WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange is facing a sentence of up to 175 years in a high-security ‘Supermax’ prison if he is extradited from the UK and convicted in the US. The US ruling class are prepared to let him to die in prison to try to deter all future ‘whistleblowing’.
The decision on whether to extradite Assange to the US is due in court at the Old Bailey in London this Monday (4 January). A judge will decide whether to extradite him to the US to face espionage charges, a decision that will amount to a death sentence.
In the US, Assange is charged with 17 counts of ‘conspiracy and espionage’ after he obtained and published thousands of classified documents exposing the war crimes of the US and the UK in their bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
One of the videos released, entitled Collateral Murder, showed innocent civilians, including two Reuters reporters, being mowed down by US helicopter gunships in a Baghdad square.
He was arrested in London in April 2019 after seeking asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in west London for more than six years. Assange had been granted asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012 after losing his battle against extradition to Sweden on trumped up charges of ‘rape and sexual assault’ which were subsequently dropped.
However, for skipping bail he has been dealt the harshest of sentences and has spent almost two years languishing in Belmarsh High Security prison since April 2019, where the most dangerous criminals and murderers are incarcerated.
Assange has been held in virtual solitary confinement, and for six months was denied access to his legal team and legal documents. During the coronavirus pandemic he has allegedly been denied a face mask or other protective measures at a time when inmates and prison staff contracted Covid-19.
Denial of Assange’s basic right to proper legal representation has gone hand-in-hand with a concerted campaign by the British state to inflict on him what Nils Meltzer, a United Nations expert, has condemned as ‘psychological torture’. No one has been brought to trial for the war crimes exposed by WikiLeaks.
Instead, the outgoing US President Trump and his administration have launched a full-scale assault on the International Criminal Court for daring to investigate these and other offences, and is pursuing the man who brought them to light.
Film director Ken Loach has produced a film entitled ‘The War on Journalism: The Case of Julian Assange’. It exposes the role that the current leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer played in the Assange case.
Starmer was Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). He fast-tracked the extradition of Julian Assange by advising Swedish lawyers not to question Assange in Britain. Leaked emails from August 2012 show that, when the Swedish legal team expressed hesitancy about keeping Assange’s case open, Starmer’s office replied: ‘Don’t you dare get cold feet’.
The DPP heads the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The full CPS file on Assange is estimated to contain between 7,200 and 9,600 pages. However, the CPS admitted it destroyed many of the key emails.
Both the Tory party and the Labour leader have done their damnedest to push for the extradition of Assange, while the real war criminals have been let off scot-free.
There are no charges for ex-president George W Bush, or ex-Labour leader Tony Blair, guilty of launching war on Iraq based on the lie of the threat of ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’, a war resulting in the deaths of over a million Iraqi men, women and children.
This is class law. As far as the ruling class is concerned capitalism has the right to flatten countries with bombs, invade and occupy their land, murdering millions if the profits from stealing resources like oil, diamonds or gold balance the cost of going to war.
The rulers also see it as their right to incarcerate Assange, the man who dared to expose their war crimes. There is only class justice under capitalism. It is a system of exploitation that delivers ruling class law.
The trade union movement must take strike action on Monday, and then block any attempt to fly Assange to the USA. It must also demand that war criminals like Tony Blair face trial and judgement for their war crimes against the Iraqi people.