Monday, May 28, 2012

Press Release: Brisbane Rallies For Julian Assange

On Wednesday May 30th at approximately 6:15 pm Brisbane time, the UK Supreme Court in London will deliver a long-awaited verdict in the extradition case of Australian WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-chief Julian Assange.

Protests in support of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange have been organised around the world (regardless of the verdict) including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Newcastle, Townsville and Canberra. This press release provides details of the Brisbane protests, background on the case, and useful media contacts.

PROTEST DETAILS:

Protestors in Brisbane will gather on Thursday May 31st outside the office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on the corner of Creek St & 295 Ann St. Rallies are planned from midday till 2 pm and from 4pm till 6 pm.

An overnight vigil is being held at the same location in Brisbnae from 4pm Wednesday 30th May. This is being lead by Ciaron O'Reilly, a Brisbane-born international anti-war activist who has accompanied Julian Assange at court appearances in the UK. Further details of this vigil are provided below and in a separate press release.

THE CASE:

The UK Supreme Court verdict rests upon a specific decision on whether a public prosecutor has a right to issue a European Arrest Warrant. For more details on the case specifics, please see http://www.justice4assange.com.

If the appeal against extradition is unsuccessful, Mr Assange will be transported to Sweden within 10 days, where he will be held in solitary confinement and tried in secret. A final remaining avenue appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is unlikely to stop the extradition process. Once in Sweden, Julian Assange will likely be extradited onwards to the USA - Hillary Clinton is flying to Sweden this week and the Swedish government has never turned down a US extradition request (except where they could not locate the person involved).

Even if Mr Assange wins his case against the European Arrest Warrant extradition, however, it is likely that the US government will immediately lodge an extradition request with the UK government, and a new round of legal battles will commence. A US Grand Jury has been secretly gathering information on Assange and WikiLeaks for over 500 days, and Senior US politicians have called for Mr Assange to be assassinated or face the death penalty.

If Julian Assange is allowed to return home from the UK to Australia, extradition to the USA remains a very real threat. Australian Prime Minister Julian Gillard has refused to apologize for prejudicing any legal action by publicly declaring WikiLeaks "illegal", even though an AFP investigation found no crimes had been committed.  On ABC TV's Q and A show recently, Attorney General Nicola Rixon also showed little understanding of the case and no interest in protecting Assange, falsely declaring he "fled from Sweden" (when in fact he was told by the Swedish government that he was allowed to leave before the case was re-opened by a new prosecutor).

The Australian government has recently changed laws to make extradition to the USA easier, and leaked documents show FOI requests are being refused even though the Australian Government has closely monitoring the US Department of Justice investigation into WikiLeaks for at least 18 months. More on the latest news:

Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/cables-reveal-australia-us-focus-on-assange-20120527-1zd8a.html

Statement from Greens Senator Scott Ludlum: http://greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/new-leaks-show-our-freedom-information-system-broken-greens

As the information above indicates, this UK Supreme Court verdict will not be the end of Julian Assange's legal problems or the widespread persecution of WikiLeaks. Therefore these worldwide protests will go ahead regardless of the outcome of the decision.  

MEDIA CONTACTS:


Please contact any of the following people for interviews, or for more information about the Brisbane protests. (NB contact details provided to press but not posted online - please contact me @Jaraparilla of garylord AT gmail.com)

Cioran O'Reilly


A Catholic Worker and Brisbane-born international anti-war activist, Cioran has accompanied Julian Assange at his London court appearances and will be leading the vigil for him in Brisbane for him on Wednesday night from 4pm. See the seperate Press Release for more details on Ciaron and his vigil, including a photo for media release.

Andrew Bartlett

Formerly an Australian Democrats member of the Australian Senate, Andrew recently campaigned for Brisbane Mayor with the Greens and has been a longtime supporter of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

Gary Lord (myself)

I do not officially represent WikiLeaks but I am one of many concerned and active supporters around the world. I have had several stories published at the unofficial WikiLeaks website https:>wlcentral.org and my tweets and stories have regularly been re-tweeted by @wikileaks.
Email: garylord AT gmail.com
Twitter: @Jaraparilla

Adele Goldie

After many protests at places including Pine Gap, Adele has organised previous Brisbane rallies in support of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and is active again this week.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION LINKS

Over 90 FACTS about the case from Julian Assange's mum Christine Assange: http://wlcentral.org/node/2486

Common Misconceptions about the Assange case: http://wlcentral.org/node/2554

Justice For Assange website: http://www.justice4assange.com

Thursday, May 24, 2012

BRISBANE - ALL NIGHT ASSANGE SOLIDARITY VIGIL

UPDATE 2: Timeline of events at the vigil in Brisbane this afternoon:

4 pm set up vigil and shrine to the war dead
5 pm a circle with speakers and music, maybe even some poetry?
6.15 pm Supreme Court ruling read - we will be in text contact with London from 4.30 pm and following live tweets and Sky News feed from the courtroom...updates will be announced on solidarity scene outside court and progress inside.

