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Australia’s former foreign minister calls on Australian govt to intervene to release Julian Assange

As anger mounts over Assange’s persecution, former foreign minister Carr calls for moral appeals to Australian government, WSWS, By Richard Phillips, 6 March 2020

Popular opposition to the ongoing imprisonment and state persecution of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is increasing following last week’s extradition hearing in Britain. The four-day show trial, which blatantly violated Assange’s basic legal rights and subjected him to even more psychological torture, has deeply shocked many people and intensified the determination of those fighting for Assange’s release.

Addressing a public meeting last week in the New South Wales (NSW) parliament, Bob Carr, a former federal foreign minister and state Labor premier from 1995–2005, denounced the bogus espionage charges against Assange and warned that if extradited to the US, he would die.

Carr and other speakers, including Assange’s Australian lawyer Greg Barns and former SBS television journalist Mary Kostakidis, insisted, however, that those defending Assange should concentrate on lobbying state and federal MPs.

This orientation, they suggested, would pressure the Liberal-National Coalition government and Foreign Minister Marisa Payne to ask Washington to release the WikiLeaks publisher.

Carr called for Payne to have a “friendly chat” with Mike Pompeo, the former CIA chief and current US Secretary of State, and offered some talking points…….

Carr said nothing about Pompeo’s threatening denunciations of WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” his visit to Sydney last August when he demanded greater Australian involvement in Washington’s aggressive confrontations with Beijing and Iran, or his role as former CIA chief.

As for Payne, she rejected any defence of Assange, declaring in the Senate a day earlier that the WikiLeaks publisher would receive a fair trial and disparaging UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer’s reports on the decade-long persecution of Assange.

Carr’s opposition to the US-led vendetta against Assange, which he first voiced in May, appears to constitute a remarkable political turn around. Eight years ago, as foreign minister in the Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard—from early 2012 to September 2013—Carr, like other federal Labor MPs and the party as a whole, was virulently hostile to Assange…….

The demonisation of Assange by Australia’s political establishment and the corporate media, which is part and parcel of its commitment to the US alliance, has not convinced tens of thousands of ordinary Australians. Important layers of workers, young people, students and middle-class people have taken up Assange’s defence as part of a growing international movement. ……


March 7, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, politics

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