Support for Julian from Timor-Leste

On the 23rd February the editors received this message from the President of Timor-Leste, José Manuel Ramos-Horta.

Let Assange Be Free to Return to Australia 

I do not comment on the substance and merit of the case against JULIAN ASSANGE. As an informed and concerned person who deeply values media freedom, I just hope that sanity, justice and humanity prevail and Assange is let free to return to his native Australia. 

So many young lives were lost in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, on all sides involved, so many lies and half truths were said by all involved, so many more were wounded and rendered disabled and traumatised. Why continue to haunt someone who shared official communications with the public without endangering anyone’s life in the process. 

The US is far greater than the pettiness of revenge, it should be far greater in wisdom and humanity, it should simply close this dark chapter of US recent wars. 

J Ramos-Horta  21 February 2024

Accompanying this message is some background from a close associate and former team member.

For Julian Assange

In my role as the spokeswoman for the East Timorese resistance movement working to Jose Ramos Horta during the 1990’s, we relied on a free and fair media populated by journalists with a passion and a capacity for truth seeking and truth telling. Unafraid of consequences they would run stories because they were in the public interest, roughly translated that is ‘in the interest of humanity’. Julian did that. That was the right thing to do. He is a truth teller, a whistle blower, a man born for this moment.

The United States of America have made Julian a hero because, for some reason they have developed a fear of the light of truth. And, in so doing they have created the most important voice of our time. From now on, the world’s attention is on Julian.

As humans, we all live on this planet together, regardless of how differently each of us does life. But one thing is for sure, the ongoing state of all of our lives, peace and the healthy democratic practice that underpins it, the responsibility of nation states to uphold these values, have been placed fairly and squarely in the public’s eye.

We are all watching. This gaze represents an opportunity for the US to humbly admit to its wrong doing and put reparations in place.

Julian does not need pardoning because he has not done anything wrong. He has not broken any laws. He has acted only in the interests of justice, democracy, rule of law and the peace and stability of humanity on this planet. He is the Voice. He spoke up, no one else did.

Respect him, honour him. Bring him home, compensate him and then, release all whistle blowers who have been incarcerated for telling the truth.

It is time for the US to shine. Imagine it, I can.

Margherita Tracanelli
Former CNRM (National Council Maubere Resistance) Media &
Communication Director
1992-1999

MOTIONS – Assange, Mr Julian Paul

On 14th February 2024, Hansard recorded the passing of this motion in the House of Representatives of the Australian Parliament. The motion passed 86 to 42, supporting Julian Assange

Assange, Mr Julian Paul

Mr WILKIE  (Clark) (16:48): I move:

That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the following:

(1) the Member for Clark moving: 

That this House:

(a) notes that:

(i) on 20 and 21 February 2024, the High Court of Justice in the United Kingdom will hold a hearing into whether Walkley Award winning journalist, Mr Julian Assange, can appeal against his extradition to the United States of America;

(ii) Mr Assange remains incarcerated in HMP Belmarsh in the UK, awaiting a decision on whether he can be extradited to the USA to face charges for material published in 2010, which revealed shocking evidence of misconduct by the USA; and

(iii) both the Australian Government and Opposition have publicly stated that this matter has gone on for too long; and

(b) underlines the importance of the UK and USA bringing the matter to a close so that Mr Assange can return home to his family in Australia.

(2) debate on the motion being limited to the mover, seconder and two other Members;

(3) speaking times being 10 minutes for the mover and five minutes for all other Members speaking;

(4) amendments to the motion not being permitted; and

(5) any variation to the arrangement being made only on a motion moved by a Minister.

The SPEAKER:  Is the motion seconded?

Mr Josh Wilson:  I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.

Mr WILKIE  (Clark) (16:51): Sadly, we’ve just about run out of time to save Julian Assange, because on Tuesday and Wednesday, just next week, in what could well be Julian Assange’s last two days before a British court, the High Court of Justice in London is hearing Julian Assange’s request for leave to appeal his US extradition. If Mr Assange is unsuccessful next week in the UK High Court of Justice, the frightful reality is that he could be on a plane to the United States of America within hours.

Good God! This man has already been in Belmarsh high-security prison in London for about five years. This is the prison for the worst of the worst in the UK. It is where they put mass murderers and terrorists. It is where a prisoner was knifed and killed, elsewhere in the prison, the very afternoon I visited Julian Assange in 2000. Of course, the five years in Belmarsh followed some seven years holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Surely this man has suffered enough. The matter must be brought to an end. But if he is unsuccessful next week in the London court, he could be on a plane within hours to another court—this time in the United States of America—where he’ll be facing 17 charges under the US Espionage Act and one charge under the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. If he is convicted, he will be facing 175 years in prison in the United States. In other words, if he is extradited, perhaps as soon as next week, he will be handed, more or less, a death sentence. Why? It is because this Walkley Award winning journalist did his job. It’s as simple as that. He did his job.

Let’s not forget that in 2010 Julian Assange, through WikiLeaks, revealed hard evidence of US war crimes and other misconduct in Iraq, in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay. Who could possibly forget the grainy image, provided to WikiLeaks by a brave whistleblower, that subsequently was released under the title ‘collateral murder’? It was footage of a US attack helicopter gunning down and killing innocent civilians and Reuters journalists in a street in Iraq. We only know of that because Julian Assange made us aware of it. He was doing his job. He was exercising every right he has as a journalist to tell us about wrongdoing.

