By John PIlger - Real dissent has become exotic; yet those who dissent have never been more important. The book I am launching tonight, 'The WikiLeaks Files', is an antidote to a fascism that never speaks its name. It's a revolutionary book, just as WikiLeaks itself is revolutionary - exactly as Orwell meant in the quote I used at the beginning. For it says that we need not accept these the daily lies. We need not remain silent. Or as Bob Marley once sang: "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery." In the introduction, Julian Assange explains that it is never enough to publish the secret messages of great power: that making sense of them is crucial, as well as placing them in the context of today and historical memory. Never has such truth-telling been so urgently needed. With honourable exceptions, those in the media paid ostensibly to keep the record straight are now absorbed into a system of propaganda that is no longer journalism, but anti-journalism. This is true of the liberal and respectable as it is of Murdoch. Unless you are prepared to monitor and deconstruct every specious assertion, so-called news has become unwatchable and unreadable. Reading The WikiLeaks Files, I remembered the words of the late Howard Zinn, who often referred to "a power that governments can't suppress". That describes WikiLeaks, and it describes true whistleblowers who share their courage.
Matt DeHart is a 30-year-old former US National Guard drone team member and alleged WikiLeaks courier who worked with the hactivist group Anonymous. He has been deported/extradited from Canada to the United States to face charges that judges in two countries (the US and Canada) have found to lack credibility. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: “Canada’s actions are shameful. It may as well not have a border.” A few minutes ago Matt DeHart appeared before a judge in Buffalo and was ordered to be transferred to Tennessee for arraignment. For the past five years, Matt DeHart has been at the centre of a US national security investigation and has experienced extraordinary hardship as a result. In 2010, Matt was detained at the US–Canadian border by FBI agents, who administered an IV (intravenous line) to Matt against his will. They questioned him over several days regarding his military unit, his involvement with Anonymous and WikiLeaks. They denied him access to his lawyer, deprived him of sleep, food and water, and tortured him during this time.
Yesterday in Berlin, a new international organization was announced whose purpose is to (1) defend whistleblowers when they are facing prosecution; and (2) defend the public’s right to know. In a video to the Courage Foundation opening announcement Edward Snowden described how we need to confront surveillance because in order to participate in a democratic government we need to know “what the government is doing to us and what they are doing in our name.” It the people are not informed about what the government is doing “the government becomes a force unto itself not a public servant but a public master.” Snowden believes that public officials who take illegal or unethical action must be held accountable. Snowden goes on to say that since government is not protecting whistleblower we must say “we will protect them as a global society.” For him the Courage Foundation is “a new rapid response team for global democracy” saying now, when “we see someone facing unjustified retaliation for performing a public service we can rally to their defense.”
Three years after WikiLeaks came to public prominence, where are we with the equation in Assange’s Conspiracy as Governance? Has it been tested and its solution enacted? As leaked documents continue to shed light on the darkness of the world, illegal wars, drone attacks, bankster heists and corporate dirty deals continue. Yet thanks to Manning, we now have a clearer picture what modern war really looks like and the extent to which the military-industrial complex has morally bankruptcy itself. Thanks to Hammond, we are more aware of the collusion of governments and corporations in a network of spying on activists. Thanks to Snowden’s NSA files, we are now only beginning to see the latent tyranny of an out-of-control surveillance state. 2013 was the year that we saw the courage of individuals who speak truth to power become truly contagious. There is no doubt that in this past year, WikiLeaks and other budding organizations have helped the world move one step closer toward a more humane form of self-governance.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed a major gathering of computer experts Monday at the Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, Germany, calling on them to join forces in resisting government intrusions on Internet freedom and privacy. We play highlights from Assange’s speech, as well as the one given by Sarah Harrison, the WikiLeaks member who accompanied Edward Snowden to Russia. We also hear from independent journalist and security expert Jacob Appelbaum, who reveals a spying tool used by the National Security Agency known as a "portable continuous wave generator." The remote-controlled device works in tandem with tiny electronic implants to bounce invisible waves of energy off keyboards and monitors to see what is being typed. It works even if the target computer is not connected to the Internet.
Harrison, 31, is the public school girl from the Home Counties who led American National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to Moscow after he revealed the most extraordinary cache of Western secrets ever seen. The WikiLeaks journalist, and rumoured former lover of its boss Julian Assange, remained by Snowden’s side in the transit area of Russia’s Sheremetyevo airport for those 40 days until President Putin granted him temporary asylum. A month ago she relocated to Germany where she remains in a stand-off with our intelligence agencies, a self-proclaimed enemy of the British State. Harrison cannot return to the UK for fear of being detained and interrogated under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, and surrendering the contents of her encrypted computer. She has been ‘spat out’ as she sees it, by her own Government.
Sarah Harrison closes her eyes. She’ll talk, but on the topic of Snowden and his situation in Moscow, she won’t say anything more than what was released in a statement made by Wikileaks on Wednesday. A statement? It’s more of a manifesto. A bit celebratory, as most manifestos are, and a little flat, but quite clear and angry. It begins laconically, “As a journalist, I have spent the last four months with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and arrived in Germany over the weekend.” It ends: “When whistleblowers come forward we need to fight for them, so others will be encouraged. When they are gagged, we must be their voice. When they are hunted, we must be their shield. When they are locked away, we must free them. Giving us the truth is not a crime. This is our data, our information, our history. We must fight to own it.” What a mission. And then just three words: “Courage is contagious.” What a sentence.