Dear friends, thank you for coming to this protest which is organized by DSC Belgrade 1. This protest is organised against the arrest and possible extradition of Julian Assange who is journalist, founder of WikiLeaks and fighter for the freedom of the press. Hearing of Assange before British court was delayed. It was supposed to happen on June 12th but it will be held on June 14th and this is clear example of psychophysical game whose aim is to exhaust Assange Powerful men of international politics are behind it. There is no doubt about it We have gathered here in the name of media freedom, on Plato Đoke Vještice, in front of the building that symbolizes regime control and serfdom which is Studio B! Please do permit us to read the public statement of our DSC, in both Serbian and English: We strongly protest the unlawful and inhumane incarceration of Julian Assange founder of WikiLeaks, journalist, and member of DiEM25 Advisory Panel by British authorities, as well as his intended extradition to the US. We are certain that Assange will have an unfair trial in the USA. It is shameful to charge with espionage the journalist who uncovered war atrocities committed by the US Army and their allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, shed light on machinations and misdemeanors of great corporations and shared these facts for free with the entire world. The same forces of empire exposed by this journalist are now putting him on trial The injustice is already evident Assange has spent seven years in the embassy of the Republic of Ecuador in London. He spent the last two years in one room, under constant surveillance, without heating, cut off from any connection to the outside world On April 11th Assange was denied political asylum by the puppet regime of the Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno The whole world has seen the disturbing images of Assange being brutally dragged from the embassy. By arresting and extraditing Assange Great Britain betrays the democratic and humanist traditions it claims to uphold. The USA, by insisting on the extradition of Assange, is breaching the first Amendment of the US Constitution according to which American Congress guararantee freedom of speech and press. Assange’s arrest and extradition to the USA would be a serious precedent that would make it possible for every independent journalist to end up in court and tried as a spy Every crime, theft or treachery can be labeled as espionage, leading to life sentences or worse Assange’s persecution is therefore not his alone. It is all of ours. We call upon all the free-thinking people who believe in solidarity, truth, justice and the free flow of information to raise their voice for the only possible righteous verdict: Freedom for Assange! Free him now! And now, lets welcome our very own, member of our DSC, historian Milena Repajić. Hello dear people We have gathered today for one simple reason: to demand freedom Freedom for Assange, freedom for media, freedom for all of us And we came here because we fight. We fight for the right of each and every one of us alone and for the right of all of us to have an approach to information We need to know what are our governments doing in our name and in the name of publicly promoted national interests and democracy Information about what is done with public goods We need to know the multinationals are doing to get their profit on the account of ordinary people whether they live in US, Serbia, Iraq, Russia, China or Zimbabwe. Many people have asked us the same question: Why are you making Freedom for Assange protest in Serbia since we have enough troubles on our plate plus our many liberties diminished? But, this is not the way how solidarity works Solidarity doesn’t stop at the border One struggle doesn’t exclude the other one. Quite contrary! Struggle for the roof over your head, struggle for worker’s rights, struggle for gender equality, struggle for returning politics in the hands of citizens, struggle for decent life, struggle for free media, struggle for Assange’s freedom, they are all one struggle that is being fought on many different fronts. Men of power, politicians, multibillionaires, even nationalists, they all have good cooperation paying no attention to national confines, telling us that we don’t need to meddle into someone else’s business. They say that we are not cut for “high politics”. They tell us that we don’t need to know what is happening in another country, another city, another neighborhood on the margins of our narrow interests. They are trying to convince us that we have no power to change anything. But it concerns us a lot! And we have the power and the power lays in solidarity! The house of Serbian journalist, Milan Jovanović, working for Žig info, was burned in 2018. Over the head of Jullian Assange hangs 175 year long sentence and this is what will happen if UK extradites Assange. The one thing in common is that some people who think that their private interests are bigger than public interests, are using brutal and systematic violence in order to cover their atrocities. whether they have local or global power. All the time we are requesting reactions from international community against breaches of media freedom in Serbia. How can we possibly expect that, knowing that these freedoms are being attacked in the very center of the modern world and that countries that represent themselves as role models for democracy “are jointly isolating, demonizing and molesting one individual”, as we can see in UN report of Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. while recommendations from that same UN are being ignored, who are supposed to be that international community I repeat that Julian Assange is threatened by 175 years of prison, 175 years… for publication of information of public interest. According to newest indictments from US Ministry of Justice, journalism in characterized as act of espionage. That mantra about journalists as “traitors of nation on foreign payroll”, turning them into clay pigeons is too familiar here in Serbia. We can precisely see the pattern of hushing up journalists who are talking about crimes of those in power, misuses of public goods and war crimes. Striving for freedom of speech in the name of fake, warmongering “patriotism”. We know everything about making media tools for private interests or interests of ruling party and such is the case of Studio B, where we have gathered today. Studio B was once symbol of freedom and today it is a symbol of regime controlled media. