Free Julian Assange now!

We republish below the statement of the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International on Julian Assange’s case from April 2019, immediately after he was expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy and sent to Belmarsh in preparation for planned extradition to the US Gulag. This is a pretty good summary of the issues and smears that were used for years to undermine Assange’s defence.

The situation now is just as much as an outrage. Judge Vanessa Baraitser refused to extradite Assange to the US because his being flung into the US ‘Guantanamo-like ‘Maximum Security’ Gulag would likely cause his death, as the abuse involved would cause him to take his own life. She thus admitted the inhumanity of the US rulers’ system for incarcerating those like Assange who expose their criminality, their massacres of prisoners, their systematic use of torture and mass murder in their rampages around the world. Yet she upheld the grotesque charges even as the US lawyers themselves implicitly admitted that their original indictment did not stand up even in their own terms and attempted to supplement it with another pack of nonsense from a new informant, an unstable young Icelandic man who is in fact a proven liar and convicted child sex offender. And this individual, one Siggi Thordarson, has now confessed that his testimony against Assange in the new indictment (objections to which Baraitser refused to hear), was fabricated.

So, there are three sets of lies that have been hurled at Julian Assange. Firstly, the phoney rape charges that were concocted in Sweden (see below). The second being the attempt to indict Assange over Wikileaks’ work with Chelsea Manning (the real motive for the first fabrication in Sweden). And the third based on Thordarson’s lies. And yet Assange is still in Belmarsh, while the US liars and torturers look for a way to appeal/justify this potentially deadly persecution of a courageous journalist who exposed the crimes of US imperialism. This is just obscene!

Free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning! Defeat Imperialist War Criminals! (2019)

 The arrest of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on 11 April is another imperialist crime and exposes once again that a key international role of the British imperialist ruling class, in the words of Assange’s friend Pamela Anderson, is to act as “America’s bitch”.

This after 7 years of political asylum in the face of a phoney rape prosecution in Sweden, which was always political cover for an imperialist attempt to cage Assange for political ‘crimes’ against imperialism, in that he evidently worked together with former US soldier and whistle-blower Chelsea Manning to expose imperialist crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the notorious ‘Collateral Murder’ video that shows helicopter-borne US troops blatantly murdering journalists in Baghdad under cover of fighting ‘terrorism’, killing with abandon civilians who happened to be near to a resistance fighter.

Assange’s arrest was facilitated by the imperialist bribery of the Ecuadorian regime of President Lénin Moreno with around $4.2 billion worth of IMF loans/aid. Moreno was denounced by his predecessor, the radical nationalist Rafael Correa, who gave Assange asylum in 2012, as “the worst traitor in Ecuadorian history” for this selling of Assange, and Ecuador itself, to US imperialism.

The delivery of Assange to imperialism by the traitor Lenin Moreno, is part of the hunt for anti-imperialist fighters promoted by the right-wing governments that now control most Latin American countries. The neo-Nazi government of Jair Bolsonaro revoked the right to asylum of activist Cesare Batiisti, allowing his arrest and deportation to Italy. Moreno and Bolsonaro act under the direct orders of imperialism.

At a stage of capitalism in which the capitalist mass media are all bought by the great financial and imperialist capital, Wikileaks has carried out a fundamental historical mission for investigative journalism world-wide. Assange and his collaborators anticipated the entire conspiracy of the judicial-parliamentary coup d’état and the rise of the pro-US extreme right to power in Brazil. In 2015, Assange revealed that the US spied on 29 phones from the Dilma government, the Workers’ Party, and even the presidential plane.

The articulations for the Coup have developed from 2009. As revealed by Wikileaks, the Conference “Bridges Project: Building Bridges for Law Enforcement in Brazil” was held, between October 4 and 9, 2009, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, by US authorities for members of the Judiciary, Public Ministry and Federal Police of Brazil. The then Federal Judge Sergio Moro, (today awarded the position of Justice Minister in the Bolsonaro government) participated in that Conference.

The “training” was continued by several visits of Moro to the USA. This frantic articulation served to initiate the great judicial-police operation known as “Lava Jato” (car wash). The central objective of the mega-operation was, in the name of combating corruption, to expropriate the Brazilian oil company Petrobras and incriminate and arrest the most popular left-wing political leadership in Brazil, former President Lula, although nothing had been proven against him. All this was previously revealed by Wikileaks.

The judicial operation mounted by imperialism was initially supported by the PT. With the help of the PT itself, imperialism paved the way for the overthrow of the PT and the rise of the extreme right to the presidency. Assange was responsible for filtering thousands of documents that pointed to an intense espionage operation conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States against the then Brazilian government.

