By Neenah Payne
Julian Assange, the Australian founder of WikiLeaks, is battling extradition from Britain to the United States where he faces a sentence of up to 175 years in a maximum-security prison for his release of U.S. military records and diplomatic cables in 2010. Washington says the documents put lives in danger — although, as Assange pointed out, no evidence of harm has ever been presented.
Calls Grow To Release Julian Assange shows that Australia PM says ‘frustrated’ over continued detention of Julian Assange. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said “Enough is enough, this needs to be brought to a conclusion, it needs to be worked through.” In November, Albanese raised the issue in meetings with United States officials but did not confirm if he would discuss it with President Biden during Biden’s visit to Sydney on May 24 for the Quad leaders’ summit.
However, it was announced on May 21 that due to the looming U.S. debt crisis, Biden cancelled his plans to participate in the Quad summit at Sydney’s opera house and have a bilateral discussion with the Australian leader. Instead, Biden’s meeting with Albanese happened Saturday afternoon. The Biden administration said it will also plan a state visit for Albanese, an event expected later this year.
Stella Assange Will Address The National Press Club
Stella Assange, Julian’s wife, will be in Canberra, Australia on May 22 to address The National Press Club with Jennifer Robinson, Australian Human Rights lawyer and barrister. See Stella’s passionate plea as she said the life of her husband is “in the hands of the Australian government” as she pleaded for Canberra to do more to influence the US to stop the pursuit of the WikiLeaks founder. “This is the closest we’ve ever been to securing Julian’s release”.
The National Press Club of Australia site says:
Stella Assange grew up in Botswana, Lesotho, Sweden, and Spain. She moved to the UK to study politics and law at SOAS and Oxford University (LMH). Stella worked in East Timor and Botswana before joining Julian Assange’s international legal team in London in 2011. Stella formed an integral part of Julian Assange’s legal team since his years of confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, where her fluency in Spanish and Swedish proved valuable. She changed her name to Stella Moris in 2012 out of concern for the safety of her family.
She and Julian have two children together, born in 2017 and 2019. They got married in March 2022 in Belmarsh high-security prison in south-east London. Stella has published pieces about Julian Assange’s case in The Guardian, El Pais, The Independent, and the Daily Mail. She has also featured on BBC Hard Talk, BBC Woman’s Hour, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian Saturday paper, and most recently in The Times Weekend Magazine.
On October 10, 2022, Stella joined thousands of others in a human chain around the Parliament of the United Kingdom, advocating for Assange’s freedom and an end to any extradition attempts. The film Ithaka chronicling Stella’s fight to free her husband alongside Julian Assange’s father and brother, John and Gabriel Shipton, aired on ABC last year. Their campaign to free her husband has turned Julian Assange’s case into a global cause for freedom of press advocates the world over.
Jennifer Robinson, Australian Human Rights Lawyer and Barrister, will join Stella in speaking at the National Press Club Monday 5/22.
Jennifer Robinson has been instructed in domestic and international cases involving media law, public law and international law. She advises media organisations, journalists, whistle-blowers and high-profile individuals on all aspects of media law and reputation management. She has also been instructed in human rights related judicial review cases and has given expert evidence in Parliament and at the United Nations. Jen advises individual and state clients on a wide range of international law issues, has appeared before the International Court of Justice and regularly engages with UN Special Mechanisms. Many of her cases and clients are high-profile and involve novel cross-jurisdictional and comparative law issues. Jen can be instructed directly in suitable cases under the Bar’s Direct Access scheme and previously practised as a solicitor.
Stella will join the protest on Wednesday in Hyde Park at 10am in Sydney with Julian Assange’s father John and brother Gabriel Shipton, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Stephen Kenny, and David McBride.
My journey to Australia has just begun!
