by Taylor Hudak

Wednesday, July 3, 2019, became a day of international unification—a day where nearly 60 cities across six continents lit candles in honor of award-winning journalist, Julian Assange.

According to a Candles For Assange media release, birthday celebrations taking place in Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand, on July 3rd, Julian’s 48th birthday, have initiated a global movement — #Candles4Assange.

The roots of the movement date back to July 3, 2018, on Julian’s 47th birthday, when #FreeAssangeNZ configured a candle display reading “Free Julian.” The candles were placed on NZ Parliament lawn and an image of the display captured the attention of activists and Assange supporters world-wide.

Those involved in #FreeAssangeNZ chose to hold a similar event for Julian’s 48th birthday taking place this year. However, #FreeAssangeNZ invited other cities to organize vigils and join in on the #Candles4Assange global celebration.

Day after day, the hashtag-Candles4Assange was reaching dozens of cities, and soon the movement became viral within the free speech and free Julian Assange community.

According to the release, “Free Assange NZ supports the principle of press freedom, especially for a media whose mission is ‘to hold power to account.’”

A MESSAGE TO STAND FOR, AN IDEA TO DEFEND

Julian Assange is a man of and for the people. In addition, he is the embodiment of good journalism, making those in power feel uncomfortable. Assange and the WikiLeaks’ staff, through their work, have inadvertently forced the mainstream media to re-examine how good journalism presents itself.

Candles For Assange strongly advocates for these ideals — a free press and for the protection of free speech. Millions of people around the world align with the movement. And because of that, Free Assange NZ is challenging the New Zealand media to condemn the UK and US efforts to persecute and torture Julian Assange.

We too, at Action For Assange are calling upon the American media to condemn the behavior of its government toward journalist Julian Assange.

This sentiment is stronger than those within the powerful elite would like to believe. We exist, and we are here.

A DAY OF ACTION

Candles For Assange co-founder, Alex Hills asked organizers to take photos and/or video footage of their actions on July 3rd and send them and/or link them to @Candles4Assange, @GreenweaverArch or the Facebook group, #Candles4Assange.

“Many are singing Happy Birthday by Stevie Wonder on film for a compilation video of the final actions throughout the world made into a moral boosting singalong supporter video,” Hills said. “We are happy for anything no matter how big or small a gesture.”

Candles For Assange has also made extensive efforts to connect with Antarctica to ensure Julian’s day of birth is celebrated on all seven continents.

The promotional video for Candles For Assange may be found here. We strongly recommend watching this video.

We are stronger when we work together.

The fight to free Julian Assange does not attract the weak or faint of heart but rather the determined and the fearless.

And we are ready.

Happy birthday Julian – from your brothers and sisters around the world.

by Taylor Hudak

If one cares about free speech and a free press in America, do not vote for 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennet.

According to an article published on World Socialist Web Site, Sen. Bennet signed a letter addressed to Vice President Mike Pence in June 2018 demanding the Trump Administration convince the Ecuadorian government to expel Julian Assange’s asylum.

According to the article, the letter exposes a clear hatred of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks among America’s political elite.

In addition to Sen. Michael Bennett, nine other Democratic senators signed the letter, including: 

Robert Menendez

Richard Blumenthal

Joe Manchin III

Dianne Feinstein

Richard J. Durbin

Edward J. Markey

Christopher A. Coons

Jeanne Shaheen

Mark R. Warner

The letter signed by the above senators, including Sen. Bennet, cites Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statements on WikiLeaks when he was the acting CIA director. Pompeo referred to WikiLeaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service.” This is the same man who admitted that the CIA is taught to lie, cheat and steal.

Furthermore, the letter portrays a clear intent on behalf of the United States government to restore amicable relations with Ecuador. What is disturbing is their method to restore relations—torture and prosecute journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Perhaps these senators thought it would work well to play politics with foreign governments by finding a journalist and publisher to mutually hate.

But Why These 10 Specific Senators?

