Australian news, and some related international items

Australian government will not intervene as Australian citizen Julian Assange is extradited from UK to USA

Australia won’t interfere in Assange case, By Dominic Giannini, April 21, 2022 The Australian government will not make any representations to the British home secretary after a UK court approved the extradition of whistleblower Julian Assange to the US.

A British court has sent Mr Assange’s extradition order to Home Secretary Priti Patel, but the whistleblower can try to challenge the decision by judicial review if signed.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the government maintained confidence in the UK’s justice system.

“We trust the independence and integrity of the UK justice system. Our expectation is that, as always, it operates in the proper and transparent and independent way,” he told the ABC.

“It, of course, has appeal processes built into it as well. This is the legal system upon which our own has been built on and established and we have confidence in the process.”

Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said it was ultimately a decision for the UK home secretary.

“I do understand why not only Mr Assange’s personal supporters but many Australians more generally are worried about this. It has dragged on a long time,” she told the ABC.

“As an Australian citizen, he is entitled to consular assistance. We also expect the government to keep seeking assurances from both the UK and US that he’s treated fairly and humanely.”

But Senator Wong stopped short of saying a Labor government would make specific representations about the case. 

“Consular matters are regularly raised with counterparts, they are regularly raised and this one would be no different,” she said.

The development comes 10 days after Mr Assange surpassed the three-year anniversary of his arrest.

The 50-year-old Australian was dragged from London’s Ecuador embassy on April 11 in 2019 to face extradition to the United States on espionage charges over WikiLeaks’ release of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has previously called for an end to Mr Assange’s extradition.

Mr Joyce said Mr Assange didn’t steal secret US files but only published them, which did not breach any Australian laws at the time, and he was not in the US when leaks were put online.

The Greens have criticised the extradition of Mr Assange, with senator Peter Whish-Wilson saying the US Espionage Act wasn’t intended to be used against publishers.

“We must support press freedoms and those who hold the powerful to account,” he said.

“Julian Assange’s prosecution has always been political. It needs political intervention of the highest order from our government to get justice for him.”

Assange Australia campaign adviser Greg Barnes says it’s important the matter has moved back into the political realm.

“Previously the Australian government has said we can’t even intervene because the matter is before the courts. It is no longer before the courts in that sense,” he told Sky News.

This is a political decision that will be made by Priti Patel and it’s a decision which the Australian government, and of course in this context the opposition, could influence.”

The Greens, crossbenchers such as Andrew Wilkie, and Liberal and Labor backbenchers had expressed support for Mr Assange, which could potentially influence a hung parliament in May, Mr Barnes said.

“That’s also an interesting factor as to what pressure is going to come on whoever gets elected in May to bring this Australian home.”

with Reuters

April 22, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, politics international, secrets and lies, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

The Australian media colludes with USA, UK and Australian governments’ persecution ofJulian Assange -”Crikey journal” typifies this

Australian media must stand up for Assange’s freedom,,15918 By Matilda Duncan | 10 January 2022,  For far too long the Australian media has remained silent in the face of Julian Assange’s persecution and that must change, writes Matilda Duncan.

LAST MONTH, Crikey’s legal correspondent Michael Bradley wrote a bizarre analysis of Julian Assange’s impending extradition to the U.S. without any regard for basic facts.

It’s worth examining, as it typifies the failures and absurdities of Australian press responses to Assange going back a decade — filled with lies, smears and false narratives that prevent the public from understanding the significance and substance of his case.

In writing about one of the gravest threats to press freedom in years, Bradley went as far as to include a cringeworthy – if not downright pernicious, given Assange recently suffered a stroke and is in precarious health – reference to a Monty Python quote being inscribed on Assange’s tombstone that ‘he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy’. 

You couldn’t make this stuff up.

In allowing his thoughts to remain mired in diversionary debates and myths about WikiLeaks and Assange, Bradley completely misses the point of the U.S. extradition case and fails to mention the dire threat to investigative journalism around the world it presents.

He does not confront or condemn the alarming legal precedent of the United States charging a foreign national, one of our citizens, with espionage under U.S domestic law — despite Assange not being a U.S. citizen and WikiLeaks not being a U.S.-based publication.

Bradley writes:

‘WikiLeaks broke new ground but mainly in volume and approach, not content.’

In 2010, Assange and WikiLeaks – in partnership with numerous mainstream media outlets, including The New York TimesThe Guardian and Der Spiegel – published a curated cache of 250,000 diplomatic cables revealing the corruption and destruction of the Bush-era and early Obama-era wars, into which Australia so subserviently followed.

