Julian Assange: Censored To Death? PART TWO
Julian Assange is being censored to death. Steemit exclusive: transcript of a talk I gave at the Deep Truth conference last Friday night. PART TWO!
Visit the official Deep Truth website here to access the full video of my speech, including my intro and my answers to various audience questions afterwards. The fantastic Ray McGovern, Mark Crispin Miller, Cynthia McKinney and others were also panelists.
Click here to read Part One of this transcript.
My speech was a follow-on from (rather than being about) my article 'Being Julian Assange', with all new content. The focus is on the censorship of Julian, not just the smears, but the ways in which Julian's speech, his organisation and himself have been grossly censored.
Increasingly, worryingly, there is also what I am deeming repetitional censorship.
It is a censorship of the state preventing others from either accessing or repeating information that is sourced from WikiLeaks. Preventing them from legitimising the WikiLeaks publications by perusing them or by sharing them. This is a type of censorship that is being particularly targeted at federal employees in the United States of America whose access to WikiLeaks has been blocked. Multiple institutions including the Air Force and others, have extended that ban on WikiLeaks even to personal computers. Employees have been outright told, not only can you not read it or not share it at work on your work computer, but you are not to read it at all, ever.
This has extended to - actually - there's been multiple scandals of International Affairs students at major universities including Columbia University and others - Public Affairs and International Affairs students - who have been told the same thing: you may not read WikiLeaks cables, you may not access this information, you may not share this information, or there will be consequences for you. In some cases, some of the universities have backed down from those statements once it has become public but many others have continued to operate similar policies.
We also have seen in 2016 in the wake of the DNCLeaks and the Podesta emails, a US cable news host famously telling the public directly on air that it is illegal for them to read WikiLeaks and that only journalists are allowed to access and consume WikiLeaks material, which is a blatant lie. Yet again, it is a form of censorship because it is denying public access to the information, attempting to instill fear into them to prevent them from being interested in that information or from sharing it.
Again, and in 'Being Julian Assange' I go into this extensively, there is historical censorship and manipulation of the public record about WikiLeaks.
This is where they have been actively manufacturing a false history of the organisation that they fully intend to carry forward through to future generations. The Wikipedia page for WikiLeaks is updated with smears about WikiLeaks within hours of publication. They appear in the second or third sub-sections of the page on WikiLeaks, very prominently, at the top. This is a page that has untold hundreds of sources and within the first 20 sources you will see the most recent smears of WikiLeaks, almost instantaneously interjected into WikiLeaks' historical record and sources which are neutral or which are positive towards WikiLeaks are struck off of that page. So it is an ongoing, live propaganda feed about WikiLeaks.
The worrying thing about this is that Wikipedia is the go-to source particularly for students and teachers worldwide, from elementary school all the way through high school, and through university. It is commonly accepted that if something appears on Wikipedia that it is OK to use as a source because of Wikipedia's extensive rules about what can and cannot be included. So when Wikipedia is actively being turned into a propaganda machine, that means that millions and millions of students, and the public at large, around the world, are consuming state propaganda.
There is also social media censorship. Abject censorship.
Social Media Censorship
It wasn't so long ago that a practice known as 'shadowbanning' on Facebook and Twitter, where people simply don't see your content and cannot access your content, even if they follow you, or even if on You Tube they signed up for notifications from you, they are not receiving them. Or they subscribed to your channel and are mysteriously unsubscribed. Or they follow your Twitter and are mysteriously unfollowed from it.
This was considered conspiracy theory as little as 2 years ago but it is now an acknowledged and a widespread practice, so much so that the social media companies have been updating their terms of service and their privacy policies to cover their backsides for having engaged in this and this is gross censorship on a massive scale. It is direct interference with the basic freedom of communication of all humans who are on the internet and who are utilising social media.
This is something that is utilised against not just Julian and WikiLeaks but activists around the world and certainly against WikiLeaks' supporters and anyone associated with WikiLeaks. On our hashtags, our events, our websites, Google searches, everything, obviously, are involved in that.
We have seen Julian Assange's Twitter account just mysteriously be wiped off Twitter on Christmas Eve of 2017. On the same day that the official US Navy Twitter account erroneously tweeted nothing but the words "Julian Assange", Julian Assange's Twitter account just disappeared from Twitter, as if the account had been closed down. Absolutely no viable or reasonable explanation was ever given about why that happened or how that happened.
So, we know that surveillance begets censorship but also the Department of Justice subpoenas of the private conversations on social media of staff and associates of WikiLeaks, in accordance with the Grand Jury which I mentioned earlier, which is convened in the Eastern District Court of Virginia, has brought about yet another type of censorship.
That is the breakdown of relationships or the altering of relationships between individuals and the information that they share with each other, as a result of what can only be described as intimidation tactics, where you no longer feel that you can have a private conversation because you never know what could happen as a result of that.
Then I believe you have my wonderful friend Cynthia McKinney at the event today, and she will be able to tell you about the next form of censorship even better than I can, but from knowing her I can tell you that there is absolutely academic censorship of WikiLeaks, of information sourced by WikiLeaks and of WikiLeaks as a source.
Cynthia McKinney was told to remove references to WikiLeaks that she had cited in her academic writing. She was instructed to cleanse her - I can't remember if it was her thesis or her dissertation work - of WikiLeaks references. Despite the fact that the information was absolutely true, impeccably sourced and has never been discredited, she was instructed to remove those references.
We know now that WikiLeaks cables have been instrumental and cited in some 40,000 legal cases around the world. Court cases have been won, justice has been done, as a result of people having access to WikiLeaks cables, yet across the Western world, WikiLeaks is commonly not allowed to be used in academic writing so it is not being sourced in academic journals and that is just an absolute travesty.
