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Converge On Canberra Rally Speeches

August 02, 2022 IN WIP
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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?”

James Ricketson
“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.”

Gabriel Shipton 
“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.”​​​

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

More details on the planning for this event:

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: 

Andrew Wilkie 

Bridget Archer 

Jordon Steele-John

Dr Monique Ryan

David Shoebridge

Christian Lambang Fonye (Amnesty International)

James Ricketsen


Speakers via pre-recorded message or video  

John Shipton 

Gabriel Shipton 

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 Vogan  

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.




Jodie Harrison  

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

Uniting Church in Australia Assembly

Australian Catholic Social Justice Council


Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Sydney Peace Foundation

Civil Liberties Australia

NSW Council for Civil Liberties

Liberty Victoria

Human Rights Law Centre

Queensland Council for Civil Liberties

Friendly Jordies

Vintage Reds

The Green Institute


Socialist Alliance




ACT Greens – notice in next bulletin

Green Left Weekly


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.


Social media

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 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



Lorese and Jane

@MaryKostakidis Australian journalist, who was reporting from the #Assange courtroom on the day of his minor stroke, describes what she saw and asks why his terrible appearance and what was happening to him never became an issue with the court.



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:


Senator Penny Wong,

Attorney General Mark Dreyfus,

Find them on Twitter: @AlboMP @SenatorWong @markdreyfusQCMP

US/UK: Decision to extradite Julian Assange to the United States condemned

Friday 17 June 2022 – 12:24pm

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.

Signed by

PEN International

English PEN

Croatian PEN

French PEN

German PEN

PEN Melbourne

PEN Norway

PEN Slovenia

PEN Suisse Romand

PEN Sydney

PEN Trieste

Scottish PEN

Swedish PEN

Swiss-German PEN Center

Uyghur PEN

Background information

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:

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:





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.

Screenings with Q & As
19 Apr – SYD – Dendy Newtown – John Shipton, Gabriel Shipton, Ben Lawrence
20 Apr – SYD – Dendy Canberra – John Shipton, Gabriel Shipton
21 Apr – MELB – Cinema Nova, Melbourne – John Shipton, Gabriel Shipton
24 April – WA – Luna Leederville – Jen Robertson
24 May – SYD – Judith Neilson Institute – with the Australian Human Rights Institute (AHRI) – with Jennifer Robinson and Ed Coper
Screenings without Q & As  – nb more to be confirmed soon
23 / 24 April – SYD – Parramatta Riverside 
21 April – SYD – Ritz
21 April – MELB – Lido 
21 April – MELB – Classic Elternwick
21 April – QLD – Dendy Southport 
21 April – WA – Luna Leederville
29 April + May 1 – Screenwave 
29 April – Cinefest Oz

Media Release 25 January 2022

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


The link above has the full Guardian article by Ben Quinn with a video: Julian Assange wins first stage of attempt to appeal against extradition

WikiLeaks founder is seeking to appeal against ruling that he can be sent to US to face espionage charges

The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be able to go to the supreme court in the UK to challenge a decision allowing him to be extradited to the US to face espionage charges.

However, the high court refused him permission for a direct appeal, meaning the supreme court will first have to decide whether or not it should hear his challenge.

The high court last month ruled that the WikiLeaks co-founder can be extradited, as it overturned a judgment earlier last year based on concerns about Assange’s mental health and risk of suicide in a US maximum-security prison.

In their ruling in December, the high court judges sided with the US authorities after a package of assurances were put forward that Assange would not face those strictest measures unless he committed an act in the future that required them.

Stella Moris, Assange’s fiancee, said after Monday’s ruling that what happened in court was precisely what she and those supporting him had wanted to happen.

“The situation now is that the supreme court has to decide whether it will hear the appeal but, make no mistake, we won today in court.”

A case has to raise a point of law of “general public importance” for a proposed appeal to be considered by the supreme court. Birnberg Peirce Solicitors, representing Assange, has previously said the case raised “serious and important” legal issues, including over a “reliance” on assurances given by the US about the prison conditions he would face if extradited.

In their short pronouncement on Monday, the lord chief justice, Lord Burnett, and Lord Justice Holroyde ruled there was a point of law, but denied Assange permission for the appeal.

They said that Assange had raised three points of law for the supreme court bid, but only succeeded on one about the use of assurances in extradition hearings. They added it was for the supreme court justices to make the final decision.

Burnett asked the court to “take steps to expedite consideration of any application” that follows.

Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Monday, Moris told supporters: “But let’s not forget that every time we win, as long as this case isn’t dropped, as long as Julian isn’t freed, Julian continues to suffer. For almost three years he has been in Belmarsh prison and he is suffering profoundly, day after day, week after week, year after year. Julian has to be freed and we hope that this will soon end.

“But we are far from achieving justice in this case because Julian has been incarcerated for so long and he should not have spent a single day in prison.”

“If there were justice, the crimes that Julian exposed, war crimes, the killing of innocent civilians, would not be immune.”

Nick Vamos, a partner at Peters and Peters solicitors in London and a former head of extradition at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “There will be a little bit of surprise about this as there is settled case law on the question that has been certified. However, in its 10 December judgment the high court discussed the different circumstances in which assurances could be considered on appeal, so it’s not completely black and white.

“The supreme court could well say: ‘We are not interested in this question about the assurances because it has already been settled at high court level.’ Even if the supreme court takes the appeal, it may clarify the law for future cases in a way that makes no difference to Assange’s appeal.”

