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Archive: Julian Assange Liveblog 2021

Archive: 2021 Julian Assange Liveblog

  • See the latest developments here at our current Liveblog
  • See near-daily updates from 2018, 2019, and 2020 here
  • Click any date at left to jump to that day’s update

31 December 2021

Assange case defines US human rights and wrongs | Xin Ping

Assange is portrayed as an enemy of the US government when he did the right thing of revealing what was wrong, writes Xin Ping.

“By hosting the first “Summit for Democracy,” the US tried to satiate its desire for leadership and spotlight. It never could have imagined that the UK, its closest ally, could have managed to steal its thunder by permitting Julian Assange’s extradition to the US on spying charges on the sidelines of the summit.

Assange and the movement he ignited were snuffed out by the US state power, because he unraveled the elaborate scam of human rights protection by the US and its allies. But the expense is too dear for this man halfway through his life. Stella Morris, Assange’s partner, said he had a stroke in jail, but was still kept in cell for long periods without access to ‘fresh air and sunlight, an adequate diet and the stimulus he needs,’ a condition similar to the Guantanamo Bay he shed light on.”

28 December 2021

Julian Assange and WikiLeaks: Anatomy of a persecution | Nils Melzer and Stefania Maurizi

In their conversation at CCC summit, Nils Melzer (UN Special Rapporteur on Torture) and Stefania Maurizi (investigative journalist, Il Fatto Quotidiano) dissect the Julian Assange and WikiLeaks case

23 December 2021

Julian Assange’s lawyers begin process for Supreme Court Appeal

Lawyers for Julian Assange have started the process for a Supreme Court appeal over his extradition to the US, his fiancee has said.

Ms Moris, a lawyer and the mother of his two children, said in a statement on Thursday the High Court must first “certify that at least one of the Supreme Court appeal grounds is a point of law of general public importance” before the application has a chance to be considered by the Supreme Court.

Stella Moris statement on Julian Assange’s Supreme Court appeal

As Julian Assange and his lawyers submit an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, Stella Moris writes a statement explaining the process and the content of the appeal.

“This morning at 11:05 Julian Assange filed an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court the High Court’s ruling that he can be extradited to the US on three grounds.

The High Court’s ruling in USA v Assange raises three points of law of general public importance that have an impact on the procedural and human rights safeguards of a wide range of other types of cases.

On December 10th, the High Court upheld the Magistrates’ Court’s assessment, based on the evidence before her, that there was a real risk that, should Julian Assange be extradited to the United States, he would be subjected to near total isolation, including under the regimes of SAMs (Special Administrative Measures) and/or ADX, (administrative maximum prison) and that such isolation would cause his mental condition to deteriorate to such a degree that there was a high risk of suicide. These findings led the lower court to block the extradition under s. 91 of the Extradition Act, which bans “oppressive” extraditions.

Julian Assange’s application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court is therefore currently under consideration by the High Court judges. It is not known how long it will take for the decision to come down, but it is not expected before the third week of January.”

22 December 2021

A group of 300 medical doctors write to Barnaby Joyce, Deputy Prime Minister of Australia warning of dangerous deterioration following Assange’s reported stroke

“We are writing to you now in light of recent reporting that Mr. Assange has suffered what was described as a mini stroke, exhibiting signs of neurological damage. As concerned doctors, including many residing in Australia, we implore you, as the Australian Deputy Prime Minister, to intervene with the UK Government to seek Mr. Assange’s immediate release on urgent medical grounds.

“This dangerous deterioration of Mr. Assange’s health underscores urgent concerns raised by Doctors for Assange over the past two years. Therefore, once again, Doctors for Assange calls for Mr. Assange to be released from prison so he can access consistent, high quality, independent medical care – something which is impossible for him to obtain in Belmarsh prison.

“We are concerned that Mr. Assange’s apparent mini stroke may be the tip of a medical iceberg. Indeed, his symptoms suggest as much. It is therefore imperative that Mr. Assange be released from prison, where his health will otherwise continue to deteriorate further and where his complex medical needs cannot be met, and that he immediately receives independent, high quality medical care.

“Accordingly, we implore you, as Deputy Prime Minister, to intervene with the UK Government to seek Mr. Assange’s immediate release on urgent medical grounds. We reiterate that he is an Australian citizen, innocent in the eyes of the law, and guilty of and charged with nothing in the UK.”

20 December 2021

The Prosecution of Julian Assange Absolutely Threatens Freedom of the Press | John Nichols

The Biden administration should abandon a course that could lead to the criminalization of whistleblowers and investigative journalism, writes John Nichols in the Nation.

“The founders rebuked the print publishers of their day with language every bit as venomous as that employed by contemporary US officials when they speak of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks publisher whom the Biden administration proposes to try on espionage charges stemming from the 2010 publication of evidence of ‘Collateral Murder’ atrocities committed by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“If we are serious about protecting the right of those who are widely acknowledged as journalists to track down and publish classified information about what governments do in our name but without our informed consent, then we must defend the right of more controversial printers and web publishers to obtain and distribute the same.”

18 December 2021

Assange: WikiLeaks founder one step closer to extradition | Al Jazeera’s The Listening Post

A court in the United Kingdom has greenlighted Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States – Press freedom groups call it a “travesty of justice”, but the response from the mainstream media has been muted.

Contributors:

  • Tariq Ali – Co-editor, In Defence of Julian Assange; editor, New Left Review
  • Nils Melzer – UN Special Rapporteur on torture; author, The Trial of Julian Assange
  • Lester Munson – Senior associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Rebecca Vincent – Director of International Campaigns and UK Bureau director, RSF

17 December 2021

The hounding of Julian Assange leaves honest journalism with no refuge | Jonathan Cook

It is no accident that Julian Assange, the digital transparency activist and journalist who founded Wikileaks to help whistleblowers tell us what western governments are really up to in the shadows, has spent 10 years being progressively disappeared into those very same shadows, writes Jonathan Cook.

“His treatment is a crime similar to those Wikileaks exposed when it published just over a decade ago hundreds of thousands of leaked materials – documents we were never supposed to see – detailing war crimes committed by the United States and Britain in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

“The High Court decision forces our eyes off the ball once again. Assange and his supposed ‘crime’ of seeking transparency and accountability has become the story rather than the crimes he exposed that were carried out by the US to lay waste to whole regions and devastate the lives of millions. 

“There is no need to speculate about the Americans’ bad faith. It is only too apparent in the myriad get-out clauses in the ‘assurances’ they provided. Those assurances can be dropped, for example, if US officials decide Assange is not being cooperative. The promises can and will be disregarded the moment they become an encumbrance on Washington’s ability to keep Assange permanently silenced.

“The message his abuse sends to others could not be clearer or more chilling: what happened to Assange could happen to you too. 

“The truth is journalism is already reeling from the combined assaults against Khashoggi and Assange. But the hounding of Assange strikes the bigger blow. It leaves honest journalism with no refuge, no sanctuary anywhere in the world.”

Katie Halper, Krystal Ball, Marianne Williamson & Kyle Kulinski join forces to host a livestream to free Julian Assange

They are joined by guests including Susan Sarandon, Glenn Greenwald, Roger Waters, Rep. Ro Khanna, Margaret Kimberley, Julian’s brother Gabriel Shipton, Julian’s fiancee Stella Moris, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, Saagar Enjeti, Ryan Grim, Randy Credico and more!

15 December 2021

‘Blatantly unfair and profoundly wrong’ — Stella Moris on why fiancé Julian Assange’s extradition ruling is not the end

After the High Court had ruled that the Wikileaks founder could be extradited to the US on espionage charges, his fiancée Stella Moris tells Katie Strick about his stress-induced stroke and why it’s only made her more determined to fight for his freedom.

“People’s willingness to speak out is essential for the US to not get away with this,” she says. “The fact that centrist people in the US have decided now is the time to speak out is significant – the situation is so nakedly unfair that the majority of the population can see that what has happened here is extremely irregular and profoundly wrong. The support for him and the willingness to speak out is growing, which is essential.”

In a second bombshell in the last few days, she revealed that her husband-to-be suffered a stroke on the first day of the High Court appeal hearing in October.

“Julian is struggling and I fear this mini-stroke could be the precursor to a more major attack,” she told the Mail on Sunday last weekend. “It compounds our fears about his ability to survive, the longer this long legal battle goes on.

He’s largely recovered, says Moris – physically, anyway. The stroke left him unable to close his right eyelid and a blurred memory at the time and while those symptoms have now gone away, the risks of another have only heightened. “He could have a catastrophic medical emergency at any moment,” she says, matter-of-factly. “Doctors who’ve been assessing him for years have been warning of this: that his health is in decline and that he may suffer a rapid downwards spiral at any point. Obviously we’re extremely concerned now – he’s on anti-stroke medication but if he has another one it could be more serious or have a more permanent effect or be very serious.”

14 December 2021

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) publishes its annual round-up of journalists detained, killed, held hostage and missing – Julian Assange among the most noteworthy cases of 2021

RSF has included the case of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange in it annual report among those that imply heaviest possible sentence. The report reads:

“A total of 175 years in prison. It’s the heaviest sentence faced by anyone targeted in connection with journalism in 2021, and it’s what Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange could get if extradited to the United States. Held in London’s Belmarsh maximum-security prison since April 2019, the US government continues to pursue Assange’s extradition on the basis of 18 charges connected with Wikileaks’ publication in 2010 of hundreds of thousands of leaked classified documents revealing war crimes and human rights violations that have never been prosecuted. Assange is the first publisher to be charged under the US Espionage Act, which lacks a public interest defence.”

Why We Must Defend Julian Assange | Margaret Kimberley

Julian Assange is one of the political prisoners that the US claims not to have, writes Margaret Kimberly.

“The UK is again the good vassal, keeping him locked up until the Biden administration finds an opportune time to ship him off to a kangaroo court. Everyone who believes in press freedom and who opposes imperialism must be a staunch Assange defender.

“Ultimately the U.S. and U.K. couldn’t be bad actors at all if powerful media organizations behaved like independent entities and not as an arm of the state. Assange has no influential friends and sits in Belmarsh prison, having suffered a stroke on October 27, 2021. His physical and mental health deteriorate while unscrupulous people in London and Washington decide his fate.

“The corrupt process must be exposed and all Assange supporters must speak up. The United States should not be allowed to use the Espionage Act or any other mechanism to snatch up anyone, anywhere and charge with a crime of dubious legality. If they are allowed to do so in this case they will certainly do it again. Anyone who wants to expose high crimes will find themselves in Assange’s position. People who oppose the empire and its machinations are all at risk if Assange is extradited and stands trial in the Eastern District court. He is a political prisoner and others will be too if the prosecution proceeds. It is no exaggeration to say that we are all Julian Assange.”

The Judicial Kidnapping of Julian Assange | John Pilger

Who among us is prepared to stand up rather than remain mere bystanders to an epic travesty such as the judicial kidnapping of Julian Assange? What is at stake is both a courageous man’s life and, if we remain silent, the conquest of our intellects and sense of right and wrong: indeed our very humanity, asks John Pilger.

“The French philosopher Sartre’s words should echo in all our minds following the grotesque decision of Britain’s High Court to extradite Australian journalist Julian Assange, the founder of news leaks and classified media publisher WikiLeaks, to the United States where he faces ‘a living death’.

“This is his punishment for the crime of authentic, accurate, courageous, vital journalism.

“What was truly shocking last Friday was that the High Court  judges—Lord Burnett and Lord Justice Timothy Holyrode, who read out their words—showed no hesitation in sending Julian to his death, living or otherwise. They offered no mitigation, no suggestion that they had agonized over legalities or even basic morality.

“The absurdity lies in what the judges omitted to say. In offering its ‘assurances,’ the US reserves the right not to guarantee anything should Assange do something that displeases his jailers. In other words, as Amnesty has pointed out, it reserves the right to break any promise.

This brings me to the quotation at the top of this article: ‘Let us look at ourselves, if we have the courage, to see what is happening.'”

The execution of Julian Assange: He exposed the crimes of empire — and that can’t be tolerated | Chris Hedges

The WikiLeaks founder’s unforgivable sin was to expose the U.S. empire’s war crimes. For that, he faces death, writes Chris Hegdes in his comment on the December 10th ruling.

“The decision to grant the extradition was based on four ‘assurances’ given to the court by the U.S. government.
“‘There is no reason why this court should not accept the assurances as meaning what they say,’ the judges wrote. ‘There is no basis for assuming that the USA has not given the assurances in good faith.’

“And with these rhetorical feints the judges signed Assange’s death warrant.

“None of the ‘assurances’ offered by Biden’s Department of Justice are worth the paper they are written on. All come with escape clauses. None is legally binding.

“Dean Yates can tell you what U.S. ‘assurances’ are worth. He was the Reuters bureau chief in Baghdad on the morning of July 12, 2007, when his Iraqi colleagues Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh were killed, along with nine other men, by U.S. Army Apache gunships. Two children were seriously wounded. The U.S. government spent three years lying to Yates, Reuters and the rest of the world about the killings, although the army had video evidence of the massacre taken by the Apaches during the attack.

“The Spanish courts can tell you what U.S. ‘assurances’ are worth. Spain was given an assurance that David Mendoza Herrarte, if extradited to the U.S. to face trial for drug trafficking charges, could serve his prison sentence in Spain. But for six years the Department of Justice repeatedly refused Spanish transfer requests, only relenting when the Spanish Supreme Court intervened.

“The people in Iraq can tell you what U.S. ‘assurances’ are worth. They were invaded and subject to a brutal war based on fabricated evidence about weapons of mass destruction.

“Assange, at tremendous personal cost, warned us. He gave us the truth. The ruling class is crucifying him for this truth. With his crucifixion, the dim lights of our democracy go dark.”

12 December 2021

Sydney Morning Herald Editorial: Assange’s legal torment has lasted long enough

The British High Court’s decision to unblock the process of extraditing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the US to face espionage charges has reopened a debate about whether Australia should play a more active role in the long-running case, a SMH editorial discussed the Assange case after the UK’s High Court ruling to allow his extradition to the US.

“While the Herald understands the need to protect classified information and British courts have found that his actions were not purely journalistic, it is hard to see what will be gained by pursuing this case to a final conclusion.

“At a time when US President Joe Biden has just held a summit for democracy, it seems contradictory to go to such lengths to win a case that, if it succeeds, will limit freedom of speech.

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison should encourage Mr Biden to free Mr Assange. There is a strong humanitarian and pragmatic case to look for a way out of this Kafkaesque nightmare.”

10 December 2021

High Court High Court Grants U.S. Appeal, the decision “Grave miscarriage of justice,” says Julian Assange’s fiancée

A UK court has overturned an earlier decision blocking the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States where he is accused of publishing true information revealing crimes committed by the US government in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and details of CIA torture and rendition. Julian Assange was not given permission to attend the appeal hearing in person.

Responding to the decision of the High Court to overturn the lower court’s earlier ruling to block the extradition of Mr. Assange, Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s fiancee, said: “We will appeal this decision at the earliest possible moment.”

Moris described the High Court’s ruling as “dangerous and misguided” and a “grave miscarriage of justice.” “How can if be fair, how can it be right, how can it be possible, to extradite Julian to the very country which plotted to kill him?” she said.

The ruling has been condemned by virtually all relevant media freedom, human rights and civil liberties organisations.

Amnesty International: “Travesty of justice” as extradition appeal fails to recognise that it would be unsafe for Julian Assange to be sent to the US

The Committee to Protect Journalists: UK ruling on extraditing Wikileaks’ Assange ‘seriously damages journalism’

Article 19: Assange ruling is attack on media freedom

Reporters Without borders (RSF) condemns the UK High Court’s decision allowing for Julian Assange’s extradition to the US, and calls for his immediate release

PEN centres condemn decision to allow the extradition of Julian Assange

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the decision and will support any appeal Assange’s legal team lodges.

National Union of Journalists (NUJ): Assange decision a “hammer-blow to free expression”

Freedom of the Press Foundation: Today’s ruling is an alarming setback for press freedom in the United States and around the world, and represents a notable escalation in the use of the Espionage Act in the “War on Whistleblowers” that has expanded through the past several presidential administrations.

The Knight First Amendment Institute: Indictment under the Espionage Act casts a shadow over investigative journalism

International Press Institute (IPI) urges U.S. government to drop prosecution under Espionage Act

Blueprint for Free Speech: Assange ruling shows that extradition is a pressing risk for whistleblowers and journalists alike

Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJ): It’s now time that British judges and politicians put an end to this willfully punitive legal saga, and set Assange free.

American Civili Liberties Union (ACLU)

The Guardian view on the US pursuit of Julian Assange: Set him free

The attempt to extradite the WikiLeaks founder is an assault on the press freedom that the Biden administration promises to promote, proclaims Guardian editorial in a comment on the High Court ruling allowing the extradition of Julian Assange to the US.

“Yet the US government itself is endangering the ability of the media to bring to light uncomfortable truths and expose official crimes and cover-ups. On Friday, the high court ruled that Julian Assange can be extradited to the US, where he could face up to 175 years in prison. The decision is not only a blow for his family and friends, who fear he would not survive imprisonment in the US. It is also a blow for all those who wish to protect the freedom of the press.

“If Mr Biden is serious about protecting the ability of the media to hold governments accountable, he should begin by dropping the charges brought against Mr Assange.”

2 December 2021

Andrew Wilkie MP calls for urgent action to help Julian Assange in the Australian parliament

“There’s an urgent need to suspend standing orders and to deal with this… As we sit here, an Australian citizen and journalist is rotting in Belmarsh prison in London and may well die there. If he is extradited to the US… He’ll most certainly die there.”

1 December 2021

A decision on the US’s appeal against a UK Court decision refusing extradtion of our publisher Julian Assange imminent

On 4 January 2021, a UK judge ruled that extraditing Julian Assange to the United States would be “oppressive,” would amount to a death sentence, and must be stopped.

Two days before leaving office the Trump Administration appealed this decision, and appeal arguments were heard by the UK’s High Court on 27-28 October 2021. The High Court is due to rule on the U.S. appeal imminently. See Julian Assange’s full response to the U.S. appeal effort here.

The U.S. purports to give “assurances” about the treatment Assange would face in a U.S. prison, in its attempt to overturn the district judge’s opinion.  These “assurances” specifically allow the U.S. to inflict torture on Julian Assange, explicitly asserting that the U.S. government can still impose the very conditions that the magistrate found would kill him. Amnesty International has described these so-called assurances as “inherently unreliable” and has said that Assange “must be released immediately.”

30 November 2021

Assange Countdown to Freedom: Randy Credico interviews Michael Isikoff

Assange and the assurances of ‘civilised’ torturers | Azeezah Kanji

What should we make of the US assurances regarding how Assange would be treated if extradited?, asks Azeezah Kanji.

“In persisting with its campaign to have Wikileaks founder Julian Assange extradited from the United Kingdom, the US continues to expose its own systemic crimes.

“The ‘assurances’of humane treatment now issued by the United States government – currently under consideration by the UK High Court – testify to the horrors otherwise routinely inflicted by America’s mass incarceration state.

“For shattering these pretensions of innocence, Julian Assange has joined the ranks of those punished for breaching civilisation’s taboos; those once condemned, as the eminent scholar Talal Asad writes, for ‘the familiar religious sins of heresy, blasphemy, and sacrilege or, in a secular world dominated by the modern nation-state, the crimes of treason and terrorism’. Or, as in Assange’s case, simply for the offence of revealing the truth.”

29 November 2021

Classified Documents Invalidate United States’ Appeal Against Assange | Richard Medhurst

The United States broke diplomatic assurances for David Mendoza, it will do the same with Julian Assange, writes Richard Medhurst.

“Mendoza’s case is an incredible story on its own merits. Nevertheless, it must be examined in the context of Assange’s extradition. When James Lewis told High Court judges that ‘the United States have never broken a diplomatic assurance, ever’— this is simply untrue.

“Mendoza was fortunate enough to have the Spanish Supreme Court, senior judges and public on his side. Were the United States to violate the assurances of Assange’s extradition, it is extremely unlikely given the “Special Relationship” between the U.K. and U.S., that Assange would be able to successfully lobby the British government into compelling the U.S. to uphold the conditions of his extradition.

“Mendoza’s experience shows that for Assange, any diplomatic assurances or agreements must be written in explicit language and signed by all parties, including Assange, so that in the eventuality of non-compliance, he may be afforded the opportunity to contest this in court, despite his status as a non-signatory of the United Kingdom-United States Extradition Treaty.

“It is a serious warning which High Court Justices should heed, who at their discretion, have the power to prevent gross miscarriages of justice which gravely imperil the respondent, before they arise.
‘I’m a nobody. If they’re capable of doing this to me, just imagine what they can do to Assange.'”

Australian MP introduced a private bill to address the illegal detention of journalists, titled free Julian Assange

The government backbencher, MP George Christensen introduced a private bill to address the illegal detention of journalists on Monday, titled “free Julian Assange”.

Mr Christensen’s bill seeks to define journalism to include “publishing and passively receiving information” which he argues is what Mr Assange did as editor of WikiLeaks.

It also proposes seven years imprisonment for a head of a foreign government if they detained an Australian journalist or requested another foreign government to do so.

In a speech to parliament, Mr Christensen said Mr Assange’s detention set a dangerous precedent for all publishers.

“Journalism and publishers play a crucial role in shining a light on human rights abuses, holding oppressive authorities to account and independently reporting facts,” he said.

“This bill seeks to protect Australian journalists from politically motivated detention and prosecution by foreign powers.”

26 November 2021

U.S. stonewalls probe into security firm that allegedly spied on Assange for CIA, says Spanish judge | Michael Isikoff

The Justice Department has failed to respond to multiple requests from Spanish authorities for help in an investigation into a local security firm suspected of being used by the CIA to conduct aggressive — and potentially illegal — surveillance of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

“I am not so pleased about it,” said Santiago Pedraz, the investigating judge in charge of the case, in an exclusive interview with Yahoo News, when asked about the failure of officials in Washington so far to cooperate with his probe. “They have absolutely not answered anything.”

Since June of last year, Spanish judges have sent three requests for information to the Justice Department primarily seeking information about the ownership of IP addresses believed to be in the United States that had access to files documenting Assange’s activities while he was holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, according to copies of the requests reviewed by Yahoo News.

Despite a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) between the U.S. and Spain pledging to assist each other in criminal investigations, none of the Spanish requests have yet elicited any substantive responses from the United States, the judge said. Instead, Justice Department lawyers have asked Spanish authorities for more information about the basis for the inquiry before taking any action.

24 November 2021

Julian Assange and his fiancée Stella Moris register their intention to get married in Belmarsh prison where the WikiLeaks founder is being held

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and his partner have formally registered to get married in the London prison where he is being held. 

Mr Assange’s fiancee Stella Moris visited him on Wednesday in Belmarsh Prison, in south-east London, where he is being held while the United States continues legal moves to extradite him.
The couple have previously accused the prison governor and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab of working to prevent the ceremony going ahead.

Ms Moris told the media she hoped there would be no further ‘interference’ in their wedding plans. She said:

‘Today Julian and I are finally registering our intention to marry here inside Belmarsh prison. We were originally booked to do so three weeks ago.

‘Of course, the circumstances are not ideal but I am relieved that reason has prevailed and I hope there will be no further interference with our marriage.

