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Australia

Biden Is ‘Considering’ Dropping Assange Case

President Joe Biden said Wednesday his administration is “considering” Australia’s request that the case against Julian Assange be dropped. Biden’s remark came in response to a reporter’s question at the White House on Wednesday. The news came in a tweet from  Kellie Meyer, a reporter for News Nation, who quoted a White House pool report from the Japanese prime minister’s visit. The exchange between the reporter and Biden was captured on video.

Nabbed Stopping Military Shipment To Israel

Paul Keating, branch secretary of the Australian Maritime Union (AMU) spoke for fellow members in solidarity with the Palestinian community and faced off with police, when he and several hundred protestors blockaded Sydney’s Port Botany on Sunday to protest Australia’s export of military aid to Israel. The protestors’ target is ZIM Shipping, a well known Israeli company that trade unionist Ian Rintoul says supports and is connected with Israel. “It offered its services to the Israeli state for the conduct of the genocide,” he told Consortium News.

First Western Leader Referred To ICC As ‘Accessory To Genocide In Gaza’

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is one of several Western leaders who have provided political and material support of the Israeli government and military over the past five months as their bombardment of Gaza has killed more than 30,000 people, but on Monday he became the first to be referred to the International Criminal Court for being an "accessory to genocide." More than 100 lawyers supported the referral under Article 15 of the Rome Statute, arguing that Albanese, a member of the Labor Party, as well as members of his Cabinet and of Parliament, have provided Israel with "rhetorical support in their public statements, their press conferences, their speeches" as well as material assistance, as attorney Sheryn Omeri told ABC's "News Breakfast."

Canada, Australia, New Zealand Urge Israel Against ‘Catastrophic’ Assault

Canada, Australia, and New Zealand issued a joint statement on 15 February expressing serious concern over Israel’s planned assault on Gaza’s southern city of Rafah. "We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah. A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic," the joint statement read. “We urge the Israeli government not to go down this path. There is simply nowhere else for civilians to go,” it added. The statement comes one day after Germany and France showed their concern over the planned attack. “One point three million people are waiting there in a very small space. They don’t really have anywhere else to go right now

Australia Approves Motion Urging Britain To Return Julian Assange

Australia's prime minister and federal members of Parliament approved a motion Wednesday to return Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to Australia. MP Andrew Wilkie introduced the motion arguing that Assange should be freed from a British prison where he has spent nearly five years and returned to Australia as Britain's High Court will hear Assange's appeal next week against his extradition to the United States on espionage charges. "It will send a very powerful political signal to the British government and to the U.S. government that the British government should not entertain the idea of Mr. Assange being extradited to the U.S.," Wilkie said Wednesday in parliament, noting Assange faces up to 175 years in prison if convicted on the U.S. charges.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Says Probe Underway Into Israeli War Crimes

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, on 12 February warned Israeli officials about the consequences of launching a ground invasion of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip and revealed his office launched an investigation into possible war crimes committed by Tel Aviv. “I am deeply concerned by the reported bombardment and potential ground incursion by Israeli forces in Rafah. My office has an ongoing and active investigation into the situation in the State of Palestine. This is being taken forward as a matter of the utmost urgency, with a view to bringing to justice those responsible for Rome Statute crimes,” Khan said via social media.

Climate Activists Are Learning How To Protect Their Protest Rights

In November, a significant event unfolded at the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle, New South Wales when 3,000 people gathered to block coal shipments in and out of the Australian port. When activists remained on the water past the approved 4 p.m. blockade cut-off, 109 people were arrested. Rising Tide spokesperson Alexa Stuart explained the group’s rationale, stating that “If the government will not take action on climate change, the people will use civil disobedience. We wish we did not have to do this, but [Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government] needs to understand we are serious.” Fast forward a mere three months and this mass arrest has been met with substantial judicial restraint.

Community Demands Closure Of Facility Which Helps Arm Israel

Community members demanded the closure of the Heat Treatment Australia weapons manufacturing facility in Campbellfield in Naarm/Melbourne on February 2, for its role in arming Israel. HTA provides crucial heat treatment process for components of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, used by the Israeli Defense Forces in their ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. The defence department states that “HTA is vital to the Australian supply chain for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter”. Renegade Activists, a group putting the spotlight on weapon’s manufacturers in Australia, said: “HTA’s growth has been driven both by the Australian government’s policy of becoming a major international supplier of weapons and its defence purchasing decisions.”

