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Liveblog: Julian Assange in jeopardy

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Julian Assange’s status in the Ecuadorian embassy has been in jeopardy over the past months, particularly since Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno came to power, with Ecuador and the UK believed to be engaged in negotiations to bring his stay to an end. In a recent interview, Moreno said, “Let’s not forget the conditions of his asylum prevent him from speaking about politics or intervening in the politics of other countries. That’s why we cut his communication.”

Isolated without internet access since March, Julian Assange will have been arbitrarily detained by the UK in the Ecuadorian Embassy for six years on 19 June 2018. The UN has condemned his detention; leading intellectuals, academics, and artists around the world have called for an end to his isolation; and the UK refuses to guarantee safety from extradition should he step outside the embassy.

Due to the seriousness of the current situation, Courage will be live blogging daily updates on the situation at the Ecuadorian embassy and support actions planned worldwide. The website Justice4Assange has published a template to encourage NGOs to take a stand for Assange.

20 September 2018

Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson told RT that Ecuador will not kick Julian out of the embassy: “Ecuador has made it clear in the past few months – after this wide-spread speculation that he would be forced to leave – that they will respect the asylum.”

13 September 2018

Vigils continue in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:

9 September 2018

In a response to inquiries from supporters, Amnesty International expressed opposition to any potential extradition for Julian Assange to the United States, arguing that this would put his human rights at serious risk of abuse:

7 September 2018

Australian lawyer Greg Barns, a member of Assange’s legal team and an adviser to WikiLeaks, told iTWire, “if there is not a resolution to his case — in other words, the UK guaranteeing that he will not be extradited to the US — the reality is Julian’s health will deteriorate to the point where his life is in serious danger.”

6 September 2018

Rallies continue outside of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:

Hands Off Assange Rally in San Francisco at the UK Consulate:

5 September 2018

In a US Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Senator Cotton attempts to pressure Twitter and Facebook CEOs into shutting down WikiLeaks’ and Julian Assange’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, after the CEOs said they do not violate their respective terms of service:

 

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg: “It is essential that Julian Assange not be indicted, be convicted, or be extradited to the United States.”

Ellsberg also condemns Australia’s decision to ban Chelsea Manning from entering the country for her planned speaking tour:

 

Free Speech, Parler Sans Peur‘, a new documentary on freedom of expression, featuring Julian Assange, Jude Law, Sarah Harrison, Mick Jagger, Gavin MacFadyen, and many more, is now screening in cities across France.

4 September 2018

Street actions for Julian Assange:

Victoria, BC, Canada:

Outside the Embassy in London:

Outside the Parliament House in Canberra, Australia:

1 September 2018

Analysing a recently published ABC article written by James Gordon Meek and Ali Dukakis, James Cogan writes that the investigation by special counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller into alleged “Russian interference” in the 2016 US presidential election is close to issuing an indictment against WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange.

30 August 2018

Ron Paul’s Liberty Report covers ‘The Torture of Assange: A Blight on the US Justice System’

29 August 2018

ABC News: As his isolation intensifies, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange faces possible threat of eviction, extradition | “US authorities debating charges against Wikileaks’ Assange.”

In a series of interviews with his lawyers, supporters and friends, the people closest to Assange painted a bleak picture of his present and a grim outlook on his future, telling ABC News that he may both long for and dread the day he is forced out of the embassy.

“He’s been effectively in solitary confinement,” said Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson. “Julian has always said he’s very happy to face British justice but not at the expense of having to face American injustice.”

27 August 2018

In an op-ed for CounterPunch, Lawrence Davidson writes about Julian Assange and the fate of journalism.

In an op-ed for RT, former M15 intelligence officer Annie Machon writes about First Amendment rights and the case of Julian Assange.

26 August 2018

Protests and vigils in support of Julian Assange held in 18 cities across the globe.

Los Angeles

New York City

Phoenix

Auckland

Wellington

Adelaide

Melbourne

Canberra

Ljubljana

Rio de Janiero

Toronto

In Kathmandu, Nepalese intellectuals, artists and activists submitted a letter to the British, US and Australian Embassies, for their governments to secure safety, security and freedom of Julian Assange.

