Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Free Julian Assange – Political Prisoner – International Human Rights Day in Dublin, December 10 2020

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TD’s from Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, RISE, Solidarity and left independents, including Leas Ceann Comhairle Catherine Connolly, gathered outside the Convention Centre where the Dáil was sitting on December 10 2020 – International Human Rights Day. They made a public call on the British Government not to extradite Julian Assange to the USA.

‘We condemn the detention of Julian Assange pending his extradition proceedings. We further condemn the attempted use of the US Espionage Act to prosecute Assange for his work exposing the war crimes committed by US service personnel in the Iraq and Afghan war logs. It is our view that the use of these judicial measures by the US constitutes a grave threat to free speech and a free press. It further notes that this attempted prosecution is without precedent in US law.

The TD’s, joined by Senate colleagues including David Norris, were supporting a call made by the National Union of Journalists in Britain that Boris Johnson’s government should refuse to extradite Assange to the USA on false charges of espionage. If sent to America, Assange would face a sentence of 175 years for doing the job of a journalist, where he published the lies told by the US government about the invasion of Iraq. The following statement has been signed by 24 members of the Oireachtas. It is fitting that on International Human Rights Day solidarity with the plight of Julian Assange is expressed. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has endorsed this statement.

Statement Signed by 24 Members of the Oireachtas

We the undersigned members of the Oireachtas support the call for the release of Julian Assange and for espionage charges against him to be dropped, in line with the National Union of Journalists National Executive Council campaign to oppose Mr Assange’s extradition:-

Free Assange Poster in front of Dáil Éireann, International Human Rights Day, December 10 2020

‘We condemn the detention of Julian Assange pending his extradition proceedings. We further condemn the attempted use of the US Espionage Act to prosecute Assange for his work exposing the war crimes committed by US service personnel in the Iraq and Afghan war logs. It is our view that the use of these judicial measures by the US constitutes a grave threat to free speech and a free press. It further notes that this attempted prosecution is without precedent in US law.

Free Assange Supporters : Thomas Pringle TD (Donegal) and Joan Collins (Dublin South Central)

We further note the report of UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, that concluded that there was “overwhelming evidence that Assange had been subject to psychological torture”.

Free Assange Supporters : Catherine Connolly TD (Galway West), the Dáil Leas Ceann Comhairle with colleagues Joan Collins and Thomas Pringle

Writing of the US Espionage Act of 1917 under which Assange could face a lifetime in jail, the NUJ wrote: “the charges seek to criminalise activity that for many NUJ members is their daily work – cultivating sources who are willing to share sensitive information that reveals incompetence, corruption, and illegality”.

Free Assange Supporters : PBP TD’s Bríd Smith (Dublin South Central) and Richard Boyd-Barrett (Dún Laoghaire)

The case against Julian Assange is very simple. Acting as a journalist and publisher in coordination with the Guardian, Der Spiegel and New York Times, he exposed major war crimes by US forces and its allies. Assange is not an American citizen. Therefore, his extradition by the British government would mean that the US would have carte blanche across the globe to persecute journalists and publishers for revealing state crimes.

The group ˜Lawyers for Assange” warns this will create a dangerous precedent, which other powerful states could employ.

We call for Julian Assange’s immediate release and that all espionage charges against him be dropped.

Free Assange Supporters : Gino Kenny TD (Dublin Mid West), PBP; campaign supporters Anne Conway and June Kelly

Signed:

  • Chris Andrews TD SF
  • John Brady TD SF
  • Richard Boyd Barrett TD PBP
  • Mick Barry TD Solidarity
  • Pat Buckley TD SF
  • Sorca Clarke TD SF
  • Catherine Connolly TD Independent
  • Réada Cróinín TD SF
  • Seán Crowe TD SF
  • Joan Collins TD
  • David Cullinane TD SF
  • Pa Daly TD SF
  • Dessie Ellis TD SF
  • Mairéad Farrell TD SF
  • Gino Kenny TD PBP
  • Martin Kenny TD SF
  • Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD SF
  • Thomas Pringle TD
  • Paul Murphy TD RISE
  • Bríd Smith TD PBP
  • Brian Stanley TD SF
  • Violet Anne Wynne TD SF
  • Senator David Norris
  • Senator Paul Gavin SF

Irish Times Coverage https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/for-those-who-cannot-join-family-at-christmas-1.4433435. FREE ASSANGE CAMPAIGN: Anne Conway and June Kelly of the Free Julian Assange Ireland Campaign, demonstrating outside the Convention Centre in Dublin. The US is seeking Mr Assange’s extradition from the UK on espionage charges, in relation to his activities with the WikiLeaks website. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Free Assange : Anne Conway and June Kelly Protest at Dáil Éireann, International Human Rights Day, December 10 2020

Julian Assange is being held in Belmarsh – a prison which has a well-deserved grim reputation.

“An investigation has been launched after an inmate died at Belmarsh prison.

“The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed a prisoner had died on Monday and an investigation was under way.

“Stella Moris, the partner of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, spoke out about the incident.

“She said the man was being held on the same wing Assange in the high-security jail in south-east London and they were friends.

“In a post on Twitter she claimed the man was a Brazilian named Manoel Santos, who had lived in the UK for 20 years and had been served with a deportation notice by the Home Office.

“She added: “Julian wants to express his condolences to Manoel’s friends and family.

“Julian tells me Manoel was an excellent tenor.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/probe-after-inmate-dies-at-belmarsh-high-security-prison-39698155.html

This campaign needs to be broadened in Ireland and abroad. https://www.facebook.com/Free-Assange-Ireland-108045181097849

Activists are mobilizing in the USA :


WikiLeaks: Defend Assange and Civil Liberties – History, Great Britain, and Julian Assange

BELOW ARE THE comments Clifford D. Conner made at a September 8th press conference in front of the British consulate in New York City. Conner is an historian and author of Jean Paul Marat: Tribune of the French Revolution and The Tragedy of American Science: From Truman to Trump. The court in Britain is holding hearings on the Trump administration’s request to have Julian Assange, the Australian editor, publisher and founder of WikiLeaks, extradited. Assange would be tried in a Virginia court on 17 counts of espionage and one count of conspiracy to commit a computer crime. If convicted, he could face up to 175 years in prison.

In 2010 Assange had the audacity to post a video showing a U.S. Apache helicopter indiscriminately murdering a dozen civilians and two Reuters’ journalists in the streets of Baghdad.

Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower, testified in court on September 16 that Assange could not receive a fair trial in the United States. When he pointed out that the Collateral Murder video was clearly a war crime, the prosecution maintained that Assange was not wanted by Washington for it but for publishing documents without redacting names. Ellsberg pointed out that when he leaked the Pentagon Papers, he did not redact a single name.

Assange’s lawyer has since informed the London court that in 2017 former Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher and Charles Johnson, a far right political activist, relayed Trump’s offer to pardon Assange if he provided the source for the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails. This was described to Assange as a “win-win” situation for all involved.

A National Committee to Defend Assange and Civil Liberties, chaired by Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, and Alice Walker has been set up. For further information, go to www.facebook.com/CommitteeToDefendJulianAssange.

Dianne Feeley for The Editors
Against the Current
November-December 2020, ATC 209 https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article6823

John Meehan December 10 2020

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