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We Need To Fight Now More Than Ever To FREE JULIAN ASSANGE, by Danny Beever

On Thursday 20 Feb 2020, VFP UK organised a rally outside Downing Street to demand the release of Julian Assange. It was well attended – not just by VFP members but also by Assange and VFP UK supporters. The VFP UK demo Thursday was held in solidarity with another event organised by the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign on Saturday 22 February.  VFP UK members were again in attendance, meeting at Australia House to join the march to Parliament Square and speak out.

Members of VFP UK and supporters are invited to attend a rally being organised outside of Belmarsh this Monday, 24 February, at 9:00am to continue to show support and pressure the UK government to release Assange. If Assange is extradited to the USA, he faces a grim fate, continued torture, an unfair trial, and a possible 175 year jail term if found guilty of exposing the truth.

(Photos above by Neil Harvey)

Make no mistake, Julian Assange has been under attack for the past ten years and more as a direct result of his efforts to ensure the public has access to documents that our governments’ have been withholding from us, and that shed light on the true motivations and impacts of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – among many other wrongdoings. The “Collateral Murder” video gave incontrovertible proof that civilians have been targeted by the US Military. Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been an attempt to ensure that the people have the information that they need to hold their government’s accountable. The free press is an important cornerstone of any free democracy. Unfortunately, many news agencies in the UK and USA are now under the control of a very small number of very rich entities. Wikileaks and Julian Assange and a free internet help to restore the balance and put vital information back into the hands of the people.

We need to now, more than ever, stand up for truth.

We need to now, more than ever, stand up for freedom.

We need to now, more than ever, stand up for Julian Assange.

We see ourselves living in a free society. We see ourselves living in an era of free speech. We read articles by journalists who we believe are free to write whatever they (or their editors) see fit. We live in a world where we believe we are being told the truth. If Julian Assange is extradited to the USA, all of this will come to and end. It will be clear that we live in a dictatorship. It will be clear that we live in a world where journalists are unable to speak the truth. We will live in a world where journalists will need to be scared for their lives. If Julian Assange is extradited, our world of freedom is extinct.

If you want to stand up for Julian Assange there are a number of ways you can do so:

  • Join VFP UK outside Belmarsh Prison from 9am Monday 24 February 2020
  • Donate money to the Don’t Extradite Assange campaign (https://dontextraditeassange.com/)
  • Share this article and similar articles as far and wide as you possibly can.

Make no mistake, the threat to Julian is real:

Julian has faced psychological torture during his time in Belmarsh prison. It was so bad that other prisoners being held in Belmarsh rallied behind him and petitioned the prison governor to release him from solitary confinement. 117 doctors have also written to the UK and Australian governments requesting that Assange be transferred from Belmarsh prison to a university teaching hospital for medical assessment and treatment. Faced with evidence of untreated and ongoing torture, they also raised the question as to Assange’s fitness to participate in US extradition proceedings. On May 31, 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, reported on his May 9, 2019, visit to Assange in Belmarsh, accompanied by two medical experts: “Mr Assange showed all symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture, including extreme stress, chronic anxiety and intense psychological trauma. Follow this link to The Lancet to read more about this: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30383-4/fulltext

If Assange is extradited to the USA, he will face the following charges: Conspiracy to commit computer intrusion (i.e. hacking into a government computer), a relatively minor crime that carries a maximum 5-year sentence if found guilty. The charges stem from the allegation that Assange attempted and failed to crack a password hash so that Chelsea Manning could use a different username to download classified documents and avoid detection. On 23 May 2019, Assange was indicted on 17 new charges relating to the Espionage Act of 1917 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Espionage Act charges carry a maximum sentence of 170 years in prison.

The new charges relate to obtaining and publishing the secret documents. Most of these charges relate to obtaining the secret documents. The three charges related to publication concern documents which revealed the names of sources in dangerous places putting them “at a grave and imminent risk” of harm or detention. The New York Times commented that it and other news organisations obtained the same documents as Wikileaks also without government authorisation. It also said it is not clear how Wikileaks’s publications are legally different from other publications of classified information.

Peace and Social Justice in 2020

  • David Lawrence 24/02/2020, 10:35

    Whistle blowers are an important part of democracy, they hold the powerful to account. The secrets published by Assange were about American breaches of the law, nobody should be above the law especially the military. Imprisoning someone for exposing breaches of the law is what dictators do. Chelsea Manning was pardoned by Obama so why does America want Assange? America won’t extradite the diplomat who killed the young motor cyclist so what right has America to imprison a man who did not commit any crime on American soil?

