Rally defends WikiLeaks, Assange

Photo: Jim McIlroy

A rally to defend WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange took place outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on November 25. More than 50 people attended to demand the Australian government take firm diplomatic action to protect Assange. If extradited to Sweden from Britain, Assange faces a genuine risk of rendition to the US.

Rally chairperson Ewan Saunders said: “It is the blatantly political nature of the proposed charges against Assange which reveal the real agenda behind this case. Why is the Gillard government supporting the US against the rights of an Australian journalist just doing his job of revealing the US government's dirty secrets.

“We want more truth, not less. We want Julian Assange at liberty to continue his important fight for free speech and the truth.”

Andrew Bartlett from the Queensland Greens told the rally: “This issue is now urgent. Julian Assange faces the extreme danger of extradition to Sweden, and from there to prison in the US.

“The case involves the fundamental principle of the right to support from the Australian government for a citizen's legal and human rights.”

Comments

Is Julia Gillard 'supporting' the US government against a "journalist" revealing the truth - or is she at this point not intercepting the course of justice - where a man is being charged for a number of criminal offences - for which he will have the opportunity to clear his name if he is not guilty.

With regard to the 'truth' - I respect the actions that Wikileaks have taken to share information regarding crime and corruption as also disseminated by traditional papers such as New York Times and the Guardian. It is up to every individual journalist to make the decision about confidentiality of sources. Although in 2010 he advised he is an activist organization not a media co.

In some instances 'discretion' is a more moral (as well as legal approach) alternative to 'publishing'. I refer to the list of 4,000 pornagraphic websites that were banned and under investigation - for sex crimes such as criminal child abuse. Wikileaks also published this list - and perhaps the families of any of the victims portrayed on these websites might take personal case against Assange or seek criminal charges for assisting paedophiles - which is also a crime under international law of Cybercrime Convention.

As for the primitive thug in the helicopter shooting civilians and Reuters journalists - 'Fair Game' in Iraq he might say. Already charges had been proposed in the International Criminal Court against George W Bush for his crimes against humanity - but this tasteless video really just demonstrates how desensitised humans have become as voyeurs who separate reality with a computer. This soldier was playing a computer game - no less. Lets put him in the middle of a battle field and we can all watch him run. That doesn't do much for me either. Retaliation and revenge just perpetuate crimes.

How about a 'real' independent international watchdog that can support ICC and legal cases - with dissemination to the media. I just don't don't think Assange should be given the power to decide who to expose and who not to expose and make it alright to work outside the law. For all his good works there are those crimes also committed - such as hacking that cost citizens millions of dollars.

Whistleblowers should leak to a real international intermediary who can bring challenge and change. This is what we should be calling for.

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