We’ll update this blog daily; get in touch to add events
Julian Assange’s status in the Ecuadorian embassy has been in jeopardy over the past months, particularly since Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno came to power, with Ecuador and the UK believed to be engaged in negotiations to bring his stay to an end. In a recent interview, Moreno said, “Let’s not forget the conditions of his asylum prevent him from speaking about politics or intervening in the politics of other countries. That’s why we cut his communication.”
Isolated without internet access since March, Julian Assange will have been arbitrarily detained by the UK in the Ecuadorian Embassy for six years on 19 June 2018. The UN has condemned his detention; leading intellectuals, academics, and artists around the world have called for an end to his isolation; and the UK refuses to guarantee safety from extradition should he step outside the embassy.
Due to the seriousness of the current situation, Courage will be live blogging daily updates on the situation at the Ecuadorian embassy and support actions planned worldwide. The website Justice4Assange has published a template to encourage NGOs to take a stand for Assange.
6 August 2018
German MPs sign letter supporting Julian Assange’s freedom
Fifteen members of the German Bundestag and the European Parliament have signed a letter (in English and German, below) entitled, ‘Freedom for Julian Assange!’ The MPs call on the governments of England and Ecuador to end Julian’s “de facto imprisonment”:
The risk of extradition to an unpredictable administration in the U.S. is greater than ever. This is all the more serious as the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has condemned the various forms of deprivation of liberty to which Julian Assange was subjected to without British or other governments of EU Member States having drawn any political consequences from it.
Prime Minister Theresa May and President Lenín Moreno, we appeal to you: ensure the release and effective protection of Julian Assange!
The letter was initiated by MP Heike Haensel of the Left Party, a longtime supporter of Assange and Chelsea Manning, and has been subsequently been signed by several more MPs.
5 August 2018
6500+ have signed petition for Assange
More than 6,500 supporters have signed a petition calling on the UK government to free and protect Julian Assange.
Julian Assange is in great jeopardy and it appears that you may be the only one who can help him. His asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy is threatened and he is living under intolerable conditions. Yet, if he leaves, he is exposed to arrest and imprisonment in the US. Senior US law enforcement officials have stated that they intend to do anything they can do to imprison him in the US. In recent days heavily armored police vehicles have surrounded the Embassy and the media is reporting that his arrest is imminent. You can prevent this and we urge you to free Assange.
3 August 2018
BBC Newsnight covers Assange’s embassy dilemma
Courage Director Naomi Colvin spoke to Newsnight about the potential for extradition:
Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to the BBC as well about Julian’s asylum:
“It’s obviously a very serious situation” – Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012.@suigenerisjen | #newsnight pic.twitter.com/EiihmGFGlx
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) August 2, 2018
1 August 2018
Assange’s attorney calls on Australia to step in
TeleSUR reports that Julian Burnside, an Australian member of Assange’s legal team, called on his government to intercede in the embassy situation:
The main option for Assange is for the Australian government to step in and help him by doing a diplomatic deal with the British, which should not be difficult to do, which would enable him to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy and travel safely back to Australia.
30 July 2018
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister comments on Assange case
José Valencia Amores, Ecuador’s new Foreign Minister, has issued a statement via Twitter, saying that “it is in the interest of Ecuador and also of Mr. Assange that the asylum be terminated.”
Assange’s days in the Ecuadorian Embassy are numbered says former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa
In an interview for RT’s Spanish service, former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that, sooner or later, the publisher will have to leave the embassy. Correa noted that unless Assange secures safe passage guarantees, he is likely to be prosecuted for espionage and treason “which may carry the death penalty.”
Petition to secure Assange’s freedom submitted to Australian officials
A petition to secure freedom for Julian Assange has been submitted this morning to the Australian Prime Minister and all elected members of government. More than 3,300 have signed as of this writing — add your name here.
