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If Australian Prime Minister Albanese asks for Assange’s freedom, Biden has every reason to agree: Bob Carr

The Age, 20 June 22, “…………………….. It was the Trump administration – probably at the insistence of then-CIA chief Mike Pompeo – that pursued Assange’s extradition. The Morrison government declined even the faintest whinny of protest. It was as if we were not a sovereign government but some category of US territory like Puerto Rico and an Australian passport holder didn’t rate protection from the vengeful anger of one corner of the American security apparatus. A France or Germany – a New Zealand  would not have been as craven.

Here lies Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s most potent argument as he proceeds to winkle out of the Biden administration a decision to quietly drop its pursuit of Assange, even after Britain announced on Friday that it had approved his extradition to the US. Albanese can say that, to Australian public opinion, it looks like one rule for Americans, another for citizens of its ally.

Albanese can gently remind Washington that President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning. That is, he lifted her sentence for gifting to Assange the material that he published on Wikileaks in 2010. This was the collateral murder video that showed soldiers in a US Apache helicopter mowing down civilians with their automatic weapons in Iraq in 2007. The video exposed America’s lack of rules of engagement but, more than that, tore away the justification for the neocon high adventure of the Iraq war.

Manning, the American who slipped the material to Assange, goes free while the Australian who published it faces extradition, trial in Virginia and the rest of his life in cruel confinement in a high-security prison, likely on the plains of Oklahoma.

Albanese doesn’t have to state – because the Americans know it – that we are a darn good partner. A request on Assange is small change in such an alliance relationship. We host vital US communication facilities that likely make Australia a nuclear target. We host ship visits, planes and marines, about which the same baleful point could be made. And, as the capstone, we are spending about $150 billion purchasing US nuclear submarines……………..

In the context of Australia’s role as an ally – the heft we deliver for the US empire – a decision to let Assange walk free rates about five minutes of President Biden’s Oval Office attention. ………………….

The military in the US and Australia have had to admit no lives were lost because of Assange. But we wouldn’t have heard of serious war crimes in a counterproductive war were it not for the haggard prisoner in Belmarsh.

Our new prime minister can say: “We’re not fans of the guy either, Mr President, but it’s gone on long enough. We’re good allies. Let this one drop.“

And if Albanese asks, my guess is America will agree.  https://www.theage.com.au/national/if-albanese-asks-for-assange-s-freedom-biden-has-every-reason-to-agree-bob-carr-20220619-p5autd.html

June 20, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

Can Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese save Julian Assange?

New Prime Minister Anthony Albanese,  has said he couldn’t see any purpose in keeping Assange in gaol, stating “enough is enough”. In the first week of the Albanese Government, the ABC reported: ‘Mr Albanese is also a signatory to the Bring Julian Assange Home Campaign petition.’

Questioned by The Guardian – Albanese replied that it was his position that “not all foreign affairs is best done with the loudhailer”.

So – we are now getting used to an Australian Prime Minister who values thinking and diplomacy rather than bull-dozing and bullying tactics . So there’s hope.

On the other hand, there’s the determination of the U.S.military-industrial-complex, which rules U.S. politics – to punish Julian Assange for exposing U.S. military’s war crimes. And the subservience of the U.K. to USA, now vested in just oned person, Home Secretary Priti Patel, who shows no sign of having the integrity to stand up for justice.

It is ironic that everyone is now (rightly) jumping up and down about Russian military atrocities, and praising reporters who reveal these – but it seems it’s OK to persecute Assange for revealing U.S. military atrocities?

June 16, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Christina's notes, civil liberties, media, politics international | 1 Comment

Julian Assange and family suffer as unjust detention continues

Independent Australia By Binoy Kampmark | 16 June 2022,

The documentary Ithaka powerfully depicts the fight Julian Assange’s family is putting up for him, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark

JOHN Shipton, despite his size, glides with insect-like grace across surfaces. He moves with a hovering sense, a holy man with message and meaning. As Julian Assange’s father, he has found himself a bearer of messages and meaning, attempting to convince those in power that good sense and justice should prevail over brute stupidity and callousness. 

His one object: release Julian………………………..

The documentary Ithaka powerfully depicts the fight Julian Assange’s family is putting up for him, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark

JOHN Shipton, despite his size, glides with insect-like grace across surfaces. He moves with a hovering sense, a holy man with message and meaning. As Julian Assange’s father, he has found himself a bearer of messages and meaning, attempting to convince those in power that good sense and justice should prevail over brute stupidity and callousness. 

His one object: release Julian…………………..

The documentary Ithaka powerfully depicts the fight Julian Assange’s family is putting up for him, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark

JOHN Shipton, despite his size, glides with insect-like grace across surfaces. He moves with a hovering sense, a holy man with message and meaning. As Julian Assange’s father, he has found himself a bearer of messages and meaning, attempting to convince those in power that good sense and justice should prevail over brute stupidity and callousness. 

