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Australian PM Anthony Albanese urges US government to end pursuit of Julian Assange

Prime minister says he raised Wikileaks co-founder’s case with US representatives recently and will continue to push for it to be ‘brought to a close’ Daniel Hurst 30 Nov 22

The Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, says he has personally urged the US government to end its pursuit of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange.

In his most in-depth comments about the diplomatically sensitive issue in months, Albanese said he had raised the Assange case “recently in meetings” with US representatives and he vowed to continue to press for it to be brought to a close.

Assange, an Australian citizen, remains in Belmarsh prison in London as he fights a US attempt to extradite him to face charges in connection with the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars as well as diplomatic cables.

Albanese was responding to a parliamentary question from the independent MP Monique Ryan, who said public-interest journalism was “essential to democracy” and declared that Assange’s freedom “will only come from political intervention”.

Ryan asked: “Will the government intervene to bring Mr Assange home?”

The prime minister acknowledged the case was “an issue of great interest to many Australians and of interest to people across this chamber”.

“The government will continue to act in a diplomatic way, but can I assure the member … that I have raised this personally with representatives of the United States government,” the Labor leader told parliament on Wednesday.

“My position is clear and has been made clear to the US administration – that it is time that this matter be brought to a close.”

He did not state explicitly whether he had raised it with the US president, Joe Biden, or with other US representatives such as the ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy, with whom he also met recently.

Albanese’s most recent meeting with Biden was in Bali, Indonesia, two weeks ago.

Albanese contrasted Assange’s legal situation with that of the former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who was released in 2017 when Barack Obama commuted her 35-year military prison sentence for leaking the information.

Albanese said he did not have sympathy for Assange’s actions “on a whole range of matters”, but he asked: “What is the point of this continuing this legal action which could be caught up now for many years into the future?”

The UK’s minister for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, and its high commissioner to Australia, Vicki Treadell, were in the audience in the House of Representatives during Albanese’s comments.

When he was the leader of the opposition, Albanese spoke out against the ongoing pursuit of Assange, declaring “enough is enough”.

But since being sworn in as prime minister, Albanese has indicated he would pursue quiet diplomacy, saying: “My position is that not all foreign affairs is best done with the loudhailer.”

The White House has previously said Assange was facing an “ongoing criminal case” and Biden was “committed to an independent Department of Justice”.


December 1, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


In a gloomy financial statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the Office for Budget Responsibility had judged that the UK’s economy was shrinking. J.P.Morgan said on Tuesday it expects a contraction in the UK’s economy next year as it enters a lengthy period of stagnation in the face of soaring gas prices, slowing global growth and tighter economic conditions. It predicts “Tighter monetary and fiscal policy amid scarring from both the pandemic and Brexit”

In the midst of all this financial gloom, both the Tory government and the Labour opposition delight in predicting a boom in electricity production from a fleet of nuclear reactors both Big and Small – a fleet that is magically going to appear like some sort of miasma – as taxpayer funds pour into nuclear projects like Sizewell C (Big) and Rolls Royce’s 470 MWe SMR (Not Really Small At All)

Seven months ago the UK government dreamed up “Great British Nuclear” – a “flagship” to “enable nuclear projects”. Now it is clear that “Great British Nuclear” is nothing more than a public relations exercise.

Wylfa and Cumbria nuclear projects failed. because, although the
government offered to take a 30 per cent stake, no other investors came
forward. Now the government is to take a 50% stake in the up to £43 billion Sizewell C , – again desperately touting for investors.

And now – the government unveils plans to establish “Great British Energy”, a new arms-length public body to oversee UK nuclear power pipeline

The Tories pinched the name from the opposition Labour Party, which touted its plan as “all about renewables”. But Labour didn’t mind a bit, when the government co-opted it and turned it into some sort of nuclear justification body. Indeed, Labour’s just as ecstatic as the Tories, about Britain’s wonderful nuclear future – and to hell with the expense!

December 1, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | 5 Comments