Hundreds Take Part In ‘Don’t Extradite Assange’ Rally In London

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Above Photo: Protesters demand Assange’s release at a rally in London, on November 5. (Photo: Getty Images)

The rally featured several celebrities and progressive activists advocating for Assange’s release, along with his father John Shipton, who also addressed the crowds

Hundreds attended a rally in London on November 5 to protest US attempts to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The ‘Don’t Extradite Assange’ rally was held outside the UK Home Office in London and was addressed by Assange’s father John Shipton, who has been campaigning for his release in Australia and the UK. Many of the protesters wore masks with Assange’s face.

The rally attracted widespread attention after British rapper and musician Mathangi Arulpragasam, more popularly known as M.I.A., confirmed that she would be performing in support of Assange. M.I.A was joined by another rapper, Kareem Dennis, known as Lowkey, who performed a piece in tribute to Assange.

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood was also among the speakers demanding his release and donned an Assange mask as well. Other speakers included John Rees from Stop the War Coalition and Srećko Horvat, Croatian philosopher and co-founder of DiEM25, who had also paid Assange a visit earlier in the day at Belmarsh prison where he is currently being held.

Assage has been languishing in the high-security prison for several months now, after he was sentenced to 50 weeks by a local British court for violating his bail conditions. He has been put in solitary confinement by the prison authorities. In a detailed account of the trial, former British diplomat Craig Murray said it was akin to a show trial, and that the prosecution and the court were engaging in “case management,” only to arrive at a time-table for his extradition.

According to various reports, Assange’s health has deteriorated rapidly in jail and he has lost nearly 15 kg. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, and Murray have pointed out that Assange is even displaying signs of being tortured. Assange’s deteriorating health was visible to all when he appeared for his extradition hearing on October 21, at the Westminster Magistrates Court.

The trailblazing publisher is currently facing an extradition request by US federal prosecutors who want him to stand trial in the US on espionage charges that could carry a total of 175 years of imprisonment. Meanwhile, several activists and celebrities have called for the immediate release of Assange over concerns for his health.

In Australia, similar concerns regarding Assange’s health and the nature of the looming US prosecution have led to a call for his return by leaders across the political spectrum. Many in Australia have stated that the extradition will be an infringement on the political sovereignty of Australia, especially since the charges against him are political in nature.

Assange’s father John Shipton was the first to speak at the rally in London. He thanked those assembled on behalf of Assange and pointed out that the many movements, along with parliamentarians from across the world, had come forward in support of his son. He ended his address on a hopeful note, telling the crowd that “not only can we win, but let me tell you we are winning.”

Vivienne Westwood cited Murray’s report on Assange’s trial to point out that “the guilty verdict is already decided.” Westwood echoed the concerns about his health, saying that “Julian Assange will die unless we set him free.” The protesters at the rally chanted slogans calling for his release and also demanded that the judge presiding over his case be replaced, as she has been accused by many for acting in a prejudicial manner.

Srećko Horvat also addressed the crowd, opening with the details of his meeting with Assange. He passed on a message from Belmarsh to the protesters, telling them that, “this is not about me, this is about you.” Horvat reiterated Assange’s message that, “it is about freedom of the press, freedom of speech, it is about human rights. It is about democracy.”

“No one has fought for us the way he has,” M.I.A, who was the last to speak, told the crowd, emphasizing that she too has been a victim of slander. She added that, “just because he isn’t part of corporate news, that makes billions of dollars handing out fake news, he shouldn’t be the one that pays the price.”

  • Assange is being held for skipping bail in relation to something that clearly didn’t happen – And unrelated to that – He might still end up being extradited to the US on trumped up spying charges which is another thing that clearly didn’t happen since the download speed of the material proved otherwise – Another thing is Manning has always maintained that she had already downloaded the material before contacting Wikileaks – Based on that alone the spy charge goes out the window -however- we already know how grossly unfair the US justice system is – So I have no faith in a courtcase which is more than likely to be held behind closed doors, such as a military tribunal with no members of the press.

    More about that extradition treaty from a recent podcast where John Pilger is talking about Julian Assange extradition court case.

    ….The most important case – A publisher and a journalist – is brought to a court – he is convicted of nothing – charged in this country [The UK] with nothing – He is – The charges against him are not only concocted but as his QC pointed out [yesterday] The treaty… The extradition treaty between Britain and the United States has a, specific – section in it – that says -A person cannot be extradited if the offences are said to be political – 16 of 17 of these charges of these charges against Assange in the United States are unlawful they are political, that’s not an opinion, that’s not a piece of agitprop, they are under law.. political – they’re based on a 1917 law called the espionage act which was used to chase down conscientious objectors….

    Manning has always maintained that she acted alone and without anyone’s help and would rather starve in prison then commit perjury.

    The Democratic party leak was done by an insider – The download speed has already proven that it could have been done by someone with physical access to the drive.

    …..the most fundamental evidence that the events of summer 2016 constituted a leak, not a hack, was the transfer rate—the speed at which data was copied. The speed proven then was an average of 22.7 megabytes per second. That speed matches what is standard when someone with physical access uses an external storage device to copy data from a computer or server and is much faster than a remote hack.

    [From – Consortium – Too Big to Fail’: Russia-gate One Year After VIPS Showed a Leak, Not a Hack]

    If Wikileaks is being prosecuted for publishing, why not the NYT or the Guardian? – In the end the war crimes that Wikileaks has revealed show that no one has been charged with warcrimes it’s the other way round those that dare expose warcrimes end up on having their lives ruined.

    Wikileaks have revealed to the world that we’re being lied to on an ongoing basis – we’re needlessly sending people to war because first of all 9-11 turned out to be a false flag event to wage war against Iraq which had nothing to do with 9-11 [but was very good for Israel] and it was also very good for Cheney who had already carved up Iraq’s oil fields back in 1997 and you might be surprised to learn how many western companies are on that list.

    Since the Wikileaks revelations we have been able to reason that our political representatives knowingly lie to us while the financial elite reap the benefits from increased spending on defense plus the insecurity industry – Sucking the oil out of Iraq – Rare earth minerals and increased opium production from Afghanistan – Oil gold and silver from Libya, Oil and antiquities from Syria and don’t you dare criticize the government or they’ll throw you in jail. Don’t you dare protest for that too could end up with a jail sentence and have both your legs broken by police charging the crowd on horseback as was the case in Melbourne recently – Don’t you dare produce satirical video’s about government coz that too could end with a custodial.

    Assange must be freed, not only for his sake but because we’re all Assanges now – If we fail Assange, then we fail ourselves – future generations will forever be living on their knees in miserable servitude to the fascist bastards that have taken over our supposedly once democratic institutions.