As this year draws to a close, WikiLeaks publisher and Australian citizen Julian Assange remains effectively imprisoned inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, denied sunlight and medical care, and blocked from communicating with the outside world. A court document, which surfaced in November, confirms that the US government has filed and sealed criminal charges against Assange, on the basis that his media organisation, WikiLeaks, published leaked information revealing US war crimes and anti-democratic imperialist intrigues.
The information vindicates the fight waged by Assange and his defenders against an arrest warrant, issued against him in 2010, obligating him to answer “questions” over false allegations that he had committed sexual assault in Sweden. The allegations were fabricated in order to provide ammunition for various pro-US layers to discredit Assange and to create the conditions for him to be rendered to a country that could rapidly extradite him to the US. The American ruling elite is determined to make an example of Assange by putting him on trial for “espionage” or “conspiracy,” in order to intimidate every journalist and whistleblower.
For more than eight years, the persecution of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks has been at the very centre of systematic attempts by the US and allied governments to censor or silence independent and critical media. Google and Facebook are openly collaborating with this agenda, blocking access to alternative sources of information and analysis, on the basis of fraudulent allegations that they amount to “fake news.”
The American, British and Ecuadorian authorities are doing everything they can to force Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy. If he leaves, the British state will imprison him, while his legal team will be forced to fight in the British courts against an application by the Trump administration to extradite him to the US.
The Australian Liberal-National Coalition government, with the full support of the Labor Party, has refused to take any action whatsoever to defend Julian Assange, because the Australian establishment, no less than its American ally, wants to destroy WikiLeaks for the crime of telling the world the truth.
The mainstream media, the Greens, the trade unions and the pseudo-left organisations have all abandoned Assange’s defence, as they willingly line up with the preparations of the US and Australian establishments for a truly monstrous crime: a military confrontation and potential nuclear war with China, to protect their strategic interests and corporate profits.
Millions of workers and young people continue to support both Assange and WikiLeaks. Despite the efforts to blacken his name, he is still rightly viewed as a heroic figure for his defiance of the powers-that-be and his courageous publication of the damning exposures of their criminality.
The Sunday December 16 public meeting and Livestream will discuss the Socialist Equality Party’s political perspective to mobilise and lead workers and young people in defence of Julian Assange.
On June 17 this year, the SEP organised a demonstration that was addressed by journalist John Pilger and leading SEP speakers and attended by several hundred people. In February 2019, we will hold further demonstrations, as well as organise immediate protest actions if Assange is forced from the embassy and taken into British custody.
The rallies will demand that the Australian government exercise its undeniable diplomatic and legal powers to insist that the British government immediately and unconditionally allow Assange to leave the United Kingdom and return to Australia if he so chooses. The courageous journalist must be provided with a guarantee, by both the Coalition and Labor, that Canberra will categorically reject any US application for Assange’s extradition.
Secondly, the SEP will place at the centre of its campaign in the forthcoming Australian federal election the demand for Australian government intervention to defend Julian Assange. This demand will form part of the socialist program required to meet the social and democratic rights of the working class as a whole.
The December 16 event will take place in the wake of the meetings in Sydney, Melbourne and Wellington, New Zealand to mark the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Fourth International.
The International Committee of the Fourth International and its publication, the World Socialist Web Site, are at the forefront of the fight to unite and mobilise the international working class against the persecution of Julian Assange, Internet censorship, and the broader assault on democratic rights and the drive toward war in Australia and throughout the world.
We urge all workers, youth and professionals to attend the Fourth International anniversary meetings (details here) and to take part in the December 16 meeting, either by attending the public meeting in Sydney or watching the Facebook Livestream. Online participants will be able to ask questions or make comments via messaging.
Meeting details in Sydney:
Sunday, December 16, 2:00 p.m.
Bankstown Library, Lansdowne Meeting Rooms 1 & 2
80 Rickard Road, Bankstown
(cnr of Rickard and Chapel Roads)
Tickets: $7/$5 concession
Facebook Livestream details:
Sunday, December 16, 2:00 p.m., Sydney, Australian Eastern Daylight Time
Click here for time zone conversion
Facebook Livestream viewing in Melbourne:
Sunday, December 16, 2:00 p.m.
667 Rathdowne St, Carlton North
Tickets: $5/$3 concession
The Turnbull government must act to repatriate Australian citizen Julian Assange to Australia
Speech by SEP national secretary James Cogan to the June 17, 2018 rally at Sydney Town Hall
Bringing Julian Assange Home
Speech by John Pilger to the June 17, 2018 rally at Sydney Town Hall