This article first appeared in the Anvil 8/3, published 11th May 2019.
Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, was arrested on 11 April when the Ecuadorian Government invited British police into their London embassy for that purpose. Initially charged with breaching bail, he was quickly also hit with a US charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. He has since been sentenced to almost the maximum term for breaching bail and the process for extraditing him to the United States, which could be a long one, has begun.
The United States wants Assange because Wikileaks stands against the entire apparatus of national security in that country and has published much damaging information about its murderous and undemocratic activities – not least the Collateral Murder video that made Wikileaks famous. Wikileaks is so dangerous to the reputation of the CIA, the US military, State Department, the FBI, the major political parties and so many other components of the State in the US that the capitalist class want that organisation shut down for good and for Assange to be made an example of to deter potential successors. Accordingly, though the charge on which Assange has been arrested is one that has a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, it should be expected that other, heavier charges are in the works.
In publishing the crimes of Uncle Sam, Julian Assange performed a great service for the working class and the oppressed peoples of the world and on that basis he must be defended against US attempts to seek retribution against him. He is, however, no saint. Firstly, he is accused of sexual assault in Sweden. While it is clear from published facts that Assange’s sexual ethics are poor, the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group is unsure whether his actions amount to a breach of Swedish law. Accordingly, we believe that he should go to Sweden to deal with the accusations and clear his name or face the consequences.
Secondly, Assange’s tactics during the US election campaign of 2016 and his political statements since are quite unsavoury, while some of the political associates he has been cultivating during his time as a fugitive in the Ecuadorian Embassy have been extremely dangerous. We therefore believe that, once he is out of the clutches of the United States, his future activities should be watched with great care until he can explain himself as a free agent.
The MACG thus defends Julian Assange, not because of his politics, which have curdled and are now quite suspect, nor because we consider him innocent of the Swedish accusations. The US ruling class has no objection to his politics, because they are riddled with the sort of people with whom he has been collaborating. And neither do they have any objection to sexual assault – if they did, Donald Trump would not be President. The United States wants to punish him, not for any crimes he might have committed, but for his good deeds. The MACG defend Assange for those same good deeds.
ASSANGE SHOULD GO TO SWEDEN
NOT TO THE US