The injustice of all this is absolutely breathtaking—absolutely breathtaking—as much as the attack on journalism is terrifying because if this matter runs to its shameful conclusion, then it will have set a precedent that applies to all Australian journalists. If ever any Australian journalist annoys a foreign government in any way, and if that government is a government that the Australian government is hoping to curry favour with, then who’s to say that the Australian government won’t be complicit in the extradition or the transport of that Australian journalist to that country?

What happens if an Australian journalist offends China at a time we’re seeking to improve our relationship with China? The precedent will have been set that that journalist may well find him or herself on a plane to China. What about if we’re trying to curry favour with Saudi Arabia and an Australian journalist writes something that offends Saudi Arabia? Will the Australian government come to that Australian journalist’s aid? Well, the precedent will have been set and no Australian journalist can be confident they will be safe in the future if this extradition goes ahead.

That’s why we have this very important part of this motion: the importance of the UK and the USA bringing the matter to a close, finally, after seven years in the embassy, after five years in a high-security prison, to just allow this long-suffering Australian journalist to come home, to be with his wife, to be with his children. The importance of this is so great that I will be certainly jumping on a plane next Tuesday, hoping to be in London for the second day of the court hearing. I think it’s very important that a member of this parliament bears witness to what is going on in London next week, to stand with Julian’s family and to offer them some comfort and to communicate to Julian Assange and his family and his legal team the widespread support already in this parliament.

Let’s not forget there are dozens of members of this parliament who are members of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group. Almost one-third of this parliament signed an open letter to the US government not that long ago calling for this matter to be brought to an end. Today, in this place, shortly, this will be the time for all of us to stand up and to take a stand: to stand with Julian Assange, to stand for the principles of justice and to stand for the principles of media freedom and the rights of journalists to do their jobs.

I’m hopeful this motion can pass this afternoon. I’m hopeful that I can go to London next week and make it clear to the British government and, through the media, to the US government that the Australian parliament stands as one and calls for this matter to be brought to an end. Regardless of what you might think of Julian Assange, and I acknowledge in this place there’s a range of views—there are people who loathe the man, there are people who worship the man, but I’ll tell you what: no matter which end of that spectrum you are positioned, just about everyone agrees this has gone on too long, that it must be brought to an end. I’m confident that if this parliament can support this motion this afternoon, it will send a very powerful political signal to the British government and to the US government. It will send a very powerful signal to the British government that it should not entertain the idea of Mr Assange being extradited to the US. It will send a very powerful signal to Washington that Australia stands as one saying that this matter has gone on long enough.

Regardless of what you might think of Mr Assange, justice is not being served in this case now. In any case, he’s suffered enough. For heaven’s sakes, something like five years in Belmarsh, about seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy. How much is enough? This is the afternoon where this parliament takes a stand and says enough is enough, and that we call on the US and we call on the UK to let him out of prison, drop the charges, let him be rejoined with his family, let him come home.


Mr JOSH WILSON 
(Fremantle) (16:59): I am very glad to second this motion. Make no mistake, the Australian community wants to see Julian Assange go free. While there may be a range of views about Mr Assange, as the member for Clarke said, his further incarceration and prosecution are seen by many to represent an injustice, and that’s my personal view; it is not shared by everyone. But there are many in this chamber and in the other place who want to see the matter resolved. Indeed, the open letter from the co-convenor of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Friendship Group, which includes the member for Clarke and the member for Bass—with whom I am glad to share this debate—was signed by 63 members of the Australian parliament. It is significant that both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have been clear in saying that the matter should come to an end.

The Prime Minister has properly raised a matter of Julian Assange with the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom and that marks a shift from what occurred previously. In May last year, the Prime Minister said ‘enough is enough ‘when it comes to the ongoing incarceration of Julian Assange, and also said ‘there is nothing to be served’ by the ongoing incarceration of Julian Assange. That is quite right, because Julian Assange has been held in maximum security conditions at Belmarsh prison for nearly five years. His health has suffered. His extradition to the US was previously denied by a UK court on the basis of his seriously poor mental health, which made him a suicide risk. 

While every country is of course entitled to apply its justice system and the US is entitled to apply its justice system, we should remember that Julian Assange has been now imprisoned for a considerable period without having being convicted of any substantial charge. He is an Australian citizen being pursued under the United States Espionage Act for the dissemination of material the United States regards as secret. The same material has been published without legal consequence by media organisations in the US. 

The open letter I referred to earlier was published in the Washington Post. The co-convernors wrote and 63 parliamentarians signed up to the statement that it is wrong for Mr Assange to be further persecuted and denied his liberty. When one considers the duration and circumstances of the detention he has already suffered, it serves no purpose. The letter concluded by saying:

We note with gratitude the considerable support in the United States for an end to the legal pursuit of Mr Assange from members of Congress, human rights advocates, academics, and civil society, and from within the US media in defence of free speech and independent journalism.

