Bloodshed, disease in NATO’s ‘new’ Libya

This 13 April 2019 video says about itself:

Clashes in Tripoli leave dozens dead

Battles continue to rage between the forces of Libya’s … Government of National Accord (GNA) and former military commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces in the southern suburbs of Tripoli leaving dozens dead and thousands displaced.

On Friday, fierce clashes erupted in Wadi Rabie, south of Tripoli, as pro-government forces fought off an assault by Haftar fighters.

Heavy shelling and gunfire in the Libyan capital over the past 6 days has wounded 266 people and killed 56, including an ambulance driver and 2 medical doctors. Thousands of people have fled their homes, while others are trapped in conflict areas.

Hospitals inside and outside the city are receiving daily casualties, says the World Health Organization

Britain: For once a Tory has told the truth about Britain’s wars. Foreign office minister Mark Field admitted in parliament on Monday that Britain’s interventions in Libya have had “calamitous outcomes”: here.

This 12 April 2019 video says about itself:

Disease outbreak feared in Libya

Gunfire and blasts echoed in Libyan capital Tripoli herald the outbreak of an epidemic.

The World Health Organization, WHO, says it fears an outbreak of infectious diseases linked to poor water quality, among thousands of people fleeing their homes.

The United Nations agency is particularly concerned about the significant population displacements caused by the Friday’s gunfire.

WHO Spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic said, “WHO is working with local health authorities to pre-position and provide equipment to hospitals. We treat those who need medical treatment. Obviously, with the situation worsening, we fear new health problems, such as epidemics as people are on the move and being driven out of their homes.”

On Friday, the WHO estimated that 75 people have died and 323 others wounded since the beginning of hostilities weeks ago. The casualties include seven civilians killed and 10 wounded.

US Trump administration endangers Assange’s life

This 11 April 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Daniel Ellsberg On Assange Arrest: The Beginning of the End For Press Freedom

“This is the first indictment of a journalist and editor or publisher…And if it’s successful it will not be the last.”

By Eric London in the USA:

Julian Assange’s life is in danger

13 April 2019

Following Thursday’s arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London, the governments of the US, Britain and Ecuador are engaged in a conspiracy to facilitate the whistleblower’s extraordinary rendition to the US. Julian Assange’s life and liberty is in imminent danger. It is necessary to mobilize all supporters of free speech to prevent him from falling into the hands of the American government.

Over 40 years ago, a Rand Corporation analyst Daniel Ellsberg provided the Washington Post with evidence regarding the US government’s illegal activity in the Vietnam War. Yesterday, Ellsberg issued the following statement:

“It’s a very serious assault on the First Amendment. A clear attempt to rescind the freedom of the press…This is the first indictment of a journalist and editor or publisher, Julian Assange. And if it’s successful it will not be the last. This is clearly is a part of President Trump’s war on the press, what he calls the enemy of the state. And if he succeeds in putting Julian Assange in prison, where I think he’ll be for life, if he goes there at all, probably the first charge against him is only a few years. But that’s probably just the first of many.”

The official pretext being used to extradite Assange is a transparent lie. In a previously-sealed indictment made public Thursday, the US Department of Justice charged Assange only with violating a federal law against conspiring to break passwords to government computers.

The fact that the crime carries only a 5-year sentence and does not fall under the Espionage Act provides all involved parties with a cover for handing Assange over to the Americans. In particular, the US-UK extradition treaty excludes transfer for “political offenses”, including espionage. Citing the Justice Department document, the British government will claim in the courts that Assange’s extradition will not be prevented by this exclusion.

The Ecuadoran government, moreover, claims it could revoke Assange’s asylum because the indictment shows he will not face the threat of the death penalty.

In fact, once Assange is in the hands of the United States, he will quickly confront a series of additional charges, including espionage. The efforts to downplay the threat to the freedom of the press and understate the charge against Assange are aimed at sowing complacency in the population and distracting from the core free speech issues at stake.

The language of the indictment itself makes clear the government is targeting Assange for political reasons, despite the official charge at its conclusion. It asserts: “The primary purpose of the conspiracy was to facilitate [Chelsea] Manning’s acquisition and transmission of classified information related to the national defense of the United States so that WikiLeaks could publicly disseminate the information on its website.”

