Since WikiLeaks raised the ire of the US government in 2010 through the publication of leaked diplomatic cables, PM Gillard’s conduct towards Australian founder Julian Assange has been reprehensible.
Gillard is yet to apologise for her inflammatory claims that Assange had acted illegally, despite the Australian Federal Police’s subsequent findings that he had broken no laws.
Her remarks were made at a time when she should have been defending Assange from the US politicians calling for his assassination.
It stands in stark contrast to her recent statement that now-ex House of Representatives Speaker, Peter Slipper, and ex-ALP MP, Craig Thomson, should be “entitled to a presumption of innocence”.
The Gillard government’s conduct in this affair highlights the need for the openness and accountability, which WikiLeaks exists to promote.
When evidence of the existence of a sealed US grand jury indictment against Assange emerged in February, the government denied any knowledge of it.
And we still don’t know, despite the Gillard government’s assurances that it would find out, why Assange’s former lawyer Jennifer Robinson was stopped at Heathrow Airport and told she was on an “inhibited” travel list.
Gillard’s government has been quietly passing legislation that will potentially make it easier for it to extradite Assange to the US, should he ever return to Australia, and which facilitates the US-led attacks against WikiLeaks.
This abrogation of our rights in deference to the US government is unacceptable. With the verdict in Assange’s final appeal against extradition to Sweden expected any day we need to remind Gillard that she’s answerable to us, the Australian people, not the US government.
The Support Wikileaks and Assange Coalition have organised a protest at the Sydney Convention Centre when Prime Minister Gillard speaks in Sydney on May 15 to demand she acts immediately to stop attempts to extradite him to the US.
[The protest will take place at 1pm, May 15 at the Sydney Convention Centre, Darling Harbour. For details call Linda on 0401 511 588 for more information. Article republished from the Stop the War Coalition website.]