25 August 2018

John Pilger talks to RT UK about Assange and why he needs the support of journalists and Democrats:

24 August 2018

Ecuador withdraws from ALBA, the regional alliance created by Hugo Chavez to resist US influence, which backed Ecuador’s 2012 decision to grant Assange asylum.

Activists from the pacifist Catholic Worker movement petition the Pope to intervene & accompany Assange out of the UK to safety during the Pope’s visit, hand delivering the petition.

22 August 2018

Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi stated that she was denied access to documents on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and other Wikileaks personnel (Sarah Harrison, Joseph Farrell and Kristinn Hrafnsson) by London’s Metropolitan Police, UK’s Crown Prosecution Service and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She announced that she has appealed the decision.

18 August 2018

Dave Lindorf, in an op-ed for Eurasia Review, writes about Mainstream Media Hypocrisy in the case of Wikileaks.

16 August 2018

Six years ago today Ecuador formally granted asylum to Wikileaks editor Julian Assange. Activists gather in front of the London Ecuadorian Embassy to demand this protection be held, against extradition, and guarantee his safe passage.

15 August 2018

In an opinion piece for the WSWS, James Cogan explaines how the Mueller investigation is seeking to implicate WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in “Russian interference.”

13 August 2018

Former Consul of Ecuador in London Fidel Narváez, who was tasked with accompanying Assange from the day he first set foot in the embassy, says withdrawing Julian Assange’s asylum would be a clear violition of international law, and discusses the impact of Ecuador’s standing on the issue in an interview with The Prisma.

In an official statement issued by the Ecuadorian Communication Office, the President Lenin Moreno says: “If the British Government guarantees us that Julian Assange won’t be in danger once extradited to another country, then we will ask him to leave our Embassy in London and face justice in England.”

9 August 2018

Live show for Julian from Politics in the Pub in Sydney, Australia. With Christine Assange, Suzie Dawson, Cathy Vogan, Prof. Stuart Rees & Mike Head:

8 August 2018

US Senator Mark Warner, who has previously signed a letter imploring VP Mike Pence to urge Ecuador to revoke Julian Assange’s asylum, has now signed a letter asking Assange to testify in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Letter was delivered via US embassy in London. WikiLeaks’ legal team say they are “considering the offer but the conditions must conform to a high ethical standard.”

7 August 2018

In an interview with Consortium News, John Pilger, a long time supporter of Julian Assange and Courage trustee, talks about Assange’s deteriorating health and the physical dangers he faces during this period of virtual isolation. Pilger also excoriates the western media for their silence and pro-government stand on the marginalizing and potential prosecution of Assange, even after they collaborated with WikiLeaks in major high-profile breaking stories.

6 August 2018

German MPs sign letter supporting Julian Assange’s freedom

Fifteen members of the German Bundestag and the European Parliament have signed a letter (in English and German, below) entitled, ‘Freedom for Julian Assange!’ The MPs call on the governments of England and Ecuador to end Julian’s “de facto imprisonment”:

The risk of extradition to an unpredictable administration in the U.S. is greater than ever. This is all the more serious as the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has condemned the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange was subjected to without British or other governments of EU Member States having drawn any political consequences from it.

Prime Minister Theresa May and President Lenín Moreno, we appeal to you: ensure the release and effective protection of Julian Assange!

The letter was initiated by MP Heike Haensel of the Left Party, a longtime supporter of Assange and Chelsea Manning, and has been subsequently been signed by several more MPs.

English:

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German:

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Solitary confinement

5 August 2018

6500+ have signed petition for Assange

More than 6,500 supporters have signed a petition calling on the UK government to free and protect Julian Assange.

Julian Assange is in great jeopardy and it appears that you may be the only one who can help him. His asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy is threatened and he is living under intolerable conditions. Yet, if he leaves, he is exposed to arrest and imprisonment in the US. Senior US law enforcement officials have stated that they intend to do anything they can do to imprison him in the US. In recent days heavily armored police vehicles have surrounded the Embassy and the media is reporting that his arrest is imminent. You can prevent this and we urge you to free Assange.

Add your name here!

3 August 2018

BBC Newsnight covers Assange’s embassy dilemma

Courage Director Naomi Colvin spoke to Newsnight about the potential for extradition:

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to the BBC as well about Julian’s asylum:

1 August 2018

Assange’s attorney calls on Australia to step in

TeleSUR reports that Julian Burnside, an Australian member of Assange’s legal team, called on his government to intercede in the embassy situation:

The main option for Assange is for the Australian government to step in and help him by doing a diplomatic deal with the British, which should not be difficult to do, which would enable him to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy and travel safely back to Australia.

