by Elizabeth Vos, Disobedient Media:
The Ecuadorian Government’s decision to silence Julian Assange by cutting off his internet access, phone communications and ability to receive visitors represents a saddening turnabout by a country that has long protected the publisher’s human and journalistic rights. The move took place at the behest of Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno, who took office in May last year. Since that time Moreno has continued to provide Assange with asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and his government conferred citizenship and diplomatic immunity on the arbitrarily confined journalist last December.
When news of the cut in communications emerged yesterday, friends and supporters of Assange immediately leapt into action, with Kim Dotcom and Suzie Dawson organizing an online vigil under the banner of #ReconnectJulian. Meanwhile, supporters on the ground in London gathered in front of the embassy, live streaming as they stood in solidarity for hours, metres from the confined Wikileaks Editor-In-Chief.
The event stretched to over ten hours of continual live streaming. We were so honored to be joined by the most incredible guests imaginable all day long, in an awe-inspiring show of solidarity for a political prisoner. Participants included a range of viewpoints from across the political divide and included in no particular order: Kim Dotcom, Suzie Dawson, this writer, Cassandra Fairbanks, Ray McGovern, members of the Pirate Party, Emmy Butlin, John Kiriakou, Ron Placone, HA Goodman, Caitlin Johnstone, Lee Camp, Tim Black and Trevor Fitzgibbon.
This author was utterly overwhelmed at the radiating kindness shown by every single person who contributed whether as a guest or behind the scenes, creating visuals, compiling questions, monitoring the live chat, spreading the word on social media, and more. The way in which Assange and Wikileaks consistently bring out the best in people, participants and viewers alike, speaks to the absolute integrity at the heart of the organization. During the entirety of the stream the strength, mutual respect, and love of truth was palpable.
The full ten-hour stream is available below:
Topics of discussion ranged from the reason for Ecuador’s decision to cut off Julian Assange’s communication to the importance of Wikileaks in the field of journalism and in protecting the public from the harmful acts of their governments, and beyond.
To accurately summarize the contributions of such a range of incredibly gifted human beings over ten hours is impossible. Those who had met Julian Assange in person spoke of their impressions of him as incredibly intelligent, in good spirits, and as unbowed in the face of the powers seeking to oppress him. They also spoke of his selflessness in efforts to protect others, whether that be the Catalonian people, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, or thousands of other unknown sources and journalists whose lives have been saved by the efforts of Assange and Wikileaks.
Suzie Dawson emphasized that no journalistic organization has ever gone to the lengths to protect sources than has Wikileaks. Many of the insights gained from Dawson’s recent masterpiece Being Julian Assange, were unexpectedly timely and relevant to the recent events. It provided an invaluable resource that the viewers could use to help others understand the level of attacks that Assange and Wikileaks regularly face.