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International Day Of Action To Free Julian Assange & Chelsea Manning
Date Monday February 24
Time 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Event Type Protest
Organizer/AuthorBay Action Committee To Free Julian Assange
Location Details
UK Consulate
1 Sansome St.
San Francisco
Join the Bay Action Committee to Free Julian Assange on an international day of action on Monday, February 24, 2020, at the San Francisco UK consulate. The action will also include support for Chelsea Manning who has been jailed by a Grand Jury to force false testimony against Julian Assange.
The real war criminals who run the UK government and the US. government go unpunished while the whistleblowers who exposed war crimes are threatened with torture and life in jail.
The criminal prosecution of journalist Glenn Greenwald by the Brazilian Bolsonaro regime is only another example of governments seeking to shutdown a eliminate journalists.

Ray McGovern: German TV Exposes The Lies That. Entrapped Julian Assange

By Ray McGovern,
February 10, 2020

Julian Assange’s extradition trial begins on February 24. A global day of action in support of him is being organized. Find a list of actions here:

A major German TV network has aired an interview with the UN rapporteur on torture that reveals the invention of the Swedish “rape” case against Julian Assange.

Truth has broken through for those confused about how a publisher ended up in a maximum security prison in London with a one-way extradition ticket to court in the U.S. and the rest of his life behind bars.

One of the main German TV channels (ZDF) ran two prime-time segments on Wednesday night exposing authorities in Sweden for having “made up” the story about Julian Assange being a rapist.

Until last night most Germans, as well as other consumers of “major media” in Europe, had no idea of the trickery that enmeshed Assange in a spider-web almost certainly designed by the U.S. and woven by accomplices in vassal states like Sweden, Britain and, eventually, Ecuador.

ZDF punctured that web by interviewing UN Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer. One ZDF “Heute Sendung” segment (in German) is especially telling from minute 13:00 to 15:30 . The second is ZDF “Heute Journal” (minute 25:49 to 30:19.)

Both ZDF programs show Melzer being interviewed, with minimal interruption or commentary, letting his findings speak for themselves about how allegations against Assange were “made up” and manipulated to hold him captive.

The particularly scurrilous allegation that led many, including initially Melzer, to believe Assange was a rapist — a tried and tested smear technique of covert action — was especially effective. The Swedes never formally charged him with rape — or with any crime, for that matter. ZDF exhibited some of the documents Melzer uncovered that show the sexual allegations were just as “invented” as the evidence for WMD before the attack on Iraq.

Melzer had previously admitted to having been so misled by media portrayals of Assange that he was initially reluctant to investigate Assange’s case. Here is what Melzer wrote last year in an op-ed marking the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, June 26.

No major media would print or post it. posted it under the title “Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange.”


“But surely, I found myself pleading, Assange must be a selfish narcissist, skateboarding through the Ecuadorian Embassy and smearing feces on the walls? Well, all I heard from Embassy staff is that the inevitable inconveniences of his accommodation at their offices were handled with mutual respect and consideration.

This changed only after the election of President Moreno, when they were suddenly instructed to find smears against Assange and, when they didn’t, they were soon replaced. The President even took it upon himself to bless the world with his gossip, and to personally strip Assange of his asylum and citizenship without any due process of law.

In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed.” (Emphasis added.)

Melzer ended his op-ed with this somber warning:

“… This is not only about protecting Assange, but about preventing a precedent likely to seal the fate of Western democracy. For once telling the truth has become a crime, while the powerful enjoy impunity, it will be too late to correct the course. We will have surrendered our voice to censorship and our fate to unrestrained tyranny.” (Emphasis added.)

Melzer’s indefatigable efforts to expose what Assange has gone through, including “psychological torture,” met with some modest success in the days before the German ZDF aired their stories. Embedded in the linked article is by far the best interview of Melzer on Assange.

Opposition to extraditing Assange to the U.S. is becoming more widespread. Another straw in an Assange-favorable wind came last week when the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called for Assange’s immediate release, ending years of silence by such European institutions.

It remains, nonetheless, an uphill struggle to prompt the British to think back 800 years to the courage of the nobles who wrested the Magna Carta from King John.

