Converge On Canberra Rally Speeches
On the 28th July 2022, approximately 150 people gathered on the Lawns of Parliament House in support of Julian Assange. The following speeches were recorded by Cathy Vogan from Consortium News
Senator David Shoebridge
“No Australian citizen should face over a century in jail for the crime of telling the truth”
Senator Jordon Steele-John
“Julian Assange today should be a free man. He is a publisher. His organisation Wikileaks obtains & publishes, freely, information it obtains: the literal definition of journalism. It happens every day in newsrooms across the continent. It is the key pillar of democracy”
Andrew Wilkie MP
“I take this opportunity again to say to Anthony [Abanese], when you boil it all down this is about a Walkley award winning Australian journalist, who published hard evidence of U.S. war crimes, and in response the U.S. wants to get even.”
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson
“Julian Assange & wikileaks: the great truth-tellers of [the Iraq] war… If we let Julian Assange be extradited and he dies in a maximum security prison in the U.S., then we will get another war, and another one…”
Christian Lambang-Foyne (Amnesty International)
“The treatment that Julian Assange is getting and is likely to get, should he be extradited to the U.S., is degrading and inhumane, and that’s not something that Australia stands for”
Bridget Archer MP
“This is a question of mercy and compassion for an Australian citizen who has endured inhumane conditions and has suffered significant mental and physical challenges as a result of his ongoing incarceration due to this protracted battle”
Mary Kostakidis (on releasing a dove)
“Many years ago Julian Assange said if wars can be started with lies, peace can be started with the truth. The dove is the symbol of peace, justice and freedom. Our dove represents press freedom. Our dove is Julian Assange”
Dr. Monique Ryan MP
“He’s an award-winning journalist who has been convicted of no crime and I think we all know that he would not be in this position were it another sovereign power seeking to take him from the U.K.“
Dr Sue Wareham AOM
“How can Australia credibly point to other nations and the war crimes that they commit, when we allow treatment of a man like this, who has simply exposed the crimes of our ally the U.S. in Iraq and elsewhere?”
“After 15 months in jail I was found guilty of espionage & sentenced to 6 years. 3 weeks later the guards told me I was being released immediately… I discovered shortly thereafter that Malcolm Turnbull, our then PM, had done a deal”
Julian Hill MP
“I understand the reasons from speaking to his legal team why Julian has to date refused consular assistance from the Australian government. It may be time that that decision is reconsidered because it is frankly very difficult for the government of Australia to get involved in these issues, and seek assurance and push assurance around health issues, when consular assistance has been rejected.”
“Over 90 German parliamentarians are now calling for Julian Assange to be released… Germany are very concerned. Even the German government are very concerned about what Julian Assange’s prosecution means for their journalists.”https://youtu.be/gv2UA3XpJ-E
Kathryn Kelly (Alliance Against Political Prosecutions)
“It is clear that Julian Assange did not commit espionage… We urge PM Albanese to put an end to this persecution of an innocent courageous man and to speak loudly and clearly to the U.K. and U.S. governments to free Julian and drop all the charges. If the friendship between our countries cannot stand that, what is it worth?”
All media is Creative Commons and may be republished citing Consortium News
More from Cathy Vogan on CN
MC Mary Kostakidis
Mary has been invaluable by liaising with speakers, other important media advice, and has also organizied a ‘surprise’ at the end to symbolize freeing Julian. Keep your eyes peeled for that at the front of the stage!
Mary requested Wilkie’s office to send out a press release so a press release will be coming from the office of Andrew Wilkie for our event!
Speakers in person confirmed as:
Dr Monique Ryan
Christian Lambang Fonye (Amnesty International)
Speakers via pre-recorded message or video
Kathryn Kelly for AAPP (Kathryn is in Adelaide for Richard Boyles case but has been supporting us from afar, as well as dropping off pop up shelters to my front door!)
Karen Percy on behalf of Julian’s union the MEAA
Support from a list of well-known Australians in media and the arts will be read out.
**** ANTICIPATE a so far secret and surprising pre-recorded statement of incredible support****
Other Media Professionals
Cathy, Executive Producer for Consortium News’s CNLIVE! will film the event for posterity as we have said, with added material. We have all seen Cathy’s professional film work and know this will be a wonderful asset to further promote our efforts to free Julian.
