Note: The following text is based on a speech given at a rally Thursday evening June 10 in New York in support of Julian Assange, currently imprisoned in Belmarsh prison in the United Kingdom under threat of possible extradition to the United States. John and Gabriel Shipton, Julian’s father and brother, also spoke at the event, which was held at the People’s Forum.

A society that prohibits the ability to speak the truth extinguishes the ability to live righteously.

That’s why we’re here tonight. Yes, all of us who know and admire Julian are describing his prolonged suffering and the suffering of his family. Yes, we demand an end to the many wrongs and injustices inflicted on him. Yes, we honor him for his courage and integrity. But the battle for Julian’s freedom has always been more than the persecution of a publisher. It is the most important battle of our time for press freedom. And if we lose this battle, it will be devastating, not only for Julian and his family, but for us.

The long campaign against Julian and WikiLeaks is a window into the collapse of the rule of law, the rise of what political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of inverted totalitarianism, a form of totalitarianism that sustains the fictions of the old. capitalist democracy, including its institutions, iconography, patriotic symbols and rhetoric, but has ceded full control internally to the dictates of global corporations.

Tyrannies overthrow the rule of law. They make the law an instrument of injustice. They cover up their crimes in a false legality. They use the decorum of courts and trials to hide their criminality. Those, like Julian, who expose this crime to the public are dangerous, because without a pretext of legitimacy, tyranny loses its credibility and has only fear, coercion and violence in its arsenal.

The long campaign against Julian and WikiLeaks is a window into the collapse of the rule of law, the rise of what political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of inverted totalitarianism, a form of totalitarianism that sustains the fictions of the old. capitalist democracy, including its institutions, iconography, patriotic symbols and rhetoric, but has ceded full control internally to the dictates of global corporations.

I was in the London courtroom when Julian was on trial by Judge Vanessa Baraitser, an updated version of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland demanding punishment before delivering the verdict. It was a legal farce. There was no legal basis for holding Julian in jail. There was no legal basis for trying him, an Australian citizen, under US Espionage Law. The CIA spied on Julian at the embassy through a Spanish company, UC Global, responsible for ensuring the security of the embassy. This espionage included the recording of privileged conversations between Julian and his lawyers as they discussed his defense. This fact alone invalidated the trial. Julian is being held in a maximum security prison so that the state can, as testified by Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, continue the degrading abuse and torture which he hopes will result its psychological, even physical, disintegration.

The US government has led, as Craig Murray so eloquently documented, London prosecutor James Lewis. Lewis presented these guidelines to Baraitser. Baraitser adopted them as his legal decision. It was judicial pantomime. Lewis and the judge insisted they are not trying to criminalize journalists and muzzle the press as they work to put in place the legal framework to criminalize journalists and muzzle the press. And that’s why the court worked so hard to hide the proceedings from the public, limiting access to the courtroom to a handful of observers and making it difficult and sometimes impossible to access the trial online. It was a vulgar show trial, not an example of the best of English jurisprudence but of Lubyanka.

Now I know that many of us here tonight would like to think of ourselves as radicals, maybe even revolutionaries. But what we demand from the political spectrum is in fact conservative, it is the reestablishment of the rule of law. It’s simple and basic. It should not, in a functioning democracy, be inflammatory. But to live in truth in a despotic system is the supreme act of defiance. This truth terrifies those in power.

The architects of imperialism, the masters of war, the corporate-controlled legislative, judicial and executive powers, and their obsequious courtiers in the media, are illegitimate. Tell this simple truth and you are banished, as many of us have been, to the fringes of the media landscape. Prove this truth, as Julian, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, and Edward Snowden did by allowing us to scrutinize the inner workings of power, and you are hunted down and persecuted.

Shortly after WikiLeaks published the Iraq War Diaries in October 2010, which documented numerous US war crimes, including video footage of the shooting of two Reuters journalists and 10 other unarmed civilians in the Collateral Murder video, the routine torture of Iraqi prisoners, the coverage of thousands of civilian deaths and the murder of nearly 700 civilians who came too close to American checkpoints – the towering civil rights advocates Len Weinglass and my good friend Michael Ratner, whom I would accompany later to meet Julian at the Ecuadorian embassy, ​​met with Julian at a studio in central London. Julian’s personal bank cards had been blocked. Three encrypted laptops containing documents detailing US war crimes had disappeared from his luggage en route to London. Swedish police were fabricating a case against him as part of a move, warned Ratner, which involved extraditing Julian to the United States.

