This is the speech I gave at a demonstration last night in Melbourne for Julian Assange, whose extradition trial begins February 24th.
Julian Assange started a leak outlet on the premise that corrupt and unaccountable power is a problem in our world, and that problem can be fought with the light of truth. Corrupt and unaccountable power responded by detaining, silencing and smearing him. His persecution has proved his own thesis about the world absolutely correct.
Power is the ability to control what happens. Absolute power is controlling what people think about what happens. Humans are story-oriented creatures, so if you can control the stories that the humans are telling each other about what’s going on, you can control those humans.
This is the power of narrative management. This is why governments and billionaires use propaganda, advertising, buy up media conglomerates and fund think tanks, employ public relations and spin doctors, buy up troll armies and bot farms: because they know that those who control the narrative, control the world.
You can do whatever you like, as long as you can control what people think about what you’re doing.
No one understands this better than Julian Assange. He famously said that if wars are started by lies, then they can be stopped by truth. That’s the basis of WikiLeaks. Bringing truth to the public in the most pristine and revolutionary way possible. They made it so people could leak documents to them safely, and then they released them with minimal redactions and editorial. Like many online innovations it cut out the middle man, and the middle man, in this case, are the media spinmeisters who normally present information with an overlay of establishment-friendly narrative.
You know the ones. The ones that are like, “Here’s what I found out, but more importantly, this is what you should think about what I found out”.
It had immediate effects. Global reach, exposing the most corrupt roots of the most powerful people in an environment where the growing alarm at the GFC, climate change and endless war meant that people were hungry for the truth about why these things are still happening despite their unpopularity and despite our every effort to stop them.