Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Is US extradition inevitable for Julian Assange? | The Stream

Aljazeera English, 14 January 2022, It’s been more than a decade since the website WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of classified documents and videos – some of which revealed possible US war crimes. Now WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has one more chance to appeal a UK ruling that would allow him to be extradited to the US.

Last month, a UK High Court ruled that Assange could be extradited to the US to face charges of hacking and violating the US Espionage Act. The ruling goes against a lower court that previously said harsh US prison conditions would endanger Assange given his worsening mental and physical health.

Assange’s legal team has since filed an appeal to Britain’s Supreme Court, but in order for the appeal to be considered, it must be deemed of “general public importance”.

n 2019, the Trump administration indicted Assange for violating the US Espionage Act on counts related to the WikiLeaks release of secret US military documents and diplomatic cables. The US argues the release of classified information put the lives of American allies in danger.

Twenty-four civil liberties and press freedom groups, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, PEN America and Reporters Without Borders have called on the Biden administration to stop its prosecution against Assange. In a joint letter to the US Justice Department, they argue that Assange’s prosecution could set a precedent that would harm press freedom and the safety of journalists reporting on national security issues.

Assange spent seven years in refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and was eventually arrested in 2019. Last week, Assange’s supporters marked his 1,000th day of imprisonment at London’s Belmarsh high security prison.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll discuss the outlook for Assange’s case and its broader implications for press freedom worldwide.

January 14, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, media | Leave a comment

The Australian government is complicit with USA and UK imperilling the health of Julian Assange, may well cause his death.

AUKUS alliance driving Assange to his death,  https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/aukus-alliance-driving-assange-to-his-death,15904, By John Jiggens | 6 January 2022,   The actions of the U.S., UK and Australia are imperiling the health of Julian Assange and could result in the tragic death of the publisher, writes John Jiggens.

THE NEWS THAT Julian Assange has suffered a stroke while detained in London’s Belmarsh Prison has strengthened the fears of Assange supporters that the AUKUS alliance is comfortable with the WikiLeaks’ founder’s death at their hands.

But would an Australian Government be complicit in a plot against one of its own citizens?

Consider these recent stories.

In September 2021, Yahoo! News revealed that Mike Pompeo, who was the CIA Director in 2017, became party to a scheme to kidnap Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy or to assassinate him.

The Yahoo! investigation was based on conversations with 30 former U.S. officials. Among those interviewed, eight provided details on plans to kidnap Assange.

Greg Barns SC, a barrister and advisor to Julian Assange, told Bay FM:

“It was like something out of a James Bond film, except sadly, it was very true. There was a clear plan to take Assange out. We now have the Australian Government on notice that one of its citizens was the subject of a conspiracy to murder plot by the CIA.”

Further, he remarked:

The conduct of the CIA was outrageous, unlawful and represents a complete breach of the so-called alliance or friendship between Australia and the United States.

The CIA acts essentially as a criminal enterprise. It is state-sanctioned criminality. To be overtly planning to murder someone in any circumstances would amount to a conspiracy to murder for anyone else and the persons would face very serious criminal charges.

The Yahoo! report prompted prominent Assange supporters to write to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, asking if the Australian Government accepted the behaviour of an ally plotting to murder an Australian citizen and questioning whether Australian intelligence agencies participated in the plot or were notified about it.

Five weeks passed while Morrison’s office composed a 100-word reply.

It acceped no responsibility or accountability whatsoever. Indeed, Morrison’s reply did not deny Australian involvement or knowledge of the plot.

Instead it passed the buck, advising:

Concerns about the legality or propriety of the activities of Australian intelligence agency are best directed to the IGIS, the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.’

During the UK High Court extradition appeal in October, the Courier Mail ran another story, titled ‘Assange snubbed Aussie help 29 times, says Payne’.

Why, in the middle of Assange’s High Court hearing, was Foreign Minister Marise Payne using her friends in the Murdoch media to portray Assange as un-Australian, snubbing her patriotic ‘’Aussie help’’?

Assange’s father John Shipton commented:

“I get no help from Marise Payne in any way whatsoever. Saying I have been snubbed 29 times by Julian is to defend her. It’s only to defend her. It’s nothing to do with Julian.”

The family have continually asked for Payne and Morrison to actively engage with Australia’s UK and U.S. allies. They see extradition as an outrageous surrender of Australian sovereignty and they expect that Morrison and Payne should tell UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Joe Biden so.

Shipton, who has travelled to 50 countries to garner support for Julian, said:

“Everywhere I go, people ask where is the Australian Government in this? What is the substance of Australia in its relationship with the UK that it allows this show trial to go on without comment?”

 

January 6, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

The Australian government has breached the rights of both black and white people of Kimba in depriving them of access to independent information on nuclear wastes.

