Revolution #271, June 10, 2012

Persecution of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Escalates

May 30 witnessed a major escalation in the persecution of Julian Assange when Britain’s Supreme Court rejected his appeal to not be extradited to Sweden, where he could possibly face charges of assaulting two women, charges Assange strenuously denies. Assange is the founder of the WikiLeaks website that has published more than a million documents from governments and news organizations, many of them classified. Among these were hundreds of thousands from the U.S. State Department and cables from U.S. embassies worldwide.

These documents include files that have become known as the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan war diary, and 779 secret U.S. documents about its torture camp in Guantánamo. The public release of these documents revealed much of the truth about the bloody wars the U.S. has been waging in Iraq and Afghanistan. The most damning file released was a video of U.S. helicopters in a series of cold-blooded assaults on Iraqi civilians, attacks that killed 11 men, including two Reuters journalists, and seriously wounded two children. Assange titled this video “Collateral Murder,” saying “you can see that they also deliberately target Saeed, a wounded man there on the ground ... This is why we called it Collateral Murder. In the first example maybe it’s collateral exaggeration or incompetence when they strafe the initial gathering, this is recklessness bordering on murder, but you couldn’t say for sure that was murder. But this particular event—this is clearly murder.”

Assange and WikiLeaks have been hounded relentlessly by the governments of the U.S. and its imperialist partners in crime since the release of the “Collateral Murder” video and other documents, and Assange himself has been living under virtual house arrest in England as he has fought his extradition. The British Supreme Court has given Assange and his lawyers two weeks to respond to the extradition order.

Look for coverage of this important case soon in Revolution newspaper and read the interview with Glenn Greenwald on Democracy Now! last week (“Divided British Court Upholds Extradition of WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to Sweden,” May 30, 2010), which has important insights into this situation.  

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