Julian Assange, the famous leadership figure of Wikileaks, is an Australian citizen who was born in Queensland, North East Australia. So far the Wikileaks releases re Australia have exposed what US officials thought of PM Rudd (“control freak” and other unflattering comments); Rudd’s appalling advocacy of US war with China and Australian soldiers for war in Pakistan; successful lobbying of the Labor Government by BHP Billiton to help block a $21 billion Chinese investment in mining giant Rio Tinto; revelation of secret Australian Government pessimism over the Afghan War; and exposure of 3 [pro-Zionist, pro-US] Labor MPs as involved in giving insider information and opinions to the US. The US lackey Australian Government has reacted by threatening Assange with criminal proceedings, this in turn provoking widespread support for Julian Assange from both ordinary and eminent Australians.
The following sets of quotations summarize the current Australian reactions to Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
A. Reactions of the slavishly pro-US, pro-Zionist, pro-war, and anti-Asian Australian Labor Government. Government.
A.1. PM Julia Gillard
Ms. Gillard: "I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the Wikileaks website; it's a grossly irresponsible thing to do and an illegal thing to do" (ABC News, 9 December 2010).
A.2. PM Julia Gillard
Ms. Gillard described Wikileaks as "illegal" but could not specify any broken law: "The foundation stone of it is an illegal act. It would not happen; information would not be on Wikileaks, if there had not been an illegal act undertaken” ((SBS World News, 7 December 2010).
A.3. Attorney-General Robert McClelland on “illegality” of Wikileaks: "From Australia's point of view we think there are potentially a number of criminal laws that could have been breached. The Australian Federal Police are looking at that" (Herald Sun, 29 November 2010).
A.4. Attorney-General Robert McClelland on “illegality” of Wikileaks: ''Certainly to release that sort of information by an officer of the Commonwealth, if it were Australian material, would in my view certainly involve criminality’’ (The Age, 10 December 2010).
B. Reactions of Australian political figures from the Left and Right who say Julian Assange has not broken the law.
B.1. Opposition legal affairs spokesman, Liberal-National Party Coalition Senator George Brandis, has criticized PM Gillard for her "clumsy" language on the issue: "As far as I can see him [Assange] hasn't broken any Australian law. Nor does it appear he has broken any American laws." (SBS World News, 7 December 2010).
B.2. Foreign Minister and former PM Kevin Rudd blame the US not Assange: “Mr. Assange is not himself responsible for the unauthorized release of 250,000 documents from the US diplomatic communications network. The Americans are responsible for that" (ABC News, 8 December 2010).
B.3. Former conservative Coalition PM John Howard evidently agrees with his successor as PM, Kevin Rudd, that Assange had not done anything wrong: “Any journalist will publish confidential information if he or she gets hold of it, subject only to compelling national security interests. The issue is whether any of this material and the publication of it will endanger people's lives or endanger individual countries. The bad people in this little exercise are the people who gave the information to him, because they're the people who breached the trust. They deserve to be chased and prosecuted” (ABC News, 8 December 2010).
B.4. Former Lieutenant Colonel, Office of National Assessments intelligence officer, whistleblower and independent MP Andrew Wilkie has attacked the Labor Government position: “I believe the Prime Minister is showing a contempt for the rule of law - the way she has ruled out the presumption of innocence and instead there seems to be a presumption of guilt when it comes to Mr. Assange. That's not how we do things in Australia and she should know better. And as a lawyer, she should know she's potentially compromised any legal proceedings that might be brought against Mr. Assange if in fact he makes it to the US. I believe also she's shown a complete contempt for Australia's sovereignty - the way she has defaulted to the interests of the US, instinctively it seems, rather than the interests of an Australian citizen” ( ABC News, 9 December 2010 ).
