Kevin Zeese, co-coordinator of Popular Resistance, an activist group based in Maryland that tackles a broad range of social issues, told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear that the rallies for Assange are a vital fight against big corporations and the US government monopolizing the media.
The rallies, which mark the sixth anniversary of Assange seeking asylum in London, will take place at 11:00 a.m. at Lafayette Square in front of the White House and 4:30 p.m. at the British Embassy along "Embassy Row" in the city's northwest. The speakers at the event will include former intelligence officials, academics and other activists. Rallies are also scheduled to take place Tuesday in California, Texas and Chicago and similar events will take place in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.
"The rallies are the sixth anniversary of Assange going into the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid being prosecuted by the US for espionage and probably facing the rest of his life in jail just for being a reporter and the editor of WikiLeaks. We have to call for the end of his prosecution. The purpose of the rallies are for him to be able to leave the Ecuadorian embassy without being prosecuted or extradited by the US," Zeese told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.
"Assange and WikiLeaks are the center of a key battle over who controls the media narrative in the US. Right now, the narrative is being told by a very small group of mega corporations who put out the word for the government and for big businesses. People's views are not heard. But, WikiLeaks broke through that," Zeese said.
"It provided a tool for democratizing the media, so that people actually have influence over the message, so that people who work for big business corporations or the government can blow the whistle anonymously by releasing documents that can be shared by others through social media. There is a real challenge between corporate media versus people's media. That's why those big corporate interests are not going to support Assange: he is undermining their control of the narrative and their monopoly over the media message," Zeese added.
"And that's why it's so important for people to stand him for Assange. And he's not alone. There are a lot of whistleblowers. I am on the board for the Courage Foundation, which was established to protect whistleblowers. Assange is the John Peter Zenger case of the 21st century," Zeese said.
John Peter Zenger, a journalist in New York City, was accused of libel in 1734 by William Cosby, the governor of the colony of New York at the time. Howevever, Zenger became a symbol for freedom of the press after a jury acquitted him.
Assange came into the spotlight in 2010 when WikiLeaks released a video titled "Collateral Murder" given to the website by Chelsea Manning, then a US Army soldier, which showed a US Apache helicopter killing innocent civilians in Iraq.
Assange has been residing at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 for fear of being extradited to the US via Sweden. Although there are no charges against Assange in the US, he fears being tried for espionage.
In April, the US Democratic Party filed a lawsuit naming WikiLeaks as one of the culprits allegedly responsible for attempts to disrupt the 2016 presidential election campaign.
The Ecuadorian government has recently been making moves toward possibly evicting Assange from the embassy. He is not permitted to have internet access nor is he allowed any visitors other than his attorneys.