Protest outside High Court in support of Julian Assange. Photo: Paul Mattsson
Protest outside High Court in support of Julian Assange. Photo: Paul Mattsson

Adam Harmsworth, Coventry Socialist Party

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is due to be extradited to the US, unless his latest court appeals succeed. His legal team has argued that the US wants him for politically motivated reasons and “state retaliation”, which would breach the extradition agreement between the UK and US.

What doesn’t appear politically motivated about the treatment of Assange?! Since WikiLeaks released documents and videos detailing horrendous war crimes, he has been chased by the US government. Few other individuals have been hounded and publicly attacked in such a way.

Chelsea Manning, a former US soldier who leaked information to WikiLeaks about war crimes in Iraq, was sent to a maximum-security prison for 35 years. Following public outcry for her release, Obama pardoned her. But even once she was freed, she was dragged back to jail briefly and landed a $256,000 fine for refusing to testify against Assange.

The goal of the US is to use them as examples, and terrify anyone who wishes to show the world the horrendous actions of the US military. Assange spent seven years in Ecuador’s UK embassy claiming political asylum. Since being arrested, he has been held in Belmarsh prison – normally reserved for terrorists and serial killers. He has been confined to his cell for 23 hours a day for five years. He didn’t attend the latest trial due to ill health.

If anyone has more evidence of war crimes being committed by the US or its allies, including in the current Middle East conflicts, they may well hold onto or even destroy the information for fear of being treated like Assange or Manning. Meanwhile, there hasn’t been a single prosecution against anyone who committed or helped commit a war crime revealed by WikiLeaks, be it murdering civilians, torture, or anything else. This is the grotesque reality of justice under capitalism.