Featuring Stella Assange (Julian Assange’s wife, Lawyer, UK) and Kevin Gosztola (Journalist, Dissenter Newsletter Editor, US).
Introduced and moderated by Stefania Maurizi (Investigative journalist, IT).
As an introduction to the film Ithaka, this panel describes the pervasive surveillance, monitoring and personal control that has oppressed Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for more than ten years, and discusses the conditions around Assange’s incarceration at the Belmarsh high-security prison in the United Kingdom, where he has been imprisoned for four years, and faces indefinite detention, while the United States seeks his extradition to face a 175-year prison sentence. He is accused of receiving and publishing documents from Chelsea Manning which documented war crimes, extrajudicial killings and civilian casualties during the US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The panel starts with a talk by Stella Assange, a human rights lawyer born in South Africa and one of the protagonists of the film Ithaka. In March 2022, she married Julian Assange with whom she has two children, born in 2017 and 2019. She joined Assange’s legal team in 2011. During the latter stages of Assange’s political asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy, Julian Assange, Stella, their infant child and WikiLeaks lawyers were targeted by illegal surveillance. The embassy has been described as ‘the most surveilled embassy in the world’ and a ‘type of prison’. Since his arrest in April 2019, Julian Assange has been kept under administrative detention in the UK’s harshest, most surveilled prison, Belmarsh prison, also known as Britain’s Guantanamo Bay. All this while not having been convicted of any crime.
In his talk, Kevin Gosztola, journalist and Dissenter Newsletter editor, accounts for the role of U.S. national security agencies in targeting Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. He describes what is known about the CIA and the FBI’s roles in the prosecution. Through several examples, he shows the extensive lengths that those in the shadow government have gone to instil paranoia and fear among those in Assange’s inner circle, who represent him publicly and legally, and those who campaign for his freedom.
The panel is opened and moderated by investigative journalist Stefania Maurizi. In light of her work on the WikiLeaks secret files since 2009, she reconstructs how Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks journalists unleashed a revolution not only in journalism, but also in the people’s right to know. Based on her 8-year-long trench warfare to unearth the truth on the Julian Assange and WikiLeaks case through FOIA litigation in UK, US, Australia and Sweden, she provides and dissects forensic evidence of the persecution of Assange and the WikiLeaks journalists.
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