The judgment of the Supreme Court on the illegality of deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda was given massive publicity in connection with the sacking of Home Secretary Suella Braverman, but in fact it is a decision of much wider significance. It also has great relevance to the coming High Court hearing on Julian Assange, both in terms of the arguments, some of which are common to both cases, and the stance of the judges, some of whom are also common to both cases. Let me start with the point on which the Supreme Court decision turned – whether or not the court should independently determine whether Rwanda is a safe country, or whether the Home Secretary is entitled to make that decision without the possibility of judicial interference, provided correct procedures are followed.
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.
Julian Assange may be extradited to the United States as soon as this month. His last avenues to appeal the United Kingdom's extradition order are being exhausted. Clearing the FOG speaks with Kevin Gosztola, an investigative journalist and author of "Guilty of Journalism: The political case against Julian Assange," about why the power structure is targeting Julian Assange, the charges against him and how his trial in the United States will be constrained to prevent him from defending himself. Gosztola also discusses the bigger picture of the impacts of Assange's case, especially how it will embolden more attacks on journalists who expose wrongdoing.
We must defend the right to offend. The most important aspect of the right to offend is the one that confronts those in power with the truths that they most eagerly wish to conceal. Without this right, the powerful become untouchable. My husband, Julian Assange, pictured below right, has been imprisoned in HMP Belmarsh in Thamesmead since 2019 because, as the publisher of WikiLeaks, he exposed the abuses of the war on terror which the United States wanted to remain concealed. The US has brought charges against Julian that carry 175 years in prison. As Home Secretary, Priti Patel failed to block Julian’s extradition.
As Julian Assange’s options to appeal the decision to extradite him to the United States are being exhausted, he could be extradited as early as the beginning of October. We must be prepared to support him and fight for his release in the United States. It is time to start planning in your organization or community for emergency actions as soon as we become aware that he is being extradited (if there is a warning) or as soon as he is on his way (if it happens without warning). If there is a warning, all focus will be on the British Embassy to protest their extradition. You can join the rally in Washington DC or hold an action locally in a highly visible place.
Six members of the Australian parliament landed in Washington D.C. on Tuesday armed with a bi-partisan agenda and the backing of an entire nation as they try to convince Congressmen and State and Justice Department officials that the American pursuit of Australian publisher Julian Assange is wrong and must be stopped. The cross-party delegation is spending two days in the U.S. capital arguing Assange’s case ahead of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s state visit to the White House at the end of October, where it is expected that Assange will be brought up (as well as Australia being used to test U.S. hypersonic missiles).
More than 60 Australian politicians have called on the United States government to drop the prosecution of Julian Assange, warning of “a sharp and sustained outcry in Australia” if the WikiLeaks founder is extradited. The letter comes ahead of announcements that a contingent of parliamentarians are coming to Washington D.C. this week in hopes of securing Assange’s freedom. In the letter, the 63 MPs and senators said they were “resolutely of the view that the prosecution and incarceration of the Australian citizen Julian Assange must end”. The letter will be taken to Washington D.C. where it will be presented to US Congresspeople and others as part of the cross-party delegation made up of Senators Alex Antic, David Shoebridge and Peter Whish-Wilson, Barnaby Joyce MP, Monique Ryan MP and Tony Zappia MP.
As Julian Assange continues to fight extradition to the United States to face prosecution under the Espionage Act, a growing chorus of voices is rising to demand an end to his persecution. Hounded by US law enforcement and its allies for more than a decade, Assange has been stripped of all personal and civil liberties for the crime of exposing the extent of US atrocities during the War on Terror. In the intervening years, it’s become nakedly apparent that the intent of the US government is not only to silence Assange in particular, but to send a message to whistleblowers and journalists everywhere on the consequences of speaking truth to power.
Prison is always a political tool, and in the case of whistleblowers like Julian Assange, the use of incarceration to suppress, discourage, and silence dissent is self-evident. Since being imprisoned, Assange has married and even started a family—but has been kept apart from his wife and children. In the second part of a two-part conversation, Stella Assange and Chris Hedges discuss the conditions of Julian’s incarceration, and how it offers a glimpse into the overall brutality of the prison system.
More than 60 Australian federal politicians have explicitly called on the US to drop the prosecution of Julian Assange, warning of “a sharp and sustained outcry in Australia” if the WikiLeaks founder is extradited. With a small cross-party delegation due to fly to Washington next week, the Guardian can reveal the lobbying trip has won the open support of 63 members of Australia’s House of Representatives and Senate. In a letter, the 63 MPs and senators said they stood in support of the trip to the US and were “resolutely of the view that the prosecution and incarceration of the Australian citizen Julian Assange must end”.
Craig Murray, a former British ambassador and close associate of imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, said he was prevented by a U.S. marshal from entering the courthouse in Alexandria, VA where Assange would be put on trial if he loses his extradition case in Britain. In Washington on a U.S. tour, Murray told a gathering on Wednesday that with some time to kill he decided earlier that day to visit the federal courthouse in Alexandria “just to see what that was like.” “So I found the federal court and I went to enter, as any member of the public is entitled to do,” Murray said, according to a video recording of his remarks.
Australia has too often behaved as a doormat to the United States, to the point where Australia is threatening its own security by going along with an aggressive U.S. policy towards China, which poses no threat to Australia. But this time, Blinken got an earful. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese reiterated that he wanted the Assange case to be dropped. Certain members of Parliament brusquely gave it back to Blinken. Assange was “not the villain … and if the US wasn’t obsessed with revenge it would drop the extradition charge as soon as possible,” Independent MP Andrew Wilkie told The Guardian‘s Australian edition. “Antony Blinken’s allegation that Julian Assange risked very serious harm to US national security is patent nonsense,” said Wilkie said.
Recently (29 July 2023), US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, on a visit to Australia, rejected the call by his Australian counterpart to put an end to the U.S.’s judicial persecution of Julian Assange. Blinken justified his refusal by saying that Assange, with his revelations of US/UK war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, had “risked causing very serious harm to [US] national security.” But notice his choice of words. Blinken did not state that Assange had actually caused harm (as was claimed at the time of the revelations); he is simply alleged to have risked – hypothetically – causing harm, which is a different story.
At every stage of its proceedings against Julian Assange, the US Imperium has shown little by way of tempering its vengeful impulses. The WikiLeaks publisher, in uncovering the sordid, operational details of a global military power, would always have to pay. Given the 18 charges he faces, 17 fashioned from that most repressive of instruments, the US Espionage Act of 1917, any sentence is bound to be hefty. Were he to be extradited from the United Kingdom to the US, Assange will disappear into a carceral, life-ending dystopia. In this saga of relentless mugging and persecution, the country that has featured regularly in commentary, yet done the least, is Australia. Assange may well be an Australian national, but this has generally counted for naught.
Randy Credico attempted a civil disobedience rally/blockade Wednesday of the Department of Justice in Washington DC along along with Kathy Boylan of Dorothy Day Catholic Worker demanding a meeting to request the release of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Kathy Boylan, protesting in front of the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building in DC, was wearing a Kennedy 2024 shirt. She tells News2Share that "when he is elected, Robert Kennedy Jr has promised to free Julian Assange, truth-tellers, and whistleblowers." Ultimately, Credico allowed people past his blockade, and police didn't arrest him, instead waiting it out.