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Top Assange Defense Account Deleted By Twitter

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Julian Assange Twitter Account Removed
Julian Assange Twitter Account Removed
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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."

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I'm back on Twitter after the outage but @unity4J is still suspended -- we did not receive an email or a reason for the suspension. Appeal process started. #FreeAssange #Unity4J pic.twitter.com/a14DqZaoGt

Christy Dopf (@ChristyMKD84) July 11, 2019

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.

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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 Unity4," 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."

The main Twitter account defending Julian Assange, and therefore press freedom & freedom of speech, has been suspended. @Unity4J -- suspended for defending a hero.#Unity4J

Lee Camp [Redacted] (@LeeCamp) July 12, 2019

Pro-Assange activists have been speaking out 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."

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"HELP!! Twitter suspended @Unity4J The global #FreeAssange supporters account!" tweeted Assange's mother Christine Assange. "It's 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.

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Caitlin Johnstone Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Caitlin Johnstone is a brave journalist, political junkie, relentless feminist, champion of the 99 percent. And a powerful counter-propaganda tactician. Rogue journalist, poet, illustrator, utopia prepper, and proudly 100 percent reader-funded through Patreon (more...)
 

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7 people are discussing this page, with 11 comments  Post Comment


Devil's Advocate

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You're just going to keep hearing this over and over. Facebook deletes a few more accounts. Google de-indexes more sites. Twitter shuts down more voices. The Purge has begun.

What until actual service providers are co-opted to shut down internet accounts. Won't that be the icing on the cake, huh?!

Or, just maybe people shouldn't wait for that. It's time to wake up, and realize who your enemies are, and stop supporting them!!

If you start doing that, there won't be any incentive to take The Purge to the next level.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 3:41:35 AM

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Nelson Wight

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I fear the inevitability, DA.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 11:36:57 AM

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David Watts

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Many articles here at OPED end with something like "This must be stopped" or "We need to do something" or "People need to do that" about this or that. I agree "we" or "the people" do need to do something. But, nothing gets done or will be done. I have commented a number of times saying something like, "yes, we and the people need to do something. But how the hell are you going to get people to do it? To do anything?""

Anyway, I wonder if this might be something to build a protest or movement around that would or could attract a lot of people to join in -- "CENSORSHIP!" In addition to this "Assange Defense Account" being censored there are a lot of videos that have been pulled from the internet. Not sure, but I would guess articles have been censored or made unavailable also.

And I think they apply to quite a few different topics, e.g., 9/11, and now Assange. I have not kept track of the different videos and things that I have not been able to access.

My point is, by giving people "censorship" to rally around, maybe that would have a chance to get people to "do something." Many people are just fine with having 9/11 videos pulled, but maybe they disagree with censorship on other topics. I would think most people would be against "generic" censorship on any ol' different topic "they" just want to censor. By calling it what it is, "CENSORSHIP," I would think most people no matter their beliefs would be uncomfortable with saying they support "CENSORSHIP."

I wonder if the "CENSORSHIP" that is going on with many different subject areas, might be able to bring people of all different sizes and shapes and colors and beliefs together to fight something that should be common amongst all of us.

The key I think, would be to use the label "CENSORSHIP" and not just talk about "videos being pulled." Because, probably most have no objection to particular videos being pulled.

I now plan in the morning to stand on a city corner with a sign I paint that says, "CENSOR CENSORSHIP!!" I don't plan ahead very well, so good chance I won't do it. But maybe Caitlin or whoever I don't know, could get things started if of course, they don't think this idea is worth any more than I am. :)

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 4:18:18 AM

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The only way censorship exists is by giving power to those who execute it.

People throw all their stuff on Facebook servers, giving Facebook the setup needed to perform censorship on it. Same with all the others.

This is why I keep harping about the need to adopt DECENTRALIZED and ENCRYPTED internet services. All the usual suspects are unencrypted centralized services.

