Espionage Act, a draconian law enacted in 1917 to punish spies who pass secrets to the enemy. And yet Julian Assange has never passed information to the enemy. Not even the American government accuses Julian Assange of having done so: he published secret documents revealing war crimes and torture.”

“Lewis argues that WikiLeaks has put sources and informants who spoke to US troops or to the American diplomats in war theaters such as Afghanistan and Iraq or in authoritarian countries like China or Iran at risk. The US government has been repeating this serious allegation against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for the last ten years, without ever providing a shred of evidence that such harm to the sources and the informants actually occurred.”

1 March 2020

German MP Sevim Dagdelen in an interview with Spiegel: Everything points to a pure show trial [in German]

“In this case, what I saw in the courtroom raises considerable doubts. Procedural equality and participation of the accused are prerequisites for a fair trial. But Assange is denied these rights. He has no direct access to his lawyers, instead he sits at the very end of the room, about six meters from his legal representative, shielded behind bulletproof glass like a top terrorist, flanked by two security forces in a so-called ‘secure dock’.”

“He can only speak to his lawyers through the thin slits in the bulletproof glass. Confidential communication is not possible. The acoustics in the entire courtroom are miserable, especially in its ‘secure dock’. The microphone system is working poorly. Prosecution officials, State Department employees, and the Embassy in London, on the other hand, sit together and can work closely with one another without interruption. In order for Assange to speak properly to his defense lawyers, the trial must be interrupted. This is completely absurd and contradicts the right to an adequate defense, which must be guaranteed at all times in states.”

On Trial: Julian Assange and journalism – Al Jazeera Listening Post

“If you were to be told that there’s a court case involving a journalist who had been jailed, placed in solitary confinement, held according to the UN in torturous conditions, denied proper access to their lawyers and you were asked to guess the country involved, would you guessed the United Kingdom?”

Rebecca Vinscent, RSF: “Mr Assange has been held in a dock in the back of the courtroom that is covered by a thick glass partition, so he is being held in the back as if he is a violent criminal, when he actually poses no physical risk to anyone regardless of what you believe about the charges against him. He does not look well. He’s complained several times that he cannot focus properly or follow properly what’s going on from behind a glass partition.”

Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture: “I came to the conclusion that Julian Assange has been exposed to psychological torture based on medical assessments we conducted during a 4 hour visit on the 9th of May 2019.”

Stefania Maurizi, journalist: “… they [the US] basically went to a full espionage operation against Julian Assange and all visitors including journalists, lawyers, doctors. You expect these kind of things in Russia, North Korea, you don’t expect this in a democracy.”

28 February 2020

Reporters without Borders: Legal arguments during the first week of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing highlight lack of US evidence

RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire: “We were not surprised by the prosecution’s argument, which again confirmed the lack of evidence for the charges against Mr Assange. This week’s hearing confirmed our belief that he has been targeted for his contributions to public interest reporting. We call again for the UK not to extradite Mr Assange to the US, for the charges against him to be dropped, and for him to be released as a matter of urgent priority.”

RSF UK Bureau Director Rebecca Vincent: “We remain extremely concerned for Mr Assange’s treatment and wellbeing, as he was clearly not well this week and struggled to participate properly in his own hearing. The reports of mistreatment at Belmarsh prison are alarming, and we expect that to be addressed as a matter of urgent priority. We also call for Mr Assange to be allowed to sit next to his legal team in the courtroom in accordance with international standards, and not held in a glass cage like a violent criminal. He is in a vulnerable position and presents no physical threat to anyone, and his rights under the European Convention must be respected.”

23 February 2020

OSCE Media Freedom Representative calls on UK authorities not to extradite WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange to the US

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, expressed his concern today at the potential extradition of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange, ahead of his hearing on 24 February.

“I call on the UK authorities not to extradite Julian Assange when the hearing takes place on Monday. I am particularly concerned by the numerous charges he faces and the disproportionate prison sentence, up to a total of 175 years, that he could potentially face if extradited and convicted,” said Désir. “The public interest of several of the publications by WikiLeaks in 2010 should be taken into account, as it contributed to important investigative reports and news reporting. It is essential to consider the impact on freedom of expression and media freedom if he is extradited and convicted. This could have a chilling effect on journalism and press freedom.”

Yanis Varoufakis and John Shipton visit Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison

Varoufakis said outside Belmarsh: ‘What we have is an assault on journalism … The only charge against Julian, hiding behind the nonsense of espionage, is a charge of journalism.’

Shipton, Julian Assange’s father, has said that his son was “harassed” in prison the day before his court battle against extradition is set to begin.

22 February 2020

‘Don’t Extradite Assange’ protest in London

Thousands of people march from Australia House to Parliament Square to show support for Julian Assange, including Roger Waters, Vivienne Westwood, Tarik Ali, Brian Eno, Yanis Varoufakis, Tracy Worcester, John Shipton, Chrissie Hynde, Kristinn Hrafnsson, Craig Murray, Lowkey.

20 February 2020

Council of Europe High Commissioner for Human Rights: Julian Assange should not be extradited due to potential impact on press freedom and concerns about ill-treatment

High Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatović has issue a statement opposing extradition of Julian Assange to the US.

“Julian Assange’s potential extradition has human rights implications that reach far beyond his individual case. The indictment raises important questions about the protection of those that publish classified information in the public interest, including those that expose human rights violations. The broad and vague nature of the allegations against Julian Assange, and of the offences listed in the indictment, are troubling as many of them concern activities at the core of investigative journalism in Europe and beyond. Consequently, allowing Julian Assange’s extradition on this basis would have a chilling effect on media freedom, and could ultimately hamper the press in performing its task as purveyor of information and public watchdog in democratic societies.”