Nuclear waste is considered a highly toxic and dangerous material which it is acknowledged requires geological burial for long term storage and disposal which is not the case at Kimba

I wonder how our government so highly regarded overseas as a beacon for justice and democratic principles has not just allowed but actively participated in depriving the Barngarla as well as the general community of their rights to properly ventilate their concerns 

It is quite clear from the settled overseas requirements that the federal government as the proponent of the nuclear waste facility at Kimba must enable the Kimba community including the Barngarla to seek their own independent assessment and advice as to the government’s proposals with the government providing all the necessary funding and access to all information for that purpose 

It should be relatively straightforward for the community generally which includes the Barngarla to establish that the government has failed to assist them in getting the independent assessment and refusing the funds for that purpose when requested on several previous occasions 

In addition to obviously being a major ground for the judicial review the government’s conduct is tantamount to a seemingly serious deprivation of the human rights of the Barngarla and the Kimba community .

While this breach of human rights applies to the whole community the Barngarla can additionally claim that their human rights were breached and that the mandate created to overcome the discriminatory conduct towards them covering

  • implementing international standards concerning the rights of indigenous peoples;
  • making recommendations and proposals on appropriate measures to prevent and remedy violations of the rights of indigenous peoples;
  • reporting on the human rights situations of indigenous peoples around the world; and
  • addressing specific cases of alleged violations of indigenous peoples’ rights.

Francisco Cali Tzay is the current mandate holder as Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples 

The mandate on hazardous substances and wastes 

relates to the exposure of people to a myriad of harmful substances without their prior informed consent which is a human right that can be satisfactorily solved if identified in its early stages

Dr Marcos A. Orellana is the current mandate holder as Special Rapporteur on toxics and wastes as human rights 

Nuclear waste is considered a highly toxic and dangerous material which it is acknowledged requires geological burial for long term storage and disposal which is not the case at Kimba

December 27, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australian government and Labor opposition ignore the suffering of Julian Assange. Can they afford to, as election looms?

If he dies, his death will have been caused by, among others, politicians in Australia who have the diplomatic power to bring him home,” Pilger said.“Scott Morrison, in particular, will have Julian’s life and suffering on his hands, along with those in the Labor opposition who have kept a cowardly silence.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, among others, has said that Scott Morrison must urge the US and Britain to release Assange and let him return to Australia.

the “noise” in parliament combined with more public awareness of Assange’s dire state may present a headache for the government as polls loom.

Saving Julian Assange,  Last week, the British High Court ruled that Julian Assange can be extradited to face charges in the United States. His fiancée, Stella Moris, vows to continue the fight alongside his network of supporters. By Amy Fallon.  https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2021/12/18/saving-julian-assange/163974600013099?fbclid=IwAR2dLaNxKG0FTyBvywjYpL_HpxPb8RWA6rF0mQwIE-X8Pnd8TMbAzkWed2Y#mt This week, Stella Moris said she and Julian Assange still intended to marry in the new year, although they have not set a date. She is currently speaking to the prison about arrangements. Moris hopes it will be a ceremony attended by close family and friends, with their children, Gabriel, 4, and Max, 2, taking part.

“The High Court ruling has made things even more precarious than before,” she tells The Saturday Paper.

“But that has only strengthened our determination to celebrate what is constant and certain in our lives – our love and support for each other.”

Moris is a South-African born lawyer and an activist in her own right. Her family were involved in the anti-apartheid battle. After the British High Court ruled that her fiancé could be extradited to the United States, her response was simple: “We will fight.”

“History will not spare them if we lose a man who is not only innocent of any crime but a genuine hero in the extraordinary public service he has performed for millions of people.”

She sees the case in these terms: “Every generation has an epic fight to fight, and this is ours, because Julian represents the fundamentals of what it means to live in a free society.”Last week’s decision was made after two of Britain’s most senior judges ruled Assange, earlier deemed a suicide risk, had received assurances from the US that he would not face the strictest measures before a trial or once convicted. They found a lower court had erred in offering him protection.

“That risk is in our judgement excluded by the assurances which are offered,” one of the judges, Lord Burnett, said. “It follows that we are satisfied that, if the assurances had been before the judge, she would have answered the relevant question differently.”

British Home Secretary Priti Patel must now approve Assange’s extradition. Lawyers for the 50-year-old are appealing the decision. Subsequent hearings are likely to raise the issue of free speech, which campaigners say is at the heart of the case involving the Walkley Award-winning journalist.Many around the world are now calling on the Australian government to intervene and save Assange’s life before it’s too late.

“There seem to be no limits to the savagery of the Anglosphere – US, UK, Australia – in exacting revenge for the crime of informing the population of what the powerful want to conceal,” the intellectual and activist Noam Chomsky later told The Saturday Paper.

He urged followers of Julian Assange, wanted by the US for breaking espionage laws after publishing hundreds of thousands of Afghanistan and Iraq war logs and diplomatic cables, to “get organised”.

“And act,” added Chomsky, because there was “not much time”.
Another two to three years may drag on before the extradition is resolved. Australian journalist John Pilger, who described Assange as “frail and skeletal” the last time he hugged his friend in 2020, said the fact he was still alive was remarkable.

Last weekend’s revelation, that Assange had suffered a stroke in October, didn’t shock the veteran reporter. A month earlier, a Yahoo News report revealed that the CIA allegedly planned to assassinate Assange.

