freedom of the press

Canadian Peace Alliance Statement on the Arrest of Julian Assange

The Canadian Peace Alliance (CPA) condemns the governments of Ecuador, the UK, and USA, for their collaboration in arresting and extraditing journalist Julian Assange. This was not a secretive operation carried out under the cover of darkness. Rather, it was handled very roughly and in broad daylight to send a chill into the bones of would-be investigative journalists and whistle-blowers around the globe.

Assange's rendition from asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy touches all the peace movements of the world, because without the information provided by investigative journalists and whistleblowers, peace activists would not be able to hold our governments to account. Without courageous people such as Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, we wouldn't know about the helicopter gunship massacre of Reuters journalists and ordinary civilians in Baghdad ( ). We wouldn't know about the details of rendition and torture carried out in Guantanamo (). We wouldn't know about the instructions to its embassy in Damascus, as early as 2006, that Washington was determined to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria (Wikileaks Papers, Chapter 6)

Assange's crime, in the eyes of the rulers of the US empire, was that, using their own words and documents, he weakened the establishment narrative that the US was a force for good in the world. Instead, writing in his journalistic capacity and interpreting his revelations, he showed the US government is a criminal enterprise which ignores international law, relies on brute force, threats, bribes, unholy alliances with barbaric client states, and torture, to try to establish its domination over the whole word. Assange was initially popular among the mainstream media under the Bush administration, who freely used his Wikileaks' material. However, they turned on him once Obama came into power and have not lifted their voices to defend him now.

Lest we Canadians feel smug in the knowledge that Assange is being tormented at the behest of the USA, let's recall that successive Canadian governments acted as handmaidens to US imperialism in Somalia (where black youths were tortured and killed by Canadian soldiers), the former Yugoslavia where Canadian jets participated in 78 days of illegal bombing), Afghanistan (where Canadian troops routinely handed over suspects to be tortured by Afghan authorities), Libya (where a Canadian general led the NATO operation which turned the country into a failed state), and Venezuela (where our foreign minister is playing a big role in an attempted regime change operation). Let's also note that the mainstream media in Canada is also promoting the lie that Canada is a force for good in the world and that it is extremely difficult to get any alternative viewpoint expressed in print, on radio, or on TV.

So it is now up to us in popular movements and on social media to remind the world what Assange revealed: the truth about the secret crimes of the US empire. We need to defend Assange and Chelsea Manning against trumped up charges of espionage and support their freedom of expression. We can carry on their work in Canada by building a peace movement which seeks to break out of centuries of supporting decaying empires and their corrupt military alliances (such as NATO) and develops instead a truly independent and peaceful foreign policy.