The Socialist Equality Party (Canada) is holding a public meeting in Montreal on Sunday, February 2 to fight for the freedom of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. (For meeting details please scroll to the bottom.)
We strongly urge all WSWS readers and defenders of democratic rights in southwestern Quebec and eastern Ontario to make plans to attend this important meeting.
Assange is under imminent threat of being illegally extradited to the US, where he faces trumped-up Espionage Act charges and the threat of a 175-year jail term. Dozens of doctors have warned that if Assange is not released from prison to receive medical treatment for years of psychological torture at the hands of the British government—which kept him under house arrest at the Ecuadorean Embassy for years, and has now jailed him in a hellish maximum security prison—he could die.
The defence of Assange is an essential part of the global struggle to defend democratic rights and oppose war. He is being held in Belmarsh Prison alongside convicted murderers because he sought to inform working people around the world about the crimes carried out by US imperialism and its allies. These include the massacring of innocent civilians as depicted in the notorious “Collateral Murder” video published by WikiLeaks.
The capitalist ruling elite is determined to make examples of Assange and of Chelsea Manning, the courageous whistleblower who has been held in a US prison since last March because she refused to testify against Assange in a rigged Grand Jury proceeding. Their aim is to intimidate popular opposition to authoritarianism and war, and to gut democratic rights.
Canada, unlike the US, British and Australian governments, is not a direct participant in Assange’s persecution. But the entire Canadian ruling elite is an accomplice to this historic crime.
None of its parties, including the New Democrats, Greens and Quebec Solidaire, have denounced, let alone sought to mobilize popular opposition against, Assange’s persecution.
Instead, the so-called “left” and “progressive” parties promote Justin Trudeau as representing an “alternative” to the Conservatives, even as his Liberal government integrates Canada ever more deeply into Washington’s military-strategic offensives and regime-change operations around the world, including against Iran in the Middle East.
Canada has been a key ally in the US-led wars of aggression of the past quarter century. It therefore bears responsibility for the war crimes and devastation these wars have inflicted on entire societies, from Afghanistan to Libya, Syria, and Iraq. Canada’s spy agencies collaborate intimately with the American National Security Agency (NSA), which has spearheaded the establishment of a global network of surveillance that targets the entire population.
Ahead of Assange’s extradition hearing on February 24, it is critical that workers, young people, and professionals across Canada raise their voices in his defence and join the growing global campaign to win his and Chelsea Manning’s freedom.
The Montreal meeting is part of the worldwide campaign spearheaded by the World Socialist Web Site to mobilize the working class and all those committed to democratic rights in Assange’s defence. It will initiate steps to develop a cross-Canada campaign to win his freedom, defend democratic rights, and oppose Canadian imperialism and war.
No to war and the assault on democratic rights:
Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning must be defended!
Sunday, February 2, at 1:30 PM
Centre St-Pierre, Room 201
1212 Rue Panet (near the Beaudry Métro station, on the Green Line)