Support Julian Assange
Journalist Julian Assange spent his career revealing what presidents, prime ministers, and CEOs don’t want the people to know. Journalists have a right, indeed an obligation to share information, particularly the information that powerful people want to keep hidden.
That is why he has been a prisoner in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for the past six years. He sought asylum there with a justifiable fear that a now dismissed charge of sexual assault in Sweden would put him in the hands of American authorities.
The U.K. government has stated clearly that he will be arrested should he leave and that departure is now imminent. Ecuador’s newly elected president, Lenin Moreno, declared that he must leave “eventually.” The United States has pressured Ecuador from the beginning of Assange’s asylum to turn him over. The new government is being bribed with promises of military aid and oil deals. Unlike his predecessor, Moreno is a willing participant in the bribery scheme that will inevitably put Assange in great danger. There is evidence that Assange may have already been indicted secretly in an American court.
While Assange suffers in isolation and in deteriorating health the people he rightly targeted walk free. Presidents who invade Iraq, or command drone strikes are free to make money after committing their crimes. The bankers who crashed the global economy do not live in fear, nor do the CEOs who have succeeded in impoverishing most of the world’s people.
Barack Obama perfected the discredited tactic of using the red scare era Espionage Act against whistle blowers on more occasions than all of his predecessors combined. Donald Trump has been handed this awful precedent and has shown no sign of behaving any differently.
A United Nations panel ruled that Assange is being detained arbitrarily. The Organization of American States decreed that his right to asylum should be respected. But the governments carrying out the crimes that Assange and Wikileaks team have revealed violate international law with impunity and loudly declare that they will ignore it again should he leave the Ecuadorean embassy.
Every effort to free him has been thwarted, including by the likes of former FBI director James Comey, the liberal hero, who scuttled a plan in the early days of the Trump administration that would have allowed him to walk free again. Presidents may change but the surveillance state does not. Comey and his ilk are determined to make an example of the truth teller. The example they want to make has been particularly intense ever sense his revelations of Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 presidential campaign. Democrats and other neo-liberals blame Assange for Hillary Clinton’s defeat, a useful claim as they seek to increase surveillance and governmental power and subvert human rights.
But people around the world have protested on Assange’s behalf. There have been numerous vigils at Ecuadorean embassies and consulates and at those of Australia, Assange’s native country. His freedom would come easily enough if Ecuador, which gave him citizenship, would simply give him a diplomatic passport. But obviously the inducements to prevent that from happening have been intense. He has been cut off from phone and internet use and is even denied visits from his family. The circumstances of his imprisonment have rightly been described as torture.
Assange is isolated and under attack by powerful countries, including the U.S., U.K., Sweden, Australia, and Ecuador. The only protection he has is unified action by the international left that demands his freedom and safety. People who want justice and who oppose warfare must all speak in one voice on his behalf. Julian Assange must be allowed to leave the Ecuadorean embassy without fear of persecution or prosecution.
Free Julian Assange! Justice for Whistle Blowers! #Unity4J