The majority of the senators who signed this letter were in some manner implicated by WikiLeaks publications.

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL

Global Intelligence Files, Sony, Carter Cables 2, The Podesta Emails, Sony Emails, Hacking Team, Hacking Team Emails, Clinton Emails, Sony Documents, Carter Cables, DNC Email Archive, Berat’s Box, German BND-NSA Inquiry Exhibits, Cablegate, The HBGary Emails, Secret, Congressional Reports, Syria Files, Kissinger Cables, US Embassy Shopping List

JOE MANCHIN

DNC Archive, Global Intelligence Files, The Podesta Emails, Clinton Emails, Berat’s Box, Sony, Sony Documents, Syria Files, Plusd, Cablegate, Sony Emails, German BND-NSA Inquiry Exhibits

DIANNE FEINSTEIN

Global Intelligence Files, German BND-NSA Inquiry Exhibits, The Podesta Emails, Secret Congressional Reports, DNC Email Archive, Clinton Emails, Berat’s Box, Sony, Sony Emails, Hacking Team, Hacking Team Emails, Pulsd, Cablegate, Syria Files, Sony Documents, Kissinger Cables

RICHARD J DURBIN

Global Intelligence Files, The Podesta Emails, Secret Congressional Reports, DNC Email Archive, Plusd, Cablegate, Clinton Emails, Sony, Sony Emails, Sony Documents, Berat’s Box, German BND-NSA Inquiry Exhibits, Kissinger Cables, Syria Files, Carter Cables 2, Hacking Team, Hacking, Team Emails, The HBGary Emails

EDWARD J MARKEY

Global Intelligence Files, Plusd, Carter Cables 2, The Podesta Emails, Cablegate, Secret. Congressional Reports, Hacking Team, Hacking Team Emails, DNC Email Archive, Kissinger Cables, Sony, Sony Emails, German BND-NSA Inquiry Exhibits, The HBGary Emails, Berat’s Box, Syria Files, Carter Cables, Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, Clinton Emails

CHRISTOPHER A COONS

Global Intelligence Files, The Podesta Emails

JEANNE SHAHEEN

Global Intelligence Files, The Podesta Emails, DNC Email Archive, Sony, Sony Emails, Clinton Emails, Pulsd, Cablegate, Berat’s Box, German BND-NSA Inquiry Exhibits

MARK R WARNER
The Podesta Emails

by Taylor Hudak

(Oberlin, Ohio) – A free Julian Assange activist is facing a misdemeanor charge for hanging signs on public utility poles in support of the WikiLeaks founder.

Andrew Smith, 28, of Elyria was cited on Saturday afternoon June 29 for hanging signs reading “Free Julian Assange,” “Free Speech Free Press” and others with similar messages.

As Smith was stapling a free Julian sign to a utility pole in front of a convenient store, a police officer driving by slowed down and shouted at Smith to stop what he was doing.

With staple gun in hand, the 28-year-old turns to look at the officer and then continues to staple the poster.

The officer proceeds into the convenient store parking lot and orders Smith to empty his pockets. Meanwhile, two additional police cars arrive at the scene.

After a brief exchange concerning the law, the officer orders Smith to get into the back of the vehicle.

Meanwhile, a woman accompanying Smith, Taylor Hudak, 26, of Kent was told she may leave. However, Hudak remained at the site and took photographs on her cell phone as the incident unfolded.

While Smith was in the police vehicle, he continued to speak with the officer explaining to her his political ideology and reason for posting signs. The officer responded to him saying she did not understand.

After several minutes sitting in the police vehicle, Smith was issued a citation for violating Oberlin City Ordinance 503.02 Advertising on Public Property.

Smith appeared in Oberlin Municipal Court on Friday July 5 at 8:30 a.m. and plead not guilty. He will return to court for a pretrial hearing on Aug. 18.

Censoring The Streets

#FreeAssange Activist Ordered To Court

by Taylor Hudak

We are learning that in certain regions of NE Ohio, activists are not welcome to exercise their first amendment right to free speech—especially in Oberlin, Ohio.

