As US authorities attempted to extradite Assange for alleged violations of the 1917 Espionage Act, he took refuge for several years at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the UK until he was jailed. in a high-security facility in London in 2019. The founder of WikiLeaks has since been kept in appalling conditions there, and although a British judge rejected the US extradition request over concerns for the health of the ‘Assange should be sent to a US prison, the Biden administration is still appealing the decision.
Scheer Intelligence host Robert Scheer has been a staunch supporter of Julian Assange, noting the importance of the revelations he made as well as the deeply dangerous threat his imprisonment poses to news editors, journalists and information sources around the world. Scheer has conducted several interviews on the case, notably with Tariq Ali, co-editor of the collection of essays “In Defense of Julian Assange”; Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, who defines Assange’s treatment as torture; as well as Pentagon whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and, most recently, Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges, both of whom have publicly defended Assange throughout his persecution.
This week, Scheer is joined by John and Gabriel Shipton, Assange’s father and brother, as they tour the United States to raise awareness and support Assange’s release from prison. The poignant conversation between Assange’s family and Scheer adds a deeply personal dimension to an affair that is both privately devastating for the family and publicly devastating for press freedom.
Speaking of the conditions in Belmarsh Prison, where Assange is essentially held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, Gabriel tells Scheer the last time he was able to see his brother: “I saw Julian in October of l ‘last year. It was during COVID, [so] we only had a 45 minute visit. We couldn’t touch, not hug […] generally Julian likes to have a hug, but we couldn’t even do it. After that, the prison went into full lockdown, and he hadn’t had any visits for eight months, [unti] last week he was able to see his children again.
John credits his son Julian with making the world aware of the horrors America was subjecting the Iraqis to by posting the footage of “Collateral Damage,” saying Assange played a pivotal role in reducing the occupation of Iraq. Iraq for decades.
“[Now] it’s up to us somehow, together… to end his persecution and bring him home to his children, ”Assange’s father told Scheer. “He did his job for us; now it’s up to us to do our job.
Listen to the full discussion as John and Gabriel Shipton talk to Scheer about Assange’s bitter struggle to be freed and all that is at stake in his case.