How Australia can end the Assange stalemate

Dec 5th 2012
The Drum Opinion

Australia can help Julian Assange negotiate his legal problems while remaining consistent with the norms of international law and with the level of assistance that would be offered to other Australians, writes Donald Rothwell.

This week Julian Assange, the Australian founder of Wikileaks, passed the second anniversary of his legal troubles arising from a Swedish issued European Arrest Warrant.

However, notwithstanding the twists and turns in his legal battles, and ultimately his success in seeking diplomatic asylum from Ecuador, Assange’s situation is no closer to resolution. He remains at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and refuses to leave because he fears being eventually extradited to the United States to face various charges associated with the publication by Wikileaks of US diplomatic cables.

To date there is nothing on the public record to suggest the US has commenced legal proceedings against Assange and his extradition to the US has not been sought. The US Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, has publicly stated the US is not seeking Assange’s extradition.

Provided Assange remains in the Ecuadorian Embassy, he enjoys certain protections under international law. The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations provides under Article 22 that diplomatic premises such as an embassy are ‘inviolable’. As such, the embassy cannot be entered by the British authorities without consent.

However the UK has indicated that it does not recognise Ecuador’s granting of asylum and if Assange were to leave the Embassy he is liable to arrest and extradition to Sweden.
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WL Central – Former PM Condemns Australia for Abandoning Assange and Abdicating Sovereignty

2012-12-01 Former PM Condemns Australia for Abandoning Assange and Abdicating Sovereignty

Submitted by Jaraparillaon Sat, 12/01/2012 – 11:09

In a wide-ranging exclusive interview with WL Central, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has accused the current Gillard government of acting as though Julian Assange “doesn’t exist, that he’s not an Australian citizen.” Mr Fraser slams the existing relationship between Australia and the United States as “far, far too close” and claims Australia is “a strategic colony of the United States, under current circumstances.”

Condemning both major parties for doing “everything they can to help the United States and nothing that would offend the United States”, Mr Fraser claims that “in many ways our parliament has abdicated Australian sovereignty”.

“If we could ever again get a government that would stand up for Australian independence, that government would of necessity have to do a number of things that the United States would not like,” said Mr Fraser, citing a range of issues, from US bases to immigration policies, where the government was failing in its duties.

“And nobody is held accountable. Nobody pays the price. Nobody loses their job. Nobody is demoted. Nobody is fined. Now, you have to have accountability.”

The former right wing Liberal Party leader says today’s supposedly left wing ALP government is “far more right than I was”. Defending his own record in government, which included conscription for the Vietnam War, the establishment of “shared” military facilities such as Pine Gap, and rumours of CIA involvement in the dismissal of the Whitlam government, Mr Fraser insisted that even former ALP PM Paul Keating, who recently condemned Australia’s’ diminishing influence, “underestimates the danger of the current relationship with the United States.”

Full transcript below the fold. Audio link here.

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Gillard ‘unwise’ to say Assange broke law

From: AAP October 08, 2012 7:00PM

Prime Minister Julia Gillard made an unwise decision to presume WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s guilt, which has prompted him to pursue a possible defamation case, Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop says.

Julian Assange

Ms Bishop says Mr Assange, who has reportedly hired Sydney lawyers to pursue a defamation case against Ms Gillard, is entitled to seek legal remedies if he believes he’s been defamed.

Mr Assange has told left-leaning activist group GetUp! that Ms Gillard defamed WikiLeaks when she allegedly told a radio station in 2010 he had broken the law by releasing hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables, according to a statement released by the group on Monday.

Ms Bishop said she had always held concerns about the prime minister’s statement that Mr Assange had committed an illegal act under Australian law.

“I’m not aware of any law that Julian Assange has broken in Australia,” she told Sky News.

“The prime minister is a trained lawyer. She should know that to state that someone has committed an illegal act when there’s no evidence is highly prejudicial.”

The prime minister had plenty of time to withdraw, retract or apologise for the statement, Ms Bishop said, and a Senate motion had called on her to do so.

“It was a very unwise thing to do for Julia Gillard to presume Julian Assange’s guilt before he had faced any charges anywhere.”