Assange, who remains in prison, would have other routes to fight his extradition, irrespective of what happens in relation to any supreme court appeal.

Were he to fail, his lawyers could mount a cross-appeal at a lower court level, which would take place first at the high court and focus on questions of free speech and political motivation of the extradition request.

Petition update from

Stella Moris statement on Julian Assange’s Supreme Court appeal

Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign

United Kingdom

Dec 24, 2021 — 

December 23, 2021 — This morning at 11:05 Julian Assange filed an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court the High Court’s ruling that he can be extradited to the US on three grounds.

The High Court’s ruling in USA v Assange raises three points of law of general public importance that have an impact on the procedural and human rights safeguards of a wide range of other types of cases.

On December 10th, the High Court upheld the Magistrates’ Court’s assessment, based on the evidence before her, that there was a real risk that, should Julian Assange be extradited to the United States, he would be subjected to near total isolation, including under the regimes of SAMs (Special Administrative Measures) and/or ADX, (administrative maximum prison) and that such isolation would cause his mental condition to deteriorate to such a degree that there was a high risk of suicide. These findings led the lower court to block the extradition under s. 91 of the Extradition Act, which bans “oppressive” extraditions.

However, the High Court overturned the lower court’s decision to block the extradition, based solely on the fact that after the US lost the extradition case on January 4th 2021, the US State Department sent a letter to the UK Foreign Office containing conditional assurances in relation to Julian Assange’s placement under SAMs and ADX. The assurances letter explicitly states in points one and four that “the United States retains the power” to “impose SAMs” on Mr. Assange and to “designate Mr. Assange to ADX” should he say or do anything since January 4, 2021 that would cause the US government to determine, in its subjective assessment, that Julian Assange should be placed under SAMs conditions and/or in ADX Florence. These conditional assurances alone were considered sufficient by the High Court to overturn the lower court’s decision.

Under English law, in order for the application to have a chance to be considered by the Supreme Court, first the same High Court judges who ordered Julian Assange’s extradition must certify that at least one of the Supreme Court appeal grounds is a point of law of general public importance (s.114 of the 2003 Extradition Act).

Julian Assange’s application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court is therefore currently under consideration by the High Court judges. It is not known how long it will take for the decision to come down, but it is not expected before the third week of January.

For background, see Julian Assange’s filing opposing the US extradition in the High Court.

Stella Moris


New files expose Australian govt’s betrayal of Julian Assange and detail his prison torment

Documents provided exclusively to The Grayzone detail Canberra’s abandonment of Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, and provide shocking details of his prison suffering

Was the government of Australia aware of the US Central Intelligence Agency plot to assassinate Julian Assange, an Australian citizen and journalist arrested and now imprisoned under unrelentingly bleak, harsh conditions in the UK?

Why have the country’s elected leaders refused to publicly advocate for one of its citizens, who has been held on dubious charges and subjected to torture by a foreign power, according to UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer? What does Canberra know about Julian’s fate and when did it know it?

The Grayzone has obtained documents revealing that the Australian government has since day one been well-aware of Julian’s cruel treatment inside London’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison, and has done little to nothing about it. It has, in fact, turned a cold shoulder to the jailed journalist despite hearing his testimony of conditions “so bad that his mind was shutting down.”

Not only has Canberra failed to effectively challenge the US and UK governments overseeing Assange’s imprisonment and prosecution; as these documents expose in stark detail, it appears to have colluded with them in the flagrant violation of an Australian citizen’s human rights, while doing its best to obscure the reality of his situation from the public.

On knowledge of CIA plot against Assange, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs issues snide non-denial denial

In the wake of Yahoo News’ startling September revelations of CIA plans to surveil, kidnap, and even kill WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, which confirmed and built upon a May 2020 exposé by The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal, officials in the NATO-oriented ‘Five Eyes’ global spying network struggled to get their stories straight.

William Evanina, Washington’s top counterintelligence officer until his retirement in early 2021, told Yahoo the Five Eyes alliance was “critical” to Langley’s dastardly plot, and “we were very confident” that Julian’s potential escape from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London could be prevented, by hook or by crook.

When asked whether the US had ever briefed or consulted the government of Julian’s native Australia on the operation, however, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) dodged the question. For his part, Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian Prime Minister at the time of these deadly deliberations, claimed, “the first I heard about this was in today’s media.”

It is certainly possible that elected officials in Canberra were kept in the dark about the CIA’s proposals. Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was unaware of the very existence of Five Eyes until 1973, 17 years after his country became a signatory to the network’s underpinning UKUSA agreement, following police raids on the offices of domestic spying agency the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, due to its withholding of information from the government.

Whether or not Turnbull was aware of the operation, DFAT’s response when a member of Julian’s family contacted the Department demanding Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne ask the Biden administration to drop the charges against him, and seeking comment on the Yahoo article, was disturbingly flippant.

“Just because it’s written in a newspaper doesn’t mean it’s true…the CIA has been accused of a lot of things, including faking the Moon landing,” a DFAT official quipped in a classic non-denial denial.

These crude remarks were recorded in a letter sent to Payne by John Shipton, Julian’s father. The missive is just one of many documents provided exclusively to Grayzone by Kellie Tranter, Julian’s legal authority in Australia.

