The United States government has begun collaborating with Google, Facebook, Twitter and other giant social media corporations to deny Internet users access to revolutionary socialist and oppositional information and analyses. Other capitalist governments around the world are implementing similar repressive measures.
Along with intensified surveillance and monitoring operations by state military-intelligence agencies, this new regime of state-sponsored censorship constitutes a dangerous and unprecedented global threat to freedom of speech and other fundamental democratic rights.
The World Socialist Web Site (WSWS), which marked its 20th anniversary in February, has become a particular target. In late April 2017, Google began implementing new algorithms to limit or block access to the WSWS and other left wing, anti-war and progressive websites.
These measures amount to political blacklisting. They are being justified on the basis of the fraudulent pretext of fighting “fake news” and “Russian meddling.”
No less sinister has been the stepped up persecution of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who remains in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been confined for the past six years. If he leaves, he will almost certainly be arrested and extradited to the US, where he faces likely charges of espionage and even the death penalty.
His crime? Publishing material exposing American war crimes, including video of the cold-blooded murder of journalists, in the Middle East.
Three weeks ago, the Ecuadorian government cut Assange off from communicating with the outside world, blocking his access to the Internet, phone communications and visitors.
The World Socialist Web Site has taken the lead in exposing the conspiracy to censor the Internet and the attacks on the rights of Assange, and called for the formation of an International Coalition of Socialist, Anti-War and Progressive Websites to fight back.
The silencing of Assange coincides with Washington’s escalation of war in Syria and preparations for confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia and China. It has, however, been totally ignored by the cowardly Australian government. Whether under Prime Ministers Gillard, Abbott or Turnbull, Canberra has taken no action whatsoever in defence of Assange, an Australian citizen, throughout the past six years.
These far-reaching threats to democratic rights cannot go unchallenged. We urge all those who stand for the defence of net neutrality, democratic rights, freedom of speech and freedom for Julian Assange, to attend the Socialist Equality Party and IYSSE public meetings, and bring your friends, family and workmates.
Sunday, May 20, 2.30 p.m.
174 Boundary St (near Vulture St corner)
Tickets: $5/$3 concession