‘In the UK everyone who is old enough, no matter who they are or where they are from, has a basic human right to get married to whom they choose.

‘This right is written into law. Julian is not charged with any crime in this country, he is not serving a sentence, his imprisonment serves no purpose at all other than to prolong and make his suffering worse.

‘I hope the injustice of this situation is swiftly brought to an end so that we can enjoy marriage outside of the walls of Belmarsh when he is freed.’

23 November 2021

Wikileaks & The Guantanamo Files feat. Andy Worthington & Clive Stafford Smith

The prosecution of Julian Assange marks the first time a publisher of truthful information has been indicted under the Espionage Act. In the first of a series of episodes exploring what WikiLeaks exposed and the lengths the US government went to silence them, Primary Sources looks at WikiLeaks’ role in exposing human rights abuses at the notorious US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. To help understand what they are and why they matter, host Chip Gibbons is joined by Andy Worthington, a leading expert on Guantanamo Bay who worked with Wikileaks on the release of the Guantanamo Files, and Clive Stafford Smith, a pioneering human rights attorney who, in the aftermath of 9/11, was one of the first lawyers willing to represent detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Both men testified on behalf of Assange at his extradition hearing

20 November 2021

The Argentine Federation of Press Workers and the Buenos Aires Press Union launch a campaign demanding freedom for Julian Assange together with other union orgs, human rights groups and national MPs

The campaign is launched by the Argentine Federation of Press Workers (Fatpren) and the Union of Press Workers of Buenos Aires (SiPreBA) days after another anniversary of that great publication of more than a quarter of a million secret documents of the State Department where the dark and certainly criminal ways in which the White House operates in the world were revealed. It was a few months after Wikileaks, the website created by Assange, astonished the world by publishing the video Collateral murders which showed an attack by US troops by helicopter over Baghdad, recorded by themselves, in which they had “fun” killing beings humans circulating on a street in the Iraqi capital.

Journalists and press workers around the world are demanding his speedy release. They understand that he is accused of having disseminated truthful documents about crimes that were committed. And that Assange is a blueprint case for press freedom and the right to information. By punishing him, another possible rebellion against the established power is threatened and very clear signals are given to the media that try to accompany any publication that affects those interests in the future.

“We join the international campaign for the freedom of Assange – says Clara Albisu, of the SiPreBA Board of Directors – together with the International Federation of Journalists and the World Federation of Trade Unions because it is a case that affects us as press workers and concerned people for human rights and free media rights, which are also a human rights”.

“Assange is in prison for providing citizens with access to information of public interest. The persecution against him clears the way for governments to discipline journalists anywhere in the world which would set a dangerous precedent for press freedom.”

17 November 2021

On the Day of the Imprisoned Writer PEN decries persecution of authors worldwide

The German PEN Center is also now campaigning for Julian Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks disclosure platform, who is imprisoned in London. The writers’ association demands that the investigative journalist not be extradited to the US, and recently named Assange its honorary member.

French National Syndicate of Journalists (SNJ) organises screenings of ‘Hacking Justice’ film and reiterates its support for Julian Assange

On the occasion of the release of the DVD-book set “Hacking Justice”, dedicated to the legal ordeal that Julian Assange has endured for more than a decade, this precious documentary is screened in several cinemas from November 17th.

We recall that our colleague faces up to 175 years in prison in the United States. His crime: to have made it possible to reveal those of the American army in Iraq, in Afghanistan or even the conditions of detention in the prison of Guantánamo.

The SNJ reiterates its support for Julian Assange, whose work has received journalism awards around the world and helped make possible the most massive public interest information leaks of the 21st century.

13 November 2021

Assange Countdown to Freedom: Randy Credico talks to Daniel Ellsberg, Nils Melzer and Angela Richter

Legendary whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer and journalist Angela Richter discuss the tortuous, brutal endless legal saga of Wikileaks founder Julian Assnge in this extraordinary extended edition of Assange Countdown to Freedom.

11 November 2021

Julian Assange’s Extradition to the United States Would Result in Serious Human Rights Violations | Chip Gibbons

A successful extradition of Assange to the United States would result in grievous violations of his human rights, writes Chip Gibbons.

“The US government is begging the British High Court to allow Julian Assange to be extradited to the United States. Doing so would be a human rights disaster, given that American prisons violate the most basic human rights of political prisoners like Assange.

“Although the United States’ indictment against Assange is a textbook example of a political offense, which are traditionally immune from extradition, the judge rejected Assange’s press freedom claims. Instead, she found that given the conditions of US prisons and Assange’s mental state, his extradition would place the journalist at risk of suicide.

“The proceedings also turned on the validity of US assurances that Assange would receive humane treatment in US prisons. Not only are these assurances filed with troubling holes, but even the highest standard of treatment as outlined by the United States for Assange would likely amount to torture.

“This is hardly surprising given how the United States has treated whistleblowers and others accused of giving information to the media in prison. Given the United States’ miserable track record in treating political prisoners like Assange and prisoners more generally, it’s clear that a successful extradition of Assange to the United States would result in grievous violations of his human rights.”

Julian Assange allowed to marry partner Stella Moris in jail

Moris told the PA news agency: “I am relieved that reason prevailed and I hope there will be no further interference with our marriage.”

The couple have been engaged for a number of years and have been trying to get married despite the legal action. Their sons Gabriel, four, and Max, two, are British citizens.

The couple were taking legal action against the prison governor and the justice secretary, Dominic Raab, accusing them of preventing a wedding being held.

10 November 2021

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

Julian Assange won his case against extradition to the United States on 4 January 2021. After watching the two-day appeal hearing in October, I believe he is likely to win again, defeating the US appeal to the High Court, with a ruling due before Christmas. Given the already weak US case is suffering from several scandals, fuelling an ever-growing campaign, the Biden administration’s Department of Justice may not risk the embarrassment of yet another defeat in the Supreme Court in a case initiated by the Trump administration. Alternatively, the misuse of legal process to inflict punishment on Assange through endless delay could continue. The case is weak because:
  • Thirty former US officials have come forward to reveal aggressive spying on Assange and his associates by the CIA, including the outlining of options for Julian’s abduction or assassination.
  • The United States is offering ‘assurances’ that are not assurances
  • The United States has dangled the idea of a sentence being served in Australia, a laughable concession
  • A star witness for the United States has admitted to fabricating allegations and lying to the FBI for immunity
  • Spain’s High Court is investigating five separate criminal complaints related to spying on Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London by UC Global, a security company that allegedly helped the CIA.
  • The prosecution seeks to denigrate the character and evidence of a distinguished psychiatrist for a trivial reason.
  • Scorn rather than arguments has greeted the evidence of medical professionals
  • Overall, the excesses of the US case are uniting larger and broader coalitions of unlikely bedfellows in a growing campaign.

9 November 2021

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

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

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

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

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

“The WikiLeaks archive is quite an extraordinary tool for activists, for academics, for people working in this area, to be able to understand the relationship between the states and the fossil fuel companies, how those interests are intertwined, the fact that there is no bright line between many of these states and the fossil fuel industry, and that, in fact, there’s a revolving door and that the goals of the summit are frustrated by this reality”, says Moris. “These revelations are part of the publications that Julian is indicted over. He faces 175 years for publishing the truth, for making this information, that is indisputably in the public interest, available to the public. And the U.S. government, under Trump, took the unprecedented step to criminalize journalism, to criminalize receiving information from a journalistic source and publishing that to the public”.

7 November 2021

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s part of an enormous conspiracy against Julian which makes itself felt in all that we try to do. “A wedding would be a moment of happiness, a bit of normality in insane circumstances. Julian needs things to hold on to because daily life is a struggle for him in Belmarsh and there is so much uncertainty about his future. “There is no reason for political interference in what is a basic human right. The CIA revelations show the lengths some agencies are willing to go to in their persecution of Julian.”

4 November 2021

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

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

So the question at the heart of the hearing is this: is it reasonable to assume that the agency that has repeatedly acted illegally to ensnare Julian Assange, and which has even developed plans to kidnap or kill him, can be assumed to be acting in good faith when they give assurances that he will be humanely treated in the US prison system? And how much more doubt should there be about this when, as Lewis admitted in a mistimed and flustered summing-up, any assurances given now cannot be specific and can be withdrawn at a future date? But every political case of this kind is decided fifty percent in court and fifty percent in the court of public opinion. In the High Court, there is no jury of Assange’s peers who will be the arbiters of his fate. In the court of public opinion, however, it is ordinary citizens who have the deciding vote. That is why, as the High Court judges sequester themselves in their chambers to decide their verdict in coming weeks, it must be the voices of ordinary people that are raised loud enough to shape the outcome of the civil rights trial of the century.

Moderate Rebels: Stella Moris on dangers of US extradition case

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

3 November 2021

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

The damage done to him in his decade of incarceration and uncertainty, including more than two years in Belmarsh (whose brutal regime is celebrated in the latest Bond film) is beyond doubt. But so, too, is his courage beyond doubt, and a quality of resistance and resilience that is heroism. It is this that may see him through the present Kafkaesque nightmare—if he is spared an American hellhole. The High Court judges are likely to announce their decision on the U.S. appeal in the new year. What they decide will determine whether or not the British judiciary has trashed the last vestiges of its vaunted reputation; in the land of Magna Carta this disgraceful case ought to have been hurled out of court long ago. The missing imperative is not the impact on a collusive “free press.” It is justice for a man persecuted and willfully denied it. Julian Assange is a truth-teller who has committed no crime but revealed government crimes and lies on a vast scale and so performed one of the great public services of my lifetime. Do we need to be reminded that justice for one is justice for all?

2 November 2021

Julian Assange becomes an honorary member of the German PEN

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

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

“We call on the authorities in England not to extradite our honorary member Julian Assange to the United States of America, where he faces up to 175 years in prison, but to release him immediately and unconditionally from prison. His continued detention is purely political and is therefore neither acceptable nor justified. It contradicts the right to freedom of expression and therefore the charter of the international PEN. We assure him, like our other honorary members, of our unlimited solidarity,” says Ralf Nestmeyer, Vice President of the German PEN.
Archive: 2021

1 November 2021

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

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

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

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

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

31 October 2021

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

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

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

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

30 October 2021

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

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

28 October 2021

Julian Assange Extradition Appeal: Day 2

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

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

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

Read Assange Defense Appeal Arguments

Statements in front of the court

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

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

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

27 October 2021

Julian Assange Extradition Appeal: Day 1

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

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

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

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

If extradited, #Wikileaks publisher Julian #Assange faces highly controversial charges under the US Espionage Act that could result in up to 175 years in prison. Despite this, he has not been even been able to attend his own hearing #AssangeAppeal — Fair Trials (@fairtrials) October 28, 2021
Were #Assange to be extradited to the US, the risk to for #FreedomofExpression, the public’s right to know & the practice of independent journalism worldwide is serious. The attempt to extend the US Espionage Act globally puts all journalists at risk for doing their jobs. https://t.co/b24SCNaJSJ — WIN (@whistleblowing) October 28, 2021
“If the US is successful today, journalists around the world will have to look over their shoulders if they are publishing information that is detrimental to US interests.”@amnesty’s Simon Crowther on why the #AssangeCase is so important for freedom of expression. #Assange pic.twitter.com/nQmo8IC8hn — amnestypress (@amnestypress) October 27, 2021
#RSF strongly opposes the threat of extradition of Julian #Assange to the United States, where he faces up to 175 years in prison for passing on information of public interest to journalists. The case must be closed and Julian Assange released!#FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/UmTdvCgbHB — RSF (@RSF_inter) October 27, 2021
As the appeal trial of #JulianAssange starts today, we call on #USA Justice Department to drop all charges. Those who gather news and expose human rights violations should not be prosecuted! @wikileaks @TheJusticeDept #freespeech https://t.co/jyODpzGWPF — ARTICLE 19 Law (@article19law) October 27, 2021
“The Biden administration’s relentless pursuit of Julian Assange should send a chill down the spine of journalists around the world,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director @RobertMMahoney. pic.twitter.com/IwOgdC1XX6 — Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) October 27, 2021
Julian Assange must not be extradited – @article19org https://t.co/Rw9K27nvet — IFEX (@IFEX) October 27, 2021
Today in London the appeals hearing in @wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition case begins. IPI joins other #pressfreedom groups around the world in calling on Biden admin to drop effort to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act.https://t.co/EgDf1RjWxW — IPI-The Global Network for Independent Journalism (@globalfreemedia) October 27, 2021
#FreeAssange: The US appeal over the decision not to extradite Julian Assange is to be heard today by the High Court. All charges against #Assange must be dropped. “The allegations that swirl around this case beggar belief” @abellanger49 @NUJofficial https://t.co/gdhtms9bbk — IFJ (@IFJGlobal) October 27, 2021
#Assange charges must be dropped. #NUJ’s Michelle Stanistreet: “The longer this attempted prosecution is pursued, the greater will be the damage to investigative reporting.” https://t.co/ABRxwOupnn pic.twitter.com/ymrXbtVByE — NUJ (@NUJofficial) October 27, 2021
Full page ad in today’s @thetimes ahead of the #Assange hearing beginning at 8.30pm AEDT. The US charges against Assange are a global attack on #pressfreedom and represent a threat to any journalist anywhere writing about the US government. #JournalismIsNotACrime #MEAAmedia pic.twitter.com/1FuwykXOJe — MEAA (@withMEAA) October 27, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday marks perhaps the most important momentyet in the case against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. From October 27-28, the High Court in London will consider the US government’s appeal against the January decision opposing Assange’s extradition to the US, where he would face trial on 18 charges that could land him in a supermax prison for the rest of his life — all for publishing information in the public interest. My organization, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), welcomed the decision opposing extradition, but criticized the substance of the ruling, which was based only on mental health grounds. We share the serious concerns about Assange’s mental health, and for this reason have stated that his extradition to the US is a possible matter of life or death. However, the court failed to take a strong position in favor of journalism and press freedom, which we fear leaves the door open to future similar prosecutions against publishers, journalists and sources. We fully believe that Assange has been targeted for his contributions to journalism, as WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of leaked classified documents – the basis of the US charges – informed extensive public interest reporting by media around the world, exposing war crimes and human rights violations. t is only in the UK that I have faced such extensive and constantly evolving barriers to observation — an experience shared by my RSF colleagues from other country offices who have also been involved in our monitoring efforts. These access issues, along with the UK’s continued detention of Assange in the high-security Belmarsh prison in London for no reason other than the fact that the US is pursuing its appeal, are only serving to tarnish the UK’s international reputation. For as long as this continues, a clear and damaging signal is being sent to those who wish to silence critical reporting around the world, that the very states who are looked to as standard-setters are also capable of such acts themselves. It’s well past time to put a stop to this travesty.

Stefan Simanowitz: Julian Assange must be freed, now

Today, the US government is attempting to overturn an earlier ruling blocking Julian Assange’s extradition. The US government’s indictment poses a grave threat to press freedom both in the US and abroad. Much of the conduct it describes is conduct that journalists and publishers engage in on a daily basis. Were his extradition to be allowed it would set a precedent that would effectively criminalise common journalistic practices. By charging with espionage someone who has no non-disclosure obligation, is not a US citizen and is not in the US, the US government is behaving as if they have jurisdiction all over the world to pursue any person who receives and publishes information of government wrongdoing. Whistleblowers, publishers and journalists are of vital importance in holding governments to scrutiny and perpetrators of human rights violations to account. The charges against Assange should be urgently dropped and he should be released.

26 October 2021

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

“As we return to court for yet more proceedings in the US’ never-ending legal battle against Julian Assange, we again emphasise our position: that Assange has been targeted for his contributions to journalism, that his extradition and prosecution would have severe and long-lasting implications for journalism and press freedom around the world, and that the case should be closed and he should be immediately released,” said RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire. “We have faced more difficulties in accessing proceedings in the case of Julian Assange than we have in any other case, in any other country. We are extremely frustrated by the barriers to access we continue to face on the eve of the most important hearing to date in this case. These proceedings are overwhelmingly in the public interest and must be open to scrutiny. We sincerely hope the High Court will act in the interest of open justice and the right to a fair trial and enable us to do our jobs by accrediting us to observe the appeal hearing,” said RSF Director of International Campaigns Rebecca Vincent.

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

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

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

Assange extradition appeal, WikiLeaks and journalism

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

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

Conference: ‘Stop the Torture: Free Assange’

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

25 October 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That was the reality on the table and we knew that we needed to be careful. This has been basically the reality for 10 or 11 years now,” he said. “When you expose the secrets of the empire, they will come back at you.”

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

“It is unthinkable that the High Court will come to any other decision but to uphold the magistrates’ court decision. Anything else is totally unacceptable. “It would be such a stain on the system in this country that I certainly hope there will be enough pressure and realisation of how devastating it would be for this country if somehow the judge comes to the decision of reversing the magistrates’ court decision.”

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

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

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

“Assurances by the US government that they would not put Julian Assange in a maximum security prison or subject him to abusive Special Administrative Measures were discredited by their admission that they reserved the right to reverse those guarantees. Now, reports that the CIA considered kidnapping or killing Assange have cast even more doubt on the reliability of US promises and further expose the political motivation behind this case,” said Amnesty Secretary General, Agnès Callamard. “It is a damning indictment that nearly 20 years on, virtually no one responsible for alleged US war crimes committed in the course of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars has been held accountable, let alone prosecuted, and yet a publisher who exposed such crimes is potentially facing a lifetime in jail.”

24 October 2021

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

Instead of dropping Trump’s extradition request, Biden is vigorously pursuing his predecessor’s appeal against Assange, which the U.K. High Court will hear on October 27 and 28. At that hearing, the High Court should determine what effect the CIA’s recently revealed plan to kidnap and assassinate Assange will have on his fragile mental state in the event he is extradited to the United States. The United States will be allowed to present “assurances” that if Assange is extradited, tried, convicted and imprisoned, he will not be subject to special administrative measures (SAMs) — onerous conditions that would keep him in virtual isolation — or be held at the ADX maximum security prison in Florence, Colorado. The U.S. intends to provide an additional assurance that it would not object to Assange serving any custodial sentence he may receive in Australia. These so-called assurances, however, are conditional. The U.S. reserves the right to impose SAMs or hold Assange at ADX if his future behavior warrants it. Moreover, the U.S. cannot guarantee that Australia would consent to hosting Assange’s incarceration. The High Court should give great weight to the U.S. plans to kidnap and assassinate Assange. The knowledge of those revelations will put even more mental stress on Assange, whom former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer described as having suffered “prolonged exposure to psychological torture” during his confinement. The High Court should affirm the district court’s denial of extradition. The High Court will decide whether to affirm or overturn district judge Baraitser’s decision denying extradition. If they affirm Baraitser’s ruling, the Biden administration could ask the U.K. Supreme Court to review the case. If the High Court overturns Baraitser’s decision, Assange could appeal to the U.K. Supreme Court and then to the European Court of Human Rights if the Supreme Court ruling goes against him. Biden’s appeal of the denial of extradition should be dismissed. Julian Assange should be released and celebrated for his courage.

23 October 2021

Massive march in London in support of Julian Assange

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

Julian Assange finacee @stellamoris1 speaks at yesterdays huge March for Assange in London, ahead of upcoming October 27-28 court hearing: “your right to know is what is being criminalized” #FreeAssangeNOW #NoExtradition pic.twitter.com/Cudl9shUUf — WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 24, 2021

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

Julian Assange is being persecuted for revealing war crimes and human rights abuses. This is an attempt to intimidate and silence journalists and whistleblowers. pic.twitter.com/PpaAvA2rca

There’s only one decision #NoExtradition!#FreeAssangeNOW #DropTheCharges pic.twitter.com/84pOCBjcX0 — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) October 23, 2021

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

#FreeJulianAssange #bbcbroadcastinghouse pic.twitter.com/WIEEbCbIZU — Gordon Dimmack (@GordonDimmack) October 23, 2021
London today. pic.twitter.com/XrX2fwl4Vk — Sarah Abdallah (@sahouraxo) October 23, 2021

Chris Hedges speaks to John Pilger about the upocoming appeals hearing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://web.archive.org/web/20211223211208if_/https://www.youtube.com/embed/QHL-VfDKPM0

22 October 2021

Belmarsh Tribunal: The War On Terror is Put on Trial

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

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

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

19 October 2021

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

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

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

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

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

“This is clearly a politically motivated case, taken simply because Mr. Assange exposed US military and other war crimes, human rights abuses and corruption in the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Ira”, he said. “Mr. Assange is, in effect, a political prisoner. His continued incarceration and threatened extradition to the US, therefore, is not just a threat to him personally but to all journalists, editors and publishers and the cause of investigative journalism, press freedom and freedom of speech generally. It is ironic that western countries, which claim to be defenders of freedom, are acting in this way.” “How can this be acceptable in the face of the horrendous plight of Mr. Julian Assange? We all know why this is happening. The US wants to send a message to the world that if anybody tells the world what it does, this is the treatment that will be meted out. This is the punishment that will be received.”
Powerful. https://t.co/hY0LPMRynJ pic.twitter.com/cgg5tkxnoO — Stella Moris #FreeAssangeNOW (@StellaMoris1) October 20, 2021

18 October 2021

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

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

The letter reads:

“We, the undersigned press freedom, civil liberties, and international human rights advocacy organizations, write again to share our profound concern about the ongoing criminal and extradition proceedings relating to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, under the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. [T]he proceedings against Mr. Assange jeopardize journalism that is crucial to democracy. In our view, a precedent created by prosecuting Assange could be used against publishers and journalists alike, chilling their work and undermining freedom of the press. In light of these concerns, and in light of the shocking new reporting on the government’s conduct in this case, we respectfully urge you to drop the ongoing appeal of Judge Baraitser’s ruling and to dismiss the indictment of Mr. Assange.”
Julian Assange’s prosecution poses a grave threat to journalists and freedom of the press. The government should drop its charges against him immediately.https://t.co/mQG5iq0mZG — ACLU (@ACLU) October 18, 2021
CPJ joins a coalition of #pressfreedom groups in calling for an end to #Assange prosecution@FreedomofPress @ACLU @hrw @knightcolumbia @RSF_inter https://t.co/1n4K8VnwXg — Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) October 19, 2021
We stand with a broad coalition of human rights and press freedom organizations, including @ACLU and @FreedomofPress, again calling for an end to the Julian Assange prosecution. https://t.co/pAZ6pTToos — First Amendment Coalition (@FACoalition) October 18, 2021
It is a travesty that a CIA plot to kidnap or kill @wikileaks publisher Julian Assange was allowed to unfold in London, the heart of our democracy. Assange deserves asylum – he should not be in a British prison and must not be extradited to the US. #FreeAssangeNOW https://t.co/Bpk5iKESoq — Big Brother Watch (@BigBrotherWatch) October 18, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

17 October 2021

Stand-Ups For Assange

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

Featuring:

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

14 October 2021

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

Featuring:

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

Moderated by author and activist Marianne Williamson

11 October 2021

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

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

“[T]hat isn’t self-evident why at that point they would want to kill him, except that yes, they wanted him to come into trial, they wanted to kidnap him, and get him back here. “But on the other hand, a trial isn’t actually perfect for them because that will certainly bring up two kinds of problems, the crimes that he revealed, the war crimes, the things that Chelsea Manning had given to him about Afghanistan and Iraq revealing enormous numbers of civilians killed which had not been reported, a major program of torture by our Iraqi allies… “But of course, assassinating him would cut that short, just keep him silent, keep him out of the way, certainly form a good example, counter, to people who might be tempted to follow in his footsteps.”