In acknowledging the death of American whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg last year, I noted his support for and solidarity with Julian Assange. Daniel Ellsberg was responsible for exposing some of the details of the circumstances of the Vietnam War. In a 2021 interview he said in relation to Julian, ‘Look, I was available for people to point to and say, We support good whistleblowers, but that is just ridiculous. Whatever he is guilty of, I’m guilty of. I identify with him completely. The notion that he is guilty of something that I the good guy wasn’t is false.’

We must never forget that, contrary to the idea that our safety and wellbeing depends more than anything else on secrecy, the reality is that our safety and wellbeing is at enormous risk when the most grave applications of state power are not held to account. In truth, the distinctive and most precious quality of all liberal democracies, including our own, is the capacity to apply open and proper scrutiny to all decision-making but especially decision-making that involves military action or the infringement of civil liberties through a security apparatus.

There are many in the United States and in the United Kingdom, in the media, in the Congress and in civil society that share the view that, when it comes to Julian Assange, enough is enough. It is healthy that this matter is openly and respectfully debated in all three countries. I think I can say on behalf of the co-convenors of the group that we have always found an openness in the United States and in the United Kingdom to have these conversations. That is a mark of what makes those three countries—ourselves, the United States and the United Kingdom—examples of liberal democracies at their best, the fact that we can have those conversations. But I say clearly that the further prosecution and incarceration of Julian Assange has no point, it serves no purpose and it should end. 

Question agreed to, with an absolute majority.

Mr WILKIE  (Clark) (17:05): I move:

That this House:

(1) notes that:

(a) on 20 and 21 February 2024, the High Court of Justice in the United Kingdom will hold a hearing into whether Walkley Award winning journalist, Mr Julian Assange, can appeal against his extradition to the United States of America;

(b) Mr Assange remains incarcerated in HMP Belmarsh in the UK, awaiting a decision on whether he can be extradited to the USA to face charges for material published in 2010, which revealed shocking evidence of misconduct by the USA; and

(c) both the Australian Government and Opposition have publicly stated that this matter has gone on for too long; and

(2) underlines the importance of the UK and USA bringing the matter to a close so that Mr Assange can return home to his family in Australia.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (  Ms Vamvakinou  ): Is the motion seconded?

Mr Josh Wilson:  I second the motion.

Mrs ARCHER  (Bass) (17:06): Thanks to my co-conveners, the member for Clark and the member for Fremantle, for bringing this motion forward. For more than 4½ thousand days and counting, Julian Assange has not experienced true freedom. We’re now just a week away from a decision on his final UK court appeal, where he faces up to 175 years in prison over 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse. We know that his life is at risk. His lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, recently said:

Because of the treatment he has suffered, he suffers a major depressive illness, he has been diagnosed as being on the [autism] spectrum, and the medical evidence is if he was extradited to the United States those conditions would cause him to commit suicide. So his life is at risk and I am not exaggerating that.

I joined this group because of my ongoing concerns about the treatment that he has endured over the past decade. While there are, as we’ve heard, a range of views about the actions of Mr Assange and WikiLeaks which can be debated, at the end of the day it’s no longer the point. What I can say is that the ongoing prosecution of Mr Assange offends my sense of natural justice, my sense of human dignity and my sense of fairness. He’s an Australian citizen who has endured terrible conditions and has suffered significant mental and physical challenges as a result of his ongoing incarceration due to the lengthy legal battle.

It’s not clear to me that Mr Assange committed any crime in the jurisdiction of the United States, and the pursuit of him by American authorities even now is an overreach and does not serve the interests of justice. Even if Mr Assange were guilty of a crime, which I’m not sure is true, and there were due punishment, hasn’t he already served that punishment? Surely he has paid that price and has suffered enough. It is worth noting that the person who gathered the information published by WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning, has been free for the past seven years. Is it not ultimately a matter of fairness? The ongoing prosecution and, indeed, persecution of Mr Assange does not serve the interests of justice or human dignity. He ought to be released from custody and allowed to return to Australia with his family.

I echo the words of fellow parliamentary group member the member for Bruce, who has said:

There can never be a legal solution to this case. It is inherently political.

I also agree with barrister Greg Barns SC, adviser to the Australian Assange Campaign, who said:

Of course, some say the Assange case must be allowed to take its course via the courts because extradition is a legal process. While that is true in the vast majority of cases this is an exceptional set of circumstances. In that sense it is like the case of David Hicks … Rightly that case was resolved via the political relationship between the Howard government here and the Bush Administration because it too was a case infused with a political overlay.

Now is the time to end a dangerous threat to basic freedoms and the rule of law.

We have previously managed to secure the safe return of Australian citizens under difficult diplomatic circumstances, and we have a responsibility to do the same for Mr Assange.

I called on the previous government to step up and stand up to bring Mr Assange home, and I am pleased that his case now has some bipartisan support from the leaders of both parties, who acknowledge that enough is enough. And I acknowledge that there has been work to lobby the US government. Our group had a constructive meeting with Ambassador Caroline Kennedy last year to discuss the case. I also thank parliamentary colleagues who undertook a trip to the US last year to make direct representation to our US counterparts. Prior to this trip more than 60 colleagues across the political divide signed a letter of support explicitly calling on the US to drop the prosecution of Assange. The letter said:

It serves no purpose, it is unjust, and we say clearly—as friends should always be honest with friends—that the prolonged pursuit of Mr Assange wears away at the substantial foundation of regard and respect that Australians have for the justice system of the United States of America.