Ongoing vigils in front of the Ecudorian Embassy in London
Supporters have been gathering in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for Julian Assange throughout his time there. Catalans in London are organising a solidarity vigil on Tuesday July 31 at 7 pm in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy.
29 July 2018
Moreno on “ideal” solution for Assange
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, who visited Spain and Britain last week, said the “ideal” solution would involve Assange accepting a “penalty” for having breached British bail conditions and then be “extradited to a country where he does not face any danger.”
15 cities join in support of Julian Assange
In the event Julian Assange’s asylum is revoked, emergency rallies will be organized at 6pm the following day and then again the following Sunday. Here is the latest map. Join the emergency protest network here.
A letter to Pope Francis seeking help for Julian Assange
A number of Catholic priests, activists, health workers and clergy have signed a Plea to the Pope, initiated by longtime activist Ciaron O’Reilly of London Catholic Worker, to ensure safe passage for Assange out of England into a place of safety.
27 July 2018
Moreno says he did discuss Assange with UK government
In a press conference in Madrid, Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno says he did discuss Assange’s situation with UK government this week and says, “the only person I haven’t spoken to is Mr. Assange” and that the “only thing” he wants is a guarantee that Assange won’t be executed.
Ecuador’s case for Assange’s asylum, six years on, is stronger than ever
In an op-ed for Open Democracy, Guillaume Long, professor of international relations and former Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Affairs, writes that Ecuador’s initial fears of political persecution — the main reason for granting asylum to Assange — have been proven right.
“With the case dropped in Sweden, the affair has gone a full circle and the key issue is Washington’s wrath with Wikileaks.” writes Long. “Ecuador has a choice. It can (…) demonstrate its respect for the internationally recognised principle of non-refoulement and uphold the asylum as long as its causes persist. Or it can hand Assange over to the British authorities making future extradition to the United States likely.”
26 July 2018
Fidel Navárez outlines Ecuador’s responsibilities
Fidel Navárez, former counsel at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, has written an analysis of Ecuador’s responsibilities towards Julian Assange as an asylee and a citizen, which have been underlined by the recent ruling of the Inter American court.
Hundreds urge New Zealand to grant Julian Assange asylum
WikiLeaks supporters in New Zealand are gathering signatures to press for their government to offer Julian Assange safe haven. Greg Rzesniowiecki explains why he started the campaign:
WikiLeaks is one of the democracy’s sensors, providing vital information as to the civilisation brain or ordering system – our governments.
Where our governments attack Wikileaks they attack the democracy. Where they attack the democracy they attack us.
25 July 2018
Scott Ludlam: how WikiLeaks became a political Rorschach test
Former Australian Senator Scott Ludlam has written a defence of WikiLeaks that recalls the importance of their 2010-11 releases for global politics:
The WikiLeaks organisation has operated as a kind of political Rorschach test since at least 2010,… This malignant scatter of ink-blots was easy enough for most people to read: the disclosures were clearly in the public interest, given the distance between the officially curated version of the United States’ saintly presence in the world and the ugly raw material
24 July 2018
New York Times deputy general counsel: Assange “in a classic publisher’s position”
An audience of US federal judges at the Ninth Circuit’s annual Judicial Conference heard from David McCraw, the deputy general counsel of the New York Times and Barry Pollack, from Julian Assange’s legal team, on the potential ramifications of a US prosecution.
Speaking on a panel on the Law of Leaks, McGraw held that any prosecution would have inevitable repercussions for traditional news outlets (“I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks”) and that organisations innovating in journalistic practice were playing a valuable public service.
Our colleagues who are not only challenging us financially but journalistically have raised an awareness that there are different ways to report.
Barry Pollack noted that recent US criminal indictments that appear to refer to WikiLeaks as ‘Organisation-1’ are squarely attacking perfectly ordinary journalistic practice.
If you read the indictment that just came out on Russians and you look at what Organization Number 1, which is clearly WikiLeaks, is alleged to have done in that indictment, it is doing exactly what The New York Times and The Washington Post do every day of the week… He [Assange] is communicating with a source, the source provides him with information, he publishes that information.
