Friday 7th of October 2022

COM'ON!!!! wong and albo, you can do better than this crap !!!!!!

The difficulty for the Australian Labor government in deciding how to respond to the Julian Assange case is that once a prosecution is characterised as a political prosecution then, by its nature, there can be no expectation of due process.

The U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty forbids extradition in the case of “political offences.” Former Australian High Commissioner to the U.K. George Brandis — who was commissioner for almost the entirety of Assange’s Belmarsh imprisonment since 2019 — doesn’t agree that Assange is a political prisoner.


By Kellie Tranter
Declassified Australia



The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and its new Minister Penny Wong have consistently stated a view that the case is not political but purely a legal matter:

“Australia is not a party to Julian Assange’s case, nor can the Australian government intervene in the legal matters of another country.”

However, the most vocally outspoken Labor MP on the Assange case has now thrown that position on its head. 

“This is a political case, Labor MP Julian Hill told Consortium News in a video interview [see 12:08] on July 28. 

“It is a political decision to extradite. And we’ve conveyed our view to the U.K. government regarding that. And it’s also a political decision in the U.S.” 

The government suggesting its hands are tied as Australia is “not a party” to the Assange case and they can’t intervene in “legal matters,” ignores the evident truths that the Assange case is indeed political, that its result will have global political consequences and that a pathway exists for a political intervention towards a political resolution.

Silent on CIA & Torture Findings

Labor also strains to maintain credibility in its stated expectations of Assange receiving fair and humane treatment, on the one hand, and on the other remaining silent on the findings of Nils Melzer, the then-U.N. special rapporteur on torture, who had found Assange had suffered both psychological torture and political persecution.

There has also been a silence on the extraordinary acts of the U.S. intelligence agencies, in particular the fact that Assange’s legally privileged conversations and papers were recorded and handed to U.S. intelligence agencies, and also on the C.I.A.’s plans to kidnap or assassinate Assange.

Inconsistencies like these have made the new Labor government’s position in relation to the Assange case look increasingly incoherent to the Australian public.

Following up on from the 16 July Declassified Australia articleThe Guardian reported,

“Assange supporters have raised concern about a government brief to Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, saying ‘if surrendered, convicted and sentenced in the U.S., Assange could apply under the ITP [transfer of prisoners] to serve his sentence in Australia.’” 

But The Guardian’s special sources “stressed that this document did not indicate a prisoner transfer was the government’s preferred strategy, saying it merely outlined the conditions of such a process.”  The public, and it seems his family, are kept in the dark about what any preferred strategy might be.

Assange’s brother and father, Gabriel Shipton and John Shipton, have just returned from a trip last week to Canberra in an effort to press the new Labor government to save Assange. Gabriel told Declassified Australia that the government has offered them no new information about the government’s actions.

The two met with Greens and independent MPs, but had no meetings with senior ministers of the government. In a meeting with a senior adviser to Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, they were told that there was “nothing [Dreyfus] could do.” Gabriel and John are now pressing for a meeting with Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

Information from the new Freedom of Information, or FOIs, published today in Declassified Australia suggest the main running of this case is being coordinated within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, with input from the departments of Foreign Affairs, the Attorney-Generals, Defence and no doubt the intelligence agencies.

The majority of the Australian public, according to recent polling, want Assange released and back home in Australia. Until the government is prepared to reveal what representations have been or are being made, the Australian public, and Assange’s family, cannot be satisfied those proper representations have been made. 

New Freedom of Information requests by Declassified Australia have revealed the existence of a Departmental Brief concerning Assange of unknown date to the Prime Minister’s Office, but access to it was refused by the decision maker Pippa Hendon, assistant secretary defence and intelligence, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on July 22.

The document contains Assange’s personal information but the decision maker took the view that there are real and substantial grounds for expecting damage to Australia’s multilateral [Defence and Intelligence] relationships to occur as a result of the release of the document. 

