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Aussies go to High Commission to Demand Defence of Julian Assange's civil rights (4 Feb)

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Sunday February 06, 2011 15:31author by LCW Report this post to the editors

4 Feb 2011
Aussies go to High Commission to Demand Defence of Julian Assange's civil rights

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text of news story coming soon...

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author by Reportpublication date Sun Feb 06, 2011 17:17Report this post to the editors

Solidarity activists form Adelaide, Aotearoa/NZ, Brisbane, Chicago, London, and Melbourne returned to the Austraian High Commission on the Strand on Fridy night (F4) to demand that they lift their game and advocate for the civil rights of Australian dissident and founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange. The Australian government continues to sevice the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and co-operate in the persecution of anti-war dissidents. Assange faces an extradition hearing in London this Monday and Tuesday (Feb 7 & 8). He was initially denied bail after self surrendering in Kentishtown poice station in December. Opposition to bail came from the British government, in sevise to the Americans, rather than the Swedes who seek his extradition. Assange is presently eectronically tagged and iving under a curfew.

Interaction with armed embassy security police and two others were fine.

Those gathered set up a shrine to........

- Iraqi war dead, (Lancett Report states 1 million have been killed, mosty women and children)

- Bradley Manning http://www.bradleymanning.org/ presently being tortured in Quatico Marine Base in Virginia, accused of providing WikiLeaks with the colateral murder video http://www.collateralmurder.com/ of a U.S. helicopter gunship massacre of unarmed Reuters journalists, Iraqi civilian adults and children.

- Shaker Aamer, www.cageprisoners.com a long term London resident who has spent close to seven years in Guantanamo. Shaker's wife and four children, the youngest born after Shaker was sold for a $5,000 bounty by Afghan warlords in 2001 to the U.S. military

- Julian Assange facing an extradition in London on Monday Feb. 7th and Tuesday Feb. 8th at Woolwich Courts (conveniently attached to Categoray A Bemars Prison) and threats from the U.S. to his life and lifelong liberty in relation to the work of WikiLeaks.

French and English camera crews covered the event.

Speakers refected on.............

- Catholic Worker Scott Albrecht, a former member of the U.S. Air Force, spoke about Bradley Manning and on his own recruitment into the U.S. military, the tactics of cultivation and seducement employed on young working class people by miltary recruiters.

- Fr. Martin Newel reflected on London Catholic Worker attempts to support Bradley Manning and his family in Wales. Bradley's mother who has suffered a series of strokes recntly was visited by the F.B.I. in her Welsh village. Amnesty International have finay taken up the case 7 months into prison conditions that can only be described as torture. It is the U.S. government's hope to break Manning to deliver Assange.

- Dr. Ray who works with the poor in Africa spoke of the theft of the world'sresources form peope in need carried out daily by the world's military.

- Ciaron O'Reilly, a former anti-war prisoner of the United States, spoke of coming from the police state of Queenland, Australia where Juian Assange was raised and where civil liberties were denied on a daily basis. He described the Queensland state government's attack on free speech as Julian was growing up in the lat '70's/early'80's and the 4,000 arrests of peope who in the face of fear continued to leafet, gather illegaly, march, speak out, picket and vigil. He observed how this repression would have been a backdrop for Julian's passion for free speech. He also reflected on the endurance of Bradley Manning (5'2, 105 lbs.) and the failure of the anti-war organisations, anarchist scene, chruch communities and human rights NGO's and movements to support these three men - Saker, Bradley, Julian who may spend the rest of their years in jail for opposition to these wars on the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

John from Aotearoa provided unaccompanied song throughout the gathering. A number of foks gathered declared they would make their way to Woolwich Court/ Belmarsh Prison on Monday and Tuesday to stand against the extradition of Julian Asange, demand the freedom of Shaker Aamer and Bradley Manning and an end to the war on the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan.

author by Backgroundpublication date Sun Feb 06, 2011 18:01Report this post to the editors