“If he dies, his death will have been caused by, among others, politicians in Australia who have the diplomatic power to bring him home,” Pilger said.“Scott Morrison, in particular, will have Julian’s life and suffering on his hands, along with those in the Labor opposition who have kept a cowardly silence. History will not spare them if we lose a man who is not only innocent of any crime but a genuine hero in the extraordinary public service he has performed for millions of people.”

To Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s brother, Julian, is a “bad dancer” with a “dorky sense of humour”. But, he says, “he is very sweet with his children, very good with kids, and a very principled man”.

Shipton produced the recent documentary Ithaka, which tells the story of Gabriel and Julian’s father’s struggle to have Assange freed.“Often people lose sight that these are actual real people involved, not just a head on a screen, or a headline, that this is a person’s father, brother, partner,” Shipton says. “Once people find out about how tragic the actual injustice that Julian suffered [is], and through no fault of their own his family are suffering, they’re quite confronted that they’ve allowed it to carry on for as long as it has.”

Shipton concedes the fight is just as much or even more political than legal, and others echo this. “There is no doubt that [this] aggressive and relentless pursuit is driven by the US security and defence state,” said Greg Barns, a barrister and adviser to the Australian Assange campaign.

A bipartisan Australian Parliamentary Friends of the Bring Julian Assange Home group comprises 25 senators and MPs, but was adding “about one member or so monthly”, says Shipton. In the past week, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has spoken out against Assange being sent to the US. Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, among others, has said that Scott Morrison must urge the US and Britain to release Assange and let him return to Australia. The opposition has urged the government to encourage the US to close the matter, although it has not elaborated on what it means by this.According to Kellie Tranter, a Maitland-based lawyer, human rights activist, researcher and former WikiLeaks Party candidate, the “noise” in parliament combined with more public awareness of Assange’s dire state may present a headache for the government as polls loom.

“If the level of interest keeps increasing, the government may feel obliged to act as the Howard government did in the case of David Hicks,” she says, referring to the former Guantánamo Bay detainee. “The last thing the government wants is this case soaking up oxygen in place of its policies. It’s public criticism, which is exactly what they wanted to avoid in the case of Hicks.”Tranter points out that progressive campaign group GetUp! played a critical role in Hicks’s repatriation by making his detention by the US an election issue, mobilising public opinion against his mistreatment. They may be the only organisation capable of doing the same in this case, she said. GetUp! said they had no comment on Assange.

In Britain, Assange has admirers from all walks of life. Sadia Kokni, 40, is British-born with African, Indian and Middle Eastern heritage and the managing director of a cosmetics company. Despite having a disability, she attends twice-weekly protest vigils at the Australian high commission with “Team Assange”, comprising about 50 people, including bus drivers, graphic designers, nurses and artists.

“I campaign for nothing, I only campaign for Julian,” Kokni says. “Unlike when people campaign against a war – it’s a nation against a nation – when it comes to Julian it’s the most powerful nation in the world against one man and he’s exposing the atrocities of global governance and things that every living person should be aware of.”

Although Kokni acknowledges Assange’s predicament could be treated with greater urgency by the British parliament, she also feels disbelief over Australia’s inaction.“They could be doing a lot more, Australia. I find it ridiculous,” she said, singling out the high commissioner, George Brandis. “Brandis – what is he actually doing? Has he written any letters?”

The Australian high commission in Britain did not respond to requests for comment.

December 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison Hates Truth, – Free Julian Assange

December 18, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

The disgraceful case mounted against Assange by a corrupt U.S. Department of Justice and their hired guns in Britain.

It is this institutional lying and duplicity that Julian Assange brought into the open and in so doing performed perhaps the greatest public service of any journalist in modern times.

JOHN PILGER: U.S. wins extradition appeal against Julian Assange, Independent Australia, By John Pilger | 11 December 2021,  ”…….. Miscarriage of justice is an inadequate term in these circumstances. It took the bewigged courtiers of Britain’s ancien regime just nine minutes on Friday to uphold an American appeal against a District Court judge’s acceptance in January of a cataract of evidence that hell on Earth awaited Assange across the Atlantic: a hell in which, it was expertly predicted, he would find a way to take his own life.

Volumes of witness by people of distinction, who examined and studied Julian and diagnosed his autism and his Asperger’s Syndrome and revealed that he had already come within an ace of killing himself at Belmarsh Prison, Britain’s very own hell, were ignored.

The recent confession of a crucial FBI informant and prosecution stooge, a fraudster and serial liar, that he had fabricated his evidence against Julian was ignored. The revelation that the Spanish-run security firm at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where Julian had been granted political refuge, was a CIA front that spied on Julian’s lawyers and doctors and confidants (myself included) — that, too, was ignored.

The recent journalistic disclosure, repeated graphically by defence counsel before the High Court in October, that the CIA had planned to murder Julian in London — even that was ignored.

Each of these “matters”, as lawyers like to say, was enough on its own for a judge upholding the law to throw out the disgraceful case mounted against Assange by a corrupt U.S. Department of Justice and their hired guns in Britain. Julian’s state of mind, bellowed James Lewis, QC, America’s man at the Old Bailey last year, was no more than malingering — an archaic Victorian term used to deny the very existence of mental illness. 

