Last Friday, Britain’s High Court ruled in favour of a US government appeal aimed at extraditing WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to the United States. The court’s decision confirms that the British state, its government, judiciary, and intelligence agencies are determined to destroy Assange in retribution for WikiLeaks’ courageous exposure of war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Over the coming weeks the World Socialist Web Site will publish interviews and statements from workers, young people, medical professionals and lawyers, artists and writers, speaking out against one of the greatest political crimes of the 21st century.
As the WSWS wrote in June 2019, “Only by organizing protest actions on an international scale—meetings, rallies, demonstrations, and public conferences—will it be possible to frustrate and defeat the plans of reactionary governments, their intelligence agencies and political agents to silence and destroy Julian Assange. The aim of this campaign must be to politically arouse and mobilize the international working class—the overwhelming majority of the population and the most powerful social force on the planet—in defence of Julian Assange and, in fact, the democratic and social rights of all workers.”
We urge readers of the World Socialist Web Site to send messages of support and to organise motions in your workplace, school or college demanding Assange’s immediate and unconditional freedom.
The WSWS has received the following statements of support from workers in Scotland and England.
Emily, a carer in Edinburgh, Scotland originally from Australia said, “It is difficult to express the revulsion I feel at the continued persecution of Julian Assange, an Australian journalist who published information on the war crimes of the US and its allies. The governments of these nations have conspired to continuously violate his human rights. They have smeared his character, imprisoned and tortured him to the point of him suffering a stroke, refused him legal asylum, and are now preparing to put him through another show trial in another foreign country. There, he will again be imprisoned, mistreated, and eventually die as a result.
“Despite the orchestrated smears and intimidation, public support for Assange in his home country is across the political spectrum. I, along with many other Australians, will continue to support Assange and recognise this miscarriage of justice for what it is.”
Dino, a mental health social worker in Dorset described the situation facing Assange as “quite distressing to be honest. The guy’s being punished for good things he has done! And for how many years? A murderer would have been let out by now. He spent his best years under some form of arrest and now Uncle Sam wants to use his stick on him. A pathetic court outcome to be frank.
“Mr Assange has been a shining beacon when it comes to unearthing what certain governments wanted to keep a tight lid on. However, due to their power, and judges who kow-tow to deeply disturbing agendas, he is being made a scapegoat for their heinous crimes against humanity.
“I am sad that UK’s judges have concluded that Mr Assange is in position to stand a trial in US courts. He has already spent about a decade in one or another form of arrest, and he deserves to be living freely with his family. This move makes it abundantly clear that UK’s judges are not impartial—on the contrary, they are politically driven, and this case sets an historic precedent.”
Onya, a shipyard worker in Rosyth, Scotland said, “The illusion that liberal democracies allow freedom of speech has been shattered. You are free to say as you wish providing it doesn't expose abhorrent state sanctioned war crimes or upset the status quo. Assange should be championed as a campaigner for human rights rather than vilified and subjected to what could be considered torture.”
Gerard, a retired shipyard worker from Renfrew, Scotland said, “I'd like to say that Julian Assange has been basically fed to the wolves by governments at the highest level.
“Julian Assange has been treated like a dockyard rat while in the hands of security services. They bleat out the usual gibberish about ‘working in the interests of public security and treating any human with the utmost respect’ ...where have I heard that classic line before? Get ready for another saga which will rival Tolstoy's masterpiece.
“Please let common sense prevail and help this human being to achieve his freedom.”
Ken, a former building worker from Dundee, Scotland said, “The decision to extradite Julian Assange is a crime against humanity. Especially against such a brilliant journalist. The crimes he exposed regarding the United States and its barbaric murders around the globe, testify to his brilliance as an investigative journalist.
“The courts in Britain and America had already made up their minds that Julian was guilty. There is no doubt that the American authorities’ guarantee that he would be treated with leniency is a pack of lies. His physical and mental health must be in a terrible state, especially after having a stroke. A campaign in the working class worldwide is the way forward to freeing him from the prison where he is currently incarcerated.”
Francesa, a retired nurse and teacher from Scotland, cited the words of Berit Reiss Andersen who announced the winners in Oslo on Friday of the Nobel Peace Prize, “Without freedom of expression and freedom of the press, it will be difficult to successfully promote fraternity between nations, disarmament, and a better world order to succeed in our time”.
Francesca cited the Nobel Committee’s words, “Free, independent and factual based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda”.
She responded, “It is somewhat ironic that this was announced on the date of the Court of Appeal’s ruling to allow Julian Assange to be extradited to the United States, despite reliable reports released of his general ill health and that he had suffered a stroke at the time of his trial. Assange, WikiLeaks founder and publisher, has attained global attention for publishing documents known as the Afghanistan diaries, Iraq War Logs and Guantanamo Bay prisoners and US diplomatic documents these were published between 2009-2011. His crime was exposing war crimes against humanity and illegal political and military wrongdoings by US and the allies.
“While there is an almost media blackout on reporting the trial of Assange, releasing grim pictorial evidence of inhuman US actions of bombing innocent men, women and children in the so-called War on Terror, Julian Assange rots in Belmarsh prison in south-east London as the US insists and demands his extradition to die in a cell for exposing US war crimes. In supporting Julian Assange, we are uniting to defend free speech.”
David, a former sports lecturer from Montrose, Scotland said, “I am truly saddened, but unfortunately not shocked, at the ruling on Friday to allow for the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States of America. Assange is a man who has done more than most other so-called journalists to expose the crimes of the US and UK in their dirty wars. He highlighted corruption, abuse, war crimes, deception and downright criminality. He allowed the world to see these crimes for themselves.
“The man who should be lauded, applauded and awarded for such bravery is now facing a fate that is of the realm of nightmares. This man has already been imprisoned for over a decade. He has failing health, both mentally and physically and may not survive this fresh ordeal. It is an inhumane decision, but inhumanity seems to run through much of our established bodies. Surely the judiciary should not add to this. Independence in our judiciary is in grave doubt and it does serious damage to any notion of British justice.”
Terry, a former welder from Wakefield in West Yorkshire wrote, “I oppose the extradition of Julian Assange. The conclusion of the UK law courts is an injustice against him. He is being made a scapegoat for telling the truth about the war crimes in Iraq. America wants to jail him to hide their atrocities. There is no justice and no democracy, and it will have consequences for us all if they are allowed to extradite him. Julian Assange, we salute you.”
Ben, a software engineer from North Yorkshire wrote, “I hold the American and British ruling class, and their courts, responsible for Julian Assange’s Transient Ischaemic Attack [a ‘mini-stroke’]. This would have been triggered by stress about the prospect of being handed over to criminals who demanded his execution in 2010 and plotted his murder later.
“Much worse could come if he is exposed to Omicron, given his poor health. He has been deprived of the ability to meaningfully exercise and to have adequate sun exposure for more than two years at Belmarsh. All of this is immensely damaging. The judges will have known of his deteriorated health.
“The ruling class and its supporters in the ‘liberal’ press no longer bother to pretend that they are pursing Assange for sexual assault allegations--the mask came off two years ago. It was always about his key role at WikiLeaks in exposing war crimes.”
Chris Porter, a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, speaking in a personal capacity said, “The UK High Court’s decision, and whole approach to the case, is an indictment of the subjugation of the British judiciary and indeed state, to the lickspittle service of American imperialism. It signals a worrying and telling tendency of failing capitalist states of silencing journalists who reveal truths about their crimes. The lack of support for Assange in the corporate media, mostly consisting of silence, carries as much complicity as the other arms of the state.”