Tuesday, July 17, 2018

UK and Ecuador in talks to evict Assange from London embassy

From WSWS:

The London-based Times newspaper reported yesterday that the British and Ecuadorian governments have been holding secret discussions on plans to evict WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange from Ecuador’s London embassy, where he sought political asylum six years ago.

The article said the talks are “an attempt to remove Assange” from the embassy and are being conducted at the highest levels of government, with British Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan personally involved.

Read the full report on the WSWS

The report is the latest public indication of a conspiracy, involving the British, US and Ecuadorian governments, to terminate Assange’s political asylum, in violation of international law, and force him into UK custody. The major powers are determined to prosecute the WikiLeaks editor for his organisation’s role in exposing US-led war crimes and diplomatic intrigues around the world.

The widespread sympathy for Assange must be mobilised and transformed into a mass political movement of the working class, demanding his immediate freedom and an end to his persecution.

In Britain, the demand must be raised that the May government drop its politically motivated bail charges. In Australia, the call must go out to force the federal Liberal-National government to uphold Assange’s rights as a citizen, including by intervening to secure his return to Australia with a guarantee against extradition to the US.

In workplaces, factories, neighbourhoods and on university campuses, preparations must be made for mass political action, including protests, demonstrations, and strikes, if Assange is expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy and faces extradition to the US.

Prominent whistleblowers and journalists defend Julian Assange at online vigil

Last weekend, dozens of public figures, including prominent whistleblowers and journalists, took part in a 36-hour international online vigil in defence of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange.
The speakers included individuals who have been persecuted by governments for taking a courageous stand against war and authoritarianism.
Daniel Ellsberg, whose release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 exposed the extent of US criminality in Vietnam, drew a parallel between his own activities and those of WikiLeaks. Referring to WikiLeaks’ 2010 publication of US war logs in Iraq and Afghanistan, he stated: “I really waited almost 40 years, after the Pentagon Papers had come out, for someone to do what I had done.”
Ellsberg pointed to similarities between the attacks that had been levelled against him, and the persecution of Assange. “I was charged with 12 felony counts, a possible 150 years in prison. Nixon had in mind for me what Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have had in mind for Julian Assange,” he said.
Ellsberg declared that WikiLeaks’ publications had exposed “our imperial operations worldwide” and had contributed to popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.
He warned that it was “almost certain” that Assange would be extradited to the US to face espionage charges, if he was taken into British custody. Ellsberg stated that an espionage prosecution of Assange, a journalist, would have far-reaching constitutional implications.
“If that were successful, it would mean a real change in our constitution and in our regime. It would be a regime change,” Ellsberg said. “We have come very far from democratic institutions in recent years, as Ed Snowden revealed, but the pursuit of Assange would be one step further and would essentially chill all leaking and whistleblowing.”
Ellsberg stated that in persecuting Assange, the Trump administration has been emboldened by the corporate press, because the WikiLeaks editor could “not count on other journalists protesting, as much as they should, which is shameful of them.”
Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, said that within the US intelligence apparatus, there was a “maniacal hatred of Julian and WikiLeaks. In their eyes they have to get him and they have to make an example of him so there won’t be any more Julian Assanges.”
Hedges placed the attacks on WikiLeaks in the context of the broader drive to end online freedom of speech. He referenced Google’s introduction of censorship algorithms last year, which he said were aimed at reducing traffic to the World Socialist Web SiteTruthdig and other “anti-capitalist” and “anti-imperialist” web sites.
Hedges stated that governments were using “the classic method, which is to tar WikiLeaks, or dissenters like myself, as being agents of a foreign power.” He explained: “We have the whole Russia hysteria here, which is a smokescreen and fictitious, but which the corporate media can’t spend enough time hyperventilating about. Because the elites do not want to acknowledge that it’s social inequality which they engineered which has created this loss of faith in the ruling ideology of global capitalism.”
Suzie Dawson read, in full, Hedges’ statement to the WSWS last month endorsing a Socialist Equality Party rally in defence of Assange, held in Sydney, Australia, which she said was “very gratefully received in whistleblower circles.” Hedges reiterated the call for pressure to be placed on the Australian government to force it to take immediate action to secure Assange’s freedom and safe passage to Australia, with a guarantee against extradition to the US.

Read the full report on the WSWS
SEP (Australia) to hold meetings on new “foreign interference” laws: A move towards dictatorship and war

The passage of “foreign interference” legislation last week by the Coalition government and the Labor Party marks a new stage in the decades-long assault on the democratic rights of the working class.

The new laws have been imposed amidst xenophobic hysteria in the parliament and the media over “Chinese influence” and “interference.” Their purpose is to justify the support of the entire Australian political establishment for the US preparations for war against China, which are aimed at preventing China from emerging as a direct challenge to the global dominance of American-based banks and corporations.

The SEP and IYSSE meetings will raise the need for the working class and youth to develop a powerful political movement in defence of democratic rights and civil liberties, and to unify internationally against the descent toward war.

The first meeting, which was held in Sydney on July 15 and was livestreamed on the SEP Facebook page to a world audience. Details of upcoming meetings:

Sunday, July 22, 2.30 p.m.
Meat Market Conference Centre
5 Blackwood Street, North Melbourne
Melway Reference: 2B A9
Tickets: $5/$3 concession

Sunday, July 22, 2:00 p.m.
Silver Ridge Community, Cottage
13 Iranda Grove, Wallsend
Tickets: $5/$3 concession

Saturday, July 28, 2:30 p.m.
Woolloongabba, Senior Citizens Hall
22 Qualtrough Street, Woolloongabba
Tickets: $5/$3 concession
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