“Furthermore, any extradition to a situation in which the person involved would be at real risk of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment would be contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell visits Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison

Speaking to the journalists after the two-hour visit, McDonnell said: “I think this is one of the most important and significant political trials of this generation,” the shadow chancellor said. “In fact, longer. I think it is the Dreyfus case of our age, the way in which a person is being persecuted for political reasons for simply exposing the truth of what went on in relation to recent wars.”

“If this extradition takes place it will damage the democratic standing of our own country as well as America. We have a longstanding tradition in this country of standing up for whistleblowers, journalists … if this extradition takes place I think it will damage our reputation”, he added.

More than 1200 journalists from 98 countries release a joint statement in defense of Julian Assange 

The journalists’ statement calls for Julian Assange to be released immediately from prison, and for the extradition proceedings and espionage charges against him to be dropped.

They write: “We urge our fellow journalists to inform the public accurately about this abuse of fundamental rights. We urge all journalists to speak up in defense of Julian Assange at this critical time. Dangerous times call for fearless journalism.”

19 February 2020

Julian Assange’s last case management hearing

At pre-trial hearing Assange’s barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, told Westminster Magistrates Court there was evidence that Assange was offered a pardon by former congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Mr Fitzgerald said a statement from Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson showed “Mr Rohrabacher going to see Mr Assange and saying, on instructions from the president, he was offering a pardon or some other way out, if Mr Assange… said Russia had nothing to do with the DNC leaks.”

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled the evidence admissible in court.

Amnesty international petition: “USA must drop all charges against Julian Assange”

“Authorities in the US must drop the espionage and all other charges against Julian Assange that relate to his publishing activities as part of his work with Wikileaks.”

“The US government’s unrelenting pursuit of Julian Assange for having published disclosed documents that included possible war crimes committed by the US military is nothing short of a full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression.”

Read and sign the petiton here

Marjorie Cohn: Extradition of Assange Would Set a Dangerous Precedent

“The treaty between the U.S. and the U.K. prohibits extradition for a ‘political offense’. Assange was indicted for exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is a classic political offense. Moreover, Assange’s extradition would violate the legal prohibition against sending a person to a country where he is in danger of being tortured.”

James Goodale analyzes Assange and Grenewald charges: Both cases are examples of governments using hacking laws to stifle political speech

“Assange had many more conversations with Manning than Greenwald had with his source. After Manning dumped her leaks—classified information on US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, mostly—on Wikileaks, Assange encouraged Manning to obtain more information because, he said, “curious eyes never run dry in my experience.” That is standard journalistic behavior, as reporters encourage their sources to provide them more information on a daily basis. Surely, such encouragement is protected by the First Amendment. If Neil Sheehan, a reporter for the New York Times, had not persistently encouraged Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst, to leak the Pentagon Papers, they would likely have never seen the light of day.”

18 February 2020

Australian MPs Andrew Wilkie and George Christensen visit Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison

Two Australian MPs say a visit to the jail cell of Julian Assange confirms their fears that the Wikileaks founder has suffered from psychological torture.

Speaking to the journalists after the visit MP Andrew Wilkey has said: “I walk out of Belmarsh in absolutely no doubt that he has become a political prisoner in this country and that the US is determined to extradite him to get even. There was no espionage. There was no hacking. It was just a person doing the right thing and publishing important information in the public interest and frankly it is an international scandal that he is locked up in there in those conditions as a political prisoner.”

Julian Assange legal press conference with Kristin Hrafnsson, Jennifer Robinson and Australian MPs Andrew Wilkie and George Christensen

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson talked about the upcoming extradition hearing and what we can expect: “The lawyers acting on behalf of the US will maintain that one of the indictments is about hacking. It is not. That label is a propaganda. The only thing you need to do is read the indictment to see its not about hacking. It is about a normal communication between a source and a journalist. No hacking took place. Than, there’s harm. For 10 years now we’ve heard voices about harm. (…) Now than years later, there has not been a single reported incident of harm to any individual as a result of the leaks of 2010/2011. This is a highly politicized case, and has been from the outset.”

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson explained that the extradition case is a long battle that could take years: “It is important to remember that Julian faces a long legal process. His health has deteriorated significantly since 2010.”

Australian MPs Andrew Wilkie and George Christensen highlighted that this case impacts democracy and Australia should back Julian Assange. Referring to the ‘Collateral murder’ video MP Andrew Wilkie has said that “this was information that was clearly published in the public interest and it beggars belief that the country accused of war crimes is the one that wants to get their hands on Julian Assange”.

Watch the entire conference here

17 February 2020

Australian MP Andrew Wilkie meets with Jeremy Corbyn in London

After a meeting with Australian independent MP Andrew Wilkie, who is in London on a privately funded trip to visit the WikiLeaks founder in prison, British Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn said he is surprised over what he sees as a shift in the British Government’s position on Julian Assange and the UK’s “unbalanced” extradition relationship with the United States.

“The Prime Minister did not challenge my assertions on this, but seems to me to understand that there is a principle here that somebody who opens up and tells the truth, as Julian Assange has done, should not face deportation to the United States,” Mr Corbyn said.

Mr Wilkie described the case against Assange as scandalous. “Let’s not forget the substantive issue here, and that’s that an Australian citizen has publicised a range of important information in the public interest, including hard evidence of US war crimes, and his reward for doing that is facing extradition,” he said.

Australian MPs have also met with UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer

“Nils left us in no doubt that Assange is showing the effects of psychological torture and feels betrayed by the justice system in the UK, the USA & Aus” wrote Wilkie on Twitter.

In London and
we met with UN Special Rapporteur on Torture @NilsMelzer
to discuss Julian Assange. Nils left us in no doubt that Assange is
showing the effects of psychological torture and feels betrayed by the
justice system in the UK, the USA & Aus #auspol

Andrew Wilkie MP (@WilkieMP) February
17, 2020

‘Doctors for Assange’: End torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange

117 doctors from 18 countries penned an open letter in The Lancet medical journal, warning that Julian Assange could be “effectively tortured to death in prison”.