Similarly, another FOI request for any advice provided to the foreign minister, Penny Wong, in relation to the case were claimed to be “exempt in full” by Justin Whyatt, first assistant secretary, U.S. and Indo-Pacific Strategy Division, for many reasons including on the basis of the potential for the documents identified to cause damage to international [U.S.] relations.

An FOI request for documents from the Australian High Commission in the U.K. and the Australian embassy in Washington to Foreign Minister Penny Wong resulted in the supply of documents so heavily redacted as to be virtually meaningless. The documents do confirm that yet another letter was sent by DFAT to Assange on June 9 offering consular assistance.

Left with ‘Talking Points’

So, what we’re left with is Labor’s “talking points” which suggest they will defend their opaque action by relying on legal limits given that Australia and the Australian government are not parties to Assange’s case. 

There is no evident push for diplomatic efforts despite Australia’s importance to the U.S. achieving its strategic goals in the Asia-Pacific region. The ministerial “talking points” say there are barriers in the U.S. system given U.S. President Joe Biden’s stated priority of leaving the U.S. Department of Justice independent, but no acknowledgment that the Department of Justice is part of the executive government and the government has, and not infrequently exercises, the ultimate say in who is or isn’t prosecuted or incarcerated.






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ON THIS ISSUE.....................


FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW NOW NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

watch CN live!…...

The lawsuit will be filed at 8 a.m. Monday in the Southern District of New York federal court.  The plaintiffs, all U.S. citizens, allege that their constitutional rights were violated by the Central Intelligence Agency, former C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo and UC Global, which conducted surveillance of Assange and his guests at the Ecuador embassy in London on behalf of the C.I.A. Plaintiffs and attorneys will appear at the press conference at 11 am EDT brought to you live here on CN Live!









time for aussieland to do free JA…...





Nothing I am about to write should be read as diminishing in any way my sympathy for Salman Rushdie, or my outrage at the appalling attack on him. Those who more than 30 years ago put a fatwa on his head after he wrote the novel The Satanic Verses made this assault possible. They deserve contempt. I wish him a speedy recovery.

But my natural compassion for a victim of violence and my regularly expressed support for free speech should not at the same time blind me or you to the cant and hypocrisy generated by his stabbing on Friday, just as he was about to give a talk in a town in Western New York.

British prime minister Boris Johnson said he was “appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend”. His Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, one of the last two contenders for Johnson’s crown, concurred, describing the novelist as “a champion of free speech and artistic freedom”.

Across the Atlantic, President Joe Biden stressed Rushdie’s qualities: “Truth. Courage. Resilience. The ability to share ideas without fear… We reaffirm our commitment to those deeply American values in solidarity with Rushdie and all those who stand for freedom of expression.”

The truth is that the vast majority of those claiming this as an attack not only on a prominent writer but on Western society and its freedoms, have been missing in action for the past several years as the biggest threat to those freedoms unfolded. Or, in the case of Western government leaders, they have actively conspired in the undermining of those freedoms.

Prominent figures and organizations now expressing their solidarity with Rushdie have kept their heads down, or spoken in hushed tones against – or, worse still, become cheerleaders for – this much more serious assault: on our right to know what mass crimes have been committed against others in our name.

Rushdie has won trenchant support from Western liberals and conservatives alike, not for being a brave articulator of difficult truths, but because of who his enemies are.


Holding up a mirror

If that sounds uncharitable or nonsensical, consider this. Julian Assange has spent more than three years in solitary confinement in a high-security prison in London (and before that, seven years confined to a small room in Ecuador’s embassy), in conditions Nils Melzer, the former United Nation’s expert on torture, has described as extreme psychological torture.

Melzer and many others fear for Assange’s life if British and US authorities succeed in dragging out much longer the Wikileaks founder’s detention on what amounts to purely political charges. Assange has already suffered a stroke – as Melzer notes, one of the many potential physical reactions suffered by those enduring prolonged confinement and isolation.