For years, Tranter has filed freedom of information requests with the Australian government in a campaign to uncover its true position on Julian, and to what extent its intimate alliance with Washington has limited its ability or willingness to push for his freedom.

The documents acquired by Tranter expose Canberra as anything but an advocate for Assange, the Australian citizen. Instead, throughout Julian’s time in the Ecuadorian Embassy, and imprisonment at Her Majesty’s Pleasure in Belmarsh high security prison – “Britain’s Gitmo” – the Australian government has been determinedly committed to seeing, hearing, and speaking no evil in his regard, despite possessing clear evidence of his dramatically waning physical and mental health, and the torturous conditions of his confinement.

Assange informs Canberra of US violations of his rights: ‘This action was illegal’

The records of a brief visit by Australian consulate officers to Belmarsh on May 17th 2019, one month after Assange’s dramatic expulsion from the Embassy, are especially illustrative of Canberra’s attitude. Over the course of that meeting, Assange spoke in detail about prison conditions and his 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement.

“He remains in his cell most of the day, with 40 minutes allocated each day for ‘associations’,” the Australian consular officials noted. “He is allowed outside for 30 minutes each day, although he said at times this does not happen,” for reasons unstated. Unable to eat at all “for a long period,” he was now ingesting “small amounts”, collecting meals from the kitchen and returning to his cell.

Permitted just two personal visits each month, plus legal consultations, Assange mentioned his recent meeting with Nils Melzer and two medical experts specialized in examining potential victims of torture and other ill-treatment, and that he had so far been unable to speak to his family.

The WikiLeaks co-founder eschewed work programs “which would afford him the opportunity to get out of his cell more often,” according to the diplomats, on the grounds that he refused to engage in “slave labour” and needed time to prepare his legal case. Prisoners in British jails earn an average of $13 per week for hard, thankless toil on behalf of big business, which in turn profits immensely from their rank exploitation.

While mercifully prescribed antibiotics and codeine by prison doctors for an infected root canal, which can be life-threatening in the event the infection spreads, Assange was still waiting on reading glasses and had yet to see an optometrist. The jailed journalist went on to describe how one senior officer “has it in for me,” showing his visitors a charge sheet indicating that a search of his cell uncovered a razor blade, and he’d failed to tidy it after an inspection.

A third infraction of any sort “would result in exercise privileges being withdrawn,” the document states. Possibly fearing reprisal, Assange asked that officials not raise these matters with prison authorities. Evidently, what might typically be considered an unambiguous indication of suicidal intentions was instead logged as a simple disciplinary matter.

Adding to his psychological toll, Assange reported that he had undergone blood tests, and been advised he was HIV-positive, a shocking diagnosis. However, subsequent examinations confirmed the test result to be a false positive, forcing Assange to wonder if the misdiagnosis was a mere error, or “something else.” It could well have been a grotesquely sick mind game, perhaps alluding to the bogus sexual assault allegations he had faced in Sweden, and intended to drive him toward madness.

Assange also presented the Australian consular officials with a recently-published UK Home Office deportation notice, informing him then-Secretary of State Sajid Javid had determined under the 1971 UK Immigration Act that his presence in the UK “was not conducive to the public interest, and he would be removed from the UK without delay,” with no chance of appealing the decision.

“Mr. Assange expressed concern about surviving the current process and fears he would die if taken to the US. He claimed the US was going through his possessions that had remained at the Ecuadorian Embassy. He said that this action was illegal,” the officers wrote. “He stated that his possessions included two valuable artworks he planned to sell to raise funds for his legal defence, the manuscripts of two books, and legal papers. He expressed concern his legal material would be used against him by the US.”

Assange was correct that sensitive documents were stolen by US authorities. Immediately following his arrest, his attorney Gareth Peirce contacted the Ecuadorian Embassy regarding this privileged material, demanding it be handed over as a matter of urgency. When at last his property was collected, all legal papers were missing save for two volumes of Supreme Court files “and a number of pages of loose correspondence,” making his extradition defense an even greater challenge than it already was.

Over the course of Julian’s initial extradition hearings in early 2020, assistant US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Gordon Kromberg implausibly pledged a “taint team” would excise material from these files so it would not be used in any resultant trial. Similarly feeble “assurances” of this ilk were offered during the recent appeal proceedings.

Conversely, there has so far been no unconvincing public guarantee against the abuse of any information illicitly obtained by UC Global, a CIA contractor, from its extensive surveillance of the Embassy. The Spanish private security firm went as far as bugging the building’s female bathroom, where the WikiLeaks founder conducted discussions with his lawyers, away from prying ears and eyes – or so he hoped.

Despite his situation, Julian somehow retained a vague shred of optimism about the future in discussions with consular officials, suggesting that the result of Australia’s federal election, which was held the very next day, “may present a window for a new government to do something supportive for his case,” asking that Marise Payne be briefed on developments.

As it was, Scott Morrison’s Liberal National Coalition retained its grip on power – and no alarm was publicly raised about anything learned over the course of the consular visit. Indeed, remaining tight-lipped on Julian’s suffering, no matter how horrendous, was to be a matter of dedicated policy.

Australia’s DFAT denies any role in “progressively severe abuse” of Assange

On May 30th that year, WikiLeaks’ made the shock announcement that Julian had been moved to Belmarsh’s medical ward, expressing “grave concerns” about the state of his health. Almost immediately, DFAT’s Global Watch Office fired off an internal email drawing attention to the post.