8 October 2021

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

“We, the undersigned, appeal to the Irish Government and, in particular to you, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, to lobby by all means necessary, including via Ireland’s current membership of the United Nations Security Council, the British and United States Governments, to release the campaigning Wikileaks editor and journalist, Julian Assange. Throughout his incarceration, visits by his family, supporters and his legal team have been, and continue to be, severely curtailed and often spied upon. He has been denied the right to a fair hearing in the UK because of the tactics of the US prosecutors, including submitting last minute fresh indictments, which were allowed by the UK judge. This is clearly a politically motivated case simply because Julian Assange exposed US military and other war crimes, human rights abuses and corruption in the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The documents released by Wikileaks were published widely by mainstream media outlets such as The Guardian, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and many others. Julian Assange is in effect a political prisoner. His continued incarceration and threatened extradition to the US, therefore, is a threat not only to him but to all journalists, editors and publishers, to the cause of investigative journalism, to press freedom and to freedom of speech generally. It is ironic that Western countries, which claim to be defenders of freedom, are acting in this way. It is beyond time for him to be released and allowed to enjoy life in peace with his family. We appeal to you to do everything within your power to ensure this happens.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 October 2021

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

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

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

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

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

5 October 2021

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

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

BBC: WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson responds to revelations of CIA Kill or Kidnap plot against publisher Julian Assange | @bbc5live pic.twitter.com/GxnjsBk0VO — WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 8, 2021

4 October 2021

On this day in 2006 Julian Assange founded Wikileaks

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

2 October 2021

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

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

The true reason the scoop about the CIA’s plot to kidnap or kill Assange has been largely ignored or downplayed is rather that he is unfairly shunned as a pariah by all political persuasions: left, right and centre. Assange is a classic victim of “cancel culture”, so demonised that he can no longer get a hearing, even when a government plots to kidnap or murder him. In reality, Khashoggi and Assange were pursued relentlessly by the state because they fulfilled the primary duty of journalists: finding out important information that the government would like to keep secret and disclosing it to the public.

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

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

30 September 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Shocking as the revelations are – exposing the entirely lawless approach of the main US intelligence agency – the Yahoo investigation nonetheless tends to obscure rather than shine a light on the bigger picture. Assange has not been deprived of his freedom for more than a decade because of an unimplemented rogue operation by the CIA. Rather, he has been held in various forms of captivity – disappeared – through the collaborations of various national governments and their intelligence agencies, aided by legal systems and the media, that have systematically violated his rights and legal due process. The reality of Assange’s years of persecution is far worse even than the picture of a thuggish, vengeful, power-mad CIA painted by Yahoo’s reporting.

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

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

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

👁👁 In. 40 petitioners we asked the EU institutions not to close their eyes to #Assange‘s freedom because it would mean turning away from press freedom in the EU. Please stand up for his protection and against his extradition.#LesspressFewerRights#assangecase pic.twitter.com/3DHEg7d5kw — Rosa D’Amato (@rosadamato634) September 30, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

The latest revelations are particularly shocking, but they join a growing list of outrages. In addition to National Security Council lawyers, the CIA also angered Sessions and the Justice Department. Their motives were not pure: the Justice Department viewed Assange as being on their turf and the CIA’s actions as jeopardizing a potential criminal prosecution (the CIA’s kidnapping scheme may have pressured the Justice Department to speed up seeking an indictment). Even before Sessions, the FBI and the CIA competed over jurisdiction for Assange. The FBI had been pushing for Assange to be charged since the Obama years. The decision to let CIA war criminals off the hook while treating whistleblowers, journalists, and others who expose US war crimes as enemies on par with spies or terrorists has consequences. One of those consequences: a completely lawless CIA plotting to assassinate or kidnap a journalist.

29 September 2021

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

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

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

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

Though District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled against the United States’ extradition request, she rejected the argument from the legal team for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that hostility within U.S. intelligence agencies “translated into improper pressure on federal prosecutors to bring charges.” However, a Yahoo! News report on the CIA’s plans to kidnap or kill Assange contains some of the strongest evidence yet that Assange was only charged with crimes because of their thirst for vengeance.

27 September 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

This new report highlights that the prosecution of Julian Assange poses a grave threat to press freedom. We’ll say it again: The government needs to drop its charges against him. https://t.co/OZufPa8bVy — ACLU (@ACLU) September 27, 2021

CAGE

For War on Terror style renditions and extrajudicial assassinations to be considered by the @CIA on the streets of London, brings home the horror many experience across the globe. #FreeAssangeNOW and its time we call out the WoT impunity. @wikileaks https://t.co/wrYNyCL3RY — CAGE (@UK_CAGE) September 27, 2021

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

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

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

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

26 September 2021

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

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

“As an American citizen, I find it absolutely outrageous that our government would be contemplating kidnapping or assassinating somebody without any judicial process simply because he had published truthful information,” Barry Pollack, Assange’s U.S. lawyer, told Yahoo News. “My hope and expectation is that the U.K. courts will consider this information and it will further bolster its decision not to extradite to the U.S.,” Pollack added.
When it came to prosecuting Assange — something the Obama administration had declined to do — the Trump White House had a different approach, said a former Justice Department official. “Nobody in that crew was going to be too broken up about the First Amendment issues.” Vault 7 prompted “a brand-new mindset with the administration for rethinking how to look at WikiLeaks as an adversarial actor,” Evanina said. “That was new, and it was refreshing for the intelligence community and the law enforcement community.” Updates on Assange were frequently included in Trump’s President’s Daily Brief When Pompeo declared WikiLeaks “a non-state hostile intelligence service,” he was neither speaking off the cuff nor repeating a phrase concocted by a CIA speechwriter. “That phrase was chosen advisedly and reflected the view of the administration,” a former Trump administration official said. Soon after the speech, Pompeo asked a small group of senior CIA officers to figure out “the art of the possible” when it came to WikiLeaks, said another former senior CIA official. “He said, ‘Nothing’s off limits, don’t self-censor yourself. I need operational ideas from you. I’ll worry about the lawyers in Washington.’” Pompeo and others at the agency proposed abducting Assange from the embassy and surreptitiously bringing him back to the United States via a third country — a process known as rendition. The idea was to “break into the embassy, drag [Assange] out and bring him to where we want,” said a former intelligence official. Some discussions even went beyond kidnapping. U.S. officials had also considered killing Assange, according to three former officials. One of those officials said he was briefed on a spring 2017 meeting in which the president asked whether the CIA could assassinate Assange and provide him “options” for how to do so. Eisenberg was concerned about the legal implications of rendering Assange without criminal charges in place, according to a former national security official. Absent an indictment, where would the agency bring him, said another former official who attended NSC meetings on the topic. “Were we going to go back to ‘black sites’?” Eventually, those within the administration arguing for an approach based in the courts, rather than on espionage and covert action, won the policy debate.

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

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

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

24 September 2021

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

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

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

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

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

23 September 2021

Andrew Wilkie: AUKUS allies must set Assange free

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

“Mr Assange should be at home with his young family, watching his two little boys grow up,” Mr Wilkie said. “But instead he’s languishing in one of the United Kingdom’s most notorious prisons after recently losing a British High Court battle to stop the United States Government from expanding its appeal against an earlier refusal to allow his extradition. A full appeal hearing is expected next month. All the while Australia has sat idly by and watched this heinous case play out. If the US succeeds in extraditing Mr Assange to face espionage charges then he faces life, and very possibly death, behind bars. Why punish someone who has only ever acted in the public interest?”

22 September 2021

Two Years of Assange’s Extradition Detention

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

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

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

Is it time to free Julian Assange?

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

21 September 2021

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

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

New figures show Britain’s public prosecutor, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), splashed £151,000 on barristers who failed to convince a judge in January that the US has the right to extradite the WikiLeaks publisher. Another £22,000 of British public money was spent on expert witnesses, as well as £5,000 on transcripts. The bill will rise further next month when an appeal by the CPS, at the behest of the US government, reaches the High Court in London. The CPS has also ramped up the costs to the public by arguing against Assange getting bail. The father of two young children has been detained since September 2019 at London’s Belmarsh prison purely on the Trump administration’s charges. Belmarsh, a high security site normally reserved for the most dangerous criminals like murderers and terrorists, costs £58,000 per prisoner each year, according to the Ministry of Justice. Another £23,000 likely went on paying district judge Vanessa Baraitser and her clerks to sit through four weeks of court hearings in 2020. Under Article 20 of the US-UK Extradition Treaty, America does not have to pay for any of the costs involved in extraditing someone from British soil, apart from the transatlantic flight and “translation of extradition documents,” which would normally be written in English. John Rees from the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign told Declassified: “Tomorrow marks two years that Julian has been held on remand: innocent and still not charged with any crime. “The human and financial cost of this inhuman treatment is entirely the fault of the US and UK governments. Justice delayed is itself injustice. This costly tragedy needs to end now and Julian Assange needs to be set free.”

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

19 September 2021

Truth to Power with Lowkey: Roger Waters on Julian Assange

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

Beppe Grillo: Freedom for Assange

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

Who remembers Julian Assange? Since 11 April 2019, the iconic man of Wikileaks has been in a cell in the Belmarsh maximum security prison after having spent seven years in a cramped space in a London embassy where he had requested and obtained political asylum which was then withdrawn. In the lack of international attention, Assange has been hunted down for ten years… and still in prison today, without convictions but pursued by the request for extradition to the United States for making public thousands of secret documents on the criminal actions carried out by US-backed coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the 27th, the life of a man deeply marked by persecution and the fundamental right to information on power will be decided. Because the denial of these rights is basically the only reason why an innocent and courageous man has lived in confinement for years, in the indifference of the governments of Western democracies. If Assange is extradited or loses his freedom it means that our freedom is limited and illusory. Chelsea Manning was jailed and had three suicide attempts. Edward Snowden had to flee, alone and hunted down. The inhumane treatment reserved for Assange affects us all and goes beyond the Wikileaks case because it concerns the model of society in which we have to live. If we cannot disclose state crimes without going to jail then this is not democracy.

10 September 2021

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

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

The Biden administration is stubbornly pursuing the extradition of Julian Assange, who exposed the corrupt motives and doomed policies behind the War on Terror. This unprecedented political prosecution poses a grave threat to truth telling and freedom of the press. When Assange published hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010, the public was given an unprecedented window into the lack of justification and the futility of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The truth was hidden by a generation of governmental lies. Assange’s efforts helped show the American public what their government was doing in their name. These charges send a message to reporters around the world—Assange is an Australian citizen, not an American—that the U.S. government will decide what can and cannot be published about its misdeeds, even beyond its borders. Biden’s Justice Department, which has proclaimed a renewed commitment to press freedom, could end these proceedings at any moment. Biden now owns the prosecution of Julian Assange by actively pursuing Trump’s appeal. Biden stuck to his word and finally ended the war in Afghanistan. But he cannot close this chapter with the man who told the truth about that war still in prison.

9 September 2021

Newly published recording blow up Julian Assange case

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

8 September 2021

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

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

Earlier this year, Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined forces to introduce the International Press Freedom Act of 2021, a bipartisan bill to protect at-risk journalists working in highly censored countries. But that safe harbor doesn’t seem to apply to foreign journalists the U.S. government itself has threatened. For years, the Justice Department has worked to extradite and prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing Army war logs provided by Chelsea Manning in 2010. “It’s clear they’re out to get him,” said Chip Gibbons, policy director for Defending Rights & Dissent, who has covered Assange’s case for Jacobin. “It’s fine to offer visas to persecuted journalists, but … it’s immensely hypocritical for the U.S. to do this at the same time it is seeking to extradite Julian Assange.” And press freedom advocates, while supportive of the press freedom bill, said that the legislation would yield the biggest impact if the U.S. followed its own policies. “Anytime we, or the U.S. government, or members of Congress are talking about press freedom internationally, it’s, in my mind, a good thing,” said Trevor Timm, co-founder and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. “But for any of that advocacy to be remotely effective, it’s important for the U.S. to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.”

6 September 2021

Assange Countdown to Freedom: Rebecca Vincent & John Shipton

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

5 September 2021

Assange Case Action Alert

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

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

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

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

Jailing of Assange: the End of Press Freedom

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

31 August 2021

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

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

As the U.S. loses face in the Afghanistan debacle, a video of Julian Assange speaking in 2011 about the goal behind the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan went viral on social media. While war criminals walk free, Assange who exposed the U.S. government’s war crimes in the Middle East and its illegal torture in Guantanamo, is in jail – tortured, suffering and isolated. Assange, now silenced inside London’s maximum-security prison, warned us about the censorship via private corporations that is moving our society into authoritarianism. In January 2018, a little over a year before the UK police illegally arrested him inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Assange predicted “the future of humanity is between humans that control machines and machines that control humans”. Julian Assange reminded us; “Our task is to secure self-determination where we can, to hold back the coming dystopia where we cannot, and if all else fails, to accelerate its self-destruction”.

26 August 2021

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

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

23 August 2021

Interview with Greg Barns on Julian Assange and freedom of speech

22 August 2021

Actors for Assange: Julian Assange Defence Statement

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

16 August 2021

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

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

On August 11, in a rare occurrence, the U.K. High Court’s Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde and Justice Dame Judith Farbey overruled the July 5 decision of Justice Jonathan Swift and allowed the Biden administration to add two additional grounds for its appeal against Julian Assange, who is being held on charges filed by the Trump administration under the Espionage Act. Assange was indicted for revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo that Chelsea Manning furnished him and WikiLeaks. He faces 175 years in prison if he is extradited from the U.K., tried and convicted in the United States. Joe Biden should have dismissed Trump’s appeal — consistent with the Obama-Biden administration’s refusal to indict Assange out of fear that indicting a journalist would imperil the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press. No journalist or media outlet has been prosecuted under the Espionage Act for publishing truthful information. The First Amendment protects journalists who publish illegally obtained material that is a matter of public concern, including evidence of war crimes. The U.S. government has never prosecuted a journalist or media outlet for publishing classified information, which constitutes an essential tool of journalism. But Biden is doubling down and continuing Trump’s appeal. If the United States is ultimately allowed to extradite Assange and try him under the Espionage Act, it will send an ominous message to investigative journalists that they publish material critical of the U.S. government at their peril. This would threaten freedom of the press under the First Amendment and deprive the American people of crucial information with which to hold their government accountable.

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

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

12 August 2021

A Day in the Death of British Justice – John Pilger

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

WikiLeaks has given us real news about those who govern us and take us to war, not the preordained, repetitive spin that fills newspapers and television screens. This is real journalism; and for the crime of real journalism, Assange has spent most of the past decade in one form of incarceration or another, including Belmarsh prison, a horrific place. On Wednesday, the United States sought the approval of Britain’s High Court to extend the terms of its appeal against a decision by a district judge, Vanessa Baraitser, in January to bar Assange’s extradition. Baraitser accepted the deeply disturbing evidence of a number of experts that Assange would be at great risk if he were incarcerated in the U.S.’s infamous prison system. Dobbin said Kopelman had “misled” Judge Baraister in September because he had not disclosed that Julian Assange and Stella Moris were partners, and their two young children, Gabriel and Max, were conceived during the period Assange had taken refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Lord Chief Justice Holroyde said it was “very unusual” for an appeal court to have to reconsider evidence from an expert accepted by a lower court, but he agreed with Ms. Dobbin it was “misleading” even though he accepted Kopelman’s “understandable human response” to protect the privacy of Stella and the children. This does not necessarily mean that in October the full bench of the High Court will order Julian to be extradited. In the upper reaches of the masonry that is the British judiciary there are, I understand, still those who believe in real law and real justice from which the term “British justice” takes its sanctified reputation in the land of the Magna Carta. It now rests on their ermined shoulders whether that history lives on or dies.

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

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

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

Assange’s extradition hearing in the UK High Court last last night was painful to watch. The @potus intention? Send a clear message – do not expose or embarrass the powerful. @janet_rice and I wrote this letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs today. #FreeAssange #auspol pic.twitter.com/pnHbTaBl0n — Peter Whish-Wilson (@SenatorSurfer) August 12, 2021

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

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

11 August 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The US gov’t case is an attack on #PressFreedom and undermines the public’s #Right2Info. We stand in solidarity with #JulianAssange and join the call for his immediate & unconditional release.#FreeAssange #FreePress #JournalismIsNotACrime #DropTheCharges — ECPMF (@ECPMF) August 11, 2021
An appeals court in the UK is considering the decision earlier this year not to extradite Julian Assange. We hope the court upholds that prior decision—and again call on the Justice Department to drop Espionage Act charges against Assange. https://t.co/RQi1imvwCe pic.twitter.com/QAqOcgfeHB — PEN America (@PENamerica) August 11, 2021
IPI’s original statement against extradition of @wikileaks‘s Assange: “This prosecution would set a dangerous precedent that could be abused to harass journalists, criminalize their work, and prevent them from speaking truth to power.” It remains true.https://t.co/EgDf1RjWxW — IPI – The Global Network for Press Freedom (@globalfreemedia) August 11, 2021
With today’s preliminary hearing wrapped, the Assange extradition appeal is expected to begin in earnest in October. We continue to oppose this prosecution, and renew our call for the Biden administration to drop these charges. https://t.co/GN7GAgIrf1 — Freedom of the Press (@FreedomofPress) August 11, 2021
The world’s largest association of journalists has spoken: prosecuting Assange endangers journalism.@IFJGlobal: “The criminalisation of whistleblowers and investigative journalists has no place in a democracy.”#DropTheCharges #FreeAssangeNOW https://t.co/w7zp1fL0ag — Defending Rights & Dissent (@RightsDissent) August 11, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9 August 2021

Truth to power: Lowkey interviews Stella Moris

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

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

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

7 August 2021

Malalai Joya praises Julian Assange in an interview with Independent

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

“He is a hero. In my view, he exposed the wrong policies, the disgusting policies of the US government and Nato,” she says. “Now he’s living in the hearts of all the justice-loving people.” She adds: “He should not be put in jail. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, all these warmongers, should be in jail, not Julian Assange, not Chelsea Manning… They are brave and raise their voices for justice and peace.”

6 August 2021

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

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

It is seven months since Julian’s extradition was blocked by Judge Vanessa Baraitser, yet he has remained in prison, suffering and isolated, despite having committed no crime. It took the court six months to decide whether to grant the US government permission to appeal. Permission has been granted on a limited basis; that is to say, two out of the five grounds that the US applied to appeal on were rejected by the High Court judge who reviewed the application. The next court date will be on August 11th at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London. Julian is expected to attend in person. The United States government is not accepting the High Court’s ruling, which allows only limited grounds of appeal and this is what next Tuesday’s hearing will be about: the US is asking different High Court judges to grant permission for the two grounds that it lost on, in an attempt to appeal on all five grounds. The US government’s handling of the case exposes the underlying nature of the prosecution against Julian: subverting the rules so that Julian’s ability to defend himself is obstructed and undermined while he remains in prison for years and years, unconvicted, and held on spurious charges. The “process” is the punishment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 August 2021

Julian Assange: peering through the murk

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

31 July 2021

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

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

30 July 2021

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

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

In an astonishing cave-in to US prosecutors, the court agreed that despite most of the publications having occurred while Assange was in the United Kingdom and Europe, “the conduct in this case occurred in the US because the publication of the materials caused harm to the interests of the US”. It’s a shocking precedent: the judgement accepted US prosecutors’ arguments that national-security journalism can be considered a form of espionage no matter where it occurs, leaving other publishers and journalists open to being charged as spies. Trump and his appointees are gone, but the “New York Times problem” is no longer a hypothetical. An unprecedented alliance of media unions, press freedom advocates and global human rights organisations has now mobilised to urge Biden and his new attorney general, Merrick Garland, to drop the appeal. “The Australian government holds the key to Julian’s prison cell,” Stella Moris tells me on a late-night call from London. “If the Australian government intervened on Julian’s behalf, this would end. It can be reversed by popular pressure, and by pressure from Julian’s colleagues in the media, by constantly drawing attention to the fact that an innocent man is being persecuted for exposing state crimes.” “Knowing you are out there fighting for me keeps me alive in this profound isolation,” wrote Assange in a letter to a supporter in 2019. Transparency alone isn’t enough to ensure justice. It’s going to take a fight.

29 July 2021

A preliminary High Court hearing scheduled for 11 August

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

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

(1/2) New in #Assange case: A preliminary High Court hearing has been scheduled for 11 August in which prosecutors on behalf of the US government will challenge the legal grounds they can appeal January’s ruling refusing extradition to the US. — Tareq Haddad (@Tareq_Haddad) July 28, 2021
Have been busy on Malta, but haven’t lost sight of Julian Assange’s case. I will do my damnedest to monitor the 11 August preliminary appellate hearing for @RSF_inter. Let’s see how the High Court handles NGO observers after the severe restrictions we’ve previously faced. — Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) July 29, 2021

26 July 2021

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

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

“There is a much bigger issue at stake that goes way beyond Assange. The Assange case would affect so many people, should he be sent to the United States and prosecuted.” “The strategy is to keep Assange detained as long as possible. It’s a kind of death by a thousand cuts.”

Assange case update: Stefania Maurizi in conversation with Richard Medhurst

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

24 July 2021

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

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

We had some hope early on, when the Biden Administration first took office in January, and we really thought that potentially there could be a review of the case. Biden was the vice president in the Obama Administration, and the Obama Administration clearly chose not to pursue Assange, and so there was some hope at the beginning. Then we saw the appeal. It was really quite disappointing, because we did think that possibly there was an opening there, and for reasons that the Administration has not articulated well so far, they have made the decision to pursue. At this point, I think the appeal will go through in the United Kingdom, and the disturbing thing about it, in addition to the fact that they are appealing at all, is how long things will take, how this really continues to harm Assange because of his conditions in detention in the UK, especially now with Covid. This is part of the strategy to keep him detained as long as possible, it’s a kind of death by a thousand cuts. The US made it very easy for us to oppose the extradition, because they gave with one hand and took away with the other. They say: we guarantee that he won’t be held in a maximum security facility and he will not be subjected to Special Administrative Measures and he will get healthcare. But if he does something that we don’t like, we reserve the right to not guarantee him, we reserve the right to put him in a maximum security facility, we reserve the right to offer him Special Administrative Measures. Those are not assurances at all. Assange is such an important test case, because he is representative of all that, of state power, and if the US extradites him, if the US gets that long arm to reach out and grab a foreign publisher and bring him into the United States, and says he doesn’t have First Amendment rights to do what he does, that precedent can be damaging so far beyond this case, and that is why we are trying to forestall.