Unencrypted services are exploitable and can be monitored and tracked, (and in real time, if desired). Centralized services need their users to stay in power - boycott them, and they fade away.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 4:31:28 AM

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Patricia 0rmsby

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I'd say that is worth a try.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 7:28:08 AM

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Patricia 0rmsby

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Yes, but what good will it do? We are all wringing our hands because nothing we have tried in the past 18 years or more has done any good at all. The media have gone from fairly good to utterly unreliable, with notable steps downward seen in the Bush years, but continuing unabated since. And so Assange managed to do something real about that for a while. But I recall that no matter what he managed to expose, it made no difference that I could see in the course of progress toward tyranny, perpetual war and rampant human rights transgressions.

I'm enamored with Andrei Lobaczewski's recommendations from the point of view of the study of corrupt political systems and the psychology of the people involved. He said that once it reaches a point like this, the only thing to do is distance yourself from it. Any engagement with them only empowers them further. Meanwhile, they have become so crony-heavy that collapse is just a matter of time, after which it is We the People who rebuild.

He also said it was a f****g drag to watch (more politely than that, but the same thing). People traumatized for life by what they saw. Keep your head up, because it does end.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 7:26:28 AM

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Reply to Patricia 0rmsby:   New Content

I know, it would not do any good. But, I thought that while it seems there is no way to get the people to do anything, just maybe the idea of banning censorship might possibly be a way to get a lot of people of every political viewpoint on the same side of an issue. Most people, I think, would not say or admit they support censorship. But, I may be wrong. After all, there are no doubt many who do support censoring things they don't like.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 5:07:07 PM

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b. sadie bailey

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twitter doesn't care! they will only care when people boycott it and their advertisers boycott it! time for a new encrypted social media run by social justice and environmental justice people.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 6:41:47 AM

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molly cruz

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"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." Abusive and misleading? Like just about every post by Our Dear Leader? That bar, it seems, has been set rather low.

As with the Border Guard Bigot's site, and Citizens United overpaying for campaign support, left in place they expose more truth than quashing them does. The President and the twisted Border Patrols, and the filthy rich saboteurs of Democracy all give themselves away in the process of expressing themselves and we learn how their pitiful minds work. By denying Assange defenders, Twitter does the same thing, and we now have a new estimation of their tolerance and limitations. So, gather somewhere else.

And dump Twitter. Leave it to Trump. then Dump Trump. Without his endless undressing in the window of Twitter, I don't think we'd have half the handle we do on his mental incapacity. Given time enough, idiots hang themselves. There's something better than Twitter: and it's right here! Take this opportunity, Op-Ed, and invite them to come live on a proper liberal news site. BadaBoom!

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 10:39:16 AM

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Kitty Antonik

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Caitlin writes "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."

My Twitter account has been locked to any activity since April 3. Reason given by Twitter via email on that date for a March 24 tweet it claims violates their "abusive behavior" rule. But repeated attempts by me via "appeals" to get them to explain what is abusive have been essentially ignored. I have no "high-profile Twitter users" to protest this. So I've simply stopped bothering w/ Twitter but will not remove that tweet, an act that would say that I agree w/ Twitter's accusation that it was "abusive".


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Twitter has created many illogical & unjust rules & I now refuse to play its game. In essence, I am doing as b. sadie bailey & Molly Cruz recommend in their comments here. I do sometimes comment at original articles & a bit at Gab, tho I miss the opportunity to have my thoughts/ideas/views reach beyond self-selected groups. A non-censoring Twitter-like social platform is needed where users voluntarily associate or not with others based on their individual values.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 4:57:37 PM

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This is illustrative of the intent of the whole censorship regime we're looking at.

Each social network, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, or something else, quite often does not make any attempt to explain the rationale behind their take-downs.

Same goes for when people are reinstated. How much stuff gets put back up, suddenly, without any real dialog?

This tells you it's the VOICE they're targeting, and not necessarily any individual message. They know any meaningful conversation will not be defensible on their end. They would be tasked with qualifying how THEY get to decide what to take down, and HOW they judge such a move. It's much easier to just not talk.

Submitted on Saturday, Jul 13, 2019 at 5:52:54 PM

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