On Sunday, Yahoo News claimed that Trump administration and CIA officials plotted to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange while he was hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017.
A group of eminent Australian lawyers, journalists, and academics has called on the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison to elaborate on a recent media report about an alleged plot by Washington to kill WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2017.
In a letter to Morrison released on Thursday, the members of the group, who earlier visited Assange in London, pointed out that they would like to know what the government knew about the White House’s purported plan.
The prominent Australians also noted in the letter that they “wish to know what surveillance or monitoring” they “have been subjected to by the intelligence agencies of our allies, the United Kingdom and United States”, wondering whether any of them was “placed on speculative kill lists”.
“We also believe we have a right to know whether the Australian government was informed or consented to our communications and movements being tracked”, the letter reads.
The letter’s signatories include barrister Julian Burnside, who told ABC News that he was seriously concerned about the reports of a planned assassination of Assange.
“It’s one thing [for the government] to ignore an Australian overseas who’s in difficulty. It’s altogether another to ignore an Australian overseas who may be murdered by another government, a government that is ostensibly an ally”, Burnside asserted.
The remarks come after Yahoo News reported on Sunday that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) considered kidnapping or even killing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as he began his fifth year at Ecuador’s UK Embassy in 2017.
This was allegedly triggered by WikiLeaks’ publication of highly sensitive CIA hacking tools, known as “Vault 7”, a release that the agency admitted was “the largest data loss in CIA history”.
Assange was arrested in London on 11 April 2019, and sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for jumping bail in 2012, when he took refuge inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in the UK capital to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced sexual assault charges that were later dropped by a Swedish court.
The 50-year-old publisher is wanted by the US Justice Department on espionage and computer fraud charges after WikiLeaks made public thousands of secret files and classified information that shed light on war crimes committed by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Assange faces up to 175 years inside a top-security American prison if convicted in the US.
He is currently awaiting a court hearing on the US appeal concerning his extradition. The appeal will be heard on 27-28 October.