30 July 2018

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister comments on Assange case

José Valencia Amores, Ecuador’s new Foreign Minister, has issued a statement via Twitter, saying that “it is in the interest of Ecuador and also of Mr. Assange that the asylum be terminated.”

Assange’s days in the Ecuadorian Embassy are numbered says former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa

In an interview for RT’s Spanish service, former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that, sooner or later, the publisher will have to leave the embassy. Correa noted that unless Assange secures safe passage guarantees, he is likely to be prosecuted for espionage and treason “which may carry the death penalty.”

Petition to secure Assange’s freedom submitted to Australian officials

A petition to secure freedom for Julian Assange has been submitted this morning to the Australian Prime Minister and all elected members of government. More than 3,300 have signed as of this writing — add your name here.

Ongoing vigils in front of the Ecudorian Embassy in London

Supporters have been gathering in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for Julian Assange throughout his time there. Catalans in London are organising a solidarity vigil on Tuesday July 31 at 7 pm in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy.

29 July 2018

Moreno on “ideal” solution for Assange

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, who visited Spain and Britain last week, said the “ideal” solution would involve Assange accepting a “penalty” for having breached British bail conditions and then be “extradited to a country where he does not face any danger.”

15 cities join in support of Julian Assange

In the event Julian Assange’s asylum is revoked, emergency rallies will be organized at 6pm the following day and then again the following Sunday. Here is the latest map. Join the emergency protest network here.

A letter to Pope Francis seeking help for Julian Assange

A number of Catholic priests, activists, health workers and clergy have signed a Plea to the Pope, initiated by longtime activist Ciaron O’Reilly of London Catholic Worker, to ensure safe passage for Assange out of England into a place of safety.

27 July 2018

Moreno says he did discuss Assange with UK government

In a press conference in Madrid, Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno says he did discuss Assange’s situation with UK government this week and says, “the only person I haven’t spoken to is Mr. Assange” and that the “only thing” he wants is a guarantee that Assange won’t be executed.

Originally in Spanish, the exchange was translated here:

Ecuador’s case for Assange’s asylum, six years on, is stronger than ever

In an op-ed for Open Democracy, Guillaume Long, professor of international relations and former Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Affairs, writes that Ecuador’s initial fears of political persecution — the main reason for granting asylum to Assange — have been proven right.

“With the case dropped in Sweden, the affair has gone a full circle and the key issue is Washington’s wrath with Wikileaks.” writes Long. “Ecuador has a choice. It can (…) demonstrate its respect for the internationally recognised principle of non-refoulement and uphold the asylum as long as its causes persist. Or it can hand Assange over to the British authorities making future extradition to the United States likely.”

26 July 2018

Fidel Navárez outlines Ecuador’s responsibilities

Fidel Navárez, former counsel at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, has written an analysis of Ecuador’s responsibilities towards Julian Assange as an asylee and a citizen, which have been underlined by the recent ruling of the Inter American court.

Hundreds urge New Zealand to grant Julian Assange asylum

WikiLeaks supporters in New Zealand are gathering signatures to press for their government to offer Julian Assange safe haven. Greg Rzesniowiecki explains why he started the campaign:

WikiLeaks is one of the democracy’s sensors, providing vital information as to the civilisation brain or ordering system – our governments.

Where our governments attack Wikileaks they attack the democracy. Where they attack the democracy they attack us.

25 July 2018

Scott Ludlam: how WikiLeaks became a political Rorschach test

Former Australian Senator Scott Ludlam has written a defence of WikiLeaks that recalls the importance of their 2010-11 releases for global politics:

The WikiLeaks organisation has operated as a kind of political Rorschach test since at least 2010,… This malignant scatter of ink-blots was easy enough for most people to read: the disclosures were clearly in the public interest, given the distance between the officially curated version of the United States’ saintly presence in the world and the ugly raw material

24 July 2018

New York Times deputy general counsel: Assange “in a classic publisher’s position”

An audience of US federal judges at the Ninth Circuit’s annual Judicial Conference heard from David McCraw, the deputy general counsel of the New York Times and Barry Pollack, from Julian Assange’s legal team, on the potential ramifications of a US prosecution.

