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Byron Shire
December 1, 2022

‘Bring him home’ says Julian Assange’s father

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John Shipton. Photo Tree Faerie.

Julian Assange has been locked away for 13 years. In that time he could have raised a baby to teenagerhood or done a medical degree, internship, residency, GP training, and had a year unleashed on the public under his belt. In that time he could have served three terms as the Australian Prime Minister.

Assange, the world’s most famous prisoner, has people on the outside waiting for him. Not just the thousands of supporters who lobby and protest, make art and raise funds to see him freed, but a family – parents, siblings and a wife and children of his own. And his father John Shipton.

Shipton looks like he’s come straight from Central Casting. A tall, handsome, elegant and dignified gentleman playing the role of a Hollywood hero father on the path to save his son. A son unjustly imprisoned. The character would be a man who is battling a Goliath, hoping to one day reunite on home soil a family spread across the globe – to regain peace of mind and peace of heart…

Ithaca: A Fight To Free Julian Assange

Just bring him home. Photo Tree Faerie.

But wait! There is a movie about this. John Shipton and his son Gabriel Shipton, who is the film’s producer, are in Byron Bay for a screening of Ithaca: A Fight To Free Julian Assange. But it’s no Los Angeles fairytale and it might not have a happy ending. It’s a documentary about a real son who is rotting away in Her Majesty’s Prison, Belmarsh.

Belmarsh is no walk in the park. In this real-life drama Assange is in a ‘Category A’ restriction prison, meaning that Assange is considered highly dangerous to the public and/or national security. Category A prisons house murderers, rapists, armed robbers, kidnappers, drugs and explosives smugglers, and terrorists. You won’t find the pot smokers and fraudsters here.

Shipton is engaging and humble – a sympathetic figure. Someone who you want to see win. There is no flash or glamour, just a quiet and earnest man doing his best for his child. It’s heartbreaking to watch him grapple with language when his emotions are so ragged.

A protest from a Roger Waters concert.

A lot of support

John is immeasurably grateful for the supporters of Assange – ordinary, not-so-ordinary, people who are giving up their time and energy. The artists in particular hold a warm place in his affection. ‘They are fabulous. There is a display in Leipzig at the moment, there’s another one in Vienna, another one in Paris, and then, of course, there are the Northern Rivers locals.

‘There was a big exhibition in Cologne, in which 24 artists submitted works. There is also a website that accumulates all of these projects, and there’s Ai Weiwe; the artists are just unhesitating. Leunig for example is a supporter, his works are pure gold. Roger Waters is very committed.’

Shipton says Julian sees the artworks – he gets cards or letters, and people send news and books.

John also gets to visit Assange inside Belmarsh.

Belmarsh

Aerial view of HM Prisons Isis, Belmarsh and Thameside in Thamesmead West.
Photo Kleon3.

‘It’s a maximum security jail so you have to pass through four secure portals. You’re stripped of everything – you’re not allowed to take paper in, so you’ve got to memorise everything. Then before you go into the meeting room, you get searched again and then the sniffer dogs sniff you coming in.

‘When you go into the meeting room it’s full of [high-fidelity] cameras.

‘Whenever we’re in London we visit, but mostly we just travel incessantly around the world building on the social support and then converting that into political support.’

Shipton says he saw Assange about three weeks ago and he’s not good. ‘He had a stroke about three months ago, a mini-stroke. His left eye is a bit like that [John squints]. There are reports on his health care – one formally submitted to the court by Professor [Dr Michael] Kopelman that was on his mental health.

Professor Nils Melzerand his team say Assange is suffering the effects of psychological torture. Photo UN.

‘There’s another report done by the United Nations rapporteur on torture, Professor Nils Melzer, who in mid-2019 took two specialist doctors with him to examine Julian in Belmarsh prison. They came to the conclusion he was suffering the effects of psychological torture.

‘It’s interesting because ALL torture aims at psychological changes. Things like not knowing where you stand, arbitrary detention.

‘If you’ll indulge me a little bit: In 1948 Herbert Vere Evatt, Australia’s first President of the United Nations, was co-presenter, along with Eleanor Roosevelt of the United States, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the first United Nations General Assembly.