Mr Assange remains in Ecuador’s embassy in London after seeking asylum as part of a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over rape allegations.

The Australian citizen is concerned if he goes to Sweden, authorities will allow him to be extradited to the United States.

Assange to target Gillard in possible defamation case

Oct 08, 2012 10:02am

Julian Assange has hired lawyers to investigate suing the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, for defamation over a claim that WikiLeaks acted ”illegally” in leaking about 250,000 US diplomatic cables.

In an interview from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, Mr Assange said Ms Gillard’s comment, made in late 2010, was used by Mastercard Australia, which joined an online financial blockade of the organisation.

The White House and the Gillard government have condemned the release since November 2010 of more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables.

”I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the WikiLeaks website. It’s a grossly irresponsible thing to do, and an illegal thing to do,” Ms Gillard said several days after WikiLeaks began releasing the cables. Continue reading

Most Australians back Assange, poll finds

Phillip Coorey

Sydney Morning Herald chief political correspondent

August 9, 2012 – 9:21AM

Holed up … public opinion is split on whether the Australian government is doing enough to help Julian Assange. Photo: AP 




A majority of Australians believe the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would not receive a fair trial should he ever be extradited to the United States.

The nationwide poll, conducted by UMR Research, also finds more than half do not believe he should be prosecuted for releasing thousands of leaked diplomatic cables.

Meanwhile, public opinion is split over whether the Gillard government is doing enough to help the Australian national.

After unsuccessfully challenging moves to extradite him to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sexual offences, Mr Assange remains holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.


He is seeking asylum in Ecuador but if unsuccessful could find himself sent to Sweden. Officially, the US government says it has no plans to then extradite him to the US – but a grand jury has been convened to probe the release by WikiLeaks of about 250,000 allegedly stolen diplomatic cables, raising suspicions to the contrary.

UMR Research, the company Labor uses for its internal research, sampled the views of 1000 people at the end of July, when Mr Assange was ensconced inside the embassy.

It finds 58 per cent believe he will not receive a fair trial in the US while 22 per cent believe he will be afforded proper justice. Another 20 per cent are unsure.

The poll also finds 52 per cent believe Mr Assange should not be prosecuted for releasing the leaked cables, while only 26 per cent believe he should be prosecuted. Another 21 per cent are unsure.

The poll finds opinion is evenly split over assistance given to Mr Assange so far by the Australian government. It finds 38 per cent believe the government should do more, 36 per cent believe it is doing enough and 25 per cent are unsure.

Mr Assange is not a particularly popular person in Australia either, with 40 per cent having a favourable view of him, 30 per cent having a negative view and 30 per cent unsure.

The managing director of UMR, John Utting, said if Mr Assange was extradited, his popularity would most likely increase “due to an underdog effect, more prominent in Australia than other countries”.

“The lack of confidence in the ability of the US judicial system to deliver a fair result has resonated with the Australian public and its sense of fair play,” he said.

In May, a UMR poll showed Mr Assange stood a good chance of securing a seat in the Australian Senate, a career path he has mooted.
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James Johnson – If we done 1% of what they did to Assange we would be called dictators and oppressors

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Slide 1: “We live in a world where whistleblowers are traitors and journalists are enemy combatants” – Christine Assange

 HELLO EVERYBODY. It is nice to be here. It is nice to see so many faces, so many faces shining full of hope for a better political future for Julian Assange and for each and every one of us. How is everybody feeling?

WE ARE HERE IN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA. It’s Julian’s home town. It’s your home town. It’s my home town. We have the home town advantage, and the home town responsibility, in showing the world, and showing the world media, just how important it is that Julian Assange be protected from multi-government aggressors, and supported in the important work that Julian is doing for the future of humanity. LET’S MAKE SOME NOISE SO JULIAN CAN HEAR US FROM THE ECUADOR EMBASSY IN LONDON … EVEN WITHOUT AMPLIFIERS, YOUTUBE AND INTERNET.

