I never gave up - Wikileaks founder JULIAN ASSANGE's father says upon his arrival in Australia

Thursday, June 27, 2024 - John Shipton, the father of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has revealed his relief after a decade-long campaign to free his son. Assange was released by a court on the U.S. Pacific Island territory of Saipan on Wednesday, June 26 after pleading guilty to violating U.S. espionage law.

Assange's family, including his father, children and wife, Stella, gathered in Australia's capital Canberra ahead of his expected evening arrival by private jet, marking the end of a long legal fight tied to WikiLeaks' release of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. defence documents in 2010.

Since 2012 he has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, but in 2019 Assange was carried out of the embassy and arrested after Ecuador revoked his political asylum. He has been in a British prison since then, while the US fought to extradite him.

Shipton said he planned to ask his son in a low-key Australian way when he arrives: 

"Where have you been?" "My faith has never, ever, ever died," he told Reuters in an interview at parliament.

"That Julian can come home to Australia and see his family regularly and do the ordinary things of life is a treasure. Life measured amongst the beauty of the ordinary is the essence of life," Shipton said.

Shipton said he was "divided in two" on the deal that saw Assange plead guilty to one charge of espionage, saying his release meant he would have precious time with his sons.

"I think it is going to be a problem for journalists and publishers anywhere in the world to publish criticism of the United States government," he said.

Assange will need time to recover from his "monastic life" in self-exile in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for seven years, and then prison for five years, Shipton said.

He looked forward to being involved in his son's "practical everyday human life, not the sweep of politics."

"The American secret service in 2011 published their review saying we must hound him and his family to the end of the earth and bankrupt them. Its been expensive but I’ve got no complaints – the results are there for everyone to see," he said.

Assange has previously said he got his “rebel gene” from his father but Shipton said he considers his son to be conservative and polite.

"It is his understanding of the capacity of the internet to bring to us information that can be the foundation of knowledge that is revolutionary," he said.

"He is only 52 I imagine he will find something to do. He will be 53 next week. The momentum he has got ... he will conjure forth those things that he can do."

"We Australians managed to turn around a superpower in its attempt to destroy an Australian citizen," he said.

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