Trade unions must take action NOW to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange!

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WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange, the man who dared to expose imperialist war crimes, must be immediately released from Belmarsh high security prison where he has been incarcerated for the last two-and-a-half years.

In January, District Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that Assange must not be extradited to the US where he faces a sentence of up to 175 years in a high-security ‘Supermax’ prison if convicted in the US.

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.

Baraitser said that while US prosecutors met the tests for Assange to be extradited for trial, the US is incapable of preventing him from attempting to take his own life. The extradition was halted after the judge’s ruling, pending an appeal by the US. Outside the court at the time Stella Moris, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s fiancée and mother of two of his children, said: ‘Today is a victory for Julian! Today’s victory is the first step towards justice in this case.

‘We are extremely concerned that the US government has decided to appeal this decision. It continues to want to punish Julian and make him disappear into the deepest darkest hole of the US prison system for the rest of his life. That can never happen. We will never accept that journalism is a crime in this country or any other. Free Julian. Free the press. Free us all!’

That appeal is to be heard this week.

The US appeal, aiming to strike down the court decision and allow Julian Assange to be extradited to the US, will be held on Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 October at the High Court in London. Supporters of Julian Assange will protest outside the High Court at 9am on Wednesday 27 October.

One of the videos WikiLeaks released, entitled Collateral Murder, showed innocent civilians, including two Reuters reporters, being mowed down by US helicopter gunships in a Baghdad square.

The horrifying video shows the crew of two Apache helicopters firing on the group of Iraqi civilians and journalists with the callous frivolousness of video game players. After the lead helicopter fired, one of the crew shouted, ‘Hahaha. I hit ’em’ and another responded, ‘Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards.’

When WikiLeaks released the Afghan war logs, a compendium of more than 91,000 reports covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010, it exposed in detail the true horror of imperialist war.

Now that the imperialist coalition have had to flee Afghanistan with their tail between their legs, the job which Julian Assange did in uncovering their war crimes has become even more vital.

Assange must be freed and the imperialist leaders must be charged as war criminals and put on trial!

The ruling class of the US and the UK are determined to teach Assange a lesson, to make him an example, a warning to journalists across the world of what will happen if you expose imperialism’s horrific bloodthirsty operations.

Assange 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. Nevertheless he was dragged out of the embassy by police and charged with ‘skipping bail’. ‘Skipping bail’ on dropped charges!

For skipping bail he has been dealt the harshest of sentences. He has spent over two and a half 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 was denied access to his legal team and legal documents. Years of incarceration have now taken a toll on Assange, his physical and mental health is deteriorating, he must be released now!

The Unions must take action! The National Union of Journalists, and the Trade Union Congress, must state that they will call a general strike to free Assange and stop him being extradites to the USA.

There is not a moment to lose in the defence of his and all our basic rights!