The Assanges seem be skilled at making blunt statements as gracefully as possible. ‘Incommunicado’ “…is basically a nice word for torture,” said his shameless yet humble Mother, Christine. The word has been repeatedly used to describe the conditions under which Julian Assange would be kept if extradited to Sweden.
However, Christine was quick to assure a packed Leichhardt Town Hall in Sydney, on 10 November that she had not become an activist simply because Julian is her son. “I’m doing this because I believe in it,” she said. The event had been arranged by the Green Left Weekly and Socialist Alliance, allowing Assange to relate information directly to people without any media ‘middle man’. Guests were treated not only to a lengthy but informal talk from Christine Assange, but also an Aboriginal welcome to country, Ecuadorian cuisine for dinner (as Ecuador is the only place Julian has been offered asylum and safety), and Cuban music afterwards.
After a revealing talk about the trials and tribulations of the last two years, Assange was asked to verify her sincerity further in an audience Q&A. She said without hesitation that she had spent around nine months reading Wikileaks cables to satisfy her own mind, before commencing full efforts to fight injustices wrought by the Australian, UK, and Swedish Governments against her son.
But rather than trying all night to convince guests Julian’s motives were pure, Christine spent the time simply relating a long list of little known-factual details about the ongoing fiasco. One example was that the ‘consular assistance’ referred to in the media, which had actually consisted of one or two appearances by representatives at public meetings, and no actual contact with Julian himself.
In a one-on-one interview afterwards, Assange was also able to reel off by heart several weblinks where the same information can be found and verified. Indeed, as one example, readers can check wlcentral.org/node/1418. The link reveals a full text copy of the brief which Australian lawyer Jen Robinson wrote to the Australian Government regarding Julian Assange in March 2011. It’s a long, ugly read; perhaps one of the most shocking facts is that Assange only found out about his own rape allegations after reading a Swedish tabloid newspaper, rather than being privately contacted by police.
The aforementioned ‘incommunicado’ is also referred to several times in Robinson’s brief, and requests the Government to protect Assange from the condition should he travel to Sweden. To date (almost two years later) no response has been received regarding the request.
Christine said she had never felt drawn to be part of particular lobby groups, but throughout her life had always fought against injustice. From boycotting tuna brands, to attending rallies for East Timor, and extensively supporting Child Protection, it seems Julian grew up watching his Mother defending victims of wrongdoing.
Wikileaks cables dating back to 2004 are still freely available on the Internet at the time of writing, for anyone that cares to read and make their own decisions on their validity. For example, 3919 hits were returned when this author typed in ‘torture’ as a keyword. Results were categorized across a multitude of countries, which included the U.S. and Canada, but not Australia.
Two guests at the evening’s event also included David Hicks and his wife, Aloysia. David Hicks survived human rights abuses in Guantanamo Bay between January 2002 and May 2007, which the couple are still campaigning to have investigated officially by the Australian Government.
Mrs. Hicks said that the affair with Assange was like “history repeating,” and the Government had claimed to provide David with ‘consular assistance’ the same way they are now for Julian-, which in her opinion was not worth the paper it was written on.
“The most significant thing that we’re all fighting for is to make sure human rights abuse does not happen to anyone ever again,” she said. “The public will not let the government put human rights aside for political purposes. It’s just not ok.”