Speaking on a panel on the Law of Leaks, McGraw held that any prosecution would have inevitable repercussions for traditional news outlets (“I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks”) and that organisations innovating in journalistic practice were playing a valuable public service.

Our colleagues who are not only challenging us financially but journalistically have raised an awareness that there are different ways to report.

Barry Pollack noted that recent US criminal indictments that appear to refer to WikiLeaks as ‘Organisation-1’ are squarely attacking perfectly ordinary journalistic practice.

If you read the indictment that just came out on Russians and you look at what Organization Number 1, which is clearly WikiLeaks, is alleged to have done in that indictment, it is doing exactly what The New York Times and The Washington Post do every day of the week… He [Assange] is communicating with a source, the source provides him with information, he publishes that information.

There are no questions about the truthfulness or accuracy or authenticity of that information. And then he encourages the source to give him more information. He says ‘don’t give it to my competitors, give it to me. This story will have more impact if I publish it.’

23 July 2018

Reuters: the situation at the embassy is “coming to a head”

A report from Reuters cites a source stating that the situation is deteriorating at the Ecuadorian embassy.
“The situation is very serious. Things are coming to a head,” the source, who spoke on condition on anonymity, told Reuters. He said the latest information from inside the embassy was, “It’s not looking good”.

Inter-American Court ruling explained

A post by Jennifer Robinson at Doughty Street Chambers explains the Inter-American Court ruling of earlier this month, which was brought by the previous government of Ecuador.

In summary, the decision of the Court makes clear that Ecuador cannot return Mr Assange to the British authorities if there is a risk he will be extradited to the United States, which was the basis on which he was granted asylum.

22 July 2018

What we’ve learned from WikiLeaks

Flick Ruby recounts many of the ways the public has benefited from WikiLeaks’ releases, from exposing war crimes to using released documents in court cases, in an extended Twitter thread.

21 July 2018

Ecuador to “imminently” withdraw Assange’s aslum

Glenn Greenwald reports that Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno is in London with the covert motive of negotiating with British officials to withdraw asylum for Julian Assange “imminently”, turning him over to UK police who have vowed to arrest him immediately.

Moreno has previously said Assange’s asylum would continue but with “conditions”; since then, the foreign minister who decided to grant Assange citizenship has been elected President of the UN General Assembly, replaced by the less sympathetic Jose Valencia Amores. When stepping into the new position, Amores said Ecuador seeks an “exit that is not traumatic.”

Inter-American ruling a victory for Assange

Though it didn’t mention Julian Assange directly, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that states granting asylum must provide safe passage to asylees in embassies.

The ruling “interpreted the reach of the protection given under Article 22 (7) of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article XXVII of the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, which recognize the right to seek and receive asylum in a foreign territory.”

19 July 2018

Stefania Maurizi: Inside WikiLeaks: Working with the Publisher that Changed the World

Stefania Maurizi, a WikiLeaks media partner for nine years, recounts her experience of working on a series of critically important document releases with an organisation being put under exceptional state pressure:

WikiLeaks is rather unique from many standpoints. As a media organization publishing exclusively secret or otherwise restricted documents on “invisible powers,” such as intelligence agencies, which citizens do not normally perceive as directly relevant to their lives, there is little doubt that WikiLeaks has the full force of the State against it. It is probably the only Western media organization to have been under continuous investigation by the U.S. authorities – and probably others—since 2010, and it is definitely the only one whose editor is arbitrarily detained in the heart of Europe.

15 July 2018

Persecution of WikiLeaks threatens press freedoms

Chris Hedges has written “The War on Assange is a War on Press Freedom,” explaining:

The extradition of the publisher—the maniacal goal of the U.S. government—would set a legal precedent that would criminalize any journalistic oversight or investigation of the corporate state. It would turn leaks and whistleblowing into treason. It would shroud in total secrecy the actions of the ruling global elites. If Assange is extradited to the United States and sentenced, The New York Times, The Washington Post and every other media organization, no matter how tepid their coverage of the corporate state, would be subject to the same draconian censorship. Under the precedent set, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court would enthusiastically uphold the arrest and imprisonment of any publisher, editor or reporter in the name of national security.

