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Solidarity for Julian Assange and Bradley Manning in Australia

category national | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Wednesday June 13, 2012 13:32author by Free Assange! Free Manning! Free Yourself! Stop the Wars! Report this post to the editors

BRISBANE - Australian Prime Minister confronted with Betrayal ofJulian Assange

jAs 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. Bradley Manning. whose grandfather came from Dublin, was shipped through Shannon Airport to Iraq.

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 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"


2nd. Photo from Brisbane Vigil Brisbane WikiLeaks Blog Spot

Action in Brisbane

Earlier today, activists in Brisbane held a vigil outside the opening dinner for the Economic Forum where Julia Gillard was due to speak, to confront her over her betrayal of Julian Assange to the U.S. War Machine.

Vigil organiser Ciaron O’Reilly said:

'Julian Assange is a target of the U.S. military and elite for exposing the war crimes of the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq. These are illegal U.S. invasions that the Gillard government has continued to service with Australian cannon fodder, hi tech targeting from Pine Gap, refuelling of U.S. warships and harassment of Australian nonviolent anti-war activists at home and abroad.

'Gillard has co-operated with the U.S. strategy to isolate and pursue Australian citizen Julian Assange of WikiLeaks. The Labor Party line struts a cultivated “we no nothing” ignorance, “we have got no advice from the U.S. government seeking the extradition of Mr. Assange” from Australia (WE DON’T WANT IT YET!, JULIAN IS NOT HERE YET!”)… “and things are at an early stage” (A SECRET GRAND JURY INDICTMENT IN THE UNITED STATES IS NOW OVER 12 MONTHS OLD).

'“We have provided him with full consular assistance. He’s got exactly the same assistance that any other Australian faced with legal difficulties would get.”'

The quality of that assistance when it comes to be an Australian citizen/anti-war activist in trouble with the U.S. military/government is fully exposed in this ABC radio interview.

[ABC Radio (4mins 50secs) "The Present Persecution of Julian Assange" interview with Australian anti-war activist Ciaron O'Reilly, Australian nonviolent anti-war activist and former U.S. political prisoner.]

author by Ciaron O'Reillypublication date Wed Jun 13, 2012 13:38author address Brisbane, AustraliaReport this post to the editors

"Bradley Manning Remains in Chains for Us, We Remain on the Loose for Him!"


On June 6, 7 & 8, the U.S. government once again brought Bradley Manning in front of the military tribunal star chamber at Ft. Meade, Maryland USA. A two year process since Bradley's arrest in Baghdad that remains an affront to all standards of natural justice and human decency. Bradley's humanity and the solidarity of family, friends and strangers is the hope for the human family living through the death throes of the deadliest & most extensive empire known in human history.

Bradley Manning is 5' 2", 105 lb and now 24 years of age.

Over the past two years since his arrest in Baghdad, Army Intelligence officer Bradley Manning has run the gauntlet of torture, isolation, media vilification, a campaign by military prison officer to insult & humiliate, FBI harassment of friends in the U.S.& his mother in Wales. . The objective to break Bradley Manning to a point where he would concoct a fabricated story to deliver Julian Assange of WikiLeaks has failed. Bradley has refused to be broken.

Bradley has been accused of blowing the whistle on U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has been charged with 23 offences and faces the death penalty or life in jail for allegedly sharing a video of a U.S. helicopter attack that killed 11 civilians and wounded two children in Baghdad, Iraq, with the WikiLeaks website. http://tinyurl.com/y8bo6w5 Bradley has also been charged with blowing the whistle on the "Iraq War Logs", the "Afghan Diaries", the "Guantanamo Files" and embarrassing U.S. State Dept. cables.

As a former political prisoner of the United States government, I know the only antidote to a system that is designed to isolate, crush and break you is one's own spirituality and whatever solidarity brothers and sisters can conjure on limited resources on the outside.

With few honourable exceptions, the housebroken silence of the media, church, academe, peace movement beauracrats legal and.artist communities in relation to the persecution of Bradley manning and Assange is a self condemnation.

