OVER 200 supporters of jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange held a lively rally and a march on Saturday to the gates outside Belmarsh high security prison in south east London where he is being held.
Julian’s father, John Shipton was made a presentation of the Gavin MacFadyen Award for Extraordinary Courage and self sacrifice in the service of truth award on behalf of his son.
On receiving the award, his father said: ‘Julian’s contribution is unparalleled and has benefited many people the world over, particularly exposing war crimes, those suffering the dumping of poisonous waste destroying coastal villages in east Africa or the cables which allow us to see the sordid manipulations that diplomats go through to enrich the United States.’
Shipton alleged: ‘Julian’s treatment by the Crown Prosecution Service is a sordid treachery from top to bottom. They conspired with the Swedish prosecution service to delay Julian and keep him the Ecuadorian Embassy.
‘In 2013 the Swedish prosecuting authority said: “We’ve had enough of this and we want out.”
‘The Crown Prosecuting Service said: “You’re not getting cold feet are you? There’s more to this than simple extradition.” You may think I’m making this up but these letters have been extracted from the file of the Crown Prosecuting Service. Julian’s file is between 9,000 and 14,000 pages.’
Speaking about the judges Shipton added: ‘Judge Arbuthnot gave an hysterical, callous summing up saying if Julian missed out on sunshine he could stand on the balcony.
‘The next nasty piece to come along was a judge by the name of Phillips who said – three days after Julian had been dragged out of the embassy – that Julian is a narcissist. Phillips has seen Julian for about five minutes. His degree is in law but fancies himself as a psychologist.
‘Then there was Judge Baritsa who decided she would rule on a bail appeal and said that Julian had absconded and wouldn’t be given bail.
‘Finally, Julian was given asylum under the conventions of asylum which the United Kingdom is a signatory to, the same as Sweden and my country, Australia, and when that happens it means it is not possible for Julian to break bail because he is an asylee and he has been given asylum and the rights of asylum allow Julian to travel all the United Kingdom land to take up his asylum.
‘Every one of these conventions has been scrapped, disobeyed and with assorted treachery from the Crown Prosecution Service.
‘On a positive note I believe with your help we will win. I have no doubt we will win because you cannot in my view crush such an outstanding person and event as the WikiLeaks.
‘Just a few activists have brought to us revelations unparalleled of despicable destruction of seven countries, the murder of millions, the displacement of millions the destruction of Libya, where if you are a woman you cannot even go to the shop. That’s their contribution. Julian’s contribution is about a very high moral standing, Thank you.’
In presenting the award to Julian Assange, Eileen Chubb from Compassion in Care and the Whistler said: ‘When a great journalist or publisher can be forcibly taken by the state and held unlawfully in the full view of the press and the only thing that makes the news is the state’s propaganda, then we have never needed great journalism even more.
‘This year’s award pays tribute to a truly great journalist and publisher, Julian Assange but first I must pay tribute to all those who have supported him, turned out in all weathers and most of all refused to let the lies win. As long as there are people willing to stand up for the truth, there is hope for this planet.
‘As a whistleblower I know only too well that injustice, abuse and all the wrongs in this world can only prevail if silence prevails, if there is no one to bear witness and no one to publish the truth.
‘We live in a world where whistleblowers and journalists are hounded, vilified and punished, where telling the truth is treated as a crime.
‘Whistleblowers give this award to Julian Assange’s courage, paying tribute to courage. There are only four words that matter in this tribute FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW!’
Responding to John Shipton’s criticism of judges Chubb said: ‘I’ve been involved in over 7,000 court appearances and seen more judges in those courts who should be in prison, we need to do everything in our power to change things.’
Long-time ally and campaigner who has maintained a vigil outside Belmarsh for Assange, Kieran O’Reilly told the rally: ‘Julian Assange would be a millionaire if he lived in Silicon Valley but he chose to represent the poor and oppressed. I have been in prison many times and I know word spreads like wildfire so he will know we are here.’
Labour MP Chris Williamson said: ‘The only crime of Julian Assange is to expose war crimes. The UK is acting like a tin-pot dictatorship. I’m sure if we get an interim government with Jeremy Corbyn as leader he won’t forget Julian Assange.’
Vivian Kubrick, daughter of filmmaker Stanley Kubrick said: ‘Julian Assange is a statesman of mankind. We are facing an almost science fiction level of oppression on this planet.
‘My father filmed “Full Metal Jacket” not far from here’. She was also reminded that he also filmed ‘A Clockwork Orange’ in adjacent Thamesmead.
Moritz Muller brought greetings from the ‘Free Assange Committee Germany’. He said: ‘WikiLeaks is about constructing a better, peaceful world without wars.
‘For this vision of peace, Mr Assange is being held captive in Belmarsh and tortured in the most cruel, inhumane and outrageous ways. Each day he has to spend in this British Guantanamo is a crime against humanity.’
Nellie Arequipa, with a lively contingent from Ecuador, told News Line: ‘Julian Assange was sold out, WikiLeaks reveal, by the President of Ecuador Lenin Moreno, because WikiLeaks reveals the corruption of the President in the INA papers concealed in Panama. It is Moreno who should be in prison.’
Another protester, Anna Price, from Harlow said: ‘It’s against international law to extradite Julian Assange to a country with a death penalty and he should be released.
‘I was sickened to hear today that there were surveillance cameras in the Ecuadorian embassy that were recording everything and sending it to the US.’
From Italy, Sylv said: ‘This is the beginning of the prosecution and persecution of journalists and after this it will be our turn.’
Calvin Benson said: ‘I was a whistleblower over the PPP contract with the Metronet Contract on the tube. When that contract collapsed it cost £1.7bn.’
Benson alleged: ‘I revealed the contract was behind schedule, the work was substandard and there was corruption and cronyism.
‘On the back of that I was arrested over false allegations and spent 18 days in jail.
‘Only after an independent tribunal found the evidence was fabricated were the police charges dropped.’
Jeff Connibear from Croydon said: ‘Julian Assange should be free, not in a top security prison confined in a cell for 22 hours a day.’
After the rally the crowd marched to the outside of Belmarsh prison with more chants of ‘Free Julian Assange’ and ‘Only one decision, no extradition!’
A rousing rendition of Waltzing Matilda’ was delivered by Alex Taylor on the violin.
Alex told News Line: ‘WikiLeaks is the opposite of narcissistic. It is completely selfless and we need to give it every support.
‘Media companies tell lies about it because it is so anti-establishment.’
Another journalist Sara Chessa said: ‘Now the WikiLeaks publisher is in prison I see this as an attempt to stop journalists from accessing the real facts.’