Without Assange’s work, numerous war crimes, mass surveillance schemes and unreported civilian casualties would have gone uncovered. In one year, he generated more consequential journalistic scoops confronting Western centres of power than the rest of the world’s news organisations combined.

Some of the information published by Assange has since become the subject of criminal investigations into the CIA and U.S. authorities before the International Criminal Court, which, as lawyers for Assange testified during his extradition hearing, is further evidence that the U.S. case against him is politically motivated.

Further, irrefutable illustrations of the significance of the “content” of Assange’s work can be found in comparisons between it and the lies and deceptions fed to the Australian population by this country’s press in the Iraq War years. Consider, as just one example of many, WikiLeaks’ publishing of the detainee assessment briefs and manual for Guantanamo Bay, where children as young as 15 were held, in contrast with the vapid first-hand account of the illegal prison presented by one of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s top foreign correspondents, Leigh Sales.  

In 2007, Sales wrote of her second visit to Gitmo:

‘At the same time, my own eyes and ears led me to believe that Guantanamo wasn’t as barbaric as it was made out to be either. None of the detainees came running to the wire, begging for help to get out.’

One Guantanamo Bay prisoner has recently waived his right to appear in court on numerous occasions because he suffered “rectal damage” while in custody of the CIA that makes it too painful for him to sit.

According to Bradley, it’s Assange that’s the “problem”, not the CIA spying on Assange and planning to kidnap or assassinate him with the help of UC Global as he held political asylum inside the Ecuadorian Embassy. After UC Global installed microphones in 2017, all of Assange’s conversations were recorded, including those he had with his lawyers outlining his defence strategy for the current case against him.

This is likely a violation of attorney-client privilege in itself and might be reason enough to throw out the U.S. case against him.

Bradley wasted his words on puerile arguments about Assange being a “tarnished hero” instead of communicating the most pressing things to know about Assange: six of the 18 counts against him are Espionage Act charges that criminalise the obtaining of ‘national defense information’, something journalists that report on their governments do every day.

Ten other counts relate to  the disclosure of national defense information. Again, a regular task for many journalists. One further ‘conspiracy to commit computer intrusion’ count relates to Assange allegedly offering to help Chelsea Manning crack a security code to help her avoid detection while she was obtaining U.S. Government documents.

This is a charge that amounts to an attempt to criminalise a journalist assisting a source to protect themselves, yet another activity that responsible journalists regularly engage in.

Even more terrifyingly, the case against Assange centres around “national defence information”, a nebulous term that might be applied to whatever information the U.S. Government so chooses. It doesn’t even have to be classified or top-secret information — much of the information leaked by Manning was unclassified and widely accessible to others in government.

It has been recognised with press awards around the world for over a decade now, including a Walkley, and exposed human rights abuses globally. It is plain wrong to say that Assange did not redact the information he released — the compelling eyewitness testimony from Mark Davis can directly attest to that.

Further, there is no evidence of anyone becoming endangered by his reporting. In fact a 2013 investigation by McClatchy found officials couldn’t point to any examples of lives being endangered by WikiLeaks and in 2010, Obama officials privately admitted that any damage from the leaks was “limited” and that their public comments about the leaks having “seriously damaged American interests” were intended “to bolster legal efforts to shut down the WikiLeaks website and bring charges against the leakers”.

‘Like anyone who attains the status of iconic mystery, Assange  not actually seen freely moving in public in a decade  has become less person and more mirror reflecting the meanings we choose to attach to him and his experiences. What he actually thinks is known only to him, and his lawyers presumably.’

Bradley was correct on one thing: using the word “mirror” in connection with Assange. This citizen of ours bravely risked his life and liberty to tell us ugly truths about U.S. imperial power and military machinery, which this country so strongly enables and supports.

He reflected right back at this country snippets of the destruction and mass civilian deaths we willingly participated in. His brave journalism exposed the bulk of our country’s media as the petty, unserious talking heads they are: journalists that don’t actually serve the public, but parrot the lies they are told by governments.

Contrary to what Bradley says, what Assange “actually thinks” has been well-documented for years now.

After seven years of arbitrary detention followed by three years of solitary confinement and other tortures in London’s Belmarsh Prison, Assange thinks of suicide constantly. That the U.S. is slowly killing this Australian journalist, partner and father before our eyes for exposing war crimes while the Australian Government does nothing and the majority of our press either remains silent or – when they say anything at all – write flippant and inaccurate stories about him demonstrates just how broken this country’s media is.

