October 3, 2023


By Neenah Payne

Julian Assange: Guilty of Journalism shows that on April 6, Kevin Gosztola will be in London to speak about his newly published book Guilty of Journalism, a carefully documented analysis of the government’s case against Julian Assange and its implications for press freedom. Gosztola will be joined by Rebecca Vincent, the director of operations and campaigns for RSF. Vaughan Smith, freelance video journalist and founded the Frontline Club in London will moderate the event. The legal action against Julian Assange is poised to culminate in a trial in the United States in 2023, and this book will help the public understand the proceedings. You can order Kevin’s book Guilty of Journalism here.

April 6, 2023, 19:00pm
The Frontline Club
13 Norfolk Place
London W2 1QJ

April 8: “Beat The System”

On April 8, a/political and WikiLeaks present Beat The System as the closing event for the States of Violence exhibition at a/political. The night brings together artists and musicians to raise awareness around the importance of press freedom and to empower the public to create positive change.

AFTER PARTY: Dutchie x Who Knew, Fabio & Grooverider, Flowdan (Live), Gardna, My Nu Leng, Sherelle + Special Guests

BEAT THE SYSTEM features a back-to-back line up of world renowned acts including Bugzy Malone, Lowkey, Eva Lazarus, and My Nu Leng. Shangri-La’s creative team (wondercloud creations) are creating stage sets and installations for the show in collaboration with ShangrilART and artists from the a/political network.

Taking place just ahead of the four-year anniversary of Julian Assange’s imprisonment in Belmarsh Prison, weeks after the 20-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, during a moment of widening inequality and the worst strikes over pay in history in the UK, BEAT THE SYSTEM seeks to turn the spotlight back onto the public, emboldening young people in the pursuit of their artistic and political endeavors. It urges them to understand the realities of the world today and to speak up for their right to live in a society that is fair and just.

The night is in solidarity with artists, musicians, journalists and whistleblowers who are fighting to expose injustice around the world.

Robin Collings, Founder of Shangri-La Glastonbury, says:

Shangri-La exists to reflect the issues of our time, we invite our community to broaden their perspectives, and we promote free expression through music and art. We have always had an incredible and diverse line up and artistic team, all with important voices. It has never been more important to listen!

a/political spokesperson says,

Music is a tool for change and empowerment. This night will show that politics affects everyone, and we will be encouraging people to actively engage with it.

Music moves people. At its best, it sings, if not cries, out with truth. It can be the engine of change and an indispensable vessel for truth when states fail us. That’s why so many brilliant artists, who touch the hearts and lives of millions, support this event. Together we stand for freedom: a world without repression. No more white noise. Sing the truth. London hear our call. Beat the system and Free Assange NOW. — Joseph Farrell WikiLeaks ambassador and Chloe Schlosberg, Wau Holland Foundation.

Tickets available via Earth website, DICE: https://link.dice.fm/N62138f43d16

Marketing/press kit: https://bit.ly/3ZW2L8w

Reporters Without Borders denied access to visit Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison – Don’t Extradite Assange

Earlier today [April 4], Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF’s) Secretary-General Christophe Deloire and Director of Operations and Campaigns Rebecca Vincent arrived to visit Julian Assange inside Belmarsh prison but were denied access at the last minute.

RSF’s representatives had been granted permission to visit Assange before the four-year anniversary of his imprisonment in Belmarsh, where he has been held since 11 April 2019.

Christophe Deloire, RSF Secretary-General, said: “We are deeply disappointed by the arbitrary decision of the Belmarsh Prison Governor to prevent us from visiting Julian Assange, despite following all relevant prison procedures and rules. Julian Assange has the right to receive visitors in prison, and we are legitimate to visit him as a press freedom NGO. We call for an urgent reversal of this decision and to be allowed visitation access without further delay.”

Rebecca Vincent, RSF Director of Operations, said: “This is the latest in a long series of ludicrous obstacles that we have faced over the past three years in campaigning for the release of Julian Assange. At every level, British authorities have defaulted to secrecy and exclusion rather than allowing normal engagement around this case – from refusing to accept RSF petitions, to making it nearly impossible to access court, and now this. What do they have to hide? Regardless, we continue our campaign to #FreeAssange.

