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


Media Release: Delegation of Australian Members of Parliament will depart for Washington DC

On the 14th March 2023, The Australian Assange Campaign issued this media release

The delegation of Australian politicians will depart for Washington DC on 19 September, armed with a letter signed by 63 parliamentary colleagues across the political spectrum requesting that the United States’ prosecution and incarceration of Australian publisher Julian Assange end immediately.
 
The Australian Delegation to Secure the Release of Julian Assange is made up of representatives of the left, centre and right-wing members of the Australian Parliament. They include former Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Barnaby Joyce, Tony Zappia MP (Labor), Dr Monique Ryan MP (Independent), Senator Alex Antic (Liberal) and Senators Peter Whish-Wilson and David Shoebridge (Greens).
 
The time to act to save Julian is now,” says Gabriel Shipton, brother of Julian Assange.
 
“We have faith that the Group’s message will be heard in Washington DC and officials will abandon attempts to extradite Julian to the United States in relation to unprecedented allegations of espionage. Julian’s physical and mental health continue to deteriorate each minute he spends in prison. As he faces his last chance appeal in the UK courts, the Delegation seeks to pave the way for a political solution prior to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to the US on the 23rd (to 28th) October to meet with President Joe Biden.” 
 

Julian Assange has spent over 13 years in various forms of arbitrary detention after exposing evidence of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan published on his WikiLeaks website back in 2010. It included the confronting ‘Collateral Murder’ video, which shocked the world, showing a US Military Apache Helicopter opening fire on people in streets of Baghdad and killing over a dozen including two Reuters news staff. Julian and WikiLeaks have received over 30 international journalism awards for this work including an Australian Walkley Award. Their exclusive exposés were also republished and reported about in every major media outlet around the world, yet no other publisher has been charged or pursued by the United States.
 
Julian has been held in solitary confinement for the past four-and-a-half years in London’s high-security HM Belmarsh Prison, after being forcibly removed by local police from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he had previously sought asylum for 7 years.
 
Advisor to the Assange Campaign, Greg Barns SC says: “While Australia is not a party to the extradition proceedings it can intervene in this case in the same way it has done, over many years, in other cases where Australians have been subject to legal proceedings in other countries. It can raise the case at the political and diplomatic level in order to ensure that Julian is able to be reunited with his family and not continue to face the threat of extradition.”
 
Gabriel Shipton questions why our closest political ally is keeping an Australian publisher locked up when the US whistle blower has been free since 2017.
 
“In these cynical times this cross-party co-operation has captured the imaginations of Australians. It boils downs to fairness. Is Julian getting a fair-go? Australians don’t think so, and they are fed up.” says Mr Shipton.
 
The Australian delegation will meet with members of US Congress and Senate, the US State Department and Department of Justice as well as key think-tanks and NGOs including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders.
 
The Australian Delegation to Secure the Release of Julian Assange has been funded by donations from generous supporters of the Assange Campaign.

The Supporting Letter

230918_MPs_signed_letter.pdf
The letter will be taken to Washington DC and presented to US Congresspeople and others as part of the cross-party delegation made up of Senators Alex Antic, David Shoebridge and Peter Whish-Wilson, Barnaby Joyce MP, Monique Ryan MP and Tony Zappia MP. This call follows the bipartisan position expressed by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition that the Julian Assange matter has gone on for too long, and responds to the cross-parliamentary view on this matter.

 “The continuing incarceration and extradition attempt of Julian Assange is unjust and strikes at the very heart of media freedom, as his extradition would set a frightening precedent for all journalists that they too are at risk of being locked up, just for doing their job. The United States must listen to the calls of the Australian community and abandon the extradition proceedings. It’s well and truly time for this matter to end and for Julian to be allowed to return home.” – Andrew Wilkie MP. 

“As a co-convenor of the Parliamentary Friends group I know how the call to bring Julian Assange home unites so many of us across the Australian Parliament. Together we will bring a powerful collaborative cross-party approach to Washington as a demonstration to US decision makers of the comprehensive political support behind the Assange campaign.” – Senator David Shoebridge. 

“The strong support in the Australian community for the end to the maximum-security detention of Julian Assange is reflected in this call by a significant number of Australian Parliamentarians, which in turn emphasises the bipartisan leadership position reached earlier this year that ‘enough is enough’. There is every reason for this matter to come to a close.” – Josh Wilson MP. 