So that is some of the outward-facing, in-the-world examples of censorship but there has been some forms of censorship that have occurred within WikiLeaks. The instigators of that have been saboteurs.
Censorship By Sabotage
Saboteurs and informants who have historically, not recently, but historically wheedled their way inside the organisation then done as much damage as they can to try to prevent information getting out into the public arena that was in the public interest.
By this, I'm thinking of several examples. One is the ex-employee of WikiLeaks Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who is very commonly cited as a source in smear pieces about WikiLeaks, talking about how Julian had smelly socks and was mean to his cat and God knows what else that he's cooked up. But this individual was involved in some very serious sabotage.
He sabotaged - he dismantled actually, in 2010, while Julian was briefly incarcerated - he sabotaged the whistleblowing system, the secure dropbox facility that WikiLeaks had engineered to receive source material from sources. As a result, for 9 or 10 months I believe, WikiLeaks had to actually entirely shut down their facility for receiving documents from sources. So within that period of time, whistleblowers were actively denied the ability to leak to WikiLeaks as a result of the sabotage.
Furthermore, one of WikiLeaks' lawyers, Renata Avila, a Guatemalan human rights lawyer, has written testimony that she had met with Daniel Domscheit-Berg in person and supplied him with evidence, documented hard copy evidence of war crimes, human rights violations that had been committed in Guatemala on the express agreement and understanding that he would pass those documents immediately to WikiLeaks for publishing. But after she gave them to him, those documents disappeared off the face of the planet and have never been seen since.
So these are other more subtle and cunning forms of censorship that go on behind the scenes as a direct result of interference by malignant forces with a publishing organisation such as WikiLeaks but I absolutely consider it to be censorship because yet again information that the public had a right to know, that WikiLeaks' duty was to inform the public, the public were ultimately unable to see or access the information and WikiLeaks was unable to publish it as a result of these nefarious acts against them.
Then we have censorship by legal means - legal censorship.
I assume many of you would have heard of National Security Letters. National Security Letters (NSL's) are secret, forced cooperation agreements. They are a notice issued by the US government usually. They have built into them a gag order. So usually a National Security Letter is issued to a corporation of a service provider but it can go to any entity. From the second that National Security Letter is received, the receiving entity is, under serious penalty, unable to tell anybody that they have received it. This is all tied up under the banner of National Security obviously, and in the anti-terrorism legislation, information sharing legislation that has spread around particularly the Western world post-9/11.
Those non-disclosure provisions are extremely dangerous for an organisation - especially a transparency organisation - because if they never know who has received the letters, they have no ability to trust their relationships, be it staff or be it a service provider, be it a consumer relationship or a business relationship.
Another form of censorship by legal means is the denial of Julian Assange's right to testify in certain cases in which he has expressed a willingness to do so and in which he obviously has information that is pertinent to those proceedings.
This week there was a tweet from Julian Assange's legal team from his official Twitter account, and that tweet reads: "Someone is very scared of Julian Assange" and then several examples are given. The tweet says: "The US House Intelligence Committee is blocking Julian Assange from speaking to Congress and the UK Foreign Office is blocking Julian Assange from talking to the UK Parliament" which is in reference to the ongoing inquiry into Cambridge Analytica.
So on one hand censorship is used by legal means against associates of WikiLeaks, but on the other hand Assange is being censored by this outright, open blocking of his ability to give testimony before these inquiries.
Of course one of the biggest dangers which we hear a lot about is self-censorship.
All of this hideous pressure that is being applied on all sides through all of these methods does result inevitably in self-censorship to varying degrees depending on how stubborn you are. If you're really stubborn like me, probably not much self-censorship but for the average person I think they can be quite severely affected by it. Many journalists and in fact entire mass media outlets already practice self-censorship every day because they know the boundaries drawn by the state, they know where those lines are drawn and what they cannot cross.
The intergovernmental, or as we might say the deep state agenda to silence WikiLeaks inherently aims to scare, really to petrify, and thus censor both the words and actions of millions of people around the world. They hope to have all of us quaking in our boots so that we will silence ourselves preemptively without the state even needing to do it for us. This is their agenda.
They need to do this because they can oppress any one of us, they can target any one of us with ease, but they cannot silence us all unless we allow them to. Unless we tacitly consent by silencing ourselves. Which is why I believe, and I am sure WikiLeaks and Julian Assange believe that it is vitally important that we all raise our voices louder and louder and louder, together, in unison, because together we have so much more power than we do as individuals.
Julian has resisted that self-censorship fiercely. He has refused to capitulate at every turn. He has been offered, like a rotten dangling carrot the option of having his online communication restored if he will silence himself, his intellect, and turn his back on his areas of interest and of expertise - which is geopolitics. But he has remained resolute and he has refused to capitulate. He will not take that carrot and he will not compromise his principles. He has sacrificed too much to do so at this point. There is absolutely no going back. In doing so, and in showing that strength, he encourages all of us to take the same steps and to preserve our own principles. As Greg Barns, Julian's Australian legal advisor, said at the #Unity4J online vigil for Julian Assange last week, there is only one hope now for Julian and that is a political solution born of political pressure created by the unified demands of supporters of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, free speech and human rights worldwide.
But denial of access to medical services leads to the ultimate form of censorship and that is death.
Censored To Death
Julian is in dire straits in terms of his physical condition. He has needed serious medical intervention for a number of years and he has been denied access to medical services by the UK government.
So to prevent Julian Assange from being the first man since Socrates who is literally censored to death, we are going to have to band together and we are going to have to rise like lions and we are going to have to fight for him to be freed.
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