Hedges joins a chorus of voices warning of the threat to journalists everywhere if the US has its way with WikiLeaks. Human Rights Watch’s executive director Ken Roth said over the weekend:

Earlier this year, the Committee to Protect Journalists wrote, “By suing WikiLeaks, DNC could endanger principles of press freedom”

The notion that journalistic activity such as cultivating sources and receiving illegally obtained documents could be construed as part of a criminal conspiracy is, according to Goodale, the “greatest threat to press freedom today.” “It will inhibit reporters’ ability to get whistleblower information, because as soon as you talk to them in any aggressive fashion you could be guilty of a crime,” Goodale said.

13 July 2018

Why I stand with Julian Assange

Former State Department diplomat Peter Van Buren pens a defence of Julian Assange for the American Conservative, emphasising the gains WikiLeaks has made for oversight of government and the likelihood that this case represents a major encroachment of government power.

Wikileaks’ version of journalism says here are the cables, the memos, and the emails. Others can write about them (and nearly every mainstream media outlet has used Wikileaks to do that, some even while calling Assange a traitor), or you as a citizen can read the stuff yourself and make up your own damned mind. That is the root of an informed public, a set of tools never before available until Assange and the internet created them.

If Assange becomes the first successful prosecution of a third party under the Espionage Act, whether as a journalist or not, the government will turn that precedent into a weapon to attack the media’s role in any national security case. On the other hand, if Assange leaves London for asylum in Ecuador, that will empower new journalists to provide evidence when a government serves its people poorly and has no interest in being held accountable.

Freedom is never static. It either advances under our pressure, or recedes under theirs. I support Julian Assange.

3 July 2018

Today marks Julian Assange’s 47th birthday. Supporters worldwide have been drawing attention to his plight.

1 July 2018

Geoffrey Robertson QC: Julian Assange faces a US extradition request if he has to leave the embassy

Renowned human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, discusses Julian Assange’s case in a new interview:

Julian Assange has exposed a great deal of the secrets of the modern establishment. When he was in court, in fact when I was acting for him, he performed a service to journalists by getting a ruling that they could tweet from court, which they’d never been allowed to previously.

There’s no doubt [that he is wanted by the United States]. We never hear about that from Downing Street, we hear it from the White House.

I think this is working up to be a major free press issue. He’s been in the Ecuadorian embassy for six years, the charges brought against him in Sweden have been withdrawn. He only has America to fear.

If he leaves the embassy, he will be arrested, held for a short time for a breach of bail and in that time the US foreign secretary will order an extradition request that will keep him in prison for years fighting a US extradition request to prosecute him as a spy.

30 June 2018

Ecuador refutes claims of US influence

Ecuador’s new foreign minister Jose Valencia Amores said it’s not up to the US to determine the fate of Julian Assange, who was granted Ecuadorian citizenship earlier this year.

According to the Associated Press:

“Ecuador and the United Kingdom, and of course Mr Assange as a person who is currently staying, on asylum, at our embassy” will decide the next steps, Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told reporters.

“It does not enter, therefore, on an agenda with the United States.”

29 June 2018

White House confirms US and Ecuador are coordinating over Assange

Earlier this week, ten US Democratic Senators sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, as he was traveling to Ecuador. The letter urged “him to raise concerns with President Moreno about Ecuador’s support for Mr. Assange at a time when WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes around the world.”

The following day, the White House released a statement to reporters confirming Pence did bring up Assange’s situation: “The vice president raised the issue of Mr. Assange. It was a constructive conversation. They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward.”

Independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone comments on the letter and response:

Why would US Senators care that Assange is receiving political asylum if his belief that the US government is trying to extradite him was a paranoid fantasy? The only known existing charge that Assange could be arrested for if he leaves the embassy is a bogus bail violation he was charged with a full 12 days after he applied for political asylum; nobody actually believes ensuring that Assange is prosecuted for that nonsensical charge is an urgent matter, let alone one so urgent it necessitates the full attention of ten sitting US Senators and the Vice President of the United States. Continuing to pretend that we don’t all know that the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning is trying to extradite Assange is a farce, and the correct response to anyone denying it is to laugh in their face.

