Full Assange Yoko Ono Courage Award acceptance speech given in absentina
#CourageAward Julian’s speech in absentia:
First of all, I want to thank Yoko Ono Lennon for her courage and spirit
in granting me this award. A fine woman whose many actions define her. The
test for all of us.
People often ask me how I keep going.
They ask as if my work was some kind of burden to me.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
There is no greater pleasure than fighting for your principles.
There is no greater pleasure than in fighting for those who have risked
all to share your vision.
And there is no greater pleasure than seeing those who you admire, in
turn, move to fight for you.
And while the embassy that shelters me is still surrounded by armed
police, my voice is free.
Within the constraints of the UK surveillance operation outside, I am free
to see my staff and my friends.
Many have fought and continue to fight to permit this basic liberty and I
am grateful to them.
I want to thank the Ecuadorian people.
I want to thank President Rafael Correa and Foreign Minister Patino for
their courageous and unyielding support.
Their stance strengthens, not just my rights, but the rights of political
refugees everywhere. Support them.
I dedicate this award to our courageous sources, supporters and to my
Through their courage and wit they are revealing the true nature of our
global human civilisation. This is how we may reform it. Elevate
it – and make it just, beyond its humble origins.
Their courage in documenting war crimes, gross human rights violations,
and the corruption of our societies is unequaled.
I want to thank all our anonymous volunteers and all those volunteers
from Anonymous. You are unseen in your work but your work far from
But I want to specifically name some.
Volunteer, Aaron Swartz, aged 26. Political activist, hounded to death,
right here in New York last month as part of the broader political
crackdown against our ideals.
Alleged source, now political prisoner Bradley Manning. Bradley is now
two weeks away from 1000 days in prison. The longest pre-trail detention
in US military history.
Alleged source, now political prisoner Jeremy Hammond, detained without
trial, right here in New York, for the last 336 days as of
Volunteer and alleged source, now political prisoner, Gottfrid Svartholm,
detained in Sweden for almost five months.
WikiLeaks banking blockade protestors Christopher Weatherhead, aged
22 and Ashley Rhodes aged 28. Sentenced in the UK last week to 18 months
and 7 months in prison respectively.
And I want to thank my lawyers Baltasar Garzon and Michael Ratner who
are representing me here today, as they do every day.
They together with our other lawyers in the US, Europe, Africa,
Australia, and Ecuador are part of the fight to make sure that our
rights are respected and WikiLeaks can continue its mission.
With such courage, tenacity, love and support from our friends,
silencing WikiLeaks remains and will continue to remain a fantasy.
We will continue our fight to document the world, understand its
institutions and hold our civilisation to a higher standard.
Thank you so much,
3rd February 2013
NEW YORK CITY – 3RD FEBRUARY AT 21:30 PM (NEW YORK CITY TIME).
LONDON – 4TH FEBRUARY AT 02:30 (LONDON TIME).
SUDNEY – 4TH FEBRUARY AT 13:30 (SYDNEY TIME).
On 3rd February at a private dinner at The Modern, MoMA, NYC, attended by
more than 150 guests, Julian Assange will receive the Yoko Ono Lennon
Courage Award for the Arts 2013 for his WikiLeaks work including, among
other releases, Collateral Murder. This award is given to people who have
displayed extraordinary courage and who through their artistry have
changed the world.
Accepting the award on behalf of Julian Assange will be both the Honorable
Judge Baltasar Garzon Real and Michael Ratner, President Emeritus of the
Centre for Constitutional Rights.
The award ceremony is also being attended by the Honorable Ricardo Patino
Aroca, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ecuador and Daniel Ellsberg, source
of the Pentagaon Papers both of whom will be saying a few words.