The following day, ​​UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Nils Melzer proclaimed “the collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!” The international legal veteran added that, “in 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution,” he had “never seen a group of democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonize and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law.”

Next, Melzer fulminated against a “relentless and unrestrained campaign of public mobbing, intimidation and defamation” by the US, UK, Sweden and Ecuador, which had subjected him to “persistent, progressively severe abuse ranging from systematic judicial persecution and arbitrary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to his oppressive isolation, harassment and surveillance inside the embassy.”

In response, Australia’s DFAT issued a statement rejecting any suggestion Canberra was “complicit in psychological torture or has shown a lack of consular support” in Assange’s regard, claiming to be “a staunch defender of human rights and strong advocate for humane treatment in the course of judicial processes,” and expressing confidence that he was “being treated appropriately.”

Due to “privacy considerations” allegedly extended to all consular clients, the Department declined to divulge any further details related to his physical or mental state.

It added that the Australian High Commission in London “previously raised any health concerns identified with Belmarsh prison authorities and these have been addressed,” with further inquiries made following Julian’s move to the health ward.

The documents provided to The Grayzone indicate Canberra did indeed make repeated enquiries to Belmarsh by phone and mail in the wake of Wikileaks’ announcement, all of which went unanswered for six straight days. So why did Australia’s High Commissioner not intervene, and demand immediate clarity on an issue of literal life-and-death urgency?

Whatever the reason for the Australian government’s foot-dragging, a consular file dated August 8th that year records how Shipton wrote to advise that Julian had been readmitted to Belmarsh’s sick bay, and a lawyer was drafting a letter to Marise Payne, requesting DFAT “use its diplomatic sources to seek an independent medical assessment (ie outside the prison).”

Then, 11 days later, Shipton mentioned that Julian’s brother, Gabriel, had recently visited the prison and was distressed by Assange’s “deteriorating condition,” leading him to write letters to both Australian Governor General David Hurley and Morrison raising his fears.

On October 21st, Assange appeared in court for a pre-trial hearing in his extradition case. As was widely reported in the mainstream media, he appeared frail and discombobulated, struggling to recall his own name and date of birth when asked by the judge. When the presiding justice enquired whether he even knew what was happening, Assange responded, “not exactly,” indicating conditions in Belmarsh left him unable to “think properly.”

Courtroom sketch artist portrait of Assange (upper-left) watching his October 21 hearing from prison

“I don’t understand how this is equitable,” the imprisoned journalist stated. “I can’t research anything, I can’t access any of my writing. It’s very difficult where I am.”

Assange’s attorney, Mark Summers, argued that his initial extradition hearing, scheduled for February 2020, should be delayed by three months due to the complexity of the case – “the evidence…would test the limits of most lawyers,” he said, and discussed the immense difficulty of communicating with his client in the jail, given he lacked access to a computer.

The judge denied the request. As a result, Julian would be deprived of “the most basic of access to the bare minimum needs for proper representation” until just weeks prior to the hearing.

Assange attorney warns Australia’s DFAT of “impending crisis”

Three days later, Assange attorney Gareth Peirce wrote to the High Commission, asserting that if consular representatives had attended court, “they will have undoubtedly noted what was clear for everyone present in court to observe” – that his client was “in shockingly poor condition…struggling not only to cope but to articulate what he wishes to articulate.”

Unbelievably, a DFAT report on the proceedings unearthed by Tranter made no mention whatsoever of Julian’s disheveled appearance, or his clearly frayed mental state.

Peirce went on to argue that under the circumstances, it was unsurprising Julian had not authorized prison officials to provide the Australian government with information regarding his medical treatment, which had been “been grossly and unlawfully compromised over some time, including, disturbingly, even whilst he has been in Belmarsh prison, false information on at least one occasion having been provided to the press by very obviously internal sources.”

“We hope that what we are able to say…will be accepted by you as having been based on close observation, including by independent professional clinicians..Every professional warning provided to the prison, including by at least one independent doctor called in by Belmarsh, has been ignored,” she wrote. “We would be pleased to meet with you at any stage if by intervention in what is now an impending crisis [emphasis added], you can contribute to its amelioration and avoidance.”

And so it was that consular officials visited Belmarsh November 1st. In their exchange, Assange criticized false statements made to the media by DFAT which suggested he had rejected offers of their support.

Next, he revealed that a prison doctor was “concerned” about his condition. In fact, Assange said his psychological state was “so bad that his mind was shutting down,” almost permanent isolation making it impossible for him “to think or to prepare his defence.”

He did not even have a pen with which to write, was unable to do any research, could not receive documents during legal visits, and all his mail was read by prison officials before it was given to him.

The next month, Professor Michael Kopelman, emeritus professor of neuropsychiatry at King’s College London, prepared a report on Julian’s psychiatric state based on meetings throughout his first six months in Belmarsh, conversations with his parents, friends, colleagues and Stella Morris, his partner and mother of his two children.


As was revealed in Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s January ruling on the US extradition request, Kopelman diagnosed Julian with a severe recurrent depressive disorder, which was occasionally accompanied by psychotic features such as hallucinations, and frequent suicidal thoughts.

His symptoms furthermore included loss of sleep and weight, impaired concentration, a persistent feeling of being on the verge of tears, and state of acute agitation in which he paced his cell until exhausted, punching his head or banging it against the wall.

