On October 1, 2020, WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange’s extradition hearing at the Old Bailey in London came to an end. What unfolded during 18 days of hearings was a Kafkaesque show-trial of a free press, where Assange was placed behind a glass case, unable to have access to his lawyers. This is a war against journalism, and an empire’s assaults on the rights to the self-determination of people around the world.
For so long, narratives of our society have been controlled by those in power. WikiLeaks set frozen history in motion. Calling it “the rebel library of Alexandria,” Assange explained how WikiLeaks is “the single most significant collection of information about how modern institutions actually behave that doesn’t exist elsewhere, in a searchable, accessible, citable form.”
The defense witness during Assange’s extradition hearing testified on the effect of WikiLeaks in facilitating democracy. The publication of Iraq War Logs revealed the existence of an estimated 15,000 civilian casualties that were previously unknown, restoring dignity for those victims of senseless war. In a written statement, a German citizen Khalid El-Masri who mistakenly was identified as a terrorist and kidnapped and tortured by the CIA, addressed the court about how information released by WikiLeaks helped him to make his own court case and get justice.
Bitcoin has aided WikiLeaks’ quest: To bring the power to shape history into the hands of ordinary people. Appearing in the form of a hologram at The Nantucket Project conference, from inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he was arbitrarily detained, Assange spoke of the significance of blockchains, Bitcoin’s underlying technology, particularly in relation to journalism and holding those in power to account.