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FreeTheTruth – Bjartmar Alexandersson interviewed by Dr Deepa Driver

Key witness in
Assange case
admits to lies
in indictment

This interview is part of the #FreeTheTruth event series. In this interview, journalist Bjartmar Alexandersson, who revealed how the FBI’s case against Julian Assange is based on a pack of lies. Alexandersson conducted over 9 hours of recorded interviews with Sigurdur Thordarson – the prosecution’s star witness – who admits he lied .

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Our Friend Julian – Writers defend Julian Assange

On May 3rd, World Press Day, eleven distinguished writers will be heard in defence of Julian Assange. Assange is still being held in Belmarsh prison, as he awaits an appeal from the US government against Westminster Magistrates Court’s earlier refusal to extradite him. His only ‘crime’ is to have revealed the truth of US and UK war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

These eleven voices represent the eleven years since WikiLeaks released filmed footage of the killing of Iraqi civilians on a pavement in Baghdad by a US gunship. One of the participants, Marina Warner says:

The main principle of uncovering truth needs to be defended and the rights of prisoners who have not been charged or tried are in urgent need of defence.  Marina Warner DBE

The event will be introduced by world famous musician Brian Eno and he and Marina Warner will be joined by A.L. Kennedy, Charles Harris, Jan Woolf, Matt Devereaux, Richard Bradbury, Robert Ilson, George Szirtes, Michael Rosen, and actors Zoe Aaronson and Gilles Madan reading Adrian Mitchell’s great poem ‘To Whom it May Concern’.

Organiser Jan Woolf says, ‘Writers aren’t moralists, but their work carries moral weight. These writers are representing so many others who would have taken part. All realise that the case of Julian Assange represents the freedom of investigative journalism and a refusal to cover up war crimes. One day Julian Assange will universally be hailed as a hero.

‘This is an important statement from some of the UK’s leading writers on World Press Day. This country prides itself on a free press, but it cannot avoid the charge of hypocrisy while it holds Julian Assange in jail.’

Live-streamed May 3, 6pm BST on Don’t Extradite Assange campaign Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels. – https://linktr.ee/DEAcampaign

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International Symposium of Parliamentarians – Saturday 17 April 12pm noon BST (UK time)

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 were 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.

There has been mounting pressure on the US Department of Justice to distance itself from the Trump-era prosecution of Julian and drop the charges entirely. The proceedings against Mr. Assange “jeopardizing journalism that is crucial to democracy.”

This international public symposium of parliamentarians and legislators will discuss and examine the issues at stake in the Julian Assange case. The event will also be live-streamed by the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign on their 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 posses to Journalism and the Free Press.

Saturday 17 April 12pm noon BST (UK time).

Programme:

  • 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.
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Lightning Talks: Assange Case – Next Steps

23 March 2021

UK Magistrates Court issued a ruling blocking the US government’s request to extradite Julian Assange. The court ruled that extraditing him would be unsafe and it accepted that the evidence showed a high likelihood that Julian would die if the UK decided to extradite him.

The extradition is an attempt to criminalise journalism, not just in the US but in the UK and the rest of the world as well; and that the decision to indict Julian was a political act, a violation of the treaty, a violation of his human rights.

With the growing support of politicians around the world, press freedom, civil liberties, and international human rights advocacy organizations raising awareness of the Assange indictment we discussed the steps we can take to save Julian Assange and with that press freedom and investigative journalism.

Speakers:

  • John Kiriakou, CIA torture whistleblower
  • Clare Daly, Member of the European Parliament
  • Peter Oborne, British author, The Assault on Truth
  • Taylor Hudak, Journalist & editor
  • Sami Ramadani, Iraqi Democrat
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Assange Case — What next

20 February 2021

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser has blocked Julian Assange’s extradition! While her ruling adopted the U.S. government’s extremely dangerous arguments undermining press freedom, the judge found that because U.S. prison conditions are so deleterious, it would be unjust and oppressive to extradite Julian. Almost immediately the lawyers representing the U.S. announced their intent to appeal that decision.

Two days later, the same lower courtjudge denied Assange’s bail application, meaning he will remain in the freezing cold, COVID-infected maximum-security HMP Belmarsh prison in London as he waits for the appeal process to unfold. That process could take weeks, months, or longer if the U.S. refuses to drop the case altogether.

Online meeting hosted by Bristol branch of Don’t Extradite Assange campaign

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Analysis: #AssangeCase and Extradition Ruling

4 January 2021

An online discussion with David Davis Conservative Member of Parliament, Rebecca Vincent – International Campaigns manager of RSF, Richard Burgon Secretary of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs, Kristinn Hrafnsson – editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, and Craig Murray – former UK Diplomat, on 4th January at 4pm GMT after the verdict of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing.

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Marking the 10th anniversary of WikiLeaks’ Cablegate publication

28 November 2020

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.

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WikiLeaks’ Iraq War Logs and what it means for Press Freedom

15 August 2020

Preview(opens in a new tab)

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.

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What would Julian Assange face in the U.S.?

8 August 2020

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.

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WikiLeaks, Afghan War Logs and Press Freedom

25 July 2020

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.

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‘NOT IN OUR NAME: The Psychological Torture of Julian Assange’

14 July 2020


Don’t Extradite Assange campaign special event

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.

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The Assange Case and Collateral Murder

20 June 2020, Online

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.

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Julian Assange: Doctors speak out

6 June 2020, Online

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.

If you would like to join the signatories and you are a Medical Professional you can sign it here: https://doctorsassange.org/

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Prisons and the Covid crisis

16 May 2020, Online

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.

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The US-UK Extradition Treaty – Should it be replaced?

9 May 2020, Online

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.

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Whistleblowers for Assange

25 April 2020, Online

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.

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Journalists speak out for Assange

18 April 2020, Online

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

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Collateral Murder – 10 Years On

5 April 2020, Online

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.

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Demonstration over the extradition of Julian Assange at Parliament Square

22 February 2020, Parliament Square London

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.

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Press Freedom and the case of Julian Assange

4 February 2020, Logan Hall London

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.

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M.I.A at UK Home Office: “Don’t extradite Assange!”

5 November 2019, Home Office London,

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.

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Roger Water “Wish You Were Here” at Home Office

2 September 2019, Home Office London

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.