‘Australia in 1973 presented to the United Nations General Assembly, for ratification, the Conventions of Asylum. All the authors of these wonderful civil artifacts of the late 20th century have seen fit to ignore their own creations.’

Shipton has strong views boys the UK justice system. ‘You know, it’s often thought that in the persecution of Julian Assange, the United Kingdom acts as proxy for the United States. Well, the Nuremberg Code specifically says that if you do it, you can’t say somebody told you to do it. They did it.

‘They disproportionately hold Julian incommunicado in a maximum security prison. They conspired with the Swedish prosecuting authority and the crown prosecuting Service of the United Kingdom, to keep Julian in the embassy.

‘By refusing to carry out an interview under mutual legal aid, which is available for interviews in England. I Swedish prosecutors can turn the TV [a screen] on they can interview Julian.

‘Julian took three cases to the federal up to the federal court level in Sweden, demanding that Sweden pursue the case, to forward the case. So between those two elements, we get a different understanding of what the United Kingdom was up to.

‘We’ve had our eyes on emails from the Crown Prosecution Service to the Swedish Prosecuting Authority. “You’re not getting cold feet on this are you? There’s more to this than a simple extradition”.

‘What can you do with these people?’

‘What can you do with these people? It’s due process abuse, procedural irregularities, the disproportion of keeping Julian – a publisher who has never done anything! He’s a remand prisoner. That is, he’s innocence.  He hasn’t even got a parking fine and he’s been locked up for 13 years, and they keep him in a maximum security prison, incommunicado – that in itself is another bloody crime.

So the UK is a participant. And that Australia ignores these things, makes Australia complicit.

‘You can’t care, and not do. You don’t care, you ignore it – that is, you become complicit by ignoring, by acquiescing.

Shipton doesn’t know what he would say if he had two minutes of Joe Biden’s time. ‘I imagine if you meet Joe Biden, and then you have to dash out and I have a sauna bath or something to get the rot out of your flesh. Those people are leading the United States down a path there’s no turning back from.

‘I can’t imagine what I’d say to him. You know he has as a son that was killed in a car accident. Another one that’s gone off the rails real bad. A crackhead. He’s reportedly a Catholic, he goes to church regularly. He’s around my age – I imagine that two fathers with sons in difficulty might have a meeting point somewhere along the line, though, one would hopefully use that.’

Shipton says all successful 2022 federal election candidates had a platform, in one way or another, of bringing Julian home to Australia. ‘The Labor Party, the Greens, the teals, and the Independents, all of them – every single one. Some of the National Party, in the case of Barnaby Joyce, and some of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation – they all offered support for Julian. So it’s not an exaggeration to say that it was an Assange election. And Assange won it for those people. We expect them now to honour their promises, and act decently towards the body politic and its concerns.’

Bring him home

‘What would I say to Anthony [Albanese]? Well, I guess I would say: Demonstrate your sincerity and let us know what you have done and how we can help. Our attitude is to generate political support for the Prime Minister and his ministers to act in good faith to their previous indications and give them the backbone or stature, through our support, in order to say to the United States, “we just want Julian returned home. We don’t want to see a son of Australia, who has made an immense contribution to the worldwide understanding of how governments do things – we don’t want to see him die in an American jail. Bring him home”.’


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23 COMMENTS

  1. 26 th Aug 2022

    The Egyptian famous YouTubers and journalists “lotfy zakaria” and ” Ahmed Ibrahim” talked about the case of ” Julian Assange” and how he suffers in Belmarsh prison in England .

    Iam sure that more Egyptian journalists will talk about ” Julian Assange” in the next coming days.

    88 percent of the Australians want “Julian Assange” be released and return to Australia.

    The most important thing is that the Australian people must push the United Nations , the Australian government and the European court for human rights to set free ” Julian Assange”

    ” Julian Assange” is suffering now from intensive mental problems . He may die in prison if he does not return quickly to Australia.

    The International courts around the world must receive paper and documents which prove that ” Mike Pompeo” tried to kill “Julian Assange” many times in England .

    The English government will appear as English governmental people who have Schizophrenia disease if they send ” Julian Assange” to prisons of the death in USA.

    The time is running out now .