“As I have said for some time, I have ongoing concerns about the treatment Julian Assange has endured over the past decade and this must come to an end. He is an Australian citizen who has endured inhumane conditions and has suffered significant mental and physical challenges as a result of his ongoing incarceration due to the lengthy legal battle.” – Bridget Archer MP.

Sample News Coverage
ABC News
Brother of Julian Assange says delegation an historical event
Barnaby Joyce on the Julian Assange parliamentary delegation The Guardian
The Gurdian
Australian MPs to lobby US to drop Julian Assange prosecution or risk ‘very dangerous’ precedent for Russia and China
Julian Assange: more than 60 Australian MPs urge US to let WikiLeaks founder walk free
Fox News
Delegation of Australian lawmakers will visit US to push for Julian Assange’s release: ‘Powerful message’
The Conversation
View from The Hill: Australia’s bid for Julian Assange’s freedom presents formidable problems for Joe Biden
The Irish Times
Delegation of Australian politicians to pressure US to end pursuit of Julian Assange
And many many more . . .

Itinerary
News Conference – US Department of Justice Building, Washington DC, 20th Sept at 5pm EST

Note of Support for Julian Assange from Brazil

On the 27th August 2023, the Brazil’s Minister of State for Human Rights and Citizenship posted this Note of Support on the Ministry’s official web site

Editor’s Note: John Shipton has spent much of August 2023 touring South America, attending rallies and meetings of support at all levels for Julian, questions and Answer session and viewings of Ithaka to packed houses.

Translated to English

Note of support for Julian Assange

Published on 08/27/2023 3:10 pm

This week, representatives of the Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship and the federal government received John Shipton, father of Julian Assange.

On the occasion of the honorable visit, we express our support for the struggle of the journalist, his family, his friends and social movements around the world for his freedom and freedom of the press.

In times when the concept of freedom has been cynically manipulated by extreme right-wing groups – the totally uncompromised freedom of solidarity – the defense of Julian Assange’s freedom and the defense of freedom of the press, on the contrary, assume their genuine and full senses. It is the freedom totally associated with social responsibility, in this case, to bring out relevant information of public interest to several countries.

The right to information is a fundamental right, and Assange’s actions have helped to promote transparency and accountability at global levels.

In addition, his current situation raises concerns about due process and the rights of an individual in the face of possible political persecution. Assange and Wikileaks brought up information with an impact on governments and companies and this is the reason for their judicial persecution, in true lawfare.

Assange’s cause is a human rights cause.

Silvio Almeida
Minister of State for Human Rights and Citizenship

Note of Support on Ministrys web site ( In Portuguese )

German High Court Denies Extradition to UK Due to Terrible Prison Conditions

On 20th August 2024, a posting on Twitter reference German news article regarding a rejected extradition to the UK due ‘ the terrible conditions in UK prisons, including chronic overcrowding, staff shortages, violence, the small size of Victorian cells, and a lack of fresh air’

Editor’s Note: This article is include and these are the very inhumane conditions that Assange suffers.

A summary of the court decision from Lawyers Office Hegarhaus

DECISION OF THE KARLSRUHE HIGHER REGIONAL COURT OF MARCH 10, 2023, AZ. 301 OAUS 1/23: NO EXTRADITION TO GREAT BRITAIN DUE TO POOR PRISON CONDITIONS (LTO, AUGUST 14, 2023 BY DR. CHRISTIAN RATH)

We refer to LTO’s report of August 14, 2023 on proceedings before the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court, which, by decision of March 10, 2023 (Az. 301 OAus 1/23), ordered the extradition of a persecuted person to the United Kingdom due to the prison conditions there than currently deemed inadmissible:

“No extradition because of inhumane circumstances in the prisons of the target country – this is not uncommon for courts to decide. A decision by the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court shows that this can also apply to Great Britain.

So Christian Rath in LTO.

The fact that extradition fails because the prison conditions in the destination country are inhumane is nothing new. But normally one thinks here of countries in distant parts of the world or of EU countries such as Bulgaria and Romania.

At the beginning of the year, however, the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court (OLG) classified the extradition of an Albanian to Great Britain as “currently inadmissible” – because of the prison conditions there (decision of March 10, 2023, file no.: 301 OAus 1/23). Jan-Carl Janssen , the Freiburg lawyer who fought for the decision, assumes that it is the first such decision in Germany.

(…)”

The full text of the article is available here .

