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Dec 9, 2010

Wikileaks

Well, well. This week has been frantic. Non stop. Exhausting.

But even I, with barely any time to pay attention to any form of news, have noticed the furore over Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

Personally, I am appalled that someone can be so vilified for something as simple as releasing information. As far as I am concerned, all information to do with our governments (particularly democratic ones) should be shared publicly. But that is just me, and I recognise that others don't share that belief.

However, as Get Up points out in the below letter, Australia's Attorney General has confirmed that "no Australian nor international crime by wikileaks (sic) has been identified", despite the fact that our Prime Minister has already labelled Mr Assange's actions (in releasing this information) as "illegal".

I find it deeply disturbing that in America, the right of despicable organisations such as the Westboro Baptist Church to protest and publish their appalling way of thinking is protected, but Wikileaks is demonized and widely condemned for simply releasing legitimate, factual information.

So please read the below letter and give some thought as to what you will do.

Jo



________________________________________________________

Dear Friend,

Sarah Palin wants Julian Assange hunted as a terrorist 1. She's among a swelling chorus of American politicians calling for the arrest - and even the death - of the Australian citizen who runs Wikileaks. It's a shame that real terrorists, of the kind that we should be focusing our attention, don't show up at British Police stations with their lawyers, as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange did yesterday.

Here in Australia, Prime Minister Gillard pre-emptively judged Mr. Assange "illegal," even as the Attorney General confirmed that no Australian nor international crime by wikileaks has been identified 2.

The death penalty? Judgement before trial? This isn't the kind of justice system we have in Australia. If our Government won't stand up for the rights of Australian citizens, let's do it ourselves.


We're printing a huge ad in prominent American newspapers with the statement our Government should have made - signed by as many Australians as possible. Will you add your name to the signatories, and invite your friends to join too?

http://www.getup.org.au/campaign/mediafreedom

The statement:

Dear President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder:


We, as Australians, condemn calls for violence, including assassination, against Australian citizen, Julian Assange, or for him to be labeled a terrorist, enemy combatant or be treated outside the ordinary course of justice in any way.

Australia and the United States are the strongest of allies. Our soldiers serve side by side to this day. We've experienced, and condemned, the consequences of terrorism together. To label Wikileaks a terrorist organisation is an insult to those Australians and Americans who have lost their lives to acts of terrorism and to terrorist forces.

As Thomas Jefferson said, "information is the currency of democracy" 3. Publishing leaked information in collaboration with major news outlets, as Wikileaks and Mr. Assange have done, is not a terrorist act.

If Wikileaks or their staff have broken international or national laws, let that case be heard in a just and fair court of law. At the moment, no such charges have been brought. We are writing as Australians to say what our Government should have: all Australian citizens deserve to be free from persecution, threats of violence and detention without charge, especially from our friend and ally, the United States.

We're printing this statement in the Washington Times and New York Times early next week - and the more Australians sign, the more powerful the message will be. Please add your name by clicking below, and forward this message to friends and family:

http://www.getup.org.au/campaign/mediafreedom

What has started with WikiLeaks being branded as terrorists won't end there.

In fact, just yesterday U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, Chair of the Senate's Homeland Security Committee, said that the New York Times should also be investigated under the U.S. Espionage Act for publishing a number of the diplomatic cables leaked to Wikileaks 4. We can help stop such plans in their tracks, by showing how they are affecting the image of the US in the eyes of their staunchest friends and allies.

Click here to sign the statement before it's published in the New York Times and Washington Times.


Thanks for being part of this,
the GetUp team.


---

[1] Beckford, M., 'Sarah Palin: hunt WikiLeaks founder like al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders', The Telegraph, 30 November 2010.

[2] Oakes, L., 'Oakes: Gillard gushes over US leaks', Perth Now, 4 December 2010.

[3] The quote is widely attributed to Jefferson, but some now dispute whether he actually said it. We know, at least, that he said "knowledge is power," even if Francis Bacon did say it first.

[4] Savage, C., 'U.S. prosecuters study WikiLeaks prosecution', The New York Times, 7 December 2010.

1 comment:

Kat said...

As an American, I find Sarah Palin's comments (about Wikileaks and just about everything else) to be embarassing for our country. I can't believe she has become such a respected public figure in the face of her glaring ignorance. I fully support the Austrailian peoples' endeavor to remind the US government and indeed, the world, that Assange has not been charged with any criminal activity related to Wikileaks, and that judgement without trial is not acceptable in the 21st century, global community.

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