Mar 2, 2020
Translated from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.
A British court began a hearing on February 24 to decide about sending Julian Assange to the U.S. This government intends to prosecute him for espionage, which carries a sentence of 175 years in prison.
The U.S. government never forgave Assange for publishing several hundred thousand classified military documents on his website Wikileaks in 2010. The leak exposed abuses by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Leading newspapers in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere also reported on the abuses. People around the world learned about military reports of torture, kidnappings, and other war crimes against civilians. Imperialist American policies were exposed to daylight.
Since then, the U.S. has thrown every possible punishment at those who helped expose its lies and misdeeds. The documents were given to Wikileaks by 25-year-old soldier Bradley Manning, who wanted to report crimes he saw as an army computer expert in Iraq. The military held him in solitary detention for almost three years. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Finally, a public campaign got Obama to commute his sentence, and he was released.
Assange had to take refuge inside Ecuador’s embassy in London in 2012. Swedish courts charged him with sexual assault, charges he denied and which were finally dropped. Ecuador ended up handing him to British police last April. Assange was held in solitary detention for months in the huge Belmarsh prison, often called England’s Guantanamo. His health deteriorated but he was not moved to a medical wing until 60 doctors published a letter in protest.
In their relentless pursuit of Wikileaks’ founder, U.S. leaders count on the complicity of British and other Western authorities. None of them want the ugly truth about their dirty military adventures exposed.