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    In this file photo taken on May 01, 2019 WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures from the window of a prison van as he is driven out of Southwark Crown Court in London, after having been sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching his bail conditions in 2012

    Activist Gail Malone: US Needs Assange in Custody to Enact Extradition Plans

    © AFP 2019 / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS
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    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been moved to the health ward of Belmarsh Prison, which comes a day before a formal hearing on his extradition to the US to stand trial for felony charges. Peace activist Gail Malone explains what to expect from Assange's case.

    Sputnik: What to be expected from now on, about the case?

    Gail Malone: At present a lot rests on Sweden and the possibility of reopening Assange's rape allegations case. It is important to understand the US needs Julian in custody to enact their extradition plans. Sweden already has a reputation of rendering people to US black op sites. To get an idea of what is in store for Julian it may be helpful to read the Stratfor Emails releases. They outline plans to make Julian, his family and staff's lives very difficult. I compiled a list of relevant emails years ago that I'd teased out of the release pertaining to just that. 

    Sputnik: What's being done in the international area for Mr. Assange?

    Gail Malone: Julian has the support of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitary Detention, who found that he was arbitrarily detained and his basic human rights denied him, that he should be allowed safe passage to Ecuador. UN Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer  also said they are deeply concerned regarding the disproportionate sentence Julian received for a bail violation. 

    There are support groups across the planet, however most of these are on-line based and it's my experience it rarely extends beyond this sphere. Although it is a invaluable and worthy resource for information on actions, what is happening as far as Julian's legal status is concern and for checking facts to counter false narratives, some in the public domain for 10 odd years, still repeated by blue tick journalists. I say this because I take every opportunity to strike up a conversation about Julian/WikiLeaks and more often than not I'm very surprised that the average citizen has very little knowledge of Julian and WikiLeaks, if any at all. I'm in Australia, his homeland, and still many people have no idea. This idea seems at odds with on-line perception but as you would know social media platforms lend themselves to echo chambers, giving a false idea of public perception.

    Cover all bases. If you stand by the side of the road and cars passing see a #FreeAssange banner, do many even know what this means? Does it cut through? Different countries may need different methods, find out what is the best method for your country. 

    It's up to the people to get these messages out and may need to look seriously at combining on-line action with face to face interactions. For example forums, town hall meetings, simple letter boxing info of the case. In the west we cannot rely on MSM to get messaging out, the journalists who do are rare birds in the greater scheme of things. It has to be stressed that Julian is a journalist, there's so much propaganda that his work is not journalism, there's a reason for this, it's the 1st Amendment. He has won many prizes for journalism and still the smear persists, particularly among journalists. Julian also has ongoing legal battles to fight on several fronts, so funds are always needed and there are several avenues for making donations to WikiLeaks via the website to the Courage Foundation and Go Fund Me page.

    Julian has in the past and again now received little more than lip service from our government, the country of his birth, the country who can most help him. For 10 years they have denied the US's interest in Julian, this comes from both sides of government. One thing seems certain, Julian has precious little chance of a political solution without the wholesale involvement of the citizenry of the world. 

    Sputnik: And what will WikiLeaks do?

    Gail Malone: WikiLeaks is running at the moment without Julian, Kristinn Hrafnsson is at the reins as Editor-in-Chief, so WikiLeaks is in trusted hands. Although there have been threats made against WikiLeaks staff and supporters (outlined in Stratfor emails), just how far the US is willing to compound the witch hunt against Julian by such a  dragnet, remains to be seen. We are on new ground and what we have understood, in the past, to be international law, conventions and norms can no longer be relied upon. What has happened to Khashoggi in KSA's Embassy, the abuse of the Venezualan Embassy protectors and Julian being psychically removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy with no recourse, should send chills down people's spines. With or without Julian there is a need for organisations like WikiLeaks, now more than ever. This is not to say we do not fight for all we're worth to protect Julian, so he can continue his work and live as a free man, as he should.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, Sweden, United States, United Kingdom
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