Free Julian Assange! No to the New McCarthyism
29-11-2017 – If you cast your mind back a few short seven years, Wikileaks became a virtual household name by releasing a tranche of 250 000 odd classified State Department cables. Soon after, Wikileaks released the infamous “Collateral Murder” video, apparently supplied by US soldier Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning, which showed the US military in 2007 blowing away Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters journalists. Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, became a whistleblowing hero, along with Chelsea Manning. Manning was imprisoned and no doubt tortured for seven years. Julian Assange now remains held inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The British police maintain they will arrest Assange if he steps outside, and, if so, many fear the UK government would deliver Assange to the US government.
At the time, Wikileaks was a revelation in journalism, although some dispute whether the publishing of documents is actually a form of journalism. Nevertheless, the organisation displayed a “drop box” on its website, where any employee or someone working for a wealthy government or corporation could anonymously deposit cables, emails or other documentation which they believed could expose a fundamental social injustice. Wikileaks would then release the documentation, and the “leaker” would be protected. The Wikileaks organisation would then cop the barrage from what is now called the deep state. Julian Assange willingly put himself on the line, an act of unheralded bravery.
Then, all manner of left parties universally hailed Wikileaks and Julian Assange as heroes of a new age, as trailblazers whose exposure of the global capitalist elite powers could open a path to a breakthrough the socialist left had been seeking for decades. All socialists rallied behind Julian Assange, an Australian who grew up in Queensland, and praised his name to the heavens. The Socialist Alliance was the most vocal in the defence campaign, rightly calling on the Australian government to offer Julian Assange full consular assistance, rather than colluding with the US government in a vicious persecution. Although Socialist Alternative at the time had not yet launched its newspaper Red Flag, they were at the time as loud as any other in defending Wikileaks for exposing US war crimes. Solidarity quite correctly at the time pointed out that the release of information about the criminal activity of the imperialist powers only points to the need for “a broader fight against a system run by a privileged few who care nothing for democracy and will hurl millions into the hell of war”. These left parties were joined by many others who had vigorously opposed the war on Iraq, and others opposed to the never-ending war on Afghanistan.
Where are they now?
Fast forward to today, and it is a totally different story. Julian Assange remains an effective prisoner in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, unable to leave the building. Wikileaks continues to operate somehow, a testament to Assange and his team. Yet where are the left parties who were so outspoken in their defence, several short years ago? Where are the socialist led campaigns to free Julian Assange? They have all but vanished, and ironically imperialist war is the reason once again.
The imperialist led wars on Libya and Syria were starkly revealing as far as who, in practice, stands against US/UK/AUST plunder of the planet, and who justifies or apologises for this madness. It has recently been revealed that literal black slavery has reappeared in Libya in 2017, several years after the then Wikileaks defending left parties stridently advocated the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi’s Green Libya – which was duly carried out by NATO. Early in 2017, after Hilary Clinton – arguably the most corrupt and evil politician on earth – lost the US presidential election to Republican Donald Trump, she turned against “Russia” and Wikileaks, blaming them, and many others for her defeat. Julian Assange shot back on social media by referring to her as the “butcher of Libya”, as she was US Secretary of State at the time. Clinton later bragged and joked about the lynch murder of Colonel Gaddafi. To this day, not one of the left parties which defended Wikileaks during 2010, but welcomed the NATO destruction of Libya in 2011, have uttered a word of remorse. In addition, since that time they dropped Wikileaks and Julian Assange cold.
Failed war of regime change on Syria
Soon after the brief but incredibly destructive NATO war on Libya, which left no functioning state, the West’s war for regime change in Syria ignited. The same left parties which defended Wikileaks earlier, then cheered on the elimination of Libya, again leapt into action calling for the overthrow of Syria. Julian Assange and Wikileaks saw through it all, and was summarily ex-communicated – by the left parties which formerly defended them, and by the capitalist powers waging the war. Despite the lurid claims of a “popular uprising” emerging in Syria in 2011, Wikileaks disclosed information confirming that real US state plans for the destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic – in concert with Israel and Saudi Arabia – dated back to 2006. Assange explained how the conflict was prolonged by the use of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to funnel weapons in Syria – which found its way into the hands of all manner of genocidal mercenary terrorists, from Al Qaeda to Al Nusra to ISIS. Moreover, he explained how this motley collection of allies were intended to undermine the influence, if not the existence, of Iran and Hezbollah.
