Speech in support of Wikileaks and against 11 years of war in Afghanistan

This month is the 11th anniversary of the Afghan war, a disastrous conflict that has achieved nothing more than destruction for Afghans and foreigners. Yesterday Sydney’s Stop the War Coalition held a rally to mark this anniversary as well as supporting Wikileaks and Julian Assange in their struggle to tell the truth about Afghanistan, via the Afghan War Logs. I was one of the speakers. Below are my remarks (speech begins at 23:21) and my notes:

  • Since 2001 in Afghanistan, at least 2000 US soldiers have died.
  • 2.4 million US soldiers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Almost 100,000 US war veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan were treated for post-traumatic stress disorder in 2011 alone.
  • Unknown numbers of Afghan civilians killed.
  • Reality on ground in Afghanistan, little infrastructure, intense fighting, huge civilian casualties, empowering of warlords, Taliban emboldened, very few girls have been educated.
  • This is the war we’re told by our leaders is worth fighting.
  • Strong impression when I was in Afghanistan this year was sheer futility of it all, profound ignorance expressed of what the West was doing there and who we’re fighting.
  • This is what WikiLeaks’ Afghan War Logs showed us, the secret war, the war our leaders don’t want us to see.
  • Why I’ve supported Wikileaks since its inception, 6 years ago this month, in October 2006.
  • Today Julian Assange is right to resist extradition to Sweden. He’s right to fear the US. He’s an “enemy of the state”, akin to an al-Qaeda terrorist or the Taliban insurgency.
  • Today we’re all “enemies of the state”, defending an organisation that shames most media outlets. Too few journalists in my profession speak out in support of Wikileaks, preferring to mock Assange.
  • Where’s the accountability of politicians or journalists who backed Afghan war and demonised WikiLeaks for daring to tell us the truth?
  • 11 years of lies about Afghan war and we’ll be leaving the country in 2014 in a complete mess. We owe the Afghan people financial compensation for destroying their country.
  • Australian government must support Assange in his search for justice and as citizens we must demand the end of the Afghan war now plus hold our elites responsible for launching it.
  • WikiLeaks is model of collaborative journalism and civic democracy.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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