    The strange thing is that “Boris Jhonson” is English Journalist and he supervises the torture on the body of ” Julian Assange” in Belmarsh prison and he says indirectly in the darkness that there will be diplomatic problems between Egypt and England If Egypt does not set free the Egyptian journalist ” Alaa abdel Fatah”

  2. Had Julian been free one has to wonder how much valuable information would have been securely offered to prevent or hobble the likes of Morrison, Murdoch and the US or Aus military industrial complex to destroy our remaining global community by unnecessary warfire and cruel corporate reign. Free him now so he can get back to work. His detention only speaks to his sterling integrity to protect his sources and his methods apparently still undiscovered. He is as heroic as the Whitlam government was righteous in its ideals imho.

    • Yeah, but Snowden barely escaped the same fate, yet you all keep using smart phones and social media. So what was the point.

    • Yes Kevin, If he continued to publish and prove the atrocities that are being committed as we speak, I wonder how much of the real truth of what these evil governments are hiding and how many Nobel Peace Prizes would be ripped from the hands of monsters.
      But this is precisely why he is being silenced and tortured.
      I also believe it highly indicative of where the true evil lies, to observe the countries and organisations who are rushing to his aid, if not to end his torture , to at least stand and acclaim his courage and his contribution to reality in the milieu of unrelenting propaganda and “Newspeak” by exposing some of the war-crimes of the “coalition of the willing ”
      I think it would be more than obvious to Blind Freddie, all parties in this festering pile of excrement masquerading as a country, is more than happy to see it’s most vulnerable and honourable members sacrificed on the alter of “mums the word ” , ” she’ll be right ” and “what heroes are our veteran war criminals !”
      Cheers, G”)

      • Our veterans didn’t understand what they were signing up for, as like most people, they just believed what the TV told them. They had no idea how things really worked and now have PTSD over the reality that bit them. No-one is loosing their Noble prize, there’s nothing Noble about that committee, they are political. If more had been revealed by Assange, what would the general public have done about it anyway?

        Don’t get me wrong, I obstinately agree with you , as most here do. Iraq started selling oil for currencies other than the petro-dollar. Libya created a gold currency for trade between African nations. ISIS was attacking Israel’s neighbours that are in the way of their expansion. Iran’s central bank issues debt free, interest free currency. In fact charging interest is illegal in Iran. Putin was our friend until he nationalised control of Russia’s central bank and arrested the globalist oligarchs (who just happened to be Jewish). All wars are bankers wars!!!

        The US is used as the bankers private army. That’s what the British Empire was for too. At it’s height of its wealth, the people were like Oliver Twist “Please Sir, may I have more?” i.e. dirt poor. Now White People are blamed for all of it. Never mind the men behind the curtain, with the little hats. It’s all about money changing and usury, and always was.

  3. Julian Assange is a self-serving narcissist and should rot in prison. He is not a hero, he’s a criminal who deserves what he is going through and will get.

    • Nothing he has been accused of would be a crime in Australia. His accusers have documented links to the CIA.
      Do you think he got rich off of Wikileaks? He was couch surfing in Sweden to save money. He was a idealistic lefty broke-ass backpacker.
      Have you even bothered to look into the details?

    • A tiny bit severe – but overall correct JV.
      I wonder how many people he consequently had killed by publishing confidential names etc., Versus the principles he ‘saved’ ?

      • There has never been any case documented were he released a name and got someone killed. He was very careful about redaction until the US started getting Wikileaks people raided, so they had to do raw dumps due to lack of time.

    • Jeannot – he exposed heavy lies and very evil deeds of global governments and politicians. Our mainstream media paint him as the bad guy and you have swallowed the story hook, line and sinker!

      To go beyond that and wish ill on a human who has revealed such inconvenient truths, is in fact inhumane and more of a sad reflection of your state.

      Don’t poke the karma bear, be kind & go well.

        • That’s why we humans learned to sharpen sticks into spears and work as a team. The only way to survive was to make ourselves into the most powerful thing on the savanna. That’s still true today.

  4. Australia is a nation corrupt to it’s core, morally bankrupt
    There’s no room for people like julian in this civilization
    Until we have a government willing to Act like a sovereign nation removing alliances with psycopathic nations like the usa we maybe able to stand with the likes of julian.