“WikiLeaks and you personally face a battle that is both legal and political,” Weinglass told Assange. “As we learned in the Pentagon Papers affair, the US government doesn’t like the truth to come out. And he doesn’t like to be humiliated. It doesn’t matter if it’s Nixon or Bush or Obama, Republican or Democrat in the White House. The US government will try to stop you from publishing its dirty secrets. And if they’re going to destroy you and the First Amendment and Publishers’ Rights with you, they’re ready to do it. We think they’re going to come after WikiLeaks and you, Julian, as the editor.

“Come after me for what?” asked Julien.

“Espionage,” Weinglass continued. “They’re going to charge Bradley Manning with treason under the 1917 Espionage Act. We don’t think that applies to him because he’s a whistleblower, not a spy. And we don’t think that applies to you either because you’re an editor. But they will try to force Manning to involve you as his collaborator.

“Come after me for what?

That is the question.

They attacked Julien not for his vices, but for his virtues.

The criminal ruling class has locked us all into its deadly embrace.

They came after Julian because he exposed the more than 15,000 unreported deaths of Iraqi civilians; because he denounced the torture and ill-treatment inflicted on some 800 men and boys, aged 14 to 89, at Guantanamo; because he revealed that Hillary Clinton in 2009 ordered US diplomats to spy on UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and other UN officials from China, France, Russia and the Kingdom United, espionage which included obtaining DNA, iris scans, fingerprints and personal passwords, part of the long pattern of illegal surveillance which included eavesdropping on the secretary general of the UN Kofi Annan in the weeks leading up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003; because it revealed that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the CIA orchestrated the June 2009 military coup in Honduras that overthrew democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, replacing him with a murderous and corrupt military regime; because he exposed that George W. Bush, Barack Obama and General David Petraeus pursued a war in Iraq which under post-Nuremberg laws is defined as a criminal war of aggression, a war crime, which ‘they authorized hundreds of targeted assassinations, including those of US citizens in Yemen, and they secretly launched missile, bomb and drone attacks on Yemen, killing dozens of civilians; because he revealed that Goldman Sachs paid Hillary Clinton $ 657,000 to lecture, an amount so large that it can only be considered a bribe, and that she privately insured to business leaders that it would offer them while promising public finance regulation and reform; because he exposed the internal campaign to discredit and destroy British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by members of his own party; because he exposed how the hacking tools used by the CIA and the National Security Agency allow wholesale government surveillance of our televisions, computers, smartphones and antivirus software, allowing the government to record and store our conversations, images and private text messages, even from encrypted apps.

Julian exposed the truth. He exposed it over and over again until it was no longer about the endemic illegality, corruption and lies that define the global ruling elite. And for these truths, they came after Julien, as they came after all those who dared to tear the veil over power. “Red Rosa is now gone too. … ”, Wrote Bertolt Brecht after the assassination of German socialist Rosa Luxemburg. “She told the poor what life is, and so the rich took her away.”

We have suffered a corporate coup, where the poor and the workers are reduced to unemployment and hunger, where war, financial speculation and internal surveillance are the only real affairs of state, where even habeas corpus no longer exists, where we as citizens are nothing more than commodities for corporate power systems, those to be used, skinned and discarded. Refuse to retaliate, reach out and help the weak, the oppressed and the suffering, save the planet from ecocide, denounce the national and international crimes of the ruling class, demand justice, live in the truth, is to carry the mark of Cain. Those in power must feel our anger, and that means constant acts of mass civil disobedience, it means constant acts of social and political disruption, for that organized power from below is the only power that will save us and alone who will free Julian. . Politics is a game of fear. It is our moral and civic duty to scare those in power very, very much.

The criminal ruling class has locked us all in its deadly embrace. It cannot be reformed. He abolished the rule of law. It obscures and falsifies the truth. He seeks to consolidate his obscene wealth and power. And so, to quote the Queen of Hearts, metaphorically of course, I say: “Goodbye your head.

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