Thousands of supporters of Julian Assange descended upon London’s Palace of Westminster to form a human chain around the Houses of Parliament in support of the embattled WikiLeaks publisher on Saturday. Meanwhile, the London action was backed up by rallies in Melbourne, Australia, Washington D.C., San Francisco and other locales. In the British capital, men and women from a myriad of backgrounds attended the demonstration from across the U..K, and beyond, including from France, Germany and the United States. It was the first known human chain to surround the Houses of Parliament. Stella Assange, wife of the imprisoned publisher, said around 5,000 people showed up to form the chain despite a nation-wide strike announced by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transportation Workers (RMT). Other estimates put the crowd as high as 7,000.
On Saturday, October 8, thousands of people in the UK gathered for a massive act of solidarity with political prisoner and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Protestors formed a human chain around the Parliament in London to demand that the government cancel Assange’s looming extradition to the US, and for him to finally be freed. Stella Morris, Assange’s partner, told The Independent that the action had been organized because Parliament was the “seat of democracy” and that Assange represented “democracy at its strongest— government accountability and democratic movement…It is to remind people that this is a political case, and his imprisonment is politically motivated.” Morris added that it had been “energizing” for Assange to know that he had support.
Thousands have marched through Melbourne's city centre calling for the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The 51-year-old Australian has been in London's Belmarsh prison since he was removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in 2019. Melbourne protesters marched through the city streets and formed a human chain across a Southbank bridge on Saturday morning as they called on the Australian government to intervene. "There's an expectation in the electorate that the prime minister and this government is going to get Julian out of jail," Mr Assange's brother Gabriel Shipton told AAP. "The prime minister's statements before the election - enough is enough, he doesn't see what purpose is served by Julian being kept in prison - those were seen as a commitment.
Imprisoned journalist Julian Assange is currently appealing the UK government’s decision to extradite him to the US to stand trial for his reporting. So, to ensure that the pressure is kept up on politicians and lawmakers to stop his removal, a campaign group is going surround the UK parliament with a human chain. Prominent supporters of DEA include groups like Amnesty and Reporters Without Borders; individuals and academics including Noam Chomsky, Edward Snowden and Oliver Stone, and politicians like US senator Bernie Sanders, UK MP Jeremy Corbyn and potential Brazilian president Lula da Silva. Rapper, academic and activist Lowkey tweeted that he would be at 8 October’s demo.
The principal perpetrator, in what AP News called “one of the most extensive bribery scandals in US military history,” popped up in Venezuela of all places. Leonard Glenn Francis bilked the US Navy out of at least $35 million. The culprit goes by the moniker “Fat Leonard.” He tips the scales at 350 pounds, according to the US Marshals wanted poster. ABC News reports that Navy commanders “passed him classified information and steered their ships, mostly from the Navy’s 7th Fleet to ports he controlled” in exchange for “Kobe beef, expensive cigars, concert tickets and wild sex parties at luxury hotels.” Francis is credited with commanding a mercenary army: “He became part of the Navy, even using his own warship, the Braveheart, to join classified missions against Al Qaeda. He enjoyed diplomatic cover.”
On October 8, people around the world will take action to demand that Julian Assange be freed. Tens of thousands of people have registered to surround the British Parliament on that day. In the United States, people will demonstrate at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. Clearing the FOG speaks with Randy Credico, a political satirist, host of Live on the Fly: Assange Countdown to Freedom, and an organizer on behalf of Julian Assange. Credico describes his meetings with Assange while he was in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, provides an update on Assange's legal case and discusses his work to raise awareness about the importance of defending Assange, including his current billboard campaign.
The long campaign against Julian and WikiLeaks is a window into the collapse of the rule of law, and the rise of what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls a system of inverted totalitarianism—where the outward symbols of capitalist democracy remain, but the system itself is captured by corporate interests. Assange has spent over a decade fighting imprisonment, extradition, and CIA espionage. On Oct. 8, Chris Hedges and others will gather in Washington, DC, to demand Assange’s release at the same time that protestors surround the British Parliament. For this special episode of The Chris Hedges Report, John Shipton, Assange’s father, shares updates on the international campaign to free his son.