Throughout the afternoon on Saturday June 29, my friend Andrew and I were posting signs reading “Free Julian Assange,” “Chelsea Manning is a POW” and “No Extradition” among others with similar messages.

Andrew and I have a pretty good system when we poster. I carry the signs and hand them over as he staples them to the utility poles with a staple gun.

This is, of course, a legal form of free speech expression. However, the Oberlin Police Department does not agree.

On the afternoon of June 29, as Andrew and I reach a utility pole in front of a convenient store, a police cruiser approaches and the vehicle begins to slow down as the officer yells to us that we cannot post the signs “there.”

Andrew, with staple gun in hand about to make the final staple on that sign– turns around, looks the officer the eye, and staples the last staple. Immediately sirens are going off, and soon enough three additional police cars arrive.

Experience With the Officers

The officer pulls into the convenient store parking lot and addresses us. Andrew calmly informs her that stapling signs to utility poles is, in fact, legal. She, the officer, is persistent and soon becomes very angry with Andrew as he informs her of our rights.

Clearly agitated, the officer orders Andrew to empty his pockets and to place his hands on the hood of the vehicle. He complies.

Now, I would be dishonest if I did not disclose to you that it was very apparent the officer was hoping to find something illegal in his possession. And when she didn’t, she ordered him to get into the back of the police car.

As Andrew enters the back of the police car, he is ordered to hand me his phone and I hold onto it feeling very dumfounded at what just took place.

The officer than tells me I am free to go, and I decline. And, I’m still very unsure of what the real issue is at this time, but I can hear the officer tell Andrew that it was not the content of the sign that was an issue but the actual posting of it on the utility pole.

At this point, I can hear conversation between the officer and Andrew. As the officer attempts to school Andrew on the laws in Oberlin, he explains to her why we were posting signs to begin with.

As he explains to her the issues of censorship and Julian Assange she replies to him, “I don’t get what you mean?”

Meanwhile, the male officer sitting in one of the other surrounding police cars, gets out and begins conversing with me. I explain to him that we are fighting to prevent the US extradition of Julian Assange. He, too, was unsure of what I was really referencing.

Once I mentioned “WikiLeaks” I could see the male officer was more clear on what our message was. Yet, he acknowledged he was not completely aware of the details of the case.

I can only hope that after I encouraged him to google independent media sources for information on the case that he actually will follow through.

Interestingly, this officer said to me that he has to enforce laws that he may not agree with. I could easily sense he somewhat agreed we had a right to free speech.

The male officer I was speaking with then pulls out a camera and holds it up in the direction of our sign on the utility pole. At that moment Andrew and I make eye contact, and smile. The officer then snaps a photograph.

The Aftermath

As Andrew then exits the police vehicle and the female officer who charged him reads him his citation, we then encouraged her to please take our sign into evidence.

She vaguely said it may or may not be put into evidence and at that point I offer her my stack of signs and she ignores the offer.

As she then continues to read Andrew information concerning his citation, he listens and then asks her if he can submit the signs as evidence. She was vague in her response.

Soon enough we were free to go and Andrew and I walked to his car laughing. Of course, being quite shocked, we laughed and talked about the events that just took place.

On our walk back to our car, police cars were visible at every block and Andrew says to me that they are watching us now to make sure we don’t hang anymore signs.

I laughed and entertained the possibility of their listening to us speak at that moment. We both laughed and then realized—it’s not long before they will try.

*On a side note, it was the officer who had to retrace our path and take down all of our signs

by Taylor Hudak

While an award-winning journalist spends his 48th birthday in London’s Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh, supporters around the world will unite in solidarity to support a truth-teller, whistleblower and activist — Julian Assange.

This collaborative initiative, #Candles4Assange, will occur in 56 cities spanning across the globe on Julian’s 48th birthday, Wednesday July 3 – with the number of cities participating increasing each day.