His one object: release Julian……………………………….

Soft, a voice of reed and bird song, Shipton urged activists and citizens to join the fray, to save his son, to battle for a cause imperishably golden and pure. From this summit, power would be held accountable, institutions would function with sublime transparency, and citizens could be assured that their privacy would be protected. 

In the documentary Ithaka, directed by Ben Lawrence, we see Shipton, Assange’s partner, Stella Moris, the two children, the cat and glimpses of brother Gabriel, all pointing to the common cause that rises to the summit of purpose. The central figure, who only ever manifests in spectral form – on-screen via phone or fleeting footage – is one of moral reminder, the purpose that supplies blood for all these figures. 

Assange is being held at Belmarsh, Britain’s most secure and infamous of prisons, denied bail and being crushed by judicial procedure.  But in these supporters, he has some vestigial reminders of a life outside.

The film’s promotion site describes the subject as ‘the world’s most famous political prisoner, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’ a figure who has ‘become an emblem of an international arm wrestle over freedom of journalism, government corruption and unpunished war crimes’. ………..

 suffer he shall, if the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel decides to agree to the wishes of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). 

The DOJ insists that their man face 17 charges framed, disgracefully and archaically, from a U.S. law passed during World War I and inimical to free press protections. The Espionage Act of 1917 has become the crutch and support for prosecutors who see, in Assange, less a journalist than an opportunistic hacker who outed informants and betrayed confidences. ……………………..

Through the film, the exhausting sense of media, that estate ever-present but not always listening, comes through. This point is significant enough; the media – at least in terms of the traditional fourth estate – put huge stock in the release of material from WikiLeaks in 2010, hailing the effort and praising the man behind it. 

But relations soured, and tabloid nastiness set in. The Left found tell-all information and tales of Hillary Clinton too much to handle while the Right, having initially revelled in the revelations of WikiLeaks in 2016, took to demonising the herald. Perversely, in the United States, accord was reached across a good number of political denizens: Assange had to go, and to go, he had to be prosecuted in the United Kingdom and extradited to the United States.

The documentary covers the usual highlights without overly pressing the viewer.  A decent run-up is given to the Ecuadorian stint lasting seven years, with Assange’s bundling out, and the Old Bailey proceedings covering extradition. But Shipton and Moris are the ones who provide the balancing acts in this mission to aid the man they both love……….

The film has faced, as with its subject, the usual problems of distribution and discussion. When Assange is mentioned, the dull-minded exit for fear of reputation, and the hysterical pronounce and pounce. 

In Gabriel Shipton’s words

“All of the negative propaganda and character assassination is so pervasive that many people in the sector and the traditional distribution outlets don’t want to be seen as engaging in advocacy for Julian.”

Where Assange goes, the power monopolies recoil. Distribution and the review of a documentary such as Ithaka is bound to face problems in the face of such a compromised, potted media terrain. Assange is a reminder of the plague in the patient of democracy, a pox on the body politic. ……….. https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/julian-assange-and-family-suffer-as-unjust-detention-continues,16470#.YqqqxM6TP0M.twitter

June 16, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, media, UK | Leave a comment

Julian Assange’s wife Stella Moris reveals how they raise children together while he is in jail waiting an extradition decision

In court, Julian has not been permitted to sit with his lawyers. And despite many applications since January 21, he has not been allowed to attend his own court hearings in person.  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-08/stella-moris-my-life-with-julian-assange-extradition/101132624, My Australian husband Julian Assange is fighting for his life from within the confines of a three-by-two-metre cell in Britain’s harshest prison, Belmarsh.

The US has accused him of espionage as a result of his work with WikiLeaks in 2010-2011 and wants to extradite him to face court.

If his extradition goes ahead, Julian faces a maximum 175-year prison sentence. As his wife, I fear he will be buried in the deepest, darkest corner of the US prison system until he dies.

During another extradition hearing last year a UK magistrate blocked Julian’s transfer to the US over fears of “oppressive” conditions that could drive him to take his life.

On July 3, Julian turns 51. It will be the fourth year he has spent his birthday alone in a cell, without conviction.

Is our time together running out?

When Julian is taken from his cell to the prison yard he tilts his head up so his eyes can focus on the distance. If he narrows his eyes, the double razor wire above becomes a blur. Beyond is the open sky.

Julian recently discovered a family of nesting magpies. He spotted their home subversively nestled between the razor wire. I think our family is like those magpies.

When we are together, we are always a few metres from their nest. Our children — Gabriel, who is five, and Max, three — only have memories of their father within the brutal surroundings of Belmarsh prison.

We don’t know how long our children have left with their father. We don’t know if we can visit him or even talk to him on the phone. If the extradition goes ahead, US authorities retain the right to put Julian in conditions so cruel that no one in his position is likely to survive.