Assange commented to Kopelman that he believed his life was not worth living, he thought about suicide “hundreds of times a day,” and had a “constant desire” to self-harm or commit suicide, describing plans to kill himself that the professor considered “highly plausible.”

Calls to The Samaritans, a UK charity helpline providing emotional support to those in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide, were “virtually” a nightly occurrence, and on occasions when he had not been able to reach them, Assange had slashed his thigh and abdomen to distract from his sense of isolation.

Kopelman concluded that, if Assange was held in solitary confinement in the US for a prolonged period, his mental health would “deteriorate substantially resulting in persistently severe clinical depression and the severe exacerbation of his anxiety disorder, PTSD and suicidal ideas,” not least because various “protective factors” available to him in the UK would be absent Stateside.

“For example, he speaks to his partner by telephone nearly every day and, before lockdown, was visited by her and his children, various friends, his father, and other relatives…[Kopelman] considered there to be an abundance of known risk factors indicating a very high risk of suicide,” Baraitser recorded. “He stated, ‘I am as confident as a psychiatrist ever can be that, if extradition to the US were to become imminent, Mr. Assange will find a way of suiciding.’”

The professor’s reports were fundamental to the extradition order’s rejection – a surprising outcome, given Baraitser previously approved extradition in 96% of cases upon which she has ruled.

Nonetheless, she accepted every other argument and charge put forward by the Department of Justice, in effect criminalizing a great many entirely legitimate journalistic activities, and setting the chilling precedent that citizens of any country can be extradited to the US for alleged breaches of its national laws, therefore implying Washington’s legal jurisdiction is global in scale.

Files on Australia’s DFAT discussions with US Secretary of State redacted in full

In response to the ruling, Australia’s Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus issued a forceful statement, declaring the opposition Labor party believed “this has dragged on for long enough,” particularly given Julian’s “ill-health,” and demanding the Morrison administration “do what it can to draw a line under this matter and encourage the US government to bring this matter to a close.”

Conversely, DFAT published a characteristically laconic, soulless note, stating merely that Australia was “not a party to the case and will continue to respect the ongoing legal process,” and rehashing previous false claims that Julian had rejected multiple offers of consular assistance.

Canberra was simply silent when in June, the Icelandic publication Stundin revealed in detail how a “superseding indictment” levelled against Assange in September 2020, which charged that he and others at WikiLeaks “recruited and agreed with hackers to commit computer intrusions,” was based largely on the admittedly false testimony of fraudster, diagnosed sociopath and convicted pedophile Siggi Thordarson, who had previously embezzled vast sums from WikiLeaks and been recruited by the FBI to undermine its founder from within.

There is good reason to believe the Australian government knew the indictment was coming. In July that year, Foreign Minister Payne met with CIA director Mike Pompeo at an Australia–US Ministerial Consultations convention, “the principal forum for bilateral consultations” between the country and the US.

Tranter submitted freedom of information requests for details of that rendezvous, but the documents she received in return were fully redacted. As were files released to her relating to the Foreign Minister’s summit with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in May 2021.

It was almost certain that Assange was a subject of these meetings. DFAT claims Payne “raised the situation” when she met Blinken again in September, and the minister herself alleges she specifically discussed Australia’s “expectations” regarding Assange’s treatment with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab when he visited Canberra in February 2020. Tranter requested records related to this meeting too, but was told none existed.

Upon Julian’s arrest, Prime Minister Morrison alleged he would receive “the same treatment that any other Australian would get.”

“When Australians travel overseas and then find themselves in difficulties with the law, they face the judicial systems of those countries,” Morrison said. “It doesn’t matter what particular crime it is that they’re alleged to have committed, that’s the way the system works.”

However, an internal email dated April 5th 2019 secured by Tranter from the Australian Attorney General’s office was shot through with contempt for the Wikileaks co-founder. The note asserted, “FYI – Assange might be evicted. Not sure if his lawyers will make any (not very convincing) [emphasis added] arguments about Australia’s responsibilities to him but thought it was worth flagging.”

As usual, Australian officials said nothing in public about Assange’s imminent abduction.

Assange’s treatment, and the total lack of outrage over his incarceration, prison conditions, blatant procedural abuses engaged in by Washington in their relentless pursuit of him, and CIA plans to kidnap and/or murder the WikiLeaks founder, diverges starkly from Australia’s approach to Kylie Moore-Gilbert, an Australian-British academic jailed in Iran for 10 years on questionable charges of espionage in September 2018.

Behind the scenes, Australian diplomats struggled for almost two years to secure her release, eventually brokering a prisoner swap, under which she was traded for three Iranian inmates in Thailand – two of whom were convicted in connection with a 2012 bombing plot in Bangkok. In a statement, Foreign Minister Payne expressed relief that Moore-Gilbert was finally free as a result of “professional and determined work,” noting Canberra had “consistently rejected” the grounds on which she was detained.

Meanwhile, the Australian government has consistently reinforced Washington’s position on Assange. In fact, officials have on occasion gone even further than their US counterparts in publicly condemning him and his actions.

In December 2010, then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard declared WikiLeaks’ release of US diplomatic cables meant Assange was “guilty of illegality,” and that Federal Police were investigating, to offer “advice about potential criminal conduct of the individual involved.” To be fair to Canberra though, elected representatives there may effectively have no choice in the matter.