*YOUTUBE (5 mins 45 secs) previous demonstration at Australian embassy in December when Julian *Assange was imprisoned in HMP Wandsworth
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SnhnCvuwRc

**CHANNEL 7/ AUSTRALIA VIDEO: 'Assange slams Australian Prime Minister Gillard's 'unacceptable treatment'
Mike Duffy, 7News with Yahoo!7 February 1, 2011,
http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/world/8756913/7news-exclus...ment/

Feb 6 & 7 - International Solidarity Vigils at UK, US Australian embassies/ cosnulates and sites of significance
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/98793

More information phone 079 392 90576
(outside uk) + 44 79 392 90576

LETTER TO THE AUSTRALAN HIGH COMMISSIONER TO BE HAND DELIVERED ON FRIDAY DEC. 4th.
*Please forward this to any Australian based in the U.K. - for consideration to add their signature. Return to

13 December 2010

High Commissioner to the United Kingdom

Australia House

Strand,

London WC2B 4LA

Dear Mr Dauth,

We Australians, here in London and from further afield, ask you to convey to our urgent and emphatic request to the Gillard Government to do its utmost to defend Julian Assange’s human rights and the free and lawful operation of Wikileaks.

Australians around the world watch with grave concern as an Australian citizen is vilified by his own Prime Minister and Attorney-General, experienced lawyers whose words display a shocking disregard for the human right to presumption of innocence, and risk prejudicing any legal proceedings Mr Assange may face.

We welcome the Government’s subsequent assurance that Mr Assange’s passport will not be cancelled and that your embassy will afford him “all appropriate consular assistance.”

We learn from an Australian Government website[1] that the High Commission has a duty to ensure Mr Assange “is treated no less favourably than local citizens detained for similar offences.” UK citizens, of course, enjoy the protection of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantee their right to freedom of expression, presumption of innocence and fair trial. That is, UK citizens enjoy a significantly higher degree of legal protection than do Australians, and the Australian High Commission must ensure Mr Assange’s treatment by UK authorities accords with those more stringent standards.

May we remind all consular staff and the Australian Government that Mr Assange “has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”[2] and to do so “without interference by public authority.”[3]

Further, Mr Assange has a human and legal right to be “presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law” and to be given a fair trial.[4]

As you must know well, it is unlawful under s104 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 for anyone intentionally or recklessly to cause death or serious harm[5] to an Australian citizen outside Australia. And yet the Australian Government has voiced no objection to the death threats levelled against Mr Assange by high-profile US citizens and others.[6]

In light of the above, we, the undersigned:

1. Ask that Ms Gillard publicly and unequivocally withdraw her statement alleging illegal conduct on Mr Assange’s part, explain to the public why it was wrong for her to say that, and to apologise to Mr Assange.

2. Call on the Gillard Government robustly to defend Mr Assange both at home and abroad and to respect and defend his right to receive information and impart information freely, without interference by any public authority.

3. Ask the Attorney-General to initiate investigations into threats of violence against Mr Assange by persons in the United States and Canada, including Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, in violation of Australian law.

4. Urge the Gillard Government to oppose strenuously any application to have Mr Assange extradited to the United States, because it is unlikely he would receive a fair trial there.

We thank you for your attention to these matters of fundamental importance to a free and democratic society.

Sincerely, your compatriots,

John Pilger (from Sydney) www.johnpilger.com
Peter Tatchell (from Melbourne) London-based human rights activist www.petertatchell.net
Michael Dutton (from Brisbane) Professor of Politics, Goldsmiths University of London
Deborah Kessler (from Brisbane) concerned citizen
Ciaron O’Reilly (from Brisbane) London Catholic Worker/Ploughshares
www.londoncatholicworker.org
Eden Boucher (from Adelaide) musician ‘Lovers Electric’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovers_Electric
David Turley (Adelaide) musician ‘Lovers Electric’
Sharon Turley (from Adelaide) classical musician
David Warburton (from Adelaide) Coffee Brewster
Saul Newman, teaches political theory at Goldsmiths, University of London.
John Hutnyk (from Melbourne) Prof. of Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths University of London
Peter Thomas (from Rockhampton, Queensland)
teaches History of Political Thought at Brunel University, London
Maria Albrecht (from Melbourne) Catholic Worker Farmhouse
www.thecatholicworkerfarm.org