It is impossible for Julian and me to escape a feeling that he is on death row. Our weekly visits may be the only time we have left together. But for how much longer? A few months more, a few weeks, a few days and then only a few hours? I fear in the end we will count the minutes and the seconds.

Guards search inside my children’s mouths

Were it not for our children, this approaching catastrophe would be all-consuming. But Julian and I know these may be the only memories that our children will have of their father. We make our visits as joyous as possible.

I don’t need to explain to Gabriel and Max the reality of this place where we go to visit their father. They live it. The children walk under razor wire and past layers and layers of security to reach their daddy.

Guards search inside their mouths, behind their ears and under their feet. The prison dogs sniff them head to toe, front and back.

Last week, Gabriel slipped some daisies he had picked by the prison walls into his pocket to give to his father. After he passed through the metal detector his daisies were confiscated during the pat-down search by one of the guards, albeit reluctantly.

During visits, our family is allowed to embrace at the beginning and end. We can hold each others’ hands across the table. Julian and I are not allowed to kiss. But Julian would rather kiss his wife and be penalised than have that taken away from him too. So, we kiss.

Precious moments for life lessons

The children love visiting their daddy. Julian reads them stories. Gabriel shares his father’s fascination with numbers. Julian teaches them nifty tricks: the best way to peel an orange, how to open chips without losing any of the contents.

These things may sound small to most people, but they are our precious moments together. A canteen selling chips and oranges and the prison’s collection of children’s books are all that is on offer in the visitor’s hall we share with 30-or-so prisoners and their families once or twice a week.

On March 23, we were married in Belmarsh. The prison – normally filled with tragedy and isolation – was turned on its head for a few hours to celebrate our love and commitment. Our nest in the razor wire.

The last time the media photographed Julian was in 2019, through the scratched windows of a prison van.  The UK Authorities insist that our wedding photos not be made public ‘on security grounds’. In court, Julian has not been permitted to sit with his lawyers. And despite many applications since January 21, he has not been allowed to attend his own court hearings in person.

June 14, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Anthony Albanese has the power to save Julian Assange. But will he?

We’re all enormously relieved that the corrupt #ScottyFRomMarketing has gone.

And we like Albanese, I think.

But – will he have the guts to help our Australian hero, Julian Assange?

Albanese had the perfect opportunity in Tokyo on Tuesday, meeting the U.S. president. He could have raised the matter with Biden.. But he didn’t.

When will he? Will he speak up for Assange at all?

Now is the time for Australia to intervene, and to demand the repatriation of Julian and an end to his persecution. It’s about time our mealy-mouthed and pathetic media and politicians broke their silence and cringing subservience to the USA.

May 26, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, politics international | Leave a comment

Extraditing Julian Assange would be a gift to secretive, oppressive regimes

Handing over the WikiLeaks founder to the US will benefit those around the world who want to evade scrutiny

Peter Oborne 22 May 22,  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/may/20/extradite-julian-assange-investigative-journalism-wikileaks

In the course of the next few days, Priti Patel will make the most important ruling on free speech made by any home secretary in recent memory. She must resolve whether to comply with a US request to extradite Julian Assange on espionage charges.

The consequences for Assange will be profound. Once in the US he will almost certainly be sent to a maximum-security prison for the rest of his life. He will die in jail.

The impact on British journalism will also be profound. It will become lethally dangerous to handle, let alone publish, documents from US government sources. Reporters who do so, and their editors, will risk the same fate as Assange and become subject to extradition followed by lifelong incarceration.

For this reason Daniel Ellsberg, the 91-year-old US whistleblower who was prosecuted for his role in the Pentagon Papers revelations, which exposed the covert bombing of Laos and Cambodia and thus helped end the Vietnam war, has given eloquent testimony in Assange’s defence.

He told an extradition hearing two years ago that he felt a “great identification” with Assange, adding that his revelations were among the most important in the history of the US.

The US government does not agree. It maintains that Assange was effectively a spy and not a reporter, and should be punished accordingly.

Up to a point this position is understandable. Assange was anything but an ordinary journalist. His deep understanding of computers and how they could be hacked singled him out from the professionally shambolic arts graduates who normally rise to eminence in newspapers.

The ultimate creature of the internet age, in 2006 he helped found WikiLeaks, an organisation that specialises in obtaining and releasing classified or secret documents, infuriating governments and corporations around the world.

The clash with the US came in 2010, when (in collaboration with the Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, the New York Times and other international news organisations) WikiLeaks entered into one of the great partnerships of the modern era in any field. It started publishing documents supplied by the US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

Between them, WikiLeaks and Manning were responsible for a series of first-class scoops that any self-respecting reporter would die for. And these scoops were not the tittle-tattle that comprises the daily fodder of most journalism. They were of overwhelming global importance, reshaping our understanding of the Iraq war and the “war on terror”.

https://4b00398cd5d8ac5695872d9cb288db87.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

To give one example among thousands, WikiLeaks published a video of soldiers in a US helicopter laughing as they shot and killed unarmed civilians in Iraq – including a Reuters photographer and his assistant. (The US military refused to discipline the perpetrators.)

