On Monday 22 May Stella Assange held a press conference at the Press Club in Canberra. She had come to Australia to confront Untied State President Joe Biden and call on the Australian government to act to help free her husband, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from prison and stop his extradition to the United States.
She said: “My visit here was originally prompted by the official visit by President Biden and the Quad summit. After it was cancelled, I decided to come anyway. I did not want to lose an opportunity to speak to you. Because we are now in the endgame. Julian needs his freedom urgently and Australia plays a critical role in securing his release.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Australian Parliamentary Friends of Julian Assange, who have created a political environment in which support for Julian goes beyond party-political affiliation….I wish to thank the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, as well as the leader of the opposition Peter Dutton, for putting that position on the record, that Julian should be released so that he can come home.
“…But above all I would like to thank the overwhelming dedication of the Australian people, who have brought about a sea change in awareness and solidarity for Julian’s plight. This unity in support for my husband is a source of enormous encouragement for our family. It nurtures Julian’s ability to continue on.
“The reality is that to regain his freedom, Julian needs the support of his home country. This is a political case, and it needs a political solution.”
The groundswell of Australian support for Assange’s freedom has been overwhelming. The most recent Ipsos poll published in the Sydney morning Herald and the Age in Melbourne, showed this represents 77 percent of Australians, and this poll is consistent with what other polls are saying, ad there is absolutely no doubt that this is exerting enormous pressure on Canberra.
On 3 May 2022 a petition supporting Jullian Assange and with more than 700,00 signatures was tabled in the federal parliament
Cynics would suggest that so far, the Prime Minster has failed to move from platitudes and fallen short of decisive action. He has refused repeated requests to meet Assange’s wife, and made this public in the Parliament, when he said he was not interested in doing so. Anthony Albanese has failed to raise the matter In two very recent meetings with Biden, one in the United sates and the other is the G7 meeting just concluded in Japan. It speaks volumes.
He is aware that Julian Assange has been imprisoned in violation of law and justice, treated abysmally, and faces trumped up charges for revealing the truth about war crimes and corruption. The major block of intended charges behind Washington’s extradition attempt to accuse Julian of being a traitor to the United States and carry a sentence of 175 years in prison, despite his nor being a citizen of that country.
“A 175 year sentence is a living death sentence. A prospect so desperate that the English court found that it would drive him to take his own life, rather than live forever in hell. We must do everything we can to ensure that Julian never, ever, sets foot in a US prison. Extradition in this case is a matter of life and death,” Stella explained.
Photo by Gaye Gerard: John Shipton, Julian Assange’s father, speaks at a rally in Syndney on 24 May
Turning to the case, she said: “For the press and the public, Julian’s case is the most brutal attack on press freedom that the western world has seen in the last 70 years. A foreign government is using political offenses in its statute books to indict a foreign national abroad, because of what he or she published in a different country.
“…If sovereignty is to mean anything, if jurisdiction is a proper and legal reality, the case against Julian cannot be understood as other than an absurdity.”
Ominously, Stella’s presence in Australia and her address to the Press Club have received little attention in the mainstream media, and the conspiracy of silence continues.
This and the failure of the government to act in such an obvious case, goes to show the extent to which the Australian political system has become a creature of the will of decisions made in another country.
Pressure from ordinary Australians must continue to build until it exerts enough pressure to force the Australian government to do the right thing and demand the release of Julian Assange.