C. Pro-Assange reactions of Assange, Asante’s lawyers, eminent Australians and ordinary Australians.
C.1. Assange’s London-based lawyer, Mark Stephens has slammed the Australian Government: “He has had no assistance or offers of assistance ... by the Australian authorities in Sweden, or London or America. One has to question what the value of an Australian passport is, whether you agree with what he has done or not. One would think that having an Australian passport you would get some assistance but thus far, I have to say, the high commissions and embassies have been shutting their doors to Julian Assange... [Asked if his client had broken any laws by releasing cables] not that I can see…Julian Assange is giving out useful information, journalists, investigative journalists, have been doing that for years. What he got, unasked for, he didn’t hack for it, was the electronic equivalent of a brown envelope. Quality investigative journalists have been working with brown envelopes and material given to them to hold our governments to account, to ascertain whether what they are doing is what we want them to be doing. If Julian Assange is a criminal than every national newspaper that has published exactly the same stories is also a criminal. Are we going to lock up editors from all over the planet? I don’t think so…[on sexual misconduct charges] Originally the allegation was one of rape and many will remember that but of course what has not been reported is that the Swedish court of appeal dismissed the case of rape and said the facts don’t support it. They are now investigating something called sex by surprise. It is the very first time Sweden has actually sought extradition for this charge … it is a fairly minor charge and usually carries something like a 5000 Krone penalty” (The Australian, 6 December 2010).
C.2. Australian lawyer acting for Julian Assange, Robert Stary, in demanding Australian Government Attorney General Action to protect Assange from death threats from prominent American politicians and columnists: “'There has been serious threats made against Julian Assange and it is incumbent on the federal government to take action to protect him. In fact, they have a legislative obligation to do so under Australian law…Australian government should be clear to their American counterparts that threats against Mr. Assange's life will be taken seriously by this country'' (The Age, 10 December 2010).
C.3 A. Who’s Who of decent, prominent Australians have issued the following statement (see “Open Letter to Julia Gillard, re Julian Assange”, ABC, The Drum, and 7 December 2010: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/41914.html#comments):
“Dear Prime Minister,
We note with concern the increasingly violent rhetoric directed towards Julian Assange of Wikileaks.
“We should treat Mr. Assange the same way as other high-value terrorist targets: Kill him,” writes conservative columnist Jeffrey T Kuhner in the Washington Times.
William Kristol, former chief of staff to vice president Dan Quayle, asks, “Why can’t we use our various assets to harass, snatch or neutralize Julian Assange and his collaborators, wherever they are?”
“Why isn’t Julian Assange dead?” writes the prominent US pundit Jonah Goldberg.
“The CIA should have already killed Julian Assange,” says John Hawkins on the Right Wing News site.
Sarah Palin, a likely presidential candidate, compares Assange to an Al Qaeda leader; Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator and potential presidential contender, accuses Assange of “terrorism”.
And so on and so forth.
Such calls cannot be dismissed as bluster. Over the last decade, we have seen the normalization of extrajudicial measures once unthinkable, from ‘extraordinary rendition’ (kidnapping) to ‘enhanced interrogation’ (torture).
In that context, we now have grave concerns for Mr. Assange’s wellbeing.
Irrespective of the political controversies surrounding Wikileaks, Mr. Assange remains entitled to conduct his affairs in safety, and to receive procedural fairness in any legal proceedings against him.
As is well known, Mr. Assange is an Australian citizen.
We therefore call upon you to condemn, on behalf of the Australian Government, calls for physical harm to be inflicted upon Mr. Assange, and to state publicly that you will ensure Mr. Assange receives the rights and protections to which he is entitled, irrespective of whether the unlawful threats against him come from individuals or states.
We urge you to confirm publicly Australia’s commitment to freedom of political communication; to refrain from cancelling Mr. Assange's passport, in the absence of clear proof that such a step is warranted; to provide assistance and advocacy to Mr. Assange; and do everything in your power to ensure that any legal proceedings taken against him comply fully with the principles of law and procedural fairness.
A statement by you to this effect should not be controversial – it is a simple commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law.
We believe this case represents something of a watershed, with implications that extend beyond Mr. Assange and Wikileaks. In many parts of the globe, death threats routinely silence those who would publish or disseminate controversial material. If these incitements to violence against Mr. Assange, a recipient of Amnesty International’s Media Award, are allowed to stand, a disturbing new precedent will have been established in the English-speaking world.