27 June 2018

Comey killed discussions over Assange’s immunity deal

The Hill reported this week that a lawyer for Julian Assange, Adam Waldman, and the US Department of Justice were in talks in March 2017 to reach an immunity deal for Assange.

Waldman wrote to a DOJ rep:

Subject to adequate and binding protections, including but not limited to an acceptable immunity and safe passage agreement, Mr. Assange welcomes the opportunity to discuss with the U.S. government risk mitigation approaches relating to CIA documents in WikiLeaks’ possession or control, such as the redaction of agency personnel in hostile jurisdictions and foreign espionage risks to WikiLeaks staff.

Derived directly from this discussion of risk mitigation, Mr. Assange is also prepared to discuss (within the source protection boundaries expected of a journalist and publisher operating at the highest level of integrity) (i) a description of CIA information in the possession or control of WikiLeaks; (ii) the risks of third parties who may have obtained access to such information (not withstanding the foregoing, for the avoidance of doubt this category specifically and others generally will not include any information that may effect WikiLeaks obligations to protect its sources) and (iii) information regarding the timing of further publications in so far as they relate to the risk mitigation approaches developed.

But just the next day, The Hill reported that former FBI Director James Comey intervened, through Senator Mark Warner, to kill those discussions.

 

Chilean Political Refugee Cristina Godoy Navarrete Speaks in Support of Julian Assange

“Today 20 June is World Refugee Day. My mum arrived in the UK as a political refugee in 1976 after being imprisoned and tortured by the US-government supported Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.”

Assange Is a Journalist, Should Not Be Persecuted for Publishing the Truth

Kevin Zeese writes:

The threat of prosecution against Julian Assange for his work as editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks will be a key to defining what Freedom of the Press means in the 21st Century. Should people be allowed to know the truth if their government is corrupt, violating the law or committing war crimes? Democracy cannot exist when people are misled by a concentrated corporate media that puts forth a narrative on behalf of the government and big business.

20 June 2018

Yesterday rallies were held in major cities around the world, calling for Julian Assange’s freedom.

Human Rights Watch was barred from visiting Assange in the Embassy, and its general counsel Dinah PoKempner has argued, ‘UK Should Reject Extraditing Julian Assange to US.’

The publication of leaks—particularly leaks that show potential government wrongdoing or human rights abuse—is a critical function of a free press in a democratic society. The vague and sweeping provisions of the Espionage Act remain ready to be used against other publishers and journalists, whether they be Wikileaks or the New York Times.

19 June 2018

Sixth anniversary rallies and media

Supporters rally in London for the 6th anniversary of Assange’s detention

Today marks six years since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, seeking asylum from US/UK persecution. Assange lawyer and Courage Trustee Renata Avila remarked on the anniversary:


Rallies for Assange are being held around the world

At the Embassy in London (livestream), Diem25 co-founder Srecko Horvat spoke about WikiLeaks’ importance:


At Mintpress News, Whitney Webb writes, ‘The Implications of Assange’s Persecution for Journalism and Democracy’:

Assange’s case means much more than the severe mistreatment – torture, as some have said – of a single man whose commitment to bringing the dark deeds of government crimes to light has forced him to sacrifice seeing the outside world – even his own children – for the better part of a decade. Though his mistreatment has no place in any civilized “democracy,” the outcome of Assange’s case – if his extradition to the United States does come to pass – will have a powerful impact for journalism as a whole. Indeed, if the U.S.-led campaign to extradite and silence Assange is successful, it will invariably become the blueprint used by powerful governments like the U.S. to silence independent journalists the world over, and bludgeon them into submission.

At Consortium News, former CIA officer Ray McGovern writes, ‘Julian Assange and the Mindszenty Case’:

Where is the voice of conscience to condemn what is happening to Julian Assange, whose only “crime” is publishing documents exposing the criminal activities and corruption of governments and other Establishment elites? Decades ago, the U.S. and “civilized world” had nothing but high praise for the courageous Mindszenty. He became a candidate for sainthood.

And Assange?  He has been confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for six years —from June 19, 2012—the victim of a scurrilous slander campaign and British threats to arrest him, should he ever step outside. The U.S. government has been putting extraordinary pressure on Ecuador to end his asylum and top U.S. officials have made it clear that, as soon as they get their hands on him, they will manufacture a reason to put him on trial and put him in prison. All for spreading unwelcome truth around.