  • David Marchesi 24/02/2020, 14:36

    Important to ex-servicemen that they learn about the history of atrocities on all sides, including one’s own and those of one’s allies. The general public needs to hear from whistleblowers at all levels (NHS, etc) and I would recommend the book (not the film) by John Hale (appropriately, 1984 !) We are in danger of accepting a “new normal” of inhumanity dictated to us by the militarists, most of them, of course, civilians, but with the general support of the generals.Kow-towing to the US or any foreign power is shameful.Alliances should all carry a health warning, especially NATO (obsolete and ruinously expensive, as Mr Trump once noted) Assange to be freed, without question.

    • Norman Scarth 24/02/2020, 15:54

      A placard in one of the pictures says it in few words, “Jail the War Criminals. Free Julian Assange”. Assange should be freed immediately, without restrictions of any kind, should be awarded very heavy compensation, & nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Or, a new award should be set up in his name.

  • Norman Scarth 24/02/2020, 16:00

    The War Criminals are, under the guise of ‘LAW’, waging WAR against not only the few honourable journalists, but against the common people, who are themselves entitled to fight back using any means necessary..

  • Marc Dickens 01/03/2020, 10:05

    Go back in time, think of the Magna Carta and Robin Hood fighting for what is right and against tyrannical rulers which lead to government by the people for the people, yet our now elected representatives are as bad if not worse that the kings.

    Adding further I as Aussie I am disgusted with my PM and elected government that is sitting back doing nothing for Julian yet they have done everything to defend convicted Australian drug smugglers in Asia, even to the point in the case of Michelle Corby of pushing the Indonesian government that she needed medical help and providing an Australian embassy vehicle to transport her to the hospital and back. Can not Tweet Aussie PM ScoMo, his Twitter is only one way propaganda, does not accept comments. I am one really pissed off Aussie.

    Under today’s analogy Robin Hood would be a terrorist as would the people who invoked the Magna Carta, William Tell and many more. People who seek revenge for our governments misdemeanours are labeled terrorists not revenge seekers while terrorists in other countries are supported by our governments and called rebels.

  • Marc Dickens 01/03/2020, 10:07

    Go back in time, think of the Magna Carta and Robin Hood fighting for what is right and against tyrannical rulers which lead to government by the people for the people, yet our now elected representatives are as bad if not worse that the kings.

    Adding further I as Aussie I am disgusted with my PM and elected government that is sitting back doing nothing for Julian yet they have done everything to defend convicted Australian drug smugglers in Asia, even to the point in the case of M.C. of pushing the Indonesian government that she needed medical help and providing an Australian embassy vehicle to transport her to the hospital and back. Can not Tweet Aussie PM ScoMo, his Twitter is only one way propaganda, does not accept comments. I am one really pissed off Aussie.

    Under today’s analogy Robin Hood would be a terrorist as would the people who invoked the Magna Carta, William Tell and many more. People who seek revenge for our governments misdemeanours are labeled terrorists not revenge seekers while terrorists in other countries are supported by our governments and called rebels.

  • Warren C. Duzak 03/03/2020, 16:20

    Well done, boys.
    I served in the US Army in what was then West Germany from 1966-68.
    As a former member of Chapter 89 of Veterans for Peace (US) in Nashville, Tennessee, I was first amazed and then angered by the complete lack of interest and solidarity by the US VFP in the VFP UK.
    I dropped out several years ago when I fully realized the chapter – which I helped form in 2002 – was headed toward being a luncheon club, focused on bandage wrapping and Peace in the abstract. I have tried and tried to get them to do something here other than to argue that their Julian Assange statement made more than a year ago was sufficient.
    I am a member of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) here in the US and it is quite disgusting to see what passes as “Left” and “Progressive” here when it comes to Assange and Chelsea Manning who still remains in jail for refusing to testify against Assange.
    Do me and Assange a favor and shame the damn US VFP into doing something! I can’t.
    I am sending Danny Beever’s fine letter to my former chapter and to the VFP (US)National offices and officers.
    Lets see what they do.

    Fraternally,
    Former PFC, Co. B 709 MP Battalion, Kassel and Giessen, Germany

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