Roger Waters, John Pilger, pro-WikiLeaks whistleblower Assange


This video from England says about itself:

Roger Waters Performs “Wish You Were Here” live at London rally in defense of Julian Assange

Roger Waters speaks and performs at rally called on 02/09/2019. Sign up today to help build a global defense committee to stop WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States, and to secure both his and whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s freedom.

From the World Socialist Web Site, in London, England:

Roger Waters and John Pilger make powerful defence of Julian Assange in London

By our reporters

3 September 2019

Up to 1,000 people gathered last night in central London to hear internationally acclaimed musician Roger Waters deliver a musical tribute to imprisoned WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange.

Performing outside the UK Home Office, just miles from Belmarsh Prison where Assange is being held as a Category A prisoner, Waters sang Pink Floyd’s iconic song “Wish You Were Here.” He was accompanied by guitarist Andrew Fairweather Low.

Supporters filled the forecourt and pavement on both sides of Marsham Street, many carrying banners and placards demanding Assange’s freedom and the release of imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Spontaneous chants rang out, “Free, Free Julian Assange!” and “There’s only one decision: No extradition!”

John Pilger, a veteran filmmaker and investigative journalist and a personal friend of Assange, opened the event with an impassioned speech. Pointing in the direction of the Home Office, Pilger told the crowd: “The behaviour of the British government towards Julian Assange is a disgrace. A profanity on the very notion of human rights. It’s no exaggeration to say that the treatment and persecution of Julian Assange is the way that dictatorships treat a political prisoner.”

Pilger said he had spoken with Assange over the weekend: “When I asked Julian what he would like me to say today, he was adamant. ‘Say it’s not just me. It’s much wider. It’s all of us. It’s all journalists and publishers who do their job who are in danger’.”

The meaning of Assange’s extradition could not be clearer, Pilger said, “no matter who you are or where you are, if you expose the crimes of governments you will be hunted down, kidnapped and sent to the US as a spy.”

This 2 September 2019 video is called Journalist John Pilger’s remarks at rally in defense of Julian Assange.

Pilger concluded: “Seventeen out of the 18 charges that Julian faces in America refer to the routine work of an investigative journalist, which is protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution…. The whole thing is a sham. The US prosecutors know it’s a sham, the British government know it’s a sham, the Australian government know it’s a sham.

“That’s why Julian is locked up for 21 hours a day in a maximum-security prison and treated worse than a murderer. He is to be made an example of. What happens to Julian Assange and to Chelsea Manning is meant to intimidate us, to frighten us into silence.

“By defending Julian Assange, we defend our most sacred rights. Speak up now or wake up one morning to the silence of a new kind of tyranny. The choice is ours.”

Julian’s brother Gabriel Shipton was warmly received as he spoke from the stage. He recounted his visit to Belmarsh Prison last month. “I hugged him, and he told me that this place he was in, was hell.”

This 2 September 2019 video is called Julian Assange’s brother speaks at London rally.

Shipton continued: “Afterwards, my daughter wanted to know why her uncle was locked up. ‘Has he done something bad, dad?’, she asked. I struggled to explain in a way a five-year-old could understand. As Julian’s brother, and on behalf of his children, other brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, mother and father, I call on the UK home secretary to block extradition to the USA.”

Waters took to the stage just after 6.30 p.m. He told the sea of supporters: “To see all you people here today is deeply, deeply moving. How do we put ourselves in the position of a Julian Assange in solitary confinement? Or with that kid in Syria, or Palestine or a Rohingya being blown to bits by these people in this building here [pointing to the Home Office]?”

Waters introduced “Wish You Were Here”, the title track from Pink Floyd’s 1975 chart-topping album, explaining the meaning of the song’s lyrics, “would you exchange a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?” He replied, “Well, no, I wouldn’t. This is my walk-on part in this war, and I would much prefer to be here with all of you, who are also making a walk-on part in a war than accepting a lead role in a cage.”

The audience standing in the road that was closed to traffic opposite the Home Office as its size grew

As Waters sang, the audience joined in, the lyrics taken up as a statement of political solidarity with Julian Assange.