WHAT CAN I SAY ABOUT JULIAN ASSANGE THAT HASN’T BEEN SAID BEFORE? He is a journalist. So am I. He documents the truth. So do I. He is a whistleblower. So am I. And he is being persecuted. So am I. IT IS UNBELIEVABLE that Julian has been under house arrest, with a 10 pm nightly curfew, a 5pm visit to the local cop shop, and wearing an electronic ball and chain around his ankle FOR NEARLY 600 DAYS. And yet he has not been charged. He is a person of interest that the foreign prosecuting authority has been refusing all HIS requests to question him. He has never been charged. He has been persecuted, but never prosecuted.

THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT, THE SUPPOSED LIGHT ON THE HILL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS, THE FORMER SEAT OF EMPIRE FOR WHICH SO MANY AUSTRALIAN, NEW ZEALAND AND CANADIAN MEN AND WOMEN HAVE DIED TO SUPPORT BRITTANIA’S BATTLES, should never have entrusted Julian’s life and liberty to its judiciary. Julian is not a lawyer. But I am a lawyer. And I can tell you that the British Parliamentarians should have told their British civil servants to tell

the Swedish civil servants, their prosecutor judges or whatever their fascist system of justice is about, to go and get knotted. They should have said. “You have had 600 days to question this man, first in Sweden and then by coming to London. His door was open for questioning. You refused to walk in. You are not fair dinkum. You have shown you do not really want to question him. You have had dozens of opportunities. You have a hidden, illegitimate, lawless agenda. That is not how a civilised system of justice works.”

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Gillard Govt coup: timelines & cables reveal why Assange has to be ‘removed’.

via WACA 12/07/2012 by kazamcasrane


To see the original of the above timeline by @Jaraparilla with an introduction but minus links and cables, click here.
To see the ‘Wikileaks Australian files’, via the Sydney Morning Herald website.

Crucial to the US war against Wikileaks is the support of a compliant Australian Government. The United States Government decided that Julia Gillard was the right person to lead Australia (at least in terms of their interests) and so, like a game of chess, pieces had to be moved into place.

The following timeline is adapted from the Jararparilla website (see link at end of this posting) and includes additional links via Darker Net searches to cables and other files that show a synergy between moves by the US to outlaw Wikileaks and political manoeuvres in Canberra.

So, no wonder Julia Gillard and her ministers are not providing assistance to Assange in his fight against onward extradition to the USA. It is a political not a legal decision and has nothing to do with ignorance of the facts surrounding the case, or apathy, but because the very survival of the Gillard Government depends on Assange’s removal from circulation (if not worse) and the destruction of Wikileaks.

Timeline of events surrounding Gillard coup Continue reading

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wants assurance he will not be sent to the US

25 june 2012

SYDNEY: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange today called for diplomatic guarantees he will not be pursued by the United States for publishing secret documents if he goes to Sweden to face criminal allegations.

The Australian, 40, said he is prepared to go to Sweden to face questioning over sex assault claims, but fears Stockholm will turn him over to the US where he could face espionage and conspiracy charges over revelations by WikiLeaks.

“Ultimately it may be a matter of what guarantees the United Kingdom, the United States and Sweden are willing to provide,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald from the Ecuador embassy in London, where he is seeking asylum.

Assange believes Washington will pursue him after WikiLeaks published a cache of sensitive documents, including about the Afghan and Iraq wars, and thousands of diplomatic cables which have embarrassed governments worldwide.

“For example, if the US were to guarantee (it would) drop the grand jury investigation and any further investigation of WikiLeaks publishing activity, that would be an important guarantee … diplomatic commitments do have some weight,” he said.

Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuador embassy for nearly a week to avoid extradition to Sweden, again criticised Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard over Canberra’s handling of his case.

The former computer hacker said his situation was “a serious political matter… (that) the Australian government should treat with the seriousness it requires”.

“I have been attacked by the US, from the vice president down, as a high-tech terrorist, and by the Swedish prime minister and foreign minister — surely that requires some direct response from the Gillard government.”

Assange has said he chose Ecuador’s embassy instead of his home country’s because he felt Canberra had done nothing to protect him, a charge the government has denied.