Vault 7 charges brought

Meanwhile, Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act charges have been brought against Joshua Schulte, the alleged source of the Vault 7 leak of CIA hacking tools published by WikiLeaks.

18 June 2018

Tomorrow, 19 June 2018, marks six years since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Rallies in support of Assange’s freedom, and freedom to use the internet, are planned around the world. See here for a list of global actions, and get in touch with us here to add your event or send us photos from your local action.

Tomorrow the UN Human Rights Council will hear a discussion of “Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and the Future of Rights and Freedoms in the West,” with Judge Baltasar Garzon, head of Assange’s legal team; Stefania Maurizi, the Italian journalist who uncovered important documents about Assange’s persecution; and Micol Savia, from the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.

John Pilger and others speak at Australian rally

Courage trustee and investigative journalist John Pilger spoke at the Sydney Town Hall rally for Julian Assange. An abridged transcription of his talk, ‘Bring Julian Assange Home,’ can be found here.

 

Lawyers speak out for Assange’s rights

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about Julian’s case.

 

Julian Assange’s Lawyer on 6 Years of Arbitrary Detention

Lawyer and human rights activist Kellie Tranter highlights the Australian government’s selective willingness to protect human rights.

the Australian government says it is ‘fully committed’ [to upholding international human rights law] but simultaneously cherry picks the human rights it wants to uphold or agitate for, depending upon what is politically advantageous to itself or its allies. In Assange’s case this “commitment” has never been translated into any sort of action.

14 June 2018

An exit without “trauma”

Ecuador’s new foreign minister Jose Valencia Amores replaces Maria Fernando Espinosa, the new President of US General Assembly who granted Julian Assange with Ecuadorian citizenship. Amores said on Wednesday, 13 June, that Ecuador seeks a solution to Assange’s situation “that gives us an exit that is not traumatic, an exit that can not provoke a dissonance with international law (and that) serves the interest of the Ecuadorian State.”

UN meeting on Assange

Julian Assange’s Twitter account, run by campaign members while he remains without internet access, announced that on 19 June, the sixth anniversary of Julian entering the embassy, the UN will hold a meeting on his persecution:

New details on Ecuadorian surveillance

Spanish newspaper El Diario has uncovered new details about Operation Hotel, Ecuador’s long effort to spy on Julian Assange’s every move within the embassy, unveiled by the Guardian last month. Based on confidential government intelligence reports, El Diario explains:

The parties of the security company do not limit themselves to detailing the incidents that were registered during those dates outside the embassy, ​​where there were concentrations and some manifestations not too numerous, they also detail and photograph what happens inside the government building, where a network of security cameras  registered all Assange activity. These  images came  to screens located in an apartment located 100 meters from the embassy in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in London . The cameras allowed the Ecuadorian Government to document a meeting that took place on April 4, 2017. “The Guest – as they refer to Assange – receives the visits of Praxis Film”, begins the extraordinary report dedicated to that appointment.

However, El Diario notes ample incorrect information within the reports:

The intelligence reports to which eldiario.es has had access are filled with errors and incorrect statements. Some names of visitors Assange received are not correct, there are misspellings and on some documents, and the Ecuadoran embassy is referred to as the Colombian Embassy. There are also mistakes in identifying the people with whom the WikiLeaks founder has access, like when the report speaks of Renata Avila, who it refers to as one of his Spanish lawyers from the office of Baltasar Garzon. Avila is not Spanish and she is not a lawyer in Garzon’s office.

More support

Filmmaker Ken Loach is the latest to add his voice of support for Assange, with this statement:

The persecution of Julian Assange must end. To force him to remain in the Ecuadorian Embassy for fear of extradition to the USA is clearly political.

He is right to be fearful. In the current febrile atmosphere people in the US have called for his execution.

He has defended the public’s right to know what is done in their name when others who now attack him have run for cover.

It is time that Julian Assange is free to leave without fear.

The Washington Post mark the upcoming six-year anniversary of Julian Assange taking refuge in the embassy.

Free Julian Assange NZ have announced a Wellington protest in support of Julian Assange on 19 June, with a march planned from the Australia High Commission to the US Embassy to the UK Embassy.

