EXCLUSIVE: Enthusiasm amongst the media in support of WikiLeaks publisher and Australian citizen, Julian Assange, has definitely waned in recent times even though sexual assault allegations against him have been dropped. Serkan Ozturk reports.
The mainstream media needs to support WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange and campaign for his safe return to Australia, well-known journalist John Pilger has told a crowd in Sydney over the weekend.
Pilger was speaking at a protest at Martin Place held in support of Assange on Sunday, March 3.
According to Pilger and other speakers at the rally, Assange is being punished by the United States government and its allies such as the UK and Australia for revealing information about war crimes and corruption.
“Put away your phones, stop scrolling,” Pilger said.
“Organise. Take direct action. Occupy. Make a noise. Be brave. Defy the thought police. If Julian can stand up to them, so can you, and so can all of us.”
About 250 people attended the rally, many wearing shirts or holding signs in support of the Australian media publisher.
WATCH VIDEO OF THE RALLY
The rally’s organiser was James Cogan, the national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party.
He said claims spread by some politicians and media in the West that Assange was an agent of Russia who had meddled in the last US election in favour of Donald Trump were malicious lies.
“The claims that are made about ‘Russiagate’ and Russian interference are nonsense,” Cogan said.
“Wikileaks published information which had been leaked from within the Democratic Party. There is no evidence apart from the assertions by American intelligence agencies that it came from Russian sources.
“Frankly, it doesn’t matter what the sources were because WikiLeaks doesn’t know. It publishes anonymous sources. That’s what it was established to do.”
Further protests in support of Assange will be held in Melbourne next Sunday before a vigil to take place outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London a few days later.
Assange has been stuck in the Ecuador’s Embassy in London for almost seven years since seeking asylum there in August 2012, having feared extradition to the United States if he were to answer allegations in Sweden over claims of sexual assault.
The allegations have since been dropped by Swedish prosecutors.
However, according to court documents inadvertently released late last year it is believed prosecutors in the United Sates have already charged Assange over his role in publishing videos of American war crimes leaked by Chelsea Manning in 2010.