“Having received no substantive response from the UK Government, neither to our first letter, nor to our follow-up letter, we wrote to the Australian Government, requesting that it intervene to protect the health of its citizen. To date, regrettably, no reply has been forthcoming.”

“In the interests of defending medical ethics, medical authority, and the human right to health, and taking a stand against torture, together we can challenge and raise awareness of the abuses detailed in our letters. Our appeals are simple: we are calling upon governments to end the torture of Assange and ensure his access to the best available health care before it is too late. Our request to others is this: please join us.”

John Shipton interview with BBC

Julian would face what is effectively a “death sentence” were he sent to the United States to face trial says John Shiton, father of Julian Assange.

16 February 2020

Reporters without Borders issue a petition calling for the United Kingdom not to comply with the United States’ request to extradite Julian Assange

“Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is firmly opposed to the possible extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, where he could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for charges that include publishing and providing journalists with information that served the public interest.”

“The publication of these documents by media outlets was clearly in the public interest, and not an act of espionage. Julian Assange’s contribution to journalism is undeniable.”

“RSF urges the UK government to prioritise the principles of freedom of expression and the defence of journalism in its treatment of Assange, and to act in accordance with UK law and the country’s international human rights obligations.”

Read and sign the petition here

15 February 2020

Courage event: “The Prosecution of Julian Assange: His Right to Publish is Our Right to Know”


  • Jim Goodale, former New York Times General Counsel
  • Renata Avila, public & legal advocate for Assange
  • Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report
  • Max Blumenthal, editor, The Grayzone

New statements from:

  • Noam Chomsky
  • Alice Walker
  • Daniel Ellsberg


  • Anya Parampil, journalist, The Grayzone

Sponsored by FAIR, National Lawyers Guild-NYC, NYC Free Assange, Big Apple Coffee Party, OR Books

“In Defense of Julian Assange”

Donate to the Julian Assange Defense Fund

12 February 2020

Jeremy Corbyn praises Julian Assange and calls for extradition to US to be halted

PM refuses to comment on looming case – but agrees extradition treaty between the two countries is ‘unbalanced’

Jeremy Corbyn has called for the extradition of Julian Assange to the US to be halted, praising the Wikileaks founder for exposing US “war crimes”.

Boris Johnson refused to comment on the case, which will begin this month – but surprised the Commons by agreeing the extradition treaty between the two countries is “unbalanced”.

The Labour leader’s call came as he also demanded to know whether Anne Sacoolas, who drove the car that killed teenager Harry Dunn, is being “shielded” because she was a CIA spy.

On Mr Assange, who faces up to 175 years in a US jail if convicted, Mr Corbyn backed MPs on the Council of Europe who have warned the extradition “sets a dangerous precedent for journalists”.

The one-sided arrangements would be “laid bare” when the courts decide whether he should be sent to the US on “charges of espionage for exposure of war crimes, the murder of civilians and large-scale corruption”, he said.

‘This extradition should be opposed and the rights of journalists and whistleblowers upheld’@jeremycorbyn asks @BorisJohnson if the extradition of @wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the US will be blocked #PMQs

— ITV News (@itvnews) February 12, 2020

11 February 2020

Senator Peter Whish-Wilson calls on the Australian government to intervene and bring Julian Assange home.

Last night I called on the government to intervene and bring Julian #Assange home – journalism is not espionage.

— Peter Whish-Wilson (@SenatorSurfer) February 12, 2020

EL PAÍS: Spaniard at center of Julian Assange spying accusations claims ambassador ordered espionage

David Morales, owner of the Spanish security firm UC Global S.L. that spied on Julian Assange while he was living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, testified in court on Friday that Ecuador’s former ambassador to the United Kingdom, the recently deceased Carlos Abad, asked him to record the cyberactivist’s conversations during his stay in the embassy.

Despite overwhelming evidence of the espionage gathered during the legal investigation and already published by EL PAÍS, Morales denied before the judge that the spying was ever carried out.

In his second court statement, this time made on his own request, Morales went from denying that the WikiLeaks founder was ever spied on, to admitting that he was asked to make the secret recordings

10 February 2020

Imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange awarded Consortium News‘ 2020 Gary Webb Freedom of the Press Award for courage in the face of an unprecedented attack on press freedom

For practicing the highest order of journalism–revealing crimes of the state–Assange faces 175 years in a U.S. prison–a life sentence for the 48-year old Australian.

Assange, whose life has been endangered in harsh prison conditions, has become an international symbol of the threat to press freedom. He is the first journalist to be charged under the Espionage Act for possession and dissemination of state secrets.

Robert Parry, the late founder and editor of Consortium News, was a staunch defender of Assange’s rights. In 2010, he wrote: “Though American journalists may understandably want to find some protective cover by pretending that Julian Assange is not like us, the reality is – whether we like it or not – we are all Julian Assange.”

Australian MP Andrew Wilkie confirms that he will be traveling to the UK this weekend to visit Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison and lobby the British government for his release

This weekend I will travel to the United Kingdom at my own expense to visit Julian Assange in Belmarsh Prison and to lobby the British Government for his release #freeassange #auspol #politas

— Andrew Wilkie MP (@WilkieMP) February 12, 2020

Chris Hedges: What is happening to Assange will happen to the rest of us

The publication of classified documents is not yet a crime in the United States. If Assange is extradited and convicted, it will become one. Assange is not an American citizen. WikiLeaks, which he founded, is not a U.S.-based publication. The extradition of Assange would mean the end of journalistic investigations into the inner workings of power. It would cement into place a terrifying global, corporate tyranny under which borders, nationality and law mean nothing. Once such a legal precedent is set, any publication that publishes classified material, from The New York Times to an alternative website, will be prosecuted and silenced.

