Author Topic: What #JA41 means to me  (Read 1373 times)

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What #JA41 means to me
« on: June 30, 2012, 17:36:28 PM »
2012-06-17 What #JA41 means to me

Submitted by Central on Sun, 06/17/2012 - 13:45

I'm one of four people currently running WLC. We took over about four months ago. Several members of the current team were in at the beginning and helped launch WLC. That was back on 17 November 2010. Going on two years ago.

There's been a lot of water under the bridge since then, through all of the year 2010 when our lives and our world were turned topsy-turvy.

The increasing prevalence of 'sharing' on the InterWebs gave birth to new social media such as Twitter and to the emergence on 5 April 2010 of the natural force known as Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

No longer were we to trust our duly elected representatives to tell us the truth. Julian's WikiLeaks showed us in a dramatic way how much they lied right in our faces, what unspeakable war crimes they committed without our knowing, what injustices they perpetrated with such calm panache.

We learned that the MSM were essentially worthless. We learned to dig for the facts ourselves. We learned to trust Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to bring us the truth as no one has ever done before. We suddenly felt like we were on the cusp of a new era in our civilisation.

The very idea of a completely anonymous and impenetrable news submission system broke all the rules. The organisations of the MSM such as the Guardian, the Rupert Murdoch outlets, and the New York Times were dealt a blow from which they will never recover.

As the events of the summer and autumn of 2010 unfolded, we learned that our own research gave us far more accurate results than the MSM ever cared about.

And we made a lot of new friends.

The genie's out of the bottle. Never to go back in again. And Julian Assange, the founder of the International Subversives, coauthor of Underground, member of the Realm, and founder of WikiLeaks and so many other things: he's a man of the times. He can hack, he has his heart in the right place, he's extraordinarily insightful, and he has changed our lives and our world forever.

Here's to Julian Assange on #JA41. May it be the best of all possible birthdays. And many many many many happy returns.

WL Central are currently collecting tweets (#JA41) and email greetings to Julian Assange to be published 2 July, the day before his birthday.


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Re: What #JA41 means to me
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2012, 17:38:19 PM »
2012-06-20 What #JA41 means to me

Submitted by Graham on Wed, 06/20/2012 - 09:11

After a debate with a colleague about WikiLeaks, I was told "Assange stole our Graham".

Assange didn't steal me, nor did he steal a host of others who stand firm on their belief systems of truth, justice, and holding governments to account. I happen to have a moral compass that aligns with those people, who would also seem to share my beliefs: that the state can be wrong, that the state can commit crimes, that the state can lie and get away with it and that laws do not necessarily serve to protect their people but incriminate them, and that such laws should be changed.

Assange is a beacon in the world of media and journalism. A world in which special interests take precedence, in which the word 'journalism' has been reduced in definition to 'government mouth piece' and has lost all sense of objectivity and truthfulness.

This man managed to piss people off by never interjecting his opinion in any of his published material. When did journalism become something where you have to please everyone? When did journalism and media become this thing where someone's work is only good if it correctly communicates your personal viewpoint?

Why is there no respect for a man who is only following his convictions, and holding the unaccountable accountable while doing it? A man who does not publish op-eds and grace prime time news channels for interviews, galavanting his opinion across nations? How is it that such a man is not revered, but reviled?

For all that is wrong with journalism in the 21st century. For the amount of mass disinformation out there influencing people's decisions. For the complicity in journalists to fuel that disinformation. For all the injustices that happen around the world and are not addressed, while criminals of all sorts walk free. For fighting these things, and standing up for the principles of journalism, for exposing government crimes and creating an unrivaled publishing platform on which to do it, Julian Assange is an inspiration.

In a place where people cave instead of standing up for what they believe, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have singlehandedly changed the media landscape and pushed for new levels of accountability not just from governments, but from journalists. This is worthy of our respect and our thanks, and somebody whose actions gives me hope.

WL Central are currently collecting tweets (#JA41) and email greetings to Julian Assange to be published 2 July, the day before his birthday.


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Re: What #JA41 means to me
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2012, 17:40:03 PM »
2012-06-28 What #JA41 means to me

Submitted by Ben on Thu, 06/28/2012 - 14:41

Ben is journalism student at Edith Cowan University in Perth Australia. One in a series.

A couple of weeks ago, travelling south toward Perth under foreboding grey skies with a good wingman of mine, conversation turned to WikiLeaks, and in particular Julian Assange.

"The thing I am worried about", my wingman explained, "is how can I trust WikiLeaks to filter information?"

"Assange has become the new gatekeeper!"

It was, I thought, a very good question.

I didn't have an immediate answer to it. Some matters require a bit of thought and, though I tried to waggle my tongue around it, it is only in hindsight that the answer has properly articulated itself.

It's all too easy to valorise Julian Assange. There's a certain rebel romance around him. He is above and beyond the ken of most journalists.