To Lewis, almost every defence witness, including those who described from the depth of their experience and knowledge the barbaric American prison system, was to be interrupted, abused, discredited. Sitting behind him, passing him notes, was his American conductor: young, short-haired, clearly an Ivy League man on the rise.

In their nine minutes of dismissal of the fate of journalist Assange, two of the most senior judges in Britain, including the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett (a lifelong buddy of Sir Alan Duncan, Boris Johnson’s former Foreign Minister who arranged the brutal police kidnapping of Assange from the Ecuadorean embassy) referred to not one of a litany of truths aired at previous hearings in the District Court.

These were truths that had struggled to be heard in a lower court presided over by a weirdly hostile judge, Vanessa Baraitser. Her insulting behaviour towards a clearly stricken Assange, struggling through a fog of prison-dispensed medication to remember his name, is unforgettable.

What was truly shocking on Friday was that the High Court Judges – Lord Burnett and Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde, who read out their words – showed no hesitation in sending Julian to his death, living or otherwise. They offered no mitigation, no suggestion that they had agonised over legalities or even basic morality.

Their ruling in favour, if not on behalf of the United States, is based squarely on transparently fraudulent “assurances” scrabbled together by the Biden Administration when it looked in January like justice might prevail.

These “assurances” are that once in American custody, Assange will not be subject to the Orwellian SAMs – Special Administrative Measures – which would make him an un-person; that he will not be imprisoned at ADX Florence, a prison in Colorado long condemned by jurists and human rights groups as illegal: “a pit of punishment and disappearance”; that he can be transferred to an Australian prison to finish his sentence there.

The absurdity lies in what the Judges omitted to say. In offering its “assurances”, the U.S. reserves the right not to guarantee anything should Assange do something that displeases his gaolers. In other words, as Amnesty International has pointed out, it reserves the right to break any promise.

There are abundant examples of the U.S. doing just that. As investigative journalist Richard Medhurst revealed last month, David Mendoza Herrarte was extradited from Spain to the U.S. on the “promise” that he would serve his sentence in Spain. The Spanish courts regarded this as a binding condition.

Medhurst wrote:

‘Classified documents reveal the diplomatic assurances given by the U.S. Embassy in Madrid and how the U.S. violated the conditions of the extradition. Mendoza spent over six years in the U.S. trying to return to Spain. Court documents show the United States denied his transfer application multiple times.’

The High Court Judges – who were aware of the Mendoza case and of Washington’s habitual duplicity – describe the “assurances” not to be beastly to Julian Assange as a “solemn undertaking offered by one government to another”. This article would stretch into infinity if I listed the times the rapacious United States has broken “solemn undertakings” to governments, such as treaties that are summarily torn up and civil wars that are fuelled. It is the way Washington has ruled the world, and before it Britain — the way of imperial power, as history teaches us.

It is this institutional lying and duplicity that Julian Assange brought into the open and in so doing performed perhaps the greatest public service of any journalist in modern times.

Julian himself has been a prisoner of lying governments for more than a decade now. During these long years, I have sat in many courts as the United States has sought to manipulate the law to silence him and WikiLeaks………….. https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/john-pilger-us-wins-extradition-appeal-against-julian-assange,15842

December 16, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Julian Assange trial is political hypocrisy

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange attended the conference. Assange has become one of the main targets. Many of the themes discussed at the conference are what Assange has come to represent.

Freedom of information rather than freedom from information. The prosecution of wrongdoers, not the prosecution of whistleblowers. An open society, not a closed society. 

“Freedom to think as you will and speak as you think are indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people.”

The Australian Government must speak up for Julian Assange. 

Julian Assange trial is political hypocrisy, Independent Australia, By Kim Sawyer | 13 December 2021 Given that governments in the past have encouraged whistleblowing, the punishment of Julian Assange is a great hypocrisy, writes Dr Kim Sawyer.

Continue reading

December 14, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie implores the Prime Minister to pick up the phone to the US president and UK prime minister to end the prosecution of Julian Assange.

MP urges PM to pick up phone over Assange,  https://www.mandurahmail.com.au/story/7548246/mp-urges-pm-to-pick-up-phone-over-assange/?cs=9397Dominic Giannini   

MP urges PM to pick up phone over Assange,  https://www.mandurahmail.com.au/story/7548246/mp-urges-pm-to-pick-up-phone-over-assange/?cs=9397

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has implored the prime minister to pick up the phone to the US president and UK prime minister to end the prosecution of Julian Assange.

The former intelligence analyst said the prosecution of Mr Assange has always been political which meant it could be solved politically by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“The reality is this has always been an intensively political matter and it can be solved politically by Scott Morrison picking up the phone to Joe Biden and Boris Johnson,” Mr Wilkie told the ABC.

It comes after reports the 50-year-old WikiLeaks founder suffered a stroke in prison in October.

“Jail is killing Julian Assange,” Mr Wilkie said.

“There is no way he will survive continued incarceration in the UK.”

Mr Assange has just suffered a legal blow after the UK High Court ruled he could be extradited to face charges in the US.

Mr Assange’s lawyers say they intend to appeal the decision in the UK’s highest court.

December 12, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, politics international | Leave a comment

Australian government urged to push UK and US to free Julian Assange.