7 February 2020

Exclusive Interviews with Cornel West, Max Blumenthal and Ben Wizner on “Assange: Countdown to Freedom”

In this episode Credico speaks with legendary civil rights activist author and professor Dr. Cornel West who lauds Assange as a revolutionary truth-teller, ACLU’s Ben Wizner, lead attorney for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden who describes the danger behind the unprecedented indictment of Assange, and journalist Max Blumenthal, about the international value of Wikileaks’ disclosures.

6 February 2020

Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize

Żaklin Nastić (MdB):

I am one of a total of 17 members of our parliamentary group who have nominated Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. These brave people should not be criminalized, but should be recognized and honored. The war criminals and their henchmen must be held accountable.

We feel that Assange, Manning and Snowden have to be recognized for their “unprecedented contributions to the pursuit of peace and their immense personal sacrifices to promote peace for all”. With the unveiling of US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq and the global surveillance program of the US secret services, the three have “exposed the architecture of war and strengthened the architecture of peace”

Here you can find our complete letter to the Nobel Committee in Oslo: Nobel Prize nomination Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden

Prominent Germans appeal for Julian Assange’s release

More than 130 prominent figures in Germany from the world of art, politics, and the media signed an appeal on Thursday calling for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to be released from prison in the UK. He is currently serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail.

The letter’s signatories include famous German investigative journalist Günther Wallraff, former Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, and Austrian winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, Elfriede Jelinek.
It says that Assange, 48, is being held in “isolation and monitored under unnecessarily stressful conditions” in a British prison despite being in “critical health.”

UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, told DW that after meeting with Assange he believed that the activisted exhibited “typical signs of psychological torture.”

They also argue that Assange risks being deprived of his basic human rights if he is extradited to the United States when his sentence is over.

2 February 2020

Roy Greenslade: Press freedom is at risk if we allow Julian Assange’s extradition

“Later this month, a journalist will appear at a London court hearing in which he faces being extradited to the United States to spend the rest of his life in prison. The 18 charges against him are the direct result of his having revealed a host of secrets, many of them related to the US prosecution of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The aim is to prevent whistleblowers from telling the truth and journalists from giving them a platform.

“What Manning and Assange did cannot be construed as espionage. They were casting light on the US government’s murky secrets and, in the case of the collateral murder video, the lengths it was prepared to go in order to cover up a massacre. That’s journalism, pure and simple.

“I would like to see Britain’s editors – national, regional and local – get to grips with this case in advance of the first hearing, due to start on 24 February, and then to issue a considered statement, probably through the Society of Editors, opposing Assange’s extradition. At the same time, they need to alert their readers and pressure politicians, in order to highlight the injustice of this prosecution and why it is so important.”

1 February 2020

A cross-party initiative campaigning for the release of Julian Assange in Germany to hold a press conference on February 6 2020 at 10am

The initiative includes former SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel, former Federal Minister of the Interior Gerhart Baum (FDP), former Minister of Justice Herta Däubler-Gmelin (SPD), Bundestag MP Sevim Dagdelen (die Linke), writer Navid Kermani and investigative journalist Günter Wallraff, all of whom will be speaking at the press conference.

BERLIN Thursday, February 6, 2020 10a.m. Konferenzsaal, Haus des Bundespressekonferenz, Schiffbauerdamm 40 “Appeal for the release of Julian #Assange from British extradition custody”

Audio interviews with Nils Melzer, Lauri Love and John Kiriakou on “Assange: Countdown to Freedom” hosted by Rendy Credico

Melzer lays out the facts regarding torture, unjust imprisonment and Julian’s case, including the smear campaign wrapped in allegations out of Sweden, Love speaks on how he successfully avoided extradition to the U.S. and Kiriakou describes his own incarceration in the U.S. and how British courts have refused to extradite people to the U.S. because of the nature of its prison system.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, speaks in detail about the explosive findings of his investigation into the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

I’m not saying Julian Assange is an angel or a hero. But he doesn’t have to be. We are talking about human rights and not about the rights of heroes or angels. Assange is a person, and he has the right to defend himself and to be treated in a humane manner. Regardless of what he is accused of, Assange has the right to a fair trial. But he has been deliberately denied that right – in Sweden, the U.S., Britain and Ecuador. Instead, he was left to rot for nearly seven years in limbo in a room. Then, he was suddenly dragged out and convicted within hours and without any preparation for a bail violation that consisted of him having received diplomatic asylum from another UN member state on the basis of political persecution, just as international law intends and just as countless Chinese, Russian and other dissidents have done in Western embassies. It is obvious that what we are dealing with here is political persecution.

A show trial is to be used to make an example of Julian Assange. The point is to intimidate other journalists. Intimidation, by the way, is one of the primary purposes for the use of torture around the world. The message to all of us is: This is what will happen to you if you emulate the Wikileaks model. It is a model that is so dangerous because it is so simple: People who obtain sensitive information from their governments or companies transfer that information to Wikileaks, but the whistleblower remains anonymous. The reaction shows how great the threat is perceived to be: Four democratic countries joined forces – the U.S., Ecuador, Sweden and the UK – to leverage their power to portray one man as a monster so that he could later be burned at the stake without any outcry. The case is a huge scandal and represents the failure of Western rule of law. If Julian Assange is convicted, it will be a death sentence for freedom of the press.

Derek Royden: “First Assange, now Greenwald: The growing attacks on adversarial journalism”

“A chilling parallel to the charges facing Greenwald is the ongoing persecution of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, who remains in jail in the UK despite having served his time for jumping bail in the Summer of 2012. Assange is also facing cyber-crimes charges in the United States related to the leaks provided to him by Chelsea Manning a decade ago. In both cases the charges against the men seem intended to do an end run around protections offered to journalists in both countries.”

