School of Resistance: Speaking the truth is not a crime
On January 4th, court will announce its judgement in the extradition trial of Julian Assange, journalist and founder of the media organisation Wikileaks that revealed among others several war crimes committed by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Being charged with 17 criminal counts under the US Espionage Act and facing 175 years of jailtime, not only Assange, but the whole of press freedom and free speech is at risk. But what does free speech mean today? Is it a necessary right for the powerless and a tool to expose wrongdoings and bring the truth to light? Or a weapon of the powerful to silence critical voices and a threat to our democracy?
Ece Temelkuran is one of Turkey’s best-known novelists and political commentators, appearing in the Guardian, New York Times, New Statesman and Der Spiegel. Her recent novel Women Who Blow on Knots won the 2017 Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award. In 2019, she received “Honorary Citizenship” from the city of Palermo for her work on behalf of oppressed voices.
Cian Westmoreland, drone engineer and Whistleblower. He worked at the Ramstein Air Base and helped develop the communications structures which the drone program in Afghanistan is based on. In 2010 he decided to publically speak about his work.
Renata Ávila is an international human rights lawyer. She is a 2020 Stanford Race and Technology Fellow at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. She is a Board member for Creative Commons, the Common Action Forum, Cities for Digital Rights, Article 19 Mexico & Central America, and a Global Trustee of Digital Future Society. She also serves as a member of the Coordinating Collective of DiEM25.