Mexico honours Julian Assange’s family while our leaders do nothing

By Joe Montero

Julian Assange’s family has gone to Mexico on the invitation of the country’s President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador. While there they attended a rally in support of Julian.

Video from TeleSUR English

His father John Shipton and brother Gabriel Shipton were given the key to the capital, which was presented by major Claudia Sheinbaum, who said:

“It is an honour to give you the keys to the city. It is an act symbolic of what Mexico City represents: freedom of expression.

“And that is what Julian Assange represents: truth, freedom of expression and that should never be persecuted anywhere in the world.”

Gabriel and John Shipton receive the key to Mexico City from Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum

They had been invited to take part as special guests of honour in Mexico’s 15-16 September Independence Day celebrations, marking the break away from Spanish colonial rule.

Obrador has been scathing of Washington’s foreign policy and an ongoing vocal supporter for Assange’s freedom and opponent of attempts to extradite him to the United States. He had urged former President Donald Trump to pardon Assange has personally raised the issue with President Joe Biden.

This contrasts with what the Australian Prime Minister and government of Julian Assange’s own country, who have been doing nothing. There is a deafening silence. Anthony Albanese even refused to meet the family, marking a continuation of bipartisanship between the main parties and succeeding governments, which have chosen to collaborate in the persecution of the founder of WikiLeaks.

It marks the excessive and unhealthy dominance of a foreign power over Australia’s politics, and the failure to stand up as a truly independent nation. Political expediency has given way to the rights of an Australian journalist.

All is not negative. Many parliamentarians from across parliamentary parties are against Assange’s persecution, and some of them are part of a parliamentary group supporting the cause. The represent the bigger picture, where most Australians feel the same way.

Assange, if extradited, will face a kangaroo court. He will be charged with 10 counts of treason, carrying up to 175 years imprisonment. They are extraordinary because he is not a citizen of the United States. They also relate to the disclosure of truths unchallenged, which provide uncontested evidence of lying by political leaders and criminal behaviour.

He will also be charged with espionage. The maximum penalty for this is execution. Washington alleges Assange helped Chelsea Manning access codes to get into the Pentagon’s computer system. This omits the fact that as an intelligence analyst, manning already had access. This demonstrably false charge came about because of legal difficulties in using the treason charges as the grounds for extradition.

Photo by Axel Schmidt/Reuters: Chelsea Manning

Manning provided WikiLeaks with a trove of reports on United States military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, and an incriminating video clip known ad Collateral Damage, which went viral around the world.

Released information also showed the nature of Washington’s dealings with other countries. They reveal a pattern of a kind of master-servant relationship.

For example, the release of cables from the United Sates Embassy in Canberra, showed how a succession of would be party leaders and prime ministers reported to the embassy to get endorsements, before their parties and Australia knew they were going to stand.

The awkward exposure cemented Julian Assange as a thorn in their side. It goes part of the way to explaining why they have turned their backs on him.

Later WikiLeaks exposures, especially the Panama Papers put a spotlight on the extent of tax evasion and money laundering by the rich and powerful.

Anyone with their wits about them is that this is a political trial, intended to be paraded before a kangaroo and end up with a verdict already decided. The stark choice is either support this or stand against it.

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