Cioran has already received messages of support from Christine Assange and the WikiLeaks crew in the UK, plus messages of solidarity with the  vigil from Ireland and elsewhere.

Please feel free to leave your own ideas and messages in the comments below.

UPDATE 1: Numbers still growing for tonight's Brisbane #Rally4JA vigil from 4pm. Many thanks to Ciaron, Adele, Damien, Peter, Jimmy, Angela, Mark, Maggie,  Carole, Razza, Kay, Cully, Martin, Phil, Janet and possibles Sean, AJ, Jim, Simon. Anyone else interested in joining contact Ciaron ciaronx AT yahoo dotcom or come along from 4pm outside DFAT corner Ann and Creek streets. There will be speakers and musicians from 5pm with the UK Supreme Court decision expected after 6pm.

Join an all-night vigil of solidarity with Julian Assange, leading to a day of global protests.

When: From 4pm Wed May 30th to 6pm Thurs May 31st.
Where: Outside Dept of Foreign Affairs, 295 Ann Street, (corner of Creek St), Brisbane, Australia.

Join veteran protestor and former anti-war prisoner of the United States Ciaron O'Reilly in an all night vigil to express solidarity with WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, who is facing extradition from Britain and a U.S. Grand Jury indictment.

SOLIDARITY WITH JULIAN ASSANGE - FROM LONDON TO BRISBANE!

This Brisbane vigil joins another vigil in London outside the UK Supreme Court.

If you cannot make it to Brisbane or London, consider initiating your own solidarity vigil or action, wherever you may be!

SOLIDARITY STATEMENT BY FORMER ANTI-WAR PRISONER OF THE UNITED STATES, CIARON O'REILLY

Brisbane born & raised Ciaron O'Reilly served time in a variety of U.S. prisons for his participation in the ANZUS Plowshares disarmament of a B-52 Bomber at Griffis Air Force Base New York USA 1991.  In 2006, he was acquitted in Dublin, Ireland, as part of the the Pit Stop Ploughshares charged with  $U.S. 2 1/2 million damage to a U.S. war plane at Shannon Airport en route to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He has attended all of Julian Assange's court appearances in London.

"As you may be aware I have been based in London for the last 2 years and have returned to Brisbane, Australia in the last couple of days. For most of my time in London, my anti-war resistance focus has been accompanying the imprisoned Bradley Manning and the detained Julian Assange who are both facing the possibility of life imprisonment for exposing the nature of the wars millions of us marched against. Up to this point I have attended all Julian's court appearances from Horseferry Magistrates to Belmarsh Prison to the High Court to the Supreme Court. 

Throughout my years of imprisonment for non-violent anti-war activity, I have learnt the significance of simple acts of human solidarity to sustaining the spirit of the ant-war resister in chains or the docks.

In London this Wednesday May 30th., Veterans for Peace UK, Catholic Workers & other anti-war friends will be setting the solidarity scene as Julian walks into the British Supreme Court.  Should the Supreme Court rule to extradite Julian, many others will mobilise internationally the following day, Thursday May 31st.

I have decided to link these efforts in my home town Brisbane, Australia by conducting an all night solidarity/ anti-war vigil from 4pm Wednesday May 30th (Brisbane time) through to the mobilisation on Thursday May 31st. These Thursday mobilisations in Brisbane and Australia are being called by Julian's mother Christine Assange.

To VIGIL is is to stay awake!  Many have fallen asleep in these long years of war on the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Bradley and Julian have risked their entire life's liberty on the reasonable assumption that if only people knew the truth of the nature of these wars their governments continue to wage on the poor we would awake to their high crimes, the consequent massive human suffering and our responsibilities to the victims as fellow human beings.

The military who are used by empire to wage the wars and the media who are used to market the wars have turned their torture and lies on dissidents Bradley Manning and Julian Assange.

I believe, all of us who marched and acted against these wars in our millions in 2003, implicitly incited Bradley, Julian and others to non-violently expose and resist these wars.  By doing so, we now have an implicit obligation to accompany Bradley, Julian, other brothers and sisters who now find themselves in chains as consequence of non-violently exposing and resisting these wars. Julian, Bradley & others are in chains and electronic tagged for us, we're on the loose for them!"

Ciaron O'Reilly,
Former anti-war prisoner of the United States government.

Follow Ciaron O'Reilly on Twitter: @CiaronOReilly
Email Ciaron with the hours you can join him on the vigil: ciaronx AT yahoo dot com