No More Secrets: A Call for Transparency
I know the harm that solitary confinement causes to people. I was once the wife of someone who spent two and a half years in solitary confinement. Timothy Leary was a political scapegoat, like Julian Assange. His crime was broadcasting to people that no one had the right to prevent others from altering their consciousness. This happened at a time when the pressure cooker of the 50's "Mad Men" thinking had exploded into a great call for freedom. Timothy Leary was imprisoned on a charge of possession of 0.01 grams of marijuana.
Timothy, like Julian Assange, was tortured, and by that I mean solitary confinement in one of the hardest prisons in California, in the cell next to Charles Manson, a serial killer. His table and chair were bolted to the floor and a 20-watt lamp burned day and night. No right to books or any kind of media. One of the only books that reached him was " The Gulag Archipelago" by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Julian Assange is called "a rapist." Timothy was called the most dangerous man in America, a title he most ironically shared with Daniel Ellsberg. It was also said the he killed more people than the Vietnam War, with his slogan, "turn on, tune in, drop out." I thought a lot about Assange during those ten days he was in solitary confinement, held in Victorian conditions, like Timothy Leary, for his own protection!
Timothy said in 1984 that the computer revolution would free the world. He said that the power of computers would be the next escalation of the sixties creative rebellion. He compared the Internet to the network of synapses in the human brain.
Timothy Leary was disgraced, ridiculed and tortured, named by a Senate Subcommittee an "Ideological Trafficker." Vice President Joe Biden called Julian Assange a " High Tech Terrorist." I tremble as the long arm of empire conspires to stop Wikileaks from informing "the people" of the strange and erratic machinations of those who are supposed to be servants of the people. Those in power are practiced at pushing Humpty Dumpty off the wall.
When Nixon needed a law and order front page, a few days before his second inauguration, the CIA was waiting for us at Kabul Airport, where they kidnapped Timothy and I. After four days of detaining us in the filthiest conditions, they returned us to the United States from a country, Afghanistan, that had no extradition treaty with the US. I had committed no crime in any country of the world, and still have never been arrested to this day. The shock of having been escorted half way around the world by heavily armed men, forty hours without sleep, and seeing my lover dragged away to prison still lingers till this day. This was just the beginning of an ordeal that lasted three and a half years, during which I visited Timothy in 26 different prisons and jails. For good measure the government even planted rumors that said that I had given them Timothy's whereabouts so that he could be busted. This turned the counterculture against me. People in power are very good at playing the divide to conquer game.
I have given many hours to reading the news about Wikileaks online. Government does not care about us. Big business does not care about us. We need to care about each other, this is the true revolution and it has far reaching implications.
Thanks to Julian Assange and his collaborators, the tide is turning faster.
In my view this is the blossoming of a peaceful rebellion that started long ago, a revolution of the heart, the mind, a subtle transformation of consciousness, many of us know now that our species is one body interdependent with all other life on the planet.
When Timothy was in solitary confinement and later classified insane by the government, he was transferred to a medical facility prison in Northern California. This move was a further effort by his captors to break his spirit. During our weekly visits he said true change would come from "No more Secrets." Secrecy leads to blackmail and "Dirty Tricks" are carried out in the dark.
Berthold Brecht, the Austrian playwright and poet, wrote in 1933: "It's not the people who have to change; it's the context in which they make their decisions."
Those in absolute power have built greater and greater walls of secrecy around their context since the 1970's. Since then, many of us have been expanding our awareness and in so doing dissolving the boundaries, borders and separation that are enforced by a culture of secrets.
We are all Wikileaks and when Julian Assange is attacked without been charged, tried and convicted we are all Julian Assange, all angels and rogues wrapped up in one living, breathing organism. No more family secrets, they are the backbone of the patriarchal society, no more State Secrets, they enforce the power of hierarchy. We are each other's national security, we are each others safe harbors, my heart is your country.
Join me in supporting Julian Assange not as a hero or villain but as a small piece of our collective transparency of love.
--Santa Fe, December 23, 2010
Joanna Harcourt Smith is the producer and interviewer of the podcasting website futureprimitive.org.