Looking forward to joining the protest on Wednesday in Hyde Park at 10am! https://t.co/0W4LObD6bf pic.twitter.com/TUAJ6wbseI
— Stella Assange #FreeAssangeNOW (@Stella_Assange) May 18, 2023
ITHAKA: Film With Julian’s Father and Brother
In his interview below with Del Bigtree, host of The Highwire which airs online Thursdays from 2-4 ET, Julian’s father and brother point out that both sides of the aisle in Congress support Julian’s release now. Calls Grow To Release Julian Assange links to this U.S. letter from the members of Congress.
ITHAKA DETAILS FATHERS FIGHT TO FREE JULIAN ASSANGE
John and Gabriel Shipton discuss their gripping documentary, Ithaka, which chronicles the unrelenting struggle to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, their son and brother, from a high-security prison in Britain for his part in releasing classified US government files to the public.
ITHAKA had its TV premiere in the UK on Sunday, May 21 at 10:20pm! “It is hugely significant that the film will be shown on terrestrial TV in the UK and I think it’s a sign of the growing concern for the continued imprisonment of Julian,” Stella Assange said.
The film tells the story of how Julian’s father, John Shipton, and now wife Stella Assange, join forces on an international odyssey to campaign for Julian’s freedom. As they rally a world- wide network of supporters and politicians, they cautiously step into the media’s glare — and are forced to confront the events that made Julian a global flashpoint.
Ithaka is an intimate documentary that follows 76-year-old, John Shipton’s battle to secure freedom for his son, Julian Assange.
🎥WATCH: @IthakaMovie Trailer
Julian Assange’s wife @StellaMoris1 and father John Shipton battle the British establishment on behalf of the @WikiLeaks founder, who faces a 175-year prison sentence if extradited to the US.
Premiere's at @sheffdocfest on Fri 24 June. #IthakaMovie pic.twitter.com/DI4FxjSxQf
— Don't Extradite Assange – #FreeAssange (@DEAcampaign) June 22, 2022
Stella Assange said the screening is a ‘hugely significant’ moment in the fight to have her husband released from prison.
Treatment of Julian Assange ‘inhuman and cruel’, wife says
Stella Assange said her husband’s physical condition is deteriorating by the day. The treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been described by his wife as “inhuman and cruel” as he continues to be held in prison. Stella Assange said his physical condition is deteriorating by the day as he spends most of the time in a cell in Belmarsh prison in London. He was taken to the prison just over four years ago after being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy.
Lawyer and wife of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, Stella Assange, speaks to BBC Woman's Hour about her continuing fight for justice and the release of her husband who faces a 175 year sentence if extradited to the US for truthful publishing @BBCWomansHour @Stella_Assange… pic.twitter.com/Ph70vumKD1
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 25, 2023
His wife told an online meeting organised by the National Union of Journalists that Assange’s period of detention is now one of the longest at Belmarsh. “He has seen criminals convicted for armed crimes sentenced to eight years but only served half of that,” she said. “So he has been in prison longer than those convicted of armed crimes. He is being treated in an inhuman and cruel manner.” Stella Assange said there was growing support for releasing her husband across the world, especially because of the impact of his case for press freedom.
Festival of Debate with Kristinn Hrafnsson
In the UK, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson will attend Festival of Debate in Sheffield for a panel discussion with British rapper Lowkey and Italian investigative journalist Stefania Maurizi.
Catch Secret Power: WikiLeaks and its Enemies, May 26 at 7pm BST.
Get tickets here: https://festivalofdebate.com/2023/secret-power-wikileaks-and-its-enemies-stefania-maurizi-stella-assange
Stefania Maurizi — winner of the European Award for Investigative and Judicial Journalism 2021 — in her 2022 book Secret Power: WikiLeaks and Its Enemies looks at the brutality of secret power and the unbearable price paid by Julian Assange, WikiLeaks and truth tellers such as Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. Maurizi will be in conversation with UK based rapper & activist Lowkey and the current Wikileaks editor in chief Kristinn Hrafnsson. Unfortunately, Stella Assange lawyer, human rights defender, and wife of Julian Assange, has had to pull out to the event due to commitments around Julian’s upcoming trial.
