The British police arrested Julian Assange on 11 April in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, as Lenin Moreno’s government had revoked the political asylum granted to him in 2012. They admitted acting based on a request for extradition by the U.S. government, which opens a legal process that could lead to him spending a year imprisoned in the United Kingdom for having circumvented conditions of probation by taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy. And after that, they extradite him to the United States, where he is persecuted for having disclosed official documents of that country’s government that account for brutal war crimes and interference in third countries.
The formal accusation, to which they could add more charges, is that of having conspired to help soldier Chelsea Manning in 2010 to access government computers and filter secret information. Manning, who had been an intelligence analyst in Iraq, leaked over 390,000 documents on the invasion and occupation of Iraq, a dossier known as “Iraq War Records,” and over 90,000 on the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, the “Afghanistan Journals. Subsequently, the “Cablegate” dossier was published with over 250,000 communications between the U.S. embassies and the State Department. The hard political blow that this meant for U.S. imperialism unleashed a huge hysteria in the U.S. political leadership, Democratic and Republican parliamentarians demanded the execution of Assange, they inflamed the speeches on national security.
In reality, the leak did not compromise the security of the USA but it exposed an imperialist policy full of all sordid crimes in all parts of the world. Using torture and enforced disappearance in countries under U.S. military occupation, the collusion of the U.S. government and paramilitary groups in Colombia, the extensive networks of informants and agents were exposed. A video shot in 2007 from an artillery helicopter showed how the US invaders cold-bloodedly killed 12 Iraqi civilians, two of them journalists, several of them machine-gunned as they attempted to remove the first dead and wounded.
For the largest leak of secret documents in history, Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison and subjected to various forms of torture and ill-treatment. Obama pardoned her in 2017, but in March 2019 she was jailed again for refusing to testify in the persecution of Wikileaks. She went back to jail until she testifies or concludes the Wikileaks investigation, but she said: “I will not take part in a secret trial to which I am morally opposed, specifically one that has been used to trap and persecute activists for their political discourse. Held in solitary confinement for 28 days she remains in prison to this day.
They charged Assange with harassment and rape in Sweden in 2010. They had fabricated these charges against him as part of his U.S. persecution. He took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom in 2012, receiving asylum. In December 2017, Ecuador granted him the Ecuadorian nationality. In late 2018, a U.S. court mistakenly revealed the existence of a secret judicial process against Assange.
The Spanish state regime also pressured Moreno for Wikileaks’ support of the Catalan people in their struggle for the right to self-determination. They have also linked Wikileaks in recent years with the Russian government and received many accolades from Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, during which Assange’s organization published emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign revealing conspiracies to commit fraud against her Democratic primary contender, Bernie Sanders.
The Ecuadorian government recently accused Wikileaks of taking part in the disclosure of NAC Papers that link Moreno to corruption, bank accounts in Panama and property in other countries. Wikileaks denies having made the leak. In defending his decision to revoke Assange’s asylum, Moreno referred to “irregular Wikileaks activities,” citing the leaking of Vatican documents in January 2019. Already the Ecuadorian government had been trying unsuccessfully to enforce U.S. demands to keep Assange incommunicado in the embassy.
At the service of that US policy, the Ecuadorian government of Moreno, which called itself a “progressive government”, has carried out this action in violation of the right to asylum. This is part of his policy of total genuflection before the U.S., recognizing Guaidó’s puppet government in Venezuela and pledging to make an economic austerity plan for a loan of 4.2 billion dollars from the IMF. Moreno represents the bankruptcy of South American false progressivism. After years of governing with Rafael Correa supporting the false “Socialism of the 21st Century” of Chavez and Maduro.
Beyond the political differences with Assange, we revolutionary socialists repudiate being prosecuted for a leak that exposed crimes against humanity that the U.S. imperialist government tried to conceal. In relation to the accusations that Assange faces in Sweden, we consider it fair that he should answer for them, as long as there is a commitment not to extradite him to the U.S., where he would probably be subjected to the same torture as Manning and where he has been practically condemned in advance. Such a trial would be a serious attack on freedom of expression and a lesson for those who will consider bringing to light the atrocities committed by imperialist governments in the world.
International Workers’ Unity-Fourth International (IWU-FI) 12 April 2019.