I think it is a good proposal for you to be present in Australia, even if only online, on 26th January, given your connections with the country and your world-wide influence.
Nikos Vakolidis (addressed to Yanis Varoufakis)
Australia Day Letter to Australian parliamentarians from W. Hall (convenor of Unity4j Greece)
I write to you as an Australian citizen resident for many years in Greece. (I have also taken out, or should I say been granted, Greek citizenship). Two years ago, on 26th January 2019 I was the convenor, in Athens, of an Australia Day tribute to Julian Assange. Given that 26th January 1788 marks the beginning of European civilization in Australia, I thought it appropriate that Australia Day should be commemorated, as it was in 2019, only a few hundred metres from that key “totem” of European civilization: the Acropolis of Athens. And similarly that the Australian citizen Julian Assange should be recognized as a key upholder of what are praised as the standards of that civilization. Australian parliamentarians should similarly recognize that contribution from Julian Assange, whose rights as an Australian citizen they, and we, have the duty of defending, even if he were a person of ordinary accomplishment.
Among the participants in that tribute were the Queensland activist Phillip Adams, whose photograph you see on the right above, and who has made titanic efforts for a number of years to secure recognition of the injustice that has been suffered for over a decade by Julian Assange. Another participant was Nikos Vakolidis, convenor in the city of Ioannina in Northern Greece of the MeRA25 party, which has representation in the Greek parliament and was established by Australian (and Greek) citizen Yanis Varoufakis, whose photograph you see on the left.
I have no connection with Yanis Varoufakis other than common links with the island of Aegina, but Julian Assange was one of the first members of the pan-European citizens’ movement DiEM25 founded by Varoufakis and collaborators. Julian Assange has turned to Varoufakis for support on numerous occasions, particularly during his years of asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy but also afterwards, when he was expelled from there and lost, for political reasons, the Ecuadorian citizenship he had been granted, again for political reasons, leaving him with only the Australian citizenship that is his possession by birthright.
I have asked Nicos Vakolidis to convey the message to his leader Varoufakis that he, Varoufakis, should find a way to speak directly to Australians on Australia’s national day, 26th January, and specifically to fellow parliamentarians.
After the recent British court decision precluding Assange’s extradition to the U.S. to face charges which amount to attempted penalization of a journalist, who is in any case not an American citizen, from “doing his job”, the continued incarceration of Julian Assange in Britain is difficult if not impossible to justify legally. Not being a lawyer I cannot speak with authority on this subject but Julian Assange remains imprisoned in Britain without having been charged in Britain with any crime other than breaking bail (which he said he was obliged to do to avoid extradition to the U.S., something which the U.K. is now on the record as opposing). Ten years imprisonment for breaking bail is certainly something without precedent.
Is this a time to analyse the politics behind some of the confusion that surrounds the case of Julian Assange? In the immediate aftermath of the British court’s decision on non-extradition of Assange to the U.S., Yanis Varoufakis participated in a relevant online discussion with French journalist Frank Barat.
If you look at (or listen to) what Yanis says in the discussion with Frank Barat you will note an implication that Donald Trump is in the category of single-minded persecutors of Assange. But the reality seems to be that Trump has been not so much a key enemy as a semi-enemy, or unreliable ally, of Assange. Indeed one of Trump’s closest and most loyal followers, Roger Stone, got himself into trouble (and prison) by being too supportive of Assange.
Of course a party-political agenda helped Roger Stone to speak without constraint on the subject of Assange, just as party politics has evidently induced Varoufakis to “pull his punches” in his defence of Assange.
Nevertheless, it would certainly help Julian Assange if Yanis spoke directly to Australians, and specifically Australian parliamentarians, and said to them what he is already saying to the world, but not specifically to Australians, and/or to parliamentarians, i.e. that Julian Assange should be released from prison immediately.