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have given us information that out governments, not just US government, are trying to hide from us. We can repay to Julian with solidarity and rebellion, by saying resolutely that we will fight with all our might against his extradition to USA. Transparency is not just an empty phrase used in election campaigns, it is the ideal for which we must strive if we want to establish true democracy. Today we fight for our right to know everything. That right is, unfortunately, not provided by our public media service. It is provided by people like Julian Assange. This is why we need to show our solidarity, fighting one fight! Imprisonment of one of us is our own imprisonment! Freedom for Assange! Dear friends, Assange is not alone in his struggle. World famous artists, free thinkers and journalists are with him. We will read thoughts and statements by some of them, concerning the “Assange Case.” John Pilger, australian journalist The shocking arrest of Assange carries a warning for all who, as Oscar Wilde wrote, “sow the seeds of discontent [without which] there would be no advance towards civilization”. The persecution of Julian Assange is the occupation of us all: occupation of our independence, our self respect, our intellect, our compassion, our politics, our culture. Because of that, stop scrolling in front of your computers. Organize. Occupy. Insist. Persist. Make a noise. Take direct action. Be brave and stay brave. Defy the thought police. War is not peace, freedom is not slavery, ignorance is not strength. If Julian can stand up, so can all of us. Slavoj Žižek, philosopher There is no violence in what WikiLeaks is doing. We all know the classic scene from cartoons: the character reaches a precipice but goes on running, ignoring the fact that there is no ground underfoot; they start to fall only when they look down and notice the abyss. What WikiLeaks is doing is just reminding those in power to look down. Yanis Varoufakis, economist Mike Pompeo, Trump’s first CIA director and now US Secretary of State, once described WikiLeaks as “a non-state hostile intelligence service.” That is exactly right, and it is an equally accurate description of what every self-respecting news outlet ought to be. As Daniel Ellsberg and Noam Chomsky have warned, journalists who fail to oppose Assange’s extradition to the US could be next on the hit list of some new president who considers them the “enemy of the people.” Oliver Stone, director Julian Assange did much for free speech and is now being victimized by the abusers of that concept. Pamela Anderson,actress and activist Assange does not deserve to be in a supermax prison, He has never committed a violent act. He is an innocent person. He’s a good man, he is an incredible person. I love him, I can’t imagine what he has been going through. Ken Loach, director In the current febrile atmosphere people in the US have called for his execution. He has defended the public’s right to know what is done in their name when others who now attack him have run for cover. It is time that Julian Assange is free to leave without fear. Noam Chomsky, linguist, philosopher and writer Assange Case is similiar to case of arresting of Brasilian leader Lula de Silva The point is that that was must be silenced. Go back to history and you will see an obvious similarities. Some of you may recall when Mussolini’s fascist government put Antonio Gramsci in jail. The prosecutor said, “We have to silence this voice for 20 years. We can’t let him speak.” That’s Assange. Dear friends, next speaker will be Marko Miletić, on behalf of Left Summit of Serbia and editor of Mašina magazine. Hello everybody The process that is lead against Assange lasts for nine year represents dire endangering of media and free flow of information of public importance. This process is joint effort of governments of couple of countries like USA and UK, great western democracies who don’t have any problem with criminalizing the work of this journalist while they swashbuckler with their own media freedoms. The whole operation is supported by IMF by bribing Ecuadorian government and indebted with credits the people of that country. Today, as we stand in defense of Assange, we are defending not only freedom of media. We also defend the right of journalists for decent living, their right to work, right to have pay big enough for dignifying living, as well as their right to organize themselves. From Belgrade, through the room of Ecuadorian embassy in London, to Stockholm, Washington and New York, as well as all over the world, thousands and thousands of journalists are working in miserable conditions. Great number of media workers don’t have working contracts, don’t have contracts at all as a matter of fact, they don’t get paid they have no health insurance as well as pension guarantees. Many of the can only dream about strict timeline of their working hours and vacations without laptop. Symbol of the state of media at the time being and working rights of journalists is the torched house of our colleague Milan Jovanović in Grocka municipality. Persecution, intimidation and obstructing of this journalist in doing his job represents drastic case of endangering someone’s life and work. Albeit, there are still many others under threats or being economically blackmailed. We must help them to join their forces and, together, in the spirit of solidarity, fight for their rights for dignifying life and labor just like today we demand solidarity in struggle for Assange. Thank you! Julian Assange, preciselly and often witty, writes and speaks about troubles of modern world We will share some of his quotes with