From Strategic Culture
Julian Assange's father John Shipton
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Julian Assange's father, John Shipton, gave an interview to Strategic Culture Foundation over the weekend. After arriving from his home country of Australia, Shipton is visiting several European states, including Russia, to bring public attention to the persecution of Julian Assange by British authorities over his role as a publisher and author.
First though an introduction to the Assange case. Few media figures can be attributed with transforming international politics and the global media landscape. Arguably, Julian Assange, author, publisher and founder of the Wikileaks whistleblower website (2006), is in the top tier of world-changing individuals over the past decade.
The Australian-born Assange has previously been awarded with accolades and respect for his truth-telling journalism which exposed massive crimes, corruption and nefarious intrigues by the US government and its Western allies.
One of the most shocking expose's by Wikileaks was the video 'Collateral Murder' (2010) which showed mass, indiscriminate deadly shootings by US troops in Iraq. Similar war crimes by American troops in Afghanistan were also revealed by Wikileaks. The so-called US and NATO "war on terror" was exposed as a fraud and gargantuan crime.
Assange worked with American whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, the latter revealing the illegal systematic global surveillance by US spy agencies against ordinary citizens and political leaders around the world in flagrant violation of human rights and Washington's much-vaunted claims of upholding civil liberties and international law.
The powers-that-be have gone after these truth-tellers with a vengeance for daring to expose their hypocrisy and vile record. Snowden is in exile in Russia unable to return to the US out of fear of imprisonment for "treason". Manning is currently being detained indefinitely in the US because she refuses to testify against Assange. Julian Assange's ground-breaking journalism exposing government crimes did so in a way that so many established Western news media outlets failed to do out of cowardly deference to the powers-that-be. Such so-called "independent" media are now facilitating the persecution of Assange by smearing his reputation and ignoring his plight in prison. He has been smeared, among other slanders, as a "Kremlin agent" and a "cyber terrorist."
After almost seven years (2012-2019) confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he sought political asylum to avoid arbitrary arrest by British authorities over trumped-up sex assault claims (since dropped), Assange was illegally arrested in April this year by UK police storming the Ecuadorian embassy. He has since been detained in maximum security Belmarsh prison where he is held under conditions of solitary confinement. He is being detained indefinitely while the US prepares a request to British authorities to extradite him. If he is extradited to the US, Assange will face charges under the Espionage Act which could result in 175 years in jail.
Belmarsh prison in London is a Special Category A jail (the most severe of four grades of detention centers in the British penal system). It has been used previously to detain mass murderers and the most dangerous convicted terrorists. Julian Assange's ongoing incarceration there under lockdown is preposterous. It is an outrage, and yet Western media show little or no concern to report on this gross violation of due process and human rights law.
Earlier this month, on September 13, Assange was ordered by a British judge to be detained further even though he was due to be released this week on September 22, after having served out his sentence over a minor bail infringement that occurred back in 2012 when he fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London. That bail infringement is null and void since the original sex-assault claim in Sweden has been dropped due to lack of evidence against Assange.
Evidently, his detention is being used by the British government (no doubt at the behest of Washington) in order to destroy his health and very being. At age 48, his physical and mental condition are deteriorating by the day under the extreme conditions which amount to torture, as the UN special rapporteur Nils Melzer noted after visiting the prisoner back in May this year. The UN report called for Assange's immediate release.
The following is an interview conducted with Assange's father, John Shipton. He is currently on a tour of European countries to highlight the gross miscarriage of justice against his son. Shipton is visiting Britain, Ireland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden to campaign for Julian's immediate release. He is also traveling to Russia.
In contrast to Western media indifference, John Shipton says he has encountered great public support for Julian, demanding his freedom. Among his supporters are prominent public figures, award-winning journalist John Pilger, renowned thinker and writer Noam Chomsky, Pink Floyd singer-songwriter Roger Waters and the courageous actress Pamela Anderson.
Q: Can you describe the current prison conditions for Julian and his state of health?