On Tuesday, April 27, CODEPINK Congress focused on freeing Julian Assange and all whistleblowers.
The event featured three guests:
Gabriel Shipton, Julian Assange’s half-brother. Gabriel is a Melbourne-based film producer. When he isn’t making movies, he campaigns for the freedom of his half-brother Julian Assange.
Stella Morris is Julian Assange’s partner, mother of two of his children, and an attorney with his legal team.
Chip Gibbons is the policy director and legislative counsel for Defending Rights & Dissent, an organization founded by victims of the House Un-American Activities Committee that works to protect the right to engage in political expression. In this capacity, he has advised both state and federal lawmakers on the First Amendment.
Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, is incarcerated in Britain’s Belmarsh Prison, where he is fighting US extradition on espionage charges related to his involvement with whistleblower Chelsea Manning and the publication of the Baghdad airstrike of 2007 and Iraq War Logs, among other documents.
Daniel Hale is a heroic former intelligence analyst who pled guilty to informing the public about the drone warfare program. He faces sentencing on July 31st for violations of the Espionage Act. Meanwhile, NO ONE in the US government who authorized the killing of civilians has ever been held accountable.
On April 19 at 10am CDT, British journalist Mohamed Elmaazi and Professor of International and Criminal Law Mohamed A. ‘Arafa discussed the prosecution of Julian Assange, in a panel event hosted by the Chicago chapter of Assange Defense.
Elmaazi has covered Assange’s case extensively, including courtroom coverage of all of Assange’s extradition hearings. Elmaazi will discuss the Espionage Act charges against the WikiLeaks founder.
As the Rapporteur on the Rule of Law for Egypt, a widely published Professor of International and Criminal Law at Alexandria University in Egypt, and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Cornell Law in New York, Professor ‘Arafa outlined and deconstructed the attempted character assassination of Assange, from misconceptions to outright falsehoods, in the media and in the courtroom.
Julian Assange is facing a 175-year sentence for publishing US government documents revealing evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses. The publication of these public interest releases was the result of collaboration between WikiLeaks and multiple news organizations including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, and many others. The politically motivated decision to prosecute is unprecedented and would set a chilling precedent for every journalist and publisher in the world.
Despite a 4 January 2021 UK Magistrates Court ruling that his extradition would be oppressive and must be stopped, Assange continues to be denied bail and remains in detention. He has been detained in one form or another for over 10 years – either under house arrest, seven years while under political asylum in London’s Ecuadorian embassy, or for the past two years in Belmarsh Maximum security prison.
Due to Covid restrictions, Assange has been unable to receive any visitors for more than a year, including his fiancee and two young children. Communication with his lawyers has been difficult and Assange’s ability to prepare for the US appeal against him severely hampered.
This international public symposium of parliamentarians and legislators discusses and examines the issues at stake in the Julian Assange case. The event was livestreamed by the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook channels.
All major Human Rights and Free Press Organizations have opposed Assange’s extradition including Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch and many more. Newspaper Editorial boards including The Guardian, New York Times, El Pais, Der Speigel, Le Monde, as well as major Journalist Unions including the UK’s NUJ and Australia’s MEAA have voiced their strong opposition to the proceeding against Assange and the threat it poses to journalism and the free press.
Session 1. Briefing on the Julian Assange case with UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer and Stella Moris, Julian Assange’s partner. Chaired by Richard Burgon MP. Followed by questions and contributions.
Session 2. Country Reports: A chance for attendees to discuss the situation in their countries.
Session 3. How to take the campaign forward. With former Nobel prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, German Member of Parliament Sevim Dagdelen and UK MP Richard Burgon – with questions and contributions from attendees.
Assange supporters Candles4Assange have put together an incredibly helpful list of actions planned for Julian Assange on April 11th around the world, to mark 2 years of his unjust imprisonment. The full Twitter thread is here but we’ve also listed each event by city below.
George Freeman—Executive Director, Media Law Resource Center
Erin Aubry Kaplan—long-time LA journalist
Jim Lafferty, Executive Director Emeritus, National Lawyers Guild,
Featuring exclusive recorded comments from Daniel Ellsberg
Erin Aubry Kaplan is a contributing writer to the New York Times opinion page and a former weekly op-ed columnist for the Los Angeles Times, the first African American in the paper’s history to hold the position. She is the author of “Black Talk, Blue Thoughts and Walking the Color Line: Dispatches From a Black Journalista,” (2011) and “I Heart Obama” (2016).
