Britain - Stop Torturing Journalists! Free Julian Assange!
27 November 2019
Julian Assange is now facing extradition to the United States on charges of violating the espionage act. From 2012 to April 2019 Assange lived in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, granted indefinite asylum by President Rafael Correa. At this time Assange had sought protection from extradition to Sweden where he was to face trumped up allegations of rape which have never resulted in charges being brought against him, but the real reason he suffered this confinement for seven years was fear that if he was to leave the embassy the US government would attempt to have him extradited the moment he hit Swedish soil to face a show trial in the US.
Assange became a bargaining chip in relations between the US and Ecuadorian governments following a change of government in Ecuador and Lenin Moreno, a right moving social democrat, moved to placate US imperialism by revoking the political asylum granted by President Correa.
Since April when he was forcibly removed from the embassy Assange has been held at the high security Belmarsh Prison in harshly repressive conditions. His incarceration in Belmarsh is designed to criminalise him but also to send a message to other journalists and whistle-blowers within the imperialist security apparatus that they will be harshly dealt with. Spending 22-23 hours a day in solitary confinement has taken its toll. His physical and psychological condition has become a cause of increasing concern to his supporters and family and he has since been moved to the prison hospital. His last public appearance, before an exceptionally arrogant Judge Vanessa Baraitser, was at a hearing in October which could be more correctly described as a costume rehearsal for the show trial he will face in the US if he is successfully extradited. The grim impact on his physical and mental health was revealed to the world.
The UN's special rapporteur
on torture, Nils Melzer expressed concern that Assange could die in prison
due to his treatment; “Mr Assange’s health has entered a downward spiral
of progressively severe anxiety, stress and helplessness typical for persons
exposed to prolonged isolation and constant arbitrariness...While the precise
evolution is difficult to predict with certainty, this pattern of symptoms
can quickly develop into a life threatening situation involving cardiovascular
breakdown or nervous collapse.”
War Crimes exposed
The US government's hounding of Assange has been coldly deliberate and his treatment by the British state is partly as a result of the UK government's eagerness to not be seen to waver in its alliance with US power but also to protect itself from further exposure of their own egregious political criminality. The bourgeoisie of all nations hate the idea that their money laundering schemes and war crimes should become public knowledge in the dramatic fashion that WikiLeaks revealed their scams and murderous sprees in Iraq and elsewhere.
A video released by Assange's WikiLeaks, provided by Chelsea Manning, of an Apache helicopter launching a cold blooded assault on two journalists in which two children were critically injured and both journalists were killed along with 10 other civilians is just one of the unforgivable “crimes” they have committed in the eyes of the US and British imperialists.
The torture of Assange is more than just revenge, it is the leading edge of the repression of whistle-blowers and any journalist that is willing to tell the truth. The conduct of the campaign against him reveals the utter 'lawlessness' of imperialism and “Reporters without Borders” are at least aware that Assange's arrest could "set a dangerous precedent for journalists, whistle-blowers, and other journalistic sources that the US may wish to pursue in the future". Indeed this is precisely their goal!
Assange's vision of internet freedom was to create a powerful rival to the everyday lies of our governments and their zeal in attempting to destroy him is a measure of the affront he presents to their deception and lies.
In effect Assange is being punished precisely for telling the truth and if the imperialist states are successful in his destruction then we truly are in Kafka territory.
Assange's project will always be valuable and legitimate and the idea it has come to represent is incompatible with the continuation of top down government. To gain this one man his freedom would be an important victory. We must not abandon him or accept that his situation is not an issue for all of us. Free Julian Assange!