Archive: 2020 Julian Assange Liveblog
- See the latest developments here at our current Liveblog
- See near-daily updates from 2018 and 2019 here
- Click any date at left to jump to that day’s update
23 December 2020James 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 exception—could 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 2020UN 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 2020Laura 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 2020Increasing 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 2020The 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 2020Audio 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 pic.twitter.com/evxx6RsflI — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) December 17, 2020
15 December 2020Index 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 VincentThe 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 2020Growing 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. pic.twitter.com/V41suWD8zE — 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 pic.twitter.com/FkFjU55iI1 — 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 2020Last 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 https://t.co/hAuezdkAql — RSF (@RSF_inter) December 11, 2020
10 December 2020On 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 2020The 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: https://t.co/fcRNZBGnAl pic.twitter.com/HmApDr16j7 — Nils Melzer (@NilsMelzer) December 8, 2020
7 December 2020What’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 2020Roger 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 2020Edward 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, 2020Oliver 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. pic.twitter.com/2y6dTxxelM — Oliver Stone (@TheOliverStone) December 3, 2020Peter 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 2020What 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 2020Charles 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 2020Legendary musician Manu Chao dedicates his song “Words of Truth” to Julian Assange
#FreeAssange #manuchao#palabrasdeverdad#wordsoftruth@DEAcampaign @fcdhbcn Mas info en : https://t.co/Sk9TtwdLK1 pic.twitter.com/mAVBEI5u0U — Manu Chao (@manuchao) November 29, 2020
28 November 202010 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. https://t.co/pIaPTZOUmv #JournalismIsNotACrime pic.twitter.com/h6MpzX8qzz — 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! pic.twitter.com/7tpUCl4cHR — 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 pic.twitter.com/2OA1JBpXBh — 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 https://t.co/a0A65ca0Cd — 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. https://t.co/7Y1OsEqtVp — Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) November 28, 2020Panel: 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 2020Concern 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 pic.twitter.com/7pUdl7msfU — 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. https://t.co/wwy7LtmIv9 — Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) November 27, 2020
This is worrying. #JulianAssange should be released and given immediate medical attention. #COVID19 https://t.co/jC9oWjhDto — 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! https://t.co/YS6t8cNVhG — IFJ (@IFJGlobal) November 27, 2020Tulsi 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. https://t.co/aeXklUsNSd — Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) November 26, 2020
26 November 2020Julian 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. https://t.co/w1jijuti6r — Stella Moris (@StellaMoris1) November 26, 2020RSF 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 pic.twitter.com/dzwSFxNUnc — Stella Moris (@StellaMoris1) November 26, 2020
23 November 2020Update 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) https://t.co/q8bdBzYYid — Stella Moris (@StellaMoris1) November 23, 2020
22 November 2020Doctors 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 2020Panel: 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 2020The 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 2020Julian 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.#FreeAssangehttps://t.co/rGDfuVrFGH — Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) November 19, 2020
17 November 2020Peter 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 2020EFJ 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 2020Unite 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 2020NUJ 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 2020Assange 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. pic.twitter.com/Mvhio4c9Wm — Peter Whish-Wilson (@SenatorSurfer) November 9, 2020
7 November 2020Calls 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 pic.twitter.com/bQADZ5wHo9 — 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.https://t.co/TGsBNFlXIT#FreeAssange — 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. https://t.co/fW8DuNVWuK — Jeffrey St. Clair (@JSCCounterPunch) November 8, 2020
4 November 2020Prison 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 2020Panel: 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 2020Ryerson’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 2020Administrative 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 #PressFreedomhttps://t.co/nAkObYpC8S pic.twitter.com/q3v3ncNIYq — 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 2020The 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 2020Yanis 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 pic.twitter.com/Jhj84WbIon — DiEM25 (@DiEM_25) October 27, 202010 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 2020Chris 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 2020Kevin 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.
