Statement on the third anniversary of Julian Assange's claim for political asylum

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On the third anniversary of Mr Assange's entry into the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Senator Scott Ludlam joins with many millions of WikiLeaks supporters around the world to acknowledge the continuing value of the organisation, even as we condemn the hostility with which its staff and volunteers have been treated by Western governments including our own.

Three years ago today, Julian Assange entered the embassy seeking political asylum under the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Persuaded by the likelihood of Assange's extradition to the United States on the basis of a Department of Justice investigation into his work as the publisher of WikiLeaks, the Ecuadorian Government granted the asylum claim. Mr Assange has remained in the embassy ever since.

Since WikiLeaks' first publication of damning primary evidence of war crimes and corruption, the Liberal, National and Labor Parties have maintained their hostility to the work of Assange and his colleagues.

Australian politicians maintained their silence as WikiLeaks was subjected to a financial blockade by Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and others, and did nothing to contest pre-emptive declarations of guilt by senior politicians in the US, UK and Sweden.

No Australian officials have sought to query or contest the increasingly erratic and indefensible behaviour of Swedish prosecutors who have again delayed questioning Mr Assange over serious, unrelated allegations dating back more than five years.  

Despite the extraordinary pressure brought to bear by some of the most powerful institutions on earth, WikiLeaks has continued to publish: leaked texts of the secret Trans Pacific Partnership corporate rights agreement, safety risks of the UK Trident nuclear weapons systems, SpyFiles documents relating to surveillance malware marketed by Western security vendors, and details of an Australia-wide censorship order for a serious corruption case involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

In mid-2013, WikiLeaks helped coordinate the safe passage of NSA contractor Edward Snowden following his extraordinary revelations of illegal mass surveillance programs in the US and allied countries including Australia.

Publishers, journalists and sources sometimes pay a high price for public interest disclosures of truths that powerful people would prefer remain secret. The current government has continued the former Government's practice of excruciating subservience to the US Government's policy of vilification, intimidation and eventually it is assumed, grand jury indictments brought against WikiLeaks staff.