Cathy is also working hard on a sound and video presentation to be onscreen one hour before the event and about the same after.
She is also currently recording and/or filming interviews and statements for the day.
Media professional Jodie Harrison offered her expertise and we gladly accepted. Jodie (among many other things) is
Australian media contact for:
#FreeJulianAssange #FreeThePress and
Speak up for Assange – international journalists for Julian Assange (2,000+ from 108 countries)
Jodi wrote and is sending out press releases daily to all media, print and TV – an incredible amount of work, she is doing it on the whole PERSON BY PERSON (all of her media contacts which is everybody!) We are hoping for radio interviews early next week in Canberra – especially our local ABC which has a huge Canberra following.
*** We had a meeting this morning 22/7 with Jodie and learned that she has already sent out 2,500 offers and she said the calls are ‘already coming in’.
Stage and PA booked and paid for.
35 Assange songs recorded for playing before and after the event – see Cathy Vogan.
Stalls and a Picnic what to do on the hill while waiting!
We will be onsite from 9am as that is when the equipment and the coffee arrives so gather on the lawns any time from 10am.
The Fox is on the Hill! Sly Fox Coffee, a well-known Canberra Pop Up will be onsite, and we will cross promote via a Bean banner.
Sly Fox will sell hot drinks, while Canberra for Assange will have bickies for a gold coin donation beside him, so please bring some coin – Sly Fox does have card facilities.
As you all know, there is no food or drink up at the house, but there is a small café in Old Parliament House. As many people will have arrived that morning, you’ll need sustenance, so we suggest you bring a sandwich or something to picnic on with your coffee.
We hope people will stick around on the grass to picnic and chat after the speeches.
A table beside the stage will have a supply of our postcards for filling out and posting to parliamentarians, so please help yourself.
The table will also have a small number of the books (carried on the plane by Con!) ‘A Secret Australia’ edited by Peter Croneau and Felicity Ruby, and The Trial of Julian Assange by Nils Melzer. Both are essential reading.
**** A thought, wouldn’t it be great if we could present each speaker with a copy of a book? – The cost would be an issue, what do people think?
***Phillip Adams has updated the petition to feature our rally – he has also sent out emails to 100’s of 1000’s!
Emails sent to the following
Quakers Canberra RMCanberraClerk@quakersaustralia.info
Uniting Church in Australia Assembly email@example.com
Australian Catholic Social Justice Council firstname.lastname@example.org
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom email@example.com
Sydney Peace Foundation firstname.lastname@example.org
Civil Liberties Australia email@example.com
NSW Council for Civil Liberties firstname.lastname@example.org
Liberty Victoria email@example.com
Human Rights Law Centre firstname.lastname@example.org
Queensland Council for Civil Liberties email@example.com
The Green Institute
ACT Greens – notice in next bulletin
Green Left Weekly firstname.lastname@example.org
Posters and leaflets
Being posted/distributed across Canberra and in Glebe and Newtown in Sydney.
Stalls to be held on the weekend at key locations.
On Tuesday there will be no less than 3 different rallies on Parliament House Lawns so we will be up there armed with leaflets! (We knew about this from the beginning thus the choice of date, everyone wants to hit the pollies in week 1)
Event posted on 36 online groups, and we will repost early next week. We use several Canberra Notice Boards on Facebook with a combined membership of over 50,000. The event is definitely going out to many people and we hope to attract not just we the already converted, but the general public.
Numbers are very important as the purpose of the event is to show widespread support for Julian to encourage the Government to intervene on his behalf and bring him home.
We appreciate the coordination efforts evident in the recent emails. We are doing everything we can to get Canberra to turn out, but we need your support to get your local supporters here.
The group’s assistance with social media coordination to mobilise people will be extremely valuable. We will leave that to interstate people as we will be busy with preparations on the ground. The twitter storm idea sounds fantastic.
Recommended accommodation in Canberra
This one http://aliviogroup.com.au/accommodation/caravan-sites/drive-thru-caravan-site/ is the cabin complex and you may even want to share to make it cheaper. It is 2 klms from the tram that goes straight into the city.