31 January 2020

The Prosecution of Julian Assange and Its Impact on the Freedom of the Press | National Press Club


  • Jameel Jaffer, Director, Knight First Amendment Institute
  • Amy Jeffress, Attorney, former US Department of Justice
  • Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project


  • Mary-Rose Papandrea, Constitutional Law Professor, UNC

28 January 2020

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe calls for Assange’s freedom

In a resolution passed unanimously by the Assembly, PACE calls on member states to resolve that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be “promptly released”. The resolution calls for states to oppose Assange’s extradition to the U.S. and foster an “enabling and favourable media environment”. Furthermore,

“[Member states should] consider that the detention and criminal prosecution of Mr Julian Assange sets a dangerous precedent for journalists, and join the recommendation of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment who declared, on 1 November 2019, that Mr Assange’s extradition to the United States must be barred and that he must be promptly released.”

Threats to Media Freedom and Journalists Security in Europe – PDF

27 January 2020

IFJ Secretary General Anthony Bellanger’s speech to the Council of Europe on January 27, 2020 in Strasbourg

(French, machine-translated)

On behalf of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world’s leading organization for the profession with 600,000 members in 146 countries, I would like to sincerely thank MEP Andrej Hunko for organizing this extradition event ( unfortunately likely) by Julian Assange.

Founder and former editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, Julian Assange is a member of MEAA, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, the IFJ affiliate in Australia. And as a member of the MEAA, he is by extension a member of the IFJ and even the holder of our International Press Card (ICC).

But Julian Assange is still and always the man to kill. The remarkable survey published Sunday evening (January 26) by my colleagues from Mediapart is so enlightening: Julian Assange has become the number 1 public enemy of the United States, of President Donald Trump in particular. Thanks to the complicity of the CEO of the company UC Global, in charge of security at the Embassy of Ecuador in London, Mediapart explains that Trump and his services have spied on the slightest gesture of Julian Assange in the embassy, ​​as well as those of his relatives, family and defenders.

With the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), we have published an alert on the Platform to strengthen the protection of journalism and the safety of CoE journalists. Here again we denounce the arbitrary and scandalous conditions of detention of Julian Assange, obviously relying on the report of Nils Melzer, who visited him in May 2019 in his cell.

Obviously, the United Kingdom did not respond to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, who seized the British government immediately after the publication of this alert.

The IFJ reminds each time it has the opportunity, here again at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg:  “Journalism is not a crime. Julian Assange must be released ” .

His only crime was to expose the embezzlement and atrocities of others! Atrocities committed in particular in Iraq and Afghanistan by the American army.

The IFJ pursues its international mission and is at the disposal of all of you, European parliamentarians, United Nations special rapporteurs, activists for human rights and freedom of expression, to continue this essential fight for democracy.

Radio programme: ‘Julian Assange: Countdown to Freedom’

Randy Credico’s ongoing series of interviews on the approaching extradition trial of Julian Assange in London, featuring regular updates from the Courage Foundation

26 January 2020

Edward Snowden in the Washington Post: ‘Trump has created a global playbook to attack those revealing uncomfortable truths’

The legal theory used by the Brazilian prosecutors [against Glenn Greenwald] — that journalists who publish leaked documents are engaged in a criminal “conspiracy” with the sources who provide those documents — is virtually identical to the one advanced in the Trump administration’s indictment of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange in a new application of the historically dubious Espionage Act.

The Trump administration, however, with its disdain for press freedom matched only by its ignorance of the law, has respected no such limitations on its ability to prosecute and persecute, and its unprecedented decision to indict a publisher under the Espionage Act has profoundly dangerous implications for national security journalists around the country. Though I believe that Greenwald would have reported the mass surveillance story even if it meant risking prison time, can we say the same of every member of the press?

There is another similarity in the cases of Greenwald and Assange: Their relentless crusades have rendered them polarizing figures (including, it may be noted, to each other). Some have been alienated by publishing information that powerful factions had concealed for political purposes, others by expressing heretical opinions on the most public platforms. It is likely that authorities in both countries believed the public’s fractured opinions of their perceived ideologies would distract the public from the broader danger these prosecutions pose to a free press.

Yet the charges against each of these men have been widely recognized for what they are: efforts to deter the most aggressive investigations by the most fearless journalists, and to open the door to a precedent that could soon still the pens of even the less cantankerous. In the hours after each set of charges was announced, dozens of civil liberties groups and publishers came forward to denounce them and to decry the chilling effect they were intentionally engineered to produce.

The most essential journalism of every era is precisely that which a government attempts to silence. These prosecutions demonstrate that they are ready to stop the presses — if they can.James Risen in the New York Times: ‘Reporters Face New Threats From the Governments They Cover’

“The cases against Julian Assange and Glenn Greenwald may be models for a crackdown.”

The case against Mr. Greenwald is eerily similar to the Trump administration’s case against Mr. Assange. Last April, the Justice Department charged Mr. Assange with aiding a source, the former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, to gain access to a United States military computer database. In May 2019, the charges against him were broadened, and he was indicted under the Espionage Act in connection with the publication of American military and diplomatic documents by WikiLeaks.

Both cases are based in part on a new prosecutorial concept — that journalism can be proved to be a crime through a focus on interactions between reporters and their sources. Prosecutors are now scrutinizing the processes by which sources obtain classified or private information and then provide it to journalists. Since those interactions today are largely electronic, prosecutors are seeking to criminalize journalism by turning to anti-hacking laws to implicate reporters in the purported criminal activity of their sources in gaining access to data on computers or cellphones without authorization.

This blunt approach gives the government enormous leverage over journalists and, in the United States, provides them with a detour around First Amendment concerns. If these cases become templates that prosecutors in the United States and other nations follow, virtually every investigative reporter will become vulnerable to criminal charges and imprisonment.

25 January 2020

New York City: Global Protest at the UK Consulate in NYC to mark the beginning of Julian Assange’s full extradition hearing


British Consulate
885 Second Ave at 47th St.
New York, NY

24 January 2020

Julian Assange moved out of solitary confinement!

