John Shipton: “My Heart is on Fire”

On the 24th February 2020, from Vienna, Von Stefan Schocher reports ( google translation from German)

John Shipton on his struggle for support for his son Julian Assange and his visit to Vienna.

profil: What do you expect from your meeting at the State Department?

Shipton: I will stand up for my son and make it clear that there is a historic change in Europe, for Julian, for free expression and exchange of information in the EU. There were 25 camera teams in Paris yesterday. Before that in London: 23 camera crews. There is increasing support.

profile: Do you get such positive feedback from political or even government circles?
Shipton: The support is huge in Germany. After all, Sigmar Gabriel [the SPD Parliamentarian stands up for Assange] was the Foreign Minister. That there is no voice of contradiction on the part of the government means tacit approval.

profil: You also explore the chances that your son will get asylum in a European country. Where do you have the highest hopes?

Shipton: Let’s start in the middle: Switzerland will offer Julian a humanitarian visa. This is the first official recognition and very important. In the absolute heart of Europe, he could recover from the consequences of his torture and accept visiting professorships across Europe. But I think there will be a competition for who can offer the most protection. That’s how it should be. After ten years of working at the interface between governments and information, he still has a lot to give.

profil: What is the goal of your mission?

Shipton: I am now in Vienna to advertise in the State Department that Austria will become part of the global movement that wants Julian to be released – as an icon of oppression by journalists, media or publicists. The oppression of journalists is a global problem. And if it is not solved, it will determine the taste and smell of the coming century.

profile: What is Julian Assange’s health and mental state?

Shipton: I can only comment on my own mental state. His state of health is a problem after nine years of increasing psychological torture, as Nils Melzer [UN Special Rapporteur on Torture] highlighted in his report. Julian is an intellectual, a sensitive person, but just one with a very strong will. And he’s in a high security prison along side terrorists and murderers.

profile: Edward Fitzgerald, your son’s lawyer, says the U.S. government has offered a pardon if Julian Assange rejects Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election campaign. If there was this offer, why didn’t he accept it?

Shipton: I don’t know. I don’t know the facts. I think the hearing next week will bring clarification in many ways.

profil: WikiLeaks published emails surrounding Trump’s competitor Hillary Clinton in the middle of the 2016 election campaign. It had the smell of a Kremlin action. How does your son see it

Shipton: I reject your question. None of Julian’s actions were in the spirit of Vladimir Putin. Everything that is published on WikiLeaks comes from the population. Julian is pro truth. He verifies everything that is published very carefully and does everything to protect the sources.

profile: Should your son find asylum – will he continue?

Shipton: WikiLeaks is a robust global news organization with a reputation for being accurate and reputable.

profile: The case against WikiLeaks is not just a criminal case, but has immense political implications. Do you think the geopolitical conditions for political support from Europe are favorable? The transatlantic relationship has broken. Asylum for Julian Assange will not improve it.

Shipton: It was a political case from the start. I like Europe very much. Vienna is wonderful, Paris is great, Geneva is fantastic – I would love to live there, but I cannot afford it. I want Europe to be steadfast in its relations with Washington instead of steadfastly on Washington’s call. Strength and independence mean that you can make good decisions and take responsibility for them. I wish that for Europe. My heart is burning when I see that the EU is not representing the interests of its citizens.

John Shipton

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s father is currently traveling through the EU to campaign for his son to be granted asylum in a European country. On Friday he was in Vienna for a talk at the Foreign Ministry. profil met the Australian for an interview immediately before – a quiet man who ponders his words and chooses wisely. Only at the end of the conversation Shipton warns to hurry. Before the appointment at Minoritenplatz, he has to quickly get a tie.

Full article in German in profil