Winner of the European Award for Investigative And Judicial Journalism 2021
Winner of the Premio Alessandro Leogrande Award for Investigative Journalism 2022
Winner of the Premio Angelo Vassallo Award 2022
An uncovering of the terrifying depths of authoritarian power that hide behind the infamous story of WikiLeaks. ‘I want to live in a society where secret power is accountable to the law and to public opinion for its atrocities, where it is the war criminals who go to jail, not those who have the conscience and courage to expose them.’
It is 2008, and Stefania Maurizi, an investigative journalist with a growing interest in cryptography, starts looking into the little-known organisation WikiLeaks. Through hushed meetings, encrypted files and explosive documents, what she discovers sets her on a life-long journey that takes her deep into the realm of secret power.
Working closely with WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange and his organisation for her newspaper, Maurizi has spent over a decade investigating state criminality protected by thick layers of secrecy, while also embarking on a solitary trench warfare to unearth the facts underpinning the cruel persecution of Assange and WikiLeaks. With complex and disturbing insights, Maurizi’s tireless journalism exposes atrocities, the shameful treatment of Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, on up to the present persecution of WikiLeaks: a terrifying web of impunity and cover-ups. At the heart of the book is the brutality of secret power and the unbearable price paid by Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, and truthtellers.
Stefania Maurizi is an Italian investigative journalist working for the major Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano, after 14 years working for the Italian newsmagazine l’Espresso and the Italian daily La Repubblica.
She has worked on all WikiLeaks releases of secret documents since 2009. Among international journalists, she is the only one who has worked on all WikiLeaks secret documents, excepting the very few published by WikiLeaks without media partners. She is also the only journalist who has conducted multi-jurisdictional litigation to defend the right of the press to access the full documentation on Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks journalists.
For her work on the WikiLeaks case, she has been a commentator on media outlets like the Washington Post, BBC World Service, the Guardian, and various television and radio outlets.
Stefania’s investigative work focuses on state criminality and the abuse of state secrecy, when secrecy is used not to protect the safety and security of citizens but to conceal state crimes. She strongly believes in the strength of investigative journalism and its mission to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comforted.
In addition to her work on WikiLeaks, she has partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden files about Italy. She has also interviewed A.Q. Khan, the father of the Pakistani atomic bomb, revealed the condolence payment agreement between the US government and the family of Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto, killed in a US drone strike, and investigated the harsh working conditions of Pakistani workers in a major Italian garment factory in Karachi.
In her book “Secret Power. WikiLeaks and Its Enemies”, she reconstructs the Assange and WikiLeaks case based on her over ten years of investigative journalism. The book has received excellent endorsements from eminent figures like Pulitzer Prize winner Ewan MacAskill, legendary whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, and Roger Waters, renowned co-founder of Pink Floyd.
She also authored Dossier WikiLeaks. Segreti Italiani (with foreword by Julian Assange) and Una Bomba, Dieci Storie, the latter translated into Japanese.
In addition to the European Award for Investigative and Judicial Journalism, and the 2022 Premio Alessandro Leogrande for investigative journalism in narrative form, Stefania has won a number of other major journalistic prizes, including the Armenise Harvard Fellowship and the Colomba D’Oro Award conferred by Archivio Disarmo.
Kristinn Hrafnsson is an Icelandic investigative journalist and the current Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks, a role he took over in September 2018. Before joining WikiLeaks in 2010, Hrafnsson worked for various media outlets in Iceland, earning recognition and awards for his work in investigative journalism.
