STATEMENT OF VETERANS FOR PEACE IN SUPPORT OF JULIAN ASSANGE AND WIKILEAKS AND TO BOYCOTT EBAY, PAYPAL AND AMAZON CORPORATIONS
December 9, 2010
Yesterday, the Executive Committee of Veterans For Peace voted to break all commercial ties with the Amazon Corporation and call for our members to boycott eBay Corp. and PayPal Corp. This includes, but is not limited to,
· Removing the Amazon link from the VFP website. Previously we had encouraged our members to use this link when making purchases from Amazon Corp., as a fundraising method for our organization.
· Urging our members, supporters and the public to boycott Amazon, eBay and PayPal corporations.
· Urging Julian Assange and the Wikileaks team to continue their fight in the most important area of free speech: government secrets.
The U.S. Justice Department is reportedly considering charging Assange under the Espionage Act. This much-discredited and little-used law was last invoked against journalists, unsuccessfully, in the failed Pentagon Papers case in 1971. However, prosecution and conviction under this act, passed in 1917 to stifle dissent during WWI, may have little to do with espionage and everything to do with government repression.
For example, the federal government used the Espionage Act to prosecute Gene Debs, the great union organizer and socialist presidential candidate, for a 1918 Canton Ohio speech against U.S. involvement in the “Great War.”
Another citizen prosecuted in the same period under the same law, according to Kevin Zeese, director of Voters for Peace, was Rose Pastor Stokes, sentenced to ten years in prison for a letter to the Kansas City Star, saying “no government which is for the profiteers can also be for the people, and I am for the people while the government is for the profiteers.”
The government-war-private corporation axis is exposed fully in this case. Credit card companies Mastercard and Visa, along with giant online retailer Ebay Corp., owner of PayPal Corp., have voluntarily joined Amazon Corp. in answering the government’s request to block WikiLeaks’ funding in an effort to keep additional information from a citizenry increasingly fed up with war, secrecy and corporate power.
VFP gave imprisoned Army PFC, Bradley Manning, its Courage of Conscience award earlier this year for releasing documents detailing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Resistance to the attack on WikiLeaks and Assange is also growing and VFP considers it important to do what we can to join that resistance.