Anomalous figures like Correa tend to be pushed aside by those more in tune with the class aims of the ‘national bourgeoisie’ in oppressed semi-colonial countries like Ecuador. Once again the ‘national bourgeoisie’ is shown to be an agency of imperialism within these countries. To really fight imperialism, capitalism itself has to be uprooted by the proletariat as part of an international revolutionary movement with the strategy of permanent revolution.

The Assange rape allegations are political cover for the liberal bourgeoisie and treacherous not-so-left reformists and neoliberal fifth columnists within the workers movement to give their support for the persecution of Assange. The driving force of the case was a key neoconservative Blair-like figure in Swedish social democracy, Claes Borgstrom, and main alleged accuser, Anna Ardin, is a Swedish Social Democrat who remarkably is one of a microscopic minority of Swedish citizens who have been deported from Cuba for political activities. As Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan and now a principled anti-war activist laid out in detail, Ardin was the driving force of the case and coerced the other woman involved into going along with allegations she considered were fabricated by the police. [1]

Now the US had revealed its hand, it has exposed what has always been true all along – that the ‘rape’ setup was political cover for extradition to an American gulag. This is where Chelsea Manning has already been thrown, indefinitely, once again, for refusing to testify to a grand jury that is preparing further charges against Assange.

We are seeing the resurrection of the liberal refrain that Ardin, as a putative victim of sexual assault, should not be named however outrageous her behaviour in setting up Assange. However, according to Swedish law, both the putative victim and the suspect are supposed to remain anonymous, yet Assange was named in the media simultaneously with the beginning of the case. Ardin took advantage of this to attack him in the media right from the start. Given her history involving Cuba, and her documented behaviour towards Assange when he was in Sweden in 2010, the chances of her not being an imperialist spook appear negligible.

Left to right – Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning

The US doesn’t treat prisoners as brutally as China or Russia – because of its technological priority, it simply does not need the brutal approach (which it is more than ready to apply when needed). In this sense, the US is even more dangerous than China insofar as its measures of control are not perceived as such, while Chinese brutality is openly displayed.

It is therefore not enough to play one state against the other (like Snowden, who used Russia against the US): we need a new international network to organise the protection of whistleblowers and the dissemination of their message. Whistleblowers are our heroes because they prove that if those in power can do it, we can also do it.

For defenders of democratic rights and opponents of imperialism, the right of accusers to anonymity do not trump the duty to expose an attempted frameup by sinister imperialist spy agencies. The CIA is far more dangerous to the rights of ordinary people than any individual suspect in a criminal case.

The indictment against Assange that is part of the extradition demand includes Assange allegedly ‘conspiring’ with Manning to access material on government computers,  along with such ‘normal’ journalistic activities like seeking information not in the public domain from internal sources, seeking to protect the confidentiality of sources, etc. So such paragons of the liberal bourgeoisie as the Guardian, the New York Times and the Washington Post worry that they could be next. But they were exactly the kind of people who threw Assange under a bus the moment the CIA tried to fit him up on rape charges.

The treachery of this kind of people is epitomised by the so-called Independent Group of MPs, the Umunna-Soubry group, who have, along with dozens of Labour MPs and some Tories, 70 parliamentarians in all, signed a letter to the UK government demanding that Assange should be extradited to Sweden as priority, while the US should take second place. Fat chance – the Swedish case was a means to an end with a limited life, which has now run out, and the imperatives of US imperialism will take precedence. They are no longer deniable, and there is no way the CIA’s tools in Sweden will stand in the way of Uncle Sam. These Tory-Blairites are merely seeking a political alibi for their own actions in support of such blatant attacks on journalism and elementary democratic rights by their imperialist allies.

It is good that Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbot have spoken out against Assange being extradited to the USA, even if their statement was somewhat weak on the ‘rape’ calumny. This mirrors their chronic weakness in the face of the phoney ‘anti-Semitism’ smear campaign in the Labour Party, their failure to stand up for blatant victims of racist abuse by the racist apparatus of their own party, such as Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth.

But at least they have spoken out against Assange’s extradition and that ought to place some political obstacles in the way of Assange simply being rendered. There needs to be a broad-based labour movement campaign to stop Assange being buried alive by US imperialism.

 Free Assange! Free Manning! Defeat British/US imperialism.


[1] Craig Murray, Why I am Convinced that Anna Ardin is a Liar  11 Sep, 2012

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