Australian government urged to push UK and US to free Julian Assange, SBS , 12 Dec 21,

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says officials have raised issues of due legal process and access to proper medical care for Julian Assange with officials in the UK and the US.  By Alexander Britton

The Australian government has been urged to weigh in on the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as supporters vowed to continue to fight against his extradition……………..

Senator Rex Patrick told SBS News the Australian government has not placed enough pressure on the US and UK governments about the case but was hopeful “common sense will prevail”.

He said: “We have a Deputy Prime Minister (Barnaby Joyce) who spoke in support of Julian Assange while on the backbench who is in Washington in quarantine.

“He could be using his time pushing his views, speaking to the (US) Secretary of State.

“The Deputy Prime Minister was very clear as to what the Government should be doing, but has remained quiet since he rejoined the cabinet.”

‘Dangerous and misguided’   

In a statement, Mr Joyce said: “My position remains the same….In regards to the current UK proceedings, I note he was not in the US at the time of the action he is accused nor was he a US citizen at the time so should not be bound to US laws.”

The US said the release of the classified information put lives in danger, but Mr Assange’s backers say the case is retaliation for his exposing of wrongdoing in overseas conflicts.

His fiancee, Stella Moris, said his legal team would appeal against the decision and said Friday’s verdict at the Royal Courts of Justice in London was “dangerous and misguided”.

“This goes to the fundamentals of press freedom and of democracy. We will fight,” she said outside the court. 

“Every generation has an epic fight to fight, and this is ours because Julian represents the fundamentals of what it means to live in a free society, of what it means to have press freedom.”

The ruling has been the subject of criticism from a range of campaign groups, as well as a number of politicians in Australia.

Labor MP Julian Hill said the Australian government “must stand up to the US and the UK and stop this extradition”.

In a series of tweets, he said: “Julian Assange, an Australian citizen is fighting for his life in London, as the USA seeks his extradition to face an effective death sentence.

“This Australian, who exposed US war crimes, is treated worse than a war criminal. He’s NOT receiving a fair trial.

“There will never be a legal solution to Julian Assange’s case. It is an inherently political witch-hunt.

“The Australian Government must stand up to the US and the UK and stop this extradition.”

Federal Independent MP Andrew Wilkie urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to “end the lunacy” and demand the release of Mr Assange.

“The PM must end this lunacy, pick up the phone to his counterparts in the US and UK, and urge them to release Mr Assange immediately and allow him to return to Australia. He is a hero, not a villain, and journalism is not a crime.”

Greens senator Janet Rice added: “Julian Assange’s prosecution has always been political. It’s going to need a political response from our government to get justice for him.”

And MP George Christensen, who introduced a private bill to address the illegal detention of journalists last month, titled “free Julian Assange”, called on US President Joe Biden to drop the case.

He wrote on Facebook: “A foreign court just ruled that an Australian journalist – Julian Assange – should be extradited to another foreign nation to face trumped-up charges of hacking and espionage. 

“This is an affront to freedom of speech and Australian sovereignty.”

Concerns about Assange’s health………..

The legal wrangling will go to the Supreme Court, the United Kingdom’s final court of appeal.

Amnesty International’s Europe Director Nils Muižnieks said the decision was a “travesty of justice”.

“The US government’s indictment poses a grave threat to press freedom both in the United States and abroad.”

While Nils Melzer, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, noted the court’s decision came on the same day as Human Rights Day and expressed concerns about Mr Assange’s health.

He said: “It’s just like a car crash happening in slow motion and every now and then someone asking you to comment on what you’re seeing.

“Well it’s still a car crash happening in slow motion, we know exactly what’s at the end of this.

“At the end, Julian Assange is crushed as a person and our rights have been done away with.”……………..

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said they have made available consular assistance and continue to monitor the case. [ed note: a fat lot of good that will do!]………….. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australian-government-urged-to-push-uk-and-us-to-free-julian-assange_1/057ebae4-4cc9-40ba-9536-f6a2b74cf6e7

December 12, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics | Leave a comment

PM under pressure to end Assange ‘lunacy’

PM under pressure to end Assange ‘lunacy’ Blue Mountains GazetteMarty Silk and Tiffanie Turnbull  

  PM under pressure to end Assange ‘lunacy’ Blue Mountains Gazette

11 Dec 21, The federal government has “raised the situation” of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s confinement with the UK and US, but has stopped short of calling for the Australian to be released.

The 50-year-old is wanted in the US over the publishing of thousands of secret US diplomatic and military files, some of which revealed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Assange is also accused of trying to recruit hackers to provide WikiLeaks with classified US information, and if found guilty could face up to 175 years’ imprisonment……………

Assange’s lawyers intend to challenge the court’s ruling with another appeal, this time in the UK’s Supreme Court.

Federal Independent MP Andrew Wilkie is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to “end this lunacy” and demand the US and UK allow Assange to be released.

“Mr Assange should be looking forward to spending Christmas with his two young boys and his fiancee, but instead he’s facing a 175-year jail sentence and the very real possibility of living out his final days behind bars,” he said in a statement.

“He is a hero, not a villain, and journalism is not a crime.

