Exclusive: Julian Assange’s Brother, Gabriel Shipton, Unveils Urgency in Final Legal Battle – A Deep Dive into Press Freedom and Political Solutions

In this exclusive interview, investigative reporter Christopher Gelinas engages in a compelling conversation with Gabriel Shipton, the award-winning film producer and brother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. As the crucial final appeal against the US extradition of Julian approaches, Gabriel urges supporters to take action. Gain deep insights into the pressing issues of press freedom, the upcoming legal battle, and the bipartisan support emerging globally. Join the cause, follow Gabriel Shipton on Twitter for updates, and be part of the movement to free Julian Assange. Read on for a profound exploration of the Assange campaign’s urgency and the path forward.

Video: Bombshell Interview Between Julian Assange’s Brother & Christopher Gelinas Before Final Extradition Appeal

Christopher Gelinas:

Gabriel Shipton is a film producer and the brother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Gabriel produced the award-winning film, “Ithaka: A father, a family, a fight for justice.” This film exposes the brutal realities of the campaign to free Julian Assange, who has become an emblem of an international arm wrestle over the freedom of journalism, government corruption, and unpunished war crimes.

Gabriel is also featured in a new documentary called “The Trust Fall,” directed by Kim Statten, which tells the story of Julian Assange, the most famous political prisoner and internationally awarded journalist of our time, facing what is likely his final UK appeal against imminent extradition to the United States.

Julian Assange has been detained without conviction for over thirteen years, including almost seven years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London before being moved to London’s high-security Belmarsh prison in 2019.

Gabriel, thank you for joining me, can you briefly catch us up on the current situation heading into next month’s hearings?

Gabriel Shipton:

Well, as you said, Chris, Julian has been detained in a maximum security prison. On April 11, it will be five years that he’s spent inside that prison fighting extradition to the United States. As you said, he’s not charged with any crime in the United Kingdom.

He’s been held solely in relation to this extradition request, and February 20-21 will be Julian’s final application to appeal. It will be heard before two high court judges over those two days. And so, at the end of those two days, those judges will decide whether to order Julian’s extradition or give Julian leave to appeal, and to which appeal points, that they will give leave to Julian to fight back on.

But if Julian’s extradition is ordered. There are no more avenues for him in the British courts. So this is a very, very – It’s, it’s the sort of end game, really. Of this extradition fight. And Julian sits on this edge where he could be extradited.

On the 21 February, he could potentially be extradited to the United States. Where he’ll be taken to the Eastern District of Virginia and held. There awaiting trial for what he’s charged with, for sourcing and publishing information about the Iraq war, about torture in Guantanamo Bay, about the war in Afghanistan, as well as a trove of diplomatic cables which exposed corruption around the world. 250,000 diplomatic cables that showed how corporations and oligarchs were working hand in glove with the US government. To manipulate elections, to do all sorts of shenanigans in those countries. And that’s what Julian is charged with, for publishing that information.

Christopher Gelinas:

As Julian’s brother, your involvement in the campaign to free him is notable, including your role as a producer for the documentary “Ithaka.” Can you share more about the struggles and experiences highlighted in “Ithaka” and elaborate on how your family has navigated throughout Julian legal battles.

Gabriel Shipton:

We’re all united, Chris. We’re all standing as one, supporting Julian. Both as family, supporting him emotionally through this process, as well as when he gets to see his children and Stella once a week inside the prison, as well as phone calls to my father, and Stella and I go and visit him when I can. So we’re really supporting him emotionally, but also campaigning for his release and it’s taken over our lives. Fighting for Julian’s freedom so that he can be free and come back to his young family, and live with us again.

I spoke to Chris Hedges once who does a lot of work with prisoners. He teaches in prisons. He said to me, If one member of a family is in prison, it’s like the whole family is in prison. They’re all dedicated to supporting that person, and keeping them going through what is a very harrowing time, and for us it’s especially harrowing given the injustice that Julian suffers against.

Christopher Gelinas:

When was the last time you saw Julian? Can you tell us any more about how he’s doing health-wise? As we discussed, he has been detained without conviction for over seven years, spending almost five at one of the UK’s harshest prisons. With all that happening, how do you feel about Julian’s overall well-being during this challenging time?

Gabriel Shipton:

I caught up with Julian. I went to see him at the end of, I think at the end of October, beginning of November. You know, he’s hanging in there. He’s keeping his spirits up. He’s trying to have a laugh with us when we go and visit him.

We try and jolly him along and make some jokes and things like that and try and lighten the mood a bit when we go in there, but he is hanging in there. He’s very focused, though, fighting this last stage of his defense, and particularly the times that are really tough is when these dates are approaching. When Julian could be extradited on February 21, and to Julian, and to us, that is essentially a death sentence.