It shows how unaware we are of the press freedom we are about to lose and how deeply needed the work of Julian Assange and others of his ilk is.

April 21, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, secrets and lies, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

Wikileaks Party- official registration open for comment until June 24

logo-Wikileaksballot-boxSmWikiLeaks Party closer to registering SMH, May 22, 2013  Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer The WikiLeaks political party is a step closer to being registered in Australia.

The Australian Electoral Commission on Wednesday published the constitution of the WikiLeaks Party and opened up the party’s official registration for public comment until June 24. WikiLeaks website founder Julian Assange plans to run for the Senate in Victoria at the September 14 election…. The WikiLeaks Party aims to run Senate candidates in Victoria, NSW and Western Australia.

Among the party’s objectives in its constitution are to “do all that is necessary to secure, develop and protect human rights and freedoms” and to hold governments, unions and corporations accountable for their actions.

The 10 names on the party application do not include Mr Assange. ….

May 23, 2013 Posted by | election 2013, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

USA out to get Julian Assange, and Australian govt not helping him,

Foreign Minister Bob Carr… claimed last week that there was “not the remotest evidence” of any US government desire to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder.

Fresh call on Assange ‘espionage’ SMH Philip Dorling July 2, 2012 THE head of the United States Senate’s powerful intelligence oversight committee has renewed calls for Julian Assange to be prosecuted for espionage. The US Justice Department has also confirmed WikiLeaks remains the target of a criminal investigation, calling into question Australian government claims the US has no interest in extraditing Mr Assange. Continue reading

July 2, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

Ever subservient to USA, Australia’s Foreign Minister ducks and weaves, pretending to support Julian Assange

Diplomatic cables released under freedom of information legislation show that in December 2010 the Australian embassy in Washington reported to Canberra that WikiLeaks was the target of an ”unprecedented” US criminal investigation focussed on possible espionage charges 

Mr Assange observed that it was “fascinating to note that the government is at odds with popular opinion; it’s not acting in its electoral interests – which makes one wonder what interests it’s really serving.”

Assange seeking US legal guarantee, The Age, Philip Dorling June 25, 20 JULIAN Assange hopes his bid for political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London will elicit diplomatic guarantees that he will not be prosecuted by the United States on espionage and conspiracy charges.
However, Foreign Minister Bob Carr yesterday renewed the Australian government’s strong criticism of WikiLeaks and indicated support for Mr Assange will remain limited to routine consular assistance Continue reading

June 24, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

Hypocrisy of Australian govt in helping USA against Julian Assange

The Australian government has liaised closely with the US from the beginning of the US WikiLeaks investigation, which rapidly gathered steam following Bradley Manning’s arrest in Iraq in March 2010. 

the released cables showed that the Australian embassy had confirmed through US officials that the US Justice Department was conducting an ”active and vigorous inquiry into whether Julian Assange can be charged under US law, most likely the 1917 Espionage Act”. 

ever anxious to demonstrate its loyalty to the US alliance, the Australian government has not uttered any objection to the prospect that Assange may be prosecuted for espionage.

Ministers cagey over Assange, The Age, Philip Dorling, June 2, 2012, Julian Assange fears extradition to Sweden to be questioned about sexual assault allegations.
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard, Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Foreign Minister Bob Carr all sang from the same hymn sheet this week on the continuing legal saga of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. But they chose their words very carefully.

The issue was whether the United States intends to charge and extradite Assange – the Australian journalist labelled by US Vice-President Joe Biden as ”a high-tech terrorist” – with criminal offences for WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic reports…..

Well aware of successive polls that show a high level of support for WikiLeaks and Assange across the Australian political spectrum, the Australian government has been insistent this week that it has no knowledge whatsoever of any intention by the US to prosecute and extradite the WikiLeaks publisher……. Continue reading

June 6, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, Wikileaks | | Leave a comment

Head of Australia’s Non-proliferation Office pushed for nuclear power

Leaked cables show nuclear power push, SMH, Dan Oakes, September 20, 2011  THE HEAD of Australia’s nuclear safeguard authority advised the then prime minister Kevin Rudd that no scheme to limit carbon emissions would succeed without the building of civilian nuclear power stations, according to leaked US diplomatic cables.

A report on a 2008 meeting between US and Australian officials – released by WikiLeaks – records John Carlson, then director-general of Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office, as saying that he doubted there would be any shift in the Labor Party’s opposition to nuclear power…… Read more:

September 20, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

Why did Julian Assange get a more severe security notice than Gaddafi did?