22 July 2021

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

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

“Assange must be freed because he is in prison unjustly. No one should be punished for revealing facts.” President of Mexico @lopezobrador_ calls for the release of #WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange#FreeAssangeNOW #DropTheCharges #Pegasus #NSOGroup pic.twitter.com/DoHBu1GkLW — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) July 22, 2021

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

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

21 July 2021

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

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

After all, a leading prosecution witness has admitted lying in his evidence to the court and the defendant and his lawyers have been spied on by the intelligence agency of the government attempting to extradite him. In any other case, the mere facts of these revelations would be enough to halt court proceedings, but the detail makes the case for abandonment of the extradition even more compelling. The most recent bombshell is that Sigurdur ‘Siggi’ Thordarson has admitted to Icelandic journalists at Stundin that he lied when he gave evidence alleging that Julian Assange had instructed him to hack US government accounts. Thordarson’s evidence is not marginal to the US case: it’s woven all through the prosecution’s argument, and it is specifically referred to by the judge in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in those parts of her judgement which are hostile to Assange. Thordarson admitted to the Stundin investigative team that Assange never asked him to hack anything. In fact, he now says that his previous claim that Assange had instructed or asked him to access computers is false. Yet this is precisely the evidence on which the US prosecution relies. As the Assange case goes to the High Court, we are reaching a critical moment. This is the crucial freedom of the press case of the twenty-first century. If it is lost, the shadow of authoritarian government will be cast longer and darker over the body politic. We should not allow that to happen.

20 July 2021

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

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

.@amnesty secretary general @AgnesCallamard says that the detention of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange since 2010 is “arbitrary and that he should be released.” https://t.co/G0aFYkhPqo pic.twitter.com/pm3ZrT7ws0 — Democracy Now! (@democracynow) July 20, 2021

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

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

Critics were quick to note that Blinken’s expression of support for Alinejad and “independent journalists around the world” has not yet been extended to Assange, given that the Biden administration has continued its predecessor’s attempt to extradite the publisher from the United Kingdom, where he has spent more than two years in a maximum-security jail. International advocacy organizations have consistently argued that prosecuting Assange for publishing classified information—something journalists do frequently—would pose a grave threat to press freedoms around the world.

19 July 2021

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

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

While most of the talk about the Julian Assange case is about the espionage charges, which are political in nature, the U.S. case hangs by a thread for the second time on the non-political charge: conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. There is a reason why the computer charge is so vital to the U.S. case. Charging a journalist with espionage for unauthorized possession and dissemination of defense information has been possible since 1917, but it runs the risk of violating the First Amendment. With the recanting of Thordarson’s testimony, and the weakness of the conspiracy allegation with Manning, the U.S. is back to what Biden said when was vice president: that Assange is a journalist who was merely doing his job by receiving state secrets, pretty much in his lap. If Assange is extradited to stand trial in the U.S., what would happen if the computer intrusion charge collapses? It would leave the U.S. with only the political charges and Assange in the same legal state as other publishers of the same material, protected by the First Amendment.

17 July 2021

The controversial prosecutor at the heart of the Julian Assange case

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

One little-noted name in filings from extradition hearings in the U.K. keeps popping up as a key figure in the U.S. government’s case: a federal prosecutor named Gordon Kromberg. Kromberg, an assistant United States attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, may be unknown to foreign and even many American observers. In U.S. legal circles, though, he has been a highly controversial figures for over two decades, dogged by accusations of bias and politicization in his prosecutions. In all, the January court documents from Assange’s extradition case mention Kromberg over 40 times to help make the legal argument for extraditing Assange. Many of his statements go to the heart of the Espionage Act case against the WikiLeaks publisher. Kromberg’s key role, however, suggests that the Justice Department is not taking the implications of the case on its end lightly. Legal observers say that the incredible extent that the government is going to level these charges, spending years pursuing Assange in various forms, and placing one of its most aggressive prosecutors on the case all sends a dire message to those who would publish classified information in the future.

16 July 2021

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

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

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

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

Rather than referring to Mr. Assange as a journalist, which he is, or even less controversially simply as a publisher, which he undoubtedly is, the article referred to him as a publisher and “hacktivist.” A “hacktivist” is a person who illegally hacks into computers to make a political statement or advance political ends. Mr. Assange does no such thing, nor has he even been accused of being a “hacktivist.” Mr. Assange is an award-winning journalist who has exposed serious wrongdoing, including war crimes. He is controversial and is not a typical journalist. But he is a publisher of truthful, newsworthy information, which is the very definition of a journalist. Regardless of whether or not The Post wants to accept that he is a journalist, what The Post cannot do responsibly is characterize him as a “hacktivist.” This utterly inaccurate description is worse than doing the government’s bidding by presuming him guilty of a computer crime the government has not proved and which he denies.

14 July 2021

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

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

“Julian Assange has exposed war crimes in the USA,” says DJV Federal Chairman Frank Überall. “He deserves a medal for this rather than decades in prison.” The Chancellor would be well advised to convince the American president that he should break the principle of revenge of his predecessors in the White House in the Assange case. The DJV chairman points out in this context that large sections of civil society and the media have been campaigning for the release of Julian Assange for years. “Neither the Chancellor nor the US President should ignore these voices.”, he concludes.

13 July 2021

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

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

Diplomatic assurances offered by the US authorities to the UK government in Julian Assange’s ongoing extradition process will leave him at risk of ill-treatment if extradited and should be rejected, according to Amnesty International. These alleged “guarantees” are an implicit acknowledgement that conditions for persons incarcerated in US federal prisons can amount to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in violation of international human rights law, which absolutely prohibits transfers of persons to countries where they would be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Notably, the assurances also give the US discretion to place Assange in a maximum-security facility and impose SAMs should he “do something subsequent to the offering of these assurances that meets the tests for the imposition of SAMs or designation to ADX”.

Read the entire statement here

Assange Case Again Points to Kafkaesque Criminalization of Journalism

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

As a result, again attention should be drawn to how absurd the American government’s criminalization of Assange is. He is a journalist once at the helm of a publishing platform, an entity falling under the umbrella of the constitutionally protected press. In its criminalization of Assange, The United States continues its nonobservance of precedent such as that set in New York Times Co. v. U.S., a landmark Supreme Court case that unprecedentedly affirmed protections for the press in cases where publishers release classified information in the public interest. And this nonobservance is in great part now evidenced to have been facilitated by lies that a convicted pedophile and scam artist, Thordarson, fed the American government. The similarities between the historical developments that precipitated New York Times Co. and what has happened with Assange and members of his circle are remarkable, and they add to any argument that the Founder of Wikileaks is a publisher entitled to First Amendment protections.

An example must be made of Julian Assange

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

But, since we live in supposedly more civilised times, the great whistle-blower against the mighty United States has, more humanely, been put in a tiny isolated cell with 24-hour camera surveillance, in what is euphemistically called “suicide watch”. Across three presidential administrations, the real message in its relentless decade-long pursuit of Assange – and of the other fellow great whistle-blower Edward Snowden – is that any such disclosure of American dirty laundry would invite ruination not only of your life as you know it, but also severe disruption of the lives and well-being of your closest and dearest, as well as your friends and close associates.

12 July 2021

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

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

The letter reads:

Like many well-known human rights organizations and journalists’ associations, we see the persecution of Julian Assange as an attack on freedom of the press and freedom of expression that must be rejected with all determination. Those who are committed to human rights and democracy cannot avoid campaigning for Julian Assange’s freedom. Dealing with Julian Assange cannot be reconciled with the rule of law, and the dire prison conditions are a humanitarian scandal. In view of the threatening health of Julian Assange, there is an urgent need for action. Dear Chancellor, we plead with you to help build bridges in the Julian Assange case. During your talks with US President Joe Biden in Washington, make it clear how important it is, in the interests of defending press freedom, to drop the charges against the Wikileaks founder so that he can freely recover with his family.

10 July 2021

The Julian Assange Media Blackout Must End

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

Two weeks ago, the Icelandic newspaper Stundin published a bombshell report revealing that Sigurdur Thordarson, a former WikiLeaks volunteer from Iceland whose testimony was key to the US case against Assange, admitted to fabricating accusations against Assange. Those accusations had been featured in the US indictment against the organization’s founder, and they were cited by the British judge who narrowly ruled against Assange’s extradition at the start of this year. All of this has become particularly relevant this week, with the UK courts agreeing to hear the US government’s appeal of the rejection of Assange’s extradition, as reported by Shadowproof. Happily piggybacking on Donald Trump’s seedy deal with Thordarson, the Biden administration has now offered several “assurances” in an effort to reverse the January decision, including that they would allow Assange to apply for transfer to a prison in his home country of Australia to serve out his time. With Thordarson recanting on his allegations, however, this puts the Biden administration in a bit of an awkward position. Secretary of state Antony Blinken has previously acknowledged the danger to press freedoms from prosecuting Assange, noting quite accurately in 2017 that “if he is simply publishing information that happened to come his way . . . that doesn’t make him a whole heck of a lot different, perhaps, than the New York Times.” He had then added the caveat that “if, on the other hand, he is actually instructing people to try to steal classified information that he can publish, that might be different.”

9 July 2021

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

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

We, the undersigned, MPs in Iceland from the entire political spectrum, urge the US Government to drop the charges against Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, and withdraw the extradition request against him in the UK. The allegations of “espionage” against Assange are an attempt to criminalize investigative journalism, setting a dangerous precedent for media freedom around the world. Recent revelations, in which a key witness in the case admits to having fabricated allegations against Assange, should mark the end of attacks on a multi-award winning journalist. We urge leaders, governments and parliamentarians around the world to raise their voices and support media freedom, the rule of law and the public’s right to knowledge.

8 July 2021

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

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

7 July 2021

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

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

Julian Assange’s fiancee, Stella Moris, said:

“Six months ago, Judge Vanessa Baraitser blocked the extradition of my partner, Julian Assange, because consigning him to the US prison system would have amounted to signing his death warrant. That should have been the end of it. “The new revelations concerning the DoJ’s lead witness, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, confirm what we all knew: that the case against Julian has been built on lies. The case is rotten to the core, and nothing that the US government can say about his future treatment is worth the paper it is written on. This is a country whose agents plotted to kill Julian on British soil; who harried his solicitors and stole legal documents; who even targeted our six-month-old baby. “I am appealing directly to the Biden government to do the right thing, even at this late stage. This case should not be dragged out for a moment longer. End this prosecution, protect free speech and let Julian come home to his family.”
BREAKING: Julian Assange’s fiancée @StellaMoris1 gives powerful statement outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London. “This case is the most vicious attack on global press freedom in history.” #AssangeCase #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/U5tq5fIMcA — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) July 7, 2021

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

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

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

As the UK High Court grants limited permission for the US to pursue its appeal against the decision opposing the extradition of @Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, RSF reiterates the call to #FreeAssange. Full statement 👉 https://t.co/7we4BwjiGV pic.twitter.com/zEVTzWo167 — RSF (@RSF_inter) July 7, 2021
The UK High Court has granted the US government permission to appeal a judge’s denial of its request to extradite journalist Julian Assange. Assange’s prosecution threatens global press freedom. We urge @POTUS and @TheJusticeDept to withdrawal their extradition request. — Defending Rights & Dissent (@RightsDissent) July 7, 2021
The US government has been granted permission to appeal the UK court decision not to extradite #JulianAssange. This relentless pursuit of Julian must stop – it’s time to #DropTheChargesUSA! https://t.co/817cQHMVXm — Amnesty International Australia 🕯 (@amnestyOz) July 8, 2021

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

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

The letter reads:

“We are addressing you as Members of Greece’s Parliament to congratulate you for your recent comments in defence of media freedom. The case against Mr. Assange weakens the right to publish important information thatagovernment finds uncomfortable. Indeed, this value is central to a free and open society. The case against Mr. Assange also undermines public confidence in our legal systems. Our countries are also increasingly confronted with the contradiction of advocating for press freedom abroad while holding Mr. Assange for years in the UK’s most notorious prison at the request of the US government. We appeal to you to drop this prosecution, an act that would be a clarion call for freedom that would echo around the globe.”

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

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

The letter reads:

“Doctors for Assange joins politicians, human rights, press freedom, and rule of law advocates across the globe in urging you to end the unwarranted US legal persecution and torture of Julian Assange, by dropping all charges against him now. Doctors for Assange is alarmed by recent reports that Julian Assange continues to suffer severe psychological abuse in HMP Belmarsh Prison. Having won his case against extradition to the United States on unprecedented Espionage Act charges against him as a publisher, the UK judge nevertheless has been holding Mr. Assange in unjustified indefinite detention pending your appeal of the decision. Meanwhile, Mr. Assange continues to suffer serious, life threatening effects of the psychological torture he has been subjected to for more than a decade. For these reasons, we urge you to drop the appeal and all charges in this case that constitutes an egregious violation of the rule of law, human rights and press freedom. Failing to do so would establish a precedent with permanent, devastating effects on the foundations of our democracy, and irrevocably damage the United States’ reputation in the international community’s eyes. We urge you to put an end to this case before its dire consequences become your personal responsibility.”

6 July 2021

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

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

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

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

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

“By enlisting Thordarson to construct a case against Assange, the U.S. government “made a deal with the devil,” constitutional law scholar Stephen Rohde stated during the tour’s June 28 Los Angeles panel discussion. John Shipton stated that by prosecuting Assange, the U.S. government “brought shame upon themselves.” But, he added, “with the freeing of Julian and bringing him home to his family … we are allowed to emerge once more and see the stars.”

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

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

“Biden’s Justice Department has not called off the attack. On the contrary, it is moving full speed ahead with the prosecution. So where is the chorus of voices who denounced the indictments in 2019? They’ve gone quiet this year. Members of Congress have been silent. They should speak up now, as the case hangs in the balance. America’s most prominent organizations concerned with human rights, freedom of the press and civil liberties haven’t lost sight of the threat that this indictment and continued prosecution of Assange pose to fundamental press freedoms. They wrote a letter to the Justice Department in February calling it a “grave threat to press freedom both in the United States and abroad,” which could “jeopardize journalism that is crucial to democracy.””

5 July 2021

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

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

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

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

“The case against Assange could have been thrown out under any number of grounds. Unfortunately, the judgment halting his extradition to the US on 17 charges based on the Espionage Act and one charge of computer intrusion was framed in purposely narrow terms, ignoring the patently political nature of the proceedings. “A vital prosecution witness, Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson, admitted that the testimony gleefully used by US prosecutors had been riddled by fabrications.”

4 July 2021

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

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

3 July 2021

Julian Assange’s 50th birthday celebrated throughout the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marianne Williamson calls on Biden to drop efforts to extradite Assange

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

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

1 July 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

#HomeRun4Julian finale in Washington DC

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

That’s a wrap for #HomeRun4Julian! Thank you Washington DC supporters for a great rally! pic.twitter.com/7gy1DbaHAr — Assange Defense (@DefenseAssange) July 1, 2021
Julian’s brother @GabrielShipton has words outside the US Department of Justice pic.twitter.com/h5IrqZDeFS — Morgan Artyukhina (@LavenderNRed) July 1, 2021

30 June 2021

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

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

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

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

29 June 2021

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

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

This morning @HackneyAbbott @RichardBurgeon and I joined Stella and Max – the partner and son of Julian Assange who has been held in Belmarsh prison for two years. We delivered a letter from 20 MPs demanding to exercise our right as Parliamentarians to visit him. #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/TfbURAJ0v2 — Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 29, 2021
For six months the authorities have prevented MPs from meeting with Julian Assange to discuss the implications of any extradition to the US. It’s in the public interest that elected officials get to discuss these issues. The authorities must now allow a meeting to go ahead. pic.twitter.com/KjM4cYEpqh — Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) June 30, 2021
For six months, MPs have been trying to organise an official meeting with Julian Assange. Today, I joined @JeremyCorbyn & @RichardBurgon at Belmarsh Prison to deliver a cross-party letter calling on them to facilitate this without further delay #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/SaNc9Nfsjw — Diane Abbott MP (@HackneyAbbott) June 29, 2021

FBI Fabrication Against Assange Falls Apart | Craig Murrey

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

“It is now five months since extradition was refused, no US government appeal against that decision has yet been accepted by the High Court, and yet Julian remains confined to the UK’s highest security prison. The revelation that Thordarson’s allegations are fabricated – which everyone knew already, Baraitser just pretended she didn’t – is just one more illegality that the Establishment will shimmy over in its continued persecution of Assange. Assange democratised information and gave real power to the people for a while, worldwide. He revealed US war crimes. For that his life is destroyed. Neither law nor truth have anything to do with it.”

28 June 2021

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

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

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

#HomeRun4Julian in Los Angeles

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

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

26 June 2021

Key witness in Assange case admits to lies in indictment

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

The man in question, Sigurdur Ingi Thordarson, was recruited by US authorities to build a case against Assange after misleading them to believe he was previously a close associate of his. In fact he had volunteered on a limited basis to raise money for Wikileaks in 2010 but was found to have used that opportunity to embezzle more than $50,000 from the organization. The court documents refer to Mr Thordarson simply as “Teenager” (a reference to his youthful appearance rather than true age, he is 28 years old) and Iceland as “NATO Country 1” but make no real effort to hide the identity of either. They purport to show that Assange instructed Thordarson to commit computer intrusions or hacking in Iceland. Thordarson now admits to Stundin that Assange never asked him to hack or access phone recordings of MPs. Other misleading elements can be found in the indictment, and later reflected in the Magistrate’s judgement, based on Thordarson’s now admitted lies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25 June 2021

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

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

“If Biden really wants to break with the Trump legacy, then he has to drop the case,” Moris told Reuters in an interview. “They can’t maintain this prosecution against Julian while saying that they defend a global press freedom.” “I think there’s no doubt that Julian wouldn’t survive an extradition,” she said.

23 June 2021

HomeRun4Julian in Denver and Minneapolis/St. Paul

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

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

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

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

Get more info about the HomeRun4Julian US tour here

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

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

Europe should not extradite those accused of non-violent crimes to a court system so unfair—and prison system so cruel—that native-born defendants would rather die than become subject to it. Julian Assange could be next. Until the system is reformed, a moratorium should remain. https://t.co/tUociySmVy — Edward Snowden (@Snowden) June 23, 2021

22 June 2021

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

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

“One area where the Department of Justice should change course involves the ongoing effort to extradite Julian Assange from the United Kingdom. (…) [T]he Justice Department’s moves to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act—for working with a whistleblower to acquire and disseminate classified documents—poses a clear threat to press freedom.” “Trump is out of office, and so is former Attorney General William Barr. But their influence on the Department of Justice lingers. That influence will threaten press freedom for so long as the department maintains its dangerous interpretation of the Espionage Act as a tool to punish whistleblowers and those who tell the American people what is being done in their name but without their informed consent.”

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

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

“Whenever we in the West speak about media freedom, the elephant in the room is the continued imprisonment of Julian Assange. “Wikileaks editor Julian Assange is facing up to 175 years in prison for publishing truthful information in the public interest. “The politically-motivated charges represent an unprecedented attack on press freedom and the public’s right to know-seeking to criminalize basic journalistic activity. “Whenever we speak of media freedom it is incumbent on all of us, regardless of who we are, to call for Julian Assange’s freedom and I make that call today.”

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

This morning I spoke to The Council of Europe @coe about media ownership and the plight of Julian Assange. I have joined other MPs in calling on @Potus to stop the appeal against the British court ruling which found that Assange should not be extradited to the US. pic.twitter.com/NK6S86tXdh — Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 22, 2021

John and Gabriel Shipton talk to acTVism Munich

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

21 June 2021

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

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

“Even as early as 2010, Assange expressed a desire to wrestle with censorship in the West, including in “common law” societies that “prided” themselves on fundamental freedoms and Enlightenment ideals. A decade or so later, Assange sits in Balmarsh Prison for the third year without an official sentence. This is the harshest prison in the United Kingdom, usually reserved for violent repeat offenders, many of whom have committed rape or murder — it is hard to justify why a non-violent activist would be here aside from sadistic extension of state power. People who support bitcoin should be concerned about Assange’s imprisonment not only because it reflects the betrayal of bitcoin’s ideals in the specific case of Assange — states tying themselves into pretzel knots in order to undermine a non-violent disseminator of information — it also makes vulnerable the principles of true transaction neutrality that underpin bitcoin, creating the most pressing version of the “wrench attack”. If you cannot go after the system, you must go after the person.

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

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

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

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

19 June 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HomeRun4Julian continues in Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison

Milwaukee shows up to #FreeAssange on the #HomeRun4Julian tour! pic.twitter.com/VI9Mz9GwAT — Assange Defense (@DefenseAssange) June 19, 2021
Go Chicago! Next Stop Milwaukee on the #HomeRun4Julian tour. Bigger and bigger turnouts as we move across the USA. American standing up for their free press #FreeAssange #FreeAssangeNOW #DropTheCharges pic.twitter.com/sOBkL5Vtuf — Gabriel Shipton (@GabrielShipton) June 18, 2021

18 June 2021

The Continuing Fight to Free Wikileaks Publisher Julian Assange

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

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

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

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

16 June 2021

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

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

“It’s fitting that an event in support of Julian Assange took place on the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the Pentagon Papers. The court cases surrounding the publication of the Pentagon Papers once laid bare the lengths the government will go to prevent the public from knowing the full extent of the American national security state and war machine. Now, the fate of press freedom is once again at a crossroads. The Department of Justice’s prosecution of Julian Assange is an attack on the key premise of democracy: that the public has a right to know.” “It’s long past time for the U.S. to stand by its promises. The U.S. needs to drop the charges against Assange immediately and end its war on the courageous whistleblowers, journalists, and activists who form the lifeblood of democracy.”

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

15 June 2021

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

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

“Garland has said so far that the DoJ won’t spy on journalists unless they are engaged in a crime. Well, the DoJ is currently attempting to make newsgathering a crime, in the form of its case against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. [T]he actions described in the indictment against him, most notably the 17 Espionage Act charges, are indistinguishable for what reporters do all the time: talk to sources, cultivate their trust, request more information, receive classified documents, and eventually publish them. News outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post already know what a threat the case is to their reporters’ rights; they’ve said so in public. However, it’s vital that they say this to the attorney general’s face. Right now, there is little pressure on the DoJ to drop the Assange charges, despite the fact that virtually every civil liberties and human rights group in the US has protested against them. If Garland bars surveillance of journalists “doing their jobs” but secures a conviction that makes journalists’ jobs a crime, his promises will ultimately be worse than meaningless.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“[T]he battle for Julian’s liberty has always been much more than the persecution of a publisher. It is the most important battle for press freedom of our era. And if we lose this battle, it will be devastating, not only for Julian and his family, but for us.” “The long campaign against Julian and WikiLeaks is a window into the collapse of the rule of law, the rise of what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of “inverted totalitarianism,” a form of totalitarianism that maintains the fictions of the old capitalist democracy, including its institutions, iconography, patriotic symbols and rhetoric, but internally has surrendered total control to the dictates of global corporations.” “Julian exposed the truth. He exposed it over and over and over until there was no question of the endemic illegality, corruption and mendacity that defines the global ruling elite. And for these truths they came after Julian, as they have come after all who dared rip back the veil on power.”

