Press Freedom Day at Bunyapa Park

“Julian is now 10 years in arbitrary detention: Wandsworth prison, ten days solitary confinement; Norwich, eighteen months house arrest; Ecuador’s London embassy, 7.5 years; and now, Belmarsh maximum-security prison, 2 years in a cell 23 hours per day. Ten years just for telling the truth!”, said Mr Shipton. “Morrison should get on the blower and tell Biden to drop the charges!”

John Shipton to speak in Bunyapa Park Monday May 3 

May 3 is International Press Freedom Day.  

On that day, John Shipton, Julian Assange’s father, will be in Brisbane to march with Julian’s union (and mine), the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (the MEAA) at Brisbane’s Labour Day Rally to remind us that his son, a famous Australian journalist, whistle-blower and MEAA member is locked-up in the UK on International Press Freedom Day and is being ignored by the Australian government. 

Following the Labour Day march, John Shipton will speak at a rally at Bunyapa Park in West End, at 4 pm on Julian’s plight and to ask for our support. 

Julian Assange, has been arbitrarily detained for ten years for disclosing war crimes by the US and their allies in Iraq and Afghanistan and is still imprisoned with murderers and terrorists in Belmarsh Prison, the UK’s Guantanamo Bay, where a Covid outbreak is raging, and facing extradition to the USA where he may be imprisoned for another 175 years.  

Assange’s mistreatment is intended as an example to journalists everywhere of the fate that befalls journalists who expose US war crimes, yet our complicit Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne, never raise with the US or the UK their legal torture of an Australian journalist, even on International Press Freedom Day! I will march on May 3, knowing I am Julian Assange too! 

The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer,  has examined Assange’s case and declared his treatment as torture and condemned the US, the UK and Sweden’s actions as the worst example he has seen of states ganging up to persecute one individual. Like Australia, they have ignored the United Nations, just as they did when they launched their illegal war in Iraq, the beginning of their Iraqi war crimes that have resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and even greater numbers of refugees. The Collateral Murder video, released by WikiLeaks, is emblematic of these murders. 

John Shipton is planning an epic tour up and down the east coast, travelling from Melbourne to Brisbane, talking in Nimbin, Brisbane, Mullumbimby, Byron, Lismore, Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Newcastle, Sydney and Canberra, to speak about Julian and to reconnect with his supporters, before he embarks on an even more epic journey to the UK and the US where he will plead with President Joe Biden to ease his family and Julian’s decade-long suffering and drop the charges and free Julian. The tour begins in Nimbin at the Mardi Grass festival and moves to Brisbane on May 3 for the Labour Day march and the Bunyapa Park rally, before continuing south. 

As a journalist, I find the situation of press freedom in Queensland utterly deplorable, a fact demonstrated at every session of the Senate Inquiry into Media Diversity. Almost every newspaper north of the Tweed is owned by the Murdoch monopoly, which Kevin Rudd has called a cancer eating at the heart of Australian democracy, while another recent Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has said the Murdoch monopoly has ceased to function as a news organisation and instead has become a political party, a propaganda machine, not a news organisation. The most powerful political actor in Australia, said Turnbull, is not the Labor Party, or the Liberal Party, or the nationals: it is the Murdoch media empire! 

Julian Assange was, and may potentially be again, a great voice for truth in journalism, a powerful counter to the liars who monopolise the mainstream media who have brought this beautiful world so close to midnight. 

On a personal note, I have known John Shipton for only two years but he is one of the kindest and loveliest people I have ever met. As a father myself, I think his situation is dreadful beyond words. Please, support this good man at this moment when he needs help most!

March with John Shipton on Labour Day!

Attend the Rally at Bunyapa Park!

Dr John Jiggens, other speakers include Michael Cope (QCCL president and Ciaron O’Reilly will MC