A convicted hacker, an idealist, an Internet evangelist and now, just over two years since he founded WikiLeaks, a potential sacrificial lamb for the military industrial complex.

The United States of America, arguably the greatest empire the world has ever known, wants him on the altar - whatever it takes.

There he is: an International Man of Mystery, a white-haired fox, a pop icon who has appeared on everything from the 500th episode of The Simpsons to the big screen at the Splendour In The Grass music festival.

Footage exists on YouTube of Assange tearing up the dance floor in a Reykjavík nightclub. There is an overwhelming sense, no doubt fostered by the man himself, that he is one of us.

It seems entirely plausible that if it wasn't him taking on the system, it would be someone else. Indeed, as his birthday rapidly approaches it's worth suggesting that he is very much a product of his time.

The 41 years since his birth have given ordinary people the greatest voice they have ever had.

As the US government and corporate America have tightened their stranglehold on the world, quietly in the background grassroots forces have arisen that transcend the modernist, material thought that produced the very system that Assange challenges.

The Internet is the obvious one, and it has become the greatest ally of democratic political movements, such as the community-minded global Greens and their ostensible obverse, the libertarians.

There is a great deal of disagreement between them, but to a greater or lesser extent both ideologies repudiate the power nodes that have become ubiquitous since the onset of the Cold War: unaccountable governments, and unaccountable corporations.

For Julian Assange, who developed his worldview as the Cold War came to a close, those corporate and government power structures are one and the same. They both must be transparent, and held to account. They must not be allowed to lie and deceive the public, because ultimately their decisions affect all of us.

It is easy to see why these two schools of political thought - one old and traditionalist, one new and progressive - have been arguably the only people in government to defend him.

But these are strange times indeed.

Even the American paleoconservative Pat Buchanan, who - for goodness' sake - served in the Nixon and Reagan administrations, has called vehemently for the American Empire to be reigned in, rolled back - to get their military noses out of the business of the world.

Assange's worldview is that of the zeitgeist. People of all stripes are tired of being lied to, and fed the same old lines about 'democracy' and 'freedom'.

It would be utterly unfair to foist upon him any ideological standpoint other than his own, but what Assange has essentially done is to cut through these myths like a hot knife through butter.

The current witch-hunt is case in point, and the reactions of the British, Swedish and American authorities - and indeed the non-action of their Australian counterparts - only serve to validate his position.

In putting his own life on the line, he has both confirmed the suspicions of a generation, and given us hope for a better world.

I'm a journalist, of sorts, and also a musician, and there is one other parallel that I think bears a mention: the growth of independent music.

As the teenage Julian Assange hacked away in the late 1980s, underground musicians created networks across America - and indeed, around the world - in which corporate control was entirely eschewed.

This changed, briefly, in the mid-1990s, but with the rise of the Internet and simultaneous to the utterly unjust and transparent wars of the new century, the notions of independent thought and artistic expression have come back with a vengeance.

Not for everybody, of course, but for the educated - the middle class - the ideas are flowing. And Assange is the stylish nerd on the front line.

Thinking back to that day, driving south, under grey skies, I'm drawn to the context of the trip.

We were returning from a visit to Moore River, where successive Western Australian governments and private businesses have colluded for decades to push a real estate development which would be unsustainable, unnecessary, environmentally disastrous and quite simply not wanted by the local community.

The issue is small-fry, compared to Assange, but again it pits the interests of the community against governments and businesses with no accountability.

At this time in history, the themes are universal.

So, as we pushed on into the approaching darkness, conversation between my wingman and myself turned to the mainstream media. They would have us believe that Assange is a dangerous threat to democracy, an outlaw, and quite possibly a rapist. The Americans want him dead.

Surely everyone on the planet sees through that?

"I guess", offered my wingman, an ever-insightful gentlemen, "I have spent my entire adult life listening to [1980s American underground punk band] the Dead Kennedys. I question everything I hear. Other people might not."

As all these themes converged, much like the mainstream media itself continues to do, the answer to the question of WikiLeaks' role as just another information gatekeeper began to emerge.

In the age of Gina Rinehart and Rupert Murdoch, of the military industrial complex and privatised prison systems, duopolies, gutted unions, surveillance societies, social control, militarised police forces and perpetual global war, Julian Assange has offered us the one thing that democracy desperately needs for its survival: plurality.

He has given us options.

WL Central are currently collecting tweets (#JA41) and email greetings to Julian Assange to be published 2 July, the day before his birthday.


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Re: What #JA41 means to me
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2012, 17:41:12 PM »
2012-06-29 What #JA41 means to me

Submitted by m_cetera on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 01:09

There is no greater gift than the opening of one's eyes, and that is precisely what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have given to me. As a U.S. citizen and military veteran, I cannot fully express how important this has been in my life.