The indictment notes that the information WikiLeaks released to the public included “approximately 90,000 Afghanistan war-related significant activity reports, 400,000 Iraq war-related significant activities reports, 800 Guantanamo Bay detainee assessment briefs, and 250,000 U.S. Department of State cables. Many of these records were classified pursuant to “Order No. 13526”, signed by Barack Obama in 2009. The indictment claims these releases “reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.”

This language mirrors the text of the Espionage Act, which bars releasing information “relating to the national defense”. The Espionage Act criminalizes anyone who “communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered or transmitted” such information.

Based on the language of the indictment, both Assange and Manning could face criminal persecution under this law. By announcing that Assange is being prosecuted based explicitly on Manning’s activity, the government is demonstrating her future is at risk as well. In fact, the first two words of the indictment are “Chelsea Manning”.

This language also confirms last year’s “inadvertent” release by prosecutors of documents arguing Assange should be extradited because there are “charges”—plural—against him. Prosecutors convened a secret grand jury to investigate Assange at least as far back as 2011, and the US government sought warrants to spy on WikiLeaks employees based on allegations of “espionage” in 2012.

Only the complicit or the naïve could accept that a secret grand jury spent over eight years to charge Assange with just one count of password manipulation.

The response of leading political figures in the US, as well as their previous statements, make clear that the ruling elite is eager to seize Assange and lock him up for life—if not impose worse punishments.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer tweeted, “I hope he will soon be held to account for his meddling in our elections on behalf of Putin and the Russian government.” Democratic Senator Mark Warner called Assange “a direct participant in Russian efforts to weaken the West and undermine American security. I hope British courts will quickly transfer him to U.S. custody so he can finally get the justice he deserves.”

Prosecuting Assange on the basis of the unfounded allegations of “meddling” would be charges of espionage.

Like a dungeonmaster who has been handed his latest victim, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin declared: “He is our property and we can get the facts and the truth from him.” On the basis of this statement, Assange is being transferred to the US for the purpose of interrogation—which would fall under the category of extraordinary rendition, not extradition.

Assange has also faced open death threats in the press and from the government over the past several years. Rightwing radio personality Rush Limbaugh called for Assange to receive “a bullet to the brain”. Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly told Assange: “We’re going to hang you.” Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said, “Julian Assange is engaged in terrorism and should be treated as an enemy combatant.” Democratic Vice President Joe Biden called Assange a “high-tech terrorist”. Democratic operative Bob Beckel said, “this guy’s a traitor” and the US should “illegally shoot the son of a b***h.”

Another function of the indictment is to provide the corrupt and lying media with a cover for applauding Assange’s arrest. The New York Times and Washington Post have played a particularly criminal role in downplaying the indictment by claiming the use of a lesser charge means prosecuting Assange poses no threat to free speech.

In an editorial board statement yesterday, the New York Times wrote: “The government charged Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, not with publishing classified government information, but with stealing it, skirting—for now—critical First Amendment questions.”

The single count against Assange, the Times wrote, means the arrest does not pose “a direct challenge to the distinction between a journalist exposing abuse of power through leaked materials—something traditional newspapers like the Times do all the time—and a foreign agent seeking to undermine the security of the United States through theft or subterfuge… The administration has begun well by charging Mr. Assange with an indisputable crime.”

The Washington Post’s editorial is titled, “Julian Assange is not a free-press hero. And he is long overdue for personal accountability.”

The Post wrote, “Mr. Assange’s case could conclude as a victory for the rule of law, not the defeat for civil liberties of which his defenders mistakenly warn.” The Post labeled concerns over Assange’s safety as “pro-WikiLeaks propaganda.” The fact that the indictment does not charge Assange with violating the Espionage Act proves he “had no legitimate fears for his life, either at the hands of CIA assassins or, via extradition, the US death penalty.”

The Post explained that “Britain should not fear that sending him for trial on that hacking count would endanger freedom of the press” because Assange is “unethical” and not a “real journalist” because he “dumped material into the public domain without any effort independently to verify its factuality or give named individuals an opportunity to comment.”

Who are the New York Times and the Washington Post to lecture about “real journalism”? These statements expose the Times and the Post as nothing but government propaganda organs.

The Times is synonymous with peddling the Bush administration’s false claim of “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, and the Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, the billionaire CEO of Amazon, which recently reached a $600 million service contract with the Pentagon.

