It’s Time To Free Julian Assange Now!

By Neenah Payne

New York Times Now Supports Julian Assange! explains that the pressure on the UK Government to free Julian Assange is very high — and growing massively now! It links to the November 28 article New York Times, European news outlets call on US to drop charges against Assange which said,

A number of the world’s leading news organization, including The New York Times, are urging the U.S. government  to drop charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, citing First Amendment concerns. In an open letter from the Times, the United Kingdom’s The Guardian, France’s Le Monde, Spain’s El País and Germany’s Der Spiegel, the media companies argued charges against Assange should be dropped.

Momentum To Free Assange Grows! shows that Australian PM Tells US to Drop Charges Against Julian Assange reported:

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday said that he has personally asked the US government to drop its case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is an Australian citizen. Albanese, who previously rejected public pressure to push for Assange’s release, said that he raised the issue with US officials in recent meetings. “The government will continue to act in a diplomatic way, but can I assure the member … that I have raised this personally with representatives of the United States government,” Albanese said.

Julian Assange’s Angels is a Facebook page that now lists 1,482 journalists who support freeing Assange.

World-wide journalists condemn court action against Julian Assange

On December 22, the campaign to free Julian Assange emailed the following information which shows additional growing support to free Assange from the US demands to extradite him.

Daniel Ellsberg: Pentagon Papers

Once again we reach the end of another year which for Julian will be the fourth Christmas and New Year that he has been held at the maximum security Belmarsh prison in South London. Four Christmases where he has been away from his wife Stella and their two young children. Sustaining them all is the knowledge that there are so many people protesting this unjust incarceration and working to free Julian. Only through continued action and pressure can we make it impossible for this political persecution to continue – let’s make 2023 the year to Free Julian Assange!

Over the past few weeks there have been numerous high profile actions which have brought attention to the case, not least:

Earlier this month Daniel Ellsberg, who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers, told BBC Hardtalk that he had been given US diplomatic cables “as a backup” by Julian Assange and challenged the US Justice Department saying “I am as indictable as he is on the exact same charges. I will plead “not guilty” on grounds of your blatantly unconstitutional use of the Espionage Act. Let’s take this to the Supreme Court.

Pentagon Papers informer Ellsberg was Wikileaks’ back-up

Democracy Now then published an exclusive joint interview with Ellsberg and John Young (the founder of

EXCLUSIVE: “Let me tell you a secret… I had possession of the all the Chelsea Manning information before it came out in the press” – Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg says he was given leaked US diplomatic cables “as a backup” by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.”

The Trial of Julian Assange: A Story of Persecution

You can read and see the full interview here: Indict Us Too: Daniel Ellsberg & Cryptome’s John Young Demand U.S. Drop Charges Against Julian Assange.

As supporters of Julian Assange fear his extradition to the United States could be just weeks away, and President Biden faces growing pressure to drop espionage charges against Assange, we are joined for an exclusive joint interview with Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and John Young, the founder of, who have both asked the Department of Justice to indict them for possessing or publishing the same documents as the WikiLeaks founder.

The Biden administration is asking the U.K. government to extradite Assange to the U.S., where he faces up to 175 years in prison on espionage and hacking charges for the release of documents that exposed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now Ellsberg has revealed that he was in possession of confidential documents leaked by former military analyst Chelsea Manning and given to him as backup by WikiLeaks, and Young says he published some of the same documents days before WikiLeaks did. “If they succeed with Julian Assange, … we will not have a First Amendment,” says Ellsberg. “This accusation against Assange would be illegal against an American citizen, so we think it’s selective prosecution and it should cease,” adds Young…..

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Dan Ellsberg, let’s begin with you. Why don’t you lay out what you’re asking the Justice Department to do?

DANIEL ELLSBERG: …If they succeed with Julian Assange, in extraditing him — which Biden could stop tomorrow, and should — if they succeed in that, prosecute him and convict him, we will not have a First Amendment. It’s as if we didn’t fight a War of Independence, actually, with respect to anything they regarded as related to national defense. Free speech is pretty much out the door.

And I want to raise the issue that the act even promotes the possibility of prosecuting people like me, who do not even publish — I was a backup for Julian Assange, didn’t have to publish — but can get anybody who handles that material, any secretary at the newspaper and any reader of The New York Times…..

JOHN YOUNG: Well, it’s pretty clear, looking at the indictment of Julian Assange and the 18 citations that he’s charged, as far as I could tell, all those apply to me and Cryptome, that we’ve been doing this now since 1996. We publish classified information, secret information from other countries, within the United States, and so that I’m unclear why, if they’re charging him, why they’ve never charged someone like us. By the way, we’re only one of dozens of people who are putting out this kind of information, from the Federation of American Scientists to the National Security Archive. This has been going on for quite a long while. So our sense is that they’re trying to use Assange as an example to frighten people. That, to me, is selective vindication against him, and he should not face this alone.