Julian Assange appears in court as lawyers complain prison has blocked Wikileaks founder from seeing key evidence
'We have pushed Belmarsh in every way - it is a breach of a defendant's rights,' lawyer says
Vincent Wood

WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates Court on 13 January
WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange leaves Westminster Magistrates Court on 13 January ( REUTERS )
Julian Assange’s lawyers have complained prison officers stopped them spending adequate time with their client as the Wikileaks founder appeared in court ahead of his extradition hearing.

Mr Assange saluted supporters in a packed public gallery at Westminster Magistrates Court for a 12-minute hearing – speaking only to confirm his name and to briefly state he did not understand an element of the proceedings.

The hearing was adjourned for the remainder of the day after lawyer Gareth Peirce said she had been unable to spend sufficient time with her client and go through his evidence during a visit to HMP Belmarsh.

The 48-year-old is being held at the high-security prison as he awaits the outcome of an extradition request from the US, where he faces 18 charges brought forward by the Donald Trump's justice department including conspiracy to hack a Pentagon computer.

Ms Peirce said "We have pushed Belmarsh in every way - it is a breach of a defendant's rights."

Wearing a black jacket, grey jumper and glasses, Mr Assange slowly raised his right fist as he was led to the court’s holding cells to further discuss his case and sign off on evidence.

Among those supporting him at court was rapper MIA, who attended proceedings a day before she is due to receive an MBE for services to music.

“I think it was important to follow this case. I am off to get a medal at Buckingham Palace tomorrow and I think today is just as important," she told reporters outside court. "To give somebody an hour to put their case together is not right."

Mr Assange was arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in April, having claimed asylum in the building for seven years to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex offence allegations - which he has always denied.

Sweden has since dropped its investigation into Mr Assange because of the lenght of the time which has passed the claims were first made, but he still faces a string of charges in the US.

Many of the charges relate to Mr Assange’s founding and work on Wikileaks - which published sensitive and classified documents, including more than a million files leaked by US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

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Human rights organisations have raised concerns over the duration of Mr Assange’s incarceration, including his time spent at HMP Belmarsh and in the Ecuadorean Embassy.

In May, Nils Melzer, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on torture, condemned the “deliberate, concerted and sustained nature of the abuse inflicted on Mr Assange”.

He added: “In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution, I have never seen a group of democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law. The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now."

Julian Assange faces 175 years in prison if he is extradited from the UK to the US in a few weeks' time.

13 January 2020
IFJ Voice January 2020 - Editorial

Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP
A member of our Australian affiliate, the Media Entertainments and Arts Alliance, and a holder of the IFJ International Press Card, Assange has become a symbol for the profession worldwide.

The case against him is historic because, for the first time, the US government is invoking espionage charges against a publisher for publishing truthful information, including on the US military blunder of 12 July 2007 in Baghdad during the war in Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of 12 civilians, including two children and two Reuters journalists, Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldin.

Through the case of Julian Assange, the IFJ defends freedom of expression, press freedom and the right to know. Assange should be released immediately.

Anthony Bellanger

IFJ General Secretary

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

Follow the IFJ on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Subscribe to IFJ News

Dear friends and colleagues,

Julian Assange, publisher of Wikileaks, has been charged under the US espionage act for publishing the Afghanistan and Iraq war diaries and US embassy cables, important documents that many of us around the world used and helped to publicise.

This sets an extremely dangerous precedent for journalists, media organizations and freedom of the press. We do not want to be silent at this time.

We invite all journalists and people in journalism-related roles to be part of this global statement in defence of Julian Assange. Please read the statement, which explains why we need to speak up. You can read it and sign here.

The statement includes a quote from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer who investigated the case: “it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News.”

Please join us.

Julian Assange, founder and publisher of WikiLeaks, is currently detained in Belmarsh high-security prison in the United Kingdom and faces extradition to the United States and criminal prosecutionunder the Espionage Act. He risks up to 175 years imprisonment for his part in making public the leak of US military documents from Afghanistan and Iraq, and a trove of US State Department cables. The ‘War Diaries’ provided evidence that the US Government misled the public about activities in Afghanistan and Iraq and committed war crimes. WikiLeaks partnered with a wide range of media organizations worldwide that republished the War Diaries and embassy cables. The legal action underway against Mr Assange sets an extremely dangerous precedent for journalists, media organizations and the freedom of the press.