According to the website, #Candles4Assange is advocating for the protection of whistleblowers, the prosecution of war criminals and an end to the war on journalism.

People around the world have chosen a location and time to hold their #Candles4Assange event. Nearby supporters are encouraged to attend and light candles in honor of Julian.

In addition to bringing awareness to the important issues of our day including the consistent violations of the free press and free speech rights, this effort is a world-wide celebration of the birthday of one of the bravest men humankind has ever known.

In a world riddled in sanctions and in war, caused and perpetuated by world leaders and the powerful, what a wonder it is that citizens of a wide-range of countries can unite on a day of significance to promote a cause of which they all care so deeply.

Below is a complete list of the #Candles4Assange events to take place around the world on Wednesday July 3. Times and locations are included. If you are interested in hosting an event, please contact @Candles4Assange.

A

Adelaide, Australia – 7pm at Parliament House

https://www.facebook.com/clare.smith.123276

Asturias, Spain – (time not listed) at Oviedo Austurias

(no link available)

Auckland, New Zealand – 12 to 1pm + Eve at US Consulate

https://www.facebook.com/sally.louise.332
https://www.facebook.com/events/843064306065085/

B

Bere Alston, England – (time not listed) at War Memorial

https://https://www.facebook.com/juliette.cross.1

Berlin, Germany – 6pm at US embassy

https://www.facebook.com/patrick.bradatsch
https://www.facebook.com/events/951642035172751

Boston, MA, USA – (no time or location listed)

Brisbane, Australia – (no time or location listed)

Bristol, England – (no time or location listed)

https://www.facebook.com/anne.hinde.3

Brussels, Belgium – 6pm at Brussels Park

https://www.facebook.com/ComiteAssangeBelgium/

C

Canberra, Australia – 11am to 1pm at cake pamphlets Garema Place

https://www.facebook.com/groups/839556946246928/
https://www.facebook.com/events/313306659578260/

Canberra, Australia – 4 to 8pm at Parliament Hill Lawn Candle Display

https://www.facebook.com/LoreseV
https://www.facebook.com/events/313306659578260/

Concord, NH, USA – 4 to 6pm at NH Statehouse 107 N Main St. Concord

https://www.facebook.com/paula.iasella.5
https://www.facebook.com/events/848487648852890/

D

Denver, CO, USA – 4 to 6pm Colorado State Capitol, 200 E Colfax Ave (Public Sidewalk West)

Des Moines, IA, USA – 11-1pm at Cowles Commons 300 E Locust St, 50309

https://www.facebook.com/christinemariedopf
https://www.facebook.com/events/352757465421357/

Durban, South Africa – (no time or location listed)

Dusseldorf, Germany – 5 to 7pm at US Consulate Willi-Becker-Allee 10 40227 Düsseldorf

https://www.facebook.com/isi.wasi
https://www.facebook.com/events/833236577057905/

E

Edinburgh, Scotland – (no time or location listed)

https://www.facebook.com/valentinaflex

G

Guayaquil, Ecuador – (no time or location listed)

H

Helsinki, Finland – 4 to 6pm at Senate Square (website says- CHANGE LOCATION)

https://www.facebook.com/events/368362687383805/

I

Invermere, Canada – (no location or time posted)

https://www.facebook.com/davena.turvey

J

Jereuselem, Israel – (no time listed) at neve yacov, at neighborhood center

https://www.facebook.com/macmull

Johannesburg, South Africa – 3pm at Cnr. Olifantsfontein Rd & Lever Rd Noordwyk 

L

Lake Arrowhead, CA, USA – (no time listed) at Big Bear Lake or Lake Arrowhead Plaza

Lake Macquarie, Australia – (no time or location listed)

Lisbon, Portugal – (no time or location listed)

https://www.facebook.com/isabel.queijo.9

Ljubljana, Slovenia – (no time or location listed)

https://www.facebook.com/sanja.fidler

London, England – TBC at BELMARSH PRISON on 3 July. (Trafalguar Square on the 6th July)