Surely we can all agree that we do not want to see an Australian citizen continue to languish in a foreign prison. Enough is enough.


Mr BANDT 
(Melbourne—Leader of the Australian Greens) (17:10): I rise to support this motion regarding Julian Assange and I commend the member for Clark and all those other members who have been involved in bringing this motion before this place. Unfortunately it is not the first time that this parliament has had to move and push to ensure that Julian Assange is brought home. But it is perhaps more critical now than ever that we speak, hopefully with one voice, to make it clear that it is time to bring Julian Assange home.

Julian Assange is a brave Australian whistleblower and journalist. He’s been locked in the UK’s notorious Belmarsh prison since April 2019, largely in solitary confinement, having never faced trial or been convicted. And of course that follows years spent in the embassy. The offence he is charged with, ultimately, is telling the public the truth about the appalling conduct of the US military in the illegal invasion of Iraq. I want to say a bit more about that in a moment, but, as other speakers have drawn attention to, one of the most pressing issues at the moment is Julian Assange’s health and what is facing him over the coming days and potentially over the coming years.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment visited Julian in May 2019 and even at that stage reported serious concerns about his detention and his health. Now, years later, we have a situation where the very next thing that might happen to Julian Assange is his transport to the United States. And let’s be clear that, given Julian’s health, any sentence of imprisonment under the notorious US Espionage Act and extradition to the US would almost certainly be a death sentence. It cannot be allowed to come to that. That is a large part of the reason you see so many people from across the political spectrum saying it has gone on for far too long. He is now facing a grave risk to his life because it has gone on for far too long. That is why the critical next step must be to ensure that Julian Assange is brought home.

As to the fundamental matters that underlie the whole reason for his incarceration and his imprisonment, it’s that he’s on trial for telling the truth. As a result of the 2010 and 2011 work of Wikileaks, media organisations around the world published information that showed that US military operations engaged in attacks on civilians and other atrocities, including images that we must never forget, like the chilling video now known as Collateral Murder. Chelsea Manning, a former US soldier who was involved in leaking many of these classified documents, has already been released from prison after their sentence was commuted by former US President Obama. But Julian remains locked up.

There is global support for Julian Assange to be returned home, and this is particularly strong in Australia, as it should be. He has become symbolic of journalists around the world who face attacks on press freedom, often shrinking government accountability and, in some jurisdictions, persecution ranging from political prosecutions through to murder. As the member for Clark ably said before, this sets an incredibly chilling precedent for journalists in the future and for journalists’ ability to hold governments to account, to say uncomfortable things about governments—things that might be uncomfortable for their own government—and to know that you can tell the truth without facing imprisonment and without facing a risk to your own life.

I will also note that prime minister after prime minister in this place has signed Australia up to AUKUS, an arrangement that, in our view, is one where Australia fronts up with a chequebook and does what it’s told to do by the other partners. If governments think that participation in the AUKUS agreement and alliance is so critical, surely part of that should be the insistence on human rights and the proper treatment of our citizens—of Australian citizens. If we are sitting around a table with these governments, we should be able to insist that Julian Assange is brought home.

I commend this motion to the House. I acknowledge the work of the parliamentary friends of Assange group. Let’s join together today and say clearly: bring Julian Assange home.

The SPEAKER:  The question is that the motion be agreed to.

Ayes: 86 Noes: 42

Voting For (86)

  • Albanese, A. N.
  • Aly, A.
  • Ananda-Rajah, M.
  • Archer, B. K.
  • Bandt, A. P.
  • Bates, S. J.
  • Bowen, C. E.
  • Broadbent, R. E.
  • Burke, A. S.
  • Burnell, M. P.
  • Burney, L. J.
  • Burns, J.
  • Butler, M. C.
  • Byrnes, A. J.
  • Chalmers, J. E.
  • Chandler-Mather, M.
  • Chaney, K. E.
  • Charlton, A. H. G.
  • Chesters, L. M.
  • Clare, J. D.
  • Claydon, S. C.
  • Coker, E. A.
  • Collins, J. M.
  • Conroy, P. M.
  • Daniel, Z.
  • Doyle, M. J. J.
  • Dreyfus, M. A.
  • Elliot, M. J.
  • Fernando, C.
  • Freelander, M. R.
  • Garland, C. M. L.
  • Georganas, S.
  • Giles, A. J.
  • Gorman, P.
  • Haines, H. M.
  • Hill, J. C.
  • Husic, E. N.
  • Jones, S. P.
  • Kearney, G. M.
  • Keogh, M. J.
  • Khalil, P.
  • King, C. F.
  • King, M. M. H.
  • Lawrence, T. N.
  • Laxale, J. A. A.
  • Le, D.
  • Leigh, A. K.
  • Marles, R. D.
  • Mascarenhas, Z. F. A.
  • McBain, K. L.
  • McBride, E. M.
  • Miller-Frost, L. J.
  • Mitchell, R. G.
  • Mulino, D.
  • Neumann, S. K.
  • O’Connor, B. P. J.
  • O’Neil, C. E.
  • Payne, A. E.
  • Perrett, G. D.
  • Phillips, F. E.
  • Rae, S. T.
  • Reid, G. J.
  • Repacholi, D. P.
  • Rishworth, A. L.
  • Roberts, T. G.
  • Rowland, M. A.
  • Ryan, J. C.
  • Ryan, M. M.
  • Scamps, S. A.
  • Scrymgour, M. R.
  • Shorten, W. R.
  • Sitou, S.
  • Smith, D. P. B.
  • Spender, A. M.
  • Stanley, A. M.
  • Steggall, Z.
  • Templeman, S. R.
  • Thistlethwaite, M. J.
  • Thwaites, K. L.
  • Tink, K. J.
  • Vamvakinou, M.
  • Watson-Brown, E.
  • Watts, T. G.
  • Wilkie, A. D.
  • Wilson, J. H.
  • Zappia, A.

