Open letter against Twitter censorship of pro-Assange accounts

Below is a joint statement issued by @PhillipAdams64 and @ClassConscious1 against the censorship of their accounts by Twitter on June 18th and against censorship of pro-Assange accounts more broadly. We call on all defenders of free speech and Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning to sign this open letter. Please contact ClassConscious@protonmail.com to add your name to the letter.

Update: On July 1st @PhillipAdams account was restored but @ClassConscious1 remains suspended. Protest planned at Twitter HQ July 8th. Read full details here.

The fight to Free Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning is, at its heart, a fight for free speech. It is a fight for the right of ordinary people around the world to learn about the crimes of the powerful. It is this ethos that lies at the heart of Wikileaks.

As Julian languishes in Belmarsh Prison, the US Government and other governments conspiring to persecute him are well aware of the growing support for him around the world. It is in this context that moves are being made to sabotage the growth of this global movement.

On June 18th, the Twitter accounts of Phillip Adams (@PhillipAdams64) and classconscious.org (@ClassConscious1) were suspended without warning or justification.

The account of Phillip Adams had just tweeted that the change.org petition he began and manages had reached 150,000 signatures. This petition has become a powerful representation of the mass support for Assange.

The suspension of the classconscious.org Twitter account came hours after it had tweeted out numerous tweets linking to its article covering the global solidarity protests occurring between the 12th and 14th June – called out by classconscious.org to coincide with Assange’s most recent extradition hearing in London. The photo in these tweets shows the unprovoked, violent police arrests of two peaceful Assange demonstrators at the Melbourne June 14th protest outside the UK consulate. This intensified repression of the Assange/Manning campaign in real life is being mirrored online.

So much of the international campaign to free Assange and Manning is organised online and via social media and, therefore crucial to the task of building the global protests that will be necessary to free them both. However, the close cooperation, indeed, integration of the corporate social media giants: Facebook, Google and Twitter with the US military/intelligence complex is of dire consequence to the efforts to free Assange and Manning (and free speech in general). There have already been examples of pro-Assange Twitter accounts censored, shadow-banned and their followers purged. Google have devised their own algorithms to suppress searches for websites of leftist Assange campaigners such as the SEP (Socialist Equality Party) and Chris Hedges.

A line must therefore be drawn in the sand. We cannot allow pro-Assange Twitter accounts to be picked off a few at a time. If the banning of the classconscious.org and Phillip Adams’ accounts on the same day is part of an escalating purge of pro-Assange accounts by Twitter, then it poses an existential threat to this international campaign. It is not hard to imagine if these suspensions are allowed to stand, that, in the future crucial months of the battle to save the lives of Assange and Manning, more will soon follow. This targeted censorship will inevitably ensnare higher profile accounts, even @Wikileaks itself.

And, such targeted censorship has indeed recently included Facebook’s flagrant ambush of free speech. On the 22nd July, Facebook blocked paid advertising for a PES meeting in Paris that called for the freedom of both Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning. More details of this unwarranted attack on our rights can be found here:

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/22/pesf-j22.html

We do not believe this warning to be an exaggeration. As Julian Assange is the ‘canary in the coalmine’ when it comes to global free speech and press freedom, the Assange Twitter accounts @Philip Adams64 and @ClassConscious1 may well be ‘the canary in the coalmine’ of the Assange/Manning campaign.

The signatories of this letter therefore call for the immediate reinstatement of the @Philip Adams64 and @ClassConscious1 Twitter accounts and the end of all online censorship of efforts to fight for the freedom of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning!

Signatories

Phillip Adams (@PhillipAdams64) – Founder of “Free Julian Assange petition

Davey Heller (@socialist_davey) Member of classconscious.org (@ClassConscious1)

Alex Hills (@GreenweaverArch) Co-founder of #FreeAssangeNZ, moderator – #OperationFreeAssange & member of #Unity4J

Bailey Lamon (@UptheCypherPunx) – Vice-Chairwoman of Pirate Parties International, independent writer & Assange/Manning supporter

Jane Thomas (@JaneTho55687783)

Maha Heller (@Mahanama22) Member of classconscious.org

Jo Mogilevska (@JMogilevska ) Member of classconscious.org

Raymond Johansen (@RayJoha2) – Board Member @PPinternational @PursuanceProj, @iww & @cbasemember, Intnl. Coordinator Pirate Party of Norway

Steve Zelzter – United Public Workers for Action (San Francisco) Member

Jimmy’s Lllama (@jimmysllama ) – Researcher and Free Assange and Manning campaigner

John Maycock (@L3ftyJohn) – occasional Independent Australia Contributor

Martha Rowen, Brooklyn, New York

Christine Bell – Mt Nelson, Tasmania

Ania Nowakowska – Free Assange campaigner

Skye Miller – Free Assange campaigner

Owen Hseish – classconscious.org member

Mason Bee (@masonbee1), Mason Bee Limited

Dave Holder – Make Safe Tree Services

Cate Rutty – Building Designer

Ratibor Trivunac – antiquarian bookseller and publisher from Belgrade, Serbia.

Patricia Boreta

Aaron Powell

Jacob Grech

Lenny Colton – (Unblock Phillip Adams and class conscious. org! )

 Bill Gibbons, Petaluma CA ( Assange is a hero, and the fight over free speech gets to heart of fighting against Fascism and oppression)

Heather D

Jan Lancaster

Robert MontgomeryUnblock Phillip Adams and classconscious.org!

Catherine Dubbs – Free Assange Campaigner, Australia

Charlene Parsons -Free Assange campaigner New Zealand

Josh Holmes

Jessica Brown

Cass Spong

Kate Maree

Evelyn Doyle

Ashe Green

Malcolm Day

Pike Slay (@PikeSlay)

Joanne M. Le Mura, Julian Assange Supporter, Human Rights and Peace Activist

Véronique Pidancet Barrière (Journalist, director, Scriptwriter, founder of WikiJustice Julian Assange. France)

Louise Bennet , Free Assange campaigner.

Lin James

Bing (@dukelous)


Davey Heller

Davey Heller is a Trotskyist from Melbourne and long-time campaigner for Left-wing causes including anti-war, refugee rights, environmental protests and workers' struggles. He is a former secondary teacher who studies history at Monash University and currently works in the environmental field. You can follow him on Twitter at @socialist_davey

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