Prisoners’ revolt and pressure from legal team and campaigners forces Belmarsh to move Assange out of solitary. WikiLeaks statement:

— Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 24, 2020

Canberra Times: Assange moved out of solitary in UK prison

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been moved out of solitary confinement in a British prison after a series of petitions by his legal team and fellow inmates, his organisation says.

The Australian has been held almost incommunicado with severe restrictions on his access to visitors in Belmarsh prison near London since April as he awaits his US extradition trial set to start on February 24.

Wikileaks ambassador Joseph Farrell says the 48-year-old was moved out of solitary in the medical wing into a different wing with 40 other inmates on Friday.

He says the breakthrough occurred after his legal team and three separate petitions by inmates to the prison governor that his treatment was unjust and unfair.

After meetings between the prison authorities, Assange’s legal team and inmates, he was transferred.

“The move is a huge victory for Assange’s legal team and for campaigners who have been insisting for weeks that the prison authorities end the punitive treatment of Assange,” Mr Farrell said in a statement to AAP.

23 January 2020

Julian Assange’s final case management hearing

WikiLeaks Editor: US Is Saying First Amendment Doesn’t Apply To Foreigners In Assange Case

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson gave a brief statement to the press after the latest court hearing for Julian Assange’s extradition case in London today, saying the Trump administration is arguing that the First Amendment of the US Constitution doesn’t provide press freedom protection to foreign nationals like Assange.

“We have now learned from submissions and affidavits presented by the United States to this court that they do not consider foreign nationals to have a First Amendment protection,” Hrafnsson said.

“Now let that sink in for a second,” Hrafnsson continued. “At the same time that the US government is chasing journalists all over the world, they claim they have extra-territorial reach, they have decided that all foreign journalists which include many of you here, have no protection under the First Amendment of the United States. So that goes to show the gravity of this case. This is not about Julian Assange, it’s about press freedom.”

Extradition hearing for WikiLeaks’ Assange to be split in two parts

The London hearing to decide whether WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange can be extradited to the United States to face charges including spying will be split in two, with the second half delayed until May, a judge ruled on Thursday.

Following applications from Assange’s legal team and lawyers representing the United States, Judge Vanessa Baraitser at Westminster Magistrates’ Court agreed that his extradition hearing would start on Feb. 24 for a week, with the remaining three weeks taking place from May 18.

Both sides in the case argued that they needed more time to prepare for the hearings and gather evidence. Assange’s lawyers said it was hard to speak to their client, who is currently being held at Belmarsh Prison in east London and appeared on Thursday by videolink.

“We simply can’t get in as we require to see Mr Assange and take instructions … we need time to deal with that,” his lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said.

The first part of the full hearing in February at Woolwich Crown Court will cover arguments that the extradition is politically motivated and an abuse of process.

Clair Dobbin, the lawyer representing the U.S. authorities, said they would oppose allowing Assange to call anonymous witnesses as his legal team intends. The hearing will also hear psychiatric evidence about his mental state.

22 January 2020

Brazil Aims to Criminalize Glenn Greenwald’s Journalism

As journalists and rights advocates around the world rallied to support The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald in the face of his charging of cybercrime by the government of Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, a number of observers noted the similarity to the U.S. prosecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and called for both men to receive solidarity from their peers and supporters.

21 January 2020

EL PAÍS : Three protected witnesses accuse Spanish ex-marine David Morales of spying on Julian Assange

Spain’s High Court has heard from three protected witnesses in the case against David Morales, the head of the Spanish security company US Global S. L., who is under investigation for spying on Julian Assange while he was living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

“Two of the witnesses confirm what EL PAÍS revealed before the legal investigation began – that in December 2017, the owner of UC Global S. L. ordered workers to change the surveillance cameras in the embassy and replace them with others that could capture audio. From that moment on, they recorded and monitored conversations between the WikiLeaks founder and his lawyers, as well as all of his visitors.”

20 January 2020

Nozomi Hayase: Why Assange Extradition Case Matters to Our Democracy

“On Monday January 13, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court in his fight against extradition to the US. The administrative hearing concerned Assange’s lack of access to legal counsel, making it difficult for him to adequately prepare for his case. His lawyer, Gareth Peirce, told the Judge that UK prison is blocking her client from reviewing key evidence. She has only had 2 hours with him since last hearing in December.

With the creation of WikiLeaks, Assange launched an open platform of democracy, creating a network that seeks to understand flaws, collaborates to amend them, and invites all to participate in envisioning a new society. With this grand experiment of democracy that has now gone viral around the globe, what did this Australian computer programmer and journalist try to do? Assange came to see how ordinary people are made passive; being tossed around and excluded from vital decision-making processes. He decided to side with those who are oppressed, wanting to help people recognize their own significance.”

17 January 2020

New events for Assange announced
See all upcoming events here

January 25, Edinburgh, 2-4 pm
Scotland Must Resist

  • Craig Murray – Former British diplomat, writer, activist
  • John Wight – Writer and journalist
  • Lisa Longstaff – Women Against Rape
  • Robert Somynne – Journalist
  • Deepa Govindarajan Driver – Academic and citizen activist

Janury 30, Washington DC, 6pm
The Prosecution of Julian Assange & Its Impact on the Freedom of the Press

  • Jameel Jaffer, Director, Knight First Amendment Institute
  • Amy Jeffress, Attorney, former US Department of Justice
  • Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project
  • Mary-Rose Papandrea, Constitutional Law Professor, UNC

February 4, London, 7pm
Press freedom and Julian Assange

  • John McDonnell, Labour MP
  • Jen Robinson, adviser of Julian Assange’s legal team since 2010
  • Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman
    or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks
  • Tariq Ali, British historian and journalist

February 9, Los Angeles, 2pm
The Prosecution of Julian Assange & Its Impact on the Freedom of the Press

  • Alveena Shah, UCLA Law School, Moderator
  • Barry Pollack, Julian Assange’s US attorney
  • Marjorie Cohn, National Lawyers Guild
  • Carey Shenkman, First Amendment lawyer
  • Jim Lafferty, National Lawyers Guild-LA
  • Stephen Rohde, Constitutional scholar, ACLU SoCal
  • Sharon Kyle JD, LA Progressive

16 January 2020

Assange’s French legal advisor Juan Branco interview

“The Bar of Paris and I are going to file a complaint in France over the violation of the rights of the defense, professional secrets and the violation of my privacy. What we are trying to do is to fight against the normalization of practices that are devastating the privacy not only of our client, but more broadly of millions of citizens.”

