JULIAN ASSANGE FROM PDF EUROPE 2009
NOVEMBER 20, 2009
I find that in my work, in that area of the world and in Africa. I ‘m drawn to […] especially in places like Cambodia that there are not examples of what people do to keep their governments honest and […]successful ; so in Cambodia the entire journalistic profession was wiped out years ago and started from scratch. Here in Europe, we still have some tradition, maybe it was a little set back in World War II but it is something that needs to be continually renewed and that is, the people here have to develop solidarity and a history, an intellectual history and understanding and how to keep government and business honest.
A friend of mine in the United States Daniel Ellsberg who famously leaked the pentagon papers used a phrase I have become fond of “Courage is contagious” and that is that when someone engages in a courageous act and shows other people that, that act was not an act of […]but rather, an intelligently designed act that succeeded, […] act, it encourages other people to follow. So, if this conference has some real meat to it, I think it is that people here can see others successfully engaging in courageous acts and take from them an example of how they can get a move on themselves.
As far as there is my perception, when working in many difficult areas it is not just the East or the developing world that need this type of courage. In Europe, UK as an example, there are apparently between two to three hundred suppression orders, secret gang orders, gagging the press. How many people in this room know that. ‘One’ and I told you (laughter) and why don’t you know? Well,they are secret gag orders. That is not inclusding thousand […] orders. Now, we have broken these orders but none of the newspapers in the UK have […] broken any of these orders.
One go at ‘The Guardian’ newspaper Tragifura […], that became the most printed copy on twitter that helped break one of them […] we worked around them and managed to get one URL of the secret report that was gagged […] into the parliamentary record including the column, the slashes… everything!
So, that is a little example. I would say to you, why aren’t more journalists being arrested in Europe? why aren’t more transparency activists arrested in Europe? It’s not because Europe has no problems, it’s not because Europe is a gentle society, but we must say that countries like Denmark have probably more gentle societies than Kenya, but nonetheless Europe is involved in the big geopolitical game internally. It is, UK, now a favourite place for Russian oligarchs, there are extreme problems in Europe I suppose that people in England would like to know that as well.
Where is the civil courage amongst civil society in Europe, I see some of it, I think there should be more. When Alexander Solzhenitsyn went to the United States, engaged in an address to Harvard 1978 he was concerned that the strength of solidarity in civil society and courage in civil society was absent, that was a corrosive force in the United States. So, [if] I have one thing to say is that I encourage you not to become martyrs but instead to intelligently understand how far you can push government into doing something that is just by exposing injustice and we have many many in our website, many thousand of examples of people successfully doing that. My friends in Kenya who are journalists who are raided every couple of years in the newspaper, sometimes put in prison, they managed the situation intelligently and they would write an article exposing […] corruption or political dealings and then go to Tanzania for a week’s holiday until they understand of whether they can get away with ever coming back. They make sure they are taken into prise for half a day and not more. For half a day a journalist […] CV. But it is a combination of intelligence and courage that it allows us to push our way forward in the world and hopefully people here can bind together in some sort of solidarity of examples that I have sen successful elsewhere.