The war on Syria was thus arguably the dirtiest war in the history of world imperialism. It dragged on for six years, and the Syrian government is still in the throes of expelling the last of the US backed barbarians from the country. Julian Assange and the Wikileaks organisation are founded on the basis that the public has the right to know the truth about what is happening in their world. Julian Assange himself has demonstrated immense bravery for continuing to speak out against imperialist war crimes, even while he is still barred by the British Government from leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The left parties which swore blind they would defend Wikileaks showed no such courage. They dropped Wikileaks like a sack of spuds once it became clear that Wikileaks would play no part in apologising for the war on Syria, and would continue their work of exposing US imperialism – regardless of whether it was headed by a George Bush or a Barack Obama. Julian Assange may not be a Marxist revolutionary, but even he was far too left wing for those parties who played a large part in demobilising any prospective anti-war movement. Thankfully, the intervention of Russia in defence of Syria in 2015, turned the tables and effectively defeated the US led proxy war.
The New McCarthyism
Russia’s defeat of the scourge of ISIS, with the assistance of Iran and Hezbollah, did more than save Syria. It thoroughly exposed the role of US deep state collusion with a myriad of terrorist outfits. Russia had already been subject to NATO expansion on its European borders for years previously, but the prevention of what for the US rulers should have been a straightforward toppling of a non-compliant Middle Eastern government tipped anti-Russian hysteria over the edge. Combined with this was the US Presidential Elections of 2016, which was supposed to be a cakewalk for the Democrats and ultra-war hawk Hilary Clinton. As we know, the American people feared Clinton in the White House far more than Donald Trump, who at that time was at least promising some change of direction domestically, along with a seeming position of peace with Russia.
US politics has moved on since that time, with the Trump administration effectively abandoning almost everything it stood for during the elections. To a degree, the Democrats and the deep state operatives may have pushed Trump to be even more belligerent in terms of war than he was planning to be. Regardless, the Clinton camp has lashed out furiously at all and sundry, effectively refusing to accept the vote of the American electorate. Wikileaks was and is accused of colluding with Russia to turn the US election in favour of Donald Trump. As with all accusations of “Russian interference”, there has never been any evidence put forward whatsoever. Wikileaks did release emails of the Democratic National Committee Chairman John Podesta during the US election campaign, which revealed staggering levels of collusion of Hilary Clinton with Wall Street. Russia could not have had anything to do with these arrangements if they tried.
The baseless yet relentless and slanderous allegations against Russia – a new McCarthyism – continue in the US, and have reached a level of absurdity which threatens basic public discourse. Russia’s RT news and current affairs broadcaster has now been forced to register as a “foreign agent” in the United States, years after operating there without incident. Other foreign news services, which also operate in the US, such as BBC, NHK, China Daily and Al Jazeera, have not been forced to do so. More than this, the US Congress has now stripped RT America of its Congress credentials, meaning that RT journalists are blocked from attending White House press conferences. As if this was not enough, US comedian Randy Credico was recently summonsed by the US House Intelligence Committee for an interview on “Russian interference in the 2016 elections”. Credico has refused, saying his radio show is covered by the First Amendment. He has no doubt it is because he has had contact with Julian Assange, and the US government is trying to silence Wikileaks.
The system at an impasse
Wikileaks’ slogan is “We open Governments”. The work that Wikileaks does is eminently commendable, and Julian Assange and his team play a heroic role in exposing the crimes of the world’s most powerful governments. The bravery should be recognised, and the left and the Union movement should agitate and organise for the release of Julian Assange. Unions in Australia especially should take up this cause, for the Australian government is certainly not acting to protect one of its citizens for overtly political reasons. It is in the direct interest of working people internationally to have access to information on what the governments that claim to represent them are really doing.
Yet here is the rub. The capitalist system worldwide is at an impasse, and only has more war, more poverty, more unemployment and more environmental devastation to offer. The top officials of the Union movement here are tied by a thousand threads into this system, and will not break with it unless subjected to immense pressure from the rank and file. These well-heeled officials in turn carry out the foreign policy of Canberra, which is not only directed currently against Julian Assange, but against Russia, which threatens world nuclear war. The left parties which originally defended, and then abandoned, Wikileaks tail after these conservative Union officials, as they maintain the same foreign policy – the backing of the US Empire. They play their part in the new McCarthyism.
To move the seemingly immovable Union bureaucracy, a genuine revolutionary workers’ party is desperately needed. While access to uncensored information remains critical, and the work of organisations such as Wikileaks remain invaluable, the exposure of the crimes of the global elite will not end them. This requires the uprooting of the system of capitalist imperialism, which can only fall via the working class seizure of the means of production, the displacement of the rule of capital, and the founding of a workers’ government. FREE JULIAN ASSANGE!
P.O. Box 66 NUNDAH QLD 4012