Canberra has said it has limited capacity to help him because he is not in Australia and has not broken any Australian laws.

Australia has also dismissed the idea that Washington is keen to get Assange, with Foreign Minister Bob Carr saying Sunday there was “no hint” of a plan to extradite him to the United States.

Australian Prime Minister confronted with Betrayal ofJulian Assange

BRISBANE Australian Prime Minister confronted with Betrayal ofJulian Assange

Briz Vegas | 13.06.2012

Prime Minister confronted with Betrayal of Julian Assange to U.S. War Machine
As Prime Minister Julia Gillard arrived at the Stamford Plaza in Brisbane Tuesday night to deliver a speech at the opening dinner of the Economic Forum, she was confronted by Catholic Workers and other anti-war activists over her betrayal of Australian born citizen Julian Assange to the U.S. war machine.

Like Bradley Manning, Australian Prime Minister Gillard has Welsh roots, coming from a small village in the Vale of Glamorgan called Cwmgwrach or ‘Valley of the Witch’. Her family emigrated to Australia in the sixties. The synchronicity of events was compounded by Lady Gaga also being ensconced at the Stamford Plaza on Tuesday night. The U.S. military has accused Bradley Manning of downloading secret cables including footage of U.S. war crimes in Iraq while he was pretending to listen to a Lady Gaga CD. In 2010, the then 22 year old Manning was serving as a U.S. Army intelligence analyst in Baghdad Iraq at the time of the alleged offence.

The Assange solidarity vigil in Brisbane comprised of four Catholic Workers and two doctors who support WikiLeaks. The vigil took up position at 4.30 p.m. on the footpath outside the Government Corporate LoveFest branded as an “Economic Forum”. Those gathered inside included the Prime Minister, the Treasurer Wayne Swann, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens, Rio Tinto managing director David Peever, GM Holden chairman Mike Devereux, QR National chief executive Lance Hockridge, and ASX chief executive Ed Funke Kuepper.

As the solidarity vigil was established with a banner reading “JUSTICE FOR JULIAN ASSANGE: Help WikiLeaks keep Governments Open”, Catholic Worker Ciaron O’Reilly deployed with a portrait of Julian reading “TRUTH” to the other side of the driveway taking up position where P.M. Gillard would surely enter.

After a short time, two suited and booted members of the Public Order Squad approached Ciaron from behind calling him by name. Threatening him with arrest for failing to possess a permit related to [‘to comply with’ instead of related to here? Because of second ‘related to’ in same sentence] public indemnity laws related to an empty taxi rank, Ciaron walked away from the Plaza driveway toward the corner where the Prime Mnister’s cavalcade would surely have to enter the street. Another plain clothes police officer and two uniformed officers were deployed to keep Ciaron company for the evening. Ciaron was joined by Dr. John Jiggens carrying a “Justice for Julian Assange” sign and Dr. Peter Kuestler carrying a “made for measure for the occasion & assembled” placard reading “The only Economic Question Remians Have I Taken too Much, Have I Given too Little?”

Meanwhile, at this stage, the Lady Gaga fans assembled outside the Stamford were left unharassed by the police. The good Lady herself was inside her suite recovering from a bruised and black eye sustained in a stage accident during her performance in New Zealand the previous Sunday. The injury occurred when she was whacked in the head with a pole. An experience and injury shared by some of the WikiLeaks supporters at the hands of the Queensland police on other occasions over previous decades on the streets of Brisbane.

The Prime Minister’s all white wedding-like cavalcade of sedans and four wheel drives turned into the street at 6.30 pm. As the great and the good unloaded from the now gridlocked vehicles Ciaron, the doctors and their uniformed and plainclothes police tails moved into driveway. Ciaron berated his captive audience with the crime of Julia delivering Julian to the U.S. war machine, the continued deployment of cannon fodder from Brisbane’s Gallipoli Barracks to kill and die in a lost U.S. war in Afghanistan that her government can’t defend or rationalise. Ciaron shared the saying “truth is the first casualty of war”, appealed “Don’t be scared of the truth” and delivered the scriptual promise “the truth will set you free, Julia” Continue reading