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THE Stop the War Coalition voted unanimously to ramp up campaigning for the freedom of Julian Assange at its AGM on Saturday.
Mr Assange’s partner Stella Moris said it was outrageous that the journalist remained behind bars despite a ruling that he should not be extradited to the United States.
Washington is appealing the ruling, seeking to try Mr Assange over WikiLeaks’s publication of classified material detailing war crimes including the deliberate killing of civilians by US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Ms Moris said Mr Assange had lost his liberty for “exposing the day-to-day carnage of war.”
If the extradition goes ahead the US would continue to “persecute journalists if it sees its power challenged in this way,” she said.
This year’s AGM marked 20 years of the Stop the War Coalition, which was founded in 2001 to campaign against the invasion of Afghanistan and the “war on terror.” Convenor Lindsey German said that after two decades its work was as important as ever.
“If we look at security, people are scared that their families don’t have enough food, scared of the pandemic, scared by climate change,” she said. “None of these security issues are addressed by our government’s military strategies.”
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a previous chair of Stop the War, said public opinion had turned against nuclear weapons and that “from coronavirus to environmental destruction to economic inequality, we face threats that the war machine cannot fix and can only worsen.”
And Andrew Murray, another former chair of the organisation, warned that the “back to business as usual” push from new US President Joe Biden and the current Labour leadership meant “back to war as usual.”
Again and again the arguments of the anti-war movement had been vindicated, he pointed out. “Almost no-one defends the Iraq war now, but they sneak around it, defending attacks on other countries without addressing the legacy of Iraq or the war on terror.”
The AGM passed resolutions vowing to oppose the new cold war on China and the despatch of an aircraft carrier group to the Far East, to campaign to end the war in Yemen, to fight for Britain to ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and on strengthening its student work.
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