On Thursday afternoon three of Courage’s trustees wrote to me demanding that I inform Barrett Brown that he could no longer be a Courage beneficiary, on the basis of “nasty adversarial remarks” about WikiLeaks. In response, I reminded the trustees that Barrett has consistently and publicly defended Julian Assange’s right to publish, and that he had made clear his willingness to help us campaign on this issue. I also reminded them about what Courage was set up to do:
“Courage supports our beneficiaries because they have spoken out, at great risk to themselves, in order to make the world a better place. I am fundamentally and implacably opposed to excluding anyone from beneficiary status on the basis of their political speech, and still more when that comes out of responding angrily to being baited on twitter.”
Late on Thursday evening, I received another email in which I was told to “sort this matter out tomorrow.” In the circumstances, I was left with no option but to tender my resignation.
Building Courage up into a useful organisation has been a major part of the past four and a half years of my life. I still believe that an organisation that fulfils Courage’s mission would be valuable to have around: we might just have to put together a new one.
I remain absolutely, unambiguously opposed to the withdrawal of Julian Assange’s asylum and the prospect of his extradition to the United States.
I do, however, have acute concerns about the way advocacy on this issue is developing. This is reflected, obviously, in the circumstances that have led to me resigning from Courage, but also in recent comments made by Jesselyn Radack, Bailey Lamon and Davey Heller (I agree with them). I have more to say about the likely consequences of the current trajectory with suggestions for how the situation can be remedied and will put those thoughts in writing.
Monday 13 August 2018
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