|Written by International Workers League web editorial team August 23, 2012|
|Sunday, 02 September 2012 18:54|
In recent weeks the founder of WikiLeaks, Australian Julian Assange, has again occupied the front pages of the world’s press. Under threat of extradition to Sweden because of allegations of sexual assault, Assange sought protection on 19 June in Ecuador’s Embassy in London.
Through WikiLeaks Assange published thousands of secret government documents concerning the US armed forces, including diplomatic reports about military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The publication of secret material and, in many cases, the scandalous activity of governments and corporations around the world, drew the anger of imperialism. Since then Assange has fought against an offensive to criminalise him and remove his freedom of speech. In London he was arrested and released on bail.
The Ecuador government announced through its Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patiño, its decision to grant asylum to Assange which started a huge diplomatic row. Britain, in an intransigente stance in defence of imperialist interests, refuses to grant Assange safe passage to go to South America. Britain intends to extradite him to Sweden, where he would be questioned for alleged sexual harassment and possibly then turned over to US authorities.
The Ecuadorian embassy is under a permanent police cordon. Britain arrogantly threatened to invade the embassy and arrest Assange – in contradiction of all international laws. The threat was withdrawn, but the impasse continues and now will be debated by the Organisation of American States.
Secrets of imperialism
Cynically, the British authorities say they have the “legal obligation to extradite to Sweden”, but they hide the reality that they cannot tolerate the threat to their smokescreen of secret diplomacy which conceals their alliances with murderous regimes, their subordination to the interests of large corporations, and their opposition to the common people.
The initiative of WikiLeaks revealed to the world the hidden filth in the relations between states. So-called democracies, such as Britain and the US do not allow any publicity or accountability over these negotiations. The mask of “freedom” worn by those regimes that pursue and entrap Assange reveal their hypocrisy over freedom of expression.
Solidarity with Assange
Given the outrageous political persecution of the WikiLeaks founder it is necessary to organise solidarity for Assange from political, democratic, union and student’s organisations and to demand the right of diplomatic asylum and freedom. Reject the imperialist threat of police invasion of the Ecuadorian embassy and its sovereign territory.
This solidarity is more than defending a persecuted activist international condemnation of Britain should be part of a struggle to end the secret diplomacy and treaties of social control made between states. Secret diplomacy only serves the interests of the rich and powerful who have no intention to reveal their international dealings to the people of their own countries.
Similarly, the unconditional defence of freedom of expression and the press can, in this case, confront the hypocrisy of so-called democratic regimes where bourgeois governments attempt to silence opponents who disclose their secrets.
Justice for Assange
Make into a series of boxes
1 – Freedom of information denied
The UK Crown Prosecution Services have denied a Freedom of Information Act request in relation to communications with other “states” regarding potential extradition arrangements for Julian Assange, on the grounds that it may endanger the UK’s diplomatic relations with other countries.
2 – Clinton visits Sweden
Hillary Clinton visited Sweden on 3 June just days after Britain’s Supreme Court announced its decision that Assange would be extradited to Sweden. It was the first visit by a US Secretary of State to Sweden since 1976 when Henry Kissinger visited Stockholm.
3 – Australia
In Australia, documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Fairfax media revealed Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States and possible charges of conspiracy and espionage to be the subject of numerous exchanges between Australian and US intelligence.
The diplomatic cables show Australia’s ambassador to the US, the former Labour leader Kim Beazley, made high level representations to the US government asking for advance warning of any moves to prosecute Assange.
The revelation followed earlier denials by Australia’s Foreign Minister, Bob Car, that any such discussions had taken place.
Despite exposure Senator Carr persisted with his lies and cover up, claiming he did not understand why Mr Assange feared the US would seek to extradite him from Sweden.
“What is the basis for saying he’s going to be extradited from Sweden?” he said.
4 – The US issues a sealed indictment for Assange
A sealed indictment has been issued by a secret grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, for Assange, which was revealed in an email dated 26 January 2011. It is to be activated against Assange in Sweden, Australia or the UK when the US Government gives the order. This was revealed in confidentail emails obtained from the US private intelligence firm Stratfor.
Fred Burton, Stratfor’s Vice-President for Counterterrorism and Corporate Security, is a former Deputy Chief of the Department of State’s counterterrorism division for the Diplomatic Security Service.
His emails also reveal that the US Government employs the same counterterrorism strategy against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as against Al Qaeda: “Take down the money. Go after his infrastructure. The tools we are using to nail and de-construct Wiki are the same tools used to dismantle and track aQ [Al Qaeda]. Thank Cheney & 43 [former US President George W. Bush]. Big Brother owns his liberal terrorist arse.”