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Freedom of Speech, Creativity and Wikileaks

I really really think freedom is important. As a lot of people are already well aware I’m quite vocal about my dislike of the trafficking rise lately and the twenty seven million people who are slaves in the world at the moment.

Today I’d like to talk about another form of freedom; Freedom of Speech. I actually believe that freedom of speech and openness in opinions is important in any world trying not to be corrupt. I also think as a creative person that freedom of speech is important. If our ability to speak out against things is hampered then so is our art and that can begin the descent of a very slippery slope in which just for creating the wrong thing someone can be jailed.

As a creative it’s important to me to be able to write, draw or paint about anything I feel is in my heart to do so. I can’t stifle the opinions of a piece or I’m stifling my very core. By bringing these potentially contentious opinions out in the open it allows for discussion and progression, and I’m not the only one who thinks it’s more important to create without that kind of restraint, here’s a few quotes:

“The only real way to be creative is to create. Without attachment to outcome. Without attachment to sales figures or blog hits. Without caring about the ways in which your work is dissected, criticized or loved. But with a keen, overwhelming, burning, passionate focus on what it is you long to say more than anything in the world. That’s the thing. That’s the only thing.” – Patti Digh

“When it comes to fiction, the writer’s only responsibility is to look for the truth inside their own heart. It won’t always be the reader’s truth, or the critic’s truth, but as long as it’s the writer’s truth – as long as he or she doesn’t truckle, or hold out his or her hat to Fashion – all is well” –  Stephen King

Writing is a struggle against silence.  – Carlos Fuentes

Creating is important to creative people, we often feel like our lives wouldn’t be worth living if we couldn’t create and if we are bounded by other people’s opinions of what we should create about we’re stifled and stopped from creating.

I feel that this relates to things like Wikileaks. Wikileaks have spent the last few years exposing corruption in corporations and governments and anything else they get handed. They’ve said what a lot of people have expected all along and proved it. They are being brave and speaking out against people doing bad things. This should be a good thing and I think artistic people should be doing it too.

The problem has arisen in the response of the corrupt people. They’ve done everything they can to slander and ruin the people brave enough to speak out. The recent release from wikileaks is the start of 5.5 million emails from the private investigation company Stratfor and it’s customers, in a lot of cases US government officials or investigation bureaus.

These emails discuss the US wanting to bankrupt Assange and have him charged with something so they can extradite him to the US and charge him with espionage, all because he revealed their dirty secrets. Below is a quote from one of the emails here:

“I think it’s very difficult to indict him on anything though.
MAYBE espionage, but even those laws are still too old. I think
your FBI contact is right (sadly). the US can really only get the
person who did the leak, not who published it–George also pointed
this out over the weekend.

What would the sealed indictment be for?

(this is also why they will get him on some other charges in
another country….)”

This email is between what appears to be a group of people including Stratfor representatives, Fred Burton who is considered an expert on terrorism and security against them and possibly the FBI. The email discusses all sort of ways they might be able to get Assange arrested directly and remove him from the public sphere.

Another email chain released yesterday speculates on Bradley Manning who supposedly was the source for one of the major leaks (note he’s not been charged, just held in prison for almost two years in what amounts to torturous conditions) and what’s going to happen to him? It seem Stratfor thinks he’ll get the death penalty. That’s right folks, The US government is considering killing someone for sourcing files that show the world they were up to no good! Files which the pentagon say have put no one in any extra danger (despite some newspaper claims which were later redacted, although a Guardian reporter leaked the security code for over 250k unredacted files in an ebook)

There is also another set of emails written by Fred Burton, and others within Stratfor, full of vitriole and hatred towards Assange saying about ruining him before he’s arrested. Also they want to have him extradited to the US, where a secret Jury now meets, with no defense lawyers for Assange, working out whether he should be convicted for anything.

Basically looking at the emails currently released that mention Assange or Bradley Manning these Americans think that they’re taking down an egotistical maniac that has dared to threaten their country and everyone connected to him, in the hopes that they’ll be cutting the head off the hydra and it won’t grow more.

Simply put I don’t think we should stand for this. It affects anyone who wants to expose corruption and stand up for what they believe in! The US government is reacting badly to something they should be apologising for. The shouldn’t be trying to ruin the people who dared to question the use of their authority. So in light of that I’ll stand by the wikileaks folks and be counted. Assange may be at the top but a lot of people think their work is important, me included.

If you want to donate to wikileaks you can do so here and if you want to help go through all the published leaks and pull out relevant info to write articles you can also do that here

You can also sign up to the website here to become a friend of wikileaks and help band with them.