George Freeman is Executive Director of the Media Law Resource Center. He is a former Assistant General Counsel of the New York Times Company, where he was at the forefront of numerous high-profile cases for the company and its affiliated businesses. He is the William J. Brennan Visiting Professor at the Columbia Journalism School and also teaches at New York University and CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism. He has led or participated in many media groups and is the founder and Co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law annual conference.
Jim Lafferty is the Executive Director Emeritus of the National Lawyers Guild in Los Angeles; and the host of The Lawyers Guild Show on KPFK.
Daniel Ellsberg, a former defense analyst, set in motion a chain of events that led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling that said government efforts to halt publication of the Pentagon Papers represented a prior restraint in violation of the First Amendment freedom of the press.
Congressional candidate Jen Perelman and podcaster Katie Halper co-hosted #FreeAssangeTelethon, an all-day livestream event featuring renowned activists, journalists, comedians, and many others highlighting the persecution of Julian Assange and encouraging supporters across the U.S. to call their representatives to demand the DOJ drop the charges. Find a sample phone script for your call to your representative below!
1:30 p.m. EDT: START
1:45-2:00 p.m. EDT: Nathan Fuller of the Assange Defense Committee
2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT: John Kiriakou, Medea Benjamin, and Kevin Gosztola
3:00-4:00 p.m. EDT: Lee Camp, Rania Khalek, and Ron Placone
4:00-5:00 p.m. EDT: Justin Jackson, Kate Willett, and Jordan Chariton
5:00-6:00 p.m. EDT: Norman Solomon, Marjorie Cohn, and Shahid Buttar
6:00-7:00 p.m. EDT: Chris Hedges & Margaret Kimberley
An online panel discussion on the persecution of Julian Assange. A British judge has recently blocked his extradition from the UK to the US, where he would face unprecedented charges that aim to criminalize basic journalistic activity. The US is appealing that decision, but the indictment against Assange was drawn up during the Trump administration, and the newly elected Biden DOJ should take a new look at the case and drop the charges.
Our panel will gave an overview of Assange’s case, the threat his prosecution poses to the First Amendment, and the latest on his legal proceedings in the UK.
Alice Walker: Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Mumia Abu-Jamal: political prisoner
Nathan Fuller: Director, Courage Foundation
Joe Lombardo: National Coordinator, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)
Jeff Mackler: Director, The Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal/Northern California and Steering Committee, AssangeDefense.org
On January 12, the Los Angeles Branch of the Assange Defense Committee hosted a discussion on the prosecution of Julian Assange within the context of the U.S. history of persecuting political dissidents. Sharon Kyle, publisher of LA Progressive, moderated the discussion with University of Southern California law professor Jody Armour and Thomas Jefferson School of Law professor emerita Marjorie Cohn.
Take action for Assange by joining the Assange Defense Committee, writing letters to your representatives, and sharing our petition.
Nils Melzer–United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture
Ray McGovern–former, longtime CIA Russia analyst, presidential daily briefer, and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
Ann Batiza–Milwaukee Branch of the Assange Defense Committee
Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture; and Ray McGovern, former CIA Russia analyst, presidential daily briefer for George H.W. Bush and current peace activist (who is growing his beard in solidarity with Julian Assange), discussed the unprecedented extradition trial of Walkley-award-winning publisher and seven times (including 2020) nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, Julian Assange. Notably, Mr. Assange said, “If wars can be started by lies, peace can be started by truth.”Amnesty International, theACLU, Rebecca Vincentof Reporters without Borders, Laura Poitras writing in the New York Times, Barton Gellmanwriting in the Guardian,Alan Rusbridgerformer editor ofthe Guardian,Glenn Greenwald now on Substack, editor Marty Baron of the Washington Post and editor-in-chief Dean Baquet of the New York Times have all described the threat to press freedom posed by this extradition trial. It is time that the public also understood what was at stake.
Monday, January 4th 2021 | 12pm PDT / 3pm EDT Online Event: Register here
Live reactions to the UK verdict, moderated by Shadowproof’s Kevin Gosztola
Author, historian, and former MIT professor
Former president, National Lawyers Guild
Pentagon Papers whistleblower
On January 4, 2021, at 10:00am London time, a British magistrates’ judge will rule on whether to extradite WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange from the United Kingdom to the United States. Assange, an Australian citizen who has been in arbitrary detention since 2012 and imprisoned since April 2019, has been indicted in the U.S. for publishing government documents in 2010, in a landmark attack on the First Amendment. The U.S. wants to dictate what can and can’t be published around the world — will the U.K. bow to U.S. pressure and help put an award-winning journalist on trial?