In this crucial time, a strong statement by you and your Government can make an important difference.”
C.4. There have been street demonstrations in support of Assange and a reader survey in The Age newspaper found that in answer to the question “Should government agencies take more action to stop Wikileaks operating?” 90% of respondents said “No” (see Daniel Flitton, “Truth a casualty of Afghanistan war, as ever”, The Age, 10 December 2010).
C.5. Shaun Carney, associate editor of The Age (Melbourne), arguably Australia’s most respectable mainstream newspaper, has gauged decent Australian sentiment thus: “[PM] Gillard's ill-advised judge and jury comments convicting Julian Assange alienated swag of Labor supporters for good… The Wikileaks revelations have been an immense political disaster for the Gillard government. All it took was two sentences from the Prime Minister during a radio interview nine days ago, as the first of the 250,000 US State Department documents held by the website were published in overseas newspapers: "I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the Wikileaks website. It is a grossly irresponsible thing to do and an illegal thing to do. With this, especially the declaration of illegality, Julia Gillard offended the sensibilities of hundreds of thousands of Labor supporters, many of whom won't be coming back to the ALP” (The Age, 11 December 2010).
C.6. Julian Assange himself has stated: “However, during the last weeks the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, have made it clear that not only is my return impossible but that they are actively working to assist the United States government in its attacks on myself and our people. This brings into question what does it mean to be an Australian citizen - does that mean anything at all? Or are we all to be treated like David Hicks at the first possible opportunity merely so that Australian politicians and diplomats can be invited to the best US embassy cocktail parties” (see Sydney Morning Herald, 5 December 2010).
The Wikileaks saga has provided documentary evidence for what sensible people had known for decades; that since the US-backed coup that threw out the democratically-elected Whitlam Labor Government in 1975, the Australian Labor Party or ALP (now another Liberal Party, the Apartheid Labor Party, the Apartheid Israel-supporting Labor Party, the American-lackey Labor Party) realized that re-election required it to slavishly support the racist, war-mongering, nuclear terrorist rogue state of the United States and its surrogate, the racist, war-mongering, Zionist-run, nuclear terrorist rogue state of Apartheid Israel.
However the Apartheid Labor Party has gone too far in craven obeisance to Zionist-beholden America over the Wikileaks saga. To reiterate what influential Australian journalist Shaun Carney has stated: “With this, especially the declaration of illegality, [PM] Julia Gillard offended the sensibilities of hundreds of thousands of Labor supporters, many of whom won't be coming back to the ALP” (The Age, 11 December 2010).
In a comment re a Wikileaks article in The Age that I sent to The Age (and which it did not publish) I stated: “If a member of the Australian cricket team were found to be giving secret advice to the English [traditional cricket foes] he would have to retire to the Home Country but MPs being secret informants of a dangerous, nuclear terrorist, war-making nation is far more serious. However US lackey Labor turns the other cheek over the forging of Australian passports by US-backed Israel, the violent kidnapping of Australians in international waters by Israeli terrorists (including dual citizen Australian Israeli terrorists) and massive illegal seizure of Australian citizens' property in Palestine by Apartheid Israel. Now Labor turns the other cheek over (as revealed by Wikileaks), the spying on Australians ordered by Hillary Clinton, warmongering against the Chinese and Pakistanis by Rudd, and "informing" of the Americans by 3 pro-Zionist Labor MPs. Sensible and patriotic Australians will put Labor last forever.”
Since the US-backed Coup in 1975 (see William Blum’s “Rogue State”), the Australian Labor Party has become more and more pragmatic, conservative and pro-American Establishment. Now the Australian Labor Party is further revealed by Wikileaks and its illegitimate, threatening responses to the Wikileaks disclosures as a pathetic lackey of the US that puts craven submission to the US before the human rights and safety of Australians. Decent Australians who value Freedom of Information and Human Rights will Put Labor Last until it reverts to the anti-racism, pro-peace, pro-truth, pro-environment, pro-Humanity values held by Labor before the Whitlam Labor Government was removed in the US-backed 1975 Coup.
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|Allen L. Jasson|