Olivia Ball (Melbourne) http://rightsbase.org

Eric Snowball (from Sydney) social worker
Rik Lydon (from Sydney) sound engineer

Mary Kelly (Brisbane) trade unionist

Dr Linnell Secomb (from Melbourne) Head of Department of Social, Political and Cultural
Studies, University of Greenwich

Errin Collins, (from Lithgow, Australia) Occupational Therapist
Nick Gill (from Perth, Australia) Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bristol

[1] ‘Consular services: Arrested, detained and jailed overseas’ (http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/faq.html)

[2] Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (emphasis added). The same is stated more fully in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Australia is a party, and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which also applies to Mr Assange.

[3] ECHR, Art. 10(1)

[4] ECHR, Art. 6 and elsewhere

[5] Including “harm to a person’s mental health (whether temporary or permanent) [including] psychological harm to the person;” and conduct that “endangers, or is likely to endanger, a person’s life” (s146)

[6] See http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/41914.html

author by Brisbane Report - Catholic Worker (Australia)publication date Thu Feb 10, 2011 05:46author address Brisbane, Queensland, AustraliaReport this post to the editors

British Consul vigil Brisbane 7th February 2011

Yesterday afternoon a handful of people held a vigil at he British
consulate in Brisbane to mark the attempted extradition of Wikileaks founder
Julian Assange. We held signs reading, "Free Julian Assange, Free Bradley
Manning" and "In An Age of Universal Deceit Telling The Truth is a
Revolutionary Act"

It was a bit of a disappointing turnout, but the vigil was not advertised
other than by our email network. However the police must have been taking
lessons form Wikileaks, because they knew all about it, and well outnumbered
us!

There were plain clothes police, ordinary police, special task force
police, not to mention security guards, and the manager of the Waterfront
Place which houses the British Consulate!

All this for six people with our small signs and leaflets!

After half an hour Sean O'Reilly and I attempted to deliver a letter to consulate.
This plan was also known by the powers that be! We were greeted outside the
front doors by the building manager who said police would come to escort us
into the foyer. This they did. And to save us the trouble of climbing 26
flights of stairs (or using the lift even) they sat us down in some leather
armchairs and said the Consul representative would be down shortly.

Sure enough, Megan was not long in arriving. We all
shook hands and Megan accepted our letter. She informed us she had already
told the Embassy in Canberra we were coming (we had not even told her!). She
would pass on our letter to them. They would read it and then pass it onto
" Downing St ". A little polite chit chat and we were back out on the
streets, amazed at the turning of a letter delivery into a major diplomatic
event!

We continued to vigil and leaflet for another hour, and headed back to
"normal" life.

Lets hope Julian Assange can do the same after two days in a London court.
Jim Dowling
(Catholic Worker - Peter Maurin Farm, Dayboro, Queensland, Australia)

LETTER DELIVERED

1 Eagle St
Brisbane Consul General
British Consulate

7th February 2011

To Whom It May Concern.

We the undersigned write with urgent concern for the wellbeing of a fellow Queenslander presently before the courts in London.

We refer to Julian Assange who is facing an extradition hearing at this time.

We do not seek to interfere with legitimate court procedure, but we strongly believe the Swedish accusations are politically motivated and have nothing to do with the pursuit of justice.

We further believe that if Julian Assange is extradited to Sweden he will then be extradited to the US where he will face life in prison for exercising his right of free speech and freedom of the press. What awaits him if he is sent to the US can be seen by the present inhuman treatment of Bradley Manning who has been in solitary for 8 months for the “crime” of passing on information about war crimes to the Wikileaks organisation which Julian Assange represents.

We urge that all attempts to extradite Julian Assange be rejected, and the British government offer him the protection he deserves.

Yours sincerely,

 
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