There are no questions about the truthfulness or accuracy or authenticity of that information. And then he encourages the source to give him more information. He says ‘don’t give it to my competitors, give it to me. This story will have more impact if I publish it.’
23 July 2018
Reuters: the situation at the embassy is “coming to a head”
A report from Reuters cites a source stating that the situation is deteriorating at the Ecuadorian embassy.
“The situation is very serious. Things are coming to a head,” the source, who spoke on condition on anonymity, told Reuters. He said the latest information from inside the embassy was, “It’s not looking good”.
Inter-American Court ruling explained
A post by Jennifer Robinson at Doughty Street Chambers explains the Inter-American Court ruling of earlier this month, which was brought by the previous government of Ecuador.
In summary, the decision of the Court makes clear that Ecuador cannot return Mr Assange to the British authorities if there is a risk he will be extradited to the United States, which was the basis on which he was granted asylum.
22 July 2018
What we’ve learned from WikiLeaks
Flick Ruby recounts many of the ways the public has benefited from WikiLeaks’ releases, from exposing war crimes to using released documents in court cases, in an extended Twitter thread.
What have we learned from @WikiLeaks ? Friends, this thread will go for a while. Consider and evaluate whether this material is in the public interest as events regarding #WikiLeaks and #Assange unfold. Also, feel free to unfollow if you can’t hack it. https://t.co/Q41F078GPO
— Flick Ruby (@FlickRubicon) July 22, 2018
21 July 2018
Ecuador to “imminently” withdraw Assange’s aslum
Glenn Greenwald reports that Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno is in London with the covert motive of negotiating with British officials to withdraw asylum for Julian Assange “imminently”, turning him over to UK police who have vowed to arrest him immediately.
Moreno has previously said Assange’s asylum would continue but with “conditions”; since then, the foreign minister who decided to grant Assange citizenship has been elected President of the UN General Assembly, replaced by the less sympathetic Jose Valencia Amores. When stepping into the new position, Amores said Ecuador seeks an “exit that is not traumatic.”
Inter-American ruling a victory for Assange
Though it didn’t mention Julian Assange directly, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that states granting asylum must provide safe passage to asylees in embassies.
The ruling “interpreted the reach of the protection given under Article 22 (7) of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article XXVII of the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, which recognize the right to seek and receive asylum in a foreign territory.”
19 July 2018
Stefania Maurizi: Inside WikiLeaks: Working with the Publisher that Changed the World
Stefania Maurizi, a WikiLeaks media partner for nine years, recounts her experience of working on a series of critically important document releases with an organisation being put under exceptional state pressure:
WikiLeaks is rather unique from many standpoints. As a media organization publishing exclusively secret or otherwise restricted documents on “invisible powers,” such as intelligence agencies, which citizens do not normally perceive as directly relevant to their lives, there is little doubt that WikiLeaks has the full force of the State against it. It is probably the only Western media organization to have been under continuous investigation by the U.S. authorities – and probably others—since 2010, and it is definitely the only one whose editor is arbitrarily detained in the heart of Europe.
15 July 2018
Persecution of WikiLeaks threatens press freedoms
Chris Hedges has written “The War on Assange is a War on Press Freedom,” explaining:
The extradition of the publisher—the maniacal goal of the U.S. government—would set a legal precedent that would criminalize any journalistic oversight or investigation of the corporate state. It would turn leaks and whistleblowing into treason. It would shroud in total secrecy the actions of the ruling global elites. If Assange is extradited to the United States and sentenced, The New York Times, The Washington Post and every other media organization, no matter how tepid their coverage of the corporate state, would be subject to the same draconian censorship. Under the precedent set, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court would enthusiastically uphold the arrest and imprisonment of any publisher, editor or reporter in the name of national security.
