Julian Assange's Father And Brother Visit Milwaukee To Promote Their Request To President Biden
A nationwide tour by the father and one of the siblings of controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange passed through Milwaukee over the weekend.
Assange has used the WikiLeaks website over the years to publish information about the Guantanamo Bay detention center, documents about the Iraq War, as well as emails from Hillary Clinton and other political leaders. He's currently in a British jail.
While president, Donald Trump tried to have Assange extradited to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act. But a British judge blocked the attempt, citing fears for Assange's mental health and safety in a U.S. prison.
Now, Assange's family members and supporters are trying to get the Biden administration to drop its appeal of the case.
Assange's father, John Shipton, said there are good reasons for President Joe Biden to do so.
"Well, in the first place, it's unjust and nobody likes to be seen as being unjust. [Second] in a practical matter because the defense of the First Amendment is a principal responsibility of governments in the United States and it's in the United States Constitution. Thirdly, it brings no credit the administration of justice in the United States. This would bring great credit to any administration that brought this persecution and prosecution to an end," John Shipton told WUWM.
John Shipton said over the years, his son has just been trying to provide information. "It's an essential aspect of a democratic nation to have access to information whereby the community can formulate policy, or criticize the government, or support the government in the enaction of policy," he said.
Assange's brother, Gabriel Shipton, said Biden has spoken in favor of preserving freedom of the press. "So, I think they should just walk the walk, and drop this case. It'd be a great message to people around the world that they're serious about press freedom," he said.
Peace Action Wisconsin and the group AssangeDefense co-sponsored the Shiptons' visit to Milwaukee.
Some conservatives view Assange as a hero, and wanted Trump to pardon him. Others, such as the Heritage Foundation, have called Assange an enemy of the United States who helped disclose national security secrets and claim he has actively encouraged and recruited others to hack into non-public systems.
John Shipton said that on Father's Day, he hoped to be allowed ten minutes on the phone with his son before the conversation would be cut off.