Voting Against (42)

  • Andrews, K. L.
  • Birrell, S. J.
  • Buchholz, S.
  • Caldwell, C. M.
  • Chester, D. J.
  • Coleman, D. B.
  • Coulton, M. M.
  • Dutton, P. C.
  • Fletcher, P. W.
  • Gillespie, D. A.
  • Hamilton, G. R.
  • Hastie, A. W.
  • Hogan, K. J.
  • Landry, M. L.
  • Leeser, J.
  • Ley, S. P.
  • Littleproud, D.
  • Marino, N. B.
  • McCormack, M. F.
  • McIntosh, M. I.
  • O’Brien, E. L.
  • Pasin, A.
  • Pearce, G. B.
  • Pike, H. J.
  • Pitt, K. J.
  • Price, M. L.
  • Ramsey, R. E.
  • Stevens, J.
  • Sukkar, M. S.
  • Taylor, A. J.
  • Tehan, D. T.
  • Thompson, P.
  • van Manen, A. J.
  • Vasta, R. X.
  • Violi, A. A.
  • Wallace, A. B.
  • Ware, J. L.
  • Webster, A. E.
  • Wilson, R. J.
  • Wolahan, K.
  • Wood, J. P.
  • Young, T. J.

Read original posting in Hansard and
further Commentary in
The Washington Post (US) – Australian Parliament wants WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange back home, not sent to US
Anadolu Agency (Turkey) – ‘It is time Julian Assange was brought home,’ reiterates Australian premier
BBC (UK) – Australian politicians call for release of WikiLeaks founder
AL Jazeera – ‘Enough is enough’: Australian PM denounces US, UK legal pursuit of Assange


Rules for Video Access to Julian’s Feburary 2024 Appeal

On the 1st February 2024 the UK Courts and Tribunals Judiciary published these directions for video access

Before:
President Of The King’s Bench Division and Mr Justice Johnson

Between:
Julian Paul Assange
-v-
Government Of The United States Of America
-v-
Secretary Of State For The Home Department
(Interested Party)


Order

UPON the appellant’s renewed application for permission to appeal being listed on 20 and 21 February 2024
AND UPON the court receiving requests to attend the hearing by video link, and anticipating that further requests will be received before the hearing

It is ordered that:

  1. If the parties wish to make any representations about the way in which the court should treat requests to attend the hearing made under paragraph 3 below, those representations must be filed with the court by 4pm on 9 February 2024.
  2. Any person may, with the written permission of an employee of HMCTS (which shall only be granted after approval by the court), observe the proceedings by way of an audio-visual link.
  3. Any person seeking such written permission shall send the request to listoffice@administrativecourtoffice.justice.gov.uk by 4pm on 15 February 2024.
  4. Any person (“the applicant”) seeking permission under paragraph 3 above, shall include in their request:
    (a) the full name of the applicant;
    (b) the email address of the applicant;
    (c) information as to whether the applicant would be located within the jurisdiction of England and Wales at all times when attending the Hearing remotely (if a transmission direction were to be made); and, if not, details of the applicant’s location;
    (d) any information the applicant wishes to provide in support of the request, including in particular any reason(s) why it is contended that making such a direction would be in the interests of justice; and
    (e) a statement by the applicant in the following terms:
    “I agree and undertake to the Court that, if permitted to attend the Hearing remotely, I will not make a recording, capture images, and/or broadcast any part of the proceedings. I understand that to do so may be an offence and/or contempt of court, punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine. I will abide by any directions given to me by the Court during the Hearing. I agree and undertake to the Court that I will not provide the link that I am given to access the Hearing to any other person.”
  5. A request for permission that is not made by the deadline imposed by this Order and/or does not comply with paragraph 4 of this Order may be refused.
  6. All those who are provided with a link t observe the proceedings shall be provided with a copy of this order.
  7. Each such observer shall ensure that nobody else is able to hear or view the proceedings via the link unless that person has first identified themselves to the court and has been provided with permission by the court to view the link.
  8. Each observer may only access the link from within the United Kingdom unless the observer has been given permission, in writing, by a member of HMCTS staff to observe the proceedings from outside the United Kingdom (in which case they may only access the link from that location).
  9. Each observer shall, as a condition of continued access:
    (a) keep their camera turned off, and ensure that they are muted (unless instructed otherwise)
    (b) conduct themselves appropriately and in particular in accordance with any instructions of the judges and/or court staff for persons observing the proceedings (remembering that they will be treated as if they were physically present in the courtroom).
  10. Transmission via the link is dependent on the link being activated at least 5 minutes before the proceedings start, so that information may be provided by the court staff before proceedings start.
  11. This direction may be varied or revoked at any time and without notice by further direction of the court.
  12. Any party who wishes to vary or set aside this direction may do so on written application.
  13. Costs in the case.
    Important note: See the attached rules for those who observe proceedings remotely. If you do not obey the rules then that might amount to a criminal offence or a contempt of court which may be punished by imprisonment.
    GDPR: Your personal data will be processed for the purposes of facilitating your attendance at the hearing, ensuring that the proceedings are conducted without disruption, and enforcing the applicable laws and directions, including those requiring orderly behaviour during proceedings, prohibiting live text-based communication from court, and the making of audio-visual recordings. They will not be used for any other purposes, and will not be kept on file for longer than is necessary for those purposes.

