UPDATED: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he’s raised Julian Assange with the U.S. A Freedom of Information request shows Australia has not corresponded with the U.S. on Assange for at least six months.
Updated with comment from Labor MP Julian Hill.
By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News
A Freedom of Information request by a member of the Australian parliament has revealed that the Australian government has not engaged in correspondence with the United States regarding the case of imprisoned publisher Julian Assange for at least the last six months.
Independent MP Monique Ryan filed the requests with the offices of Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Attorney General Mark Dreyfus and Foreign Minister Penny Wong and no documents were returned, indicating that there has been no written communication with the U.S. over the fate of Assange since at least last May, reported former Australian Senator Rex Patrick in the Australian publication Michael West Media.
The absence of written correspondence does not exclude that Australian officials may have engaged in verbal communications with U.S. counterparts about Assange over the past half year, though written notes are normally made on such meetings.
Julian Hill, a Labor MP, told Consortium News:
“The Prime Minister has repeatedly made clear his view that the matter must be bought to an end, and made clear to the Parliament he has and continues to raise this matter directly with the U.S. Administration. Direct discussions at senior levels frankly are more important and more effective than writing letters backwards and forwards.”
The freedom of information request asked for all correspondence or other records of communication sent after May 23, 2022 between Albanese and President Joe Biden; Dreyfus and U.S. Attorney General Marrick Garland and Wong and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Albanese raised Assange supporters’ hopes in November when he responded to a question in Parliament from MP Ryan by saying:
“The government will continue to act in a diplomatic way, but can I assure the member for Kooyong that I have raised this personally with representatives of the United States government. My position is clear and has been made clear to the US administration that it is time that this matter be brought to a close.”
Hopes for Australian action on Assange were further raised when Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist John Lyons told an ABC program at the end of December that he understood Assange would be back home in Australia within two months.
Ryan told Michael West Media:
“If the Albanese Government was serious about working to secure an end to the US prosecution and Mr. Assange’s release, then he and his Ministers would have raised the matter formally, in writing, with their counterparts at the top levels of the US Government. It is now confirmed that they have not done so via any formal means.”
Ryan said that she intends to question Albanese about the absence of written communication. “When the Federal Parliament reconvenes in February, the Government will need to explain – in much more detail – when we can expect to see Mr. Assange return to Australia,” she said.
Attorney General Dreyfus announced last week that the Australian government would hold a roundtable on media freedom, saying, “The Albanese Government believes a strong and independent media is vital to democracy and holding governments to account. Journalists should never face the prospect of being charged or even jailed just for doing their jobs.”
Ryan responded: “Last week, in announcing a forthcoming national media roundtable, Attorney-General Dreyfus declared that ‘Journalists should never face the prospect of being charged or even jailed just for doing their jobs‘. Julian Assange is an Australian journalist who faces lifelong imprisonment for doing his job.”
Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe
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Thank you so much Joe for continuing to report and support the freedom of Julian Assange. When I heard this story break, I was unfortunately not shocked but very, very angry and disappointed.
Politicians in Australia, the US and the UK need to come forward expanding their push to make the US government drop this case and kick it to the trash where it belongs.
Yet, somehow it amazes me that the current administration ignores the ground swell which garners more support and exposes them for the criminal cabal they truly are.
The support needs to grow large enough that they cannot ignore it! Please keep at it, I applaud your great and constant efforts and perfect questioning, commentaries and reporting often!
Memo To: Albanese, Blinken, Wong, Austin, Biden-Harris, et al.,
“All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.”
“…..and no documents were returned, indicating that there has been no written communication with the U.S. over the fate of Assange since at least last May”
This is beyond heartbreaking. Itsa ‘wtf?” The Power’s That Be, dereliction of duty?” Straight-Up in our face!!!
Imo, it’s “controlled violence” totally exploited by the Powers That Be, i.e., “when “they” do it, its Law. When an individual does it, itsa Crime!”
…i.e., “Julian Assange is an Australian journalist who” is “living” in Belmarsh Prison,” for years, “ w/o charges;” after being “kidnapped,” taken by force, outta the Embassy, in London.”
Everybody, knows, “The LIFE of Julian Assange is at stake.”
24/7/365 (x’s) 10+ YEARS, “The persecution of Julian Assange stands as a stark example/warning/threat to” EVERYONE, No One Is Safe!