14 June 2021

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

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

“Three major news organizations are set to meet with the the Department of Justice (DOJ) today to discuss the recent journalist surveillance scandals, and talk with the Attorney General Merrick Garland about how the DOJ plans to to prevent the use of subpoenas and surveillance to root out journalistic sources in future leak investigations. While the news outlets plan to push for more concrete promises from the Justice Department to prevent further spying on reporters, it’s vitally important that the same publishers use today’s opportunity to press the Attorney General to drop the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, which constitutes the most clear and present danger to this country’s press freedom rights. If the case continues, it would render Garland’s new promises worthless.” “When the Trump administration proceeded with the indictment, many major news publishers spoke out forcefully against it, despite harshly criticizing Assange in the past. Virtually every major human rights and civil liberties group in the country urged Biden’s DOJ not to continue with the prosecution earlier this year.” “If the Justice Department is promising on the one hand not to use subpoenas against journalists unless they are otherwise engaged in a crime, and on the other hand is laying out the blueprint for charging journalists who report on sensitive national security information, the problem could not be more clear.” “Today, as stakeholders hammer out the details of this new rule, we urge the news organizations and the self-described press freedom advocates within the administration to consider the danger of pending Espionage Act charges against a publisher. And we continue to urge the Department of Justice to drop the prosecution.”

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

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

“If Garland is going to implement protections for the media in the use of leaked material, he will have to address the continued prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by the DOJ. The Justice Department is still fighting to extradite Assange. It is using the same tactic that was used in the Rosen case by treating Assange not as a journalist but as a criminal co-conspirator. DOJ insists that Assange played an active role in his correspondence with and advice to the hacker. Yet, Assange would not be the first journalist to work with a whistleblower who is prospectively or continuing to acquire nonpublic information.” “Both the rights of free speech and the free press require bright lines to flourish. For the free press, one bright line is to bar reverse engineering in leak investigations and the targeting of publishers or recipients of information in the media or Congress. Another is to require a higher showing (and higher authorization) for any searches of the records of journalists. That, however, will take us inevitably to the questions that the government and frankly some in the media have avoided for years. What is a journalist, and what to do with Julian Assange?”

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

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

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

#HomeRun4Julian US tour continues in Columbus, Ohio https://web.archive.org/web/20211223211208if_/https://www.youtube.com/embed/1CTYX72Hau0

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

13 June 2021

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

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

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

11 June 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

The letter reads:

“Your administration, in partnership with the government of this country, has launched the campaign in defence of media freedom. It is in this context that we wish to raise with youthe case of Julian Assange.” “Civil liberties groups and top newsrooms alike view the government’s prosecution against this publisher with alarm.” “The effect of your predecessor’s decision to take a criminal case against a member of the press working in our country is to restrict the scope of permissible press activities here, and set a precedent that others will no doubt exploit. The case against Mr. Assange weakens the right to publish important information that the government finds uncomfortable. Indeed, this value is central to a free and open society. The case against Mr. Assange also undermines public confidence in our legal systems. Our countries are also increasingly confronted with the contradiction of advocating for press freedom abroad while holding Mr. Assange for years in the UK’s most notorious prison at the request of the US government. We appeal to you to drop this prosecution, an act that would be a clarion call for freedom that would echo around the globe.”

10 June 2021

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

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

“Much of what we know about those crimes was exposed by the fearless work of a journalist, a journalist who has exposed unlawful killing, a journalist who exposed US renditions, a journalist who exposed the horrors of Guantanamo bay, a journalist invited to work in this country by the Guardian newspaper, a journalist who, as we meet today in our parliament for this debate is sitting in prison, in a British high-security prison, solely because his journalism.”
WATCH: Richard Burgon MP @RichardBurgon gives powerful speech in parliament today to appeal to US president @JoeBiden who is now in the country for the G7. @POTUS #DropTheCharges #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/rxesjntAYx — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) June 10, 2021

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

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

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

9 June 2021

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

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

Julian Assange: The Man Who Knew Too Much

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

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

7 June 2021

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

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

“Julian won his case against extradition to the USA six months ago yet he remains locked up. “He is barely hanging on inside Belmarsh. He is still fighting and committed but this feels like an endless punishment. At times he is in such despair he thinks he is a burden, so suicide is a very real fear.” “It is unacceptable for a foreign power to be able tell Britain what to do. It’s time for President Joe Biden to drop the charges against Julian and Boris Johnson should ask him to do so at the G7 meeting in Cornwall this week. Hopefully then, justice will prevail.” “The Americans are trying to prove their Espionage Act is the same in law as Britain’s Official Secrets Act, which has never been used against a publisher or journalist. I don’t want to accept this. If you accept it you are lost.”

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

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

Speakers:

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

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

4 June 2021

Gabriel Shipton’s speech at Bitcoin 2021 conference

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

Geneva call to free Julian Assange: Press conference and statements

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

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

“My hope is that it will end today, it’s being going on for too long, it’s an absolute aberration that Julian is in prison at all,” said Moris. “He won his case of extradition at the lowest level in January and he is still in prison, and he is prosecuted for journalistic activities.”

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

Sign it here

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

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

The recording of the press conference is available below:

2 June 2021

Ai Weiwei accuses curators of rejecting artwork over Julian Assange content

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

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

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

1 June 2021

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

Julian Assange’s partner @StellaMoris1 to @EmmanuelMacron: “I would ask him to defend French values.” |@cavousf5#FreeAssangeNOW#DropTheCharges#NoExtradition pic.twitter.com/erUHKpsN3E — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) June 1, 2021

30 May 2021

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

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

29 May 2021

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

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

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

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

25 May 2021

Geneva calls for the release of Julian Assange

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

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

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

21 May 2021

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

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

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

18 May 2021

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

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

“One prisoner is the victim of a poison attack and his health is badly damaged. Even so, a court sent him to a notorious prison camp for three and a half years for embezzlement and money laundering.” “The other prisoner has been held in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison for two years – and without a valid judgment. According to a UN expert, it shows the typical symptoms for victims of psychological torture. He was not guilty of any crime in the country of his captivity. A foreign government accuses him of conspiracy and espionage.” “Navalny, Assange – both are undoubtedly political prisoners. Both are victims of political persecution and arbitrary justice. But while Navalny finds support and assistance from the governments of Europe, they are giving the British government a free hand to let the whistleblower Assange rot in prison on behalf of the US government.”

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

15 May 2021

John Shipton marches for his son, Julian Assange

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

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

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

13 May 2021

Gabriel Shipton: Defend Julian Assange, Defend Free Internet

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

11 May 2021

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

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

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

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

10 May 2021

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

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

“[I]n its first weeks in office, his administration continued the Trump-era push to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, under the Espionage Act, drawing blowback from a coalition of press-freedom groups who say that the charges against Assange threaten to criminalize various routine acts of journalism.” “As the Freedom of the Press Foundation noted in January, after Biden was inaugurated, he had “already been lauded for striking a new tone” with the press. “But refraining from insulting and delegitimizing reporters on a daily basis is an incredibly low bar. It is by the actions of its Justice Department and intelligence agencies that the Biden administration should ultimately be judged.”

9 May 2021

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

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

“That the Biden administration is such a stalwart believer in the sanctity of independent journalism and is devoted to defending it wherever it is threatened would come as a great surprise to many, many people. Among them would be Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks and the person responsible for breaking more major stories about the actions of top U.S. officials than virtually all U.S. journalists employed in the corporate press combined. “Currently, Assange is sitting in a cell in the British high-security Belmarsh prison because the Biden administration is not only trying to extradite him to stand trial on espionage charges for having published documents embarrassing to the U.S. Government and the Democratic Party but also has appealed a British judge’s January ruling rejecting that extradition request. The Biden administration is doing all of this, noted The New York Times, despite the fact that “human rights and civil liberties groups had asked the [administration] to abandon the effort to prosecute Mr. Assange, arguing that the case . . . could establish a precedent posing a grave threat to press freedoms” — press freedoms, exactly the value which Blinken just righteously spent the week celebrating and vowing to uphold.” “How can you run around the world feigning anger over other countries’ persecution of independent journalists when you are a key part of the administration that is doing more than anyone to destroy one of the most consequential independent journalists of the last several decades?”

7 May 2021

Chris Hedges on the Ruling Class’ Revenge Against Julian Assange

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

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

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

4 May 2021

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

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

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

3 May 2021

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

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

Calls to free Julian Assange on World Press Freedom Day

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

This would be more persuasive if the White House weren’t aggressively seeking an 175-year sentence for the publisher of award-winning journalism of global importance—despite pleas from every significant press freedom and human rights organization: https://t.co/6QMuajTS8o https://t.co/Rb7AoQ8Out — Edward Snowden (@Snowden) May 3, 2021
It’s an assault on #PressFreedom that Assange is still locked up in a covid-infested dungeon. Shame on the corporate press for not protesting. They are in the target hairs too. Fight for his freedom to defend our own! https://t.co/BHldtaNBu3 — Dr. Jill Stein🌻 (@DrJillStein) May 3, 2021
My reaction to @secblinken @DominicRaab press conference on #WorldPressFreedomDay: “I’m angry. Because the single greatest threat to press freedom globally is the US government’s prosecution of #Assange. The brazen hypocrisy is not just dangerous- it’s completely unsustainable.” pic.twitter.com/QgG5bQIrQC — Stella Moris #DropTheCharges (@StellaMoris1) May 3, 2021
Truth-telling journalism is not a crime. Its not a crime for journalist to report on national security issues; we the public have a right to know: the lies of our governments and the crimes they commit in our name. Free Julian Assange#WorldPressFreedomDay — Claudia Webbe MP (@ClaudiaWebbe) May 3, 2021
For months I’ve tried to secure a video-meeting between a group of MPs and Julian Assange, in jail in the UK because the US wants him extradited for exposing war crimes. The UK authorities have prevented this Today on World Press Freedom Day they should permit this to go ahead. — Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) May 3, 2021
Read @RSF_inter’s comment on the “unnecessarily cruel” decision to keep Assange detained despite the extradition ruling in his favour. He remains detained at Belmarsh prison, where he faces serious mental & physical health risks. It’s time to #FreeAssange! https://t.co/0VEQqg3Z0g — Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) May 3, 2021
On #WorldPressFreedomDay, the Biden admin needs to drop the charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Every major press freedom and civil liberties group has said the case against him would irreparably damage press freedom. Listen to them! https://t.co/GN7GAgIrf1 — Freedom of the Press (@FreedomofPress) May 3, 2021
Julian #Assange wird als investigativer Journalist politisch durch US-GB-Justiz verfolgt. EU und BuReg müssen dies endlich verurteilen! #WorldPressFreedomDay #worldpressfreedomday2021 #Pressefreiheit #PressFreedom #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/QlrvGkXEbg — Heike Hänsel (@HeikeHaensel) May 3, 2021
When reporting a crime is treated worse than the crime itself, we live in a dangerous propaganda circus. This #WorldPressFreedomDay we continue to shout it loud & proud – FREE JULIAN ASSANGE! His incarceration is an absolute disgrace.#PostForThePress #FreeJulianAssange pic.twitter.com/IlAHaH06gN — James Kennedy (@JamesKennedyUK) May 3, 2021
On #WorldPressFreedomDay, it’s time for @potus to #BringJulianHome. Journalism shouldn’t be a crime! pic.twitter.com/XCn9ypCmON — Jeff Sparrow (@Jeff_Sparrow) May 3, 2021
Le accuse contro Julian Assange minacciano il diritto alla libertà di stampa. Oggi #3maggio si celebra la giornata per la libertà di stampa. Ricordiamo che la libertà di espressione è un diritto umano: proteggerla vuol dire proteggere la democrazia pic.twitter.com/GbSAqR47nk — Amnesty Italia (@amnestyitalia) May 3, 2021
7/. “We live in a ‘Mediaocracy’ where what is politically possible is defined by the media environment” #JulianAssange The Iraq War showed how swiftly the media comes to heel at “times of national crisis” Those who fail to do so – like #Assange – can face draconian consequences https://t.co/p9rdZjroDX — Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) May 3, 2021
1. #FreeJulianAssange. Authorities in the US must drop the espionage and all other charges against Assange, that relate to his publishing activities as part of his work with Wikileaks. https://t.co/eHrTQRJumI — Amnesty International Australia 🕯 (@amnestyOz) May 3, 2021

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

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

“The judge refused an offer by Assange’s lawyers that the bail conditions could include confinement to his home and the use of an ankle bracelet to track his movements. Although, in reality, such precautions would be entirely unnecessary since the victory against extradition in a UK court means that this country is the only jurisdiction in which Assange would be safe. If he were ever to go anywhere else the US could restart new extradition proceedings in that state.” “The Assange case is the great freedom of the press trial of the 21st century. For it to be lost would be the signal for every regime threatened by freedom of speech to clamp down with impunity. Some of the most authoritarian regimes in the world, including most recently Putin’s Russia, are now readily using this reply to challenges to their human rights record: ‘Well, look what you are doing to Assange’. The stain of US and UK hypocrisy is spreading. It is providing a global excuse for threats to press freedom. The prosecution of Assange must stop before more serious damage is done.”

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

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

“The reputational standing of the West as being a make-up society where journalists can work relatively freely, and ‘hold power to account’ isn’t just at threat, it’s quickly evaporating abroad and on a mass-scale.” “Meanwhile, the spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry is pulling similar tricks in parallel with the liberal activist, Navalny; and if engaged, China would easily employ similar tactics if pressed on the Apple Daily publisher, Jimmy Lai.” “But “America is back”, according to Biden. Yet, at the time of writing, he and Merick Garland have taken no position on Assange nor looked to consolidate the First Amendment which has been trashed by this Trump-era persecution on journalism. They could drop the charges, or they could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their aforementioned nemeses to the East augmenting a multilateral ideology that reads as clear as spring break: “If you publish something that we don’t like — then we’re coming after you.””

2 May 2021

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

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

“Julian Assange may not have been extradited this year but the ruling in his case leaves open the possibility for the US government to pursue journalists and publishers around the world if their reporting annoys the Washington establishment. That Assange remains in prison pending the US appeal against this decision underlines the grievous threat to unfettered journalism that this US legislation poses.”

As the world celebrates Press Freedom Day, Julian Assange remains in Belmarsh prison

As people worldwide celebrate the UN’s World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, WikiLeaks publisher and journalist Julian Assange remains incarcerated, writes Mohamed Elmaazi

“There are noteworthy parallels which can be drawn between Assange’s case and that of famed US Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.” “Ellsberg and Assange each helped to reveal war crimes and other criminality by the US government. They were both subjected to warrantless wiretapping and violations of their privileged communications. And they both faced possible assassination, or at least the risk of serious harm, at the US government’s hands.” “Despite the clear similarities between the two cases, the determinations by the judges in Ellsberg’s trial and Assange’s extradition hearing diverge markedly.” “US president Joe Biden has claimed that his presidency will mark a break from that of former president Donald Trump, including in relation to attacks against the press. But his government remains committed, at least for now, to Assange’s prosecution for his role in revealing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other forms of wrongdoing by the state.”

30 April 2021

Knight First Amendment Institute: Biden White House Makes Headway on Free Speech Challenges But Some Major Issues Remain Unaddressed

In their overview of the Biden administration first 100 days in office, Knight First Amendment Institute welcomes several important steps taken to protect freedom of expression, but warnes that some major issues – including the continued prosecution of Julian Assange – remain unaddressed.

“In other important areas, however, the administration has thus far failed to act—or even, more troublingly, begun to embrace policies that undermine First Amendment freedoms. It continues to pursue the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in a case that could have broad negative implications for press freedom.”

For a broader review, see the Institute’s “A First Amendment Agenda for the New Administration.”

29 April 2021

Council of Europe calls attention to continued unjust detention of publisher Julian Assange in its 2021 Annual Report

Under the heading ‘Criminalization of journalism’ and ‘Abuse of the criminal law by the state’, of its 2021 Annual Report, Council of Europe (CoE) mentions the case of Julian Assange and his continued detention by the UK despite a ruling preventing extradition to the US. CoE calls attention to the alert issued at the begining of 2020 and a statement from Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatović that “Julian Assange should not be extradited due to potential impact on press freedom and concerns about ill-treatment”.

Read the enitire report here

Release Julian Assange – CODEPINK petition to US Attorney General Merrick Garland

“We, the undersigned, are firmly opposed to the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, where he is facing 18 charges under the Espionage Act and could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. We call on you to drop extradition proceedings. … We urge you to respect the principles of freedom of expression and the defense of journalism, and to respect Assange’s human rights. Rather than being extradited to the U.S to be tried and imprisoned, we urge you to drop the extradition proceedings and all charges against Julian Assange.”

Sign the petition here

28 April 2021

The UK government campaign to force Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy, by Matt Kennard

A wide-ranging UK government campaign was brought to bear on Ecuador to press it to hand over WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, new information reveals.

  • Prime minister Theresa May was told in March 2018 to ‘butter up’ Ecuador’s president in order to get Assange out of Ecuadorian embassy in London
  • Later in the year, May’s government spent £20,000 to bring Ecuadorian officials and defence minister to UK
  • British foreign minister arranged Daily Mail hit piece on WikiLeaks publisher days after his eviction from the embassy
  • Same minister gave Ecuador’s president a plate from Buckingham Palace gift shop to ‘say thank you’ for handing over Assange
  • National security adviser Richard Moore, now head of MI6, was in Ecuador two weeks before Assange was expelled from embassy

Raise Your Voice For Assange! virtual exhibition by DiemVoice

The first DiemVoice online exhibition takes us to the realm of Julian Assange’s power to defend the truth.

DiEM Voice’s first online exhibition is focused on DiEM25’s Advisory Panel member Julian Assange. In response to the urgent need for his release and until he is granted freedom, it is vital that we as artists in DiEM25 show our support!

27 April 2021

The CIA’s Chinese Walls by Craig Murrey

“It is not in dispute that the CIA is in possession of Julian Assange’s legal and medical files seized from the Ecuadorean Embassy, including correspondence and drafting by his lawyers on his defence against extradition to the USA on Espionage charges. The defence submitted evidence of this in court. After Julian was arrested in the Ecuadorean Embassy and removed, all of his personal possessions were illegally seized by the Ecuadorean authorities, including his files and his IT equipment. These were then shipped back to Ecuador by diplomatic bag. There, they were handed over to the CIA.” “In any court in any Western jurisdiction against any other defendant but Assange, the seizure of the defence’s legal files by the state seeking extradition would in itself be sufficient for the case immediately to be thrown out as hopelessly tainted. That is without adding the fact that the CIA was also secretly video recording Assange – through the UC Global security firm – and was specifically recording his meetings with his lawyers.” “I find breathtaking the UK court’s insouciance about the most gross and deliberate violation of attorney/client privilege of which the human imagination is able to conceive. Yet this is just one of the numerous breaches of procedure in the Assange case.”

26 April 2021

Australian Council of Trade Unions Resolution – Julian Assange

Australian Council of Trade Unions passed a resolution in support of Julian Assange.

“ACTU Executive supports global calls for the United States Government to drop its appeal to the British High Court over the rejection of its request to extradite Australian citizen and MEAA member Julian Assange on charges of espionage for the publication of information revealing US war crimes.” “We further support the campaign for all extradition proceedings to be dropped, allowing his safe return to Australia.” “We urge the Australian Government to do all in its power to lobby US authorities to end their prosecution.”

Continued imprisonment of Julian Assange an attack on press freedom says the Irish Senator Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has called for the release of Julian Assange from Belmarsh Prison in Britain.

“Julian’s only ‘crime’ was to reveal to the world the truth of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “If it wasn’t for Julian, we would not know about horrific acts like the US Apache helicopter, which in 2010 gunned down 18 civilians in Baghdad. In that particular incident, when a van arrived to take away the wounded, the same gunship opened fire on them too. “It is time to end the silence over the continuing imprisonment of Julian Assange. I am calling today for his freedom and for an urgent debate on this issue. “I call on people from across all parties to stand up for democracy. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ), has called for his release, as have the Washington Post and the New York Times. Journalism is under threat. We need freedom for journalists and for Julian Assange.”

25 April 2021

A decade since Wikileaks began publishing the Guantanamo Files

Ten years ago Wikileaks began publishing the Guantanamo Files which detail human rights abuses at Guantanamo Bay. They exposed systematic and routine violation of the Geneva Conventions and abuse of nearly 800 prisoners as young as 14 and as old as 89 at Guantanamo Bay.

Marking the 10th anniversary of the publication, Andy Worthington, who worked as Wikileaks’ media partner on the release of The Guantánamo Files, recalls the significance of the release by WikiLeaks, and calls for Julian Assange to be freed:

“The files’ greatest significance lay in the fact that they provided the names of those who made false or dubious allegations against their fellow prisoners, revealing the extent to which unreliable witnesses were relied upon by the US to justify holding men at Guantanamo who were either innocent, and were seized by mistake, or were simply foot soldiers, with no command responsibility whatsoever.” “All the journalists and publishers involved are at liberty to continue their work — and even Chelsea Manning, given a 35-year sentence after a trial in 2013, was freed after President Obama commuted her sentence just before leaving office — and yet Julian Assange remains imprisoned in HMP Belmarsh, a maximum-security prison in south east London, even though, in January, Judge Vanessa Baraitser, the British judge presiding over hearings regarding his proposed extradition to the US, prevented his extradition on the basis that, given the state of his mental health, and the oppressive brutality of US supermax prisons, the US would be unable to prevent him committing suicide if he were to be extradited.”

23 April 2021

Inter American Press Association: Charges against Julian Assange implicate the constitutional right of news outlets to publish government secrets

In its mid-year report Inter American Press Association (IAPA) expresses concern over US administration’s continued efforts to extradite Wikileaks editor and founder Julian Assange.

“The first months of the Biden presidency have appeared to signal, in large part, a return to a pre-Trump dynamic between the administration and the press, seen most prominently through the return of regular White House press briefings and an absence of anti-press rhetoric from the administration.” “Nevertheless, the Biden administration has thus far continued the Trump administration’s efforts to extradite Julian Assange in order to pursue charges against him for, among other things, the act of publishing government secrets—a historic indictment that implicates the constitutional right of news outlets to do the same.” “Another troubling potential prosecution is that of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In 2019, the Trump administration obtained a federal grand jury indictment against Assange under the Espionage Act, which included three charges based only on the publication of government secrets online—the first time in history the federal government has secured an indictment on that theory. This indictment set a chilling precedent for journalists who report on government affairs, as the Espionage Act contains no exceptions for the disclosure of newsworthy information to or by members of the press. The Biden Justice Department stated in February 2021 that it will continue to seek Assange’s extradition from the United Kingdom, indicating that it will continue to pursue his prosecution, should he be extradited to the United States.”

21 April 2021

US Has No Moral Standing to Criticize Russia or China

Dave Lindorff writes how US objections to Russia’s treatment of a political rival or dissident, like US objections to China’s harsh treatment of democracy advocates would carry a lot more weight, if President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken would also be demanding decent treatment and release from prison of political prisoners who have been getting abused, degraded and denied adequate medical treatment at the hand of the US “justice system.”

“And finally there’s Julian Assange, the journalist and founder of Wikileaks. Assange, an Australian citizen, became a wanted man by the US after his Wikileaks organization began exposing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, most notably with the release of a gun-sight video of a cobra helicopter whose two crew members were slaughtering a group of Iraqi civilians including two cameramen working for a US news organization, and laughing as they killed the wounded with additional fire.” “It all makes a farce of the US criticizing the Russian government for it’s treatment of Navalny, and China’s imprisonment of democracy activists in Hong Kong. Mumia, Peltier and Assange should all be freed and the cases against them dropped. Other prisoners in the US whose lengthy prison sentences are clearly the result of political persecution should also be freed. Now! Otherwise our political leaders are just power-tripping autocrats in glass houses tossing stones at other autocrats.”

