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.
Developed in partnership with the French advertising agency BETC, RSF’s new communications campaign features a depiction of Assange with his facial features made up of the logos of dozens of media organisations from around the world. These media are among those that initially ran stories based on the leaked classified documents published by WikiLeaks in 2010. The campaign tagline “Collateral Damage” refers to the danger that the US government’s prosecution of Assange poses to media around the world, as well as the public’s right to information. It is also a reminder of the “Collateral Murder” video that was among the leaked materials published by WikiLeaks in 2010,
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.
The US government has hounded Julian Assange since WikiLeaks first revealed the extent of US war crimes in 2010. In the process of persecuting Assange, the federal government has used every tool at its disposal and even pushed beyond the boundaries that supposedly restrict state power in defense of civil liberties. One of the most insidious tactics is the use of the Espionage Act, which had not been used for against whistleblowers and journalists for almost a century before Assange’s case. In the first part of a two-part conversation, lawyer and human rights defender Stella Assange, spouse of Julian Assange, joins Chris Hedges for a look at the vast and vicious campaign by the US to silence Julian Assange, and what it all portends for our democracy.
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.
Environmentalists throughout the world owe an enormous debt of gratitude to political prisoner Julian Assange, the founder and publisher of Wikileaks — and most of them don’t know it. It wasn’t only secret recordings pertaining to war and crimes-against-humanity that Wikileaks published, based on the heroic work of Chelsea Manning who downloaded thousands of secret US military files. A slew of cables Assange published revealed massive U.S. government attempts on behalf of Monsanto to coerce governments to allow foreign corporate land ownership, and with it genetically engineered agriculture throughout the world
Let us cast our minds back just briefly to the very fine afternoon of July 22, 2016. It was an especially bright Friday, as you may recall, because WikiLeaks released a lot of Democratic Party emails that day, so shining a light worthy of a night game at Yankee Stadium on the party’s corrupt machinations to destroy Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid in the service of the first Goldwater Democrat, the ever-endearing Hillary Clinton. Pause a moment to summon the time. Now recall the following Sunday, July 24, when Robbie Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, appeared back-to-back on the Sunday morning news programs to proclaim that never-named “experts” had never-shown “evidence” that it was the Rrrrrrussians who pilfered the mail and gave it to Julian Assange’s operation.
It was impossible to imagine four years ago when WikiLeaks Editor Julian Assange was hauled out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London and thrown in Belmarsh Prison that corporate media, which had smeared Assange, could stoop to new lows of government servitude. But it has now happened with the arrest of Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman, for allegedly leaking top secret government documents. The leaks exposed a number of significant lies told by both the U.S. government and corporate media about the ongoing war in Ukraine. Among many items of interest, the documents revealed that U.S. Special Forces as well as NATO forces are on the ground in Ukraine; that Ukraine is significantly unprepared for its planned spring offensive; as well as evidence of U.S. spying on its allies and António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations.
The warden of Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh blocked representatives with the press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) from visiting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, despite previously reviewing RSF’s request and agreeing to grant access. Rebecca Vincent, the director of operations and campaigns for RSF, declared, “We followed all rules this morning. We were there very early with all required documentation. Without even checking our documentation, we were told that we would not be allowed in.” “The first official that we spoke to said that they had received ‘intelligence’ that we were journalists, and therefore we would not be allowed to visit,” Vincent added.
As the pressure mounts on the Australian government to intervene with the U.S. government, the Assange Belmarsh Tribunal in Sydney on Saturday heard some of Australia’s most prominent politicians, lawyers, journalists and whistleblowers testify in defense of imprisoned publisher Julian Assange. Guests include former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr; Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson; former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis; Assange’s wife Stella Assange; C.I.A. whistleblower John Kiriakou; whistleblower David McBride, as well as journalist Kerry O’Brien, lawyer Bernard Collaery, Kylie Moore-Gilbert, an Australian freed from Iranian captivity by the Australian government; Karen Percy, director of the Australian journalists’ union MEAA and more.
This April will mark four years since Julian Assange was forcefully removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had been granted asylum, and jailed in Belmarsh Prison. Assange, whose health is declining, is being persecuted for being a publisher who made leaked material available to the public through Wikileaks. The materials, which exposed war crimes and corruption, were reported on by major media outlets around the world. The Biden administration could free Assange immediately by dropping the charges made by the Trump administration. Clearing the FOG speaks with Gabriel Shipton, Assange's brother, who is starting a US tour with his father, John Shipton, at the end of the month to show his documentary, Ithaka, and call on President Biden to act. The film provides an intimate view of Assange's family's fight to free him.
Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have carried out the most important investigative journalism of our generation, revealing to the public the inner workings of power through the release of luminous documents. No other news organization has come close. This information has exposed the crimes, lies, and fraud of the powerful, sparking the judicial lynching of Assange who awaits extradition to the US in a high security prison in London. It allowed people across the globe to understand what their governments are doing behind their backs. In this show, we will speak with the Italian investigative journalist, Stefania Maurizi, author of Secret Power: WikiLeaks and Its Enemies, about some of the most important information provided to the public by WikiLeaks. These include the US War logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, a cash of 250,000 diplomatic cables and 800 Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment briefs, along with the 2007 collateral murder video in which US helicopter pilots banter as they gunned down civilians, including children and two Reuters journalists in a Baghdad street.
The film Ithaka, the title taken from a poem by C.P Cavafy, chronicles the slow-motion torture and execution of the Australian journalist Julian Assange, currently awaiting extradition to the United States in a high security prison in London. It charts his journey from publisher of the most important revelations of our generation of fraud, war crimes, lies and corruption by the powerful to his refuge for seven years in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London from 2012 to 2019, his seizure and arrest by British police, who enter the embassy to detain him, and harsh imprisonment in Belmarsh prison where he currently fights a U.S. extradition request. It unflinchingly portrays the terrible emotional cost to him and his family, including his father John, his wife Stella, and their two young children.