We, journalists and journalistic organizations around the globe, express our grave concern for Mr Assange’s wellbeing, for his continued detention and for the draconian espionage charges.

This case stands at the heart of the principle of free speech. If the US government can prosecute Mr Assange for publishing classified documents, it may clear the way for governments to prosecute journalists anywhere, an alarming precedent for freedom of the press worldwide. Also, the use of espionage charges against people publishing materials provided by whistleblowers is a first and should alarm every journalist and publisher.

In a democracy, journalists can reveal war crimes and cases of torture and abuse without having to go to jail. It is the very role of the press in a democracy. If governments can use espionage laws against journalists and publishers, they are deprived of their most important and traditional defense – of acting in the public interest – which does not apply under the Espionage Act.

Prior to being moved to Belmarsh prison, Mr Assange spent more than a year under house arrest and then seven years inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he had been granted political asylum. Throughout this time he was subjected to serious violations of his human rights, including having his legally privileged conversations spied on by organizations taking direct instruction from US agencies. Journalists visiting were subjected to pervasive surveillance. He had restricted access to legal defense and medical care and was deprived of exposure to sunlight and exercise. In April 2019, the Moreno government allowed UK law enforcement officers to enter the Ecuador embassy and seize Mr Assange. Since then he has been held in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day and, according to visitors, is “heavily medicated”. His physical and mental health have seriously deteriorated.

As early as 2015 the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) determined that Mr Assange was arbitrarily detained and deprived of his liberty, and called for him to be released and paid compensation. In May 2019, the WGAD reiterated its concerns and request for his personal liberty to be restored.

We hold the governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Ecuador and Sweden accountable for the human rights violations to which Mr Assange has been subjected.

Julian Assange has made an outstanding contribution to public interest journalism, transparency and government accountability around the world. He is being singled out and prosecuted for publishing information that should never have been withheld from the public. His work has been recognized by the Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism in 2011, the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, the Index on Censorship prize, the Economist’s New Media Award, the Amnesty International New Media Award, the 2019 Gavin MacFadyen Award and many others. WikiLeaks has also been nominated for the UN Mandela Prize in 2015 and for the Nobel Peace Prize seven times (2010-2015, 2019).

Mr Assange’s reporting of abuses and crimes is of historic importance, as have been the contributions by whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Reality Winner, who are now in exile or incarcerated. They have all faced relentless smear campaigns waged by their opponents, campaigns that have often led to erroneous media reports and a lack of scrutiny and media coverage of their predicaments. The systematic abuse of Mr Assange’s rights for the past nine years has been understood and protested by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists and leading human rights organisations. But in public discussion there has been an insidious normalising of how he has been treated.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer investigated the case and in June 2019 wrote:

“it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News”.

“By displaying an attitude of complacency at best, and of complicity at worst, Sweden, Ecuador, UK and US governments have created an atmosphere of impunity encouraging Mr Assange’s uninhibited vilification and abuse. In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonize and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law.”

In November 2019, Melzer recommended that Mr Assange’s extradition to US be barred and that he be promptly released. “He continues to be detained under oppressive conditions of isolation and surveillance, not justified by his detention status (…) Mr Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life”, said Melzer.

In 1898, French writer Émile Zola wrote the open letter J’accuse…! (I accuse) to warn about the wrongful sentencing to life in prison of a military officer named Alfred Dreyfus on espionage charges. Zola’s stance entered history books and still today stands for our duty to fight miscarriages of justice and to hold the powerful to account. This duty is as necessary as ever today, when Julian Assange is being victimized by governments and faces 17 charges[1] under the US Espionage Act, legislation that also dates back over hundred years.

As journalists and journalists’ organizations that believe in human rights, freedom of information and of the public’s right to know, we demand the immediate release of Julian Assange.

We urge our governments, all national and international agencies and fellow journalists to call for an end to the legal campaign being waged against him for the crime of revealing war crimes.

