Speech I gave at Freedom not Fear, Hyde Park, Sydney on September 15 (Video available here – http://youtu.be/2Ej2f2SjogQ)
With new and existing legislations, our rights are being taken away at an increasingly fast rate, which is why we are all here today at Freedom not Fear, part of an international movement to raise awareness of Censorship & Surveillance, and fight for Government transparency, whistle-blower & journalist protection and share ideas, tools and techniques like data encryption and online anonymity.
And it’s no coincidence that the key terms I just used are also often used when describing the WikiLeaks organisation we are talking about basic human rights of freedom of expression, freedom of information, freedom of thought and many more rights..
Since 2006 WikiLeaks has been successful at opening governments, I wish I could list the millions.. Literally millions of documents they have and still are currently releasing, or even list all those of major significance but we would be here for hours.. Instead I will focus on a select few WikiLeaks releases today.
In 2009 WikiLeaks released the secret blacklist of websites that the Australian Government planned on censoring from the Australian people, are dark insight into the intentions of the government to censor the internet. But what stood out about the list was that half of the sites on the list are not related to child porn, rather they included online poker sites, YouTube links, regular gay and straight porn sites, Wikipedia entries, euthanasia sites, religious sites, fetish sites..
And in a bizarre twist two websites of two small Australian business’.. A tour operator and a dentist.
Earlier this year, WikiLeaks released the Spy Files revealing that the mass interception of entire populations is not only a reality, it is a secret new industry spanning at least 25 countries, and possibly present in Australia. Hundreds of documents from as many as 160 intelligence contractors in the mass surveillance industry. Intelligence agencies, military, and police are able to silently, and on mass, and secretly intercept calls and take over computers without the help or knowledge of the telecommunication providers. Users’ physical location can be tracked if they are carrying a mobile phone, their microphone remotely activated to record conversations, even if it is only on stand-by. In a world with air strikes from drones murdering suspects without trial, where is this headed?
Another release this year by WikiLeaks was the Global Intelligence Files, Millions of emails stolen by Anonymous from the “Private” intelligence organisation Stratfor, with close links to United States authorities, and suggestions of using torture and sexual coercion to get their sources to talk. Among organising a meeting with our now current Foreign Minister Bob Carr, disclosing a sealed indictment for Julian Assange and intimidation techniques used on activist and dissidents throughout the world.
The Stratfor emails revealed a close link with a company by the name TrapWire, owned by the Abraxas & Cubic Corporations. The same cubic corporation that does transport ticketing in Queensland and contracts to the Australian Defence Force. TrapWire uses information from surveillance cameras across the world to record and store on a central database in a secret location to be automatically analysed with other intelligence information and facial recognition. Basically tracking your every move and using algorithms to determine certain behaviours and identify a map of who is friends with who, and where you will likely be on Tuesday morning. Western Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam questioned the Government in the Senate as to whether TrapWire is used in Australia, to my understanding he is yet to receive a response from all agencies, and ASIO refuses to answer any questions about anything… but that’s another story..
When you combine technologies I have previously mentioned with the Australian Government’s proposals for the National Security Inquiry, Cybercrime legislation, Signed deals with foreign governments for information sharing as well as existing powers of ASIO and the Australia Federal Police. A database of every citizens ‘meta data’ of emails, browsing history and social networking conversations, and a camera on every street post sounds a lot like the book 1984 written by George Orwell.
The main character Winston Smith is told “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? Has it ever occurred to your, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking-not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
We are here today to stand up for our freedoms, which brings me to the surprisingly rare ruling in the Southern District of New York Court in the United States 2 days ago. Judge Katherine Forrest ruled to permanently stop the use of the controversial National Defense Authorisation Act or NDAA, a group of writers, journalists, and activists whose work regularly requires them to engage in writing, speech, and associational activities protected by the First Amendment. They have testified credibly to having an actual and reasonable fear that their activities will subject them to indefinite military detention pursuant to the NDAA.
In summary, ‘we’ the people won! I should add that within 24 hours of the ruling Barrack Obamas administration announced they would appeal the decision to scrap the NDAA in the Supreme Court.
Judge Forrest gave a 112 page response, which I recommend anyone closely watching Australia National Security Laws reads. She said “How about a YouTube video? Where is the line between what the government would consider “journalistic reporting” and “propaganda?” she asked. “Who will make such determinations? Will there be an office established to read articles, watch videos, and evaluate speeches in order to make judgments along a spectrum of where the support is ‘modest’ or ‘substantial?’”
One of the plaintifs a journalist & activist Alexa O’Brien, who was on the Occupy episode of Julian Assange’s ‘The World Tomorrow’ TV show, Alexa had written about United States cables released by WikiLeaks, about the persecution of Julian Assange and court proceedings of Bradley Manning, and many other WikiLeaks related topics, all of which were referenced in the response. Alexa told the court how she had become aware through WikiLeaks releases that Stratfor was working with current and former intelligence agents to try and link her involvement in the activist group ‘US Day of Rage’ with Islamic fundamentalist movements, the ‘Anonymous’ hacktivist collective and labelling Alexa as a cyber-terrorist.. A cyber-terrorist for being associated with the likes of Julian Assange who has also being labelled a cyber-terrorist.
Julian Assange is currently being held as a pawn in a political move by the UK Government threatening to assault the Ecuadorian embassy… the UK Government threatening to assault the Ecuadorian embassy. Which we have reasonable evidence to suggest was under the instruction of the United States Government.
On behalf of Julian Assange, his father this morning accepted Julian’s Aboriginal Nations Passport presented by the Indigenous Social Justice Association, In addition several Sovereign Aboriginal Nations are considering giving Julian Assange refuge and sanctuary in their Nations.
In December 2010, within days of WikiLeaks releasing CableGate, a quarter of a million cables between United States Embassies and the State Department, The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard called Julian Assange’s actions illegal, and the former Attorney-General Robert McClelland attempted to cancel his passport, I also allege that Robert McClelland jumped on the phone to his former ALP co-worker, former Visa employee and now Vice President of MasterCard David Masters to conspire with the United States Government in an unprecedented global financial blockade of the WikiLeaks organisation… Financial Censorship.. All of this for someone who had not been charged with a single crime, let alone fair trial. Instead Julian now faces allegations of sexual misconduct in Sweden, which he has offered to answer in the United Kingdom or in Sweden if they simply guarantee they will not hand him over to the United States, the Australian Government refuses to even assist negotiate some basic terms to protect Julian’s rights.
Julian Assange seeks truth & freedom, let’s help Julian by bringing truth out and fighting existing and proposed Orwellian laws.
As I mentioned the people had a victory in the NDAA case! We need to unite and stand together to maintain our freedoms, and get back those that have already been taken from us. We must be able to continue to thrive in Freedom not Fear.