To the intense embarrassment of the USWikiLeaks revealed that the total number of civilian casualties in Iraq was 66,000 – far more than the US had acknowledged.


It shone an appalling new light on the abuse meted out to the Muslim inmates at Guantánamo Bay, including the revelation that 150 innocent people were held for years without charge.

Clive Stafford Smith, the then chairman of the human rights charity Reprieve who represented 84 Guantánamo prisoners, praised the way WikiLeaks helped him to establish that charges against his clients were fabricated.

It’s easy to see why the US launched a criminal investigation. Then events took an unexpected turn in November 2010 when Sweden issued an arrest warrant against Assange following allegations of sexual misconduct. Assange refused to go to Sweden, apparently on the grounds that this was a pretext for his extradition to the United States and took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Sweden never charged Assange with an offence, and dropped its investigation in 2019.

This was an eventful year in the Assange story. Ecuador kicked him out of the embassy and he was promptly arrested for breaching bail: he’s languished for the past three years in Belmarsh prison. Meanwhile the US pursues him using the same 1917 Espionage Act under which Ellsberg was unsuccessfully prosecuted. Assange’s defence, led by the solicitor Gareth Peirce and Edward Fitzgerald QC, has argued that his only crime was the crime of investigative journalism.

They point out that the indictment charges Assange with actions, such as protecting sources, that are basic journalistic practice: the US alleges that “Assange and Manning took measures to conceal Manning as the source of the disclosure of classified records”. Any journalist who failed to take this elementary precaution when supplied with information by a source would be sacked.

The US stated that Assange “actively encouraged Manning” to provide the information. How disgraceful! No wonder Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, has warned that: “It is dangerous to suggest that these actions are somehow criminal rather than steps routinely taken by investigative journalists who communicate with confidential sources to receive classified information of public importance.”

Despite all this, there’s no reason to suppose that Patel will come to Assange’s rescue – though there may yet be further legal ways to fight extradition.

Even if Patel wasn’t already on the way to winning the all-corners record as the most repressive home secretary in modern history, the Johnson government, already in Joe Biden’s bad books, has no incentive to further alienate the US president.

If and when Assange is put on a plane to the US, investigative journalism will suffer a permanent and deadening blow.

And the message will be sent to war criminals not just in the US but in every country round the globe that they can commit their crimes with impunity.

May 23, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, media, politics international | Leave a comment

Leaked emails expose UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s connection to MI6-style ‘research and influence operation’AND to extraditing Julian Assange

British Home Secretary Priti Patel is due to imminently decide on whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is extradited to the US, where he faces life imprisonment for journalistic activities.

Patel sat on the advisory council of the neoconservative Henry Jackson Society think tank alongside Lord James Arbuthnot – a former Conservative Minister of Defence whose wife, Lady Emma Arbuthnot, made two key rulings against Assange in 2018, before being forced to step aside due to a “perception of bias.”

it is safe to assume the intelligence cabal bringing its influence to bear on Patel would strongly favor his extradition to the US.

The GRAYZONE, KIT KLARENBERG·MAY 18, 2022,

A deeply anti-democratic MI6-linked cabal’s apparent influence on Priti Patel raises serious questions about her fitness to rule on Julian Assange’s extradition to the US.

  • Cabal now managing MI6-inspired “research and influence operation” 
  • Effort may be funded by intelligence agency actors
  • British Home Secretary implicated in plot
  • Green advocates and perceived Chinese agents targeted
  • Home Office infiltrated by cabal’s civil service mole
  • Cabal seeks to seize power over energy policy and “displace” government minister
Continue reading

May 23, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, politics, UK | Leave a comment

The US Cries About War Crimes While Imprisoning A Journalist For Exposing Its War Crimes

 https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/the-us-cries-about-war-crimes-while?s=w. 20 Apr 22, In what his lawyers have described as a “brief but significant moment in the case,” a British magistrates’ court has signed off on Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States, bringing the WikiLeaks founder one step closer to a US trial under the Espionage Act which threatens press freedoms worldwide.

The extradition case now goes to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel for approval, which will likely be forthcoming as Patel is a reliably loyal empire manager. After that point, Assange’s legal team will be able to launch an appeal. 

This is happening at the same time the United States and the United Kingdom are loudly demanding accountability for alleged war crimes by the Russian military in Ukraine, which is interesting because attempting to bring accountability for war crimes is precisely why Julian Assange is in prison.

“He is a war criminal,” President Biden said of Vladimir Putin following allegations of war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine earlier this month. “I think it is a war crime. … He should be held accountable.”

