Bring Julian Home Forum with Michael Cope (Qld Council for Civil Liberties) John Shipton (Julian’s father), Ciaron O’Reilly (anti-war activist), David Donovan (Independent Australia website) and Michelle Pini (Independent Australia website) at Kurilpa Hall, West End Brisbane, 11 December 2019.
Ciaron O’Reilly made the following remarks:
“For my part I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this country and the war of genocide waged against them. Similarly, I’d like to acknowledge the war against the people of Iraq and that’s the context in which Chelsea Manning finds herself back in prison and Julian in a British prison.
I coincidentally happened to be there at the first day of that (1991 Iraq) war. We were at the Pentagon and Margaret Thatcher and George Bush senior turned up to announce of sanctions on Iraq.
And then we had the ‘drive-by’ Gulf War I where they dropped eight Hiroshima’s on Iraq and then we had the collapse of the anti-war movement … and then we had 10 years of sanctions where a million children were killed … and then we have the invasion … and then we have the occupation … and now there are thousands of US troops being sent back there as we speak.
Prisons are designed for every prisoner to demoralize and defeat you … and especially for political prisoners … to get you to recant and in my situation I was sentenced in New York and put on Conair and flown across the country through Oklahoma to El Paso Texas and then shipped out into the outback and put in a very overcrowded jail.
I was the only gringo in the jail and the representative of the master race, the only white boy … and ah that’s a joke (laughter).
There were twenty-four of us in a cage about this wide (3 metres) and then six cages welded together in one room there were three prison officers who disappeared the first sign of trouble and it would take about 40 minutes for the riot squad to come back in. So it’s very violent and boring place … and the only thing, during the first month I had a lot of harassment (and) low level assault by the prison officers and the other young gang members.
That disappeared once I started getting correspondence from the outside … and the staff backed off immediately feeling I had reach on the outside. I’m became popular with Mexican stamp collectors and that kind of built my popular base in there (laughter).
So I really encourage you to write to Julian. It sends a message to the staff that he isn’t forgotten. I’ve been with Julian in the embassy when he opens letters. I mean its the biggest thing to a prisoner is knowing your out date. And it was nine years on the 7th of December 2020 (since he was locked up). [Edit]
Q. Why has the media backed off from supporting Julian Assange?
Ans. I was talking to a Guardian journalist … (he said) they value being the gatekeepers of secrets … we get to know how much they get to know when they get to know (etc). And then WikiLeaks comes along with the primary data and (say) you work it out!
And more seriously, I think possibly the U.S. grand jury are after more than just Julian and some of those (people) might be Guardian journalists.
So the attitude (may be) … (take) the head of Julian Assange and leave our boys and girls alone.
I think it’s a possibility and that was one of the reasons the judges argued that the indictment shouldn’t be open. Its a the secret indictment until they played it. And it they still might be pursuing other people. “
Video shot, edited with transcript by
(4ZZZ fm 102.1 Fridays at Noon)
12 December 2019