I think all of those of us who are doing similar kind of work to serve the public rather than the government should do more than just protest. I think we’ve got to raise more hell and take more legal action and publish more, and as our obligation as citizens, that I think the intelligence agencies are completely out of control. The national security people are completely out of control. They’re actually trying to use Assange as a threat against everyone else, not only in the U.S. but around the world. And this, to us, seems to be anti-democratic. And we’d like to help combat that by sharing the responsibility that Mr. Ellsberg and Julian Assange is facing. And we hope others will step up, as well.”

By the way, we’re not publishers. We’re private citizens, practicing architects. And so we are not doing anything more than exerting our constitutional rights under the First Amendment. So, this accusation against Assange would be illegal against an American citizen. So we think it’s selective prosecution, and it should cease.

AMY GOODMAN: On Monday, you filed this motion against the U.S. government for violating your constitutional rights to provide unlimited documents to the public. Now, specifically in the case of Julian Assange, you say you published at, two days before WikiLeaks did, State Department cables. Explain. You’re saying the same thing that WikiLeaks revealed, and so you are guilty of the same crime.

JOHN YOUNG: Yes, except we don’t see it as a crime. It’s just revelation of privileged information. We don’t see it as criminal; we see it as free speech. And it’s all a citizen has to work with if they’re not part of the press, is to speak up and take responsibility for their views. So that’s why we did it, is that it was available, thought it worthwhile for the public to know. It’s been there now for 12 years, hundreds of downloads. No complaint from the U.S. government against us.

DANIEL ELLSBERG: …because of governmental crimes against me — crimes, by the way, that have been now revealed to be committed exactly against Julian Assange. These were crimes that led to dismissal of all charges against me, as they should have. He was — Assange, like me, was illegally surveilled. In his case, even his lawyers’ and his doctors’ discussions were surveilled. And efforts — discussions were made of kidnapping and killing him or poisoning, just as a dozen CIA assets were brought up from Miami on May 3rd, 1973, by President Nixon with orders to “incapacitate Daniel Ellsberg totally,” whatever that means. But, obviously, Assange should be let out for that….

Well, I am very happy that the TimesEl PaísLe MondeThe Guardian and the other — El PaísLe MondeThe GuardianTimes, Der Spiegel — have all finally realized, the foreign ones, that they can be extradited just like Julian, an Australian, who happened to be in England, and he’s being extradited for this, meaning that any one of those editors is as indictable as he is on exactly the same charges, and their secretaries, on the charges that could be brought against me, of holding this material, not delivering it up, not telling the FBI, etc. So they finally realized what I’ve been telling them for 50 years, literally, since my trial, without success. And that is that the plain language of this act applies to them, as well as to their sources and to their readers, as a matter of fact, or to anybody who handles this information.

Assange Nominated For Sakharov Prize

Stella Assange, Julian’s wife, attended the European Parliaments Sakharov Prize Ceremony for which Julian was selected as one of this year’s three finalists. Representatives of the European Parliament sought Mr. Assange’s attendance via video link for the event, but were refused permission by Belmarsh Prison. Stella thanked representatives for his nomination and urged positive action saying that Julian is suffering profoundly, our children need their father and this injustice must end.

You can read an interview with Stella here on this year’s Sakharov Prize — Stella Assange: EU must take more action against criminalisation of journalists

By Eleonora Vasques | | video by Mirko Paradiso Dec 13, 2022 (updated:  Dec 14, 2022)

The EU should do more to protect Julian Assange, his wife, lawyer and human rights defender Stella Assange told EURACTIV in an exclusive video interview at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday (13 December).

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is currently in London’s Belmarsh prison pending an appeal against his extradition to the US. “The US needs to hear from its allies that this is intolerable, that it affects EU values and interests because it is the US reaching beyond its borders, claiming jurisdiction into the European space in order to limit press freedoms and the public’s right to the truth by criminalising journalism,” Stella Assange said.

Julian Assange was among the finalists for the Sakharov prize, an EU award dedicated to individuals, groups or organisations that contribute to protecting freedom of thought. Every year since 1988, the European Parliament assigns the prize during the autumn, hosting winners and finalists at a ceremony in Strasbourg during the December plenary session.

Julian Assange’s candidature was proposed by MEPs of the Italian 5 Stars Movement. This year the prize was won by the people of Ukraine, “represented by their president, elected leaders, and civil society”.

Stella Assange attends the Sakharov Prize ceremony on Wednesday (14 December) on behalf of her husband.

Countries need to stand up for their fundamental values and should not tolerate outrageous extradition requests, like the one against Julian,” Stella Assange told EURACTIV. “Julian should not have spent a single day in prison,” she said. “He is being prosecuted for the very same activities that have made him a finalist for the Sakharov Prize.” “What he exposed was war crimes, civilian killings, torture, rendition, and so on it exposed crimes committed by the US government and its agents,” she said.

If extradited to the US, the WikiLeaks founder faces a potential 175-year sentence for publishing confidential documents detailing human rights violations during the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is wanted by the US authorities on 18 counts, including espionage, relating to WikiLeaks’ release of vast troves of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables, which Washington said had put lives in danger.”