Speakers: Chris Williamson, Former MP Kristinn Hrafnsson, Editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks Dr Deepa Driver, Trade Unionist, Academic
21 October 2020Justin 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 2020Julian 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 2020Panel: 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 2020Stefania 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 2020Fidel 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 2020Marjorie 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 2020RSF: 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 2020Kafka 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 2020EFF: 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 2020Charles 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 2020Patrick 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 2020Daniel 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 2020Craig 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
“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 2020Extradition 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 pic.twitter.com/tZ19nDsAtZ — WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 1, 2020Reporters 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 2020Extradition 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 2020Extradition 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 2020Extradition 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. pic.twitter.com/udrcx79Fvi — DW News (@dwnews) September 30, 2020
26 September 2020Prosecutors’ 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 2020Extradition 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 2020Extradition 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 2020Extradition 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 2020Extradition 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 2020Extradition 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 2020Extradition 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 2020Extradition 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 2020Extradition 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 2020Extradition 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 pic.twitter.com/WGgkXKXnbs — Clare Daly (@ClareDalyMEP) September 15, 2020Craig 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 2020Extradition 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 2020Panel: 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 2020Extradition 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
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 2020Extradition 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 2020Extradition 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. ” https://web.archive.org/web/20211223211208if_/https://www.youtube.com/embed/PhRlPP9B7rg
7 September 2020Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Resumes
- Press Briefing: Assange Extradition Hearing September 2020
- Previewing witnesses scheduled to testify
- Legal documents: skeleton arguments, witness statements
- Continuous detailed coverage
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. https://web.archive.org/web/20211223211208if_/https://www.youtube.com/embed/5OW5BXD-lg0Wired: 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 2020Panel: 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. https://web.archive.org/web/20211223211208if_/https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZiPXFeL3KQU
3 September 2020Kenneth 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 2020Panel: 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.Speakers:
- 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
https://web.archive.org/web/20211223211208if_/https://www.youtube.com/embed/mODahXYx1vcThe 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 2020Julian 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.https://t.co/cTboMeu8b7 pic.twitter.com/WyrxEDnzwl — 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 2020Ex-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 2020Stella 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 2020169 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 2020Chaos 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 pic.twitter.com/1kgudMpn9y — 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 https://t.co/eotbhh7hZq — RSF (@RSF_inter) August 14, 2020
13 August 2020US 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. Seehttps://t.co/c9geWmXSsq — Stella Moris (@StellaMoris1) August 13, 2020At 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 2020Online 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
Speakers: 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 WeAreMillions.org. 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 2020VIDEO: 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.
Panelists: 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 Shadowproof.com who has covered Chelsea Manning’s military court martial and Julian Assange’s extradition proceedings thus far.
5 August 2020Nozomi 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 2020Event 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.
Panelists: 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 Moderator: Kevin Gosztola, independent U.S. journalist at Shadowproof.com 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 2020Europe-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.
Programme: 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 2020Sky 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 2020Declassified 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 2020Computer 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 2020DoJ 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, 2020The 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 2020Diem25: 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 2020Julian 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 https://t.co/hEu43spekT — 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, 2020WikiLeaks’ 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 2020VIDEO: #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’. Speakers: Geoffrey Robertson QC, lawyer Chris Williamson, former UK MP Dr Helen Mercer, JA Defence Chair: Dr Deepa Driver
25 July 2020VIDEO: 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. Speakers: 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 2020Julian 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 pic.twitter.com/nFs8MmY876 — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) July 21, 2020Protestors 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 pic.twitter.com/MC90JMBkyh — Committee to Defend Julian Assange (@JA_Defence) July 21, 2020
19 July 2020Event 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 2020UK 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 2020Trade 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 2020The 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 2020VIDEO: 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 2020On 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 2020Tim 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 2020VIDEO: 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 2020Bradley 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 2020Coverage: 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 pic.twitter.com/9ll34sYqcw — 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 https://t.co/zNP9SU7W2c @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 pic.twitter.com/7g172m7MnE — Internacional Progresista (@ProgIntl_ES) July 3, 2020
Messages of support for Julian #Assange and @wikileaks from @DiEM25_Belgrade. #FreeAssange#AssangeCase pic.twitter.com/lIrL86FfGH — 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. https://t.co/r8aSpDCTpT#FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/15pY8mEVIp — Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) July 3, 2020The 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.https://t.co/TJENCHjp8P — Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) July 3, 2020
3 July 202040+ 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 2020Dr 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 2020Wikileaks-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 2020RSF 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 2020Julian 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 2020Stefania 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 2020UN 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 2020Doctors 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 2020New 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 2020City 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 2020Julian 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 2020Yanis 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 2020Patrick 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 2020Transnational 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 2020A 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 2020Events announced Julian Assange: Doctors speak out Saturday 6th June, 1pm BST / 8am EDT / 10pm AEST
Speakers: 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 hereFree the Truth Saturday 13th June, 6pm BST / 7pm CET / 1pm EDT
Speakers: Max Blumenthal, journalist Stefania Maurizi, journalist Fidel Narvaez, former Ecuadorean consul Hosted by: Deepa Driver Register here
1 June 2020WikiLeaks 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 2020Australian 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 2020Don’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?’https://youtube.com/watch?v=ZNRS02raP-c
Speakers: 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 2020UK 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 2020Interview 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 2020Dr 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 2020Dr 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 wearemillions.org
17 May 2020VIDEO: 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 2020Video: 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 2020Webinar 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. Speakers: • 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 2020Extradition 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 2020Epicentar 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 2020Exhibition: 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 2020Tom 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 2020Video: 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.
Speakers: David Davis, Conservatives MP Radd Seiger, legal advisor for Harry Dunn family Moderated by: Helena Kennedy QC
7 May 2020Online 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. Speakers: David Davis, Conservatives MP Radd Seiger, legal advisor for Harry Dunn family Moderated by: Helena Kennedy QC Registration and more infoVideo: “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 2020Peter 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 2020Extradition 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 2020Video: 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.