15 January 2020

Richard Hoffman: The prosecution of Julian Assange, the destruction of legality and the rise of the national security state

“The prosecution of Assange represents a qualitative escalation in the two-decade attack on the legal-constitutional order of the United States. The authoritarian legal conception being advanced by the US government is that “national security,” which means the militarist war drive of the United States, trumps the peoples’ rights. If the case against Assange succeeds, it will criminalise journalism in the United States”

13 January 2020

Julian Assange ‘denied access’ to lawyers in UK

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser told defence lawyer Gareth Pierce her team would only be given one hour to serve evidence to Assange due to a backlog of 47 people in holding cells at the courthouse.

“It set us back in our timetable enormously,” Ms Pierce told the court.

“We will do our best but this slippage in the timetable is extremely worrying.”

She said her client had only been allowed two hours with his legal team since he last appeared in court in December.

Ms Pierce described how the administration of Belmarsh prison, where he’s being held, had been obstructing access to her client to the point where even US government lawyers had even been trying to assist.

She warned that denying Assange his “human right” to legal access was nearing the possibility of requiring a judicial review.

Judge Baraitser adjourned the case until later on Monday afternoon in the same court to allow the defence team to review case evidence with Assange.

More: Associated Press: WikiLeaks’ Assange in UK court fighting extradition to USA

Assange’s Team Mull Legal Action Against Belmarsh Prison Over Client Access

Julian Assange’s legal team is on the verge of bringing a judicial review against prison authorities for denying their client proper access to his lawyers and his case files, Westminster Magistrate’s Court was told on 13 January 2020. Assange appeared in person for an administrative hearing for the first time in months and was greeted by supporters raising their clenched fists in solidarity, which he acknowledged with a nod and a small wave of the hand.

At the hearing Judge Venessa Baraitser told Assange’s lawyers that the “longest period [Assange will have before being taken back to Belmarsh prison] is going to be an hour” due to the fact that there were already 47 people in the custody cells and eight in the consultation rooms. Gareth Pierce, Assange’s lead solicitor, said that his legal team came to court with the expectation that they would discuss a “pretty substantial amount of evidence  which only Mr Assange can sign off on” and which would take far more than an hour. “[Only having an hour] sets us back in our timetable enormously”, she explained.

The court is expecting Assange’s lawyers to serve further key documents in the next couple of days but Pierce said that that would not be possible without proper time with their client. She told the court that if it was willing to contact Belmarsh prison on her client’s behalf then a meeting with his lawyers could be secured as early as 14 January. Judge Baraitser has consistently refused to intervene with prison authorities, claiming that she has no jurisdiction to do so, despite being presented with evidence of another judge doing precisely that.

“We have used every ability to press Belmarsh every way, and have [even] used government lawyers to note it is a breach of a defendant’s right to a defence… we are at the brink of judicial review”, Pierce told Judge Baraitser.

Will alleged CIA misbehavior set Julian Assange free?

James Goodale, former general counsel of the New York Times who argued the paper’s right to publish the Pentagon Papers, compares CIA spying on Assange and his lawyers to the FBI’s illegal surveillance of Daniel Ellsberg

The behavior of UC Global and the CIA seems indistinguishable from the government’s behavior in the Ellsberg case, which a federal judge found to have “offended a sense of justice” and “incurably infected the prosecution” of the case. Accordingly, he concluded that the only remedy to ensure due process and the fair administration of justice was to dismiss Ellsberg’s case “with prejudice,” meaning that Ellsberg could not be retried.

Can anything be more offensive to a “sense of justice” than an unlimited surveillance, particularly of lawyer-client conversations, livestreamed to the opposing party in a criminal case? The alleged streaming unmasked the strategy of Assange’s lawyers, giving the government an advantage that is impossible to remove. Short of dismissing Assange’s indictment with prejudice, the government will always have an advantage that can never be matched by the defense.

The usual remedy for warrantless surveillance is to exclude any illegally obtained information from the trial, but that remedy is inapplicable here. The government’s advantage in surveilling Assange is not the acquisition of tangible evidence but, rather, intangible insights into Assange’s legal strategy. There is no way, therefore, to give Assange a fair trial, since his opponents will know every move he will make.

8 January 2020

In Defence of Julian Assange, edited by Tariq Ali and Margaret Kunstler

“Must-read on the persecution of Wikileaks whistleblower” [available via OR Books here]

In Defence of Julian Assange indicates the lengths that those in power will go to in order to destroy anyone who dares reveal evidence of their crimes and corruption and some of the book’s contributors methodically take apart each and every slur that has been thrown at Assange to demonise him in the eyes of the public and erode his base of support.

Cyberterrorist! Renata Avila in Obieg

Julian Assange, the emblematic figure of a movement pushing for a more democratic future, is facing almost imminent extradition to the USA, to face political persecution, not a trial. To harm forever, with the long arm of the law, our right to know, in a moment when crucial decisions depend on systems very few have access to. With the prosecution of Julian, the automated future will be unaccountable.