20 April 2021

Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index 2020/21

RSF’s Press Freedom Index finds UK press freedom record marred by FOI restrictions, the detention of Julian Assange, and threats to the safety of journalists in Northern Ireland.

“The detention of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange particularly blighted the UK’s press freedom record. Assange’s extradition proceedings were marred by extensive barriers to open justice. Despite deciding against the US extradition request in January 2021, the court denied Assange’s bail application. Assange’s mental and physical health remain at high risk in Belmarsh prison, where Covid-19 infections have been rampant.“

Take a look at the rankings here

The case of Julian Assange: Rule of law undermined

Injustice, torture, political persecution — UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer raises serious allegations in his new book, backed up by the results of a two-year investigation. Matthias von Hein gives an overview of the book “Der Fall Julian Assange”.

A journalist uses a new platform to expose the dirty secrets of powerful governments, including war crimes, corruption, and torture. However, it isn’t the war criminals and torturers who are punished, but the journalist who brought these crimes to light. His reputation is systematically destroyed, his freedom is taken away, he suffers psychological torture. All this happens not in a military dictatorship or a one-party state known for such behavior, but in Western democracies that portray themselves as shining examples when it comes to human rights. The 51-year-old Melzer hopes his book will create new pressure for Julian Assange’s release. He feels compelled to act because the nations concerned — the United States, Great Britain, Sweden, and Ecuador — have refused to engage in constructive dialogue. Not only that, but according to Melzer’s observations they are exacerbating Assange’s persecution and mistreatment. The UN representative calls his book the “continuation of diplomacy by other means.”

17 April 2021

Nils Melzer on his new book “The Julian Assange Case”

In an in-depth interview with Stefania Maurizi for Il Fatto Quotidiano, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer discusses his investigation on the WikiLeaks founder which he deals with in his new book “Der Fall Julian Assange”, and which has made him speak out as a whistleblower and raise an alarm on this case and its implications.

“I was convinced Julian Assange had been deliberately persecuted and kept in a legal limbo in Sweden, in the US, in the UK and everywhere to put him under pressure and to make him crack. It was done very publicly, in order to make an example of him, to scare other investigative journalists. The message was: ‘If you expose our dirty secrets, this is what is going to happen to you, and no one can protect you. We can violate your rights every day the way we want and no one can do anything about it.’” “Judge Baraitser confirmed everything that the United States wanted, except extradition. She established a legal precedent and that legal precedent confirms that what Assange has done is espionage under the US Espionage Act, and that it is a crime even in the United Kingdom, under the Official Secrets Act, and that in both cases there is no public interest defence, and there is no political offence exception for extradition. All these things were confirmed, step by step. Only in the end, she said: we could extradite him, but we won’t because the prospect of US detention conditions would probably cause him to commit suicide and that would be oppressive. But she has passed a precedent judgment establishing that you, as investigative journalists, can be prosecuted in the future as spies simply for doing your job and informing the public about the crimes of the powerful.” “The reason I wrote the book, because you asked, is because I have used all the official tools I have at my disposal: I have a mandate to investigate torture, to transmit allegations to states, to ask for explanations, and to report to the UN on my observations. I did all of that, but the states refused to cooperate. And it’s not some dictatorship, where I don’t expect anything else, it’s Sweden and Britain, who go about the world claiming that they are a force for good, they are an example in human rights, but when you confront them with their own violations, they close their eyes. They are happy to support anti-torture activism in other parts of the world, but not in their own garden. If I have used all the tools of my system but they aren’t working, then I have to inform the public. Actually, I have become a whistle-blower myself.” “When Navalny came to Germany, we didn’t say he was violating his bail, and when he flew back voluntarily to Russia and was arrested and sentenced for bail violation, everybody immediately screamed “foul” and imposed sanctions against Russia. But then I thought: Hold on, you have your own guy whom you sanctioned for bail violations, and he has finished his sentence more than a year ago, and he is still in prison without any legal basis. When I see the hypocrisy of the West I am speechless, I am honestly speechless.”

International Symposium of Parliamentarians: The case of Julian Assange

Over 40 politicians from around the world took part in the International Symposium of Parliamentarians to discuss the case of Julian Assange. In a joint statement they say:

“We wish to express our deep concern over the continued imprisonment and attempted extradition of Julian Assange. He faces charges in the United States which would result in a prison sentence of 175 years. In January this year the Westminster Magistrates Court rightly dismissed the United States extradition case against Julian Assange, yet he remains a remand prisoner in Belmarsh high security jail.

The US is attempting to reverse the finding of the Westminster Magistrates Court despite the judge’s clear ruling that Julian Assange’s life would be at risk were he committed to the brutality of the US prison system.

We believe that this case presents a very real danger to the freedom of the press. It extends the judicial reach of the US government and it deploys the 1917 US Espionage Act against a foreign publisher for the very first time. The message that such a prosecution would inevitably send is that no journalist of any nationality, no matter where in the world they publish, is safe to publish material that the US government has not approved. The precedent sends a signal to other governments to do the same.

We urgently ask US president Joe Biden and his administration to drop this prosecution. We request that the British government review this extradition request and take urgent action to halt a process from which there can be no satisfactory outcome either for Julian Assange or for the freedom of the press.” Watch the Symposium here:

12 April 2021

Two years after Assange’s arrest, Biden can end Trump’s assault on Press Freedom

“President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Attorney General Merrick Garland now have the obligation, if they are serious about press freedom, to drop the charges that were issued under Trump by a Justice Department deeply politicized by Attorney General Bill Barr.” writes Kevin Gosztola.

Marking two years since Assange’s arrest press freedom advocates demand Biden DOJ drop all charges

Press freedom advocates marked the two-year anniversary of Julian Assange’s arrest at the hands of British police by demanding that the Biden administration immediately drop all U.S. charges against the WikiLeaks publisher, who is currently facing 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act.

“Today marks two full years that Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange has been incarcerated at Belmarsh prison,” said Rebecca Vincent, director of international campaigns at Reporters Without Borders. “Shame on the U.S. and U.K. It’s time to free Assange.”

Torture Australian-Style: A New Secret Country – A chapter from A secret Australia, written by Dr Lissa Johnson

“Julian Assange is being held in what is known as ‘Britain’s Guantanamo’, Belmarsh prison, a high-security facility designed for those charged with terrorism, murder and other violent offences. He is being detained without any custodial sentence or UK charge in place.” “Whether he is extradited or not, his long slow death in UK custody sets an example to anyone watching and thinking of airing the dirty secrets of those in power: the genuinely dirty secrets, such as wantonly slaughtering and torturing innocent people and covering it up. Like all public torture, it sends a message to onlookers: this could happen to you.” “In Assange’s case, his torture and prosecution under the Espionage Act are about making state crime a protected activity and journalism a prohibited one. His torture is about creating a climate of consent through a climate of impunity and fear.” “Journalists the world over, and those whose stories they tell, are at risk if his persecution and torture are allowed to stand. His abuse, therefore, is the business of every citizen and every government. Not least the Australian government.”

Going Underground: UN Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer on the psychological torture of Julian Assange

Melzer discusses the significance of the arrest of Julian Assange for the war on press freedom, how Julian Assange’s persecution started with the arbitrary detention at the Ecuadorian Embassy, the health of Julian Assange and his assessment that he has been psychologically tortured, the war crimes and corruption Wikileaks has exposed, the media’s role in the psychological torture of Assange and more.

11 April 2021

Julian Assange arrested two years ago today

11th April marks 2 years of Julian Assange’s imprisonment in high security Belmarsh prison. Vigils were organized across the world to protest Julian Assange’s incarceration and demand his immediate release. Human rights and media freedom organizations have repeated their call to the US to drop the charges and to the UK to free Julian Assange.

Today, April 11, marks two years since the arrest of Julian #Assange. We implore US and UK authorities to discontinue extradition appeals and to release Julian from Belmarsh prison. The Morrison govt must do more to secure his freedom. #PressFreedom — MEAA (@withMEAA) April 11, 2021
“One of the best ways to achieve justice is to expose injustice.” Julian #Assange Today marks 2 years of Julian #Assange‘s imprisonment on pre-trial detention in high security Belmarsh prison. Last weekend was the 11th anniversary of the publication of #CollateralMurder. https://t.co/p9rdZjroDX pic.twitter.com/EUDVK6Sfpt — Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) April 11, 2021
Julian Assange has been imprisoned in high-security Belmarsh Prison for two years. It is high time to #FreeAssange — ECPMF (@ECPMF) April 11, 2021
.@SNJ_national demande la libération immédiate de Julian Assange, incarcéré dans une prison britannique de haute sécurité. Le SNJ lui réitère son soutien. Son travail a reçu des prix de journalisme à travers le monde ➡️ https://t.co/iAqnwKKJ5v pic.twitter.com/KrKdmST4is — SNJ – premier syndicat de journalistes (@SNJ_national) April 11, 2021
Julian Assange has now been incarcerated for 2 full years at Belmarsh prison, where his mental and physical health remain at great risk. 730 days in a high-security UK prison as the US pursues him for publishing information in the public interest. It’s time to #FreeAssange! pic.twitter.com/ZQEWb2E7pQ — RSF (@RSF_inter) April 9, 2021
“Assange should be seen as a hero of democracy.” Two years ago, Julian Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London and imprisoned in the notorious HMP Belmarsh, where he remains today. Watch @LulaOficial‘s powerful testimony from our #BelmarshTribunal: pic.twitter.com/W7EpwBxdit — Progressive International (@ProgIntl) April 11, 2021

Britain is damaging its reputation by keeping Julian Assange in jail, says partner Stella Moris

Britain would be on stronger ground campaigning against authoritarian regimes if it pressed the Biden administration to drop its call to extradite Julian Assange on espionage charges, Stella Moris, Assange’s partner, has told the Guardian.

In an interview coinciding with the second anniversary of his detention in the high-security Belmarsh prison in south-east London, she says:

“The treatment of Julian is compromising the UK constantly all round the world. It’s giving authoritarian governments points to score all round the world both privately and in international fora like the UN. You cannot start a new values competition with China with Julian Assange in Belmarsh for publishing war crimes. It just does not work. You don’t get to take the moral high ground with this as your starting point. “Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, said the difference between China and the US is that China puts its critics in prison. I am not sure the British government is aware of how much international criticisms it is facing over this issue, or the damage it is doing to its soft power reputation. It’s a tool to whack the UK again and again. It is the perfect response for authoritarian leaders when they are criticised by the UK, or pressed to release political prisoners: ‘What about Julian Assange?’”

10 April 2021

Randy Credico’s Live on the Fly with John Pilger marks the 2nd anniversary of Assange’s imprisonment

Four years since the start of Countdown to Freedom, Pilger returns for his 12th significant appearance and typically pulls no punches in his scorching critique of the US and UK governments’ unrelenting ten year persecution of the courageous Wikileaks founder.

In addition, Nathan Fuller, executive director of the Courage Foundation, close the program with an update on Assange’s current legal status and upcoming events revolving around the two year arrest anniversary April 11.

7 April 2021

Amnesty International Report 2020/2021: The State of Human Rights in the World

The Amnesty International Report 2020/21 documents the human rights situation in 149 countries in 2020, as well as providing global and regional analysis.

The report explicitly cites Julian Assange’s case as one of human rights violations when discussing the United Kingdom: “Extradition proceedings against Julian Assange threatened the right to freedom of expression.”

“Hearings to consider a US extradition request for Julian Assange began in February and resumed in September. Assange remained detained at Belmarsh prison and faced prosecution in the USA for the publication of disclosed documents as part of his work with Wikileaks. Amnesty International called on the USA to drop the charges and on the UK to halt his extradition to the USA where he would face a real risk of serious human rights violations”

Read the entire report here

John Shipton discusses with Phillip Adams the campaign to stop his son’s extradition to the USA

Two years after Julian Assange was imprisoned in Belmarsh, his father, John Shipton, discusses the campaign to free his son from gaol and stop his extradition to the USA.

Bitcoiners should stand up for my brother Julian Assange, writes Gabriel Shipton

An Espionage Act prosecution against Julian Assange isn’t just an attack on the First Amendment. It’s a cruise missile against a free internet, and Bitcoin could be next.

“WikiLeaks and Bitcoin were both born of the cypherpunk movement. And it was in those embryonic days of the Cypherpunks Mailing List that Julian began his long intellectual interest and curiosity in Bitcoin. Julian participated in discussions and debate that cemented the cypherpunk movements values around freedom, privacy, mastery of technology and codified curiosity. “Bitcoin and WikiLeaks are inherently anti-establishment. Both projects ask us to temper our faith in people and institutions and rely instead on publicly-verifiable information, on the basis that a better-informed population creates a freer and fairer society — it has championed those who share these ideals. “Bitcoin and WikiLeaks are the utilities of a free internet. They are necessary for it to develop and thrive in a meaningful way.”

6 April 2021

A Plague of Malice: The State v Julian Assange – A conversation with Gabriel and John Shipton

In this special episode of What Bitcoin Did, Peter McCormack talks to Julian Assange’s father and brother, John and Gabriel Shipton. His friend Janine also joins to discuss the plague of malice regarding Julian’s case, his alignment with the Bitcoin ethos, and how you can support his defence.

5 April 2021

Collateral murder published 11 years ago

Today marks 11 years since WikiLeaks published Collateral Murder. It was a defining moment in our understanding of the Iraq war.

None of the soldiers implicated faced legal consequences but the whistleblower Chelsea Manning was jailed for more than 7 years, while the publisher Julian Assange faces 175 years in prison for exposing US war crimes.

Watch the unedited 38-minute version of the video here

4 April 2021

Blue Mountains City Council’s call to release Julian Assange

Blue Mountains City Council will write to the Foreign Minister and Prime Minister asking the government to advocate for the immediate release of Julian Assange and the dropping of all charges.

Greens Cr Kerry Brown, who proposed the motion at the March meeting, said: “Around the world momentum is gathering to challenge the denial of human rights for the most well-known Australian citizen that also threatens the freedom of our media and society. None of us are free while Julian Assange is incarcerated.”

“The case against Assange has always been politically motivated with the intent of curtailing free speech, criminalising journalism and sending a clear message to future whistleblowers and publishers that they too will be punished if they step out of line.”

2 April 2021

Collateral Crucifixion – New massive mural unveiled in Berlin drawing attention to Julian Assange’s ongoing detention

With the title “Collateral Crucifixion”, the artist duo Captain Borderline has completed a giant Assange mural in Berlin on a house facade directly in front of the Willy Brandt House.

“For almost 10 years, Julian Assange has been in captivity for exposing horrific, inhumane war crimes in an oil war that violated international law and for making his knowledge available to a broad public.”, said the artists.

“The real issue in this legal case against Assange, is freedom of the press. Journalists and whistleblowers are being made to believe, through this witch hunt, that they will suffer the same fate should they report on the illegal machinations of the American or Western establishment and governments.”

28 March 2021

Pope Francis writes a message of solidarity to Julian Assange

Pope Francis has sent a message of solidarity to Julian Assange, wrote Stella Moris, Assange’s partner in a Twitter post. She said that the chaplain at the prison in Belmarsh delivered the message and thanked Christian and Catholic communities for their support

After a hard night, Julian woke up this morning to a kind, personal message from Pope Francis @pontifex delivered to his cell door by the prison priest. Our family wishes to express our gratitude to the many Catholics and other Christians campaigning for his freedom. #Assange pic.twitter.com/QwHDDvxVqH — Stella Moris #DropTheCharges (@StellaMoris1) March 28, 2021

27 March 2021

Julian Assange could finally walk free – if we seize the moment

“For the first time in more than a decade there’s cause for hope”, writes Scott Ludlam, “if the Biden administration decides to make a principled break with the fateful decisions of President Donald Trump.” “President Biden’s pick for US attorney general, Merrick Garland, told the Senate judiciary committee of his commitment to the protection of rights, to fair treatment of the press, and to the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. It is impossible to reconcile any of these priorities with the continuation of the former president’s dangerous conflation of journalism and espionage.” “Now is the time to raise our voices, to demand lawmakers here urge their American counterparts to let Julian Assange walk free and reunite with his family after more than ten years.”

25 March 2021

Irish Parliamentarians show their support to Julian Assange

A group of Irish Parliamentarians took to Twitter to show their solidarity with Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

Showing my solidarity with @wikileaks #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/htbtC7EviV — Mairéad Farrell TD (@Farrell_Mairead) March 24, 2021
Solidarity with @wikileaks #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/IDjJPg9Ml9 — Sorca Clarke TD (@SorcaClarke_TD) March 24, 2021
Showing my support for @wikileaks with other Irish Parlimentarians#FreeAssange @DEAcampaign @DefendAssange @people4assange pic.twitter.com/5P6hkJTtJ3 — Chris Andrews TD (@chrisandrews64) March 24, 2021
Showing my support for @wikileaks with other Irish Parlimentarians#FreeAssange @DEAcampaign @DefendAssange @people4assange pic.twitter.com/X2l4lYkHjU — Darren O’Rourke TD (@orourke_darren) March 25, 2021

22 March 2021

Bipartisan delegation of Australian MPs meets with US embassy about Julian Assange

A cross-party delegation of Australian MPs has met with Washington’s top envoy in Canberra in their continued attempts to encourage the United States to drop its extradition attempts against the WikiLeaks founder.

Nationals MP George Christensen, Independent Andrew Wilkie and Labor’s Julian Hill lobbied the US embassy’s charge d’affaires, Michael Goldman, on Monday morning, arguing the Australian citizen should be allowed to return home.

The trio argued the US was at risk of “reputational damage” over the inconsistency that WikiLeaks source, Chelsea Manning, had her sentence commuted while WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, was still being pursued.

“Hopefully our representations this morning impressed upon him the broad concern in Australia, and indeed right around the world, at the shocking injustice being meted out to Julian Assange. The US’s pursuit of Mr Assange is obviously not in the public interest and must be dropped.” said Mr Wilkie.

Key upcoming dates – the latest update from Stella Moris

Pressure must mount on the Biden Administration, and especially incoming Attorney General Merrick Garland, to break with this Trump-era indictment, to “return to sanity” and to the Obama-era policy not to prosecute Julian. Biden and his Justice Department under new leadership must drop the charges.

There is a severe risk that the lower court’s decision could be reversed, and if Julian is extradited it would be a death sentence.

Here are some dates to keep in mind and organized around:

April 5 – 11-year anniversary of the Collateral Murder/Rules of Engagement publication April 11 – marks the 2-year anniversary of Julian’s incarceration in Belmarsh prison. Julian is now into his 11th year of deprivation of liberty. April 24 – 10-year anniversary of the publication of the Guantanamo Bay Detainee Assessment Briefs (Gitmo Files) May – it is possible the High Court appeal against January’s extradition decision will be held July 3 – Julian’s 50th birthday

‘What Happens to Julian Assange Will Affect Us All’ says hip-hop artist Lowkey

“If you have any interest in real political participation and real democratic values, then you would support what Julian Assange has done because people’s ability to participate in society is determined by their access to information.” “I would say the most important thing for people to absorb is that what happens to him will not only be about him, and will not be isolated to him. The ramifications of a successful extradition and then prosecution of Julian Assange will be chilling to all genuine journalists… The reality is that what happens to Julian Assange will affect us all and it is for that reason that we must do everything we can to protect him.”

18 March 2021

Labor MP Julian Hill calls for government to step up and bring Assange home

Julian Hill, the member for Bruce, told Parliament on Thursday in an impassioned statement that Assange was still locked up even though he had never been convicted of any crime.

“Julian Assange is an Australian citizen. He has never been convicted of any crime,” Hill said. “Yet he has been locked up and confined for years, facing extradition to the US and an effective death sentence, on trumped-up, politically motivated charges. “Two months ago, a UK court found on humanitarian and health grounds that he should not be extradited to the US. “Yet still, today, bail is withheld and Julian is locked up, isolated in a maximum security UK prison with murderers and rapists, at risk of death from COVID-19 because of his conditions. His health continues to deteriorate.”
Bring Julian Assange home NOW. Stop his extradition to the United States. Labor calls on Scott Morrison to bring this to an end. Respect the UK Court’s decision & save his life. #JournalismIsNotACrime #FreeAssangeNOW #Assange #Wikileaks #NoExtradition #DropTheCharges pic.twitter.com/iuG78DHyH8 — Julian Hill MP (@JulianHillMP) March 18, 2021

15 March 2021

Bring Julian Home Rally in Canberra

#HomeRun4Julian rally at Parliament House in Canberra demanding Australian government to break the silence and help free Julian Assange now.

Speeches were given by Aunty Shirley Lomas, Jacob Grech, Lissa Johnson, John Shipton, Alison Broinowski, Joe Lauria, as well as politicians Andrew Wilkie, Janet Rice and Peter Whish-Wilson

#HomeRun4Julian Parliament House, Canberra Break the silence @ScottMorrisonMP and help free Julian Assange now.#FreeAssange#SaveJulian#auspol@MurdochCadell @WilkieMP @CollaeryBernard @SenatorSurfer pic.twitter.com/pk9MYDXQz8🎗People For Assange (@people4assange) March 15, 2021
This morning I spoke at the #FreeAssange rally at Parl House. At this week’s 18th anniversary of Iraq invasion the significance of WikiLeak’s & Julian’s truth-telling still shines like a bright light. He’s a hero not a villain & Aus Govt must press the US to drop the extradition. pic.twitter.com/sZBFQ04Aah — Andrew Wilkie MP (@WilkieMP) March 15, 2021
Watch Australian politician Andrew Wilkie’s impassioned plea for Julian Assange’s immediate release: “This is indefinite detention – and wrong on so many levels” @WilkieMP #FreeAssangeNOW @Consortiumnews pic.twitter.com/B1ucb4zi2A — WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 15, 2021
“The road from here will only get more dark and more dangerous if we don’t make a stand for the extradition of Julian Assange” Message from @SenatorSurfer#FreeAssangeNOW#DropTheCharges#NoExtradition pic.twitter.com/FrjkiuLMgT — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) March 16, 2021
“The powerful did not want to hear the truth he (Assange) was telling, they did not want to hear how war crimes had been committed. That’s the reason Julian is there (in Belmarsh prison)” |@janet_rice#FreeAssangeNOW#DropTheCharges#NoExtradition pic.twitter.com/ysyYr9x1N7 — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) March 16, 2021

11 March 2021

Australian government must demand Julian Assange’s release – Australian Citizens Party

The Australian Government must demand the Biden Administration drop its extradition order for Julian Assange and the charges which he faces under the US Espionage Act.

Prime Minister Morrison cannot afford to ignore the growing support for Assange in the Australian Parliament which runs across the political divide from the Greens to George Christensen and Barnaby Joyce in the Liberal/National Coalition. There are now 24 Australian parliamentarians in the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group, and Labor leader Anthony Albanese has just broken his silence and called for Assange’s release. Albanese was asked for his view on Assange’s ongoing detention at a 23 February caucus meeting in Canberra. “Enough is enough”, he responded. “I don’t have sympathy for many of his actions but essentially I can’t see what is served by keeping him incarcerated.”

Australians should not tolerate their government abandoning this heroic fellow citizen, especially as it’s in their power to get him released. Everyone can help by contacting their MP to urge that they join the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group.