Luxembourg, Luxembourg – (no time or location listed)

https://www.facebook.com/monika.willems

M

Melbourne, Australia – 12 to 1pm at Federal Square, Cnr. Swanston & Flinders St

Mexico City, Mexico – 1pm + eve at US Embassy Paseo de la Reforma 305 Mexico City Mexico

Milan, Italy – 9pm to 12am at Comitato per la Liberazione di Julian Assange Italia meet at Piazzo Castello

https://https://www.facebook.com/leo.bi.5682
https://www.facebook.com/events/419865135521707/

Minneapolis, MN, USA – (no time or location listed)

Moscow, ID, USA – 5 to 8pm Centre of town

https://www.facebook.com/events/341042439904528

N

Nairobi, Kenya – (no time or location listed)

https://www.facebook.com/martha.kui.3

New York, NY, USA – 5 to 8pm at Washington Park Square

P

Paris, France – 4:30 to 8:30pm (no location listed)

Perth, Australia – (no time or location listed)

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009949212848

Port Elizabeth, South Africa – (no time or location listed)

https://www.facebook.com/elmarieallan1

Portland, OR, USA – (no time or location listed)

Q

Quito, Ecuador – (no time or location listed)

R

Rockhampton, Australia – 6:30 to 7:30 pm at Riverbank beside Boathouse Restaurant, 189 Quay St, 4700 Rockhampton Australia

https://www.facebook.com/FreeAssangeCQ
https://www.facebook.com/events/682663985584011/

S

Saint-Nazaire, France – 6:30pm at Place du commando #TouteLaFranceAvecAssange  

https://www.facebook.com/domi.lorec%0A
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1662956313803099/?hc_location=ufi

Salta, Argentina – (no time or location listed)

San Francisco, CA, USA — *NB* 4 July 1pm at Mission Delores Park

https://www.facebook.com/events/380465619254023/

Sebastopol, CA, USA – (no time or location listed)

https://www.facebook.com/beth.billingsley1

Seoul, South Korea – (no time or location listed)

https://www.facebook.com/soorye.kim

Strasbourg, France – (no time or location listed)

Sydney, Australia – 3 to 5pm & 10pm at Sydney Town Hall, Martin Place Ampitheatre 

https://www.facebook.com/events/623864874779481/

T

Tallinn, Estonia – 10pm at Kadrioru kunstimuuseum Tallinn 10127

https://www.google.com/maps?q=59.4384001,24.7915912&hl=en-US&gl=us&shorturl=1

Tampere, Finland – 4 to 6pm at Ylävitonen

https://https://www.facebook.com/ssoininen

Toronto, Canada – (no time or location listed)

Tripoli, Libya – (no time or location listed)

Tulsa, OK, USA – (no time or location listed)

Turin, Italy – (no time listed) location listed as kuntmuuseum Tallinn, Estonia

https://www.facebook.com/sarahbowyerart

W

Washington DC, USA – (no time or location listed)

Wellington, New Zealand – 5 to 8pm at US Embassy Lawn, 29 Fitzherbert St.

https://www.facebook.com/GreenweaverArch
https://www.facebook.com/events/2461351740552108/

Y

Yerevan, Armenia – (no time or location listed)

On Thu 27th at the UN Human Right Council a discussion with Jennifer Robinson, Nils Melzer, Mads Andenas, Christophe Peschoux and Kristinn Hrafnsson about Julian Assange case and its implication for the protection of human rights and the rule of law worldwide.

Keep yourself informed

Follow CourageWikiLeaksAssangeLegalDefend Assange on Twitter, help share the Defend WikiLeaks Liveblog and Defence Fund.

Follow media outlets which report independently on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, such as Consortium NewsThe CanaryCounterpunchDemocracy NowThe Real News NetworkTruthdig, and WSWS.

Follow WikiLeaks supporters and other accounts such as @SomersetBean, @GreekEmmy, @AssangeMrs, @KHrafnsson