Roger Waters, the founding member of Pink Floyd and an avowed social justice activist, has endorsed the upcoming demonstrations in support of Julian Assange and demanded that the whistle-blower be given a safe haven in his native Australia.
In a letter to Australia's Socialist Equality Party, published on the World Socialist Web Site, Waters lauded Assange as a "real hero", whose WikiLeaks project "helped expose to the world the hidden machinations of the real criminals in our society: the oligarchs, who in their insatiable quest for more and more wealth, would destroy the fragile planet we call home".
Waters, who left Pink Floyd in 1985 to pursue a successful solo career, said Assange needs protection from "unwarranted and illegal attacks" from the Western countries, who are "determined to destroy" the truth-seeker.
The Socialist Equality Party is set to organise rallies in Sydney on 3 March and in Melbourne on 10 March to call on the Australian government for immediate action to secure the freedom of Julian Assange.
"I unreservedly support and applaud the demonstrations called by the Socialist Equality Party in Australia to demand that the Australian government takes immediate action to secure the freedom of their citizen, Julian Assange, from his near seven-year house imprisonment in the Ecuadorian embassy in London," Waters wrote.
"At least until recently, the Ecuadorian presidency was solid in its promise of asylum, but the new president of Ecuador is showing himself to be more susceptible to insidious US pressure. Julian's situation is dire."
When asked to comment on the initiative, John Pilger, an Australian journalist and BAFTA award-winning documentary film maker told Sputnik: "There is no miscarriage of justice I have known as that of Julian Assange. There is no case that so vividly illustrates the current assault on freedom of speech, on true journalism, by governments with democratic pretensions as that of Julian Assange. What happens to Julian touches us all, including the craven Vichy media. The freedom to which Julian has a right under international law would be his if only the government in his own country, Australia, exercised minimal, positive, even principled diplomacy. On 3 March, Australians who care about freedom will call on their government to honour basic justice and international law and bring Julian home."
In November, Roger Waters travelled to Ecuador to urge the country's government not to give up Assange to the UK and the US "and all the other acolytes of the evil empire incarcerate this great man and kill him, which is what they will do".
The 47-year-old WikiLeaks founder has been locked up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012. He has repeatedly noted he feared extradition to the United States over leaking thousands of classified documents.
His defence team has cited media reports suggesting that Ecuador's president Lenin Moreno had sought to reach an agreement with the United States on handing Assange over to Washington in exchange for "debt relief".
Moreover, in November, WikiLeaks and a number of US media outlets published what they claimed was a court filing in an unrelated case including some sealed charges that used Assange's name in an "apparent cut-and-paste error". The outlets then suggested that the existence of these files meant the existence of charges brought against Assange by the US authorities. Washington has refused to deny or confirm the rumours.