Leading academics, lawyers, fellow journalists and human rights defenders across the globe have condemned the U.S. prosecution. On Jan. 4th at 12pm PDT / 3pm EDT, the Assange Defense Committee and Shadowproof will host an online panel event to respond to the judge’s ruling and provide context for the press freedom issues at stake.
OR Books, the Courage Foundation, and DiEM25 are thrilled to launch our new book WE ARE MILLIONS. The team behind the #WeAreMillions project are joined by contributors Chris Hedges, Angela Richter, and Ben Cohen to discuss the book and the global support for Julian Assange as he fights extradition to the United States.
10 years ago on 28 November 2010 WikiLeaks started publishing over 250 000 US diplomatic cables known as Cablegate along with Der Spiegel, El Pais, Le Monde the Guardian.
It has transformed journalism in the digital age. The cables have contributed significantly to public and political conversations all around the world, they became valuable reference resource to researchers, universities, investigative journalists, human rights advocates and lawyers.
The Cables also revealed that governments overclassified information and kept secrets that should have been subject to public scrutiny and debate and have genuinely revolutionized our understanding of political reality.
In recognition, a year later Julian Assange won Walkley Award, Australian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, for “the Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism, courageous and controversial commitment to the finest traditions of journalism: justice through transparency, applied new technology to penetrate the inner workings of government to reveal an avalanche of inconvenient truths in a global publishing coup.”
Julian Assange has been charged by the Trump administration for publications of these cables, Iraq War logs and Afghan War logs which exposed war crimes and human rights abuses — for which he now faces a 175 year prison sentence.
To mark 10 years of the release Don’t Extradite Assange hosted an online discussion chaired by John Rees, on the panel Alison Broinowski former Australian diplomat, academic, journalist and Craig Murray former British diplomat, human rights campaigner, whistleblower and Hans-Christof von Sponeck former UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.
The Iraq war is the defining military conflict of the 21st century.
Almost 10 years ago WikiLeaks published the Iraq War Logs along with The New York Times, The Guardian, El Pais, Washington Post and other news outlets.
The Iraq War logs showed the true numbers of civilian deaths in Iraq, at least 15,000 more people had died than previously thought, as well as the abuse and torture of prisoners by police and military in full knowledge of coalition forces. This also resulted in creating the Iraq Body Count project.
The Guardian at the time stated “The US figures appear to be unreliable in respect of civilian deaths caused by their own military activities.”
WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange remains held at a maximum security prison in London in relation to a US extradition request – he faces a sentence of 175 years for publishing truthful information in the public interest which include the Iraq War Logs.
Don’t Extradite Assange campaign organized an online panel with investigative journalists Iain Overton and Chris Woods to discuss the impact of their release.
Organized by Courage Foundation an online panel of experts to examine what Julian Assange would endure and be up against if the United Kingdom extradites him to the U.S., from pre- and potentially post-trial prison conditions, the lack of a public interest defense under the Espionage Act, and the extremely high rate of convictions in U.S. federal courts.
Barry Pollack, Julian Assange’s attorney in the U.S.
Jeffrey Sterling, CIA whistleblower who was convicted under the Espionage Act
Lauri Love, U.K. activist who successfully defeated an extradition request from the United States
Moderated by Kevin Gosztola, independent U.S. journalist at Shadowproof.com who has covered Chelsea Manning’s military court martial and Julian Assange’s extradition proceedings thus far.
On the 10th year anniversary of the release of the Afghan War logs former soldier Joe Glenton, jailed for refusing to fight in Afghanistan, and WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson will discuss the effects of that war and the importance of the freedom of the press, moderated by Labour MP Claudia Webbe.
Afghan War logs reveal torture, evidence of human rights violations and extrajudicial killings that involve abundant and compelling evidence of war crimes committed by US and coalition forces in Afghanistan. This is one of the reasons why Julian Assange has been indicted for by releasing these documents by WikiLeaks. You can watch from 2010 Amnesty International’s reaction to US military files released by WikiLeaks here.
Official launch of a film about the state torture on Assange, written, produced and directed by John Furse. A a film that will confound viewers just as the UN Special Rapporteur was confounded when he discovered the truth behind the headlines. This revelatory film shows how WikiLeaks founder Assange is a victim of prolonged psychological torture, an abuse of human rights and international law recognised and classified by the United Nations (UN).
We discover how a sustained assault on his credibility as a journalist and publisher and a deliberate enterprise to break his psychological and physical health has developed.
Follow up discussion with Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and John Furse, moderated by Rebecca Vincent from Reporters Without Borders.