  5. Thanks for the article, so glad to see any support for Julian in the media, but sorry to see the typos that confused the message eg ” I Swedish prosecutors can turn the TV [a screen] on they can interfere Julian.”

    When a man tells the truth about the actions of some criminals, and is then arrested, incarcerated in a max security prison, and is on the verge of being handed over to these same criminals, it is time for ordinary people to act to save this man from lifetime incarceration and/or death.
    This man exposed the lies, the torture, the rendition, the manipulation, and constant illegal spying on the general public done by certain governments around the world, including the US, the UK and Australia. Now these governments want to to kill the messenger. Their excuse is the claim that his publication of their crimes put some of their informants in danger. Those who belive this unproven slander hurl abuse and blame at Julian. The very freedom of expression they enjoy in hurling this abuse is the freedom of speech that Julian is standing up for – for all of us.
    The very fact that the US governement are focusing on killing the publication of truth and attacking free speech, rather than ceasing their illegal activities, tells us they will continue on their terrorist crime spree because there is no impediment. Their treatment of Julian is their message to all those who consider whistle-blowing, i.e. telling the truth about what governments are doing ILLEGALY, IN OUR NAME, WITH OUR MONEY. They are trying to intimidate us into silence and acceptance of their crimes. Don’t be fooled.

  6. 29 th August 2022

    The Egyptian Journalist ” Mohamed Abdel Hameed” talked about ” Julian Assange ” today in small video clip . The video clip will be published after coming few days .

    More than 100 000 Egyptians and Arabs will watch ” Mohamed Abdel Hameed” talking about the horrible torture on the body of ” Julian Assange” in Belmarsh prison in London city in England.

    The Egyptian Journalist ” Abdel Hameed” asked the Australian people in his New video clip to set free ” Julian Assange”

    • We can’t, we are on the other side of the world. The English people want him released, but when any movement starts, the mainstream media runs more anti-Assange propaganda to make them doubt themselves, and have the weak minded members of the public turn on them. The media is a tool for mind control and subjugation. That’s why the Echo was created to do the opposite. But even the Echo is under constant pressure to conform to the ‘allowed’ narratives.

      presscouncil.org.au/standards/advisory-guidelines

  7. Julian’s been treated like crap: From ‘The Leaf, The Lion, The lariat’ [Stefanie Bennett]

    They will have us yet – hanging
    like the last citadel.

    Crude and un-gamely our resonance
    will sit amongst dust motes and flax.

    Behind un-lettered doors only
    the rats must pay us mind – and

    a caretaker, quixotically imagining
    ghosts and uprisings.

    Come on back into our lost design
    the lyric will lead the transmutation

    how the walls must fall to our final
    filial ear – and adjudicate

    that we should have been seen as
    fire bearers – not diplomats.

    • I finally learned something from you!!! I just set a hotkey for the word ‘Quixotic’. Am already annoying conservatives with it in the other place. Thank you Stef.

  8. 31 th Aug 2022

    The U.S government and the English government are appearing now as people who have Schizophrenia disease because they defended ” Gamal Khashoggi” and at the same time they do intensive barbaric torture on the body of ” Julian Assange ” in Belmarsh prison in England.

    The Australian passport will lose the political power in 200 countries around the world if Australia does not save ” Julian Assange ” from prisons of the death in USA.

    The German passport at the age of ” Anjela merkel” was too much strong because ” Anjela merkel ” did set free a lot of German prisoners in foreign prisons around the world .

    200 countries and International refugees around the world will not respect the Australian passport 100 percent if Australia does not save ” Julian Assange ” from prisons of the death in USA

    • They chimped out about Jamal Khashoggi, then killed Qasem Soleimani. I think they reached Schizophrenia a while ago, that is if you believe they mean what they say of course.

  9. Mr Christian .

    The English prime minister ” Jhonson” contacted president of Egypt “sisi” hours ago and asked him to set free the Egyptian journalist ” Alaa abdel fatah”

    England has schizophrenia disease because they do not wanna talk about Julian Assange who tried to kill himself many times in Belmarsh prison in England

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