The conspiracy against Assange underscores the collapse of any constituency in the political establishment and corporate media for the defense of democratic rights. If Ellsberg approached the Post today with photocopies of Pentagon-commissioned Rand reports on the war, the Post would call the FBI and have him arrested for threatening “national security”.

The Times and the Post may convince their affluent readers that Assange aided Russia by publishing
evidence showing Hillary Clinton received hundreds of thousands of dollars secretly telling audiences of bankers and CEOs she would represent their interests if elected president. Meanwhile, the Democrats have made common cause with the leaders of the military and intelligence agencies responsible for the crimes Assange has revealed. The rightwing character of the Democrats’ opposition to Trump is exposed by the fact that they support his administration’s attacks on Assange.

The defense of Julian Assange, along with Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, is now a central political question that confronts the working class. Attitudes toward these whistleblowers break down largely upon class lines. As the ruling class cracks down on free speech and freedom of the press, class conflict is intensifying across the world.

The Socialist Equality Party and the World Socialist Web Site make the broadest appeal to all those who are serious about defending democratic rights to join the fight to defend Assange, Manning and Snowden. Workers and youth internationally must mobilize immediately to defend these class war prisoners. Their lives depend on it.

The fight for Assange’s freedom is the spearhead of the political struggle in defense of democratic rights, against imperialist militarism and capitalism. Only to the extent that the power of the working class can be harnessed, can a defense of these whistleblowers be mounted.

As Socialist Equality Party (Australia) National Committee member Nick Beams said at Friday’s emergency rally in Sydney, “the attack on democracy is a symptom of a profound disease. There is no defense of democracy without tackling the problem at its source, that is, the profit system of global capitalism, a system in crisis, that has played out its historic role and now has to tear up, trample, defile even the democratic rights that it once stood for. We have to begin, as part of this struggle the fight for a socialist perspective. Only then can the world be cleansed of all the horrors that it is conjuring up.”

Australian rallies demand freedom for Julian Assange: here.

John Pilger, well-known and respected filmmaker and investigative journalist, issued the following statement on the arrest of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London on April 11: here.

Prominent Australian journalist Mary Kostakidis speaks out for Assange: here.

Free Julian Assange, supporters speak

This 11 April 209 video from the USA says about itself:

US Anchor Blasts Trump Department Of Justice Assange Charges: Risks Press Freedom | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has been arrested in London and faces extradition to the United States in response to a new indictment by the Trump Justice Department.

In a special report, Ari Melber examines the controversial nature of Assange’s arrest by the current administration noting that the indictment against Assange does not show him stealing anything, coordinating with spies or doing espionage.

Melber demonstrates how in fact, the indictment could be viewed as an aggressive and potentially chilling document for journalists in the U.S. and abroad.

From the World Socialist Web Site in England:

“The fight starts now to prevent his extradition to the United States!”

Supporters to rally in defence of Assange outside Belmarsh Prison, London

By our reporters

13 April 2019

A protest will take place today outside Belmarsh Prison in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being held following his forcible seizure and arrest Thursday.

The protest will be held from 4pm. It is organised by the Julian Assange Defence Committee and is supported by the Socialist Equality Party (UK) and the WSWS.

Emmy and daughter Laura

Announcing the protest on the Wise Up Action blog, Emmy Butlin, who has helped maintain a vigil outside the Ecuadorian Embassy where Assange was forced to stay for seven years in arbitrary detention, wrote, “Our own journey of support continues in the best tradition of solidarity, with a vigil outside Belmarsh Prison where Julian Assange is held. Join us on Saturday 13th of April at 4pm outside Belmarsh prison, Western Way, Thamesmead, London SE28 0EB. For more information e-mail”

The SEP and WSWS urge anyone able to attend to do so.

Assange was railroaded to Westminster Magistrates Court after being dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy on Thursday and was found guilty of bail charges dating back seven years. Julian Assange Defence Committee members were among those protesting outside the court who WSWS spoke to on Thursday.


Ross said, “This is the day supporters of a free press have been dreading for years. A publisher of truthful information in the public interest has been imprisoned at the request of a foreign power.

“The footage of Julian being carried out of the embassy speaks volumes about his character. He has resisted pressure to leave the embassy since [Ecuadorean President Lenin] Moreno came to power. Even though he was denied his human rights, his ability to communicate freely and medical treatment for all this time, he refused to abandon his right to asylum and had to be carried out. …


Kayesem said, “The campaign to free Julian Assange has highlighted that we don’t get proper news, we don’t get honesty, we don’t get the true facts.