According to investigative journalist Duncan Campbell, each Five Eyes member theoretically has the right to veto a request for signals intelligence collected on an individual, group or organization collected by another. However, Campbells explained, “when you’re a junior ally like Australia or New Zealand, you never refuse,” even in situations when there are concerns about what ostensible allies may do with that sensitive information.

The documents obtained by Tranter and provided to The Grayzone provide an unobstructed view of the Australian junior ally’s betrayal of one of its citizens to the imperial power that has hunted him for years. As Julian Assange’s rights were violated at every turn, Canberra appears to have been complicit.


Latest updates as we wait for the results of the appeal.

Assange’s extradition was denied in January of this year when District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that ordering his extradition would put him at such high risk of suicide so as to be “oppressive.” The U.S. appealed that ruling to the UK’s High Court on the grounds that, it argued, the judge misapplied evidence as to Assange’s mental health, and the U.S. government can assure the court that Assange wouldn’t be held under the worst and most isolating conditions if sentenced to a U.S. prison.

Julian Assange Extradition Appeal: Day 1

On the second day of Julian Assange’s extradition appeal hearing, the defense laid out its arguments to uphold the District Judge’s ruling which barred Assange’s ruling on medical grounds. The prosecution attempted to undermine a renowned psychiatrist, admitted its prison assurances are “conditional,” and tried to downplay how harsh Assange’s US conditions would be.

Julian Assange Extradition Appeal: Day 2

Listen to Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s partner, interview with the BBC Radio: The CIA has not denied the kidnap/assassination plot against Assange, and in fact Mike Pompeo has called for prosecution of the 30 sources who have come forward with the information. The US congress has even initiated it’s own investigation

Reporters Without Borders director, Christophe Deloire, calls on all journalists to urgently resist Assange extradition “before it’s too late” to stop dire precedent.

RSF’s Director of International Campaigns, Rebecca Vincent,emphasised outside the UK High Court on conclusion of the extradition appeal hearing, the case against WikLeaks publisher Julian Assange is about journalism and press freedom. It’s about all of us. RSF will continue our campaign to #FreeAssange!

Eitor in Chief of WikiLeaks, Kristinn Hrafnsson: “Extraditing Assange would be handing him a death sentence… Make your voice heard, put pressure on the media and to politicians everywhere. Julian Assange cannot be extradited.”

Clare Daly, Member of the European Parliament:
“The criminals walk free, and Julian Assange is persecuted, that is the crime. This is a political persecution.”

Lauri Love also spoke outside the High Court: “The real reason Julian should not be extradited to the United States is because he helped enable and facilitate the publication of journalistic evidence of war crimes.”

The appeal proceedings then adjourned, at 4:30pm London time, with the judges closing that both parties have “given [them] much to think about.” No timeline was given for a decision, but we expect it to take weeks if not months. We’ll report back here as we learn more.



UPDATE: The Belmarsh Tribunal

Dear friends

I have just watched this astonishing tribunal – testimonies for Julian Assange, it is a great document, amazing speakers. The Belmarsh Tribunal  is a citizen tribunal, trying the US government for its crimes from ‘the war on terror’, atrocities in Iraq to torture at Guantánamo Bay to a surveillance program and
arguing for freedom of expression, fundamental human rights, and in particular the freeing of Julian Assange and others who speak truth to power.
Tariq Ali was an original member of the Russell-Sarte War Crimes Tribunal on U.S. involvement in Vietnam and is a speaker in this current  tribunal.
An extraordinary couple of hours spent with eloquent, passionate, informed people, deeply committed to justice and in particular justice for Julian Assange – Snowden always powerful, Stella Moris Assange’s partner compelling to watch, , yes I also noted Richard Burgon MP, and John McDdonnell and Apsana Begum, also British MPs, wonderful was the former Ecuardorian President Rafael Correa, Daniel Ellsberg, Deepa Govindarajan Driver – she was in the courtroom as a kind of overseer of the process – so interesting, Renata Ávila Pinto Guatemalan lawyer on his team, wonderful…yes it’s long but utterly gripping and important. Because it is our freedoms that are being fought for. 
PEN Melbourne


The most senior judge in England and Wales, who let activist Lori Love evade extradition to the U.S. on humanitarian grounds, will join Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde at the U.S. appeal hearing against Julian Assange next week. The full article from Consortium News is available here:

UPDATE: London Rally and speeches

London Assange Rally on Saturday Oct. 22, 2021. It was a large rally and the speeches are well worth listening to and they start at the 55 minute mark of the video.


Kidnapping, assassination and a London shoot-out: Inside the CIA’s secret war plans against WikiLeaks

·39 min read
In 2017, as Julian Assange began his fifth year holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London, the CIA plotted to kidnap the WikiLeaks founder, spurring heated debate among Trump administration officials over the legality and practicality of such an operation.

Some senior officials inside the CIA and the Trump administration even discussed killing Assange, going so far as to request “sketches” or “options” for how to assassinate him. Discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration, said a former senior counterintelligence official. “There seemed to be no boundaries.”

The conversations were part of an unprecedented CIA campaign directed against WikiLeaks and its founder. The agency’s multipronged plans also included extensive spying on WikiLeaks associates, sowing discord among the group’s members, and stealing their electronic devices.