This place is right on a tram stop on Northbourne Avenue – it is one of the cheaper places and I believe it has kitchen facilities to cook for yourself. City is only 4 stops away, then a short hop to PHouse https://pavilioncanberra.com.au/
Lorese and Jane
TIME IS NOW FOR STRONG ACTION ON ASSANGE
by John Jiggens
The UK Home Office has ordered the extradition of Julian Assange to the US. The UK courts found it would not be “incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression” to extradite him to a country whose intelligence agencies plotted his kidnapping and murder, and where his ‘fair trial’ will be held in a court that always convicts.
The UK Supreme Court overturned the lower court decision against extradition after the US promised that their treatment of Assange would not be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process. No doubt these judges would have accepted Saudis reassurances that they would treat Adam Khashoggi with great dignity too.
What can we do?
The new government are showing signs of standing up for Julian, as are the non-Murdoch press, but that means standing up to the US, and everyone is justifiably terrified of what the US bullies will do if they don’t get their way. The Albanese government must be persuaded that they have wide-spread Australian support.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, the chair of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group, condemned Britain’s decision an outrageous betrayal of the rule of law, media freedom and human rights, and he added that the time was up for the new federal government hinting at caring and then doing nothing.
“The new Australian government is now to be condemned for abandoning an Australian hero journalist facing the very real prospect of spending the rest of his life rotting in a US prison.”
The victory of Anthony Albanese and the Labor Party in the Australian election brings us new hope. Our new Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus issued a statement last year saying that Labor wanted the Assange matter ‘brought to an end’. Anthony Albanese, our new Prime Minister, said that he couldn’t see any purpose to keeping Assange in jail and that “enough is enough”.
But are these weasel words?
The battle to stop the extradition of Julian Assange hangs in the balance but it depends on all of us! Urge Labor to stand up for Julian! Join us on July 3, 2-4pm, Bunyapa Park, West End!
Email Albo: pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm
Senator Penny Wong, https://www.pennywong.com.au/contact/
Attorney General Mark Dreyfus, https://www.aph.gov.au/
Find them on Twitter: @AlboMP @SenatorWong @markdreyfusQCMP
US/UK: Decision to extradite Julian Assange to the United States condemned
Julian Assange (CC Wiki Commons)
We, the undersigned PEN Centres, strongly condemn the decision of the UK Home Secretary to approve the extradition of Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange to the US, where he faces up to 175 years in prison for his role in obtaining and publishing classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010.
Our organisations have repeatedly stressed that Julian Assange’s prosecution raises profound concerns about freedom of the press. Invoking the Espionage Act for practices that include receiving and publishing classified information sends a dangerous signal to journalists and publishers worldwide. The state’s desire to keep matters secret does not automatically override the public’s right to know, particularly where there is strong evidence of human rights violations or corruption.
The UK Home Secretary’s decision to approve the extradition of Julian Assange contradicts the UK’s stated commitment to protect media freedom globally. So does the fact that he has been held in remand for over three years at London’s high-security Belmarsh prison, despite the great risks posed to his mental health and physical well-being. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture has repeatedly raised concerns about Assange’s health during his detention in Belmarsh prison. Furthermore, he has made clear that he considers that both the detention conditions in the US and the sentence likely to be imposed on Assange present a real risk of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment.
Julian Assange has 14 days to appeal. As his legal team continues to fight against his extradition, we urge the UK authorities to release him from Belmarsh prison immediately, so he can be reunited with his family at long last.
We once again call on the US authorities to drop all charges against Julian Assange. Espionage laws should not be used against journalists and publishers for disclosing information of public interest.
PEN Suisse Romand
Swiss-German PEN Center
Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange was arrested in April 2019 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had been given asylum for almost seven years. He was arrested for breaching his bail conditions in 2012, and further arrested on behalf of the US authorities under an extradition warrant for his role in obtaining and publishing classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010.
In the US, Assange would face trial on 17 counts under the Espionage Act and one count under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which combined could see him imprisoned for up to 175 years.
