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  • Published in Opinion
Julian Assange

Julian Assange speaking at a press conference in London, 2014. Photo: Flickr/Cancillería del Ecuador

British judges must not collaborate in America's war crimes, argues Reuben Bard-Rosenberg

Today Julian Assange was arrested at the Ecuadorian Embassy under a charge of skipping bail, and then immediately re-arrested under an American extradition warrant. Should that warrant succeed, he will most likely breathe his last breath in an American maximum security prison.

The effort to extradite Julian Assange to the United States must be resisted. It must be resisted because it is part and parcel of America's crimes against humanity. All tyrannies rely upon the exemplary punishment of whistle blowers. For a global regime that relies upon torture and murder to impose its will, but human rights to justify its use of force, the exemplary punishment of those who spill the beans is absolutely essential.

If Britain extradites Julian Assange, then it will be helping the US to cover its tracks. Britain will be helping one of the most violent regimes in human history to send a cruel warning to anybody who might be tempted to tell the truth about its violence. It will, without any doubt, be helping to facilitate more torture, more murder and more terror. It is up to us to stop our judges collaborating in NATO's wars crimes.

If there were ever time to strike a blow against the special relationship it is now. The close time to America, and the NATO system is beloved of a governing establishment that wishes to play at occupying a position on the world stage that is out of kilter with its real stature. Yet idea that the law should be used to protect war criminals from whistle blowers will disgust many Brits.

It must of course of be said that we oppose this extradition and because we oppose the interests and power of the American security state, and not out of reverence for Julian Assange as an issue.

Whilst the question of imperialism is most immediately irrelevant to today's extradition order, we cannot pretend that the long saga of Julian Assange does not raise other issues that are politically important to socialists.

Julian Assange ended up in the Swedish embassy after skipping bail whilst facing allegations of rape. Some people reacted in a way that produced a degree of ambiguity about where socialists stand on the matter. So let us be very clear:

Rape is common. Claims of rape are not outlandish. The vast majority of allegations are true. When women come forward to say that they have been victimised, there is no place on the left for people who idly speculate that they are secret service plants. And there is no place within decent society for monsters who endanger women by claiming that non-consensual sex is not rape.

Yet today, the US and its collaborators in the British are not seeking nor offering any justice for any women.

They are, in fact, seeking impunity for an army and a security apparatus that has all manner of vile abuses in its past and in its future.

And so we have no hesitation in standing up to this brutal, sordid nexus of Anglo-American interests and saying:

Stop the war in Afghanistan.
Stop the war in Yemen.
Stop the extradition of Julian Assange.

Reuben Bard-Rosenberg

Reuben Bard-Rosenberg

Reuben Bard-Rosenberg is a socialist activist and radical folk music promoter.

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