Hrafnsson became associated with WikiLeaks before it became a household name with the publication of the Collateral Murder video in April 2010, a project where Hrafnsson played a key role with fact fnding mission in Badgdad, Iraq prior to its release. Later he acted as a spokesperson for the organisation and key member of its journalistic team. His pivotal role became apparent when he was entrusted with the position of Editor-in-Chief, succeeding the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, seven months before he was arrested and imprisoned. Hrafnsson has continued the core mission of WikiLeaks and also led the ongoing campaign for the freedom of Julian Assange.
The Assange case is about free speech and human rights worldwide: WikiLeaks’ Kristinn Hrafnsson
December 19, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch. Kristinn Hrafnsson, Editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, talks about how the persecution of Julian Assange will serve as a precedent for further crackdowns on the media and free speech across the world. Hrafnsson points out that the case against Julian Assange will set a precedent on how governments will deal with media. He also talks about the worsening health condition of Julian Assange and the need to mobilize more political support for the whistleblower and journalist.
This event will be chaired by Pablo Navarrete.
“Pablo Navarrete is a British-Chilean journalist and documentary filmmaker. He is the founder and co-editor of www.alborada.net, an independent voice on Latin American politics, media and culture. He was the Venezuela researcher for John Pilger’s documentary ‘The War on Democracy‘ (2007). His first feature-length documentary ‘Inside the Revolution: A Journey Into the Heart of Venezuela’ was released in August 2009 by Alborada Films.
The television version of his second documentary ‘The Colombia Connection’ was released in November 2012. He is the producer of the documentary ‘Chile’s Student Uprising (Alborada Films), released in February 2014, and the director of Hip Hop Revolución (Alborada Films), released in November 2015.
He is the co-director of the documentary ‘Truce’ (Alborada Films/Studio 5a) which was released in March 2017 His documentary ‘No Extradition’ came out in mid 2020 and he is a producer of ‘Santiago Rising’ (Alborada Films) released in January 2021. He is the co-director of the documentary ‘Fragments of a Dream‘ (Alborada Films/Actual Fact) released in January 2023.
He is the co-author (with Edgardo Lander) of ‘The economic policy of the Latin American left in government: Venezuela’, published in 2007 by the Transnational Institute (TNI) in Holland and has a MPhil from Bradford university. He is a former Latin America editor for Red Pepper magazine (2005-2013). He has spoken about and covered contemporary Latin American political issues for various media outlets, including the ‘BBC‘, ‘Al Jazeera English’, ‘HuffPost Live’ ‘Russia Today‘, ‘The Guardian‘, ‘The New Statesman‘, ‘Counterpunch‘ and ‘Open Democracy‘ .”
No Extradition: Documentary On Julian Assange
On the eve of the premiere of his documentary about the founder of WikiLeaks, British-Chilean filmmaker Pablo Navarrete said: “I want people to have an idea of the injustice being done to Julian Assange.”
The filmmaker and journalist followed John Shipton, Assange’s father, over several months as he campaigned to prevent his son from being extradited to the United States (U.S.) and secure his release from Britain’s Belmarsh maximum-security prison. The result is the documentary “No Extradition”.
In statements to the Prensa Latina news agency, Navarrete explained that the objective of the documentary is to draw attention to the case because, in his opinion, many people in the U.K. and the world deny that the Australian journalist and cyber-activist is a political prisoner of the British government. He added that the treatment Assange is receiving from British authorities and his possible extradition to the United States, where he could be sentenced to 175 years in prison for divulging information of public interest, is one of the greatest injustices of our time.
No Extradition will also have a Spanish-language subtitled version, according to Navarrete, whose first documentary “Inside the Revolution: A Journey into the Heart of Venezuela” dates from 2009.
Assange was a refugee at the Ecuadorian embassy in London from 2012 to 2019, when the Ecuadorean government of Lenin Moreno hands him over to Scotland Yard. The founder of WikiLeaks has been held since April 2019 in the Belmarsh maximum-security prison in east London, where he is awaiting the second phase of the extradition process requested by the U.S. on September 6.
Neenah Payne writes for Activist Post
Top image: Wheeler Centre
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