The lack of outrage and activism on the part of journalists in the wake of two Reuters journalists being massacred while unarmed and doing their job in Baghdad is outrageous. With a few honourable exceptions, one begins to think that the response by journalists to the death of another journalist be it in Balibo and Baghdad is "Good, less competition!"


On June 6 th. as Bradley appered once again before a Military Tribunal at Ft. Meade, we gathered outside the Supreme Court in Brisbane next to the statue of Themis the Greek Goddess of Justice.

We were 12 in number. We comprised of seven Catholic Workers, an Orthodox priest. a Josephite nun, an Australian Army veteran, an Irish Republican and a 12 year old Cathedral choir boy.

We transformed Themis into a shrine for the victims of the U.S. led (Australian and British supported) wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. We employed a pair of combat boots, a traditional Afghan hat along with images of the torturer Obama and the persecuted Julian Assange and Bradley Manning. http://tinyurl.com/6qc6gft

We conducted a respectful vigil from 4pm-6pm distributing leaflets during these peak hours of pedestrian traffic. We were encountered by many lawyers and judges departing from the Supreme Court. Two armed police officers passing gave us a cursory glance and passed by comfortable with our presence.

This scene went swimmingly for about 90 mins, when suddenly a young Supreme Court security guard came screaming around the corner of the building towards Themis yelling,

SECURITY GUARD: "Take it down in 5 seconds or I'll seize it!"

I quickly moved between the security guard and the shrine.

ME: "No we won't, no you won't!"
(The dude was half my age, where's da respect?)
'Who are you? I want see some I.D.?"

Security Guard points to his very unconvincing badge.

ME: "I want to see some real I.D. Where did you get that badge? Out of a corn flakes packet?"

SECURITY GUARD "Take it down. You are denigrating the statue."

ME: "Bullshit! We are enhancing the statue!
We like Themis. She's Greek, we're from West End for Christs sake!"
.....Look mate I'm just off the plane from London. This is how they do it over there. Establish your authority with convincing proof, inform me of the law and give me a lawful directction. Otherwise it just sounds like a whim and that you support the war, the killing of children in Afghanistan etc etc

SECURITY GUARD: "I'm going to get help!"

ME " You need it. You better!"

After an interlude, a senior Supreme Court security guard appeared. He didn't seem to know the law either or explain how we were possibly infringing it. He was calm, reasonable and respectful.

He said he didn't even like the statue. We talk about the bad old Bjelke Petersen daze of the '70's. He asks me to do him a favour and move the shrine to avoid hassles from his superiors. We agree and move the shrine away from the statue to the steps of the Supreme Court, closer to the street and pedestrians. Nine folks are sending in solidarity texts to the vigil from around Australia and London. Solidarity texting to a vigil is a great idea. Just because you can't make a vigil, court case or whatever, doesn't mean you can't participate. It raises the morale of those on the street for Bradley & against the war surrounded by mass apathy and disengagement.

The young and old security guards really reminded me of the opening scene of that L.A. gang picture "Colours" Where the old cop (Robert Duvall) is telling a story to the young cop (Sean Penn) to restrain him from rushing in immediately to bust one small Bloods gang.

OLD COP...: "There are 2 bulls on a hill. A young bull and an old bull.
The young bull says to the old bull,
"Let's run down the hill and screw us a cow!"
The old bull responds,
"No, lets walk down the hill and screw them all!"

Our movement is full of the urgency of youth and the hard earned experiece that has not ceeded to cynicism and exhaustion. As they say in Maryland, "That's a beautiful thang!"

REPORTS from Chester, Exeter and London Solidarity Vigils

REPORT from Solidarity Vigil Ft. Meade Maryland USA

REPORT Main issues from the pre-trial motions hearing at Ft. Meade


WikiLeaks Central

Themis gets rendered days after coming out in support of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, and denouncing Obama as a torturer.

author by last Fripublication date Sun Jun 17, 2012 15:15Report this post to the editors

AUSTRALIA Former Guantanamo prisoner David Hicks statement AND report & photos from Brisbane Julian Assange Solidarity Vigil concludes Friday as another former prisoner of the U.S. government burns U.S. dollar!


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