Hedges joins a chorus of voices warning of the threat to journalists everywhere if the US has its way with WikiLeaks. Human Rights Watch’s executive director Ken Roth said over the weekend:
If Ecuador expels Assange from its London embassy, it’s essential the UK not become party to any US effort to prosecute him for merely publishing classified information the same way journalists regularly do. @TheIntercept https://t.co/85da4IVUvU pic.twitter.com/xi0xG62xjC
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) July 21, 2018
Earlier this year, the Committee to Protect Journalists wrote, “By suing WikiLeaks, DNC could endanger principles of press freedom”
The notion that journalistic activity such as cultivating sources and receiving illegally obtained documents could be construed as part of a criminal conspiracy is, according to Goodale, the “greatest threat to press freedom today.” “It will inhibit reporters’ ability to get whistleblower information, because as soon as you talk to them in any aggressive fashion you could be guilty of a crime,” Goodale said.
13 July 2018
Why I stand with Julian Assange
Former State Department diplomat Peter Van Buren pens a defence of Julian Assange for the American Conservative, emphasising the gains WikiLeaks has made for oversight of government and the likelihood that this case represents a major encroachment of government power.
Wikileaks’ version of journalism says here are the cables, the memos, and the emails. Others can write about them (and nearly every mainstream media outlet has used Wikileaks to do that, some even while calling Assange a traitor), or you as a citizen can read the stuff yourself and make up your own damned mind. That is the root of an informed public, a set of tools never before available until Assange and the internet created them.
If Assange becomes the first successful prosecution of a third party under the Espionage Act, whether as a journalist or not, the government will turn that precedent into a weapon to attack the media’s role in any national security case. On the other hand, if Assange leaves London for asylum in Ecuador, that will empower new journalists to provide evidence when a government serves its people poorly and has no interest in being held accountable.
Freedom is never static. It either advances under our pressure, or recedes under theirs. I support Julian Assange.
3 July 2018
Today marks Julian Assange’s 47th birthday. Supporters worldwide have been drawing attention to his plight.
— WikiLeaks Art ⌛ (@WLArtForce) July 3, 2018
— #FreeAssange! (tweets by campaign)⌛ (@JulianAssange) July 3, 2018
In #Brisbane #Queensland where #Assange was born (Townesville) 47 years ago today-Janet Connolly, Senator Bartlett & Fr. Pan Jordan deliver Open Letter to #Australian Government to DFAT offices demanding #FreeJulianAssange Walking from.execution site of aboriginal resisters POSq pic.twitter.com/2DI1HRDkzw
— Ciaron O’Reilly (@CiaronOReilly) July 3, 2018
1 July 2018
Geoffrey Robertson QC: Julian Assange faces a US extradition request if he has to leave the embassy
Renowned human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, discusses Julian Assange’s case in a new interview:
Julian Assange has exposed a great deal of the secrets of the modern establishment. When he was in court, in fact when I was acting for him, he performed a service to journalists by getting a ruling that they could tweet from court, which they’d never been allowed to previously.
There’s no doubt [that he is wanted by the United States]. We never hear about that from Downing Street, we hear it from the White House.
I think this is working up to be a major free press issue. He’s been in the Ecuadorian embassy for six years, the charges brought against him in Sweden have been withdrawn. He only has America to fear.
If he leaves the embassy, he will be arrested, held for a short time for a breach of bail and in that time the US foreign secretary will order an extradition request that will keep him in prison for years fighting a US extradition request to prosecute him as a spy.
‘This is a major free press issue. The US govt wants to prosecute WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange as a spy. He’s already living as a prisoner and the US wants to lock him up for 45 years.’ Watch renowned human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson: #FreeAssange pic.twitter.com/rvnDQIl7Co
— Bean🔥 (@SomersetBean) July 1, 2018
30 June 2018
Ecuador refutes claims of US influence
Ecuador’s new foreign minister Jose Valencia Amores said it’s not up to the US to determine the fate of Julian Assange, who was granted Ecuadorian citizenship earlier this year.