John Jiggens writes in Independent Australia that ‘the long siege of Julian Assange’ is “ongoing and unfair”, with extensive comments from  Irish-Australian Catholic Worker activist Ciaron O’Reilly, who said:

lf you marched against the Iraq War and over a million people marched in London alone, then what you did by marching is you incited people like Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. So if you serious about being anti-war then you have to accompany the people you incited, whether they be military resisters or whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning or publishers like Julian Assange.

I know from my own experiences of imprisonment for anti-war activity that the most minute expressions of solidarity carry a lot of weight in terms of nourishing resisters and I have been in the embassy with Julian when he’s received support mail from people and I’ve seen how he has been sincerely nourished by that and I would encourage everyone to write to him.

There’s an old saying that truth is the first casualty of war. Well maybe, as Julian points out, peace can be founded on telling the truth.

13 June 2018

Courage Trustee and investigative journalist John Pilger was interviewed by Dennis Bernstein about the ‘Curious Case of the Left’s Silence on Julian Assange.’ Pilger said:

They have not won, not yet, and they have not destroyed the man. Only the silence of good people will allow them to win. Julian Assange has never been more isolated. He needs your support and your voice. Now more than ever is the time to demand justice and free speech for Julian. Thank you.”

WISE Up Action have published a new interview with James Cogan, ;The Fight to Free Julian Assange is a question of political principle.’

Artists Tony Garnett, Davide Dormino and Costantino Ciervo demand freedom for Julian Assange.

Former high-ranking UN official Alfred M. de Zayas issued a statement of support:

Assange, whom I visited at the Ecuador Embassy in London, deserves the Nobel Prize for Peace. He and fellow whistleblower Eduard Snowden have done more for democracy, rule of law and peace than the many hypocritical politicians and journalists who attack and defame them.

12 June 2018

Australians take notice after High Commission visit

Following the news that Australian officials visited the Ecuadorian Embassy, Australians are showing their support for Julian Assange. Australian public high school teachers signed a resolution in support of the campaign for Assange’s freedom.

At Mintpress News, Whitney Webb says that the outcome of Assange’s situation could set a precedent for all Australians, calling on the Aussie government to protect him:

if Australia reneges on its obligations to protect Assange and fight for his rights, the implications such actions would hold for every other citizen of the country are as vast as they are chilling. It would set the legal precedent for Australia to allow any of its citizens to be detained, imprisoned and/or silenced by another government without charges, greatly weakening the rights of any Australian national living or traveling abroad. Essentially, it would mean that many of the rights granted to an Australian by right of one’s citizenship would evaporate the second he or she set foot on foreign soil.

11 June 2018

Australia providing consular assistance

Over the weekend it was confirmed that Australia was providing consular assistance in Assange’s situation after two officials from the High Commission in London visited the Ecuadorian Embassy. 7 News Melbourne spoke with Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson:


Postcards for Assange

Inspired by John Pilger’s statement calling for support, WISEUP Action has launched a postcard campaign, providing postcards emphasizing Assange’s right to free speech and his right to healthcare available for download.

5 June 2018

Ecuador’s foreign minister elected President of UN General Assembly

Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador’s foreign minister who approved Julian Assange’s citizenship and gave him diplomatic status, has been elected President of the United Nations’ General Assembly.

In an interview with the Associated Press on Monday, Espinosa said there was no set date for Assange to regain internet access.

Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, said last week that Espinosa made the decision to grant Assange citizenship. “I told the foreign minister she should, with complete freedom, choose how to solve the problem. And she chose that system. It wasn’t the most suitable, but I respected it,” Moreno said.

4 June 2018

Investigative journalist and Courage Trustee John Pilger has released a statement about Julian’s situation and the need for widespread grassroots support, entitled “Justice and freedom for Julian Assange mean free speech for us all.”

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou explained the importance of supporting Assange in a recent video message. “I feel like we’re heading into an international crisis if we turn our backs on Julian Assange,” he said.

Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters displayed a huge message of support at a  performance over the weekend:

Assange supporter Emmy Butlin, whose group WISEUP Action organizes vigils outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, recently gave an interview to World Socialist Website.

Vigils planned in support of Julian Assange

17 June – Sydney, Australia, Town Hall’s Square, 1pm

19 June – London, Ecuadorian Embassy, 6-8pm