10 March 2021

New York Law Journal: The Newfound Significance of U.S. Prison Conditions in Contesting Extradition

In January 2021, the U.K. denied the U.S. government’s request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on charges of conspiracy to disclose national defense information and related offenses. The court found that the isolating nature of such confinement would cause Assange’s mental health to “deteriorate to the point where he will commit suicide.” In May 2018, a similar scenario unfolded in the case of Lauri Love, who was indicted in the United States for executing cyber attacks on federal agencies, among others, and apprehended in the U.K. The Assange and Love rulings reveal that international skepticism about the conditions of U.S. prisons is not academic—in limited circumstances, it can translate into a defense against being extradited for prosecution here.

9 March 2021

Assange Defense: How Will Merrick Garland’s Justice Department Handle the Assange Case?

As the U.S. Senate is reportedly on the verge of confirming President Biden’s nominee for Attorney General, Merrick Garland, Assange Defence campaign is drawing attention to his record and possibilities of him dropping the extradition of Julian Assange.

As for the Garlands First Amandment record ‘The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press found some cause for optimism, noting that Garland “has taken strong stands on First Amendment issues” in a number of cases. Specifically, RCFP notes, Garland defended the media’s right to publish questionably obtained information, supported a stronger reporter’s privilege, and showed a commitment to government transparency in his decisions on FOIA cases.’

“We should be cautiously optimistic about Garland’s pro-transparency and pro-First Amendment record. And his promise to be independent should count as a plus — if true, it means he would be more resistant to other voices in the administration who might have animosity toward Assange.” “But Garland’s “by-the-book” ethos suggests he will likely defer to staff prosecutors who have already invested significant time and resources into pursuing Assange — at least for the time being.”

8 March 2021

Updates to Julian Assange’s extradition case from his partner Stella Moris

If the new US Attorney General Merrick Garland opts to pursue the Trump administration’s indictment against Julian Assange it will adopt, entrench & continue the most serious assault unleashed by the Trump administration against the press and civil liberties, Assange’s partner Stella Moris has written in an update on the crowd justice fundraiser page. She added:

“[T]he incoming Attorney General Merrick Garland could drop the charges against Julian entirely. This would align Biden’s administration with Obama’s, rather than Trump’s, on the WikiLeaks matter. It was the Trump administration which brought charges against Julian, all relating to the revelations he helped to expose about Guantanamo Bay, the US embassy cables, and the Bush-wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Garland faces a choice: whether to continue the Trump administration’s war on the press or defend the integrity of the US Constitution.

She urged supporters, press freedom and human rights groups to keep the pressure on the Biden administration to return to the right position, the position under Obama.

6 March 2021

Julian Assange’s Partner, Stella Moris, Speaks Out

Stella Moris, lawyer and life partner of Julian Assange, joins the Useful Idiots show to discuss the current status of Assange’s case and it’s implications for global journalism.

4 March 2021

Irish Parliamentarians call for end to unjust detention of Julian Assange

Irish MPs Mairéad Farrell and Chris Andrews have raised the question of continued detention of Julian Assange in the Dáil Éireann. They quoted concerns expressed by UK National Union of Journalists and asked the government to raise the issue directly with the British Ambassador & the US administration. “Julian Assange has done the world a huge service”, they emphasized.

Myself and @chrisandrews64 raised #JulianAssange continued detention with Leo Varadkar in the Dáil today. I quoted @NUJofficial concerns and asked him to raise it directly with the British Ambassador & the US administration.@wikileaks #FreeJulianAssange pic.twitter.com/BKtr4Arp8a — Mairéad Farrell TD (@Farrell_Mairead) March 4, 2021

2 March 2021

Joe Biden’s Persecution of Julian Assange

“[T]he Biden administration announced that it would appeal the extradition ruling and continue Washington’s attempts to bring Assange back to the United States for trial. In doing so, the new administration implicitly adopted the Trump Justice Department’s rationale that Assange was not a legitimate journalist and was instead guilty of espionage. It’s extremely dangerous to the health of journalism and the First Amendment to allow the government to decide who warrants the “legitimate” label. Prosecuting Julian Assange or other maverick journalists for publishing leaked classified information, however, created a very real and alarming threat. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has decided to emulate its predecessor’s worst initiative and continue that menacing campaign.”

25 February 2021

Senator Whish-Wilson heartfelt appeal to the US President, Joe Biden in the Australian Senate chamber

“My appeal to you is to prioritise, review and walk away from your appeal seeking the extradition of Australian award-winning journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.”

If Biden is committed to the First Amendment, he must stop the persecution of Julian Assange

“If the US wants to market itself on the world stage as a defender of a free press and of human rights, it must stop pursuing espionage charges against Julian Assange for conducting journalism. The importance of this case cannot be understated, for what is at stake here is our very right to live in a free society and our right to know what our governments are doing.”

23 February 2021

Australian Labour leader Anthony Albanese joins calls for Julian Assange to be released

Anthony Albanese has thrown his support behind releasing Julian Assange from prison after 10 years without freedom.

The Labor leader was asked at a caucus meeting in Canberra on Tuesday for his view on the ongoing detention of the Australian WikiLeaks founder.

“Enough is enough,” he responded.

“I don’t have sympathy for many of his actions but essentially I can’t see what is served by keeping him incarcerated.”

22 February 2021

Irish MPs requesting a meeting with Julian Assange

A group of more than dozen Irish MPs has written to UK Ambassador in Dublin requesting a video meeting with the “imprisoned journalist and publisher” Julian Assange. The letter reads:

“We make this request because while we welcome the Court decision not to extradite Julian, we are deeply concerened his continued imprisonment endangers his life and therefore violates his human rights. We wish to speak to him directly via a video meeting to establish his situation. Indeed, it is the independent view of Prof Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment that Julian’s imprisonment amounts to “psychological torture”. As Irish parliamentaries we cannot fail to notice the uncunny coincidence that the decision to keep Julian Assange imprisoned was taken in the very same courtroom where the Guildford 4 were wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1975.”

19 February 2021

The Atrocious Prosecution of Julian Assange

“Make no mistake, this case is a frontal assault on the first amendment. It is also one of the worst attacks on a free press in centuries. But that hasn’t stopped Trump and Biden. With a pusillanimous press quiescent about Assange and unless Biden reverses course, these two presidents will have trashed the ability of journalists to report on military and government abuses.” “There is no doubt: Assange is being prosecuted for practicing journalism, for his 2010 publication of military documents leaked by Chelsea Manning, revealing U.S. war crimes in Iraq.” “The New York Times reported that Assange’s lawyers contend that the U.S. is prosecuting him for political reasons. That is correct. Assange very publicly shamed the U.S. government. And the U.S. government does not stand for humiliation. (Just witness its treatment of Iran for over 40 years because of the hostage crisis.) For that, Assange has been hounded, falsely accused, tortured, prosecuted and threatened with 175 years in prison. The same fate awaited whistleblower Edward Snowden, had he not had the sense to flee to a place the U.S. could not follow, namely Russia.”

16 February 2021

Important updates to Julian Assange’s extradition case

Lawyers for Julian Assange are considering cross-appealing January’s verdict in which District Judge Vanessa Baraitser halted his extradition to the United States on medical grounds, his partner Stella Moris wrote in an update on the crowd justice fundraiser page. She wrote:

“The next step in the legal case is that Julian’s legal team will respond to the US grounds for appeal. Julian’s lawyers are hard at work. Julian’s team has asked the High Court to give them more time to consider whether to lodge a cross appeal in order to challenge parts of the ruling where the magistrate did not side with Julian and the press freedom arguments. A cross appeal would provide an opportunity to clear Julian’s name properly.” “We wanted a UK court to properly quash the extradition and refute the other grounds too. We wanted a finding that the extradition is an attempt to criminalise journalism, not just in the US but in the UK and the rest of the world as well; and that the decision to indict Julian was a political act, a violation of the treaty, a violation of his human rights and an abuse of process.” “Julian’s extradition team is considering all these issues, and whether they can be cross-appealed. The Court will set the deadline for the defence to submit its response, and once it has all the arguments before it, the High Court will decide whether it wishes to grant permission for the appeal to be heard.”

Moris also added that Julian’s conditions in detention continue to obstruct his ability to prepare his legal case. He is denied proper access to his lawyers, there are delays in legal papers reaching him and the laptop he was issued is read-only so he cannot provide adequate feedback to his team.

She underlained that the campaign is at its most critical point.

“The Biden Administration will soon appoint its new Attorney General and this will be an important moment to raise the pressure on the Biden Administration to live up to its commitments to defend press freedom and drop the charges against Julian.” “Do whatever you can, however you can to help raise awareness about Julian’s case in the coming weeks and months, until Julian’s freedom is secured.”

12 February 2021

Biden DOJ asks British court to extradite Assange while press freedoms advocates urge the new administration to instead drop the charges

The Justice Department had been due to file a brief in support of its appeal of a judge’s ruling last month blocking the extradition of Mr. Assange on the grounds that American prison conditions are inhumane. The appeal was lodged on Jan. 19 — the last full day of the Trump administration — so the decision to proceed with filing the brief was the first opportunity for the Biden administration to reconsider the disputed prosecution effort. Rebecca Vincent, the director of international campaigns for Reporters Without Borders, said the group was “extremely disappointed” that the Biden Justice Department had pressed on with the effort to bring Mr. Assange to the United States for prosecution. “This marks a major missed opportunity for President Biden to distance himself from the Trump administration’s terrible record on press freedom,” Ms. Vincent said. She warned: “The U.S. government is creating a dangerous precedent that will have a distinct chilling effect on national security reporting around the world. No journalist, publisher or source can be confident that they wouldn’t be criminally pursued for similar public interest reporting.”

10 February 2021

‘Free Assange’ Demands Grow as Biden DOJ Says It Will Continue to Seek Extradition

Just a day after a coalition of press freedom groups urged President Joe Biden to drop his predecessor’s effort to prosecute Julian Assange, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said Tuesday that the new administration intends to challenge a British judge’s rejection last month of the U.S. attempt to extradite the WikiLeaks publisher.

“None of this is inevitable,” said Rebecca Vincent, director of international campaigns at Reporters Without Borders. “At every step of the way, individuals with agency are actively choosing to continue the political case against Julian Assange that will have alarming consequences for journalism around the world. It’s time to free Assange.”

The Courage Foundation, an organization founded to support whistleblowers and journalists, stressed in a series of tweets Tuesday that while “the U.S. may submit its Assange appeal filing by Friday to meet its deadline… one would expect a serious policy decision to be made by the new Attorney General [Merrick Garland] who, once confirmed, can review the incredibly weak case against Assange in full before making a determination.”

“The incoming DOJ,” the group added, “can drop the charges against Assange at any time, including after this Friday’s appeal deadline.”

9 February 2021

Assange Verdict a ‘Severe Blow to Press Freedom’: An Interview with Noam Chomsky

Assange, who remains in custody at Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh in south-east London, is facing up to 175 years in prison for publishing, in 2010, U.S. government documents that exposed war crimes and human rights abuses.

“My guess is that, secretly, the Justice Department was quite pleased with the ruling, and may find some pretext to let it rest – perhaps concurring in the judgment that Assange suffers from psychiatric problems,” Noam Chomsky observes. He states that “Assange’s crime is to have performed the work of a serious journalist: to provide the public with critical information that the US government does not want them to have.”

8 February 2021

Press freedom coalition calls on Biden’s Justice Department to drop the Assange prosecution

More than two dozen major media freedom and human rights organization have called on the Department of Justice to drop the charges against Julian Assange in a letter organized by the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

ACLU, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Knight First Amendment Institute, Committee to Protect Journalists, Index on Cenzorship, Defending Rights & Dissent, the Center for Constitutional Rights, CAIR, Demand Progress, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Project on Government Oversight, First Amendment Coalition, and Reporters Without Borders are among the signatories delivering this unified message to the Acting Attorney General.

First Amendment experts across the spectrum have long said the indictment of Assange threatens basic press freedom rights of countless journalists around the country. President Biden campaigned on restoring the values of press freedom to the United States, and this is a critically important way for the Justice Department to follow through on that promise.

“The indictment of Mr. Assange threatens press freedom because much of the conduct described in the indictment is conduct that journalists engage in routinely—and that they must engage in in order to do the work the public needs them to do. Journalists at major news publications regularly speak with sources, ask for clarification or more documentation, and receive and publish documents the government considers secret. In our view, such a precedent in this case could effectively criminalize these common journalistic practices.”

A coalition of civil liberties and human rights groups urged the Biden administration on Monday to drop efforts to extradite the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from Britain and prosecute him, calling the Trump-era case against him “a grave threat to press freedom.”

The coalition sent a letter urging a change in course before a Friday deadline for the Justice Department to file a brief in a London court. American prosecutors are due to explain in detail their decision — formally lodged on Jan. 19, the last full day of the Trump administration — to appeal a ruling blocking their request to extradite Mr. Assange.

“Most of the charges against Assange concern activities that are no different from those used by investigative journalists around the world every day,” Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, said in a separate statement. “President Biden should avoid setting a terrible precedent by criminalizing key tools of independent journalism that are essential for a healthy democracy.”

Jameel Jaffer: The Biden Administration Should Drop the Assange Case

“Of Trump’s many attacks on press freedom, however, it’s his Justice Department’s indictment of Julian Assange that could have the most significant implications over the long term. (…) the Justice Department’s indictment of Assange focuses principally on activity that national security journalists engage in “routinely and as a necessary part of their work”—cultivating sources, communicating with them confidentially, soliciting information from them, protecting their identities from disclosure, and publishing classified information. As a result, a successful prosecution of Assange would have far-reaching implications both for national security journalists and for the news organizations that publish their work.”

6 February 2021

Julian Assange still not delivered his winter clothes says Stella Moris

Severe weather warnings have been issued in the UK over the next few days. Julian’s warm winter clothes are still in prison storage. #FreeAssangeNOW#DropTheCharges https://t.co/SYWOKJcy2M — Stella Moris #DropTheCharges (@StellaMoris1) February 6, 2021

5 February 2021

#FreeTheTruth online panel: Julian Assange – A Decade of Arbitrary Detention & Torture

February 5th 2021 marks five years since the public issuance of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s conclusive findings that publisher Julian Assange has been arbitrarily detained, now for a decade.

Prof Mads Andenas, former chair of UNWGAD, Prof Eva Joly, member of the Paris bar & former judge, and Prof Liora Lazarus discuss how & why the UK has chosen to ignore international law by continuing to torture him.

4 February 2021

IFJ and Belgium4Assange have asked the city of Brussels to adopt Julian Assange

In the name of freedom of expression and in order to guarantee the future protection of Julian Assange, founder and former editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Belgium4Assange collective have written to the mayor of the City of Brussels and to municipal officials, so that Brussels officially adopts Julian Assange, like other defenders of freedom of expression.

What Assange and WikiLeaks said about Australia

The Sydney Morning Herald reviews the book “A Secret Australia” surveies the impact WikiLeaks has had on Australia’s media landscape and the consequences.

WikiLeaks invented a “pioneering model of journalism” – one that embodied the “contemporary spirit of resistance to imperial power”, says Richard Tanter, from the school of political and social sciences at the University of Melbourne. It brought renewed debates on free speech, digital encryption and questions around the management and protection of whistleblowers who risk their lives to expose covert, deceitful actions by governments. Most of the essays expostulate on the same things: Assange is a journalist, not a hacker. He’s won a Walkley Award (at least six mentions of this). We have an undeniable legal obligation to him. His persecution is a “gruesome legal experiment in criminalising journalism” – a long and tortured legal process that Ludlam declares “has degenerated into an unworkable shit-show”.

US Prosecution has been granted an extension in submitting grounds for appeal says Kristinn Hrafnsson

Speaking at the online panel organized by Stop The War coalition, Wikileaks editor in chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said that US Prosecution has been granted an extension in submitting grounds for appeal Judge Baraitser’s No Extradition ruling till February 12 2021.

Kristinn Hrafnsson: US Prosecution has been granted an extension in submitting grounds for appeal Judge Baraitser’s No Extradition ruling till 15/2/2021. #Assange #StWLiverpool — Committee to Defend Julian Assange (@JA_Defence) February 4, 2021

2 February 2021

Caroline Lucas, UK Green Party Leader, calls on Home Secretary to immediately release Julian Assange

In a letter sent to the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel UK Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas calls for immidiate release of Julian Assange.

I share the widespread view that Mr Assange’s prosecution under the US Espionage Act set a dangerous precedent for press freedom and criminalised investigative journalism – in common with other journalists he should be protected by the European Convention on Human Rights and the right to freedom of speech. There is a clear and compelling requirement for you to review the decision to order Julian Assange’s extradition to the US and ensure that he is released with immediate effect.

1 February 2021

Assange: What Australia is not doing to save its citizen and media freedom

Given its inaction on the Assange case, Australia risks being remembered as a complicit ally in the war on journalism launched by the Trump Administration, especially now that the hopes for a pardon have vanished.

31 January 2021

Julian Assange nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by multiple public figures and politicians

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate

Chelsea Manning, as an American soldier based in Iraq, could not go along with the murder of Iraqi civilians. Julian Assange, as a publisher, had to do his duty and disclose facts of the Iraqi and Afghan wars to the public. Edward Snowden, working in U.S. intelligence, could not remain silent knowing that his government was carrying out illegal surveillance of US citizens and world governments. The Nobel Committee could protect and help save the lives of these three champions of peace by awarding them the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

Australian Senators Peter Whish-Wilson and Janet Rice

The link between peace and a free press is vital — only by facing the truth about war and militarism can action be taken to realise peace and justice. This why myself and @janet_rice have nominated Julian Assange for the 2021 @NobelPrize. #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/HH8mOjpfTm — Peter Whish-Wilson (@SenatorSurfer) January 31, 2021

Jean-Luc Mélenchon – French politician and MP

I decided to nominate journalist Julian Assange for the Nobel Peace Prize, as I have the power to do as a parliamentarian. Julian Assange is a hero of freedom. On January 4, 2021, British justice refused his extradition to the United States, but maintained his imprisonment. More than ever, Julian Assange needs the protection of the peoples of the world. Granting him the Nobel Peace Prize would allow that.

Mathilde Panot – French politician and MP

En ma qualité de parlementaire, je peux proposer une personnalité pour le prix Nobel de la paix. Comme @JLMelenchon, je propose le lanceur d’alerte et journaliste Julian #Assange. C’est un héros et la France s’honorerait à lui offrir l’asile politqiue. #NobelPeacePrize4Assange pic.twitter.com/9Xij31FBEa — Mathilde Panot (@MathildePanot) January 31, 2021

Steve Keen – Australian economist and author

I’ve done it. Please join me. https://t.co/W0sCauZNFX — Steve Keen (@ProfSteveKeen) January 31, 2021

Violeta Tomić – Slovenian politician and MP, member of PACE

Today they are officially candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize @Snowden, @JulianAssange_ and @xychelsea because a Slovenian MP @tomicvioleta from @strankalevica has nominated them to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Bong pic.twitter.com/AheTUaHarU — Čezvesoljska Zombi cerkev blaženega zvonjenja (@CZCBZ) February 1, 2021

Elisabeth Eide, Professor emerita, Oslo Metropolitan University and Rune Ottosen, Professor emeritus Oslo Metropolitan University

“By publishing documents about war crimes committed by the U.S. and their allies, Julian Assange has contributed to public debate on their warfare, with special emphasis on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. If such crimes were to continue to be unnoticed, the large warring powers and alliances may be able to create illusions of “clean” wars against the “criminal others”, at a time when thorough investigations of atrocities show that such responsibilities oftentimes are equally shared.”

28 January 2021

Calls to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to consider Julian Assange for the Nobel Peace Prize

Julian Assange has been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. A petition has been launched to encourage the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to consider Julian for the Nobel Peace Prize and to persuade formal nominators to support Julian’s nomination.

At the same time, the nomination was supported by French politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon who called Assange “a freedom hero”. “More than ever, Julian Assange needs the protection of the peoples of the world. Granting him the Nobel Peace Prize would allow it.”, he wrote in a twitter statement.

Plus que jamais, Julian #Assange a besoin de la protection des peuples du monde. Lui accorder le prix Nobel de la paix le permettrait.https://t.co/04FdmXSups — Jean-Luc Mélenchon (@JLMelenchon) January 28, 2021

27 January 2021

With Trump and Pompeo gone, it’s the media’s job to get justice for Julian Assange

Biden has no love for Assange, describing him during the Cablegate releases as a “high-tech terrorist”, publishing being the same as bombing — an example of the sort of American patriotism whose essence is exactly contrary to the country’s constitution. Finally, several of the key players in the UK-US papers working with WikiLeaks on Cablegate were crazed narcissists who started a war on Assange that some have continued to this day. Only Pompeo’s draconian extravaganza finally shamed them into taking a stand. Now what is needed is an unequivocal and united stand against the continued prosecution of Assange, who is being charged with espionage on the basis of the standard practice of investigative journalism. Something on the order of a common, clear-the-front/home-page sort of statement on as many news sites as possible. The operant contradictions within liberalism will become live only if they are made visible; they can persist indefinitely in silence. Such a move would be part of the ongoing grassroots global campaign — but it’s something big like this that would make it possible to ;end the malarkey, by giving the administration moral public pressure it can respond to.

Where Assange’s Extradition Appeals Process Stands

Almost immediately upon District Judge Vanessa Baraitster’s ruling that WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange would not be extradited from the United Kingdom to the United States on medical grounds, lawyers representing the U.S. announced their intent to appeal that decision. Two days later, Judge Baraitser denied Assange’s bail application, meaning he will remain in the freezing cold, COVID-infected maximum-security Belmarsh prison in London as he waits for the appeal process to unfold. That process could take weeks, months, or longer if the U.S. refuses to drop the case altogether.

25 January 2021

A letter from Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire to President Biden

Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire wrote a letter to President Biden with two urgent requests: to free Julian Assange and save the children of Yemen.

“Please do all you can to free Julian Assange and release him to let him go home to his family. He has served long enough and his family long for his presence and his punishment to be ended.”

24 January 2021

Assange vs the violence of imperial ‘humanitarianism’

‘Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that it would be “oppressive” to extradite Assange – but not because of the injustice of the US government’s campaign of retribution against him for exposing its massacres, misrepresentations and manipulations, but rather due to the fragility of Assange’s mental health.’ ‘Judge Baraitser not only declined to find that the US’s prosecution of Assange is for political “offences” – and therefore barred by the UK-US Extradition Treaty – but held that there is no judicially enforceable barrier against political extraditions at all: “the defence has not established that the UK-US treaty confers rights on Mr Assange which are enforceable in this court” since the treaty is “not yet incorporated into domestic law”. Perversely, according to this judgement, Assange (and other extradition targets) are subject to the treaty, but precluded from invoking its protections.’ ‘The fact that Assange revealed damning truths about state atrocities that would otherwise have remained concealed was also dismissed as irrelevant. “The defence have not established that the principle of the ‘right to truth’ is a legal rule that is recognised in either international law or domestic law.”’

22 January 2021

UK’s former Brexit secretary says Assange judge ‘got the law wrong’

David Davis has told Declassified UK that the British legal establishment is “blinkered” to the one-sidedness of the UK/US extradition treaty under which the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being heard.

Davis, a former chair of the Conservative Party who served as Brexit minister in 2016-18, described the treaty as “massively asymmetric” and said the judge, Vanessa Baraitser, “got the law wrong” by claiming the treaty included political crimes.

