@ioerror (Jacob Appelbaum) gave this speech on Twitter on August 18th 2012. It is part reminder, part plea and part instruction manual for freedom fighters everywhere.
One of the most inspiring things about Julian is that he knew the risks & took action for the benefit of all *humanity* #wikileaks
Julian’s actions are not based in egoism or megalomania – they are based on principles of universal justice brought through truth telling.
Julian’s willingness to take a stand in public is dismissed as “not required” by people who have yet to show anonymity alone could work.
Daniel Ellsberg is not an egotistical guy either – he could have leaked the Pentagon Papers anonymously & wanted to take a stand for change
Every person inspired by JA/DE’s courage in public leads others to be inspired to at least take action anonymously, if not publicly.
We must not create idols for worship but we must not denigrate those who make or take risks merely because we know their name or story.
Nor should we discredit the positive actions of people, merely because they, like all people, are imperfect, flawed or sometimes wrong.
Nelson Mandela is a great example of a guy who, while imperfect, brought about great change worthy of praise, while having a healthy ego/id.
So many great people, working for justice are imperfect and so easily people forget the smears & attacks they faced in their struggle.
Pick someone working for social justice, against unjust wars, against oppressive forces of almost any kind – they are attacked mercilessly.
These attacks, even if there is a shred of truth to them, must not be used to discredit the positive goals & results of such struggles.
Point out that some founding fathers of the US were racists and that they were right to fight against British tyranny – we must carry it on
Nelson Mandela used tactics that we can improve on, as did the US revolutionary forces against the UK – #wikileaks has never used violence
The fact that #wikileaks has managed to make such an impact by building on the lessons of past struggles is precisely why so many attack it.
Without a single bullet, #wikileaks has turned elections, exposed murders, shown massive corruptions – it has uncovered and enabled action.
#wikileaks would have never have mattered without Julian Assange and everyone involved, taking these risks knowingly for a better world.
Even if you personally dislike Julian, we must not let him hang. Humanity benefits from #wikileaks work. He hasn’t hung you, he has helped.
Some say #wikileaks doesn’t need him and that he’s a risk to #wikileaks but that is exactly the wrong lesson. We cannot disregard his needs.
When I spoke at HOPE in Julian’s place, I quoted Solzhenitsyn “And mankind’s sole salvation lies in everyone making everything his business”
Solzhenitsyn (continued): “in the people of the East being vitally concerned with what is thought in the West,”
Solzhenitsyn (continued): “the people of the West vitally concerned with what goes on in the East.”
This is what #wikileaks and Julian Assange have done – they have made it possible for us to do exactly as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn hoped.
We now know almost exactly how many people the State has killed by their own hands – when it refuses to be accountable for war and lies.
We now know the tactics of corruption from Kenya to Iraq. from Libya and Tunisia – from the West, the East, & the Global South.
Julian’s action with #wikileaks was not to end up dead or exiled or famous – his actions create opportunity for all of us to take action.
When Howard Zinn talked about Democracy, he showed that it is more than simple voting, it is knowledge, culture, discussions, accountability
When Julian talks about Democracy, he takes action to enable knowledge, culture, to foster discussions, to create avenues for accountability
We must not forget that Julian has taken steps to fight against the creeping authoritarianism that come from any exploitable govt structure.
In the “West” we speak of dissidents and activists, such as those in Bahrain without issue – the State department even speaks out for them.
We must not forget that the people oppressed in Bahrain deserve freedom not because they’re in Bahrain but because they are alive & feeling
All across the world, Julian and many others have enabled and connected struggles to evidence for what they often knew but could not prove.
What is created next must come from the all of us not wasting our generation. No martyrs and no losing ourselves to be crushed by the State.
We must remember that the State will lie to us – each state involved in hunting Julian has lied to its people. This is a structural issue.
The structure of modern governments takes otherwise good people and puts them into impossible situations. A feedback loop we can reset.
The structure of these governments was an improvement on what came before but we must improve the structure to improve the outcomes.
Many of the modern governments, partially as a result of scale, have lost people’s faith in doing the right thing, in representing us.
We must remind everyone one of those people in those structures that justice does not merely appear for people in Julian’s place.
How will we do this? How will communicate these goals? How will we communicate our shared points of unity and our goals of justice?
We will do this with actions. Individual actions and actions taken together as a whole, in the pursuit of those points of unity, those goals
We must start by letting everyone in a position of power know: what happens to Julian, we believe it will happen to *all* of us eventually.
What we must also impress on their minds is that if it happens to Julian as suspected, it will happen to them before it happens to all of us
We must find the names and ranks of all of responsible and refuse to let them off the hook. File lawsuits, block doors, print leaflets.
We must find those who know, who knew and are silent – from drone assassination to hunting Julian Assange – they must be held to account.
I have been held by the US Army/ICE/DHS on US soil – denied a lawyer, my property taken, my life threatened – is this the world we want?
These things do not represent progress towards justice, when police are legally protected about lying – when the military has no limits.
These issues are concrete examples of tyranny, of injustice, of systems that are structurally flawed.
These very systems that #wikileaks has sought to inform us about; we must not waste this chance and we must not let the world waste Julian!
Every single person impacted by the US Grand Jury should speak out about their experiences – we cannot let people say it isn’t happening.
Every single person who can take a stand against the NDAA section 1021 – no indefinite detention without a trial anywhere, ever.
We must speak out, we must speak loudly, we must write in when we see lies printed by the New York Times or the Washington Post.
We must not be crushed by fear or of fear of reprisal – we must refuse to be silenced and expose those who pressure and try to harm us.
When people say that Julian is unreasonably paranoid – we must show them that the US is breaking its own rules, our rules, to pursuit him.
In the next few years, if we do not fix our structural problems, we will have the technology for total totalitarianism – just waiting for us
Silence will not protect us – only standing strong and standing together, despite our own misgivings – against injustice, any injustice.
File an amicus brief in Jewel vs NSA to fight against the tyranny of general warrants. File an amicus brief in the case against sect 1021.
File a FOIA for anything and everything – create trouble with the truth – hold the bastards accountable for misusing our power against us.
If you’re in London, now is the time for you to occupy the embassy of Ecuador – be eyes for the world, against the tyranny of the UK.
For every person like Julian or Bradly Manning, there are dozens whose names we do not know – we must support all of them in their struggle.
Do not despair that we can’t win every struggle, we must not be discouraged. The moral action is right even absent a chance of winning.
Do not despair that some are cowards; show them they are welcome to change their minds and support them in the struggle when they’re ready
This generation can overcome the apathy and the failures of the last few decades. We reject the notion that the State is perfect or honest.
Julian Assange’s fate is in our hands; now is the time for action! Take it before it is too late for him and too late for the rest of us.