Monday, 20 August 2012

Full Text of Julian Assange's Balcony Address

Here is the full text of the now famous address from the Balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

"I am here today because I cannot be there with you today, but thank you for coming. Thank you for your resolve, your generosity of spirit.

On Wednesday night, after a threat was sent to this embassy, and police descended on this building, you came out in the middle of the night to watch over it, and you brought the world’s eyes with you.
Inside the embassy, after dark, I could hear teams of police swarming up into the building through the internal fire escape. But I knew that there would be witnesses and that is because of you.

If the UK did not throw away the Vienna Convention the other night, it is because the world was watching and the world was watching because you were watching.

So, the next time somebody tells you that it's pointless to defend those rights that we hold dear, remind them of your vigil in the dark before the embassy of Ecuador.
Remind them how in the morning the sun came up on a different world, and a courageous Latin American nation took a stand for justice.

And so, to those brave people, I thank President Correa for the courage he has shown in considering and in granting me political asylum. And I also thank the government, and in particular Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino, who  upheld the Ecuadorian Constitution and its notion of universal citizenship in their consideration of my asylum.

And to the Ecuadorian people for supporting and defending this Constitution.

And I also have a debt of gratitude to the staff of this Embassy, whose families live in London, and who have been showing me hospitality and kindness despite the threats we all receive.

This Friday there will be an emergency meeting of the foreign ministers of Latin America in Washington, DC, to address this very situation. And so I am grateful to those people and governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela and to all other Latin American countries who have come out to defend the right to asylum.

To the people of the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia, who have supported me in strength, even when their governments have not,  and to those wiser heads in government who are still fighting for justice: Your day will come.

To the staff, supporters and sources of WikiLeaks, whose courage and commitment and loyalty has seen no equal.

To my family and to my children, who have been denied their father. Forgive me. We will be reunited soon.

As WikiLeaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression, and the health of our societies. We must use this moment to articulate the choice that is before the government of the United States of America.

Will it return to and reaffirm the values - the revolutionary values - it was founded on?   Or will it lurch off the precipice, dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world, in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark?

I say it must turn back.

I ask President Obama to do the right thing.

The United States must renounce its witch-hunt against WikiLeaks.

The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation.

The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff or our supporters.

The United States must pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful.

There must be no more foolish talk about prosecuting any media organization, be it WikiLeaks or be it the New York Times.

The US administration’s war on whistleblowers must end.

Thomas Drake, and William Binney, and John Kiriakou and the other heroic US whistleblowers must — they must be pardoned and compensated for the hardships they’ve endured as servants of the public record.

And the Army Private who remains in a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, who was found by the United Nations to have endured months of torturous detention in Quantico, Virginia, and who has yet — after two years in prison — to see a trial—he must be released. Bradley Manning must be released. If Bradley Manning did as he is accused, he is a hero and an example to all of us and one of the world’s foremost political prisoners. Bradley Manning must be released.
On Wednesday, Bradley Manning spent his 815th day of detention without trial. The legal maximum is 120 days.

On Thursday, my friend, Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Human Rights Center, was sentenced to 3 years for a tweet.

On Friday, a Russian band was sentenced to 2 years in jail for a political performance.

There is unity in the oppression.

There must be absolute unity and determination in the response.

Thank you."

Monday, 13 August 2012

Mairead Maguire calls for the release of Marian Price

category international | rights and freedoms | news report author Monday August 13, 2012 23:51author by Justin Morahan
Nobel Laureate sends strong letter to Secretary of State Paterson
(Summary: Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire states in an open letter to Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland that Marian Price is seriously ill and on these ground and the grounds of justice she should be released immediately from her illegal imprisonment.)
The following is an OPEN LETTER from Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire to British Secreatary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr Owen Paterson:

Dear Mr.Paterson,


I write to you regarding the continued immoral and illegal internment of Marian Price. As you are well aware Marian has spent over fourteen months, in prison, twelve of which were spent in forced isolation, and she is at present seriously ill and held under armed guard in an isolated hospital ward.

This treatment is cruel and inhumane and amounts to torture as the words of the UN Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez on torture states: “indefinite and prolonged solitary confinement in excess of 15 days should be subject to an absolute prohibition”.

The illegal detention of Marian Price for political offences committed nearly forty years ago, and for which she was pardoned, is a serious violation of her human rights, a blank disregard for due process and a violation of our ‘the Good Friday Agreement’.

Unanimous medical opinions confirm Marian Price is unable to participate in any legal Proceedings due to her rapidly deteriorating health and as this is the case, and also in the interests of truth and justice, I write to request that this seriously ill women be released immediately to her family.

Yours sincerely,

Mairead Maguire
13th August, 2012

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Katie Taylor Wins Gold

I am totally opposed to the sport of boxing because of the danger to the human body.

When Muhammed Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, boxed Sonny Liston I got up in the middle of the night to listen to the broadcast on radio.  It was exciting - too exciting - and I got a thrill out of Ali's win.  But Ali got seriously damaged by boxing.

I congratulate Katie Taylor who has just won her gold medal in the Olympics.

In spite of my opposition to boxing, my congratulations are full and wholehearted.

Like most other people in Ireland, I got a thrill out of her win - in spite of my best instincts.  I am happy for her moment of glory . I share in it.

But that ends my interest in Katie's boxing skills and achievements.

What I sincerely wish for her now is that she quits boxing before any long term damage is done to her or before she does any long-term damage to an opponent.

I wish her many years of happiness and joy throughout her life.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Hiroshima Remembered

Kengo the fireman
was on his bicycle
crossing Kannon bridge
in Hiroshima
it was around 8.17 a.m.           tokei
we know because
his watch stopped
and is still to be seen
on the internet

Kengo jumped into the river
burning badly
then got home to burn-die
with 200,000 others

there was
no war on terror declared
no outcry in the west
no hunt for the perpetrators
no day of mourning in Ireland
no laying waste of the country
that harboured
and sheltered
the criminals
no search for lice
in Truman's hair
no search for weapons
of mass destruction

there were only shouts
of victory
lame excuses
honour received
and a fake
moral high ground