In my talk for the ‘Imperialism on Trial: Free Julian Assange’ speaker meeting of 8th September 2020 – the second day of Assange’s extradition trial – I compare the relationship between the government and journalists revealed by the phone hacking scandal of 2005-14, and by the case of Julian Assange of 2010-20. I argue that the wrong journalists have escaped prosecution, and the wrong one is being subjected to it, and that the causes of Hacked Off and of freedom for Julian Assange support each other by demanding a distanced relationship between press and government, and access to justice for victims of press abuses.
One year after Julian Assange was removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy and transferred to Belmarsh Prison, and twelve days after the refusal of his application for health-related bail during the COVID-19 outbreak, seven journalists, politicians and academics argued from their virus-related lockdown for the urgency of his release – for the sake of his life and of democracy.
Yesterday, on the verge of Lent and the second day of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing, I again went to a church for political reasons: to hear speeches in Assange’s defence and in denunciation of the inhumanity of his treatment and of derogations from the rule of law in his case.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God’
I here publish the International Jurists’ letter to British authorities in support of Julian Assange, which was send to its recipients and made public on 22nd February 2020.
With Assange’s extradition hearings set to begin on February 24th, 2020, eminent jurists (actual and former judges, lawyers and legal academics) from around the world have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They detail numerous violations of the law in the case of Assange, and urge the UK authorities to deny the US extradition request and to immediately release him.
On 3rd February 2020 a second speaker meeting in support of Julian Assange entitled ‘Free the Truth’ took place at St. Pancras New Church, London. The speakers included Craig Murray (former UK ambassador, now human rights activist), John Shipton (father of Julian Assange), Eva Joly (former French prosecutor, Green EU parliamentarian and member of the development committee), Lisa Longstaff (Women’s rights campaigner and spokesperson for Women Against Rape), and Nils Melzer (UN Special Rapporteur on Torture).
I would observe that it has repeatedly turned out to be churches that are the venues most open to hosting events in support of Julian Assange.
On 28th November 2019 St Pancras New Church, London, was filled by around five hundred people to hear several distinguished academics and journalists speak in defence of Julian Assange: Deepa Driver (organiser), Lowkey (rapper), Lissa Johnson (clinical psychologist), Fidel Narvaez (former Ecuadorian diplomat), Lisa Longstaff (spokesperson for Women Against Rape), Mark Curtis (historian and journalist), Nils Melzer (UN Special Rapporteur on Torture), Craig Murray (former UK diplomat, blogger and historian), and John Pilger (investigative journalist). This is my write-up of the evening.
The transcript of my speech against the character assassination of Julian Assange given at ‘Imperialism on Trial: Free Julian Assange’ on Tuesday 11th June 2019 at the Crypt on the Green, Clerkenwell, London. I also summarise some of the other speeches given that evening and at the linked event on the following evening in St James’s Church, Clerkenwell. Speakers included Vivienne Westwood (fashion designer), Chris Hedges (Pulitzer Prizewinner), Clare Daly (Irish TD and MEP), and Ogmundur Jonasson (former Icelandic Interior Minister).
My transcript of the event ‘Imperialism on Trial: Free Julian Assange’, which was held on the evening of Wednesday 1st May 2019 in Bloomsbury Baptist Church, London, and included speakers including editor-in-chief of Wikileaks Kristin Hrafnsson, former-MI5 officer Annie Machon, and former UK ambassador to Syria Peter Ford.
This my best attempt at a transcription of the hour-long hearing of Julian Assange before Judge Deborah Taylor this morning, 1st May 2019, at Southwark Crown Court, London, on the charge of skipping bail.