Top Assange Defense Account Deleted By Twitter

By Caitlin Johnstone

One of the biggest Twitter accounts dedicated to circulating information and advocacy for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, @Unity4J, has been completely removed from the site. The operators of the account report that they have been given no reason for its removal by Twitter staff, and have received no response to their appeals.

Any Assange supporter active on Twitter will be familiar with the Unity4J account, which originated to help boost the wildly successful Unity4J online vigils in which well-known Assange defenders would appear to speak out against his persecution. As of this writing, the account has been gone for a day and a half.

“About 8:45am CST on Thursday July 11, one of our Unity4J Twitter team members went to retweet on the account and noticed that the account was no longer accessible,” reports pro-Assange activist Christy Dopf, one of the operators of the account. “When each of us also attempted to access the account we all received the same message ‘Account Suspended’. Twitter did not send us a reason or violation for the suspension. So an appeal was submitted. We did receive correspondence that Twitter got our request and the case is currently open. Unfortunately we do not have a timeline on how long this could take.”

Speaking for myself as a vocal Assange supporter on Twitter, I can say that I’ve been following the @Unity4J account closely since its earliest days and I’ve never once seen it post anything other than highly professional-looking advocacy for Julian Assange. I’ve certainly never seen it post anything that could be construed as abusive, misleading, or otherwise in violation of any of Twitter’s posted rules.

This account’s deletion is just the latest in a long string of apparently biased actions against WikiLeaks and Assange by the immensely influential social media platform. That bias was made abundantly clear with Twitter’s ridiculous refusal to verify Assange while he was posting from his own account despite his undeniably being a significant public figure, and despite the fact that Twitter was well aware that the account was authentic. The platform has been receiving consistent complaints among Assange supporters of using shadow bans to marginalize their voices, as well as unfair posting locks and restrictions.

“It seems that Assange supporters have been targeted for suspension over the last few days and weeks, including the suspension of individuals (Yon Solitary, Monique Jolie) as well as accounts like Unity4J,” Unity4J co-founder Elizabeth Lea Vos told me today. “All of these suspensions are unacceptable, but I find the Unity4J suspension especially egregious because it was an amplifier of events across the board, not only actions run by Unity4J. It never broke the twitter rules and it was an activist account supporting a journalist who’s been silenced or ‘disappeared,’ so this suspension is an extension of that suppression. Assange asked us to become his voice, and platforms like Twitter appear to be actively working against the possibility of that effort.”

Pro-Assange activists have been speaking out on Twitter against @Unity4J’s removal.

“The main Twitter account defending Julian Assange, and therefore press freedom and freedom of speech, has been suspended,” tweeted comedian and Redacted Tonight host Lee Camp. “@Unity4J – suspended for defending a hero.”

“HELP!! Twitter suspended @Unity4J The global #FreeAssange supporters account!” tweeted Assange’s mother Christine Assange. “Its a central point for updates, interviews and actions re my son politically persecuted journalist JULIAN ASSANGE! Please demand @TwitterSupport and @Jack re-instate it. Many thanks #Unity4J”

“I have no doubt that @Unity4J’s twitter account was suspended because it was a hub of useful information on solidarity events and actions in support of Assange, WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning and more. Horrendous censorship to suspend the account, @TwitterSupport,” tweeted Elizabeth Lea Vos.

“If @Unity4J is not restored, it is proof that Twitter would have sided against the Free Mandela movement, and every other mass liberation movement of a ‘terrorist’ turned Nobel nominee,” tweeted Unity4J co-founder Suzie Dawson.

Many other Assange supporters have been flagging the attention of the Twitter Support account and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey objecting to the unjust silencing of a perfectly legitimate activist account, to no avail thus far.

The censorship of political speech on online media platforms is a large and growing problem. Twitter has been better about this than the far more sycophantic Facebook and Google, but the discrimination against anti-establishment political speech is undeniable at this point. I myself was removed from the platform last year just for saying the world would be better off without warmongering US Senator John McCain in it, and was only restored after protests from high-profile Twitter users.

In a corporatist system of government, in which there is no meaningful separation of corporate power and state power, corporate censorship is state censorship. With giant Silicon Valley corporations aligning themselves with shady state-funded propagandistic think tanks like the Atlantic Council, being admonished on the Senate floor that they must help quash political rebellion, and being targeted for narrative control influence by the US military, there’s vanishingly little difference between what’s happening more and more to political speech with these tech giants and what happens in overtly totalitarian governments. The only difference is the stories people choose to tell themselves about it.

The time to speak up about this silencing is now. Your voice is next.

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitterthrowing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandisebuying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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1 Comment on "Top Assange Defense Account Deleted By Twitter"

  1. I was an early defender of Assange when he was engaged in speaking truth to power and exposing state crimes, but this all changed when he betrayed his mission and us by becoming part of the Trump campaign Despite his denials, he helped destroy democracy in America by publishing damaging material on Clinton to help elect Trump. He says he didn’t get it from Russia, but the Deep State in Russia (keeping in mind Putin joined the KGB at 23, worked with STASI in East Germany, and was promoted to head of the FSM under dictator Yeltson, just as in the US, uses subsidiaries to do it covert operations for plausible deniablity.

    Even Putin is on record as saying that he thinks it possible the hacking was done by “some patriotic Russians.”

    Assanges contacts with Trump Jr to co-ordinate the impact of the damaging Wikileaks material (while keeping the material on Trump secret) and asking for Trump’s help in getting appointed Ambassador from Austrailia (and thus with immunity) is clear evidence of his collusion with the Trump team.

    As a traitor to our cause, I cannot sympathize with those who have continued to support him, despite his betrayal to all of us.

    And just for the record, the First Amendment guarantees the right of Twitter to publish or ban anyone it likes. The fact that it is very popular does not negate its constitutional right to free speech, which includeds the right to say, or not say, whatever it likes.

    Putin and Trump have used Wikileaks to further their fascist goals. It’s time to take Assange off the pedestal and realize that the power he gained by exposing the crimes of the powerful he then used to join the powerful and becoming a kingmaker, or in this case, a tyrant-maker. He is paying a price for that grave crime.

    Trump said “I love Wikileaks.” Many times. When Wikileaks goes from being the object of hatred of Power to being loved by Power, that is evidence that it has become part of the power structure and not its critic.

    The Assange cultists will resent my saying this, but it’s time to see Assange for what he is: a man who was corrupted by power, who saw the chance (as he mused about in a 1999 interview) of controlling an election by selective publications to defeat a candidate And when that opportunity came, he took it…and this tragic decision turned him from being a hero speaking truth to power to a traitor, working on behalf of power.

    Power corrupts: that is the tragedy of Assange, and I pity those who do not yet realize how he turned on us, who had supported him, to become a player in the power game that brought us our most corrupt and dangerous President.

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