According to the Associated Press:
“Ecuador and the United Kingdom, and of course Mr Assange as a person who is currently staying, on asylum, at our embassy” will decide the next steps, Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told reporters.
“It does not enter, therefore, on an agenda with the United States.”
29 June 2018
White House confirms US and Ecuador are coordinating over Assange
Earlier this week, ten US Democratic Senators sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, as he was traveling to Ecuador. The letter urged “him to raise concerns with President Moreno about Ecuador’s support for Mr. Assange at a time when WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes around the world.”
The following day, the White House released a statement to reporters confirming Pence did bring up Assange’s situation: “The vice president raised the issue of Mr. Assange. It was a constructive conversation. They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward.”
Independent journalist Caitlin Johnstone comments on the letter and response:
Why would US Senators care that Assange is receiving political asylum if his belief that the US government is trying to extradite him was a paranoid fantasy? The only known existing charge that Assange could be arrested for if he leaves the embassy is a bogus bail violation he was charged with a full 12 days after he applied for political asylum; nobody actually believes ensuring that Assange is prosecuted for that nonsensical charge is an urgent matter, let alone one so urgent it necessitates the full attention of ten sitting US Senators and the Vice President of the United States. Continuing to pretend that we don’t all know that the same government which tortured Chelsea Manning is trying to extradite Assange is a farce, and the correct response to anyone denying it is to laugh in their face.
27 June 2018
Comey killed discussions over Assange’s immunity deal
The Hill reported this week that a lawyer for Julian Assange, Adam Waldman, and the US Department of Justice were in talks in March 2017 to reach an immunity deal for Assange.
Waldman wrote to a DOJ rep:
Subject to adequate and binding protections, including but not limited to an acceptable immunity and safe passage agreement, Mr. Assange welcomes the opportunity to discuss with the U.S. government risk mitigation approaches relating to CIA documents in WikiLeaks’ possession or control, such as the redaction of agency personnel in hostile jurisdictions and foreign espionage risks to WikiLeaks staff.
Derived directly from this discussion of risk mitigation, Mr. Assange is also prepared to discuss (within the source protection boundaries expected of a journalist and publisher operating at the highest level of integrity) (i) a description of CIA information in the possession or control of WikiLeaks; (ii) the risks of third parties who may have obtained access to such information (not withstanding the foregoing, for the avoidance of doubt this category specifically and others generally will not include any information that may effect WikiLeaks obligations to protect its sources) and (iii) information regarding the timing of further publications in so far as they relate to the risk mitigation approaches developed.
But just the next day, The Hill reported that former FBI Director James Comey intervened, through Senator Mark Warner, to kill those discussions.
Chilean Political Refugee Cristina Godoy Navarrete Speaks in Support of Julian Assange
“Today 20 June is World Refugee Day. My mum arrived in the UK as a political refugee in 1976 after being imprisoned and tortured by the US-government supported Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.”
Assange Is a Journalist, Should Not Be Persecuted for Publishing the Truth
Kevin Zeese writes:
The threat of prosecution against Julian Assange for his work as editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks will be a key to defining what Freedom of the Press means in the 21st Century. Should people be allowed to know the truth if their government is corrupt, violating the law or committing war crimes? Democracy cannot exist when people are misled by a concentrated corporate media that puts forth a narrative on behalf of the government and big business.
20 June 2018
Yesterday rallies were held in major cities around the world, calling for Julian Assange’s freedom.
Human Rights Watch was barred from visiting Assange in the Embassy, and its general counsel Dinah PoKempner has argued, ‘UK Should Reject Extraditing Julian Assange to US.’
