By Davey Heller, 7th April 2018
After providing Julian Assange protection since 2012 in their Embassy in London, the Government of Ecuador since March 29th has imposed a complete communication blockade and placed him in virtual solitary confinement.
Julian is living under these appalling conditions despite being granted citizenship of Ecuador and despite the fact he has been charged with no crime. The reason Julian refuses to leave the Embassy has not changed since he first claimed asylum. Julian knows that there is a conspiracy by the UK and U.S. Governments to get him into custody and then extradite him to the U.S. to face espionage charges. A Federal Grand jury has been laying the ground work for these charges. The first attempt to get Assange into custody founded with the dropping of the Swedish investigation into trumped up charges of sexual assault. The UK Government is still vindictively pursuing Assange over breaches of his bail conditions arising from the now dropped investigation.
It is obvious that the real “crime” of Assange was his journalistic work with Wikileaks which in 2011 led to the exposure of U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and thousands of documents exposing the machinations of the U.S. State Department.
Assange has continued his journalistic work from within the Embassy and has used social media to continue to campaign against censorship and speak on international issues. Now Ecuador is silencing Asssange under pressure from the U.K and U.S. Government.
The attack on Assange liberty and freedom of speech is part of a global assault on democratic rights, censorship of the Internet and a drive towards Imperialist War. The plight of Assange echoes the persecution of another famous dissident in the build up to the last world war. Leon Trotsky after his expulsion by Stalin from the USSR was forced from numerous “democracies” including France and Norway. Like Assange, Trotsky was asked to not “interfere” in the affairs of each country or harm their relations with other nations by speaking on politics. His refusal to submit to these undemocratic demands was then used to justify his expulsion.
In the build up to war, prominent anti-war voices are treated like a virus by the powerful that must be contained and extinguished. This is why the working class cannot stand by whilst Julian Assange is silenced or extradited.
It is difficult to know as individuals what to do in the moment to help Julian Assange given his isolation. Some individuals are vigiling at the Embassy in London. Others are using their profiles and voices on social media to raise the alarm. A series of prominent academics, journalists and writers have issued open letters in protest. I personally rung the Ecuadorian Embassy in Canberra to register my concerns. The WSWS has called for the working class to organise protests in the streets and workplaces if Julian is arrested and extradited. The campaign for his freedom is inseparable from the struggle against imperialist war, dictatorship and capitalism and can only be waged as part of this broader struggle of the working class.