In March 2022, the UK Supreme Court denied Assange’s request to appeal an earlier decision by the UK High Court that permitted his extradition to the US – which in turn had overturned a previous ruling by the District Court that found extradition would endanger his life.
Assange is the first publisher to be charged under the Espionage Act. He is an honorary member of German PEN, PEN Melbourne, and PEN Slovenia.
Today Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, Priti Patel, granted the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, setting a dangerous precedent for all media, publishers and journalists.
Mr Assange faces 175 years in a US prison under the 1917 Espionage Act for exposing evidence of US war crimes.
Members of the Australian Assange Campaign have called on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC to do everything in their power to prevent the extradition and defend the rights of Australian citizens.
A spokesperson for the Campaign said they are confident the new Australian government is aware of the significance of the Home Secretary’s decision and of the dangerous precedent it sets.
“It effectively means any publisher or journalist can be extradited to the US for exposing that government’s crimes, no matter what their nationality or where in the world they have reported from,” they said.
While fighting the extradition, Mr Assange has spent the last three years detained in HMP Belmarsh, the United Kingdom’s highest security prison, without being convicted of any crime and without being granted bail.
All major human rights and journalism organisations in Australia and across the world have condemned the prosecution as an attack on press freedom, sovereignty, and democracy.
Write to your MP now and make it clear that Julian has suffered enough: https://ithaka.movie/take-action/
Louise and Leeanne
ithaka Impact Team
Please find below PEN International’s latest joint statement, condemning the decision to extradite Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange to the US.
The statement is also available at the following link: https://pen-international.org/news/us-uk-decision-to-extradite-julian-assange-to-the-united-states-condemned
Special PEN screening for World Press Freedom Day, Tuesday, 3rd May at NOVA 6.30pm
Please book your tickets at the link below:
A father. A family. A fight for justice.
Directed and written by Ben Lawrence, produced by Gabriel Shipton.
Filmed over two years across the UK, Europe and the US, this documentary follows 76 year-old retired builder, John Shipton’s tireless campaign to save his son, Julian Assange.
The world’s most famous political prisoner, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has become an emblem of an international arm wrestle over freedom of journalism, government corruption and unpunished war crimes.
Now with Julian facing a 175 year sentence if extradited to the US, his family members are confronting the prospect of losing Julian forever to the abyss of the US justice system.
This David-and-Goliath struggle is personal – and, with Julian’s health declining in a British maximum-security prison and American government prosecutors attempting to extradite him to face trial in the US , the clock is ticking.
Weaving historic archive and intimate behind-the-scenes footage, this story tracks John’s journey alongside Julian’s fiancée, Stella Moris, as they join forces to advocate for Julian. 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 events that made Julian a global flashpoint.
Ithaka provides a timely reminder of the global issues at stake in this case, as well as an insight into the personal toll inflicted by the arduous, often lonely task of fighting for a cause bigger than oneself.
Media Release 25 January 2022
- by Kathryn
Prime Minister Morrison must take action to secure Julian Assange’s freedom
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison must immediately call UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Biden to seek their agreement to the dropping of all charges against Julian Assange. He is an Australian citizen who should be welcomed home to Australia,” said Kathryn Kelly, Co-convenor of the Alliance Against Political Prosecutions.
“This travesty of justice has been going on for far too long. The fact that Assange published information about US war crimes in Iraq is what he is being persecuted for, and further, it has been shown that a witness in his case lied and is an unreliable witness,” she continued.
“Julian Assange has not seen freedom for 10 years. It is a sentence longer than most criminals serve, and he is not a criminal. His health is failing – this inhumanity and injustice must stop,” Ms Kelly said.
“The Prime Minister should use his influence with both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Joe Biden to secure Assange’s release.”
Kathryn Kelly Co-convenor, Alliance Against Political Prosecutions
0417 269 984 PO Box 549, Curtin, ACT 2605
Bernard Keane, CIA’s Assange abduction/murder plan raises questions for Australian government, 27 September, 2021
Amy Goodman,Attorney: U.S. Case Against Julian Assange Falls Apart, as Key Witness Says He Lied to Get Immunity, Democracy Now, 28 June 2021