The publication of leaks—particularly leaks that show potential government wrongdoing or human rights abuse—is a critical function of a free press in a democratic society. The vague and sweeping provisions of the Espionage Act remain ready to be used against other publishers and journalists, whether they be Wikileaks or the New York Times.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 20, 2018
19 June 2018
Sixth anniversary rallies and media
Today marks six years since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, seeking asylum from US/UK persecution. Assange lawyer and Courage Trustee Renata Avila remarked on the anniversary:
I was there as part of the legal team 6 years ago when @JulianAssange decided to exercise his human right to asylum. I hoped the UK was a civilised nation and it will respect the sovereignty of #Ecuador. Six years after, his arbitrary detention proves even more: its brutality.
— Renata Avila (@avilarenata) June 19, 2018
Rallies for Assange are being held around the world
At the Embassy in London (livestream), Diem25 co-founder Srecko Horvat spoke about WikiLeaks’ importance:
— DiEM25 (@DiEM_25) June 19, 2018
At Mintpress News, Whitney Webb writes, ‘The Implications of Assange’s Persecution for Journalism and Democracy’:
Assange’s case means much more than the severe mistreatment – torture, as some have said – of a single man whose commitment to bringing the dark deeds of government crimes to light has forced him to sacrifice seeing the outside world – even his own children – for the better part of a decade. Though his mistreatment has no place in any civilized “democracy,” the outcome of Assange’s case – if his extradition to the United States does come to pass – will have a powerful impact for journalism as a whole. Indeed, if the U.S.-led campaign to extradite and silence Assange is successful, it will invariably become the blueprint used by powerful governments like the U.S. to silence independent journalists the world over, and bludgeon them into submission.
At Consortium News, former CIA officer Ray McGovern writes, ‘Julian Assange and the Mindszenty Case’:
Where is the voice of conscience to condemn what is happening to Julian Assange, whose only “crime” is publishing documents exposing the criminal activities and corruption of governments and other Establishment elites? Decades ago, the U.S. and “civilized world” had nothing but high praise for the courageous Mindszenty. He became a candidate for sainthood.
And Assange? He has been confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for six years —from June 19, 2012—the victim of a scurrilous slander campaign and British threats to arrest him, should he ever step outside. The U.S. government has been putting extraordinary pressure on Ecuador to end his asylum and top U.S. officials have made it clear that, as soon as they get their hands on him, they will manufacture a reason to put him on trial and put him in prison. All for spreading unwelcome truth around.
Vault 7 charges brought
Meanwhile, Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act charges have been brought against Joshua Schulte, the alleged source of the Vault 7 leak of CIA hacking tools published by WikiLeaks.
18 June 2018
Tomorrow, 19 June 2018, marks six years since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Rallies in support of Assange’s freedom, and freedom to use the internet, are planned around the world. See here for a list of global actions, and get in touch with us here to add your event or send us photos from your local action.
Tomorrow the UN Human Rights Council will hear a discussion of “Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and the Future of Rights and Freedoms in the West,” with Judge Baltasar Garzon, head of Assange’s legal team; Stefania Maurizi, the Italian journalist who uncovered important documents about Assange’s persecution; and Micol Savia, from the International Association of Democratic Lawyers.
UN meeting, Geneva, Tuesday 19 June, 10:30am: “@JulianAssange, @WikiLeaks & the Future of Rights & Freedoms in the West” #HRC38 @UNHumanRights
Background: https://t.co/0VmWWBkWo4 pic.twitter.com/vTlfTJgIYn
— #FreeAssange! (tweets by campaign)⌛ (@JulianAssange) June 18, 2018
John Pilger and others speak at Australian rally
Lawyers speak out for Assange’s rights
Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about Julian’s case.
Julian Assange’s Lawyer on 6 Years of Arbitrary Detention
Lawyer and human rights activist Kellie Tranter highlights the Australian government’s selective willingness to protect human rights.
the Australian government says it is ‘fully committed’ [to upholding international human rights law] but simultaneously cherry picks the human rights it wants to uphold or agitate for, depending upon what is politically advantageous to itself or its allies. In Assange’s case this “commitment” has never been translated into any sort of action.