Reasons:

(A) The Court anticipates that there is likely to be interest from media representatives and members of the public in attending remotely the hearing that is due to commence for 2 days on 20-21 February 2024. To manage the process, we have set out a procedure whereby anyone who wishes to attend the hearing remotely can make a transmission direction request.

(B) The court will not normally grant a transmission direction request in respect of an applicant who will not be in England and Wales during the Hearing. Anyone making a transmission direction request who will not be in England and Wales should provide information (pursuant to paragraph 4(d) above) as to why it would nevertheless be in the interests of justice to make a transmission direction order in his/her case.

(C) Late requests, because they cause disruption to the Court’s work are likely to be refused, unless there are compelling reasons why the applicant was unable to comply with the Court’s directions.

Dated this 1st day of February 2024


Rules for third-party observers (public hearing)

You are being given remote access to a public court hearing. The judiciary and court service are committed to open justice. This is subject to five simple rules to protect the court process.

  1. Do not share your link without permission. The link must only be used by someone else if that has been approved by the court.
  2. Behave respectfully. A court hearing is a serious matter. Behave as if you were in a physical court room. Do not disturb or interrupt. Follow any instructions of the judge. Your access may be terminated if you do not.
  3. Do not record the hearing. It is a criminal offence to record a court hearing. You must not record video or audio or take photos or screenshots of the hearing.
  4. If you want to report, take care. You can report live in writing if you are a journalist or you have the specific permission of the Judge conducting the hearing. Otherwise, reports must be after the event. In all cases there may be reporting restrictions which you must obey. It is your responsibility to find out whether restrictions apply.
  5. Take all these rules seriously. If you break them you might not just lose your access. You might be guilty of an offence or contempt of court for which you could be fined or sent to prison for up to 2 years.

To make sure these rules are followed we advise you to
• find somewhere private to join the hearing
• turn off your microphone and camera
• switch off any other device, unless you have permission to use it
• check whether reporting restrictions apply

Reference original article at judiciary.uk

Paul Gosar : United States ought to drop all charges against and attempts to extradite Julian Assange

On the 13th December 2023, Rep. Paul Gosar ( Republican Arizona) referred a bill to the House Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Congress

Paul Gosar ( from United States Congress Web Site )

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that regular journalistic activities are protected under the First Amendment, and that the United States ought to drop all charges against and attempts to extradite Julian Assange.

The Bill reads

Refer United States Congress web site for current status

Refers :
James P. McGovern,
Thomas Massie,
Marjorie Taylor Greene,
Anna Paulina Luna,
Eric Burlison,
Jeff Duncan,
Ilhan Omar,
Clay Higgins.

The RESOLUTION READS

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that regular journalistic activities are protected under the First Amendment, and that the United States ought to drop all charges against and attempts to extradite Julian Assange.

Whereas regular journalistic activities, including the obtainment and publication of information, are protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States;

Whereas, in 2010, WikiLeaks, a media organization established by Julian Assange, published a cache of hundreds of thousands of pieces of information including Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment briefs, State Department cables, rules of engagement files, and other United States military reports;

Whereas the disclosure of this information promoted public transparency through the exposure of the hiring of child prostitutes by Defense Department contractors, friendly fire incidents, human rights abuses, civilian killings, and United States use of psychological warfare;

Whereas, in 2018, Mr. Assange was charged with one count under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) for alleged conspiracy to help a United States Army intelligence analyst access Defense Department computers without authorization;

Whereas the charge under the CFAA was despite the fact that said intelligence analyst already had access to the mentioned computer, that the purported breaching of the Defense Department computers was impossible, and that there was no proof Mr. Assange had any contact with said intelligence analyst;

Whereas, in 2019, Mr. Assange was charged with an additional 17 counts under the Espionage Act for alleged obtainment and disclosure of classified national defense information;

Whereas no other publisher had ever been prosecuted under the Espionage Act prior to these 17 charges;

Whereas Mr. Assange could face up to 175 years behind bars, effectively a death sentence, for these charges;

Whereas, in 2019, Mr. Assange was arrested by the London Metropolitan Police for an outstanding warrant and is currently being held at HM Prison Belmarsh while he battles the United States request that the United Kingdom extradite him;

Whereas the successful prosecution of Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act would set a precedent allowing the United States to prosecute and imprison journalists for First Amendment protected activities, including the obtainment and publication of information, something that occurs on a regular basis;

Whereas First Amendment freedom of the press is essential to promote public transparency and is a crucial safeguard for our Republic;

Whereas numerous human rights, press freedom, and privacy rights advocates and organizations have disclosed their sincere and steadfast support for Mr. Assange; and

Whereas at least 70 Senators and Members of Parliament from Australia, a critical United States ally and Mr. Assange’s native country, support actions that would allow Mr. Assange to return home: Now, therefore be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that—

(1) regular journalistic activities, including the obtainment and publication of information are protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States;

(2) First Amendment freedom of the press promotes public transparency and is crucial for the American Republic;

(3) the Federal Government ought to drop all charges against and attempts to extradite Julian Assange; and

(4) the Federal Government allow Julian Assange to return home to his native Australia if he so desires.

