Woman holding sign

Becca Calhoun

The following was presented by Becca Calhoun member of the Committee to Defend Julian Assange – Ohio at the Saturday, October 8 rally and march at the Ohio Statehouse and U.S. Federal Courthoue in Columbus.

Thanks to you folks who are giving your Saturday hours on this international day to defend Julian Assange. Thousands of people have now formed a human chain around Parliament in London demanding Julian Assange’s Freedom. There is a Hands Off Assange event at the Justice Department in D.C. right now, with a list of VIP speakers and public intellectuals who are defending Julian Assange because of what his prosecution represents. We marched down to the Federal Courthouse because this is the institution that is charged to keep the government’s actions in line with the U.S. Constitution and our cherished Bill of Rights.

You can see right here in the entrance to the Joseph P. Kenneary building the Bill of Rights are inscribed on a brass plaque. The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights guarantees Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly. Both of which we are exercising today. When Julian Assange began WikiLeaks in 2006, technology was starting to change everything about the way humans do things. Assange was on the cutting edge of the changes in news and information. He knew how to encrypt documents passed to him by whistleblowers who wanted to get wrongdoings and deception of governments all over the planet into public knowledge.

Only when people have facts are they able to understand the reality of their world. Without documented facts we are open to spin and false narratives that benefit the powerful and leave the governed in the dark. Assange would publish after careful vetting and redaction of names that might be harmed. WikiLeaks record of publishing is 100% accuracy. Julian Assange is paying the price for the tremendous effectiveness of WikiLeak’s exposing war crimes and embarrassing, duplicitous actions of the U.S. government. For this he must die. His head is on a pike for all journalists and publishers to see! The chill, the arctic blast this sends across the practice of news and journalism means we the people are going to get less information about our governments.

In a democracy, which the U.S. is supposed to be, power arises from the consent of the governed. How can people give consent when they are in the dark about what their government does in their name? How can people give consent when all information is controlled and investigative journalism has been neutered?

It would be an amazing outcome if the movement to Defend Julian Assange actually succeeds! The deck seems stacked at this point with Julian Assange’s extradition and almost assured conviction in Alexandria, Virginia Federal Court. Freedom of the press will be strangled. But we struggle, we voice our outrage. We are U.S. citizens, not U.S. subjects!

Video of part of the event