The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys have unveiled their 2024 Defence Jersey, giving recognition to their region’s brave sacrifices for freedom.

This marks the first professional Australian sporting club to formally call for the release and return of the North Queensland Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange – 5 years after he was first incarcerated by the British government, and 12 years after he first entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London for diplomatic protection from intelligence agencies that would really appreciate him dying suddenly.

The North Queensland NRL club demands that all charges are dropped against Assange, who is believed to be a staunch supporter of both the Cowboys and the region’s local Foley Shield competition.

The striking 2024 edition of the jersey pays homage to several North Queensland military figures, on the 110th anniversary of Townsville’s 3rd Brigade storming the beaches in Gallipoli.

The jersey depicts Australian Army soldiers from 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment during Exercise Brolga Run 23, conducting an assault on the enemy’s main defensive position. This photograph was captured from the trenches, and was taken by Lance Corporal Riley Blennerhassett.

The back of the jersey, however, bares a photograph of Assange muzzled by an American flag.

This comes as US President Joe Biden declared that he is considering a request from Australia to drop the prosecution of WikiLeaks founder and proud North Queenslander, Julian Assange.

The country’s parliament recently passed a measure – backed by PM Anthony Albanese – calling for the return of Mr Assange to his hometown of Townsville.

The US wants to extradite the 52-year-old from the UK on criminal charges over the leaking of military records.

Mr Assange denies the charges, saying the leaks were an act of journalism that exposed the horrific war crimes of the Obama administration and many other global powers. Regardless of the context, these actions make him a war hero.

Former Cowboys captain and Queensland Origin legend, Johnathan Thurston, says it’s imperative that all Australians join North Queensland and demand the release of Assange.

“Assange deserves to be at home with his family in North Queensland” said Thurston.

“It’s where he’s from and where he belongs. He has does nothing wrong but tell the truth – as inconvenient as that is for the US and their military-industrial complex”

“If America could burn Julian Assange at the stake, it would do so. That is the real sadness of what this situation has revealed


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