A hunt is on for journalist and popular free speech advocate Julian Assange which according to his lawyer has “political motivations”,. “I’m really rather worried by the political motivations that appear to be behind this,” says Mark Stephens, Julian’s counsel.
On the run in February, 1879, Ned Kelly had no advocate, instead dictating to his comrade Joe Byrne the circumstances which led him to become a fugitive of the law. The marvellous Jerilderie letter, sometimes known as Kelly’s manifesto, was intended to be published as a pamphlet.
Some of my favourite quotations from Ned Kelly’s letter are below, testimony of a colonial ‘lesser being’ to the empire which abrogates his rights and freedoms through its craven corrupt employees, with relevance to Julian Assange’s current situation confronting the superpower whose specious narrative and actions are challenged by the release of diplomatic cables supplied to Wikileaks by a whistleblower, and its shameful sycophant, Australia, his country of birth, whose leader has betrayed him and all of its citizens with bad legal advice and sacrifice of citizens rights to the hegemon.
‘It will pay Government to give those people who are suffering innocence, justice and liberty. if not I will be compelled to show some colonial stratagem which will open the eyes of not only the Victoria Police and inhabitants but also the whole British army and now doubt they will acknowledge their hounds were barking at the wrong stump.’
‘yet remember there is not one drop of murderous blood in my Veins’
‘yet in every paper that is printed I am called the blackest and coldest blooded murderer ever on record’
‘yet they know and acknowledge I have been wronged and my mother and four or five men lagged innocent and is my brothers and sisters and my mother not to be pitied also who has no alternative only to put up with the brutal and cowardly conduct of a parcel of big ugly fat-necked wombat headed big bellied magpie legged narrow hipped splaw-footed sons of Irish Bailiffs or english landlords which is better known as Officers of Justice or Victorian Police who some calls honest gentlemen but I would like to know what business an honest man would have in the Police as it is an old saying It takes a rogue to catch a rogue and a man that knows nothing about roguery would never enter the force an take an oath to arrest brother sister father or mother if required and to have a case and conviction if possible Any man knows it is possible to swear a lie and if a policeman looses a conviction for the sake of swearing a lie he has broke his oath therefore he is a perjurer either ways.’
‘What would England do if America declared war and hoisted a green flag as its all Irishmen that has got command of her armies forts and batteries even her very life guards and beef tasters are Irish would they not slew around and fight her with their own arms for the sake of the colour they dare not wear for years. and to reinstate it and rise old Erins isle once more, from the pressure and tyrannism of the English yoke, which has kept it in poverty and starvation, and caused them to wear the enemys coats. What else can England expect. Is there not big fat-necked Unicorns enough paid to torment and drive me to do thing which I dont wish to do, without the public assisting them I have never interefered with any person unless they deserved it, and yet there are civilians who take firearms against me, for what rea-son I do not know, unless they want me to turn on them and extermin-ate them without medicine.’
From the torrent of support and journalistic output about Wikileaks and the issues underlying the leaked cables, this exceptional article by Nikki Usher captures the arguments for the essential role of a free media in facilitating government openness and accountability for all .
‘The truth is, though, that everyone here is a winner — traditional media and non-traditional journalism and, most importantly, the public.
Imagine this: Look at what happens when mainstream news and whatever we want to call WikiLeaks work together. The forces are not in opposition but are united with a common goal — again, informing the public — and the result is that mainstream news can do what it does best thanks to the help of the information WikiLeaks provides. (But, of course, it couldn’t do it without WikiLeaks.) This is a moment of glory for all those who talk about crowdsourcing, user-generated content, and the like. Perhaps this is the ultimate form of users helping to create and shape the news. And the result is a better-informed public.’
Here on our ABC, the intercourse between Clinton and Rudd is subject for debate, contempt and many less than useful explanations.
According to the document, Ms Clinton expressed concern about China’s economic rise and asked Mr Rudd: “How do you deal toughly with your banker?”
Mr Rudd responded by saying that China needed to be integrated into the international community, but that countries should be prepared to deploy force if everything goes wrong.
In contrast to the ALP’s niggardly “un-Australian” and exceedingly unpopular betrayal of Assange, Abbott’s taciturnity and Bishop’s abbreviated nod to the citizenry, Bob Brown has maintained a steady, clear voice.
“Australian citizenships should be respected and he should be reassured that his citizenship is safe,” Senator Brown said.
“Mr Assange has come across a great ream of documents which throw some light on US foreign policy. It is important that we know what drives governments to make decisions.”
“Mr Assange has had no criminal conviction and there is a lot of political conjecture and juggling of claims against him.”
“If this material had gone straight to one of the Australian newspapers they would have published it. The press works off leaks like this all the time.”
“I understand that WikiLeaks goes through a process before releasing any documents to help ensure that such releases do not put lives in danger,” Senator Brown said. “I urge WikiLeaks to be diligent in that.”
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights president Stephen Keim says accusations of criminal law breaches levelled at Assange undermine free speech principles.
“Although the Attorney-General is entitled to disagree with – even protest – the actions taken, it is a particularly objectionable misuse of political hyperbole in these circumstances to make sweeping allegations of illegality,” Mr Keim said.
