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.
On this week’s edition of The Watchdog podcast, Lowkey explores the growing movement to free Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and is joined by his father John Shipton, to do so. Imprisoned in Belmarsh high security prison in London since 2019, and before that confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy, Assange has spent a decade locked up. If extradited to the United States, he faces up to 175 years in prison. Yet there are signs that his future might be brighter than his past. The global movement to free him, Shipton explains, is growing. In Australia, dozens of members of parliament have come together to lobby for Assange’s release. In the United Kingdom, 23 MPs from across the political spectrum have done the same.
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.
On May 3 World Freedom Day ten international human rights and press freedom organizations (including the Committee to Protect Journalists and PEN America) expressed serious concern at the increasing assaults on journalists and media freedom in recent times. They called upon the Indian authorities to stop targeting journalists and critics, and more particularly to desist from prosecuting them under sedition and/or counterterrorism laws. This was just one among several several statements to emerge from international media and rights organizations to express concern regarding the fast deteriorating press freedom situation in India.
The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) has demanded the release of both Mohammed Zubair and Teesta Setalvad, a prominent journalist as well as human rights activist, who too was arrested very recently. This statement has noted the contradiction, observed also by other media organizations, between such arrests and the statements endorsed internationally by the Government of India regarding freedom of media and civil society organizations. In fact very recently at the G7 summit and meeting of several countries in Germany the Indian government committed itself to the 2022 Resilient Democracies Statement which involves a pledge to guard the freedom, independence and diversity of civil society actors and protect the freedom of expression online and offline.
The world woke this morning to the news that yet another Palestinian journalist had been killed by Israeli gunfire. Veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed while covering Israel's assault on the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Abu Akleh was shot in the head; she was taken to hospital where she was declared dead. "The bullet was aimed at a place that could not be covered by either a helmet or her 'PRESS' vest," explained Waleed Al Omari, Al Jazeera's bureau chief in Ramallah. "It seems to me that she was shot by a sniper who wanted to end her life deliberately." A colleague of Abu Akleh, producer Ali Al-Samudi, was shot in the back at the same time. He was reported to be in a stable condition.
"As a cross-party group of parliamentarians of the German Bundestag, we have the honor to reach out to you, and to ask for your attention in a case that is currently of great concern to us, knowing that we share a mutual concern for the protection as well as the implementation of internationally recognized human rights. We have closely followed the fate of Julian Assange in the past; however, the current developments in his case arouse our concern all the more."
The third anniversary of the arrest and incarceration of Julian Assange at a maximum-security prison has sparked protests in London and the United States. Tomorrow marks three years since the Wikileaks founder was forcibly dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy, where he had sought asylum over the previous seven years. Vigils were due to be held yesterday at the embassy, Westminster magistrates’ court and Belmarsh prison, where he has been held for the past three years. Mr Assange’s family, friends and supporters are calling for his release and the US to drop its extradition case against him. Protests are also planned today in Washington DC outside the British embassy and the Department of Justice offices.
In the early morning of March 19, 2022, agents from the federal Security Service of Ukraine, the SBU, showed up at the apartment of Yuri Tkachev, editor-in-chief of the online publication Timer, based in the southern Black Sea port of Odessa. What happened next was reported on Timer’s website (1), quoting journalist and human rights activist Oksana Chelysheva (2), who said she had spoken with Tkachev’s wife: “According to [Oksana], when Yuri opened the door of the apartment, he did not show any resistance. Despite this, the SBU dragged him to the site, laying him face down. They also asked Oksana to leave the apartment. No violence was used against her. “Oksana claims that through the open front door she saw how one of the SBU officers entered the bathroom and stayed there for several minutes. … After this man left the bathroom, the SBU took Yury [sic] and Oksana back to the apartment, where the search began.”
Washington, DC - Led by the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), more than 26 antiwar groups and 2,500 individual peace and justice advocates have cosponsored a statement calling for the immediate release of publisher Julian Assange and commending him for his contributions toward global peace. Assange is currently fighting extradition to the United States after the Trump administration indicted him on unprecedented Espionage Act charges. His indictment marked the first time in U.S. history that a journalist has been charged for publishing truthful information. Since being removed from Ecuador's London embassy after a new Ecuadorian administration bowed to U.S. pressure to withdraw his asylum, Assange has been held for more than 1,000 days in Belmarsh Prison while his extradition case is being heard through UK courts.
Earlier this year, reports surfaced detailing alleged plots in 2017 to either kidnap or assassinate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, when he was five years into his political asylum inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. At the time, Assange’s team hoped the revelation would helped their push to not have the publisher extradited to the US. Stella Moris, the fiancee of Julian Assange, accused the UK on Sunday of playing the “executioner” in a US “plot” to kill the WikiLeaks publisher. In a Statement to the Daily Mail Online, Moris stressed to the outlet that Assange’s “incarceration is having a catastrophic effect on his health”. “The US government plotted to kill him and have found a way to do so - get the UK state to play the role of executioner,” she said, adding that “this is a slow-motion Khashoggi playing out in the heart of London”.
Craig Murray was released from Saughton Prison on Tuesday. This is what he was imprisoned for: Craig Murray, an ex-British ambassador and blogger, has been sentenced to eight months in prison after being found guilty in March of contempt of court during the 2020 trial of former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond. He was given three weeks to turn himself into police, pending his appeal. Judge Lady Dorrian issued the sentence, she said, despite Murray’s health issues. Murray faced up to two years in prison and unlimited fines. Murray must surrender his passport making it impossible to travel to Spain on May 20 to testify in the case of UC Global spying on WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in the Ecuador embassy in London.
For the past two days, Chris Hedges has been watching the extradition hearing for Julian Assange via video link from London. The United States is appealing a lower court ruling that denied the US' request to extradite Assange not, unfortunately, because in the eyes of the court he is innocent of a crime, but because, as Judge Vanessa Baraitser in January concluded, Assange's precarious psychological state would deteriorate given the “harsh conditions” of the inhumane US prison system, “causing him to commit suicide.” The United States has charged Assange with 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count of trying to hack into a government computer, charges that could see him imprisoned for 175 years.
The United States vowed that only a “moderately depressed” Julian Assange would serve time in a humane U.S. prison if he is extradited, while lawyers for Assange told the High Court that the Central Intelligence Agency plotted to assassinate him, as a two-day U.S. appeal hearing came to a close on Thursday in London. The U.S. is seeking to overturn a lower court decision in January not to extradite the imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher on the grounds that he is at high risk of suicide if he faced time isolated in a harsh American prison. A prosecutor for the U.S. set out over the course of the hearing to convince the two High Court justices to reject that ruling, arguing that Assange is not seriously ill and would not be placed in solitary confinement should he be sent to the U.S.