Next February 2020, an extradition hearing will take place in the UK, deciding whether the destiny of a hacker, journalist, activist exposing corrupt elites is a supermax prison in the US. Sending a tremendous chilling effect on anyone willing to hold elites accountable. Sending a message that exposing the truth is wrong. Closing once and for all the possibilities of opening the black boxes of power, in a moment of crisis, when we need it the most.

The time is now. Be on the courageous side instead of the comfortable one. Before your screen swallows your freedom whole.

7 January 2020

Continued Detention of WikiLeaks Founder and Publisher Julian Assange

The Council of Europe Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists have issued an alert

Several lawyers, politicians, journalists and academics consider Assange’s arrest in the United Kingdom and prosecution in the United States for publishing leaked documents of public interest an attack on press freedom and international law.

After examining Assange in prison on 9 May 2019, UN special rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Nils Melzer concluded: “In addition to physical ailments, Mr Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma.”

In a letter sent on 29 October 2019 to the UK Government, Melzer wrote:

“I found that the UK had contributed decisively to producing the observed medical symptoms, most notably through its participation, over the course of almost a decade, in Mr. Assange’s arbitrary confinement, his judicial persecution, as well as his sustained and unrestrained public mobbing, intimidation and defamation. (…) British officials have contributed to Mr. Assange’s psychological torture or ill-treatment, whether through perpetration, or through attempt, complicity or other forms of participation. (…) Recurring and serious violations of Mr. Assange’s due process rights by UK authorities have rendered both his criminal conviction and sentencing for bail violation and the US extradition proceedings inherently arbitrary. (…) The detention regime currently imposed on Mr. Assange appears to be unnecessary, disproportionate, and discriminatory and to perpetuate his exposure to psychological torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

6 January 2020

Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador called for imprisoned Wikileaks journalist Julian Assange to be “pardoned and freed.”

Responding to a question on Assange and the diplomatic cables WikiLeaks published in 2010, Obrador said:

“I express my solidarity [with Assange] and hope that he is pardoned and freed. I don’t know whether he has said that his actions were confrontational to norms or to the political system, but what the cables demonstrated is the workings of the global system and its authoritarian nature, these are like state secrets that have became known thanks to this investigation, thanks to these cables, and I hope that this is taken into consideration and he is freed and he is no longer tortured.”

Former Brazilian President and the PT (Workers Party) demand Julian Assange’s freedom

We [demand] their immediate freedom as a means of restoring international law on the protection of political asylum and refugees. We defend Julian Assange for our deep commitment to defending freedom of information and the press, essential principles of democracy itself.

Liberdade para Assange.

— Lula (@LulaOficial) January 6, 2020

2 January 2020

Press Project: Person of the Year: Julian Assange

Amid all the pointless debate about whether Assange really is a journalist, there is one undeniable fact: Assange is a man who, for years, has endured the punishment of being deprived of his freedom and who has been the victim of libel and blatant abuse precisely because he publicizes documents that expose powerful actors who see that he pays for his actions. He does not merely participate in the normal workings of journalism; he offers an exemplar and value system for all journalism worthy of the name.

International journalist statement in defence of Julian Assange

“We believe that the arbitrary detention and criminal prosecution of Julian Assange set an extremely dangerous precedent for journalists, media actors and freedom of the press,” said EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez. The European Federation of Journalists submitted today an alert to the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists and other Media Actors, in order to denounce the continued arbitrary detention and psychological torture of Julian Assange.

Many jurists, politicians, journalists and academics consider that the arrest of Julian Assange constitutes an attack on freedom of the press and international law: his arrest by police in the UK, after the Ecuadorian Government decided to stop granting him asylum in their London embassy, and his prosecution in the United States for publishing leaked documents of public interest set a dangerous precedent for journalists, whistleblowers, and other media actors that the US may wish to pursue in the future.

Reporters without Borders: Two months before Assange’s extradition hearing, RSF calls for his release on humanitarian grounds and for US Espionage Act charges to be dropped

“We are alarmed by the current state of Julian Assange’s health, and call for his immediate release on humanitarian grounds, said RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire. Assange is being targeted by the US for his journalistic-like activities, which sets a dangerous precedent for press freedom. The journalistic community in the US and abroad is worried that these proceedings take the criminalization of national security journalism to a new level. This precedent could be used to prosecute journalists and publishers in the future for engaging in activities necessary for public interest investigative reporting. The US should cease its persecution of Assange and drop the charges under the Espionage Act without further delay.”

UN official accuses UK and US of torture over treatment of Assange and Manning

Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, said Ms Manning, who is being held in a jail in Virginia after refusing to testify about Mr Assange, was being being subjected to an “open-ended, progressively severe measure of coercion fulfilling all the constitutive elements of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

He added: “The practice of coercive detention appears to be incompatible with the international human rights obligations of the United States.”

In regard to Britain’s treatment of Mr Assange, who is being held in London’s Belmarsh prison, where supporters say his health is fading, he said: “Mr Assange’s continued exposure to severe mental and emotional suffering which, in light of the circumstances, clearly amounts to psychological torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The condemnation of the governments’ treatment of the two prisoners was made in separate letters, that Mr Melzer, 49, made public after he said he received no response to concerns he raised with US and British authorities.

UN Special Rapporteur On Torture Blasts UK Government’s Indifference To Abuse Against Julian Assange

“No objective observer can escape the conclusion that Mr. Assange’s due process rights have been seriously, consistently, and deliberately violated in every phase of each judicial proceeding conducted against him in all involved jurisdictions,” Melzer asserted.

The list of due process rights violations, as Melzer noted, included: obstruction of his rights during Swedish proceedings; conflicts of interest and overt bias on the part of judicial magistrates; “arbitrary conviction and grossly disproportionate imprisonment for having violated U.K. bail by seeking and receiving diplomatic asylum from political persecution by another U.N. member state; and obstruction of his access to legal counsel, documents, and other facilities, which has deprived him of his right to an adequate defense.