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.
If you would like to submit an event to be covered here, please get in touch.
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