Speech read by Alix, 18-Jun-2021

Thank you to all those who are attending this eighty-second Julian Assange Sydney Town Hall Gathering! We welcome all Julian Assange supporters and all those who are open to learning the truth! Julian is a multi-award-winning Australian journalist who is celebrated, the world over, for his innovative journalism. Julian’s journalism has exposed US war crimes, torture programs and high-level corruption. For the act of publishing truthful information, thereby incriminating the powerful, Julian is a political prisoner. As a result of his publications, in 2010 and 2011, he has been publicly drubbed by the media to cast doubt on his character. In April 2019, Julian was kidnapped, from political asylum with Ecuador, and has been psychologically tortured through extreme isolation over the last two years! Julian Assange needs greater levels of public support to hold governments to account for their disregard for the rule of law.

Although a court decided, in January, that Julian should not be extradited to the United States, Julian’s solitary confinement is continuing in HMP Belmarsh. Julian is being held so that the US may appeal the ‘no extradition’ decision. It is now nearly six months since the decision not to extradite Julian to the US was made and although the appeal hasn’t been given the go ahead, Julian is being held in inhuman conditions, which appears to be the implementation of punishment by process, or lawfare!

When evidence makes known the reality that is undesirable it is often referred to as an inconvenient truth. To some, truth will not be welcomed because it may be embarrassing, it may result in loss of prestige, a loss of power or a loss of income, or it may result in criminal prosecution. A common response for those inconvenienced by the truth is to attack the truth teller. Often, character assassination is used to divert attention from the content of the truthteller’s message and in even more extreme cases, lawfare may be used silence the truthteller’s voice. A further outcome is self-censorship by onlookers who may not wish to be seen as being in agreement with, and supportive of the truthteller, in case the onlookers are also bullied. All of these strategies have been used against Julian Assange and his supporters.

Speaking freely in a climate of conformity and fear takes courage and is heroic and is extremely helpful to everyone because it helps us find out the truth. Disagreement is natural, and should never be discouraged, however, whenever we see smearing or character assassination, we must recognise it as a strategy for distracting us from the truth or for bullying us into silence.

In the fight to free Julian Assange it has become clear that propaganda has been used to bring about division among his supporters. Whenever we find ourselves in disagreement with others, it is important that we try to operate from positions of kindness. Although kindness alone is not sufficient for defeating malevolence, it is an important component in fostering human cooperation. Freeing Julian Assange will require our unity! We cannot afford divisiveness. Julian’s freedom is our freedom. We must encourage unity.

We must have faith in free speech and try to be as open to the truth as we can. We must quit blaming people, merely for what they say. If people say incorrect things, it is possible to argue with them by providing evidence that can assist us all to come to a better understanding. Demonising others for views we disagree with, will divide us. Unity will come from free speech coupled with the open discussion of evidence.

The more open we are to discussing the ideas of others and the more we encourage our shared human right of free speech, the less room we will make for division. The sooner we can arrive at the truth and unity the better it will be for all of humanity.

Scapegoating has been used by human beings for centuries to distract and cover up inconvenient truth. The ability to use language to tell lies is a major problem for the whole of society. The solution to overcoming lies must involve people capable of truthful free speech. For this we must do our best to create a culture that encourages truth. We must resist character assassination whenever we hear something we do not agree with.

Julian Assange stands for the truth and the people’s right to know the truth. Everyone needs to know the truth. Everyone must, therefore, stand for the freedom of Julian Assange!

Free Julian Assange!

Free Julian Assange!

Free Julian Assange!

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