Concluding the event, Waters thanked the audience and called out, “Julian Assange we are with you! Free Julian Assange!”, with the crowd responding “Free Julian Assange! Free Julian Assange!”

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson

WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson spoke to the WSWS after the event: “I was heartened by how many people showed up. When you’re trying to take part in the campaign to free Julian it’s so important to meet the people who actually do support him. My feeling is that despite the hostility of the mainstream media, the support is growing. We have a fight ahead of us and Julian knows that, but for him to get this message is so important. It gives me hope and optimism.”

Hrafnsson saw Assange 10 days ago and spoke over the phone with him for the first time the night before: “It took all this time to clear my number with the prison authorities. He’s not in a good place and he’s definitely not in a place where he should be—and this has to change.”

He added: “We can’t rely on the mainstream media, we can’t rely on politicians, we certainly can’t rely on the judiciary here. People really have to understand how important this is.”

John Pilger

John Pilger told the WSWS shortly before the rally that the concert was Waters’ idea: “Roger emailed me and said he’d like to play ‘Wish You Were Here’ for Julian outside Belmarsh prison. But we had a look and it’s just not possible. The closest you can get is the motorway, so we decided the next best thing was the Home Office.”

Pilger warned that Assange’s condition was a matter of grave concern. “I worry a great deal about him if he spends many months in Belmarsh,” he said. “The regime there is imposing a kind of isolation on him that is deeply psychologically wounding. He’s in a small cell in the hospital ward. They seem not to know what to do with him. Of course, what they should be doing is letting him out. He certainly should not be in a maximum-security prison.”

Emmy Butlin from the Julian Assange Defence Committee (JADC) also spoke with the WSWS.

“John Pilger and Roger Waters stirred our emotions tonight with their amazing words and song of solidarity with Julian Assange,” Butlin said. “They spoke of empathy, of peace, against war and its profiteers whose interests WikiLeaks has challenged. We are very grateful for the wonderful turnout, a testament of the support we always find in the streets of Britain and we continue our solidarity work on Saturday the 28th of September at 2:00 p.m. outside Belmarsh Prison.

“As the JADC, we are very grateful for the work the SEP is doing globally for the Free Assange campaign and for the constant participation and assistance they offer to our events. The WSWS offers accurate reporting in the Assange case and helps spread the solidarity campaign internationally far and wide. A very big thank you.”

A section of the audience at the event

Underscoring the point made by Kristinn Hrafnsson about the mainstream media, no major British television station reported on the event on their evening news broadcasts. Today, in further flagrant and conscious censorship, no British, Australian or American newspaper is carrying a report on Waters’ initiative and the rally.

The non-corporate British daily The Morning Star today has this report: Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters performs outside Home Office. So has the non-corporate daily News Line of 5 September 2019.

Via social media and publications such as the WSWS, however, reports and video of Waters’ performance, Pilger’s speech and the statements of Gabriel Shipton are circulating widely and will be viewed by hundreds of thousands of people internationally over the coming days.

Supporters of Julian Assange demanding that he is released from Belmarsh Prison and that he is not extradited to the USA

From daily News Line in Britain, 26 August 2019:

‘THERE is only one decision: No extradition! – free Julian Assange’ chanted a demonstration of over 50 supporters of the jailed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange outside Stratford station on Saturday.

Clara Campo, from the Julian Assange Defence Committee who organised the ‘Stand for Assange’ demonstration, told News Line: ‘We are taking the campaign into the public domain and that is why we are here in Stratford and not in central London where there are crowds of tourists.

‘Julian Assange has been in prison since 11th April and in October he will have served half of his year-long sentence.

‘Any other person in prison would be placed on remand but we are sceptical this will be the case with Julian as the courts seem to apply different rules for Mr Assange.

‘He is currently in Belmarsh prison and suffering terribly, he is in isolation and is physically very ill.

‘We are very concerned as one of his legal team, Gareth Pierce, wrote to the prison authorities on June 2nd and to date has not had any reply.’

Anna Price came to the protest with her young son and said: ‘This is the most important political issue of our time.