“Again the United Kingdom proves it’s a lackey of the United States and that Australia is delighted to go along for the ride.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it respected the UK legal process and Australia was not a party to the case………..

The UK court’s decision has drawn ire from the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, who sharply criticised the verdict.

“This is a shortcoming for the British judiciary,” Mr Melzer told the DPA news agency on Friday.

“You can think what you want about Assange but he is not in a condition to be extradited,” he said, referring to a “politically motivated verdict”.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

https://www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au/story/7547367/pm-under-pressure-to-end-assange-lunacy/?cs=9676

December 12, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Assange facing extradition to US: where is the outrage?

How can it be fair, how can it be right, how can it be possible, to extradite Julian to the very country which plotted to kill him?”

Assange facing extradition to US: where is the outrage?   https://redflag.org.au/article/assange-facing-extradition-us-where-outrageTom Gilchrist11 December 2021

The US government has won its appeal against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, with the UK’s High Court overturning an earlier decision to block Assange’s extradition to the US. The case will now be sent back to the Magistrates Court with instructions to allow the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to approve or deny the extradition request.

This is a massive blow to press freedom. Assange faces one charge of conspiracy and 17 espionage charges, begun by the Trump administration but continued by the Biden administration. These 17 espionage charges relate to the publication and release of secret government documents, a crucial right for serious journalists trying to hold governments to account. As a statement from Wikileaks in response to the ruling puts its, Assange is “accused of publishing true information revealing crimes committed by the US government in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and details of CIA torture and rendition”.

For telling the truth about these war crimes Assange has faced a decade long campaign of persecution. As Amnesty International’s Europe Director Nils Muižnieks said in response to the High Court decision: “The US government’s indictment poses a grave threat to press freedom both in the United States and abroad. If upheld, it would undermine the key role of journalists and publishers in scrutinising governments and exposing their misdeeds, and would leave journalists everywhere looking over their shoulders.” Muižnieks has labelled the decision a “travesty of justice”.

In the earlier decision in January which blocked Assange’s extradition, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that the harsh conditions of the US prison system would put Assange at an unreasonable risk of suicide. The High Court has allowed the appeal against this decision on the basis of various “assurances” given by the US government to Assange. These included assurances that he would not be subjected to Special Administrative Measures which restrict contact with the outside world, and that he would be allowed to serve his sentence in Australia if the Australian government made such a request.

These assurances, however, come with caveats. The US government has said that they must be allowed to hold Assange in these restrictive conditions if they fear he could be responsible for a “breach” of “national security”. As Muižnieks argues “The fact that the US has reserved the right to change its mind at any time means that these assurances are not worth the paper they are written on”.

Earlier this year an investigative report from Yahoo! News revealed that leading figures in the US government had discussed the possibility of kidnapping or assassinating Assange during the seven years he was taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Over the last decade it has subjected Assange to a campaign of persecution which Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, says amounts to psychological torture. The idea that this same government is now able to give assurances that it cares about the health and safety of Assange is absurd. As Stella Moris, Assange’s partner, says “How can it be fair, how can it be right, how can it be possible, to extradite Julian to the very country which plotted to kill him?”

Moris is a part of Assange’s legal team and says they will be appealing the decision. Such an appeal would be heard by the UK Supreme Court. Assange, meanwhile, remains imprisoned indefinitely in a maximum-security UK prison.

As one of the world’s most high-profile political prisoners, and an Australian national, the Australian media and government might be expected to be up in arms over the plight of Assange. But the shameful lack of concern about his fate persists. Loyalty to the US empire, and willingness to cover up its many crimes, comes first for Australian capitalism.

December 12, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media | Leave a comment

Appeal to UK’s Supreme Court will just lengthen Julian Assange’s legal torment – of course Australia doesn’t care.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Assange, previously told the High Court that Australia had not indicated whether it would accept Assange, who “will most likely be dead before it can have any purchase, if it ever could”……..

Assange lawyers eye UK Supreme Court, The North West Star.Jess Glass and Tom Pilgrim, PA  

11 Dec 21, Julian Assange’s lawyers intend to take his case to the Supreme Court, his fiancee says, after the High Court allowed the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the United States.

Assange, 50, is wanted in the US over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose classified information following WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars

US authorities brought a High Court challenge against a January ruling by then-district judge Vanessa Baraitser that Assange should not be sent to the US, in which she cited a real and “oppressive” risk of suicide.

After a two-day hearing in October, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, sitting with Lord Justice Holroyde, ruled in favour of the US on Friday………..

The judges ordered that the case must return to Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a district judge to formally send it to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Assange’s fiancee Stella Moris called the ruling “dangerous and misguided” and said his lawyers intended to seek an appeal at the Supreme Court……..

The legal wrangling will go to the Supreme Court, the United Kingdom’s final court of appeal.

“It is highly disturbing that a UK court has overturned a decision not to extradite Julian Assange, accepting vague assurances by the United States government,” Assange’s lawyer Barry Pollack said.

“Mr Assange will seek review of this decision by the UK Supreme Court.”

Supporters of Assange gathered outside of the court after the ruling, chanting “free Julian Assange” and “no extradition”.

They tied hundreds of yellow ribbons to the court’s gates and held up placards saying “journalism is not a crime”.