you. What are the differences between Mark Zuckerberg and me? I give you private information on corporations for free and I’m a villain. Mark Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money and he’s man of the year.” What does the censorship reveal? Nothing but fear itself. We have only one life. We have obligation to use our time to do something meaningful. I enjoy by helping people who are vulnerable. And I also enjoy crushing bastards. The only way to keep a secret is to never have one. There was a dream of what Europe could be, and that is a dream that Europe has lost, and the lack of that dream is producing its fragmentation, it permits rogue states in Europe, states that compromise the genuine interests of the European people (…) that collapse in the dream of Europe is something that cannot be permitted, we must fight against it. Otherwise, winter is coming, war is coming, the end of Europe is coming, and either we must seize the day, and divert Europe from the cause it is on… or else we will have to suffer through a very harsh night. When I said that Serbia, just like Ukraine, is one of the most important leaders, I thought of the countries that are considered “in-betweeners”. These are countries the future visits first, with all its horrors and allure. The destiny of all pioneers, and therefore Serbia, is to be misrepresented. We really live in a time that is lodged between two epochs. We are the last free generation because the time has come for a global dystopia of control to take over. It is exactly because of this position that people in Serbia learned that they should not implicitly trust anyone, neither the East nor the West. Dear friends, we have received a letter from Independent Journalist Society of Serbia (IJSS) Independent Journalist Society of Serbia gives its full support to “Freedom for Julian Assange” meeting. Our prosecuted and incarcerated
colleague Assange has done the same thing that every journalist should do: he published the information of enormous public interest, which, if there was a lack of his determination and persistence, would probably remain unavailable to public. Hence, Independent Journalist Society of Serbia calls upon United Nations and other world organizations who protect human rights and freedoms to point out the following facts to their member states: keeping Assange arrested, his prosecution before the court and possible verdict are endangering basic human rights and numerous international conventions. Publishing information of public interest is ground basis if you want to build the democratic and prosperous world, without crime, chauvinism and wars. This is also opportunity to reminds us to all of our colleagues, as well as whistleblowers in Serbia, who have also paid a high price because they have presented facts about war crimes, organized crime, corruption as well as of all anomalies that have hit us at the beginning of nineties and eating the insides of our society and state ever since. Let us remind you of theirs prosecutors, which, abolished and without lustration for numerous crimes and embezzlements, also “support” Assange, although they are the very image of those who prosecute Assange. If Assange is guilty for publishing information of public interest, then every free minded and brave journalist on the globe who has investigated and published texts and articles about crimes and wrongdoings committed by powerful leaders from their countries. For Independent Journalist Society of Serbia, president of IJSS, Željko Bodrožić Destiny of Julian Assange is one big reminder to destinies of various tragically ended lives of journalists in Serbia. We call upon you to pay homage to our journalists Dada Vujasinović, Slavku Ćuruvija and Milan Pantić whose lives were taken by enemies of the truth. Glory to them! Dear friends Destiny of Julian Assange points towards the danger that threatens from powerful countries and, at the same time, it reminds us of destinies of our journalists… [i’m sorry reading the same again 🙂 small error] … Maja will read the letter from Edward Snowden Edward Snowden, fighter for truth and thorn in the side of powerful people who run the world, has sent the letter that was read on DiEM25 protest in Berlin called “We are Julian Assange!”. Now we will read its integral version to you: “For years, Julian Assange has warned that the moment will come when he will find himself without political asylum, and the government of the United States would demand his imprisonment, Assange’s warnings that in each of those years were discounted by his many critics as ridiculous, but today have been shown to be true. By the government’s own admission, Assange has been charged for his role in bringing to light true information, information that […] [assange] stands accused is trying–and only trying–to aid the source to discover one of the last decade’s most important story. Assange’s source of information at that time was the only soldier in the United States who was brave enough to inform the public about a secret that never should have been hidden in the first place. No one today disputes that the revelations from this source, Chelsea Manning, were news of the highest order: which blasted like a lightning over the front pages of every newspaper in the world. It is not just a man who stands in jeopardy, but the future of the free press.” And now, dear friends, let me present to you fellow diemer, a historian, dramatist and a writer – Aleksandar Novaković Dear friends Thank you for your understanding, your solidarity and your courage Today we need understanding, solidarity and courage more then ever before The best description of our present situation could be an old joke saying: “In Soviet Union you don’t watch TV- TV is watching you” KGB is naive like a little child in comparison with shady deals of secret services and mighty corporations. Today’s methods of cohesion, control and swerving of the truth are KGB’s wild dreams becoming true. Making people believe that they live in democracy and afterwards prosecuting people like Julian Assange in the name of that same “democracy” represents