For the 10th year anniversary of WikiLeaks releasing Collateral Murder video, we commemorated this event with an online panel which you can watch here: Collateral Murder – 10 Years On The video shows how two Apache helicopters murdered 11 Iraqi people including two Rueters journalists. This is one of the publications Julian Assange is being indicted for espionage. He faces 175 years in a US jail if extradited from the UK. We are doing a special follow up broadcast with WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson, Assange’s lawyer Jen Robinson, Iraqi Democrat Sami Ramadani and special guest Dean Yates Former Reuters journalist, who was in charge of the bureau in Baghdad when his Iraqi colleagues Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh were killed in July 12 2007. You can read his story here.
Julian Assange has been subjected to psychological torture. That is the conclusion of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. But it is not the only medical issue in a case where the defendant is held in a prison where two inmates have died of coronavirus.
Three doctors who have been campaigning over the treatment of Julian Assange. Dr Lissa Johnson – Psychologist and New Matilda columnist, Dr Derek Summerfield – Honorary senior lecturer at London’s Institute of Psychiatry and Dr Bob Gill – NHS doctor and producer of The Great NHS Heist discuss these vital concerns.
All three speakers are members of Doctors for Assange who have written both to the Australian and the British governments to voice their serious concerns about the health of Julian Assange and to condemn the violations of his right to be free from torture, right to health, and right to doctor-patient confidentiality.
The UK’s already overcrowded prison system has been thrown into crisis by the outbreak of Covid 19. Prisoners and staff have suffered a high infection and death rate. The government at first promised an early release programme to reduce overcrowding, but then quickly abandoned it. What is happening in our prisons? Why haven’t even remand prisoners who are convicted of no crime, like Julian Assange, been released on bail? These pressing questions were discussed by the following experts: Richard Garside – Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, Faith Spear – Criminologist and Former Prison Monitor, Steve Gillan – General Secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association.
The Treaty under which the United States is seeking to extradite Julian Assange has been widely condemned, even by Boris Johnson, as unbalanced. Some 200 UK citizens have been extradited from Britain to the US. Only 11 Americans have been extradited to the UK. Our panel will ask if the Extradition Treaty is fit for purpose. On the panel – David Davis MP, British Conservative Party politician with Radd Seiger legal advisor for Harry Dunn family, moderated by Baronnes Helena Kennedy QC, Scottish barrister and Labour member of the House of Lords.
A chance to learn first-hand from some of whistleblowers who have shaped what we know about modern politics, the importance of free speech, a free press, and the case of Julian Assange. With, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, Katharine Gun who revealed Iraq War secrets from GCHQ and former CIA officer John Kiriakou who confirmed that waterboarding was used to interrogate al-Qaeda prisoners.
Discussion between journalists about Julian’s current situation in prison and how his persecution affects journalism and the democracy. On the panel: John Pilger – award winning journalist, Stefania Maurizi– investigative journalist, Charles Glass – author, journalist, broadcaster
The cockpit video of an Apache helicopter shooting journalists and Iraqi civilians became one of the greatest journalistic coups of this century when it was released 10 years ago. Ann Wright – retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, Kristinn Hrafnsson – editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, and columnist and essayist Nozomi Hayase discussed the global political impact of that revelation, with a new video presentation that interviews the families of the Iraqis who lost their relatives in the attack.
First major protest march to Parliament Squaren in support of Assange was lead by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and Greek MP Yanis Varoufakis.They were joined in their call not to extradite Julian Assange by Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, John Shipton (Julian Assange’s father), musician Brian Eno, rapper and activist Lowkey, Kristinn Hrafnsson from WikiLeaks, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, Tariq Ali writer and activist, and Tim Dawson from the National Union of Journalists. The march was from Australia House to Parliament Square.
Former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell spoke at a public rally in central London joined by former Shadow Secretary of state Richard Burgon as well as Tim Dawson an executive of the National Union of Journalists, Nils Melzer the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Kristinn Hrafnsson editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Jen Robinson from Julian Assange’s legal team, and activist and writer Tariq Ali.
World famous artist MIA, Croatian philosopher, author and political activist Srećko Horvat, and British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, joined Julian Assange’s father John Shipton with this protest to halt the extradition case against Julian Assange.
World famous musician Roger Waters, the co-founder of Pink Floyd performed the band’s classic ‘Wish You Were Here’ after speaking about the importance of empathizing with Julian and defending him. John Pilger, filmmaker and journalist, opened the event with an impassioned speech before calling on Julian’s brother Gabriel Shipton and Roger Waters to the stage.