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson commented on the news: “A press freedom NGO barred from visiting a political prisoner and a journalist (after visit had previously been confirmed). This is not Russia, China or North Korea but the United Kingdom. Remember this next time the UK Government tries to lecture you on lack of press freedom elsewhere.”

RSF barred from vetted prison visit to Julian Assange, despite official permission. – YouTube

Dear Friends,

Access denied! On 4 April, at the last minute, the governor of Belmarsh Prison in London prevented RSF from visiting Julian Assange despite official permission having been granted.

We are deeply disappointed by this arbitrary decision, despite following all relevant prison procedures and rules. Julian Assange has the right to receive visitors in prison, and we are legitimate to visit him as a press freedom NGO. We call for an urgent reversal of this decision and to be allowed visitation access without further delay.

This is the latest in a long series of ludicrous obstacles that we have faced in our work around the extradition proceedings that have taken place over the past three years. But we continue to campaign for Assange’s release as a global priority because this case matters so tremendously for journalism and press freedom around the world.

Thank you for your support for our campaign to #FreeAssange and our global fight for press freedom!”

REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS (RSF)
Rebecca Vincent, Director of operations and campaigns.

Times Interview With Stella Assange

On March 24, The Times published I married Julian Assange in prison. Now I’m fighting to free him, an interview with Stella Assange, wife of WikiLeaks founder who said, “It’s completely absurd Julian’s in prison at all…he did nothing but try to enforce international law. The longer every procedural step can be spun out, the more Assange’s health and stability will deteriorate and the stronger the deterrent effect on other journalists and whistleblowers.”

The article points out: “The case winds on with a further decision due soon, maybe next month, on whether an appeal against extradition should be heard.”

The article explains:

Internationally, Assange  has the support of the president of the general assembly of the United Nations, more than 2,000 journalists from 108 countries, and 15 current and former world leaders including Anthony Albanese, the Australian prime minister.

It adds:

Nils Melzer, a Swiss academic who until leaving for the Red Cross last year was the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, writes in his new pro-Assange book, The Trial of Julian Assange: A Story of Persecution, that the legal delays are strategic: “The US is in no hurry to bring the extradition proceedings to a conclusion. The longer every procedural step can be spun out, the more Assange’s health and stability will deteriorate and the stronger the deterrent effect on other journalists and whistleblowers.

Stella concurs. At risk is not just her 51-year-old husband’s mental health but also his physical condition. In October 2021 he had a mini-stroke. “What’s being done to Julian is deliberately indefinite and cruel. It is to make him suffer endlessly,” she says.

“This is what dictatorships do. This is not what liberal democracies that value personal freedom and freedom of speech and freedom of the press do. It’s not just something that’s being done to keep him in prison. You need to corrupt the safeguards that exist or that existed to keep him there. You need to remove safeguards for publishers and against arbitrary detention. This is a change that will affect everyone. It’s a cultural political change, and it’s happening here.”

The article continues:

As director of the CIA from 2017 to 2018, Mike Pompeo became obsessed, she claims, with taking down WikiLeaks and had the CIA work with the Spanish security company employed by the embassy to bring its founder down with it. “There were discussions in the White House that Julian should be assassinated. Pompeo ordered what were called ‘sketches and plans’ to assassinate him,” she says, referencing a Yahoo News investigation with more than 30 sources. Last year Spain’s national high court summoned Pompeo to testify on the allegations. He has not responded.

“But Pompeo confirmed it. I mean, he said that the sources for this story should be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. You don’t prosecute under the Espionage Act if it’s false.” In his memoir, Never Give an Inch, Pompeo refers to Assange as a “hoodlum” and a “crook” and says he lobbied the Ecuadoreans to “kick Assange out of his pathetic accommodations inside their embassy”. “I will be delighted,” he adds, “the day he is thrown into an American federal penitentiary. Just one less useful idiot for Russia to exploit – and a warning to all such scoundrels in the future.” So certainly no love lost, although in the end wiser counsels prevailed and Assange was neither abducted nor exterminated.”