“Parliament made clear in terms that it would not cover political crimes,” he said.

The only circumstances in which alleged crimes with a political ingredient could be pursued under the treaty was when violence was involved, Davis insisted. He has raised the case, which has serious implications for human rights and press freedom – and in the view of Davis, a leading Brexiteer, British sovereignty – as a matter of urgency in the House of Commons.

David Davis [@DavidDavisMP] yesterday in the House of Commons: “The decision to block the extradition of Mr #Assange this month was a human rather than a legal victory.”#FreeAssange #NoExtradition #DropTheCharges pic.twitter.com/ga05dpgqtl — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 22, 2021

Why Julian Assange is still caged

While it’s deeply alarming that the judge had accepted the majority of the prosecution’s case, extradition was rejected on the narrowest of grounds. Extradition would be denied because Julian was weak, not because he was right. We should have been happier, given we have worked and waited for Julian’s freedom for ten years, but having worked on this campaign for ten years, we couldn’t quite believe it was over. And it’s not. Two days later Baraister ruled that Julian is to remain caged in Belmarsh Prison during the appeal phase. Given that her ruling has made the United Kingdom the only safe jurisdiction from which Julian cannot be extradited, it is absurd that this Australian publisher and journalist in such poor health must remain in a supermax prison through which COVID-19 is raging. The prevailing logic of the Obama administration was that prosecuting WikiLeaks would lead to the ‘New York Times problem’. That logic should hold true for the Biden administration. The Trump administration appeal against Julian lodged last Friday should be among the host of excessive and dangerous Trump policies that are dumped and reversed as a matter of urgency by the Biden administration. President Obama and Vice-President Biden decided not to prosecute, and it follows that President Biden and Vice-President Harris should right the wrongs of the Trump administration. That’s where our focus must be until Julian is free to come home with his family.

21 January 2021

Biden should end espionage act prosecution of whistleblowers and journalists

‘President Joe Biden has an opportunity to right some of these wrongs. He should publicly commit to ending the use of the Espionage Act against whistleblowers. Congress could also amend or repeal the act so that it cannot be used for such purposes. Biden should also take actions to end the persecution of Assange and return to the Obama-era position that Assange should not be prosecuted by the United States. “We thought it was a dangerous precedent to prosecute Assange for something that reporters do all the time,” said Matthew Miller, an Obama Justice Department spokesperson. “The Espionage Act doesn’t make any distinction between journalists and others, so if you can apply it to Assange, there’s no real reason you couldn’t apply it to [the New York Times].”’

20 January 2021

No Pardons For Edward Snowden Or Julian Assange

Although several long shot campaigns were mounted, President Donald Trump did not pardon any whistleblowers who were indicted or prosecuted under the United States Espionage Act. He also declined to pardon the only journalist ever to be indicted under the World War I-era law.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden were not offered clemency because Trump “did not want to anger Senate Republicans who will soon determine whether he’s convicted during his Senate trial.”

19 January 2021

The US has lodged appeal paperwork

According to journalist reports, the US has lodged appeal paperwork in the extradition case of Julian Assange.

Brief #Assange extradition update- the US has lodged appeal paperwork (did so on Friday). Now has another fortnight to hand in the more detailed information on grounds for appeal. — Ben Lewis (@benlewismedia) January 19, 2021

The bad news about the Julian Assange verdict – Interview with Stefania Maurizi

“Why should a peaceful man, a journalist who is at risk for his mental and physical health – as the judge acknowledged – be denied bail and remain in a maximum security prison? Meanwhile the UK authorities released the London Bridge attacker, Usman Khan, who had been convicted of preparing an act of terrorism – he immediately killed two people and injured three others” “This judgement is concerning because the judge, Vanessa Baraitser, denied extradition only on account of Assange’s health condition. It would have been tremendously important to see a strong position from Judge Baraitser stating that revealing war crimes and torture is what journalists should do in our democracies. It is the quintessential mission of the Fourth Estate.”

15 January 2021

Republican Liberty Caucus joins calls to pardon Julian Assange

Open Letter to President Trump Regarding Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Ross Ulbricht#PardonSnowden #PardonAssange #FreeRoss@Snowden @WhiteHouse pic.twitter.com/Fc6DAfEwDZ — RLC (@RLibertyCaucus) January 15, 2021

12 January 2021

UN expert on torture Nils Melzer talks to Richard Medhurst about the persecution of Julian Assange

11 January 2021

Jameel Jaffer: Julian Assange is still in prison. And America’s democratic principles are still at stake.

“The Justice Department’s case against Assange raised serious press freedom concerns from the outset. This is partly because so much of the indictment is devoted to describing activity that journalists engage in routinely — like cultivating government sources, communicating with them confidentially, protecting their identities and publishing classified secrets.” “The problem with Baraitser’s ruling, from the perspective of press freedom, is that it rejected the extradition request only because of concerns relating to Assange’s mental health and the conditions in which he would be imprisoned were he handed over to the United States. This aspect of Baraitser’s ruling appears to be well supported by the evidence, but, significantly, its protection does not extend beyond Assange.” “This latest decision may protect Assange, but it leaves journalists and publishers at the mercy of prosecutors. That is unfortunate. Neither journalists nor publishers should have to risk criminal prosecution in order to do work that the public urgently needs them to do.”

9 January 2021

Glenn Greenwald: Why Julian Assange should be released from prison immediately

8 January 2021

This Ruling Is a Victory for Julian Assange — But Still a Blow Against a Free Press

“In her ruling, the judge made clear that Assange would have been extradited, if it weren’t for his “substantial risk” of committing suicide. In so doing, Baraitser left the door open to the prosecution and extradition of journalists and publishers engaged in investigative news-gathering the world over. Hence the ruling ends up adding to the “chilling effect” already experienced by those interested in national security journalism.” “Ultimately, the court determined that multiple allegations against Assange would put him beyond the realm of acceptable journalism, if substantiated. Any disputes over the conspiracy charge, motives for publication, or whether any harm was caused due to the publication of documents, would be a matter for a trial court in the United States to determine. There is, however, a fundamental problem in this reasoning. Due to the “strict liability” nature of the vast majority of the charges against Assange — i. e., the intentions of the accused do not matter in establishing guilt — his motives, the contents of the documents themselves, the password hash cracking matter, and even whether any actual harm ever resulted from the disclosures, is entirely irrelevant. All that really matters insofar as the Espionage Act charges are concerned is whether Assange conspired to receive, obtain, and disclose national defense information. If it can be shown that Assange did any of those things, he faces ten years for each count proven to a jury’s satisfaction — with seventeen counts in total.

Judge’s ruling in Julian Assange case could threaten investigative journalism in UK and around the world

There is a real danger that the British judge’s ruling in the Julian Assange extradition case will encourage other governments to charge and seek to extradite journalists in the UK and elsewhere for exposing their military operations and human rights abuses.

“Assange could only be extradited if the offences with which he was charged were criminal offences under British law – that is, they were indictable offences in Britain. The judge’s ruling drove home the point that, contrary to the widespread assumption, a public interest defence is not available to whistle-blowers and journalists in British law.” “There is a real danger that Assange’s extradition will encourage other governments – the Israeli, Russian or Turkish, for example – to charge and extradite journalists in Britain and elsewhere for exposing their military operations and human rights abuses, indeed for revealing any information they want to suppress for reasons of “national security” – a term that can cover a multitude of sins.”

7 January 2021

Amnesty International Australia writes to Prime Minister Morrison asking him to call on Trump and Biden to drop the charges

“I am writing to you on behalf of Amnesty International’s 10 million global supporters to ask you to actin regards to the case of Julian Assange. Please use your access and relationships to urge US President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden to drop the charges against Assange.”

Andrew Wilkie MP: Julian Assange must be allowed to walk free

“This is an unfathomable and cruel turn of events,” Mr Wilkie said of the bail decision. “The extradition of Mr Assange has already been denied and further detention clearly compounds the risk to his precarious mental health. “Prime Minister Scott Morrison must get on the phone to US President Donald Trump and President-Elect Joe Biden and say ‘Let’s just rule a line under this, drop the charges, pardon him if that’s what’s needed and let him come home’.”

Jonathan Cook: The US and UK may not will Assange’s death, but everything they are doing makes it more likely

“[The jugde] disregarded warnings from Assange’s legal team that acceptance of the political rationale for extradition amounted to an all-out attack on fundamental journalistic freedoms. She established a terrifying legal precedent for the US to seize foreign journalists and prosecute them for “espionage” if they expose Washington’s crimes. Her ruling will inevitably have a profoundly chilling effect on any publication trying to dig out the truth about the US national-security state, with terrifying consequences for us all.”

6 January 2021

Judge denies bail for Julian Assange

Two days after blocking Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser has denied Assange’s bail application, keeping him in custody at HMP Belmarsh while the U.S. appeals the decision.

Lawyers for Assange today argued to release Assange immediately, saying he would accept stringent conditions including house arrest. Defense lawyer Ed Fitzgerald said the “natural consequences” of the judge’s ruling on Monday, which ordered Assange’s discharge, “must be that he regains his liberty, at least conditionally.”

Fitzgerald also argued that Assange must be released for his own safety. Belmarsh has seen a spike in COVID19 cases in December, and a fellow inmate has recently committed suicide.

Finally, Fitzgerald said Assange should be freed for “broader reasons of humanity,” to finally be allowed physical contact with his family—his partner and their two young children.

Statement from Stella Moris

Stella Moris, Assange’s fiancée: I urge the ⁦@TheJusticeDept⁩ to drop the charges and ⁦@realDonaldTrump⁩ to pardon #Assange. pic.twitter.com/Pc9szmqTbC — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 6, 2021

Statement from Kristinn Hrafnsson

Kristinn Hrafnsson from @WikiLeaks, final statement on #Assange case victory. “Enough is enough.” The fight is not over. pic.twitter.com/0oGIckDFBp — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 4, 2021

Statement from Rebecca Vincent, Reporters without borders (RSF)

Reporters Without Borders @RSF_en strongly condemn today’s decision to deny Julian Assange bail saying it is unnecessarily cruel and believe he has been targeted and made to suffer for publishing information in the public interest. – @rebecca_vincent pic.twitter.com/e6JIedts6O🎗People For Assange (@people4assange) January 6, 2021

Amnesty International: Decision to refuse Assange bail renders his continued detention “arbitrary”

“Today’s decision to refuse Julian Assange’s bail application renders his ongoing detention ‘arbitrary’, and compounds the fact that he has endured punishing conditions in high security detention at Belmarsh prison for more than a year,” said Nils Muižnieks, Amnesty International’s Europe Director. “It is clear that Julian Assange should not have been jailed pending extradition in the first place. The charges against him were politically-motivated, and the UK government should never have so willingly assisted the US in its unrelenting pursuit of Assange.”

RSF condemns “unnecessarily cruel” decision to keep Julian Assange detained

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the decision of a UK district judge to deny bail to Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, despite a prior ruling against his extradition to the US due to his state of mental health. RSF calls again for his immediate release, on substantive and humanitarian grounds.

“We are deeply disappointed by the decision not to grant bail to Julian Assange, which is an unnecessarily cruel step following the prior decision against his extradition. The mental health issues that were grounds to prevent his extradition will only be exacerbated by prolonged detention, and his physical health also remains at risk. This decision is the latest in a long line of disproportionately punitive measures against Assange,” said RSF’s Director of International Campaigns Rebecca Vincent.

Index on Cenzorship: A win for Assange, but not for free speech

“Judge Baraitser’s ruling at no stage allowed for the protections governed by Article 10 of the UK Human Rights Act to halt the extradition. Instead, in denying the US Government’s request to extradite Assange, Baraitser concluded that “the mental condition of Mr. Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America”. “Baraitser’s decisions regarding the key legal arguments of Assange’s defence are cause for concern and risk creating a precedent which would prevent journalists from publishing sensitive information in the public interest and the ruling appears to have extended the scope of Britain’s Official Secrets Act.”

5 January 2021

UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer cautiously welcomes refusal to extradite Assange

UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer today welcomed a British court’s refusal to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the United States on the basis that he would be exposed to “oppressive” conditions of imprisonment that would almost certainly cause him to commit suicide.

At the same time, the judgement on Monday sets an alarming precedent effectively denying investigative journalists the protection of press freedom and paving the way for their prosecution under charges of espionage. In 2010, Mr. Assange published sensitive military documents relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I am gravely concerned that the judgement confirms the entire, very dangerous rationale underlying the US indictment, which effectively amounts to criminalizing national security journalism,” Melzer said.

Assange decision is a welcome one, but it won’t save the free press

Ultimately, Baraitser did not refuse the extradition of Assange to the United States based on matters of principle – such as respect for the first amendment and its full protection of free speech – or concerns that Assange would not get a fair trial in the Virginia court renowned for putting away into maximum security those the US security state regard as a threat.
Anyone hoping to find words that respect freedom of speech or freedom of the press will be bitterly disappointed by the judgment. Rather, Baraitser said Assange had breached US national security laws, and further there were parallel offences via the Official Secrets Act in the UK. The mainstream press, especially in Britain and Australia, so quick to abandon Assange, should be deeply concerned.
It was hardly a ringing endorsement, then, by the judiciary for the fourth estate.

The Sydney Morning Editorial: PM should urge US to abandon pursuit of Julian Assange

The decision of British judge Vanessa Baraitser to block the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States to face espionage charges was made on the grounds of his mental health and the regime under which he would be jailed there. This leaves important wider questions still at issue. (…) Mr Biden might also look back on the past two decades of US politics and ask himself – as a torrent of misinformation, conspiracy theories about the “deep state” and resentment over the cost and character of decisions to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to distort American public debate – whether fighting hard for the cause of state secrecy is really how he wants his presidency to be remembered.

4 January 2021

Judge blocks the extradition of Julian Assange to the US

In a ruling in which she accepted nearly every argument from U.S. government, Judge Vanessa Baraitser agreed with the defense’s claims that the U.S. prison conditions Assange would face if he were extradited, including solitary confinement, Special Administrative Measures, and extreme restrictions at ADX Florence, would drive Assange to suicide. She ruled it would therefore be unjust to extradite Assange to the U.S. and ordered his release.

The U.S. will appeal the decision.

Case was adjourned until Wednesday 10am GMT for the full and formal bail application, Assange will be physically produced then, will be kept in HMP Belmarsh until then.

Statement from Stella Moris

Stella Moris: Julian’s freedom is tied to all of our freedoms. I call on insiders to come forward to expose the full extend of the misconduct in this case. #FreeJulian #FreePress pic.twitter.com/9G63VXeGjo — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 4, 2021

Statement from Kristinn Hrafnsson

Kristinn from ⁦@wikileaks⁩ – it is a win for Julian #Assange, but it is not a win for journalism. The US government should drop their appeal and let Julian go free. pic.twitter.com/aEMT3ytm4n — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 4, 2021

Press freedom and human rights organizations and advocates welcome the decision but express concern it leaves open future threats to journalists

Rebecca Vincent, Reporters without borders (RSF)

Statement from Rebecca from ⁦@RSF_inter⁩ on #Assange case pic.twitter.com/uQWGQPdQnC — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 4, 2021

Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists (NUJ)

“The judge rejected the defence case that the charges against Assange related to actions identical to those undertaken daily by most investigative journalists. In doing so, she leaves open the door for a future US administration to confect a similar indictment against a journalist.”

Amnesty International

We welcome the fact that Julian Assange will not be sent to the USA, but this does not absolve the UK from having engaged in this politically-motivated process at the behest of the USA and putting media freedom and freedom of expression on trial. — Amnesty International (@amnesty) January 4, 2021

Freedom of the Press Foundation

The extradition request was not decided on press freedom grounds; rather, the judge essentially ruled the US prison system was too repressive to extradite. However, the result will protect journalists everywhere. — Freedom of the Press (@FreedomofPress) January 4, 2021

Knight First Amendment Institute

Knight Institute Comments on Decision to Reject U.S. Request for Extradition of Julian Assange: Says indictment under the Espionage Act will continue to cast a shadow over investigative journalism. Statement at the link 👇 https://t.co/eiYve07k1H — Knight First Amendment Institute (@knightcolumbia) January 4, 2021

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

#UK 🇬🇧 British court says @wikileaks founder Julian Assange cannot be extradited to the US for charges of espionage and hacking government computers by reason of Assange’s mental health. The US have 14 days to appeal. — IFJ (@IFJGlobal) January 4, 2021

European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)

The European Federation of Journalists welcomes this morning’s verdict from Old Bailey that #WikiLeaks founder Julian #Assange should not be extradited to the USA. It us time now to put an end to his detention — EFJ (@EFJEUROPE) January 4, 2021

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA)

Julian Assange is a member of #MEAAmedia and as his union we are relieved that – pending any appeal by the US government – he will be free from the decade long ordeal he has suffered for trying to bring information of public interest to the light of day. #AssangeCase — MEAA (@withMEAA) January 4, 2021

Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

THANK YOU! #VanessaBaraitser @VanessaBaraits1 for having done the right thing! Extradition to the #US would have exposed #Assange to #Torture. https://t.co/u6LVYg6Dya — Nils Melzer (@NilsMelzer) January 4, 2021

Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions

SUPERBE news from the UK! #Assange will not be extradited to the US. This was the only valid decision under international human rights law. All my respects to @NilsMelzer @rebecca_vincent and many others who have campaigned tirelessly for such an outcome. — Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 4, 2021

CAGE

We welcome the blocking of the extradition of Julian Assange. However, once again the UK-US extradition treaty is exposed to be ripe for abuse as all journalistic and whistleblowing protections fell to pieces before it. Assange was spared only on account of his suicide risk. — CAGE (@UK_CAGE) January 4, 2021

Christophe Deloire, Reporters without borders (RSF)

Whatever the official arguments are, the decision not to extradite #Assange is historical for the right to information. It does not add an additional threat to investigative journalism. An extradition would have set a precedent. For those who defend him, it is a huge relief. pic.twitter.com/D7y7EwvJwm — Christophe Deloire (@cdeloire) January 4, 2021

Article 19

🔺 2⃣-“We call on the new US administration of President-Elect @JoeBiden to drop all charges against @Wikileaks founder #JulianAssange and to urgently improve protections for all #whistleblowers and others who hold power to account,” ARTICLE 19 Executive Director @QuinnMcK added. pic.twitter.com/bRhxJhM7ZQ — ARTICLE 19 (@article19org) January 4, 2021

IPI – The Global Network for Press Freedom

UK court’s decision to deny extradition of Julian #Assange to the US is a victory for #pressfreedom. Prosecution under the Espionage Act would set a dangerous precedent. IPI statement ⬇️https://t.co/JBZXEU8UN2 — IPI – The Global Network for Press Freedom (@globalfreemedia) January 4, 2021

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)

ECPMF is glad about the judge’s decision not to extradite Julian #Assange. We continue to advocate for complete freedom for #JulianAssange. pic.twitter.com/3fr1rXcLvZ — ECPMF (@ECPMF) January 4, 2021

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

CPJ welcomes UK decision not to extradite Julian Assange, urges DOJ to drop chargeshttps://t.co/HmUSXId4A7 — Committee to Protect Journalists (@pressfreedom) January 4, 2021

Comments from journalists, politicians, human rights & press freedom advocates

Glenn Greenwald, journalist

The rejection by the UK court of the US Govt’s request to extradite Julian Assange to stand trial on espionage charges is obviously great news. But the judge endorsed most of the USG’s theories, but ultimately found the US prison system too inhumane to permit extradition. — Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 4, 2021

Clare Daly, MEP

A huge victory but we should also recognise Assange won on narrow mental health grounds. On political aspects of the case this judgment was a travesty. Press freedom is almost completely unprotected by it. A huge battle is ahead to defend it. https://t.co/yU5bkd3reN — Clare Daly (@ClareDalyMEP) January 4, 2021

Alan Rusbridger, journalist

The judge’s reasoning was hardly a ringing endorsement of either Wikileaks or the function of journalism. But the extradition outcome is the right one and I hope the US will now drop the pursuit of Assange (and @Snowden) and let them get on with their lives. — alan rusbridger (@arusbridger) January 4, 2021

Stefania Maurizi, journalist

my comment to @AJEnglish: “I am relieved the judge just ruled against extradition, however I am very unhappy about how she stuck to all the major arguments put forward by the US to characterise #Assange’s work as going beyond free speech and journalism” https://t.co/DpdJh7zAvL — Stefania Maurizi (@SMaurizi) January 4, 2021

Andrew Wilkey, Australian MP

Great news from London – Julian Assange’s extradition to US denied by UK court. US President must rule out an appeal. UK PM must release him. And Oz PM must allow him to return home a free man. Assange was always the hero, not the villain #auspol #politas #FreeAssange — Andrew Wilkie MP (@WilkieMP) January 4, 2021

Zarah Sultana, UK MP

Today’s court ruling to not extradite Julian Assange to the US to face espionage charges is the right decision. He should be released from Belmarsh prison immediately. — Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) January 4, 2021

John Pilger, journalist

Julian #Assange has been discharged by the judge at the Old Bailey on grounds that he was too great a suicide risk if extradited to the US. This is wonderful! It’s a face-saving cover for the British to justify their disgraceful political trial of #Assange on America’s behalf. — John Pilger (@johnpilger) January 4, 2021

Mark Curtis, journalist

I can’t see how the #Assange ruling amounts to a victory for the free press, as some are claiming. Judge seems to have accepted US prosecution arguments right up the point where she considered a suicide risk. The judgement may have set a scary precedent.https://t.co/Lwuz5njhNL — Mark Curtis (@markcurtis30) January 4, 2021

Fidel Narvaez, Ecuadorian diplomat

Fidel Narvaez: This is a victory- but Journalists should be very concerned, freedom of expression is still under attack. #assange pic.twitter.com/IZbObmrGI9 — Don’t Extradite Assange (@DEAcampaign) January 4, 2021

Jeremy Corbyn

Good news the extradition of Julian Assange has been refused. Extradition would be an attack on press freedom. It is alarming the judge has accepted US Government arguments threatening freedom of speech and to publish. Assange should be released. See https://t.co/XPw13Am6Cs — Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) January 4, 2021

Owen Jones: Refusing to extradite #Assange to the US on mental health grounds is humane, but it doesn’t protect future whistleblowers

“It is not to critique the soundness of Baraitser’s legal judgment to argue that this was the right decision, but for the wrong reason. That a British court has ruled that the US prison system is too barbaric to guarantee the safety of Assange tells its own story. But this is about something much bigger than Assange: it’s about journalism, the free press, and most importantly of all, the ability to expose atrocities committed by the world’s last remaining superpower.

Patrick Cockburn: Rejection of Assange extradition is a victory for freedom of the press – but the media silence is worrying

“Judge Vanessa Baraitser gave as the reason for her decision Assange’s mental health and possible suicide risk, not freedom of expression or evidence of a politically inspired persecution by the Trump administration. If the judge is correct, this must be one of the very few non-political actions of the Trump era in the US.” (…) “Yet much of the media remained silent or made nit-picking attacks on Assange’s personality, despite the seriousness of the case. The failure of the attempt to extradite Assange – if confirmed on appeal – gets them off the hook and they will no longer have to take a stand. This is one of the most worrying aspect of the case – the willingness of the media to stand to one side during one of the greatest attacks on press freedom in modern history.”