Why did Julian Assange receive an Interpol Red Notice, but Gaddafi only an Orange? Independent Australia  Tess Lawrenceinvestigates the murky world of Interpol exclusively for IA, asking some troubling questions and uncovering some startling facts.

May 24, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

USA seeks personal information from Twitter

the new tactic is an “attack on the right to freedom of association – a freedom that the people of Tunisia and Egypt, for example, spurred on by information from WikiLeaks, have found so valuable”…..There is serious concern among Mr Assange’s legal team that other internet companies, including Google and Facebook, may have buckled under the US Patriot Act and surrendered their information without contest.

US targets Twitter in bid to trap Assange, Sydney Morning Herald, Paola Totaro in London,February 15, 2011 The US government’s legal hunt for Julian Assange will begin in a magistrates court in Virginia today when its Attorney General seeks a disclosure order on Twitter to obtain the names, dates and locations of anyone using its services to communicate with WikiLeaks. Continue reading

February 15, 2011 Posted by | civil liberties, Wikileaks | | Leave a comment

Wikileaks: secret military spy satellite deals, Australia and USA

A leaked cable from February 2008 revealed a secret deal between the Australian and US governments to share secret intelligence from spy satellites,….The operations went against statements in the DWP. Then-defence department deputy secretary Mike Pezzullo told US diplomats the DWP had been carefully written to fool the ALP “Left” faction — which opposes US plans to develop a missile defence shield.

WikiLeaks exposes Aus. gov’t, Green Left, February 13, 2011By Ash Pemberton WikiLeaks has released secret US diplomatic cables that show secret Australian government negotiations Continue reading

February 14, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, weapons and war, Wikileaks | | Leave a comment

Julian Assange nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

“Liu Xiabao was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his struggle for human rights, democracy and freedom of speech in China, Likewise: WikiLeaks have contributed to the struggle for those very values globally, by exposing (among many other things) corruption, war crimes and torture.”

Julian Assange nominated for Peace TECHWATCH, by Tom Coyne, February 3, 2011, Julian Assange, founder of the whistle blowing website, Wikileaks, has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize Continue reading

February 4, 2011 Posted by | people, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

America’s right wing angry attack on Julian Assange

WikiLeaks: How US political invective turned on ‘anti-American’ Julian Assange The Guardian…... demonstrates how ‘US blood on hands’ of website’s founder got fainter and fainter  Luke Harding and David Leigh,  The Guardian,  3 February 2011
As the cables rolled out day by day, an ugly, and in many ways deranged, backlash took place in the US. Continue reading

February 4, 2011 Posted by | politics international, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

Wikileaks revealed the danger of selling uranium to Asia

The existing reality of massive investment in nuclear weaponry in poverty-stricken South Asia, and the potential for vastly worse outcomes, needs to be factored into debates over Australian uranium export policy……The problem is that IAEA safeguards inspections in India will at best be tokenistic.

Rolling the nuclear dice with Australian uranium The Punch, Jim Green,  December 2010, Secret US cables concerning nuclear politics in South Asia provide important context for debates over Australia’s uranium export industry…… Continue reading

January 21, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, uranium, Wikileaks | 1 Comment

Mastercard and Visa help govt efforts to suppress Wikileaks

these credit companies have a monopoly on the credit card business – so while Visa and MasterCard can “boycott” WikiLeaks their customers don’t have the same freedom.

What price is free speech?, Sydney Morning Herald, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, January 11, 2011 “……..supporting free speech and the protection of whistle-blowers: priceless! As the US and Australian governments got grumpy about their dirty laundry being aired by leaked cables to WikiLeaks, MasterCard and Visa last month chose to block their cardholders from donating money to the whistle-blowing organisation.

A spokesman for MasterCard, Chris Monteiro, was quoted as saying the company’s website suspended dealings with WikiLeaks because “MasterCard rules prohibit customers from directly or indirectly engaging in or facilitating any action that is illegal”. Continue reading

January 12, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, Wikileaks | | Leave a comment

About Julia and Julian, well, you’re wrong, Julia

Lately, Aussie Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been banging on that the actions of Wikileaks and Assange is “illegal” – as recently as two weeks ago. There were mutterings that Australia might have him extradited over the leaking of official United States government documents.  All designed to re-affirm how much Australia loves the USA.

Julian Assange has not broken Australian law, Coppers say Wikileaks is fair dinkum, TechEye, 20 Dec 2010 While the Australian government bays for the crucifixion of its citizen Julian Assange and Wikileaks, it seems that local coppers think that neither have done anything wrong. Continue reading

December 21, 2010 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Wikileaks | Leave a comment