Pro-Palestine Protesters Block Israeli Ship From Port Of Melbourne

Around 4,000 pro-Palestine protesters in Australia's Melbourne rallied on Saturday and Sunday for the 15th week in a row, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and blocking a major freight terminal. The protest came amid an ongoing blockade of an Israeli ship at the city dock. The blockade at the Port of Melbourne has been ongoing for over two days, starting on Friday, and has prevented an Israeli-owned ship from being unloaded. It resulted in four cargo ships being stranded along with 30,000 containers. Mohammed Helmy, one of the protest organisers, told Middle East Eye that the protest and blockade has been effective so far and is intended to pressure the government to take action on the atrocities unfolding in Gaza as a result of Israeli aggression.

Journalists Rebel Over Gaza Coverage In Australia

A rash of Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) staff departures and the suppression of journalists critical of their organisations’ reporting on Gaza has been called a betrayal of the role of journalism in democracy. Former Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) presenter Mary Kostakidis says the state-funded broadcaster and other news groups in Australia have refused to hold power to account by challenging official narratives by Israel and Western states supporting its attack on Gaza since Oct. 7. Instead, the professional integrity of news staff battling to tell the truth is being challenged by their employers.

Parliamentarians Launch Urgent Bid To Spare Assange From US Extradition

Australian politicians across the political divide have launched a last-ditch bid to prevent Julian Assange from being extradited to the United States to face espionage charges as the WikiLeaks founder faces a crucial final legal challenge in Britain next month. The four co-convenors of the cross-party Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group wrote to British Home Secretary James Cleverly arguing for an urgent review of Assange’s case. This was in light of a judgment in the Supreme Court of the UK in November, striking down Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s controversial plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Australian Trade Unionists For Palestine Are Blocking Israeli Ships

Over the past month and a half, with each passing day, more Israeli bombs have fallen on Gaza. More bodies have been blown apart and buried under the rubble. Close to 2 million Palestinians have been displaced from their homes. The world has borne witness to a genocidal military campaign to clear out Gaza once and for all. And every day, every hour, it feels like the chance to stop one of humanity’s most inhumane crimes is slipping through our fingers. And, even with this week’s temporary “humanitarian pause” and exchange of prisoners and hostages, the powers that be have shown no interest whatsoever in listening to the thundering calls for a permanent ceasefire that are coming from governments and mass demonstrations around the world, particularly the Biden administration here in the United States, the increasingly fascistic Netanyahu government in Israel, and the arms manufacturers and war profiteers who are raking in billions from manufacturing mass death.

Australia Too Is Aiding Gaza Massacre

Australian-equipped Israeli Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighters are being used to commit what amounts to war crimes in Gaza by bombing civilians and providing aerial support for a murderous ground invasion. The Lockheed-Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter global supply program is a co-operative partnership, with Australia an enthusiastic member and part of the global supply chain. The Australian government cannot escape the uses to which these aircraft are being put. A week ago came news that Israel is stockpiling spare parts from the global supply chain, that Australia contributes to, for its F-35 ‘Adir’ fighter out of a central distribution hub in Europe.

Newcastle Port Blockade: One Of The Biggest Climate Protests In Australia

It felt more party than protest as hundreds of people paddled into the Port of Newcastle on kayaks, surfboards and pontoons in what organisers hope will be the biggest civil disobedience action in Australia’s history. On shore people stood shoulder to shoulder on Saturday, waving at the protesters, who will occupy the channel for 30 hours to stop coal exports from leaving Newcastle. Some were dancing along to a band and waving Extinction Rebellion flags. Others gave the protest a comical air, such as Helen Child, who dressed up as Clive Palmer with a sign that said “Let Them Eat Coal”. But for all its frivolity, the message the organisers Rising Tide hope to send to the government is serious.

Australians Call To End Persecution Of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

As WikiLeaks founder and Australian citizen Julian Assange has nearly exhausted his appeals to British courts against a US extradition order, Australia has ramped up its advocacy on his behalf. Six Australian MPs held a press conference outside the US Department of Justice on September 20 to urge the Biden administration to halt its pursuit of Assange (Consortium News, 9/20/23). They came representing an impressive national consensus: Almost 80% of Australian citizens, and a cross-party coalition in Australia’s Parliament, support the campaign to free Assange (Sydney Morning Herald, 5/12/23). Opposition leader Peter Dutton joined Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in urging Assange’s release.
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