Julian Assange has every right to operate in the long and proud tradition of American leakers and journalist/bloggers, who are honoured patriots of that country. And he has the right to expect his own Australian Government will support him, rather than to sell him out to a foreign nation as a first response.
Statement by Civil Liberties Australia:
CLA says…on Assange and WikiLeaks:
Civil Liberties Australia unreservedly supports Julian Assange’s right to operate as a journalist/blogger, and to post leaked material online. By doing so, he commits no legitimate offence we’re aware of in the USA or Australia*.
In fact, he is following in a proud US tradition, along the lines of Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with leaker ‘Deep Throat’ in the Nixon era, and the now-revered leaker Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers at the time of the Vietnam war.
If the person who leaked the material to Assange has broken a US law, it would be the same law that leaker Ellsberg would have broken in the case of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 during Vietnam…and Ellsberg is now a US hero.
If Assange himself has broken a US law, it would be the same law that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein broke in the Watergate – Deep Throat case which led to the impeachment and departure in disgrace of President Richard Nixon. Both journalists are American heroes, with at least one movie and many books about them and their leaking/reporting ways.
What was the problem in both the Pentagon Papers and Watergate cases? US military and Administration officials were caught lying.
Plus ca change…
As regards Assange and the Australian Government, CLA is alarmed that a government can so readily abandon an Australian citizen as Prime Minister Gillard and Attorney-General McClelland appeared to do at the outset of this matter.
CLA recalls how even extremely conservative Australians eventually rebelled and forced the Howard Liberal Government to do something to help David Hicks, whom that government had abandoned to fabricated American laws and prison-without-reason at the Guantanamo Bay hellhole in Cuba.
Now, it seems, the Gillard Labor Government is going one better, and refusing to stand up for an Australian citizen whose only proven crime is being a good journalist/blogger. It makes you wonder what is the value of an Australian passport if the Australian Government’s first response is to try to help a foreign power find a charge to lay against an Australian passport holder.
CLA would prefer the Australian Government spent its resources assisting Assange defend possibly-fabricated sex crime charges being made against him. Remember, they were made once, then dropped by a Swedish prosecutor, and only recently re-instated by another prosecutor at the time of the latest leaks.
CLA would like to nominate Julian Assange for Australian of the Year 2011: he has done more to eliminate lies, deceit, humbug and hubris in international affairs than anyone in the Gillard (or, for that matter, Howard) Governments…or in the US Government.
* The US might decide to charge him with sedition – historically a charge laid at the whim of English kings – which is a political ‘offence’ not used in the USA for half a century and one formally and officially discredited in Australia by a change of legislation in 2010.
– released by Bill Rowlings, CEO, Civil Liberties Australia, 7 Dec 2010