“Never Say Die.” Justice For Julian, is front & center. TY, MP RYAN, CN, The ‘Belmarsh’ Tribunal, The Readership, The Universe, et al., “The best favour is to rescue the one in most need, JULIAN ASSANGE.”
…….The Universe’s ASK, “End the Persecution. Stop the Extradition. CUT the dirty, grubby, bloody tentacles. FREE, Julian Assange.
“I hope the UK Government will NOT let ASSANGE out of London; BUT, “Give the man his truly earned freedom.” (MAIREAD MCGUIRE – IRELAND, 2019)
2023: The Universe, wholeheartedly, Agrees, “GIVE The Man His Truly Earned Freedom!!!” When Julian Assange lives free, we will all live free.
Onward & Upwards!!! Long Live, Consortium News & ALL Like, Alternative Newspapers. Keep it Lit!
In reviewing corporate media reportage of the invasion of Iraq, Peter Oborn (When Journalists Act As State Propagandists) writes:
“Britain’s most senior and respected journalists passed on government lies uncritically, very often adding fresh fabrications of their own; … [whereas] “those [like Assange] who revealed the illegality and barbarism of the war have suffered.”
The lies propagated by the establishment’s propagandists still hold the most traction today, even after the Wikipedia exposures msm stories on Julian still spray the lies of ‘rapist’, ‘narcissist’ etc, all of which have their genesis in the same outlets that spun the WMD lies.
Any journalist that writes contrary to the establishment line is in for much personal grief.
In many ways Julian is re-iterating the life story of another Australian journalist, Wilfred Burchett; a man who not only helped Jews escape Hitler, but also was the first to declaim the US propaganda concerning Hiroshima, who traveled there – against military command orders – and reported to the world what had actually happened on the ground.
Burchett spent the rest of his working life exposing US military crimes in ‘third world’ nations.
Conservative, pro-US Australian governments effectively exiled Burchett from Australia for almost 20 years (by pilfering, then refusing Burchett and his children a replacement passport). Even Murdoch’s The Australian, described Burchett’s passport saga as “a remarkable breach of the human rights of an Australian citizen.”
In 1972, the newly elected Whitlam Labor government granted him a new passport.
Albanese makes no qualms that Whitlam is one of his political heroes; if so, it is about time he emulated his hero at least once.
Australia has not written to the US in six months because all of the Western Block countries are in bed together – all they care about are spreading lies and reaping profits. If you think the West wants free speech in the world, you are sorely mistaken. Rah, rah, rah fist bump – what a bunch of morons!
Anyone who believed the obsequious Albo would give a damn about Assange was deluded. When he said he wanted it broughr to a close, he was just urging the sham trial to progress and get Assange locked up.
Albanese is a weak PM, both politically and personally. He has no strength of character, no principles and no courage. He will let it happen, and then feebly claim that he ‘tried’. Pathetic, foolish and cowardly. But public opinion may turn against him if the extradition goes ahead.
Further comment. In the body of this article it is reported that Albernese said that his government will act in a diplomatic way. Why? The US and the UK treat Australia with contempt as being useful idiots who will agree with them
A round table on media freedom is a joke when there is no media freedom in Australia.
Someone said (or wrote) words to the effect of “history does not repeat but it rhymes”.
It is an irony that the Australian A.G. goes by the surname of Dreyfus. One person the senior legal officer within the Federal government stands silent in respect to the outrageous and aboninable treatment by the US government and the British legal system.
This cruel and brutal treatment of Julian Assange for truth telling on fabricated charged is beyond criminal because it is not criminal as it is sanctioned by the governments of the US, the UK and endorsed by Australia.
The total failure on the part of the various Australian governments of both major parties is nothing less than abandonment of supporting an Australian born citizen Julien Assange. It is an abandonment of moral and legal principles and values and a hideous hypocricy giving proof being Australia is a land of the fair go. It is all a total lie.
The total gutless silence of mainstream media in this country of this tragic betrayal is deafening.
Hi JACK., I think the wonderful comment about history came from the pen of Mark Twain.
Does it means that weasels are now an invasive species in Australia, and some got top positions in the government?
Piotr. You are correct and the weasel words are consumed on a daily basis and nourish the feeble minds of Aussies.