Downer rushes to the rescue of the political ruling class, perhaps hoping the same courtesy will be extended to him if a cable should materialise with his name on it. Downer feels “sorry for Kevin Rudd in this situation.” Kevin, though is relaxed and cheerful in comparison to his incensed US counterparts, who vow to change the law especially to punish the messenger, who is simply doing what journalists do. Politicians are often to resent the audacity of the press – Bjelke Petersen used to call it ‘feeding the chooks’. The empire is used to embedded reporters for some years, submissive to the imperatives of America’s perpetual wars.
As for WikiLeaks’ Australian founder Julian Assange, Mr Downer said he thought that morally he was an appalling person.
“I think to do this is to undermine the interests of millions of people around the world and to degrade diplomacy and the relationships between countries all for just being some sort of public relations smart-arse.”
Those opposing Wikileaks’ professional journalism take the bait with extraordinary enthusiasm, exposing themselves in all their monstrous glory. Avoiding engagement with the global conversation, they’d like to topple the fisherman off his rock.
They don’t seem to fathom why accountability is in the public interest, nor understand the inexorable nature of the tide which leaves them high and dry.
Would the governments be howling to the moon and stars if the leaks had been delivered to Murdoch’s establishments?
Wikileak Links for Today
Why the revolution might not be tweeted; or why Gladwell was right but for different reasons
US overreaction to Wikileaks ‘looking increasingly like that of a bully’
GLW: We have a right to know
The man who knows too much
WikiLeaks and Our Boorish “In Your Face” Diplomacy
WikiLeaks Ready to Release Giant ‘Insurance’ File if Shut Down
Could WikiLeaks survive without Julian Assange?
Evgeny Morozov has cautioned in The Financial Times
that the US backlash against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange may have unintended consequences: “WikiLeaks could be transformed from a handful of volunteers to a global movement of politicised geeks clamouring for revenge. Today’s WikiLeaks talks the language of transparency, but it could quickly develop a new code of explicit anti-Americanism, anti-imperialism and anti-globalisation.[…] An aggressive attempt to go after WikiLeaks – by blocking its web access, for instance, or by harassing its members – could install Mr Assange (or whoever succeeds him) at the helm of a powerful new global movement able to paralyse the work of governments and corporations around the world.”
On Saturday, Mr Assange said it was ”impossible” to return to Australia because of comments by Mr McClelland and the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who labelled his actions ”illegal”.
But yesterday Mr McClelland seemed to offer some concession to the Townsville-born former hacker, saying: ”Mr Assange is entitled to the same rights as any other Australian citizen.
”This includes the right to return to Australia and also to receive consular assistance while he is overseas if that is requested.”
Mr Assange also revealed that more than 100,000 people had downloaded an ”insurance” file containing an encrypted version of the cables, and the key to that code would be released if ”something happens to us”.
”Instead of Big Brother overwhelming us, all these little brothers – us – will have data through products like research.ly that will give us the ability, just like WikiLeaks has, to overwhelm Big Brother,” Rich said in an interview with the blogger Robert Scoble.
Rich said his website could create ”virtual friends groups on the fly”.
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”What we need is humans to evolve to that next level so we have a collective consciousness that persists and that we can delve into to give us the data that we need to build these friends groups on the fly,” he said, in what appeared to be a new form of Orwellian doublethink.
Everything is different now. Everything feels more authentic. We can choose to embrace this authenticity, and use it to construct a new system of relations, one which does not rely on secrets and lies. A week ago that would have sounded utopian, now it’s just facing facts
Professor Tom Flanagan: Glib about Murdering Julian Assange
Don’t cry over WikiLeaks – Australian Legal
Assange Accuser Worked with US-Funded, CIA-Tied Anti-Castro Group
Julian Assange’s lawyers say they are being watched
Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality
A Fairly Short List of Goodies for Wikileaks Santa
A Letter to PM Gillard
Wikileaks : Winning the War What’s the point of trying to shut down Wikileaks? If this past week has shown anything, it’s that cutting off the hydra’s head only results in a hundred more growing in its place.
Good luck shielding yourself from the next Wikileaks dump – diplomatic reshuffles
How to Eat the Cheese
Door open for Assange to come home – yeah right
Who Will Be TIME’s 2010 Person of the Year?
Bernie Sanders Unearths the Fed’s Sordid Details
Only WikiLeaks Can Save US Policy
Rudd defends ‘robust’ China relationship
And so this is Christmas
WikiLeaks cables claim al-Jazeera changed coverage to suit Qatari foreign policy
The Canberra Cables
An open letter to Malcolm Turnbull regarding Julian Assange
Operation Avenge Assange
Open letter to University of Calgary President Dr. Elizabeth Cannon regarding Dr. Tom Flanagan’s remarks
Salaries of WikiLeaks Staffers to Be Revealed in New Report
Other Links of Interest
The Flash Mob to raise awareness about Motorola’s support of Israeli human rights violation
United Nations Silent as NATO Destroys Potentially Thousands of Afghan Homes
ALBA and the Promise of Cooperative Development
Protest, arrests in Gaza over closure of youth organization
Abunimah: The Native American analogy doesn’t work
Danny Ayalon Needs To Thank Palestinians Too
New South Wales Greens embrace BDS
Nationalism: the virus and its cure
Leila Khaled Interview
Tales from the Crypt The Depraved Spies and Moguls of the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird
Israeli, Turkish diplomats meet in Geneva to repair ties
Industrial Workers of the World Union Votes to Officially Support BDS
UK Labor calls for compulsory settlement product labeling
Dick Cheney : The former VP is fingered in a massive cash-for-contract scandal in the African country’s oil-rich Niger Delta.