Biden: Putin should face war crimes trial for Bucha killings 4 April 2022

Wikileaks 5 April – 12 years ago today 5 Julian Assange published the Collateral Murder video detailing the gunning down of civilians, children & 2 Reuters journalists. Assange faces a 175 year sentence if extradited for revealing this and other war crimes

This is why the US government is trying to extradite Julian Assange: for revealing the US massacre of civilians, including two Reuters journalists in Iraq

And that’s all I’d like to say here today, really. That this discrepancy is very interesting.

I mean, can we take a moment to deeply appreciate the irony of this? Because it’s so obscene and outrageous it’s actually hard to take in unless you really let it absorb. The most powerful government in the world, which serves as the hub of the most powerful empire that has ever existed, is working to extradite a journalist for exposing its war crimes while simultaneously rending its garments over war crime allegations against another government.

I mean, damn. You would think a power structure that had recently been caught red-handed committing war crimes and is currently in the process of imprisoning a journalist for exposing those war crimes would at least have the sense not to yell too loudly about war crimes for a little while. But this is how confident the empire is in its ability to control the narrative.

Really take it in. Really digest it. The more you think about it, the freakier it gets. Not only is the empire persecuting a journalist for exposing its war crimes while at the same time demanding that others be held accountable for war crimes, it is also attacking the free press for reporting the truth about the powerful while at the very same time engaging in a massive propaganda operation which holds that it is involved in Ukraine to protect its freedom and democracy.

I mean, the gall. The absolute temerity. The balls on this empire, man.

I have said it before and I will say it again: Assange exposed many ugly realities about the powerful in his work with WikiLeaks, but everything that he has managed to expose thereafter simply by forcing them to prosecute him far surpasses the revelations in those publications.

If the highest form of journalism is exposing the darkest secrets of the most powerful people in the world, then Julian Assange is the highest form of journalist.

April 21, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Dissent is dying in America – the backlash is vitriolic

AMERICAN DISSENT ON UKRAINE IS DYING IN DARKNESS   https://popularresistance.org/american-dissent-on-ukraine-is-dying-in-darkness/  AUDIO 

When It Came To The Ukraine Conflict, Professor Michael J. Brenner Did What He’s Done His Whole Life: Question American Foreign Policy.

This time the backlash was vitriolic.

As the death toll in Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine continues to rise, there have only been a handful of Westerners publicly questioning NATO and the West’s role in the conflict. These voices are becoming fewer and further between as a wave of feverish backlash engulfs any dissent on the subject. One of these voices belongs to Professor Michael J. Brenner, a lifelong academic, Professor Emeritus of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh and a Fellow of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS/Johns Hopkins, as well as former Director of the International Relations & Global Studies Program at the University of Texas.

Brenner’s credentials also include having worked at the Foreign Service Institute, the U.S. Department of Defense and Westinghouse, and written several books on American foreign policy. From the vantage point of decades of experience and studies, the intellectual regularly shared his thoughts on topics of interest through a mailing list sent to thousands of readers—that is until the response to his Ukraine analysis made him question why he bothered in the first place.

In an email with the subject line “Quittin’ Time,” Brenner recently declared that, aside from having already said his piece on Ukraine, one of the main reasons he sees for giving up on expressing his opinions on the subject is that “it is manifestly obvious that our society is not capable of conducting an honest, logical, reasonably informed discourse on matters of consequence. Instead, we experience fantasy, fabrication, fatuousness and fulmination.” He goes on to decry President Joe Biden’s alarming comments in Poland when he all but revealed that the U.S. is—and perhaps has always been—interested in a Russian regime change.

On this week’s “Scheer Intelligence,” Brenner tells host Robert Scheer how the recent attacks he received—many of a personal, ad hominem nature—were some of the most vitriolic he’s ever experienced. The two discuss how many media narratives completely leave out that the eastward expansion of NATO, among other Western aggressions against Russia, played an important part in fueling the current humanitarian crisis. Corporate media’s “cartoonish” depiction of Russian president Vladimir Putin, adds Brenner, is not only misleading, but dangerous given the nuclear brinkmanship that has ensued. Listen to the full discussion between Brenner and Scheer as they continue to dissent despite living in an America that is seemingly increasingly hostile to any opinion that strays from the official line.

April 18, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Julian Assange’s family tirelessly advocate for his freedom

 https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/julian-assanges-family-tirelessly-seek-his-freedom,16208 By John Jiggens | 31 March 2022,

The fight for Julian Assange’s freedom goes on in the face of Western intransigence, writes Dr John Jiggens.

FRESH FROM attending the marriage of his son Julian Assange to partner Stella Moris, Assange’s continent-hopping father, John Shipton, will address the Palm Sunday rally in Brisbane on 10 April and attend a Q&A at a preview screening of the film Ithaka.

Produced by Julian’s brother Gabriel Shipton, Ithaka was directed by multi-award-winning director Ben Lawrence. The yet-to-be-released documentary will be a special thank-you to Julian’s many Queensland supporters. 