Calls of ‘Truth not War’ can be heard around the globe this week as supporters of the world’s most famous political prisoner, Australian journalist Julian Assange, rally for his immediate release by the 21st anniversary of the United Nations International Day of Peace (21 Sept 2022). Julian’s growing army of millions of supporters – from ordinary people to governments, politicians, professional and non-government organisations, charities, activists, lawyers, journalists, authors, academics, doctors, artists, unions and grass-roots community groups – are all calling on the USA and UK Governments to stop the US extradition and drop the charges against the award-winning Australian journalist and WikiLeaks founder. On 5 April 2010, WikiLeaks published ‘Collateral Murder’, a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen civilians in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff.
Today, 26 August 2022, Julian Assange is filing his Perfected Grounds of Appeal before the High Court of Justice Administrative Court. The Respondents are the Government of the United States and the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Priti Patel. The Perfected Grounds of Appeal contain the arguments on which Julian Assange intends to challenge District Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s decision of 4 January 2021, and introduces significant new evidence that has developed since that ruling. The Perfected Grounds of Appeal concerning the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) include arguments that Home Secretary Priti Patel erred in her decision to approve the extradition order on grounds of specialty and because the request itself violates Article 4 of the US-UK Extradition Treaty.
The difficulty for the Australian Labor government in deciding how to respond to the Julian Assange case is that once a prosecution is characterised as a political prosecution then, by its nature, there can be no expectation of due process. The U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty forbids extradition in the case of “political offences.” Former Australian High Commissioner to the U.K. George Brandis — who was commissioner for almost the entirety of Assange’s Belmarsh imprisonment since 2019 — doesn’t agree that Assange is a political prisoner. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and its new Minister Penny Wong have consistently stated a view that the case is not political but purely a legal matter:
Last month, British Home Secretary Priti Patel approved Assange’s extradition to the US, where he faces 175 years imprisonment under the Espionage Act for publishing true information exposing American war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Pilger explains, Patel’s order will be the subject of a further appeal, but the British judiciary that will adjudicate has facilitated Assange’s persecution every step of the way. This underscores the urgency of a political fight to free Assange, based on the powerful struggles of the working class that are emerging all around the world. Pilger began his media career in the late 1950s. His first documentary, The Quiet Mutiny, exposed aspects of the US war in Vietnam in 1970. Since then, Pilger has produced more than 50 documentaries, many of them feature-length and centering on revealing the crimes of the major imperialist powers.
London, U.K. - Following a June 17 decision from British Secretary of State Priti Patel approving the order to extradite Julian Assange to the United States, lawyers for the imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher have since submitted filings indicating they intend to fight the decision on 16 legal grounds. As first revealed by The Wall Street Journal, lawyers for Assange submitted two separate appeal applications: one against Patel’s decision, the second against a January 2021 ruling from the lower courts that originally barred the extradition on mental health considerations, but agreed with prosecutors on behalf of the U.S. on every other point of law. Following that ruling, the U.S. sent a series of diplomatic assurances in which they said Assange would not be held in the restrictive conditions that were found to cause an intolerable risk of suicide if he were to be extradited and successfully argued these assurances were sufficient to overturn the decision at the British High Court.
The Wikileaks founder met the deadline set to appeal the decision issued by the British Home Secretary, Priti Patel. Assange met the deadline to appeal the decision issued by the Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel, while. At the same time, the court in London communicated that it had formally received the notification of the accused. Assange's wife, Stella Assange, referred to the dire consequences of the case for journalism and human rights in general. "We will fight until justice is done," she said. The Australian journalist has been detained in Belmarsh high-security prison since April 2019, where he awaits the outcome of the legal process.
As reported by The Canary, on 17 June, home secretary Priti Patel gave her approval to a court ruling to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the US. He will face 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act and one of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Assange’s lawyers are planning to appeal Patel’s approval of extradition and cross-appeal on other grounds – including a breach of client-lawyer confidentiality. But the High Court will have to approve those appeal requests. A judicial review of Patel’s decision is also possible. In addition, Assange may appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). However, proposed UK legislation could make such an appeal problematic – and not just for Assange.
Two years ago, at my local Australian Labor Party branch, I moved a motion urging the ALP to support dropping extradition proceedings against Julian Assange. Maroubra ALP is not inner city. It might be regarded as a bastion of the right. The motion was carried, near unanimously. After the debate, one member came up and said: “I think Assange is probably a narcissistic bastard but he’s ours.” That is, he’s an Australian. It was the Trump administration — probably at the insistence of then-C.I.A. chief Mike Pompeo — that pursued Assange’s extradition. The Morrison government declined even the faintest whinny of protest. It was as if we were not a sovereign government but some category of U.S. territory like Puerto Rico and an Australian passport holder didn’t rate protection from the vengeful anger of one corner of the American security apparatus.