Barnaby Joyce MP Warns Australian Parliament on the Extraterritorial Precedent of Julian’s Extradition

On 28th November 2023, Barnaby Joyce Nationals MP for New England, addressed Australian Parliament on the dangers of the extraterritorial precedent of the extradition of Julian Assange

Mr JOYCE  (New England) (16:23):

I would like to follow on from the member for Makin and also acknowledge Gabriel Shipton, who’s here today. There are very few things that draw together people from both sides of the political fence, whether it’s the Greens; Alex Antic; Tony Zappia—we’ve known each other for a long time and worked together—the Nationals; the Labor Party; the Liberal Party; the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese; or Peter Dutton, but this issue has done that. It’s time that this issue is resolved and brought to a conclusion. I acknowledge that Gabriel Shipton is Julian Assange’s brother, but I’m not here to give warrant to Mr Assange did—not for one second. But I am saying that extraterritoriality is an incredibly dangerous precedent. I’ll say, for the Australian people, that—and not to go through the details, which the member for Makin has done—Julian Assange was not a US citizen.

Julian Assange did not commit a crime in Australia. In fact, he got a Walkley Award for it. Julian Assange was never in the US when any offence that the US has nominated was committed.

So we are sending a person to a third country on the behest of a third country because of their domestic laws. Once you start agreeing to do that, it’s only a matter of time before the Chinese government says, ‘We’ve got a few people in Australia we want you to send to China.’ If someone offends a religion in another part of the world, they’ll say, ‘You should send those people to us as well.’ How are you going to argue against that when you have given credibility to what is happening here? For the US, how are they going to justify their position when they are part and parcel of this? I’ve said before that Australia has been a good neighbour to the US, and, with Mr Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, who most definitely committed offences in Australia—most definitely—we haven’t called for their extradition back to Australia. If we did, they would go to jail for quite a while.

So I ask something of those in the United States. I know the Prime Minister of Australia has now been to the US. I’m not going to delve into what discussions the Prime Minister may or may not have had, but I want to reinforce to the people of the United States and the government of the United States our great respect for their nation but our displeasure that this issue continues on. It needs to be resolved. This carbuncle in the relationship needs to be removed. We have bigger fish to fry. There are bigger issues out there for us to deal with. This issue needs to be put aside.

I want to also acknowledge the great work done by the delegation with Tony Zappia, Alex Antic, Peter Whish-Wilson, Monique Ryan and David Shoebridge—I’m forgetting some more. I thank them for their work. The support will continue on.

Refer original coverage in Hansard

Recent articles covering Mr Joyce’s support for Julian :
Australian Financial Review

Tony Zappia MP Calls for Julian’s Release in Australian Parliament

On 28th November 2023, Tony Zappia Labor MP for Makin addressed Australian Parliament calling for Julian’s immediate release. As reported in Hansard

Mr ZAPPIA  (Makin) (16:20):

Since April 2019, Julian Assange has been held in the maximum security Belmarsh prison in England as he fights extradition to the USA, where he faces multiple espionage related charges. For the seven years prior, he was confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London. His alleged wrongdoing was publishing classified US military documents through his WikiLeaks website. Other media outlets that published the same material, including the Guardian, the New York Times and the online US Cryptome blogger, John Young, are not being pursued and never have been by the US government.

Julian Assange is an Australian citizen. His health is failing. In September, an Australian cross-party delegation, which consisted of senators David Shoebridge, Peter Whish-Wilson and Alex Antic, as well as the member for New England, Barnaby Joyce; the member for Kooyong, Dr Monique Ryan; and me, travelled to Washington to lobby for the release of Assange. In the two-day privately funded visit, the Australian delegation met with key US government officials and cross-party members of the US Congress. Subsequent to the Australian delegation’s visit, 16 cross-party members of the US Congress signed a joint letter to the US President calling for the withdrawal of the Julian Assange extradition request and a halt to the US prosecution. Countless other international human rights advocates, eminent legal persons and world leaders have also called for his release. Three-quarters of a million people have signed a petition in support of Julian Assange.

The widely held view is that Julian Assange is being punished for having embarrassed the US and US individuals. Regardless of whatever view one holds about Julian Assange, including believing he did wrong, almost five years in the high-security Belmarsh prison has been a very heavy penalty, particularly in light of Chelsea Manning, the US intelligence officer who provided the classified material to him, having had her sentence commuted in 2017. It serves no useful purpose to continue the detention and pursuit of Julian Assange. Exposing the truth should not be a crime, and the persecution of Julian Assange contradicts the very principles of freedom of speech and freedom of journalism and wider human rights that the modern world stands for. It diminishes our credibility in speaking up for the human rights of others.