It is not easy to change someone, but I can say I became a very different person upon discovery of WikiLeaks. I was changed from someone with a rather nihilistic point of view on the world to someone increasingly interested in current events and the well-being of others. My interest in WikiLeaks quickly grew to the North African revolutions, the Occupy movement, privacy laws, due process, and so much more.

What Julian Assange has done with WikiLeaks is create a way people can make up their own minds. With the current state of news media, it is nearly impossible to find a source of information with clear facts and no bias. Julian's "scientific journalism" - releasing the full source material along with articles - is an incredible development in the journalistic world.

I spend a good bit of my free time covering WikiLeaks news, writing the occasional analysis, and generally involving myself in any project possible. This is because I love the idea of WikiLeaks, what WikiLeaks has done, and what WikiLeaks is capable of doing in the future. I think it is something to be shared and spread to others, and positive, factual coverage of it is important in a world full of smears and lies.

Many career paths have crossed my mind before - Japanese translator, author, artist, librarian - but this autumn I will be starting at University to study journalism and political science, and I have WikiLeaks to thank for that decision.

Julian deserves so much. He has fought the odds and continued his work despite vicious attacks, calls for his assassination, banking blockades, nearly 600 days detained without charge, and so on. His continued fight in the face of adversity shows how strong and unbreakable his dedication to his cause truly is.

I wish Julian the best of luck in his bid for political asylum. I wish him further freedom in the future. I wish him the ability to continue his work. And I wish him happiness in a long, good life.

Happy 41st birthday, Julian. Another year outliving those bastards.

WL Central are currently collecting tweets (#JA41) and email greetings to Julian Assange to be published 2 July, the day before his birthday.


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Re: What #JA41 means to me
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2012, 18:24:49 PM »
2012-06-29 What #JA41 means to me

Submitted by GMason on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 04:56

Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, nationalities, and backgrounds. Some, like the Buddha, are born into luxury but abandon it all for the pursuit of truth. Others, raised as paupers, later attain wealth and fame that ultimately spring from their vision quests. Heroes hail from all over the globe, from New Guinea to New England. Because of such variation, it's not always easy to know when you're in the presence of one.

But there are a few clues, as heroes share some common characteristics. The hero's story often consists of a grueling journey in which the protagonist faces and passes many tests, in the process transforming himself and the world around him. More fundamentally, however, a hero is someone who makes a great sacrifice in order to attain higher goals.

Only Julian Assange can know the true measure of what he's surrendered for the sake of standing up to power and unleashing (via WikiLeaks) the torrent of torrid details of malfeasance by government agents around the world. Still, even a casual observer can see that sacrifice has long been Assange's companion. His biography reveals that the native Australian long ago gave up any chance of having a "normal" life (which might not have appealed to him, anyway). He's lived for decades without money or a home. An existence spent deflecting the ire of nation-states enraged by WikiLeaks disclosures has forced him to leave behind family members, as he's been pursued by the powerful around the globe; and such a life has most likely caused him to jettison other personal relationships. Initially deemed a wunderkind by the "insider" crowd, he's now been deserted by the mainstream media and others who instead opted to toe the line and kowtow to the powerful. At times, forced into a prison cell, spending time in solitary confinement, or confined to house arrest, he's lost his freedom. Public abandonment by his native land -- whose politicos appear to have thrown him to the wolves dwelling in Washington, DC -- means that, in effect, he's lost his country. He's even lost his haircolor. Yet in the process he's gained the status and stature of hero to many thousands, perhaps millions, of people throughout the world.

An often-overlooked aspect of heroes is the role that they tend to play in inspiring heroism in others. Like Assange, I am a journalist. Like Assange, I have provoked the hostility of certain government officials who understand that my work threatens to reveal secrets they'd rather keep hidden. Like Assange, I've given up creature comforts and all semblance of normality in the pursuit of truth, beauty, and essential change. And, like Assange, I imagine, I deal daily with the seeming absurdity of putting my life on the line for the sake of word and sound.

As I labor away in officially-enforced semi-obscurity, I've spent many days without food or any hope of clean clothes, lacking almost every amenity that most of my fellow U.S. citizens would consider "basic needs"; days of suffocating solitude; days when my body and spirit both feel so brutalized that the simple act of walking becomes a challenge. Yet now, during such moments, I often think of Julian Assange, who in the process of embodying heroism, has persevered despite seemingly insurmountable adversity, attained success against all odds, and sidestepped trap after trap set by his detractors. And that offers me a lifeline.

I'm not sure the world is ready yet for a female hero. But still I keep trying. Knowing that Julian Assange is alive in this world helps give me the faith and strength to continue. So for that I thank him.

WL Central are currently collecting tweets (#JA41) and email greetings to Julian Assange to be published 2 July, the day before his birthday.