We urge our fellow journalists to inform the public accurately about this abuse of fundamental rights.

We urge all journalists to speak up in defense of Julian Assange at this critical time.

Dangerous times call for fearless journalism.

[1] There is a further charge under different legislation, making a total of 18 charges.

Reporters Face New Threats From the Governments They Cover

The cases against Julian Assange and Glenn Greenwald may be models for a crackdown.

By James Risen

Mr. Risen, a former reporter for The Times, is the senior national security correspondent for The Intercept.

Jan. 26, 2020

Glenn Greenwald is an American journalist working in Brazil.

Glenn Greenwald is an American journalist working in Brazil.Credit...Adriano Machado/Reuters

When Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, was charged last year by the Trump administration in connection with the publication of secret United States government documents nearly a decade earlier, many journalists expressed deep concern about the dangerous precedent the case could set for investigative reporting in America.

But few seemed to consider that the case might also serve as a model for other nations eager to clamp down on press freedom.

On Tuesday, Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist living and working in Brazil, was charged, in a criminal complaint brought by Brazilian prosecutors, with cybercrimes in connection with his stories on private messages among Brazilian officials that revealed corruption and abuses at the highest levels of the government. Brazilian prosecutors asserted that Mr. Greenwald was part of a criminal organization that hacked the cellphones of government officials. He has denied the charges. (Full disclosure: Mr. Greenwald is a co-founder of The Intercept, where I work as a reporter; I also run the First Look Press Freedom Defense Fund, part of the nonprofit organization that includes The Intercept.)

The case against Mr. Greenwald is eerily similar to the Trump administration’s case against Mr. Assange. Last April, the Justice Department charged Mr. Assange with aiding a source, the former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, to gain access to a United States military computer database. In May 2019, the charges against him were broadened, and he was indicted under the Espionage Act in connection with the publication of American military and diplomatic documents by WikiLeaks.

Both cases are based in part on a new prosecutorial concept — that journalism can be proved to be a crime through a focus on interactions between reporters and their sources. Prosecutors are now scrutinizing the processes by which sources obtain classified or private information and then provide it to journalists. Since those interactions today are largely electronic, prosecutors are seeking to criminalize journalism by turning to anti-hacking laws to implicate reporters in the purported criminal activity of their sources in gaining access to data on computers or cellphones without authorization.

This blunt approach gives the government enormous leverage over journalists and, in the United States, provides them with a detour around First Amendment concerns. If these cases become templates that prosecutors in the United States and other nations follow, virtually every investigative reporter will become vulnerable to criminal charges and imprisonment.

Both the Trump administration and the right-wing Brazilian government of President Jair Bolsonaro seem to have decided to experiment with such draconian anti-press tactics by trying them out first on aggressive and disagreeable figures.

In fact, by the time of his indictment last year, there was still an ongoing debate within the media about whether Mr. Assange should even be considered a journalist at all.

In 2010, when WikiLeaks began publishing the huge leaks of United States government documents it had obtained from Ms. Manning, Mr. Assange suddenly emerged as a strange new player in the modern journalistic landscape. Under his leadership, WikiLeaks both published the documents itself and also shared many of the leaked documents with other major news organizations, including The New York Times.

Mr. Assange was both a publisher and an intermediary between sources and reporters, which made it difficult to define his journalistic role. His later involvement in the Trump-Russia case — in 2016, WikiLeaks obtained and released emails and other documents from the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee from a hacker believed to be a front for Russian intelligence — transformed Mr. Assange into an even more incendiary character with little public support. (The federal charges against Mr. Assange are not related to his involvement in the 2016 campaign.)

Mr. Greenwald revels in his divisiveness and his disdain for the mainstream media, and he and I have publicly clashed over our differing views of the Trump-Russia case. But he is also a zealous journalist who came to prominence in 2013 for his Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of a giant trove of documents from the National Security Agency that were leaked by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward Snowden.

Last year, Mr. Greenwald obtained another big leak, the private messages of Brazilian government officials concerning a major corruption case in Brazil that had led to the conviction of the former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Mr. Greenwald’s reporting revealed that the investigation that led to Mr. da Silva’s conviction was deeply politicized and corrupt. The stories were explosive in Brazil, and ultimately helped lead to Mr. da Silva’s release from prison in November.