And all of this is happening to him, remember, for one reason alone: because he published documents proving that, under cover of a bogus humanitarianism, Western governments were committing crimes against peoples in distant lands. Assange faces charges under the draconian Espionage Act only because he made public the gruesome truth about Western military actions in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yes, there are differences between Rushdie and Assange’s respective cases, but those differences should elicit more concern for Assange’s plight than Rushdie’s. In practice, the exact opposite has happened.

Rushdie’s right to free speech has been championed because he exercised it to imagine an alternative formative history of Islam and implicitly question the authority of clerics and governments in far-off lands.

Assange’s right to free speech has been ridiculed, ignored or at best supported weakly and equivocally because he exercised it to hold up a mirror to the West, showing exactly what our governments are doing, in secret, in many of those same far-off lands.

Rushdie’s right to life was threatened by distant clerics and governments for questioning the moral basis of their power. Assange’s right to life is threatened by Western governments because he questioned the moral basis of their power.


Worthy victims

If we lived in functioning democratic societies in the West – ones where power is not so deeply entrenched we are largely blind to its exercise – no journalist, no media commentator, no writer, no politician would fail to understand that Assange’s plight deserves far more attention and expressions of concern than Rushdie’s.

It is our own governments, not “mad mullahs” in Iran, who threaten the free society that permitted Rushdie to publish his novel. If Assange is crushed, so is the basis of our fundamental democratic rights: to know what is being done in our name and to hold our leaders to account.

If Rushdie is silenced, we will still have those freedoms, even if, as individuals, we will feel a little more nervous about saying anything that might be construed as an insult to the Prophet Mohammed.

So why are the vast majority of us so much more invested in Rushdie’s fate than Assange’s? Simply because our sympathy has been elicited for one of them and not the other.

Ultimately, that has nothing to do with whether one or the other is more worthy, more of a victim. It has to do with how much they have, or have not, served the interests of a Western narrative that constantly reinforces the idea that we are the Good Guys and they are the Bad Guys.

Rushdie and the fatwa against him became a cause célèbre for Western elites because he offered a literary sensibility to one of the West’s most cherished modern pieties: that Islam poses an existential threat to the values of an enlightened West. Here was a man, born to a Muslim family in India, attacking the religion he supposedly knew best. He was an insider spilling the beans, stating what other Muslims were allegedly too cowed to admit in public.

Though it was doubtless not his intention or his fault, Rushdie was quickly adopted as a literary mascot by Western liberals who were pushing their own “clash of civilizations” thesis. That is not a judgment on the merits of his novel – I am not equipped to make that assessment – but a judgment on the motivations of so many of his champions and on why his work resonates so strongly with them.


Racist worldview

In a real sense, that is true of all literature. It earns its status within a cultural milieu, one policed by media elites with their own agendas. It is they who decide whether a manuscript is published or discarded, whether the subsequent book is reviewed or ignored, whether it is celebrated or ridiculed, whether it is promoted or falls into obscurity.

We tell ourselves, or we are told, that this process of weeding out is decided strictly on the basis of merit. But if we pause to think, the reality is that a work finds an audience only if it stays within a socially constructed consensus that gives it meaning or if it challenges that consensus at a time when challenges to the consensus are overdue.

George Orwell is a good example of how this works. He prospered – or at least his reputation did – from the fact that he questioned certainties about the “natural order” that had long been enforced by Western elites but had become hard to sustain after two world wars in quick succession. At the same time, he exposed the dangers of an authoritarianism that could be easily ascribed to the West’s main adversary, the Soviet Union.

Orwell’s body of work contains ideas that speak to universal values. But that is only part of the reason it has endured. It also benefited from the fact that the ambiguity inherent in those universal lessons could be recruited to a much narrower agenda by Western elites, readying for a Cold War that was about to become the tragic legacy of those two preceding hot wars.

Much the same is true of Rushdie. His novel served two functions: First, its main theme chimed with Western elites because it reassured them that their prejudice against the Muslim world was fully justified – not least because the novel provoked a violent backlash that appeared to confirm those prejudices.