14 June 2018
An exit without “trauma”
Ecuador’s new foreign minister Jose Valencia Amores replaces Maria Fernando Espinosa, the new President of US General Assembly who granted Julian Assange with Ecuadorian citizenship. Amores said on Wednesday, 13 June, that Ecuador seeks a solution to Assange’s situation “that gives us an exit that is not traumatic, an exit that can not provoke a dissonance with international law (and that) serves the interest of the Ecuadorian State.”
UN meeting on Assange
Julian Assange’s Twitter account, run by campaign members while he remains without internet access, announced that on 19 June, the sixth anniversary of Julian entering the embassy, the UN will hold a meeting on his persecution:
UN meeting on the persecution of @WikiLeaks‘ publisher @JulianAssange; Geneva, Palice of Nations, UN Human Rights Council; 38th Session
Tuesday 19 June, 10.30 am–11:30am, Room V;
With @WikiLeaks General Counsel Judge Baltasar Garzon pic.twitter.com/cL3vUGuI1r
— #FreeAssange! (tweets by campaign)⌛ (@JulianAssange) June 14, 2018
New details on Ecuadorian surveillance
Spanish newspaper El Diario has uncovered new details about Operation Hotel, Ecuador’s long effort to spy on Julian Assange’s every move within the embassy, unveiled by the Guardian last month. Based on confidential government intelligence reports, El Diario explains:
The parties of the security company do not limit themselves to detailing the incidents that were registered during those dates outside the embassy, where there were concentrations and some manifestations not too numerous, they also detail and photograph what happens inside the government building, where a network of security cameras registered all Assange activity. These images came to screens located in an apartment located 100 meters from the embassy in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in London . The cameras allowed the Ecuadorian Government to document a meeting that took place on April 4, 2017. “The Guest – as they refer to Assange – receives the visits of Praxis Film”, begins the extraordinary report dedicated to that appointment.
However, El Diario notes ample incorrect information within the reports:
The intelligence reports to which eldiario.es has had access are filled with errors and incorrect statements. Some names of visitors Assange received are not correct, there are misspellings and on some documents, and the Ecuadoran embassy is referred to as the Colombian Embassy. There are also mistakes in identifying the people with whom the WikiLeaks founder has access, like when the report speaks of Renata Avila, who it refers to as one of his Spanish lawyers from the office of Baltasar Garzon. Avila is not Spanish and she is not a lawyer in Garzon’s office.
Filmmaker Ken Loach is the latest to add his voice of support for Assange, with this statement:
The persecution of Julian Assange must end. To force him to remain in the Ecuadorian Embassy for fear of extradition to the USA is clearly political.
He is right to be fearful. In the current febrile atmosphere people in the US have called for his execution.
He has defended the public’s right to know what is done in their name when others who now attack him have run for cover.
It is time that Julian Assange is free to leave without fear.
The Washington Post mark the upcoming six-year anniversary of Julian Assange taking refuge in the embassy.
Free Julian Assange NZ have announced a Wellington protest in support of Julian Assange on 19 June, with a march planned from the Australia High Commission to the US Embassy to the UK Embassy.
John Jiggens writes in Independent Australia that ‘the long siege of Julian Assange’ is “ongoing and unfair”, with extensive comments from Irish-Australian Catholic Worker activist Ciaron O’Reilly, who said:
lf you marched against the Iraq War and over a million people marched in London alone, then what you did by marching is you incited people like Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. So if you serious about being anti-war then you have to accompany the people you incited, whether they be military resisters or whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning or publishers like Julian Assange.
I know from my own experiences of imprisonment for anti-war activity that the most minute expressions of solidarity carry a lot of weight in terms of nourishing resisters and I have been in the embassy with Julian when he’s received support mail from people and I’ve seen how he has been sincerely nourished by that and I would encourage everyone to write to him.
