Susan Sarandon
Exclusive interview
"Julian Assange is being persecuted for telling a shameful and dangerous truth"
Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon participated in a protest on Assange's release in New York. Complaints about the lack of freedom of expression and criticism of the Israeli government.

Activist Julian Assange lawyers launched a final legal challenge in the United Kingdom to prevent the WikiLeaks founder from being sent to the United States, where he would face espionage charges. The argument of Assange's defenders is that the US authorities seek to punish him for exposing serious criminal acts committed by the government of that country.

In New York, several activist groups gathered in front of the British consulate in Manhattan to demand the release of Assange. After being locked up for seven years in the small space of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, under diplomatic protection, Assange spent the last five years in a British prison. Among those attending the New York protest, a familiar face appeared, a regular defender of the Australian journalist: the popular actress Susan Sarandon.

Sarandon (77) remains very actively engaged in several political struggles. The Palestinian cause, for example, cost her the contract with the talent agency that has represented her for a long time. The reason given was what Sarandon said at one of the protests she attended: "A lot of people are afraid to be Jewish right now, and they are starting to get a taste of what it feels like to be Muslim in this country," the Thelma and Louise actress said.

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Far from abandoning the front line in questioning Israel, the actress once again staged a protest at the Capitol to question the Senate's vote on the $95 billion foreign aid, including $14 billion for Israel.

"Julian Assange is being persecuted for telling a shameful and dangerous truth"

Susan Sarandon is one of the American actresses most committed to social causes and, as on this occasion in defense of Assange, she participates discreetly but forcefully, aware of the echo generated by her support. Winner of an Oscar award, she believes that at the root of both acting and activism is imagination. Sarandon stated that she is able to imagine herself in someone else's place and wants to use her fame to help. Over the years, she spoke out against the Iraq war, hunger, homelessness, sex trafficking, mass incarceration and death penalty.

Julian Assange is being persecuted for telling the truth, a shameful truth, a dangerous truth that defies the narrative in many situations. It is dangerous to see how there is no freedom of the press, especially when you see how journalists are silent now.

In an exclusive conversation with LPO, during the protest held in Manhattan, Sarandon mentions that she is not a good speaker, but feels a duty to defend Assange for herself and her children.

Why do you consider it so important to defend Julian Assange from prison in the United States?

Julian Assange is being persecuted for telling the truth, a shameful truth, a dangerous truth that defies the narrative in many situations. It is dangerous to see how there is no freedom of the press, especially when you see how journalists are silent now. They had no problem publishing many of these revelations, and now they are silent. Julian is not even a citizen of the United States. Where is Australia in all this? People are so afraid to challenge the status quo that they do nothing. And we see it when we realize the price that both Assange and his family are paying. We need to keep people informed of what's going on and we need to free Julian.

The United States is involved in another international political debate in addition to the Assange trial: the war in the Middle East. What do you think about that?

We are in a very sad situation in this country as it is confirmed that we do not have freedom of the press. The same thing happens in other situations, like Palestine right now. We see how people receive the news and make all their decisions. That ends up affecting when it comes to voting and making decisions. The news ends up creating prejudices and defining who your heroes are. But doing so with a very biased view of what is happening in the world is dangerous. It's like shooting a fish in a barrel right now, we need a ceasefire in Gaza. Hospitals are being destroyed, it's a total genocide. 80% of Americans want the ceasefire, and our taxes should not be paying for the ammunition of this war.

Another of the voices that led the protest in New York in favor of Assange was that of Margaret Kimberly, co-author of the book In Defense of Julian Assange. Kimberly thinks that both Democrats and Republicans act in the same way against Assange.

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The journalist stated: "They told us that Donald Trump won thanks to Julian Assange, who was working with Russia, but after all, it was Barack Obama who began the process of prosecuting whistleblowers using the espionage law. No president used the Espionage Act as much as Barack Obama."

We need a ceasefire in Gaza. Hospitals are being destroyed, it is a total genocide. 80% of Americans want the ceasefire, and our taxes should not be paying for the ammunition of this war.

Critical of Trump but also of Biden, Kimberlly pointed out that the Republican candidate decided to capture Assange by interfering in the internal activities of Ecuador, the country that had given him asylum. The Afro-American writer and activist concluded that "they needed a new government in Ecuador and interfered in its electoral politics by getting different people to occupy the position that would hand over Assange." We should not be surprised at Trump, the worst president in history, but now he is not in the White House. Biden is president now, supposedly someone who defends democracy, but is following Trump in prosecuting Assange. Are Democrats better? These efforts are bipartisan, the war is bipartisan, support for Israel is bipartisan. Support for continuing the war in Ukraine is bipartisan. That's why they hate Assange. Because he revealed all this to us".

Translator: Bibiana Ruiz. 

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By Edgar Costa (New York)
La actriz ganadora de un Oscar Susan Sarandon participó de una protesta por la liberación de Assange en Nueva York. Quejas por la falta de libertad de expresión y críticas al gobierno de Israel.