Julian Assange and Press Freedom and 63rd Anniversary Agent Orange Day

Julian Assange and Press Freedom

Facing the possibility of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assanges imminent extradition to the United States, Reporters Without Borders recently launched a week of advocacy meetings and a mobile truck through the streets of Washington DC to urgently call for his release.

The actions were organized after UK High Court Judge Jonathan Swift in June rejected Assanges appeal against the UKs order of extradition to the United States. Assange, who is being targeted for revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes, is the first publisher prosecuted under the Espionage Act for disclosing government secrets. He faces a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.
Rebecca Vincent, Director of Campaigns for Reporters Without Borders said: US policymakers still have the power and the opportunity to make a difference in this case and take a stand for the protection of journalism and press freedom. Our call on the Biden administration is more urgent than ever before: drop the charges, close this case, and free Assange!

Reporters Without Borders is the only non-governmental organization to have monitored Assanges entire extradition proceedings despite extensive barriers to observation. In April 2023, its Secretary-General Christophe Deloire and Rebecca Vincent were arbitrarily barred from visiting Assange in Belmarsh prison where hes been held for more than four years. Reporters Without Borders continues to seek access to the prison and campaign globally for Assanges release.

Guest – Clayton Weimers, executive director of the US office of Reporters Without Borders. Clayton was previously the organizations Washington-Based Deputy Director for Advocacy.


63rd Anniversary Agent Orange Day

Although the Vietnam War ended in 1975, Vietnamese people today continue to suffer the debilitating effects of Agent Orange. Thats the deadly dioxin-containing chemical weapon that the U.S. military sprayed over 12 percent of South Vietnam from 1961-1971. Agent Orange poisoned both the people and the land of Vietnam. On August 10, Agent Orange Day, we mark the 63rd anniversary of the first spraying of the toxic chemical on Vietnam.

Descendants of the roughly 2 to 4 million Vietnamese people, hundreds of thousands of U.S. Vietnam veterans, and Vietnamese-Americans exposed to Agent Orange and other toxins still suffer. They register disproportionate rates of congenital disabilities and higher rates of several diseases. U.S. veterans receive some limited compensation from the U.S. government, but very little if any assistance has been given to the Vietnamese people, the intended victims targets of the defoliant Agent Orange.

The Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2023 will be introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California). If passed, the bill would increase benefits to children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange. It would also expand research about Agent Orange and its effects on the health of exposed individuals; and provide medical, housing and poverty reduction aid to Vietnamese people, and their children, affected by exposure. And it would help to clean up the many remaining dioxin hot spots in Vietnam.

Guest – Paul Cox served in the U.S. Marines during the Vietnam War. He now serves on the board of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign, a project of Veterans for Peace (on whose board Paul also sits). We are fortunate to have Paul with us today to discuss the horrific legacy of what the Vietnamese people call The American War and the campaign to provide compensation for the victims of Agent Orange. HR3518 Victims Of Agent Orange Relief Act 2021

Hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Marjorie Cohn, and Julie Hurwitz

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