If Assange’s lawyers do take his case to the Supreme Court, justices will first decide whether to hear the case before any appeal is heard.

During October’s hearing, James Lewis QC for the US said that the “binding” diplomatic assurances made were a “solemn matter” and “are not dished out like Smarties”.

The assurances included that Assange would not be held in a so-called “ADX” maximum security prison in Colorado or submitted to special administrative measures (SAMs) and that he could be transferred to Australia to serve his sentence if convicted.

But lawyers representing Assange had argued that the assurances over the WikiLeaks founder’s potential treatment were “meaningless” and “vague”.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Assange, previously told the High Court that Australia had not indicated whether it would accept Assange, who “will most likely be dead before it can have any purchase, if it ever could”……..

The United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer sharply criticised the verdict.

“This is a shortcoming for the British judiciary,” Melzer told the DPA news agency on Friday.

“You can think what you want about Assange but he is not in a condition to be extradited,” he said, referring to a “politically motivated verdict”.

with reporting from Reuters and DPA  https://www.northweststar.com.au/story/7547237/assange-lawyers-eye-uk-supreme-court/?cs=13136

December 11, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

The latest court case for Australian Julian Assange – and the death of democracy

Assange is too important to the establishment to let get away. No matter that the C.I.A. wanted to kill him; no matter that the C.I.A. spied on his privileged conversations with his lawyers; no matter that the chief witness in the computer conspiracy charge admitted he made it all up.

The Old Boy Network of trust between the rulers of the Anglo-Saxon powers was enough.

To save their hides from more exposure about how they try to violently and deceptively dominate the world, they are willing to sacrifice the last vestiges of their pretend democracy.

Julian Assange is that important to them.

Democracy Dying in the Darkness of the Assange Case  https://consortiumnews.com/2021/12/10/democracy-dying-in-the-darkness-of-the-assange-case/ December 10, 2021  The establishment figures on the bench took American promises as “solemn undertakings from one government to another” because Assange is too important to let go,   By Joe Lauria.

  It is a very dark day indeed for the future of press freedom. If Julian Assange does not find relief at the U.K. Supreme Court, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that democracy, already on life support, is done for. The U.S., and its best ally Britain, have behaved in this affair no better than any tinpot dictator tossing a critical reporter into a dungeon.

This judgement by the High Court today to allow Assange’s extradition to the U.S. comes on U.N. Human Rights Day; the day that Washington concluded its so-called Democracy Summit and the day when the Nobel Prize was awarded to two journalists, one of whom dismissed Julian Assange and said the purpose of journalism is to support national security.

That’s exactly what the national security state wants from its journalists. And they reward them with the highest honors. Assange did the opposite. He fulfilled journalism’s supreme purpose and he may be about to pay for it with his life. 

The Choices Available

The High Court could have denied extradition to a country whose intelligence service plotted to kill or kidnap him. It could have sent the case back to magistrate’s court to be reheard.

Instead Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett and Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde found an extremely narrow way to overturn the lower court’s decision not to extradite Assange.

Continue reading

December 11, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, politics international, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Complicity of the corporate media in the defamation of Julian Assange’s character

Assange / December 2021 issue / Human Rights
New FOI responses confirm the British government’s media campaign against Julian Assangeby The Indicteron December 5, 2021  By Nina Cross, Acting chief-editor of The Indicter.

This article revisits the ‘The role of the BBC in the state-sponsored persecution of Julian Assange. Part 1’ in light of relevant FOI responses we have received from the British government (linked to below). They confirm that Jeremy Hunt’s BBC interview on 11th April 2019 was specifically arranged in the Foreign Office for the purpose of commenting on Assange’s arrest.  Assange was arrested for the minor offence of breaching a police bail in 2012 as the result of seeking political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy. He feared persecution by the US government for Wikileaks’ publication of evidence showing US war crimes.

In order to recognise the significance of Hunt’s statement and its impact on Assange, we can measure it against the ECHR’s understanding of how the right to freedom of expression (Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights) can impact on the right to a fair trial (Article 6 of the same Convention):

“Article 10 of the Convention, includes the freedom to receive and impart information. Article 6 § 2 cannot therefore prevent the authorities from informing the public about criminal investigations in progress, but it requires that they do so with all the discretion and circumspection necessary if the presumption of innocence is to be respected…The Court has emphasised the importance of the choice of words by public officials in their statements before a person has been tried and found guilty of a particular criminal offence …As to press campaigns against an accused or publications which contain accusatory aspects, the Court has noted that these may prejudice the fairness of a trial by influencing public opinion and, consequently, the jurors called upon to decide on the guilt of an accused…”

With this clarification by the ECHR in mind, Hunt’s comments on Assange can be examined:

No one is above the law. Julian Assange is no hero.  He has hidden from the truth for years and years and it is right that his future should be decided in the British judicial system.  What has happened today is the result of years of careful diplomacy by the foreign office and I commend particularly our ambassador in Ecuador, and Alan Duncan and his team here in London for their work but also the very courageous decision by President Moreno in Ecuador to resolve the situation that has been going on for nearly seven years I mean it’s not so much Julian Assange being held hostage in the Ecuadorian Embassy, it’s actually Julian Assange holding the Ecuadorian embassy hostage in a situation that was absolutely intolerable for them so this will now be decided properly, independently by the British legal system respected throughout the world for its independent and integrity and that is the right outcome.”