Mrs Assange also wrote an opinion piece for Conservative Home, an influential grassroots blog supportive of the Conservative government. Warning of the risks of a continued prosecution of her husband, Stella remarks that the “legally and politically regressive American prosecution, which dates back to the Trump era, drags the British legal and political system down with it. It will rewrite the rules of what it is permissible to publish here, chilling free and open debate about abuses by our own government or by others”

You can read the full piece here: Stella Assange: Ministers should defend freedom of speech, not extradite my husband to the US.

Latin American Tour To Free Assange

WikiLeaks Editor-In-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson and Joseph Farrell (Ambassador) continue their outreach in South America having met with the President-elect of Brazil Lula, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández, President Gustavo Petro of Colombia and Bolivian President Luis Arce, all of whom declared their support for Julian and called on US authorities to cease their prosecution for the act of journalism.

Bolivian President Luis Arce and Minister of the Presidency Maria Nela Prada met with the WikiLeaks delegation today in La Paz.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President Elect of Brazil, supported the liberation of Julian Assange when he met with the Wikileaks Chief Editor Kristinn Hrafnsson and the Editor Joseph Farrell.

Coalition of 22 Organizations Support Assange

On December 8, a coalition of 22 organizations including Amnesty International, The Committee to Protect Journalists, ACLU, and Reporters Without Borders wrote to the US Attorney General Merrick Garland calling on him to affirm the importance of press freedom by “halting all efforts to extradite Julian Assange to the U.S. You can read the full letter and list of signatory organizations here:
CPJ, partners send letter calling for US to drop charges against Julian Assange.

The previous month on the anniversary of WikiLeaks momentous Cablegate publication, the five media organizations which first partnered with Julian coordinated a public call for his immediate release. In an Open Letter from Editors and Publishers entitled ‘Publishing is Not a Crime‘, the five media outlets – The New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais and DER SPIEGEL – stated that ‘Holding governments accountable is part of the core mission of a free press in a democracy’ and that ‘The U.S. government should end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets

You can read the letter from each here:

New York Times:  An Open Letter from Editors and Publishers: Publishing is Not a Crime
The Guardian: ‘Publishing is not a crime’: media groups urge US to drop Julian Assange charges
Le Monde: Un appel de journaux en faveur de Julian Assange : « Publier n’est pas un crime »
El Pais: Publicar no es un delito
Der Spiegel: Journalismus ist kein Verbrechen

Sign Petition To Free Assange

Stella Assange, a lawyer, gives a very powerful explanation of why Julian must be freed now. She explains that the US is indicting Assange to go after the rest of the press.

Release Julian Assange

“If wars can be started by lies, maybe peace can be started by truth.” — Julian Assange

Founded in 2006 by Julian Assange, Wikileaks offers journalist and others an anonymous, secure online submission system to reveal war crimes, the inner workings of governments, human rights abuses, corporate crimes, and much more. It is one of the most important tools for journalists and whistleblowers, Assange has been one of the most important figures protecting the right to freedom of speech and press.

Thanks to Julian Assange:

  • WikiLeaks exposed the CIA rendition program, which allowed rendition victims to win compensation in the European Court of Human Rights.
  • WikiLeaks exposed detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay.
  • WikiLeaks documents have informed the public about U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and more.
  • WikiLeaks documents have released tens of thousands of articles and academic papers.
  • WikiLeaks releases have been used in numerous court cases where human rights defenders have been on trial.

Julian Assange’s only “crime” is that of exposing crimes the U.S. government hoped to keep the world from knowing. Sign our petition calling for Assange’s freedom! We also urge you to email the Attorney General: and call the Justice Department comment line at 202-353-1555.


“Dear Attorney General Merrick Garland,

We, the undersigned, are firmly opposed to the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, where he is facing 18 charges under the Espionage Act and could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. We call on you to drop extradition proceedings.

Assange’s alleged crimes date back to 2010, when the organization he founded, WikiLeaks, transmitted documents to media outlets including Le Monde, The Guardian and The New York Times. The documents, which were provided to WikiLeaks by whistleblower Chelsea Manning, included 250,000 US diplomatic cables and US army reports about military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, exposed cases of torture, abduction and disappearances. The publication of these documents by media outlets was clearly in the public interest, and not an act of espionage. Julian Assange’s contribution to journalism is undeniable.

If the legal persecution of Assange continues, investigative journalism and press freedom will be the victims, since news organizations regularly rely on and publish classified information to serve the public interest. We are also concerned about Assange’s health. UN special rapporteur Nils Melzer reported that Assange had been deliberately exposed to inhuman and degrading treatment that could be described as psychological torture. We urge you to respect the principles of freedom of expression and the defense of journalism, and to respect Assange’s human rights. Rather than being extradited to the U.S to be tried and imprisoned, we urge you to drop the extradition proceedings and all charges against Julian Assange.”

Sign CODEPINK’s petition calling for Assange’s freedom:”

There is overwhelming support from major Human Rights, Free Speech, and Media organizations for an immediate end to the prosecution of Julian Assange. Let us all resolve to make 2023 a happier year for Julian and his family — and finally FREE JULIAN ASSANGE.

Credit: WikiLeaks/Twitter

Neenah Payne writes for Activist Post and Natural Blaze

Top image: CODEPINK

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