Stella explains:

We’re talking about a complete destruction of the international rules that were established after the Second World War. It started with 9/11, then with carving out all sorts of exceptions where you can torture and you can have something called black sites and you can have Guantanamo Bay where you can keep people arbitrarily detained without trial and torture them and even kill them. He was outraged by the breaking of those laws.

The article points out:

That Assange had a new family became known only in April 2020 when he applied to be bailed to Stella’s home. She, meanwhile, to preserve her obscurity, had changed her name from Sara González Devant to Stella Moris.

The article concludes:

She is also a mother of two and must leave to pick up her children from school and nursery. I say any woman bringing up children on her own must be permanently exhausted: that she copes with the additional legal and political stress is incomprehensible. “But you know, a lot of people want Julian free. There’s a lot of love and support there,” she says softly. And much of that, I think, trades under the name Stella Assange.

Film: Ithaka

Statement of III World Forum on Human Rights, Argentina

III World Forum on Human Rights in Buenos Aires, Argentina concluded last week with a statement of support and calling for the freedom of the Australian journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The statement was issued during the meeting and the manifesto was headed by the signatures of President Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Baltasar Garzón said he felt complete satisfaction with such significant support as that shown by the main leaders in the defense of Human Rights around the world.”

The declaration ends with the statement:

We urge the US Department of Justice to drop all charges against Mr. Assange, appealing to the United States Constitution itself, the human rights standards recognized in International Law, as well as the most basic humanitarian questions, since the life of a journalist is in danger, and the freedom of the press and the right of access to the world’s information are at risk.

III World Forum on Human Rights, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2023 – Don’t Extradite Assange

Public Statement

We, the undersigned participants of the III World Forum on Human Rights, express our concern about the extradition requested by the United States of America in relation to the journalist and founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, currently on remand in subhuman conditions in the high
security prison of Belmarsh, in the United Kingdom.

Extraditing Julian Assange would set a dangerous precedent for press freedom and the right to access information globally. Not only would it be a life sentence against this journalist, Julian Assange, but it would act as a veiled threat to all journalists around the world who aim to do their job in an honest manner.

Mr. Assange is charged under the Espionage Act 1917, a law that has never been used against a journalist for publishing accurate information concerning egregious international crimes. The UK-US Extradition Treaty itself, which forms the basis for this extradition request, specifically prohibits extradition for political offences. The same is true of the 1957 European Convention on Extradition, the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, the United Nations Model Treaty on Extradition, the Interpol Constitution and other bilateral treaties ratified by the United States of America. The prohibition on extradition for political offences is also enshrined in the Inter-American Human Rights System.

Mr. Assange engaged in normal practices of investigative journalism, such as receiving information from sources and then publishing that accurate information which was in the public interest. Charges under the Espionage Act would criminalise these routine journalistic practices, thus being a direct threat to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

It was precisely this irreconcilable conflict between these charges and the First Amendment that led former President Barack Obama’s Administration to rightly deny an indictment against Mr. Assange because it would criminalise the practice of journalism at its core.

Mr. Assange was arrested on 11 April 2019 and is now one of the longest detainees on remand in the United Kingdom.

We the undersigned demand a renewed confidence on the international rule of law and that of the United States, by the latter withdrawing the charges against Mr. Assange and ending the ongoing extradition before the UK courts.

By this Statement we express our full agreement with the view of the Council of Europe, which considers the treatment of Mr. Assange to be among “the most serious threats to press freedom”.

With that in mind, we add our voices to a growing public outcry in civil society, human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, to that of United Nations agencies, the world’s leading media, press freedom associations, medical organisations, as well as most of the political and judicial agencies which have demanded a stop to the persecution of Mr. Assange and to proceed to his immediate release.