the paramount of manipulation. Assange was systematically hunted down, dragged through mud, humiliated and tortured by the biggest Empire the world has ever seen. The Assange story is not just one man’s tale about the struggle for the truth. His fight for the truth is also the struggle against the Empire. Do you know what has Hillary Clinton said about Assange? She said, and I quote: “Can’t we just drone this guy? Or, in another words, let’s whack this guy and get over with it. That was said by a woman who is the leader of Democratic Party, which is the irony of a whole story, A woman who, also, wanted to kill unarmed man who had never in his life done anything wrong to anyone. And we are still talking about democracy. What democracy?! Empire, this is the right name for it. If Empire spots rich countries it will devour them. If mentioned countries are poor, Empire wants to use them as a reservoir of cheap labour force. If these people are cheap yet skilled workers, as it is case in Serbia, kudos for them! The Empire manipulates facts with more skill than Goebels. Theft, murder, arson is called struggle for democracy. They take free and pleasant land and turn it into desert and they call it peace. Desert, this is their peace! That is why we must resist. Our spirit mustn’t be broken. Did Assange beg while being dragged by police from the Embassy? No! He was shouting: UK resist! UK must resist! UK has to resist as well as we all have to resist too and the whole world! Dear friends, Assange is incarcerated but they can’t throw the truth to the dungeon. They can’t liquidate all those who know what was happening in Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and, nowadays, Venezuela. There is a hope for this world. It lays in grassroots movements, in people organizing with their neighbors, in left winged and progressive movements and parties who didn’t bend the knee before neoliberal capitalism. Famous Greek scientist Archimedes had said: Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the Earth. I would add: Give us ten people like Assange and the world will become free. Long live Asssange, long live freedom, long live social justice, long live democratic socialism! Dear friends, let us recall the names of brave people who had fought and some of them are still fighting for the truth, for freedom of the press and flow of information: Edmund Dene Morel. Exposed genocide in Congo Jan Karski, brave member of Polish intelligence who first found evidences about Auswitz, becoming one of prisoners himself Clive Ponting, showing war crimes of UK troups on Falklands (Malvinas) Cathy Massiter, giving data about UK secret services spying on syndicates and antinuclear movements Mordechai Vanunu, exposing Israeli nuclear project Karen Silkwood, whistleblowing about irregularities in US nuclear plants Alan Parkinson, UK scientist exposing consequences of nuclear tests in Australia Chelsea Manning, alarming the world about war crimes of US troops in Iraq Milan Jovanović, discovering the corruption in Grocka municipality Manasse Nzobonimpa, whistleblowing on crime and corruption in Burundi Miroslav Filipović, discovering crimes of Yugoslav Army and Serbian police on Kosovo Aaaron Swartz, leading campaign against anti-pirate actions Jerry Hammond, shedding the light on security agency named Stratfor Barret Brown, hactivist, member of Anonymous, discovering Stratfor intentions John Kiriakou, exposing brutal tortures by US secret services Thomas Drake, busting the system of spying on private e-mails by US Government Dear friends, Ivan Zlatić from Social – Democrat Union will now speak to you Capitalists and their state have declared war on public opinion, Republic and democracy. This is how we have to see the prosecution of Julian Assange, because this is the war against of the very idea of democracy. The strongest weapon of alleged 1% of capitalist aristocracy has against us are not police or military neither are navy, air force, bombs and drones. but secrets. Decision making about our planet and our lives is covert and we could find out what is going on in the moment when its too late to prevent them and the only thing that we can fight against are the consequences of their actions. Without WikiLeaks there would be no our knowledge about the nature of oligarchy that’s ruling our planet . Furthermore, we couldn’t even fathom the true nature of ruling capitalist regime and we couldn’t find the way to fight back without the institution as WikiLeaks. We would be helpless like those Iraqis that were shot by US helicopter crew and whose tragedy was recorded on the very same video that Chelsea Manning took from army archives and gave to WikiLeaks to publish. Nowadays, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange are imprisoned because they have the courage and conscience, like many other aforementioned fighters for the Republic all over the world. The biggest support we can give to them is to keep their fruits of their work alive. We must read documents from Wikileaks with attention because someone was risking her or his life to provide that information. We must share everything we read and publish every secret that we lay our hands on. We must record on our mobile phones people of power every time they think that they can do anything they please and get away with it. Freedom for Assange! War on secrets! Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, comrades, I also call you to join us on some activities later on, such as public screening of Hacker Wars and panel discussion that will follow in Magacin and joining the meeting of organization Roof over Head that will be held at noon, Friday, at EU Mission HQ at Vladimira Popovića 40 street. and in the very end dear friends, thank you for coming and I hope that our voice will be heard not only in Serbia but also in the world. and that this protest will represent small yet fine step towards Assange’s freedom. And now we will fly these balloons that represent years that Assange has spent in embassy of Ecuador. We will send these baloons With the message that is dear to our hearts: Freedom for Assange!