Former foreign minister says Australia should demand Assange release; Omicron


Australia should demand the freedom of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange by citing the precedent set when the United States pardoned others for revealing state secrets, former NSW premier and foreign minister Bob Carr has declared in a new call on his federal Labor colleagues.

The call sets out an argument for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to persuade United States President Joe Biden to release Assange in the same way former president Barack Obama pardoned Chelsea Manning, who released classified information to Wikileaks while she was a US Army intelligence analyst.

Julian Assange greets supporters outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2017. On Friday the British government ordered his extradition to the US.

Julian Assange greets supporters outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2017. On Friday the British government ordered his extradition to the US.Credit:AP

“Manning, the American who slipped the material to Assange, goes free while the Australian who published it faces extradition, trial in Virginia and the rest of his life in cruel confinement in a high-security prison, likely on the plains of Oklahoma,“ Carr writes in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age today.

“In the context of Australia’s role as an ally – the heft we deliver for the US empire – a decision to let Assange walk free rates about five minutes of President Biden’s Oval Office attention.”

Former foreign minister Bob Carr.

Former foreign minister Bob Carr.

Speaking to RN Breakfast this morning, the former head of extradition at the Crown Prosecution Service Nick Vamos said it was “inevitable” that UK Home Secretary Priti Patel signed Assange’s extradition order, which she did last week.

In discussing Assange’s options going forward, Vamos said that if Assange exhausts all appeal avenues in the UK, he could go to the European Court of Human Rights, where cases “sometimes get stuck for up to two or three years”.

“We could be talking about this until to 2025,” he said on Monday morning.

“I don’t think the European Court will take this, but I’ve been wrong before. I think it will be another six months of UK court proceedings and at the end of that his [Assange’s] extradition will be ordered and he will be flown to the United States.”

Read the full article here.



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