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A panel of “the world’s leading journalists, lawyers and parliamentarians” met yesterday in the National Press Club to expose “the Biden administration’s crackdown on free speech and the First Amendment,” as exemplified in the case of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. It was entitled “The Belmarsh Tribunal”, after the Britain’s maximum security HM Prison Belmarsh where Assange is being held, without being charged. Amy Goodman and The Intercept’s Ryan Grim co-chaired the event. The tribunal contributes to the international pressure on the Assange case.

One of the tribunal’s witnesses, Lida Attalah, chief editor of Egyptian independent online news site MadaMasr, testified that the Assange case has taught “that journalism is originally an act of treason, a breaking open of the closed doors of knowledge guarded by the clerics and their secularized political successors today. WikiLeaks in that sense was foundational for journalism.” She herself is currently facing prosecution for her coverage pressure being put on Egypt to accommodate Palestinians displaced in the current Israeli war on Gaza.

Testimony was also taken from filmmaker Abby Martin, who noted that 60 journalists have been confirmed killed in Gaza since October 7, including Refaat Alareer, “openly assassinated.” Martin contended that the role of Assange and WikiLeaks in publishing much of the abuses in Western military interventions in the area has contributed greatly to the public’s ability to put Israel’s actions in Gaza into context. In particular, Martin declared, is Israel’s stated desire for Hamas to gain power in Gaza, which has now led to the alleged justification for the collective punishment of the entire Gaza population of 2.3 million Palestinians.

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