Sydney free speech protest will defend Assange and WikiLeaks


The Support Assange and WikiLeaks Coalition released the statement below on June 29.

* * *

Julian Assange has sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum with Ecuador. Why? Because he has finally given up hope that the Australian government will defend him and WikiLeaks from a relentless US-led campaign of intimidation, including:

• A financial blockade of WikiLeaks instigated by the Barack Obama administration, depriving them of 95% of the donations from supporters that represents their only income.

• A grand jury investigating WikiLeaks and Assange, described as "unprecedented both in its scale and nature" by Australian diplomats in Washington.

• US state department claims that Assange is not a journalist and therefore not entitled to First Amendment protections.

• The description of Assange as a terrorist by the US Vice-President Joe Biden.

A US prosecution of Assange would be an unprecedented attack on free speech: potentially criminalising all journalists who published leaked classified documents. Yet the Australian government has stated that it will not intervene to prevent the US extraditing Assange from either Sweden or the UK, and they have passed legislation to make an extradition from Australia easier.

Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said in a letter to the Ambassador of Ecuador to Britain urging the Ecuadorian government to consider Assange’s application for asylum favourably: “Mr Assange is in need of a government willing to stand up for his civil and political rights.”

As Assange himself observed in recent days, it is “fascinating to note that the government is at odds with popular opinion. It’s not acting in its electoral interests — which makes one wonder what interests it’s … serving.”

It’s time for us to remind the Australian government who they are answerable to. Join us to stand up for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, and demand our right to free speech and our right to know.

The Support Assange and WikiLeaks Coalition has called at rally to defend Assange at 1pm July 15 at Sydney Town Hall. Speakers include: Kellie Tranter, lawyer and human rights activist; Jim Casey, secretary of the NSW Fire Brigade Employees Union; Richard Neville, founder of Oz Magazine; Irene Doutney, Greens councillor for the City of Sydney.

[For details phone Anne 0404 090 710 or Cassie 0412 355 899.]

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