“What we get is barefaced lies from our press, who act as mouthpieces and propaganda spreaders for our government and security services. The ruling against Julian has shut down our rights to asylum and our human rights. We no longer have a free press. The fight starts now to prevent his extradition to the United States!”


Sandra, from Ecuador, was angry at the role of Ecuadorian President Moreno, who had gone on TV to justify handing Assange over to the British police.

“Many of us thought that when Moreno came to power in 2017, he would continue the policy of the previous government where he worked closely with Rafael Correa [as his vice-president] for several years and protect Julian Assange. But we were badly wrong. Moreno has broken our asylum laws and sold us out to the American and British government. I think it is down to working class people to work together for human rights and equality.”

Free Assange and Manning

Nina Cross, a writer for said, “We are very concerned about the fate of Julian Assange. Chelsea Manning is already locked up. The mainstream media just don’t seem to get what is happening is not just about Julian. This is about shutting down freedom of the press.”

Cross explained how at the same time as the government was plotting the removal of Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was making a “ridiculous” hypocritical announcement to a G7 summit meeting that Britain would be leading a new “Media Freedom” campaign around the world.

Probably meaning ‘Media Freedom’ for Rupert Murdoch and not for anyone else.

“Four days after Hunt’s fake ‘Media Freedom’ campaign was announced, the threat to expel Julian Assange was leaked. Two days after that a White Paper was announced bringing in effectively what will be censorship for British media”—a reference to the government’s “Online Harms” white paper giving powers to an internet regulator to ban “non-compliant” websites from being accessed in the UK.

“This is a massive threat to freedom of speech, of freedom online. It is beyond hypocrisy for Jeremy Hunt and the British government to claim they are running this campaign in defence of media freedom, which is entirely fake.

“You can’t believe anything the government or press put out, but events will expose their lies and propaganda. The WikiLeaks press conference yesterday [which exposed an illegal surveillance operation against Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy] was shameful. The co-editor of WikiLeaks [Kristinn Hrafnsson] even had to ask journalists why they weren’t asking questions of the authorities.”


Nina was scathing about the mainstream media who formerly worked with Assange saying, “The Guardian has published blatant lies about Julian Assange. They have tried to implicate him in ‘Russiagate’, saying he had met up with Donald Trump’s former campaign chairperson Paul Manafort. That was a complete lie. There was no evidence, but the Guardian has not responded to our questions or retracted what it said. They are complicit in what has happened to Julian.”

Cross also criticised international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney who has accepted Hunt’s offer to head his “Media Freedom” campaign as his special envoy and sat next to him at the press conference. “She used to be Julian’s legal counsel. She’s not here today. Her absence has been noted by some of us”, she explained.

Mike said, “For weeks in the US we have been inundated with stories of how the Trump administration is trying to let the Saudi Arabian dictatorship off the hook for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey last year. They are preventing low level members of the regime from entering the US but protecting Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his circle. Until last week, the media said virtually nothing about Julian Assange, the person who lifted the lid on such filthy diplomatic intrigues.

Christine holding international solidarity banner

“I have followed the WSWS coverage of Julian Assange and it has been brilliant. It has not only written about what has happened but taken the initiative and organised rallies as well. It’s important to have a strong political answer. It’s good that Julian’s supporters are here but we need more than shouting slogans such as “The people united will never be defeated”. Not only have people been disunited by the lies and propaganda thrown at Julian, but every scoundrel calls for unity as long it is behind them. We must be very selective about what sort of ideas people should be united behind.

“I think the WSWS has done a wonderful job of unmasking those calling themselves liberals or socialists but who have done nothing to help Julian, or even worse, repeating all the lies and slander against him. We know the Swedish government wanted to drop the allegations against Julian years ago [in 2013] but it was the British government that said no.

“There is a big divide opening up between those people who abandoned Julian Assange and those of us who believe in democracy, a free press and a better world. The Assange case is a really defining moment.”

This 12 April 2019 video says about itself:

Ulrich Rippert, chairman of the [German] Socialist Equality Party (SGP), addressed a rally in front of the British embassy in Berlin, Germany, demanding the freedom of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. Rippert explained why the mobilization of the working class is necessary to defend freedom of expression. Sevim Dağdelen, a Left Party MP and organizer of the rally, introduces Rippert.