Filmed over two years across the UK, Europe, the U.S. and Australia, Ithaka follows John Shipton’s punishing schedule to save his son. 

We witness John embark on a European odyssey to rally a global network of supporters, advocate to politicians and cautiously step into the media’s glare, where he is forced to confront the events that made Julian a global flashpoint. 

In marked contrast to the war in Ukraine, the Iraqi war was covered by journalists embedded with the invading forces.

Civilian deaths were dismissed as “collateral damage”.  

When WikiLeaks showed us what “collateral damage” looked like from the perspective of Iraqi civilians, releasing a video of a massacre by an Apache helicopter gun crew of Iraqi civilians and two Reuter journalists, Julian Assange called it Collateral Murder.  

This intervention played an important role in ending the illegal UK, U.S. and Australian invasion of a sovereign nation, and because of this, the war criminals he exposed are destroying Julian Assange with the consent of the Australian Government, claiming he is the criminal.

But Assange was a hero for peace. 

For the Apache helicopter crew, the civilians on the ground were dehumanised. Like boys playing a computer game, they exclaimed “light ‘em up!” as they blew apart their victims from their unseen platform a mile in the sky.  

When a good samaritan stopped to help those still living, he and his children were ruthlessly machine-gunned. The crew blamed their father, saying he shouldn’t have brought children to a war zone.

Ithaka tracks John Shipton’s journey alongside Julian’s then-fiancée, Stella Moris, as they join forces to advocate for Julian.  

Stella and Julian’s marriage was a rare joyful moment for this embattled family. The mainstream media, of course, presented it as a bizarro celebrity wedding. Knowing which details to ignore, they focussed on the bride and groom’s clothes, rather than the politics. 

We learned that Julian, his brother Gabriel, and Stella and Julian’s two sons, Gabriel and Max, wore tartan kilts in honour of their Scottish heritage.

Vivienne Westwood, a long-time supporter, designed and made Stella a full-length wedding dress, which was adorned with graffiti and one of Westwood’s signature corsets. 

The largest contingent of the wedding party were prison guards and one of them was given the task of being the official photographer. Before saying “I do”, Stella was searched multiple times and had to pass through security scanners and sniffer dogs.

She was patted down in her wedding gown and fingerprinted four times. 

Two of the couple’s six guests, U.S. journalist Chris Hedges and Scottish journalist Craig Murray (who was to be one of the witnesses) were denied entry. They stayed outside with 150 supporters.

Craig Murray, who was the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan until he was fired for exposing the CIA black sites and torture centres in that country, was told that he could not enter because he would “endanger the security of the prison”

As Stella admitted:

“It’s not the wedding we would have planned.”

She also said:

“But we’re choosing to take control of our lives. We’re doing it for love, for each other, for our sons and because Julian’s life has been put on hold for long enough, robbing him of years with his family.”

Belmarsh’s Governor Jenny Louis ordered the couple’s family out of the prison the minute the service was over and Julian was taken back to his cell, knowing he may never get to live with his family. 

As their own bizarro wedding present, the UK Supreme Court dismissed Assange’s appeal against the High Court’s decision to allow his extradition to the USA. 

With Julian facing a 175-year sentence if extradited to the U.S., his family members are confronting the prospect of losing Julian forever to the abyss of the U.S. justice system.

Dr John Jiggens is a writer and journalist currently working in the community newsroom at Bay-FM in Byron Bay.

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March 31, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

London. Anti-nuclear campaigners have won a victory for free expression

ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners have won a victory for free expression after
forcing Transport for London (TfL) to back down from refusing to consider a
peace advert on the network.

TfL initially refused an application from the
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) for advertising space across the
capital but has been forced to reconsider following a threat of legal
action by the Public Interest Law Centre.

The application, originally
submitted in 2021, is for an advert showing a nuclear weapon broken in two
by CND’s famous peace symbol. It asks: “Why are we getting more nuclear
weapons when we could be investing in healthcare, renewable energy,
education?”

TfL had ruled the advert could not be carried because it
“promotes a party political cause or electioneering.” Acting for CND,
the law centre argued that the advertisement was not party political and
that TFL’s refusal to carry it was potentially in breach of the right to
free expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human
Rights. TfL has acknowledged that the original decision was incorrect, that
the advert was not party political, and have invited CND to resubmit the
advert for consideration.

 Morning Star 24th March 2022

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/anti-nuclear-campaigners-win-victory-for-free-expression

March 26, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

As UK government touted ”media freedom”, Julian Assange in high security Belmarsh Prison was an embarassment

JULIAN ASSANGE POSED PR PROBLEM FOR UK GOVERNMENT’S MEDIA CAMPAIGN  https://declassifieduk.org/julian-assange-posed-pr-problem-for-uk-governments-media-campaign/

UK officials were worried about public reaction to their hosting a media freedom event a few miles from Belmarsh prison, where Assange is incarcerated. The Foreign Office monitored activity online, developed ‘lines to take’ and warned ‘we should be ready’, emails show.