There’s an old saying that truth is the first casualty of war. Well maybe, as Julian points out, peace can be founded on telling the truth.
13 June 2018
Courage Trustee and investigative journalist John Pilger was interviewed by Dennis Bernstein about the ‘Curious Case of the Left’s Silence on Julian Assange.’ Pilger said:
They have not won, not yet, and they have not destroyed the man. Only the silence of good people will allow them to win. Julian Assange has never been more isolated. He needs your support and your voice. Now more than ever is the time to demand justice and free speech for Julian. Thank you.”
WISE Up Action have published a new interview with James Cogan, ;The Fight to Free Julian Assange is a question of political principle.’
Artists Tony Garnett, Davide Dormino and Costantino Ciervo demand freedom for Julian Assange.
Former high-ranking UN official Alfred M. de Zayas issued a statement of support:
Assange, whom I visited at the Ecuador Embassy in London, deserves the Nobel Prize for Peace. He and fellow whistleblower Eduard Snowden have done more for democracy, rule of law and peace than the many hypocritical politicians and journalists who attack and defame them.
12 June 2018
Australians take notice after High Commission visit
Following the news that Australian officials visited the Ecuadorian Embassy, Australians are showing their support for Julian Assange. Australian public high school teachers signed a resolution in support of the campaign for Assange’s freedom.
At Mintpress News, Whitney Webb says that the outcome of Assange’s situation could set a precedent for all Australians, calling on the Aussie government to protect him:
if Australia reneges on its obligations to protect Assange and fight for his rights, the implications such actions would hold for every other citizen of the country are as vast as they are chilling. It would set the legal precedent for Australia to allow any of its citizens to be detained, imprisoned and/or silenced by another government without charges, greatly weakening the rights of any Australian national living or traveling abroad. Essentially, it would mean that many of the rights granted to an Australian by right of one’s citizenship would evaporate the second he or she set foot on foreign soil.
11 June 2018
Australia providing consular assistance
Over the weekend it was confirmed that Australia was providing consular assistance in Assange’s situation after two officials from the High Commission in London visited the Ecuadorian Embassy. 7 News Melbourne spoke with Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson:
This week Julian Assange was back in the headlines again after it was confirmed Australia is providing him with consular assistance following a visit from two officials from the High Commission in London. #WikiLeaks #7News pic.twitter.com/AZXB5OCAVY
— 7 News Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) June 9, 2018
Postcards for Assange
Inspired by John Pilger’s statement calling for support, WISEUP Action has launched a postcard campaign, providing postcards emphasizing Assange’s right to free speech and his right to healthcare available for download.
5 June 2018
Ecuador’s foreign minister elected President of UN General Assembly
Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador’s foreign minister who approved Julian Assange’s citizenship and gave him diplomatic status, has been elected President of the United Nations’ General Assembly.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Monday, Espinosa said there was no set date for Assange to regain internet access.
Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, said last week that Espinosa made the decision to grant Assange citizenship. “I told the foreign minister she should, with complete freedom, choose how to solve the problem. And she chose that system. It wasn’t the most suitable, but I respected it,” Moreno said.
4 June 2018
Investigative journalist and Courage Trustee John Pilger has released a statement about Julian’s situation and the need for widespread grassroots support, entitled “Justice and freedom for Julian Assange mean free speech for us all.”
CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou explained the importance of supporting Assange in a recent video message. “I feel like we’re heading into an international crisis if we turn our backs on Julian Assange,” he said.
— #FreeAssange! (tweets by campaign)⌛ (@JulianAssange) June 3, 2018
Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters displayed a huge message of support at a performance over the weekend:
Assange supporter Emmy Butlin, whose group WISEUP Action organizes vigils outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, recently gave an interview to World Socialist Website.
Vigils planned in support of Julian Assange
17 June – Sydney, Australia, Town Hall’s Square, 1pm
19 June – London, Ecuadorian Embassy, 6-8pm