Julian Assange confronts Julia Gillard

March 19, 2011
Julian Assange.

“We have intelligence that your government has been exchanging information with foreign powers about Australian citizens working for WikiLeaks,” Julian Assange told Prime Minister Julia Gillard in his video question as part of ABC's Q&A on March 14.

Assange's question came after Gillard had said: “I can respect whistleblowing if your motivation is to right wrong.” But she said she did not see any “moral purpose ... at the centre of WikiLeaks”.

Gillard said she didn't have a “great deal of respect” for Assange and described his motivation as “sort of anarchic”.

Assange has made clear his motivation many times: it's actually “sort of” about open government — creating transparency and accountability.

Assange asked Gillard: “When will you come clean about precisely what information you have supplied the foreign powers about Australian citizens working or affiliated with WikiLeaks and if you cannot give a full and frank answer to that question, should perhaps the Australian people consider charging you with treason?”

Stalling, Gillard first giggled and then made a joke before she said: “I don't know anything [about Assange’s claim] ... To my knowledge it hasn't happened.”

However, Gillard did say: “We exchange information about Australian citizens with foreign governments, yes, we do sometimes.”

Examples she gave included: “Following up transnational crimes like people smuggling, following up transnational crimes like drug trafficking, following up like transnational crimes like terrorism, of course we exchange information."

So which is Assange? A people smuggler? Not quite. Drug trafficker? That'd be a new accusation. Terrorist? Well, many US ultra-conservatives seem to think so.

During the program, Gillard also told the audience, “a confident America is good for the world". It is safe to assert that most of the world would “confidently” disagree.

Audience member Ruby Hamad asked Gillard to explain her behaviour while visiting the United States. Hamad said “millions of Australians cringed” while they watched Gillard's “gushing” speech to the US Congress.

Gillard responded: “I did want to say ‘be bold’, which I think is amongst the best of the American traditions, that sense of can-do, which actually led them to the moon.”

Not just the moon! What about Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq and Afghanistan? The US has been there too! And was it that bold, can-do tradition that led the US to supply Indonesia with weapons during its massacre of the people of East Timor and ongoing occupation of West Papua?

Is it US “boldness” that explains the US’s continued support for Israel's brutal oppression of the Palestinians?

If that “great American tradition” of being bold is behind the aforementioned, then perhaps it would be better to not encourage such boldness in future.

On the day she took office, Gillard said: “I am utterly committed to the service of our people.” Well, as the ALP campaign slogan of 1972 said: “It's time”.

It's time to say no more to the Australian government joining in with the persecution of our citizens abroad, such as David Hicks, Mamdouh Habib and now, Julian Assange.

It's time to accept the new frontier of free information and transparent, accountable governments.


Gillard needs to be put in prison immediately.
The issue here is perception... or misperception... and level of consciouness at which a person operates, whatever their station in life. It is essential for all of us to raise our consciousness level to the higher reaches of human nature (Abraham Maslow). Politiians, as well as spokesmen for the public, owe it to themselves and to the people whom they serve, to engage in self transformation required for a rational view of their world.
Press' freedom apparently was not yet achieved or supported by governments that brag been democratic and open. The events that had driven Mr. Assange's nightmare were fabricated by a Country which put his judiciary system under the control of a foreign nation; and that is a pit once it opened the disgusting veil which shows it's true face and weakness. When you see countries and governments deceiving the citizens instead of giving them the expected protection of free speech when the questionable interests of other nation is on the table, just demonstrates what they really do under that same table. What WikiLeaks did was just to bring to the public their hypocritical behavior and commitments. Shame on them!
...actually one of the best publications out there. While Julian is a great asset for Australian image abroad, while Gillard is a great embarrassment.
The default leader (not voted in by the people) doesn't have a great deal of respect for our Julian Assange. HMMMM well I have absolutely no respect for her or on how our leadership is going! (Assange's question came after Gillard had said: “I can respect whistleblowing if your motivation is to right wrong.” But she said she did not see any “moral purpose ... at the centre of WikiLeaks”.) Well how can she see any moral purpose when she has none? However, I have a great deal of respect, love and admiration for Julian and the presence of Wikileaks in our world.
Just as many high officials in other countries Julia is just another U.S. Government Puppet and those who oppose the United States' idealism is considered a traitor and that goes to including their citizens(which I am). Our governments are too strong in themselves, the more power we give them the more power the government is going to (F#CK) us. People need to step up and stop pretending to live in the past, the media itself is nonsense, just pure brainwashing the vast majority of weak-minded people. I support Julian for the reason that he's not staying quiet and that is something I respect. Keep fighting citizens of Australia, don't be ruled by my government.
While the government is keeping a distance from Assange and Wikileaks, the opposition is almost nowhere to see. They both probably try to win US backing more than our votes. Something is filthy behind the scene about this democracy. It's a waste of time going to vote, isn't it? You'd get a bunch of mark-arbibs anyway.
with toney abboat adressing a climet change dennialeast ralley with alining him sealf with fring elmeants of fare right how sohveaniasts licke citzioans elicroial, counceal leage of rights, one nashioan , holding up bannears reding gileards is bob browans bitch caling hear a wich that in doing so he haned left a masive sick with six inch naels beat him with we wiill draw blood this duscting low lift elmeants resrtiong to shaveansioam abboat has showing his tue colears as climeat deniealast willing get in bead with pulean hansioan and citzioans elicrioal counceal shotears party aboats stupadtey kows no boudeays it wokears to avtige of climeat movmoant femmniast movmant masive ralleys heald by get up dewarfing the denieast ralley demaning reall achioan on climeat change we shud mack colshioan blead for going lowast commoan demontear sam bullock brisbande
People can not be equal if the government has obligations which go beyond governing for everyone's benefit or assisting certain factions which struggle with various problems. There are some things which America has to answer for, but they are also our allies, and in World War 2 were the only major power that we could depend on. That said, I can't stand seeing the Australian government following them blindly just because of their military power and some sense of obligation. The way I see it, Australia's not acting on our own accord, we're following America's lead, without so much as giving our own opinion on things. I don't think Julia Gillard necessarily does agree with American policy, she just doesn't have the guts to stand up to them. Although he spends a lot of his time in Sweden and Iceland, Julian Assange has more of the resilience and audacity that I see as truly 'Australian' than Julia Gillard ever will.

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