We urge the U.S. Department of Justice to drop all charges against Mr. Assange by relying on the U.S. Constitution itself, on human rights standards recognised by International Law, as well as fundamental humanitarian values, as the life of a journalist is at risk, and freedom of the press and the right to access to information globally are at risk.

Signatories:

  • Alberto Fernández, President of Argentina.
  • Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Vice-President of Argentina.
  • Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient and Honorary President of the World Forum on Human Rights Argentina 2023.
  • Estela de Carlotto, Honorary President of the World Forum on Human Rights Argentina 2023.
  • Fernanda Gil Lozano, Executive Director International Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights
  • Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Association, Argentina.
  • Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Línea Fundadora, Argentina.
  • Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, Argentina.
  • Tristán Bauer, Minister of Culture of Argentina.
  • Horacio Pietragalla Corti, Human Rights Secretary of Argentina.
  • Axel Kicillof, Governor of Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Matías Capeluto, Director of Casa Patria Grande, Argentina.
  • Rafael Correa, Former President of Ecuador.
  • Ernesto Samper, Former President of Colombia.
  • Evo Morales, Former President of Bolivia.
  • Pepe Mujica, Former President of Uruguay.
  • José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Former President of Spain.
  • Baltasar Garzón Real, Former Judge, and Coordinator of Julian Assange’s Legal Defence Team.
  • Pablo Gentili, Executive Secretary of the World Forum on Human Rights Argentina 2023.
  • Rodrigo Gómez Tortosa, Adjunct Executive Secretary of the World Forum on Human Rights Argentina 2023.
  • Adoración Guamán, Professor of Employment Law, Universitat de València, Spain.
  • Amina Masood Janjua, Activist, Pakistan.
  • Camila Cuasialpud, Executive Director, Vivamos Humanos, Colombia.
  • Camilo Lagos, Grupo de Puebla, Chile.
  • Cruz Melchor Eya Nchama, Human Rights Defender, Equatorial Guinea.
  • Enrique Santiago, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Spain.
  • Erick Alfredo Guerrero, Deputies Congress, Spain.
  • Felipe Llamas, Councillor, Más Madrid, Spain.
  • Gerardo Pisarello Prados, Head Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Barcelona, Spain.
  • Gabriela Alejandra Rivadeneira Burbano, Assembly Member, Ecuador.
  • Gisele Ricobom, Universidade Federal da Integração Latino-Americana, Foz do Iguaçu (UNILA), Brazil.
  • Hugo Martínez, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, El Salvador.
  • Juan Carlos Monedero Fernández, President of the República&Democracia Institute, Spain.
  • Kathia Sabrina Dudyk, Researcher, FLACSO, Brazil.
  • Marco Antonio Enríquez-Ominami Gamucio, Coordinator Grupo de Puebla, Chile.
  • Mónica Xavier, Former President of the Frente Amplio Coalition, Uruguay.
  • Natividad del Carmen Llanquileo Pilquimán, Former Member of the Constitutional Convention, Chile.
  • Nila Heredia Miranda, Former President of the Truth Commission, Bolivia.
  • Salete Sirlei Valesan Camba, Flacso, Brazil.
  • María Eugenia Rodríguez Palop, European MP, Spain.
  • Shui-Meng NG, Activist against Forced Disappearances and Human Rights Defender, Malaysia
  • Teresa Ulloa, Regional Director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking of Women and Girls in Latin American and the Caribbean, México.
  • Clarissa Ramina, CLAJUD, Brazil.
  • Claudia Gonçalves, University of The State of Río de Janeiro, UERJ, Brazil.
  • American Association of Jurists.
  • Civil Association Justicia Legítima, Argentina.
