Urgent message to Bernie and Jeremy: the time has come to support Julian Assange clearly and openly!
As Julie Hyland, the assistant national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (UK), mentioned in her recent speech outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London:
It is shameful that Jeremy Corbyn has not made a public statement in Julian’s defence since he was elected party leader, almost three years ago. There is no question that if he used his considerable support to pledge Labour’s defence of Assange and WikiLeaks, there would be thousands here today and those plotting against him would have to think twice.
The next weeks are critical. We call on workers and youth in Britain and across the world to break this wall of silence by renewing the fight for Assange’s freedom as vital to the defence of free speech and a critical and independent media.
And she is right.
The new Ecuadorian administration under Lenín Moreno tightens noose around Julian Assange and now Ecuador methodically pushes him into the hands of the US empire.
In a parallel action for the support of Julian Assange in Sydney, John Pilger described perfectly the true nature of the neoliberal regime, masked with a fake progressiveness:
In 2008, a plan to destroy both WikiLeaks and Julian was laid out in a top secret document dated 8 March, 2008. The authors were the Cyber Counter-intelligence Assessment Branch of the US Defence Department. They described in detail how important it was to destroy the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity.” This would be achieved with threats of “exposure and criminal prosecution” and an unrelenting assault on reputation. The aim was to silence and criminalise WikiLeaks and its editor and publisher. It was as if they planned a war on a single human being and on the very principle of freedom of speech.
Last October, the ABC journalist Sarah Ferguson interviewed Hillary Clinton, over whom she fawned as “the icon for your generation.” This was the same Clinton who threatened to “obliterate totally” Iran and who, as US secretary of state in 2011, was one of the instigators of the invasion and destruction of Libya as a modern state, with the loss of 40,000 lives. Like the invasion of Iraq, it was based on lies. When the Libyan president was murdered publicly and gruesomely with a knife, Clinton whooped and cheered. Thanks largely to her, Libya became a breeding ground for ISIS and other jihadists. Thanks largely to her, tens of thousands of refugees fled in peril across the Mediterranean, and many of them drowned. In leaked emails published by WikiLeaks, we know that Hillary Clinton's foundation received millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the main backers of ISIS and terrorism across the Middle East. As secretary of state, Clinton approved the biggest arms deal ever, $80 billion worth. Today, Saudi Arabia is using these weapons to crush starving and stricken people in a genocidal assault on Yemen.
Sarah Ferguson, a highly paid ABC reporter, raised not a word of this with Hillary Clinton sitting in front of her. Instead, she allowed Clinton to attack and smear Julian Assange as “a tool of Russian intelligence” and “a nihilistic opportunist who does the bidding of a dictator.” Julian was offered no right of reply to this shocking interview, this orgy of deformation broadcast by Australia's publicly-funded state broadcaster. As if that wasn’t enough, Ferguson’s executive producer, Sally Neighour, followed the interview with a vicious re-tweet: “Assange is Putin's bitch. We all know it!”
There are many other examples of Vichy journalism. The Guardian, reputedly once a great liberal newspaper, has conducted a vendetta against Julian Assange. Like a spurned lover, the Guardian aimed its personal, petty, inhuman and cowardly attacks at a man whose work it once published and profited from. The former editor of the Guardian called the WikiLeaks disclosures, which his newspaper published in 2010, “one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years.” Awards were lavished and celebrated as if Julian Assange did not exist. WikiLeaks’ revelations became part of the Guardian’s marketing plan to raise the paper’s cover price. They made money, often big money, while WikiLeaks and Assange struggled to survive. With not a penny going to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie deal. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously abused Assange as a “damaged personality” and “callous.” They also revealed the secret password Julian had given the Guardian in confidence, and which was designed to protect a digital file containing the US embassy cables. With Julian trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Luke Harding of the Guardian, who had made big bucks on the back of Julian and Edward Snowden, stood among the police outside the embassy and gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh.”
Julian Assange has committed no crime. He has never been charged with a crime. The Swedish episode was bogus and farcical and he has been vindicated.
Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape summed it up when they wrote, “The allegations against Assange are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations and their attendant rape, murder and destruction. The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will.”
Most of this truth was lost, or buried in a media witch-hunt that disgracefully associated Julian with rape and misogyny. The witch-hunt included voices who described themselves as on the Left and as feminist. Shame on them.
Documents released by Edward Snowden, showed Julian to be on what is called a “Manhunt target list.” One leaked official memo reads as follows: “Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He'll be eating cat food forever.”
In Alexandra, Virginia—the suburban home of America’s war-making elite—a secret Grand Jury, a throwback to the Middle Ages—has spent seven years trying to concoct a crime for which Julian Assange can be prosecuted.
The moments are very critical. It is time for the forces of the Left inside the motherlands of neoliberalism, to declare an open war against this ruthless regime.
They must start with an open and clear support declaration of Julian Assange.
So, we call Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn to abandon useless tactics and take a clear position. It will be the final signal to the progressives who still have doubts about their real intentions. We call them not to be afraid anymore. Societies and especially the youth is ready to get rid the global neoliberal tyranny.