If he’s extradited to the United States, he won’t survive that process and so there is a build-up in these times, a buildup of anxiety. Build-up of pressure. And that really takes its toll on Julian as well as us. So these times are the most difficult, particularly at Christmas time as well when we’re not able to spend time with him. But these approaching deadlines and hearings really bring down the pressure that these forces are trying to push on Julian; it starts to really wear down physically and mentally.

Christopher Gelinas:

With the UK’s High Court decision on Julian’s final appeal against extradition to the US approaching in February, what are your expectations or hopes regarding the outcome? I know you did briefly touch on that just now.

How might that verdict impact future actions or legal steps regarding Julian Assange’s case and is there any avenue for advocates and supporters of Julian to continue their efforts following the decision?

Gabriel Shipton:

Look, I mean. As far as I’m concerned, Julian isn’t going to win in the courts. I think that’s my opinion, that this is a political case. It needs a political solution. And that although Julian needs the best lawyers he can get to be able to fight as hard as they can. It’s really just buying time. For the rest of us to campaign and to work. To build the momentum for a political solution in this case, and that’s what we’ve all been working on and working on doing.

And now you see in the United States Congress, there’s a resolution that is before the Congress at the moment. It has eight co-sponsors on it already. It’s a bipartisan resolution, and we’re encouraging everyone in the United States to contact their representatives, to go and see them, to lobby in Congress for the representatives to sign on to this resolution. And I think what we’ve seen is this building of momentum in the Congress and the United States.

Last year was the first time there was a letter that was signed, and it was signed by eight congresspeople, and just before the end of the year in October there was another letter signed by 16 congresspeople and one senator, and now we have this resolution. So we see this political momentum building which will eventually lead to more of the same, but a bigger sort of wave growing, and I think that’s what’s going to set Julian Free.

We also have the Australian government who has been advocating for Julian’s release. They’re the only government who can represent Julian because he’s an Australian citizen. They’re the only government who can represent him diplomatically and we’ve seen activity from the Australian diplomats, the ambassador in the United States, as well as the High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, who has been actively working to find a resolution to get Julian out. So the campaign is really putting the pressure on the Australian government in Australia to do more to use the leverage that they have with the United States to get Julian out of prison, but also in the United States.

For the people on the ground there, the people whose rights are affected at the end of the day.

This is information that is owned by the people of the United States that Julian revealed.

This isn’t information owned by Australians or people in the UK. This is the information owned by the United States that Julian gave to the people in the United States. So really, it’s up to them to really grab onto this and see the importance of it and lobby their representatives in terms of the next legal steps after this, and we know the UK is working behind the scenes to make sure that they can extradite Julian, very quickly. But there is a chance that Julian will be able to get a case up in the European courts. The European Court of Human Rights. There is the possibility that they will be able to stop the extradition if the judges on the 21 of February order it. So, yeah, we’re working away on that as well.

Christopher Gelinas:

You mentioned the resolution that was introduced in the House on December 13 by Congressman Paul Gosar. This was joined by a coalition of lawmakers, as you also point out, expressing that regular journalistic activities are protected by the First Amendment, and the US government should end its prosecution against Julian Assange. I found it interesting that co-sponsors of the resolution include Democrats like James McGovern and Ilhan Omar, along with Republicans like Thomas Massey, Marjorie Taylor Green and others. Also, as you noted, over 70 members of parliament and senators in Australia have signed a letter asking the US to drop the prosecution of Assange. How do you perceive the significance of the bipartisan support for Julian Assange’s case, and could you elaborate any further on why you believe this issue resonates across political lines?

Gabriel Shipton:

I think it’s one of the principles of democracy, right? This shouldn’t be a left or right issue. This is an issue that affects everybody. Everybody who lives in a democracy, and It’s usually these laws or things like the First Amendment or press freedom, that protect the people who aren’t in power, and so it’s really important. Even if you have, say, the executive at the moment in the United States a Democrat executive, it could change and it could become a Republican executive, and so these tools that they’re creating these tools of censorship, these tools of persecution, going after whistleblowers, going after journalists, going after publishers. At the moment, they were originally created by the Trump administration. Right? Like that’s who created this prosecution, this unprecedented prosecution against the publisher using the Espionage act. But that weapon that they’ve created could be used against Democratic alliance institutions such as the New York Times or the Washington Post. In a republican administration, and I think, Democrats that we see joining onto these letters, and Republicans see that press freedom, that freedom of the press that the First Amendment, protects all of us. No matter matter our political alignment it should be protecting all of us because the democratic system, the people in power change.

It’s really there just to protect those who aren’t in power. And I think these people see that, and that’s why it’s a bipartisan issue because it affects everybody.

It’s not an issue of process or anything like that. It’s one of these pillars, one of these integral pillars to democracy, and that’s why we see such bipartisan cooperation.