  • Permanent Assembly of Human Rights, APDH, Argentina.
  • Grupo de Puebla.
  • Latin-Americans Council on Justice and Democracy, CLAJUD.
  • David Adler, General Coordinator of Progressive International.
  • The Trade Union of Media Workers, Buenos Aires, SIPREBA, Argentina.
  • The Federation of Media Workers, Buenos Aires, FATPREN, Argentina.
  • Autonomous Workers Union, CTAA, Argentina.
  • Workers Union of Argentina, CTA, Argentina.
  • Florencia Saintout, President of the Cultural Institute of the Buenos Aires Province, Argentina.
  • Raúl Zaffaroni, Former Member of the Supreme Court of Argentina, Argentina.
  • Carlos Raimundi, Ambassador of Argentina before the OAS.
  • Carlos Alfonso Tomada, Ambassador of Argentina in México.
  • Ariel Basteiro, Ambassador of Argentina in the Plurinational State of Bolivia.
  • Rafael Bielsa, Ambassador of Argentina in the Republic of Chile.
  • Luis Ilarregui, Ambassador of Argentina in Cuba.
  • Alicia Castro, Former Ambassador of Argentina in the UK, Argentina.
  • Oscar Parrilli, National Senator, Argentina.
  • Eduardo Valdés, National MP, Argentina.
  • Mónica Macha, National MP, Argentina.
  • Hugo Yasky, National MP and General Secretary of the CTA, Argentina.
  • Hugo Cachorro Godoy, General Secretary of the Autonomous CTA, Argentina.
  • Leopoldo Moreau, National MP, Argentina.
  • Cecilia Nicolini, Secretary Cambio Climático, Desarrollo Sostenible e Innovación, Argentina.
  • Blanca Osuna, National MP, Argentina.
  • Carlos Heller, National MP, Argentina.
  • Juan Manuel Pedrini, National MP, Argentina.
  • Leila Chaher, National MP, Argentina.
  • Rosana Bertone, National MP, Argentina.
  • Mara Brawer, National MP, Argentina.
  • Silvana Ginocchio, National MP, Argentina.
  • Carmela Moreau, General Secretary, Igualar Party, Argentina.
  • Rodolfo Tailhade, National MP, Argentina.
  • Mabel Caparros, National MP, Argentina.
  • Leonardo Grosso, National MP, Argentina.
  • Carolina Moisés, National MP, Argentina.
  • Liliana Mazure, National MP, Argentina.
  • Karol Cariola, MP, Republic of Chile.
  • Martín Sabbatella, President of Nuevo Encuentro.
  • Antolín Magallanes, President of Nuevo Encuentro – CABA.
  • Delia Bisutti, Vice- President of Nuevo Encuentro – CABA.
  • Marita Perceval, Special Representative for Foreign Affairs – Women Issues, Argentina.
  • Cristina Caamaño, Former Intervenor AFI, Argentina.
  • Víctor Hugo Morales, Journalist, Argentina.
  • Santiago O´Donnell, Journalist, Argentina.
  • Cynthia García, Journalist, Argentina.
  • Mariano Duahalde, Founder of the Eduardo Luis Duahalde Foundation, Argentina.
  • María Belén Bertoli, Journalist, Argentina.
  • Ernesto Lucero, Sociologist and Journalist of Patria Grande, Argentina.
  • Oscar “Chino” Martinez Zemborain, Journalist, Argentina.
  • Guido Carlotto, Former Secretary of Human Rights of the Buenos Aires Province, Argentina.
  • Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, Human Rights Lawyer, Argentina.
  • Luis Alén, Director of the Degree on Justice and Human Rights, Universidad Nacional de Lanus, Argentina.
  • Edgardo Binstock, Former Secretary of Human Rights of the Buenos Aires Province, Argentina.
  • Adela Segarra, Former National MP, Argentina.
  • Cecilia Rossetto, Actress, Argentina.
  • Alejandro Vanelli, Actor and Producer, Argentina.
  • Susana Torres Molina, Playwright, Argentina.
  • Beatriz Spelzini, Actress, Argentina.
  • Jorge Paccini, Actor, Argentina.
  • María Ibarreta, Actress, Argentina.
  • Ernesto Larrese, Actor, Argentina.
  • Cristina Benegas, Actress, Argentina.
  • Mirtha Busnelli, Actress, Argentina.
  • Cristina Tejedor, Actress, Argentina.

24 March 2023, City of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Neenah Payne writes for Activist Post

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