‘It is about the relationship with Britain to the US and making decisions on what is right.

‘The public need to have transparency about what those in power are doing.

‘Julian Assange has not committed any crime, but has merely revealed the crimes of those in power.

‘And for that he is being punished in a harsh and degrading manner.

‘Anyone who speaks out should be very concerned and they should stand up now and fight to stop his extradition to the US.’

Also on the protest, Katrina Jaye said: ‘This issue affects all of us, if Julian Assange is silenced for telling the truth, they will not stop there.

‘They will continue with their war crimes.

‘The TUC must become involved and fight for his release instead of trying to prop up this shaky government.’

On the demonstration, Belgica Guaña, from the Ecuador community in London, criticised the role of Ecuadorian President Moreno for allowing the police to enter the Ecuadorian embassy in London on April 11th.

Assange had been granted asylum in the embassy where he had stayed since 2012.

Belgica said: ‘We are here because people need to know the truth about Julian Assange and we are demanding his immediate release.’

Joe Brack said: ‘I will be going to lobby the TUC on September 9th because they should be 100 per cent behind Julian, and they represent millions of workers.

‘’We are seeing the greatest constitutional crisis in over 50 years.

‘We need a socialist Brexit as the only way forward.

‘All the issues we are facing here of austerity, privatisation and de-industrialisation are happening throughout Europe.

‘Just look at how Portugal, Spain, France and especially Greece are suffering under the EU bankers.’

‘I feel the freedom of the press is essential’ said Miriam Ojeda.

‘The media have manipulated events that happened during the Iraq war and afterwards.

‘Journalists such as Assange who have published documents of public interest should not be condemned and sent to prison.

‘I am afraid if Julian is extradited to the US he may be killed.’

Another protester, Hadia Hudoudia said: ‘Julian Assange has been proved right about so many things.

‘The destabilisation of the Middle East, about the war on Syria…

Those in prison should be Blair and his supporters who went to war over the lies about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction.’

Zoe, from west London, said: ‘Julian Assange has not done any harm to anyone, in fact, he has done a great service to humanity by exposing the crimes of the US government and their military.

‘He should be rewarded not facing extradition to the US or Sweden.

‘He should be freed immediately, especially as his health has deteriorated after being confined in the Ecuadorian embassy for years and now in Belmarsh prison.’

Jeff Conibear from Croydon, said: ‘I have come here to spread the word because there has been silence in the main media since Julian Assange was pulled out of the Ecuadorian embassy.

‘I was concerned to hear from John Pilger who said that Assange might be in danger of his life and he is still in the prison hospital.

‘I will be going to lobby the TUC to demand the unions speak out for a great journalist, Julian Assange, and it is shocking that they have been silent so far.’

Travelling from Germany to take part in the ‘Stand 4 Assange’ protest, Isabell Pforr from Leipzig told News Line: ‘I have taken part in protests in Germany against the fascists but there are not many actions in support of Julian Assange.

‘I have travelled here to support the Assange campaign for his release as his imprisonment is such an important issue that affects us all.’

‘I will be attending another protest on September 7th at Australia House and a lobby of the TUC on September 9th before I return.’

New York resident Anna Kard also made it her business to be at the protest on her holiday in the UK.

She said: ‘I have arranged my holiday around attending this protest, I needed to be here for this event.

‘It’s good to see such a good crowd here, we must step up the fight for the release of Julian Assange.’

Maria Modesto from Wandsworth said: ‘This protest is a contribution towards the release of Julian assange from prison.

‘I am concerned about his treatment and fear he may not survive and it is important to step up the campaign for his release.’

After the protest, Emmy Butlin from the Julian Assange Defence Campaign told News Line: ‘Today’s action here in Stratford was a great success with a lot of people showing great interest in the situation regarding Julian Assange’s seizure from the embassy and his current imprisonment and supported our demand for his immediate release.’

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2 thoughts on “Roger Waters, John Pilger, pro-WikiLeaks whistleblower Assange

  1. Pingback: Corporate media silence on Roger Waters, Assange | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: ‘Russiagate conspiracy’ campaign based on double agent | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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