Australian Citizens Party formerly Citizens Electoral Council

Australian government must demand Julian Assange’s release

- Citizens Party Media Release

This release was first published as an article by Citizens Party researcher Jeremy Beck in the 10 March 2021 Australian Alert Service.

The Australian Government must demand the Biden Administration drop its extradition order for Julian Assange and the charges which he faces under the US Espionage Act. On 4 January, British District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that Assange could not be extradited to the USA because he was depressed and at risk of committing suicide, but on 9 February US Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi said the Biden Administration will continue to pursue the extradition. The Biden Administration’s present position on Assange could change if Prime Minister Scott Morrison were to stand for justice and principle. Such an act of political redemption may just save the embattled Australian Prime Minister who is rapidly losing any credibility he may have had, even amongst his Coalition peers.

Informed sources state that President Donald Trump was very close to pardoning Julian Assange, and would have if the Australian government had requested it. Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson confirmed this to Citizens Party Research Director Robert Barwick at a chance meeting at Parliament House in Canberra in February. She added that right now, the Australian government is the difference in getting President Joe Biden to drop the appeal to Judge Baraitser’s 4 January ruling, or not.

Prime Minister Morrison cannot afford to ignore the growing support for Assange in the Australian Parliament which runs across the political divide from the Greens to George Christensen and Barnaby Joyce in the Liberal/National Coalition. There are now 24 Australian parliamentarians in the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group, and Labor leader Anthony Albanese has just broken his silence and called for Assange’s release. Albanese was asked for his view on Assange’s ongoing detention at a 23 February caucus meeting in Canberra. “Enough is enough”, he responded. “I don’t have sympathy for many of his actions but essentially I can’t see what is served by keeping him incarcerated.”

Albanese’s change of position to support Assange’s release is very significant despite his utterly pathetic disapproval of Assange’s actions. Informed citizens across the political spectrum rightly embrace Assange as a beacon of hope and freedom in a world otherwise doomed to tyrannical rule. On 2 February in Parliament, Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson nominated Assange and WikiLeaks for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021. For his work, Assange is “facing extradition and charges attracting a virtual death sentence in the USA—the country whose war crimes he exposed”, said Senator Whish-Wilson in parliament. In 2017, John Adams, former Liberal Party advisor to Senator Arthur Sinodinos, had called for Assange to be Australian of the Year. “To millions around the world, Assange is a noble hero risking his life to expose the truth, consistent with humanity’s highest ideals”, he wrote in the 18 January 2017 Spectator.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, after initially dismissing Assange’s case, has become one of his most outspoken defenders. Melzer visited Assange in May 2019 in Belmarsh Prison, London and penned an article, “Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange”, for the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, 26 June 2019. Melzer offered this article for publication to the Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Canberra Times, the Telegraph, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek. None responded positively.

On the anniversary of his visit to Assange in Belmarsh, Melzer tweeted 9 May 2020, “This is important! It is about democracy. It is about the rule of law. If telling the truth becomes a crime, this will not only have a ‘chilling effect’ on journalism—it will do away with it. We will then live under censorship and inevitably also under tyranny!”

The tyranny under the military-industrial complex and Anglo-American financial oligarchy continues no matter the nominal “democratic” leader in power. And Big Tech is intent on supressing this truth. “The fact that the Biden administration has decided to pursue the prosecution of Julian Assange confirms that the people are getting the same slops, in a different bucket”, former British Ambassador Craig Murray wrote at his website on 10 February.

On 24 September 2020 Murray explained the state of censorship regarding Assange: “The plan of the US Government throughout has been to limit the information available to the public and limit the effective access to a wider public of what information is available. … A complicit mainstream media has ensured those of us who know what is happening are very few in the wider population. Even my blog has never been so systematically subject to shadowbanning from Twitter and Facebook as now. … In the February hearings Facebook and Twitter were between them sending me over 200,000 readers a day. Now they are between them sending me 3,000 readers a day.” Murray added on 19 October 2020 that his website had been suffering a ratcheting of social media suppression for years, “which reached its apogee” in his coverage of the Julian Assange trial.

US prosecutors have claimed WikiLeaks has put lives at risk by releasing unredacted classified documents. But in truth, Assange did everything possible to inform the US State Department of an impending public release of unredacted diplomatic cables outside of WikiLeaks’ control. This is confirmed in a 75-minute phone call by Assange to the US State department in 2011, audio of which was released in December 2020, corroborating Assange’s defence. In this call, Assange confirmed WikiLeaks would continue “in an orderly fashion reading the classified cables one by one and redacting source identities where necessary”.

Australians should not tolerate their government abandoning this heroic fellow citizen, especially as it’s in their power to get him released. Everyone can help by contacting their MP to urge that they join the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group.

Police state