JOHN MCEVOY23 MARCH 2022  The UK’s treatment of Julian Assange posed a public relations problem for the Foreign Office’s media freedom campaign, files seen by Declassified UK show.

In July 2019, the UK co-hosted a Global Conference for Media Freedom, a first-of-its-kind event where 50 countries gathered to form a Media Freedom Coalition.

Costing £2.4 million, the event was hailed as “a major milestone” in the UK government’s “campaign to protect journalists doing their job”.

The conference was held just months after WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. 

He was transferred to Belmarsh prison, “the closest comparison in the United Kingdom to Guantánamo”, as a UK parliamentary report has described it.

Addressing the media conference, then foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt declared: “If we act together, we can shine a spotlight on abuses and impose a diplomatic price on those who would harm journalists or lock them up for doing their jobs”.

‘We should be ready’

The hosting of a media freedom event within miles of Belmarsh prison in southeast London was seen as a public relations problem. Internal Foreign Office emails show UK officials monitored online behaviour accordingly.

After Hunt announced plans for the conference in February 2019, one official complained about “a few individual crazy responses to the FS’ [Foreign Secretary’s] tweet”.

By June, officials were requesting “Lines to Take on how best to respond to questions we expect to be raised on this occasion about the UK handling of the case of Julian Assange”.

In particular, “Icelandic criticism of UK handling of [the] Assange case” was seen to be “affecting messaging on media freedom”. 

This email was likely related to former Icelandic Interior Minister Ögmundur Jónasson, who had asserted in June that the Assange case put “the British justice system…on trial”

On 8 July, two days before the conference began, an unnamed official wrote about “a ramp up in activity by Assange campaigners”. 

One cause for concern was Assange’s mother Christine, who had “joined calls for a tweetstorm during the conference”, as well as “accounts [which] are small scale or are run by active trolls and provocateurs”.

The official outlined rules for engagement, noting “our current approach is right and we shouldn’t engage…However, we should be ready. I’m keen that we agree ahead of time how and when our approach would evolve”.

In an email with the subject line “Media Freedom Conference – online register of interest form”, one official even questioned: “what if someone like Assange applied to attend?”

The Foreign Office emails discussing Assange remain heavily redacted for reasons of “national security”.

‘No communications strategy can make this go away’

According to a recent academic study, Julian Assange “was by far the most frequently discussed individual on Twitter” with regards to the Media Freedom Coalition.

“Numerous tweets highlighted the apparent irony that the UK was establishing and leading an international initiative on media freedom, while simultaneously undermining free media…in their handling of Assange”, the researchers found.

Since 2019, the UK has nonetheless continued to use the Global Conference for Media Freedom as a vehicle through which to claim it supports press freedom.

Rebecca Vincent, the Director of International Campaigns for Reporters Without Borders (RSF), commented:

“It is disappointing that rather than looking to address the very serious substantive concerns about the case of Julian Assange, the UK Foreign Office seems to have treated the matter as only a public relations inconvenience as it prepared to host the Global Media Freedom Conference and launch the Media Freedom Coalition. 

“But the truth is that no communications strategy can make this go away. As long as Assange remains detained in the UK and as long as the US continues to seek his extradition and prosecution for publishing information in the public interest, this case will serve as a thorn in the sides of both governments and the Media Freedom Coalition itself.”

She added: “They should instead lead by example by dropping the charges, releasing Assange, and putting an end to his persecution once and for all”.

March 24, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, media, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Assange denied permission to appeal

March 14, 2022 Posted by | civil liberties, Legal, UK | Leave a comment

The US and NATO have never been sanctioned for start ing wars. Why? — RT World News

That’s right – you can’t read this, now that the Western powers have censored it.

March 5, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

US and British governments are effectively using “lawfare” to ensure Assange’s continued detention

Although the threat of imminent extradition has been stayed, Assange stands on thin ice. What began as a case on the most fundamental rights of journalists to expose war crimes and torturehas been whittled away by the British judiciary to the single question of how “assurances” of Assange’s safety should be given by one criminal state to another.

Whatever the outcome, the US and British governments are effectively using “lawfare” to ensure Assange’s continued detention, even though he has been convicted of no crime.

Assange granted leave to appeal to UK Supreme Court against extradition,  https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/01/24/assa-j24.html?pk_campaign=assange-newsletter&pk_kwd=wsws Oscar GrenfellThomas Scripps, 24January 2022

The UK High Court has provided WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a route to appeal to the Supreme Court in his extradition case against the United States government.

Assange is seeking to overturn the High Court’s direction last December that he be extradited, against the earlier ruling of the lower Magistrates’ Court that to do so would be “oppressive” on health grounds.

