[The following speech was delivered at the Sydney rally in defence of Wikileaks on December 14 by rally co-organiser and Socialist Alliance activst Kiraz Janicke. Footage of the other speaks at the rally can be seen here.]
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People ask me why, as a feminist, are you coming out in support of Julian Assange who is facing rape allegations in Sweden?
But this rally is not about that.
I’m not going to comment on the rights and wrongs of the case against Assange, because the fact is we don’t know.
This rally is about the right to a fair trial, free from outside influence and political agendas. This rally is about the right to free speech, freedom of information and freedom from persecution.
As women we should never, never let them use our struggle against sexual assault, for their struggle against free speech!
And by them I mean the corrupt governments, - the U.S. government, the Australian government –and the corporations and media organisations that are trying to silence Wikileaks.
Because this is about THEM and US. And by "us" I mean the ordinary peoples around the world who have come out to defend Wikileaks, to defend free speech.
As citizens we have a right to know what our governments are doing in our name.
And if our governments were really democratic, if our governments were truly governments of the people, for the people and by the people – then they would have nothing to hide!
But the reality is that the Wikileaks cables show that our governments have plenty to hide!
The cables expose the raw workings of U.S. Empire - a whole litany of abuses, from corruption, espionage, to the cover up of war crimes and the unbridled assault on countries that challenge U.S. domination.
And they show the complicity of the Australian government with this agenda!
In whose name was Rudd talking when he said we should be prepared to use force against China?
Who would have voted for Mark Arbib if they knew he had been acting as a U.S. spy?
They show unwavering support of the Gillard government for Israel’s brutal occupation of the Palestinian people.
They show that while the Sri Lankan government was committing war crimes against the Tamil people – our government said nothing!
And the latest cables show that the Australian government is engaging in a massive military build up that they can’t even afford, for a war drive that no one supports, while funding for our schools, our hospitals and our public services is being slashed to bits.
This goes beyond Wikileaks, this goes beyond free speech, this goes to the very heart of what sort of democracy we live in and Wikileaks has shown us that this democracy is a sham and if our governments aren’t democratic then it’s up to us to fight to make them democratic. We need to build this movement in our work places and on the streets,
Tell your friends, tell your family, there will be another rally - a global day of action for government transparency, for freedom of speech, freedom of information and in Defence of Wikileaks.
It's not a crime to expose war crimes! Free Bradley Manning!
It's not a crime to tell the truth. Stop the crackdown on Wikileaks! Stop the persecution of Julian Assange! Stop the NSW Police crackdown on free speech!