The High Court in London has dismissed the appeal of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, paving the way for his extradition to Sweden and eventually the United States.
Assange has yet to be charged with any crime but is to be forcibly sent to Sweden to answer allegations of sexual assault and rape, despite his full cooperation with Swedish authorities and his offer to make himself available remotely for questioning in their investigation.
In upholding the February ruling of District Judge Howard Riddle, the court has decided to overlook the fact that, even if true, the allegations are not extraditable offenses in the UK; the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) was issued by a prosecutor who had no authority to do so; an EAW can only be issued for an accused person and not merely for questioning; and that Assange cooperated with Swedish authorities when the accusations were initially made and dismissed by a senior Stockholm prosecutor.
“I have not been charged with any crime in any country,” Assange said after the hearing. “Despite this, the European Arrest Warrant is so restrictive that it prevents UK courts from considering the facts of the case, as judges have made clear here today.”
Assange’s real “crime” is his exposure of the atrocities of U.S. imperialism and its allies around the world through the anonymous publication of government documents on his website WikiLeaks.
The purpose of his extradition is to eventually deliver him over to U.S. authorities to face charges and possible execution under the Espionage Act. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has ominously referred to Assange as a “high tech terrorist,” implying that he will be stripped of virtually all his rights if brought to the U.S.
The exposures carried out by Assange and WikiLeaks and the reaction to them must be seen as a part of a broader process of class struggle unfolding.
On the one hand, the dramatic rise in social inequality is fueling mass opposition by the working class to the subordination of society to the interests of a tiny layer of the population. At the same time, this growing inequality makes the democratic administration of society increasingly impossible, requiring a turn by the ruling class towards more dictatorial forms of rule.
In the U.S., thousands have been arrested and injured as riot police use tear gas, rubber bullets and truncheons to clear
unarmed and peaceful Occupy Wall Street protestors from encampments in cities across the country. These violent raids have been carried out in the name of health and public safety.
The disproportionate use of force betrays the fear gripping the American ruling class and its intolerance for any critical political expression. Far from a display of strength, it reveals its sense of vulnerability and weakness.
In Europe, the financial aristocracy has played a major role in the undemocratic governmental changes in Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Slovakia earlier this year and the recent resignations of Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The regime changes affected in Greece and Italy have been carried out at the behest of the so-called troika – the International Monetary Fund, the European Union Commission, and the European Central Bank – amidst doubts of whether Papandreou and
Berlusconi would be capable of imposing the draconian austerity measures demanded by the banks.
Such undemocratic shufflings in European governments, particularly in countries with a history of fascism and military dictatorship, is a chilling warning that the ruling classes will not hesitate to revive the brutal methods of rule of the twentieth century.
In times of reaction, simply telling the truth, as Assange has done, becomes an act with revolutionary implications. Similarly, the defense of basic democratic rights is transformed into a revolutionary demand.
This is what ultimately underlay the venomous campaign of character assassination being waged by the mass media against Julian Assange. Unable to answer the exposures of WikiLeaks, the establishment is engaged in a conspiracy to physically destroy him and his organization.
Julian Assange and WikiLeaks must be defended against the rising tide of reaction attempting to drown them.