In New York Harbour, since 1886, the Statue of Liberty, with its motto of ‘Liberty Enlightening the World’, has stood as a beacon of justice, freedom and hope. If the US is to remain true to those values, the case against Julian Assange must be discontinued and he should be set free. As the Prime Minister has said, enough is enough. Can I take just a moment to acknowledge the presence of Gabriel Shipton in the House with us today. He has been a tireless campaigner for the Julian Assange release.

Read original article in Hansard

Greg Barnes : UK Rwanda Ruling is Relevant to Julian’s Extradition

On the 23rd November 2023, Greg Barnes, legal advisor to the Australian Assange Campaign issued a press statement on the ruling in the recent Rwandan deportation case.

Recently the UK Supreme Court ruled against the government’s policy of forcibly removing asylum seekers to Rwanda.  The decision is very relevant to Julian’s case because the Court said that the government had failed to look at the real risk of harm to people if they were sent to Rwanda.  The Court was also highlighted the problem with the UK government relying on assurances, – like the US Diplomatic Notes accepted by the court in the US appeal against Julian’s release in October 2021 – and indicated they were problematic, from a rule of law perspective, as a commitment which was not able to be enforced in a court.

Greg Barnes

For a detailed analysis read Craig Murray’s analysis on Znetwork

Exposing War Crimes Riskier Than Doing War Crimes

On the 16th November The Shovel published this article in response to David McBride pleading guilty as crucial evidence was ruled to be too sensitive to the Security of the Nation to be presented in court.

Blowing the whistle in Australia about war crimes is more likely to see you face a prison sentence than if you actually just did the war crimes yourself, ex solider David McBride is discovering.

McBride was the first person in Australia to be charged in relation to war crimes in Afghanistan. However, in a minor detail that seems to have gone unnoticed by the Australian Government, he was the guy actually revealing the war crimes, rather than doing them.

Criminal expert Samantha Richelli said there may have been some confusion within the Albanese Government. “Forgive me for getting a little technical here, but traditionally in a war crimes hearing the person who is on trial has done some war criming. The person who reveals the war crimes is on the other side. I’m sure it’s just an embarrassing mix up which they’ll realise any day now”.

Defence barrister Phillipa Lee said she always advised her clients against revealing war crimes. “If you’re into that type of thing it’s a much safer option to just do them. At least in Australia,” she said.

Refer original article in The Shovel
And further articles :
Pearls and Irritations
Who do you serve? The non-trial of David McBride
Crown successfully overturns Nuremberg war crimes principles in Australian court
ABC
As whistleblower David McBride pleads guilty, pressure is building on the Albanese government
9 News
War crime whistleblower David McBride pleads guilty to leaking classified information

9 News summarises

Originally facing five charges, the former military lawyer pleaded guilty to three offences, including stealing Commonwealth information and passing that on to journalists.
The classified documents led to a series of reports alleging Australian special forces troops committed war crimes in Afghanistan.A later inquiry uncovered credible information of 23 incidents of potential war crimes, which involved the killing of 39 Afghans and cruel treatment of two more between 2005 and 2016.The report found 25 soldiers were perpetrators or accessories – some on a single occasion and some on multiple.


Editors Note: The 9 News summary overlooks the glacial progress as the Brereton Report was made public in 2020 and refers to issues now up to 14 years old.

Editors Note: Hiding war crimes is a War Crime. David McBride has faced a dilemma of following international law ( to which Australia is a signatory ) or following Australian Law as charged and becoming an active participant in Australian War Crimes in Afghanistan. We believe international Law prevails

Editors Note: This issue of frustrating War Crimes investigations is not limited to Australia but may be a common occurrence with all the perpetrators of the War on Terror for example the report in the BBC Afghanistan inquiry hears senior officers hid SAS killings as recently as the 11th October 2023.

US Lawmakers Support Assange

On the 8th November 2023, 16 Members of Congress or Senate of the United States of America sent this letter of support to the US President Joe Biden

20231107_assangecase_presbiden

Signatories are :
James P. McGovern, Member of Congress
Thomas Massie, Member of Congress
Rashida Tlaib, Member of Congress
Eric Burlison, Member of Congress
Ilhan Omar, Member of Congress
Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S., Member of Congress
Ayanna Pressley, Member of Congress
Marjorie Taylor Greene, Member of Congress
Pramila Jayapal, Member of Congress
Matthew Rosendale Sr., Member of Congress
Greg Casar, Member of Congress
Cori Bush, Member of Congress
Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D., Member of Congress
Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Member of Congress
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Member of Congress
Rand Paul, United States Senator

Read covering articles:
McGovern on ABC Radio National
Fox News
The Intercept
The Australian Financial Review
The Hill

Lula Uses UN Address to Call For Julian Assange’s Release

On the 19th September 2023, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, used his speech before the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York to call for freedom for Julian Assange

A journalist, like Julian Assange, should not be punished for informing society in a transparent and legitimate way

Full speech on YouTube

News Coverage in Subscription Services
The Australian Brazil’s Lula calls for Assange release
Brazilian president’s call comes a day before Australian MPs and Senators begin a series of meetings in Washington to put pressure on the Biden administration.
Chicago Tribune – In London, Brazil’s Lula calls for efforts to free Assange