Speakers: 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 Moderator: Aaron Maté, contributor to The Nation and host of Pushback at The Grayzone
2 May 2020Stella 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.
Speakers: 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 2020Online 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. Speakers: Prof Mads Andenæs Robert Tibbo Bez Wizner Registration and more information hereFree Assange – Stop the Extradition Wednesday, May 6th, 2pm EST / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST
Speakers: Renata Avila John Shipton Tim Dawson John Rees Hosted by Greater Manchester Stop the War Coalition Register here
29 April 2020Julian 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 2020Julian 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 OfficeReporters 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 2020VIDEO: 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.
Speakers: Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers Whistleblower Katharine Gun, Iraq War secrets Whistleblower John Kiriakou, CIA Whistleblower
24 April 2020Julian 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. Speakers: Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers Whistleblower Katharine Gun, Iraq War secrets Whistleblower John Kiriakou, CIA Whistleblower Register here
23 April 2020System 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 2020VIDEO: 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.
Speaking: 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 EllsbergCanberra 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 2020Geoffrey 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 2020Online event: Journalists speak out for Assange https://youtube.com/watch?v=cWcN34L6LpQ
Speakers: John Pilger – award winning journalist Stefania Maurizi – investigative journalist Charles Glass – author, journalist, broadcaster
16 April 2020Assange’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 2020EL 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 2020Online 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. Speakers: John Pilger – award winning journalist Stefania Maurizi – investigative journalist Charles Glass – author, journalist, broadcaster Register hereThe 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! Speaking: 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 2020Eva 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 2020Julian 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 https://t.co/UAe8eMESef — 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 https://t.co/Uy6Kbsj55K — WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 11, 2020
11 April 2020Today 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.
Panelists: Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Marjorie Cohn, former president of the National Lawyers Guild Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Moderator: Aaron Maté, writer for The Nation and host of Pushback at The GrayzoneOnline 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.
Speakers: 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 DriverThree 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 2020UK 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 pic.twitter.com/Hr8bRE9Dfb — Andrew Wilkie MP (@WilkieMP) April 9, 2020
8 April 2020Online 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. Speaking: 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 hereOnline 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. Speaking: Andrew Feinstein, Kristinn Hrafnsson, Stefania Maurizi, Peter Oborne, Chris Williamson Register here
7 April 2020Judge 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 202010 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 2020The 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 2020Online 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 2020Declassified 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 2020Stefania 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 2020John 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 2020Assange 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. pic.twitter.com/V99fMOjUXD — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) March 25, 2020Reactions
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 https://t.co/cOpyO6QUIs — 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, 2020UN 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 https://t.co/rnNyBisoDM#StandUp4HumanRights pic.twitter.com/xZZyqeVKwn — UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) March 25, 2020Amnesty 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 2020UK: 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 2020Assange 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 2020Julian 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 2020Jeffrey 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 2020Dr. 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 2020Chelsea 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 2020Chelsea 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 2020International 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 pic.twitter.com/ytYtUdVRg3 — Lula (@LulaOficial) March 6, 2020Angela 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 2020Whistleblowers 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
“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 2020Stefania 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 2020German 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 2020Reporters 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 2020OSCE 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 2020Council 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 2020Julian 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 2020Australian 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 2020Australian 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 #politas #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/6q0OOKcUsX — 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 2020Reporters 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 2020Courage event: “The Prosecution of Julian Assange: His Right to Publish is Our Right to Know” https://youtube.com/watch?v=r3J6i6Zk-Bw%3Fstart%3D372 Speakers:
- 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
- Noam Chomsky
- Alice Walker
- Daniel Ellsberg
- Anya Parampil, journalist, The Grayzone
12 February 2020Jeremy 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 pic.twitter.com/441fwzVpDX — ITV News (@itvnews) February 12, 2020
11 February 2020Senator 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. pic.twitter.com/0yUBkTjBXm — Peter Whish-Wilson (@SenatorSurfer) February 12, 2020EL 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 2020Imprisoned 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 pic.twitter.com/sP77zZnQK4 — Andrew Wilkie MP (@WilkieMP) February 12, 2020Chris 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 2020Exclusive 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 2020Julian 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 SnowdenProminent 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 2020Roy 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 2020A 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 2020The Prosecution of Julian Assange and Its Impact on the Freedom of the Press | National Press Club Speakers:
- 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 2020The 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 2020IFJ 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.
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 2020Edward 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
British Consulate 885 Second Ave at 47th St. New York, NY
24 January 2020Julian 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: pic.twitter.com/9Af9y3zC93 — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 24, 2020Canberra 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 2020Julian 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 2020Brazil 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 2020EL 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 2020Nozomi 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 2020New 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
- 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
- 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
- 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 2020Assange’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 2020Richard 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 2020Julian 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 2020In 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 2020Continued 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 2020Mexican 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. https://t.co/RTbZYCeLFH — Lula (@LulaOficial) January 6, 2020
2 January 2020Press 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.