But Mr. Greenwald’s reporting enraged President Bolsonaro, who had been leveling threats against the journalist for months before the complaint issued on Tuesday.

ImageGlenn Greenwald at a news conference in July before a rally on his behalf protesting the Brazilian government’s threats to jail him for his journalism.

Glenn Greenwald at a news conference in July before a rally on his behalf protesting the Brazilian government’s threats to jail him for his journalism.Credit...Ricardo Borges/Associated Press

In an interview with me on Thursday, Mr. Greenwald agreed that there are parallels between his case and Mr. Assange’s, and added that he doesn’t believe that Mr. Bolsonaro would have taken action against an American journalist if he had thought President Trump would oppose it.


Continue reading the main story

“Bolsonaro worships Trump, and the Bolsonaro government is taking the signal from Trump that this kind of behavior is acceptable,” he said.

The State Department has not issued any statement of concern about Brazil’s case against Mr. Greenwald, which in past administrations would have been common practice.

“This is all about targeting reporters who are publishing information that is embarrassing, and not like the 90 percent of the leaks coming out of Washington that are official leaks designed to support the people in power,” said Joshua Dratel, a criminal defense attorney in New York who has represented prominent whistle blowers and who also represented WikiLeaks in a civil suit brought against it by the Democratic National Committee.

In fact, Mr. Trump’s anti-press rhetoric and actions have encouraged authoritarian regimes around the world to prosecute and jail journalists, and to impose new anti-press laws and other measures designed to curtail negative coverage.

Joel Simon, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in an interview that one of the latest tactics spreading around the globe is the creation of vaguely worded “fake news” laws that criminalize news that government officials deem to be wrong. “Fake news” is, of course, a phrase that Mr. Trump has helped popularize.

“Qatar just promulgated a fake news law this week,” Mr. Simon said, noting that Singapore also has one. “These fake news laws are absolutely correlated with the Trump administration.”

The most tragic evidence that Mr. Trump is enabling a global crackdown on the press has been his failure to hold Saudi Arabia’s leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, accountable for the brutal 2018 murder of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “The Trump administration is an accessory after the fact to the Khashoggi murder,” Mr. Simon said.

While the Bush and Obama administrations were “inconsistent” on press issues, “they were still willing to discuss concerns about press freedom with another country in the framework of the bilateral relationship,” he added. “That’s gone now with Trump.”

It will be tragic if journalists shrug off the attack on the contrarian Mr. Greenwald and don’t see his case for what it truly signifies — that Trump-like attacks on the press are spreading like a virus around the globe.

At SF Anti-War Rally Free Julian Assange & Chelsea Manning NOW!
At a rally on 1/25/20 in San Francisco against US wars in Iran, Iraq and around the world supporters of Julian Assange & Chelsea Manning rallied to demand their freedom. WikiLeaks exposed US war crimes that have yet to be prosecuted but Assange and Chelsea are in prison for exposing these crimes.
Additional media:
Speak Out For Julian Assange & Chelsea Manning At UK Consulate: Free All Whistleblowers/Journalists
The award ceremony and rally held for Assange outside Belmarsh prison
Twitter Stop Blocking Julian Assange & Chelsea Manning Solidarity Sites! SF Protest
The Indictment Of Julian Assange, Journalists, Wikileaks & The Defense Of Assange
Rally To Free Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange
The Attack On Julian Assange, Journalists, Democratic Rights, Labor & Imperialist War: A Forum
SF Trade Unionists & SFLC Delegates Speak Out On The Case Of Julian Assange
The rally was sponsored by Bay Action To Free Assange
Production of Labor Video Project

Added to the calendar on Tuesday Feb 11th, 2020 10:45 PM
§Imprisoned and Tortured For Telling The Truth
by Bay Action Committee To Free Julian Assange Tuesday Feb 11th, 2020 10:45 PM
Journalist and publisher Julian Assange has been tortured and imprisoned for years to destroy him and threaten all journalists and whistleblowers.

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