And second, The Satanic Verses indemnified Western elites against the accusation of racism. Rushdie inadvertently provided the alibi they so desperately needed to promote their racist worldview of a civilized West opposed by a barbaric, insecure East. It served as midwife to the rantings of Islamophobic tracts like Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan and Nick Cohen’s What’s Left?.


Literary sedition

For the past two decades, we have been living with the appalling consequences of the West’s smug condescension, its wild posturings, its violent humanitarianism – all masking a thirst for the Middle East’s most precious resource: oil.

The result has been the wrecking of whole countries; the ending of more than a million lives, with millions more made homeless; a backlash that has unleashed even more terrifying forms of Islamist extremism; a deepening self-righteousness among Western elites that has ushered in an all-out assault on democratic controls; an entrenchment of the power of the war industries and their lobbies; and a relentless undermining of international institutions and international law.

And all this has served as an endless excuse to delay addressing the real issue plaguing humanity: the imminent extinction of our species, caused by our addiction to the very resource that got us into this mess in the first place.

Sadly, the attack on Rushdie, and the ensuing indignation, will only intensify the trends noted above. None of that is Rushdie’s fault, of course. His desire to question the authority of the clerical bullies he grew up among is an entirely separate matter from the purposes to which Western elites have harnessed his personal act of literary sedition. He is not responsible for the fact that his work has been used to underpin and weaponize a larger, flawed Western narrative.

Nonetheless, Friday’s violent assault will once again be used to shore up a fearmongering narrative that empowers politicians, sells newspapers, and, if we can still see the bigger picture, rationalizes the West’s dehumanization of more than a billion people, its continuing sanctions against many of them, and the advancement of wars that fabulously enrich a tiny section of Western societies that continue to evade major scrutiny.


Hollow joke

Those elites have evaded scrutiny precisely because they are so successful at vilifying and eliminating anyone who seeks to hold them to account. Like Julian Assange.

If you think Assange brought trouble upon himself, unlike Rushdie, who is simply a hapless victim caught in the crossfire of a menacing “clash of civilizations”, it is because you have been trained – through your consumption of establishment media – into making that entirely unfounded distinction. And those training you through their dominant narratives are not a disinterested party, but the very actors who have most to lose should you arrive at a different conclusion.

In Assange’s case, there has been an endless stream of lies and misdirections that I and many others have been trying to highlight on our marginal platforms before we are algorithmed into oblivion by Google and Facebook, the richest corporations on the planet.

As Melzer pointed out at length in his recent book, the Swedish authorities knew from the outset that Assange had no case to answer on sex allegations they had no intention of ever investigating. But they made a pretence of pursuing him anyway (and left the threat of onward extradition to the US hanging over his head) to make sure he lost public sympathy and looked like a fugitive from justice.

Anyone who writes about Assange knows only too well the army of social media users adamant that Assange was charged with rape, or that he refused to be interviewed by Swedish prosecutors, or that he skipped bail, or that he colluded with Trump, or that he recklessly published classified documents unedited, or that he endangered the lives of informers and agents.

None of that is true – nor, more significantly, is it relevant to the case the US, aided by the UK government, is advancing against Assange through the British courts to lock him up for the rest of his life.

For Assange, the West’s much vaunted principle of free speech is nothing more than a hollow joke, a doctrine weaponized against him – paradoxically, to destroy him and the free speech values he champions, including transparency and accountability from our leaders.


There is a reason why our energies are so heavily invested in worrying about a supposed menace from Islam rather than the menace on our doorstep, from our rulers; why Rushdie makes headlines, while Assange is forgotten; why Assange deserves his punishment, and Rushdie does not.

That reason has nothing to do with protecting free speech, and everything to do with protecting the power of unaccountable elites who fear free speech.

Protest the stabbing of Salman Rushdie by all means. But don’t forget to protest even more loudly the silencing and disappearing of Julian Assange.










FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW................................