EUCRIM NEWS

For English please also check EUCRIM, 7 August 2023 by Thomas Wahl: ” German Court Denies Extradition to UK Because of Bad Detentions “:

“On 10 March 2023, the Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe (Germany) declared extradition of a person from Germany to the UK as “currently inadmissible” due to the lack of guarantees for the person’s protection of fundamental rights. The decision in an unofficial English translation can be found here.

The requested person’s defense council Dr. Jan-Carl Janssen put forward objections against extradition with regard to the prison conditions in the UK and a possible violation of Art. 3 ECHR. By also referring to a 2021 CPT report, the Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe posed several specific questions to the UK authorities with regard to prison conditions to be expected of the prosecuted person after his extradition in the UK.”

If you have any questions, the specialist lawyers for criminal law Dr. Jan-Carl Janssen , Jan-Georg Wennekers and Jens Janssen .

Former Labor Attorneys-General and Ministers for Justice appeal to Prime Minister Albanese

On the 14th August 2023, Matt Knott reported in the Sydney Morning Herald that a group of former Labor attorneys-general is calling on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to intensify his efforts to convince the United States to end its pursuit of Julian Assange

On the 17th August 2023, the Assange Campaign emailed some 80,000 active supporters advising of the letter and the news article.

The signatories are
Rob Hulls
Peter Duncan
Lara Giddings
Chris Sumner
Judy Jackson
Rod Welford
Michael Duffy
Bernard Collaery

AC_final_signed

Read Article in the Sydney Morning Herald

Read Prime Minister Albanese’s response from the 22nd August 2023



Kevin Rudd: Assange pursuit has gone on for too long

On 9th August 2023, Tess Ikonomou writes for Australian Associated Press

Kevin Rudd says the United States’ pursuit of Julian Assange has “gone on for too long” and he will continue to express Australia’s concerns.

During a visit to Australia as part of high level talks, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Mr Assange was accused of “very serious criminal conduct” .

Asked how he was continuing to press Australia’s position to the US as ambassador, Mr Rudd said his responsibility to engage on behalf of all Australians included Mr Assange.

“As for Secretary Blinken’s statements recently, that’s to be anticipated from the administration, reflecting their concerns about the history of the case,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

“We in Australia have our own concerns that we continue to reflect and my job as Australia’s leading diplomat in the US is to engage effectively, which usually means silently with the US administration, in order to maximise our prospects.”

“The prime minister has already made clear that this has gone on for too long. I agree with him.”

Read article in The Canberra Times and many other regional papers

Kevin Rudd: Letter to Bring Julian Assange Home Queensland

On the 25th November 2019, Kevin Rudd sent this letter was sent to Peter Pyke of Bring Julian Assange Home Queensland.

Editors Note: This letter has been included to show the now Australian Ambassador to the US as a long term supporter of Julian Assange

Dear Peter,

Thank you for your invitation to attend the Bring Julian Assange Home Queensland Network event on Wednesday night in Brisbane. I am unfortunately unable to attend as I will be working overseas.

While I hold serious reservations about Mr Assange’s character and his conduct, I nonetheless share some of the concerns that have been raised about his potential extradition to face an effective life sentence, or worse, in the United States.

Judging from the indictment published in May, US prosecutors appear to have levelled no specific allegation that anyone came to serious harm as a consequence of these leaks. If their case is essentially that Mr Assange broke the law by obtaining and disclosing secret information, then I struggle to see what separates him from any journalist who solicits, obtains and publishes such information. This includes the editors of the many American media outlets that reported the material that Mr Assange provided them.

In other words, why should Mr Assange be tried, convicted and incarcerated while those who publicly released the information are afforded protection under provisions of the US constitution concerning press freedom?

Ultimate responsibility for keeping sensitive information secure rests with governments. As a former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, I am deeply opposed to the leaking of classified diplomatic or intelligence communications. They are classified for a purpose, namely to maintain our national security and that of our allies.

Nonetheless, the United States government demonstrably failed to effectively secure the classified documents relevant to this case. The result was the mass leaking of sensitive diplomatic cables, including some that caused me some political discomfort at the time. However, an effective life sentence is an unacceptable and disproportionate price to pay. I would therefore oppose his extradition.

There is also another important dimension to all this. In the very rare circumstances that the internal complaint systems within governments are corrupted, it is important that genuine whistle-blowers have the last resort of going to the media. While I do not believe that was the case with Mr Assange’s actions, I am nonetheless deeply mindful of the wider principle at stake.

Yours sincerely,
Hon Kevin Rudd AC

Read original posting in Kevin Rudd’s Blog

Also of interest is Kevin Rudd’s tweet of June 2022