The High Court upheld a US appeal against the Magistrates’ Court ruling despite accepting evidence of Assange’s intense physical and psychological ill-health. It also did not contest the likelihood that the conditions he would be subjected to in the US, as discussed throughout the entire preceding court process, would likely result in his death by suicide.

The December ruling was overwhelmingly based upon supposed US assurances, issued months after deadlines had elapsed, that Assange’s conditions in an American prison would not be as bad as previously accepted.

With numerous caveats and loopholes, the US assurances asserted that Assange would not be held under Special Administrative Measures (SAMs), a regime of total isolation, to which those convicted of terrorism offenses, along with drug lords and major serial killers, are sometimes subjected in federal prison.

The High Court found that the Magistrates Court should have solicited such assurances prior to its ruling.

In response to Assange’s request for leave to appeal this decision yesterday, the judges certified a single point of law of public importance, the requirement for an issue to be heard in the Supreme Court. This was: “In what circumstances can an appellate court receive assurances from a requesting state which were not before the court of first instance in extradition proceedings [in this case, the magistrates’ court].”

Assange’s lawyers had argued that “profound issues of natural justice arise where assurances are introduced by the Requesting State for the first time at the High Court stage… These issues have never been addressed by the Supreme Court.”

As his solicitors elaborated in an explanatory note, “There has long been a general approach by the courts that requires that all relevant matters are raised before the District Judge appointed to consider the case in the Magistrates’ Court,” but this has been undermined by the treating of assurances as “issues” rather than “evidence”, allowing them to be introduced at a later stage in proceedings.

“The defence argument is that despite being as demanding of close evidential scrutiny as the evidence already heard, and despite the content of the assurances being applicable to the testimony of witnesses already heard but not to be heard again, assurances have been afforded a different procedural position.”

The assurances in question, accepted in “good faith” by the High Court, are given by a state with a decades-long history of lies and dirty tricks whose record in the Assange case was exposed a month before the High Court ruling as including plans to kidnap and assassinate the heroic journalist.

Based on the statements of 30 former US officials, Yahoo! News revealed that the Trump administration and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had discussed kidnapping or assassinating Assange when he was a political refugee in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2017. The US indictment was first conceived of as a pseudo-legal cover for a possible CIA rendition.

The character of that indictment, as a concoction from spies and criminals, had been proven in June 2021. Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson, whose testimony still forms a crucial part of the indictment, admitted that all his substantive allegations against Assange were lies proffered in exchange for immunity from US prosecution. The star US witness is reportedly facing prosecution in Iceland on fraud charges, having been convicted of child molestation and embezzlement offenses prior to his latest collaboration with the American government.

Although the threat of imminent extradition has been stayed, Assange stands on thin ice. What began as a case on the most fundamental rights of journalists to expose war crimes and torturehas been whittled away by the British judiciary to the single question of how “assurances” of Assange’s safety should be given by one criminal state to another.

The Magistrates’ Court upheld the sweeping US attacks on democratic rights contained in the attempt by a state to prosecute a journalist for publishing true information about its unlawful activities. This forced Assange to defend the US appeal on the grounds of the threat to his mental health posed by extradition and imprisonment in the US. The High Court’s acceptance of the US appeal means Assange’s defence is now limited to the question of when assurances should have been provided.

In keeping with the UK’s courts’ trashing of democratic rights throughout this case, the High Court rejected out of hand the point of appeal that the assurances are worthless because the US asserts the right to withdraw them if Assange violates, or is alleged to have violated, certain conditions.

Assange’s lawyers argued “oppressive treatment” is barred, “whether or not the requesting state justifies its imposition by reference to conduct.”The High Court replied that it did not consider these arguments to “raise certifiable points” for the Supreme Court’s consideration.

It is now technically down to the Supreme Court to agree to hear Assange’s case; it would be highly unusual, though not impossible, for it to refuse to consider an issue certified by the High Court.

If Assange’s appeal is unsuccessful and his case is sent to Home Secretary Priti Patel to rubber-stamp his extradition, then his lawyers can seek to cross appeal the Magistrates’ Court’s original decision on the substantive issues of the case—press freedom, the espionage act and the bar on extradition for political offences. But leave to do so is not assured and would mean years more incarceration as the new appeal works its way through the courts.

Whatever the outcome, the US and British governments are effectively using “lawfare” to ensure Assange’s continued detention, even though he has been convicted of no crime.

He remains in the maximum-security Belmarsh Prison, dubbed the UK’s Guantanamo Bay. With the British government allowing the mass spread of Omicron, in the latest stage of its homicidal “herd immunity” policy, the prison has reportedly been hit by COVID outbreaks. Assange, because of his fragile health, is at intense risk of succumbing to the virus. The repeated prison lockdowns intensify his isolation.

January 27, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, civil liberties, Legal, politics international | Leave a comment