While Assange had been on the radar of U.S. intelligence agencies for years, these plans for an all-out war against him were sparked by WikiLeaks’ ongoing publication of extraordinarily sensitive CIA hacking tools, known collectively as “Vault 7,” which the agency ultimately concluded represented “the largest data loss in CIA history.”

President Trump’s newly installed CIA director, Mike Pompeo, was seeking revenge on WikiLeaks and Assange, who had sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on rape allegations he denied. Pompeo and other top agency leaders “were completely detached from reality because they were so embarrassed about Vault 7,” said a former Trump national security official. “They were seeing blood.”

Michael Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, May 11, 2017. ( Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo in 2017. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The CIA’s fury at WikiLeaks led Pompeo to publicly describe the group in 2017 as a “non-state hostile intelligence service.” More than just a provocative talking point, the designation opened the door for agency operatives to take far more aggressive actions, treating the organization as it does adversary spy services, former intelligence officials told Yahoo News. Within months, U.S. spies were monitoring the communications and movements of numerous WikiLeaks personnel, including audio and visual surveillance of Assange himself, according to former officials.

This Yahoo News investigation, based on conversations with more than 30 former U.S. officials — eight of whom described details of the CIA’s proposals to abduct Assange — reveals for the first time one of the most contentious intelligence debates of the Trump presidency and exposes new details about the U.S. government’s war on WikiLeaks. It was a campaign spearheaded by Pompeo that bent important legal strictures, potentially jeopardized the Justice Department’s work toward prosecuting Assange, and risked a damaging episode in the United Kingdom, the United States’ closest ally.

The CIA declined to comment. Pompeo did not respond to requests for comment.

“As an American citizen, I find it absolutely outrageous that our government would be contemplating kidnapping or assassinating somebody without any judicial process simply because he had published truthful information,” Barry Pollack, Assange’s U.S. lawyer, told Yahoo News.

Assange is now housed in a London prison as the courts there decide on a U.S. request to extradite the WikiLeaks founder on charges of attempting to help former U.S. Army analyst Chelsea Manning break into a classified computer network and conspiring to obtain and publish classified documents in violation of the Espionage Act.

“My hope and expectation is that the U.K. courts will consider this information and it will further bolster its decision not to extradite to the U.S.,” Pollack added.

Read the full article here:
PEN Melbourne committee members were appalled at the response they received (below) from the office of Foreign Minister Marise Payne to the letter they sent urging the Australian Government to protect Julian Assange from the continued torture he endures in a British prison and to help stop his extradition to the USA.
We publish a response by Arnold Zable to call out the callousness of the Australian Government towards Assange.
We also recommend Payne, Morrison and their Government watch this short compilation youtube:
This is why I regard Kafka as the greatest writer of the twentieth century. His stories and novels, especially ‘The trial’, exposed this bureaucratic brutality — how innocent people could be tortured and left in legal limbo, and driven to madness, while the perpetrators camouflaged the crime, and their own consciences, by hiding behind the cold, lifeless language of procedure. Behind this short letter, lies so much real life agony, and it can be applied to all too many contemporary scenarios. Assange is ‘the other.’ He has been ‘othered’ And if he is driven mad, and driven to suicide, or committed to a virtual lifetime in prison, those who have driven him mad, and destroyed his life, will shrug their shoulders and wash their hands of it, and issue statements such as this. I bet the word they will use, if the worst happens, will be ‘regret’. Another one of those weasel words. The horror. The horror.
Here is the response from Minister Payne’s DFAT:
Here is the letter sent to Minister Payne, the Prime Minister and other members of the government:
August 25, 2021
Attention: We urge the Australian Government to protect Julian Assange and stop his extradition to the USA
Prime Minister of Australia
Honorable Scott Morrison
Dear Prime Minister,The Melbourne Centre of PEN International is deeply concerned for the wellbeing of Julian Assange.We are deeply disturbed by your Government’s apparent inaction to protect an Australian citizen who has shown immense courage as a journalist and a publisher.We urge you to utilise all your Government’s diplomatic strength and will with Australia’s strongest allies, the US and the UK, to free Assange from UK’s Belmarsh High Security Prison and to prevent his extradition to the US, before the US appeal to the UK High Court in late October, 2021.PEN Melbourne is a human rights organisation committed to advocating for freedom of expression, and supporting writers who are imprisoned in political contexts of tyranny. As presented in the open letter[1] by Lawyers for Assange to the UK Prime Minister, Mr Boris Johnson: “There is broad international consensus that political offences should not be the basis of extradition.[2] This is reflected in Art. 3 of the 1957 European Convention on Extradition, Art. 3 ECHR, Art. 3(a) of the UN Model Treaty on Extradition, the Interpol Constitution and every bilateral treaty ratified by the US for over a century”.We are sure that you and your government have been following the changing judicial circumstances of Julian Assange. We reiterate here what has taken place in 2021 and urge your action.On 4 January, 2021 the District Judge of the Westminster Magistrate’s Court ruled against the US request to extradite Assange on medical grounds relating to his poor mental health.  As you are aware the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and medical experts had previously visited Assange in 2019, and his report said the following, ‘’Mr. Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture…”.[3] The Westminster Magistrate Judge’s decision earlier this year relied on evidence from Michael Kopelman, a professor of neuropsychiatry at King’s College London, who told the court he believed Assange would take his own life if extradited.The US appealed the January decision to the UK High Court on 11 August, 2021.US Counsel has been granted permission to appeal on five grounds, including a reassessment of the expert evidence used to evaluate Julian Assange’s risk of suicide.The full appeal will be heard at the High Court on 27 and 28 October.We urge you to protect this Australian writer in prison. Up to now you have compromised your duty of care to Mr. Assange whose case sets a dangerous precedent for journalists everywhere.  In this time available we urge you to use your full diplomatic force and relations with Australia’s allies and immediately make a strong representation to the UK government to release Julian Assange from prison. We ask you to work with the US leadership and urge them to drop the appeal to extradite Julian Assange.These actions are the basic measures required to provide protection of Julian Assange’s most fundamental human rights and dignity.Thank youJackie Mansourian and Josephine SciclunaCo-Convenors of Writers in Prison, PEN Melbourne[1][2] R. Stuart Phillips, ‘The Political Offence Exception and Terrorism: Its Place in the Current Extradition Scheme and Proposal for Its Future’, 15 Dickinson Journal of International Law, (1997) p. 342.[3] United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, ‘UN expert says “collective persecution” of Julian Assange must end now, (31 May 2019)’, available at:


JOHN PILGER: A Day in the Death of British Justice

The reputation of British justice now rests on the shoulders of the High Court in the life or death case of Julian Assange.

Extracts of an article by  John Pilger in London
Special to Consortium News, 12 August, 2021

For those who may have forgotten, WikiLeaks, of which Assange is founder and publisher, exposed the secrets and lies that led to the invasion of Iraq, Syria and Yemen, the murderous role of the Pentagon in dozens of countries, the blueprint for the 20-year catastrophe in Afghanistan, the attempts by Washington to overthrow elected governments, such as Venezuela’s, the collusion between nominal political opponents (Bush and Obama) to stifle a torture investigation and the CIA’s Vault 7 campaign that turned your mobile phone, even your TV set, into a spy in your midst.

WikiLeaks released almost a million documents from Russia which allowed Russian citizens to stand up for their rights. It revealed the Australian government had colluded with the U.S. against its own citizen, Assange. It named those Australian politicians who have “informed” for the U.S. It made the connection between the Clinton Foundation and the rise of jihadism in American-armed states in the Gulf.

About Those Who Take Us to War

There is more: WikiLeaks disclosed the U.S. campaign to suppress wages in sweatshop countries like Haiti, India’s campaign of torture in Kashmir, the British government’s secret agreement to shield “U.S. interests” in its official Iraq inquiry and the British Foreign Office’s plan to create a fake “marine protection zone” in the Indian Ocean to cheat the Chagos islanders out of their right of return.

In other words, WikiLeaks has given us real news about those who govern us and take us to war, not the preordained, repetitive spin that fills newspapers and television screens. This is real journalism; and for the crime of real journalism, Assange has spent most of the past decade in one form of incarceration or another, including Belmarsh prison, a horrific place.


If you can unravel the arcane logic of this, you have a better grasp than I who have sat through this case from the beginning. It is clear Kopelman misled nobody. Judge Baraitser – whose hostility to Assange personally was a presence in her court – said that she was not misled; it was not an issue; it did not matter. So why had Lord Chief Justice Holroyde spun the language with its weasel legalise and sent Julian back to his cell and its nightmares? There, he now waits for the High Court’s final decision in October – for Julian Assange, a life or death decision.

In the Land of Magna Carta

And why did Holroyde send Stella from the court trembling with anguish? Why is this case “unusual”? Why did he throw the gang of prosecutor-thugs at the Department of Justice in Washington — who got their big chance under Trump, having been rejected by Obama – a life raft as their rotting, corrupt case against a principled journalist sunk as surely as Titantic?

This does not necessarily mean that in October the full bench of the High Court will order Julian to be extradited. In the upper reaches of the masonry that is the British judiciary there are, I understand, still those who believe in real law and real justice from which the term “British justice” takes its sanctified reputation in the land of the Magna Carta. It now rests on their ermined shoulders whether that history lives on or dies.

To read the full article, follow this link:
Another Consortium News article containing a lot of detail about the US appeal is:

LETTER FROM LONDON: Worrying Turn in Assange Case

The U.S. victory in court on Wednesday makes the prospects for Julian Assange at October’s appeal hearing murky at best, writes Alexander Mercouris.

Ryan Grim: State Dept DODGES Question On Julian Assange, Support Of Free Press

In this Youtube, Ryan Grim breaks down the state department’s hypocritical support of international press freedom while attempting to prosecute Julian Assange.

PEN International urges United Kingdom and USA: Immediately release Julian Assange and drop extradition case

Responding to the news, Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee, said:

‘The charges faced by Julian Assange in the US represent a huge threat to media freedom and investigative journalism everywhere. Our position is clear. Espionage laws should not be used against journalists and publishers for disclosing information of public interest. We once again urge the US authorities to drop the case against Assange and to withdraw their extradition appeal.’

Daniel Gorman, Director of English PEN, said:

‘The UK authorities must uphold their commitment to press freedom and prevent Julian Assange’s extradition to the US. Assange has been held in Belmarsh High Security Prison for over two years. This case has deeply concerning implications for press freedom and as such he should be released as a matter of urgency.’

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People say that (writers) are pretty powerless: we don’t have an army, we don’t have a bureaucracy. But if that were true, then why would writers be arrested?... Because the spoken word is powerful.

— John Ralston Saul on the work of PEN International