Over the past week World Socialist Web Site reporters distributed hundreds of copies of the May 30 statement, “The working class must mobilize to free Julian Assange,” to workers in New York City, including to the train operators, bus drivers, cleaners and station agents who keep the city’s public transit system running.
Eugene, a train conductor, saw the leaflet and told a WSWS reporter, “Yes, I know about Julian Assange, and this is important.
“For Julian Assange to be defended and freed is not just important for people in America,” Eugene explained, “it is important for everyone. The reason is because he is telling the truth about what this country is doing at home and what they are doing in every country of world. He is telling the truth about the security forces who are spying on the American people by the millions without a legal or legitimate reason. And he is telling about the same security forces who are spying on the people of the world.
“Julian Assange has done us very great service.”
Shad, a transit cleaner at the Stillwell Avenue station, said, “Julian Assange and WikiLeaks exposed information that was vital for us to know. We have the right to know what is going on in the wars and with government operations, and he has given us the power and information.”
Asked about WikiLeaks’ publication of Hillary Clinton’s quarter million dollar speeches to Goldman Sachs and other banks, Shad responded, “We need the information about Clinton’s speeches to the banks to know where all the money is coming from and who our politicians are really for.
“Forcing Julian Assange to stand trial in the US will cause all kinds of trouble and threaten anyone else telling the truth about the government, politicians and the wars. The Democrats and intelligence agencies are wrong targeting Assange and trying to interfere with what this society was founded on, and that is free speech which is the basis of democracy.”
At the East New York bus depot, Dennis, a bus operator with eight years on the job, said, “People have the right to know the truth no matter where the chips fall. To defend Julian Assange is to defend freedom of speech and freedom of the press. And this means keeping him from being tried and silenced.”
Michael stated, “I believe we should know what is going on with the war crimes and the government. I don’t think it is fair if they are trying to arrest Julian Assange and bring him to the United States to pass a long jail sentence on him like they did with Chelsea Manning.”
Another worker in East New York, Raymond Louther, simply declared, “I am for Julian Assange.”
“This is the right of free speech,” fellow bus worker Francisco explained, “so Julian Assange has to be freed. Everyone has the right to know everything. The people have the right to know about the government’s war crimes and that the US is spying on the people in country after country.
“The UN judged and found under international law that it is the governments that are violating the law, not Julian Assange,” Simon added. “What will happen if we don’t defend Julian Assange’s rights? We will lose. All of us will lose our rights to free speech. Assange and WikiLeaks have been able to collect and publish what the government is doing. If the government does something wrong, we need someone to speak for us and expose it. And this is Julian Assange.”
Simone said, “I think we should defend Assange, who published the government’s wartime killing operations and what the government is doing here.”
A 19-year veteran bus operator, Mike, said, “The only thing Julian Assange has done is show what the government is doing. This is not negative. This is positive. It is positive because the people need to know what is going on.
“I hope Julian Assange and WikiLeaks continue to do this. He should have published Hillary Clinton’s speeches to Goldman Sachs and the banks. It is not like he is a spy or a double agent. Julian Assange is a journalist and reporter unlike the others.”