Even in Australia it’s totally bipartisan. In Germany, you’ve got a parliamentary group that’s bipartisan from the far-right to the far-left, and there aren’t many issues that these sort of people come together on.

I work with a lot of these representatives in Congress. So I go and see Marjorie Taylor Green, I go and see Jim McGovern and there’s not many issues that they come together on, but this is one of them, and I think that really sends a very strong message to the current administration. That this is a very important issue. That there is political goodwill. It’s not going to be damaging in the sense that it’s not partisan. You’re not going to suffer attacks from the Republicans if you go out and you drop this. This is supported across the board.

Christopher Gelinas:

In light of the varying portrayals of Julian Assange in the media… How do you believe that public perception has influenced these legal battles and what steps can be taken to address any misconceptions or biases that might exist?

Gabriel Shipton:

Well, I think to a large extent, the legacy media is culpable for this persecution. They participated for many, many years in the assassination of Julian’s character. The maligning of Julian. That made this prosecution possible. That shrunk Julian’s support, in the public’s eye, and made this prosecution possible. So I think those legacy media outlets, they have a lot to answer for, but they can still come good. They can still stand up and really fight for Julian at these points. Report on the malfeasance that exists in this case. The longer this case has gone on. The more the facts come to the surface, and the more the lies fall away because as the facts emerge, they stand on their own, and they are unmovable. Things like documentary evidence. Footage from inside the Ecuadorian embassy, footage from spy cameras that is. Filming Julian with his lawyers. That’s irrefutable. That is the sort of evidence that is irrefutable that that was taking place. That sort of spying was taking place on Julian inside the embassy. Whereas, these sorts of lies that Julian was a puppet of Russia, is a popular one, you know there is no evidence for that.

So those lies drop away and what we see is the persecution of a man for telling us the truth. The plots to murder him. Those all stand out, and those all still exist, and I think over time that’s what will set Julian free, is these facts and the spreading of these facts and the spreading of this information. So I encourage everyone to go out and find good sources like yourself. Spread that information. Talk to your friends and family about it and pass on that good information because that is really what is going to change people’s minds and get them on board with this and help them understand how important it is to their daily lives.

It’s a very conceptual thing but freedom of the press and the free flow of information is so important for our human existence. To understand human activity, our human institutions. How can we make our lives better if we don’t know what is going on? So it’s so important to our daily lives, and I think expressing that to people is often lost, we’re so caught up with like social media and all this **** but the actual spreading of truthful information is so important to be able to better ourselves.

Christopher Gelinas:

As someone deeply involved in advocating for Julian Assange’s freedom and a witness to the challenges facing your family, what personal reflections or lessons have you gained throughout this journey?

Gabriel Shipton:

I’m always so amazed by the amount of support that there is out there for my family and for Julian. Everywhere we go, whether it’s in the United States, whether it’s in Australia or Brazil or Italy or South Africa. There’s always people who are rooting for Julian, who are working behind the scenes, doing everything they can. People who are donating their money, their hard-earned money, donating their money so that we can keep working on this because if we’re advocating for Julian, we can’t work at our jobs, so we only exist and we only are able to do this work because of all the millions of people out there who are supporting Julian. So what always amazes me is the capacity of people to give their time, to give their hard-earned dollars to give their compassion and their feeling to me and my family in this fight.

Christopher Gelinas:

Gabriel, I really appreciate you taking the time to share your insights today. We will be obviously eagerly following the developments in Assange’s case, especially heading into next month’s hearing. Wishing you the best and your family during this challenging time. Just before we conclude, could you share any social media links or platforms where our audience can follow your projects and stay updated on the Julian Assange campaign. Also, if there’s anything else you’d like to share as a final message, or if there’s a specific way our audience can support the cause, please feel free to tell us.

Gabriel Shipton:

Yes, you can follow me, Gabriel Shipton on Twitter. You can follow the Assange campaign, which is Assange campaign on Twitter as well. They’re always posting good information, good videos of people speaking about Julian. At the moment, what we’re really asking people to do is contact their representatives and get them to sign onto this resolution. So if you’re in the United States, please give them a call. You can jump online. You can find out who they are, what their numbers are. They have numbers in their district offices as well as in Congress.

Give them a call, send them an email. Ask them to sign on to the Julian Assange resolution that’s led by Paul Gosar. So that’s one concrete action that people can do at this very moment. Chris, thank you.

Click here to find your representative and tell them to support H.Res. 934 or call the House switchboard operator at (202) 224-3121

Follow Gabriel Shipton on Twitter to stay updated: https://twitter.com/GabrielShipton Follow

Stella Assange Twitter: https://twitter.com/Stella_Assange

Assange Campaign Twitter: https://twitter.com/AssangeCampaign

Follow Reality Reader on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RealityReader

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Assange demonstration image attribution: Alisdare Hickson, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=115092813

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