Australian Lawmakers Call on US to Drop Assange Extradition

July 30th, 2023 - by RT News

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Faces
175 Years in Prison for Exposing US Military Crimes
RT News

MOSCOW (May 9, 2023) — A delegation of Australian lawmakers called for the United States to end its attempts to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange during a meeting with US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy in Canberra on Tuesday.

The ‘Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group’ informed Washington’s chief diplomat in Australia that its citizens had expressed “widespread concern” at the continued detention in Britain of the WikiLeaks founder, who is an Australian national, as well as attempts to extradite him to the United States to face espionage charges.

In 2010, Assange’s WikiLeaks platform published sensitive US government documents leaked by former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

“There are a range of views about Assange in the Australian community and the members of the parliamentary group reflect that diversity of views,” the cross-party group said in a statement following the meeting with Kennedy on Tuesday. “But what is not in dispute in the group is that Mr. Assange is being treated unjustly.”

The group’s co-chair, independent MP Andrew Wilkie, added on Tuesday that the Australian parliament had also expressed “broad concern” for Assange, as outlined in statements of support last week by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and opposition leader Peter Dutton. Albanese, in particular, was a noted critic of Assange’s detention throughout his successful election campaign in 2022.

Assange is currently in London’s Belmarsh prison as he continues a legal battle to fight extradition to the United States, where he is facing espionage charges related to WikLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of government documents pertaining to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, in addition to diplomatic cables. If convicted, Assange faces a sentence of 175 years in a maximum security prison.

Washington maintains that Assange’s actions put the lives of US servicemen in danger. His supporters, however, argue that Assange is being unfairly targeted by Washington following the damaging leaks, which exposed malfeasance by US personnel during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In April, 48 Australian lawmakers co-signed a letter addressed to US Attorney General Merrick Garland in which they said the United States’ pursuit of “journalist and publisher” Assange “set a dangerous precedent”for press freedom.

US President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Sydney on May 24 for the Quad Leaders’ Summit, where he will meet with the leaders of Australia, India and Japan. Albanese has not said whether he intends to raise the issue with Biden during his visit.


Secretary of State Blinken insists Assange caused “serious harm” to US security

US Rejects Australian Plea to Drop Assange Case
RT News

MOSCOW (July 29, 2023) — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has confirmed that Australia has raised the case of Julian Assange’s continued prosecution, but declared that Washington will not cease seeking the extradition of the former WikiLeaks boss and intends to try him for espionage.

Speaking alongside Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong in Brisbane on Saturday, Blinken said that while he understands “the concerns and views of Australians,” Assange’s alleged actions “risked very serious harm to our national security, to the benefit of our adversaries, and put named human sources at grave risk — grave risk — of physical harm, and grave risk of detention.”

Assange, he said, was “charged with very serious criminal conduct” and had allegedly taken part in “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of our country.”

An Australian citizen, Julian Assange is currently being held in London’s Belmarsh Prison. He is fighting extradition to the US, where he faces 17 charges under the Espionage Act and potentially a 175-year prison sentence. Human-rights and press-freedom activists have demanded his release, citing his deteriorating mental and physical health, while Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in May that he was “working through diplomatic channels” to press the US into dropping the case.

The charges against Assange stem from his publication of classified material obtained by whistleblowers, including Pentagon documents detailing alleged US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than 250,000 diplomatic cables exposing US efforts to — among other things — spy on its allies and influence foreign elections.

While Assange did not personally steal these documents, he is nevertheless being prosecuted for espionage. He and his supporters argue that WikiLeaks’ publication of this material is protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

“We have made clear our view that Mr Assange’s case has dragged on for too long,” Foreign Minister Wong said on Saturday. “We’ve said that publicly and you would anticipate that that reflects also the position we articulate in private.” 

The extradition of Assange from Britain to the US was approved in 2020 by then-UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. The publisher lodged his final appeal against the decision in June, after all eight grounds of a previous appeal were rejected by a British High Court judge.

Responding to Blinken’s comments on Saturday, Assange’s brother, Gabriel Shipton, said that it is now up to Prime Minister Albanese to make a public appeal for Assange’s freedom, during his upcoming visit to the US.

“Collateral Murder”: WikiLeaks posted this video of US forces killing journalists in Baghdad.


Deep State Seeks to Destroy
Assange for Exposing US Crimes
Steven Starr — Julian Assange is not a US citizen — tell me, please, how can he be guilty of any crime in the US? Assange was a publisher; he obtained the Wikileaks documents from Edward Snowden.

Julian Assange faces a 175-year prison sentence in the United States for publishing documents, including those which exposed willful, or otherwise reckless, sabotage of climate action during prior Climate Change summits.

Targeted surveillance of negotiators, cabinet ministers, heads of state and even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was also exposed by cables revealed by Assange, and are among the documents the US is charging him for receiving and publishing.

Assange’s environmental publications have created the political impetus for the US government to go after Assange, but he is also formally charged over his role in publishing the cables that contain these very revelations — and which account for 50 years of the sentence.

This is a full-frontal assault on the freedom of the press and the public’s right to know. The Deep State is making an example of Assange, to show all journalists what happens to those who dare to expose their criminal actions