There are no specific facts in Hunt’s statement regarding any charges, crimes or convictions.  His comments “no hero” “hidden from the truth” “holding the Ecuadorian embassy hostage” “absolutely intolerable” are speculative opinion.  His statement is designed to provoke disgust.

As we asked in Part 1 regarding the government’s statements the day Assange was arrested, what possible proportionate and legitimate reason could exist allowing senior ministers to make multiple public statements across government and which infer guilt: “It is only right he is facing justice.” “No one is above the law”.   The issue of public interest could have been addressed with a single objective statement of fact on Assange’s arrest.  But this was not about public interest; it was a strategy to protect the actions of the Ecuadorian government which had unlawfully stripped Assange of asylum.  It was a coordinated campaign by the senior Cabinet ministers to paint Assange as a serious criminal who should “face justice” thereby setting the scene for the US Department of Justice to launch its attack on Assange and set in motion the process to criminalise investigative journalism…………..

Should Assange’s case ever go to the European Court of Human Rights, the malevolent manipulation by politicians should be laid bare.  The extent to which senior politicians have abused their office to interfere with and frame public opinion of Assange should be set out in the Court, as should the role of the British corporate media. The connivance of politicians through the use of the media is further evidence that the persecution of Assange is state-sponsored and has relied on networks and relationships between powerful individuals in public office and powerful media figures and institutions.

The defamation of Assange’s character by the British government is institutional; to this day, over two and a half years after he was rendered by hostile states and placed in high security Belmarsh prison, treated as a terrorist, the government continues its disinformation and smearing campaign against him, as seen on the government website:……….

But only through the complicity of the corporate media has this abuse been possible.  Without its sustained collusion and servility, the powerful would not have impunity; they would not dare attempt what appears to be the slow assassination of a journalist in full public view for exposing their crimes.  https://theindicter.com/new-foi-responses-confirm-the-british-governments-media-campaign-against-julian-assange/?fbclid=IwAR3_g27G5_2LIGeWfWtD-CU4-nuYKQTC9RfseI2GEV-qnzvB2JGpBELEE04

December 7, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

In the next extradition court case for Julian Assange, we can expect the judge there to be very biased against Assange

Now the most powerful judge in England and Wales, Burnett will soon rule on Assange’s extradition case. The founder of WikiLeaks faces life imprisonment in the US. ……………………

As minister, Duncan did not hide his opposition to Julian Assange, calling him a “miserable little worm” in parliament in March 2018

Duncan watched UK police pulling the WikiLeaks publisher from the Ecuadorian embassy via a live-feed in the Operations Room at the top of the Foreign Office. 

He later admitted he was “trying to keep the smirk off [his] face”, and hosted drinks at his parliamentary office for the team involved in the eviction.

ASSANGE JUDGE IS 40-YEAR ‘GOOD FRIEND’ OF MINISTER WHO ORCHESTRATED HIS ARREST

Julian Assange’s fate lies in the hands of an appeal judge who is a close friend of Sir Alan Duncan – the former foreign minister who called Assange a “miserable little worm” in parliament. DECLASSIFIED UK

MATT KENNARD AND MARK CURTIS 2 DECEMBER 2021  LORD CHIEF JUSTICE IAN BURNETT, THE JUDGE THAT WILL SOON DECIDE JULIAN ASSANGE’S FATE, IS A CLOSE PERSONAL FRIEND OF SIR ALAN DUNCAN, WHO AS FOREIGN MINISTER ARRANGED ASSANGE’S EVICTION FROM THE ECUADORIAN EMBASSY.

The two have known each other since their student days at Oxford in the 1970s, when Duncan called Burnett “the Judge”. Burnett and his wife attended Duncan’s birthday dinner at a members-only London club in 2017, when Burnett was a judge at the court of appeal.

Now the most powerful judge in England and Wales, Burnett will soon rule on Assange’s extradition case. The founder of WikiLeaks faces life imprisonment in the US. ……………………

As minister, Duncan did not hide his opposition to Julian Assange, calling him a “miserable little worm” in parliament in March 2018. 

In his diaries, Duncan refers to the “supposed human rights of Julian Assange”. He admits to arranging a Daily Mail hit piece on Assange that was published the day after the journalist’s arrest in April 2019. 

Duncan watched UK police pulling the WikiLeaks publisher from the Ecuadorian embassy via a live-feed in the Operations Room at the top of the Foreign Office. 

He later admitted he was “trying to keep the smirk off [his] face”, and hosted drinks at his parliamentary office for the team involved in the eviction.

Duncan then flew to Ecuador to meet President Lenín Moreno in order to “say thank you” for handing over Assange. Duncan reported he gave Moreno “a beautiful porcelain plate from the Buckingham Palace gift shop.” 

“Job done,” he added……………………………….   https://declassifieduk.org/assange-judge-is-40-year-good-friend-of-minister-who-orchestrated-his-arrest/

December 6, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, legal, politics international | Leave a comment