Stella Assange told a packed house at Westminster Central Hall in London Thursday night that her imprisoned husband has become a “deterrent” to stop other journalists from publishing secrets.
Stella Assange spoke at the end of an event with Russell Brand, Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger, discussing the Twitter Files. Transcript below.(Video of Stella Assange by Cathy Vogan. Brand did not permit video recording of the discussion of the Twitter Files.)
Please. Ladies and gentlemen, how about a round of applause for Stella Assange.
Thanks guys, for making me nervous. Yeah, I guess I speak all the time, but for some reason… you guys are on stage… I’m really nervous to speak there.
Can we ask you, would you more comfortable coming up here?
Most of you are probably aware that my husband Julian is in a very precarious position right now. The High Court, England, has made the completely inexplicable decision to not even allow him to appeal to the High Court. He made an application to appeal in September of last year, and it took a single judge 10 months to issue a three page decision, which, without engaging in any of the arguments, said that he is not allowed to appeal.
He still has one final opportunity to go to two different High Court judges. But the situation is now critical. And you might say, well, this is different to the censorship industrial complex, but it is not. These are two sides of the same coin. Whereas all of you have experienced and seen the censorship that occurs on social media as time goes on, seeing this kind of change, you get paranoid. Is it really happening?
We now know, thanks to you guys, that we have the evidence that it was happening and it is happening; how it’s happening. But in Julian’s case, this is the overt side of censorship. This is a publisher, someone who received information from a source. Chelsea Manning was a U.S. soldier in Iraq. Posted in Iraq, an intelligence analyst who witnessed, who was reading reports showing information about civilian killings in the tens of thousands; of civilian killings in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Evidence of war crimes, including a video that was released as Collateral Murder in 2010, showing how a helicopter gunship mowed down civilians, literally picking them off, including two journalists, and critically injured two children and mowed down the rescue vehicle who came to try to bring one of the dying journalists to a hospital, and killed them all as well, except the two children survived because their father threw his body on top of them. They were severely injured, but they survived.
Collateral Murder, it’s age restricted on YouTube because it might hurt your sensibilities to witness a war crime. Well, Julian and WikiLeaks put that into the public domain and the records of tens of thousands of civilian killings in Iraq and Afghanistan and evidence of torture and evidence of how the U.S. government was using its embassies to inhibit and derail the investigations in Germany and Spain and Italy; of C.I.A. renditions; to stop the people who are responsible for being brought to trial, from having their day in court, because it is an enforcement of impunity.
And the case against Julian is of impunity against accountability. And the fact is that Julian is in prison because he published the truth, because he exposed the criminality of the country that is trying to extradite him. And that country also plotted to assassinate him when Pompeo was head of the C.I.A. How can this country, the U.K., possibly extradite him to the United States, the country that plotted his assassination, the country that he exposed committing war crimes, for whom no one has been held accountable?
There has been a campaign of smearing Julian for years in order to pave the way to his incarceration. Julian is a symbol. He’s a deterrent. He’s a a message to every journalist to not publish the truth. Do not publish the truth as it angers sufficiently powerful people, because they’ll come after you. That is the message. But that’s also a message to all of you.
That’s the general message that is being sent out. And we have to push back. We have to regain our rights. It’s not something about going back to, you know, like hoping for a pre-COVID war or a pre war on terror existence. We have to fight back. We have to organize because the other side is organized and they’re abusing legislation. They’re abusing the complacency of the public in order to get their way.
Please follow Julian’s case. Like, get engaged. It’s critical. Now we’re at the endgame. He could be extradited. He’s facing 175 years in the U.S. under the Espionage Act. There’s no public interest defense. He can’t say why he published what he published. He can’t say that it was war crimes, that the U.S. government was responsible, etc.. He has no defense. The last defense is decent people around the world here in the United States defending the truth.
On Saturday there’s a concrete thing you can do, which is to come here at 1pm. There’s going to be a statue here in Parliament Square [London], somewhere, of Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian, and there’s an empty chair next to them. They’re standing on chairs, the statues. There’s an empty chair. It’s called Anything to Say? You can stand up and say whatever you need to say. We all need to speak out. You need to use our speech, because our speech is the only thing that can shape the world we live in.
Support CN’s Spring
Fund Drive Today